Saturday, 30 August 2014

Pride In Reading

Now in it's 11th year, I was delighted to open the Reading Pride event at Kings Meadow earlier today. It looks better than ever this year with a great variety of stalls, exhibitors, food outlets and entertainers. Our town is all the richer for these events. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

A Tale Of Two Tickets - Or The Great Train Fare Rip-Off

Train tickets: Cheaper if you know how?
Earlier this week I took a day trip to the Midlands. Though using the car would have been an easy drive, I decided to go by train.

Though I had not booked ahead, I did check the National Rail Enquiries website for train times and an indication of fares the night before travelling. This told me that my Reading to Coventry off-peak standard class day return would be £51

Double checking with the "cheapest fare" tool confirmed that £51 would indeed be the lowest "turn up and pay" price available on the day of travel.

However, on the morning of travel I remembered to ask the person serving me at the ticket office if instead of a Reading to Coventry day return ticket, could I opt to buy a Reading to Banbury day return ticket and a Banbury to Coventry day return instead. The tickets were sold to me without any comment or restriction or, as far as I am aware, contradict the National Rail Conditions of CarriageIn fact Paragraph 19 of the National Conditions states:

Using a combination of tickets
You may use two or more tickets for one journey as long as together they cover the entire journey and ... the train you are in calls at a station where you change from one ticket to another.

So why did I ask for the two tickets? Because the cost of the return ticket from Reading to Banbury was £12.10 and the Banbury to Coventry return £13.40. 

In other words, the same return journey, sat on the same trains for a total cost of £25.50 - or precisely 50% of the lowest advertised "cheapest fare" of £51.

Is this ticketing arrangement a carefully hidden secret or simply a rip-off?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Mayor of Reading Charities 2014/15

This year as Mayor of Reading I am raising money for three principal causes - Home-Start Reading, Reading Refugee Support Group and Help for Heroes - as well as giving my time to help other organisations with their own fund-raising efforts.

In these tougher economic times there are no current plans for a lavish gala dinner - always a good money spinner in the past! - so the need for a multiple of small donations is even more important than ever.

If you feel able to make a donation please send cheques payable to: Mayor of Reading's Charities and posted to Mayor of Reading, Reading Borough Council, Civic Centre, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7AE.

Charity pin badges and wrist-bands, at a minimum donation of £2 each, are also available and a number of organisations and individuals are taking supplies - from 10 to 250 ! - with a commitment to selling them through the year.

Any help will be greatly appreciated, as well as any other fund-raising ideas or proposals you want to pitch. Many thanks, Tony

Sunday, 3 August 2014

"Lights Out" To Commemorate WW1

'Lights Out' to Commemorate WWI

Reading Council Press Release

STREELIGHTS on Town Hall Square will be switched off on Monday (Aug 4th) as Reading marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. A single light will be switched on in the Town Hall’s Silverthorne Room between 10pm and 11pm.
At the same time Reading Mayor, Cllr Tony Jones, will lead an hour-long candle-lit vigil at the War Memorial outside Forbury Gardens. British Legion representatives will join the Mayor at the vigil on August 4th.
The light switch-off at Town Hall Square and the War Memorial vigil is Reading’s own contribution to the national ‘Lights Out’ campaign, organised to mark 100 years since the Great War began. ‘Lights Out’ is an invitation to everyone in the UK to turn off their lights from 10pm until 11pm, leaving on a single light or candle as part of a shared moment of reflection.
On the eve of the declaration of war, Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary at the time, said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
Councillor Jones is now inviting Reading residents to mark the centenary by joining in the ‘Lights Out’ switch-off, or by alternatively joining him and members of the British Legion at the Forbury Gardens War Memorial from 10pm. Candles will be extinguished throughout the hour until the final symbolic flame is put out at 11 pm - the actual time the UK joined the First World War.