Meteorology Ball 2017

Email: K.M.Milczewska@pgr.reading.ac.uk

On Friday 17th February, the annual Meteorology Ball provided a great excuse for members of the department and their guests to dress up for the evening. But for all the excitement of this year’s masquerade theme, the Ball is mainly a charity event. Through the sale of raffle tickets and an auction of promises, the event aims to raise money for the David Grimes Trust, administered by the Reading San Francisco Libre Association (RSFLA), in honour of the well-remembered academic from our department who devoted a great deal of his time to the charity.

RSFLA supports environmental and educational projects in the rural Nicaraguan town of San Francisco Libre, which was ‘twinned’ with Reading in 1994 in order to encourage the exchange of culture and knowledge. Over the past few years, the Meteorology department has supported this link through regular cake sales, running the Reading Half Marathon and, of course, the annual ball.

David Grimes was a respected, integral member of the department and there are many among us who reminisce about his goodwill, interactive lectures and Panto appearances. There are also those among us who, despite never having had the chance to meet David, can easily imagine the positive impact he had both in and outside of our department, through our continued support of the charity under his name. The money  raised is mainly spent on educational support in the San Francisco Libre district: helping to fund a scholarship programme, build a library and toilet facilities among various other projects – and the people who benefit directly have a special message for us all!
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The generosity of over 80 people attending made the event a great success, raising over £1500 through bidding on bizzarre auction items and lessons, as well as purchasing raffle tickets. To add to this, Santander will be chipping in with an extra £1500 to match, bringing the total raised to over £3000 for the charity! Such success would never have happened, had it not been for all the help we received from Santander, local businesses offering prizes for the raffle, and most importantly: all of those who bought a ticket to come! On behalf of all the organisers, I would like to finish this post with a massive bout of thanks for making the evening worth all the effort and continuing the important tradition of fundraising for the David Grimes Trust.

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Macmillan coffee morning

Email: h.l.gough@pgr.reading.ac.uk

If there are two things that keep the Met department running it’s cake and coffee. This year the department got involved in the Macmillan coffee morning on the 30th September and raised a whopping £282 within three hours.

There was a bake off, a general cake sale and a guess the number of spots on a cake game, which got very scientific! The bake off had four categories, each with a prize: Savoury, bake your research, green theme and free-from, ensuring that there was something for everybody. As always the competition was good-natured but fierce and the judges (2 members of staff, 1 post-doc and 1 PhD student) had a sugar crash at around 3pm.

Here are some of the creations from the event:

First up (left) a chocolate cake carved into the shape of Africa, complete with wildlife, sprinkles and clouds. The judges didn’t want to cut this one, choosing to eat Madagascar first!

The next bake (top middle) went on to win the Best in Bake-off award, vanishing within minutes of being put on the sale table! Each slice was a decadent mixture of chocolate and lime.

The marvellous creations in the bottom middle image were free from everything except nuts. Using vegan marshmallows and chocolate alongside gluten free biscuits created a wickedly dark rocky road with plenty of crunch and just the right amount of marshmallows.

These gluten free wind turbines (right) were entered into all four categories of the bake off. Making gluten free pastry is no mean feat and unless told, no-one was aware that these moreish snacks were gluten free!

Finally, a shot of the table before it got too full of goodies! There are the edges of vegan pretzels (front left), a shop brought Victoria sponge (front middle), a supreme chocolate cake with Malteaser decorations (right) and a hazelnut and pear chocolate brownie which really captured the autumnal flavours and was the first to be completely sold!

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Fortunately the department has its own running group to help counteract some of the cake eating.

That’s it from me for now, hopefully they’ll be more foodie posts soon!