Monday, 18 May 2015

The Daily: May 18

We scour the news so you don't have to

Written by Eliza Riley-Smith
Duchess of Cambridge expresses interest in joining the Women's Institute
The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed she could yet become a member of the Women's Institute, joining a long line of past royal members. The news emerged after Kate was contacted by her local branch on the Sandringham estate, with a private secretary replying that the Duchess may be in touch in the future. Just 14 members make up the Anmer branch, which is a short walk from the Duke and Duchess' country residence, and monthly meetings are held in the village hall built for Sandringham estate workers in 1909. The Queen is currently president of the Sandringham WI and attends meetings at least once a year, having taken over the role from the Queen Mother. The Duchess would not only be continuing in the royal tradition but would also be one of the youngest members in her branch, in turn raising the WI'S image and highlighting the inspirational work it does on both a local and national level.

Britain set for record strawberry crop
British strawberries are this year set for a bumper crop as perfect weather conditions, increased growing space and new techniques are set to boost the yield by 19 per cent. British Summer Fruits have predicted that yields should reach 76,000 tonnes this year, an increase of almost a fifth from the previous year. The sunniest winter on record set the crop off to a strong start despite the season arriving 10 days later than last year, and these early rays are also predicted to make this summer's batch sweeter. The growing season has also expanded dramatically, seeing strawberries on the shelves from March to December thanks to new techniques such as climate controlled greenhouses and the use of new varieties. The record harvest is set to bring in sales of £325 million this year, up from £275 million the year before.

Designers reveal alternatives to controversial 'Elderly People' sign
Designers across the country have been commissioned to replace the oft-loathed 'Elderly People' crossing sign. The current sign is over 30 years old, having been picked from a children's competition and featuring an elderly couple hobbling across the road. However, Anna James of Spring Chicken, a company which helps the elderly to continue a fulfilling and energetic life, decided to overturn these outdated stereotypes with her competition to replace the sign. The new designs are decidedly more cheerful, with Margaret Calvert's offering a spin on the jaunty 'Children Crossing' sign, featuring an elderly couple skipping across the road with walking sticks. Many of the suggestions mock the current sign, one featuring a tortoise that can't walk fast and another bearing the line 'older adults getting quite cross here'. Designers and pensioners alike are seeking to portray the 60 something mindset of those in their 70s and 80s, as well as rebranding the now defunct image of old age being associated with decrepitness.

Humble cornershop back in fashion
A recent study has found that consumers are increasingly turning to convenience stores, spending an average £6.52 on every visit compared to £6.05 in 2014. Consumers are also buying more items in cornershops, with shoppers taking 3 items to the tills and a further 20 per cent buying five or more products. Katie Littler, director of research consultants Him! who conducted the study, expressed 'This is great news for convenience as it shows shoppers are trusting them as a destination for bigger shops'. The move back to the cornershop is part of an increasing trend for the 'top up shop', as consumers are shifting away from the traditional weekly shop at one of the 'big four' supermarkets. Families are also looking to more budget options such as Lidl and Aldi, which have seen a huge surge in demand for their bargain groceries and low cost luxury items.

Country residents pledge £450,000 to save their local pub
Residents of Hucking, Kent, have promised £450,000 in funds to save their only pub from developers. The Hook and Hatchet was closed in November of last year, followed by a local campaign to prevent the pub's selling on to developers. Campaigners won the right to have the property registered as an 'Asset of Community Value', giving them six months to raise the asking price. Campaigner Samantha Mabb has reported that '99.9 per cent' of the residents are in support of the scheme, adding that the Hook and Hatchet is a lifeline to those in the small and isolated community. George Barnes, whose company Shepheard Neame owns the pub, has welcomed the possibility of the community owned venture, saying that if the funds were raised he would be happy to sell it to them. The intriguing name of the public house refers to the badge held by Chief Petty Officer Shipwright, who oversaw the timber-felling to build ships.


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