May 11, 2012

Saved by her wardrobe: Elderly woman miraculously escapes gas blast that blew huge hole in house… after closet fell on her

  • Brave firefighters spent two hours rescuing the pensioners from her devastated home
  • A second dust covered young woman was led to safety after being found on top of the rubble
  • Neighbours described how they too cheated death, with one passing the house moments before the explosion


PUBLISHED: 10:02, 11 May 2012 | UPDATED: 14:56, 11 May 2012


A pensioner whose house was destroyed in a gas explosion miraculously survived the blast after a wardrobe fell on her and saved her life.

The blast last night was so powerful it blew out the windows of every house on the street in Cheltenham and could be heard half a mile away.

Neighbours of the woman, named locally as Betty Hodgkiss, said it was a miracle no one was seriously injured in the explosion.

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Obliterated: This aerial view of the house Cheltenham which blew up in a gas explosion shows the scale of the damageObliterated: This aerial view of the house Cheltenham which blew up in a gas explosion shows the scale of the damage

Destroyed: Wreckage from the blast settled where the house once stood, in the property's back garden and onto a car parked outside
Roof: The gas explosion also ripped part of the roof from one of the neighbouring terraced homes

Roof: Tiles were torn from one of the neighbouring terraced homes, but the roof of the second was untouched

The devastating blast ripped through the property in Rosehill Street sending debris shooting 50ft into the air.

The pensioner was buried under rubble and it took firefighters nearly two hours to rescue her from the rubble.

Amazingly she somehow avoided serious injury and was still conscious when she was finally pulled from the debris.


Witness Jules Annan said: ‘It’s almost unbelievable that no one was killed. The damage was so bad that anyone walking down the street at the time would likely be dead.

Household: A washing machine, circular dining table and other household goods are among the personal possessions left scattered in the property's back gardenHousehold: A washing machine, circular dining table and other household goods are among the personal possessions left scattered in the property’s back garden


‘Betty survived after a wardrobe fell on her and protected her from the worst of the blast. The street looks like the pictures you see of The Blitz.

‘The houses on either side and across the road have all been condemned and the windows have been blasted out for streets around.

‘I was having dinner with a friend who lives opposite at about 8pm last night when it happened. The noise was just incredible.

‘It’s amazing nobody was walking down the street at the time as the whole house was completely destroyed.’

Cold light of day: the house opposite is visible after a gas explosion totally destroyed a terraced home

Cold light of day: the house opposite is visible after a gas explosion totally destroyed a terraced home

Strewn: The house's contents left piled across the street and in the garden after being blown 50ft into the air
Remains: Neighbours survey the scene of the blast which remains behind police tape

Aftermath: Neighbours were left surveying the devastation which has affected every house in the street


Devastation: The whole street was covered in debris which emergency services spent the morning clearing awayDevastation: The whole street was covered in debris which emergency services spent the morning clearing away


Jumble: The remains of the woman's possessions are visible amongst the rubble of her Cheltenham homeJumble: The remains of the woman’s possessions are visible amongst the rubble of her Cheltenham home

The force of the blast blew Betty’s front door off its hinges and sent it flying through the window of a house across the street.

A bewildered young woman, believed to live next-door to the explosion, was found up perched on top of a pile of rubble.

She was led to safety by passers-by and is also believed to have avoided being seriously hurt.

Residents on Rosehill Street described today how they also cheated death as debris were hurled up the road.

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Alfie Boe announces forest concerts

May 1, 2012

Alfie Boe announces forest concerts


Alfie Boe is the latest act to announce participation in this year’s Forestry Commission Live Music with a brace of concerts this summer.


The classically trained tenor has become well established as one of the country’s most popular artists with acclaimed, sell-out, live concerts and 2 Top Ten, ‘platinum’ selling albums in the last twelve months. Theatre-goers have witnessed sensational performances in shows such as ‘Les Misérables’ in the West End and ‘La Bohème’ on Broadway; and with albums like ‘Alfie’ and ‘Bring Him Home’, Alfie Boe’s interpretation of the most revered and timeless songs has ensured an ever-growing fan base. Alfie’s forest debut will see him performing from his current albums as well as from classical and proms repertoire.


Forestry Commission Live Music concerts are renowned for their relaxed atmosphere, and income generated from ticket sales is spent on improving the local forest for both people and wildlife.


Exclusive to Westonbirt’s Alfie Boe concert, you can enjoy a gourmet picnic provided by local caterers Relish. Find out more and pre-order your picnic at


Commenting on the shows, Alfie Boe said, “I am delighted to be asked to appear at Westonbirt Arboretum andThetfordForestas part of Forestry Commission Live Music. It is going to be a real privilege to perform at such prestigious outdoor venues with beautiful trees as backdrops”.
Alfie Boe plus Orchestra and ‘special guest support’ will be performing:

Friday 13th July, Thetford Forest, nearBrandon,Suffolk.

Saturday 21st July, Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire.
Tickets £35.50 (subject to booking fee) from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at


The Wanted for Westonbirt!

May 1, 2012

The Wanted for Westonbirt!

Pop sensation The Wanted will perform a West Country concert this Summer at Westonbirt Arboretum. This is the final act to be announced at the venue as part of Forestry Commission Live Music 2012.


Just 18 months since their huge Number One debut single ‘All Time Low’, The Wanted has already become one ofBritain’s biggest, most brilliant pop bands, living a dream that has far surpassed even their most optimistic expectations. Hard working and quite plainly loving every single second, the band have already notched up a succession of hits, been viewed a staggering 30 million times on YouTube and sold 400,000 copies of their eponymous debut album. ‘Battleground’ their second album is keeping a pace having already generated the hits ‘Lightning’, ‘Gold Forever’, ‘Warzone’ and the Number One Summer dance smash ‘Glad You Came’.


Forestry Commission Live Music concerts are renowned for their relaxed atmosphere, and income generated from ticket sales will be spent on caring for this internationally important tree collection. Westonbirt Arboretum hosts six concerts each summer with full on-site facilities and parking plus a dedicated taxi and private car drop off/pick-up zone.


The band’s Nathan Sykes, who is from Gloucestershire said, “It’s so cool for me to do a home show in such a great place. I’m sure you’ll be glad you came!”


The Wanted plus guests will be appearing:


Friday 20th July, Westonbirt Arboretum, Nr Tetbury, Glos


Tickets £27.50 (subject to booking fee) go on sale at 9.00am Friday 10th February from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at




May 1, 2012

Steps into Westonbirt Arboretum


Pop phenomenon, Steps, have announced they will be bringing their reunion tour to Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, this summer, as part of Forestry Commission Live Music.


Steps dominated the charts over a 5-year period including an impressive run of 14 consecutive top 5 singles that got the nation dancing like: ‘One For Sorrow’, ‘Heartbeat/Tragedy’, ‘Love’s Got A Hold Of My Heart’, ‘Deeper Shade Of Blue’, ‘After The Love Has Gone’, ‘When I Said Goodbye/Summer Of Love’ and ‘Stomp’. Their live shows captured the hearts of fans, selling out multiple dates at venues nationwide, making them one of the most successful acts on tour.


The Brit-award winning group comprising Lee Latchford-Evans, Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer and Ian Watkins (aka H) reformed last year for a documentary series on Sky Living titled Steps: The Reunion. They also announced aUK arena tour which is proving one of the hottest tickets for 2012 and released a Greatest Hits album, ‘The Ultimate Collection’ that entered the charts at the top, becoming the band’s third UK No1 album.


Forestry Commission Live Music concerts are renowned for their relaxed atmosphere, and income generated from ticket sales is spent on improving the arboretum for both people and wildlife.


Commenting on the Westonbirt show, Ian Watkins said, “We are all really up for performing our hits in such a fantastic setting and promise a Steptacular show.”


Steps plus guests will be appearing:
Sunday 22nd July, Westonbirt Arboretum, Nr Tetbury, Glos
Tickets £36 (subject to booking fee) go on sale at 9.00am Friday 27th January from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at


Release:  Monday 23rd January 2012


Media enquiries: James Delanoy / tel 01223 812533

Note To Editors


Forestry Commission Live Music takes place each summer in seven forest locations around the country. Woodland clearings are temporarily transformed into a concert arena creating a safe and relaxed atmosphere for gig-goers.
Over 987,000 people have previously attended Forestry Commission Live Music concerts.


18% of the country’s woods and forests are managed by the Forestry Commission. InEngland, more than 50% of the population live within 10km of a Forestry Commission managed wood or forest.


March 20, 2012
Tues 20th March 2012 


Parklife Weekender confirms 2012 will be its last year at Platt Fields Park as the festival heads towards its third consecutive sold out event  



Ambitions and appetite for the hugely successful festival outgrow its Fallowfield home


Parklife Weekender 
Only 12 weeks are left until what is set to become Parklife Weekender’s third consecutive sold out festival, seeing revellers fillPlatt Fields Park in Manchester on 9th and 10th June. Promoters have now confirmed that 2012 will be the festival’s final year at its current location as plans for ever more impressive production and next-level line-ups supersede the potential of the current venue.

Those wishing to join The Flaming LipsDizzee Rascal and many more of the best pop, indie, electronic and crossover bands, DJs, producers and artists are strongly advised to purchase their tickets as soon as possible. In both its first and second years Parklife Weekender has sold out many weeks in advance, all indications point toward a repeat of this ferocious demand in 2012.

Parklife Weekender co-promoter Sam Kandel comments:

“Platt Fields provided a great start for The Parklife Weekender and we’ve been really grateful. 

In 2010 when Parklife was just an idea, it was really an unknown as to whether it would work. If we had known only three years on we would be moving onto a new site to develop and grow the festival to meet demand – it would have saved many sleepless nights! 

The park hosted our launch year and last summer’s expansion to a full weekend festival and will always hold fond memories from ourselves and our customers alike. 

A new location is not yet confirmed but plans are in the pipeline. In the meantime we’re really looking forward to bidding farewell to Platt Fields in style. 

Goodbye Platt Fields.”

In addition to the spectacular talent and kaleidoscopic variety on offer at Parklife Weekender, tickets are quite possibly the best value for money offering across this summer’s festival season. At only £64.50 for a full weekend ticket Parklife Weekender offers a vastly more affordable option for cash-strapped festival-goers who are being charged up to £200 for other events.

Line up: Sat 9th June



The Flaming Lips
Noah & The Whale
The Cuban Brothers
DJ Yoda
Krysko & Greg Lord
+ special guests:
Chic ft. Nile Rogers


Nero (Live)
Pendulum (DJ Set)
Zane Lowe
Sub Focus (DJ Set)
Jaguar Skills
Tempa T
DJ Hype
16 Bit
North Base

Crosstown Rebels  

Damian Lazarus
Art Department
Maceo Plex
Clive Henry
Danny Daze

Now Wave 

Crystal Castles
Tom Vek
Django Django
Phenomenal Handclap Band
To Kill a King
Now Wave DJs
Will Tramp!
+ special guests:
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaus


Pearson Sound
presents Archimedes (Live)
Space Dimension Controller
B Traits


Fake Blood
James Zabiela
Simian Mobile Disco
Justin Robertson
James Rand


Marco Effe & James Mile
Romano & Luca Bear
Ellesse & Josef K
Us & Them
Pete Zorba



Line up: Sun 10th June



Dizzee Rascal
Azealia Banks
Delilah (Live)
Mista Jam
Juicy DJs
+ special guests
De La Soul


Justice (Live)
Annie Mac
Erol Alkan
Busy P
Will Tramp
+ special guest:
Jacques Lu Cont

Now Wave 

The Rapture
Mount Kimbie
Gold Panda
Twin Shadow
Other Lives
The Field 
Jessie Ware
Now Wave DJs
+ special guests:
Factory Floor


High Contrast
London Elektricity
Danny Byrd
Jessie Alan
Fred V & Graffix
MCs: Wrec, SP &
+ special guests:
Zinc (Jungle set)


Maya Jane-Coles
Claude Von Stroke
Julio Bashmore
Todd Edwards
Joy Orbison
Miguel Campbell
Eats Everything

Ape Carnival Sounds 

Fresh (Live)
Buraka Som Sistema (Live)
Shy FX
David Rodigan
Dam Funk & Master Blazter
Dot Rotten
Toddla T
DJ Derek
Rich Reason


Soul Clap
Wolf & Lamb
DJ Harvey
Floating Points
Drop The Mustard
Zutekh DJs



Ticket info:

Standard weekend ticket

Day ticket

Hospitality weekend ticket

Hospitality day ticket

Box Office info:

0161 832 1111

0844 884 2920

Venue info:

Platt Fields Park
Wilmslow Road
M14 6LA

Media Partners:

Editors notes:


From the same team behind The Warehouse Project, The Parklife Weekender is Manchester’s newest and most in demand summer event. Born as a one-day festival in 2010, the inaugural year was a sell out success and lead to an expansion in 2011 to a full weekend party. Year two also proved a big hit once again seeing all tickets flying off the shelves weeks in advance. The Parklife Weekender is Manchester’s official start to the summer and fast becoming the UK’s best value for money festival.


Website/Social Media



PR contacts


Sean Harwood
07912 756 444

Dan Walsh
07775 770 37


March 10, 2012


ImagenGloucester Guildhall Presents

‘High Ceilings & Collarbones’

BBC Radio 2 Album of the Week

Release date 16th April 2012

Juan Zelada will be the first musician ever to offer a money-back guarantee to the audiences on his 26 date tour of the UK.  Times are hard and people want to know they will get value for their money, few people are taking chances spending on the unfamiliar.  What’s an artist to do?  How about guaranteeing them a good time or they’ll get their money back in full. 

Hotly  tipped Juan is already a favourite at radio making it onto radio A-Lists throughout the country.  His sold out shows have built through rave reviews and word of mouth, the BBC have tipped him as one to watch. Juan’s fanbase was recently widened when he was the guest artist for Mumford & Sons nationwide tour, says Ben Lovett of M&S Juan Zelada is without question one of the most exciting live acts of 2012. We challenge you to leave without a smile on your face!”


Juan who played in Amy Winehouse’s band on her infamous Back in Black tour is serious about the money back guarantee.  Says Juan, “I think people are reluctant to spend money doing things they wouldn’t normally do, I love new people coming to my shows, this is a great way to encourage them, I know they will have a great time.  This way they have nothing to lose, I’m guaranteeing it.  Shops guarantee stuff you buy, people send back food in restaurants if it’s not good, why shouldn’t they be able to get their money back if they feel my show wasn’t good enough? 

Juan’s spreading his money back guarantee message through a national press ad in The Guardian on March 1st and social networking.

Juan, who can count Paul McCartney and Paloma Faith amongst his fans, transforms any room into a wild party. Throwing heart and soul into every performance, his joy is infectious, spread through a simple smile, a head-nod, or dancing with abandon. Nobody can remain seated during his gigs; Juan gets everyone on their feet, singing and dancing.


February 23, 2012


Widely regarded as the leading family festival of arts, music and spoken word in the UK, Greenbelt is delighted to be able to announce that Mercury Music Prize winner Speech Debelle; audience favourite Bruce Cockburn; live folk sensation Bellowhead and the fantastic, sell-out OperaUpClose are among the first clutch of acts to be confirmed for 2012. Hosting a rich programme of visual and performing arts, spirituality, comedy, talks and debate Greenbelt takes place from 24th-27th August at Cheltenham Race Course. Tickets are on sale now and available from the festival website.

This year, Greenbelt will offer festival goers the richest and most diverse cultural programme available anywhere on the UK festival circuit in what will be a triumphant celebration of the arts, music, justice, tolerance and community. Critically acclaimed South London artist, Speech Debelle will bring her soulful and raw blend of poetic and powerful rhymes to the Greenbelt mainstage, combining tracks from her Mercury Music Prize-winning album with the recently released new album ‘Freedom of Speech’. With her devotion to politics and social issues and musically inspired by the likes of Michael Jackson, Tracy Chapman and Meshell Ndegeocello, this South London wonder is the perfect act to join the Greenbelt party this summer.

Canadian-born Bruce Cockburn brings his ever-evolving folk brilliance to Greenbelt’s Friday mainstage. Having been compared to the likes of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, Cockburn is known for his virtuoso guitar playing and powerful political lyrics including hits “If I Had A Rocket Launch” plus “Wondering Where The Lions Are”. Joining Cockburn, fellow folk sensation Seth Lakeman will bring his bow-shedding violin riffs and driving tenor guitar rhythms, creating a magical atmospheric vibe filled with charismatic and passionate energy. Bellowhead will perform for the first time at Greenbelt with their “full throttle…rare and exhilarating” (Q Magazine) live showcase, rousing crowds to their feet in what is set to be a sensational performance. Described by the Daily Mirror as “one of the country’s greatest live outfits”, the 11-piece collective are previous winners of the Best Live Performance award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and have recently returned from their sell-out UK tour. Audiences should prepare to dance like they’ve never danced before!

Further additions to the line-up include BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winners The Imagined Village plus “hot property” (The Guardian) folk revival band Megson with their infectious sounds and heavenly vocals, lush harmonies and driving rhythmic guitars. Thomas Traux will stun festival goers by using his bespoke inventions of strange self-made instruments in a surprising spectacle. Last but by no means least for the festivals music stage, Brooklyn-based, multi-instrumentalist and former member of American indie rock band The Hold Steady, Franz Nicolay, who is famed for combining the accordion and piano in unique way, will be making his debut at Greenbelt in 2012.

Greenbelt cements its firm reputation as offering much more than any other festival experience in the UK by today announcing the first of its speaker programme. Former University lecturer Dr. Andrew Tate joins the festival to discuss his reflective interest in postmodern fiction, theory and spirituality, Professor Mary Grey will offer insight into her vast knowledge of Feminist Liberation Theology and Spiritualities, Editor of New Humanist and former music journalist Caspar Melville will also be part of the 2012 offering.

Esteemed lecturer in philosophy and author of several books on the modern world, Giles Fraser will speak at Greenbelt and after his recent, highly publicised departure from St Paul’s in October 2011, Fraser is an exciting addition to the speaker programme. Nationally acclaimed magician and author Mark Townsend will be part of the 2012 bill using his magic and mind-reading to unlock people’s inner wonder. This astonishing, slightly unsettling but life-affirming act is not to be missed.

The “articulate, charismatic…and sophisticated operator” (Daily Telgraph) that is Rose Hudson Wilkin, who is tipped as the leading contender to become Church of England’s first female bishop joins Greenbelt’s speaker programme. Having fought for equal rights throughout her life, Wilkin’s talk will be both engaging and thoughtful revealing what it’s really like to live a double life in a parish where gang members roam, contrasted to her time spent as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Ruth Gledhill will also speak and as a prestigious and longstanding correspondent for The Times, her appearance at Greenbelt will be both informative and tantalising.

Reverend Richard Coles, broadcaster, writer and priest, is best known for being one half of 1980s band The Communards who enjoyed three UK Top Ten hits including ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ and ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’. Coles’ multi-talented reputation meant he was an obvious addition to Greenbelt’s diverse offering. Radical partner of The Simple Way, Shane Claiborne will also engage audiences with his fascinating experiences ranging from spending ten weeks alongside Mother Theresa in Calcutta to his recent three weeks spent in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team. Plus BBC Radio 2 Presenter Simon Mayo will be speaking about his debut children’s book Itch, a fantastic action-packed thriller. A sure hits with the kids at Greenbelt this year.

Greenbelt is excited to be welcoming OperaUpClose, the boutique opera company who will be bringing their experimental but hugely popular sell-out production of La Bohème to the festival. Having wowed audiences and reviewers alike and recently awarded the prestigious accolade of the 2011 Olivier Award for Best Opera Production, OperaUpClose unique approach to their discipline firmly embraces the thos of Greenbelt.

Kevin Tomlinson’s Kepow Theatre returns to Greenbelt for a show-stopping performance of improvisation and comedic hilarity. Having received five star reviews at Edinburgh Festival this year followed by a sell out tour, this is one show not to be missed, while fellow award-winner Tayo Aluko will also perform in the play “Call Mr Robeson” accompanied by an orchestra propelling his unusual baritone voice across the fields.

“We’re thrilled to announce the first names to Greenbelt’s 2012 Programme. With such diverse acts from the likes of Speech Debelle, OperaUpClose and Bellowhead, this year’s offering really does set Greenbelt aside from others on the festival calendar. This year we’ve developed the line-up to offer credible acts from around the world showcasing the best in the arts, music, visual and performing arts, comedy, talks and discussion. We look forward to seeing you in the field.”Paul Northup, Festival Director.

Greenbelt 2012 – Saving Paradise – takes place 24th-27th August on Cheltenham Racecourse. Celebrating 39 years on the festival calendar, year-on-year over 20,000 people enjoy the fantastic offering. Delivering a rich and diverse programme, Greenbelt committed to its support of the arts while encouraging and embracing the values of tolerance, dialogue, justice, faith and hope. A festival that gives so much, Greenbelt provides all that attend with a spellbound and life-affirming experience.

Tickets are now available from the Greenbelt festival website or via 020 7374 276. Prices are fixed until 30th April 2012 and adult weekend tickets are £99.00; adult concession weekend tickets are £68.00; under 18 weekend tickets (5 to 17 years) are £55.00; family weekend tickets (2 Adults, 2 Under 18s) are £259.00; single parent family weekend tickets (1 Adult, 2 Under 18s) are £165.00 and infants (0-4 years) go for free.

“No matter who you are or where you come from or what you believe in, if you’re open-minded and care about the arts, or think for yourself and forge your own opinions, you’ll be at home in this place.”
Art Rocker

“Britain’s greatest festival… The content, the opportunities to be challenged, affirmed, welcomed and angered as well as entertained and introduced to new things… it’s enough to make me nostalgic the day after it finishes.” The Huffington Post

“I believe in dialogue, and that’s what Greenbelt is all about.” Peter Tatchell

“Have to say, Greenbelt totally surprised me… after Glastonbury, my favourite festival this year.”
Mark Thomas

“I was deeply impressed by the mood and spirit of the festival. Most people were Christians and almost all had some religious faith but there was absolutely no dogmatism. Everyone was welcome and there was a shared spirit of belief in justice and caring.” Clare Short

“I believe in dialogue, and that’s what Greenbelt is all about.”Peter Tatchell

“People here are very questioning, not merely of other people, but of their own thoughts and beliefs too. It’s a very thoughtful festival.” Robin Ince

“Greenbelt was an eye opening experience. Here was a Christian festival where I was made to feel welcome and included. Here were people, like me, committed to a better world, where poverty and injustice were no more and who were prepared to put their faith into action.” Mohammad Imran


Editors Notes

Greenbelt Festival takes place annually over the August Bank Holiday weekend, gathering together artists, musicians, speakers and performers, alongside 21,000 festivalgoers at Cheltenham Racecourse. Celebrating 38 years on the festival circuit, Greenbelt is firmly rooted within a Christian tradition that is politically and culturally engaging. The festival is a family-friendly celebration, inclusive and accepting of all, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, background or belief.


Tickets can be purchased directly from the festival website:

Or by calling the booking hotline:
020 7374 276

Greenbelt 2012 Weekend Tickets (Price until 30th April)
Adult Wknd Ticket:
Adult Concession Wknd Ticket:
Under 18 Wknd Ticket
(5-17 years) £55.00
Family Wknd Ticket
(2 Adlts, 2 Und. 18s) £259.00
Single Parent Fam. Wknd Ticket
(1 Adlt, 2 Und. 18s) £165.00
Infant Wknd Ticket
(0-4 years) £0.00


Press Information
Interviews / Images / Press accreditation / Competitions

Line Up

Bruce Cockburn,
Seth Lakeman,
Speech Dabelle,
Andrew Tate,
Casper Melville,
Giles Fraser,
Mark Townsend
Imagined Village ,
Kepow Theatre,
Mary Grey,
Richard Coles,
Shane Claiborne,
Tayo Aluko,
Thomas Truax,
Simon Mayo,
Ruth Gledhill,





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