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Issue:- 17 July 2014

BBC Archaeologist Joins Liverpool's Navy Reserves

AN archaeologist and BBC TV presenter has signed up to become a reserve during his spare time at the Royal Navy's base in Liverpool.  Tom Pinfold, who appeared on BBC2's Tudor Monastery Farm last year, is currently filming at a medieval castle being built in France while also training to become an officer at HMS Eaglet in Liverpool.  The 35 year old from Birkenhead, who specialises in Roman archaeology, was last seen on our TV screens celebrating Christmas as a Tudor farmer. Since then, he has spent ten days driving to Bosnia and back with a group of reserves from his naval base.  Tom also worked on the commemorations for the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, and has taken part in a 10 week intensive training course at HMS Raleigh in Plymouth.  The Royal Naval Reserve needs to sign up around 150 new recruits in the region over the next 3 years, and Tom is backing a new campaign encouraging people to do their bit for Britain by becoming a reserve in their spare time. Anyone wanting to find out more about joining the reserves can attend a Royal Naval Reserve Live event at HMS Eaglet in Liverpool on Saturday, 26 July 2014. The event will include a tour of the naval base, as well as a chance to take part in training activities and meet serving reserves. A virtual reality simulator will also give potential recruits a taste of life at sea.  Tom said:- "I'd thought about maybe joining the army or navy while I was at school but hadn't given it much thought since then. When I reached my 30s, I felt like I should be doing something more with my life and so signed up to become a reserve. It's great to be able to do something where you feel you're putting other people before yourself. I do still find it odd that one day I'll be doing some filming at a castle in France and the next I'll be brought back down to earth with a training exercise in Liverpool, but I like the contrast. The banter from the other reserves makes sure I don't get above myself as well! The highlight so far has been the 10 day trip to Bosnia. I'd been before as a backpacker in 2006 but the country's changed so much since then. Because we were with the navy, we got to see things you wouldn't as a member of the public, such as going inside the British Embassy and visiting Tito's war bunker; built into a mountain. I'd definitely encourage anyone who's ever thought about becoming a reserve to step up and give it a go. You'll never be bored and it gets you out of your comfort zone.”

Tom is 1 of more than 2,300 people who currently serve as reserves in the Royal Navy alongside their normal day job. Most have no previous military experience.  When needed, the Royal Naval Reserve supplements the full time ranks with extra manpower and, in some cases, provides additional specialist civilian skills. New recruits must be aged between 16 and 40, have an appropriate standard in English and Maths, and be able to complete a one-and-a-half-mile run within a set time. Reserves need to be able to commit the equivalent of 24 days a year for training, which mainly takes place during the evenings and at weekends, and will be paid for their time. They will also qualify for a yearly tax free bonus, which ranges from £400 to £1,600 depending on the length of service. Lieutenant Roy Miller added:- "We'd encourage people to come along to the Royal Naval Reserve Live event on Saturday to find out more about what it means to be a reserve in the Royal Navy. Being a reserve doesn't have to take up a huge amount of time; but it's a great way of experiencing something entirely different without having to give up your day job. You'll also be paid for your time. We welcome new recruits from all sorts of backgrounds; whether you're a student, in a full time job or looking to get some additional work experience.”

The initial training to become a reserve takes place 1 night a week or at weekends for the 1st 20 weeks. This is followed by a 2 week residential course at the prestigious Royal Navy training facilities at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall or Britannia Royal Naval College in Devon.  Both courses include overnight exercises on Dartmoor and, following the residential course, new recruits will be given training for a specific role, ranging from logistics to submarine operations.  The Royal Navy needs to recruit an extra 1,500 reserves at its 22 Units, across the UK, over the next 3 years. The Royal Naval Reserve Live event in Merseyside will take place at HMS Eaglet at East Brunswick Dock in Liverpool between 10am and 3pm, on Saturday, 26 July 2014.  For more details, or to register to attend, call:- 08456 00 32 22, you can also get more information  online.

Top 10 tax credits renewal 'excuses' revealed

WITH the tax credits renewal deadline of 31 July 2014 just days away, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed the top 10 excuses, that according to HMRC are used for not renewing tax credits claims. Excuses given by claimants to HMRC for missing the deadline include:-

►  I didn't need the money because I'd met a rich bloke, but he dumped me.

►  My mum usually does this for me.

►  The form was locked in the boot of my car, and then my car caught fire.

►  My baby used the paperwork as a colouring book.

►  My dog ate the form.

►  I got confused with the 31 January Self Assessment deadline.

► I booked the last 2 weeks of July for a holiday and forgot all about it.

I've been in hospital but am feeling much better now.

I was unable to get income details from my employers in time.

I thought I'd already renewed.

Claimants have until the 31 July 2014, deadline to renew, or their payments might end. Last year more than 650,000 failed to renew on time. This year, for the first time, claimants can renew online, at GOV.UK, as well as being able to renew by post and phone. Nick Lodge, Director General of Benefits and Credits, HMRC, said:- "So far, over 203,000 claimants have renewed online. It's a quick and easy way to do it. Renewing tax credits on time is important. People who don't renew by the deadline can, and do, lose their payments."  HMRC asks all claimants to check the accuracy of the information in their renewals pack, and to tell the department about any changes to their circumstances that they haven't already reported, such as to their working hours, childcare costs or pay.

The Magic of Motown is heading to Southport


ON Saturday, 27 September 2014 Magic of Motown will be heading to Southport theatre's stage for a 7.30pm show... This magical event promises to put a spell on you... For more information about he show visit:- or to book tickets go to the Booking Office, located on Promenade, Southport, or call the Booking Office on:- 0844 871 3021. Tickets cost:- £23 with concessions at:- £22. This show will features slick male harmonies and stunning female vocals, the production honours The Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and many more Tamla Motown legends. It was not just the distinctive Motown sound created by founder Berry Gordy Jnr back in 1959 that set the label's artists apart from all other artists of the era. For mass market appeal, artistes' images were carefully controlled from dress and choreography, right down to their manners. So pop over and take this show in. It is recognised as the UK's number a Motown concert show on tour in the UK playing huge arenas and massive open air festivals, so book your tickets.

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