Ipswich Shed Base

On a day that started and ended with grey, overcast skies, interspersed with bouts of drizzle, nine members of the Muscles team gathered at the Ipswich home of Peter and Rita to construct a heavy-duty shed base.

Despite the slightly inclement weather, all went well, with team members adopting cement-mixing, wheelbarrowing or slab-lifting duties, and the base was laid really quickly, thanks in the main, once again, to the expert eye and slab-laying skills of our tame builder, Steve.

The recycled Council paving slabs were particularly heavy, taking three people to lower carefully into position once Steve had created a level base for them to sit upon.

Oh, how we laughed when the level wasn’t quite right and we had to lift them again!

The hosts ensured the team was well fed and watered throughout the morning and, with thanks for the work completed, have made a generous donation to St. Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich.

Muscles project number – 449
Total voluntary hours – 17580

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Tongerlo Abbey Tour 2022

After a long time away, in September 2022 a small team from the UK MFC faction ventured over the channel to visit the Belgian team for some hard work at Tongerlo Abbey, plenty of drinks at the cabin and laughter all the way.

The job was similar to previous years, with the combined taskforce of UK & Belgian Muscles helping the monastary by pruning ivy in the Da Vinchi garden and clearing lots of weeds and fallen branches.

The team was once again rewarded by an impressive lunch and some of the abbey’s infamous beer.

Despite some less than ideal weather, the team pushed through the cold and wet to finish the job.

After all freshening up, the team regrouped at the cabin to enjoy a performance by the legendary Black Capris, more refreshements and some great company.

Muscles project number – 448
Total voluntary hours – 17551

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Path and Patio Construction and Fence Painting

On the unbelievably mild and sunny morning of Saturday 22 October, fourteen team members assembled at a central Ipswich location to complete the long-anticipated garden work that had been ‘won’ at the Ipswich Hospital Baby Bereavement Support Group charity auction way back in May.

Several of the previous days had seen torrential rain in the area but the only thing that drew upward attention on this occasion was the unmistakably distinctive engine note of a Spitfire aircraft passing across the clear blue sky above the house.

Our host, Tom, had very helpfully completed much of the ground preparation work the previous day, single-handedly lifting and moving the very heavy modern paving slabs that made up the existing path, and digging out an area for the new patio to be laid.

The team quickly split into several work groups, each taking responsibility for different aspects: laying the patio, laying the path, painting the fence or mixing and transporting the cement.

Several hours, and lots of tea, coffee and bacon rolls later, the job was complete.

The new footpath looked tremendous , much more in keeping with the age of the house. The recycled footpath slabs made a great new patio, and the fence in its new shade of grey will be protected for years to come.

Overall, a really enjoyable project for the team, completed for a brilliant family group who made a very generous donation to this immensely caring charity; Ipswich Hospital Baby Bereavement Support Group.

Muscles project number – 447
Total voluntary hours – 17461

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MFC Handrail Installation

Kevin and Bernie made and installed a handrail for Martlesham resident Shirley.

This will assist her with ascending / descending her stairs in light of a forthcoming operation.

Shirley was thrilled with the finish article and grateful for the assistance that Muscles could provide (editors note: Shirley makes excellent fruit cake ).

Donations were made to Cancer Research & Alzheimer’s Charity.

Muscles project number – 446
Total voluntary hours – 17380

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99 Year Old WW2 B17 Pilot

Dick Nelms is a 99 year former B17 pilot from WW2 at RAF Rattlesden, who completed the maximum 35 missions over Europe, including, but not limited to, Berlin, Munich, and the Normandy campaign.

These photos were recently taken at the Seattle Museum of Flight where, every Saturday, he stands beside a B17 and proudly, and accurately, provides stories and insights into WW2.
Over 95% of his journeys to the Museum of Flight are undertaken by Muscles for Charity volunteers.

The above photo shows Dick being totally surprised by an invitation from Captain Churchill to enjoy a 40 minute flight in a WW2 B17 over the Seattle area.

The below photos show 35 retired military personnel, known as the ‘Detail Mafia” who voluntarily clean military air planes across the States, including Air Force One.
The ‘Detail Mafia’ recently spent a week at the Museum of Flight and presented Dick with, among other items, one of their shirts.

Dick Nelms and amazing gentleman who is looking forward to his 100th birthday in February 2023.

Muscles project number – 445
Total voluntary hours – 17374

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How Many Muscles Volunteers Does It Take To Fit a Roof On A Greenhouse?

On Friday 19 and Saturday 20 August 2022, a total of 12 members of the Muscles team descended on the Ipswich home of Gina to complete a garden make-over in return for a donation she had generously made to the East Anglian Air Ambulance Charity.

On the morning of first day, Alan, Clive, Ian, Pete and Phil arrived nice and early in an attempt to beat the heat and, armed with pick axes, spades and mattocks set about preparing the ground for the main work the following day. The task was completed in a total of 12 hours labour and everything looked good for day two.

However, things didn’t begin too well when our usually very trusty cement mixer, ‘Lady Sarah’, wouldn’t start. Mixing two tonnes of cement by hand wasn’t an option the team were looking forward to, so the problem needed to be rectified quickly.

Fortunately, half an hour of great detective work by ex-detective Bernie traced the fault back to a small split in an electric cable. A chocolate box and insulation tape fix later we were ready to start the day. Lesson learnt, check vital kit the day before the job!

The team split into two groups, one working on the main task of building a patio base, and the other assembling the frame of a new octagonal greenhouse, the latter job being far from simple.

A particularly pleasing aspect of the day was the contribution made to the team by three generations of the Grew family; grandad Simon, dad Craig, son Kieron and nephew Finn made up 40% of the second day’s team, which was completed by Alan, Bernie, Clive, Kev, Nick and Phil.

Muscles project number – 444
Total voluntary hours – 17220

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Garden Tidy for a Retired Cop

During the mid-July mini-heatwave that saw temperatures in the UK soaring to over 30 degrees, Clive, Bernie and Phil spent a morning in the Ipswich garden of retired couple Jane and Barry.

Recent mobility issues had prevented the couple from being able to complete a few of the maintenance jobs that would previously have been no problem for them, so Muscles volunteers stepped in to help.

Barry, a now-long-retired detective with the local constabulary, and Jane, a long-serving committee member of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO) have generously given their own time to assist with the welfare of others over the years, so it was a pleasure for the team to be able to help repay them in this way.

Within a couple of hours of arrival, the weeding had been completed, furniture assembled, decking cleaned and shrubs pruned, leaving the garden ready for the pair to enjoy the rest of the summer.

Jane said, ‘You’ve made such a difference. We just couldn’t manage it ourselves this year. Thank you very much’.

Muscles project number – 443

Total voluntary hours – 17160

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Muscles Step Up for Kirkland House Clearance

July 2022, and the US Muscles team were invited to assist a Kirkland senior citizen clear the contents of his home ahead of contractors demolishing the property.

July 2022, and the US Muscles team were invited to assist a Kirkland senior citizen clear the contents of his home ahead of contractors demolishing the property.   Leading the Muscles team, Tricia and Steve Watson, organized, fed and watered the volunteers, including family members, over a three day period in blazing temperatures.

The MFC team, (from left to right) consisted of Joie Worthen, Glenna Trout, Judy Shannon, Tricia Watson, John Bishop, Steve Watson, Frank Soto and Amy Soto.   Special appreciation to Tricia for organising and supplying refreshments during the extended weekend.

NB = over three days the total number of hours for the MFC team was 129 hours.

John, the owner of the property was surprised and delighted with the teams efforts on his, and the families behalf.

Muscles project number – 442

Total voluntary hours – 17154

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Swift Garden Clearance

On 1 July 2022, two Muscles volunteers, Bernie and Phil, spent a sunny morning helping to clear unwanted items from the rear garden of an Ipswich house.

The customer was recently widowed and had been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to get someone to help with the job. Once again, Bernie’s truck came into its own and the load was soon transferred to the local recycling centre.

Donation to be made to Cancer Relief.

Muscles project number – 441

Total voluntary hours – 17025

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UK Team Mates Job (part 2) – Lady Sarah’s

The team returned to Lady Sarah’s to complete a couple of jobs on a warm June morning.

Alan’s brewing shed needed a re-roof which Clive and ‘new boy’ Mark set about while Bernie used his craftsmanship on the back door, leaving Kev, Ian and Nick to replace a section of fencing.

With great teamwork and plenty of banter the jobs got ticked off leaving Sarah extremely grateful of the results.

Muscles project number – 440

Total voluntary hours – 17021

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