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Hook shuts down for summer

Hook Editorial Team 2015-2016 Photo source Greg McKinney

Hook Editorial Team 2015-2016. Photo source Greg McKinney



Hook will be going offline for the summer as the students who produce it make final preparations for their graduation.

The twenty-eight journalism students, designed and created the online magazine with support from tutors as part of the Multimedia Enterprise module toward their degree qualification.

Contributory writer for Hook, Jennie Kite said: “When we started did a lot of group work and had a lot of meetings for the choice of name for the website…We all had to come up with suggestions and pitch them to Dragon’s Den style.”

The Hook website took six weeks to develop with input from students who participated in every decision from developing the concept for a digital publication, designing the logo and visualising the website.

Since Hook became active the students have published almost 500 news stories and features by holding live news days every Friday, creating the atmosphere of a live newsroom.

Julia writing a news story. Photo source Alex Green

Julia writing a news story. Photo source Alex Green

Lizzy Bailey said: “I really like the whole concept of Hook and how we all work in teams each week. It actually feels like a real newsroom each Friday. I have learnt a lot more about targeting stories, working to a deadline and sub-editing. I have particularly enjoyed filming bulletins and videos to add multimedia elements to our website. I feel proud to be a part of creating the brand Hook at Falmouth University.”

Recalling her experiences, Alice Webber said: “For me, Hook has been an insight into the reality of a newsroom. Thrown in at the deep end, I think we’ve swum rather than sunk!”

Hook will return in the next academic year with a new group of students taking over the reins.

From the class of 2013-2016, good luck!

Genevieve editing a video. Photo source Alex Green

Genevieve editing a video. Photo source Alex Green


Hannah, Jimmy and Dan sub-editing. Photo source Alex Green

Hannah, Jimmy and Dan sub-editing. Photo source Alex Green


Henry writing a feature. Photo source Alex Green

Henry writing a feature. Photo source Alex Green


* Additional credit and thanks to Alex Green for photography and to Genevieve Tyler and Gabrielle Boxall-Legge for production of audio-visual material. 

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King: ‘A delightful treat’

bazaar book image

When asked to name my favourite authors, it often leads to raised eyebrows when I list Stephen King in the mix. Most people immediately think of King as a horror-story author and indeed over the years there have been some memorable contributions to this genre. Early examples are Carrie (1974) and The Shining (1977), which both made very successful adaptions into film.

But for me there is so much more to King. He has covered a lot of literary ground in a career spanning over fifty years; science fiction, supernatural fiction, dark fantasy, crime fiction, suspense and thrillers. It is often overlooked that King’s novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (1982) was the basis for the film The Shawshank Redemption (1994), widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.

Each of the 20 short stories and poems in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is a gem for avid fans, demonstrating the depth of imagination and creativity so characteristic of King- with a liberal sprinkling of macabre humour thrown in for good measure. An interesting addition was an introduction to each story by King, a delightful treat for the “Constant Reader”.

I particularly enjoyed the contemporary stories such as Ur where Wesley Smith, an old-fashioned English teacher, experiences “new technology” by purchasing a Kindle only to discover it has the extraordinary ability of foreseeing the future. Should he use the knowledge he gains to avert a disaster or will dabbling with the timeline have consequences?

Another stand-out story is Obits, in which newly qualified journalist, Michael Anderson, gets a job as the obituary writer for an online newspaper. When denied a pay rise, Anderson writes a fake obituary about his boss which mysteriously comes true. With such power in his hands Anderson realises he can rid the world of evil people, but is that a step too far?

With over 50 novels and nearly 200 short stories published to date, King is a multi-award-winning contemporary author, a master of his craft. This thrilling new collection will not disappoint.

VIDEO: Hook gets Hooked on Nordic Walking

Who knew walking with sticks could be so much fun? Hook’s Alice, Julia and Sarah tried out a taster session of Nordic walking with Walk Kernow, at Trelissick near Truro.

Walk Kernow was set up in 2012 by Kelly Bennett, after experiencing the benefits that Nordic Walking gave her. After losing four stone in a ten-month period through healthy eating and her new love of walking, she wanted to share her passion for this sport and both the physical and mental benefits.

Kelly said: “I began Nordic Walking over five years ago. I’d had enough of being overweight and not having the energy to enjoy my life. Diets alone didn’t work and I hated the gym. Nordic walking uses specially designed poles to enhance your natural walking experience.”

Kelly now runs beginner’s workshops to demonstrate how to use the Nordic Walking technique. After that you can purchase Walk Cards with one, five or ten walk options available. “Each week we run several walks around beautiful areas of the county, come along to as many walks as you like, hiring our poles, or using your own,” Kelly added.

This exercise is suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness, as it is non-invasive and non-weight bearing. It is beneficial for everyone, overweight, underweight, physically fit or struggling with health issues such as osteoporosis or arthritis. The benefits of Nordic walking are endless. It works on your core as well as legs and arms, it uses more skeletal muscles than swimming and mile for mile it is as good as running.

Desmond Harding, former Industrial Correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, who was also present at the taster session said: “It was absolutely wonderful. I am just back from France looking for ways to lose weight after all that wine and cheese. I’ve signed up for May, [workshops] my wife doesn’t know it yet but so has she.”

You are encouraged to walk at your own pace and enjoy the scenery across Cornwall as you get out in the fresh air and increase your fitness level. Participants also benefit from the social aspect making friends and connections along the way. The ability to exercise at your own pace also allows you the chance to talk and network with other Nordic walkers.

Walk Kernow runs in partnership with Age UK but is inclusive to people of all ages, prices start from £30 for initial taster session and workshop, after which a single walk costs £8. For more information, visit their website here or follow Walk Kernow on Facebook.

*additional reporting completed by Alice Webber and Sarah Woodside.

Photo and Video credits: Alice Webber and Sarah Woodside

Cornish Gig Vessel Built By Veterans Launched In Falmouth

A 32-foot Cornish Gig Vessel built by a team of injured veterans has been launched in Falmouth.

The Great Big Cornish Gig Project began last June, supported by the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and The Armed Forces Community Covenant Programme. Their aim was to train wounded, injured and sick (WIS) veterans and serving forces personnel in boatbuilding skills and build a gig to compete in the 2016 World Pilot Gig Championships in the Scilly Isles.

Al Henderson

Al Henderson

Al Henderson, a former Royal Marine said: “Part of my resettlement leaving the Marines was to come down here to do the boat building course at the Marine School.” Through that Al met shipwright Brian Cumby (now deceased), who came up with the original idea for building the gig.

Al added: “Mike Selwood ran with it, and got all the funding secured. Then they asked me to come on as one of the boat builders along with Andrew Nancarrow and Dan Scully. All the other guys are volunteers; they have built the boat. They have done ninety-nine percent of the work, we’ve just been there to oversee it and break it down into manageable sections. For me it’s been a really good project.”

It took the team of around 40 volunteers eight months to build the vessel which has been named H4H Valiant. Many had no previous experience. Stevie Allan, a survival instructor currently serving in the army said: “I didn’t have any skills at all, I learned along the way.”

The gig launch

The gig launch

Prior to the launch off the slipway at the Falmouth Watersports Centre a Royal Marines Corps of Drums performed a marching parade with the uninvited support of a small dog. Reverend Botwood performed the ceremonial blessing of the boat and then decanted a bottle of rum over the boat in line with naval traditions.

The team will now tour around the South West coast to Sennen Cove in H4H Valiant between 2-8 April before heading over to the Scilly Isles to compete in the World Pilot Gig Championships later in the month.

Sepsis: The Silent Killer

These days, if we or our family feel unwell, there are a range of medical options available to choose from.

If an ambulance is needed, we can ring 999. We are asked to think twice before visiting our over-stretched A and E departments. Could we maybe wait and see our GP? And don’t forget the friendly local pharmacist can offer advice and prescribe a range of medicines. The NHS 111 service is available when you need medical help fast but it is not an emergency. We are asked to apply some common sense in who we choose to ask for help.

But, what exactly constitutes an emergency? How do I, an unqualified person determine whether my loved ones are a bit poorly or seriously ill?

Before my son started school in 1997, I had never heard of meningitis. Like many mothers I learned the signs and symptoms to watch out for from a little card. It is this sort of awareness campaign that educates and informs ordinary people, of health risks and illnesses which may affect our family’s health.

There is now a great need for another nationwide campaign. Sepsis (also known as septicaemia or blood poisoning) has been claiming the lives of too many people. Early diagnosis can save lives but not enough is known about this silent killer.S1

Sepsis affects about 150,000 people in the UK every year and is responsible for the deaths of 44,000 people annually. That is more than breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer combined.

This life threatening condition occurs when the body becomes overwhelmed with infection, but it can start with a simple bite or cut. Sepsis is caused by the way the body responds to infection, such as bacteria, injuring its own organs and tissues. We all come into contact with germs and bacteria every day without becoming unwell. On occasions the body reacts abnormally to an infection and this can cause sepsis.S2Initial signs to watch out for include; a very high (or very low) temperature, racing heartbeat, rapid breathing or confusion. If a person has two or more of those indicators, then medical advice should be sought if you are concerned. Other indications include; cold, pale or mottled skin, loss of consciousness, not passing urine, shivering, muscle pain, slurred speech or severe breathlessness.

Recognising sepsis can be difficult as in the early stages symptoms may be mistaken for flu. If caught early, the outlook is good for the majority of patients. Sepsis can be treated with intravenous antibiotics and fluids but early detection is vital.S3

The UK Sepsis Trust (UKST) was established in 2012. The charity’s objective is to save lives and support those affected by sepsis by instigating political change and raising public awareness.

Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of UKST said: “There’s a need for professional awareness and a certain standard of education and training as there’s a gap in knowledge. There’s also a need to raise public awareness. We are contacted by people who have come to harm having sat at home not knowing what to do.”

The trust believe that once sepsis is accepted as a medical emergency and as a clinical priority for the NHS then up to 12,500 lives can be saved every year.

Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton joined forces with The UK Sepsis Trust in 2012 to form an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on sepsis to raise awareness of the condition and to increase effective treatments.

In her blog Mrs Newton said: “The APPG has made real progress over the past two years raising awareness of Sepsis and securing a range of actions to prevent avoidable deaths.” Mrs Newton wants a treatment plan known as the ‘Sepsis Six’ to be more widely adopted. “The Sepsis Six can be administered simply by a nurse and reduces the risk of dying by one half if delivered within an hour of Sepsis developing.”S4

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are currently developing a set of guidelines for health professionals working within the National Health Service (NHS). Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for clinical practice at NICE said: “We want all healthcare professionals to see sepsis as an immediate life-threatening condition and make sure there are systems in place across the NHS for it to be recognised and treated as an emergency.” Publication is anticipated to be in July 2016.

Progress is being made in raising awareness of this devastating condition, but it takes time, money and dedication to accomplish change on a national scale. For more information on Sepsis visit the UK Sepsis Trust here.

Feature: Manufacturing Greed in the name of Love

As the middle of February approaches, it is safe to say that many New year’s resolutions *insert appropriate non-achievable target here*, have been consigned to oblivion in Room 101. Publicans and night club owners will be breathing huge sighs of relief now that Dry January is over. The traditions of Shrove Tuesday lately taken over by St. Pancake’s Day are at an end. But following in quick succession is another ‘tradition’ in which retails see another opportunity to part us from our money; Valentine’s Day.

The love aisle. Photo source: Julia Conway

The love aisle. Photo source: Julia Conway

The local supermarket, featuring the large green letters, conveniently dedicates a complete aisle of the store to whichever seasonal theme is being promoted, and this month that is ‘lurve’. The purchasing department have surpassed themselves with the amount and variety of tat on offer this year, there is something for every budget. The shelves are stacked high with teddy bears, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, photo frames and pointless blocks of wood spelling ‘love’. An abundance of flowers and cards, all pink and red, and of course the compulsory prosecco. Another costly, customary celebration foisted upon us under the guise of expressing our love for one another. All this for one day. So who was St. Valentine and what did he do to warrant a sainthood?

Plastic flowers £1 each. Photo source: Julia Conway

Plastic flowers £1 each. Photo source: Julia Conway

Many theories exist. In one version Valentine was a priest in Rome in the third century under the rule of Emperor Claudius II. The emperor needed a strong army so he banned his soldiers from getting married. Valentine defied the emperor and continued to perform marriages in secret. When this was discovered Valentine was arrested and sentenced to death. He was beaten with clubs and beheaded on February 14th 268 A.D. Another story from the same era has Valentinius as a Christian martyr, imprisoned and executed for his beliefs. Whoever he was, it has been confirmed that a St. Valentine did exist. Archaeologists in the 16th century discovered a crypt within an ancient church in Rome dedicated to him. As well as being known as the patron saint of lovers, St Valentine has been kept busy in the afterlife and called on for interventions on beekeeping, epilepsy, fainting, travel and the plague.

Valentine’s Day became more commercial in the Victorian era. Alongside the release of the Penny Black stamp in 1840, stationers began to produce cards to promote special occasions. The traditions have grown, directly led by the manufacturers so that this tacky celebration has now become part of the fabric of our society.  It is not that I am unromantic. It is just so overblown and out of proportion. For weeks we are bombarded with adverts by supermarkets, confectioners, jewellers, florists and restaurants. This trend has seeped into our culture during the affluent years of the second half of the last century and have now reached a saturation point.

Write your own message of love. Photo source: Julia Conway

Write your own message of love. Photo source: Julia Conway

According to Marketing magazine: “Brands need to delay their Valentine’s Day campaigns to match the last-minute behaviour of UK consumers, a quarter of whom say the event is over-commercialised.” Reporting on a study by the digital advertising agency RadiumOne which questioned 1000 over-18-year-olds: “… only 14 percent of adults are markedly positive about Valentine’s Day”. The study also found that 24 percent of the sample bemoaned the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day and another 24 percent who despite being in relationships were not celebrating due to “not wanting to feel forced”.

Rupert Staines, RadiumOne’s European managing director, said: “The commercialisation and sense of obligation mean marketers must be far smarter about how they promote Valentine’s Day to avoid alienating consumers further.” I hope the retailers take note. Although in principal it is wonderful to have a day dedicated to love, the pressure to buy the right gift is fraught with anxiety for giver and receiver. Love should not be measured in fiscal terms, that is not good for a relationship. There are many ways to show each other how much we care, in kind words and actions and they cost nothing.

Students Launch Campaign Regarding Disability

A group of Falmouth University students have launched a campaign to raise awareness about disability.

Ingrid Busengdal, an event manager for the Disability campaign said: “This is a student-led project which aims to break down the negative stigma and stereotypes created by the mainstream against disability.”


The project aims to promote a correct mainstream representation of disability through raising awareness of the social model of disability which states ‘People with impairments are disabled by the fact that they are excluded from … mainstream of society as a result of physical, organisational and attitudinal barriers’.

Ms Busengdal added: “In order to do this, The Disability Campaign is running Don’t DisAbility week alongside the FXU from the 9th to the 12th of February 2016. We have a series of events to be held next week. We will be established as a university society this year and we plan to make this an annual campaign in the future.”

The group will be set up in The Compass all week along with their supporters from Falmouth University Feminist Society stalls from a variety of charities including Scope, Sense and Cornwall Dyslexia Association.



A full list of activities is planned throughout the week including a pub quiz, speed dating, a sensory experience and a sports day. For full details check out the Facebook page.

Project Manager Mackinlay Ingham said: “Under the social model of disability anybody with asthma, an allergy or has ever been intoxicated, has at some point disabled themselves or been disabled. An example of why we promote this all-inclusive attitude is, Can disabled people have sex?

“I am a wheelchair user and without fail on a night out the number one question I get asked is: Can you have sex? My reply to that is, can you have sex? As the person asking the question is normally extremely intoxicated and therefore as disabled as me.

“The aim of my campaign is to raise awareness of the fact that we are all disabled – there should be no negative connotations to the word, it is a description. I am a wheelchair user and I am more than able but society would say different. The activities will allow people to experience everyday situations from a different perspective.”



More Students Take Mixed Pathways To Uni

While A levels continue to be the traditional route into higher education, over a quarter (26%) of students accepted for study in 2015 were accepted from a BTEC qualification according to a study by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

ucas logo






The Progressions Pathways project was developed by UCAS to address the challenges faced by teachers, students, parents and universities in understanding the range of newer, non-traditional study routes into higher education. Learning programmes may now comprise a mixture of A levels, International Baccalaureate and Applied General qualifications (e.g. BTEC).

Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS Chief Executive said: “The aim of the project was to look across the whole landscape and provide information and advice for both learners and universities on the issues they should respectively consider to secure appropriate, fair and transparent progression to higher education for those holding less traditional qualifications. While all pathways can lead to university, an apprenticeship or employment, each has its own strengths and challenges in helping young people fulfil their aspirations.

James Kewin, Deputy Chief Executive of Sixth Form Colleges Association said: “Although Sixth Form Colleges deliver around one fifth of the A levels sat in England each year, BTECs are growing in popularity. Our latest analysis shows that 88% of Sixth Form Colleges are now offering BTEC qualifications.





“Study programmes that combine BTEC and A level qualifications are becoming increasingly common and have proved to be a highly effective way of helping young people to progress to higher education and employment. Overall, we think the take up of applied general qualifications and the new Tech levels is likely to increase as schools and colleges adapt to the introduction of the new style A levels.”

UCAS is a registered charity. They manage applications from around 700,000 people each year for full-time undergraduate courses at over 370 providers across the UK.


I am not a huge fan of American television and I make no apology for that. I am a traditional Brit. I like British humour; dark, lavetorial, dry, ironic and sarcastic. I am also quite fussy when choosing a documentary to watch. I have to be in the right mood. With precious little free-time for self-indulgence I am very selective about what I watch, unless it is a programme on pandas – I always have time to watch pandas.

Making a Murderer, a new documentary released on Netflix would not usually have ticked the right boxes for me from reading the programme summary but I decided to give it a go. An hour later I was captivated. I could barely wait the required 15 seconds for the next episode to start. With ten compulsive episodes in this series, the sun was rising by the time I got to bed.

In 2002, Steven Avery was released from prison after serving 18 years for a crime he did not commit. The law enforcement authorities of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin had apparently been telling untruths. It appears they may have known who committed the heinous crime, a sexual assault on a local woman, but rather than follow those leads they chose to prosecute Avery as they did not like this man or his family.

Steven Avery arrested in 1985. Photo source: www.ibtimes.com

Steven Avery arrested in 1985. Photo source: http://www.ibtimes.com


The alibis and timelines proved that Avery was nowhere near the crime scene. However, an unfortunate resemblance to the actual assailant and the bias of the law enforcement authorities saw Avery incarcerated. Eventually, developments in DNA technology and support from his legal counsel saw Avery released. But he was not to live happily ever after.

Within two years of his release and while pursuing a case for compensation against Manitowoc County which could have seen Avery awarded $30,000,000, a local woman Teresa Halbach disappeared. The discovery of her vehicle on Avery’s property and a range of incriminating evidence see him accused of murder. Or was this another frame-up by the law enforcers?

Filmed over a ten-year period, every episode is packed with twists and turns and ends on a cliff-hanger making it as compelling as a blockbuster thriller. Although, the key characters are not glamorous Hollywood types; they are the simple and real country folk of the Midwest states of the USA.

The filming of courtroom scenes and candid interviews with Avery, his family and legal representatives enable this true-life drama to expose weaknesses and possible corruption within the American justice system and the manipulation of vulnerable people, those who the constitution should be protecting.


Watch a trailer here.



Cornwall Council Rejects Falmouth Housing Plans

Revised plans to build a housing estate off Bickland Water Road in Falmouth were rejected by a Cornwall Council planning committee this week by 11 votes to 2 with one abstention.

In a report prepared by Cornwall Council’s planning officer, the new submission, which reduced the number of houses from 153 to 94 and included a landscaped corridor to maintain views of Budock Church in the distance, was recommended for approval.

Councillor Grenville Chappel of Falmouth Town Council spoke to object to the development and recommended the revised plans be refused stating: “Budock Church is a significant heritage asset and the impact of the development will affect the setting and change the character of the land and the current views of this iconic grade two star church will be lost.”

Steve Russell, director of Midas Developments said: “Since our previous scheme was dismissed at appeal, we have reviewed the decision and the commentary of the panel inspector and worked closely in our professional team to fully address the previous reasons for refusal.”

Mr Russell added that the revised proposal had addressed the two main issues of concern: “The planning inspector confirmed that the development did not adversely affect the character and appearance of the area when viewed from Bickland Water Road, nor would any development be visible from Budock Water.”

Revised plans for the Bickland Water Road housing development. Picture source Julia Conway

Revised plans for the Bickland Water Road housing development. Picture source Julia Conway


Councillors raised concerns about the road junction at the proposed site believing it to be on a dangerous bend and that schools in the area were nearly full to capacity. There were also concerns about drainage and flooding with a recent photograph of the site known as Bull Field showing it to be waterlogged after the recent rain. In addition, it was raised that the development would cause the loss of greenfield separation between Falmouth and Budock Water village.

In summing up reasons for refusal, a committee spokesman said: “The proposed development by reason of its location and localising effects would result in a highly adverse impact on the rural setting of Budock Church, a grade two star listed building which relies on the protection of its wider rural setting.”