British charity Facing the World, which funds reconstructive surgery for children with severe facial disfigurements recently funded life-saving surgery for two one-year-old twin girls from the Sudan, Rital and Ritag Gaboura, who were co-joined at the head.

Children with the condition have a 1 in ten million chance of surviving to infancy. Four operations from May to August at Great Ormond Street hospital were needed, with the final separation taking place successfully, by surgeons who donated their time, on August 15.


The National Trust is currently lobbying the government, and their 3.6 million members, to ensure that proposed changes to planning rules do not result in unchecked housing development on green belt land.

The National Trust is also going ahead, according to Private Eye, with the “Cliveden Village” housing development of its own on its Cliveden Estate in leafy Buckinghamshire, on land that was donated to the Trust by Lord Astor with the stipulation that it was never turned into a “speculator’s building estate”.


A donation of £4.6 million has been made to the Bletchley Park Trust by the Heritage Lottery Fund to preserve the huts at Bletchley Park used to house the breakers of the codes used by the Germans during WW2, an achievement that helped the Allies avoid German submarines, plan D-Day and win the war.

The work was carried out in complete secrecy with Bletchley chosen because of location away from possible bomb targets, its access to London and its position between Oxford and Cambridge, with Universities that supplied some of the best mathematical brains in the UK. In particular the teams cracked the Enigma codes, produced by machines originally produced for business and offering millions of permutations that could be changed daily, and machines developed by the Bletchley teams to check permutations were forerunners of today’s computers.


The number of people volunteering is at an all time low, the government’s annual citizenship survey has found.

Those who say they volunteer for something at least once a month has dropped from 30% in 2011 to 25% today.

The cause is variously put down to the current and deepening recession, the rise of nonsensical health and safety restrictions and the increase in volunteers being subjected to criminal record checks.


The Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham has been ordered by a tribunal to pay more than £21,000 to a member of staff it discriminated against, victimised and treated “reprehensibly”.

Genevieve Bove, who suffers from migraine had asked for the fluorescent light in her working area to be changed so that it would not trigger painful migraine attacks, something that would have cost her employer around £20. Chief officer John Gallanders engineered a meeting to discuss Ms Bove’s concerns in a room with fluorescent lighting and sought an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check on her in the hope that it might uncover something that would make it easier to sack her. Trustees of the charity backed Gallanders without investigating the complaints and accordingly failed in their duty as trustees to monitor the conduct of their paid officials.


City of London Police officers have arrested four men they believe are behind theft and fraudulent deception involving bags of second hand clothes left out for charities to collect.

Gangs simply steal the bags before the charity collect or present themselves as a charity to solicit donations. The clothes are then sold for a profit on the streets of Eastern Europe. More than 30 police officers raided a depot on the Rainham Industrial Estate in Essex in September and seized £20,000 in cash, charity bags and computers.

The fraud is estimated to cost charities up to £50 million a year.


The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) have revealed that cod and haddock caught by Icelandic whaling ships are being supplied to fish wholesaler, Warners Fish Merchants of Doncaster and on to restaurants, hotels and fish and chip shops all over the UK. (Ethical Consumer magazine)

Despite commercial whaling being banned countries such as Japan, Iceland and Norway get round it by killing for “scientific research”.

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The wickedly satirical Social Stereotypes column in a recent Telegraph Magazine, featuring “The ambitious couple” could twang a few chords out there.

“Justin and Cleo are out to conquer; they give money to charities where they can be assured of meeting the right people. Thousands of pounds a ticket is little to pay to help dear Arki Busson’s kids’ foundation – and rub shoulders with Prince William, Amish Kapoor and Jemima Khan. Justin did some showy bidding in the auction for a weekend at the Oscars, including an invitation to the Vanity Fair party. Cleo’s idea of an underprivileged child is one that isn’t down for Eton, but she can do compassion if that’s what it takes to have a conversation with Kevin Spacey”