Wednesday, 23 July 2008

News from Cancer Research UK

Less than a third of people feel challenged in their relationships

British couples are spending “less time together than ever before”, according to a relationship expert. A survey released today shows that modern living is leaving little room in relationships for challenge and stimulation and little time for joint activities like exercise - or even talking.

The survey, published by Cancer Research UK to mark the launch of its Run 10k series, reveals that more than a quarter of us (28.3%) are spending less than three hours with our partners each day and one in nine spending no more than two hours. Additionally, fewer than one in three (32%) feel challenged or stimulated in their relationship.

Findings from the survey also show how the pace of modern living is spelling disaster for couples and their quality time together. When the people surveyed who are in relationships* were asked how long they actually spend talking to their partners, one in eight (12.7%) admitted spending less than 10% of their ‘together time’ conversing with each other. Perhaps even more worryingly, nearly 6% claim they don’t spend any of their time together talking at all.

Nearly 40% admit spending at least 10% of their time on the phone or texting whilst with their other half, and almost one in seven (13.4%) struggle to leave work at the office and spend time on their hand-held e-mail devices.

In light of these findings, Cancer Research UK has decided to challenge couples to enter Run 10k together to help them to spend more quality time in each other’s company.

Relationship expert Francine Kaye said of the findings, “These results show how little time couples are actually making for each other and it looks like we are spending less time together than ever before. Challenging eachother to do something new together is a great way to rejuvenate your relationship. It’s all too easy for the demands of daily living to take precedence over being a couple, but if people do not start making more quality time for each other, whether it’s talking over the washing up, or exercising together, then the long-term consequences could be serious.”

The charity has teamed up with fitness expert to the stars Lucy Wyndham-Read to create a fun online quiz that estimates personal target running times for Run 10k. By logging on to couples can also use their estimated target running times to challenge their partner with a pledge; from doing their washing for a month to a marriage proposal! The pledge system is open to all ‘couples’, be they husband and wife, brother and sister, workmates, or best friends.

Natasha Woodford, head of Run 10k at Cancer Research UK adds, “It’s interesting to see how little time couples are spending together these days. It’s surprising to hear that 62% of those surveyed admitted they spend no time exercising as a couple, either at a gym or outdoors. Running is not only a great way to keep fit and healthy but the perfect excuse to spend time together. We hope that couples, friends or even workmates will be really inspired by the pledge system to get active and challenge each other to Run 10k together.”

To take the quiz and challenge someone to Run 10k with you visit


For more press information or images please contact Laura Bryce at Frank PR on 020 7693 6999 or email

News from Virgin Media

Churchill named ‘Mother of all Brits’

Winston Churchill named ultimate Briton and The Beatles top British export in Virgin Media poll

Wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill has today been given the accolade of the ‘Mother of all Britons’ in a survey of over 2,000 people for Virgin Media Broadband. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of the nation consider the World War II leader and Nobel Prize winner the ultimate Brit, beating The Queen (18 per cent) and William Shakespeare (10 per cent) who fall in second and third place respectively.

The Virgin Media study, which asked adults across the country to name the mother of all British figures and achievements, was conducted to mark a new advertising campaign for the UK’s largest residential broadband provider entitled ‘The Mother of all Broadband’.

Although Winston Churchill still has resonance in today’s Britain, a surprising number of living Brits fail to make an impression. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, footballer David Beckham and Beatle Sir Paul McCartney didn’t receive any nominations from the 2,367 respondents as the ‘Mother of all Britons’. In fact, the only living Britons to be recognised include the Iron Lady Baroness Thatcher (four per cent), tycoon Sir Alan Sugar (one per cent) and Professor Stephen Hawking (one per cent).

Whilst Sir Paul McCartney is ignored in the poll of ultimate Brits, The Beatles have been named the ‘Mother of all British exports’. One in five (21 per cent) believe the Fab Four are Britain’s greatest ever export, ahead of Scotch whisky (18 per cent), Premier League football (11 per cent) and James Bond (eight per cent).

When it comes to modern day technology, almost 40 per cent of Brits believe that broadband internet has had the biggest impact on our lives, awarding it the ‘Mother of all technological inventions’ and beating off close competition from the mobile phone (25 per cent) and satellite navigation (eight per cent).

As far as British ingenuity is concerned, the research revealed over one in five (21 per cent) believe George Stephenson, inventor of the first steam locomotive engine, is the ‘Mother of all British inventors’, one per cent ahead of Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone. Responsible for some of the most influential inventions of all time, pioneer of the television John Logie Baird (11 per cent), creator of the programmable computer Charles Babbage (nine per cent) and inventor of the electric motor Michael Faraday (nine per cent) make up the top five. English scientist Tim Berners-Lee falls just outside the top five with eight per cent of votes for the most recent invention in the top ten, the worldwide web.

Gareth Jones (formerly known as ‘Gaz Top’), TV presenter of How 2 and Tomorrow’s World commented, “This survey by Virgin Broadband is very reassuring, we Brits clearly have a pretty healthy record as far as creativity and invention is concerned, whether it’s The Beatles, Shakespeare or the steam locomotive. We gave the world TV, the jet engine, the telephone and the World Wide Web, what more do you need....? Whatever it is, I’ll bet we could come up with it – and probably from a garage or a garden shed!”

James Kydd, managing director of brand and marketing at Virgin Media said, “Our research delves into just who and what has made Britain the great nation it is and it’s fantastic to see what Britons consider to be the ‘Mother of all inventions’. At Virgin Media we believe that the nation has the right to have the very best of British – be it world leaders or technology. That’s why Virgin Media uses future-proof fibre optic technology to deliver superfast broadband – what we term the mother of all broadband.”


Notes to Editors


Mother of all Britons

Name Percentage
Sir Winston Churchill 23
The Queen 18
William Shakespeare 10
Isambard Kingdom Brunel 6
Isaac Newton 4
Charles Darwin 3
Alexander Fleming 2
Sir Alan Sugar 1
Professor Stephen Hawking 1
Charles Dickens 1
Top Ten only, additional data available

Mother of all British exports

Export Percentage
The Beatles 21
Scotch whisky 18
Premier League football 11
James Bond 8
Cricket 7
Harry Potter 6
Cheddar cheese 5
Marmite 3
Simon Cowell 1
Amy Winehouse 0

Mother of all modern technological inventions

Invention Percentage
Broadband internet 39
Mobile telephone 25
Satellite navigation 8
Portable laptops 4
Wi-Fi 3
MP3 players 2
PDAs / handheld computers 1
PVRs (personal video recorders) 1
High Definition television 1
Blu-ray disc 0

Mother of all British inventors

Name, Invention Percentage
George Stephenson, first steam locomotive engine 21
Alexander Graham Bell, telephone 20
John Logie Baird, television 11
Charles Babbage, programmable computer 9
Michael Faraday, electric motor 9
Tim Berners-Lee, internet 8
Sir Frank Whittle, jet engine 7
James Dyson, dual cyclone vacuum cleaner 1
Trevor Baylis, clockwork radio 0
Christopher Cockerell, hovercraft 0

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,367 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th and 17th July 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Media contacts
Toby Steele, Frank PR, 020 7693 6999 or
Sophie Smallwood, Frank PR, 020 7693 6999 or

Monday, 21 July 2008

News from Persil

- Persil research shows British children are being deprived of their childhoods -

The lack of childhood is currently the subject of much discussion as experts debate the phenomenon currently labeled ‘Broken Britain’. New research released to mark the launch of Persil’s Every Child Has The Right campaign predicts that unless we take action to break the cycle now, the next generation is also forecast to enter adulthood lacking vital life and social skills.

The study by Persil, conducted in conjunction with experts in youth development and play; Doctors Jerome and Dorothy Singer of Yale University, highlights the erosion of childhood. 85% of UK mums are concerned that children are growing up too quickly and 64% believe children are being deprived of childhood through the lack of play. Modern living is having an impact on children being able to enjoy the simple childhood pleasures as experienced by previous generations.

The report indicates that UK mums have a strong understanding of the importance of childhood play in developing life skills vital for adulthood including imagination and creativity, development of language, expression and self-confidence and parents are concerned about the consequential gulf in development that a lack of unstructured, free play in childhood creates.

Key findings in the UK:
• 71% - Mums worry that kids won’t form good relationships without social play
• 73% - Agree that free play is key to children’s creative development
• 61% - Mums report their children are difficult if they don’t have play time

As a result, Persil is launching its Free Play Initiative 2008, a nationwide scheme aimed at helping parents find inspirational ways for their children to express themselves through imaginative, unstructured play. This culminates in the support of Playday, the annual celebration of children’s right to play, on 6 August 2008.

Kris Murrin, child behavioral expert and consultant to the Persil Free Play Initiative said: “If we can increase play in childhood years, we can help increase emotional development and social skills needed for later on in life. In turn, this will provide reassurance of a safe environment for our future generation to grow up in. Children need to be encouraged to behave like children and most importantly need time to explore and play in order to have formative experiences if we are to break the cycle of Broken Britain.’

For more key findings and a summary of qualitative research conducted by the Persil Mumsnet Panel please log on to media site


For more information, to interview campaign spokespeople including Persil Every Child Has The Right consultant and child behavioural expert Kris Murrin,
please contact Kate Collis or Fiona Davidson or telephone 020 7693 6999

Notes to editors
19% of UK mums want to supervise their children’s activities – the highest % of mums globally. (Argentina: 18%, USA: 15%, South Africa: 14%, France: 10%, China: 8%, Brazil: 7%, Turkey: 5%, India: 4%, Thailand: 6%)

UK children have one of the most overscheduled childhoods, with only 46% agreeing that happy, well developed children need to be free from strict schedule, compared to: Argentina: 45%, USA: 57%, South Africa: 58%, France: 66%, China: 69%, Brazil: 62%, Turkey: 47%, India: 75%, Thailand: 85%)

Estelle Alty, Persil Brand manager, said: ‘Children need to have time to play and have formative experiences. Every Child Has The Right to play, which is central to our brand belief. We hope that by bringing attention to the issue and launching the Persil Free Play Initiative to give parent’s easy, fun ideas of free play we will spark parent’s imaginations just as play does a child’s.’

Amy Little, Playday campaigns officer, said: ‘Play is an integral part of children’s healthy development, and evidence shows that children and young people cannot play out as much as they would like. We’re pleased that Persil is campaigning for children to be able to play out more and that they support the Playday campaign. We hope that everyone can join in the fun on Playday this year!’

Why is free play important?
Unstructured, social play in childhood is shown to improve the ability to form social relationships, boost imagination and creativity, develop language and expression as well as raise self-confidence, skills which are vital in adulthood.

The Persil ‘Every Child Has The Right’ 2008
The research was managed by New York based Strategy One – a specialist applied research firm. Strategy One is a full-service corporate positioning, market research and strategic communications agency. The company combines strategy and proprietary market research with multiple levels of media and competitive intelligence and analysis.

The study was commissioned in conjunction with leading experts in youth development and play Doctors Jerome and Dorothy Singer of Yale University, two leading researchers in the area of youth development and play. Their role was to provide expert guidance and support to the study hypotheses, quantitative research design and analysis.

Interviews were conducted in each of the following countries: The USA, Argentina, Brazil, UK, France, Turkey, India, Thailand, China and South Africa.

What is free play?
• Free Play does not mean UNSUPERVISED
• In the process of free play, children develop their mental, emotional and social skills
• Free play is both INDOOR and OUTDOOR play
• Acts of free play includes exploring in the garden, climbing trees, making mud pies, creating a den in the corner of the room, making up role play games and dance routines

What is Playday?

Playday is the annual celebration of children’s play, coordinated by Play England, based at the National Children’s Bureau, working in partnership with PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play Scotland and Play Wales. Now in its 21st year, the national campaign involves thousands of children and young people getting out to play at locally organised events. Playday events range from small-scale neighbourhood get-togethers to large-scale public events organised by local authorities and national organisations. Persil is a proud supporter of this year’s Playday, taking place nationwide on 6 August 2008. For more information about Playday events and this year’s Give us a go! theme, visit

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

News from


Model and actress Abi Titmuss swaps posing for poker in an unexpected career move

No longer content with just increasing the pulse of the average UK male or treading the boards, Abi Titmuss has also set her sights on becoming a professional poker player as a member of Team Ladbrokes at this year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP). Currently in Las Vegas, Abi will be taking on Hollywood’s elite at the poker table this week…and all in the name of charity. The blonde bombshell will be playing against the likes of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon at the WSOP, the biggest tournament on the poker calendar. Set against the bright lights of the casino capital, Abi will be donating at least half of her winnings to charity as she plays on behalf of, the largest European contingency at the tournament with 120 players.

Abi’s poker face will be tested to the max when she takes part in a charity tournament with a number of big name stars. The ‘Ante Up For Africa’ charity poker tournament is organised by Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle and poker star Annie Duke. Last year, the inaugural tournament raised over $700,000 and attracted a selection of Hollywood A-listers including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Adam Sandler as well as sports, television and poker stars from the USA and around the world. At least half of Abi’s winnings will go directly to Ante Up For Africa which provides assistance to the survivors of the crisis’ in Darfur, Sudan and supports activism dedicated to resolving the crisis.

Excited about taking part in the tournament, Abi Titmuss said: “I’ve been playing a lot of poker this year and took part in my first professional tournament, the European Ladies Championship, in May. This is my first mixed tournament and whilst it’s going to be pretty nerve-wracking playing against a selection of Hollywood’s finest, I love playing poker and will be trying to give the boys a run for their money!”

Abi will be representing alongside six-time World Snooker Champion and fellow teammate Steve Davis and both will be cheering on fellow Ladbrokes players as they compete in the main event of the WSOP. Now in its 39th year, the WSOP sees the world’s top poker players go head to head at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to become the winner of a coveted WSOP 2008 bracelet and take home the top prize of around $8 million. is also offering a $1 million bonus to all their team members for first place, to spur them on in the tournament as well as automatic buy-in to the 40th WSOP in 2009 for anyone finishing in the first 100.

Samantha Alleyne, PR Manager for said, “We are really excited to have Abi on board representing With over 6,000 participants taking part in the WSOP, Las Vegas is alive during the tournament and Abi will be able to put her poker skills to the test against some of the best in the world.”

For more information on Ladbrokes, log on to and for more information on Ante Up For Africa, log on to

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For further information please contact Katie Raven or Toby Steele at Frank PR on 020 7693 6999 or email

News from drench®

Beef up your brain at the drench® Brain Gym

The UK’s first ever gym designed to enhance mental fitness

- 16th-18th July, La Galleria, Pall Mall, London -

It is time to jump off the treadmill and drop the weights, as today sees the launch of the drench® Brain Gym – the UK’s first ever gym designed entirely to give the brain a work-out and enhance mental fitness.

In today's fast-paced world, maintaining physical fitness is no longer enough – being mentally fit is also imperative to achieving peak performance at work and in day-to-day life. Without the extortionate monthly direct debits, sweaty poseurs, or spandex so common to regular gyms, the drench® Brain Gym is the ideal place to join the newest gym class around – ‘Brainaerobics’ – where participants can learn the techniques needed to improve mental fitness.

To launch the drench® Brain Gym, drench® spring water has enlisted the help of Dr Jack Lewis (PHD), a Brain Trainer and neuroscientist who has devised the ‘Brainaerobics’ sessions to improve alertness, concentration and short term memory.

“Throughout life your brain responds to the challenges you put it through and the more you do, the more your brain improves,” said Dr Jack Lewis. “These physical changes occur in your brain by strengthening regularly used pathways and cutting back the rarely used ones. So by regularly making your brain jump through certain mental hoops you can ensure that pathways for useful brain functions are maintained. Quite simply, brain training ensures that by challenging your mind with a variety of novel, thought-provoking puzzles and problems, you make a habit of using important brain pathways. This makes them work better, by physically reinforcing the lines of communication.”

Dr Jack’s Top Tips on Maintaining a Healthy Brain

Brains are high maintenance

There’s no room for storage in your brain – no energy stores, no spare building blocks, so everything your brain needs must be in constant supply.

Keep your brain hydrated

Your brain is 75% water. A plentiful supply of water is vital for your body and brain to perform properly. Even mild dehydration leads to cognitive impairment – where your brain cannot work at its full potential.

Moving makes you happy

- Physical exercise makes you breathe faster, as you have more oxygen coming in and more toxic waste going out.

- It improves the supply of nutrients, removal of toxins and encourages growth of new brain cells.

- When your heart pumps faster the oxygen-rich blood moves more quickly around the body and brain.

- It also induces release of hormones and brain chemicals that make you feel bright and alert.

Stretch your brain a little every day

- Just 20 minutes of brain training per day slows brain aging by strengthening brain connections.

- Brain training comes in many shapes and sizes: Picture puzzles, word games, number puzzles, logic problems, riddles, reading books.

Keep your brain energised (avoid the sugar rollercoaster)

- Limit intake of sweets & cakes, as your blood sugar will shoot up too high, then drop down too low

- Oats, jacket potatoes and wholemeal all contain slow-release sugars that give the brain the steady energy supply it loves

Only the very best

Brains need top notch building materials to work properly many of which must be eaten:

- Slow down brain aging by eating anthocyanins (powerful anti-oxidants) that can be found in blueberries and strawberries

- Regulate your mood by eating tryptophan that can be found in poultry, milk products and bananas

- Achieve better brain cell function by eating fish, seeds and omega olis

Use that dead time

Always be thinking. Think ahead and make a plan for the next few steps of your day

Dr Jack added: “Every single biological process in your body is dependent on a delicate balance between many different chemicals, which must each be at just the right concentration. This is critically dependent on water, as dehydration means that all these chemicals become more concentrated and severely disrupt the brain’s normal function. A plentiful supply of water reduces chemical stress on the brain ensuring it can work to the best of its potential.”

The drench® Brainaerobics sessions

Brains behind the Brains

Visitors will have a chance to experience a lesson with Anthony Trahern, the legendary dancer behind the recent drench® ad, which featured the iconic character Brains from Thunderbirds dancing around a stage to SNAP’s ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’. Observing, memorising and imitating challenging dance moves helps to improve sequence learning, recall, balance and co-ordination. It also tunes up the “mirror neuron” system, which is responsible for observing movements in another person’s demonstration and then reproducing them with your own body.

The Conveyor Belt

Well known from The Generation Game TV show, people will be asked to remember as many items as possible that pass before them on the conveyor belt. Dr Jack will teach techniques to dramatically improve working memory capacity, which is crucial for day-to-day tasks such as remembering to-do lists, important dates, phone numbers and even putting names to faces .

Mirror Maze

After looking at a map, visitors will be asked to drive a remote control car through a maze using a series of mirrors to help navigate round corners. This activity will test mental flexibility, improve visuospatial imagery / rotation and develop hand eye co-ordination.

Giant Buzz Wire

Visitors will be asked to navigate their way along a length of wire using a hoop (without actually touching the wire!) and complete the course in the fastest possible time. This will help to improve vigilance, concentration, sustained attention, concentration and manual dexterity.

For more information visit

- ends -

For further information please contact Hannah Jones or Sarah Henderson on 0207 693 6999 or email /

News from Bennetts

How to beat the Credit Crunch: Ditch the car for a motorbike
Bennetts reveals bikers can save over £300,000 over a lifetime by riding to work

A leading Personal Finance Expert has today revealed that Brits can save a staggering £337,700 over a lifetime by swapping their car for a motorbike. The study, conducted by Chartered Financial Planner Martin Bamford, was commissioned by Bennetts, the UK’s number one for bike insurance , to investigate the cost difference between commuting to work in a car versus a bike.

With the increasing cost burden on motorists in mind, the research shows that car drivers could save over £6,500 a year (£130 per week) by riding a motorbike, when costs including finance, tax, depreciation and parking are taken into consideration . An easily overlooked expense highlighted in the findings is time – with riders able to save four and a half years over a lifetime from beating the traffic jams on a motorbike as opposed to a car.

The overall findings suggest it costs a staggering 47% more to drive a car to work rather than using a motorbike in the current economic climate. The saving is particularly relevant for Londoners, with those riding a bike in the capital saving a massive £1,920 a year getting to work by escaping the £8 a day congestion charge to enter into the central congestion charging zone .

The research was commissioned by Bennetts to support Ride to Work Day which falls today (16th July). Ride to Work Day is a national campaign introduced by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) to encourage all motorcyclists to get out and about on their bikes and ride to work, ideally with a pillion.

Endorsing the cost return in riding a motorbike, Martin Bamford found that bikers can make substantial savings of over £6,500 per year which include savings such as;
• Depreciation – £2,074
• Tax – £97
• Finance - £2,255
• Parking – £2,328

*Based on the average commute of 39 miles , five days a week, over the course of a year.

Martin Bamford says; “Running a car is significantly more expensive than riding a motorbike and with government plans to increase Vehicle Excise Duty, 55% of car drivers will be even worse off when new prices are introduced in 2009/10.”

The Personal Finance expert continued, “People tend to have various misconceptions around biking and often forget about the burden of depreciation - cars plummet in value shortly after you buy them and are an expensive to buy in the first place. The credit crunch is making it much more expensive to borrow money, so financing is likely to be made a lot cheaper if people decide to purchase a motorcycle.”

Mark Fells, Marketing Director at Bennetts says, “It’s incredible to see just how much bikers can save on the roads by travelling around on two wheels. We hope that these findings will encourage people to review their personal transport methods in an effort to lower costs and reduce the hassle of commuting.”

Recent research has revealed that 86% of bikers could save money by insuring with Bennetts . Log onto to find out more information.

- Ends –

News from Virgin Media

Korma Blimey!
Virgin Media creates ‘world’s hottest’ curry

With a range of different chillies, a sprinkling of some of the world’s spiciest seeds and a world record-breaking pepper, a dish believed to be the world’s hottest curry has been unveiled in London today by Virgin Media. The ‘Bollywood Burner’, for which diners must sign a disclaimer before eating, was commissioned to mark the launch of Virgin Media’s new Bollywood Movies On Demand service, enabling film fans to watch top Bollywood flicks at the touch of a button and is sure to set diner’s hearts – or Tikkas – racing.

The dish’s hottest ingredient is the Naga pepper, which has previously held the record for the world’s hottest pepper and measures over 855,000 on the Scoville scale – the official measure of piquancy of peppers. A jalapeno pepper, ordinarily considered hot by most diners, is a paltry 8,000 on the scale by comparison.

Virgin Media commissioned the 'Bollywood Burner' to celebrate the launch of its Bollywood Movies On Demand service giving Bollywood fans access to over 30 movies to watch whenever they choose. Starting at £2 per film, the selection will include a mixture of the latest Bollywood blockbusters such as Jodhaa Akbar and Race alongside popular classics such as Life In a .... Metro starring Shilpa Shetty.

The ‘Bollywood Burner’, a lamb-based dish, was created by Vivek Singh, executive chef of The Cinnamon Club restaurant and the recipe will be submitted to the Guinness Book of Records for verification as the world’s hottest curry. Inspired by Hyderabadi cooking, it’s anything but Daal, with the dish containing:

- A series of hot Deccan chillies
- Dorset Naga (the hottest Naga pepper) seeds (over 855,000 on the Scoville scale)
- Kashmiri chilli powder
- Sesame tamarind sauce
- Naga peppers
- Scotch Bonnet peppers (around 300,000 on the Scoville scale)

James Kydd, Virgin Media’s managing director of brand and marketing said: “We are delighted to be bringing the hottest film genre to our customers with Bollywood Movies On Demand, so what better way to celebrate than with the world’s hottest curry. Bollywood is set to really take off this year and we’re hoping to encourage people to try something new – be it a Bollywood movie or an extra hot curry!”

Vivek Singh said “We were happy to take on the challenge from Virgin Media to create this dish and in my opinion it is certainly the world’s hottest curry. Whilst extremely hot, we wanted to make sure this was a spectacular dish that would set diner’s hearts racing. Although we have only created it as a one-off, we are considering including it on the menu later this year. As one would expect this is a dish for people with steel-lined stomachs. ”

For more information on Virgin Media’s Bollywood On Demand, go to


News from Bennetts

Bennetts Backs Babe in Miss England Final
Bennetts Babe Amy Dargan, 19, will next week compete against 49 other beauties in the final of Miss England and the bike insurance provider is doing everything it can to support the popular grid girl. Representing her home town, the current Miss Warwick & Leamington Spa will attend the glittering finals in London next Friday 18th July, with the hope of being crowned Miss England 2008.

As a Bennetts Babe, Amy is one of the most popular grid girls at this year’s Bennetts British Superbike Championships and the title sponsor is urging all superbikes fans to pick up the phone and vote for the blonde bombshell. Having endured snow on the grid at Brands Hatch in April, rain on the podium at Alton Park and bright sunshine back at Brands over the May Bank holiday weekend, Amy has kept a smile on her face throughout and Bennetts wants to reward the babe by helping her go all the way to the top.

Amy says; “I love being a Bennetts Babe as it’s allowed me to travel across the country to different rounds of the Bennetts British Superbike and World Superbike events and I’ve got a real passion for bikes and bikers! I’d love to add Miss England 2008 to my accolades and I’m pleading for all biking fans to vote for Miss Warwick & Leamington Spa next week!”

Bennetts, the UK’s number one for bike insurance*, scoured the country for new Bennetts Babes earlier this year and Amy, a Nottingham Trent university student, was a clear favourite to join the 2008 line up. Having proved a massive hit with bike fans up and down the UK, this is the chance for supporters to give something back to the glamour girl. To encourage all fans to back Amy, the insurance provider is also offering a free wallpaper of her in her gorgeous grid gear at, to ensure Amy is never far from biker’s thoughts.

Bennetts’ Marketing Director, Mark Fells said; “We’re really pleased that Amy has got through to the final of this year’s Miss England competition. The Babes provide a lot of fun and excitement at all Bennetts Superbike events, and it would be great to have Miss England in our squad for the remainder of the season!”

To vote for Amy, text “Miss Warwick and Leamington Spa” to 81118 or call 09012 935 935 and key in “18”. For more information on the Babes and to receive your exclusive free wallpaper of Amy Dargan go to

News from Virgin Media

Four Weddings Beats Life of Brian in British Film Poll

Four Weddings and a Funeral named best British movie of all time in Virgin Media Shorts Survey

Richard Curtis’ 1994 blockbuster Four Weddings and a Funeral has been named the greatest British film of all time in a survey for Virgin Media Shorts. Beating Monty Python’s classic Life of Brian by just one per cent, rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral, starring Hugh Grant as hapless romantic Charles, topped the poll with 22 per cent of votes, making it the public’s favourite British film ever.

The Virgin Media Shorts survey, which today (30th June) marks the last day film makers can submit their short films to the competition, sees an eclectic mix of films make up the top ten. The top five is completed with Danny Boyle’s cult classic Trainspotting (15 per cent), the latest James Bond Casino Royale (10 per cent) and gangster flick Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (eight per cent). The remaining top ten includes a mixture of old and new including the 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia (eight per cent) together with last year’s war romance Atonement (four per cent).

With almost one third of the votes, the poll revealed that Dame Judi Dench is the best British actress of all time followed by fellow Dame, Helen Mirren (14 per cent) and Julie Walters (14 per cent). The best British actor was a closely fought contest with former Bond Sir Sean Connery and Hannibal hell-raiser Sir Anthony Hopkins receiving 22 per cent of votes each. Hugh Grant, who became a household name after starring in Four Weddings and a Funeral, was in fourth place with 11 per cent of nominations behind Get Carter star Sir Michael Caine (12 per cent).

James Kydd, managing director of brand and marketing at Virgin Media said, “The debate around the best British film of all time is always a great talking point and our top ten is no exception. Seeing so many fantastic films in the list is testament to British film talent and that’s exactly why Virgin Media has set up the Shorts competition to champion undiscovered British film makers.”

Virgin Media Shorts is the first ever short film competition to run across four screens (TV, cinema, mobile and the internet) and has already seen over 1,000 entries for the £30,000 prize since its launch on 1st May. To mark the final day for submissions, today also sees the announcement of the judging panel who will be presiding over the competition. The confirmed line-up includes:

• Oscar-winning stage and film actor, Kevin Spacey
• Founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson
• Bend It Like Beckham director, Gurinder Chadha
• Confetti and Green Wing actor, Stephen Mangan
• Oscar-nominated short film director, Daniel Barber
• Film critic, James King
• Total Film editor, Nev Pierce
• Head of the New Cinema Fund of the UK Film Council, Lenny Crooks
• Chairman of the panel and Virgin Media’s CEO of Content, Malcolm Wall

To submit a short film for Virgin Media Shorts, or to simply watch and rate the films, visit