Autism Awareness Week

This years Autism Awareness Week runs from 27 March until 2 April 2017 which is World Autism Awareness Day. This is an internationally recognised day which takes place annually on the 2nd of April to raise awareness about children with autism throughout the world and encourage Member States to take appropriate action. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution “62/139. World Autism Awareness Day”, passed in council on November 1, 2007, and adopted on December 18, 2007. It was proposed by the United Nations representative from Qatar, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, and supported by all member states.

This resolution was passed and adopted in the UN General Assembly, mainly as a supplement to previous UN initiatives to improve human rights. Since its inception autism awareness and research around the world has boomed as a result. World Autism Day is also one of only four official health-specific UN Days. The day itself brings individual autism organizations together all around the world to aid in things like research, diagnoses, treatment, and overall awareness for those with the disorder who are looking for help. The First autism Awareness Day was hosted by the UN branches around the world. With events being held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, including a panel discussion sponsored by Qatar and the UN representative responsible for the resolution, along with the World Health Organization and the NGO Autism Speaks. there was also a briefing concerning topics relating to autism awareness. Both of these events focused on personal efforts for awareness raising and eliminating negative stigma associated with autism. In addition, it highlighted the struggles of people with autism and mentioned the importance of better understanding the disorder.

Autism Speaks is one of the largest non-governmental organizations and aims to raise awareness to autism, further research, and act as an advocate to those with the disorder. This group is considered to lead the field in science and advocacy, and is a leader in research dealing with causes, prevention, treatments and cures. They also act as a large support system for families of an autistic person. Light It Up Blue is another event proposed by Autism Speaks. It is observed on WAAD, and is a dedication to autism awareness. The Power of One March is a unique night-time march in Washington, D.C. to mark World Autism Awareness Day, which is April 2, 2016. The march aims to unify the autism awareness community and provide a time of healing and peace around the globe. Attendees may choose which organization they want to march for with proceeds of LED bracelet sales going to the organization of their choosing.

In Canada Autism Ontario celebrates World Autism Awareness Day by “Raising a Flag” for autism. Municipalities around Ontario raise a flag to raise awareness for autism in their region. In 2014 WAAD coincided with Onesie Wednesday, a day created by the National Autistic Society to encourage people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to show their support for anyone on the autistic spectrum By wearing a onesie or pyjamaS. The Autism Flour Power Challenge was also launched 1 April 2016 to raise autism awareness by encouraging participants to blow into a bowl of flour and have it cover their face. The United States is a major proponent of human rights and In 2015 President Obama highlighted some of the initiatives that the US government was taking to bring rights to those with autism and to bring awareness to the disorder. He highlighted things like The Affordable Care Act, which prohibits health insurance companies from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition such as autism. He also pointed out the recent Autism CARES Act of 2014, which provides higher level training for those serving citizens on the autism spectrum.

British Summer time

⌚️🕰⏱⏰🕐Clocks in the UK go forward one hour on March 27, to officially mark the start of British Summer Time. The springing forward of clocks happens every year on the last Sunday of March in the UK.  In March the clocks move forward an hour at 1am in the morning. While on the last Sunday in October they go back an hour at 2am, This year the clocks will change at 2am on Sunday October 29, 2017. March 27 2017 also marks the 10th Anniversary of Earth Hour.

Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet)

Steve Norman, British musician with new romantic band Spandau Ballet was born born 25th March 1960. Formed in London in 1976 Spandau Ballet consisted of Gary Kemp and Steve Norman on guitar, later saxophone and percussion. They were joined by fellow student John Keeble and the three met regularly at lunchtimes to practise. Keeble was followed by bass player Michael Ellison. Tony Hadley, then joined as lead singer, Richard Miller replaced Michael Ellison on bass, before Kemp’s younger brother, Martin joined the band a couple of years later. The band was originally called ‘The Makers’ in the early years, but changed their name after a friend of the band, saw the name ‘Spandau Ballet’ scrawled on the wall of a nightclub lavatory during a visit to Berlin. Spandau Ballet, began performing with this name and generating a positive buzz around London. Their music prior to then was in the style of the early Rolling Stones or The Kinks, but became more electronic as they began to hang out in clubs such as Billy’s and Blitz, where they would listen to bands like Kraftwerk and Telex. The Blitz was regarded as the New Romanticism.

They released the first single “To Cut a Long Story Short”, just ten days after the band emerged from the studio in order to meet the huge demand created by the buzz they had established, “To Cut a Long Story Short” was an instant British top 5 hit in 1980. This was followed by hits with “The Freeze”, “Musclebound” and the well-received and Gold-certified album Journeys to Glory in 1981. The album had all the hallmarks of what would become known as the New Romantic sound and the sound of the early eighties.The follow-up album, Diamond, was released in 1982 and was certified Gold by the BPI and featured the funk-flavoured single “Chant Number 1″. The second single from Diamond was “Paint Me Down”, the third was, “She Loved Like Diamond”, Trevor Horn remixed the track “Instinction”, which was released as the fourth single from the album.

With a slicker, more pop sound, the band released their third album True in March 1983. The album topped the charts all around the world, and launched several international hit singles, such as Gold and the title track which reached number 1 in several countries. The follow-up album, Parade, was released in June 1984 and the album’s opening song was, “Only When You Leave”. At the end of 1984, the band performed on the Band Aid charity single and in 1985 they performed at Wembley Stadium as part of Live Aid.

During this same year, Spandau Ballet achieved platinum status with the compilation, The Singles Collection, containing songs like Lifeline and Communication, which kept the focus on the band between two studio albums and celebrated their five years of success. The band split acrimoniously in 1990, and Martin Kemp went on to land an acting role in the UK soap opera EastEnders, while Tony Hadley tried to establish a solo career. Gary Kemp did a little more acting, appearing in a supporting role in the Whitney Houston hit The Bodyguard, and in 1995 he released his only solo album, Little Bruises. Both Kemp brothers also appeared in the film “The Krays”.

In early 2009, there was much speculation that the band was set to perform later that year. Although the band did not initially comment on these reports, the official Spandau Ballet website encouraged fans to sign up “for an exciting announcement. The band eventually confirmed the rumours at a press conference. to announce their comeback tour. The band began a world tour in October 2009, starting with eight dates across Ireland and the UK, the first of which was in Dublin on 13 October 2009. They gave their “first public performance and interview anywhere in the world for 19 years” on Jonathan Ross’s BBC television show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 24 April 2009. The group released both their new album Once More, which featured two new songs plus reworked versions of their previous material, and the single of the same name on 19 October 2009.Virgin Media awarded Spandau Ballet as the Best Comeback of 2009 in their Virgin Media Awards.

Aretha Franklin

American musician, singer, songwriter, and pianist Aretha Louise Franklin was born March 25th, 1942. In a recording career that has spanned over half a century, Franklin’s repertoire has included gospel, jazz, blues, R&B, pop, rock and funk. Franklin is known as one of the most important popularizers of the soul music genre and is referred to as the Queen of Soul, a title she was given early in her career. Franklin, the daughter of prominent Baptist minister and activist C. L. Franklin, began her singing career singing in her father’s church at the age of ten and started recording four years later. After several years in the gospel circuit and with her father’s blessing, she formed a secular pop music career at the age of eighteen, signing with Columbia Records, where she was branded by its CEO John Hammond as his most important act since Billie Holiday. Franklin’s Columbia period wasn’t as successful as hoped and in late 1966, Franklin switched over to Atlantic Records, where she began recording a string of popular hits including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Think”, “Chain of Fools” and what later became her signature song, “Respect”.

Franklin continued to record a string of popular singles throughout the early 1970s, reaching her peak as an albums artist with 1970′s Spirit in the Dark, 1971′s Young, Gifted & Black and the 1972 gospel record, Amazing Grace, which became the best-selling pure gospel album of all time. Franklin’s success in Atlantic peaked after the release of the singles, “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”, “I’m in Love” and “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” and the 1976 soundtrack to the movie, Sparkle and Franklin left the label in 1980 to sign with Clive Davis’ Arista Records label where she switched over from soul and funk music to a more conservative urban adult contemporary sound in the albums, Aretha and Love All the Hurt Away, before regaining commercial success with the 1982 Gold album, Jump to It, produced by R&B hitmaker Luther Vandross.

In 1984, Franklin added modern day pop rock and dance elements to her sound, which was integral to the success of her 1985 Platinum album, Who’s Zoomin’ Who?, which spawned the hits “Freeway of Love”, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” and the Eurythmics members Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart featured “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”. The 1986 release, Aretha, featured her seventeenth Top 10 single – a #1 duet with George Michael entitled “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me”. Afterwards Aretha did not return to the Gold standard until the release of 1998′s A Rose Is Still a Rose, which incorporated modern day contemporary R&B and which the title track returned Franklin to the top 40 of the pop charts.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” list, as well as the ninth greatest artist of all time. She has won a total of 20 career Grammy Awards, including two honorary Grammys, and she is one of the best-selling female artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. In 1987, Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On August 14, 2012, Franklin was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Tolkien Reading Day

March 25th has been designated Tolkien Reading Day in honour of the. English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor J R R Tolkien, CBE, whois Best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. He was Born on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein. His first novel was The Hobbit was Published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim.

THE HOBBIT

The Hobbit is Set in a time “Between the Dawn of Færie and the Dominion of Men”, and follows the dangerous and exciting quest of Bilbo Baggins who joins the Wizard Gandalf and a company of thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Okenshield on a dangerous journey to the Lonely Mountain, to reclaim the Dwarf kingdom of Erabor and the many treasures which have been stolen by the fearsome dragon Smaug. Along the way they encounter many hazards including Cave Trolls, Giant Spiders, Hordes of Orcs and Imprisonment by the Elves of Mirkwood Forest. As if that wasn’t enough something decidedly dodgy is also stirring in the Fortress of Dol Gulder, to the South-East of Mirkwood which is taken over by an evil Necromancer. The story culminates in a big battle between the men of Dale, The Elves of Mirkwood, The Dwarves of Erabor, the Hordes of Orcs and the Eagles as they all try to reclaim the treasure stolen by Smaug.

 

THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Tolkien was asked to write a follow up to the Hobbit and his next novel The Lord of the Rings was Published as three volumes ,as The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. The title of the novel refers to the story’s main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who Long before the events of the novel created One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth and corrupt everyone. He is defeated in battle, and Isildur cuts the One Ring from Sauron’s finger, claiming it as an heirloom for his line. Sadly Isildur is killed by Orcs in the Gladden Fields, and the Ring is lost in the River Anduin.

Over two thousand years later, the Ring is found by a river-dwelling stoor called Déagol. His friend Sméagol immediately falls under the Ring’s spell and strangles Deagol. Sméagol is banished and hides under the Misty Mountains, where the Ring extends his lifespan and gradually transforms him into a twisted, corrupted creature called Gollum. Sadly He loses the Ring during The Hobbit, and Bilbo Baggins finds it. Meanwhile, Sauron takes a new physical form and reoccupies his old realm of Mordor. Gollum sets out in search of the Ring, but is captured by Sauron, who learns from him that Bilbo Baggins now has it. Gollum is set loose, and Sauron, who needs the Ring to regain his full power, sends forth the evil Nazgûl, to seize it. Meanwhile back in the Shire, the hobbit Frodo Baggins inherits the Ring from Bilbo, his cousin and guardian. Neither is aware of its origin, however Gandalf the Grey, a wizard and old friend of Bilbo, suspects the Ring’s evil provenance and advises Frodo to take it away from the Shire. So Frodo leaves, accompanied by his gardener and friend, Samwise (“Sam”) Gamgee, and two cousins, Meriadoc (“Merry”) Brandybuck and Peregrin (“Pippin”) Took.

They are nearly captured by the Nazgûl, but escape, aided by the enigmatic Tom Bombadil, who seems curiously unaffected by the Ring’s corrupting influence. After stopping in the town of Bree they meet Aragorn, Isildur’s heir. They flee from Bree after narrowly escaping another assault, but the Nazgûl attack them on the hill of Weathertop, wounding Frodo with a Morgul blade. Aragorn leads the hobbits toward the Elven refuge of Rivendell, while Frodo gradually succumbs to the wound. The Ringwraiths nearly overtake Frodo at the Ford of Bruinen. Frodo recovers in Rivendell under the care of Lord Elrond. The Council of Elrond reveals much significant history about Sauron and the Ring, as well as the news that Sauron has corrupted Gandalf’s fellow wizard, Saruman. The Council decides that the best course of action is to destroy the Ring, which can only be done by returning it to the flames of Mount Doom in Mordor, where it was forged. So the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise “Sam” Gamgee, Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck and Peregrin “Pippin” Took, aided by Aragorn, a Human Ranger; Boromir, son of the Ruling Steward Denethor of the realm of Gondor; Gimli, a Dwarf warrior; Legolas, an Elven prince; and Gandalf, a Wizard set off on a perilous quest across Middle Earth to destroy the Ring in the Fires of Mount Doom. Encountering many dangers along the way including The Machinations of corrupted wizard Saruman, The Nazgul, Hordes of vicious orcs, and The Ancient Demonic and fiery Balrog. However They are helped along by Galadriel and Celeborn after they take refuge in the Elven forest of Lothlórien.

THE TWO TOWERS

Merry & Pippin are captured by Orcs but manage to escape and are befriended by Treebeard, the oldest of the tree-like Ents. who roused from their customarily peaceful ways by Merry and Pippin, attack Isengard, Saruman’s stronghold, and trap the wizard in the tower of Orthanc. The rest of the company ride to Edoras, the capital of Rohan, where they meet Théoden, King of Rohan, whom Gandalf convinces to ride to the ancient fortress of Helm’s Deep to engage Saruman’s forces, and are joined by company of the Rohirrim. Gandalf then convinces Treebeard to send an army of Huorns to the aid of Théoden at Helm’s Deep, and the Huorns destroy Saruman’s army. Frodo and Sam capture Gollum, who had been following them from Moria, and force him to guide them to Mordor. Finding Mordor’s Black Gate too dangerous to attempt, they travel instead to a secret passage Gollum knows. Torn between his loyalty to Frodo and his desire for the Ring, Gollum eventually betrays Frodo by leading him to the great spider Shelob in the tunnels of Cirith Ungol. Frodo is felled by Shelob’s bite, but Sam fights her off. Sam takes the Ring and leaves Frodo, believing him to be dead. When orcs find Frodo, Sam overhears them say that Frodo is only unconscious, and Sam determines to rescue him.

THE RETURN OF THE KING

Having been defeated at Helm’s Deep Sauron unleashes a heavy assault upon Gondor. Gandalf arrives with Pippin at Minas Tirith to alert Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, of the impending attack. The city is besieged, and Denethor, under the influence of Sauron through another palantír, despairs and commits suicide, nearly taking his remaining son Faramir with him. With time running out, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli take the Paths of the Dead, where Aragorn raises an undead army of oath-breakers bound by an ancient curse. The ghostly army help them to defeat the Corsairs of Umbar invading southern Gondor. The forces of Gondor and Rohan break the siege of Minas Tirith. Sam rescues Frodo from the tower of Cirith Ungol, and they cross Mordor. Meanwhile, in order to distract Sauron, Aragorn leads the the armies of Gondor and Rohan in a march on the Black Gate of Mordor where His vastly outnumbered troops fight desperately against Sauron’s armies. Meanwhile At the edge of the Cracks of Doom, Frodo is unable to resist the Ring any longer, and claims it for himself then Gollum suddenly reappears wanting “his precious” back.

THE SILMARILLION

after Tolkien’s publisher requested a sequel to The Hobbit, Tolkien originally sent them an early draft of The Silmarillion which comprises five parts. The first part, Ainulindalë, tells of the creation of Eä, the “world that is”. Valaquenta, the second part, gives a description of the Valar and Maiar, the supernatural powers in Eä. The next section, Quenta Silmarillion, which forms the bulk of the collection, chronicles the history of the events before and during the First Age, including the wars over the Silmarils. The fourth part, Akallabêth, relates the history of the Downfall of Númenor and its people, which takes place in the Second Age. The final part, “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age”, is a brief account of the circumstances preceding The Lord of the Rings.

Ainulindalë

The first section of The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë (“The Music of the Ainur”), takes the form of a primary creation narrative. Eru (“The One”, also called Ilúvatar (“Father of All”), first created the Ainur, a group of eternal spirits or demiurges, called “the offspring of his thought”. Ilúvatar brought the Ainur together and showed them a theme, from which he bade them make a great music. Melkor — whom Ilúvatar had given the “greatest power and knowledge” of all the Ainur — broke from the harmony of the music to develop his own song. Some Ainur joined him, while others continued to follow Ilúvatar, causing discord in the music. This happened thrice, with Eru Ilúvatar successfully overpowering his rebellious subordinate with a new theme each time. Ilúvatar then stopped the music and showed them a vision of Arda and its peoples. The vision disappeared after a while, and Ilúvatar offered the Ainur a chance to enter into Arda and govern over the new world. Many Ainur descended, taking physical form and becoming bound to that world. The greater Ainur became known as Valar, while the lesser Ainur were called Maiar. The Valar attempted to prepare the world for the coming inhabitants (Elves and Men), while Melkor, who wanted Arda for himself, repeatedly destroyed their work; this went on for thousands of years until, through waves of destruction and creation, the world took shape. Valaquenta “Account of the Valar” describes Melkor and each of the 14 Valar in detail, as well as a few of the Maiar. It also reveals how Melkor seduced many Maiar — including Sauron into serving him.

QUENTA SILMARILLION

Quenta Silmarillion (“The History of the Silmarils”) is a series of interconnected tales set in the First Age concerning three jewels, called the Silmarils. It features the God-like Valar, who create the world for Elves and Men, but are continually plagued by the evil Melkor, who keeps destroying their work. First Melkor destroys the two lights that illuminated the world leaving the world in darkness, so the Valar move to Aman, a continent to the west of Middle-earth, and establish Valinor, illuminated by Two trees. Soon stars began to shine on Middle Earth waking the Elves so the Valar try to keep them safe from Melkor, who is eventually captured. The Elves are invited to live in Aman and some leave, while others stay in Middle Earth, including the Sindar, who are ruled by the Elf King Thingol and Melian, a Maia. Three Elf tribes set out- the Vanyar, Noldor, and the Teleri.  Fëanor, son of Finwë, King of the Noldor, then creates the Silmarils, which glow with the light of the Two Trees. However after being released Melkor, destroyd the Two Trees with the help of Ungoliant, kills Finwë, and steals the Silmarils, fleeing to Middle-earth, and attacking the Elvish kingdom of Doriath. However he is defeated in the first of five battles of Beleriand, and barricades himself in his northern fortress of Angband. So Fëanor and his sons swear an oath of vengeance against Melkor and anyone who withholds the Silmarils from them, inclluding the Valar. The Noldor pursue Melkor, whom Fëanor renames Morgoth. Fëanor’s sons seize ships from the Teleri, attacking and killing many of them, and leave the other Noldor to make the voyage by foot. Upon arriving in Middle-earth, the Noldor under Fëanor attack Melkor and defeat him, though Fëanor is killed by a Balrog . After a period of peace, Melkor attacks the Noldor but is defeated and besiege for 400 years before eventually breaking the siege and driving the Noldor back. Following the destruction of the Trees and the theft of the Silmaril, the Valar create the moon and sun, which awakens Men who settle in Beleriand and ally themselves to the Elves.

Beren a man who had survived the latest battle, arrives in Doriath, falls in love with the elf named Lúthien, the king’s daughter. However the king tries to prevent their marriage by imposing an impossible task: retrieving one of the Silmarils from Melkor. So Beren and Lúthien set out to retrieve a Silmaril but are caught and imprisoned by Sauron a powerful servant of Melkor, however the manage to escape and get inside Melkor’s fortress at Angband before taking a Silmaril from Melkor’s Crown. Having achieved the task, the first union of man and elf was formed, though Beren was soon mortally wounded and Lúthien also died of grief. The Noldor, seeing that a mortal and an elf-woman could infiltrate Angband, attacked again with a great army of Elves, Dwarves and Men. But are deceived by Melkor, and defeated. However, many Men remained loyal to the Elves and were honoured thereafter.

None received more honour than the brothers Húrin and Huor. Melkor captured Húrin, and cursed him to watch the downfall of his kin. Húrin’s son, Túrin Turambar, was sent to Doriath, leaving his mother and unborn sister behind in his father’s kingdom (which had been overrun by the enemy). Túrin achieved many great deeds of valor, the greatest being the defeat of the dragon Glaurung. Despite his heroism, however, Túrin was plagued by the curse of Melkor, which led him unwittingly to murder his friend Beleg and to marry and impregnate his sister Nienor, whom he had never met before, and who had lost her memory through Glaurung’s enchantment. Before their child was born, the bewitchment was lifted as the dragon lay dying. Nienor, realizing what grew within her, took her own life. Upon learning the truth, Túrin threw himself on his sword. Huor’s other son, Tuor, became involved in the fate of the hidden Noldorin kingdom of Gondolin. He married Idril, daughter of Turgon, Lord of Gondolin (the second union between Elves and Men). When Gondolin fell, betrayed from within by Maeglin, Tuor saved many of its inhabitants from destruction. All of the Elvish kingdoms in Beleriand eventually fell, and the refugees fled to a haven by the sea created by Tuor. The son of Tuor and Idril, Eärendil the Half-elven, was betrothed to Elwing, herself descended from Beren and Lúthien. Elwing brought Eärendil the Silmaril of Beren and Lúthien, and using its light Eärendil travelled across the sea to Aman to seek help from the Valar. The Valar obliged; they attacked and defeated Melkor, completely destroying his fortress Angband and sinking most of Beleriand; and they expelled Melkor from Arda. This ended the First Age of Middle-earth. Eärendil and Elwing had two children: Elrond and Elros. As descendants of immortal elves and mortal men, they were given the choice of which lineage to belong to: Elrond chose to belong to the Elves, while his brother Elros became the first king of Numenor

AKALLABETH

Akallabêth (“The Downfallen” recounts the rise and fall of the island kingdom of Númenor, inhabited by the Dúnedain. After the defeat of Melkor, the Valar gave the island to the three loyal houses of Men who had aided the Elves in the war against him. Through the favor with the Valar, the Dúnedain were granted wisdom and power and life more enduring than any other of mortal race had possessed, making them comparable to the High-Elves of Aman. Indeed, the isle of Númenor lay closer to Aman than to Middle-earth. But their power lay in their bliss and their acceptance of mortality. The fall of Númenor was brought about by the corrupted Maia Sauron (formerly a chief servant of Melkor), who arose during the Second Age and tried to conquer Middle-earth.The Númenóreans moved against Sauron, who saw that he could not defeat them with force and allowed himself to be taken as a prisoner to Númenor. There he quickly enthralled the king, Ar-Pharazôn, urging him to seek out the immortality that the Valar had apparently denied him, thus nurturing the seeds of envy that the Númenóreans had begun to hold against the Elves of the West and the Valar. So it was that all the knowledge and power of Númenor was turned towards seeking an avoidance of death; but this only weakened them and sped the gradual waning of the lifespans to something more similar to that of other Men. Sauron urged them to wage war against the Valar themselves to win immortality, and to worship his old master Melkor, whom he said could grant them their wish. Ar-Pharazôn created the mightiest army and fleet Númenor had seen, and sailed against Aman.

The Valar and Elves of Aman, stricken with grief over their betrayal, called on Ilúvatar for help. When Ar-Pharazôn landed, Ilúvatar destroyed his fleet and drowned Númenor itself as punishment for the rebellion against the rightful rule of the Valar. Ilúvatar created a great wave, such as had never before been seen, which utterly destroyed and submerged the isle of Númenor, killing all but those Dúnedain who had already sailed east, and changing the shape of all the lands of Middle-earth. Sauron’s physical manifestation was also destroyed in the ruin of Númenor, but as a Maia his spirit returned to Middle-earth, now robbed of the fair form he once had. Some Númenóreans who had remained loyal to the Valar were spared and were washed up on the shores of Middle-earth, where they founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor. Among these survivors were Elendil their leader, and his two sons Isildur and Anárion who had also saved a seedling from Númenor´s white tree, the ancestor of that of Gondor. They founded the Númenórean Kingdoms in Exile: Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south. Elendil reigned as High-king of both kingdoms, but committed the rule of Gondor jointly to Isildur and Anárion. The power of the kingdoms in exile was greatly diminished from that of Númenor, “yet very great it seemed To the Wild Men of Mddle Earth.

The Children of Húrin was also published posthumously by Christopher Tolkien and tells the story of the Children of Hurin Thalion who was chained to a rock by the evil Melkur/Morgoth and forced to watch the ultimately tragic downfall of his son Túrin Turambar who is separated from his sister Nienor from an early age and sent to Doriath. At first Turin proves himself to be a mighty warrior and achieves many great deeds in Middle Earth and defeats many enemies. However he falls foul of the sinister machinations of the evil dragon Glaurung around the fall of Elven kingdom of Gondolin. The material was compiled by Christopher Tolkien from The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, and other unpublished manuscripts.

Southern Sunset

34027 Taw Valley

Southern Region Battle of Britain class Locomotive no. 34081 “92 Squadron” will be in steam alongside No. “34027 Taw Valley” for the Severn Valley Railway’s Southern Sunset weekend which takes place on March 25th & 26th. The other Southern Region Battle of Britain class Pacific Locomotive normally at the Severn Valley Railway “No.34053 Sir Keith Park” is currently at Swanage Railway for their “Strictly Bulleid” event.

SR West Country Class 4-6-2 Pacific no 34027 Taw Valley was designed by Oliver Bulleid, CME of the Southern Railway (SR). Lighter in weight than their sister locomotives, the Merchant Navy class, they could be used on a wide variety of routes including in the south-west of England and the Kent coast. They were a mixed-traffic design, being used for both passenger and freight trains, and were rated 7P6F by British Railways. Originally built with innovative features including air-smoothed casings and chain-driven valve gear, many of the locomotives including 34027 were rebuilt by British Railways in the late 1950’s.

Taw Valley was built in 1946 at the SR’s Brighton Works and named after a river in Devon. It was originally allocated to Ramsgate where it entered service as SR number 21C127. The locomotive was re-numbered 34027 by BR following nationalisation. In 1947 Taw Valley moved to Exmouth Junction, working mainly in Devon and Cornwall, where it hauled named trains such as the ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ and ‘Devon Belle’. In 1957, after being rebuilt, Taw Valley moved to the Southeast and worked commuter services from Brighton. Following transfer to Salisbury in 1963, Taw Valley was withdrawn from service by BR in August 1964 and towed to Barry Scrapyard. After being saved from Barry, Taw Valley’s restoration began elsewhere. The locomotive was moved to the SVR in August 1985 by her then owners, Bert Hitchen and Brian Cooke.

Restoration was completed in October 1987 when trial running began. The locomotive entered service in June 1998, with a formal re-naming ceremony taking place on 4 June. Following a loaded test run from Derby to Sheffield and back in May 1989, Taw Valley spent a good deal of time on the main line as well as on the SVR. This included regular excursions on the North Wales Coast Express in 1989 and 1990, and the Welsh Marches Express in 1991. In summer 1991, SVR News announced that Taw Valley was unlikely to return to the SVR after its current commitments. A brief return to the SVR took place between July and early September 1992 following which the locomotive again left the Railway.

By 2000, Taw Valley was working on the main line, appearing around the country as ‘Hogwarts Express’ to publicise the Harry Potter books. The locomotive arrived back on the SVR on 11 April 2001, having been put up for sale by Bert Hitchen and acquired by long-standing SVR member Phil Swallow. The boiler was re-stayed within this ticket during the summer of 1982. Main line running continued until May 2005. This included a number of rail tours in which the locomotive ran as sister locomotive 34045 Ottery St Mary. The locomotive also appeared in the Autumn Steam Gala of 2005 as 34036 Westward Ho, the last gala appearance before going out of ticket.

Taw Valley’s heavy overhaul began spring 2006 and Taw Valley re-entered service on 16 May 2015, hauling a “British Pullman” rail tour consisting of 12 coaches and a Class 67 diesel from Bewdley to Bridgnorth, and an SVR service from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. Taw Valley is the only SVR steam locomotive, apart from 600 Gordon, equipped to work with air braked rolling stock. Taw Valley is currently in BR Green livery featuring the ‘Late Crest’. The coat of arms on her name plate were not carried in service.