Archive for December 23, 2011

Congratulations to Dennis and Val Carter, winners of The Health Lottery’s first ever double top prize draw. A whopping £200K! Dennis and Val were “blown away” when staff at their local Tesco (where the lucky couple bought the winning ticket)  

got in touch with the good news

The level headed winners are going to splash out on a lovely new car, but the rest will make a healthy nest egg for their retirement. Will you be as sensible if you’re this week’s £200K Christmas winner?

The winners show off the£200,000 ticket.

Companies will be banned from applying “hidden” credit and debit card surcharges to push up the price of flights, concert tickets and other goods.

The Government has signalled it will put a stop to the controversial practice by the end of 2012 following a call by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The OFT had said the fees, often added in the final stages of a transaction, should be blocked for debit cards – but the ban will also extend to credit cards.

Most retail sectors will be covered and businesses will still be able to add a small but not excessive charge to cover the cost of a payment method.


Credit cardsIt was estimated debit card surcharges were adding £265,000 a day to the cost of flights

Treasury minister Mark Hoban said consumers should be able to see “up front” how much they will have to pay.

“We want consumers to be able to shop around,” he said.

“They have a right to understand the charges they may incur up front and not be hit through a hidden last-minute payment surcharge.”


A European Union ban on businesses including airlines from imposing above-cost surcharges was due to come into force in mid-2014.

But Mr Hoban said the Government was keen to act sooner, saying it was “leading the way in Europe by stopping this practice”.

Consumer champion Which? submitted a ‘super-complaint’ backed by tens of thousands of supporters to the OFT earlier this year.

It claimed debit card surcharges were adding £265,000 a day to the cost of flights.

The OFT found considerable evidence of companies using “drip pricing” practices for surcharges online – adding payment charges to the total price only after consumers have filled in a number of web pages to make their purchase.


Debit Card Surcharges

:: EasyJet – £8 per person

:: Ryanair – £6 per person

:: DVLA – £2.50 per person

:: Actual cost to retailer – 20p


Source: Which?

eRetail Growth

Which? finance editor James Daley, who sits on the Sky News Money Panel and has repeatedly called for the changes, welcomed the news but added a note of caution.

“Given that the new regulations won’t come into force for a year, we’d like to see airlines doing the right thing and scrapping charges for paying by debit card immediately,” he told Sky News Online.

“Our fear, however, is that some airlines will wait until the very last minute to make these changes – and some may even increase their charges further in the meantime.

“Since we launched our super-complaint last year, a handful of airlines have already increased their fees for paying by card – or even introduced these charges for the first time.

“We hope that doesn’t happen again now. It’s time for airlines to realise that the game is up for these kind of charges, and they now need to be ready to move to a more transparent pricing system.”

HOST families are needed in Redditch, Bromsgrove and Droitwich by Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline (CCLL) to help children suffering as a result of the devastating Chernobyl disaster in April 1986.

The people of Belarus are suffering more than ever before from the legacy of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

CCLL was formed to help the children of Belarus. There are now around 165 links throughout the UK who raise funds to bring groups of children to the UK for respite care.

There is a network of support for host families – they are not on their own – the children are encouraged to participate in the range of activities organised by CCLL on their behalf.

The children are selected because they have had cancer and are now in remission after treatment, they live in one of the contaminated parts of the country, or they have been evacuated from a heavily contaminated area. Just six per cent of children in Belarus are healthy.

Host Denise Buggins, from Bromsgrove, said: “A decade ago, a friend of mine read a request in a newspaper from a group who were looking for a Belarussian speaking Father Christmas for a party being hosted for children from Belarus.

“He agreed to go along and I went along with him. He had often spoken to me about the effects people had suffered from the disaster and how he sends parcels etc to his family.

“I spoke to the group leader at the party who told me how difficult it is to find host families to commit and by the end of the evening after spending time with the children my mind was made up.

“I have been to Belarus and visited the children and the families and the parents have told me how much healthier the children are after returning from a stay in the UK.

“Most of the children come from loving and hardworking families who have very little but put the children on a long waiting list in the hopes that they will get the recuperation which can add up to two years on their life.”

For more details about how to get involved, call Denise Buggins on 07754963505 or e-mail

 five members of UB40, who notched up more than 50 chart hits in Britain, have been declared bankrupt.

 MIDLAND chart star Terrence ‘Astro’ Wilson from reggae pop giants UB40 has been forced to put his £1 million pound house up for sale after being declared bankrupt.


The Sunday Mercury revealed in October how the 54-year-old musician was one of four band members made bankrupt, and now he and his wife are looking to ‘downsize’.

Astro, one of the founding members of UB40 back in 1978, is selling the family’s former Victorian schoolhouse in affluent Barnt Green, near Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire.

It boasts an acre of land, a billiards room and a music studio. And, as our pictures reveal, no expense has been spared converting the property into a mansion fit for reggae royalty.

The six-bedroom house, named Tanglewood, has been valued at £1,150,000 and also boasts a luxury kitchen, bathroom and five bedrooms. It is approached through electronic gates.

Estate agents Judith Hitchin say the house includes “welcoming reception hall, sumptuous drawing room, sitting room, superb breakfast kitchen, master bedroom suite with dressing room and wet room, guest bedroom with wet room, four further bedrooms, detached garaging, detached studio and cellars.”

An impressive reception hall apparently boasts a period fire surround and polished wood floor. The drawing room, described as “sumptuous”, has an ornate carved chimney piece, wood flooring and views across the gardens.

There is a smaller sitting room and a formal dining room with an open fireplace.

The kitchen breakfast room has a central island and range cooker, plus breakfast area with ample space for table and chairs. A cellar, guest cloaks and laundry complete the ground floor list.

First floor bedrooms are said to be “beautifully presented”. There is a “fabulous” master bedroom suite with its own dressing and sitting room, five further bedrooms, a wet room and family bathroom.


Astro’s wife, Dawn Wilson, revealed that the family are moving because they are downsizing, but hope to stay in Barnt Green.

“I think we’d like somewhere with a little less land,” she said. “This has got an acre. We have made it as manageable as possible as it is mostly lawns, but there are still borders that have to be tended.

“My late mum used to be my main gardener, she was a real Trojan.”

In total, five members of UB40, who notched up more than 50 chart hits in Britain, have been declared bankrupt.

Trumpeter Astro, sax player Brian Travers, drummer Jimmy Brown and percussionist Norman Hassan were declared bankrupt at a Birmingham County Court hearing. Frontman Ali Campbell had earlier been made bankrupt at Bournemouth County Court.

A fifth original member of UB40, Robin Campbell, was also involved in the Birmingham County Court hearing although is not listed as bankrupt. A sixth member – keyboard player Mickey Virtue, 54, – has never been part of the bankruptcy case.

It remains unclear why the band suffered a financial meltdown but it is believed to be the result of a bitter bust-up over band finances which split the group following the collapse of their management company DEP International.

Despite being declared bankrupt, UB40 are understood to be recording a new album at a studio in Redditch, Worcestershire and plan tour dates in the new year. Mr Wilson was unavailable for comment last night.