Diary

A team from Colliers International has raised thousands of pounds for charity with a sponsored bike ride along the River Danube from Bratislava to Budapest.

The team of 50 staff from around the UK made the 270km ride in Slovakia and Hungary last month to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and the North West Children's Support Group. So far, £16,000 has been collected.

Bristol office head Stephen Lipfriend said: "The ride took us along the Danube cycle route following the river from below the castle walls of Bratislava into the ancient Hungarian capital of Budapest. So it was a spectacular trip, made even more special by being able to help two very deserving charities."

Elsewhere, three members of Drivers Jonas Deloitte's Birmingham planning team are set to scale one of the world's highest peaks to raise money for charity.

Fiona Brereton, Lucy Wilson and Simon Zargar will be climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise funds for charity partners Help for Heroes, Cancer Research, Children with Leukaemia and the National Rainforest Trust.

The trio leave tomorrow and will be climbing up for four days and down for two days, returning on 8 November. They have already raised more than £6,500 by organising various office activities including a sporting auction, cake sales and dress-down days.

The National Trust isn't just about preserving our heritage. Three of its locations have been used in a dark silver screen comedy about infamous 19th century body-snatchers.

Burke and Hare, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis, chose Osterley House in Middlesex, Knole in Kent and West Wycombe Hill in Buckinghamshire as backdrops for grizzly scenes including human dissection, a macabre Edinburgh market place and a grave robbery.

The film, which is showing in cinemas from today, follows the lives of William Burke and William Hare as they go about making a hefty profit from dead bodies.

It has been put together under the command of director John Landis, whose credits include An American Werewolf in London and The Blues Brothers.

At West Wycombe Hill, a false graveyard was constructed under the watchful gaze of trust archaeologists. Gardens and countryside manager Neil Harris explains: "One night scene was lit from above by a huge light on an even larger crane. The whole hilltop was shrouded in dry ice, which really added to the spooky effect."

At Knole, a huge market scene was created in the courtyard. More than 200 cast and crew, 300 extras, 30 sheep, 20 chickens, 15 Highland cattle, ten geese, nine horses and two dogs were involved in the scene.

Meanwhile, in a scene shot at Osterley House, the servants' hall doubled up as a dissection room. Lauren Taylor from the trust's film unit performed a vital role holding up sheets of plastic to protect the interiors of the 18th century mansion from squirting blood. "It's not all costume drama at National Trust places," she says.

Should you find any stories that might interest Diary, please email planning@haymarket.com.


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