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After months of scheduling uncertainty and far from the summer sunshine of a typical cup final, we finally saw the conclusion of the 2020 RAF Football season, and it was worth the wait.
Even before kick-off, the fixture was already a success story. To even play the final, adhering to COVID-19 regulations, is a credit to all those involved in the organisational side of RAF Football, On a brisk afternoon in Oxford, the stage was set for 2020 RAF Cup final, RAF Marham vs RAF Odiham.
It was Odiham who were caught cold off the start. Marham forced all the early pressure, dominating the ball without creating any clear openings on goal. Barber, in particular, looked lively as the creator-in-chief. A tame freekick warmed the keeper’s palms, signalling their early intent before the Norfolk side came inches away from taking the lead. After 14 minutes, an inswinging corner was crashed against the crossbar by Coles from point-blank range, somehow bouncing to safety.
Thankfully, someone had the foresight to bring a number of match balls for the game, as they were flying into the adjacent trees quicker than the local birds in mating season.
Marham’s fast start was rewarded with a penalty midway through the first period. Moxon span away from the defender and glided into the box, where he was felled for the spot-kick. The captain, Martyn Williams, stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way for his fifth goal of the competition. A well-earned lead.
Odiham slowly grasped a foothold in the game after the opening goal. A flurry of set pieces might have failed to produce an equaliser, but gave the Hampshire side belief going into half-time. A long throw flicked onto the inside of the far post showed the woodwork was feeling equally cruel at either end.
Both teams came out firing after the break. A number of committed tackles tested the nerve of the referee, with both Odiham centre halves booked before the hour mark. Credit goes to both the officials and the players for ensuring the game simmered at a competitive nature, apt for a cup final, without ever crossing into ill-discipline.
In the end, it was a set-piece that finally broke the Marham resistance. Lovely footwork from Meggison drew the foul. A free kick, fired in from 25 yards out, could only be parried by the goalkeeper into the onrushing Jones who made no mistake from two yards out. A crucial goal to set up a tense final twenty minutes.
Chances were few and far between as both sides pushed for the winner. The defences held firm until Duxberry stole in behind for Odiham, but the lofted pass wouldn’t drop for a clear opportunity. The weight of ninety minutes of high-intensity football was clear on each team as the clock ticked down.
Extra time seemed only fitting for this marathon season. If we have waited six months for a winner, another thirty minutes can’t hurt? Both teams were eager to get back underway in the pale December sunshine before the cramp set in. At this point, the match ball situation was approaching a crisis – only a charmed couple remained within the confines of the stadium.
As fatigue kicked in, the game opened up, with the goalkeepers at either end pulling off a series of vital saves to keep the score level at a goal apiece. Odiham’s Adam Loveridge beat the offside trap but saw his shot saved by the outstretched leg of Truman. With less than ten minutes of extra time to play, the prospect of a penalty shoot-out loomed large on the horizon.
Yet the number nine refused to be denied his goal. Moments later, a dinked ball into the box wasn’t claimed by defender nor keeper, allowing Loveridge to steal in and slot the ball into the empty net. His goal sent the Odiham bench into wild celebrations, although whether that was at the prospect of winning a first RAF Cup or not having to visit Sports Direct and buy more footballs for penalties is anyone’s guess.
Despite late Marham pressure, RAF Odiham stood firm to end an elongated season in victorious fashion, winning a first RAF Cup in their history. Adam Loveridge clinched man of the match for his title-winning goal and performance. It was a fantastic contest from both teams and a fitting finale to the 2020 RAF Football calendar. Hopefully, next season will have all the same quality, without the disruptions.
The magnificent moustaches of SecureCloud+
At SecureCloud+, a number of our employees have been taking part in Movember, a charity challenge aimed at promoting awareness of men’s health.
Globally, men die on average six years earlier than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable. One man every minute is lost to suicide around the world each day, yet it remains a taboo topic. Likewise, stigmas surrounding testicular and prostate cancer can stop men getting the help they need.
Today is the first of December, so the facial monstrosities will be no more. Yet, staying healthy takes more than an evening with Gillette. Whether it is spending time with a friend, visiting the GP, or going for a lunchtime stroll, maintaining your physical and mental health can take a lifetime.
The Movember charity targets these stigmas that surround all facets of men’s wellbeing.
Thank you to all those who participated and donated. The £620 raised will help fund world class programmes that are saving and improving the lives of men.
SecureCloud+ are excited to announce that we have been shortlisted as a finalist for the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Business Awards 2020. The award we have been shortlisted for is the ‘Science, Technology and Innovation Award’. Despite disruptions to the business calendar and social distancing restrictions, the awards ceremony will go on with the Chambers’ first ever virtual awards ceremony taking place on Thursday 19 November from 6:30pm.
The Chambers of Commerce Awards ceremony hosted by Radio DJ, Ed James will see a host of organisations large and small companies meet via an online format.
‘We are delighted to be recognised amongst a plethora of great companies that are driving innovation in the Staffordshire area’, said Rob Gittins – COO of SecureCloud+. ‘Being placed as finalists for this award is a testament to the growth SecureCloud+ has gone through, with our Research and Development facility in Stoke on Trent being at the centre of our intent for innovation. We look forward to pushing various projects from our facility and producing high quality jobs in the Staffordshire area.’
The criteria which placed SecureCloud+ in the coveted category was the company’s record in delivering technologically advanced solutions, managing complex projects and protecting secure networks on time and within budget.
The Poppy Appeal for Remembrance Day was very different this year for The Royal British Legion. With thousands of poppy collectors unable to sell poppies due to Covid-19, and with various events cancelled, SecureCloud+ volunteered to sell poppies to their family and friends, because every poppy counted.
The poppies were hand-knitted by local friend of the company, Claire Maslen, who has been actively participating and collecting poppies for many years. ‘I got involved with making poppies over the last couple of years through the local group called ‘knit and stitch’, said Claire. ‘A lovely lady called Pam used to make them each year and raise money – however sadly after her passing earlier this year, we wanted to carry on in her memory to help The Royal British Legion. The Charity does fantastic work to make a difference to the Armed Forces community and have continued raising money even in the current pandemic. The generosity shown by SecureCloud+ will make such a difference to the charity”.
SecureCloud+ are pleased to announce that together with Claire, we have raised £465 for The Royal British Legion. To show their gratitude, SecureCloud+ agreed to double the amount raised by the public – making a grand total of £930 which has now been donated online.
‘We are grateful for the work our staff members have done locally for the Poppy Appeal’’, said Peter Williamson – CEO of SecureCloud+. ‘As an Armed Forces Gold Award holder, SecureCloud+ goes above and beyond in making a difference in the lives of our Armed Forces community.’
The Royal British Legion continues to offer support for many serving and ex-serving personnel and their families which is made possible by the public. For more information, please visit https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/poppy-appeal
SecureCloud+ have been formally Certified to ISO 20000-1:2018 which was received following a stage 2 certification audit which achieved zero major and zero minor non-conformities and no opportunities for improvement on the 23rd September 2020.
ISO 20000-1:2018 is a service management system (SMS) standard. It specifies requirements for the service provider to plan, establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain and improve an SMS.
Peter Jackson- Quality Assurance Manager for SecureCloud+ said, ‘Achieving ISO 20000-1 demonstrates SecureCloud+’s commitment to Service Management and with the full support of the Directors and senior management, we have accomplished embedding Service Management, information security and Quality management systems, principles and processes throughout the company that were never there before, in a time of 4 Years and 2 Months’.
SecureCloud+ had to implement several processes to successfully attain the certification. This included having a Document control system, objective setting and monitoring, risk assessments, operational planning and control, management review, corrective and preventive action principles and an audit programme. ‘This was a difficult standard to achieve and required a team effort by many departments, including the Service Operations, Product and Transition Delivery team, Sales, Project Management and the Administration team’, said Peter Williamson-CEO of SecureCloud+.
SecureCloud+ has developed a culture whereby the people and processes employed are focused on ensuring that we are perceived by our customers as a company whose solutions, services and support consistently outperforms those of our competitors.
For more information about our Quality Statement, please visit- https://www.securecloudplus.co.uk/about-us/quality-statement/
SecureCloud+ has been named the official kit supporter of Triton Hockey Club. Triton Hockey Club, who play their home matches at Alsager Sports Hub are looking to build on their success in the next few years. The Men’s 1st team have progressed several divisions up the ladder in the last 6 years, now playing in North Hockey League West Division 3.
The opportunity to support the club came from SecureCloud+ staff member- Alan Lewis, who is an active member of the Triton Hockey Club. Alan has been involved with the Club for around 15 years, since his eldest daughter started playing. In the recent years he has become more involved with being named Captain of their Men’s 3s and providing coaching for both the ladies section and our Juniors. Alan said, ‘’Being part of Triton Hockey has inspired my fitness goals and has been a great part of my social life since I took up playing around 7 years ago.’’
Peter Williamson – CEO of SecureCloud+ said, ‘’Supporting our staff in their community is something that SecureCloud+ prides itself in. We always encourage our staff to actively get involved in their local community whether it would be a charitable organisation or in sports. SecureCloud+ provides assistance where possible to ensure our staff are achieving their personal and career development goals. We wish the very best success to Triton Hockey Club for their upcoming season.’’
SecureCloud+ will be providing ongoing support to Alan’s team as well as being the official kit sponsor for the club.
Throughout my life, I have always had a particular interest in technology and especially computers. From playing console games to using PC’s to complete homework; I was always fascinated with technology and how things worked. My enthusiasm for IT started showing during my academic years and felt like a positive career choice moving forward. It was the time I started researching and exploring the career options available in IT as it had great prospects. However, I was still not quite sure at the time where I would land in the world of IT.
Fast forward a few years; I landed my first job working for a company that only focused primarily on networking. This was my first real insight into this segment of the industry. The business facilitated some training opportunities where I studied and gained Cisco CCNA Certifications.
As I progressed in my knowledge of IT, I joined SecureCloud+. The company was experiencing incredible amounts of growth and I was offered the opportunity to join the Service Desk.
This role allowed me to explore more sectors of IT and gave me valuable experience in providing a more technical hands on approach to fixing and resolving customer issues.
Working at SecureCloud+ has made me realise how important Cyber Security can be to all facets of IT. The company recognised this and selected me to start a Cyber Technologist Apprenticeship in order for me to gain knowledge on subjects such as Network and Digital Communications Theory, Cyber Security basics and other BCS endorsed subjects. In addition, I also completed a Cyber Security Bootcamp which gave me exposure to more in-depth topics such as Red and Blue teams and more niche subjects within the subject.
As I continue to push ahead on the Service Desk, this extra knowledge has enabled me to focus more on the IT Security side of the business. I now have responsibilities in Network monitoring, Next Generation Firewall configuration, Vulnerability assessments and providing advice and guidance on best security practice.
Cyber Security is a vital part of any business and there is a bright and busy future ahead for innovation.
SecureCloud+ have successfully raised £863 for Macmillan Cancer Support by taking part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.
On 25th September, SecureCloud+ hosted a Coffee morning from 9am-12pm in our Reading and Stoke on Trent offices. Each member of SecureCloud+ came together by participating through social distancing or virtually to take part in the morning to raise money for the charity. Everyone played a part by baking, playing games and having a general catch up with each other. In normal circumstances we would have loved to invite our outreach partners and associates. However, due to the current pandemic we were unable to do so.
It was a pleasure to be part of the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan and raise money for such a great cause. SecureCloud+ look forward to continuing supporting Macmillan in the following years to come.
SecureCloud+ has become a member of the Thames Valley Chambers of Commerce.
The Chambers provides a range of opportunities designed to help businesses promote and develop themselves to other members. The organisation connects local businesses together, helping to forge new alliances, gain trusted suppliers and find potential new customers. In addition, the membership will provide the company with essential services designed to help the business grow.
‘SecureCloud+ is pleased to become a member of the Thames Valley Chambers of Commerce and look forward to networking and collaborating with local businesses in the Thames Valley area. Being a member of the Chambers will provide valuable insight into business growth areas, increase our knowledge and skills through interaction with other businesses and enable us to connect and promote SecureCloud+ to the local community’, said Peter Williamson– Chief Executive Officer for SecureCloud+.
This union is a testament to SecureCloud+’s intent to connect with local businesses and expand on their business aspirations. SecureCloud+’s head office is based in Reading, this partnership will help develop future leaders and opportunities.
Now in its third year, the programme, which is supported by The Telegraph, celebrates the inspiring leaders behind some of the UK’s most successful and fast-growing medium-sized firms.
There were more than 350 nominations and those profiled hail from every corner of the country, operate across a multitude of industries, employ more than 5,250 people and collectively contribute more than £1bn to the UK economy.
You can find out more information on this year’s Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders programme here: https://bit.ly/2HE8SL7
John Garner of LDC added: “The UK has a long-standing reputation for its entrepreneurial endeavour, but there has never been a more important time to recognise or back ambition in British business. The LDC Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders aims to do just that. All of the inspiring leaders featured in our Top 50 this year have driven their business forward during a period of adversity, whether by expanding internationally, delivering real innovation, showcasing resilience or making a difference in their communities. They all deserve their place and I look forward to seeing their continued success.”
LDC is the UK’s leading mid-market private equity firm. Backed by Lloyds Banking Group, LDC is committed to investing £1.2bn over the next three years to support the ambitions of management teams leading mid-market businesses across the UK.