Plane-Mad Teen’s Family Are Raising Money To Fulfill His Dream Of Becoming A Pilot

Plane-Mad Teen’s Family Are Raising Money To Fulfill His Dream Of Becoming A Pilot

A photoshopped image showing Alex Rapson aged 18, with his younger self. Undated photographs. (Alex Rapson,SWNS/Zenger)



By Simona Kitanovska

The family of a plane-mad teen are raising money to help him fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot.


Alex Rapson, 18, has been obsessed by planes ever since was was a kid – and was determined to be an aviator from 11.

But he now needs thousands of dollars to follow the career.

Dad Leigh Rapson says Alex worked hard to get his A-Levels and now needs to attend a flight school but courses cost around an eyewatering 100,000 British pounds ($122,000).

Alex Rapson inside a flight simulator as a young boy. Undated photograph. (Alex Rapson,SWNS/Zenger)

The family from Plymouth in Devon, in the U.K., have already placed a 9,500 pounds ($11,600) deposit and with university grants, the total cost of the course falls to 75,100 pounds ($91,700).

They are now asking the public to help them raise 25,000 pounds ($30,500).

Alex said: ”I can still remember my first flight, Exeter to Paris Charles De Gaul.

”It was in 2010 and my man treated us to a trip to Disneyland Paris.

”I can’t remember too much of the trip but I can vividly remember most things to do with the flight there and I quickly became obsessed with aviation.”

A pilot course in Oxford Alex wants to attend costs a staggering 99,500 pounds ($121,600).

Alex said: “In my eyes, it’s a terrifying amount of money. It’s not affordable for families on lower income.

”That’s why I want to create a not-for-profit once I’ve passed my course and am in a job.

”I want to try and help other families who have dreams of becoming a pilot but are in the same boat where you don’t have access to tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

Having passed the entry exams for the course with flying colors, Alex is due to start the course in September, if the money can be raised.

In a bid to do everything they can to help his parents have taken up extra part-time jobs to help raise the funds.

“I am beyond grateful for what my parents are doing. I honestly cannot thank them enough for the hard work they are putting into my dream.” Alex said.

Leigh added: “Since Alex was around seven years old he was fascinated with planes – anywhere we went.

”He said he wanted to be a pilot from a young age and his dream to become a pilot has never wavered.

“It’s very much if you have 100,000 pounds [$122,000] to pay, brilliant, but if not, then do something else.

Alex Rapson with his grandad (name not given) in an undated photo. (Alex Rapson,SWNS/Zenger)

”It is about trying to break that mold as well. It should be an accessible career.

“I hope people see that we are two parents trying really hard to make sure our son can do what he wants to do in life.

”That comes with our own sacrifices, and we have made big sacrifices to try and do it and don’t want people to think we are begging because we can’t be bothered.

”That’s why the funding amount is 25,000 pounds [$30,500] and not 75,000 pounds [$91,600]. We are finding 50,000 pounds [$61,000] of it and we just need some help.”

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Hollywood Star Ryan Reynolds Surprised A Lifelong Fan With 100 Signed Copies Of His Own Movies

Hollywood Star Ryan Reynolds Surprised A Lifelong Fan With 100 Signed Copies Of His Own Movies

Wrexham co-owners Rob and Carrie Clarke, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in Mad4Movies while the stars were filming a documentary in Wrexham, Wales in October, 2021. (Rob Clarke,SWNS/Zenger)



By Simona Kitanovska

Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds surprised a DVD shop owner and lifelong fan with 100 signed copies of his own movies.


Movie nut Rob Clarke, 45, who runs Mad4Movies, in Wrexham, Wales, in the United Kingdom, couldn’t believe it when he got a message from the Deadpool actor on Twitter.

Dad-of-two Clarke met Wrexham co-owner Ryan last year while he was in town filming the ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ documentary, set to air on Disney+ this month.

Clarke said him and wife Blake Lively had been clearing out their office when they found the haul of old movies, and thought Rob might like them for his shop.

Rob Clarke, wife Carrie, Charlie (10) and Henry (6) at home with the DVDs, in an undated photo. Clarke was surprised by Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds with a 100 signed DVD copies of his own movies. (Rob ClarkeSWNS/Zenger)

Clarke thought the message was a hoax at first until his wife Carrie, 38, told him it was real.

The haul of 103 movies are all movies Ryan and Blake have starred in, including Deadpool 2, The Age Of Adaline, The Rhythm Section and The Voice.

Clarke said he has no idea what the films are worth but plans to sell them for charity – and said he has earmarked some he will keep for himself.

Clarke, who has been a Wrexham fan since the 1980s, said: “I got a notification on Twitter saying Ryan Reynolds has followed you back and then I saw I had a message from him.

“I didn’t think it was real at first until I showed my wife – I thought someone might be having me on.

“He said him and Blake were having a clear out of their office and had found all these DVDs and thought of me.

“They are mostly Blue Rays so he said they might not play in the UK but thought they would be cool to have in my shop.

“He said him and Blake had signed all of them, there was about 103 in total.”

Clarke is raffling off the DVDs to raise money for a charity which supports people with the rare blood disorder ITP, which his son Charlie, aged eight, was diagnosed with.

He is selling tickets locally for 5 British pounds ($6) with the draw set to be made on August 24.

First prize will include five films signed by Ryan and Blake – including Deadpool 2, The Age Of Adaline, and The Rhythm Section.

He said: “I asked Ryan if it would be okay to sell them for charity and told him about my son.

“He said he was really sorry to hear about Charlie and thought it was a great idea to try and raise some money.

“It doesn’t surprise me that he gave them to me, he is a really nice guy.

“I have always thought he is a likeable actor, he’s funny and not scared to take the mick out of himself.

“Him and Blake are both down to earth, I feel like I can talk to Ryan like any other customer.

“I am going to keep a few of the DVDs, I have earmarked about 20 I’d like, but the rest I am going to raffle for charity.

“I have been inundated with messages from people who want to buy them but I don’t really know what they are worth.

Twitter DM from Ryan Reynolds. The Hollywood star surprised a lifelong fan of his and DVD shop owner Rob Clarke with a 100 signed copies of his movies. (Twitter,SWNS/Zenger)

“I am going to do a raffle locally first and then do a few others for a wider audience.

“I have been a Wrexham fan since the 1980s and we never have much to cheer about so there was a buzz when he bought the club.

“And it’s been a whirlwind since.

“Him and Rob McElhenney visited the shop last October as part of the documentary they are making for Disney.

“He was a great guy and we had a good laugh, we spoke about footy and films.”

Clarke is fundraising for the ITP Support Association.

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Two-Thirds Of American Teachers Report Feeling Burned Out

Two-Thirds Of American Teachers Report Feeling Burned Out

Recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Office Depot found that two-thirds of American teachers report feeling burned out. Undated photo illustration. (SWNS/Zenger)



By Simona Kitanovska

Compared to last year, everyone’s feeling less stressed about the new school year this fall – but parents are a lot more confident than teachers, new research suggests.


That’s according to a recent survey of 2,000 Americans, 1,000 of whom work as K-12 teachers and 1,000 who are parents to school-age children, which found 44 percent of teachers and 55 percent of parents reported feeling less anxious about the upcoming 2022-2023 school year than they did last year.

Fifty-seven percent of parents also reported that their kids seem less anxious, too. But parents still want to be involved – 49 percent of parents say they’re going to talk more with their kids about what they want to feel more prepared in the classroom this year.

On the other hand, teachers were almost twice as likely to say they’re at the same anxiety level, neither more nor less anxious than last year compared to how parents see their kids (41 percent vs 26 percent).

Compared to a similar poll from last year, 54 percent of respondents felt more anxious for the back-to-school season in 2021 than they did before the 2020 pandemic.

Both conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Office Depot, the surveys also asked teachers and parents to describe their expectations for when students return to school this year.

“Last year’s back-to-school season was filled with uncertainty as students, parents and teachers had to adapt to new learning environments,” said Kevin Moffitt, Office Depot’s executive vice president and chief retail officer.

“This year, with students, parents and teachers feeling more confident heading into the new school year, our clients are looking for products that show off their personalities and set themselves up for success both in and out of the classroom.”

Parents are most excited to encourage their child’s interest in learning (53 percent) – and to get more done while their kids are at school (48 percent). Teachers are looking forward to being back in the classroom and are most excited to customize their rooms with new supplies, furniture, and learning tools (47 percent).

While last year’s survey reported that half of parents marked COVID-19 as a top concern, only 26 percent of this year’s respondents said the same.

Yet the pandemic did demonstrate the value of technology in the classroom, with 44 percent of parents saying technology is one of the most critical factors to a student’s success.

This year, nearly a third of parents (29 percent) say they are worried about their school district having the appropriate number of qualified staff members.

The most commonly cited concern among teachers remains, however – 24 percent – still worry about delayed academic progress among their students, making it one of the top-ranked options for two years in a row.

Recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Office Depot found that two-thirds of American teachers report feeling burned out. (SWNS/Zenger)

Seventy percent of parents are worried about school supply costs, more so at public schools (74 percent) than private schools (69 percent) – and both parents (68 percent) and teachers alike (59 percent) expect to spend even more this year.

Sixty-eight percent of parents feel their school district has the appropriate resources, however, only 54 percent of teachers say the same.

Additionally, it’s clear on how important the role of teachers will be this year.

Thirty-eight percent of parents believe that having a supportive teacher will be one of the most critical factors to their child’s success, including more with children in public schools (33 percent vs 22 percent).

However, only 27 percent of teachers agreed – perhaps because 65 percent say they’re experiencing burnout, according to the data.

Moffitt notes, “Now more than ever, we need to support teachers as much as we can – financially, mentally and physically. There are few things more influential in this world than a great teacher, which is why Office Depot is committed to helping set them up for success with tools for teachers, programs, special offers and more.”

Students’ top five 2022-2023 school must-haves according to parents:

Basic supplies (e.g. notebooks, pencils, highlighters) (41 percent)
Laptop/tablet (38 percent)
Backpack/lunchbox (32 percent)
Retro supplies (e.g. 90s gel pens, scented markers, trapper keepers) (31 percent)
Headphones (27 percent)

Recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Office Depot found that two-thirds of American teachers report feeling burned out. (SWNS/Zenger).

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 1,000 parents of school-age children and 1,000 teachers of K-12 students was commissioned by Office Depot between July 14 and July 21, 2022.

It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research.

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Woman Faces Eviction On Prince Charles’ Estate For Having Too Many Plants

Woman Faces Eviction On Prince Charles’ Estate For Having Too Many Plants

Alexandra Wilson-Jones' plants outside of her home in Dorsetshire in the south of England, in an undated photo. Wilson-Jones says she has been served an eviction notice at her house in Poundbury - the Prince of Wales's model village for having too many plants. (Alexandra Wilson-Jones,SWNS/Zenger)



By Simona Kitanovska

A woman living in a model town run by Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall says she is being evicted for having too many plants.


Alexandra Wilson-Jones, 49, says she has been served an eviction notice at her house in Poundbury – the Prince of Wales’s model village in Dorsetshire in the south of England, in the United Kingdom.

She has fallen out with the Duchy – which runs the estate – over a display of plants in a communal courtyard outside her home.

The future King of England is a known lover of plants and flowers and has previously said he loves to talk to them.

Alexandra Wilson-Jones poses in an undated photo. Wilson-Jones says she has been served an eviction notice at her house in Poundbury – the Prince of Wales’s model village in Dorsetshire in the south of England – for having too many plants. (Alexandra Wilson-Jones,SWNS/Zenger)

But Wilson-Jones ran into problems when she put plants outside the property.

She says she was sent a letter by the Duchy telling her to significantly reduce them by January 2023.

This week she received a Section 21 notice which calls for the landlord to require possession of the property.

The landscape architect says she was in the process of producing a petition to the Prince of Wales when she received the letter.

She says she has been told to leave her home after September 27 and now faces being homeless.

She claims the plants are the reason behind the eviction.

Wilson-Jones said: ”I am appalled. I feel utterly humiliated.

”The garden is not detrimental to anyone, in fact it’s something very beautiful for Poundbury.”

She believes if the Prince of Wales were to get involved, he would have prevented her from being kicked out of her home.

Wilson-Jones said: “The plants are very much in-line with the Prince of Wales’s ideologies.

”I’m promoting gardening. I can’t understand why anyone would be opposed to that.”

Wilson-Jones originally moved into the property as a temporary place while another house nearby that she’d inherited from her late mother was being renovated.

But due to the impacts of the pandemic on building work she has spent more time in the Duchy of Cornwall property than planned.

Wilson-Jones said: “I’ve got the most support from everybody in Poundbury.

”From people on large estates to kids in social housing. Everybody loves the garden.”

It is unclear if she is being evicted because of the plants.

She was sent an eviction notice from the owners and Oracle Estates, based in Weymouth.

A spokesman for the Duchy of Cornwall previously said: “We are aware of an issue where a large collection of privately owned plants are being stored in a communal courtyard without approval.

Alexandra Wilson-Jones poses in an undated photo. Wilson-Jones says she has been served an eviction notice at her house in Poundbury – the Prince of Wales’s model village in Dorsetshire in the south of England – for having too many plants. (Alexandra Wilson-Jones,SWNS/Zenger)

“We welcome moves to enhance the appearance and environmental diversity of courtyards, however these need to be of an appropriate scale and nature, recognizing that the courtyards are designed mainly to provide pedestrian and vehicular access to homes, garages and parking bays.

”We are aware that complaints about the large collection have been raised by local residents and we will continue to work with the owner of the plants and the relevant developer to achieve a suitable outcome.”

Oracle Estates have been approached for a comment.

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Real-Life ‘Willy Wonka’ Auctions  Collection Of 1940s Candy Store Memorabilia

Real-Life ‘Willy Wonka’ Auctions Collection Of 1940s Candy Store Memorabilia

Edward & Vintage at Tissington, England. Undated photograph. (Hansons Auctioneers,SWNS/Zenger)



By Simona Kitanovska

A real-life Willy Wonka who ran the “best sweet shop in the world” is selling his entire collection of 1940s-style goodies.


Englishman Dave Walker, 50, spent a lifetime scouring flea markets and antique fairs before opening the Edward & Vintage sweet shop.

The time-warp shop had an original Victorian counter, Bakelite scales, Cadbury’s cabinets, a 100-year-old cash register, candy jars, scoops, packets of 1940s sugar, old bicycles, enamel signs, and a bar of 1920s Bournville chocolate.

It attracted thousands of visitors after it opened in the picturesque Derbyshire village of Tissington in central England, in the United Kingdom, in 2012 and was quickly dubbed the “best sweet shop in the world.”

Hansons valuers Steve Fulford and Isabel Murtough with Dave Walker, center, at Edward & Vintage at Tissington, England. Undated photograph. (Hansons Auctioneers,SWNS/Zenger)

The shop was also popular with celebrities including actress Joanna Lumley, TV presenters Christine Bleakly, Anna Richardson and Anita Rani, and comedian Micky Flannigan.

The shop has also featured in Escape to the Country, Country File, Germany’s Ard TV, and The Great Interior Design Challenge programs on television.

Despite the huge success of the nostalgic sweet shop, Dave is closing its doors and selling off 100 treasured items as he prepares to move to a new venture in Scotland.

The businessman, from Gedling, U.K., said: “I’m parting with things I started collecting at flea markets from around the age of ten.

“I can’t take them on my next adventure, which some people probably think is crazy anyway.

“I hope people will buy them who’ve enjoyed visiting the shop over the years.

“I’d love them to have a memory of Edward & Vintage. Or maybe someone somewhere is looking to open a sweet shop.”

The shop will close its doors on September 25 and revert back to being part of the Tissington Estate: a property held by the FitzHerbert family since 1465.

Dave will move to the tiny remote island of Sanday in Scotland’s Orkney archipelago where he will convert eight derelict crofts into his dream home together with holiday cottages.

He said: “I’d never owned a property outright before. Thanks to the success of the shop, I have something of my own.

“It was originally a 15-year plan but I turned 50 this year.

“Maybe it’s a midlife crisis but I decided to make the move while I have the energy and time left to do something special.

Hansons valuers Steve Fulford and Isabel Murtough with Dave Walker, center, at Edward & Vintage at Tissington, England. Undated photograph. (Hansons Auctioneers,SWNS/Zenger)

“When I announced the closure of Edward & Vintage on Facebook there was an outpouring of grief.

“I love my customers. Thanks to them, I’ve had the most amazing time. They’re a brilliant bunch of loyal people.

“I’ve seen some of them become parents and children grow into marvelous adults.”

The contents of Edward & Vintage will go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on October 8.

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15-Year-Old Stabbing Victim Finally Identified

15-Year-Old Stabbing Victim Finally Identified

Fifteen-year-old Deshaun James Tuitt who was fatally stabbed at Highbury Fields, north London, shortly before 9pm on Thursday, August 4, 2022. (Metropolitan Police,SWNS.COM/Zenger)



By Simona Kitanovska

A 15-year-old boy who was stabbed to death after a fight in a park has been named by police on Tuesday, August 9.


Deshaun James Tuitt was killed on the evening of Thursday, August 4 at Highbury Fields in Islington, north London, England.

Police were called to the park just before 9 p.m. and found the schoolboy with stab wounds next to a refuse bin off Highbury Place.

He was treated at the scene but died in hospital shortly after arriving, Scotland Yard said.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to have been a stab wound, shock and hemorrhage.

A children’s playground and a leisure center are part of a crime scene this morning as police investigate the murder of a 15-year-old boy on Highbury Fields. (SWNS/Zenger)

So far no arrests have been made.

The home stadium of the Arsenal Football Club is in the vicinity.

Detective Inspector Ben Dalloway of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command today appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

He said: “The investigation team are fully focused on securing justice for Deshaun and his family.

“We are working around the clock and are very keen to hear from anyone who was in the area of Highbury Fields between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursday, 4 August.

“Did you see anyone running or behaving suspiciously? Can you help us build a picture of the events that led to Deshaun being stabbed?

“You will continue to see police in the area for the foreseeable future, please approach them with any information you may have.”

Chief Superintendent Andy Carter, Borough Commander for Camden and Islington, described Deshaun’s family as “devastated” and that his life had been “cruelly taken away.”

He said: “This is an incredibly tragic case where a young man’s life has been ended prematurely despite the efforts of the police officers and [London Ambulance Service] who arrived on scene very quickly.

“Deshaun had his whole life in front of him and that has now been cruelly taken away and our thoughts are with his family and friends who will be devastated by this loss.

“I would like to thank the local community who have contacted the incident room and provided really vital information in the last few days.

“The willingness of the community to help us in this has been incredibly important in these early stages.

“We know that there were lots of people in the park on Thursday evening, many of whom were young people who may be finding it difficult to come forward.

“I would urge you to think about Deshaun`s family who are looking for answers. You may hold vital information that enables us to provide those answers; please don`t keep it to yourself.

“We will support you if you come forward to speak to us in confidence.”

In the aftermath of the attack, neighbors who live nearby said they saw a large group of teenagers walking through the park just hours before the killing.

Residents also reported seeing the group early in the evening the day before.

Chief Superintendent Carter also appealed for the community to give detectives information about the perpetrators.

A children’s playground and a leisure center are part of a crime scene this morning as police investigate the murder of a 15-year-old boy on Highbury Fields. (SWNS/Zenger)

He added: “I also appeal to anyone else who was in the park that night who may even have been a victim of another crime themselves to report this to us as it may help this investigation.

“On Thursday evening, a week after Deshaun died, you will see additional officers in the park conducting a witness appeal. Please do feel free to approach them.

“We are committed to tackling violence in all forms and our current summer violence plan, being delivered with partners, is focused on keeping our open spaces safe as they are used by so many people particularly during this warm weather.

“We have reviewed the locations where we need to provide extra patrols in the days ahead to ensure our presence deters violent incidents such as this from happening. “

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