June National Days
We’re nearly half way through the year; it’s flying by. Make the most of the warmer & longer days & plan some outside gatherings.
Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Month
Sands Awareness Month
1-31 Aug Strawberry Tea for breast cancer care
1-7 Volunteers’ Week
Recognising the contribution of local volunteers & encouraging others to get involved. Volunteers’ Week gives the public the opportunity to shine the spotlight on these volunteers and give them the recognition and thanks they deserve. The message for this year is Time to Say Thank You. Volunteers’ Week began in 1984 & each year more organisations get involved, hosting a variety of events throughout the UK.
1-31 Aug Strawberry Tea
For Breast Cancer Care. Host a strawberry tea for family, friends or colleagues & help support women with breast cancer. Serve strawberry themed dishes & drinks & ask guests for a donation. For information, ideas & a starter kit, visit the Breast Cancer Care website – a great chance to catch up with friends & raise money at the same time.
2 Rocky Road Day (USA)
Celebrating of the nut & marshmallow confection. Rocky Road started out as an ice-cream flavour when William Dreyer, an ice-cream maker, decided to cheer people up during the Great Depression & added nuts & marshmallows to some chocolate ice-cream. It’s still a big hit & has now given it’s name to a fridge cake where melted chocolate is mixed with crushed biscuits, nuts, marshmallows & maybe dried fruit before being left to set in the fridge. Choose your favourite & celebrate this day – or maybe a bit of each……..
2 National Fish & Chip Day
A chance to celebrate the great British takeaway that is battered fish served with chips & traditionally wrapped in newspaper. Taking place annually on the first Friday in June, the event is the idea of the National Edible Oil Distributors’ Association. The first fish & chip shop is thought to have opened in 1860 in London & it soon became popular among the working classes as a cheap but filling meal. So if you fancy a takeaway this weekend, go British & tuck in!
2 National Donut Day (USA)
Celebrated on the first Friday in June. If you didn’t get enough of doughnuts during National Doughnut Week in May, here’s another chance to celebrate them. American donuts are sweet dough that is made into rings & deep fried, then dipped in icing & covered in sugar sprinkles. Each country seems to have their own version; in the UK they are balls filled with jam & sugar coated (doughnuts), in Spain they are piped strips of pastry (churros), in Canada, squares coated with a sugar glaze (dutchies).
National Donut Day was started in 1938 by The Salvation Army to raise funds during the Great Depression & in honour of those that served doughnuts, coffee & spiritual aid to soldiers during World War I to make their lives slightly more bearable. The day is still a fundraising event, for both money & volunteers’ time. Many doughnut shops hand out freebies on this day in celebration.
3 Butterfly Education & Awareness Day
Held on the first Saturday in June. Help to raise awareness of butterflies & just how important they are as pollinators. To find out how you can make a butterfly habitat in your garden, visit the Association for Butterflies website. It’s fun & rewarding identifying the new visitors to your garden.
A religious festival to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus. It signifies the start of the Christian church & is therefore thought of as the church’s birthday. Pentecost occurs 50 days after Easter – the name comes from the Greek for fiftieth. It is also known as Whitsun or Whit Sunday.
4 The Big Lunch
An annual event held on the first Sunday in June & initiated by the Eden Project. The idea is to simply meet up with your neighbours & have lunch. It can be as simple or elaborate a meal as you like; a street party if you’re feeling adventurous! The main thing is to connect with those living near you, many of whom you may just nod to as you pass. Visit The Big Lunch website for inspiration.
4 National Cancer Survivors Day (USA)
An annual celebration of life held on the first Sunday in June. The day is a celebration for those that have survived cancer. It provides inspiration for those recently diagnosed & gives support to family members & friends.
5 World Environment Day
A UN awareness day encouraging awareness & action for the environment. This year the theme is sustainable lifestyles. Take a moment to think about your lifestyle; how you shop, what you eat, what you throw away & how you travel around. Could you change just one or two things? Take a look at The Art of Simple & 50 Ways to Help the Planet websites for ideas.
5-11 Child Safety Week
An annual campaign run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented. Events & activities are held across the UK to promote safety messages to parents & families. The theme this year is ‘tea-time terrors’. If you belong to a toddler group, why not sign up for an action pack & take it along.
5-11 National Glaucoma Awareness Week
An annual awareness campaign. This year the focus is on driving & encouraging people to have regular eye health checks to ensure that they are safe to drive. There is an estimated 600,000 people with glaucoma in the UK, but 300,000 are undiagnosed. As there are no early symptoms it is vital that people over the age of 40 have regular eye health checks every one or two years.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the main nerve to the eye (the optic nerve) is damaged where it leaves the eye. This nerve carries information about what is being seen from the eye to the brain and as it becomes damaged vision is lost. This results in misty and patchy vision, with eventual loss of central vision, although this is rare. Although any vision which has been lost to glaucoma cannot be recovered, with early diagnosis, careful monitoring and regular use of treatments, the vast majority of people retain useful sight for life. The only way to know if you have glaucoma is to have your eyes checked at your local optometrist (optician).
8 World Oceans Day
A UN day held annually on 8th June. It is a day to celebrate the ocean & take action to protect it. Most people love a day at the seaside or going snorkelling & diving but what if the colourful fish had disappeared & there was too much rubbish to paddle? The theme for 2015 is Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet. A special effort is also being made to stop plastic pollution. It’s not just plastic bags; did you know that some facial washes contain micro beads of plastic that get washed down the sink, are missed by the water treatment plants & end up in the ocean?
9 Wear Red Day
The British Heart Foundation’s Wear It. Beat It campaign. Host a red event to raise money or buy a loaf of Warburtons British Heart Foundation wholemeal bread; as the official sponsor, they’re donating 5p from every loaf.
10 World Gin Day
A day to celebrate all things to do with gin. Started in 2009 by a gin enthusiast (of course!), it is now run by blogger Gin Monkey. Use this day as a chance to learn all about gin; how it’s made, the different types around. Ask friends to each bring round a different brand & have a tasting session. Serve nibbles & finish off with cocktails. This could get messy……..
10 World Wide Knit In Public Day
A day to get out of the house & meet fellow knitters whether to chat, swap ideas or just to sit quietly & knit companionably. Started in 2005, events are organised around the world. If you can’t find one near you, why not organise one? It can be small such as meeting in a local café or park or bigger in a hired venue.
10-18 Bike Week (TBC)
An annual opportunity to promote cycling & show how cycling can easily be part of everyday life. The week aims to get people to give cycling a go all over the UK, whether this be for fun, as a means of getting around to work or school, the local shops or just to visit friends. For a list of events, visit the Bike Week website.
11 Kamehameha Day ( Hawaii)
King Kamehame I ruled Hawaii between 1782 & 1819. To stop conflict between the ruling chieftains, he united all the islands to form the Kingdom of Hawaii. In 1871 his great grandson decreed that Kamehame Day should be celebrated each year in his honour. A state holiday, festivities on the day include parades, horse racing, carnivals & draping any statues of him in lei (flower garlands).
11-17 Diabetes Week
An annual event to raise awareness of the condition & vital funds. Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood is too high due to the pancreas not producing any or enough of the hormone insulin. Insulin allows glucose to enter the body cells where it is used for energy. Diabetes is on the rise in the UK so take some time to learn about it & how you can help control it through exercise & diet.
12-18 Carers Week
An annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. Every day in the UK, 6,000 people take on a new caring role & there are 6.5 million people caring unpaid for an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. When people need help with their day-to-day living they often turn to their family and friends. Carers help with personal things getting someone washed and dressed, turning them in their sleep, helping them move about or administering their medication. They also help with things like shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, filling in forms or managing money. Carers Week celebrates & recognises the contribution of the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers.
12-18 Breathe Easy Week
Run by the British Lung Foundation to raise awareness of lung health. We all take our lungs for granted; out of sight, out of mind. Take the opportunity to visit British Lung Foundation website to find out how they work & how to keep them healthy. The theme for this week is ‘breathlessness’ & Breathe Easy groups will be out and about in the community to raise awareness about it and to encourage people with the symptom to visit their GP.
12-18 Men’s Health Week
Celebrated each year in the week leading up to Father’s Day & used as an opportunity to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This year the theme is ‘healthy living for men’. Men are less likely than women to lead a healthy lifestyle. They are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol to hazardous levels and be overweight or obese. This can lead to serious diseases such as cancer, heart diseases and strokes, the risk of which can be reduced by leading a healthy lifestyle.
12-18 Cervical Screening Awareness Week (CSAW)
A national initiative led by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. In the UK, 22% of women still do not attend their cervical screening (smear). The week aims to raise the public’s knowledge and understanding of issues such as cervical screening, the causes of cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer and treatment.
12-18 National Shed Week (TBC)
Do you use yours to store tools, pot plants or as extra space to house your hobby? Whatever its use, use this week to give it a bit of TLC. For inspiration, visit the Reader Sheds website where Shed of the Year entries will be flooding in. Started in 2007, National Shed Week celebrates shed enthusiasts everywhere
14 World Blood Donor Day
Celebrated on the birthday of Karl Landsteiner who created the ABO blood group system, which is still used today to ensure the safety of blood transfusions. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Thank you for saving my life”. It focuses on thanking blood donors who save lives every day through their blood donations and strongly encourages more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.” The campaign aims to highlight stories from people whose lives have been saved through blood donation, as a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue giving blood and people in good health who have never given blood, particularly young people, to begin doing so.
15 National Bug Busting Day
One of three throughout the year. The aim on this day is to find all the head lice and zap them in one fell swoop. This stops them from circulating endlessly. The charity Community Hygiene Concern produces Bug Busting materials for schools and Bug Buster Kits for families.
15 Cupcake Day (TBC)
A fundraising event for the Alzheimer’s Society. Whip up a batch of cupcakes & decorate as simply or elaborately as you like. Invite friends round or take to the office or a club & ask for a donation. For more details visit the Cupcake Day website.
15-18 US Golf Open
An annual golf tournament, held in mid June with the final round coinciding with Father’s day. It was first played on October 4 1895 with eleven competitors & is now one of the four major championships in golf.
16 National Flip Flop Day (USA)
Organised by the franchise Tropical Smoothie Café to celebrate the start of summer & takes place on the third Friday in June. For every customer that wears flip flops, the company makes a donation to Camp Sunshine, a special camp for children and their families who are dealing with life threatening illnesses such as cancer & kidney diseases.
16 Den Day
Build a den & raise money for Save the Children. Build it at school on the 17th or home on the 18th, play in it or spend the night. However you do it, have fun & know that your donation is helping children in other countries caught up in conflict or natural disasters. Visit Den Day for more information.
16-25 National Picnic Week (TBC)
The dry weather’s been ordered so pack a picnic & head outdoors with friends & family. Started in 2005, National Picnic Week is an opportunity for an informal gathering & to share advice, tips & recipes. Don’t forget bats & balls for an energetic communal game beforehand. For recipes & ideas visit the National Picnic Week website.
17 World Juggling Day
Organised by the International Jugglers’ Association (IJA) to help spread the fun of juggling & to bring jugglers together all over the world. Last year 62 jugglers registered & 41 events were listed across 16 countries. Take the challenge & teach yourself how to juggle. Get together with a couple of friends & persevere!
17-25 Green Transport Week
Started by the ETA Trust in 1993 to raise awareness of the part transport has to play in the areas of personal safety, quality of life and health as well as its broader global effect on the environment. Sit down & make a note of all the journeys you make by car. Is there a way you could cut them down; lift sharing, catching public transport, using a bike?
18 International Picnic Day
Falls during National Picnic Week. Picnics for the common masses seem to have started just after the French Revolution. The Royal Gardens were opened up to the public & to take advantage of these surroundings (& maybe revel in it), food was brought along to be enjoyed in a relaxed atmosphere. Meet up with friends after work & school for a lounging around pot luck picnic.
18 Father’s Day (UK)
Held on the third Sunday in June. Inspired by Mother’s Day, Father’s Day was started in the USA in 1910 to honour fathers. It gradually made its way over to Britain with the help of card shops & has been modernised to include father figures as well as fathers. The day is usually celebrated by the giving of a card & small gift.
19 Freedom Day
Commemorating the announcement on 19th June 1865 of the abolition of slavery in Texas. The freed slaves were advised to stay on where they were & work for wages & some plantation owners even waited for the followingg harvest before informing their slaves they were free.
19-25 Learning Disability Week
Initiated by the charity, Mencap to educate the public and tackle the myths and misconceptions about learning disability that fuel prejudice and inequality. Every day, more than 1.4 million people with a learning disability and their families face issues like poor healthcare, hate crime and social isolation. But these issues are rarely debated and most politicians & the general public don’t understand how these things impact on people’s lives. To see how you can help, visit the Mencap website.
19-25 Adult Learners’ Week
A national celebration of lifelong learning. Have you always wanted to play an instrument, to sing, learn a foreign language or understand science a bit better? Adult Learners’ Week offers taster sessions around the country so you can find out which subject course will suit you. Last year more than 3000 taster sessions were held. It is also part of the Festival of Learning which runs from 1 May to 30 June. Visit the Adult Learners’ Week website for more information.
20-24 Royal Ascot
A highlight of the social & horse racing calendar. The racecourse was created in 1711 by Queen Anne & the first race of the meet, the Queen Anne Stakes is named in her honour.
Each day starts with the Royal Procession where the Queen & her guests arrive in landaus (carriages) & parade along the track in front of the grandstand. As there is a strict dress code, the meet is seen as a spectacle of fashion and style. Most view the day as a chance to dress up. In the Royal Enclosure, ladies must wear formal daywear & hats & men black or grey morning dress (top hat & tails). In the main grandstand, the dress code is slightly more relaxed but men must wear a suit & tie & women ‘to dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion’ & with a hat. Ladies hats have started to get a little extreme over the years but if it’s not your thing, fascinators are allowed too.
21 Summer Solstice
The longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere & marks the first day of astronomical summer but midsummer meteorologically. The date can vary between June 20 & June 22. The summer solstice occurs when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined toward the sun, at the degree of 23° 26′, its most extreme. In June, the tilt is toward the sun in the Northern Hemisphere while for the winter solstice, in December, the tilt is away from the sun. One of the most famous summer solstice celebrations takes place at Stonehenge.
22 Chocolate Éclair Day (USA)
An annual celebration of fingers of choux pastry filled with whipped cream or crème patissiere & topped with chocolate icing. The French created these delights in the nineteenth century & they have been popular treats ever since. It seems a little unfair that it’s the Americans that celebrate them though; come on Brits, get out & treat yourselves!
23 National Kissing Day
We air kiss, kiss on the cheek (once, twice or three times depending which country you’re from) & kiss on the lips. Each kiss symbolizes something different but is definitely more friendly than a handshake. If you tend to say hello & goodbye to your partner in an absentminded way these days, make an effort today to rekindle those greetings of when you first met. There seem to be two kissing days at this time of year, this newer one on 19th June & International Kissing Day on 6th July but hey, who’s complaining!
24 Armed Forces Day
A chance to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. The UK Armed Forces defend the UK and its interests. They are busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism; they deserve some recognition.
24 Summer Lights (TBC)
A fundraising event for Macmillan Cancer Support. Invite friends & family over & celebrate the people who light up your life. Hold it in the garden or inside & decorate with candles, lanterns & fairy lights. Provide nibbles & drinks & have a donation pot handy.
24 Fairy Day (USA)
A celebration of those mystical creatures. Fairies are a wondrous part of tales when we are young. They are mischievous, can fly & know magic – & only children can see them. Take a day out from adulthood & take a walk in the woods to spot fairies, to build a fairy house or just to curl up on the sofa with a fairy tale.
24-25 National Learn to Play Day
Run by the charity Music for All, it’s a chance for the general public to have a free taster lesson on a musical instrument. Whether you learnt an instrument when you were young but haven’t touched it since or it’s always something you wanted to do, pop along to a participating venue around the country. For a list of venues, visit the Music For All website.
25 International Handstand Day (TBC)
Started by Alvin Tam, former Cirque du Soleil performer & Barefoot Sanctuary co-founder, in 2011 on facebook. Using his yoga background, he wanted to promote the inversion practice of handstands to improve balance & focus. The day is popular with gymnastic clubs who post photos of group handstands on social media as a fun way to promote themselves.
26 Chocolate Pudding Day
Whether you think of it as a chocolate custard (USA) or a sponge dessert (UK), celebrate its day & remember your childhood!
27 Helen Keller Day (USA)
Celebrated each year on her birthday & now part of Deafblind Awareness Week. Born in 1880, Helen lost the ability to see & hear after a childhood illness just before she was two. Despite these disabilities, she learnt to write & to read Braille, helped by her visually impaired governess. In 1904 she graduated from Radcliffe College becoming the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She learnt to speak & went on to give speeches & lectures as well as becoming a political activist. In 1915 she founded the Helen Keller International with George Kessler, to research into vision, health & nutrition. Helen Keller died on June 1 1968.
28-2 July Henley Royal Regatta
A series of rowing races held on the River Thames near London. The Regatta was first held in 1839 & held on a single afternoon. It proved so popular with rowers that the following year they extended it to 2 days, gradually upping it until in 1986 it covered 5 days. In 1851 HRH Prince Albert became the Regatta’s first Royal Patron & there has been one ever since, allowing the word Royal to be added to the Regatta’s title. Like Ascot, it is famous both as a great sporting occasion and as a social event. People come from all over the world to attend, either as competitors or as spectators. There is a strict dress code in the Steward’s Enclosure for members & their guests but it is less formal in the Regatta Enclosure although blazers & straw boaters can still be worn!
29 World Scleroderma Day
First celebrated in 2009 on the anniversary of the death of artist Paul Klee who suffered from this condition. Scleroderma affects the connective tissue in the body that supports the skin & internal organs. It can cause swelling or pain in the joints & muscles. Some types are localised & just affect the skin causing it to tighten & harden. Others are systemic & affect the skin as well as the blood vessels & major organs such as heart, kidneys & lungs. Unfortunately, there is no cure but symptoms & damage can be reduced. The day is used to raise awareness of this condition & raise funds for the Scleroderma Society to enable them to continue supporting those diagnosed & their families.
30 Wrong Trousers Day
Supporting children’s healthcare in the UK. The day is organized by Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity who raise funds to improve the lives of sick children in hospitals and hospices throughout the UK. Whether it’s pyjamas or hot pants, wear your weirdest clothes & donate £1 to help sick children. Be it with friends, school or work, visit the Wrong Trousers Day website for more details.