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Christmas Trees are coming! Be Prepared this December

Types of Christmas Trees

There are various types of Christmas trees available, and you must choose the one that is perfect for your home during the holiday season. There are various types, as you will see below:

Nordman Fir

The Norman Fir Christmas Tree barely drops its needles, making it the most popular choice in Modern times, due to the safety issues related to children and pets, and the sharp Christmas tree needles. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, and their needles are a lot fleshier.

Norway Spruce

The Norway Spruce Christmas tree, brings the classic smell of childhood to your home. Its needles do drop a lot more than other varieties, but it more than makes up for that with its beautiful smell, and really traditional tall and narrow shape.

Potted Christmas Trees

The Potted Christmas tree is a great choice if you would prefer your tree to last longer than just a few weeks, as potted trees are more likely to live on through the year, and be fine to use again a year later. The come in both varieties, the Nordman or Norway Spruce, and are often a little cheaper.

Where to buy a Christmas Tree

You can normally buy Christmas trees at your local garden centre, or check online for your nearest Christmas tree farm. Sapcote Garden Centre, Leicester, LE94LG, 01455 274049, (http://www.sapcotegc.co.uk/christmas/christmas-trees) has a range of Nordman Fir, and Norway Spruce Christmas trees for sale, and the price is the same as 2012.

Best of Matt: Christmas cartoons

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Christmas Trees

Best Matt Christmas cartoons

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Christmas Trees

Christmas food gifts: 30 of the tastiest treats

Plants4Presents Thyme to Party Planter, £25, www.plants4presents.co.uk.
This genius combination of Sussex-grown herbs (rosemary, thyme and
lemongrass) in their subtly festive pot have been chosen for their power to
soothe christmas hangovers. They come with herbal tea and cold
compress-making instructions for sweet post-party relief.

Christmas Trees

Son, 8, of driver in fiery crash that killed Paul Walker tried to rescue his father

  • A photo surfaced on Sunday of Paul Walker, 40, getting into his friend’s Porsche GT just 30 minutes before it spun out of control and hit a pole and tree
  • Sheriff’s Department believes speed was a factor in the crash and figure 8 patterns were found on the road nearby
  • The driver of the vehicle was former race car driver Roger Rodas, Walker’s friend and financial adviser
  • LA County Coroner has requested dental records as both bodies were so badly burned it will take days for them to be positively identified
  • The 40-year-old starred in five of the six Fast & Furious films about illegal street racing and heists
  • Actor had been at an event for his charity Reach Out Worldwide before deciding to take the car out for a drive
  • The fundraiser to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan was taking place in a race car shop near to the crash scene
  • Walker was the father of daughter, Meadow, 15, who recently moved to California to be closer to him and his long-term girlfriend Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell, 23

By
Alex Greig, Tara Brady and David Mccormack


PUBLISHED:

10:16 EST, 1 December 2013


|

UPDATED:

04:30 EST, 2 December 2013

The 8-year-old son of Roger Rodas, 38, was one of the first to the site of the horrific car crash that claimed the lives of his father and 40-year-old actor Paul Walker on Saturday.

Before the flames had even died down around the Porsche Carrera GT after it smashed into a tree during a charity event in Santa Clarita, California, Rodas’ son heroically came rushing to try and pull his dad from the inferno.

‘His son had jumped the fence and gone over, he was trying to get his dad out,’ said eyewitness Jim Torp.

The tragic detail emerged after footage surfaced of the Fast & Furious actor stepping into his friend’s ill-fated sports car just 30 minutes before the
horrendous crash in which the pair lost their lives.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS

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In this tragic photograph actor Paul Walker, best known for his role in the Fast & Furious action movies, is seen stepping into his friend Roger Rodas’ Porsche GT just moments before the horrendous crash in which the pair lost their lives

According to Radar Online, the crash happened so close to the charity event that Walker was attending that Rodas’s son was on the scene in mere seconds.

‘There was nothing he could do,’ Torp said.

TMZ reports that the crash occurred as the friends were on their way back from a 20 minute drive.

Prior
to that drive, Rodas had personally taken the wheel of the vehicle
after one of the former race car driver’s employees at the upscale auto
shop he owned was having issues backing the car up into the garage. The
vehicle reportedly kept stalling for the employee.

As Rodas took control, Walker hopped in because he hadn’t yet had a chance to take a spin in the impressive sports car.

The crash occurred just yards away from the auto shop as the friends returned.

The
county coroner has revealed that the bodies of Walker and and his
friend/business partner were so badly burned in the horrific incident
that they are currently unidentifiable.

‘There was a post-collision fire and bodies are not visually identifiable,’ said L.A. County deputy coroner Dana Bee.

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Paul Walker, 40, was killed in the crash along with his friend and business partner Roger Rodas, right, who was driving. The star leaves behind a 15-year-old daughter, Meadow, left, who had recently moved to California from Hawaii to be closer to him

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Fans gather and place flowers on Sunday at the scene of a fiery crash that killed Fast & Furious star Paul Walker in the Santa Clarita area of Los Angeles

The L.A. County Coroner’s office has
requested dental records for both victims before they can identify the
bodies. Autopsies on both bodies have been delayed until later this
week, reports TMZ.

Walker,
who appeared in five of the six films about illegal street racing and
heists, had been at an event for his charity Reach Out Worldwide before
deciding to take the car, a cherry-red Porsche, out for a drive with his
friend. 

Walker was a
self-confessed adrenaline junkie who enjoyed fast cars, surfing and
outdoor pursuits. On his official Twitter account, he
described himself as ‘outdoorsman, ocean addict, adrenaline junkie …
and I do some acting on the side.’

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that speed was a factor in the crash.

‘He lived his life and he died fast
and furious today. He loved speed, he loved cars, and he had to die this
way. He died in a very fast car with his friend,’ Torp told the Daily News.

Up and down the road near the crash site were burned rubber and doughnut marks as though someone smoked their tires in figure 8 patterns.

‘I don’t know if the marks in the road are related to the crash,’ said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Allen.

The wreck took place about 3:30 p.m., about 300 yards from the office park where the event was held and where the speed limit is 45 mph.

Guests rushed to put out the flames with fire extinguishers but the fireball had already engulfed the car. 

Deputies arrived to find a vehicle on fire and once fire crews put the flames out, they found two occupants. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

By Saturday evening, all that remained was the burnt mangled metal of the red car and a light pole that had been knocked down.

The driver of the car was identified as former race car driver Rodas, who was also Walker’s financial adviser. The pair were friends and had been racing for several years before they began collaborating on Walker’s finances.

Father daughter day: Here, Walker is pictured with his 15-year-old daughter Meadow (far right) as he takes a break from filming in Montreal back in June
Better days: Here, Walker is pictured with his 15-year-old daughter Meadow (far right) as he takes a break from filming in Montreal back in June

Better days: Here, Walker is pictured with his 15-year-old daughter Meadow (far right) as he takes a break from filming in Montreal back in June

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Woman he left behind: Walker had been dating Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell, 23, for the past seven years, relatives have said she is ‘broken up’ over his loss and that she was quickly becoming a stepmother to Meadow

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Fans write remembrances, left, while leaving flowers, candles and even DVDs, right, at the scene of the crash that killed Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas in the Santa Clarita area of Los Angeles on Saturday

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that speed was a factor in the crash and that up and down the road near the crash site were burned rubber and doughnut marks as though someone smoked their tires in figure 8 patterns

Wreckage: Actor Paul Walker died in the crash alongside his friend after they decided to take the sports car out for a spin during a charity event

Wreckage: Actor Paul Walker died in the crash alongside his friend after they decided to take the sports car out for a spin during a charity event

Horror crash: First responders gather evidence near the wreckage of a Porsche sports car that crashed into a light pole on Hercules Street near Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia on Saturday, November 30, killing actor Paul Walker

Horror crash: First responders gather evidence near the wreckage of a Porsche sports car that crashed into a light pole on Hercules Street near Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia on Saturday, November 30, killing actor Paul Walker

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The remains of the Porsche that Walker and his friend died in is taken away. The L.A. County Coroner has requested dental records for both victims before they can identify the bodies

TMZ also reports that Walker’s childhood friend Nute was one of the first to reach the fiery crash with a fire extinguisher and tried desperately to put out the fire despite seeing quite clearly that the crash was not survivable.

Nute then swung at responding officers, who initially placed him under arrest but let him go once the circumstances became clear.

Fellow co-star and rapper Tyrese Gibson broke down in tears when he attended the crash scene last night less than 24 hours after Walker was killed.

Everyone around him fell silent as the rapper laid two flowers where his friend died.

Tyrese also took a piece of the wreckage home and posted a photo of it online. He wrote: ‘I will keep your energy with me forever #AshesOfAnAngel fast family around the world we live you and we love you Paul is the heartbeat of this franchise and we’re gonna see it that his energy presence lives on forever #myhearthurtssobad’

Distraught: Tyrese Gibson co-star and friend to Paul Walker breaks down in tears during his emotional visit to the site of the tragic car accident in Santa Clarita

Distraught: Tyrese Gibson co-star and friend to Paul Walker breaks down in tears during his emotional visit to the site of the tragic car accident in Santa Clarita

Rapper Tyrese Gibson was overcome with emotion when he visited the crash scene where his friend Paul Walker died in Santa Clarita

Rapper Tyrese Gibson was overcome with emotion when he visited the crash scene where his friend Paul Walker died in Santa Clarita

Devastated: Tyrese Gibson took a piece of the crash scene which he said he would keep to hold on to Walker's energy forever

Devastated: Tyrese Gibson took a piece of the crash scene which he said he would keep to hold on to Walker’s energy forever

A crowd of media and mourners remained silent as Tyrese paid tribute with two flowers. He later tweeted, 'At least I got to say I love you #OurLastExchange

A crowd of media and mourners remained silent as Tyrese paid tribute with two flowers. He later tweeted, ‘At least I got to say I love you #OurLastExchange

Mourning: Tyrese Gibson, who starred in the Fast & Furious. breaks down at the scene of the crash where his friend Paul Walker died

Mourning: Tyrese Gibson, who starred in the Fast & Furious. breaks down at the scene of the crash where his friend Paul Walker died

He later tweeted: ‘At least I got to say I love you #OurLastExchange but our laughs and moments will live forever.’

Walker leaves behind a 15-year-old daughter, Meadow, who had
recently moved to California from Hawaii to be closer to him.

The
actor was also dating Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell, 23, when he died and
she is ‘broken up’ over his loss, relatives have revealed.

Her uncle Barton Bruner said that she is being comforted by her mother Julie as she struggles to cope with the ‘horrible’ news.

Bruner
said: ‘Paul was a really good guy and Jasmine is broken up by this. I
went to Thanksgiving with him, played golf with him.

‘They had their ups and downs but they were together and looking to spend a bright future together.

‘This is horrible news and unexpected. Her mother is with her and she is comforting her’.

 

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Across social media sites, fans have been posting a quote – ‘If one day the speed kills me, do not cry because I was smiling’ – attributed to Walker

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A memorial for Paul Walker:
Fans have been paying their respects to the Fast and Furious actor at the scene of the crash, he died on Saturday afternoon along with his friend Roger Rodas

People lay flowers at the spot where actor Paul Walker died in a car accident in Santa Clarita, CA.
People lay flowers at the spot where actor Paul Walker died in a car accident in Santa Clarita, CA.

‘Hurting so bad’: Co-stars and fans were both shaken by the news of the actor’s death. Fast & Furious co-star Tyrese took to Twitter, writing: ‘My heart is hurting so bad.’ Tyrese was seen at the crash site visibly emotional as he mourned his friend’s death

'Race in paradise': The memorial near the site of the Santa Clarita gained more visitors, mementos, flowers and messages of remembrance on Sunday

‘Race in paradise’: The memorial near the site of the Santa Clarita gained more visitors, mementos, flowers and messages of remembrance on Sunday

People lay flowers at the spot where actor Paul Walker died in a car accident in Santa Clarita, CA.
People lay flowers at the spot where actor Paul Walker died in a car accident in Santa Clarita, CA.

‘Unbelievable’: Visitors to the memorable found the scene difficult to see following the crash that left a charred Porsche wrapped around a tree. Even after authorities picked over the scene, it remained difficult for some to see. ‘It was just unbelievable,’ said Sandra Caipo, who visited the scene

Walker reportedly started dating Pilchard-Gosnell when she was just 16, meaning he would have been 33, an age gap of 17 years.

She was supposedly beginning to become the step-mother to Walker’s daughter, even though she is only 10 years older.

The star’s representatives and official Facebook page have confirmed his death.

Ame Van Iden, Walker’s publicist, said in an email: ‘Sadly, I must
confirm that Paul did pass away this afternoon in a car accident.’

The actor’s official Facebook page was
also updated with the message: ‘It is with a truly heavy heart that we
must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident
while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out
Worldwide. 

‘He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives.

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High powered: The cherry-red Porsche Carrera GT that Paul Walker died in on Saturday afternoon when his friend apparently lost control of the vehicle, hitting a light pole

THE OTHER VICTIM: WALKER’S FRIEND AND BUSINESS ASSOCIATE

Roger Rodas

The driver of the car that killed Paul Walker has been identified as former race car driver Roger Rodas, 38, who was also Walker’s financial adviser.

The pair were friends and had been racing for several years before they began collaborating on Walker’s finances.

Rodas
had helped Walker establish his Reach Out Worldwide charity, after
creating his own foundation to support widows and orphans in his native
El Salvador.

Rodas was also the CEO of Always Evolving, the car customization shop where Saturday’s charity event had been taking place. Walker was an investor in the business.

It is believed the pair were leaving the event when the crash occurred.

‘We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news.

‘Thank
you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very
difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to
send condolences. – #TeamPW
.’

Since the crash, fans and people
wishing to pay their respects have left messages of condolence as well
as candles and flowers at the site of the crash.

Across
social media sites, fans have been posting a quote – ‘If one day the
speed kills me, do not cry because I was smiling’ – that is attributed
to Walker.

While at the event, Walker and Rodas decided to take the Porsche GT out for a spin.

One witness, Jim Tort, who was at the event told the NY Daily News, Rodas’ eight-year-old son tried to save his dad.

‘I ran over afterwards, I was trying to find Roger’s son.

‘I found out his son had jumped the fence and gone over. He was trying to get his dad out.

Coroner Ed Winters said the bodies were so badly burned they would take days for them to be positively identified.

Witnesses at the crash scene posted a video of the scene on YouTube showing debris from the wreckage while emergency workers cordoned off the area. Photographs also show a burnt out shell of a car.

Friends
of the star told a local newspaper they ‘went through fire
extinguishers’ in a futile bid to fight the blaze that engulfed the car
after the crash.

Antonio Holmes told the Santa Clarita Signal: ‘We all ran around and jumped in cars and grabbed fire extinguishers
and immediately went to the vehicle. It was engulfed in flames. There
was nothing.

‘They were trapped. Employees, friends of the shop. We tried. We tried.’ 

Holmes added: ‘Him
and his buddy, his brother in arms at heart just decided to joyride,
take a spin. Something we all do. We’re all car enthusiasts…

‘We’re
all here driving, enjoying each other, and God must’ve needed help.

‘When we saw Paul and Roger leave, Paul was the passenger in the vehicle. They both were experienced drivers.

‘This was just a tragic accident that happened on a joyride,’ said witness Jim Torp of Santa Clarita.

In the ‘Fast & Furious’, the
blond-haired, blue-eyed actor played Brian O’Conner, a law enforcement
official and starred in all but one of the six action blockbusters which
began in 2001.

He was
born in Los Angeles and brought Californian surfer good-looks and an
easy, warm charm to the popular street-racing series.

‘All of us at Universal are heartbroken,’ Universal Pictures said in a statement.

‘Paul
was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio
family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone
involved with the Fast and Furious films, and to countless fans.’

Tragic: A sheet covers part of the wreckage in which actor Paul Walker died after the car went up in flames in Santa Clarita

Tragic: One witness, Jim Tort, said that one of those people on the scene who witnessed the crash and attempted to help the men was Roger Rodas’ eight-year-old son

Aftermath: Firefighters attend the scene where Paul Walker died when the car he was a passenger in crashed into a pole and a tree

Aftermath: Firefighters attend the scene where Paul Walker died when the car he was a passenger in crashed into a pole and a tree

Engulfed: This witness photo shows the Porsche completely engulfed by flames after the driver lost control, hitting a pole and killing himself and Paul Walker

Engulfed: This witness photo shows the Porsche completely engulfed by flames after the driver lost control, hitting a pole and killing himself and Paul Walker

Paul Walker
Paul Walker

Desperate: Bystanders desperately tried to put out the flames with fire extinguishers but the fire was too strong

Crash site: Sheriff deputies work near the wreckage of the Porsche sports car that crashed into a pole on Hercules Street near Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia on Saturday

Crash site: Sheriff deputies work near the wreckage of the Porsche sports car that crashed into a pole on Hercules Street near Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia

Mystery: Investigators do not know what caused the driver of the vehicle to lose control and crash into a pole

Mystery: Investigators do not know what caused the driver of the vehicle to lose control and crash into a pole

Investigation: Fire officers examine the wreckage of the burnt out car where Paul Walker and his friend died

Investigation: Fire officers examine the wreckage of the burnt out car where Paul Walker and his friend died

After a long evaluation the coroners laid the two bodies into body bags and transported them into the coroner's van

After a long evaluation the coroners laid the two bodies into body bags and transported them into the coroner’s van


A friend lost: Bill Townsend posted this picture of himself with Paul Walker taken hours before his tragic death in a car accident in California

A friend lost: Tech entrepreneur and author Bill Townsend posted this picture of himself with Paul Walker taken hours before the actor’s tragic death in a car accident in California

Touching: Ludacris posted this tribute to tragic co-star Paul Walker on his Facebook page on Saturday

Touching: Ludacris posted this tribute to tragic co-star Paul Walker on his Facebook page on Saturday

His 'Fast & Furious' co-star Vin Diesel posted a photograph of him and Walker arm-in-arm on Instagram with the message: 'Brother I will miss you very much'

His ‘Fast & Furious’ co-star Vin Diesel posted a photograph of him and Walker arm-in-arm on Instagram with the message: ‘Brother I will miss you very much’

WALKER WAS DUE ON SET NEXT WEEK: WHAT NEXT FOR THE FAST & FURIOUS FRANCHISE?

Following the tragic death of Paul Walker, the entire future of the extremely popular Fast & Furious franchise hangs in limbo.

Walker had been scheduled to fly to Atlanta this week to resume filming, with TMZ reporting that he was supposed to be filming some ‘key scenes’ for the latest film in the highly successful franchise.

Filming will now grind to a halt following the untimely death of Walker, who played lead character Brian
O’Conner in six of seven film installments.

Universal – the studio behind the movie – doesn’t know when, or if, they will start shooting again although if it does go ahead the script will require a significant rewrite to explain the loss of such an integral character.

The last film, released in May, was the most lucrative of them all, grossing more than $788 million worldwide.The one sequel that Walker didn’t appear in The
Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) was the least successful.

The seventh installment of the street racing series, also due to star Jordana Brewester, Vin Diesel, Michele Rodriguez and Dwayne Johnson, was scheduled for a July 2014 release.

Director James Wan tweeted that he was ‘beyond heartbroken’ and was unable to ‘process anything’ in the hours following the 40-year-old star’s death.

The last post to Walker’s Twitter profile before his accident on Saturday was dated Nov. 29, and included a still from what appeared to be the set of Fast & Furious 7 and a message that read ‘The boys are back. Will you be ready?’

Walker had recently joked that he would continue working on the long-running film franchise until ‘Fast & Furious 66′.

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Walker and co-star Vin Diesel in a scene from Fast & Furious 6: The deceased star had appeared in all but one of the highly successful franchise and had recently begun work on the seventh installment

Movie wife: Jordana Brewster starred with Walker in the high octane thriller franchise Fast & Furious as the late actor's wife

Movie wife: Jordana Brewster starred with Walker in the high octane thriller franchise Fast & Furious as the late actor’s wife

Fond memories: Fast & Furious co-star Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson also tweeted condolences following the well-liked actor's death

Fond memories: Fast & Furious co-star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson also tweeted condolences following the well-liked actor’s death


His ‘Fast & Furious’ co-star Vin Diesel posted a photograph of him and Walker arm-in-arm on Instagram with the message: ‘Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless.’

Another co-star, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, also took to social media to convey his condolences. Johnson also posted an old photo of him and the late Walker.

The son of a fashion model and a sewer contractor, Walker grew up in a working class, Mormon Los Angeles household.

The oldest of five siblings, Walker’s mother began taking him to auditions as a toddler.

He was a child model from the age of two and starred in a Pampers commercial when he was a toddler.

Paul Walker
Paul Walker

Heartthrob: Walker was a child model and the face of Davidoff Cool Water, appearing in print commercials for the brand

Walker was born in Glendale, California, and raised in the San Fernando Valley area with his four siblings.

He previously said the early induction to show business wasn’t to kick start his career but a way to help provide for the family.

After a string of TV roles as a child in the 1980s, Walker made his feature film debut in the 1998 comedy Meet the Deedles.

Supporting roles in films Pleasantville, Varsity Blues and She’s All That followed.

His performance in the 2000 thriller The Skulls caught the eye of producer Neal H. Moritz, who cast him in the Fast & Furious as undercover police officer Brian O’Conner.

Adapted from a Vibe magazine article about underground street races, the film became an unexpected hit.

In the sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Walker moved to centre stage with his co-star Vin Diesel momentarily dropping out.

Walker, a self-described ‘gearhead,’ kept his character’s sports car from the film.

Other roles include Brokedown Palace,
Flags of Our Fathers and the Hurricane Katrina drama Hours, which is
set to be released in December.

Although his stardom didn’t make as much of an impact outside the Fast & Furious series, Walker continually drew praise from his co-stars and directors as a kind-hearted and eager collaborator.

 

Too soon: Paul Walker with his Fast & Furious co-star Vin Diesel
Too soon: Paul Walker with his Fast & Furious co-star Vin Diesel

Too soon: Paul Walker with co-star Vin Diesel (right) in the 2001 film The Fast & the Furious and with Ludacris (left) in the sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious

Fast and Furious
Paul Walker

Tragic ending: Walker starred in Fast & Furious, the fourth installment of the franchise in 2009 (left) and the next one, Fast Five (right) in 2011

Paul Walker as a youth playing baseball. This photo was an ad his family took out in his 1991 year book
Paul Walker was voted

Early days: Walker as a young child (left) and pictured in Village Christian High School yearbook in 1991, the year he was voted ‘Best Hair’

Jesse Brisendine, an internationally recognized life coach, wrote on Facebook: ‘3 years ago Paul Walker and I were sitting around talking about goals and dreams.

‘I asked him what he would want written on his tombstone and his response was “He was a good guy and a kind person.”

‘Having known Paul and being privileged to call him a best friend and brother, having traveled the world together, having shared 1000′s of laughs and tears together, I can honestly say that Paul was more than a good guy and a kind person,’ he wrote.

The post continued: ‘He is one of the kindest, caring, compassionate people I have ever met. He always wanted to learn, he always wanted to grow, he always wanted to be the best person he can be.

‘I know he would want the same for all those who know him and know of him: to do your best to be the best person you can be.’         

Hollywood stars have paid tribute to the actor, including rapper and actor Ludacris, who tweeted his shock and sadness at his Fast & Furious co-star’s untimely death.

Alongside a touching picture of the film’s cast holding hands, he wrote: ‘Your humble spirit was felt from the start, wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark.

‘We were like brothers & our birthdays are only 1 day apart, now You will forever hold a place in all of our hearts @paulwalker legacy will live on forever. R.I.P.’


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‘Effortlessly golden’: Outside of the Fast & Furious franchise, Walker’s movies included Varsity Blues with James Van Der Beek, left, (1999) and Into The Blue (2005) with Jessica Alba. On Saturday, Van Der Beek tweeted, ‘I just remember him being so effortlessly golden.’

Paul Walker
Paul Walker

Animal lover: Walker at the premiere of his film Eight Below (left) said the best thing about the film was the dogs. The star had two dogs, including a Chesapeake Bay retrieve called Boone

‘No, @RealPaulWalker. No. No. No,’ tweeted actress Alyssa Milano. Walker guest-starred with her in the 80s comedy, Who’s The Boss? ‘Rest with the angels. You. Sweet boy. #beauty #love #RIP.’

Actress Goldie Hawn said: ‘Our family mourns the loss of Paul. A very special Human being.  Our prayers go his beloved family.’

Bring It On star Gabrielle Union said: ‘This is awful. Awful. #RIPPaulWalker pls pray for his family, friends & fans. We’ve lost a great, laid back, sweet, cool man & father.’

The Wire actor Michael B Jordan said: ‘Man life is so short. People you care about can be here one min and gone the next Don’t take life for granted RIP Paul Walker.’

TV host Vanessa Lachey said: ‘I just heard and am in shock. Prayers to Paul Walker’s family. Life is precious, never take a day for granted. #RIPPaulWalker’

Castmates: Paul Walker with Tyrese Gibson (left), Vin Diesel (center left), and Ludacris (right) at the premiere of Fast & Furious 5 in Brazil, 2011

Castmates: Paul Walker with Tyrese Gibson (left), Vin Diesel (center left), and Ludacris (right) at the premiere of Fast & Furious 5 in Brazil, 2011

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Tribute: Walker’s death was announced on his Facebook page with this message

James Franco said: ‘Much love to paul walker. So sad. He gave a lot of joy.’

Mario Lopez, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Jack Osborne and DMX also tweeted about the death. 

Walker’s death came just days after he was the victim of an online death hoax.

The actor will star in the upcoming Hurricane Katrina drama, Hours, which Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films is to release December 13.

He also stars in Brick Mansions, a remake of the French action film District B13 in post-production that Relativity plans to release next year.

Relativity President Tucker Tooley said in a statement: ‘Paul was an incredibly talent artist, devoted philanthropist and friend,’

Walker formed Reach Out Worldwide in 2010 to aid people struck by natural disasters.

Bill Townsend, a friend of Walker’s who attended the fundraiser, said: ‘He was very happy. He was smiling at everybody, just tickled that all these people came out to support this charity. He was doing what he loved. He was surrounded by friends, surrounded by cars.’

Xmas Holidays

‘Tripadvisor’ website for NHS flooded by complaints: Patients tells of ‘lazy nurses and blood-spattered walls’

  • Care Connect lets patients to rate hospitals out of five and post comments
  • In its first three months it was flooded with complaints about care
  • However, some users praised several hospitals and clinics

By
Sophie Borland


PUBLISHED:

20:32 EST, 1 December 2013


|

UPDATED:

04:28 EST, 2 December 2013

An NHS ‘Tripadvisor’-style website which allows patients to review hospitals has been bombarded with complaints about lazy nurses and blood-spattered walls.

The Care Connect site was set up in August and initially patients can only write comments about 20 hospitals in London and north-east England although it will be expanded over the next two years.

It is very similar to the Tripadvisor website – where the public review restaurants and hotels – and patients give the hospital a score out of five and post their comments.

Yet in its first three months it has been flooded with complaints about ignorant doctors, a lack of staff at weekends and rubbish-strewn A&Es.

Care Connect is very similar to Tripadvisor - where the public review restaurants and hotels. One patient reviewing North Middlesex Trust said 'nobody should go there unless it is the last hospital on earth'

Care Connect is very similar to Tripadvisor – where the public review restaurants and hotels. One patient reviewing North Middlesex Trust said ‘nobody should go there unless it is the last hospital on earth’

One patient reviewing North Middlesex Trust in North London said ‘nobody should go there unless it is the last hospital on earth.’

Giving the hospital a score of 1 out of 5, the anonymous patient added: ‘No matter the emergency, you have to wait in line with everybody else, one could be dying and the nurses would be chatting with their friends.

‘Rude nurses, they simply ignore you. I had to wait three hours before being given a painkiller.’

A parent writing about St Helier hospital, in Carshalton, Surrey, also gave it a score of 1 and said it was ‘appalling all round.’

‘My 16 year old son was seriously ill in St Helier hospital for four nights, during which he was housed in six separate beds.

‘A&E was dirty with lots of rubbish on the floor – I counted eight pieces despite a cleaner going round doing nothing.
‘The nursing staff were completely uncaring.’

A parent writing about St Helier hospital, in Carshalton, Surrey, said: 'A&E was dirty with lots of rubbish on the floor - I counted eight pieces despite a cleaner going round doing nothing'

A parent writing about St Helier hospital, in Carshalton, Surrey, said: ‘A&E was dirty with lots of rubbish on the floor – I counted eight pieces despite a cleaner going round doing nothing’

The parent added that doctors only came ‘on rare occasions’ and never on Saturdays and Sundays ‘as patients aren’t supposed to be sick at weekends.’

One woman said staff at the same hospital initially missed her ectopic pregnancy – a life-threatening condition – and told her to ‘go home and rest.’

She wrote: ‘I was seen by a nurse who told me everything was fine and refused to do a scan. I told her the pain was unbearable and she just said I should go home and rest.”

The woman said she had suffered a ruptured fallopian tube as a result which may cause her problems becoming pregnant in future.

Others complained about ‘blood up the walls’ in consultation rooms at Gateshead hospital, Tyneside and being given the wrong – and ‘extremely dangerous’ -prescription at Edgware Community Hospital, North London.

Many of the reviews were very positive however and several hospitals and clinics have been average scores of 4 or 5 out of 5.

The website is part of ministers’ drive to make the NHS more transparent for patients and to help them chose where to be treated.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: ‘This is a very positive step in the right direction – to a more open and honest NHS.’

The website – which has cost £150 million to set up – will be gradually expanded until all hospitals and GP surgeries are included by 2015.

Xmas Holidays

Online Christmas shopping: stay safe and know your rights

Man having a parcel delivered

You’ve ordered your christmas shopping online – but what are your rights if it doesn’t arrive in time? Photograph: Alamy

The Christmas shopping season is about to start in earnest, with Cyber Sunday likely to launch a flurry of activity online. Shoppers are predicted to log in and check out in droves, as they take advantage of retailers’ discounts and give themselves plenty of time for goods to arrive before Christmas. But before you join the throng, read our guide to shopping online.

How do I stay safe online?

Under internet sales rules, websites should include the retailer’s name, address and an email address, so alarm bells should ring if none of this information is available. You need to make sure there is a padlock symbol in the URL field – a padlock symbol that is on the page itself could indicate a fraudulent site. Also ensure the web address begins with https:// – the “s” standing for “secure”.

The best way to avoid rogue sites is to do your research – internet forums are packed with people sharing their stories about bad service and goods that do not appear, so before you buy do a search on the name of the company.

Lots of banks now use Verified by Visa to offer an extra level of security if you are paying with a Visa card, or SecureCode if you have a Mastercard. You are asked for your card’s security code and other details, which makes it harder for criminals to use your card fraudulently but doesn’t offer any guarantees about the site you are using.

Even if you are shopping on a well-known, legitimate site you should be security conscious. Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date, do not use communal computers or Wi-Fi and create the strongest passwords you can. If a site gives you the choice to store your payment details or make a one-off purchase, you might want to opt for the latter.

If you are really worried, you could stick to sites that let you place an order but pay when you pick up an item in store – then at least you know you have secured the item you want. Lots of shops, including Argos, Waterstones and PC World offer this kind of reserve-and-collect service.

Do I have to use a credit card?

It is sensible to use one if you are ordering anything costing more than £100, because it gives protection that isn’t afforded by a debit or prepaid card or PayPal. Under section 75 of the consumer credit act, the credit card provider is jointly liable if something goes wrong, so if you pay for an order with a company that goes bust before you get your delivery, you can claim your money from the credit card company.

Debit and prepaid card providers offer a voluntary protection scheme called chargeback which applies on sums of less than £100, but the cover is more limited. Don’t ever pay with a cash transfer, however tempting the price you are being offered. If a company goes bust, or if it turns out that your goods don’t actually exist, you will not be able to get your money back.

What if I change my mind?

If you have had an item made to your specification or personalised – for example, you have had someone’s name put on a football shirt – you cannot get a refund if you change your mind. Otherwise, under the distance selling regulations you are allowed to cancel an order at any point from the day you place it up until seven working days from the day after it is delivered, but you should do so in writing, either with a physical letter or an email. You then need to return the goods.

You can’t return a CD, DVD or computer game if you have broken the seal on the box, but with other goods retailers cannot insist items are returned in their original packaging – you are only obliged to make sure they are returned in reasonable condition. If it is something you have to get out of the package to check, that’s acceptable.

The retailer’s terms and conditions should tell you if you are responsible for paying to return an unwanted order, so check this before you press “buy”. Retailers with a high-street presence will often let you take goods back to their stores, which can be much handier than queuing at the Post Office. If the retailer does not say who is responsible for paying, it will have to stump up the cost.

What if it doesn’t come in time?

When you place an order the retailer should tell you when you can expect your goods to be delivered – if it doesn’t, the distance selling rules assume it will be in a maximum of 30 days. If the retailer fails to deliver within the agreed time it must let you know and, if you decide you no longer want the order, it must refund you.

What if the goods never arrive?

If the items don’t arrive you should complain to the retailer. If the seller disappears or refuses to help, contact your credit or debit card company and begin the process of claiming back your money.

Can I get an accidental bargain?

Online price glitches can lead to retailers offering goods at incredible prices, sparking a surge of consumers rushing to take advantage. Whether the retailer has to honour it depends on its terms and conditions – it can say that the contract is not deemed to have been entered into until it has sent out a confirmation email.

This means that even if you have placed the order and paid the “too good to be true” price, if it spots its mistake later it is within its rights to adjust the price to the correct sum. If the goods arrive at the low price, however, it is not allowed to chase you for the difference.

If an offer is too good to be true and you have never heard of the retailer in question, be very wary.

More than a quarter of us use our mobile phones to shop on the go, according to IMRG, the UK’s industry association for online retail. But what are the risks? The short answer is that all the dangers associated with your desktop computer can also be applied to your smartphone. Experts advise treating your phone or tablet in the same way you would your desktop computer or laptop and that way, you won’t go far wrong.

■ Greater protection is provided by using the retailer’s app to shop, rather than your browser, according to Get Safe Online, but only download trusted retailers’ apps. Well known high street stores, such as Argos and Debenhams, have apps that customers can access via their smartphones. “The app has been provided by the retailer so you are then shopping with protection and security,” says Alex Grant, managing director of fraud prevention at Barclays. “Using the internet browser on your phone you may clink on a link that may not be a reputable site.”

■ Keep the software on your phone up to date. Most manufacturers offer regular updates that often include security updates.

■ Always lock your mobile. That way a password will need to be entered to activate the device.

■ Avoid shopping using unlocked public Wi-Fi networks, to stop fraudsters capturing packets of your data on an unsecured network.

■ Store your bank information in a secure location away from the phone itself, in case you should lose or have your mobile phone stolen.

Christmas Trees

1. The year one

1

1: A very good place to start. Photograph: Profile Books

Our western dating system – BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini – Year of Our Lord) – was conceived in the sixth century by a Romanian monk called Dionysius Exiguus, and came into widespread scholarly use after its adoption by the Anglo-Saxon historian the Venerable Bede.

Prior to that, European historians dated years according to the Roman consul who held office in a given year. Working in Rome, Dionysus declared that the current year was AD 525, based on the birth of Christ taking place in the year 1 (there being no Western concept at the time of zero). Gospel historians later decided that Jesus was actually born a few years earlier, between 6 and 4BC. Dionysius, it seems, may have wanted to disprove the idea that the end of the world would take place 500 years after the birth of Jesus. That would have made it 6,000 years after the Creation, which was believed to have taken place 5,500 years before Christ. Dionsyius himself estimated, based on cosmological readings, that the end of the world would take place in 2000.

The CE/BCE (Common Era) designations, increasingly used to secularise history, are widely regarded as modern, politically correct innovations but were in fact introduced by Jewish historians in the mid-19th century. But, for those who might want an alternative, there are plenty of other dating systems. The Jews start their calendar in 3761BC; the Mayans, in 3114BC; the Chinese, with the start of the Yellow Emperor’s reign in 2696BC; the Japanese, in 680BC; the Muslims, with the emigration of the prophet Muhammad from Medina from Mecca in AD 622; the Copts, with the Year of the Martyrs in AD 284, while the Ethiopian church starts the clock back in 5493BC.

Tomorrow: the Two Things game.

• Taken from Rogerson’s Book of Numbers by Barnaby Rogerson (Profile).

Christmas Trees

How to make a beautiful Christmas wreath

 Francine Raymond makes a wreath
Nature’s gift: Francine makes the wreath that was crafted from materials close at hand
 Photo: Clara Molden

This year I thought I’d try something new in the christmas decoration
department. I booked in on a wreath-making course given by eco-florists
Blooming Green at Sissinghurst Castle.

Driving across the Kent Downs, through sunlit woods and colourful hedgerows, I
was inspired to celebrate this mast year of fruit, berry and seed abundance,
and arrived to find baskets-full of bounty waiting for us to use.

Jen Stuart-Smith and Bek Bibby then taught us how to produce a compostable
wreath, using materials picked from gardens, parks and hedgerows, that
avoids using florists’ moss – there are conservation issues surrounding the
stripping of sphagnum mosses (see Wild
Flower Society.com
).

We started by making our bases. I selected some yellow and orange whips, and
we bent them into circles, working them round, the first one way and the
second in the opposite direction, tucking in any twiggy branches. I added
some pieces of red dogwood to build up thickness, others added brown birch
twigs with little buds. Once I felt I had a sturdy base, I snipped off any
pieces that stuck out.

We then decorated our bases, selecting ingredients from baskets of berries,
hips, fruits, cones and dried flowers. We were encouraged to pick a word we
thought described our wreath, then repeat it to ourselves every time we made
a decision, in the hope of producing a cohesive design. I chose “exuberant”.
Jen also told us to choose one base decoration, then five other items, and
use them in odd amounts spread around the wreath, bearing in mind our own
door’s colour scheme.

First, we had to decide which way up our efforts would hang, depending on the
best angle, and made loops using strands of brightly coloured raffia. A
sturdy wire loop would have done the job more discreetly.

I chose five large sprays of rose hips for my base. The gallicas and
centifolias have multi-hipped clusters, especially Rosa x alba semiplena,
and R. glauca with orange hips or R. moyesii, would have looked pretty; then
I added bursts of tiny ‘Rambling Rector’ hips, with tied bunches of single
larger hips. These were all wired in with natural wire that would eventually
rust away, consolidating our eco credentials.

Francine and her finished wreath (CLARA MOLDEN)

I popped on little blobs of hydrangea florets (whole heads risk looking like
the Queen Mother’s hats) in pale blue and maroon, a few crab apples, poking
wire through their middles to attach them to the willow base, before adding
some dried gomphrena flowers with pink furry heads.

Scarlet Cotoneaster lacteus berries were the most popular accessory, but pink
and orange spindle berries (Euonymus europaeus), purple Callicarpa bodinieri,
clusters of apricot Cotoneaster ‘Exburiensis’ or Viburnum opulus would have
looked spectacular. I resolved to plant some Sorbus sargentiana with scarlet
berries in the New Year.

One student decorated branches of larch in cones and lichen, and another used
dreadlocks of amaranth and honesty seed heads. My wreath will live in my
porch, hanging on my pale blue front door, to welcome visitors.

There is another workshop at Sissinghurst on December 8 (Blooming
Green Flowers
)

Other wreath workshops: Occombe Farm, Devon (countryside-trust.org.uk);
Gossington Hall, Glos (cotswoldgardeningschool.co.uk);
Newhailes, Edinburgh (nts.org.uk); Nymans
Haywards Heath (nationaltrust.org.uk)

Christmas Trees

Online Christmas shoppers prepare for record ‘Cyber Monday’

Amazon packaging
Amazon has warehouses in the UK and employs 15,000 people but diverts its UK sales to Luxembourg Photo: Alamy

By Ben Farmer

12:01AM GMT 02 Dec 2013

Online shops are braced for their busiest day in history as christmas shoppers
throng the virtual aisles for “Cyber Monday”.

Retailers are expecting hundreds of thousands of pounds to be spent each
minute and around 113 million visits to shopping websites.

Online shopping is expected to peak in the early evening after people return
home from work and decide to get their present shopping out of the way.

Figures show the first Monday in December has consistently been the busiest
online shopping day of the calendar in recent years.

Retail analysts believe shoppers will have also spent much of the weekend
browsing in High Street shops before returning home to buy their chosen
presents online.

Richard Lim, head of business information at the British Retail Consortium,
said: “This is the most important time of year for seasonal spending both
in-store and online, with payday and the start of December making thoughts
turn to making some headway on Christmas lists for many of us.”

Visa Europe predicts £450 million will be spent on its cards alone as online
transactions rise a sixth from last year to top 7.7 million.

The company expects £312,550 to be spent each minute.

Last year on Cyber Monday, Amazon.co.uk , the largest online retailer in the
UK, saw more than 3.5 million items ordered, at a rate of around 41 items
per second.

That meant a delivery lorry packed with orders left one of Amazon’s depots
every two minutes and 10 seconds.

Amazon has hired 15,000 temporary staff and 2,300 extra permanent employees to
deal with the Christmas rush. The company has eight warehouses across the
UK, including Hemel Hempstead, to deliver orders to customers.

With Cyber Monday this year falling so early in the month, analysts are
predicting Monday December 9 will also be busy. Throughout December, Britons
are expected to spend around £10.5 billion on online, according to Experian
Marketing Services.

James Murray, the company’s digital insights manager, said: “This Christmas is
going to be the biggest ever in terms of online retail visits and December
2013 should be the first month that the UK reaches the three billion
benchmark for visits to retail websites.”

Improvements in technology may also dethrone Cyber Monday from the peak of the
online shopping calendar.

Mr Lim said: “While Cyber Monday is often held to be the biggest day for
online festive shopping, the following week could challenge that title.

“Faster delivery times and the growing popularity of click-and-collect means
customers are prepared to leave ordering online closer to Christmas with the
confidence that items will still arrive in good time for the big day.”

Cyber Monday closely follows last week’s Black
Friday, which online retailers described as their busiest ever
.

Sales on Friday reached four million items at Amazon.

Black Friday was traditionally a post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy in America,
but began to cross the Atlantic after Seattle-based Amazon started offering
deals in 2010.

Christmas Trees

Lynne Truss: Buyers of Advent calendars, beware! They can break young hearts

Lynne Truss
Lynne Truss Photo: Andrew Crowley

12:15PM GMT 01 Dec 2013

I dithered over whether to buy the dog an Advent
calendar
, but in the end decided against it. As a cynical marketing
opportunity, the doggy Advent calendar can hardly be faulted (there’s a
treat behind each window), but for once I thought ahead to the implications.
On December 1, the dog would get an unexpected treat. On December 2, he
would get another. By December 3, he would be begging for the treat. By
December 15, he would be waking me up at half past five. By December 24, he
would have no memory of life before the treats started coming. christmas
excitement would have built and built. But then, on December 25, what would
happen? Would he get his daily treat? No, because the Advent calendar would
be empty. “No more treats,” the poor little chap is told. “Advent is over.”
But he does not understand the ecclesiastical calendar. It has always gone
over his head. Say “Septuagesima” to him and he just looks at you. So for
him Christmas Day now becomes associated solely with disappointment. He
decides to leave home (despite the snow) and starts wrapping his prize
possessions in a spotted hankie.

And the dog Advent calendar is entirely to blame.

I mention all this because it was in the news that children’s
choccy Advent calendars have had their da
y
. Responsible parents are
choosing ones with bits of educational Lego in them instead. For me, the
mention of the now-outmoded choccy ones brought horribly to mind the time I
sent two rather beautiful old-fashioned Advent calendars (with pictures in)
to some young relatives – and was told by the parents afterwards that their
children had been devastated. “What, no sweets?” the children had wailed
when they opened the door marked “1” and found only a picture of a little
tin drum with a pair of sticks. Naturally, I was all apology. I hadn’t
intended to traumatise anyone. I realised I had bought and sent these lovely
calendars as a way of compensating for the shoddy specimen I treasured as a
child, whose pictures weren’t lined up properly with the windows, and whose
primitive ­colour printing was terrible as well. What I had sent these
youngsters was, basically, the Christmas Miracle of Perfect Alignment, so it
was no wonder they weren’t impressed. What they had wanted was some
Celebrations before setting off to school.

It occurs to me now, of course, that we were far too ready to accept bad stuff
in the old days. “Look, mummy, every single one of these pictures is half an
inch to the left of the window and also down a bit!” I used to exclaim. And
we would sigh, “Oh well!” and just peer askance every day, to find the
pinky-greeny-blurry image of a reindeer or a jack-in-the-box. It never
occurred to us to take the backing off and just line it up. Once the problem
had been identified, it would have been such a simple matter.

But no. I would carry on opening the windows, always hoping that today the
picture would be in the right place, and always downhearted that it wasn’t.

Nowadays it would be clear to me that the pictures on the sheet would be in
the right places relative to each other. But in those days, I had no idea
how anything worked – and I’m not sure my parents did either. When the telly
went off the station, we used to stamp on the floor in a certain spot; the
kitchen radio had a teaspoon sticking out of it (but to be fair, it wouldn’t
work without it). The idea of taking the backing off of an Advent calendar
and sticking it back down in the correct position – my father would think
this was a job for Bertrand Russell and Barry Bucknell working as a team,
certainly not for him.

Incidentally, the Advent calendar can have other, unpredictable effects on
young minds. An old boyfriend of mine was permanently confused about the
date of Christmas because he’d been so obsessed with his Advent calendar as
a child. He persisted in thinking that Christmas Day was December 24,
because “24” was the big window with the nativity scene behind it. In fact,
he often argued that Christmas Day was on December 24, and wondered why he
never got his presents until the following day. So I have possibly saved the
dog from a lifetime of seasonal confusion on top of everything else.

I’m sure I did the right thing.

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Christmas Trees