Outside Edge (03/01/10)

From rags to nags to riches. Jan Vokes, 56, who gets up at 4am to clean her local ASDA store in order to fund her horseracing ambitions, saw her first foal, Dream Alliance, win the Welsh National last week. Brought up on an allotment on an old slagheap in Cefn Forest, Gwent, the nine-year-old is owned by a syndicate from the village's working man's club, including a bailiff, a car washer and a noodle factory worker, who each pay £10 per week for his training and have picked up £124,000 in prizemoney. Jan has the knack; she won the Welsh South Road National with her racing pigeon Will's Dream two decades ago. Her hopes of winning the Grand National are no flight of fancy.

£53,000

Funding provided by the British government to Jamaica last year for convicts who are returning from prison in the UK to enrol on a cricket course run by fast-bowling legend Courtney Walsh. Protective headgear not included.

Space cadet of the week

Takuo Toda has some lofty ambitions. The President of the Origami Airplane Association in Japan has broken the world record for the longest flight by a paper dart, 26.1sec in duration. "I felt a lot of pressure," he said. "It's really a sport, the throwing technique is very delicate." His advice is to aim high, and he certainly does. Toda wants to send 100 paper planes up to the International Space Station, treated with silicon so that they can withstand 250C and Mach seven winds, and have them released 250 miles above the surface. But they would take a week to descend, apparently, and his plans are on hold because he won't know where they land. Who knows what will unfold?

Good week for

Neville Crichton, whose Alfa Romeo broke Wild Oats XI's four-year reign to win the Sydney to Hobart yacht race... Michael Owen's old helicopter, sold to the Great North Ambulance Service to be used as an air ambulance... and Negro Leagues Baseball, which ran from 1920 to 1960, honoured on latest issue by US Stamps.

Bad week for

Lindsey Vonn, US skier whose build-up to the Winter Olympics was hampered by a hand injury in the giant slalom at Linz... Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi, host of four World Cup matches next year, sees a one-day international between India and Sri Lanka abandoned because of a dangerous pitch... and Tiger Woods' sponsors, losing an estimated £8.35 billion because of his transgressions with a 2.3 per cent drop in share prices.

Busy body of the week

The title of King of the Hyphen for 2009 goes to veteran fund-raiser Joel Hicks, who claims to have won world titles in six different disciplines during last year: gravy-wrestling, cold-water swimming, wife-carrying, pea-shooting, egg-throwing and bath-racing. He's a trainee barrister from Hinckley in Leicestershire, and perhaps not surprisingly he's single, so he won the wife-carrying with someone else's spouse. However, he only came second in the World Coal-Carrying Championships, so there's still work to be done. But it's hard to check up on his claims, not least because the World's Biggest Liar Contest in November had to be cancelled due to flash floods. Or so they say.

a.tong@independent.co.uk

News
news
Voices
voicesThe Ukip leader on why he's done nothing illegal
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Sport
video
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
News
Supermarkets are running out of Easter Eggs
Deals make eggs cheaper than normal chocolate
Arts & Entertainment
artYouth club owner says mural is 'gift from the sky' so he can prevent closure of venue
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?