January 2011 Archives

Exhibition opening times

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74875_129050137151571_129047433818508_183295_7815421_n.jpgThe doors to the AstroFest exhibition will open at 9am both days, and the exhibition space will remain open until 6pm, giving you plenty of time to peruse the stalls before and after the conference sessions!

AstroFest Press Release

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Please find below the official AstroFest press release:


Emily Baldwin

Website Editor, Astronomy Now

Tel: 07815935284

Email: emily@astronomynow.com

Twitter: @AstroEmz

Wendy Collins

Astronomy Now

Tel: 01732 446112


Ticket hotline: 01732 446106

Website: www.astronomynow.com/astrofest

Blog: www.astronomynow.com/astrofest2011blog/

Twitter: @AstronomyNow


Asteroid impacts, home-grown black holes and the truth about those end-of-the-world predictions for 2012 are just some of the themes that will be covered by Europe's biggest astronomy show this year. Organised by Astronomy Now magazine, European AstroFest 2011 hits London's Kensington Conference and Events Centre on 4-5 February. The two day conference and trade exhibition attracts thousands of participants and features speakers from across the astronomical world.

Topping the bill at this year's event is Professor Brian Cox, fresh from the hit BBC TV show Stargazing Live. He will reveal how the Large Hadron Collider recently created a microscopic big bang in an experiment that produced temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun, and how this will teach us about the birth of the Universe.

Also in attendance is Dr Ed Krupp, Director of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, who will reveal the truth behind the claims that the end of the Maya calendar system in 2012 will cause catastrophic pole shifts and calamitous sunspots that will supposedly wipe out life on Earth, and tell us what the Universe is really doing in 2012.

Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen's University Belfast turns to a very real danger and asks "what's out there?" when it comes to near Earth asteroids, and how we're doing at accounting for potential Earth-impacting objects. 

Writer and film-maker Christopher Riley will talk about the origins of the NASA film archive and the technical challenges of broadcasting live pictures from the Moon, and will share behind-the-scenes stories of the making of the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, including some of the rarely seen and newly restored footage of humanity's greatest adventure.

Professor Brian Cox and Sir Patrick Moore will be signing their latest books during a dedicated book signing session on Saturday.

Additional speakers include: 

  • Dr Paul Roche, who will present a live demonstration of using the two-metre Faulkes Telescope located in Hawaii and Australia
  • Stand-up comedienne Helen Keen, who will take the audience on an entertaining journey of stargazing, space-racing, and the boundless possibilities of an infinite Universe.
  • Dr Nathalie Thureau from the University of St Andrews on eclipsing stars beyond our own Solar System
  • Dr Chris Arridge of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory on the giant planets Uranus and Neptune, including news of upcoming missions to the outer Solar System
  • Dr Simon Mitton, on the influential and controversial astrophysicist Fred Hoyle
  • Chuck Wood, who publishes the Lunar Photo of the Day will teach the audience how to read the Moon, and discuss the curious lunar flashes, mists and flickering red glows that amateurs have observed
  • Professor Steve Eales from the University of Cardiff on the latest galaxy observations from the Herschel Space Observatory
  • Professor Gerry Gilmore of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge on mapping our Galaxy
  • Astronomy Now's Dr Emily Baldwin on the moons of Mars, including the latest theories for their formation
  • Dr Allan Chapman on Sir Arthur Eddington, the man who demonstrated relativity

The conference programme is chaired and organised by Ian Ridpath, and co-chaired by Iain Nicolson. 

The show also features three floors of trade stands featuring telescope dealers, universities, publishers and astronomical societies. Tickets to the lecture conference start at £15 per session, and entry into the trade exhibition is £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. Reporters wishing to attend should register with Emily Baldwin or Wendy Collins (contact details at the top of this release). 

Sir Patrick Moore at AstroFest 2011

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80_A518068.jpgWe are very pleased to welcome back to AstroFest Sir Patrick Moore, who will be signing books over lunchtime on Saturday. 

Accompanying Sir Patrick will be fellow BBC Sky at Night presenter Paul Abel. 

AstroFest showguide has arrived!

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You saw it here first! The AstroFest showguide has just arrived at HQ. All attendees will receive a copy, which will be handed out on the door. 


Lower Floor Exhibitor: British Astronomical Association

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The BAA are launching a new membership offer at AstroFest this year, which includes 18 months membership for the price of a year and a new 72-page observing guide worth £7.50, free. Further offers and details can be seen on the flyer: 
Or, if you can't make AstroFest, download the PDF here, fill it in and return it to the BAA before 30 June 2011 when the offer closes. 

T-minus one week!!

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With just one week to go until AstroFest opens its doors this year, make sure you've reserved your conference tickets before more sessions sell out! Session four sold out last week in record time, but there are still tickets available for the other three fantastic sessions, which include talks on the truth about 2012, brand new results from Hubble and Herschel, the threat of near-Earth Objects, a live demo of the Faulkes Telescope, and even a space-themed comedy sketch! You can review the full line-up here: http://www.astronomynow.com/astrofest/conference.html and I'm sure you'll agree there's something for everyone. 

If you're worried about your tickets arriving in time then just ask for us to hold them on the door for you :-)

Don't forget that your session tickets include entrance to the exhibition hall and book signing zone on Saturday, too! Exhibition only tickets are available on the door for just £5 (and also include entrance to book signing zones). 

Upper Floor Exhibitor - Starmus Festival

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Meet Living Space Legends at the Starmus Festival: Astro-Tourism with a Difference!

Pioneer astronauts and cosmonauts will celebrate 50 years of space and pay tribute in Tenerife during the week 20-25 June, 2011, to the first manned spaceflight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Following this, top scientists will collaborate in a major international conference -  "Discover the Cosmos and Change the World" - and explain the latest developments in astronomy. There will also be a one-day pro-am event in which amateur and professional astronomers describe (in 15-minute talks, 1-minute statements and posters) how amateurs and professionals join forces to tackle important research topics. There will also be a round table discussion webcast directly from inside the dome of the 10.4 metre Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), currently the largest telescope in the world, a star party (at an altitude of 2200 metres and supervised by top professional astronomers!), an astrophotography contest (the winner will be awarded 60 minutes on the GTC) and a SETI booth. The Festival will include a live concert given by the band Tangerine Dream, who will use real sounds from the stars in their performance for the first time ever.

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If you are seeking an astronomical holiday with a difference, then  visit the Starmus website at www.starmus.com. Book now to meet legendary space pioneers in person, get an update on the Cosmos from some of the world's top scientists and much more!

Lower Floor Exhibitor - the Society for Popular Astronomy

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AstroFest regulars the Society for Popular Astronomy - the UK's leading organisation for beginners - have something of a coup this year.

Fresh from his triumph presenting the BBC's Stargazing Live, pop star turned professor Brian Cox will be on hand on Saturday to lend support.

Brian will sign copies of his book Wonders Of The Solar System that have been purchased from the SPA stand. Signing will take place on the Upper Floor from 1.30pm to 3.30pm on Saturday only. If you can't make it, you can order a signed copy via the SPA here: http://www.popastro.com/cox/

If you're not an SPA member, AstroFest is a great opportunity to join. Ordinary membership will cost you a special rate of £14 a year, saving £2 on the usual £16 fee. As a bonus, new members can also buy the SPA's invaluable How To Use A Telescope DVD for £4.99 instead of £9.99.
Other offers include an exclusive range of 3D cards featuring the planets of the Solar System at £1.99 each, the SPA Pen Light at £2.99 plus a Red Head Light for £9.99.

The SPA's valuable benefits include six issues a year of its bright, informative magazine Popular Astronomy, packed with articles, a round-up of developments in space research, reviews of latest books and telescopes, news from local societies, a Sky Diary telling you what you can see - and much more.

There are observing sections to help you discover the sky for yourself, regular meetings, observing courses, advisory services, email news bulletins and a discount scheme to help you buy telescope gear or admission to places of interest at reduced prices.

Find out more about the SPA by visiting their website. 

Lower Floor Exhibitor: Altair Astro, SkyShed POD & iOptron

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Visit Stand 34 for some great special offers from SkyShed POD, with many products attracting a 10% discount if ordered at AstroFest. Follow the links for further product info and images!


iOptron iEQ45 imaging-friendly GOTO telescope mount. 

The new lightweight iOptron iEQ45 Equatorial GOTO telescope mount will be on display and sale at Astrofest 2011. The iEQ45 combines features such as auto-guiding ports, built in GPS, a dark-field polar alignment scope with corresponding software alignment routine, and an impressive GOTO hand controller - all in an extremely light weight mount head. The iEQ45 is perfect for those who want to do astro-photography with minimal setup time and without having to carry heavy equipment. For customers ordering at Astrofest a10% discount applies to the iOptron iEQ45 and your new mount will also be drop shipped to you for free, so you don't have to worry about transport in and around London.

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iOptron Minitower and Minitower PRO GOTO Alt Azimuth mounts:

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iOptron are probably best known for their GOTO Alt-Azimuth telescope mounts, the Minitower and the Minitower PRO which provide a solid stable observing airline-portable package. The Minitower and Minitower PRO have one of the easiest-to-use hand controllers on the market, and features like GPS and one star alignment make the mount one of the fastest and easiest mounts to set up for visual observing under the stars. Once again, ordering at Astrofest attracts a 10% discount on the Minitower and Minitower PRO. Mounts will be drop shipped to you for free after the show

Altair Astro 8" and 10" Ritchey Chretien Astrographs:

The new Altair Astro Deluxe Ritchey Chretien Astrographs will be on display at Astrofest and if ordered at the show, a 10% discount applies to the Altair 8" & 10" RCs (your new RC scope will also be drop shipped to you for free so you don't have to worry about transport). Features include Quartz low expansion optics, baffled tubes for increased contrast, rear cooling fans, external dual speed focusers, and a carbon fibre optical tube with Vixen or Losmandy type dovetail bars on top and bottom. These telescopes are optimised for imaging, and are rapidly gaining a great reputation for delivering consistent high quality images at longer focal lengths.  



Altair Astro TMS:

Altair TMS is on special at Astrofest - all Altair TMS products will be available at a 10% discount if bought at the show. The Altair Telescope Mounting System is designed to mount your optical tubes on Vixen or Losmandy format bars and plates, either side-by-side or piggyback on top of another OTA. The TMS is extremely rigid and very accurately machined to ensure detailed images with tight small star points. The TMS not only fits Skywatcher, Losmandy and Vixen format systems, but is very self-modular, so you can set up TMS bars and plates in many different combinations. TMS clamps are designed to be easy to use with a "tip-in" action, to help you get your scope mounted safely and quickly. The Altair TMS ultra-light guide scope rings are a new, innovative design, with a skeletonised structure which reduces weight but keeps rigidity for less strain on your mount and a rigid auto guider setup. TMS Guidescope rings can be attached to all TMS clamps, bars and plates via two screws for a rigid connection. All TMS products are CNC machined and hand-made in the UK from stainless steel and aluminium, hard anodised in Altair Astro Blue to give you a great looking and durable system. 


Altair Astro 115mm ED Triplet APO with 3" flattener 3" focuser, and 60mm deluxe finder:

The new Altair Astro 115mm F7 APO is designed to give both visual observers and astro-photographers a platform which will deliver high quality, flat field images with the high contrast and colour correction that only an ED triplet APO can deliver. The 3" heavy duty focuser is optimized for imaging, and a 3" multi-element flattener is included with the scope, which threads directly into the focuser. The included Altair 60mm Deluxe Right Angled Illuminated Finder Scope with erect image, variable illuminator, finder bracket, and multi-purpose SCT/refractor base, is also on display. For customers ordering at Astrofest, a 10% discount applies to the Altair 115mm F7 APO and the scope will also be drop shipped to you for free, so you don't have to worry about transport in and around London.



The SkyShed POD Personal Observatory Dome is the most fully featured and easiest to set up dome on the market. The POD affords secure, waterproof and windproof protection for you and your telescope whilst observing or imaging. It offers ample equipment storage space with the option to add 1 to 5 equipment "Bays", and can be moved with little effort. The POD combines the features of traditional slotted observatory domes and roll-off shed observatories without the constraints and construction time, making it ideal for the amateur astronomer who wants to spend time imaging or observing, with minimal fuss and complication. The POD will be on display at the show and Altair Astro will be on hand to demonstrate it and answer any questions. Altair will also be displaying the popular and super easy to install SkyShed-Altair 8" Steel pier  and various adapters for your equatorial mount.


Upper Floor Exhibitor - Springer

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Browse over 80 highlight books in astronomy and benefit from the 20% special conference discount. 
The books include:

·         The Sky at Night, Patrick Moore - get it signed by the author!

·         The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets, Ruben Kier

·         Astronomers Anonymous, Steve Ringwood

·         A Spectroscopic Atlas of Bright Stars, Jack Martin

And don't miss the chance to discuss your book proposal in person with our Publishing Editors. We look forward to seeing you at booths 49-50. 
More information: www.springer.com/astronomy

Upper floor exhibitor - Cambridge University Press

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Thumbnail image for Moore jacket.jpgOnce again, Cambridge University Press are proud to exhibit at this year's AstroFest. All books featured on our stand are available at a discounted rate of 20% off.

New books this year include:


Phil Harrington's COSMIC CHALLENGE


And a new edition of Wil Tirion's THE CAMBRIDGE STAR ATLAS

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There will be the chance to meet Patrick and Simon for book signings during the event.

Visit us at Stand 55, and enter our competition on each day to win £100 worth of Cambridge books!

Ground floor exhibitor: Solarscope

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Solarscope (Stand 17) will demonstrate solar filters outside if there are suitable viewing conditions! 

Upper floor exhibitor - Lunt Solar Systems

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Sun with LS100THa.JPGThe Optus GmbH is your new competent European partner for the newest generation of H-alpha, Calcium-K, and white-light systems from Lunt Solar Systems for observing and imaging the sun.

Whether you are looking for filter systems to upgrade regular telescopes aimed at observing the sun, or you are in search for a complete solar telescope from 35mm to 152mm aperture (without obstruction!!!) - the Lunt instruments offer you the absolute best quality. Lunt Solar Systems will guarantee not only fascinating views of the sun, but also 100-percent safety and protection from by the telescope concentrated dangerous radiation of the sun. On top Lunt continuously offers new innovations such as the air-pressure tuning system "Pressure Tuner" - winner of the Sky & Telescope award "Hot Product of the Year 2010", or the new in 2011 available double stack system DSII with two internal H-alpha Etalon filters which are assembled inside the telescope - of course both filters are equipped with the Pressure Tuner.
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Visit us on Stands 45-46 at Astrofest and take a look at the new 80mm H-alpha telescope LS80THa (above), our 2" white-light solar wedge, or to the LS152THa - the largest mass produced H-alpha telescope in the world!

The activity of the sun is heading for a new solar maximum. Be ready for this with the newest generation of solar telescopes and filters from Lunt Solar Systems!

AstroFest "Survivors" Tweetup

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Last year at AstroFest I was asked by many a Twitter user if there was going to be a "Tweet-up" (that's a meet-up of Twitter folk, for those of you not familiar with Twitter).... so this year I'm pleased to say YES! I'd like to suggest a "Survivors" Tweetup at the end of the two days of AstroFest, so on the Saturday evening whenever you have finished browsing the exhibition (which closes at 6pm) head over to The Devonshire Arms pub just a few minutes walk from the Kensington Town Hall and we'll have a nice astrochat over a drink or two :-) 

I look forward to meeting you there!
-Emily (@AstroEmz on Twitter)

Lower floor exhibitor: Opticron

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Opticron (stand 21) will be showing a selection of the extensive range of Vixen astronomy products, with a number of special offers for AstroFest attendees, from a 10% discount on pre-orders for the new AXD mount, up to 30% on a selection of optical tubes and mounts and up to 40% on some visual and imaging accessories.

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Examples of the products on special offer at the event include:

  • A 30% saving on the retail price of the ED81S, Vixen's superb lightweight, 81mm ED refractor (shown at bottom of page)
  • More than 25% off the GP2 photoguider tracking mount for astrophotography (shown left)
  • Various focal reducers and extenders at 40% off retail price

Opticron will have stock of the majority of special offer products available for visitors to take away from the event. Larger items can be sent direct to customers from the company's UK warehouse after the exhibition. For those wishing to plan their purchases prior to attending the event, details of the complete Vixen range of optical tube, mounts and accessories can be found at http://www.vixenoptics.co.uk.

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Ground floor exhibitor: Orion Optics

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Orion Optics' new range of VX telescopes will be displayed at AstroFest on Stands 10-13, along with the ODK20 
shown here. For more info on the VX telescopes, visit their website:

Lower floor exhibitor: Peak2Valley Instruments

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As refractor specialists, we are not only sole UK distributors for ISTAR OPTICAL and D&G OPTICAL telescopes and lenses, but also British manufacturers of premium large aperture instruments.  All optics are in-house designed, not mass produced generics. D&G objectives are autocolimation tested, ISTAR optics come with interferometer test report. Our own STARSPLITTER and CLASSIC refractors, designed and manufactured in UK, use Istar or D&G lenses as standard. 
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Shown here are the ISTAR 152mm F8 Fluorite (left) and D&G 6" F12 (right) Visit Peak2Valley Instruments at stand 24 and find out more at www.peak2valleyinstruments.co.uk 

Upper floor exhibitor - University of Central Lancashire

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UCLan2011.jpg'Study Astronomy' specialises in providing part-time distance learning courses in astronomy and related subjects at university undergraduate level. UCLan's entry point University Certificates are designed for people with little or no prior knowledge of the subject. Come and find out more about their courses at stand 42-43 and try their Astro-quiz to win great prizes!

For more information visit www.studyastronomy.com

Conference Session 2

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Conference programme for SESSION 2 (Friday afternoon). For talk synopsis and speaker biographies click on a talk title. Call 01732 446106 to reserve your conference session tickets today. (1 session: £15, 2 sessions: £26, 3 sessions: £35, 4 sessions: £42).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Session 2 (afternoon)


Chairman: Ian Ridpath

14.30Fred Hoyle, cosmologist and controversialist
Simon Mitton
Department of the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
15.05Lunar Transient Phenomena and modern understanding of the Moon
Chuck Wood
Planetary Science Institute, Arizona
15.40Tea break

Chairman: Iain Nicolson

16.15Seeing how galaxies form: new observations from Hubble and Herschel
Steve Eales
Cardiff University

16.502012 - No time to end the world
Ed Krupp
Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
17.30Conference adjourns
18.00Exhibition closes

Conference Session 3

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Conference programme for SESSION 3 (Saturday morning). For talk synopsis and speaker biographies click on a talk title. Call 01732 446106 to reserve your conference session tickets today. (1 session: £15, 2 sessions: £26, 3 sessions: £35, 4 sessions: £42).

Saturday, February 5, 2011
Session 3 (morning)

Chairman: Iain Nicolson

10.00Near Earth Objects - what's out there?
Alan Fitzsimmons
Queen's University Belfast
10.35The forgotten films of Apollo
Chris Riley
Author and film maker
11.10Coffee break

Chairman: Ian Ridpath

11.40It IS rocket science!
Helen Keen
Writer and comedienne
12.15Under Stone-Age skies
Ed Krupp
Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
12.50Lunch break

Conference Session 4

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Conference programme for SESSION 4 (Saturday afternoon). For talk synopsis and speaker biographies click on a talk title. Call 01732 446106 to reserve your conference session tickets today. (1 session: £15, 2 sessions: £26, 3 sessions: £35, 4 sessions: £42).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Session 4 (afternoon)

Chairman: Iain Nicolson

14.30Impacts, lava, rilles: Learning to read the Moon
Chuck Wood
Planetary Science Institute, Arizona
15.05How astronomers are mapping our Galaxy
Gerry Gilmore
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
15.40Tea break

Chairman: Ian Ridpath

16.15Recreating the early Universe
Brian Cox
University of Manchester

The Allan Chapman lecture: Sir Arthur Eddington, the man who demonstrated relativity
Allan Chapman
University of Oxford

17.30Conference ends
18.00Exhibition closes

Travel information

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AstroFest is held in the Kensington Conference and Events Centre in central London. The full address is Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX.

It is just a few minutes walk from High Street Kensington Underground station (District line only - circle line is closed on Saturdays) and on bus routes 9, 10, 27, 28, 49, 52, 70, 328 and C1 (alight at Kensington High Street/Wrights Lane junction). We are also just a short walk from many other tube stations, including Notting Hill Gate (Central Line), Kensington, Olympia (District Line) and Gloucester Road (Piccadilly Line and District Lines).

There is also a public car park immediately below the Town Hall, but expect to pay London parking rates. To access the car park, enter Campden Hill Road from Kensington High Street, turn first right into Phillimore Walk then turn immediately left down the entrance ramp to the car park. Disabled parking is available on Level B3 by lift No. 5. There are other public car parks nearby at the Royal Garden Hotel and in Young Street. 
As of 2011 the Kensington Conference and Events Centre is no longer in the Congestion Charging zone.

About the AstroFest 2011 Blog

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Hello and welcome to AstroFest 2011! This blog will be the main source of AstroFest-related news and information during the lead up to and during AstroFest. 

Over the next few weeks we'll be showcasing the exhibitors and conference speakers on this blog to give you an idea of what's in store for the two-day extravaganza, as well as provide travel and logistical information to help you plan your visit.

You can navigate the blog by browsing the categories listed in the right hand column of this page.

In the meantime, you can order tickets via our store at www.astronomynowstore.com or by calling our ticket hotline on 01732 446106.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2011 is the next archive.

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