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Full time blogger is finalist in Working Dad of the Year 2019

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TOM Briggs quit a well-paid job to follow his dream of becoming a full-time blogger.

He writes the award-winning blog Diary of the Dad.

Now Tom, from Polegate, is a finalist in the Working Dad of the Year category of Pitman Training’s SuperAchievers awards.

This award is for fathers who epitomise the dedication required to juggle a busy home and family life, alongside achieving personal career ambitions.

Tom was nominated by his wife Kate and together they have three young children.

He started his blog as a new hobby back in 2010 but it has since grown into something much bigger.

In 2015, Tom made the decision to become a full-time blogger to spend more time with his family.

His wife was pregnant and Tom’s career at the time wasn’t allowing for a great work/life balance.

Tom was the family’s only earner at the time so there was a huge risk to walking away from a secure, well-paid job.

But he wasn’t finding the enjoyment in the role and knew that he wanted more precious time with his growing family.

Tom has turned a hobby into something that provides for a family of five and, most importantly, that gives them more time together.

He has had numerous media appearances on programmes such as Good Morning Britain and the Victoria Derbyshire show, as well as radio, newspaper and magazine interviews where he can offer a dad’s point of view.

He also works with various brands as a spokesperson and holds regular contributor slots on various websites.

Most importantly, Tom is able to play a full part in family life.

Working from home, with no commute, he structures his work to standard office hours.

Around that, Tom is able to do school runs, attend class assemblies, school plays and all the extra-curricular activities that family life presents.

Wife Kate said: “Tom has worked so hard to provide for us and has gone from strength to strength while being around more too.

“He’s found a way of having the best of both worlds and we’re really happy with how things have worked out.

“I think Tom is a great success simply because he loves what he does for a living both in terms of his job itself and the work-life balance that it gives him.”

Voting online via Pitman’s website is now open for all finalists (http://superachievers.pitman-training.com/index.php)

Public vote closes Friday and the winners will then be announced on March 29.

Winners will receive an engraved award, £500 and a voucher for a distance learning course of their choice.

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Duke and Duchess of Sussex's baby to make public debut soon

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The world will catch its first glimpse of the newborn son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex later today when the two-day-old boy is expected to attend his first photocall.

Harry and Meghan have been enjoying the experience of being new parents at their Frogmore Cottage home near the Queen’s Windsor Castle residence.

And now they plan to show off the baby that has changed their lives forever although it is not yet known if the couple have settled on a name for their baby son.

Family members spoke about the joy of the new arrival with the Duke of Cambridge saying on Tuesday he was “obviously thrilled, absolutely thrilled, and obviously looking forward to seeing them in the next few days when things have quietened down”.

He added: “I’m very pleased and glad to welcome my own brother into the sleep deprivation society that is parenting.”

Harry was at his wife’s side during the birth on Monday and he later confessed he had only had a few hours’ sleep, suggesting Meghan had spent much of the night in labour.

Kate revealed they had no clues about the baby’s name but were eager to see the Sussexes and their new arrival.

She said: “As William said, we’re looking forward to meeting him and finding out what his name’s going to be so it’s really exciting for both of them and we wish them all the best.

“These next few weeks are always a bit daunting the first time round so we wish them all the best.”

Baby Sussex arrived at 5.26am on Monday, weighing 7lb 3oz, and is thought to have been born at Frogmore Cottage, but there are some reports claiming the baby was delivered in a London hospital.

The Prince of Wales has also spoken publicly for the first time about the birth, saying he was “delighted” at arrival of his latest grandchild.

During an official visit to Germany with the Duchess of Cornwall, Charles said on Tuesday: “We couldn’t be more delighted at the news and we’re looking forward to meeting the baby when we return.”

Harry’s grandmother the Queen accepted the congratulations of a Windsor Castle guest who asked: “Life is good for Your Majesty?”

The Queen, who was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, was hosting a lunch on Tuesday for members of the Order of Merit and smiling said in reply “yes, thank you”.

The infant is believed to be the first mixed-race child born to a senior member of the royal family in centuries and is a reflection of modern Britain with its culturally diverse population.

Alexander and Spencer are the new favourite names for the infant with many of the bookies after the long-term pick Arthur was dethroned in a flurry of betting.

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New drone pictures show devastating effects of Ashdown Forest fire

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NEW images have been released showing the vast amount of damage caused by a forest fire. 

They spread across 15 hectares of land – the equivalent of about 15 full-sized football pitches. 

Firefighters from Crowborough, Mayfield, Heathfield, Uckfield, Forest Row, Lewes and Seaford with support from West Sussex and Kent were needed to fight the fierce blaze.

The Argus:

Conservation officer for Ashdown Forest Steve Alton said: “The fire crews worked through the night.

“It started around 9.30pm and wasn’t really out until about 4.30am.

“The sad part is the timing of it. It’s happened right at the time where we have ground nesting birds which is a little worrying.

“But it’s a busy time for accidental fires with the bank holidays.

“Trying to find a cause for it though is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

READ MORE >> WATCH: MASSIVE fire sweeps across 15 hectares of ‘Winnie the Pooh’ forest 

An investigation is under way into the cause but it is not thought to have been deliberate.

The Argus:

Andrew Gausden, incident commander, said: “We received numerous calls at 9.30pm from members of the public and the police regarding a fire in the Ashdown Forest.

“The fire took hold quickly and was significant with approximately 15 hectares alight in a valley area behind the back of Duddleswell.

“It is always challenging with forest fires in gaining access. We used off road vehicles – five Land Rovers – and received assistance from Kent Fire and Rescue who brought in their all-terrain vehicles.

“We are not looking at it being a deliberate fire at this time. Investigations will take place over the next few days.

“We would like to thank West Sussex Fire and Rescue, Kent Fire and Rescue, Ashdown Forest Rangers and Sussex Police for their assistance with this incident.”

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Major investment means a smart new look for two pubs

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TWO pubs have received a large investment from a family-owned brewer.

The Dragon in Horsham and The Cherry Tree in Crawley have benefited from £400,000 in funding from the Hall and Woodhouse brewery (H&W).

The money in both cases has been used to carry out major developments to the properties.

Both pubs are operated by local entrepreneur Oscar Higareda and run in partnership with H&W.

The investment is the second largest to date within H&W’s business partnership estate.

More than £270,000 was invested into The Dragon to refurbish the pub’s interiors, including an orangery extension which has created 38 additional covers and the installation of a fresh meat counter to support the pub’s unique Japanese grill offering.

The garden has also benefited from an update and now has an open fire pit with surrounding decking.

Similarly at The Dragon’s sister pub, The Cherry Tree, more than £170,000 has been invested to carry out significant internal and external refurbishments to bring the pub in line with the concept at The Dragon.

The owners believe the pub’s new look has created a “welcoming atmosphere which is complemented by the interior makeover”.

A fresh meat counter has also been installed in the pub to strengthen its menu offering.

Oscar Chacon, business partner at Hall and Woodhouse, said: “I am very proud of the major refurbishments which we have undertaken in partnership with H&W at both The Dragon and The Cherry Tree.

“It’s great to see how well received it has been by our guests.

“The team at H&W understood my vision for the pubs and have supported my desire to reinvent our hospitality offering, to ensure our guests keep returning for years to come.

“As a multiple licensee I have spoken to a few pub companies over the years with the idea of expanding my portfolio of pubs, and by far the best agreement I have come across is the H&W Business Partnerships Agreement.

H&W offers personalised support and I really value their help to develop my business into something bigger.”

H&W is a local independent family company that brews award-winning Badger ales and runs a collection of 180 pubs and inns across the south of England.

H&W is a “values-led business where its team are at the heart of everything it aspires to”.

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