This week’s positive news stories to smile about

Step away from the news apps, because we’ve had an internet snoop for you to fish out the positive stories from this week that may have slipped under your radar – to bring you some positive vibes and a much-needed grin.

If you’re a student with extra time on your hands, there’s an awesome new initiative that you can get involved in

#Task4Help is a new initiative calling out for students who have time to source much-needed products for vulnerable people in the community. Launched by UniTaskr, the app that posts freelance jobs for students, the initiative is utilising the very fact that as universities are closed, you may have found yourself with some extra time on your hands, unsure of how to do your bit to help.

How it works is isolated people post a task they need carrying out on the app, and students can apply to help out the vulnerable. You may find yourself popping by someone’s home for a chat through the window or grabbing a quick supermarket shop for the elderly – a lovely chance to get out and make a difference.

 

A couple makes mini art gallery for their intellectual pet gerbils to enjoy – and it’s a chewing success

Complete with the famous Girl (or shall we say gerbil?) With a Pearl Earring painting, a ‘please do not chew’ sign (which the gerbils rightfully ignored) and various other famous artworks, the pet gerbils were having a field day on their trip out to a museum. Have a read here for the full details – and some adorable gerbil pics.

 

Endangered animals making a comeback as humans stay inside their homes

These are unprecedented times, but something that’s beautifully wonderful that’s coming out of our time inside our homes is that other animals are unprecedentedly making a comeback. The blue whale, the world’s largest animal, has been spotted in what has been described as ‘unprecedented numbers’ in Antarctica. The colonies of bees that survived the Notre Dame fire are growing in population, showing they’re able to survive yet another catastrophe.  We’ve also got wolves that nearly reached extinction in the US, potentially being reintroduced to Colorado this year. Read more here.

 

99-year-old Army veteran raises millions for the NHS by doing laps of his garden with his walking frame

Tom Moore set out to complete 100 laps of his garden by Thursday 16 April as an ode to his 100th birthday to raise money for the NHS Charities Together, but the army veteran has only gone and smashed his £500,000 target by a good few million pounds thanks to his valiant effort going viral over the last few days.

The well-deserved star has received a massive response, as over 24,000 people have donated, he’s appeared on TV and the Aussie star, Jason Donovan, has reached out to offer Tom birthday wishes.

 

Andrea Bocelli offers beautiful, hopeful concert in Milan’s deserted Duomo di Milano over Easter weekend

The famed Duomo di Milano in Milan is known by the users of the internet as the Insta-worthy, blogger-style-photos location, but it has now played host to an incredible, hopeful and joyous concert by the famous opera singer, Andrea Bocelli, over the Easter weekend. If you haven’t seen the live-stream already, be sure to join the other 27 million viewers that have, and listen to his message of hope for the world at this uncertain time.

 

Firefighter scales heights and musical prowess to perform to lockdown residents

Luis Quimbita decided to scale the top of a ladder used for his firefighting profession to entertain residents in the capital of Ecuador, Quito, this week. Not only would we find the height enough to stop us, but stage fright would also be a factor to threaten Luis’ performance – but he powered through with some inspirational tunes to keep the local community happy. Watch the video here – but maybe close your eyes if you’re not a fan of heights.

 

Himalayan mountaintops are visible for the first time in decades from India

One big positive during this time is that the planet is getting a good old rest from human pollution. Air pollution levels have dropped since countries started to go on lockdown, and it’s now been reported that the beautiful snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas can be seen for the first time in 30 years from Jalandhar in Punjab, India. The view on the horizon is spectacular – and definitely one to have a good gawp at.

 

Healthcare workers across the globe are joining in the power of TikTok to wind down after stressful shifts

To blow off steam after difficult shifts, medical professionals across the globe have taken to the fun-time platform of TikTok to participate in dance challenges in their work uniform. The result is a good time for them, and some wonderful inspirational content for the rest of the world to smile at. Have a watch of some of the videos here.

 

90-year-old + 85-year-old = marriage made in Zoom heaven

Alvin Lee, 90, and Dorothy Driskell, 85, lost their beloved other halves years ago, and found love again with each other once at a retreat in New York. They lived cities away from each other and began a long friendship, which later blossomed into something more romantic, driving back and forth to visit each other.

They were due to be wed this spring, but since lockdown has thwarted their wedding plans, they decided to host their own ceremony via Zoom video call. Even the pastor got involved, pronouncing them man and wife in his first video call wedding. Read more about their adorable wedding and relationship here.

 

All-star concerts to be streamed this week to bring some sunshine to isolation

We’ve got two pieces of big news for you. Firstly, the entire cast of the original High School Musical films is reuniting for a Disney Family Singalong on 16 April on ABC in America! We never thought we’d get Troy and Gabriella in the same room again, but now it’s actually happening – virtually! And Lady Gaga has curated a live concert called One World: Together At Home, to be live-streamed on 18 April, featuring performances from herself, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder and more to raise £35 million for the World Health Organisation.

 

We hope these stories have put a smile on your face! Remember, over this challenging period, your Students’ Union is here to help you! You can reach out to us on social media -  @TheSUatUWE – or contact our Advice Centre via email at advice@uwe.ac.uk.