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Issue Number Fifty Three - February & March 2020

CONTENTS News in words ... • Awards for countryside heroes • New year clean-up for Derrington • Blondie theme for cocktail competition • Derrington exhibition brings art to life • Seighford Parish Clerk job opportunity • Murder mystery in Bradley

... and in pictures • Seighford’s ‘Light up the Village’ evening • Decorating workshop is the icing on the cake • Best year yet for Victorian themed market • Signs of spring are showing in the Haywoods • Brocton Pre-school show boosts funds • Dunston’s St Leonard’s First School joins academy group

Heritage My Village Voice reader Owd Fred shares some of his Seighford images from days gone by.

GETTING IN TOUCH My Village Voice is wholly independent and is published at 5 Globe Court, Stone, Staffs ST15 8JG 5,700 copies are distributed free to homes and businesses in the Acton Trussell, Bednall, Bradley, Brocton, Church Eaton, Colwich, Coppenhall, Derrington, Dunston, Haughton, The Haywoods, Hyde Lea, Milford, Seighford & Walton on the Hill areas - clients are welcome to visit us to view the distribution matrix. ADVERTISEMENT SALES - Dan Mitchell and Paul Oakley email: sales@myvillagevoice.co.uk LAYOUT & DESIGN : email: louise carrigan@myvillagevoice.co.uk EDITORIAL : email: dan@myvillagevoice.co.uk

TELEPHONE (01785) 819166 View the whole of this issue online at www.myvillagevoice.co.uk The views expressed in this publication are those of our contributors and are not necessarily those of the publishers, nor indeed their responsibility.

All Rights Reserved © My Village Voice 2008 -2020


Derrington exhibition brings art to life The 60 members of Rosemary Hale’s Derrington Art Groups put on another fine display of their artwork in October at Derrington Villlage Hall. More than 80 paintings were shown and visitors voted Wendy Baskerville’s acrylic painting of Curly, a magnificent bovine, their favourite original piece of work. Also voted a favourite, this time in the copied pictures category, was Anne-Marie Ricketts atmospheric version in watercolour of a Japanese sunrise over water. The exhibition weekend got off to a slow start as flooding all around prevented visitors attending on the Saturday. But this was more than made up by the very good attendance on the Sunday. As always at this event, there is a lively atmosphere. Rosemary explained: “We always steer away from the quiet, whispered voices type of art exhibitions which seem to be the norm. We want people to really enjoy coming to see our paintings as well as meet us. So we have plenty of other activities going on in addition to the artwork display: we provide refreshments, run competitions plus a very popular chocolate tombola. “I do four painting demonstrations through the weekend and this year we introduced a new display of greetings cards: each of these was an original picture done by a group member and it was really popular as there were all types of subjects and styles for sale. I’m pleased to say that these cards sold very well and all proceeds from it will go to the Oak Tree Farm charity at Hilderstone. This is a wonderful charity for young adults with learning difficulties and we enjoy running occasional painting workshops with the youngsters there too.” Rosemary’s art classes are open to anyone, beginners and experienced alike. For information about them please contact Rosemary on 07728 483446 or you can email rosemary@ rosemaryhale.co.uk

• Painting demonstrations form an important part of the Derrington Art Groups’ exhibition weekend. Advertisers Announcement

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Let there be lights Seighford’s ‘Light up the Village’ evening is supported annually by the Stan Robinson company whose Kenwood lorry, with its airhorn, lets villagers know to turn their lights on, usually around 7pm. The lorry then goes slowly through the village and halts at the village hall where mulled wine and mince pies are enjoyed. The villagers are grateful to Flo Robinson for arranging this and to Ian Robinson for driving the Kenwood and to the local police for putting out the warning signs for motorists. Mark Hodgkins supplied the Christmas tree and was assisted by Neil Brown to erect it; Mark also carried out emergency repairs when the tree blew over twice in the gales. Flo Robinson supplied new lights for the tree and John Alpress provided new light bulbs as many were damaged when the tree fell over. Mulled wine was made by Elaine Johns and mince pies by Sally Heeley, Anna Gregg, Lol Wright, and Joanne Banks. The village vicar Doug Heming blessed the tree and turned on the Christmas lights and photographs of the event were taken by Ken Anderson.



Care home staff with a focus on good ‘elf’ Colleagues at HC-One’s Maple Court care home in Stafford got into the Christmas spirit as they dressed as elves to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society on Friday, December 6. They were among thousands of elves from local businesses, schools and organisations across the country that took part in Elf Day 2019. Residents and colleagues dressed as elves to enjoy an afternoon tea party complete with games and activities such as pinning the tail on Rudolph the reindeer. The home also received a visit from a group of children from the local Veritas Primary Academy who sang Christmas carols for residents, colleagues and the Mayor and Mayoress of Stafford, who also attended the event. Money raised at Elf Day events will be used to improve the lives of people with dementia today, and to fund research for tomorrow. Hayley Rix, Home Manager at Maple Court, said: “Alzheimer’s Society is a charity close to our hearts at Maple Court as they do such fantastic work for those living with dementia. Elf Day is a wonderful way to get everyone in the festive spirit ahead of Christmas with both residents and colleagues having thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”

• Maple Court staff joined in with the spirit of Elf Day 2019 to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society.

Decorating workshop is the icing on the cake


Cake maker Sarah Law of 3D Cakes in Seighford ran a local interest cake decorating group in December to support Seighford Village Hall. The event was great fun for all attending and Sarah hopes to run

more workshops in the spring and summer. Participants in the December session produced a beautiful range of Christmas themed fondant cake decorations.


Pride of Colwich Angela Hardwick was bursting with pride when the Colwich and Little Haywood group of Colwich Parish in Bloom was awarded a Gold in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Large Village section. The presentation was made by Daren Share, Chairman of Britain In Bloom Judges on September 5 at the Dunchurch Park Hotel, near Rugby. Angela was also presented with two gold medallions at the Colwich Parish in Bloom thank-you and presentation evening on September 27 when everyone was invited to raise a glass (or coffee cup) to the In Bloomers.

Poppies with appeal

• Angela Hardwick receives the Gold award for Colwich and Little Haywood from Daren Share at the Britain in Bloom presentation ceremony.

Great Haywood WI made the most beautiful, environmentally sustainable wreath for Remembrance Sunday 2019. The wreath itself was willow, covered with ivy with crocheted and knitted poppies. Pat Hobbs laid it by the war memorial in the Memorial Hall as part of the village’s Remembrance Day. The wreath lasted well and was much admired by those attending the November coffee morning. Monthly coffee mornings, organised by the Memorial Hall Committee, are held on the second Tuesday of each month. November’s was different as they donated all the takings and a collection to the BBC Children in Need appeal, raising more than £150.

Staffordshire tournament win for Bednall’s All Saints Bednall’s All Saints CE Primary School’s football team celebrated after winning the Staffordshire Primary School Football Tournament at the Riverway 3G Pitches on Tuesday, October 22. Thirty-five teams competed in the event and the Bednall boys came out on top after some really exciting games. The team then went on to compete in the small schools’ county finals at the prestigious St George’s Training Ground on November 27. Again the competition was tense with many talented teams taking part. All Saints played five games in total, drew three and won two without conceding a single goal. Getting through to the finals was a dream and the final match, although only eight minutes long, felt like an eternity. Both teams were fantastic and the game ended in a penalty shootout. All was equal until All Saints team captain Theo took his shot and scored


• All Saints football team from Bednall were crowned Staffordshire Schools champions. the goal that secured the boys’victory. The team, staff and parents were ecstatic when they realised they had won. The boys are now Staffordshire Champions and will compete in the

regional finals which will take place in Spring 2020. Well done, Alfie, James, Theo, Finn, Oliver, Jack and George and special thanks to their coach Chloe Perkins from Sporting Schools Ltd.

New year clean-up for Derrington Derrington litter pickers were out again on Monday, January 6, clearing up the lanes and hedgerows. Although they only mustered three volunteers on this occasion, they managed to collect seven bags of rubbish. They are indeed litter heroes. A further litter blitz took place on Monday, February 3, and the volunteers would love more people to come along and support them on these regular sessions; the amount collected in one hit demonstrates that there is a need. All equipment will be provided, but please bring your own gloves.

Bednall Meals on the move The popular annual Safari Supper event will take place in Bednall on Saturday, March 7, priced at ÂŁ20 per person. The event takes the shape of a dinner party that moves from one house to another for each different course, with guests meeting different people at each house (there are between six and eight people at each course). Where you go is then kept secret from others so that it is a surprise who you meet on the night. It may be possible for first-timers to attend without cooking so they can see how it works. Look out for village emails for more details nearer the time or contact Carole Allen on 01785 715628 or email carolebaker100@icloud.com.


Best year yet for Victorian themed market Thousands of people turned out to support Penkridge Market’s biggest event of the year on Sunday, November 24 – their Victorian Christmas Market. The annual event, which attracts thousands of people from around the area, was even bigger this year, with more stallholders and entertainment than ever before. The Christmas Market consisted of 150 independent stalls, selling everything from delicious local produce, such as cheeses, pickles and Christmas cakes, to crafts, gifts and decorations. There was also a variety of entertainment to keep everyone amused, including a funfair, magic show and Santa’s Grotto, plus a choir, ukulele band and even a fire juggler. Matt Williams, Manager of Penkridge Market, said: “We were absolutely delighted by the amount of people that came on Sunday, and have received an overwhelming response from both visitors and traders. After last year’s success, we implemented a few changes such as opening the event earlier and securing additional parking, which meant the visitor flow was much better. We also

• Alan Stephens, Matt Williams, Penkridge Market, Jackie Stephens, Brookside Farm. attracted more stallholders than ever before, and put on extra entertainment, which meant the event was, by far, the best it has ever been.” Regular stallholder Alan Stephens from Brookside Farm said: “We have been coming to the event for years and love coming here. It’s a great way for us to showcase our products and for people to support small, local businesses too.”

• Sue and Fred Fearn of Luxe Macarons.


• Ukulele band

• The Banyan Tree stall


Signs of spring are showing in the Haywoods

The first signs of spring are showing in the Haywoods. They are standing up proudly on the wild flowers bank on the Main Road in Great Haywood as well as reappearing behind St Stephens Church, they make a splendid picture as they disappear into the wood. The small yellow crocus are also making a pretty picture on

the grass opposite the Spa Shop, and anyone walking through the villages will see early daffodils, crocus and snowdrops proudly showing their heads saying “winter is on the way out”. Photo and words by Anne Clendon

Can Bob fix it? Yes he can!

Seighford’s Robert Eld is pictured here fixing the bridge on the Millennial Walk, he was replacing a few boards that had gone rotten. It is part of the regular maintenance that he carries out annually.


Unfortunately for Bob on a second trip down to trim brambles his beloved Discovery became totally stuck, and so he had to spend the best part of the next day digging it out! Photo by Sue Eld


Blondie theme for cocktail competition One of Seighford village’s traditions is a cocktail competition held on Christmas morning. The hosts select a theme – this year entrants were asked to produce a cocktail based on a song by Blondie. The event is highly competitive; the 2019 winners were Rob and Jo Bugwin who now have the privilege of being next year’s hosts. Attendance is by invitation only.

Pre-school show boosts confidence and funds Before breaking up for a well-deserved Christmas break, the children of Brocton Pre-School sang their little hearts out on the stage at their annual Christmas/Nativity Show. They performed a variety of fun Christmas songs to their parents, relatives and family friends, at the same time helping to raise funds for the pre-school. Brocton Village Hall was packed out but that didn’t deter the performers, aged between two and four years old. One parent said:“I’m amazed to see them on the stage, it brought tears to my eyes!” The Brocton Pre-School staff were equally delighted when three of the children chose to take the microphone and perform solos. Another parent said: “Next stop The Voice!” The Pre-School Manager said: “The children did a fabulous job learning all the words and actions to the songs, but most of all they had fun and loved having the limelight up on the stage. It is such a great confidence-building experience for them all and with the addition of the sound system and microphone this year, it was an amazing event.” The parents are now looking forward to the Easter Bonnet Parade and Brocton Pre-School would like to thank the parents, their friends and the committee for their support on the morning, raising just over £370 from the raffle and after-show games and stalls.


The winners of Seighford Christmas Cocktail Party 2019 – Jo and Rob Bugwin

What’s On Parish of Berkswich • Sunday 16th February (12.30pm for 1pm): Valentine’s Lunch at Brocton Village Hall • Tuesday 25th February (12.30-4.30pm): Shrove Tuesday Pancakes at Baswich Community Hall • Saturday 29th February to Saturday 4th April (12-2pm): Six Lent Lunches for the Bishop’s Lent Appeal • Saturday 28th March (7.30pm): Concert with light supper at Holy Trinity Church, Baswich • Sunday 26th April (3-5pm): Afternoon Tea with Flower Arranging Demonstration at Baswich Community Hall • Saturday 23rd May (6pm): BBQ in the grounds at St Thomas’s Church, Walton-on-the-Hill • Saturday 21st June (1.30pm): Parish Summer Fete at Milford Hall Cricket Ground •Thursday 30th January, Thursday 27th February, Thursday26th March: Games Night: A regular Games Night takes place at Holy Trinity Church, Baswich, on the last Thursday of every month during term time from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. All are welcome to join this fun evening. • VE Day 75th Anniversary May 8th to 10th 2020: VE Day marks the day towards the end of World War Two when fighting came to an end in Europe. 2020 marks the 75th anniversary and the weekend of 8th to 10th May has been designated a national weekend of commemorative events, providing an opportunity to remember the enormous sacrifices that were made at home and abroad during this dark and destructive period. Saturday 9th May: Concert with a 1940s theme at Holy Trinity Church, Baswich. Join us for an evening of music and entertainment, followed by raising a glass as a ‘Toast to the Nation’. Sunday 10th May: Services will take place at all three churches in the parish on Sunday 10th May in memory of the heroes and victims of World War II and to reflect on the significance of this date as a milestone that changed the course of history for the whole world.


My Village Voice NEWS IN BRIEF Parish Clerk job opportunity Seighford Parish Council are currently recruiting for a Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer. It is a part time position, 25 hours a month working from home. Starting salary is in accordance with NJC scales of pay, SCP 7-13 (£10.16 – £11.45 per hour). The successful candidate will be required to attend the bi-monthly Parish Council meetings held on the 3rd Monday. The role includes responsibility for all aspects of the Council’s finances, ensuring that statutory provisions relating to the running of the council are observed as well as responding to queries and general administration. For full job description and details of how to apply please contact the Locum Parish Clerk, Mrs Lisa Horritt either by telephone 01785 240358 or e-mail seighfordparish@ yahoo.co.uk. Closing date: 21st February 2020

Colwich Parish In Bloom AGM Colwich Parish In Bloom is holding their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 19th February at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, St Marys Road, Little Haywood and everyone is very welcome to come along.

Church Eaton News Parish Council: At the December meeting concern was expressed over the scale of the Little Onn Hall garage proposal by the Borough Conservation Officer. Re Highways it was reiterated that the extremely wet weather was making the poor conditions of many roads at lot worse. Oompah NIght : on the 21st Dec was a great success as well as providing funds towards the 3rd Oakfest 2020, which in itself raises funds for local charities. A further event will be in Dec this year 2020.

Bednall Scarecrow workshop A scarecrow workshop will take place on Saturday, April 4, meeting in Bednall Churchyard (morning or afternoon depending on weather). The aim will be to build a group of scarecrows for the front lawn of the church. Please join in the fun, no experience necessary. To put your name on the list, phone Pom on 01785 712575 or 07976 966118 or email pom.pomfuller@icloud.com

On song to raise funds A group of hardy parishioners and choristers sang Christmas carols to entertain travellers at Stafford Railway Station on the evening of November 30 and residents in Brocton on December 18th and 20. ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ was an appropriate phrase to describe the weather on all occasions but their stalwart efforts were aptly rewarded. At Stafford Railway Station, £123 was raised for Katharine House Hospice and residents in Brocton raised £610 for the Acorns Children’s Hospice.

Carols by candlelight The pews were full to overflowing at Holy Trinity Church, Baswich, on Sunday, December 22. An ethereal atmosphere was created within the church which was lit entirely by candlelight. The service was enhanced by performances from Berkswich Choir and Berkswich Organ Ensemble, conducted by Roy Wightman who also composed a new carol for the evening. The festive evening was rounded off with a social gathering where mulled wine and mince pies were enjoyed.


• The insect hotel in All Saints churchyard.

Friends of Bednall (and bugs!) Friends of Bednall held their AGM on November 26 and the following were elected trustees for the coming year: David Primrose (Chair), Jim Goodwin (Secretary), Neil Homer (Treasurer), Pom Fuller, Toni Castle, Terry Jones, Alex Thompson and Jan Goodwin. There is a vacancy for a trustee; if you are interested in joining in the future, please contact the Chair. Anyone who wishes to be included in the Friends of Bednall contact list should contact the Chair. This will mean you will receive updates from Friends of Bednall throughout the year. Friends of Bednall have a number of plans for 2020. The sculpture of a soldier to be placed by the war memorial is in its final stages, the process having been extended to make it more substantial. Many thanks to those who have covered the additional costs. It is hoped it will be installed in the Spring, along with the village sign which will add an extra feature for Best Kept Village. Later in 2020, the group plans to install village gateways on the roads entering the village. The locations have been agreed, with various materials and fittings being considered. All Saints Church has entered the Diocesan Churchyard Award Scheme. This will be a good way to recognise the hard work undertaken to care for the beautiful old churchyard and there will also be advice on ways to preserve the natural flora and fauna. This is in conjunction with the charity, Caring for God’s Acre, who are already impressed with the insect hotel in the old beech tree stump in the churchyard.

Plant talk for hardy folk The Staffordshire Hardy Plant Society has announced its speakers for 2020: February 21 – Diane Clement, ‘Along the Silk Road in Kyryzgistan’. March 20 – Tamsin Westhorpe, ‘Stockton Bury Gardens through the Seasons’. April 17 – Neil Timm, ‘The World of Ferns’. September 18 – Timothy Walker, ‘How to be a 21st Century Gardener’. October 16 – Simon Gulliver, ‘Plants for the Connoisseur’. November 20 – Paul Cook, ‘RHS Gardens Harlow Carr and Bridgewater’. Meetings are held at Colwich & Little Haywood Village Hall, Chilwell Avenue, Little Haywood. Visitors’ entrance fee is £4. Contact number is 01785 258923.


Christmas shopping right on the doorstep Pom Fuller would like to thank everyone who supported her front porch Christmas shop, a new initiative to raise funds for Friends of Bednall and Bednall Church by buying and ordering items and providing bags and cards for sale. Special thanks are expressed to John Richardson for the wonderful quantities of holly and ivy, to Alison Teece for all her support, Carole Allen and Pom’s husband Steve who supported in many ways and while she was on holiday, and particularly Toni Castle and Nicky Smith for helping to make items to sell. Thanks also go to the school PTA for the reindeer food. An amazing amount of £753.61 was raised. • Lucy Travers and children sang at the Bednall Christmas Eve service.

A very merry Bednall

• Jensen and Ethen Travers and Grace and Fleur Bowman who came with their parents to visit the Christmas shop.

Christmas events in Bednall included a visit from Santa, organised by Penkridge and District Round Table and 41 Club. After driving through the village, Santa stopped outside church and a large number of children, parents and grandparents came to meet him. Santa and his elves raised £275 for local causes from collections in Bednall and Acton. On Saturday, December 14, villagers joined in the annual ‘Strictly Carols Round the Tree’. A huge turn-out enjoyed the carols, mince pies and warm mulled wine. Christmas Eve in Bednall Church saw a packed and beautiful candle-lit Carol Service, led and arranged by Reverend Delphine. Special mention must be made of the part the children played and also Lucy Travers for her singing – both delightful additions to the service. Thanks also go to all those who helped with decorating the church for Christmas. It looked magnificent, adorned with flowers and foliage, enhanced by the light from lanterns, candles and fairy lights.

Recycling Christmas Did anyone get a gorgeous wicker hamper full of goodies for Christmas? It is always a real treat to receive such a gift, but you can give the gift that goes on giving. If you don’t want your hamper or basket, don’t throw it away. Pom Fuller of Bednall can reuse hampers of all kinds by refilling them for raffles. Pom can also recycle any unwanted Christmas decorations by making arrangements or decorating wreaths for 2020 Flowers, baubles, ribbons, novelties, twigs/artificial leaves, tinsel can be reused and may also be useful to decorate the church as they are always short of flowers. It doesn’t matter how old they are. Please leave your items with Pom at Westleigh, School Lane (call 01785 712575) or Carole at 11 Kenderdine Close (call 01785 715628) or email pom.pomfuller@icloud.com or phone for collection.

Acton and Bednall Men’s Society Would you like to know more about this society? You are invited to an informal meeting to hear all about the group and meet other members on Monday, March 2, at 7pm at Steve and Pom Fuller’s home, Westleigh, School Lane,Bednall. The group meets every second Thursday in the month, usually at The Moat House in Acton Trussell, for friendship, good company and to be entertained by an interesting speaker. Contact Les McDowell on 01785 713722 if you would like to attend.


Murder mystery in Bradley “Red sky at night, farmer’s delight. Red sky at morning... death comes a calling!” Amos is a bull-headed farmer, disliked throughout the surrounding villages. Many would like to see him dead. But who did it? See intrepid Miss Nippitt work her way through the gaggle of suspects at a murder mystery evening at Bradley Village Hall on Saturday 28th March, 7pm prompt. Tickets are £15 per person with a tasty supper included. Bar available. Call 01785 780668/780565/780563 to get your tickets for this fun event featuring a local cast. Proceeds go to St Mary & All Saints Church, Bradley.


St Leonard’s First School joins academy group Staff and parents at St Leonard’s C.E. First School & Nursery have welcomed the news that the school is now a member of the family of academies which make up Staffordshire University Academies Trust (SUAT). Staffordshire University has a long and proud history of providing high quality, progressive and inclusive higher education for people from across Staffordshire, the region, the UK and the rest of the world. By joining the large and growing family of schools within the Trust, the learning community at St Leonard’s now has access to an increased range of training and development opportunities for staff and enrichment activities for pupils so it can offer an outstanding education to each pupil. Executive headteacher Tracey Parton said:“At St Leonard’s everyone is passionate about fostering a love of learning among both our staff and pupils, and by joining Staffordshire University Academies Trust the educational environment we offer will continue to blossom. “As a small first school with Christian values we already offer a strong family atmosphere and exciting opportunities for our pupils to discover and explore. “We’re delighted to now join a bigger family which has a solid reputation for learning excellence with all of the communities that it supports throughout Staffordshire and also with the Department for Education.” The key driving force behind the Trust is to improve the quality of educational provision for children within the academy’s catchment and to create firm foundations for their

• Children at St Leonard’s First School in Dunston celebrated the school becoming part of Staffordshire University Academies Trust. future learning and success. As a member of the largest, and fastest growing, Staffordshire-based Multi Academy Trust in the county St Leonard’s will receive an extensive programme of support from SUAT, at their expense, which will include: • Support from their Director of School Improvement, who is an ex-headteacher and local leader of education • Support from a School Improvement Partner who is an Ofsted lead inspector • Support from the Chief Executive Officer who is a former Executive Headteacher, Headteacher of an outstanding school and National Leader of Education • Support from the consultants that SUAT employs

• Cutting the ribbon to mark the official move over to academy status.


• Support from the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, Finance Director and Operations Manager, who by supporting the business function will enable the senior teaching staff to focus on their core purpose of teaching and learning • Visits, for staff and pupils, to the university’s main campus in Stokeon-Trent • Support for the growth of the nursery at St Leonard’s • Access to a network of 10 good and outstanding schools for sharing ideas, expertise and resources. • Training for staff through a very significant programme of training and development. • Access to the expertise at the university’s Education Department. Chief Executive Officer of Staffordshire University Academies Trust, Keith Hollins, said: “We’re delighted to welcome St Leonard’s C.E. First School into the Trust and we look forward to supporting their future development and growth. “Now that St Leonard’s is a member of the family of schools that comprise Staffordshire University Academies Trust (SUAT) the school will receive a very significant level of support. “SUAT is a large trust and within their family of academies they have an extensive knowledge of school improvement. They also have a very strong link to the Education Department at Staffordshire University, with all its very significant resources. “The school staff already make an amazing difference to all of the young people they teach, and we hope that by working together in partnership, our schools will be at the centre of educational transformation to improve the life chances of all our young people.”

• 10 year old Stafford Prep School martial artist Marin Hall, from Brocton, who has achieved her red belt with black stripe and is targeting a black belt by the age of 11.

Martial artist Marin targets black belt A young Brocton martial artist who won a silver medal at the British Taekwondo championships is on course to achieve her black belt by the age of 11. After capturing the national runner-up slot in the girls’ 140 - 150cms sparring event at Swindon, 10 year old Marin Hall went on to gain her red belt with black stripe. Marin was put through her paces by black belt masters from the Professional Unification of Martial Arts (PUMA) and was asked to demonstrate self defence techniques, perform kicks, punches and blocking, as well as answering questions put to her in Korean. “It was hard work getting ready to grade, not only being fit enough but remembering all the words in Korean. I started taekwondo because I had friends who were doing it, even though they’ve stopped. I’ve made new friends there and I keep doing it to give me confidence that I can defend myself,” she said. The Stafford Prep School pupil is now preparing to step up to the next level to join the country’s youngest black belt martial artists. Marin took up the sport five years ago and is coached by three times world champion, Stacey Weatherer, at Stonebased Alleyne’s Sports Centre. The SPS youngster competes across the country and her biggest success was becoming a British silver medalist, behind Reading’s Megan Lockley. Apart from targeting a black belt this year in her height category, Marin’s busy programme will involve seven high-level competitions, including an international event at Swindon this month. Her schedule culminates in the British championships at the end of the year, when she will aim to claim the top slot.


Double celebration for centenarian Muriel The latest resident of Stafford Borough to celebrate her hundredth birthday is Muriel Hazeldine who turned 100 in January and celebrated with a party, two cards from the Queen and two sets of special visitors. Muriel, originally from Bilston, has lived most of her life in the Ranton area, having owned and run the Hand and Cleaver with her husband Jack from 1951 until selling it to become a farmer. Muriel was the first female police officer in the country, working for Staffordshire Police at the time, and has always been committed to the community, with her husband being a councillor on Stone Rural District Council before it was disbanded and merged to become Stafford Borough Council. On January 11 many of Muriel’s friends and family, including her previous neighbour, Borough and County Councillor Mark Winnington, gathered to celebrate her milestone birthday, along with local MP, Sir William Cash. And on January 12 the Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Stafford, Councillor Gareth Jones and Mrs Renee Robinson, celebrated the actual anniversary with her to make it an extra special double. Muriel enjoyed both celebrations and took all the fuss in her stride, having seen so many different things, from policing in the West Midlands between the war years, the impact of the Second World War and running a local Staffordshire pub with no electricity in the early • The Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Stafford Borough, Councillor Gareth days, just at the start of the trend for eating out, Jones and Mrs Renee Robinson, joined Muriel Hazeldine for her 100th birthday celebrations in January. and she enjoyed every minute of it.

Staffordshire indie wine shop is Rioja champion

• Wolseley Wine Loft’s Dave Eglington with the award.


The Wolseley Wine Loft, which lies between Rugeley and Stafford at Wolseley Bridge, has been named Off-Trade Winners of Wines from Rioja’s ‘Drink Rioja’ campaign. ‘The Loft’ beat stiff competition from independent wine shops across the country in a competition run by Wines from Rioja – the UK marketing arm of The Rioja Regulatory Council or Consejo Regulador de Rioja DOCa. Shops the length and breadth of the country were challenged to celebrate all things Rioja during the month of October, with the Wolseley Wine Loft impressing judges through sheer enthusiasm for all things Rioja and helping spread the word among their customers. Events run as part of the campaign included a wine tasting and talk from Ruben Quintana of Bodagas Manzanos, who visited from Spain – with the audience treated to tapas dishes which paired beautifully with the wines. The loft’s Dave Eglington gave a Talk & Tasting session at the 2019 Stone Food & Drink Festival on the topic of ‘A flight through Rioja’; introducing the audience to the huge diversity of wine styles produced in the region – including white and rosé. The shop’s diverse range of Rioja wines – including organic and vegan wines as well as lesser-known grape varieties like a 100% Graciano grape Rioja – also impressed, with special offers available on Rioja wines sold throughout October. In addition to being named the winner of the competition, ‘The Loft’ was invited to attend a ‘Rioja Recognises’ awards evening at the superb Eneko Basque Restaurant in London’s Covent Garden, hosted by Master of Wine Tim Atkin, in recognition of its work with Rioja in 2019. Bettina Hepburn of Wines from Rioja UK says:“We were really blown away by the large number of events that The Wine Loft put on and how they took the promotion outside of the shop and continued to champion Rioja with a print article, participating at the Stone Food & Drink Festival, and all of the fun social media posts featuring Rioja wines and the Point of Sale promotion. It was also great to see promotional efforts pay off in terms of sales.”


Putting down roots for our children’s future... In support of the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback campaign, local farmers Graham and Helen Ashford were enthusiastically assisted by pupils from The Haven School, Mary Booth (Chairman) and Sue Kneill-Boxley of CPRE Staffordshire - the Countryside Charity, and local beekeeper Lewis McDonald in planting 60 native trees in a conservation area of the Ashfords’ farm in Ranton. Undaunted by the inclement weather, the keen volunteers donned waterproofs and wellies and got stuck in providing hazel, hawthorn, crab apple, dog rose and dogwood saplings with a new home. The Ashfords had been fortunate to be able to purchase some 13 acres of traditional grassland pasture on the edge of Ranton about eight years ago. As part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme they have been encouraged to carry out hedgelaying, and to fence off a small corner of the field to plant up with young trees. With support from CPRE Staffordshire, an application to the Woodland Trust for one of their free tree packs was successful. Graham said: “We have bee hives in this enclosed area, which are managed by local apiarist Lewis MacDonald and we hope that the bees will do even better when the trees are big enough to flower and seed. We are enhancing the natural habitat for birds and wildlife, as we have a number of ponds close by, with everything from mallard, moorhen and heron, to rabbits and squirrels in the surrounding hedgerows. “High school pupils from The Haven School, Stafford, come to the farm every Monday to experience farm and countryside. They help with a range of tasks with the livestock, which includes a flock of Texel cross ewes, pigs and poultry. The tree planting exercise was one that they could all participate in, knowing that they are making their own contributions to enhancing our natural environment for future generations. The pupils enjoy this kind of ‘hands on learning’ and these lessons will long be remembered.” The event also took place during the Tree Council’s National Tree Week, which runs during peak autumn planting time from the end of November to the start of December. Both the Woodland Trust and the Tree Council are encouraging millions of people across the UK to plant a tree in their garden or join in with a tree planting event. If you are a parish council or you are involved with a community group and would like to arrange a planting event, please contact CPRE Staffordshire on protect@cprestaffordshire .org.uk or 01785 277890.


• Graham and Helen Ashford with one of the pupils from Haven School who helped with the planting of 60 native trees.

• Mary Booth, Sue Kneill-Boxley and Lewis McDonald dig in to help.

• Bee hives and the newly planted saplings in the conservation area of the Ashfords’ farm in Ranton.


St Mary’s named among country’s best schools St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Brewood has been rated one of the best schools nationally. The school has been ranked number six in a recent list published by The Telegraph of topperforming primary schools nationally, based on Ofsted reports and Key Stage 2 SATs results. The school’s top-ranking position is due to another fantastic set of results with 100 per cent of pupils reaching the national expected standard for reading, writing and maths and almost half of those achieving at the higher standard (in the top five per cent). Last year St Mary’s received a glowing report from Ofsted after a one-day inspection. The report highlighted the high level of academic achievement by pupils, as well as exceptional behaviour. It also mentions the family ethos of the school and the excellent skills of the teaching staff: “St Mary’s is a happy, friendly school where all pupils feel safe and welcome. Parents and carers say that school is like a family and their children love coming to school. This is reflected in pupils’ positive attitudes to learning. Pupils engage in lively, intelligent discussions about their work. Teachers skilfully address the needs of all pupils in mixed-age classes. This is a strength of the school.”

• “A happy, friendly school” – St Mary’s has been ranked number six in a list of top performing schools. Executive Headteacher Mrs Bernadette Corbett said: “I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of our pupils and staff has been rewarded with

another set of exceptional results. To be ranked as a national top-performing school is wonderful and everyone should feel very proud.”

Exciting spring programme for Stafford Film Theatre Stafford Film Theatre’s Spring Season will start on February 11. A series of 12 exciting and diverse films, some English language, some foreign, will be shown on Tuesday nights at The Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford. The programme includes several Oscar-nominated films, including Pedro Almadóvar’s ‘Pain and Glory’, the murder mystery ‘Knives Out’, featuring Daniel Craig, and the Korean black comedy thriller ‘Parasite’. Ken Loach’s latest film ‘Sorry We Missed You’ is also on the programme, which starts with ‘Official Secrets’ starring Keira Knightley. The full programme: February 11 – Official Secrets; February 18 – Pain and Glory; February 25 – Sorry We Missed You; March 3 – The Farewell; March 10 – Knives Out; March 17 – Honeyland; March 24 – Dirty God; March 31 – Monos; April 7 – Woman at War; April 14 – Bait; April 21 – Parasite; May 5 – So Long My Son.

• Daniel Craig in murder mystery movie ‘Knives Out’


• Pedro Amodóva's ‘Pain and Glory’, starring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas Tickets can be bought from The Gatehouse Theatre at Stafford either by phone (01785 619080) or online www.staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk , or on the night from the box office. Prices: £7 full price, £6 concessions. Membership for 12 films: £59 full price, £47 concessions (prices include Gatehouse booking fee). The programme for most films start at 7.30pm and the main feature at 7.45pm (apart from ‘So Long My Son’ which starts 15 minutes earlier). More information about Stafford Film Theatre, the programme and trailers can be found on the website: www.filmsinstafford.com.

Evening of music from across the decades Church Eaton Tennis Club will host an evening of live music with covers band Borderline, featuring music from the 60s, 70s and 80s right up to the present day, including Itchycoo Park, I’m a Believer, Blue Suede Shoes, and Dock of the Bay. This promises to be a very enjoyable evening, whether you choose to sit and listen, tap your feet or even get up and dance, and takes place on Saturday, February 22, at 7pm in Church Eaton Village Institute. Tickets are £12.50 including a fish and chip supper, available from Mike on 01785 823879 or Ann 01785 822233. Bring your own drinks.

• Covers band Borderline.

Anniversary celebrations for social groups Trinity Ark, a group for parents/carers and toddlers, celebrated its first anniversary on Thursday, January 9. Trinity Ark aims to provide a safe place for pre-school children to play along with support and company for parents and carers. One parent says: “All of the children simply adore it. You see such joy on their faces.” Another parent of twins has spoken about her appreciation of the support and company she gets from attending. Sessions are held every Wednesday during school term time from 1.15pm to 2.45pm at Holy Trinity Church, Baswich Lane, Stafford. Newcomers are always welcome. Meanwhile the Tuesday Drop-In celebrated its 10th anniversary of offering company, refreshments and fellowship to the recently bereaved, those in a caring role and anyone else who just wants a chat. This is a community service, run by volunteers. A celebratory cake and a little bit of ‘fizz’ were enjoyed and all those who have helped in any way were thanked for their support. It has been estimating that a staggering number of approximately 25,000 cups of tea and coffee have been consumed in the past 10 years.


Badge of honour as five are made Aldermen Five former Stafford Borough Councillors, with a combined total of 116 years’ service, were honoured by the Mayor in a special ceremony. The five have been given the title of ‘Honorary Alderman’ by current Mayor, Councillor Gareth Jones, to recognise the work they undertook on behalf of the council. Among the recipients of the title were previous mayors and members of the Cabinet. They were each presented with a certificate and badge to mark the Alderman title. Aldermen and women are not paid an allowance and have no right to attend or participate in council meetings. The five are: • Joyce Farnham MBE who served for a total of 28 years during two spells from 1987 to 1995 and again in 1999 to 2019. She was Mayor when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ll, visited Stafford to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter. • Frank Finlay was a borough councillor between 1995 and 2019. He was Mayor of the Borough in the 2004/2005 civic year and Cabinet Member for Environment and Health for eight years. • Brian Price was on the Borough Council from 1987 to 1995 and again from 1999 to 2019 – a total of 28 years. He served as

• Five former borough councillors were awarded the title of Honorary Alderman at a special ceremony to recognise their lengthy public service. Mayor and Deputy Mayor during that time. • Geoff Rowlands served on various committees in his 20 years on the council between 1999 and 2019. He was also the Labour Group secretary for many years. • Ken Williamson was a borough councillor for 16 years between 2003 and 2019. From 2009 until he stepped down from the council, he was the Cabinet Member for Resources. Leader of the Council, Patrick Farrington,

said: “It is great to recognise the eminent service these five former councillors have given to our borough, and many residents, businesses, community groups and organisations are very grateful that they chose this vocation. They fully deserve to be given the title of Alderman. “I also pay tribute to their loved ones because to dedicate so much time and energy to public service requires the support and understanding of family and friends.”

Something for everyone at Stafford U3A Starting new interests or expanding hobbies is something we often want to do when we have more time to pursue them, and many people decide to take up new activities as they leave full-time employment. The U3A (University of the Third Age) is for the retired and semiretired and there are now more than 1,000 groups across the country. Stafford U3A Chairman Tony Pearce says the organisation is about “meeting new friends, learning new skills, exercise and enjoyment of all to be found in Stafford U3A”. There is something to engage everyone, from the astronomy group, birdwatching or cycling to the ukulele or woodcarving groups, via quizzing and quilting. Recently formed groups include walking netball, photography, and wine tasting. The Deaf Awareness Group has been restarted as the Hearing Loss Group with group leader Ian, and will meet once a month for a coordinated series of meetings for six months, so that anyone with any kind of hearing loss can share problems and solutions. There will also be talks and demonstrations from speakers. Singing and dancing are both good for us – there is a fun singing group, one for Scottish country dancing, and a tai


• Stafford U3A Bridge Group in action chi group providing a calm way of exercising. Bridge , canasta, chess and Scrabble groups provide quieter moments, not to mention mah-jong. Language learning is catered for by French, Spanish, German, Catalan and Ancient Hebrew groups – a chance to refresh, or start anew? Coach outings planned for 2020 include the National Memorial Arboretum and Lichfield in May, and

Shrewsbury and Powis Castle in June, including a river trip with refreshments. Coach trips start from Leon’s Coaches and pick up in Weston and Rising Brook. Chairman Tony says: “We are all volunteers and costs are kept to a minimum. Join us now and get more out of life.” Membership costs just £10 per year, and £1 to attend any of the groups. For further information call Pauline Blackmore on 01785 259251 or email psblackmoreu3a@g.mail.com

• The Norton Owners Club set up ready for opening at a previous Clifford Arms event.

A call to ‘Arms’ The Clifford Arms in Great Haywood will be holding their Classic Car and Bike show again in 2020 on May 17, from 11am to 3pm. As with previous years, admittance is by donation to the Air Ambulance and Blood Bikes, and tea and coffee will be provided by the Crohn’s and Colitis charity. In 2019 the event achieved its fundraising target of £1,000 and the organisers hope to surpass that this year. If you would like to exhibit your pride and joy, car or bike, please contact Barry Owen by email at barry.owen573@ntlworld.com

Vintage piano donated to Holy Trinity Church A piano dating back to 1895, made by the German firm Schiedmayer, has been generously donated to Holy Trinity Church, Baswich, in memory of Margaret and Dennis Marshall, by their children Louise, Giles, Polly and James. The family is thrilled that the piano has found a new home in Baswich, as it has had close connections with the area since 1936, and they hope that it will serve the parish for many years to come.


Inspiration in abundance at Stafford Camera Club Stafford Camera Club welcomes Ken Hudson CPAGB BPE3,a Birmingham based photographer, on February 11. He is a member of Aldridge Photographic Society, Trinity Photography group and a photographic competition judge for local clubs and societies. He has his own studio in Birmingham, Studio B43. Ken has been serious about photography since 2009. In 2014 he lost his wife to cancer and that is when he started doing street photography, to get him out of the house. He enjoys studio work and has always wanted his own studio, so in 2018 he converted his loft to a studio. Ken will present a range of prints from his street photography to present day studio work. On March 10 the club presents ‘The Beauty of the Shropshire Borderlands’, an evening of stunning wildlife and landscape photos and entertaining talk from Andrew Fusek Peters. Andrew is a an award-winning conservation photographer, currently on • Studio work by Ken Hudson commission with the National Trust and Natural England. His books include Upland, Wilderland and the new National Trust guidebook to the Long Mynd. His photos regularly appear in the media and he regularly writes for camera magazines, with many features and also cover shots for EOS Magazine, Amateur Photographer and Olympus Passion; his supermoon in 2016 made the front cover of the Times. Andrew was highly commended in BWPA 2018, and gained third in category as well as Commended in IGPOTY 2018 and was in the 100 Top Photographers in the new Close Up Photographer of the year competition 2019. The club welcomes Robert Falconer on March 17. Robert first picked up an SLR camera when he was 12 years old, developing an interest in photography from his father taking him to see steam trains. Robert’s passion for photography soon turned his camera towards landscapes, in • Winter wonderland - landscape work by Robert Falconer particular the Peak District which is just two miles from where he lives. While still at school, Robert joined Bolsover Camera Club, which was a great inspiration to his early work, having his first image accepted in the annual North East Midland Photographic Federation Exhibition in 1989. Robert was a member of the camera club for 25 years but since 2013 has been a member of Clay Cross Photographic Society. Robert studied photography for four years, gaining a National Diploma in Sheffield and a Higher National Diploma in Blackpool. High points have been launching his first book, ‘The Peak District – A Winter’s Tale’ and a second called ‘Preserved Steam in Derbyshire’. Stafford Camera Club meets at 8pm on Tuesday evenings at The Constitutional Club, 5 Lloyd St, Stafford. Newcomers and people of all skill levels are welcome to attend. For more information you can visit www.staffordcameraclub.co.uk


• A focus on Shropshire’s landscape and wildlife - Andrew Fusek Peters

Financial support for volunteers to be discussed Thousands of pounds have been ringfenced to help sporting organisations in Stafford Borough as part of a new support package being proposed for the voluntary sector. Senior councilors will discuss providing more than £130,000 to the voluntary sector when they meet on Thursday (6 February.) It includes £60,000 to the Citizens Advice Bureau, £22,250 to Support Staffordshire, as well as money to Katharine House Hospice and Douglas Macmillan Hospice. Financial support will be given by the council to a total of eight voluntary sector organisations in line with the authority’s priorities. The report to the council’s Cabinet proposes a new grants scheme with a pot of £7,000 to be set up and administered by the Community Foundation for the purpose of sport. The money was previously dealt with by Sports Stafford Borough. The Community Foundation already administer the borough council’s successful ‘Small Grants Scheme.’ Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge, Cabinet Member for Leisure, praised the work of Sports Stafford Borough (SSB) who were instrumental in giving assistance to, among others, Olympic gold medal canoeist, Joe Clarke and Paralympian, Ian Marsden, at the early stages of their careers. She said: “Unfortunately SSB have experienced difficulties which is why we are proposing a way to ensure we continue supporting grants to the sports sector in the borough through the Community Foundation. This way there will be no change in the way organisations can apply, all the money is ringfenced for sport, and the eligibility criteria remains the same.” The full cabinet agenda is available at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/1920-committee-meetings


The only way is up for local downhill skiers Downhill skiers raced to four Midland medals and brought an under-14 team trophy back to their schools for the second year running. The joint Stafford Grammar and Prep ski squad struck gold at the Central England Snowsports Association (CESA) championships in Telford when they defended their crown and scooped three individual titles, before adding a bronze medal to their tally. Almost 150 competitors, aged between seven and 18, from schools across the region, challenged for titles in six age groups, with each taking part in three timed slalom races. The combined scores from their two best runs counted towards an overall individual and team result. Eleven year old Georgia Blaikie clocked a best run of 10.22 seconds to become the fastest athlete in the under-12 girls’ category and the second quickest junior female. Her efforts also secured the under-12 gold medal. Her elder sister, Elena, mirrored her success when she saw off a dozen competitors to win the under-14 group, with team-mate Mischa Lovatt finishing third. Elena, aged 13, chalked up a best time of 11.66 secs, which placed her second of all the senior girls, while the trio’s performances also

• Stafford Grammar and Prep schools’ ski squad struck gold in Telford. Pictured back from left: Elena Blaikie (13), Georgia Blaikie (11), Max McVay (10) from Bednall, Levedale’s Finley Aston (10), Mischa Lovatt (12). Front: Ted Mincher-Lockett (7), Edward Calvert (7). secured the under-14 team title they captured last season. Meanwhile seven year old Ted Mincher-Lockett skied down in 12.63 secs and added another quick run to

earn the under-8 gold medal. Joining him in the squad were Bednall’s Max McVay and novices Edward Calvert and Finley Aston, from Levedale, who both completed all three runs.

Showing their spots and raising lots Students at Wolgarston High School in Penkridge learnt about the lives of disadvantaged children across the whole of the UK and how we can make a difference. They developed their communication, teamwork and decision-making skills by helping to organise their annual Pudsey Pop Up Shop for Children in Need. Students sold Fairtrade cakes, Pudsey ears, wristbands and raffle tickets. The canteen also made and sold Pudsey biscuits. Tim Asson, Year 12 student, said: “I am so proud to have helped and been part of this event. It is brilliant that we can all make a difference to those in need, it makes you realise how lucky we are.” Learning Resource Centre Administrator Miss Roberts said: “We could not have done this without the help and support of all of our students, especially Callum Milner, Tim Asson, Holly Morphew, Anya Tate, Rachel Rollinson, Maddie Thomas Risby, Beth Wheatley Simmonds, Stevie Millward, Lucy Richardson, Evie Wall and Maddie Brassington who gave up their time to run our Pudsey Pop Up Shop. “I would like to thank all of our house leaders, Mr Skinner, Mrs Dodd, Mrs Garland-Ridding and Mr Paulauskas, who helped during the day. A massive thanks to Mrs Dodd for rallying the troops and Callum Milner for making


and donating cakes and brownies.” During break time and lunchtime staff and students all took part in fun fundraising activities. The school also held a non-uniform day where students and staff were asked to come in something yellow, spotty or even a Pudsey onesie. Headteacher Jo Fairclough said: “I am

immensely proud of all our staff and students that contributed to such a successful fundraising day. Kindness is extremely important at Wolgarston and this money will make a real difference to the lives of children in the UK.” Wolgarston High School managed to set a new record, raising £1,375.93 for Children in Need.

• Tim Asson, Holly Morphew, Mrs Dodd and Callum Milner.

• Children at St Leonard’s, Dunston, planted saplings as part of the Just One Tree campaign.

Not ‘Just One Tree’ but fifty-four at St Leonards Children at St Leonard’s First School in Dunston have supported the Just One Tree campaign that helps to support the planting of new trees in areas across the world suffering from deforestation. As each of the children brought in their £1, they placed a finger leaf print on to a tree poster to represent each tree they had raised money for. The children then got wet and muddy as they each planted a tree sapling in the school grounds. The children had great fun and learnt about the importance of trees and the effect this will have on their future. £54 was raised, which means another 54 trees will be planted globally as well as the 54 trees at St Leonard’s.


Hockey team with a Midas touch Hat trick hero Amber Smit sealed a third successive tournament title for Stafford Grammar’s under-13 hockey team when she capitalised on chances at a regional championship in Wolverhampton.

The 12 year old prolific goal scorer from Great Haywood hit the target in every match to spearhead her side’s victory at the Independent Schools’ Association (ISA) Midland contest.

• Back from left: Elena Blaikie, Laura Fenton, Eloise Nicholls, Amber Smit (Great Haywood), Charlotte Ashton. Front: Zoe Catton, Poppy Dixon, Emma Seaton, Nayan Kumar (Wheaton Aston), Lizzie Hammond.

The seven-a-side competition at Aldersley Stadium attracted eight schools across the region and Amber was first on the score sheet when SGS were held to a 1-1 draw in their opener against Shropshire-based Bedstone College. The Stafford outfit chalked up a 2-0 victory over Birchfield School (Shropshire) before seeing off Tettenhall College 3-0 to top the group. Amber maintained her scoring prowess in the semi-final against Warwickshire’s Twycross House as she netted both SGS goals to steer the team to the final and a repeat encounter against Bedstone. In an evenly fought contest, attacking midfielder Amber put SGS ahead and with the clock ticking down, she added two more goals to put the title beyond reach. The Great Haywood youngster is a member of the Staffordshire under-13 squad alongside school mates Zoe Catton and Lizzie Hammond. Earlier this season the grammar girls won the Cheshire Terra Nova School and Denstone College tournaments, in which they scored 49 goals and conceded only five. “The girls played really well as a unit in both defence and attack. They’d built up confidence, having already won a couple of tournaments this season, but made sure they remained focussed on the task in hand. Amber did particularly well in converting the chances she got to score and she deserved to get her hat trick in the final,” said SGS PE teacher Carly Slater.

Club effort raises funds for public access defibrillator Rugeley Rifle Club is proud to announce the unveiling of a Public Access Defibrillator on the front of its clubhouse. The PAD is accessible to all members of the public and has been purchased through fundraising events at the rifle club. In partnership with the Rugeley

and District First Responders, the club members raised more than £1,000 towards this project in a little over three months. The club expressed its thanks to Amanda Milling, parliamentary candidate and Club Honorary Vice President, for unveiling the PAD.

• The unveiling of Rugeley Rifle Club’s public access defibrillator by Amanda Milling.


Rugeley Rifle Club has been in continuous existence in Rugeley since 1879 and is regarded as one of the best small-bore rifle clubs in the UK, offering all Olympic and Paralympic rifle and pistol disciplines and is a British Shooting Disability Hub Club.

Folk music at its best

• “A voice in a million” – Jim Causley Stafford Folk Club continues its winter programme with a concert by Jim Causley on February 27. More than simply a folk-singer, multi award-winning singer-songwriter, musician and proud Devonian Jim Causley is an all-round entertainer and during the past decade he has been nominated no less than six times for a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award. In 2015 he worked with BBC TV historian Dr Sam Willis to create the music for his show ‘Highwaymen, Outlaws and Villains’ and was asked to perform his song about Dartmoor tin mining, ‘Pride of the Moor’, on BBC TV’s Countryfile Dartmoor Special. Jim’s unique voice and persona have helped him become one of the most well loved and respected figures of today’s contemporary roots and folk scene. He was described by Mojo Magazine as “the finest singer of his generation” and they put Forgotten Kingdom in their Top Ten Folk Albums of 2016 list. Westcountry father of folk Geoff Lakeman described Causley as possessing “a voice in a million” in a recent interview in the Western Morning News. You will not be disappointed with this concert. Following Jim Causley in March is one of the most prolific figures of the English folk scene, John Kirkpatrick. Performing solo, in duos, acoustic groups and electric bands, John has established an enviable reputation as an instrumental virtuoso as well as a leading interpreter of English folk music. He has been a member of the Albion Country Band, The Richard Thompson Band, Steeleye Span and many more. As songwriter, composer, choreographer, and musical director, he has contributed to more than 60 plays in the theatre and on radio. And as featured artiste, band member, or session player, his music can be heard on more than 200 different commercial recordings. Stafford Folk Club, which meets at The Bird in Hand, Stafford, on the fourth Thursday of the month, aims to bring to the area the very best in traditional folk from both established performers and up and coming new talent. Following John in April will be Granny’s Attic. See the club website for further information. Tickets for all shows are available by following the link on www.staffordfolkclub.com


Looking Forward! by Staffordshire Federation Women’s Institutes Did you know that the Women's Institute is the largest and most influential women's organisation in the UK ? It is non-political, non-judgemental and open to all ladies. The WI has been around for over 100 years yet its role in today's society is just as relevant as it was when it all started. Ladies of all ages from 18 to 108 provide and receive friendship and support, actively campaign on matters that are important to them, learn new skills and - most importantly - have FUN ! The Staffordshire Federation of Women's Institutes has over 4,000 members across the county and they are looking forward to getting involved in a busy schedule of events during the coming 12 months. There will be the favourites such as the Federation Quiz when, in February, over 90 teams will assemble at the County Showground, the Spring Council in March when local and national celebrities will entertain 700 members and our marquee at the County Show at the end of May which will showcase members' skills. There is a visit planned in the spring to encapsulate the life and death of Richard III with a day to tour the Bosworth Heritage Site, Richard III Visitor Centre and Leicester Cathedral. In the summer there will be a hands-on Science Workshop on the Chemistry of Pottery at Keele University. There will be more of the popular Craft Workshops and themed lunches as well as bowls and darts tournaments, a summer holiday by coach and a seasonal event in November at Denman College, the WI's very own college in Oxfordshire - there will be something for everyone. And this

is just what the Staffordshire Federation will be offering; 120 plus individual WIs make up the Federation and all of them will have their own programme of speakers and outings. You don't have to be good at flower arranging or making jam to join in, you just have to join in ! Ladies, why not look forward to the New Year with us ? Come along as a visitor to one of the monthly meetings near you and see what is on offer. You will be made most welcome. To find details of your nearest WI, go to our Facebook page – SFWI: Staffordshire Federation Women’s Institutes

Newport Music Club 2019-20 Season Finale Saturday 14th March at 7.30 p.m. at Cosy Hall, Water Lane, Newport sees the finale of the Newport Music Club season. We are delighted to welcome the return of musicians Mary Hofman and Richard Ormrod who will perform the second concert of their ‘Beethoven in Wales’ tour. Violinist Mary has worked as guest leader of the Edinburgh Quartet and performs regularly with Ensemble Cymru. She has performed with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Manchester Camerata and Britten Sinfonia. Pianist Richard performs as concerto soloist, playing Beethoven Concertos at the London Barbican Centre with the Philharmonia Orchestra and performing on international tours with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. If you wish to learn more about the artists see their website richardormrod.co.uk The concert programme comprises Beethoven Sonatas Numbers Six, Seven and Eight. Sonatas which were written at the time when Beethoven was beginning to lose his hearing. There will also be a specially commissioned new work, by composer Sarah Lianne Lewis which is a musical interpretation of sound mutations that Beethoven may have experienced as he became increasingly deaf. To avoid disappointment we advise that you buy tickets in advance. Adult tickets are £13 & £4 for students. Leaflets and tickets are available at The Guildhall Tea Rooms,(both on Newport High St), or from Hey Jude (Stafford Street), Cosy Hall (mornings only) or via the website www.newportmusicclub.org or Phone 01952 810584 for more information. Newport Music Club returns in the Autumn with a new exciting programme. • Richard Ormrod (piano) and Mary Hofman (violin)


Have your say on planned chugger ban Residents and businesses are to be asked for their views on plans to ban so called chuggers from Stafford Town Centre. The proposals are part of a number of changes regarding ‘Public Spaces Protection Orders’ (PSPOs) which are used to tackle local issues. The move follows ongoing complaints from shoppers and workers around the town about being ‘harassed’ by groups who are trying to get people to sign up to direct debits for national charities. The groups are often referred to as chuggers. In future the ‘chuggers’ – and utility company sales people - will have to apply to the council for permission to come in to town and be confined to a designated area only. Now the Borough Council is asking residents and businesses for their views on using PSPOs to tackle issues in the county town including ‘chuggers,’ anti-social behaviour, and cyclists riding on the pedestrianised high street. Existing PSPOs in place across the borough come to an end shortly – which is why the council is now taking steps to ensure they continue. PSPOs are aimed at dealing with problems in a specific area that are detrimental to the quality of life for the local community. The orders can ban or restrict certain behaviour and anyone not complying is given a warning - and can be fined for breaching it. The borough council has worked with the police, town centre partnership and residents associations regarding the proposed new PSPOs. The proposals also introduce new restrictions – for example excluding dogs from play areas at Charnley Road in Stafford and in the village of Stowe-by-Chartley. Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Health, said: “We want to ensure our town centres are welcoming places. Places where people can spend leisure time, shop, relax, or even set up business and we don’t want that ruined by anti social behaviour, alcohol related issues, or other forms of nuisance. “One of the nuisances complained of by our residents and visitors is that these direct debit collectors are harassing them and retailers have mentioned that customers say they have been put off coming in to town.” He added “We have already liaised with the police and other partners about how we address these types of behaviour and now we hope our residents, businesses and organisations will give us their feedback.” The consultation will run until Monday 2 March and more details can be found at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/surveys.


Main Ring attraction revealed for County Show • Big Pete coming through!

Big Pete and The Grim Reaper have been revealed as the star attractions for a truly monster 2020 Staffordshire County Show. The event will be held at the Weston Road showground on Wednesday and Thursday, May 27 and 28, during the half-term school holiday, and will feature the Big Pete International Monster Truck Team as the highlight of the show’s Grand Ring programme. The Monster Trucks always prove a massive attraction wherever they go and have been regular visitors at events across the Midlands providing their exciting brand of entertainment for show-goers to enjoy. Richard Williams, Chief Executive of the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society, said: “Planning for the show never ends but the advent of a new year sees us starting to up the pace in terms of organisation. “Plans are already well underway for our 2020 extravaganza and we are delighted to be announcing the stars of our Grand Ring programme - the Monster Trucks. They wow the crowds wherever they go and have a massive following. “Big Pete is 16ft tall and 12ft wide, weighing in at 7.5 tonnes, can jump 15ft into the air and being paired with Grim Reaper makes for a truly incredible show - it’s undoubtedly the UK’s most successful monster truck team and we are delighted they are coming to Stafford. “Other Grand Ring programme attractions will include the Scurry Driv-


ers, a fast-paced display featuring teams of two ponies and riders competing against each other to see which will complete a course in the fastest time. “There will be our traditional livestock parade which always proves popular with visitors. Wednesday’s showgoers will be able to see the parade of hounds and beagles, show jumping and a vintage machinery parade while,

featuring the Sheep Show, Birds of Prey Display and Quack Pack. “Livestock showing remains as popular as ever at the show and last year we were delighted to report the highest number of entries in sheep and cattle classes in recent history - almost 800 sheep entries and 300 cattle. “We also saw increased numbers in horses, dogs and goat entries and

• Meet the Grim Reaper...

on Thursday, we will be welcoming the parade of young farmers’ floats. “The antiques fair, craft fair and food hall attractions are guaranteed to pull in the crowds and there will be plenty more going on around the showground with things like Woodfest, featuring demonstrations of traditional woodland crafts, and the Country Pursuits Area,

welcomed around 65,000 visitors over the two days, making it one of the most successful shows ever.” Early bird tickets will be available to buy from the showground office or the website www.staffscounty showground.co.uk from April 1st. Advance tickets will be available from all other outlets from May 1st.

Brocton Village Hall Events “Coffee Morning” Wednesday 19th February 10:00 – 12:00am. Pop along for a chat and a cake with friends new and old. All are welcome. Bring and buy sale.

“Quiz Night” Friday 21st February 7:30pm. Give your grey matter a workout and see how you find the challenge of our Eggselent General Knowledge quiz. All are welcome. Entrance forms available from Brocton Post Office. £20 per team of 4 to include light snacks.

“Jazz Night with Bar & Meal - Barbara and all that Jazz” Saturday 21st March 7:30pm Easy listening Jazz. £15 admission, tickets Brocton Post Office.

Regular Events Mondays Play Group 09:00-12:00

T: 01785 663456 www.broctonpsp.jimdo.com Brownies 18:30-19:30 www.girlguidingstaffordshire.org.uk Flower Arranging 20:00-21:30 T: 01785 661182

Tuesdays Play Group 09:00-12:00 T: 01785 663456 www.broctonpsp.jimdo.com

Brocton WI Craft 14:00-16:00 T: 01785 664840 Brocton Village Hall Committee Meeting (Every 1st Tuesday) 19:30-21:00

T: 01785 665497

Wednesdays Mothers & Toddlers 10:00-11:30 T: 01785 663456 www.broctonpsp.jimdo.com

Brocton Parish Council Meeting (Every 1st Wednesday) 19:30-21:00

T: 01785 664064

Brocton WI Meeting (Every 2nd Wednesday) 19:30-21:30

T: 01785 660653

Brocton Supper Club (Every 3rd Wednesday) 19:30-21:30

T: 01785 601157

Thursdays Play Group 09:00-12:00

T: 01785 663456 www.broctonpsp.jimdo.com Keep Fit 19:30-21:00 T: 01785 662868

Fridays Play Group 09:00-12:00

T: 01785 663456 www.broctonpsp.jimdo.com

For further details on the above events you can visit www.broctonvillagehall.org.uk or call Chris Allan on 01785 665466 or email info@broctonvillage hall.org.uk


Volunteers needed to help monitor willow tits

Awards for countryside heroes

• The willow tit whose numbers are in decline Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is asking people to join the National Willow Tit Survey to help monitor numbers of willow tit in the county. Numbers of willow tits are declining at an alarming rate in the UK – by over 90 per cent since the 1970s. They occupy damp woodland and scrub where they excavate nests in decaying stumps of birch and willow. The birds are highly sedentary and remain close to their breeding grounds throughout the year, but may occupy large territories. In recent years, numbers have been lost from large areas of southern and eastern England, probably as a result of habitat loss. Last year the Trust was encouraged by numbers of willow tit spotted at four of its reserves, including a nest at Bateswood in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Records from across the county indicate that the species is widespread, though never common. Jonathan Groom, Monitoring Officer for the Trust, said: “The second and final year of the survey is 2020 so every last effort will help greatly. “It is vital that we find out more about them so that we can manage our sites for their benefit and look out for any signs of local declines. We also need to cover other areas across the county. This is important as this species can potentially hold large territories and so we need to cover as much ground as possible. “This is vital survey work and every volunteer that can help will be contributing to an extremely important knowledge base.” Anyone who may wish to help with surveys in 2020 should email either the County Bird Recorder, Nick Pomiankowski – county staffs-recorder@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk; or Jonathan Groom at the Trust – j.groom@staffs-wildlife.org.uk. Survey training may be provided on request.


• CPRE Staffs Chairman, Mary Booth, presenting Frank Walmsley with his award. CPRE Staffordshire ambassadors for the countryside, Amyas Stafford Northcote and Frank Walmsley, were delighted to be awarded for Outstanding Contribution and Lifetime Achievement by the charity’s national body, CPRE – The Countryside Charity. Both were presented with a medal and certificate commemorating their work. Amyas Stafford Northcote, known to many for his involvement with Staffordshire’s Best Kept Village competition, served as Chairman of the Staffordshire countryside charity for just short of a decade. His resilience and positive manner, coupled with exemplary knowledge of planning, fostered through his service as a councillor for his local parish, has proved invaluable to the group in its mission to promote and protect our county’s rural environment. Amyas is now Vice President for CPRE Staffordshire. Frank Walmsley has been a CPRE member since June 1988. He worked as a volunteer in the Stafford office for many years and was a trustee and member of the Executive Committee from 2013 to 2018. Frank represented the group at regional West Midlands level, and his extensive knowledge and experience, gained through working for the Countryside Commission and RDC, is second to none. Assisting with tree planting projects and helping on outdoor stalls, Frank has not been put off by a bit of wild weather. Mary Booth, CPRE Staffordshire Chairman, said: “Everyone at the Countryside Charity CPRE Staffordshire is so pleased that these certificates and medals have been awarded by national CPRE following our nominations. They mark the lengthy distinguished service of Frank Walmsley and Amyas Stafford Northcote who, although they have both recently retired from active involvement in our work, still keep in touch with us. “They are an example to all of what individuals can do to help protect our rural environment and communities, both now and in the future. The citations on the certificates explain what they have done for our organisation.” The awards are part of a national CPRE scheme to recognise and celebrate voluntary work countrywide. The charity recently appointed a Volunteering Development Officer, Jacqueline Smith, to encourage and support volunteering across the West Midlands region. CPRE Staffordshire welcomes volunteers, both office and event based, on a regular or ad hoc basis. Please contact the Stafford Office on 01785 277890 or you can email protect@cprestaffordshire.org.uk for more information.

Stafford school fights plastic pollution Castlechurch Primary School in Stafford has upped their game to fight plastic pollution after local environmental organisation There Is No Planet B! Stafford gave 85 students from years 3 and 4 a workshop on Plastic Pollution. There Is No Planet B give free workshops to schools on a variety of issues effecting our planet and the inhabitants we share it with, every year from September through to February. The students learn about the issues and then create artwork, poetry and political letters with an environmental message, to showcase at the annual Stafford Green Arts Festival at St. Chads Church in Stafford town from 15th till 22nd February. Jo Cranwell (teacher at Castlechurch School) said "During the workshop we heard about Tranquillity Aroma shop in Stafford who will collect crisp packets and other items for recycling. As a school we recycle what we can, but there are always items that are not accepted currently by the council. I contacted Justine at Tranquility Aroma and we discussed what they can take and they agreed to take our pens and crisp packets. We are so very happy to find we can recycle more as a school, and look forward to working with Tranquility Aroma to reduce our plastic pollution footprint”. Justine Dicesare owner of Tranquility Aroma “We are really excited to be working alongside Castlechurch school, to enable the children to learn more about recycling & environment issues. All of the crisp packets are recycled by TerraCycle UK, where they are cleaned and shredded and made into sponge base flooring for outside play grounds and plastic benches. For every crisp packet 1p goes towards a local Stafford cancer charity Childhood Cancer Parents Alliance, for whom we have raised so far £780.00. We would encourage families to come and see us, as we recycle many other items too”. You can find Tranquility Aroma at www.etranquility.co.uk The four volunteers at There Is No Planet B who taught the workshop (Netta Cartwright, Ann Elphick, Dawn Pope and Vicky Tunnicliffe said "This is such a great partnership Castlechurch have made with Tranquility, it is music to our ears and exactly what we hope for when we go into schools to teach. This is the perfect example of learning into action and we commend all those involved” Stafford Green Arts Festival at St. Chads Church is a fantastic event and There Is No Planet B volunteers would love the public to come along, take a look and support it. To find out more about the festival, search There Is No Planet B Stafford on Facebook, where you can keep up to date with all events happening during the week. Apart from seeing Stafford student’s artwork, there will also be poetry, music, dance, workshops and a photography competition to vote on.


Owd Fred Shares some of his Seighford images

Dear My Village Voice magazine, I recognise those cottages in Seighford pictured on page 59 in the November / December edition of My Village Voice, I have two more pictures of the well and pump. It was situated close up to the old Village Post Office shop, the pump being situated between the two, the end of the cottages came up to the pavement on the road side The one picture is of the same old pump 6 weeks before mains water was piped into Seighford still being used until the mains were turned on 1948 and all the old wells were condemned and filled in. (The remains of one pump is still attached to the front wall on the road side of the Holly Bush Pub) Mrs Rawlings, her husband worked at Clanford Hall farm, and Mrs Simpson her husband worked in town as an engineer they had a motorbike and sidecar and every year they went as a family to the Isle of Man to theTT racing for a holiday. Mrs Brown, her husband Norman worked at Green Farm Seighford, live in another cottage served by that pump. The last child to be born whilst living in the left hand end of the cottage, (the end nearest to the main road) has now this last year retired from farming at Walton near Stone. All these old thatched cottages were eventually demolished when the new council houses were built in Seighford early 1950 's (opposite side of the road to the cottages and shop and pump). My second picture is an older picture and do not know who the occupants were at that time or the date it was taken but judging by the shawl and the bonnet worn by the lady at the pump with the young child it could be early 1900's The third picture is of the back of the same pair of cottages, taken from the garden of Cobblers Cottage ( there is another story and pictures to Cobblers Cottage) I hope this information is what you were looking for. All the best Owd Fred (Fred Waterfall formerly of Beeches Farm Seighford aged 5 until aged 20, then Church Farm Seighford for 25 years, and then Yews Farm Seighford for 32 years now retired)




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Profile for My Village Voice

My Village Voice - February & March 2020  

My Village Voice - February & March 2020