My Village Voice - November / December 2021

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Issue Number Sixty One - November & December 2021

C ONTENTS

News in this edition... • Bradley Christmas Tree Festival • The Seighford Wombles clear up • Joy of six for open spaces • Stafford Christmas Lights Switch On • Real ice rink takes for Christmas in Park • Village Cart raises over £2000! • Bednall Community Village Breakfast • National first for air pollution initiative • National Trust Talks at Walton Village hall

Christmas is coming, the time to celebrate and make merry is almost upon us! Welcome to the November & December My Village Voice, at this juncture, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, and a Peaceful New Year. A tad premature you may say, however decorations have been on sale in the shops since the 1st of September, so... The last couple of months have flown by, I’ve relocated the Voice office to my house. Working from home requires a whole new disciplined mindset, it’s too tempting to make a coffee and have just 5 minutes telly, STOP! it’s a trap, you get sucked in then 45 minutes later you’re saying to yourself “get some work done kidda!” Working on a screen all day, I’m conscious of looking after my eyesight and stretching my legs, so I take a dinner time walk to my local shop and back, taking time out along the route for some mindfulness, which seems to have been the buzz word for the last 2 years, but there really is something in it you know. I get a warm, contented feeling every time I spot a squirrel going about his daily grind of gathering enough eats to see the family through til springtime.

After what felt like the coldest and greyest August ever, we were duly blessed with a stunning September, then October too, t-shirt and shorts weather, for those with the legs for it. The sunshine went someway to make up for what seemed to be national doom and gloom, starting with a CO2 shortage, threatening to bring production of some food and drinks to an end within weeks, even talk of no turkeys for Christmas! Then it was a return to panic buying at the petrol pumps, what a 5 day nonsense that was, 10 days if you lived in London and the south, luckily I’d filled up the day before it went viral so went unaffected, though I felt for those who couldn’t get to work due to the shortages. Enough already of any negative talk, Christmas is coming, the time to celebrate and make merry is almost upon us! Nora Roberts famously once said "Nothing ever seems too bad, too hard, or too sad when you've got a Christmas tree in the living room." She’s right, and as soon as it’s socially acceptable to, mines going up, maybe even sooner.... Dan Mitchell 27/10/21

GETTING IN TOUCH In pictures... • Bradley Mad Hatters Tea Party • BATTH Parish Fun Day and BBQ • Walking together in faith • Haywoods Flower and Vegetable Show • Golden girls snap up GB ski team title • Farewell Party for popular Haywoods Choir Once you’ve read your copy of My Village Voice recycle it by giving it to a friend!

My Village Voice is wholly independent and is published. 5,700 copies are hand-delivered 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 ADVERTISEMENT SALES - sales@myvillagevoice.co.uk EDITORIAL : dan@myvillagevoice.co.uk

TELEPHONE 07514 967890 You can read 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 -2021

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Great Haywood Memorial Hall re-starts coffee mornings Monthly coffee mornings are back! After 18 months of enforced absence, it was great to see all friends back in the Hall on 14th September. The coffee morning team had been taking home-made cakes around to their regulars, and having chats on the doorstep for some months, but it is very different (and much, much better) to have coffee and cakes together in the Hall on the second Tuesday of every month.

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Bradley Christmas Tree Festival On Saturday December 11th – Sunday December 12th, there will be an amazing display of decorated Christmas Trees in Bradley Church, together with wonderful Crafts and delicious refreshments available in the Village Hall. All of the trees in the Church will be decorated by Individuals, groups such as the new Knitting & Crocheting group, the Brownies, Parish Councils and Church Councils etc, so come along and have a real festive start to your Christmas. After so many months of not being able to hold events such as these, we would like to welcome everyone to the Village and wish you all an early Happy Christmas!

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Village Voice NEWS IN BRIEF Seighford News A recent coffee morning in aid of Macmillan raised £230. Thanks to Gloria Chase for organising this and the Holly Bush for allowing us to use their premises. It was a welcome opportunity for the Villagers to meet up after such a long period of isolation for many. Seighford Village Hall has become a thriving book and jigsaw exchange for members of the village. It seemed a good use of the venue during lockdown and has now a library of several hundred books available for exchange or loan. The book exchange is open all day Saturday from 9.30 until 5pm.

Stafford Rotary Club The Stafford Rotary Club has settled into its regular meeting venue at the Worston Mill, Great Bridgeford meeting weekly on Wednesdays for lunch between 12 noon and 2pm.

Stafford Film Theatre The Stafford Film Theatre hold regular screenings of a range of films at the Gatehouse Theatre on Tuesday evening. Tickets are available beforehand and on the night from The Gatehouse theatre online: www.staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk or by phone 01785 619080 Ticket prices: full £8.50* and concessions £7.50* * Includes £2.00 Gatehouse booking fee. 12-film memberships are available, for more information about the programme and Stafford Film Theatre please go to www.filmsinstafford.com

Friends of Bednall AGM The Friends of Bednall Annual General Meeting will take place on Monday evening, 8th November, at 7.30pm. Following discussions with colleagues about ongoing COVID concerns, it was agreed to hold this online rather than in person. Please do let me know if you would like details of the Zoom link for the meeting. We anticipate vacancies on the committee for the coming year, so if you might be interested in joining us, please do let me know. David Tel: 01785 748976 or Email: primrose01@talktalk.net

Bednall Church Floodlighting The floodlighting of All Saints Church for the month of November has been sponsored by Judith Carder in memory of her late husband, Roger, whose birthday is on 1st November. If you would like to sponsor the floodlighting of our beautiful church in memory of someone for just £10 Please phone or email Grete on: 661939 or mmwillacy@gmail.com

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The Seighford Wombles clear up The Seighford Wombles (Mandy Cameron, Ken Anderson and Dominique Armstrong) were formed during lockdown and did their first collective litter pick of the surrounding lanes in February 2020, in response to the ever growing mountain of fast food litter and drinks cans became intolerable. A huge haul of historic litter was removed from hedgerows and verges and the Wombles were joined by a number of members of the village to clear the aerodrome which was particularly disgraceful. Since then, regular litter picks have been undertaken and the team have been assisted by other residents on occasions. The Wombles are part of the wider team of Stafford Litter Heroes who volunteer their time to tidy up the town and surrounding countryside and have cleared over 5 tons of litter so far this year. ED: Wow! an excellent effort ladies. As you can imagine, we have removed an eclectic selection of items including some very unsavoury deposits and a never ending stream of MacDonald’s packaging.

Colwich Parish in Bloom News It’s all good from Colwich Parish in Bloom as Great Haywood has again been awarded Gold in the large village section of the Royal Horticultural Society, and all the 'It's Your Neighbourhood' entries have maintained their Level 5 Awards. The Quiz recently held was very well attended with all the tables taken, and "In Bloomers" and friends had a great night. All the daffodil bulbs on verges have been planted and species daffodil and crocus bulbs have also been planted in the wild flower area in front of the Abbey. The cyclamen planted last year are now in flower. How lovely it will look next year! As President of Colwich Parish in Bloom I am very proud of everyone who has taken care of the Parish,which shows their love of The Haywoods. Thank you to everyone. Anne Clendon B. E. M.


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Happy Harvest Times in Dunston St. Leonard's First School and Nursery visited Lower Drayton Farm, Dunston, for an amazing, first hand rural experience. The school were privileged to be the first school in the area to take a group of children to the farm. The children and staff picked pumpkins and potatoes, explored the fields of corn and counted carrots! The school cook then prepared the vegetables and the children enjoyed eating the 'field to fork' produce. A great visit enhanced by the knowledge and skills of Farmers Ray and Richard, who have fond memories of attending the school in the past.

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Activities at The Arts Society, Stafford As we drop into the autumn months ahead we at the Arts Society in Stafford, want to bring the full depth of meaning of the Arts to so many more people in our town and villages. Once again we have prepared a range of really worthwhile activities for everyone to engage in, bringing artists’ creativity, our meaningful cultures, heritage and history into our lives. We hold amazing monthly lectures at the newly outfitted Gatehouse, a superb venue with raked seating, excellent presentation equipment plus ample room for spaced out seating. The lecturers are the finest in the country, hand-picked for their subject material and their presentation skills. The subjects this autumn include a textile journey along the Silk Road, and the significance of the Tulip, a flower of beauty, desire and fortune. Any lecture we put on, regardless of the appeal of its title, will always engage and satisfy our quest for learning. Our study day on 25th November focusses on The Houses of Parliament, 1000 year of a British icon. Our ‘Arts Evenings’ began in October where we facilitate small groups of like-minded people sharing their love of art, music, opera or ballet in the quiet of their own homes amid valued friendships. All our regional Societies have come together this year to create a book, a little gem that no-one should be without,“50 Treasures of the West Midlands” No-one should be bored or lonely this winter season with all that we have to offer you, membership is currently £48 per year, working out to less than £5.00 for

each amazing lecture, and the social interaction that goes with it.

For full details simply call 01785 824606 / 284629 or go to: https://theartssociety.org/stafford

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Bradley Mad Hatters Tea Party and Arts in the Church In early September a Mad Hatters Tea Party was held in Bradley Village Hall, with a display of Art and Crafts also on display in the Church. The afternoon was held as a Community event on behalf of St. Mary’s Church Bradley. This was such a successful afternoon with a great deal of hard work put in by the team. A marvellous Tea was served, a Chocolate Tombola had everyone buying tickets, along with a traditional Raffle. Crafts were also on sale together with a wide range of jams and chutneys. We thank everyone who donated prizes, jams and cakes and worked so hard in the kitchen and behind the scenes. Thanks to Judith Manners for sending in the photos.

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Managing Verges for Wildlife The insect apocalypse is real and it’s here, but what can we do to save them, whilst also safeguarding nature and ourselves too? It is difficult for people to truly understand the scale of loss of insects, or the catastrophic effect it has on humans too. Dave Goulson from the Guardian paraphrased just why we should be so concerned ’We need insects to pollinate our crops, recycle dung, leaves and corpses, keep the soil healthy, control pests and much more – but also for larger animals, such as birds, fish and frogs, which rely on insects for food. Wildflowers rely on them for pollination. As insects become more scarce, our world will slowly grind to a halt, for it cannot function without them’ A report by Biological Conservation (a scientific a peer-reviewed journal of conservation biology) highlighted that worldwide over 40% of insect species are threatened with extinction. UK Parliament document ‘UK Insect Decline and Extinctions’ from March 2020 also corroborates this sad news:

Natural pest control (by ground beetles and parasitoid wasps) of widespread aphid pests is worth up to £2.3 million per year in South East England wheat fields alone. Freshwater insects in their larval stage, such as dragonflies or mayflies, can also filter water, remove pollutants and provide food for bats, birds and fish (such as salmon and trout). This supports recreational activities, including angling (which contributed £1.46 billion to the English economy in 2015).’

• Of 62 butterfly species, 19 (31%) are threatened and four have gone extinct in the UK • Total UK moth abundance has decreased by 31% (1969-2016) • Of 1134 beetle species in the UK, 13% are threatened. • A significant decline in abundance of ground beetles was found in 75% of 68 species, and 34 of those species decreased by 30% each decade. • Of 724 aquatic insect species in the UK, 68 (9%) are threatened and 11 have gone extinct. The main drivers for insect loss are habitat loss (fragmentation and degradation), land-use intensification (large-scale monoculture is often accompanied by high chemical inputs, tillage and mowing), pesticides, fertilisers and climate change. If nature is not your thing and money speaks louder, the UK Parliament document also estimates the financial cost of losing our insect populations: ‘The economic value of pollination to UK crop production is approximately £500 million a year. Dung beetles are estimated to be saving the UK cattle industry £367 million each year and £37.42 per cow through reducing flies and increasing nutrients in the soil.

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• Rob Hine, from Sustainability Matters Stafford


So what can we do to help our failing insect population? Protecting existing habitats, expanding and creating natural habitats, reducing chemicals, reducing pollution and individually we can look towards gardening in a wildlife friendly way. The biggest ‘no-brainer’ though is using our roadside verges for wildlife. Our society at some point decided tidy is best, but clearly it is not. With the onset of covid and less mowing happening because of it, we have all perhaps become more used to seeing roadside wildflowers cheering up urban areas. National organisation Plantlife gives practical advise for councils looking to increase biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions with a one cut or two cut a year method. Gathering the cuttings is imperative, as leaving cuttings on the ground

enriches the soil, and wild flowers thrive on poor acidic soils. Removing cuttings also opens up the soil for seed germination. To read more about managing road verges, see Plantlife’s guidance by typing this into your web browser: rebrand.ly/Plantlife The Government’s ‘National Pollinator Strategy’ has a foreword by the Secretary of State: ‘Taking action to help insects is a key part of my priorities to improve the natural environment and grow the rural economy. Pollinators face many pressures which have led to declines in numbers, and a reduction in the diversity of species to be found in many parts of the country.’ The Plantlife guide for managing road verges would help the Government to fulfil the National Pollinator Strategy. So is it really necessary to have pristine mowed grass that offers little in the way of biodiversity? What a small concession for us to make, to change our thinking even if we do prefer to see grass. Is it not time we gave something back to the natural world we have been harming for centuries? We have a serious responsibility here to change our thinking and bring back as much nature as we can. Love the idea of managing verges for wildlife or not? We want to hear from you all. Please type: rebrand.ly/WildVerges into your web browser and fill in our questionnaire! By Rob Hine Sustainability Matters Stafford

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BATTH (Bednall,Teddesley Hay and Acton Trussell ) Parish Fun Day and BBQ A wonderful day was had by all on the 28th August, at BATTH’s first event following the lock down restrictions. The sun shone all day as visitors listened to live music and spent time relaxing, while the children were able to enjoy the bouncy castle, face painting, mini Land Rover rides or taking part in one of the many competitions and games available on the day. Craft stalls, including wine tasting and a licenced bar kept the adults entertained! Everyone enjoyed the tasty BBQ followed by Gateaux. Photos kindly sent in by Sue Calvert

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Walking together in faith Stone, September 25th: more than 20 day walkers joined 20 pilgrims on the Stone to Newcastle leg of their eight-week Camino to COP, a 500-mile pilgrimage from London to Glasgow, where they arrived ahead of the COP 26 Climate Change Conference which takes place there from 31/10 to 12/11. At COP (the Conference of the Parties) leaders from 196 countries face the challenge of agreeing to curb CO2 emissions to limit climate change and its effects like rising sea levels and extreme weather. The Glasgow conference is seen as the point of no return if climate change is to be brought under control. Walking under the banner of Extinction Rebellion’s Faith Bridge alliance, the caministas included members of various faith groups and people with no religious affiliation. Whatever their background, all were united in undertaking the Camino as an act of faith in the planet's future and to make connection with the environments and communities

they passed along the way. The caministas were lawful, using roads and public rights of way and peacefully greeting people they encountered. Many bystanders wished them good luck and passing drivers tooted their support. En route, the caministas were given overnight accommodation, food and in some places, entertainment by local faith groups. In Stone, they were welcomed by members of the Church at the Crossing, part of Rising Brook Baptist Church, Stafford. For most of the pilgrims it was their first visit to Stone and Stephen Marcus from London, one of many on whom it made a good impression, told My Village Voice that it was “a pretty town”. The next day, the caministas walked along the canal to Hanley Cemetery before heading up to the Quaker Meeting House in Newcastle, after a morning break at the Plume of Feathers in Barlaston, a 20-minute period of silent walking was introduced with a brief Buddhist

meditation. Throughout the walk, Caministas took turns to wear the ‘Coat of Hopes’ an artist-designed felt garment with a long underskirt which was progressively covered with patchwork squares made by supporters. They also carried, in a plastic tube, a small sapling of a Gingko tree. Classed as an ‘environmental fossil’, the Gingko, though rare, is resilient, with some specimens in its native China thought to be over 4,000 years old. Gingkos are resistant to fungi, bacteria and viruses with one specimen even surviving at the epicentre of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The project was the brainchild of Melanie Nazareth, the Camino’s Strategic and Spiritual Lead. “Having heard about the Camino to the Paris COP 21 in 2015, I wondered aloud whether we could do a Camino to COP 26 in Glasgow and the wonderful and gifted people at XR Faith Bridge turned my dream into reality,” she told My Village Voice.

• Be the change you want to see: the Camino to COP at Stone Station on September 25th

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• Spreading the message: Sandy from Lincoln wears the Coat of Hopes by the Trent and Mersey canal

“XR Faith Bridge is united for our sacred earth and for climate justice for the Global South,” she said. “The nations of the Global South are even more exposed to climate change than the developed world and lack the resources to combat it,” continued Melanie, who was born in Kenya and grew up in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. “Vanishing fish stocks, rising sea levels and land salination are destroying farmers’ and fishers’ ways of life and they have nothing to fall back on. These countries need debt remission right now and more environmental aid – not overseas aid cuts.” In Glasgow, Melanie and many other caministas will join protesters outside the COP 26 venue for its two-week duration, seeking to exert moral pressure on the delegates to agree to measures to limit global warming to the minimum 1.5 oC. They will also take part in all-night global vigils at the start and end of COP 26. “As a Christian, I am called to be faithful, even if not successful,” Melanie said. “We are not optimistic, but we journey in hope.”

• Non-violent campaigners: the caministas at the Quaker Peace Pole on Crown Meadow, Stone.

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• An aerial shot of Victoria Park in Stafford

It’s more joy of six for Stafford Borough open spaces Six venues in Stafford Borough have again been listed among the best parks and open spaces in the UK. Victoria Park in Stafford leads the way with a 15th consecutive ‘Green Flag’ following its £2.5 million restoration last year. The crematorium on the town’s Tixall Road makes it in for a tenth time, with the 160-year-old cemetery at Eccleshall Road claiming flag number four. Stonefield Park in Stone is celebrating a sixth success, with the town’s cemetery bringing up a hattrick of awards, and Wildwood Park in Stafford retaining the flag they won for the first time in 2020. The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world. More than 2,120 sites across the UK have collected the award for 2021. The scheme is celebrating 25 years as the international quality mark for parks. Councillor Jonathan Price, Cabinet Member for

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Environment at the council, said: “It is great to see all six venues in our area are still part of the ‘Green Flag’ club. We know how well the grounds of our parks and cemeteries are kept because our residents and visitors tell us – and they are our most important judges. “But receiving national recognition for the hard work that we do is always pleasing – and a tremendous achievement for all those involved on the ground and behind the scenes.” He added: “Our community are also instrumental in helping us achieve this success – especially the ‘Friends’ groups that support the work of the council at these sites.” Commenting on the news that the venues in Stafford Borough had achieved the Green Flag Award standard, Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making these sites worthy of a Green Flag Award. “To meet the requirements demanded by the scheme is testament to the hard work of the staff and volunteers who do so much to ensure that they have high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and is a place that supports people to live healthy lives.”


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• The hardest working band in showbusiness! Crowd pleasers The Cartoon Kings are ready to rock

Let there be light! Stafford Lights Switch On Stafford’s Christmas Lights switch-on will take place on Saturday 20th November, with organisers promising the spectacular show will have plenty of Christmas magic and sparkle to launch the festive period in the County Town. Live music, a host of panto stars and a dramatic firework display from the roof of the Guildhall Shopping Centre will mark the start of the town’s annual celebrations. Festive food stalls as well as traditional fairground rides will line the streets, with fun Christmas street theatre to entertain the crowds. Thousands of people are expected in the town centre for the fun-packed family event, hosted by BBC radio’s Tim Wedgwood. The Saturday afternoon fun will take place in Market Square with Stafford’s Harvest Centre Gospel Choir starting off proceedings at 3pm with a stunning set of harmonised songs. Local live music favourites The Cartoon Kings will be next on stage at 3.30pm followed by Stafford’s former Hollyoaks star Tom Vaughan, performing songs from his solo music career at 4.25pm. CBeebies’ Rebecca Keatley, star of the recordbreaking Snow White at the Gatehouse Theatre, will be on stage just after 4.45pm and will light up the town with the help of the Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Tony Nixon. The spectacular roof-top fireworks will then burst into the sky, followed by another hit-filled set from The Cartoon Kings. Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge, Cabinet Member for

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Leisure at Stafford Borough Council told My Village Voice: ‘I am so pleased we have the return of the Christmas lights switch-on in Stafford town centre this year. ‘It is seen as the traditional festive countdown to the big day and puts smiles on the faces of the children and families that come to the Market Square and surrounding streets to see the sky illuminated by our beautiful lights. ‘And 2021 will also see a return of the spectacular firework display from the roof of the Guildhall Shopping Centre and live music on stage which I know will help to get everyone in the festive mood. ‘We have already announced our first winter wonderland coming to Victoria Park late next month, with an ice rink and Bavarian-style market, so having our traditional light switch-on back is yet another great reason for people to come to our amazing town.’ Ivan Horsfall-Turner, Managing Director of Freedom Leisure, added “We will be delighted to see the community of Stafford coming together to enjoy this magical event once again. The Christmas lights mean a lot to the residents of Stafford and we’re excited to see families having fun as the countdown to Christmas officially starts.” Liz Hulse, Active Communities and Events Manager of Freedom Leisure, said:‘We’re excited to be working in partnership with Stafford Borough Council and Mercia Real Estate, which owns the Guildhall Shopping Centre, to light up the sky over Stafford once again and to celebrate Christmas with the Stafford Borough community!’


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Haywoods Flower and Vegetable Show 2021 With a slightly newer look, September 19th saw the Haywoods Flower and Vegetable Show make a welcome and successful return to Colwich and Little Haywood Village Hall. It was a lovely sunny day and after looking around the exhibits, visitors were able to sit outside and enjoy a relaxing time socialising with their family and friends. The Show was spread out this year, with a one-way system to avoid crowding, as we tentatively tried a live Show. Although this new arrangement was borne from Covid 19 precautions, we felt that it created a really pleasant atmosphere. Other highlights included enormous leeks, gigantic onions, amazing pencil drawings in the 12-16 year olds’ Class, and a visit from some real live Silkie chickens! The Committee would like to thank the amazing Chase Young Farmers for all their help and support, the Great Haywood WI for providing refreshments, the In Bloom group for entertaining our visitors with their stone painting, and of course everyone who entered and visited the Show. We were also glad to be joined by SinCH (Sustainability in Colwich and the Haywoods). All of the above came

together to make a wonderful community event that was enjoyed by all. Well done and thank you to everyone who took the time to enter something. There is so much talent out there, it’s really special for people to be able to see it! Keep growing, making and baking and we’ll see you in 2022!

• An impressive selection of huge vegetables - Look at the size of those onions and leeks! • Left - Entries into the Children’s Section 12 -16 Pencil Drawing competition.

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Real ice rink takes centre stage for Christmas in Park The award-winning Victoria Park in Stafford will be transformed into a winter wonderland with a real ice rink and Bavarian style market just some of the attractions on offer. The team behind the Great British Drive in at Sandon, who run Alberts Café in the popular park, will be rolling out festive cheer, alongside Stafford Borough Council, to make it a Christmas to remember. And the festive extravaganza is due to open on Saturday 27 November. Situated in the heart of Stafford the inaugural Christmas in the Park will feature: • Ice Rink - get your skates on and head to the Ice Rink, that’s right, real ice in the park to skate on and under cover too, with themed event nights and private booking available. • The Polar Bar - providing a range of festive cocktails, mulled wine, steins of beer and deliciously, indulgent hot chocolate. • Digbeth Dining Club - will be providing the finest street food around. • Santa’s Grotto - offers everyone a chance to meet with Father Christmas. Bring your Christmas wish-list and help to spread Christmas cheer. • Staffordshire’s very own Bavarian-style market exhibiting and celebrating local produce including Chocolatiers, Christmas decorations and other festive favourites. • You can finish up your action-packed day by making a homemade decoration or sitting down for a wreath making masterclass • Live music on the bandstand, from brass bands to choirs It will open its gates on Saturday 27 November, with pre-sale tickets for the ice rink available from the https://alberts. cafe website now. The event is a partnership between the borough council and The Great British Experience Company, the team behind

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Alberts and The Great British Drive In, with the full support of the National Heritage Lottery Fund. Ed Myhill, Organiser and Director of The Great British Experience Company, says “The park is a gift for all of us in Stafford and we always strive to make the park a place for all. We have worked hard to ensure the winter event caters for everyone, offering the best value possible.” He goes on to say: “We have a whole host of attractions, and events that promise to create an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Our ice rink can accommodate 80 people at any one time and is the real star of the show, with themed evenings including family favourites, disco and kids’ sessions all enclosed in its own venue means we don’t have to worry about the beautiful English weather and can enjoy our own Winter Wonderland right here in Stafford.” Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge, Cabinet Member for Leisure at the borough council said: “This is going to be fantastic. What a brilliant way to help celebrate the Christmas period with a winter wonderland brought to the heart of our county town in the wonderful Victoria Park. I am sure residents and visitors to the town will be thrilled to hear we will have a real ice rink – and planned themed event nights - alongside a Bavarian style market and festive bar with all the winter favourites – and of course a traditional Santa’s grotto. “All of this would have definitely been on my wish list for Christmas in Stafford.” She added: “Victoria Park received a beautiful restoration last year – and this year we are seeing more and more people enjoying the park especially with all the great events that have been taking place. So, I hope everyone will make sure they have the dates of our winter wonderland in their diary and book early to visit because we want to make Christmas 2021 an amazing experience for all our residents and visitors to the park.” Christmas at the Park is open every day, except Christmas Day, until 2 January. Follow Alberts on Facebook and Instagram with much more information to follow.


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Bednall Village Cart raises over 2 thousand pounds Bednall Community Village Breakfast Thank you to Steve and Carole Allen for organising and hosting a wonderful village breakfast in their garden on Saturday 11th September. Everyone who attended the event thoroughly enjoyed the delicious bacon baps, sausage rolls, Steve’s ‘posh’ coffee and all the other food and drink on offer. There was even a takeway service available! There was a lovely atmosphere, the weather was beautiful, and it was another lovely opportunity to catch up with neighbours and friends! A fantastic total of £288.00 was raised!

The village cart has been a resounding success again this year, generating the incredible amount of £2,038.32! This is a much needed source of income which pays for the cost of maintaining the church, such as heating, insurance and building repairs. But this could not have been achieved without the continued help of everyone involved. There have been so many kind volunteers from bakers, gardeners, photographers along with bric-a-brac donations. The rotas have been well organised and people have silently got on with their allotted tasks which have made the whole effort so successful! A very big thank you to everyone involved - your time and effort are so very much appreciated.

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Get in touch about heating home worries

Councillors back pandemic memorials in Borough

A senior councillor in Stafford Borough is appealing for residents to get in touch if they are worried about their heating bills. The call has been made by Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Health at the borough council, following the well-publicised increase in energy prices. There has been a double digit percent rise in prices - the biggest increase since a price cap was introduced in 2019 - and there is concern people will not be able to afford to heat their homes properly. Residents who are on standard tariffs are set to see their energy bills go up by on average £139 a year - and customers who use pre-payment meters will see an average increase of £153. And that increase has come when temperatures are starting to drop. The council is advising residents affected to get in touch for help and advice from its energy advice service, Warmer Homes Stafford (WHS). The borough council works in partnership with local charity ‘Beat the Cold’ to deliver its Warmer Homes Stafford scheme that offers advice to local residents on how to reduce fuel bills, support with accessing funding, advice and information about improving energy efficiency and keeping warm. Councillor Pert is urging residents who are worried about rising heating bills to get in touch with Warmer Homes Stafford now. “A rise in energy costs is never good news, but the timing and scale of this new price cap will be difficult for many residents in the borough still struggling with the impact of the pandemic, with fewer companies offering switching options. “Please do not bury your heads in the sand. If you are worried about how you can afford to heat your home because of the increase in your energy bill then I would urge you to contact Warmer Homes Stafford immediately to get help, advice and support." Martin Peake, Charity Development Manager at Beat the Cold, said: “With the steep increase in wholesale prices, we are expecting energy bills to increase this winter. Warmer Homes Stafford can provide impartial independent advice on energy tariffs, and the steps you can take to keep warm this winter.” You can get in touch with WHS by calling Freephone 0800 6771785 or visiting www.warmerhomesstafford .org.uk

A book of memories, dedicated areas of reflection, and memorial woodland have been agreed by councillors as a way to remember the lives lost and the impact on communities in Stafford Borough as a result of Covid-19. A cross party working group of councillors was set up to put forward proposals to commemorate the lives that have been affected by the pandemic. And on Tuesday 14 September the recommendations by the Covid Memorial Working Group were unanimously agreed by councillors. Leader of the council, Patrick Farrington, told the meeting at the Rising Brook Community Church in Stafford: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a huge impact on the lives of residents living in the borough. The scale and effects of covid are different, the knock-on effects are vast, especially for people who have lost loved ones and for those who are living with long covid.” Councillor Marnie Phillips, Chair of the working group, thanked those involved and said: “We have all been impacted by Covid in very different ways and the way we have dealt with the changes that it brought to our lives has been very personal. A report shared with councillors at the meeting set out plans for:

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• An online ‘Book of Memories’ – where residents could submit their memories for inclusion on the council’s website. A postcard would also be made available for residents who do not have access to the internet • Areas of dedication and reflection – which could see benches installed in Stafford Market Square and Stone High Street as well as in Local Nature Reserves • Memorial Woodlands – which would be areas of tranquillity and reflection created at, for example, Westbridge Park in Stone and the newly designated Local Nature Reserve at Fairway in Stafford. Councillor Philips added: “We wanted to put forward proposals that could encompass everyone, all experiences and all types of memories, to find ways to celebrate the good and allow us to reflect on our personal experiences and the lives of those we lost. “Our thoughts through all our discussions were about this can help our community move forward.” The full report is available at Stafford Borough Council (staffordbc.gov.uk)


Bednall Calendar 2022 Bednall Village calendar for 2022 will be at the printers very soon. This theme for this year is to celebrate our Countryside all year round and additional pictures are included featuring our adorable local pets The Calendar will be printed in both large A4 wall Calendar and the smaller slimline Calendar (main picture only) Copies will be available soon but pre orders are being taken now for anybody who wishes to purchase a copy. All monies raised will again be donated towards Katharine House in Stafford and the Calendar will be priced at £10:00 for the larger Wall Calendar and £7.50 for the slimline Calendar

Envelopes will also be available for the Wall Calendar should you wish to post a copy at an additional cost of £1.00 each To pre-order your copy, or copies, please confirm your name, address and a contact phone number, the style and number of Calendar required, (Not forgetting to confirm if any envelopes are wanted as well) by email to sar1954@hotmail.co.uk or leave me a message by phone on 07506 662195. As soon as the printing is completed, you will receive a phone call to confirm delivery and payment. Don’t forget, order now to avoid disappointment!

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Golden girls snap up GB ski team title Golden girls Georgia and Elena Blaikie snapped up a GB team ski title for their school as they raced to first and second place at championships in Buckinghamshire. The combined scores of the Stafford Grammar sisters earned the overall team trophy at the British Indoor Schoolgirls’ Championships, which attracted more than 120 competitors from across the country. The pair also earned individual winner and runner-up medals in their age categories. Joining the siblings in the quartet were 14-year-old classmates Charlotte Ashton and Poppy Dixon. The event in Milton Keynes was held on artificial snow and was split into age groups ranging from U14 to U21. While the three fastest downhill racers in each section clinched podium • From left: Downhill racers Charlotte Ashton, Poppy Dixon, Elena Blaikie and Georgia Blaikie won a British indoor ski team title. slots, awards were also presented to the three most successful schools - based on the collective time over two runs of their best two skiers. Thirteen-year-old Georgia signalled her intent in the U14 competition when she crossed in 16.13secs. Her opening score remained unbeaten and the SGS pupil bolstered her lead with a follow-up time of 16.28secs to lift the individual title 2.18 seconds ahead of Madeleine Welsh (Ipswich High). In the U16 contest Elena was in a battle for the top slot against fellow British Ski Academy squad member, Holly Tutt (Bedford), who recorded a best time of 15.16secs. Fourteen-year-old Elena posted a reply of 15.95secs but her Team GB • Thirteen-year-old Georgia Blaikie on her way to capturing a opponent increased her lead to nudge the GB individual U14 trophy. SGS athlete into second place. Having captured the U19 section, 17-year-old international racer Ella Weeks (Guildford High) was the overall individual champion, with Elena finishing third and Georgia fourth. “I was very happy to win the group. I’m also proud to have come 4th overall because there were a lot of girls competing. It’s a good feeling to know that my times and my sister’s times were good enough to win the team title for our school,” said Georgia. The SGS squad will hope to repeat their success in January when they travel to the French alpine resort of Flaine to take part in the British Schoolgirls’ outdoor championships. Meanwhile there was glory for two Stafford Prep teams when they chalked up first and second place in the junior division of the National Schools’ Snowsports Association indoor open north championships. The eight SPS skiers aged between six and 11 took part in two timed slalom runs •Clinching team honours for Stafford Prep were (from left) Monty Ingram, Lucy Dobson, Martha Mincher-Lockett, Tyler Reardon from at the Manchester-based event. On his competition debut Ranton’s Tyler Reardon Ranton, Ted Mincher-Lockett, Harry Sharratt-Bucknall, Weston’s Haydn Tomkinson-Hill, Edward Calvert. finished seventh in the U10s.

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• Kerry Ellis will drop by at the end of a tour with singer songwriter and lead guitarist of Queen, Brian May

‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’ to perform with West End celebrity Wannabe West End starlets will perform alongside the real deal at a workshop headed by leading lady of musical theatre, Kerry Ellis. The internationally renowned singer and actress will drop by Stafford Grammar School to spend a day sharing her experiences and mentoring youngsters from across the local area, before sharing the stage with them in a gala show. Best known for her starring roles in London and on Broadway, Kerry is also a solo recording artist and has a long-term working relationship with rock band Queen guitarist, Brian May. The pair are back on the road this autumn and her planned visit to Staffordshire on November 16 follows hot on the heels of their latest tour. Forty-two-year-old Kerry said: “Over the last year-anda-half I have loved working with and meeting creative young people, it has been a real life-line for me. I’ve been so inspired by the talent that is out there and to now be able to finally be in a room with young singers and hear them in person will be incredible. I can’t wait to see and perform with the students and see what we can create together.” Kerry played Elphaba in West End and Broadway productions of Wicked, with previous high-profile roles including Fantine in Les Misérables, Ellen in Miss Saigon, Nancy in Oliver and as Meat in the original London smash hit We Will Rock You. She has entertained audiences across the world, including a concert at a 12 thousand seat arena in Verona which was televised across Italy. Keen to share their good fortune SGS will invite singers from neighbouring schools to join the activities, which will include an evening concert. Gavin Lamplough, SGS director of music, said: “It will be a golden chance to rub shoulders with the best in the musical theatre business. There will be a live orchestra, just like a pit orchestra at a theatre. Kerry will perform solos and I’ll do an interview with her on stage which will be like an armchair chat in front of the audience to find out a bit about her, her work schedule, experiences and plans going forward. “There will be a big chorus of kids from our school and other schools - just like a musical theatre chorus. “It will be a very special occasion. In my book it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

• Carol and Henry Bloxham’s daughter and grandchildren seen here picking their pumpkins ready for carving, Carol and Henry run Moors Covert Farm in Bednall.

Bednall PYO Pumpkins Carol and Henry Bloxham’s daughter and grandchildren seen here picking their pumpkins ready for carving, Carol and Henry run Moors Covert Farm in Bednall. Carol told Bednall Banter magazine “Of the many comments on Facebook, one lady had written that her family had had lots of fun and that the pumpkins were not expensive because the farmer didn’t have to pick them - the public were doing that - and that the farmer ploughed back any left over which then grew for next year! It’s not quite as simple as that! The crop has to be rotated and cannot be grown in the same place each year, and the time and effort which goes into preparing to open up the PYO is quite a job. Nontheless, it’s satisfying to see the field busy. This year we introduced bacon baps but I’m not sure how many made the connection between the middle white piglets in the pig arc and those that were sizzling on the BBQ – that might be a conversation for another day! We manage this task each year with the help of some fantastic young people in the village and around, and family who all turn up and make the whole thing an enjoyable - if a little stressful week. Thank you again to our neighbours for bearing with the increase in traffic through the village for this week. Thankfully, less mud to deal with this year, which made our lives significantly easier.”

Bednall Farm Shop Chase the Rainbow Farm Shop is a family run farm shop at Belt View Farm, Bednall Head. We are stockists of locally sourced fruit and vegetables, meat, eggs, cakes and much, much more. We are open 7 days a week. We also do deliveries and are now taking Christmas meat orders for deliveries on the 23rd December. We hope to see you soon! Our address is: Chase the Rainbow Farm Shop, Belt View Farm, Cannock Rd., Bednall Head, ST17 0SH. Telephone Lisa on: 07912 512085 email: chase therainbowfarmshop@gmail.com

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National first for air pollution initiative in Stafford A new initiative in Stafford will allow residents and visitors to monitor the town’s air quality. Stafford Borough Council has installed an air quality monitoring device at the Civic Centre as part of a trial. The new eco-post is the first of its kind in the country and has been developed by a locally based firm. With other areas of the country having to look at stricter measures to reduce air pollution – such as clean air zones where motorists can be charged – the council is keen to promote the town as a safe place for residents, shoppers and visitors, as well as potential businesses. The colour changing eco-post sits outside the Civic Centre reception using coloured LED lighting to indicate the current live air quality in the town. People can also download an app to keep up to date with its readings. The council does not have any ‘Air Quality Management Areas’ (AQMA). An AQMA is declared for an area where the local air quality is unlikely to meet the Government’s national objectives. You can see the borough’s air quality report from www.staffordbc.gov.uk/currentair-quality-annual-status-report The free trial will run until January and if successful could be rolled out to other areas of the borough. The initiative comes on the back of the council’s strategy to help tackle climate change and promote a more sustainable borough. Already this year the local authority has appointed a full-time dedicated climate change officer and given the go-ahead for a new Local Nature Reserve in the heart of the county town - which will include the planting of dozens of trees as part of plans to remove carbon from the atmosphere. To find out more about the sensor and where to download the app go to www.intecso.co.uk

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Stafford home under the hammer as council takes keys to the property A derelict house in Stafford will be going under the auctioneer’s hammer after the council was given permission to sell it. The Government gave Stafford Borough Council permission to sell the house on the town’s Tixall Road which has been empty for more than 13 years with neighbours complaining about its poor condition. The owner of the property died in 2013 and with the council unable to trace any next of kin, despite extensive searches, they applied to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for consent to make a ‘Compulsory Purchase Order’ (CPO) – which allows the local authority to take control of the house. The council now has ownership of the three-bedroom, semi-detached house which will be sold at an auction next month (November) with a reserved price of £99,000. A condition of the sale will be that the buyer brings it back into use within a set timeframe. Cabinet Member for Communities and Health, Councillor Jeremy Pert, said: “In the first instance we look to work with owners of empty or run-down properties to help bring them back in to use - and last year we assisted more than 75 homeowners to successfully do this. “Empty properties are a wasted resource which can quickly become a blight to the community – but we have a range of measures where we can help the owner, or their next of kin, make their property habitable. “This has been an exceptional case in which we have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure we can get this property back on the market and I am sure with the right investment and works it will make someone a nice home in the future.” For more information on how the council can assist owners bring empty properties back into use go to Open, Derelict and Empty Properties | Stafford Borough Council (staffordbc.gov.uk) To report an empty home within the borough email emptyhomes@staffordbc.gov.uk


Farewell Party for popular Haywoods Choir On 31st July members of the Staffordshire WI Choir and Friends gathered in Little Haywood Village hall for a final party. Sadly, the ravages of covid meant the choir could no longer continue and the valiant leader Margaret and her excellent accompanist Mavis were star guests at a final gathering, brilliantly organised by one of the choir members. The Choir was originally a 2 part Ladies Choir which was extended to include men in the 1990’s. The men became known as the “Friends”!

As with all the choir’s concerts the evening began with a rendition of “Siyahamba”, and ended with “Thankyou for the Music”. On this occasion Mavis conducted and Margaret played the keyboard. In between, those present enjoyed a sumptuous (pre-prepared) buffet. In reflection of many concerts we had members of the choir giving monologues and clever speeches reflecting on the life of the choir. A very happy time was had by all. In “wrapping up” the choir, a financial donation was made to "F.O.S.Y.M." (Friends Of Staffordshire Young Musicians) as well as a donation to Colwich Parish Church where rehearsals and concerts have taken place over the years. Much of the musical library was donated to a mixed denomination choir in Stoke. Many thanks to all who have attended the concerts either as audience; movers and shifters, rafflers, waiters or waitresses, sound technicians or supporting music groups. Many thanks also for the many dedicated hours of work from Choir Librarians, Treasurers, and Trip Organisers. The choir travelled far and wide each year, usually to join up with another choir which acted as host for a combined choir concert. The list of places visited appears at the end of the article The original banner for the choir made by Judith Underwood is to be given to the Staffordshire W.I. County Offices.

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Stafford people offered COVID-19 vaccine at Kingston Centre

• The 1949 Bentley from the estate of the late Mr Ray Roberts, Penkridge

Antiques & curios from Chillington Hall to sell at Cuttlestones

Residents in Stafford and its surrounding villages can get their first, second, third or booster COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine at the town’s Kingston Centre. Patients who live in the borough of Stafford, and the Brewood and Penkridge areas can call their GP to arrange an appointment at the centre, in Fairway. The Kingston Centre is also offering walk-in clinics to offer first, second, third or booster COVID-19 shots to all patients regardless of where they are registered, either in the Stafford area or beyond. Walk-in clinics are available between 12pm-4pm every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. No appointment is needed to attend the walk-in centre and people can just turn up on the day to receive their vaccine. People wanting their second dose of vaccine must have waited a minimum of eight weeks after having their first and must bring along proof of their first vaccination. The third vaccine dose is available to people who are immunosuppressed, who may not have had a strong enough immune response to the first two doses. People wanting their third dose must have waited a minimum of eight weeks after having their second and must bring along proof of their second vaccination. The booster dose is only available to people who had their second dose at least six months (182 days) previously, and who meets the following eligibility criteria: • People aged 50 and over • People who live and work in care homes • Frontline health and social care workers • People aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 • People aged 16 and over who are main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19 • People aged 16 and over who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis) • People who are pregnant and in one of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.

A taxidermy menagerie and tribal art are just some of the treasures hailing from stately Chillington Hall near Brewood that will go under the hammer at local auction house Cuttlestones’ December Antiques Sale. The lots have been consigned by owner John Giffard as he and wife Crescent prepare to hand tenure of the main hall to the next generation, as Head Auctioneer & MD at Cuttlestones, Ben Gamble, explains: “We’re honoured that John has chosen Cuttlestones to handle their attic sale lots – and we’ve made some really interesting finds. Chillington is a such a landmark we’re sure the items will generate significant interest not only from serious collectors but also from locals keen to invest in a piece of the estate’s history. “This sale is even more special as the catalogue also features items from the estate of well-known Penkridge Antiquarian book and antique dealer Mr Ray Roberts, who sadly passed away last year. Locals will no doubt remember Ray for his dapper style and for driving around in his stunning vintage Bentley – which is among the lots we will be selling in December.” Lots from Chillington and from Ray Roberts’ estate – including the 1949 Bentley Mark VI Sports model - will feature in a diverse catalogue which will also cover vintage advertising signs, paintings, furniture, jewellery, Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the vaccination silver, ceramics and other traditional antiques. programme said: “We are keen to encourage as many people as possible to get vaccinated and would urge anyone who is eligible and has not yet received a jab to come along to the Kingston Centre by either booking an appointment through their own GP or by turning up to the walk-in centre on the days when it is available. “It is vitally important that as many people as possible receive their full COVID-19 vaccine, both for their own health but also for the safety of loved ones and the wider community, so we want to make it as easy possible for everyone who is eligible to get the required doses or their • Chillington Hall Grounds The two-day online auction will take place on booster shot. “It is particularly important that people come forward to Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd December at get their booster shot as if you were one of the first people to Cuttlestones’ Penkridge Sale Room. Live online bidding, telephone and commission get the vaccine your immunity will now be waning.” Up-to-date details and times for all Staffordshire bidding options will be available and viewing will be strictly by appointment on Monday 29th & Tuesday 30th COVID-19 vaccination walk-in clinics can be found at h t t p s : / / w w w. t w b s t a f f s a n d s t o k e. o r g. u k / November. For details visit www.cuttlestones.co.uk or call 01785 coronavirus/how-to-get-a-vaccine-where-andtravelling 714905.

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Steve awarded an honorary doctorate Bednall’s Steve Allen has been awarded an honorary doctorate of law degree from Aston University. Steve, who is the current President of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and a former Chair of the New York based British American Business Council, received the award to recognise his excellence in the legal profession and his contribution to international trade.

Bednall MacMillan Coffee Morning A big thank you to Everyone who came along, baked cakes and donated so generously. We were so pleased with the response from everyone this year. Last year we raised over £800 so this year we were aiming to beat that. You will all be delighted to know that we raised an astonishing £933! The post Covid social distancing worked well with table service, making it feel more like an afternoon tea. All our helpers were busy serving tea, coffee and, of course, those wonderful homemade cakes! Again, thank you all for your support. As a Parish we should all feel very proud.

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#ClubsinCrisis – Grants available from Made By Sport

National Trust Talks at Walton Village hall

The Community Foundation for Staffordshire have teamed up with Made By Sport to offer local sports clubs and organisations the opportunity to apply for a grant which can help support young people as they start to recover from the effects of the latest lockdown. The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on young people across the UK, and thanks to Made By Sport, we can offer this chance for sports clubs and organisations to access vital funding which can help them to continue bringing sport into young people’s lives.

The Staffordshire Centre continues its Autumn talks programme at Walton Village Hall, Green Gore Lane in Stafford. There is no need to book in advance, just turn up at the door and pay as you go in. However, it would help the organisers if you book your place(s) on our new website https://www.ntstafford.org.uk/ All talks start at 2.30 pm and you do not have to be a member of the Centre to attend. Admission is £4.50 for non-members of the Centre and talks are followed by tea and biscuits.

Our next two talks are: One Day There Was A Next Morning November 9th A Talk by Ingrid Wagner

How are an armchair, a yellow leaved plant and a washing line, all related to each other? Ingrid brings an entertaining theatrical performance to your door and challenges you to change and move forward. From Russia to Stafford, from tough times to new mornings, poetry, metaphor and stories pack this performance & talk by the most colourful character you are ever likely to meet.

What funding is available? Grants of £2,021 are available! Made By Sport is a charity which raises awareness of the power of sport and funding for organisations that use sport to support young people across the UK. The ‘Clubs In Crisis’ fund is part of a wider campaign that believes sport is the best vehicle for creating societal change for young people across a myriad of challenges they face in the modern world. We’ll be administering the fund on behalf of Made By Sport and awarding unrestricted grants of £2,021 to clubs who match the criteria. The fund is looking for applications from clubs and community organisations using sport to improve young people’s lives through one or more of the following means: – Developing life skills – Building strong communities – Improving mental health – Developing employability skills – Reducing crime and anti-social behaviour The aim of this fund is that it supports clubs and organisations intentionally using community sport provision to deliver wider social outcomes, not those which focus on developing and widening opportunities to participate. Making an Application You can apply for a grant of up to £2,021 via https://staffordshire.foundation/grants/madebysport/. If you have any queries or difficulties when completing the form, please contact us on 01785 339540 or email our office at: office@staffordshire.foundation

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Christmas Customs December 14th A Talk by William Durose This talk covers many aspects that traditionally occur over the Christmas period. There will be musical items including traditional carols and well-known Christmas songs played live on guitar. There will also be opportunities for audience participation! There will also be music related to traditional dance and wassailing which happens during the festive period. Audience members may wish to participate in these in a small way, not too strenuously! A traditional instrument called a melodeon will be played for Morris dancing and the ukulele will be played to accompany some songs. We will look at some historical elements during the presentation, commencing in Roman times, through the Victorians to the present day. All the elements of Christmas will be investigated including meals, puddings, crackers, Christmas cards, the traditions of Boxing Day, sporting events and a 50’s party night. The talk will be educational as well as fun, and especially suitable for this time of year. To keep up with our future events watch out for us in these pages or check out our Events page at https://www.ntstafford.org.uk/


• Jonathan Price (seated) and Colin Jones, chairman of the Stafford Taxi Association for the Hackney Carriage’s.

Council cabbie comments made easy to help taxi customers in Stafford A new QR code has been rolled out across taxis in Stafford Borough to help people give feedback to the local council. A sticker with the code will be displayed inside taxi and private hire vehicles that are licensed in the borough with customers able to share comments, compliments, or complaints using their phones. The new QR code is part of changes to Stafford Borough Council’s licensing policy to implement the Department for Transport (DFT) Statutory Taxi and Private Hire vehicle standards. The aim is to have a consistent standard and better regulation of the sector. Councillor Jonathan Price, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We get some great feedback from customers and it’s good to hear how the trade goes that extra mile to help passengers “We want to make sure that passengers of taxis and private hire vehicles receive the best service, especially as one of the first experiences a visitor may have of the borough is with our licensed trade - picking up customers from railway stations for example. “We have introduced a compliment, comment, complaint sticker to be displayed on the rear, side windows of each licensed vehicle which will be issued to all drivers. This contains a QR code which puts a customer through to the appropriate form for reporting purposes.” He added that the feedback would also help assess whether a driver was suitable to have a licence. The new measures were brought in following consultation with members of the local Hackney Carriage and private hire trade, Stafford and District Access Group, police, and Staffordshire County Council earlier this year. You can find more information on licensing of taxis, and other businesses, from www.staffordbc.gov.uk/ licensing1

Church Services for All Saints Church and St. James Church 07.11.21 St.James Holy Communion 9.30am 14,11,21 All Saints Remembrance Time to be confirmed 21.11.21 St.James Morning Prayer 9.30am 28.11.21 All Saints Holy Communion 9.30am 05.12.21 St.James Morning Prayer 9.30am 12.12.21 All Saints Morning Prayer 9.30am 19.12.21 St.James Carol Service 6.00pm 24.12.21 Community Centre Christingle 3.00pm 24.12.21 All Saints Carol Service 6.00pm 24.12.21 St.James Midnight Holy Communion 25.12.21 All Saints Holy Communion 9.30am A Holy Communion service is held on every Friday at St.James, at 10.00am. Every Sunday a zoom service takes place at 11.00am. If you would like to join please contact Roger at roger.howarth@ifdev.net

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