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Issue Number Forty Three - February & March 2018

Definitely not Gold, Frankinsence ... and Myrhh


ou’d think that after 49 years of marriage, you’d start running out of ideas when it comes to Christmas presents for each other. And you would be half right - I did years ago. I play it safe with Eau De Parfum - the same selection year after year. However, we come to the other half, literally. How can she possibly buy for a man that’s got everything (apart from his hair) ... well this year her imagination has known no bounds. First, a 100% Cashmere V Neck jumper - I’ve had Cashmere mix jumpers over the years .... but 100%! Warm in winter cool in summer - a perfect choice. Next - a mounted print of the Death Warrant of Charles 1st. Bizarre? Not when I explain. Back in the very early 1990’s, I had two publishing businesses one in the West Midlands and one in the East. The one in the East was based at Colston Bassett Hall, where my co-director, a man in his late 80’s who’d been quite a boy in his time. He bought the Tattler Magazine from Roy (Lord Thomson - Ist Baron of Fleet who bought the Times with all its sister publications throughout the UK - my father worked as Editor on one of them). And in the huge vestibule to the Hall, in pride of place, was the Death Warrant of Charles 1st signed by over 59 dignitaries in 1648. One of those signatures was a certain Thomas Wayte - a relative of my colleague in business - Guy Wayte. So yes, I was in business for six years with a distant relative of one the only regicides we’ve had in the UK! And now I've got a print on my wall to prove it! Beat that? The Sami people (or as known in English as the Lapps - inhabiting large parts of Norway and Sweden, northern parts of Finland, and the Murmansk Oblast of Russia. The Sami are the only indigenous people in Scandinavia recognised and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples and are connected to reindeer herding. Two thousand eight hundred Sami people are actively involved in herding on a full-time basis. For traditional, environmental, and cultural reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved for only Sami people and they have a thriving trade in selling ... reindeer pelts - usually to Russians ... but also to my other half who recalled a conversation when I said I wanted one. They’re about double the size of a sheepskin, twice as thick and coarse haired - and absolutely perfect at this time of year. Before I get a blizzard of abuse from readers, look up the Sami - they herd reindeer to keep the herds - and themselves alive - just like we do with sheep in the UK - the only problem these days is that sheep skins are no longer in demand! So its a Happy New year to one and all for 2018 Paul Mitchell - January 25th 2018

CONTENTS News in words ...

Christmas concert raises funds for St Stephens … the village pub with true community spirit … Bednall Books & Bacon Baps Coffee Morning … Underground Infomation from The Haywood Society … Wolgarston pupils celebrate Chinese New Year … New year under way for Stafford U3A … Church Eaton Primary School Blasts Off into 2018! … 2019 Calendar Competition – send your photos now!

... and in pictures Church Eaton Deluxe FUNdraising Night …. Haughton Lights raise over £10,000! … Amelie’s wish for life-saving dog to sniff out ‘hypos’ … Stafford Players have ‘Hay Fever’ in February … School celebrates 100 per cent Duke of Edinburgh pass rate … Church Eaton Primary School Blasts Off into 2018! … Staffordshire Day celebrations extended for 2018 … Church Eaton Pupils create stunning poppy display

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, Levedale, Milford, Seighford & Walton on the Hill areas - clients are welcome to visit us to view the distribution matrix. ADVERTISEMENT SALES - Dan & Louise Mitchell and Paul Oakley Email: EDITORIAL CONSULTANT - Paul Mitchell BA Email:

TELEPHONE (01785) 819166 View the whole of this issue online at

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 -2018


Christmas concert raises funds for Haywoods church

The Haywood’s Community Choir held a Christmas Concert at St Stephen’s Church, Great Haywood, on December 15, which consisted of Christmas carols and songs, with a glass of prosecco in the interval. It was a great success and £630 was raised for the church. Choir singing is great for improving cardiovascular fitness to include lung function, it lowers stress levels and blood pressure and can boost your mental health, it is uplifting, builds confidence and improves feeling of social wellbeing.


The choir holds rehearsals on a Friday evening 7.45-9.15pm at Great Haywood Memorial Hall. New members are always welcome. The group is also on Facebook, listed as Haywood’s Community Choir. For more information please contact Louise Cannon on 07513 466186 or email haywoodscommunitychoir, or you can contact Bex Barry on 07791 163318 or email her at

The village pub with true community spirit A village pub, run by members of the village, has raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities. The Royal Oak, Church Eaton, is owned by a group of 34 shareholders and run by villagers under the independent business name Lanvar Ltd. Since the last tenant left in January 2016, the pub has been solely run by six volunteer directors and the Manager, Caitlin Begley. Despite all being new to the business of running a pub, they have not let this get in the way of supporting their community. Over the past two years, the pub has organised various fundraisers including monthly pub quizzes, book swaps, collection boxes, raffles, auctions and more. One of their proudest and biggest recent successes was being able to hand over £520 to The MASE group (Monthly Alzheimer's Support Evenings), a very local charity that gives opportunities to carers, the cared for, and their families to meet others in a similar situation. Another project aimed to raise money to obtain heart defibrillators for Church Eaton and the neighbouring village of Marston, a project to which they have contributed £531. The community is constantly looking

• Caitlin Begley and Fred Annis, MD of Lanvar Ltd, had over a cheque for the MASE group for other opportunities to support local charitable organisations such as their village church and village institute, both run by volunteers. In 2017 alone, around £3,000 was raised for charities both close to home, such as Katharine House Hospice, and further afield, including LOROS: Hospice Care for Leicester, Leicestershire and

Rutland (£560). Manager Caitlin said: “Our pub is run through community spirit and we take every chance to give back to the community that has supported us through so much and helped us stay open!” Fundraising achievements over 2016 and 2017 include: £80 for St Editha’s Gardening Fund through donations instead of Christmas cards; £260 to Prostate Cancer UK through a pub quiz; £25 through a pub book swap and £11.51 through a collection box for Katharine House Hospice; £531 for heart defibrillators through quizzes, collection box, and a gin hamper raffle; £830 through 2016 Harvest Auction in aid of St Editha’s Church and Church Eaton Village Institute; £1,000 through 2017 Harvest Auction in aid of St Editha’s Church and Church Eaton Village Institute; £136.44 for the Poppy Appeal through collection boxes; £560 for LOROS through sponsors for Eric Rogers’ bike ride, a collection box and ‘guess the amount’ competition; £520 to the MASE group through quizzes and a raffle; £230 for Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire Blood Bikes through a Big Christmas Quiz and a Christmas Hamper Raffle; £45 for St Editha’s Gardening Fund through donations instead of Christmas cards.


Everything is looking good in The Haywoods

• The Essex Bridge - as seen from another angle! Photo courtesy of The Happy Roof Company The Best Kept Village Committee are to hold their Annual to "Green up" Britain, so we are also entering more General Meeting on Tuesday 6th February in the Parish Neighbourhoods into their Neighbourhood Scheme, Centre, Little Haywood. All new residents who are moving watch this space! or have just moved into Great and Little Haywood are Date for your diary … welcomed to get involved. The A.G.M. is always be a lively affair, and the group are The Haywoods Annual Flower and Vegetable Show is on thinking of changing their name to "Great Haywood in Sunday 9th September, 2018, at the Colwich & Little Haywood Village Hall. Bloom and Little Haywood in Bloom", OR.. "The Haywoods Schedules are being madeavailable earlier, so everyone in Bloom”? What do you think? will be able to get their seeds planted and their At the B.K.V. last meeting both The Haywoods were handicrafts started in time - it takes a long time to entered into the Royal Horticultural Society's Campaign complete needlework, knitting, pottery and artwork!

Exhibition celebrates Tolkien’s link with area My Village Voice readers are invited to get the chance to see a new exhibition celebrating the author of The Lord of the Rings’ links with Staffordshire. This fascinating insight into the early years of JRR Tolkien, one of the world’s best-loved writers, and his time spent in Staffordshire, has already been seen by over 200,000 visitors since it launched in March 2016. Now the exhibition is set to visit Marquis Drive Visitor Centre on Cannock Chase, from Tuesday 9 January to Saturday 3 March 2018. Highlights of the exhibition include rare photos and copies of original sketches by Tolkien, not seen in Staffordshire since they left with the author in 1918, specially loaned by The Tolkien Estate and Bodleian Library. Gill Heath, Libraries Chief at Staffordshire County Council said: “This is a fascinating exhibition with thousands of people already getting the chance to see it. It’s clear that Staffordshire had a profound effect on this famous writer’s formative years, and we’re very proud of this connection. “The ‘Tolkien in Staffordshire’ story is one of war, comradeship, creativity, love and loss and this exhibition offers visitors a rare chance to learn more about the author’s stay in Staffordshire and what it was like to be a soldier in the Great War.” Arriving in Staffordshire on 17 August 1915, JRR Tolkien would begin a connection with the county that would span the remaining years of the Great War and provide inspiration for the mythology and geography of what we now know as Middle-earth. During the Great War, Second Lieutenant J.R.R. Tolkien


of the Lancashire Fusiliers trained in Staffordshire before he was sent to serve on the front lines of the infamously bloody Battle of the Somme. After contracting trench fever at the Battle of the Somme in June 1916, Tolkien was shipped back to Staffordshire to recover with his new wife Edith, in Great Haywood. The Tolkiens later briefly took up residence in a cottage at Gipsy Green, Teddesley Park, near • J.R.R. Tolkien - Jahre 1916 Penkridge. During this time, he began writing his earliest fantasy works for what is now called Middle-Earth. J.R.R. Tolkien – Soldier and Myth-Maker” is organised by The Haywood Society, supported by Staffordshire County Council’s Libraries and Arts Service and the Museum of Cannock Chase, and funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund. The exhibition will be at Marquis Drive Visitor Centre, and will be available during normal opening hours. For further details visit or the Libraries webpages at

Church Eaton Deluxe FUNdraising Night

• Crowd pleasers ‘Dance Floor Deluxe’ Church Eaton’s Josie Byford has been accepted to run the London Marathon in aid of Cancer Research, and to help raise funds for sponsorship, there will be a fundraising event at Church Eaton Village Institute, on Saturday 17th Feb, from 7.30pm. The event looks set to be a great night with Live music

from floor fillers ‘Dance Floor Deluxe’ - and a Guest Magician Appearance, from the amazing Rick Fontaine! Tickets are priced at £10 and include a light supper, there will be a Licensed bar, and all proceeds from the evening will go to Cancer Research. We’ll see you there! Contact Josie for tickets on 01785 824985.

Haywood residents remember Armistice Day

Great Haywood Memorial Hall Art and Craft Fair

Another very successful art and craft fair was held in the Memorial Hall, just in time for people to get beautiful, unique presents for friends and family before Christmas. The 27 stalls had some wonderful items on sale ranging from homemade jams and chutneys to Christmas A coffee morning was held in the Memorial Hall in Great decorations and charming pottery, woodwork and jewellery. Haywood on Armistice Day, 11th November. A large Everyone enjoyed the festive atmosphere, which was number of people from the village attended, for a enhanced by the smell of the bacon butties available from morning of tea, coffee, cakes and chat. the kitchen! A very moving, short act of remembrance was held just The next fair is just before Mother’s Day and Easter on before 11.00am, when poems were read, the 2 minute 3rd of March – all are welcome to come and enjoy the silence observed, and a wreath laid at the First World War expertise and friendliness that exists in the village. For more information see the website at www.great memorial on behalf of the parish by the Chair of Colwich Parish Council, Councillor Andy Cooper.


Groups show they are way ahead in helping community People, organisations and businesses doing unsung work for their community were honoured at an event in Stafford. The winners of the first ever Community Awards were announced at a presentation organised by Stafford Borough Council. The awards have been set up to celebrate the work of individuals or organisations who work towards improving their community. There were more than 50 entries from a range of groups across the borough for four categories relating to ‘Youth and Education’, ‘Business’, ‘Action in the Community’, and ‘Inspiring Individuals’. And top of the pile came: ‘There is No Planet B’ for their ‘Stafford Green Arts Festival’; Perkins Engines, for a wildlife and community project; Derrington Way Ahead – ‘A Buzzing Year in Derrington’; Lynne Sandy – for Walton on the Hill Best Kept Village Competition. There were also certificates for the runners up in each section. Full list of winners and runners up are available at awards-2017-winners The Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Aidan Godfrey, was on

• Derrington Way Ahead received an award for their project ‘A Buzzing Year in Derrington’ from Stafford Mayor Aidan Godfrey. hand to help with the prize-giving and said: “This enjoyable event did a tremendous job of highlighting the many people in our borough that work hard to make our area a better place.” Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “This is a great way to say thank you to those who go that extra mile to make Stafford Borough a better place to live,

work and visit. “Many of those who do fantastic work for our community are volunteers and often go unnoticed so these awards give us the opportunity to pay tribute to them and demonstrate that we value all that they do.” More details of the awards at communityawards


Haughton Lights raise over ÂŁ10,000! There was another superb display of Christmas lights by residents of Haughton during the festive season. Visitors travelled from near and far to enjoy this display with collections made for local charities, namely County Air Ambulance, Katharine House Hospice, Stroke Unit at Royal Stoke Hospital, St Giles School Haughton and Starz Playgroup. This year the collection raised an amazing ÂŁ10,244 which will be divided between the various charities. Thank you everyone in the village who took part and made this happen and to all the visitors who came along and put money in the boxes. We hope you enjoyed and will visit again in 2018.



Stafford Lions are flushed with pride Stafford Lions may be some of the country’s oldest paper boys and girls when they deliver magazines to villages around Stafford, but they are putting the takings from their round to good use. Before Christmas Stafford Lions decided to donate some of the proceeds from their paper round to purchase a present for a school in Malawi – a new toilet block.

Great Bridgeford Village Hall has it all! Monday: Painting for Pleasure, 10.30am - 12.30pm, contact Vanessa Timmis on 01785 813314; The Monday Club – alternate weeks, over 60s, 1.30-3.30pm, contact Denise on 01785 281691; Garden Guild, 2nd Monday in the month at 8pm, contact Margaret Gaywood 01785 255982; Monday Life Drawing class, 7-9pm, contact Peter on 07760 711451. Tuesday: Parent and Toddlers, 10am - 12pm, contact Joan Blake 01785 282722; Seighford Singers, 7.15-9.15pm, contact Geoff Cashmore on 01785 282328. Wednesday: Coffee Morning 10.30am - 12pm, all welcome every week; Gentle Yoga, over 55s, from 2 to 3pm. Contact Kerrie Jacques 07887 687288; Martial Arts/Kick Boxing, 7-8pm, contact Mark Slaymaker on 07932 408382; Military Whist, alternate weeks 7.30-9.30pm, contact Ivan Walker on 01785 607897; Village Hall committee meeting, Wednesdays, contact Jonathan Sturgess on 01785 282302. Around a third of the world’s population – 2.4 million people – don’t have a loo and because of dirty water and poor sanitation, every minute a child under the age of five dies. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to be bitten by snakes or attacked as they go to the edge of their village to go to the toilet. A charity aptly named ‘Toilet Twinning’ raises funds to enable people living in poor communities abroad to have clean water, a basic toilet and to learn about basic hygiene and following a frank but witty presentation, Stafford Lions decided to get involved. To find out more about this worthy cause visit or contact 0300 321 3217. You can even buy a loved one a printed loo roll, a soap bar or give a Toilet Twinning gift box. Sponsors receive a framed certificate with a photograph of your toilet twin and the latrine’s exact location so you can hang it in your loo and flush with pride.

Lions International motto is simply ‘We Serve’ so if you would like to volunteer to help with projects in our local community or raise money to sponsor overseas aid, just contact Stafford Lions Club on 0845 833 5834, see our web page or visit us on Facebook.


• Painting for Pleasure - Mondays - with Vanessa Timmis Thursday: Canine Partners, training dogs to assist owners with disabilities, contact Ronnie on 07584 995247; Pilates, 6.45-9.30pm, contact Helen Yeomans on 07747 036422. Friday: Life painting & drawing, 9.30am - 12.45pm, contact Alison on; Polite Paws Dog and Puppy Training, 6-7pm, contact Bonnie Wright on 07913 327418. Saturday: Drawing and Painting, 3rd Saturday in the month, 10-4pm, contact Pam on 01785 282382; Tennis Club, contact Brendan Sullivan 01785 616311. The Hall hosts a coffee morning every Wednesday. For further information about events at the Hall see or contact

Mayor shows support for Community Link initiative

• Stafford Mayor with a number of the Community Link team, many of whom are drivers of the cars and minibuses. The Worshipful the Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Aidan Godfrey, accepted an invitation from Community Link Stafford and District to attend their Open Day on Wednesday, November 15, held at the Stafford Rangers football ground. The Community Link Stafford and District provides a transport service for local people who are in need of transport due to their age, sickness, disability, poverty or due to the lack of

available public transport. During 2016, the Link carried out more than 41,000 passenger journeys and this is expected to increase during 2018. The Mayor of Stafford supports two local charity organisations and the Community Link Stafford and District is one of them. At the entrance to the meeting the Community Link team displayed a number of their vehicles, cars and minibuses, capable of carrying individ-

uals in wheelchairs. Also on display was a 1953 Bristol LS bus which operated on the Isle of Wright and is owned by Alan Moore – a Community Link supporter. This Open Day enabled the Mayor to get to know the people who are providing this much needed service and to learn of their successes and achievements. The Community Link Team were also pleased to meet one of their important sponsors and to discuss how they can promote their activities.

Pupils make it a Silver Santa Christmas for lonely people Many lonely and socially isolated people in and around Stafford opened a Christmas gift donated by thoughtful pupils from Anson Primary School in Great Haywood. Children wrapped carefully chosen presents and wrote warming messages in cards as part of Silver Santa. The project’s aim is to encourage schools to partner a local care home or community group, that has residents or members who may spend Christmas Day without any visitors or presents. Silver Santa was started in 2015 by Little Haywood resident Jane Green. She learned that 30 per cent of people in care homes never get any visitors, even on Christmas Day, and so asked friends on social media to help by donating gifts, which she then delivered locally. “The need is growing,” said Jane. “The 30 per cent figure is rising, and we are seeing more and more socially isolated people in our communities and in this day and age, it seems wrong, and sad.” Jane hopes that the Silver Santa will spread, and is starting to get schools involved. Anson Primary was the first school to take part. Headteacher Edward Howard said: “I think Silver Santa is a wonderful idea. We’ve always been an outward looking school helping people even in other parts of the world, but it’s easy to


• Anson Primary School pupils with the presents they prepared for Silver Santa. forget that there are people here in our upsetting not to have a present on own communities, often on our doorstep, Christmas Day and I feel very lucky I get that need our help just as much. You can so many presents and feel sad about see from the reaction of our children and people who don’t.” Finley, also 9, said:“I wanted to do Silver their families how well they’ve engaged with Silver Santa and we will definitely be Santa because I think everyone should get a Christmas present on Christmas taking part next year.” Mr Howard added that during Day.” Jane liaises with care homes and half-term, one family had offered to take the children on a day out as a treat, but community groups to find out what kind the children told their mum that they of gifts are needed and are appropriate, would rather use the money and time to and then sends the relevant information to the school. Gifts include slippers, get gifts for Silver Santa instead. Josie, age 10, said: “I bought some dominoes, toiletries, shampoo, shaving chocolates, because everyone loves sets, card games and hairbrushes. chocolates, and a diary with a pen, and I “Pupils at Anson Primary School have made a card and wrote a personal been so generous,” she said, “that I think message to my Silver Santa person.” next year I may need to rethink logistics Hannah, 9, added: “I think it would be and hire a van to deliver presents!”

There’s a real buzz at Derrington Brownies and Guides! On Monday night 22nd January, Derrington Brownies and Guides, with help from Edward (doing his Duke of Edinburgh), learnt all about bees. They then followed this with a Bee and Bat Art Workshop. Lisa Fairy and Karen Davies led the discussion and activities. Guide Leaders said ‘The children were really engaged and we all learnt some new things!’ The children also wrote inspiring messages and made pledges about conserving bees and bats and protecting our Planet. The exhibit will be displayed at There is No Planet B! Stafford’s Green Arts Festival at February Half Term. All the children took away a packet of Pollinator Wildflower Seeds to plant in their own gardens to encourage bees and other species!

Derrington First Brownies Meet at Derrington Village Hall on Mondays between 6.00 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. For further information contact Debbie Felstead, Brown Owl, on 07734 466393 or e-mail: D erringtonBrownies@

Derrington First Guides Meets at Derrington Village Hall on Mondays from 7.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. For further information contact Natasha Moore on 01785 249444 or e-mail derringtonguides@yahoo



What’s On at Brocton Village Hall

“Quiz Night” Saturday 17th 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.

Hollywood legend helps to give children the experience of a lifetime

Free recreational activity camps for children with health challenges are to be set up in Staffordshire, with the aim of providing them with the experience of a lifetime. The residential camps are scheduled to take place in at Whitemoor Lakes, near Lichfield throughout the months of May, August, September and October. Families interested in signing up for the residential “Italian Food Night” Saturday 17th March, 7:30pm. camps- which are also available to siblings affected by Come and sample the delightful cuisine of Italy and health challenges - can apply now. fruits of the vines! Tickets £12:50 per person from Over The Wall, the charity that organises the therapeutic Brocton Post office. camps, aims to present children with the opportunity to “Rummage Sale” Saturday 28th April, 1:00 – 3:00pm. experience the magic of camp through activities such as kayaking, fishing, climbing, swimming, dancing, taking part Search out that bargain item. Stalls include Ladies and in challenge courses, archery, arts & crafts, talent shows, Gents clothes, Books, Bric-a-brac, furniture, toys and discos and much more. more. Be early for the best bargains. The charity is a member of the international SeriousFun Children’s Network, which was founded by Hollywood Further info from Chris Allan 01785 665466 legend, Paul Newman. The Over The Wall camps will also be made available to siblings who have brothers or sisters that are receiving treatment or experiencing health challenges, allowing them to also enjoy the magic of the residential camps. The camp location -which will have an onsite medical environment facilitated by highly trained medical professionals, (available 24 hours a day)- will offer activities that will allow the children to face challenges, overcome obstacles and achieve more than they ever imagined possible. Children with a wide variety of illnesses and diseases including cancer and leukaemia, blood disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, skin conditions -such as severe eczema, multiple severe allergies, heart conditions, kidney disease, neurological disorders and many more, can apply. Over The Wall will also be recruiting for local volunteers for its camps in the Midlands area, as well as nurses, doctors and paramedics. If you can help, register your interest now by calling Over The Wall on 02392 477110. CEO of the charity, Kevin Mathieson says, “We are delighted to be hosting a camp in Staffordshire and would love to see a record number of children and families applying! Each year the amount of children experiencing Over The Wall’s camps grows, allowing us to help more children to achieve, develop, experience, learn and above There will be a Books & Bacon Baps Coffee Morning, raising all - have fun. We hope to see many children and families money for village improvements on Saturday 3rd March, at at the camps in Staffordshire.” All Saints Church, Bednall, from 10.00 am – 12.00 noon. If you have, or know of a child, or family that would There will be hundreds of books for sale along with bacon benefit from the Over The Wall’s camp, (or you are baps, homemade cakes, tea and coffee. interested in volunteering)-contact Over The Wall or apply Book donations are always welcome and if you have any directly at donations please call Carole Allen on 01785 715628. Coffee Morning Wednesday 21st February 10am – 11:30am Pop along for a chat and a cake with friends new and old. All are welcome.

Bednall Books & Bacon Baps Coffee Morning


Brocton pub to re-open following makeover The Seven Stars has been a well known pub and restaurant between Stafford and Cannock for many years. After closing in early 2017, Parogon Pub Group secured the site and have been working closely with their design team to produce a fresh new scheme, which is sure to thrill their guests. The group own six other successful restaurants including The Swan with Two Necks at Blackbrook, The Wayfarer in Stone and The Orange Tree in Stoke-on-Trent. The revamp is expected to create around 60 jobs, including kitchen, waiting and bar staff. If you are interested in applying for any of these positions visit the companies website at A spokesperson told us “We are very excited to takeover The Seven Stars, it is sure to become the jewel in our crown, and an exciting

premium country dining venue with something to interest everyone. Contractors have already started work on the extensive overhaul and the team are looking forward to opening in February 2018.�


Bednall Best Kept Village update

Start Your Retirement Adventure Adlington Apartments Opening Soon! WhatHouse? Gold award winning developer Adlington, are pleased to announce that their brand-new luxury retirement development on Eccleshall Road, Stafford will open its doors early April.

Retirement living with a Doxey Marshes view Overlooking the leafy Doxey Marshes Nature Reserve, and ideally located a short distance from Stafford town centre, it’s clear to see why over 75% of the apartments have already been reserved to date. Purchasers are now eagerly awaiting the opening of Brooklands House to start their retirement adventure in their new home, with the option of a community and care on the doorstep, should they ever need it. Each apartment has been specially designed with the over 65s in mind, providing high-spec integrated kitchen appliances all at easy to reach heights, lavish décor including fully fitted carpets, alongside accessible yet luxurious shower or bathroom facilities. For that all-important outside space, most include a balcony or patio area overlooking the beautifully landscaped gardens and that stunning view!

If any Bednall residents feels they’d like to get involved, even in just a very small way, it really helps to spread the load, please let the team know when the list comes round. If you are not on our village email contact list and would like to see the ‘LIST OF JOBS’ let Pom know (01785 712575). There are things needing to be done well before May 1st when the Judging starts, and then on-going maintenance until the end of August and beyond if there are enough willing volunteers. Extra funds are needed for the villages’ ambitious plans, so watch this space for some fundraising activities which will be happening between now and April 2018. On Tuesday 13th February 7.30pm in Bednall Church there will be a BKV meeting with pancakes! Go along and help with the plan of action for this year.

A community on your doorstep Although independent living is paramount, Adlington understands that for some, community can be key. Residents are invited to enjoy complimentary tea or coffee in the elegant homeowners’ lounge each day, or a three-course meal in the table service restaurant for around just £3. In addition, there is a hairdressing salon, a spa and therapy facility, activities and crafts room, plus a guest suite equipped with a kitchenette and en-suite for visiting friends and family.

24-hour on site care should you need it The real point of difference with Adlington is the option of on site 24-hour care, should anyone ever need it, provided by the company’s partner MHA (Methodist Homes) who have been providing care and support for more than 70 years. Furthermore, for that added peace of mind, there is a sophisticated emergency call system throughout Brooklands House and grounds, plus a security video entry facility within each apartment. Prices start from £105,000, although potential purchasers are urged to act quickly, as a large portion of the apartments have been reserved already.

For any enquiries Show apartments are open to view between 10am and 5pm daily, situated on Eccleshall Road, Stafford.

Alternatively, for further information please call 01785 249 175 or by email or go to


A trip through music history on offer in Church Eaton Church Eaton Village Institute will host The FB Pocket Orchestra on Friday, February 9, at 7.30pm. The group will work backwards from the 1930s, playing blues, ragtime, hot jazz, waltzes, songs and dances from long ago and far away. Jazz FM said of The FB Pocket Orchestra:“ The style, glamour and ‘fabulousness’ of this era is captured beautifully by their music.” This event is made available courtesy of Live & Local, a community touring scheme which supports volunteer organisations to bring live entertainment to local halls, churches and schools. Licensed bar from 7pm until late. Tickets £9 from Fred & Jenny Annis on 01785 824882.

St. Dominic’s Priory School St. Dominic’s Priory School, in Stone, is a small highly successful Catholic Co-educational Independent School, educating children from Pre-school to 16 years and welcoming children of all faiths. From April 2018, we will be opening a new 36-week pre-school for children eligible to start reception class in September 2018 and 2019. Places are currently still available in our Pre-school, Reception, P1-P4 and Y9 classes; however, we have limited availability with some waiting lists for other year groups. Once again pupils achieved fantastic examination results in their end of year GCSEs, which only highlights our school’s strong academic tradition and reputation for giving an excellent all-round education. We pride ourselves on being able to give individual attention and create a love of learning in a friendly and happy environment where children are given the opportunity and confidence to grow and shine. We offer transport from a variety of locations and also provide wraparound care from 7.30am through to 6.00pm. A wide range of extra-curricular activities are also available as well as after-school care and homework support. Mrs Harrison, our headteacher, recently announced that after securing a significant investment, that an exciting new redevelopment of the school site is now scheduled to commence in the summer of 2018. On completion in September 2019, the school will be in the unprecedented and exciting position of being able to offer new modern teaching facilities on a consolidated and much improved site, which will enhance the education and experiences of all the children who attend our school for many years to come.


In our last ISI inspection, we were awarded an amazing ‘Excellent’ which is the top grade achievable; equivalent to Outstanding in Ofsted terms. They stated that our pastoral care was excellent and that each pupil was known, and received outstanding care. The full report can be found on our school website. For more information on the school or to book an appointment to visit, please call 01785 814181 or visit our website:

Our next Open Days are on Saturday 28th April and Monday 30th April from 9.30am to midday.


Stafford Grammar School and Stafford Preparatory School Open Week: Monday 5th – Friday 9th March 2018, 9-11am and 1-3pm daily. No appointment necessary Stafford Preparatory School, Discovery Days: Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th March 2018. Limited places available. Book now to avoid disappointment

We understand that choosing the right school is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. That’s why we want to offer as many opportunities for you to get to know our school as possible. We believe that happy children succeed and so we provide the encouragement and support for every child to fulfil his or her potential. Our Open Week offers you the opportunity to see Stafford Grammar and Stafford Prep School in action on a real working day. All classes from Reception to Sixth Form will be open and you will be able to talk to the

Headmaster, staff and pupils and enjoy a tour of the school and see real lessons. Whether you are planning for the future or considering your options for September, we warmly invite you to visit and discover what makes Stafford Grammar School so special. We also have two exciting Discovery Days coming up at Stafford Prep School. These are a fantastic opportunity for all children from Reception class all the way up to Year 6, to come and experience a day with us and find out what life is like as a Stafford Prep pupil. They will join a class, take part in engaging lessons and outdoor activities, meet the teachers and other children, make new friends and of course sample a delicious Stafford Prep lunch! Places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment. Our pupils thrive in our happy and caring environment, where everyone is known as an individual. Our success is built on the highest quality teaching and learning which is underpinned by the excellent rapport between teachers and pupils. Whilst we pride ourselves on being the highest performing co-educational school in the area, the real spirit of Stafford Grammar School is to be found in the smiling faces, laughter and sense of fun that pupils and teachers experience every day. We look forward to welcoming you to Stafford Grammar School and Stafford Preparatory School. Places now available in most Year groups. To find out more about our school, visit our website at or call us on 01785 249752.

Yarlet School

Set in beautiful Staffordshire countryside, Yarlet School is located beside the A34 between Stafford and Stone and is only two miles from the M6 motorway. Children attend Yarlet between the ages of two and 13, when they leave as confident, responsible young adults who have learned the importance of excellent behaviour, good manners and respect for others. We place great emphasis on an all-round education which allows children to discover and develop their individual talents, be they academic, sporting, artistic or musical. Our small class sizes allow our teachers to really get to know their pupils and ensure that they are challenged and motivated to achieve to their full potential in all areas. Pupils are prepared for entrance examinations to senior independent schools and frequently achieve scholarship success in a variety of disciplines: academic, all-round, sport, art or music. The wonderful grounds, 33 acres of them, give Yarlet children


space to breathe, explore and discover. They are also home to the games fields, astro-turf pitch, sports hall and swimming pool. A family atmosphere prevails at Yarlet, the heart of which is a positive, nurturing relationship between pupils and staff. Our open-door policy ensures that parents also have an opportunity to be fully involved and their input is greatly valued. Choosing the right preparatory school for your child is a difficult and major decision. For a much fuller picture, do come and see the school in action, get a feel for the place, talk to the staff and meet the people who matter most, the children. Every day is an open day at Yarlet and it would be a pleasure to show you around. Appointments can be made through our website or by telephoning 01785 286568. We look forward to meeting you.


Bednall villagers celebrate Christmas Party

Brocton Golf club was the venue for Bednall villages’ Christmas Party this year. On Saturday 16th December 32 people enjoyed a

sumptuous meal followed by dancing. Thank’s go to Carole Allen for organising the event. Everybody had a really great time!

Can you share your experience with the Sea Cadets?

Underground information from The Haywood Society

The Unit management team (UMT) are currently seeking driven, enthusiastic people who want to see the young people of Stafford and surrounding areas achieve great things! Are you able to spare the first Tuesday of every month between 19:30 and 21:30? Are you persuasive, motivated and passionate? If you are, we may be able to utilise your skills to improve our unit facilities, our boats and the Cadet experience. The Sea Cadets is a disciplined, uniformed youth organisation for children between the ages of 12 to 18 years and is based on the history and traditions of the Royal Navy. What you will be asked to do? Help to run the unit building, Fundraise, Organise events and activities to promote the unit, Attend regular meetings We will give you a full induction, introduce you to the cadets and staff and show you how it all works! You don’t need years of experience, just the motivation to help develop our unit! Our address is at Riverway HQ, Riverway, Stafford, If you are interested in joining us or would like to find out more about us and what we do, then please contact John Hackett (Chairman) on 07779 737155 or you can email: Or search on GOOGLE for Stafford and Rugeley Sea Cadets. Find us on Facebook, search Stafford and Rugeley Sea Cadets.

• The view from below at Apedale Mine The North Staffordshire area housed at least 100 mine shafts and pit heads, and hundreds of local men and boys lost their lives underground; (you had to be actually dead underground to be counted amongst the statistics, because if you were brought up alive and then died, you did not count!). The Haywood Society held a most interesting and informative talk on Wednesday 17th January, by Les Mason, on the Apedale Heritage Centre. Les, together with a small group of his friends, bought the Apedale Mine for £100! And since they took ownership it’s gone from strength to strength, having also being awarded a Lottery Grant, and now has authentic mine tours, and boasts a "fun day out for all the family." For more information on Apedale see The Haywood Society was formed over 50 years ago to stimulate public interest in the area, promote high standards of planning and architecture. and secure the preservation, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest. They have an interesting programme of talks and visits, ranging from "Jane Austen in Staffordshire" to "Bricks and Bricklaying". Did you know? In The Haywoods is the site of the old brickworks, and there is a public walk-through under the A51 from the brickworks site to Crossheads? For further information on the The Haywood Society you can contact Anne Clendon on 01889 898214 or you can email her at


Debrillator donation is welcomed by Derrington A ‘Ceremony of Thanks’ to Peter Large for his generous gift of a defibrillator was recently held on Derrington’s Millennium Green. The defibrillator, which is now the second in

Derrington (the other is located at the front of the Village Hall) has been installed on the Millennium Green near the entrance from the Greenway.

Included in the photo is Peter Large (in the mobility scooter) and some of the volunteers who help and support Derrington Millennium Green.

Bednall Safari Supper 2018

• Good times at Last year’s Safari Supper

Follow the concrete road to Great Bridgeford panto Sinford Amateur Dramatic Society will present ‘Follow the Concrete Road’, a pantomime with a very local flavour, at Great Bridgeford Village Hall on February 23 and 24. There will be two evening performances plus a Saturday matinee performance and tickets are priced £6 for adults and £3 for children (under 14). Proceeds will go to Seighford Church, Seighford Village Hall and The Little Princess Trust Charity. To reserve your tickets call 01785 282508 or 01785 281836.


This year’s Bednall Safari Supper will be on Saturday 24th March. This has always been a very popular village event and is a great way to meet new people or get together with old friends. The price remains at £15 per person. Last year 46 people took part and as usual everyone had a super time. For those new to the village or not familiar with how safari supper works’s a type of dinner party where you go to a different house for each course of the meal. (Think very fun house crawl with lovely food/great company.) Everyone taking part likes meeting new people, so don’t be shy....join in! Please contact Carole Allen at the end of February on the numbers below if you need more information and/ or have any questions about how it works. Carole 01785 715628 or email

Bednall gather for carols around the tree

An enthusiastic group came on December 15th to sing carols at Bednall Church, followed by warming mulled wine and mince pies. We were glad to welcome a few of the BATS choir and also some residents from Acton Trussell again this year. Here are just some of the group with more arriving later!

Wolgarston pupils celebrate Chinese New Year

• From L to R (front row): Jack Saunders, Tayla Edwards, Daisy Maiden, Katie Roberts (back row) Miss Roberts, Sami Smith and Will Birch. Wolgarston High School has started to celebrate Chinese New Year learning about Chinese culture and its similarities and differences to ours. The school is also celebrating the success of their Year 9 students, who have been busy taking part in the school’s Accelerated Reader Scheme. Since the end of September 2017 their students have been busy reading for pleasure and have read over 514 books, which equates to over 26 million words.“This is an amazing achievement, our students during December alone read 4,365,735 words,” said Miss Roberts (Learning Resources Centre Administrator),“We are already starting to see improvement in students’ literacy as well a positive reading culture within the year group.” During the Chinese New Year celebrations students throughout January and February students who read a book and score 100% on Accelerated Reader tests will receive a fortune cookie. “It is brilliant to be able to witness students in the lower years celebrating their reading achievements,” said Michael Craney (Year 13 student), “It has been great to be able to take part listening to the students read and help them choose books that they are able to enjoy reading.”


Popular publicans celebrate Penkridge pub’s new look The White Hart in Penkridge is experiencing a new lease of life following the recent investment of more than £126,000 with national pub company Punch and publicans Michael Patrick and Peter Price. The pub, situated on Stone Cross, has undergone substantial redevelopment to the public bar, lounge bar and the ladies’ and gent’s facilities and now boasts a new look and fresh décor throughout, which is certain to appeal to all customers. Michael, who has been in the pub since June, said:“Peter and I searched over 35 sites before viewing the White Hart. We instantly fell in love with the building and the character it holds. The investment has given the pub a new look but has kept all the features that we fell in love with.” The investment has seen the creation of three local job opportunities and as trade improves Michael and Peter are looking to create a larger, friendly and helpful team. The official relaunch night took place in November with local singer Jay Oakden along with a free glass of fizz for customers joining the celebrations. Michael said: “We already support and raise money for the Donna Louise Trust which we want to continue to raise some money for them through celebrating Christmas

Jumper Day in December. We also support our local darts team and offer Sky Sports and free Wi-Fi.” The White Hart has always been the hub of the community and Michael and Peter are looking to grow this further by introducing a food menu in the future. Dan Sullivan, Publican Development and Training Manager for Punch, said: “Michael and Peter have so much passion for the White Hart. They have done a great job over the last four months putting it back into the heart of the village and I’m sure the investment will encourage customers old and new to return. “The pub looks great and with Michael and Peter’s experience, knowledge and passion for the White Hart, I’m sure it will be a great success. I wish them both the best of luck for

• Publicans Michael Patrick and Peter Price toast the White Hart’s new look. the future and look forward to supporting them throughout their time here.”

Every little helps for litter free campaign A campaign to make Stafford Borough litter free has received a funding boost. Now Stafford Borough Council is asking customers of Tesco to vote for the litter campaign in a bid to get even more money to help with the initiative. The initiative was launched last year in Stafford and Stone and saw many businesses and retailers sign a pledge to play their part in keeping the area clean. Shoppers, workers and residents in the town were also greeted with a huge pile of rubbish (pictured) which represented the amount cleaned from streets of the borough in a day. Around one million pounds is spent each year keeping the borough clean and more than 200 people were given on the spot fines for littering in 2017. • Above: The amount cleaned from streets of the borough in a day. The campaign received £1,000 for being Finlay, said: “The support from businesses, organisations shortlisted in the Tesco Bags of Help funding pot - and is and the public for this campaign has been tremendous now looking to attract customer votes to get even more and I am pleased we have the opportunity to secure more money. Customers get a token, after completing a shop money that will help towards our initiatives. at the stores in Stafford, to vote for one of three projects. “We have a beautiful borough and want to keep it that They then place the token into the project box of their way. A clean borough attracts people and businesses to choice. the area which is good for the economy. So we would The funding will go towards litter picking equipment that rather work with our communities to keep it clean – but can be used for free by schools, community groups or will not hesitate to fine or prosecute those who don’t.” businesses. Information on the litter campaign can be found at Voting will run until Wednesday 28 February 2018. Cabinet Member for Environment and Health, Frank


Amelie’s wish for life-saving dog to sniff out ‘hypos’ Ten-year-old Amelie Medford dreams of owning a life-saving dog that can sniff out her blood sugar spikes and keep her safe. While waiting for her wish to come true, the brave Stafford Preparatory School pupil has joined forces with her school to raise money for a charity which trains dogs to use their acute sense of smell to detect scent changes associated with lifethreatening human illnesses. Amelie was diagnosed with Type One diabetes when she was six and since then the disease has impacted her life every day. As she is unable to produce insulin Amelie can suffer from hypoglycaemia, or ‘hypos’, where the level of glucose in the blood drops so low it can lead to seizures or coma. She is also at risk of developing hyperglycaemia where the sugar level rises too high. The 10-year-old wears an insulin pump and has to prick her finger at least six times a day to check her blood, as well as monitoring her carbohydrates intake. After visiting Milton Keynes-based Medical Detection Dogs, the petloving youngster from Acton Trussell joined its waiting list and hopes that one day she will be teamed up with a canine companion to watch over her at night and alert the family of a potential crisis. The charity’s medical alert assistance dogs are trained to detect subtle changes in body odour which are triggered by diseases such as type one diabetes and Addison’s, while its bio-detection dogs are able to identify the early stages of certain cancers. “It’s a fantastic place. I was really impressed. While we were there one of the dogs came up to me and when we checked, we found that my blood sugars were low. So even though I wasn’t its owner, it still knew there was a problem. I couldn’t believe it! “They’ve only got a small building at the moment and are planning to get bigger so they can help more people,


• Teamwork – 10-year-old Acton Trussell youngster, Amelie Medford, and fellow pupils and staff at Stafford Preparatory School are raising cash for Medical Detection Dogs charity. Amelie is pictured with her pet Labrador, Ellie. so I thought my school could help raise money for them,” said Amelie. She talked to fellow pupils and staff at Stafford Prep about her diabetes and they rallied to make Medical Detection Dogs their charity of the year. The school has already raised several hundred pounds. Amelie is confident that a specially trained pooch would settle in well with the family’s 12 year old pet labrador, Ellie, and eight year old King Charles spaniel, Tessie. “I’m sure they’d all get on together. I’d build a very special bond with the new dog. They’d train it to recognise my scent and during the night it would stay in my room and let me know if my bloods went low. I really would love one – it would be amazing, but I know I’ve got to wait and be patient,” she added.

Amelie’s mum, Alison, keeps a close eye on her blood glucose levels both day and night. She said: “It’s such a hard condition to live with and manage on a daily basis. She is able to recognise when she goes into a hypo during the daytime, but she never wakes up if it happens during the night. It would be priceless for Amelie’s long-term health to have a detector dog. It would recognise any scent changes in her breath, which would mean her sugar levels could constantly be kept in range. “They’re a small charity and they don’t receive government funding. Amelie has been told she’s eligible for a dog but we understand there are more vulnerable cases where someone may have the same condition as her, but live on their own.”

The best way forward for Staffordshire’s libraries? Three months of consultation over the best way forward for Staffordshire’s libraries began in January. Discussions will include potentially using technology to maintain and extend opening hours with an automated service, increasing the number of community managed libraries and reviewing how the mobile and travelling service is used. Although Staffordshire has 43 libraries, this review only applies to the 20 which are still directly managed and run by the county council. Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities, said: “We have worked hard in recent years to buck the trend of closures happening in so many other places and have succeeded in keeping all Staffordshire’s 43 libraries open and part of our statutory provision. This consultation is about looking to the future and examining ideas already being used in other parts of the country to see how we can keep our libraries relevant to people’s changing needs.” Since 2014, following extensive public consultation, 23 of the county’s libraries have been transferred, or are in the process of being transferred, to community groups which take over the management and day-to-day running of the building, while the council remains responsible for agreed utility bills and maintenance costs. These 23 libraries are not being considered in this consultation. Gill Heath added: The community-managed libraries are already doing good things in their neighbourhoods, evolving into flexible hubs adding other services local people want.” People will be asked to comment on possible options for each of the remaining 20 libraries, specifically:

• Maintaining and extending existing opening hours by using technology to allow registered users access to the library outside core hours. No library would become completely self-service; • Maintaining and extending existing opening hours by using more volunteers; • Becoming a community-managed library, where a group takes over the management and day-to-day running, with access to all the council’s library resources, while the authority remains responsible for agreed utility bills and maintenance costs. The 20 libraries involved in the process will be considered for the options involving maintaining and extending existing opening hours. They include Cannock, Lichfield, Penkridge, Rugeley, Stafford, and Uttoxeter. As well as the different ways of maintaining and extending existing opening hours, the four ‘least busy’ libraries will also be considered for suitability to become community-managed libraries. They are Cheadle, Clayton, Eccleshall and Penkridge. 23 libraries are already part of the community managed library scheme are including Baswich and Gnosall. Gill Heath said: Nothing is set in stone, but we want to talk to different communities about different ideas and discuss the possibilities for the way forward.” Consultation lasts until April 1 and there will be events, advertised locally and at connectedlibraries, at every county council managed library and at 10 mobile and travelling library stops. People can also use the same website to leave their comments, fill in a questionnaire at any library, or email to have their say.


Bossy king at Cooper Perry The children in Reception and Nursery at Seighfords Cooper Perry Primary School performed their Christmas play,‘The Bossy King’ in December. They worked very hard and put on two excellent performances for their parents and grandparents. The cast were: (left to right) Oliver Mason, Oakley Edwards, Lucas Harvey, Eloise Aston, Kylah Clarke, Elsa Beardmore.

Church Eaton pupils explore black history Pupils at Church Eaton Primary School enjoyed a fascinating, fun-filled week of activities to bring learning to life during ‘Black History week’ in October. On the first day, they had the opportunity to experience traditional African dancing and drumming and bright coloured clothing was worn by the pupils. The children enjoyed trying authentic foods from the Caribbean islands and learnt about key historical figures, music and also had a go at creating their own artwork. Arran Peasley, a Year 3 pupil, said: “We learnt about Mary Seacole who lived in Jamaica and when she heard about the Crimean War she went to help s oldiers. She made the British Hotel. I also liked hearing Bob Marley’s music and my new favourite song is Michael Jackson ‘Man In The Mirror’.”


Stafford Players have ‘Hay Fever’ in February To begin 2018, Stafford Players have chosen to stage the ever popular Noel Coward play ‘Hay Fever’. This light period comedy explores the bizarre antics of the middle class, ultra- Bohemian Bliss family. Judith Bliss is a retired actress to whom all the world is literally a stage. The play takes place over a summer weekend in the mid 1920s and follows the catastrophic and dramatic effect the family have on their four individually invited house guests. The writing is brilliant and a fine example of the camp, sarcastic, acidic humour for which Coward was renowned. Stafford Players’ very experienced cast is headed by married couple Denise Arthur and Geoff Dobbs who play Judith Bliss and her writer husband David. Their rather wayward children are played by Carly Smith and David Pritchard. Appearing as Judith’s doting admirer Sandy is Jordan Wingfield. This shows a very different side of Jordan who took on the daunting role of Alan Turing in the Players’ last • Geoff Dobbs and Denise Arthur who play David and Judith Bliss. play ‘Breaking the Code’. The flamboyant Myra is played by Dawn February 17, at 7.30pm in the Malcolm Edwards Theatre Huxley, who won the NSDA Best Actress award for her superb (MET) at Stafford’s Gatehouse. Tickets are £9 (concessions £8) performance of Claudia in Stafford Players’ production of from or from the Box ‘Honour’ two years ago. Dave Parton, who plays the Office 01785 619080. Please note the Gatehouse add on their diplomatist Richard, and Gabrielle Ashmore, as the timid own booking fee. Jackie, complete the guest list. The task of trying to care for For more information check out the website this motley assembly falls to Clara (played by Brenda Hunt) or follow on and Amy (undertaken by newcomer Rikki Rushton). StaffordPlayers and Twitter@staffplayers and Instagram The play runs from Tuesday, February 13, to Saturday staffordplayers17.


Jiu-jitsu novice duo bag European medals A pair of novice martial artists laid down the gauntlet at the junior European jiu-jitsu championships and brought home four medals. Church Eaton’s Billy Noble and Rory Knight, from Stafford, became hooked on Brazilian jiu-jitsu just over a year ago and after scooping honours at the British BJJ tournament, they stepped up to the European stage, where they nailed three runners-up places and a bronze podium slot. Competitors from as far afield as Sweden, Portugal and France took part in the championships at Wolverhampton’s Aldersley Leisure Village. The 16 year old Stafford Grammar School students fought in two juvenile events in the white belt 16/17 year age group, held over two days. In the No-Gi under 70kg category Billy lost in the final to Northampton’s Ahsan Ahmed, while in the Gi under 68kg competition he chalked up a semi-final win against his Hampshire opponent but had to settle for a second silver medal after going down to Tamworth-based Finley Curtis. Meanwhile Rory produced a silver medal-winning performance in the Gi under 80kg event. He reached the semi-final of the No-Gi under 78kg group but was squeezed out by his Portuguese challenger to finish third. Billy said: “I’d done the British championships and everything then fell into place for the Europeans especially as they were being held in Wolverhampton. The competitors from abroad made such a big deal of the championships and that made the atmosphere immense. I was nervous but I thought I just had to embrace the moment and do the best I possibly could. “It’s shown to me that no matter who you are, working really hard can get you almost anywhere. I definitely want to do the World Championships in the summer of 2018 and so I’ll be focusing and working towards those.” The SGS duo are coached by Martin Jones and Anthony Bailey at Stafford Fight Factory.


• From left: Sixteen-year-olds Rory Knight and Church Eaton’s Billy Noble won junior European jiu-jitsu medals.

School celebrates 100 per cent Duke of Edinburgh pass rate Blessed William Howard Catholic High School is celebrating a 100 per cent pass rate with its latest group of Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award students. The national average pass rate is 56 per cent, making this a real accomplishment for the school. More than 40 students from Year 10 took the award and many are now signing up for the Silver Award. In order to pass, the students had to complete various different sections including volunteering in the local community, a physical section which involves taking part in some form of sporting activity; a skills element,

which allows them to try something new such as learning to knit, sew or photography and an expedition section involving a practice weekend and an assessed weekend which were completed in the Peak District in June with external assessors. As the UK’s leading youth charity, the D of E programme provides young people the chance to fulfil their potential and make a positive difference to their community and develop lifelong skills. Blessed William Howard Catholic High School was one of the first secondary schools in the Stafford

area to be awarded a D of E operating licence. The licence allows the school to deliver a full D of E programme and grant the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards directly to students. “This has been a wonderful group of young people; they all really deserve recognition for working so hard and showing such enthusiasm all the way through the programme,” said Mr Keith Richards, who runs the D of E scheme at Blessed William Howard. Each student received a certificate and a badge in a formal presentation evening at the school in November.


Acton & Bednall Barn Dance A very successful Barn Dance was held on Friday 10th November at the Community Centre in Acton Trussell. It was well supported by Bednall and Acton residents and a lively time was had! A licenced bar and a fish and chip supper made the evening a great success. Well done to Sue Calvert and the BATTH team for putting on such a good event for the community. The money raised was used for the Children’s Christmas Party.

• Check shirts a plenty - and don’t forget to do-si-do your partners y’all!


Bednall Scarecrow Workshop

Don’t know where to start when building a scarecrow? .... Don’t panic! Bednall Scarecrow team have loads of ideas and they’ll help you too. Join them on Saturday 7th April on the verge by the Memorial Bench, where you can learn some easy scarecrow building tips. The team will meet AM or PM weather dependant, more details to follow later. To have your name on the List phone Pom on 01785 712575 or you can email her at

New year under way for Stafford U3A Stafford’s University of the Third Age (U3A) is a social organisation for the retired and semi-retired. They offer a warm welcome to new members, and hope they join in the many activities on offer. These include learning opportunities, social events and lunchtime gatherings, including anything from bridge to gardening to golf to theatre trips. After a very hectic, but successful Christmas period, with lunches and evening meals, and the Christmas tree celebration at St Mary’s Church, the group has all it clubs up and running for 2018. There is an exciting Hostelling calendar this year, including visits to Cardiff (January), Caernarvon (March), and the Cotswolds (April) plus many more to be organised during 2018. The Trail Walking Group this year is having a week in Majorca in February, and in June they are visiting Snowdonia. The Stafford U3A is now affiliated to the HF Group, with 22 members going to Coniston in March for a four-day break; there will be further HF holidays this year. Further healthy activities are run by the U3A, for example, weekly walking groups, held most Wednesdays, a monthly walking group, with longer walks – eight to nine miles – and cycling groups every Tuesday, which cater for people who like either long or short cycling rides. The Thistledown Group performs country dancing with a Scottish flavour every Monday morning. Both couples and singles are participating in all the above activities. The popular monthly meetings are held at the Rising Brook Baptist Church on the second Monday of the month at 2pm, when non-members are invited to attend. There will be a variety of interesting speakers this year. The last speaker gave an entertaining and informative talk on ‘Gurkha life and culture’. The dedicated contact for U3A Stafford is Sylvia on 01785 593039. Alternatively, visit or www.staffordu3a


Cooper Perry Parents & Pirates! Cooper Perry Primary School near Seighford were invaded by pirates in January as the whole school engaged in a pirate themed topic. It all began with a whole school trip to the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle to watch the outstanding performance of Treasure Island, followed by an open morning for parents to join in with the fun. Year one performed a spectacular assembly followed by learning in the classroom with their parents and a pirate themed lunch. Q: How do ye turn a pirate furious? A: Take away the ‘p’. Q: How much did the pirate pay for his piercings? A: A buck-an-ear! • Treasure Island: Pictured here on their pirate ship are (l-r) Trisha Taylor, Reece Willis and Ruby Atherton all from Year 1 at Cooper Perry Primary School

Pictured here are Holly Joseph with her mum and dad.


• Ruby Atherton and her mum trying to find the treasure.

Church Eaton Primary School Blasts Off into 2018!

What an exciting start it has been to 2018 for pupils at Church Eaton Primary School. The children have had an extra special and action packed week learning about Space. A real highlight for the pupils was the opportunity to have an actual Planetarium experience inside the school. This exciting, special visit from the Space Dome was funded by the school PTA and really brought the subject to life. Pupils entered the large dome which had touched down in the school hall. Inside the dome, they were able to get a real feel for what Space looks like. From a journey through the planet Saturn, walking on the moon with Neil Armstrong and experiencing life on the Space Station- the school is now teeming with wannabe astronauts!

This fascinating subject was also integrated into many of the usual subjects including Art, Science, Drama and English throughout the week. Class 1 pupils had fun making rockets and alien masks. Class 2 became newspaper journalists and investigated the moon landings focussing particularly on the Apollo 11 mission. They watched documentaries and produced their own newspaper articles. Class 3 had a go at being historical detectives: finding out about the origins of the Space Race: the countries involved and its consequences on world politics. They also researched about the qualities required to be an astronaut and wrote a job application for an astronaut position. The children thought learning about Space was out of this world!


New main ring attraction is revealed for this year's Staffordshire County Show

They have been described as a down to earth version of the Red Arrows, they have curtsied for the Queen, pirouetted for TV and thrilled thousands all over the world. And this year, the JCB Dancing Diggers will perform a spectacular routine at the Staffordshire County Show. Richard Williams, chief executive of the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society, said he is delighted to announce them as the main ring attraction. He said: “The legendary JCB Dancing Diggers limit their appearances to three or four shows per year so we really are pleased that Staffordshire County Show is one of them in 2018. “They have a great reputation and amaze spectators with their intricate and spectacular routines to music like The Phantom of the Opera, the Wedding March and Firebird. “This is a massive coup for the show and we cannot wait to see the faces of both adults and children lucky enough to come and see them up close and personal. “And as Staffordshire is the home of JCB it makes this even more special for us.” The mechanical monsters, weighing over 80 tonnes, circle and weave past each other with split second precision and only inches to spare during a routine which sees them perform hand-stands and a wedding arch for other machines to drive through. They will perform two shows per day at the Staffordshire County showground on Weston Road, on May 30 and 31, during half term. This year’s event promises to be another great day out for the family with local produce, crafts, activities, displays and performances. Caroline Clacher, Worldwide Events Manager at JCB, said the company is delighted to be supporting the show in its home county. She said: “The JCB Dancing Diggers have a great reputation across the world. People think they must be modified to be able to perform with such elegance, but each of the machines taking part in the routine is exactly


what our customers buy each and every day. “It is a graphic demonstration of the machines’ remarkable manoeuvrability, precision and power and we are delighted to show this off to visitors to the 2018 Staffordshire County Show which promises to be a great event.” The JCB Dancing Diggers were born when the founder of JCB, the late Joseph Bamford, wanted to demonstrate the strength of the new breed of hydraulic machines to sceptical buyers. He used two machines to form an arch and drove his own car beneath the arch and parked it there. No-one who saw that demonstration remained a sceptic for long and it also heralded the birth of the Dancing Diggers.

More details about exhibitors and entertainers featured at this year’s show and details of how to buy tickets will be revealed in the coming months. Tickets will be available to buy direct from the showground website from April 1 2018.

‘Moving’ appeal for Samaritans help

• Alan Alecock, outreach co-coordinator for Stafford Samaritans, with one of the still, moving messages. The demands on the service that Stafford Samaritans offer is such that they have taken to the road in search of more volunteers, with a campaign featuring adverts on the back of Arriva buses. Angela Sharp, Stafford Samaritans director, said: “We hope that this moving request will be enough to fire the interest in many people looking for that next life move and encourage interest in finding out more about

becoming a Samaritans volunteer.” Thanks are extended to Councillors Maureen Compton, Ann Edgeller, Carolyn Townend, Philip Atkins and David Williams for contributing from their community fund to this project which has put the plea on 10 Arriva buses. Details of how to proceed can be found on 03705 627282 or email


Dog owners warned to keep pets on leads A leading Staffordshire vets is urging dog owners to ensure their pets are kept on leads when out for walks in the countryside as lambing season gets under way. The season starts this month and gathers momentum through the late winter and spring, meaning fields will start filling up with thousands of newborn lambs. It is one of the busiest times of the year for Shires Vets, which works with farm clients across the county, some of which have more than 1,000 ewes in their flock. Unfortunately, the season comes with the associated risk to the animals’ welfare, with cases of sheep miscarrying after being frightened by dogs, or being attacked, maimed or killed. Dave Allen, the new head of farm animal services at Shires Vets, is asking owners to keep dogs on leads when walking in fields, and for owners living near fields to make sure their gardens are kept secure. “Ideally, we would recommend avoiding walking your pet in fields with sheep in them altogether, as even the most docile and well-behaved dogs can become excitable around livestock,” said Dave. “If a dog gets loose it may not respond to calls to come back to its owner, increasing the likelihood of it worrying or attacking sheep. “It’s also about looking out for your pet’s welfare, too. In the most severe cases, your dog would also be at risk of being shot, as farmers are legally allowed to shoot animals to protect their flock.” Shires is also offering guidance to farmers who may be having issues during lambing season, such as unexplained mortality among their flock. Anyone needing advice should contact Shires’ Eccleshall practice, which handles all large animal enquiries.

• Dave Allen, head of farm animal services at Shires Vets, is asking dog owners to keep their pets on leads during lambing season

Calling all Stafford Half Marathon runners

• Last year’s #TeamKHH. Photo by Paul Milgate-Scarrott Katharine House Hospice is encouraging Stafford Half Marathon runners to join the hospice team to be part of #TeamKHH. 2017 saw 30 local runners come together to run Stafford Half Marathon for the hospice and together they raised a fantastic £10,000. This money helped to fund the provision of free hospice care for local people. With the race now nearly full to capacity, Katharine House Hospice would love local supporters who have already booked their place in the 2018 Stafford Half Marathon to run and raise funds for the hospice. Events fundraiser Lisa Carson said: “We always encourage supporters to run for the hospice at this fantastic event and in 2018 I hope to get a team of around 30 local people together. We can help you get your just


giving fundraising page set up, provide your personalised sponsor forms, talk personalised T-shirts (free with sponsorship of over £100), make sure you’re on our team photo and get you linked up with our other team members on Facebook so you can support each other… We’d be delighted if people would help us keep the hospice running by putting on their running shoes for the Stafford Half Marathon.” If you would like to join #TeamKHH and run in support of your local hospice please forward your entry confirmation to the fundraising team on and they will send you everything you need to support them. They are looking forward to working with everyone as you all build up to another fabulous race on a fitness and fundraising mission to be proud of.

Rita shares her ‘Enjoyment of Colour’ Local artist Rita Banks is holding a retrospective exhibition of her works, ‘Enjoyment of Colour - From Landscape to Floral to Abstract’ at the Museum of Cannock Chase. The exhibition started in January and runs until 23rd February 2018. Rita last exhibited at the museum 20 years ago, and they were delighted to welcome her back with a collection of her paintings from throughout her career.

Rita’s early paintings focused on landscapes, after which her real interest in colour developed, leading her to begin painting semi-abstract forms of flowers. From this her paintings became more abstract although they are based in some reality. Rita experiments in doodling and using her tablet (a la David Hockney) as a sketch book for ideas. Rita told My Village Voice “The exhibition is mainly about the enjoyment of painting, the pleasure it gives to the artist and the pleasure it gives to the viewer.” Open Monday to Friday 11am til 4pm. For further details you can call 01543 877666 or visit www.museumof


Staffordshire Day celebrations extended for 2018 This year’s Staffordshire Day extravaganza is set to take place over a week to give as many people as possible chance to get involved. As the official Staffordshire Day (1st May) will fall on a Tuesday, coordinators Destination Staffordshire, who work with Staffordshire County Council and other local authorities on the programme, have extended the celebrations. They will now begin the weekend before Staffordshire Day, on Saturday 28th April, and run until the weekend after – Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th May. It is hoped this will give people the opportunity to tell the world why they love Staffordshire, even if they are busy at work or school on Staffordshire Day itself. Events already organised include the Staffordshire Plate Raceday at Uttoxeter Racecourse, and a major exhibition dedicated to Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Philip Astley, the Father of the Modern Circus. Last year, over 60,000 people attended Staffordshire Day events, generating an estimated £1m for the county’s economy. Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Staffordshire County Council and Vice Chair of Destination Staffordshire, who are backing the celebration said: “Our first two Staffordshire Days were a huge success with thousands of people turning out for hundreds of events right across the county.

• A day at the races? The Staffordshire Plate Raceday at Uttoxeter Racecourse will make a great day out. “Last year we were also trending on Twitter on the day but this year we want the celebrations to be even bigger and better. “Because Staffordshire Day falls on a Tuesday this year, not only will we have lots of fun activities planned for the day itself but also the weekends before and after. “And, like previous events, the celebrations are a great opportunity to shout about our great county, so make sure the date Tuesday 1st May is in your diary and stay posted for some wonderful activities.” For more information on Staffordshire Day, visit the website at www.enjoystaffordshire .com/staffordshireday

• Last years vintage fair and tea dance, at the National Memorial Arboretum


• Sophie Rosa and Duncan Glenday

Newport Music Club Concert Newport Music Club welcomes the return of Sophie Rosa and Duncan Glenday to the Cosy Hall, Water Lane, Newport on Saturday 17 February at 7.30 p.m. The pair are back by popular demand with a concert that showcases Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms and Dvorak. Sophie was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the year contest. She is one of the UK's most exciting violinists and has performed across the UK in venues including the Royal Festival Hall and Bridgewater Hall as well as appearing with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Manchester Camerata. Sophie has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and plays on a Joseph Gagliano violin dated 1795 made available through the support of the Stradivari Trust. Duncan has recorded for BBC Radios 2 and 3. He has performed throughout the UK at venues such as St James’ Piccadilly, London, the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, and with the Northern Chamber Orchestra. He is a tutor of piano at Manchester University, Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music Junior Department. Tickets are available at The Guildhall Tea Rooms, The Cook Shop (Newport High St), or from Hey Jude on Stafford Street, Cosy Hall (mornings only) or via the website www.newport Phone 01952 810584 for more information.


New Year challenge to make a difference to Armed Forces families

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity is shouting out to the local community to sign up for an exhilarating challenge for 2018 – Midlands 30:30. Consisting of a 30 mile or 30km trek across the beautiful Uttoxeter countryside while wearing 30lb backpacks, teams of four will compete to cross the finishing line. This year, there is also an adjusted 14:18 route for teams wishing to take on a less daunting challenge, where trekkers will cover 14km carrying 18lb packs.

Any teams taking up this challenge will be raising money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. The charity has been providing lifelong support to our forces and their families since 1885. Every year staff and volunteers help more than 67,000 people, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts. To sign up to the Midlands 30:30 challenge visit

2019 Calendar Competition – send your photos! Photographers are being invited to submit entries celebrating Staffordshire’s varied wildlife and landscapes for a 2019 charity calendar. Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has launched a competition to find 12 stunning images of the wildlife and landscapes from across the county for its 2019 calendar which will go on sale later this year. The competition follows on the success of the 2017 and 2018 calendars, which saw dozens of high quality entries being submitted. The Trust is urging people to pick out any photographs they have already taken, check for wildlife in their gardens or head out into the countryside across the county and start snapping. Images which capture • Great Spotted Woodpeckers - By Geoff Mahiques . The image used for March in all the seasons are required for the the current calendar. calendar. From bees to birds and gardens to nature reserves and wildlife and landscapes across Staffordshire. “We are lucky that our wildlife and landscapes are so living landscapes, the Trust is looking for the special species and places which people can find across the varied, from the rocky ridges of the Roaches near Leek to ancient lowland heath buzzing with rare wildlife, like county. The 12 best entries will feature in the 2019 calendar and Highgate Common in Wombourne. We are especially keen to see any images which epitomise Staffordshire.” winners will all receive one copy each. Closing date for entries is Friday 27 April 2018. Jon Owen, Press and Social Media Officer for To enter the competition and to see terms Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said:“We know there are many excellent photographers who love taking pictures of and conditions, visit photographycomp



Acton & Bednall Children’s Christmas Party

On Wednesday 13th December 62 children from Acton and Bednall had a wonderful time at a village Christmas party. It was the brain child of Cymone Fitzsimmons. Cymone, Mark, Noah and Jasmine moved to Bednall in 2015. She was determined to give all the local children a good time this Christmas and with a lot of hard work, she achieved her goal! • Cymone with Noah Well done Cymone!

• The room is finally decorated! Just some of the many helpers pictured above, stand triumphant for a photo shoot!

Church Eaton Pupils create stunning poppy display

As part of the remembrance of Armistice Day, Church Eaton Primary School pupils have been learning about why we wear poppies. The children saw a picture of the ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ art installation that was initially at the Tower of London and subsequently toured the country. Pupils were inspired and in their House Teams, they made a stunning ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ art installation at the front of Church Eaton Primary School. Each child made at least one poppy to remember the brave soldiers who fought to ensure that we can lead the lives that we enjoy today.


County council supports recruitment of carers A recruitment campaign to provide nearly 460 additional carers across Staffordshire will help people live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. The army of carers will be recruited by contracted care companies across the county, in partnership with Staffordshire County Council. The carers, who between them will be carrying out more than half a million hours of care over the next year, will be helping some of the most vulnerable adults in Staffordshire live independently in their own homes, or getting them back on their feet as quickly as possible after a hospital stay. The recruitment campaign forms part of the county council’s commitment to spending a record £310million on adult care over the next year, with the bulk of it being spent on helping the frail or elderly return home after a hospital stay, or longer-term support with personal care. Alan White, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing said: “People in the county are living longer, and more people are needing support as they get older. Families and communities can do a lot to help people and some will need support from a carer. “We want to encourage people to take up a career in caring – it is an extremely rewarding profession, and the work can fit around other commitments in people’s lives. There is also a lot of training and development available for people who want to make it a career.” More information about the benefits of working in care and the type of roles available can be found at


Brocton Pre-School’s nativity story The children of Brocton Pre-School performed the Nativity Story and lots of fun Christmas songs to a packed audience at Brocton Village Hall just before they finished for their Christmas holiday. Parents, relatives and friends turned out on the very snowy morning to watch with delight as the children aged just two and three years old took to the stage to sing their little hearts out and tell the story of the Nativity. They dressed up, with some children in traditional costumes and some children in fun Santa suits and Christmas pudding outfits. The children enjoyed learning the songs and being up on the stage and it has helped them to learn about the traditions of Christmas. It was exciting for the children to be up on stage and a confidence-building experience that they were all involved in. One parent said: “That brought a tear to my eyes! Absolutely fabulous.” Children can build their confidence, learn from new experiences, and have fun with their friends at Brocton Pre-School, held in Brocton Village Hall on weekday mornings 9.30am to 12.30pm. There are currently spaces available for children from the day they turn two years and older. Brocton Baby & Toddler group for parents to stay and play is also run by the pre-school and is held on Wednesdays in the Village Hall from 10-11.30am. For further information please contact Amanda Nixon Pre-School Leader on 01785 747470 (mornings only) or 07875 193427 or email

Cyber crime vigilance increasing across Staffordshire The Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s ongoing campaign to tackle cyber crime continues to gather momentum – with figures showing an increase in the number of reported cases. The PCC has been at the vanguard of ensuring Staffordshire business leaders across public, private and third sectors are wise to online fraud. And the message is hitting home with figures showing a rise in action fraud reports – which effectively means more crimes are being reported due to the public’s vigilance and understanding. In what is viewed as a positive, the value of the losses are decreasing as an overall trend. This follows the recent Online Fraud Conference at the County Showground, which drew more than 400 Staffordshire and West Midlands-based industry champions and business leaders. The most recent figures, for November 2017, show 430 action fraud reports. This was an increase from 359 in August the same year and a rise from just over 300 in August 2016. Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold said: “The rise in cyber crime and online fraud has been alarming. Hacking is a cottage industry on a global scale and we’ve all been having to play catch-up. So it is important that businesses, commercial managers and general public are aware to the dangers of online fraud. “I invited business leaders across the public, private and third sectors to attend a conference in Stafford at the end of November and I hope this will be reflected in future figures. But our ongoing campaign to underline the importance of being streetwise to cyber crime is already paying off – as • Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold speaking reflected in the rise of reported frauds. at the recent Online Fraud Conference which drew more than “It’s important Staffordshire continues to be vigilant against 400 Staffordshire and West Midlands-based industry and such crime.” business leaders.


Mayor’s collection

• Alison from Community Link, the Mayor Councillor Aidan Godfrey and Councillor Peter Jones During the Festive period traditionally the Mayor of Stafford and others councillors raise money by collections at the Stafford supermarkets. The collectors are often supported by the charities which the Mayor is supporting, and this year Community Link provided a number of collectors.

Football trophy success Cooper Perry Primary School Year 3 and 4 boys took part recently in a football tournament and came away victorious, winning most of their games against three other local primary schools. They had a fantastic time and came home with the trophy. The team were: back row – Ashkay Buckenham-Kumar, Jack Press, Taylor Moseley, Kayden Ashforth. Front row – Sam Collins, Adam Reay, Ralph Edwards, Thomas Roberts (absent from photo).


Opportunity knocks twice for school’s netball team Under-16 netballers at a Stafford school are preparing to challenge for honours at regional and national level after securing their second major tournament title this season. The Stafford Grammar side took their rich vein of form to the Staffordshire schools’ netball tournament in Stoke-on-Trent and emerged as county champions at the end of a closely fought decider. Their victory earns them a springboard to the next tier and a trip to Bromsgrove for a shot at another Midlands crown. Having already won a regional title and passage to the Independent Schools Association (ISA) national finals in March, the Stafford outfit bagged their second chance to step up a level when they came from behind to edge out St Joseph’s College in the county contest at St Peter’s Academy. SGS notched up wins against Newcastle-underLyme School, Madeley High and Lichfield’s King Edward VI to set up a tense tie against joint leaders, St Joseph’s. Trailing by two goals in the second half, SGS fought back to wipe out the deficit and went on to seal the victory 11-10. Head of girls’ PE, Carly Slater, said: “They’re all extremely talented players who gel very well together and are able to dig in when games are tough. They have tremendous mental strength and show passion and determination in every single match they play. “In the new year they’ll have regular training sessions mainly to maintain their match fitness so they can perform at their best. I believe the girls have a really good chance at doing well in both competitions.”

• Back from left: Maddie Nicholson, Zoe Lawton-Allen, Imogen Farnworth, Becky Lawrence, Chloe Patrick. Front: Bednall’s Hannah Marsden, Anya Cooner, Sian Gwyther. Also in the side but not pictured is Sophie Edgington, from Whitgreave.

Stafford student wins national poetry competition

• Blessed William Howard student Sian Bell has won a national poetry competition.


Sian Bell (17), a Sixth Form student at Blessed William Howard Catholic High School has won first place in her age group in the NSPC4Peace National School Poetry Competition. As part of her prize, her poem will be set to music and will feature on singer-songwriter Tally Koren’s new album along with the two other winning entries from different age categories. The competition was part of the ‘Vision of Hope’ initiative pioneered by Tally Koren, to inspire young people to become involved in the peace process. Hundreds of poems with the theme of peace were submitted to the competition and were judged by the renowned singer-songwriter Katie Melua, Don Black and the Chairman of The Blake Society, Tim Heath, as well as Tally Koren. An official ceremony took place on Monday, November 20, at the prestigious House of Lords building, where Tally presented the prize-winners with awards for their winning poems. The NSPC4PEACE was also supported at this event by the Three Faiths Forum (3FF), a charity that has worked to build good relations between people of different faiths and beliefs. As well as formally recognising the competition winners, the ‘Vision of Hope’ event celebrated the diversity of its attendees representing different cultures, faiths and backgrounds. A strong message of hope was received from inspiring speeches made by leading spiritual speakers, including the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, Rabbi David Rosen CBE, Imam Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Baroness Blood and Lord Robin Eames OM who hosted the event. Tally Koren said: “I believe that every child has a hidden poem inside. The purity and innocence of a child’s emotions is a way to touch and change the hearts of people to create a better future. I want to encourage young people to use their imagination, creativity and emotion to inspire all of us.” In the past Tally has hosted a concert entitled Music For Peace’ in the Middle East, where Palestinians and Israelis performed on the same stage and, for that, she received a prestigious ‘Ambassador For Peace’ Award at the House Of Commons.

• Concrete, bricks and sand - dumped within view of the road

Contamination of the Chase continues Flytippers are continuing to contaminate the Chase with waste materials including soils, stones, bricks, slabs and lumps of concrete. Over recent weeks there have been many incidents of small amounts of these types of waste dumped along Chase Road, and Camp Road, Brocton. With the recently introduced charges for taking rubble and such to the Tip, these incidents are likely to rise. Vigilance is needed ! Report anything suspicious to the Police and remember that local Councils can prosecute flytippers - and anyone who gave waste to someone which ended up flytipped. A heavy fine and a Criminal Record may result.

• Lumps of concrete dumped

• Red clay and stones at The Messines model site



The name Seighford may derive from the Anglo-Saxon word, ‘seohtre’, a brook, so meaning a ‘ford over a brook’. At the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086, Seighford, or Cesteforde, was held by the Bishop of Chester. The manor was a sizeable one, also incorporating Aston, Doxey, Coton Clanford and Bridgeford and with sufficient arable land to merit eight ploughs. The Seighford estate held by the Eld family, who began to purchase land in Seighford and the adjoining parishes from the 16th century onwards, becoming the main landowners in the area. Seighford Hall is said to have been given to Richard Eld by Queen Elizabeth I as a reward for his services as paymaster to the Royal forces in Ulster. The Hearth Tax returns of 1666 list 25 households in Seighford and 12 in Great and Little Bridgeford, as liable for the payment of the tax. The dedication of the parish church to St Chad suggests that there may have been a church here in Saxon times. The present church has substantial Norman features, notably the north arcade and the chancel arch. Some rebuilding was carried out in 1748 and the tower dates from • Holly Bush Public House, circa 1964 that date. In the early 20th century, agriculture was the predominant economy of the village, supported by agriculturally-related trades. Wheat, barley and oats were the main crops. In 1928, however, there was a pianoforte dealer to be found at Seighford. An operational wartime airfield, or relief landing ground, RAF Seighford, was opened in 1942 and Vickers Wellington III bombers were flown from here until 1945. It was also the base for the D-Day gliders, Horsas and Hotspurs. In 1956 the aerodrome was acquired by Boulton Paul and used for aircraft research and development. The runway was lengthened in 1959 when Canberras flew from here. Boulton Paul left the site in 1966 and attempts to gain planning permission to develop Seighford as an airport for Stoke on Trent foundered. All photos here appear coutesy of Staffordshire Past Track. www.staffs If you have any images to lend, or any extra information, please contact the Past Track team: Staffordshire Past Track, Staffordshire • John and Emily Worthington with a neighbour's Archives & Heritage, Shugborough, Milford, Stafford ST17 0XB. Telephone child, pictured outside their home, Churchyard 01889 869137, email: You can also keep up Cottage, Seighford around 1900 - 1905 to date with what’s new on Past Track by ‘liking’ our Facebook page.

• Boys' Gardening Class, Seighford Council School, taken in 1912. Many schools taught boys how to grow their own vegetables. This group was taken by the headmaster's father, who was named Mr Plant. Seighford Council School has been re-named Cooper Perry School.


• Seighford Church group 1940 - 1950 St. Chad's dates from the Norman period, although the west tower was rebuilt in local brick in the seventeenth century after the original tower collapsed. Evidence of Norman architecture can still be seen in the chancel arch and the north arcade. Inside the church can be found a church warden's chest, dated 1610, a Jacobean pulpit, and the alabaster tomb of William Bowyer (died 1593). The south window contains fifteenth century stained glass.

• Seighford Hall, pictured here between 1910 and 1920, is an Elizabethan house to which additions were made over the years, particularly during the Victorian period. A brick tower in the grounds was built to look like a church tower. This was a gamekeeper's cottage and today is known as the Dovecote. The house was home to the Eld family until the mid-19th century. It later became a hotel, and the site underwent alterations, and then finally on to be used as a nursing home. It has stood empty for many years now.


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My Village Voice - February / March 2018  
My Village Voice - February / March 2018