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April / May 2016

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Promoting Bilston and surrounding areas in a positive light


Comedy Night




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Contents 8.




Letters & Poems

28. Coseley Comets

10. Pat McFadden

30. Stow Heath Primary

12. News in Brief

32. Bilston Explorer

14. Crossword

36. Bilston Scouts

16. Win John Parrott Tickets

38. Sinking of Mary Rose 42. WIN Cineworld Tickets

20. Green Park Comedy Pics

50. The Fight For Bilston

24. Rotary Bake-Off

61. Library & Tip Opening Times

26. Bilston & Willenhall Lions

63. Crossword Answers

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Dear Reader,

As Publisher of the Bilston Magazine, I'm very careful not to talk about myself too much, as it’s not supposed to be about me. However, I feel compelled to share something with my readers about the events of the last few weeks. I was recently diagnosed with bowel cancer and went in for an operation to remove the problem. Thankfully, the procedure appears to have been a success thanks to the wonderful care and treatment I received from the staff at New Cross Hospital, especially those on Ward A14.

PUBLISHER/EDITOR Simon Archer Tel. 07534 603662 EMAIL WEBSITE LETTERS/NOSTALGIA Send to; Bilston Magazine 16 Holberg Grove Wolverhampton, WV11 3LE Magazine Designed and Produced by Pulse Freelance 41 Leighs Road Pelsall WS4 1BZ School photography by Liza LuttonMatthews Babytree Photography 07532 237688 Printed by Buxton Press Limited Palace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AE

@bilstonmag The Publisher cannot accept loss, damage or omission caused by error in the printing of an advert or editorial. Adverts are accepted on the understanding that descriptions of goods and services are fair and accurate. The Bilston Magazine does not endorse any advertising material included in the publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the prior consent of the Publisher.


NHS staff don't always receive the credit they deserve and I want to thank them for their warmth, professionalism and dedication that has enabled me to return home, a bit sore, but in reasonable shape to recover from the surgery. Thanks also to those who have sent messages of support and positivity, which has kept up my moral during a couple of low points. Onwards and upwards now! Read more about my experience on page 38. When I’ve dropped a clanger, I try and play it down by saying: “In a hundred years from now, nobody will care or remember”. Well it’s been 50 years since Bilston lost its independence and became part of that place down the road and I know that in half a century, the people of Bilston DO REMEMBER! Some still hope to return to an independent town, with its own mayor, councillors and powers. Whether that ever happens, remains to be seen, but we can at least remind you of what happened in the Fight To Save Bilston, which is recalled by Tom Larkin (fittingly) on page 50! Please remember, our advertisers are vitally important to the future of this magazine. Please continue to look at their adverts and if you do purchase anything from them, PLEASE TELL THEM YOU SAW THE ADVERT IN THE BILSTON MAGAZINE!!! Despite my health setback, it’s business as usual, so we’ll see you in June!!

Simon Competition winners from the Feb/March issue; Cineworld - Kung Fu Panda Mrs A Bloomfield, Ward Grove, Lanesfield Karl Wilkins, Himley Close, Bilston Mrs J Stanford, Attlee Crescent, Bradley, J Nicholls, Springfield Grove, Sedgley, Mr P Walker, Dimmocks Avenue, Coseley.

Bella Italia - Mother’s Day Debbie Christie, Robert Wynd, Bilston

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Letters & Poems We couldn’t let the 50th Anniversary of Bilston losing its independence go by, without recalling Trevor Johnson’s poem; The Way We Were “Keep Bilston Independent” That was the Committee’s aim, Thousands signed the petition, It proved to be in vain. “Bilston Amalgamates with Wolverhampton” Those headlines brought a frown, We’re losing our independence In dear old Bilston town. Let’s remember Bilston, How it was years ago, When the town had three cinemas And a theatre for a show. Trolley Buses ran through the town, A conductor shouted “fares!” The Town’s Market Hall, Where tradesmen sold their wares. The unique Market Hall Had character and grace, Where you could buy anything – From food to cotton lace. Jack Rosa’s Snooker Hall, Tables busy every day – It’s where budding future champions, Would wait in turn to play. Bilston town had many pubs, With a Smoke Room and Saloon, There was always a pianist – Who could knock out a tune. The town had “Marsh and Baxters”, “Downs” the butchers too, Cotterils’ the toy shop – Just to name a few. Joe Sutton’s hot pork sandwiches Went down really well, Before going for a sing song, In the old “Pipe Hall Hotel”. If you were really hungry, You would lick your lips – At the thought of Campbell’s Mushy peas and fish and chips. Stewart’s furnaces lit the skies, They gave a mighty roar –


Another sight and sound, Sadly gone for evermore. Bilston Central railway station, Hanging baskets full of flowers, Smoke bellowed from train funnels, Train spotters wait for hours. Battery powered milk floats Made a purring sound, The clink of milk bottles, Milkman’s on his round. Factory bulls would sound – Each morning, five to eight, Workers would then hurry Towards the factory gate. On a Sunday morning, The Scouts and Boys’ Brigade, Brownies and Girl Guides, Marched proudly on parade. They played trumpet and drums, People lined the streets to see, Children marching in unison, It’s Church’s anniversary. Town Hall dances were popular, It was the main venue, Ladies and gents, smartly dressed, On Saturday nights would queue. Bilston Town Hall clock was a landmark, Where people used to wait, To meet one another, Perhaps on a first date. The clock stopped for awhile, It’s working now again, It’s survived all the elements, The sun, the wind, the rain Bilston’s Flower Show and Carnival, People came from miles around, Always something from everyone, In old Hickman Park ground. Bilston was a vibrant town, All those years ago, When you could walk out safe And people said “hello!” Bilstonians have their memories Of a town they’ll always treasure, Memories locked in their minds, Of a town that gave much pleasure. Trevor Johnson

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Pat McFadden MP

A few words from your Member of Parliament Bilston Football Club

150 New Jobs At Wiggle In Bilston

I am delighted to have been invited to become honorary president of Bilston Football Club. The football club has been part of the town for over 100 years. I am a great believer in the power of football to do good and bring people together. Bilston Town Football Club is an important part of our local identity and I am very pleased to be associated with it.

I recently visited the new Wiggle distribution centre at the Citadel Logistic Centre in Bilston. Wiggle are Britain’s biggest online cycle retailer but also sell running and swimming kits. The £10m investment has brought 150 new jobs to the area and the company has plans for further expansion.

Pat Holds Fair Trade Coffee Morning As part of my work I hold regular coffee mornings around the constituency. These operate like local surgeries where we distribute around 1000 invitations to local streets and hold the event in a local community centre or church hall. Recently I held a special fair Trade Coffee morning at St John’s Methodist Church on Wolverhampton Road East. It was a great success and over recent years the event has become an established part of Wolverhampton’s Fair Trade calendar. I’d like to give special thanks to Paul and Olivia Birch and all at Revolver Fair Trade for supporting the event and providing the excellent coffee on the day.


New Housing In Ward St I am pleased to see a number of new housing developments in our constituency in areas like Thompson Avenue, the Urban Village and Ward St. I recently visited the Persimmon development in Ward St. They are around half way through the building of a total of just under 500 houses. We need more of this in our area and hopefully we will be able to attract more housing in the coming years.

Surgery Dates – April/May Friday 8th April, 6pm – East Park Methodist Church, Brooklands Parade, Wolverhampton, WV1 2ND Saturday 9th April, 9.30am – Spring Vale Primary School, Kenilworth Crescent, Parkfield, WV4 6SD Friday 6th May, 9.30am – Stowlawn Primary, Green Park Avenue, Bilston, WV14 6EH Saturday 7th May, 9.30am- ASAN – The Workspace, All Saints Road, Wolverhampton, WV2 1EL

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News in Brief Football Medal Mystery A reader has passed on a football medal from the 1990s in the hope of re-uniting it with its original owner. Pete Williams, who used to work for Wolverhampton City Council found the medal while clearing out a house a few years ago. The medal is for Wolverhampton & District Sunday Football League Division 1 Runners-up for the 1994/95 season and was awarded to P. Robinson of Portobello F. C. Anyone who knows the owner should ring the Editor on 07534 603662 or email

Flag Competition After much anguishing and deliberation, the judges of the Flag For Bilston competition have decided to postpone announcing a winner due to the extremely low numbers of votes received.

required standard. In short, the judges feel that they don’t feel comfortable in putting forward any of the entries to represent this proud town. It is hoped that the competition can be re-run at some point in the future and all entries have been kept to be considered if this were to happen. Apologies go out to the handful of readers who took the trouble to vote, but with such a small number of votes being submitted, the judges felt they had no option but to take this course of action.

St Leonard’s Football Team – 1949 Reader, Albert Cross, from Dilloways Lane has sent in this photo of St. Leonard’s Football Team. Can you recognise any of them? To help you, the names are as follows; Back row left to right: S. Marriot, J. Leyland, J. Edwards, G. Hawkins, G. Vickers, R. Reynolds. Middle; J. Hopkins, S. Ryder, J. Rotherham, F. Worsey, K. Leyton. Front; A. Cross, R. Proffit and D. Howell.

The competition was launched in the December issue of the Bilston Magazine and all local schools were encouraged to take part. However, the response was very disappointing, not only in terms of numbers but also with many entries having to be disqualified for not meeting the


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Accountancy & Taxation



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Please see answers on page 63 Across 1 Persecute (6) 4 Leader (5) 8 Afterward (5) 9 Clap (7) 10 Remove hair (7) 11 Glade (4) 12 Allow (3) 14 Monster (4) 15 Bee house (4) 18 Blob (3) 21 Mature (4) 23 Flight personnel (7) 25 Degree (7) 26 World-class (5) 27 Claw (5) 28 Nap (6) Down 1 Protective head gear (6) 2 Decomposing (7) 3 Shrieked (8) 4 Immitate (4) 5 Angry (5) 6 Violin (6) 7 Bread ring (5) 13 Baker's dozen (8) 16 Dizziness (7) 17 Deferred payment (6) 19 Trivial (5) 20 Pluck (6) 22 Student (5) 24 Robe (4)


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Win tickets to see John Parrott at Wednesfield Conservative Club

Staffordshire & West Midlands Billiards & Snooker Association are offering Bilston Magazine readers a pair of tickets to an evening with John Parrott on Friday 10th June at 7.30pm. One of the legends of the green baize, John Parrott is a former UK and European champion and became World snooker champion in 1991. He is still a big part of the snooker scene, performing in the ever popular "Snooker Legends" series and the world seniors. Due to his engaging personality and humorous nature he was invited to be a captain on the hugely successful BBC show A Question of Sport for 6 years with regular sidekick Ally McCoist. For the past decade John has been one of the main faces for the BBC snooker team both as a pundit and presenter and currently works on the Derby, Royal Ascot and Grand National for the BBC racing team.

John Parrott is one of snooker’s greats. He spent 14 consecutive years in the top 16, eleven of them in the top 6 and was ranked world number two for 3 years. He is seventh on the all-time list of ranking tournament winners being one of only five players to hold both the World and UK championships in the same calendar year. John is a patron of the Woodlands Hospice in Liverpool and the Kids Out charity which helps disadvantaged children. He was awarded an MBE in 1996. With his charismatic personality, John is an engaging and humorous after dinner speaker, and also an excellent awards host. An established "face" on the after dinner circuit, you are sure to enjoy the company of a personable and professional individual.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets, simply answer the following question correctly: What year did John Parrott win the Snooker World Title? Answer .................................................................................................................................................... Name ........................................................................................................................................................ Address .................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................................ Post code ........................................................ Tel no ............................................................................ Answers must be received by 6 pm on Friday 29th April. Winners will be notified by Monday 2nd May. Please e-mail your answer and contact details to; or post the entry form above to; John Parrott Competition, Bilston Magazine, 16 Holberg Grove, Wednesfield, WV11 3LE. Normal Bilston Magazine competition rules apply – see website for details


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THE GRAPES Moseley Road, Bilston, WV14 6JG AFTERNOON TEAS Glass of Prosecco Selection of Finger Sandwiches Variety of Cakes Fresh Scones with cream and jam Tea or Coffee

Monday – Saturday 12.00pm to 5.00pm £8.50 each or £15 for two (Bookings Only) We also offer; Sunday: Traditional Roast Lunches - £5.95 Monday to Saturday: Two-course lunches - £5.25 NEW M Takeaway service also available ENU For more information or to book a table, ring us on

All Day Breakfas t 12 – 5pm

01902 634395 NEW Children’s Play Area – Coming This Summer To advertise in the Bilston Magazine please call 07534 603662 or email


In the autumn of 2012 Nik Smith, having worked in Recruitment for many years, most recently in the Healthcare Sector, was inspired to open a business to provide staff to Care Providers. Weary of the bad reputation the Recruitment business appeared to generate, the focus of the business was to be Customer Orientated with emphasis on supply of quality, fully compliant staff. In September Smithridge Healthcare Ltd was incepted, initially operating from premises in Victoria Street, Wolverhampton within the offices an established business, Nik was able to utilize both the facilities and staff to commence operating. In possession of the necessary business knowledge an excellent rapport with many clients in the area was soon achieved. Within a few months the scope for expansion became apparent, along with the need to employ specialist individuals’ with the specific experience to match the business requirements. In February 2013 the services of a Compliance Manager were retained, paving the way for a structured approach to personnel for the company. A reflection of the high calibre and ethics of the establishment was indicated by supplying an ever increasingly diverse client base and successfully obtaining national contracts with the BUPA, Four Seasons and De Poel Groups. With this success came a degree of Homes situated in rural locations, which were not readily served by public transport networks. Nik wished to ensure, not only the safety of his staff but also sustainability of service to the clients. To address this issue company transport was implemented in the form of a designated driver and vehicle, who, on a needs met basis, would deliver and collect staff to and from more inaccessible homes. With the database growing, appropriate personnel to evolve and develop relationships were employed. Supported by the Compliance Manager staff ensured delivery of the quality and customer driven objectives such as full compliance, sales support and an out of hours 24 on call facility. Over the coming months, with the increase in fully compliant Healthcare Workers and Qualified Nurses strengthening the foundations, further clients in a wide variety of Care Homes were won including a national contract to supply HC One Homes, a clear indication the business was identifying and delivering a quality service. As the business evolved it was quickly apparent the current premises were no longer suitable to meet the needs of the Company and in November 2014, the


Company moved to premises in Office 28 in Cleveland Street, which afforded more appropriate accommodation including shop front facility. Always operating a policy of diversity and fair employment, Nik, decided to offer Apprenticeships, to give young individuals a chance to train and develop in the Recruitment Sector. In January 2015 two positions were created within the Recruitment and Compliance Teams. At the same time it was agreed a specific person was required to look after the diverse needs of the Accounts facility and the staffing structure was organised to enable an employee from the Compliance Team to re-train their skills and take up the position. With the staffing structure of the Business firmly in place a decision was made to obtain an award which reflected the high values and commitment to providing a quality service to the clients. The Business undertook to obtain the ISO 9001:2008 standard. In June 2015 a Quality Management Representative was retained with the responsibility to ensure the company policies, documents and procedures currently in practice were conformant to the standard and to develop the Human Resources Department. Simultaneously, over the coming months, Senior Management and Compliance worked on completion of a tender to supply the NHS for England and Wales. A commitment was also made to become members of The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). On October 2nd the business was proud to announce the successful achievement of the ISO 9001:2008 award. The Senior Management Team, revaluated the business toward the end of 2015. Equipped with a strong belief in the values and quality commitment at the core of the business, and confident in their excellent profile in the Healthcare marketplace the team look forward with renewed vigour to developments in 2016. “With the key personnel in place and the continued vision of a provision of the highest quality service to our clients, the company looks forward to a period of growth and expansion to further branches in outreaching areas, to supply existing and future clients with quality staff whose care and commitment to the service users is second to none.”

Nik Smith – Director

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Green Park School Comedy Night Fundraising for Playground Equipment The specialist swings and roundabouts at Green Park School enable the kids to enjoy the sensations and experiences we took for granted as youngsters. The cost of these items is huge, and it was with this in mind that the Green Park School Voluntary Committee and members of the Rotary Club of Bilston and W-ton West arranged a fund raiser on the 5th February at Springvale Sports and Social Club. The Variety Show comprised Chris King, a comedian and singer; Jimmy Carlo, International Magician and comedian, Dougie Parker. They were a fantastic line up with some serious magic, singing and


even more serious laughter. One word summed the night up BRILLIANT!! Over 170 people attended and over £2,500 was raised. However, new playground equipment for our very special children does cost an awful lot of money, something between £20,000-£30,000. You can see there is a fair bit to raise, if anyone would like to make a financial contribution to enable the equipment to be ordered sooner rather than later; please send a cheque made payable to Green Park School, Green Park Av, Bilston WV14 6EH.

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The next fundraiser will be at Himley Hall on Sunday the 24th. May, a team from the school staff will be taking part in the Wolverhampton Rotary Club’s ‘Dragon Boat Race’. This offers an opportunity to cheer the team on and if you wish you can get a sponsorship form off the school by ringing them on

01902 556429.

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Bilston Rotary ‘Big Bake Off’ in Bilston

By Jon Crockett

Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy was eliminated. The District Final 2015/16 was on the 24th February and saw twelve students compete over the evening with the two winners going forward to the Regional final at St Catherine’s School, North Somerset in March . The standards were very high with finally four competitors all being close to going forward. The Rotary Club of Bilston was pleased to be able to host both the semi-final and final of the Districts ‘Young Chef of the Year’ competition. The competition is for students aged between 11 and 17 and entrants are required to prepare, cook and serve a healthy two course meal for two people comprising a main course and dessert costing no more than £10 in total for the ingredients. They have 10 minutes unpacking and organisation time, 10 minutes setting table time and 75 minutes to prepare, cook and serve their two dishes. All the competitors have come through previous rounds held in schools across Rotary District 1210 and each student was sponsored by their local Rotary Club. A team of judges drawn from Food Professionals, Teachers and Rotarians including our very own Lynne Brooks assessed the students on a range of skills including healthy choice, planning and costing, range of skills, neatness of working area and hygiene. Finally ensuring the meal is served at the correct temperature and of course taste and presentation of the food will be judged.

After much deliberation the judges finally confirmed the two winners to go forward as Saima Miah aged 14 from the Grace Academy Darlaston and Sophie Mansell aged 17 New College Telford. The competition was organised by Rotary District 1210 Youth Services Chair Rotarian Mike Campbell and Richard Green, District Governor was on hand to awards the winners with their certificates and prizes. We are grateful to South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy for their fantastic support and allowing us to use their facilities. Many thanks to Lynne Brooks for being a judge , Gerry brooks for Directing traffic and President Ken Dolman for being on hand on both evening to promote Rotary and our Club.

The Southern semi-final on the 9th February was our first evening, during which sadly our clubs sponsored young chef from South


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Bilston & Willenhall Lions Club Senior Citizens Party

Bilston & Willenhall Lions Club have held their Senior Citizens party for the last five years at The Willows, Stowlawn School. Around 100 people were wined, dined and entertained. They enjoyed Bingo and raffles, for food hampers, which were from donations from Stowlawn and Villiers Schools and local supermarkets.


Entertainment this year was by Graham Ronson a local Singer and Musician. There was no charge to the Seniors who have done a lot for Bilston in their time and the Lions like to repay them with this annual party. A good time was had by all and hopefully they’ll be doing it again next year.

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The Coseley Comets Annual Awards and Reunion Evening Gerry and the staff of Hurst Hill Labour Club and to all who took part throughout the evening for making it possible. We would also like to thank all the ex members who attended and making the evening extra special for us. We hope that the trip down memory lane was as good for you as it was for us and just a reminder that the band is alive and kicking and hope to see you at more events

The Coseley Comets commenced 2016 with the annual awards and reunion evening which took place at Hurst Hill Labour Club on Saturday 6th February. We were joined on the night by the Mayor and Mayoress of Dudley, Councillor Steve Waltho and his wife Jayne. Also in the audience was Councillor Melvyn Mottram A packed audience were privileged to witness a wide range of entertainment which included singing and dancing. For the first time the band performed during the evening for which they received a tremendous round of applause. The awards were distributed at the break. The best band person chosen by their fellow piers was jointly awarded to Brooke and Mitch. The best band person chosen by the staff was awarded to Freya, and after an excellent citation, the president’s award was won by Kate. They were given by the Mayor and Mayoress. We are now working on our 2016 programme, The Phantom of The Opera, which we are all excited about and looking forward to performing both in our local community and in competition representing Coseley, the Borough of Dudley and The Black Country with great pride

To view the photos taken on the day of the band please go to the facebook page ‘Comets Media Team’, like the page and the photos are there to view together with photos from other events we have taken part in. There are also videos on our you Tube channel. We would also like it if you would like or leave a comment that we as a team can respond to. We are always on the lookout for new talent to join the band. Anyone interested in the band, whether to join, to check on our future events, or to book the band for an event please come and see us where we are performing. No experience is necessary as we teach from scratch. Anyone can join the band from the age of 6. Alternatively we have our website, We have our facebook page under The Comets Performance Ensemble and we have our own You Tube and Vimeo channels under The Comets PE. Our e mail address is We are also on Flickr and Instagram. We are also on twitter and you can follow the band. The address is @cometspe Alternatively we would like to see you at any of our practices. We rehearse at Upper Ettingshall Methodist Church, Upper Ettingshall Road on Tuesday Evenings from 7pm till 8pm and at The Coseley School from 7pm till 8.30pm on Thursday Evenings.

We would like to pay a big thank you to the Mayor and Mayoress for taking the time out and spending it with us, to Councillor Mottram, to


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School in Focus Stow Heath Primary, Portobello By Vivienne Bunce – Head Teacher

‘Shine like a star’, is the motto that we have chosen for Stow Heath Primary School. We aim to make all our children ‘Shine like stars’ and prepare them for life outside school. As a school we are pleased that our children think Stow Heath is a ‘good place to be’. The children love our school uniform and think that it is ‘the smartest around’.

be happy, confident, responsible and show self-discipline. As a school we have a core set of values and a ‘RESPECT’ code which underpins everything we do.

The ethos of the school is built around the strong belief that every child should

We provide a caring and safe establishment where children can experience a broad range of learning experiences through a wide range of topics. We have a really exciting curriculum and this is supported by a range of visits to Kingswood, the Black Country Museum, Dudley Canal Trust, Telford Town Park, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Barmouth, Ash End Farm. As a school we take great pride in supporting charities such as ‘Wear Pink’ for breast cancer, Children in Need, Comic Relief, Sports Relief and ‘Wear Red’ for the British Heart Foundation.


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the Wolverhampton Music Festival. The school has a football team, a tag rugby team and takes part in athletic events. This year, the school has shone in the sporting events and we are really proud of our children.

Children at our school take responsibility in many ways. We have a ‘School Leadership’ team, Peer supporters and Digital Ambassadors. There are currently 498 pupils aged 3 – 11 at Stow Heath Primary as well as childcare on the site, run by ‘Rainbow Childcare’. The school has a breakfast club and an after school club, so the site is open 8am – 6pm. We firmly believe that education is a partnership between school, child and parent. We hold regular open evenings and events to which families are invited. Art, music and sport are really important. As a school we take part in Wolverhampton’s Diversity Festival and

Stow Heath Primary School Hill Road, Portobello Willenhall WV13 3TT 01902 558820/ 558824 To advertise in the Bilston Magazine please call 07534 603662 or email


Bilston and the Yeti:

The Life and Times of Charles Howard-Bury, one-time MP for Bilston Bury was adopted by Lord Lansdowne, the then Viceroy of India, and was brought up in the Dolomites of Austrian Tyrol – where he developed a passion for climbing, hill-walking, photography and botany. After graduating from Sandhurst in 1905 with the rank of Captain, Charles became the first ‘Westerner’ to enter the forbidden land of Tibet – reading the works of the Krishnamuriti and meeting the Dhalai Lama Over the next decade Howard-Bury would become one of the few ‘Westerners’ to traverse Siberia, the great foothills of Central Asia and the Tien Shan Mountain range, which divides modern-day Kyrgystan and China – becoming fluent in 27 local dialects along the way. In 1915 he returned to Europe to re-join his regiment - the King’s Rifles – rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and led his battalion with distinction at Arras, the Somme and Passchendaele. After being mentioned in dispatches on numerous occasions and receiving the DSO, the Colonel was taken prisoner at Ypres – being one of the last of the troops to be released in May 1919. Colonel Charles Howard-Bury was elected as the Conservative MP for Bilston at the 1922 General Election, narrowly beating celebrated union man and Labour stalwart John Baker in a surprise victory. The Colonel would hold on to his Bilston seat in the surprise election of 1923, before being ousted by a vengeful Baker the following year.

So what links this socialite, celebrated explorer and war hero to the infamous legend of the Abominable Snowman - and how did he end up in a small industrial steel-town in the Black Country?

Here local historian and PhD researcher, Greig Campbell, explores the life of the good Colonel... During his short-time as MP for Bilston the Colonel involved himself in both local and national affairs – being assigned as the Private Secretary to the then Secretary of State for War, Edward Stanley – the 17th Earl of Derby. Perhaps his most telling contributions to Parliament were those concerning international affairs, making statements on debates surrounding Indian and Irish nationalism, as well as the persecution of religious minorities in Russia. Born in London in 1881, he was the only child of Captain Kenneth Howard and Lady Emily Bury, wealthy socialites and part-time explorers whom had met during a botanical expedition in Algeria. Upon the death of his father in 1884, Howard-


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tion of an ambitious young journalist at the Calcutta Statesman, Henry Newman. Below Newman recounts his role in popularising the myth of the Yeti:

By 1921 the future of the British Empire was in great peril – as the government faced revolutionary insurrection at both home and in the colonies. In order to preserve the prestige of the Crown, the Royal Geographic Society and the Alpine Club, with the backing of George V, decided to tackle man’s last frontier – Mount Everest. After superintending the complex diplomatic negotiations required for a team to gain permission to enter the hermit kingdom of Tibet, Howard-Bury was chosen as leader of the ‘1921 British Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition’. However, the 1921 expedition was to become dominated by a dispatch sent by Howard-Bury whilst traversing the Northern slope of Everest: “We were able to pick out tracks of hares and foxes . . . but one that at first looked like a human foot puzzled us considerably . . . these tracks, which caused so much comment, were probably caused by a large ‘loping’ grey wolf, which in the soft snow formed double tracks rather like those of a barefooted man – that is, a wolf that had placed its paws in the depressions that had been made famous by its front paws.”

The controversy centred on Howard-Bury’s reference to the now infamous human-like footprint. After qualification from the Colonel regarding the origins of the foot, the matter would have been resolved, if it wasn’t for the interven-

“I am the showman responsible for the introduction of the ‘Abominable Snowman’ to the world of literature and art . . . I fell into conversation with some of the porters, and to my surprise and delight another Tibetan, who was present, gave me a full description of the wild men – how their feet were turned backward to enable them to climb easily and how their hair was so long and matted that, when going downhill, it fell over their eyes . . . When I asked him about what name was applied to these men, he said “Metoh Kangmi.” Kangmi means “snow-men” and the word ‘Metoh’ I translated as “abominable” quite so much as “filthy” and “disgusting,” somebody dressed in rags.” Newman’s article reached Fleet Street and soon ‘Yeti fever’ spread the Western-world. HowardBury returned to Britain as a national hero. After delivering a series of lantern slideshows at packed cinema halls across the country, the Colonel used his new found fame to turn his hand to electoral politics – competing for the seat for Bilston in 1922. Much to the annoyance of his political rival, John Baker, Howard-Bury used his public image as the discoverer of the Abominable Snowman to draw large crowds at public meetings throughout Bilston, Sedgely and Coseley The Colonel would prove to be a popular local politico – only being ousted in 1924 with a Liberal-Labour coalition. After a short stint as MP for Chelmsford, Howard-Bury retired to his beloved citrus farm in Hammamet Tunisia, where he entertained the likes of fellow explorers Freya Stark and Andre Malreux, as well as Colonel Bourgiba – the first President of Tunisia. Although he is still relatively unknown amongst contemporary Bilstonians, Howard-Bury is celebrated by modern explorers. I will leave you with the words of celebrated modern-day explorer Wade Davis, who considers the Colonel as one of his heroes: “Bury was a man of discretion and decorum, typical of a generation of men unprepared to yield their feelings to analysis, and quite unwilling to litter the world with themselves. Individuals so confident in their masculinity that they could speak of love between men without shame, collect butterflies and flowers in the dawn, paint watercolours in late morning, discuss poetry in the early afternoon and at dusk still be prepared to assault the German trenches or the flanks of the highest mountain in the world.”

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Son of late Lord Bilston to lead 2nd fundraising Memorial Challenge

Brendon Turner, son of the late Lord Bilston Dennis Turner, will lead a team of at least 20 friends through a fundraising challenge to raise money for the charity who supported his father in his final weeks. Brendon, 38, and his team raised over £13000 for Compton Hospice in 2014 by taking part in a gruelling 24 hour challenge. The 2016 Challenge will begin 0n 23rd July, in Anglesey and conclude at Compton and will include 140 miles of cycling, 800m open water swim, a 7 mile run/ trek carrying their bicycles. Mr Turner, who is the co-founder of Energize Personal Training, will be supported on his challenge by friends Alan Davies, 40, Jay Croot, 38, Paul Forthergill, 38, Reece Smith, 25, Mark Chambers, 39, Andrew Tiernan, 37, Michael Sudlow, 25, Jamie Howe, 36, Michael Howe, 39, Adrian Howe, 41, David Percival, 31, Gary Ruby, 31, Jon Burgwin, 26, Kevin Mohan, 44, Tom Adams, 32, Shaun Bennett, 35, Grant Shinton, 35, Marc Hughes, 51, Chris Lake, 32, and Stuart Banbery, 38. The team will be supported by Physiotherapist Patrick Hyde, 46, Photographer Jay Morgan and Colin Mathews, 48, who will be on hand with supplies and ready to help with broken bike chains, punctures and general servicing. Mr Turner is pleased with the motivation shown by the team and comments, “The


group had no hesitation in stepping up despite the scale of the challenge. My Dad would be so proud as he would always encourage people to join together for the greater good which is what we want to do for Compton Hospice." Mr Turner explains: “Like many terminally ill cancer sufferers, the last weeks of my dad’s life were very challenging for all concerned. I am convinced that things would have been far worse without the help and support of Compton Hospice’s home care team who were there to care, educate and support our family. I would like to show my appreciation by completing the challenge and raising some money for the charity, which will help them to continue to provide first class care and support to other local families in need.” Grace Ruston, PR & Marketing Officer at Compton Hospice, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Brendon and his team for choosing to raise funds for Compton Hospice. The challenge sounds extremely tough but we know how determined they are to succeed. We would like to wish the whole team the very best of luck and thank them for their support.” The team is aiming to raise £20,000 on behalf of Compton Hospice which provides care and support for people with life-limiting illnesses. Those wishing to sponsor Mr Turner’s team can visit their fundraising page at

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Scout Presentation Evening

Wolverhampton East District Scouts held their annual presentation evening on Monday 15th February at Bilston Town. They were well supported by parents and other relatives filling the hall to capacity. The main awards presented to the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts was the Chief Scout’s Award for which the children have to complete a number of challenges set out by the Scout Association, these include for cubs a 1-2 hour hike, cook a meal, bicycle maintenance, find out about other faiths, show how they are good team members and teach another cub a skill. All the groups in the Scout District received awards and in total 17 went to Beavers, 17 to Cubs and 5 to Scouts. The Assistant District Commissioners explained in brief what the children had to do and also explained that not every member of the Beavers, cubs and Scouts gains one of these awards. Well done and congratulations to our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.

completed 5, 10, 15 and 30 years of service to the Scouts, not everyone who received these awards was a leader, some were helpers whilst others just served on a committee which supports each group and help raise money for that group. The District Commissioner was also presented with the Award of Merit and a brief outline of his achievements was read out. If you feel that you are able to contribute even a small amount of time please contact us at or 0844 414 5157

Awards were also presented to Adult Leaders and supporters who had


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A Murder Mystery Evening

An Extortionate Death

Writer Ian Mc Cutcheon Performed by : Alveley Entertainers Synopsis : Accomplished professional blackmailer Jack Hammer is normally very careful never to meet his victims –or the police- but now he has invited a collection of his current targets to his country house. But far from blackmail, the results of the encounter is Evening starts at 7.00pm Tickets available from South Wolverhampton & Bilston Academy Reception or call the events team on

01902 357681

Cost £10.00, this will include Fish and Chips Supper and a pudding. Please bring your own refreshments… To advertise in the Bilston Magazine please call 07534 603662 or email


Mary Rose Warship Raised by Black Country Falconer! agent made it difficult for him to progress any further to get the novel published. This is a problem many first time writers have. So the manuscript was consigned to a drawer – where it gathered dust for five years ........sunk like the Mary Rose!

Baggeridge Country Park is a long way away from Portsmouth Harbour and Southsea Castle, where Henry VIII’s warship the Mary Rose sank in the Solent on 19th July 1545 in full view of the King. The ship was sailing out as part of the English fleet to repel a large invasion force from France, which was anchored off the east coast of the Isle of Wight. But in July 2014 a chance encounter between Bilston author Ray Morris, a retired teacher and William (Bill) Pinchers former Black Country Steelworker, from Dudley - who both met during one of Bill’s Falconry demonstration sessions at the Dudley Country Park.

That is, until Ray met Bill - Who was amazed that the story had not been accepted by any publisher, knowing it to be unique and added that he ‘happened to know a Publisher in York’ that he would contact to see if he would be interested in the latest historical Tudor story. And so he was! The story follows the adventures of two young Tudor lads who finish up aboard the Mary Rose during the year that the ship mysteriously sank in 1545. It covers their colourful experiences in Portsmouth and Nonsuch Palace, falconry, archery and jousting competitions and life on board the Tudor warship.

Their conversation raised the fact that Ray had previously written an historical adventure novel which included a new theory about the mysterious sinking of the Tudor Warship. Falconry was a regular pastime for the Tudors and it was featured in sections of Ray’s novel. It was an ideal opportunity for him to quiz Falconer Bill on his working knowledge of the subject. A synopsis of the novel – ‘OUT OF THE BLUE – an oath revealed’ had been sent to approximately 50/60 publishers five years earlier in 2009 – to no avail. Sadly, Ray was an unpublished author at that time and without an


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The author confessed to a ‘unique flash of inspiration’ during the writing of the third chapter; revealing a new theory on the mysterious event on a calm sunny Sunday afternoon on the Solent adding - that treachery and treason were not so uncommon during the turbulent times of King Henry VIII’s reign. Ray, a retired teacher of Design Technology, first became interested in the Mary Rose subject when (along with 60 million viewers worldwide) he watched on TV the historic raising of the hull of the Tudor warship on 11th October 1982. He was at that time a Production Director in an Advertising Agency in Wolverhampton. His work colleagues bought him the book for his birthday, three days later; ‘HOW WE FOUND THE MARY ROSE,’ Alexander McKee. Little did he realise at that time, that less than a year later - He would be made redundant (joining 2million+ others), in September 1983. During that following period, his first time of unemployment, it afforded him the opportunity to read about the many Mary Rose artefacts

found and researched the mystery of the Tudor warship and related subjects, resulting in many visits to Portsmouth’s Mary Rose Museum, that led to conversations with his Collections Manager contact at the Mary Rose Trust. Out Of The Blue – an oath revealed an historical novel - is now available from Urban Media Publishing Ltd, 1-5 The Shambles, York, or from Amazon (£10 inc p&p) and to Kindle readers (£1.99).

For further information contact: Ray Morris, Author, Out of the Blue - an oath revealed. ISBN: 978-1508577386. email or Tel: 01902 652405/Mob: 07980830876

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Shopping tradition still strong for Beacon Centre mainstay of the

These days charity shops are a British high street, but first one in the UK is believed to have opened in the Black Country way back in 1899.

It was launched by the West Midlands sight loss charity the Beacon Centre, then known as the Wolverhampton Society for the Blind. It stocked baskets, chair seatings and mats which were sold to raise cash for the organisation. The items were made by a group of 15 men and three women who were employed in a workshop on the same site as the shop in Wolverhampton’s Victoria Street. Fast-forward more than 100 years and while the products may have changed, Beacon Centre remains as committed as ever to its shops, having just relaunched its Bilston High Street branch to the delight of shoppers. Whereas once manufactured goods would have filled the shelves these days it is children’s toys and women’s clothes that prove the big draw but Beacon Centre’s head of enterprise operations Tracey Ford says people still love to shop in aid of a good cause. She said: “Our shops have always been an important part of what we do, as well as the shop in Wolverhampton we also opened a branch in Dudley in 1928. “We currently have six stores and are still leading the way in terms of innovation. Our Halesowen branch is combined with a coffee shop as part of Beacon Centre’s drive to use social enterprise to support our work, while our new look Bilston store has a donation station to make it as easy as possible to drop off donated items with us. “Our shops have remained very popular over the years, the Bilston store had to shut for two weeks while renovations took place and we had people banging on the windows during that time trying to get in. People like to know they are helping a good cause while doing their shopping and picking up a bargain.” Both the Halesowen and Bilston stores also have digital kiosks so that shoppers can find out more about the work of the Beacon Centre across the region.


The Bilston branch has also had new signage, new flooring and a new layout, all of which proved popular with the dozens of shoppers who poured through the doors within minutes of it reopening on Friday (26). Bosses at the charity also say part of the success of the shops is down to the volunteers which help to run them. Among them is Pat Smith who has volunteered at the Bilston store since it first opened its doors back in 1997. She volunteers three days a week running the children’s department of the shop and said: “We have a lot of regular customers and I have really been looking forward to showing them the new look. I really enjoy volunteering and it is great to help such an important charity, I wear glasses myself and you never know when you may need Beacon Centre’s services.” And it is not just charity shops where Beacon Centre leads the way, the organisation has also recently opened the UK’s first social enterprise opticians at its base in Wolverhampton Road East, Sedgley. It is fully equipped with the latest frames and lenses and is NHS registered. As a social enterprise all profits are ploughed back into helping Beacon Centre support those living with sight loss across the area. Mrs Ford added: “Beacon is now in its 141st year and we are proud of our history of innovation and hope that we can continue that tradition in the years going forward.”

For further information please contact Helen Brown, Communications Development Manager on 01902 886785 or via email

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CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets, simply answer the following question; Cineworld Bentley Bridge have given the Bilston Magazine 5 pairs of tickets for the new Captain America movie, which is out on 25th April.

Who does Captain America have to fight in this film?

Captain America returns and this time he has to fight his most formidable opponent yet... Iron Man!


Following an incident involving the Avengers which involved much collateral damage, politicians propose a governing body to monitor the activities of superheroes. This brings Steve Rogers into conflict with Tony Stark, with the other Avengers choosing sides behind Captain America and Iron Man. But while fighting each other, they must work out how to protect the world from a new enemy... Captain America and Iron Man go head-to-head in this superhero-studded blockbuster based on the comic book by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Kingsman). Directed by the Russo brothers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), this promises to be darker and more emotional than any Marvel movie yet. Look out for guest appearances from Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Vision, Black Widow, Black Panther, Falcon, War Machine and... Spider-Man! Call 0871 200 2000 for more information or visit their website @


Name .......................................................... Address ...................................................... Post code .................................................. tel no (H) .................................................... (M) .............................................................. Answers must be received by 6pm on Friday 22nd April. Winners will be notified by Monday 25th April. Please email your answers to or post the entry form above to; Captain America Competition, Bilston Magazine, 16 Holberg Grove, Wednesfield, WV11 3LE. Normal Bilston Magazine competition rules apply – see website for details

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GARDEN MAINTENANCE We offer: ● Lawn mowing and edging ● Hedge trimming ● Leaf clearance ● Planting and pruning ● Border maintenance ● Lawn treatments and weed control ● ●

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Driving Connor to Karting Success WV Active. An opportunity like this doesn’t come around that often. “Using WV Active to get fit will really help. You need to be strong in racing – you are going at almost 90mph at times and the body needs to be in good condition. “My ambition is to be a Formula 1 racer and be up there with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.” His ambition is to be the next Lewis Hamilton and 12-year-old Connor Prosser has received a helping hand in realising his F1 dream thanks to City of Wolverhampton Council. The council has sponsored Connor, from Bilston, by giving him a free five year membership of WV Active. Connor is a talented kart racer and is no stranger to hitting 90mph out on the track despite his tender years. He has been racing since the age of eight winning many accolades and awards and now has a massive opportunity to race for Formula Kart Stars (FKS) which is screened on Sky Sports. FKS is supported by Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and counts a number of successful F1 drivers – including Lewis Hamilton - as former competitors.

Cllr Steve Evans said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring Connor by providing membership of WV Active. Connor is flying the flag for Bilston and Wolverhampton and has achieved a lot of success already despite being only 12. “He now has a wonderful opportunity in Formula Kart Stars which will be screened on Sky television which will get him exposure to a big audience. “Connor is a very impressive young man who has big ambitions to reach the top in his chosen sport and City of Wolverhampton Council wishes him every success.” More information about Formula Kart Racing is available from

Connor has been accepted into the prestigious competition which begins next month. He was presented with his membership of WV Active this week by Cllr Steve Evans – cabinet member for city environment. Connor said: “I was really excited when I found out I had got the membership of


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The Fight For Bilston By Tom Larkin

On 1st April 1966, the Local Government Bill that took away Bilston’s proud independence came into force. Local Historian, Tom Larkin, looks back at the efforts by the people of the town, to try and stop this happening.

It adopted the slogan “Bilston for Bilstonians” and launched what was to become the famous “Fighting fund”. In addition, various controversial posters were printed, urging people to join in the forthcoming struggle.

In 1959 the government revealed it was contemplating changes to existing local boundaries, but few people paid any attention, then as more detailed information emerged it became clear that they involved the complete destruction of nineteen historic councils and their replacement by enlarged units of local government achieved by forced amalgamation.

At that time the town population was around 34,000 and a decision was made to organise a mass petition. This successfully attracted just over 19,000 signatures and Bilston became front runners in efforts to widen the campaign by attempting to persuade equally threatened neighbouring authorities to establish a united strategy of opposition.

Early in 1960 the powerful Association of Municipal Authorities after hours scrutinising the recommended new boundary lines agreed to a motion stating “that urgent steps be taken to ensure those small local councils retain their long established independence”. The response from residents living in locations such as Darlaston, Tipton, and Wednesbury, along with other similar towns facing extinction was very predictable they made it clear that it was their wish for things to remain the same. This only confirmed the fact that Black Country communities have always been fiercely proud of their traditions, culture, heritage and character. Consequently, a decision was taken to oppose the plan and utilise every democratic option available to persuade the government they should reconsider the most controversial aspects of their widespread proposals. The first stirrings of this grassroots revolt occurred in the borough of Bilston on 13th June 1961 with the forming of a citizen’s defence committee. The inaugural meeting was convened through the distribution a small card inviting people to come along and support positive action against the proposals of the boundary commission for the death of Bilston”

From the beginning volunteers who came forward to offer their help realised that one of the vital priorities would be that of raising money to sustain the struggle so they set out a programme of regular whist drives, coffee mornings, jumble sales, raffles, street and pub collections, dances, concerts in addition a policy of frequent leaflet distribution and lobbying MPs. All of these activities were backed up in an unusual way with the novelty of a replica coffin being paraded through the town asking people to throw in their loose change, it would also be placed in various shops, displaying the message “that Bilston’s entire future as an independent council was at stake”. Another unique feature of Bilston’s protest movement came with the one off gesture of five representatives from both of the town’s main political parties meeting in order to agree on a truce giving them the opportunity of openly supporting the cause. Needless to say their actions angered each of their London headquarters’ but it made no difference they still stuck to the agreement. Another development that was exceptional was that of local fish shops enclosing inside customer’s orders a leaflet with the warning “if Wolverhampton take over, Bilston will have had its chips”.

Urban District Council The chairman and three founding members were all well known local business men or dignitaries. They consisted of Dr R Abbott, local doctor, Walter Hughes a justice of the peace, F Collins Funeral director, and G Stead, local business man.


Bilston Town Hall August 1960 – pic courtesy of Express & Star

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In October 1961 a public inquiry began at Wolverhampton to adjudicate on various objections submitted against the changes. These including alternative schemes from eight of the region’s smaller authorities which they claimed would be far less detrimental to the Black Country and its unique local communities.

recommend such action made clear he intended asking parliament to approve the previous government’s proposals.

When the lengthy proceedings finally ended it was announced that the overall findings had been accepted with minor modifications and consequently implementation of the new boundaries would commence on the 1st of April 1964.

As the struggle of the smaller councils continued it started to attract nationwide media attention from the BBC and various national newspapers.

Undoubtedly this decision was a demoralising setback but it simply hardened the determination of protestors to carry on by declaring their intentions to continue frustrating and hindering the government in every way possible within the law. The issue that upset them most was the fact that the evidence they had submitted contained figures and information that in certain areas of the region, the new recommendations were totally bizarre and made very little sense, but nevertheless their observations were virtually ignored or just dismissed. By far the most ludicrous example involved the small area of Moxley which from the end of the war had been jointly administered by Darlaston and Bilston Councils because of its unusual split site situation by being located within the boundaries of both authorities.

He further controversially accused the protest movement of regularly adopting undemocratic tactics as part of their campaign.

The BBC produced a documentary detailing facts about the battle and an article in a respected newspaper described in great detail how small authorities in the Black Country were fighting to retain their proud independence. One of the papers summing up the situation by stating “Their success or failure may well set the pattern of local government for the whole of the country” Unfortunately, they omitted to mention that the government’s policy of interfering unnecessarily with boundaries was based solely on the questionable theory that “Big is always better”.

In spite of that fact the commissions solution was to dump the entire area into Walsall, a place that hardly anyone from Moxley had any worthwhile affinity with or desire to live under. For Bilston especially such an amalgamation would prove to be devastating, because Moxley had for years been a vital area for allocating families under its slum clearance programme and for housing applicants on its ever rising council waiting list. It would also result in the loss of 850 homes to Walsall, built by the borough plus all the cost of providing roads, drainage and public utilities and a large area of playing fields plus facilities developed and located there for the benefit of Bilston youngsters because of the shortage of suitable land for that purpose in other parts of the town. From the time details of the government’s plans for Moxley became known, the residents had reacted angrily making it quite clear they wanted to continue living under either Darlaston or Bilston, but their opinions were totally ignored. In 1963 Bilston and Wednesbury Borough Councils, along with three of the region’s district councils, Darlaston, Willenhall and Sedgley, revealed they were taking their objections to the high court. This was after an alternative scheme presented by Staffordshire Country Council to merge Tipton and Bilston with an area of Coseley was turned down by the government. The general election in 1964 resulted in a change of government raising hopes that the policy to alter boundaries would be reconsidered. On the contrary Richard Crossman, the minister with powers to

Tom Larkin In order to justify their intentions, the government put forward the hazy and false doctrine that by amalgamating smaller councils into larger authorities it would they claimed would be more efficient, produce better qualified officials and councillors, never be remote from the people and eventually deliver improved services at a cheaper cost to every household. Then in May 1965 the long awaited decision on the 1963 appeal against the proposals presented to the high court was sadly rejected. Without doubt the disheartening court verdict was a real setback for campaigners and following that the dispute was transferred to Westminster for a history making day that would decide the future of the Black Country region forever. Not surprisingly opposition groups feared the eventual outcome. They had become convinced that Wolverhampton, Dudley, West Bromwich and Walsall authorities had from the beginning given covert support for a policy of extending local boundaries because of their vested interests.

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On the 2nd December 1965 the infamous West Midland Order Bill was approved by parliament. This was only after the most distasteful sham debate imaginable before the whole hypocritical proceedings ended in a total shambles, when the argument that was so important to many Black Country residents was not pursued as it should have been to a democratic division and vote. This tame surrender was a truly unexpected let down and all the subsequent government propaganda proclaiming the imaginary benefits for communities failed to pacify protestors. They still maintained it was a scheme contrived by ambitious power hungry politicians and unelected civil servants solely for the purpose of more empire building.

In an almost similar repetition politicians and bureaucrats are pursuing a further extension of their ludicrous “bigger is better” doctrine by attempting to establish a massive “West Midland combined authority”. This will be subject to strict government conditions mainly the election of mayor with authority for its overall management in addition he will have unheard of power to fix levels of taxation to finance the costly experiment. Just like the sixties no mandate exists for these changes, local Black Country Residents haven’t been consulted or given the opportunity to express their opinions on the proposals, just what the cost of this extra unnecessary bureaucracy will be for individual household remains to be seen.

Amazingly no local MP apart from John Stonehouse the controversial junior minister for Wednesbury attempted to give any plausible explanation for the extraordinary decision not to demand a vote be taken. Apparently the minister never intended speaking on the issue and made clear he would anyway have chosen to abstain. It’s therefore only possible to speculate on what motivated other members not to press for a vote at the conclusion of the debate. These suspicions were vindicated in 1974 with the introduction of more unwanted changes that proved equally disastrous particularly the creation of a huge West Midlands County Council.

The protest to save Bilston’s independence took on many forms. Ward Councillor and Fish & Chip shop owner, Bob Campbell, started serving chips in a paper bag, printed with the words; “If Wolverhampton take over, you’ve had your chips.” A campaign was launched called ‘Bilston For Bilstonians’ and Bilston Defence Committee was formed. Members arranged for a symbolic coffin to be displayed in shops so that local people could donate to the cause.

Bilston Town Hall today This greatly disliked municipal “white elephant” did nothing to improve people’s lives but like most vast units of administration became remote, ineffective and very costly. The majority of the region’s population rejoiced when it was abolished in March 1986 even so it appears nothing has been learned from the bitter confrontations concerning political interference with local communities. It seems as often happens, history is destined to be repeated exactly 50 years on from those unwanted forced amalgamation, but this time on a much larger scale.


[Pic of coffin with caption – Here’s a photo of local girl, Carol Mountford, 16, in 1961, putting a coin in the coffin at a local shop. Do you know where Carol is now? Let us know. The coffin was later delivered to the town hall and plans were made to bury it in Hickman Park along with historical documents. Does anyone know if this happened? A protest petition also attracted more than 17,000 signatures. However, all the efforts came to nothing and many of the town’s councillors and aldermen sadly fell out of the picture altogether.

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Willenhall Transport Show A group of local businessmen and politicians have joined forces to organise the first ever, Willenhall Transport Show on Sunday 12th June.

Organisers are hoping to attract a celebrity from the motoring world to open the event, but this can’t be confirmed at the time of going to print.

The day promises to be a must for lovers of anything with wheels, with everything from bicycles and scooters to buses and classic cars on show to the thousands of visitors.

Entrance prices have been deliberately kept as low as possible with adult entry just £3 and children under-12 allowed in free of charge.

The event will take place the day after Willenhall Carnival and will be held on the large field next to Noose Lane, with all visitors and vehicle owners accessing the park from Pinson Road. As well as a fun day out, visitors will be helping good causes with all profits from the day going to local children’s charities. Niel Jackson from Signal 107fm will be in attendance, bringing his usual fun & laughter to the occasion.

Those wishing to exhibit their vehicle are asked to pay £5 each for Cars/bikes and £10 for Trucks/Coaches/Buses. Bookings can be made on the website from mid-April when the official website goes live. There will be a lot more details in the June/July issue of Willenhall Life, which is out on 27th May. For more information email enquiries@willenhalltransportshow or post a question on the Facebook Group page.

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Let Us Play

By Simon Archer Marketing. DJR continue to be great supporters of the charity and their Managing Director is now a charity trustee.

Let Us Play are a local charity whose aim is to help children with special needs and disabilities and their siblings. The group was set up in 2003, by parents whose children needed somewhere to play, learn and explore, but who were not suited to mainstream activities and sometimes found it difficult to interact with other children. The group were very successful in setting up activities for their children, but needed help in order to grow. In 2007 they sought help from Kim Hatton, who had previously worked with Action For Children. Kim brought an array of skills and knowledge to the group and helped them become better known and established as a charity to allow them to access funding opportunities.

In 2015, the ladies and their many volunteers, put on over 400 sessions for the children, whose ages range from 5 up to 19. They aim to split the activities into three sections; Craft, Sport and Play.

Let Us Play were strengthened further when Claire McKen joined the team in 2010. Together, Kim and Claire now run the operation from an office in Shaw Park Business Village in Shaw Road, by the refuse site, which has been made available to them by their friends at DJR

What sets them apart from other similar charities is that, not only do they run sessions for the children with the special needs, but they go out of their way to involve siblings. As Claire says, “These issues affect the whole household, so we want all of the children in the family to enjoy the days out, and fun experiences that we provide, so that they can go home and chat and laugh about what they have done together�.


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Homes, Nuffield Health Club and the British Legion in Vicarage Road who allowed them to hold their Christmas Party there, and many more……………...

Speaking to one of the parents, it’s clear how much of a difference Let Us Play make to their lives. One father became quite emotional when trying to tell me of how he benefitted from some ‘me time’ while his daughter, who has a autism diagnosis, was away with the group. Claire was keen to add that the group is not just about the individual. They are very big on team building and will arrange ball games that don’t end until every member has touched the ball, which encourages the children to think about others and to work together to achieve the objective.

Anyone wishing to help this great cause can donate online @ and type in Let Us Play in the search box or by sending a cheque to Let Us Play, Shaw Park Business Village Shaw Road, Wolverhampton, WV10 9LE. If you would like to know more about this charity, including contact details, or would like to be a volunteer, visit their website

Let Us Play currently have 22 members of sessional staff, with a small army of volunteers supporting. Each volunteer brings their own unique talent to the group, some with music expertise, some with a sports background. They have speech therapists and several who are Makaton trained. As with every charity, they rely heavily on donations and the generosity of their benefactors. They have been very fortunate to have been Sainsbury’s Wednesfield’s chosen charity for the last two years and are very grateful for the money raised by the staff, especially Lynn Ryan and their customers. They have also been helped by Wolves Community Trust, Wednesfield Rotary Club, The Freemasons, Persimmon To advertise in the Bilston Magazine please call 07534 603662 or email


Bilston Town FC After less than one season in charge, Bilston Town FC have parted company with their manager, ex Wolves player Jon Purdie. In the immediate future, certainly until the season's end, Youth Team Manager Scott Hamilton will be assuming First Team duties as well.

to have a look at each other and try and have a smooth transition moving into the new season. I would like to stress that I would have continued until the end of the season if a suitable replacement wasn't available.

The reason for my resignation is simply The outgoing boss released a statement that I wasn't enjoying it - football is my last week, giving the reasons behind this hobby which I love and there is no point mutual decision. if the enjoyment goes. Jon Purdie Statement; I made a decision early in the new year that I was not going to continue as Manager of Bilston Town next season 2016/17. I felt it only fair to inform Graham, Denise and Paul to enable them to plan for a new manager and It was agreed that we would review the situation towards the end of March. It was agreed that if they found a replacement I would step down for the last month of the season to enable the new manager, the players and the board


Managing a football club at this level is very demanding, and requires a lot of time and effort which I couldn't give anymore. I would like to thank Graham, Denise, Paul, Eddie and everyone else behind the scenes for all their support and hard work and wish them and Bilston Town all the best in the future. I want to thank Josh Skidmore for his support throughout and lastly a thanks to the players for giving their all during matches and training.

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Bilston Joe, Jesse James And Billy The Kid Joe Knight

It was during these travels that he met and befriended the James brothers and William Bonney (Billy the Kid). Reg reveals, “Joe got on well with Frank but was less keen on Jesse, who was moody and unfriendly.” Joe’s son went to the cinema with his father to watch a cowboy movie involving the James Boys, but got up and walked out after half an hour, claiming the film was a load of rubbish and glamorised the pair too much. Joe returned to Bilston in 1896 and met his future wife, Mary Delaney on the boat home. Back in Bilston, he owned a shop in Temple Street, where he sold various produce including, pigs, chickens, which he reared at his home. Joe soon gained a reputation as a fighter and one to be avoid after he’d had a drink. One night, Joe found an intruder in his garden and tackled the thief who claimed he was a Policeman called PC Day. Joe was having none of it and knocked him spark out. The local paper carried the headline ‘Knight Knocks Out Day’. Reg has the only surviving photo of Joe, who lived in Bilston until his death in 1939 aged 76. Needless to say, he looks very much the part. Kate and Mary Delaney

Many readers will be familiar with the names Jesse James and his brother Frank and the notorious outlaw, Billy The Kid, but few will have heard of a Bilston man who came to know both of them during his time spent living in the USA. Bilston Magazine reader, Reg Summerfield, is the grandson of Joe Knight, who met these notorious villains, plus a few more along the way as he travelled through America in the 1800s. The story starts with Joe, who was born in Ireland in 1863, with the name Kelly, but changed his name, when he moved to England as many Irish families did, to Knight. After spending his younger years in Bilston, in 1877, aged just 14, Joe and brother Edward, ran away from home and worked on a ship travelling from Liverpool to New York. Shortly after, he joined the 5th Cavalry and later travelled around the US and Mexico looking for work.

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Bilston Police PCSO Lyndsey Bradbourn is leaving Bilston Neighbourhood Team in April as she has been successful in her application to joint West Midlands Police as a Police Constable. We are sad to see her go; she has been a PCSO for nine years and is a fantastic asset to the team. We wish her the best in her new career. Latest recovery from the Bilston Knife Bin, 29 knives two air pistols and 1 blank firing pistol, all three of which look pretty convincing. These have all now been destroyed and are off our streets. Remember, save a life and bin the knife!

During the Easter Break the Bilston Neighbourhood Team are working along side the community group “Action for Bilston� to provide Fun Days. We have a fun day on Monday 4th April, 1-3pm on the skate park on Bankfield Road and Friday 8th April 10-3pm at St Chads Church, Connaught Road. There will be bouncing castles, fire engines, Bike Marking and much more! Come down and meet your local neighbourhood officers.

PC Harmon working alongside West Midlands Fire Service, educating drivers on the consequences of speeding on Bradley Lane, Bilston. During the last Speedwatch over 92 vehicles were checked, 12 of which advised by fire service and Police due to speed, 1 driver was subject of a fixed penalty due to being 12 miles over the speed limit.


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Stowlawn Church 60th Anniversary A special service was recently held when Stowlawn Church celebrated its 60th Anniversary. The service was led by the Revd John Howard, Chair of the Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury Methodist District and the preacher was Revd Sue Weller, Archdeacon of Walsall in the Anglican diocese of Lichfield.

The Visiting ministers.

A display of photographs told the history of this little church whose influence far outreaches the estate it continues to serve. In an historic agreement between local Methodist and Anglicans the two denominations joined together in 1957. Up to the present day, the services and pastoral care at Stowlawn is shared between Methodist Minister Revd Mark Sherman and Anglican team vicar Revd Dr Mark Hathorne. The first wedding at Stowlawn took place on 8th September 1962 when Connie and Des Bayley were married by the Revd. Geddy. Other weddings followed, as well as Sunday school

anniversaries, outings and many other events. Giving special thanks for their church involvement at the 60th anniversary was Mrs. Glenda Howard and her family, four generations of which are actively involved. “My Mom Floss Corns is our oldest church member at 92 and still reads the lessons,” Choir director and social events organiser Glenda said. “Our daughter Karen and husband Chris help with the music, and their two girls Claire (15) and Eloise (11) sing in the choir, as does my husband Jim. My sister Eileen also works very hard creating lovely floral displays which enhance our worship.”

The Choir.

Worship at Stowlawn takes place each Sunday at 6pm and as the invitation by the front door says this church family would love to welcome new members.

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Library Opening Times* Bilston Library, Mount Pleasant, Bilston, WV14 7LU . Tel. 01902 556253 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Morning Closed

Afternoon Closed

10.00am – 5.00pm 10.00am – 7.00pm 10.00am – 5.00pm 10.00am – 5.00pm 10.00am – 3.00pm



East Park, Hurstbourne Crescent, Wolverhampton, WV1 2EE. Tel. 01902 556257 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Morning 9.00am – 1.00pm 9.00am – 1.00pm Closed Closed Closed 9.00am – 1.00pm Closed

Afternoon Closed Closed Closed 2.00pm - 5.00pm Closed Closed Closed

Spring Vale, Bevan Avenue, Lanesfield, Wolverhampton, WV4 6SG. Tel. 01902 556284 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Morning Closed 10.00am - 1.00pm Closed Closed 10.00am - 1.00pm 9.00am - 2.00pm Closed

Afternoon Closed Closed 2.00pm - 6.00pm Closed Closed Closed Closed

Wolverhampton Central, Snow Hill, City Centre, Wolverhampton, WV1 3AX. Tel. 01902 552025 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday



9.00am - 7.00pm 9.00am - 7.00pm 9.00am - 7.00pm 9.00am - 7.00pm 9.00am - 5.00pm 9.00am - 5.00pm



*All information taken from Wolverhmpton City Council website and correct at time of going to print.

Household Waste Recycling Centres (Rubbish Tips) Anchor Lane, Lanesfield WV14 9NE Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday:

10am to 4pm Closed Closed 10am to 4pm 10am to 4pm 8am to 4pm 8am to 4pm

Shaw Road, Bushbury WV10 9LA Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday:

10am to 4pm 10am to 4pm 10am to 4pm Closed Closed 8am to 4pm 8am to 4pm

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Useful Telephone Numbers Community Centres Lunt .............................................. 01902 552324 Bilston .......................................... 01902 552267 Lower Bradley .............................. 01902 552212 Portobello .................................... 01902 654650 Emergency Services Police/Fire/Ambulance ..................................999 Police (non emergency) ................................101 Anti Social Behaviour Unit............ 01902 551188 (Out of hours emergency) ..............01902552999 Crime Stoppers (anonymous) ........ 0800 555111 Gas emergency ............................ 0800 3281111 Electrical emergency .................... 0800 404090 Water emergency ........................ 0800 7834444 Flood line ...................................... 0845 9881188 Health Organisations New Cross Hospital (switchbrd) .. 01902 307999 NHS Direct..........................................0845 46 47 Bilston Heath Centre .................. 01902 444003 Wolverhampton City NHS Trust.... 01902 553909 Woodcross Clinic.......................... 01902 444028 Bilston Sports Injury Clinic .......... 07445 119139 Local Councillors Val Gibson ....................................07771836453 Stephen Simkins .......................... 07775 007989 Bishan Dass ................................ 07825 530384 Sandra Samuels .......................... 07775 007991 Andrew Johnson .......................... 07771 836755 Linda Leach .................................. 07771 836016 Phil Page ...................................... 07469 024600 Welcome Koussoukama .............. 07469 410482 Help Lines/Others Citizens Advice Bureau ................ 01902 572006 Samaritans .................................. 0845 7909090 RSPCA ........................................ 0300 1234555 RSPB ............................................ 0845 1200501 Jobseekers Direct .......................... 0800 100900 Childline.............................................. 0800 1111 Nation Domestic Violence ..........0808 2000 247 Places of Worship St Leonard’s Church .................... 01902 491560 Christ Church, Coseley .............. 01902 353551 St Martins Church Bradley .......... 01902 650101 Guru Nanak Gurdwara.................. 01902 496135


Church of God of Prophecy ........ Bilston Pentecostal Church .......... The Asian Evangelical Church ...... Holy Trinity Oxford St .................. New Testament church of God .... Bilston Baptist Church ................ Shri Durga Wbhawn Hindu .......... St Chads, Bilston.......................... Bilston Methodist Church ............ Bilston Congregational Church ....

01902 497370 01902 498781 01902 353705 01902 493459 01902 498861 01902 401430 01902 354081 01902 494776 01902 402137 07909 330145

Schools Holy Trinity Catholic Primary ........ 01902 240901 Parkfield High School .................. 01902 558380 Villiers Primary School.................. 01902 558993 Loxdale Primary............................ 01902 558570 Field View Primary........................ 01902 558275 Bilston C of E Primary .................. 01902 558690 Green Park School ...................... 01902 556429 Wilkinson Primary ........................ 01902 558971 Ettingshall Primary & Nursery ...... 01902 558740 Moseley Park College .................. 01902 353901 South W’ton & Bilston Acad ........ 01902 493797 Stowlawn Primary ........................ 01902 556463 St Martin’s C of E Primary .......... 01902 558966 Moorcroft Wood Primary School .. 01902 495943 Christ Church C of E Primary ...... 01384 818375 Manor Primary.............................. 01902 556460 Wallbrook Primary ........................ 01384 818985 Coseley Sports College................ 01384 816565 Hurst Hill Primary.......................... 01384 818845 The Rosewood School ................ 01384 816800 Bramford Primary ........................ 01384 818915 Libraries Bilston .......................................... East Park .................................... Spring Vale .................................. Wolverhampton Central................

01902 556253 01902 556257 01902 556284 01902 556025

Are you rough sleeping or homeless? Ring P3 on 0800 107 6753 - Free phone number Or pop into the Navigator on Princess Street in Wolverhampton or ring on 01902 427017.

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Crossword Answers From page 14

The next issue of the

is out on

10th June 2016 Booking deadline date

20th May

If you want to get your message out to approx. 30,000 local people, email magazinebilston@ or ring Simon on 07534 603662

To advertise in the Bilston Magazine please call 07534 603662 or email


Bilston online april may 16  

Bilston online april may 16