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Weaving communities together

Issue 2 - May 2014

Gavin Jones We talk to this local author about his debut novel, a crime thriller set in Kidderminster

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Trimpley Village Hall A look at the history and current use of the building

Wolverley Militaria Fair We visit this local monthly fair

If it moves, salute it! Memories of National Service in the 1950s Distributed free to 5,000 homes in Franche, Wolverley and Trimpley

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In this issue...


Issue 2- May 2014


ello again and welcome to the second issue of The Loom. When we delivered copies of our first issue we realised that putting the magazine out to our readers was going to be the real test of what we had done: did people want to read it? It was therefore very encouraging when so many of you wrote and said how you enjoyed The Loom and were already looking forward to the next issue. Feedback from our readers is of vital importance to us, so don’t forget to have your say and let us know what you think about this magazine. I had one question from a reader who asked if we knew the origins of the name of 'The Three Crowns And Sugarloaf' pub in Franche. I understand that the ‘Three Crowns’ may be to do with Catholicism and ‘sugarloaf’ might be a jokey term for a Bishop’s hat. But if anyone has any further information then please let us know. As well as distributing this magazine, we also have a website which you can find at As well as further information about The Loom, the website also carries an electronic edition of the magazine. So if you know of anyone outside of the distribution area who wants to see it, tell them about the online edition. We also have a blog, which covers a variety of topics that would best fall under the title of ‘Random’. Have a read and see what you think. Regards, Karl Editor 07772224962


Trimpley Village Hall


Gavin Jones Interview


School Report


We take a look at the history of the building and also what it offers today

We catch up with local author Gavin Jones and discuss his debut novel

The latest news from Wolverley CE Secondary School

Business Focus: The Cleaning Faerie The cleaning company that likes to do things a little bit differently


Worth Reading


Film Review: American Hustle


Wolverley Militaria Fair


Charity Matters


Mind & Body


“If it moves salute it, if it doesn’t paint it!”

This month we review ‘Three Bullets’ by Gavin Jones

We look at a film that has lashings of 1970s style, but is certainly not all style and no content

A look at this monthly fair held at Wolverley Memorial Hall

The Kidderminster & District Youth Trust are this month’s featured charity

Rachel Ward looks at the best methods for excess hair removal

John Aston writes about his National Service memories


Business Spotlight: Computer Fit


Last Word: Fragile Memories

Contributors to this issue: Rachel Ward, Mike Brooke, John Aston, Lisa Worth and Dan Miller Special thanks to: Gavin Jones, Brian Susman, Adrian Robins, Carole Gammond, Sally Bason, Mark Humphries and David Lloyd

How safe are our images now that we store them electronically?

The Loom is published monthly by Larksail Publishing Ltd.

Contact us Editorial: Production: Advertising:

An IT company that aims to keep your PC fit and healthy

Also find us on:

While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information contained within this publication is accurate, the publisher accepts no liability for information published in error, or for views expressed. All rights for The Loom magazine are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited.

May 2014 THE LOOM 1

Trimpley Village Hall We look back at the origins of the village hall, from its humble beginnings, through its development into a well-equipped centre that now hosts a range of activities and entertainment.


rimpley Village Hall is a centre-piece for the village and a place where all kinds of groups and clubs can meet. Here you will find actors and musicians strutting the stage as they play to appreciative audiences. You can see the mental challenge offered by playing Bridge, or the more physical challenge of Kung Fu. It is a place where young children can pick up a paintbrush for the first time, while members of the art society can push their craft to ever higher levels.

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Looking at the Village Hall now it is hard to imagine that this modern building had very humble beginnings. Originally it was no more than a wooden hut, which was provided in 1927 by local landowner Joseph Howard and his wife to be used for village events and social meetings. The Howards provided financial support for the ‘hut’ until 1946, when they gave it as a gift to the parish. A committee was then established to oversee the running and one of its first

actions was to rename the ‘hut’ as Trimpley Village Hall. The next significant development came in 1955, when Mr Philip Mole funded the building of an adjoining thirty five foot wooden annexe to the existing building. This cost Mr Mole £137, which is approximately £3000 today. The annexe was built by members of the Mens Social Club, who also contributed £30 towards its cost.


hroughout the 1960s the important connection the Village Hall had to the local community was emphasised with its use as an extra classroom by the local school. During the 1970s and 1980s the building was slowly modernised and a fundraising sub-committee was established. The establishment of that body proved essential to fund the continued development of the Village Hall. The fundraising sub-committee no longer exists and its role now lies with the full management committee,

who each year put on eight or nine events. In 1985 the first Trimpley Revue was put on by The Trimpley Players, a tradition that continues to this day, as the Players still put on a show in the Village Hall every two years. In the 1990s there were discussions about building a new village hall on a different site. Plans and ideas for this project carried over into the new millenium, but planning restrictions ultimately meant that moving to a new site was impossible. Instead, the committee settled on improving the current buildings and facilities. The major project being a complete refurbishment of the main hall in 2011.


he committee have always matched development of the Village Hall to village requirements, but over the past few decades it has also had to meet ever more stringent Health and Safety rules. The Village Hall has also earned some ‘green credentials’ with the installation of solar panels on the roof. Much more information on the building’s history can be found on the Village Hall

website. Here you will see, among other things, why members of the youth club in the 1940s had to be very good at dismantling and reassembling a billiard table. The website contains not only

historical information, but also information on the groups currently using the hall and the costs of booking it for your own function. It has all the facilities you would expect, including a kitchen, microwave, refrigerator, crockery and cutlery. There are also lightweight folding tables, 80 upholstered chairs, a demountable stage and a

modern toilet block with full disabled facilities. In addition to its modern facilities, the hall has lovely views across the countryside, which makes it a picturesque and practical setting for a wedding party. The fact that it is no more

than one hundred yards from The Holy Trinity Church also adds to its appeal as either a wedding or a christening venue. And in these times of economic squeeze, the affordable hire rates also give a pragmatic reason for considering Trimpley Village Hall for any event you might have.

Trimpley Village Hall Contact Details: Website Bookings Secretary Mrs Val Corfield (01299 861019)

May 2014 THE LOOM 3

The Loom Interview Kidderminster author Gavin Jones has recently published his first novel, Three Bullets, a crime thriller set in Kidderminster. The story follows the investigation into an attack on a young girl named Abbie Flynn, who is brutally assaulted at the town train station. Detective Patrick Rhodes is assigned to the case and soon finds a man ideally cast to be a suspect, Daniel Stone. As the Flynn case twists and turns and the truth is slowly revealed, both Rhodes and Stone are forced to face their personal demons. Gavin’s book is reviewed elsewhere in the magazine, but we caught up with the author to find out a bit more about him, his book and the process of writing a novel. The Loom: Gavin, we know you are an author, but could you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Gavin Jones: I am married to Donna and I have three daughters, Katie, Keira and Lydia. I work full time as a Sales Forecaster for Forest Gardens, a local company that makes fence panels. Away from work I love sport, especially football and I am a Sheffield Wednesday fan.

Halesowen Town, but gave up playing due to family commitments and the inevitable injury concerns. And before you ask, yes, I do miss playing! TL: Have you always lived in Kidderminster? GJ: I was originally from Oldbury, but moved to Kidderminster ten years ago. TL: Okay, returning to ‘Three Bullets’, where did the idea for the novel come from?

TL: So how did you end up supporting Sheffield Wednesday?

GJ: Seven years ago I was working as a lorry driver, which involved overnight stops at trading estates. The initial ideas for my story came from locations like that. The title came soon after and that launched the rest of the story. The novel changed as I developed it, transforming from a police procedural story to more of a crime thriller.

GJ: I liked the way Chris Waddle played the game and that decided the team I followed. I have also played football at semi-professional level for

TL: And what made you move from just thinking about the story to actually sitting down and writing it as a novel?

4 THE LOOM May 2014

GJ: The catalyst was a creative writing course at Worcester Technical College. It was so good to spend time with people who shared my passion for writing, it created a very inspiring environment. The course itself also helped me to pull all my ideas together and get a sense of direction for my story. TL: What is it about the crime novel that appeals to you? GJ: I have always been interested in how the police do things and have read a lot of books on that topic. Writing a book using that knowledge seemed a natural extension of my interest in the subject. TL: Do you see crime as the only genre you will write in?

GJ: l would also like to write children’s books. I have one I wrote eleven years ago called ‘Legends Of Gold’. It’s a child’s fantasy story, which has the added benefit of carrying a healthy eating message. TL: You have obviously been writing for many years, where did that interest come from? GJ: My interest was initially generated by my Dad, who wasn’t a writer himself, but who told fantastic stories. I remember starting to write myself when I was thirteen. I had a paper round and this gave me lots of time to think, so I started to write down the stories that came to me as I delivered the daily headlines. TL: It is said that all writers put some of themselves in their lead characters, so how much of you is in Detective Inspector Patrick Rhodes, who is the lead character in ‘Three Bullets’. GJ: I see bits of me in a lot of the characters in the book. Patrick has a lot of my Dad’s traits, as well as mine. I also pick up a lot of the character traits I use from people-watching. TL: And if Hollywood come knocking and you had to cast the role of Patrick Rhodes, who do you picture playing him? GJ: I think Paul Bettany, though my wife thinks Jake Wood, the actor who plays Max Branning in Eastenders. I am sure everyone will have their own ideas as to who could play him. TL: Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? GJ: Yes I did. I found a lot of information off the internet and also spoke to a couple of retired policemen, who guided me through some of the procedural issues. I was referred to the retired policeman by officers currently working in the force, who were unable to help with the book due to data protection rules. TL: What books do you like to read? GJ: Anything by Lee Child and Peter James. May 2014 THE LOOM 5

GJ: I write whenever I get the chance, just grabbing the opportunities when they are there. ‘Three Bullets’ took three years to write, but the experience gained from writing that first book means the next one will be written much more quickly.

GJ: The publishers, a company called Rowanvale, have done a great deal of work, but I covered the local newspapers like The Kidderminster Shuttle and Express & Star. I had a book launch at Kidderminster Library, which went well. It was a really strange experience to be at a book launch for my own book. I had carried this story around inside me for seven years, then suddenly it is in book form and out there!

TL: Do you bounce ideas off your wife? Is she your first and most important critic?

TL: Public reaction to the book has been very positive.

GJ: Actually Donna wouldn’t read the book until it was finished and published.

GJ: It has. I was so thrilled to hear how one lady that came to the library waited weeks for a well known retailer to stock it. She kept asking them when it would in, so keen was she to read it. She finally got a copy at the launch.

TL: It must be very hard to work full time, satisfy family commitments and still find time to pursue your writing; how do you fit it all together?

TL: And her verdict when she did? GJ: Fortunately she loved it! TL: Do you have ambitions to become a full time writer?

TL: I see the book is available on Amazon in print and electronic versions. GJ: Yes, it is available in all the popular e-formats.

GJ: That would be fantastic, so yes I do. But reality shows me that writing is a tenuous existence and with a family to support it is not a move I am in a position to make, at least not yet.

TL: As we have mentioned e-publishing, what are your views on electronic books as opposed to ‘real’ books?

TL: Have you had to spend a lot of time working on publicity for the book?

GJ: I happily read real and virtual books, but I love the way a paper book shapes itself to you over time.

6 THE LOOM May 2014

TL: Shapes itself? GJ: Yes, the way the cover creases, or the pages bend. Each book is made unique by how you hold it, treat it and read it. TL: Do you have a favourite book? GJ: ‘Of Mice And Men’ by John Steinbeck. I was introduced to it at school and have read it many times since then. TL: I am guessing you write on a computer, but do you still find a use for pen and paper? GJ: I do write on a laptop, but often make notes in long hand and then type them up on the computer. TL: I also presume you keep a notebook with you at all times for when ideas come?

GJ: I write when I get the opportunity, but find that I write better in late autumn and winter. It just seems to suit the books I write to work on them when it is dark outside. TL: Just one final thing to ask you, is it true that some of the profits from the book are going to charity? GJ: Yes it is. I am donating 10% of the profits from Three Bullets to Kemp Hospice in Kidderminster. TL: And how did you become involved with that charity? GJ: I did a couple of Santa runs with them, enjoyed being involved and decided to donate via the book. TL: Gavin Jones, thank you for your time. GJ: It was a pleasure.

See our review of Three Bullets on page 12. GJ: I always carry notebooks with me, but also use an iPad. I actually wrote quite a lot of the novel on my iPad. TL: Do you find any particular time suits you better to write?

Gavin Jones Contact Details: Email Facebook Gavin Jones author

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l o o h Sc t r o p Re

Wolverley CE Secondary School


elighted students from Wolverley CE Secondary School will be getting a taste of their dream job thanks to the launch of the school’s Ambassador Programme, which encourages students to aim high and ensure they make the right decisions for their future. Following an assembly where students were encouraged to think about their ultimate ambition and explain why they wanted to pursue that as a career, 31 Year 7 and Year 8 students are now going to get the chance to spend a day experiencing their chosen career. From actors, marine biologists and journalists, to beauticians, computer game programmers and sport physios, the students had a wide array of aspirations. Once the Wolverley Ambassadors have enjoyed their experiences, they will report back to their teachers and peers about

8 THE LOOM May 2014

what they learnt and how it will help turn their dream into a reality. Mark Pollard, Acting Headteacher at Wolverley CE Secondary School, commented: “Students in Year 7 and Year 8 will soon be thinking about their GCSE options, so the Ambassador Programme is a great opportunity for students to get a taste of their dream job to help them decide what subjects to study. “So many people believe they are doing the wrong job, which is what we don’t want to

happen to our students. Therefore, we are delighted to be able to give them such a valuable experience at a young age, and we’re

certain that the Ambassador Programme will become something that students will look forward to being a part of.”


Are you involved with a school in the Franche, Wolverley or Trimpley areas? If so, why not let us know what your school is up to. Please email your information to



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e i s r u e c a F o F g s n i s n e a n i e l s Bu The C Mark Humphries and his partner Trish run The Cleaning Faerie, a cleaning company that has over 270 clients. We wanted to find out more about the company, and in doing that we found out that there is a lot more to cleaning than just cleaning


he most important part of dealing with customers is to listen to what they have to say.” That was one of the first things Mark said to me and it was clear that understanding the customer’s exact needs and delivering them is the central pillar of this unique cleaning and housekeeping business. To many of us cleaning seems a very straightforward task, but to Mark, Trish and the team at The Cleaning Faerie, there is a lot more to the process than you might imagine. As Mark explained, “Our cleaners need to follow certain processes when they go to a client. For example, it is no good going into a house and starting work immediately cleaning the hallway. Our cleaners are fully briefed as to the exact reason why the customer would like their home cleaning, and they work to a personal ‘job’ card. They must understand and appreciate the lifestyle and personal circumstances of the customer before they start

10 THE LOOM May 2014

cleaning. Some circumstances are very ‘personal’ or ‘emotional’ to the customer. Mark and Trish, with support from office apprentice Gemma, oversee a successful company, one that now employs twentyseven cleaning staff. But all ventures have to start somewhere, so I asked Mark how they started the company. “A few years ago I asked Trish if she wanted to start a business with me. We decided to start a cleaning business, as we wanted to bring something new and exciting to a sector that was very traditional in its outlook. I believe that cleaning is not only about de-cluttering homes, offices and buildings, there are psychological and emotional elements to it too.” Intrigued by this answer I asked Mark to elaborate. “We don’t just want to clean people’s property, we want to make their lives better. Having your home cleaned leads to you feeling better about yourself and all aspects of your life. This is why we very carefully select the

people who work for us, as they have to understand that philosophy.” I think we can all agree that having a clean home does lift your mood, but Mark then gave an example of the benefits their company can bring which can extend well beyond that. “Following an urgent call from a Care Support Worker, we went to clean the house of a man whose wife had died. After her death her husband had essentially given up, letting the house and himself get into a terrible state. There were plates of food that had been left out for years, the place was a mess and he didn’t seem to care. But as we cleaned and tidied his house over a few days, the owner of the house began to change too; the cleaning of his house kickstarted a ‘cleansing’ process in

his mind. His mood changed, he seemed much ‘brighter’, and adopted a much more positive outlook for the future. Mark and Trish like to drive their business forward, are always looking for ways to improve how the business operates and are never afraid to approach things differently. This is reflected in the choice of company name, which came out of a conversation Mark had with Trish not long after they decided to start up the business. Mark recalls, “I remember Trish saying ‘Well who is going to clean that up, the cleaning faerie?’ and it immediately struck a chord. We then developed an advertising strap-line that said ‘Grant yourself a little wish and magic up your own little cleaning faerie’ and from there we had our company name.” The company logo was designed by Trish’s daughter and was also driven by a desire to be different. “We wanted ‘our’ faerie to be modern, friendly and a little bit sexy,” says Mark, which is a reflection of today’s progressive lifestyle.

perfect for the big day! It is this sort of thinking that The Cleaning Faerie loves to demonstrate, making people think about cleaning services in a different way. It is ‘emotional’ cleaning! It is clear that both Mark and Trish eat, sleep and breath their business, so I asked Mark why he loved the job he does. He thought about this carefully and then said “One of our regular clients is a mentally disabled lady and she trusts us to do the work. She loves what we do for her and always gives us ‘big hugs’ when we have finished the job. This clears her mind as well as her environment. That level of job satisfaction, that connection with customers, is one I haven’t found anywhere else.” For Mark (pictured below) and

Trish, that personal touch is what differentiates The Cleaning Faerie from other cleaning companies and perhaps Trish summed it up best when she said, “The best thing for me when I do a job is the reaction of the customer. We often exceed their expectations and they can get very emotional; I have even had people crying on my shoulder because of what we have done for them.” The relationships built with their customers by Mark, Trish and the rest of The Cleaning Faerie team is the cornerstone to their success. At first I didn’t fully grasp that cleaning could have psychological and emotional aspects, but now I do. The Cleaning Faerie not only cleans the physical space we live in, she can also tidy our mental space too.


eing different is something Mark and Trish are keen to demonstrate in their cleaning business. The company website not only advertises the traditional cleaning jobs they do, but also offers Wedding Cleaning. Weddings and cleaning - how does that work? Well, in getting ready for the big day, the house where the bride gets ready will get very messy and ‘stressed’, so why not hire the Cleaning Faerie to tidy it up and make it

The Cleaning Faerie can be contacted as follows: Phone: 01562 229607 Email:

Mobile: 07527 568301 and 07728 347783

Office: Empire House, Suite 3, Foley Industrial Estate, Beauchamp Avenue, Kidderminster. DY11 7DH May 2014 THE LOOM 11

Worth Reading Lisa Worth reviews crime thriller ‘Three Bullets’, the debut novel from local author Gavin Jones


here aren’t many novels that are set in and around Kidderminster, so it is interesting to read a story that features so many familiar locations. The familiarity of the places will resonate with any readers either from or familiar with the town, helping them to engage even more closely with the characters and the story. The story opens with an attack on a young girl at Kidderminster train station. The attack is investigated by Detective Inspector Patrick Rhodes, one of the two central characters in this book. It doesn't take long for Rhodes to find what he regards as a prime suspect. This is Daniel Stone, who takes the other central role in the story. The attack on the girl is merely the launch point for the plot and there are many more incidents, twists and turns before you get to the climax. I will not go into any detail about these, as it will serve no purpose to spoil the book for you. The 12 THE LOOM May 2014

development of the story is well handled by the author, who continually feeds you information; small pieces of the jigsaw that you try to fit together. What made me realise that the author knew what he was doing, was when I started to read the book and didn't put it down again until I had read eighty pages. And now that I have finished the book, I can state that the level of interest shown in those first eighty pages is maintained throughout the book.


etective Rhodes is an interesting character, a rarity amongst fictional police detectives as he seems happily married. He is diligent, hard working and does not get on at all with his superior, the promoted-before-he-isready DCI Graham. Rhodes interested me, but it is Stone who captured my attention. His character is driven by conflicting forces and in the aftermath of a failed marriage, his life is falling apart. He is the character

who draws you in emotionally, especially when he interacts with his son. Rhodes has a daughter, but we never see them together and as a consequence, Rhodes’s personality remains more distant to us than Stone's. It is interesting that we don't actually witness Rhodes interact with either of the two most important people in his life. Not only do we not have him spend any time with his daughter, but for the time frame covered by the book his wife is away on holiday. One reason I am interested in reading the next novel in this series is to find out more about Mrs Rhodes. The supporting cast of characters provide plenty of colour, from the ones that elicit our sympathies, to the ones we would want to avoid at all costs. The author

manages to sum up a character’s personality in a few sentences, with a direct writing style that wastes no time on excess description. Stripped of unnecessary padding, the plot moves forward at pace, which is exactly what should happen in this style of book; every word counts and takes the story forward.


t won’t surprise anyone that I am going to end this review by stating that I thoroughly enjoyed 'Three Bullets.' The only thing that disappointed me when I had finished the book was the knowledge that the next Patrick Rhodes novel won't be out until later this year. Its arrival is eagerly anticipated.

Three Bullets is published by Rowanvale Books and has an RRP of £6.99

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Film Review T

he story is set in 1978 and introduces us to a couple, Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Adams), whose business is conning people out of money. They are very good at it, so good that when they do get caught, they are offered a way out of jail if they work with the FBI. All Irving and Sydney have to do is work with the FBI and help them make four arrests; do that and they can go free. It sounds simple and of course they accept, but things are never that simple in the movies. The FBI agent working this case is Richie DiMaso (Cooper), a man with big dreams about personal advancement at the Bureau. He doesn't just want to catch ordinary criminals, he wants big names. The bigger the name he can arrest, the bigger his profile will be. Richie dreams up the sting operation involving Irving and Sydney, but it soon gets out of hand. The FBI man’s ideas become ever more grandiose as the power he is (grudgingly) given by his boss

14 THE LOOM May 2014

American Hustle (15) Directed by: David O’Russell Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. Run time: 138 minutes

goes straight to his head. The sting operation grows bigger and in doing so gradually slips out of control. Irving can see this and warns against it, but Sydney appears to be falling under Richie's influence. The couple appear to be being pulled apart and as their situation becomes more and more dangerous, jail soon looks to be the best option they have. The story is based on a true story, when there was a sting operation run to arrest corrupt politicians. As to what percentage of the tale is true, we REX can’t be sure. But in this Pictures/courtesy/ Photo © Columbia case it doesn't matter, because what marks this to the table. The director seems film out as a must-see are the to always draw out surprising performances of the actors. performances from his actors, very major role in the film no truer than the one delivered is performed by an actor by Jeremy Renner, as corrupt bringing his or her A game mayor Carmine Polito. Yet this character is not a black and white villain, in fact you could argue that he isn’t a villain at all. He wants to help the people he represents and if that means bending the rules, or breaking


the rules, he will. This film always makes the law-breakers more palatable than the lawenforcers, with the exception of one of the mafia enforcers. This is a guy who you really wouldn't like to meet on a dark night, or indeed at any time of the day. He is played by a surprise cameo performance by..........well, see for yourself. Christian Bale has to take top acting honours simply because his character is one

you have to watch whenever he is on screen. Whether he is speaking, reacting or just standing there, your eyes go to him. Amy Adams runs him a close second and her character seems to be the one person in the film who understands who she is. Where everyone else seems to be desperate to be somebody else, Sydney Prosser is totally aware of who she is, what she is and where she wants to go. You start by thinking that Irving is her rock, but in truth it is the other way round.


nd what a fantastic couple they make. Rosenberg is not a top physical specimen, carrying a paunch courtesy of Bale's total immersion school of acting Yet the relationship between him and Prosser is totally

convincing. That relationship is the heart of the film; a love story set in a world of duplicity, excess and mad hair. Ah yes, the hair. The film evokes the seventies in many ways, the clothes, the anti-government hangover from Watergate and the soundtrack, which is filled with period songs from Wings, America, Elton John and ELO. But the dominant style-feature are the hair styles. From Bale's huge comb over (the intricacies of which make a fantastic opening scene), to Cooper's micro-perm and Adams’s tumbling Charlie's Angels locks. You won't have many films where the hairstyles are such effective supporting characters. The exact details of the various cons are a little lost as we move through this story, but that doesn't matter, because this is a character-led story and we don't need to have every detail. Sit back, relax and enjoy a few hours in the company of Irwin Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser; it’s time very well spent.


Available on DVD and Blu-ray May 2014 THE LOOM 15

The organisers proudly label their event ‘the friendly fair’, so we sent our reporter along to see if they are right.


he Wolverley Militaria Fair takes place at the Wolverley Memorial Hall and is held monthly, with a break through June, July and August. The doors open at 09.00, I arrived shortly after this and was delighted to find there was plenty of space to park and that the parking was free. Inside the hall it was already very busy, with some people taking advantage of the tea and coffee facilities. There were twenty two stalls in total, each selling militarythemed items which included uniforms, medals, defused shells, helmets, flags, documents, insignia, books, DVDs, model kits, replica guns and de-activated guns. And if you are wondering what qualifies a gun to be deactivated, it is a gun that is untouched on the outside, but has been completely wrecked on the inside so it cannot be converted to fire. The historical

16 THE LOOM May 2014

periods covered by the stalls ran from the 19th Century up to the present day. The fair is organised by Adrian Robins, Craig Leonard and Sue Jordan. I asked Adrian how long it had been running and how it had come about. “The fair was started in 2005 after a conversation between a group of collectors and enthusiasts. We are all local, so using this hall seemed an ideal venue and it being a memorial hall made it a good fit for our purpose.”

So now I knew when the fair had started and how, but not why, Adrian explained. “The fair is an extension of our interest in militaria and is a great way of bringing together like minded people. We all have a passion for what we do and see this as more a hobby than a business.” Adrian’s words are backed up by the entry fee, which is only £1 per visitor, and the cost of hiring a stall, which starts at £10 for a five foot pitch. That cost includes a table for your area, though some people do bring their own. Adrian explained that 99% of the stall-holders are amateurs, mostly collectors who have simply collected too much and want to sell their unwanted items. I asked Adrian if the impending anniversary of WW1 was driving up interest in militaria generally. “Yes it is and we are seeing more young

fair’ is completely justified. Anyone interested in militaria will find it worth a visit and if you are thinking about trying your hand at running a stall, the organisers have a message for you: just come and try one. At the prices they charge you really do have nothing to lose.

people becoming interested. A few years ago, fairs like ours would only attract middle-aged men, but now we find that people in their twenties are attending and we are also seeing more women at these events. Of the people who attend, we do find a high proportion are exservices.” t is clear that it takes a lot of hard work to make the event work, Adrian and Craig were at the hall at 05.45 this morning for example. He and his fellow organisers also have to deal with the paperwork involved in putting on each fair and advertising the event. I asked Adrian about how the fair is advertised. “We put adverts in the press, specialist publications, on the internet and at other fairs. However, word of mouth has proved the best form of advertising, which is fantastic as it says a lot about what people think about this fair.’” As I walked around the fair, I spoke with some of the stall holders. Richard Fryer is typical of the people who run a stall, being a collector who wants to move on some of his items. He has been attending the fair for a number of years, starting as a visitor before making the move into having a stall. He specialises in Vietnam War and modern era items. Richard said that the fair gets enough visitors


to warrant it growing in size, but that the local site and people who attend give it a flavour he wouldn’t want to lose. Steven Rose and Jan Barfoot have been running a stall for many years as a hobby, selling items to fund the ones they want to keep. Their stall was interesting because in addition to traditional militaria, it also stocked more general historical items, including some aimed specifically at a female audience.


raig Leonard runs a stall which sells film and TV props, these included ration packs as seen in the film ‘Monuments Men’. He also showed me a water bottle that had been made for and used by actor Elijah Wood in the film ‘Fury’. Craig owns a company that produces film props and showed me some of the items his company sell, which included replica hand grenades. When a de-activated ‘real’ grenade can cost £75, it is no wonder film producers turn to Craig for his £15 replicas. Those of you who have seen the film ‘Atonement’ will actually have seen Craig, who was an extra on the film. He was one of the soldiers singing on the bandstand during the chaotic Dunkirk beach scene. I enjoyed my time at the Militaria Fair and have to report that its claim to be ‘the friendly

For further information please contact Adrian Robins as follows: email: phone: 07816 853878 The fair can also be found on Facebook at ‘Wolverley Miltaria Fair’ Wolverley Militaria Fair Dates 2014: May 18th September 14th October 19th November 23rd December 14th Wolverley Memorial Hall, Wolverley, Near Kidderminster, Worcestershire. DY11 5TN Wolverley Memorial Hall is located two miles north of Kidderminster off the A449.

May 2014 THE LOOM 17

Charity Matters Kidderminster & District Youth Trust (KDYT) Mike Brooke, a Youth Development Officer with the KDYT, introduces us to the organisation. He tells us about the history, current activities, future plans and how you can help support this worthy cause

History Kidderminster & District Youth Trust (KDYT) was founded in 1966 by the then Mayor of Kidderminster Charles Talbot, who remains an active Trustee. The trust was formed with the objective of: ‘Helping and educating young people through their leisure time activities…so that they may grow to maturity as individuals and members of society and that their conditions of life may be improved’. In order to achieve this objective, the Trust raised funds to build Kidderminster Youth House on Bromsgrove Street. It took four years and a lot of hard work, but it was worth it, as Kidderminster Youth House has served the local community for over 44 years and continues to do so. From 1970 to 1979 KDYT delivered a range of services to young people and the wider community. Between 1979 and 2012 Kidderminster Youth House was leased to Worcestershire County Council in order for them to deliver youth work and careers advice. During this time KDYT gave over a £1million in grants to local young people and youth groups; helping young people to 18 THE LOOM May 2014

reach their full potential and enjoy their leisure time. In 2012 Worcestershire County Council announced their intention to commission youth services and KDYT were successful in winning that commission. KDYT started to deliver youth work and in January 2013 began to run Kidderminster Youth House again.

Current Activities Over 700 members have joined KDYT. We have delivered over 400 youth club sessions and Kidderminster Youth House has been used by young people and the wider community for over 450 days since January 2013. KDYT run a range of activities for young people including youth clubs which are regularly attended by between 50 and 80 young people, our highest attendance to date was 97 young people. Youth Club sessions offer young people a chance to: ● Play the latest computer games consoles on our interactive white boards ● Learn a range of new skills ● Cook healthy meals for themselves and their friends

● ●

● ● ●

Access cheap refreshments and snacks Take part in a range of sporting activities in our full sized sports hall Relax with friends in a safe friendly environment Do their homework with their friends Take part in sessions looking at issues that may affect them Access advice and support from qualified Youth Workers

As part of the youth club sessions, young people are encouraged to plan and run their own activities and day trips. Trips have included Blackpool, The Doctor Who Experience, Waterworld, go-karting, and helicopter rides. KDYT also run regular activity weekends for young people of all abilities. Those who attend the activity weekends take part in exciting new experiences such as quad biking, archery, abseiling, raft building and surfing. In addition to all the activities, KDYT also offers young people support on a

range of issues such as anger management, family support, homelessness and education & employment. Kidderminster Youth House is used 7 days a week by a variety of groups who provide a range

of activities for all the community, these activities include boxing classes, football, basketball, Muay Thai and Ju Jitsu. KDYT are keen to ensure that all members of the community

How You Can Help There are lots of ways people can help to support us at KDYT: Facebook & Twitter: We need people to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter, this allows us to promote events and let people know what we are doing. This also allows us to demonstrate the interest people have in what we do. Our Facebook page is KDYT Kidderminster & District Youth Trust and our twitter name is @KDYTyouth Volunteers: We are always on the lookout for volunteers, you don’t even have to work with young people (although it is a lot of fun) as we have many opportunities available; more information on volunteering can be found on our website under ‘work with us’. Donations/Fundraising: KDYT is run on a very small budget and we welcome any donations, we will always acknowledge donations on our website, newsletter and social media and often get articles in the Kidderminster Shuttle. If you want to carry out a sponsored event or fundraiser for us please get in touch. Use Our Facilities: As KDYT own Kidderminster Youth House any monies we receive from lettings go to support the work we do, so by using our facilities you know you are supporting our work. We have a lot of space to hire, our website will show you some of this, but if you call us you can arrange to come down and see what is available. You can contact KDYT through one of the methods below: Call us on: 01562 228113 Email: Send us a query on: Message us on Facebook: KDYT Kidderminster & District Youth Trust Tweet us on: @KDYTyouth

can access the facilities on offer and work to engage young people with disabilities. We run Fusion Youth Group, a youth club that supports young people with any special or additional need. Fusion Youth Group runs like any other youth club, offering the same activities, days out and residentials. KDYT also work with other organisations who support people with disabilities including Wyre Forest Special Olympics, Ourway Advocacy and Mencap. We also work closely with agencies who support young people such as Wyre Forest Nightstop, who are based in our building and St Basils whose new foyer is opposite Youth House. Partnership working enables us to join up services for young people to ensure that they don’t fall through the net and that they have someone they know and trust to support them through very difficult periods in their lives. Our work involves being there for young people when they most need us and this can be during really difficult and challenging times. All the KDYT team are trained in safeguarding young people and we have robust policies and procedures to enable us to effectively support young people.

Future Plans KDYT currently have funding secured until March 2015 and are working tirelessly to secure further funding with the KDYT2020 plan. We consider this plan vitally important as it will ensure services are provided to the next generation of young people. It would also see Kidderminster Youth House reach its 50th birthday, serving Wyre Forest for half a century. May 2014 THE LOOM 19

EXCESS HAIR REMOVAL This month Rachel Ward looks at the best methods for achieving smooth, hair-free skin; a practice that has a surprisingly long history


ating back as far as 30,000 BC, the human race have always sought ways to remove excess hair. The reasons for this have varied down the ages and include hygiene, class distinction, religion, fashion trends, or just pure embarrassment! In Ancient Egypt, for example, the removal of hair was very important for cultural and religious reasons. In Ancient Rome, a hairfree body was regarded as proof of wealth, so people kept their bodies as hair-free as possible. Roman women would use pumice stones to rub the hair off their legs, essentially buffing their legs down to a painful shine, a technique still practised today! The desire for smooth skin may have remained constant, but the methods of removing the hair have developed down the years. Fortunately we no longer have to use sharpened clam shells, flint, glass or bronze razors; or a paste made from sugar (sugaring) which was the foundation of waxing today. Temporary hair removal falls into two categories: Depilation: The removal of the hair from above the skin. Methods include shaving, depilatory creams, or abrasives. The results last no longer than a few days, the hair begins to re-grow and rough stubble will prevail. Epilation: The removal of the hair from the root. Methods include waxing, threading or tweezing. The hairless result lasts for several weeks, re-growth is softer and can become less virulent; although it can be a more painful treatment. Early depilatory creams were quite toxic, containing elements that included arsenic and quicklime. The equivalent of these creams today are acid based and therefore they should always be used with some caution; they work on the principle of getting to the hair first before affecting the skin. Today the art of hair removal has progressed to be both safer and more effective. For example, various types of wax are now available for

different parts of the body. The skin products you use in a daily routine can also determine the type of wax used. High levels of vitamin A in your moisturiser can make the skin more susceptible to tearing, so in some cases an alternative method may be advisable. It is important to listen to the advice of a qualified specialist when deciding on your treatment. Permanent hair removal techniques include electrolysis and laser; both over a short period of time effectively eliminate the hair for good. Electrolysis is a system that uses a fine needle, which does not penetrate the skin but simply slides down the side of the hair to its root. A small electric impulse targets the root and effectively cauterises the blood supply preventing future growth. Because each hair is treated individually the downside to this method is the length of time it can take to cover a large area. However, it will treat both dark and non-pigmented hair successfully and has been achieving proven results since 1875. Laser treatment, by Variable Pulsed Light (VPL) or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), is now a common alternative to electrolysis and is a safe and non-invasive treatment. Pulses of red light are passed over the skin and are absorbed by the melanin (pigment) in each hair. The heat causes the hair to become detached from the follicle and it eventually falls out. Hundreds of hairs can be treated at one time, rendering it speedier and more effective than electrolysis. The down side to this procedure is that only pigmented hairs can be treated, white or grey hairs will not respond. Both of these methods need to be carried out by an experienced reputable technician, so do your homework before booking into a clinic and perfect results will follow.

Wollaston Beauty Clinic Rachel Ward

153, Bridgnorth Road, Wollaston, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 3NU Tel: 01384 393305 - -

20 THE LOOM May 2014

Lissa Griffiths Reflexology Feeling stressed out? Put your feet up and relax..... Stress causes imbalance to our mind and body, reflexology can help to relieve stress and alleviate stress related symptoms. Contact: Lissa Griffiths 07974363429 Email: Mobile across the Wyre Forest Clinic appointments available at Hume Street Medical Centre, Kidderminster, DY11 6SF May 2014 THE LOOM 21

If it moves, salute it If it doesn’t, paint it Part one of John Aston’s look back on his National Service days in the early 1950s.

Squad 2, Platoon 4, Number 3 Training Battalion, B Company, Hilsea Barracks. (John Aston is seated on the far right of the front row)


t was a time of Saturday Morning Cinema, SturmeyArcher gears and radio comedy, when England was still a long way from affluence, full car ownership and television. For the male generation growing up in the shadow of World War Two, reaching the age of eighteen meant more than just achieving the age of majority. It also meant leaving their home, their employment and (if they had one) their girlfriend to complete two years of National Service. National Service could be served in any of the three armed forces, but as The Royal Navy took a very limited number, most recruits were dispersed through the Army and the Royal Air Force.

22 THE LOOM May 2014

There was no escaping this requirement, as long as you were fit and healthy it was compulsory - though an apprenticeship or university education could get you a deferral until you were twenty or twenty one. In the early 1950s our knowledge of the world was very limited. There was no rolling twenty four hour news on television, our information came from radio news bulletins, newspapers and cinema newsreels. Very few of us had ever ventured out of the country, though I was fortunate to have had a week in Paris courtesy of a school trip in 1947. We were naive about the world and its affairs, yet here we were, hundreds of thousands of

eighteen year-olds being sent to Korea, Cyprus, Malta, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya and all parts of Europe.


received my call-up papers and was told to report to Hilsea Barracks, Portsmouth on 10th December 1953. I was to join the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (R.A.O.C), which handled the supplies of stores, equipment and vehicles for the whole of the British Army. Basic training and induction into the forces is a weird and wonderful thing. Square-bashing (marching) took precedence, being drilled into us from dawn until dusk. Then to further confuse us we were issued with rifles, which

were then introduced into our marching and parade skills. We got to know our rifles more intimately when we were taught to fire, strip and reassemble them. An intense week on the coastal rifle-range followed, with practice punctuated by a warning to hold our fire when a ship came into range. We learned how to shoot the .303 Enfield rifle, the Sten submachine gun and the Bren light machine gun.


fter my ten weeks of Basic Training was complete, I was sent to Blackdown Camp near Guildford for my Trade Training. When I arrived there I was told I had volunteered to be trained as a Vehicle Storeman. A further ten weeks of learning that trade passed before I was given my posting and I was sent to Moenchen Gladbach in West Germany (as it was then) to join the 17th Vehicle Battalion. My Battalion received stores, equipment and vehicles for the whole of Europe and we would unload train after train that arrived from the UK. All equipment was stored in vast hangars, while vehicles were put in special parking areas measuring many miles in size. There would be row after row of tanks, armoured cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles and lorries. Requests would come in from regiments and their requirements would be loaded onto a train and despatched. I worked at that railhead with two other lads who became great friends, Tommy Welch from Manchester and Cliff Bashford from Croydon. A group of Germans assisted us and they were led by Herr Schmidt, a man who had clearly been an officer in the Wehrmacht during the war. That conflict had only ended nine years

earlier and another of the Germans who worked with us (Jup Schroeder) carried a memento from it, a permanent limp. I became very good friends with Oswald Abels, who was one of the Germans and our lorry driver. Every morning he would help me complete my first task of the day, which was collecting parcels from Rheindahlen railway station. We always had coffee and chatted easily. When Oswald married the following year, he invited me to his house for a meal and to meet his wife. When I left Germany he gave me a small photograph of himself, on the reverse he had written “In remembrance of Oswald Abels.” I represented the Battalion at football, cricket and athletics, but although a keen sportsman, my passion was music. I played the piano in the Navy Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) club on many evenings during the week. I was much in demand because, unusually, there was nobody else who could play the piano in the whole camp. But one thing I quickly learned was never to volunteer for anything. Sergeant: Who can play the piano?

Aston: I can Sergeant. Sergeant: Okay, take three squaddies with you, go to the Officers’ mess and move the piano to the Sergeants’ mess.


y mother was a prolific letter writer and liked to keep me in touch with family matters. Occasionally those letters from home would be accompanied by a parcel, which usually contained a large, homemade cake (always shared), plus biscuits, sweets, soap and cigarettes. During our time in the army we were allowed two periods of leave, each of 14 days. It was when taking my second leave in July 1955 that I met the girl who would later become my wife. It was very difficult for us to say goodbye when it came time for me to return to Germany, because we had to accept that we wouldn’t see each other for another four or five months. You can easily understand why many romances did not last the full two years. The social conventions of the time were much stricter than today, and not many girls aged 17 or 18 wanted to stay at home and not go out to dances and parties. I knew many lads who received the dreaded ‘Dear John’ letter.

The concluding part of this article will be in next month's issue. In it you will find out about the joys of radio, the misery of guard duty and a surprise posting to a Women's Royal Army Corps camp. May 2014 THE LOOM 23

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 May 2014 THE LOOM 25

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Computer Fit Just like humans, computers need to stay fit and healthy to work at their best. We look at Computer Fit, a company that can help keep your PC or Mac in prime condition.


omputers have revolutionised our lives, but to perform at their best, they need to be kept fit and healthy. So how can we ensure that they stay in that state? An answer to that question is a company called Computer Fit, run by David Lloyd. David has always been interested in computers and his involvement with them began in his early teens, when he learned how to

program on a home computer. This was followed by studying for a Computer Science degree at Wolverhampton Polytechnic. He kept that passion for computing through his adult life, so when the chance came to set up his own business, it was obvious what that business would be. So what can Computer Fit offer you? They offer IT support for home users and businesses which includes problem trouble-shooting, fitting upgrades, supplying new and refurbished equipment, installing software, setting up networks and basic training. Perhaps an equally important question is

what can Computer Fit offer that other companies cannot? David says that his company is small enough to offer the personal touch and says that customers respond well to the enthusiasm he has for his work. When so many of his customers return to him again and again, it is clear that he offers a service you can trust at a competitive price. Nobody thinks that computers can save you money, but actually they can. A computer that runs efficiently means you spend less time at the keyboard. This might not

Contact Computer Fit as follows: Website: Email: Office: Office 16, Old Anglo House Mitton Street, Stourport-on-Severn Worcestershire DY13 9AQ Phone: 01299 382022 26 THE LOOM May 2014

be critical for home users, but for business users, time is money. As David explains: “By keeping your computer fit and healthy, it will reward you with faster performance and fewer problems.� And while keeping your computer running efficiently helps prevent problems from happening, there will always be times when computers go wrong. When they do, Computer Fit is also there to help. Whether you are a home user or a small business user, Computer Fit have the answer to your IT question.

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Last Word FRAGILE MEMORIES With most of our photographs now stored electronically, Dan Miller considers the value we place on digital images and their vulnerability.


spent a happy few hours this week going through a box of old photographs. I have thousands covering every decade and every aspect of my life. But the most interesting photos I found were those that were a little blurred, badly framed, or under/over exposed. They were interesting because I realised that had they been shot digitally, they would probably have been deleted, either immediately after taking or later on the computer. Does the instant gratification of digital images and their cheapness (they are effectively free) mean we hit ‘delete’ too readily? Do we value the photos less than if they had been created on film? In pre-digital days, you sent a roll of film to the lab or dropped it into a chemist, then you waited. You never knew exactly what you were going to get until your prints arrived. Among those prints were usually a couple of okay ones, a lot of average ones and some very poor ones. I kept them all, filed away in a storage box and this got me thinking. Future generations won’t have boxes of photographs to go through, they will just have selected images stored on computer and a few framed hard copies around the house. When I thought about that, the 28 THE LOOM May 2014


Would you like to have the 'last word'? Have you got something to say about a topic that bothers, interests or drives you? If so, write down your thoughts in between 350 and 500 words and send them on email to:

The best ones we get will be published in future editions of this magazine.

deletion of images isn’t the biggest concern, the real issue is with the way we store them. Computers are not 100% reliable and irreplaceable photographs are not safe on a hard drive. I can hear the voices shouting ‘They are if they are backed up!’. And yes, that is a solution to preventing the complete loss of them now - but what will the situation be like in ten, twenty, or fifty years? You might still have them, but will you be able to access them? Technology advances at a relentless pace, but one constant has been the incompatibility between old

and new. The only safe way to deal with new technology is to back your photos up to it, but in addition to that, ensure that you print off some of your best shots. Prints are not just a second layer of security, photographs are better when their existence moves from virtual to physical. My box of six by four inch prints will tell future

generations of my family about me - but what photographic legacy will digital leave? Today we can scan film negatives to create digital images and like all technology, scanning will improve. A scan in the year 2020 of a negative from 1940 will probably produce a better quality image than we can currently get from that negative. This means that photographs from the 20th Century will always be accessible, but what of the 21st? What we need is a method of storing images that will be unaffected or enhanced by new

technology, not outdated by it. A medium that we can trust will still be accessible in 100 years time. At the moment it’s a short-list of one: film.


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The Loom May 2104  
The Loom May 2104