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Wedding dreams do come true

Special Deluxe Edition

l Everyone loves a big wedding with memories to last a lifetime. Inside we turn the spotlight on one venue that is raising the bar to new heights... Page 8

l Discover why budding entrepreneur Haley Jane is so sweet on candy... Page 6

Valentine’s Day gifts

Ellie takes to the road

It’s all going swimmingly....

l Cllr Mike Whitby welcomes some of the first visitors to the impressive new Harborne Pool and Fitness Centre

l Birmingham singing star Amlak Tafari reflects on his proudest moment – and it was not with his acclaimed reggae band Steel Pulse ... Page 9


here were smiles all round when Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby opened the city’s first new public swimming pool in more than 20 years. After opening the £12.2million state-ofthe-art facilities at Harborne Pool and Fitness

Centre, Cllr Whitby declared: “We have a new centre to be proud of and, not surprisingly, the new facilities are proving to be extremely popular. “The city council is determined to increase sports participation across the city and the early visitor numbers show Harborne Pool

and Fitness Centre will play a big part in our efforts.” Sixty full and part-time staff have been recruited from the area, while 19 members of staff were transferred from Birmingham City Council to the new operators DC Leisure. l More Page 3

In too Deep at Poppyred And we’ve got Travel, Sport Fashion and Business news

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The Phoenix

February 2012


Group appoints chair to give Asian firms a boost

Footwear giant at Bullring The Bullring is set to welcome Locker Room, a new concept store from Footlocker, to the centre later this year. The 560m² (6,000ft²) store focuses on sports performance footwear, showcasing brands including Nike, Adidas and Asics and will be the second of the new concept stores to open in the UK. Opening in time for Easter, Locker Room is aimed at customers of all ages and abilities from those starting out to sport fanatics. Locker Room is the latest retailer to launch at Bullring and one of the first new store openings of 2012 following the opening of Vans, Jack Wolfskin and the new Spiceal Street restaurants during the final quarter of 2011.


Locker Room takes a unit on Bullring’s Lower Mall. Tim Walley, General Manager at Bullring, added: “We’re pleased to welcome Locker Room to Birmingham bringing with it a new store concept for customers to experience and explore. “Locker Room is the first of many new store openings at the centre this year as we continue to evolve our retail offering to meet the demand of our customers,” he added.



Voters told to ‘sign up’ Thousands of people in Sandwell with postal votes are being urged to provide elections chiefs with up-todate signatures. They have over a month to do so – or face losing their right to vote by post. Sandwell has about 23,500 people registered to vote by post. The law says that the signature used to verify the vote has to be updated after five years. This currently applies to just under a half of Sandwell’s postal voters.

Chair of the Asian Business Forum Sham Sharma (left) with vice chair Maninder Mangat and Deputy Leader of Wolverhampton City Council Peter Bilson

Sham Sharma, who was elected chair of the forum at its last meeting, said: “I am glad that the city council has extended its hand to our organisation to both help and further develop our businesses. “We are all aiming for the same thing – that is to create jobs and develop a city-wide thriving economy.” The new forum is being supported by Wolverhampton City Council’s Economic Development Team, but the steering group led by Mr Sharma and Vice Chair Min Mangat will drive it forward. Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council’s Cabinet

Alex showing why he is a class act


ervice Birmingham celebrated National Apprenticeship Week by spotlighting the achievements of one of its crop of successful young apprentices – Alex Bradley. Service Birmingham – the joint venture between the city council and Capita which provides ICT support and contact centre services – currently has 16 apprentices undertaking a three-year placement as they gain skills and experience to pursue a career in ICT or contact centre services. Alex, aged 21, employed by Service Birmingham as one of three apprentices in its Link2ICT Division is spending his final year as an apprentice working as a school ICT technician at Anglesey Primary in Lozells, Birmingham. Alex joined the school in 2011 and supports the current School Technician Graham Russell. His varied role sees him supporting teachers and pupils by maintaining and upgrading computer equipment, installing software and providing technical support.

l Alex Bradley has thrived on his apprenticeship at Anglesey Primary School Alex said: “I really enjoy my job. There are many challenges – whether it’s being called into a classroom to fix something or upgrading a server. It’s really rewarding to know that my work helps the pupils and teachers here.” Service Birmingham Chief Executive, Stewart Wren said: “I welcome the focus on the value of apprenticeships that National Apprenticeship Week brings. Alex is a great example of the op-

portunities that apprenticeships can create both for the young person and for their employers. I wish Alex and all our apprentices well and I thank them for their continuing contribution to the success of Service Birmingham.” Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Equalities and Human Resources, Cllr Alan Rudge said: “It’s fantastic to see the success of this scheme and the opportunities it provides young people.”

Welcome to The Phoenix Feeding the nation with good news Published by InTouch Media UK Fort Dunlop, Fort Parkway Birmingham B24 9FE To Advertise call 0121 629 7728 Newsdesk: 0121 629 7729

Member for Economic Regeneration and Prosperity, said: “As a council we want to improve our engagement with important business communities in Wolverhampton. “The Asian business community contributes significantly to the employment and economy of our city and it is important that we work closely with these businesses to listen to concerns and issues, and collaborate on business agendas.” l The next meeting of the Wolverhampton Asian Business Forum is on February 29, at The Shed, Woden Road, Wolverhampton. To find out more visit www.

Museum makeover Staff are working hard behind the scenes at a museum to ready it for its spring reopening. Haden Hill House Museum in Cradley Heath reopens to the public on March 31. The historic gentleman’s residence is undergoing a deep clean and its displays are being reorganised. Staff are also developing events and activities for the coming year and redecorating the tearoom and servery using money from the museum’s friends group and visitor donations. The tearoom is open for special events and activities and can be used by school groups in the winter.



Having Alex in place alongside Graham has helped the school manage its ICT service over a split site – improving the response time in dealing with any computer problems. Praising Alex’s work, Headteacher Sue Hughes said: “We can’t believe we’ve been so lucky to have Alex at the school. He’s been quite simply superb. ICT is a priority for us here and he has brought valuable knowledge so we can improve what we offer to the pupils. Alex has also fitted in really well and I hope he will be able to stay with us full-time after his apprenticeship.”


They have all now been sent a form to return to elections chiefs with a fresh signature. “We have written to about 11,000 people to request them to provide an up-to-date signature,” said Mr Jan Britton, Sandwell’s chief executive and returning officer. “They need to return their form quickly so their postal vote is not cancelled. They have until March 13 to do so.” The move comes well in advance of local elections, due to take place on Thursday, May 3.

The newly-appointed chair of a forum for Asian businesses has spoken of his desire to develop a thriving economy in Wolverhampton. The Wolverhampton Asian Business Forum was launched last autumn and aims to give local organisations a stronger voice and enable them to share information and forge better links with influential organisations across the city. It will help ‘map’ Wolverhampton’s Asian business community and identify the big issues, problems and opportunities affecting them which major organisations including Wolverhampton City Council may be able to help address.

Thankyou very much for picking up the very first edition of your new-look Phoenix newspaper. Over the past 12 months The Phoenix has established itself as a vital vibrant read enjoyed by people from all corners of the West Midlands’ diverse multi-cultural community. Now, we have developed our

content further to bring you more music, travel, motoring, business, sport and health stories – along with news on the issues affecting your life in the West Midlands. If you have a story that you would like to see us feature in The Phoenix then please get in touch and we will be happy to talk to you. Paul Castles, Editor Tel: 0121 629 7729

Jane Hanney, of the museum’s service, said: “We are painting the rooms to give it a more contemporary feel and will be purchasing new curtains and tableclothes for the room too. “We are also going to frame our wonderful photographs of the park and house in Victorian times for visitors to enjoy while they are having a cuppa.” Council cabinet member for leisure services Councillor Linda Horton said: “We are really excited about the project and staff have put in a lot of hard work.”

Time to dig in at Manor Part of the grounds at Sandwell’s medieval Manor House in West Bromwich will be the scene for a Time Team-style dig. Members of the public are being invited to take part in the dig which is taking place under professional supervision. There will be a community archaeology training weekend on March 17-18 and there are spaces for 15 volunteers. On March 19-23, there will be a schools’archaeology weekend. There will also be archaeology open days on March 24-25. The plan is to excavate part of the site in Hall Green Road, West Bromwich, in a bid to “find” long, lost buildings that were once associated with the Manor House.

February 2012

The Phoenix


BRMB is set for a new look

We’re on the crest of a wave Birmingham’s first new public swimming pool for more than 20 years is proving to be a smash hit, breaking records for visitor numbers since opening at the turn of the year. More than 11,000 customers have used the £12.2 million stateof-the-art facilities at Harborne Pool and Fitness Centre.


Leader of Birmingham City Council, Mike Whitby, said: “The centre has been incredibly busy in the first three weeks and I would urge anyone who hasn’t yet visited to go along and make the most of the new facilities.” The Harborne centre consists of a 25-metre main pool alongside a smaller learner facility, a gym, interactive children’s fitness suite, dance and aerobics studio and a community room.

Shoppers told to be on guard Shoppers have been warned to be extra vigilant following a number of incidents in which people have fell victim to distraction thieves on supermarket car parks. A team of criminals is thought to be targeting victims as they load shopping into their vehicles. The warning comes after a recent incident in Wolverhampton and following other offences believed to be linked to the same group. One of the offenders will distract the lone driver with a map and ask them for directions, while another offender will sneak up to the vehicle and discreetly remove bank and credit cards from the victim’s purse or handbag. When the shopper returns to the vehicle they are unaware that they have been a victim of theft while the offenders go and withdraw substantial amounts of cash from their account. PC Matt Aymes, from Wolverhampton Police Station, said: “We think that the offenders are watching victims as they use their cards to pay for shopping and are making a note of their PIN. “In the latest incident, which happened in Pendeford on 28 January, the victim had £4,000 taken from her account before she realised her card was missing. “We are aware of at least two other incidents in Wolverhampton and one in Willenhall.” PC Aymes added: “We want to people to be aware of this specific distraction type theft to be vigilant if approached by strangers and whilst inputting their PIN numbers at tills and cash points.”

Artists get canvas to show off work


showcase of work by established and up-andcoming artists has gone on display in the West Midlands. The exhibition at the Wolverhampton City Council’s Adult Education Service features work by learners on the Creative Connections survival course for artists. Previously known as Enter Arts, Creative Connections offers new graduates and established artists the chance to showcase their work, network with other artists and key local and regional contacts and get help and advice about careers.

They are also given top tips on the type of funding available and about the general business skills needed to work in the arts or as a self-employed artist. The programme is aimed at artists at various points in their careers, from people looking to return to the business after time away and those aiming to become freelancers to artists simply wanting advice about marketing their work. Creative Connections Co-ordinator Moya Lloyd said: “We hold weekly sessions which include group activities and seminars, tutorials, visits and appearances by guest speakers.

l Kathryn Stanley



Help for homeless


“The students cover a range of topics including financial planning, working in arts and health, writing project proposals, marketing, building a CV and personal development.” Councillor Phil Page, Wolverhampton City Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Learning, said: “Creative Connections provides a great opportunity for artists to develop businesses and create jobs in Wolverhampton. l For more information about the showcase, or Creative Connections contact Sian Fletcher or Moya Lloyd on 01902 558164 or email

Birmingham’s leading commercial radio station, BRMB, will be saying goodbye to four decades of radio history with its rebranding to the newly-named Free Radio. Orion Media, owners of the new name on the dial, announced that the rebirth along with that of three of its Midlands-based sister stations, Beacon, Mercia and Wyvern. Phil Riley, who runs the media organisation, said of the change in name of the 40-year-old station: “The content of the stations, which currently share about 75% of their programming outside of breakfast and drive-time, would remain unchanged.” The former Chrysalis Radio boss added: “The decision to change the name of our stations wasn’t taken lightly. It certainly wasn’t an easy one to make.” BRMB started life in Birmingham in 1974, followed by Wolverhampton-based Beacon in 1976, and Mercia, in Coventry, in 1980. Wyvern, which covers Hereford and Worcestershire, came to being two years later. Chief Executive Riley said: We chose the name ‘Free Radio’ because it would be easy to remember, easy to spell, and flexible enough to work many different ways. ‘Free’ represents freedom of choice.” Orion Media also owns Gem 106 in the East Midlands and the Gold AM station in the West Midlands, which will not be rebranding.

l Kanj Nicholas shows off some of her artwork

One group suffering more than most during the recent cold snap in the Midlands were homeless people. Birmingham City Council opened its doors at the William Booth Centre to provide food and shelter for those sleeping rough. Cllr John Lines Cabinet Member for Housing said: “We beefedup our resources to accommodate those sleeping on the streets at a time when temperatures were predicted to dip to at least minus five. “This facility is a lifeline, it gives people a roof over their heads and a hot meal in their stomach. “Both are essential elements for survival and will no doubt be a welcome respite for those who need this service.”

To advertise in The Phoenix please phone 0121 629 7728



The Phoenix

February 2012


Parking app for drivers

New face at top in Nth Brum

Motorists using parking bays and car parks run by Birmingham City Council will now be able to pay for their parking by debit/credit card using their mobile phone or a smartphone App through the council’s new cashless parking supplier Parkmobile. Since 2006, the city council has offered a cashless alternative to paying for parking at a ticket machine. This service has become increasingly popular and the council has now entered into a new contract for the continued provision of the service. Parkmobile are a leading provider of digital parking solutions with an established presence in Europe including the Netherlands, Greece, Belgium, Germany and a growing operation in America. Parkmobile were the first supplier of mobile phone parking in the UK when the service was introduced in the London borough of Wandsworth in 2004. Although the traditional coin-operated Pay and Display machines will remain, this cashless alternative should continue to prove increasingly popular with motorists who will be able to pay for their parking from the comfort of their vehicle and then extend their parking session without returning to their car. l Motorists wishing to register to use the cashless parking service can do so for free at www.

Chief Superintendent Lorraine Bottomley has taken over from Chief Supt James Andronov as head of policing for Birmingham North covering areas such as Sutton Coldfield, Erdington, Kingstanding and Castle Vale. In her four years in the role as commander, Chief Supt Bottomley previously spent half of this time in charge of policing in Kings Heath. Commenting on her new post Chief Supt Bottomely said: “I am looking forward to building on the great work already being carried out by officers and staff in north Birmingham and ensuring we continue to provide our communities with a service to be proud of. “Over the coming weeks I look forward to meeting members of our local communities, finding out



l Cirque du Spiceal entertainers take over the Bullring

Hot and ‘Spiceal’ for Bullring diners The twisted urban circus, Cirque du Spiceal, wowed crowds at Bullring recently as an array of weird and wonderful characters descended on Spiceal Street. The special event was the grand finale of the week-long Cirque du Spiceal programme. Every evening diners at Spiceal Street were entertained by a group of chimps, surprised by a yeti invasion and King Kong and watched on as fire breathers lit up the sky. The ‘Caravan of Lost Souls’ was unleashed on St Martin’s Square bringing with it twisted circus acts including fire breathers, contortionists and a one-man band performing tricks and illusions. Diners at the restaurants on Spiceal Street – Browns Bar and Brasserie, ChaoBaby Thai Restaurant, handmade burger Co., Nando’s, Pizza Hut,

Jamie’s Italian, wagamama and Mount Fujji – were treated to a series of 20 minute performances whilst Kerrang! Radio breakfast hosts, Loz and Keith, provided the soundtrack to their evening as they broadcasted live. Louise Hamer-Brown, Head of Marketing at Bullring, said: “The Cirque du Spiceal event has kept our shoppers and diners thoroughly entertained throughout the week with all kinds of weird and wonderful sights. “At Bullring we’re known for doing things a little differently and therefore thought this was the perfect event to take place at Spiceal Street, which has firmly placed itself on the map of the city as a socialising hotspot.” l Cirque du Spiceal was hosted in conjunction with Kerrang! Radio. To find out more about Bullring events visit www.browsebullring.

l Chief Supt Bottomley

Firms encouraged to look at Asian market A sell-out conference held at RBS’s St Phillips Place offices in Birmingham, saw 74 local businesses to look towards Asia for their future trading. The conference hosted by the UK Trade and Industry (UKTI), RBS and NatWest took the shape

of a master class about trading with Asia. Experts in finance, trade and the Asian market provided key guidance to the businesses, especially those who have traditionally been reluctant to trade overseas.

Ballet returns

Graham Handy, director for NatWest Commercial Banking in Birmingham, said: “There has never been a better time for small businesses to look at exporting to Asia. “UKTI and banks can and will provide all the expertise needed, and will remove the mystery of trading in Asia. “With the challenges in the UK economy and the growth in Asia, it is something every business needs to look at.”

Birmingham Royal Ballet is returning to the Hippodrome stage from February 22 to March 3. They will be performing their Spring season with two programmes, David Bintley’s earthy comedy Hobson’s Choice, and a mixed bill Spring Passions. l To book visit


more about their views on policing in their area and how we can encourage more people to become involved in community activites. “I look forward to building on the work carried out under Chief Superintendent Andronov and will ensure that we continue to put the public at the heart of everything we do.” Having been in charge of policing in north Birmingham since November 2008, Chief Superintendent James Andronov moves to a post in Corporate Command, overseeing the development of all contact management in West Midlands Police. He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my three years as commander at Birmingham North. I am of course very much looking forward to my challenging new job, but I will be very sad to leave my current role.”

Quiz success at the Moors

A popular quiz night at Solihull Moors Football Club raised just over £300.00. Sixteen teams turned out to support the fundraiser for Troop Aid, one of the club’s nominated charities for this season. Team manager Marcus Bignot and club chairman Nigel Collins were among the quizzers as well as teams from Troop Aid and Birmingham Exiles Rugby Club. The next quiz at Solihull Moors is on Friday, March 2 and starts at 7.45pm. Entry for a team of four is just £2 per person. l For more information call 0121 705 6770.

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February 2012

The Phoenix


Royal party on the menu for schools Children from around the West Midlands have a chance to take part in this year’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations by serving the Queen and Duchess of Cornwell at a royal reception at Buckingham Palace in June. British Food Fortnight is inviting schools from around the UK to create special dishes for the banquet which is the brainchild of the Duchess of Cornwell as her special tribute to Her Royal Highness with the top four winning schools seeing their recipes brought to life and help serve the special guests at the reception. Taking part is easy. All schools have to do is design a menu fit for The Queen that celebrates the food produced in your part of the country.


JLR driving forward with apprentices

l Deputy Premie Minister Nick Clegg talks with young apprentices on a recent fact-finding visit to Jaguar Land Rover HQ in Birmingham


aguar Land Rover (JLR) is to launch its search for the largest ever intake of Apprentices to join its 2012 training programme. The programme, which this year is searching for both Advanced and Higher Apprentices, was launched to coincide with National Apprenticeship week. Following the appointment of 114 Advanced Apprentices last year, JLR is this year looking for a record 133 Apprentices to join its growing business. This will consist of 109 Advanced Apprenticeships and, for

the first time, 24 Higher Apprentices who will work towards the acquisition of a series of NVQs and a degree in a comprehensive training programme open to A-level qualified candidates. The Advanced Apprenticeships scheme is open to GCSE qualified candidates and starts with a year in college studying for an NVQ2 in Performing Engineering Operations, an NVQ3 in a chosen trade pathway, a Technical Certificate, as well as training in key skills such as Communication, IT & Numeracy. Apprentices then go on to fulfil

Chinese celebration Birmingham welcomed in the Chinese New Year in style when celebrations for the ‘Year of the Dragon’ took place. The annual event at the Arcadian Centre in the city’s Chinese Quarter attracted around 25,000 visitors throughout the day of festivities, which included mesmerising acrobatics, Kung Fu demonstrations and traditional

Chinese dancing. Festival Committee Chairman, Jeffrey Yap, said: “This year’s Festival was bigger and better than ever. It saw record crowds and was a great family day out.” Lord Mayor of Birmingham Anita Ward and council boss Mike Whitby launched the event by performing the traditional dotting of the dragon’s eyes.

roles in a variety of manufacturing and product development functions. Commenting on the 2012 Apprentice programme, Des Thurlby, Human Resources Director, JLR, said: “I am delighted that this year we are committing to take on a record number of apprentices. “Apprenticeships provide a valuable and credible career path for the brightest and best and JLR is committed to providing the highest quality practical and academic training to develop the future generation of engineering talent needed to drive our business forward, indeed many of our senior leaders began their careers as apprentices.” Advanced and Higher Apprentices will be recruited at all of JLR’s Midlands and Merseyside based engineering and manufacturing sites including the new Advanced Engine facility where Advanced Apprentices will be supporting the development of a new generation of low-emission engines. l The JLR careers website is opens for applications until April 8. Just visit

All the dishes need to be easily produced in the form of canapés that will be served at the reception at the Palace. The competition is open to 10-15-year-olds attending primary and secondary schools in the UK and entries need to be submitted by Monday, April 30. Any schools featuring British Turkey on their menu will be in with a chance of winning 500 and a PE lesson for their school with Olympic Badminton Medallist Gail Emms. l Enter by e-mail at info@lovebritishfood. or If entering by post, please send to: British Food Fortnight, PO Box 16141, London SE11 4ZH



The Phoenix

February 2012


Authors to visit A host of best-selling authors are heading to Birmingham as part of a year-long festival designed to get Birmingham’s children reading. Following successful shorter events in previous years, Young Readers Birmingham has been extended to a 12-month calendar of events and activities to be hosted in libraries, museums and theatres. The festival was launched by Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Anita Ward, and Curtis Jobling, author of Frankenstein’s Cat and the successful Wereworld series. Other authors set to visit Birmingham over the next 12 months include: Sufiya Ahmed (Secrets of a Henna Girl), Nicholas Allan (The Queen’s Knickers), Anne Cassidy (Heart Burn and Looking for JJ), Tracey Corderoy (Brave Little Penguin and the Willow Valley series) Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, Martin Mullaney, said: “Young Readers Birmingham has been a big hit in recent years, so I’m delighted we now have a year-long calendar of events where young people can meet authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers.” l A full list of events can be found at

Sugar ‘n’ spice proves a real winner for Haley


oung businesswoman Haley Jane is already enjoying the sweet smell of success after just six as a weddings and parties planner. In that short time Haley Jane has built up such a reputation that, in addition to creating a healthy data base of customers who trust her wonderful creativity in planning weddings and co-ordinating events, she has landed a major ‘coup’ in providing her inspiring exquisite candy trees and buffets at last summer’s starstudded ‘Essex Fashion Week.’ For Solihull-based Haley, it was an unbelievable highlight in an

l A stunning castle

l Haley Jane equally remarkable first six months in business. She got the idea after her own marriage to Lee in 2004 and, since June of last year, she has been creating bespoke candy trees and buffets for family and friends in and around the West Midlands as a fun thing to do. Now with encouragement from those people around her, she has decided to take it up as a fully-fledged business. With help from The Prince’s Trust she set up her own website and be-

l Some of Haley’s beautifully crafted table decorations for those special occasions gan her Haley Jane Events marketing campaign. With the website running, she was called to deliver her eyecatching candy trees and sugary buffets at Essex Fashion Week where her displays even earned the approval of stars from The Only Way Is Essex, . Her prices are from outrageous and all her work is made to order.

One area she feels can benefit from her services are Asian weddings. “Mindful that Asian weddings are often extravagant affairs, it’s exactly the type of event which would benefit from my bespoke work,” said Haley Jane. “No event is too big or too small, too near, or too far for me.”

With Haley Jane Events happy to step in and organise your big day for you there really is no need to leave anything to chance. l To find out more about organising your wedding or special party occasion through Haley Jane Events contact her on 0121 243 5276 or go online at

Public Notice

l Leroy McLean who died a year ago, aged 42

Friends and family thinking of Leroy 0121 565 5736

29 Waterloo Road Cape Hill Birmingham B66 4JU

Leroy Reginald McLean passed away a year ago in the Q.E Hospital in January 2011 at 42 years of age. In his early teenage years Leroy was afflicted with Ulcerative Colitis which then developed to Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis, an autoimmune disease still under research. Leroy was very creative and loved animals. He was well known for breeding rabbits in his youth. He also became a master in the

martial art of Kung Fu. In his adult years he became a glasscutter and engraver for Frazer Crystal. He did painting and decorating with carpentry. He then moved on with the times and achieved a diploma in Personal Computer Repairs and was renowned in his community of Spring Hill for building and repairing computers. He was a comedian and always kept his family and friends cheerful

despite his illness. Leroy is deeply missed by his mom Winnifred and dad Fred, his four sisters, Joy, Rosemarie, Jackie, Elizabeth and Karen, his two brothers Derrick and Tony and his nephews and nieces. Leroy is also still missed by close friends Clive, Quann and Michael and all his friends that he met at Brookfield Primary and Ladywood Comprehensive schools.

February 2012

The Phoenix


Acorns team set for a marathon challenge


taff from Acorns Children’s Hospice are determined to cross the finish line in the London Marathon. Acorns urgently needs funds to care for life-limited children, so physiotherapist Kevin Harvey and Deputy Head Nurse Carmel Forrest, both from Acorns in the Black Country, have dedicated their London Marathon fundraising proceeds to help the hospice. Training has been tough - but they aim to carry on and complete the event. Night nurse Judi Clayton will also be joining them in London to run the Marathon. Carmel, of Penkridge, said: “I’m training on Cannock Chase, and had a minor injury, but wanted to keep going because I know how badly Acorns needs our support. My local Indian restaurant and gym are supporting us, and I am doing a bag pack at my local shops.” The London Marathon takes place on April 22.

Lucy Shepherd, Acorns’ Treks and Challenges Officer, said: “Their commitment underlines the need for runners to join the effort to support Acorns Children’s Hospice. So if you have a place in the London Marathon or any other running event and would like to join Team Acorns please get in touch.” Acorns cares for more than 600 children who have life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and 800 families, including those that are bereaved. There is no charge to families for using the services but it does cost £750 per day for each child’s care. Acorns urgently needs donations, on which it relies for the majority of its income. l To find out more about Acorns Children’s Hospice and ways that you can offer your support visit: To sponsor Carmel and Kevin visit the justgiving website at www.justgiving. com/carmel-forrest

l Kevin Harvey and Carmel Forrest are running the London Marathon for Acorns

Diamond Party day Wolverhampton City Council is helping residents wishing to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in style by making the street party application process easier. Celebrations for the landmark occasion will take place across Britain on June 5 and the authority has put together a package of measures designed to encourage local residents wishing to take part. The council has announced there will be no fees charged for hosting street parties while applications can now be submitted on one convenient form that covers all the requirements. A dedicated page on the council website has gone live providing guidance on what people need to do to hold street parties, while people can get further help from officers by contacting City Direct. Due to an anticipated high level of applications for street parties, residents are also being advised to submit their completed forms as soon as possible to ensure they can be processed. Councillor Peter Bilson, Deputy Leader of Wolverhampton City Council, said: “We want to encourage people to celebrate this wonderful event in the best possible way.”



The Phoenix

February 2012


Chamber issues call on airport l The Greatest, Ali

Sadness at demise of centre

As the great Muhammed Ali celebrated his recent 70th birthday, the much-loved and iconic Birmingham building, which was created in his honour is now sadly on the verge of being reduced to a mere rubble of bricks, mortar and rotten woodwork. The demolition of the muchloved – yet hugely neglected Muhammed Ali Community Centre – was always a likelihood but now that it’s become reality, questions have to be asked as to how on earth was this – a ‘gift’ to the city from The Greatest – allowed to decline to its present state by the people who fought so vehemently to get it opened in the first place. When Ali visited the city, in 1983, to open the centre in Hockley, it marked a knockout coup for Birmingham and it was seen as the seal of a lifelong relationship with the legendary boxer. The centre, which was seen as a beacon of peace and unity, was meant to represent a forwardthinking, sharing society, similar to that of the Camp Lane and AfroCaribbean Millennium Centres. Sadly it did not materialise.

Tobacco warning Sandwell shopkeepers have been warned that they have less than three months to make sure they comply with new restrictions on the sale of tobacco. From April 6, large shops with a floor area of more than 280 square metres will no longer be able to display tobacco products to the public except when staff are serving customers or when they are carrying out stock control or cleaning. Customers will still be able to buy cigarettes in the usual way, but the Government is ending tobacco displays to protect young people who are often the target of tobacco promotion. Ending open cigarette displays will help people trying to quit and help to change attitudes and social norms around smoking. The new legislation requires the removal of all tobacco products from where they could be seen by under-18s and retailers must challenge anyone that they think could be under-18 before even showing the customer the product.

Wedded bliss at Wicksteed Park

l Wedding organisers at Wicksteed Park have considerable experience when it comes to catering for large numbers


he oldest public park in the UK, which combines 147 acres of stunning countryside with rollercoaster rides and attractions, has relaunched itself as an Asian wedding venue. Wicksteed Park in Kettering, is opening its doors to couples from across the Midlands following a high quality refurbishment of its “Celebration Suite” during the park’s 90th anniversary year. The Wicksteed Park Pavilion is ideal for large weddings of all kinds as it can cater for up to 1,000 guests and is already attracting interest from couples across the region. The Pavilion is at the heart of the park, which offers free car parking for the wedding party and guests, as well as use of the gardens and attractions for wedding pictures and videos and to entertain wedding guests. It also has the UK’s largest and oldest children’s playground to keep the youngsters happy during the reception. Wicksteed Park Managing Director, John Roberts, said: “We have years of experience in staging Asian Weddings and our recent refurbishment, along with our 90th anniversary year, has given us the perfect opportunity to re-launch what we have on offer. “The Asian wedding venue is a perfect size for large wedding parties and we have a considerable amount of space that can be used for the various aspects of the wedding ceremony and celebration.” Founded by Charles Wicksteed, the inventor of the children’s playground, Wicksteed Park features beautiful parkland along with a free

West Midland business leaders are calling on the Government to invest more in regional airports rather than trying to revive London’s declining flight connections and full capacity. Commenting on British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) latest aviation survey, which says that businesses see direct air links as vital to maintaining the UK’s prospects in global markets, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group (BCCG) says Birmingham Airport is a viable solution to the South East’s aviation capacity constraints. The BCC survey found that 92 per cent of business leaders in high growth economies say direct flights are important to inward investment decisions while 62 per cent say they will only invest in the UK if flight connections are improved. Mike Ward, president of BCCG commented: “Birmingham Airport can easily double its passenger numbers and when the runway extension is completed in 2014/15, business travellers will be able to take advantage of more direct flights. “Birmingham Airport is the jewel in the UK’s crown that just needs a little polish, rather than the Government putting major investment into yet another airport in the South East. “It is vital that cities such as Birmingham can attract foreign investment so that we can grow our economy and create private sector jobs.”

Crime fear on agenda

l Wicksteed Park is drumming up plenty of business for those couples getting married playground and attractions such as rollercoasters and rides, to ensure a great time for the whole family. It has also been voted one of the UK’s top places to go for a free day out in an online poll of the nation’s mums by Netmums. Visitors can walk into the park 365 days a year, free of charge, and the vehicle gates are only closed on Christmas Day. l For further information about any aspect of Wicksteed Park’s wedding day packages, contact Gemma Stanhope, Business Generation Manager, on 01536 512475 or email gemma@

l The park offers a picturesque setting for photographs

A series of forum meetings about crime-fighting projects in West Bromwich have been organised by the local council and police to give local people the chance to raise any concerns they may have. The meetings will have a Face the People session where the Safer Sandwell Partnership will be giving updates on work to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and local environmental concerns. Sandwell Council organises forums in all neighbourhoods in Sandwell, with police, Sandwell Homes and other partner organisations also attending. Forthcoming forums dates are: Greets Green & Lyng – Thursday February 23, 6pm at Guns Village Primary School, Hanbury Road, West Bromwich, B70 9NT West Bromwich Central – Thursday March 1, 6pm at Holy Trinity Church, Burlington Road, West Bromwich, B70 6LF Charlemont with Grove Vale – Thursday March 8, 6pm at Charlemont Community Centre, Beacon View Road, West Bromwich, B71 3PJ l For further information contact West Bromwich neighbourhood manager Diane Wright on 0121 569 3735 or diane_wright@

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February 2012

The Phoenix


Gove impressed by city schools plan Birmingham’s ambitious vision for education in the city was presented to secretary of state Michael Gove during a recent visit. City Council leader Mike Whitby had a private meeting with the secretary of state for education before talks with education officials. “Today is about making a clear commitment to the secretary of state, and to the people of Birmingham, that we believe Birmingham should – and will – be synonymous with educational excellence,” said Mr Whitby. “We want all our children and young people to have the best education and will strive to eradicate under-performance in any of our schools. “Looking particularly at the new tools and freedoms available to us, such as academies, free schools and university technical colleges – Birmingham is saying today that these exciting forms of provision will become an integral part of our approach to school improvement – where autonomy and school-to-school support combine to drive up standards.” Education secretary Michael Gove said: “I am delighted that Birmingham local authority is embracing the vital reforms that are taking place in our education system. “Today’s statement from the Leader of the Council, Mike Whitby, shows a real passion and determination to create world-class schools in this great city, and to tackle underperformance head on.”

Uni team talk with residents Birmingham City Council has commissioned a research team from Aston University to undertake three overlapping research studies regarding issues the Council faces, namely ‘Political disengagement across the city’, ‘Measuring poverty’, and ‘White identities in outer Birmingham’. The research which was carried out by the Aston Centre for Interdisciplinary Research into Language and Diversity found that deprivation within Birmingham is a now wider issue than purely restricted to inner city wards. More than 200 residents from the areas of Ladywood, Washwood Heath, Soho, Kingstanding, Shard End and Quinton were asked their views on a range of areas including why people are moving away from formal, party politics, what they think politics should actually be about and how people on the ground think about what poverty means.


l Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby welcomes secretary of state Michael Gove to the Council House

Handsworth hails its reggae master Amlak


ne of the proudest moments for Amlak Tafari came recently when he was ‘mobbed’ by hoards of delighted people as he walked through the streets of his beloved Handsworth in Birmingham. Best known as a member of the Grammy Award-winning reggae band, Steel Pulse, this particular occasion filled Amlak with greater pride than anything he has achieved with the top-selling Birmingham-based group. Amlak walked through his neighbourhood bedecked in his silk gown and mortar board, with the greatest achievement of his life in his hand. The internationally acclaimed musician, producer, educator and mentor, received his MA in music and he wanted his hometown friends and family to know, in no uncertain terms.


Getting massive hugs and kisses from a large number of people from the multicultural community in Handsworth was something Tafari reflected was one of the greatest moments of his life. “To see black, white, asian men women and children coming up to me to acknowledge my achievement was an experience to behold,” he said. “I did it to make people feel that no matter where you come from, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.” Although best known for a string of worldwide hit tunes, performing in front of the then US President, Bill Clinton at the White House, as well as working with a whole host

l Amlak Tafari, and right, fellow Steel Pulse band members David and Selwyn of mega-stars, such as Sting, Lindy Lopez and fellow Birmingham star Pato Banton, his educational achievements are paramount to the very worldly, amiable and approachable Amlak Tafari. As well as touring the world to sell-out

stadiums, with Steel Pulse, Amlak has also produced music for former Music Youth star, Dennis Seaton and spent time in Minneapolis, as a tutor, mentor and orator for young people in the USA. It’s a role which he also undertakes here, at

South Birmingham College, his former college, With MA in hand, Amlak is now in the process of working towards his PhD in Musicology, which will make him totally fulfilled, educationally, for now at least. Well, he’ll make sure you know about it.

Whilst the findings show a number of challenges for Birmingham in terms of strategic planning, they also highlight key priorities such as continuing to promote cohesion and furthering integration in the City which will positively benefit Birmingham residents. Dr Steve Garner, Senior Lecturer in Sociology from the InterLanD Research Centre at Aston University, said: “This research has given a voice to people who do not usually get heard. “As a result of InterLanD’s research, Birmingham City Council will be looking at reinvigorating local democracy and how to strengthen the equalities agenda so that communities within Birmingham recognise themselves in it.”

Results on the up

Education bosses in the Midlands were jumping for joy when they learned that schools in their borough had recorded their best ever GCSE results – rising 52 places in the Government’s league tables. Sandwell cabinet member for children and families, Cllr Bob Badham, said: “This is fantastic news and shows all of the hard work that everyone has put in during the year. “Since 2002 there has been yearon-year improvement in our results which shows that everyone is pulling out all of the stops to offer our young people the best possible start in life,” he said. “I would now urge local businesses to take on our young school leavers after these excellent results and give them a good start on the career ladder.” The most improved school in the borough was St Michael’s CofE High in Rowley Regis, where results at five or more A*-C grades, including English and Maths, improve by 18%. Other schools making good progress included Oldbury College of Sport, Alexandra High and Holly Lodge Foundation High School.



The Phoenix

February 2012


Jamaica’s airport is taking off The Airports Authority of Jamaica, operators of the Ian Fleming International Airport in Boscobel, St Mary, is gradually expanding the facility. The airport observed its first anniversary recently with a fly-in of eight private aircraft, which was part of the Air Journey’s TBM Tour 2012. President Earl Richards, speaking after the ceremony, said expansion of the airport, which is designed to accommodate small private aircraft, is being done gradually to accommodate larger airplanes, based on growing interest in the facility. He said: “And we have interest from two groups to inspect the facilities… the type of aircraft they want to fly here would require us to extend the runway another 500 feet, and that would mean it would have to be extended across the north coast highway, which, of course, is a big decision, very costly. “It would be a gamechanger for the airport because we would now be able to accommodate scheduled traffic, with aircraft that can accommodate 50 to 70 passengers.”

India joins in message of goodwill Shri M. Hamid Ansari greeted the people of India on the auspicious occasion of Milad-Un-Nabi that marks the birth of Prophet Mohamnmad. In his address the Vice President of India called upon the people to follow the path of love and tolerance towards creating a peaceful and just society. “I extend my greetings and good wishes to the citizens of our country on the auspicious occasion of Milad-Un-Nabi that marks the birth of Prophet Mohammad. “On this occasion of Milad-UnNabi, let us pray that we follow the path of love and tolerance towards creating a peaceful and just society,” he said. “Let us all endeavour and rededicate ourselves to contribute for the prosperity of our nation.”

Chukka adds fourth resort

Chukka Caribbean Adventures has just opened the Chukka Tours Good Hope Estate, bringing the number of its Jamaican locations to four, along with Falmouth, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. The adventure-pros now offer over 53 tours across the island catering to all ages and abilities including the Zip-Line Canopy, River Tubing, Horseback Ride N’ Swim, River Kayak, ATV Safari, Dune Buggy, Jamaica Dog Sled Encounter and the Bob Marley Experience. l For further information, visit

Infant mortality rate declining in India New figures released by the Indian Government have revealed a decline in the nation’s infant mortality rate. Latest statistics from the Registrar General of India (RGI), shows that Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has dropped further by three points from 50 to 47 infants deaths per 1000 live births during 2010. The IMR for rural areas has dropped by four points from 55 to 51 infant deaths per 1000 live births while the Urban rate now stands at 31 from the previous 34/1000.

The state of Goa still has the lowest IMR of 10 infant deaths followed by Kerala with 13 infant deaths per 1000 live births (as against 12/1000 in January 2011 figures) – the Urban IMR in Kerala has however reduced to 10 against 11 of previous figures. Madhya Pradesh has the highest IMR of 62/1000 followed by UP and Odisha with 61/1000 IMR. States/UTs of Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Meghalaya still have IMRs more than the average of 47. The Sample Registration System (SRS) is a

large-scale demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimates of birth rate, death rate and other fertility and mortality indicators at the national and sub-national levels. The field investigation consists of continuous enumeration of births and deaths in selected sample units by resident part-time enumerators, generally anganwadi workers and teachers, and an independent survey every six months by SRS supervisors. The data obtained by these two independent functionaries are matched. The unmatched

and partially matched events are re-verified in the field and thereafter an unduplicated count of births and deaths is obtained. The sample unit in rural areas is a village or a segment of it, if the village population is 2000 or more. In urban areas, the sampling unit is a census enumeration block with population ranging from 750 to 1000. At present, SRS is operational in 7,597 sample units (4,433 rural and 3,164 urban) spread across all States and Union territories and covers about 1.5 million households and 7.27 million population.

Railway tribute is on track

Archbishop gets the party started

l The Archbishop of York was not slow to make friends on his visit to Jamaica. Here, he meets dolphin Mitch in Ocho Rios


he Archbishop of York did not find himself short of friends on his recent visit to Jamaica. Dr. John Sentamu paid a visit to the world famous Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios where he was entranced by three-year-old dolphin Mitch. Jamaica is now fully into its 50th anniversary year of Independence and the former Bishop of Birmingham was delighted to return to Jamaica for his second visit to help kickstart the celebrations.


His first visit was to lead a service at the Holy Trinity church in Montego Bay. Throughout the nine-day tour the Archbishop visited local schools, homes for the elderly and met with civic and community leaders. On a visit to the Muschett Home for the Aged in Trelawny, the popular Uganda-born church leader met

up with one of the residents, Faith Emery. The home is operated by the Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. During his stay in Jamaica, the Archbishop lead two special ecumenical services. The Archbishop and his wife, Margaret, also enjoyed a visit to some of Jamaica’s most popular tourist attractions. Jamaica’s Director of Tourism, John Lynch said of the visit: “2012 marks the start of a significant year in Jamaica’s history, with the 50th anniversary of Independence. “Therefore, when planning the official events that will take place throughout the year, the Jamaica Tourist Board considered there no better way of launching these celebrations by way of a visit from The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu.”

Indian Railways is bringing the past and the present together on its Tableau to be showcased at its Republic Day Parade. One of the popular trains of Indian Railways, the ‘Punjab Mail’ is the chosen theme of the tableau as it is the first train in the country to achieve the distinction, in recorded history, to enter the 100th year of its run. The tableau consists of the modern train juxtaposed with the older version which used to be pulled by steam engines. The ‘Punjab Mail’ train now runs with electric and diesel tractions. The modern train is depicted with an electric engine pulling a sleeper class coach. This tableau also depicts a ground element, consisting of railway employees and family members of railway employees from Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala who shall perform the ‘Bhangra’ Dance in front of the tableau to celebrate the spirit of the train. It is flanked by two miniature older versions of the ‘Punjab Mail’ with the steam engines pulling the old wooden coaches. ‘Punjab Mail’, earlier known as “Punjab Limited” is the first train to achieve distinction of entering its 100th year on Indian Railways broad gauge network. The train in the beginning during British ruled India, traversed 2496 km route and passed through Itarsi, Agra, Delhi, Amritsar and Lahore before terminating at Pehsawar Cantonment. ‘Punjab Mail’ whose services were primarily meant for the upper class white sahibs, started its services for the lower classes by mid 1930 by introducing Third class compartments. It was in 1945, just a couple of years before India got independence, that the Punjab Mail got its first air-conditioned car.

Jamaica tops poll

l Dr John Sentamu catches up with Faith Emery

Jamaica was a big winner at the prestigious 2011 World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony, held in Doha, Qatar. In addition to winning the award for World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination, Jamaica was recognised for the sixth consecutive year as the World’s Leading Cruise Destination.

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February 2012

The Phoenix


Volvo helping to fight AIDS


ith more than five million people infected, HIV/AIDS continues to destroy lives and communities across South Africa and it affects everyone, including employees at companies like Volvo Southern Africa. However through education and the ‘Star for Life’ programme, Volvo is contributing to the fight against this deadly disease. South Africa has more people with HIV/AIDS than anywhere else in the world and the township of Umlazi, southwest of Durban, has one of the highest rates of infection within South Africa. The disease has, and continues, to decimate the community. “The teachers are losing a lot of their learners because they were born with HIV. At high school some of them say they are losing children at grade 11 and 12. We are losing them at grade 8 and grade 9,” says Ms D.N. Fulela, Head Mistress at

l Volvo’s Anders Lindblad Vukhuzake High School in Umlazi. “This year we got 1273 learners and, when we counted at the beginning of the year, we had 441 learners who are without parents.” The sheer scale of the tragedy has prompted Volvo Southern Africa to sponsor ‘Star for Life’ programmes in 16 high schools. ‘Star for Life’ is a non-profit organisation that aims to reduce infection rates by giving high school students a better understanding of the disease and how it’s contracted.

The key message is to encourage youth to pursue their dreams for a better future, in the hope that it will inspire them to make better lifeaffirming decisions. Volvo Southern Africa’s commitment to ‘Star for Life’ began in 2008 with the sponsorship of eight local high schools in Durban. “In every country where Volvo is operating, we are trying to take up some kind of social responsibility, and in South Africa we have a major challenge – HIV and AIDS,” said Anders Lindblad, President of Volvo Southern Africa. “It is a major problem. It’s affecting everyone. It is affecting our employees as well as the employees of our customers.” The Vukhuzake High School was one of the eight high schools chosen and the programme has proven to be a huge success. Apart from sponsoring counselling and treatment programmes, Volvo has also donated computers and a new library.

Caymans tops with travellers

l Young pupils at Vukhuzake High School in South Africa

The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is thrilled to have come in as the number one destination in the Caribbean and Mexico category in the global TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice 2011 listings. Furthermore, with a population of just over 50,000, the Cayman Islands is also ranked 22 in the top 25 destinations in the world – alongside major cities such as Sydney, Paris and London – and the only country in the Caribbean to have been included in this list. Don McDougall, Regional Manager Europe, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism said gets: “We are naturally delighted about these results, not least of all because Cayman is, relatively speaking, diminutive both in population and in size when compared to almost all the other destinations listed. “Those who visit us know that we pack a punch that is considerably above our weight when it comes to delivering a quality and diverse tourism experience. What makes these awards a real privilege is the results are all based on real visitor’s experiences.”



The Phoenix

February 2012

Advertising Feature

Russell helps get us back on track


ussell N’cor has already made his mark in Birmingham in his quest to make his city a better, safer place in which to live. As a qualified personal trainer, Russell is on a mission to encourage the young people of Birmingham to shape up, in order to develop a physically fit body – and build a mentally fit mind and soul. With that goal achieved, he feels they would then be in a stronger position to think positively and make informed and objective decisions when faced with life’s ups and downs. Russell has aspirations to work with disadvantaged young people and students in private academies and to help the socially excluded. The athletic 35-year-old is a third generation Southern Mantis student and as a respected martial arts combat instructor he has been training people at some of the city’s more unlikely training ‘arenas’ for 10 years. These range from open spaces in local parks, to canal banks and

towpaths – nowhere is too big or too small to give his students the ultimate lessons in self-defence. He takes the core of his training at the Tao Centre in Hockley. Russell is maintaining a fine family dynasty for sporting excellence as his brothers Charles and Adrian both excelled at basketball, reaching National level. Among his school pals growing up in east London was Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe. Under the title of ‘MA3K’ Russell’s mindset is to lead by example, which means not asking people to do what he himself cannot. “That’s what MA3K is all about,” explains Russell, who also repre-

sented Newnham & Essex Beagles in the long jump and 400metres. “MA3K stands for Moving Ahead 3000, it is all about positive movements and fast, forward-thinking “As a Christian that’s what I’m all about. I want people to learn to respect their bodies which in turn will allow them to respect other people. “We want to make the workouts accessible to all those who have a strong desire for change.” MA3K aims to make training more accessible and affordable to people within the local community with the birth of Carcom UK (The home of Urban Street Fitness) – for the hardcore trainers and DynaMobility covering softer areas of

stretching, breathing and mobility. “We don’t do anything too hardcore we work within an individual’s capabilities so we can make sure that whoever takes part will enjoy each session,” he said. Although the age group is open, Russell usually works with people of both sexes in the 17-30 age range and is currently holding sessions at Edgbaston and Rookery Park, Erdington. You can also catch him at Fitness4Less, in the city centre. Among the local heros to have inspired Russell in his career are Steel Wire MMA fighter and trainer Carlos Francis, Southern Mantis teacher and instructor Sifu Tony Clements, TAO Centre head coach Paul Jones, Southern Mantis coach Ron Ashford and Shaolin Stretch and Stamina trainer Kirit Thakore. Other friends include the likes of UK MMA fighter Khalid Ismail and Kettle Bell King, Aron Smith. l If you want to discuss fitness programmes with Russell call him on 07940 845968 or email him at

l Personal fitness trainer Russell N’cor


February 2012

The Phoenix


Kevin out to raise profile of sickle cell

New figures turn up the heat on sunbeds


new Cancer Research UK study has revealed that young Britons are risking long-term damage to their health by using sunbeds to boost their appearance, on the recommendation of friends and family. Every week, one 15-34 year old is diagnosed with malignant melanoma in the West Midlands.* The poll of nearly 3,000 UK adults found that two-thirds (66 per cent) of sunbed users aged 18-24 first used one on the recommendation of a friend, family member or partner.

Yoga in the park Sandwell Valley Park Farm is to begin hosting a series of special relaxation events. From Easter, Bliss Yoga and Relaxation will be running a variety of events for children and adults. On Saturdays there will be a session for children run by Rose Fortune, a mum-of-two who has practiced yoga for several years. Also on Saturdays and Sundays, there will be yoga classes for all. On Saturday, June 23, there will be a full day Summer Solstice event where yoga and deep relaxation techniques will be held. The cost is £40. Beginners are welcome. Bliss Yoga and Relaxation provides yoga in a wide variety of settings including classes, schools and UK and foreign retreats. Cabinet member for neighbourhood services Derek Rowley said: “It is an opportunity for people to improve their health and general well-being.” l For further information telephone 0791 015 8275.

Over two-fifths of this age group (42 per cent) admitted to using a sunbed at least once a month, whilst nearly half (46 per cent) said they had a friend who also used sunbeds. One in four (26 per cent) of the survey’s sunbed users aged 18-24 said they were not bothered by the serious health warnings of sunned use, though first time use of a sunbed before 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%, which is the most serious form of skin cancer and the second most common form of cancer found in 15 -34. Chris Lunn, SunSmart campaign manager

at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s surprising to see that two thirds (66 per cent) of young sunbed users received encouragement from a friend, family member or partner when using a sunbed for the first time, despite the longterm health risks they pose.


“By highlighting the health risks, we hope people will become more aware that using sunbeds can increase the chances of developing skin cancer, and so discourage their friends and family from using them in future,” he said.

“We may all want to improve our appearance to help alleviate the mid-winter gloom, but sunbeds aren’t the answer. “As well as increasing your risk of skin cancer, you could be left with wrinkles, leathery skin and age spots. If you must have a tan, faking it is the best option.” l Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart R UV UGLY? campaign is offering free skin assessments at all UK sk:n clinics. To book call 0800 822 3037 quoting ‘R UV UGLY?, text R UV UGLY? to 63757 (standard rates apply) or visit

It’s time for a rethink on the process of adoption As 2012 kicks in, it’s worth remembering the thousands of children and young people who are still waiting to be placed into some kind of abode which will provide them with security and the feeling of being wanted on a long-term basis. Recent figures showed that the numbers of those in care homes and shelters were on a steep increase, as they wait for their turn to be fostered, or adopted.

sion process would be one particularly encouraging move to get more families on the waiting list, with an equally encouraging financial packages being another. We also need to be mindful that there are many groups of brothers and sisters who need to be adopted together.



For babies, the figure is even more lamentable. In 2010, only 60 newborns were adopted in Great Britain, with one reason being the lengthy process, for potential families, which is just under two years on average. With nearly 2,500 children placed for adoption, which is down on the previous year, the subsequent figure for children placed in care rose to 65.5 thousand, an increase of two

l Adopting can be demanding but rewarding as well per cent. The coalition’s austerity measures is another major factor into why people are thinking twice

about going ahead with fostering, or adopting. Far less time spent on the deci-

With African and Caribbean children waiting the longest for a new family, their overwhelming representation within the care system is of greater concern. There’s a huge wealth of families, up and down Birmingham and the West Midlands, who meet all the right criteria, as well as the emotional and identity needs to help develop them into the ‘rounded’ human beings they already are. l For more information on adoption visit www.adoptionuk. org

Sickle cell anemia may not be a well enough known illness to gain significant prominence in the mainstream media, but for many people, especially of Caribbean descent, it’s a life-threatening disease that has been the blight of families throughout the world simply through a lack of knowledge and, equally so, finance. Formed by red blood cells creating abnormal crescent shapes, it’s usually passed down through families and can come in various types. Kevin Dunkley is a sufferer, both of Sickle Cell and the lack of knowledge of its impact, by the medical profession. He comes from a family of sufferers and, through his personal experiences, wants to expand knowledge of the disease and improve the level of service for people in a similar predicament. “The level of Sickle Cell that I have, which is the ‘SS’ type, is of the most intense kind,” said Mr Dunkley. “That said, though, I don’t have the level of problems other ‘SS’ sufferers have, as I only need to go to hospital every now and then. That, I put down to God,” he added.


The 42-year-old, from Lee Bank in Birmingham, set-up the Patient Network Support Group (PNSG) steering group, along with friend and fellow sufferer, the late Joseph Mills, to challenge, support, celebrate and embrace the disorder. “Through research, asking questions of relevant people, especially fellow-sufferers, I want to be able to create an open forum to push Sickle Cell Anemia into the forefront of the medical profession,” he said. Sadly, Joseph passed away, in 2010, but, with the help of five core members, PNSG is going as strong as ever by visiting local schools, colleges, universities and youth groups to talk about Sickle Cell Anemia as well as holding fundraising events in the hope of raising enough cash to eventually open a specialist ward, in a hospital somewhere in the West Midlands, before setting up a purpose-built centre for Sickle Cell sufferers wherever they are. l To find out more: contact Kevin on: 07805 276 758, or logon to:



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The Phoenix

l Andy Hamilton

l Bol (Speak)

February 2012

The Drum beat is getting louder.... l Mummy Mafia

T l 70s Retro Night

l Make it a Date!

l Donna Spence

l Fursan

he Drum is the UK’s premier Black-led arts centre dedicated to the development, celebration and presentation of African, Asian and Caribbean arts and cultural activities, for the benefit of all. Join The Drum as we celebrate a new season and a new year this spring. 2012 is an important year for the UK, as host nation for the Olympic Games, and also for Birmingham in that our city will house two of the world’s most accomplished track and field teams: Jamaica and Team USA. As the city’s premier Black-led arts organisation, The Drum will be hanging our flags out early, with advance activities and events building up towards our very special summer season. However, we are putting together our artistic programme in a period of unprecedented public sector cuts and widespread austerity and widening inequality. Nevertheless, we continue to thrive and play a key strategic role in the creative sector nationally and regionally. In real terms, this value of arts to the city and the region is actualised through our programming. The Drum is committed to a genuine, deep-rooted model of diversity, providing opportunities for artists, communities and audiences that do not exist elsewhere. With almost 60 different events gracing our stages this spring there really is something for everyone. Over the following few months The Drum will play host to a variety of top music events, national and in-

ternational theatre productions, witty and stylish comedy sets, thoughtprovoking literature sessions and awe-inspiring films and exhibitions. This spring we really have searched the four corners of the earth to bring you something new and vibrant. You can also get involved in a wide range of workshops and educational projects though our arts development initiatives, whilst our vibrant young people’s department, Young Gifted Brum, are planning to tour their recent stage production of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman to a few more venues nationally. We look forward to seeing you in Aston this Spring!

l Theatre

Our theatre strand promises to be thrilling. Uprising is the one man show written Alex Wheatle MBE which chronicles his life from the brutality of children’s homes to award winning author. Mummy Mafia pokes fun at the trials and tribulations of motherhood in a postcode war with a hilarious twist. From side-splitting writer and director Ricky Rowe comes Jamaican comedy play Dutty Money featuring favourites such as Charles Tomlin, Olive Miller, Ricky Rowe and Lovena Brown. A Moment of Mishearing is dynamic combination of music and drama by acclaimed Indian writer Amit Chaudhuri. Chaudhuri will also be interviewed for an ‘In Conversation’ event as part of our literature season.

l Kat Francois

l Music

When it comes to music we have something for everyone. Sir John Holt and Freddie McGregor are headlining the Valentine’s weekend dance they will be supported by Jamaican super-group L.U.S.T. Nu Century Arts returns with the regular Live Box series with an extensive set of performers covering jazz, soul, gospel, dub poetry and hip hop. We are excited to continue to host legend Andy Hamilton for his monthly Sunday lunchtime free family jazz sessions. New this season: Cobweb Collective brings us fresh jazz every month.

l Comedy

To celebrate International Women’s Month we have an all-female show featuring host ‘big sister’ Donna Spence, award winning comedienne Glenda Jaxson, razor sharp circuit veteran Susan Murray and making her Drum stage debut Kayleigh Lewis. The final Upfront Comedy performance in April will be headlined by ‘the don’ Curtis Walker, along with the hilarious Brooklyn Mike (Def Comedy Jam) and south London’s Nigerian wit Victor Daniel.

l Film

Our upcoming films deal with hard-hitting issues. The Nine Muses is a history of mass migration to post-war Britain told in the style of an epic poem. The Interrupters is based on a true story of three young people who work to ‘interrupt’ the spread

l Sir John Holt and Freddie McGregor

of violence on the mean streets of Chicago. One Way is a story if four young men on a journey from recklessness to the straight and narrow path. Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin is a documentary about an American Civil Rights leader. He stood next to Dr Martin Luther King Jr but his work was largely ignored due to a prejudice of another kind. The Real Film Season is a series of topical features from India and Pakistan which cover clashes of culture, class and gender. And don’t forget our extensive workshops and classes, as well as exhibitions, and literature events! So don’t delay, check our brochure or website for more information on our events and with tickets already on sale, early booking is recommended. We also have lots of exciting offers and discounts at The Drum. We offer a concessionary rate on most performances, you can find this in brackets following our standard ticket price. Concessions are available to senior citizens, registered unemployed, registered disabled and under 18s. Students are entitled to a 10% discount on standard tickets for the majority of our events. Have a look at our upcoming calendar of events opposite. l Keep updated with our events, via our Facebook page: and our Twitter feed: Drum We’re looking forward to seeing you at The Drum soon.

l Susan Murray

l Cameron Pierre

l Zara McFarlane

l Glenda Jaxson

l Kobo Town

To book your tickets call The Drum Box Office on 0121 333 2444 or book online at

Thu 2 Feb, 8pm Word Up!

Fri 3 Feb, 7pm Upfront Comedy - Annette Fagon & Kwaku

Fri 3 Feb, 10pm Reggaebaby Lounge

Sat 4 Feb, 10pm Inna Big Tunes Style – Feat David Rodigan & DJ Mistri

Sat 14 Jan, 5pm A Celebration in Honour of Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Sun 15 Jan, 1pm Bangla Food Journeys

Sat 21 Jan, 7pm Qari Waheed Chisti Qawwal & Party


Sun 29 Jan, 1pm The Andy Hamilton Sessions

Fri 27 Jan, 7.30pm The Nubian Readers’ Book Club

Wed 25 Jan, 4pm Kalaboration - Launch

Every Sat from 14 Jan Capoeira classes

Mon 9 Jan-Wed 29 Feb, Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm Exhibition - Per Forms

Every Sun from 8 Jan Identity Drama School

Every Thu from Jan 5 Vocal Training


Sat 2nd Mar, 10pm The Valentines Reggae Showcase

Fri 17 Feb Cobweb Collective Greyish Quartet

Sun 26 Feb, 1pm The Andy Hamilton Sessions

Sat 25 Feb, 7pm Dutty Money

Sat 25 Feb, 7pm One Way

Fri 24 Feb, 7.30pm Uprising

Wed 15 Feb, 7pm Nine Muses Every Thu from 16 Feb, 6.30pm West African Drumming

Fri 24 Feb, 7.30pm The Nubian Readers’ Book Club

Fri 10 Feb, 8pm Kobo Town

Thu 23 Feb, 6pm The Interrupters

Sun 19 Feb, 7:30pm (Town Hall) Roy G Hemmings’s Motown & Philadelphia on Tour

Fri 24 Feb, 10pm Sound System Fridays

Mon 6 Feb, 6.00pm – 7.30pm Revival: West African Drumming for Dance Classes

Sun 5 Feb, 1pm Love to Dance - Dancehall Rebellion

Sun 4 Mar, 12pm Brit Idol 2012

Sat 3 Mar Live Box - Zara Mcfarlane

Fri 2 Mar, 10pm Reggaebaby Lounge

Fri 2 Mar, 7pm Upfront Comedy – Sisters wid Gags

Thu 1 Mar, 8pm Word Up!

Thu 1 Mar, 7.30pm (Town Hall) Sierra Maestra


Wed 29 Feb, 7pm Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

spring 2012

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Sat 17 Mar, 2pm (Library Theatre) Amit Chaudhuri - In Conversation with Siddhartha Bose

Thu 15 Mar, 7pm Khuda Kay Liye (In the Name of God)

Fri 9 Mar, 7.30pm Mummy Mafia

Fri 9 Mar, 8pm Cobweb Collective Matt Ratcliffe Trio

Mon 5 March – Sat 5 May Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm Exhibition - 16 Cowries – Erindinlogun

Sun 4 March, 1pm – 4pm Love to Dance - Salsa & Merengue Mash Up

Sun 4 Mar, 4pm Spring Sabha

Fri 30 Mar, 10pm Sound System Fridays

Fri 30 Mar, 7.30pm The Nubian Readers’ Book Club

Sun 25 Mar, 7pm Anhey Ghorhey da Daan (Alms of the Blind Horse)

Sun 25 Mar, 1pm The Andy Hamilton Sessions

Sat 24 Mar, 7pm Bol (Speak)

Tue 20 Mar, 8pm (Town Hall) Kulvinder Ghir

Sat 17 Mar, 7.45pm Live Box - Cameron Pierre

Sat 17 Mar, 7.30pm A Moment of Mishearing

Sat 17 Mar, 5pm & 8.30pm Single Mother

Sun 8 April, 1pm – 4pm Love to Dance - African Beats

Sat 7 Apr, 9pm 70s Retro Night

Fri 6 Apr, 10pm Reggaebaby Lounge Sat 7 Apr, 7.45pm Live Box -Yazz Ahmed

Fri 6 Apr, 7pm Upfront Comedy – Curtis Walker + guests

Thu 5 Apr, 8pm Word Up!

Sun 1 Apr, 7.30pm (Town Hall) Roberto Fonseca & Ayanna


Sat 31 Mar, 6.30pm ACE Dance and Music - Easter Gala Performance


10% offer must be booked in advance, before March 16 2012, standard tickets only, not valid on tickets for ‘Valentine’s Reggae Special’ discount on a maximum of 5 standard tickets.

Thu 3 May, 8pm Word Up!

Wed 2 May, 6pm Raising Lazarus


Fri 27 Apr, 10pm Sound System Fridays

Fri 27 April, 7.30pm The Nubian Readers’ Book Club

Sat 21 Apr, 7.45pm Live Box - Stuart McCallum

Fri 13 Apr, 6.30pm Make it a Date, Lucky for Some

The Drum | 144 Potters Lane | Aston | Birmingham | B6 4UU Box Office 0121 333 2444

February 2012 The Phoenix



The Phoenix

February 2012


Aussie Pink Floyd show at the NIA The live touring sensation that is The Australian Pink Floyd Show is returning to the NIA in March. Described in 2011 by The Times as “setting the gold standard”, The Australian Pink Floyd Show is a visually stunning event which has now sold over three million tickets worldwide, and the band have created an incredible show for the “Exposed in the Light” 2012 dates. Taking its title from the lyrics of the Floyd classic “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, 2012’s “Exposed in the Light” show will be a true Pink Floyd ‘immersion’. New for this year is a state of the art surround sound system that will be controlled by Floyd’s own Front of House Engineer Colin Norfield. This incredible audio output will be bolstered by new lasers, new lights and even more jaw-dropping video effects, guaranteeing a multimedia sensory experience. Original Floyd fans will be delighted to hear that Pink Floyd veteran Lorelei McBroom will be appearing on this tour. Lorelei’s toured with Pink Floyd on the “Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “Delicate Sound of Thunder” tours. l Tickets for the NIA show on Wednesday March 21 are on sale priced £29.50. To book visit www.

Time to get Lost in Paradise Midlands devotees of Paradise Lost can look forward to seeing the goth metal giants twice over the next few months. The band are touring the UK in April performing tracks from their forthcoming album Tragic Idol which is due for release on April 23. The band will be on stage at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on Wednesday, April 25 before returning to the Midlands later in the year for the three-day Bloodstock festival at Catton Hall, near Lichfield. Since their conception in 1988, Paradise Lost have not only founded the genre gothic metal

with 1991’s “Gothic”, but also diligently defined and daringly transcended it. The band’s entire career has been accompanied by the desire to evolve and stay ahead of musical trends and fashions. Paradise Lost celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2008 with the release of their much praised live DVD/2CD “The Anatomy Of Melancholy”, as well as exclusive live shows surrounding this event with Anathema and My Dying Bride. l Slade Room tickets priced £14.50 are available from Midland Box Office on 0870 320 7000 or online at

Opera singer Byron aims to reach the top Byron Jackson is yet another of Birmingham’s throng of talent to hit the big time in the world of music. But, unlike many of his peers, his musical journey is heading in the most unlikely of directions. Instead of seeing him ‘blinging’ it up at the BRITS, or r’n’b showcases, his pure, baritone voice is more befitting the Town Hall, Symphony Hall, or, as it’s his ultimate aim, the lead in a big production at the Royal Albert Hall. The 30-year-old’s forte is singing the big opera numbers from some of the major arias in front of the most adoring of opera fanatics. The Balsall Heath native has already performed in two world premieres at the Royal Opera House; Dominique Le Gendra’s “Bird of Night,” in 2006 and more recently last year, in a surreal production based on the life of model, Anna Nicole Smith, conducted by the famed Sir Antonio Pappano, which was shown on BBC4. Influenced by Amanda Doyle, his Drama and Music teacher at Kings Heath Boys School, after seeing Victor Hugo’s classic ‘Les Miserables’ at the Hippodrome Theatre, he was well and truly ‘hooked.’

With support from his grandmother Ivy May, his paternal guardian, Byron began to do educational workshops to develop his musical discipline, as his love for opera and the classics grew. “As a second generation Black Caribbean, I have so many people to thank for their influence and help. My greatest influence was my grandmother, a strong matriarchal figure. My brother and I lived with Nan who was strict with our upbringing, always encouraging brother Junior and I.” In 2009, Byron performed in a special charity concert dedicated to his grandmother’s memory at St Mary’s Parish Church, in Moseley. Having also performed in Bernstein’s ‘Mass,’ at Oxford Town Hall (with X Factor’s Rhydian Roberts) and Dee (based on the life of mathematician, John Dee), Byron Jackson’s stock, in opera, is on the up and up, make no mistake. l Byron will be performing in ‘Life is a Dream’, at Birmingham Opera Company at The Argent Centre in March a new opera commissioned from composer Jonathan Dove and writer Alasdair Middleton.

Gravity on run at mac

Inspired by his own experience as a science teacher in a tough secondary school, Wolverhampton playwright Arzhang Pezhman’s gripping new play, Gravity opens at mac as part of Birmingham Rep’s off-site season from February 23 to March 3. The dynamic new play about provocation explores issues around science, classroom discipline, and pressures on teachers. The production will be designed by Fabrice Serafino with lighting by Simon Bond, and composition and sound design by Edward Lewis. Following its World Premiere at Mac Gravity will embark on a UK tour with support from the Sir Barry Jackson Trust.

Synth pop stars back Two famous pop acts from the 1980s are heading back to the Midlands later in the year. The Human League are at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Sunday, December 2. The Sheffield legends had eight Top 10 singles in the UK including the classic Christmas No.1 in 1981 ‘Don’t You Want Me’. Lady Gaga professed to be a devotee when she met them recently; they had adjacent dressing rooms at the ‘V’ Festival. Another bunch of 80s synthpop masters, Blancmange, will be playing at the Wulfrun Hall on Sunday, May 20.

To advertise in The Phoenix

February 2012

The Phoenix


Bloodstock shaping up


February 2 Catapult Club ft. Grey Goes Down, Barefoot Runners, The Formula, The Cavalier Attitude, Oscar Denihan 3 Kaiser Chiefs (sold out) 4 Emma Scott Presents... Open to Fire, Escape Avenue, Weatherbird, Red Method, The Crooked Empire 6 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 7 CASH (Johnny Cash tribute) + Pan And The Poets 7 James Morrison - The Awakening Tour 8 The Devil Wears Prada 9 Catapult Club ft. She Screams Murder, Splintertone, Insolito, Wrapped In Plastic, Hallway District 10 Silent Filter ft. The Great Western, John J Presley, Bowen & The Tide, Dale Hanson 11 NME Awards Show ft. Justice 13 Hyro Da Hero 14 Ivyrise plus Franko 16 Kerrang tour ft New Found Glory, LetLive, While She Sleeps 17 Big Country 18 NME Awards Tour 2012 ft Two Door Cinema Club, Metronomy, Tribes, Azealia Banks 18 Silent Filter ft. Claustrophobique, Lucid Uprising, The Variables, Billie Richards 19 The Skrillex Cell - Grey Daze Tour 20 Dog is Dead 22 Silent Filter ft. Call Atlantis, Brains For Breakfast, Imogen’s Kiss, The Kerensky Offensive, The Nortons 23 Nicole Scherzinger, Angel, Mindless Behaviour 24 Simple Minds 5X5 Live 25 Little Dragon 25 Silent Filter ft. Naked Remedy 27 Norma Jean, The Chariot, Dead & Divine, Admirals Arms 28 The Static Jacks March 1 The South (Ex-Beautiful South 2 Shaun Ryder - Greatest hits of the Happy Mondays, Black Grape Tour 3 Protest The Hero - Long Distance Calling, Blood Command 7 Rise To Remain, Malefice 10 The Stranglers


February 2 Colin Fry - Higher Senses Tour 3-4 Sarah Millican: Thoroughly Modern Millican (extra dates) 17 Organ Concert 17 Wolverhampton Soul Night Out (Wulfrun Hall) 23 Kate Rusby (rescheduled from December 15) 25 Ben - A Tribute to Michael Jackson (Wulfrun Hall) March 1 Seann Walsh & Josh Widdicombe (Wulfrun Hall) 2 Band of Skulls (Wulfrun Hall) 2-3 Billy Connolly 6 Jon Richardson (Wulfrun Hall) 9 The Presidents of the United States of America (Wulfrun Hall) 10 The Answer/The Union (Wulfrun Hall)

The line-up for Bloodstock 2012 is coming together nicely and among the latest names added to the bill for the three-day Midlands metal festival are Nile and Mayhem. With four critically acclaimed albums, a few EPs and several world tours under their belt, Floridian death metal behemoths Nile have raised the bar for extreme metal bands musically, lyrically and conceptually. Vocalist Karl Sanders said: “The members of Nile are eagerly looking forward to our first-ever appearance at Bloodstock. Let Metal Take Place!”

l Metal monsters Mastodon will be performing material from their acclaimed album The Hunter at the HMV Institute


February 4 Snow Patrol 10 Olly Murs 18 Supercross 24 Jason Derulo 25 Rammstein March 1 The Wanted 13 Florence & the Machine


Mar 1 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

BIRMINGHAM HMV INSTITUTE l Olly Murs is at the LG Arena this month


February 3 Jazz Legends Acker Bilk & Chris Barber 4 Suggs: My Life Story in Words & Music 5 Khatia Buniatishvilli 5 Martin Simpson Trio 18 Max Boyce + guests 19 Roy G Hemmings’ Motown Philadelphia on Tour 20 Thomas Trotter 22 Julian Lloyd Webber & Orchestra of the Swan 23 Fascinating Aida 25 Joe Brown in concert March 3 Nick Lowe 7 Portico Quartet 9 Fairport Convention

February 2 Biohazard 3 Edguy, Voodoo Six 4 Laura Veirs 6 Alesana, We Came As Romans, I Wrestled A Bear Once, Glamour of the Kill 9 Awolnation 10 Mastodon 15 Miles Hunt, Erica Nockalls 17 Shinedown 20 Kylesa, Circle Takes The Square, Ken Mode 22 The Mobo Tour 2012 23 Jezabels, Arcadian Kicks 24 Decapitated, Aorted, Cyanide Serenity 25 Napalm Death 27 Theory of a Deadman 28 Ben Howard March 1 Tyler Ward 2 Melanie C 3 Passion, Krystal Roxx, Sammy Sugar, DJ K, Jay Lowe, Ranier 6 Maverick Sabre, Miss Dynamite


February 8 Transatlantic Sessions 10 Broadway The Concert: CBSO Night Classics 12 Black Dyke Brass Band 15-18 CBSO The Planets 18 Mid-day Mantra: Shin Parwana 19 CBSO Youth Orchestra 23 An Evening with David Hasselhoff 24-25 Billy Connolly 26 Lee Mead March 1 Rebecca Ferguson 2 Laura Marling 3 Tristan and Isolde 5 Matt Cardle 8 The Hollies

l Mel C will spice things up at the HMV Institute

please phone 0121 629 7728

9 Kill Hannah, Dear Superstar 11 Destroyers of the Faith Tour with Cannibal Corpse, Triptykon, Enslaved, Job For A Cowboy


February 3 Valous, Hellbound Hearts, The Perfect Crime 4 Curvature, Hypothesis, Fern Palmer Fox 8 Ulcerate, Svart Crown, Kataleptic, Towers of Flesh 11 Rockabilly 54 14 Darksite, Chemically Abused, A Vulgar Picture 18 9xDead, Warlord UK, Black Wednesday, Black Star Bullet


February 2 Canterbury 4 Puressence 8 Robin Ince - Happiness Through Science 9 The Treatment (Rescheduled) 16 Richard Herring: What Is Love Anyway? 17 Alestorm 18 Emma Scott Presents - Rebel City Radio 22 Comedy Store presents Steve Hughes 23 Your Days Are Numbered (postponed until April 17) 29 King Charles Mar 1 To Kill A King


When it comes to debates on the definitive history of black metal, Norwegian giant Mayhem’s name soon trips off the tongue. With a live show oozing evil and darkness both sonically and visually, Mayhem’s only UK show of 2012 will leave Catton Hall in a bloody mess. Among the headline acts already confirmed are Behemoth, Alice Cooper, Dimmu Borgir, Anvil and Sepultura. The three-day Bloodstock festival takes place at Catton Hall, just north of Lichfield, from August 10-12. l For latest travel and tickets info visit



The Phoenix

February 2012


l Silhouettes are performing a hometown gig to promote their new EP

It’s time for Silhouettes to step away from the shadows

Silhouettes are a four-piece unsigned indie/electronica band from Wolverhampton drawing on influences from the likes of Arcade Fire, DJ Shadow, M83 and legendary Aussie crooner Nick Cave… They have melded a sound together that can be at one point heavy and aggressive then at another point sombre and brittle. Silhouettes had a successful year in 2011. They released their debut EP to critical acclaim , reached the top five of the national Rock the House competition and completed a tour of the UK. Currently recording their 2nd EP, Silhouettes in-

tend to follow up their success with another tour of the UK including appearances at UK festivals, plus a first release on an independent record label. The lads have a home town EP launch gig at the Slade Rooms on Saturday, April 7. Also on the bill are Shatter Effect a catchy, upbeat band from Wolverhampton with a refreshing sound that is guaranteed to get a crowd on it’s feet. A recent critic described them as being like, ‘Dance music for rock kids’. l Tickets priced £5.00 from Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or at

To feature your band call 0121 629 7729

Odyssey dancing to a beat of their own


t’s a known fact that UK drum and bass scene tends to be a little partisan with its musical taste. Alright, narrow-minded. However you choose to put it, those who confine their musical limits are missing out on huge chunks of exciting music while those DJ’s with more adventurous minds tend to be whole lot more interesting. The point? Odyssey NU:Gen has sidestepped the stylistic trappings to many expression of electronic music and demonstrating the nifty art of doing your own thing. With warm emotive electronics, easy, muscular rhythms and strange, understated soundscapes. In recent events we have seen the falsity of many of the social, moral, economic and political structures we have been programmed to believe for centuries, we begin to question the very nature of existence itself.


In the light of such confusion, it is not surprising that people are looking for an alternative system of life to give sense and sensibility. Scanning through the existing community of artist and DJs from the drum and bass scene, Odyssey recordings have already begun to develop a refined network hoping to strengthen the underground music scene as a whole. Nurturing local talent and providing them access to the main stage, Odyssey recordings aren’t afraid to get involved at the foot of the industry, supporting local artists pushing out their sounds and mixes on online media and alongside industry giants. Since the massive surge within the scene of melodic drum and bass more labels than

Jump in at theDeep en Deep at Poppyred is marking 35-years of jazz fusion in Birmingham with its continued bumper night of new and classic tunes, which, up to now, has been the staple musical diet for a dedicated, cult following from all over the UK. The stellar Sunday night specials, in the city’s Chinese Quarter, is for people who like their music, well, Deep. The UK’s legendary DJs provide the very best in Jazz, Funk, House, Broken-Beats and a fusion there of. Called ‘Deep’ because of its deep blend of music

and fabulous atmosphere, the fortnightly jam gives the freshest, funkiest and rarest of tracks ever to be played anywhere. For connoisseurs of the exclusive genre, it’s like r’n’b – but not as you know it. One stalwart, affectionately known as ‘Smiler’, from Birmingham, says of this unique musical fusion: “For something that little bit different, ‘Deep’ is where it’s at. The music’s unique and so too are we. That’s why I love it so much.” Another local, long time follower, Gena Evans says: “Deep is a fantastic night out for people like

me who just love the right mood for will always be a p Malcolm ‘Stretc er, organisers of t been major player The former enth sic-lovers have al ham, that’s why D that moves you. Pe it creates and that’ all over the countr

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February 2012

The Phoenix



Iconic performers Sir John Holt and Freddie McGregor

Jamaican legends at the Tower Ballroom Jamaica is renowned for its superb vocalists and composers but legendary duo Sir John Holt and Freddie McGregor stand head and shoulders above the rest. Known for their lavishly produced ballads, between them they have recorded over 80 albums, and their current tour marks 40 years since the release of the classic album 1000 Volts of Holts. The Lovers Rock icons top the bill for a Drum promotion ‘Valentine’s Reggae Showcase’ to help

l Big Bud and MC Conrad (left) will be mixing things to a whole new level at the Slade Rooms you can throw a stick at have emerged. The latest is Odyssey Recordings solely producing music with melody and harmony. Their debut release by Narkotix feat. Charlene McKenzie will be showcased as a live P.A. at this event. Established artists Big Bud (Sountrax) and MC Conrad (Good Looking Records) will be performing their amazing talents alongside guest DJ SRX(Sun and Bass 2011 DJ Competition winner), up and coming talent from Luton DJ CrazyB and the Odyssey team. Big Bud is a music producer, DJ and label boss. Since his first release in 1994 he has been writing and producing his own music. The Big Bud sound has been influenced by over 30 years of listening to Jazz, funk,

Soul and Reggae. From attending jazz funk all-dayers back in the 1980s through the big raves of the early ’90s up to today’s drum and bass clubs he has always been a lover of quality, soulful music. It was after hearing the emergence of tracks with breakbeats that he decided to get involved in producing.


Thanks to his partnership with LTJ Bukem, MC Conrad has become one of the leading voices of the British drum’n’bass movement. His freestyle rhymes bring a sense of humanity and excitement to Bukem’s Good Looking Records camp’s many live performances and to their popular Progression Sessions series of albums.

This polished and proven partnership between Good Looking’s stable. A night of unforgettable dance and music pleasure is promised at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton, courtesy of Odyssey Recordings’ team and top league DJ’s/Vocalist and special live guest performers. With warm emotive electronics, easy, muscular rhythms and strange, understated soundscapes… l NU:Gen Electronic Beats 170 BPM Feat Big Bud & MC Conrad - The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton: Saturday March 24, Doors 10pm Tickets priced £8.00 are available from Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at www.wolvescivic.

nd at Poppyred

this kind of music. It puts me in r the working week ahead. Deep part of me.” ch’ Patrick and Paul ‘Deep’ Walkthe Sunday sessions, have both rs this ‘scene’ for absolute ‘eons. huses: “A hardcore group of mulways been ignored in BirmingDeep is here. It’s all about music eople have always loved the vibe ’s why they come regularly, from ry.”

Walker expands further: “There’s a select group of people who are always looking for that special ‘vibe’ which we provide. ‘Deep’s’ priority is to create dance music for dance people, tunes that keeps the Jazz-Fusion scene alive and kicking. It’s a special kind of magic.” Legendary names from IMD to Shaun Williams, Colin Curtis to Trevor M, Lord Byron, to Bristol’s Mark Armstrong, it’s a beat generation whose love of music is ‘Deep.’ l For further information visit


Birmingham DJ IMD will be mixing it up at Poppyred

nix please telephone 0121 629 7728

celebrate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence. The legendary duo will be performing many of their greatest hits at the luxurious Tower Ballroom in Edgbaston on Saturday, February 18. To help make it a truly memorable Valentine’s evening, Jamaican super group L.U.S.T. Crew will also be on stage. DJs include Levi Washington, Father Hovis, King Zukie. l For more details visit www.



The Phoenix

February 2012

FASHION l Mens jackets from £29.99 Coloured chinos from £16.99

l Womens mac £59.99 Jeans from £19.99 Mens jackets from £29.99 Coloured chinos from £16.99 l Dresses from £14.99

Taking it to the Maxx Put a spring in your step by checking out this exciting new range of spring and summerwear from TK Maxx l Womens skirts from £14.99 Tops from £9.99 Mens jackets from £29.99 Coloured chinos from £16.99

l Orange double breasted jacket £49.99

To advertise call 0121 629 7728

February 2012

The Phoenix


l Animal print bra £6 and briefs £3.50


l Hot lips boxers £6

l Animal print teddy £8

George at ASDA have a variety of fun gifts for the special person in your life

l Men’s heart print socks £1.50


l Lace trim balcony bra £6 short l Red briefs chemise £3.50 £3.50

for the one you...

l Love sweaters from River Island, £38

l Paul Smith cufflinks £75 at House of Fraser

l Lulu G bag £55 at House of Fraser

l Kirstie Allsopp Cordelia cushion £24 at House of Fraser

l T shirt £9.99 British Heart Foundation shops

l Looking hot for Valentine’s Day with George of ASDA, bra £6 briefs £3.50

l Sainsbury’s have some great Valentine’s gifts. From the top: toast rack £3, mug £2, heart candle votives, £4



The Phoenix

February 2012


Sheikh rattle and roll at Six Ways...

l Six Ways Pizza owner Sheikh Shazad (right) at work with a member of staff


t’s not difficult to see why so many people are already creating a massive stir about Six Ways Pizza, a typical chippy in the original sense. Serving the freshest of chipshop fare, owner Sheikh Shazad knew exactly what to serve and who their target market would be. After looking at the menu, service was brisk and efficient. Six Ways Pizza serves up a variety of styles of food to cater for so many individual tastes. From the already mentioned traditionally fried fish and fresh potato chips menu, you can also feast on kebabs, curries, burgers, pakoras, masala fish, southern fried and tikka dishes and, of course, a variety of freshly made pizzas to order. The choice here is a great one.

l Place your order

l Some like it hot It’s an inviting spot, on the Birchfield Road just off Aston’s Six Ways Island which, for the 28-year-old Mr Shazad, was an exciting venture and as such he made sure that everything, from kitchen to customer service, was of the highest standard. All staff members are always smiling a genuine smile, which puts you at ease as it makes you feel you’ve known them all your life. Having only very recently opened, Sheikh and the other guys, Yassar and Hamza Zaman, Javed Hussein plus Sunny and Hamza Yousaf, are keen for people to try out the new eatery – that’s if you can get past the already large queue which has made Six Ways Pizza one of the best places to eat in the area.

l Another couple of satisfied customers at Six Ways Pizza in Erdington

February 2012

The Phoenix


Stretching to a yoga safari


f an African safari coupled with a spot of beach yoga sounds like a winning combination to you then Scott Dunn may have just what you’re looking for. The travel specialists have launched an exclusive Tanzania safari and Mozambique beach yoga itinerary. Pairing up with Vamizi Island’s brand new yoga retreats in Mozambique and Selous Safari Camp in Tanzania, this package offers the very best in African adventure as well as holistic luxury. For those wanting to explore lesser-known southern Tanzania, the Selous Safari Camp offers the perfect sophisticated safari experience. Situated within an open palm forest on the shores of Lake Nzerakera in the Selous Game Reserve, guests can enjoy daily walking and boat safaris in one of Africa’s least known, yet wildest, conservation areas. And after discovering the wilds of

Hold on’s Nemesis Sub-Terra

Alton Towers is to launch two brand new attractions for 2012 when the Theme Park re-opens on March 24. Adding to its existing portfolio of over 50 rides and attractions, Ice Age The 4-D Experience and Nemesis Sub-Terra will open along with two new Ice Age themed suites in the Splash Landings Hotel. Located in the Cloud Cuckoo Land Theatre, the Ice Age cinema will combine 3-D footage, based on the third movie in the blockbuster series, with an exhilarating variety of physical effects including icy blasts, snow and bubbles. Fans will also have the opportunity to meet both Sid and Scrat around the Alton Towers Resort, before staying over in one of the brand new Ice Age themed bedrooms in the Splash Landings Hotel. The super-cool rooms feature everyone’s favourite characters from the film – Scrat, Manny, Diego and Sid. Also new for 2012 is Nemesis Sub-Terra, a psychologically and physically thrilling experience, taking place in a dark underground setting which will be based around the back-story of the original Nemesis attraction, which opened in 1994. Set to be one of the Resort’s most terrifying attractions, Nemesis Sub-Terra takes guests down into the deepest, darkest location of the theme park for the experience. With over 50 rides and attractions there is something for all the family


l For more details visit www.scottdunn. com or telephone 020 8682 5070

Tanzania, guests can revive, restore and rejuvenate on Vamizi Island, an ultra-luxurious private beach lodge on the Quirimbus Archipelago, Mo-

l Yoga on the beach

zambique. Celebrating the launch of its first dedicated retreats, visitors can enjoy morning vinasa yoga on the shoreline followed by a freshlyprepared juice or smoothie from the island’s ‘natural pharmacy’ and an evening session against the setting sun - both hosted by renowned instructor Claire Finlay. This exclusive package also offers guests the chance to sample reviving spa treatments, take to the seas to catch surf-fresh tuna sashimi. The Safari and Spa Retreats package is available for limited weeks in 2012 from £4,405 per person. Valid for the weeks commencing March 1 and November 6, the price includes three nights at the Selous Safari Camp on a full-board basis with daily safari activities and five nights at Vamizi Spa Retreat on a fully-inclusive basis to include twice daily yoga sessions, one spa treatment, dive and fishing trip per stay.

l Are you brave enough for the new Alton Towers ride?

FACTFILE l For details on Alton Towers hotel stays and theme park tickets visit or call 0871 222 9901 to enjoy, whether you’re after gentle thrills or pure adrenalin pumping experiences!

Enjoy a short break at either the Alton Towers or Splash Landings Hotel situated just a stone’s throw away from the Theme Park. Discover the fun and quirky features of the Alton Towers hotel, based around the travels of the incredible explorer Sir Algenon. Over in Splash Landings, the sun shines every day in the crazy Caribbean themed hotel. After a busy day relax in Ma Garrita’s bar, with superb views overlooking the tropical Waterpark and fabulous entertainment into the evening.

To advertise call 0121 629 7728

Romantic get-away If you are looking for a special Valentine’s Day trip then Norwegian Airlines are currently offering some ‘lovely’ deals starting from as little as £30 one-way. If you want to celebrate love and escape everyday life with a romantic getaway then Scandinavia offers beautiful surroundings especially during the winter time. Among the deals on offer are flights to the Norwegian capital Oslo and the Swedish capital Stockholm, from £36 each. Flights to Helsinki and Copenhagen are available from £30. l Visit for further information.

Red Sea trip over Easter

l Making a trunk call on safari in beautiful Tanzania

Families looking to relax this Easter are snapping up deals to the Red Sea resort of El Gouna. Holiday Designers is offering a seven-night trip on a B&B basis at Mövenpick Resort & Spa in El Gouna £2,568 for a family of four. Departing from Gatwick on April 1 the resort has a dedicated animations team and children’s pools. l For further information visit



The Phoenix

February 2012


Ocho Rios complex in $25m makeover To celebrate its 30th Anniversary, Sandals Resorts have given their Ocho Rios resort in Jamaica a facelift, with a $25 million development project at Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort. This includes new restaurants, a chic new Beach Club, enhanced amenities at both the beach and pool areas, and the refurbishment of the resort’s Red Lane Spa, guest rooms and Riviera Villa suites. Foodies will love the variety of the 14 restaurants, including the new additions of Soy, a brand-new sushi bar; Dino’s Pizzeria, serving made-to-order pizzas; China Doll,

Asian fusion cuisine; Kimonos, a teppanyaki-style restaurant; Neptune’s, serving Mediterranean classics right on the beach and Kelly’s Dockside, a fine dining Caribbean restaurant set on the resort’s extensive pier. Guests at Sandals Resorts can also enjoy increased deck space and a new Jacuzzi by the Seaside pool, as well as additional cabanas by the Riviera Great House pool equipped with state of the art music systems. l For more information, call 0207 590 0210 or visit www.

On the crest of a wave P&O Ferries’ second new €180 million ship Spirit of France sailed into Dover recently following a four-day delivery voyage from her construction shipyard in Finland. She joins her sister ship, Spirit of Britain, on the Dover-Calais route. At 47,500 gross tons these ships are the largest ever constructed for

operation on the Dover Strait. Their passenger accommodation, with capacity for 2,000 people, offers unrivalled levels of comfort and convenience including luxuriously appointed lounges, bars and restaurants plus a separate and extensive dining, rest and relaxation facility for freight drivers.

Whole new world at Universal U

niversal Orlando is promising to serve up more adventure, excitement, laughter and aweinspiring moments than ever before. There will be something for everyone and every family. From a new Blue Man Group show and newly re-created experience inside one of Universal Orlando’s most popular attractions to a stunning parade, spectacular night-time show and brand-new blockbuster attraction based on an incredibly popular film - Universal Orlando Resort is offering guests more new entertainment across its entire destination than ever before. The new experiences will begin in February with the exhilarating Blue Man Group show, a unique and captivating mash-up of high energy music, comedy, audience participation that promises to take collective exhilaration to another level.


Featuring a new show environment, new music, new technology and new experiences, the show will allow audiences to join the Blue Men as they discover, engage and explore the world’s obsession with cutting-edge technology. “We are about to offer our guests a historic range of incredible new entertainment experiences,” said Alice Norsworthy, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Universal Orlando Resort. “This year will be filled with excitement and entertainment for the entire family.” Universal Orlando is transforming what is already one of the most amazing attraction experiences ever

l Halloween at Orlando created into what will feel like an all-new adventure. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man will soon feature all-new, 4K digital HD animation, new high-tech 3-D glasses and upgrades to the set, audio and lighting systems. The reanimation of the ride film will include an entirely new level of detail for guests to discover, including a cameo by legendary comic book icon and Spider-Man co-creator, Stan Lee. There is also Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories due to open in the spring at Universal Studios. Narrated by award-winning actor and recent Golden Globe - Cecil B. DeMille honoree, Morgan Freeman, Universal Orlando’s brand-new night-time show, Universal’s Cin-

ematic Spectacular, will celebrate the most powerful and emotional moments from Universal Pictures’ most iconic films - all on cuttingedge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios lagoon and surrounded by colourful fountains and pyrotechnics. The experience will take guests on a journey through epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good vs. evil and triumph. Universal Orlando’s newest attraction, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, will take guests on an unforgettable 3-D adventure with their favourite characters from the hit film - Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes and the mischievous minions. The experience begins when guests enter Gru’s home, where they learn that they’re being recruited to become minions and undergo “minion training.” Things don’t go as planned, and guests find themselves on a wildly hysterical journey with Gru and his daughters. Once guests make it through training, they join an interactive, minion-inspired dance party where they can show off their best moves. Other new experiences this Year include Hollywood Drive-In Golf, a unique 36-hole miniature golf experience inspired by the classic drivein movie era.


l For all the very latest news and prices on family packges visit www.

To advertise in The Phoenix

February 2012

The Phoenix


Turkish airlines daily from Brum

Guyana’s calling you back for Holi


embers of the Guyanese community living in the West Midlands are being encouraged to take a trip back home to enjoy the Festival of Colours. Guyana’s Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali has launched the ‘Rediscover Home’ special package for Holi, in an effort to encourage Guyanese in the Diaspora to come back to their homeland and join in the celebrations. This pilot package is being made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) with the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Caribbean Airlines and participating hotels – Princess Hotel, Cara Lodge, Sleep Inn Hotels, Duke Lodge and Grand Coastal Inn. The seven-night trip from March 2-9, is dubbed ‘Gateway to the Festival of Colours celebration’ seeks to encourage Guyanese from the Diaspora and visitors to come to ‘Destination Guyana’ and be a part of its rich culture and celebrate Holi or Phagwah – the Festival of Colours. The package includes airfare, hotel accommodation, breakfast and entrance to all the Holi events being organised by the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha during this period including its Phagwah Mela and Bazaar. Special events include the finals of the Chowtaal Samalan on March 4 on the lawns of State House, Main Street, Georgetown; and on March 8 (Holi Day) its traditional Holi Utsaav at Dharmic Sanskritik Kendra, Prashad Nagar in Georgetown while there would be nationwide Holi celebrations. The Sabha is also looking at bringing to Guyana for the first time ever some of the stars from the popular ZEE TV Indian series.

l A lady joins in the party mood by handing out shrimps Minister Ali (pictured) said this move signals the start of collaboration between the Government and the private sector to market and promote ‘Destination Guyana’ through packaging, and it would certainly help to boost tourism and attract more persons to our beautiful country, which has a lot to offer with its ecological, nature and adventure based tourism combined with a rich culture and heritage. Encouraging the private sector to continue to package and promote this unique tourism product, he said the special package during the Festival of Colours will help to showcase and promote part of the

country’s rich and diverse culture. Minister Ali said this event will form part of the Ministry of Tourism’s overarching motto this year of ‘Rediscover Home’ targeting persons to come back to their homeland and enjoy what Guyana has to offer. He also alluded to the progressive approach taken by Caribbean Airlines to offer low fares and said, “this is a great start as we try to package our tourism product”.


l For more information on Guyana Tourism visit or www.caribbean-airlines. com

please phone 0121 629 7728

Turkish Airlines is making a further commitment to the Midlands by increasing flights between Birmingham and Istanbul from five flights a week to daily services from March 25. The move will give business travellers better choice and flexibility to meet in Istanbul, and will provide more onward connectivity from Birmingham than ever before. Over the last year, more and more people have been using Istanbul Ataturk Airport to connect onwards with Turkish Airlines’ over 190 strong route network, benefitting both business and leisure travellers.


Forward bookings on routes to the Middle East, Far East and Africa have been outstanding with Turkish Airlines as more and more people realise how easy and convenient it is to connect via Istanbul rather than taking long and stressful car journeys to other UK airports to catch direct flights. Martyn Lloyd, Head of Air Service Development, said, “Turkish Airlines began services from Birmingham in 2008 and has offered a vital service for Birmingham and the Midlands, whilst increasing passenger numbers year by year. “However, business travellers need both choice and flexibility and

we have worked in partnership with Turkish Airlines to secure a daily service from the end of March,” he added. “We’re therefore delighted with this development to give our business and leisure community even more choice for long-haul connectivity from Birmingham.”

Tasty break on the menu

The Christchurch Food & Wine Festival is a fantastic annual foodie event, which runs from May 11-20 with TV celebrities James Martin, Jo Wheatley and Festival patron Lesley Waters headlining the 2012 programme. For those wanting to enjoy this culinary feast Harbour Hotels are offering a two-night gourmet break at either the Christchurch Harbour Hotel or The Kings Hotel – complete with celebrity chef cookery demonstrations and a private lunch with everyone’s favourite TV chef, BBC1 Saturday Kitchen’s James Martin, all included in your break....yum! l More information at www.



The Phoenix

February 2012


Community pulls together for the final ‘Sister’ act On a rainy day the people of Lee Bank of all ages came together to say farewell to Sister Garfield, a true queen of the community


adly gone are the days when communities loved one another like members of an extended family. All the mums were ‘our’ mums and the dads were the lovable rogues. One thing is for sure, we never lost sight of our culture and that’s what makes people who they are. The Lee Bank area in the 1970s was a place that shared love, tears, happiness and wealth together. This is why when one of the mothers passed away, we all came together to celebrate the life we shared. The respect we all had, the unity we all still share. Brother Clint Dunkley, one of the many children who grew up near the ‘Bricks’, is able to keep in contact with every family and extended family that still unite to celebrate at mass reunion parties held by this community – for the good within us. Along with Mack Mortimer (Ian McLaughlin), they both became a vital link to loved ones we know and share with from

childhood and they still keep that bond. Sister Garfield has to be recognised for the respect she has earned within this community. People came to know her as a mother, devoted wife and great singer. All of these wonderful, special qualities that Sister Garfield, she was devoted to serving her fellowship at the United Pentecostal Church of God at Bordesley Green. Bishop Hanson is a true legend of a man. It would appear he has been looking after us forever. A man who is always there to lead the church, he has a heart and soul fit only for Heaven. The people came out in their hundreds to show their respect, well over 700 attending the funeral service on the day, while many more were left to show their respect outside. The rain on the day did not deter the crowd as they paid their final respects to a true queen of the community. Sister Garfield, the people’s favourite.

February 2012

The Phoenix




The Phoenix

February 2012


l Apostle John Okundaye at Flame Pentecostal Church

All together at the Flame Pentecostal


lame Pentecostal Church is a vibrant, communityspirited place of worship offering mass prayers of spiritual upliftment for those who believe in prophecy. Situated in Edgbaston, the Flame Pentecostal Church has established itself as a special place of worship and has regular congregation members travelling in from areas such as Ladywood, Lozells and Erdington. As the pictures on this page show, Head Apostle John Okundaye is happy to welcome people from all cultural backgrounds to come and worship. At this special service for prayer warriors he received an invited guest from London, Special Apostle Rev JJ Ayanda, chairman of the Mount Horeb intercontinental district. A devoted Christian for most of his life, Apostle John says that everyone is welcome to bring their children and loved ones to enjoy a lively and enthusiastic style of worship. The enthusiastic fast growing choir is also open for new recruits with a talent for singing.

February 2012

The Phoenix

Simon passes his screen test! Advertising Feature


ith vision a dab hand, Simon Brade is imprinting his name on big business. In just eight years, Simon has managed to accumulate a customer database that would be the envy of many a multi-national business. From his office/workshop in Birmingham, his company, Inprintz Silk Screen Printers, has been supplying logo emblazoned T-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts, hi-visibility jackets for some of the biggest companies and organisations in their respective fields.


Using specially advanced silk-screen machinery, he is able to produce top quality print. With his considerable depth of knowledge and versatility in the printing trade, he’s able to take on a vast number of orders, whether they be big, small, or anywhere in between. Since doing his first big order supplying T-shirts for Aston Pride – at the time one of the second rounds of New Deal for Partnerships – Inprintz has been the first port of call for an overwhelming number of people who, on reputation alone, know full well

l Another top job by Simon

might be snowed under with existing orders. “That though doesn’t mean to say that I’m too busy to take on new work, far from it! I’m always willing to listen to company’s inquiries.” Inprintz’s customer file reads like a who’s who of business. The likes of Virgin, Cadburys, the BBC, Midland Heart, South Birmingham College, Sandwell Visually Impaired, Pathfinder, Birmingham City and Aston Villa football clubs, West Midlands Police Force, The Drum Arts Theatre, HRT Foundation, Tesco and the CBSO are all clients

that there’s no better company to use. For Simon, his success to date is a culmination of incredible determination and a single-minded attitude towards providing the very highest quality service time after time. Simon is also very much part of Birmingham’s vibrant Chamber of Commerce and as such, there alone he’s in regular, heavy demand. That, however, is just how he likes it. “I’m getting calls from a lot of big businesses and it has to be said, sometimes I

Simon is hugely proud of his achievement so far, but knows that there’s much more to come, such as the recent order to supply T-shirts for last year’s X Factor finalists. He’s always willing to open his doors and help young people with their designs and offer advice in showing them the best way forward for their own career. The multi-award winning Inprintz Silk Screen Printers also does transfers, embroidery and design to order, so what are you waiting for?

Silk Screen Printers


l Simon Brade at work in his studio

Whether you are looking for promotional clothing, staff uniforms, corporate branding, retail or sportswear we can supply the merchandise and create the image you are looking f o r.

Fast & Efficient Services at Competitive Prices Please contact:

Simon Brade 07818 070519

Inprintz Silk Screen Printers 4 Tame Road, Witton, Birmingham, B6 7DS Tel: 0121-327 1717 Fax: 0121-327 1118



The Phoenix

February 2012


Carpentry course for youngsters A Birmingham construction training centre is offering employers significant financial help to support the cost of taking on new employees. The Construction Training Centre based in Wood Lane, Erdington is accredited to train apprentices in bricklaying, general construction and roof, slate and tiling. This year the organisation will add to its courses by launching an additional training course in carpentry. Peter Carey, director of the NVQ Training Centre Ltd said: “With the UK’s youth unemployment figures now topping a record high of one million and with Birmingham having one of the youngest populations in the country, competition for jobs is at an all-time high. “We work with over 100 different companies in an effort to get out-of-work youngsters into employment and we are still looking for more companies to take on trainees.” The apprenticeship scheme is government-backed and offers youngsters between the ages of 16 and 24 opportunities to develop new skills and receive training to enhance their employment potential.

Exhibition is a high-flyer! A top Wolverhampton aerospace boss officially launched a fascinating exhibition into the city’s aviation industry. Nigel Moorhouse, a Vice President at Goodrich Actuation Systems, opened the ‘History of Aerospace’ display at Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies at Molineux Hotel in Whitmore Hill. The exhibition is close to Wednesfield born and bred Mr Moorhouse’s heart as he started off at Goodrich – when it was known as Hobson - as an apprentice in 1968 before working his way up to his current position today.


A group of students, who are studying a diploma in Engineering from Wednesfield High School were at the official opening and got the opportunity to talk to Mr Moorhouse and hear about his experiences starting out as an apprentice. Former employees from another company Boulton Paul, now Moog, also attended along with Councillor Phil Page, Wolverhampton City Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Learning. The exhibition, which runs until March 30 and is free to the public,

charts Wolverhampton’s rich history in the aviation and aerospace industry, through original documents, photographs, books, a DVD and newspaper articles. Jan James, Wolverhampton City Council’s Community Archives Officer, said: “We are delighted Nigel Moorhouse was able to take the time out of his busy schedule to officially open this exhibition. “It was also wonderful for him to be able to meet a group of young people who could be the future of our aerospace industry. “As Nigel was an apprentice himself, he was able to pass on invaluable advice and experience to them,” she said. Mr Moorhouse said: “Aerospace in Wolverhampton dates back some 80 years and although the names of the Companies have changed the Aerospace cluster in Wovlerhampton still thrives. “Wolverhampton Companies have been part of all major programmes dating back almost a century and today we are still leading the way on projects such as JSF, Boeing 787, Bombardier C Series, and Airbus A350 supporting well over 3000 jobs in the city.”

The Phoenix online now!


l Goodrich executive Nigel Moorhouse, Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Learning and Councillor Phil Page, with young apprentices from Wednesfield High School

Apprenticeships in top gear at Jaguar Wolverhampton’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Learning has welcomed the chance for young people to secure prosperous careers through apprenticeships – including those at Jaguar Land Rover. Cllr Phil Page said Jaguar Land Rover’s announcement to launch its largest ever apprenticeship recruitment drive provided the ‘best possible start’ for National Apprenticeship Week 2012. He said: “There’s been a 62 per cent rise in the number of people taking apprenticeships in the city thanks to our renewed efforts to promote this route to skills. “I’m delighted to mark National Apprenticeship Week with the announcement of so many opportunities for Wolverhampton’s young people, including Jaguar Land Rover’s largest ever apprenticeship recruitment drive.

l A young apprentice learning his trade at Jaguar

“Apprenticeships not only provide the first foot on the career ladder for the city’s youngsters, they’ll help to provide the skills the city needs for long-term economic prosperity.” The city council is providing 110 apprenticeships over the next three years. They will take on a range of roles from electricians and plumbers to vehicle and horticultural

maintenance. They will receive a wage as well as training and formal qualifications. l To find out more about Wolverhampton City Council’s apprenticeships scheme, call Lisa James on 01902 554052. For more information generally visit www.

To promote your business

February 2012

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Lord Heseltine and John Lewis boss to speak at Chamber dinner Lord Michael Heseltine and John Lewis Managing Director Andy Street will form a compelling double bill of speakers at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce annual dinner – only a week before the city decides if it wants an elected mayor. Lord Heseltine, a Cabinet minister in both the Thatcher and Major governments, will share the platform with Andy Street, who also chairs the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Chamber’s dinner takes place at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham on Wednesday, April 25, the week before Birmingham voters go to the polls on May 3 to decide if they want an elected mayor. If they vote yes, the election will take place in November. Lord Heseltine, a vocal advocate of elected mayors, will be lending his support to the Chamber’s “Vote Yes for Birmingham” campaign. He was the author of a report for the Conservative party which stated that Britain’s cit-

hold them to account and the central government can transfer very substantial powers to them.” Chamber president Michael Ward, head of law firm Gateley’s corporate team and its joint partner, said: “This is a tremendous coup for the Chamber. We are looking forward to having one of the icons of the Conservative Party sharing a platform with one of the most powerful and visible business leaders in the UK.


l Andy Street and Lord Heseltine ies needed directly-elected mayors with “very substantial powers”. Lord Heseltine has also said that local mayors should have the power to issue bonds and borrow money. He added: “We have to have directly-elected chief executives in the cities of our country; people will then know who they are, they can

“It will create a compelling mix on the night as the city reaches the climax of the campaign for the elected mayor referendum. And the Chamber will be playing its part by launching a ‘Vote Yes for Birmingham’ campaign which will throw the weight of Birmingham businesses behind the pro lobby. “We are also delighted that Andy Street has agreed to speak at the dinner. His words will be particularly important as chair of the LEP and managing director of John Lewis, who have an announced significant investment in Birmingham with a new store at the refur-

bished New Street Station.” Lord Heseltine had a distinguished Parliamentary career after being elected MP for Tavistock (later MP for Henley on Thames) at the age of 33. As Secretary of State for the Environment, Lord Heseltine was called upon to act as a trouble-shooter for the government to deal with the inner-city violence that erupted in the early 1980s. Andy Street has spent all his working life in the John Lewis Partnership, joining after graduating from Oxford with a degree in politics, philosophy and economics in 1985. Andy is also a Trustee of Performances Birmingham, responsible for running the City’s Symphony and Town Halls. He is on the London First Board, part of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group. l Details of sponsorship opportunities and tickets for the dinner can be obtained from Henrik Court, the Chamber’s director of events, at or on 0121 607 1780.

Low carbon grant help New grants will help to open doors for West Midlands SMEs in the low carbon vehicle sector. A new initiative backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will provide a boost for West Midlands-based companies looking to develop low carbon technologies for the niche automotive sector. The Niche Innovation Scheme is offering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region a selection of research and development grants between £4,000 and £20,000 to create new products for niche vehicles which will contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions. West Midlands SMEs – including those in the supply chain – are being invited to join forces with research and development organisations to put forward original or existing ideas for low carbon innovations in a bid to win a grant to develop or complete a product. The £480,000 project, which is funded by ERDF and led by Coventry University Enterprises, aims to encourage partnership working between West Midlands companies and research organisations to enable those companies to access technical expertise that might otherwise be beyond their budget.

Edgbaston cash boost l Andy Johnson

Economy ‘can’t be too bad’

Despite the jobless figures continuing worryingly on an upward curve, some people are actually questioning whether there is a recession, or not. One such person who has put this notion to task is businessman Andy Johnson. Mr. Johnson, an accounts manager at computer-based company, Advanced IT Hardware, in Birmingham, questioned the current Government line. “You would think that if we were in a recession, that, subsequently, would mean less cars on the road during peak times. However, you should try driving along one of the main roads in the city. “It seems to me that there are far more vehicles on the roads today, both in the morning and evenings. The traffic strikes me as being far heavier than it has in years.” Economists have been bracing themselves for a small drop in the size of the economy in the last three months of last year, signaling a likely ‘double-dip’ but, for Mr. Johnson that doesn’t seem to have any negative effect on the car industry in the West Midlands.

Firms told to get on track for HS2

l An artist’s impression of the new HS2 train will look arriving at the station


usinesses and landowners are being urged to take stock following the Government’s recent announcement that HS2 will go ahead. Partner Iain Johnston, HS2 legal advisor and head of the planning and environmental team at Birmingham law firm SGH Martineau, has offered guidance to those likely to be adversely affected by the £51 billion high speed rail initiative. “The first thing to say is that although Ministers have approved the route, it is not set in stone. There were a whole host of amendments to the route made during the consultation process last year, including changes in and around Lichfield. “Due to its hugely controversial nature, the London to Birmingham route is still susceptible to

l Iain Johnston legal challenge by judicial review by one of the many third party action groups. One or more of them may seek to challenge the decision in court on financial or business grounds; environmental concerns or

inadequate consultation issues. “Assuming legal challenges do not hold up the process, the next step will be the Safeguarding Consultation in spring of this year. Following this consultation, the Secretary of State will issue a Safeguarding Direction to affected Local Authorities to protect the land needed to build and operate HS2 from other development proposals. Each Local Authority must then issue a formal resolution. Any planning applications in the system at that time will be referred by the LA to the Secretary of State. “Many landowners on the route have suffered a blighting effect on their properties. “There are still many steps to be taken before construction begins, with several opportunities for peo-

ple to still have their say. However, there is only a certain amount of time for people to make plans and arrange their business and property dealings which will influence the amount of compensation they may receive. It is imperative that people start the ball rolling now. “Despite all the negative comments about HS2 there is no doubt in my mind that the high speed rail link will create business opportunities. There is also no doubt that many businesses and landowners will be adversely affected. Therefore taking various steps now to protect your interests and enhance your right to compensation is not a cynical approach but the right thing to do to counter-balance the hardship or blight that a project of this size and nature will cause.”

Following the completion of the £32 million redevelopment at Edgbaston, Warwickshire County Cricket Club has announced a 50 per cent increase in turnover and an operating profit of £326,828 for the year ended September 30 2011. With the redeveloped stadium accommodating a combined attendance of more than 110,000 for the 3rd npower test match between England and India and Friends Life t20 Finals Day in 2011, the results are encouraging for the club following the disappointment of reporting an operating loss in 2010. The Club has also reinvigorated its hospitality and events business by creating a joint-venture company, Edgbaston Experience Limited, with its long-standing catering partner Compass Group, for the operation of its new conference, banqueting, wedding, and exhibition facilities.

Clean start

A training and personnel company has supplied a Sutton Coldfield cleaning firm with three apprentices. New trainees at Minster Cleaning Services are undertaking level 2 and 3 NVQs in business administration while receiving support and assessment from Gordon Franks Training and Personnel. Bernadette Hanley, HR director at Minster said: “I strongly believe that all companies have a social responsibility to employ trainees. Someone has to give an opportunity for training and potential employment to young workers.”

in The Phoenix please telephone us on 0121 629 7728



The Phoenix

February 2012


Mini marvel Ellie’s thrilled by car deal

Print firm turns over new ‘leaf’ A MIDLANDS based printer is using the 100% electric Nissan LEAF as an integral part of its corporate commitment to reduce energy use and its overall carbon footprint. RCS Printers plc has purchased six Nissan LEAFs from Lightcliffe Nissan Halifax for use by a number of its 120-strong staff, including company founder and managing director Michael Todd. Most importantly, because of the huge bank of solar panels on the roof of RCS’s 43,000 square foot printing facility in Retford, Nottinghamshire the cars are charged for free. “The environment forms a key part of our company ethos and our fleet of Nissan LEAFs build on our vision of becoming the UK’s most environmentally friendly printer,” explained Todd. “The LEAF is the first practical five door, five seat EV on the UK market and our staff have embraced all aspects of the car which is why we kept adding them to our fleet.” RCS offers staff access to a Nissan LEAF in return for a small salary sacrifice each month. In return staff get to drive the Nissan LEAF and because of its zero emissions status are not liable for any Benefit in Kind taxation, effectively providing them with free transport. Charging the LEAF fleet has also just become easier with RCS installing an ABB rapid charger on site which means that the car can be charged to 80% capacity in less than 30 minutes.

Get set for a rush on the GT 86 Speculation about the price tag on one of the year’s most keenly anticipated new cars can end: the new Toyota GT 86 will cost from £24,995 when sales start in June. That is the entry, on-the-road price for the all-new sports coupe; further pricing and specification details will be announced nearer the time of launch. Unveiled at last year’s Tokyo motor show, the GT 86 marks a return to the pure enjoyment of driving. Designed to be entirely driver-focused, it offers a classic front-engine, rear-wheel drive setup in a light, compact and nimble chassis. The power plant is a 2.0-litre flat-four “boxer” unit that delivers a maximum 197bhp (147kW), matched to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Power is distributed to the rear wheels via a limited slip differential to give the best possible grip in all driving conditions. Advance orders are being taken for the GT 86, with many UK customers already signed up to be among the first to take ownership of the car when it arrives here this summer.

Double Paralympic gold medallist, Ellie Simmonds MBE, has added to her preparations for London 2012 by learning to drive in her specially adapted MINI One Hatch which she received as part of MINI’s commitment to be the biggest fan of ParalympicsGB and TeamGB. Walsall-born swim star Ellie spends weekdays training in Swansea and a considerable amount of time travelling between the two.


l Ellie Simmonds gets behind the wheel of her specially adapted Mini One Hatch

Ellie is looking forward to gaining the greater independence it will offer: “I’m really enjoying being out on the road and my MINI is perfect – I can’t wait to pass my test! “It will be really great to be able to drive myself around and the support is really helping me do that.” To allow Ellie, aged 17, to make the most of her new car, the MINI’s interior has been redesigned to

Classic car gems are up for grabs


ilverstone Auctions has teamed up with the organisers of the Footman James Classic Motor Show, the UK’s biggest motoring exhibition, to hold a prestige car auction at this year’s event at Birmingham’s NEC on Saturday, November 17. It’s the first auction of its type in the show’s history and promises to be one of the highlights for classic car lovers when it takes place as part of the three-day extravaganza from November 16-18. The season ending Footman James Classic Motor Show and the neighbouring Classic Motorbike Show has become a ‘must-attend’ event for anyone harbouring a passion for cars and bikes, attracting around 50,000 owners and enthusiasts. There’s over 1,400 amazing vehicles on display, from modest family saloons and through to head-turning supercars. There’s also hundreds of trade stands, shows and automotive services to enjoy as well as the Wheeler Dealer live stage and restoration theatre. Show Manager Andy Rouse said: “We are extremely excited at the prospect of the UK’s biggest and most popular classic motoring show now also hosting a quality auction. “We have been hugely impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the team at Silverstone Auctions and their commitment to and vision for this feature going forward. “I view this as an extremely important development in both the growth and the ‘standing’ of the

feature a false floor in the driver’s foot well and pedal extensions. Ellie’s car is just one of a number that BMW will be adapting as part of its role as the Official Automotive Partner of London 2012. Various cars will be adapted to the requirements of disabled volunteers with modifications including push-pull hand controls for brake and accelerator, left-foot throttles and steering balls all in the process of being installed. BMW was chosen by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) as the Official Automotive Partner to London 2012. As part of the partnership, BMW will supply a range of Efficient Dynamic diesel cars, hybrids and electric vehicles, achieving average CO2 emissions below the LOCOG target of 120g/km, as well as bicycles and motorcycles.

Anger at 12-point licence dodgers Breakdown cover organisation GEM Motoring Assist reveals a landslide majority condemning the amount of motorists still driving with 12 points on their licence. The latest DLVA figures show that more than 10,000 motorists in the UK are driving despite racking up 12 points or more, due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ and, following a recent poll, GEM revealed that almost 80 per cent of UK drivers don’t believe there should be any exceptions to the rule. David Williams MBE CEO of GEM Motoring Assist, comments: “It is clear that the large majority of law abiding UK drivers are not happy that other motorists are getting away with dodging penalties by claiming ‘exceptional circumstances’.


l The Footman James Classic Motor Show attracts thousands of motoring fans to the NEC show, both at home in the UK and internationally and that it provides a new and exciting alternative in the annual auction calendar. We are confident that a sale at the UK’s flagship show will attract a high volume of quality entries and enthused buyers.” The decision by Silverstone Auctions is further evidence of its positioning as the Midlands leading specialist car auction house.

Nick Whale, managing director, Silverstone Auctions, said: “This is really exciting news and is definitely one of our calendar highlights for 2012. We will obviously be focusing on classic cars, befitting the surroundings, but I’m sure they’ll also be some competition cars and more modern supercars under the hammer, as well as a wide variety of motorbikes and automobilia. “However, this year also sees Silverstone Auctions host a further four sales, three of them at our spiritual home of Silverstone, so we’re

definitely going to be kept busy.” The other Silverstone Auctions for 2012 include The Race Retro and Classic Car Sale at Stoneleigh Park on February 25. Meanwhile, the Silverstone based auctions held in the circuit’s ultra-modern ‘Wing’ building are the Spring Sale on May 16, The Silverstone Classic Sale on July 21 and the Autumn Auction on September 19. l To submit an entry into any of the auctions email enquiries@ or call 01926 691 141.

“Understandably there are certain cases that would warrant an appeal; however recent figures show just how many thousands of people are working the system and being let off.” Mr Williams added: “It is very worrying from a road safety perspective to see how many motorists are still on the roads despite being penalised for dangerous driving, speeding and other traffic offences. “Road safety is hugely compromised when so many motorists, not worthy of a licence, are still driving. “To make our roads as safe as possible, we need to ensure bans and penalties are taken seriously and only in the most exceptional circumstances should drivers be allowed to keep their licence,” he added. l For more details on road safety issues or breakdown cover visit

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February 2012

The Phoenix


JLR recruitment drive proves a pass master


aguar Land Rover (JLR) is celebrating after winning another award for its innovative multi-platform recruitment campaign – ‘Ultimate Destination’. The honour, which recognised the campaign for its ‘stunning, world class camera work’ in the ‘Audio Visual Broadcast’ category, was presented at the Recruitment Advertising Awards held at Grosvenor House Hotel, London. ‘Ultimate Destination’ features an innovative film of unique Warwickshire artist Ian Cook using Jaguar and Land Rover remote control cars to create an image of the world.


The campaign also features ‘Caricature’ – a social media application located on the Jaguar Land Rover careers website. ‘Caricature’ allows Individuals to upload an image of themselves, which is then recreated on a digital canvas in Cook’s inimitable style. The final artwork can then be shared on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with the aim of raising the profile of the incredible career opportunities available at JLR. This is the third award recognising JLR’s ambitious recruitment

Big chill advice for motorists The Highways Agency has issued a reminder to motorists to take extra care when they are behind the wheel during the cold snap. Jason Glasson, of the Highways Agency’s severe weather team, said: “Not every journey is essential in severe weather, but if you really must travel in the worst conditions, check your vehicle before you set out; take a severe weather emergency kit; check traffic and weather conditions and always plan your journey. “Even when roads have been treated, pay particular care where conditions such as gradients, bends or overhanging trees might increase the risk of difficult driving conditions. Always drive with care in winter conditions, even after road surfaces have been treated with salt and are clear of snow,” he said. “For more information and advice I’d urge drivers to make time for winter and visit our website, where there are lots of tips to help keep winter journeys safe and trouble free or follow us on Twitter @ winterhighways.” l Up-to-date information on is available on the agency website at or by calling 0300 123 5000.

campaign launched in March 2011. ‘Ultimate Destination’ was developed to support the UK’s leading automotive employer as it looks to expand its operations and product offerings over the coming years thanks to a multi-billion pound investment in product creation. Following receipt of 45,000 applications for roles across its business in 2011, more than 3,000 people have begun their careers with JLR. Commenting on the campaign Jaguar Land Rover HR Director Des Thurlby said: “This is the third time that our ‘Ultimate Destination’ campaign has been recognised for its unique and engaging approach to recruitment. “Attracting the best and most driven talent into the company remains our priority and the campaign continues to raise awareness of the multi-faceted and truly international nature of a career within the JLR business. The overwhelming response to all of our areas of recruitment showcases how Jaguar Land Rover is viewed as a destination of choice for many.” l Individuals interested in applying for opportunities at JLR can do so by visiting

Drivers are increasingly bewildered by the vast array of hi-tech buttons, knobs and switches in their cars. A survey from Halfords has discovered a new phenomenon – ‘Dashboard Dread’ where motorists become anxious because they can’t recognise warning symbols or don’t know how to use some of their controls. One in three admitted to ‘panicking’ if a red light flashed up and only one in four was able to correctly say what each switch and lever in the car was and when it should be used. A disturbing one in ten drivers had no idea where the fog lights were located. Even more complex automotive engineering and the rise of in-car gadgetry means there can be as many as 50 different functions on an average saloon.


l The Jaguar team celebrate their success at the Recruitment Advertising Awards ceremony

It’s pedal to the metal for Jay at Stoneleigh Park

Jamiroquai front man and self-confessed petrolhead Jay Kay is bringing his Porsche 914-6 to this year’s Race Retro for a Midlands reunion with one of its original drivers, rally legend Bjorn Waldegard. Bjorn will be seeing if the car stands the test of time at Stoneleigh Par, near Coventry, on Saturday 25 and Sunday February 26, before Jay Kay himself gets behind the wheel. Bjorn drove the 914-6 in the Monte Carlo Rally, an event in which the Porsche was expected to excel. Three works-prepared cars were entered, driven by Bjorn, Ake Andersson and Gerard Larrousse, all highly skilled drivers who knew the Monte course like the backs of their hands. But the weather was to deal the Porsche team a cruel blow.

The steering wheel alone can have 14 different functions to manage the radio, cruise control or mobile phone and three levers on the steering column. There are more buttons on the side arm rests for the wing mirrors and windows and different controls for the lights. Then there is complex in-car entertainment with an array of pre-set buttons, bluetooth and a USB socket. Plus cutting edge aids in more sophisticated models to help parking, changing lanes and ‘smart’ dashboards with touchscreen Internet built in. Rory Carlin of Halfords Autocentres said: “Many cars now have more warning lights than ever before, and we would encourage customers to check their meaning – especially as illumination of some of these lights can lead to MOT failure.” He added: “Arming yourself with some basic knowledge saves time, money and in extreme cases, lives.”

Hybrids prove a hit for Honda


The 1971 Monte Carlo Rally was the snowiest on record. Andersson and Larrousse were forced to retire with gearbox problems, but Bjorn soldiered on to finish a worthy third overall. Sadly this marked the end of Porsche’s support for the 914-6 in competition despite the fact that a 914-6 GT had won its class at Le Mans in 1970. The 914-6 is just one of the amaz-

Drivers bemused by extra controls

l Jamiroquai frontmen Jay Kay will be behind the wheel at Race Retro ing vehicles in singer Jay Kay’s collection of over 37 rare classics and luxurious supercars. Jay is a keen competitor when it comes to cars, having topped the leaderboard on Top Gear’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car challenge so he’s bound

to push the car to the limits on the specially designed course at Stoneleigh Park. Adult tickets for Race Retro start at £20 in advance with children’s tickets at £5 for Friday and Saturday and free on Sunday.

Car parking is free. The show is open from 9.30am each day and closes at 5.30pm on Friday and Saturday and 4.30pm on Sunday. l For tickets and the latest updates on the big event visit www.

Honda has sold more than 800,000 hybrid vehicles since the first generation Honda Insight hit the road in November 1999. Honda was the first manufacturer to launch a hybrid model and the Insight delivered 83 miles per gallon giving it the highest fuel economy among all petrol powered vehicles at the time In the UK, Honda has sold more than 22,000 hybrids since the original Insight was launched in 2000 and the current hybrid line up now consists of the CR-Z, Jazz Hybrid and Insight.

If you have a story call The Phoenix newsdesk on 0121 629 7729



The Phoenix

February 2012


Council iron out golf plan Public golf in Birmingham is set for a multi-million pound boost after Mytime Active secured a contract to modernise and manage the city council’s seven courses. And Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, Cllr Martin Mullaney, believes the 50-year deal has effectively saved “pay and play” golf across the city. Birmingham City Council launched a search for an external operator to manage and modernise the golf courses in March 2010 and Mytime Active beat off competition from across Europe. The London-based social enterprise will invest in facilities and planned improvements include: l New clubhouse at Pype Hayes; l New driving range at Hatchford Brook; l New club house at Harborne; l Refurbished club house at Boldmere Cllr Mullaney said: “When I became Cabinet Member in 2009 there was a very real fear that one or more of our courses might have to close and I was determined to avoid that. “Now, with this groundbreaking deal, we have not only safeguarded public golf for future generations, we have transformed a service that was running at a loss into one that is set for significant investment. “Mytime Active has a great track record of managing public golf services in partnership with local authorities and exciting plans to increase participation across the seven courses in Birmingham.” Mytime Active Chief Executive Steve Price said, “We’re delighted to have been awarded the contract to manage Birmingham’s golf courses and are very much looking forward to meeting staff and customers to discuss the priorities for improvement. “We’re very proud of our track record of investing in quality which leads to improved customer satisfaction. We’re passionate about the benefits to health of an active lifestyle, and will be looking to increase participation especially with young people, and schools.”

India boxers training lift The Indian Sports Ministry has given the green light for coaching camps for Boxers who will be in the ring at the Olympic Games in London this summer. The camps will be established at at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports in Patiala and will be used by both the senior men’s and senior women’s boxing teams. The boxers will be provided with the very best facilities available in terms of equipments, boarding and lodging. The Boxing facilities at NSNIS, Patiala were upgraded to the worldclass level during the Commonwealth Games in 2010, and all the boxers are being trained with the aid of these facilities.

Jeff and the boys kick-off live performance at NIA

l Jeff Stelling and his team of football pundits are coming to the NIA

After appearing on millions of television screens every single week, Jeff Stelling and the Sky Sports team are finally hitting the road for their first ever tour; and the popular football show will be coming to Birmingham’s NIA on June 8. Saturday afternoons with Jeff Stelling, Matthew LeTissier, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Chris Kamara on Sky Sports have become unmissable for football fans across the UK. “Soccer Anyday” is a chance for fans to get up close and personal with Jeff and the team, as they look back on some of their favourite footballing escapades. In this hilarious and engaging evening, the panel will reveal personal anecdotes from their footballing and TV careers, with behind the scenes exploits and entertain with football stories past and present. Alongside rare footage, the evening will give

a frank and rare insight into the crazy world of football. Audience members will become part of the show, as the night goes on as Kammy gets down into the audience to take questions for the panel. Fans can ask the panel anything they like about the football world including current team exploits; brave attendees might even want to catch Jeff out with obscure facts and figures. Jeff Stelling commented, “This is a unique opportunity for us to engage directly with our audience. Performing in a live setting will be incredibly exhilarating. “It’s a brilliant opportunity to get up close and personal with fans of the show.” l Tickets are priced at £29.50 (plus booking and transaction fees). They are available from The Ticket Factory: www. or 0844 338 8000.

Danny nets prize at Asian awards


olverhampton wanderers player, Danny Batth, was one of the historical winners of this year’s, inaugural, Asian Footballers Award held at Wembley Stadium. The Brierley Hill-born centre-half received the ‘Young Player of the Year Award,’ in front of a star-studded audience at the home of English football. It was the first ever event of such magnitude with some of the biggest stars from the game itself and the entertainment industry, in general, present, to be part of what turned out to be a historical occasion in British football. Guests included Football Association Chairman, David Bernstein, former international

footballers such as Paul Elliot, Graham Le Saux, award winning journalist and author Mihir Bose, Gurinder Chadha of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ fame and sports journalist, broadcaster and presenter Manish Bhasin. “This award will now push me to progress further and I can use it as a stepping stone to get my regular spot in the Wolves team and develop as a player. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me. “For me this represents the contribution Asians have made in the game and will help inspire others,” said a proud Batth. Ipswich striker, Michael Chopra, was the first ever winner of the coveted Asian Player of the Year Award with many of the Premier League, and Championship clubs gaining great praise for the ongoing work they are doing in engaging their communities and Asian people into the game. Also worth a mention was the Lifetime Achievement Award received by Wolverhampton-based former Football League referee, Jarnail Singh, a great winner and fantastic role model for aspiring young Asians in football.

l Robbie Fowler

Football next goal for India

A new Indian Premier League is in the pipelines – but this time it’s football that will be attracting the big names the sub-continent. Organised by the Celebrity Management Group, which has signed a 30-year agreement to run the event, the six-team football version of the IPL will run for six weeks, from the end of February with, like cricket, an auction before the tournament to see who plays for who? Following the huge success of cricket’s Indian Premier League Twenty20 in the sports-mad country, now a group of entrepreneurs have decided to try and create a similar buzz in soccer.


l Danny Batth was thrilled to receive the Asian Young Player of the Year award

Bhaswar Goswami of CMG said of this brave new venture: “We saw the hype and buzz around players’ auction in IPL and feel it can be an equal success in football.” Robbie Fowler, Robert Pires and Hernan Crespo are just three of the names at the head of a new shift in power away from the existing super-powers of today’s game. India is part of BRIC, an acronym of Brazil, Russia, India and China, four of the newly-rich, economically powerful countries that are leading a shift in power away from the existing bases attracting some of the world’s great players for that final massive pay day in the twilight of their career.

If you have a sports story call The Phoenix on 0121 629 7729

February 2012

The Phoenix


Swim champ backing Rhys The Jaguar Academy of Sport has just announced that its Special Recognition Award winner Rhys Walker will receive one-to-one mentoring from British swimmer Adam Whitehead. At the 2011 Jaguar Academy of Sport Annual Awards, Rhys Walker was provided with a Special Recognition Award. In winning this award Rhys will receive a years worth of one-to-one mentoring from Adam Whitehead, former European and Commonwealth Champion. This one-to-one help and support from Adam will be invaluable for a young athlete and something that will allow Rhys to develop further and achieve his sporting goals.


Rhys, 18 year-old badminton player from Nuneaton, Warwickshire started playing at the age of eight and has competed both nationally and internationally. He is currently ranked No1 in the U19 boy singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Having won the singles national title for four years running and taking the triple crown of singles, doubles and mixed in 2011, Walker is now focusing on his singles career and currently trains up to five days a week with former England International and Senior Head Coach of the National Team,

l Adam Whitehead Steve Butler in Coventry, Warwickshire. Adam Whitehead, also born in Nuneaton, is a British swimmer who enjoyed a 10-year career in the sport. He represented Great Britain at European, Commonwealth, World and Olympic level. Adam’s achievements in sport are key to inspiring the next generation of British sporting talent. His success, experience and knowledge that he has gained over the years will make him a great mentor for Rhys. Rhys Walker, Jaguar Academy of Sport

l Swimmer Rhys Walker being interviewed by the media alongside Dame Kelly Holmes Rising Star, commented: “I am delighted to have Adam as my mentor, we are both from the same area and I was even taught at school by his mum. “He has had great success in his sport and I’m really looking forward to gaining the experience Adam has to offer.” Adam Whitehead, Jaguar Academy of Sport Mentor, commented: “Rhys is a great

Brum ready and waiting!


t now seems like a million years ago when the London Mayor Boris Johnson was waxing lyrical about our contribution to the sporting world. But now with just a few months to go, and nerve-ends tingling no-end, London 2012 will soon be upon us like a ‘Lightning Bolt.’ And despite some stark threats that were put on the pockets of local residents, in the beginning, everybody’s buzzing now and ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ with all the world’s greatest sprinters, shooters, divers, riders, throwers, et al are putting the final touches together for that big bang come July.


With Midlands-based athletes such as 400m runner Heather England and the flamboyant Philips Idowu – the world’s number one triple-jumper – promising to make their mark at London 2012 the excitement is palpable. World champion sprinter, Carmelita Jeta’s American colleagues together with the Jamaican team, with afore mentioned all-round sprint superstar, Usain Bolt, will be made right at home at the Alexander Stadium and Birmingham University respectively.

l The new BMX park in Perry Barr could be used by some visiting nations as part of their Olympic Games preparation Both base-camps are impeccably set up and waiting for their imminent arrival. Also, the United States team, as well as the Australians have made some enquiries about using the impressive new BMX track in Perry Barr for their cyclists’ training programmes, leading up to the Olympics. Having originally considered

charging local residents to watch the athletes train, the city council has reneged on the idea. They have pulled out all the stops to make this a stay the visiting nations, both individually and collectively, will remember for many years to come. The citizens of the nation’s Second City can’t wait to play their part in the preparations.

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lad and very determined to succeed. “He has already achieved so much at such a young age and I’m looking forward to supporting him on his journey to the top,” he added. “He is a great success story for our local area!” The Jaguar Academy of Sport aims to recognise, celebrate and inspire the very

best of British sporting talent and success. This is fulfilled through a Bursary Fund and a unique Mentoring and Education Programme delivered through a series of workshops and talent days. Mentoring is key to the Academy and provides all the Rising Stars with the nonfinancial support they need in order to be successful.


Free tickets for ex-paralympians


very retired Paralympian who has ever represented Great Britain at the Paralympic Games is going to receive two tickets for the Paralympics at London 2012 The British Paralympic Association was keen to recognise the incredible contribution athletes have made to British sporting success over the years and ensures that the current crop of athletes will have even more support as they strive for success in the London. It also recognises the heritage around the Paralympic Games the origins of which are traced back to Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1948.

“This is a fantastic offer from ParalympicsGB and a great opportunity for the Paralympians of yesteryear to get together and share their experiences...all the time trying to convince ourselves that we could actually have been there competing,” said former T46 800m World Record holder Danny Crates, a Paralympic gold medallist in Athens (2004).” Crates, who retired from competitive track and field in 2009, had a hugely successful career which also included World Indoor and Europe-

an Championship titles in addition to Paralympic Games bronze over 400m in Sydney (2000). Margaret Maughan, the first ever Briton to win gold at the first official Paralympic Games in 1960, also expressed her support. “I am so pleased that the BPA have given me and other Paralympians the opportunity to attend the Games in London next year. “I am very proud to be a Paralympian and I hope that in London I will join many other supporters in cheering on the British team.”

The origin of the Paralympic Games can be traced to the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948 when injured WW11 veterans held the first disabled sport competition in archery. Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the BPA, commented: “These athletes represented our nation and this offer goes some way towards celebrating their contribution to the history of the British Paralympic team.” l Retired athletes should visit the BPA’s Paralympians’ Club website at and register as a member.

Oh Danny Boy... Asian Football Awards – Page 34

Danny Crates flying the flag at the Beijing Paralympics

The Phoenix Newspaper - February 2012  

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