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CONTENTS Good News • Westbridge Park makeover • The Inn Ringers New Ringers Wanted • 70th birthday celebrations for Brownies • Stone Christmas Market • Stone Christmas Lights Switch On • Gold for Joe Clarke • Stone Hockey Club to celebrate 100 years • New Defib at Sugnall Walled Garden

In Pictures • Football’s coming home • But who was ‘HOT CLOGS HILARY’? • Stone Civic Sunday returns • St Georges Day Parade • Walking together in faith • Festival fundraiser for the Crown Wharf Theatre • Stone’s forgotten architect • Ploughing and Hedge Laying Match

Christmas is coming, the time to celebrate and make merry is almost upon us! Welcome to the November & December Gazette, at this juncture, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, and a Peaceful New Year. A tad premature you may say, however decorations have been on sale in the shops since the 1st of September, so... The last couple of months have flown by, I’ve relocated the Gazette office, as number 5 Globe Court is up for sale (see page 2 if you’re interested) so move we had to. Working from home requires a whole new disciplined mindset, it’s too tempting to make a coffee and have just 5 minutes telly, STOP! it’s a trap, you get sucked in then 45 minutes later you’re saying to yourself “get some work done kidda!” Working on a screen all day, I’m conscious of looking after my eyesight and stretching my legs, so I take a dinner time walk to my local shop and back, taking time out along the route for some mindfulness, which seems to have been the buzz word for the last 2 years, but there really is something in it you know. I get a warm, contented feeling every time I spot a squirrel going about his daily grind of gathering enough eats to see the family through til springtime. After what felt like the coldest and greyest August ever, we were duly blessed with a stunning September, then October too, t-shirt and shorts weather, for those with the legs for it. The sunshine went someway to make up for what seemed to be national doom and gloom, starting with a CO2 shortage, threatening to bring production of some food and drinks to an end within weeks,

even talk of no turkeys for Christmas, luckily Walton Butchers and Griffins Butchers will have plenty, and are both taking orders already, see their ad’s inside. Then it was a return to panic buying at the petrol pumps, what a 5 day nonsense that was, 10 days if you lived in London and the south, luckily I’d filled up the day before it went viral so went unaffected, though I felt for those who couldn’t get to work due to the shortages. Facebook and it’s sister sites had a major outage, for around 6 whole hours, families all around the world had to actually engage and talk to each other, though some took the easier option and jumped over on to Twitter instead. Enough already of any negative talk, Christmas is coming, the time to celebrate and make merry is almost upon us! Stone Christmas Lights Switch On event is back on November 25th (see page 9) with Eccleshall Lights switch on taking place on Sunday November 28, from 5pm. The Stone Traders Group are holding a Christmas Market in the High Street on Sunday 21st November, 10am-3pm. If you’re in town that day, local artists and crafts people will be showing their works at St Dominic’s Social Centre, Station Road, Stone on November 21st, open from 11.30 to 4.30pm. Nora Roberts famously once said "Nothing ever seems too bad, too hard, or too sad when you've got a Christmas tree in the living room." She’s right, and as soon as it’s socially acceptable to, mines going up, maybe even sooner.... Dan Mitchell 22/10/21

Heritage • 100th Anniversary of the War Memorial in Granville Square By Philip Leason MBE • Events in Stone from 1950-52 by Senior Museums Officer, Chris Copp at Staffordshire Past Track

January/February edition is out on January 6th Editorial Deadline - December 7th Advertisement Copy Deadline - December 10th



EDITORIAL Christine Conlin - Eccleshall News -

ACCOUNTS Angela Downing -

TELEPHONE 07514 967890 Photography in association with Martin Robinson The views expressed in this publication are those of our contributors and are not necessarily those of the publishers, nor indeed their responsibility. Once you’ve finished with your Gazette, recycle it by giving it to a friend.


Spencer The Jeweller

Nearly 18 years ago David Spencer had a plan.... It was time to close up his jewellery workshop, in Birmingham’s world famous Jewellery Quarter. He had been continually busy there designing and manufacturing gold jewellery for 17 years, including designing and making chain from Clogau Gold, the famous Welsh Gold of Royalty for the last 100 years. David had set his sights on a new jewel…. Eccleshall. Soon after the birth of David and Angela’s third daughter, the couple relocated so that they could focus on running the new business together, and so Spencer The Jeweller opened its doors to the public on April 1st 2004. The emphasis from the day one, up to the present day, remains the same, bespoke jewellery, quality repairs and the remodelling of customers pieces on the premises. Clients are constantly amazed at David’s vision and skill, and his ability to take an old, unfashionable or even broken piece of Jewellery, and then transform it into a brand new piece, made to their requirements. Over the years David has noticed a huge rise in orders for bespoke Engagement and Wedding Rings, he told us “I think every bride wants to feel unique on her special day, and with bespoke jewellery she knows that she’s the only person in the world wearing that piece, as it was made for her. I’ve had requests to make jewellery for special birthdays and anniversaries as well. ” Did you know that Spencer the Jeweller are masters of silverware repairs and polishing, including rhodium plating. They also can offer stone replacements, ring sizing, sensitive refurbishment of heirlooms and even pearl stringing. Also battery changes including pressure checks, watch and clock servicing and repairs, and even quotations and valuations for insurance and probate purposes. Part of the team are Nicola, a goldsmith, and Deb, a silversmith, both have worked for David for well over ten years, and their skills and expertise in the workshop and with clients is first class. David’s clients over the last 17 years in Eccleshall, include local people as well as regular loyal customers from the North and South of England, some from Wales and even a few from as far away as Sweden and America. Angela Spencer told us “Clients trust our family run team, and is what makes them return time and time again. We’ve found that word of mouth recommendations are worth their weight in gold, as our clients introduce their family members to us. Clients put a lot of trust in us, and there can be no better way to be recommended.” Enter Spencers and you will find beautiful jewellery, made on the premises, mixed with jewellery from British jewellery companies. Hot diamonds have been sold by us almost as long as we have been open as have the watch brands Rotary and Citizen. To help you keep your jewellery sparkling, between our professional polishes, they have a good selection of connoisseur products, including sonic cleaners, beauty wipes and dazzle sticks for home use. Angela continued “We are continually creating jewellery for commissions, and what is made here doesn't stay on view for long! Our website and Facebook page allows us to show off some of these stunning pieces.” David and Angela are both passionate about Eccleshall, and over the years have joined in the Eccleshall Street Markets, selling Woodwick candles, London clocks and Dulwich Design jewellery boxes - and whilst making jewellery outside, and cleaning jewellery free of charge the couple have raised thousands of pounds by for The County Air Ambulance (there’s also a collection box for the charity in the shop. This charity is very important to the Spencer Family) Spencer The Jeweller’s team have the earnt the reputation for being honest, trustworthy and friendly, call in today to see what they can offer.

01785 851760 4 High Street, Eccleshall, ST21 6BZ 4

Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

The Inn Ringers – New Ringers Wanted The Inn Ringers returned to their practice sessions in August after 18 months away. It is proving difficult to get the team up and running after such a long period away from their regular weekly ringing sessions and being short of ringers. One member of the group left just prior to the team having to stop their practice sessions due to the first ‘lockdown’ and another member of the team is leaving soon to relocate to Scotland. At the moment the team are two ringers short of their full complement of 12 ringers. Musical Director for the team Paul Mellor told the Gazette ‘We have experienced a lack of ringers many times over the years and we have always managed, somehow, to recruit new people when we have needed them. It feels different this time and I know other local teams are feeling the same’. The team was established in 1977 and have enjoyed a reputation for being one of the most entertaining handbell teams around. They have performed in many parts of the country but are more at home presenting their concerts across their home territory of North Staffordshire. Because of the time spent away from their practices the team have no concert bookings for the immediate future but hope to be back in action, entertaining people with the unique sound the bells make in the New Year. Paul continued ’44 years is a long time for any group to keep going and I would like to think that we can generate a bit of interest in handbell ringing to secure the teams’ future for a few more years. It would be really sad if teams like The Inn Ringers got to the point where they had to pack away their bells for

good because there was no one to ring them. Playing tunes on handbell bells goes back centuries, it is a traditional art form that must be kept going. It would be awful if our handbell teams disappeared from our cultural landscape’. Secretary for the team Rowena Dawson joined the Inn Ringers 12 years ago says ‘I joined the team when I retired. I had seen the team perform in a concert many years before but put off trying it out until I felt I had the time to devote to it. It is a wonderful hobby, our practice nights are so much fun and it is so exciting to be able to perform in concerts. People are usually amazed by the sound the bells make’. Rowena went on to say ‘I hope we can recover from our current position of being a few ringers short. The Inn Ringers have been representing their home town of Stone for more than 40 years and I hope we can generate a bit of interest and able to welcome a few more ringers to our team’. You don’t have to be able to read music to be a member of the team – they have their own type of music which is easy to follow and can be picked up in minutes. It enables people who can’t read music notation the opportunity to play music and enjoy the wonderful sound the bells make. The team practice every Monday night at St Luke’s Church Hall Tittensor from 7.30pm. People are more than welcome to come along to find out more about the team and perhaps have a go! If anyone is interested contact Rowena Dawson Tel: 07816 545713 or you can email

Stone Festival and Carnival AGM 2021

2021 was a difficult year for Carnival, many major events had to be cancelled, but luckily it was still possible to put on several live or Zoom based events. A modest amount of money was raised, in part due to a generous sponsored event organised by Stone and District Swimming Club. The main thing was that the spirit of Festival continued through the pandemic and hopefully the committee will be able to re-introduce a full programme of events in 2022. At the AGM a new Committee was formed for next year, with the hope of encouraging additional people to join in in with organising or helping with Festival 2022.

Festival activities can be viewed and contact can be made via the link on or through the Festival Facebook page. The photos above show two of the applicants for disbursement receiving their cheques, Tony Clayton from Stone Lions, receiving a cheque towards their Mobility Scheme. Fiona Hickman receives a cheque towards equipment for Little Bears Playgroup, Oulton. A further cheque was to be sent to Sandie Mc Queen of Stone Rotary Club, towards ‘Monday Hub Grub’ at Stone Community Hub.

70th birthday celebrations for 1st Walton Brownies Guide Headquarters at Westbridge Park saw 1st Walton Brownies celebrating their 70th birthday in style! The birthday party was attended by 3rd Stone Guides who meet at Guide HQ and invited guests including: Jill Piggot (Division Commissioner) and former Brown Owls, Jane West and Jo Sutton. The girls arrived in their party clothes and enjoyed party games, a chance to look at old photos from previous birthdays and took home party bags containing delicious pieces of birthday cake that had been made and decorated by Sarah Beardmore (a Brownie mom and Brownie Leader). Present Brown Owl, Hayley Downes commented that, ”It’s great to see that after 70 years that the Brownie experience is still being enjoyed and still popular with girls here in Stone. I feel very proud to be part of the local guiding community and even though I have only been volunteering for five years, it is a privilege to be part of the history of 1st Walton. I hope that there are many more happy years to come.” Sarah Williams, another Walton Leader said, ”I enjoy helping the girls develop life skills and having fun at the same time” and Charlotte, aged 7, who joined Walton Brownies during the height of the pandemic on Zoom, said that “I love all the activities that we do at Brownies. I enjoy earning different interest badges and best of all being with my friends again” For further information on registering your interest to volunteer with Stone guiding or to register your daughter’s Interest please log on to www.girlguiding your interest or check us out on Girlguiding Stone District on our Facebook page.

Oulton First School receive grant from RJS Solicitors Pupils at Oulton First School have received £500 from RJS Solicitors which will enable them to purchase seating for a new Forest School area being developed in the school grounds. The school community are extremely grateful for these funds and excited about the new venture which will enable greater outdoor learning opportunities.



Dog First Aid Class in Oulton Dani Hickman delivers canine first aid training to dog owners and canine professionals such as groomers, dog walkers and dog trainers. Her mission is to empower anyone with a dog in their life to act in an emergency. She told the Gazette “With the huge rise in pet ownership during lockdown and many vet practices not taking on new clients, now more that ever people need the basic skills to be able to recognise early signs of medical issues and deal with first aid emergencies. I am holding a training event in Oulton Village Hall on 15th Jan 2022 and would like to spread the word about the existence of Dog First Aid Training - so many people still don't know it is a thing.” You can visit her website for more information at

Stone Christmas Market Stone Traders Group are delighted to announce Stone will be getting a Christmas Market in the High Street on Sunday 21st November, 10am-3pm. Organised by Stone Traders Group this will feature many of your favourite Stone businesses plus other great market traders with Christmas ideas on offer. With Street Food and Christmas cheer also available we hope to make this holiday season get off to a great start. Shop local this Christmas! Further details will follow but if you are interested in having a market stall please get in touch via the Secretary of STG Ed Stant via email who will send you an application form. Ed told the Gazette “Supporting local is our priority and our thanks to Stone Town Council who agreed to our proposal and part subsidise Stone businesses who attend the Event".

Art Sale / Exhition Local artists and crafts people will be showing their works at St Dominic’s Social Centre, Station Road, Stone on November 21st. It will be open from 11.30 to 4.30pm. If you are looking for that special gift for Christmas call in, I’m sure there will be something to tempt you. With local & canal scenes, dog portraits, abstract & modern art, woodwork, resin and much much more. Admission is Free.

Future of Swynnerton Post Office? Following the closure of Swynnerton village shop and post office at the end of October, the Post Office has launched a consultation to investigate available options to enable the village’s post office service to be reinstated. Future provision will reflect customer numbers, so customers who wish to keep using the service are urged to write by November 12th to: FREEPOST Your Comments or email using the reference Branch Temporary Closure, Swynnerton Post office ST15 ORA. The nearest post offices to Swynnerton are at Tittensor and Yarnfield.

Stone Lions Prostate Awareness During September we have offered a discount to men who ordered a Home Testing Kit for PSA. It would seem there is a reluctance on the part of some men to use this service as only 63 discounted kits were ordered, compared to 140 last year and nearly 400 who attended in 2019 for conventional blood taking. However the good news is, that of the 63 whose blood was sent for testing, only 1 man had a very high reading (Red Letter) and 1 whose reading merited an Amber Letter. All the others who were tested had a low PSA reading (Green Letter). Stone Lions’ Members hope to reinstate face to face blood taking by trained phlebotomists in April 2022, so look out for our publicity. Congratulations to Lions Tony Clayton and Mike Ward who have completed 45 year service as members of Lions Clubs International.

Stone bonfire and fireworks cancelled The Stone Town Bonfire and Fireworks Committee have confirmed that unfortunately the 2021 event is cancelled. The annual event, which takes place in Westbridge Park, has a huge bonfire and firework display. The event was cancelled in 2020, due to Covid, and it was decided with Covid cases on the rise again, it wouldn’t be responsible to go ahead this year, as social distancing at the event would be impossible.

Macmillan Fundraiser with futures2gether! The service users at the project Futurestogether (that meet at The Crossing, Station Approach) raised an amazing £200 at their Macmillan fundraising coffee morning. Family, friends and members of the community joined in with guess the weight of the cake, a raffle and enjoyed delicious cakes and coffees and teas.The project holds a community cafe once a week on a Wednesday morning and on Wednesday afternoon; in conjunction with St John’s church they hold a Cameo cafe( Come and meet each other). Alison and Kelly, the project managers told the Gazette “We were all incredibly proud of the students and thrilled with the amount of money raised for such a worthy cause.”


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

• Crown Wharf Theatre trustee Leo Capernaros with Oliver Freer from LAUK Lighting

Local business lighting up Crown Wharf Theatre The Crown Wharf Theatre charity has revealed its first founding partner as it continues to make big steps towards opening a brand new theatre in Stone. LAUK Lighting, based on Stone Business Park in the town, has played a huge role in the project so far and has become a Gold Founding Partner. Work started on the backstage area earlier this year and Oliver Freer from LAUK has not only donated his time and expertise, but the company is also providing all the required domestic lighting fittings for the project. Oliver has also helped the charity access vital electrical infrastructure equipment, which has been kindly donated by Schneider Electric. The hardware alone would have cost the charity thousands of pounds, but in addition Oliver has given his time and professional expertise free of charge to produce vital domestic lighting designs for the project, as well as an online 3D model of the auditorium which gives an interactive, panoramic view of what the theatre will look like when it opens to the public. Local businesses can become founding partners through making a monetary donation or, like LAUK, donating time, expertise and materials to the project. As a gold founding partner, LAUK will be featured on a Founders Board at the theatre and will get a Gold Founder plaque on one of the theatre seats. Plus they’ll get a plaque and certificate for their business premises. Oliver said: “I had a tour of the theatre site in 2019 when it was nothing more than steels coming out of the ground. But I was so impressed by the project and its potential, so I wanted to get involved right then to help

make this a reality. The theatre will be an amazing community space for everyone in the town. It’s been amazing to see the project progressing, and to be playing a part in making it happen is incredibly satisfying.” Crown Wharf Theatre trustee Leo Capernaros added: “Right from the beginning, we’ve looked to build strong relationships with businesses in the area who share our vision for the town’s future and can see the potential of this fantastic facility in the heart of the community. Oliver’s help has been invaluable. We’ve been so fortunate to have so many people stepping forward and backing the Crown Wharf Theatre project. We couldn’t do it without them.” The charity has been staging a variety of fundraising events this year, including an August Bank Holiday Theatre Takeover of the Joule’s Crown Wharf pub, and the charity’s first Wharfstock live music festival at Westbridge Park at the end of September. And there are lots more coming up, including a musical theatre cabaret, as well as Christmas concerts and carolling with the Cantiamo Chamber Choir, Revellation Choir and Florence Brass Band at the Joule’s Crown Wharf pub. Full details of all upcoming events are available at A number of funding bids have also been submitted for the auditorium stage of the project. The charity should find out before the end of the year if they’ve been successful. There is more information about becoming a Crown Wharf Theatre founding partner, and lots of other ways that businesses and residents can support the project, at

Tai Chi classes for Beginners Qualified Instructor, Lindsey Paxton will be running Tai Chi for beginners classes at Yarnfield Village Hall, on Monday Evenings from 5.30pm - 6.45pm, and at Aston Village Hall Tuesday’s 1pm - 2pm. The cost is £5 per session. Please call to register your interest 07802 812851. The ‘Benefits’ of Tai Chi may include... 1) Decreased stress. anxiety and depression 2)Quality of sleep, improved mood 3) Lower blood pressure 4) Increased energy and stamina 5) Improved balance and flexibility 6) Improved aerobic capacity.

Seighford Parish Council celebrate after Lottery funding provides additional facilities Children’s Playing Field Seighford Parish Council realised that the facilities at the Great Bridgeford Playing Field, which was opened more than 30 years ago, could be improved to create a more welcoming space for the local community. It has been awarded more than £21,000 in funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. With the new funding, the facilities available at the playing field have been improved and include a basket swing, a multi play unit and a zip wire making it a more accessible space for families within Seighford Parish. David Price, Chairman of Seighford Parish Council told the Gazette: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we have excellent facilities at the Great Bridgeford Playing Field for children, parents and carers to enjoy. The improvements were an important step for us, especially since the lockdown meant that more localfamilies wanted to take advantage of local green spaces. The support from the National Lottery Community Fund is integral to us, it’s important that this local playing field is now more accessible and the funding has • Above:- From left - David Price, Chairman of meant that we could make the Seighford Parish Council, Reverend Doug Heming, necessary changes to do exactly Vicar of Seighford and County Councillor Jeremy Pert. that “


Stone’s Remembrance Sunday The Annual Parade, together with a Service of Remembrance at the War Memorial in Granville Square, will take place on Sunday 14th November. At 10.30 a.m. the Parade will proceed along High Street to the War Memorial. 10.40 a.m. Presentation of Wreaths in accordance with the formal Order of Presentation. 11.00 a.m. Two Minutes Silence and Service of Remembrance.

School Cleaners Required Kleenscape Contract Cleaning urgently require school cleaners in the Stone Town Centre area. 16 hours per week 4pm-7pm, £9.00 per hour. Immediate start available. Contact: Peter Moss Tel: 01782 616110 / 07747 073203 Email:


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read


• Fingers on the button: Stone Town Mayor Mark Green, Father Christmas, Samantha Lloyd and winners of the Mayor’s Christmas Card competition switching on the Christmas lights in 2019. Photograph by Martin Robinson.

November 25th will again see Stone Town Council organising and staging the annual switch-on of the town's Christmas lights. The focus this year will once more be on local young people, who will provide most of the entertainment and help to turn on the lights. The event opens at 5pm, compered by Samantha Lloyd, with the usual range of entertainment leading up to the main event the turning on of the lights at 7pm. This year the lights will be switched on by the Town Mayor, Councillor Jonathan Powell, and of course, Father Christmas. They will be joined by the winners of the Mayor's Christmas Card competition. If you've been before, you'll know what to expect. It's the biggest event to take place in Stone High Street, so make sure you get into

• Crowds packed into Stone High Street to see the 2019 lights switched on. Photograph by Martin Robinson.

town early to claim a good spot. The ever popular Warwick's Funfair will be set up in the Market Square and down the High Street, and there will be food stalls, trade stalls, and charity stalls with all manner of things to buy and win. Councillor Jill Hood, Chairman of the Council's Tourism and Town Promotion Sub-Committee, said: "I love this time of year when the town is lit up with Christmas trees and lights. Our Christmas light switch-on event is hugely popular and once again we will be putting on a fantastic show with Father Christmas turning up for the children and a full programme of performances on the stage. "There's something for every age group to enjoy and the Christmas season will be well and truly welcomed by our town."

“If you can’t make it, though, the Council will again be producing a virtual switch-on video, and the switch-on itself will be broadcast live by A Little Bit of Stone” A limited number of stalls will be available. For businesses, a charge of £25.00 will be made, though registered charities who benefit Stone will not be charged. Each pitch will be 2.25 metre x 3 metre in size, covered and illuminated. Tables will be available to hire at an additional cost of £5.00 each. Please contact the Town Council by 9th November if you would like to be considered for a stall. Stone Town Council can be contacted on 01785 619740 or by email to clerk@ for further information.


Eccleshall NEWS IN BRIEF Community Cinema The Eccleshall Community Cinema reopened in September in the room above the Royal Oak, admission is £5 and tickets are available from the Oak, James Du Pavey and Perry’s. Contact Ann Holmes for more information on future films, email: or ring 07951 25588 or visit the website at www.eccleshall

Indoor Bowls The indoor bowls group which meets in the community centre in Shaw’s Lane, Eccleshall has restarted its regular meetings Monday 1.30pm – 3.30pm, Tuesday 8pm – 10pm and Thursday 7.30pm – 10pm, Contact Pat Davies telephone 01785 541955. New members are always welcome.

Book Club The Royal Oak Book Club, Eccleshall is held in the front room (room on the left as you enter through the front door) at the Royal Oak in the High Street on the last Tuesday of the month at 7:30 pm. All are welcome to join the group and enjoy literature.

Eagle Statue Eccleshall Parish Council chairman Peter Jones and Councillor Gordon Dale met with a Borough Council officer to discuss possible sites in the town for the Eagle statue. A number of suitable sites were found and the council will send details to the Borough for approval.

Hospice Fund Raiser Katharine House Hospice, Eccleshall Support Group have held their first fundraising event in 18 months. Thank you to all who joined them at ‘An Evening of Music with Supper‘ at The Royal Oak, Eccleshall. Friends and Supporters were treated to a 2-course supper followed by wonderful music played by the fabulous Ken and Tim Warrillow, joined by the equally talented John Dougill. A fantastic £1,090 was raised for Katharine House Hospice, it will make such a difference to their patients and families. The next event is a Christmas Coffee Morning on Saturday 20th November 10am till 12 noon at Eccleshall Cricket Club. Father Christmas will also be in attendance.

Christmas Tree Festival The Holy Trinity Church, Eccleshall has announced the date for its restarted Christmas Tree Festival on November Friday 26 - Sunday 28, following the pause during the Covid restrictions. Individuals, businesses or organisations are invited to take part and obtain an application form from Chris or Nancy Reynolds on 01785 282281 or email: Volunteers will also be required to help serve the refreshments during the event. Fuller details will be available in the November edition of the Trinity magazine.

Civic Service The annual Eccleshall Parish Council Civic church service was held at the Holy Trinity Church on Sunday October 10 and attending by parishioners, invited representatives of local organisations and members of the parish council, Sir Bill Cash MP and the Deputy Mayor of Stone Councillor Mrs Kerry Dawson also attended. It was a service of thanksgiving for the life of Eccleshall Parish. The service was led by the reverend Stephen Habgood and readings were read by Council Chairman Peter Jones and Deputy Chairman Libby Dale.

Ecclian Society Christmas plans The Ecclian Society is planning the usual Christmas tree decoration of the town. 260 baubles will be decorated by the pupils of the Bishops Lonsdale C of E Academy to be hung on the large tree at the crossroads. Carols will be sung around the tree at the crossroads on Sunday November 28 at 6pm.


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

• Joe smashing through to claim Gold!

Gold for Stones Joe Clarke on final day of Canoe Slalom World Champs Joe Clarke stormed to the Men’s Extreme Slalom world title and Mallory Franklin surged to silver in the Women’s C1 on a successful final day of action, 26th September, at the World Championships in Bratislava. Joe showed his power and speed by blasting his way to the front in the final, holding off the challenge of New Zealand’s Finn Butcher to win gold. With only one boat guaranteed a spot in the heats and teammate Bradley Forbes-Cryans paddling 0.25s faster in the time trial, Joe only made it through when other boats dropped out on Saturday. But he made full use of his lifeline, winning every single race from then on to emerge victorious and be crowned world champion. “It was amazing, each round provides a

different challenge to overcome so to come through unscathed and win is amazing,” said Joe, who won K1 Olympic gold at Rio 2016 but was eliminated in the heats of the same event this week. “To have the tenth-fastest time trial and still not make it through due to the 32 nations was upsetting, but to get the call yesterday to say I’d been drafted in was amazing and I grasped the opportunity with both hands and took the win. “It’s hard to put it into words really [what it means] after having such a tough championships and not the best of years overall, to have that gold right at the end of the season in the last event of the competition just made it really special for me and even more so in the Extreme that is now an Olympic event for Paris.”

Penny’s Story - By Rita Gribble ‘Introducing an uplifting feel good romance’ Penny can’t imagine a life without Ben. Fifteen years older than Penny, they had married when she was eighteen. Now, in the late 1989, after a short illness Ben has died. Their two teenage children are both about to go to university, so at thirty-eight Penny finds herself alone and everything around her is changing. Even Farrington’s, the company she has worked for since a girl, is about to undergo a big change. Charles Farrington at long last takes a much-overdue retirement. Now, Charles’s only child, Max, leaves an academic career to become the new head of Farrington’s. Tall, aloof, and enigmatic, at forty-eight years old he’s still a confirmed bachelor. Not surprising then, that to the female staff his love life is a source of gossip and speculation! Penny is about to find that change is going to be the most difficult and challenging journey she will ever have to take. Yet the most confusing and frightening times for Penny are when she completely fails to understand her new powerful and utterly compelling feelings. And all the while, a good old fashioned love story is beginning to unfold. Local author Rita Gribble was born in Stoke-on-Trent in April 1937. The younger of three children, she grew up in a family who loved books, words and writing. She spent thirty-five years in the car industry, working in the accounts office for the same company. Widowed with one daughter, a few years after her husband died in 2001, she began to write Penny’s Story, but after being diagnosed with breast cancer she never returned to writing. Then in March 2016, after a long stay in hospital with sepsis and pneumonia, she went to live in

an annex with her daughter and family. In the summer of 2019, while clearing the lost, her daughter found Penny’s Story and encouraged her mother to finish writing. Publisher A H Stockwell, 01271 862557. Ring to order, before 10am guarantees next day delivery. Priced at £10.95. Also available on Amazon, Kindle, e-book, WHSmith and Waterstones.


Stone Choral Society celebrates with two concerts - Autumn and Christmas Christmas presents may be in jeopardy and Amazon may run out of the toys and gizmos but you can still enjoy live music with concerts given by Stone Choral Society and their soloists. Upcoming concerts November 6th and December 16th – will be celebratory and joyful occasions as the choir are excited about being able to perform again. When the lock-downs began we had no idea how long it would take to get us back to holding our seasonal concerts. Would it just be a few months of postponing the Spring 2020 concert or would it be shelved altogether? Like so many musical organisations we have lived from month to month, checking regulations and finding out what is possible, meanwhile carrying on with Zoom rehearsals. So it is with an enormous measure of excitement that we can announce that Stone Choral Society will be holding their Autumn concert on 6th November 7.30pm at Christ Church, Stone and the Christmas Carol concert on December 16th. We have a programme of joyful music aimed to lift the spirits and to set the tone for renewal. Our first performance of Stuart Johnson’s Missa Celebra was at the 50th anniversary concert in 2018 in Keele University chapel. Now we are bringing it to its home town and we are all loving singing it again and ‘making a joyful noise’. We are looking forward to welcoming our soloist,

soprano Andrea Tweedale, who will perform for the first time with Stone Choral Society. We hope she enjoys her solo movements as much as we have been enjoying the choral sections. Also in the programme is a performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria, which is a well known choral work with many lively and joyful sections contrasting with more solemn sections. Then in December our annual Carol Concert returns to Christ Church on Thursday 16th December 7.30pm. Not only will there be the favourite carol arrangements, but there will be a new Christmas Story medley ‘One Night in Bethlehem’ with carol arrangements and narration by a soprano soloist all put together by Stuart Johnson. Come, let the spirit of Christmas envelop you before the hectic rush and food shopping overtakes the following days. We would love to welcome you to be in the audience. We are taking measures to ensure safety of the audience as we realise that many people remain cautious about mixing freely together. Seating will be socially distanced and the performances will run straight through. Both concerts at 7.30pm Christ Church, Christchurch Way Stone ST15 8ZB Tickets (£10) to be pre-booked by ringing 01889 883878 or by emailing info@

St John’s ramble for Children in Need A glorious morning was the setting for members of St. John’s to set their best foot forward on a sponsored walk (along the canal and over the plott) to raise monies for such a worthy cause as Children in Need. The monies raised are still coming in but almost £500 was made on the day. During lockdown St. John’s worshipped


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on Zoom and at times to streamed services on Youtube. However, at the end of October, Sunday services will resume at Walton Community Centre at 10.30 am and evening services at 6.30pm. All are welcome to attend. Further information can be found on the Facebook page, St John’s Church.

Hair is my medium and life is my canvas Coming back from two Covid lockdowns, Michele McLeod of Salon 36 in Walton is holding her head up high specially made look like part of the decor. The screens, mask-wearing by staff and our strict cleaning routines reassure clients and make us all feel safe and comfortable. Clients tell us we’re one of the cleanest salons they’ve ever been in. Reassuring clients that we’re looking after them wholly and solely is encouraging them to return and helping us get back on our feet. Our Covid comeback from July was harder than my original startup in the 1991-1992 recession. But in September, we got a boost when a letter arrived from England’s Business Awards announcing that we’d been nominated for a Small Salon Award. The nomination was anonymous and was all the more surprising considering that we’d been closed for most of the year! We also recently opened our Beauty Room, where Sharon Holland offers aesthetic and beauty treatments and Sarah Steele provides Soles Footcare. (Separate appointments are required for these services ).

was right for me, but Vikki made me take an interest in my clients. I’ll never forget her saying, “You might be the only person a client might speak to that day.” Some of my clients from Vikki’s are still with me and I have clients who have moved away but come back specially to have their hair done here. I’ve even got clients who have gone abroad but come for appointment when they’re back here visiting. Talk about customer loyalty! It’s a lovely feeling when they walk through the door and really makes my day!

• Sharon Holland of FACE Aesthetic Clinic Enterprise offers appointments at Salon 36

• Award nominee: to vote for Salon 36 in the Staffordshire ‘Small Salon’ category go to 2021 is the start of my 40th year in hairdressing and the 30th anniversary of Salon 36. Before the pandemic, I’d wanted an explosive celebration, but after the second shutdown, I just wasn’t in the mood. But the huge demand for haircuts made me realise that hairdressing is an essential service after all. So I’m taking this opportunity to thank my clients, family, friends and the Stone Gazette for all their support during my four decades. I am an artist: hair is my medium and life is my canvas. My passion is the love of beautiful hair. It gives people the confidence to feel good about themselves. Hairdressing is one of the happiest jobs – the loyalty is massive and clients become your friends. My artistry is supported by my qualifications: I’ve been a Senior State Registered Hairdresser for 20 years and a Level 4 Hairdresser with a Master Craftsmanship for 25 years. In the 2020 lockdown, we used the protective measures we had to install in the salon as a chance to give it a make-over. The difference was, with my background in interior design, I was determined to avoid a clinical look so I’ve given the place that pamper relaxing feel we’ve been missing for so long. The protective screens I had

• Mane attraction: Salon 36 back in the day with Michele (l) and Julie Horsey (r)

Salon 36

• Cutting edge: the Salon 36 team (from the back) Jayne Murray,Michele McLeod. Courtney Davies and Nicole Smith In late September, I proudly attended the graduation ceremony of staff member Courtney Davies, who has qualified from Newcastle College’s School of Hairdressing. I’m committed to apprenticeships – apprentices earn while they learn and finish without any debts. More businesses should get behind them. My other employee, Jayne Murray, who has with me at the Salon for 30 years, also started out as an apprentice. Trainee Nicole Smith from Newcastle College has recently joined us on a six--month work placement. I’m passionate about staff training – professionalism and vision but above all communicating with your client to turn your vision for their hair into a reality. If you can’t communicate, the end result might not be what they want. As part of their training, I get staff to take photographs during an appointment to show clients the transition they’re going through. I’ve always felt communication was lacking in hairdressing training skills, so I really drill it in. Listening and conversation skills are what I learned all those years ago as working at Vikki’s Underwood’s Salon in Granville Terrace. I was a shy youngster, still unsure whether hairdressing

36 Eccleshall Rd, Stone ST15 0HN

Coming back after the first lockdown in 2020 was a real shock. Clippers had disappeared off the shelves as everybody was cutting their own hair and the results were pretty appalling. So many bad box dye jobs, where men had coloured wives’ or partners' hair or hacked-about haircuts needing lots of grading to get them back into shape. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but it gave us a thrill to realise how much hairdressers are needed after all. Re-opening last July after was different again. Realising their previous mistakes, more people, especially men, had decided to let their hair just grow. The result was, for the first two and a half weeks after lockdown lifted, we were working 70-hour weeks just to fit everyone in. We were cutting practically non-stop. I was using the scissors so much that I developed blisters across my knuckles as if I’d been a boxing ring! Though current Covid regulations make for shorter appointments, we’re still looking after clients’ heads – outside and in. Every shampoo comes with a relaxing 30-second Indian head massage, and clients leave the salon with a beautiful head of hair.

• Sarah Steele S.A.C. Dip. offers foot treatments at Salon 36 And in between, thanks to the conversation skills we use during the appointment, we can become a client’s confidant, counsellor, even a friend. We don’t just treat their hair and scalp, but what goes on underneath. I had been planning to retire after 40 years, but now I think I’ll put retirement on hold. When I do retire though, I’ll be coming back in every second day for a wash and blow. Hairdressing is my life - I’ll just carry on as a client!

Tel: 01785 813294


• Correspondence - Readers’ Writes

“Keep Stone Kleen” Dear Sirs, The need for noticeable and accessible waste bins, of the familiar green and blue self standing type, is essential to keep our High Street area clean, and encouraging for shopping and visitors, and a Pride in Stone. We have a first class service for waste removal from our town area by the familiar, friendly and hard-working Peter, from SBC Street Scene, which would be made easier with more accessible, but not overflowing, waste bins. First the waste bin outside Hylands at the top of the town was removed to make way for the cycle lockable bar park, which is essential, yes, but very under utilised. I am aware there is a waste bin sited by the Crown and Anchor but people town side need a waste location visible as seating located nearby is where food is often consumed. A proliferation of waste bins occur around the clock/arcade area. These are of the strong ‘old style’ type and not as easy to make entry as our two-tone ‘new style’. Also, with the growth of café areas the need for attractive waste points is essential. Perhaps outside caterers should be required to place ‘paper cups’ on tables with service to collect customers ‘litter’ and removed with each service made. The removable of the much used green and blue waste bin is a vital replacement around Mill Street, perhaps close to the café wall, or against the old Barclays. Mill Street is a much used exit for shoppers and visitors, particularly when High Street events are held, and the old type bin close to Martins always seems less used than most It would also serves to cover the Market Square area and needs to be of a large type. (I understand the displaced waste bin and its proximity to the café ‘outside area’ was not ‘welcoming’ and I believe the owner of Reggies has made an offer to re-locate it.) The next waste bin lower down is close to outside Plants and the café has a similar problem and perhaps requires re location closer to the seat provided against the building lower down and would be closer to the end of High Street. There are other waste bins adjoining the main street in alley’s, etc, all doing a fine job but I would hope the ‘hidden bin’ opposite Church Steet may be located close to the flower bed outside the Post Office, hairdressers. If we can see them then we will use them! Finally….. the small wall mounted bin at the head of Margaret Street needs a large replacement and location adjoining the Station Road toilets. I feel sure the army of litter pickers who have pride in Stone would welcome these adjustments and may offer more helpful comments for consideration. Barry Tunnicliffe, Proud Stone resident

Stone to lose funding for sport Dear Gazette, Stafford Borough Council plan to cancel funding for Stone’s community 3G Pitch at Alleyne’s and leave an empty swimming pool. The council’s 2016 Leisure Strategy included £200,000 for a new 3G astro pitch at the Alleyne’s site. Two years’ ago, the Council’s own 2019 playing pitch strategy noted the poor quality of the pitch at Alleyne’s. Now, to justify the cut to funding, the Council states that the pitch “is in good condition”, a misreading of a recent report which acknowledges that Alleyne’s has managed to maintain the pitch “in good condition for its age.” The Football Association will not even license the current pitch for match use. The Council strategy recognises that the Borough needs two more 3G football pitches in the Borough. Why, then, remove the funding for Stone’s community pitch? A pitch which not only serves the schoolchildren of this town but is the home of Stone’s Old Alleynians. The 2016 Leisure Strategy also included £430,000 towards the £1 million cost of decommissioning the old swimming pool and creating a sports hall. Now, again without consultation, “conversion to a sports hall” has been quietly dropped from the strategy. £212,080 had been legally ringfenced specifically for sports. This money cannot now be diverted away from sport provision for the people of Stone to a ‘Destination Park’. The Council has already pumped additional funding into Westbridge Park when costs increased beyond their projected budget. Stone’s Sports Centre at Alleyne’s has run successfully for 50 years through a joint use agreement in which the Council took responsibility for use outside school hours. The facilities had to close to the community during Covid and, even without Council support, Alleyne’s Academy has been working to start a programme of reopening. We have been very pleased to welcome Old Alleynians back to their home ground and are grateful for their commitment to developing the site with us. Alleyne’s has received no notice or advance warning from the Council about these new plans to cut funding. The school remains fully committed to developing the sports facilities and continuing our long tradition of shared community use. We hope to build on our partnership with Old Alleynians and work with Stone’s many other local groups to properly reopen the site to the community. But the promised Council funding and support is needed. Susan Crookshank, Chair of Governors Alleyne’s Academy Stone

Thanks, Eccleshall Cares It is with a mixture of sadness and smiles that the Eccleshall Cares committee have decided that it is time for Eccleshall Cares to wind-down in its current form from the 1st of October. Over the last 18 months local volunteers have done over 1,500 jobs to support local vulnerable people during the challenges of the pandemic. We want to thank everybody for the amazing support you've offered, it has been truly wonderful to see how a community can come together when the going gets tough. Here's how we reached this conclusion: Reviewing the jobs we have done over the past couple of months indicate that: Volunteers: Most volunteers are now back at work, and we sometimes struggle to find people to carry out requests. We have never turned anyone away, but it's clear that life is returning to normal for the time being. I think this time has shown everybody in town how lovely it is to pull together as a community and look out for each other, and it has been one of my own life's great pleasures to be a part of it. Eccleshall is such a great place to live. Thank you again to everybody who has been involved. Joe Cheetham-Wilkinson, Chair, Eccleshall Cares


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Oulton Harvest Festival The annual Oulton Harvest Festival was held at St John’s Church on the 26th September. The church was filled with beautiful floral displays for the event. Photos by Martin Robinson.

NEWS IN BRIEF Noise Levels

We can expect increased noise levels from the direction of Swynnerton Training Area from now until the middle of December 2021. Increased traffic movement and at some time in the next few weeks and the first two weeks in November the use of explosives.

Slindon Charitable Trust The Slindon Hall Charitable Trusts would like to bring to your attention an educational and vocational grant that is available to all young people up to the age of 22 years living in the ward of Slindon. For further details and application form please contact the secretary Lorna Sant, Eastfield Farm, Slindon 01785 850678.

Eccleshall Festival 2022 Plans are in hand for the Festival and street market on Saturday June 25 2022 and details can be found on the website

Councillor’s Surgery Borough Councillor Peter Jones will be holding his monthly surgery in the High Street library, Eccleshall on Saturday 6th November and 11th December between 10am and 12 noon.

Carols Under The Christmas Tree Missing during the lockdown period the Carols under the Christmas Tree is back on Monday December 20 starting at 7pm at the crossroad in the middle of Eccleshall. Revellers will walk around the town stopping and singing at a number of locals. Bring your own lanterns. The carols will be accompanied by a brass band as usual and mulled wine, provided by the Ecclian Society will be available in the Holy Trinity church after the singing.

Lights Switch On Father Christmas will be present at the Christmas light switch-on in Eccleshall on Sunday November 28 at 5pm. Trees installed at the businesses and homes in the town centre by the Ecclian Society and friends that day.

Firework Display The 1st Eccleshall Scouts and the Eccleshall Cricket Club are holding a Family Firework Fest at the cricket Club, Eccleshall on Friday 5th November. Gates open 6pm display starts at 7pm.

Christmas Fair The Holy Trinity Church annual Christmas Fair takes place in the Eccleshall Church on Saturday morning 27th November. Lots for everyone.

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

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

Peter Bertram

The funeral of Peter Bertram, was held on Wednesday September 22 at the Holy Trinity Church, Eccleshall. Peter was a long-time community man who was a central figure in many of the parish’s activities for many years, Ecclian Society, Open Gardens, Festival and the activities of keeping the town centre looking at its best among just a few of his endeavours.


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Hilderstone accountants first to achieve new Responsible Business Standard David Nicoll from Hilderstone has become the first business owner in the UK to achieve full certification under the new Responsible Business Standard (RBS). The certification, developed by the Organisation for Responsible Businesses CIC, and validated by Anglia Ruskin University, adopts an approach that ensures values are embedded at the core of an organisation and reflected in every aspect of operations. Dingle Lane, a small accountancy firm that also offers management consultancy and sustainability reporting, is the first company to achieve the new Full Responsible Business Standard Certification. Proprietor David Nicoll, who also owns Dingle Lane Farm told the Gazette: “I am delighted to receive the Full Responsible Business Standard and Social Value Certification as it is such a broad-based and robust certification process. I shall certainly encourage all my clients to take the Responsible Business course and apply for certification when they are ready to do so. “As well as my accountancy practice, I also own and operate a smallholding. I am already committed to supporting my local community and reducing environmental impacts, but I soon realised there was no room for complacency! “The Responsible Business course is structured in such a way that it made me question every aspect of my business, and I learnt so much. The certification process shone an even brighter spotlight: it is very easy to make a statement, but when you

need to validate that statement, you sometimes question your initial responses.” Jill Poet, CEO of the Organisation for Responsible Businesses, added: “We are absolutely delighted that Dingle Lane is the first to achieve the new Responsible Business Standard Certification. David’s commitment to supporting the local community and reducing environmental impacts impressed our auditors.” “Big businesses typically focus on ‘CSR initiatives’ to appeal to stakeholders, which can lead to accusations of greenwashing. Smaller businesses tend to focus on a genuine People, Planet, Profit approach: a holistic approach to sustainability that is good for business and good for society. This is the responsible business movement, and it is being led by SMEs.” “Embracing the concept of responsible business will create a greener and more equitable society for now and for future generations”.

Stone in Bloom are Back! Stone in Bloom’s volunteers are back in full force working in and around the town tidying up places badly in need of attention. It’s good news all round as the Community pay back group are also back in action as we haven’t seen them for eighteen months due to Covid restrictions. We rely on them for the big jobs which our group can’t tackle and their first big job was to cut back the growth of ivy, brambles and overgrown hedge from the pavement on Christchurch way (and a good job they did too). More good news was that the Christmas Lights Switch On event which had been cancelled was to go ahead, this meant that our group of volunteers would have to very quickly organise the Christmas trees to go up in the High Street as well as clear the plane tree bed ready for Remembrance Sunday. Stone in Bloom’s volunteers were notified of work party dates and it was all hands on deck. We could do with some more volunteers as for various reasons our group is now very small. It’s good fun and we’re very friendly contact us on either Jill’s mobile 077364 13097 or Tracey on 07545 780935.


Football’s coming home Christine Conlin learns about encouraging developments on Stone’s team sports front If you go up to Alleyne’s Sports Centre pitches on a weekend morning, you’ll see the goalposts out, parents standing on the touchline and hear shouts and whistles coming off the field. Yes it’s football, being played by Stone Old Alleynians, whose members, ranging from the under sixes to the over sixties, are now back where they belong. “A massive community project is underway to re-open the Alleyne’s sports facilities which have been closed to the public for nearly two years,” said Stone Old Alleynians Community Development Officer Richard Jones. The club’s long-term aim is to get all its teams playing within the town, at the school, Richard explained. “This would eventually include our first team who need a floodlit stadium in order to meet their league's requirements.” Their first team moved at the start of this season from Yarnfield’s Wellbeing Park to Kings Park in Meir Heath. • Impressive line-up: Stone Old Alleynians’ First Team September 2021 “We approached the school 12 months ago about using their pitches,” Richard continued. “From last Easter, we began “Thousands of hours of voluntary work have gone in to making this whole holding free weekly coaching sessions at the Sports Centre. These were project a reality,” said Richard, “These improvements, which demonstrate our attended by over 100 children every Sunday and we now have twenty junior commitment to the Alleyne’s site, will benefit the school as well.” teams from u6 to u16s playing under the club’s name in a variety of leagues “Our school is so impressed with how much Stone Old Alleynians have across Staffordshire. achieved in such a short time,” said Chair of Governors Susan Crookshank. “We see this as the first step towards opening the rest of the Alleyne’s Sports Centre for public use again.” Richard, himself an Alleyne’s old boy, with two daughters, one already in the school, was nominated onto the governing body earlier this year. By having him as governor, the Academy hopes to benefit from his 12-year experience in his current post as Director of Sport at Codsall Community High School, where he has upgraded sports facilities and recruits students onto post-16 sports-related study programmes, as well as the subsequent teaching and specialist coaching involved. “Fifteen years ago we were innovative and pioneered the now very popular current form of post-16 sports education and currently run the biggest school-based full-time football programme in the country,” Richard reveals. “The students include junior footballers previously released from UK professional clubs, most of whom go onto careers at university in the UK or on Soccer Scholarships in the USA. Students far and wide travel to attend our courses, including several ex-Alleynians from Stone.” As a further step, the governing body are now working towards formalising the Academy’s partnership with the football club, Susan announced. “A formal agreement will allow the club, through its base in the • Girls aloud: Stone Old Alleynians’ u16 girls’ team school, to apply for football governing body funding.” This renewed relationship with the school comes in the Club’s 60th year, The boys’ teams are based at the Sports Centre on six new grass pitches and having formed as a team of former pupils, some teachers and current pupils the girls’ teams are playing in front of the school on four new grass pitches.” of Alleyne’s Grammar School in 1962. Investing £30,000 of its own money, since the start of this year, the club Personal links between the club and the school have continued to this has made extensive improvements to both sites at Alleyne’s, laying ten new day. Club Chair Robert Askey is an Alleyne’s Maths teacher and in the grass pitches and improving the previous surface with the help of a veterans’ section, 90 of the 100 members are ex-Alleyne’s students. Most of professional groundsman. Recent floodlight repairs on the Astroturf pitch the youth teams number past and current students, Richard explained. allow for evening winter training. “Most importantly, our younger teams include Alleyne’s students of the future, The club have purchased eight new sets of portable goalposts and who will become familiar with the school by playing on its pitches.” renovated the school’s unused cricket pavilion by installing a new “Old Alleynians now have over 300 children and over 100 adults playing five kitchen/coffee bar, plumbing, hot water, heating, two toilets and giving it a days a week,” says Richard. The current adult teams include a first team in fresh coat of paint. the Midland League, a reserve team in the Staffs Senior League, a third team in the Stafford Sunday League plus three veterans teams at o35’s, o55’s and o60’s.

• Rest and refreshments: Alleynes’ refurbished cricket pavilion


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•Home-grown talent: the Stone Old Alleynians’ u8 Black with coach Mark Fox

• Playing out at night: practice on Alleynes’ floodlight Astroturf pitch. The club now boasts the highest ranked team the town has ever had and currently competes at a national level in the Midland League's Premier Division at Step 5 of the FA pyramid, Richard reports. They also play in national competitions such as the FA Vase and FA Cup, though their Cup run ended in round 4 last September with a 3:1 defeat to Leamington. “Leamington are a fully established semi-professional outfit that play three divisions above us,” he adds in the club’s defence. The history of Old Alleynians’ FC various locations is complex, Richard explains. “From 1962 to 1999, the club played their home fixtures at the school's Sports Centre on Oulton Road. However, we had to relocate firstly to the Outlanes and subsequently to Yarnfield in 2001 in order to meet the required standard for facilities.” But last summer, an unexpected hike in hire fees at Yarnfield’s Wellbeing Park forced the club’s departure. “That left us with Westbridge Park, where there are no changing facilities, so players have to undress and change in public in the car park. There is no other facility in Stone that can host even the most basic form of amateur football. Over the years more and more pitches have been lost in the town. As little as three years ago there were over thirty teams carrying the name of Stone in their name of whom less than five were actually physically playing in the town”. “For many years, to fulfil their ambitions, Stone footballers have had to play for teams outside of the town,” Richard points out. “Stone is one of only two towns in Staffordshire without these 3G pitch facilities.” But hopefully, not for much longer. Stafford Borough Council’s Stone Leisure Strategy is part of the latest edition of its Leisure Portfolio document (primarily about improvements at Westbridge Park) which was discussed by Cabinet on October 7th. The Stone Leisure Strategy section mentions the recent redecoration of the Alleyne’s sports hall changing rooms, which club players are already using. It also announces the Council’s £430,000 contribution to the decommissioning of the (now empty) Alleyne’s swimming pool, though this still leaves the Academy responsible for the refurbishment of the former pool building, Susan points out. A Borough Council spokesperson said, “Along with the exciting plans for Westbridge Park we must not forget we are also making a significant amount of money available to Alleyne’s Academy which will be of benefit for the community as well as the school. We have already funded the recent refurbishment and decoration of the sports hall changing rooms.” “We will be working with the Academy to adapt the existing facilities to enable more community use. We have put aside £430,000 towards the decommissioning of the old swimming pool at the school. The refurbishment of that pool building will be carried out by the school and the new facility will be available for community use outside of the normal school operating hours.” Both Richard and Susan are convinced there is currently unmet demand for outdoor and indoor team sports in Stone. The Academy intends its relationship with Stone Old Alleynians to be the template for forging fresh links with other local clubs – links which will enable it to open its sports facilities for public use once more.


But who was ‘Hot Clogs Hilary’? Christine Conlin turns the pages of Stone Library’s 70-year history On the first floor of Stone Library, a small display celebrates the 70th anniversary of its opening on September 1st 1951. Bestsellers published that year included J.D. Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye’, The Day of the Triffids’ by John Wyndham and Daphne du Maurier’s romantic thriller ‘My Cousin Rachel’. The library, which remains fully-staffed, is back to full opening hours and hosts a growing range of additional activities. Said Library Supervisor Oliver Bradburn, “re-opening after the Covid closures has allowed us to re-set what the library can offer the community.” Occupying a prime position on Stone’s Market Square, the library is housed in the old market hall, erected in 1868 and funded by Mary Anne, Lady Forester, to fulfil the wish of her father, Edward Jervis Jervis, Viscount St. Vincent. The dedication is inscribed on a stone tablet outside the front door and the facade decorations include two coats of arms of their famous naval ancestor, Admiral John Jervis, Earl St. Vincent. Stone actually already had public library facilities, as the Mechanics’ Library and Literacy society was started in 1852 in St. Michael’s National School. The basis of this was the library established in 1848 by the Reverend Francis Kitchener. In 1870, the Mechanics’ Institute and its library of 1500 volumes was transferred to a room in the Town Hall in the High Street. In 1899, the Urban Council decided to bring technical education into line with educational policy and establish the Technical Education Committee, whose first classes were held in 1903. This led the County Education Committee to co-ordinate the classes and in 1908 the Kitchener Institute was opened on the corner of Victor Street and Berkeley Street and the library re-housed there. Meanwhile however, market trading was declining and the market hall, which had been previously filled with farmers and their wives, gradually fell into disuse. In June 1943, the building re-opened as a British Restaurant, one of the many WW2 communal kitchens

Beginning a new chapter: Operational Manager Dawn Speck with Library Supervisor Oliver Bradburn

which fed people who had been bombed out of their homes, run out of ration coupons or otherwise needed help. After the war, the building was again surplus to requirements, though it was occasionally used for boxing matches. When nothing came of suggestions for utilising it as a slipper bath, a concert hall or a roller-skating rink, Stone Urban District Council sold it to Staffordshire County Council for use as a public library. The Covid closure has given staff the chance to turn out old cupboards and discover boxes and files containing old records, cards and photos, explained Library Assistant Sherree

Those were the days: the exhibition celebrating the library’s opening year of 1951


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Dearman, who has worked there for 22 years. This includes the exhibition’s centrepiece, a weighty steel-spined ledger holding monthly records of all the library’s membership, issues, returns and fines for its first 20 years. “The library had an initial stock of 16,700 volumes and recruited 3,500 new joiners in the first month,” Sherree recounts. “The Stone branch was much-needed as the nearest ones were in Hanley or Stafford,” From the type of books issued, it’s clear that the stock mainly consisted of adult fiction and non-fiction with only a small section of children’s books. Notes in the ledger make for interesting reading. For example, one staff member failed the Library Services’ English Literature exam (though she passed at a later attempt). Staff completed courses at the Loughborough school of Librarianship, Sherree explained. “Stone Library also supplied the libraries of 15 local schools and changed their stock regularly,” Sherree continued. “The Library Service must have had a van to transport books between them.” A note dated 1969 records that from June 16th – 27th, the mobile library was off the road for servicing and repairs (to coincide with the driver’s and librarian’s holidays) but that all borrowers were allowed a double quota of books during this period. Fines averaged about £20 (in old money) a month. “It would have been a fair proportion of the library’s income,” Sherree reckons. “Staff were meticulous about recording the whereabouts of every single book on and off the premises and every penny owed. They were utterly professional as there was such a need for them to succeed.” Pressure to succeed must have been keenly felt by library staff in Stone, where, as scrapbooked articles show, there were calls during the 1980s for the building to revert to its original use as a market hall. “The premises were felt to be inadequate for a library,” Sheree explains, “hence the calls for it to be moved elsewhere.”

Perhaps because of this, Stone Library staff must have gone the extra mile for their users, if two anonymous missives, probably from the same grateful sender, found preserved in their archives are anything to judge by. On a hand-made 1981 Christmas postcard, a limerick addressed to the staff praises their “beauty” and “brilliant service which will brighten your life/In these days of strife” (miners’ strikes had been a repeated threat that year). An explanatory note reads that the Post Office had delivered this note with an admonition that the sender had failed to use the recently-introduced postcode! She/he made good this omission in a card dated March 1982 addressed to “HOT CLOGS HILARY AND THE FABULOUS MARKET HALL MAIDENS” suggesting that Stone Library’s postcode should be – LIB – AI – OK! After two decades of uncertainty, in 2003, the County Council took the decision to expand the library’s floor space by inserting a steel frame into the historic building to create a mezzanine floor. The £500,000 renovation including a first-floor internet suite, baby-changing facilities and a lift has enabled the library to offer longer opening hours and has proved a great success, Oliver says. “The floor space was re-configured with smaller wooden bookcases replacing the old metal shelves and an expanded children’s section.” The renovation led to a re-discovery and a disappearance. High on the inside front wall above the entrance, the now brightly-painted Granville Crest is easily spotted from the library stairs. But Pete Crawley’s 10-foot wingspan model of the “Star of Stone” Spitfire which hung above the inside doorway was taken down during renovations and has

Re-discovered: the Granville crest inside Stone Library

Creative writing: the 1981 Christmas card addressed to Stone Library Staff in verse

vanished ever since. “If anyone knows of its current whereabouts, please let us know,” Oliver appeals. Computers arrived two years after the renovation, in 2006, and the library’s work is now 50% IT-based, says Oliver, explaining that many members use the library’s internet facilities to use its ancestry research software. And did you know that you can also borrow eBooks and Audiobooks from the Staffordshire Library Service? You just apply online for a free library card and PIN then download a range of titles from their expanding catalogue. The LIBBY free magazine subscription service gives you access to titles such as the Radio Times, the National Geographic and hundreds of others, explains Oliver. “As the huge uptake during Covid proved, you needn’t set foot in a library at all.” Go to https://www.staffordshire. eBooks.aspx But if you’d like to set foot in Stone Library whether as a user or a volunteer, these activities have either already re-started or are soon coming on-stream: their IT courses with IT support buddies are up and running, Stone Scribblers writing group meet there on Tuesday mornings and an artist is hoping to start an art group there shortly. If you fancy combining reading with a bit of exercise, a volunteer walking group is leading local walks starting and finishing from Stone Library. And great news for young and pre-readers – Baby Bounce and Rhyme for 0-4-year olds is back on Tuesday mornings from 10.00 – 10.30am. Numbers are currently limited to six children, so pre-booking is essential, Oliver

stresses. “We see parents who used to use the library as children coming back in with children of their own,” says Sherree. “For me as a librarian, it’s the most rewarding part of the job.” Stone Library is open Mondays-Fridays from 9 am – 6 pm (but closed from 1-2pm). Saturday opening hours are 9 am – 4 pm. Phone 0300 111 8000 or 01785 895585 between 5 – 6 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays and 9am – 4 pm on Saturdays. Email

Fan mail: the 1981 card addressed to “Hot Clogs Hilary and the fabulous Market Hall Maidens”


Antiques & curios from Chillington Hall to sell at Cuttlestones in December… A taxidermy menagerie and tribal art are just some of the treasures hailing from stately Chillington Hall near Brewood that will go under the hammer at local auction house Cuttlestones’ December Antiques Sale. The lots have been consigned by owner John Giffard as he and wife Crescent prepare to hand tenure of the main hall to the next generation, as Head Auctioneer & MD at Cuttlestones, Ben Gamble, explains: “We’re honoured that John has chosen Cuttlestones to handle their attic sale lots – and we’ve made some really interesting finds. Chillington is a such a landmark we’re sure the items will generate significant interest not only from serious collectors but also from locals keen to invest in a piece of the estate’s history. “This sale is even more special as the catalogue also features items from the estate of well-known Penkridge Antiquarian book and antique dealer Mr Ray Roberts, who sadly passed away last year. Locals will no doubt remember Ray for his dapper style and for driving around in his stunning vintage Bentley – which is among the lots we will be selling in December.” Lots from Chillington and from Ray Roberts’ estate – including the 1949 Bentley Mark VI Sports model - will feature in a diverse catalogue which will also cover vintage advertising signs, paintings, furniture, jewellery, silver, ceramics and other traditional antiques.

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

• Chillington Hall Grounds

The two-day online auction will take place on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd December at Cuttlestones’ Penkridge Sale Room. Live online bidding, telephone and commission bidding options will be available and viewing will be strictly by appointment on Monday 29th & Tuesday 30th November. For details visit or call 01785 714905.


• A collection of taxidermy is among the treasures set to sell from Chillington Hall

Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

News from Stone WI Our gathering on Wednesday afternoon in Christ Church annex was well attended and we were delighted to welcome 4 new ladies who may join our merry throng. We wish them a very warm welcome, hope they liked us sufficiently to become members. Our meeting started with the singing of Jerusalem, for the 1st time accompanied on the piano (melody only) by me! I'd written out the music 3 semitones lower than found in the usual printed version as I wanted everyone to feel comfortable singing & within most members' vocal range. Once the business had been completed the afternoon entertainment was provided by two of our members. You could call it Fact & Fiction. Barbara Beasley entertained us by reading two stories that she had written herself. They had originally been written with her grandchildren in mind. She had also had the stories illustrated. I think most children would enjoy her stories & most adults too. They were about a child, daydreaming on his way home from school,when he spied a tent, and a colourful character appeared with a red nose, very baggy clothes & sporting huge clogs on his feet. He was juggling 3 balls. Having struck up a conversation the clown told the child that he could teach him how to juggle not just with 3 balls but with 4, 5 & more. He amazed his brother with his new skill & so the scenes were set & the stories unfolded. I had been asked to 'do' something, so I chose to tell the group that I am sinister! My mother was and so is my daughter. I looked up the dictionary definition & found all definitions involved misfortune & signs of negativity. Of course the word SINister contains the word 'sin' which shows how the negativity came about. Sinister is the Latin word for left, dexter being the word for right. I then told the ladies about the problems I had encountered at school & throughout my life as a left-hander , trying to adjust to the 90% of the right-handed world. Pen & ink was a real problem, the inkwells were on the wrong side & the nib pierced the paper & splattered on my work. I had to repeat a lot & my exercise books became much thinner as pages with ink blotches on them were removed. I had other challenges, playing games involving a bat, tying shoe laces, knitting, and later using cheque books, using an iron, some kitchen utensils and following some instructions proved a lot of thought to adapt. Apparently there are thousands of 'lefties' who are killed every year through using equipment designed for right-handed folk. Some famous 'lefties' include Aristotle, Madame Curie, Mozart, Beethoven, Leonardo Da Vinci, Winston Churchill & several members of our royal family. Why 10% of the population is left-handed hasn't been established but there are other instances of "lefties" in the animal kingdom. Research showed that since 1996, there is a "HAPPY LEFT-HANDED DAY", on 13th August, designed to remind us and the other 90% of our plight. Please think of us when designing & making things. I concluded with a thought for the day:“Since The Right Hand Side Of The Brain Controls The Left Hand Side Of The Body, It Is Only Left-Handed People That Are Truely In Their Right Minds!” Afterwards we had a good natter & refreshments & some had a go at writing with their non dominant hand, & also attempted some mirror-writing. If you feel inspired, why not come for a "taster"? We're a friendly lot, meeting at 2p.m on the first Wednesday of the month in Christ Church annex. You'll be assured of a very warm welcome. We hope you'll be able to come. From Pam Farnsworth


Regency House Dental Team are getting down & dirty! With Cancer Research Race For Life Pretty Muddy On Saturday 30th October 2021, the Regency team will be taking part in “Pretty Muddy 5km” to raise funds in memory of their lovely dentist Monika Zurawska who sadly passed away last year. They have chosen the Macmillan Charity, as they supported Monika and her family through a very difficult time. If you would like to support the team then please sponsor them by donating via their just giving page: In addition, they also have a raffle, with some exciting prizes available. Tickets are just £1 a strip and can be purchased in the practice. Prizes are as follows: • 50% off whitening (subject to terms and conditions*) • Free EMS (Hygiene) appointment (subject to terms and conditions*) • Hamper • Oral Health Product Hamper • Ionic hair straightening brush from Hyland’s • Regent travel Passport holder x2 • Beauty Loft Voucher worth £20 • Lee Walker Butchers Voucher worth £20 • Family photo shoot voucher from Daniel Moore Photography The raffle will be drawn on Tuesday 30th of November and winners will be notified. Please see the teams Facebook page or website for regular updates. regencydentalstone or

New Defib at Sugnall Walled Garden A new life saving defibrillator has been installed at Sugnall Business Centre & Walled Garden and will be available for members of the public and businesses in the area. The fundraising was started in the summer by Flawless Skin Clinic owner Tara Farmer, after completing her first aid training with Staffordshire First Aid and realising that without a defibrillator, the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are extremely low. Eccleshal first responders also supported by coming out to assess which defibrillator would be most suited to the venue. Led by Tara the businesses raised nearly £400 and Tara applied to local charity AED Donate for further support. AED donate generously offered to fund the remaining monies in order to buy the defibrillator and even came to fit it within 24 hours of their kind offer. Since the widely published cardiac arrest of footballer Christian Erickson in June 2021, there has been a huge increase in demand for defibrillators across the country, as without access to one the chances of surging a cardiac arrest are greatly reduced. The people of Sugnall will now be much safer and supported should anyone ever need to access a defibrillator. Thank’s to Jamie at AED Donate and all those who have contributed to the fund raising.


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Eccleshall NEWS IN BRIEF Broughton Table Top Sale Broughton Parish Room will be the venue for a Christmas table top sale on Saturday November 13 between 10.30am and 2.30pm. Entrance is free and a multitude of stalls of a wide variety will be available. Refreshments will be available including soups, tea, coffee and cold drinks. To hire a table the cost if £15 contact Ruth Butter on 01630 695729 or Louise Butter on 01630 620479.

Business Plan The Eccleshall Parish Council have produced a Business Plan and a copy for study is available in the High Street library. It is the first such printed plan for many years and the council hopes that it will be a guide of the council’s activities and plans for the coming years. The council would like to hear from residents on their views of the plan through their local councillors or the parish clerk.

Community Band Do you play a musical instrument? The Eccleshall Community Band are friendly, encouraging, open access band (woodwind, brass, bowed strings) for people of all ages and abilities. They meet between 8pm and 9pm on alternative Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Holy Trinity Church, Eccleshall. Contact them at or ring Ruth on 01785 859908 or Hazel on 01785 851259.

Events Committee A new Eccleshall Parish Council committee has been formed to be involved with all council arranged events and to support other events arranged in the parish. Councillor Ros Taylor was elected as its first chairman and Councillor Libby Dale as its first deputy chairman. Perhaps the largest event that the committee will be involved with is the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for the Queen next June 2,3,4,5 . The committee welcomes ideas for events which they may be considering.

• Eccleshall footballers Leo Fortune and Charlie Barker hit the target in Stafford Grammar under-14s’ victory at the Independent Schools’ Association (ISA) Midland championships.

Footballers on target to net Midland crown Two Eccleshall hot-shots were on target to steer their side to a perfect start to the season with a regional tournament victory. While penalty taker Leo Fortune kept his cool to nail a brace of spot kicks, hat-trick hero Charlie Barker played a vital part in getting Stafford Grammar’s under-14 team back to winning ways in their campaign at the Independent Schools’ Association (ISA) Midland championships. Eight teams from across the region took part in the tournament in Derby, which was organised on a round-robin league format. After grinding out a goalless draw in their curtain raiser against competition favourites Twycross House, the grammar boys went on to clinch all three points on the stroke of full time in matches against

Birmingham-based Highclare School and Worcestershire’s Bowbrook House. Both ties were sealed 1-0, courtesy of late penalties which SGS central defender Fortune calmly converted. Consecutive 1-0 defeats to St Dominic’s Grammar (Brewood) and host school Dixie Grammar handed title chasers Twycross an advantage and left the Stafford outfit facing an uphill battle to win their remaining games and net at least two goals in each. Eccleshall’s Barker responded with a hat-trick against Arnold Lodge (Leamington Spa) to keep hopes alive and while their Warwickshire rivals could only manage a 0-0 draw, SGS maintained the tempo to seal a further 3-0 victory over Priory (Shrewsbury) to bag the trophy.

Eccleshall Library Is Open Like many things Eccleshall library seems to be suffering from a little ‘Post Covid’ - people not sure if they are open for business syndrome. The library which is operated by the Eccleshall Mercia Rotary Club is offering most of the usual services and looks forward to welcoming readers to the library. The library is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am to 5pm, Wednesday 9am to 1pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm. The volunteer staff look forward to seeing you all. The contact number for the library is 01785 854180 and the email is eccleshall.library@

Car Scheme The Eccleshall Voluntary Car Scheme. is a notfor-profit scheme operating in the Eccleshall area, although not exclusively in the town. It aims to provide transport for people who have limited or no access to public transport or a private car. Journeys to doctors’ surgery, Stafford or Stoke hospitals, other medical appointments etc. For you to benefit from the Scheme you will need to ‘Join the Club’ which is free and would then provide the Scheme with details of your needs regarding transport. It is NOT a taxi service and there is small charge for each service supplied based on mileage. To apply to become a member or offer your help as a volunteer driver please contact us at 25 Wheelwright Drive, Eccleshall, ST21 6LB, 01785 851381, 07815 419166 or email: or visit the website at

Over 60’s Club Fran Veck welcomes members and new members to the Over 60’s Club. They return to their regular meeting venue at the Holy Trinity Church Room starting at 2pom until 4pm on Tuesday every month.


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• Photo shows the gathering in the new stand at Pershall Park before Saturday’s match

Eccleshall Reunion Of ‘The Class Of 90’ Saturday’s match at Pershall Park (9th October) against Maine Road also saw a reunion of past Eccleshall players and club officials. Organised by former Eagles manager, Kenny Roberts, many of the players attending were from the Staffordshire Senior League title winning side of 1989/90. Kenny has organised the annual get together over the last few years and ties it in with an Eagles home match. Each one brings some new additions to the group and, aside from enjoying club hospitality, gives them the chance to reminisce about past times and games and see the

continuing changes at Pershall Park compared with when they played. On Saturday, around twenty-four came along, some with their wives, and all enjoyed the afternoon. Club Secretary, Jim Tunney, said: “It was good to see so many past players back at the ground again and they are always welcome. The 89/90 team was one of the best I have known in my time at Eccleshall, with so many decent players. The fact they still get together some thirty years on shows the bonding and team spirit which existed back then and continues to this day”.

Stone Civic Sunday returns after 2 year gap Stone Town Council held its first Civic Sunday since 2019 on 5th September 2021, when new Town Mayor, Councillor Jonathan Powell, led the parade down the High Street to St Michael and St Wulfad’s Church for the Civic Service, then back to the Market Square. Town residents lined the High Street to see the Town Mayor and the parade as normality continues to return to the town. For the first time, the Council also carried out its official “Mayor Making” ceremony as part of the Church proceedings, rather than at a Council meeting. With the kind permission of the Church, Mrs Kristan Green, representing the previous Town Mayor Councillor Mark Green, presented the Mayoral Chain of Office to Councillor Powell. Former Deputy Town Mayor, Councillor Jill Hood, presented the Deputy Mayor’s Chain of Office to new Deputy Mayor, Councillor Kerry Dawson. In addition, the Town Mayor and Deputy presented badges of office to their consorts – the Mayoress, Mrs Nancy Powell, and Mrs Diane Edwards.

Town Mayor also presented the Council’s ceremonial maces to the new Mayor’s Cadets Lance Corporal Amelie Carbonell and Flight Sergeant Elliott Knight. The Town Mayor, Councillor Jonathan Powell, said: “It is an honour to serve as the Mayor of Stone and I hope that I can undertake the role with the capability and dignity of my predecessors. I am grateful to the residents of Stone, to the Church, and to my guests, all of whom helped to make this Civic Sunday very special.”

• Councillor Jonathan Powell, having just been presented with the Chain of Office by the previous Mayoress and former Mayor Mrs Kristan Green • The Deputy Mayor and Consort

• The Mayor delivers his speech in the Market Square


• The Stafford Brigades Youth Marching Band lead the parade down the High Street

Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

• The Stone Detachment (Mercian Regiment) Army Cadets parade down the High Street

Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons! A St Georges Day Parade took place in Stone on the 25th September, the event was due to take place on St Georges Day which is the 23rd of April, but was postponed due to Covid. It was a well-attended, action-packed event, and the crowds whooped and cheered at the clashing swords. Photos by Martin Robinson.


Swings, slides and skateboards – but no more free parking Sorry, but it’s too late to have your say on Stafford Borough Council’s £1.5 million Westbridge Park makeover. Following its approval at a 7th October Cabinet Meeting, the two-week public consultation period closed on October 25th. The report discussed at that meeting set out proposals for “an exciting destination park” with improved play facilities for youngsters, a multi-use games area, wheeled sports provision, outdoor gym equipment, improved pathways, picnic and seating areas and a new building incorporating toilets and a kiosk. Space for local events and existing football provision is retained in the design. The key changes are: a sunken garden (1) replacing the small playground next to the foodstore. The new Toddler Play Area (18) will feature low level play opportunities including swings, slides, tunnels and bridges. The Junior Play Area (17) will be a large-scale play space for juniors designed to provide opportunities for challenge and development. Teenage Facilities (14) will be a space including dynamic items of play offering opportunities for physical challenge alongside spaces to sit and relax. A dedicated seating area will be provided with innovative equipment specifically designed for older children. A bespoke wheeled sports park (11) will cater for skateboard, scooter and BMX riders of a range of abilities. It will be a concrete park to minimise noise and provide the highest quality riding surface. The park will be designed and constructed by a specialist skate park contractor and will be informed by consultation with local users. The Ball Court/Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) (13) will be a public open access space for ball games which will be marked out for 5-a-side football and basketball. The areas will have a hard surface to enable all weather play and be enclosed with fencing. Alongside the canal, the Outdoor Gym equipment (3) will offer opportunities for a full body workout with provision for a range of abilities and ages. The Canalside (2) will be enhanced with increased seating, improved towpath access for pedestrians and cyclists and new signage to the town centre and Crown Meadow. The new public toilet and kiosk building (15) will also provide a base for the Open Space Operatives who will monitor the site. On the Meadow and (7) and Riverside Meadow (8), existing and new habitats including the woodland, meadows and wildlife pond will be protected, created and enhanced. Viewing areas will provide opportunities to enjoy the wildlife and circular surfaced paths will link the seating and picnic areas to enhance the community and recreational value of the park. The park will also provide riverside seating (9) and a Woodland Picnic Area (10). The Events Space (19) could provide enhanced event infrastructure to improve visitor experience and enable further events to take place at Westbridge Park. The open areas on the park allow for a flexible space, currently marked out for two football pitches to cater for the multiple users of the park.

• Artist’s impression of the Sunken Garden (1) from Stafford Borough Council website


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• Westbrige Park Masterplan October 2021 and key from Stafford Borough Council website

The car parks at the Scout Hut (4) and the Canoe Club (12) will be upgraded to accommodate increased usage and make them safe, clean and easy to use. The Council will introduce modest parking charges and income from the car parks and the kiosk will help pay for the maintenance of the park and its new facilities. This latest design, part of £2.4 million fund for leisure in Stone, builds on a previous consultation and retains the principles laid out in the council’s previous Masterplan of 2018. Funding for the project derives from money the Borough Council receives as part of developments in and around Stone, notably the sale of one of the Tilling Drive football pitches, where a care home is being built. Cabinet member for leisure, Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge said: “This will be a first-class destination park which will attract families and children, residents and visitors, old and young, to enjoy the facilities and the surrounds of this park... The council hopes the huge transformation will also encourage more people using the neighbouring Trent and Mersey Canal for narrowboat holidays to stop and visit the town – with a boost to the local economy.” “The park also provides an important space for events, including the annual Food and Drink Festival – and the design incorporates this important space and the existing football provision.” Timings for the development are to follow and the scheme is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Another Successful Virtual Eccleshall Show The results of the second Virtual Eccleshall Show were announced on September 4th which would have been the day of the Show, had the constraints of Covid regulations not forced its cancellation. A total of 63 exhibitors from as far afield as Wrexham and Cumbria entered the many classes devised to represent the diversity of the show itself, and the Marquetry class which was open to a public vote, attracted 130 votes. Parents were able to find plenty to keep the children occupied during the summer holidays with a whole range of competitions including art, crafts and baking. The Companion Dog Show was well supported, as was the newly introduced Cat Show. Poultry keepers sent in images of their feathered friends and the eggs they produce, and growers were showing off their produce, not least Ben Lynch who produced a sunflower measuring 3.29 metres! Ponies featured with charming shots of their young handlers, and the Classic Vehicle section was well represented with cars, lorries and tractors.

• First place in the craft competition A Christmas Card by Pippa Watterson

Show Chairman Edward Lambert commented “We were very pleased with the number of entries we attracted to our Virtual Show, which has succeeded in keeping the Show in the public’s mind. We very much look forward to welcoming everyone in person to next year’s Show.” The 2022 show takes place on September 3rd at Sugnall Parks. This will be the 75th show in its history so the organisers will be pulling out all the stops to make it an extra special event.

• Ben Lynch who with his winning sunflower measuring 3.29 metres!


Walking together in faith Stone, September 25th: more than 20 day walkers joined 20 pilgrims on the Stone to Newcastle leg of their eight-week Camino to COP, a 500-mile pilgrimage from London to Glasgow, where they arrived ahead of the COP 26 Climate Change Conference which takes place there this month. At COP (the Conference of the Parties) leaders from 196 countries face the challenge of agreeing to curb CO2 emissions to limit climate change and its effects like rising sea levels and extreme weather. The Glasgow conference is seen as the point of no return if climate change is to be brought under control. Walking under the banner of Extinction Rebellion’s Faith Bridge alliance, the caministas included members of various faith groups and people with no religious affiliation. Whatever their background, all were united in undertaking the Camino as an act of faith in the planet's future and to make connection with the environments and communities they passed along the way. The caministas were lawful, using roads and public rights of way and peacefully greeting people they encountered. Many bystanders wished them good luck and passing drivers tooted their support. En route, the caministas were given overnight accommodation, food and in some places, entertainment by local faith groups. In Stone, they were welcomed by members of the Church at the Crossing, part of Rising Brook Baptist Church, Stafford. For most of the pilgrims it was their first visit to Stone and Stephen Marcus from London, one of many on whom it made a good impression, told the Gazette that it was “a pretty town”. The next day, the caministas walked along the canal to Hanley Cemetery before heading up to the Quaker Meeting House in Newcastle, after a morning break at the Plume of Feathers in Barlaston, a 20-minute period of silent walking was introduced with a brief Buddhist meditation. Throughout the walk, Caministas took turns to wear the ‘Coat of Hopes’ an artist-designed felt garment with a long underskirt which was progressively covered with patchwork squares made by supporters. They also carried, in a plastic tube, a small sapling of a Gingko tree. Classed as an ‘environmental fossil’, the Gingko, though rare, is resilient, with some specimens in its native China thought to be over 4,000 years old. Gingkos are resistant to fungi, bacteria and viruses with one specimen even surviving at the epicentre of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The project was the brainchild of Melanie Nazareth, the Camino’s Strategic and Spiritual Lead. “Having heard about the Camino to the Paris COP 21 in 2015, I wondered aloud whether we could do a Camino to COP 26 in Glasgow and the wonderful and gifted people at XR Faith Bridge turned my dream into reality,” she told the Gazette. “XR Faith Bridge is united for our sacred earth and for climate justice for the Global South,” she said. “The nations of the Global South are even more exposed to climate change than the developed world and lack the resources to combat it,” continued Melanie, who was born in Kenya and grew up in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. “Vanishing fish stocks, rising sea levels and land salination are destroying farmers’ and fishers’ ways of life and they have nothing to fall back on. These countries need debt remission right now and more environmental aid – not overseas aid cuts.” In Glasgow, Melanie and many other caministas will join protesters outside the COP 26 venue for its two-week duration, seeking to exert moral pressure on the delegates to agree to measures to limit global warming to the minimum 1.5 oC. They will also take part in all-night global vigils at the start and end of COP 26. “As a Christian, I am called to be faithful, even if not successful,” Melanie said. “We are not optimistic, but we journey in hope.”

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

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

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


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Getting back on their feet again Stone and District Stroke Club re-started their weekly meetings at Little Stoke Cricket Club last September. “Members are so glad to be back after months of social distancing, when we could only keep in touch with them by phone, newsletter, or conversations through windows,” said Chair Maureen Finlay. Transport to and from home is available on the volunteer-driven Stone Community Green Bus. 15 members, the same number as pre-pandemic, take part in the Wednesday morning sessions offering physical and mental activity, companionship and, above all, fun, says Secretary Di Watson. Coffee and biscuits on arrival is followed by 30 minutes of chair exercises, done to individual ability, volunteers included. Next there might be a quiz, a game of bingo or cards, with plenty of time for a chat. “This month, we’ll start making decorations for the Club’s Christmas tree which will go on display at St Michael’s Christmas Tree festival,” says volunteer Chris Handley. “In December, we’re hoping to arrange a private group outing to see them in the church.” Membership numbers are currently near the maximum, with a short waiting list. The club would however welcome new volunteers, especially men, as some of the male members would appreciate more male • Going strong once more: Members and volunteers of Stone and District Stoke Club companionship. “Someone they could talk football to,” says The Club has close links with the Stroke Team at NHS Walsall, and Maureen, adding that the role might suit a recent retiree or a younger follows their guidelines on Covid hygiene and security. person with a little time to spare. Barry, who is aged 75 and suffered a stroke in 2016, has been a No DAB security check is required, as volunteers are never left alone member for three years. “I come here for a real good chat,” he says, “It with members. No experience is needed, just a caring attitude, said keeps me in the swim and makes me realise I’m better off than many.” Maureen, who initially joined because she felt she could be a good Stella, 90, who founded the club 30 years ago, is now a member companion. herself. “The quizzes sometimes make you think sideways but aren’t too Volunteers might be asked to push a wheelchair but are not taxing,” she laughs. “One time, someone strung a net up in the clubroom expected to do any physical lifting. “We just stay alongside people when and gave us bats and balloons to play a sort of volleyball. This club has they’re moving about,” explains Di. “These days, nearly all of our members always been a lot of fun.” are able to walk. Because stroke treatment these days is so much faster, Stone and District Stoke Club meet on Wednesdays from 10.00 – people nowadays are less impaired.” 12.15 at Little Stoke Cricket Club. The cost is £5/week (refreshments One volunteer role is to accompany members on the Green Bus to and transport included). For further information about joining or and from the meetings. The Club has a rota, so volunteers would not be volunteering, contact Secretary Di Watson on 07852 233160 or email expected to attend every week.


Festival fundraiser for the Crown Wharf Theatre The September 30th Wharfstock live music night at Westbridge Park was a crowd-pleasing fundraiser for the Crown Wharf Theatre. First onstage, electro-acoustic band Vinyl Overdrive, broke the ice with vibrant covers of hits by Ed Sheeran, Daft Punk and Adele. Glittering glam-rock tribute band Hairy Eyeball soon got the crowd moving and waving with their renditions of Jean Jeannie, Tiger Feet and Hi Ho Silver Lining. Introducing them, Crown Wharf Trustee Leo Capernaros thanked the band for coming up with the idea of holding the Wharfstock concert on the eve of the Stone Food and Drink Festival. By the time the headline act The Lack of Commitments, Stone's self-styled saviours of soul, came on as a nine-strong line-up, the crowd were ready for anything. They rocked along to “Mustang Sally” and joined in with the “Fa Fa” song. Yes they could stand the rain, which fell in light showers but no way dampened proceedings. There were steady queues for the food stalls and Joules Beer Tent, where purchasing a pint of their new latest beer “Much A-Brew about Nothing” included a £1 donation to the Crown Wharf Theatre. Crown Wharf Theatre trustee Craig Chester thanked the Food and Drink Festival organisers for allowing the concert to take place at Westbridge Park ahead of its opening. “It’s another opportunity for us to fundraise and engage with the local community,” he said. “Some people in Stone still do not seem to be aware of the Crown Wharf Theatre project.” “Joules Brewery, who opened their Crown Wharf Taphouse in July, have built the shell of the adjoining theatre, and we currently need £1.4 million to fit it out.” Craig explained. “We are now plasterboarding the walls, with the toilets and kitchen next to be installed. We have several bids for public funding underway and local fundraising via seat sponsorship has got off to a promising start.” To find out more, and/or make a donation to Crown Wharf Theatre, go to

• Hi ho silver lining: the Westbridge crowd were in the mood to party

• Who likes to boogie? Hairy Eyeball led by example

• Jumping for joy: The Lack of Commitments loved playing at home

• Deep beat: Vinyl Overdrive’s sound produced body-penetrating vibes

Eccleshall's Gallery at 12 Charity Day On Saturday 4th December Eccleshall's Gallery at 12 will be hosting their Charity Day in support of Shape Arts, a charity that develops opportunities for disabled artists. At the same time, in addition to the regular eclectic works for sale, they will be displaying an exhibition of work from

members of Staffordshire Artists' Cooperative entitled 'Trees'. There'll be no shortage of locally produced arts and crafts here! Plenty to see, live music, demonstrations, lots of ideas for Christmas gifts and a chance to support a worthwhile charity too.

• Some examples of the art available to buy at Gallery at 12


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

It’s more joy of six for Stafford Borough open spaces

Stone serves up fine food! A recent event for The Stone Food and Drink Festival, featuring a sumptuous buffet was held in Theatre Bar at The Crown Wharf, it was provided by Clover Café, High Street, Stone. There was a charcuterie grazing table and selection of canapes and desserts. The interesting and impressive fact was that all produce and items used were sourced in Stone and Walton, how fortunate to have all this readily available on our doorstep.

• An aerial shot of Victoria Park in Stafford Member for Environment at the council, said: “It is great to see all six venues in our area are still part of the ‘Green Flag’ club. We know how well the grounds of our parks and cemeteries are kept because our residents and visitors tell us – and they are our most important judges. “But receiving national recognition for the hard work that we do is always pleasing – and a tremendous achievement for all those involved on the ground and behind the scenes.” He added: “Our community are also instrumental in helping us achieve this success – especially the ‘Friends’ groups that support the work of the council at these sites.”

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

Commenting on the news that the venues in Stafford Borough had achieved the Green Flag Award standard, Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making these sites worthy of a Green Flag Award. “To meet the requirements demanded by the scheme is testament to the hard work of the staff and volunteers who do so much to ensure that they have high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and is a place that supports people to live healthy lives.”

• Crown Wharf – Joules Ale – used in the Yorkshire Beef canape • Mo’s Deli – for a selection of cheeses, chutney and salami • Griffins of Stone Butchery – for the meat used in our dishes and his award-winning Pork Pies • All Seasons – for all our fruit and vegetables • Ten Green Bottles – for the Poppies Gin used in the prawn canape • Gills of Stone – for their fabulous Corned Beef and Onion pie • Orme and Devine Bakery – for the most delicious lemon drizzle cake (decorated by Clover) • The Flower Room – for beautiful foliage and flowers • Stone High Street Charity Shops – for the dishes/vases and decorating items needed to ensure we got the look and feel fitting for the beautiful venue!

Good Life results in Great Taste Awards success A small Eccleshall based family livestock business, The Good Life Meat Company, is celebrating success after winning 1 and 2 stars in the Guild of Fine Foods international Great Taste Awards 2021, with their hand made charcuterie. The Good Life Meat Company is Staffordshire's only commercial charcuterie producer. Started by husband and wife team, Andy & Helen Dale, the company's ethos is about high welfare, environmentally sustainable, great tasting British produce. Helen Dale explained “We're both real foodies but we also like to know where our food comes from and how it has been reared. So we originally decided to keep a few Tamworth pigs for ourselves. Things just grew from there. We breed and rear our own traditional British breed livestock, including Tamworth pigs, Castlemilk

Moorit sheep and Belted Galloway cattle. Our pigs are genuinely free range and kept outdoors all year round. They are slow growing, but are much tastier than faster growing commercial pigs” “We're really proud to have, once again, achieved multiple awards from the Great Taste Awards. The way we keep our livestock is a key value underpinning our business, but we also believe the food has to taste great too”. The Great Taste Awards is the largest and most trusted food and drink awards, 14,113 different products were entered in 2021 from 108 countries. Only 30% achieved a 1-star award and less than 10% of entries achieved a 2-star award. For more information on stockists or to find out about our full range of products and localdelivery contact helen@

A blinding wedding night! This belated wedding celebration party was held at Oulton Village Hall recently. The guests dressed in the ‘Peaky Blinders’ theme. The event was held on the first anniversary of the actual Wedding day because of the restriction of numbers at that time, due to the pandemic. Congratulations to Will and Rachel Edwards, both Stone Residents.


Stone’s forgotten architect He didn’t build much, but his views on architecture are still inspirational, Christine Conlin learns He was legendary among architects of the 1960s but only one of his structures still stands today. He was as famous for not building things as for building them but his ideas inspired the Paris Pompidou Centre, the London Eye and the Millennium Dome. He was as influential to architecture as Josiah Wedgwood was to pottery and Reginald Mitchell to aviation. He was born in Stone and yet we’d never heard of him. Until last September, that is, when Staffordshire University launched its new Honours Degree in Architecture with an inaugural Cedric Price Day on what would have been his 87th birthday. September 11th was the start of a four-week exhibition celebrating Price’s visionary concept for an all-embracing Potteries educational project. Born in 1934 in Stone, Price was the son of architect A.G. Price who designed a number of Art Deco Odeon cinemas. He studied architecture at Cambridge before teaching at the Architectural Association and establishing Cedric Price Architects in 1960. The following year, alongside Tony Snowdon and Frank Newby, Price produced his best-known structure, the world’s first walk-through aviary for the London Zoo. Price reportedly said that its airy design was inspired by the flightpaths of birds. The Grade II-listed structure is currently being renovated. In 1964, together with London theatre director Joan Littlewood, Price came up with plans for a ‘fun palace’ on the banks of the River Thames. The ramshackle structure was never actually built, but could have been used for lots of different activities, with movable walls providing flexible space. But his concept influenced other architects, notably Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano who designed the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Its “inside out” design, with the pipework and ducting borne on the outside walls, allows for flexible use of the inside space. Nowadays, pop-up structures have become commonplace, with vacant shops turned into art galleries, performance spaces or gyms. In 1971, Price actually built a scaled-down version of this, his ‘Inter-Action Arts Centre’, a complex of gantry-mounted portacabins, in London’s Kentish Town.

Portrait by an unknown artist of Cedric Price, 1986. Image courtesy of Cedric Price fonds,Canadian Centre for Architecture.

his Potteries Thinkbelt housing types ‘crate, battery, capsule and sprawl’ and criticised the so-called British obsession with listing and preserving buildings. He came up with the revolutionary idea of “non-plan”, an organic approach to creating and changing architectural landscapes. He intended his Inter-Action Centre, built in 1973-77, to have a lifespan of around 20 years, then for the structure to be dismantled and recycled. Apparently, he was the only architect to be a paid-up member of the National Union of Demolition Contractors! When a plan was devised to have the building listed, he actually argued in favour of its demolition. In 1999, he finally persuaded English Heritage not to list the Centre, and it was demolished in 2003, the year his death. An flamboyant character who drank brandy for breakfast and chain-smoked cigars, Price, who was the partner of actress Eleanor Bron, died in London aged 68. In the booklet accompanying The Potteries Thinkbelt exhibition, curator Dr Maria Sanchez writes: ”As early as the 1960s, (Price) proposes a circular economy model for this project, where the structures can be disassembled and reused, • Cedric Price: Perspective sketch of transfer area for Potteries Thinkbelt, reducing the waste and carbon footprint.” North Staffordshire 1966. “He associates sustainability with the involvement of local Image courtesy of Cedric Price fonds, Canadian Centre for Architecture. communities, which have as an outcome a plan for the In 1964, with Buckminster Fuller, Price had come up with a design for regeneration of an area that, 60 years later, in 2021, addresses regional and an expandable geodesic dome for a proposed American Museum near global issues.” Bath, pre-dating London’s Millennium Dome by about 30 years! In 1984, Price proposed the redevelopment of London's South Bank and suggested that a giant Ferris wheel should be erected by the River Thames. But Price’s most far-reaching project was intended to benefit his native county. The ‘Potteries Thinkbelt’ was a proposal to regenerate over 100 square miles of the North Staffordshire coalfield, from Pittshill in the north, Longton to the south, Madeley in the west and Meir to the east, into a mobile university based on the area’s dense network of disused railways. Lectures and classes would be held in train carriages, complete with fold-out workspaces, or in inflatable classrooms on platforms. He proposed the development of 40,000 homes in a combination of student accommodation and social housing. The Potteries Thinkbelt was a massively ambitious project, envisaging an institution offering education to 20,000 students while working with local industries as a research and design centre to retrain local residents whose industries were disappearing. Decades ahead of his time, Price was marrying the concept of regenerating brownfield sites with the introduction of flexible distance learning. But most of Price’s schemes were never adopted, perhaps because Snowdon Aviary, London Zoo. he was a planners’ nightmare. Probably to antagonise them, he termed Wikimedia commons images, author Lino Spain, 2016


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Nifty needles at Inner Wheel Club Of Stone Stone Inner Wheel send items overseas through the District Rally, which is held in October each year at Lilleshall. A local supporter, with 'nifty needles', has during the last 18 months of lockdown knitted 109 beautiful cardigans to be sent to Child Aid in Eastern Europe. The Club is very grateful for this generous gift from an unsung local hero who has over recent years produced an epic amount of knitwear for both local and overseas needy causes.

The station’s blooming lovely Have you visited Stone Railway Station recently? You may have noticed the lovely wildflowers on Station Approach, the flowering geraniums on the platform or how clean and tidy it is. This is thanks to our amazing volunteers who have been busy planting, watering, weeding, sweeping, litter-picking and generating new ideas of ways to improve the station environment. Emma McIntosh, Community Rail Partnership Officer with the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership said “Our volunteers are a real asset and you can see the difference they make every time you visit the station” she continued “We have lots of exiting new projects planned and would welcome new volunteers to join us and be a part of our station volunteer community.” If you would like to get involved and volunteer at Stone Station please contact Emma McIntosh for further information on 07385 080496 or email northstaffscrp@

Little Bears in Oulton Here at Little Bears Playgroup in Oulton, we enjoy our story times so much, we decided to make a little bears house so we can re-enact our bear stories. If you would like to hear our stories just go to our facebook page or come and visit us. To book a session or an appointment to see the various activities we get up to e.mail us at, alternatively find us on our website


• Stone Starbucks Drive-Through: the east (road-facing) elevation

Dodging the lanes for a coffee?

• The bells, the bells: David Crump with a clapper in the tower of St Mary’s Swynnerton

The time is right, but when will the church bells ring again? “The tower clock on St Mary’s Swynnerton is telling the right time again, after a fault due to overwinding last summer was repaired by a retired local clockmaker. The clock. whose faces were regilded in 2018, is a rare example of a twosecond pendulum mechanism” said Churchwarden Ray Lewney. “St Mary’s bells were inspected around the same time, found to be in a dilapidated state and unsafe to ring” Ray continued. Cast by Rudhalls of Gloucestershire and installed in 1812, the bells were last retuned and re-hung in the early 1950s, nearly 70 years ago. But fortunately, a passionate bell-ringer and volunteer bell-tower repairer moved to Swynnerton just over a year ago. David Crump not only rings the bells in Abbotts Bromley but has refurbished the bell-towers of several Staffordshire and Oxfordshire churches. David has drawn up a refurbishment plan for Swynnerton’s bells which comes the modest price tag of £2,500 as he intends to carry out the work himself, with the help of his son, Peter. This entails months of going up and down steep ladders in the tower and working in dim light conditions. “While the six bells can be kept in position and their headstocks repaired, rustproofed and repainted in situ, the bell wheels all need taking out and re-rimming” David explained. He has already removed the clappers and will be taking them to a bell foundry in Loughborough to be re-shaped and have their bearings replaced. “When we moved to Swynnerton in late summer 2020, the bells had to be silent due to Covid restrictions,” David explained. “But their continued silence once restrictions were lifted made me feel upset. The sound of the church bells is so much part of English village life.” Repairs should be complete by Easter 2022, and the first step will be to get the church clock chiming once again. After that, David’s ambition will be to re-start Swynnerton’s bellringing band. To contribute to the repairs you can phone Ray Lewney on 01785 760366 or Terry English on 01782 796426 or donate at their Just giving page at www.justgiving .com/fundraising/terry-english1


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Plans submitted last summer to convert the former Dan’s Motorcycles showroom on the A34 at Fillybrooks into a Starbucks Drive-Through are up for consideration by Stafford Borough Council. The application summary refers to ‘Alterations and refurbishment to convert existing showroom for a Starbucks Drive-Through including external layout alterations, new signage and landscaping.’ The illuminated signs would include directional signs, menu boards and the Starbucks signature totem pole. Ten full-time and fifteen part-time jobs would be created. The operational times were stated as 5.00 am until 11.00 pm on seven days a week. 17 parking spaces would be provided – four for staff and 13 for customers, including two disabled parking spaces. Recommending the proposal, the associated transport statement said that as the site was accessible from the northbound carriageway only, it was unlikely the it would be used by southbound traffic, as a u-turn would require a 4-km detour. "The Costa coffee facility at the adjacent service station opposite the site reduces the potential for customers to undertake the arduous doubling back as they can use the facilities at the service station." "As the majority of customers would be passing traffic, the proposal is unlikely to attract new (primary) vehicle trips leading to additional congestion problems." The report claims the current good road safety status of the A34 at the site would be also unchanged. But residents’ reactions to the proposal have been predominantly critical, with 29 of the 41 comments submitted at the time of writing being against. A Rudyard Close resident said: “The A34 is a busy and noisy enough road without the need to attract more traffic from the crack of dawn until late at night. The construction to create the drive-thru would cause massive local disruption.” But a Harecastle Bank resident said: “I live on the estate opposite and can see no reason to object to it on any level really. It will serve more people than the existing business and can't see it will drag much business from the town.” A Joules Drive resident said: “Like the addition of M&S, I believe the addition of a well-respected establishment to the town will ultimately be positive and we should welcome the repurposing of an already developed site.” “(It) brings a few jobs into the town - ideal first jobs for older teenagers. (I) feel it's unlikely to affect traffic on the A34 or access to Whitebridge, given the run off into the venue.” But Sawyer’s Way resident objected, saying, “...people will just turn around in our entrance as it is about 50 yards down from the site. On top of the traffic and additional noise this will bring to the estate that it is not designed for this will have a massive impact on the value of the houses on the estate. There are a lot of young families on the estate with children playing all the time. Turning our road into a busy highway will considerably increase the chances of a child being in an accident.” No cycle parking would be provided as, according to the transport report, the A34 is a busy road with no cycling facilities, so no cyclists would call there. The site has no pedestrian access either. Though Stone Starbucks would be a Drive-Thru, maybe any pedestrians who had braved the traffic to get there, or teenagers walking to work there, could be rewarded with a free cup of coffee?

• Stone Starbucks Drive-Through: proposed site plan

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

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


Keep on Ploughing On... Stone and District Annual Ploughing and Hedge Laying Match was held on Sunday 26th September. The event this year took place at Model Farm, Hanchurch, by the invitation of H.Sant and Son. Thank you to Martin Robinson for sending in these stunning photos of all the action!

Children at Eccleshall school move into new extension Children at a Church school in Eccleshall have moved into a long-awaited new building extension which was opened by the Bishop of Lichfield. Bishop Lonsdale Church of England Academy is part of the St Chad’s Academies Trust, a multi-academy trust which has 20 academies across the Diocese of Lichfield. The new extension, which is home to three classrooms, a multi-purpose room for children who need extra support and toilets, is named The Wedgwood Wing in honour of Sue Wedgwood, the CEO of St Chad’s Academies Trust. It was funded using local authority money from new housing developments in the area and replaced mobile classrooms which housed pupils previously. Children at the academy had a say on aspects of its design and furnishing, including carpets, tiles and blinds. Sue and the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, were on hand to formally open and bless the new extension. Academy Principal Claire Jones said: “We were delighted to name the new wing in recognition of Sue’s hard work in driving the extension forward and for all her hard work

for our children here at Bishop Lonsdale. We are now able to welcome more children into our school as our capacity has increased. The extension allows our children to have the learning space they deserve to support them to flourish and achieve both academically and spiritually.” A special plaque on the Wedgwood Wing reads: “This extension is dedicated to Sue Wedgwood who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the needs of the academy were met. This is the result of her resilience, dedication, courage and, above all, her unfaltering passion for putting children first.” Sue said: “It is an absolute honour and such a surprise to have the extension named the Wedgwood Wing, however, many partners were involved in securing the development and our sincere thanks go to Staffordshire Local Authority, a dedicated Local Academy Committee and of course the staff and children!” The academy, like many Church schools, has a very close relationship with its local church, Holy Trinity Eccleshall, with regular visits to the school from the church, and services held at the church for pupils.

• The plaque

• Sue Wedgwood unveils the plaque


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

• The Bishop of Lichfield speaks to the children about prayer

• A prayer from one of the pupils

Gazette Motoring

Citroën UK reveals updated C3 range Citroën UK has revealed updates to its C3 supermini line-up, with a rationalised and re-structured range available from October 2021 production. With prices starting from £14,180 OTR, Citroën C3 now provides customers with a more streamlined series of trim and engine variants. The updated Citroën C3 range sees the ‘Shine’ trim level depart the range, whilst the recently introduced and popular ‘Saint James’ trim moves to a more prominent position in the C3 line-up. This change provides buyers with a strong customer advantage, with ‘Saint James’ models enjoying a significant uplift in specification versus the outgoing ‘Shine’ trim for a modest £400 additional outlay. With a distinctive look, Citroën C3 ‘Saint James’ is a proud illustration of Citroën’s French heritage, taking inspiration from the Saint James clothing brand that was founded in 1889 and celebrating the artisan traditions of north-west France. Available with a choice of PureTech 83 S&S manual or PureTech 110 S&S 6-speed automatic petrol powertrains, Citroën C3 ‘Saint James’ enjoys a wealth of standard specification over and above the outgoing ‘Shine’ trim. Standard equipment includes sumptuous Advanced Comfort seats, featuring broad cushions and cossetting seat backs. The design combines high-density foam at the heart of each seat, a thick, textured foam on the surface and a carefully selected blend of soft fabric and leather-effect materials to ensure optimum comfort on any journey. C3 ‘Saint James’ also offers design features that are unique within the C3 range, including an exclusive ‘Saint James’ exterior styling pack with logos and a ‘Saint James’ roof decal, a soft touch dashboard facia and bespoke carpet mats. Other features offered over and above outgoing ‘Shine’ models include a leather-covered steering wheel, reversing camera, dark tinted windows and 16-inch ‘Hellix’ bi-tone diamond cut alloy wheels. Citroën C3 ‘Saint James’ is joined in the line-up by ‘Sense’, ‘C-Series’ and ‘Shine Plus’ models, with the ‘Shine’ trim level no longer available. Pricing for the revised Citroën C3 range starts from just £14,180 MRRP OTR.


• (Left to right) Beryl, Joan and Agnes all of them at the time were 90+ it was taken by a passing boater on the canal, it depicts the good fun the three of them always had when they met up.

• Matt Ball and Claire Simpson

Shout it from the Rooftops! Launch of new Leek Performing Arts Academy & Recording Studio Leek youngsters with a passion for acting, singing and dancing are in luck – with the launch of a brand-new studio in town. Located in Newspaper House on Brook Street, the studio is a new branch of leading Staffordshire academy Rooftop Studios, which was established in Stone in 1990. Offering a host of opportunities for young people to develop skills in dance and the performing arts Rooftops has seen many students go on to train at leading vocational performing arts schools - including Mountview Theatre Arts, Arts Educational Schools, Millenium Performing Arts and the Guildford School of Acting. Classes are led by professional performers and the timetable caters for all ages - including a Stage Academy helping students hone skills in singing, drama and musical theatre; a Dance Academy incorporating many styles of dance and acro taking students from beginner level to internationally-recognised exams and adult dance classes. Thanks to exceptional industry connections, the studio also hosts regular workshops with West End stars; offering youngsters the chance to learn from the pros. The space is also home to a professional recording studio headed up by songwriter, music producer and mix engineer Matt Ball. Matt will work with artist and bands in the studio and also teach guitar lessons and music technology for adults and children to learn to mix and master music. The new Leek studio is headed up by Studio Director Claire Simpson, a former Rooftop Studios student herself. Claire went onto train in Musical Theatre at Performers’ College and The Urdang Academy before embarking on a 10-year career with the Walt Disney Company, where she worked for 10 years at Shanghai Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Paris and also for Disney Character Events EMEA performing for Live TV, Tours, Commercials, Movie Premieres, Corporate and much more. Claire says: “The studio opened its doors on September 13th and I couldn’t be happier with the response – there has been fantastic interest in all classes and I am really excited about the future. The recording studio side of things offers a great new dimension in that our private singing lesson pupils will be able to record their own performances. Anyone who’s interested in joining any class is welcome to come along for a free trial and get a feel for the whole Rooftop experience.” For more information on Rooftop Studios and its diverse range of classes, head to


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Age Concern Stone & District seek volunteers - Can you help? As Christmas approaches, I see the many media messages regarding loneliness amongst the older generation. Loneliness isn’t unique to the elderly but many elderly people are confined to their homes due to mobility issues and are unable to go out and seek friendship through the many things we take so much for granted. Many of us when we’re feeling lonely or fed up will jump in the car, take the dog out or even go out and enjoy a bit of retail therapy, talking to people in shops and cafes, enjoying the banter, eye contact and a friendly smile. In Stone there are many lonely housebound people who have been highlighted by Age Concern and the Stone Helpline during Covid, and there are probably many more who we haven’t managed to identify, who will not speak to, or see anyone for long periods of time. Loneliness is 365 days a year not just at Christmas and although with our work of going into people’s homes, we see how many of you are amazing neighbours, we often hear of someone who has never seen their neighbours. I visit someone who’s adjoining neighbour is a young family and the house has gone up

for sale. He told me how upset he is they are leaving as he enjoys hearing the children’s voices when they’re playing outside his house, his neighbour the other side is always reliable when there’s an emergency such as recently when his electricity went off and he sorted it out for him, many are not so lucky. We desperately need volunteers to continue with our work. We run a lunch club and a coffee morning, a befriending service and our busiest line of duty is our volunteer car service taking people to hospital appointments (for a minimal charge), we also arrange blue badges and care allowances. Our volunteer numbers are very low as many have returned to work and we are struggling to support those age fifty plus who rely on us, we are in danger of having to stop some of the free services we offer. If you have any worries that we can help with either for yourself or a relative, our offices are in the council office block on the ground floor, opposite the side door of Wetherspoons. Please contact us on 01785 817906 if we are with someone and can’t answer you, leave a message and we will get back to you. If you can give just a couple of hours a week volunteering then for details please call the same number.

Stone Crown Bowling Club Charity Day 2021 The last day of outdoor Bowling of the season, is traditionally the President’s Charity Day. This year Club President Mary Galletley chose to support two worthy local charities. An all-time record amount of money was raised on that day, together with donations and the proceeds from a

couple previous events - amounting to a grand total of £1,200 . Mary Galletley is pictured present Pauline Brett from Stone Alzheimers Drop in Centre and Steve Bills from Stone and District Stroke Club each with a cheque for £600. Photo by Martin Robinson.

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


Real ice rink takes centre stage for Christmas in Park • The behind-the-scenes team. Nancy Reynolds, Linda Jones, Ann Braithwaite, Tim Griffin and Gill Pinney

The award-winning Victoria Park in Stafford will be transformed into a winter wonderland with a real ice rink and Bavarian style market just some of the attractions on offer. The team behind the Great British Drive in at Sandon, who The Holy Trinity parish room is the venue for the twice monthly Coffee and fellowship run Alberts Café in the popular park, will be rolling out events open to everyone. An opportunity for friends to get together and enjoy coffee and festive cheer, alongside Stafford Borough Council, to make it cake. They take place between 10am and 12 noon and will be on Wednesdays 10 and 24 a Christmas to remember. November and 8 December. And the festive extravaganza is due to open on Saturday 27 November. Situated in the heart of Stafford the inaugural Christmas in the Park will feature:

Coffee & Fellowship

• Ice Rink - get your skates on and head to the Ice Rink, that’s right, real ice in the park to skate on and under cover too, with themed event nights and private booking available. • The Polar Bar - providing a range of festive cocktails, mulled wine, steins of beer and deliciously, indulgent hot chocolate. • Digbeth Dining Club - will be providing the finest street food around. • Santa’s Grotto - offers everyone a chance to meet with Father Christmas. Bring your Christmas wish-list and help to spread Christmas cheer. • Staffordshire’s very own Bavarian-style market - exhibiting and celebrating local produce including Chocolatiers, Christmas decorations and other festive favourites. • The group including Rob MacKenzie • You can finish up your action-packed day by making a homemade decoration or sitting down for a wreath making masterclass • Listen to live music on the bandstand, from brass bands A group of local parish councillors and clerks including Eccleshall visited the Birmingham to choirs Institute of Forest Research at Norbury on Friday September 10. The group included It will open its gates on Saturday 27 November, with Councillors Peter Jones and Ant Reid. The visit included a guided tour of the project at Norbury led by Professor Rob MacKenzie from Birmingham University. A visit to their pre-sale tickets for the ice rink available from the https://alberts. cafe website now. website will be informative and includes a digital 360 degree tour of the site. The event is a partnership between the borough council and The Great British Experience Company, the team behind Alberts and The Great British Drive In, with the full support of the National Heritage Lottery Fund. Ed Myhill, Organiser and Director of The Great British Experience Company, says “The park is a gift for all of us in Stafford and we always strive to make the park a place for all. We have worked hard to ensure the winter event caters for everyone, offering the best value possible.” He goes on to say: “We have a whole host of attractions, and events that promise to create an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Our ice rink can accommodate 80 people at any one time and is the real star of the show, with themed evenings including family favourites, disco and kids’ sessions all enclosed in its own venue means we don’t have to worry about the beautiful English weather and can enjoy our own Winter Wonderland right here in Stafford.” Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge, Cabinet Member for Leisure at the borough council said: “This is going to be fantastic. What a brilliant way to help celebrate the Christmas period with a winter wonderland brought to the heart of our county town in the wonderful Victoria Park. I am sure residents and visitors to the town will be thrilled to hear we will have a real ice rink – and planned themed event nights - alongside a Bavarian style market and festive bar with all the winter favourites – and of course a traditional Santa’s grotto. • The display in the library “All of this would have definitely been on my wish list for Christmas in Stafford.” She added: “Victoria Park received a beautiful restoration last year – and this year we are seeing more and more people National Poetry Day was celebrated on 7th October 2021. The theme for this year was enjoying the park especially with all the great events that have "Choice". Eccleshall Poetry Group who prior to the pandemic met twice monthly in been taking place. So, I hope everyone will make sure they Eccleshall Library, mounted an exhibition there to mark the day, with a selection of poems have the dates of our winter wonderland in their diary and book early to visit because we want to make Christmas 2021 an and objects to represent the idea of choice. Despite not being able to meet in person over the last 18 months or so, members still amazing experience for all our residents and visitors to the selected a poem for each of the planned sessions, and these were collated and circulated park.” Christmas at the Park is open every day, except Christmas by email which helped us to remain in touch as well as keeping our love of poetry alive. The group is now meeting in person again, at present in Eccleshall Methodist Church at 2pm on Day, until 2 January. Follow Alberts on Facebook and the first and third Thursdays of the month. On November 4 our topic is Remembrances, and Instagram with much more information to follow. on November 18 Secrets and Lies . New members are always welcome.

Forest Research

Eccleshall Poetry Group


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

St. Dominics Priory School Exciting times are ahead for St. Dominic’s Priory School in Stone, as additional investment will see phase three of our redevelopment programme begin soon, involving further enhancements to our large sports hall and multi-functional school hall. Providing modern and increased changing facilities to cope with growing numbers, a new PE classroom to support the GCSE delivery, and improvements and links to the school hall, we can continue to support the local community as well as our children’s wide and varied extra-curricular activities. Opening in February 2020, our brand-new senior building and state-of-the-art technology embedded within the new building, was the first and second phase of the development and enabled a smooth transition to virtual teaching during lockdown in March 2020. All children took part in virtual lessons from day one and children who remained in school joined their peers in lessons via interactive teaching walls. These exceptional facilities, together with our supportive and encouraging teachers, ensured each child received and continues to receive an outstanding education. Our top-ranking results year on year show that St. Dominic’s ethos of providing bespoke education to each child, by understanding their strengths and weaknesses, really works. Guaranteed small class sizes coupled with engaging and enthusiastic teachers, ensures that the school is able to remain non-selective and provides a caring and nurturing environment. With early years, prep and senior school education, along with wraparound childcare, all age groups from age 3 upwards, join together regularly through assemblies, performing arts, musical performances and buddy schemes, creating a real sense of school community. Children are encouraged to be themselves, to value individuality, and to develop self-worth, independence and respect for others. To find out more about our school, visit or call 01785814181 and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up-to-date on the latest news. Entrance Assessment for Year 7 2022 Entry on Friday 26th November


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Walton Priory Middle School 2021 has been a momentous year for all, yet despite being still in the midst of the pandemic, Walton Priory Middle School has continued to thrive and build on the successes of our February 2020 Ofsted where we were recognised as “A Good Provider” of education. This was reflection of everybody’s hard work, dedication and commitment to our school. Ofsted inspectors stated: “this is a good school, with outstanding personal development”. This year, we have continued our commitment to STEAM through a partnership with the Ogden Trust. This followed our being awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark in recognition of our excellent programme of science education. We have also invested in the accreditation of three Forest School leaders. This is a popular and rewarding area of our curriculum where pupils learn a range of skills, both personal and practical, as they engage with high-quality outdoor learning experiences. Over the past year, the school has also purchased 120 Chromebooks and has invested in a newly-refurbished school library that contains a wide range of literature, including both fiction and non-fiction, which evidences our commitment to reading development and fostering a love of literature. Our recent work with the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE), and successful preliminary assessment towards their Challenge Award, highlights how we ensure that all students are stretched and challenged across the curriculum. Earlier this term, we held two Open Mornings where our staff conducted tours of the school for prospective parents and their children. However, our prospectus is available online, or as a paper copy via the school office, if you missed these mornings. We very much look forward to welcoming new children and families in the next academic year.


Stafford Grammar School & Stafford Preparatory School

St. Dominics Primary School St Dominic’s Catholic Primary school first opened in 1886. The present school building was built in 1987 and has been extended and improved in recent years to provide a well ordered and pleasant environment. All children are taught in single age year groups by their own class teacher for the majority of the timetable. In 2018 it became part of The Painsley Catholic Academy enjoying links with Blessed William Howard and Painsley Catholic High schools and 12 other primary schools. The school has over 20 staff dedicated to providing the children with the very best educational and pastoral support. It has high academic standards, excellent pupil behaviour and very supportive parents and governors. A new investment in a purpose-built nursery means that the school can now accommodate 26 children from 3 years old, to ease their transition into the main school. The school enjoys being an integral part of the church of the Immaculate Conception and Saint Dominic, which are in very close proximity to each other. The school mission statement, “As children of God we love one another” flows throughout. The playground areas are enhanced by an all-weather sports area. Children leave St Dominic’s having received a happy and memorable educational experience. Each child is known and loved; valued and cared for and provided with equality of opportunity in a community which strives for excellence for all. What our parents say (Parent Survey 2020) “The staff are amazing, caring and inclusive. We feel very welcome and have done since day one. The children love it there and the school’s reputation and results are also great.” “My child enjoys this school very much and is always happy to attend. There’s also a high standard of teaching evident.”


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Stafford Grammar School is an independent school for girls and boys aged 3 – 18. We offer an inspiring curriculum, a wide-ranging extra-curricular programme (‘SGS Extra’) and a caring community where our students are known as individuals. There is a warm family atmosphere at Stafford Grammar School, and a real sense of fun! Our school is a very special place. Our pupils support each other and form life-long friendships across year groups as well as with their own classmates. There is a real sense of belonging at Stafford Grammar School, where our pupils grow in confidence and are comfortable being themselves. Our parents and students often comment that SGS feels like a family. Stafford Grammar School benefits from hard-working and dedicated teachers who go the extra mile to support our pupils and ensure that they make excellent progress. We are a forward-looking school with traditional values. But we are not trapped by our history and we do not confine our pupils in an academic hothouse. We get to know all of our pupils as individuals and we build their confidence. This is how we nurture successful, resilient, respectful, community-minded and caring individuals who can make a difference in the world around them. This is the ethos by which we live and learn. Stafford Grammar School has a forward-thinking and ambitious vision. We are always seeking to develop and improve the school. We benefit from: • Extensive playing fields • Tennis and netball courts with floodlighting • Design and Technology workshop • Art studio • Modern, well-equipped science labs • A modern music room equipped with iMacs for composition work • Recently upgraded wifi to ensure excellent wifi connection for our Bring Your Own Device Programme • A modern Sixth Form Centre with study areas and a large sixth form common room and kitchen facility • A large, modern sports hall, which is used for netball, basketball, football, cricket, Zumba, gymnastics, badminton and more



Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read


Christ Church C.E. First School Christ Church C.E. First School is situated at the heart of the community it serves, in the market town of Stone, welcoming children from Reception to Year 4 in single year groups. We are part of the Key Education Trust alongside Christ Church Academy and Oulton C.E. First School. The school is rated good by Ofsted and SIAMS. Our dedicated school staff provide the children with a safe and happy learning environment, helping them reach their full potential. We are proud of our school and our children’s love of learning. Our curriculum is inclusive, immersive and creative to ensure that all children can thrive. We aim high and try to be uniquely the best that we can be. This is reflected in the excellent results we achieve in EYFS and phonics. As a Church of England school, we uphold our Christian and moral values in all aspects of our work and also recognise and value the other beliefs of our diverse school community. This enables all children to build secure and lasting relationships with their peers and staff. Wrap around care is available on site from 7.30am – 6.00pm and is provided by Little Stars Childcare. See www.littlestars If you would like to learn more, please visit our school on the morning of Saturday 6th November from 10.00am – 12.00 pm or see our school website for more information and to view our promotional video: “Be the best you can be in God’s beautiful world” Executive Headteacher: Mrs A Graham BA (Hons) NPQH

At Christ Church Academy, aspirations become reality. The curriculum and extra-curricular offer are exceptionally rich. Each pupil is known and cherished. The Christian vision and values have a life-lasting and life-enhancing impact on personal and intellectual development.” These are just some of the things said about our school in our most recent inspection in which we were judged as 'Excellent' (SIAMS 2020). We were judged as 'Good' by Ofsted in 2017. At Christ Church, we are proud of our broad and balanced curriculum which we enrich through residential and daytrips, themed days and weeks, visiting guests, an aspirational reward scheme and by constantly listening to our children about what they like and don’t like. Our schemes of learning and programmes of study are regularly refreshed in light of new material and changing cohorts of children. Children enjoy and benefit from a curriculum that is taught by specialists in subject rooms such as science labs, computing suites and Design and Technology rooms. Innovative and dedicated heads of department constantly evaluate the provision given to pupils. Children at the Academy typically leave at the end of Year 8 achieving above average standards, whilst making strong progress in English, Maths and Science. As a Church of England middle school, each member of the school community is valued, respected and treated equally regardless of gender, race, belief and ability. Everyone in the school community is special and is supported by our shared Christian values of faith, friendship, compassion, trust, thankfulness and koinonia. We seek to enable children to achieve their potential through perseverance, hard work, challenge and fun.

Springfields First School Springfields First School in Yarnfield is a very happy, busy school where children enjoy learning. We are a growing, rural school situated in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside just outside Stone. We accommodate children from Reception to Year 4 and in our teacher led Pre -School, we offer 30 hours childcare, providing outstanding provision for children from 3 to 4 years of age. We actively promote a healthy active lifestyle and have an extensive outdoor area with a school field, playground, individual gardens for Reception and Early Years, climbing frames and all weather pitch. We are now able to offer Forest School provision for all of our pupils. Our creative curriculum is fun, purposeful and challenging. We aim to develop confident children, who enjoy learning and are proud of their achievements. Our results for the end of Early Years and Key Stage 1 are consistently higher than National levels. All children have the opportunity to learn from specialist sport coaches and music teachers. Through positive attitudes and partnerships between pupils, staff and parents we endeavour to develop the whole child, meeting individual needs in a safe and secure environment, where differences are celebrated. We have our own Springfields Care Club, which operates Monday to Friday 7.30am-8.45am and 3.15pm-6.00pm. We have places available in our Reception class for September 2022 and in our current Pre-school and Year 2 to Year 4 classes. We are proud to show parents around our school, depending on COVID-19 guidelines at the time. Please make enquiries on the phone number provided below. Alison Bagnall, Headteacher, Springfields First School, 01785 337310


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Oulton C.E. First School & Ladybirds Nursery

Christ Church Academy

Oulton CE First School is a popular village school set within a strong local community, although we welcome a significant number of our children from surrounding areas. Our school caters for children from three years of age (in our Nursery) through to learners of nine years (Year 4). At Oulton First School, we have a wonderfully committed team of staff who create a happy, welcoming and secure environment in which our children can thrive. We aim to involve all members of the school community in learning, in school life and in celebrating our successes! We believe that the partnership between parents or carers and the school is vital and we actively encourage the community to become involved in the life of the school. The school is set in extensive grounds, which accommodates a trim trail, sensory garden, wild life area and a newly installed outdoor classroom. We are a Forest School provider that utilises our school grounds as well as nearby Kibblestone International Scout Camp. The school offers a range of after schools clubs and wrap around care is available 7.30am – 5.45pm, provided by Little Stars. As a Church of England school, we promote Christian and moral values, whilst also recognising and valuing other beliefs. Our core moral purpose is encapsulated in the school vision statement: Hand in hand learning together because every child matters to us. Our Ladybirds Nursery provision offers free 15 hours funded childcare and 30 hour extended provision. Nursery intakes are September, January and April. Please contact the office or visit our website for further information. I will cover you with my hands and protect you. Isaiah 51:16 (ICB)

St. Michael’s C.E. First School At St Michael’s CE (VC) First School it is our aim that every child develops a love of learning and a desire to reach their full potential. This is done through providing all children with an exciting and engaging curriculum that both inspires and challenges them, whilst being supported by a team of experienced teachers and teaching assistants. Our strong Christian ethos and values mean that every child in our school feels valued and part of our school community. Our engaging curriculum is further enhanced through WOW weeks, learning outside of the classroom, educational visits and visitors into school. Peripatetic music teaching allows all children in Year 3 learn to play an instrument. Our extensive school grounds which include a large playing field, woodland nature area, pond and outdoor classrooms provide an excellent area for our Forest School and outdoor learning lessons which are accessed by every child in the school. Every child takes part and wellington boots are a must! The School Nursery is located in a purposed designed building. The large room allows children to explore all aspects of learning through a wide range of practical, hands on activities. The building has its own large, enclosed outdoor area with soft flooring throughout. Whether it’s riding the bikes, exploring in the sand, splashing in the water or climbing through tunnels and exploring tents our large outdoor environment has plenty of room for it all. Children can join from the day after their third birthday with flexibility of days and hours offered to parents to meet their requirements. We operate our own onsite wraparound club from 7.15am until 6pm where children have fun with access to a wide range of toys to play with, craft activities, outdoor play and themed sessions. Take a look at our website or give us a call on 01785 334930 to arrange a visit.


Pirehill First School Pirehill First School is very much a Community School situated in the residential area of Walton, Stone. We are very fortunate in having beautiful, well maintained grounds which are used throughout the year to enhance our children’s learning, this includes our extremely popular Forest School which is accessed by all of our pupils. Our school is a joyful place of learning which offers a rich and varied curriculum both within and outside of the school day. Our Ofsted inspection in April 2017 confirmed that we are a very ‘good’ school and the school holds many quality marks, including, Enhanced Dyslexia Friendly Status and SWGfL 360 Degree E Safety Mark. At Pirehill, we pride ourselves in our excellent standards of teaching, pupil progress, attainment and behaviour. We strongly believe that every child has a right to reach their full potential and succeed in their own unique way, whether that is via sport or music, the arts, or by their own academic excellence. In understanding the unique child, by celebrating their strengths and through working together, our children learn very important lessons in life. We show that we care and respect everyone and everything, by living up to our Pirehill Principle. Proud, Independent, Respectful, Enthusiastic, Happy and Healthy, Intelligent Individuals who Love Learning and who Love Life Our Governing body is a strong, enthusiastic and committed group of people who represent the Community and the parents which the school serves. Together they manage and develop Pirehill by continuously striving for the highest standards, improving and extending opportunities and resources for all. If you would like to know more about please visit our website and follow us on ‘Twitter’. If you would like to see us in action please contact the school office on 01785 334970, we can assure you that you will be made to feel welcome by our friendly staff and our fantastic children.

Manor Hill First School Manor Hill First School is an inspiring place of learning in the heart of Stone. Set in extensive grounds, our school has recently undergone an expansion programme of works in order to accommodate more pupils within the growing community over the coming years. Our classrooms are spacious and well equipped with the latest learning technologies, creative displays help to reinforce our dedication to learning throughout the entire school and we have a wonderful abundance of outdoor space, which is used to great effect for sports, Forest School and outdoor learning. It is our priority that the education your child receives here will enable them to achieve their full academic potential. We hold the vision that all of our children should be provided with awe inspiring learning experiences to prepare them for endless possibilities that await them in the modern world. We ensure that our children are nurtured to become confident and conscientious individuals with many skills and attributes to contribute to society. Here at Manor Hill, staff work hard to deliver our bespoke engaging and exciting curriculum, which is ambitious and challenging for all pupils. We value the contributions of parents and endeavour to provide as many enrichment opportunities to complement and enhance the curriculum as possible. Our onsite, school run Nursery offers care from age two to four and has modern, well-resourced learning environments. Children here experience a dedicated curriculum and wealth of learning opportunities to aid their development and to prepare them for their future education. Wraparound care is available at the school from 7.30am to 5.30pm at Hilltops, our school led before and after school facility. Staffed by our own team, children transition easily to and from school and are able to participate in activities of their choice in a relaxing and informal environment. Please do not hesitate to contact the school on 01785 812418 to arrange a socially distanced tour or virtual consultation with the Headteacher.

Springfields Pre-school Springfields Pre-school at Springfields First School in Yarnfield offers an exciting, secure and caring learning environment with extensive indoor and outdoor learning areas, where children are provided with the highest quality early education and care. The highly qualified, enthusiastic and committed Teacher-led staff team work hard to give children the very best start to their school life. Our curriculum is creative and based on the individual needs of the children and they are encouraged to develop confidence and independence as they explore, investigate, question, problem-solve and evaluate, with the support of skilled and highly experienced Early Years staff. We believe that each child deserves only the very best care and learning opportunities. We will always listen to you, work with you and respect your wishes so that we can provide a seamless approach to ensuring your child learns and is happy, safe, and secure whilst at our pre-school. The Pre- School offers up to 39 places for children aged 3 to 4 years. Our care is flexible; we offer half day, school day and full day sessions (in conjunction with our on-site Springfields Care Club). Children who are eligible receive 15 or 30 hours of free Early Years education funding. Fees are charged for children who are not eligible for a funded place and children can begin at Springfields on their third birthday. Please contact us to arrange a viewing and come and see us for yourself. We look forward to meeting you soon and showing you our outstanding Pre-school!


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read


• Stone & Eccleshall Heritage

Events in Stone from 1950-52 by Senior Museums Officer, Chris Copp at Staffordshire Past Track This selection of images from the Staffordshire Past track website comes from a large collection of glass negatives which were passed on to Staffordshire record Office a few years ago, and cover the years 1947 to 1959. These photographs of events in Stone all date from around 1950-52, but although we have identified some as being part of the town’s Festival of Britain activities in the summer of 1951, we have very little information about some of the others as they do not appear to have been used in the Newsletter. Perhaps the Gazette readers can help identify the events and people depicted? Over 45,000 other images are available on the Staffordshire Past Track website ( To find out what’s new on the site just click onto the ‘Latest Additions’ tab. You might also like to try out the GPS Location Explorer feature on the site: when using a mobile device with GPS enabled the page will show a list of resources nearest you. With 'automatic updates' switched on the results will automatically reload every few metres you walk. It works particularly well where there are a lot of resources – give it a go in Eccleshall and Stone and see what things looked like in the past on the spot you’re standing. If you have any images to lend, or any extra information, please contact the Past Track team: Staffordshire Past Track, Staffordshire Archives & Heritage, Unit G, Beacon Business Park, Weston Road, Stafford ST18 0WL. Telephone 01785 278379. email: past.track@ . You can also keep up to date with what’s new on Past Track by ‘liking’ our facebook page.

• Ferrie's Market, High Street, Stone, November 1952. A display of fresh fruit and flowers in Ferrie's Market, a grocers, florists and fishmongers shop at 43 High Street between about 1947 and 1976. The Town Hall (now the Library) can be glimpsed through the window. The shop was opened and run by John and Vera Ferrie. (Staffordshire Record Office/Staffordshire Newsletter).

• Charity Ball, Crown Hotel, Stone, 1950 or 1951. Dancers take the floor at a charity ball in the Ballroom at the Crown Hotel, Stone. Music was provided by Bill Hawthorne and his Band. (Staffordshire Record Office/Staffordshire Newsletter).


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

• Runners, Granville Square, Stone, 5 May 1951. Runners in Granville Square, Stone, preparing to carry torches to light beacons to mark the start of Stone's Festival of Britain activities. The boys, from the Boy Scouts, ran to light beacons at Stone Park Farm and the Common Plot. (Staffordshire Record Office/Staffordshire Newsletter).

• Stone and District Model Society, Stone, August 1951. A display of model cars organised by Stone and District Model Society held at Westbridge Park as part of Stone's Festival of Britain events. (Staffordshire Record Office/Staffordshire Newsletter).

• Townswomen's Guild, Festival of Britain, Stone, August 1951. A display of dressmaking, needlework, embroidery and toys organised by Stone Central Townswomen's Guild as part of Stone's Festival of Britain events held at Westbridge Park. (Staffordshire Record Office/Staffordshire Newsletter).

Aston-By-Stone W.I. - Bee Aware! Picture the earth with dinosaurs roaming: what else could you see? Well, dinosaur prey animals, of course – otherwise certain species wouldn’t be there! Some dinosaurs were plant-eaters though, and the reason there were plants, was because there were BEES! They evolved from wasps and began their good work of producing honey, which has been gathered for 8,000 years. Beekeeper and maker of honey products Alison Wakeman spoke to us of the importance of these small creatures. One third of the food we eat is available thanks to bees. They also pollinate three-quarters of all crops. If you see a bee, chances are it’s a honeybee, but there are an amazing 250 types of bee in the U.K., and 225 of these are solitary bees. In the hive, the worker bees are female. They live for only six weeks, and do a variety of jobs: housekeeping, building the cells, nursing the larvae, scouting, guarding and undertaking. Honey simply wouldn’t exist without these busy worker bees. And the males? Their sole job is to

fertilise the Queen, for it is she who hibernates over winter, then goes on the produce the next generation. Bees are seen as benevolent, making honey which we then steal. They don’t seem to resent this, and carry on. But if you annoy a bee, watch out: they aim for the face, especially the eyes. Be quiet around bees! Beekeepers wear protective clothing, and use smoke to calm the bees. By the end of the meeting we were quite glad that bees exist, and had a great respect for them. Alison was a lively and interesting speaker, and pointed out that the very best thing you could do to help bees is to have bee-friendly plants in your garden. Even a pot of open-faced flowers will help. Our meeting, which conformed to Covid restrictions, was a welcome second one at Aston-by-Stone Village Hall. Our meetings take place on the second Wednesday of each month at 7.30 p.m. New members and visitors are always welcome. Just turn up, ladies, or ring 01785 615662 for more details. You’ll be very welcome!

Green Space at last On Friday 10th September, the Mayor of Stone, Councillor Jonathan Powell, visited Christ Church First School to open the new outdoor classroom. The school has never had any green space on the playground due to its location but thanks to local company CCP Developments, the children now have a wonderful outdoor classroom. The company generously donated all the materials and provided the labour free of charge to get this project off the ground. The children are thrilled with the new outdoor space and cannot wait to start

using the area for learning and exploring the outdoors. Amy Graham (Heateacher) said, “We are thrilled with the new outdoor classroom and we are so grateful to Luke and family for their generosity. Without their wonderful gift, we would not have been able to provide this amazing resource for the children.” The Mayor visited to officially open the garden and was joined by children form Year 4, Andrew Best, Vice Chair of Governors and the building team that brought the project to life.


• Within Living Memory with Philip Leason MBE

100th Anniversary of the War Memorial in Granville Square By Philip Leason MBE This year marks the 100th anniversary since the War Memorial in Granville Square has been the centre point for the annual Remembrance Service. Over the years I am sure that many readers have memories of attending this annual event as a Brownie, Cub, Scout or a member of another of the town’s organisations. Shortly after the end of the First World War a committee was set up find a way of commemorating the men from Stone who had lost their lives during the war. Originally the committee had proposed buying the ground where Weatherspoon’s and the toilets are today and turning it into a memorial park with a wall of remembrance. However this was not financially viable and so it was decided to erect a suitable memorial in Granville Square. The monument was unveiled by the Earl of Dartmouth, the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, on 10thJanuary, 1921. According to the newspaper report “The various public bodies and associations, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, etc. began to assemble in Granville Square at 2 o’clock, being marshalled into their allocated positions by Police Superintendent J. W. Turner, who had under his charge a large force of police and special constables to line the square and regulate the extremely large assembly of people. A Guard of Honour, provided by the D Company of the 5th Battalion North Stafford (T.F.) Regiment, was under the command of Major F.E. Wenger M.C. and Lieutenant H. Bourne, and among the other official bodies taking up their positions were the Stone Fire Brigade (under Lieut. J. Smallwood), the Red Cross Nurses under Miss Meakin (Commandant), and Miss Knight (Quarter Master) , the Stone Military Band (under Bandmaster E. Warrilow), the various troops of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides (the latter under Miss Parker-Jervis), the children from the various schools, and representatives from the Friendly Societies, Urban District Council and War Memorial Committee, and, last but not least, selected representatives of discharged soldiers and sailors, who stood in a place of honour, by the side of the Memorial, whilst near position were reserved for the relatives of the fallen men.” It is interesting to think that a hundred years on members of many of the organisations listed above attend the annual Remembrance Service. During his speech following the unveiling the Earl of Dartmouth said: “From Stone came over 1,100 service men, and when the nation was in sore financial need, and the Prime Minister told then their quota was £15,000, they raised by their Tank Week, no less a sum than £46,000.” The sculptor of the statue on the memorial is by Albert Toft and at the unveiling ceremony Mr. Edmond Leigh in proposing a vote of tanks to him said “He was sure that they all felt that the Memorial which had been unveiled was one of which Stone people might be proud, and he was sure they were indebted to the artist for having so admirably carried out the spirit they wished to express. The memorial would remind them of the great sacrifice that was made by those the town of Stone sent during the Great War. He doubted very much whether any town of the same size in the country exceeded the contribution that Stone made to the forces, and as for the sacrifice the that had been made – well, the death roll of 126 out of a population of 5,000 spoke for itself. “ The article on the unveiling concludes with a description of the memorial – “The memorial consists of a bronze figure on a Portland stone pedestal and base, the whole of a height of 16ft., with a bronze panel on each of the four sides of the pedestal bearing the names of 126 men from Stone, Darlaston and Meaford who fell in the war. “ “Facing straight down High Street, with a beautiful background of trees, it is splendidly situated, and does infinite credit to the town and the artist. The work was executed by Mr Albert Toft, the well-known sculptor, and cost £1,000. It is a beautifully designed and executed memorial, the khaki-clad figure standing with bowed head and arms resting on his reversed rifle with his steel helmet and gas mask lying at his feet. The only criticism one has heard against it has been that raised by one or two ex-Army men, who have expressed the option that it is contrary to Army rules for the hat not to be on the head; but, as the artist has pointed out, the figure is the actual representation of what actually happened daily at the front, where a soldier coming across the grave of a fallen comrade • Remembrance

Service in 2018


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• Unveiling of the War Memorial, Stone, by Lord Dartmouth, Lord Lieutenant

has reverently taken off his hat and stood silently and reverently reflecting on his loss, and the utter tragedy of the war. Apart from this fancied slight diversion from Army etiquette the memorial has been unanimous. “ One can imagine the pride that people felt on Remembrance Sunday in 1921 having such a fine monument to commemorate their relatives or those they had known. Not many towns have a War Memorial that has been admired by royalty. On 13th June 1924 the Prince of Wales stopped in Stone on this way from Sandon Hall to the Potteries to view the memorial. On Remembrance Sunday 6th November, 1949 the plaques bearing the names of 71 men killed in the Second World War were unveiled by Councillor H. Rutherford, Chairman of Stone Urban District Council and dedicated by the Rev. H. Glew, Vicar of Christ Church and Chaplain of the British Legion (Stone Branch). At one time there very few people who attended the ceremony at the memorial on Remembrance Sunday but then there was a resurgence of interest and today hundreds now stand in Granville Square and at the top of the High Street to observe the ceremony and nearly 70 wreaths are laid. In 2018 a photograph was taken of the crowd around the memorial to commemorate the centenary of the 1st World War and Stone Historical and Civic Society purchased one of the 5 framed copies of this and presented it to the Town Council for display in the Council Chamber or at the new Heritage Centre. Looking at photographs of past Remembrance Sundays it is interesting to note how the foliage on the Plain Tree has changed. In the earlier photographs the tree is almost bear of its leaves but in more recent photographs it has quite a lot of its foliage. An example of global warming perhaps. I hope that you have found this article of interest and as this is the last magazine for this year I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year. Please help us to keep the heritage of Stone alive for generations to come. If you have any photographs relating to the anything mentioned here please contact Staffordshire Past Track. All photographs will be treated with the utmost care and returned safely to their owner after they have made digital copies

Stone Hockey Club to celebrate 100 years! Stone Hockey Club is excited to announce that preparations for their centenary celebrations in 2022 are well underway. A mens and ladies hockey club was formed in 1921/22 , but went their separate ways in 1925 and then merged again in 1985. The club today, fields 5 mens teams, 4 ladies teams and 2 Badgers teams. The club is a Community Amateur Sports Club and plays an active part in providing sporting facilities and training for hockey in the local community.

Stone Hockey Club want to hear from you! As part of the celebrations, they hope to bring together as many ex-players, supporters, volunteers, officials, sponsors and partners as they can. It will be a great opportunity to relive past memories, rekindle old friendships and help current members engage with the rich history of the club. To stay up-to-date with the club celebrations, register for the Stone 100 newsletter at and follow on the Stone Hockey Club Facebook page. Let others know! Please mention next year’s celebrations

and the links above to anyone you know with a past or present association with our club as the club would love to see them again and have them part of the celebrations.

Volunteers required

With an exciting year planned the club will need all the help they can get to bring them to fruition. If you would like to help, however small, please contact them via email above.

Gather your memorabilia

If you have any specific sporting achievements, memories, people to acknowledge, memorabilia to share, or photos the club would love you to share them.

Golden girls snap up GB ski team title

• From left: Downhill racers Charlotte Ashton (Stone), Poppy Dixon (Salt Heath), Elena Blaikie and Georgia Blaikie won a British schools’ indoor ski team title for Stafford Grammar.

Two Stone skiers were in a quartet which snapped up a GB team title for their school on an artificial snow course in Buckinghamshire. Fourteen-year-olds Charlotte Ashton and Poppy Dixon competed alongside sisters Elena and Georgia Blaikie at the British Indoor Schoolgirls’ Championships, which attracted more than 120 competitors from across the country. The event at Milton Keynes was split into age groups ranging from U14 to U21 and while the three fastest downhill racers in each section clinched podium slots, awards were also presented to the three most successful schools - based on the collective time over two runs of their best two skiers. Stafford Grammar athlete Georgia, 13, signalled her intent in the U14 competition when she crossed in 16.13secs. Her opening score remained unbeaten and she bolstered her lead with a follow-up time of 16.28secs to lift the individual title 2.18 seconds ahead of Madeleine Welsh (Ipswich High). In the U16 contest Elena, 14, was in a battle for the top slot against fellow

British Ski Academy squad member, Holly Tutt (Bedford), who recorded a best time of 15.16secs. Fourteen-year-old Elena posted a reply of 15.95secs but her Team GB opponent increased her lead to nudge the SGS athlete into second place. The combined scores of the siblings earned the overall team trophy for Stafford Grammar. Stone athlete Charlotte said: “It was my first competition on snow and I really enjoyed it. It’s faster than an artificial surface, but making turns is easier. Elena and Georgia won the trophy for us, but Poppy and I played our part as there had to be four skiers in order to make it into the team competition.” The foursome are already preparing for the British Schoolgirls’ outdoor championships in January, when they hope to repeat their success at the French alpine resort of Flaine. “I’m looking forward to us all going out to France. I want to do some training on the snow at Chill Factore (Manchester) in the next few months to prepare, as I’m expecting it to be a tough competition,” she added.



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Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

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