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CONTENTS Good News • Mayor’s Charity Donation to Theatre • Great Bridgeford Village Hall Opening • Heritage Open Days are back • Stone Branch celebrate Legion Centenary • Eccleshall Open Gardens Success • Gallery at 12 re-opens full time • Get ready to rock at Wharfstock!

In Pictures • Aston-By-Stone W.I.Garden Party • Hilderstone Big Village Party • Stonfield Park in the Summertime • The Crown Wharf Brewery Tap opening • Stone’s guerrilla gardeners • All gone to pot -meet the creator of a very special garden • Drinking in the cool depths at The Izaak Walton Brewhouse

Returning to normality, after what feels like an eternity Welcome to the September/October edition of The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette. I hope you’ve all had a chance to take a break over the Summer holidays? I managed to get a week in Cornwall with my son and my fiancé, which despite the weather, was splendid. Ironically, the week before we went, they had given out extreme weather warnings for Wales and Cornwall, for the heat! The week we were there was mostly cloudy, with some sunny spells along with heavy showers. We got two days on the beach and one at a music festival in the dry, so not too bad all in all. But what has happened to the British Summer? Is it just me, or does this seem to be the cloudiest and coldest July and August on record? Those who know me well know I’m a sun worshipper, over the years I’ve become accustomed to living in a grey, wet country, but surely we’re allowed a little bit of sunshine in summer? I feel for all those, like me, that had to staycation this year, and the one week we get off work was spent in the drizzle. I’m saving up already to go somewhere hot and dry next year... There’s been plenty going on locally since our last edition, at long last Joules are back in Stone with a pub, they opened The Crown Wharf Brewery Tap on July 20th, see pages 10 and 11 where Christine Conlin interviews Billy Smith, a former Joules brewery worker, enjoying his first pint in a Joules pub in Stone for over 47 years!

There’s been a chance to catch up all round, as one by one, organisations and community groups are able to meet in person again, and events are now allowed to take place. Aston-By-Stone W.I. held a very successful garden party, Great Bridgeford Village Hall has reopened, Hilderstone held their Big Village Party, Eccleshall held their Open Gardens, and there were a couple of Stone Street Food Festivals, all of which were well attended. There’s future events coming up too in September and October, check out Wharfstock, on page 14, a music festival taking place in Westbridge Park on 30th September to raise funds for The Crown Wharf Theatre Charity. Oulton watercolour society have thier annual exhibition planned for 16th October, and on the same day Barlaston Village Hall are holding an Attic & Craft sale. Trentham Live is back on the 3/4/5 September, with The Vamps and Alfie Boe amongst the acts, and if you’re old enough to remember them, the McCoys are coming to Jollees on September 3rd. It’s great to see everything returning to normality, after what feels like an eternity. Please support your local clubs and organisations where you can, by attending their events. They rely almost entirely on these charity events to raise much needed funds, while at the same time they offer their members the chance to meet up socially, which can be priceless. Dan Mitchell 23/08/21


Heritage • 175 anniversary of St. Saviour’s Church at Aston By Philip Leason MBE

November/December edition is out on October 28th Editorial Deadline - October 15th Advertisement Copy Deadline - October 18th



EDITORIAL Christine Conlin - Eccleshall News -

ACCOUNTS Angela Downing -

TELEPHONE 01785 819 919 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. All Rights Reserved © The Stone Gazette Ltd Once you’ve finished with your Gazette, recycle it by giving it to a friend.


Stone Lions thank local businesses

• Photo above shows Fiona, from Arcadia Café, with Mark and Steve, from Disable Aids, with their Certificates of Appreciation from Stone Lions Club (CIO). Stone Lions Club (CIO) really wanted to show their appreciation and to say a big ‘Thank You’ to a couple of organisations who had helped them to continue to serve the local community during the many months of lockdown. A social evening and buffet supper was arranged to celebrate the easing of restrictions and the anticipated return to a new ‘normal’, and Stone Lions were delighted to welcome some very special guests. Immediate Past President Lion Chris told the Gazette: “Fiona, the proprietor of Arcadia Café, accompanied by her father Lion Sam Williams, was invited to represent the staff and customers of the café. Arcadia Café has provided Stone Lions with a huge amount of support over the years, by helping to raise funds through numerous raffles and, more recently, the sale of face masks provided by Judy Tams, a

regular customer. Judy has raised over £700 for us during lockdown, which has been very welcome at a time when fundraising has been so difficult.” “Stone Lions have always enjoyed a great relationship with Disable Aids (Cannock), who have continually provided great assistance in their support of our Mobility Scheme, but the way they stepped in to help out during the pandemic went way beyond what we could have anticipated. We were faced with the possibility of being unable to keep our mobility service users mobile, should their equipment be in need of attention, but Disable Aids’s willingness to collect, repair and return scooters and other equipment to individual properties meant that the scheme was able to continue during lockdown. We are all very grateful for their support.”

Rainbows and Beanstalks

1st Walton Rainbows (seen here down at Westbridge Park) enjoyed ‘planting‘ a runner bean in their decorated jam jars during the summer. They are hoping that the beans will have grown enough so that they can be planted out in the garden. Walton Rainbows, alongside all the other units in Stone, are looking forward to meeting again in person in September. During the last 18 months, which have


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been so challenging for everyone, each unit (Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers) offered zoom sessions to the girls. A big thank you to all the Leaders who certainly had to think outside the box whilst delivering sessions on Zoom. However, the girls and leaders rose to the challenge and activities included: scavenger hunts, cooking a cake in a mug, dance and yoga sessions and quizzes.

Aston-By-Stone W.I. hold a garden party

Not Buckingham Palace, but Anita Murphy’s garden was the venue for our Garden Party on 14th July. The weather was kind to us, the sun shone, and members enjoyed meeting each other – but still by Covid rules! It was good to sit in groups and have a chat, catching up on the latest family news. There was a White Elephant stall, raising money for the Associated Country Women of the World, a charity supported by all W.I.s.

We played the sock game: various socks, each pegged on a washing line and each containing a small item to identify by touch, and of course there were refreshments: home-made sandwiches and cakes to accompany our tea. What

would be the reputation of a W.I. which did not serve tea and cake? Later this year we hope to return to Aston-by-Stone Village Hall where, in normal circumstances, we meet on the second Wednesday of the month at 7.30 p.m. We’re always pleased to welcome new members, so, Ladies, why not come along? You’ll be welcome and, of course, there will be an opportunity to sample that tea and cake? You can contact us via email at contactastonbystonewi@ Or you can simply turn up at our monthly meeting. We’ll be pleased to see you.

Mayor’s Charity Donation to Theatre

At the August meeting of Stone Town Council, which was held at the Frank Jordan Centre due to Covid restrictions, two of the Crown Wharf Theatre trustees Craig Chesters and Mark Doran received a cheque from Mrs. Kristan Green, wife of last year’s mayor. Councillor Mark Green was unable to be with his wife on the night as he was in hospital but he insisted the cheque be presented as soon as possible. Mark Doran one of the “Wharfers” said how grateful they were to receive the £1000, realising the money had been raised during lockdown for the mayor’s charity, which must have been very difficult, and that he wished councillor Mark Green a speedy recovery. He explained to the full council meeting that the Crown Wharf Theatre was raising money to build Stone a fantastic theatre facility, which would bring hundreds of people to the town and that every pound donated would go a long way towards completion. If you would like to help too, you can donate online, details can be found at www.crownwharftheatre ED: We’re thinking of you Mark, wishing you all the best with your recovery.

Great Bridgeford Village Hall Opening

Sunset over Field Terrace

• Peter declares the hall open - Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Peter and Joy Jones with Village Hall Chairman Andy Wright The Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress Councillor Peter and Mrs Joy Jones officially opened Great Bridgeford Village Hall following renovations after the lockdown on Saturday July 24. A fete took place in the hall following the opening which was well attended by the local community. During the lockdown the hall was refurbished and now the Many thanks go to Michael Potter for emailing in this stunning photo of a sunset over many groups who use the facilities are re-starting sessions. Field Terrace. Mike told us it was his son that had captured this picture. For more details of the facilities and bookings contact Have you got a photo you’d like to share with our readers, if so send it in via email to Leslie Longstaff on 01785 282582.



Visit A Long-Lost Pyramid and the Norman Age All Saints Church Open to the public for two days only

Stone Care Home recruiting Autumn House care home, based at 37 Stafford Road, Stone, are recruiting Night Care Assistants. The rate of pay is £9.50 per hour, the shift is based around 12 hours, weekends on and off, part-time or full-time hours are available. Also, bank care staff, for nights, are required under the same terms. If you’re interested contact Julie Wrighton on 01785 812885 or you can email autumnhouse@northgate

New Co-op In Hixon Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress Peter and Joy Jones officially opened a new Co-op store in Lea Road, Hixon on Thursday July 23. The store was built on the site of the former Green Man public house.

Oulton Watercolour Society Exhibition Oulton Watercolour Society are holding an Exhibition and sale of original art with a Craft Fair too, at Oulton village hall on Saturday 16th October 10am - 4pm. The event is Free entry, with home made refreshments and a raffle. They are a lovely friendly group who meet on a Thursday evening 7.30pm - 9.30pm at Oulton Village Hall. New members and beginners are always welcome.

Barlaston Attic & Craft Sale There will be an Attic and Craft Sale on Saturday 16th October, from 2pm - 4pm at Barlaston Village Hall. There will be table top sales, crafts, jewellery, cakes, a raffle, tombola and refreshments. It’s Free entry and everyone is welcome. You tables available still at £10. Any enquiries ring Janet 01782 372 639 or 07770 55929.

Listed building is being left open to the elements August 16th: residents have been voicing concerns that the roof timbers of the Grade II Maltings in Adies Alley, which is undergoing restoration, have been left exposed for several weeks. Chairman of Stone Historical Society, Cllr Philip Leason told the Gazette, "A number of people have contacted me about the state of the building and the fear of its further deterioration with the lack of work on the roof. I have therefore being liaising with the Planning Department at Stafford Borough Council to ensure that this iconic building with its link to the brewing industry is not lost." On July 25th, Cllr Leason contacted Stafford Borough Council Conservation Advisor Alan Taylor, who sent this reply: “....I have now spoken to the contractor about the delay in completing repairs to the roof. Apparently when the roof was stripped the extent of timber decay was much greater than had been anticipated: he had been waiting for the structural engineer to provide a specification for the sizes of the replacement timbers (the historic timbers would have been undersized by modern standards).The engineers’ figures have now been received and work is scheduled to recommence next week.” “Although it is unfortunate that the interior of the building has been open during recent wet weather the additional saturation is unlikely to have caused significant further deterioration as substantial damage had already been caused through longstanding damp penetration.” The Maltings, which now belongs to the owners of the Crown Hotel, is thought to have been built around 1780 by Joules Brewery and still houses a kiln and the drying floor on the second floor. Philip explains, “It was used until 1908 when it was sold for use as a grain store. In 1963 it was sold to car dealers Hill and Swift who used it for vehicle storage.” “In 2016 Hill and Swift, who had received planning permission to convert the building into apartments and two ground floor shops, put the building up for auction.”


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

• Sandon limekiln is to open to the public as part of this year's Heritage Open Days. For more than a hundred years a mound beside the Trent and Mersey Canal, near Sandon, was overgrown and lost to view. Its purpose remained a mystery, even to local villagers. After being cleared and studied by archaeologists, the structure was revealed to be an eighteenth-century kiln. Its imposing frontage is like part of an ancient pyramid, but this side of the monument is still invisible from the canal, just yards away. The kiln is of exceptional interest. It was built in the 1790s, and was used to burn lime and to prepare flint for use in the pottery industry. In 2011 the kiln was listed as a building of historic and architectural importance. The decision was based partly on the unusual pyramid design, and partly on the technological significance. It is a very rare type of building, and the fact that it is largely intact is a real bonus. It has impressed and intrigued almost everyone who has seen it. The kiln comes as a surprise even to local people who have only known the overgrown mound that was visible from the towpath. Sandon limekiln is to open to the public as part of this year's Heritage Open Days. It will be open free of charge between 12.30 and 4.30pm on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September 2021. The volunteers who will be showing the kiln to the public are members of Staffordshire Historic Buildings Trust. The Trust is grateful to the Sandon Estate for permission to open the kiln to the public for these two days. The kiln is in a rural location, beside the Trent and Mersey canal, close to Sandon lock, and reached only from the canal towpath. Sandon lock is about 500 metres from the Dog and Doublet Inn (in the direction of Stafford). The event is free of charge. Further details are available on the Heritage Open Days website: visiting/event/sandon-limekilnl

Also...Heritage Open Days take place at All Saints Church, Church Lane, Sandon ST18 0DB The Grade 1 listed church building will be open on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th September from 10am until 4.30pm. A unique behind the scenes tour, (self-guided or supported by volunteer guides), will take you back to the origins of this pre-1130 Norman church through centuries of additions, changes, and reconfigurations. The church, which is situated on the Sandon Estate, overlooks the magnificent Trent Valley. It will be beautifully decorated with floral displays. Visitors will be able to explore the ancient tombs; view the 1782 Gallery pew installed to seat Baron Harrowby and his family; marvel at ancient wall paintings, the Royal Coat of Arms and Hatchments to the Harrowby family; admire the beautiful stained-glass windows, including one in the Pugin style; and climb the ancient bell tower to chime a bell! The fine collection of church silver will be on display. Children’s craft activities will also be available. They are offering tours of the graveyard, pointing out ancient memorials. Drinks and cakes will be available for a small charge.

On Sunday 12th September there will be a warm welcome to visitors to attend a special heritage themed service at 10am. For more information look them up on the Heritage Open Day website; or e-mail or telephone Elizabeth on 07534 915068.

Eccleshall Virtual Show a great Success

Following the cancellation of the 2021 Show due to the COVID pandemic, once again the organising team put their thinking caps on and came up with a range of classes that could be entered online. There were 68 classes in total and for the first time there was a Cat show with seven different classes to enter. In the Craft and Horticulture section there were classes for vegetables, flowers, cookery, handicrafts and photography. Parents found lots to keep the children busy during the summer holidays with a whole range of competitions including art, poetry, crafts and baking. The Companion Dog Show featured eight classes with some requiring video footage as well as still shots, while the Equestrian classes featured fancy dress and a “Golden Oldie” fancy dress picture from bygone years at the show. Other classes invited entries featuring the fun side of owning a horse. Poultry keepers could enter any of four classes with photos of their fowl and there were also three classes for eggs. There were three classes in the Classic Transport Show – for a classic car, a classic commercial and a classic tractor. All the classes were FREE to enter and there was prize cards for first, second and third prize winners. The 2022 show takes place on September 3rd 2022 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 a really extra special event.


Hilderstone Big Village Party Tired of the Lockdown Blues and ready for some much-needed fun, the village of Hilderstone came out in force to enjoy the Big Village Party on 31st July and, if Covid wasn’t going to stop then, nor was a little rain. Featuring Christ Church, Hilderstone Village Hall and The Roebuck Pub, this event was a ‘Celebration of Community’ and an opportunity for villagers to say ‘thank you’ to their friends, neighbours and families who have supported them throughout the last 18 months. Starting in the Village Hall, with its monthly Arts & Crafts Market and Tea Rooms, the programme of events included children’s activities in the Village Field, Tours and a Flower Festival in Christ Church, and the official re-opening of the Village Hall by Mrs Shelley, an original member of the Village Hall Committee back in 1955. No village event would be complete without Cream Teas by the Women’s Institute, who did themselves proud with a wonderful display of cakes, which were much appreciated by the hungry visitors. The day’s events closed in style with the ever-popular ‘Pop Up’ pub and BBQ, complete with live music at the Village Hall. This was followed by Buck-Fest, the annual live music festival in the Roebuck Pub, which finished off with a show-stopping performance by Andy Reiss and Katie Leeming of ‘Beyond the Barricade’. Tim Handley, Chairman of the Village Hall told the Gazette: “Throughout these challenging few months, we have seen our community at its best; neighbours and friends coming together to help the vulnerable, those self-isolating and those finding it difficult to cope with Lockdown. We wanted to celebrate this wonderful village spirit and, given that our Village Hall was originally set up to serve the community, it seemed fitting to use the event to mark the re-opening of our Village Hall following extensive refurbishment of the building and its outdoor space, including the new seating area by the pond. We are thankful to Mrs Peggy Shelley, a founding member of the Hall, for agreeing to re-open our hall at our village party event. “This was very much a community event, with villagers from as young as 5 weeks old, to those in their 90s, all joining us at this great get-together. Much fun was had by everyone - it was a real village-wide effort, bringing all our various groups together and making this a memorable event for us all.” The festivities closed on Sunday 1st August, with a ‘Celebration of Community’ communion service at Christ Church Hilderstone, followed by an Open Church in the afternoon, where visitors could explore this beautiful Georgian building and the striking Flower Festival. For Christ Church this was a chance to celebrate the church being open again after it had been closed due to Covid for so many weeks over the past 18 months. Roy Clark, Chairman of Christ Church PCC: “It has been a difficult time for many in our parish over these months but for so many from our village and beyond to come and celebrate our community, and see our historic church adorned with its beautiful floral displays, has been a truly joyous experience for us all. Nothing expresses the power of community like a village event like this.”

• Everything stops for tea!


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

• Mrs Peggy Shelly cutting the ribbon at the official re-opening of Hilderstone Village Hall. (L-R: Mr Tim Handley, Chairman of Hilderstone Village Hall, Mrs Peggy Shelley and Mr Mike Shelly, son of Mrs Shelley and member of Hilderstone Parish Council).

• Amongst the various Kids activities in the field was a fun-packed science event, run by Mrs Lisa Norwood.

• Jurassic Park made an appearance in the form of Matt Hammond and his pet T-Rex, with Mason Leeming (right).

• Just one of the beautiful displays on show in the Flower Festival - This one by Caroline Kitchen.


He never got sick of the taste! Christine Conlin had a chance meeting with a former Joules brewery worker On the July 20th opening day of Joule’s Crown Wharf Brewery Tap, its massed memorabilia included a living antique. Near the bar, quietly nursing a pint, sat retired former Joules brewery worker, 79-year old Billy Smith. 47 years after his last drink in a Joules pub in Stone, the wait, he said, was well worth it! Billy’s life has been devoted to making - and sampling - beer. In 1959, aged 17, he followed his father into Joules’ brewery where his first job was knocking the bungs out of returned barrels. A sprinkling of dry hops would be added to the clean empties to improve the beer’s keeping quality, Billy remembers. The barrel-making department was on the site of the present B&M store on Stone High Street. The iconic gabled building by the canal housed a below-ground cask conditioning section and above it, the bottling plant. Until the 1920s, Joules bottled beers were shipped via canal to the ports of Hull and Liverpool and exported all over the world. In 1912, Joules’ beers were recorded as stock on the Titanic. Billy then progressed to the brew house which stood next to the archway on Stone High Street. “Two boreholes there supplied water from an artesian well fed by a source in the Derbyshire Peaks,” he explained. “The gypsum and minerals in the water made Stone an ideal brewing centre.”

• Hot stuff: photo from an old newspaper cutting showing Billy at work Unloading the raw materials; sacks of hops and barley and 100 hundredweight blocks of invert sugar soon put muscles on him. In the new pub, the staircase up to the Directors Room reminded him of the narrow stairway in the brew house linking the three boiling coppers above and the mash tuns below. “My upper body and arms were so powerful, I could slide on my hands down the handrails without my feet touching the floor!” Billy learned to process the raw ingredients, operating the roller mill to crush the malted barley, using corn mill scales to blend different hop varieties according to the recipe and dissolve the huge blocks of invert sugar. The milled barley was added to the sugar solution and steeped in a mash tun, where enzymes converted the starch in the malt into sugars. Once the solids were separated out, the liquor, now called ‘wort’, was boiled in a copper for two hours to sterilise it. “It was like a giant pressure cooker with steam spraying out of the top,” Billy explains. “The smell got out onto the High Street and people would say, ‘They’ve got a brew on!’” Joules’ main brews were the medium-strong Stone Ale, Special Bitter and Mild, Billy explained. From October to March, they also brewed Royal Ale, so strong it was only served as half pints! “Because Joules only used the best ingredients and nurtured them through the brewing process, the quality of Joule’s beers was second-to-none,” Billy insists. He should know, because Joules operated


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generous beer allowances. “In the fermenting room, we were allowed one pint in the morning and one in the afternoon,” he remembers. “In the brew house, we had a double quota, but when barley malt was delivered, we could share it with the drivers.” “When I had the thirsty job of cleaning out the room-sized liquor tanks, Head Brewer Bill Lewington would give me the key to his holy of holies, his sample room, where I could help myself to as much Bitter, Stone Ale and Royal Ale as I wanted. I just had to lock up again and return the key to Bill’s desk. I never got sick of the taste!” Billy’s working day started early. Once or twice a week, when there was a double brew on, he clocked in at a quarter to three in the morning and finished at seven thirty at night. Otherwise, he had a more leisurely start time of 5am and worked till 6pm. “Unlike some of my mates, I wasn’t bothered by the strange noises the brewery made in the night!” “I liked 90 percent of what I did,” Billy fondly remembers. “At work I was always laughing, singing or whistling. After several beer ‘injections’, I’d be ready to do a tap dance in my clogs! Working at Joules’ was the best job in the world.” Joules were generous employers, Billy remembers. “At Christmas, we each got a 30 shilling meat voucher which you could take to any local butcher. The money was enough to feed a family of five.” • Cheers! Former Joules brewery worker Billy Smith Christmas parties would be held raises a glass on the opening day of Joule’s Crown Wharf in late January, once the seasonal Brewery Tap in Stone rush was over. “300 of us employees and spouses were invited plus the But this idyllic situation began to change from managers of Joules’ larger public houses. We used 1968, when rival brewery Bass Charrington to go to the Crown Hotel, but as numbers grew, we acquired 51% of Joule’s shares. “Bass introduced moved to the Lotus Shoe Factory canteen. There mass brewing, raising production from 4,000 was free beer for the gents and free wine for the barrels to 40,000 barrels a week,” Billy recounts. ladies.” “The brew house workforce increased from four to Joules’ benevolence went even further, as ten.” The Christmas celebrations continued, but employees were encouraged to set aside a guests now had to pay for themselves. proportion of their wages towards buying “Conditions weren’t quite as generous as before.” company shares. Their contributions were In the 1970s, Bass, having managed to acquire matched by the employer, Billy explained. “As a 100% of their shares, revealed their long-held foreman, I was able to set aside about £5 a week, strategy – to put Joules out of business. In 1974, which started me on the ladder of saving,” he they closed the Stone brewery and demolished continued. “I can’t thank the company enough for the building, making all the Directors and most what they did!” of the workforce redundant.

• Joules Brewery offices on Stone High Street (source: Staffordshire Past Track)

Billy joined in a protest march along Stone High Street organised by the Campaign for Real Ale. Michael Fabricant, now MP for Lichfield took part, Billy remembers, but there was no going back. “Bass were also closing seven other small breweries, so Joules didn’t stand a chance.” But Billy was one of the lucky few – Bass took him on as a delivery driver and he worked for them till retirement, acquiring the nickname ‘Billy Bass’! In the late 1990s, Billy sold his shares in Joules, later Bass, to buy the cottage and a little land near Fulford where he still lives with wife Sue, three dogs, three parrots, several geese and other animals besides. His housewarming party, a hog roast with free beer made him an instant hit with the neighbours. “We tapped the last barrel at five o’clock next morning!” Around the same time, at a former Joules pub, the Swan in Stone, landlord Brian Blundell and son Geoff began kindling the flame of Joule’s memory by re-introducing three Joules’ beers brewed to recipes supplied by former employees by a brewery in Warrington. But in Bass headquarters in Burton-on-Trent, a miracle was in the making. In their Marketing Department, young executive Steve Nuttall, tasked with researching the ‘ale trail’, came across some Joules advertisements. He loved their typeface and their gentle humour. Though he didn't know how the beers had tasted, his admiration for the Joules brand grew and grew. For example, Joule’s logo of the red cross, derived from the cross used by the brewing monks of Stone to mark and bless their barrels, is older than the logo of the International Red Cross. To this day, it is the only red cross that can legally be used by a commercial brand.

• Out on the streets: the 1974 CAMRA march and protest against Joule’s brewery closure

• Ready to serve: Kayleigh Knight, landlady of the Crown Wharf Brewery Tap

• What a find! This enamelled sign advertising Joule’s Stone Ales was unearthed during building works on Crown Wharf

Fast forward to 2009, and Steve, who had quit Bass and become a Joules Brewery Director, signed a brand licence agreement with Bass’s successor company. Moulton Coors retained ownership of the Trade Mark, but Joules was free to use it. This gave Joules a measure of independence. In December 2010, Joule’s opened their new brewery, 1/20th of the size of the old Stone Brewery, behind an original Joules’ pub, the Red Lion in Market Drayton. To ensure the new Joules Pale Ale tasted the same as the old, Head Brewer Adam Goodall turned to the last man to have brewed it, Anthony Heeley. “It came down to Anthony to taste it and tell us it was right,” said Steve. In 2017, having opened over 30 Joules pubs, Steve was finally able to buy out Molton Coors’s remaining rights to the Joules recipes, brand and trademarks. Joules had its freedom once again! Billy meanwhile has been regularly visiting the Red Lion in Market Drayton and other Joules pubs, the Royal Oak in Eccleshall and the Butchers Arms in Forsbrook to enjoy his favourite tipple, Slumbering Monk. So what does he think of Joule’s latest addition, its flagship Crown Wharf Brewery Tap? “It’s wonderful having Joule’s back in Stone again at last,” he says. “It’s just a pity they aren’t brewing here as well.” But as Billy surely knows, the Market Drayton brewery uses water from the same acquifer as the Stone brewery once did. According to Joules, while the composition varies slightly, the brewing ‘liquor’ is the same as that which made Joule’s reputation over 200 years ago.

• Famous red cross: an illuminated sign on display in the Wharf’s Cabinet of Curiosities



Stafford Borough public praised after trailer trash removed A senior councillor has thanked residents who contacted the borough council with information after a trailer of roofing rubbish was left in a lay-by near a local village. Councillor Jonathan Price, Cabinet Member for Environment, made his comments following the removal of the trailer which had a flat tyre, no registration plates and was heavily loaded with roofing waste. The council appealed for information through social and local traditional media and received a good response from residents with information about the incident on Worston Lane near Norton Bridge. The trailer had been left on Monday 7 June and is believed to have been removed around two weeks later. The council say they were eventually contacted by the owner who was arranging its removal. Councillor Price, said: “Thank you to everyone who contacted us with information regarding this. We really appreciate all the help we receive from our residents to keep our borough free from rubbish. I am pleased that the unsightly trailer and roofing waste has been removed from the lay-by at no cost to local taxpayers.”

Breathe in and smell the flowers At the beginning of each year, floral designs and colours are decided and allocated for our town. It’s hard to believe just how much work goes into the eye-catching displays of cauldrons, hanging baskets and the railing flower boxes, to guarantee the highquality standard we expect of the displays. These pictures show some of the teams putting the flowers in place. This year once again the displays have been outstanding and we say a huge thank you to all of the Streetscene members for working so hard to make our town so beautiful, and to Stone Town Council for funding the displays.

Become a Magistrate Staffordshire and West Mercia Advisory Committee is seeking applications from those interested in becoming a magistrate on the Staffordshire Bench. New magistrates are needed in the adult criminal court to sit in the Cannock Magistrates Court and at the North Staffordshire Justice Centre in Newcastle under Lyme. These are voluntary positions; you do not need legal training or formal qualifications to become a magistrate and we are looking for applications from across the county and from all sections of the community. Magistrates are not paid (although some allowances, including travelling expenses, can be claimed), and those who are successful in being appointed must be able to attend training and sit in court for at least 13 days a year – this is a minimum requirement. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 may apply. Applications are particularly welcome from members of Black and Minority Ethnic communities, people under the age of 50, people in paid employment, and people with a disability who are able, either unassisted or with the benefit of reasonable adjustments, to carry out the full range of a magistrate’s duties. If you are interested in being considered for appointment and want to find out more about the work of a magistrate and how to apply, see: become-magistrate. You may also contact the Chairman of the Staffordshire Bench, Adrian Robinson via email at Applications for adult criminal magistrates open on 1st August 2021 and closes on 10th September 2021 with interviews being held later in the year. Interviews will be held within Staffordshire or if any COVID restrictions continue to apply, virtually. Prior to submitting an application, at least 2 observation visits must be made to a magistrate’s court where magistrates are sitting; each visit should be for a minimum of half a day. Magistrates will tell you what a worthwhile and rewarding position this is – as well as doing something vital within the community, friendships are formed, and magistrates enjoy each other’s company.

Diseased tree in Stone park comes down A prominent tree in Westbridge Park in Stone was removed after suffering from a disease which could lead to it falling down. The tree has Inonotus Hispidus – a disease better known as ‘shaggy bracket fungus’ which attacks the interior of the wood causing the tree to become brittle and leads to fractures in the trunk. The disease weakens the tree and experts say it is now in poor condition and needs to be removed safely to prevent the risk of it potentially falling. Nearly 950 trees on the site have been surveyed by Stafford Borough Council recently. Wood that can be saved from felled trees has been used to support the river bank, opposite the park’s Stafford and Stone Canoe Club, to reduce the effects of erosion.


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Eccleshall Open Gardens Success

• Mayor and Mayoress with Myf and Brian Freeman (chairman of the Ecclian Society) in the Freeman’s Garden. The Eccleshall Open Gardens weekend Borough Councillor Tony Nixon and his held on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 June wife Mayoress Hazel visited the gardens attracted over 580 garden lovers to the on Sunday 20 June. The weather on town and raised almost £3090 (less Saturday was glorious but grey skies printing and insurance expenses) for the on the Sunday almost put a damper on Ecclian Society funds to support the proceedings. The organisers Anne and society’s work in the town. Luke Serjeant were “really pleased” with Eleven domestic gardens were open for the result. the public to enjoy. The Mayor of Stafford


Get ready to rock at Wharfstock! A big night of outdoor live music is being held in Stone in September to raise money for a brand new theatre and events space in the town. ‘Wharfstock’ takes place on Thursday 30 September at Westbridge Park and is being staged by the Crown Wharf Theatre charity. The event is being held on the Stone Food and Drink Festival site at the park, which gets under way the following day (Friday 1 October). The Joule’s Brewery bar will be open for Wharfstock, some delicious food will be available, and three brilliant bands will be taking to the big stage. Electro-acoustic band Vinyl Overdrive will open the show with some modern pop, rock and everything in between · Hairy Eyeball will pay tribute to the era when the Titans of Glam Rock stalked the charts · The Lack of Commitments – the hard-working saviours of soul – will blast out some sweet soul and Motown classics Gates open at 6pm, with the first band on stage at 6.30pm. Tickets will be available at Tickets cost £15, with a group offer of six tickets for £60. And there’s a special ticket price of £10 for blue light employees (NHS, police and fire). All proceeds from the event will help the Crown Wharf Theatre charity move one step closer to opening the doors to Stone’s very own theatre and events space. Harri Capernaros, Crown Wharf Theatre charity trustee, told the Gazette: “Wharfstock is going to be an amazing party, so grab your tickets and join us at Westbridge Park to enjoy some fantastic open-air live music with family and friends. “Thank you to Stone Food and Drink Festival for allowing us to use part of their site – and their big stage – for the event. And a big thank you to all the great bands who’re performing free of charge for us.” The Crown Wharf Theatre is a charitable project set up by local people to bring a new theatre and events space to the town. Located by the canal at Crown Wharf, the outer shell has been built as a donation to the community from Joule’s Brewery, Crown Wharf Theatre’s main sponsor. The charity is now raising funds to transform the building. Work started recently on the back-of-house areas thanks to a grant from the Town Hall Charities, and several large funding bids have been submitted to other organisations to help fund the auditorium work. As well as funding bids, the Crown Wharf Theatre project relies on the support of local people and businesses. There’s been backing so far through donations, offers in kind, corporate sponsorships, founding partners, volunteering, sponsoring a seat and more. You can find out more about how you can play your part at When completed, the octagonal 200-capacity venue will accommodate a wide range of events: from theatre, comedy, live music and dance to meetings, conferences, cinema and more.

• Hairy Eyeball - Titans of Glam Rock!

• The Lack of Commitments – will be serving up some sweet soul and Motown classics

• Vinyl Overdrive open the show with modern pop, rock and everything in between

“Written in Stone” - a new group for Stone u3a

• In her own write: tutor Bel Crawford


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“No, you don’t have to bring your own chisel,” I assured a jocular enquirer about the new u3a group, “paper and pencil will be fine”. “Written in Stone” is a proposed new u3a group for writers and would-be writers. It will aim to be an informal supportive group for all who enjoy writing at any level, on any subject and in any style; • A memoir or a shopping list • A lyric or a letter • A novel or a notelet We can always do it better ……… As a keen amateur writer myself, I am offering this writing group to Stone and District u3a members. My writing skills were recently honed over two years in the multi-talented “Scribblers” group, ably led in Stone Library by Lisa Culligan until the pandemic came along to spoil the fun! Since then I’ve been running a small independent group of memoir writers, mainly on Zoom. We are currently producing some remarkable work in very diverse styles, from scrapbooking to novel writing and everything in between! What is clear is that each individual is working in their own way and for their own enjoyment. The new u3a group aims to extend this remit to

include all sorts of writing, limited only by your own imagination…… to infinity and beyond ? Various techniques may be used, from workshops, to exercises, to reading other writers, to critiquing our own work. I’m hoping the group will eventually become largely participant-led. No one will be expected to share their writing unless they want to, just to offer their skills and ideas, (or even lack of them), to help and encourage each other to do the best work we all can, and hopefully be inspired ourselves along the way. The first meeting is at Christchurch on Tuesday September 7th, 10am-12noon, and fortnightly thereafter. You may try one taster session for free before being required to join u3a, for insurance and other reasons, if you should choose to continue. There is no charge other than Stone and District U3A membership. Group venues and leaders are required to follow Covid-19 safety precautions. Participants are expected to read u3a’s written risk assessment, which will be provided, before attending a meeting. You can contact me, Bel Crawford on 01785 817712.


ECCLESHALL NEWS IN BRIEF Butterfly observations in Eccleshall so far - by Thomas Knowles The quantity of butterflies seen this year is not dissimilar to last year which is interesting because a number of species during this peak period seem to be showing quite differently. Showing significantly better than last year recently are Large White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and still with low numbers Painted Lady but in contrast the very high numbers of Peacock and Small tortoiseshell have not yet been matched, Speckled Wood is struggling even more this year.

Gallery at 12 re-opens full time Gallery at 12 in Eccleshall has been open part time since April, and will be opening full time again - Monday through Saturday 10am-5pm from September with two new members and a revamped shop. One of the new members, Harriet Moss will be holding an exhibition of her unique work in the upstairs gallery throughout September.

Councillors Surgery Borough Councillor Peter Jones, one of the two councillors representing Eccleshall Ward will be in the High Street library on Saturday September 11 between 10am and 12 noon. He has re-started his monthly surgeries and will be in the library every month.

Parish Council The Eccleshall Parish Council holds its next meeting following the Summer recess on Wednesday 15th September 2021 at 7.30pm. For details of Council activities please visit the new website at The Council’s Civic Service which was interrupted by the Covid restrictions re-commences on Sunday 10th October at the Holy Trinity Church at 10am and is open to the regular churchgoers and residents. The Council holds a civic service every year’s rotating around the various churches in the parish.

Clerical Search With the moving of Vicar Jules Walker to take on the Uttoxeter parish team, the Holy Trinity church council in Eccleshall started its search for a replacement vicar in July, a period called an interregnum which can last many months to find the right person.

Your Plans for Platinum Jubilee? What are you thinking about doing to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next June. Individuals, organisations, businesses and pubs will have ideas of their own and the Eccleshall Parish Council’s events committee are anxious to find out what those ideas are. Four days of celebration have been allocated 2,3,4, and 5 June 2022. Councillor Libby Dale (01785 850124) email:libby.dale@eccleshallparishcouncil will be happy to hear your plans and ideas as soon as you have them. The Eccleshall Festival Street Market to take place on Saturday June 25 2022 is already planned to have a Platinum Jubilee theme.

Eccleshall Singers Members of the committee of the Eccleshall Singers met for an informal first meeting following lockdown at the home of musical director Gail Gee on Tuesday July 27 to discuss the future of the group. They are hoping to re-start the singers in the autumn.

Historical Society Eccleshall Historical Society will resume its meetings in September. They will be meeting at a new venue, the Parish Room at Holy Trinity Church and on a new night, the second Monday of the month. The first meeting will be on Monday 13th September at 7:30pm but please note that, for the time being, meetings will be "members only" with no visitors.


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Stone woman lands leading role in national campaign A talented young woman from Stone has landed a starring role in a new campaign being launched by a charity which uses the power of live music to enhance the lives of learning disabled people. The campaign being launched by Electric Umbrella is called ‘Plug In’ and encourages everyone across the country to join their community. The Hertfordshire based charity Electric Umbrella was set up five years ago by Mel Boda and Tom Billington to provide a platform for learning disabled people to enjoy live music, and in doing so challenge perceptions. The charity organises gigs, operatas, musicals and even festivals. Members regularly say they feel left behind by society and placed on the sidelines. Sadly, many of them have also experienced discrimination and say they could achieve far more than what’s expected of them, if given the right opportunities. During the pandemic they launched online sessions bringing fun interactive shows, singalongs, often with inspiring guests, for their hundreds of members, many of whom relied on these social and creative sessions to get them through this difficult time. Guests have included celebrities Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Toyah Willcox, Andrew Self, Dan Gillespie Sells from The Feeling and Tony Hadley - the two latter also sang on the charity’s Christmas single The Best Christmas (In Lockdown). Amy Barrett (34) from Stone, has a rare chromosome abnormality Jacobsen Syndrome, in which a portion of the 11th chromosome is missing. It affects about one in every 100,000 people. Amy lives independently with three housemates in a supported accommodation service here in Stone. Incredibly optimistic, Amy has settled into life away from home, after initially finding it really difficult, now she’s in a settled place with great friends around her. Singing and performing has helped Amy to build her confidence, and that’s had a tangible impact on her life, helping her become more independent such as being able to take the bus. Amy’s become a big advocate for Electric Umbrella, and has encouraged two of her

housemates, Lumi and Dave to get involved - they love it too. She is no stranger to stardom having previously appeared on the Holby City TV drama! Amy appears in a film for this campaign with her housemates Dave and Lumi who also often join the sessions. Amy told the Gazette: “When I was young mum and dad told me that a doctor said I’d never walk or talk and look at me now, they are so proud of me for what I’ve achieved. “I know people who don’t speak or they are in wheelchairs and some people barge into them or don’t leave the door open for them. We all need to respect one another. We have a right to be here and not to be put in a corner. “I have found something that I love with Electric Umbrella and my confidence has grown so much. It is a wonderful organisation and makes me feel happy and warm and fuzzy inside.” During lockdown over 1,500 people joined the Electric Umbrella community, and they have huge ambitions to grow that number with a blend of digital first and face to face sessions planned in the months ahead. Electric Umbrella Creative Director and co-founder Tom Billington said: “We believe our members can do anything they want and be anyone they want to be and we encourage them every step of the way. “We’d love to see a world where people are no longer defined by their disability but they are recognised for their incredible talents. “Our members are so full of energy and embrace life with such enthusiasm. I believe if more people had these qualities the world would be a better place. “When the pandemic started we found new ways to bring music to our members by starting online sessions and we discovered this is a brilliant way to reach so many more people. “We’ve created this amazing community online which is why we have launched this campaign Plug In to encourage others to join Electric Umbrella.” For more information visit:

Drinking in the cool depths

• Here’s to success: Steve and Michaela Bainbridge behind the Brewhouse bar The Izaak Walton Brewhouse opened its doors in the former Railway Inn at Norton Bridge on August 11th. The family-run fish-themed freehouse sells beers made in their own micro-brewery near the former Izaak Walton golf course just minutes away. The Izaak Walton cottage, which belonged to the celebrated 17th century angler and writer, is just minutes in the other direction. Their beers; blonde, gold, amber, IPA and porter, are all named after fish such as greyling and rainbow trout. Besides six tap brews, there are keg and bottle beers plus guest brews from the Bavarian brewery ABK. Ciders, wines, spirits and soft drinks are also served, as are teas and coffees, but not, as yet, food. The small quarry-tiled interior with its open fireplace has a maximum capacity of 30 and there is outside seating on benches near the ample car park. The family is headed by Steve Bainbridge, who after 30 years as Sales Manager for breweries including Holdens, Titanic and Joules, is achieving his dream of running his own brewery and pub. Steve is assisted by wife Michaela, daughters Claire, Sophie and Hannah and son Ryan, who at age 18, is one year into a master brewing course at Nottingham University. (The brewing is currently being supervised by Black Country brewer Andrew Brough.) In the coming months, there are plans to bring the brewery even closer by relocating it to the rear of the pub, Steve explains. Having launched in autumn 2019 and got off to a good start at the Stone Food and Drink Festival, the Izaak Walton Brewery was successfully supplying local pubs until the first Covid lockdown prompted a switch to home deliveries in bags and bottles. “The Brewhouse is really an outlet for the brewery,” explains Steve. Over in the brewery, Steve looks on • Man and masher: Ryan Bainbridge proudly as Ryan gives a basic rundown of in the Izaak Walton Brewery the beer brewing process with reference to water treatment, yeast management (the brewery now uses wet yeast) and varieties of malt. His tutors at Nottingham have told him that if he finishes in the normal time, he’s set to qualify as the youngest brewer in the country.” Making beer is a pretty cool job,” he says. The pub opening hours are: 11.30am – 6.30pm (Wednesdays and Thursdays); 11.30am – 7.00 pm Fridays and 11.30 – 4 pm Saturdays.

• The place and the faces: The Bainbridge family and Cellar Manager Johnny Owen (back row, l.)


Stone’s guerrilla gardeners News from Stone in Bloom These are the stories behind the flowers blooming along Kings Avenue’s railings and the re-planted ‘Northesk Triangle’. King Street is where passionate gardener and architecturally trained Ali Assadian from Tehran, now a teacher of Design and Technology, moved to a year ago. To celebrate Persian New Year last March, when grass seeds are traditionally sown, he bought a bird-food bag of sunflower hearts instead and soaked them in water. When they sprouted, he spread them on a cloth, and when the seedlings began to develop roots, he planted them in paper cups. But what to do with 400 seedlings? Some he gave to nearby St Dominic’s Primary School, some he presented to neighbours, but he still had a whole lot left over.

Round the corner, at the junction of Northesk Street and Station Road, the formerly overgrown triangular bed where two beech trees were cut down has been neatly replanted with two flowering cherries and a selection of shrubs. The people behind this are nearby residents Barbara Fradley and Rachel Selby, who also volunteer at Stone Station, helping to keep it trim and tidy. “In the first lockdown last year, doing something about the triangle became an obsession for us,” Barbara explained. “We were desperate to clear it, but didn’t know who the land belonged to.” Enquiries to the Town and Borough Councils yielded no definite information, but resulted in SBC’s Streetscene Team getting involved. In July last year, Streetscene sent three men to clear the patch. They took away two truckloads of waste, sprayed it and dug it over, Barbara continued. “We couldn’t have • On the sunflower side of the street: guerrilla gardener cleared it without them. Ali Assadian tends his plants. We’re also extremely grateful to the Triangle’s a selection of flowering and evergreen shrubs. nearest neighbour Dave. He took yet Spring bulbs add to the year-round interest. more bags to the tip and lets us use “We were able to retain some existing shrubs his outdoor tap for watering.” and Streetscene gave it a bark mulch to finish Realising that neighbours would the job,” said Barbara. “When we’re out be curious about what they were gardening, passing drivers have stopped to give doing, and might want to get us coffee and cake, or money to buy ourselves involved, Barbara and Rachel coffee and cake. Nobody else has volunteered to put the first of their newsletters help with the gardening so far, but any offers through their letterboxes would be gratefully accepted!” explaining their re-planting plans. “The Triangle’ lies on a gateway to Stone,” Neighbours responded by making Barbara reflects. “Now that it’s tidied up, it gives • Men in action: SBC’s Streetscene operatives clearing donations, enough to purchase the passing drivers a better first impression of the the Northesk Triangle two copper-leafed cherry trees and town.”

Inspiration came when he looked across the road to the railings bordering the railway line. Over the winter, neighbours Peter, Nick and Brent had cleared the brambles and weeds which had been grown through and were blocking the pavement. Their initiative left Ali a flowerbed about 100 yards long and 9 inches wide to play with. From May, having planted his sunflowers there, Ali was out there every day watering, tending and weeding. His gardening didn’t go unnoticed. “Soon, neighbours were giving me larger plants to fill the gaps with,” said Ali. “Then a lady stopped by in her car and gave me trays of bedding plants. It was Cllr Jill Hood from Stone in Bloom!” Besides the sunflowers, the strip is now planted with petunias, marigolds and perennial Japanese anemones, to name but a few. Said Ali, “Neighbours soon adopted the section opposite their homes, doing duty for any neighbours who couldn’t manage it physically. The growing and gardening gave me an interest in lockdown, helped me get to know my neighbours and has brought people together.”


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• A well-earned rest: Rachel (l) and Barbara admire their handiwork at the replanted Triangle

Pupils posters pop up around town Once again, this year Stone in Bloom volunteers have gone to town to display the posters designed by Stone first and middle school pupils. The pupils were asked to design posters of flowers spotted in Stone. Premises were more than happy to have the posters displayed, and the old Sue Ryder shop which has been outstandingly returned to its former glory asked if we could come back and put the posters on after the windows had been cleaned. If you haven’t noticed the children’s posters around the town, they are well worth taking a look at.

The wild flowers displays are once again thanks to our in bloom friend Peter Jones, and member Rob Kenney, Stone is stunning once again.

Rare Queen Elizabeth I coin sells for a stately sum A gold coin dating to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I was among precious lots that went under the hammer at Cuttlestones’ recent Specialist Gold & Jewellery Sale. When several items of gold came into Staffordshire’s Cuttlestones Auctioneers recently for valuation, gold & jewellery specialist Dave Eglington found himself coming face-to-face with one of the most fascinating women in history. Amid a selection of interesting coins, one particular example stood out – bearing the unmistakable profile of Queen Elizabeth I. The hammer-struck gold coin would not have been in everyday circulation, but used for high value transactions, diplomatic gifts and wealth transfer, its image of Elizabeth in her full splendour as a great Protestant monarch - the equal to any of her Catholic rivals - a political statement. Dating back to 1594-96, the gold pound drew interest from bidders online from around the world - going on to sell for an impressive £8,500. Dave says: “We knew when this coin came in that it was something special – and this was reaffirmed by our coin specialist Adrian Simmons, who uncovered more of the lot’s history. It just goes to show how important it is to get gold and jewellery items professionally valued rather than rely on ‘cash for gold weight’ services – the value of this coin in terms of its weight would have been just £480!” Lots performed exceptionally well across the catalogue, with other highlights including a George VI 1937 gold sovereign which went for £2,400; a diamond and seed pearl antique necklace which fetched £3,000; a hallmarked 9ct gold limited edition Wintston Churchill chalice, which achieved £2,500 and an 18ct gold graduated diamond bangle, which saw the hammer fall at £2,600. Cuttlestones is now taking consignments for its next Specialist Gold & Jewellery auction – to arrange a free, no obligation appointment, call 01785 714 905 or email Full sale results can be found at

• The hammer-struck gold coin shows the unmistakable profile of Queen Elizabeth I.

• Jenny Turnock, Liz Hill, Judith Roberts and Ann Chamberlain amongst the first visitors.

Coffee & Fellowship A fortnightly “Coffee and fellowship” morning started in the parish room at Holy Trinity, Eccleshall All are welcome to call and share some fellowship. Hot drinks and biscuits will be available for £1.


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Burgess just misses out on a medal

• Adam pictured competing in the ICF Canoe slalom World Championships Photo from Wikipedia. Fourth is supposedly the worst place to top half and I’d seen the way the event had finish in an Olympic final, but Stafford gone before me, so I backed off a little bit to and Stone Club’s canoe slalom star Adam make sure I got the job done,” said Adam. Burgess is philosophical about missing That’s where a few mistakes crept in and out on a medal at this year’s Toyko made it close.” Games. Covid restrictions at the Tokyo Games The 29-year old from Stoke finished in meant Adam had to fly home early 103.86 seconds, just 0.16 seconds behind without the opportunity to support Team Bronze Medallist Sideris Tasiadis of GB’s other canoe slalom stars in person. Germany. Lukas Rohan from the Czech In the women’s C1 slalom, Silver was Republic took Silver and Benjamin Savsek taken by GB’s Mallory Franklin with a time of Slovenia took Gold. of 108.68. She was beaten only by world "No regrets out there today. I can be proud No 1, Australia’s Jessica Fox. of the composure I felt at the start-line, and But maybe fourth is not such a bad the focus and fight during my race runs,” place after all. At the Tokyo Olympics said Adam, who uses Yoga as part of his Team GB notched up 14 fourth places, training. coming third to the Russian Olympic “It was such a hard course out there – it Committee’s 15 and the USA’s 26. That’s wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever done but I got to be strength in depth. had a feeling I was going to miss out,” said And in the overall Tokyo medals count, Adam. At the sun-baked Kasai centre, Team GB came away with 65, behind the temperatures were so high that competi- Russian Olympic Committee with 71, tors said it was like paddling in bath water. China with 88 and the USA with 113. “I was happy with my semi-final Fourth place can be something to be performance. I knew I’d had a really good proud of after all.

St John’s go rambling for Action for Children

It was a rather wet and soggy start to a charity fundraising ramble for members of St John’s Church, but the sun soon appeared and a lovely walk ensued from Westbridge Park, along the canal and over the plott. An amazing and incredible £1200 was raised!! with more monies still coming in. The money raised will be going to support Action For Children’s project in Stoke on Trent ,’Aiming High’ which


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provides short break services and one to one support for young people with disabilities. Jean Smith from St John’s Church who organised the ramble thanked everyone for their support and kind donations. It is hoped to make it a regular event. More details and information about St John’s Church can be found on their facebook page, St John’s.

Stone-based entrepreneur brings together women from across the world in global bestselling book Heart-led Entrepreneur Stacey Knight-Jones, 37 from Stone, Staffordshire, is celebrating this week, after uniting 17 amazing women from across the world in an empowered collaboration book ‘There She Glows’ – showing what’s possible when women dare to come home to that place of self-acceptance, live with purpose and determination, share their gifts and shake the world. Only a few hours after the eagerly anticipated book’s release – it flew to number one on the Amazon book charts in many categories including; home-based businesses, women & spirituality… and the business life category, overtaking and sitting alongside; ‘Ted Talks’ by Head of TED, Chris Anderson and ‘Never Split the Difference’ by American businessman, author, and academic - Chris Voss. Stacey alongside her business partner Lucy Crane, are the leaders of the Glow Society™ a Global Collective, consisting of heart-led women from across the world who are ready to finally break free, live their purpose, launch their calling, and be awakened to their highest purpose, potential and dreams. Lucy is a Soul Aligned Business Alchemist, NLP Practitioner, Theta Healer, Accredited Master Coach, 4x Best Selling Author, and the Founder of the Glow Society™; has joined forces with her soul sister, Stacey, who is a Mindfulness Expert, NLP Practitioner, Life Purpose Coach, and fellow Best-Selling Author to launch this incredibly powerful collaboration book ‘There She Glows’ - showcasing many women who in their own journeys have left their old stories behind them, realising their dreams and sharing their gifts to shake the world in their own unique way. Together both Lucy and Stacey ignite the Feminine and Masculine Energies of Life, Business and Coaching Mastery (the Yin and the Yang) providing women with the guidance, love, support, knowledge, and inspiration to fearlessly launch their calling, come home to the magic that is already in them and live and be like they never thought they could. The duo have partnered with 17 incredible women from around the world, from countries including; the UK, Australia, and Germany and together, these co-authors share their own journeys of; grief, trauma, adventure, new perspectives, new paradigms, the journey of trusting and being you, and chasing your dreams (no matter what age you are), as well as more lifelong support and everyday health challenges. Stacey, has always been inspired by her children and supporting women to create a life that allows them to be present with who and what matters most in their world. She had a vast background in many entities always striving to fill that calling she had inside of her to be and live more. It wasn’t until she took her own journey of coming home and embracing her own magic that she was truly able to break free as an entrepreneur. Stacey told the Gazette; “I wholeheartedly believe we’re capable of having it all and living a life of uncompromised dreams. I work with women every day who want to live, create and experience. I also know it’s scary to make a change and to even think that any of this is possible. I used to feel the same and it takes commitment and bravery and that’s what this book is all about; it will give confidence to every reader, that if these women are making the change, so can they!”

Stacey and Lucy met a couple of years ago and immediately felt aligned. These business soul sisters, have now further spread the power of collaboration with the creation of this book, and hope to spread it even further with the ripple effect of its wider readership. Stacey continues; “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our amazing contributors for sharing their beautiful and courageous stories; for choosing Love over Fear and having the courage to share their truth to empower the rest of the world. We have complete love and gratitude for them all, and between them we know they will support the reader, in getting to the highest and most inspired vision for their lives and futures.” ‘There She Glows’ is available to purchase on Amazon Together, Lucy and Stacey feel incredibly passionate about supporting women to share their message to the world, to inspire and empower others, as well as providing a platform for women to truly shine and step out into the world. After the positive impact of this Collaboration Series, 'There She Glows' – Lucy and Stacey plan to create future opportunities for women with new book collaborations already in the pipeline.


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

How to create a great first impression Christine Conlin learns about Stone’s connection with the works of Shakespeare Did you know that the author of “To be or not to be?” also introduced 1,700 words and phrases into the English language, many still in use today? Whenever we talk about “laying it on with a trowel”, “breaking the ice” or use the words “lonely, “frugal” and “dwindle” we’re actually quoting Shakespeare! But how did the Bard’s immortal words survive the rough and tumble world of the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre and come down to us today? In his garage off Grange Road, Stone, printing expert and woodworking genius Alan May has spent 18 months painstakingly recreating the story’s missing link. In the late 1500s and early 1600s, creating new plays was like writing for a modern-day sitcom or soap opera. New scripts were constantly being churned out and the acting company would only keep them if they thought could revive them later. That’s probably why none of Shakespeare’s original manuscripts survive. Alternatively, the script might be sold for a quick profit to a publisher (copyright did not exist back then). Of the 37 plays Shakespeare wrote, 17 were printed individually in his lifetime and one after his death in 1616. Seven years later, two of his fellow actors and friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell, collected and edited the handwritten sources such as early drafts, actors’ copies and prompt books of 18 further plays, collating them with the 17 published plays to produce the first collected and authoritative edition of Shakespeare’s work in print. It’s called the ‘First Folio’ because it was printed on folio-size sheets, roughly A3. Without the First Folio, previously unpublished plays such as ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘The Tempest’ might have never survived. The title page bears Shakespeare’s portrait – one of only two with any claim to authenticity. Of a probable print run of 750, 235 copies survive today. One of the most valuable printed books in the world, a First Folio recently sold for $10 million. There are seven copies in England, but the largest collection (82 copies) is held by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, USA. In 2019, four years ahead of the 400th anniversary of the First Folio’s printing in 2023, the Folger approached Alan to recreate a working model of the press it would have been printed on. The press is to be displayed in the expanded exhibition space the library is creating to mark the anniversary. Alan, a retired typography lecturer from Reading University, is one of the very few people in the world with the knowledge and skills to research, design and build replicas of historic printing presses. He already has eight to his credit, including the type of 18th century common press reputedly used by Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the USA. For the 2008 BBC TV programme “The Machine that Made Us” presented by Stephen Fry, Alan recreated the first printing press, invented in the 1450s by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany to print the Bible. As no models or accurate drawings of the Gutenberg press survive, Alan had to deduce its design from the pages it had printed. But for the First Folio press, he had some instructions to go by. Alan takes up the story: “In 1683, 40 years after the First Folio was printed, an Englishman called Joseph Moxon published a book titled ‘Mechanick Exercises on the whole Art of Printing’. This is the first full description of printing and is commendably


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

detailed. It contains descriptions and some drawings of all the printing equipment used at this time including a description of the press.” “Moxon also gives two drawings, one showing the so-called ‘old-fashioned press’ alongside a ‘new-fashioned press’ being used in Amsterdam. But going by the dates, I knew the First Folio press had to be an ‘old-fashioned’ one.” Using his newly-acquired skills in Computer Aided Design, Alan produced working drawings to construct a quarter-scale model. But when he assembled it, an error emerged. It turned out that Moxon’s drawing of the ‘oldfashioned’ press was an inadequate basis for producing a design. “Moxon had an agenda,“ Alan explained. ”He was trying to promote the ’new fashioned’ Dutch press which replaced some of the wooden components of the traditional English Box Hose press with metal components. Moxon refers disparagingly to the traditional English press as the ‘old fashioned press’ but apart from the changes he proposed, the two are almost identical and his modifications were not widely used by later press builders in England.” Going back to the drawing-board, or rather, the CAD screen, Alan took the measurements of the • Holy of holies: the Reading Room of the Folger Shakespeare ‘new-fashioned’ press as the basis Library, Capitol Hill Washington with a First Folio on display. for building fresh scale models, Photo by Julie Ainsworth. source: https://commons. intuitively adding a component not shown in either drawing but which he knew had to be there. As Stephen Fry said of his Gutenberg press cut, planed, turned and polished the 100 or so components, before assembling them into the re-creation, “If something feels right, it is right.” In summer of 2019, satisfied that his models vertical frame and its two-pull bed. “The press were correct, Alan started making the is quite decorative,” says Alan, pointing out the full-scale press, using French oak supplied by knobs on the hindposts and the carving round the cap. local timber merchant Venables. From stock sizes of wood, Alan painstakingly

• Alas poor Yorick! The first two pages of ‘Hamlet’ in a First Folio Source: Wikimedia commons images Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection

Some metal components such as the pull bar, press thread and nut were made by Steve Boden Engineering of Uttoxeter, but Alan crafted the hooks and hinges himself plus the metal housing of the box hose (seen behind the pull bar in the photo). The assembly was completed in January this year. What a creative way to spend a lockdown! To satisfy himself that the press was functional, Alan commissioned a Liverpool company to produce a zinc line block based on high-resolution digital images supplied by the Folger Librarian of two First Folio pages. Once the lineblock was delivered, Alan fixed it into the print bed, inked it, put a folio sheet of paper in place, then swung the handle to lower the heavy platen which impresses the paper onto the type beneath. When he lifted the paper off the press, the first two pages of ‘The TRAGEDIE OF HAMLET, Prince of Denmark’ were clearly legible! To ship the press across the pond, Alan will dismantle it, numbering all the components and write detailed instructions for re-assembling it in the Folger. “I’d love to go over myself,” he says, “but if my health prevents me from travelling, my son Martin, who taught me how to use CAD, will do the job instead.”

• Perfect copies: Alan prints a trial copy of two First Folio pages ‘Hamlet’ using his replica printing press

Built on Washington’s Capitol Hill, the Folger Shakespeare Library has the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works. It was established in 1932 by Standard Oil Magnate Henry Clay Folger in association with his wife Emily Jordan Folger, who chaired the foundation after her husband’s early death. The building also houses a theatre and its the interior of its reading room is modelled on an Elizabethan country house. The library offers both advanced scholarly programmes and national outreach to schoolteachers on Shakespeare education. It also has an early-music consort. Alan expects the press to be used for experimentally printing individual First Folio pages. This will use the earlier print process of moveable metal type, where individual lead-cast letters were placed in a forme to make up a page of text. “Using moveable type meant that printed sheets could be proofed and corrected while the book was still being printed,” Alan explains. For example, a letter might have been printed upside down and would need to be turned round so it would print correctly after that. But the First Folio printers still used the sheets with errors on them. They were probably working to a budget!” “As as result, there are differences from one copy of the First Folio to another,” Alan continues. “That’s why Shakespeare scholars are debating to this day whether this or that wording in a First Folio is correct.” But one thing’s for sure, when it takes its place in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Alan’s replica of the First Folio printing press will make one helluva good impression!


Target Windows take on a mountainous challenge for Dogs Trust

• (L-R) Installation Director Mick Tune, Installations Office Manager Nicola Green, Director Guy Basnett, Commercial Manager Sam Plant & Jodie Plant Order Processor who took part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. The Target Windows team went hiking 24.5 miles across the mountains of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-yghent to complete the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge, in aid of raising vital funds for the national charity, Dogs Trust. The team was led by the director of Target Windows, Guy Basnett, and also included Nicky and Rich Green, Sam and Jodie Plant, and Mick Tune. All of them took part in this challenge on Saturday 21st August – it wasn’t easy, but they knew the team were up to it! Team Target decided to take on this challenge to raise money for their chosen charity, Dogs Trust, as they are all dog lovers and are passionate about the amazing work they do. Dogs Trust work hard to run 21 rehoming centres across the UK with the aim to protect over 16,000 dogs annually – focusing on the rehabilitation and rehoming of dogs which have been either abandoned or given up by their owners. Target Windows, a family-run business operating for almost 40 years in Staffordshire, started working with Dogs Trust in 2011. In just over 10 years,Team Target has completed 15 projects at Dogs Trust kennels at: Loughborough, Evesham, Basildon, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Salisbury, Brighton, Darlington, Cardiff, Shrewsbury, Kenilworth, Glasgow, Newbury and Canterbury. These projects involve installing specially adapted windows and doors in their rehoming centres to help create a comfortable environment for the dogs. Guy Basnett told the Gazette: “They were spending a lot of extra money making and ordering acoustic barriers out of expensive hardwood to keep the noise from the barking down to a minimum. “We suggested that they could change these to UPVC, which are maintenance free and a lot cheaper. From that job, we have completed many installations, from refurbishments of their existing centres to installing at their new ones. We have the ability to help insulate the dogs’ kennels and help to create a comfy environment for them, which is fantastic, because we’re all dog lovers!”


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Stone Common Plot - Annual Inspection Stone Common Plot offers you extensive walks on your doorstep. The Common Plot covers an area of some 75 acres and is located to the north of Stone . The Plot is a registered charity and is administered by a group of elected Trustees representing Stone, Oulton and Meaford. There are also appointed Trustees from

Stone Town Council and Stone Rural Parish Council. The above photo shows the Common Plot Trustees, on their Annual Inspection on the 27th of June 2021. For more information visit their website at Above Photo by Martin Robinson.

Council looking for heroes in Stone & Eccleshall

• Images from Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Stone’s Will Jenkins Scores Top Ten Result At Oulton Park Will Jenkins produced a battling performance to secure a seventh place finish in the sole race of a quiet weekend in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship at Oulton Park (31 July / 01 August). Buoyed by a great start to the 2021 season that left him just three points shy of the championship lead heading into the five week summer break, the Staffordshire racer made the short trip up the M6 to Cheshire feeling confident of a strong performance around one of his local circuits. A positive start on Friday saw the Hopkins Motorsport, Asset Alliance Group, Corroconsult and Digraph backed driver end the two free practice sessions in third overall, less than a tenth of a second off the top of the timesheets. Unfortunately Saturday’s qualifying session would prove to be a frustrating one. The 16 year old ended up an uncharacteristic 11th on the grid for both of the races, which were scheduled to follow on Sunday in front of packed banks as spectators returned in full force. Putting the qualifying frustration behind him, Jenkins produced a spirited performance in his Elite Motorsport Ginetta during a shortened opening

encounter. Competing live on ITV4, he gained two places on the opening lap and was eyeing further progress before the safety car emerged on track. This soon became a red flag stoppage, with the race running over just four laps at the restart. The Stone resident held position on a busy opening tour, before making a couple of decisive overtaking moves as the race developed to secure seventh at the chequered flag. Unfortunately with a number of delays across the weekend’s racing, the decision was made to postpone their scheduled second race until the visit to Knockhill in two weeks’ time (14/15 August). That means there will be four races contested across the weekend in Scotland. Will told the Gazette “It’s been a strange weekend. To only end up with five racing laps is a real shame, but that’s how motorsport pans out sometimes. It does mean we will have a very busy meeting at Knockhill, which we’re looking forward to. “We were happy with our pace across free practice, so it was frustrating to end up back in 11th in qualifying. I was right in the thick of the action in race one though, so focused on keeping out of trouble and making some moves – I just wish there was more laps.”

People are being asked to nominate unsung heroes from across Stafford Borough for a popular annual award. The Stafford Borough Council ‘Community Awards’ are now in their fifth year and recognise the efforts of local people, businesses, schools and other groups that help to support and improve the community. The council is expected to be inundated with nominations because of the number of great deeds being carried out throughout the last 12 months during some of the most challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. The categories are Local Hero, Community Action, Environmental Improvement and Social Wellbeing. There is also a category to recognise sporting achievements in the borough which was introduced as part of the awards last year. Nominations are open to all people, groups and organisations operating within the borough with projects that have been running during the last 12 months. To find out more about the criteria for each category, and to nominate, go to communityawards The closing date for nominations is 20 September. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Rising Brook Church, Stafford, in November. The awards ceremony last year was held virtually and winners included Fulford Parish Community Action Group who supported more than 400 people with shopping, prescriptions, hospital appointments or making welfare calls. Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Health, said: “This is such a great opportunity to recognise those people within our borough who put others before themselves and help make our area a great place to live, work and visit. “In the face of another challenging 12 months we have seen great things from many individuals, volunteers, groups and businesses. “I expect the heroics from our community will see us with lots of nominations – and the most difficult task will be determining a winner, because they are all deserving of our heartfelt thanks, recognition and respect.” He added: “Like many events over the previous year our awards ceremony had to be run virtually in 2020 – and it was still amazing to see so many inspirational people and hear about all the selfless work they were doing for the benefit of others. “Their work often goes unnoticed, so these awards give us the opportunity to pay tribute to them and demonstrate that we value all that they do.” More information and a full list of 2020 winners from


Rail route changes signalled

• Four diners with club Chairman Peter Chamberlain 2nd from right

Trinity Men’s Fellowship Lunch Members and partners of Eccleshall’s Trinity Men’s Fellowship group enjoyed a carvery lunch at the Hollybush Pub in Seighford on Friday July 30. The Hollybush is a popular destination for this group which usually includes a walk before lunch for its more active members. The Fellowship is open to men who live

in Eccleshall Parish and enjoy walking and getting together. The next planned walk will take place on Friday August 27 in the Norbury area with lunch at The Junction. For details of membership and activities contact the secretary Rob Hughes on 01785 851371.

• Blooming marvellous: a wildflower bed planted by volunteers near the Stone Station level crossing As if the past year hasn't been enough to change the way we travel, yet more changes are on the way for rail users at Stone Station, writes Jon Heal, Chair of North Staffs Rail promotion Group. Jon has been in touch with West Midlands Trains management, who still request passengers to use face coverings in any crowded place, out of respect for people who may be a bit hesitant after a series of lockdowns. Jon says, "It is pleasing to see more people using the trains since the start of the holiday period. Young people are clearly keen to travel again, but some older people need reassurance about their own safety. Many of us think it would have been easier to keep the regulations as they were for longer." In December there will be a route change for passengers going to and from Birmingham. The London Northwestern Railway service that calls at Stone will still be on a route from Crewe to Birmingham, also calling at Stoke and Stafford. However Jon has recently been told that between Wolverhampton and Birmingham it will use a different line. Although this will take slightly longer, it will allow connections to Walsall. Jon has noticed one other benefit. "At first we were not happy that this has been decided without consultation, but for those of us with tickets for the Commonwealth Games next year, this should make travel to the athletics in the Alexander Stadium much easier. The nearest station to the stadium is Perry Barr." "We also have asked to make travel to London easier with better connections at Stafford. Since the timetable changes made in May 2019, the early morning connections on to the London train have not worked well at all." NSRPG also hope that some people on the way to the station have noticed the results of the volunteers' efforts to enhance the Station Approach road. The once neglected patch near the level crossing has been made colourful with wild flowers tended by Stone volunteers Barbara Fradley and Rachel Selby. Station volunteers are welcomed by North Staffs Community Rail Partnership, who work to improve the station environment, and receive funding from train companies such as West Midlands Trains and Avanti. To help at Stone contact Emma McIntosh, who has plans for more planters on the platform, at NSRPG are the rail user group who campaign for better train services. They have now resumed regular face-toface meetings, to which anybody is welcome. For any comments readers wish to raise with the train companies, please contact The group are particularly keen to hear any comments about whether face coverings on trains are still necessary, and whether information about train times is easy enough to find.


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Safety message at former Police Station Towards the end of their summer term Christchurch First School children were invited to design safety posters, to be displayed on the site fencing by Stone based company CCP Developments Ltd, in conjunction with the Stone firm Vickers Plant Services. The developers are renovating the former Stone Police Station on Radford Street, and wanted the children to be made aware of the dangers of straying on

to building sites. With their emphasis on safety the children came up with some colourful and exciting posters. Prizes were awarded by the two firms to winner Maria Year 3, 2nd Hettie Year 4, 3rd Thomas year 3. County councillor Jill Hood was invited to join in the fun and said “ The children had a great time and will enjoy seeing their artwork displayed on the boarding “.

Stone Branch celebrate Legion Centenary Members of the Stone Branch celebrated the centenary of the Royal British Legion with a picnic in Stonefield Park, where the raised flower bed has been planted to depict the Legion logo.


Stone Choral Society sing and eat again! As with all non-professional choirs Stone Choral Society had not been able to meet and sing together for over a year so when restrictions were lifting preparations began for a live concert at some stage in the future. The choir hope this will be in the autumn and so getting voices back in shape was a must. All those rehearsals which had taken place on Zoom had been so valuable in keeping brain and voice working but to sing for real in the same space was what we all wanted. After a few weekly rehearsals singing in our temporary space at The Crossing (thank you to those who enabled this) we felt we were getting back to our usual form and confidence increased. Our plans for a return to our regular rehearsals at Manor Hill First school in September now seem a real possibility. We had also missed the various social times that normally are part of our choir life. Summer was here, the sun was out, temperatures rising and what better to get us all together than a barbecue. We had an ideal venue in Oulton Village Hall with plenty of outdoor space, and a hall that could be well ventilated as a precaution against Covid 19 transmission. The pretty floral pots and borders of the Hall helped to bring a festive atmosphere to the occasion too. There was a grand turn out with over 50 people attending, plenty of colourful freshly made salads and the appetising smell of the barbecue meats cooking. How relaxing it felt to be having a choir social event again after such a long period! There were some ‘garden games’ set up and then even though we were lacking our usual direction from our conductor and pianist (both on holiday) we sang a few simple songs together. As part of the event, Stone Choral Society members were very generous in donating £300 to the Crown Wharf development. As part of the Stone community it’s gratifying to see the progress made at the Crown Wharf. The spirit of the choir had returned and it felt as though we were well on the way to being able to work for a future concert. Anyone interested in joining the choir can contact 07885 896651 or email You would be very welcome.


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Trentham Live 2021 - September 3rd / 4th and 5th 2021 Trentham Live 2021 announces three great events set over one weekend featuring a stellar line-up of artists. From Friday 3rd September through to Sunday 5th September 2021, Trentham Estate will welcome some of the world’s biggest music stars, to their new music event Trentham Live! Headliners for this year’s September weekend include pop legends McFLY who will launch the first of the weekend’s events on the Friday night. McFly said “We are delighted to be the first headliner of Trentham Live on the 3 September. We are told that musical greats such as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles played at The Trentham Estate in the past, so we’re in very good company. We can’t wait to see our fans there and perform live for them again after such a strange year”. Joining McFly will be special guests including TikTok star and singer Chloe Rose. Saturday 4th September sees band THE VAMPS joining the line-up. “We can barely contain our excitement at the thought of being able to play a show, outside, with you all this summer. Trentham Live we're coming for you and it's gonna be a party. We'll see you there”. Also playing alongside The Vamps include X Factor winners Rak Su and Amy Jo (Hollyoaks). Completing the 3-day event line-up is classical legend ALFIE BOE who commented “I am absolutely thrilled to be headlining Trentham Live on 5th September 2021! I can’t wait to be performing outdoors in a beautiful setting at The Trentham Estate, seeing and singing along with my fans (in the flesh, finally!!!) I’ll also be sharing new material by then so this will be exciting for so many reasons, particularly after the crazy year we have all had”. Supporting Alfie Boe on the final evening will be the fabulous musical theatre act Collabro, who added “How exciting that we get to perform at Trentham Live later this year and to be on the bill with such wonderful artists! We can’t wait to get out and perform again after the year that 2020 has been, and we’ve got so much to show everyone!”. Joining both Alfie Boe and Collabro will be Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowall. A spokesperson for the Trentham Estate, said, “We’re excited and looking forward to bringing stars, international and homegrown, such as McFly, The Vamps and classical legend Alfie Boe to Trentham this year. It will be an unmissable weekend of incredible live music and entertainment for all ages”. For more information on Trentham Live 2021, go to

• Hollyoaks star Amy Jo Clough

• TikTok star and singer Chloe Rose


Proms in the playground get kids finger snapping

Wool Festival Returns Wool@J13, the Midlands’ No. 1 wool show, has booked its place for a live, lovely and much anticipated 2021 show which takes place on the weekend of November 13th & 14th in a change to its normal schedule of May. And it’s raring to go with a full list of woolly exhibitors on board waiting to have a conversation with colour directly with their patient woolly audience. “We are so looking forward to welcoming wool lovers everywhere back to a live experience in what we hope will be a safer world. The wait has been a frustrating time for us all,” said Ingrid Wagner, co-organiser and Creative Director of Wool@J13. Winter Wool@J13 will be held inside the impressively revamped Play Barn, at its usual venue of Lower Drayton Farm, near Penkridge. Totally transformed inside and with a fully functioning large car park outside, the Play Barn opened in August 2020 with a team led by Val James, Ingrid’s fellow Wool@J13 organiser, who have become very experienced in implementing Coronavirus public events. Exhibitors confirmed for the November show include the returning and ever popular Rosie’s Moments, Beaker Button and Snuggly Stars Yarns with Hedgehog Equipment making their way over from Wales and For the Love of Yarn down from Scotland. Winter Wool@J13 will also be welcoming new exhibitors in Ruth Sprague’s beautiful Illuminating Weaves and the fibre processing business, Lilipop Mill, both from Staffordshire, along with the 3D printed tools for crafters from Moon On A Stick. If you are an exhibitor whose business is wool and you would like to apply, the show has a few spaces available. The closing date for applications is the end of July. Head to the website for more information. In with the vendors in the warmth of the Play Barn will be the Peckish Pony food traders plus live music to lend what Winter Wool@J13 hopes to retain – the renowned festival atmosphere of the show. The popular Stash Swap will also be back and workshops will be housed in the comfortable surroundings of the Farmhouse at Lower Drayton. Visitors can also look forward to being greeted and looked after by the Wool@J13 Team of Volunteers, led by Fiona Beech. “Stitch a Brick” will also be a part of Wool@J13’s aim to promote mental health awareness with the public being invited to knit, crochet, felt or weave their own brick to become part of a wall reflecting their own negative emotions & positive outcomes. Full details including patterns are available on the Wool@J13 website & social media pages. “We had already planned this for 2020,” says Ingrid, “and we feel it will be even moreimportant in a year when many people will have dealt with a whole sea of different & difficult situations both in their public & private lives. We want to give them a chance to express this.” Wool@J13 will also be offering half price tickets to all NHS workers (in whatever capacity) who would like to attend the show. Purchase of these will be by a code and photo ID presented with the ticket at the show itself. Advance tickets are available online now, priced at £6.50 for Day Tickets (on gate £7.50) and £11 for Weekend tickets (on gate £12.00). To book tickets, including those for NHS workers, and to discover more about the 2021 show, which will take place on Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th November at Lower Drayton Farm near Penkridge in Staffordshire – handily just 1 mile from J13 of the M6 – head to N.B. Tickets already purchased by the public for the cancelled 2020 show will be honoured for 2021.


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

• Christ Church Academy pupils Holly Rogerson (10) and Ted Tunnicliffe (10) with SGS saxophonist Tristan Van der Linden and clarinet player Olivia Howdle. A blend of Dixieland and 1940s swing got saxophones, trumpets, trombones, a Stone youngsters finger snapping and double bass, piano and drum kit. But the toe-tapping when teenage musicians wow factor came in the shape of a dropped in at their school to share a sousaphone, played by SGS sixth former passion for jazz. James Deane. As Stafford Grammar School’s Big Band Gavin Lamplough, Stafford Grammar’s performed proms in the playground, they director of music, said: “The sousaphone is steered pupils at Christ Church Academy like a wrap-around tuba. It’s fun, light on a musical journey which began in the hearted and is quite a spectacle! Our Big style of pioneering early 20th century Band members also belong to a Dixieland New Orleans Dixieland, through to group and they played a piece at each traditional jazz, swing, 1960s gospel and venue as we wanted to give youngsters a funk music. history of that American popular style. The visit was part of a whistle stop “The aim was to inspire them to take up an roadshow which also included trips to instrument, if they don’t play one already, Stafford Prep, Yarlet and Newport-based and to show them a style of music they Castle House. might not ordinarily come across.” Fifteen music makers demonstrated

The McCoys are coming to Jollees

When you think of the 1960’s, you think of the golden era of music with so many hits. For those fortunate to be there, the Swinging Sixties was a magical time for popular music, a truly golden age which spun hit after hit. And one of the most memorable was The McCoys’ interpretation of Hang On Sloopy, which became a monster success, and is still hugely popular today. And it was being there, loving that wonderful time and its songs, which led to four talented British musicians fostering their special memories, preserving them for live audiences to enjoy anew today, keeping alive the McCoys name, with Hang On Sloopy and Spencer Davis Keep on Running being just two examples of a superb repertoire from the Sixties. The McCoys can be seen up the road at Jollees, on London road Stoke, on Friday September 3rd from 8pm tickets available now by calling 01782 844171.

Dedicated Lion Chris is Awarded Stone Lions Club (CIO) Immediate Past President, Chris Handley, had a surprise at the Social evening, held at St Dominic's Social Club, on 28th July, as Lion Glenys Sanders told the Gazette. “Chris was presented with the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, the highest award presented to a Lion, in acknowledgement of 'Dedicated Humanitarian Services'. Since joining Stone Lions in 2005, Chris has worked hard in many roles within the Club and our Lions District. She has been President 4 times - obviously having no idea of how hard this last Presidency would be, due to the problems encountered by the Covid 19 Pandemic! The Zoom meetings she introduced were well run and very successful, in spite of an aging membership! Chris has always had the respect of our Members and her efforts to keep the Club together through such a difficult time have been much appreciated. Congratulations and many thanks Lion Chris!” ED: Well done and well deserved Chris. You’ve helped so many people locally, as well as people from further afield with your work at Stone Lions.


Stone Lions (CIO) – Update on PSA Testing Event With Covid restrictions now being lifted, Stone Lions Club (CIO) had hoped that a return to normality was possible and that their annual PSA Testing Event at the Stonehouse Hotel could go ahead in September as planned. However, after much discussion within the Club and with the Graham Fulford Trust, the charity which supports the programme and carries out the testing of the blood samples, it has been necessary to re-evaluate the situation and regretfully the decision has been taken to postpone the event in this format for a while. Members of Stone Lions Club (CIO) are naturally very disappointed as all recognise that this is a potentially life-saving service project. As Lions Mike Ward and Glyn Ravenscroft, the main organizers of the evening, agree: “Unfortunately we are still experiencing a situation that could change at very short notice over the coming weeks and the event does require a huge amount of organisation to ensure it runs safely for those attending, not forgetting the staff of the hotel, the nurses who give up their time to help us and the Lions on duty on the night. We had considered operating an ‘Appointment Only’ system but the sheer logistics of carrying out up to 400 blood tests in a 2-hour period would not only have made scheduling appointments extremely difficult but could have resulted us in having to turn away men who turned up on the night without an appointment. Many men took advantage of the Postal Tests we offered last year and we have arranged for these to be available at a subsidised cost again this year. The Graham Fulford Trust will be contacting everyone who participated last year by e-mail at the end of August to inform them of this. We really hope that we will be able to arrange a suitable date to carry out tests ‘in person’ next Spring.” The usual cost of a postal test is £24.99 but a 50% discount is available from 1st – 30th September for a limited number of tests. However, if participants do feel able to pay the full amount it will help Stone Lions safeguard the event for future years. To order a Home Testing KIt and watch a video which fully explains the process, please visit, choose “Our Charities” and click on the Stone Lions Club logo. To claim the 50% discount enter code STONE50


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Stonfield Park in the Summertime

Stonefield Park is looking resplendent at the moment, as it has done throughout the summer, thanks to the grounds staff that tend and manicure it to such a high standard. How lucky are we to have this beautiful park to sit in and soak up the sunshine. Thank you to Martin Robinson for sending in these stunning photos that capture just how beautiful the park is.

It’s perfect weather for bowls

Eccleshall welcomes new Pharmacist

Following the retirement of owner Andrew Morrison after 28 years at the High Street Eccleshall Pharmacy, Tuesday 20th July saw Stone Crown Bowls Club home match against Nomads. the new owners, a three-person partnership, have Perfect weather, good fellowship and an unexpectedly good result! appointed David Pearson as the manager - welcome to Photo by Martin Robinson Eccleshall David.


A New President for Lions

Stone Station, July 29th: 18 people joined Claire Sandys of North Staffs Community Rail Partnership for the first in a series of guided walks publicising their new booklet ‘Rails to Trails’.

• Kathy Munslow (right) seen receiving the President’s Chain of Office from outgoing President Chris Handley. The members of Stone Lions Club (CIO) are pleased to introduce Lion Kathy Munslow, their new President for 2021 – 2022. Although she has been a Lion for a relatively short time compared to a lot of members, Kathy is a very committed and enthusiastic member of the Club and is keen to take up the reins for the next 12 months. Kathy is already an extremely busy person who continues to be very involved with the armed forces charity SAAFA (with over 35 years service as a caseworker) in addition to her service as a Lion. Kathy received the President’s Chain of Office from outgoing President Chris at a recent Business Meeting amid many congratulations and good wishes from all members who joined in wishing her a very successful and fulfilling year as President. Kathy’s main aim, as restrictions are eased, is to keep meetings as short as possible, which they discovered was possible when the Club continued to meet via Zoom during lockdown to allow plenty of time for members to socialise!

Bishops’ Eccleshall Visit The recently appointed Bishop of Stafford Reverend Matthew Parker officiated at the Holy Trinity service on Sunday August 1 with Reverend Stephen Habgood assisting. The services at Holy Trinity are still available through Zoom, meeting id 838 1067 6689 and passcode 211388 which is the same every week. No booking is required now for any service since the Covid restrictions were lifted.

• Bishop Parker in Holy Trinity


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• Ready for the off: Rails to Trails strollers at Stone Station with Claire Sandys (yellow tabard) and Jon Heal of North Staffs Rail passenger Group (right, holding camera) The booklet contains a series of short-to-medium self-guided round walks which Tutbury and Hatton Station, can be accessed from nine local stations Thursday 9 September 10.15 am such as Penkridge, Longton and Uttoxeter. Kidsgrove Station, The well-illustrated maps include places Saturday 18 September 11.00 of interest. The Longton walk takes in the Victorian market, the Gladstone Pottery Alsager Station, Museum and many former pot banks. Thursday 30 September 11.20 The Stone landmarks included the Station building, the Crown Hotel, the Blythe Bridge Station, Saturday 9th former Stone workhouse, and the new October 11.45 (to be confirmed) Crown Wharf complex. “On the walk today I found out how Stone To confirm dates and times nearer got its name when we stopped by the the walk dates please email railings on the High Street and Claire told or phone us about the martyred Anglo-Saxon Princes 07879 115698 or visit North Staffs Wulfad and Rufin,” a young participant Community Rail Partnership’s Facebook told the Gazette. page. No charges are applicable and The “Rails to Trails” booklet promotes there is currently no need to book onto the environmentally-friendly option of guided walks. taking the train to the start of walks The ‘Rails to Trails’ booklet is downloadthrough pretty villages, urban landscapes able from and Potteries heritage, across rivers and North Staffs Community Rail along canals. Partnership also support volunteers who Train tickets can be bought from staffed keep the stations looking spruce. Said stations, self-service machines or, if not Claire, “If you would like to join available, from the Train Manager on your Stone Station’s friendly group of volunteers train. please get in touch by emailing Further guided walks are timetabled for or phoning September and October as follows: 07879 115698.”

Girlguiding is growing in Stone!

• Beth Watson receiving her Leadership qualification from Division Commissioner, Jill Piggott. During the past eighteen months, when life has been particularly challenging for everyone, it has been wonderful to see that Girlguiding in Stone has responded to events, and set up a new Ranger unit here in Stone, it is aimed at 14-18 year olds. Girlguiding has provided a lifeline during the pandemic for girls aged 5 plus and provided zoom sessions (providing fun and a little bit of normality) when the girls could not meet in person and as can be seen on these photos, meeting face to face again during the summer term.

The girls have enjoyed zoom sessions, cooking outdoors, fun on the plott and their last session of the summer saw girls making their Ranger promise, and newly qualified Beth Watson receiving her Leadership qualification from Division Commissioner, Jill Piggott. Beth has proved that even holding down a full time job as a PE teacher and all the constraints of working on her qualification during the lockdown...and getting married recently has not stood in her way to gaining her qualification. Well done Beth! The rangers are on the look out for an enthusiastic volunteer to help Beth in September (as her fellow leader is off to a new job in Gloucester).The girls meet just once a fortnight. To register your interest in volunteering please follow the links at becomeavolunteer/register-your-interest or message Girlguiding Stone District on their facebook page.


All gone to pot Christine Conlin meets the creator of a very special garden Margaret Thomas has no lawn and no flowerbeds to speak of but her garden is all more the wonderful for that. The paved tiers and raised beds behind her Walton bungalow are the “theatre” for her planted pots, statues and a splashy fountain. “The garden is a stage and I set-dress it, then take a seat in the front row under the canopy outside my kitchen door,” says Margaret, pouring me a coffee. The garden is clearly a work of art, so it’s no surprise to learn that Margaret, aged 84, is indeed an artist. Born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, she studied at Hartlepool College of Art, where fellow student Ridley Scott was to become the renowned director of films such as ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘Black Hawk Down’ and ‘Bladerunner.’ Margaret has kept the sketch she made of him for a ‘quick draw’ class exercise. Margaret progressed to Goldsmith’s College London to train as an art teacher, then returned to Hartlepool College of Art as Principal Lecturer in Fine Arts. On marriage, she gave up her job to accompany her husband, an agricultural company representative, on postings in Cheshire and Staffordshire. “I used to draw and paint a lot of farmhouses!” she jokes.

again, maybe in time for Christmas. In the spring, take cuttings and plant them in small pots, re-potting them once or twice as they grow. After mid-May put them out in the garden again. When the begonias have finished flowering in the autumn, Margaret cuts off the foliage and leaves the corms out to dry. Once they’re fully dry, she wraps each corm in paper and keeps them in a box in her utility room. In mid-March, she pots them up in high-quality compost, leaving the tops of the corms exposed and watering the soil round the edge. Other bedding plants such as fuchsias and petunias she raises from trays of tiny plug plants donating the surplus to friends and neighbours. But Margaret’s secret to keeping her pots looking splendid throughout the season is moving them around regularly. On hot days or if it looks like heavy rain, she brings them back down and puts them under the canopy, where they won’t get frazzled or splashed. She puts the dead heads in the pots in her miniature garden. Another tip – her midnight blue painted fence panels are a dramatic backdrop for her artificial miniature conifers and a golden-leaved hosta. “They say ‘blue and green should never be seen’ but what is more beautiful than a tree in leaf against a bright blue sky?” Margaret muses. Lanterns and spotlights provide visual enjoyment after dark. “It’s my holiday spot,” says Margaret, as she settles down to sketch the water feature. “With the urns, statue and the fountain, it’s my little Italian garden.”

• Moment of bliss: Margaret relaxes at the top end of herr garden

• Right - Quirky features: the miniature village with artificial mini-conifers against the midnight-blue fence

• Portrait of the artist as a young man: Margaret’s brooding study of fellow art school student Ridley Scott. When her children were older, Margaret found an outlet illustrating magazines and posters for the Newcastle-under-Lyme Countryside Project. Nearly 10 years ago, she moved to Walton to be close to her son James. “My artistic temperament has come out in my back garden,” she laughs “I don’t know much about flowers – my husband used to do all the gardening,” says Margaret self-deprecatingly. Which is encouraging news for anybody wanting to follow her example. Here are her gardening tips: Her geraniums are mostly cuttings of plants she bought seven years ago. Before the end of October, cut the tops down and bring the plants back inside. Put them on a windowsill or in a conservatory (they prefer cool conditions). If you water them, they’ll flower


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• Pretty as a picture: Margaret sketching from her ‘front row’ seat

Gazette Motoring Vauxhall heritage collection to be displayed at British Motor Museum

• A 1975 Vauxhall Firenza HPF Droop Snoot Vauxhall’s famous heritage collection to be displayed at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, Warwickshire in August. It will tell the incredible story of Vauxhall Motors’ rise from a niche sporting car manufacturer to one of the UK’s best-known automotive brands. The collection totals 50 cars and vans that demonstrate the heritage of Britain’s oldest vehicle manufacturer through each decade from the very first 5hp Light Car in 1903. In this year, Vauxhall became a car manufacturer and was originally based in the South London suburb, from which it takes its name. After two years, larger premises were needed and Vauxhall Motors moved to a six-acre site in Luton, where, alongside Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, it still manufactures motor vehicles today. “This is a perfect opportunity for the public to get up close and personal with cars and vans from our collection,” said Paul Willcox, Vauxhall’s managing director. “There are some extremely rare and valuable vehicles on display, but many that will conjure ‘my-mum-and-dad-had-one-of-those’ memories, too. Most importantly, it paints a wonderful social picture of Vauxhall’s importance to the UK culture, through all the highs and lows of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.” “The British Motor Museum is an ideal choice to display the collection. As the internationally renowned museum all about the rich heritage of Britain’s motor industry and home of the country’s automotive history, it’s a superb venue for the Vauxhall collection.” Stephen Laing, Head of Collections at the British Motor Museum, said: “We were delighted when Vauxhall approached us to look after its fantastic collection of vehicles, one of the most significant collections from a UK manufacturer. It fits perfectly with the Museum’s aim to broaden even further the range of marques that are represented here at Gaydon and adds a new dimension to the stories we tell about the cars and the people in Britain’s motor industry. With so much choice, it has already been tough making the first selection of 30 cars to display in the Museum!”


• Within Living Memory with Philip Leason MBE

175 anniversary of St. Saviour’s Church at Aston By Philip Leason MBE This year marks the 175 anniversary of St. Saviour’s Church at Aston and although it is not in Stone the parish covers part of the town and over the years has been attended by many residents, particularly in places such as Little Stoke. Before going on readers may be interested to learn a little about the history of the village. There are three separate entries in the Domesday Survey of 1086, one of which is for a small area of waste land held by the king. A man by the name of Robert held two other areas, one of which is listed along with Little Stoke as having seven villagers, four smallholders and land for eight ploughs. It is said thought that the name Aston originates from the AngloSaxon for ‘east town’ and other versions include “Estone and Eastun. Originally the main road from Stafford to Stone passed through Aston but this was eventually superseded by the Stafford to Stone turnpike which opened in 1761. It is not known if the river Trent was crossed by a bridge or a ford. In the 17th century the moated hall and estate was the seat of the Heveninghams who were a strong Catholic family. When Bridget Heveningham married Sir James Simeon, the estate passed to the Simeon family, who were also Catholics. In 1767 the estate passed to the Weld family of Lulworth. The Weld family did not live at the hall and over the years it fell into disrepair and in 1797 is was largely demolished, however a small part remained and this was occupied by a French priest who had fled to Britain to escape from the French revolution. In 1798 the Weld’s decided to sell most of the estate only retaining for themselves “the remains of the old hall, some fields and an orchard.” The estate was purchased by Earl St. Vincent with money it is said he received as prize money during his naval career. His descendants retained ownership of the Aston estate until 25th July, 1914 when it was sold by auction as separate lots. These included Brass Works Farm, the Three Crowns, Carr House Farm, Aston Farm, Ivy House, Aston Post Office and Village Smithy and Pirehill House. In 1823 the Earl died and as he was childless the earldom died with him, but the title of Viscount St. Vincent was inherited by his nephew Edward Jervis Ricketts aged 56. He was the son of the Earl’s sister Mary who had married William Henry Ricketts in 1757. The Earl had stipulated that whoever received the title must have the surname of Jervis and so Edward Jervis Ricketts changed his name by Royal licence to Edward Jervis Jervis. As well as the title he also inherited amongst other property the Aston estate. As well as land in England his father owned the Canaan estate in Jamaica and Edward spent a period of time working there. Edward married twice. On 29th January he married the Hon. Mary Cassandra Twisleton, daughter of Major-General Thomas Twisleton, 13th Baron Saye and Sele. They had two children before divorcing in 1799. The subsequent Viscount St. Vincent’s are the descendants of this marriage He then married Mary Anne Parker of Park Hall on 14th April 1810 with who he had a further two children, the Hon, Mary Anne Jervis, (latter to become Lady Forester, a great benefactor to the town) and Edward Swynfen Jervis. In March 1845 as owner of the Aston estate Edward gave notice to the Lord High Chancellor, who was Patron of the living of Stone that he intended “to build and endow a church in then Township of Aston and Burston in the Parish of Stone”. In October that year having obtained permission, he transferred the land on which to build the new church to The Church Commissioners. The church was designed and built by James Trubshaw. He was born at Colwich in 1777 and received little formal education but despite this became a highly respected civil engineer and architect. James was trained by his father and at the age of eleven, was supervising alterations to Sandon Hall. During the late 18th century James worked in London on projects such as Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire, Buckingham House (which was demolished in 1825 and replaced by Buckingham Palace) and at Windsor Castle. The church was built using stone quarried at Darlaston and cost £1880-10s.-0p and was paid for entirely by Viscount St. Vincent. He also gave £1,000 to be invested to help pay the salary of the vicar and £100 towards the establishment of a repair fund. It is interesting to note that due to his other work commitments there was a delay in him sending his bill and Viscount St. Vincent had to request on several occasions as it had to be paid before the church could be consecrated. Eventually it was paid and the church was consecrated and dedicated to St. Saviour by the Bishop of Lichfield on 16th July, 1846. The following year Trubshaw designed the parsonage which was quite a splendid building and included two bedrooms for servants, a coach house and stables. After it ceased to be used as a vicarage it was named Aston House and was included in the 1914 sale of the estate. In 1860 the congregation installed a clock in the tower in memory of Viscount and Viscountess St. Vincent and in 1870 the spire was added in memory of Edward John Parker Jervis (the eldest son of Edward Swynfen) and built by J. R. Botham. Edward in a codicil to his will left £500 “for the erection of a school


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house for St. Saviour’s, Aston.” This school replaced an earlier school which had been built on land given 2nd Viscount St. Vincent in 1848. A plaque on the new school reads “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of Edward John Parker Jervis. Born February 18 1839. Died July 31 1868. These Schools are built in furtherance of his dying wish to live in the remembrance of the inhabitants of the place he loved.” In March 1958 the administration and responsibility of appointing teachers etc. was transferred to the Staffordshire Education Authority. The school closed at the end of the summer term in July 1972. The board listing pupils from the school that passed the 11+ examination has been restored and is now displayed in the church. If any reader has memories of the school please send them in to the editor and we will share them in a future edition of the Gazette. When the school closed there was uncertainty as to who owned the building and this was resolved when it was sold by establishing the Aston Education Charity. At the east end of the church yard is the Doric style mausoleum of the Parker Jervis family. This is in Hollington stone and was built by John Wood of Tean and consecrated on 9th April, 1864. For many years the building was very overgrown but the undergrowth was cleared last year and is now visible. I am often asked where the name Parker-Jervis came from. It was Edward Swynfen Jervis who changed his surname by Royal Letters Patent to Parker-Jervis in recognition of his mother’s maiden name and the earlier marriages between the Jervis family and the Parker family. (For example Earl St. Vincent had married his cousin Martha Parker). As mentioned earlier Pirehill House was part of the Aston Estate and this is of course is now the Headquarters of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service. In 1997 the old standard of the Fire Service was replaced and it was decided to lay this up in Aston Church. As one can imagine there have been various improvements and repairs to the church over the years (including the installation of electric lighting in 1935). In 1986 it was discovered that there was serious structural problems in the top fifteen feet of the spire which had lifted causing an open crack in the masonry. This had been caused by corrosion of the internal iron bracing straps. There were also problems with the lighting conductor and the electrical wiring in the church and so an appeal was launched entitled “Save our Spire” to raise the necessary £12,500. By 1988 sufficient funds had been raised for the work to be undertaken.

While on the subject of the spire, originally there was a cockerel weather vane on the top. Apparently this had blown off and was found several years ago in the undergrowth. A man was asked if he could get it repaired and as he was unable to find anyone, he put it in his garage and forgot about it. In 2017 he came across it again and returned it to the church where it is now on display. In 1996 the 150th anniversary of the church was celebrated with a “grand fete” in Aston Village Hall and a flower festival in the church. Other celebrations in recent years have included an exhibition to commemorate the King James Bible and the 90th birthday of The Queen. In 2013 major work was undertaken to reorder the church and make it more suitable to modern needs. This involved providing a meeting area, with a gallery above, a coffee bar and toilet facilities. One of the striking features of the • Working at height! alterations is the screen featuring six panels of angels with trumpets, the inspiration of one of the church wardens Mary Babb. If all this information on St. Saviour’s church has raised your interest then the church is holding a weekend to celebrate its 175th anniversary on Saturday 19th September from 10.30 a.m. and on Sunday 20th September from after the 9.15a.m. service and concludes with evensong at 6.30. Before leaving Aston it is worth mentioning that in March 1992 a geophysical survey was undertaken by Stratascan in a field to the south of the village. This showed a rectangular cropmark with rounded corners. It is thought that this may represent the site of a temporary Roman marching camp. As one can imagine the discovery aroused a great deal of interest. Permanent forts or fortresses were constructed of timber or stone but like the one thought to have been here at Aston the camps were semi-permanent quarters where the troops lived in tents. It is said that these camps were often constructed as part of training manoeuvres. They were as shown in the cropmark rectangular in plan and would have consisted of a ditch with an earthen bank and timber palisade. There has never been an archaeological dig on the site – perhaps someday one will be carried out and we will know more about it. I hope that you have found this article of interest and it has brought back memories to some readers. If you have any memories you wish to share (particularly relating to the church or school) please send via the editor. Please help us to keep the heritage of Stone alive for generations to come. If you have any photographs relating to 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 been digitally copied.

• An 1857 Watercolour painting of the exterior of St. Saviour's Church, Aston by Stone. St. Saviour's was built in 1846. The architect was James Trubshaw. Note that the steeple is incomplete, this was not added until 1870 by J.R. Botham. Photo from



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The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette - September/October  

The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette - September/October  


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