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C ONTENTS News New shops now open in Stone ... A big thank-you to those keeping the town in bloom ... The Yarnfield Railhead – the fight continues ... Stone Festival 2018 disbursements ... New bin collection days? ... Stone Late Night Shopping and Street Market ...Stone Music Festival . .. Post Office to open in Stone High Street ... ‘Eccleshall joins litter free campaign ... Enjoy a musical summer at Sandon Hall Celebrating 30 years of Stone Lions Mobility Scheme

In Pictures A record year for Eccleshall Festival ... Eccleshall Show Society Receives Royal Recognition ... Entertainment for all at Eccleshall Show ... Stone’s Gold Medallist Joe opens Norton Bridge's recreation area ... Stone Festival 2018... ... what a scorcher it was! Environmental theme for Girlguides at Stone Carnival ...Royal Visit to celebrate 25 years of Day Therapy at Katharine House Hospice ...


It’s coming home - it’s coming home ... ? I apologise in advance to those who have already been have subjected to my one opportunity to see In(ger)land win the Jules Rimet Cup. At the time my father was the co-ordinator of overseas press at Middlesbrough, Sunderland & Newcastle - three of the hosting centres - and as he was already fluent in French, German and a form of Inuit (weirdly he launched the weekly Reykjavik newspaper in 1941) - unfortunately he didn’t have as strong a grip of Portuguese, South Korean or the 40/50 Russian languages that were using the “internet” of the day - telex. That said, he helped to create an international reputation for Eusébio the player who made on pitch tears acceptable 20 years before our own Gascoigne - and had the grip on 16 gratitutious tickets to the final. Like any father, he assumed that me, his only son, may well be impressed by a press box seat at Wembley and a night at the Kensington Palace Hotel. Grateful as I was,- I was then (aged 15) and in a band who were the support for the Thunderbirds (Chris Farlowe was the the draw) and on a promise from a girl who I had tried to attract for a year. Yes. You’ve - guessed it. I missed In(ger)land’s year of football glory ... and the young lady in question did not turn up - she apparently had met another more attractive musician - Dave Coverdale, who went on to be the lead in Whitesnake - in retrospect, probably not a bad decision. So come Saturday July 7th 201 8 , there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to witness England’s most promising team since 1990 and Sweden’s least interesting prospects since the World Cup was first initiated. And I wasn’t disappointed - In(ger)land were clinical and Sweden only came to life in the last 15 minutes. So let’s hope Croatia are of a similar mindset - I’m off for 3 days - so I’ll only know on Wednesday whether we make the semis - or the final - I’ll be in Southport - but back by Thursday - in time for the magazine to start it’s distribution - by which time we’ll hopefully be in the semis. Paul Mitchell - July 9th 2018

Heritage The many guises of Drake Hall by Senior Museums Officer, Chris Copp at Staffordshire Past Track The rise and fall of Meaford Power - Within Living Memory with Philip Leason of Stone Historical Society Pages 53 to 57 The next Gazette will be distributed from August 30th Editorial Deadline - August 15th Advertisement Copy Deadline - August 17th


The Stone & Eccleshall Gazette is wholly independent and is published at 5 Globe Court, Stone, Staffordshire ST15 8JG

PUBLISHER Dan Mitchell -


Louise Mitchell - Paul Oakley -


Christine Conlin - Peter Jones (Eccleshall) - Paul Mitchell (consultant) -


TELEPHONE (01785) 819919 Email: Website: 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


GAZETTE N E W S I N B R I E F New shops now open in Stone

Welcome to Stone’s latest traders, Jamie has opened ‘Man A Boot Town’, a menswear shop which opened in June, in what was once Accapella menswear on Stone High Street, and to Susan who opens ‘The Artisan Boutique’ on Radford Street on 12th July.

Marks & Spencer is nearly there The new M&S Food Hall, on Westbridge park in Stone, have reported the delay in opening has been due to ongoing problems with services such as gas and telephones, plus the Highway alterations made at the last minute. The planned opening date is now the 25th of July, the new employee's are currently undergoing training at other stores, ready for the opening.

County Councillor Community Fund County Councillor Jill Hood is asking community groups in her division, to apply to the Staffordshire Community Fund. The fund is there to support not for profit organisations, local charities & volunteer groups. Each county councillor has £7,500 to spend on community projects in their area. Jill says she has already had enquiries and would like to see some new applicants come forward this year to share in the Community Fund Scheme. Contact Jill by email jill.hood@ or give her a call on 077364 13097

What’s on at The Ishta centre Ukulele Group: The Ukunauts of Stone meet at the Centre most Tuesday evenings from 8 pm to 10 pm. New members and visiting players are welcome. For more information talk to Allyn at the Centre or email Kundalini Yoga: Meeting on the last Saturday of every month from 10.15 to 12.15. For more information contact Jayne Evans on 07931 446777 or email energetickxchange Monthly Meditation Group: with Samantha Miles. For more information and booking contact: Samantha Miles Tel: 07790 778206 Sunday 29th July - Sunday 2nd September - Sunday 28th October Monday 20th August & Monday 24th September Breathing circle, with Sati. Breath fully, release stress and tension, increase your vitality and joy in life. Cost £10 per person. 7.30-9.30pm. Contact Sati for advanced booking at

North Staffordshire Bowel Cancer Screening Programme The screening team at the Royal Stoke Hospital are raising awareness of bowel cancer by doing health promotion sessions and activities around North Staffordshire. Screening is a way of testing healthy people to see if they show any early signs of cancer. Bowel cancer screening can save lives. Bowel cancer is the fourth biggest cancer but the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK. Approximately every 15 minutes someone is diagnosed with bowel 41,000 people every year. All men and women aged 60-74 are invited to carry out a faecal occult blood (FOB) test. Every two years, they’re sent a home test kit, which is used to collect a stool sample. Symptoms can include: · Bleeding from the bottom/and or blood in your poo · A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit · Unexplained weight loss · Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason · A pain or lump in your tummy Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. But if you have one or more of these, or if things don’t feel right, go to see your GP. If you’re 75 or over, you can ask for this test by calling 0800 707 60 60. Or you can email


Stone & Eccleshall’s favourite read

Stone visitor information putting Stone on the map Stone Town Council is pleased to announce the next phase of its investment in Stone Town Centre. Visitor information boards and ‘finger’ posts are being refurbished and relocated, with the support of Stafford Borough Council, and a range of new visitor information has been prepared and is to be introduced in the coming weeks. The information boards will be located at key entrance points to the town centre and will display a hand drawn town centre map, illustrations of several historic places and a calendar of forthcoming events. In addition, a business directory will be included that has been compiled by the Stone Traders Group. Councillor Ian Fordham, Chairman of the Council’s Estates Sub-Committee, said: “We want the town centre recognised as a noted leisure destination. These initiatives will help ensure that residents and visitors can enjoy the town to the maximum.” Speaking about the calendar of events, Cllr Jill Hood, Chairman of the Tourism and Town Promotion Sub-Committee, said: “The calendar outlines all our upcoming events. There is something for everyone taking place in and around the town centre: highly regarded festivals, cultural and heritage events as well as family attractions. We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors alike to enjoy everything that Stone has to offer.”

Young musician captures national award An Eccleshall musician’s noteworthy performance won the thumbs up from experts who voted her as the nation’s most promising young flautist of the year. Fifteen-year-old Alanagh Bohan captivated a panel of judges with her flute playing when she auditioned at the Awards for Young Musicians (AYM) in London. The Stafford Grammar School student was among nearly 500 talented musicians across the country who applied to the programme. Alanagh made it through to the last 15 and at the final audition she struck the right note with adjudicators and picked up the Ashford Flute Award and a cheque for £1,250 to buy a new instrument. She also earned an opportunity to spend a day working with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in December. “It’s a pretty big deal. I was up against very talented flautists so I’m really happy. And getting a new flute is brilliant because I can now explore a massive amount of repertoire as it’s given me so much more flexibility,” said Alanagh. The award was created five years ago by the daughter and granddaughter of John Ashford, a gifted flautist who gave up his place at the Royal College of Music for health reasons. The aim of the AYM is to help musicians under the age of 18 with exceptional potential to develop their talent. Alanagh began playing the flute when she was seven years old and was a member of the CBSO Youth Orchestra and National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain. She is now principle flute of both symphony orchestra and wind orchestra at the Royal Birmingham Junior Conservatoire. The Eccleshall teenager is also a key figure in several Stafford Grammar music bands. “It’s involved loads of work over the years.

• Voted as the nation’s most promising young flautist, 15-year-old Alanagh Bohan, from Eccleshall, is pictured with the new Atlus flute she won. I practise an hour and a half every day and I spend a full day each week at the Conservatoire. In the future I’m hoping to go down a music career route and want to get into a specialist music college when I leave school,” she said. Having already impressed with her performance of Edward McGuire’s Prelude 3 and Prokofiev’s sonata for flute, Alanagh will travel to London for an extra audition in July for further performance opportunities with the AYM.

A big thank-you to those keeping the town in bloom I’m breaking with tradition as normally I write my role call of thanks in the October edition when we’ve heard if our town has been awarded Gold by the Heart of England in Bloom. The reason I’m doing it now is October seems such a long way off and after a very long hard winter and a recent scorching summer, I believe everyone deserves their thanks now from our Stone in Bloom group. By the time you read this we will have been judged, it will have taken place on Monday, July 9, beginning at 9am in Stonefield Park. What we still won’t know is have we done enough to win Gold! Stone in Bloom would like to thank the following: Stone Town Council for funding the hanging baskets; the entire team of Stafford Borough Council’s Streetscene; Mill Farm for all their help and the sponsorship of compost, plus thanks to our advertising sponsors; all the Stone schools and playgroups who enter the garden and poster competition and Pirehill First School for participating in judging day. 5th Stone Beavers for their hard work on the Abbey Street bed and helping judging day go well; The Moorings residents; Bury Bank and Fletchers Garden Centres for participating in our Discount Card Scheme; Peter Arnold for the loan of his trailer and his help; Aston WI, U3A Bowling Team, Friends of Stonefield Park and the park rangers; Stone Lions for litter picking; allotment holders Sid Goodman and Tony Hollinshead for allowing us to show off their hard work on the route. The Summer Festival Committee for their kind donation; Karen and Pete Wyatt helping our route sail smoothly; the Green Bus committee; Fleur Tea Rooms, thanks to Fiona for giving us hot drinks in the freezing weather and letting us benefit from the book donations. To everyone at Mountfords (what would we do without you?); Phil Darby of the Whitebridge Estate which never fails to impress the judges; Home and Colour, especially David’s jokes; The Crown Hotel, the team at Granvilles, Mark and Anne Trinder at One Stop in Walton and all other businesses who so kindly support us and our town and surrounding areas. Thanks also go to the many people who we’ve called on to help us water especially Brad and Viv at Lymestone Brewery. Tony Panter and his trusty team, Eric and Alan, thanks for all your efforts throughout the year. Of course there are those who go that extra mile for us and I will mention them individually, those who never want any credit. Our Stone in Bloom group pay special thanks to the Stone & Eccleshall Gazette who enable us to get our story out each month and


support us in many more ways; Peter Jones (of Stone), who gives his plant equipment and time freely, teaming up with Stone in Bloom member Rob Kenney in managing the wildflowers, and is responsible for the beautiful shows of wildflowers each year in Stone. Mick Plant, who gives hours of his time every day in all weathers making the town spick and span. We must also give thanks to Steve Hood and Rob Kenney who are our trained specialist weed sprayers and who have walked miles throughout the year ridding the town of weeds. Last, but the most important, are our In Bloom volunteers. We all give hours of our time for the town to look its best. We are a small but very effective group of friends who are responsible for so much in the town. We rely solely on donations and sponsorship, if you would like to support us then either join us for a few hours a week, or buy an In Bloom discount card which you can use at garden centres or many of Stone’s businesses, or even consider sponsoring us. For details call Secretary Tracey 07545 780935.

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Stone Railhead – the fight continues “We are going to keep up the battle.” Stone Railhead Crisis Group intends to challenge the rejection of Stone Town and Chebsey Parish Council’s petition to relocate the HS2 railhead from Stone to Aldersey’s Rough by the HS2 Parliamentary Select Committee. “The Select Committee’s decision appeared to have already been taken before we entered the room,” SRCG’s Trevor Parkin told a 100-strong public meeting on 10th June at Yarnfield Conference Centre. The Committee’s First Special Report, which was published on 24th May, contained several indications that it was completed weeks before its publication. Crucially it makes no reference to Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy’s evidence of 15th May supporting the Parish Council’s case, or their detailed Written Statement of 30th April, which comprehensively dismissed the misleading evidence given by HS2 QC and principal witness. The First Special Report was also littered with factual errors, including wrongly stating that the Stone-to-Norton Bridge railway is only used as a freight line, when it actually carries six passenger trains per hour, including the Cross Country service between Manchester Piccadilly and Bristol Temple Meads and the London Northwestern service between Crewe and London Euston. The Parish Councils have responded by submitting a detailed review of the First Special Report in early June. It includes a request to cross-examine HS2’s Chief Engineer, Tim Smart, on 16th July, when their team are expected to appear for a second time.“Time constraints had prevented his cross examination by our QC on 25th April, and so it is crucial, and in the interests of natural justice, that his misleading evidence is subject to rigorous scrutiny and not allowed to be the final word on these important matters”, Mr Parkin added. Referring to Staffordshire County Council’s acceptance of HS2’s last-minute take-it-or leave it offer of £10 million worth of highways improvements, in return for the County’s non-appearance at the Select Committee, Mr Parkin said that this is a clear example of the ‘bullying of petitioners’, which Select Committee member Bill Wiggin MP was so concerned about. These measures will also not address the congestion issues caused by HS2’s construction traffic serving the Stone Railhead, and the proposals agreed for Yarnfield Lane are totally inadequate, as they

Keith all at sea As part of the 2019-2020 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Eccleshall resident Keith Winstanley has signed up to complete Leg 2 (across the South Atlantic from South America to South Africa), Leg 3 (across the Southern Ocean from South Africa to Australia), Leg 6 (across the North Pacific from China to the USA), and Leg 8 (across the North Atlantic from the USA to the UK), a total of some 17,395 miles and around 96 days at sea. This is HIS Everest! You can follow his exploits at his website www.


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will not address the fact that the lane is very steep and too narrow to be safely shared by hundreds of HGVs and local traffic. “Some people think that HS2 building its proposed links with the M6 more quickly than the currently scheduled 15 months will solve the problem, but it will only make matters worse, with an average of 569 HGVs/day needing to use a 900m length of Yarnfield Lane to access the northbound carriageway from the western side of the M6.” Stone Town and Chebsey Parish Councils’ second Select Committee appearance will also address the significant changes made by HS2 to its proposals at Stone at the end of March. These include replacing the planned 450 metre long viaduct over the Filly Brook and Norton Bridge to Stone railway with an 80 metre long bridge and 370m of embankments in the flood plain. More embankments mean more earthworks, which in turn means even more HGV movements on Yarnfield Lane, said Mr Parkin, a mining engineer and Environmental Consultant with over 35 years of professional experience.“We will therefore continue to press the Select Committee for HS2 Ltd to produce a Transport Logistics Profile to account for the number of HGV movements it now proposes. This is standard industry practice and the absence of such important information is unacceptable.” The Committee’s First Special Report dismisses our proposals to relocate this railhead and maintenance base to Aldersey’s Rough near Keele Services on the grounds that it was “too costly and too disruptive” Mr Parkin continued. “However, since it will clearly be simpler and cheaper to construct, they must be referring to the short-term disruption to the HS2 programme and associated consultant costs of having to do a proper job.” The government and HS2 are not looking at what is the best solution for the longer-term, but simply rushing to get this project over and done without being subject to proper scrutiny, but those responsible for the mess that will be created will all be long gone when construction starts, leaving the contractors and local people to live with the consequences of such poor decision-making.” For further information, visit Stone Railhead Crisis Group’s website at https://


Oulton Fete - it’s always great! Visitors at this years Oulton Fete soaked up the sunshine as well as the great family atmosphere. Musical entertainment on the day was provided by The Ukunauts, Rock band Class Notes and The Campbell-Kelly Community Choir. The opening of the Fete was conducted by Paul Lewis, the local manager from Biffa, who funded the recent major kitchen upgrade at Oulton Village Hall through the Biffa Award – part of the Landfill Community Scheme. Well done to all those involved behind the scenes making it such a great day ouy, the proceeds will go towards maintaining and improving Oulton Village Hall. Photo’s courtesy of Martin Robinson


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It’s all change at Autumn House Nursing home looks to positive future under new ownership

orthgate Healthcare Ltd has bought the Autumn House Nursing Home, in Stone, Staffordshire, out of administration, and has put in place a plan to give it a positive future. The Nursing Home, in Stafford Road, has made massive inroads in the quality of care that residents receive and as a result Stafford Council has lifted the embargo that was in place over the last 18 months. Given the history of the home, the new owners and management are extremely happy with the progress that has been achieved in such a short space of time. The home now is waiting for Care Quality Commission (CQC) to come and inspect the service. Northgate Healthcare’s priority will always be to safeguard the health and wellbeing of residents. Ashley Haines, Northgate Healthcare Director, said: “The care, safety, and dignity of our residents is our number one priority. Autumn House has had a difficult 18 months while its financial future remained uncertain. That uncertainty has now been lifted. “Staffordshire Social Services have also been very supportive of our investment in Autumn House. They recognise the great importance of having good quality residential and nursing care in Stone.” The owners have implemented a management team led by a new care manager, Katie Land. Katie and her team have NOW officially opened both floors, this being residential on the ground floor and nursing on the 1st


floor. The management team have implemented new systems, processes and procedures; this will also allow a new culture to be developed. Katie stated: “We have breathed new life into the nursing floor with staff, nurses, and a refurbishment programme, it’s a very exciting and positive time to work at the Autumn House. “We aim to be a good local employer and would be interested to hear from any clinical nursing and care professionals who share our vision for delivering the best residential nursing care, and would like to come to work with us.” Further significant investment over the next 18 months is also planned to improve and refurbish Autumn House, a purpose-built 67-bed nursing home. Northgate Healthcare is based in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. It runs three other care homes: Lane House, in Tamworth; The Firs, in Sedgley; and Meadowfields, in Great Haywood, Staffordshire. Autumn House is its first residential nursing home. Ashley Haines said: “We have a very good track record of continuously improving care in our homes, and investing in the services and facilities we provide for our residents, so I am confident we can do the same at Autumn House. “We are looking forward to working in partnership with residents, relatives, and all organisations and agencies in Stone to deliver excellent residential nursing care for local people who need it.”

Autumn House Nursing Home - “Making our home, your home” T: 01785 812885


High Sheriff’s Reception at Baden Hall

• High Sheriff Mrs Pippa Gee with Police Cadets (from l.) Amber Cartwright, Cameron Harvey, Jessica Sheppard, Lucy Davies, Sian Bell and Cadet Leader Stephen Houghland. Staffordshire’s Lord Lieutenant, Chief Constable, judges, clergy and politicians from the county mingled with family and friends of Staffordshire High Sheriff Pippa Gee at her June 8th evening reception at Baden Hall near Eccleshall. The music was by local clarinettist Eric ‘Busker’ Newton.

• Mrs Diane Glenn, His Honour Judge Paul Glenn, High Sheriff Pippa Gee, His Honour Judge Jonathan Gosling, Mrs Suzie Gosling, Sheriff’s Consort Mr Charles Pratt

• Mrs Gill Grigson, Rector of Stafford, the Revd. Preb. Richard Grigson, Mrs Julie Jones, Vicar of Barlaston Revd. Canon Stewart Jones, High Sheriff’s Chaplain Revd. Noreen Russell and Mr John Russell, Mrs Ann Annas and Bishop of Stafford. Revd. Geoff Annas

• Cadet Lucy Davies, High Sheriff Mrs Pippa Gee, Mrs Gill Morgan, the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Gareth Morgan, Cadet Jessica Sheppard


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• Mayoress of Stafford Mrs Jenny Barron, Mayor of Stafford Cllr Ray Barron, Stone Town Mayor Cllr Kristan Green and Consort Cllr Mark Green.

• Chairman of Lichfield District Council Cllr Bob Awty and Mrs Eileen Awty; Stone Town Mayor Cllr Kristan Green and Consort Cllr Mark Green.

• Mr Mark Edwards, Mayoress of Lichfield Jan Leytham-Gain, Mrs Pat Bigham and Mrs Flip Edwards

• Mrs Jane Dudson, Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire Mr Ian Dudson CBE, High Sheriff Mrs Pippa Gee, Sheriff’s Consort Mr Charles Pratt

• Stone MP Sir Bill Cash and Stone Town Councillor Mrs Joyce Farnham

• Eric ‘Busker’ Newton


• Market regulars Lauren and Phil Ward from Nova & Me

Stone Late Night Shopping and Street Market The first Stone Town Council Late Night Shopping Event of the year was held on 21st June, with the next one taking place on 19th July. As well as the stalls along the high street, some shops remained open until 8pm to try and encourage residents to come out for a fun summer's evening. Turnout was lower than expected, with many people saying they thought the World Cup had kept some shoppers at home. Those that did turn out all had a great evening, if you missed the first event make sure you visit the next one.

• These girls had hand painted their own silk - impressive!

• Christine Smith from the RSPB had a fascinating stall

Stone Rotary brought ‘Hook a Duck’ to the event, the photograph above shows Jemima Stant (7) and Holly Upton (also 7) showing Rotarian John Beamond their prowess at catching the creatures! John Sayer, who will be leading Rotary in Stone after 1st July, said that it had been an enjoyable evening, it was great to meet up with so many local people and to support our own Town. Rotarians are People of Action who support their Communities and if you would like to get involved or just find out more about Rotary then do make contact, either by e-mail to or call 01785 819807


Stone & Eccleshall’s favourite read

Joule’s reveals Crown Wharf plans

oule’s Brewery on behalf of the Crown Wharf Steering Group, has today unveiled the full plans for the Crown Wharf development in Stone Town exclusively to the Stone Gazette. Joule’s Brewery confirms the plans will be lodged with the Council this week for formal consultation, with a view that construction can commence in the Autumn this year with a completion date targeted for the Spring of 2020. Joule’s purchased the one acre Crown Wharf site in November of 2017 having had discussions with the Canal and Rivers Trust during the year. The Trust was impressed by the vision of the Steering Group and the objective to make the canal more accessible from the Town and to focus on leisure use rather than residential use. This proposal dovetails neatly into the Stone Town plan. Ian Sprott of Canals and Rivers Trust supports the new development and adds, “We were confident that Joules and the steering group would bring forward some exciting plans for us to consider. The proposal is ambitious and architecturally interesting. This is an inspiring vision for Crown Wharf, which is why we supported Joule’s last year. That vision was for leisure use, which would make the canal side more integrated into Stone Town. Over the last few months, our team has enjoyed working alongside Joule’s, advising on the look and feel of the development. We are pleased that the scheme compliments Canal Cruising, the oldest hire boat company on the canal network, and retains Wharfinger’s Cottage an important heritage asset. We were especially pleased to see such an ambitious design incorporate features, inspired by the old Joule’s warehouse building. The Trust will now formally look at the fine detail over the coming months and we wish Joule’s, Stone Town Council and Stone Revellers every success with the development.” Peter Wyatt, of Canal Cruising, which lies adjacent to the Crown Wharf site, comments, “We used to occupy the whole site, but the waterways asked us to vacate Crown Wharf in 1961, as they had agreed to sell to Joule’s. Joule’s Brewery was at full tilt and wanted the Wharf to extend the service area between the Brewery opposite and the Warehouse adjacent. It took over 50 years to complete the deal. I remember helping to clear site ready for Joule’s, if only we had known there really was not a great rush.” Karen Wyatt of Canal Cruising is a member of the Steering Group and comments, “We are very pleased to see this scheme, it is important that Stone makes more of its canal. There are not many towns with a canal adjacent to the High Street, its special, and Stone has such a profound canal history. The canal network in Stone ensured Joule’s was the first to export beer, ahead of its rival Bass to Liverpool. This scheme will be a boost for the whole Town, and I hope for our business and lift our profile, we are the oldest yard on the network and yet some people even in Stone don’t know we are here. The scheme lookswonderful and I can’t wait to see it all come together.”


• View from From far side of Canal

• The site shown from above Vicky Shirley from Joule’s explains how the Brewery has been looking for a Taphouse in Stone, “Stone is the home of Joule’s we have been looking to create a Brewery Tap in Stone for over 10 years. We have received great encouragement locally that Joule’s should have a flagship pub in Stone. Over the years, we have looked at many opportunities, pretty much every rumour was true, and we have been close to several deals. Of all these the Brewery connection to Crown Wharf and the location by the canal means that this is the best by far, it has certainly been worth waiting for. The next challenge is, of course, to secure planning and then to build it. It will be a proud day for all of us when Joule’s is back in Stone.”

• View from courtyard looking towards Wharfinger's Cottage

Jim Entwistle of Bleazard and Galletta who are the Architectural Design Team for the Crown Wharf Project adds, “I hope the public will like the plans, which we are unveiling today. The effort has been collaborative with input from the Steering Group and the Community Groups who will be a part of the new scheme. The design is of itself, a unique building that is designed for a single purpose, really focused which is great for a designer.” Jim also comments on the positioning of the Crown Wharf development “We have orientated the Taphouse to have a vista across the canal and the meadows, and the theatre to nestle into Wharfinger’s Cottage adjacent to the canal side. This then forms a courtyard behind, creating an entrance. We have aimed to reflect canal-side architecture, but the key inspiration has come from the old Joule’s warehouse next door, to connect the heritage of the canal, the Town and the Brewery. The references are mainly quite subtle, some less so. The finials are a particularly important touch, which we hope to have re-cast locally as an exact match. This nod to the Brewery connects the heritage of both the Town and the beer. I am very pleased with the outcome and hope that the Town and the Council will be supportive of the ambition.”

•Joules’ Brewery in Market Drayton Leo Caperanos, member of the Stone Revellers Theatrical Society shares his thoughts about the proposed development, “This year we have proudly been celebrating Stone Revellers’ 40th Birthday, and our ambitious plans to design, build and operate a new Theatre for the Town of Stone has made the year feel all the more special. The plans, which are now ready for the public and planners consideration, offer a unique Theatre space, and we are thrilled by the prospect of the development. We have a long way to go, but today is a key milestone in making our dream a reality.”

•Joules’ Red Lion Inn Brewery Taphouse Steve Nuttall, Project Director for Joule’s Brewery, explains the exciting challenge that lies ahead, “I first wrote to Rob Kenney, Chair of the Crown Wharf Steering Group, in December 2016, so it’s taken a while to get to this milestone. If the Town and the Council support the development then we are committed to making this happen, and in a relatively short time period. We have been looking for an opportunity in Stone for nearly 10 years; this project is our biggest undertaking, for it to be in Stone, the home of Joule’s beer makes it very special. I hope many people will and visit the Brewery in Market Drayton, see the plans and meet the Team in the near future”. Bill Cash, Stone MP shares his support for the Crown Wharf developments ‘I was pleased to meet the Steering Group last year and very happy to lend them my wholehearted support. When we met, the scope of the scheme seemed ambitious, these proposals have not diminished that ambition, in fact, they are perhaps even more ambitious, and I welcome the vision. I will be supporting the application, now subject to formal consultation. The return of Joule’s to Stone with great style is very welcome, the Brewery’s sponsorship of our established amateur theatre company seems like a serendipitous coming together and I am sure the Town will embrace that. The proposal for a fully professional studio theatre will be a great cultural asset and a very worthy successor to St Michael’s hall.” Bill Cash then goes on to explain the importance of the additional developments to support the Town, “Add to this, the proposed Heritage and Visitor Centre, which can explore the cultural heritage of this fine Town and tell the story of Stone, the whole scheme will have a significant impact. The High Street is changing fast, I cannot remember a time when the headwinds have been stronger for the retail sector and especially challenging conditions for small Market Towns like ours, a response is needed, and we must reinvent the Market Town. This development will make Stone at the forefront of that change, cultural attractions, leisure facilities of the highest standards, meeting spaces and community engagement.”

Leo goes on to explain the importance of the development to the Town, “We are thrilled to be working alongside Joule’s and the Town Council to bring this new facility to Stone. Whilst it will be fundamental for Stone Revellers to keep producing great local theatre for another forty years, we also envisage this high-quality theatre space to be a facility for the whole Town. Alongside a community cinema, we are confident many different community groups, local schools and budding new creatives will benefit from having a quality facility on the doorstep. We are only a few steps into what we hope will be a long and exciting journey for Stone Revellers, its members and our audiences, but in welcoming back Joule’s to Stone, we feel we are making the journey in great company.”

• View from Crown Boatyard

Dear Gazette readers, Joule’s Brewery has taken space in this edition to write to the town and reveal our plan for Crown Wharf. First, I wanted to recognise the goodwill that we as a small brewery have experienced from the town, the Town Council, the Revellers and the community, especially when we have attended the Stone Food and Drink Festival. This warmth has driven us to find a way to return Joule’s Brewery to Stone with a flagship Taphouse. Stone is the soul of Joule’s, it was important to us that we built the 4th Joule’s Brewery close by, the decision was not easy and was thought through very carefully, before we started to build in Market Drayton just 17miles away. Our deciding factors were the lack of a site in Stone, the known availability of pure mineral water [drawn from the same aquifer as the original Joule’s Brewery] and the presence of an original Joule’s pub on the new Brewery site, the Red Lion. The Market Drayton Brewery is the 4th Joule’s Brewery, we see the two sites, Market Drayton & Stone, as the heart and soul of Joule’s, with the brewery pumping our lifeblood beer around our Taphouses, and Stone, the place where it all began. The response from Stone has always been very warm and positive, celebrating the re-emergence of Joule’s, but with some sadness that it was nearby, and not in the town itself. We share that emotion, and at the Stone Food and Drink Festival, folk meet us with curiosity and ask why we have not opened a pub in Stone, especially as we now stand at 41 Joules’ Taps across Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire. This is not due to our lack of trying… and it is with excitement and relief today that we share this proposal with you all. In this letter, I want to introduce you to what Joule’s is today; a small brewery and very proud to be completely independent, buying the Joule’s Trade Mark outright in 2017. We brew around 30,000 pints a week, supplying mainly our own local Taphouses and some loyal freetrade accounts. We haven’t quite hit the heyday of the old brewery in Stone which brewed close to a million pints a week. Our best seller is an original beer, Joule’s Pale Ale, and supported by Anthony Heeley to ‘match’ the original, he is one of the last brewers to brew at the old Stone Brewery, he worked the last shift, and Anthony is a central figure in our story. We think of ourselves as brewers, with some pubs – which we call Taphouses, although most of our beer is sold just through our own pubs, the brewery is now pretty much full. We have 23 employees’; a wonderful team and we all have a passion for Beer and Pubs. All of our pubs, apart from the onsite Brewery Tap, are tenanted. We aim to be close to the people in our pubs and to respect and serve Joule’s family of tenants, our relationship with them is the main thing, and through them, we jointly serve our pub communities. At our proposed new development ‘The Crown Wharf’ in Stone, we have offered to sponsor both the new Theatre and the Heritage Centre. We want to do this so that Joule’s in Stone is more than just a pub, and to be a bigger part of the town and community. We think it’s good marketing of course, but that is not what drives us, to us, it’s all about being Joule’s, that’s what is at the heart of this project. Our approach for Crown Wharf will be to manage the Tap with our own employee’s and we intend to re-instate the Joule’s Boardroom in its rightful place, right in the centre of Stone. Plans will be lodged with the Stafford Council Planning Committee this month, we are obviously hoping for success with our submission. Once the plans have been considered we will invite you all to visit the brewery in Market Drayton, to meet the Joule’s team, members of the Steering Group, tour the brewery and of course to share a Beer or two.

Yours sincerely

Steve Nuttall

Company Director Joule’s Brewery

GAZETTE N E W S I N B R I E F Chebsey Poppy Appeal

Calling all knitters and crocheters: can you provide red, black or green wool for nimble-fingered folk in Chebsey to knit or crochet poppies for their commemoration in November of the centenary of the end of World War One? They are planning a weekend of activities, culminating in a service at All Saints Church, Chebsey, which will include instrumental music, poetry and songs. Or perhaps you or someone you know would be able to make some poppies for the event (a pattern is available). For further information please contact Marg Ainsworth-Hickman on 01785 760844.

Stone Lions Club street collection

Burma Star campaign remembered The annual service of remembrance, in memory of those heroes of the army, airforce and navy who fought in the Burma Star campaign of World War Two, has been organised again this year by members of Stone Town Council and Stone Royal British Legion with help from many other volunteers. This campaign was waged under terrible conditions, in the jungles of Burma in South East Asia. Those serving personnel within the Commonwealth (and sometimes beyond), who fought in what was sometimes known as ‘The Forgotten Army’ were awarded the special Burma Star medals. Most of these are made of silver. They each hang from a striped silk ribbon which has its own significance as to which part of the campaign they represented. The remembrance service, led by Reverend John Davis from Stafford, and the parade with some local standards, will take place in Stonefield Park on Sunday, August 19, at 6pm.

Stone Lions Club would like to thank all who supported their recent street collection in the High Street and at Morrison’s supermarket. Despite being in competition with a Royal Wedding and FA Cup Final, the sum of £294.71 was collected, which will help the Lions in their charitable work in the local area.

Get set for some sunshine A sponsored walk has been organised in Stoke-on-Trent to raise awareness of spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Shine, a national charity supporting 219 people across Staffordshire, has organised the walk at Westport Lake Visitor Centre on Tuesday, July 31, at 11am. The event, named Sunshine Wheel and Walk, is open to everyone and event organiser and local Support and Development Worker, Liz Potts, said she hopes the event will raise awareness of the conditions and funds for Shine. She added: “We are really looking forward to the day and hope the event will bring people together to have fun whilst supporting Shine.” The event will see participants walk or wheel around the one mile picturesque lap of Westport Lake and Liz said participants can do the lap as many times as they like. There is no registration fee for the event but participants are asked to register in advance and if possible raise sponsorship money for Shine. To register for the event or to find out more, contact Liz Potts on 07789 616469 or email liz.potts@shine or to make a donation please visit www.

Stone Neighbourhood Development Plan Stone Town Council, supported by the Stone Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, are launching the formal pre-submission consultation on the Draft Neighbourhood Development Plan for Stone. Until July 31, Stone Town Council will be formally undertaking consultation in accordance with Regulation 14, Town and Country Planning, England Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulation 2012. This is a six-week statutory consultation period and they welcome comments on the draft plan. To view the plan, hard copies together with consultation forms can be found at the following locations: Alleyne’s Leisure Centre, Christ Church Centre, Costa Coffee, Frank Jordan Centre, Granvilles, Library, Little Stoke Cricket Club, Stone Town Council Ground Floor, Stone Station Community Centre, Stone Tennis Club, The Borehole, The Crown Hotel, The Pheasant, The Red Lion, The Royal Exchange, The Swan, Walton Community Centre. An electronic copy will also be available to view online or download on the Council’s website at, together with a downloadable consultation form. Councillor Jill Hood, Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, said: “We want to hear from you. Please read the draft plan and send us your comments or come to talk to us at one of our consultation events. Help us to shape the future of our town.”


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• Left: The Burma Star campaign medal. • Above: Veterans on parade at a previous Burma Star remembrance service in Stonefield Park.

Stone Festival 2018 disbursements With this year’s marvellous and truly successful festival now over, the committee are in the process of collating the monies raised by the kind generosity of the people of Stone and surrounding locations. This is always a great time because it is when they begin the assessment of local groups’ requests for monetary support over the coming year. Each year the committee aims to distribute monies raised to the most worthy of local causes, to those providing services for the young, the old, to those with life challenges and to those groups that make a tangible difference to all of our lives locally and who have little or no funding from elsewhere. It really is about trying to make a difference to these organisations in helping local people

and so now is the time for you to put your proposals forward; the Festival Committee would love to hear from you if you are one of these organisations. So how can you be considered? It’s easy, just send in your request, explaining what your group is, who you serve in the community, what you would like the money to go towards and the positive impact such monies would have on your group. Send your request to either info@stone or by Friday, August 17. The disbursements will then be agreed and issued at the AGM in September 2018. Good luck – the Stone Festival Committee looks forward to receiving your information.

Golfing for Juniors in Stone Fraser Benoit the Junior Captain at Stone Golf Club would like to invite girls and boys aged 8 to 12 years of age who may be interested in playing golf to come along to the club any Tuesday at 5pm for a taster session. For 2018, the Junior section is offering a very special deal for all 8 to 12 year olds and that is the opportunity to join with free membership. Also included in the offer will be an arranged free group lesson at Stone Driving Range. All that is required of the ‘potential golfers’ is that they have a few clubs, a couple of hours on a Tuesday evening to play and in return they will have the opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills, take part in home and away competitions and generally have fun. Interested? Please pop along on a Tuesday evening at 5pm and you will receive a warm welcome. Parents are invited to come along as well and if they so wish they could relax in the club house with lovely views of the course, enjoying the 19th hole, whilst the young people play golf. Stone Golf Club is located along the A34 adjacent to the Wayfarer. Any queries phone 01785 602944.


Stone’s Gold Medallist Joe opens Norton Bridge's new recreation area

Norton Bridge's brand new playground re-opening ceremony took place on June 16th, with Stone’s very own Olympic Gold Medallist Joe Clarke, and the Mayor of Stafford in attendance to cut the ribbon. The park was built with a £49,000 grant given to ‘Friends of Norton Bridge’ from the SUEZ Communities Trust. Photo’s courtesy of Mark Wilson


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Sale of Land at Tilling Drive by Stafford Borough Council Following discussion at the General Purposes Committee on 22nd May 2018, the Town Council wrote to Stafford Borough Council expressing their dissatisfaction at the proposed sale of part of Tilling Drive Playing Field, a dissatisfaction which is also clearly evident from the strong objections of the residents of that local area. Councillor Andy Osgathorpe, Chairman of the Planning Committee and proposer of the motion at the General Purposes Committee said “The further reduction of Stone's Green Infrastructure and designated Local Green Spaces is contrary to the Plan for Stafford Borough and undermines the status of designated Local Green Space in the draft Neighbourhood Plan.”

New bin collection days? A new two year calendar has been delivered to homes across Stafford Borough to let householders know what day their bins will be collected. Most residents will have had a change in their bin collection day, which started from 2nd July. The new recycling and waste contractor for Stafford Borough, Veolia, has introduced new routes for the weekly bin collections to make the service more efficient – especially with the increase in houses built in the area over the last few years. The borough council say the system will stay the same – with the green bin for rubbish collected on one week and the blue recycling and brown garden waste bin emptied on the same day on the alternate week. Councillor Frank Finlay, Cabinet Member for Environment and Health at the Borough Council, said: “We have had significant growth in our area in recent years and, with the numbers of houses earmarked to be built over the next few years, the routes of the bin lorries are no longer the most efficient. “Our new contractors have done extensive research into how this can be improved and, as a result, some people will have a change in the day their bin is emptied.” He added: “Veolia are now sending out new bin collection calendars with all the up to date details of the service. So please look out for the calendar so you will know when your bin will be collected.” Bank holiday collection arrangements for all households will also change. Residents are reminded to put their bins out ready by 7am, as normal, on their day of collection. More information about recycling and waste from


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• Robert E. Cartmail (President) with Mary E. Cartmail (Secretary)

Eccleshall Show Society Receives Royal Recognition Eccleshall Show Society has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The award is given in recognition of the work undertaken by an organisation which is made up entirely of volunteers. Now in its 71st year, the Show Society, which started life as Eccleshall Gymkhana and Agricultural Society, has raised thousands of pounds for numerous charities by organising the annual Eccleshall Show. Edward Lambert, Chairman of Eccleshall Show Society said “The Show Society is delighted to have been recognised in this way. Many people give so generously of their time to ensure that our annual country show goes from strength to strength and continues to entertain people of all generations. The show brings people from different backgrounds together and provides the platform for many charities and local groups to promote their work and raise vital funds”. This year’s Eccleshall Show will be held on Saturday 1 September at Sugnall Parks, and further details can be found online at In the coming weeks the show’s website will receive an overhaul so be sure to visit to keep up to date with all the plans for this year’s show.

Stone Community Poppy Project Lin Davies in conjunction with staff and team members of Oak Tree Farm Rural Project, plus other people and organisations in Stone, are working together aiming to handmake 1000 ceramic poppies. The poppies will be on display in St Michael’s and St Wulfad’s Church at the beginning of November 2018 ready for the Remembrance Service, marking 100 years since the ending of the First World War. Also 100 years since the formation of The Royal Air Force. People can contribute knitted, crochet, fabric poppies to be part of the display. You can sponsor a poppy now for £15, and receive a poppy following Remembrance Sunday. Any profits will go to Royal British Legion, Oak Tree Farm Rural Project, and St Michael’s and St Wulfad’s Church. You can give your name and payment to Oak Tree Farm, or contact Lin on 01889 505094.


Stone Festival 2018... his year’s Stone Festival has drawn to a close now and not only did the sun shine, but the crowds came too. Thousands of people from around Staffordshire descended upon Stone during a 10 day period, enjoying the activities, the weather and having a truly fantastic time with record attendances at the Soapbox Derby Race, the evening of Mediumship, Fret & Fiddle concert and the Carnival Saturday. Kicking off with the Soapbox Race on Bank Holiday Monday, 21 teams took to the start for two trips down the course, this year with new jumps and challenges to the delight of both competitors and spectators alike. Proof that this is not just a young person’s event, the oldest team of three this year were Red Beetle who between them aged 210 years and an amazing time they had too. The festival then moved on to the traditional raft race on the Sunday and with the River Trent in good flow, a slightly smaller field than in previous years negotiated it with great gusto and fun. From the Oulton Art Exhibition through the Dog Show, the Dog Steeplechase, mediumship evening


Musical excellence 2018 Festival saw groups performing that catered for both ends of the musical spectrum. Local act Fret & Fiddle kicked off on the first Saturday at a packed Christ Church, with a superb exhibition of their unique and brilliant renditions of various swing, blues and jazz songs – they are becoming an ever popular band for people to follow and come and listen to. Carnival Saturday then saw a huge array of music from five different artists performing in the music tent on Westbridge Park, while in the evening local band Cherry Groove rocked the Lymestone Brewery in Mount Street with a varied, modern day set of foottapping, heart-beating covers from artists including Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi and many others. All in all, Stone Festival delivered a wonderful array of local musical talent and if you missed them this year, put a note in the diary for next year – you won’t regret it.


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and to our concerts to name a few, there really was something for everyone. Most of all, we are hopeful that the monies raised this year will be a significant amount so that all of our local beneficiaries may move forward into 2019 with confidence in being able to provide the public with the services that various groups of people around Stone rely upon. And so to Carnival Day 2018 – the procession was longer and so packed with people that it snaked from one end of Stone down to Westbridge Park – with the streets lined three or four deep in places, what a truly magnificent sight. The winning float was 101 Dalmations by Pikemere First School. Into the park and a fantastic classic car and scooter display was a great centre of attention and interest, nestled in the middle of more than 50 stalls and other activities. It truly was a wonderful family day out and one that was full of happy, smiling faces. Roll on 2019 and rest assured the Festival Committee will be making 2019, our 50th anniversary, an even more wonderful week than this year’s exceptional event.

... what a scorcher it was! ... a review in pictures

Festival 2018 – it’s a team effort “The success of this year’s festival is very much a team effort and the series of events we put on would not go ahead without the support of so many, not least our sponsors,” says Grahame Neagus, Festival Vice Chair. It goes without saying then that the Festival Committee would like to say a huge thanks to our main sponsors – Stone & Eccleshall Gazette and Walton Stores – as well as all the local businesses and organisations who help to make the festival possible by giving their time, resources and financial support. Thank you to all of our sponsors plus all those unpaid volunteers who, regardless of whether they are festival volunteers or from other groups like Stone Rotary or Stone Lions, all helped to make the 2018 Stone Festival a truly memorable event to be part of. Really enjoyed it this year? Then why not get involved and join us in 2019 – our 50th anniversary year. All we ask is a few hours of your time in Festival Week 2019 to help us make it even bigger and better. For more information please drop us a line through the Stone Festival website ( or directly to


Flipping great result for Soapbox Derby winners The third annual Stone Festival Soapbox Derby drew the crowds to the High Street, to watch the teams pitting themselves in a race of speed, dexterity, engineering capability and skill. Here are the results. • Winning team The Flip Out Mobile

he Sun shone on Stone for the 2018 Stone Festival Soapbox Derby Race which had at one stage close to 30 entrants. This then dropped to close to 15 only to rise again to circa 24 and finishing with 19 soapbox teams taking to the line. Those who participated had the time of their lives in front of an amazing crowd once again down the High Street, in some places four or five deep. The festival committee would like to thank all the sponsors, competitors, helpers and judges involved for their time, effort



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Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Name The Flip Out Mobile Schwerkraft Rennfahrer Tittensor Best Kept Village St Vincent ESU Free Spirit Buzzz Stone Diners Mr Beans' The Power of Sea Stone Round Table Alpha ‘A’ Team The Dead Sparrows Stone Scaffolding Climbers Christ Church Chariot Porky Blunders Red Beetle Bri-Stor 1 The Roebuck Thunderbirds are Go (one run only) Reach the Top (one run only)

and commitment to making this event possible. The commitment and enthusiasm competitors put in to building their creations never ceases to amaze the Stone Festival Committee . They are a huge spectacle and a joy to watch – the wilder and more outlandish the better – so long may your creative juices flow in designing ever different steads in 2019 and beyond.

Time 86.70 94.81 98.18 109.25 112.79 119.21 127.28 127.38 127.42 134.79 149.08 149.80 160.19 167.00 194.19 213.06 214.75 102.02 106.79

Score Category Adult Male Adult Male Adult Male Junior Mixed Adult Male Adult Male Junior Adult Male Adult Male Junior Adult Male Adult Female Adult Male 150+ Adult Male Mixed Adult Male Mixed

Photo courtesy of Vantage Point Creat ive

A jewel of an excursion for Stone & District Probus Club Nearly 30 members of Stone & District Probus Club went to Birmingham on June 14 to visit the Jewellery Museum, managed by Birmingham Museums Trust, followed by lunch in a local hostelry and then a tour of the now defunct Newman Brothers Coffin Works which is also a museum. When the proprietors of the Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturing firm retired in 1981, they simply ceased trading and locked the door, unaware they would be leaving a time capsule for future generations. Everything was left as it was: tools on benches, overalls hanging on coat hooks, even cups of tea and jars of jam and Marmite. Today the factory is a remarkable museum, which tells the story of the Jewellery Quarter and Birmingham’s renowned jewellery and metalworking heritage. The museum conditions in days gone by would not be tolerated in today’s society, nor would they pass any health and safety inspection, but this is an important part of the rich heritage of this city. Following a buffet lunch it was just a 50 metre walk to the tour of the coffin furniture factory. This time-capsule building and its contents, managed by the Birmingham Conservation Trust, tells the story of Newman Brothers, Birmingham’s last coffin furniture factory, who operated from their Fleet Street premises for more than 100 years until 1998 when workers laid down their equipment and walked out of the building for the very last time, leaving everything, including personal belongings, behind. Within the same building is the

Shroud Room, colloquially referred to as ‘Shrouds’. Newman Brothers’ trade catalogues list these funerary garments as robes. They were part of the coffin furniture product line on offer at the company and also included ‘frillings’, side sheets and pillows to dress the inside of coffins. Stone & District Probus Club has a full programme of events and they always welcome new members who may wish to join them at these events and monthly meetings. Please contact the Secretary, Neil Hammersley, on 01782 373028 or email neil.hammersley@ for further information. • The guide sits at the jewellers’ bench at the former Smith & Pepper Factory, now the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.

• Line shaft and polishing mops used for ‘finishing’ jewellery.

• Exhibition space at the Coffin Works showing visitors what a typical Newman Brothers’ trade show would have looked like.

• Tour guide David demonstrates how a drop stamp was operated.



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E C C L E S H A L L N E W S I N B R I E F Car scheme

The Eccleshall Voluntary Car Scheme transported its first passenger to Stafford Hospital on Friday, May 11. New applicants to become passengers receive an informal interview to assess their needs and they are then added to the list of eligible customers. For further information on the scheme as a driver or passenger, please visit the website. Following the delivery by the Scouts of the yellow promotional leaflet for the scheme they now report that they have more voluntary drivers than passengers. Short journeys are also undertaken by the scheme, for example to the Crown Surgery. To participate in the Eccleshall Voluntary Car Scheme residents need to complete an application form to ‘Join the Club’ so that the scheme knows your needs and how they can help. The forms are available on line at, at Eccleshall Library or by post from 25 Wheelwright Drive, Eccleshall, ST21 6LB or ring 01785 851381.

Llandudno trip Members of the Eccleshall Trust enjoyed an outing to Llandudno on Thursday, June 7.

Singers AGM Robin Cole was returned as Chairman of the Eccleshall Singers and Chris Howe as Deputy Chairman at the group’s annual general meeting held on Tuesday, May 1, in the Methodist Church. The Singers meet on Tuesday evenings at the Methodist Church between 7.30pm and 9.30pm.

Congratulations to Jonathan Hardisty and Toni Semmence who tied the knot at Marylebone Town Hall on May 27th. Jonathan, who started his career delivering the Gazette for us, has recently accepted a job offer in Houston, Texas, while his new wife Toni will stay on at Imperial College to finish her Phd, she will then join Jonathan in a few months in the ‘big’ state. Good luck to you both on your new adventure, from all here at the Gazette.

Barlaston Captains charity cheques

Chebsey Parish Council It was a busy evening for the councillors and members of the public when the Parish Council held three meetings back to back. The annual parish meeting was followed by the annual general meeting and then a regular council meeting. Some 20 residents attended the meetings along with County Councillor Jeremy Pert and Borough Councillor Peter Jones. Councillor Margaret Ainsworth-Hickman was returned unopposed as Chairman and Councillor Mark Wilson was returned unopposed as Vice Chairman. The council received an update from John Fraser from the Stone Railhead Group.

Stafford Rotary Club A social evening, held at the home of Brenda O’Leary in Gnosall, raised more than £600 which will be divided between the Kohima Trust and the Stafford Club president’s three charities, Cerebral Palsy, Oak Tree Farm and Katharine House Hospice.

Eccleshall Parish Council The annual general meeting of the Eccleshall Parish Council took place on Wednesday, May 16, at the community centre. Councillor Graham Garner and Councillor Peter Jones were returned unopposed as Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the council. Councillor Bryan Delanchy was returned as Chairman and Councillor Adrian Le Monnier as Deputy Chairman of the planning committee.

• John Machin and Lynne Harrison are pictured in the middle presenting their cheques. On Monday 25th June John Machin – Captain 2017 and Lynne Harrison – Lady Captain 2017 at Barlaston Golf Club made presentations to their chosen charity for their year as Captains. John Machin presented a cheque for £1,120 to Christina Hunter, Head of Fundraising for The Peter Pan Centre, and Lynne Harrison presented a cheque for £1,120 to David Fuller and Sue Addis, local representatives from the North Staffs Macular Support Group. Barlaston Golf Club has already made donations to Breast Cancer (Ladies Pink Day) and North Staffs University Hospital, Haematology Unit, from fundraising activities in 2017.

Mumbles muddy fun

Garden party The President of the Stafford Rotary Club, Karen Milligan, held a fundraising garden party at her home in Alsager on Saturday, May 19, which was attended by more than 40 people and raised over £600 for her charities.

Natwest Bank The Eccleshall Parish Council has written to the head office of RBS, the owners of the NatWest Bank with premises in Eccleshall. They have complained about the state of the property in the centre of the town. It is hoped that prior to the building being put on sale in July they will tidy up the site considerably. The situation is not helped by the building being used as an impromptu poster site.


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The children at Mumbles Day Nursery in Sandon are pictured here enjoying Mud Week. Staff created a giant mud slide using real mud, and much muddy fun was had by all, what better way to cool down in the glorious sunshine!

Headteacher to retire after 42 years

• Stone Town Mayor, Cllr Kristan Green in the Market Square with her distinguished guests

A very, very Civic Sunday There’s one Sunday in June each year when the traffic is stopped, Civic dignitaries from Stone and the Borough, accompanied by the Scout and Guides band and town councillors ... borough maces ... march from outside of the Council Offices on Station Road down the High Street to St Michaels and St Wulfads for a Civic Service and then to return about an hour later for the “parade” to be dismissed in Market Square and this year’s Civic Sunday was on June 24th And yet I still am perplexed by the one “pomp and ceremonial“ event of the year - the one day of the year when there can be as many police officers as there are citizens on the High Street ... and more times than not, the weather (as indeed was the case again this year) has been glorious - I’ve been attending for 15 years now. This is the one opportunity of the year for the town to truly shine - an ideal opportunity for readers join in to celebrate what a wonderful town we live in. Let’s see if next year we can encourage some more audience participation!

Following a successful 42 years at the helm, Headteacher Mr. Nick Copestick has announced that he will be retiring from Edenhurst at the end of this academic year. His wife Suzanne will also be retiring from her teaching role and as Registrar at the school. Edenhurst Prep School was founded in 1961 when Nick’s parents, Bill and Sylvia Copestick, purchased ‘Edenhurst House’ in Westlands Avenue, Newcastle, and immediately began converting the residential property into suitable premises for a school. Nick took over the Head’s role from his father, Bill Copestick, in 1976, initially working alongside his parents for five years before they moved to Cornwall. Edenhurst has seen many changes in that time and survived three economic recessions but has retained the nurturing, family aspect that so characterised its beginnings. After much expansion and extension, the Copestick family created a school boasting many excellent facilities, including a science lab, an art suite, a full Nursery complex, playing fields, tennis courts, and a kitchen of sufficient size to cater for rapidly increasing pupil numbers. “I have never regarded my role as just a 'job' – it has been my way of life and I feel privileged to have shared that with Suzanne for the past couple of decades,” commented Nick. “It is going to be a real wrench for us both to leave Edenhurst behind but we feel that the school is in a very strong position and that we have life goals we want to achieve before I, particularly, am not too old!” “I feel very proud of the school's many achievements since then; at the same time it is

• Nick & Suzanne Copestick humbling to think of the hundreds of families and children (not least our own!) who have put their trust in us and we will carry very many fond memories of them and of the colleagues who have supported us and contributed so hugely to the successes over the years.” Michael Hibbert, currently Assistant Head (Senior Deputy Head) at Merchant Taylor’s Prep in Hertfordshire, will become the next Headteacher of Edenhurst when Nick retires at the end of this academic year. Michael said: “The minute I walked through the doors, I knew Edenhurst was the kind of school I wanted to be a part of. The sense of community and family was clearly evident. “Edenhurst is a place where children are the absolute priority and this resonates with my own beliefs. Meeting Mr. Copestick played a significant part in me applying. I find it truly inspirational that he has devoted his whole life to this school and I am honoured to be given the opportunity to continue his good work.”


Stone Labour Party Women’s Group Garden Party It’s been ninety years since women were granted the same voting rights as men, and on the 7th July Stone County Labour Party’s women’s group joined forces with the Stafford branch to celebrate this magnificent achievement. The Equal Franchise Act was hard fought for and, although women had been granted the vote in 1918, it wasn’t until ten years later that the qualifying age – twenty one years – was made equal to that of men. Councillor Amelia Rout cut the ribbon and reminded us all that although women have come a long way the journey is ongoing, and even today those in lower paid jobs are struggling to achieve equality. Labour Councillor Aidan Godfrey was also in attendance in support of the anniversary. There were reminders of notable women from the past, and even a themed quiz to see how much we actually know about the suffragette movement. Why were the colours purple and green chosen, and what was the name of the King’s horse stopped by Emily Davison? The sun shone, the flags flew and there was plenty of cake, fun and games. I think our resident suffragette was impressed with the proceedings. I wonder what the women of 1928 would have thought? The Stone CLP Women’s Group meet once a month and look to support local as well as national ventures. If you are interested in finding out more you can find us on Facebook at https://www. 150522/ or come along to a meeting and see what we’re all about! All photo’s by Phoebe Turner


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Entertainment for all at Eccleshall Show

The Eccleshall Show will take place on Saturday, September 1, at The Parks, Sugnall Walled Gardens. The show is organised by the Eccleshall Show Society and included in the programme are horticulture and craft events, a companion dog show and a pet show. From canines to cauliflowers, the show has competitions for all. For equestrians this is one of the largest one-day events of its kind in the country, attracting exhibitors from across the UK. The Eccleshall Show hosts qualifying classes for larger events such as the Horse of the Year Show. Meanwhile the classic vehicle display, which featured just three engines a decade ago, has gone from strength to strength and now boasts 300 exhibits. Eccleshall Show is open to the public from 10.30am to 6pm on Saturday, September 1. For further information email, telephone 07702 20551 or visit the website at

A special day for special children

Saturday 24th June dawned bright and clear, much to the delight of the members of Stone Lions Club who, together with the other 6 Lions Clubs of North Staffordshire, were hosting a Fun Day at Foxfield Railway, near Cheadle for families of children with special needs from across the area. There was plenty on offer for everyone to experience and enjoy. Lions had arranged a series of stalls with games and competitions for the children, including face painting, and there were several funfair rides, a miniature railway and birds of prey too. For most of the children, however, the climax of the day was a ride through the countryside on one of Foxfield Railway’s beautifully restored steam engines. Around 55 Lions were in attendance to make sure that everyone had a good time and the day went without a hitch, with around 600 visitors enjoying the summer sunshine. According to Stone Lions Club member Chris Handley, this annual event is one of the members’ favourite service activities. “To see the smiles on the faces of so many people makes the hard work really worthwhile and a number of parents of children with special needs have told us how much they appreciate being able to share the day with other families in a similar situation.” The success of the day is probably best summed up by the comments of a parent who attended the Lions Fun Day at Foxfield for the first time “Superb day such a privilege to be able to come and enjoy precious time out - that doesn’t happen with our special ones very often”


Eccleshall’s Pippa Churchill to open Sandon & District meets Prince Edward 1940’s Themed Village Fete Please make a note in your diary, on Saturday 11th August 2018, the Sandon and District Village Fete Committee are ‘Celebrating the 1940’s’ and they want you join them and celebrate too. Listen out for the air raid siren to draw your attention to the official opening at 1.00 pm by Winston Churchill! (aka Steve McTigue an actor and local personality whose uncle was personal medic to Field Marshall The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein) Re-enactors will be attending, bringing vehicles, a field gun, dressing in period costume and available to chat about the 1940’s, the brass band is primed to play 1940’s music just to get you in the mood! There will be a dedicated craft marquee where rural and local crafts are being displayed, demonstrated and sold, the Horticultural Show is ‘Digging for Victory’ making do and mending, and encouraging local period photography in their fun classes. Staffordshire County Archives will have WWII items and 1940’s memorabilia, and a 1949 open backed double decker bus will be pulling up for people to relive memories. “The Way They Wore” are bringing 1940’s clothing, etc. to sell and display. Tetley are kindly sponsoring a Teabag Tossing Tournament, see how many teabags can be thrown into the Teapot? The British Wildlife Rescue Centre are bringing their racing ferrets – see if you can pick a winner? Ashmore’s will be there with their “Award Winning” ice cream and Trophy Feeds are • The photo shows Pippa Diana Spencer with the Lord organising the fun dog show, not forgetting the popular refreshments marquee and Car Lieutenant of County Tyrone, Robert Scott Pippa Spencer, eldest daughter of David and Angela Boot, White Elephant, Tombola and WI run Spencer of Eccleshall, was presented with her Gold Duke Cake Stall. This year the Sandon and District Village of Edinburgh's Award, by the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, and Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of County Tyrone, Robert Scott. The event took place on Thursday July 5th at Holyrood Palace, The Queen's residence in Edinburgh. Soon to be presented with her Silver Duke of Edinburgh's Award will be Pippa’s sister Lucy and their younger sister Evie will also be completing her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh's Award this weekend. Proud mum Angela told the Gazette “We are very lucky to have the leaders of the Staffordshire Adventure Services set up in our local Eccleshall Library, so that young people in our community can take part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.” Fore more information on The Duke of Edingurgh’s award scheme visit

Fete Committee are supporting Midlands Air Ambulance (who are bringing their new Exhibition Unit for you to see), Sandon War Memorial Trust (memorial cleaning fund) and The British Wildlife Rescue Centre, Sandon. Go and enjoy an afternoon of fun and entertainment for only £1.50 per adult, children are free. For up-to-date information visit the website at

Care for a cuppa?

Stone MP’s home visit Members of the Conservative Branch spent a pleasant afternoon at the home of MP Sir Bill and Lady Laura Cash at Upton Cressett Hall near Bridgnorth on Saturday, June 16. Members were treated to a tour of Sir Bill’s home and an afternoon tea. The visit included a talk by the MP on the history of his home and the many famous historical visitors. • Left to right: Fay Smith, Day Therapies Nurse, Ruth Dulson, Head of Operations, Rob Shropshire, Mortgage Manager at Stafford Railway Building Society and Cathy Browning, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Day Therapies. No matter whether you prefer your mug to be filled with a tea or coffee, Katharine House Hospice would be delighted if you’d enjoy a cuppa this summer to support your local hospice. Throughout July and August, they are asking local people to consider putting the kettle on, baking, creating or buying some cakes and enjoying a catch up with friends, family, neighbours or colleagues to raise vital funds. Katharine House Hospice’s Community Fundraiser, David Middleton, said: “Last year, local people had a great time holding similar gatherings to raise money for the hospice. This summer we’re hoping even more people/groups/companies will decide to hold a ‘Care for a Cuppa?’ event and together we can ensure that our nurses


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and specialists can deliver the ‘care’ that your cuppas have funded.” This year the hospice’s Care for a Cuppa campaign has been kindly sponsored by Stafford Railway Building Society. Ruth Dulson, Head of Operations at Stafford Railway Building Society, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring Katharine House Hospice's Care for a Cuppa appeal. The work that Katharine House does within the Stafford area and beyond continues to inspire the team at Stafford Railway Building Society. We’re excited to be part of Care for a Cuppa and will be raising a mug of tea to help support future patients at the hospice.” If you’d like a ‘Care for a Cuppa’ fundraising pack to get you started, please call 01785 270808 or email: fundraising@khhospice

The Long and the Short of it! On Wednesday 27th June, Stone Lions Club welcomed their new Club President, when Lion Paul Martin accepted the President’s Chain of Office from Past President Lion Kristan Green. Readers may not be aware that Lion Paul is the tallest member of Stone Lions Club and Lion Kristan is the shortest but this was not a problem on the night as a stool was provided for Kristan to make eye contact with Paul during the formalities! The ceremony, which took place in the Oak Leaf Tea Room at Oak Tree Farm, was followed by a superb ‘pot luck’ supper provided by club members who all enjoyed an evening of the friendship and fellowship for which Stone Lions are well known. Although a relatively new arrival to the Stone area, Paul is already well known to a number of local people as he is a driver for the Community Bus and a Trustee for Age UK, Stone. Both he and his wife Shirley joined Stone Lions 3 years ago and have proved to be a welcome and valuable addition to the Club. Lion Paul thanked Lion Kristan for her sterling efforts during her year as Club President and wished her every success in her new venture as Stone Town Mayor. He acknowledged that the next 12 months would be a learning curve for him but he was looking forward to the challenge and was reassured to know that he had the support of all members. The members of Stone Lions Club wish Paul an exciting and fulfilling year as President and hope that he and Shirley thoroughly enjoy themselves. They also thank David Moreton and the staff at Oak Tree Farm for allowing them to use their excellent facilities.

Stone Music Festival Following its success in recent years, Stone Town Council are again organising a free music event in the town on Saturday, July 14. With the help of volunteer Tony Hollinshead a full programme of entertainment has been arranged between 11am and 9pm, including The Local Music Showcase, Tucano Samba Band, The Lack of Commitments, Angels with Dirty Faces and Live Wires. All this talent will perform on a stage set in the town’s Market Square. The local music showcase will feature a combination of young musicians performing a mixture of covers and original songs and local singer songwriters playing original music. Councillor Jill Hood, Vice-Chairman of the Council’s Tourism and Town Promotion Sub-Committee, said: “The Stone Music Festival is free, and showcases a wide variety of the town’s abundant musical talent. Don’t miss what promises to be a fantastic time on Saturday July 14th, beginning at 11am. Between acts you can also take time to browse the town’s unrivalled selection of independent shops and eateries for a great day out.” More information is available on the music festival Facebook page @stonemusicfestival.


• Side-splitting fun: Barlaston Herons take part in a session of laughter yoga.

Laughter is the best medicine for Barlaston Herons The Barlaston Heron WI ladies left their June meeting with aching sides. This was due to Kathy delivering a lively session of ‘laughter yoga’. She warmed the ladies up nicely with a range of activities designed to encourage laughter. Kathy explained the benefits of laughter, including stress busting qualities, and the use of the body’s rest and recovery system. Ten minutes of laughing is equivalent to ten minutes on a rowing machine and all the ladies agreed they would much prefer giggling their way to a healthier lifestyle. Everyone took part in a number of laughing activities and finished the session of yoga on meditation and quiet reflection. It was a

thoroughly fun evening that had everyone smiling and feeling better. The business section of the meeting followed the luscious homemade cakes and refreshments. Many exciting upcoming events were highlighted, including the Christmas meal, theatre trips, a mausoleum open day and the monthly walk. Thanks were given to all the ladies that entered an item into the WI County Show. Community events were shared including the Open Gardens event on July 14 and 15. The themes of upcoming meetings are ‘Show and Tell’ in July and ‘Upcycling T-shirts’ in August. New members are warmly welcomed, please check the website for more details

• Members of the hanging basket team receiving instructions from Phil Baskerville, leader of the Eccleshall in Bloom organisation.

Hanging baskets in Eccleshall Members of the Ecclian Society, aided by friends and neighbours, installed the hanging baskets and Union flags in Eccleshall town centre in readiness for the June Festival. They installed 65 hanging baskets and 48 oak post mangers thanks to the generosity of

residents, clubs and businesses who make donations and sponsor the blooming objects. Parish Councillor Phil Baskerville described the support of local businesses and residents as “tremendous” at the recent parish council meeting.

A day for dads and dens Class 1 at Oulton First School celebrated Fathers’ Day by hosting a den building morning. Dads, grandads and uncles came along and all had a lot of fun.


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Old and young enjoying time together

The residents from Oulton Abbey Carehome joined the children from Oulton Abbey Playgroup for a spot of lunch at Trentham Gardens. This was their first outing together and it was a huge success and will be followed by many more. Search ‘Oulton Abbey Playgroup’ on Facebook, email them on or call on 01785 827970 for more information.

Society’s 25 years Past and present committee members of the Ecclian Society gathered at the home of chairman Myf Freeman on Friday, June 9, to celebrate 25 years to the day of the formation of the society.

• Peter Bertram, Myf Freeman and Phil Baskerville, past and present chairs of the society


GAZETTE E C C L E S H A L L E C C L E S H A L L N E W S I N B R I E F Line dancing There are two-line dancing sessions at the Eccleshall community centre, Shaw’s Lane, on Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings. Beginners are always welcome at both sessions, £4.50 payable at the door. For more information contact Dave Gibson on 07548 158164.

Singing secretary Imogen Bloxham, secretary of the Eccleshall Young Farmers Club, showed off her singing talent at the County Showground on Tuesday, May 29, as part of the YFC pre-show concert. Entertainment was provided by the various Young Farmers clubs from the county in front of an invited audience.

Official opening The recreation area at St Luke’s Close, Norton Bridge, was officially opened on Saturday, June 16, and a party atmosphere ensued. The scheme, carried out and fundraised by the Chebsey Parish Council and Friends of Norton Bridge, will add a welcome leisure dimension to the area. The event was officially opened by Olympic medallist Joe Clarke.

Standon Parish Council The Standon and Cotes Heath Parish Council is appealing for double white lines to be installed along the A519 road through Standon, with a view to reducing the risk of potential accidents caused by overtaking vehicles. The white lines cover part of the route, but the Council hopes for an extension. They would also like the same speed limit enjoyed by other near villages such as Slindon.

Queen’s Award Congratulations to the organisers of the Eccleshall Show for being awarded the Queen’s Award to Voluntary Service. Now in its 71st year, the show began in 1947.

Responders Ball Around £2,000 was raised from the Eccleshall First Responders Ball held at Baden Hall on Saturday, June 2. The organisers would like to thank all those who supported the event by attending and especially the businesses in the town for their contributions. The proceeds will help the Responders to provide their excellent service to the community.

Traffic management At the meeting of the Eccleshall Parish Council’s Traffic Management Committee on Wednesday, June 6, the results of the parking survey in the town were presented by the chairman Peter Jones. More than 130 members of staff working in the town centre need parking places and almost 100 of them park on street somewhere in the town. In collaboration with the Police and Crime Commissioner and County Councillor Jeremy Pert, the Police Post car park has provided 13 places for traders which has relieved the situation a little. The Parish Council is in talks with the Co-op Supermarket regarding them allowing a number of traders free spaces. The pubs in the town have been contacted and many of them, although not all, already provide spaces for traders on their car parks. The committee also discussed the purchase of VAS signage for the roads in the parish, encouraging drivers to slow down. The Parish Clerk will be making enquiries from other local parishes who already use them and identifying grants available.

Post Office to open in Stone High Street Stone Town Council has been working closely with the Post Office since the closure of the Co-op was announced in order to return essential Post Office services to the High Street as soon as possible. The Town Council is pleased to be able to confirm that this work has now produced successful results and it is expected that a new Post Office will open in Stone in September 2018. It will be located in the recently vacated pharmacy at 5-7 High

Street. Councillor Rob Kenney, Chairman of the Council’s General Purposes Committee, said: “I’m pleased that the Council’s work with the Post Office has finally reached a successful outcome and we can look forward to the opening of a new Post Office in the High Street. “The Town Council will, of course, continue to fund the bus taking residents to nearby post offices until the new outlet has opened.”

Suffragettes clash with the police! Well, not exactly. It’s true that both were represented at the June meeting of Aston-byStone WI, but everything was amicable, and most unlike the scenes we see in old newsreels from the turn of the 20th century, showing women’s struggle for the vote. Nine members of the WI dressed in the Suffragette colours of white, green and purple, recreating the costumes they wore to take part in Stone Carnival parade on June 9. They carried banners emblazoned with “Deeds not words”, “Votes for women” and the initials of the W.S.P.U., the Suffragette society. It was a timely reminder of the 100th anniversary of votes being granted to (some) women. And what of the police? Had they come to break up the demonstration? No, it was the WI’s speaker and assistants who were there to represent the work of police dog handlers. Karen Bloor, a serving police dog handler, and Julie, a retired police dog handler, brought George, Julie’s retired sniffer dog, to tell something of his training and work. The ladies were warned that if they were in possession of any drugs, George would surely find them. Did this result in anxious shufflings and hasty exits, handbags clutched tight, from the Village Hall? Of course not! George was, however, tested by being asked to find some hidden cash. He went to work with a will, tail wagging, and froze when the cash was located. He is trained

• Aston ‘Suffragettes’ to sniff out drugs, firearms and cash, and his reward is... a ball to play with! A good candidate for training as a sniffer dog will show the ability to play on its own. Adult police officers undergo a more rigorous selection process, the ladies were told. George was popular among the WI members, making his way around the hall to say “hello” to many. Karen and Julie received a round of applause; George was rewarded by a ball to play with. After this the group were all rewarded with tea and cakes, during which Joan Jones quizzed them on culinary matters. Would you like to join Aston-by-Stone WI? Contact them at www.astonbystone, contactaston, or phone 01785 615662.

• Karen and George

Judgement Day is here

Methodist Church The car wash and sales day held at the Eccleshall Methodist Church on Saturday, June 2, raised £526.49. Many thanks to everyone involved.

Speed shear The Eccleshall Young Farmers will be speed sheering once again on the grounds of Shires Vets, Stone Road, Eccleshall, on Saturday, August 18. Please watch posters and press for full details.


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The England in Bloom judges visited Stone on Monday July 9th, they were shown around the judging route on foot, by minibus and by canal boat! Stone in Bloom representatives, as well as Stone Town Mayor Kristan Green, welcomed the two judges and showed them what Stone has to offer, the tour finished with a

lunch at Granvilles. Well done to all at Stone in Bloom for making Stone so pretty, and special praise goes to Pirehill School who were out in force singing songs for the judges, with a piano out in the yard! The results will be announced in September, fingers crossed for Stone!

• Mason at work on the memorial

War memorial A group of enthusiasts realised that there were men from the Eccleshall area, who had died during World War One, but were not named on the Eccleshall parish war memorial. The research that was carried out identified 17 service men who fell into this group. The addition of the names was carried out by a local mason. The lower part of the memorial was cleaned, which made a huge difference to the clarity of the names and other words already carved on the memorial. The cross and the base of the memorial were not cleaned as the masons believed the lichens were now protecting the stone from degeneration due to the weather. Then the skilled work really began. The memorial was officially rededicated on Sunday, June 24. Our thanks to David Sandham for the photograph.

• Banjo man Dan Walsh

Banjo man in Chebsey A full house greeted local man Dan ‘The Banjo Man’ Walsh at the Chebsey Village Hall on Saturday, May 19, for a folk concert and buffet supper. It was part of the Live and Local programme and proved most popular with banjo fans.

• Barbara Bradley and Wendy Baskerville preparing a manger.

Floral displays Local children’s author Barbara Bradley and Wendy Baskerville got a head start on preparing the Eccleshall town centre mangers with plants ready for the summer and the festival. The town was made more stunning by the installation of hanging baskets, mangers, oak post displays and union flags on Sunday, June 3, by the Ecclian Society members and friends.


Open garden success

• Marjorie Hilton, Gill Bertram (whose garden it is), and Joan Davies, the catering team for the open gardens event.

Special thanks go to Gill Bertram of Ashcroft, Eccleshall, who kindly opened her garden on Sunday, June 10, for the National Garden Scheme. Members of the Eccleshall Fundraising Support Group for Katharine House made and served lots of delicious cakes along with the drinks kindly donated by Gill and Peter Bertram. Gill, Peter and their hardworking friends were all present to take entrance fees, sell and advise on plants, serve, collect dishes and wash up. Gill is a very conscientious gardener and without her kindness the group would not have raised a wonderful £258 to help our local hospice. It is a beautiful garden and was very much enjoyed by all the visitors.

Eccleshall joins litter free campaign

GAZETTE N E W S I N B R I E F Stone by the Sea

Stone Town Council are planning to stage a “Stone by the Sea” event (scheduled for 15 – 17 August) . It will feature fairground rides, donkeys and a large container of clean sand which will be brought into the Market Square for children to enjoy. For more up to date information visit the council’s website at

Stone Lions Club Annual Prostate Cancer Screening Event Stone Lions Club will be hosting their 4th Annual Prostate Cancer Screening Event at the Stone House Hotel, Stone, on Tuesday 25th September between 6.00pm and 8.00pm. Men over the age of 50 years are invited to attend and Registration Forms are now available by contacting Lion Glyn Ravenscroft ( or Lion Mike Ward ( As in previous years, this service is offered free of charge but any donations towards the cost of the tests will be gratefully received.

Fair Trade in Oulton July and August dates Fair Trade groceries and goods will be on sale on Monday 16th July and Monday 20th August in Oulton Village Hall, Kibblestone Road from 9.30 a.m. until 11.30 am. Cakes and pies, free range eggs, jams, pickles, knitted toys, hand made soft goods and cards all from local producers will also be on sale. Refreshments served for a small donation. Plenty of parking. New stalls welcome please contact Ruth on 01785 815275.


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An anti-litter campaign has been rolled out to another town in Stafford Borough. Businesses and organisations in Stafford and Stone have already signed up to a pledge to do more to help keep the area clean. Now Eccleshall has come on board the #keepitclean campaign with a launch in the High Street on Friday, July 6. And as part of the launch youngsters from the local Bishop Lonsdale Primary School helped out with a litter pick. A team from Stafford Borough Council were in Eccleshall High Street to encourage businesses and local organisations to help the campaign and sign the litter free pledge board. The authority has taken a zero tolerance approach to environmental crime and over the last 12 months

• The Keep it Clean pledge board signed in Stafford. around 180 people have been handed on-the-spot fines for littering.

Councillor Frank Finlay, Cabinet Member for Environment and Health, said: “It is important we work together with our local businesses, organisations, and communities to ensure our borough remains attractive to all. All we ask is for people to have pride in their area and do their bit to help. “We have demonstrated that we will take action against those who treat the area as a giant dustbin but we would much rather work with people to avoid litter than having to fine those for dropping it.” Any business wanting to lend their support to the campaign can contact Rebecca Espley respley@ or 01785 619418. More information on the campaign at w w w. s t a f fo r d b c . g o v. u k / keepitclean

Caring Rainbows in Stone 1st Walton Rainbows recently paid a visit to the Stone Community Hub where they found out about the valuable work that the Hub does in Stone.The girls arrived with various items of food which they donated to the food bank. Karen Wardell, Manager of the Stone Community Hub (pictured with the Rainbows) gave a talk to the girls and showed them where the food was stored.

Jane West, Rainbow Leader, said: ” I was very proud of the girls for the questions they asked and for the interest they showed in the project.” The girls were given a leaflet explaining the work of the Hub to take home with them. For further information on joining Guiding in Stone, either as a volunteer or as a young member, please contact Anna on 01785 816783.

• One of the gardens open to the public during last year’s open gardens event.

Barlaston open gardens event has grown Barlaston’s Open Gardens event, now in its third year, takes place on July 14 and 15. As well as some of the original gardens, this year a number of new gardens will also be open. It is a relaxed affair with 23 gardens opening to the public and times have been extended to 11am to 5pm to accommodate the growing numbers of visitors. There is a wide variety of gardens to see – large and small, formal and wild, established and new, with lots of opportunity to get ideas and swap tips over a cuppa and a cake. Feedback from last year was that many visitors returned because of the friendly and welcoming atmosphere - why not come along and find out for yourself. Entry will be in the form of a programme highlighting which gardens are opening on the Saturday and which are opening on the Sunday, as well as those that are offering refreshments, have disabled access and are dog friendly. Programmes are available for sale from Kitson’s Chemist and Premier Village Store in Orchard Place for only £2 per person with free entry for under 16s. There will also be opportunity to buy programmes at every participating garden on the day. The proceeds of gardens offering refreshments are to charities of their own choosing and ticket sales will be donated to the Village Hall. If you would like more information or would like to help in some way please contact or see or at the website at

Cakes galore 1st Stone Guides had a busy afternoon at Stone Carnival. They baked and sold cakes during the afternoon – one or two were eaten just to make sure they tasted okay! Clare Taylor, Guider in charge, said: ”The girls worked really hard baking cakes and selling them at the carnival and the money raised (which has totalled over £200 ) will be going towards their camp at Unity this summer. A big well done to all the girls for their efforts to the people of Stone who bought the cakes.”

Family affair Two members of the Eccleshall Festival coordinator family, Lesley Jones and Samantha Hutchcocks, played in the National Concert Band Festival Gold award-winning band at the Festival Street Market on Saturday, June 23, under the arches of the Royal Oak.


GAZETTE E C C L E S H A L L E C C L E S H A L L N E W S I N B R I E F Trinity Men’s Fellowship Members and partners of the Trinity Men’s Fellowship will be enjoying a walk and buffet at the Parish Room on Friday, July 27. Members have been offered the opportunity of purchasing polo shirts emblazoned with the TMF logo, embroidered by the Chairman’s daughter.

Women’s Institute Sarah Pit will be the guest speaker at the Eccleshall WI on Thursday, July 12, at 7.30pm, speaking about the Market Drayton food bank.

Hodnet Hall Members of the Eccleshall Wives will be paying a visit to Hodnet Hall on Thursday, July 26, followed by supper.

Missed poems “Poems I wished I had read out this year” is the theme for the last meeting of the Eccleshall Poetry Group before the summer break. The group meets at the upstairs room of the High Street library on Thursday, July 19, from 2pm until 4pm.

Tea and cake The Eccleshall Women’s Fellowship meeting on Tuesday, July 24, will be a tea and cake occasion at the Methodist school room starting at 2pm. The group meets twice a month.

Enjoy a musical summer at Sandon Hall This summer Sandon Hall is playing host to not one – but two – exceptional evenings of music. On Friday, July 20, fans of classical music, opera and musical theatre are in for a treat as the hall welcomes two talented artists in one evening, in the form of young classical crossover artist Faith Tucker, and acclaimed concert pianist Allan Schiller. Faith is a true star on the rise – a junior student at the renowned Birmingham Conservatoire, her strong soprano voice and natural stage presence belie her years, and have seen her conquer major concert halls and venues throughout the UK, performing both classical arias in their original languages and musical theatre. Faith’s repertoire covers a broad range of musical styles, and during the evening the audience can expect a diverse programme – including arias such as Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’, George Bizet’s ‘Habanera’ from the opera Carmen, la donna e mobile from Rigoletto, Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Arms of an Angel’ and Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman’s ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ – to name but a few. Sharing the bill with Faith is Allan Schiller, one of the most accomplished concert performers in the United Kingdom, who has performed everything from sonatas to concertos with some of the world’s finest orchestras. From a child prodigy making his debut in Leeds Town Hall at the tender age of 10, Allan performed with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and gave concerts throughout his teens before, in 1961, becoming the first British pianist to win a scholarship to study at the Moscow Conservatoire. On his return to England in 1965, Allan’s career flourished and he was in demand for many

Live music Steve Overland from the FM< Band provides the musical entertainment at the Royal oak on Friday, July 27, starting at 9pm.

Curry fundraiser Thanks to Eccleshall’s London House and the 65 guests, the Curry Evening staged by the local Conservatives was a success with good food and good fellowship.

Festival thanks The organisers would like to thank all those people and organisations that took part in the Eccleshall Festival, including those who attended the street market and took part in the various activities and the Eccleshall Scouts who delivered the programme and acted as traffic marshals in the High Street.

Beetle drive Eccleshall’s Bishop Lonsdale Parent Teachers Association has a Beetle Drive in the school on Saturday, July 14, starting at 3pm and ending at 5pm. Tickets are £3.50 which includes a hot dog. Tickets are on sale from June 25 from the school office and The Artisan. Tickets will be on sale on the day, but should be purchased in advance if possible.

Eccleshall Bake Off Members of the Trinity Men’s Fellowship have been challenged to bake a classic recipe Victorian sponge for a competition to be held at the Eccleshall Show on Saturday, September 1. Members are allowed assistance for the test baking, but the actual entry must be all their own work. Non-baking members have offered to test the trial bakes. Entry forms will be available at the usual show pick-up points.

Litter campaign The Borough Council has arranged for a litter campaign to take place in Eccleshall on Friday, July 6, between 10am and 4pm following on from the successful campaigns in Stafford and Stone.


Stone & Eccleshall’s favourite read

• Allan Schiller

• Faith Tucker concerts including many regional recital tours and concerto engagements with leading British orchestras and famous conductors including Solti, Haitink and Fruhbeck de Burgos, together with playing for numerous BBC broadcasts. With a lifetime of international tours under his belt, Allan has earned a reputation as a world-class performer and played at the commemorations of the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death in Salzburg and Capetown and for Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip at Balmoral Castle. The chance to see a world-class performer of this calibre, alongside a young lady set for stardom on the same evening and in such an exclusive venue, is rare, and a limited number of tickets are on sale now priced at just £20. August will also see the hall welcome performers of international repute, and Beyond the Barricade – the UK’s favourite musical theatre concert tour – will recreate original West End and Broadway musical hit songs with amazing authenticity. With a cast made up of past principal performers from Les Miserables, this two-hour show is a must-see for fans of musical theatre. This year, before the West End stars take centre stage, you are invited to enjoy a leisurely afternoon exploring the hall’s garden in all its summertime glory, take a look around the house (3-5pm) and enjoy live music from special guest acts. Picnics are welcome – there will also be a hog roast, VIP bar service and a bouncy castle for the kids. Why not book a gazebo pitch and celebrate in style with friends and family? Tickets are £28pp with £2.50 from every sale going direct to support the Oak Tree Farm Rural Project. Full details and tickets for both events are available at or by calling 01889 508 004, and Beyond the Barricade tickets can also be purchased from Oak Tree Farm Rural Project.

Tittensor pupils get with the beat Teenage musicians brought a flavour of jazz to Tittensor First School in a bid to inspire a new generation of music makers. Youngsters were invited to get with the beat when a 14-piece band from Stafford Grammar School dropped by to play some tunes and show off an array of musical instruments. The band visited Tittensor as part of a whistlestop tour which also took in Stafford-based Barnfields Primary, Seighford’s Cooper Perry and Edenhurst Preparatory School in Newcastle. SGS director of music, Gavin Lamplough, said: “Some of the children had learnt about famous musicians and studied a bit about instruments, but all their senses are brought together when they hear music played live and watch young people perform it. It’s great. “Giving something back to the community has been a passion of mine since I came to the school around 10 years ago. Our big band roadshow is all about entertaining and educating and of course it’s fantastic if the visit prompts any children to say they’d like to learn how to play an instrument.”

• Tittensor First School pupils (from left) William Hampson (8), Ellie-May LackSouthall (9), Eloise Ecclestone (9) and Chloe Hooton (8) enjoy a taste of jazz with Stafford Grammar musicians Sam Higginson (17) and Eccleshall’s Maddie Holl (15).

No. 26 celebrates first year A year on from opening the doors of its No.26 bar and eatery, the team at Stone’s Aston Marina have plenty of cause to celebrate. Since its doors first opened at the end of May 2017, No.26 has built on the reputation of the marina’s popular Bistro, now welcoming both diners and those looking to enjoy a drink in the bar or on the outdoor decking overlooking the moorings. Open daily serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with coffee, cakes and snacks also available throughout the day in the bar area, the menu focuses on using the freshest seasonal ingredients, sourced locally where possible, alongside authentic pizza from a stone baked oven. And it’s not just the food and drink that have impressed at No.26 – the venue’s strong interior design scheme, which echoes its waterside setting to provide a cosy, informal dining experience, saw it shortlisted in the internationally renowned Restaurant and Bar Design Awards 2018. All in all, the future is looking bright – as Director, Helen Webb, says:“When we closed our Farm Shop and expanded the restaurant side of the business, it was not a decision we took lightly – the farm shop had been a real labour of love but demand for dining in the Bistro was outstripping availability. “One year on and we quite literally haven’t had time to look back – it’s been a whirlwind and we couldn’t be more delighted with the response to No.26. All but two of the strong original team chose to stay with us, taking on new roles in the restaurant side – and we have had to recruit significantly since, with more roles being created all the time. “The plan for the future is more of the same – the ethos of the No.26 experience is quite simply producing great food from quality ingredients, alongside friendly service. So far it’s proved a winner.” To find out more head to

Unique chair raffle raises funds Nearly £800 was raised for the RAF Benevolent Fund by a raffle organised by Anton and the team of Black’s Menswear in Mill Street, Stafford. The unique chair was created by Stafford designer Karen Hawkins. She has designed other military chairs and her first one went viral on Facebook with more than 50,000 likes. Winner of the chair was Stafford NHS worker Barbara Crook whose husband Ian was stationed at RAF Stafford and her son is still in the RAF.

• Left to right: Ian and Barbara Crook with Karen Hawkins and Anton Sedgwick of Black’s Menswear.


GAZETTE E C C L E S H A L L E C C L E S H A L L N E W S I N B R I E F Standon Parish Council The Standon Parish Council’s annual parish assembly took place on Monday, May 14, at the Cotes Heath & Standon Community Centre. It was followed by the annual parish council meeting. Councillor Peter Banks and Councillor Arron Williams were returned unopposed as Chairman and Deputy Chairman. The meeting was attended by six members of the parish council, nine members of the public and Borough Councillor Peter Jones. Each of the parish councillors had taken on responsibility for various parish items and reported on them at the meeting.

Young Farmers The Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Councillor Peter Jones and Mrs Joy Jones were the guests of the Eccleshall Young Farmers Club at their marquee in the County Showground on Tuesday, May 29, for their pre-show event. The Young Farmers gather at the Royal Oak on the first Wednesday of each month for their regular meetings starting at 8.30pm. You don’t have to be a young farmer to join in the fun.

Over 60s Plus Holy Trinity Church vicar Jules Walker and husband Drew attended the Over 60s afternoon tea on Tuesday, May 22, in the parish room. For the princely sum of £5 each attendee was treated to sandwiches, cakes and jelly and cream. The raffle and auction raised funds for the club and the afternoon was presided over by Fran.

Welcome new business Tom Brooker has moved into the old betting shop in Stafford Street, Eccleshall, with his key cutting, shoe repair and engraving business. Worth a visit. Richard Matthews opens his new bespoke kitchen store at 38 High Street.

Acoustic Night All singers and players are welcome to the Acoustic Night at the Royal Oak on Thursday, August 2, starting at 8pm. Admission is free.

Marquetry success Eccleshall-based Staffordshire Marquetry Group is celebrating success in the Marquetry Society’s Annual Exhibition, which this year was held in Markyate, near St Alban’s. Highlight of the group’s results was John Jeggo’s picture, entitled ‘Elegance’, which received the Rose Bowl for best picture in how. Group Chairman Brian Freeman received the Ron Gibbons Award for best miniature in show and there were also awards for Kerry Rath, Elizabeth Head, Phil Green, Tony Reindorp and Quentin Smith. The group scored a total of 45 points, putting them 16 points clear of second-placed Chelmsford and retaining the inter-group challenge shield for the sixth consecutive year. The group meets on Wednesday evenings at the Methodist Church Hall in Stone Road, Eccleshall, and new members are always welcome. Group Secretary Quentin Smith said: “Our first priority is to enjoy our hobby. The fact that we have a lot of success at national level is just a reflection of the high standard of work our members produce and the quality of the instruction and help available within the group.” Contact the group on 01785 850614 or via their website

Service books A complete set of service books have been provided by David Beswick in memory of his wife Anne at the Holy Trinity Church, Eccleshall. A new lectern Bible has also been provided. The ‘Open Door’ events at the church are being been held this year on every Saturday in August between 2pm and 4pm. If you can help, please get in touch with Sylvia at the church or on 07791 409372 or email her at


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Environmental theme for Girlguides at Stone Carnival Members of Girlguiding in Stone take current issues very seriously and this was reflected in their recent entries for the Stone Town Carnival. Stone District Brownies walked away with 1st Prize in the walking section of the carnival for their entry ’Say No to Plastic’ .The girls had fashioned costumes out of black plastic bin bags and copious amounts of rubbish that would have normally gone straight in the recycling bin. Brownie Leader Jo Sutton commented: ”The girls are passionate about trying not to use as much plastic and to helping the environment. As we walked along the parade, we received lots of positive comments from the general public.” Stone District Rainbows and 1st Stone Guides combined forces and paraded with their entry ‘Girlguiding in Bloom’. Anna West, District Commissioner and Guide Leader said: “Girls of today are committed to doing their bit to help look after the environment and keeping our home town of Stone beautiful.” For further information on Girlguiding in Stone, please contact Anna on 01785 81673 or Girlguiding Stone District Facebook page.

• Stone Town Mayor Kristan Green with Stone District Brownies who won 1st Prize for their ‘Say No To Plastic’ carnival theme.

Who cares for carers? Full-time carers are usually family members, who are kind, considerate and dedicated to their charges but no matter how caring they are, they need a break occasionally to care for themselves. Crossroad Care Staffordshire will help them to do this by providing a specially trained carer who will take over the caring duties for an agreed period so that the carer can take time out, knowing that their dependant is in safe hands. Locally, Crossroads has been going for 25 years, covering Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-underLyme, Stone, Stafford, Leek and Staffordshire Moorlands. They look after 300 carers daily and have 3,000 carers on their books – some may need just an occasional break. The services offered are respite, community activities, an emergency support scheme if a carer becomes ill, and some services are never chargeable (e.g. end of life/palliative care) and some may be discretionary if a carer is in dire financial straits.

Initially assessment is made of both the cared-for and their carer and about their individual needs – regular reviews and updates are made so that a personalised approach to care can be made; the aim is to send the same care support worker in each case in order to build a personal relationship, so giving continuity of care and emotional support. Many carers are on the breadline or in crisis, so your donations are needed to fund the emergency support scheme, the end of life care or just to pay for a short break for a tired carer who has no money to spare. Crossroads are always looking for care support workers, particularly in the Stone/Stafford areas. They pay competitive rates, with mileage and holiday payments and give award-winning training. Anyone interested should ring 01782 268391 and ask for Rebecca Adams or Lyn Gilford. For general enquiries, please contact Crossroads at Clive Villa, 22 Cemetery Road, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DL. Tel: 01782 268391.

Staffordshire schools raise £5,300 Schoolchildren from across Staffordshire came together on Wednesday, June 6, to present the £5,300 they had raised to support a charity helping local people in need. Children from 25 schools, from areas including Stone, Cheadle and Leek, gathered at St Wulstan’s Church in Wolstanton to present their fantastic donations to Midland social care charity, Father Hudson’s Care. They had raised the money throughout Lent, through bake sales, non-uniform days, sponsored events, or by simply filling a collection box. They presented their gifts at the church in a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley, together with Canon John Gilbert and Fr Dominic Chukka. Archbishop Bernard spoke about God wanting us all to have the opportunity to live the fullest of lives and said Father Hudson’s Care helps fulfil this by, for example, running Tabor House, which gives shelter to the homeless and helps them find work. Father Hudson’s Care works across the five counties of the Archdiocese of Birmingham,

• Children from Stone were among those who presented their donations to Father Hudson’s Care at a service in Wolstanton. transforming the lives of people at their time of need. In the period before Easter, children from around 200 schools across this area took part in fundraising activities to support people in need. This is a tradition going back to the early part of the 20th century, when children collected coins for Father Hudson’s. To find out more about the work of Father Hudson’s Care, visit www.fatherhudsons

• Perkins Engines, winners of the Business Category 2017, receiving their award.

Community Awards honour local heroes People and organisations from around Stafford Borough are being encouraged to show off the good work they are doing in their communities by entering an annual awards scheme. It is the second year of the Community Awards which are run by the Borough Council. The event aims to reward the efforts of local people, businesses, schools and other groups that help to improve community wellbeing. The council launched the initiative last year and attracted more than 50 entries. The awards are open to all people, groups and organisations operating within the borough with projects that have taken place within the last 12 months. Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “This is a great way to say thank you to those who go that extra mile to make Stafford Borough a better place to live, work and visit. “Many of those who do fantastic work for our community are volunteers and often go unnoticed so these awards give us the opportunity to pay tribute to them and demonstrate that we value all that they do.” The closing date for nominations and applications is Friday, September 7. An awards ceremony will be held in November. There are five categories relating to: Inspiring Individual (under 18); Inspiring Individual (18 and over); Action in the Community; Youth and Education; Business More information and how to enter can be found at or contact 01785 619595 or email

• Joe Leach, (left) with Stafford Prep School’s headmaster, Clive O’Donnell, and pupils (from left)11-year-old Amber Smitt, Emma Seaton (11), Max Brown (10), Jake Waugh (11).

Howzat! Worcs skipper drops by for head’s final over Stone SP Cricket Club’s former star, Joe Leach, was the surprise VIP guest at a local school on the day its headmaster brought to an end his innings at the helm. The Worcestershire CCC skipper dropped by for Clive O’Donnell’s retirement celebration, marking the end of a 35 year career in teaching, 11 years in charge of Stafford Prep School – and a half century stand as a Worcs CCC season ticket holder. At close of play Clive was given a rousing send-off from pupils and a handshake from Joe, who also presented him with a bat signed by the current squad. “It was an absolute thrill to be joined by Joe. My last week at school was brilliant and a bit emotional, and his visit topped it off perfectly,” said Clive. “I grew up in Worcester and for my ninth birthday I was given my first Worcestershire membership, which cost one guinea. That was back in 1968 and I’ve been a member ever since. By my reckoning I’ve watched about a thousand days of Worcestershire cricket and I’m now a life member,” he added.


A record year for Eccleshall Festival week of events culminated in Eccleshall High Street with a 70 stall Victorian Street market attracting more than 3,000 visitors during the six hours between 10am and 4pm. Reports from stallholders show record takings for their organisations and charities. There is no doubt that the star attraction was the animatronic T-Rex dinosaur which walked in the town centre on two occasions, giving the younger visitors a thrill of excitement. The marshals shouting “Make way for the dinosaur” was certainly a first for the small country town and as he walked among the stalls and the visitors, the look on children’s faces was largely of pleasure. The Holy Trinity Church had a day long festival of music and song from local choirs and musical groups together with displays of Biblical characters and so on. The Teddy Bear Hunt was won by Robyn Hill who received a large teddy bear as her prize. The Parish Room reverberated with the sound of hungry revellers enjoying the homemade food and

A • Dr Carr and daughters

• Shropshire & Staffordshire Blood Bikes

• Firefighters with their engine

• Shan Jones, winner of the Bowcock & Pursaill Cup for best victorian stall, receives her award from Peter Jones. drinks, which always help to on into the evening after the raise funds for the church market had closed. and give visitors a welcome The organisers would like rest from the fray. to thank the 1st Eccleshall The Bowcock & Pursaill Scout Group for manning Cup for the best Victorian the ends of the High Street dressed stall went to the ‘I and steering traffic around, love Eccleshall’ stall and the rather than through the best costume was won town centre. They also jointly by the ladies on the distributed the festival Giolellelia stall, who were programme to the surpresented with the Dr rounding homes. Harrison Shield. A selection of the many The pubs were overflowing photographs taken on the with people enjoying a cold day of the street market drink on what was a very are on the website at pleasant warm day, carrying

• Above: First Responders with their one arm bandit • Left: Winners of the Dr Harrison Shield for best costume, with Peter Jones.

• The T-Rex meets members of the public during his stroll through the town.


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• The boys in blue

Royal Visit to celebrate 25 years of Day Therapy at Katharine House Hospice Katharine House Hospice was honoured by a royal visit by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hospice Day Therapy Unit. Princess Alexandra visited staff, volunteers, patients and supporters at the Stafford hospice on Wednesday 13th June. Princess Alexandra is the Queen’s first cousin and a working member of the Royal Family – she is a supporter of number charities. It is fitting that the Princess visited Katharine House after her brother – HRH the Duke of Kent officially opened the hospice’s In Patient Unit in 2002. On arrival, Her Royal Highness was greeted by a group of excited local schoolchildren from St. John’s Primary School, Stafford proudly waving flags. Her Royal Highness was met by Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire Ian Dudson and his wife Jane Dudson who introduced her to High Sherriff of Staffordshire Pippa Gee and her consort Charles Pratt, Michael Greatorex Chairman of Staffordshire County Council and his wife Moira Greatorex, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Stafford Borough Councillor, Ray and Jenny Barron. The Princess was then given a tour of the hospice by Chief Executive Dr Richard Soulsby, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant and Mrs Dudson. Mrs Argyle, Higher Level Teaching Assistant from St. John’s said: “Living across the road, as I did then, I remember seeing the hospice buildings being built all those years ago and so to be here today to greet the Princess is really special.” The hospice opened its Day Unit in 1993 as the culmination of years of fundraising and tireless dedication from community groups and volunteers – today the hospice could not exist without their strong support and hard work. Several of the hospice’s original volunteers still kindly give their time to support the charity and care services are supported by volunteers who transport patients to and from the hospice from their own homes. Last year alone the hospice provided free care for 1100 patients and their families. Princess Alexandra was given a presentation around the history of the Day Therapy Unit at the hospice and the vital free care and support it offers to patients and their families. Her Royal Highness spent time with patients who were delighted by her visit. Ian Dreghorn, Day Therapies Patient summed up the experience: “An exceptional day with an exceptional lady.” Peter Dakin, Day Therapies Patient said: “She came and she was interested in us.” Princess Alexandra praised the hospice for a having “a lovely atmosphere” and thanked staff and volunteers for their hard work in providing vital care services. The Princess then unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit and the anniversary of the Day Therapy Unit and was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers by Mrs Joan Potter the longest serving Katharine House Hospice volunteer of 30 years. Dr Soulsby said “It is a splendid day for Katharine House Hospice and the perfect way to celebrate 25 years of Day Therapies. We were delighted by the thoughtfulness that the Princess showed to patients and for taking time to talk with all our volunteers, supporters, and staff who were present on the day. We would like to thank the Princess for her kindness and for ensuring that this was a special day for all those who attended”. The photo’s show Princess Alexandra meeting and greeting the staff, volunteers and patients. All photo’s by Paul Milgate-Scarrott


• Above: Fine art – Lynn files a pottery shard in her home workshop. Right: Upcycled – stud earrings from shards of Spode Italian Blue and Willow

From trash to treasure Christine Conlin unearths a local artist whose jewellery is one-of-a-kind tone jewellery artist Lynn Davis is having a breakthrough moment. Spode Heritage Centre in Stoke has commissioned her to create a collection of necklaces, earrings and rings using shards of display pieces which were smashed in a recent accident. A trained jeweller, Lynn has fine-tuned the precision skills of drilling holes in pottery shards and filing their rough edges to a tactile smoothness. She sets some pieces in sterling silver, also recycled. Add to this her obsession for collecting shards whenever she’s out and about. “I tend to walk around with my head down,” she admits. Not a difficult hobby to pursue in North Staffordshire, admittedly, but Lynn’s background is more complex. Half Canadian and half British, Lynn was born in Vancouver. After her Business Studies degree, she studied jewellery-making at colleges in Vancouver and Stafford. What kickstarted her shard jewellery making was accidentally breaking her grandmother’s sugar bowl which she brought with her when she came to Stone ten years ago. “I just couldn’t bear to part with those fragments and was figuring out what to do with them,” Lynn remembers. One fragment from the bowl became the foundation piece of her ‘Unearthed’ jewellery range, which also incorporated a shard she’d found on Stone’s Common Plot. “I just love taking old and discarded things and bringing them back to life.” Lynn also creates jewellery from shards which people bring her. For example, from one family’s treasured broken plate, Lynn has made three necklaces – one for the client, one each for her


mother and her sister, and a set of cufflinks for her father. Lynn’s work has also found recognition with Middleport Pottery, who displayed her pieces during the filming of the 2016 Great Pottery Throwdown TV Series. Judge Kate Malone owns a pair of ‘Unearthed’ earrings, Lynn reveals. Lynn’s Spode commission is a happy outcome of a disastrous accident. Early last Easter Monday morning, a black Audi A4 crashed through the display windows of the recently refurbished Spode Museum Trust Heritage Centre. The driver, who survived, was arrested. Vintage and antique Spode items in the shop, which raises funds for the upkeep of the museum, were smashed. Fortunately, none of the Spode Museum Trust’s world-famous museum collection was damaged. When Lynn heard about this, she contacted Spode Heritage Centre, who have loaned her a box of shards to work with. Her exclusive collection of 25-30 pieces created from shards of Italian Blue, Willow Pattern and Chelsea will be on sale in the Spode gift shop from early this month. “It was devastating when a drunk driver crashed into our shop,” said Spode Heritage Centre Manager Michael Escolme. “But thanks to Lynn’s talents, this disaster has given us a beautiful new product line.” It will be a chance to own a truly unique piece of Spode history, says Lynn. Her ‘Unearthed’ pieces each come with a provenance card detailing, where possible, where the shard was found, who made it, where it was made, the pattern name and how it was transformed into a piece of jewellery.

Hole in one: Lynn with a shard necklace made from a cut-out from a chipped Spode Chelsea plate ‘Unearthed’ jewellery is also on sale at handpainted design which very Gallery 12 in Eccleshall and through recognisably depicts the nursery rhyme Lynn’s website www.unearthedjewellery ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’. “I’ve identified It will also be stocked by the the design online and guess what, it’s soon-to-be-opened Artisan Boutique in from the Medalta Pottery in Alberta, Radford Street, Stone. Canada,” says Lynn. But clock this: near Stone Station, Lynn That’s one shard she won’t be parting has unearthed a pottery shard with a with!

Left to right: A break with tradition – this assymetrical necklace incorporates a Spode Italian Blue shard, a facetted chalcedony and a sterling silver ring; Unique – the Spode Chelsea necklace in detail; Smashing Spode – drop earrings from shards of Spode Italian Blue and aqua chalcedony


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Never ask “Do you remember...?” Drake Hall has become the UK’s first dementia-friendly prison. Christine Conlin reports. uring Dementia Action Week in May, HMP/YOI Drake Hall celebrated becoming the UK’s first public-sector prison to be accredited as a dementia-friendly site. A room decorated in the blue and yellow forget-me-not colours of the Dementia Action Alliance was the venue for short talks, a presentation and a buffet lunch. As Governor Carl Hardwick explained, half the prison staff and one third of its women have completed six to seven in-house Dementia Friends’ training sessions delivered by Staffordbased Dementia Champion Diane Wallace. Initially proposed by Eccleshall County Councillor Jeremy Pert, the training was jointly funded by Choices Housing Association and Staffordshire County Council, whose aim is to build dementia-friendly communities throughout the county by 2020. Dementia Friends is an initiative of the Alzheimer Society. On behalf of the Drake Hall Women’s Institute Branch, Secretary Jenny* presented Dementia Friends with a cheque for £54.32 – the proceeds of the branch’s April raffle of a cuddly toy, which members knit or crochet every month. Dementia Champion Diane described her real pleasure in delivering the prison-based training. “Even the women who didn’t think the training would benefit them told me afterwards they got something out of it,” she said. “Directly or indirectly, dementia touches us all.” “Both our prison and staff populations are ageing,” Governor Carl told the Gazette. “Though we don’t yet have any women with dementia, we are likely to in future. We have some lifer prisoners here, and growing numbers of women whose former substance abuse may cause them to develop the condition earlier than normal.” Thanks to the training, prisoners and staff are now better able to deal with visits by prisoners’ family members or friends showing signs of dementia. A loved one’s dementia diagnosis triggers so many questions: How do I treat them? How to respond to their changed behaviour? Will dementia affect me too one day? The answer to the third question is – yes, quite likely, given that 1.33% of the UK population has been diagnosed with one of more than 100 forms of dementia. That’s more than 850,000 people. In the prison education area, the women have created a display board giving information about key dementia statistics, common types of dementia (Alzheimer, vascular, Lewy Body and Korsakoff’s), their characteristics and symptoms. Diane outlined key strategies for communicating with dementia sufferers: • Speak to them face-on, as direct eye contact helps with comprehension. To get to their eye level, sit or kneel if necessary. • Minimise distractions by turning off the TV, radio, or your mobile phone. • Dementia sufferers find choices bewildering, eg, “Would you like tea or coffee?”. Ask a yes/no question instead, eg, “Would you like a tea?”, “Would you like a coffee?” • Never ask “Do you remember ….?” as failure to recall causes frustration and distress. Talk about shared memories instead. Dementia sufferers often respond positively to photographs and pictures of places they knew, or music they used to enjoy. • Never ever argue with dementia suffers. Remember, their reality is their truth. Either go along with what they say, or distract them and move on to a more appropriate topic. • Replace words with drawings/pictures which dementia sufferers can understand. Trainees (both staff and women) also wrote ‘memory notes’ intimately recalling a friend or family member who had developed the disease and reflecting on their own mixed emotions about their loved one’s dementia. “With a loved one’s dementia diagnosis, we undergo an emotional journey similar to


• Points to remember: Dementia Champion Diane Wallace during her presentation

• Never forgotten: trainees’ ‘memory notes’ recalling a loved one who had suffered dementia. bereavement, where we may experience fear, frustration, sadness, anger and guilt,” Diane explained. Jenny spoke from first-hand experience of her beloved Auntie Margaret, who had helped bring her up. “Her house was so neat and clean, you could smell the freshness,” she said. “She’d even trained her cat to use the toilet!” But many years later, when Jenny visited, she’d begin to find dirty dishes in the sink or the rubbish not put out. “Then Auntie would make hurtful remarks about me to my face, something she’d have never done before.” Worse still, she would set off in her car and get lost. One time, the police picked her up in her old home area many miles away. When her aunt went into care, Jenny would visit her each week, taking the time to wash and style her hair. “But as time went by, Auntie became increasingly aggressive, fighting me off and even pulling my hair,” Jenny remembered. Her aunt’s dementia lasted 15 years. But through their dementia training, Jenny and other participants have learned to separate the person they loved from their distressing dementia symptoms. “It’s easier to say than to put into practice, but I have learned not to take those things personally,” Jenny reflects. Or as Sam* whose grandfather had dementia, pithily put it: “Think before you speak and don’t judge a book by its cover.” But for all that, isn’t dementia awareness a never-ending task, with no light at the end of the tunnel? “It is possible to live well with dementia,” Diane insists. “Today’s attitudes to dementia are like how we felt about cancer 25 years ago. But look how that’s changed since.” * Names have been changed for legal reasons.


• Correspondence - Readers’ Writes

A thank you from the Mayor Dear Editor May I use your letters page to Thank the Stone Festival Committee and the volunteer groups who made the Stone Festival a great success. The events were varied to cover all age groups and all tastes, from the Raft Race to the Church Songs of Praise, the 5k run to the Dog Show. Something went on every day with the Parade on the Saturday finishing at Westbridge Park where groups from Stone set up stalls to raise money and their profile. The weather was kind all week which helps with the attendance, as many events were outdoors. The amount of work that the committee must have done through out the year to give Stone this great event. Once again THANK YOU from myself and the people of Stone. And we look forward to next years Festival which will be your 50th year! Cllr, Kristan Green Stone Town Mayor

High Sheriff of the ‘Shire’? Dear Dan I read the article on the new High Sheriff of Staffordshire, Pippa Gee, with great interest. I wish her all the very best in her new role. Your article made reference to the Anglo-Saxon origins of the position of High Sheriff but sadly, since 1974, the history of the role has been somewhat marred as a result of the Local Government Act 1972. Effectively, Pippa is not the High Sheriff of the 'Shire' of Staffordshire - she is the High Sheriff of the area administered by Staffordshire County Council together with the area administered by the City of Stoke- On-Trent (Unitary Authority). What a travesty that the so called 'Ceremonial County of Staffordshire' created under the Lieutenancies Act 1997 does not share the same borders as the Historic, Traditional and Geographical County of Staffordshire. Hopefully, one day, this anomaly will be rectified. Kind regards Martin Philips Born and bred in Hilderstone.

Thank’s from Eccleshall Katharine House support group Dear Stone Gazette Special thanks go to Gill Bertram of Ashcroft, Eccleshall who kindly opened her garden on Sunday 10 June for the NGS. Members of the Eccleshall Fundraising Support Group for Katharine House made and served lots of delicious cakes along with the drinks kindly donated by Gill and Peter Bertram. Gill, Peter and their hardworking friends were all present to take entrance fees, sell and advise on plants, serve, collect dishes and wash up. Gill is a very conscientious gardener and without her kindness we would not have raised a wonderful £258 to help our local hospice. It is a beautiful garden and was very much enjoyed by all the visitors. Thank you also to all our loyal supporters who enjoyed a delicious strawberry cream tea on Wednesday 20 June. Prosecco was also on offer for those wanting to add a little fizz. The event was held at Eccleshall Cricket Club and prepared and served by members of the Katharine House fundraising group and friends. A fabulous £378 was raised for our local hospice. Many thanks go to Eccleshall Cricket Club for the use of the room and to everyone who donated raffle prizes. We look forward to seeing you at our next and future events. Best wishes Josephine Wilshaw

The Kindness of Strangers Hello If I may I would like to use The Gazette to thank the group of people who came to my aid on Sunday morning (17th June) after I had tripped on the pavement and fallen flat on my face outside the Shell garage on Walton roundabout. They were brisk at summoning the ambulance and helped to keep me calm by gently stroking my back. My faith in the goodness of human nature has been restored. Thank you. Anne Searle

Such a brilliant Festival Dear Gazette I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making the Stone Festival 2018 such a brilliant one and especially the members of the Festival committee. The events have been varied and enjoyed by so many and of course culminating in the brilliant carnival parade on the Saturday! It makes you proud to live in Stone. Kind regards, Jane West (Stone District Girlguiding)

Smile when you see it! Hi Dan On a recent visit to Aston Marina I spotted this clever cat climbing the fence, it made me chuckle so I though I’d share it with your readers Regards Mike Potter

Loss of Green Spaces Dear Sir, I would like to express my feelings about the proposed sale of part of the Tilling Drive playing field in Stone. Recently, a local resident organised a petition and wrote letters opposing the sale for people to sign. My wife and I both signed and we both received the same reply from the chief executive of Stafford Borough Council. I would imagine others who signed also did. The letter from the chief executive said that there was a mistaken belief that the council were selling the Tilling Drive land to fill a shortfall in the funds for the Westbridge Park leisure centre when rather it was to pay for the children's play area in Westbridge Park. But from my memory (confirmed by a internet search) we have always been led to believe that the investment package, contributed to by the sale of land for a supermarket at Westbridge Park, would fund, amongst other things, the leisure centre, the children's play area and a teenagers' play area. With no mention of any other land being sold off. So there appears to be a contradiction. The letter states that we ask for children's play facilities in Stone but oppose the sale of land that could provide them sooner. I would say that non-sustainable selling off of council-controlled land is a last resort and not the one and only 'option' for providing play facilities. The letter also states that there is yet no buyer for the land which I think makes the idea worse: the council have not been approached by an interested buyer, they have actually selected that particular piece of land to sell. So the council want to sell off local recreational land to pay for recreational facilities in another part of Stone. My main concern is that the council want to sell the land at all. There is very little green space to enjoy for residents of Cherryfields and the Pirehill Lane side of Walton. Tilling Drive playing field and playground is a very well used space for children to let off steam and relax away from traffic. This is especially true for pupils coming home from Walton Priory and Pirehill schools. Residents of most parts of Stone will also have noticed the destruction of green spaces on their doorsteps for development of some sort. I would imagine that most residents will say how attractive Stone is, which I believe stems from its openness and green areas. But there appears to be non-stop development of Stone which is removing the green open spaces and will have a detrimental effect on current residents and reduce the appeal for future residents. Green spaces are essential to our well-being. The value of getting out of the house and sitting somewhere peaceful should not be overlooked. I hope that others will express their opposition to the sale of part of the Tilling Drive field by writing to the council. The council should be made aware that we value and need these open spaces otherwise they are being given the green light to continue. Yours faithfully Terence Morley Cherryfields

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U3A goes under the Mersey... Visits to diverse places of interest are regularly arranged by Stone U3A and recently a coach load of industrial archaeology enthusiasts visited the Mersey Tunnel to go beneath the city of Liverpool and see the workings of the old Queensway tunnel opened in 1934. Perhaps one of the more unusual activities on offer within the local U3A portfolio, the Industrial Archaeology group is interested in the development of our culture through the industry which was formed by – and in its turn formed – the world as we know it. By a hands-on approach to history, studying the people who influenced development, the artefacts produced, the ways in which things were made, the ingenuity of people plus the machinery and devices used to propel civilisation forward, the subject offers a better understanding of the fundamentals of society. The Liverpool tour started in the George’s Dock building which is an art deco masterpiece and the former head office of Mersey Tunnels. The building contains all the original engineering, including the ventilation station with its giant fans. Interestingly, these fans only need to be used occasionally nowadays due to decreased air pollution. However, they were switched on for the group to marvel at their smooth working. The group saw parts of the historic George’s Dock, built in 1771, and were taken down below the road tunnel to see another tunnel which was built to accommodate trams, a project that never became operational. Members were also fascinated by the refuges that were built in 2004

• U3A’s Industrial Archaeology group on a visit to Liverpool to see the Mersey Tunnel. following the tragic lorry fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel some five years earlier. These fireproof areas can accommodate 140 people each and are essential for the safety of tunnel travellers in the event of a potential disaster. The tunnel has been used as a location for many films and TV programmes, including ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ and ‘The Fast and The Furious’, while the art deco building itself was used in ‘Foyle’s War’. The hugely enjoyable and interesting visit was greatly enhanced by the two Liverpudlian guides who were a comedy double act worthy of their own TV series. Group leaders extraordinaire The whole modus operandi of the U3A movement depends on the remarkable dedication of the band of volunteer group leaders who commit, often on a weekly basis and all year round, to sharing their passions, skills and enthusiasm. So many members benefit from the selfless work of these good people who inspire and encourage all those who attend their activities. A typical example is John Morris who has led the

• John Morris receives a blood donor award. flourishing badminton group for more than 12 years and, in similarly cheerful and energetic style, has been facilitator for the golf group which he began in 2012. Furthermore, John additionally served the Stone branch as a committee member for three years. His character and attitude to life can also be judged by his recent award of a special certificate and medal to mark his donation of 100 pints of blood. John is 77 but reports that you may continue to give blood if you are over the age of 70 as long as you remain in good health and have donated at least once in the last two years. The U3A is lucky to have such people promoting the organisation and happily there are many like him in the locality.

... and then on to Eccleshall Eccleshall was the focus for two recent events featuring Stone U3A. On Tuesday, June 19, the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Stafford, Peter and Joy Jones were guests of honour at the Photography Exhibition held in the local library. The mayoral couple spent almost an hour viewing – with considerable interest – the range of images on offer and chatting with members of the group as well as with its leader Bruce Evans and also with Mike Bosson, Publicity Officer. Just a few days later, as part of Eccleshall

Festival, the U3A had a stall at the street market in order to raise the profile of the organisation in the area. Committee members were on hand all day to explain what was on offer and to outline just a few of the 60+ activities available. Visitors showed much interest and indeed this is an ideal time to join with a special 14 months for 12 offer at just £40. For full details contact Gareth Jones on 01782 372349 or visit the website at

• The Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress with a number of members of the photography group in front of the display of photographs.


Gazette Motoring Sixty Years on and still going strong!

ummer 1958 saw the introduction of the exclusive Fiat 500 Jolly, better known as the “Spiaggina”, and it was the embodiment of “La Dolce Vita”. 60 years later the iconic "Spiaggina" makes an elegant return to Europe's most famous resorts in the form of the new Fiat 500 “Spiaggina ‘58” special series. Produced as a limited edition of 1,958 cars, it’s a tribute to the year of the birth of the original and marks the 60th anniversary of the first special series of the 500. To mark this dual anniversary Fiat has produced a video to the notes of the song "Volare", the ever-popular Italian classic which also appeared for the first time in 1958, starring the new Fiat 500 "Spiaggina ‘58". Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat & Abarth brand, explains: "The new “Spiaggina ’58” is our gift to 500 for its birthday and the 60th anniversary of the “Spiaggina”, a real "time machine" incorporating many reminders of the Dolce Vita era, such as the vintage Fiat logos and wheels, the white belt liner, the choice of convertible format only and the two-tone interior. Not to mention a special colour just for this series: Volare Blue. A name and a colour that take us straight back to 1958, to the Sanremo Festival of that year, when a young Domenico Modugno teamed up with Johnny Dorelli to give the first public performance of “Nel blu dipinto di blu”, the famous song also known as “Volare”, the soundtrack for the Dolce Vita years.” What's more, two other Italian centres of excellence creative hub Garage Italia and design firm Pininfarina have marked the anniversary by producing the “Spiaggina by Garage Italia” showcar. Based on a Fiat 500C, it features unique, sophisticated solutions that reinterpret those unforgettable years for today's world. Lapo Elkann, Chairman and Creative Director of Garage Italia, commented: “Love at first sight, the kind that strikes deep into your heart and soul. This what I feel whenever I look at or drive a 500. I fell in love with the car when I was a boy, and as I grew up I was determined to bring it back to life. I am so happy about the model's relaunch, and hope it will convey the dreams and the magical years of the post-war economic boom and the Italian way of enjoying life. Since 2007, year after year, I've always personalised 500s for myself, and the opening of Garage Italia has enabled us to design a multitude of one-off versions, all confirming the versatility and immense contemporary appeal of this vehicle, still one of the world's best-loved brands. As befits a star of “La Dolce Vita”, the new special series "wears" an exclusive Volare Blue livery, with ivory soft-top, shown off by a white belt liner and the vintage-design 16-inch alloy wheels. This exclusive colour scheme is



Gazette Motoring

enhanced by other distinctive features, including side mouldings with 500 logo, the chromed door mirror covers, the vintage Fiat logos and the chromed “Spiaggina '58” badge, in elegant italic script, on the rear. The interior has the same class and elegance, with original and authentic design touches including the dashboard in the same Volare Blue colour as the exterior and a refined two-tone design for the seats, with grey striped base and ivory upper section. The chic interior is completed by specific floor mats and a steering wheel with vintage Fiat logo. The new "Spiaggina '58" special series offers the very best in connectivity since it is equipped as standard with Uconnect 7-inch HD LIVE touchscreen radio, so it’s Apple CarPlay ready and compatible with Android AutoTM, as well as featuring navigation with Tom Tom maps and DAB digital radio. Also standard are the largest-in-class 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, rain and dusk sensors, automatic air-

conditioning and rear parking sensors. The Fiat 500 “Spiaggina ‘58” is available with the 1.2-litre 69hp petrol engine, compliant with the latest Euro6D regulations.

Heir to a symbol of the "Dolce Vita" Just a year after its launch on 4 July 1957, the Fiat 500 became a real cult object with the debut of its first special series Built by Carrozzeria Ghia on the basis of the Fiat 500, and later also on the Giardiniera version, this exclusive car was produced from 1958 to 1965 and sold in Europe, the United States and even South Africa. Costing twice the price of the normal version, the special seaside version found favour with the most influential personalities of the age - including shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and actor Yul Brynner – who chose it as a "land tender" for their yachts or as a golf car on their country estates . A Fiat 500 Jolly even featured in the personal car collection of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Fiesta wins Auto Express’ Supermini of the Year his latest win for Fiesta is its eighth this year, having already also been declared Car of the Year and Best Small Car by, sister site to Auto Express. More than 50,000 new Fiestas have found homes on British driveways this year, with buyers loving its value, comfort and ride, as well as over a dozen safety and driver assist technologies including automatically halting the car in the event of a pedestrian stepping into its path. Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, said: “As best-selling car for over 10 years, us Brits have truly taken the Ford Fiesta to our hearts. The pressure was on to deliver a replacement which would continue Fiesta’s reign – which Ford has done and Auto Express has recognised.” The new Fiesta ST just on sale promises to raise the bar for supermini hot hatches, with 200PS generated by its all-new, three-cylinder, 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine and handling to match thanks to three selectable Drive Modes. The Fiesta Active offers a muscular new look, literally raising the Fiesta above the crowd. SUV-inspired styling includes roof rails, wider wheel arches, and distinctive 17” alloy wheels. Whether a sports ST, Active crossover, luxury Vignale or other model in the new Fiesta range, all come with the highest five-star Euro NCAP rating thanks to its lane-keeping alert, seatbelt minder and speed limiter for when taken out by inexperienced drivers.



Celebrating 30 years of Stone Lions Mobility Scheme Down

Across 1 Situated (6)

1 Read attentively (6)

4 Fleet of ships (6)

2 Canadian province (7)

8 Automaton (5)

3 Praise highly (5)

9 Faint (4,3)

5 Remainder (7)

10 Excess (7)

6 By oneself (5)

11 Armed (anag) (5)

7 Harvest season (6)

12 Currently (2,7)

9 Future generations (9)

17 Fragrant kitchen herb (5)

13 Artist’s mixing board (7)

19 Narrow-edged tooth (7)

14 Give evidence (7)

21 Precisely (7)

15 Convent head (6)

22 Approach to a house (5)

16 Chum (6)

23 Poem with fourteen lines (6) 18 Blemish (5)

In 1988, Stone Lions Club was approached to ask if they could help a local man who was experiencing mobility problems and decided to help him with the purchase of a mobility scooter. Little did they realise that this generous act would initiate the birth of their Mobility Scheme, which is now helping in excess of 150 local residents! Over the last 30 years, Stone Lions have provided mobility aids to numerous people, using equipment either received by donation from members of the public or purchased locally. With the help of Disable Aids in Cannock, who are on hand to help with servicing and repairs where necessary, their fleet of over 75 scooters is helping improve the lives of many with impaired mobility. The 30th anniversary of the Mobility Scheme was thought too important an occasion to ignore and Stone Lions decided that a bit of a party was needed! Around 35 invited guests enjoyed tea and cakes provided by

members of the Club and other supporters. Lion Mike Ward MBE, who has been responsible for the organisation and administration of the scheme since its inception, shared several memories with guests during the afternoon. He remarked that it had been a privilege to meet so many interesting people during his time as Mobility Coordinator, and very gratifying to realise the difference it had made in helping retain the independence of so many people. Sadly, Lion Mike has decided that it is now time to hand over the reins of the Scheme to others and has announced plans for his ‘retirement’. The members of Stone Lions Club would like to thank him for his hard work over the last 30 years and reassure users of the scheme that it will continue to support them in the coming years. If you need the assistance of Stone Lions with any mobility issues, please call 07929 010152

20 Military trainee (5)

24 Remained (6)

Wheelchair and pushchair users can get closer to nature JUNE SOLUTION

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Wheelchair users and families with pushchairs will be able to get closer to nature with the opening of an accessible new walking route at a popular visitor centre. A new boardwalk is being opened at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley Centre headquarters in Wolseley Bridge near Rugeley, taking visitors on a journey through a lush wet meadow and along the peaceful banks of the River Trent. The raised pathway was put in place by the charity’s hardworking volunteer groups, and received funding from the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Sustainable Development Fund and Stafford Rotary Club. It marks the beginning of a host of exciting visitor improvements at the attraction over the next two years, which include the opening of a new café and retail area and driveway resurfacing. Trust Chief Executive Julian Woolford said: “This is a fantastic addition to the Wolseley Centre and will enable people using wheelchairs and pushchairs to get the most out of the amazing grounds we have here. The boardwalk has replaced some existing steps which were previously a barrier for some visitors, and will also mean that people can reach areas that were sometimes inaccessible due to flooding. “Over the coming months, people will start to see many improvements being made to enrich the visitor experience here at the Wolseley Centre – this is just the beginning.” Visitors exploring the wetland areas along the new boardwalk can look out for a variety

• Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Julian Woolford officially opens the new raised walkway with Bernard Price, who recently stepped down as a Trustee for the charity after 12 years. of dragonflies and damselflies, as well as the having the chance of catching a glimpse of kingfishers darting down the river. The opening of the boardwalk was welcomed by followers of the Trust’s Facebook and Twitter pages. When the charity first shared news about the new facility, the post reached 20,000 people thanks to numerous likes, shares and retweets.


The many guises of Drake Hall by Senior Museums Officer, Chris Copp at Staffordshire Past Track ou may remember Philip Leason’s excellent piece on the history of Drake Hall, which featured in February’s edition of the Stone & Eccleshall Gazette. Drake Hall was built by the Ministry of Supply to accommodate munitions workers working at nearby R.O.F. Swynnerton and opened in 1942. It was named after Sir Francis Drake. There were 15 residential blocks, each with a male name, arranged alphabetically. At the centre of the site was an assembly hall, games room, canteen, kitchen, sick bay and administrative block. Many of the residents came from Ireland and Scotland and the Manager was Mr J.H. Damms. The Manageress and Welfare Officer was his wife, Mrs D.H. Damms. A wide range of activities, entertainments, talks, lectures and dramatic productions were put on for the residents, as well as a variety of indoor games and sport, including netball, hockey, tennis, badminton, cricket and football. Towards the end of the war Drake Hall hosted 132 evacuees, all of whom were old age pensioners. It closed shortly after the end of the Second World War but reopened in the 1960s as a male open prison. In 1974 it became a female open prison. Most of the accommodation blocks were rebuilt in 1994-95 and in 2009 it became a closed prison. Philip has very kindly lent us a copy of ‘Drake Hall – A War-Time Hostel’, a souvenir book produced for the staff and residents at the Swynnerton Royal Ordinance Factory hostel at Drake Hall, produced in 1945. It has been scanned and all the pages can be seen on the Staffordshire Past Track website. All these photographs and more than 35,000 others are or will shortly be available on the improved Staffordshire Past Track website (www.staffspast To find out what’s new on the site just click on to the ‘Latest Additions’ tab. You • Drake Hall site plan, 1945. This plan of the hostel grounds shows might also like to try out the the residential blocks: Anthony, Brian, Charles, Dennis, Edward, GPS Location Explorer feature Francis, Gordon, Harold, Ivor, James, Kenneth, Leslie, Maurice, Norman on the site: when using a mobile and Stanley. The plan also shows the location of the kitchens, games device with GPS enabled, the room, canteen, sick bay, and manager’s office. (Mr. P. Leason, OBE) page will show a list of resources nearest you. With ‘automatic updates’ switched on the results will automatically reload every few metres you walk. It works particularly well where there are a lot of resources – give it a go in Eccleshall and Stone and see what things looked like in the past on the spot you’re standing. If you have any images to lend, or any extra information, please contact the Past Track team: Staffordshire Past Track, Staffordshire Archives & Heritage, Shugborough, Milford, Stafford ST17 0XB. Telephone 01889 869137. Email: • Recreational facilities, Drake Hall, 1945. The games room, part You can also keep up to date of the recreation facilities available for staff and residents of Drake with what’s new on Past Track Hall. The photographs show skittles, dancing, table tennis, darts and by ‘liking’ our Facebook page. billiards. (Mr. P. Leason, OBE)

Y • Front cover of ‘Drake Hall - A War-Time Hostel’, 1945. (Mr. P. Leason, OBE)

• Pantomime, Drake Hall, 1943. The first pantomime produced at Drake Hall was ‘Jack and the Beanstalk” in 1943. “This was our first adventure into the realms of Pantomime and was considered a great success. Two performances at the Borough Hall, Stafford, realised a profit of £123 and was divided equally between the Mayor of Stafford’s comforts fund and the R.O.F. benevolent fund.” Newspaper cutting text: “Pantomime at Hostel. Munition workers in a Midland factory have recently been giving a production of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ at their hostel. All the parts were played by the staff and workers, who gave up their evenings to rehearsing. The pantomime was admirably produced by the social organisers of the hostel, and was received with immense pleasure by the girl workers. One of the most exceptional performances was that given by Miss June Lawton, of Stoke, whose delightful and sparkling rendering of Jack was greatly appreciated. Her tendering of vocal numbers was particularly successful, especially in the duet ‘Anywhere on Earth is Heaven’. Miss Lawton is an accountant’s assistant in the hostel, where she has been for the past nine months.” (Mr. P. Leason, OBE)

• ‘Girls at Home’, Drake Hall, 1945. Residents and staff of residential houses within Drake Hall: Anthony House (Matron: Miss E. A. Hayhurst), Brian House (Matron: Miss H. Ritchie), Charles House (Matron: Mrs M. J. Reekie), Dennis House and Edward House (Matron for both: Miss L. B. Moors). (Mr. P. Leason, OBE)

• Evacuees at Drake Hall, 1945. An article on evacuees at Drake Hall, a group of old age pensioners evacuated from Liverpool. The text reads: “During the course of its career Drake Hall has been called upon to cater for diverse classes of people and have included typists, clerks, labour officers, factory operatives, Irish labourers, factory foremen, to mention but a few, and the latest addition to our family has been 132 evacuees, aged men and women who have been in the thick of the bombing for the last four years. Some of them had their homes damaged, some have lost not only their homes but all their belongings as well, and others have been injured by the bombs and they have now come to the quiet countryside for the rest they so well deserve. All of them are well advanced in years and are without exception old age pensioners (it takes four people four and a half hours every Friday to pay them their pensions; this is all part of the Hostel service).” (Mr. P. Leason, OBE)


• WITHIN LIVING MEMORY WITH PHILIP LEASON MBE ne of the most prominent features of the landscape to the north of Stone were the two power stations at Meaford (Meaford A and Meaford B), particularly with their cooling towers. In 1939, when first it was proposed to build the power station at Meaford, there was tremendous opposition from Stone Rural District Council. Perhaps not surprisingly, the opposition was led by Councillor Miss E. M. Parker-Jervis who lived at Meaford Hall and she was supported by the residents of Barlaston, led by Mr. G. A. Paddock from Hartwell Hall. The Council resolved to petition parliament. A contemporary newspaper report stated: “There is going to be a Dickens of a row, evidently, over the proposal to build a super-power station in the Barlaston and Tittensor area. The Stone Rural District Council and other authorities are generating super-opposition, more or less. They are going to petition Parliament, but they are sparing the Prime Minister personally, because he has such a job on with Hitler. They don’t want and won’t have, if they can help it, this mammoth industrial nuisance, blotting their pleasant landscape and pouring out grit over the countryside.” In June a public inquiry on the proposal was held in Stoke Town Hall at which the North West Midlands Joint Electricity Authority outlined their plans. Among the other parties that were also represented at the inquiry were Stoke-on-Trent Corporation, Staffordshire County Council, Trentham Golf Club, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton and Dudley Joint Committee for Tuberculosis, Josiah Wedgwood & Sons as well as Stone Rural District Council. At the inquiry the Rural and County Council put forward an alternative site at Aston, near to Carr House, but were told by the Electricity Authority that the extra cost of a station at Aston would be £185,775 for stage one and £378,250 for stage two. Great emphasis was made at the inquiry on how the power station at Meaford would have a detrimental effect on the local amenities and the health of people living in both Barlaston and Stone. The decision of the inquiry was long awaited but eventually they reported: “The Commissioners are not satisfied that a sufficient case has been made and to justify them in consenting to the adoption of the proposed site at Barlaston: and in the circumstances, they have decided to withhold their consent to the application of the Joint Authority.” However, war changes things and in 1944 a direction was issued by the Central Electricity Board to the North West Midlands Joint Electricity Authority “to proceed immediately with the construction of the generating station at Meaford, to contain four 30,000lw sets, six boilers with an evaporative capacity of 240,000lb per hour operating at a pressure of 650lb per square inch and super-heating the steam to a final temperature of 825 degrees F”. The foundation stone for the power station was laid in 1945 by Major Gwilym Lloyd George, the Minister of Fuel and Power. The Chairman of the North West Midlands Joint Electricity Authority was Alderman Harry Leason (a great uncle of mine), who was a member of Stoke-onTrent City Council. The City Council were keen for the power station to be located at Meaford due to the effect it would have on the coal mining industry. Alderman Leason was keen to work with those who had opposed the project – his philosophy was to work with them in the early stages to try and allay some of their concerns and so, in March 1945, he invited the members of Stone Rural District Council to visit the site. In his speech of welcome to the council Alderman Leason said: “We were very anxious that you should come along and see this site, which I am afraid you have not in the past looked on as a blessing, but you will appreciate that we have done our utmost to do something which is a national matter, and in which you also are taking part. This site is going to meet one of the greatest wants of this country, as you all know: and although in the past you have not looked upon it with pleasure, I hope that when post-war development comes along, and you are able to collect rates on all this, then you will change your minds. I think you will find it as a great asset to you. “No doubt you have wondered why the Joint Authority have stuck so tenaciously to the idea of having the new generating station in the North Staffordshire area. When the station is completed nearly half a million tons of coal will be used per annum. That is the reason we did not wish the station to go any further south. In the future, this station will



Stone & Eccleshall Gazette Heritage

• An aerial view taken during the construction of Meaford ‘B’, 27th June 1956. Photographer: Aero Pictorial Ltd.

The rise and fall of Meaford Power Station be one of the greatest assets to the coal industry of North Staffordshire.” The Rural Council visited the site again in spring 1946 to view the progress of the building work. They were informed that the work had been delayed by about eight weeks due to the sub-soil being waterlogged by the severe weather. The power station opened in November 1947 and had a generating capacity of 120 megawatts, comprising four 30 MW English Electric turbo-alternators fed by boilers on a range system. A party of engineers from English Electric Stafford visited the power station on 8th November 1948 to see items they had worked on in use. The power station consisted of the main block with two chimneys and two 250 foot high cooling towers and later became known as Meaford A. The second phase of the power station development began in 1951 with a new plant being built to the south of Meaford A. The contractors for the new plant included G. Percy Trentham, the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Co (who undertook the steel work) and the turbo alternators were produced by British Thomson-Houston. The main block was constructed of a steel frame, which supported the boilers, with brick cladding on the outside. It had a 408 ft (124m) brick built chimney and the water used in the system was cooled in three 250 ft (76m) high cooling towers. One Stone resident had a lucky escape while working on the building site at Meaford. At 3.14pm on 15th September, 1953, Bill Huntington was working on a platform when the hoist went wrong, it threw him off and he fell 180 feet to the ground. At first he was thought to have been killed and was covered with a canvas sheet by his colleagues, however he had survived albeit with many broken bones. He was off work for six years and his first job after his return was working on Rugeley Power Station. In the grounds of the plant was a railway shunting yard to move the coal delivered by railway from the mines in North Staffordshire and at Lea Hall at Rugeley. The new power station was formally opened on 4th October, 1957, and had a generating capacity of 240 MW. It had four 60 MW turbo alternators manufactured by British Thomson-Houston and these were fed by four boilers. Each of the boilers fed steam

at 515,000 lbs per hour, at a temperature of 1,065°F (566°C) at a pressure of 1,500 psi. Initially the power station was operated by the Central Electricity Authority but later came under the control of the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB). In May 1958 there was concern that the dust extraction plant at the new power station was not as efficient as the one at the Meaford A plant. People were complaining about the grit in the atmosphere. Apparently it was having a particular effect on cattle grazing in the area as it was affecting the growth of the grass and resulted in milk yields falling. Eventually a more effective filtering system was installed. Meaford B was very efficient and won a number of trophies. In 1962 there was a possibility that the power station would be extended. Mr J. Barr, the Power Station Superintendent, wrote to Stone Rural District Council stating that “By 1970, there would be a total estimated consumption of power in the region of 800 megawatts in North Staffordshire and at the present time the total generating power available could only provide a maximum of 400 megawatts. A supply of coal amounting to 1,200 million tons is available in the area for power station purposes. The only difficulty in reaching a decision over the future of Meaford was a technical one and hinged on whether there was sufficient water in the River Trent. Officials in London are not satisfied on this point but for my part I am satisfied that the supply of water would be adequate”. He promised to keep the Council informed of any expansion plans. The expansion as envisaged by Mr Barr did not happen, and in 1974 Meaford A ceased to generate electricity. Demolition started to take place in late 1981 and one of its two 325 feet high chimneys was blown up at the end of February 1982. Apparently it took 70 pounds of explosives to shift the 4,500 tons of bricks and it took over six hours to wire it into the base. The second chimney of Meaford A was blown up on Tuesday 23rd November, 1982, but did not go according to plan with five people injured as a result of falling bricks. The press and management from the power station stood on a railway embankment and were protected by huge metal tanks and a lorry which the contactor had parked with its back raised.

One eyewitness stated: “There was a huge blast and the 325 ft chimney seemed to lift off the ground in one piece. Slowly, it started to topple but it was gathering momentum all the time. As if in slow motion, we watched it hit the ground crushing the metal tanks, the contractor’s lorry and badly damaging the buildings. The whole chimney appeared to explode as it hit the ground, sending huge bricks and klinker flying in all directions. The debris smashed a petrol pump and the fire brigade had to be called to deal with gallons of fuel which were spewing from it. “ One of the people injured was BBC Radio Stoke reporter Liz Carney who, despite having a head injury and blood pouring from it, carried on talking animatedly into her microphone. Throughout the 1980s the CEGB continued to invest in Meaford B, particularly in plants to reduce sulphur and smoke emissions. However, in 1990 it was announced that Meaford B would close as part of National Power’s rationalisation programme. Surprisingly in September it was announced that the power station would close as soon as the coal in the bunkers had run out. The last power to be generated from the plant was at 1pm on 28th September, 1990. The demolition of Meaford B started in spring 1991 but the most dramatic part of the demolition was the blowing up of the five 250 ft high and 130 ft wide cooling towers once nicknamed “The five Ugly Sisters”. Fred Ogden & Son were the contractors employed to undertake the explosion. On 7th September 1991 people flocked to various vantage points to witness the explosion. The Downs Banks and the Common Plot were crowded with people and several enterprising farmers charged visitors to stand on their land to watch, with the money going to charity. Valley Road and Diamond Ridge in Barlaston were closed from 11.00am to 12.30pm and the police closed the A34 while the explosions took place. The first four towers were blown up at 11.45am and the last one at 12.15pm. The police had warned people about not parking on the A34 and on the day they handed out 20 parking tickets to motorists who had parked on the inside lane to witness the explosion. One of the people who witnessed the scene was 11 year old Ambrose Bright who wrote the following poem which was published in a local newspaper. O, Majestic Matrons, you stand no more, Just past the Little Chef on the A34. A blot on the landscape, some have said, Including Auntie Daisy and Uncle Ted. If blot you were, it still wasn’t right to blow you up with dynamite. There you stood in all your pride, Three hundred feet tall and also quite wide.

Birds of prey on your bonnets did sit. Where will they now rest their wings for a bit? Beneath you man passed by canal, road or rail En route to London or possibly Trent Vale. Up at you they gazed in wonder and awe Children would ask “what are they for?” The Ugly Sisters, you were dubbed by some. But not by me or by my Mum. Oft she would say, and it’s not so eccentric That without you the house would have no electric So now you have gone, the skyline’s bare. To me and my Mum it doesn’t seem fair. You toiled for decades to bring us power For fridge, toaster and thermostatically controlled shower When switching on the telly at the end of the day Mum thanked you for ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Home and Away’. Even outdoors, Flymowing or strimming, We’ll always remember the Five Fallen Women. The boiler house was blown up in April 1996 and so the only remaining part was the 400 ft chimney. It was decided to offer the honour of pressing the detonating button to blow up the chimney as a raffle prize in aid of Cancer Relief Macmillan. The draw was so popular that more tickets had to be printed. The draw was made by Sir Stanley Matthews and the winner was Mr Brian Hendley from Berkley Street, Stone. The chimney was due to be blown up at 6am on Sunday 9th June, 1996, but at the last minute there was a doubt about it taking place as it was reported that there may be protected peregrine falcons nesting at the top of the chimney. So at 4am steeplejacks had to scale the chimney and check on the top for any nests. The only evidence of peregrines was a couple of feathers although they did find a kestrel’s nest with five eggs in. The nest was brought down and handed to a wildlife expert. So having been given the all clear, the explosion went ahead as planned. Four-year-old Oliver Thomas from Tittensor was given a ringside seat to see the explosion as his late grandfather had helped to build the chimney and afterwards he was given a brick from the chimney as a souvenir. Today the Meaford site is waiting to be developed and then will start another chapter in the history of the site. I hope that the above will bring back memories to some readers and will be of interest to others. 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 made digital copies.

• Demolition of Meaford Power station cooling towers, viewed from Downs Banks, September 1991. The station came into operation in November 1947 and closed in September 1990.



Eccleshall War Memorial Unveiling In June 2018, the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire unveiled a new memorial to 17 Eccleshall soldiers killed in the Great War. Duncan Honeybourne tells the story of one of them, his great-grandfather William Augustine Mossop. On 24th June 2018, at Eccleshall Parish Church, the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire unveiled a memorial commemorating 17 Eccleshall servicemen who died in the Great War but whose sacrifice has not hitherto been recorded on the town’s War Memorial. Wreaths were laid by descendants of the 17, and I had the privilege of laying one of them, for those men include my great-grandfather, William Augustine Mossop, and his younger brother Bernard. Their journeys, which began in Eccleshall, ended amidst the carnage of the Western Front but, by the time they died, their family had moved away. Now, over a century later, thanks to the efforts and research of the Eccleshall Historical Society, they will at last be permanently honoured in the town of their birth. I was born 60 years after my great-grandfather fell at Passchendaele in the autumn of 1917, but he hadn’t been forgotten. His daughter, my grandmother, was a powerful and everyday fixture in my life until I was 30. It was to me that she bequeathed the battered, bloodstained photograph, inscribed to her “with lots of love”, that had been retrieved from his mangled body in Lijssenthoek Military Hospital, sent back to Birmingham, and treasured by her for nine decades. In my youth, this priceless, personal and poignant document haunted and fascinated me, as did my grandmother’s accounts of this now distant war: her father’s return on leave, when his louse-infected clothes had to be burned; his touching concern at Christmas 1916 that he would not survive another year in Flanders; and the heartbreaking penury she and her widowed mother endured after his death. William and Bernard Mossop were born in Castle Street, Eccleshall, in 1884 and 1888. A portrait taken in the late 1890s depicts them, with their five brothers, exuding an air of confidence and mischief. But the picture is an essay on a blighted generation: four of the boys were destined to fight in the First World War and, whilst two survived, to bear lifelong scars, the other two never came home. Bernard, 27 years old and unmarried, was killed in the Battle of Loos in 1915 and his body never found; he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. William survived until the Second Battle of Ypres, when he was • William Augustine Mossop War Photo mortally wounded and endured his final agonising hours in the largest evacuation hospital in the Ypres Salient. William’s parents, Edward Mossop and Ellen Hall, came from Irish families long settled in Staffordshire. Edward seems to have been a lively lad, starting off as a bricklayer and eventually setting up his own building firm. But in 1870 he hit the headlines when he was fined £2, plus £1 8s and 6d costs, after an altercation with a ticket collector on the North Staffordshire Railway. The Birmingham Daily Gazette of 14th February 1870, heading its article “Struggle in a Railway Carriage”, reported that Edward and his brother Thomas “were charged with having assaulted and impeded Abraham Williams while in the discharge of his duty….On the arrival of a train at the ticket platform, Thomas pretended to be asleep when his ticket was demanded, though his fellow passengers swore that they had seen him make faces at the officer behind his back. Williams at last shook Thomas, whereupon Edward jumped up and seized him….the passengers were obliged to call other officials before the Mossops could be restrained.” One hopes that Edward mended his ways, but his later fortunes were mixed. He settled briefly in the United States before returning to Eccleshall, but in middle age was declared bankrupt and moved south to Smethwick, where he reinvented himself as a steeplejack. William and several of his brothers joined their father’s business and looked after many Midland landmarks including Smethwick’s Galton Bridge and the spire of Coventry’s mediaeval cathedral. Having earlier joined the Army and served in Ireland, William signed up again early in the Great War. By now he was a married man, living in Birmingham with his young wife Emily. Of his five children, three predeceased him, and his youngest daughter died of whooping cough just three months after William’s own demise at the front. Only the eldest of his offspring, my redoubtable grandmother, survived infancy to tell


Stone & Eccleshall Gazette Heritage

• The newly unveiled War memorial at Eccleshall with 5 descendants of the Mossop family of Eccleshall. From left to right: Duncan Honeybourne, Janina Morrison, Alison Maxam, descendants of William Augustine Mossop. On the right, Rod and Stephen Mossop, descendants of his brother George. the tale. As a musician, I have often spoken of my great-grandfather in lecture recitals showcasing WW1 composers and, last year, his name – and battle-scarred picture - were immortalised in a piece of music. As part of the Passchendaele centenary commemorations in Ypres Cathedral, the Belgian composer Ludo Geloen gave the world premiere of his own Warscape, for cello and harmonium, a powerful triptych dedicated to the memory of William Augustine Mossop, who had died there 100 years earlier and lies nearby “in some corner of a foreign field”.The exquisite closing piece, Keepsake, reflects on the weathered photograph’s journey to the battlefield and back. And indeed now this Staffordshire soldier himself has finally come home, to be commemorated forever in his birthplace. Duncan Honeybourne is a pianist, writer, broadcaster and a Lecturer in Piano at the University of Southampton.

• The Mossop Brothers, Eccleshall. William is back right, Bernard front left.


‘Living History’ By Jim Davies ‘Living history’ is certainly a term to describe John Holtham, Life Vice-President of the Stone & District Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA), and that term is particularly appropriate in this the centenary year of the Royal Air Force. John’s father was a founding member of the RAF in 1918 and John was a navigator in the RAF from 1943 to 1947 and a reservist navigation instructor from 1951 to 1957. He has also been an active member of RAFA from ‘time immemorial’. Now aged nearly 94 John is still going strong (he gave up tennis only a couple of years ago!) and lives in Fradswell. Like many who’ve made a great contribution to the community of Stone, John actually hails from elsewhere (South London, like yours truly) and his personal link with the RAF started when he became a founder member of the Air Training Corps in 1941 during his evacuation to Devon. The war was now raging and as soon as he could he joined up and qualified as a wireless operator in April 1944 (he was paid the magnificent sum of 7/- (35p) per day because he was a Leading Aircraftman; the others got only 3/- (15p)). His potential was spotted and he was sent to Canada to train as a navigator and by November 1944 he was qualified on the Mosquito, the famous ‘wooden wonder’ that starred in the epic 1960s film 633 Squadron. Before returning to the UK he had the chance to visit friends at Colorado Springs near Denver and enjoy the unrationed American dream. But all too soon he was packed with some 12,000 fellow passengers on board the second Mauretania for an 11-day voyage back to the Clyde. Christmas Dinner on board comprised American combat food called ‘K’ rations. Welcome back to the war! Keen to get involved in action John still had to complete his operational training and ended up at Croft near Darlington where he found himself once again in the company of roistering Canadians. For • A young John Holtham with his Observer’s brevet John the war in Europe (known rudely as the ‘flying orifice’!) ended too soon and he also missed out on being sent to the Far East where matters came to an end anyway in August 1945. Nevertheless, John’s training was not wasted. He was posted to Cambrai-Épinoy in France on No 487 (New Zealand) Squadron, famous for the daring Amiens Prison raid of the previous year. At last he was doing some proper flying in the impressive Mosquito Mk VI (four machine guns and four 20mm cannon plus bombs and rockets – they could really spoil your day!). However, John found himself employed on more peaceful pursuits, particularly during the Nuremburg trials when he was moved to Germany and was frequently engaged in flying the Trial transcripts to England. He obviously did that job well because he then moved onto important VIP flying during that still chaotic post-war period in Germany. John recalls in particular flying General Sir Alexander Galloway back to UK in his VVIP aircraft when they also had on board a compassionate case in the person of a young Army soldier who was spectacularly airsick and left the General’s lovely aircraft in a less than pristine state! But matters were beginning to return to normal and one of John’s last jobs was to fly to Northern Ireland and collect the turkeys for Christmas Dinner 1946 – a bit of an improvement on ‘K’ rations on board the Mauretania! John toyed with the idea of staying in the RAF but he was offered £3.10s (£3.50) per week to resume his studies. His last flight was on 25 January 1947 by which time he’d accumulated over 500 flying hours. John qualified as what we now call an optometrist and met and married Pat in 1951. Pat was a senior social worker and they came to Stone when Pat took a post at Stoke Hospital in 1976 following which she soon became the Area Officer for Staffordshire. John moved his opticians practice to Hanley and he may still be remembered by some Gazette readers. John and Pat’s daughter, Sarah, currently lives in Moss Gate.

From top to bottom: • A Mosquito MkVI, the type in which John Holtham flew • RMS Mauretania as a troop ship in wartime grey camouflage • John Holtham’s father in 1918 framed in a piece of WW1 aircraft propellor • John Holtham in June 2018


for Summer by Marcus Sylvester he state of the world is in such turmoil that individual forecasts are at risk of unpredictable change. We live in extremely precarious times where bluster and devious dissemination are undermining universal trust amongst regimes and our problems at getting a satisfactory Brexit are almost irrelevant. The almost cosmic confusion is totally man made and the constellations may still be totally accurate - and individuals may still be able to rely on their general forecasts - but all decisions should be made in the light of the prevailing political situations that could well make some plans no longer tenable



March 21- April 20 A glorious summer beckons - even the weather outlook is positive - so perhaps you may be able to enjoy a family holiday without boarding a plane. Holidays in the UK are definitely going to be at a premium, so use your imagination to find an unusual venue in an out of the way location


April 21- May 21 Life still seems to be bursting out all over - the weather certainly is helping to make this a summer to remember. Cherish it. A romantic weekend in a luxury boutique hotel is an option - so grab it with both hands - especially if there’s no long flight involved. This break away could lead to so more other - keep your options open and be prepared to answer important questions!


May 22 - June 21 You’re probably still no further forward nothing has changed to make your options any clearer, so it really still is best to do nothing until you can be certain that your decision has any sort of justification. There’s no point in seeking the advice of others - you will know when it’s time to act. That said, circumstances can change overnight and you’ll have your answer.


September 24 - October 23 The weather is still dominating your thoughts - your plans of an overseas break - or a cruise are now firmly set in “Stone”. - if you’ll excuse the pun - the only issue is that the partner you were travelling with is having second thoughts - and this could be a major problem. Don’t despair, but under no circumstances cancel - you need the break - just put extra pressure on your fellow traveller ... or choose someone else!


October 24 - November 22 The solution is to is to be as fluid as possible and let contingency take control. This summer is totally unpredictable - you are out of your comfort zone - not necessarily a bad place - who knows what is around the corner - not you, but keep your fingers crossed.


November 23 - December 21 You’ve had quite a few dilemmas to cope with of late - and still there’s more to come. In the 1970’s they used to say you changed your house, your car, your job or your partner each year - it’s not not that simple these days - but these are the dilemmas you may well be facing. Good luck - there are no easy or right answers.



December 22 - January 20 Hay Fever has well and truly blightd your June 22 - July 22 summer - you’re not alone, but that’s no Having had a run of bad luck, you are now consolation. It’s set in until the end the end of back on course for your normal life. This real- August. It’s time to consult a pharmacist - and ly is proving to be an interesting summer - if they just suggest the medications you’re with the unexpected opportunity of a short already using, get a GP appointment - there’s holiday in the offing. Old friends may come no need to worry. There are new treatments knocking - they may be the source of the now available not available over the counter. short holiday ... take the risk ... it really could be the start of a whole new relationship.



January 21 - February 19 In theory, this promised to be a superb year for Aquarians - but so far, all you've had is July 23 - Aug 22 Hopefully. you’ve been able come to terms grief. Perhaps the summer and back end of with a bit of a clear out - it’s not easy, but the year has the “X Factor” on it’s way. Don’t once those (cherished) keepsakes have despair - astrological forecasts can be gone you’ll wonder why you held on to serendipitous and Aquarius is one of the them for all these years. Now the hard part signs most open to misinterpretation. - do not, under any circumstances - start any more collections. Accept that you are an“addict” and collecting is an addiction. February 20 - March 20 There's still a confrontation. Try not to be the party that kicks it off - it could be a significant anniversary, a signature birthday August 23 -September 23 For once, June was magical - every venture you a perhaps a wedding - whatever, there’s an were involved in seemed to have a very positive element of family, which can only exacerbate outcome. This is indeed an unusual result for the situation and ensure there’s no easy those born under the sign of Virgo - that said it’s solution. So, if at all possible, if you see the been a strange year all round and astrological possibility of a bonfire, stay back and take the predictions have proven to be less than easy, or quickest opportunity of making your excuses indeed reliable. Music has always come to the to leave. Under no circumstances get drawn rescue of those born under the sign of Virgo and in - these spats can have consequences that last for years. trust in the core to show you the way forward.




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The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette - July / August  
The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette - July / August