The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette - May/June 2022

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CONTENTS Good News • “Big Lunch” comes to Westbridge Park • Stone Town Council release calendar of events • Stone business supports veterans • Stone Councillor to be new Mayor of Stafford Borough • Local rail users’ group call for Access For All • Pages 25 - 40 Stone Festival Programme

In Pictures • Crown Wharf Theatre moves closer to opening • Alleyne's Class of 1950/51 Reunion • Gallery at 12 mark their 13th Anniversary • Eccleshall landlord serves up Ukrainian Aid • Oulton Community Group ‘Spring in to action’ • Alex leaves to join the Chelsea Pensioners • Oulton’s Sunflowers for Ukraine

Looks like a few months of partying ahead of us! The national news has been dominated in recent months with the war in Ukraine, war not only brings out the worst in people, but also the best too. It’s heartwarming to see so many locals getting involved to help, either directly, like Neil Chandler, the landlord of The Kings Arms in Eccleshall, who drove more than 1,300 miles across Europe to the border between Poland and Ukraine to deliver aid (page 42) or Drac Global, who have pledged to support 10 van deliveries of supplies to Ukraine, via Van-Aid, a new charity that has been set up to deliver vital humanitarian aid, they are also offering space to receive and consolidate loads at their distribution warehouse in Stone (page 52). Or others supporting indirectly, like Oulton residents, who are being invited to sow sunflower seeds in their front gardens and public spaces to show their solidarity with Ukraine, the sunflower being the national flower of the country, a kind resident has donated all the seeds (page 52) then Stone Bridge Club who held a Ukraine charity appeal (page 6) along with many other schools and local groups and organisations, all holding various charity events to raise money for those blighted by the war. 2022 marks Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee, after 70 years of unwavering service to her country, it makes her the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee . Parties are planned in Stone (page 4) and Eccleshall (page 18) and in most of the surrounding villages, see inside for more details, and get involved! Stone Festival is back! (pages 25-40) Now in it’s 53rd year, and after a 2 year

enforced hiatus, the biggest, best and most fun event in Stone returns. The Gazette are proud to continue to be major sponsor of this historic week long event. It’s run completely by volunteers, with no other external funding, other than donations from sponsors and the public, every penny they raise is given back out to worthy local charities and groups. Please go along to as many of the events as you can, support YOUR FESTIVAL! Stone Town Council have released their list of events for 2022 (page 8) with plenty planned, there’s something for everyone. Stone Traders Group have several evening markets lined up, I can’t wait to sample some of the delicious street food once again, maybe washed down with a craft beer or two, those Summer nights are coming! Huge congratulations go to Stone’s own Cllr. Philip Leason, who was recently elected as the next Worshipful Mayor of Stafford Borough for 2022/23 (page 24) Philip takes up office on the 14th May, we wish him a memorable year as Mayor. Finally... if you catch a train from Stone you may be interested to know a rail users’ group has called to improve “Access For All” at Stone station. Getting across the current bridge in a wheelchair is impossible, funding is available for a new bridge with a lift, however the campaign needs evidence on why better access is needed. If anyone has good examples, please contact Claire at: claire.sandys@ Hope you have yourselves a splendid Spring / Summer, I’ve already got my shorts on! Dan Mitchell 23/04/22

Heritage • Centenary History of Stone Hockey Club • Stone’s Skeletons and Subterranean Passages By Philip Leason MBE

July / August edition is out on July 7th Editorial Deadline - June 21st Advertisement Copy Deadline - June 24th



EDITORIAL Eccleshall News -

ACCOUNTS Angela Downing -

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


More Than A Kitchen Company If you’re looking for a luxury kitchen, then contact the friendly team at Staffordshire Kitchens, the specialists in British and German kitchen furniture. They understand that the foundations of any successful kitchen design is first building a good relationship with their clients, so that they truly understand their individual needs, as well as what they want to achieve for their new kitchen. The process is relaxed and informal, but it is thorough in getting to know their clients, so that they can fully tailor a design, giving expert advice and recommend suitable products. For example, they can advise on the best appliances to suit different cooking styles, but equally they can recommend appliances that suit the look you want to achieve, which also suit your budget too.

More than a kitchen company, they are experts in Interior Design too, so bring your project to them and they will consider the complete aesthetics of your intended space, before producing a beautiful and truly personalised design, that exceeds your expectations in every way. At their Stafford showroom, the team can design, supply & fit the kitchen of your dreams, delivering the whole package from concept, to design, to build, and all with minimal hassle to you. They offer an exceptional level of service, and whether it’s a small kitchen to maximise storage, or if you’re thinking of a large open plan extension with a family area, they can certainly help. Offering honest, expert advice, plus their variety of manufacturing partners, means they have something to offer everyone, no matter your taste, style, or budget. Staffordshire Kitchens are the ONLY Staffordshire kitchen supplier of Contemporary & Traditional quality German Kitchens, renowned for their style & durability. German kitchen manufacturers have a worldwide reputation for design, function, and quality, and they have carefully chosen to partner with a German brand that steadfastly upholds these values. Their German partnership enables them to offer a truly diverse product range for clients, including popular styles such as modern, contemporary, true handleless, shaker, gloss, matt, as well as many luxury wood, ceramic, and glass kitchen doors. More than this, they can offer clients the very latest in modern kitchen technology, with innovative design features such as glass roller doors, Tipmatic Softclose doors, slight lift cabinets, motorised drawers and much, much more. The dedicated team are also experts in the design and supply of quality British Kitchens, including from Charles Yorke, specialists in fully handcrafted kitchen furniture. Their British kitchen collections include a variety of contemporary finishes, as well as traditional lay-on kitchen doors and in-frame kitchen doors. With a variety of shaker doors, cornices and handles we can make your kitchen very traditional looking. Alternatively, any style can be adapted to suit your personal tastes with the finishing details, accessories and even lighting creating a more contemporary aesthetic. The team look forward to welcoming you, greeting you with a good cup of tea or coffee as you sit down to discuss ideas for your new kitchen project. Showroom visits are by appointment only so they can guarantee time for you to discuss your project in full, and also to ensure you will have the showroom to yourself. give them a call today.

Staffordshire Kitchens First Floor Showroom, 200 North Walls, Stafford, ST16 3AD

01785 229306 www.staffordshire 4

Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Queens Platinum Jubilee “BIG LUNCH” in Westbridge Park Stone Town Council is taking part in the Jubilee “Big Lunch” by organising a party in Westbridge Park on Sunday 5th June 2022 to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Everyone is invited to this free to access, fun family day. Please bring your picnics to the park, together with tables, chairs and picnic blankets, to spend an enjoyable afternoon in celebration of the Queen’s reign. Entertainment will be provided by local bands, including the Scout and Guide Band, Florence Brass Band, the Cartoon Kings and the Lack of Commitments. Food and drink stalls will be available for the purchase of refreshments, and children’s entertainment, including fairground rides, is being planned. The party will start at 12:00pm and continue until 6:00pm.

Further information will be made available nearer the day, and details will be on the Council’s website, Please contact the Council on 01785-619740, or email to clerk@, if you want further information or would like to have a stall at the event. There will also be a more formal event on Thursday 2nd June 2022, including the lighting of a beacon as part of a chain of beacons throughout the country. More information will be made available soon. Councillor Jill Hood, Chairman of the Council’s Tourism and Town Promotion Sub-Committee said: “Come to Westbridge Park on 5th June for the biggest, happiest party in town. With music, refreshment stalls, and children’s entertainment it will be a fun afternoon for all the family.”

Raising the Texas Flag

Stone Town Mayor Councillor Jonathan Powell, and The Mayoress - his wife Nancy with Town Councillor Jim Davies

The Texas Flag is flying Photos by Martin Robinson

The Stone Town Mayor Councillor Jonathan Powell, and The Mayoress - his wife Nancy, attended the ceremony of Raising the Texas Flag in Stone, on Saturday 5th March. Joining them was Town Councillor Jim Davies, who read out a short address explaining the story behind this regular event. During Christmas 1993 John Howland, from the city of Carthage in Texas, returned to Stone on the 50th anniversary of the time he had spent in the town as a member of the US Army Air Force awaiting his posting to his operational unit. He had never forgotten the wartime kindness and hospitality of the town and brought with him a proclamation from

the Mayor of Carthage bestowing a number of gifts on Stone, including: “The flag of the Lone Star State of Texas to be displayed on * ’three appropriate festive occasions’, as a reminder of the lasting friendship and appreciation of the people of Stone, Staffordshire, by the people of Carthage, Texas”. * 29th December (the anniversary of the admission of Texas as the 28th state of the Union in 1845), 2nd March (the anniversary of Texas gaining its independence from Mexico in 1836) and on 4th July (American Independence Day). Music was provided for the event by Stone Choral Society accompanied by Florence Brass Band, providing a stirring rendition of ‘Texas our Texas’.

Walton Community Centre 'Open Day' Putting people first and bringing people together has placed Walton Community Centre at the heart of the Stone Community, it’s noted as one of the most successful community centres in Staffordshire. For many decades it has allowed groups to put on and develop small events and classes, welcoming the people of Stone, young or old, to try a diverse range of affordable activities. COVID has been a tough time for all and so they want to throw open the doors and welcome everyone back with open arms to a FREE: ‘We Are Back’ Open Day/Pop Up Mini Festival on Saturday 14th May 4pm to 8pm Featuring: Live Music from the Old Bones Bar Band in the Chairmans Hall, and a DJ hosting the event. Sit and enjoy the music whilst having a draft or bottled beer from the pop up bar provided by Izaak Walton Brewhouse. Stroll over to the Presidents Hall to find demonstrations showing what goes on throughout the week at Walton, not forgetting to stop at the Gin and Prosecco bar! Wander outside and grab a bite to eat from the Greek ‘Travelling’ Taverner. Enjoy an ice-cream in the evening sun. Have a free go on the Retro Magic Mirror Photo Booth provided by

Most of all come and look for opportunities to learn something new, and meet new friends. Whether you’re a ‘beginner’ or an ‘expert’ there will be something for you. Come in your trainers and take part in some: • Fitness classes • U3A classes • Dance classes • Classes for children with a whole host of activities - dancing/drama/self defence to name just a few. Entry is FREE. Come along for a fantastic time. Parking for the Open Day is limited (as the centre will be utilising the car park for activities) please walk if you can. Walton Community Centre is a charity and is always looking for volunteers to help with events so don’t hesitate to get in touch. The centre is always open to new ideas for classes and groups. During the last few years 100’s of new people have moved to the area who are unaware of Walton Community Centre and so this would be a great opportunity to discover this multi roomed hidden gem, or for those familiar, to pop in and reacquaint yourselves and to get involved again with the community. See you on the dance floor! tycentre

Chicken Run Frolics! On the evening of Friday 8th April at the County Showground Stafford, Stone Y.F.C. and Stone Agricultural Society Society joined forces for a double yoke of fun. With twelve races, sponsored by local companies and local individuals, bets were placed, and racing soon got under way. With five hens per race, the Ingustry Suite soon had people flapping around, shouting on their relevant chicken and jockey! Proceeds from the evening, which included an excellent raffle, (kindly donated by Stone Agricultural Society, who

played an important role in organizing the event) went to the funds of Stone Young Farmers, whom like a lot of organisations, have unfortunately experienced difficult times, during to the Pandemic. If you would like to become a member of one of the two extremely active organizations, in Stone, then please contact Emma Timmis on 07805 087765, for Stone Young Farmers, or Matthew Weaver on 07970 211668, for Stone Agricultural Society. where you will always find a "Clucking Mad" welcome!



Oulton Watercolour Society Summer Exhibition The Oulton Watercolour Society Summer Exhibition will be held on Saturday 25th June at Oulton Village Hall, ST15 8UJ - between 10am - 4pm. All the artworks are originals and are for sale, refreshments are available with home made cakes, there is also a raffle with many prizes.

Community Diabetes Group The Diabetes Group, sponsored by Stone Lions Club (CIO), had to stop meeting at the start of Lockdown in 2020, however it is now hoped that the meetings can resume during the summer if enough people are interested in attending. The group meets monthly and offers an opportunity for people with either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes to meet socially, discuss problems and possible solutions and enjoy each other’s company. It is run purely by volunteers who are not qualified to provide specific medical advice, however occasionally different speakers are invited to attend to discuss topics of interest to members. If you were a member of the group who would be happy to come along to a future meeting, or someone who has been recently diagnosed with Diabetes who would like to know more about what the Group has to offer, Stone Lions would be very pleased to hear from you. Please call either Chris on 01785 812027 or Tony on 01785 813051 for more information.

Calling all you Little Deers! Tittenor CE (VC) First School has launched Little Deers, a FREE weekly mums/carers baby group for children below school age. It takes place in their community room which also has a small secure outdoor area, and they offer a space to chat, relax and build relationships, while the children play. Join them every Friday at 9.15am until 11.00am, during term time.

Asda Grant to Oulton First School Pupils at Oulton First School have benefitted from a £1,000 grant awarded by the Asda Foundation. The money has been used to purchase six balance bikes and helmets for EYFS pupils which will develop physical skills and wellbeing.

Staffordshire History Day 2022 The Staffordshire History Day is an annual event which brings together historians, researchers, local history societies and members of the public, together with our partners at Keele and Birmingham Universities, to explore and discover the stories of the people and places of Staffordshire. Speakers include Dr Simon Briercliffe of the Black Country Living Museum, John Grayson, Craft Maker and Senior Lecturer in Design at Staffordshire University, Dr. Andrew Sargent, Keele University and Dr Malcolm Dick, Birmingham University. The event will take place on Zoom, on Saturday 7th May between 10:00 – 15:30 BST To view the programme and to book your free place please go to staffordshire-history-day-tickets-313666824917

Visit of Heath All Ladies Choir This very well known group are performing at Sandon Hall on 15th May, tickets cost £15, which include Sandons well known canapés, with a pay bar. The concert begins at 7.30pm. For more information or tickets contact 07876 540491.


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Stone Bridge Club hold Ukraine Appeal On Tuesday 22nd March, Stone Bridge Club held a most successful extra evening of bridge raising funds for the Ukraine appeal. The amount passed to the Disasters Emergency Committee and onwards to the Ukraine Appeal was £491. There were generous donations beforehand from those who couldn’t attend plus table money from the 28 who did play. We had a bring and buy cake stall with some delicious looking cakes and buns, plus a raffle to which people very generously donated lots of prizes. We also acted as a collection point for clothes and blankets but sadly no

Ukraine collection point could be found willing to take them the following day. Instead, a large car load of items was gratefully received by The Big Shop, Stafford for The Katharine House Hospice, so they went to a deserving cause. The atmosphere was wonderful - a real feeling of fellowship. Congratulations to Anne Seymour and Geoff Davies and to John Hartley and Richard Adams for coming top NS and EW. Well done to those who ventured from the Friday class. We hope we will see you in the evenings on a regular basis. from Kath Adams

Stone Students take part in National Theatre Connections Festival Three year 10 students from Alleynes Academy will be taking to the stage in Sheffield at the end of March as part of the National Theatre Connections Festival. Each year the National Theatre commissions ten new plays for young people to perform, bringing together some of the UKs most exciting writers with the theatre makers of tomorrow. Over 300 youth theatre companies and over 6,000 young people from every corner of the UK are producing a Connections L to R: Ryan Herbert, Tendo Katabalwa, Dylan Galloghly play this year. The plays are provides aspiring young performers the performed at local theatres, regional opportunity to step into the spotlight, theatres and then finally one production make new friends and learn theatre skills. of each play will be transferred to the The boys were first got the acting bug National Theatre Festival in London. when they attended the after school Dylan Galloghly, Tendo Katabalwa and drama club run by Victoria Gotham at Ryan Herbert have already performed Walton Priory Middle School. Dylan and the play, ‘Find a partner’, twice at the Ryan also enjoyed performing with the Regent Theatre, Hanley as part of the Stone Revellers in last years Christmas Regent Theatre Academy. The Academy panto.

Author Alex Opens New Prep Library at Denstone College At the start of World Book Week, new author, Alex Foulkes, visited Denstone College for the whole day, delivering workshops to all of the prep pupils from Reception to Year 6. Finally, she ended the day by opening the new prep library area, and signing lots and lots of books!

Adbaston Community Concert Society present

‘Mozart Oboe Quartet’ by Manchester Camerata Orchestra In their welcome return to the Eccleshall area, four Principals from Manchester Camerata will play the Mozart oboe quartet and other chamber music pieces, in a recital as part of Stafford Music Festival 2022. The concert starts at 5:30pm on Sunday 8th May and runs until 7:30pm, including an interval for refreshments and drinks, at St Michael and all Angels Church, Adbaston, Stafford, postcode ST20 0QE. Entrance is just £10 and light refreshments are also offered; free parking nearby. The players are the orchestra’s leader Caroline Pether (violin) with Hannah Roberts (cello), Alex Mitchell (viola) and Rachael Clegg (oboe). The programme will consist of oboe works by Mozart, Britten, and Musgrave; a string trio serenade by Dohnanyi; and a Beethoven duet for viola and cello. Manchester Camerata is the leading chamber orchestra in the NW, considered by The Times as ‘Britain's most adventurous orchestra’. Projects range from opening Glastonbury Festival for 40,000 people to working in care homes with people living with dementia. For more information about the artists, vist their website at Tickets at the door (or in advance via 01785 280373 or


Stone is the place to be! As some sort of normality returns to our High Street, so to does the Town Centre Guide for 2022. Last produced in 2019 by Stone Traders Group, the handy guide lists the main events planned for the Town Centre for the year ahead. The many organisations and councils have again worked hard to produce a variety of events for residents and visitors to Stone to enjoy, with something for everyone.

Ed with a copy of the 2022 Town Guide Following the huge success of last year’s Christmas Market organised by Stone Traders Group in conjunction with Stone Food & Drink Festival, we have added more Events for 2022 to compliment the other offerings to enjoy. If its foodie heaven you crave, then the return of the first Stone Street Food Event heads back to the High Street on Thursday 12th May from 3pm – 9pm with many of your favourite street food and drinks vendors. A first for 2022 is a Summer Market Spectacular, to run in conjunction with the new date for the Food & Drink Festival of the weekend 15-17 July. As the High Street won’t be having its usual Farmers Market that day, we have teamed up once again with the F&D


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Festival to bring you a Summer Market on Saturday 16th July from 9.30am – 2.30pm. With some never seen before market stalls, the odd Street Food vendor and some surprises for all the family its one not to miss on the High Street, before you head to Westbridge Park for the annual pilgrimage to drink your way through the many bars at the F&D Festival!! In addition, with the success of last year’s Christmas market, where Santa Clause gave out a staggering 192 Christmas presents to children during the day, we have gone one better by agreeing to TWO Christmas Markets this year; Sunday 20th November and Sunday 11th December. Santa will once again be on duty, with some new surprises planned so both Christmas markets are different and worth a visit for the festive season. All these Events are with focus on bringing valuable footfall into Stone, so the permanent businesses in Stone Town Centre can showcase their wonderful shops, bars, restaurants and services that make Stone such a special place. Please collect your handy Town Centre Guide from many High Street businesses this summer, so you don’t miss anything. We also have a digital guide that can be downloaded and saved for future use. A special thank you to all those who continue to contribute to our Town, whether it be the Stone Traders Group Directors who give their time freely, STG members who pay the annual subscription used to promote the Town, media outlets such as the Stone and Eccleshall Gazette who continually support us in promoting the Town, Stone Food & Drink Festival who always offer support and guidance to run these wonderful events for no profit, and finally all the other organisation that work tirelessly to bring you a variety of things to do and see in Stone this year. From Ed Stant Secretary, Stone Traders Group If you would like more information on STG, or for an application form to Street Food Events or the markets planned, please email Ed Stant at edstant@ where you will be given more information.


Gazette Eccleshall News Eccleshall Poetry Group Eccleshall Poetry Group was founded nearly 25 years ago and is always keen to welcome new members. The Group could be described as a poetry appreciation group, as they enjoy reading poems by famous poets, ancient and modern, as well as poems penned by members. Meeting on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month in Eccleshall Methodist Hall from 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm you’ll find poems to stimulate thought and conversation, giving a chance to make new friends with a similar interest. If you enjoy listening to poems, or have one you’d like to read aloud, come and join us for an afternoon of poetry, we’d love to see you.

Councillor’s Surgery Borough Councillor Peter Jones will be at his regular monthly surgery at the library on Saturday May 21 between 10am and 12 noon. He will also be available to talk to residents about the Eccleshall Voluntary Car Scheme and if people would like to register for the service or offer their help as voluntary drivers. The scheme is ticking along nicely but at the present relies on a few voluntary drivers and could do with more volunteers. If you might be interested in using the scheme of becoming a voluntary driver pleased come along and chat with Peter. Residents will have the opportunity to make their views known on Parish and Borough matters.

Eccleshall Monthly Market A collection of makers, bakers, therapists and creators gather in the Royal Oak coach house and arches High Street, Eccleshall showcasing small business talents and products between 10am and 4pm on the first Saturday of each month.

Knit And Natter Sancerre in Eccleshall High Street is delighted to start a Knit & Natter event every Tuesday at Sancerre. It's a good way to enjoy your hobby, meet and make new friends, share tips and of course enjoy a chat over coffee which is always great for your mental health. For those who can't make the day events they are planning a Wine & Wool evening too, so watch this space!

Eccleshall Community Band Eccleshall’s very own band meets to rehearse in the Holy Trinity Church alternate Tuesdays and Wednesday between 8pm and 9pm. For details contact Hazel on 01785 851259.

Coffee & Fellowship You are invited to the Holy Trinity parish room once or twice a month for a hot drink, biscuits and cake, and the opportunity to speak with old friends and make new ones. The next session takes place on Wednesday May 11th and 25th between 10am and 12 noon. Do drop in.

Stone business supports veterans Stone based property business Jeffries Property Buyers have offered their support to Staffordshire based Veteran’s group through a generous donation of the use of 3 acres of land, which was a former coal merchant site. The use of the land has enabled the dream of a Veteran’s Retreat and Respite Centre in Harriseahead (near Mow Cop) to become a reality. The project is being developed by the Tri Services Veterans Support Centre Charity that has been established for over seven years and currently provides support to thousands of individuals and families who have served in the armed forces, through their Newcastle Centre. The retreat is the exciting new project for the charity with a wide range of activities planned. Jeffries Property Buyers directors Ron and Julie Jeffries told the Gazette: “We have always thought that Veterans deserve our full support for the sacrifices they make on our behalf. When we heard about the vision of having a retreat in Staffordshire, we wanted to do all we could to make it happen. As we source land through our business we decided to help this project with some land we had acquired. The Tri Service Support Centre Chair Geoff Harriman, Kathy Munslow and the team are currently working hard to bring this amazing project to life.” Geoff Harriman said “We couldn’t develop the Veterans Retreat without the support of other local organisations and business people such as Ron and Julie

Jeffries. The aim is for the Retreat to provide a hub where veterans can meet and take part in a wide range of activities such as archery, bushcraft, Thai Chi, photography, art and bee keeping. In the future we will also be able to support veterans looking for a career change or to learn new skills such as construction and vehicle maintenance. We are also enjoying working with the local community and schools developing plans for a community garden and vegetable planting area. One of the main attractions will also be a wild flower memorial meadow and sculpture with places for everyone to relax. There are also plans to install eco-friendly accommodation to be used for respite for the veterans. We aim to create a supportive, inclusive and friendly atmosphere where veterans can meet likeminded people. We have extensive links with local services and businesses such as Armed Forces charity, SSAFA, Veterans UK, Walking with the Wounded and many more. It’s been heart-warming to see that this project has not gone unnoticed and recently was highlighted at the House of Commons. Our local MP Jonathan Gullis MP raised the names of everyone involved in the project in the House, with the Minister for Veterans Affairs, Leo Docherty. We are looking forward to the retreat being fully open and operational by mid-2023.” For more information on the Veterans Support Centre visit

Eccleshall Historical Society The next meeting of the society which is open to the general public, falls on Monday May 9th in the parish room starting at 7.30pm. The guest speaker is Sue Bray and the subject is ‘Dr Johnson’. For details of future activities contact Lester Stuart on 01785 850826.

Supporters Group The Eccleshall First Responders group, a voluntary organisation which provides support when it is needed, has a support group and invites locals to join them. If you think that you might be interested contact Jan Watson at 4 Bishops Court, Eccleshall, ST21 6DX or email her at

Eccleshall Civic Amenity The next Eccleshall Civic Amenity rubbish collection from residents larger items or things that just missed the bin man, takes place on Saturday May 21 between 9am and 11am in the Stone Road opposite the Methodist Church. Funded by the Eccleshall Parish Council. The full schedule of dates is on display on the notice board in town centre.


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Oulton First School Celebrate World Book Day Pupils at Oulton First School enjoyed celebrating World Book Day on 3rd March. Children were invited to come dressed as a character from a book with each class focused on a different theme. EYFS dressed as characters from books written by the author Julia Donaldson, KS1 characters from traditional tale stories and KS2 dressed as a character that described a word, e.g. evil - Cruella Deville. Pupils are looking forward to using their book tokens at participating shops.

Jane Harding seen visiting Drac’s new office to say thank you to some of The Drac Logistics team

Drac Logistics help Stone Hub Drac Logistics, based at Stone Business Park, wanted to give back to the local community, and helping Stone Community Hub, with Stone food bank seemed a great way to do it, with new economic challenges coming and already such a high number of people using food banks already. The company have committed to a weekly food shop, keeping the food bank stocked with necessities. The food bank is open to donations, and open to those in need. Jane Harding, manager of Stone Community Hub, told the Gazette “Our activities fall into 2 main areas: combating social isolation – drop-in Centre, people to talk to, crafting & refreshments; reducing poverty and its effects – advice Centre, and job club. We continue to run our Food Bank, meeting a huge increase in demand, and keep in touch with clients old and new by telephone, email, social media and in person. The support we receive from Drac Logistics aids the charities sustainability, in these uncertain times, ensuring that people in our Stone community are able to stay healthy and be supported when needed. With ever rising fuel bills the situation is inevitably going to get worse and its organisations like Drac Logistics that give back to the local communities.”

World Day of Prayer: I know the plans I have for you This year's World Day of Prayer took place at The Crossing. It's prepared by women around the world but is no longer exclusively for women and we were pleased that some men were with us. This year's service was created by the Christian women of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own service. As we went in, we were each given a packet of flower seeds. During the service we heard these words: “A seed is full of potential and hope. What might God be saying to you? What hope does God have for you and your future?” The church at The Crossing was a new venue for the service and after two years of lock down restrictions it was so lovely to be able to meet again in fellowship, prayer and song; some forty five people attended the service from across the churches in Stone and everyone agreed that the service had been one united in fellowship and prayer. The afternoon was rounded off with delicious refreshments: Irish soda breads, Welsh cakes and a delicious Victoria sponge cake made by Sister Anna. The service was made more poignant with prayers and special thoughts of the horrendous situation in Ukraine. It is wonderful to feel that this is part of a world wide movement, and twenty four hours some people, somewhere are worshipping and praying together from the same service. Our last hymn is the same every year: The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended. As o'er each continent and island the dawn leads on another day, the voice of prayer is never silent, nor dies the strain of praise away.


The Crown Wharf Theatre Project moves closer to opening! Things are progressing nicely with the Crown Wharf Theatre project as we move ever closer to getting the building ready to open its doors for the community. At the end of last year, the Crown Wharf Theatre Charity received a £75,000 grant from the Community and Environment Fund. After starting work on the back-of-house areas last year – which is progressing nicely – we’re using the Community and Environment Fund grant to move our efforts into the auditorium, which is incredibly exciting! The grant will fund the octagonal lighting grid, sprung timber flooring, sound equipment and acoustic treatments. Work is getting under way on this soon and we’ll keep you posted on progress. As we press ahead with the project this year, we thought it was time to recruit another member to the team to take care of all things volunteers, so we’d like to introduce to you our new Volunteers Coordinator, Dawn Bailey. Dawn will act as a central point of contact for all volunteer activity. Our volunteers have played a hugely important role in the project so far and will play an even bigger role as we move towards opening the theatre. We’re now looking for more volunteers to support us across our community events and fundraising – as well as in the future across Front of House, Back of House, Box Office, Technical and Cinema. Tell us a bit about yourself Dawn? “I live in Yarnfield and I’m a retired Vice Principal. I love gardening, keeping fit, cycling, walking; and now I’m retired, holidays and breaks away exploring this beautiful country of ours and, hopefully, wider afield.” Why did you want to become the Crown Wharf Theatre’s Volunteers Coordinator? “Having volunteered over the last couple of years at various events as a Crown Wharfer I really enjoyed the variety of experiences and getting to meet new people. So when the opportunity arose to play a more strategic role to support the development and future running of the Crown Wharf Theatre, I jumped at the chance. Being a Crown Wharfer is a fun and relaxed way to get involved in something so central to the Dawn Bailey, the new Crown Wharf Theatre Stone community, so why volunteer coordinator wouldn’t you!?”

We are also looking forward to being part of the Stone Festival Carnival on Saturday 18 June, and Stone Rocks music festival at Christ Church Academy on Saturday 25 June. And keep an eye on our website – – and social media for details of more events coming in 2022.

Members of Rooftops perform in the Theatre Bar

Members of MYTS wow the crowds in the Theatre Bar

What will people gain from volunteering with CWT? “Where do I start, apart from the important role of spreading the word about the progress and aspirations of the new Crown Wharf Theatre, we get to support both The Crown Wharf and Stone Town events. It gives you a purpose to get out of the house and contribute to the Stone community, meeting lovely like-minded people. We are also planning to hold our own Crown Wharfer get-togethers over the year too, no pressure but an opportunity to put some dates onto your social calendar. You can do as much or little as you like but I’m confident whatever and however you get involved it will be fun and different. I look forward to meeting you very soon!” So, if you’d like to join us, Dawn would love to hear from you. You can get in touch by emailing Or you can complete a short form on our website at (click the Volunteers menu). On Easter Saturday, we held another Theatre Takeover at the Joule’s Crown Wharf pub. This time, young people were centre stage, with young performers from Stone’s Rooftop Studios and Musical Youth Theatre Stafford singing, dancing and performing. Crown Wharf Theatre will be an amazing facility for young people to perform at and to get involved backstage, so we wanted to put them in the spotlight for our latest Theatre Takeover! Coming up, look out for our next comedy night as part of Stone Festival. On Friday 17 June Crown Wharf Theatre will host three great comedians for a night packed full of laughter at the Crown Wharf Pub - tickets £10 (via our website).


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Geoff Berriman, right, presents the photograph to Crown Wharf Theatre trustee Leo Capernaros

Star of Stone Spitfire Group double their support The Star of Stone Spitfire Group has increased its support for the Crown Wharf Theatre. In February, the Spitfire Group became a gold founding partner, with a seat in the auditorium to be dedicated to the Star of Stone Spitfire. The group also presented a painting of the Spitfire by artist Charles O’Neill to the theatre. The Spitfire Group has now decided to increase its support for the theatre through an additional gold founding partner sponsorship, this time with the seat to be dedicated to the pilot of the Star of Stone, Flt Lt Karl Jacobsen. A huge thank you to the Star of Stone Spitfire Group from all at Crown Wharf Theatre.

Gazette Eccleshall News

Eccleshall Community Cinema West Side Story is the film to be shown by the Eccleshall Community Cinema on Thursday May 24 starting at 8pm in the upstairs room at the Royal Oak. Admission is by ticket priced at £5 available from The Oak, James Du Pavey and Eccleshall Library. On the first Thursday in June 2nd and starting off the special weekend of events “The Queen” film with Helen Mirren will be shown. An early start to allow cinema goers to attend the beacon lighting. Our very own cinema without the trek into town. Visit for details of future showings.

Ecclian Society At a recent meeting the society agreed to purchase an additional ten stainless steel bases and oak posts for the High Street, for erection this year. Sponsorship of the posts has been at a good level. The 2022 calendar sold well through local traders and remains popular.

Parish Council Meeting On Wednesday May 18th the Annual Meeting of the Eccleshall parish council meets at the community centre starting at 7.30pm. Members of the public are invited to attend the meetings and observe.

Not The Christmas Lunch What with all of the cancellations and restrictions, the Trinity Men’s Fellowship has been unable to hold its usual Festival Lunch, so they determined to hold a Lunch but not at Christmas, hence “Not the Christmas Lunch”. On Friday March 18 at one of the club’s favourite haunts, the Holly Bush in Seighford. Fifty five members along with partners attended the lunch.

Community Forum The Eccleshall Parish Council is making plans for a Drop in community forum to be held in the community centre on Wednesday May 11th starting at 7.30pm gathering representatives from all of the 48 clubs and organisations in the parish, members of the council and members of the public. The idea being to introduce the organisations and councillors to the public, giving the public the opportunity to speak with representatives from each of the groups. It is hope that members of the community will drop in and meet the organisations and the councillors, and have a chat.

Report Crime There are a number of ways citizens are able to report crime, either as it happens or later when the police need witnesses etc. Call 999 in an emergency (if a crime is in progress or a life is in danger). Contact Staffordshire Police on 101 (non emergency crime only) contact Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter (non-emergency crime only) contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (non emergency crime only) and you can report crime on the Staffordshire Police website www.staffordshire.

Eccleshall Show 2022 The show this year takes place on Saturday September 3rd and main ring attractions this year will include the BMX Stunt Team and the Vander Superheroes Wheel of death team. All the popular events and competitions will feature again. Look out for all details on Facebook, Twitter local press and the show’s website at

RNIB collecting your used Stamps Used postage stamps are being collected at Eccleshall’s Holy Trinity and St Chads churches for the Royal National Institute for the Blind. There are collection boxes at both churches. Please leave at least 1cm of envelopes or packaging around the stamp. For more details contact Hazel Bradshaw at 01785 851259.


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Handing out goody bags to all of the participants!

Biggest Ever Football Session On Wednesday 9th March, Stone Old Alleynians Girls FC hosted a football festival for primary schools in the greater Stone area at Alleynes Academy in conjunction with Stafford&Stone School Games. Over 115 girls attended ranging from Year 1-4. There were nineteen individual teams participating across a range of activities from small sided games against other schools to skills sessions that were run by the Y7/8 Sports Leaders from Christ Church Academy and the club’s current u13 players. The event was part of an FA initiative entitled #LetGirlsPlay as part of the ‘Biggest Ever Football Session’ where more than 90,000 girls took part across the country at the same time. Staffordshire FA were also present at the event. Community Development Officer, Richard Jones told the Gazette “The event was a huge success with three stakeholders coming together to provide a fantastic experience for the girls. Once again, Alleynes Academy provided us with the facilities to host the event and Susie Stinton at Stafford&Stone games organised the logistics as well as training the Sports Leaders at Christ Church Academy, who were outstanding. The Club provided their coaches, committee members and u13 players to further assist with the running of the event. It was great to see so many young people utilising the facilities to their maximum, as they should be,

and it gives us encouragement to organise future events such as hosting a summer event on June 11th for girls teams aged from u8 to u16 where we hope to attract over fifty teams from around the Midlands in a small-sided format”. Celebrating their 60th year, Stone Old Alleynians FC has active boys, girls, adult and veterans sections totalling 25 teams at present that all use the facilities at Alleynes Academy for both training and fixtures. They are hoping to become fully accredited by The FA very soon and are involved in many ongoing initiatives such as; providing in-house coach development sessions utilising experienced FA Affiliate Tutors that are part of the Club, starting a Wildcats programme for girls wanting to get into football for the first time and employing a skills coach from a Premier League club to develop their junior player’s skills. The Club are always looking for new players at all age groups and are hoping to expand the junior section, both boys and girls, in time for next season. New players/parents are very welcome and can contact the club through their Facebook accounts to find more information about how to join in on; Facebook:@StoneOldAlleyniansgirls (girls) or @StoneOldAlleynians1 (boys) Twitter:@soa_girls_women (girls) or @stone_OA (boys)

Wellbeing Hub is up and running Children at Christ Church First School now have access to a space dedicated to mental health and wellbeing, known as the Happiness Hub, thanks to the generosity of the whole community. The funds to purchase the summer house were raised through a whole school sponsored walk and an extremely generous donation. However, they would not have been able to afford this entirely bespoke building if it weren’t for the Pictured are Mrs Elsmore (Listening Ear), kindness of local builder, Carl Carl Holdcroft and Mrs Castell-Boote (ELSA) Holdcroft from Help to Build. Carl’s team constructed the Gazette, “We had no suitable space building off-site to minimise disruption available in school to give the children the and put the whole thing together over a privacy and quiet they needed when they break. Carl generously agreed to waive were working with the support staff. the labour costs for the build which The only choice we had was to think meant we could have such a wonderful outside the box and the playground was space for the children. ED Well done Carl! the only area we had. The idea of the This space is where our trained ELSA summerhouse was born and the parents (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) and and children supported the project the Listening Ear (funded through the wholeheartedly. Hope Project) hold their sessions to We are so grateful for all the donations support any children in need. and to Carl for his generosity. The children Headteacher, Amy Graham told the love this space!”



Alleyne's Grammar School Class of 1950/51 Reunion at The Mill Restaurant

Eccleshall News Trinity Men’s Fellowship

Trinity Men’s Fellowship is a fellowship group for men living in the parish of Eccleshall which meets on the last Friday of each month for a walk in the countryside and a meal at a local hostelry. The group has several splinter groups open to members, on Tuesday the group meets to play snooker, on most Wednesdays a select group play golf, on the first Friday of each month some members meet at the Royal Oak for games of crib usually starting at 11am and finishing round 1pm. On the second Friday of each month a mysterious group simply called SHED meet at the Oak for the consumption of alcohol at 12 noon! On the third Friday of each month the breakfast group of members meet at the Star Café at 12 noon. If you are a man living in Eccleshall Parish perhaps this is the club for you. On Friday May 27 a walk around the Burston area starting at 10am with lunch at the Greyhound and on Friday 24th June a walk in the Swynnerton area starting at 10a with lunch at the Fitzherbert Arms. For more information contact secretary Rob Hughes on 01785 851372 or visit the club’s website at

Your Royal Memories? The Eccleshall Jubilee organisers are inviting members of the community to let them have written memories of the Queen, the coronation and any other Royal events, and photographs which will be used in a display during the celebrations. Readers are asked to consider their memories and submit them to Ros taylor at

Jubilee Art Contest

Front two rows:- Audrey Pickering; Julie Smith; Noreen Sturland; Margaret Robins; Christine Beardmore; Ethne Rochelle; Alan Beardmore; Joan Dix; Brian Roberts; Tom Wild; Sylvia Pearson; Berys Chell. Back two rows:- Barbara Downing; Sylvia Thompson; Barbara Boulton; Pauline Bloomfield; Brian Warrillow; Sylvia Hammersley; Geoff Oakley; Geoff Dyer; Marjorie Boulton; Denis Silvester; Bob Mead. Pupils who joined Alleyne's Grammar distance problems. School in the years 1950 and 1951 Tony Mountford had hoped to travel attended a very successful reunion which from America, and Rosalie Hume from took place at The Mill Restaurant in New Zealand, but both felt that they Stone, on Saturday 2nd April. couldn't face their long journeys. Unfortunately there were fourteen who ED: Many thank’s to Marjorie Pugh for were unable to attend due to health or sending in the photograph above.

Over 200 entries for the Eccleshall Parish Council’s Jubilee art competition have been received from the students at Bishop Lonsdale School. They will form part of the programme of events for the four days of celebrations to mark the Queens Platinum Jubilee. They will be on display in the Elford Room at the community centre which will be open to the public, dates to be confirmed.

Holy Communion On the first Wednesday of each month starting at 11am a Holy Communion service is held in Eccleshall’s Holy Trinity Church. It takes place in the North Aisle of the church and is usually led by Revd. Stephen Habgood assisted by Geoff Dingle. The service last about 30 minutes and everyone who wishes to worship is most welcome.

Bronwyn Tutty - taking fun to the streets

National Garden Scheme

Free Your Soul Fun comes to Stone

There are a number of domestic gardens open to the public in our area with Ashcroft, on the Stafford Road in Eccleshall, ST21 6JP open on Sunday June 12 between 2pm and 5pm hosted by Gillian. 26 Claremont Road, Eccleshall on June 12 between 2pm and 5pm hosted by Maria. On Saturday June 18 between 11am and 4.30pm The Old Vicarage, Fulford, Near Stone ST11 9QS hosted by Mike and Cherry. On Sunday June 5 The Pintles, 18 Newport Road, Great Bridgeford ST18 9PR open 1.30pm to 5pm. Hosted by Peter & Leslie

Standon Parish Council Four Parish Councillors and the parish clerk David Wright attended the Parish meeting in the Cotes Heath & Standon community centre on Monday March 14. The meeting was chaired by Peter Banks and attended by Borough Councillor Peter Jones and six members of the public. In the public section members of the public spoke about the forthcoming heavy goods vehicles which could be using the roads through the village and causing problems. The village’s plans for the Platinum Jubilee were discussed. Grants were discussed and approved, The meeting closed at around 9.15pm. The next meeting is due to take place on Monday May 9 at All Saints School, Standon.


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Get out of your head, and into your body! Bronwyn Tutty, a Kiwi lass living in Scotland, is taking the UK by storm with her Feel Good movement where the focus is on getting people 'Out of their heads and into their bodies'. Travelling from town to town she is bringing people together through fun movement and music events, offering a safe space for people to express themselves in a Zero Judgement, Fun and FREE Space. Bronwyn is a qualified Transformational Coach and blends her empowering and uniquely Bron coaching chat into her events. On Saturday 11th June from 2-5pm at the Frank Jordan Community Centre Stone, she will be leading an event 'Free Your Soul'. This event is open to Males & Females and 18+. Participants will be led in some choreographed 'Nia' dance tracks, attendees will be invited to uplevel their

souls and do something different and exciting by joining us on the Stone High St in a brief (4min) flash mob, we'll return to the Frank Jordan Centre where our souls will be soothed by local and sweet singing sensation Bella Littlehales and where Gay Wagstaff will share a special treat. We'll celebrate all that's unfolded with a disco dance party to integrate all the magic that has taken place and finish with a beautiful calming relaxation and sharing circle. You needn't be 'this way or that, no dance experience is welcomed and encouraged', the only requirement is that you come with an open mind and willingness to do something different. Tickets are priced at £48, and spaces are limited to only 30. To secure you spot head to Eventbrite and search for 'Free Your Soul' e/321151271097)

Eccleshall Platinum Jubilee Celebrations The four days of celebration for Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne will be a holiday weekend to remember on the 2,3,4 and 5th June. The Events Committee of the Eccleshall Parish Council have been working on events for months and believe that they have put together - literally something for everyone! Starting on Thursday June 2 with the parish’s youngsters enjoying the activities provided by a playbus from 12 noon sponsored by James Du Pavey, and a mobile skatepark both sited in the grounds of the Shaw’s Lane community centre. On Friday June 3 the main event during the day is the Vintage Vehicles Parade and Display through the town between 11am and 3pm. The vehicles will gather and park at the Kings Arms car park and The Garage car park Stafford Street. They will parade along the High Street from 12 noon and turn onto the Cricket Club car park. The organisers are indebted to Alan Hill for his work arranging the event. The parish join with others from around the country and indeed the world with the lighting of the beacon at 9.45pm. Eccleshall’s beacon will be sited in the grounds of the Eccleshall castle. The Holy Trinity Church tower bells will ring out to let people know that the lighting is due. A siren will sound at 9.30pm so that the community is given advance notice of the lighting. At 9.40pm the piper will play a piece of music for the occasion. Local opera singer Victoria Stilwell will provide appropriate singing with a song written for the Commonwealth and will lead community singing of the national anthem. Due to insurance conditions a limit of 300 people will be allowed onto the grounds of the castle with tickets obtained from the library for a nominal charge. Limited access to the castle grounds is only possible for electric wheelchairs and electric mobility scooters. There will be live music in Little George and a screening of the film ‘The Queen’ will be shown at the Royal Oak, admission by ticket £5 available from the Royal Oak, James Du Pavey and the library all in Eccleshall High Street. To celebrate The Queens Platinum Jubilee Celebrations there will be a special display of cars in Eccleshall town centre, spanning the decades of Her Majesties reign on Friday June 3 from 10.30 at The King’s Arms and The Garage car parks. Vehicles from past manufacturers such as Austin, Singer, Hillman, cars produced before motorways were built, along with Jaguar, MG and Mini car clubs will be on show, as well as modern cars including Aston Martin and BMW. Owners will be pleased to answer any questions you may have on their pride and joy. There will be a procession of vehicles driving up and down the High Street at for you to view returning to the car parks. We hope you have an enjoyable time reminiscing your past motoring experiences! If you would like to display your unusual / interesting vehicle please phone Alan Hill on 01785 850304. The Parish Events Committee are grateful to Alan for his work in putting together the event. In the evening “A meal fit for a Queen” will be on offer at Fletchers Garden Centre restaurant from 7pm. The Ecclian bar will have live music all evening. On Saturday June 4 there will be a sumptuous afternoon tea for the parish’s over 70 age group in two sittings, 2pm - 3.45 and 4pm 5.45pm at the community centre. Admission is by ticket which will be available from the library at the nominal price of £1 on Tuesday May 3rd to Saturday May 7 between 10am and 12 noon. There will be entertainment in the form of music and singing and display of card tricks at the tables. There will be three Monster Bouncy Castles on the Jubilee Field in Hartlands Road between 10am and 4pm. Another afternoon tea for over 70 year olds will also be on in Croxton on that date at the Broughton parish rooms starting at 3pm. A ‘Last night of the Proms’ evening takes place at the community centre starting at 8pm until 11pm with music provided by Double Focus. The Ecclian Bar and The Little George will have live music from 7pm until 1pm. On Sunday June 5 there will be a Thanksgiving community service at Holy Trinity Church starting at 10.30am for Her Majesty the Queen. A Party in the Street takes place from 12 noon until 4pm (with the High Street closed from 11am to 5pm). Entertainment arranged by Martin Peat. Bring your own tables, chairs, food and drink. Many of the town centre restaurants and pubs will be open. There will be a Best Platinum Jubilee cake competition for 3 age groups, primary school age children, secondary school age children and adults. The entries will be judged in the High Street by Debbie Hill from Perrys’ Field to Fork Artisan Butchery School. Cakes will be sold or auctioned by Lee Davies from James Du Pavey and the proceeds divided between Katharine House Hospice and the Eccleshall First Responders. Entry forms available online and at Perrys should be returned no later than 28th May 2022 to ros.taylor@eccleshall or handed in to Perry’s the Butchers in a sealed envelope marked cake competition.


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A second thanksgiving service will take place at Holy Trinity Church starting at 6.30pm led by Revd James Graham to celebrate the Queen’s reign and the Jubilee. Full up to date details and changes can be found online at

Jubilee Treasure Trail A walking treasure trail spread across Eccleshall with activities and challenges on a selection of green spaces along the route. The event is arranged by the Eccleshall Rugby Union Football club and Mr Paul Firth. Questions, puzzles and activities to interest people of all ages. Starting from the Cricket Club on Thursday 2nd June the first departure is 11am and the final departure will be 2pm.The finish time will be 4.30pm for results and prizes. Cost of tickets for groups of up to six persons is £5. Prizes will be awarded, although the event is mainly for fun. There will be drinks and a barbecue available at the cricket club so people are free to bring along a blanket and enjoy a picnic after the event. Tickets and details available from Paul Firth 07891 896685 and email

Window Displays - Get Involved! Town centre businesses and householders are invited to decorate their windows to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee for the month of June. There will be a competition for the best or most original display. No need to enter, all the window displays in the town centre will be looked at and judged. The town will already have Union Flags hanging from the basket points in the town courtesy of the Ecclian Society and friends and your window will add to the general celebration. With the Eccleshall Festival taking place at the end of June (1925th) it is hoped that many of the displays will remain until then.

Jubilee Street Party Sunday 5 June 11.15am Dance Nuvo present their one-hour ‘Platinum Jubilee Show’ – performed by dancers aged 2 - 14. 12.15pm Briant May will light up the proceedings playing ‘God Save the Queen’ to the town (tribute) followed by 12.20pm Jubilee Queen live 4 piece Queen songs (tribute) 1.10pm - The Voice of Tom Jones (tribute) 2.10pm - The Great Eccleshall Bake Off Auction Auctioneer Lee Davies - please bring CASH to buy cakes! 2.30pm - Michael Take as Meatloaf 3.00pm - Showaddydodgy (tribute) 3.15pm - The Voice of Neil Diamond (tribute) 4.00pm - Abba Reunited (4 piece Abba tribute) 4.45pm - Encore and Finish

Performance times are approximate Additionally, they have the following events planned • Jason Huxley at The Royal Oak 9pm Friday 3rd June • My Generation Disco Request In The Ecclian Friday Night 3rd June • Barbecue Saturday evening 4th June • The Sounds Party (80's and 90's) 9pm Saturday 4th June at the The Royal Oak • Mike Clews as Elvis at The Ecclian 8pm Saturday 4th June • A 3/6d (4 piece middle of road) At The Ecclian 9.25pm Saturday 4th June Fundraising to support Eccleshall First Responders & The Prince’s Trust


Fitzherbert Arms winner at the Pub Awards 94 pubs and bars across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have scooped a prestigious County Winner title as part of the 2022 National Pub & Bar Magazine Awards, and Staffordshire’s winner is the Fitzherbert Arms, in Swynnerton, on Lord Stafford’s Estate. The pub is operated by pub entrepreneurs Tim Bird and Mary Mclaughlin who also own the Mainwaring Arms in Whitmore just six miles from the Fitzherbert Arms. The Fitzherbert Arms was rescued from closure and re-opened back in 2016 after a joint venture between Lord Stafford’s Estate and the pub entrepreneurs led to the pub’s wonderful restoration. The Fitzherbert Arms epitomises the quintessentially English village pub perfectly, three log fires, cosy areas around the bar, local Cask ales, freshly prepared food by an enthusiastic team of chefs led by head chef Connor and the best collection of Ports in the UK! General Manager Carl Dilks leads a friendly and efficient team throughout


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the pub and it is all this that has helped the Fitzherbert Arms be recognised for this award. Carl told the Gazette “We have worked very hard as a team throughout two long lockdowns to stay part of our community, having operated the Fitzherbert Arms as a ‘Pub Hub’”. After a year of being open again we have gone from strength to strength and I am very proud of our team, they deserve this award” The National Pub & Bar Awards aims to put exemplary businesses across the UK in the national spotlight, showcasing the hospitality industry’s diversity, creativity and vital importance to the UK economy. The pubs, which have been selected on overall best practice across a number of operational categories, will be officially crowned at a ‘red carpet’ celebration in London, on 22 June. At this ‘grand finale’, 15 Regional Winners will also be announced, as well as the esteemed accolade – the overall National. Good Luck to the team at the Fitzherbert Arms!

Oksana Harris (left) with Ingrid Wagner

Stone lady cooks up a storm for Ukraine Stone cook, Oksana Harris, will be bringing a taste of Ukrainian cuisine to Staffordshire and beyond at the Live Streamed LET’S COOK! Ukraine event happening in person & online on Tuesday May 3rd, sharing the culture & language of Ukraine and raising funds for a Mobile Catering Trailer to showcase Ukrainian food & provide training & employment opportunities for Ukrainians. Oksana, whose family come from the region around Odessa, has lived in Stone for 5 years and teamed up with event organiser & presenter, Ingrid Wagner, after the two women met online. Ingrid saw immediately how much Oksana loved food and cooking and invited her to be a major part of LET’S COOK! Ukraine. Ingrid herself spent 5 years living and working as an English Language teacher in the former Eastern Bloc after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and her experience has fed strongly into the idea for LET’S COOK! Ukraine. Like many others during lockdown, Ingrid learned to grow her own vegetables and is now a keen cook herself. She will be chatting to Oksana about the connection between food and language during the event. For more information and to book, head to


Gallery at 12 mark their 13th Anniversary flora and fauna in particular. Having lost a little of her mojo during the last 2 years, the troubles in Ukraine inspired her to paint her sunflower tribute and kick-started her back into painting again. Mark Harris - Painter / Ceramicist Mark joined the Gallery at 12 'motley crew' four years ago and hasn't looked back since! "I have been able to meet fellow Artists and Makers and exhibit my work... and even sell some pieces. The past couple of years have been challenging times, but we are still here and creating. I painted this picture and placed a Dipper bird in the left hand corner for scale and mused about the places we can visit, and I thought 'We are so Lucky'“.

Jo Hill - Lucky, Textile, Mixed Media Noel Bennett - FreeSpirit, Photo, Lyme Regis

destined for landfill, into works of art by combining them with other objects or materials giving the ordinary and the overlooked a new narrative and encouraging imaginative thought in the onlooker.

Gallery at 12, in Eccleshall, are this year celebrating 13 years since their opening. The art collective have grown in numbers over the years, with some original members still involved in the project...

Michael Wheeley "Painting and creating in all mediums has given me great pleasure and meaning to my life. My inspiration comes from visual experiences at any given moment in time. Using my imagination and feelings I endeavour to produce works of art which gives pleasure to all."

Meet the artists Helen Cartlidge - Fine Artist As a founding artist Helen explains how the Gallery at 12 started... "A few artists, myself included, from Staffordshire got together to form a gallery without a gallery owner, so that we could be in total charge of what we wanted to create. After long discussions and a lot of meetings on how we should run it, then ins and outs etc. to cut a long story short, Gallery at 12 was created! We picked a place to have our gallery and that, of course, was in the Arcade,12 High Street, Eccleshall. Some members have left, to go on to pastures new and many members have joined us throughout those years, keeping the gallery fresh and revitalised. We are now celebrating our 13 years with an exhibition of our present members. We'd planned to title the exhibition 'Lucky for Some' but in this time of distress and for some not so lucky, we decided to change it to... ' We are so Lucky' Because we are ... and celebrating not only our 13 years of the Gallery at 12, but living in this wonderful, free, beautiful country of ours."

Craig Sumner - Cathy Scooter Bar, London Painting Rob Cox - Wood Sculptor Also a Member of the Royal Society of Birmingham Artists (RBSA), his latest work is 'The Woodland Flora' series. The series is developing themes around woodland birds, leaf forms, flowers and fruits, all common to UK native woodland. Rob is available for discussion and further information most Thursday afternoons from 1- 5 and would love to see you there! David Gilbert - Lino Printmaker

Craig Sumner- Fine Artist "My paintings feed off the draughtsmanship that served me so well as a designer. They are figurative but not photographic as close inspection will confirm – I hope. I have exhibited at the Royal Academy and several other London galleries and have been the recipient of multiple awards since I started to paint about 15 years ago." Jo Hill - Textile Artist Jo has enjoyed a lifetime passion for textiles such as linens, cottons, silks and in particular, wool. Jo's piece of abstract mixed media is inspired by the feelings of how lucky she is to have her garden to nurture and to have local Staffordshire views to enjoy.

MarkHarris - Lucky Dipper, Painting As a relatively new member to the gallery, David is excited to be able to display and share his work with others. He says, "Being an artist can be a lonely existence, so being able to meet and share thoughts and ideas with other artists and crafters is a pleasant and valuable extra. Particularly stimulating is meeting and talking with the variety of visitors to the Gallery. Many are fascinated by the high quality work on display and are keen to discuss the techniques required to create them.”

Chrissie Bennett - Pastel Artist Chrissie, previously a graphic designer, discovered the medium of soft pastels and and fell in love with their immediacy and vibrance of colour. She loves to paint subjects from nature,

Cheryl van Goethem - Mixed Media Artist Cheryl is our newest member and we're looking forward to seeing much more of her work. The driving force behind Cheryl’s creative practice is reimagining throw-away items, otherwise

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Jo Hearne - Ceramic Artist Jo paints using ceramic glazes on clay. After completing a Fine Art degree in London she bought a kiln to experiment painting with glaze. "My inspiration usually comes from our beautiful British landscape. I love the element of surprise when firing a painting in the kiln as I do not have complete control over how the glazes react." Lyn Cooke - Contemporary Jeweller Lyn is inspired to design jewellery from sources from the natural world, which display a fascinating mixture of pattern and irregularity, texture and sculptural form. The finished work will never be a copy of nature, it will be an abstraction. Malcolm Carr - Potter Currently recuperating from an operation, Malcolm, a retired art teacher, studied full-time ceramics in London. during the early 1970's. He produces a range of functional and decorative ceramics in low-fired raku and high-fired stoneware.

Noel Bennett -Photographer / Artist People who know Noel's work understand his photography is split between established, traditional values and the more outlandish creative side of the spectrum. As he says, "Let’s face it, at the moment we really need to hang on to our relative good fortune as the immediate future is going to test us all. I would like this photograph of my grandfather’s deckchair to bring a smile to its audience. The bird is small, but it was there and contributes a vital element to the story."


Vance Lupton - Woodturner Vance enjoys all types of woodturning, from large diameter platters and bowls to spindle turning.

Dee Ball - Embroider Although Dee studied Art and Design at Staffordshire University as an Embroider she is self taught. She's inspired by the nature she sees around her everyday. Combining this with her obsession for cloth and threads as well as colour and texture she expresses what she sees and feels through her embroidery.

To find out more about Gallery at 12 and to learn more about the individual members and their work please visit All visitors are most welcome. Unit 2, 12 High Street, Eccleshall, Staffordshire, ST21 6BZ Telephone: 01785 850757 Current opening times are 10am-5pm Monday – Saturday (Please check the website for updates)

Stafford Borough’s New Mayor Cllr Philip Leason M.B.E seen here in centre of photo on Rotary duties

Stone Councillor to become Mayor of Stafford Borough Cllr Philip Leason was recently elected as the Worshipful Mayor of Stafford Borough Council for the civic year 2022/23 and takes up office on the 14th May. Philip was “born and bred“ in Stone and represents the St Michael and Stonefield ward on the Borough Council and served as Deputy Mayor in 2011/12. He is also a member of Stone Town Council and has been Town Mayor on two occasions. Earlier this year Philip retired as a magistrate have served 36 years sitting in both the criminal and family courts. He is a member of a number of organisations in Stone and is a keen local historian. ED: As our readers will know from his heritage pieces over the years. After attending Newcastle College he went to work for Joules Brewery and later Bass and Trade Team. He then went to work at Royal Mail and in 2016 received an M.B.E. for services to Royal Mail and the community of Stone. Philip said he felt it is a great honour particularly during the Queen’s Jubilee year. His main charity will be the Staffordshire Lowland Search and Rescue Team, though will also be supporting other local charities. The Staffordshire Lowland Search and Rescue Team work in partnership with Staffordshire Police, West Midlands Ambulance Service, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue and Staffordshire Civil Contingencies Unit. They are Staffordshire's only approved volunteer lowland search & rescue team; with specialist training in locating and rescuing missing people in urban and rural lowland areas. Their highly skilled team of dedicated volunteers give up their own valuable time to provide a service to the emergency services 24 hours a day - 365 days of the year. For more information visit

National Trust visit to Sandon 46 members of The National Trust visited Sandon Church in March, where they were given information and guided tours on this historical 11th Century Church.


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Stone Festival Returns! Stone Festival is back with a bang! After a 2 year abscence, due to covid regulations making staging the annual festival safely impossible. The week long series of events held in June every year is run by a committee of hard working volunteers. They have two aims, which are to bring family fun through a wide range of events during Festival week, and indeed the year, whilst also raising money for local charities, whom provide vital services for our local community. Whether your taste is for great music events, a tour of our local brewery, a night of comedy, a dog derby and steeplechase, historical talk or walking treasure hunt, or even being appreciative of a vast array of motorbikes… there really is something for everyone this year. Don’t forget the highlight of the year, well for me anyway, is spending the day lazing in the sunshine with your family at the Annual Carnival, making memories, perfect! The Stone Festival Committee always welcomes new members who would like to support and influence this well established event. If you feel that you could help the team provide an interesting week of events for your local community, please feel free to contact us on to discuss what time, skills, general support and knowledge that you can offer. YOU CAN HELP BOOST THE FESTIVAL FUNDS to be given out, by making a small donation at General enquiries and charity / trade stands - Parade Information / bookings - Photography by Martin Robinson

Beneficiaries Each year the committee are delighted to hand out monies to well known and respected local good causes, many of whom we can all relate to, in one form or another. All beneficiaries are most grateful for the donations, in order for them to maintain the services they deliver. The committee are always looking to help new local groups. Are you a new and emerging group who may need a little help with a donation to progress? If so, email us at

Beneficiaries for 2021

Beneficiaries for 2018

It has been another difficult year, but with our limited activities we were able to offer financial support for: Stone Rotary Club, towards the Monday Hub Grub, Little Bears Playgroup CIC, Stone Lions, supporting their mobility scheme.

2352 (Stone) Sqn Air Training Corp, 5th Stone Scouts, AED donate, Age Concern, Stone & District Alzheimers Drop In Club, Elverra Pony Rescue, Friends of Norton Bridge, Hearing Dogs, Little Roos, LSCC Bowls Club, Oak Tree Farm Rural Project, Oulton Abbey Playgroup, RBL Poppy Appeal - Annual Donation RBL Poppy Appeal - WW1 Appeal, Shropshire and Staffordshire Blood Bikes, St John Ambulance, St Michael's Community Hall, Stafford and Stone Canoe Club, Stafford Street Pastors, STING, Stone and District Stroke Club, Stone and Eccleshall Division Guides, Stone Army Cadet Force, Stone Community First Responders, Stone Community Hub, Stone Crown Bowling Club, Stone In Bloom, Stone Outward Division Girl Guides, Stone Radio, Stone Scout and Guide Band, Trentham Boat Club Junior Rowers.

Beneficiaries for 2020 It was with deep regret that we had to cancel the Stone Festival in 2020. Over a number of months we explored a variety of alternative options, however, the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout the UK and the restrictions put in place by the government meant the committee took the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned. It's the first time in over 50 years that the event did not take place.

Beneficiaries for 2019 2352 Air Corps, 5th Stone Scouts, AED Donate, Age Concern, Assistance Dogs, Christ Church Academy, Crown Wharf Theatre, Friends of Norton Bridge, Oulton Abbey Playgroup, Oulton First Scouts, Royal British Legion, St John Ambulance, Stafford and Stone Canoe Club, Stone Community Hub, Stone First Responders, Stone in Bloom Stone Lions, Stone Radio, Stone Scout and Guide Band, Young Parkinson Group.

Beneficiaries for 2017 5th Stone Scouts, AED Donate, AGE Concern, Stone Alzheimers drop in Blood Bikes, Cherryfields defib, Elverra Pony Rescue, First responders, Home Start Stafford, Midlands Air Ambulance, Oak Tree Farm Rural Project, Oulton Abbey Playgroup, Pet Welfare, Royal British Legion, Scout & Guide Band, St John Ambulance, St Michaels Hall, Stafford & Stone Canoe club, Stafford Street Pastors, STING, Stone & Eccleshall Guides, Stone Army Cadets, Stone ATC, Stone Choral Society, Stone Commumity Hub, Stone Stroke Club, Stone in Bloom, Stone Lions, Stone Radio .

It’s good to be back! Chairman’s Message When we last ran Stone Festival – back in 2019 – the weather was not kind to us. Some events got cancelled (such as the Steeplechase and Dog Derby) because it was so rough, and a number of Stallholders could not come to Carnival Saturday on Westbridge Park because they feared their gazebos would be blown away! Then along came Covid-19 - and everything the Festival Committee had been planning for 2020 had to be shelved. The Festival Committee continued to meet (using Zoom) whilst we waited to see what 2021 would bring. In the end, we managed some online activities, and a socially distanced Walking Treasure Hunt. Whilst all this was going on, our previous Chairman Grahame moved away from Stone – taking with him his experience, and the contacts necessary for the running of the Soap Box Derby. Lynn and Sue, who had organised and run the Festival Dog Show for several years, sadly also stepped down from the committee and moved on to other things. So, no physical Dog Show this year, but please do enter you dogs into Festival’s OnLine Photographic Dog Show. The challenges of running the Festival Raft Race have also become insurmountable - with the pending redevelopment of our traditional launch site, at the Darlaston roundabout. Whilst we did lose some committee members, we were pleased to welcome a number of new ones - bringing with them new ideas and new skills. You will have seen the updated Festival Website (thanks to our new webmaster Graeme). Graeme brought us the online Art Competition in 2021, and we are running that again for 2022. Our photographer Martin, with help from Graeme, has added our online Photographic Competition for 2022. Sandie and Victoria are introducing a Teddy Bears Picnic for 2022, and Amy and June also have some new ideas. Andy has also joined us this year, and promises us some challenging questions at the Festival Quiz! We also welcomed Tony back onto the committee, after a “short” break of several decades! Our long-serving members Jane, Alex (Treasurer and Parade Master), Martin and myself are more than happy with our expanded committee – but we can always find room for a few more! If you can find the time to lend a hand with the final preparations for this year’s events, or at the actual events, then please get in touch - more hands make light work, as they say. We remain grateful to Jon at A Little Bit Of Stone, and Dan at The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette, for sharing all our plans with our community, to all those who are not actually on the committee but support us in so many ways, and our various sponsors for their financial and in-kind donations. Please come and enjoy all our events, some free, some with entry fees. The more money we take from you, the more we can disburse back into all the local organisations who do such valuable work in our community. As soon as Festival 2022 is over, we will start planning for Festival 2023 - although next year Carnival Saturday may look a bit different, as the Borough Council move forward their plans to develop the Westbridge site into a “destination park”.

Tim Joyce

Acting Chairman, Stone Festival and Carnival Committee

Stone Festival Art Competition - Entries by 22 May This exciting competition invites established, emerging and brand new artists to submit a piece of work digitally. You can work in any medium - watercolour, oils paint, pastels, charcoal, pencil, felt tip, collage, etc. Either scan or photograph your work for this online competition. There will be 3 categories... • Children: 5 - 11 years • Young people: 12 - 18 years •Adults 19+ There will be a small prize for the best entry in each category. Terms and Conditions for Submissions for The Stone Art Competition • Entry Fee - FREE TO ALL but any donations to the Festival, via our Just Giving page, will be very welcome. • The artist must live, or belong to an organisation based, no more than 4 miles (6.4 km) from Stone Library - that would include Barlaston (including the Wedgwood estate), Oulton, Moddershall, Hilderstone, Sandon, Yarlet, Whitgreave, Norton Bridge, Yarnfield, Swynnerton and Tittensor. • A maximum of 2 artworks can be submitted. • Artwork will be displayed on the Stone Festival website. • The winners agree to the publication of their name on the website. • The prizes are non-transferable and there is no alternative to the prize offered. • All artwork to be submitted digitally must arrive by 22 May 2022, artwork will not be accepted after this date. • Email a scan or photo of your work to: Please remember to add your name, an appropriate post code and the category you are entering (children: 5 - 11 years, young people: 12 - 18 years or adults 19+) The Judging Panel consists of established artists:

• Gordon Clegg ( For 30 years Gordon spent every evening drawing with pen and inks to create a series of works that he exhibited in his first one man exhibition at the prestigious Astley-Cheetham art gallery in Stalybridge. That was quickly followed by successful exhibitions at the People’s Gallery and in 2013, at The Museum, in Uppermill. In 2014 he had an exhibition at the Gallery Oldham which he had great success, Gordon was born locally in October 1947 in Stalybridge and has lived there ever since. • Alison Greyer ( I am a textile designer and printmaker, based in Manchester UK. My work is influenced by the style of the midcentury modern era, which I love. I use bold, bright colours, clean lines and simple, graphic shapes, to create textiles and homewares which are designed to be noticed! I have developed a range of cushions, coasters, placemats and lampshades, all featuring my original designs. I am also a printmaker with a love of collagraph and lino printing. In 2018 and 2019 I was selected by Uppercase magazine to be included in both their ‘Printmaker’ encyclopedia and their 3rd Surface Pattern Design guide, which was a huge honour. • Anita Draper ( I live in Stockport, Greater Manchester. I love experimenting with colour and texture hopefully my work shows my many and varied approaches. Art, in its widest sense, has become increasingly important to me. Pictures evoke moods and feelings that promote discussion and enrich our lives. I love to work with a wide range of colour and texture applied through a range of mixed media including encaustic wax. Watercolour and acrylic paints, as well as book folding art, have all featured in my work. I am currently a volunteer artist at Arc.

• Examples of the judges work shown above

Stone Festival Online Photographic Dog Show

This year we are unable to have our usual dog show during festival week, so we have decided to have one on Facebook instead. To enter just upload your photos in the comments section under the relevant class that you would like to enter. Have fun and get posting your lovely photos of your dogs. Enter now at CLASS 1 - CUTEST PUPPY - Any puppy any breed CLASS 2 - DOGS AT PLAY - Any breed any age, photo of your dog or dogs playing CLASS 3 - BEST FRIENDS - A photo of your dog with their best friend - human or otherwise CLASS 4 - MY DOGS FAVOURITE WALK - A photo of your dog or dogs enjoying their walk CLASS 5 - SENIOR MOMENTS - A photo of your elderly dog over 7 yrs of age CLASS 6 - MY LITTLE HELPER - A photo of your dog that looks as though they are helping you, this can also include something they should not be doing ie digging up the garden or stealing the socks!

All entries required by 5th June 2022 It’s free to enter the competition, however small donations are always greatly appreciated, they help towards Festival raising thousands of pounds to give straight back to local charities and organisations.

If you would like to donate there is a JustGiving page at

Festival Photography Competition - Entries by 22 May This exciting competition invites established, emerging and brand new photographers to submit your photographs digitally. The theme is “Set in Stone”. With so much on offer locally (history, hospitality, sport, recreation, commerce and much more), the subjects should be centred on Stone and the immediate surrounds. There will be 3 categories... • Children: 5 - 11 years • Young people: 12 - 18 years • Adults 19+ There will be a small prize for the best entry in each category. Terms and Conditions for Submissions for The Stone Art Competition • Entry Fee - FREE TO ALL but any donations to the Festival, via our Just Giving page, will be very welcome. • The photographer must live, or belong to an organisation based, no more than 4 miles (6.4 km) from Stone Library - that would include Barlaston (including the Wedgwood estate), Oulton, Moddershall, Hilderstone, Sandon, Yarlet, Whitgreave, Norton Bridge, Yarnfield, Swynnerton and Tittensor. • A maximum of two photographs can be submitted. • Photographs will be displayed on the Stone Festival website. • Photographs may be used by the Stone Festival committee for publicity and promotional purpose for this and future festivals. • The winners agree to the publication of their name on the website. • The prizes are non-transferable and there is no alternative to the prize offered. • All artwork to be submitted digitally must arrive by 22 May 2022, artwork will not be accepted after this date. • Email your photos to: Please remember to add your name, an appropriate post code and the category you are entering (children: 5 - 11 years, young people: 12 18 years or adults 19+)

The Judging Panel consists of 3 judges: • Martin Robinson ( A Photographer based in Stone, Staffordshire, specialising in community events, local history and natural history. These include Stone Food and Drink Festival , Stone Festival and Carnival as well as a regular contributor to The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette the bi-Monthly local residents magazine. Also associated with the massive lottery funded scheme Transforming the Trent Valley as a volunteer record photographer Martin also works with many other local organisations from time to time. •Andrew Brooks ( Andrew Brooks is a Manchester based photographer who has worked with many clients over the past fifteen years in the UK and beyond. He has wide experience across many types of photography with a focus on landscapes, interiors, people photography and creative retouching.He has worked with clients including the British Council, the BBC Philharmonic, RAK Recording Studios London, Museum Het Domein in the Netherlands, the University of Manchester and Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Club. • Mark J Draper ( YouTuber and blogger with a heavy interest in technology. Over 17 years experience in the telecommunications and utility industry, helping to create the UKs leading business supply company. He uses his range of knowledge and skills to assist the launch of YouTube channels and help small businesses find their feet in a digital world. He is currently producing technology review videos for YouTube and his own well respected review site.

• Examples of the judges work shown above


Lymestone Brewery Tour This is a great way to sample the Lymestone beers, learn about brewing, check out the brewery and have a fun night out with friends. Each tour takes about two hours to complete, and starts with a beer from the bar. After a chat about the history of the building, the brewing industry and the ingredients, Brad will take you into the brewing room and show you how it all works. After another trip (or two) to the bar! The tour will be on Friday 20th May with a generous donation from the £20 entry fee going directly to Stone Festival to fund its good causes. The doors and bar open at 7pm with the tour starting at 7.30pm. The bar closes at 10pm. Your supper is included in the price: either their famous Beef and Ale Stew (or a vegetarian alternative if you let us know in advance) Tickets are available from: Fairway Service Station (Lichfield Road), and Blooming Grooming (Radford Street) Date – Friday 20th May Starts at 7pm Location – Lymestone Brewery, Mount Road, Stone Cost - £20 per person including food and Drink


Festival Family Fishing Day Courtesy of Bibbys Stone & District Angling Club ( Once again we are hosting the popular family fishing day, offering a taster and introduction to fishing, for all the family. If you want to have a go, members and qualified coaches will be on hand to ensure an enjoyable day, with hopefully plenty of fish to be caught. Fishing tackle will be available on the day but participants are welcome to bring their own. We will be running 2 sessions in the morning from 10am to 12 noon and in the afternoon from 12.45 pm until 2.45. Because of its popularity all participants must book in, all children under 16 need to be accompanied by an adult. Contact Mick Cartlidge on 07956 055044 or Kim Jones at Date – Sunday 5th June - 10am to 12 noon and 12.45pm to 2.45pm Location – Willows Pools, Longton Road, Rough Close ( just north of Stone) ST3 7NH Cost – Free - though any donations to Festival Funds would be appreciated

SATURDAY JUNE 11TH Teddy Bears Picnic If you go down to the market square, you’re in for a big surprise! On Saturday 11th June bring your teddy along for a FREE PICNIC (50 available). There will be book readings every 30 minutes inside Stone Library and a competition for Best Teddy Friend, and Best Teddy Name. We’ll see you there!

Walking Treasure Hunt In a change to the traditional evening Hunt, this year you will have a whole week to search out the answers to our challenging questions. Walk around Stone as often as you need to spot the features you may never have noticed before. Enter as a family, or group of friends, at £10 for each entry. The entry with the most correct answers get the prize. You will be able to pay the entry fee and download your question sheet, online from 11th June – and we need your answers by the end of Sunday 19th June. Visit for the necessary link. Alternatively, visit us in the Market Square at the Teddy Bears Picnic (Saturday 11th June, 10am – 2 pm) to enter and pick up a question sheet. Date – 11th - 19th June Location – All around Stone Cost - £10 entry per team

SUNDAY JUNE 12TH Car Boot Sale - 9am The Festival Car Boot Sale is always very well attended by both sellers and purchasers. Sellers can come along from 8am (not before please!) to set up for the bargain price of £5 per car. It’s a 9.00am opening for all Buyers. No trade sellers please. If you have not tried this before, please come along with your unwanted items to sell – you are more than welcome and it is a great opportunity for a declutter at home – as long as you don’t buy as well as sell! Open to the public from 9am so come along to spot a bargain! Date – Sunday 12th June 9AM OPENING FOR ALL BUYERS Opens at 8am for the Sellers Location – Westbridge Park Stone ST15 8EX Cost - £5.00 per car


Dog Steeplechase & Dog Derby The Annual Steeplechase and Dog Derby take place at Westbridge Park. The registration will be at 6.00pm with the Steeplechase starting at 6.30pm and the Dog Derby following at 7.00pm. For the Steeplechase there are six classes: Male Under 16, Male 16 - 40, Male Veterans over 40, Female Under 16, Female 16 - 40, Female Veterans over 40. For the Dog Derby there are four classes: Male under 16, Male 16 and over, Female under 16, Female 16 and over

These are two fun events for humans, dogs and spectators alike. Both races follow the same course leaving Westbridge Park via the canal towpath into Stone and returning through Crown Meadows - a distance of about 1.5 miles and if conditions are suitable the course will include a short river crossing which for all those with cameras ready is one of the slapstick highlights of the festival. The traditional Water Splash back included within the route.

With this year’s forecast good weather we are looking to see another massive turnout of runners, both with or without their pets. Date – Monday 13th June Starts at 6:30pm prompt, so allow plenty of time to get yourself registered Location – Westbridge Park, Stone Cost - £2.50 adults / £1 under 16

Sponsors and Supporters

Main Sponsors 2022

The Stone Festival and Carnival committee would like to thank all of our sponsors and supporters for their continued support, without which we would be unable to put on the events that we do. They are also ably supported by a whole host of local businesses and people who give so freely especially as everything we do is delivered with no fiscal assistance from the authorities. Blooming Grooming - we undertake all aspects of pet grooming. Mini groom, classic groom, deluxe groom, handstripping, Emmi Pet Teeth Cleaning & Training, Bulldog/Sharpei folds clean specialist.

In order for us to maintain the quantity and quality of events each year, we need to ensure that new sponsors come on board and we would urge anyone interested in getting involved with the Festival to get in touch with us.

Find us at 34A Radford Street, Stone

The people of Stone, and it’s surrounding villages, really appreciate everything that Festival does each year. This is the perfect platform for local exposure and success. Because this programme is going to print some weeks before Festival, and sponsors are still coming forward, we will be publishing a full list of the sponsors and supporters in a future edition of the Gazette.


Tel: 07512 568307

Other Sponsors GOLD SPONSORS


Acorn Approved Used R G Bassett & Sons Fairway Service Station Granvilles Isobel Whittaker Regency House Dental Practice Tinsley Garner Vantage Point Creative

Austin & Roe Joules Crown Wharf M&S Westbridge Park Shires Vets Stone Carpet & Flooring Ltd


Ramblers Wellbeing Walk organised by Stone Ramblers Stone Festival has been invited to join the Wellbeing Walk led by members of Stone Ramblers. There will be a choice of walks, with different distances to suit different abilities. The walks will last between 60 and 90 mins. To take part, just turn up at the Canoe Club car park by 10.15am on Tuesday, June 14, or for more information contact John Chadwick (07813 142934). We hope that the Ramblers will have a stall on Westbridge park on Carnival Saturday, where you will be able to talk to them about their full range of activities, but in advance of that - why not come along and try a walk?

Warwicks’ Funfair @ Westbridge Park


Date – Tuesday 14th June - Starts at 10.15am Location – Stone Canoe Club car park, Westbridge Park, Stone

We can’t guarantee wing walking and roller coasters - but we will have the fabulous Warwick’s Funfair from 15th to 18th June on Westbridge Park. With rides for all ages, the Festival would not be complete without a visit, so come along and join in the fun! Date – 15th June to 18th June Location – Westbridge Park Stone

Two Wheel Tuesday Two Wheel Tuesday has grown into one of the highlights of the festival, with more activities being added every year. Whilst the weather was unkind to us in 2019, we’re hoping this year it will be more like that in 2018, when we had more bikes that ever at Two Wheel Tuesday. We look forward to the support of the Stone & District Motorcycle Club and Stone Scooter Club. We’d like to extend an invitation to any individual or group who is interested in motorbikes, scooters or cycling to join us. We will be in the very heart of Stone in the Market Square and High Street where there will be a huge gathering of all enthusiasts whether they be cyclists, scooter officiandos or Motor Cyclists so why not come down and enjoy the fun and conversations. Prizes will be given out for the Best in Show of each category so get out that polish and make your pride and joy’s shine. Feeling peckish? Fear not, there will be plenty of food and drink available in the town. Date – Tuesday 14th June - Starts at 6.00pm Location – Market Square and High Street, Stone


Stone Freemasons Open Evening

Festival Darts Competition

Stone Freemasons are holding an Open Evening at Freemasons Hall in Stone (behind Stone Library). All are invited to come and take a look around the lodge which has been meeting here for over 100 years. Doors will open at 7pm until 9pm, there are no set tours, pop along anytime, and you will be greeted by members of the lodge who will show you around, and answer any questions they can.

Game on! Get yourself on the Oche at Lymestone Brewery, and pitch yourself against other local arrows enthusiasts at the Festival Darts Competition. Diddle for the middle, and see if you can unleash your inner Eric Bristow!

Date – Wednesday 15th June - 7pm until 9pm

Location – Lymestone Brewery, Mount Road, Stone

Location – Freemasons Hall in Stone (behind Stone library)

Cost is £5.00 entry

Date – Wednesday 15th June

THURSDAY JUNE 16TH Demonstration of Mediumship

• US Army troops at Yarnfield

Stone Festival Historical Talk “The Yarnfield Camps – from General Infantrymen to General Post Office” - A talk by Shaun Farrelly Shaun Farrelly, of the Stone Historical and Civic Society, will deliver an illustrated talk entitled “The Yarnfield Camps – from General Infantrymen to General Post Office”, at 7:30pm in the Stone Station Community Centre. There will be no charge for admission, but there will be a bucket collection (and if we have been overwhelmed with donated prizes, we might run a raffle!) It is 80 years ago that the American Service personal came to Yarnfield prior to be sent overseas to join the war. Later the buildings they used in Yarnfield became the Post Office Training Centre. Organised by Stone Historical & Civic Society. Date – Thursday 16th June - Starts at 7.30pm Location – Stone Station Community Centre Cost - Free


Comedy, Comedy, Comedy at The Crown Wharf Come and join us for some Friday night laughs upstairs in the Crown Wharf Boardroom for The Crown Wharf Theatre Comedy Night. All profits will go towards supporting The Crown Wharf Theatre project; the charity bringing a brand new theatre and events space to the town. Acts to be announced and tickets available on The Crown Wharf Theatre website Date – Friday 17 June - Doors open 7:30pm for an 8pm start Location – Upstairs in the Crown Wharf Boardroom. Cost - Tickets £10.00 (Adults only)

Join Ruth James for an uplifting evening of evidential communication from loved ones. These events have proved hugely popular – make sure you buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment. Date – Thursday 16th June 7:00pm Location –Upstairs in the Joules Crown Wharf Board Room COST - Tickets £8 including raffle entry. Available from on-line (see, or from Fairway Service Station (Lichfield Road), Blooming Grooming (Radford Street), or in the Market Square at the Teddy Bears Picnic (Saturday 11th June, 10am – 2pm)”


Carnival Parade & Carnival Day

Stone is rightly proud of continuing the tradition of a proper old fashioned Street Parade, in this, the 53rd year of Stone Festival! This is the first time that we have been able to hold the Parade for 3 years, so come and join us - be part of a fantastic local event. We are an independent organisation, run by volunteers and have been putting the Parade on since 1969, Fun and Fund Raising! This is the highlight of the Festival Week as it captures everything great about Stone. With many schools, charities and organisations taking hours of their time to make their float the best. We welcome all local groups including (but not limited) to schools, clubs, charities to join in either on a Float (which we can provide for FREE if you ask us) or as a Walking Group or in your own special vehicles – if it gives you fun and pride then we look forward to seeing you parading. If you haven’t yet booked your place it’s not too late – contact Alex Godon on 07514 33 8584 or email me at or take a look at And for those who just want to watch – be out on the streets from 1:00pm when we leave the Hitachi ABB car park en route to Westbridge Park – and please bring lots of change for the collecting buckets – it will all go to really good causes. Date – Saturday 18th June 1.00pm Location – Hitachi ABB Power Grids car park to Westbridge Park (via Christchurch Way) Cost - FREE Remember that there will be road closures in place along the Parade route from 12:45 until 2:15pm!

Stone Festival Carnival Music Events

The Festival Committee are still making the final arrangements for your musical entertainment on Westbridge Park on Carnival Day. There will be singing, there will be dancing! All from the best of our local talent. Visit for the latest updates


The Stone Festival Quiz

The Festival Quiz returns this year as the last event of Stone Festival – what a way to end our celebrations! Held again at Granvilles, starting at 7.30pm, we will be having a great night so just turn up and enjoy! Teams of up to six members can take part in the general knowledge quiz, with some great prizes. During the evening

there will be a raffle and all the proceeds go to festival funds. Date – Sunday 19th June Starts at 7.30pm Location – Granvilles, Station Road, Stone Cost - £10 per team (maximum 6 per team)

SATURDAY JUNE 25TH Oulton Water Colour Society Oulton Village Hall - June 25th Come along to the Exhibition of Water colour paintings at Oulton Village Hall from 10am, and be impressed at the range and quality of the work produced by our local artists. Free admission, and you will have the opportunity to purchase some top quality pieces of art. Date – Saturday 25th June, Starts from 10am Location – Oulton Village Hall, Kibblestone Road, Oulton Cost - Free

We are closely following all government advice relating to our activities during the Covid pandemic. We hope to be able to enjoy all of Stone Festival in 2022 - if it is safe to do so. The committee will continue to develop the programme of events, some events may be subject to change, see our website for any up to the minute changes.

Regular updates are available at Donate at


It shows they have kindly donated to Stone Festival 2022 Stone Festival deserve their support - and they deserve yours! Many Businesses, Groups and Individuals sponsor Stone Festival either financially or by giving them facilities, goods or services, or by supporting the Festival Programme with an advert. The list below shows the businesses who have supported Stone Festival in 2022 at the time of going to print, many more will purchase a sticker to support Festival, so shop where you see the sticker! If we have missed anyone off this list, we apologise unreservedly. Acorn Approved Used AED Donate Arcadia Café Austin & Roe Baystone Interiors BEAR Blue Frog Garden Services BOD Card Factory Chocbox Costa Coffee Crown and Anchor Cuttlestones Dar Thai Spa

Direct Recruitment Dominos Pizza Dunoon Fairway Service Station Francesco Group Stone Gill's Of Stone Granvilles Griffins of Stone Butchers H&F Lift Trucks Happy Cactus Kitchen Hitachi Energy Hylands

Isobel Whittaker James DuPavey John Burton Solicitors Joules Crown Wharf Lee Walker Family Butchers

R G Bassett & Sons Regency House Dental Practice

Little Seeds Lockkeepers Hair Salon

Rooftops Salon 36 Shires Vets Stone Baked Café Stone Carpet and Flooring ltd

M&S Westbridge Park Mountfords Mr M G Potter Peter Bowers Opticians Plants the Jewellers

The Flower Room The Red Lion Tim Toft Violins Tinsley Garner Vantage Point Creative Whitebridge Estates

Because we are going to print some weeks before Festival, and sponsors are still coming forward, we will be publishing a full list of our sponsors and supporters in a future edition of the Gazette Also special thanks to Website/Domain sponsor Pure IT. Will and Emma have sponsored Stone Festival’s domain for many years and now the website. For more info contact

The Stone Festival Committee would like to express their sincere thanks to the businesses, organisations and individuals who have contributed to the success of this year’s Festival.

If you would like to make a donation to buy a sticker for your business, and show your support, you can still email

Gazette Motoring

Will Jenkins takes first place! The images included are from Jakob Ebrey Photography

Will takes brilliant race win on his GT5 challenge debut Stone’s Will Jenkins scored a superb race victory and a double podium finish during a hugely impressive debut outing in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend (16-18 April). Stepping up from Ginetta Juniors for his third season in car-racing, Jenkins headed into the meeting with a productive pre-season testing programme under his belt with Elite Motorsport and immediately hit the ground running in Cheshire. In his first ever race meeting on Oulton Park’s full 2.69 mile International circuit, the Hopkins Motorsport, Asset Alliance Group, Corroconsult and Digraph supported driver started strongly with the fastest lap overall during official testing on Friday.

The 17 year old talent carried that pace across into qualifying the next morning, with a stunning performance seeing him post a lap over seven tenths of a second faster than anyone else to come away with pole position for the opening two races of the season. Will told the Gazette: “I’m delighted to have had such a brilliant maiden weekend in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge. To top the timesheets in both testing and qualifying was really satisfying, and a great platform to build on in the races. “The first race was naturally extremely disappointing with a rare mechanical failure, so hopefully that’s our bad luck done for the season already. To bounce back the way we did in race two is great and it was a really enjoyable race for me. “Race three was a strange one and it’s frustrating to not get the chance to make back the places I lost at the start, but I can never complain about getting a trophy and some good points on the board. I’m ready to carry this momentum into Donington Park this weekend.” There’s no time to rest for Will, with the second round of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge season. He returns to the British Touring Car Championship support package for three races at Donington Park.


signing collage (from left to right - Sarah Brennand (Mum), Joe Potts (Goal Keeper Coach), Gary Brennand (Dad), Bailey signing.

Local lad Bailey signed by Port Vale F.C. Academy Congratulations to Bailey Brennand who signed for Port Vale F.C. as an U9 Academy Goalkeeper in March this year. Bailey, who attends Springfields First School in Yarnfield, has been a lover of football since he was 2 years old. His football journey began at Soccer Tots in Oulton Village Hall, before joining Stone Dominos “Little Dots” at the Academy for Wellbeing site in Yarnfield age 4. From there he joined friends in an U7s team with Eccleshall F.C. under the leadership of coach Kieran Healey, who took the team from strength to strength and played a big role in Bailey’s development. Whilst being a very accomplished outfield player, during lockdown Bailey decided he wanted to become a Goalkeeper so when training re-started, his parents sought out specialist goalkeeper training as an add on to his team training to help develop his skills… and so his goalkeeping journey began! Bailey began training at the Stoke Regional Talent Centre in September 2020 under the guidance of Goalkeeper Coach Joe Potts, who fuelled his passion as a goalie and quickly developed his fundamental skills. His natural ability, bravery in goal and commitment to skill mastery were soon noticed and shortly after he was invited to train with their signed teams too. Before he knew it, despite being an under 8’s player, Bailey was playing in matches for the U9’s team and doing well, with one particular highlight being part of the team which won the National Junior Premier League Shield, making a last minute “top corner” save to secure the victory and taking home the Man of The Match Award for his performance in the game. It’s been an exciting but challenging 2021-2022 season for Bailey, who balanced playing for his teams whilst first spending time with Crewe Alexander and then more recently pursuing the offer of a trial with Port Vale F.C. It’s been a demanding process with an uncertain outcome. Speaking about the trial his Dad told the Gazette “We’ve been really proud of Bailey, how he’s managed the balance of trialing with Port Vale alongside his current team and school commitments. We’ve done our best to shield him from pressure, team politics and an uncertain outcome and he’s really shone through it all. I can’t fault the process; Port Vale have helped him work on his development areas in training, while giving him every chance to show what he can do in matches, both locally and at clubs including Man City and Everton. He’s been inspired by the other players in the team, by the coaches and by the opportunities open to them all. He really deserves this opportunity and whilst it may not last forever, he certainly wants to give it his best shot!" Bailey officially signed for Port Vale on Friday 11th March 2022. He celebrated with the U9 and U10 teams that weekend with a match day experience hosted by the club where all players received personalised signed shirts and footballs, had photos with the first-team captain and club owner, had lunch in the players room, did a Q&A, walked out as mascots and did a pitch-side lap as half time, and to top it off the first team won! Bailey’s Mum explained that Bailey is only the second player to be signed to the U9s team from the Stoke / Staffordshire region. He joins Shay Wright from Trentham, who in a remarkable twist of fate, used to regularly attend the same baby groups as Bailey as their mums met when the boys were just weeks old. Baileys Mum said ‘it was amazing to find out Shay was at the club when Bailey was asked to trial, whilst the boys haven’t seen each other since the early days of baby groups due to differing schools and clubs, Maxine (Shay’s Mum) and I have remained friends. Shay and his family really helped Bailey to feel welcome from day one; It can be very daunting walking into a new club, especially when in Baileys words, “you don’t know if they will want you or not". Bailey is looking forward to his future as an Academy Goalkeeper and we all wish him luck for what sounds like a very exciting journey ahead! For aspiring Goalkeepers out there who are keen to follow the path Bailey has taken, details of Goalkeeper coaching with Stoke Regional Talent Centre can be found here: Matt Jarvis: 07837 842231 or


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

All loaded up, and ready to set off

Eccleshall landlord serves up Ukrainian Aid Neil Chandler, landlord of The Kings Arms in Eccleshall, drove more than 1,300 miles across Europe to the border between Poland and Ukraine to deliver aid. Mr Chandler was joined by two friends for the journey - as they delivered a van full of items donated by locals. During an emotional trip, Neil said they had visited Przemyśl Railway Station in Poland where refugees were arriving from Ukraine. They handed around 40 boxes of donations to Polish firefighters arranging to distribute aid, and then visited the border with Ukraine some 20km away. Mr Chandler, 52, was joined by friends Carl Miller and Danny Gratton for the mission, said the area was "bitterly cold" and the scene had left them all in "a bit of shock". Neil said: "It was really interesting and it was emotionally draining. We managed to get our stuff off-loaded, and it was amazing, the Polish people were so

Above - Refualling en route! Top right - The team arrive to a very grateful welcoming party Right - Firemen help unload the huge haul of donated items

generous and welcoming to the people coming over." Before handing the aid over, the trio had attempted to give it to a team at the station. "They were taking aid but they were full so they directed us to about 15km out to a depot. While we were there we saw the trains arriving, there were lots of people, lots of young children, but very warmly welcomed. There was hot food, there was clothing, people being well looked after and directed onto coaches and buses and going from there. There were lots of volunteer organisations, it was really well organised from the Polish side, it was really incredible to see." Neil added "After the train station we went to unload at this depot outside of the town. We were met by the Polish fire department and they helped us unload and while we were there started arranging stuff into the system.”

Stone Girlguiding welcomes their newest recruit! Olivia Eabry, aged twenty eight seen above making her girlguiding promise with Veronica Gurman, (Leader in charge of 4th Stone Brownies). Olivia was asked how she got into volunteering with girlguiding and these are her responses: How did you start volunteering with girlguiding? “I started volunteering for girlguiding in the middle of the pandemic during lockdown. I am a qualified accountant and being at home all the time during that first lockdown made me reflect that I wanted to give something back to the community.” Why did you choose Girlguiding? “I chose Girlguiding as I wanted to make a difference for girls, helping to build up their life skills for the future and also to help develop skills for me too, such as team building and leadership skills.” Do you have a background of guiding? “I was a Brownie but other than that no experience at all.” How have you been welcomed? “I have been welcomed with open arms and supported immediately; everyone has been very friendly.” What would you say to others who may wonder about volunteering with girlguiding? “I would encourage anyone to volunteer with Girlguiding, as the opportunities are fantastic.(including opportunities to travel abroad with Girlguiding and developing transferrable skills to the workplace. I have almost completed my adult leadership qualification but there is a place for everyone to volunteer ,even if it is just for an hour a week or month.It is hugely rewarding and lots of fun!” For further details why not check out our facebook page Girlguiding Stone and Eccleshall Division and send us a message.


All’s GOOD at Little Bears! The children and staff at Little Bears Playgroup, in Oulton, were over the moon to receive a GOOD from Ofsted when they were inspected in February. For more information see their website at or you can email or call 07708 733806 during playgroup hours.

Fancy a charity challenge? Want to get outdoors whilst raising money for the Staffordshire Moorlands Community? We Love the Moorlands is delighted to announce the inaugural 3 Town Trail Challenge which brings together the towns of Leek, Cheadle and Biddulph. A route between Leek, Cheadle and Biddulph has been plotted at 39.5 miles and the challenge is to complete the 39.5 miles within either the month of May or June 2022. Most people will walk, many will jog, some will run, and others may cycle. The choice is entirely yours! Alternatively, if you want to take the challenge at a more leisurely pace over the month and maybe involve the family, then the Trail Information email will include suggested routes and a table with combinations of routes which could be used to make up the 39.5 miles, or for younger children a half route of 20 miles. Find out how you can get involved via the website www.

Rebekah (the part narrow boat that sits on the canal bridge) she’s in a dilapidated state!

Stone still blooming despite vandalism! April was the month of mindless vandalism in and around the town. Graffiti was sprayed in prominent places, the footbridge at the back of Morrison’s was broken once again and valuable iron benches in the High Street have been wrenched out of their standings, litter bins ripped off their bases and a number of small fires set on Westbridge Park. I’m sure to those who have carried out this moronic damage it was a cheap thrill for them and their friends who would have witnessed the acts. I wonder if the consequences of their actions are realised, do they have elderly relatives who go into the High Street and need to sit down for a break when they’re shopping or are desperately lonely and hope someone will join them on the bench and chat as now the benches will not be there while they are repaired. Do these thugs have dogs or small children in their family who could harm themselves on the glass? Traders work hard to keep going in these difficult times making sure their premises are neat and tidy so that visitors to the town will return, do the culprits even think about the local economy, people love coming to Stone because its such a charming town and always looks so pretty and clean. Graffiti, smashed glass, damaged benches and litter bins don’t give out that message. Public money is used to repair the damage, much needed money which has to be taken away from other areas, their

behaviour is damaging to us all. The Police are currently looking at CCTV, so hopefully by the time you read this they will have been identified and we will all find out who they are. Stone in Bloom volunteers quietly spend hours cleaning and clearing up the town. April has been the month when we have sown the wild flower seeds making sure the town will look its most beautiful for the Queens Jubilee celebrations. Next on the works agenda is the Anchor bed and the plane tree bed. Streetscene has done the town proud with the barrier boxes and they’re working hard keeping the town clean and tidy. The hanging baskets will soon be out enhancing our shop fronts and at this point Stone in Bloom would like to thank John Holmberg owner of our new High Street shop The Choc Box, who has so very kindly asked if he can be included as a volunteer in our work parties. At the next Stone in Bloom meeting members will be discussing Rebekah (the part narrow boat that sits on the canal bridge) she is in a very dilapidated state and either needs restoring or salvaging. If anyone would like to take on the project to repair her, please contact us. As ever we need more volunteers for our work in the town, you can do as much or as little as you want to. We are always supported by the Community Pay back group who contribute a lot towards keeping Stone the beautiful place it i . If you would like more details call 077364 13097.

National Trust Staffordshire News and Walks

Mumbles in Stone celebrate World Book Day On Thursday 3rd March, everyone at Mumbles Day Nursery celebrated World Book Day. The children, and key workers, dressed up as their favourite book characters as part of the celebration. They also took part in a variety of book related activities, dancing and roleplay throughout the day. The photos show some of the children dressed up as their favourite characters.


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

The 48th Annual General Meeting at Walton Village Hall, Stafford, in April was the last in the Staffordshire Centre’s series of talks for the Winter of 2021-2022. We would like to thank all those who attended these talks after reading about them in these pages and helped us to donate £1,000 from reserves to the Shugborough Estate. This will be used fto help create a wildflower meadow beside the Lady Walk. Although this was our last talk until the Autumn, the Centre will be arranging monthly walks and some visits during the Summer months. Most of our walks are in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Shropshire and are four to six miles in length. Because we begin walks around 10.00 we usually get to our lunch venue – a local pub - by 13.30. We keep up an average pace with time to ‘stop and stare’. We tackle stiles and hills but never mountains. So if you want give the Centre a try and get some exercise

along with some convivial company, why not join us on one of our walks. If you are not a member of the Centre the cost of joining a walk is £2.00 It isn’t necessary to pay in advance – simply follow the joining instructions, meet at the designated car park, at least 10 minutes before the walk is due to start, and pay on the day. However, to ensure that the organiser knows that you are coming and can let you know if there are any last-minute changes of plan, you should always book in advance, giving your name and contact details. If you want to join us for lunch, it is often necessary to advise the organiser anyway, so that the pub can be forewarned. To see details of our current programme check out our Events pages at . Go to Events->Book a Walk These are updated every month as new walks are arranged.

Little Stoke Cricket Club & Bowling Club Welcome You Spring is here, and with summer just around the corner, you can be sure of a warm welcome at Little Stoke Cricket Club Bowling Section. Crown Green bowls is the perfect way to get some gentle exercise, enjoy good company, make new friends, or relax in beautiful rural surroundings. You can decide what’s right for you, whether it’s league competition, a bit of social bowling or our in-house competitions. You don’t need to be an expert! We have bowlers at all levels, and we plan some taster events for new bowlers to play on the green with our more experienced players. Why not give it a go and learn a new skill. After bowling there is our social club with discounted drinks which is open every evening and all weekends. We have quiz nights where you can test your general knowledge,and other social events, or just take time to chat – all are welcome, and you can bring your friends along too! Bowlers come in all shapes and sizes, and all ages … what are you waiting for? You can find us at Little Stoke Cricket Club, Uttoxeter Road, Stone. For more details about becoming a member contact: Mike Horsfall (club secretary) on 07957 158973.


What am I like ?

Oh dear, what have I done, whatever made me do it ? There I was doing my good deed for the day (well I was a Brownie) and there I go opening my mouth before putting ‘head into gear’. Why couldn’t I just be like other people and remain quiet? Oh no, not me! Why do I think I can keep spreading myself around? I know I am spreading round my middle, I blame that on the children, but continuing the ‘spreading theme’ into time is a different matter. Surely common sense should prevail, but no, I’m at it again. Nowadays it is not uncommon, or so it seems, that I often double book then chaos reigns. How do I end up causing mayhem I really haven’t a clue? I do everything I can think of to prevent such situations. For instance the calendar hanging on the back of kitchen door, entries in my phone, which I was assured would warn me of forthcoming events, (very helpful this calendar app), pencilled dates in my diary, the one that can eventually be found somewhere in my Mary Poppins’ bag and well, the little pieces of paper placed in prominent places around the house with reminders , so, how can I get it so wrong ? Many times I say to myself and often say to anyone present (though I really don’t want them to tell me ) ‘what am I like’ ? When I realise and cannot hide that I am booked into two places at the same time or I’ve arranged to take one of my little people to school only to remember that I need to be on the tee fifteen minutes later, a sharp intake of breath, a shake of the head and blood pressure rises. I laugh, they do too more out of kindness to this aged friend and it is put down to my advancing years and that my head is full of so many things that it’s not so surprising that I can be a little forgetful. One of my favourite sayings is that ‘things happen for a reason’. I use this phrase all the time and that is why I am writing this. My love of people encourages me to ‘spread myself’ spending time with family, friends made through not only golf but school and former work colleagues and of course the charity shop. So on my ‘good dee day’ when a lovely enthusiastic lady came into the shop and stirred my interest with her talk of a writing group, I was drawn in, hook, line and sinker. So although Tuesdays are normally put aside for housework when the call came, Stone library at eleven I was prepared. To add more dates into my collective date systems did not daunt me and I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience with accomplished pen pushers. I felt extremely honoured to be asked to offer a subject for the next meeting’s challenge and humour sprung to mind as for me that’s what helps in harder times. Another saying I have been known to spout ‘ a positive can be found in any situation’. So here I am trying to write something humorous. What I thought of as a nightmare became something else. What is humour? Humour is a personal thing what one person thinks funny someone else might not. If anyone had told me I would end up like my mother I would have thought that impossible. The last laugh must be on me as there is no question the answer is there for all to see. What am I like? Ask any of my family and friends and they will tell you, I am like my mother. By Gill Wilson a member of Stone Scribblers Creative Writing Group based in Stone Library. Stone Scribblers meet at Stone Library on the second or fourth Tuesday of the month between 10 am and noon, and you can find them at StoneScribblers/


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Women’s softball squad photo

• View of the ground with new entrance sign

Little Stoke launch Women’s & Girls’ Cricket Hub New players welcome – no experience necessary Would you like to learn a new skill while having fun with other women or girls in a sociable, outdoor setting? If so, come along to our Free Open Evening for a taster Softball Cricket Session from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Friday 6th May, at Little Stoke Cricket Club on the edge of Stone at Uttoxeter Road, Little Stoke, ST15 8RA. This event is open to all girls and women from age 8 and above. All you need to bring is yourself! You will have the chance to have a go at batting, bowling and fielding with our qualified coaches. All participants will be offered a free glass of Prosecco or a soft drink at the end. We believe you will enjoy it and come back for more training at our Friday evening female only training sessions. There will also be food available, music and our bar will be open all evening for family members. To register or for further information about the Open Evening please contact Lesley on 07971 247419, or just turn up on the evening. During the coming season we shall be offering training to different groups. For girls aged 8 to 11, we offer Dynamos, which is a great introduction to softball cricket. For older girls, we progress slowly from softball to hardball, and for women there is the chance to join our softball squad. There is also the opportunity to join in Staffordshire girls and women’s softball festivals and play matches in Little Stoke’s different teams. We have a girls team, called the Wildcats, who really enjoy playing together, whether they win or lose. We have also started playing Women’s hardball cricket, and

welcome those who would like to give this a go. At Little Stoke we also have junior boys and men’s senior cricket. We offer All Stars for children age 5 to 8, junior coaching every Thursday evening from 6.30 to 8pm, and senior coaching every Tuesday evening from 6pm. We have 9 junior teams and 6 senior teams playing matches this season. New members are also welcome. For those who prefer a slower moving ball, we also have a bowls section at Little Stoke, with our own green behind the clubhouse. If you fancy giving this a go, please contact Mike Phillips on 07791 578113. We have bowlers who play socially or compete in competitions. At the centre of the club, between our 2 cricket pitches and bowling green is our clubhouse. Our bar is open to everyone 7 days a week, family friendly and offers a variety of competitively priced beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks and snacks. We also show live sport on our TV screens. Equally, you can take your drink outside and relax with a drink in the sun trap outside in front the of the clubhouse. You may get the chance to watch a match. The bar is also available for hire as a function room. We also host events such as local bands, race nights and quiz evenings. To book the club please contact Mike Phillips (details above). For the latest information please visit our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram pages. We hope to welcome you at our Open evening, or if you cannot make that, at other times this summer.

Oulton Community Group ‘Spring in to action’ for Best Kept Village Oulton Community Group have been busy around the village planting and tidying up, in preparation for this years Best Kepyt Village competition ‘Spring in to action’ is assisted and supported by local residents and the Parish Council putting on an unrivalled Spring display in the village. Photos by Martin Robinson.

Stone U3a Creative Writing Group Invite New Members U3a’s creative writing group meets every first Tuesday of the month, 10am- 12 noon at Christchurch. We are writing for pleasure in many different styles; journals, memoirs, stories, poems etc., anything that takes the fancy. In March we attended a very enjoyable talk at Stone library given by a local successful crime-writer, Priscilla Masters. Do come and visit us and consider joining if you like what you see – beginners and experienced writers equally welcome. Here is a short Japanese ‘Haiku’ style poem written by a member at a recent session: Brewing day at Joules Potently evocative The essence of Stone Contact Group Leader Bel Crawford for further details 01785 817712.


Stone Scooter Club supporting Ukraine Crisis Appeal Stone Scooter Club were established in 2013, and since has developed into a busy and active club with a dedicated membership of over 20 Scooterists. Aside from their normal weekly ride outs, local, regional and national rally’s they attend, this year the club has decided to fundraise on behalf of the British Red Cross for the Ukraine Crisis Appeal with three fundraising events. On Saturday 23rd April they were fundraising at Morrisons in Stone, see picture right. Then on Saturday 18th June, there is an 0pen invitation to all Scooter Clubs in the County, and individual riders to lead the Festival Carnival parade down to Westbridge Park, where there will be a stand operated by Stone Scooter Club with a display of Classic and new style scooters plus collecting they will be donations for the Appeal. On Sunday 24th July, Stone Scooter Club take on the North Wales 300 Challenge, an annual event the club takes part in. The challenge is to ride their scooters through mid-Wales to the coast. Follow the coast road into Porthmadog and then ride into Snowdonia and over the Llanberis pass and into Llandudno returning back to Stone via Betws- Coed and Llangollen, all in under 12 hours! If you’d like to donate, Stone Scooter Clubs base is the Bridge pub in Stone, they have a British Red Cross collection box on the bar. If you are interested in finding out more about Stone Scooter Club or would like to become a member contact Len Hamilton on 07702 874241 or email him on

David Mitchell, the Town Crier and Bellman of Chester, had the room in stitches

Stone Probus hold 2 memorable meetings At the March meeting at The Upper House in Barlaston, members enjoyed a presentation from Pam Sutton and Kim Freeman of Troop Aid. This independent charity supports our injured troops with the provision of grab bags containing essential personal items not provided by the military – toiletries, T-shirts, shorts etc. together with an all-important personal ‘get well card’. These bags are made available wherever our troops are serving in the world. Then on the 4th April, members, their Ladies and other guests enjoyed a convivial meal together. The entertainment was provided by David Mitchell the Town Crier and Bellman of Chester.


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

David recounted some of the highlights of his 28 years in the post. These included many comic encounters with tourist from ‘across the pond’, a brief foray into the world of Period Drama and an unwise and potentially disastrous experience on horseback when making a surprise proclamation at a local wedding. Suffice to say that David lived to tell the tale following this never to be repeated encounter. Stone Probus is a retired business men’s group meeting on the first Monday of each month at The Upper House, Barlaston. Membership enquiries please contact our secretary Jon Goodson on 01785 613966.

Futures2gether Fundraiser A cheque for £76 was presented to Chris Kirkbride who helps at the Stone Community Hub,by Alex Smythe who attends the futures2gether project. The money was raised by the kind donations of the Wednesday community cafe ,a Lenten lunch and Cameo. At lunchtime guests were able to choose from a range of delicious soups including leek and potato and mushroom! All are welcome to attend Cameo ,a joint initiative between futures2gether and St John's Church. Cameo (come and meet each other). Cameo meets at 1.30-2.45 on a Wednesday, at The Crossing, Station Approach. Tea, coffee and cake are served and a warm welcome awaits you. Various activities take place each week and this term have included : flower arranging, a sing along, games afternoon and an Easter service.

Stone WI to pause for now! So-long, Ta- ta, Bye....for now! We had two "strangers" in our midst at our WI meeting today. They were advisors who arrived to help us suspend our afternoon WI here in Stone . It was with heavy hearts that the 12 members present sang "Jerusalem" for the last time for a while. They sang with enthusiasm, even though our group of ladies would disband after today. We hope that it will only be for a short while & that we can redress the situation in the near future,. Unfortunately we no longer have a president or secretary. Both Heather & Sheila have worked tirelessly over the years to ensure that Stone WI has continued to function, but now it is time for them to rest & recharge. There are numerous folk I should be thanking, who have taken a very active part while I have been a member. These are too many to mention & no doubt I'd miss someone out, but out grateful thanks go to them anyway. Today my personal thanks go to Veronica, Catherine, Sheila, Heather & others who have supported us, & kept us together, particularly through the covid pandemics & lockdowns, which obviously took hold & affected our members & memberships. We managed to have some "in house" speakers & we have enjoyed our members' interesting talks & questions. These have been reported in previous issues. Our talk today was given by Veronica, who helped shed some light on "Powers of Attorney. She made a complicated topic a little more easy to understand & she was able to answer many of our queries. It was a very useful & enlightening session. We also enjoyed cakes & a cuppa! So that's the last of our WI meetings for a little while. No doubt we'll all keep in touch & look forward to some 'ad hoc' gatherings. I have found friendship & learnt a great deal about a wide variety of subjects whilst being a member.We hope that eventually our WI can resume. Let's hope so. I hope you've enjoyed my reports. I've tried to make them interesting & tempt others to join us. We've had an influx of potential new members recently, but none wished to consider talking office! It's the end of an era or is it? Take care. Stay safe & healthy. from Pam Farnsworth (for Stone WI )


Alex leaves to join the Chelsea Pensioners

It was a bitter-sweet moment for the members and volunteers at Stone and District Stroke Club when long serving member Alex Lackie departed for his new life as a Chelsea Pensioner, in March. Alex has a life-long connection with the Armed Forces. Born in Palestine in 1939 into a service family, (his Father was a member of the Black Watch 2nd Battalion) he was evacuated to South Africa at the start of World War 2 and experienced life in several locations until the age of 8, when his father left the service for life as a civilian. However, the lure of the services was never far away and Alex joined the Territorial Army as a drummer boy as soon as he was able. Feeling in need of more of an adventure, he went on to join the Army as a regular soldier in 1960 and enjoyed a military career spanning 22 years, with postings to many different locations including 6 years spent in Germany. Following demobilisation, he continued to work for the Army in a civilian capacity until retirement and return to the UK. Alex eventually settled in Barlaston to be close to family and, after experiencing a stroke, joined Stone and District Stroke Club in 2016. “Alex is a ‘larger than life’ individual” says

Alex leaves Stone Stroke Club to join the Chelsea Pensioners Stroke Club volunteer Steve Bills. “He has a wealth of stories from his life in the services, a great sense of humour and he has been a very popular member of Stroke Club. We will all miss him a lot, but are sure that he will have a wonderful new life in Chelsea Barracks.”

Changes to Lions Club Mobility Scheme It is with regret that the members of Stone Lions Club have to announce a significant change to their longestablished Mobility Scheme. Whilst the scheme will continue to provide a loan service of wheelchairs, shop-walkers and other small items of equipment to local residents, sadly it is no longer possible for the club to provide and maintain motorised equipment (scooters and power chairs) and this part of the scheme will be phased out over the coming 12 months. “This has not been an easy decision to take” reports Lion Dave Handley, who has overseen the running of the scheme for the last few years, “however it has become increasingly difficult to provide an effective service for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a shortage of members able to continue with the physical demands of operating the scheme”. “We are very aware of the needs of our mobility clients and would like to reassure everyone currently provided with Stone Lions equipment that we will do our very best to ensure that nobody will be left without a scooter. We undertake to maintain individual items of mobility equipment, including repair costs, until the date for the renewal of their current insurance. After this date we will offer the option for users to either accept transfer of


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

ownership of the equipment, together with the responsibility for its upkeep, or return it for donation elsewhere.” “We have written to everyone who currently has a scooter or power chair on loan to give them as much notice as possible of our plans and will contact them again closer to the date of insurance expiry to offer transfer of ownership. We really hope that the majority will agree to accept this offer and continue to make use of the equipment for as long as they wish.” Lion Mike Ward, who was instrumental in setting up the scheme, takes up the story. “Stone Lions Club issued their first mobility scooter on loan to a Walton resident in May 1988 and the scheme grew steadily over the years with over 65 pieces of motorised equipment being used by members of the community at the start of lockdown in March 2020. The members of Stone Lions would like to thank all those who have helped the scheme to operate over the years, in particular Disable Aids of Cannock who have serviced and repaired the equipment, Gary Swift of Hill and Swift who have provided us with storage facilities, local residents who have donated mobility equipment and not forgetting the many people who have taken part in one of our many fund-raising activities to help cover the cost of the service.”

Stone Rotarians hop to it!

Making Easter special, Stone and District Rotary club members and their Easter Bunny recently hopped into the Stone Alzheimer’s Disease Drop In to give everybody an Easter egg. The Photo shows the Easter bunny with all the lovely volunteers, who are essential to run this much needed club. The Stone Alzheimer’s Disease Drop In is open each Thursday at Christ Church in Stone, from 10am to 12noon. If you would like further information pop by any Thursday and ask to speak to Pauline.

Bridge is Back! at Stone Bridge Club “After being closed for many months during Covid lockdown, Stone Bridge Club is getting back on it's feet and play has resumed on Monday and Wednesday evenings (at the new time of 7.00 until 10pm) and on Friday afternoons (1.30 to around 4.30). The exciting news is that we have decided to open on Tuesday afternoons as well, again from 1.30 to around 4.30. This is a no fears duplicate bridge session where everyone is welcome to come along. It is a tribute to the hugely successful Friday sessions that this decision has been made. We know how many people would rather play in the afternoon so hope this session will become just as popular. Cost is £3 per session. We are also starting a new teaching program lasting for eight weeks. It is for people who have never played bridge before and barely know there are 52 cards in a pack!! It will be held on a Tuesday evening from 7.00 until 10.00 and cost £24 for the course payable on the first night. It will cover the basics and be sufficient for you to start playing on one of the afternoons. Why not come along and see for yourself what a wonderful game Bridge is. You will meet a new group of friendly, like minded people and have a pastime you can enjoy at home and in clubs for the rest of your life. Both Tuesday sessions commence on the 26th April. Please contact Kath Adams on 01785 748941 to put your name down for the lessons or for further information. We look forward to meeting you.” With best wishes, Kath Adams, Stone Bridge Club.

Stone Station Access Project North Staffs Community Rail has been building the case for improved access at Stone Railway Station. In partnership with local CiC, All the Small Things, local people have been consulted on how the lack of step-free access might affect their rail travel to and from the town. A report, funded by London Northwestern Railway, will be submitted to Network Rail during April / May. If you would like your views to be heard please email:

Stone Station Needs You! If you would like to join the friendly group of volunteers who help to make Stone Station look great, please get in touch. All welcome. You can email:


Judith Webb and Julie Hughes receiving the Competitions Cup

Twenty ways to lift your spirits The April meeting of Aston-by-Stone W.I. began by celebrating achievements: Judith Webb and Julie Hughes received the Competitions Cup, and Denise Yates was presented with flowers to thank her for her sterling efforts in the kitchen. (How would we manage without tea and cake?) Our Speaker, Jan Mitchell, then told us of 20 ways to lift your spirits. Start by going outside: garden, park, footpath: anywhere. It doesn’t have to be the Japanese “forest bathing”, just the great – and local – outdoors. Seeing sky is good for us. Many of the 20 ways are just good sense: wear something you like, not simply that old jumper with even older joggers. Listen to music with a strong beat. Sing along! If your voice is not operatic standard, who cares! Lights and colours affect us, so wear bright things, look at colourful pictures. Watch and uplifting film, or something which makes you laugh. Read, de-clutter, stroke your (or someone else’s) pet – anything which will make you feel better. There is certainly enough in the news to make us feel down, but don’t think about it all the time. Perhaps the best way to lift the spirit is to see and talk to others. That’s just what we do at W.I.! It’s a good place to meet people and make new friends. There’s time to socialise as well as listen to the Speaker, and the home-made refreshments are always popular. We will soon celebrate our 97th birthday, and April’s refreshments naturally included a beautiful cake made by member Anita Murphy. Our next meeting will be on May 11th, at our usual meeting place, Aston-by-Stone Village Hall at 7.30 p.m., with a Speaker from the House of Bread. New members are always welcome, if you would like to know more about our W.I. email astonbystone, or phone 01785 615662.

Denise Yates was presented with flowers to thank her for her sterling efforts in the kitchen.


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

Drac Global support deliveries to Ukraine Van-Aid is a new charity that has been set up to deliver vital humanitarian aid to Poland, supporting orphanages, nunneries and refugee camps in Poland and Ukraine. This amazing charity was set up by Steve Marsh, every volunteer is selffunded at an average cost of £800 per van. Van-Aid now has more than 70 volunteer drivers. Drac Global has pledged to support 10 van deliveries to Ukraine. Along with offering space to receive and consolidate loads at their Drac Distribution warehouse in Stone.

Paul Langford, Transport Manager at Drac Distribution left Stone to complete his journey to Ukraine. Paul completed his 2800-mile round trip to Polish/ Ukraine border of Medyka. Paul is now safely home after delivering vital humanitarian aid to the sisters of Lviv. Once the aid was transferred from Paul’s van, the sisters then made the dangerous journey back to Lviv. The sisters trip back was successful, and they have been able to distribute the aid to those in need. The photos show the generous donations Paul took to the sisters of Lviv.

Oulton’s Sunflowers for Ukraine After a gap of two years, because of the pandemic, Oulton Village will be entering the Best Kept Village Competition. They have always done well over the past 12 years, with commendations every year, and a place in a number of those years. This year they hope to win their category of Small Village Stafford Borough. Alongside the usual activities such as litter-picks and generally maintaining the environment of the village, residents are being invited to sow sunflower seeds in their front gardens

and public spaces to show their solidarity with Ukraine, the sunflower being the national flower of the country. A kind resident has donated all the seeds and they can deliver to homes in the village if you contact them via email at or you can Direct Message them from their Facebook page http://www. facebook .com/OultonVillageHub/ We are just within the sowing season so please let them know as soon as possible!

New Outdoor Gym Open The outdoor gym equipment purchased by the Eccleshall Parish Council has now been installed at two sites, Hartlands Road and the community centre, Shaw’s Lane, Eccleshall. It is hoped that use of the equipment will prove popular with all ages. It is part of the health and Wellbeing that the council is introducing into the community. Parish Councillor Joy Jones having a little workout

Hear here!

From left Rotarian Phil Leason, Janet Rouse, Rotarian Sandie McQueen(current club President) and Rotarian Tim Joyce. Stone and District Rotary club, were delighted to present the residents of Summerfield Court with a new portable speaker system for them to use at their numerous events which include Monday morning worship, entertainment, quizzes and music. President of the Stone and District Rotary club, Sandie McQeen, Secretary, Tim Joyce and Rotarian Phil Leason presented Janet Rouse, the Housing Manager, with the new system and showed her how to use it for both sound and music. Janet said: “This is a fantastic donation from the Rotary club that will transform what we are able to do for all our residents at our many get togethers”

New Gate Fitted

Stuart with Ronnie the dog A replacement gate has been fitted by the Parish Council on footpath number 13 between Shaw’s Lane and the rectory. One of the first customers for the gate was Parish Councillor Stuart Perren, a regular walker and dog walker.


Popular Plant Sale Returns! Stone Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society's Garden Club are back, up and running again. They have their Annual Plant Sale booked for Saturday May 7th at St Michael's Community Hall, Lichfield, Street from 9.30am - 1.30pm. Admission is FREE! They also have several talks at the Christ Church Centre coming up in the next few months - on Thursday 12th May Diana Clement "A Garden for all Seasons"; then on 9th June Mike King - ‘Sarracenias’ and on 14th July Jane Allison "Banquet for Bees and Butterflies". Full details of all talks and events are on the website The group are also members of the Tendershoots Garden Club Network - which has provided a lifeline for many garden clubs over the last two years, They have arranged many talks via Zoom and are continuing to do so during the winter months you can find details are on their website:

Stone Choral Society’s Spring Concert

On Saturday 9th April Stone Choral Society held their Spring Concert at Christ Church, Stone. It was billed as a one item programme: Mozart’s Requiem. The choir have been rehearsing hard every Thursday night to perfect this iconic choral masterpiece. Covid has been a hurdle as well this term and so the choir was delighted the concert could go ahead as planned. This is a demanding work and well known so extra attention was needed from all the singers and the soloists. Nine of the choir members were the soloists for the night. There was a moving bonus to the evening’s programme. The group of soloists opened the concert with the recently written Ukrainian Prayer composed by John Rutter. This had been kept a secret from the main choir and was the most perfect and apt way to start the evening. It was sung in a haunting and beautiful manner and totally complimented the blue and yellow bows donned by all the singers and musicians. The work had only been released by Rutter on 16th March in response to the current situation. Music has the power to show empathy and solidarity in an extraordinary way and it was movingly received. The choir is conducted by Harriet Johnson and accompanied by Jennifer Hames on the piano; the choir are very fond of them both and respond incredibly well to their direction and support. On Saturday night a quintet of string players accompanied too; Risa Sekine and Anna Vaughn on the violins Newport Music Club is delighted to welcome back the and Emily Dore on viola with Flora award winning musical duo Mary Hofman and Richard McNicoll on cello and Mark Goodhew on Ormrod to play the final pair of Violin Sonatas by the double bass. They made a superb sound as they played alongside the choir. Beethoven. The concert will be held at Cosy Hall, Newport on Saturday 14 May 2022 at 7.30pm. Fans will remember the previous concerts, one of which ended the Music Club’s 2019 – 2020 series. The two Beethoven Sonatas were written in 1803 and 1812 respectively, and are known for their beauty and complexity. Both are known as a challenge to musicians, but the internationally acclaimed pairing (see of Hofman and Ormrod will, we are sure, deliver their usual exciting and accomplished performance. Additionally there will be a new piece of music specially commissioned for this series from noted Welsh born composer Hilary Tann. ‘First Light: A Meditation on Beethoven Op.96’. Her work has been described as ‘shimmering and weightless, effective and moving’.( Tickets for this concert are £13 adult, Students £5 and will be available from Deli 45 and Hey Jude in Newport, As part of the class topic Sensational or at Cosy Hall on the night, but patrons are requested to Safari, pupils in KS1 enjoyed a day at contact the Music Club on newportmusicclubtickets Chester Zoo. The children were very excited to visit a or phone 01952 812920 to confirm the number of animals and spent some time number of adults and children coming along.

Grand Finale of the Beethoven Violin Sonata Series!

Mozart’s Requiem is a haunting piece composed at the very end of his life. He was only 35 at the time of his death; he was a prolific composer and this piece was not finished when he died. He was commissioned to compose this piece. However some believe he was writing his own requiem; this was perpetuated by Mozart’s wife Constanze. The work is a demanding work with some sustained quick runs of notes and some soaring high ones. There are fugues allowing the choir to sing in a strong and powerful manner and then soft and prayerful quieter numbers. The text follows the Funeral Rite of the Catholic Church. The Sequence is in six parts and shows off the powerful range of the choir and musicians. There is the contrast of the opening Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) followed by the Tuba Mirum (Wondrous Trumpet) with the opening Bass Solo to the Lacrimosa (Weeping) that ends the Sequence in the most sorrowful way. Nine members of the choir shared the solos throughout the whole Requiem. They were beautiful and sung with meaning. The soloists were Sue King, Louise Knight, Jane Plant, Sue Ward, Catherine Campbell, Lorna Horwill, Chris Horwill, Colin Campbell and Jim Davies. At the end of the evening they received great applause and a yellow rose. The concert was enjoyed by the largest audience since the pandemic which was greatly appreciated by all the musicians. The next concert for the choir is on Saturday 2nd July and will mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Look out for the programme nearer the time. This will provide a contrast and show the versatility of Stone Choral Society.

Oulton First School Visit Chester Zoo


Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read

with a zoo leader finding out about animals and their habitats and asking questions. A highlight of the trip was being able to visit the snakes and hold a snake skin.

Bev, as always, hard at work.

A sad loss for Eccleshall We are sad to announce the passing of Bev Thompson who lived on the Burgage, in Eccleshall. He was very well known and respected for the voluntary work he did in keeping our town centre clean and tidy. He would often have been seen raking leaves and removing weeds from the verges and the toilet block area. Bev was always ready to chat with passers by who wished him well. His health had deteriorated recently and he was moved out of the area for care. He was one of five people granted Freedom of the Parish for his efforts. Farewell Bev and God bless you now at rest with your beloved wife Rene. The funeral service for Bev was held at the Holy Trinity Church on Thursday March 31 at 2pm with a wake at the Kings Arms afterwards. It was attended by family, neighbours, friends and parish councillors. The service was led by Revd Stephen Habgood.

Hilderstone WI March Meeting Hilderstone members gathering for their March Meeting were greeted by three displays - a colourfully inviting, Bring and Buy Stall, an Exhibition of a beautifully carved chair , wooden bowls and decorative items created by our much anticipated Speaker Mike Taylor, and the Competition table packed with members wooden possessions. A rousing rendition of Jerusalem began the Meeting and, in anticipation of our Speaker’s talk on Ancient Woodlands, our President kept the Business as brief as possible and was clearly delighted to welcome Mike who shared her own proud “born in Cannock“ heritage. Mike Taylor is a true Woodsman , deserting the ‘rat race’ eleven years ago he purchased Gibbons Corner Wood (eleven acres of ancient woodland) in the shelter of Shropshires Long Mynd. And there began an enthralling and inspired life style. Mike and his wife lead a life of self sufficiency, influenced ,he admitted’ ,by The 1970s Television portrayal of The Good Life, starring Richard Briars, Felicity Kendall, Penelope Kieth and Paul Eddington. Mike described his life as one of ‘Timeless Simplicity ‘ and having a philosophy of’Living for Today’. The Film and photographs accompanying the talk illustrated the variety of flora and fauna living in the shelter of the wood.Mike described its growth and development from Medieval times (though it was there in Roman times) and it’s 300years of total neglect. In the past eleven years ,largely due to his approach to Coppicing, life in Gibbons Corner Wood has been revitalised.Members were fascinated by Mike’s descriptions of Charcoal workers there in the 15th and 16th centuries and his own reviving of the industry. Gunpowder was made in the Wood and wood from the Alder trees was used (as it is today) to make bowls, plates and clogs. As Mike concluded his presentation we all felt that we had shared the experience of walking through Wood land for the evening and had learnt so much on the way. The applause that followed must have assured Mike of our appreciation of all that he has achieved. Congratulations Mike Taylor you are a true Visionary! Delicious cakes and tea refreshed our Speaker and we ended a memorable evening with much discussion. New members and guests are guaranteed a friendly welcome.


• Stone Heritage

Centenary History of Stone Hockey Club Stone Hockey Club celebrates its 100 years Anniversary this year and is arranging a series of events to mark the occasion throughout the year. Although there is evidence of the Club playing hockey in the Stone area from 1902 onwards a formal club was not constituted until 1922. From 1921 to 1925 Stone ran as a mixed team and had pitches in Darlaston Park. The ladies and men sections then split to form separate clubs and went their own ways for the next 60 years. In 1925, the first all men`s sides played under the captaincy of Bernard Devaney, on a pitch which was part of the fairway of Stone Golf course but soon after moved to a pitch at Aston. Through the years between the wars, the driving force behind the Men’s club was President Eustace Taylor. His Presidency ran from 1921 to 1960 and for the last six years of his life up to 1966, he was Club Patron. Under Jim Toney (President 1961 to 1980) and Fixture Secretary Vernon Williams, the club grew in strength until the Second War began in 1939. Thanks to the enthusiasm of `Gaff` Williams, the Men`s club continued in a diminished form during the war, but when the war ended it took a magnificent effort by stalwart members such as Vernon Hall (Secretary for 25 years) and Ned Hutton (Fixture Secretary) to get the club back to its pre-war size. It is a testament to their endeavours that the records show that from fielding one team in 1947, the Men`s club grew to four Saturday teams and one Sunday team in 1949. This amazing expansion was achieved in spite of transport difficulties and shortage of funds. The Ladies, then running two teams also tried to keep playing through the war-time period but also had to stop until the end of 1945. In 1958 the construction of the new A34 dual carriageway forced the Men`s Club to look for a new site, and Mr Shardlow, an Aston farmer, leased his 4-acre field only a quarter of a mile from the old ground, to the Club. In 1964, the land adjoining this field came up for sale, and the Clubs Committee, purchased seven acres of land for £2,550. This created the first permanent home for the Men`s Club with three pitches and a car park. The grounds were formally opened in 1968 by the Staffordshire President John Barrett. The club was able to purchase Mr Shardlow`s field in 1982, thus creating the 10-acre site which exists today. There was a growing involvement in County affairs with Peter Watts and Len Bassett gaining County colours in the late 60`s, while Vic Heath was a leading figure in administration. This continued through the 70`s and 80`s and Ian Moxon completed a 4-year stint as County President after previously being Treasurer for many years. In the 1970`s, Stone became a growing force in County hockey and were soon prominent in the newly formed Staffordshire League. In this period, the County Club Championship was becoming increasingly important, and Stone gained its first success in 1971 followed by a second in 1973. In the League, the West Midlands title was won in 1972/73 when the 1st XI was undefeated in 20 League games. The next major stepping stone came during 1975 when the opportunity arose to salvage the Michelin changing rooms due to demolition to make way for the A500 `D road` construction. Over a period of 7 days with a crane and many willing hands,17 trailer loads of material sufficient for a building 96 ft. by 27ft was acquired. It was a magnificent effort and under the direction of Len Bassett and the motivating force of Chairman, Paddy Wenger, the new clubhouse was erected in a 2-year period and officially opened in September 1977. To achieve this there had been


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• Stone Mens 1st X1 1925

• Stone Ladies 1st X1 1948

considerable endeavour from club members and the support of Len`s father, Reg Bassett, and Paddy’s father-in-law, Mr. Baddeley cannot be overstressed. In the period to 1985, Stone continued to be a dominant force at 1st team level, winning the County Championship in 1977 and 1981, while becoming the last winners of the Midland Cup in 1985. During this time, Stone benefitted greatly from the captaincy of Richard De Figueiredo, who also captained Staffordshire and the skills of Imran Sherwani, later to win Gold at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 with the Great Britain team. Throughout the 70`s and early 80`s, Stone were prominent at Indoor hockey, winning

the Wolverhampton League on several occasions, the Midland Cup in 1979 and reached the National last 32 on 5 occasions. This culminated in reaching the semi-final in 1982 where, in front of television cameras at Crystal Palace, Stone were beaten by the eventual winners, Slough. The Ladies had continued to play in Darlaston Park and ran two teams. Their progress was such that they won the County Championship in 1972. However, in 1979 they had to find an alternative pitch when the pitch they had played on for 50 years reverted to farmland and they had to leave. For a while they had an arrangement with Barlaston Hockey Club and became Barlastone Ladies .

The new Access For All bridge at Kidsgrove Station • The synthetic pitch at Stone Hockey Club

They explored merging with Barlaston but were unable to reach an agreement and so merged with Stone Men`s Hockey Club in 1985, so four team men`s club of 1977 became seven men’s teams and three ladies teams. Stone were invited to take part in the Veterans Tournament at the 1986 World Cup played in London. In the Southgate Group, Stone`s opponents included teams from Belgium, Germany and Spain. The team finished fifth out of ten teams at that venue. In 1989, a group of local business men led by club members Bill Couldrey, Chris Barnes and Jim Hawkins, floated a Company in order to build an synthetic pitch at Enson Lane. This was no mean feat, and it has provided the club with an excellent facility on which to develop. It was a difficult transition period for players brought up on grass pitches – suddenly older players were confronted with young, faster and in many ways, more skilful players and a different set of rules. A Veterans League was launched at Stone in 1990, on the synthetic pitch on Monday nights under floodlights, and is still going strong today. Mini- hockey coaching was also introduced at Stone, for boys and girls from the age of eight years upwards, in order to provide the club with players of the future. Martin Jones, a future Great Britain player was a product of this development as well as numerous 1st XI players. Today, great emphasis is placed on junior player training and development. No history of Stone should fail to mention the many attendances of the club at the Easter Hockey Festival at Llandudno. Founder members with North Staffs and Blackburn, Stone attended the Festival nearly continuously, until the Festival became defunct and as many as 60 members regularly attended. Playing, usually on grass at Easter, was a bit of a lottery as far as the weather was concerned and there was the occasional excursion to Conwy, to play on redgra. Sadly, the tournament no longer runs. The Club has also hosted a number of tournaments through the summer over the years, the Coarse (for 3rd and 4th XI`s), a Summer tournament over a weekend (for 1st XI`s), a hosted Firkins Tournament, and various junior tournaments. The Coarse Tournament has been run by Paul Hopkins for many years and remains a well-attended one day event. The Ladies have had mixed fortunes in the Staffordshire Women’s League and the Midlands Women’s League. The 1st XI had an oscillating relationship with the Staffordshire Women’s League Division 1 and 2 being promoted from Division 2 in 2005/06, relegated from Division 1 in 2006/07, promoted from Division 2 in 2007/08, were relegated from Division 1 in 2008/09, and then promoted as Champions from Division 2 in 2009/10. In this season the Ladies 1st XI were promoted from this Division and at the same time the ladies 2nd XI was relegated from it. Remarkably the Ladies 1st XI were promoted as Champions to the Midland Women’s Feeder League the following year. The Ladies 1st XI currently play in Midlands Women’s Hockey League Division 2 having finally won the West Midlands Feeder League West in 2015. Stone Hockey Club currently has 5 Men`s teams, 4 Ladies teams, and a number of junior teams. Stone Hockey Club are hosting hockey matches at Enson Lane on June 18th and 19th and many former players are expected to participate. A formal Club Centenary Dinner will be held at the Upper House, Barlaston on 23rd September.

Local rail users’ group call for Access For All After times in the pandemic when trains often ran close to empty, Stone Station has become busy again, reports Jon Heal of North Staffs Rail Promotion Group (NSRPG). Passenger numbers have returned to normal in Stone. Face coverings are still encouraged, and many people still wear them. However Jon Heal told the Gazette, “There are some unexpected changes now that government have taken back control of the railways. We used to have consultations on timetable changes, but that seems to have gone.” New timetables start on May 15th. There will still be a regular service to Crewe going north, and to Birmingham going south, but the route into Birmingham is being diverted. Journeys will take 10 minutes or so longer. Stone rail users need to check the new times in advance. In the long run, the worst change will happen in December for journeys to Euston. After London Northwestern Railways (LNR) took over the service, direct trains from Stone to Euston disappeared. LNR promised a good connection at Stafford as the best way down to London. With LNR fares being very competitive, this benefited many people. However NSRPG have learnt that

in December this is changing. Passengers for London will either wait 50 minutes in Stafford for a LNR service, or pay the much higher fares charged for the faster Avanti service. “Anybody who will find this a problem can contact our group at jhnorthstaffsrail@ , but we have been told the best thing to do is to contact our MP,” added Jon. One complaint often heard about Stone Station is the inconvenience of the bridge. This is the only way of getting to the northbound platform. The steps are quite steep for older people, and getting across in a wheelchair is impossible. It can be difficult with heavy luggage or with a bicycle. There is funding called Access For All to make things better. Kidsgrove Station has recently got its new bridge with lifts that enable passengers to get between Kidsgrove’s four platforms without climbing any stairs. A campaign has just started to get the same for Stone. For more information, contact Claire Sandys at North Staffs Community Rail Partnership. The campaign needs evidence on why better access is needed. If anyone has good examples, contact Claire at :

Staffordshire’s Best Kept Village Community Competition Goes Live Again The Richard Winterton Best Kept Village Community Competition is back for 2022 with a new focus on the community aspect of village life. In 2020 the competition was cancelled for the first time in its history due to lockdown. Then in 2021 the competition had another first, operating virtually for the first time in its 66-year history proving how important it is to communities across the county. This year there will be new children’s events and a special competition to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Sponsored by Richard Winterton Auctioneers and managed by The Community Foundation for Staffordshire, competition judges are as usual expecting another close competition. Many communities use the Best Kept Village Community Competition or BKVC as the perfect opportunity to improve the overall outlook of their village maintaining their efforts throughout the year, leading to a sustainable and longerterm boost to the local community. But for 2022 there will be a significant focus on the community aspect of village

life. Communities will be able to gain additional points by sharing their stories of friendship, inclusivity, cohesion and of course community spirit. For the younger generation there are three special competitions: a Children’s Poster and a Poetry and Prose competition for 5–11-year-olds. Also, a photography for 11-17 year olds. And to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, ‘The Spirit of BKVC’, encourages villagers to use paintings, sketches, photographs, or a combination of all three, to showcase their community. Teams of judges will visit each village in the first round of judging in May and again in June. The Large and Small Villages with the highest marks will go forward to the Area Finals, to be judged in July. The Best Large and the Best Small Village in each Area (based on the aggregated marks for June, July, and the Area Finals) will then go forward to the County Finals, which will be judged in late July. For more information and online entry forms visit the brand new BKVC website:


• Within Living Memory with Philip Leason MBE

Stone’s Skeletons and Subterranean Passages By Philip Leason MBE I have received a couple of enquiries recently from readers and I thought I would share my response to them here and I though others may also find them of interest. Firstly a reader recalls that when she was young she remembers that when they were making alterations to Joules brewery they discovered a human skeleton and wonders if I had any information about it. It was in March 1957 while workmen were excavating near to Crown Street in order to build a more modern wine and spirit store and bottling plant that they unearthed a skeleton under the floor of an old cellar. Apparently there was a rumour that it belonged to a cannon from Stone priory, as legend had it that the brewery was on the site of the old monastic brew house. However there was nothing sinister about the discovery as the building had formerly been the old Independent chapel and one of the early minsters had been buried there. This chapel was built in 1716 and replaced an earlier chapel that had been located in the High Street and which had been destroyed by a Riot in 1715. The chapel was rather convenient for one of its future leaders - Francis Joule. Francis was born in Youlgreave, Derbyshire on 21st February, 1755. He married Sarah Hill of Bolsover at Youlgreave church on 15th February, 1779. In 1780 he came to Stone to take over the brewery in the High Street. As well as becoming one of the leading figures in the town, he was also a preacher in the chapel located at the rear of his brewery. He had the reputation of delivering a fiery sermon and could preach for a long period (some reports state over 2 hours). The chapel remained in use until 1787 when a new chapel was built in Chapel Street (later North Street and today Station Road) and the old chapel became part of Joules brewery. It is interesting to note that the first baby to be baptised in the new chapel in 1787 was Francis Joule, son of Francis and Sarah Joule. This Chapel in Chapel/North Street was demolished in 1871 and part of the old St. Mary’s Home/St. Mary’s Chambers was built on the site. There is a portrait of the original Francis Joule in the Lamb and Flag room at Crown Wharf. This portrait is a ‘naïve portrait, and was probably painted by a travelling artist. There is a more formal portrait of him in the County Museum collection that used to hang outside the boardroom at Joules Brewery. Sarah Joule died at Oulton House, near Stone on 18th February 1828 and Francis died at Park House, Ashley on 21st February, 1837.

• Francis Joule

In Alfred Barnard’s book “The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland” Volume III he records details of his visit to Joules brewery in 1889 and writes: “At the bottom of the yard, in what was once the Independent Chapel, are located the wine and spirit stores, for supplying the firm’s public-houses and local customers. Tradition says that the father of the first brewer, Joule, once held forth from the pulpit of this building, and, by his stirring discourses, quite awakened a sleepy district. We were shown a subterranean passage. One of our party conversed with an old gentleman, whose father had heard Parson Joule discourse so eloquently that his congregation were quiet moved by his appeals. The chapel has been altered to suit the requirements of the business, and


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• A cartoon joking about Stone’s famous Skeleton emerging from the underground!

the pews removed, whilst in their places rise great puncheons, filled with spirits of another kind than those who were wont to mingle here. The gallery is used for packing cases, the vestry for stacking stout and bottled ales, and the basement, or Sunday school portion, is binned off for Sherries, ports and the celebrated Stone ale.” The skeleton was that of the Rev. W. Thomas who died in 1833 and as per his request was buried in the chapel. His remains were later reinterred in Stone cemetery. The “subterranean passage” would have been one of the tunnels and cellars under the brewery where the wine was stored. Barnard also visited the cellars during his visit and states: “We then descended to the basement, where there are two other puncheon rooms, or cellars, presenting a very antiquated appearance. They are the original cellars of the first Stone Brewery, and extend beneath the brewer’s house to the High Street, a distance of 94 feet. They have a monastic appearance; and the stone buttresses, which support the numerous arches, are at least 8 feet thick, exhibiting walls 15th high, of great solidity.” These cellars and tunnels were fascinating and I am always sorry that they could not have been preserved in some way when the brewery was demolished and the building on the site constructed (now B&M). The entrance to them under what would have the home of Francis Joule has been bricked up and so you cannot tell if any of them do still exist. The grids which supplied air to the cellars are part of the facade of the Conservative Office and the Dunoon shop and two other grids are set into the pavement. The second enquiry was regarding the playing fields at the top of Oulton Cross, behind the old Alleyne’s Swimming Baths, the sports hall etc. The person had been told that aeroplanes had landed there during the war and wanted to know if it was true. The answer is yes. The area became a Forced Landing Ground (FLG) in 1940 when 5 Elementary Training School opened at Meir. The area was used by pilots being trained in small aircraft such as Magisters and Tiger Moth to make emergency landings. It was also used as an emergency diversion airfield. The first record of a landing occurred on 15th October 1940 when a trainee pilot for some reason landed a Magister I L8224 there. When he tried to take off again he abandoned the lift off but not soon enough and crashed into trees at the end of the field. On another occasion on 15th November 1940 several aircraft were unable to land at the Meir airfield due to thick fog which was made worse by smoke from factories, bottle kilns and coal fired houses. Three Magisters made precautionary landings at the Stone FLG. Records show that LAC RH Imeson from B Flight, 5EFTS at Meir landed in Stone on 11th January, 1941 and LAC Horsham from C Flight flying a 5 EFTS Magister suffered engine failure and landed in Stone on 2th May, 1941 and on landing damaged the undercarriage of the plane. In December 1941 the 5 EFTS was disbanded at Meir and the FLG in Stone although still open during the war for emergency purposes was never used again as far as we are aware. I hope that this article has brought back memories to some readers and been 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.



Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read



Stone & Eccleshall’s Favourite Read