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Leek Life March/April 2020.qxp_Leek Life 21/02/2020 11:49 Page 1



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2020 Editor’s Letter .............................................6 Chernobyl Children’s Project......................7 Local musicians ..........................................8 Leek School of Dance..................................9 Leek Arts Festival......................................10 North Staffs Relay for Life.........................11 Joke Time ..................................................12 Moorlands Riding Club & Academy .........13 Patient Participation Groups ....................14 Leek United Building Society....................15 Christian Aid Walk ....................................16 Support Staffordshire................................17

Campaign for Real Ale ..............................18 Theatre ......................................................19 What’s On .................................................20 Leek & District Show ................................26 Nicholson War Memorial .........................27 Railtrail .....................................................28 Leek Town Crier .......................................30 Tales From the Past...................................31 Financial Matters......................................34 Gardening .................................................36 Leek Rotary Club.......................................37 Fitness & Health .......................................38 Reflections Coaching ................................39 Borderland Voices ....................................40 Stage Directions........................................42 Leek Musical Theatre Company ...............43 The Women’s Institute .............................44 Quiz Corner ...............................................47 Motoring ...................................................49

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The blossoming wonders of Springtime

A Belinda Hargreaves Contents Editor life@timesandecho.co.uk Holly Keates Tracey Redfern Design & Production Thomas Brian General Manager tom@timesandecho.co.uk Mobile: 07855 242693 Jane Walters Advertising Sales jane@timesandecho.co.uk Times, Echo & Life Publications 18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Stoke-on-Trent ST10 1BD Tel: 01538 752214 www.timesechoandlife.co.uk life@timesandecho.co.uk

Find us on Facebook search for Leek Life Magazine

lthough, as I write this, the wet and stormy weather continues, Spring is certainly in the air. On a drive out yesterday I spotted two of the younger trees on the road outside my former school of All Saints First blossoming nicely with pink flowers. I do love this time of year. Although I appreciate the cosiness of winter, it’s lovely to feel that ‘new beginnings’ atmosphere when witnessing the natural world around us blossom at Springtime. And we are very fortunate in Leek and the Moorlands to have such a beautiful area to appreciate such wonders, what with the Roaches just up the road, and the two scenic water spots of Rudyard and Tittesworth, we are truly blessed to be able to pop in the car, or even walk if you feel energetic enough, to one of these scenic spots to enjoy the amazingly therapeutic scenes they each have. In this edition of the Leek Life Magazine, we have some wonderful ‘blossoming tales’ from dancers set to perform at Disney World, a new album by a threegeneration music band, to donations being made to charities to help them flourish. Working in the media, you have the privilege of meeting so many different people from all sorts of walks of life. Admittedly, some can be a challenge to converse with, but most are a joy to meet, listen to, help them tell their story, and some also become

wonderful friends. I’ve been very fortunate to meet many such people during my 13 years in the industry and always take pride in being in a position to help people tell their story. In this edition of Leek Life, one such amazing inspirational lady, who has become a lovely friend, tells us her story of why she is pulling out all the stops to organise a large scale fund-raiser in memory of her beautiful daughter who sadly died as a teenager. By reading her story I hope lots of people will be inspired to take part in the event to raise lots of money for charity, as well as help my lovely friend honour her daughter's memory. If you have a story you would like to share with Leek Life readers, please do get in touch. It would be great to hear from you. The best way to initially contact me is by email at life@timesandecho.co.uk and we will go from there – whether that means I meet up with you face-toface for you to further tell me your story, we speak further on the telephone, or we simply converse through the digital world of email, it would be great to hear from you and to help you tell your story of life in Leek. Until next time – take care!

Front cover photo by Brett Trafford Photography www.bretttrafford.com

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s in previous years Chernobyl Children’s Project (Stoke & Endon Group) will be inviting children in remission from cancer for a recuperative holiday during summer 2020. They are a friendly and supportive group and are looking for more people to become involved to make these holidays possible. A spokesman said: “This year we are inviting teenagers (aged between 15 and 18) from Belarus. “We are looking for families who can host two children for two weeks. “There is no need to speak Russian: it is amazing what can be achieved through mime and the translating app on a smartphone; and the visiting groups are also accompanied by interpreters as well as a doctor.” Throughout their stay in the UK, the group gets together almost on a daily basis for all sorts of outings and activities and on-going support is available 24/7. The spokesman added: “We have host families of all ages and backgrounds, from families with children through to retired couples who have spare room available. “The most important requirement for hosting is to be able to give the guests a warm welcome, to be interested in children and enthusiastic to make the holiday an unforgettable experience - for you and for

the guests.” These recuperative holidays are very important to the participants because, as a consequence of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the effects of radiation are still felt, especially in Belarus. The spokesman further explained: “Even today, more than average numbers of children are born with genetic disorders or afflictions and, in some cases, cancer as a result of their parents’ exposure to radiation. A recuperative holiday not only gives a boost to damaged immune systems but is also beneficial mentally – just being in an uncontaminated environment, eating healthy food and having lots of fun does wonders. “Even if you cannot host but would like to be involved in contributing to these teens having a great time, or just to find out more about Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK), please do contact us because we also need people to help with fundraising or organising activities and outings. “Of course, if you know of

anyone who might be interested, please pass the message on and we would be happy to meet up and explain what is involved.” Last year’s ‘Chernobyl’ television mini-series highlighted the seriousness of the 1986 nuclear explosion and its consequences. Chernobyl Children’s Project is marking its 25th anniversary this year and is involved not only in bringing groups of children over to the UK for recuperative holidays, but is also active in a variety of projects in Belarus, such as hospices, training of professionals to improve the conditions of children and adults who live with disabilities. For more information, contact the CCP Endon and Stoke coordinators: John and Julie Gater on 01782 535000 or 07816 842 322 or by emailing julie.ccp@gmail.com. Alternatively go online to www.chernobylchildren.org.uk or www.chernobylchildren.org.uk/local-groups/e ndon-stoke.

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three-generation music band has released a new album.

Based in the Staffordshire Moorlands, the Bird Scarers sing original and traditional songs, intricately arranged and harmonised. The band, which is made up of Val Williamson, Jane Rushton and Rosie Rushton, is vocal harmonies, accompanied by guitar, violin, viola or clarinet. Rosie said: “We sing about the real world, telling stories from at home and afar. “We have played at many folk clubs and festivals across England and Wales over the past ten years, including at Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Folk on the Farm, Upton Folk Festival, and The Gathering.” The Bird Scarer's new album 'Home', which has been in the making for nine years, was released in January – Val was aged 80 at the time of the release.

Rosie said: “The album is all original songs, and was recorded as a live studio album in Leek. “The songs include subjects of home, displacement and adventure. “There are familiar places, Rudyard Lake and Honeysuckle Lane in Longsdon are mentioned in the songs, as well as the stories of refugees (It ain't easy) and war-torn children (Children Cry). “The album starts with a song Val wrote 15 years ago, Mother Earth, which is most timely now- it is a shout to the world, to caring for our planet and what might happen if we are all asleep to the things going on around us.” The Bird Scarers will be touring during March and their album Home is available on all streaming services as well as online from birdscarersmusic.co.uk. ARE you a local musician or band? Do you have an album coming out soon or have other exciting news to share with Leek Life readers? Email Belinda at life@timesandecho.co.uk.

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Fund-raising for a dance trip of a life-time


group of dancers from Leek are set to embark on a trip to Disney World to showcase their talents. The team of performers from the Leek School of Dance are currently carrying out a range of fund-raising activities to help pay for the trip which they will be making this summer. Owner of the dance school Toni-Marie Wright said: “We applied for the event by sending off two videos of two different dance styles to show what we as a dance school were capable of. “A total of 30 dancers, aged between seven and 18 rehearsed for six weeks only to create the pieces. “Disney replied saying we had been accepted and they loved the pieces.”

The group are set to head to Disney on August 28, staying until August 30, with their performance scheduled for August 28. Toni-Marie said: “We will perform for 20 minutes that will show off the dance school, using the different styles of dance we offer at the studio. “Dancers started rehearsals in February to ensure they will all be ready for August. “We have set up a fundraising group with an aim of raising £10,000 to ensure all the costumes and other extras can be paid for the dancers attending the event. “We are looking for sponsors that can help us such as local businesses that may be able to help us out to achieve our goal.

“We are also looking for raffle prizes for our grand raffle that will take place in July.” Toni-Marie and team have already carried out two bag packs at Morrisons that were “massively supported” by the local community. Future fundraising nights include discos, cake sales, raffles, bingo night, quiz nights and much more. Toni-Marie added: “We are thankful to everyone who has supported us so far. “This is an amazing opportunity for the young dancers to have such a fantastic experience.” Anyone wishing to donate, support or sponsor can get further information by emailing leekschoolofdance@yahoo.co.u k.

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s we contemplate what the future has in store for us and the rest of the world Brexit and all that - there is at least one constant the people of Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands can put their faith in - there’s always the 2020 Leek Arts Festival to look forward to. Months of planning by the festival volunteers is beginning to bear fruit, with a number of big names – including the brilliant Eddi Reader (ex Fairground Attraction), star of stand-up Simon Evans, Ian ‘The Bard of Yorkshire’ McMillan and surreal comedian Boothby Grafoe – already in the line-up.

Co-organiser Phil Edmeades said: “There will also be some familiar favourites including the brilliant Birmingham

Conservatoire Folk Ensemble and the godfathers of folk rock - Fairport Convention - who will be making their 30th

Pastors Brett & Trish

Sunday at 10:30 at The Community Rooms Leek Fire Station Springfield Road, Leek, ST13 6LQ

Come and join us for worship, God’s message, prayer and social We look forward to meeting you


consecutive appearance at Leek Arts Festival in May this year. “And in keeping with the festival's tradition of being a genuine community event the programme will also include contributions from more than 20 local individual arts and groups who will be staging their own events.” You’ll find all you need to know about dates and tickets on the website at www.leekartsfestival.co.uk. The 2020 Leek Arts Festival runs from the middle of April to the middle of June and with contributions from local groups and individuals organisers are expecting the programme to feature between 30 and 40 events this year.

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he mother of a teenager who sadly lost her battle with Leukaemia, is continuing to raise money for charity in her daughter's memory. Tally Leigh sadly passed away at the age of 13 in November 2015 having relapsed after battling the disease before. Her mum Jane said of her only child: “Tally was a superstar. Just amazing and full of energy, even despite her illness she would be pushed in her wheelchair to dance classes and she would dance and then get back in her wheelchair as she was too tired. “If Tally could dance, sing or paint; then she was happy.” Tally would have been 17 now. Jane said of how she imagines her daughter would have been now: “Her dream would have been dancing – but later she thought that she might want to learn physio therapy because she adored the physio therapist at the hospital. “Whatever she would be doing she would make sure that I was not grumpy or sad.” Jane, along with many friends and family, have raised thousands of pounds for charities in memory of Tally since her untimely passing. Jane's next event is her largest yet as she is bringing Cancer Research UK's Relay For Life to her home town. The 24-hour charity event of North Staffordshire Relay For Life is set to be staged at Birchall Playing Fields in Leek on July 4 and July 5. Jane said: “I am organising this because of Tally. “Although the research carried out by the charity did not help cure Tally, it did help with the treatment she had – it was more affective and less painful due to the research they have done over the years. “I think sometimes people forget that cancer research does not just work towards a cure but also the side effects of treatments and that it helps prolong life; and that is why I want to raise money

to help change what cancer looks like in the future, “I would like to say that we can cure it but I know there are going to be lots of stages along the way.” The North Staffordshire Relay For Life is set to be a fun day and night of celebration, where over the 24 hours, one or more members of each participating team must be on the track (walking, jogging, wheel-chairing, that’s up to the participants) at all times. To register to take part go online to https://relay.cancerresearchuk.org/site/TR/Relay ForLife/General?pg=entry&fr_id=1997. On bringing the Relay For Life to Leek, Jane said: “It's quite a coup bringing something like this to North Staffordshire as most of the other events are in cities. “This is the first one which will be taking place in a county rather than a city; and Staffordshire is such an amazing county. The community is amazing and people really pull together. “The amount of support I've had so far is just great.” Jane explained that the organising team began looking for venues for the North Staffordshire Relay For Life two years ago. She said: “Birchall was generously offered to us but people wanted to look at other venues first but at the end of the search it was evident that Birchall was the right home for this new event. “With it being in my home town, I feel very proud of that and the local community have massively proved their worth and are fully supporting me.” Jane said that Tally would have laughed at her mum and the rest of the organising team. She said: “I think she would be laughing at us all, trying to work this event out. “She would tell us it's easy and just enjoy it. “We have a Team Tally taking part who will all be dressed in bright tutus which she would love.” Jane added: “I miss Tally every minute of every day. She is the best person I will ever know – the best and the strongest.”

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Spring into the season with laughter


“Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's Party!” - Robin Williams.

o here are some jokes, compiled by Leek chap Chris Sproston, to help get the party started:

Q: Why didn't the Easter egg cross the road? A: Because he wasn't a chicken yet!

When do gorillas fall from the sky? During Ape-ril showers.

Q: Which crime fighter likes spring the most? A: Robin

What season is it when you are on a trampoline? Spring.

I'm so excited about Spring that I wet my plants!

Why do we paint eggs at Easter? Have you ever tried to wallpaper one?

Did you hear that they just invented a car that will get 250 miles per gallon? It runs on April Fuel.

If April showers bring May flowers what do May flowers bring? P Pilgrims.

What do trees say iin Spring-time? That's a releaf!

What comes at the end of April? The letter 'l'l

What's Irish and comes out in the spring? Paddy O'Furniture!

Can February March? No, but April May.

What goes up when spring rain comes down? An umbrella.

What monster plays the most April Fool’s jokes? Prankenstein.

Why did the Easter egg hide? He was a little Chicken.

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Leek No. 1 Boot Sale

SUPPORTING ANIMAL CHARITIES Every Sunday*, Salisbury ST13 8YG From 7am - 11:30am

£6 per car

07837 815542 *Excludes Easter Sunday

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• Bras for all occasions • Bra fitting specialists • Gift vouchers available • Excellent range of shapewear 15 Russell Street, Leek,ST13 5JF Tel: 01538 383106


newly-formed club for horse-riders in the Moorlands has hosted a festive awards ceremony for its members.

The Moorlands Riding Club and Academy was launched last April, offering adult riders of all abilities the chance to socialise while receiving structured coaching. Run by ‘Resilient Rider’ coach and trainer, Emma Murphy, the club now has more than 30 members – four of whom competed in their first ‘One Day Event’ in the autumn. At the competition, Sally Madden from Whaley Bridge rode Nancy, Judie Langford from Waterhouses rode Lennox, Amy Herridge from Ashbourne rode Maisey, while Sarah Hotchin from Ashbourne rode Troublesome 2. Emma said: “The club is a platform for adult riders of all abilities to meet up regularly, socialise with their horses and like-minded people, whilst getting structured, quality coaching. “The training builds confidence in both horse and rider while learning techniques to control the mind and emotions. “It gives riders the chance to improve on all levels and encourages them to get out to competitions and have a go.” The club had a Christmas party and awards night recently, handing out rosettes and trophies to league winners and other prizes for club categories. The dressage league winner was David Devereux from Cheddleton riding Dan Dare, with runner-up Tracey Heeks from Leek riding Maisey. The show-jumping league winner was Jennifer Moseley from Caverswall riding Bailey, with Judie Langford riding Lennox as runner-up. Club awards for Most Improved Rider and Most Consistent Rider were presented to Jennifer Moseley, with Julie Turner from Calton named Most Courageous Rider. Rachel Clewlow, from Leek, was awarded Most Resilient Rider. The Moorlands Riding Club and Academy is based at Beaver Hall Equestrian Centre, near Leek and meets on Wednesday evenings throughout the year, and also on some Saturdays. In the winter months we use indoor arenas, mainly Round Meadows Equestrian Centre at Wetley Rocks. For more information about the club look for @moorlandsridingclubandacademy on Facebook.

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ave you heard of Patient Participation Groups - or PPGs as they are known? If not, then Katie Giddings, who is the secretary of the Leek and Biddulph Patient Locality Group tells us all about them here. Every good GP surgery has one, and all three practices in Leek have active PPGs – so, if you're registered with Moorlands Medical Practice, Park Medical Practice or Leek Health Centre – there will be a PPG for you. A PPG is a volunteer group of ordinary people of all ages and walks of life who share an interest in health care. As PPG members they work together with their practice to improve things for patients. They meet up to discuss a wide range of

topics. These could be practice based, such as waiting room facilities, the appointments system, pharmacy and health services – or on wider topics such as access to hearing aids. All the Leek practices care very much about you and your family's health and want to know what you think. PPGs are a great way of making your voice heard. The groups are very approachable with friendly and inclusive meetings. There's always space for new members to get involved. The leaflets at the practice reception areas give more details, or you can check the websites. Recently there has been the formation of the new Leek and Biddulph Primary Care Network. All the five GP surgeries in Leek and Biddulph have linked to form the new Primary Care Network.

They will continue to work as individual practices but will also work together to share new staff such as a pharmacist and a social prescriber and so can offer extra health services locally for our benefit. On Tuesday March 10 between 1.30pm until 3.30pm at St Luke's Church in Fountain Street, Leek, there will be a chance for people to meet staff from the practices, find out more about the new Primary Care Network and see how it will benefit you as a patient. People will be able to meet different members of the clinical teams, find out what they do and ask all the questions they want. It's a drop in event and we hope many patients will take up the invitation to come along. Members of the PPGs will also be there so please do come and say hello.


New well dressing queen has been chosen


reparations are in hand for this year’s Endon Well Dressing festival which will be the 176th celebration. The family extravaganza will take place over the weekend of May 23,24, and 25. Co-organiser of the well dressing, Sylvia Jones, said: “The new Well Dressing Queen has been chosen and 10-year old Grace Williamson of Endon Hall Primary School is preparing to choose her

retinue and decide on her dress and train. “Children are getting ready to start practising for maypole dancing.

“All the local schools will be taking part in different activities such as singing, dancing and designing and decorating their own well board.” This year's event is set to include a very varied range of attractions from the Recycling Wizard, archery, and the daily duck races to the Sunday Pet Show which is always a favourite. Follow Endon Well Dressing on Facebook to find out more detailed information.

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Ann Moorhouse (far right), of North Staffordshire Guide Dogs for the Blind, guide dog Tasha (front left), and Janice Burton (fourth from right, with Junior, an adopted retired guide dog) receive the cheque from Leek United’s Mortgage Operations team.


charity dedicated to helping blind and partially-sighted people lead more independent lives has received a further cash boost from Leek United Building Society. The society’s Mortgage Operations team has made a donation of £330 to the Guide Dogs for the Blind towards the training of new guide dogs in the Midlands. It follows the colleagues’ earlier gift of £500 to the charity last year, after they held a series of in-house fundraising events. The latest cheque was received by former British Paralympic swimming star Janice Burton MBE, herself a guide dog owner, and Ann Moorhouse, a North Staffordshire volunteer with the charity, at Leek United’s Customer Service Centre in St

Edward Street, Leek. “Guide dogs really do change people’s lives, and have given me my life back,” said Janice, of Cheadle, who attended the presentation with Junior, an adopted, retired guide dog she looks after. “My own guide dog, Viking, gives me independence and mobility, as well as devotion and companionship. And, at the end of their working lives, we are given the choice of retaining and looking after them as pets; over the past 40 years I have had six guide dogs – and have kept them all.” Ann added: “There are 32 guide dogs currently working in the North Staffordshire area. It costs £55,000 for a guide dog, from birth to retirement. “Ongoing fundraising is vital to us, and it’s brilliant that Leek United Building Society have continued to

support us so generously in this way.” The society’s Mortgage Operations team raised the money by organising and taking part in a number of activities throughout 2019, including: making and selling home-made soup to colleagues; holding Easter and Christmas ‘bake-off’ competitions and selling the produce; staging a Chinese auction of donated gifts. Mortgage Operations Manager Jackie Derrett, said: “All these activities have been really enjoyable, as well as being brilliant for teambuilding and morale within the department. “In addition to Guide Dogs for the Blind, we are planning to make similar donations to two additional good causes from the money we raised during last year.”

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CHRISTIAN AID WALK Tittesworth. Picture by Chris Maynard

Three decades of large scale fundraiser


LARGE scale fundraising event is set to take place at a Moorlands scenic spot. Tittesworth Water, near Leek, will be the venue for the 30th annual sponsored walk hosted by the North Staffordshire Christian Aid Committee on Saturday March 28. Since the events started in 1991, participants have helped raise an amazing one million pounds for the charity – funds which are used to help those living in poverty. Co-organiser John Bamford said: “Donations and promises of financial support have already

been made to cover all this year's expenses, so every penny that participant collect through sponsorship will go directly to Christian Aid as usual. “Tittesworth Water are allowing our walkers to park their vehicles for a payment of £3, regardless of how long they stay.” Registration for the walk will take place from 9.15am onwards with the event starting at 10am. Participants have the choice of two routes – a short and easy walk of approximately two miles, or a longer walk of roughly five miles, both of which are clearly signposted.

John added: “As usual we will have St John Ambulance Brigade members on duty together with our own stewards and Easter eggs will be distributed to anyone brave enough to take part in fancy dress or wearing an Easter bonnet.” This year's Christian Aid Walk will be launched by the Bishop of Lichfield and the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent. Anyone requiring a paper sponsorship form should contact John on 01782 516137. Alternatively forms are available digitally from Michael Willmot by emailing him at mwillmot@talktalk.net.




LANS are in motion for a Moorlands town to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Sunday, May 10 is the date for the celebration in Leek at the Silk Street Car Park and also in the adjacent Trestle Market building. The event, which will run from midday until 3pm, is set to include stalls,

music, dancers, classic vehicles and lots more. The aim of the Leek Town Council Events Committee, which is organising the event, is to “take our town centre back to 1945 to remember, and celebrate, the 75th Anniversary of VE Day”. For updates on the VE Day celebrations in Leek, go online to www.facebook.com/events/ 464294841143214.

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Volunteer award nominations now open


omin nations have open ned d for the 2020 Sup pport Sta affordshiire Volunteeer Star Awards across thee county. Th his annual event aims to o publicly recognise and celeb brate the outstan nding achievemen nts and commiitment of volunteeers and organisation ns who go the extra mile to support our communitiies. In 2019 more than 1,200 people attended ceremonies across Staffordshire with events held in Cannock Chase, Stafford and District, Lichfield and District, South Staffordshire, East Staffordshire and Staffordshire Moorlands. This year there will be additional events being held in Tamworth and Newcastleunder-Lyme. The events org ganiised d by Support Staffordsh hire take place throughout Jun ne to mark the UK’s biggest celebrration of

Volunteering ‘National Volunteers’ Week’, (June 1-7). The Staffordshire Moorlands Volunteer Star Awards will take place on Tuesday, June 30 at Westwood Golf Club in Leek. Nominations are being sought in the following ten award categories: Volunteering Support for Young People, Volunteering Support for the overr 65’s, Personal Achievemen nt, Business Contribu ution to Communitiies, Trustee of the Year, New Volunteerr Team of the Year, Volunteeer Team of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and, Lifetime Achiievvement. Garryy Jones, Chief Executive of Suppo ort Staffordshirre sa aid: “We are delighted to o be hostting eight evvents this year which has only beeen possible due to the generosityy and support of local businessses.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sector and these events are all about tak king an hour or two to reecognisee the people who give theiir time freelly, without promise off materia al reward, to help the peo ople and places around them. “We are already looking forward d to reading the inspiiratiional stories of local giviing.” Anyonee can nominate an individual, group, organisation or business they feeel deserve to be recognised for their contribution. Nominatiions can be made via the websiite at www.ssupporrtstaffordshire.org. uk, and the closing date is Friday, Apriil 3 at 5pm. For more information about how to nominate or for details on sponsorship opportunities visit the Support Staffordshire website, email awards@supportstaffordshire.o rg.uk or call 0300 7771207.

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hen I joined the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA for short) around 20 years ago, I did so because of my interest in real cask ale in all its different forms. I was fascinated why some beers were stronger than others and why some were dark and heavy while others were very light in colour and texture. Why did some taste distinctly malty while others were quite bitter or had a citrus flavour? Most CAMRA run beer festivals were and still are a showcase for different breweries both local and national to show an eager beer drinking fraternity the huge range of styles, flavours and textures that true real ale consists of. In fact, beer festivals were once the only places you could really get a decent choice of different beers. There was of course always a limited choice of cask ale to be had in a number of pubs locally but on the whole the big brewing empires that had swallowed up many of the smaller local breweries in the 60’s and 70’s then subsequently closed them down had put a stop to customers having a real choice. They wanted us all to drink chilled, bland and uniform keg only beer, quietly hoping the cask ale market would fade away completely. The good news for us in the Staffordshire Moorlands area as a whole - which of course includes the great pub town of Leek - is that we do not have to travel to a beer festival any more to enjoy the full spectrum of beer styles as they are here right on our doorstep. Leek has been dubbed ‘A Beer Festival Every Day’ for its wide and diverse pub scene. Not so long ago you'd have to travel to a beer festival to sample a dark beer or real cider for example; but now we are lucky enough to have many town centre pubs and bars that sell such delights permanently. Some obvious examples are The Wilkes Head, Beer Dock, The Old Mill, Roebuck,

Cock Inn, Earl Grey, Fountain and Blue Mugge; the list goes on and on. So, whether you enjoy a dark heavy brew, a traditional bitter, a stronger barley wine type, an India Pale Ale (IPA) or a light easy drinking ‘session’ ale, or real cider, our town really has it all. Cheers! Steve Barton Chairman of the Staffordshire Moorlands Campaign for Real Ale branch

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An evening of twisted tales at the Foxlowe Arts Centre


n anarchic night of hilariously dark theatre is set to make a welcome return to a theatre stage in Leek.

Next up in the Foxlowe series of Live and Local professional theatre shows is a return visit on Wednesday, March 25 from one of last year’s big hits. Back by popular demand, ‘Owdyado Theatre Company present their brand new show 'Twisted Tales 2'. Following on from the huge success of 'Twisted Tales' last year, this is a new trilogy of darkly comic and surprising stories of the macabre and mysterious from three distinct voices: get ready for an anarchic night of hilariously dark theatre. Inspired by cult series The Twilight Zone and Inside Number Nine this series of dark comedies is co-written by Daniel Richards and Charlotte Bister (‘Owdyado Theatre) as well as

distinguished Cornish writers Brett Harvey (o region) and Jon Welch (Pipeline Theatre). Live and Local is the touring network which offers professional touring theatre across seven counties of England. The performance of Twisted Tales at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek on March 25 will start at 7.30pm. For further information and to purchase tickets go online to www.foxloweartscentre.org.uk.


Donation time for Lions club


ion President Les Critchlow recently attended the Jesters Scooter Club Annual General Meeting. During the meeting Neil Rutter, a member of the club, presented Les with a cheque for £300. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Jester Scooter Club members for their continued support. We are looking forward to this year’s event which starts at 11am on Sunday, May 17. Lions Colin, John and Lynda attended their LP Les accepting a cheque from Neil Rutter. February meeting to present a donation of £200 towards the running costs of the very active Parkinson’s UK Leek Support Group which meets every two weeks. Their meetings are well attended and during our visit we also met Monty the dog – a friendly soul who enjoyed being made a fuss of. John was in his element with Monty by his side. The speaker was NatWest Community Banker Georgina Woodcock who spoke about scams and gave excellent advice staying safe and secure. Monty the dog with Lions member John.

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what’s on

WHAT’S ON March & April

Do you have an event taking place during May and June which you would like to see promoted in our next edition of the Leek Life Magazine? Email details to life@timesandecho.co.uk PLEASE NOTE – all of the below events are subject to change. Please check with venues for up to date information.

Maarch M Thursday March 5 Funhouse Comedy Club. Doors open at 7pm for 8pm start at The Foxlowe Arts Centre. Admission £10. Friday March 6 International Women’s Day Celebration at Hotel Rudyard, near Leek. Tickets and details: 07518 074185 or suzsheldon@btinternet.com.

Sunday March 1 Exhibition Running until March 28 at the Nicholson Gallery and Museum, Stockwell Street, Leek. With the Staffordshire Embroideries. Plus a Meet & Greet and talk by creator Sylvia Everitt on March 7 at 1pm booking essential, call 01538 395530. Road Trip 5pm at the Beerdock, Market Place, Leek. Part of the Leek Blues and Americana Festival's Winter Warmer 2020. Steve Giddings & Helen Walford 5pm at The Fountain, Fountain Street, Leek. Part of the Leek Blues and Americana Festival's Winter Warmer 2020. Saturday March 7 Live Music 9pm at The Winking Man, Upperhulme, near Leek. Vintage Gould with Brian Rushton. Free admission. Details: www.winkingman.co.uk.

Tuesday March 10 Patient Participation Groups Drop-in Session 1.30pm until 3.30pm at St Luke's Church, Fountain Street, Leek. A chance for people to meet staff from the GP practices, find out more about the new Primary Care Network and see how it will benefit you as a patient. Saturday March 14 Feltworks Exhibition. Running until May 2 at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. With creations by Ruth Broadbent and Tyra Till. Plus Meet the Artists on March 14. Foxlowe gallery opening times: 10am-4pm Wednesday to Saturday. Free admission. Alfie Moore-Fair Cop Unleashed 7.15pm at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. Tickets: £12.

Wednesday March 11 Documentary Screening 7.45pm at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. With Symbolic Earth. Free admission with donations welcome. Sunday March 15 Pub Quiz 8pm at The Flying Horse, Ashbourne Road, Leek. £10 drinks prize plus jackpot bottle top draw. Entry £1 per person. Sandwiches available. Wednesday March 18 Illustrated Talk. Doors open at 7pm for 7.30pm start at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. Out of the Noise – Reflections on a post war childhood in Leek by Michael Fisher. Free admission with donations welcome.

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what’s on Friday March 20 Evening of Nostalgia at Rudyard Methodist Church, Lake Road, near Leek. Geoff Buxton a retired and very well respected local farmer will be reminiscing about what life was like for evacuees during the war in and around Rudyard. Proceeds to the new trip boat at Rudyard Lake. Tickets £5 including light refreshments. Details: 07518 074185 or suzsheldon@btinternet.com.

Saturday March 21 Social Dance 8pm at Swythamley and Heaton Centre. With Tony Allen. Licensed bar. £6 admission which includes refreshments. Details: 01260 227681. Ian McNabb (The Icicle Works) Solo Show at The Foxlowe Arts Centre. Tickets: £16.50.

Leek - Palestine Link Group. Doors open at 6pm for 7.30pm start at the Foxlowe Arts Centre with the screening of The Wanted 18 Blurb plus Sunday March 22 Palestinian food will be served. All proceeds to Mothers Day Lunch. Train departs at Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) 12.35pm at Churnet Valley Railway. Details: www.churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk. Wednesday March 25 Live & Local 7.30pm at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. With Twisted Tales 2. Details: www.foxloweartscentre.org.uk.

Friday March 27 The Grahams at The Foxlowe Arts Centre. Tickets £12.50. Part of the Leek Blues and Americana Festival's Winter Warmer 2020.

Thursday March 26 Nilsen's Southern Harmony. 8.30pm at The Cock Inn, Derby Street, Leek. Also at the Black Lion in Cheddleton on April 1 at 8pm; and at the Roebuck, Derby Street, Leek on Sunday, April 4 at 4pm. Saturday March 28 Christian Aid Walk. Registration from 9.15am for a 10am start at Tittesworth Water, near Leek. The 30th annual sponsored walk hosted by the North Staffordshire Christian Aid Committee. Details: call 01782 516137 or email mwillmot@talktalk.net. Gardening Event 11am-2pm at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. A Seed Swap/Share event.

Appril A

Thursday April 2 Funhouse Comedy Club. Doors open at 7pm for 8pm start at The Foxlowe Arts Centre. Admission £10.

Friday April 3 Henge. Doors open at 8pm at The Foxlowe Arts Centre. Tickets £15.

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what’s on Saturday April 4 Jeffery Foucault. Doors open at 7.30pm for 8pm start at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek. Tickets £12.50. Part of the Leek Blues and Americana Festival's Winter Warmer 2020. Sunday April 5 Border Explorer at Churnet Valley Railway. Details: www.churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk. Wednesday April 8 Documentary Screening 7.45pm at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. With Living the Change. Free admission with donations welcome. Saturday April 11 Mad Hatters Tea Party. Running until Monday, April 13 at Churnet Valley Railway. Details: www.churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk. Wednesday April 15 Sister Act The Musical 7.30pm at Westwood First School, Westwood Road, Leek. Performed by the Leek Musical Theatre Company. Running every evening until April 18, plus a Saturday matinee. Tickets £10 from Leek Post Office in High Street, Grainger in Derby Street, Leek, ticket secretary on 01538 382546, or on-line at www.leekmusicaltheatre.com. Friday April 24 Celebration of Marriage and Flower Festival. Running until Monday, April 27 at St John's the Baptist Church, Mill Lane, Wetley Rocks. Church open from 10am-4pm on Fri, Sat and Mon with displays of wedding dresses, bouquets and memorabilia from the 1940s to present day. Gospel Choir Concert on Friday at 7pm with tickets £3. Special Service on Sunday at 10.45am. Church Choir singing wedding hymns at 1pm on Sunday and church open until 4pm. Refreshments available on all days. Details: 07582 335813. Community Quiz 7pm for 7.30pm start at Rudyard Methodist Church, Lake Road, near Leek. Blockbuster Style with raffle. £10 for a team of four to include light refreshments. Proceeds to the new trip boat at Rudyard Lake. To book a team call 07518 074185 or email suzsheldon@btinternet.com. Simon Evans: The Work of the Devil 8pm at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. Part of the Leek Arts Festival. Tickets: £15.

Saturday April 18 Mik Artistik's Ego Trip + Nick Degg, Poet 8.30pm at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. Tickets £12.

Saturday April 25 Saturday Lunch Train at Churnet Valley Railway. Details: www.churnetvalley railway.co.uk. The Super Skank! 3.30pm11pm at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. Seven bands and a vinyl DJ. Wristbands: £25.

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Reg egular events Acoustic Sessions: Every Monday evening at The Wilkes Head, St Edward Street, Leek. Borderland Voices Workshops: Bank House, St Edward Street. Every Monday: Patchwork Group – 10.30am-12.30pm. Every Tuesday: Creative Writing – 10.30am12.30pm. Creative Space – 1.30pm-3.30pm. 01538 528708. www.borderlandvoices.org.uk Charity Car Boot: Every Sunday morning in the car park of Sainsbury's in Leek. In aid of Animal charities. Couch to 5K Fitness Event at Brough Park, Leek: Every Saturday. For beginners and athletes of all ages to walk, jog or run their way to better health and fitness. Choose from 800m, 1.5k, 2.2k, 3.6k and 5k. Annual fee: £3. Plus on Wednesdays: training session at 6pm. Details: 'Brough Park Running Club' page on Facebook. Craft Club: 10.45am-11.45am at Leek Library, Stockwell Street, Leek: Every Saturday. For ages three years and over with grown up. 50p per child. Foxlowe Films: 7.45pm at The Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek. Every Tuesday. Admission £5. Details and full film programme: www.foxloweartscentre.org.uk. Free Guided Tours of Nicholson War Memorial in Leek: Every first Sunday and third Saturday of the month between April and September. Sundays: 1pm-3pm. Saturdays: 11am-1pm. Details: 01538 381271. Haregate in Action Cash Bingo at the Hare & Gate pub: Eyes down at 8.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Large Car Boot Sale: 8am-1.30pm every Sunday at the Cattle Market, off Junction Road, Leek with indoor and outdoor pitches. Details: 07967 100297. Leek Breastfeeding Group: Every Thursday afternoon from 12.30pm until 3pm at the Community Fire Station, Springfield Road, Leek. Details: Find 'Leek Breastfeeding group' on Facebook. Leek Morris: Every Friday at 7.30pm at the 2nd Leek Scout Hall, Clerk Bank, Leek. Potential dancers and musicians are welcome. Details: www.leekmorris.com

what’s on

Live Music: Every Saturday evening at The Cock Inn, Derby Street, Leek. Plus most Saturday evenings at The Roebuck, Derby Street, Leek. Plus every Sunday at 5pm at The Fountain Inn, Fountain Street, Leek. Pub Quiz: at around 8.30pm at The Earl Grey, Ashbourne Road, Leek: Every Wednesday. Qigong Classes: Twice monthly classes in the Rainbow Room at the Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek from 10am-11.30am. £10 per class. Details: 07989 986672. Queen of the Moorlands Women's Institute: Doors open at 7pm for 7.25pm start every second Thursday of each month at Leek's Community Fire Station in Springfield Road. Staffordshire Moorlands Guild of Weavers,Spinners & Dyers: 7.15pm at the Community Centre, Hollow Lane, Cheddleton: Every third Friday of the month. New and old members welcome. Details: 01335 418027 or 07812 129071. Story Finders Baby and Toddler Group: 1.45pm-3.30pm at St Edward's Church, Leek: Every Wednesday (Term time only). Details: 07929 888259. Totally Locally Sunday Supplement: 10.30am-3pm in Leek town centre: Every first Sunday of the month. Award-winning food and artisan market with more than 80 stalls. Plus Leek's many independent shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and pubs will be open for the day. TinyTalk and Baby Signing: Every Monday at The Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek. 10am-11am: Toddler Talk. 11.15am-12.15am: Baby Sign. Details: www.facebook.com/TinyTalkHighPeakandLee k Vintage and Craft Market: 7am-3pm in the Market Place in Leek every Saturday. Plus in the Indoor Trestle Market on Fridays from 9am until 4pm. Details: 07919 521794. Wildlings: Every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at The Roaches, near Leek. A play group with a twist hosted by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Details: www.facebook.com/swtactivities Yoga Classes: Every Friday at 9.30am10.45am at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. For all levels.

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Franchisee’s to Target Local Media - Local Agents Part of National Award-Winning Team A local estate agent is celebrating

Chris Walthall who runs EweMove

after being recognised as being part of

across Leek, Hanley, Biddulph &


Kidsgrove was delighted to be part of



agency in the

the team which were presented with


the Best National Lettings Agency at the recent EA Masters event in central London. EweMove triumphed ahead of

Chris Walthall

thousands of competitors to win the




explained why. Chris said: “Winning this award shows the level of customer care we provide our clients whether it’s lettings or sales. We were judged on



service and results during



analysis project and a


mystery shopping exercise.

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EweMove is consistently at the top of

the country in a 9-month review taking

the review site Trustpilot estate agency

into account data from Rightmove and

league table and that’s down to going

mystery shopping exercises.

the extra mile to ensure our clients are happy.

TV’s Gabby Logan presented the award at the EA Masters event in

I’m proud to be part of a company that places the client’s happiness at the centre of everything it does.” The awards looked at 16000 estate agency brands and 25000 offices across

London in October. EweMove also made the Top 3% of agents in the national sales analysis carried







EweMove Leek & Hanley rated Excellent in the Best Estate Agent Guide

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lans are continuing to be made to save an annual show from extinction.

Last year, the Leek & District Show announced that it had taken the difficult decision to end the agricultural extravaganza following falls in attendance and revenues during the last two years. However, additional people have now gone on board the committee to help revitalise the family event which is set to take place this year on Saturday, July 25. A spokesman for the committee said: “We have co-opted a number of new members with the effect that the traditional format has been secured with all major sections setting their competition schedules as we speak.

“The date is now firmly fixed for July 25 with trade stand entries being taken at tradestands@gmail.com. “The organisers wish to provide a full day of interest to visitors with cattle, sheep, heavy horses, carriage driving, a fun dog show and a variety of rural and commercial trade and craft stands. “Parking will include the cattle market as well as a park and ride from Ornua. “With ticket prices as last year we want as many people as possible to come and meet their friends, see the exhibits, find a bargain among the stalls and enjoy live music at eventide.” To keep up to date with what's on at this year's Leek & District Show, go online to www.leekshow.org.uk.

CLUB T E K IC R C K E E L F O HOME Leek Highfield, situated in the Moorlands countryside with its panoramic views, is the ideal venue for business meetings, seminars, small conferences, weddings and social events. The newly built clubhouse and function room, which can accommodate up to 120 people, can be adapted to meet your needs and there is ample parking space for your guests. You can provide your own catering or alternatively take advantage of our friendly catering and bar service to guarantee a successful event.


Meetings • Seminars Weddings • Social events • etc.

Don’t take our word for it - come and see for yourself!

Leek Cricket Club, Highfield, Macclesfield Rd, Leek, Stoke-On-Trent, 01538 388 779 or 01538 382 524 | Leek Cricket Club

Leek Life March/April 2020.qxp_Leek Life 21/02/2020 11:54 Page 27


Dates set for free tours of monumental war memorial


he 2020 programme of free tours inside a monumental structure in the Moorlands is about to begin.

The tours of the Nicholson War Memorial in Leek, which is locally known as The Monument, had initially just been staged on the third Saturday of every month but are now also being offered on the first Sunday of the month to coincide with the town's Sunday Supplement event. The tours, which are offered by Leek Town Council in conjunction with the Friends of the

Nicholson War Memorial, run from 11am until 1pm on the Saturdays and 1pm until 3pm on the Sundays. They are held during the months of April through to September each year. There is no need to book a tour, simply turn up on the day (last tour starts half an hour before close time) and the experienced volunteer guides will be happy to show you around. Dates and times for the 2020 tours are: Sunday 5th April 1pm to 3pm Saturday 18th April 11am to 1pm Sunday 3rd May 1pm to 3pm Saturday 16th May 11am to 1pm Sunday 7th June 1pm to 3pm Saturday 20th June 11am to 1pm Sunday 5th July 1pm to 3pm Saturday 18th July 11am to 1pm Sunday 2nd August 1pm to 3pm Saturday 15th August 11am to 1pm Sunday 6th September 1pm to 3pm Saturday 19th September 11am to 1pm Community organisations can book tours on other dates by contacting Leek Town Clerk on 01538 381271 or at office@leektowncouncil.gov.uk. For further information go to www.nicholsonmemorial.org.uk.



oxlowe Arts Centre in Leek is not only a lovely bustling building full to the brim of all things creative and entertaining – but the gardens at the Georgian site are amass with fruits of the volunteer gardeners' labour. The team, which is led by garden co-ordinator Alison McCrea, not only lovingly nurture the gardens and have turned them into what they are today but they also host a number of greenfingered focused events at the Foxlowe to help and encourage others to enjoy the past-time of gardening. Next up will be a Seed Share event which has been scheduled for Saturday, March 28. The event will be held in the bar area within

the Foxlowe Arts Centre between 11am and 2pm. Alison said: “If you are not familiar with the concept, it's like a seed swap but, if you don't have any of your own seeds to bring, you can make a donation instead. “As before, we will be bringing additional supplies of heritage seeds and also green manure seeds for those plants that protect the soil between crops, minimising erosion and the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. “In their different ways they also fix nitrogen, bring nutrients up from deeper soil layers and improve the cycling of nutrients in the topsoil where plants need them “It’s worth checking them out, as they haven’t so far been widely

available in most garden centres.” Later in the year, on Saturday, May 30, there will be a Plant Share event – again running between 11am and 2pm. Alison said: “If your green fingers produce more seedlings than you can possibly use, why not bring them to our Plant Share in May? “This event will be held, weather permitting, on the Foxlowe patio and people may well find replacements for those seedlings that didn't work for them, or something totally different instead.” For further information about the Foxlowe Gardens and about events held by the gardening team, go online to www.foxloweartscentre.org.uk.

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eek is full to the brim of wonderful independent, often family run, businesses which help make this town the unique place it is. Some thrive from local sales alone but some even serve a larger more global market. One such business which has superseded even the owner's expectations is that of Railtrail Tours Ltd. From its humble beginnings of operating in the lounge of train trip enthusiast Dave Felstead, the company is now based in a large office space in the Smithfield Centre and employs 15 people the majority of whom are local. With the slogan “Big on quality, small enough to care”, the team at Railtrail certainly take pride in the tours they offer – always ensuring that they deliver the best escorted rail holidays just as their strapline of ‘Big on quality, small enough to care’ suggests. Their recent award of Platinum status by the feedback company Feefo confirms holidays that their customers require. Father of three and grandfather of two Dave began offering rail focused holidays from his humble home in Cheddleton using an imperial typewriter, before renting a portacabin at a local caravan park and employing one other to help him build the company, to then moving into a shop/office in St Edward Street in Leek, then employing 12, to now in a large office space in the Smithfield Centre, Leek employing a total of 15 people. Dave began with small holidays such as four day trips to the Scottish islands, to now also offering five star fortnight-long tours to India. Dave said: “It's taken a huge amount of persistence and dedication to get here. “But if you stick at things, and have a passion for something, it can be done.” As well as local people, Dave takes pride in

employing his son Paul and daughter Julie who help run the company which now operates over 130 departures a year. He said: “I feel proud that Paul and Julie want to be involved in Railtrail and I am also proud that we are a local company.” Potteries born Dave, who is a life long Port Vale fan, loves Leek and that is why he chose to expand his business in the Moorlands town. He said: “I love the Totally Locally initiative in town as I really believe in spending locally. “There's also a fantastic music scene including the Leek Blues and Americana Festival, and, most importantly to me, Leek is the centre of the universe where real ale is concerned.” Dave admitted that running Railtrail is not about making money but about providing tours which he would go on himself. He said: “To me this is not running a business – my interest in rail travel has been my driving motive. “It's not been about becoming super rich although it is nice to be comfortable at this stage of my life, it has simply enabled me to travel all around Europe and discover many places in my preferred form of transport that I would simply not have been able to afford otherwise. “Our tours collection is very diverse varying from the classic rail holiday travelling through beautiful scenery in comfort to wonderful destinations. Tours that satisfy the desire of many to enjoy seeing, photographing, and travelling with steam trains. Tours delving into the heritage world and tours for devotees of the hop and possibly the vine. “Our current tours collection can be viewed at www.railtrail.co.uk where you can register your email address to receive details of all new tours before they are publicly launched.”

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leek town crier


eek resident Bill Lomas is looking forward to another year of engagements in his much-valued volunteer role as our Leek Town

Crier. Here he speaks of the many community events he attends: The cold, wet months of January and February are here with the weather giving us all the uncertainty of how severe its going to be. We are having some surprises of late but I hope that you are all looking forward to the spring and summer and what's in the diary for us. I'm going to start by saying something about our wonderful volunteers and organisers of the many events that happen in our great town. I hear and listen to a very large number of local people and also visitors to our town. A lot is said about a lot of things here by local people, some who are anxious and a little worried about things happening in Leek and some who are happy for things to happen. It's not my job, as the town crier to get involved in debate or make opinion on local issues but I can and do think long and hard on certain things on which I will have my own views. Let me say this to the good people of Leek - all the events and happenings in Leek don't just

happen on their own. It takes a dedicated team of, usually volunteers, to think the ideas, work it in a plan and execute it into the finished product. A lot of people in this town give so much dedication to all these things, whether they be for charity, town events: the Scooterfest, even the gentleman's ride which was here a couple of years ago, the Leek Show, Blues and Americana Festival, Party in the Park with the Carnival Queen parade, Action West End Family Fun Day, Endon Well Dressing, to the little fund raisers and coffee mornings held in Trinity Church. So many things that go on here, never undervalue these dedicated people. Give them all the support that they deserve, and look out for new events that are in the pipeline from the Leek Town Council Events team. I was born on November 8, 1945 so this year I will be 75 years old so the celebrations happening on Sunday, May 10 are very relevant to me as its the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two. I will be making announcements throughout the celebration as Leek Town Crier. We all hope that everyone will become involved from dressing in period clothes to helping in the preparations. Let's all pull together and be proud of our town of Leek.

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By historian Bill Cawley


he film '1917' has garnered many awards. I saw it a few weeks ago and it deserv rves v the praise. Not to give too much away, the action is set on the Western Front, it concerns two soldiers’ attempts to get an urgent message to the front before a crucial First World War battle. The filming is very ryy graphic and my wife winced at one scene in “no man’s land” which was not for the squeamish. The action takes place on April 6, 1917 and it gives me the opportunity to explore what was happening in Leek then. People in the town would have been war weary ryy in the third year of the confl flict, l but little did they know momentous events in March and April 1917 would ultimately lead to Allied All victory ryy 18 months later. The end of Czar Nicholas in Russia and the first Russian Revolution combined with American entry ryy into the war on April 6, the very ryy day '1917' was set, were turning points. Leek folk would have been unaware of the ultimate impact of these distant events as they queued up for rations or scanned local papers for news from the front. The death toll continued to be grim and

unending. The family of Stanley Creech a former attendant at St Edward’s Asylum were informed that Stanley, a keen local footballer, had died of wounds. Mrs Robinson of Prospect Cottage Ashbourne Road received a telegram to say that her son James had been killed fighting in a Canadian regiment. James had emigrated a few years before having been a farm labourer on Harracles farm near Rudyard. Harry Shute of Grosvenor Street who had been in the war since the start was killed in the trenches on April 12. In local news was a long running dispute between Major Ballard and the council over the culverting of Leek Moor Brook which had resulted in the flooding fll of the Major’s land near Buxton Road. I wonder if it is a lost stream of the town? And to prove that even 100 years ago some things are remarkably similar John Morton of Cheddleton was before the magistrates charged with falsely claiming a pension. He was found guilty of benefit fraud; the Magistrate was shocked that Morton had £500 in his bank account and still claimed benefit. A job was advertised in the local paper for a steam roller driver in Leek although trundling along at three miles per hour would not have appealed to an early 20th century Jeremy Clarkson one suspects. There was always the cinema to go to dream your problems away. The Grand in High Streer was showing “The Girl Who Loves a Soldier “with female impersonator Vesta Tilley starring as a young girl who dresses as a man to follow her beau to the front.

Leek Life March/April 2020.qxp_Leek Life 21/02/2020 11:55 Page 32


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Leek Life March/April 2020.qxp_Leek Life 21/02/2020 11:55 Page 33



Leek Life March/April 2020.qxp_Leek Life 21/02/2020 11:55 Page 34

financial matters

State pensioners Prior preparation is key for a smooth transition into your new life It’s a dream for many that after years of hard work, it’s finally time to travel to far-off lands and enjoy your retirement without worrying about finances.With some planning beforehand, the dream of retiring abroad can become a reality.


ith milder winters, warmer summers and the potential to get more from your pension pot, it’s not surprising that some people decide to retire abroad.With so many places in the world inspiring dreams of a more relaxed lifestyle, the population of expat retirees keeps growing. If you’re planning to retire abroad, it’s important to look into the effect this could have on your finances before you make the move. PERSONAL AND WORKPLACE PENSIONS If you have an occupational or personal pension, it’s usually paid into your UK bank account. As long as you’ve paid enough National Insurance, you can claim your State Pension while living abroad. Your State Pension can be paid anywhere, so long as you inform the Department for Work and Pensions (currently, the State Pension increases each year by the greater of the increase in earnings, inflation or 2.5%. However, you’re not entitled to the annual increase in every country, so you should also check this before you move). You might also have the option to transfer your UK pension to a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).Transferring could give you more control, but there are various tax and regulatory implications that you’ll need to consider. It’s important to obtain professional financial advice to ensure you will not lose valuable guarantees and benefits, or have to pay excessive exit fees. Your income will be affected by fluctuations in the exchange rate, as well as local inflation, and there may be charges for currency conversion and transferring money to a foreign bank. HEALTHCARE As you get older, healthcare is an increasingly important consideration. It’s important to look into your rights to access healthcare in your country of choice and what costs may be involved. Currently, most pensioners retiring abroad choose European Economic Area countries. These have a special relationship with the UK that allows our citizens access to free healthcare. Pensioners already living in these countries should continue to benefit from this agreement beyond Brexit. However, for those considering a move in future, it’s still unknown if the relationship will continue, which might put your plans on hold for now. In most other countries, you will have to pay some or all of the cost of treatments, which can get expensive in

later life. Find out which medical treatments are free and which you will need to pay for.Will you need medical insurance too, and what is the quality of healthcare available? PROPERTY Buying a home in a foreign country can be more difficult than here in the UK, and the land titles, rights, consents, regulations, taxes and charges are almost certain to be different. Make sure you’re aware of how much it will cost to buy, and seek advice from solicitors, architects and surveyors with local experience. Remember that not only may the cost of buying be higher, but that you might need to budget for adaptations to keep your home accessible as you get older. TAXES Moving abroad will almost certainly have many tax implications. Unless your new country of residence has a double-tax agreement in place, you could end up paying tax both there and in the UK.Also, taxes such as Capital Gains Tax vary from country to country. Make sure you understand the effects of tax on your income and your own tax responsibilities. These tax burdens can be frustrating for many retirees. Complicated tax issues can also make it difficult to buy property abroad, and understanding all the local laws and implications can be a daunting task.n INFORMATION IS BASED ON OUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF TAXATION LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS. ANY LEVELS AND BASES OF, AND RELIEFS FROM, TAXATION ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. TAX TREATMENT IS BASED ON INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE IN THE FUTURE. ALTHOUGH ENDEAVOURS HAVE BEEN MADE TO PROVIDE ACCURATE AND TIMELY INFORMATION, WE CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT SUCH INFORMATION IS ACCURATE AS OF THE DATE IT IS RECEIVED OR THAT IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE ACCURATE IN THE FUTURE. NO INDIVIDUAL OR COMPANY SHOULD ACT UPON SUCH INFORMATION WITHOUT RECEIVING APPROPRIATE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AFTER A THOROUGH REVIEW OF THEIR PARTICULAR SITUATION. WE CANNOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY LOSS AS A RESULT OF ACTS OR OMISSIONS.

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Butterton Moor House W Warm, b beautiful, if l private i swimming i i pooll Our private pool is ideal for families, mums, babies/toddlers and other groups

Space now available in our Mums, Babies & Toddler Swims Changing/shower rooms, baby change mats, pool toys, hair dryer Wed & Fri - £6 per adults, children free Birthdays/celebration pool parties ask for details General swim prices per hour: Adults £7, Children (ages 4-12) £3, Babies/Toddlers Free. Pool minimum cost £15 per hour Parsons Lane, Butterton, Staffordshire, ST13 7PD Phone: 07870 380375 e: dianemlatham1@gmail.com www.buttertonmoorhouse.co.uk

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Fill your garden with these


jolly and bright flowers

ranny’s Bonnets - or columbine - are easy to grow, reliable and tough perennials that have popped up in cottage gardens from time immemorial. The proper name, aquilegia, comes from the Latin for 'eagle' from the resemblance of the shape of the flower to an eagle’s claw. Most books will tell you to plant them in moist soil with a little shade. Most aquilegias will also sow themselves into the driest, hottest parts of your garden and be perfectly content although the flowers may not last so long. There are diminutive types for the alpine garden and large, long-stemmed types for the border. All are easy to grow from seed, although named varieties might not always come true.

Aquilegia are notoriously promiscuous and if you grow more than one type, they will cross with gay abandon producing mixed seedlings in a range of shapes and colours. If buying seed, you can sow in April outdoors and have good sized plants to plant out in Autumn. If saving your own seed, sow in trays in a cold frame as soon as the seed is ripe and plant these out in March the following year. You can also divide plants with care, but these divisions do take a while to root. Remember, all parts of the plants including the seeds are poisonous. Aquilegias can be short-lived, going past their best after two or three years but I remember the same 'McKenna Hybrid' plants flowering away in my parents garden all my young life. The large flowers with their long backward facing spurs were an irresistible delight to me. These 'long-spurred' types are the result of crossing two wild American types: chrysantha, with yellow flowers and caerulea with blue. Lots of colours including red, pink and purple, often in partnership with white are now available. Other species from America

worth growing from seed are the red and yellow skinnerii and canadensis. I find these do appreciate a little more shade, more moisture in summer and better drainage in winter than some. The European native vulgaris are the more traditional granny’s bonnets usually in purple. Lots of colours and shapes of these are also available now including the double, spiky-flowered Barlow hybrids. 'Nora Barlow' in red, white and green was the first but lots more single colours have been added to the range including the near-black 'Black Barlow' and the greenish-white 'Green Apples'. For smaller plants 'Red Hobbit' is a good choice as are the 'Winky Hybrids'. The latter, unusually, has upward facing flowers. For the alpine garden there are many tiny ones. My favourite is the easy to grow but difficult to pronounce Aquilegia buergeriana “Calimero” with yellow and purple flowers on four to six inches/ 10-15 centimetre tall plants. A search of a good seed catalogue or a specialist at a plant fair should be able to provide you with lots of different sizes, shapes and colours of Granny’s Bonnets to fill your early summer garden with these jolly, bright flowers. Janet and I run Special Perennials website www.specialperennials.com and we sell at Plant Hunters’ Fairs. Check out www.planthuntersfairs.co.uk. MARTIN BLOW

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Youngsters flying the flag for Leek


fter a very busy Christmas period, in which the club raised £3,500, we are settling down to this year’s events.

First off, we hosted the local round of the Rotary Youth Debate which saw presentations from four teams from local schools leading to two of them progressing to the district finals in Cannock. The subjects for debate were: Criminal Liability, Technology and its effects, Surveillance within our society and Science versus Arts; all of which were well thought with a high standard of presentation. St Edwards Academy went through at Intermediate Level with Westwood College at Senior Level in what the judges admitted was a very close competition. The Young Chef competition, held in January, produced fierce competition within three Leek Schools and the two successful cooks went forward to the district competition at Stafford. These were Ayla Ibbitson and William Wood who flew the flag for the youth of Leek. The second weekend in March sees our annual Swimathon at Brough Park where local teams swim for their chosen charity with the

Rotary Club acting as hosts and lane counters. This event has raised over £60,000 since its inception for local charities. In the anticipation of good weather, the club is busy planning the eighth Auto Extravaganza at Heakley Hall Farm in Norton on Saturday, May 16 where we expect over 150 vintage vehicles of all descriptions together with trade stands, auto-jumble, funfair and a fun dog show. If you have a vintage car you are proud of come along and show it off. Contact Eddie Sims on 07748 328601.


A Garden Friend by Brenda Pascall With bright red jacket, and trousers of green; You look so happy, and nice and clean. As you stand there among the flowers; You keep your watch through the daylight hours. And when the moon rides overhead; You guard each flowerpot and bed. On black winter's morn, or sunny day; there's no discrimination! He greets them all with the same grin;

In bright anticipation. A jolly face, a friendly smile; To keep you company for a while. While the dishes pile up, or days are wet; I see your face and don't forget, That you keep smiling in the rain, Until the sun comes out again; Although you are only made of stone, I'm so glad I gave a home, To a happy garden gnome.

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Change your behaviour not your diet


ost of us, at some point in all our life's, have all let ourselves go a little and carried a bit more body fat than we would of liked to. Upon on realising our expanding waistline we would put down the crisps, refuse the takeaway and drink more water. Some of us may have even ventured to a weight loss group and taken up some exercise and hey presto we start to fit into our clothes once more. This all works well for a month or so but inevitably we slip back into our old ways. The kitchen no longer resembles a health food shop and we have a new favourite snack that we share tender moments with on a regular basis. Trousers get tight again and we are back to feeling unhappy with our bodies. Once again we turn down the takeaways and vanish any 'fattening foods' from our cupboards and this is where our problem begins. Ultimately we once again place the emphasise on our food choices when really we should be putting our efforts into our behaviours around food. In a nutshell you need to maintain a calorie deficit to lose body fat and you can do that whilst still enjoying the foods you like all year round. Below are three tips to help you get started. 1) If there is a particular food that leads to over indulgence, ie: chocolate or sweets, save

them for a weekend with a movie or share them with a loved one. Having this extra mindfulness will help to control the insatiable urge to binge. 2) Recognise your triggers. If you find yourself regularly succumbing to an all you can eat fridge buffet you may find there is a pattern that leads you to it. Is it because you are tired, stressed, lonely or busy? If you can identify the trigger then you can address it and stop trying to fix your problems with food. 3) Be aware of the calories. Ideally you should be counting all of your calories on one of the many free 'Calorie Counter' apps available. But at the very least you should always check the packet to see how many calories are in the foods you are picking. You will be less likely to pick certain foods or over indulge if you know you are about to sink a days worth of calories in one sitting. The world of fat loss can be daunting and confusing. But with some daily applications of common sense you can reduce your waistline without depriving yourself of the things you enjoy. If you need any extra advice feel free to pop into Cave Fitness or join my Facebook Group 'Jp - Personal Training @ Cave Fitness' for help with your dietary dilemmas. Body Transformation Coach JP

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reflections coaching

Getting a Spring in Your Step


his winter hasn’t been the best has it? Whilst, it has not been cold, it has been wet, wet, wet. Morning dog walks have become mudslides and I have donned my wellies almost daily. This morning, as I write, we have had the most beautiful winter’s day. It started very cold, very misty but when the sun broke through around 10 o’clock, it turned immediately into spring and it is still February. Snowdrops have burst into life, but also crocus and daffodils are appearing too. I have even opened windows and let the air into the house. It is a time when I think about springcleaning. The act of dusting away the cobwebs from not only the house, but my mind too is very therapeutic. It is so easy to become stuck in a rut through the winter and spring starts to inspire my creative side, giving me space to think. I feel alive with energy. I’ve had to clear my desk of some of the clutter and turn off my social media prompts, but I’ve made myself a new notepad (I’ve learned bookbinding over the winter), and started to mind map my ideas and plans. These include my

next art project, finally getting around to planning redesigning my lounge and revamping my website. I may not manage it all this year but at least I have made a start. What does spring make you want to do? How can you harness the energy spring brings and make the most of it? I am the author of “Don’t Just Dream It – Achieve It!” and a Creative Freedom Coach who supports others in achieving the life they want. If there’s something you want to achieve get in touch today.

“Creative Freedom is a fabulous way of achieving your personal or career aspirations” Contact Carolyn today on 07714 216388 to claim your free taster session with Reflections Coaching. Contact details: 07714 216388. Email Caro@reflectionscoaching.co.uk. www.reflectionscoaching.co.uk

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he Leek-based Borderland Voices has reached its 21st Birthday. Here the charity's coordinator Andy Collins gives us a run-down of the much-valued support organisation. As our Leek-based micro charity has reached its 21st birthday milestone, we continue to focus on Borderland Voices’ (BV) key strengths: delivering weekly, free, professionally-led workshops in a range of arts media to support health and mental well-being. But in these days of financial austerity, it’s both increasingly difficult to obtain large grants and correspondingly hard to piece together enough in small grants

and donations to cover our outgoings. Both statutory cutbacks and steadily increasing demand for our services are highlighted by a generous gift of arts materials from the Ashcombe Centre in Cheddleton. The Community Mental Health Team based there no longer have staff to deliver any arts-based activities. Although funding is a challenge, the value of arts for mental well-being is increasingly recognised nationally and internationally. The growth of Social Prescribing/Arts on Prescription is a particular expression of this. If we can keep BV going until Social Prescribing comes to North Staffs we should be well placed to offer a service.

Our talented and dedicated professional artists never fail to inspire participants, who recently also had the pleasure of working with university student Cassie. They ‘mothered’ her, increasing her confidence and ability, while Cassie encouraged some very creative work. Although mentoring took up some of my time, her voluntary input did save us money. BV’s small group of volunteers is essential to our smooth running and in this category I include both our trustees and our participants themselves. The former support me in all manner of ways, from attending meetings on my behalf to offering advice and guidance. The latter form a mutual support network which contributes almost as much as

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the art sessions to the value of BV. Thanks to our South West Peak grant and other generous support, we visited the glorious Staffordshire Moorlands several times in one of the hottest summers many can remember. Nothing could quite match receiving the Queen’s Award, but the official opening of our Bank House premises was a packed and joyous event. As coordinator, a large part of my role is applying for funding and subsequently justifying what we achieve if we are successful. Understandably, the amount of evidence required has increased over the years. While Richard and Zuleika’s sponsored abseil raised both funds and awareness, our involvement in the ‘Gawain in Leek’ festival in 2019 not only raised awareness but also offered BV participants, Leek College students and the public a chance to learn a new painting technique from international artist Sue Prince – just one of the outreach activities funded by our South West Peak grant. We impact participants’ lives in many ways. Here are just a few of the things that matter to them about BV: “Unquestioning acceptance that people may, or may not, have mental health issues, without needing to elaborate”; “It’s as though I’m a different person: until I discovered BV I hated myself, my life and all my mistakes”; “It’s essential to my well-being that I recognise my own selfworth and can contribute something of value”; “When I’m here, I’m happy; it’s taught me how to write and paint and provides me with a place to play”; “I’ve become strong enough with group feedback to ‘take it or leave it’ without resentment, making me more assertive outside this intimate group”; “It keeps my mind active”; “When I start from home, I know I’ll feel better when I get back”. In other words we counteract stigma, change people’s lives by boosting self-esteem and independence and keep minds alert in a safe, happy place. For further information about the charity go online to www.borderlandvoices.org.uk.

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Stage directions

by Richard Lane


s Take That celebrates 30 years as the UK's number one boy band, The Take That Experience marks over a decade together as the ultimate tribute act with their best show yet! Wowing audiences everywhere they go with their amazing vocals, replica costumes and electrifying dance routines, they continue to successfully recreate the magic of Take That with the 'Greatest Hits Tour'. The Take That Experience brings you all the classic songs you know and love from the 90s through to the present, including smash hits Pray, Relight My Fire, Patience, Shine, These Days and Giants. The show also features the one and only Robbie Williams who brings alive fan favourites such

as Angels, Rock DJ and Candy to an already explosive show! The boys don’t just give you a night you’ll Never Forget… they give you The Take That Experience! The Take That Experience is at Buxton Opera House on Friday 3 April at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £25.Discounts are available. To buy tickets contact Buxton Opera House Box Office, Tel: 01298 72190 or visit: www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk

To win 2 tickets to see The Take That Experience is at Buxton Opera House on Friday 3 April at 7.30pm. Answer the following question. (Circle your choice.)





Address Daytime phone no

Please send your entry to Leek Life Magazine, 18 Tape St, Cheadle, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, ST10 1BD. Entries to be received by March 25th.

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Sisters come together for show


he beginning of 2020 saw Leek Musical Theatre Company step up a gear in its rehearsal schedule for its April production of “Sister Act”. Lucy Baker, the company musical director, said: “The ladies of the chorus in their role as nuns of the Queen of Angels convent have a demanding task. “They accompany Deloris in all of the big well-known musical numbers – Raise Your Voice, Take Me To Heaven, Sunday Morning Fever and Sister Act. “All of these are written in four part harmony so there is a lot of hard work and learning to do, a task that they are tackling with a great deal of enthusiasm and enjoyment.” The show has a strong cast with many of the principals from the company’s very successful 2019 production of 'Guys and Dolls' again taking lead roles. Emily Rhead is playing Deloris Van Cartier the night-club singer who reinvents the traditional and poor convent choir as a very successful gospel group. In doing so she saves the church and finds her own happiness. Jack Richardson who was a very polished Sky Masterson to Emily’s spirited Sarah Brown in 'Guys and Dolls' is Eddy Souther the cop who hides Deloris in the convent. She is the principal witness to a murder and agrees to testify against the murderer, her married lover Curtis, a gangster. Tony Shaw plays Curtis and Tom Fairhurst, Kyle Hardy, Ben Proctor and Sol Flaherty are

his rather clueless gang members. For Sol it is his first appearance on stage and he is joined by another newcomer to the society, Jess Sturgess, who is cast in the role of Sister Mary Robert the young, naïve postulant. The two senior Sisters, Mary Patrick and Sister Mary Lazarus are played by Joy Spencer and Lucy Baker. Paul Griffiths making a return to the stage after an absence of some years is Monsignor O’Hara the parish priest who loves the gospel music introduced by Sister Mary Clarence and Jean Pointon is the Mother Superior who at first most certainly does not support her choir’s transformation. The company also play a variety of supporting roles including homeless people, hookers, bar patrons, pool players, fantasy dancers. Musical director Lucy is assisted by Steve Williams, choreography is by Sharon Davies and the overall direction of the show is in the hands of Ian Wilson, the experienced director of many of the company’s past successes. Performances of Sister Act will take place at Westwood First School in Westwood Road, Leek at 7.30pm from April 15 to 18, with a matinee on the Saturday. Tickets are priced at £10 and can be obtained from Leek Post Office in High Street, Grainger in Derby Street, Leek, from the ticket secretary on 01538 382546, online at www.leekmusicaltheatre.com, or from any society member. Director Ian Wilson added: “We expect this show to be very popular so my advice is to book your seats early so as not to be disappointed.”

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The Women's InsTITuTe

Our January meeting began with the singing of Jerusalem as usual and then the pattern of our meeting was a little back to front. We had the minutes of the last meeting which, since it was our Christmas dinner, were relatively short. Then Joy our president read all the interesting items on our January Newsletter. Our speaker was Sharon Walford and she spoke on Raising the Awareness of Dementia. We really do get some excellent talks at the Women's' Institute not at all as some people may imagine I am sure and I really can recommend our speakers. Sharon's talk was informative, compassionate and very moving. I would not wish to give all the details because naturally such talks are best delivered by the person directly involved rather than second hand. However, I think that we all came away with a greater understanding of dementia and hopefully as Sharon suggested a gentler approach to people with dementia and perhaps with people in general. As we all know, when we listen to a talk certain things stick in our minds and the aspects of Sharon's talk that will remain with me most vividly are a) getting forgetful is not a sign of dementia, b) dementia is a disease of the brain, c) in any person with dementia, the dementia is only a part of them, there are many other parts to them. Sharon gave us an interesting insight into how the brain is affected and why so often a person with dementia may not remember what they had for breakfast but they will have memories from the past. I can really recommend Sharon's talk to other institutes and organisations. After Joy had thanked Sharon, tea and biscuits were served and then we got on to the subject that looks like taking over the coming year. This year is our 100th anniversary and we are making arrangements for our celebrations. At the moment, after much discussion, we are planning afternoon tea at a suitably classy restaurant, followed by an evening visit to the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. This will be in July when we normally have our mystery trip. There's more - in October, which is actually our

birthday, we are in the very early stages of arranging a meal with a singer and a speaker to which we are hoping to invite past members. But more of this later. The competition was a childhood memorabilia and the winning items were a doll, a school photograph and mother's compact - wonderfully still giving the perfume of mother's powder. Aroma is wonderful for bringing back memories. The raffle was won by Jeanne and Jeanette. Joy welcomed us all to our February meeting and we sang Jerusalem. Jane read the minutes of the previous meeting and we were all pleased that we had welcomed two new members at that meeting: Yvonne and Doreen. We were reminded of the next meeting to discuss our Centenary Celebration plans this to be held in the extension at 10.30am on March 9. At this point Joan reported that happily the lost minutes of the first ever meeting had been found in a loft...hers! In spite of the presence of sack cloth and ashes and dry bread and water, rotten eggs and a plan of how to hang, draw and quarter, it was decided to forgive her for blaming everyone else especially Jane and let her get on with writing a short pamphlet on our first 100 years. Thank you. Joy produced our detailed newsletter with all the new items from county. We were reminded of the theme for the WOOL@J13 request for knitted 'Welcome to the Jungle' items and Joy showed her wonderful elephant and Jean her adorable monkey. The things we do. Sheila L mentioned that she had items for the premature baby unit. Well done girls. We discussed our five new resolutions and members had individual votes. All very interesting. Prior to the mouth watering supper provided by the members, we were entertained by a short play, professionally performed following numerous practices - or to be more honest a quick five minutes in the kitchen prior to the meeting. In spite of this being a 'tragedy' it was met with hilarious laughter, which was after all the aim of the play. Jean read a lovely poem written years ago by her mum. This was about Dilhorne where Jean had spent her childhood and it obviously brought back many good memories for her. Thank you all for you efforts. The raffle was won by Chris and in second place Jeanette.

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The Women's InsTITuTe

The Queens of the Moorlands were happy to welcome members to the first meeting of the new year, and wish each other a happy year ahead. It was a somewhat cosy meeting, as we were in a smaller room than our regular one, but we had a lively meeting nonetheless. We started with a presentation from Christina from Glow, the organisation for victims of domestic abuse in the Staffordshire Moorlands, who talked to us about the work of the organisation and their local refuge. Members were left wondering how we could support this worthwhile cause further, and were delighted to hand over a collection taken up towards the work of the shelter. Feedback later confirmed it would go towards six emergency welcome packs for victims who have had to leave their homes without any possessions We then moved on to a discussion of the resolutions being considered for next year. Julie

presented feedback from the resolutions meeting held by the Staffordshire Federation in December, and members each voted for their preferred campaign issue. The meeting then went on to see members showing their favourite pair of shoes, and talking about why they loved them so much. These ranged from a beautiful but impractical never-worn pair of flowery sandals, and pair of black and white dancing shoes which were worn to attend Northern Soul events, where the member had met her husband, to trainers which have been round the world and to Glastonbury Festival, and walking sandals which had last been used in Sicily. We also had presented a small ceramic pair of shoes given as a (somewhat unappreciated at the time) Christmas present by a father who left his Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve to our member who was a teenager at the time. In later years she realised that the pattern on them was the Royal Albert pattern, which she really liked and reminded her of her dad. She went on to pick this as her china pattern when she got married and has now enjoyed many years of happy family occasions using this service. All of our members agreed that they had really enjoyed a slightly unusual meeting and enjoyed hearing the stories behind the shoes.

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Last year had been full and eventful and finished off with an outing to Tissington Hall which was beautifully dressed with each room depicting a Christmas Carol - just lovely. We celebrated the end of year with our traditional Christmas meal at The Queens, Freehay and once again, thank you to Adrian and staff for their hard work and making the occasion most enjoyable by all. As a small gesture to wish them Merry Christmas we were again able to donate various gifts to the local women’s refuge. Subsequently a new decade has begun and our first meeting of 2020 welcomed new members and guests. Business was conducted by chair Pat Axon which included an opportunity to vote for our preferred resolution to be put forward at the National Federation AGM in June. At the end of formalities, Pat introduced the evenings speaker Kenn Griffiths. Over the next hour Kenn gave us an interesting talk and demonstration about the history and uses of Tai Chi. This Art from the East and use of Tai Chi seems to becoming more popular for its fitness and health qualities. Kenn’s demonstration of some movements specifically when against the background of relaxing music, might be described more as a dance form as opposed to energetic exercise. We all partook in some gentle exercise and generally appeared to have been a little surprised that Tai Chi was not as energetic as we might have expected beforehand. It was good to learn of a new skill and

be enlightened as to its qualities. We were left with plenty to think about and who knows whether any of our members will partake in Tai Chi in future? Vote of Thanks to Kenn was given by Jenny with an invitation for him to join us for tea and cake. Competition of knitted premature baby hat was won by Gladys Burgess; second Cynthia Hawkins; and third Jean Basnett. All contributions will be taken to the local baby unit. President, Pat Axon welcomed 24 members, plus a few visitors to our February meeting, and gave out details of forthcoming events; our Group Meeting to be held April 23, and advised members of the competitions, an Old Wedding Photo and an home-made dragon of any medium. Our Fashion Show which is being held in Wetley Rocks Village Hall on Friday, April 3 at 7.30pm to raise funds for our WI. Members were asked to sell as many tickets as possible for this event. Members were asked for any ideas for outings and pass them to Barbara or Marj. Any ladies who are tax payers were invited to complete forms for Gift Aid which will benefit our charity. Staffordshire Federation are organising a Denman weekend in November and Linda read out the details, along with other notices. Linda also encouraged members to take part and get involved with the Leek Show display and competitions. She invited any members interested to attend a get-together at her home later this month. Pat then introduced our speaker, Marion Armstrong, one of our members, who came to tell us about the VAD Nurses (Voluntary Aid Detachment) an organisation set up after the Boar War in 1909. It was formed in order to be prepared, should

another war, which of course did happen at the outbreak of the First World War. There were many women that joined who did various tasks to help sick and injured soldiers. Marion herself was a VAD nurse, but of course much more recent. We were all made honorary members of the VAD for the evening when she gave everyone an armband to wear. It was interesting to read the copy of a letter sent to a lady from Leek who was given information about her brother who was injured in action and how he died and was put to rest in a cemetery by the hospital. There were many famous women in the VAD - one was Agatha Christie, who used her experiences in her books. Another lady was Vera Brittain of Cheddleton who spent time at the front. Marion had really done lots of research which was appreciated by the members and the Vote of Thanks was given by Jenny. Visitors will be very welcome to any of our meetings in the Village Hall, any enquiries please contact president, Pat on 01782 303684.

Quizzes compiled by Paul Steele email: pnsteele@aol com Paul's 'Which One?' quiz game is available on Amazon

The Women's InsTITuTe

Quizzes compiled by Paul Steele - email: pnsteele@aol.com - Paul's 'Which One?' quiz game is available on Amazon.

General Knowledge Answers: 1. Six; 2. Julia Donaldson; 3. Keswick; 4. Spain; 5. The Moon; 6. M6 Toll; 7. The Black Pig; 8. Despicable Me 2; 9. Walford; 10. Cats; Grand Answers: 1. The Grand Tour ; 2. Grand Brighton Hotel; 3. Grand Slam; 4. The Grand Budapest Hotel; 5. Grand Piano; 6. Rio Grande; 7. Grand Theft Auto; 8. Grand National; 9. Grand Canyon; 10. Ariana Grande

QUIZ CORNER Leek Life March/April 2020.qxp_Leek Life 21/02/2020 12:01 Page 47

Leek Life March/April 2020.qxp_Leek Life 21/02/2020 12:13 Page 48

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Leek Life March/April 2020  

Leek Life March/April 2020