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Life ON YOUR MARKS Newcastle Triathlon Club crowned England’s Club of the Year

• Tickets To See Eric’s Full Monty • A pair of premium season passes for Alton Towers

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The store with more Est. over 29 years 38/42 High Street, Wolstanton, Staffs, ST5 0HE (Disabled access.)

T: 01782 20 40 60

Open 7 days a week 9am-5pm (10am-4pm on Sundays)




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Issue 25

Editors Letter ............................6

Stage Directions ......................26

Volunteering .............................8

Newcastle Lions Club .............28

New Town Plans......................10

Student Filmmaker.................30

Triple Jumper ..........................11

Quality of Life Study................31

Newcastle Triathlon Club........12

Alton Towers Competition......35

Sustainable Solutions ..............19

Quiz Corner .............................36

What’s On................................22


Staffordshire Police Recruits ..25

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Laura Campbell Contents Editor Holly Keates Tracey Redfern Design & Production Thomas Brian General Manager Mobile: 07855 252693 Jane Walters Advertising Sales Times, Echo & Life Publications 18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Stoke-on-Trent ST10 1BD Tel: 01538 752214


s we head into March I'm sure we all have our fingers and toes crossed that the snowy, icy weather is behind us and the warmth of Spring is on its way. The days are getting longer, colours getting brighter and moods are lifted this time of year, so it is always a great time for a spring clean, a new hobby or a fresh start! With this issue we hope to inspire you to find something new to enjoy. Many of you may have been toying with the idea of taking up a new sport, perhaps as a belated New Year's Resolution perhaps? Well you're in luck - in this issue we chat to Newcastle Triathlon Club - a place where you can try three sports at the same time! And if, like me, you are a bit wary of not being able to keep up, the club provides expert coaching and guidance in a supportive and friendly environment - and it's all at your own pace. Give it a go! If sport isn't your thing, there's always plenty to do in Newcastle and our What's on guide may give you some ideas. Perhaps try an art exhibition? A walking trail? A gardening event? You may be inspired by our young local filmmakers, or perhaps you would like to take up local volunteering, following in the footsteps of the Lions Club. Whatever it is, Spring is a great time to get started - and if you do get stuck into something new, why not send us an email here at Newcastle Life to tell us all about it? Good luck!


Thank you to all of you who have been in touch with your stories and events for Issue 25. Remember, Newcastle Life is YOUR magazine and we want to hear from you! Perhaps you have a story to tell or a photo to share; maybe you’d like to promote your event or your talent; or you may have exciting snippets of local history to interest our readers! Simply get in touch by emailing

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Volunteer goes above and bey


hen 56-year-old Leroy Francis from Chesterton left the RAF after 28 years, he had no idea his life was about to be turned upside down. Leroy was told he had Multiple Sclerosis, a condition that affects the brain and spinal cord, with no known cure. But despite the ups and downs of his condition, Leroy has felt fortunate – he has received much needed help from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association (SSAFA), who have helped him every step of the way. Leroy joined the Air Force in October 1980 as Aircraft Engineer for Weapon Systems. He served all over the world – America, Belize, Germany, across Europe, Iraq, Kuwait and Turkey. He remembered: “I absolutely enjoyed every second of it - an absolute honour and a pleasure to have served in Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force. “While I was in the Royal Air Force, I started to experience some discomfort in my right side of my body. I put it down to nothing – I served a full career with very little or no problem at all. “Since I left in 2010, I was diagnosed with MS. I had a course of treatment and was off work for five months, but I was okay. “Then in March 2019, I had a severe relapse. It affected my mobility significantly and I am still recovering now. It’s been a hard, long road –and I’ve got to be very grateful for the SSAFA and the RAF Benevolent Fund working hard to support me through.” When his health deteriorated, Leroy called his local SSAFA branch for help with his rehabilitation, and was introduced to Kathy Munslow, his caseworker. Kathy spoke to him and his wife Sharon and recognised that they needed a wet room and stairlift to make Leroy’s quality of life better. She was determined that Leroy and his family would have the help they needed. Kathy explained: “Leroy had applied for a Disability Facility Grant through the Royal Air Force. He had to go through them before he could apply for any funding through SSAFA.

Without that paperwork to say whether he would receive a grant, we couldn’t move forward, and they hadn’t heard anything back after months. “Sharon was so desperate to get Leroy help that she was in tears, saying she would try and find a way to pay for everything herself. But they would not have been able to afford it all. “I asked them to trust me, and to give me a week to get them the help.” Kathy phoned local contacts persistently and made sure she got the paperwork within a matter of days. Then when it arrived she immediately put in an application for funding with the RAF Benevolent Fund. Within two working days they paid for an occupational therapist to attend and assess Leroy’s home and organise and pay for a wet room, stairlift, and a specialist chair and bed to be fitted. They also paid towards his care. In total Leroy received £12,948.00 (+ £600) of help. Kathy, a caseworker of 38 years, was ecstatic to have made such a difference. She continued: “Afterwards once I knew what we’d done and achieved, I went to see the family again, and we all sat and cried. Sharon cried and I cried, because we did it all within two weeks. We cracked the system within two weeks. And it’s been quite a journey.” Leroy is grateful for the support provided and says it has made a huge difference to his lifestyle. But he is particularly grateful for the hope given to his wife and family. “As an ex-serviceman, I don’t dwell on situations. I’ve had to adapt and overcome and work with my current condition and continue to improve as I go along. But when my condition deteriorated, it had a real detrimental effect on my entire family and network of friends, my wife has suffered just as much as I have. “It has been quite a challenging experience for us both – we’ve had to work really hard to overcome these issues. “SSAFA and Kathy I wholeheartedly thank you on behalf of myself and my wife, after everything you have done to support us

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eyond or

esterton veteran

through this very difficult episode of our lives. We are totally indebted to you. “Thank you very much – it’s been quite an incredible service provided. It is a service second to none – absolutely incredible, thank you.” Kathy’s support for Leroy has gone beyond the practical. Aware that having a disability can often be an isolating experience, she organised for Leroy to attend the Tri Services Centre, a local charity for those serving, or who have served, where meet ups and social events are held. They collaborate closely with the local SSAFA division, house spaces where SSAFA casework is carried out and even share volunteers to ensure people get help quickly when they are in need. The Centre has given Leroy a new social scene where he can relive his military experiences:

Pictured are Leroy and his case worker Kathy

“It is good to come down and interreact with other ex-serving personnel. It’s been excellent. It’s a really, good opportunity to get out the house and liaise with ex-military colleagues.” Leroy is one of hundreds of people Kathy has helped during her time as a volunteer: “I’ve been a caseworker for a long time, and we fight a lot of battles, and we win a lot and we lose some. But I have always totally and utterly believed in SSAFA and I know the incredible work we do. And I take it as an absolute privilege to be a caseworker and I wouldn’t want to do anything else. “Do you know what, if we could just help one person, turn somebody’s life around, that’s what it’s about isn’t it? That’s who we are. And I always say, if you’re going to do it, do it properly – don’t half do it, do it. That’s what we did.”

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new town plans


mbitious plans to unlock millions of pounds of Government money to invest into Newcastle and Kidsgrove are moving forward. Two new boards have now been set up to develop proposals for “Town Deals” which Ministers say will be supported by a £3.6 billion fund. The boards are a partnership of public and private sector bodies and will lead the fight for Whitehall support to breathe new life into both towns. The Borough Council, county council, parish and town councils will be represented together with leading figures from business, education, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the voluntary sector. Cllr. Simon Tagg, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both towns. We are working closely with

the new MPs that cover Newcastle and Kidsgrove to ensure that we make the best case possible for a share of the Town Deals’ money. “Both towns have incredible potential and with further support and investment from the Government we are confident the boards can steer them on a path to prosperity. “We have already received half a million pounds initial investment to progress work on the Town Deals as well as our Future High Streets Fund. “Setting up the two boards is an important part of the process and we will now be pressing ahead in both towns to make sure our voices continue to be heard in Whitehall.” Only a small number of districts have managed to get two town bids included in the Government process. The Leader will be part of the Kidsgrove board with

Deputy Leader Stephen Sweeney on the Newcastle one. Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has said locations eligible for support from the Towns Fund “include places with proud industrial and economic heritage but have not always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas.” The Government is to publish a prospectus to guide locations through the funding process and set eligibility criteria. Once approved, it is anticipated that new Town Deals will provide vital social and cultural infrastructure; boost growth in housing and jobs as well as improve transport and broadband connectivity. A key part in the proposals is that communities have a say on how the money is spent in their areas.

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triple jumper

Triple jumper Ben enters milestone year


ritish Triple Jumping Champion Ben Williams is preparing for one of the biggest years of his sporting career. Ben, 28, of Newcastle under Lyme, was offered sponsorship by digger manufacturer JCB in September to support him in his efforts for success in global athletics competitions. He has recently taken delivery of some new kit – JCB branded clothing bearing his name, which he will wear at events representing JCB. He said: “The year has started well for me and I have just returned from warm weather training in South Africa which was a fantastic way to begin preparations for the season. I’ve got more intensive training planned and lots of competitions lined up ahead of August. I’m feeling confident and it’s great to be in a position of not having to worry about finances in this important period thanks to the JCB funding.” Ben was taught to triple jump by his grandad on the pavement outside his Stoke-on-Trent home as a school boy. Last year he became British Champion with a life-time best jump of 17.27 metres – earning him a place in the Great Britain team for the World Championships last year. He secured sponsorship from JCB as he prepares for his ultimate goal – the summer games in 2020 in Tokyo. Ben almost quit athletics a year ago after battling to come back from injury. With resources low, he started to personal train members at his local gym to make ends meet. In addition, he was completing 100-mile daily rounds trip to his triple jumping training sessions at Loughborough University in Leicestershire. In August, he relocated permanently to Loughborough and gave up his PT job – and hasn’t looked back since.

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NEwCasTlE TriaThloN Club

Newcastle Triathlon Club crown


here were celebrations all round recently as Newcastle Triathlon Club took home first place in the Triathlon England Awards 2019 – to be crowned England’s Club of the Year. The club, which has over 300 adult and junior members from across the area, was presented with the award by double Commonwealth gold medalist Jodie Stimpson at a ceremony held at the end of 2019 in Birmingham. With a strong team spirit, friendly atmosphere and drive to achieve at all ages and abilities, it’s easy to see why this inclusive and vibrant club are now national award

winners and continue to grow from strength to strength. Newcastle Triathlon Club was set up in 2007 by Julia Matheson, Ken Matheson and Fiona Ridley to be a welcoming club for people of all abilities to swim, cycle and run. It started out as a small group of friends, mainly from a running background, who enjoyed training and competing together with a common interest in triathlon. Now it has grown to cover much of North Staffordshire and Cheshire, providing expert coaching across all three disciplines in a safe and supportive environment. These sessions, held in various locations in Stoke-on-Trent

and Newcastle, are tailored to the needs of the person – whether you are a beginner or competing against international triathletes. Founding member Julia Matheson explained: “The club originally came about as a result of a major injury to myself which prevented me from running (and walking!). Following surgery for a herniated disc I turned to cycling to regain some health and fitness in the hope that one day I may also return to running. It was then that I discovered a love of cycling and with guidance from Ken, entered the National Duathlon Championships which I won. As a result, we decided to start

June 2020, Stafford Showground relays event

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NEwCasTlE TriaThloN Club

wne En lan s Club o the ear a triathlon club.” Some of the club’s training sessions are designed for members who do not want to race but simply want to stay fit and enjoy the companionship of their club mates. Others are geared around competitions, but members are guided and supported to achieve their goals, no matter what they may be. The club also has a junior section, which includes youngsters aged eight to 16. Julia commented: “The club’s culture is inclusive and supportive to all members, regardless of whether they finish at the front or back end of a race, using the discipline of year-round coaching to achieve performance improvements for everyone. Some juniors are involved in the club as they have been encouraged by their parents who are members but the reverse is also the case where some parents have joined in because the kids are involved. Nantwich triathlon in May 2019

Elite athletes at the England national relay championships in August 2019

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Newcastle triathloN club

Boundary Breeze triathlon at Boundary Water Park, near Holmes Chapel, in July “Specific sessions are run for the juniors at both our track and open water training times and it is fantastic to see their enthusiasm, watch them improve and see their confidence grow. The juniors are extremely supportive of each other and love taking part in the events in the West Midlands triathlon series, meeting their friends and cheering them on.”

This inclusive and supportive culture has helped to nurture and challenge a group of high level athletes who are able to challenge for and take top 10 positions in triathlons, duathlons and aquathlons, as well as at local running races. The club organises four GoTri aquathlon events at the open water swim venue during the summer months. These are

publicised and are open to both members and nonmembers. And with so many members taking home medals and achievements, this award winning club certainly has that something special to offer any budding or experienced athlete. “The club affiliates to England Athletics and each year enters men’s, women’s

Members who have qualified for international age group places in 2020, from the left Mark Hatton, Amanda Young (European duathlon age group gold medal winner 2019), Matt Harper and James Adamson.

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Newcastle triathloN club

Keele running track and junior teams to the North Staffs Cross Country League, a series of four races held over the winter months,” Julia continued. “Last year the women’s team were placed 3rd in Division two and next year are aiming for promotion to Division One and, along with the men’s team, will be the only local triathlon club to compete alongside running clubs within the league. The club also maintains a high profile in many of the local running races within the North Staffs Road Race Association, and has produced various award winners within several categories and high rankings nationally via the Power of 10. Our older athletes are equally capable of bringing home the silverware and we have this year had a world duathlon gold medallist in the 55 to 59 age group, as well as several athletes in their 30s and 40s who have participated in ETU and ITU events.” Alison Husbands joined Newcastle Triathlon Club in September 2019 after being introduced by some friends

who attend the club's open water swim session at Astbury Mere. Now she is developing her swim technique with the club in a swimming pool, building her strength for cycling in the summer by attending the weekly spin bike session and learning to run faster at the weekly track session at Northwood Stadium. Alison said: "I was a poor swimmer, a very average runner and a beginner cyclist, but when I spoke to Julia she was so enthusiastic that I decided to give it a go. I went to the first running interval session at Keele University track on my own and I was quite nervous because I didn't know anyone. "But everybody was so welcoming and friendly. What is lovely is that you get the same attention from the coaches regardless of how quick you are. "I have improved so much over the months and now I can do things I didn't believe were possible before. I used to have no confidence swimming, but I absolutely love it now. "There is no pressure on

anyone to race or do anything they don't want to do. It's just about enjoying yourself. But I find the more you do, the more you want to do. If you put the effort in then you will get the rewards." There are also plenty of opportunities for coaches - the club currently has 10 qualified coaches and offers financial support to members who wish to take up coaching qualifications or proceed to the next level. Several of the current coaches have moved on to higher level qualifications and provide mentorship and teaching to more junior coaches, introducing them to running sessions in a supportive way, supporting them as they take a session for the first time and providing feedback afterwards. If you would like to learn a new sport, take on a new coaching challenge or simply get fit and have fun, you can go to or staffstriathlonclub for more information.

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sustainable solutions Sam Salt, Nesta Shingler, Sinead Bowels and Shannon Frisby


Newcastle student has taken home a prize share of money following success in a sustainable Staffordshire competition. Staffordshire County Council recently challenged students at Staffordshire University to help find sustainable solutions for the region. Youngsters were tasked with identifying ways for local residents to help tackle environmental challenges in the region. Teams of undergraduates from creative arts, humanities, engineering and law took part in a 24-hour design challenge then pitched their ideas, Dragon’s Den style, to a panel of judges at Staffordshire County Council. Judges included Staffordshire County Councillors, sustainability experts from the University and Visiting Professor Andrew Lawrence, Executive Creative Director at global brand consultancy Elmwood. Students put forward a variety of suggestions from harnessing power from the region’s canal systems to reducing CO2 emissions through better management of transport and using recycled plastics to fix roads. The winning team were chosen for their project “Paving the way to sustainability” which incentivises residents to collect single use plastics that can be turned into asphalt for resurfacing roads and covering potholes. Successful students Nesta Shingler and Shannon Frisby, from Engineering Design, and Law students Sam Salt and Sinead Bowles were presented with a £200 prize by Staffordshire County Council’s Chairman Kath Perry MBE and Chief Executive John Henderson. Nesta, 21 from Newcastle-Under-Lyme, said:

“We thought we could incorporate poverty, infrastructure and production and consumption efforts into it. Getting single use plastics off the streets, out of houses and curbside by incentivising it. The community would gain rewards while cleaning the place up and the infrastructure would be helped as well. “Being an engineer it’s all about problem solving but working with legal people has been really insightful. It just helps you think critically about different situations.” Councillor David Smith, who was on the panel, explained: “I am passionately concerned about climate change and I think there are things that young people can tell us that are very important. What we have had this morning is a tremendous contribution from young people telling us what they want and what they see.” Fellow judge Councillor Johnny McMahon, Chair for the Health Scrutiny Committee, added: “This is a planetary problem and it is going at a pace that makes it a real challenge for us all.” The challenge is part of three year project “The Creative Connection” funded by the Royal Academy of Engineers, Visiting Professors Scheme. Professor of Teaching and Learning Jess Power, who organised the challenge, said: “The students demonstrated the power of using science, technology, design, innovation and narrative to sell campaigns when groups from different disciplines come together. A really great day for all. A massive thanks to Staffordshire County Council and our Visiting Professor Andrew Lawrence for their contributions.”

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what’s on

WHAT’S ON Do you have an event to share? Let us know!

Email and we will do our best to feature your event in our what’s on guide Alston Emery Art Trail The Alston Emery Art Trail was opened in 2019. It's family-friendly, free and great exercise for all. It will take you past art galleries, coffee shops, heritage buildings and into the historic town centre market. You'll stand in the exact spot that Alston painted and show you how the town centre has evolved since the 1970s. It's 1 mile long and will take about 1.5 hours and finish at the award winning Brampton Park where you can see Alston's original watercolour paintings. More information can be found here: The trail is a free self-guided town centre walk on all year round.

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Exhibition Why not pop into the library to see the latest incarnation of the 'On Your Doorstep' touring exhibition which features wooden toys made by a local joiner in the 1940s and costume accessories from the early 19th century. Join poet Mal Dewhirst for a conversation about the display and contribute your memories of Newcastle. Monday 16th March at 2pm

Farmers market Newcastle’s ever-expanding Farmer’s Market is starting to get bigger. Traders include lots of local growers and makers Friday 20th March Spring Plant Hunters' Fair The Spring fair takes place at Sugnall Walled Garden on Saturday 21st March. Entry to Plant Fair and Walled Garden is £1. This is a great place to find some wonderful plants to get your spring gardening season off to a great start. Featuring many highly respected specialist nurseries with a great range of perennials, shrubs, trees, herbs, rare species and old heritage varieties. The plant fair runs from 10am-4pm. The Walled Garden (ST21 6NF) is on the B5026, Eccleshall to Loggerheads road, 2 miles from Eccleshall. For more details please see 21st March

Choir concert The Ceramic City Choir will be performing Messiah by Handel with an organ accompaniment on Saturday 28th March at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church in the Westlands, Newcastle under Lyme. For details and tickets please see: www.ceramiccitychoir.o 28th March

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what’s on Art exhibition Paul Newcastle, who specialises in landscape and seascape paintings – is currently displaying a selection of his artwork at the Brampton Museum in the Hall Gallery, in two phases. Paul, from the Westlands in Newcastle, sailed away with the People’s Prize in the recent Open Art and Craft exhibition after his atmospheric “Somewhere in Time” oil painting was voted the best by visitors. Not only will viewers be able to see the sea, they’ll be able to hear the sound of it lapping on the shore as Paul has set up a sound system to complement his display. The 57-year-old, who has exhibited elsewhere including The Art Gallery in Newcastle, said: “As an artist I want people to like my artwork so it was really wonderful to win the People’s Prize. The fact it was voted for by visitors means a lot to me. I’m really proud to now have a solo exhibition at the Brampton Museum. “I love to look at the sea and paint it. I want to create a window to the world, bring the outside inside and highlight the beauty of nature, with a specific focus on sunlight and the colours it creates as well as the effects on the environment and viewer. “I hope my work rekindles a memory of a happy time or place and encourages people to look at the beauty that’s all around us. Ultimately I just want them to immerse themselves in the views and sounds of the sea and hopefully leave with a smile on their face.” Admission and car parking at the Brampton Museum is free. Until 29th March

Steampunk Festival Hosted by Newcastle Business Improvement District in Newcastle town centre 4th April

Easter Eggstravaganza 10am – 6pm, Newcastle town centre 11th April

April Ap

Handful of Songs An extravaganza of song, comedy and dance for all the family to enjoy, a Handful of Songs returns once again to The Rep theatre in Stoke in April. The ever popular show is put on by Girlguiding Stone Division and attracts audiences from across North Staffordshire. The show began in 1975 and boasts a cast of talented girls from Brownies, Guides and Rainbows to entertain audiences! The show starts at 7pm each night and there is a 2pm matinee on April 11th. Tickets can be booked online through the website – 7th – 11th April

Dorothy Clive Garden Plant Fair This Easter Sunday and Monday the wonderful Dorothy Clive Gardens are opening their gates for what has become one of the best-loved garden events in the region with a winning line up of the best nurseries around, a most charming and beautiful garden and a truly relaxing and inviting atmosphere. The 12-acre Dorothy Clive Garden features a superb woodland garden, alpine scree, a damp garden and spectacular flower borders. Famed for its dazzling spring display of rhododendrons and azaleas with massed drifts of bulbs. The Plant Hunters’ Fair boasts 23 top-class nurseries and artisans, including RHS Medal Winners offering a tremendous variety of plants. This is a special fund-raising event and the garden offers a great special low event price on these days of just £4 for entry to the garden and plant fair (normally standard garden entry is £8.50). The fair runs from 10am-5pm both days. The garden is on the A51 near Woore, 4 miles south of Bridgmere, (TF9 4EU for satnav.) Full details at Easter Sunday 12th and Monday 13th April

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what’s onCastle Capers The highly popular Newcastle Scout’s gang show returns this April at the Mitchell Arts Centre, in Hanley. Tickets are available on the Castle Capers website, visit for more information 15th– 18th April

Lymelight Festival The ever popular free outdoor Newcastle music festival returns once again over the bank holiday weekend, with the Lymestone Vaults providing the bar 8th – 10th May

Jazz and Blues festival Now in its second decade, this bank holiday event sees musicians playing throughout the town and attracts more than 5,000 visitors. The festival organisers have invited VIP RECORD FAIRS to return again with a large selection of Vinyl records, CDs, music related memorabilia. Free admission! 22nd – 25th May

Musical Extravaganza All shops and pubs taking part with bands throughout the town. 23rd - 25th May

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Pint of Science Pint of Science is a worldwide science festival which brings researchers to your local pub/cafe to share their scientific discoveries with you. For more information and book tickets when they are released on 30th March, go to 11th -13th May

Newcastle Carnival The Carnival became an annual event after the octocentenary carnival celebrations of 1973. It is always held on the last Bank Holiday Monday in May and includes a procession through the town, charity stalls, fun fair, and many live music performances. Hosted by Newcastle under Lyme Business Improvement District, 10am – 6.30pm Monday 25th May

Young Traders Market event Young business-minded people (aged 16-30) are being asked to run a market stall in the Young Traders Market event. It'll be a busy day with a General Market and eagerly-awaited Homecoming Circus 2020 also in town. Saturday 27 June

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staffordshire police recruits


raining is now underway for Staffordshire Police’s newest detectives, including one from Newcastle. Nine trainee detectives have joined the force, including 26 year old Emma Holloway, from Newcastle. She was amongst the first cohort of recruits from the national programme, Police Now Detectives. She started the two-year training and development programme in September 2019 and needed two years’ work experience to be eligible - she previously worked for children's services. Emma demonstrated the strengths and characteristics suited to the role of police detective. This included thriving under pressure, taking a positive attitude to overcome obstacles, responding quickly to new information and being

methodical in her approach to solving complex problems. From September, she was a fully warranted police officer and has completed her initial and highly-intensive 12-weeks of training with more than 85 other trainee detectives from other forces. This involved a mix of classroom-based theoretical training and practical skills development. She has also completed two months in uniform as a response officer and has now been assigned to a team of detectives, where she is being guided to take full responsibility for investigating offences. Emma said: “I was attracted to the Police Now Detectives programme as I want to make a positive impact for victims of crime and the community as a whole. I enjoy being faced with different challenges every day

and everyone has been so supportive and welcoming.” Detective Chief Inspector Steve Smith, Staffordshire Police’s lead for Police Now Detectives, added: “The Police Now Detective programme offers trainees a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in society. It also offers the change to contribute to the excellent work already being done up and down the country by colleagues already working in policing.” Additional officers will be recruited into Staffordshire Police in 2020/21, as part of the national Uplift programme. For more information and to apply, visit https://www.staffordshire.poli as/staffordshirepolice/campaigns/2019/job-lik e-no-other/

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Stage directions

by Richard Lane


nbelievably, Eric is settling down. He’s moved in with Bev and everything is going as well as can be expected in the land of domestic bliss. Everything except money that is. Eric’s starting to worry, but Bev’s got a plan – a plan to get rich quick. Their own version of The Chippendales. Eric dismisses it as nonsense and wants nothing to do with it but when Bev surrounds herself with four hunky young men and he’s left out he changes his mind and wants in. When the night comes though, will Eric and the boys be brave enough to do… the ‘Full Monty’? Or will they leave their hats on? Whatever happens this is a show you won’t want to miss, full of sensational ’60s music, loads of laughter and some Hot Stuff that’ll make you smile! Eric’s Full Monty takes to the stage at the New Vic from Friday 3 April to Saturday 18 April 2020.

Tickets are on sale now, starting at £17.00, from the Box Office and can be booked by calling 01782 717962 or online at

Win 2 tickets to see Eric’s Full Monty on Friday April 3rd at 7.30pm. Answer the following question: (Circle your choice.)





Address Daytime phone no

Please send your entry to Newcastle Magazine, 18 Tape St, Cheadle, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, ST10 1BD. Entries to be received by March 24th.

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• Indian Stone • Block Paving • New Lawns • Artificial Grass • Fencing • Decking • Timber Sleepers • Gravel Work


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Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:28 Page 28

Newcastle lioNs club


hristmas came late for several local groups recently, when donations totalling over £3900 were given to well-deserved causes, courtesy of Newcastle Lions Club and the people of Newcastle under Lyme. A fantastic £1040 was given to the Donna Louise Trust following a Christmas collection at Northwood Garden Centre during December. Lion President John Leigh said: “435 Squadron (Newcastle) Air Training Corp, Old Comrades, Probus, St James Church, Clayton and St John have also benefitted from our work at Christmas - using our Santa Sleigh at local stores and around the streets of the Westlands. Our sincere thanks go to everyone that made a donation

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Newcastle lioNs club

at any of those events. “This year, we were also assisted by local scouts in our collections, and we have been able to donate to two local groups in Knutton and Red Street, and also to the Scouts District fund”. In addition to the groups that helped, the Lions also donated towards the Newcastle Welfare for the Blinds VE celebration in May, and to the Dougie Mac “Pay for a Day” appeal, which helped to cover the costs of one extra day in this Leap Year. FUTURE EVENTS Newcastle Lions have several major fund-raising events in the coming months: • On March 13th they will be collecting at Morrisons Goose Street on behalf on Marie Curie, and on March 27th and 28th they will be at Asda on Wolstanton Retail Park. • April 1st the Lions will be holding a Chinese Banquet evening at Furama, Trent Vale, in aid of Canine Partners, who provide assistance dogs in this area. Tickets for this evening are just £20 per person, advance booking only • There will be a Fashion Show at Bradwell Lodge on 24th April. This will be the second such event, after a successful evening last year. Quality goods at local prices, a glass of prosecco on arrival and fabulous raffle prizes are on offer. Tickets are £5 when purchased in advance, £6 on the evening. For details of any of these events, or to contact Newcastle Lions Club contact k

Presentation to cadets from 435 Squadron (Newcastle) ATC by Lion President John Leigh

Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:28 Page 30

student filmmaker


young Newcastle filmmaker have been picked as one of two winners from six shortlisted students who pitched ideas to local production company Inspired Film and Video. Tom Ratcliffe and Abigail Nevers have both received £250 to help finance their final year projects at Staffordshire University. Tom, 21 from NewcastleUnder-Lyme, volunteers as a special constable with Staffordshire Police alongside his studies and his experience on the beat has had a big influence on his work on the BA (Hons) Media (Film) Production degree. He said: “This cash injection will seriously help boost my project. It will help me get more resources like actors, set design and props to create a highquality production.” His film Kaleidoscope follows central character Molly, a teenage girl with a hearing impairment who is struggling with peer pressure because of social media. “Molly struggles socially because of her condition and she

struggles with her parents because she is 18 years old and wants to go out and do what she sees other girls doing on social media. “When she does get invited to a house party it’s not what Molly thought it would be. it’s a drug and alcohol fuelled event that really shocks her. Eventually, trying to be something she is not leads to a catastrophic accident.” Abigail, 20 from Hackney, plans to make a documentary about Ayla Asim who founded London-based organisation BeYOUtiful after losing her dominant hand in an accident. Abigail, studying BA (Hons) Advertising, Film and Music Video Production, said: “Ayla lost her self-confidence and had low self-esteem because she didn’t have the ability to do what she did before. Then she realised that her purpose in life was to empower girls to see the beauty within themselves and others. “By telling Ayla’s story I want the audience, especially girls, to relate to her journey and see it in themselves. Having this extra money will make a massive difference. The bursary will help cover my travel to London and it

means that I don’t have to limit my creativity.” Inspired Film and Video's founding members met while studying at Staffordshire University and this is the third year that the company have awarded grants to support emerging student talent through the Staffordshire University Horizon Fund. In addition to the two cash bursaries, they also offered feedback and mentoring support to all the students involved. Creative Director Ryan Lloyd said: “Through these bursaries we can reward good ideas and provide budget to help students make them a reality. I was impressed by how Tom had considered telling the story from a female perspective as a male author and I think Abigail’s film will have a real impact on the girls who watch it.” Ryan added: “It’s an exciting time for creative industries in Stoke-on-Trent and there are lots of opportunities for skilled graduates. For us, it is important to support local talent and encourage students to stay in the region when they leave university.”

Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:28 Page 31

quality of life study

New study aims to boost local quality of life


he quality of life of residents living in Newcastle under Lyme could soon be improved, thanks to the launch of a new study. Researchers at Keele University’s Institute for Social Inclusion (KISI) will look at the social, economic, political and environmental factors affecting people in Newcastle in the hope to improve overall quality of life. Dr Katie Wright-Bevans and Dr Sammyh Khan from the School of Psychology will work with housing provider Aspire Housing to devise a new approach for consulting with residents in the development of neighbourhood plans - a series of measures implemented by Aspire to address inequalities in local Newcastle communities. The research team will conduct interviews with residents, asking them to identify social, economic, political and environmental issues that have the biggest impact on their own lives. The team will then present their findings back to stakeholders within the year so that new and targeted interventions can be created to improve these residents’ lives. Stakeholders involved in the project are likely to include local government, police, residents’ associations and the Citizens Advice Bureau,

among other partners. The study will initially focus on residents in those areas of Newcastle-under-Lyme which have high levels of inequality, before being rolled out more widely to other areas of the borough, and supports KISI’s research themes of tackling inequalities and supporting local communities. Dr Katie Wright-Bevans said: “Our collaboration is true to community psychology values and principles – it’s about social justice, discovering what works, what doesn’t work and how things can be improved for people. This research will really help to understand the issues that matter most to residents and how these can be best addressed.” Dan Gray, Executive Director of Property at Aspire Housing said: “Aspire Housing is committed to supporting residents and communities with the aim of bringing positive change to the lives of local people. We are very pleased to be collaborating with the Institute for Social Inclusion and the School of Psychology at Keele University to carry out this important piece of research, which we intend to use to develop practical solutions to some of the challenges faced by communities in Newcastle-underLyme.”

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Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:28 Page 34

Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:29 Page 35

alton towers competition

THE popular Staffordshire theme park of Alton Towers is celebrating four decades of offering thrills and fun for all the family. And the resort is inviting everyone to help celebrate 40 years of ‘The Power of the Towers’ by sharing lots of joy, laughter and thrills with family and friends throughout the 2020 season. New for 2020, take a spin through the sewers on Gangsta Granny: The Ride! Based on the World of David Walliams, pull off the greatest jewel heist in history on a 360° special effects laden wild ride to break into the crown jewels vault from Spring. Plus enjoy an awesome choice of world-class rollercoasters including Wicker

Man, Nemesis, Oblivion n and The Smiler and a host of fantastic family attractions in CBeebies Land. To enjoy the fun and thrills of Gangsta Granny: The Ride again and again, as well as over 40 more breath taking rides and attractions including Wicker Man, Oblivion and Nemesis, why not purchase an Alton Towers Premium Season Pass for £75: pay for a day, and come back for free all season. (exclusion dates apply) including free standard car parking per visit. The season pass at £58 is another fantastic way to experience the ‘Power of the Towers’, allowing days and days of fun during 2019.

THE NEWCASTLE LIFE MAGAZINE HAS TEAMED UP WITH ALTON TOWERS RESORT TO GIVE AWAY A PAIR OF 2020 PREMIUM SEASON PASSES. To be in with a chance of winning the pair of season passes, just answer this question: How many years is Alton Towers celebrating this year? Your answer................... Your name......................................... Your address.......................................................................................... Your contact number........................................... Post entries to: Newcastle Life Alton Towers Competition, Times & Echo, 18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Staffordshire, ST10 1BD. Entries must arrive by 5pm on Friday, April 10, 2020. For our competition terms and conditions see page 6. Alton Towers terms and conditions also apply. See their website for further details at

✔ ✔ ✔ ✔

Quizzes compiled by Paul Steele - email: - 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 Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:30 Page 36

Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:30 Page 37

Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:32 Page 38

HOLDCROFT VOLVO AWARDED NATIONAL RETAILER OF THE YEAR FOR OVERALL CEM SCORES Holdcroft Volvo in Stoke-onTrent have recently won “National Retailer of the Year for Overall CEM Scores” at the Volvo UK Awards Ceremony in London because of their excellent customer satisfaction levels. Chris Thursfield, Franchise Director at Holdcroft Volvo said: “We are delighted to

receive this award. We have achieved this through the 5-star feedback that we have received from our fantastic customers and the dedication that our hard-working team deliver every day. The award is proudly being presented in our showroom waiting area to recognise this wonderful achievement.”

Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:32 Page 39


We're OPEN & its time to CELEBRATE! Be part of our OFFICE LAUNCH, our ďŹ rst 10 HOMES will receive our special offer, to SELL your property for just


Open House Newcastle under Lyme is operated by the CV group of businesses which incorporates CV Recruitment and CV Estates, having over 30 years of customer service experience, including fifteen years building a successful Recruitment Agency. As Directors Charlotte Owen and Vikki Yarwood, took a leap of faith twelve months ago and commenced on a new and exciting journey in the property industry. After Vikki and Charlotte both moved house themselves and, having not experiencing the standard of service they like to deliver, especially at a stressful time, they realised the need for a fresh approach to selling and buying property. Open House Newcastle Under Lyme was established in March 2019 and has already helped a number of homeowners sell their home quickly and stress-free, and for the best price possible!



Charlotte and Vikki are extremely proud of what Open House Newcastle Under Lyme have achieved so far and hope to grow the business substantially in 2020. They are looking to help residents of Newcastle Under Lyme who may need help selling or buying a new home, landlords, or people who need mortgages and conveyancing services. If you need support with anything property related, Open House Newcastle Under Lyme have everything under one roof! They provide a first class customer experience through their personal approach to estate agency, providing a tailor made service to both sales and lettings customers. As a team, they pride themselves on being dedicated estate agency specialists who always look to provide the best solution for their customers. Charlotte and Vikki offer a seamless and knowledgeable service through their supportive and efficient approach. The team are contactable 24 hours a day 7 days a week and work hard to ensure the customer experience is a pleasurable one. Understanding the importance of communication and will keep you up to date through every milestone from the initial valuation right the way through to completion. Open House Newcastle under Lyme would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone that have supported them on their journey so far. If you have plans to move this year, get in touch now for some free and impartial advice! For more information, please call our friendly team on 01782 480266 or email

01782 480266

4 Merrial Street, Newcastle, ST52AD

Newcastle Life Issue 25.qxp_Newcastle Life 06/03/2020 10:32 Page 40

Profile for Times Echo and Life

Newcastle Life Issue 25  

Newcastle Life Issue 25