Brownhills Carnival remembered: Tower Hill return please, and a single for the wife

A couple of weeks ago, old pal of the blog Lisa Ashby sent in a wonderful article with some great supporting pictures showing her involvement in the Brownhills Carnivals of the late 80s and early 90s.

There was a very positive reaction to Lisa’s warm and evocative recollections, and I’m pleased to be able top feature the second part today, detailing Lisa’s memories of the 1993 and 1996 parades.

Lisa of course sent in the wonderful footage of Reg Morris eating daffodils and also undertook the remarkable photo restoration for reader Janet I posted a few weeks ago.

We have surprisingly little material relating to local carnivals – we have the early Pritchard footage of course, so wonderfully lit up by Great Grandfather of the blog Aer Reg Fullelove, and the stunning gallery by Peter Booth, but not much else.

Thanks to Lisa who’s contributed so much to the blog over the years – she really is a star.

If you can add to it, or have any other material you’d like to share, I’d love to see it. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!

Lisa Ashby wrote:

1996: Putting the float together

Hi Bob,

Following on from my first article, here are some photos from the 1993 and 1994 carnivals which the B-CASS Disabled Centre entered.

In 1993 we decided to do a float based on the Court of Henry VIII. For weeks leading up to the carnival my mum, Miriam Downes and I made the costumes. We scoured all the charity chops and jumble sales we could to find any curtains pretty enough to make the dresses. I made the ladies’ hats by covering cardboard in material that matched the dresses and sewing them to a load of headbands we had bought from Ray’s Indoor Market. We spent an awful lot of time on the costumes to make sure they looked authentic and just as long getting the float decorations ready.

Our friend and long term member, Susan Capewell, wanted to play Henry VIII and as she was in a wheel chair my dad used a child’s wooden cot to make a frame that went around her and we decorated it to look like a throne. As Sue had to look the like Henry, she had her hair cut and we saved the clippings and on carnival day we glued them to her face to make a beard. I made her costume out of velvet and she truly looked amazing. Her husband, David Capewell, played Cardinal Wolsey.

So on carnival day, after all the hard work we had put in, we were very disappointed to be given 2nd place. We were told later that it was because we had ‘hired our costumes’. Although I was a bit put out that we had come 2nd because of ‘hired costumes’ I couldn’t help but feel a bit fabulous that they thought our hand sewn costumes looked so professional.

In 1996, which was the last we entered, and may be the last Brownhills Carnival, we finally won with our King Arthur float. Our friend Jean Taundry played King Arthur and I created her ‘chain mail’ outfit my knitting her a tunic, seemed like a great idea at the time, but with the blazing sun, Jean was cooking under her costume. My dad made Excalibur and my mum made a ‘rock’ cunningly crafted from a box, chicken wire and papier mache. Not much planning was needed for this float as the decorations and dresses were salvaged from previous carnivals.

Apart from Arthur’s costume, all that had to be made was Merlin’s (played by Paul Burton) costume and I again hand sewed it and made the beard, Merlin’s staff was a branch off one of the trees which we had cut down as it hung over our centre in Lindon Drive.

Hope you and your readers found this interesting, it has been great revisiting all those great times.

All the best,

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Woodmen nick Pics glory

All photos courtesy the young David Evans.

We’re now at the very beginnings of the 2017/18 season and the friendlies well underway, I’m happy to see Bill Shaw hasn’t thrown away his match day pencil and has been kind enough to send in.a writeup of the Wood away match yesterday (Saturday, 22nd July 2017), in which the boys from Oak Park beat Rushall Olympic 2-1 at Dales Lane.

Pleasing to see also a perceptible upward arc in the performance of the team. Hopefully good days lie ahead for our favourite community team.

Bill wrote:

Hiya Bob,

I couldn’t stay away and in the end Wood probably just deserved the win over Olympic’s five named players and 12 trialists, yes mate that’s right the Rushall team sheet had 5five named players listed and the word ‘Trialist’ for the other 12.

Rushall Olympic 1 v 2 Walsall Wood

It was ‘A Trialist’ who opened the scoring on 7 minutes when trialist  number nine was put clear by trialist number three to run on and calmly slot the ball past Wood keeper Lloyd Ransome. The Pics just about had the better of an open first half and went in ahead  by the only goal at the break.

On 65 minutes a right wing free kick was delivered to the far post and Callum McFarlane was too strong for keeper Dan Crane and forced the ball home to deservedly put Wood level.

The winner came on 82 minutes when from a right wing cross to beyond the far post Joey Butlin cleverly cushioned a header back inside to Tony Clarke who held the ball up well before turning and rolling the ball under the stranded keeper.

This wonderful set of images was supplied by Russell Smith, who also creates great professional video for Wood home matches. Aren’t they super? Russell points out that the chap in the dark top is this season’s new team manger, Gary Birch.

To be fair the Pics should have gone level when two minutes later Liam Lawrence collected a ball 35 yards out, took one touch and his shot from left of centre flew past Ransome only to  bounce to safety off the inside of the far post.

Wood held out to record the victory but the Pics side against Walsall on Tuesday night will look very different to this, but you can only beat what’s put in front of you and Wood did that, so well done guys.

Wood are due to play Sikh Hunters on Tuesday night, venue to be confirmed, the game against Romulus on Thursday in in some doubt but the game at Aylestone Park (Leicester)  next Saturday is on.

It’s then the magic of the FA Cup on Saturday 5th August when Wood entertain Shropshire side Whitchurch Allport from the Northern Premier League, early indications are that they have also been splashing the cash in the close season so could be an interesting game in progress, kick off 3.00 pm.

Bill Shaw.

Walsall Wood Football Club are a top local side with a big-hearted faithful who know how to have a great time supporting their lads, and welcome all comers to come enjoy great local soccer. The boys from The Wood have been at the heart of the local community for a century or more, so please do go check out a match or two if you’re curious.

A friendly word following a waspish moment, ( one of a few today ) then on with the game

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Aston Manor Transport Museum in Aldridge – Vintage Verses starts soon!

This is a bit different for a wet Sunday afternoon!

A brief one starting very soon just drawn to my attention by the indefatigable Russell Smith – there’s a poetry/spoken word event starting at Aston Manor Road Transport Museum in Aldridge at 2:30pm this afternoon (Sunday 23rd July 2017).

Russel said:

Today at Aston Manor Road Transport Museum … just working on my verse but not sure they will accept…The Boy stood on the burning bus, Whence all but he had fled, He started to swear and cuss, Saying he should of rode his bike instead!

Don’t give up your day job, mate.

Entry is a pocket pleasing £3 for adults, £2 for concessions and just £9 for a family ticket.

While you’re there, you can check out all the great stuff in the collection, and talk to the volunteers, who’re doing a fine job.

This is sure to be a great event – please do pop along. The collection needs the support of the public to survive, and it really is a wonderful thing.

Why not check out the museum website or their Facebook group?

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News, reports and even video from Walsall Wood FC – and a fitting tribute to a great man!

Images and captions of the Walsall Wood FC – Sutton Coldfield Town match on Saturday 15th July 2017 kindly supplied by the young David Evans

Well, it’s been a busy old time down at Oak Park Football Club, home of Walsall Wood FC – the overall season has started as usual before the official one with a series of warm-up ‘friendly’ matches and a rejuvenated, revitalised team with new management have squared off against a couple of higher ranking clubs with good performances.

A certain adopted, notable Geordie seems happy so it can’t be bad…

Bill Shaw, despite battling unfortunate health issues and in his supposed retirement has been keeping a close eye, and supplied a lovely review of last Saturday’s match against Sutton Coldfield Town. Incidentally, Bill now has the Shaw End named in his honour (I bet there will be a few thistles and nettles down there) and there was a delightful retirement presentation to he and his wife Lynn on Saturday 8th July which David Evans has supplied a gallery of pictures from at the foot of the post.

It’s always a joy and indeed an honour to feature Bills work here – sorry for the delay but as you can gather it’s been a bit mad on the blog of the last week or so. Hopefully we’ll have a quiet weekend for a change!

The remaining summer 2017 friendlies are as follows:

Tue.25th July Friendly Away Sikh Hunters
Thu.27th July Friendly Away Romulus
Sat.29th July Friendly Away Aylestone Park

A recent and welcome development has been match footage very professionally recorded and edited by the wonderful and tireless Russell Smith – the film from Tuesday’s match against Stafford Rangers can be seen below. Thanks to Russell for allowing me to share it here.

Tuesday 18th July 2017 Walsall Wood FC 2 v 3 Stafford Rangers – footage kindly shared by Russell Smith

Bill Shaw watched Saturday’s match against Sutton Coldfield town, and liked what he saw:

Hiya Bob,

Sorry about the delay in communication but I’m struggling a little at the moment, hopefully the lower pollen count will help.

It’s been an interesting start to Gary Birches reign with Wood losing two-one at Wolverhampton Sporting on Saturday 8th before drawing nil-nil at Redditch United last week. I saw the team for the first time on Saturday last when they took on a Sutton Coldfield Town 11 at home and turned in a cracking performance to record their first win of the close season.

Walsall Wood FC 2 v 1 Sutton Coldfield Town 

A superbly worked move after just 7 minutes saw Mitch Tolley come out of defence with the ball before feeding Joey Butlin wide right, he made ground before firing in a low cross that Paul Sullivan hammered into the roof of the net, giving the keeper no chance. The second goal came late on, 81 minutes in fact, Butlin fouled just outside the D, the free kick touched on by Peter Till and Lewis Taylor Boyce fired home from close range.

A grandstand finish by the visitors saw them put the Wood defence under intense pressure but all they had to show for it was a solitary headed goal from Jack Bates on 85 minutes, Wood comfortably holding out for the deserved victory. Tuesday night saw Neil Kitching bring his Stafford Rangers team to the Wood, after a first half that saw Tony Clarke open his Wood account and Rangers equalise just before the break with the visitors opening up an early three-one second half lead and even though Harry Harris pulled a goal back it was the visitors who ran out the victors, in a game that saw football the winner. I’m told it was played in such a good spirit the officials weren’t really needed.

It’s no easy start for the Wood in the league with a visit to Cadbury Athletic on Saturday 12th August followed on Tuesday 15th by a visit to Heather St. Johns to take on tenants Hinckley, the first home game sees Wood entertain Heather St. Johns on the Tuesday night before they entertain Atherstone Town on Saturday 26th August. So it looks like an early examination for Birchies boys credentials with the team of course certain to be up there for everyone to want to take a pot shot at.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the honour bestowed upon me by Justin and the club, for once I was nearly speechless and to be held in the same esteem as the late, great Geoff Woodward is a great honour, so thank you Walsall Wood it’s been a pleasure to be involved over the last 17 years

As for you young man it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to feed you reports over the last few seasons so thank you as well, it has been really appreciated.

All the very best.
Bill Shaw.

Bill’s end is now world famous in The Wood: It’s a Shaw thing. Images of the presentation to Bill and Lynn on Saturday 8th July 2017 kindly supplied by the young David Evans

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Mabel’s Vintage Fair at Chasewater Railway this Sunday!

I notice that this Sunday, 23rd July 2017, there’s a rather fun looking vintage event being staged at Chasewater Railway by Mabel’s Vintage Carriage, who have a regular vintage stall in a carriage at the preserved railway.

The fair runs from 11am until 4pm at Brownhills West Station (Use the Chasewater main entrance from the A5 and Pool Road) and there will be entertainment, over 50 stalls, the noted tea rooms and of course the wonderful atmosphere provided by a working preserved steam railway.

The organisers said:

Just a few days until our fab fair and we’ve organised lots of things to occupy you during the day.

Some of the best vintage traders in the Midlands, some very talented hand made traders, all day entertainment, yummy ice cream.

Bring the kids, bring the dogs… There’s loads to see and do and it’s all free!

Oh and there’s some real bargains to be had at Mabel’s Vintage Carriage too… so bring plenty of spending money.

See you there
Helen & Dawn x x

Chasewater Railway is a wonderful attraction with regular passenger services at weekends and during school holidays, featuring two excellent cafes and a fascinating museum that chronicles not just railway history, but that of our area and industry.

The whole thing is staffed by helpful and friendly volunteers who are always ready to chat and talk about the railway and rolling stock.

At Brownhills west station there are also a lovely model railway, plus a couple of great vintage and collectible stalls. The railway itself has a shop selling books, rail models, toys and other merchandise.

You can check their website here – trains run this and every weekend from 11am to 4pm with the museum, cafes and stations open earlier.

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Good news: Vulnerable teenager Aaron Taylor found safe and well

Excellent news, everyone! 

Walsall police have just announced that Aaron Taylor has been found safe and well.

They said:

GOOD NEWS – Aaron Taylor has been found safe & well.

A BIG thank you to those who called in with information and those that shared our appeal, we really appreciate it.


Have you seen Aaron Taylor? Image supplied by West Midlands Police.

West Midlands Police are becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of teenager Aaron Taylor from New Invention, Willenhall who went missing cat 5pm on Friday – Aaron has learning difficulties and is considered to be vulnerable.

West Midlands Police issued the following press release this morning:

MISSING PLEASE SHARE – We are urgently appealing for help to find Aaron Taylor who went missing from his home in Hilton Road, New Invention, Willenhall yesterday (Friday 21 July 2017) at around 5pm.

Officers are extremely worried for 15-year-old Aaron’s safety as he has learning difficulties.

Aaron is described as white, 5ft 2ins tall, short and stocky. He has short ginger hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a dark blue rain jacket, burgundy jogging bottoms, an orange t-shirt, trainers and carrying two black over the shoulder bags.

Aaron is particularly vulnerable and police are urging anyone who has seen him to get in contact as soon as possible.

If you have information please call the Locate Team at Wednesfield on 101 ext 872 3050.

If you have seen Aaron, or anyone who knows where he is should call West Midlands Police on 101 or the Missing People charity on 116 000 immediately on 101.

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Walsall Wood away to The Pics in pre-season friendly today!

Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun at Dales Lane, Rushall and see some cracking sport. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday 22nd July 2017

The Wood are away at Dales Lane for another pre-season friendly!
Dales Lane, Daw End, Walsall WS4 1LJ

Walsall Wood FC versus Rushall Olympic FC

Note the early kickoff at 1:00pm!

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

For the Good of the Wood!

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here


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