Details of Walsall Wood FC bonfire and fireworks event now available!

If you’re looking for an alternative to the frankly extortionate Walsall Council bonfire and fireworks event at Holland Park this year, there’s a great event at the Walsall Wood Football Club Ground, Oak Park, Walsall Wood on Sunday 3rd November 2019, kicking off at 5:00pm.

🎇🔥BONFIRE NIGHT AT WALSALL WOOD FC 🔥🎇 📆 Sunday 3rd November Come along for an awesome firework display and huge bonfire in a safe environment for the family!

Bonfire- 17:00pm Fireworks display- 18:30pm

The good news is that unlike the Holland Park event, you can turn up and pay at the gate without pre-booking.

It’s £4 per adult, £2 for kids and OAPs or a bargain £10 for a family ticket. There’s a bonfire, firework display, and the club will be serving excellent food and drink from it’s friendly and welcoming clubhouse. Looks set to be a great do!

All funds to Walsall Wood F.C. – For The Good of the Wood!

As I get details of other events, I’ll share them here.

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Brownhills very own autism support group meets this lunchtime in a new home

Just a heads up to let folk know that the popular local autism support group ‘Supporting the Rainbow’ is meeting today (Tuesday 22nd October 2019) – and there have been some changes as now the group is inaugurated as a charity in its own right.

 

 

Today they will be meeting at lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm in the Community Centre (The old Annex, or Central Boys School), Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

The group is open to parents and carers for those with autism, and aims to offer a welcoming, helpful and supportive network to those coping with the condition.

Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 is now an official charity affiliated with Rethink Mental Health!

After some discussions we have made some changes to our group meetings and venue: from October 8th 2019 we will be having our group meetings at Brownhills Community Centre

We have checked the venue  and we have a beautiful room on the ground floor, so it makes it easier for people with pushchairs and people with disabilities to manage.

Our times will still be 1:30-2:30pm but instead of meeting every week,  we will be fortnightly.

We are really looking forward to this new change and our lovely group can progress and move onward: we can look to having workshops and so much more.

The fortnightly meetings make it easier for some people who can’t come every week, and we will be having a raffle and tea and biscuits so please do come along to a warm friendly atmosphere!

From the Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 team

The group has been running for a good while now and is still growing in popularity – so why not pop along to see what it’s all about?

 

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New AA group meetings in Brownhills starting soon

Here’s an important one – Brownhills is starting its own Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings at Silver Street Methodist Church in Silver Street, Brownhills beginning Tuesday 29th October 2019 from 7:30pm until 9pm.

All are welcome. Parking is free, the venue is wheelchair friendly and can be found at Silver Street, Brownhills, Walsall WS8 6ER.

This is a welcome move as Brownhills has been lacking in this area for many years.

My best wishes to all attendees, and all are welcome.

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When Amy Turtle silenced the skinheads at Chasewater

You all know I’m fascinated by Chasewater and it’s history – but there’s a period of history that’s not too well documented or understood, and is full of myth and foggy reality: The Amusement Park era from the 60s. 

A flier for the clearly unsuccessful 1970 Chasewater Festival saved for posterity by Brownhills historian and old online pal David Hodgkinson.

At that time Town Councils across the UK were awash with money and frankly, self important men and this was an era of municipal organisations investing heavily (and often overreaching in doing so) in leisure projects they had neither the experience nor resources to manage.

Cannock Council nearly got it’s fingers severely burned in 1973 with a now frankly laughable plan for a medieval theme park called ‘Merrie England’ put forward by Eric Morley. The plan fell through and the site later became an opencast coal mine and is now, emblematically enough, Poplars Landfill.

Perhaps it’s like Brigadoon and we haven’t yet been patient enough. Photo of the demonstration of the Merrie England model, scanned by Steve Hames and taken from the book, ‘Cannock Chase (Images of England)’ by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

This era came to an abrupt end in the mid-1970s: The cash dried up, the facilities provided were fading or unsuccessful, and managed by people with no relevant experience and little money. The public’s tastes were broadening with foreign travel and cheap package holidays, and the increased mobility the car afforded made better attractions further away more appealing.

I think on the whole the period ended dramatically in the flames of the Summerland fire in Douglas on the Isle of Man in 1973 – a disaster at a brand new, brutalist, hi tech ‘sun complex’ that killed many through negligent design and poor management. The Summerland saga scared many councils away from such forays and spending on them slid to virtually nothing.

It’s a personal mission of mine to not let the Summerland Disaster be forgotten.

So when Brownhills Urban District Council came to a peculiar, opaque arrangement with the government to ‘buy’ Norton Pool’ in the 1950s (an arrangement that seems to have been very much less than an outright purchase) and Councillor Norman Waine declared the new attraction be called Chasewater promising a decidedly high class affair, there were indeed high hopes and optimism as I wrote about in this article.

There is no doubt Chasewater was attracting punters and very busy throughout the 60s even though the final project provided the ghastly things we were supposed to be avoiding, but I doubt it ever made money for the council, who came to regard it as a money-pit. Photos of events at Chasewater in the period are iconic and show a hugely crowded place that people were enjoying.

Yes, Chasewater paddling pool in the day. I remember it like this. The main reason being it was close, and free, or next to free. Love the dude with the pipe. Image generously supplied by Peter Booth. Click for a larger version.

People have great memories of the period, and I often see them lamenting those days, and sad we don’t have them now. There tends to be a little natural rose-tint to them: I remember Chasewater in the mid-1970s from my childhood as being a windy, down at heel and decaying place, that none the less was a fun day or afternoon out, very much akin to our seaside. But salubrious it was most definitely not.

In recent weeks, David Evans came across this article in the Birmingham Post archive, from the 29th June, 1971, which shows how bad things were becoming, even then:

Birmingham Post, 29th June 197. Click for a larger version.

Festival faces closure
Birmingham Post Brownhills Staff
Tuesday 29th June 1971

The annual Chasewater Festival at Brownhills seems unlikely to continue after making a ‘Substantial loss’ for the fifth successive Year.

A special meeting of Aldridge-Brownhills Chasewater Committee will be held during the next two weeks to decide whether to cancel the second day of the festival planned for September 12. Only 1,000 people attended the first day of the festival on Saturday. Losses have been estimated at £1,000. Takings amounted to less than £500.

Coun. Douglas Whitehouse, vice-chairman of the Chasewater Committee, said last night: ‘Somebody will have to give me a very good reason why the event should carry on after such a shocking attendance on a fine day.

This year councillors decided to hold festival events on two separate days in June and September in an attempt to make a profit.

A grand was a lot of money for Brownhills Council to lose back then. You could buy a house for that. This was a serious failure.

I’m still reeling that the Birmingham Post expected us to believe it had a ‘Brownhills staff’…

It was clear though that the annual festival staggered on for a few more years, although not without trouble. While searching myself, I found this somewhat remarkable article from later the same year, from the second day of the festival, but even then, the crowds were clearly still disappointing.

Amy Turtle never took any shit. Image from TV Ark.

Has this town always been nuts, then? It seems so.

Birmingham Post, Friday 17th September 1971. Click for a larger version.

AMY SILENCES CHANTING SKINHEADS

ACTRESS Ann George, who plays Amy Turtle in the ”Crossroads’ A.T.V. series, faced a gang of chanting ‘skinheads’ when she opened the Chasewater Festival on Sunday.

When the actress stepped up to perform the official opening ceremony in front of the 4,500 crowd the gang started chanting ‘Amy Turtle is our Queen’.

But like the formidable character she portrays on television, Miss George refused to be rattled. She told the skinheads to quieten down and they did, allowing the actress to carry on with the ceremony.

After urging the crowd to enjoy themselves and come in greater numbers next year, Miss George was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Cllr. Richard Arkell, Chairman of the Aldridge and Brownhills Urban Council, said that she was wonderful and stopped what could have been a very nasty scene, which could have ruined the ceremony.

The festival this year – attended by only 1,400 people last year — included a horticultural show put on by the Aldridge and Brownhills Society for the first time.

Mr. John Walker, Parks Superintendent and Show officer, said: ‘There were more than 600 entries and with this first combined show we seem to have hit the right formula.

‘The attendance figures prove this, but the brilliant sunshine and warm weather also helped,’ he added.

There were many sideshows and trade stalls and there were two exhibitions by the Lichfield and Brownhills Cagebird Society and Brownhills Motor Sales.

During the afternoon various events took place and just before the opening there was a display of parachuting by the Herefordshire Parachute Club.

‘Spartie’ an international cartoonist from Nottingham entertained the crowd with his comic sketches.

Favourites with the children were: Pierre and his vintage car, who is a comic clown and is also a nephew of the great circus clown Charlie Cairolli, Harry Codes a Western gunslinger and knife thrower, and Johnny Whitecloud, a fire eater.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a First World War dog fight by the Bilston Aero Model Club, and also there was a musical display by the Norton Canes Gaytones Jazz Band.

I am, like anyone, sad for the passed days of Chasewater when whole families pitched up for a paddle, a go on the fair, chips and bingo in the amusement arcade. But sadly, those days have passed, and so has that version of us, as a society. We have wider horizons now, and Chasewater is now being probably what it’s best at: A popular country park with burgeoning wildlife.

What do you remember of Chasewater Festivals, the park or the busy days? Perhaps you worked there, or worked on the project as a whole. I’d love to hear from you.

I include an article below I wrote earlier in the year regarding the spirit of optimism the Chasewater was borne from. High hopes indeed.

Comments are invited as always. Comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. You can always of course tug my sleeve on social media.

Back in spring I wrote:

One of the most loved and respected contributors to the Brownhills Blog is the great Reg ‘Aer Reg’ Fullelove, historian, commenter, author, poet and honorary Grandfather of the blog.

Reg regularly digs out stuff for the blog, and it’s with pleasure I can share the press clippings below about the very beginnings of Chasewater as a municipal park rather than a post-industrial canal feeder reservoir it was then, and the big dreams our civic fathers had, yet as time proved not the experience to implement.

Reg gave the following clippings to David Evans who kindly transcribed them for us. Note that Brownhills Council didn’t buy the reservoir or land outright, the actual arrangement in practice was complicated, and still is. The actual ownership of Chasewater was then complex and one day I’ll research it fully. it is of course now in the care of Staffordshire County Council since Lichfield District Council baled out of the dam works in 2011.

We’ve touched on this before in this article, with more optimism from the council of the day, and old pal of the blog Stuart Cowley remembered his childhood at Chasewater fondly in this article here and a follow up here.

The articles are below:

Brownhills Council to buy Norton Pool for public lido
 
Express and Star, 14 July 1955
 
Scheme to convert Norton Pool, a spacious stretch of water between Brownhills and Chasetown into a public lido, was carried a stage further at Brownhills Urban District Council’s meeting last night. rejecting an amendment for reference back, the council approved purchase of the pool, with adjacent cottages, from the British Transport Commission for £ 5830.

It was also decided to constitute all the councillors a Norton Pool Development Committee “ to go fully into all matters concerning the acquisition, development and amenities of the pool”
Councillor Dr F R Roberts becomes chairman of this committee
After referring to coal still to be mined under the reservoir and to other technical considerations relating to the proposed development Councillor Harrison, a former surveyor to the council, urged that these proposals should be gone into before the council purchased the property and not after.

“The history of the pool, he said” was not encouraging. years ago there was attempt to popularise it with  service of manually operated paddle boats. They ended in decay, submerged in the pool. Next a yachting club was formed but this died a natural death” Pointing out that the council also had under consideration schemes for developing Holland Park, provision of a sports centre and public baths and sewerage schemes for Brownhills and Walsall Wood, Councillor Harrison said he did not think the district could stand a million pounds expenditure without one copper’s increase in rateable value.
 
Norton Pool, now Chase Water begins a new life
 
Local press report 11 May 1956
 
Known for generations as Norton Pool, the reservoir water covering about 200 acres bounded by Brownhills, Chasetown and Norton Canes – was christened Chase Water on Saturday.

Dr F R Roberts, chairman of the Brownhills Urban District Council’s Norton Pool development Committee, which by stages is to transform the water and surrounding land into a lido, confessed to a “genuine thrill” when he renamed the pool which publicly launched his committee’s venture

Surrounded by unkempt land and disfigured by a background of pitheads and pitmounds, Norton Pool had admittedly been of unprepossessing appearance, but a vision of what Chase Water is destined to become was conjured up by Dr Roberts.

Describing the council’s plans to provide an attraction for the whole of South Staffordshire. Dr Roberts said improvements to come included adequate approach roads, screens of trees to conceal unsightly vistas, seven miles of pleasure walks around the shores, interspersed by lawns and flower beds, swimming facilities, a paddling pool, a model yacht pool and chalets and refreshment pavilions.

 Veritable paradise

Welcoming the council’s guests Councillor H V Fereday, chairman of the Brownhills Council said his aim was to convert what had been a desolate place into a “ veritable paradise , not spoiled by coconut shies, skittle alleys and the like. We have the advantage that this place belongs to the community and we have no vested interests to placate or compensate”

A vision

“We of the development committee have seen a vision and intend to pursue it and bring it to reality. There is much to be done, but we are convinced this enterprise can and will be a source of joy to all who use it.”

Representatives of neighbouring local authorities were among the Brownhills Council’s guests and the many water sports enthusiasts present included members of Cannock Chase Sailing Club and South Staffordshire Hyroplane club. Exceptionally squally conditions caused several craft to capsize during a programme, which included a yachting race and displays of other craft.

There are some interesting questions here, which I’ll leave readers to muse on mostly, but I am intrigued by the mention of South Staffordshire Hydroplane Club. What happened to them?

To go with this, here’s an image from Lichfield District Council’s archive, supplied by top council officer Gareth Thomas in 2012. It was taken from a general aerial survey of the area undertaken for the council, so catching Chasewater busy was coincidental.

This picture was taken on June 9th, 1963. It was a Sunday, and Chasewater – was packed. A big funfair is on the go, boats are on the water and there are cars and people everywhere. I note the water level to be quite low. It’s quite late in the afternoon looking at the shadows, which are being cast to the east.

This is clearly a special event – does anyone know what it was?

Taken on Sunday, 9th June, 1963, and reproduced by kind permission of Lichfield District Council, 2012. Click for a larger version. A full quality PDF can be downloaded below.

Chasewater and Brownhills, Sunday 9th June 1963

 

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Can we solve the mystery of an old Ogley Hay influencer from the 60s?

ogley-hay-class-4a-1963

Ogley Hay Junior School Class 4A in 1963 – a beautifully scanned photo kindly sent in by Malcolm Kelly. Click for a larger version.

A quick enquiry here from reader Ray who yesterday sent me in this headscratcher of a question which seems ideal for a Sunday.

He wrote:

Hi Bob

I was hoping you may have information that can help me out.

Whilst trying to put together the big influences in my life I found I could not remember one man. A teacher at Ogley Hay primary school back in 1964.

A final year teacher who taught mathematics to anyone who would listen. Any thoughts?

Ray

Now we’ve had quite a lot of photos of the Ogley Schools and class lineups in the past, and we’ve explored the history of these schools as material has come to light – but this has me baffled, I must say. Does anyone have any idea who this teacher might be?

There are a selection of Ogley Hay School posts here. Please take a look.

Previously I’ve featured an Ogley School staff image and also reader and local historian Andy Dennis has sent me a couple of lovely school group photos featuring his mother, thought to be from the 1936 sports event at Chase Terrace, which was mentioned by Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler in comments to the same post.

If you can help Ray, please do comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or give me a shout on social media.

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Woodmen fight hard to send Leicester up the road in last minute nailbiter

Photos kindly supplied by Simon Evans

Walsall Wood FC last weekend (Saturday 12th September 2019) ventured out to Leicester Road FC, hopefully to continue their unbeaten run – but the Leicester lads had other ideas, and a spirited, nailbiting match ensued.

Simon Evans was there, and was clearly pleased with the Woodmen’s performance:

Leicester Road FC 1 v 2 Walsall Wood
Saturday 12th September 2019

Wood progressed to the next round of the FA vase after a hard fought victory away at Leicester Road.

The first chance fell to Jack Till who capitalised on a backpass, but a covering defender was on hand to clear the danger. Leicester Road then forced a corner which fell to the striker who shot was over the bar. Leicester Road were applying some pressure, a shot went past the post. Wood then hammered a succession of corners but nothing came of them.

After 30 minutes Joey Butlin’s header went just wide, soon after Jack Till’s header went over the bar. Leicester Road then were awarded a freekick just outside the box, the effort going over the bar.

The second half started with Wood pressing, Jack Till forcing the Leicester Road keeper to tip over his long range effort. Both teams trying hard to win it, but as yet with no end product to show.

So into extra time it was. The first period Wood started to get a hold of the game, the breakthrough coming in the 110th minute – Joey Butlin fouled in the box, Mitch Tolley despatching the spot kick. 0-1.

The second period of extra time saw Leicester Road going for an equaliser and Wood defending. With two minutes remaining Leicester Road got a levelling goal, Callum Earls with a wonderful effort 1-1.

With time running out and a replay on the cards, Wood had one last attack, a great through ball found Max Loveridge who calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper, taking the score 1-2.

There was still time for one last Leicester Road attack but the Wood defence held firm.

So Wood progress to the next round…

Simon Evans

Thanks to Simon for an excellent report – remember, it’s all For the Good of The Wood!

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2019 Autumn Leaves Running Day at Aldridge Transport Museum this Sunday

 

This Sunday 20th October 2019 it’s the annual ‘Autumn Leaves’ running day at Aldridge Transport Museum, when you can ride vintage and classic busses for free, browse stalls, admire classic and vintage cars, explore the museum – and visit Chasewater in style!

It’s £5 entry for adults, £2 for kids and a family ticket is just £13, with the event running from 10:00am until 4:00pm.

The museum said:

Vintage buses and coaches giving free rides to several destinations, displays and stalls within the Museum.

Maybe more to come – watch this space! Free feeder buses from Walsall every half an hour from 10.20 onwards. Museum entrance on the Running Day £5 adult, £2 child, family tickets available at £13, pay at the door. All bus rides are free.

See our website & Facebook page for updates

Aston Manor Road Transport Museum
Shenstone Drive, Off Northgate, Aldridge, Walsall W89 8TP

The timetable of bus operations is below – more details can be found on the museum Facebook page.

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Lichfield repair cafe October meet up – get together and get things fixed this Saturday!

Never one to sit back and let life pass her by, that there Kate Cardigan from the wonderful Lichfield Lore is involved with the excellent Lichfield Repair Cafe project – which continues it’s regular residency this Saturday afternoon (Saturday 19th October 2019) at Curborough Community Centre, Lichfield from 2pm until 5pm.

Kate, who’s more usually known for her excellent work with local history group, Lichfield Discovered and other projects, started a community initiative to help people repair, recycle and put back to good use things that my be broken or need some love.

We are dreaming of a green Christmas here in Lichfield and so the fantastic Philippa Birch-Wood will be running a workshop on how to have a more sustainable festive season.

As ever our repair team will be on hand to help you have a go at fixing your broken stuff and the cafe will be open for coffee, cake & chat.

All welcome.

No charge but voluntary donations welcome 💚

This looks like a great way to have fun, meet up with other like minded folk and also learn some new skills.

If you’re unsure where to find  Curborough Community Centere, check out their contact page here, and the address for twatnav wranglers is 37, Reynolds Close, Lichfield Ws13 7NY.

I’ll let Kate explain:

Hello! 

The Lichfield Repair & Share cafe meets again at Curborough Community Centre on Saturday 19th October 2019 between 2pm and 5pm. As a way of reducing waste whilst learning new skills, we have a team of volunteer repairers on hand to show people how to try and mend their broken or damaged items, rather than throw them away. 

Bring your broken household items along to see if our team of volunteer repairs can help you fix them- or just pop in for a chat & a brew! All welcome, no charge but voluntary donations welcome 🙂

There will, as usual be a cafe with hot and cold drinks and cakes. Whilst there is no charge, voluntary donations are appreciated!

The cafe will be taking place at Curborough on the 3rd Saturday of every month and we are always looking for more people to get involved whether they want to offer their skills as a repairer or run a workshop. To find our more information, or to volunteer, please email lichfieldshare@gmail.com, join the group’s Facebook page Lichfield Repair Café or follow us on Twitter @lichfieldshare.

For more information, contact Kate Gomez at lichfieldshare@gmail.com or joing the Lichfield Repair & Share group on Facebook here.

Many thanks as ever!
Kate

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Walsall Wood away at Coventry Sphinx this afternoon!

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Why not Stay and Play – at Brownhills Community Centre this morning

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 19th October 2019 from 10-11:30am.

It costs just two quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

There are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

 

🕷🎃🕷🎃🕷🎃🕷🎃🕷🎃
Saturday 19th October 2019

Messy play tray will be lentil Halloween sensory tray

Halloween crafts and pictures to colour 🖍

Creative table will be Pumkin Playdough 🎃🎃

…Along with all our other areas of play within the nursery setting:

• home corner
• construction
• small world
• maths area
• cosy book/music area
• baby sensory area

OUTDOOR WATER PLAY OF COURSE 😍 maybe added rain ☔️

See you all Saturday ….

Fingers crossed the rain doesn’t stay too long ☔️☔️☔️

10.00am-11.30am
£2 per child
Snack included

Feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-4 years and share our events

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery every Saturday morning …

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Fancy a Parkrun at Chasewater this Saturday morning?

I know we have a lot of running folk amongst the readership, and in the mass of volunteer, community organised stuff in recent years, one of the most impressive demonstrations of this has been the growth of the free, Saturday morning Parkrun phenomena, where volunteers and runners gather every Saturday in local parks for a run, totally free of charge.

The second Parkrun at Chasewater attracted more than 300 runners. Image from Susan Williams.

It’s not competitive – except against your own personal best – it’s properly marshalled and you have to register, but it’s a free, friendly thing that’s hugely popular and a stunning demonstration of community in action.

It’s suitable for runners of all experience levels and paces. Find out more at the event page here.

Having run for years now at Walsall Arboretum and Cannock Chase, we now have a 5km Parkrun at Chasewater that happens every Saturday (events in the park permitting) – and has been attracting over 300 runners already!

It’s on this Saturday (19th October 2019) at 9:00am and the organisers have this to say:

What is Chasewater parkrun?

It is a 5km run – it’s you against the clock.

When is it?

Every Saturday at 9:00am.

Where is it?

The event takes place at Chasewater Country Park, Pool Rd, Burntwood, Brownhills, WS8 7NL. See Course page for more details.

What does it cost to join in?

Nothing – it’s free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder). If you forget it, you won’t get a time.

How fast do I have to be?

We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!

Chasewater parkrun needs you!

It is entirely organised by volunteers – email chasewaterhelpers@parkrun.com to help.

We’re friendly!

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in the South Shore café – please come and join us!

Please, if you go for a run this Saturday, drop me a line and let me know how you get on – this is a fascinating thing and it’s growth is really wonderful. Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Just walking to the start shows the large number of runners already making this a great event! Image from Susan Williams.

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Community litter pick in Walsall Wood this Saturday morning!

I know folk always complain they never caught notice of these, so this is just a note to say there’s a community litter pick this Saturday morning in Walsall Wood, organised by the fab Walsall Wood Wombles group.

Tomorrow, Saturday 19th October 2019 there will be a litter pick in Walsall Wood which will be meeting on the corner of Brookland Road and Brook Lane at 10am. All who wish to join in are most welcome!

They said:

REMINDER!!! Community litter pick on Saturday 19th October. We meet on the corner of Brook Lane and Brookland Road at 10am. All equipment is provided. See you there 🗑🗑

Walsall Wood Wombles group is a great initiative by top community person Alison Deeley.

Wombles groups are gaining in popularity – you can check out The Brownhills Community Wombles Facebook page here, and there’s a Facebook page for Walsall Wood Wombles here. They’re bot great community spirited collectives and you really are welcome to pop along.

Thanks to all who participate: Real community in action.

Previous local litter pick events have been a huge success, so let’s see if we can make these even better!

Recent litter picks have been a huge success and very popular.
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Soultime October – Northern Soul and Motown Disco with DJ Leekie and pals tonight!

 

The inimitable soul DJ Leekie has been in touch to let me know that he’s DJing his regular Soultime event at Pelsall Community Centre this evening, Friday 18th October 2019 at Pelsall Community Centre, where he and a number of great soul pals will be fulfilling all your Northern Soul and Motown requirements.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like a bit of classic soul and Leekie is a great DJ for a wonderful night. A two-room event, it also features Neil Thacker, Lee Rocester, David Lawrence and of course, Leekie!

It’s just £5 a head (payable on the door) and kicks off at 8pm and runs until Midnight. What’s not to love?

That’s Pelsall Community Centre, Station Rd, Pelsall, Walsall WS3 4BQ. See you there?

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Don’t forget there’s a Navy Cadet Force Open Day in Clayhanger this Saturday

TS Vigo are excellent young people. Image from their Facebook page.

Just a heads up that the local Navy Cadet Force – T.S. Vigo based in Clayhanger at the Community Centre in Church Street – are having an Open Day this Saturday, 19th October 2019.

There will be loads of family fun and games going on from 10am until 5pm, with faceprinting, craft fair, vintage tea room, kids craft activities, street food, music and Cadet Force displays and demonstrations.

It takes place at Clayhanger Community Centre, Church Street, Clayhanger WS8 7EG.

This is a really good chance to find out what the Cadet Force is all about, and if you have youngsters who may be interested do pop along – but you can got to any meeting if you want to join or just want to see what they get up to.

TS Vigo are  a fine group of youngsters and an absolute credit to our community.

T.S Vigo – Navy Cadet Force

Tuesdays 7-9pm Stingray Cadets: 8 to 10 years
Naval Junior Cadets: 10 to 12 years
Naval Cadets: 12 to 18 years
Bootie Cadets: 10 – 12 years
Marine Cadets: 12 to 18 years

Clayhanger village community center
church street
Clayhanger
walsall
ws87eg

Telephone: 07592196866

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Stuart Williams – goodbye my friend

Stuart Williams – Image from Southcart Books.

It is my sad duty to share the news with readers here that yesterday afternoon, Tuesday 15th October 2019, fellow local blogger, friend of the Brownhills Blog, total geek and dedicated local historian Stuart Williams passed away following a period of illness.

Stuart was a great writer and creative and was one of the establishing bloggers of the Walsall  online and social media scene I stumbled into a decade ago. At that point, Stuart’s Bloxidge Tallygraph – he always was, and remained a passionate Bloxwich lad – was well established and a beacon of engaging and beautifully written, well researched online history and news, that was totally professional in both presentation and content.

Stuart did great work at the Walsall Local History Centre where he spent the majority of his working life, but also in his own time with a huge range of clubs, societies, writers groups and more – Stuart covered everything from Star Trek to astronomy; from photography to poetry. He was both remarkably talented, and socially engaged.

Stuart had so many side projects that I feel sure the whole of Walsall must have known him. He wrote, performed, blogged, photographed, lectured, protested, educated, made, programmed and re-enacted. All with great humour and a charming, self-effacing and relaxed attitude to life.

Rest in peace old lad. The cold, cold wind takes another of the online community we were all bound up together by in the whirlwind of 2009: You were there on the front page of the Yam Yam with me, the Plastic Hippo and other writers of the day. I like to think you’re up there now in some bar, laughing with Mark Blackstock and the Hippo himself and remembering those days, before animatedly discussing Aldus Huxley with the big lad, while Mark takes the piss.

My condolences to Andy, Stuart’s brother, to his family and to the immense number of friends Stuart made both online and in the real world.

Tara a bit, Bloxidge Mon.

And now, we are fewer once more.

 

 

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Why not come meet Walsall Humanists this Wednesday evening in their new venue!

The Walsall Arms is a great little pub. Image posted on Flickr by Geoff Pick.

Here’s a quick plug for Lichfield, Walsall and South Staffordshire Humanists – a philosophical debating group – who have their quarterly meeting this Wednesday 16th  October 2019 at their new home – the Walsall Arms pub, 17 Bank Street, WS1 2EP.

The meeting kicks off at 7:45pm and goes on until about 9:45pm.

I asked for help with a new venue for the group a couple way back in the spring – they used to meet at the Boatman’s Rest in Walsall Wood but since the restaurant conversion, they pub has no meeting room. Thankfully they seem to have found an excellent and very suitable new venue.

Old pal of the blog, Charles Street let me know about the group and their meeting schedule – and the fact that’s it’s completely free to attend.

If you’re interested in philosophy, the nature of what we believe and accept, this could be a great evening with like minded people.

Charles said:

Hi Bob

I wonder if you’d be kind enough to give a mention to our Humanist group on your blog?

I’m a member of Humanists UK, and also a member of the local Humanist group (LWASS – Lichfield Walsall and South Staffs) Humanists –  we hold a meeting every quarter for those interested in Humanism, Atheism, Secularism and related subject areas.

We meet on the 3rd Wednesday every quarter – January April July and October at 7:45pm-ish until 9:45pm-ish for those interested in Humanism and related matters.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday October 16th 2019 – venue: the Walsall Arms pub, 17 Bank Street, WS1 2EP.

The pub itself does not have on site parking but ample on street parking nearby. It is within easy walking of Walsall Town Centre and public transport. It has the advantage that it has projection facilities and as soon as we have understood the projection logistics we can show films for discussion.

At the moment there are around a dozen of us that meet up and have a general chat about Humanism – we’re looking for new people to come and add to the discussion.

There is no membership fee – anyone that’s interested just come and join in. We have a diverse range of members, and from all colours of the political spectrum. – If you’re interested come and say hello – we are really nice people!

Our local website is:  lichfieldhumanistgroup.webs.com   If you’d like to know more about Humanism in general, have a look at the Humanists website  https://humanism.org.uk

Regards Chas

If you pop along to the meeting please drop me the word and tell me how you got on – the Humanists have a whole bunch of stuff going on and their website above is worth a look: I’ve always been a big fan of Birmingham Sceptics in the Pub who post some very interesting, thought provoking stuff on social media.

Tell me more: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on the antisocial media.

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust October 2019 public meeting takes place this evening

P1120641

Sandfields Pumping Station – a great historic building with immense history and social significance – not just to Lichfield, but to the Black Country. Lichfield Discovered and local historian Dave Moore have saved this valuable asset for the community.

Sandfields Pumping Station champion and public historian extraordinaire Dave Moore has been in touch to let me know that this evening, Monday 14th September 2019 there will be the monthly Public Meeting of the Lichfield Waterworks Trust charity, formerly the Friends of Sandfields Pumping Station group.

The meeting is at the Bowling Green pub, Lichfield from 7:30pm and is of course open to anyone interested.

Dave wrote:

 

Lichfield Waterworks Trust October Newsletter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on Monday 14 October 2019 at 7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of the
 
The Bowling Green
Friary Road
Lichfield
Staffordshire
WS13 6QJ
 
Tel: 01543 257344
 
The Bowling Green serves some great food and real ales.

September meeting notes are available here

Latest News

Building Lease Update:

Persimmon have emailed the trust on 12 August 2019 stating:

“We feel that we are still not in a position whereby we can commit to your requirements; and that a meeting would be better to thrash out the details”.

As the trust is a not for profit entity and is without a revenue stream, thrashing out details is not the way we would wish to work or conduct our business. Therefore, we have asked Persimmon to list the items in the heads of terms we can agree, and place those to one side as agreed. Then to list the items that they cannot agree, so that the trustees can have the opportunity to study, consider and agree if this would or would not leave the trust in a financially viable position.
 
The trustees have chased Persimmon twice on this issue to no avail.

Important Note:

After the visit by Historic England on 16 Jan, the site has unfortunately been placed on the Heritage At Risk Register.

This is indeed sad news to see that this magnificent piece of industrial heritage is now officially at risk of permanent loss.
 
The trust is committed to continue working with the owner, Persimmon Homes Ltd to find a sustainable solution that will bring this building and its historic contents aback into a community use.

Tonight’s Talk

Following on from last months talk from Ian Pell who gave a very interesting and insightful talk on the South Staffordshire Railway
 
Our very own David Moore will be presenting a talk on: 

Digital Photography including video filming, producing time lapse sequences and drone photography.


 
David’s interest in photography began in the early 70’s supporting his passion for exploring industrial sites. Inspired by the industrial photographer George Watkins, he soon realised that to carefully record these sites he needed more than a Kodak Instamatic camera. What followed was a steep learning curve into the world of photography.
 
From the days of hijacking his mother’s bathroom for a darkroom, digital photography has not only made great quality photography accessible to many, it has continued to initiate new skills in computing and digital media processing.
 
If you will like to know more about photography, film-making time lapse sequences and digital processing then this will be an interesting evening to anyone with a remote interest in digital media.

Site Report

With the site now on the at-risk register for Historic England, Persimmon have taken possession of the site to complete the repairs identified, therefore there is very little to report in September.
 
Persimmon has indicated that we should be able to take back possession of the site on 7 October 2019, however this need to be confirmed.
 
We will keep you updated on progress.

3D Walkthrough

Dudley Technical College has been extremely kind in producing a 3D Walkthrough for the trust. This is an amazing piece of work that not only showcases the site, it also provides an opportunity to those who are unable to visit the site or climb the stairs

Please click on the image below

History West Midlands – Podcast

History West Midlands have produced a stunning podcast titled – Making Cholera History in the Black Country.
 
Presented by writer and broadcaster Graham Fisher and Directed by Andy Partington, featuring David Moore, the podcast gives a detailed history of both Sandfields pumping Station and the story of clean water.

Please click on the image below



Donations

With over 2,500 volunteer working hours, (equates to more than two full time equivalents) and over £14,000 spent in cleaning equipment, materials and scaffold over the last two years. This month has seen quite a drain on our bank balance with invoices for the viability study and scaffolding landing on the desk. Looking at the engine now, as opposed to how it looked in 2016, the volunteers have made some remarkable progress.


 
We will also always invest in our people and we are planning further training days soon. All these costs soon mount up, so if you can donate, then please visit our donation page here.
 
Any amount is helpful, is well appreciated and will be carefully spent preserving our industrial past for our future generations, developing skills for our people and making our community a better place
 
Please make cheques payable to; Lichfield Waterworks Trust, and send to our address:
 
22 Walsall Road
Lichfield
WS13 8AB

Membership 

We would like this opportunity to welcome a few new members.

Thank you for joining the Lichfield Waterworks Trust. We hope you will enjoy your membership and become part of a very exciting heritage project that will benefit the people, the place and the community.

It would really help us if we develop and grow our membership. If you are not already a member and would you like to be a part of one of the region’s most exciting heritage projects then please, join us now by filling in Membership Application Form by going to our membership page here. It is free to join and be a part of this incredibly exciting project.

Finally

 
Thank you everyone for your continued support and helping to make a difference in our community.

Do pop over to Dave Moore’s blog and check out the history of Sandfields Pumping Station, an almost forgotten gem – the group also has a Facebook page.

Dave is, of course, one of the leading lights of Lichfield Discovered, along with Kate ‘Cardigan’ Gomez from Lichfield Lore.

It’s great to see people like Dave encourage a better attitude to our historic buildings -please do attend if you’re able, it’s sure to be enlightening and educational.

Posted in Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Annie Thomas, and Friezland Lane Working Men’s Club…

The note on the reverse of this photo says ‘Annie Elizabeth Thomas (nee Edwards) born in Friezland Lane, Shire Oak on the 11th February 1893. Image very generously donated by Shirley Downes via David Evans.

In my neglectful absence, David Evans has been busy gathering material as he does, and he sent me the following, very generous and lovely photographic donation from local lady Shirley Downes regarding Annie Thomas.

Now I believe Annie was a well known character and respected lady in the area, and also think she may have been a noted pianist, often in Friezland Lane Working Mens Club, an institution I’m still desperately trying to find material about – and which we did recently have some success with – see this post here.

Shirley’s note on the reverse of this image says ‘I am sure this is Friezland Lane Club.’ – does anyone know when the photo dates from, what the event might have been, and can anyone name any of the other diners? Image very generously donated by Shirley Downes via David Evans.

David said of the donation

I would like to thank Mrs Shirley Downes for her immense generosity in offering these amazing images and adding the notes. I wonder if we can name some of the good folk seen at the social event in the club?

Clearly a musical family! The caption says ‘Annie Thomas, left with her daughter in law Violet.’ Image very generously donated by Shirley Downes via David Evans.

I, of course echo David’s sentiment in thanking Shirley, and would ask readers what they recall of Annie and if they can expand on any of the images, or what they recall of the club in that period?

You know the drill: Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on social media.

‘Outside 139, Chester Road, Shire Oak – Annie Thomas with her son, George.’ Image very generously donated by Shirley Downes via David Evans.

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When it was all different

After a frighteningly busy few weeks which have left me tired and unable to do as much as I’d like on the blog, it’s nice to get back onto a bit of local history, which let’s not forget, is the primary reason this blog exists!

I have lots of great stuff coming up, so please stay tuned. Now winter is with us, I’ll have more time to get the posts written and edited, so if you’re waiting patiently for some local history, hang in there!

Here’s a great one for a Sunday afternoon, and raises an awful lot of questions for me. David Evans is still exploring the huge amount of material donated to the blog by Gerald Reece, probably the finest local history writer to ever cover our area. In this material, David has found a book covering local entries in the Domesday Book, and also a document covering the boundaries of the Manor of Little Wyrley in 1743.

Mapping like this six-inch (1:10,000) from the 1880s clearly belies many older place names. Please click for a larger version. Image courtesy the National Library of Scotland Archive.

At first glance these items may seem unrelated, but hold up a second: many of the old names in the 1743 document are closer to terms in the Domesday Book, and the landscape bound by the manor would be closer to the post-invasion surveyors than the landscape that would forever be massively changed by the coming industrial revolution. Many of the names, watercourses and so on described would be lost, forever.

Except maybe not: I invite readers to consider and digest the text, to have a look at modern and old maps and see what remains, and what clues there are. I’m astounded by the place names that do still exist.

It really is quite astonishing!

Middlestools particularly interests me: I have heard this name Middle Stools Coppice somewhere. Can you help? A stool is, in coppicing terms, the remnant of a tree cut back as part of coppicing. So why middle? Half grown? Half way between?

Please do have a gander and shout up with anything you spot – you can mail me on the usual BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com, comment here or find on social media. Thanks to David for a remarkable find,, and of course to Gerald who so diligently worked to do the research in gathering this material in the first place.

David Evans wrote:

Gerald Reece, local historian extraordinaire hugely enriched our local history commonwealth by spending a huge amount of time researching the enormous number of documents held in Stafford Record office over many years, from which he was able to write his book ‘Brownhills: A walk into History’.

In the last year or so he has passed me all his materials, and it is immediately apparent that his ongoing   research was thorough and extensive. There is so much material that he was not able to include in his book, and slowly but surely I have the pleasure of reading and enjoying this.

Two documents, among the many I am studying, open a previously unrecorded part of our history…

Image kindly supplied by David Evans. Click for a larger version.

In Gerald’s copy of this reprint of part of the Domesday book  of 1086 AD we find some  reference to local places that caught my eye…

Image kindly supplied by David Evans. Click for a larger version.

PELESHALE ( Pelsall; land for one plough, waste ) and HOCINTUNE ( Ogley Hay, 1 hide waste)

Image kindly supplied by David Evans. Click for a larger version.

Humerwich (the two Hammerwiches, 5 carucates of land) Nortonne (Norton Canes) Wereleia (Wyrley, 4 caracutes of land)… Rouueleia (Rowley) … all these land are waste

So, in 1086AD there was no mention of Brownhills, just Hocintune and Wyrley.

Now we leap forward in time to the 1700s and two documents bring more intrigue…

This is a copy of a 1743 document that Gerald has mounted on cloth. Is it important, then> It measure 3 feet by 2 feet 6 inches and refers to Little Wyrley Manor. Some peoples names have been underlined, as have some place names…all within the Manor of Little Wyrley….

Hilkin Wilkin, Middlestools, Little Brownhills. What and where we these?  Is it possible to identify and locate them?

Another  of the numerous documents in Gerald’s collection , a transcription of an original document, also dated 1843 may help…I have typed this out to make it easier to read.

Boundaries of the Manor of Little Wyrley            Copy of 1743

sheet 1

Item. We present the true ancient boundaries of
this manor   at the Corner of a hedge of the pasture
called Colman fields in a Common high way called
Watlinge Streete over against a Cross digged by
us in the said high way  over against the Corner
of the sd hedge and from thence goeth along the sd high way
called Watling Streete unto O stley pitts and so goeth
still along the said way to a place where a Cross
did formerly stand near Knaves Castle and where we have also
digged a Cross in the ground as a mesure and from
that Cross goeth Southward by a Certain
unto a Common high way called
Hampton way where we have also digged a Crosse
for a mesure from thence goeth down a Certain
place called Groves Glade (with correction Slade above) under Catstone Hill
unto the head of the spring called Earthenbrigg Well at the upper end of Clayhaenger – like and from
thence goeth down a certain watercourse thence
westward unto a certain Pasture called Ryders
Heye and so goeth down by the sd watercourse unto

sheet 2

a place in the sd Ryders heye where two Oaks did
formerly grow but are now cut down and gone
where a certain watercourse is and hath been
heretofore and so goeth into another watercourse
falling from Hampton high way and thence beyond the
sd high way unto a certain oak formerly growing
in the hedge of a certain pasture called Long Lee
which is likewise now cut down but the stump
thereof still remains  and we dig there a cross for a mesure
and from that Oak to a certain mesure –stone lying in
that piece of the sd Long Lee  next to the
common high way called the Lyme ways and from
that stone decending in to a certain ancient watercourse
in a certain pasture called Dean’s Heye and so following
the same watercourse so unto a certain high way
called the Lyme ways at Walsall waye and thence
into a pit called Stockings pitt and so into a certain
ditch of a parcel of land called Wirley Haye at Spratts
Crofte and so decending that ditch between a parcel of land
called Crofte hitchins and a pasture called Sey fields

sheet 3

unto the upper end or corner of the pasture
afsd called Sey fields by a certain  S    h  thence  as
the water falleth into a certain meadow called
Cowbry (pencil correction Cow hey) meadow and so going down that watercourse by
and beyond that meadow called Cawbry (pencil correction hey) meadow  unto a
certain brook called  Bulfield brook at Fishey brook
and so down that brook unto Gaynes brook and so down
Gaines unto and in a parcel of land called the
Slewers and from thence unto and in a certain brook
called Horsley brook and so by Horsley brook unto
and in Banndale brook and so along the sd brook
unto Keye pool and so by  a certain watercourse
from Key pool unto a certain brook called Whitfield (at Whitall)
brook and so by that brook near unto a certain
way leading from the Town of Norton towards Knaves
Castle through a certain place called a Valley under
the Corner of a pasture called Glives valley (pencil correction Groves Hurst) and thence
along in and by the upper part of a Certain pasture or
parcel (of ) land called Hilkin Wilkin and so inclosing Hilkin Wilkin and following along
a small watercourse or thence unto a pit

I would like to thank Gerald Reece for his endeavours in researching our history, and especially for making his notes and materials available for further study.

 

 

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Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, this afternoon!

I note that since the rain seems to be clearing it would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green with the kids, grandkids of even just by yourself and chat to the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are there this afternoon – and every Sunday from 1-3pm and have bird books, binoculars and a wealth of knowledge to share – so why not join them? There’s so much more local wildlife than people think!

The reserve is by the pools on Stubbers Green Road, between Aldridge and Shelfield.

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

Stubbers Green Nature Reserve Aldridge
Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Lollipops and stickers for children that bring good healthy bird foods. Sweet corn, lettuce, porridge oats, branflakes, cornflakes, vegetable peelings, bird seed.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.

Donations welcome

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Walsall Wood FC away to Leicester Road FC this afternoon

The Leicester Road ground: A great venue. Image from Travel Blog.

Saturday 12th October 2019

Walsall Wood FC v Leicester Road FC

Leicester Rd, Leics, LE10 3DR

 Don’t break your Wood vows, be there, be faithful to your local heroes

Kickoff 3pm

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Check out the Walsall Wood FC website here

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why not Stay and Play – at Brownhills Community Centre this morning

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 12th October 2019 from 10-11:30am.

It costs just two quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

There are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

 

🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷
Saturday 12th October 2019

Messy play tray will be based around Incy Wincy Spider ….

Creative table will be drawing and sticking your very own spider webs 🕸 🕷

…Along with all our other areas of play within the nursery setting:

• home corner
• construction
• small world
• maths area
• cosy book/music area
• baby sensory area

OUTDOOR- WATER PLAY OF COURSE 😍 maybe added rain ☔️😂

See you all Saturday ….

Fingers crossed the rain doesn’t stay too long ☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️

10.00am-11.30am
£2 per child
Snack included

Feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-4 years and share our events

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery every Saturday morning…

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Fancy a Parkrun at Chasewater this Saturday morning?

I know we have a lot of running folk amongst the readership, and in the mass of volunteer, community organised stuff in recent years, one of the most impressive demonstrations of this has been the growth of the free, Saturday morning Parkrun phenomena, where volunteers and runners gather every Saturday in local parks for a run, totally free of charge.

The second Parkrun at Chasewater attracted more than 300 runners. Image from Susan Williams.

It’s not competitive – except against your own personal best – it’s properly marshalled and you have to register, but it’s a free, friendly thing that’s hugely popular and a stunning demonstration of community in action.

It’s suitable for runners of all experience levels and paces. Find out more at the event page here.

Having run for years now at Walsall Arboretum and Cannock Chase, we now have a 5km Parkrun at Chasewater that happens every Saturday (events in the park permitting) – and has been attracting over 300 runners already!

It’s on this Saturday (12th October 2019) at 9:00am and the organisers have this to say:

What is Chasewater parkrun?

It is a 5km run – it’s you against the clock.

When is it?

Every Saturday at 9:00am.

Where is it?

The event takes place at Chasewater Country Park, Pool Rd, Burntwood, Brownhills, WS8 7NL. See Course page for more details.

What does it cost to join in?

Nothing – it’s free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder). If you forget it, you won’t get a time.

How fast do I have to be?

We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!

Chasewater parkrun needs you!

It is entirely organised by volunteers – email chasewaterhelpers@parkrun.com to help.

We’re friendly!

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in the South Shore café – please come and join us!

Please, if you go for a run this Saturday, drop me a line and let me know how you get on – this is a fascinating thing and it’s growth is really wonderful. Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Just walking to the start shows the large number of runners already making this a great event! Image from Susan Williams.

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Why not join the community litter picks this weekend in Brownhills and next weekend in Walsall Wood!

I know folk always complain they never caught notice of these, so this is just a note to say there are two community littler picks this weekend, from Brownhills Community Wombles and Walsall Wood Wombles groups.

There’s a community litter pick event taking place in Brownhills this Saturday morning, 12th October 2019 from 10am – and all are welcome. All kit will be provided! Meet on Tesco car park by the green bridge.

Then on Saturday 19th October 2019 there will be a litter pick in Walsall Wood by their Womble group who will be meeting on the corner of Brookland Road and Brook Lane at 10am. All welcome!

Every bit helps! Image from Kathryn Grace.

The Brownhills pick is being run by local lady Kathryn Grace and a band of volunteers for the benefit of the community, and Walsall Wood’s event is an initiative by top community person Alison Deeley.

You can check out The Brownhills Community Wombles Facebook page here, and there’s a Facebook page for Walsall Wood Wombles here. They’re bot great community spirited collectives and you really are welcome to pop along.

Thanks to all who participate: Real community in action.

Previous local litter pick events have been a huge success, so let’s see if we can make these even better!

Recent litter picks have been a huge success and very popular.
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Important appeal: Did you know Kate Pugh from Stafford?

This is one of those requests that pops up from time to time, and I really hope readers can help. Reader Kevin Patrice has contacted me to try and get in contact with a lady called Kate Pugh, following a bereavement.

Kevin Price wrote:

Morning, I’m hoping you may be able to help me out. After ar ecent bereavement, I need to trace a lady with the name Kate Pugh.

She may have different surname now.

She had a mother Barabara Pugh.

They both lived in St Leonards Avenue, Stafford. I’m having no luck, would you know how I may find Katy. Any advice greatly appreciated.

I often run these kinds of request, mainly because I feel that whatever has occurred within families, we’d all prefer to know of the loss of one of ours. Finding relatives or lost friends at times like this can be as much about closure as anything else, so please help if you can.

Please seek Kate’s permission before sharing her details.

Thanks in advance. If anyone can help, please email me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or find me on social media and I’ll pass any messages on.

Posted in Environment, Local History, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Someone in Time – a great new book by a brilliant local author

Burntwood lad and old friend of the blog Stuart Cowley has been busy publishing his first book, which I’m really happy to see and very much looking forward to reading.

You’ll all know how important it is to me that local writing is promoted, and Stuart with his many, diverse contributions to the blog – from his memories of growing up at Chasewater, to his days in local radio and his involvement with local marching bands – has always been a writer with the talent to go much further than this blog, and I’m glad to see him doing so at last.

Stuart has written what looks to be a lovely and engaging historical novella which is already garnering rave reviews including a very favourable write up from the discerning David Evans, who never minces his words when it comes to book reviews!

You can buy a copy on Amazon by clicking here – it’s £3 on Kindle, £6 for a physical paperback and free with the Kindle Unlimited subscription thing.

The book cover and associated media have been a real collaborative effort between Stuart and a host of local talent and helpful historical folk Stuart co-opted from the online community – more of that in a subsequent post as that deserves a writeup all of it’s own!

Another old pal of the group, now resident in the US, Lisa Ashby has worked her video magic on the story and it’s really stunning – see the video below.

Stuart Cowley wrote:

Evening Bob,

I just thought it worth a mention that I’ve self-published a short novel called ‘Someone In Time’, a fictional story based around the true events of ‘Exercise Tiger’ In the Second World War.

In that exercise, many hundreds of American service personnel died on the beaches of Devon during what was a rehearsal for the actual D day landings.

It follows the lives of two friends from Columbus, Ohio, who join the Armoured division during the Second World War.

One makes it through the war, the other marries an English girl but is classed as ‘Missing in action’ following the exercise. His new bride also goes missing, just after the wedding.

There is speculation that they have turned their backs on everything and everybody to seek out a new life for themselves.  In present day Devon the truth of what really happened to the couple, all those years ago, eventually comes to light.

This was the second of two screenplays that I’ve attempted over the years since about 2001. The first being a chase comedy set in the late 70s. Encouragement I received from a UK Film council initiative at the time, inspired me to write this second project.

I soon learned that it’s all very well coming up with ideas but it’s difficult to know where to go with them when finished. The only hope you have of progressing with anything is if you have a spare 5 million or your name is Richard Curtis, or both. So over the years they’ve been in and out of the loft, sat at the BBC writers room, dead in the water.

Just before Christmas I heard a radio interview on an author who had been in the same position and had decided to turn a screenplay in to a novel and self-publish. He now does that full time and is very successful. So over the winter months, I thought I’d have a go at my second project.

It has to be said at this point that some words of praise from yourself about my writing quality on an article that I’d written for the blog also gave me the confidence to proceed. Amazing what a few words of encouragement will do. A lesson to be learned for everyone, I think.

The plan was to get it finished by the end of March…. here we are mid-July.

The idea for it stems back to 2002 when I saw a documentary on the Exercise in Devon and then after hearing a radio documentary called ‘Someone somewhere’ which was probably one of the best radio productions I’ve ever heard. It was about the true story of a girl who had gone missing on Beachy head. In that production there was a recurring verse that was evocative and I’ve tried to replicate that in the book.

The brief for writing a screenplay is to keep it tight, so on converting to novel there was a risk of upsetting the balance of the story if you try and pad out for padding out sake. So this isn’t a short story, it isn’t a full blown novel. It’s what’s known as a ‘Novella’.

Many of the people who have helped me frequent the BrownhillsBob blog and Facebook pages. So this is another example of what this platform is capable of achieving by bringing people together. So in that respect Bob and fellow admins, pat yourselves on the back for what you do!

You can buy your copy on Amazon – for Kindle or in paperback – by clicking here.

If you read it, hope you enjoy it then it will have been worthwhile putting the time in.

Cheers!
Stuart

I haven’t yet got my copy, but I’m really looking forward to reading this. My apologies to Stuart for the late article, too. Hope he’ll forgive me my tardiness.

If you have any questions or observations for Stuart, please do comment here, find me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at  Googlemail dot com, and I’ll draw them to his attention.

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Brownhills very own autism support group meets this lunchtime in a new home

Just a heads up to let folk know that the popular local autism support group ‘Supporting the Rainbow’ is meeting today (Tuesday 8th October 2019) – and there have been some changes as now the group is inaugurated as a charity in its own right.

Today and on every second Tuesday from now on they will be meeting at lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm in the Community Centre (The old Annex, or Central Boys School), Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

The group is open to parents and carers for those with autism, and aims to offer a welcoming, helpful and supportive network to those coping with the condition.

Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 is now an official charity affiliated with Rethink Mental Health!

After some discussions we have made some changes to our group meetings and venue: from October 8th 2019 we will be having our group meetings at Brownhills Community Centre

We have checked the venue  and we have a beautiful room on the ground floor, so it makes it easier for people with pushchairs and people with disabilities to manage.

Our times will still be 1:30-2:30pm but instead of meeting every week,  we will be fortnightly starting today, Tuesday 8th October 2019.

We are really looking forward to this new change and our lovely group can progress and move onward: we can look to having workshops and so much more.

The fortnightly meetings make it easier for some people who can’t come every week, and we will be having a raffle and tea and biscuits so please do come along to a warm friendly atmosphere!

From the Supporting the Rainbow 🌈 team

The group has been running for a good while now and is still growing in popularity – so why not pop along to see what it’s all about?

 

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Details of Walsall Council’s park bonfire events for 2019

Holland Park bonfire is always a good one. Image by the wonderful Steve Martin.

Readers have been asking for details of this year’s Walsall Council Bonfire Night events in the borough, and particularly Brownhills, so here is the latest information.

The Brownhills Holland Park event will take place on Saturday, 26th October 2019. Other events take place in Willenhall on the Friday 1st November, Walsall Arboretum on Saturday 2nd November and Bloxwich on Tuesday 5th November 2019.

In a change to normal arrangements these are TICKET ONLY EVENTS AND YOU CANNOT PAY AT THE GATE. You MUST buy tickets in advance: Either online by clicking here or from any Walsall Council Leisure Centre.

Entry for the local events has also increased considerably: £7.50 for adults and £5 for kids – little ones under 3 get in free. A family ticket for four (2 adults/2 kids or 1 adult 3 kids) is £18. The Arboretum even has increased adult entry to an eye-watering £10, with a family ticket £25 (that’s only a saving for 2 adults, 2 kids – who on earth priced this up?)

I’d be very surprised if the entry price changes and ticket-only entry don’t kill these events stone dead. I’m astounded.

For safety reasons – no fireworks or sparklers. No alcohol allowed. Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

You can find out more at Walsall Council’s website by clicking here.

Walsall Council wrote:

Bonfire & Firework Displays 2019

Tickets are available to purchase online by clicking on the button above.

There will be no option to pay by cash at park gates on the night!

You can buy advance tickets with cash or card at any of our four leisure centres across the borough from Wednesday 2nd October. Please click the links below for opening hours, locations, and a contact number for each of these leisure centres:

Bloxwich Active Living Centre
Darlaston Swimming and Fitness Centre
Oak Park Active Living Centre
Walsall Gala Swimming and Fitness

Where are our events?

Holland Park on Saturday 26 October
Willenhall Memorial Park on Friday 1 November
Walsall Arboretum on Saturday 2 November
King George V Memorial Playing Fields on Tuesday 5 November

What can I expect?

All four of these events will include funfairs, catering stalls, and our bonfires and fireworks.

Please note that as a condition of entry being granted into these events, you may be subject to a security search.

Gates will open at 5.00pm, as will our fairground and food concession stalls
Bonfires will be lit at 7.00pm
Fireworks display starting after 7.30pm

*****Times may be subject to change *****
 

Ticket Type

Holland Park

Willenhall Memorial Park

   King George Vth Playing Fields   

   Arboretum   

 Adult

 £7.50

 £10.00

 16s and under

 £5.00

 £5.00

 Under 3s

 Free

 Free

 Family Tickets (2 adults, 2 children)

OR (1 adult, 3 children) 

 £18.00

 £25.00

 All tickets are subject to booking fee 


Tickets are available from www.seaty.co.uk/walsallcouncil

There will be no admission without a ticket.

Please note that proof of age may be requested upon entry to the event.

For any more information about this years fireworks events, please contact us on healthyspaces@walsall.gov.uk , or ask for us on 01922 653344.

 

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Highly polished Wood gives Tividale the slip

Pictures and captions kindly supplied by David Evans

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 5th October 2019) Walsall Wood were again at home – and entertained visitors Tividale at Oak Park. Following a good sporting match, Wood emerged the victors cementing their run of good form.

David Evans clearly enjoyed the afternoon:

Hiya Bob,

Walsall Wood 2 v 1 Tividale
Saturday 5th October 2019

The immaculately prepared welcoming green grass at Oak Park, the lip-smacking aroma of burgers and hotdogs sizzling away always brings a smile to the face and a puts a spring in the step of spectators. Visitors who have travelled from Tividale are always made welcome by the home supporters in the pre-match moments of socialising and friendly banter around a glass of local ale, or a cup of best tea.

The pre-match warm-up routines by the two teams give the opportunity to appreciate the fitness and ball skils that are often taken for granted, but are a vital necessity in every match.

The match officials too, have to warm up and loosen muscles and tendons in their own carefully choreographed routine, to well-meaning choral accompaniment from the stand.

Today’s fixture would be important for both sides, and therapeutic for the home spectators.

The match got under way and both sides soon settled down to good, meaningful soccer. Deft through passes, bright interceptions and accurate play brought frequent appreciation and applause from the numerous spectators, young and not so young.

Where a player received the ball he would immediately attract the attention and presence of opponents, eager to dispossess and then launch their own  attacking moves. This was delightful to spectate. Long kicks from goal, high lobbing kicks  forward, deft touches to pass the ball to the wing players, delicate footwork to bring a high pass to ground, numerous corner kicks this game had every aspect that highlights the skill of every participant.

The Wood score the first goal in the first half and despite the urgent play of the visitors the score remained at one nil at half time.

The usual cucumber sandwiches and fine tea in bone china teacups were doubtless enjoyed by the players in the privacy of their respective changing rooms, with gentle conversation offered by their  doting managers.

Highly professional footage of last week’s Highgate match with interesting unendorsed ambient commentary that came in too late for the relevant match report, which can be read here. The film is shot and edited for Wood TV by the remarkably talented Russell Smith of The-Wood.TV.

Meanwhile thirsty supporters in droves made their way to the hydration and nourishment stations, to gulp and enjoy the well-named Viking Ale, delicious beef burgers and vinegar-drenched chips. It’s a Black Country tradition that dates back to times when things were…. Different.

With the score at one nil to the home side the game resumed, with a marked increased sense of urgency as both teams continued to give of their sporting best. The real grass playing surface presented all the players the soft landing cushion that was frequently vital to add the finishing touch to a fast, accurate, positive game.

The Wood scored their second goal, to the chagrin of their opponents. They scored a fine goal later in the second half, with only a few minutes left of the game

Perhaps inevitably the need to score and make amends brought some solid contacts at times. One rapid tackle brought the games temperature up quite a way. The offending away player was thus required to leave the field of play and have an early shower. The final part of the match was now played by teams of ten players. The consequential frenetic pressure by Tividale nearly brought them their  equalising goal, but the Wood’s solid defences held steady. The referees’ final whistle brought a thrilling game to its end. Mightily fatigued players breathed heavily for moments; some to relish the elation of winning, others to share a brief moment’s disappointment of losing.

But, today the wonderful sport of local soccer was the winner. Spectators witnessed some of the very best the sport can offer, played out by  two positive, skilful teams. Today we had this in abundance. Both teams are to be loudly congratulated.

The final score was a win to Walsall Wood by  two goals to one.

David Evans.

As ever, thanks to David and Russell for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!

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Great dog show event this afternoon at Walsall Arboretum

I’ve just spotted that there’s a fun open dog show happening right now at Walsall Arboretum (Sunday, 6th October 2019) – and it looks like real fun with all breeds being welcome. It’a ll in aid off Greyhound Gap, a rescue and rehoming charity, so what’s not to love?

There are stalls, competitions, food and fun – and it’s on until 4pm. Get down there and find something to really make your tail wag!

Please do get sharing to spread the word and come along and join us. This year promises to be even bigger and better with so many more Greyhound Gap stalls and other stalls joining us both charity and trade so bring plenty of pennies!

Amongst the Greyhound Gap stalls there will be…..

Collars
Fleece coats
Blizzard Coats
A hound and home craft stall
General Merchandise
Bottle lamps stall
Tombola
Bric a Brac
Win a bottle stall
Raffle
Cake stall
Dog treat stall

All this PLUS sausage bobbing, fastest recall for hound and non hounds in separate classes.

There are 12 fun dog show classes which start at midday, entry to the classes is 1 per dog per class, to be paid on the day. There are rosettes in each class from 1st to 5th place, prize bags for 1st to 3rd place and a trophy for each class. Then followed by Best In Show with prizes, rosette and trophy for the Best in Show winner and a rosette for the runner up.

The pennies in the jar collection will take place again so please do bring your copper and small change, as well as any items you have to donate such as bedding or items suitable for tombolas, lucky dips, wine for our bottles stalls, raffle prizes and teddies. We will be pleased to take it all of your hands on the day!

Some of our homeless hounds will also be joining us too!

There is ample parking, toilets on sight and a catering van will once again be joining us.

Hope to see you all there.

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Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, this afternoon!

I note that since it’s an unexpectedly decent day it would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green with the kids, grandkids of even just by yourself and chat to the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are there this afternoon – and every Sunday from 1-3pm and have bird books, binoculars and a wealth of knowledge to share – so why not join them? There’s so much more local wildlife than people think!

The reserve is by the pools on Stubbers Green Road, between Aldridge and Shelfield.

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

Stubbers Green Nature Reserve Aldridge
Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Lollipops and stickers for children that bring good healthy bird foods. Sweet corn, lettuce, porridge oats, branflakes, cornflakes, vegetable peelings, bird seed.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.

Donations welcome

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Walsall Wood at home to Tividale this afternoon!

P1000426

Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun this Saturday and see some cracking sport.

Saturday 5th October 2019

The Wood are at home! Can they continue their unbeaten run?

Walsall Wood FC versus Tividale FC

Kickoff at 3:00pm

Hopefully, a match report will follow…

For the Good of the Wood!

Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why not Stay and Play – at Brownhills Community Centre this morning

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 5th October 2019 from 10-11:30am.

It costs just two quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

There are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

 

Saturday 5th October 2019

Messy play tray will be full of something what I’m not sure of yet 🤣

Creative table will be Drawing and sticking

Sandtray will be open and accessible as it is every week 👍🏼 (hopefully I have time to get more sand to refill)

Along with all our other areas of play within the nursery setting:

• home corner
• construction
• small world
• maths area
• cosy book/music area
• baby sensory area

OUTDOOR- WATER PLAY OF COURSE 😍 maybe added rain ☔️😂

See you all Saturday ….

Fingers crossed the rain doesn’t stay too long ☔️

10.00am-11.30am
£2 per child
Snack included

Feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-4 years and share our events

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery every Saturday morning …

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Fancy a Parkrun at Chasewater this Saturday morning?

I know we have a lot of running folk amongst the readership, and in the mass of volunteer, community organised stuff in recent years, one of the most impressive demonstrations of this has been the growth of the free, Saturday morning Parkrun phenomena, where volunteers and runners gather every Saturday in local parks for a run, totally free of charge.

The second Parkrun at Chasewater attracted more than 300 runners. Image from Susan Williams.

It’s not competitive – except against your own personal best – it’s properly marshalled and you have to register, but it’s a free, friendly thing that’s hugely popular and a stunning demonstration of community in action.

It’s suitable for runners of all experience levels and paces. Find out more at the event page here.

Having run for years now at Walsall Arboretum and Cannock Chase, we now have a 5km Parkrun at Chasewater that happens every Saturday (events in the park permitting) – and has been attracting over 300 runners already!

It’s on this Saturday (5th October 2019) at 9:00am and the organisers have this to say:

What is Chasewater parkrun?

It is a 5km run – it’s you against the clock.

When is it?

Every Saturday at 9:00am.

Where is it?

The event takes place at Chasewater Country Park, Pool Rd, Burntwood, Brownhills, WS8 7NL. See Course page for more details.

What does it cost to join in?

Nothing – it’s free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder). If you forget it, you won’t get a time.

How fast do I have to be?

We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!

Chasewater parkrun needs you!

It is entirely organised by volunteers – email chasewaterhelpers@parkrun.com to help.

We’re friendly!

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in the South Shore café – please come and join us!

Please, if you go for a run this Saturday, drop me a line and let me know how you get on – this is a fascinating thing and it’s growth is really wonderful. Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Just walking to the start shows the large number of runners already making this a great event! Image from Susan Williams.

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It’s nearly time for musical mayhem – only a few tickets left!

I’ve been contacted by the Clayhanger Kid himself, Brian Stringer who’s asked me to let you all know that Brownhills Community Association and the Back The Track project will be hosting a Night of Musical Mayhem with the Aldridge Ukulele Band and Cheslyn Hay Community Choir at the Community Centre in Brownhills on Saturday, 12th October 2019.

Brian will be wielding his uke, and the last concert he was involved with here is now legendary. This will be a night of tremendous fun so get your tickets quickly as they’ll sell out fast!

Tickets are just £5 with proceeds to the greenway project taking place on the old rail line through Brownhills.

You can book online here.

Brian said:

Hi Bob

A night of Musical Mayhem will take place from 7pm on October 12th 2019  at the Lamp Theatre in Brownhills Community Centre. Tickets are just £5 and are on sale now at The Community Association office or online by clicking here.

Cheslyn Hay Community Choir  and Aldridge Ukulele Band are providing the entertainment with music that includes Queen, Elvis, Cliff, Tina Turner, The Beatles, Lonnie Donegan, Chuck Berry, Boy George, Neil Diamond and many more with some startling surprises along the way.

A fun night to remember.

Cheers, Brian

Funds will be raised to help continue the project of clearing the railway cutting in Brownhills and converting it into a walking and cycling greenway called the McClean Way.

I’ve already reported how Brian, Mick and pals have cleared the under bridge on the Miner Island of rubbish, and are working to get the cutting drained. Since then, progress has been massive and the route is now open as far as the A5 at Newtown.

You can find out more at the group’s website here and Facebook page here.

brownhills-youth-centre-670

It’s all going on at Brownhills Community Centre. Image from Walsall Council.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, Local music, News, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eddie Fallon rest in peace: Funeral details released

Following the sad news of the death of much loved local man Eddie Fallon, his daughter Tess has shared the arrangements for his funeral for anyone who wants to pay their respects.

Eddie Fallon, a fine man. Image from his Facebook page.

Eddie’s funeral will take place on Friday 11th October 2019 at St Bernadettes Church, High Street, Brownhills at 10:30am.

Eddie’s daughter Tess Atkins posted the following on Tuesday 2nd October 2019:

Dad’s funeral Eddie Fallon will be held at St. Bernadettes church, Brownhills on Friday 11th October 2019 at 10.30 am, 10 am from home.

Followed by Ryecroft Cemetery.

Friends and family are then welcome to join us at the Waterside pub on Wilkin Road, Brownhills.

We would like to request family floral tributes if possible and donations to the Royal British Legion which was close to dads heart.

Friends and family are also welcome to join us at the Prince of Wales from about 7 pm where we will be celebrating dads life with a good old karaoke which he loved.

My condolences to Tess and Eddie’s family and friends – he was a fine man and will be very much missed. My sincerest sympathy to you all.

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Remembrance: An important question from John Bird

I had an email in a couple of weeks ago now from John Bird, a respected member of the Brownhills British Legion and old friend of the blog. John is not known for mincing his words, and has posed an interesting question that I think is a fair and reasonable one and deserves an answer.

Remembrance is a proud event for all our district communities. Image of Walsall Wood war memorial kindly supplied by David Evans.

John Bird has periodically written clear, eloquent and concise letters to the local press – the ones that have always stuck in mind have been the ones relating to the development and plans for Brownhills High Street, and he’s written some brilliant stuff over the years including one recently that provoked much debate on the subject of Remembrance parade funding.

Since then John has been in touch to tell us that the Legion are there for the community and ex-service folk and that the local branch is always looking for new members. But today’s question is related to the community act of Remembrance, which of course, is coming in little over a month’s time.

John Bird wrote:

Mrs. Wendy Morton M.P. and the Brownhills Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph.

Over a number of recent years, I understand that the Brownhills branch of the Royal British Legion has invited our Member of Parliament, Mrs. Wendy Morton, to attend their service at the Cenotaph adjacent to St.James’ church on Remembrance Sunday at 11-00am.

There has been no explanation as to why she chooses to attend the service at Aldridge, each year, instead.

Now councillors Ken Ferguson and Stephen Craddock have each lain a wreath on her behalf during the last two years so is it possible, therefore, that they may be able to give us all an explanation as to why she prefers to attend the annual service at Aldridge rather than at Brownhills?

This is in spite of several sincere invitations. After all, she is the Member of Parliament for the whole of the Aldridge and Brownhills constituency not just Aldridge.

So once again, may I ask ‘Councillors are you able to provide an explanation as to why this appears to be the norm?’

John Bird
Brownhills.

I do think this is a valid question, and is not political in the slightest. I would, however, extend it further. Wendy Morton MP represents a constituency including Pelsall, Brownhills, Walsall Wood and Aldridge, would it not be fair to rotate attendance each year? I know every district is proud – and rightly so – of their own event. Surely each service deserves it’s turn?

Comments are open here on the matter, and I welcome a reply from local councillors – you have the floor.

Comment on this post or mail me please – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Again, thanks to John for making an excellent, thoughtful point.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Churches, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Council, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mines, canals, railways and other mysteries: A local photo gallery mystery tour

I thought I’d continue sharing the hugely popular recent run of archive images today and the images featured today from the immense Gerald Reece collection are a miscellany of shots of local freight rail, canals, bridges and mines, and some oddities thrown in for good measure.

There are some images here – particularly ones of mines I can’t recognise at all, but I’m sure readers will; note also the remains of the surge stack by the rail over bridge near Pelsall Road on the Wyrley and Essington Canal, and the rotting remains of the fingerpost by the rising sun before it’s removal and replacement with a replica.

This slide – so it might be backwards – is particularly puzzling. I have a feeling it may have been the bridge over the railway at Albutts Road but I’m really not sure. Can you help? Image kindly supplied by Gerald Reece via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

These images have been scanned by David Evans from Gerald’s material recently donated to the blog, and show a surprisingly tree-less area. That shot of Ogley Junction from Middleton Bridge is quite remarkable in that respect.

I’m also intrigued by the location of the derelict signal box with the young lad before it. I had thought it was Norton Junction at Ryders Hayes, but the box there is clearly a larger affair.

I thank Gerald and David for yet another remarkable set – you are a very wonderful and generous gentlemen.

The donor of these remarkable images, Gerald Reece is of course a talented and superlative local historian, indeed now resident in Devon, who wrote the seminal work ‘Brownhills – A walk into history’ upon which this blog stands.

What do you recall from this gallery? If you have any thoughts or questions, please do share them – comment here, find me on social media or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

Gerald and Cherry Reece: on whose shoulders all my work here stands. Image kindly supplied by David Evans.
Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Woodmen fail to give Highgate the elbow

Photos and captions very kindly supplied by the young David Evans. 

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 28th September 2019) Walsall Wood were visited by Highgate United, who held the Woodmen to a one-all draw in a somewhat intemperate game.

David Evans was there, and sent the following report:

Walsall Wood 1 v 1 Highgate United
Saturday 28th September 2019

The  cold blustery weather and uncharitable heavy downpours loudly echoed the game presented for the spectators today. The pitch looked splendid after the morning’s rainfall. The freshly cut green carpet of lush grass with the millimetre precision of the white lines brought a smile to the ruddy faces of the spectators as they hurried, bright eyed and bushy tailed, through the gelding turnstyle to savour the inimitable aroma of onions and beefburgers before pacing smartly into the bar.

As this is Macmillan’s great coffee morning weekend, mouthwatering home-made cakes had been prepared for those wishing to donate to the worthy cause.

Outside we could see the corner flags stiffening in the wind and the goalnets trembling as the first heavy downpour arrived. It was going to be challenging afternoon.

The visitors wore luminous lemon yellow strip this season, and, my word, did they look smart. The home side wore their usual red strip.

The first half brought solid, if uninspiring soccer by both teams in the first quarter of the match. Perhaps this underlined the understandable wariness of the home side who were keen to avoid anything untoward from the opponents they knew from previous encounters.

It was Highgate who showed  greater determination at first, as they blustered and elbowed their way through the home side defence, employing clattering, heavy, almost clumsy tacking play against the Wood’s forwards. This inevitably and unsurprisingly negated any possibility of flowing football to grace today’s match. Spectators in the stand witnessed deliberately inelegant football by the visiting side. Mercifully there were some bright moments of excellent open football by both sides.  It needed such.

A penalty was awarded, and the Wood scored the first, and their only goal in this hard game. There were loud shouts from the away side and the visiting team bench who employed a forceful, vocabulary which has no place in any stadium.  This was noted throughout the match.

Highgate then worked hard and heavy to score their equalising goal.

We all needed a break at half time.  The nourishing beefburger was more tasteful than some of the game so far. Perhaps the gentle changing room polite conversation of managers with their players would bring an end to the moments of unsavoury pique seen far from the visitors.

Sadly not.

The second half brought a different approach by the Wood to counter the physical nature of their opponents. Highgate seemed determined to staunch and stifle any sporting soccer with scant regard to positive, respectful play. There were few shots on or toward goal by either side.  The pattern of the second half’s play seemed to mirror that of the first half, with more yellow cards having to  be issued.

The final score was a draw: one goal each. The afternoon had been dull, overcast with frequent heavy downpours, and infrequent bright spells; the football match reflected this.

Highgate have not changed this season.

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.

I guarantee you’ll have more fun cheering on the local chaps than you ever will watching the over-priced prima donnas on TV…

For the good of The Wood!

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Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, this afternoon!

Sorry folks due to bad weather an ill health, today’s Swan Patrol is cancelled. Get well soon, Ann! Hopefully back next week. – Bob

I note that since it’s a decent day it would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green with the kids, grandkids of even just by yourself and chat to the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are there this afternoon – and every Sunday from 1-3pm and have bird books, binoculars and a wealth of knowledge to share – so why not join them? There’s so much more local wildlife than people think!

The reserve is by the pools on Stubbers Green Road, between Aldridge and Shelfield.

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

Stubbers Green Nature Reserve Aldridge
Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Lollipops and stickers for children that bring good healthy bird foods. Sweet corn, lettuce, porridge oats, branflakes, cornflakes, vegetable peelings, bird seed.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.

Donations welcome

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Walsall Wood FC v Highgate United at home this afternoon

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Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun this Saturday and see some cracking football.

Saturday 28th September 2019

Time for some great football at Oak Park!

Walsall Wood v Highgate United

 Don’t break your Wood vows, be there, be faithful to your local heroes

Kickoff 3pm

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Check out the Walsall Wood FC website here

 

 

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Why not Stay and Play – at Brownhills Community Centre this morning

If you’ve a child or children under 4 years of age, there is a great Stay and Play session running at Brownhills Community Centre in the heart of Brownhills this Saturday morning 28th September 2019 from 10-11:30am.

It costs just two quid per kid and includes fruit and a drink, so it’s great value and it’s run by those wonderful people at the Little Green Dragons Nursery, who are resident at the centre and are fully qualified nursery teachers.

There are games and toys and all manner of fun for the weans – and you get a break to boot.

Saturday 28th September 2019

Flour play sensory tray

Our tuff tray will be filled with flour! (Messy of course) we will be marking marks and filling and emptying trays and sieves

Creative table will be Playdough  

Sandtray will be open and accessible as it is every week 👍🏼 (hopefully I have time to get more sand to refill)

…Along with all our other areas of play within the nursery setting:

• home corner
• construction
• small world
• maths area
• cosy book/music area
• baby sensory area

OUTDOOR- WATER PLAY OF COURSE 😍
maybe added rain ☔️😂

See you all Saturday ….

Fingers crossed the rain doesn’t stay too long ☔️
(Bring your little one’s wellies)

10.00am-11.30am
£2 per child
Snack included
feel free to invite your friends with children aged 0-4 years and share our events

This group is held at Little Green Dragons Day Nursery every Saturday morning 

 

The Community Centre is what my generation would know as ‘The Annexe’ – the old Central Boy’s School, now a bustling community resource. To find out more,  you can pop in or call them on 01543 452119.

The Community Association have lots of stuff going on, and loads of great facilities, right in the heart of Brownhills. I love what they’re about and all the great things they’re doing.

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Fancy a Parkrun at Chasewater this Saturday morning?

I know we have a lot of running folk amongst the readership, and in the mass of volunteer, community organised stuff in recent years, one of the most impressive demonstrations of this has been the growth of the free, Saturday morning Parkrun phenomena, where volunteers and runners gather every Saturday in local parks for a run, totally free of charge.

The second Parkrun at Chasewater attracted more than 300 runners. Image from Susan Williams.

It’s not competitive – except against your own personal best – it’s properly marshalled and you have to register, but it’s a free, friendly thing that’s hugely popular and a stunning demonstration of community in action.

It’s suitable for runners of all experience levels and paces. Find out more at the event page here.

Having run for years now at Walsall Arboretum and Cannock Chase, we now have a 5km Parkrun at Chasewater that happens every Saturday (events in the park permitting) – and has been attracting over 300 runners already!

It’s on this Saturday (28st September 2019) at 9:00am and the organisers have this to say:

What is Chasewater parkrun?

It is a 5km run – it’s you against the clock.

When is it?

Every Saturday at 9:00am.

Where is it?

The event takes place at Chasewater Country Park, Pool Rd, Burntwood, Brownhills, WS8 7NL. See Course page for more details.

What does it cost to join in?

Nothing – it’s free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder). If you forget it, you won’t get a time.

How fast do I have to be?

We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!

Chasewater parkrun needs you!

It is entirely organised by volunteers – email chasewaterhelpers@parkrun.com to help.

We’re friendly!

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in the South Shore café – please come and join us!

Please, if you go for a run this Saturday, drop me a line and let me know how you get on – this is a fascinating thing and it’s growth is really wonderful. Comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Just walking to the start shows the large number of runners already making this a great event! Image from Susan Williams.

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Two sugars please: join the Macmillan 2019 World’s Biggest Coffee Morning this Saturday in Brownhills!

John Fogarty from Brownhills Community Association has been in touch to point out they have an event planned this Saturday 28th September 2019 as part of the Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning campaign.

Their Coffee Morning will take place at Brownhills Community Centre just off the miner island, Brownhills from 10:00am until 2:00pm Saturday 28th September 2019. The function will feature tea, coffee, refreshments, games, entertainments and great company, as you’d expect from a Community Association event.

MacMillan are a charity I personally care a lot about: They are hugely important to those suffering with cancer and they do astoundingly wonderful work.

John Fogarty, organiser of the event said:

Hello Bob

Just to let you know that the Macmillan event is being run again this year at the Brownhills Community Centre from 10am til 2pm on Saturday 28th September. 

This year not only will there be the same as last year with tombola, raffle and activity games to support the charity along with cakes and drinks, we also have a travelling boutique that will be at the event who have requested to be there which is good.

If you could put this on your blog I would be very grateful. 

Not sure if you are aware however we raised £340 last year and hopefully be another successful event this year.

If you need any other information please let me know.

Kind regards
John

Best of luck to all involved, and please do drop me a line to let me know how you all got on.

A great charity with fantastic people.
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Soultime September – Northern Soul and Motown Disco with DJ Leekie and pals this Friday evening!

 

The inimitable soul DJ Leekie has been in touch to let me know that he’s DJing his regular Soultime event at Pelsall Community Centre this evening, Friday 27th September 2019 at Pelsall Community Centre, where he and a number of great soul pals will be fulfilling all your Northern Soul and Motown requirements.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like a bit of classic soul and Leekie is a great DJ for a wonderful night. A two-room event, it also features Chris Price, Rob Edgar, Little Scottie, Alan Wigley and of course, Leekie!

It’s just £5 a head (payable o the door) and kicks off at 8pm and runs until Midnight. What’s not to love?

That’s Pelsall Community Centre, Station Rd, Pelsall, Walsall WS3 4BQ. See you there?

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Wood neutralise Normanton

Last Saturday, 21st September 2018), Walsall Wood F.C. entertained Derbyshire club South Normanton Athletic at Oak Park, and in an entertaining, gripping match the Woodmen sent the visitors home roundly defeated five nil.

David Evans was there to enjoy the match, and wrote:

 

Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans

Hi Bob

Walsall Wood 5 v 0 South Normanton Athletic

On perhaps the last fine day of this balmy Indian summer the fans saw the beautifully trimmed fresh real grass, the bright red paintwork around the stadium and the welcoming open door to the clubs new bar. We breathed in the heart warming aroma of onions, burgers and hotdogs sizzling in the Refreshment Van. We saw the smiling faces of supporters from home and far away. We heard the friendly banter, met  the enthusiastic Groundhopper gentleman who has driven all the way from Essex to enjoy the experience that is our local soccer.

This, this is Oak Park , Walsall Wood.

Neat white lines, crisp goal nets, starched corner flags – all was set to herald the two teams and the Three Men in Black on to the hallowed ground, this blessed land, this stadium of sunlight.
 
Unlike those matches in other places, we the people have a close-up view of the game. We thrill at the precision, speed, determination and accuracy of the footballers. We proffer advice and opinions, all freely and largely in good grace as befits the occasion.

The match was played out before our eyes, and unlike some games, the play by both teams settled very quickly to well worked and practised moves and tactics. I appreciate positive open soccer in every match. Like a diamond, each facet if properly cut and polished, brings light and lustre to the game. Today we saw some uncut facets which risked marring the precious nature of this game. We see this in other matches, of course.

More highly professional match highlights from the match from Russell Smith of the wonderful TheWood.TV.

The Wood scored their first goal in the first few minutes followed by another goal a few minutes later. Now we saw frustration and some less polished play by the visitors, which at times seemed to detract from their erstwhile positive sportsmanship. Yet, surprisingly, adjudged misdemeanours by the home side attracted the greater share of the referee’s attention, almost to the exclusion of others.

Two thunderous shots on target by the visitors put paid to any  possible complacency by the Wood and brought all the fans to their feet. Real soccer , winning out in the end.

It was , then, a relief for all, when half time arrived. Time for spectators to chew the fat, lubricate their throats and delight in the gourmet beefburgers and chips .

The second half is best characterised as the Wood keeping the momentum and testing South Normanton’s defences without mercy. The Wood frequently  had almost total possession of the ball, and made a variety of passes to the cheers of the home fans.

The team seemingly dared, invited, their opponents to come from the defensive lines; and then  they scored another two beautifully crafted and expertly executed goals to achieve a fine and thoroughly well deserved victory.

South Normanton, who had started the game in a vociferous tone were to leave to ground at the end of the game subdued and tired. I hope they were aware of the sustained applause that rang out around the ground. It was for all the players and  was a sincere mark of the appreciation of all the skilful soccer displayed by all the players of both sides. 

The final result, a five-nilwin for Walsall Wood is a very fair result, ultimately.       

 David Evans

Thanks to David a for the reports and pictures – much appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!

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It’s time for the rut – beware, folks – the deer are getting horny….

Time to repeat this post as this morning I was riding to work and spotted a stag on Green Lane, Walsall Wood, clearly angered by the traffic interfering with his prancing activities.

The above excellent video is a fallow deer stag filmed up on Cannock Chase by reader, contributor and top friend of the blog Peter Barker. That stag really has romance on his mind…

This is just a quick note to warn people given to exploring the open spaces of the area that over the next 8-10 weeks or so the deer population will be getting amorous – it’s rutting time for our large brown friends, and that means one thing: the heaths around Brownhills, Clayhanger, Pelsall and Chasewater in particular are likely to be host to rather grumpy, aggressive stags guarding their female harems.

Deer are normally gentle souls on the whole, but a hormonal stag with love on his mind will be aggressive and prone to attack, and such animals will, and have in the past charged humans and gored dogs.

To avoid being on the unexpectedly rather sharp end of several hundredweight of cervine cassinova with an attitude issue, please keep a respectful distance and keep your dogs under control at all times. Even if they look like they’re just loafing, these normally docile creatures can turn nasty at a moments notice. This warning applies to anywhere where deer have been spotted – from the heaths of Chasewater to the commons and woods of Brownhills, Jockey Meadows, Clayhanger Marsh and even Sandhills – and now they’re as far south as Sutton and even Brookvale Park in Witton!

Deer are not the cleverest of animals, so it might also be wise to take extra care when driving, as the biological imperative is probably outweighing their small amount of road sense at the moment. That excellent local wildlife blogger Chaz Mason posted this warning  a couple of years ago that’s still very much relevant:

N.Tipton 1
Image by Neil Tipton, originally posted on Chaz Mason’s blog.

This week I have been informed that the young male Red Deer have commenced play-fighting locally – by now you should all be aware that this is the first indication that the annual Red Deer Rut is now underway and within the next couple of weeks the older stags are likely to become more territorial.

DOG WALKERS PLEASE!

If you are over the Marsh and Mere for the next couple of months please keep your dog close and if you see any deer PLEASE put your dog on a lead.

I am not in the least bit worried about the deer. For most of the year they will see your dog and run away as fast as they can – but that ain’t now!

These stags are main-lining on testosterone and WILL NOT RUN AWAY. In fact they will not only stand their ground to protect their females they will attack your dog. Over the years I have been aware of at least three instances of local dogs being stabbed by Stags, luckily, so far with injuries-only and no fatalities.

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Would you argue with this? Image by Derek Lees, originally posted on Chaz Mason’s blog.

If you insist on exercising your dogs right to run free and unhindered then please exercise that right somewhere else until at least late November.

As I have tried to impress upon you –
this is not to protect the deer – IT IS TO PROTECT YOUR DOG!

I may not have a dog but I do have great affection for them and many of you know that I regularly time-share many of yours so I hope that you take this warning very seriously. Rutting Deer are a magnificent sight but if you want to watch this display, then please show some respect for the animals and also, some common sense.

Lecture over – Chaz

Of course, once the aggression is over for another year, the commons and heaths will again be given over to the disgusting and lewd mating behaviour one normally sees there. The animals, however, will be behaving impeccably.

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Brownhills very own autism support group meets this Tuesday lunchtime!

Just a heads up to let folk know that the popular local autism support group ‘Supporting the Rainbow’ is meeting today (Tuesday 24th September 2019).

Today and on coming Tuesdays they will be meeting at lunchtime from 1:30-2:30pm in the Smithy’s Forge pub, Lichfield Road, Brownhills, just off the Miner Island.

For parents, carers, etc. of children and adults with autism.

Weekly support group every Tuesday at the Smithys Forge, Brownhills 1:30-2:30 🌈

The group has been running for a good while now and is still growing in popularity – so why not pop along to see what it’s all about?

 

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Fancy some musical mayhem? Have fun and Back The Track!

I’ve been contacted by the Clayhanger Kid himself, Brian Stringer who’s asked me to let you all know that Brownhills Community Association and the Back The Track project will be hosting a Night of Musical Mayhem with the Aldridge Ukulele Band and Cheslyn Hay Community Choir at the Community Centre in Brownhills on Saturday, 12th October 2019.

Brian will be wielding his uke, and the last concert he was involved with here is now legendary. This will be a night of tremendous fun so get your tickets quickly as they’ll sell out fast!

Tickets are just £5 with proceeds to the greenway project taking place on the old rail line through Brownhills.

You can book online here.

Brian said:

Hi Bob

A night of Musical Mayhem will take place from 7pm on October 12th 2019  at the Lamp Theatre in Brownhills Community Centre. Tickets are just £5 and are on sale now at The Community Association office or online by clicking here.

Cheslyn Hay Community Choir  and Aldridge Ukulele Band are providing the entertainment with music that includes Queen, Elvis, Cliff, Tina Turner, The Beatles, Lonnie Donegan, Chuck Berry, Boy George, Neil Diamond and many more with some startling surprises along the way.

A fun night to remember.

Cheers, Brian

Funds will be raised to help continue the project of clearing the railway cutting in Brownhills and converting it into a walking and cycling greenway called the McClean Way.

I’ve already reported how Brian, Mick and pals have cleared the under bridge on the Miner Island of rubbish, and are working to get the cutting drained. Since then, progress has been massive and the route is now open as far as the A5 at Newtown.

You can find out more at the group’s website here and Facebook page here.

brownhills-youth-centre-670

It’s all going on at Brownhills Community Centre. Image from Walsall Council.

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Fancy finding out more about local wildlife? You can, this afternoon!

I note that since it’s a decent day it would be an excellent chance to nip up to Stubbers Green with the kids, grandkids of even just by yourself and chat to the Swan Patrol.

The Patrol are there this afternoon – and every Sunday from 1-3pm and have bird books, binoculars and a wealth of knowledge to share – so why not join them? There’s so much more local wildlife than people think!

The reserve is by the pools on Stubbers Green Road, between Aldridge and Shelfield.

Ann Lawrence of the Swan Patrol said:

Do you want to know more about nature and wildlife?

Stubbers Green Nature Reserve Aldridge
Swan Patrol every Sunday 1-3pm

Lollipops and stickers for children that bring good healthy bird foods. Sweet corn, lettuce, porridge oats, branflakes, cornflakes, vegetable peelings, bird seed.

We have binoculars and bird books available to use.


Donations welcome

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