Going A5 Live!

A new year and Cockfest evolves…

Long term readers will remember the annual music and fun festival that’s taken place on the smallholding just off the A5 at Newtown, Brownhills – formerly called Cockfest (because it took place on a chicken farm).

This year it’s seen some changes and is now called A5 live, and takes place from Friday 4th August to Sunday 6th August 2017, and tickets are now on sale.

Martin Payton, the organiser, had this to say:

Hi Bob

Just an update on A5 live, most things now in place including licence etc, tickets now going on sale. 

The event will feature live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday and there will also be a classic/motorsport car display, custom bikes and scooters along with live mobile firing range, metal detecting walk, a falconry display as well as other things to be confirmed.

Large bar and restaurant will cater for food and drink and the charity is MacMillan Cancer Trust.

Tickets now on sale via PayPal – Friday evening £5, a Saturday day pass is £10, Sunday until close £5 and a weekend pass just £17.50.

For tickets, mail Kim on a5livefestival@hotmail.com

Email confirmation will be sent with unique ticket number for wristband

You can get also get tickets from the Chase Inn, call the hotline on  07487 770008 or contact the crew via the A5 Live Facebook page here.

I wish everyone the best for this and it’s always good to see money raised for MacMillan, one of my favourite charities.

Get your tickets soon before they sell out!

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Fifty years and still going strong – celebrate with Silver Street Church!

Image kindly supplied by David Evans.

I’m indebted – as I usually am – to the young David Evans who’s given me the heads up about events surrounding the 50th Anniversary of Silver Street Methodist Church in Brownhills.

The church was built in 1967 to replace the and combine Mount Zion and the Wesleyan in Brownhills High Street which were lost to redevelopment and it has to be said, old age; latterly, the remarkable building whose design hasn’t dated at all has accepted congregations from other churches and chapels in Brownhills like Park View, Brownhills West and Coppice Side.

The Silver Street Church is busy and has an active congregation and you can find out more about it at their website here and Facebook page here.

There are a fair few events to celebrate the fifty year milestone – note the memorabilia display starting this Thursday (27th April 2017) which will be very interesting indeed:

50th Anniversary Celebrations

During 2017 we will be celebrating 50 years since the opening of the Methodist Church on Silver Street.  There will be events during the year as part of our celebrations.

These events include:

Thursday 27th – Friday 28th April – displays of memorabilia from Silver Street’s 50 years as well as Mount Zion and Wesley Church who came together to form Brownhills Methodist.  

Saturday 29th April – Celebration Buffet with entertainment (6pm for 6.30pm – tickets £8)

Sunday 30th April – Morning service (10.30am) Songs of Praise Celebration; Evening service (6pm) Circuit United Service.

Saturday 1st July – Strawberry Tea (2.30pm)

Saturday 23rd September – Harvest Supper (6pm for 6.30pm)

Thanks to David for letting me know – and as ever, if any members of the Church would care to drop me an email I’m happy to advertise your community events. Just drop me a line.

If you have any memories of the new Silver Street Church – or indeed, the ones it superseded – please do comment or drop me an email. BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

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Thank you Bill Shaw

Images of the man himself and wife Lynn kindly sent in by the young David Evans

I’d like to take time out here to thank retiring football reporter and local lad Bill Shaw for his unwavering work over the last few years in supplying wonderful, frank and honest match reports for me to publish here on the Brownhills Blog.

Some time ago Bill announced his intention to retire in his role as reporter when the last match is played for the season, and yesterday, Saturday 22nd April 2017 was Bill’s last report from a home match at Oak Park, and as ever it was straightforward and didn’t pander to any delicate sensibilities.

Bill has always been frank, witty and to me as a person who’s not greatly into football, I’ve always found his work engaging, accessible and fun. It’s been the work of a true fan and lover of the club and game, even if it did ruffle feathers from time to time.

As the reports evolved, we moved on to a longer format and lit them up wit wonderful images from the Evans lads – David and Simon, the former always sending me a tranche of great pictures at the end of every game, and Simon deputising when needed whilst also doing a great job on social media.

Bill’s retirement will be a great loss to the community around the club, and I’m sorry to see it; but living in Leicestershire and with some health issues last year I can well understand, respect and appreciate Bill’s decision.

Bill is a Clayhanger lad and has contributed also to several historical threads on the blog, and with his wife Lynn (who has done a great job of refreshments at the Wood since 2010) is well known in the local community. Bill was a member of Walsall Wood Boys’ Brigade and played in their team in the 1960s, and is local football involvement has been long and enduring, his second love being Pelsall Villa.

I’d like to say thanks and cheers to Bill, a strident local voice that will be very much missed, and I’d add that his reports here have garnered a large following. Bill, if you ever wish to return and pick up the pen again, you’d be most welcome.

I wish you well for the future, old pal. Thanks for the fun and frankness. See you down the road, eh?

I include below Bill’s last column from the Walsall Wood match day programme from yesterday, 22nd April 2017 – his characteristically frank review of which can be read here.

by Bill Shaw

Good afternoon everyone, welcome to the ML Safety Stadium, a warm Wood welcome to today’s players, supporters and officials of today’s visitors Heanor Town, whatever the outcome of today’s game join us for a drink and a bite to eat in the clubroom afterwards before a safe journey home.

A warm welcome also to today’s officials, referee Daniel Stokes assisted by James Kerrigan and Alan Thomas. I know we haven’t had any assistance on that front over the last few games but I’m told decisions even themselves out in a season, somehow it never seems to work out that way, but as an official told me recently it’s all about opinions. Anyway folks, do give the guys a break occasionally and give them the benefit of any decisions that you don’t agree with.

The title could be sewn up today if Alvechurch win at Shawbury that could also doom Shawbury to the third relegation spot which of course will guarantee us Midland League premier division football next season. That should have been done on Easter Monday at Highgate United when leading 2-0 with 7 minutes left we somehow managed to throw away all three points. It’s never been one of my favourite venues and Monday didn’t change my opinion one bit. Again we stopped Lei Brown from scoring against us for the second time, at 33 Brownie you’re getting too old to be a striker. Congratulations to Bromsgrove on clinching the division one title, they have been there or thereabouts for a few seasons now and will finally make the step up to level five again. If anyone comes up from the West Midlands it’s questionable. Champions Haughmond supposedly didn’t submit the necessary paperwork in December so their elevation is in doubt. West Bridgford from Nottinghamshire are the choice from the East Midlands probably. Well folks, it’s finally arrived, my last home game, it’s been a long, long journey from the days of manager Carl Dwyer and the 2000-2001 season. From then there have been more downs than ups, that of course is why the Midland Combination title in 2012-13 was such an emotional time.

Football management of course is a high turnover occupation and it was down the road at Pelsall Villa where I forged my first long term relationship, football wise, with Mark Bentley. I retired of course in April 2011 with the last game fittingly against Walsall Wood, Nigel Birch however had other ideas and spent Three months working hard to get me to come back to the Wood, which he accomplished. Two months into the 2011-12 season he walked out, but I was home, I was loving being back and of course with the arrival of Swanny in February 2012 a bond and a life-long friendship was forged between us.

I have had some frustrating times in his reign and came close to walking away on more than one occasion, but my loyalty to Swanny and Justin kept me here. There are times over the last two seasons that I’ve been at games on days that I should have been home in bed, so regrettably I’ve reached the state of enough is enough and I’m getting out while I still can.

Thank you to everyone for your incredible support over the years, it has been appreciated. To all the people I’ve upset – TOUGH, you’ll get over it, I told the truth so I have no regrets. The highlight of it all – well there have been so many, but it has to be watching the Guernsey replay from the players tunnel of the National Stadium and the absolute stunned silence when Tom Evans opened the scoring, that occasion was priceless.

For the last time be good, be healthy, stay positive, the last and one of the very best to remember – Out of every adversity comes a seed of equivalent or greater benefit. I’ve had a ball – thank you, take care everyone.

Bill (the mouth) Shaw.

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The Portman Collection – part six: Staff and older pupils, plus a surprise football team!

Image 16: A class of older pupils on a rather wet looking day. Photo generously supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

Tony’s notes for image 16. Click for a larger version.

In the sixth serialised article of what will turn out to be quite a few, here’s the next three photos from Walsall Wood Secondary School in the 1950s with accompanying notes, as introduced in this blog post here – This time, I am including the handwritten notes by Tony himself below each image.

There’s also a bonus image here too from reader David Bunce, which is from the same period, if not the same set, which I’m hoping readers may be able to light up:

David Bunce describes this image as ‘Walsall wood football team 1955 my dad in back row 3rd from left Barry Jackaman’ – I think this is a football team from Walsall Wood School. Am I right? Recognise anyone?

Thanks to David Bunce for that wonderful one. If it’s not from the same set as the Portman images, it’s certainly the same period. Let me know what you think!

I return now to featuring images in order. Apologies for the delay in this post, thinks still a bit behind, but I’m catching ups now.

I shan’t comment on the notes directly, or attempt to transcribe: these are clearly a matter for readers as they obviously raise questions as well as answer them – and the last thing I want to do is lead the witnesses!

Thanks to Tony Portman who generously granted access to a remarkable collection, and to David Evans for scanning them so diligently. People like you gentlemen are keeping local history alive. Thank you.

Please, any comments, contributions or observations welcome. Either comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Image 17 -Another group of older pupils with quite a few staff seemingly amongst them. Photo generously supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

Tony’s notes for image 17. Click for a larger version.

Image 18 – I’m not certain but I think this is all staff, and the sky seems to be clearing! Photo generously supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

Tony’s notes for image 18. Click for a larger version.

Posted in News | 7 Comments

Heanor prove to be keener than Wood

Images and captions kindly supplied by the young David Evans

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 22nd April 2017), Walsall Wood FC were visited by Heanor Town, and the home crowd needed a win – sadly it wasn’t to be, and the Derbyshire team left the Wood faithful reeling.

I particularly felt for Bill Shaw, for this is is last home match report (more on that later), and as usual, he’s not holding back.

Hiya Bob,

It wasn’t meant to end like this, now and again we remembered that you could play football on the floor instead of the hit and hope variety that kept coming to the fore.

My 17 seasons can’t end in the heartbreak of relegation – can they? Over the years Westfields had been a happy hunting ground until this seasons FA Vase game, let’s hope that was a one off.

So folks, it’s everything crossed for what promises to be a very,  very tense encounter next Saturday in Hereford.

Walsall Wood 1 v 3 Heanor Town

Wood needing just a point for safety went down to an Elliott Reeves hat-trick.  With Alvechurch stuttering to a draw to take the title at lowly Shawbury United it means that if the Shropshire side win at relegated Brocton next Saturday and Wood lose at Westfields it will be Wood who are relegated on goal difference.

It was Wood who had the better of the early exchanges but it was the visitors who threatened first, Sean Roulston breaking up a Wood attack and finding Dominic Wilkinson wide right to run on and release Man of the Match Elliott Reeves into the right of the box, his low drive was half stopped by keeper Adam Jenkins and Drew Ricketts calmly completed the clearance. It was Reeves on 17 minutes, riding a challenge as he raced into the right of the box, there was no appeal but inexplicably the referee blew for a penalty.  Reeves calmly slotted the spot kick home.

Two minutes later from a right wing corner a Drew Ricketts goal-bound effort bounced away from goal off skipper Joey Butlin and was cleared.

On 23 minutes Reeves powered into the right of the box, he made the near post and keeper Jenkins made a brave block at his feet.

Two minutes later Butlin raced onto a ball into the centre of the box, loud penalty appeals waived away as he appeared to be dragged down from behind. Josh Mansell crossed from wide left, Liam Molesworth glancing a header just wide of the far post just 2 minutes later.

Match highlights as filmed by Heanor Town and posted on YouTube.

On 39 minutes Reeves went on a forceful run from wide right, cutting inside but being crowded out at the near post by keeper Jenkins and two defenders.  Right on the stroke of half time a left wing corner found hot shot Reeves who swept home number two.

The first real chance of the second half fell to the visitors, Jay Cooper cutting inside from wide right before being crowded out as he made the box.

Wood suddenly found that the ball could be played along the floor instead of just booted aimlessly forwards when on 61 minutes a lovely move through the centre ended with Leon Taylor finding Lewis Taylor Boyce on the right of the box, he ran on played a neat one-two with Molesworth before beating the advancing Joe McCormack as he raced from his line.  On 72 minutes a flick on by Taylor was collected by Taylor Boyce with his back to goal he cleverly turned his marker only to roll his cross shot agonisingly wide.

Two minutes later Cooper ran at the Wood defence from wide right, his low driven cross hit first time by substitute Jack Warner, keeper Jenkins pushing the ball away with a superb save. A further two minutes later Reeves ran through from halfway left of centre, he went through a strong challenge, the ball bouncing kindly for him to run on into the box to calmly slide home number three, completing his hat-trick in the process.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of Wood, but on 90 minutes a long ball forward into the centre of the box found Taylor, he was strong to hold the ball up but was crowded out by a posse of defenders. Well into injury time a ball over the top of the Town defence saw keeper McCormack race out of his area to head clear from Henry Harris.

Wood had no answer to hotshot Elliott Reeves, he was the difference between the two teams with his clinical finishing. So after 41 games it all comes down to No. 42.

If Wood get at least a point at Westfields they will be safe no matter what Shawbury do at Brocton.

Bill Shaw

The Teams:

Walsall Wood – Jenkins, Adams, Okojie, L. Harris, Ricketts, Bains, Molesworth, Mansell, Butlin (captain), Aiton, Taylor Boyce, Brooks, Henry Harris, Ricketts, Harry Harris, Taylor.

Heanor Town – McCormack, Marriott, Layton, Craddock, Roulston (captain) Hall, Wilkinson, Brown, Benger, Cooper, Reeves, Warner, Sismey, Walker, Clarke.

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

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Urgent: Police appeal for witnesses to Rushall collision

Walsall police this afternoon issued the following appeal for witnesses to come forward who may have seen the Mercedes convertible, pictured below, on Wednesday last (19th April 2017) after in was involved in a collision on the Lichfield Road in Rushall, as a result of which an elderly man lost his life.

Witnesses are asked to contact DS Paul Hughes at Walsall Police directly by calling 101.

My sympathies, and I’m sure those of blog reader go out to the family of the deceased gentleman, a tragic and awful incident. Readers are asked to be respectful of the family’s privacy in comment on social media, please.

West Midlands Police wrote:

Issue Date: Saturday, 22 April 2017

URGENT APPEAL: Did you see this car in Walsall on Wednesday 19 April?

Dud you see this car in Walsall on Wednesday? After the incident it would have been showing extensive damage to the front end and windscreen. Image from West Midlands Police.

Police have released an image of a Mercedes car that was involved in a collision in Walsall where a man lost his life, in a bid for witnesses to come forward.

It is believed that the Mercedes was involved in a theft at a petrol station in Ablewell Street at around 10.50am and drove away from the scene before being involved in a hit-and-run on Lichfield Road near to Rushall Care Home at around 11am.

The car struck an 80-year-old man who sadly died in hospital Friday afternoon (21 April).

Officers now need people to come forward who may have seen the car between Ablewell Street to where it was found abandoned on Brundard Close, Blakenall at around 2.40pm.

Following the collision the car did have extensive windscreen damage and would have been very distinctive.

Detective Sergeant Paul Hughes, from the Regional Collision Investigation Unit, said:

‘Do you live or work in Lichfield Road and have CCTV that may have captured the car? Were you driving along Lichfield Road on Wednesday and have dash cam footage that may have captured this car travelling?

‘Were you walking near to the Arboretum, Ablewell Street or Walsall and saw this car?

‘If so then I need you to call me urgently. It may seem that the information you may have is insignificant but it may be vital for me in my investigation.

‘We are supporting the man’s family at the sad time and our thoughts remain firmly with them.

‘My investigation is now focusing on bringing the person responsible for this tragedy to justice and I need people to come forward with any sightings of this car on the day of the collision.’

Anyone with information is urged to contact DS Paul Hughes urgently by calling 101.

A 41-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested and charged with serious injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and for having no insurance.

He appeared at Walsall Magistrates on Friday 21 April and was remanded in custody.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Express & Star, Followups, Interesting photos, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aston Manor Transport Museum in Aldridge – Spring Running Day this Sunday

Yet another great event at the Aldridge museum!

I see from the events list that Aston Manor Road Transport Museum in Aldridge have their Spring Running Day this Sunday, 23rd April 2017 -It starts at 10:00am and should be just the thing for vintage transport fans, bus enthusiasts, petrol heads and big and little kids of all kinds.


Aston Manor Road Transport Museum events are always popular – and it’s only up the road in Aldridge. What’s not to love? Image from the AMRTM Facebook page.

There will be stalls and duisplay, free bus rides, vintage cars and all the usual goodies for all the family to enjoy.

Entry is a pocket pleasing £5 for adults, £2 for kids and just £13 for a family ticket.

There’s free bus service operating all day between various destinations and the museum in Shenstone Drive – see the timetable below.

All services operated by classic vehicles. Click for a larger version.

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

This is sure to be a great event – please do pop along. The collection needs the support of the public to survive, and it really is a wonderful thing. The 2017 events schedule for the museum is any the foot of this post.

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

A packed schedule at the museum for the 2017 season!

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