Heatwave health warning

    Summer skyline over Bradford Place, Walsall today (pic Stuart WIlliams)
    Summer skyline over Bradford Place, Walsall today (pic Stuart WIlliams)

With a week of hot weather on the horizon, and temperatures rocketing already today, Walsall families are being reminded by Walsall Council and the NHS how they can enjoy the sunshine while looking after their health.

A Level Two heat health warning has been issued for the West Midlands with temperatures of 30 degrees predicted over the week.

The level two warning is triggered as soon as the Met Office confirms there is a 60 per cent chance of heatwave conditions, when temperatures are high enough to have a significant effect on health on at least two consecutive days.

Councillor Rose Martin, public health and wellbeing portfolio holder: said it was important for Walsall residents to be aware of the health risks associated with heatwave temperatures.

“We want everyone to enjoy this hot spell safely in Walsall and not suffer any ill effects,” she said.

“We are reminding people of Public Health England’s key tips for staying safe and well and also asking them to be mindful of vulnerable friends or neighbours in their communities who can be affected by such high temperatures.

“So many people are getting out and about in our parks and countryside sites, or making the most of a safe swim at our leisure centres during this warm weather and it’s a lovely sight to see.

“But it’s been a while since we had such high temperatures and we want people to remember this summer for all the right reasons, not because they suffered as a result.”

The key tips to remember during such a hot spell are:

  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • If you are in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat
  • Avoid physical exertion
  • Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • Drink plenty of cold drinks and cool foods such as salads
  • Keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator
  • Look out for others, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals

Remember that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too. Try to keep your bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when safe to do so. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat.

Walsall’s health and social care workers in the community, hospitals and care homes will also regularly check on vulnerable residents who are known to them.

Residents in Walsall can find useful tips via @phwalsall or Public Health England at www.gov.uk/phe and if you have any health queries to contact NHS 111.

Bloxwich Telegraph domain name saved!

A Massive Thank You!

I am delighted to report that, thanks solely to the generosity of a small number of readers of The Bloxwich Telegraph, our domain name has been saved for another year!

I would like to send a massive thank-you to kind-hearted local people Alison Ball, Terri Gergely (all the way from Canada!), Barry Crutchley and Fay Gleeson, who have all chipped in following our appeal for support through these pages on 24 June.

 

This means that the basic costs of keeping the site online with its present URL have been assured for the next twelve months, as well as a very useful contribution towards the cost of internet access.

L to R: 2012 Bloxwich Carnival Queen Alice Jones, 2012 Rosebud Megan Leigh Small and 2012 Princess Amelia Ellis enjoy a wild ride on the Waltzer
L to R: 2012 Bloxwich Carnival Queen Alice Jones, 2012 Rosebud Megan Leigh Small and 2012 Princess Amelia Ellis enjoy a wild ride on the Waltzer!

It would be wonderful if all of our readers felt able to send in a pound each through PayPal; that would make a great difference to what we can do, but of course there is no obligation to do this, and we do what we do free of charge, in support of the communities of Bloxwich, Little Bloxwich, Blakenall Heath, Leamore and Birchills.

Meanwhile, we could not be more grateful to those donors named above – thank you again!

If any more donations are received, additional funds raised will be set aside towards any future expenses and improvements to the work of The Bloxwich Telegraph.

See you at Bloxwich Carnival, if not before!

Stuart Williams

Editor & Publisher

Support Your Bloxwich Telegraph – Part 2

And last but not least - saying by bye to Santa till Christmas Eve in Castleton Rd...
And last but not least – saying by bye to Santa till Christmas Eve in Castleton Rd…

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the two Bloxwich Telegraph readers who have made donations in support of this site via PayPal, following our appeal on 24 June.  Their help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks to their kind generosity, we now have almost enough funding to cover the cost of renewing this site’s domain name registration, which is set to expire on 7 August, 2015.

I have added a donations box to the front page in hopes that this will continue to enourage further support from local people in order that The Bloxwich Telegraph can continue publication after this year’s Bloxwich Carnival, which is currently the last event we are scheduled to cover.

Scream Queens Abigail Nicholls, Jessica Jones, Princess Amelia Ellis and Alice Jones go sky-high on the Pat Collins Scream ride
Scream Queens Abigail Nicholls, Jessica Jones, Princess Amelia Ellis and Alice Jones go sky-high on the Pat Collins Scream ride!

I hope that more readers will feel able to support this site with any donation, no matter how small, they feel is appropriate, so that I can continue, and hopefully build upon, the support which The Bloxwich Telegraph has given freely to local people, businesses and organisations since 2006.

Please see my post on donations for further details – thank you.

Sincerely,

Stuart Williams

Editor & Publisher

Cleaning up on the Birchills cut!

The former Birchills Canal Museum, 1990
The former Birchills Canal Museum, 1990

A stretch of canal that passes through Birchills, which is part of the old Bloxwich parish and boasts some of the most stunning views in Walsall, received a makeover on 25 June 2015 as part of Walsall Council’s Big Spring Clean voluntary scheme.

Council staff joined partners from Agenda 21, Ghausia Mosque, year six pupils from Birchills Church of England Primary School and the Canal and River Trust to take part in a canalside clean-up as part of the six week borough-wide initiative.

The old Boatman's Rest mission building (later Canal Museum)
The old Boatman’s Rest mission building (later Canal Museum)

The site incorporates the Grade II listed former Boatman’s Rest building and historic lock-keeper’s cottage, built c1900.  The Boatman’s Rest was one of three in the West Midland canals operated by the Incorporated Seamen and Boatman’s Friend Society (founded 1846). The other two have since been demolished.  The society was established to support the lives of men and women working on the waterways.

In more recent years, the building was used as the Birchills Canal Museum, but closed in 2003 after funding was cut. The canal alongside has become a valuable sanctuary for plants and local wildlife.

Birchills Canal Junction, Walsall (pic by Oosoom, c/o Wikipedia)
Birchills Canal Junction, Walsall (pic by Oosoom, c/o Wikipedia)

The clean-up was initiated as part of a broader aim to restore pride in a canal network that once transformed the lives of local residents.

The young people involved in the clean-up were excited to participate in this year’s Big Spring Clean campaign which helped them contribute some essential activity to help improve their local community.

Bashir Ahmed MBE, from the Canal and River Trust, said: “The students had a great day out on the canal and have really helped tidy up this local stretch of the waterway.

“We have some great assets within Walsall which are under utilised, the canals being one of them, so it’s great to see people coming together to encourage use of a beautiful location.”

Support Your Bloxwich Telegraph

The Mayor, Bloxwich Carnival Royalty and a very special coach and horses (pic Stuart Williams)
The Mayor, Bloxwich Carnival Royalty and a very special coach and horses (pic Stuart Williams)

I am making a personal appeal, as the editor and publisher of The Bloxwich Telegraph, to ask for our readers’ support.

I would like to invite you, if you have enjoyed reading The Bloxwich Telegraph in the past, or have found it useful, to consider making a small donation in support of this hyperlocal website to ensure its future.

Since the site was first created by me, originally as The Bloxidge Tallygraph, in summer 2006, it has been funded personally by myself, as a contribution to the communities of Bloxwich, Little Bloxwich, Blakenall Heath, Leamore and Birchills.  Next summer will see the 10th birthday of the site, now in the form of The Bloxwich Telegraph.

Promenade Gardens and Fountain, Bloxwich, late 1920s (WLHC)
Promenade Gardens and Fountain, Bloxwich, late 1920s (WLHC)

WORK FOR THE COMMUNITY

I have also undertaken the vast majority of the work needed to produce it, including designing, researching, writing articles (both news features and local history), reporting, and photographing events all across Bloxwich and district, especially Bloxwich Carnival and other village events, as well as publishing numerous news features which local newspapers either could not manage or did not consider a priority. Through this site, I have even provided full coverage of the Olympic Torch Procession in Bloxwich when the local papers’ and other media focus was on Walsall town centre, helping raise the profile of the area internationally.

Unfortunately, I was made redundant from my ‘day job’ earlier this year, and was obliged to take a part time job. Now the financial crunch has come, and I can no longer fund The Bloxwich Telegraph entirely on my own.  This is having an immediate effect.

DOMAIN NAME COULD BE LOST SOON

Unless funds are found to renew this site’s domain name registration and hosting in time,  this will expire on on 7 August, 2015.

This means that the web address (URL) of The Bloxwich Telegraph will change, reverting to the underlying WordPress URL: http://thebloxwichtelegraph.wordpress.com

I should say that The Bloxwich Telegraph site as it is right now will still be here after the domain lapses, just under a different URL, but the loss of the domain name will make it more difficult to find, and less distinctive. It might even be hijacked by someone else.

COSTS

Apart from site costs, I have had, and continue to have, other costs to cover, inevitably, including equipment, internet access, transport and other expenses.  I have never charged for coverage or for my time, and have no wish to do so.

POSSIBLE CLOSURE

Over the past year, due to family illness (I care for my elderly disabled mother), I have had to reduce my workload with The Bloxwich Telegraph. I would, however, like to do more with the site and, if possible, increase local coverage in future.  I am already planning extensive coverage of Bloxwich Carnival, for example.

Having said that, if it now proves impractical to continue the work of The Bloxwich Telegraph for financial reasons, it is likely that the site will cease updates after Bloxwich Carnival, also in August. Things really are that tight at the moment.

DONATIONS

The only way in which I can now retain the site’s domain name, and continue the work of The Bloxwich Telegraph in the long term, is to invite donations from any of our readers who may think that The Bloxwich Telegraph is worth continuing.

Any contribution, no matter how small, could make the difference between shutting up shop altogether, keeping the site going as it is now,  or, if there is enough interest, continuing to add to and improve it in the future.

Local people are not, of course, under any obligation to support the site, and if there is not enough interest to keep it going, then we have our answer.

If you feel, however, that you would like to make a small donation to the upkeep and future of The Bloxwich Telegraph, I would be very grateful if you could do so by sending any amount you feel appropriate as a gift via PayPal to: bloxwichtelegraph@gmail.com

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Stuart Williams

24 June 2015

Little Bloxwich garden opens for charity this Sunday

Julie and John Quinn on their 'bridge over troubled waters' in the Small but Beautiful garden
Julie and John Quinn on their ‘bridge over troubled waters’ in the Small but Beautiful garden

One of the prettiest private gardens in Bloxwich – and beyond – is all set to open its gate to the public this Sunday, 28 June, endorsed by the highly-regarded National Gardens Scheme.

Dubbed ‘Small but Beautiful’ by owners and gardeners John and Julie Quinn, their Japanese-themed back garden, just 32ft square but packed with glorious plants, shrubs and trees, certainly fits the bill.

Just one of many vistas in this tiny patch of heaven...
Just one of many vistas in this tiny patch of heaven…

John is a self-employed professional gardener, and Julie works in a bank, but it’s easy to see that their hearts are really in their other work – building a haven of peace and tranquility at the back of their home, 6 Fishley Close, Little Bloxwich, WS3 3QA.

Our editor had a preview of the glorious garden, which will open to the public between 10am – 5pm, and the photographs he took, shown here, give just a taste of the multitude of many-layered vistas which have been masterfully created by the hard work of John and Julie.  It’s a wonderful inspiration to the great majority of us who only have a little patch of green to work with!

CLOSE UP: This exquisite flower entices the eye to contemplate the bridge beyond
CLOSE UP: This exquisite flower entices the eye to contemplate the bridge beyond

The garden also includes a lovely water feature and a typically Japanese-style bridge beyond, giving depth to the whole arrangement.  There are also a number of non-Japanese style aspects to the garden nearer to the house.

The birds love the garden too!
The birds love the garden too!

This is not the first time that the garden has been open to the public for such charity events, as it has been a total of 14 times over the years, raising a total of around £12,000. Previous events have raised cash for Marie Curie Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support – and the garden even sported its own lights in 2009 after Walsall Illuminations closed down!

Part of the garden, illuminated in October 2009 - click on picture to see the 2009 album on Flickr
Part of the garden, illuminated in October 2009 – click on picture to see the 2009 album on Flickr

This year, the Small but Beautiful garden has featured on Midlands Today, on BBC Radio WM, in a two-page spread in Gardening News, and has been recognised by The Daily Telegraph as one of the top fifty small gardens to visit in the country.

Hidden visions are numerous, and worth seeking out...
Hidden visions are numerous, and worth seeking out…
CHARITY FUNDRAISER

Visitors are welcome on Sunday, and the modest fee for admission is £3,  with children free.  Donations in general are also welcome; funds raised by the event will be shared between the Alzheimer’s Society and the Parkinson’s Society, as well as Pelsall Care Home. Home made cakes and drinks will be on sale throughout the day.

The Quinns are also inviting any gardeners who would like to help contribute to the charities to donate in kind, by bringing along any spare plants or garden items to be sold on the day.

ACCESS

Anyone with special access needs, or thinking of bringing a group, should contact the Quinns beforehand, on 07846 496715.

PARKING

They also recommend that visitors park in nearby Fishley Lane, as Fishley Close is quite small and could easily become blocked.

Don’t miss this little gem in Little Bloxwich, whatever the weather this Sunday – it’s a real treat!

Full of small and intimate perspectives, the garden is a vision in subtle colours
Full of small and intimate perspectives, the garden is a vision in subtle colours

 

Pictures (c) by Stuart Williams – click to enlarge

Incorporating The Bloxidge Tallygraph