On Wednesday 7th October, Blakenall Village Centre will have been open for 10 years, and as part of celebrations to mark the occasion, staff at Blakenall Library are preparing a series of free activities during the build-up to the big birthday!
Situated inside the Centre in Thames Road, Blakenall Heath, the library will be busy preparing for their anniversary celebrations by offering a range of free activities and competitions, starting with a Bunting & Badge making drop-in session between 9.30am-12.30pm on this Saturday 26th September.
The decorated bunting will form part of a display in the library during a special week of celebration beginning on Monday 5th October.
This Saturday (tomorrow), there will also be badge making on offer, where children will be able to take their badges away with them. In addition, to tie in with a ‘Great Blakenall Bake Off’, there will be a competition to ‘Pin the cherry on the cake’ which will be judged in the Blakenall Village Centre on that Saturday.
This is all in the lead up to the birthday week, which will host a Barcode Lottery, a quiz for adults, a treasure hunt for children as well as design and name a mascot for Blakenall Village Centre.
Blakenall Library is free to join and has regular activities which include an Adult Reading Group, a Cradle Club and a brand new Chatterbooks Reading Group for children which will be launched on Wednesday 7 October.
This Saturday will see Blakenall Heath in party mood again as hundreds of local people come together to enjoy the annual summer holiday on their doorstep!
Families are expected to flock to the Blakenall Village Centre on Thames Road for the now-traditional afternoon of old-school seaside fun for all ages – there’ll even be real sand for the kiddies to make castles!
A Blakenall Heath furniture workshop was gutted by fire in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The blaze destroyed stock, fittings, buildings and a delivery van as it ripped through the yard and worksop at the rear of popular dealer Peggy’s Place in Barrack’s Lane around 3am.
All but the shop facing onto the lane, which remains open for business, was destroyed, leaving charred wood, furniture, materials and debris surrounding the van, which was rendered a write-off.
Owners believe the fire may have been started deliberately in the workshop area before spreading to other parts of the courtyard.
Co-owner Matthew Cooper has said that around £10,000 – £15,000 worth of stock has been destroyed in the incident. Apparently the yard has been targeted by thieves and vandals in the past, with tools being taken.
Firefighters from Bloxwich Community Fire Station and Fallings Park attended following the alarm being raised by neighbours, and worked for more than four hours to put out the blaze, concluding that work around 7.30am yesterday.
They have not yet been prepared to comment on the precise cause of the fire as an investigation is underway, with investigators examining the scene in detail for clues. Police were also due to attend later.
If any report is forthcoming we will update this news item in due course.
Special thanks to Mr Ian Morton-Jones for supplying the exclusive photographs of the aftermath of the fire above and to Peggy’s Place for the picture of the shop.
In Bloxwich, you can always tell Christmas is coming – it’s when the Rotary Santa Claus drops in!
For decades, the real herald of the season has not been Mr Robin, Jack Frost, snow falling, or even naff festive muzak in the shops – it’s been the jolly red-suited man in the sleigh with the golden cog-wheel on its side. And this year is no different, children and adults in the village and on the estates will be delighted to hear!
The Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix are enthusiastically maintaining the fine tradition of festive visitations and felicitations begun decades ago by their predecessor group, and they can always be sure of a warm welcome in so many places and from so many people that may have little else to cheer them on these cold, dark nights.
As is traditional, Santa and his community-minded helpers will be touring all over Bloxwich and district – including Blakenall Heath, Mossley, Dudley Fields, Lower Farm, and Turnberry (plus Pelsall!) – and that tour starts this week! See below for routes and times.
A LETTER FROM SANTA FOR YOUR CHILD
And for some added fun for families, if you’re on one of his routes, Santa and his helpers can deliver a letter from Santa to your child. Please send letters to Santa c/o 28a Lister Street, Willenhall, West Midlands. WV13 2HQ, or request a letter via the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix website. They will hand deliver a reply free of charge on the evening of your route.
Santa is also internet-savvy these days – so if you prefer to e-mail, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for this, or any other queries you have.
And what’s more – would you believe it, Norad in America may be able to track Santa on his way round the globe, but we can go one better, as you’d expect, and track him round Bloxwich!
On the evening of each route, you will be able to track Santa’s location in real-time online on Rotary’s website www.bloxwichphoenix.net, so there’s no need to stand outside in the cold weather for too long!
Of course, Santa’s visits to Bloxwich and district are not just about some much-needed seasonal jollity; there is a serious purpose too. Rotary is a charitable organisation that does good works both in the local community and on a global scale.
All the money collected from the Santa Sleigh collection will be donated to the Rotary Foundation of the United Kingdom. The charity provides funds for many important humanitarian projects at home and abroad is one of the major partners in the drive to finally eliminate polio worldwide.
They need our help, and donations are welcome, so why not look out for Santa coming your way, say hello, have some family fun and do some good, in the true spirit of Christmas?
The times and dates of Santa’s visits this Christmas are listed below for your reference. Remember they may be subject to change, but you can track Santa online to make sure!
For more information, you can also read or print online a special leaflet which is being distributed locally, via this link.
SANTA WILL BE VISITING YOU ON THE FOLLOWING NIGHTS AND ROUTES:
The festive season kicks off at Bloxwich’s Stan Ball Centre on Friday 7th December from 1pm until 3pm with the Centre’s annual CHRISTMAS CAROL CONCERT.
Reverend Monica Arnold from All Saints Church, Bloxwich and Reverend Paul Myers from Christ Church, Blakenall Heath will be in attendance at the Centre in Abbotts Street, along with the Green Rock Primary School Choir for what will surely be an enjoyable yuletide afternoon service.
The Stan Ball Centre’s Christmas Fayre takes place on Saturday 8th December 10am until 1pm.
A few tables may still be available at a cost of £8 each or £5 for registered charities – contact Karen on 01922 403351 to book.
The Centre’s Bistro will be open throughout serving hot and cold drinks and snacks, and Santa will be paying a visit this year!. Pop along for a festive morning out and find that last-minute Christmas gift! – free admission and free parking as usual.
Christmas Dinners will be available every day week commencing Monday 10th December to Friday 14th December. Purchase your Dinner ticket in advance from Stan Ball Reception for the day of your choice at a cost of £5.50 for two courses.
The Stan Ball Christmas Party will be held on Wednesday 12th December 1pm until 3pm with the “Val Rivers Show”. This popular entertainment duo return for another festive musical treat for the party season. Why not pop along for your Christmas Lunch beforehand and make a day of it?
Show tickets are on sale now from Stan Ball Reception costing just £3 per person. A Christmas Hamper Raffle will be drawn during the afternoon – raffle tickets will be on sale from Monday 3rd December £1 per strip.
For further information, or to book any of these events, please contact Karen or Pete on 01922 403351 or come into the Centre during office hours Monday to Friday.
A small but extremely interesting local history exhibition showing both military and civilian items and information from the First World War period (1914 – 18) opened last Friday at the Blakenall Village Centre off Thames Road, Blakenall Heath.
The exhibition was launched as part of the Blakenall Heath Peace Tree Plaque and Jubilee Stone dedication, for details and pictures of which please read our earlier story.
Combining display material relating to the forthcoming book ‘Sorrow into Pride’ by local historians Ken Wayman and Barry Crutchley with numerous fascinating objects on loan from Walsall Museum with supporting objects from Pelsall Local History Centre and a number of individuals (including one item from the editor of The Bloxwich Telegraph!), the display comprises of several display panels and cabinets attractively set up, complete with sandbags, in the foyer of the centre.
It has been organised jointly by the Centre, Walsall Museum and Messrs Crutchley and Wayman, and not only offers much of both military and domestic interest but also serves to promote ‘Sorrow into Pride’, which documents and commemorates the men on the Elmore Green School war memorial, which was returned to the school and rededicated on Armistice Day last year, and something of the local history of the Bloxwich area.
It also contains a Foreword by Stuart Williams, editor of The Bloxwich Telegraph.
The book, which runs to more than 300 pages of A4, has kindly been funded by New Horizons Community Enterprise, which manages the centre and runs many local activities in Blakenall Heath and parts of Bloxwich and Leamore. It is presently at the publishers and is expected to be available to buy some time in December or early January.
The exhibition also offers a little mystery which organisers hope that Bloxwich Telegraph readers can help with – identifying the unknown item of military equipment pictured above! If you know what this is, please email The Bloxwich Telegraph via our Contact page and we will pass the information on!
The exhibition runs until 7th December 2012.
For more information about the exhibition, the book or to check opening hours, contact Terri Wall, Service Manager of Blakenall Village Centre, on 01922 714900.
More photographs of the exhibition can also be viewed via this link.
A MYSTERY SOLVED!
Since this item was published, we have been contacted by Mr Adrian Rothery, who informs us that the mystery object is in fact an oil bottle, part of a cleaning kit for the Lee Enfield Rifle, which would also have included a cord to be oiled and pulled through the gun to clean it.
Similar information has also been given by several visitors to the exhibition, who additionally say that the item would have been stored within the rifle butt, and we have advised the Blakenall Village Centre and Walsall Museum that the mystery is solved!
Our thanks to Mr Rothery and these other members of the public for their help!
In Bloxwich today, Remembrance Sunday combined with Armistice Day, and hundreds of residents of Bloxwich, Blakenall Heath and Leamore gathered in glorious but decidedly chilly November sunshine for the annual observation of the nation’s traditional act of remembrance and to see the village’s traditional parade to honour fallen UK servicemen and women of all wars and conflicts, especially the Great War and the Second World War.
Participants in the parade assembled outside the former Bull’s Head pub in Park Road and, the road having been closed by police, marched off at 10.20am, led by the Walsall Coronets band, along High Street to the War Memorial on the corner of High Street and Elmore Green Road where large crowds of local folk were gathered for a service of Remembrance around 10.40am.
Local veterans and cadets marched proudly behind the standards of the Royal British Legion and other ex-services organisations, and were followed by youth groups including Bloxwich Army Cadets, Scouts, Guides and Brownies, representatives of local organisations, and local councillors.
The people of Bloxwich and district were welcomed by Revd. Phil Hoar of St. John’s Methodist Church, who together with the Revd. Monica Arnold, Curate of All Saints Church and Licensed Reader Margaret Wootton (also of All Saints) read out the Bloxwich and district Roll of Honour for the Great War and the Second World War.
Preceded by bells from All Saints Church, The Last Post was played to herald the traditional two minutes silence at 11am, with standards lowered by both veterans and youth groups (though sadly Drum Sergeant Alf Cooper, Staffordshire Regiment (retired) was unable to attend to sound the bugle in person this year, due to ill health). Mr Witton of the Royal Naval Association read the traditional Ode of Remembrance from ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon.
Revd Phil Hoar subsequently led those assembled in prayer, readings and hymns to both honour the fallen and to pray for future peace, including a particularly poignant reading about the examples set in 2009 by a young soldier in Afghanistan and by the late Harry Patch, ‘the last fighting Tommy’.
The service concluded with the National Anthem with singing led by All Saints’ Church Youth Choir leader Jassica Castillo-Burley and the laying of wreaths by local dignitaries, Mr Witton laying the first wreath, followed by Roy Aldridge of SSAFA Forces Help West Midlands North Branch (Walsall District) then Bloxwich councilors and representatives of the armed and civilian services and other organisations. Individuals, including many youngsters, then proudly placed small crosses and poppies for fallen relatives and friends.
At the final conclusion of ceremonies, the parade returned smartly along High Street to its point of origin, the Bull’s Head, before breaking up for another year.
This year’s poignant, reflective but uplifting event was again very well supported, with an excellent turnout, and onlookers were once again particularly impressed by the large number of young people who proudly joined the veterans in the parade, notably smartly turned-out army cadets and other youth groups carrying flags including Bloxwich Scouts, Cubs, Brownies and Guides amongst them.
Other local groups were represented, including the Royal British Legion, Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix, Bloxwich Fire Station, Bloxwich Police and more.
All photographs by Stuart Williams.
Many more photographs were taken of this event than it is possible to show here.
A FREE FLICKR ALBUM of photographs of Remembrance Sunday 2012 in Bloxwich – including the parades to and from the memorial and many more pictures not shown here – is presented by The Bloxwich Telegraph via the following link for download as personal souvenirs of the occasion and for any non-commercial use by groups and organisations pictured: BLOXWICH REMEMBERS 2012
A plaque and stone explaining the history behind a symbol of peace in Blakenall Heath was officially unveiled during a well-attended service of Remembrance last Friday.
The plate was attached to a new memorial stone which has been set up next to the Peace Tree on The Green, Blakenall Heath, on 9 November at 10.30am.
The tree has grown massively since being planted on Saturday 19 July 1919 at 10am by local Councillor Matthew J. Somerfield (after whom Somerfield Road, Bloxwich is named) in a ceremony to commemorate the end of the Great War of 1914-1918 as part of borough-wide peace celebrations.
It now shades what has itself become a place of peaceful contemplation beneath its leaves.
Peace trees were also planted simultaneously in Palfrey, Pleck and Reedswood parks followed by a special planting in Bloxwich Park at 3pm, as part of an extensive programme of Peace Celebrations over two days.
At Blakenall Heath in 1919, the Chairman of the ceremony was Councillor W. C. Ward, and votes of thanks were proposed by Alderman C.C. Walker and seconded by Councillor W. J. Talbot.
Last Friday’s service was conducted in the open air around the Peace Tree by the Revd Paul Myers of nearby Christ Church, Blakenall Heath and included a two-minute silence as well as a reading and The Lord’s Prayer. Tom Perrett, MBE, Chairman of New Horizons Community Enterprise, also spoke.
As well as local veterans and a representative of the Staffordshire Regiment Regimental Association, plus the organisers, youngsters from local schools and members of the public were there in large numbers.
The stone was donated by Blakenall-based landscapers Arry’s Ground Force and was placed three weeks ago. Members of New Horizons Community Enterprise, local residents, veterans, councillors and clergymen are behind the scheme.
The peace tree is a lasting memorial for those who have laid down their lives in defence of our country and for peace. It is important that local people and visitors know the origins of the tree, and what it symbolises, hence the provision of the new plaque.
All pictures by Stuart Williams.
A FLICKR PHOTO ALBUM of many more photos of this event is available for download via this link.
Covering Bloxwich, Little Bloxwich, Blakenall Heath, Leamore and Birchills