In our final festive posting before Christmas, The Bloxwich Telegraph would like to wish all its readers both Festive Felicitations and Season’s Greetings, wherever they are.
And it is a particular pleasure to conclude our 6th year first as The Bloxidge Tallygraph and now The Bloxwich Telegraph by presenting a photo-spectacular of the village’s wonderful new Christmas Lights – truly taking us all back to the days of our youth when bright bulbs hanging in trees along the High Street always used to complement the Bloxwich Christmas tree in Promenade Gardens, come rain, snow or hail!
For this sparkling return of our much-missed lights, now in powerful LED form, we have to thank the Bloxwich Business Partnership CIC and donors, raising a total of £15,000 pounds to pay for the lights and their hanging by cherry picker; massive support was given by Walsall Housing Group in particular.
We especially need to thank Bloxwich’s energetic organiser Nikki Rolls of the Partnership/Walsall Council, for doing so much to bring back the Spirit of Bloxwich Christmas Past.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, ONE AND ALL - AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
For more pictures at higher resolution, see our Flickr album via this link.
As we said in a recent post, in Bloxwich, you can always tell when Christmas is coming – it’s when the Rotary Santa Claus drops in! And the Bloxwich Phoenix branch of Rotary continued its traditonal – and highly enjoyable – annual sleigh-ride around the Bloxwich area last night, when Santa and his happy band of Rotary helpers – plus Terry Bate (Bloxwich Carnival Chairman), and Bloxwich East Councillors Shaun & Julie Fitzpatrick – dropped in on the populace of Lower Farm, Little Bloxwich!
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, after successful visits to Blakenall Heath, Mossley, Pelsall (!) and Dudley Fields, Santa’s arrival down on on the ‘Farm was welcomed with open arms by young and old alike.
But it was a close call this year, as not only had winter rain been hammering the already half-frozen folks of Little Bloxwich for hours, but a technical hitch with the sleigh’s sound system had threatened a ‘silent night’ for all concerned; a combination of the two would have put a real dampener on this much-loved seasonal scene-opener.
Fortunately, not only did the glitch evaporate after a modest delay to the start of Mr Claus’s peregination, but by the time all was in motion, the rain had stopped too! With Santa’s slightly soggy little helpers, who have had to endure all weathers this year, breathing a BIG sigh of relief, the show got on the road, and The Bloxwich Telegraph’s Editor Stuart Williams, who had been dodging the downpour in a nearby bus ‘shelter’, met up with the Rotary parade in Bamford Road, joining the highly musical and very jolly party to follow the rest of the route from there – and taking the photos you see here along the way (to download full-size pictures, see the link at the end of this article).
The Rotary ‘elves’ were kept busy knocking on doors for donations, delivering Santa’s letters to youngsters and meeting happy families, some of whom braved the damp but thankfully rain-free air to meet Father Christmas in person – and like the elves with their Santa hats, hi-vis tabards and jingling buckets, those who did got a very warm welcome!
With smiling faces on every street and corner ready to welcome in the season and support Rotary’s great causes with their coppers and more, the night’s charitable tally soon grew to a very creditable total of £192,68 and the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix – and Santa – send big thanks to everyone who supported them on Lower Farm.
The Rotary Santa tour is a great Bloxwich tradition – it gladdens the heart of young and old alike and helps a hard-working and very worthy charitable organisation do remarkable good works in the world. Truly – what better start to Christmas could you have?
TURNBERRY TONIGHT Tonight sees Santa’s final tour of the Bloxwich estates as he and his Rotary entourage land at Turnberry, where the tour begins at 4.30pm and concludes at 8.45pm. His Turnberry route is planned to be as follows:
The Bath Street Band and 100 Voices Choir along with Walsall Council are delighted to invite everyone to come along and take part in what promises to be the biggest sing-song of the year – this Saturday 15 December at the lakeside Bandstand in Walsall Arboretum!
Choirmaster Darryll Prew of the 100 Voices Choir said:
“We will be signing all the traditional favoutrites, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Good KIng Wenceslas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and many more.
“There will be a glass of mulled wine or soft drink and a mince pie for each singer.It goes without saying, this event is outside and it is December, so wrap up warm!
Saturday’s concert takes place 1.30pm – 2.30pm and is FREE!
100 Voices began as a community event put together to perform at the Caldmore Village Festival and we have performed at each of the three festivals with our numbers being between 16 and 84 singing on the stage.
Darryll went on:
“100 Voices is not a regular choir as such, and it has never yet reached 100 Voices! We are more of a ‘scratch’ choir open to absolutely anyone irrespective of age, experience or even ability!
For that reason, I have no idea how many there will be of us singing Carols, but that is part of the fun! We just enjoy meeting together to sing and have no visions of grandeur.”
Bath Street Band are made up mainly of the members of the music team from Bath Street Church in Caldmore plus a couple of friends. They have performed as the Bath Street Band for around 3 years now, playing in various pubs, Caldmore Village Festival and Mela, different churches and recently they competed in the ‘Live Band of The Year’ contest at The Robin 2 music venue in Bilston. Playing a wide variety of music, their style has been defined as ‘Christian folk/rock’.
For further information contact Darryll Prew on 07792 473916.
The popular Goscote Greenacres community garden on Goscote Lane held a seasonal market last Friday and Saturday – marking its first year serving both the disabled and the wider community.
And with craft stalls, festive foods, bric-a-brac, raffles and a school choir on Friday and festive music, jewellery, craft stalls, homemade pickles and handmade Christmas wreaths and yule logs on Saturday, this cracking little event, graced by a visit from Santa Claus, showcased what is clearly an excellent project for the disabled and the wider community.
Paul Mason, Goscote Greenacres’ community development officer, said before the free event:
“This is our first Christmas market here at Goscote and we’re really looking forward to both days. There’s plenty to see and hear and it’s also a chance for people to have a look at the site and find out a bit more about the opportunities here. We look forward to welcoming people and spreading some festive cheer!”
Goscote Greenacres Community Garden is based at the Goscote Centre for adults with disabilities and is being driven by them, their carers and the wider community. The Centre provides opportunities for people with disabilities who use the centre as well as residents, community groups and schools in the Goscote area, and also includes a great Community Café – Greenacres Restaurant – open to the public for breakfast and lunch, a training kitchen and social enterprise opportunities.
The building itself hosted the Christmas Market, with numerous stalls:
The main aims of the Goscote Greenacres project are to offer growing and gardening facilities and skills to the disabled and to offer the opportunity for members of the local community to mix with and become more aware of the needs of the users and others with similar issues.
Stuart Williams from The Bloxwich Telegraph dropped in on Saturday and was introduced to both the gardening project and the Centre by Mr Mason, who explained that the gardening facility with raised beds for easier access was launched in 2012 following a £250,000 makeover of the former Goscote Lane grounds of the old Goscote Hospital which house the Goscote Centre and the canal side open space behind the current building.
Paul gave Stuart a whistle-stop tour of the site, which apart from the Centre itself, includes a spacious community cabin, available for events and meetings, which also includes a home-grown veg shop as well computer facilities; a lovely canalside woodland walk with easy access for the disabled; the wide range of 45 garden plots (including 20 raised beds); fruit trees; polytunnels and a variety of other growing opportunities.
Gardeners have access to dedicated toilets and a conservatory to which the gardeners have access even when the main building is closed. It is also planned to offer fishing facilities including a Fishing Club along the canal at the rear of the site.
Goscote Greenacres is a partnership between Walsall Council’s Adult Social Care, Walsall Adult and Community College, North Walsall Area Partnership and others. Mr Mason’s work is funded by Walsall Council but the project itself has no other budget, so it has to be as self-sufficient as possible, and boxes of vegetables grown on-site are available for sale when in season.
Donations and sponsorship are also welcome, and anyone interested in helping with funding or in kind – or seeking further information about Goscote Greenacres – is welcome to contact Paul Mason on 07432625923.
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 email@example.com 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.