Walsall North News joins Bloxwich Telegraph in hibernation

The Walsall North News (aka WNN, formerly Bloxwich News Network) Twitter feed and Facebook page are to join The Bloxwich Telegraph website in hibernation, from this Sunday, 22 April 2018.

The two social media sites, which aim to serve the Bloxwich and Willenhall areas, will remain in place, but will no longer be updated.  The Bloxwich Telegraph has been on hiatus since October 2017, and this will continue. It has been retained online so that the historical and heritage information and other links which it contains may still be available to local people and ex-pats.

While it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that these sites may one day return to operation, or come back to provide a similar service in some other format, my health is not as  good as it was, I have family responsibilities, and I presently cannot devote the time necessary to do them justice, as I need to concentrate on personal writing and research projects and other work, so I feel it is better to shut things down for the foreseeable future.

What does this mean in practice?

Basically, the WNN Twitter feed will not be updated, nor retweets shared,  unless I receive any emergency messages for urgent sharing.  The WNN Facebook page will also not be updated or monitored, though local people are very welcome to continue posting their own news there should they wish.

Why now?

I have been operating all these sites, in one form or another (remember The Bloxidge Tallygraph?) since 2006, when I began by reporting on that year’s Bloxwich Carnival.  I have covered a lot of ground and met thousands of people since then!  Sadly, there will be no Bloxwich Carnival this year (and possibly in future), so this seems as good a time as any to cease our coverage. Time for a rest.

Having said that, I will still be out and about in Bloxwich from time to time, and aim to post on the Bloxwich Old & New Facebook page about local heritage topics when I can.

Thank you

My thanks to everyone for their interest and support over the years, it will not be forgotten. Nothing’s ever forgotten.

Sincerely,

Stuart Williams

Editor & Publisher

Walsall North News, The Bloxwich Telegraph and The Bloxidge Tallygraph

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Walsall Advertiser ceases publication

Walsall Advertiser final issue

Sad news today is that the popular Walsall Advertiser newspaper has ceased publication after 40 years and 2,059 editions, leaving the Wolverhampton Express & Star-published Walsall & Willenhall Chronicle as the last of our local borough-focused conventional weekly print newspapers.

Historic

The Walsall Advertiser, a Tamworth-based paper which has long been owned by London group Trinity Mirror, which also famously closed down the historic Walsall Observer in 2009 after 141 years of continuous publication, was a well-liked and substantial freesheet, although perhaps not so much by the earlier publishers of the Walsall Observer, then West Midlands Press, which was badly shaken at the time of its arrival in the town, and was eventually also forced into being given away.

In January 2017, the Advertiser, which was not the first paper of that name in the town (the original being published by Victorian printer and publisher W. Henry Robinson and his father J.R. Robinson from 1857), was merged with another Trinity Mirror freesheet, the Great Barr Observer, in a move which the then-editor said brought together two “cherished news brands”, though no local papers have actually been published in Walsall for many years, nor have there been any local newspapers present in the town since the Express & Star pulled out of their new, purpose-built Walsall offices in 2009.

Observing the Advertiser

Separate editions of the Walsall Advertiser and the Great Barr Observer continued to be published for each area, featuring localised front page and sports coverage, and were variously known as the ‘Walsall Advertiser incorporating the Great Barr Observer’ or ‘the Great Barr Observer incorporating the Walsall Advertiser’ depending on where distributed. The Advertiser and Observer also retained their own websites until last year, when they were absorbed into the Birmingham Mail website under the banner of what is now Birmingham Live. Perhaps the writing was on the wall for both papers from that moment, as they have now both folded for the last time, and will surely be missed by local readers.

Bad news

Tweets from Great Barr Observer reporter Ashley Preece quietly and sadly revealed the bad news on Thursday, retweeted by Walsall Advertiser Sports Editor Michael Beardmore and followed by a tweet from Daniel Mole of Walsall F.C. on Friday. There is no mention of the closures on the Walsall section of Birmingham Live (aka the Birmingham Mail website) as yet, nor from the official Twitter feed of the Walsall Advertiser, which was active right till the end. Mr Preece has now moved over to report on the Black Country for Birmingham Live online.

None of this bodes well for the future of printed newspapers in Walsall, sadly.  This development continues the desperate situation where Walsall has no locally-produced newspaper, or offices, with the Express & Star/Walsall & Willenhall Chronicle’s nearest offices being in Cannock or at their HQ in Wolverhampton.

Best wishes

I have been glad to know many reporters and photographers from the Walsall Advertiser over the years, and in fact in the past decade the paper published several of my own reports and photo features about local events such as Bloxwich Carnival and Walsall Town Show.  I wish everyone involved in publishing both the Walsall Advertiser and the Great Barr Observer all the best in their future endeavours, wherever they may be.

Stuart Williams

 

The Bloxwich Telegraph – End of an Era

The Bloxwich Telegraph is to cease operation as a news site this weekend, after being published (first as The Bloxidge Tallygraph) since July 2006, when it first covered Bloxwich Carnival.

Health

There are a number of reasons for this, but this is primarily because for personal and family health reasons, our editor and publisher, Stuart Williams, is no longer able to spare the time to do the site justice in the way he would wish, something which will have been evident this year due to the infrequent nature of updates.

Heritage

The site will, however, be maintained online (but not updated) for the foreseeable future, in order to both ensure that the information it contains remains available, and because plans are being considered to re-work it into a permanent local history and heritage site for Bloxwich and district at some time next year, which seems appropriate considering the site’s regular involvement with such matters as well as its historic origins.  If that goes ahead, an announcement will be made.

Social media

The social media arm of The Bloxwich Telegraph, formerly known as Bloxwich News Network and now Walsall North News, which comprises both a Twitter feed and a linked Facebook page, with a combined total of more than 3,500 followers, serves in its own right to relay a wider range of news and information which may interest local people.  This service is expected to continue to operate until further notice, and will remain linked to the front page of The Bloxwich Telegraph.

Thank you

We would like to thank our readers for their support and interest over the years, and hope that we can serve the local community in different ways in future. Watch this space.

 

Bloxwich Carnival Senior Citizens’ Party pictures posted!

Party lunch is served at the Stan Ball Centre for Bloxwich Carnival Senior Citizens Party 2017
Party lunch is served at the Stan Ball Centre for Bloxwich Carnival Senior Citizens Party 2017

Thursday 13th July 2017 saw the traditional annual prelude to Bloxwich Carnival – the Senior Citizens’ Party – take place at the Stan Ball Centre in Abbotts Street, Bloxwich. And a great deal of fun – and food – was had by all!

This traditional celebration for local people from care homes and local groups is laid on annually by Bloxwich Carnival Committee, using funds raised by Bloxwich Carnival. They are supported on the day by 196 Squadron Walsall ATC, care home staff and others.

Air Cadets from the local 196 Squadron help members of Bloxwich Carnival Committee and supporters in serving partygoers
Air Cadets from the local 196 Squadron help members of Bloxwich Carnival Committee and supporters in serving partygoers

Each year since 2006, at the invitation of the Committee, The Bloxwich Telegraph’s editor Stuart Williams has also had the pleasure of supporting the event by photographing it and making pictures available online.

Larry and Kate of 'Kate's Party' in full swing
Larry and Kate of ‘Kate’s Party’ in full swing

This year hundreds of local senior citizens streamed in by minibus to be rousingly entertained by traditional and other popular songs from ‘Kates Party’ – professionals singer Kate and instrumentalist Larry – who regularly provide entertainment for the over 50’s (tel 07969 755229) and had some partygoers dancing in the aisles! There was also bingo, and a tasty party lunch and other refreshments for all.

Bloxwich Carnival Queen 2016 Amber Rolls joins 2010 Queen Jessica Jones (centre left) and other Bloxwich Carnival Committee members Julie Fitzpatrick (left) and Debbie Jones (right) on the lawn
Bloxwich Carnival Queen 2016 Amber Rolls joins 2010 Queen Jessica Jones (centre left) and other Bloxwich Carnival Committee members Julie Fitzpatrick (left) and Debbie Jones (right) on the lawn

As usual, just a few pictures can be shown here, so we make a full album available for download via Flickr, and these may be viewed by all by clicking on this link: Bloxwich Carnival Senior Citizens Party 2017 Album

Permission is granted for use of these pictures, free of charge, to Bloxwich Carnival Committee as well as groups and individuals pictured, subject to the acknowledgement of photographer Stuart Williams and The Bloxwich Telegraph if published or used for display or online. Copyright is retained by Stuart Williams.

Bloxwich Carnival 2017 is here!

This year’s Bloxwich Carnival is now just a few days away, this Saturday 5th August, so for more details click on this link to our preview article.

We’ll be covering the event as we have since summer 2006, and hope to see you there!

Bloxwich Carnival is coming!

Bloxwich Carnival

Yes, it’s that time of year again! Bloxwich’s biggest and best public event of the year, our annual Carnival, is almost here, and is all set to land in King George V Memorial Playing Fields on Saturday 5th August 2017. Apart from the traditional Pat Collins Fun Fair, there’ll be a host of stalls, attractions and arena events on offer – with FREE ADMISSION! And as always, it will be a feast of fun for all the family!

Bloxwich Carnival will be open from 12 noon to 5pm, with arena events spread throughout the afternoon. Times may be viewed below – scroll down to view. Main admission is as usual on foot, via the Bell Lane/Bealey’s Lane entrance. There may also be limited parking via the Stafford Road entrance.

Flyin Ryan follows Jumpin James over the Council truck
Flyin Ryan follows Jumpin James over the Council truck
Special attractions

Apart from all the fun of the fair, and various other smaller independent rides and attractions, special attractions this year include:

  • Flyin Ryan Stunt Riders
  • Elaine Hill Sheepdog Trials
  • Pete the Animatronic Dinosaur
  • Armitage Birds of Prey
  • Mad Dominic

Please note that while admission is free, rides on the Pat Collins Fun Fair and other rides are charged for individually.

Meet Pete the Dinosaur!
Meet Pete the Dinosaur!
Bob Park and one of the amazing Armitage Birds of Prey
Bob Park and one of the amazing Armitage Birds of Prey
Elaine Hill and her sheepdogs!
Elaine Hill and her sheepdogs!
Who's that mad bloke up there? It's Dom!
Who’s that mad bloke up there? It’s Dom!
Official Opening
Mayor of Walsall Cllr Marco Longhi (centre), with Cllrs Sean and Diane Coughlan at Willenhall Carnival in June
Mayor of Walsall Cllr Marco Longhi (centre), with Cllrs Sean and Diane Coughlan at Willenhall Carnival in June

This year there is no Bloxwich Carnival Queen crowning, but the Carnival will still be opened by the Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Marco Longhi, at 12 noon. Watch out for the mobile stage near the roped display arena.

Arena Programme

You can download a jpeg of the arena programme for the day by clicking on the image below to enlarge it.

Bloxwich Carnival 2017 Arena Programme
Bloxwich Carnival 2017 Arena Programme
Support your local Carnival
Bloxwich Carnival Committee and volunteers 2016
Bloxwich Carnival Committee and volunteers 2016

Bloxwich Carnival is organised by the tireless and entirely voluntary Bloxwich Carnival Commitee, which also organises the annual Senior Citizens Party at the Stan Ball Centre every July, and is largely funded by donations. More help is always needed, so anyone interested in helping out at the Carnival should either have a word with a Committee member at the Carnival on the day, or contact them via the official Bloxwich Carnival Facebook page. You’ll be made very welcome!

Bloxwich Carnival is also supported by many local groups, such as the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix, and by Walsall Council, which provides the venue and much invaluable assistance in preparation and on the day.

Pictures Posted
Fun in the sun at Bloxwich Carnival!
Fun in the sun at Bloxwich Carnival!

As has been traditional since 2006, our editor Stuart Williams will be covering Bloxwich Carnival and taking the official photographs, a selection of which will be published here after the event. Watch this space!

Bloxwich Flag launched in heart of the town

The Bloxwich Flag Launch - Julie Hikins and the Mayor of Walsall fly the new flag at The Bloxwich Tardis. Click to download large version.
The Bloxwich Flag Launch – Julie Hikins and the Mayor of Walsall fly the new flag at The Bloxwich Tardis. Click to download large version.

Saturday saw the launch of a brand, spanking new flag for Bloxwich, in the presence of the new Mayor of Walsall Cllr Marco Longhi, while local Bloxwich West councillors Louise Harrison, Matt Follows and Brad Allen, the recently-elected MP for Walsall North Mr Eddie Hughes and others looked on.

The flag, as far as we know the first of its kind for Bloxwich and district, has came about as a result of a competition for local people and schools, at the instigation of a Bloxwich Flag Committee formed by the heritage-minded organisers of the Bloxwich Old & New Facebook group Martin Morris and Tony Kulik plus local councillors and others. The editor of The Bloxwich Telegraph, Stuart Williams, acted as historical advisor to the committee. Continue reading Bloxwich Flag launched in heart of the town

BNN renamed – expands coverage

Map of the Walsall North Parliamentary Constituency
Map of the Walsall North Parliamentary Constituency

This weekend marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. Bloxwich News Network (BNN), the social media arm of The Bloxwich Telegraph, is changing – and so is the Telegraph.

BNN, which works by following and identifying locally relevant and interesting news and info on Twitter and Facebook, and sharing it out via its own Twitter and Facebook feeds, which together have a total of more than 3,000 followers and an even greater reach, has primarily focused until now on the Bloxwich, Blakenall Heath, Birchills and Leamore areas, with the addition of wider-ranging material of local relevance.

It has become evident, however, that BNN also has a natural fit with the rest of the Walsall North parliamentary constituency area, and can help with relaying news and information from that slightly wider area, which in addition to the current coverage would include Willenhall and Short Heath.

We have therefore decided that as of today, 10th June 2017, Bloxwich News Network will be renamed Walsall North News (WNN) and will focus primarily on Birchills, Blakenall Heath, Bloxwich, Leamore, Short Heath and Willenhall. Items of relevant regional and national interest will also be covered.

Both the names of our Twitter feed and our Facebook page have been changed accordingly – please see below.

Bloxwich Telegraph refocused

The Bloxwich Telegraph will not, however, be changing its name and will remain dedicated to the Bloxwich area. There will be content changes, and the site will become a less frequently updated magazine style site with more local interest and photo features (especially local heritage) and considerably reduced news coverage, something which has been coming for a long time anyway.  This will take longer to implement, and changes will be flagged on social media as they happen.

Follow us

We hope that the extended coverage will both help and interest local people from the whole of the Walsall North area and beyond. If you are on Twitter and would like to follow us, see below – and if you are a local organisation, official, group or company, please do give us a Tweet so we can follow you, and include WNN in your tweets so we can relay them.

To follow the ‘new’ news outlets on social media, please see:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WalsallNNews

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WalsallNorthNews

Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries project tour launches

This stunning main Bloxwich tapestry is just one of those relating to the Bloxwich area.
This stunning main Bloxwich tapestry is just one of those relating to the Bloxwich area.

Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team is celebrating 25 years of bringing community arts to Walsall. To mark this occasion the team is launching a tour of the Silver Thread Tapestries – eleven unique tapestries representing the six towns and other areas in Walsall Borough, created by an army of local volunteers.

The tapestries will be on display in the New Art Gallery Walsall from 21 – 29 January 2017 and will then move to various locations around the borough (see list of dates at the end of this feature) before being displayed at the NEC Sewing for Pleasure Show 17 – 19 March 2017. Commemorative postcards depicting each of the tapestries will be available to buy. Continue reading Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries project tour launches

Bloxwich Christmas lights saved thanks to donors!

Bloxwich Christmas tree and lights, Promenade Gardens, reflected in the National School
Bloxwich Christmas tree and lights, Promenade Gardens, reflected in the National School

A desperate appeal to members of the public in Bloxwich and district for financial assistance in supporting this year’s Bloxwich Christmas lights has succeeded, almost at the eleventh hour!

Thanks to a number of generous local donors – including one remarkable anonymous benefactor who stumped up £5,000 within a few days of the appeal ending – the brilliant cascades of tree lights which have been enjoyed at either end of High Street in recent years are now set to return before Christmas. Continue reading Bloxwich Christmas lights saved thanks to donors!

Have your say on possible closure of Bloxwich Library and Theatre

Walsall Council is seriously considering, amongst other options, closing all of the Borough’s branch libraries, including Bloxwich Library and Theatre (aka Bookmark Bloxwich) in Elmore Row.   This is due to the swingeing and cruel national government budget cuts being inflicted on the borough.

Amongst the many other possible ‘culture cuts’ (including massive reductions in funding to the New Art Gallery and major cutbacks involving the potential downsizing and moving of Walsall Leather Museum and Walsall Local History Centre in with the Central Library in Lichfield Street), such a closure would be a huge blow to Bloxwich and district both in cultural and educational terms. Continue reading Have your say on possible closure of Bloxwich Library and Theatre

For Bloxwich, Little Bloxwich, Blakenall Heath, Leamore and Birchills.