Bloxwich Wakes 2018 – in pictures

Several distinctive Pat Collins trucks
Several distinctive Pat Collins trucks

With the absence of Bloxwich Carnival this year, Pat Collins Funfair, long associated with both the carnival and Bloxwich itself, stepped in to fill the gap with a new (but actually old) event, the Bloxwich Wakes Festival, on Friday – Sunday 3rd-5th August 2018. And although the event didn’t draw the crowds that the carnival usually does, especially on Sunday, charity stallholders have reported a worthwhile turnout.

Stuart Williams of The Bloxwich Telegraph visited the wakes in brilliant sunshine on the Sunday to meet participants and take pictures for this photo feature.

Pat Collins Bloxwich Fete & Gala, Wakes Ground, 1965
Pat Collins Bloxwich Fete & Gala, Wakes Ground, 1965

The tradition of Bloxwich wakes goes back centuries, but from the late 1800s-early 1900s, Pat Collins, ‘King of Showmen’ and proprietor of the original Pat Collins Funfair, used to hold the Bloxwich Wakes, later officially known as Pat Collins Fete & Gala, here in the village every August, and it was a much-anticipated local tradition  until the Collins family left in the early 1970s.

Pat Collins Funfair is no Mickey Mouse operation!
Pat Collins Funfair is no Mickey Mouse operation!

The ‘wakes ground’ site is now the ASDA supermarket car park, but in modern times, Pat Collins Funfair has traditionally been held in the King George V Memorial Playing Fields, near to the entrance in Bealey’s Lane, Bloxwich.

Revellers were guaranteed a super welcome
Revellers were guaranteed a super welcome

The ‘new’ Bloxwich Wakes Festival was organised by the modern proprietors of the current Pat Collins Funfair, Mr Anthony Harris and family, and in the spirit of the old Bloxwich Wakes offered not only their traditional giant funfair, but also arena events on the Saturday and Sunday with live music, plus live wrestling, charity stalls and more.  Naturally, though, the real star was all the fun of the fair, as it always was with Bloxwich Wakes!

Traditional wrestling, 1970s style!
Traditional wrestling, 1970s style!

To view a larger image, just click on any of the pictures shown here.

Owen Allen and Demi Woods of Thespian Arts were amongst the performers
Owen Allen and Demi Woods of Thespian Arts were amongst the performers
Janet Cook, a fundraiser for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Janet Cook, a fundraiser for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

For info on the Bloxwich Branch of the Royal British Legion, follow this link, or the RBL and the Poppy Appeal in general, via this link.

Becky Weeks, Suzanne Williams and Cheryl Jones of Walsall RSPCA
Becky Weeks, Suzanne Williams and Cheryl Jones of Walsall RSPCA

For more info on the Walsall Branch of the RSPCA, follow this link.

Bryan Tilt, fundraiser for St Giles Hospice Walsall
Bryan Tilt, fundraiser for St Giles Hospice Walsall

For more info on St Giles Hospice, follow this link.

Shelby Hillback, Sadie Allen and Owen Allen of Thespian Arts
Shelby Hillback, Sadie Allen and Owen Allen of Thespian Arts

For more info on Thespian Arts, who are based in Clayhanger, follow this link.

Donkey rides - seaside style!
Donkey rides – seaside style!
The ever-popular Alfonso Urso serves from his classic BMC ice cream van
The ever-popular Alfonso Urso serves from his classic BMC ice cream van

For more info on Alfonso & Son’s Icecream, follow this link.

Riding high on the Super Star!
Riding high on the Super Star!
Crash-bang-wallop on the Dodgems!
Crash-bang-wallop on the Dodgems!
Scream - you know you want to!
Scream – you know you want to!
Shooting Gallery and Hook a Duck
Shooting Gallery and Hook a Duck
Flash dancing on the Tagada
Flash dancing on the Tagada
The Ghost Train and bungee jumping
The Ghost Train and bungee jumping
Going for a spin on The Sizzler
Going for a spin on The Sizzler
Your chance to fly Super Star!
Your chance to fly Super Star!
Definitely a Sunday Smackdown in progress
Definitely a Sunday Smackdown in progress

All pictures copyright Stuart Williams. Persons pictured may post these images on their Facebook pages, but no other publication or commercial use is allowed without permission.

For information on future events, be sure to keep an eye on the Pat Collins Funfair Facebook page and the company website.

 

Bloxwich Wakes return as new Festival

Bloxwich Wakes Poster 2018

With the absence of Bloxwich Carnival this year, Pat Collins Funfair, long associated with both the carnival and Bloxwich itself, has stepped in to fill the gap with a new (but actually old) event, the Bloxwich Wakes Festival, on Friday – Sunday 3rd-5th August 2018.

The tradition of Bloxwich wakes goes back centuries, but from the late 1800s-early 1900s, Pat Collins, ‘King of Showmen’ and proprietor of the original Pat Collins Funfair, used to hold the Bloxwich Wakes, later officially known as Pat Collins Fete & Gala, here in the village every August, and it was a much-anticipated local tradition  until the Collins family left in the early 1970s.

The ‘wakes ground’ site is now the ASDA supermarket car park, but in modern times, Pat Collins Funfair has traditionally been held in the King George V Memorial Playing Fields, near to the entrance in Bealey’s Lane, Bloxwich.

The ‘new’ Bloxwich Wakes Festival has been organised by the modern proprietors of the current Pat Collins Funfair, Mr Anthony Harris and family, and in the spirit of the old Bloxwich Wakes will offer not only their traditional giant funfair, but also arena events on the Saturday and Sunday with live music, plus live wrestling, charity stalls and more.

Opening hours are:

  • Friday 3rd August 2018  5pm-9pm
  • Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August 2018 11am-6pm.

Admission is free, but rides etc cost extra.

For more information, be sure to check out the Pat Collins Funfair Facebook page and the company website.

 

The Bloxwich Telegraph is Back!

Read all about it graphic

Yes, after a much-needed period of hibernation, The Bloxwich Telegraph is back!

Following a trial roll-out on Twitter and Facebook using some of our best stories from the last few years, which it’s clear that you’ve enjoyed revisiting, as of this weekend we’ve upgraded our hosting and we’re back in action, so expect both improvements to the website and regular updates from now on, using a combination of news posts, articles and social media.

Since its foundation in 2006 as The Bloxidge Tallygraph, The Bloxwich Telegraph has aimed to support local people, publish local news and promote local events in Bloxwich and district plus more recently, through our social media, Willenhall.  Now, we’re also looking to extend some coverage to Walsall town centre.  We’re interested in everything from church and club events to major local developments.

You are invited to send in your local news stories and press releases, no matter how small, as well as events info and reports, via this site’s Contact page (which you’ll find under the About menu tab).  You can also get our attention through our Twitter feed @BloxTelegraph

We’re also glad to continue helping to relay news from other local sources, and will be actively doing so via social media.  Be sure to tag us on Twitter – if it’s locally relevant, we’ll give you an RT!  Local news can also be posted on our Walsall North News Facebook page.

It will take time to get everything moving again, so give it a while and keep coming back. If you want to keep updated with all our news posts, be sure to subscribe using the button on the front page.

Watch this space!

Stuart Williams

Editor & Publisher

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.

Continue reading Walsall Advertiser ceases publication

Bloxwich Carnival Senior Citizens’ Party 2017 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. Continue reading Bloxwich Carnival Senior Citizens’ Party 2017 pictures posted!

Bloxwich Carnival 2017

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. Continue reading Bloxwich Carnival 2017

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

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

News & heritage for Bloxwich, Walsall & Willenhall. Formerly The Bloxidge Tallygraph. Est. 2006, inspired by a Victorian news-sheet. Edditid by a Bloxidge Mon.