Local authors support Walsall bookshop with new writing

The cover of 'Southcart Tales'
The cover of ‘Southcart Tales’

The proprietors of a popular Walsall bookshop have been given a very special gift by a group of local authors in thanks for the shop’s enthusiastic support of writing in the town over the past two years.

Scott Southey and Amy Carter, of Southcart Books in Lower Hall Lane, are in the process of moving to larger premises in the same street, and several of their friends in the writing community decided to write and publish a unique multi-genre anthology of short stories dedicated to the shop, to help defray some of the costs of the relocation.

The 136 page paperback book is entitled ‘Southcart Tales’.

Members of ‘The Southcart Storytellers’ present Scott Southey and Amy Carter with the new book at the new shop premises, which are currently being refitted.  L to R: A. Stuart Williams, Ken Preston, Amy Carter, Dan Oram, Scott Southey, Rachel Oram, James Josiah. L to R: A. Stuart Williams, Ken Preston, Amy Carter, Dan Oram, Scott Southey, Rachel Oram, James Josiah.
Members of ‘The Southcart Storytellers’ present Scott Southey and Amy Carter with the new book at the new shop premises, which are currently being refitted. L to R: A. Stuart Williams, Ken Preston, Amy Carter, Dan Oram, Scott Southey, Rachel Oram, James Josiah. L to R: A. Stuart Williams, Ken Preston, Amy Carter, Dan Oram, Scott Southey, Rachel Oram, James Josiah.

The nine stories – which offer the reader everything from literary fiction through science fiction, sword & sorcery and psychological horror – come from the pens of ‘The Southcart Storytellers’, James Josiah, Dan Oram, Neil Sehmbhy, Rob Grimes, Kerry Hadley-Pryce, Bekki Pate, Ken Preston (publishing on behalf of the group), Lucy Onions and A. Stuart Williams. Cover photography is by Craig Beas.

A special foreword by noted fantasy author Stan Nicholls is also included.

Southcart Books, which is the only independent bookshop in the Walsall area, is expected to re-open in August 2016 and it is planned to hold a launch and signing of the new book at the shop, which has already been gifted a number of paperback copies for stock, as soon as convenient.

Southcart Tales is also available now on Amazon at just £4.99 for paperback (plus postage) or £0.99 in Kindle ebook format.

Telephone Southcart Books on 07528 144837 for details of the shop and opening. Further information about the book may be found on the shop’s Facebook page and on Amazon (search for Southcart Tales on Amazon).

Book links:

Bloxwich Active Living Centre set to make a splash!

Active Living Centre keys being handed over to Cllr Julie Fitzpatrick (pic Walsall Council)
Active Living Centre keys being handed over to Cllr Julie Fitzpatrick (pic Walsall Council)

The eagerly awaited opening date for both Bloxwich and Oak Park Active Living Centres became reality this week when the keys for both centres were handed over by contractors.  This significant moment marked the beginning stages to the run-up of their opening on Tuesday 9 August.

The new Bloxwich Active Living Centre before completion (pic S. Williams)
The new Bloxwich Active Living Centre before completion (pic S. Williams)

The new multi-million pound centres, which each include a 25 metre swimming pool, teaching pool, six court sports hall, dance studio and cafe will be fitted out over the coming weeks with state of the art station fitness suites in time for their opening to the public. Oak Park is also able to offer two glass backed squash courts, sauna and a steam room.  The full size, floodlit artificial grass pitch at Oak Park will be replaced over the autumn.

The new Bloxwich Active Living Centre before completion (pic S. Williams)
The new Bloxwich Active Living Centre before completion (pic S. Williams)

Bloxwich East Councillor Julie Fitzpatrick, Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Culture said: “Opening these doors for the first time is very exciting.

“It is truly wonderful to be able to take possession of these buildings and brings us ever closer to realising the Council’s commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of residents by getting more people, more active, more often.

Bloxwich Carnival Committee used the old baths function hall for their annual Senior Citizens' Party (pic S. Williams, 18 July 2013)
Bloxwich Carnival Committee used the old baths function hall for their annual Senior Citizens’ Party (pic S. Williams, 18 July 2013)

“Over the coming weeks the two centres will be a hive of activity and the excitement of everyone working to get these centres ready is positively brimming over.

“Our customers are about to be able to access some truly iconic and outstanding facilities that they can be really proud of. Over the coming days we look forward to being able to launch our activity programmes ready to open both centres on Tuesday 9 August.”

Bloxwich Baths (bottom right) in the late 1920s, before the roof was put on in the mid 1930s
Bloxwich Baths (bottom right) in the late 1920s, before the roof was put on in the mid 1930s

Controversially, Bloxwich’s historic 1920s-30s public baths, originally an open air pool and converted into a function hall when the first Bloxwich Leisure Centre was built in 1991, was demolished to make way for the new car park of the new facility now on the site.

The old baths were also once a well-known event and live music venue, presenting famous acts like Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1960s, and are well-remembered by Slade glam rock singing star Noddy Holder in a new film made recently as part of the Bloxwich ReDiscover project by Students of Walsall Academy in Bloxwich. More recently, the building acted as the venue for the annual Bloxwich Carnival Senior Citizens’ Party.

Funded through the Council’s £24.3 million Active Living Centres initiative, the latest project received a £2m grant from Sport England’s “Iconic” facilities award scheme to support Walsall Council’s aspiration to improve Walsall residents’ overall health and well-being.

Concert for Bloxwich Royal British Legion

The newly-formed Bloxwich branch of the Royal British Legion has organised an evening of entertainment next month to raise funds.

Local vocalist Keir Edwards will be singing cabaret songs from the musicals and he will be joined by comedy duo Sean and Roger, aka ‘The Boz’s’, at the Bloxwich Memorial Club in Harrison Street, Bloxwich on Friday 12th August 2016.

Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start.

Bloxwich RBL Concert

If anyone would like to buy tickets, which cost £10 each, for this Royal British Legion fundraising concert, or would like further information, they should contact  Ann Barnes on 01922 495214  or 07870487504.

Beechdale tipper caught on the fly

Greenaway capture (picture Walsall Council)
Greenaway capture (picture Walsall Council)

A man who fly-tipped household waste and who was caught on camera has been ordered to pay £1,901.71.

Mr Duane Greenaway of the Beechdale Estate, Bloxwich, was filmed at Rayboulds Bridge Road fly tipping on Sunday 17 May 2015.

Known as a hotspot for illegal fly tipping, Mr Greenaway was filmed at the location illegally dumping 21 plastic bags of rubble and excavation debris removed from his house.

Magistrates at Walsall courts were shown footage of Mr Greenway removing the bags from a white Nissan Vanette and emptying them on to land by the side of the road at the site of the disused cul-de-sac.

See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFp2kBgDiE4

In mitigation the courts were told that 53 year old Mr Greenaway had removed the debris from his garden to improve access for his elderly relatives and was not doing it on a commercial basis.

On 27 June Mr Greenaway pleaded guilty at Walsall Magistrates Court and was fined £740 for the offence. On top of this he was ordered to pay costs of £ 1,087.71, with a victim surcharge of £74.

Councillor Julie Fitzpatrick, who’s Portfolio includes public protection stated: “These types of activities show a total disregard for the environment and will not be tolerated.

“Fly tipping has a cost to the tax payers and we each have a responsibility to tackle this reprehensible behaviour head on and we will vigorously pursue a prosecution.

“A person witnessing someone dumping waste and wishing to report should record the following details; location of the incident;  day, date, and time; type and quantity of waste; vehicle details including  make and type of vehicle, colour, registration number, noticeable markings and the name or description of the person fly tipping.

“This information can be reported by emailing Clean and Green at cleanandgreen@walsall.gov.uk or you can contact the following telephone number: Walsall Council Contact Centre 01922 653344.”

Borough’s bins go fortnightly from October

Walsall Council has announced that collections of grey household waste bins across the borough will be cut from weekly to fortnightly from October 2016.

Most households in the borough currently have a small 140 litre grey rubbish bin, a 240 litre brown bin for garden waste and a 240 litre green bin for recycling. Under the reduced service, grey bins will be collected on the same day as the green bins.

With grey rubbish bins being emptied less often, some larger households and households with extra medical waste may find that their existing grey rubbish bin is not big enough.  If you think this will apply to you, you can  use a form on the Council website apply for a bigger bin. To be eligible for a bigger bin you must meet the criteria detailed on the Council website.   See:


and:  http://walsallbins.co.uk/changes-to-grey-bin-collections/

Closing date

The closing date for larger bin applications is Monday 13 June 2016, so you are advised to get your application in as soon as possible. Please note that if you apply after 13 June your application will still be processed, however, if eligible, your new bin(s) may not be delivered in time for when the new service starts. One application per household only.

More info

For further information about Walsall’s bin collection service, see their website:



Bloxwich Model Railway Club exhibition this Saturday

Part of the 2014 Bloxwich exhibition
Part of the 2014 Bloxwich exhibition

This Saturday 21st May sees the seventh annual exhibition of the  popular Bloxwich (St. Johns) Model Railway Club, which is based at St John’s Methodist Church in Victoria Avenue, Bloxwich,  WS3 3HS.

Every element of a layout is painstakingly built up
Every element of a layout is painstakingly built up

The exhibition offers fun and fascination for young and old alike, showcasing a variety of layouts by invited guests with demonstrations and trade support, and most of the exhibits are appearing at Bloxwich (St John’s) for the first time.

The modellers' attention to detail can be amazing
The modellers’ attention to detail can be amazing

The exhibition is always well attended by exhibitors and modelling fans alike, and is a popular event on the Bloxwich calendar for all ages.

The exhibition, which is taking over the church and hall for the day, opens 10.00am – 4.30pm and admission costs £4 for adults, with concessions £3.50 and children  just £1.50.

Railway fun for all ages
Railway fun for all ages
List of Traders Attending : List of Layouts Attending :
Keith’s Model Railways
J & J Sales
12 Volts DC
Elaine’s Trains
Buffers Books
Minimum Gauge Models
Derby Trees
Kevin’s Trains
Shirley Harper Crafts
Deesle Park (00)
Pemberton (N)
Birchills (New) Junction (00)
Heath Green (00)
Bewdley (N)
Wansbeck Road (N)
Llantwy (009)
Nearleigh Works (0-16.5)
Motley Sub Shed (0)
Bettws Road (N)
Greenacre Yard
Journeys End (009)
Birkberg (H0e)
Fowlers Lane (0n30)
Brandeight (009)
Vigo Junction (00)
Board Street Sidings (00)
Franwood TMG (00)
List of Demonstrations : List of Other Displays :
Severn Models
Stuart Brasier
David Griffin
Ron Peach
Bloxwich (ST John’s)m.R.C. Club Stand
009 Society (Midlands)

For further information, contact the organisers on  07970 390258.

Pictures of past exhibitions shown here were taken by Stuart Williams of The Bloxwich Telegraph

Bloxwich and Walsall election results


It was a quiet start to the day for the Little Bloxwich polling station at Holy Ascension Church
It was a quiet start to the day for the Little Bloxwich polling station at Holy Ascension Church

After a busy day and night for candidates and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council staff, the results are now in for this year’s round of local government elections.

Council control

With a low voter turnout overall, and despite being the party with the largest number of elected Councillors, Labour have still not managed to achieve a majority across the Borough. However, Walsall’s Labour Leader Cllr Sean Coughlan has reportedly stated that the party will be meeting the two Liberal Democrat councillors this morning to discuss joining forces to run the council. We are awaiting an official announcement on this.

Whoever takes control will still have to implement massive cuts forced on them by the Conservative governments ‘austerity’ policies, although it is expected that Labour will have a differerent take on what public services and other areas will be cut, where and how.

Victims of changes

There was dramatic change in Blakenall Ward this time around, with ‘independent’ incumbent Pete Smith being knocked out by Labour’s Matt Ward with a majority of 257.  Meanwhile in Bloxwich West, the Conservatives gained a surprise seat, with Brad Allen defeating Labour’s Patti Lane by just 109 votes.

Over in Birchills-Leamore and Bloxwich East, the song remained with same with Tina Jukes and Julie Fitzpatrick holding fast for the Labour Party with 1736 and 1168 votes respectively, the Tory candidates being beaten soundly by Labour majorities of 1229 and 690.

Polling Station banner

The detailed results for the Bloxwich and district wards are as follows:

Candidate Party Votes received
Ali Shaz The Conservative Party Candidate  507
Jukes Tina Joan Labour Party  1736**H

** Elected
H or G: Hold or Gain

Candidate Party Votes received
Derry Hilda The Conservative Party Candidate  228
Smith Pete  811
Ward Matt Labour Party Candidate  1068**G

** Elected
H or G: Hold or Gain

Bloxwich East
Candidate Party Votes received
Fitzpatrick Julie Labour Party  1168**H
Statham Mark Andrew The Conservative Party Candidate  682
Timmins Gary UK Independence Party (UKIP)  478

** Elected
H or G: Hold or Gain

Bloxwich West
Candidate Party Votes received
Allen Brad  The Conservative Party Candidate  1434**G
Lane Patti Labour Party  1325

** Elected
H or G: Hold or Gain

Borough results

Election results for the whole of Walsall Metropolitan Borough can be found via the following link:



Results figures are provided here courtesy of Walsall Council

It’s election time tomorrow!


Election Question

Tomorrow, Thursday 5th May 2016, sees both this year’s round of Walsall Council elections and the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner election take place, and anyone who has registered to vote is entitled and encouraged to do so.  In fact, it’s very important that everyone who can vote, does – that’s how democracy works, and if you don’t have your say, you can hardly complain when policies are put in place which you don’t like.

This year’s elections in Walsall are, of course, not for all Councillors, but enough are being elected or potentially re-elected that the balance of power at Walsall Council could potentially swing from the present Conservative control to Labour, or indeed no overall control, so your vote really could make a difference, whichever candidate or party you wish to vote for.

Council cuts

In particular, this year the planning of yet more massive cuts forced on Walsall Council by the national Conservative government means that your local services could be significantly affected by which party gets into power in Walsall, so your vote really could make a serious difference, particularly with regard to a number of library closures, for example, which are expected to go ahead if a Conservative council is returned. If you are not sure about which cuts are planned in your electoral district, or want to complain about them, ask your local councillors – that’s what they are there for.


Voters in Walsall Metropolitan Borough should all by now have received their poll cards or, if necessary, had their opportunity to make a postal vote. Just as a reminder you can find a list of all the Walsall Council candidates who are up for election tomorrow, the locations of polling stations and more information about the elections in general,  including the Police and Crime Commissioner election, on the Walsall M.B.C. website:


Bloxwich and district candidates

As a quick reference, here’s the list of Walsall Council candidates standing for election or re-election in the Bloxwich area:

* denotes incumbent candidate


ALI, Shaz (Conservative)

JUKES, Tina Joan (Labour)*


DERRY, Hilda (Conservative)

SMITH, Pete (Independent)*

Bloxwich East

FITZPATRICK, Julie (Labour)*

STATHAM, Mark (Conservative)


Bloxwich West

ALLEN, Brad (Conservative)

LANE, Patti (Labour)*

Election results

As usual, we’ll post the election results for the Bloxwich area, and the final composition of Walsall Council, as soon as we have the details following the election.

So, watch this space!

Want to grandstand at the bandstand?


Fun in the sun at the Walsall Arboretum Bandstand
Fun in the sun at the Walsall Arboretum Bandstand

Musicians and performers throughout the borough are being invited to take centre stage at Walsall Arboretum’s bandstand this summer.

Following the success of last year’s appeal for performers Walsall Arboretum rangers are asking for more of the same. Slots are currently available for both Saturdays and Sundays between the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend until the end of the season in September.

As well as musicians and singers organisers are keen to hear from poets and local artists wanting to showcase their talents to live audiences.

Councillor Harrison, Portfolio holder for Clean and Green stated: “Last year the bandstand was a buzz of activity throughout the summer months and provided some top notch entertainment by artists who did it for free.

“What really stands out is that these performers do it for the love they have for their art form and that really shines through to the audiences who were able to enjoy hours of fabulous entertainment.

“We would be really keen for the Arboretum bandstand to be the focal points for park visitors once again so organisers would love to hear from anyone interested in taking advantage of the opportunity.”

Gary Nicholson, Arboretum head ranger, added: “The range of entertainment on offer in recent years has been truly uplifting and has offered a wide and varied range of offerings that have appealed to all age ranges.”

Performers thinking of taking part should send their you tube clips/CDs/links or videos to Gary Nicholson, Arboretum head ranger at nicholsong@walsall.gov.uk , together with contact details and a series of available dates.

Easter eggcitement in local libraries

Eggcited at Easter! (pic Walsall Council)
Eggcited at Easter! (pic Walsall Council)

For parents hatching a plan to keep their younger family members eggtertained over the Easter holidays, Walsall Libraries will be providing a host of activities throughout the borough. Parents hunting down free activities for their little chicks this Easter have to look no further than their local library for an eggciting selection for all ages.

Amongst the cracking activities are some eggcellent opportunities for arts and crafts as well as storytelling sessions.

For more details, or to book a place, contact your local library or visit their website at http://lovelibrarieswalsall.co.uk/

Libraries on our patch

Easter Card Making, Saturday 19th March – 11-12pm
Easter Holiday stories and crafts, Friday 1st April – 10.30-12pm

Crafts & Activities Inspired by David Walliams, Wednesday 30th March – 11-12pm
Garden Bazaar, Springtime stories and crafts, Tuesday 5th April – 10.30-12pm

Easter crafts family event, Wednesday 30th March – 2-3.30pm
Spring crafts, Wednesday 6th April – 2-3.30pm

And further afield

Window Decoration, Tuesday 29th March – Drop in
Easter Baskets, Wednesday 30th March – Drop in
Easter Eggs Collage, Thursday 31st March – Drop in
Lolly Stick Bookmarks, Wednesday 6th April – Drop in
Spring Time Animal Collage, Friday 8th April – Drop in

Drop-in craft session, 29th March to 2nd April – 10am until 2pm

Easter Craft Session, Wednesday 30th March – 2.15-3.15pm

Easter Craft Paperplate Bonnets   Under 5s, Friday, 18th March – 10-11am
Easter Craft Paperplate Bonnets   Under 5s, Tuesday 22nd March – 2-3pm
Bouncing  Bunny stories and craft suitable for under 8s, Wednesday 30th  March – 2.15 – 3.15pm

Mobile Library Service
Easter cards/design your own Egg, 21st March to 2nd April

New Invention
Easter Fun  activity session, Friday 1st  April – 11-12pm

Stories and craft age 2 to 11, Thursday 31st March – 10.30-12pm


Dogs Trust Storytelling (with surprise guest?????), Tuesday 29th March – 10.30-12pm

Colouring competition, 28th March – 9th April
Drop in Easter & Spring crafts, Thursday 3st March and Thursday 7th April – 10-12pm

Stories and Chicks in a nest craft 2 to 11, Wednesday 30th March -10.30-12pm

South Walsall
Spring themed story/craft, Thursday 30th March – 2.15-3.15pm

Walsall Wood
Make your own Easter Bonnet, Wednesday 30th March – 2:30- 4pm

Easter activities, Thursday 31st March – 2.30-3.30pm

Covering Bloxwich, Little Bloxwich, Blakenall Heath, Leamore and Birchills