Eco-play to raise money for Tanzania orphans

All Saints Sea Scouts

Tomorrow 28 January All Saints Sea Scouts and Guides will travel from their home territory in Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield to Bloxwich to perform a play based on global climate change, poverty, pollution and endangered species.

The play, which is taking place  at Aldridge Parish Church tonight (Friday) at 7pm, then tomorrow (Saturday) at Bookmark Theatre in Elmore Row, Bloxwich at 2pm and finally at the Willenhall Youth and Community Centre (CHART) on 4 February at 7pm. is called Harvest Home (World Citizen).

The story is told through drama, music, dance, poetry and singing and was written by Walsall’s temporary Poet Laureate,  assistant scout leader Ian Henery.  All proceeds will go to a charity called Forever Angels (set up by a former All Saints Sea Scout), which is an orphanage in Tanzani, Africa catering for orphans, abandoned children and children who are HIV positive.

The play also features Brownies and Rainbows from All Saints who will be singing their version of the Beatles classic “All You Need is Love” with music by “Maestro” Tim Philpot from the Scout Network, himself a very talented folk musician who has appeared in a number of venues including the Welsh Folk Festival in 2011.

The core performers in this production appeared in the 2011 Sutton Coldfield Scout Gang Show, which performed in front of 1600 people over 6 nights at Bishop Vesey School.

So why not go along, support a worthy cause and enjoy a play which is both fun and thought-provoking?   All proceeds to Forever Angels.


Spooky theatre company auditioning in Birmingham!

Don't Go Into The Cellar

Great news if you’re a local thespian looking for a challenge that’s both fun and frightful – professional theatre company Don’t Go into the Cellar! is holding auditions for West Midlands-based actors and actresses at Birmingham’s Central Library Theatre on 7 February!

The acting troupe which chilled and enchanted visitors to the Black Country Living Museum and other regional venues late last year with their unique and original production The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack, and is already lined up for two spooktacular shows at the Bookmark Theatre in Bloxwich this year, is famed for their performances across the UK.

And with thrilling adaptations of Victorian chillers, mysteries, Sherlock Holmes and Steampunk adventures as well as Music Hall evenings, this remarkable theatre company has already established itself as the UK’s only professional troupe that specialises in original Victorian ghost and horror tales, Music Hall revivals and Steampunk shows.

So if you have a flair for Victorian gothic and would like to be considered for the Company’s forthcoming shows throughout 2012, please email your CV and headshot to Company Director Rachel Green at or telephone 0777 2 572 060.

For more on Don’t Go into the Cellar!, check out their terribly scary website!

New Harden care home opens doors to public and pros

Harden Hall Care Home artist's impression

A brand new Care Home is opening shortly in Harden, near Leamore, and the management are now inviting both members of the public and  professionals to see the new facility at two open days in early February.

Harden Hall will aim to offer ‘affordable residential and dementia care’, and is run by private company Ideal Care Homes of Leeds, part of the LNT Group.

The Hall, which is located on Coalpool Lane, is nearing completion, and when open will be able to offer care to fifty-four residents.

The Professional Open Day, which is aimed at social workers, doctors, nurses and members of other professional bodies, takes place on Wednesday 1 February, between 11.30am – 2.30pm, and will offer tours of the home’s state-of-the-art facilities and the chance to meet Care Home Manager Adam Preece and his staff, as well as a luxury buffet lunch.

The Public Open Day is set for Sunday 5 February, 11.30am-2.30pm, also offering the public the opportunity to have a look round, meet the management and staff, and if they wish reserve rooms for their loved ones.

Anyone interested in attending will need to contact Marketing Manager Jenny Soles to confirm their attendance, telephone 0113 385 3566 or email

For more information on the company, check out their website: and for background on LNT Group, see:

Bloxwich theatre rocks on with top musicians

Hayes and Hunt

Bookmark Theatre, part of the Bookmark Bloxwich library complex in Elmore Row, is ready to rock with another great night of live music as their 2012 gig season gets underway with a bang.

Latest act Steve Hayes and Lester Hunt, who are lined up to take to the Bookmark stage on Saturday 4th February, are amongst the finest musicians to fight their way out of middle England and become regulars on the international music scene.

Many people will know Steve as the lead singer/guitarist with the highly acclaimed Nearly Dan. Their live show of Steely Dan songs is second to none.  Lester Hunt can be heard around the world whipping up a storm as lead guitarist with the famous Climax Blues Band, after nearly 40 years they are still one of the U.K.’s finest.

Both are members of the legendary Barflys, well-known in Stoke and Newcastle-under-Lyme – and now they are set to take the Walsall music scene by storm as part of Bookmark Theatre’s Live Music Review series which is organised by Canadian singer-songwriter Chuck Micallef.

Stuart Williams of Bloxwich Library Forum, which manages the theatre in partnership with Bloxwich Library, said:

“Hayes and Hunt are becoming well known around the UK for their acoustic set which includes songs from many musical genres. Featured writers and artists include Eric Clapton, BB King, Sting, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Free, Hendrix, Bob Seeger, Paul Simon, Santana, John Martin, Gerry Rafferty, John Mayer and many many more. We’re really looking forward to bringing these guys to the Bookmark and hearing them raise the roof!”

Doors open 8pm for 8.30pm show on Saturday 4th February.  Tickets for this show cost just £5 and are available now from Bloxwich Library in Elmore Row, Bloxwich.  Telephone 01922 655900 to reserve.

Be prepared for some fire and passion in Bloxwich from these two guys who love their music and wish for nothing else but the chance to share it with you. Come listen and enjoy.

Best feet forward as Councillor leads charity walk

Kath Phillips and fellow walkers

Bloxwich councillor Kath Phillips stepped out with friends and family in north Walsall on Wednesday, on a sponsored fundraising walk for a local hospice.

And the community-minded Bloxwich East Labour politician (pictured, right), who was accompanied by her brother Michael Fawdrey and friend Jill Langford, chose to celebrate her 65th birthday by following the route of a very special ‘stroll down memory lane’!

Kath said to The Bloxwich Telegraph “My dad always said to me ‘Never forget your roots’.  So I began at the back of 13 Corporation Street, which is where I was born in the worst snow period ever – the winter of 1947.

“The walk then went through Walsall town centre, where I worked for many years and now serve as a councillor.  On to West Street, Leamore, where my nana lived and I spent many happy hours.  Along Blakenall Lane to the United Reformed Church where I worship now.  Into Blakenall village to Christ Church, which was the mother church of my infant and junior school.  Down Victoria Avenue to St John’s Methodist Church, this is where I went to Sunday School and also married.  Then to Bloxwich C of E School, better known as the ‘National’, where I attended from age 11 to 15.

“Next, down Lichfield Road to Little Bloxwich and the old Little Bloxwich school (which is just about still standing) then past the newer Little Bloxwich school where I was chair of Govenors for many years. And finally, around Grenfell Road where I was raised from the age of four at number 37.”

Mrs Phillips vowed to support the setting up of a Walsall hospice some years ago after her mother Muriel passed away from cancer aged 78, dying in terrible pain because she was unable to get a hospice place.  Kath has since become a familiar sight on stalls and running tombolas raising funds for the charity now known as St Giles Walsall Hospice after the facility opened a year ago.

Kath helped to form the St Giles Walsall Hospice WS3 Friends group to raise money for the creation and running of the hospice, and the group has raised in the region of £6,000 in the past two years,

Thanks to her and her companions, Wednesday’s two hour walk alone raised £682 towards Kath’s target of £1,000. The Bloxwich Telegraph wishes her well in her continuing quest to help such a worthy cause.

For more information on St Giles Walsall Hospice, follow this link.

Bloxwich beauty Jess fashions fab fundraiser

Jessica Watts, Mayor's Ambassador and Miss Teen Walsall.

Teenage fundraiser Jessica Watts hopes her “Fab in Feb” fashion and talent show will be all the rage as she sets about boosting the Mayor of Walsall’s Charity Appeal.

Jessica, a past Princess of Bloxwich Carnival who carries the title Miss Teen Walsall Galaxy and will represent the town in the national competition in March, will be staging her own show at the Village Hotel in Walsall on Sunday 19 February.

And the stars sashaying down the catwalk will be the young people and helpers from all three charities that the Mayor is supporting during his term.

As well as giving Kate Moss a run for her money, the charities will also be showcasing youngsters’ talents with songs, poetry and performances featured in between the fashions.

Jessica, who is 16 and lives in Bloxwich, said she was “excited and nervous” about the event.

“I wanted to make the charities the stars of the show which is why all the models will be drawn from the three causes that the Mayor is raising money for,” explained Jessica who is a beauty apprentice at Chatabox in Leamore.

“It will feature up to 20 models, including the young people and helpers associated with the charities, and we will show clothes from some of Walsall’s independent fashion shops as well as the larger stores.

“We will also have a talent element to the show so that young people can sing a song, or recite a poem or dance for the audience. The show is all about them and they will be taking centre stage.”

Tickets cost £5, to include free entry into a prize draw, and will be going on sale later this month (January).

The Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Garry Perry, said: “Fab in Feb sounds like a great way to banish the Winter blues and enjoy some retail therapy.

“Jessica has been a wonderful fundraising ambassador so far during my term and she is working hard to engage young people in the borough.

“To feature the young people connected to my charities is a lovely idea and I’m sure they’ll have a ball.”

The Mayor’s Charity Appeal is for The Creating Chances Trust, The Swing and PROUD (Parents Relatives and Others Understanding Down’s Syndrome).

Free loft and wall insulation offer to residents

Loft insulation

Free loft and cavity wall insulation which protects homes against the cold winter weather is being made available through Walsall Council’s energy efficiency team to residents who are homeowners or rent privately.

It forms part of the Government’s Energy Efficiency Commitment and is funded by national energy providers with the support of the council. For the first time in Walsall it is now being made available free to cover the majority of homes although exceptions may apply for some larger properties.

Statistics show the average poorly insulated home wastes around £200 per year on fuel bills. Cavity and loft wall insulation can lead to savings of over £200 and make the home warmer.

Councillor Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The statistics around the difference loft and cavity wall insulation can make in terms of reducing people’s fuel bills speak for themselves.

“In the past we have offered cavity and loft wall insulation free to householders who meet certain criteria but this is the first time we are able to offer it free to virtually all our residents who are homeowners or rent privately.

“I would urge people to find out more about this offer as it will only be available for a limited period. It is important to remember certain health conditions can be made worse by living in cold and damp properties while loft and cavity wall insulation also has benefits in the summer when it can help make a property cooler.”

Anyone interested needs to apply by March 31. For more information contact the energy efficiency team on 01922 658373

Stan Ball Centre celebrates first birthday

The Stan Ball Centre.

A popular centre for adults and over-50’s is all set to celebrate its first birthday with a special event next Friday 20 January.  And the Mayor of Walsall Councillor Garry Perry and the Mayoress Mrs June Perry will be setting the seal on a proud day for the £3.75m re-built Stan Ball Centre.

The original centre, built in the 1960s, was demolished to make way for the new centre.  It was designed by architects David Wilson and funded by the Walsall’s New Deal project which saw over £50 million pumped into Blakenall Heath, Bloxwich East and Leamore for regeneration.

Deb Brownlee, the centre’s Young at Heart Project Co-ordinator said:

“We now have thirty-five courses and clubs running at the centre, ranging from Belly Dancing to Repairing and Building Computers, plus our day care service providing hot meals and company for up to 20 people a day. A portrait of Stan Ball, a former Mayor of Walsall who was so instrumental in setting up the original centre which was named in his honour hangs on the wall in our reception and we hope we have done him proud so far although there is much more to come”.

Entertainment at the event will be provided by Ian Carr, singer and comedian and tickets are available on the door priced at £2. The event runs from 1-3pm and everyone is welcome to attend.

Further information is available from The Stan Ball Centre on 01922 403351and see also Facebook Bloxwich Community Partnership Stan Ball Centre.

Rush for computer beginners club prompts extra class

Computer Newbie

Following a recent news item in The Bloxwich Telegraph publicising the Stan Ball Centre’s Tuesday morning Computer Beginners Club, which was suffering from a shortage of members, the Centre is pleased to report a very positive response and the next class was OVERSUBSCRIBED by two people, requiring extra chairs!

This means that the over-50’s Centre in Abbotts Street, Bloxwich may look at putting on a second beginners class, making a real turnaround from looking at closing the class last week.

Deb Brownlee, the Centre’s Young at Heart project co-ordinator said “What was really heartening was to see how brave some of the people, including an 80 year old, had been in coming forward to finally learn about computers.”

“It takes a lot of guts to start on something so completely new and it was fantastic to see how excited they were when they realised they could do it and the feeling at the end of the two hours was really vibrant. Several people had been bought laptops for Christmas and didn’t have the faintest idea what to do with them.”

Anyone interested in joining the group or helping to form a second session can ring the centre on 01922 403351. The sessions can be used for complete beginners, to find out about specific problems and own laptops can be brought in.

The sessions are pay as you go, the first session is free then £4 a session.

BBC Stargazing Live in Walsall

Stargazing at Walsall NAG

Astronomy and space fans!  The New Art Gallery, Walsall is hosting a fantastic FREE night of stargazing activities and displays for all the family on the evening of Tuesday 17 January as part of a nationwide series of public events supporting the BBC Stargazing Live television programme.

And the history of Walsall astronomers, through talks and a display, plus local amateur astronomers with their telescopes, will feature in a packed programme of events and activities on multiple floors, running between 6pm-9pm on the night!

An inflatable planetarium will be on site to help stargazers of all ages explore the wonders of our solar system. Local astronomy experts with their telescopes will guide you through the constellations of the night sky, and will help you discover more about the science of eclipses, moon craters, galaxies, rockets  and gravity, you can even have a nibble or two of space food, if that’s what takes your fancy!!

Weather permitting, guided stargazing sessions will be taking place throughout the evening from the gallery roof terrace, but astronomers will also show visitors the best free computer software available for exploring the skies without having to go outdoors if the weather turns nasty!

Astronomy talks on the night are as follows:

6.15pm for 30 minutes – Walsall Astronomers in History by Stuart Williams.

7.00pm for 30 minutes – West Midlands canals v canals on Mars by John Dee.

7.45 pm for 30 minutes – The Origins of Meteorites by Alan Ledbury.

8.30pm for 30 minutes – Sir Robert Ball, Victorian astronomer by Roger Jones.

In addition, there’ll also be experts on hand to tell you about the wonderful wildlife you might also come across when you decide to go out and about on your own Stargazing adventure.

Taking part in Walsall Stargazing Live are Walsall Astronomical Society, the Society for the History of Astronomy, Wolverhampton Astronomical Society, Carolian Astronomical Society, Dark Sky Discovery, Walsall Countryside Services, West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue,  Midlands Rocket Club,  Birmingham and Black Country Bat Group, Stars in your Skies, Walsall Libraries, New Art Gallery Walsall and of course the BBC.

The event is FREE and visitors will be able to pick up BBC Stargazing goodies to take away.

So come along and learn more about our ever-astounding Universe as well as astronomy closer to home!

Related websites:

BBC event website

Stargazing Live website

Society for the History of Astronomy

Walsall Astronomical Society

Dark Sky Discovery

New Art Gallery Walsall