Countdown begins for Leamore college enrolment

WACC logo

It’s enrolment time at Walsall Adult & Community College (WACC).

New and returning learners are invited to attend any of the following enrolment days:

* Saturday 1st September from 10am to 2pm
* Monday 3rd September from 10am to 7pm
* Tuesday 4th September from 10am to 7pm

This year learners can choose where they want to enrol, at either the college’s Hawbush Centre in Bloxwich Road, Leamore or its Whitehall Centre in Weston Street, as well as the college’s new town centre shop, the WACC Shack in the Saddlers Shopping Centre.

At all three venues college staff will be on hand to help and advise learners about their chosen course subject.

Prospective learners are reminded to bring ID and any evidence of claiming benefits when enrol.

“We have hundreds of learning opportunities at over 40 different venues,” said Maria Gilling, the college principal.

“We have many short, introductory courses to get you started and build your confidence, plus a fantastic range of Career Launch packages in many employment sectors,” she added.

To view the latest Course Brochure visit Copies can be requested by calling 01922 663000 or by email at


DC Fontana bring 60s vibe to Bloxwich

The DC Fontana 2012 lineup - pic by Claire Curtis

The live music scene is looking up again in Bloxwich next month as Bookmark Theatre rings the changes with the return of those supreme exponents of Art & Soul and 1960s-inspired vibe – ‘DC Fontana’ – on Saturday 8th September.

This phenomenal band last lit up the stage of the town’s premier venue back in December 2011, and now they’re all set to blow the roof off the Elmore Row theatre again – this time with an exciting new line-up!

This truly fab 1960s-influenced Mod band will be presenting a superb mix of their own exceptional original music and tv and film-influenced sounds, with a 21st century edge!

Stuart Williams, Vice Chair of Bloxwich Library Forum, which manages Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre in partnership with Bloxwich Library, said:

“We’ve been looking forward to bringing DC Fontana back to the Bookmark ever since last Christmas, these guys are the real deal, they’ve got style and quality – and their own highly original music is easily up there with the best from the 1960s.

“I am delighted that they will be playing here on the 8th and I’m sure fans will be intrigued to see how the band has evolved since their change of line-up at the beginning of the year – now fronted by the wonderful Louise Turner. I’m sure they’ll be amazing!

This band is quite extraordinary, and simply not to be missed!  True Mod, forever fab and totally outta sight, you just have be there to see DC Fontana – or be square!

Doors open at 8.00pm for the show at 8.30pm and there will be a bar.  Tickets cost just £5 from Bloxwich Library – advance booking is recommended, telephone 01922 655900.

Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre, Bloxwich Library, Elmore Row, Bloxwich, Walsall, WS3 2HR.

For more on DC Fontana, check out their website:

Picture at top by Claire Curtis

A Bloxwich Trolleybus on the Moon?

Bloxwich Trolleybus Terminus Lower Farm 1960s

Rest In Peace the great Neil Alden Armstrong, the quiet man of Apollo 11 and first to set foot on the Moon in 1969 has today passed into the great beyond, aged 82.

Neil was a good man with a sense of humour, and I hope he might have enjoyed the article below, which I first published as a bit of Hallowe’en fun in The Bloxidge Tallygraph.  If it were not for Neil and his fellow heroes, and the dual inspiration of a certain H.G. Wells, it would never have been written, as our world would have been very different indeed.


Walsall Trolleybus at the Lower Farm terminus, late 1960s (courtesy Mr. Alan Murray-Rust)

It has long been the stuff of legend in Little Bloxwich that from time to time buses will disappear from off the Walsall to Lower Farm bus route.  No-one has known where they went; the bus companies from Walsall Corporation to the privatised era have sometimes claimed mechanical failure, severe traffic or driver shortages.  Sometimes, the bus timetables on these routes have borne no resemblance to reality, passengers occasionally having to wait up to half an hour for a bus supposedly running at least every twelve minutes. On rare occasions a bus may never turn up at all.

Uncharitable folks who have asked to remain anonymous have been known to speculate that perhaps Lower Farm buses on the 302 run have been deliberately taken off to keep the allegedly subsidised 301 route to Mossley going continuously, even with hardly anyone on those buses, but where is the evidence, I ask you?

Conspiracy theorists of a different water have, however, recently come forward, presenting The Bloxidge Tallygraph with an exclusive, outlandish yet surprisingly plausible explanation for the disappearing Lower Farm buses. They claim that on rare occasions these vehicles have been stolen by aliens, and hidden upon the Moon for purposes of technological study, and that this has been happening for forty years, since the Apollo Moon landings of 1969 disturbed the beings from beyond in their hidden bases within the darkest of lunar craters.

“Selenite Chief Scientist” – artist’s impression

It is suggested that, woken from their ignorance of the growth of human technology after millennia, these ‘Selenites’, or Moon-dwellers, then turned their own telescopes on the blue orb that dominates their airless sky and, intent on seeking information about the greatest technology that the Earthlings hold, concentrated their sinister investigations on the following sites:

  • The Apollo launch site at Cape Canaveral.
  • The Soviet Cosmodrome at Baikonur.
  • Area 51 in Nevada, USA.
  • The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire.
  • The Birchills Trolleybus Depot in Bloxwich Road, Walsall.

Clearly, it would be very difficult to steal anything based at the first four establishments, but it takes very little thought to realise that no-one would notice the disappearance of a Trolleybus or indeed any other kind of bus on the Lower Farm route apart from the passengers, and no notice is likely to be taken of their complaints, so, it is alleged, the Selenites slowly and surely drew their plans against Walsall Corporation Transport, and on the final day of Trolleybus operation to Bloxwich, they struck, stealing the last Trolleybus to travel from Walsall to Lower Farm.

Bus 875 leaves the Birchills bus depot on the last day of trolley bus operation in Walsall, 3rd October 1970, never to return.  Allegedly, this was the first Walsall Bus to be abducted by aliens (courtesy Jack Haddock)

Of course, no-one noticed.  And from then on, we are told, buses, albeit primitive (and later privatised) diesel-driven machines and therefore of little technical interest to anyone other than bus-spotters (an alien species equal in inscrutability to the Selenites) have continued to be kidnapped on rare occasions, hoisted skyward into translunar space by invisible travel discs, and delivered to the domes of the Selenites hidden in the darkest craters of the Moon.

The public of Bloxwich, of course, have known nothing of this until now.  All they know is that they have had to suffer long waits in rain, hail or snow for many years and when they have been given excuses for the apparent poor service, they have often been so unlikely as to be unbelievable.  Now, our sources have made it possible for the facts to be brought to light at last.

The final evidence, they claim, is a recent alleged cover-up following the American space agency NASA’s mission to ‘bomb’ the Moon in order to analyse traces of the lunar surface in the search for water supplies for possible future lunar bases.

The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was a robotic spacecraft operated by NASA. It was launched together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on June 18, 2009, as part of the shared Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, the first American mission to the Moon in over ten years.

LCROSS was designed to watch as the launch vehicle’s spent Centaur upper stage struck the crater Cabeus near the south pole of the Moon. LCROSS suffered a malfunction on August 22, depleting half of its fuel and leaving very little fuel margin in the spacecraft. But according to NASA, impact occurred successfully on October 9, 2009.

LCROSS Sodium Flash detection in Crater Cabeus (image courtesy NASA)

The impact was not as visually prominent as had been anticipated – in fact, amateur astronomers around the world were told that they would be able to see it in their small telescopes. This was not the case; in fact, nothing was seen, or at least almost nothing was shown in the images released to the world’s press, causing considerable embarrassment.

Our sources claim, however, that the real photographs of the impact were intercepted by a shadowy, unnamed secret service within the USA, lest they reveal the true nature of what lay in the dark depths of crater Cabeus and cause blind panic.

What the now-destroyed probe showed, it is said, was the destination of the abducted Walsall-Bloxwich buses: the Selenite South Polar Research Dome, which was itself, it is claimed, destroyed by the impact of LCROSS, as well as a number of abducted Bloxwich buses gathering dust upon the lunar surface beside it.  We have been given the photographic evidence reproduced below, which is supposedly an image taken by ‘hacking’ the Hubble Space Telescope:

LCROSS strikes Cabeus Crater and the Selenite dome – UNOFFICIAL


Enhanced infra-red section of above image – UNOFFICIAL

I cannot confirm or deny the facts in this matter, dear reader, though the visual evidence presented above, if genuine, is compelling. There is, for obvious reasons, no official evidence forthcoming, only hearsay from those who claim to be close to official sources.

I can only ask you to consider in your own mind which is the most likely explanation: that Lower Farm buses occasionally break down or are diverted to Mossley; or that they have quietly, stealthily been stolen by lunar aliens on an occasional basis since 1969.  I know which I think is the truth.


My sources have today sent me the following partial transcription of a radio transmission which they claim was received from space by Jodrell Bank last week and decoded by government experts at GCHQ before being lost in the form of a memory stick on a bus in London.  I’m not sure what to make of it, but frankly, I’m worried – and so should you be, too:

“This is the voice of the Selenites. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen. You have destroyed our dome in an unprovoked attack, which requires a response.  Our retaliation will be slow, but nonetheless effective. It will mean the ultimate destruction of life on Earth. It will be useless for you to resist, for we have discovered the secret of reversing matter. One of you will be under our control, who we have trained on your transport systems. He will be instrumental in avenging the Selenites. Our first act of retaliation will be to destroy Walsall Bus Station.  Your world will hear from us again, before the end…”

Music, art and sport meet to mark Olympics and Paralympics

Walsall Aboretum Bandstand

As part of the Walsall for 2012 celebrations tied into the Olympic and Paralympic games, Walsall Council is holding an exciting and fun-for-all event in Walsall Arboretum to mark the conclusion of the London 2012 Paralympics.

The event, which has much to offer music, arts and sports fans, takes place on Sunday 9 September and includes both a Bandstand Marathon & Walsall Sportsfest in the town’s premier park.

There are still some vacant stalls available. Organisers would especially like to hear from holistic/arts & crafts/alternative therapy practitioners.There is no cost to the stallholder, they just need to contact Craig Vincent at or 07970 785 686.

Aspects of the event include:

    • Live music at the refurbished Arboretum Bandstand.
    • Artists performances.
    • Craft stalls.
    • Family activities.
    • Sports demonstrations and have-a-go activities.


The music line-up from 12 noon – 6pm includes:

12.00 noon   Walsall Gilbert & Sullivan Society

12.45pm  Chuck Micallef, Dave Luke & Nick Tomson

1.45pm   Tony Barrett Band

 2.30pm  Phoenix Brass Band

3.30pm  Aziz 

4.30pm  Stems

5.30pm  Arbor Lights


There will also be a chance to visit the new Gallery Garden in the refurbished Arboretum, and meet artists with activities as follows between 2pm – 6pm:

    • Graham Jones – wood sculptor
    • Ron & Julie Thompson – sculptors
    • Annie Bowden – community artist
    • Walsall Knitting Circle – simple cake decorating
    • Elizabeth Knight


There will be opportunities to try a wide variety of sports and physical activities; you can even do an induction on the day for Walsall’s Children’s Fit Zone gyms.

Get your bike checked and see a BMX demonstration.

Talk to Bootcamp fitness experts.


No ticket required!

Merrie England returns to Walsall with new Mummer’s Play

Robin Hood and the Giant Extract

The first in an exciting all-new series of fun, locally-themed ‘mummers plays’ for Walsall is set to be performed in the town centre on Saturday 25th August 2012.

Penned on commission from Walsall Civic Society by noted local playwright and author David Calcutt, the plays are in the medieval tradition but with a fun modern edge, being part of the Bayard’s Colts Project, a Heritage Lottery-funded Walsall local heritage and arts project led by the Society working with Walsall Council, Walsall Museum, local groups, creatives, historians and experts.

And the first of four such pieces of street theatre, entitled ‘Robin Hood and the Giant’ will be performed on the 25th at 12 noon, 2pm and 4pm in the open air on Walsall’s ancient High Street, between the Black Country Arms (originally named the Green Dragon) pub and the Asda superstore.

David Calcutt said:

“Robin Hood and the Giant” is based on traditional mummers plays.  It’s part of a much larger, ongoing project, and we’d love everyone to come and see it, and support the venture.

“It’ll be fast, funny, furious. And free.  So we hope to see you there!”

The Bloxwich Telegraph’s Editor, Stuart Williams, will certainly be there to photograph the event, which looks like a lot of fun!

For more information, check out the Bayard’s Colts Project website.

A flyer for Robin Hood and the Giant is available for download in jpeg form by clicking on the image below.

Robin Hood and the Giant Flyer

Leamore college shortlisted for national award

WACC logo
Walsall Adult & Community College (WACC) has once again been recognised for its sterling work in the field of sustainability, by being shortlisted for a national award.

The Leamore-based college is one of 69 institutions shortlisted by The Environment Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) for the Green Gown Awards 2012 (Stage 2).

Now in their eighth year, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges in the UK.

With sustainable development moving up the global agenda, the Awards are now established as the most prestigious recognition of sustainability excellence within the education and environmental sectors.

The college, which provides adult learning services and apprenticeship training to 8,000 students each year, has been nominated in the ‘Colleges and Smaller Institutions’ category, alongside Derbyshire County Council, Jewel & Esk College and Circus Space.

WACC is one of only two local authority learning service organisations that have been shortlisted in this year’s Green Gown Awards, the winners of which will be announced in November later this year.

College principal, Maria Gilling said:

“Being shortlisted for the Green Gown Awards 2012 is a huge achievement for us and helps build on our reputation for being a leader in education for sustainable development.”

Iain Patton, chief executive of the EAUC added:

“The quality of the applications has been very high and creating a shortlist was incredibly difficult. We are now looking forward to learning more about the successful projects in Stage 2 of the process, and ultimately to unveiling the winners of the 2012 Green Gown Awards in November.”

Last June the college fought off competition from larger organisations and businesses to triumph at the West Midlands START Awards 2011, sponsored by the Prince’s Trust Business in the Community. It is looking to build on its success by gaining the Learning In Future Environments Index (LiFE) Accreditation with the EAUC.

For more about WACC, see their website via this link.

Walsall Council panel calls emergency meeting on children at risk

Walsall Council House

The Chair of Walsall’s Children and Young People Scrutiny and Performance Panel, Labour Councillor Barbara Cassidy, has called an emergency meeting to discuss a report which has condemned the council’s Safeguarding Children service.

The extraordinary meeting on 21 August will discuss the findings of a recent Ofsted inspection which, among many issues, criticised Walsall Council for failing to take youngsters known to be at risk into care.

Cllr Cassidy said she had used her authority to call the meeting following the revelations in the report which was published last week.

Explaining her decision in a Walsall Council Labour Group press release, Cllr Cassidy said:

“The scale and depth of the failings indentified by Ofsted are so serious that we simply can’t wait until the end of September and the next full council meeting to begin to tackle these problems.

“I have therefore called this emergency meeting to allow members to assess the true scale of the situation the service faces and begin to formulate a cross-party response to meet the needs of children in council care.

“We don’t have time to spare if we are to get this right.”

Her decision has the full support of Cllr Tim Oliver, Leader of the Labour Group on the authority, who said:

“This appalling state of affairs warrants a recall of all elected members for an emergency full council, but the power for that rests with the Tory and Lib Dem coalition leadership.  In the absence of such a move, Cllr Cassidy’s call is showing the urgency and determination we need to address this truly awful situation.”

Bloxwich Police success in tackling burglary

West Midlands Police - Modern crime prevention visit in Birmingham (courtesy WMP)

Police from the Bloxwich West neighbourhood team have been working closely with the Woodbridge and Churston neighbourhood watch scheme to increase home security in the Turnberry estate on the northern borders of Bloxwich.

Over the past two months, officers from the team have distributed crime prevention packs to more than 50 homes on the estate.  The packs include a special liquid used to mark valuables which can be traced if recovered.

The local community have also been invited to the community safety house in Brownhills for talks and advice around home security.

Sergeant Andy McHugh for Bloxwich West neighbourhood team said:

“We have worked closely with the neighbourhood watch scheme in providing reassurance and advice to householders.

“We have seen a decrease in the number of burglaries in the Bloxwich West area over the past few months and we look forward to continuing to work with the local community in tackling crime on the estate.”

John Teather, neighbourhood watch co-ordinator for the area added:

“Thanks to the close relationship forged between the Police and Neighbourhood Watch members this area is now a much tougher nut to crack by those looking to commit a criminal act.

“With new knowledge and specialist crime prevention tools, we feel better equipped to tackle criminal activity and help put offenders away. Our Watch Team is always on duty”.

To get involved with neighbourhood watch in your area or to find out when the next neighbourhood meeting is visit the website at for contact details of your local neighbourhood policing team.

If you suspect any suspicious activity taking place in your area or you have information which could help officers tackle local burglary call the non-emergency number 101. If you see a crime taking place or it is an emergency always call 999.

Bloxwich Junior Chess Club goes from strength to strength


Junior Chess

A chess club for youngsters from the Bloxwich area which celebrated its second birthday in June is going from strength to strength, with membership now up to 18 from the 6 at the club’s founding in 2010.

And budding Grandmasters from Bloxwich Junior Chess Club, which meets at St. James Church in Old Lane on Saturday mornings from 10am – 11.30am, have been flexing their muscles in competition play in the Staffordshire Junior Championships!

A few of the club’s members are even County Junior players.  Karthik Selvan, for example, has played in the Senior under 12 grade County Team. Dominic Holmes, now aged 7 has been the Under 7 County Champion for the last 2 years.  The club has also played in the Midland Junior Chess League, led by club Captains Luke Berenbaum and Patricia Stych.

In the UK Chess Challenge, a nationwide tournament involving over 700 schools and some 56000 children, an impressive 11 out 12 Bloxwich Junior Chess Club players qualified for the tournament’s Megafinals.

Three club members subsequently became UK Regional Champions, with Victoria Dinoo becoming  Under 13 champion, and Dominic Holmes the Under 7 Champion, each receiving a trophy. Player Matthew Dinoo, aged 10 received a rosette. All three Bloxwich players qualified for the Gigafinals, doing very well. All received a certificate, with Dominic Holmes also receiving a rosette and a chess book.

The club, which welcomes new members, is organised overall by the members’ parents and grandparents, with Mr Dave Watton, JP as Secretary and Eunice and Ray Dolan being the club’s hard-working and highly regarded Chess Coaches.

In April the Bloxwich club’s chess-mad youngsters also took part in the ‘Generation Game’, a contest which saw them all competing against experienced adult players. The club Captain on this occasion was Dominic Holmes, aged 7. One of the young Bloxwich players was unable to play on the day, so Revd. Roger Williams from St. James Church took part in their place, playing Jay Sanga.

Readers can view all these games and follow through the moves online at the Staffordshire Chess Association web site junior section.

Ray Dolan, Chief Coach for Bloxwich Junior Chess Club, commenting on the club’s birthday celebrations, said:

“We’d like to say a special thank you to our  Presentation Party, Revd. Roger Williams and Rev Alison Morris for presenting all the awards.

“Thanks also to all the parents and prandparents who supplied all the refreshments and Bouncy Castle etc.

“Thanks to St. James Church for letting us use their Church.

“Lastly, special thanks to those who work so hard for our Club.”

Parents or guardians of prospective members who want to find out more about the club are invited to contact Ray Dolan by telephone on 07980101744 or by email to:


Bloxwich Level Crossing Closure Proposals – consultation launched

Bloxwich Level Crossing (courtesy John M)
Bloxwich Level Crossing (courtesy John M)

There is an increasing trend for Network Rail, which operates our railway network on behalf of the government, to close level crossings, where road traffic and pedestrians cross railways, for both safety and efficiency reasons.

Bloxwich Level Crossing, off Station Street/Reeves Street, which provides direct access by road to the industrial estate and Beechdale Estate via Willenhall Lane, as well as the Walsall Mobile Libraries depot, is now being considered for closure.

There are clearly advantages and disadvantages to this, including access issues, traffic routing, safety and improvements needed as a result.  Proposed improvements to the passenger rail service, including line electrification and faster journey times will also, it is said, be made easier by closing the level crossing.  There is a need to publicly discuss all of these issues and more before a decision is reached.

Walsall Council has now launched a consultation process so that local residents, business and road users may be made aware of all the facts and may also contribute to the decision-making process by taking part in the consultation.

Readers of The Bloxwich Telegraph and others in Bloxwich and district are invited to take part in this process and find out more.

Full details, including explanations of the reasoning behind closure proposals and downloads, are available now on the Walsall Council website via the following link:

Bloxwich Level Crossing Closure Proposals

Consultation events

The Council is also holding two consultation events in August where they will be waiting to hear your views.  They are at:

    • Walsall Mobile Library Depot, Willenhall Lane, Bloxwich: Wednesday 15 August 2012 12pm – 4pm
    • Bookmark Bloxwich (Bloxwich Library), Elmore Row, Bloxwich: Thursday 16 August 4pm – 8pm

If you cannot attend a consultation event you can give the Council your view in the following ways:

  • completing the questionnaire downloadable from the page linked above and posting it to them (address below)
  • calling 01922 654362
  • emailing your views to
  • commenting via the Walsall Transport Facebook and Twitter pages. You can find this on Facebook by searching for  ‘Walsall Transport’ or follow them on Twitter: @walsalltransprt

The deadline for consultation responses is Friday 7 September 2012