Residents in Walsall who do not have a regular NHS dentist are being reminded where to go if they need urgent dental treatment over the festive period.
The Dental Access Centre, which is based in Blakenall Village Centre, will be open between 8.30am and 12 noon on weekends and bank holidays including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. It will offer appointments to NHS patients who require urgent dental treatment for pain or swelling.
Vikki Tolley, Oral Health Coordinator for NHS Walsall, said:
“With Christmas just around the corner everyone is ready and geared up for the festivities to get underway. Constant snacking, drinking and eating sugary foods and drinks can make the holiday period a miserable time for teeth.
“NHS Walsall just want to remind people to think about their teeth and continue to look after them like you would do all year round. However if you do find your teeth are causing you pain or swelling then there are services available to help you.”
For help and advice or to book an appointment during a weekend or bank holiday contact the Dental Access Centre on 07976 246 404.
The standard NHS urgent fee of £17.50 applies unless you are entitled to free NHS dental treatment.
In our final festive posting before Christmas, The Bloxwich Telegraph would like to wish all its readers both Festive Felicitations and Season’s Greetings, wherever they are.
And it is a particular pleasure to conclude our 6th year first as The Bloxidge Tallygraph and now The Bloxwich Telegraph by presenting a photo-spectacular of the village’s wonderful new Christmas Lights – truly taking us all back to the days of our youth when bright bulbs hanging in trees along the High Street always used to complement the Bloxwich Christmas tree in Promenade Gardens, come rain, snow or hail!
For this sparkling return of our much-missed lights, now in powerful LED form, we have to thank the Bloxwich Business Partnership CIC and donors, raising a total of £15,000 pounds to pay for the lights and their hanging by cherry picker; massive support was given by Walsall Housing Group in particular.
We especially need to thank Bloxwich’s energetic organiser Nikki Rolls of the Partnership/Walsall Council, for doing so much to bring back the Spirit of Bloxwich Christmas Past.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, ONE AND ALL – AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
For more pictures at higher resolution, see our Flickr album via this link.
As we said in a recent post, in Bloxwich, you can always tell when Christmas is coming – it’s when the Rotary Santa Claus drops in! And the Bloxwich Phoenix branch of Rotary continued its traditonal – and highly enjoyable – annual sleigh-ride around the Bloxwich area last night, when Santa and his happy band of Rotary helpers – plus Terry Bate (Bloxwich Carnival Chairman), and Bloxwich East Councillors Shaun & Julie Fitzpatrick – dropped in on the populace of Lower Farm, Little Bloxwich!
For decades, the real herald of the season has not been Mr Robin, Jack Frost, snow falling, or even naff festive muzak in the shops – it’s been the jolly red-suited man in the sleigh with the golden cog-wheel on its side. And this year, after successful visits to Blakenall Heath, Mossley, Pelsall (!) and Dudley Fields, Santa’s arrival down on on the ‘Farm was welcomed with open arms by young and old alike.
But it was a close call this year, as not only had winter rain been hammering the already half-frozen folks of Little Bloxwich for hours, but a technical hitch with the sleigh’s sound system had threatened a ‘silent night’ for all concerned; a combination of the two would have put a real dampener on this much-loved seasonal scene-opener.
Fortunately, not only did the glitch evaporate after a modest delay to the start of Mr Claus’s peregination, but by the time all was in motion, the rain had stopped too! With Santa’s slightly soggy little helpers, who have had to endure all weathers this year, breathing a BIG sigh of relief, the show got on the road, and The Bloxwich Telegraph’s Editor Stuart Williams, who had been dodging the downpour in a nearby bus ‘shelter’, met up with the Rotary parade in Bamford Road, joining the highly musical and very jolly party to follow the rest of the route from there – and taking the photos you see here along the way (to download full-size pictures, see the link at the end of this article).
The Rotary ‘elves’ were kept busy knocking on doors for donations, delivering Santa’s letters to youngsters and meeting happy families, some of whom braved the damp but thankfully rain-free air to meet Father Christmas in person – and like the elves with their Santa hats, hi-vis tabards and jingling buckets, those who did got a very warm welcome!
With smiling faces on every street and corner ready to welcome in the season and support Rotary’s great causes with their coppers and more, the night’s charitable tally soon grew to a very creditable total of £192,68 and the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix – and Santa – send big thanks to everyone who supported them on Lower Farm.
The Rotary Santa tour is a great Bloxwich tradition – it gladdens the heart of young and old alike and helps a hard-working and very worthy charitable organisation do remarkable good works in the world. Truly – what better start to Christmas could you have?
TURNBERRY TONIGHT Tonight sees Santa’s final tour of the Bloxwich estates as he and his Rotary entourage land at Turnberry, where the tour begins at 4.30pm and concludes at 8.45pm. His Turnberry route is planned to be as follows:
The Bath Street Band and 100 Voices Choir along with Walsall Council are delighted to invite everyone to come along and take part in what promises to be the biggest sing-song of the year – this Saturday 15 December at the lakeside Bandstand in Walsall Arboretum!
Choirmaster Darryll Prew of the 100 Voices Choir said:
“We will be signing all the traditional favoutrites, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Good KIng Wenceslas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and many more.
“There will be a glass of mulled wine or soft drink and a mince pie for each singer.It goes without saying, this event is outside and it is December, so wrap up warm!
Saturday’s concert takes place 1.30pm – 2.30pm and is FREE!
100 Voices began as a community event put together to perform at the Caldmore Village Festival and we have performed at each of the three festivals with our numbers being between 16 and 84 singing on the stage.
Darryll went on:
“100 Voices is not a regular choir as such, and it has never yet reached 100 Voices! We are more of a ‘scratch’ choir open to absolutely anyone irrespective of age, experience or even ability!
For that reason, I have no idea how many there will be of us singing Carols, but that is part of the fun! We just enjoy meeting together to sing and have no visions of grandeur.”
Bath Street Band are made up mainly of the members of the music team from Bath Street Church in Caldmore plus a couple of friends. They have performed as the Bath Street Band for around 3 years now, playing in various pubs, Caldmore Village Festival and Mela, different churches and recently they competed in the ‘Live Band of The Year’ contest at The Robin 2 music venue in Bilston. Playing a wide variety of music, their style has been defined as ‘Christian folk/rock’.
For further information contact Darryll Prew on 07792 473916.
Last Friday a quiet, poignant and significant event in the history of Bloxwich took place at Blakenall Village Centre: the launch of a new book about the men on the Elmore Green School Great War Memorial.
Sorrow into Pride tells the story of the social and military history of the ‘old boys’ of Elmore Green School, Bloxwich, who went off to fight in the First World War. Written by two retired teachers and local historians, Barry Crutchley and Ken Wayman (pictured, above, at the launch), the book reveals the search for a ‘lost’ war memorial, the stories of the commemorated lads and its re-adoption by the original school.
Elmore Green School Old Boys’ Association war memorial was unveiled in the school hall in 1922. It commemorated the sacrifice made by former pupils of the school in the Great War of 1914-18, listing sixty-seven ‘old boys’ of what was then Elmore Green Central School, later High School, who gave their young lives in “the war to end all wars”, some not passing away until 1919. It had been moved from the school in 1958 when the secondary functions of Elmore Green High School were transferred to the new T.P. Riley Comprehensive, not far away in Lichfield Road.
The memorial quietly became part of the life of the new school until, in 2001, T.P. Riley was demolished and replaced by the present Walsall Academy, which opened in 2003. It was around this time that the finely carved marble sculpture by Bloxwich-born Frederick T. Perry “disappeared” from the public eye. In fact, it had been put into storage because it was not required by the academy, but for a long time this was forgotten.
Over the following years, various people including Bloxwich local historians Edna Marshall, Barry Crutchley and ex-T.P. Riley history teacher Ken Wayman, had tried to find and raise the profile of the missing memorial and eventually, following convoluted enquiries via the Academy and within Walsall Council departments, in late 2010 it was tracked down to the premises of monumental masons A. Walker & Sons of Cannock, who had been storing it safely since the demolition of T.P. Riley years ago.
Following work done by Walsall Council officers Mike Gaffney and the now late Elaine Box, funding was found from the Council to have the memorial returned to its original home in March 2011, when it was mounted on the wall of the school hall by the masons who had preserved it. On Armistice Day that year, a special service of re-dedication was held at the school, truly bringing the memorial home.
Now, Sorrow into Pride traces the families and experiences of the lads named on the alabaster memorial, as well as one Old Boy who for some unknown reason was omitted from the list. In addition, the events leading to the deaths of ten servicemen closely related to those commemorated are examined, showing how the war affected their wider families; moreover, a number of related servicemen who fought in the Great War have been bound into the tale.
Now re-adopted by the school community from whence it came, the war memorial has re-invigorated the local community and brought forward numerous descendants of the Old Boys, furnishing invaluable information, precious photographs and memorabilia.
The authors owe a debt of gratitude to the present school community and its enthusiastic head-teacher Jane Humphreys, staff and pupils – following the hard work of local historians and council officers, they gave the war memorial’s story an unexpected happy ending.
New Horizons Community Enterprise, which runs the Blakenall Village Centre and a number of local projects and activities, is proud to have sponsored the publishing of the new book, which adds an important chapter to the history of Bloxwich and its people.
Friday’s launch was hosted by the Chair of New Horizons, Tom Perrett MBE, presented by the authors and attended by descendants of the Elmore Green ‘old boys’ and other contributors, including Stuart Williams, Editor of The Bloxwich Telegraph, who wrote the Foreword and a special dedication to the late Elaine Box of Walsall Council, who was instrumental in returning the memorial to its rightful home.
The 458-page profusely illustrated softback book is published by Tommies Guides under the Reveille Press imprint with the ISBN: 978-1-908336-44-6, and is available to order via New Horizons at £18.99 plus postage.
For further information and to order Sorrow into Pride, please contact Terri Wall, Service Manager of Blakenall Village Centre – email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01922 714900.
For more pictures taken at the book launch, check out our Flickr Album.
A popular little theatre in Bloxwich is marking the second year since its’ re-opening with a special Christmas Open Mic Night this Friday 14 December at 7.30pm for 8pm – and admission is free!
Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre, part of the Bloxwich Library/Bookmark Bloxwich complex in Elmore Row, was formally re-opened in December 2010 after being closed for more than a year for major refurbishment together with Bloxwich Library.
The library itself was first opened in 1960 as a state-of-the-art facility for Bloxwich and district, and it was always planned that a theatre would be added for drama, music, film shows and educational lectures. That theatre – originally known as Bloxwich Library Theatre – was later added as an extension to the library building, opening in 1964, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since re-opening after the much-needed refurbishment, the life of the theatre has been rejuvenated not only by additional facilities such as the new café bar but by the efforts of local people, in the form of Bloxwich Library Forum, a volunteer group which manages, raises funds for and supports the theatre in partnership with Bloxwich Library. The Forum has worked closely with theatre technical manager Bruno Edwards and library staff over the past two years to book and present plays, live music, film shows and many other public events.
Stuart Williams, Vice Chairman of the Forum, said:
“We’ve had a lively couple of years with many great acts and events and after a busy and successful 2012 for the theatre it’s certainly time for a celebration! This Friday night there’ll be music, poetry, costumes, Bayard’s Colts songs and with any luck – mince pies! What’s more, admission is free!
“Our regular Open Mic Nights offer a place for singers, song writers, poets and musicians to play, jam and try out songs and poems on our full PA. If you don’t play or perform then do come along and listen. The venue and stage are fully accessible, as is the well stocked bar!
“Anyone interested in booking a slot to perform on the night should contact Bruno Edwards – email: email@example.com or telephone 07973 492387. Christmas costumes optional!”
For more information on Bloxwich Library Forum and Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre, check out the Forum website:
The popular Goscote Greenacres community garden on Goscote Lane held a seasonal market last Friday and Saturday – marking its first year serving both the disabled and the wider community.
And with craft stalls, festive foods, bric-a-brac, raffles and a school choir on Friday and festive music, jewellery, craft stalls, homemade pickles and handmade Christmas wreaths and yule logs on Saturday, this cracking little event, graced by a visit from Santa Claus, showcased what is clearly an excellent project for the disabled and the wider community.
Paul Mason, Goscote Greenacres’ community development officer, said before the free event:
“This is our first Christmas market here at Goscote and we’re really looking forward to both days. There’s plenty to see and hear and it’s also a chance for people to have a look at the site and find out a bit more about the opportunities here. We look forward to welcoming people and spreading some festive cheer!”
Goscote Greenacres Community Garden is based at the Goscote Centre for adults with disabilities and is being driven by them, their carers and the wider community. The Centre provides opportunities for people with disabilities who use the centre as well as residents, community groups and schools in the Goscote area, and also includes a great Community Café – Greenacres Restaurant – open to the public for breakfast and lunch, a training kitchen and social enterprise opportunities.
The building itself hosted the Christmas Market, with numerous stalls:
The main aims of the Goscote Greenacres project are to offer growing and gardening facilities and skills to the disabled and to offer the opportunity for members of the local community to mix with and become more aware of the needs of the users and others with similar issues.
Stuart Williams from The Bloxwich Telegraph dropped in on Saturday and was introduced to both the gardening project and the Centre by Mr Mason, who explained that the gardening facility with raised beds for easier access was launched in 2012 following a £250,000 makeover of the former Goscote Lane grounds of the old Goscote Hospital which house the Goscote Centre and the canal side open space behind the current building.
Paul gave Stuart a whistle-stop tour of the site, which apart from the Centre itself, includes a spacious community cabin, available for events and meetings, which also includes a home-grown veg shop as well computer facilities; a lovely canalside woodland walk with easy access for the disabled; the wide range of 45 garden plots (including 20 raised beds); fruit trees; polytunnels and a variety of other growing opportunities.
Gardeners have access to dedicated toilets and a conservatory to which the gardeners have access even when the main building is closed. It is also planned to offer fishing facilities including a Fishing Club along the canal at the rear of the site.
Goscote Greenacres is a partnership between Walsall Council’s Adult Social Care, Walsall Adult and Community College, North Walsall Area Partnership and others. Mr Mason’s work is funded by Walsall Council but the project itself has no other budget, so it has to be as self-sufficient as possible, and boxes of vegetables grown on-site are available for sale when in season.
Donations and sponsorship are also welcome, and anyone interested in helping with funding or in kind – or seeking further information about Goscote Greenacres – is welcome to contact Paul Mason on 07432625923.
Bloxwich Telegraph editor Stuart Williams’ latest book for Walsall Local History Centre has just been published and will be on sale from this week – with a special launch event taking place at Walsall Museum on Thursday 6th December (details below), and just in time for Christmas.
Reflections of Old Walsall – subtitled ‘Local history in and around Walsall Metropolitan Borough’ – includes diverse subjects from local heroes like Walsall’s greatest aviator Flt Lt Webster to coalman’s son and Bletchley Park code-breaker Harry Hinsley via spooks and spectres, the remarkable Highgate Windmill, Aldridge’s Naval VC, Bentley’s ‘Giant’s Causeway’, one of Queen Victoria’s greatest diplomats – from Birchills(!), the time Sherlock Holmes came to Walsall, Walsall’s electric trams which were “better than Blackpool” and Bloxwich’s war poet Harold Parry – plus many more!
In fact if you thought the story of old Walsall was just about the leather industry and Sister Dora, then you’re in for a few surprises with this book. Even the essential Sister Dora article takes a very different track to the usual story…
The illustrated A5 format softback book, 72pp plus 4pp cover, is a compilation of the original, uncut texts of twenty of Stuart’s Local Heritage articles which were written on behalf of Walsall Local History Centre for his monthly feature in the Walsall Chronicle newspaper – a series which has run since 2001 and which was renamed Memory Lane at the end of 2011.
As such, the newspaper-published and edited versions of the articles are not only long out of print but were somewhat shorter than those in the book. The articles in the new book also have their original titles, which were often changed by the Chronicle’s editors!
Each article as published now comprises 3-4 pages with 3 or 4 period photographs, so the book is ideal for dipping into, especially as the subjects focus on numerous surprising, quirky and often forgotten aspects of the area’s history and its people from ancient times to the 1970s.
The new book costs £6.99, and you may be interested to know that Stuart’s previous book for the Centre Billy Meikle’s Window on Walsall is also still available for £5.
The individual titles of the articles in Reflections of Old Walsall are:
A Bridge By Any Other Name
Bentley’s ‘Giant’s Causeway’
Things that Go Bump in the Borough…
From the Earth to the Moon – Highgate Windmill
From Red Books to the Red Planet – W. H. Robinson
One Man and His Books (to say nothing of the dog)
Remembering Aldridge’s Naval VC
Sister Dora and the Steam Engine
The Battle of Walsall
When Sherlock Holmes came to Walsall
Better than Blackpool: Walsall’s Victorian Tramways
An Englishman’s Castle: Council housing in Walsall
From Dixon of Dock Green to Gene Hunt
Flaming brilliant: Walsall Fire Brigade
From Guild Hall to Civic Centre
Going to the ‘flicks’ in ‘Sixties Walsall
From Borneo Street to the Stars
The Hinsley Enigma – Decoded
From Birchills to Beijing – Sir Harry S. Parkes
Remembering Harold Parry – Bloxwich War Poet
‘Reflections of Old Walsall’ by Stuart Williams
Publisher: Walsall Local History Centre
ISBN: 978 1 907363 03 0
A5 format softback 72pp plus 4pp cover.
Retail price: £6.99.
BOOK LAUNCH AT WALSALL MUSEUM Thursday 6th December 2012
REFLECTIONS OF OLD WALSALL is being launched by Walsall Local History Centre with the kind assistance of Walsall Museum who are hosting the event in their Education Room on Thursday 6th December.
The launch will take place between 10am – 12 noon at Walsall Museum, 1st Floor, Central Library, Lichfield Street, Walsall, WS1 1TR. ADMISSION IS FREE.
The launch programme is as follows:
10am Doors open. Informal chance to speak to the author and view the book.
10.30am Talk: Reflections of Old Walsall.
11am Book sales and signing. Books cost £6.99.
11.30am Videos and FREE refreshments.
12 noon Close.
After the launch, Reflections of Old Walsall will be available from Waterstone’s bookstore in Park Street, Walsall Museum, Walsall Leather Museum and of course direct from Walsall Local History Centre in Essex Street, Walsall, which will also operate a mail order service – telephone 01922 721305 for details.
In Bloxwich, you can always tell Christmas is coming – it’s when the Rotary Santa Claus drops in!
For decades, the real herald of the season has not been Mr Robin, Jack Frost, snow falling, or even naff festive muzak in the shops – it’s been the jolly red-suited man in the sleigh with the golden cog-wheel on its side. And this year is no different, children and adults in the village and on the estates will be delighted to hear!
The Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix are enthusiastically maintaining the fine tradition of festive visitations and felicitations begun decades ago by their predecessor group, and they can always be sure of a warm welcome in so many places and from so many people that may have little else to cheer them on these cold, dark nights.
As is traditional, Santa and his community-minded helpers will be touring all over Bloxwich and district – including Blakenall Heath, Mossley, Dudley Fields, Lower Farm, and Turnberry (plus Pelsall!) – and that tour starts this week! See below for routes and times.
A LETTER FROM SANTA FOR YOUR CHILD
And for some added fun for families, if you’re on one of his routes, Santa and his helpers can deliver a letter from Santa to your child. Please send letters to Santa c/o 28a Lister Street, Willenhall, West Midlands. WV13 2HQ, or request a letter via the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix website. They will hand deliver a reply free of charge on the evening of your route.
Santa is also internet-savvy these days – so if you prefer to e-mail, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for this, or any other queries you have.
And what’s more – would you believe it, Norad in America may be able to track Santa on his way round the globe, but we can go one better, as you’d expect, and track him round Bloxwich!
On the evening of each route, you will be able to track Santa’s location in real-time online on Rotary’s website www.bloxwichphoenix.net, so there’s no need to stand outside in the cold weather for too long!
Of course, Santa’s visits to Bloxwich and district are not just about some much-needed seasonal jollity; there is a serious purpose too. Rotary is a charitable organisation that does good works both in the local community and on a global scale.
All the money collected from the Santa Sleigh collection will be donated to the Rotary Foundation of the United Kingdom. The charity provides funds for many important humanitarian projects at home and abroad is one of the major partners in the drive to finally eliminate polio worldwide.
They need our help, and donations are welcome, so why not look out for Santa coming your way, say hello, have some family fun and do some good, in the true spirit of Christmas?
The times and dates of Santa’s visits this Christmas are listed below for your reference. Remember they may be subject to change, but you can track Santa online to make sure!
For more information, you can also read or print online a special leaflet which is being distributed locally, via this link.
SANTA WILL BE VISITING YOU ON THE FOLLOWING NIGHTS AND ROUTES: