Category Archives: Armed Services

SSAFA forces charity Christmas concert this Saturday

Pelsall Ladies Choir (courtesy Gary Nicholls)

A hard-working charity which supports both current and former armed services personnel is all set to hold a festive fundraiser tomorrow (Saturday) and is inviting kind-hearted people to join them for an enjoyable night out.

The very active West Midlands North Branch (Walsall District) of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help, the national charity supporting those who serve in our Armed Forces, those who used to serve, and their families, has organised a Charity Christmas Concert at St Bartholomew’s Church in Wednesbury on 1st December.

Featuring the talented and ever-popular Pelsall Ladies Choir (pictured above, courtesy Gary Nicholls), the musical evening is taking place at the historic church on Little Hill, Wednesbury.

The concert starts at 7.30pm – tickets cost just £5 and are still available on the door.

Roy Aldridge of SSAFA Forces Help Walsall said:

“Each year, SSAFA’s trained staff and network of 7,500 volunteers provide practical support and assistance to more than 50,000 people, from D-Day veterans to young soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

“To do this we need to raise funds, and anyone attending our Charity Christmas Concert at St Bartholomew’s will have the pleasure not only of a very enjoyable start to the festive season but of knowing that they have contributed to important local work.”

If you are interested in helping to support our local branch of the charity, SSAFA FORCES Help – West Midlands North Branch (Walsall District) can also be contacted by post at the T A V R Centre, Gordon House,  Sutton Road, Walsall WS1 2PA or by telephone on 01922 722778 (not manned daily, please leave a message).

Great War exhibition opens at Blakenall Heath

Terri Wall, Service Manager of Blakenall Village Centre, examines artefacts from Walsall Museum in the new exhibition.
Terri Wall, Service Manager of Blakenall Village Centre, examines artefacts from Walsall Museum in the new exhibition.

A small but extremely interesting local history exhibition showing both military and civilian items and information from the First World War period (1914 – 18) opened last Friday at the Blakenall Village Centre off Thames Road, Blakenall Heath.

The exhibition was launched as part of the Blakenall Heath Peace Tree Plaque and Jubilee Stone dedication, for details and pictures of which please read our earlier story.

Combining display material relating to the forthcoming book ‘Sorrow into Pride’ by local historians Ken Wayman and Barry Crutchley with numerous fascinating objects on loan from Walsall Museum with supporting objects from Pelsall Local History Centre and a number of individuals (including one item from the editor of The Bloxwich Telegraph!), the display comprises of several display panels and cabinets attractively set up, complete with sandbags, in the foyer of the centre.

The exhibition as a whole.
The exhibition as a whole.

It has been organised jointly by the Centre, Walsall Museum and Messrs Crutchley and Wayman, and not only offers much of both military and domestic interest but also serves to promote ‘Sorrow into Pride’, which documents and commemorates the men on the Elmore Green School war memorial, which was returned to the school and rededicated on Armistice Day last year, and something of the local history of the Bloxwich area.

It also contains a Foreword by Stuart Williams, editor of The Bloxwich Telegraph.

Terri Wall looks at the information about 'Sorrow into Pride'.
Terri Wall looks at the information about ‘Sorrow into Pride’.

The book, which runs to more than 300 pages of A4, has kindly been funded by New Horizons Community Enterprise, which manages the centre and runs many local activities in Blakenall Heath and parts of Bloxwich and Leamore.  It is presently at the publishers and is expected to be available to buy some time in December or early January.

A Great War Mystery...
A Great War Mystery…

The exhibition also offers a little mystery which organisers hope that Bloxwich Telegraph readers can help with – identifying the unknown item of military equipment pictured above! If you know what this is, please email The Bloxwich Telegraph via our Contact page and we will pass the information on!

The exhibition runs until 7th December 2012.

For more information about the exhibition, the book or to check opening hours, contact Terri Wall, Service Manager of Blakenall Village Centre, on 01922 714900.

More photographs of the exhibition can also be viewed via this link.

A MYSTERY SOLVED!

Since this item was published, we have been contacted by Mr Adrian Rothery, who informs us that the mystery object is in fact an oil bottle, part of a cleaning kit for the Lee Enfield Rifle, which would also have included a cord to be oiled and pulled through the gun to clean it.

Similar information has also been given by several visitors to the exhibition, who additionally say that the item would have been stored within the rifle butt, and we have advised the Blakenall Village Centre and Walsall Museum that the mystery is solved!

Our thanks to Mr Rothery and these other members of the public for their help!

Armed forces support charity organises festive fundraiser

Roy Aldridge of SSAFA Forces Help Walsall District at Bloxwich War Memorial today, Remembrance Sunday.

A charity which supports both current and former armed services personnel is planning to hold a festive fundraiser in the run-up to Christmas, and is inviting kind-hearted local people to join them for an enjoyable night out next month.

The very active West Midlands North Branch (Walsall District) of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help, the national charity for those who serve in our Armed Forces, those who used to serve, and their families, has organised a Charity Christmas Concert at St Bartholomew’s Church in Wednesbury.

Featuring the talented and ever-popular Pelsall Ladies Choir, the musical evening will take place on Saturday, 1st December 2012 at the historic church on Little Hill, Wednesbury.

Roy Aldridge of SSAFA Forces Help Walsall (pictured, above, at Bloxwich War Memorial) said:

“Each year, SSAFA’s trained staff and network of 7,500 volunteers provide practical support and assistance to more than 50,000 people, from D-Day veterans to young soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

“To do this we need to raise funds, and anyone attending our Charity Christmas Concert at St Bartholomew’s will have the pleasure not only of a very enjoyable start to the festive season but of knowing that they have contributed to important local work.”

The concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost just £5.

For further information or to book tickets please telephone the Walsall District branch of SSAFA Forces Help at Gordon House in Sutton Road on 01922 722778.

SSAFA FORCES Help – West Midlands North Branch (Walsall District) can also be contacted by post at the T A V R Centre, Gordon House,  Sutton Road, Walsall WS1 2PA.

Walsall Mayor encourages support for Poppy Appeal

Appeal poppies - picture courtesy of The Royal British Legion.

In advance of this year’s Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday commemorations, Walsall’s Mayor is encouraging the borough’s residents, shoppers, businesses and schoolchildren to show their support for this year’s Poppy Appeal.

Councillor Dennis Anson has indicated that poppies are now on sale at Walsall Council House as well as a host of other council premises.

He said:

“As an ex-RAF serviceman I appreciate the fantastic work that is being done by the Royal British Legion to support those involved in conflicts and their families.

“I am confident that Walsall will rise to the fundraising challenge again in 2012 while helping to raise awareness of the Poppy Appeal which is so very important.”

The Poppy Appeal, which is run annually by the Royal British Legion, raised in excess of £39.5m nationally in 2011.

This year’s Poppy Appeal will again focus on support for the Afghanistan generation of the Armed Forces family.

Since 2003 the Legion has helped more than ten thousand serving, ex-Service and family members who have experience of the Afghan and Iraq conflicts.

The Mayor added:

“There is also a drive to attract new Poppy Appeal volunteers and I would urge willing helpers to put themselves forward to support the cause.”

Anyone aged over 16 who would like to volunteer can contact 0800 085 5924.

Poppies will also be found on sale by official collectors in various locations across the borough, and in participating shops etc.

The Bloxwich Telegraph will be covering Remembrance Sunday in Bloxwich as usual this year.

For more information about the Poppy Appeal and the Royal British Legion follow this link.

Coppers bin relay – chance to support services in Afghanistan

Walsall Police Station, Green Lane.

Staff of Walsall Police Station have been busy organising a collection service for items for sending to UK armed forces personnel at war, since a colleague who has a son currently based at Camp Bastian, Afganistan realised that our ‘boys and girls’ currently serving out there would benefit from a few home comforts as they are currently working 12 hour shifts in 40 degree heat.

So kind-hearted coppers – who certainly know their duty – got their heads together and decided to organise a ‘Bin Relay’ to help collect goodies for hard-pressed servicemen and women.

Items can now be donated for sending overseas via Walsall, Bloxwich, Aldridge, Willenhall and Darlaston Police Stations, and police officers/local residents/local community business’s are also being asked if they would like to make a donation to this very worthwhile cause.

The idea is that members of the Royal Navy will then make the necessary arrangements for our boys and girls in Afghanistan to receive the donations.

Items particularly welcomed as donations include:

  • Gift Cards/Note Paper with Envelopes (to send a personal message to serving armed forces personnel).
  • Flip Flops (male and female).
  • Moisturisers.
  • Personal Hygiene Products (shaving/showering/washing products) – MUST BE NON AEROSOL.
  • Books/Magazines/puzzle books.
  • Biscuits (not chocolate).
  • Sweets (apparently they love Haribo)!!,
  • DVDs and CDs.
  • Entertainment (Travel Games).
  • Playing Cards.
  • Lightweight Leisure Clothing (Shorts/vests/T-Shirts.)
  • Suncream.
  • Summer headwear (hats and caps).

Any donations would be very gratefully received, whether from individuals, organisations or businesses.  It is expected the bins of goodies will be collected and sent off at the end of October.

Walsall Local Policing Unit’s website is available via this link.