Category Archives: Bloxwich

Remembering Harold Parry – 100 years on

Parry with Poppies

I was reminded this past week of the centenary of the passing of a man who I usually think of in November, the month of remembrance, poppies, services and parades. A man who is probably not as well known as he should be, but of whom I have written several times in the past. Harold Parry, Bloxwich’s own War Poet, who like so many others, made the ultimate sacrifice for king and country in the Great War of 1914-18. And that centenary is this Saturday, 6 May 2017.

Harold Parry (‘Hal’ to his friends), son of Alderman, mine engineer, colliery proprietor and landowner David Ebenezer Parry and Sarah Parry, of ‘Croxdene’, Bloxwich, was born on 13 December, 1896, one of twins.

Croxdene in the late 1960s.
Croxdene in the late 1960s.

After studying at a junior school in Bloxwich (probably the National School, High Street), Hal won a scholarship to Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall, where he became an outstanding pupil, head of his House and captain of the school’s football and cricket teams, as well as a cadet officer.  While studying there, he won the Queen’s Prize for History and in 1915 won an Open History Scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford.

Exeter College, Oxford (Wikimedia Commons).
Exeter College, Oxford (Wikimedia Commons).

Hal volunteered for army service in January 1916, being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and after training at Rugeley he transferred to the 17th Battalion, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps, on the front line in France.

Badge of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (Wikimedia Commons).
Badge of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (Wikimedia Commons).
Badge of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (Wikimedia Commons).
Badge of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (Wikimedia Commons).

Before the war, Parry had been a prolific writer of poetry.  The bitter experiences of the trenches, at the Somme and in Belgium, soon made him turn again, this time for relief, to poetry, both reading and writing, and letters home to family and friends.  He could express himself clearly in both prose and verse, and his writings are important in that they reveal what the young men who died in “the war to end all wars” thought about their experiences in that terrible conflict.

A trench on The Somme, 1916.
A British trench on The Somme, 1916.

One of his shortest poems, ‘Tommy’s Dwelling’, written in the field, tells of the ever-present water and mud which was the curse of the trenches:

Tommy’s Dwelling

I come from trenches deep in slime,

Soft slime so sweet and yellow,

And rumble down the steps in time

To souse “some shivering fellow”.

I trickle in and trickle out

Of every nook and corner,

And, rushing like some waterspout,

Make many a rat a mourner.

I gather in from near and far

A thousand brooklets swelling,

And laugh aloud a great “Ha, ha!”

To flood poor Tommy’s dwelling.

German dead at the sunken road in Guillemont during the battle of The Somme.
German dead at the sunken road in Guillemont during the battle of The Somme.

Just two days after a battle, on 14 October 1916 Hal wrote to his sister’s friend Isabel “The average Fritz is as sick at heart over all this destruction as we are. We are preached a doctrine of frightfulness, and yet is it not sufficiently sad to think when you come across an unburied dead German, perhaps this day his wife and children mourn for him, and in the future can know neither peace nor comfort? I must confess it distresses me beyond measure, for I am not a soldier at heart.”

“The real evil in this conflict is not of the individual so much as of the powers that be.  If these dignitaries could only be sat in the trenches for a wee short space, and made to carry heavy coils of wire for long distances up long communication trenches – blasted by the incessant force of the guns, I could guarantee that their war would not last longer than the time to fix up provisional peace terms.  Let Dot read this letter, but not my mother or father, it would make them grieve and I don’t want that.”

Band of the 5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment in the ruins at Ypres.
Band of the 5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment in the ruins at Ypres.

Sadly, like so many soldiers Hal was fated to die young, killed in action on 6 May, 1917 by a German shell at Ypres, in Flanders, while moving from his billet to safer quarters in the cellars nearby.  He was just twenty years old.  Writing to Hal’s father, his commanding officer said “He was a splendid youngster, and a most capable and keen officer, much loved by all.  Had he been spared I am sure he would have made a great name for himself as a soldier.”

Second Lieutenant Harold Parry, Walsall Pioneer, 19 May 1917.
Second Lieutenant Harold Parry, Walsall Pioneer, 19 May 1917.

Instead of making his name as a soldier, in the decades following his death Harold Parry instead become known to posterity as a war poet.  A posthumous volume of letters and poems compiled by G.P. Dennis ‘In Memoriam: Harold Parry’ was published, showing he was exceptionally gifted for such a young man.  The letters show above all his extreme cheerfulness and loyalty, even in the face of danger and death.  Some of his poems are also published in ‘Songs from the Heart of England’, an anthology of Walsall poetry edited by Alfred Moss with a foreword by Jerome K. Jerome.

G.P. Dennis wrote of him “Harold Parry was no saint, he had with the rest of us his faults and failings and annoyingnesses; but that the evil in him was less than most, and that he fought it harder,  that the good in him was greater, and that he used it better – of these things his friends are certain.  He always tried to do what he believed was right: what more can a good man do?”

Such is the measure of the man.  His good name and his words live after him, and he is not forgotten.

Harold Parry is buried at Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, West Flanders, Belgium.  His headstone bears the inscription “Death is the Gate To the High Road of Life And Love is the Way (Harold Parry).”

Its twin, rather more careworn after a century, honours his name in Field Road Cemetery, Bloxwich.

I usually go there to ponder on the life of a Bloxwich man and the folly of war in cold November. This time around, in the sunlit spring, I have visited that small, forgotten shrine of remembrance and placed flowers for the centenary of his passing. I placed them today. Perhaps others may do the same tomorrow, and think on the apt words of another poet, Mary Elizabeth Frye.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Monument to Harold Parry at Field Rd Cemetery, Bloxwich.
Monument to Harold Parry at Field Rd Cemetery, Bloxwich.

Ironically, although Harold Parry has a monument at Bloxwich, and there are a number of similar stones there, he is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s list for Bloxwich Cemetery, he is listed at  Vlamertinghe. But there are also many men who are listed as buried here, via this link, and they are all worthy of remembrance.

Lest we forget

Bloxwich Telegraph links up with Rediscover Bloxwich

Local rock legend Noddy Holder meets the project group at Walsall Academy, Bloxwich (Pic Stuart Williams)
Local rock legend Noddy Holder meets the project group at Walsall Academy, Bloxwich (Pic Stuart Williams)

In 2016, young people and staff from the Walsall Academy in Lichfield Road, Bloxwich (site of the former T.P. Riley Comprehensive School) joined forces with Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team, video producers and digital media specialists Catcher Media, local writer and Bloxwich Telegraph editor Stuart Williams, Walsall Local History Centre, Walsall Council Regeneration and other local people on a very special Heritage Lottery-funded project to literally focus on the history and heritage of Bloxwich through the eyes, ears and voices of the school’s students, local people and other contributors and through the camera eye of Catcher Media.

What’s it all about?

The basic idea of the project, known as Rediscover Bloxwich, was:

What if each Bloxwich building or street has a story to tell? And what if some of these stories are fascinating? Or scary? Or funny? And what if they make you think about Bloxwich in a new way? Re-discover it.

So Walsall Academy students set out to find out about Bloxwich’s heritage, and to tell that story back to Bloxwich residents. They talked to celebrities, their own families, older people and historians.

The Rediscover website and the film they made pools all of the information, photos, interviews and stories that came to light throughout the project.

The project is also being followed up by the production and installation of a range of related public heritage art pieces set to be installed in Bloxwich centre later this year.

Rediscover Bloxwich logo

What’s on the site?

Apart from information about the project and the main video content itself, there are also a number of pages which offer links to more resources, several video clips of extra interviews of local people and Bloxwich rock legend Noddy Holder of Slade fame, and several pages themed on local Bloxwich heritage topics, with historical information, covering everything from Bloxwich pubs and local myths to industry, churches, fairs – and the Bloxwich lion! Information is also provided about the planned heritage artworks, and credits and acknowledgements.

Linking up for Bloxwich

The Bloxwich Telegraph, whose editor Stuart Williams was commissioned to act as Historical Advisor to the project, is proud to announce its formal – and now digital – links with the project, the film and the resulting website.

From time to time we will highlight aspects of the project from this site and and on our social media. To this end we have now installed a permanent direct link to Rediscover Bloxwich on our main site menu, and via clicking on the Rediscover logo in the right-hand column of every page.

We hope you enjoy finding out about Bloxwich’s past, through Rediscover Bloxwich and via the pages of The Bloxwich Telegraph.

For further information, please click on the following link or any of the others highlighted in this news item.

Rediscover Bloxwich

Fly the flag for Bloxwich and win £150!

A Flag for Bloxwich

Do you love Bloxwich? Would you like to see a brand new flag flying over the town?  Or even over your home? Well, now’s your chance to have your say on the matter, and even contribute to design ideas for our very own Flag for Bloxwich. You can even win a prize of £150!

A recently-launched competition from the Flag for Bloxwich Committee, in partnership with the Bloxwich Old & New Facebook page and several local councillors, is offering Bloxwich residents and ex-pats the chance to put YOUR ideas forward, and the Committee has asked the Bloxwich Telegraph to put the word out.

Competition flyer

Below, you’ll find two scans of the front and back of the competition flyer, with full details, and you can enlarge or download these for printing just by clicking on them and saving then printing the enlarged versions.  Alternatively, you can draw your own design separately and email it with your entry to the competition email address: aflagforbloxwichcomp@gmail.com  where you can also get an entry form. You can also speak to Martin Morris from Bloxwich Old & New on 07590 523561 if you need to know anything else, and contact the Committee on their Facebook page.

Remember – a flag is not like a coat of arms or a poster, so only certain design elements and relevant colours are likely to make it into a real flag design. Simple ideas are the best, such as those in the Black Country flag below, which symbolises the proud industrial past of the Black Country, ‘Red by day and Black by night’, and incorporates symbolism of chain making and the glass cones.

The Black Country Flag - click to enlarge
The Black Country Flag – click to enlarge

If you don’t feel up to drawing your own flag ideas, why not tell the committee what elements of Bloxwich ought to make it into the design, such as the Bloxwich Wishing Tree, the fountain, local industry, anvil stones, our green and leafy parks, war memorial or any other symbols? Even if specific designs are unsuitable, ideas are very useful when choosing the elements of a flag.

Submissions

Submissions from all ages and abilities are welcome.

If successful, you could even win a first prize of £150 – and more importantly, see a flag based on your ideas flying over Bloxwich – now wouldn’t that be great?

The closing date for entries is 23 December 2016 – so get your thinking caps on now!

And when you send your entry or ideas in, please do mention that you saw this in the Bloxwich Telegraph!

Bloxwich Flag Competition Flyer - front - click to enlarge
Bloxwich Flag Competition Flyer – front – click to enlarge
Bloxwich Flag Competition Flyer - back - click to enlarge
Bloxwich Flag Competition Flyer – back – click to enlarge

Bloxwich heritage art proposals on show this Friday

Luke Perry installing his well-known Pit Head sculpture at Oak Park in Walsall Wood
Luke Perry installing his well-known Pit Head sculpture at Oak Park in Walsall Wood

Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team and Regeneration and Development Service are currently working on a heritage project in Bloxwich to design, fabricate and install 4 new public art pieces in different locations, to promote and celebrate the history and heritage of Bloxwich. This has been made possible from Council and Section106 funding.

Nationally recognised public artist Luke Perry, who is also an award-winning director of Industrial Heritage Stronghold, is noted for his monumental sculptures, most especially those celebrating the heritage of the Industrial Revolution, particularly in the Black Country. He has been working on the Bloxwich commission and has over the last two months been carrying out community consultation to gather local people’s thoughts and  ideas for the themes of the sculptures.

The top Bloxwich themes identified for the project have included: Pat Collins Fairs, Industry, Musical icons (Rob Halford and Noddy Holder) and an anecdotal tale of ‘The escaped Bloxwich Lion’. Stuart Williams of Walsall Local History Centre and The Bloxwich Telegraph has acted as an historical advisor to the project.

The true story of the legendary Bloxwich Lion will be revealed in The Bloxwich Telegraph tonight!
The true story of the legendary Bloxwich Lion will be revealed in The Bloxwich Telegraph tonight!
Feedback invited

Council staff welcome people’s feedback on the exciting new sculptures, and the proposed designs will be on display for the public to see on Bloxwich Market today, Friday 12th August 2016, between 10am-2pm.

Please feel free to pop down and have a look!

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.

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
Hobbyrail
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:

Birchills-Leamore
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

Blakenall
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:

http://webwalsall.com/elections/results2/

 

Results figures are provided here courtesy of Walsall Council

Bloxwich Carnival Royalty selection coming up soon

Bloxwich Carnival Selection Poster (click to enlarge)
Bloxwich Carnival Selection Poster (click to enlarge)

Next month will see a very special event in the Bloxwich calendar take place – the annual selection of the Bloxwich Carnival ‘royalty’.

The 2016 Bloxwich Carnival takes place on Saturday 6th August at King George V Playing Fields, from 12 noon.

This year’s Bloxwich Carnival Queen, Princess and Rosebud will be chosen live on stage on Thursday 14th April 2016 at Bloxwich Library Theatre, Elmore Row, Bloxwich, Walsall, WS3 2HR. The successful entrants on the night will be formally crowned at Bloxwich Carnival itself.

To enter

Application forms to enter are available via the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix website – www.bloxwichphoenix.net and also in jpeg format by clicking on the images below.

Entrance categories are:

ROSEBUD AGE 7-10 (must be 7 by selection day)
PRINCESS AGE 11-15 (must be 11 by selection day)
QUEEN AGE 16-24 (must be 16 by selection day)

Please note that there is a dress code – see the poster above and form below, and see the entry form for all other conditions of entry and attendance.

A copy of the application form is shown below – click to enlarge each image.

Bloxwich Carnival Royalty 2016 Application page 1 (click to enlarge)
Bloxwich Carnival Royalty 2016 Application page 1 (click to enlarge)
Bloxwich Carnival Royalty 2016 Application page 2 (click to enlarge)
Bloxwich Carnival Royalty 2016 Application page 2 (click to enlarge)

Forms can be returned to Jeneve Bridal Wear, High Street, Bloxwich or to Bloxwich Library, Elmore Row.

Candidates should arrive on selection night at 6pm, ready to start selection at 6.30pm and must be available to attend Bloxwich Carnival day, Saturday 6th August 2016.

For more information contact Debbie Jones on 07809 605280.

Walsall Air Cadets receive ATC 75th anniversary torch in Bloxwich

Flt Lt Ian Averill (right) of 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC with the cadet from 240 (Darlaston) Squadron ATC (left) who handed over the75th Anniversary Torch to a cadet from 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC, centre
Flt Lt Ian Averill (right) of 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC with the cadet from 240 (Darlaston) Squadron ATC (left) who handed over the75th Anniversary Torch to a cadet from 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC, centre

A local branch of the Air Training Corps, the youth organisation that fits young people for life in the Royal Air Force as well as promoting and encouraging all the qualities that requires, enthusiastically celebrated the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ATC (also known as the Air Cadets) in a special event at their Bloxwich headquarters last Sunday.

196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC, based in Bloxwich, is commanded by Flt Lt Ian Averill RAF VR (T), who has, with the help of ATC colleagues, built the unit up over a number of years, starting with just nine members and currently peaking at forty, an impressive number for such a hard-working and disciplined organisation.  Apart from their military training and participation in adventurous activities like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, the Squadron are also well known for their community work, with the cadets often to be seen helping out at charitable events such as the annual Bloxwich Carnival Senior Citizens’ Party.

196 Squadron help out at Bloxwich Senior Citizens Party 2015 (pic Roy Peace).
196 Squadron help out at Bloxwich Senior Citizens Party 2015 (pic Roy Peace).

Based in a purpose-built headquarters in Stokes Street which they share with local Army Cadets, 196 Squadron were all smartly turned out and on parade by 12.30pm.  Sunday’s perfect weather made for the perfect occasion, and 196 Squadron also received a special guest, the Deputy Mayor of Walsall, Cllr Kath Phillips of Bloxwich, who together with her consort, was there to take part in the ceremonies, joining with the Squadron and with representatives of the Great Wyrley branch of the Royal British Legion, which has ‘adopted’ our local cadets, in making other presentations to cadets and members of the Legion.

Deputy Mayor of Walsall Cllr Kath Phillips JP and her consort Maurice Phillips are greeted by 196 Squadron OC Flt Lt Ian Averill RAF VR (T).
Deputy Mayor of Walsall Cllr Kath Phillips JP and her consort Maurice Phillips are greeted by 196 Squadron OC Flt Lt Ian Averill RAF VR (T).

The main event of the day was heralded by the arrival of a formal deputation of fellow ATC cadets of 240 (Darlaston) Squadron, who, with their OC (Officer Commanding) Flt Lt Steve Baker, turned up in style in a stretch limousine to present our local squadron with the very special  Staffordshire Wing ATC 75th Anniversary Torch.

Cadets from 240 (Darlaston) Squadron ATC arrive in style and prepare to ceremonially hand over the Torch.
Cadets from 240 (Darlaston) Squadron ATC arrive in style and prepare to ceremonially hand over the Torch.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Corps, the torch is being passed around the Staffordshire and Black Country ATC squadrons, each of whom is able to use it in their own events and for inspiration for just one week before formally passing it on to the next group – in this case 425 (Aldridge) Squadron ATC, who will be receiving the torch next Sunday.

Flt Lt Steve Baker (left) of 240 (Darlaston) Squadron ATC and Flt Lt Ian Averill (right) of 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC with the two Cadets who handed over the Torch and Deputy Mayor of Walsall Cllr Kath Phillips JP plus consort Maurice Phillips
Flt Lt Steve Baker (left) of 240 (Darlaston) Squadron ATC and Flt Lt Ian Averill (right) of 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC with the two Cadets who handed over the Torch and Deputy Mayor of Walsall Cllr Kath Phillips JP plus consort Maurice Phillips

Despite a slight delay in the arrival of the torch, the event went off smartly and without a hitch as dignitaries, guests and rightly proud families of the cadets looked on as the Torch was formally passed from the Darlaston squadron to Walsall via two young cadets specially chosen to make the presentation.

Flt Lt Ian Averill, OC of 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC shows guests the displays in the Drill Hall at the Stokes Street, Bloxwich HQ
Flt Lt Ian Averill, OC of 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC shows guests the displays in the Drill Hall at the Stokes Street, Bloxwich HQ

The Deputy Mayor, guests and cadets’ families also had the opportunity to view displays of information and activities in the building’s Drill Hall and to partake of refreshments.

Flt Lt Ian Averill, OC of 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC says a few words after the ceremonial handing-over of the Staffordshire Wing Air Training Corps 75th Anniversary Torch.
Flt Lt Ian Averill, OC of 196 (Walsall) Squadron ATC says a few words after the ceremonial handing-over of the Staffordshire Wing Air Training Corps 75th Anniversary Torch.

The Bloxwich Telegraph was delighted to be invited to attend and cover the ceremony, and here presents a few of the pictures taken, as well as a downloadable Flickr album covering the entire event, which may be found by clicking on the following link:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bloxwichtelegraph/albums/72157665380056830

Bloxwich couple’s Diamond Anniversary is an ‘Affair to Remember’

1956 was a vintage year for Ronald and Beryl Beier!
1956 was a vintage year for Ronald and Beryl Beier!

Walsall Mayor, Councillor Angela Underhill welcomed another special couple to her parlour this week to share in their Diamond Wedding celebrations.  Ronald and Beryl Beier from Bloxwich were invited to the Town Hall along with family and friends to celebrate not only their 60th wedding anniversary, but Ron’s 83rd birthday, too.

The couple married on February 18th 1956 (pictured, above) at All Saints Church in Bloxwich and spent their honeymoon in London.   They are proud parents to daughter Jan, son Michael, grandchildren; Jennie, Helen, Amy and Alex as well as great grandparents to the youngest members of the party, Harrison, Isaac and Amelia.

Beryl, surrounded by her large loving family recalled their first afternoon out some 61 years earlier and a long shared history.

She said “I suppose you could day it was Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr that brought us together, because on our very first date in 1955 we travelled to Birmingham by bus to catch a matinee of ‘An Affair to Remember.’  It was on at the Odeon cinema – I don’t really remember too much about the film, but I do remember how special Ron made me feel that day and all the days since.”

Beryl and Ron met at ‘WR Wheway’ the chain making firm in Walsall where they both worked from the mid 1950’s.

Beryl said: “Actually it was Ron who approached me first in April of 1995, he asked me out but didn’t succeed at first, he was persistent though and in the end got the right response. That was the start of our courtship and love must have blossomed quickly because we got engaged during a summer holiday in Torquay, which was within three months of us meeting”

The happy couple and assorted guests enjoyed afternoon tea, cakes and were toasted with champagne.  They spent two hours with the Mayor and shared memories and photos of their years together in Walsall, as seen in the colour picture above.

Beryl said; “We feel so privileged, not only have we received congratulations from the Queen, but this the icing on the anniversary cake.   It was a lovely thing for the Mayor to have done for us and it’s been extra special as it was Ron’s 83rdth birthday, too.   On top of this our son whose been working in Bulgaria turned up to surprise us.  Our daughter Jan has been brilliant to organise all of this and keep everyone quiet about it.  Amazing! “

“Family is everything to us and it’s been such a wonderful l afternoon.  The Mayoral Parlour is lovely and to have our family and friends with us on a doubly special day and in such great surroundings makes us feel blessed. “

When asked what the recipe was for a long and happy marriage, Ron who had been listening intently to Beryl straightaway added;   “A lasting and loving marriage is all about mutual respect, talking things through and being content with each other and life.”

And in summing up their sixty year partnership Beryl’s final words on the matter were:

“Day to day we never tire of being together and are always at each other’s side. “

Walsall Mayor, Councillor Angela Underhill said; “I am delighted that Ron and Beryl could join me on their special diamond anniversary and on Ron’s birthday.   They are a delightful and devoted couple who have raised and supported a lovely family – who are here to celebrate with them.   I wish them many more happy years together.”

Is your 60th coming up?

If you’re approaching your 60th wedding anniversary, or know of a Walsall couple who will reach this marital milestone – the Mayoral Office is accepting nominations from diamond couples up until May 2016.

Please write, or email your request to;

Verity Edwards,

Mayor’s Personal Assistant

Legal and Democratic Services

Mayor’s Office

The Mayor’s Parlour

The Council House

Lichfield Street

Walsall WS1 1TP

Email:  verity.edwards@walsall.gov.uk