Category Archives: Events

Please Sir, can we have some more in Leamore?

Oliver Twist by Charles DickensTalented performers from Walsall Youth Theatre are certain to leave audiences wanting more when they stage Lionel Bart’s Oliver! next week.

They will be staging one of the best-loved British musicals at Leamore’s Forest Arts Centre on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 26, 27 and 28 October in a half term treat to be enjoyed by all the family. Continue reading Please Sir, can we have some more in Leamore?

Have a headbanging Halloween at Bookmark Bloxwich!

Red Venice rock Bloxwich!
Red Venice rock Bloxwich!

A classic rock treat for Halloween has been lined up at Bookmark Bloxwich – courtesy of Red Venice.

The Midland rock covers band promises the greatest rock anthems from Journey, Deep Purple, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Cream and many more.

The five piece band launched the return of live music to the Bloxwich venue at the start of 2011 and is back by popular demand to play on Saturday 29 October.

Red Venice  was formed in August 2009 and is made up of Samantha Hayward on lead vocals, Darren Collins on drums, Steve Smith on bass guitar, Melvin Amos and Nigel Head on guitars and vocals.

Steve Smith said: “We’re thrilled to be rocking it out back in Bloxwich after kicking off 2011 at this great venue.

“Next weekend’s gig is also a brilliant excuse for fans to dress up to mark Halloween!”

Tickets, at £5 each, are available from Bloxwich Library on 01922 655900.
Doors open at 8pm and the gig starts at 8.30pm.

Bloxwich bonfire lights the blue touch paper!

FireworksBloxwich will be a riot of colour next weekend as the borough’s first bonfire and firework display gets under way.

The bonfire at King George V Playing Fields will be lit at 7pm on Saturday 29 October.

Fireworks will delight the crowd from 8pm-8.20pm.

Hundreds of visitors visit the bonfires, organised by Walsall Council’s parks team, every year.

John Millard, Walsall Council senior park ranger, said: “We’re counting down to the first of this year’s three bonfire events and are looking forward to another huge turnout.

“Supervised bonfires are the safest option for all and we’re very proud of our colourful firework displays which are well praised  every time we stage them.”

Food is available at the bonfire event along with children’s rides.

Entry is £3 for adults, £1 for children and free for under fives.
For safety reasons visitors are not allowed to bring their own fireworks or sparklers to the event. No alcohol is allowed and under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

The park rangers still need hundreds of wooden pallets to build the bonfires and are asking businesses, factories and supermarkets to rally round.

John added: “Our bonfires are massive and take some building so any help is much appreciated.

“We have been well supported in previous years by businesses from all over Walsall, as well as slightly further afield, and we hope to attract the same level of support this year.”

Anyone who is able to donate and deliver pallets should contact senior park rangers John Millard on 07736 388409 or John Morris on 07736 388418.

Summer celebrations at Seaside Bloxwich

Summer seaside fun off-High Street with special Red Route dispensation for donkeys in Park Rd! (Pix: Stuart Williams)

Saturday saw sun, seaside fun and happy families flock to Bloxwich to enjoy the latest promotion of the village and local traders by Bloxwich Business Partnership working with Walsall Council and the local community.

‘Juggling Jim’ proves he’s the ‘top’ dog at imparting circus skills

Circus and carnival themed fun took place along High Street and Park Road, as well as at ASDA, as part of the Bloxwich Celebrates Summer event.

New Bloxwich Carnival Queen Abigail Nicholls (right) joined Princess Lucy Kirk handing out leaflets in High Street

Numerous activities including face painting, Punch and Judy show, circus workshop and donkey rides were lined up at the event organised by the Partnership supported by Walsall Council’s district centre management team, organised by Nikki Rolls.

2010 Bloxwich Carnival Queen Jessica Jones (centre) joined event organiser Nikki Rolls (right) and staff of Sweet & Fancy for a laugh in Park Road

The popular event ran from 11am to 3pm and proved popular with children of all ages. One visitor even thought the Carnival had arrived a week early!

Donkey rides in Park Road

The borough’s district centres, especially Bloxwich, which has been undergoing a renaissance since the refurbishment of Bloxwich Library and Theatre as Bookmark Bloxwich, and the reformation of Bloxwich Business Partnership, have a lot going on and this was a great event with wide appeal to people across Bloxwich and district.

Pinxton Puppets played Punch & Judy at the ASDA

Not just about well-timed fun in the sun, Bloxwich Celebrates Summer also has the serious purpose of attracting shoppers into the High Street to support hard-pressed local traders.  Many of those traders also support the Bloxwich Business Partnership, and on this occasion a shop window decoration competition also attracted eight entries.

Also at ASDA, Bloxwich Carnival Committee Chairman Terry Bate (left) joined Cllr Shaun Fitzpatrick and his wife Julie selling raffle tickets for next Saturday’s Carnival

The business partnership has also just published the 2011 Bostin’ Bloxwich guide which includes information about events and businesses in Bloxwich including the forthcoming carnival (next Saturday 6 August!) and details of the village’s entry in this year’s Heart of England in Bloom competition.The guide, which is funded through advertising and Bloxwich Business Partnership, has been distributed through various avenues including schools and businesses.

Information about events in Bloxwich can be found on Facebook by searching for Bloxwich town centre or via Twitter @Bloxwichtown – as well as in the pages of The Bloxwich Telegraph!

A photo album of the event may be viewed on Flickr via this link.

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Young and old raise the roof at Bloxwich Baths

Senior citizens from Bloxwich and district tuck in thanks to Bloxwich Carnival (All pix: Stuart Williams)

Senior citizens from across Bloxwich and district joined forces with local youngsters and carnival supporters in an afternoon of food, fun and fine entertainment on Thursday when Bloxwich Carnival hosted them as guests at their annual party at the former Bloxwich Baths.

And some unexpected guests from local schools put the icing on the cake for the more than two hundred “old folks” attending, who tucked in at the invitation of the Carnival Committee via various local groups, organisations and nursing homes in the very civilised Art Deco surroundings of the former 1920s baths on Pinfold, which is now a permanent function hall associated with Bloxwich Leisure Centre.

Carnival Royalty ( L to R, rear) Abigail Nicholls (Bloxwich Carnival Queen 2011), Jessica Jones (Carnival Queen 2010), Lucy Kirk (Carnival Princess 2011) and Phoebe Willetts (Carnival Rosebud 2011) serve members of Leamore & Blakenall Snr Ciitizens Sons of Rest and 50+ Forum groups

The tradition of an “Old Folks Party” associated with the carnival goes back a long way in the village, with the annual spectacular (this year on 6 August) originally raising funds for local hospitals and ex-servicemen of the Great War following the 1919 peace celebrations, together with doing general good deeds and raising funds for the elderly of Bloxwich.
When the carnival – which has had remarkable ups and occasional downs over the decades and finished in 1985 due to lack of support – was revived by the Friends of Bloxwich Parks for the Millennium in 2000, it continued successfully under a new committee and in 2001 the “Old Folks” tea party was revived, at first taking place on the Friday before the Carnival, where invited senior citizens attended a performance by one of Pat Collins’ fairground organs.

Air Cadets of Bloxwich-based 196 (Walsall) Squadron fly up and down the aisles delivering lunches with pinpoint accuracy!

This year’s happy throng were not only very well-served by ‘carnival royalty’ Abigail Nicholls (Bloxwich Carnival Queen 2011), Jessica Jones (Carnival Queen 2010), Lucy Kirk (Carnival Princess 2011) and Phoebe Willetts (Carnival Rosebud 2011) but also by many members of Bloxwich Carnival Committee and other supporters, together with local young people from 196 (Walsall) Squadron Air Cadets, based in Bloxwich.

Carnival Committee member Roy Peace (right), Chairman Terry Bate (centre) and Mrs. Peace hand out scones

The event started off with a prayer from Rev. Kareen Lowther of Holy Ascension Church, Lower Farm.  Then, as well as a fine tea, the guests were treated to a grand singalong by veteran professional musicians and vocalists Antoine Socci (on accordion) and son Antony Socci (on trumpet) of Sapphire Entertainments, who really know how to work a crowd.

Two musical generations in harmony: Antony (left)  and Antoine Socci play up a stormIn addition to the serenading sounds of the Soccis, guests were also entertained by the remarkable talents of two groups from local schools who very kindly stepped in at the last minute after another act let the party down.

The wonderful voices of the talented choir of Abbey JMI School, Mossley, easily filled the massive hall with a great range of songs.  They were followed later by a number of remarkable routines from the graceful young ladies of Walsall Academy Dance Group, plus excellent singer Jack, also from the Academy, who proved particularly popular with female members of the audience!

Members of Abbey School Choir sing their hearts out for the senior citizens of Bloxwich!

Young performers from Walsall Academy dance and sing to the delight of the audience

Little did they know that they were performing on the very stage that legendary acts such as Jerry Lee Lewis rocked on back in the 50s and 60s!

Finally, accompanied by much jollity from both stage and audience, the guests all took part in a free prize raffle organised by the carnival committee, with the winning tickets picked out by one of the Air Cadets.

Raffle organiser Yvonne Westley (left) with prizes & Terry Bate (right) looks on as a young Air Cadet draws the raffle

Master of Ceremonies Terry Bate, Chairman of Bloxwich Carnival Committee, led proceedings and introduced both entertainers and carnival royalty alike to the happy, cheering audience.  And a very special moment was reserved for the most senior of the guests, Mrs Florence Elizabeth Riley of Bloxwich, who will be aged just 102 in August, with birthday wishes announced to all from the stage, and congratulations from Rev Lowther!

Rev Kareen Lowther (right, standing) congratulates ‘Lizzie’ Riley on her forthcoming 102nd birthday

Air Cadets join guests for a final dance on-stage, led by their Commanding Officer Flt Lt Ian Averill RAF VR (T)

Finally,  apart from having the pleasure of witnessing a great celebration of the value of our older residents and their irrepressible spirit and sense of humour, this reporter drew two important lessons from this event, which ought to be better acknowledged in the cynical so-called “big society”, big-media Britain of today.

Firstly, that the age-old British sense of community and charity does still exist – it shines out from all those involved in the organisation and support of very special events like this and Bloxwich Carnival itself.

And secondly, that our often much-maligned “youth of today” deserve to be given far more credit and support than seems to be the case from the rants of politicians and tirades of the gutter press.  Certainly these kids, from the Air Cadets and the schools alike, surely have “the right stuff” and should be given credit for it.  The Bloxidge Tallygraph salutes them all!

For a full album of photos from the party, follow this link to the hi-res set on Flickr.  And to find out about the history of Bloxwich Carnival, see our Bloxwich Carnival page!

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Church chuffed at railway show success

Chris Hill operates his father John’s fictionalised ‘Sneyd Sidings’ layout, full little local touches and names redolent of old Bloxwich (Pix: S.Williams)

This year’s Bloxwich Model Railway Show took place last Saturday 14 May, and was a great success, judging both by the crowds attending and the substantial number of remarkably detailed working layouts on show.

Owner/operator Malcolm Davies and his fictionalised ‘Birchills Junction’ layout

Organised by St John’s Methodist Church, the church institute (hall) is usually the venue for the popular annual show, and this year the event also overflowed into the church itself.

Layouts scheduled to attend included Tremore (00), Upton (EM), Conyer Dewit (00), Ashburton (00), Birchills Junction (00), Peters Street (00), Rowley St. Giles (00), Kingshill (009), Bryngwern (5.5mm), Bewdley (N), Larkrise (N), Eyning Broad MPD (00), Tinker’s Green Halt (00), Hawthorn Mill (009), and many were photographed by The Bloxidge Tallygraph for this news story.

Robin Daley (10, right) joined forces with fellow West Bromwich Railway Model Club member John Brown-Rigg to operate ‘Meadley’, a layout built by Ian Miles

Most of the layouts were large, intricated and beautifully detailed in a variety of gauges (scales), from ‘N’ being the smallest locomotives and rolling stock, with scenery scaled down accordingly, up to the popular Hornby-originated standard gauge ‘OO’ which many of will have owned as children, but which are definitely not toys at today’s prices!

Two unusual standouts were HO (an American gauge slightly smaller than the British OO) and 09, a narrow gauge scale.  Both were unusual subjects compared to the rest of the displays as can be seen below.

New England in the fall? An atmospheric close-up of Chris Gilbert’s compact HO gauge layout based on ‘Haston, Vermont’, USA. See Flickr set (link below) for a view of the whole thing

‘Kingshill’, a fictionalised narrow-gauge layout ioperated by owner/builder Ben Powell (right) and Julien Webb, members of The 009 Society which specialises in narrow-gauge railway modelling

Many layouts were long but not so deep, and most had to be transported in sections before reassembly on tables.  This was taken to extremes in the extensive N-gauge ‘Bewdley’ layout, for example, which packed an enormous amount of track into a long but relatively narrow space.

L to R: Nick Simons, Olley Reading and young Harry Brazier (6), members of the Telford Railway Modellers Group, operate the massive n-gauge ‘Bewdley’ layout based on the Severn Valley Railway

Some layouts were smaller, one or two being short but very creatively designed to show just a small section of a line, with exceptional 3D-layering when viewed at eye-level with the potential to be wall-mounted, such as the ‘Haston, Vermont’ layout above and the ‘Tremore’ layout below.

Owner/operator Nick Palette shows off his compact yet detailed ‘Tremore’ layout in the church hall

There were also a number of interesting model-making demonstrations plus trade model and book sales stands as well as a tombola and fundraising stalls.

Proceeds from the event were in aid of St John’s Church funds, and judging by the amount of enthusiasm both for participating in and viewing the shows, it seems its future as an annual event in the model railway calendar is ensured, putting Bloxwich on the modelling map, whatever the  scale!

FLICKR PHOTO ALBUM

A Flickr set of photographs of this event may be viewed and downloaded via this link.

NEW MODEL RAILWAY CLUB

The exhibition was so enthusiastically received that the formation of a new Bloxwich (St John’s) Model Railway Club will also now go ahead, and will meet at the church in Victoria Avenue every Thursday between 2pm-4.30pm.

Contact: John Hill, Tel: 01922 475557 or 07970 390258, and by email to:  john@hill5706.freeserve.co.uk

For more about St. John’s Methodist Church, see their website.

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Know your Bloxwich – fun in the sun!


Organiser Nikki Rolls of Walsall Council enjoys a rare break with some veggie curry as Emma Harewood of Bloxwich Business Partnership/Co-operative Travel promotes the travel competition (pix S. Williams)

Tuesday saw the latest in a series of fun public events in the village from Walsall Council’s District Centre Management Team and Bloxwich Business Partnership – on a beautiful sunny springday!

Part of a week-long celebration of the borough’s district centres, ‘Know Your Town’ in Bloxwicn ran between 10am-2pm in Bloxwich Market and Park Road.

Sharon Woodland (left) Community Fundraiser and colleague Rachel Ridler represent newly-merged St Giles Walsall Hospice with a friendly smile and a sense of adventure!

The event included a range of information stands and stalls, free fun activities for all the family, Walsall Council’s exciting Reach-up Climbing Tower, giveaways and promotions and Beacon Radio street stars.

It was a great chance to find out about local shops and businesses, leisure opportunities, health services, area partnerships, employment and training opportunities, local charities, environmental initiatives, benefits advice, council services, police and fire services and much more!

The Beacon Radio team and Bloxwich Police formed the centrepiece of the Market Square

Stalls were on show from newly-merged St Giles Walsall Hospice, Walsall Council, the Stan Ball Centre, The Range, Best of Walsall, Bloxwich Childrens’ Centre, Leamore Windows, Money Shop, Walsall Absence Management Service, Beacon Radio and Bloxwich Police – not forgetting the enticing Love Food – Hate Waste stall which was cooking and handing out veggie curry live!

The Stan Ball Centre stall

One of the Walsall Council stalls, in this case promoting a new Food Hygiene rating system

At the northern end of the village just off High Street in Park Road, there was more fun and advice to be had from the Walsall Council One Stop Shop bus,the Council’s Reach-up Climbing Tower, and West Midlands Fire Service.

The Walsall Council Reach-up Tower was in non-stop use by adventurous Bloxwich youngsters

There was also a chance to win a seven night holiday at the Golden Sands resort in Lincolnshire thanks to The Co-operative Travel Walsall & Haven.

It was another great day in Bloxwich, and also supported our local market, so a winner all round.

For more information about the work of Bloxwich Business Partnership and the work of  District Centre Management in Bloxwich, contact Nikki Rolls on 01922 652416/652095.

More photographs including these and other stalls etc in high-res in our Flickr set via this link.

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Stacey seals Stan Ball Centre sale success

Willenhall Carnival Queen Stacey Senior (left) and Deb Brownlee of the Stan Ball Centre (Pix: Stuart Williams)

Yesterday saw the first ever Sunday Table Top Sale at The Stan Ball Centre in Bloxwich, and the undoubted success of the event was sealed by a visit from the lovely Stacey Senior.  Stacey  travelled across the borough from her home in Willenhall to open the event as the new Willenhall Carnival Queen, by invitation of the organisers, at 11am on Sunday.

The day saw two ‘firsts’ – the centre’s first ever sale event and Stacey’s first public engagement as Carnival Queen.  But why would a Willenhall Carnival Queen be making an appearance in Bloxwich?
The super new Stan Ball Centre consists of two buildings in canalside grounds off Abbotts Street
Well, this remarkable two-building centre, a major facility catering for the over 50’s, opened last year in Abbotts Street and replacing a previous building, has been working closely with Stacey in her ‘day job’ as a Senior Social Worker for Walsall Council.  And she has been helping to prepare the model for a widow and widowers group soon to be set up there.
And Stacey was not only performing a ceremonial role, she was joining in with the event itself as she and her mother had their own table selling their home made cakes  as a fundraiser for a family friend in need of treatment for cancer.

Stacey meets local artist Jackie (left) and Eddie Plimmer on their stall then checks out the display from St. John’s Church Perservation Group who had come all the way from Dudley

The Bloxidge Tallygraph was delighted to be invited to cover the event, and Edditer Stuart Williams rolled up with his camera at opening time to be welcomed at the door both by Queen Stacey and by Deb Brownlee, Young at Heart Project Co-ordinator and energetic organiser at the centre.  The hall in which the sale was being held was already packed with great stalls and enthusiastic buyers checking out their wares.

Deb Brownlee said “What a relief that people turned up! It had been throwing it down with rain all morning and being our first one we couldn’t be sure that people would come!  But by 11am the sun was shining and with 28 tables there was a wide variety of goods and stalls on offer.   To have the Willenhall Carnival Queen to perform the opening ceremony was really just the icing on the cake. It was a great day and we are so grateful to everyone who helped us develop this and gave us support.”

The centre opened its doors in January and is developing a wide range of classes, groups, care services and fundraising events, plus dances every Saturday night.Details from 01922 403351 or Facebook Bloxwich Community Partnership Stan Ball Centre.

More photographs on Flickr via this link.

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World Book Night success at Bloxwich Library

Stuart Williams ready to read and give away books at Bloxwich Library (Pic by Steve Mohammed)

Saurday night was World Book Night, which amazingly not only took over BBC2 for much of the evening but also saw 20,000 people giving away a million favourite books throughout the evening and across the UK and Ireland.

And thanks to local writer,  historian and Bloxidge Tallygraph Edditer Stuart Williams joining forces with management and staff of Bloxwich Library, World Book Night also came to Bookmark Bloxwich, in a small event at the Elmore Row library which took place alongside the Tiger, Tiger poetry night in Bloxwich Library Theatre, of which more news in due course.

Stuart was kept busy in the library foyer numbering and giving away free specially printed World Book Night collectors editions of NORTHERN LIGHTS, the first book in the legendary fantasy/science fiction trilogy ‘His Dark Materials’ by top author Philip Pullman, between 7.30pm-9pm.

He also read for a half-hour at 8pm from NORTHERN LIGHTS, which was adapted for the silver screen in 2007 as THE GOLDEN COMPASS starring Daniel Craig.

Stuart Williams said “Thanks to World Book Night I had the considerable pleasure of giving away 48 copies of one of the finest fantasy/SF books of recent years, and really enjoyed meeting fellow readers on the night.  It was a great opportunity to promote books, reading – and Bloxwich Library, and it’s always a pleasure to work with my friends and colleagues at the borough’s finest branch!”

Several reserved books were not collected on the night, but they will be kept at the library for collection for up to two weeks.  If your name is on the reserved list, you should drop into Bloxwich Library as soon as possible to claim your book, as unclaimed copies will eventually be given away to other readers and availability cannot be guaranteed.

Mobile Libraries joined in the fun

Three other WBN special edition books were given away by libraries and council staff on board the new Mobile One Library which was parked up at Sainsbury’s Reedswood Superstore between 4pm-6pm, where almost 150 books were snapped up in just an hour, emphatically joining in with the World Book Night success at Bloxwich Library!

All book givers for World Book Night are volunteers, giving books on their own initiative without payment, with the support of the World Book Night organisation, authors and the publishing industry.  Thanks are also due to Waterstones book store in Park Street, Walsall, which acted as the local pick-up point for World Book Night deliveries to givers.

For more about Philip Pullman’s books, why not check out his website via this link!

For further information on WBN, follow this link to the official website: World Book Night.

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