Category Archives: Walsall Borough

A Christmas Message from the Mayor of Walsall

The Mayor and Mayoress of Walsall
The Mayor and Mayoress of Walsall Cllr Garry Perry and Mrs June Perry

Christmas 2011 is upon us, and as we prepare to celebrate this special time of year I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year.

I am already over half way through my Mayoral year, and it is amazing how quickly this time has passed.

When I was appointed Mayor back in May I felt truly honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to hold this office and this honour has grown and grown.

Since May I have been delighted to meet many groups, clubs, organisations and societies that exist in and around Walsall and to find out more about what they do and as a result I have met so many wonderful people.

The work that is carried out behind the scenes in our town is truly remarkable, and a great credit to our communities and I wish them all well for the future and trust that they will continue with the outstanding work they do.

There is a great deal of uncertainty for many of us at present, especially in the current economic climate.

Although Christmas is a time for celebration and happiness, we must bear in mind those less fortunate than ourselves, and extend our help and support wherever possible. We give thanks for all those that work to protect us – the Police, Fire and Ambulance Service, for staff working in our Hospitals and those that support Care in the community, as well as those serving in our Armed Forces overseas.

The downturn in the economy will no doubt have left some of our local businesses feeling gloomy, but I take great heart from the efforts of small businesses who have forged ahead taking the current climate as an opportunity to change, partnerships in our Town and District Centres are taking shape and meaningful progress has been made. It is at times like this however that we should endeavour to keep trade local, and support our local traders whenever possible.

It is also in times like these where we need to nurture the spirit of the community, this I know is the foundation of our Borough and I have witnessed countless examples of selfless, caring and inspirational people all working hard to improve the well- being of fellow residents and the areas in which they live.

The youth of our town also deserve a special mention I have been privileged to have been invited to many Schools and youth organisations for various events, all of the groups involving children and young people are being guided and encouraged by people that really care, and the results are amazing. Thank you to you all, you really do make a difference.

I would also like to express my sincere thanks to all my colleagues on the Council including the Chief Executive and Officers who not only have given me great support, but all work with other organisations on behalf of the interests of the community in which we live.

I also thank my family, friends and fundraising team for providing stable support and friendship and giving their time in order for us to raise funds for my Mayoral Appeal and hold some excellent events.

Finally, heartfelt thanks to my own Community of Pelsall for their continued support and for their help during what has been a busy year.

To all of you that I have had the privilege of meeting this year a very big thank you for making myself and my Mum June feel so very welcome. Every event that I have attended has seen a hand of friendship extended, and I feel very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people.

I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a New Year filled with good health, optimism and joy.

Councillor Garry Perry
Mayor of Walsall 2011/2012

The Staffords come home to Walsall

The lads pass in review
Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (The Staffords) today took part in a homecoming parade in Walsall to mark the end of their Afghanistan tour of duty, in the past week also being welcomed in Lichfield, Stafford and Hanley.  They received a massive Walsall welcome by people from across the borough, together with local dignitaries and other officials.

In Afghanistan, apart from their military duties, the Staffords also helped set up a school in the village of Rahim Khalay, in Helmand Province, and doubled the size of the protected community, undermining the stranglehold the insurgents have over the area.  Sadly, during the tour the regiment lost 22 year-old Private Gareth Bellingham, killed on June 18 while fighting insurgents.

Private Derby, a Derbyshire ram goat is the regimental mascot, inherited from the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters
Private Derby, a Swaledale Ram, is the Mercian regimental mascot, inherited from the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters

Troops assembled in Darwall Street at 12.30pm today in preparation for the march, which at 1pm took them along Darwall Street, turning right into Tower Street, right into Lichfield Street and then in review past the Mayor and Mayoress of Walsall (Councillor Garry and Mrs June Perry), the borough’s Chief Executive, the Leader of the Council and other dignitaries.

The Regimental Band turns into Lichfield Street from Tower Street
The Regimental Band turns into Lichfield Street from Tower Street
Veterans flank the reviewing stand, standards grounded
Veterans flank the reviewing stand, standards grounded
Walsall lads approach and take the salute
Walsall lads approach and take the salute
On the reviewing stand the Mayor and Mayoress join the Chief Exec, Leader of the Council and others
On the reviewing stand the Mayor and Mayoress join the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council and others

Preceded by the Regimental Band and the Mercians’ mascot ‘Private Derby’, a Swaledale Ram inherited from the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters, hundreds of local soldiers were received with thunderous applause by hundreds of Walsall people cheering, waving flags and shouting an excited welcome as the lads marched smartly past, ‘eyes right’ as they passed the Mayor and Council House, flanked by local veterans with standards grounded in their honour.

Row on row, marching into history they go
Left and right, row on row, marching into history they go...

More cheers were raised for the popular ‘unofficial’ mascot of the Staffords, ‘Watchman V’, a young black Staffordshire Bull Terrier, with his handler Colour Sergeant Greg Hedges, and the Regimental Colours which he preceded.

Watchman V, 'unofficial' mascot of the 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords)
Watchman V, 'unofficial' mascot of the 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords)
Best feet forward, Watchman!
Best feet forward, Watchman!

The troops then marched along lower Bridge Street and around the block, returning via Darwall Street and Leicester Street, before falling out and being welcomed by the Mayor, Councillor Gary Perry, to a reception in the Town Hall, where he later presented these local heroes with their campaign medals.

Children from Pelsall Village School were also present, and had entertained the Mayor’s guests prior to the parade.

Returning to a reception in Walsall Town Hall
Returning to a reception in Walsall Town Hall
The arrival of The Colours at Walsall Town Hall
The arrival of The Colours at Walsall Town Hall
Watchman awaits while Colour Sgt Hedges salutes The Colours
Watchman awaits while Colour Sgt Hedges salutes The Colours

The Mayor later said it had been “an unforgettable day.”

“I don’t think there was a single person watching the parade who didn’t get a lump in their throat or a tear in their eye as we applauded those brave soldiers,” he said.

“Many commented how young the troops looked and seeing them march past really brought home to us all that they are someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s husband, and they are putting their lives on the line.

Soldiers are welcomed to Walsall Town Hall
Soldiers are welcomed to Walsall Town Hall

“It was a real privilege for Walsall to host this parade, it was an unforgettable day.

“Our good wishes and prayers go with the troops as they continue their work and our thoughts are also with the families they have to leave behind.”

The people of Walsall Metropolitan Borough certainly did them proud as well, this day.

Public sector workers strike in Walsall

The majority of public sector workers are striking across the UK today in protest at damaging changes to retirement ages and pensions which are being imposed by the Coalition government.

In Walsall, members of trades unions Unison, GMB, Unite and teachers’ unions are exercising their democratic right to take part in this industrial action as part of the first national strike for thirty years.

Unions and their members are unhappy with how they are being forced to bear the brunt of government cuts, and say that poor economic policies being implemented, combined with the greed and incompetence of the banking sector, are the main cause of current problems, and this is not being properly addressed.

In Walsall Metropolitan Borough many council services are being affected to varying levels today. If in doubt, telephone to check before travelling. The main council switchboard is on 01922 650000.

See our earlier news item for a council statement and further details online.

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National public sector strike affects Council services

Walsall Council House

Walsall residents are being advised that some council services, including school closures could be affected by industrial action today, Wednesday, 30 November 2011.

As trade unions across the country stage a day of industrial action, some council services will be closed or run at a much reduced level.

Walsall Council’s First Stop Shop in the Civic Centre, Darwall Street will be closed during the national dispute and callers to the council’s general enquiries (01922 650000) may experience some delay. Residents seeking information about Revenues can call 0845 111 2851 and the Benefits service on 0845 111 2855.

Residents may see disruptions to their bin collection service. Revised arrangements for bin collections on that day will be communicated via the council website as soon as they are known. People who do not want to wait until the next collection can use Walsall Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centre in Fryers Road, Leamore. The recycling centre at Merchants Way, Aldridge does not operate on Wednesdays.

Parents are advised to contact their school directly or visit http://www.walsallcs.com/news/school-closures-2.html to check for school closures.

The council has already confirmed Walsall and Willenhall Markets will be shut during the day of strike action. Walsall Gala Baths will be closed but all other leisure centres will remain open as usual.

Updates will be made to Walsall Council’s website at www.walsall.gov.uk to highlight disruption caused by industrial action.

Councillor Chris Towe, cabinet member for finance and personnel at Walsall Council, said: “Our customers and service users are our key priority during this time. However, despite having robust contingency plans in place, it is likely that the service delivered to residents of the borough may experience some disruption.

“Should you experience a problem with your bin collection on Wednesday please visit the council’s website or call us on 01922 650000 to check revised arrangements.

“Walsall Council apologises for any inconvenience this may cause our residents, however it is difficult to provide a comprehensive and fully accurate prediction of the impact this may have on our services,” he added.

“Residents can still access council information and a range of services via our website www.walsall.gov.uk.”

BLOXWICH TELEGRAPH SUPPLEMENTAL:

Walsall Local History Centre will be closed on 30 November.  You are advised to check whether other museums and libraries will be open.

New exhibition takes a leaf out of Walsall’s history

Cath Yates views Gems from the Local Studies Library
Cath Yates views Gems from the Local Studies Library

Walsall Local History Centre’s latest exhibition ‘Gems from the Local Studies Library,’ showcasing fine examples from the historic Local Studies Collections at the Centre and curated by Local Studies Librarian Cath Yates, is now open to the public.

A series of high quality archival exhibition prints has been made from pages and illustrations from local books, trade catalogues and ephemera dating from the 1600s to the present day, and put on show in the Essex Street Centre’s exhibition area for visitors to view free of charge during normal opening hours.

Councillor Anthony Harris, cabinet member for leisure at Walsall Council, said: “Walsall Local History Centre’s local studies library contains a wealth of information about the borough of Walsall. The library dates back to the 1920s when it was known as the Staffordshire and Walsall Collection. It was then housed in Walsall Central Library and moved to the Local History Centre when it opened in 1986.”

“This exhibition presents some remarkable examples of books in the library as well as giving a flavour of its other collections which include posters and theatre playbills, maps and trade catalogues.”

The exhibition, which opened on 21 November and runs till 31 December, 2011, has been prepared entirely in-house by Centre Photographer Stuart Williams and Conservation Assistant Janet Courtenay.

Telephone 01922 721305 for details or visit the Centre’s website: www.walsall.gov.uk/localhistorycentre

Walsall Local History Centre, Essex Street, Walsall, WS2 7AS.

Walsall Local History Centre is the archives and local studies service for Walsall Metropolitan Borough, and is part of Walsall Council.

The Staffords are coming home!

South Staffordshire Regiment Badge.
South Staffordshire Regiment Badge.

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (The Staffords) will take part in a homecoming parade in Walsall next month to mark the end of their Afghanistan tour of duty.

Troops will march through part of Walsall on Thursday 1 December and local heroes will receive their campaign medals from the borough’s Mayor. Continue reading The Staffords are coming home!