Have Mayor – will travel!

Alex Murray prepares for a Mayoral haircut at Chatabox in Leamore (Pix: Walsall Council)

Walsall’s ubiquitous and always energetic Mayor, Councillor Gary Clarke, went into overdrive this week, spending two days flying across the borough from Bloxwich, Leamore, Blakenall and Coalpool to Aldridge and Walsall to work for businesses and schools while fundraising for charity.

The fun and frantic initiative, dubbed Mayor for Hire, was created by the Mayor in partnership with solicitors Addison O’Hare, with the aim of raising money for his Charity Appeal while giving him a taste of local life and work beyond the Council House.

Tuesday saw Cllr Clarke brushing up his customer service skills at Annette’s Pram Shop in Blakenall Lane, serving up lunch at Coalpool’s popular Edgar Stammers Primary School in Harden Road, washing hair, making tea – and chatting – at Chatabox Hair & Beauty in the Leamore Lane shopping precinct and meeting staff at Piquant Limited on the Willenhall Lane Industrial Estate in Bloxwich.

Kiran Patel and Jenny Turner await their food at Simply Sandwich, Bloxwich

On Wednesday, the Mayor tried his hand at sandwich making at Simply Sandwich Buffets at The Broadway, Walsall, became acting manager at Walsall Bus Station, served lunches at Cooper and Jordan Church of England Primary School and was interviewed by pupils at Castlefort JMI School in Walsall Wood.

All of the Mayor’s ‘employers’ have pledged donations to his Charity Appeal for Walsall Hospice and disadvantaged children, and Chatabox generously agreed to top theirs up by giving 20 per cent of the day’s takings as well.

The two days of fundraising and hard work, supplemented by a collection made by Walsall Hospice volunteers at the bus station, should net around £800 – a remarkable effort all round.

Cllr Clarke said: “I loved every minute of being put to work by everyone – it was an unforgettable two days.  I started at the pram shop and owner Annette Owles-Bryan was an absolute joy. Her business is a real asset to the area and she really goes out of her way to look after her customers.

“Later that day I had the privilege of working at Chatabox hairdressers where I met the charming Doreen Chivers, aged 64, who allowed me to wash her hair and declared that I had a gentle touch!  Owner Joanne Tidman has built up a gem of a business there and deserves to go from strength to strength.

No job too small: the Mayor makes tea at Chatabox

“I was also privileged to meet some of the hard working staff at Piquant Limited, another borough success story that we should all be proud of.   Shan Nagendram has established a fine sauce manufacturing business.

“Paul Keeling of Simply Sandwich had me hard at work in no time at all on day two and told me off for not putting enough meat on the bread. He wasn’t going to let me upset his customers.

“Centro made sure I carried out various checks at the bus station and took the time to listen to passengers’ experiences.

“The business community I met was loyal and committed and showed me just a small example of the talent we have in the borough.”

The Mayor was also asked to serve up lunch at Edgar Stammers Primary School – and did so resplendent in his white unform and purple cap.

He said: “What smashing children, teaching and kitchen staff I met at Edgar Stammers.  I was on Yorkshire pudding duty to start with and progressed to gravy, beans and custard as I got into my stride.  I didn’t stop smiling all the time I was there – although I understand I made service a little slower than normal. That’s partly because I was stopping to answer so many questions about my chain of office!”

The Mayor serves Ellie Fishwick her lunch at Cooper and Jordan School “On day two I went to Cooper and Jordan School where I had to arrive as a fairy godmother, complete with a wand and sparkly headband. The children were fortunate that I’d had some school meal practice and I think I managed to hold my own, again with grateful thanks to the kitchen staff.  Again, the children were fantastic. Some of them queued up at the end asking for my autograph which made me feel like a proper celebrity.”

At Castlefort School the Mayor was toured by Year 6 pupils who then joined in a question and answer session as part of work they have been doing on leaders.

“The school should be very proud of the polite, well-mannered and confident children it has at Castlefort,” said the Mayor.  They gave me a guided tour and showed me all the classrooms and the work that is going on this term.  They fired plenty of questions at me and kept me on my toes but I made sure I answered everything they asked.

“The two days were really enjoyable and I am delighted that I had the chance to meet some of the wonderful people who make this borough such a great place, ” Cllr Clarke concluded.

Anne Ward of Addison O’Hare Solicitors also agreed the two days had been a super success.

“We’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to make pledges and hope they all enjoyed the experience as much as the Mayor clearly did.  Mayor for Hire was always intended to be a memorable fundraising experience for everyone concerned while drawing the Mayor’s term to a fitting close.”

The Bloxidge Tallygraph would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Councillor Clarke.  We have attended many of the events he has supported as Mayor in Bloxwich and beyond, we have always been welcomed and we can’t remember a more active, friendly, supportive and enthusiastic Mayor – and Mayoress!

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Leamore death mystery man named

Police and fire services at the scene of the tragic incident in Leamore (Pix: Stuart Williams)

POLICE in Walsall have today named a man whose body was found at a fire in Bloxwich Road, Leamore.

Gary Ford of Bloxwich, 32, was discovered when police and fire-fighters were called to the blaze on open ground (formerly The Butler’s Arms) at the rear of Somerfield’s Supermarket/Texaco Pertrol Station at around 6pm during the early evening of Wednesday 4 May.

Mr Ford had suffered serious burns, but a post mortem to determine the precise cause of death has proved inconclusive. Further forensic tests are now to be carried out.

At this stage, detectives are continuing to treat his death as unexplained and are making a fresh appeal for witnesses and information to throw light on the circumstances surrounding Mr Ford’s death.

The scene of the crime: site of the now-demolished Butlers Arms Detective Inspector Bob Bradford, from Force CID, said: “It is not yet clear exactly how Mr Ford died or whether there is any criminality involved either in his death or the cause of the fire.

“However, it is a matter of fact that he was badly burned and that we are still trying to gain a clearer picture of both his personal background and what happened.

“It is important to the inquiry for anyone with information to come forward. The scene of the fire is just off Bloxwich Road, which is a busy route and would have had a fair number of motorists using it at around 6pm on Wednesday.

“We are also keen to trace three youths or young men who were walking along the pavement adjacent to the scene at around 6pm to 6:15pm. They may well have seen something significant and we would stress that they could be vital witnesses.

Anyone with information should contact Force CID at Bloxwich by ringing 0345 113 5000 or calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Our first report may be found here.

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Election 2011

Welcome to The Bloxidge Tallygraph’s page focusing on the forthcoming local council elections, and the national AV referendum on the voting system for MPs, which both took place on 5 May 2011, with results announced on 6 May.

Here you will find information on our local Bloxwich East,  Bloxwich West, Blakenall and Birchills-Leamore ward  candidates, as well as links to AV info, statistics, and local and national party websites.

The results are now published here.

Stuart Williams, Edditer

Breaking election news

Significant election news for those Walsall Council wards within Bloxwich and district is included on this page.

TODAY’S RESULTS – 6 May 2011

Walsall Council election results today reveal that there is now no overall control due to a surge in Labour gains – see our report below and the link to Walsall Council’s website for detailed results across the borough.

See below also for the results of the AV referendum.

For news sourced from across the web we highly recommend The Yam Yam, which has been automated to pick up local news online from selected websites:

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Election Report – Bloxwich and district

Dateline: 6 May 2011

News coming in this lunchtime has revealed a massively successful fight-back in the old ‘Foreign Ward’ by Walsall Labour Party candidates against their entrenched opponents in yesterday’s Walsall Council elections.

Bloxwich East was the hardest-fought ward in Bloxwich and district, with Shaun Fitzpatrick for Labour on 1205 votes narrowly defeating long-serving Tory Councillor Les Beeley with 1191 to give an important gain for Labour over the Conservatives.  Interestingly, Alan Sheath of UKIP with a modest 229 votes still managed to trounce Stephen Baggot of the Democratic Labour Party with just 107 votes and Chris Cockayne of the LibDems barely moving the needle at 81.

In Bloxwich West, Labour candidate Sue Fletcher-Hall romped ahead, spearheading the turn against the Tories and gaining the seat by defeating another long-serving Conservative Councillor Des Pitt by 1438 votes to 1360 and leaving the Democratic Labour Party’s Michael Ross with 234 votes and LibDem Jeanette Pearce at 146 gasping in the distance.

Meanwhile in Blakenall Heath, a bruising Blakenall Ward bust-up left prominent (and only) Democratic Labour Party Councillor Peter Smith out-for-the-count after Ann Young delivered a surprise uppercut with 1256 votes vs 928 gaining the trophy for Labour yet again.  Tory Afzal Muhammed and LibDem Robert Pearce were, unsurprisingly, left gasping on the ropes with just 453 and 95 votes respectively to show for their part in the melee.

Finally, there was icing on the day’s cake for celebrating Labour ‘Forreners’ with a sold hold in Birchills-Leamore, as Walsall Labour Group leader, Councillor Tim Oliver, reaped a substantial vote of 1574 compared to 961 cast for Kamran Aftab (Conservative), 167 for Roy Robinson (LibDem) and 158 for Alan Davies (Democratic Labour Party).

Election results Borough-wide

May be found in detail on Walsall Council’s website via this link.

Borough-wide it now seems that Walsall Council has, as predicted by local pundits, returned to the ‘good old days’ of no overall control, with 28 Conservatives, 26 Labour, 5 LibDem and 1 Independent councillors now in place.

What will happen next depends largely on whether the LibDems follow their traditional practice of rolling over for the Tories or whether they regain some of the principles which their national party has seemingly abandoned and go for something more progressive alongside Labour.

Bloxwich and district awaits the consequences with bated breath – but one thing is sure, our new Labour councillors can be justly proud of a fight for progress in the old ‘Foreign’ well  won.

The AV Referendum

As this was a national vote, the results have come in later.

The AV result for Walsall is as follows:

Yes: 18,437, No: 52,641 with 736 void and 57 not counted as they voted for both options.

Overall nationally it looks as if the Nos have it in the referendum

Our thanks to Walsall Council for election results

The Council Press Office is also to be complimented for their excellent Twitter announcements through the count.

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Which ward are you in?

If you are not sure which electoral ward you are in for the purpose of Walsall Council elections, take a look at the official downloadable pdf format maps linked below:

Birchills Leamore

Blakenall

Bloxwich East

Bloxwich West

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Walsall Council election candidates by ward

BIRCHILLS-LEAMORE WARD

Aftab, Kamran.    13 Segundo Road, Walsall, WS5 4PY.   The Conservative Party Candidate.

Davies, Alan George.    78 Chase Road, Walsall, WS3 2PT.   Democratic Labour Party.

Oliver, Tim.    54 Delves Crescent, Walsall, WS5 4LR.   The Labour Party Candidate.

Robinson, Roy .   245 Stroud Avenue, Willenhall, WV12 4DA.   Liberal Democrat.

BLAKENALL WARD

Afzal, Muhammed.    30 Eastbourne St, Walsall, WS4 2BN.   The Conservative Party Candidate.

Pearce, Robert Norman.    5 Myrtle Close, Willenhall,  WV12 5NS.    Liberal Democrat.

Smith, Peter Edward.    65 Harden Road, Leamore, WS3 1EL.    Democratic Labour Party.

Young, Ann.    12 Archer Road, Leamore, WS3 1AN.   The Labour Party Candidate.

BLOXWICH EAST WARD

Baggott, Stephen John.    175 Ingram Road, Blakenall, WS3 3AL.   Democratic Labour Party.

Beeley, Les.    27 Mallory Crescent, Little Bloxwich, WS3 3DD.  The Conservative Party Candidate.

Cockayne, Chris.    26 Smithfield Road, Walsall, WS3 1ND.  Liberal Democrat.

Fitzpatrick, Shaun Francis.  41A Victoria Avenue, Bloxwich, WS3 3HT. The Labour Party Candidate.

Sheath, Alan.   9 Portland Road, Bloxwich, Walsall, WS3 3HT.   UK Independence Party (UK I P).

BLOXWICH WEST WARD

Fletcher-Hall, Sue. 49 Clarendon Street, Bloxwich, Walsall, WS3 2HT.  The Labour Party Candidate.

Pearce, Jeanette.  5 Myrtle Close, Short Heath, Willenhall, WV12 5NS.  Liberal Democrat.

Pitt, Des.  5 Whitminster Close, Willenhall, WV12 4ER.   The Conservative Party Candidate.

Ross, Michael Ronald.    36 Abbey Square,  Walsall, WS3 2RJ.  Democratic Labour Party.

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Labour fight back in the Foreign

The clunking fist strikes back!

News coming in this lunchtime has revealed a massively successful fight-back in the old ‘Foreign Ward’ by Walsall Labour Party candidates against their entrenched opponents in yesterday’s Walsall Council elections.

Bloxwich East was the hardest-fought ward in Bloxwich and district, with Shaun Fitzpatrick for Labour on 1205 votes narrowly defeating long-serving Tory Councillor Les Beeley with 1191 to give an important gain for Labour over the Conservatives.  Interestingly, Alan Sheath of UKIP with a modest 229 votes still managed to trounce Stephen Baggot of the Democratic Labour Party with just 107 votes and Chris Cockayne of the LibDems barely moving the needle at 81.

In Bloxwich West, Labour candidate Sue Fletcher-Hall romped ahead, spearheading the turn against the Tories and gaining the seat by defeating another long-serving Conservative Councillor Des Pitt by 1438 votes to 1360 and leaving the Democratic Labour Party’s Michael Ross with 234 votes and LibDem Jeanette Pearce at 146 gasping in the distance.

Meanwhile in Blakenall Heath, a bruising Blakenall Ward bust-up left prominent (and only) Democratic Labour Party Councillor Peter Smith out-for-the-count after Ann Young delivered a surprise uppercut with 1256 votes vs 928 gaining the trophy for Labour yet again.  Tory Afzal Muhammed and LibDem Robert Pearce were, unsurprisingly, left gasping on the ropes with just 453 and 95 votes respectively to show for their part in the melee.

Finally, there was icing on the day’s cake for celebrating Labour ‘Forreners’ with a sold hold in Birchills-Leamore, as Walsall Labour Group leader, Councillor Tim Oliver, reaped a substantial vote of 1574 compared to 961 cast for Kamran Aftab (Conservative), 167 for Roy Robinson (LibDem) and 158 for Alan Davies (Democratic Labour Party).

Borough-wide it now seems that Walsall Council has, as predicted by local pundits, returned to the ‘good old days’ of no overall control, with 28 Conservatives, 26 Labour, 5 LibDem and 1 Independent councillors now in place.  What will happen next depends largely on whether the LibDems follow their traditional practice of rolling over for the Tories or whether they regain some of the principles which their national party has seemingly abandoned and go for something more progressive alongside Labour.

Bloxwich and district awaits the consequences with bated breath – but one thing is sure, our new Labour councillors can be justly proud of a fight for progress in the old ‘Foreign’ well  won.

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Leamore death mystery

Police and fire services at yesterday’s tragic incident in Leamore (Pic: Stuart Williams)

SEE ALSO UPDATE BELOW

For the second time in recent months, the centre of Leamore has been cordoned off due to a fire.  Sadly, on this occasion, the incident appears to have also involved a mysterious death.

Yesterday evening, at around 6pm Walsall police and fire services were called to the site of the former Butlers Arms, on the corner of Harden Road and Bloxwich Road, Leamore, which is at the rear of Somerfields Market and petrol station.

The body of a man, as yet unidentified, was found on fenced-off land which has been waiting for redevelopment since the Butlers Arms was demolished several years ago.  A fire appears to have been set close to or against the wall of Somerfield’s, which backs onto the land. The death is being treated as unexplained at this stage.

Back in March a fire was deliberately set at the closed Black Horse pub just on the opposite corner.  That act of arson did not result in death or injury and its perpetrators have never been brought to justice.

The latest incident, for the time being, also remains a mystery. There is no suggestion of a link between the two fires.  The Coroner has been informed and the scene remains cordoned off for forensic investigations.

A post mortem is due to take place today to establish the cause of death.

Police and fire services on the scene this morning  

Det Insp Tom Chisholm from Force CID said: “Detectives are continuing to work with the fire service to establish the cause of the fire, as well as the cause of death.

“Forensic scene investigators have been working at the scene to gather evidence and we have detectives conducting further enquiries in the area today.

“If anyone has any information I would ask that they get in touch with police.”

Anybody who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Force CID at Bloxwich on 0345 113 5000 or call Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111.”

The site was due to reopen at 9.30am today.

UPDATED 6 May 2011

Police in Walsall are continuing their investigation into the above case. The man, who has still to be identified, had suffered serious burns but a post mortem to determine the precise cause of death has proved inconclusive. Further forensic tests are now to be carried out.

At this stage, detectives are continuing to treat the death as unexplained and are making a fresh appeal for witnesses and information to throw light on the circumstances surrounding the man’s death.

Det Insp Bob Bradford from Force CID said: “It is not yet clear exactly how this man died or whether there is any criminality involved either in his death or the cause of the fire.

“However, it is a matter of fact that he was badly burned and that we are still trying to identify him and trace his family so that we can gain a clearer picture of both his personal background and what happened.

“It is important to the inquiry for anyone with information to come forward. The scene of the fire is just off Bloxwich Road, which is a busy route and would have had a fair number of motorists using it at around 6pm on Wednesday.

“We are also keen to trace three youths or young men who were walking along the pavement adjacent to the scene at around 6pm to 6:15pm. They may well have seen something significant and we would stress that they could be vital witnesses.

“I would appeal to them, and indeed anyone with information, to contact Force CID at Bloxwich by ringing 0345 113 5000 or calling Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111.”back to top

Never mind the Royal Wedding – be Queen of Bloxwich!

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Bloxwich Carnival Royalty 2010: Rosebud Holly Arrowsmith, Queen Jessica Jones and Princess Jessica Watts (pic SW)

2010 Bloxwich Carnival Queen Jessica Jones’s crown will be up for grabs soon as organisers set about finding her replacement to play an all-important role in the village’s big day and the coming year. And her entourage are also being sought!

The 2011 Bloxwich Carnival Queen, Princess and Rosebud will be selected on Saturday 21 May at St. John’s Methodist Church Hall, Victoria Avenue, Bloxwich at 1.30pm.

Young ladies aged between 16 and 24 are invited to impress the judges and continue with all the good work that has been done by reigning carnival queen Jessica, who will certainly be a hard act to follow!

Selection will also take place for a carnival princess aimed at 11-15-year-olds and a carnival rosebud aimed at seven to ten-year-olds.

Previous holders of titles are not eligible to re-enter for the same categories but may enter another group provided they qualify by age.

The results will be published in The Bloxidge Tallygraph along with photographs of the new queen and her entourage.

This year’s Bloxwich Carnival, which is supported by Walsall Council, is set for Saturday 6 August 2011 and will take place at King George V playing fields as usual.  As last year, there will be no carnival procession, due to health and safety restrictions.Organisers say that Bloxwich Carnival is one of the biggest in the West Midlands and it’s an event that attracts thousands of people.

Application forms and details can be downloaded via the following links:

Carnival Queen Entry Form – pdf    Carnival Queen Poster – pdf

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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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Easter eggcitement at Bloxwich eggstravaganza

Bloxwich Carnival Queen Jessica Jones joins forces with eggcited youngsters from Green Rock Primamry School to promote the Bloxwich Easter Eggstravaganza (Pic courtesy Walsall Council)

A wide array of events is being lined up in Bloxwich during April to celebrate Easter.

Walsall Council’s district centre management team working alongside Bloxwich Business Partnership, Bloxwich Children’s Area Partnerships, Bookmark Bloxwich (Bloxwich Library) and the council’s Greenspaces team have joined forces to organise three days of family fun in the village.

The Easter activities get underway on Thursday 14 April with the Bloxwich Bunny Hop & Party at All Saints Church gardens and Bookmark Bloxwich Library, Elmore Row from 10am to 2pm. Activities include an Easter egg trail, Easter Bunny and family themed activities. People are invited to bring their own picnic.

On Tuesday 19 April there will be an Easter Bonnet Workshop at All Saints Parish Hall, Elmore Row, from 1 to 4pm. Children will be able to make Easter bonnets to enter the Easter Bonnet parade competition on Saturday 23 April.

The events culminate on Saturday 23 April with the Eggsta Special Easter Event from 11am to 3pm based around the market centre, High Street, Electric Palace and King George V Playing Fields. The day includes Easter fun activities, Reach Up climbing frame, Easter bonnet parade, Easter egg trail and a team egg hunt competition.

Nikki Rolls, Walsall Council regeneration officer, said: “There is a really good programme of events lined up in Bloxwich to celebrate Easter and hopefully people will be able to find the time to attend on at least one if not all of the days. It truly shows that partnership working can create a great events programme for the community.”

For more information contact Walsall Council’s district centre management team on 01922 652507.

For Bloxwich Business Partnership’s Facebook page, follow this link.

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Heavy Metal’s coming home!

Disarm Goliath at The Slade Rooms, 2010 (Pic: Stuart Williams)

Great news for rock music fans across Bloxwich and Walsall – home-grown heavy metal’s returning to a major Bloxwich venue for the first time since the great days of Bloxwich Baths and the school circuit!

And hair-raising local headbangers DISARM GOLIATH with members from Pelsall and beyond are leading the hard-rockin’ charge supported by Birmingham band WRAITH, both armed to the teeth with a battery of their own original heavy rock and metal songs.

Now Bloxwich Library Theatre – aka Bookmark Bloxwich – is continuing by leaps and bounds to establish itself as an important live music venue by bringing heavy metal rocking back to the home town of Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST) and Noddy Holder (SLADE).

The rebuilt theatre, under the banner of Bloxwich Library Forum, is all set to host an ear-crushing night of metallic music on Saturday 14 May 2011 – doors open 7.30pm for 8pm start – and tickets are already on sale at the library for just £5!  Tel: 01922 655900 to reserve tickets, or drop into the library in Elmore Row.  A can bar will be available on the night.

With such talented young musicians unleashed in Bloxwich, a great night of quality heavy rock is sure to be had by all!

More about Disarm Goliath on their website: http://www.disarmgoliath.co.uk

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For Bloxwich, Little Bloxwich, Blakenall Heath, Leamore and Birchills.