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THE formidable face of Tamworth’s ‘Warrior Queen’ Lady Aethelflaed has been revealed as work on the town’s new landmark statue continues to progress.

Much of the main bodywork on the six-metre tall statue has now been completed, following months of back-breaking labour by artist Luke Perry, who has literally hand-sculpted the huge work of art.

The face and upper body of the impressive statue are now nearing completion, revealing the striking features that will tower above the ground for all to see.

In the coming months, the upper body, sword and shield will be joined together and all elements will be galvanised, polished and tinted, ready for installation next year.

The Saxon Queen will stand on the Offa Drive/Saxon Drive roundabout, outside Tamworth Railway Station, where she will greet visitors as they step off the train and point them towards the town centre.

Also known as ‘Lady of the Mercians’, Queen Aethelflaed is a key figure from Tamworth’s past, having played a pivotal role in English history by building a chain of fortifications against Viking invaders throughout the Kingdom of Mercia. Her fortification of Tamworth in 913 AD became the forerunner to Tamworth Castle. Daughter of Alfred the Great, Aethelflaed’s accession as a female ruler has been described as one of the most unique events in early medieval history.

She was chosen as the subject for the new statue following consultations with local people, exploring what they are most proud of about Tamworth.

Luke’s final design aimed to reflect the town’s Saxon history, but with an ‘alternative, modern twist’ that places it firmly in the 21st century.

Face of Aethelflaed

The face of Aethelflaed

While the final interpretation is not exactly how Queen Aethelflaed might have looked, Luke has worked with a 9th-century historian to ensure all details are authentic and correct for the Saxon period.

The project also represents quite an ambitious feat of engineering and is expected to attract a lot of attention.

Luke said: “This is really exciting for me as it’s quite a unique project. Very few pieces like this are unveiled in a year and this one will really stand out in today’s society due to its sculptural nature. Most things this big are abstract pieces and don’t catch the attention so much.

“A lot of the big structural work is now finished, but there’s still plenty to do. It has to be galvanised and then there will be lots of polishing and tinting. I don’t do anything with machines because I don’t like the aesthetic that produces. It’s all hand-sculpted, which means I’m a bit broken as it’s physically quite abusing. It’s great to see her taking shape though.”

The ‘Roundabout Art’ project is one element of the Arts in Unusual Spaces initiative, funded by Arts Council England, which will see art in all its forms popping up in a variety of locations across the borough.

The sculpture is being funded by Arts Council England and Tamworth Gateways Project – a partnership between Staffordshire County Council and Tamworth Borough Council.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “It’s great to see the face of the new statue being revealed for the first time and I can’t wait to see the completed sculpture. This project has been designed to celebrate and promote the rich and fascinating history that Tamworth has and the Saxons were a key part of that.

“We hope the Queen Aethelflaed statue will serve as a lasting legacy for this town, as well as making a real bold first impression to visitors as they step off the train into Tamworth.”

 

bus shelter art

A COMMUNITY project to transform a series of bus shelters across Tamworth has now been completed, thanks to the help of local artists and around 700 school children.

Residents and visitors can now ‘Catch Art’ as well as buses at seven shelters which have been given bright, colourful makeovers as part of a Tamworth Borough Council project to bring art to all areas of the town.

Part of the Arts in Unusual Spaces initiative – funded by Arts Council England – the bus shelter project has been led by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team in partnership with Vic Brown of Art Recruitment Tamworth.

Vic called in professional artists Simon Wingfield and Helen Martin and the three of them went out into local schools to work with children on bringing the bus shelter designs to life. As well as the chance to work with professional artists, hundreds of children can now see their work displayed pride of place for all to enjoy.

The final shelter in the project was recently completed in Fontenaye Road, Coton Green, marking the end of a successful initiative. This shelter design was led by urban artist Helen Martin who spent three days working with pupils at the Kettlebrook Short Stay School.

The school’s art and design subject co-ordinator, Jo Potter, said students enjoyed working with Helen and seeing their work on display.

She said: “A huge thank you to Tamworth Borough Council and to Helen Martin for the exciting opportunity of participating in such a worthwhile project. It was great for students to work with a visiting artist and be involved in a ‘live’ project.

“Kettlebrook students have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it has been a privilege to witness the sense of pride and boost of self-esteem that the project has facilitated.”

Kettlebrook Short Stay School students also gave their views on the project.

 

Ellie said: “I am really glad I got to work with Helen and I am proud that others can walk past my work in the street and enjoy it.

Zac said: “The project was brilliant and I really enjoyed meeting Helen the artist and learning new art techniques. I think the bus shelter looks amazing and I hope people enjoy it.”

The shelters can be found at:

Glascote on Sea, B5000 Glascote – Beach Hut design by children from Little Learners in Amington together with Simon Wingfield, Vic Brown and photographer Alex Blaby.

Tree Stop, Fossdale Road – A tree scene with insects by children from Three Peaks Primary School and Stonydelph Nursery, together with Vic Brown and Simon Wingfield.

Glascote Academy Community Farm, Silver Link Road – By pupils from Glascote Academy and Glascote Heath Pre-school, with Vic Brown and Simon Wingfield. This shelter was inspired by the Glascote Academy’s own on-site farm.

Tam Modern, Fontenaye Road – Pupils from Kettlebrook Short Stay School worked on this art gallery-inspired theme with urban artist Helen Martin and Vic Brown.

Flipside, Kerria Road – 1970s living room design by artist Simon Wingfield

Wild About Tamworth, Peelers Way – Inspired by the nature found at the adjacent Tameside Local Nature Reserve. This shelter by Simon Wingfield won recognition from the Royal Horticultural Society as part of this year’s Tamworth in Bloom campaign with a ‘Greening Grey Britain’ award.

Butterfly, B5000 Stonydelph – A butterfly-themed shelter by artist Helen Martin.

The Catch Art project has received lots of positive feedback from the children and teachers involved, as well as the wider community, especially via social media. It was also featured on Midlands Today.

Commentators on Facebook include Richard Brown, who said: “I absolutely love them! I live near the butterfly one and I have to admit that I tend to ‘miss’ the first bus just to enjoy it a bit longer. You can really feel the pride the Tamworth community have for the amazing stops. Can you imagine how awesome the town bus stops would look if they were all painted!” 

Sarah Holmes said: “Absolutely brilliant, love that it’s all artwork by children, fantastic idea.” Alan Faultless said: “The kids will love that on their walk to school in the morning,” Anthony Perks added: “Brilliant! Brightens the roadsides up, great art, good vibes.”

Vic Brown of Art Recruitment Tamworth, which also organises the popular annual Urban Arts Festival at the Castle Grounds skate park, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts and Events team on this project and we are really happy with the final results. At the start of the project we agreed the stops needed to be artistically inspiring, but also fun and unique. Judging by all the kind words on social media and from passers-by, I think we have achieved this. 

“The best part of the project for us was working on the school stops; they are all fantastic. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the project and especially all of the school children.”

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “This has been a really successful and imaginative project that has helped take art out into all corners of the community while giving local school children the opportunity to work with professional artists and see their work on public display.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without the funding from the Arts Council England, which likes to support initiatives that encourage community participation in the arts. The feedback has been amazing and my congratulations go to the Arts and Events team, Art Recruitment Tamworth, the artists and of course the hundreds of school children who have created beautiful works of art for all to enjoy, out of some tired and plain bus shelters.”

rts in Unusual Space

THEATRE is continuing on tour in Tamworth this Sunday November 19, with the unique vocals and harmonies of James Hickman and Dan Cassidy in Concert at St Francis Church.

Touring Theatre has produced a range of high-quality shows that started from April this year. All performances have been staged in familiar but unusual community locations in a bid to increase opportunities for people to experience the arts.

James Hickman and Dan Cassidy are a transatlantic duo inspired by the traditions of America and Britain. Their sound flows from the connection between British and American folk and is bursting with all the humour, heartbreak and excitement of these genres.

Hickman’s emotive, soaring vocals and driving guitar is complemented by Cassidy’s ingenious and virtuosic fiddling.

A performance guaranteed to take audiences on a dynamic and unforgettable transatlantic journey of new and old folk music.

A show bursting with humour, heartbreak and excitement starts at 7.30pm, tickets are priced at £7.50.

Live & Local – the Midlands’ Rural and Community Touring Network – have continued to work with Tamworth community groups to provide volunteers with the tools they need to bring professional touring theatre companies to the town.

Touring Theatre is part of the two-year Arts in Unusual Spaces project funded in partnership with Arts Council England, Tamworth Borough Council and the local community.

 

It includes a number of exciting initiatives for Tamworth, designed to bring the arts to all corners of the community. More information is available at http://www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk/arts-unusual-spaces.

Tickets are available via the Tamworth Arts and Events website at: www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk Or call:01827 65926, or in person at St Francis Vicarage, Masefield Drive.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “Don’t miss this incredible duo. This performance will be a must-see for all music lovers. The Touring Theatre project is working with groups of volunteers to provide them with the skills and confidence they need to bring touring theatre productions to venues in the community on a regular basis. As well as broadening the use of community venues, this will hopefully make it even easier for people to experience and enjoy theatre and the arts.”

Monster Mash

SPOOKS and ghouls where are you? Scooby Doo and his crew are solving a creepy mystery at Landau Forte Academy from October 25 to October 28, when Tamworth Arts Club presents a dark Halloween themed show – Monster Mash Up.

This original production is a spooky comedy and loose parody of the classic 1970s Scooby Doo featuring all the memorable catchphrases and cheesy plot lines from the much-loved TV series, but re-imagined for modern day Tamworth.

In keeping with the ghoulish theme, this darkly funny show includes musical theatre favourites from Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Spamalot and Jekyll & Hyde, alongside pop hits such as Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics.

Guaranteed to scare and make audiences roar with laughter, this unique show offers something different as it culminates in a monstrous finale which mashes up crowd pleasers from across the decades.

Tamworth Assembly Rooms is back ‘on tour’ this season with a number of performances being taken out into the community to ensure audiences and theatre groups continue to benefit from live entertainment during the refurbishment of the historic theatre.

The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced £12.50 adults, £10 concession. Family ticket (two adults, two concessions) £40. Buy 10 tickets and get 10% off the price.

All event tickets are available via the box office: www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk  or 01827 709618 or in person at Marmion House. A transaction fee of £1 is payable on all online and telephone bookings.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “Tamworth Arts Club always provide great entertainment. This dark production is a unique compilation and offers comedy laughter for all ages. If you remember the classic Scooby Doo, you will love this.

“The Arts and Events team has been working hard to support local groups to find alternative venues until the new-look Assembly Rooms are ready to welcome them back.

“We hope that people will support and continue to enjoy these special events.”

Tamworth Art Attack - Art in the Dark

TAMWORTH was packed with creative ideas and colourful activities on Saturday, October 7, when Art Attack hit Tamworth town centre offering free arts activities for people of all ages.

Art Attack attracted over 1000 people to Tamworth town centre with people of all ages and abilities joining in with the unusual ‘have a go’ art activities on offer. Nine professional artists and illustrators were on hand to guide and assist all budding artists, allowing people to express their creativity in an exciting and original way.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team have linked up with The Big Draw to bring the world’s biggest drawing festival to the town for the first time.

The event was organised as part of the Arts in Unusual Spaces initiative; a two-year project funded by Arts Council England to bring art to unusual spaces in Tamworth.

Throughout the day the artists were available to teach, guide and support people of all ages to find out more about unusual art and encourage anyone to pick up a pencil, paintbrush or Go-Go-Gadget arm and get creative!

art attack wall

Art Attack Wall

A variety of activities were held throughout the town centre and in Ankerside Shopping Centre which hosted some of the events.

Underneath the Town Hall, urban canvas offered traditional street art for anyone who wanted to grab a comfy cushion and get stuck in to drawing on the pavement with a stick of chalk. Young children got stuck in along with adults to create a colourful scene across the street.

Ankerside was full of people looking to join in with the various activities on offer. Art in the dark involved ultra violet painting, creating colourful lines, shapes and patterns, illuminated by black-light, fluorescent balloons and glow sticks.

Another popular activity was Body Draw where people were able to make and wear their drawing tools and let the body create the canvas.

Plenty of people came along to help piece together Tamworth’s history with the last chance to be part of Tamworth’s largest community Mercian Mosaic.

This second phase of the project has included life size silhouettes of Anglo Saxon and modern figures taking part in daily activities, as well as life size Celtic pigs, coins and shields.

The community art project will be displayed in the Castle Grounds during a series of events taking place next year to mark the 1100-year anniversary of Aethelflaed’s death.

Tape That and Living Lines, attracted all ages to join the fun using colourful electrical tape to line the walls, ceilings and floor to create bright shapes and a giant artwork. Living lines got people using their imagination to create objects, creatures and robots.

Art Attack

Tape That and Living Lines

A firm favourite was Doodle Draw, which saw people falling in love with drawing again and learning the art of art of continuous-line doodling, capturing Tamworth’s wonderful architecture. Five workshops were full throughout the day.

As part of the National Big Draw initiative, everyone was invited to doodle, paint and colour-in a creation. Café’s across town were busy with customers taking part in a doodle and drink.

Finally, the Castle Grounds attracted crowds of people all rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in with ‘Land Art’, creating a large scale environmental drawing using natural materials such as wood chippings and sawdust, to produce a medieval style image of the Warrior Queen – Aethelflaed.

Afterwards people took to social media to share their praise for the event. Reviews included Ems West who said: “Thank you. My family really enjoyed this event and has certainly inspired my 3 budding artists.”

Stephanie Lennon added: “What a brilliant event, we all had a great time. Thank you!”

Diane Gilbert said: “What a wonderful event again the Arts and Events team have organised. Well done! The people of Tamworth are lucky to have you.”

Pam Clark said: “Well done Tamworth for laying on lots of free family activities throughout the town centre. The children loved it!”

Caz Sydney added: “My girls had a brilliant time thanks for hosting fingers crossed they bring it back.”

Ankerside Centre Manager Jeff Wigley, said: “I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to work with the council on their great Art Attack event. It proved hugely popular with shoppers and was a real draw for visitors in the centre. We saw some brilliant pieces of art being created throughout Saturday and I’m delighted that we were able to play host to the innovative event.

“The feedback from visitors was great and everyone at the centre is looking forward to teaming up with the council on activities like this in the future.”

Chalk Art

Chalk Art

Members of the public are now being encouraged to vote for their favourite art piece in the Big Draw competition at: www.thebigdraw.org/vote

Throughout the year, The Big Draw demonstrates the social, economic and health benefits that drawing can bring and provides opportunities for everyone to access them.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “The Tamworth Arts and Events team received some lovely feedback. I know they had lots of fun organising this event and working with the talented artists and volunteers. The sight of children’s faces lighting up as they participated in activities with the family really made the whole event come together.

“Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this new and exciting event to Tamworth which offered a unique and interesting opportunity for people to take part in art – with a difference.”

More information on arts and events in Tamworth is available at: www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk        

Sherlock Holmes and the Crimson Cobbles

Theatre is continuing on tour this month as Touring Theatre delivers a range of high-quality performances starting with Theatre Chipping Norton – Sherlock Holmes and the Crimson Cobbles.

A brand new Sherlock Holmes caper will be performed at the Sacred Heart Church (B77 2EA) on Tuesday October 17 at 7.30pm.

Holmes and Watson are called upon to investigate the Whitechapel Murders which have recently sent shockwaves through London. But when the evidence points to only one possible conclusion – that Jack the Ripper is actually Sherlock’s trusted partner Dr Watson – will Holmes believe this shocking revelation?

From the team behind the smash hit touring productions of Around the World in 80 Days, this witty, laugh-a-minute pastiche of Conan Doyle’s investigative pair takes on the story of one the darkest times in Victorian history.

This fast paced and hilarious show brings together the most famous fictional detective and infamous real-life characters for the first and only time. The performance is recommended for families and children over 12 years-old.

Tickets are priced at £8 adults, £6 concessions and £26 for group of 4 (standard tickets). Doors open at 7pm.

Touring Theatre is part of the two-year Arts in Unusual Spaces project funded in partnership with Arts Council England, Tamworth Borough Council and the local community.

It includes a number of exciting initiatives for Tamworth, designed to bring the arts to all corners of the community. More information is available at http://www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk/arts-unusual-spaces.

Tickets are available via the box office on 01827 709618 or from the Community Together CIC Hub in the Castle Grounds.  A transaction fee of £1 is payable on all online and telephone bookings. For more information follow: www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “The Touring Theatre is a brilliant project that has helped broaden the use of community venues, making it even easier for people to experience and enjoy theatre and the arts.

“Sherlock Holmes is always a detective favourite and I’m sure this production will not disappoint our super sleuth fans.”

Alexanda O'Reilly

TAMWORTH born and bred Alexanda O’Reilly is currently starring in MAMMA MIA! in the West End.

Alexanda attended Belgrave High School before starting his training in Performing Arts at Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA). He then went on to train professionally at Laine Theatre Arts.

Since completing his training Alexanda’s theatre credits include: Eugenius (London Palladium), Cinderella (Bristol Hippodrome), Cinderella (Manchester Opera House), Monty in Saturday Night FeverIs There Life After High School? and East End Tales (LTA Studio Theatre), Laine Aflame and Laine Leaps Ahead (Epsom Playhouse Theatre).

Alexanda will be joining the previously announced Sara Poyzer, Kate Graham, Jacqueline Braun, Richard Trinder, Alasdair Harvey, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Georgina Castle, Christopher Jordan-Marshall, Bobbie Little, Harriet Bunton, Damian Buhagiar, Nye Rees and Caroline Deverill in the global smash hit musical MAMMA MIA! at London’s Novello Theatre from Monday 12 June 2017.

Alexanda joining the rest of the 2017-18 Cast of MAMMA MIA! for the first Day of Rehearsals

Alexanda joining the rest of the 2017-18 Cast of MAMMA MIA! for the first Day of Rehearsals

The West End to global phenomenon, MAMMA MIA! is Judy Craymer’s ingenious vision of staging the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs with an enchanting tale of family and friendship unfolding on a Greek island paradise.  To date, it has been seen by over 60 million people in 50 productions in 16 different languages grossing more than $2 billion at the box office.  In 2011, it became the first Western musical ever to be staged in Mandarin in the People’s Republic of China.  MAMMA MIA! is currently on its first ever UK Tour, receiving great critical and public acclaim.

MAMMA MIA! originally opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6 April 1999, before transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004.  The musical re-opened at the Novello Theatre in 2012, where it recently celebrated its London 18th birthday on 6 April 2017.

The London production of MAMMA MIA!  has been seen by nearly 8 million people, played over 7,500 performances and has broken box office records in all three of its London homes.

Produced by Judy Craymer, MAMMA MIA! The Movie, starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, is the highest grossing live action musical film of all time.

With music & lyrics by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, MAMMA MIA! is written by Catherine Johnson, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The production is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce & Bobby Aitken, and musical supervision, additional material & arrangements by Martin Koch.

MAMMA MIA! is produced by Judy Craymer, Richard East & Björn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal.

Wacthman V Sculpture

FUNDRAISING efforts continue for a new bronze statue modelled after the towns favourite regimental mascot, Sgt Watchman V, as the artist chosen to make the sculpture has released picture of the statue being created.

Watchman V is the mascot of the Staffordshire Regiment and holds freedom of Tamworth. Over the past few months several groups, businesses and residents have been working together to raise £10,000 to build a memorial to the Staffordshire Regiment that will be placed in Tamworth Castle Grounds. So far the group has raised three quarters of the funds needed and is seeking corporate sponsors and public donations to help raise the remaining funds.

Donors have included Bellway Homes, Tamworth Borough Council, Drayton Manor, Taylor Wimpy, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue, the Staffordshire Regimental Association, Tamworth County Councillors members fund, Snowdome and members of the public.

Artist, Johanna Domke-Guyot MA, who is sculpting the statue has released pictures of the statue in development. Saying, “It’s an honour and privilege to have been asked to produce the bronze of Sg Watchman. He’s been a very patient artists model whilst I have measured, sketched and taken photos of him. We are now starting  to bring Sgt Watchman to life in clay, capturing his unique personality, before it will then be transformed into the bronze”.

Watchman V

Lee Bates, of Community Together CIC said “The local community has really come together to help support this memorial statue project and through that support and generosity we are now so close to raising the amount needed.  This memorial will be very fitting and a forever symbol of the immense gratitude we all have for our armed forces.”

Cllr Robert Pritchard, Deputy Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said “This project has gone from strength to strength and I am so proud that Tamworth will get the first public memorial modelled after our Regimental Mascot anywhere in the county. Tamworth is so proud of or regimental links and the sacrifices made by our brave armed forces. ”

The project is organised by Cllr Robert Pritchard and Community Together CIC. Anyone one wanting to support the project can donate via Watchman’s website www.watchmanv.co.uk.

COLOURFUL and interesting bus shelters have started popping up across Tamworth as part of a community art project involving local artists and hundreds of school children.

Residents can now catch attractive art, as well as buses, at a 1970s living room bus shelter in Kerria Road, Amington, at a beach hut on the B5000 in Glascote Heath and at a Wild About Tamworth shelter in Peelers Way, Kettlebrook.

Further shelters will be revealing their bright new makeovers in the coming weeks, including a tree-themed bus stop in Fossdale Road, Stonydelph, a farm stop in Silver Link Road and an art gallery themed ‘Tam Modern’ stop in Fontenaye Road, Coton Green.

The ‘Catch Art’ project is part of the Tamworth Arts in Unusual Spaces initiative, which aims to bring art to all corners of the community, thanks to dedicated funding from Arts Council England.

For this project, Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team have joined forces with Vic Brown of Art Recruitment Tamworth, who also organises the popular Urban Arts Festival which takes place every year at the Castle Grounds’ skate park.

Vic has been working on the shelter designs with local artists and youngsters and has held a number of workshops in Tamworth schools, giving children the chance to work with professional local artist, Simon Wingfield.

To date, more than 500 children have contributed towards the shelters. Youngsters from Little Learners in Amington, Glascote Heath Pre-School and Stonydelph Pre-School made flowers for the beach hut scene, which was then brought to life by Simon, together with stunning photography supplied by local snapper Alex Blaby.

Simon also painted the Wild About Tamworth stop in Peelers Way and the 1970s living room in Kerria Road.

Pupils at Glascote Academy have been busy creating animals for their farmyard stop, which has been inspired by the school’s own on-site farm, while children from Three Peaks Primary School have designed insects which will be used to decorate the tree-themed shelter outside their school in Fossdale Road.

In the coming weeks, Simon and Vic will be visiting Kettlebrook’s Short Stay School to work with pupils on the Tam Modern shelter.

All the children are looking forward to seeing their artwork proudly displayed in the community for all to see.

Catherine Garey from Glascote Academy said: “The children and staff loved having Simon come to school and share his artistic skills. Thanks to everyone involved for organising such a fabulous project.”

A year 6 pupil at the school added: “It was really fun to be able to draw an animal from our farm and that everyone will be able to see it on the bus stop outside our school.”

The Catch Art project was launched this summer with the Wild About Tamworth bus shelter in Peelers Way, which backs on to the Tameside Local Nature Reserve and depicts some of the birds that can be seen there. It was prepared as part of this year’s Tamworth in Bloom campaign and helped the town secure gold for an eighth year in a row in the regional Heart of England in Bloom contest, as well as winning recognition with a special ‘Greening Grey Britain’ award from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Although the shelter was damaged by vandals, the decision was taken to replace it with tougher steel and to repaint it again as part of the Catch Art project.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “Catch Art is a wonderful project designed to bring art to all corners of the town. We also wanted to involve the community and the participation from local school children has been fantastic.

“It will be so lovely for them to see their artwork being enjoyed by people who are either waiting for a bus or passing by.

“The project has been made possible thanks to additional funding secured by the Arts & Events team from Arts Council England, which likes to support initiatives that encourage community participation in the arts.

“This is a particularly lovely project because everyone benefits from all the hard work the children have put into this and we hope people appreciate how exciting it will be for them to see their work on display in this way.

“I’m really looking forward to spotting the Catch Art shelters when I’m out and about in the town in the coming weeks.”

Cast of Cinderella

CINDERELLA is coming to Tamworth Castle Grounds this Christmas – oh yes it is!

After the success of last year’s show in a circus big top, the Tamworth Pantomime Company will present a week of magical performances this December.

The pantomime features plenty of well-known local names, including the irrepressible baddie Terry Batham and former ITV newsreader, now BBC WM presenter, Llewella Bailey.

Company Manager Alex Farrell plays one of the Ugly Sisters. He said: “We are so excited about Cinderella! It’s the most magical story of them all, and our cast is absolutely fantastic.

“Pantomime is a real tradition in Tamworth, and last year we didn’t let the closure of the Assembly Rooms stop the show. Over 4,000 people came along to see us, and we are hoping that this year’s run will be our biggest to date.”

Cinderella takes places from 14 to 22 December on Tamworth Castle Grounds. Tickets are £14 adults, £9 children and concessions and VIP Ringside seats are available for just £2 extra.

Buy them now from the Tamworth Tourist Information Centre on 01827 709618 or by visiting www.TamworthPanto.co.uk

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