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THE popular Christmas concert at St Editha’s Church was extra special this year as Tamworth Voices and Tamworth Wind Band performed for the first time at a festive Christmas performance, on Saturday, December 2.

The event proceeds raised just under £650 for Macmillan Cancer Support and St Editha’s Church.

Tamworth Assembly Rooms continued ‘on tour’ this season with the annual festive favourite, as part of Tamworth Assembly Rooms on Tour.

Tamworth Voices delivered a contemporary twist on the traditional choir; covering a wide range of musical styles and performing well known Christmas anthems. In addition, Tamworth Wind Band performed a set of classic tunes such as Whams “Last Christmas” and songs from the film ‘Frozen’.

Sing-a-long favourites and festive tunes filled St Editha’s Church, finishing with three Christmas favourites as Tamworth Wind Band accompanied Tamworth Voices for a finale of ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas.’

Tamworth Voices and Tamworth Wind Band in action.

Tamworth Voices and Tamworth Wind Band in action.

Gwen Wilkinson, St Editha’s Church Warden, said: “It was a Lovely concert we thoroughly enjoyed it. We are very grateful for the kind donation. The money will go towards the restoration of the church and is very much appreciated.”

 

Pauline Lewis, Fundraising Manager for Macmillan in Staffordshire, said: “We are thrilled that some of the profits from the concert will be donated to Macmillan. This donation will help us to provide vital services for people in Tamworth who are living with cancer, as well as their family and carers. Thank you to everyone who supported this brilliant concert. We really do appreciate your generosity”

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to see both Tamworth Voices and Tamworth Wind Band, perform Christmas classics with a contemporary twist. The evening brought Christmas cheer into the hearts of all that attended.

“The Arts and Events team has been working hard to ensure their groups 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 very special events.”

symphony hall, xtra humongous

LOCAL businessman Brina, Owner of Event and Creative Agency Xtra Humongous hosted a sold-out show at The Symphony Hall, Birmingham recently that was broadcast to a global audience of approximately 10 million people.

It is not the first time that Brina’s work has been broadcast live.  Previously he created a crazy area in Shangri-La at Glastonbury for a number of years, which was broadcast live on the BBC.

You can watch the full two-hour show of the event at the Symphony Hall anytime by clicking  here

Some of the comments about the event were;

‘The best visual production we have ever had here’ Symphony Hall, Birmingham
‘Wow … Epic’Mixmag
‘Best Musical Show I have ever been too and I’ve been to them all’Jeremy Healy (DJ to Christian Dior & John Galliano)
‘Forget Pete Tong, Hacienda & Cream, this is the show to go to, over and over again’5*Facebook Review from attendee

Tamworth Informed caught up with Brina to ask him a few questions and what it was like to put on such a show, this is what he had to say: ‘The Miss Moneypenny’s ‘A Night At The Proms’ was the coming together of a 2 year project that saw me full service conceptualise, market, promote and produce the 2 hour show … but what a 2 hours it was!”

So whats next for Brina? ”Well i have a 27-piece orchestra playing ska music with bands and DJs and members of The Specials in attendance in the spectacular Coventry Cathedral on 30th December with Secret Symphony, and a credible house music event with Secret Party Projects on New Years Eve in the cool iconic gallery space Nottingham Contemporary”

And then? ”Well it’s a secret obviously, although there are a couple of projects in Tamworth I’m looking to help within 2018, we should talk about those soon!”

Apparently, his events and creative agency offer services that are a little more inside the box.

You can find out more at the Xtra Humongous website: www.xtrahumongous.com

Via his experiential incredible clubbing brand Secret Party Projects, his new orchestral brand Secret Symphony, it seems a long time since he owned and operated Tamworth’s most successful House Music club ‘Bullit’ for 12yrs bringing the biggest DJ names and brands into the Town that it has ever seen with
judge jules / howard donald / trevor nelson / boy george / jeremy healy / danny rampling / farley jackmaster funk / shapeshifters / freemasons / bodyrockers / sonique / norman jay / oliver lang / richard f / brandon block / alex p / k-klass / sonique / stonebridge / mark doyle / aaron ross / soul central / jon carter / jonathan ulysses / kate lawler / andy ward / lisa lashes / amber d / anne savage / nick rafferty / spoony / dave pearce / tim westwood / hedkandi & miss moneypennys to name just a few, or the ones he can remember!

So maybe a ‘Bullit’ reunion back in Tamworth?  ”HaHa, no comment, actually maybe we could open up the Assembly Rooms when it is finally finished, now there’s a thought”

A SHOPPING centre’s Christmas gifting appeal is proving a huge success, as hundreds of generous shoppers kindly donate presents for three Staffordshire charities.

Since Monday 13 November, Ankerside Shopping Centre has been encouraging its shoppers to drop a present in its donation box in support of Acorn Children’s Hospice, Pathways Project and Community Together CIC.

The Operation Christmas collection box is located in the mall near H Samuel. “This year’s appeal has been extremely popular so far. So much so that we’ve had to empty the donation box multiple times in order to make room for more contributions,” said Jeff Wigley, Ankerside Shopping Centre manager.

Ankerside Shopping Centre Manager, Jeff Wigley and Centre Administrator Lucy Harvey are encouraging shoppers to donate before Thursday, 14 December.

Ankerside Shopping Centre Manager, Jeff Wigley and Centre Administrator Lucy Harvey are encouraging shoppers to donate before Thursday, 14 December.

“Now in our fourteenth year of Operation Christmas, this is the first time we have supported three organisations through the gifting campaign and so far, we’ve received hundreds of board games, cuddly toys and books for children of all ages and we’re expecting even more over the next few weeks,” Jeff added.

No matter how big or small, donated gifts will go to Acorn Children’s Hospice – a charity that offers care for life limited and life threatened babies, children and young people, and Pathways Project, an organisation that works to support adults, young people and children who are experiencing or affected by domestic abuse. Plus, Community Together CIC who work to support the people of Tamworth through a local drop-in hub featuring everything from a community café to advice gateways to healthy lifestyle promotion and children’s activities.

“Over the years the people of Tamworth have been extremely generous during the campaign and we can’t thank them enough for their donations,” he said. “If anyone would like to contribute, we’re asking the local community to pop a present in the collection box near H Samuel before Thursday, 14 December.”

Lee bates returns to Panto

CINDERELLA comes to Tamworth Castle Grounds this Christmas with a starring role for a local community champion.

Lee Bates is a popular character in Tamworth who runs the Community Café, and he’s taking on the role of Baron Hardup for the first time after a five-year break from performing.

Lee, who is a former Mayor of Tamworth, said: “I am so excited to be back in pantomime this year with this wonderful group of actors and volunteers.

“The Tamworth Pantomime Company showcases some of Tamworth’s great local talent in one of the town’s long-standing traditions and gives people a chance to have a go and to learn new skills, from treading the boards on stage to behind the scenes production.”

Cinderella runs for 16 shows from 14 – 22 December and for the second year in a row the pantomime will take place in a heated Big Top on Tamworth Castle Grounds while the local theatre gets much-needed renovations.

Lee plays Cinderella’s camp father Baron Hardup who is not quite sure how he’s ended up with the Evil Baroness. He added: “I’ve missed the fun and laughter that pantomime brings, particularly the joy it brings to audiences that come and watch the show, so hopefully I will do both the audiences and Tamworth Pantomime Company proud this year and do my bit.

“From what I have seen so far everyone is in for a treat this Christmas – oh yes they are!”

Tickets are £14 adults, £9 concessions and £42 for a family ticket. To book call the Tamworth Tourist Information Centre on 01827 709618 or visit www.TamworthArtsAndEvents.co.uk

 

Tamworth Voices Christmas Show

THE popular Christmas concert at St Editha’s Church will be extra special this year as Tamworth Voices will be performing for the first time with Tamworth Wind Band in this festive Christmas performance, this Saturday, December 2.

The event proceeds will be split between Macmillan Cancer Support and St Editha’s Church.

Tamworth Assembly Rooms continue ‘on tour’ this season with the annual festive favourites, as part of Tamworth Assembly Rooms on Tour.

The Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr John Chesworth, said: “It is exciting to see Tamworth Voices and Tamworth Wind Band joining forces for this spectacular show. I am delighted that both groups have agreed to donate the profits to both Macmillan Cancer Support and St Editha’s Church.

“There is no better way to start your Christmas season than enjoying this great festive themed evening and raising money for local people. It promises to be a heart-warming performance.”

Tamworth Voices will put a contemporary twist on the traditional choir; covering a wide range of musical styles and performing well known Christmas anthems. Tickets are priced £10 adults, £8 concessions. The doors open at 7pm, for a 7.30pm show and you are welcome to bring your own refreshments.

All event tickets are available via the box office: www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk  or 01827 709618. 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: “This is a wonderful opportunity to see both Tamworth Voices and Tamworth Wind Band, perform Christmas classics with a contemporary twist. This is guaranteed to bring Christmas cheer into the hearts of all who attend.

“The Arts and Events team has been working hard to ensure their groups 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 very special events.”

Tamworth co-op funeral service

A CHRISTMAS carol and memorial service, which attracts hundreds of people to St Editha’s Church each year, will held on Friday, December 1 at 7pm.

The service, organised by Tamworth Co-operative Society, was originally intended to bring comfort to the recently bereaved. However, it has proved so popular it is now established as a key event in the town’s Christmas calendar.

An extremely moving part of the proceedings comes when the lights are dimmed and the church is atmospherically illuminated by a sea of candle lights held aloft in memory of lost loved ones.

Scottish piper Alan Hillier will then poignantly make his way to the front of the church playing the bagpipes. This year’s service will also see world champion town crier Ken Knowles recite A Christmas Story.

Amanda Woodward, General Manager of the Society’s funeral division, said: “This is not just a tribute to people we have lost, but also a celebration of Christmas and there is a real sense of warmth and goodwill. Afterwards, people are welcome to enjoy complimentary mulled wine, orange juice and mince pies in St George’s Chapel.”

Reverend Alan Gordon, vicar of St Editha’s Church, will again lead the service. Tamworth Co-op funeral staff, including Amanda Woodward, Paul Warwick, Linda Sanderson and Sue Owen, will recite various poems.

There will also be performances by soloist Tom Clamp and the Tame Valley Learning Trust Choir. Tamworth Co-op chief executive Julian Coles will give the closing address.

Hundreds of goodie bags containing free gifts, such as candleholders, notebooks and pens, will be handed out.

A collection will be taken during the service, with the proceeds being split between St Editha’s Church and St Giles Hospice in Whittington.  All guests who have been sent invitations will also be able to enter a free prize draw for a Christmas hamper.

Local people are invited to hang a memorial tag on one of the Remembrance Christmas Trees on display at the Bereavement Advice Centre, next to the Co-op department store, or the main funeral home in Upper Gungate. Alternatively, call (01827) 65333 or (01827) 62094 and a member of staff will be happy to place a tag for a family.

CHRISTMAS cheer came to Tamworth town centre on Sunday (November 26) when thousands of people enjoyed an afternoon of festive entertainment for the whole family.

The yuletide season was kicked off in style with a Christmas market, fairground rides, nativity, walkabout characters, craft activities, face painting, lantern parade, and a variety of live performances from the Touch FM stage in St Editha’s Square.

An estimated 8,000 people flocked to the town centre to enjoy the free festive fun which culminated in the switching on of the lights at 5pm by winner of a special Bake-Off competition – Amanda Little,  accompanied by the Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr John Chesworth; not forgetting Father Christmas and The Gruffalo who made an appearance too.

Christmas Elf at Tamworth lights switch-on

Christmas Elf at Tamworth lights switch-on

The annual Christmas lights switch-on is organised with the Tamworth Christmas Lights Festival Committee and is another favourite in the Tamworth Arts & Events calendar which attracts thousands of people, who flock to the town to enjoy the celebrations each year.

The switch-on also coincided with the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Editha’s Church, which gave visitors the chance to admire dozens of trees decorated by schools, businesses, local groups and individuals.

The focal point for the afternoon of fun was the Touch FM stage in St Editha’s Square, featuring live performances from St Leonard’s Primary School, Matilda Pratt, Ellie Lake, Upbeat Dance Company, Stage It!, Just Perform and Tamworth Voices ended the proceedings with a Christmas sing-along.

The festive market was a huge success with dozens of stalls lining George Street, offering a range of Christmas delights from seasonal local produce to gifts, novelties and crafts.

Shoppers were greeted by the merry sounds of Tamworth Wind Band and Positive Labels, a group of young local musicians.

While elsewhere, under the Town Hall, Landau Sixth Form Academy performed with a ‘Site Specific Dance’. This was followed by members of St Francis Church who staged a live nativity and Tamworth Pantomime Company performing a teaser of this year’s magical and hilarious panto, Cinderella.

Children got involved with craft activities and lantern making at the Castle Activity Centre in the Castle Grounds.  Free glow-sticks were given to the children prior to the parade, to make their lanterns glow.

The square itself was buzzing with festive cheer – not to mention fake snow.

People took to social media during and after the event with their comments including:

“Brill free evening.”

“It was great to see local talent.”

“A well organised event with lots to see. We invited the family over with our ages ranging from 2-year-old to 65-year-old and had a lovely time! First time we have been but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.”

“Lovely festive family event bringing the town together. Thanks to the organisers and the people that took part.”

Crowds in St Edithas Square at Christmas Elf at Tamworth lights switch-on

Crowds in St Edithas Square at Christmas Elf at Tamworth lights switch-on

Jeff Wigley, Ankerside Shopping Centre manager and committee member for the town’s Christmas light switch on, said: “Here at Ankerside, we really wanted to do something extra special to celebrate the festive season, so we were so pleased to be able to team up with Tamworth Borough Council for the annual light switch on.

“Throughout the day, we welcomed Santa and The Gruffalo to the centre to officially kick off the festivities in style.”

He added: “The Gruffalo then went on to the town centre to meet and greet more children as well as help turn the lights on.

“It was brilliant to see such an incredible turn out at Ankerside and St Editha’s Square on Sunday and we hope everyone had as much fun as we all did.”

Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr John Chesworth, said: “The Christmas lights switch-on is yet another popular event in Tamworth’s busy programme of free entertainment with a wide range of activities taking place throughout the town centre.

“Once again the committee of organisers did us proud with another fantastic and enjoyable afternoon of fun which really got everyone in the festive mood. There was something for everyone to enjoy and it was great to see families and people of all ages enjoying themselves.”     

Ankerside gruffalo Christmas

HUNDREDS of people headed to the town’s shopping centre last weekend to enjoy free festive fun with children’s favourite character, The Gruffalo and Santa.

On Sunday, 26 November, visitors flocked to Ankerside Shopping Centre as the Christmas season officially began with a visit from Julia Donaldson’s hit picture book, The Gruffalo and the big man himself, Father Christmas.

Jeff Wigley, Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, said that Sunday was a brilliant way to start the countdown to Christmas Day. “For the final event of 2017, we wanted to plan something extra special and we were so pleased to see so many shoppers embracing the Yuletide cheer,” he said.

“Throughout the day, excited youngsters had the chance to visit Santa at his impressive grotto, before meeting children’s favourite monster-like friend, The Gruffalo during the afternoon.”

Four-year-old Alfie Allen meets The Gruffalo at Ankerside Shopping Centre.

After his visit to Ankerside’s extravaganza, the half grizzly bear, half buffalo didn’t return to the dark wood to scare sneaky Snake, crafty Owl and wily Fox, but headed to Tamworth’s Christmas light switch on at St Editha’s Square.

“The Gruffalo is extremely popular with children in and around Tamworth, so it was amazing to see such a flurry of visitors wanting to meet him and Santa at his grotto,” Jeff added.

“We would like to thank everyone who came along to Ankerside’s activities to officially start the festive season and we hope everyone had as much fun as we all did,” he said.

“Santa’s Grotto will continue every Friday and Saturday from 11am to 4pm and Sundays from 11am to 3pm. Leading up to the big day, the grotto will be open every day from Monday, 18 December, with 24 December being the final day for children to tell the Father Christmas what is on their present list before he heads off on his sleigh.”

Coton green church

A FORMER motorbike gang member who spent time in maximum security jails before becoming a Christian minister will be visiting a Tamworth church to tell his incredible story.

Reverend Colin Pownall, pastor of The Bikers Church in Warrington, will be the guest speaker on Sunday, November 26 at Coton Green Church’s 6pm service which is open to all to attend.

The 67-year-old, who says he broke ‘almost every law that God gave Moses’ in a life fuelled by drugs and alcohol, will be explaining how he realised there was no future for him without faith.

“Violence was part of my life – even the use of weapons,” he said.

“I broke nine out of the Ten Commandments. I didn’t kill anyone, but that was just down to luck.”

Since being reformed Colin has travelled to churches and prisons all over Europe to talk about his remarkable spiritual journey, encouraging others to become Christians themselves.

He has even performed several wedding ceremonies at his own church which was the first in England to be set up for religious bikers.

Colin added: “I had a bad start in life. My parents put me in a children’s home when I was 10 and by 16 I’d started hanging around with bike gangs after buying my first motorbike. I spent eight years with back patch clubs and ended up in several maximum security prisons.

“My life was full of hatred, bitterness and anger, but in my thirties, I went to a church service where I heard someone talking about heaven and hell. I knew I was going to hell because of all the bad things I’d done, but I had no fear because in the hell I believed in everyone rode big bikes, the sun always shone, and booze and drugs were free.

Rev Colin Pownall is coming to Tamworth to talk about how Christianity rescued him from a life of violence, drugs and crime.

Rev Colin Pownall is coming to Tamworth to talk about how Christianity rescued him from a life of violence, drugs and crime.

“The preacher explained that in hell there is no love, joy or peace and for the first time in my life I felt fear.”

At the end of the meeting, he accepted Jesus as his saviour. Almost immediately his addictions vanished, and he has never looked back since.

“I went from being a dangerous prisoner to becoming a prison chaplain in Stoke-on-Trent with my own set of keys. I can’t take all the credit for that. God has given me so much.”

Reverend Paul Sinclair is the pastor responsible for the 6pm service at Coton Green Church, based at The Coton Centre in Comberford Road.

“Colin’s story is truly an inspiring one and I hope that those who come along take heart from it,” he said.
Paul is also a biking enthusiast and owner of Motorcycle Funerals, which provides motorbike hearses nationwide for people who ‘baulk at the idea of their final journey being in a car.’

He added: “We have a programme of events coming up which we believe will not just interest our regular members but those who wouldn’t normally step foot inside a church building. Anybody who wants to come along will be warmly welcomed.”

Tudor Christmas at Tamworth Castle

PEOPLE are being invited to dine like the Tudors this Christmas at Tamworth Castle’s fun and festive Tudor Banquet on Saturday December 2.

Step back in time as Tamworth Castle throws open the doors for all to enjoy a Christmas feast. The evening guarantees fun, laughter, festivities and lots of entertainment by musicians, singers and storytellers.

Guests are encouraged to dress in full Tudor attire to enhance their experience and join in with the characters and wenches, as they serve a complimentary glass of mead on arrival then take a walk around the majestic castle rooms, before entering the Great Hall. Here, all guests will be greeted by the banquet servants who will prepare you for your banquet experience.

A glass of complimentary wine will accompany a five course feast all delivered to your table by waitress service.  A fully licenced cash bar will also be available.

The doors will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start to the evening, with all the celebrations concluding at 11pm.

Tickets: Adult £45.00, over 18s only

For more information or tickets please contact Tamworth Tourist Information Centre on 01827 709581/618 or email mail: [email protected]. Please note that pre-booking is essential.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “What a perfect way to start the Christmas celebrations with a traditional Tudor banquet. The castle is the perfect setting, where you will be able to dine and feast just like the Tudors did in the castle all those years before.

“Why not come along with friends, family or work colleagues and wear period costume to add to the atmosphere. Dine like Henry VIII and join in with traditional games of the era and a good ole sing-song.”

 

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