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Morrisons children in need

STAFF at the Morrisons store on Hilmore Way in Tamworth have shown their support for the BBC Children in Need campaign this year by dressing up and holding their very own ‘Rickshaw Challenge’ inspired cycle.

Dressed as super heroes or donning their favourite Pudsey Bear t-shirt the staff at the Wilnecote Supermarket took on the challenge of taking it in turns on the exercise bike to cover as many miles as possible; with a hope of reaching coast-to-coast.

In addition to the cycling challenge the staff also held a raffle in the store to enable customers to donate their loose change.

This is the second time in recent weeks that the store has been featured by us for their fund raising efforts.  At the end of October, Hollie Hurst from the store was ‘gunged’ in aid of CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity for young people.

In addition to this, the store has also featured in the Royal British Legion, Wilnecote Branch remembrance event as they allowed their store to be used.

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

Palace of Westminster from across the Thames

WELCOME back to my regular View from the House for Tamworth Informed; however this time covering the last fortnight.

There was a short recess at the end of last week. I’ve heard that this is a traditional recess which comes from when the State Opening of Parliament would take place in November and ‘appropriate’ time was required to make sure the Palace of Westminster is in its best shape for the ceremony. We’re British. We enjoy unique and age-old tradition.

Although there was a recess in Parliament, it was back to Tamworth for me to crack on with constituency work as per usual. Last week saw the build up to the various remembrance ceremonies which took place around Tamworth. I was fortunate enough to attend three ceremonies this year at the Hall of Memory on Hospital Street, the Aldergate Club and the Prince of Wales on Hockley Road as well as the main service at St Editha’s. It is always moving to see so many people, year on year, turning out in support of our Armed Forces.  In fact the numbers seems to grow every year and last weekend outside St Editha’s the square was packed.  And inside every pew, kneeler and spare in of space was take up.  It was the most powerful reminder that our veterans and the service personnel today are never forgotten.

November generally is a solemn time to remember those in our Armed Forces both past and present. Recently I have been investigating how we can develop a suitable memorial in Tamworth for those that have died on active service post-1945. If this is possible, and I believe it is, this will become a most fitting tribute to the brave men and women of our forces. I am talking to local services and veterans groups about it as well as the Ministry of Defence. If you have a view, or would like to help, please contact my office on 01827 312778 or email [email protected].

At one of my recent surgery days a gentleman brought to my attention the issue of leaflet/mailing spam to the elderly. In this instance his mother had unfortunately been scammed by a fake raffle letter which looked relatively official and even stated her address. This is quite shocking and even more disgraceful that the organisation was registered in France so currently it is impossible to have your address removed from overseas registers. I’ve written to the Advertising Standards Authority and the Minister with responsibility for this area to see what more the Government could be doing about this deceitful behaviour. If you receive spam leaflets with ‘to the occupier’ etc. and would rather not, then make sure you register with the Mail Preference Service to ensure your details are removed from any UK register https://www.mpsonline.org.uk/.

Brexit, if you hadn’t guessed already, continues to play a big role in the debate. This week we had the Committee Stage (where amendments are debated on legislation) on the EU Withdrawal Bill. The Bill seeks to remove and replace certain pieces of EU law that affect us today so that come 1st April 2019 there won’t suddenly be a big black hole in our legal system. The two days proved to be long but thoughtful debates. Most of us left the Parliamentary Estate around midnight on both nights. There will be six more days of debate on this Bill. As long winded as it may seem to some, it is only right that our Parliament has its say in a democratic way and I am confident that the right outcome will prevail at the end – a strong Act of Parliament that withdraws us from the EU but which preserves the rights of our community intact

On Friday I took some students from Landau Forte Sixth From for a tour of Parliament. I very much enjoy giving constituents tours around our Parliament – most for their first time – and believe it to be a crucial part of making the place feel more connected to Tamworth and local people. If you would like a tour please do not hesitate to contact my office on the details above and we can make sure I show you around.  The whole tour takes about two hours after which you can have a wander around historic central London, or do a bit of shopping, or both!

As ever, have a great weekend.

Chris

traffic and travel news

THE M42 close to Tamworth is now fully open in both directions after it was closed last night (Wednesday) after a body was discovered.

Emergency services were called to the location at around 520pm yesterday, Wednesday 15 November, and police immediately closed the road between Junction 10 at Tamworth and 9 at Curdworth after a body was found in the carriageway.

The road fully re-opened to all traffic at around 6am this morning (Thursday) after investigation and recovery work took place.

At 10pm the latest update from Warwickshire Police was that the southbound carriageway was expected to be closed through the night and into this mornings rush hour to allow an extensive investigation to take place.

Clearly everyone involved has worked tirelessly to get the road re-opened.

Police have thanked everyone for their patience.

Our thoughts are with the family of the person involved and everyone involved in the incident.

THE M42 southbound, close to Tamworth, between junctions 10 and 9 is closed after reports of a body in the road.

Emergency services were called to the location at around 520pm today, Wednesday 15 November, and police immediately closed the road between Junction 10 at Tamworth and 9 at Curdworth after a body was found in the carriageway.

At 10pm the latest update from Warwickshire Police was that the southbound carriageway was expected to be closed through the night and into tomorrow mornings rush hour. This is to allow an extensive investigation to take place.

The Northbound carriageway is open but traffic is moving slowly and there are delays on all surrounding routes, police have said.

Vehicles stuck in traffic on the southbound carriageway have begun to be turned around by Police. They have stated that this will take some time and they have thanked motorists for their patience.

A diversion has been set up to help motorists navigate around the route but the Highways Agency have asked people to avoid the area if possible.

In a statement the Highways Agency said: “Road users are advised to follow the ‘solid triangle’ diversion symbols.

“At the M42 exit at J10 towards the A5 westbound (Watling Street). Continue along the A5 westbound towards the A453 (Bonehill Road).

“Take the exit to the A453 southbound and continue to the junction with the A446 (Bassetts Pole).

“Take the exit to the A446 eastbound and continue to the M42 and re-join at J9.”

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Police a the scene of the incident

A 15-year-old boy has been sentenced to a four month Detention and Training Order after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, as well as driving without a licence and insurance.

The incident happened near to the McDonald’s restaurant on Beauchamp Industrial Park, Wilnecote shortly after midnight on 19 October.

The incident was initially reported incorrectly by some media outlets as a stabbing, but this was not the case.

The first half of a Detention and Training Order is served in custody, the second half is served in the community.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Newcastle Youth Court on 14 November.

The court heard that he had driven a van which struck an 18-year-old man, causing serious head injuries.

The victim was left in a critical condition but is thankfully making a steady recovery.

vehicle crimes

STAFFORDSHIRE police are warning motorists to be on their guard following a recent spate of thefts from vehicles in the Tamworth area.

Between 6 November and 11 November there were 11 reported incidents where vehicles were broken into at various locations. In many cases the vehicles had been left unlocked.

Items stolen include cash, tools, a laptop computer, an iPad, iPod and a pair of binoculars. In two cases, number plates were also stolen.

Chief Inspector Ashley Farrington said: “A number of these incidents were opportunist thefts. I can’t stress enough the importance of making sure your vehicle is locked and the alarm is activated when it is left unattended, even if just for a short time. Also, never leave valuables in your vehicle.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101.

You can also report information about crime by contacting the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

you're hired

STAFFORDSHIRE is continuing to see near full employment with just one per cent of the local population claiming out of work benefits, figures released today show.

This is the same as last month, though with slightly fewer claimants, and is lower than both regional (2.3 per cent) and national (1.9 per cent) figures.

Staffordshire’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “It is of course good news that we’re seeing low claimant count figures month on month in Staffordshire and our real focus now is to ensure jobs being created here are better paid. A more prosperous and healthy county is good for everyone and means we can focus our resources where they are really needed.

“There are some real success stories in Staffordshire where we have a thriving economy and with even more business development taking place. Sites created by the county council such as i54 South Staffordshire, Redhill and Kingswood Lakeside are nearly fully occupied and projects to pave the way for future growth like the Stafford Western Access Route are progressing well.

“We have seen real investor confidence throughout 2017 while established business success continues.”

If you are out of work or looking for a change in direction you can visit www.tamworthinformed.co.uk/jobs where you will find lots of vacancies in and around Tamworth.

white ribbon

TAMWORTH men are being encouraged to help put a stop to violence against women by pledging their support to this year’s White Ribbon Campaign.

The White Ribbon Campaign is a worldwide movement calling on men to stand together and say no to domestic abuse and violence against women.  Its key focus is on educating and engaging with men on these issues.  Although this is a minority of men, this violence impacts on thousands of others every year, in all walks of life.

Now the men of Tamworth are being called on to do their bit once more for the White Ribbon Campaign.

Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. Each year, the campaign urges men and boys to wear a ribbon for one or two weeks, starting from November 20 and including the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women on November 25. Women often wear them as well.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Community Safety team, staff at the council, police, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service staff and other agencies will be wearing the ribbon in support the campaign. Tamworth Rugby team will also be wearing the ribbons and sharing the anti-violence message.

Tamworth Rugby team wearing the ribbons and sharing the anti-violence message.

Tamworth Rugby team wearing the ribbons and sharing the anti-violence message.

Ribbons can be collected from the community safety team at Marmion House.

Cllr Daniel Cook, Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said: “As men, we need to stand up against violence to women and make a pledge that we will never commit, condone or stay silent about this crime.

“White Ribbon UK was founded in 2007 and the aim of the campaign is to encourage men to stand up against violence to women, to end a culture which accepts violent behaviour towards women, and we would encourage all men in Tamworth to once more join us in this.”

More information on White Ribbon can be found on their website: www.whiteribbon.org.uk/

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.”

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