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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.
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.”
POLICE in Tamworth are appealing to the public for witnesses following an early morning burglary where cigarettes, alcohol and cash were stolen.
The burglary took place this morning, Friday 11 November, at 2.50am, at the Londis store on Hockley Road, Wilnecote.
The offenders, wearing hoods and gloves, forced their way into the store.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information that could assist officers in their investigation should contact police on 101, quoting incident 79 of 17 November.
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.
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.
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.”
POLICE in Tamworth are investigating a series of thefts of fuel from three petrol stations in the area.
The incidents took place between 3.05pm and 3.40pm on 8 November at Tesco in High Street, Dosthill, the Co-op on Tame Valley Industrial Estate in Wilnecote and Sainsbury’s in Bitterscote Drive, Bonehill.
The driver of a silver Vauxhall Astra, using stolen number plates, filled containers with diesel at each location and drove off without paying a total of £278.75. It is believed another two people were in the vehicle at the time.
The suspect is described as a white man in his late 30s to early 40s and was wearing a hooded camouflage jacket and sunglasses.
Chief Inspector Ashley Farrington said: “The number plates used in these thefts were stolen from a car in Fazeley Road earlier the same day.
“Anyone with information that could help our investigation is urged to call 101 quoting incident number 520 of 8 November or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”