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Focus 24

PEOPLE have only a few days left to see a display of digital art which highlights the beauty, the unusual and the norm of everyday life in Tamworth.

The Focus 24: 24 Hours in Tamworth exhibition, which is running in a unit in Ankerside Shopping Centre, comes to an end on Tuesday, September 26.

Organised by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team, as part of the Arts in Unusual Spaces initiative, the project invited amateur and professional photographers and filmmakers to capture Tamworth, the place and its people, at all hours of the day.

From more than 100 submissions, a total of 24 images, taken by 24 different photographers were chosen to represent 24 hours in the life of the town. At the same time, filmmakers were invited to submit video clips and attend workshops to help make a film that captures Tamworth at this moment in time.

The selected 24 images and the resulting eight-minute movie have been on digital display since September 2’s We Love Tamworth event. When the exhibition closes on Tuesday, it will have been on display for 24 days.

Funded by Arts Council England, Tamworth Borough Council and community partners, Arts in Unusual Spaces is a series of initiatives designed to bring art in all its forms to new and unusual spaces across the town.

For the Focus 24: 24 Hours in Tamworth element, the council’s Arts & Events teamed up with production company acquismedia, which has held a number of photography and filmmaking workshops in the town over the past few months to help local people brush up on their digital media skills for the project.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “Focus 24: 24 Hours in Tamworth has been an amazing project and the resulting images and film do a great job at capturing how beautiful this town is. It also demonstrates just how many creative and talented people we have in the community, as some fantastic work was submitted. The film will hopefully act as a lasting legacy for future generations, giving them a taste of what everyday life was like in Tamworth at this time.

“The digital display comes to an end soon, so I would encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it yet to make a point of having a look. If you’re in town at the weekend, make sure you stop at Ankerside and view the images and film before it’s too late.”

Ankerside Shopping Centre manager Jeff Wigley said he was delighted to be able to host a ‘brilliant exhibition of art and photography’ on behalf of Tamworth Borough Council. “Earlier this year the Focus 24 project came to the centre to encourage the people of Tamworth to get involved through photography workshops, Jeff said.

“Throughout September, the digital art display has been on show and, so far, it has been a huge success with shoppers stopping by to see the photos submitted by friends, family and even themselves,” he added.

Cadets during the team building activity

STAFFORDSHIRE Police Cadets from the Tamworth unit have taken part in an activity day at the Tamworth and Lichfield Sea Cadet base to help them develop their team working skills.

The cadets took part in activities including raft building, sailing, rowing and power boating, as well as learning nautical skills such as knots. Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold accompanied them on the day.

Mrs Arnold said: ‘It was wonderful to see so many cadets come together to take part in the activity day. It was thoroughly enjoyable and gave the cadets the chance to get out and build their skills as a team in a new environment. As expected the cadets did themselves proud during the activity day.

‘The cadet scheme has had a positive influence to the lives of many young people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. It’s all about giving advantages to young people through allowing them to gain life skills such as responsibility and discipline.’

Graham Smout, Deputy Chief Officer of the Specials, said: ‘It was great to see the cadets come together and develop their skills and it was wonderful to see them all encouraging each other throughout the day.

‘A big thank you to the Tamworth Sea Cadets for hosting us and making it a thoroughly enjoyable day for our police cadets. I would also like to thank everyone who helped out on the day, including the cadet leaders and the volunteers who provided the catering and worked with the cadets in the kitchen, I know the cadets really enjoyed it.’

DPCC Sue Arnold with Staffs Police Cadets 1

DPCC Sue Arnold with Staffs Police Cadets 1

The Staffordshire Police Cadet Service was launched by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis in 2013 to strengthen links between the police and young people and promote good citizenship. Successful cadet units have been launched in Stafford, Cannock, Burslem, Tamworth, Longton, Codsall and Burton with more planned for 2017.

The police cadets work towards several nationally recognised qualifications including team-working and citizenship. Many of the cadets have found that through the scheme they are becoming not only more confident and outgoing, but that they are also benefiting both socially and academically, all while helping to build links between the police and young people.

Businesses are invited to become patrons or sponsors to help fund uniforms and equipment for the cadets. In return for becoming a patron, businesses’ contributions are recognised through publicity, a framed certificate and other opportunities. More information is available at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/police-cadets

Cadets during the team building activity

Cadets during the team building activity

Young Poet Laureate Rebecca Lockwood

THE new young poet laureate for Staffordshire has been announced as 17-year-old Rebecca Lockwood, from Cannock.

Rebecca is the fifth person to hold the prestigious role which promotes a love of poetry and showcases the creative writing skills of young people across the county.

She performed her powerful poems alongside her fellow shortlisted poets, impressing the judges at a special poetry event at Church Lane Evangelical Church in Stafford.

Rebecca, currently a Year 13 pupil at Cannock Chase High School, said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed Young Poet Laureate of Staffordshire for 2017/18. I am especially excited for my year ahead, as I hope to create poetry events specifically for young people throughout Staffordshire where we can openly discuss and relate to each other in a time where things around us can appear daunting.

“I love poetry and also manage a blog dedicated to my poetry rebeccalockwoodblog.wordpress.com which I also hope to share with other young people.”

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member responsible for libraries at Staffordshire County Council who organise the Poets Laureate scheme, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome Rebecca to her new role. Rebecca is our fifth young poet laureate which has become an incredibly popular scheme for our county’s young writers and poets. I know the judges were very impressed with her poetry and we all wish her every success in her forthcoming role.

“I’d also like to thank our outgoing post holder Isobel Horsley who has done a marvellous job over the last year and I offer her our best wishes for the future.”

The judges were Current Staffordshire Poet Laureate Bert Flitcroft, Brenda Read-Brown, co-ordinator of Poetry on Loan for libraries in the West Midlands, Jane Seabourne, poet and partner in Offa’s Press and Lucy Cooksedge, a university student shadowing the judging process.

Bert commented:

“Rebecca’s poetry and her delivery were exceptional and showed great maturity. It’s important we attract young people to Poetry and I’m sure Rebecca will be a great advocate. I think she’s one to watch for the future.”

Rebecca will take up her tenure on National Poetry Day on Thursday 28 September.

police cell

A Stoke-on-Trent man who preached extreme Islamist ideology at a mosque in the city has today (22 September) been found guilty.

Kamran Hussain, aged 40 and from Knightsbridge Way, Tunstall in Stoke-on-Trent was arrested as part of an intelligence-led operation by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) and Staffordshire Police on 14 February.

Hussain was charged with eight terrorism offences; six counts of giving a sermon which would encourage individuals to commit, prepare or instigate acts of Terrorism under section 1 (2) of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was also charged with encouraging support for a proscribed organisation (Daesh) under section 12(3) Terrorism Act 2000.

During his sermons at the High Street mosque, Hussain supported the virtues of killing, martyrdom and violent jihad and endorsed the efforts of those who had undertaken such acts.

From his position of trust and influence, his speeches glorified the efforts of fighters and encouraged terrorism, and in particular he invited support for Daesh.

An undercover operative attended the mosque in Tunstall on a number of occasions and recorded sermons between 24 June and 21 October 2016.

Hussain’s home address and the mosque were searched following his arrest. A phone was recovered which contained images of well-known radical preachers.

Today’s verdict follows a two week trial at the Central Criminal Court in London. Hussain will be sentenced on Thursday 28 September.

WMP

Kamran Hussain – Image courtesy of West Midlands Police

Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, head of WMCTU, said: “Hussain was espousing hatred and violence as well as clearly demonstrating his support for Daesh through the content in his sermons.

“During this investigation we used covert methods to record these sermons and present it as evidence during the trial. We will continue to use every lawful technique and power available to us to tackle terrorism.”

Chief Superintendent for Local Policing, Wayne Jones: “We are pleased with today’s guilty verdict and conviction of Kamran Hussain, a man who has supported terrorism and promoted extremist views within Stoke on Trent.

“We and our partners are fully committed to working with our communities to identify and target those individuals who would seek to instil hatred or fear into others. The actions of this man, who was supporting radical and violent extremist behaviour have no place in our society, and we will continue to be relentless in our efforts to keep you safe by taking appropriate action whenever we are provided with information about any form of extremism.

“I would ask that you remain vigilant and act on your instincts. If you see or hear something that you think may be related to extremism of any kind call the police on confidence on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always dial 999.”

Visit gov.uk/ACT for more information, including how to report extremist or terrorist content that you come across online.

Flame-Bellied Zonures

DRAYTON Manor Zoo’s worldwide breeding programme has recently delivered a group of baby Flame-Bellied Zonures, making it the only zoological institution in Europe to do so.

The diminutive group, who grow no longer than 30cm long, were born at the end of June and have settled in at the 15-acre attraction with no fuss: very much enjoying life in Staffordshire!

Flame-Bellied Zonures are a small, brightly coloured species of rock lizard from areas of Mozambique and Zimbabwe. They are currently suffering from habitat loss and are affected by the pet trade so it is an important species to conserve.

Chris Mitchell, Zoo Manager at Drayton Manor Park, said: “We’re very proud of our breeding and conservation programmes and arrivals like this definitely make the hard work worthwhile. Few establishments home Flame-Bellied Zonures and we’re only one of two worldwide to have bred this species in the last year.

“Of course, with animals of this size, the first three months are crucial for health and development so I’m very happy to say that everything is going well and we very much look forward to seeing the group grow up here.”

Flame-bellied Zonures at Drayton Manor Zoo

Flame-bellied Zonures at Drayton Manor Zoo

Animal lovers can meet over 750 animals of 130 different species from all over the world at a visit to Drayton Manor Park Zoo.

The Zoo is a full member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), which means it focuses closely on animal welfare, conservation, research and education, with conservation particularly being at the heart of everything the Zoo does.

The babies are currently doing well in an off-show area and families can come and see these lizards in the reptile house.

Wherever Bar, Tamworth

A POPULAR Tamworth bar is the latest venue to close its doors for the final time in the Town Centre.

Wherever Bar, which is described as Tamworth’s Sophisticated Social Playground has closed it’s doors to the shock of many customers.

The much loved cocktail bar on Orchard Street, has been trading for six years and become popular for its cocktails and tapas in a more grown up setting.

Wherever achieved 4.5 stars out of 5 on trip advisor.

In a statement on their Facebook page, Andrew Webb, the owner has said:

“A big thank you to everyone that has supported wherever over the last 6 years. It’s definitely been an experience mostly great. I’ve met some fantastic people but with everything great it must come to an end. Wherever closed it’s doors this week yes I’m a little sad but we all need to move our lives forward. Good luck to my team as they go their separate ways. I’ve got your backs if you need me. Thank you”

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