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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

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”

Bolehall By Election Candidates

A by-election will be held in the Bolehall Ward next month to fill the vacant seat left following the recent resignation of Cllr Peter Seekings.

Cllr Seekings stood down from his role on Tamworth Borough Council on August 31 due to sudden ill health. Regrettably Cllr Seekings passed away on September 9. It was a seat he had held since 1997.

Two electors triggered a by-election which will be held on Thursday, October 12.

Here you can see our EXCLUSIVE interviews with the candidates for the Bolehall ward; Thomas Christopher Jay, the Conservative Party Candidate and Sheree Peaple, the Labour Party Candidate.

Both videos were recorded separately between 17:00 and 18:00, Thursday 21st September 2017 at Bolehall Manor Club.  Both Candidates were given up to 120 seconds (2 Minutes).   Nether candidate saw their own video or the other candidates video prior to publication.   Both Videos are the unedited second run of the Candidates speech.

staffordshire and stoke on trent growth hub

AN event at Tamworth Snow Dome today, Thursday 21 September, saw local business gain advice on digital marketing at the Digital Marketing Growth Hub Roadshow.

The free event which was organised by the Stoke and Staffordshire Growth Hub was designed to support local businesses; evaluate their website and social media status; and advice on setting up these vital tools for business.

Growth Hub partners were on hand exhibiting and expert guest speakers were there too cover Digital Marketing topics such as Social Media and Website Awareness, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Grants and Funding Available and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Here you can see Nichola Kent from Stoke and Staffordshire Growth Hub talk about the event.

TAMWORTH’S landmark ‘Warrior Queen’ statue is taking shape, with latest images of the work in progress revealing a little glimpse of just how impressive and magnificent the new sculpture will be.

After several weeks of back-breaking labour by artist and sculptor Luke Perry, work to create a steel statue of the iconic Lady Aethelflaed has reached the halfway point.

Once complete, the Saxon Queen will rise six metres above the ground 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.

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 jointly by Tamworth Borough Council, Arts Council England and Tamworth Gateways Project – a partnership between Staffordshire County Council and Tamworth Borough Council.

For the past few months, Luke has been hidden away in a workshop outside Birmingham, welding, hammering and literally hand-sculpting the magnificent ‘iron maiden’ as he has affectionately named her.

The internal structure, or ‘skeleton’, is now complete, as is the breast plate, back plate and shield – which itself stands taller than Luke. The chainmail is nearing completion and her sword – which is a work of art in itself – is also around 50 per cent of the way there.

Luke said: “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 starting to take shape though.

“The internal shell was key to the build. We are working from a life-sized model and everything has to be scaled up 3.5 times. Once we had the shell this was covered in chicken wire so the form could be easily manipulated – getting the form right has been the hardest part so far.

“Once all the angles and dimensions are right, you wrap it all in steel banding and take all the chicken wire out.”

As well as making sure everything is in proportion, there’s also the important job of making sure everything is correct for the period. For this, Luke has called in the services of a fellow artist and 9th century historian, who has travelled over from Berlin to assist on the project.

“We’re making sure all the details are authentic,” Luke said. “It’s not exactly how Aethelflaed would have looked as women of the time would usually be almost completely covered in fabric, but the interpretation is more in keeping with the Romantic, symbolic representation of women depicted back then.”

The progress to the Lady Aethelflaed sculpture

The progress to the Lady Aethelflaed sculpture

Members of the community have been involved in the design of the sculpture during consultations, workshops and live clay modelling sessions.

The final model was the result of consultations with more than 100 people who spoke to Luke about what they are most proud of about Tamworth. She has been designed to reflect the town’s Saxon history, but with an ‘alternative, modern twist’ that places it firmly in the 21st century. The project also represents quite an ambitious feat of engineering to bring the historical figure to life.

Also known as Tamworth’s ‘Lady of the Mercians’, Queen Aethelflaed, 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. 

Cllr Joy Goodall, Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “These images provide a sneak peek at Lady Aethelflaed and give a real feel for how large and impressive the finished article is going to be. This is an exciting project celebrating an important element of the town’s history, which will hopefully serve as a lasting legacy for years to come, as well as encouraging more visitors to the area.”

school bloom banners

SCHOOLS across the borough have been contributing to the Tamworth in Bloom celebrations by designing their own ‘Mercian 10 – the Heart of England’s Infantry’ themed banners.

Pupils have complemented the work going on in the town over the past few months by entering a school competition. The winning banners were displayed proudly in the town during the ‘in Bloom’ judging day and other events celebrating the Mercian Regiment’s 10th Anniversary.

It has recently been revealed that Tamworth has successfully received a GOLD award for the eighth year in a row in the Heart of England in Bloom competition. The borough’s accolade in the ‘Small City’ category was revealed at a ceremony at Warwick Castle on the evening of September 14, where Tamworth also picked up two additional special awards for the community cabinet.

Birds Bush Primary School, Flaxhill Junior School and Hanbury’s Farm Community School are the winning schools that now have their banners on show at Tamworth Library.

Each school that entered was given a length of calico canvas by the in Bloom committee measuring one metre by five metres in size, to be painted or drawn on with waterproof materials. Pupils could decorate it with images, words, symbols or flowers. Green, red and buff are the regimental colours and their symbol is a crowned double headed eagle; as shown on the Mercian Crest floral display on Moor Street traffic island at the end of Lichfield Street.

The regiment was first formed on 1st September 2007 at Tamworth Castle Grounds in the presence of The Colonel in Chief, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. The Mercian Regiment is the Heart of England’s Infantry making them one of the most experienced regiments in the British Army.

Tamworth in Bloom Champion, Cllr Joy Goodall, said: “It is exciting to see schools being involved with the ‘in Bloom’ work and celebrations of the Mercian Regiment.

“Mercian soldiers are renowned for their professionalism and courage, which is another reason for Tamworth to be very proud to display the pupils’ banner tributes. Residents and visitors to the town have been treated with such amazing floral displays and I’m sure will be delighted to view the school banners, on display in the library throughout September and October.”

A spokesperson for Hanbury’s Farm Primary School said: “Children of all ages have really enjoyed coming together as a school to create the banner in order to remember our brave  and  heroic soldiers.”

A spokesperson for Flaxhill School said: “Pupils thoroughly enjoyed completing the project. It was lovely to see how much pride they took in their work as well as the attention to detail they displayed while producing the banners. I know they were really enthused to be able to showcase their talents with the wider community.”

Tamworth Borough Council Logo

TAMWORTH Borough Council is consulting on its Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme and is asking for feedback from the public.

One amendment is proposed – that from April 2018, bereavement support payments are disregarded completely as income.

Tamworth Borough Council has now launched a consultation, asking for people’s views on this proposed change.  It is also taking the opportunity to gauge opinion on the rest of the scheme, which has been in operation since April 1st 2013.

Consultation questionnaires are available on the Tamworth Borough Council website at www.tamworth.gov.uk/consultation.

Deputy Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, Cllr Robert Pritchard, said: “It is important that the council can balance the cost to the taxpayer while supporting the most vulnerable residents. We would like as many people as possible to take part in the consultation and give us their views on the scheme.”

The consultation runs until 10th November 2017. At the end of the consultation, all responses will be considered by the Cabinet .Full Council will finalise the Local Council Tax Reduction scheme from April 2018.

James Hickman touring theatre

THEATRE is continuing on tour in Tamworth, bringing a variety of professional productions to community venues across the borough.

The project – 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.

Live & Local – the Midlands’ Rural and Community Touring Network – will continue to work with Tamworth community groups to provide volunteers with the tools they need to bring professional touring theatre companies to the town, including booking, promoting and selling the events.

The programme has proven a great success so far this year and has included five touring productions all performed in venues such as churches, a library and the Castle Grounds bandstand, attracting new audiences. Productions have included storytelling and puppetry of ‘The Fabularium – Reynard the Fox’, a particular hit with children and Mambo Jambo a popular acoustic duo.

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.

Details of the next instalment of Touring Theatre is as follows:

Theatre Chipping Norton – Sherlock Holmes and the Crimson Cobbles

Sacred Heart Church (B77 2EA): Tuesday, October 17, 7.30pm

A witty, laugh-a-minute pastiche of Conan Doyle’s great detective sees Holmes stalking Jack the Ripper in the streets of London’s East End. As the evidence builds only one conclusion can be drawn – that the Ripper is actually Sherlock’s trusted partner Dr Watson. But will Holmes believe this shocking revelation? Tickets are priced at £8 adults, £6 concessions and £26 for group of 4 (standard tickets).

James Hickman and Dan Cassidy in Concert

St Francis Church (B79 8JB): Sunday, November 19, 7.30pm

A transatlantic folk and roots duo inspired by the traditions of America and Britain. Dan Cassidy is an exciting and virtuosic fiddler providing the tunes and harmony singing, while James Nathan Hickman brings driving guitar playing and wonderfully unique vocals to their mixture of new and old folk music. A show bursting with humour, heartbreak and excitement. Tickets are priced at £7.50.

Noble Jacks in Concert

St Francis Church (B79 8JB): Thursday, February 8, 7.30pm

This rip-roaring alt-folk band brings warm electro-acoustic interactions to its live shows, fused together with a mixture of lively, folky foot stomping rhythms and engaging lyricism. The band encompasses heartfelt, yet up beat songs, showcasing fiddle, blues harmonica and big anthem songs. Exhilarating and refreshing to hear, this band will be raising the roof in February. Tickets are priced at £7.50.

Tantz in Concert

Sacred Heart Church (B79 8JB): Friday, February 9, 7.30pm

A high spirited and original klezmer dance and gypsy style band. Offering a performance of great global music this remarkable six-piece band will bring joyous jazz infused music with an infectious vibe.  Tickets are priced at £8 adults, £6 concessions and £26 for group of 4 (standard tickets).

Tickets are available via the box office: www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk. A transaction fee of £1 is payable on all online and telephone bookings. St Francis Church Tickets: 01827 65926, available from St Francis Vicarage, Masefield Drive. Sacred Heart Church Tickets: 01827 709618, available at the Hub in the Castle Grounds.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “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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