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TAMWORTH’S first official Dementia Awareness Week was a great success, with people across the borough uniting to raise vital awareness for those living with the condition.

More than a dozen activities took place in Tamworth between Sunday, May 14 and Saturday, May 20, as part of National Dementia Awareness Week, including coffee mornings, drop-in sessions, a market stall, an orienteering walk, a tea party and several ‘tea and twiddle’ sessions.

Participation in the event was one of the first major initiatives to be held since Tamworth won ‘Dementia Friendly Community’ status at the beginning of May.

As well as raising vital awareness, more than £450 was received in donations – over £300 for the Alzheimer’s Society and £150 for the dementia ward at Good Hope Hospital.

People from all walks of life got involved in the week, whether that was by attending a drop-in session, having a cup of coffee and a chat, throwing spare change in the donation box, or knitting a ‘Twiddle Muff’ to help those living with dementia.

Twiddle Muffs are double thickness hand muffs which have buttons, bows, pompoms, zips and other items attached, both inside and out. They help people with dementia to reduce anxiety and occupy their restless hands, as well as providing visual, tactical and sensory stimulation.

So far the people of Tamworth have knitted more than 100 Twiddle Muffs which are being distributed through support groups, care homes and hospitals.

 orienteering walk with Community Together CIC

Orienteering walk with Community Together CIC

As a Dementia Friendly Community, Tamworth is going all out to become a town focused on ensuring people with dementia and their carers feel safe, supported and involved in all aspects of community life.

Activities are being co-ordinated through the Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance (TDAA), – a partnership of stakeholders working together to raise awareness and improve services locally. The TDAA now boasts 17 member organisations (and counting) including Tamworth Borough Council, the police, fire service, health care services and providers, community groups and businesses.

David Barnes, Chairman of the TDAA and Alzheimer’s Society volunteer, said: “The main purpose of Dementia Awareness Week was to make contact with people who are affected by dementia either directly – such as those with dementia and their carers – or indirectly, such as their friends, relations or casual acquaintances.

“I believe we achieved this aim and can say the people of Tamworth are truly ‘united against dementia’. The money donated in many cases was a gesture in memory of those lost to dementia and is greatly appreciated by the Alzheimer’s Society. Thank you to everyone who took part in the week.”

Knit Natter at ABs Cafe

Knit Natter at ABs Cafe

Cllr Andrew James, Tamworth Borough Council’s lead member for dementia, said: “The timing of National Dementia Awareness Week was perfect for launching Tamworth as a Dementia Friendly Community and highlighting some of the work that will be taking place to raise awareness and improve services locally for those living with dementia.

“It was a very successful week and I think there is now an improved awareness of dementia as a serious and important issue that is affecting more and more people every year. However, this is only the beginning and we all have a responsibility to ensure people living with dementia feel included, engaged and valued.”

The Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance continues to recruit new members, including businesses, GPs, banks and retailers, and train more people to become Dementia Friends.

There are now more than 1,900 Dementia Friends and 10 Dementia Champions in Tamworth and those numbers are increasing all the time. The overall aim is that wherever people with dementia go to access services, shop, or relax, there will be someone with an understanding about dementia and how the condition affects them.

Knit Natter at Druckers

Knit Natter at Druckers

Becoming a Dementia Friend takes less than an hour and can be done online at https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/ or by contacting Tamworth Borough Council’s Lead Officer for Dementia Friendly Communities, Karen Clancy, on 01827 709565.

Dementia Champions undertake a day of training and are then able to deliver Dementia Friends awareness sessions in the community. Tamworth’s Dementia Champions include Cllr Tina Clements, TDAA chairman David Barnes and Lee Bates, project co-ordinator of the Community Together CIC – a key member of the TDAA. Between them they have helped create hundreds of new Dementia Friends in the town.

More information is available on the Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance website.

Police car bonnet

POLICE in Tamworth have issued a warning after a rise in reports of youths riding their pedal cycles in an anti social manner.

Local officers have stated that there have been a number of reports of youths riding their bikes in an anti-social manner.

This mainly includes riding in large groups on roads pulling wheelies.

There has recently been a large group of youths who rode their bikes on the A51 from Kingsbury towards Dosthill on the 8th April where one male youth pulled a wheelie in front of on coming traffic.

There have also been reports or youths doing this whilst on their way to and from Wilnecote High School and near Wilnecote Junior school.

Police say that they will be monitoring this and will be dealing with anybody caught riding their bikes in an anti-social manner.

The Law

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended by the Road Traffic Act 1991) it is an offence to ride recklessly on a road or in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner.

Dangerous cycling on a road is an offence and is a more serious offence than careless and inconsiderate cycling. A person is to be regarded as riding dangerously if, and only if, “the way he rides falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful cyclist, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist that riding in that way would be dangerous.”

The less serious offence of careless and inconsiderate cycling which states that a person is guilty of such an offence if a person “cycles on a road without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users”.

 

Staffordshire Police Insignia in Tamworth

TWO men were arrested after a police pursuit ended in a three-vehicle crash close to Tamworth Town Centre.

A number of police cars, two of which were un-marked, an Ambulance and a TAME community first responder attended the incident at the ‘bell corner’ junction shortly after midnight in to the early hours of Sunday morning, 21 May.

A red Seat Leon failed to stop for a Police vehicle and sped away from officers before crashing in to a member of the public at the popular junction.

After the collision, a male was seen to run away from the scene and a short foot chase ensued, with the male being detained a short distance away.

Witnesses say that they saw a second man being held down on the floor, next to where the collision occurred.

A witness told Tamworth Informed: “I was in the BP garage when I heard a loud bang, I went outside and it was like something you see on TV.  A red car was sideways across the road and a small blue car had lots of damage to it’s front. There was another car, a small red one which looked damaged. I could see that there was an undercover police car with lights flashing and the siren going.  This didn’t appear to be damaged.

“Other police cars and an ambulance car arrived – there was lots of people about.  I hadn’t really seen anything like it before.”

As well as damage to the Seat Leon, two other vehicles could be seen to have been damaged.

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said: “Two men were arrested following a vehicle pursuit in Tamworth in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“A red Seat Leon, failed to stop at around shortly after midnight in the Upper Gungate area of Tamworth and a pursuit followed. The vehicle was abandoned but the two men were quickly arrested.

“Two other vehicles were damaged during the pursuit. Fortunately, there was no serious injuries reported.

“The men aged 23 and 28 are both from Tamworth. The 23-year-old was released under investigation and the 28-year-old was released without further action.”

Anyone with information or who witnessed the collision is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101.

 

LADY JUSTICE STATUE

A MAN has been jailed for 12 months for dangerous driving on the A5 in Fazeley, in 2015.

Steven Porton, aged 29, of Boulevard Walk in Walsall, was convicted of dangerous driving.

This follows a fatal road traffic collision near to Ventura Retail Park, just before 3.12pm on Friday 20 November 2015.

The collision involved two motorcycles and resulted in the death of Philip Gray, aged 37, from the Oldbury area of the West Midlands.

Porton was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court this week (19 May).

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison; a three-and-a-half year driving ban and will have to take an extended retest.

A detailed investigation into the circumstances of the collision was carried out by the the regional Collision Investigation Unit.



firefighter recruitment

STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) are set to recruit wholetime firefighters for the first time in eight years.

Applications open on Thursday June 1 and close on Sunday June 11. A thorough paper sift will take place to select those that demonstrate the skills required to be a firefighter.

As part of the recruitment drive the Service is hosting a series of recruitment events at fire stations around the county. These events give those who are interested in a career with the Service an opportunity to find out more about the role.

SFRS is set to select 16 suitable candidates to embark on an intensive initial firefighter training course planned to begin later this year.

The campaign #YouCanToo aims to encourage applications from people from all areas of our communities and encourages those who may not necessarily consider themselves suitable for a firefighting career to apply as the role of a firefighter has significantly changed in recent years.

The Service wants to focus on breaking down common stereotypes about who can be a firefighter and the campaign will feature faces of several existing firefighters to show that #YouCanToo.

Tim Chan, Hanley firefighter

With over 90 per cent of the role focused on education, prevention and training work, the Service wants to attract applications from people with a caring and compassionate nature who really want to make a difference in their communities.

A modern firefighter’s role includes the following:

  • engaging and educating people of all ages to help them to stay safe and well
  • saving and preserving endangered life and providing treatment to casualties
  • advising on fire, home and business safety solutions to minimise danger to the community
  • working as part of a team
  • protecting the environment.

While the bulk of the role isn’t physically demanding, candidates will need to be physically fit in order to perform the operational side of the job. At times they will be required to work in very challenging conditions.


READ MORE: Tamworth firefighter commended for saving lives


Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rob Barber said: “There is a stereotypical image of a firefighter which we really want to challenge and change.

“We’re really lucky to have a diverse community in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and we want our service to reflect the communities they serve.

“You don’t have to look a certain way to be a firefighter – as long as you are driven, determined and passionate about doing the best for your community then you’re exactly what we’re looking for.

“There is much more to the role of a firefighter than the common perception of racing to burning buildings or road traffic collisions. We strongly believe that preventing fires and emergencies from happening is far better than responding when things go wrong.

“Today a firefighter’s average working day involves spending more time on community safety and engagement, education, partnership working, and helping businesses recover after a fire, than responding when things have gone wrong.

“Our firefighters come from many different backgrounds and the #YouCanToo campaign is about dispelling the traditional firefighter stereotype.

“It’s important that applicants understand that our recruitment is all encompassing –each applicant will be considered based on their skills and experience. So if you want a rewarding and challenging career, get your application in! Good luck!”

Joanne Rawlinson, Sandyford firefighter

For more information please visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/careers

The Service will be accepting applications from June 1, 2017. To apply please visit www.wmjobs.co.uk(opens in a new window)

We welcome applications from outside of Staffordshire, including firefighters from other fire and rescue services. To apply you must be 18 years old or over.

Recruitment events to be held as follows:

  • 10am-1pm Monday May 22 at Newcastle-under-Lyme Fire Station
  • 3-7pm Monday May 22 at Tamworth Belgrave Fire Station
  • 3-7pm Wednesday May 24 at Hanley
  • 3-7pm Wednesday May 24 at Cannock Fire Station
  • 10am-3pm Friday May 26 May at Burton
  • 10am-3pm Friday May 26 at Stafford Fire Station
Firefighter Sharron Finch carries out a Safe and Well visit

Firefighter Sharron Finch carries out a Safe and Well visit

Evha Jannath

A post morton has revealed the cause of death of 11-year-old Evha Jannath who sadly lost her life last week.

Post-mortem results published today have revealed her cause of death as being a chest injury, as officials continue to investigate how the fatal injuries were sustained.

The 11-year-old had been on the Splash Canyon ride with friends when it’s believed she fell into the water after standing up to swap seats.

Year 6 student Evha was on a school trip with fellow students from Jameah Girls Academy on Tuesday 9 May when the incident occurred.

The South Staffordshire Coroner’s office said the cause death was “blunt force chest trauma” adding that a inquest into her death would open next Tuesday.

Yesterday about 600 mourners gathered at Leicester’s Saffron Hill Cemetery for her funeral.

Speaking after the service, Erfana Bora, head teacher of Jameah Girls Academy, told the BBC a fitting tribute would be made to Evha.

Her name will remain on the register at the request of the family.

“I’m happy to do so as Evha will always be in our hearts and a part of our school”, she said.

It is understood that Evha’s family have requested CCTV footage from the theme park to see her final moments.


READ MORE: Please support Drayton Manor


Speaking last week, not the day of the incident, one of Drayton Manor’s director’s, George Bryan, said staff were immediately on the scene after the girl fell in. Clearly in shock and fighting back tears, Mr Bryan said:

“Further to the police statement which has been issued to yourself and your colleagues a few moments ago, it is with great sadness that we have to report that a young girl has passed away at Birmingham Children’s Hospital following an incident at one of our rides this afternoon.

“Our staff were alerted that an 11-year-old girl had entered the water.

“Trained park staff were immediately on the scene attending to the patient and West Midlands Air Ambulance arrived and airlifted her to hospital.

“We are truly shocked and devastated, and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this tremendously difficult time.”

Our thoughts remain with all those involved.

 

Cllr John Chesworth

COUNCILLOR John Chesworth has been sworn in as the new Mayor of Tamworth after being unanimously voted to the role by members of Tamworth Borough Council.

The Spital ward councillor has supported outgoing Mayor Cllr Ken Norchi as Deputy Mayor over the last 12 months and is now looking forward to serving as first citizen of the borough.

The Mayoral chain was handed over during a traditional ceremony at the council’s annual meeting, which takes place at Tamworth Town Hall at the start of each new civic year.

Nominating Cllr Chesworth to the role of Mayor, Tamworth Borough Council Leader, Cllr Daniel Cook, said: “Cllr John Chesworth, as we all know, comes from a legacy of family members who have served this town with distinction and I know he will continue to do that during his year as Mayor. We have had a great year and Cllr Norchi has represented this town well.”

The evening marked the end of a significant Mayoral term with Cllr Norchi as councillors broke with years of tradition to vote a member from the opposition group to the role rather than from the controlling group.

In recognition of this decision, no alternative nominations for Mayor were put forward by the opposition group and the motion was seconded by Opposition Leader Cllr Simon Peaple, who said Cllr Chesworth will make ‘an excellent Mayor’.

Cllr Chesworth has represented the Spital ward since being elected in 2014. His Mayoress for the year will be his wife, Mrs Tereasa Chesworth.

Cllr John Chesworth and Mrs Tereasa Chesworth

Cllr John Chesworth and Mrs Tereasa Chesworth

 

After being sworn in as Mayor, Cllr Chesworth said: “I would like to thank members who voted for me. What a great year we had with Ken. It was a pleasure working with him and it’s fair to say we got to know him pretty well and I now count him among my friends. He has done a lot of work for Tamworth people and he did the job really well.”

During his year in office Cllr Norchi attended more than 200 events and functions and raised more than £8,000 for local good causes. Most of the money will go to his chosen charity for the year, Spoken, which provides a support network for the parents and carers of children with special needs in Tamworth.

It is a cause close to his heart as his 11-year-old grandson is autistic, and Cllr Norchi is delighted to have raised both money and awareness for the organisation.

He held a number of fundraising events throughout the year, including discos, a curry night, a skittles night and a DJ extravaganza.

Cllr Norchi said: “I have had a fantastic year. It has been a very interesting, very eventful and fabulous year for us all and we have met some marvellous people.

I think I got to know more about Tamworth and its people and organisations in the last year than I have in the rest of my 65 years put together.

“I am delighted to have raised more than £8,000 for charity, and particularly for Spoken.

“I hope we have achieved something over the past 12 months by bringing people together and trying to put Tamworth right on the map where it belongs.

“I would like to wish Cllr Chesworth all the best for the coming year; we have had excellent support from both John and his wife, Tereasa.”

The outgoing Mayor also thanked his mother Mrs Jean Norchi who supported him throughout the year as Mayoress.

Cllr John Chesworth and Deputy Mayor Cllr Peter Thurgood

Cllr John Chesworth and Deputy Mayor Cllr Peter Thurgood

Cllr Peter Thurgood was unanimously voted to the role of Deputy Mayor.

Flight Sergeant Charlotte Cropper of the 1122 (Marmion) Squadron Air Training Corps was inaugurated as the Mayor’s Cadet for the forthcoming year. She will represent the young people of the town by attending certain civic duties with the Mayor.

 

Cllr Daniel Cook was re-elected to the position of Leader of Tamworth Borough Council and confirmed that there will be no changes to the Cabinet membership for the coming year.

Cllr John Chesworth and Mayor's Cadet Charlotte Cropper.

Cllr John Chesworth and Mayor’s Cadet Charlotte Cropper.

police cell

INDEPENDENT Custody Visitors (ICVs) have made 263 unannounced visits to custody sites and visited 566 detainees in Staffordshire in the last year.

The figures come from the 2016/17 ICV Annual Report which provides an overview of the work of the ICVs.

There are currently 44 ICVs in Staffordshire split between the Northern Area Panel, Southern Area Panel and the Trent Valley Panel. The ICVs work in pairs and can check police cells – where they are granted access to detainees – at any time day or night to make sure custody rules are being observed.

The report shows that between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017 ICVs spent over 17, 492 minutes inspecting the custody suites in Staffordshire.

Voluntary ICVs are appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner to check on the wellbeing of people held in custody by Staffordshire Police.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Arnold, said: “Roles of Independent Custody Visitors are crucial – not just to the people in custody, but also in promoting public confidence in the system which is essential to making Staffordshire safer.

“ICVs provide vital work behind the scenes of Staffordshire Police in making unannounced checks on conditions of Staffordshire Police cells and the welfare of people in custody.”


READ MORE: Staffordshire’s High Sheriff visits police custody with Volunteers


 DPCC Sue Arnold, High Sheriff Humphrey Scott-Moncrieff, ICVs Stan & Elizabeth & Insp. Allport


DPCC Sue Arnold, High Sheriff Humphrey Scott-Moncrieff, ICVs Stan & Elizabeth & Insp. Allport

Commissioner Matthew Ellis added: “Volunteers play a huge part in society and local communities. Independent Custody Visitors are central to ensuring an open and transparent police service.”

The role is vital to ensure public confidence in Staffordshire Police treating the public with dignity and respect if they happen to end up in custody.

Anyone interested in joining, or finding out more, should email Jane Milgate on Jane.Milgate@staffordshire.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or visit the PCC website at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/independent-custody-visitors

Drayton Manor Park Logo

AT Tamworth Informed, we usually stick to factual news; whether that be regarding something that is happening locally, or something we feel our readers may be interested in that has happened further afield.  This article is something a little different, a personal plea from our MD.

Following a tragic incident locally, our managing director would like to put a statement out to our readers and we ask you to share with your friends and family if it is something you agree with.

This is what she would like to say:

Firstly, I would like to say that these are my own words, I have not been asked by anyone to say this and it is not simply a promotion in disguise.  It is just something that I am feeling very passionate about at the moment.

You may not agree with me and that is fine; as I say, this is just how I feel.  Think of it as an ‘editors view’ in a newspaper – ignore it if you like!

You will all be aware of the terrible and tragic accident which occurred at Drayton Manor Park a week ago today, on Tuesday 9 May.

In the awful incident, 11-year-old Evha Jannath from Leicester sadly lost her life whilst on a school trip to the theme park.

As a mark of respect for Evha and her family, Drayton Manor closed for a number of days following the incident and reopened on Saturday 13 May.  Some of the rides remain closed – again as a mark of respect. This is not something the park has been asked to, or indeed forced to do.

This terrible incident would have not just affected the friends and family of Evha but also the staff that work at the park and the emergency services that attended.

Many of you would have seen the press conference on the TV following the incident and it was clear to see how upset, genuine upset, George Bryan was as he spoke about the tragic event. George is himself a father and you could tell that this had affected him personally,

I ask you all to remember that Drayton Manor is a family run business and I am sure that everyone in this town has had a relative or friend that has been employed by the Bryan family over the almost 70 years they have been open.

I know people that are employed by Drayton Manor, some of whom were working on the day.  I also know members of the emergency services; again, some of whom attended this incident  on the day.  From what I have been told from these people, who were actually there, Drayton Manor Park management handled the situation extremely well on the day. They demonstrated professionalism and more importantly sensitivity in what was very difficult circumstances.

In addition to employment, Drayton Manor and the Bryan family have done a lot of work for local and national charities such as through the KidsOut day and they also recognise the incredible work of armed forces personnel through their free entry for those serving or who have served.

What happened was tragic and a full report in to the incident will come out but let us not be put off by what occurred.

As a town and as surrounding residents, let’s show our support for this amazing, local, award winning business.  In time of need they have been there for many of us, let us now show we support them.

Thank you for taking the time to listen.

Lucy Kinson, Managing Director, Tamworth Informed Ltd.

RYA

THERE is still time to try sailing for free in the midlands this week after hundreds of people across the West Midlands got out on the water, many for the first time, as the nine-day national RYA Push the Boat Out ‘have-a-go’ festival kicked off this weekend (13-14 May).

Midland SC at Edgbaston Reservoir and Tamworth SC in Kingsbury Water Park are both hosting ‘have a go’ events before Push The Boat Out comes to a close next Sunday (21 May). So grab a towel and some old trainers you don’t mind getting wet and try a new activity you never knew you could do right on your doorstep.

Still not sure it’s for you? Sailing is an awesome outdoor activity that can be done with your whole family and partner or on your own, and you don’t even need a boat to learn the ropes as clubs have ones you can use, while being part of a local club can cost as little as £20 a month for your whole family.

To find your nearest event and for full details of exactly what is going on and when at each participating venue, visit www.rya.org.uk/PTBO – to search for an event where disabled people can get on the water tick the ‘Sailability’ activities box. Don’t worry about kit, packing a lunch or anything else as every event will provide all the equipment you need with refreshments available.

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