Wyndley ready to bully off for Games

Sutton venue ready for hockey action

The upgraded international standard hockey pitch has been completed at Wyndley Leisure Centre in Sutton Coldfield.

Wyndley Leisure Centre is one of the official training venues for Birmingham 2022.

Sports such as hockey, triathlon and Para triathlon will use the centre ahead of the Games and the improved facilities will be used by the community after Birmingham 2022.

Training venues play a pivotal role in any athlete’s preparation in the build up to a major event, and Birmingham 2022 has ensured that world-class venues, which will replicate each sport’s competition venue, have been selected.

Wyndley was previously announced as the training venue for triathlon, Para triathlon and hockey, with the existing hockey pitch being upgraded to a Federation International Hockey (FIH) standard pitch, to replicate the playing surface at the University of Birmingham, the hockey competition venue. Improvements are also being made to the fencing and floodlights on the site.

As well as ensuring that the teams invited to compete at the Commonwealth Games have excellent training facilities, the improvements will have a long-lasting benefit for local community groups, schools and local hockey players too, such as those from Sutton Coldfield Hockey Club, who are based at the site.

The club’s members include Jane Sixsmith, who won a silver medal as part of the Team England hockey team at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Jane said: “It’s very exciting news that Wyndley Leisure Centre has been selected as an official training venue for the hockey teams competing at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Not only will it be inspiring for members of the club to know that our home pitch will be used by some of the global stars of hockey, but it also means that the facilities we use are receiving a significant upgrade, so we’ll have an international standard pitch to play and train on – it’s a fantastic legacy for the Games.”

Wyndley Leisure Centre is owned by Birmingham City Council and operated by Birmingham Community Leisure Trust. 

The improvements at Wyndley include the athletics track on site being refurbished.

Exploring the history of Egypt

Destination back on tourist map as travel restrictions eased

Following Egyptair re-starting its direct flight from Heathrow to Luxor in November last year, a wealth of new attractions opening and the 100th anniversary of the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb Egypt is back on the tourist map for 2022.

Philip Breckner from Discover Egypt said they have seen a surge in enquiries and bookings so far this year. He said, “Pent up demand for holidays since the pandemic and the fact Egypt represents excellent value is inspiring people to tick this destination off their bucket list in 2022. Above all there are no Covid related entry requirements other than being double vaccinated. 

“There is so much going in Egypt with new openings and anniversary celebrations, along with the chance to visit some of the world’s most fascinating antiquities that make Egypt hard to beat as a holiday destination.”

LATE DEAL: 07 February 2022 on board a luxurious Dahabiya

The newly-introduced and well-appointed Jaz Yakouta

Internationally recognised for its wealth of historic attractions and outstanding leisure facilities, Egypt is a world-class tourist destination, attracting everyone from culture-seekers to sunworshippers to party lovers too. Enjoy a seven nights 5-star luxury Nile cruise, including scheduled flights from Heathrow, transfers, accommodation on full board and 10 guided excursions with an Egyptologist on board a Dahabiya, a traditional Egyptian sailing boat with specialist Discover Egypt. The newly introduced and well-appointed Jaz Yakouta features six spacious cabins and is ideal for a celebration such as a special birthday or wedding anniversary with friends and family. Prices for a 7-night cruise start from £1,988 per person, saving 15 per cent on the listed price of £2,347 per person. This special offer is available for the 07 February 2022 departure. Discover Egypt offers pre or post cruise stays in Cairo, Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, El Gouna and Soma Bay for those that want to explore Egypt further. For more information and to book contact Discover Egypt on 020 7407 2111 or http://www.discoveregypt.co.uk

Mr Breckner outlines why Egypt should be on people’s travel list this year:

New openings – the long-awaited opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum – a state-of-the-art complex based outside of Cairo is due in November 2022.  The museum will be the largest archaeological museum in the world with more than 100,000 artefacts, including King Tut’s entire treasure collection displayed for the first time.

In Luxor holidaymakers will also get the chance to visit the Grand Avenue of the Sphinxes, a 3,000-year-old ancient road which is lined with around 700 sphinxes that have been excavated and connect Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple. This opened at the end of 2021 and the 1.7-mile road is now one of the world’s largest ancient sites.

The National Museum of Egyptian Culture, the NMEC, also opened on 03 April 2021. A joint venture between Egypt Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities with UNESCO.  The main feature is the Royal Mummies, which were recently transferred from the Egyptian Museum

Hundredth anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb – Howard Carter led the team of archaeologists that found Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. Holidaymakers can visit the house where Howard Carter lived which also features a replica of King Tut’s tomb. Discover Egypt can offer this as a stand-alone half day excursion for those staying in Luxor, including a visit to the Valley of the Kings and Queens in the West Bank of Luxor with an Egyptologist, for £77 per person.

Classic Nile cruises and city stays – Discover Egypt offer a wide selection of Nile cruises for 2022 that include visiting many of Egypt’s famous attractions, which can also be combined with city stays in Cairo and Luxor for the chance to visit some of these new attractions. 

The lead in price for a 7-night Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan is from £1,245 per person on the five-star MS Tulip, which includes flights, full board cruise and 10 guided excursions. A 14-night holiday including a 7-night cruise and 7-nights in Luxor starts from £1,525 per person. All flights are direct from Heathrow. 

The Ultimate long cruise is back too for 2022 which cruises the length of Egypt and is the ideal way to see the best of Egypt’s sites along the Nile from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan. Prices for an 11-night cruise start from £3,185 per person.

Celebrate on the Nile in style

New for 2022 is the chance to book a Nile cruise on a traditional Egyptian sailing boat called a Dahabiya. The well-appointed Jaz Yakouta features six spacious cabins and is ideal for a celebration such as a special birthday or wedding anniversary with friends and family. Prices for a 7-night cruise start from £2,437 per person. 

Discover Egypt offers pre or post cruise stays in Cairo, Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, El Gouna and Soma Bay for those that want to explore further, including visiting several of the world’s top diving sites. 

For more information and to book contact Discover Egypt on 020 7407 2111 or www.discoveregypt.co.uk

Join Race for Life in Sutton Park

May date for much loved charity runs

 Race for Life runners will be in Sutton Park in May

PEOPLE are being invited to kick start their fitness and help beat cancer by signing up to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Sutton Coldfield.

The charity’s much-loved events are returning and anyone who joins before the end January can claim a special 50 per cent off the entry fee by using the code RFL22J50.

The Race for Life series kicks off for the first time in Sutton Park with 5k and 10k events taking place on Sunday, May 8. Further events will take place across the region until Saturday, July 16. Adults and children of all ages can choose from 3k, 5k and 10k Race events as well as several 5k Pretty Muddy obstacle courses.

Every year around 34,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the West Midlands* region and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime. ** 

Money raised at Race for Life enables scientists to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer – helping to save more lives.

Paula Young, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Sutton Coldfield, said: “Everyone can play their part to help beat cancer.

“January is the perfect time for people to commit to getting a little more active. By signing up to Race for Life, there’s the chance to raise money for life-saving research. Sadly, cancer affects all of us in some way. Whether people are living with cancer, taking part in honour of or in memory of a loved one with cancer or signing up to protect their own children’s future, everyone has a reason to Race for Life.

“Our Race for Life events are open to all. For some people, the Race for Life is literally a walk in the park. Slow and steady still wins. For others, it’s a jog. Others may opt to push themselves harder and take part in the 10K distance. But what is for certain is we’re looking forward to welcoming people of all ages and abilities. Race for Life will be fun, emotional, colourful, uplifting and an unforgettable event this year.” 

Race for Life events across the UK this year will follow current government guidance to protect against COVID-19. Hand sanitiser will be provided at all events.

Paula added: “We hope that none of our Midlands Race for Life events are cancelled in 2022 and we will do everything we can to keep people safe. If we do have to cancel any of our events we will let participants know as soon as possible and they will be entitled to a full refund.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, raises funds for world-class research to help beat 200 types of cancer – including bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, brain cancer, children’s cancers and leukaemia.

Oonagh Turnbull, Head of Health Campaigns at Tesco, said: “This will be our 21st year in partnership with Cancer Research UK and Race for Life and we hope this year can be the biggest yet.”

To enter, visit raceforlife.org

Race for Life events in the West Midlands region (date order)

Walsall Arboretum, 3k, 5k and 10k – Sunday May 15

Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham 5k – Sunday, May 22

Town Park, Telford 5k – Sunday, May 29

Arrow Valley Park, Redditch 5k & 10k – Sunday, June 5

Trentham Estate, Stoke on Trent 5k – Tuesday, June 7

Malvern Park, Solihull 3k & 5k – Sunday, June 12

West Park, Wolverhampton, 5k – Sunday, June 12

Quarry Park & Garden, Shrewsbury 5k – Sunday June 19

Himley Hall, Dudley 3k & 5k – Sunday, July 3

Worcester Racecourse 3k, 5k & 10k – Sunday, July 10

Pretty Muddy events in the West Midlands region (date order)

Weston Park Pretty Muddy 5k – Saturday, May 21

Sandwell Valley Country Park Pretty Muddy 5k – Saturday, June 25

Worcester Racecourse Pretty Muddy 5k – Saturday, July 9

Cofton Park, Birmingham Pretty Muddy 5k – Saturday, July 16

Central Forest Park, Stoke on Trent Pretty Muddy 5k – Sunday, July 17


Diesel still makes sense for smart Sportback

Audi A5 Sportback 

By Bill McCarthy

Diesels have had a bit of kicking in the last few years, but are still being produced by executive brands like Audi.

Almost entirely lacking in diesel clatter, but delivering in spades when it comes to economy and low CO2 emissions, they are still a serious option, certainly until 2030 when new sales are due to be phased out. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to drive them after 2030, however, so they are still a longer term option.

The A5 has been around a few years now, a smart, coupe-Like design, disguising loads of space and challenging anything on the road for style.

When it looks that good, revisions need to be subtle and the latest incarnation still features the low, almost predatory stance of the car, but now has a honeycomb grille that is wider and flatter, and ventilation slits which reference, says Audi, the classic Audi Sport quattro from 1984.

Headlights with LED technology come as standard, with Matrix LED headlights available from S line.

The interior is real premium quality with high-end soft-touch finish, paint black inlays with contrasting brushed aluminium trim and leather seats which feature the S-line ’S’ embossed into the head restraint.

It features the 12.3-inch cockpit-style dash, which is customisable via the multi-function steering wheel to three different views while the centrepiece is the touchscreen, which controls major functions like music, navigation and connectivity via smartphone.

In fact, the steering wheel controls have largely replaced the MMI dial on the central console, operating a number of functions.

Also Audi connect infotainment services deliver numerous web-based features such as up-to-the-minute news, Google Earth mapping and Street View and flight, weather, traffic and fuel pricing information.

It is well equipped, with the S Line version offering 19in alloy wheels, Matrix LED headlights, privacy glass,  and stiffer, lowered suspension.

On the road, the car is a very able performer. The 163PS on tap from the two-litre unit propels the car to 60mph in a very respectable eight seconds, as it slips seamlessly through the seven-speed auto transmission.

The suspension in all A5 models has been tuned with an underlying emphasis on comfort but also an appropriately sporting bias, which delivers a thoroughly enjoyable driving experience, especially on tight, twisting roads. It is pretty frugal as well, with a real-world economy of around 50mpg.

It may look like a coupe, but there is still a generous amount of storage space, with 465 litres available which expands to a pretty cavernous, for the type of car, 1,300 litres with the rear seats folded.

In typical Audi style, it also boasts the latest hi-tech safety kit, from full suite of airbags to stability control, parking sensors, daytime running lights, assisted braking and pre-collision mitigation.

Quiet, powerful and frugal, the diesel is still a player.


Audi A5 Sportback 35 TDI S tronic (163PS)

Price: £45,599

Mechanical: 163PS, 1968cc, 4-cylinder diesel engine driving front wheel via 7-speed S tronic auto transmission

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 8.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group: TBC

C02 emissions: 144g/km

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

Tree-mendous effort from volunteers

Volunteers Lew and Ann Turner out on their TreeCycle round

St Giles Hospice collects 5,000 Christmas trees and raises £69,000 in best-ever year for TreeCycle

St Giles Hospice is celebrating after January’s TreeCycle campaign became the most successful yet, collecting even more trees than last year’s record-breaking Christmas tree collection.

The environmentally-friendly recycling campaign saw more than 5,000 Christmas trees picked up by volunteers in return for a small donation to St Giles, raising over £69,000 for the hospice. Last year’s collection picked up 4,428 trees. 

All funds raised by TreeCycle help to ensure that St Giles Hospice can continue to support local people and their families living with a terminal illness.

Between Wednesday 5th and Wednesday 12th January, 115 dedicated and energetic volunteers braved the freezing winter weather to join the eighth annual TreeCycle collection, following Government COVID-19 guidelines.

They picked up Christmas trees from Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Walsall, Tamworth, Burton, Rugeley, Burntwood, Uttoxeter, Swadlincote, Stafford and surrounding areas.

Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “This year’s TreeCycle campaign has been a huge success and we are absolutely delighted with the results. Our 2021 collection was a record-breaking event following the amazing goodwill we had from our supporters during the COVID-19 pandemic so to beat that total in 2022 is simply amazing.

“We need to raise £850,000 every month just to keep our services going, so the success of this year’s TreeCycle will make a massive difference to local people and their families at a time when they need us the most.”

Wincanton provided St Giles with vital logistics and volunteer support during the collections, and the trees will be recycled for agricultural uses at Greener Composting in Wall, Lichfield.

“We’d also like to thank Lichfield Tree Works, Central England Cooperative, Darwin Electricals, Robson Lister and DHL Fradley for joining our volunteers in the TreeCycle collections this year,” added Chloe. 

“As always, our volunteers, community and businesses have been amazing and we couldn’t have made TreeCycle such a huge success without their dedication and support – it honestly couldn’t happen without them.

“Our volunteers tell us that they really enjoy TreeCycle and get a great sense of achievement from taking part and we hope they will encourage even more volunteers to get involved next year, so that we can collect more trees than ever.

“If you would like to volunteer at next year’s TreeCycle or if your business can offer us their support we’d be very happy to hear from you. To find out more contact our Volunteer Team by email at volunteer@stgileshospice.com or call us on 01543 434533

For more information about St Giles Hospice and the expert care it provides, please visit www.stgileshospice.com

Birmingham conference to focus on compassion

Employers puts compassion at the heart of support for staff

Employers across Birmingham are being invited to join a special online conference as part of an initiative to make it the country’s first officially-recognised compassionate city.

National charity Compassionate Communities UK (CC-UK) will host the Birmingham Compassionate City Charter ­ – Employers Conference on Thursday, 17th February 2022 between 10am-4pm. The event is designed to support businesses and other organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforces.

A compassionate community is one where people actively encourage and support one another during life’s most challenging times such as those relating to serious illness, death and bereavement, and the charity’s accreditation has already been awarded to the Staffordshire communities of Whittington and Fisherwick and Brereton and Ravenhill.

Organisations from Birmingham including charities, community groups, public sector bodies, schools, universities and hospices are now working together with CC-UK to ensure that Birmingham becomes the first city to be awarded City Charter status as the charity spreads its learning nationwide.

Dr Emma Hodges, CEO at St Giles Hospice and Business Development Director for CC-UK, said: “Employers have a unique position in someone’s life, whether that is an employee living with a serious illness or a member of their family, or a friend or colleague. Companies are, or can be, compassionate communities both internally and within their locality.

“Employers are able to make significant differences to the memories of those who live on, not just by having modern compassionate leave policies, but also culturally ensuring that colleagues of those who are ill or grieving are confident in their role as part of someone’s natural support network.

“We’d like to invite local employers to join us in being part of a multi-sector, growing group of people committed to Birmingham becoming a compassionate city and to consider the opportunities and benefits to employers in addition to the wellbeing of their workforce.”

The conference will feature a number of seminars by guest speakers, along with workshops and discussions.

CC-UK Director Dr Julian Abel will talk about the new model of primary care that he has developed alongside compassionate communities and the profound effects they can have upon the health outcomes of people living within them.

A seminar about the wellbeing of doctors and nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and how their experiences can shape compassionate leadership in health and care services will be delivered by Professor Michael West, CBE, Emeritus Professor at Aston University, where he was formerly Executive Dean of Aston Business School.

St Giles Hospice Community Development Manager Ian Leech, who helps communities to better understand end of life care and bereavement support, will share positive and negative stories from people living with a serious illness or who are grieving, to demonstrate the impact that either experience can have on the person and their colleagues.

Dr Emma Hodges will provide insights into some of the challenges and approaches that need to be considered in supporting employees living with a serious illness or who are grieving – especially as many traditional sickness and bereavement policies are often outdated, inflexible and do not always support the individual or the employer in the long run.

The conference is aimed at supporting Birmingham’s work to becoming recognised as a CC-UK Compassionate City but it is also open to a wider audience who may want to consider how their businesses can best improve the relationships within their workforce and communities.

Tickets at £60 (£30 for sole traders) and further information about the event are available from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/birmingham-compassionate-city-charter-employers-conference-tickets-222635387437?aff=ebdssbeac

For more information about St Giles Hospice and the expert care it provides, please visit www.stgileshospice.com

Hospice appeal for shop volunteers

Emily Rich at work at the St Giles Hospice shop in Lichfield

Help out at a St Giles shops to make a difference in 2022

St Giles Hospice is calling for people to help make a real difference for a great local cause in 2022 by volunteering at one of its charity shops.

The charity has three shops in Sutton Coldfield and every sale made at the hospice’s 21 shops across the area helps to fund the charity’s support for local people and their families who are living with a terminal illness, and volunteers play a vital role in helping St Giles to reach the £850,000 total it needs to raise each month to run its services.

Emily Rich, from Lichfield, joined St Giles as a volunteer just over a year ago and gives her time to one of the charity’s shops in the city.

Emily said: “I’ve always loved visiting charity shops and always liked the idea of working in one. When I decided that I’d like to volunteer in a charity shop St Giles Hospice was the obvious choice for me. 

“It’s a fantastic local charity which cares for local patients and families when they really need support the most, so I knew it would be a meaningful and worthwhile way to offer my time. It’s really fulfilling to help out and see the shop supporting St Giles because we know how much of a difference the money we raise can make to hospice services.

“As a stay-at-home mum I really look forward to the social aspect of my two days a week at the shop. I’ve made friends with so many staff members and volunteers and you get to know the regular customers who come in on the same day each week. It’s great fun – it doesn’t feel like work, it’s more of a pleasure or a hobby to me, and there’s always something new to learn.”

Emma Yates, St Giles Head of Retail, said: “If you’ve volunteered for us before or would like to try something new and support St Giles by volunteering in one of our hospice shops we’d be delighted to hear from you. We’re looking for people to join our team right now. 

“We have 21 shops across our area, each one at the heart of their communities. We sell fantastic individual items which have been gifted by our donors. Our volunteers are vital to the running of our shops – we really could not care for so many patients and families without the generosity of all of the people who donate their time to help us out.

“There are many ways you could get involved with us, from visual merchandising and preparing stock to serving customers and sorting donations, the list is endless, and we will provide you with training and an induction to complete your role. Whatever your interests, strengths and experiences, we have something to suit you and we have a range of shops across our catchment area, so you are never very far away from a convenient volunteering opportunity.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at a St Giles Hospice shop can pop into their local shop to speak to a member of the team and pick up an application form or visit www.stgileshospice.com/shopvolunteer.

For more information about St Giles Hospice and the expert care it provides, please visit www.stgileshospice.com

Alert after home burgled in Sutton Coldfield

The gate from where the raiders gained access to the property

Officers hunt raiders in Four Oaks

Police in Sutton Coldfield have warned households to be vigilant after a house was burgled in Four Oaks.

Police are hunting the offenders who broke into the home last week.

The house in Bennett Road was targeted between 2.30pm on January 7 and 4.30pm on Jan 9.

Theh unknown offenders gained access to the rear of a property and then a window to a rear door was smashed.

The raiders then made of with a a gold watch and cufflinks.

West Midlands Police said they were investigating the crime and officers have said there where possible they would be conducting patrols in the area to help reassure the community.

They have advised people to take time to check gates and fences that enclose rear gardens and ensure they are secure and that all gates are locked.

More crime prevention advice can be found by visiting : http://West-midlands.police.uk and searching crime prevention.

Stepping out for Sutton hospice

Discover your spirit of adventure on a St Giles Hospice trek or challenge

An intrepid grandmother is calling on adventure seekers to make a difference in 2022 by joining a St Giles Hospice fundraising trek or challenge.

The hospice has a support centre in Lindridge Road, Sutton Coldfield, as well as charity shops in the town.

Hospice supporter Haley Stone, aged 56, is already thinking about which adventure she wants to try next after tackling a two-day Cornish Coastal Challenge last September (2021).

Haley, who is married with a daughter and two grandchildren, decided to join a group trekking from Harlyn Bay to St Agnes to thank the St Giles community nursing team for supporting her father after he was diagnosed with dementia.

Last year Haley, from Tamworth, managed to raise an impressive £815 from her trek to support the hospice’s work caring for local people and their families living with a terminal illness.

She said: “I would urge anyone to have a go – it was a fabulous experience, absolutely brilliant. The coastal walk around Cornwall was just beautiful and I really enjoyed pushing myself to complete the challenge. I had such a wonderful time that I’m already thinking of doing it again, or maybe tackling Mount Snowdon.

“I got great support from the St Giles fundraising team. They called me regularly and were always ready to offer advice on fundraising or training. It was a real comfort and inspiration to know that they were there to support me before, during and after the trek.

“You get such an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you finish the trek, it’s quite magical and quite an emotional moment.”

Haley worked as a Transport Manager at St Giles, arranging patient journeys to the hospice, in 2011-12 before moving to Cornwall to run a coffee shop. But while she was there her father, Doug Birt, from Glascote, was diagnosed with dementia and the hospice community nursing team helped to support him before she was able to move back to Tamworth to look after him through his final days before his death in 2017.

She added: “Going on the trek was a way to pay St Giles back and say thank you for the fabulous care that they gave him. Years later I’m still friends with two of the nurses – they were lovely.

“St Giles has a lovely welcoming and warm atmosphere and I worked with a great team of staff and volunteers who were all very supportive and positive. 

“I did the trek because I wanted to spread the message that St Giles is not just somewhere people go to die, it’s a place where everybody is focused upon improving the quality of life, however long you have left.”

In 2022, St Giles will be running a series of charity adventures both in the UK and abroad in partnership with Discover Adventure, offering fundraisers the opportunity to tackle a trek on foot or by bike to raise funds to support its care services.

Treks and challenges in 2022 include a Northern Lights Trek through Iceland in March, an Arctic Adventure through Finland, also in March, and a Three Peaks Weekend in the Yorkshire Dales in July.

Cornish Coastal Challenges, London to Paris bike rides, and Snowdon by Night adventures will also be taking place on various dates throughout 2022.

Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “If you’ve made a new year’s resolution to get fit or to challenge yourself – or if you’ve just decided to try something new – then we’d love to hear from you.

“Whether you already support St Giles and are looking for a new way to raise funds or someone who has never encountered St Giles before, you can make a huge difference and #TeamStGiles will be there to support you every step of the way whichever challenge you take on.

“You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that your fundraising has made a real difference to St Giles Hospice and all of the local patients and families that we care for. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic there have been periods when we have had to cancel our fundraising events and close our shops – which has had a major impact on our income – so your support now is more vital than ever. We need to raise £850,000 every single month just to keep our services going and we’ve never needed our community more than we need you today.”

Young people aged 14+ can take part in some challenges when accompanied by an adult. All challenges will operate according to the current government COVID-19 guidelines at the time of the event. For more information about St Giles Hospice treks and challenges and the dates they are available visit www.stgileshospice.com/treks

Sutton Coldfield area ‘off the scale’ with omicron spread

This Public Health England map published before the latest figures shows the figure approaching 2,000 per 100k of population

Some parts of Sutton Coldfield are ‘off the scale’ according to a new measure introduced to track the rise of the COVID-19 omicron virus, with the latest figures showing cases approaching 2,000 per 100,000 of population.

The figures are up to December 31 and are now likely to be much higher, with the Royal Town particularly badly hit.

A new scale has been added by Public Health England (PHE) which shows where case rates are above 1,600 per 100,000 of population.

Previously the top line figure had been 800 per 100,000 of population.

But with the new variant surging throughout the country, the latest figures this week show Boldmere at a huge 1,985, one of the highest across the West Midlands.

Other parts of Sutton don’t far much better with Walmley showing 1,858, Four Oaks, 1,889, Rectory Park and New Hall at 1,803 and Little Sutton and Roughley at 1,649 per 100k of population.

Case rates are shown per 100,000 people for the 7-day period ending on the date shown. They are calculated by dividing the seven-day total by the area population and multiplying by 100,000.

This makes it easier to compare cases across areas of different population size.

The population used is the mid-2020 population estimate from the Office for National Statistics.