A popular Sutton Coldfield headteacher who was awarded and MBE for Services to Education, has finally received her gong at a ceremony at Windsor Castle this month (February).
Rachel Davis, who is head at Little Sutton Primary School, received her honour from Princess Anne at Windsor Castle, 12 months since being nominated for the award, and had an amazing experience.,
Rachel leads Little Sutton Primary School and Little Sutton English Hub and provides support to a number of school, helping them with their phonic teaching and early reading.
Mrs Davis has been head teacher at the Worcester Lane primary school since 2004 and is both a National Leader of Education (NLE) and an Ofsted inspector for the West Midlands.
“It was a truly amazing day,” she said. “All the staff at Windsor Castle were delightful and made us feel so special.
“It was an honour to meet Princess Anne who was keen to hear about the work that contributed to the award.
“During the pandemic it was a privilege to produce national online phonic and reading lessons, helping so many children at such a difficult time.
“The award also pays tribute to the incredible hard work and talent of the staff, our lovely children and supportive parents at Little Sutton Primary School who all contribute to make it such a thriving place to be.”
National Leaders of Education provide focused support to under performing schools to enable rapid improvement.
According to her LinkedIn profile, in 2014 she supported a school in challenging circumstances to move from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’ in 12 months.
The following year she then helped a school to move from Ofsted category of ‘Special Measures’ to ‘Good’ in 15 months and in 2015-2016 supported a school to move from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’ .
Little Sutton Primary School has more than 400 pupils and is designated one of the government’s new English Hubs – one of just 34 schools nationwide recognised for their excellence in teaching and learning.
A popular family running event – which attracts runners from across the Midlands and has raised a massive £113,719 for St Giles Hospice over the last 25 years – will be back and better than ever this summer (2022), organisers say.
The annual Tamworth Gate Gallop was cancelled during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 and it had to take place in a reduced capacity last year (2021) after running club, the Peel Road Runners, received permission to go ahead at the last minute.
The running club was still able to raise £3,428 for St Giles despite the kids run and family entertainments not taking place. The money raised will help to fund hospice care for patients, and their families, living with a terminal illness.
Now the Peel Road Runners want to make 2022’s Tamworth Gate Gallop, on Sunday, 26th June, a year to remember by raising more money than ever for St Giles Hospice. The full event is returning with a 10km run, a 4.4km fun run, a kids run, family entertainments, refreshments and a tombola.
The run is an off-road, traffic free event, which is part of the Burton District Summer League running calendar. It will be taking place at the Anker Valley Sports Complex, in Amington, from 9am.
Organiser Martin Hollamby, who lives in Tamworth and lectures at Keele University, said: “We were thrilled to be able to bring the Gate Gallop back last year – many of the runners hadn’t been able to take part in a proper race for 17 months – but we missed some of the family atmosphere and this year we want to get the old spirit back.
“The Gate Gallop is a particularly special event because of the charity we support and we’d encourage as many people as possible to sign up and raise sponsorship if they can. Everybody in Tamworth knows somebody who has been helped by St Giles Hospice. I’ve only lived locally for eight years and I already know several people who have received outstanding care from the staff there.
“You couldn’t wish for a better charity to support. People respond really well when they know we are helping a great cause that cares for so many local people. St Giles relies upon fundraising for most of its income, so we know that every pound we raise matters and makes a real difference to supporting people in our community. Once our costs are covered, every penny goes to supporting the incredible work of St Giles.”
The Tamworth Gate Gallop is an event close to the hearts of Martin’s family. Before he took up the reins in 2021, his wife Zoe organised the event. His elder daughter Sally, aged six, has taken part in the kids run and this year his younger daughter Emma, aged three, will take part for the first time, after supporting St Giles with her family at the Rudolph Run last Christmas.
Thrilled to be back
“The Gate Gallop isn’t just an event where you take part in a run and go home, it’s a morning out for all the family,” added Martin. “All races begin at the Anker Valley Sports Complex and the kids run and family activities all take place within the enclosed grounds, so it’s safe and fun for people of all ages and abilities.
“The runs are completely off-road and take people through some lovely countryside which many travel past each day but may never notice. We have plenty of marshals on hand to cheer runners along and make sure that nobody gets lost. We’ll also be operating under appropriate COVID-19 guidelines if any are in place at the time to ensure that everyone stays safe.”
Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “After taking place almost every year for more than 25 years, the Tamworth Gate Gallop has become a real annual tradition. The Peel Road Runners have raised £113,719 in that time, which is an astonishing achievement, and we’re so grateful to them for their continuing support.
“It was so sad that 2020’s event couldn’t go ahead because of the Coronavirus pandemic, and last year it was really uncertain whether anything could take place due to the COVID-19 restrictions at the time.
“But Martin and the organisers did an amazing job to pull it all together so quickly and we’d like to thank the Peel Road Runners and everyone who took part for raising vital funds for St Giles in 2021. Their support meant more to us than ever following a year when we’d had to cancel fundraising events and temporarily close our shops.”
Entry is £15 for people aged 15 and over taking part in the 10km race, £9 for people aged nine and over taking part in the 4.4km fun run (under 12s must be accompanied by an adult) or £3 for kids taking part in the 600m kids run (parents or guardians are welcome to accompany their children).
Everyone taking part will receive a finisher medal and a goodie bag, and there will be electronic chip timing for people taking part in the 10km race and the fun run.
Think of Disco and Saturday Night Fever, Disco Inferno or Le Freak may spring to mind. The huge phenomonen of the 1970s took the world by storm after springing up from the United States’ urban nightlife scene.
From the Bee Gees to Gloria Gaynor to Earth Wind and Fire its popularity was worldwide, and now a celebration is coming to Sutton Coldfield.
For all those who dreamed of going to New York’s Studio 54, Disco Inferno is the spectacular all singing, all dancing celebration of everything D.I.S.C.O., live at the town hall on April 2.
From the smoking hot girls to the guys in platforms, this electrifying show just screams glitter balls and good times.
You’ll be thrilled by pitch perfect harmony, high energy, slick choreography and Disco classics such as Blame It On The Boogie, Car Wash and It’s Raining Men.
You’ve all seen Abba, you’ve all seen Motown, but have you all danced to the ultimate UK Disco tribute and sang along to your favourites by Earth Wind and Fire, Barry White, Donna Summer, The Trammps, and many many more?!
Produced by Veritas, who excel in shows with crowd engagement and interaction, Disco Inferno has the wow factor that everyone will be talking about for months to come.
Tickets costs £22 and are selling fast and include FREE after show party
Show Starts: 7:30PM
House & Lounge Bar Opens: 6:30PM
Age Guidance: 16+ | Under 16’s must be accompanied by a paying adult.
A woman whose mum was able to spend her final days at home with her family, supported by St Giles Hospice, is calling on people to take part in Celebrate Lives Lived this spring.
Veterinary nurse Lucy Gunn and her dad Peter have joined the hospice’s annual celebration, which remembers lost loved ones, each May since Lucy’s mum Nancy Gunn died in 2019.
Every year St Giles invites people to dedicate an orange Gerbera peg in one of its gardens in Whittington and Sutton Coldfield between 1st-31st May, as well as a virtual garden on the hospice’s website, in return for a donation.
Funds raised from Celebrate Lives Lived dedications help to fund the hospice’s work caring for patients and their families living with a terminal illness.
Lucy said: “I’ll always support St Giles Hospice following the care my mum received, and memorial events like Celebrate Lives Lived are so important. They help to keep the memory and spirit of your loved ones alive.
“The Celebrate Lives Lived garden at Whittington is beautiful, so peaceful and quiet, and seeing all the colourful Gerbera pegs with the names of our loved ones on them is so comforting.
“St Giles understands that death is not the end of the story – our loved ones lived, were loved and they meant so much to so many people. Remembering loved ones through events like Celebrate Lives Lived means a lot to us and we mark the occasion on our calendar every year.”
Lucy, from Tamworth, who now lives in Hinckley with her partner Tom Fleming, and 10-year-old son Keir, said that her mum was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2017 and always wished to die in her own Tamworth home, if it was possible.
“The day mum was diagnosed as being terminally ill was really the first time I heard about hospice care and St Giles Hospice,” she added. “It was very important to mum that she could stay at home and when they told us it was an option it made such a difference. We had hospice nurses coming in twice a day – as soon as we opened the door to the nurses the darkness lifted; they were there for us just when we needed them most.
“Having the care of St Giles Hospice was such a help and such a relief to us all. My dad and I couldn’t cope on our own but the nurses came in and they did everything they could to help. They would never do anything without talking to mum first and letting her know, whether she was able to respond or not.
“As well as ensuring mum received the medical care she needed, the nurses also helped to put on face cream, do her hair and asked whether she wanted any perfume on. It all seems like very little things, but they were treating mum as an individual and they gave her what she wanted.”
Lucy said that her son, Keir, was very close to her mum and the hospice helped him through his grief thanks to Phoenix, its dedicated bereavement support service for children and young people. “To have that support for Keir was such a relief and comfort to us as a family,” she added.
It costs St Giles Hospice more than £10 million each year to deliver the care it provides at its Inpatient Unit, out in the community and in patients’ own homes – and every Celebrate Lives Lived dedication helps to support families like Lucy’s.
Each Gerbera is a colourful handwritten peg, personalised with the name of your loved one. They are placed in a Celebrate Lives Lived garden throughout May, creating a display of celebration and remembrance amongst hundreds of other Gerberas.
Sally Redmond, In Memory Manager at St Giles Hospice, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to invite people like Lucy, Peter and Keir to dedicate an orange Gerbera peg in one of our Celebrate Lives Lived gardens each year.
“The orange Gerbera is a symbol of joy, happiness and warmth – the perfect tribute to a loved one. You’ll find our Celebrate Lives Lived gardens at our hospice sites in Whittington and Sutton Coldfield and they are open to everyone who wants to remember a loved one, not just those families cared for by St Giles Hospice.
“Throughout May, you’re invited to visit the gardens to see your Gerbera peg and take a moment to reflect on the lives of loved ones you hold dearest. Your dedication will also be included in our beautiful virtual garden, where your Gerbera will feature all year round.
“At the end of May, we’ll let you know when you can collect your Gerbera peg to display in your home or garden.”
Dogged determination to spell out message in Sutton
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come in for some ‘ruff’ treatment at a Sutton Coldfield dog care centre.
Straw bales were rearranged to spell out a message to the embattled PM, which caused some amusement.
Passers by and users of Pawpounders Dog Daycare on Camp Road, Sutton Coldfield, saw the ‘Sack Boris’ message spelled out on one of their fields.
On its website, the firm says: “We are the only five-star rated licence holder in Sutton Coldfield awarded to select companies that have proved to offer over and above the standard licence regulations with an in depth procedure manual and procedures in place to ensure your dog is in very safe hands.”
AS we slowly come out of the pandemic, millions of Britons will be thinking of taking their first holiday abroad in possibly three years. There are many favourites, but the Canary Islands offers a number of fascinating alternatives. Not least the island of Lanzarote. Here we highlight 10 charming places that don’t appear in the guidebooks to Lanzarote
Observe life. Dwell on the details. Choose alternative routes. Sound good to you? Today we present a route that you won’t find in the tourist reviews of Lanzarote and that you simply must try.
If your wanderlust leads you to hanker for a local experience, you’ve come to the right place.
Simón Bolivar Park
Strolling under the flamboyant flame trees that guard Simon Bolivar Park is one of the sweetest pleasures of the interior of Arrecife. The red flowers and the refreshing shade of these trees create a canopy for the walker.
The sculpture that pays homage to Liberator of America was inaugurated in 1982 and placed in the heart of this park in the neighbourhood of La Vega. Bolivar had Canarian ancestors, connected to Garachico and the island of Lanzarote.
A school, a high school, a bookshop, a gym and a good number of bars and bakeries with their Iberian mini-rolls, sandwiches and sweet potato doughnuts make this a place packed with domestic life – the perfect place to stop to rest and watch local life go by.
It is difficult to imagine, but the reality is that these large blocks of rock that stand out among the badlands like small mountains (some reach 30 metres in height) are fragments from the destruction of one side of the La Corona volcano.
These huge rocks were blown several kilometres in that eruption 25,000 years ago. Looking at them is like looking at a fossil, a testimony of the island’s essence.
The Tinajo sundial
Long before smartwatches and pocket watches, tower clocks and sundials were in use on Lanzarote and in the rest of the world.
At the top of the Church of San Roque, in Tinajo, is the second oldest sundial in the Canary Islands. Small, white and made of Canary Island pine wood, it was made by a sailor from La Vegueta in the 19th century and has a commanding inscription engraved on the back: “Sr. Cura: consérvese” (Father Priest: keep well).
Take a stroll around the Plaza de San Roque and start walking along the Avenida de Los Volcanes. A two-kilometre walk past shops selling local products (fruit, cheese, craft beer, fish) awaits us. We picked up a sandwich of pata (roast pork) and goat cheese that we enjoyed placidly in front of the Mirador de Guiguan, contemplating the terraces etched on the land by the farmers of Tinajo.
The golden light of Montaña Tesa
At least once in your life you just have to enjoy a sunset in a valley of La Geria.
Today, why not follow secondary roads to reach Masdache via Güime and Montaña Blanca?
At the crossroads, turn left, leaving Bodegas Vega de Yuco behind you, until you come to an old farmhouse that still has its foundations and the channels that carry the water from its rainwater cistern.
Olive trees, peach trees, fig trees, vines, hollyhocks, gorse, prickly pears, fennel, lichen… The path is dotted with life. If you stop a moment to silence your footsteps crunching on the volcanic lapilli, you will hear the trill of the multitude of birds that inhabit this natural space.
Paseo costero: de Puerto Naos a Las Caletas
Leave Marina Lanzarote and pass the Fishing School, one of the best nautical centres in Europe. In operation since 1942, the functional concrete building was designed by the architects Laorga and Zanón.
Next door is the Nao brewery, with its award-winning craft brews, and several bars in front of the Monument to the Martyrs of the Sea and the beautiful sloop María del Rosario, a coastal vessel from the early 20th century.
The bar of the fishermen’s guild of San Ginés marks the beginning of a number of small bars where you can enjoy platters of freshly caught fish. A mural designed by local artist Santiago Alemán and painted on a wall of an old factory pays homage to the essential role played by women in the history of this city.
On this walk full of saltpetre and history you will see the Naos salt mines, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo-Castillo de San José, the native plants of Punta Chica, a house full of jolateros (small rowing boats made from recycled drums). If you follow the Paseo de los Mármoles and the Avenida de las Caletas, you will come to the ship Telamón, a Greek lumber tanker that has been semi-sunken in these waters since 1981.
In search of traditional architecture
Casa Ajei de San Bartolomé is a beautiful example of 18th century rural architecture, with Mediterranean and American influences. It stands out for its grand stone staircase that connects with the sobrado (upper floor) and its balcony made of Canary Island pine wood.
On the outskirts of the village, the Mayor Guerra mansion was built in 1770 on a hill overlooking the harbour of Arrecife. The coat of arms at the entrance is made of white marble. We were captivated by the main door, decorated with quatrefoils, and the large round balcony framed by a carved stone arch.
In front of the hermitage of San Juan, in Haría, you can see a restored house with beautiful circular sgraffito vesica piscis (Latin for bladder of a fish) or mandorlas, sacred symbols since at least the time of Pythagoras.
The conclusion of these walks? That it takes a lifetime to discover the treasures that Lanzarote holds around every corner.
Sometimes it’s good to wander around aimlessly, ask the locals and let yourself be surprised.
Karen Williams received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list
Sutton-based Karen awarded OBE for helping children fleeing domestic violence
The founder of a Sutton Coldfield-based charity, that helps children fleeing domestic violence has been formally presented with her OBE by the Princess Royal.
Karen Williams, founder of the Buddy Bag Foundation, was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list in 2021 for services to the victims of domestic violence.
She said: “Karen said: “On receiving the news that I was to be awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list I was both shocked and surprised, then as it sunk in honoured and extremely grateful.
“I will be forever indebted to my parents who taught me that if something is worth achieving then it is worth working for, as well as the importance of focus and positivity.”
Buddy Bag Foundation co-founder Chris Williams added: “We are delighted to see Karen get this award. Everyone at the charity is so proud of all her achievements and to be recognised in this way is fantastic as she has always been extremely dedicated to helping others.”
Achieving something special
Karen collected her award on 9 February in a ceremony at Windsor Castle. She said: “Receiving this accolade has been an absolute privilege. My dream six years ago was to set up a charity that could and would make a real and meaningful difference to children in emergency care.
“With the assistance and support of all our volunteers we have realised this dream.
“Thank you to all our volunteers and supporters. Together we have achieved and are continuing to achieve something truly special.”
The charity is now based in Minworth near Sutton Coldfield.
The Buddy Bag Foundation provides a bag of essential items to children who find themselves in emergency accommodation after fleeing domestic violence. Often, they are forced to leave home in a rush and arrive at the accommodation with none of their belongings. Since the charity began in 2015, 100 percent of the donations have been given to the children.
In December 2021 the foundation’s team of volunteers celebrated as they passed the milestone of packing over 40,000 Buddy Bags.
Karen said: “This achievement far exceeded our initial target; we can now look to the future with optimism at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
St Giles Hospice is thanking kind-hearted people in the local community for helping it to start 2022 on a high note after its Christmas raffle raised more than £100,000.
The money raised by the raffle will be used to fund care and support for patients, and their families, living with a terminal illness.
Elinor Eustace, Income Generation Director at St Giles Hospice, said: “We are absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness of our supporters who showed the true spirit of Christmas with their generosity this year.
“By playing our Christmas raffle and making additional donations on top of their ticket purchases our supporters have raised an amazing £101,363, which will make a huge contribution towards funding care services for the families we support.
“This is the fourth successive Christmas raffle to raise more than £100,000, which is a fantastic achievement. It takes a community to make a hospice and our raffle total shows how vital our local supporters are, year-on-year, in helping to keep our services running.
“Our summer and Christmas raffles have been more important to us than ever over the last two years, as our other fundraising income has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we can’t thank people enough for continuing to support St Giles.”
Sutton Coldfield mum Rebecca Horton-Worby helped St Giles to promote the raffle to thank the hospice for looking after her mum, Sandra Horton, who was admitted to St Giles Hospice on Christmas Eve in 2018 for end-of-life care.
Rebecca, from Boldmere, and her sister Abbie were grateful to St Giles for helping to make their mum’s last Christmas special and for supporting the whole family during Sandra’s final days. The hospice had also previously cared for Rebecca’s nan, Cynthia Rose, and Cynthia’s husband , Ken.
Rebecca said: “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who played this year’s Christmas raffle. Your generosity makes a huge difference to local patients and their families at a time when they need the hospice’s support the most.
“You never know when you or a family member or friend will need to call on St Giles and we want to make sure that the hospice will be there in future to offer families like ours the care and support that St Giles provides both at Christmas time and throughout the year.”
Prizes in this year’s Christmas raffle included a jackpot of £8,000, a second prize of £2,000 and other fantastic prizes. The top prize was scooped by a lucky winner living in Kingsbury.
St Giles runs two raffles each year in addition to the weekly lottery, providing vital income for the hospice. It costs more than £10 million every year to provide the care St Giles offers and, with little more than a third of this total funded by the Government, the hospice relies upon the generosity of the local community.
Anyone who doesn’t want to wait until the summer raffle for their next chance to support the hospice and win a prize can play the St Giles Hospice lottery, which is drawn each week. For details visit http://www.stgileshospice.com/lottery
Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust to re-stock Manorial Wood
Thousands of new trees are to be planted after a picturesque wood in Sutton Coldfield was cleared of its trees. Now a local charity has pledged to repopulate the area with a new species of trees after felling the woodland sparked local anger and bewilderment.
Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust is set to launch the next phase of its progressive plans to replant with English deciduous broadleaved trees at Manorial Woods on Worcester Lane, Four Oaks – one of the Trust’s own private woodlands.
The entire site will be restocked, in mid-March, with 4,500 trees of both UK-grown hardwoods and an intimate mix of conifers to aid the establishment of the crop – following the recently harvested Corsican Pine.
This will increase the hardwood area of the wood by more than 50 per cent of all trees, which will sequester carbon for decades and provide an improved habitat for plants and wildlife.
The decision to fell and replace the trees came after seeking specialist forestry advice over the past two to three years, which revealed that the previous crop of Corsican Pine had reached its potential and would have gone into decline – causing increased safety issues and fire risks to nature and local residents, due to lack of vegetation and plants.
Tina Swani, chief executive of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, said: “This woodland was made up of Corsican pine, which was deliberately planted for harvesting to be cut down in a time when wood production mattered much more than habitat. Unfortunately, this means the woodland floor had become laden with pine needles and very little was growing and when the pine needles dry, they can become a real fire risk.
“In order to restore this area, we are planting the whole space with a greater number of English broadleaved trees – a mix of species – and we’re planting more trees than have been felled. This will help to increase the biodiversity in this wood, a richer mix of plant life on the woodland floor and a greater range of wildlife living in these woods.
“This project will greatly enhance the environment for generations, not just decades, to come. That, in turn, will create a much better environment for people, for the wildlife, and for quality of the air.”
Robert South, timber harvesting director at Bronwin and Abbey, said: “Landowners play a key role in the sustainable use of natural resources. Carbon neutral jobs, homes and communities will be delivered, through stewardship of the land, and a view to improving nature and biodiversity.”
Timber harvested from the site will be used in construction, fencing and power supplies, with products embedded with carbon and residues used for power and heat – reducing the need for fossil fuels.
The principal objectives of the Trust are the provision of Almshouses, the distribution of funds and other measures for the alleviation of hardship and other needs for inhabitants and organisations within the boundaries of the former Borough of Sutton Coldfield.
The Trust’s origins can be traced back to Tudor times. Throughout a long history it has improved the lives of generations of people in Sutton Coldfield, particularly those in the greatest need. It has sustained its core priority to alleviate suffering, while redefining and extending its benefits to reflect changing times and needs.
2022 GETS OFF TO AN INK-REDIBLE START FOR MERE GREEN RESIDENTS AT GIGGLING SQUID
Thai cuisine fans in Mere Green are in for a tasty treat as award-winning restaurant chain, Giggling Squid, announces the launch of a brand-new breakfast menu, exclusive to its Mere Green restaurant.
Trialing the delicious new offering at Giggling Squid Mere Green before looking to expand across further Giggling Squid locations, the new breakfast menu includes flavourful Morning Fuel Juices, Giggling House Smoothies, Breakfast Bowls, Thai Specialties and Classic Dishes, all sure to get those taste buds tingling at the start of the day.
Available from 31st January between 8.30am and 11am daily, the delectable breakfast menu features fragrant and light Thai dishes alongside more classic brunch favourites, served with a Thai twist.
From the Coconut Pancake Stack and Brekkie Bao Buns to Thai Omelette Wedges and Mango & Coconut Porridge, Mere Green residents will be spoilt for choice when it comes to their next breakfast or brunch outing.
Andy Laurillard, CEO comments: “We’ve been wanting to launch our breakfast menu for a while. Thai food lends itself well to fresh and flavoursome dishes to start the day. We’ve been so pleased with the response to our food since launching in Mere Green and can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of this new idea.”
Giggling Squid Mere Green is located at 9 Mulberry Walk, Sutton Coldfield, B75 5BS and is open 09.30 – 22:00 Mon-Thu, 09.30 – 22:30 Fri-Sat and 09.30 – 21:30 Sun.