Splash of colour for hospice fundraiser

Husband of St Giles patient urges people to join in Orange Week fun

A dad whose wife spent her final days in St Giles Hospice is calling on people to get up and go orange for the charity’s Orange Week fundraiser this April.

Gareth Hine’s wife, Karen, aged 49, who had bowel cancer which had spread to her lymph nodes, died at St Giles in August 2021, following nine months of care from the hospice.

Now Gareth, aged 50, who has two sons, is urging people to join the colourful annual campaign at home, work or school to help raise funds to ensure that St Giles can continue providing care and support for local patients, and their families, living with a terminal illness.

During Orange Week, taking place between Monday, 25th April and Sunday, 1st May, everyone is invited to raise money by going orange for a day or even a whole week or by taking part in orange-themed activities to support the hospice.

Sales director Gareth said: “Orange Week is a fantastic idea which gives everyone a great way to get involved in raising funds for St Giles – whether they are individuals, local businesses, clubs or other organisations. This fun event is about pulling together as a community to celebrate and support this vital service for local people and I would encourage everybody to sign up and take part if they can.

“St Giles provides the sort of personal, specialised care that is remarkable. We should do everything we can to make sure that the hospice is here for other families just like ours in the future when they need it.”

Gareth, from Cannock, said that despite being initially reluctant to agree to hospice care, Karen immediately responded to the supportive environment at St Giles. 

He added: “When Karen arrived at St Giles she was immediately given pain management support and it was just what she needed. We knew that she was getting the sort of care she wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else – it was truly unique and we were all so thankful. The staff are caring and go above and beyond the call of duty to support the families they look after.

“The nurses knew the family were all Aston Villa season ticket holders and they asked the club if they could do anything for the children. The kids were then presented with a Villa shirt signed by the team, which was so kind and thoughtful. My sons were over the moon and it is the little things like that which make things more bearable for them.

“At a time in her life when Karen felt she had nowhere else to turn we found St Giles and it made such a difference – it’s just an amazing place.”

Gareth and his sons received bereavement support from the hospice team during his wife’s final days to prepare them for their loss. Following her death, donations from Karen’s funeral went to St Giles and Karen’s brother, Stephen Smith, took part in Cycle Autumn in 2021 to thank St Giles for caring for his sister. 

In total, the family have raised more than £5,000 to support the hospice.

Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles, said: “The generosity of fundraisers like Gareth and his family – and the people who take part in events like Orange Week – makes a huge difference to the work that we can do, as it costs £850,000 every single month just to keep our services going.

“Whether you’re at home, work or school, getting involved with Orange Week couldn’t be simpler. You could get up and go orange for a day or week, rock your brightest orange outfit, throw an orange themed party, or bake some tasty orange treats – and you can request our fantastic free fundraising pack for further ideas.

“Just remember to donate to St Giles at the same time and share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with the hashtag #OrangeWeek to share the fun.”

For further information, or to request your free fundraising pack, visit www.stgileshospice.com/orangeweek 

Super Gran packs a real punch

BMW M440i Gran Coupe

By Bill McCarthy



When it comes to producing compact performance coupes, BMW has few peers. Stylish, desirable, pricey and offering, blistering performance together will all-wheel drive technology, there’s a huge amount to like, although this model will set you back north of £53k.

It’s not perfect, no car is, but it comes close. It gives a whole new dimension to the phrase ‘hot hatch.’, with its four-doors, hatchback and brutal pace.

The BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupé, has a rather grand sounding name and no, doesn’t refer to shoehorning your gran into the car.

There are small things I am not keen on, like the flush door handles that can be fiddly in the rain and  I am unsure about the larger kidney grille. Actually though, I think I like it.

But it is a striking looking motor, with predatory stance, sweeping profile with short overhangs, cat’s eye type light cluster and that black honeycomb grille flanked just below by huge air scoops finished, like the grille, in high-gloss black.

An M-specific spoiler on the boot lid rounds off the distinctive appearance, as does the performance brake callipers painted in blue and the striking alloys.

BMW describes the interior as a driver-centric cockpit, the dash layout is familiar with the central touchscreen, while a sport leather steering wheel also controls various functions.

The classy leather interior is finished with neat blue stitching, while soft touch finish abound throughout the car offset with contrasting metal inserts.

There are five seats with three full sized to the rear which, despite the compact look of the car, offer decent legroom and reasonable headroom.

Controls are logical and intuitive with the familiar iDrive operating system linked with a central screen and 12.3-inch high-resolution instrument cluster behind the steering wheel.

The central screen controls, infotainment, navigation and connectivity for smartphones, with built-in SIM card with 4G LTE connectivity and BMW’s  Connected Package Professional enabling remote digital information services.

It is pretty practical, being a hatchback, with 470 litres of boot space up 39 litres on the previous model, which can be expanded to a maximum of 1,290 litres while the hatchback features an automatic opening and closing mechanism.

There are various petrol and diesel models available, but the M version is all about performance and it doesn’t disappoint.

Powered by a three-litre, six cylinder turbo-charged engine it delivers blistering pace, hitting 60 mph in under five seconds, while the eight-speed automatic transmission slips seamlessly through the gears.

A mild hybrid system boosts electrics and adds to the engine power when required.

It is a thrilling experience to give it the full beans and all the while the adaptive M suspension works in the background together with the four wheel-drive to deliver maximum stability and a satisfying driving experience.

The driver can also select various drove modes from COMFORT, ideal for motorway cruising through to the most driver-orientated SPORT mode.

 Here you get the full roar and the spitting and crackling from the exhaust as everything sharpens up and you can give the car its head on the open road as it powers through bendy, twisting roads with ease. All within the law of course.

As you would expect, this model features a comprehensive list of safety kit, with full complement of airbags, traction, steering aids as well as cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking and speed limit information.

FACTFILE

BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe

 Price: £53,980

Mechanical: 374PS, 2199cc, six-cylinder, petrol engine driving all wheels via 8-speed automatic transmission

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 4.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 35.3

Insurance Group: 40

C02 emissions: 184g/km

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

Almshouses get £850k upgrade

The almshouses in Walmley are being upgraded

Sutton trust enhances lives for residents

Work has started on Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust’s almshouses, which are undergoing an £850,000 refurbishment to upgrade bathrooms and kitchens.

The almshouses, which are a mix of bungalows and flats, are located at Lingard House in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield and are designed for older people, currently housing 52 residents.

The two-year project, which has been fully funded by the trust, will see the refurbishment of 24 homes completed by the end of June. The second phase of renovation of 22 homes will start in 2023.

Residents will be moved into vacant properties on the estate, while construction work is carried out by contractor Logmoor.

Pam Johnston MBE JP, almshouse manager at Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, said: “The trustees are always keen to upgrade their housing stock and to ensure that the residents benefit from modern, well-maintained homes.

“As part of the refurbishment, residents were able to choose their own colour schemes and greatly look forward to enjoying their improved facilities.”

Each property includes a double bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom and have the benefits of two on site wardens. An out of hours emergency call service is available. The estates also has attractive well-maintained gardens and a communal area with a lounge, conservatory, laundry room, IT suit and craft room.

Glenda Martin, resident at one of the almshouses, said: “I am delighted with my new kitchen and bathroom. The trust really involved me in the process of choosing the colour scheme and the refurbishment has far exceeded my expectations.”

To find out more information about almshouses or Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, please visit: http://www.suttoncoldfieldcharitabletrust.com/alms-houses.htm


WHAT THE TRUST SAYS ABOUT THE ALMSHOUSES

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.

Sutton gym fighting fit after revamp

Visitors invited to grand reopening after £250k refit

A brand new gym in Sutton Coldfield is throwing its doors open to visitors after a £250,000 transformation. Built Unique Co, on Birmingham Road, is inviting visitors to their grand opening on Saturday 23 April, following the big refurbishment.

Managing director Gary Smith will meet visitors

The launch party will offer visitors the opportunity to tour the brand-new facility, to take part in free open gym sessions, 121 no sweat consultations, live demos from fitness professionals and sample a variety of food and drink.

There will also be prizes, promotions, and merchandise to giveaway including a one-month free membership to the gym.

Gary Smith, managing director of Built Unique Co, has over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry and will be present on opening night to share his philosophy on simple fitness.

Built Unique Co is an inclusive gym offering fitness programmes for every experience level and facilities for differently abled patrons.

It puts the emphasis on simplicity, and offers small group classes, sustainable nutrition plans and one to one coaching with a focus on individual goals and building confidence.

The business takes a personalised approach to each individual’s fitness journey, offering new clients a free consultation to discuss their fitness goals, aspirations, health, injuries, diet and lifestyle.

The Built Unique team will then craft a bespoke programme to suit the clients’ specific needs.

Gary says: “I have always been passionate about fitness and in particular functional fitness that can be developed and individualised to work for everyone, whether you are short on time, high on stress or don’t know where to start. 

“At Built Unique Co, Co stands for community rather than company and we intend on embodying this concept by acknowledging everyone’s unique fitness journey and partnering with you to develop a thoughtful programme that is personalised to your individual needs.

“I couldn’t be prouder to welcome everyone to the new gym on the 23rd of April, the Built Unique team and I will be on hand to answer any questions and to lead demonstrations. See you there.”

Built Unique Co is opening in the former Blockbusters in Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfield, at the junction with Manor Hill.

Visit www.builtuniqueco.com for more information

Top Sutton firm joins national group in £4.5m deal

Managing director Jo Edwards outside the JE Consulting HQ in Sutton Coldfield

A leading Sutton Coldfield-based professional services agency has joined forces with a major national group in a multi-million pound deal.
JE Consulting, based at Mitre Court in the town, has been acquired by K3 Capital Group plc, a multi-national, multi-disciplinary group of professional services businesses, in a deal worth up to £4.57m, depending on company performance.
JE Consulting specialises in PR, marketing, digital and creative services to SMEs operating in the accountancy, legal and healthcare markets. Established in 1998, the business provides services to over 140 clients across the UK.
It now joins other acquisitions by K3 Capital plc that include Knights R&D, RANDD and Quantuma.
Jo Edwards, managing director at JE Consulting said the move provided opportunities for the business to continue to grow and invest in new services and marketing opportunities.
The move complements K3’s growth of its K3 Hub, a centre for accountants which, since its launch in February 2021, has recruited 1000 member firms in the UK.

The opportunities this acquisition provides to the business to continue to grow and invest in new services and marketing is now unrivalled in the professional services sector


Welcoming the move, John Rigby, CEO of K3 Capital, said: “I am delighted to announce the acquisition of this highly trusted and established business that will accelerate our strategy of
enhancing our solutions for accountancy firms and their clients.
“The team at JE Consulting are highly complementary to our service portfolio and to the continued development of the K3 Hub, which, since its launch in February 2021, has recruited over 900 member firms in the UK”.
Looking ahead, Jo Edwards said: “We are delighted to be part of the K3 Capital plc journey going forwards. The opportunities this acquisition provides to the business to continue to grow and invest in new services and marketing is now unrivalled in the professional services
sector and we look forward to building relationships with the K3 Hub members.”
John Rigby added: “This acquisition strengthens our presence when the professional services sector is expanding, especially in the accountancy space.
“I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues and continuing the successful execution of our strategy to generate long-term sustainable growth and attractive returns for our shareholders”.

Sutton roads to be closed for Games

Residents advised to prepare for disruption for triathlon events

Sutton Park will host one of the biggest event in its hisitory when it hosts Commonwealth Games triathlon events s next year.Now, details of traffic arrangements around key Commonwealth Games venues including road closures, one-way systems and controlled parking zones in d around the park have been published.

Maps also showing temporary plans for other locations such as Alexander Stadium are now available to view on the Birmingham 2022 website. 

The event will run from July 28 to August 8 – and is set to bring tens of thousands to the region and the UK in 2022 and subsequent years.”. 

Now the map of roads which will be affected when the triathlon and para triathlon between July 29 and August 31 in Sutton Park has been unveiled.

These include part of Jockey Road and Halton Road as well as adjoining roads in the area. The triathlon route has also been laid out – running through Stonehouse Road and Monmouth Drive.

The maps of the course itself has already been unveiled but the central point will be Powells Pool in the park.

Transport for West Midlands executive director Anne Shaw said: “Our plans are designed to make it as easy as possible for spectators to leave the car at home and use public transport to get to events.

“This, along with the traffic management and parking plans announced today ensure that residents and businesses near to venues will be able to access their properties as well as help manage congestion on the wider network for regular commuters, deliveries and emergency services going about their daily business.

There will inevitably be some disruption at some busy times, but these plans have been carefully designed to keep that to a minimum. Ensuring our region can keep moving when a million visitors arrive this summer will be key to a successful Commonwealth Games.

“This is the biggest, most prestigious event ever hosted in the West Midlands and there will be a range of things in our normal daily routines that need to temporarily change. This is the case with all such major multi-sport events, so I would recommend people start planning ahead and check out information as it becomes available through the Get Set website.”

Unveiling the triathlon route last year, Matt Kidson, Director of Sport for Birmingham 2022 said: “We are pleased to be able to publish all of the courses for our road events.

“These routes will help to profile some fantastic landmarks from across the region and showcase the West Midlands and Warwickshire to the world.

“Publishing these details with nine months still to go until the Games begin also means that local residents, businesses and other organisations have plenty of time to make plans for when these one-day events are staged in their local area.”

Fantastic journey to help Ukrainian refugees

The fantastic four delivering their supplies to fleeing refugess on the Poland border

Sutton Coldfield foursome travel 2,600 miles in mercy mission

An intrepid group of Sutton Coldfield men have braved the Ukraine warzone to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees fleeing the conflict.

The four, two firefighters and their builder friends made the marathon 2,600 mile round trip to Poland to deliver the much-needed supplies after being moved by the human tragedy unfoldling after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The four friends from Sutton Coldfield collected and delivered aid to Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country’s war with Russia. West Midlands firefighters Steven Nott and James Allsop joined Alex Willis and Chris Hanley for the trip across Europe and into Poland at Medyka on March 7.

Steve Nott hands out sweets to youngster on the Ukraine border

The group and their partners posted on Facebook, with a huge collection made via the Walmley Residents Association Facebook page. They were also provided with supplies from Walsall children’s charity – Help To Make Tummies Full.

In four to five days as well as supplies, the group raised just over £4,500 and supplies including clothes, baby clothes, water, first aid kits, sanitary wear, baby food, cat and dog food, teddy bears, even a box of crayons.

They loaded up a pick-up truck and a trailer, donated for a week by a Lichfield company, full of supplies and drove from Sutton on Monday night at around 7pm via the Eurotunnel, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to Poland. They stopped off in the southern city of Krakow on Tuesday.

The four volunteers deliver humanitarian aid to women and children fleeing the conflict

The group were there for six hours and took 36 hours to drive home without stopping anywhere overnight, arriving in Sutton at 3pm on Thursday.

Alex said he and his friends plan to return to Poland with money they have raised and get more supplies to the refugees. He said they will fly to the country this time, hire a van and buy supplies locally. Once they have done that they will take a look at what else they can do.

Millions of cheers for 25 years

Lottery Supporter Care Lead Belinda Owen, Individual Giving Manager Alison Jerram, and Lottery Supporter Care Officer Fay Steele

St Giles Hospice celebrates lottery £20 MILLION landmark

St Giles Hospice is celebrating a very special anniversary as it marks 25 years since the first draw of its popular weekly lottery.In the quarter of a century since the first winner was announced on 28th February 1997, the lottery has raised an amazing £20 MILLION to support the hospice’s care for patients, and their families, who are living with a terminal illness.

As only around a third of its funding comes from Government, St Giles Hospice relies upon donations and fundraising to raise the £850,000 it needs each month to fund its care services.

Alison Jerram, Individual Giving Manager at St Giles Hospice, said: “The whole team at St Giles would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who takes part in our lottery – whether you have been playing since that very first draw or have signed up more recently. 

“Thank you so much for helping us to raise over £20 million for St Giles!

“Our loyal lottery players have made a huge contribution towards funding the care we offer to local families when they need us the most, and it’s always one of the most delightful parts of our job to be able to ring up a lucky winner and make their day.”

For just £1, players have a chance to win a weekly jackpot of £1,000 and up to £20,000 in the rollover draw.

Over the past 25 years the St Giles Hospice Lottery has held more than 1,300 draws and sold more than 35 million lottery tickets.

There have been more than 250,000 individual prize winners, including 20 lucky players who have won a larger jackpot since the rollover was introduced in 2017. The most recent lottery rollover winner collected a total of £18,000 just last month (February 2022).