Rising Sutton star gets SportsAid support

Sutton Coldfield rising sports star Eryk Neumann has secured support from Aldi as part of the supermarket’s new partnership with SportsAid. 

Eryk has been chosen alongside 19 other young athletes who are performing at the top of their field as they work towards becoming Olympic or Paralympic athletes.   

The partnership will see Aldi provide financial support to Eryk through SportsAid, alongside quarterly training programmes to nurture their abilities beyond sport. This includes top tips on healthy eating, performance nutrition and managing mental wellbeing, as well as social media and media training.  

In addition, Eryk will be involved with the promotion of the supermarket’s ‘Get Set to Eat Fresh’ programme which aims to educate children on the importance of a healthy diet. 

SportsAid’s extensive alumni stretches across the generations, including Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah, Baroness Grey-Thompson, Dame Sarah Storey, Sir Steve Redgrave, Dame Katherine Grainger, Denise Lewis OBE – and more recently, Dame Laura Kenny, Tom Daley OBE, Ellie Simmonds OBE, Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Peaty OBE. 

The SportsAid partnership builds on Aldi’s existing work with Team GB and ParalympicsGB, where they support Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.  

Adam Zavalis, Marketing Director at Aldi UK, said: “Since 2015, we’ve been the Official Supermarket of Team GB, supporting them with helpful initiatives and keeping them fuelled, and are proud to have also recently become the official partner of ParalympicsGB. We’re pleased to be growing our support for British athletes like Eryk by getting the next generation of promising young sportspeople on board and look forward to supporting them on their journey.” 

Eryk Neumann said: “My partnership with Aldi means I can pursue my ambitions knowing I got their full support.”

Magic of a summer city walk

Above and below walkers during the Enchanted Solsstice Walk (sorry no names) including the sunset over Lichfield

Change in weather makes Enchanted Solstice Walk a real night to remember for St Giles Hospice

A magical last-minute change in the weather turned the St Giles Hospice Enchanted Solstice Walk into a special night to remember for hundreds of fairies, elves and wizards on Saturday (18 June).

After a day of continuous heavy downpours, the charity’s dedicated fundraisers assembled in Lichfield for the popular annual event, bracing themselves for a thorough soaking.

But just as the moment arrived to set off on the walk the rain stopped and the clouds parted to reveal a stunning double rainbow which faded from view as the last participants crossed the finish line.

The walkers were also treated to a striking brilliant sunset which bathed the historic city in a golden glow as they passed through the streets on their 10k stroll.

More than 600 fundraisers flocked to join the event, which returned to the city for the first time since 2019 with a new enchanted theme, a new venue and a new route, after being unable to take place over the past two years due to COVID-19.

Chloe Hope, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “We’ve called this year’s Solstice Walk an ‘enchanted’ event and that’s exactly what it became.

“With all of the fun and entertainment we had planned, we didn’t want the rain to put a dampener on our evening but we couldn’t believe our luck when it suddenly stopped just before the walk started. First we got a rare double rainbow and then the Lichfield sky was lit up an incredible orange colour – it really was something special!”

The Enchanted Solstice Walk began with a welcome party at the event’s new venue, at Lichfield Rugby Club, Cooke Fields, on Tamworth Road.

Entertainments for all the family included face painting, hair styling and stilt walkers, along with live music, food and drink, before everyone joined together for a moment of reflection which saw the sky filled with bubbles to remember loved ones.

Supporters then lined the streets of Lichfield to cheer on wave after wave of walkers, who set off along the new route at 8pm, adorned with lights, glitter, wands and fairy wings.

The fundraisers returned to the rugby club to receive a rousing welcome, a commemorative medal and enjoy the special sunset celebration event, with live music until late.

Organisers have thanked everyone in the community who supported the event, particularly those who gave up their time to volunteer on the night.

Chloe added: “It was wonderful to be able to finally bring back our midsummer fundraising spectacular and offer a warm welcome to so many familiar faces among our solstice supporters – we’ve really missed you over the last couple of years!

“We also want to say a huge thank you to all our participants and volunteers, as well as Lichfield Rugby Club, Doocey Traffic Management, Pure Hair and our two live bands, Kodachrome and The Grateful Dads,who helped to make our Enchanted Solstice Walk such an unforgettable night of magic, mystery and memories.

“We really couldn’t stage this fantastic event each year without the incredible support we receive from you all and it was great to see so many people lining the streets to cheer on the walkers and add to the magical party atmosphere.”

Chloe added that St Giles Hospice needs to raise £850,000 each month to provide the care and support we offer to our patients and their loved ones.

“The Solstice Walk is one of our biggest fundraising events of the year so we are incredibly grateful to everyone who gets involved with volunteering and fundraising,” she said. “Every step walked and every penny raised really does help us to make a difference to local people and their families when they need us the most.”

If you’d like to take part in next year’s Safari Solstice Walk please visit www.stgileshospice.com/solsticewalk for further details.

If you’d like to volunteer at any of our future fundraising events, email volunteer@stgileshospice.com

First Poundland Local to open in Sutton

How the new smaller Poundland Local will look

Poundland is to open its first West Midlands ‘Poundland Local’ store in Sutton Coldfield

It is following in the footsteps of the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s with their compact local stores.
The Boldmere Road store is part of a pilot scheme to bring convenience shopping to neighbourhoods it does not currently serve.

The first Poundland Local store in the West Midlands will open later this summer at the busy Boldmere Road shopping area in Sutton.

Poundland transformation and retail director, Austin Cooke, said: “Each of the new stores will have a range of items tailored to suit the needs of customers in each neighbourhood, whether they live or work locally.

“In the current economic climate, people are carefully watching how much they spend, and we want them to know that convenience shopping does not have to mean they compromise on value for money.”

The Poundland Local format was unveiled in May 2021, with four convenience stores in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. Under the pilot scheme, Poundland is actively looking for other suitable locations particularly inside the M25.

Poundland Local stores typically employ around 12 staff and offer items from the main store’s core range, including groceries, snacks, household products, health and beauty and batteries.

Customers will also find items they would expect in a convenience store including fresh fruit and vegetables, chilled and frozen food, bread and morning goods, hot pies and pastries, nappies and formula milk, beers, wines and spirits.

Walsall-based Poundland has a network of over 850 stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Fantastic journey, for all the wrong reasons

First holiday since lockdown has a sting in the tail

When it all went pear shaped in the comedy Trains, Planes and Automobiles starring John Candy as Del and Steve Martin as Neil, Del said when they were at their lowest ebb: “You’re in a pretty lousy mood, huh?” Neil: “To say the least.” Del: “You ever travel by bus before? Your mood’s probably not going to improve much…”

We knew what he meant on a journey, if not quite from hell, but close to it.

Our first venture abroad since coronavirus struck turned out to be an excellent affair in Cyprus, but it was topped and tailed with something not quite so thrilling and a cautionary tale when preparing to fly from distant airports.

Our flight, from Gatwick meant a lengthy trip from the Midlands and paying for just over a week’s parking at a nearby site. At a cost of £74.

Trouble was, we never made it. Our car broke down on Good Friday and we were due to travel on Easter Monday. No way of getting repaired during the bank holiday.

Fortunately, our son was able to drive us to the airport, but as our return was landing at 2.30 in the morning, we felt we could not ask anyone to make that journey and then drive back.

So we kissed goodbye to the £74 (we should have insured it) and made alternative arrangements to get back.

This entailed booking a coach from Gatwick at 3.50 in the morning. What an adventure when we get back, we thought. A case of panic leading to temporary insanity.

Our journey back after eight glorious days eventually took us 16 hours.

Taxi, plane, coaches, two of them, a train and two buses.

It went like clockwork to start with, except we got there a bit too early by taxi and the airport took their time.

A four hour and 40 minute flight followed in the most uncomfortable airline seats I have ever used, but we arrived on time at around 2am.

As you would expect even at that time of the morning, around four flights came in at the same time, so passport control, as you would now expect did not have the biometric machines   working and the queues stretched an stretched . . . and stretched.

Feeling weary now, we eventually got through and boarded our first coach to London Victoria, on time mercifully and after various stop offs arrived at London’s Victoria coach station. From there we changed coaches for our three and a half hour drive to Birmingham, via Coventry.

From there, we thought we would walk to New Street Station. Mistake, dragging a 50lb suitcase, a smaller suitcase, two heavy handbags up the hill was takings its toll. We arrived at New Street Stations, back entrance and were faced with dragging the bags up 50 steps.

New Street Station is spectacular to look at inside and out but sadly I was baffled and really upset by the sight of the huge mountain of concrete stairs limiting access to the main entrance of the station for folks of all ages that are not able bodied. For people who have to hump heavy luggage. How on earth did the designers also expect parents with babies and buggies (plus other small children, not to mention many elders and folks with health problems) to climb the Everest like stairs? 

Gasping and sweating at the top, two young blokes asked, if we needed a hand. Cheers pal, but we’ve done the hard work.

Onwards. Our train was next, followed b the first of two buses.

Then it was the final walk to the house, just like Dell and Neil in the film the final scenes from the film.

We felt like we had been on a 14 hour workout, using suitcases for weights.

Tired through lack of sleep, but luckily with enough adrenaline to help us complete an epic journey.

The moral to the story is: make sure your car is ready for the journey; make contingency plans for when something might go wrong; try and insure anything like long term parking and finally, think. Do you really need that much luggage?

Get your brains in gear as quiz returns to Sutton Coldfield

Amnesty International Quiz returns after two years

Amnesty International quiz back in town after a two-year pandemic absence.

A popular quiz is returning to Sutton Coldfield after a two year absence caused the the Covid pandemic. The royal town’s Amnesty International group is inviting you to pit your wits some of finest quiz brains when its annual quiz returns to Sutton Coldfield Football Club.

The group has held online events for the past two years due to Covid but is looking forward to being back in person for its blockbuster quiz.
Sutton Coldfield Amnesty International chair Andrew Hindle, who is also quizmaster, said: “We are so glad go be back with an in-person quiz and we’re hoping local people will come out in their droves
to support us.
“We aim for the quiz to cover as many subjects as possible from sport, music and television to current affairs, history and geography. It’s a fun event which also raises money for a great cause.”
Taking place on Friday 24 June from 7.30pm, entry is £5 per person which is paid on the door.Teams are a maximum of six people and there is also the chance to buy raffle tickets for a range of prizes.
Drinks and bar snacks are available at the bar of the Coles Lane football club.
All money raised goes to Amnesty International’s essential work supporting human rights across the world.
The Sutton Coldfield Amnesty International group meets at 8pm on the second Tuesday of every month (except August) in the Conference Centre, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 69 Lichfield Road,
Sutton Coldfield, B74 2NU and new members are always welcome.

For more information see https://www.amnesty.org.uk/groups/sutton-coldfield/about-0

Kebabs come to Sutton and they’re German

Doner kebab shop to open doors in town

Many people’s experience of German food may well have been trying the traditional bratwurst at the Birmingham Frankfurt German Market, held every Christmas.

But people in Sutton Coldfield are about to ge a different kind of German food experience.

German Doner Kebab will open soon in the town, bringing its fast-casual dining experience to the West Midlands town.

The gourmet kebab chain has confirmed that it will open a new restaurant at 123 Parade, Sutton Coldfield.

The restaurant is scheduled to open in July and will create in the region of 40 new jobs, bringing employment to the local area.

The opening has been announced as German Doner Kebab forges ahead with plans to open 78 new restaurants in the UK during 2022, building significantly on the 47 opened during 2021.

German Doner Kebab is revolutionising the kebab in the UK, bringing a fresh, high-quality taste sensation that has made it the number one spot to enjoy a kebab.

Freshly prepared in front of customers, the game-changing kebabs are made using premium, lean, succulent meats and fresh local vegetables, served in handmade toasted breads with unique signature sauces.

The brand now has over 100 restaurants in the UK alone as it continues to bring the GDK experience to more locations across the globe.

Daniel Bunce, GDK Global COO, said: “We’re delighted to officially announce plans to bring the German Doner Kebab experience to Sutton Coldfield.

“Our game-changing kebabs are revolutionising the kebab in the UK and we are excited to be bringing a new fast-casual experience to the area, offering great tasting fresh food in a relaxed and modern setting.”

Once opened, German Doner Kebab will offer a full dine-in experience, as well as Takeaway and Click and Collect. Delivery will soon be available through GDK’s Delivery partners.

For more details, please visit the website www.germandonerkebab.com.

Plugged in for action

Updated Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD Inscription

Volvo XC60

By Bill McCarthy

ONE of the mainstays of the excellent Volvo range is the XC60, which sits right at the heart of the firm’s electrification strategy and is good enough to challenge anything in its segment of the market.

Revamped last year, it now features three plug-in hybrid and four mild-hybrid powertrain options, with front and, in this case, all-wheel drive options. Safety features have also been upgraded to include rear auto brake to help avoid reversing scrapes and updated Pilot Assist, now with emergency stop assist function.

Although classed as a mid-sized SUV, it is a big car in size, in terms of technological innovation and yes, it has a pretty big price tag as well. But you get what you pay for and with this Volvo you get plenty.

The revamp saw tweaks to the front and rear design of the car together with new alloy wheel designs. Changes include new front grille, new lower front bumper and air intakes, and a refresh of the lower rear bumper. A familiar feature remains and that is the signature ‘Thor’s hammer’ light design, the LEDs built into the front light clusters in the shape of the Norse god’s hammer.

What previously would be a key design feature, exhaust pipes, have now been hidden, in a nod to the firm’s journey to full electrification.

The interior quality is exceptional with soft-touch materials throughout, powered and heated leather seats which are firm and supportive and a large glass areas. There is good leg and headroom all round.

Features include two-zone climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors, electric windows and door mirrors, parking camera, head-up display in the windscreen and heated steering wheel.

The controls are dominated by the now-familiar tablet-style nine-inch screen which controls major functions like the Android-powered infotainment system, which provides built-in Google apps and services and features include navigation with Google Maps, voice recognition with Google Assistant and access to the Google Play Store for in-car apps. Like a tablet you can pinch and swipe to select various controls and apps.

This plug-in hybrid Recharge version has recently been upgraded and offers blistering pace, but also with the combination of a 254bhp petrol engine and 87bhp electric motor delivering, literally, electric performance.

It powers to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds. But the revised hybrid combination now extends electric range while lowering CO2 emissions, with a projected electric range of 55 miles.

To achieve anywhere near this takes careful driving, but Volvo says that with the average premium car owner travelling less than 30 miles each weekday, most drivers with home charging will be able do their daily motoring on pure electric power.

It is an engaging drive, Even at high speed, engine and road noise is muted, with just a hint of wind noise on the large, folding door mirrors, while the firmish suspension means  tight, twisty lanes are dismissed with ease.

There is negligible body roll and the on-demand all-wheel drive is perfect for rougher terrain or inclement weather condition.

As an SUV it has to be practical and boot space is decent with 468 litres, while the 60/40 split folding rear seats open up to 1,395 litres. It also features power-operated tailgate with a kick action facility.

Like all Volvos it is packed with safety kit including a full complement of airbags and stability and traction controls and a host of other, driver and pedestrian safety technology.


Volvo XC60 Inscription T6 Recharge

Price: £56,965

Mechanical: 350bhp via 1,969cc four-cylinder petrol engine and 65kw electric motor driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 5.6 seconds

Insurance group: 42

Combined mpg: 100-113

CO2 emissions: 55-64g/km

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

Digging in for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Terry Wood planting the tree, with  almshouse residents, Little Sutton Primary School children and West Midlands Police Cadets at Manorial Wood for the Queen’s Jubilee Canopy Initiative

Sutton Trust plants yew tree to mark 70th anniversary

Sutton Coldfield residents have been digging deep to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust (SCCT) was joined by the local community to plant a yew tree at Manorial Wood, as part of the Queen’s Canopy tree planting initiative to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

Chairman of Sutton in Bloom Terry Wood joined SCCT staff and Keith Dudley, chair of trustees to plant the commemorative yew tree, as well of two long-serving almshouse residents, children from Little Sutton Primary School, West Midlands Police Cadets and two local chartered foresters.

Tina Swani, chief executive of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, said: “It’s fantastic that we were able to be part of the Queen’s Canopy planting at Manorial Wood, and what a great way to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

“We’d like to thank everyone who was involved in the project and for helping us plant the Yew tree, which will be here and part of Sutton Coldfield for generations to come.”

The tree planting commemorated a significant milestone in the Queen’s reign, celebrating 70 years on the throne, and within that time the Trust – which has origins that can be traced back to the Tudor times – has achieved its own milestones that align with royal events.

1528 – The Royal Charter established the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield in 1528, during the reign of Henry VIII – father to the first Queen Elizabeth. Four years before she was born, the first ever almshouses were also built at a total cost of £608.

1558 – Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne, when Royal Town Sutton Coldfield was celebrating its 30th birthday.

1926 – 10 Almshouses in Walmley were being built, just as Queen Elizabeth II had been born and electricity was installed three years later.

1971 – Princess Anne opened a new Residents’ Lounge and 13 dwellings on Walmley site. Trustees decided to rent a TV and buy a piano for the lounge.

Silver Jubilee in 1977 – Sutton Coldfield officially became part of the city of Birmingham. Around this time, the first grants to educational organisations were being made and included awards to five primary schools, a school music association and a sports association.

Ruby Jubilee 1992 – The Trust hit the £1 million mark for grants awarded that year. This is the first time the Trust granted this amount of money, which was a total of £1,357,163 to help individuals and organisations across Sutton Coldfield.

Diamond Jubilee 2012 – The name of the Trust was changed to Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, to reflect the Trust’s role more appropriately, within the town, as an independent charity which no longer has a direct association with the local authority.

This year, Princess Alexandra opened new warden’s flats in Walmley, and more trees were planted to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

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