Free wills offer to support hospice

Solicitors support ‘Make Your Will’ campaign in aid of St Giles

St Giles Hospice is giving people the chance to make their will for free during ‘Make Your Will Month, with two Sutton Coldfield solicitors’ offices taking part.

Throughout October, local solicitors have generously offered their time and expertise free of charge to provide a number of appointments for anyone to make or amend their will at a reduced cost, in return for a suggested donation to St Giles Hospice.

To take advantage of the offering, simply book your appointment with one of the participating solicitors and mention ‘St Giles Hospice Make Your Will Month’.

 At your appointment you will be asked to make your suggested minimum donation – £100 for a straightforward single will or £150 for a straightforward mirror will.

Sally Redmond, In Memory and Legacy Manager at St Giles Hospice, said: “Make Your Will Month is an ideal opportunity to make or update your existing will, whilst supporting the future of St Giles Hospice.

“Writing a will ensures that your family know what your wishes are, about your plans for your belongings and about funeral arrangements if you choose to include them. It can spare your loved ones from having to make important or complicated decisions at a distressing time.

“We’re hugely grateful to the local solicitors offering their time free of charge to support St Giles, and all the money raised from the donations will go towards providing vital care and support to our patients and their families.

“Appointments are limited and are on a first come, first served basis, so please get in touch soon to make sure you don’t miss out.”

There is no obligation to include St Giles Hospice in your will, but if you chose to, a gift of just one per cent would have an incredible impact on St Giles and ensure that its services are available not just now, but for generations to come.

The firms taking part include:

  • Astle Paterson, Burton on Trent
  • Enoch Evans LLP Solicitors, Sutton Coldifeld
  • Woollastons Solicitors, Sutton Coldfield,
  • Red Lake (UK) Ltd Solicitors, Tamworth
  • Rutherfords LLP Solicitors, Tamworth
  • Pickerings Solicitors, Tamworth
  • Somerfield & Co, Lichfield
  • Davisons Law, Lichfield
  • King Will’s Wills, Stourbridge

For more information on Make Your Will Month and to book your
appointment, visit

Foster & Allen in first show at Sutton town hall

Irish duo take centre stage

Popular Irish duo Foster & Allen make their first ever appearance in Sutton Coldfield in November when they bring a wonderful night of melodic Irish music to the town hall main stage. 

The ever-popular duo – Tony Allen and Mick Foster – formed in 1975 and have enjoyed over 40 years of success in record and CD sales, TV performances and their hugely popular live concerts. 

They have released over 30 albums, many of which entered the UK Albums Chart.

The legendary partnership have performed sell-out shows all over the world. Their performance at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall will be part of their 20 date UK tour, entitled “We’ll Meet Again”. Tony Allen and Mick Foster will be supported by their regular full live Irish band. 

 Hear the masters of Irish ballads and traditional Irish music perform their many top hits, including “Old Flames”, “I Will Love You All My Life”, “After All These Years” and the classics, “Bunch of Thyme” and “Maggie” plus many more. 

They will include a rich array of well-known Irish songs in their Town Hall performance, including “The Fields of Athenry”, and other Celtic classics that will bring the green fields of Ireland a little nearer to Sutton Coldfield. 

Following on from the appearance of The Kilkennys at the Town Hall in April, which completely sold out six weeks in advance, tickets are expected to be in high demand for Foster & Allen. 

Tickets are on sale now from the Sutton Coldfield Town Hall box office in person (Monday to Friday, 10am – 2pm), online at: or by ringing the box office on: 0121 296 9543.

New wards open at Sutton hospital

Good Hope increases capacity with 48 beds

Pressure on Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield caused by the pandemic has been eased with the opening of two new wards. Both opened within days of each other at the Rectory road site and will accommodate 48 patients, helping the NHS get back on track, following the impact of COVID-19.

The new wards will allow the extra bed capacity to be realised within the existing hospital estate, with wards 14 and 17 moving to occupy the newly- built ward spaces.

Ward 14 (Stroke) has moved into the new ground floor ward (Ward 28), with surgery moving into the new first floor ward, now Ward 29 on Friday 26 August.

The space Ward 14 and 17 vacate will then be reorganised and optimised for its new uses, providing the much-needed boost to the number of beds available to treat patients.

Construction of the new wards began in March 2022 and took just under six months to complete, with more than 70 lorries delivering the bulk of the ward in modules, during a single impressive bank holiday weekend in May.

Waiting lists across the NHS have grown to the highest levels ever seen owing to the pandemic, and this was particularly serious in Birmingham, with hospitals seeing the highest number of inpatients with COVID-19 anywhere in the country.

This led to more than 17,000 people waiting two years or more for a procedure at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) in the autumn of 2021.

But by July this year, the Trust had brought that number down to fewer than 100, with the remainder waiting for reasons of patient choice or complexity of treatment.

The Trust is now focused on bringing down the number of patients waiting more than 78 weeks for a procedure; while also working to improve other measures, such as a reduction in ambulance handover delays, and improvements to its cancer performance measures.

New wards have already opened elsewhere in the Trust, with two wards having opened at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) in February.

A further ward will open at QEHB in September, and two new wards will open this winter at Heartlands Hospital.


Mazda CX-60

By Bill McCarthy

Mazda’s continuing moves to compete in the premium sector has gathered pace with the new CX-60 flagship its first plug-in hybrid.

A stylish SUV with a range of just under 40 miles on electric power only, it is aimed firmly at the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes, with a classy interior and an impressive range of standard kit.

There are three models, Exclusive-Line, Homura and Takumi with a starting price of £43,950 rising to £48,050. All come with four-wheel drive and eight-speed auto transmission.

Mazda makes some of the best looking SUVs around and the CX-60 is no different with its sleek profile, prominent grille flanked by slim light clusters, roof bars and stylish alloy wheels.

The newcomer makes much of its Japanese heritage with its ‘Crafted in Japan’ theme, with the interior on the range topping Takumi featuring natural wood grain and high quality Japanese style woven fabrics.

They are clever alright, but I preferred the more normal soft-touch finish on the other two models.

All feature leather upholstery and heated front seats, while the cockpit-style dash features digital console and a central screen which controls functionality like navigation, infotainment through the high end Bose system, and smartphone connectivity, using a rotary controller next to the gear lever.

Other switches and controls are robust and logically placed and it feels as classy as anything in the premium sector.

Standard kit is impressive even with the ‘entry’ model with the usual powered and electric aids, including heated steering wheel and front seats and head-up display. Move up the grades and get you more equipment.

It packs plenty of power with Its combination of Skyactiv-G 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, 29 kW electric motor and 17.8 kWh high-capacity battery.

Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) offers a choice of five drive modes: Normal, Sport, Off-Road, Towing and EV, the latter allowing purely electric-powered driving. 

As an SUV it is also highly practical, offering plenty of space for five occupants together with a large 520-litre boot which opens up into a cavernous space with the rear seats folded.

It took a large gazebo, with all the bits and pieces and with plenty of space left to spare.

Performance is impressive with a combined 327PS available and a torque figure of 500Nm, delivering strong pulling power and making the most powerful road car ever from Mazda.

It blasts to 60mph in under six seconds but still delivers excellent economy, with a theoretical maximum fuel consumption of 188mpg and emissions of 33 g/km. This means low tax and Benefit in Kind taxation at just 12 per cent.

On a mixed circuit of roads and hills, with engine and electric motor working together, the more realistic figure showed at around the mid-50s mpg. However, for shorter journeys on electric power alone, then huge mpg figures are achievable.

When EV power is exhausted also allows for the engine to kick in and charge the battery, for instance if you are approaching a congestion or low carbon area and need to switch back to electric only.

On the move, the car is quiet enough except when you floor the throttle there is a pleasant growl from the engine. Gear shifts are generally smooth, but sometimes slightly jerky when feathering the accelertor. There is a little wind noise and the large wheels, up to 20-inch, can mean significant road noise on poorer surfaces. But it also offers excellent manoeuvrability for such a big vehicle with an excellent turning circle.

On the road, the car handles well and features Mazda’s Kinetic Posture Control technology which mitigates body roll when cornering by braking the inside rear wheel to draw the car body downwards, so it does feel stable when cornering.

This became apparent on a prolonged drive around Welsh mountain routes, where the car clung limpet-like to the road through hairpins and sweeping bends.

All Mazdas are packed with safety kit with a comprehensive array of airbags, while the newcomer adds a new 360-degree monitor with extended field of view at low speeds; Hill Descent Control (HDC); Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC), and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Two option packs are available across all grades at £1,000 and £1,100 respectively. The Convenience Pack adds extra interior lighting and sockets, a 360-degree camera, privacy glass and wireless phone charging and Driver Assistance Pack, which adds adding adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control (adding up to semi-autonomous driving capability) and cross-traffic alert front and rear.

But even that extra cost keeps it below its German rivals for similar spec, which is the whole point really. Like the Volvo XC-60, it is a viable and attractive alternative.

The new generation straight-six 3.0-litre e-Skyactiv X petrol and 3.3-litre e-Skyactiv D diesel engines, which feature M Hybrid Boost – Mazda’s 48V mild hybrid system, will join the CX-60 range in the future.