Sedgley Brockswood Vikings Need Your Help to Set Sail

Members of Sedley Viking Combat/Reenactment Group, Hrafn Vaeringi
Members of Sedley Viking Combat/Reenactment Group, Hrafn Vaeringi

A Sedgley Viking combat and reenactment group is appealing to local businesses and individuals to help its members build a historic settlement at the much-loved Brockswood Animal Sanctuary in Catholic Lane.

The group, called Hrafn Vaeringi, are currently in the process of building a fascinating Viking village settlement. However, as member Amelia Greenhill explains:

“We have done this so far by reusing/reclaiming materials on site or buying new out of our club funds, but we are now running out of supplies fast.

“I know it’s a difficult time financially for many at the minute, but literally any help would be appreciated. I am asking local businesses if they can either donate materials such as feather boards to make roof shingles, nails, planking similar to palette planks, any wood lengths, roof lathes etc.

“Alternatively, people could donate to our Go Fund Me page (there’s also a link at bottom of this article).

Members of Hrafn Vaeringi Working on Their Viking Settlement at Brockwood

“We are trying to get the build finished as soon as possible as we are hoping it is going to bring in some much needed funds to the sanctuary once completed. As you all may be aware, Brockswood has been highly affected by the Covid-19 lockdown – both financially and from the theft of three of their sheep and two turkeys which left them devastated.

“We will be holding Viking-themed open days to show how everyday life would have been back then, forging demonstrations and battles etc to try and transform the settlement into an informative, interactive attraction.

“If businesses are able to donate supplies once the village is complete, we will be having a ‘built with the help of’ thank-you board on display to which a small advertisement/plug can be placed for your businesses.”

Brockswood Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit organisation based at the bottom of Catholic Lane in Sedgley, West Midlands. Staff here care for and rehabilitate sick, injured, abused and in many cases abandoned and unwanted animals; giving them a safe and happy ‘Forever Home’, while also endeavouring to restore and renovate the ‘Cotwall End’ site.

You can also read more about Hrafn Vaeringi on their Facebook page.


Wolves Civic appeals for Fleetwood Mac memories


Did Fleetwood  Mac play Wolverhampton Civic Hall? This pic shows Dave Finely and Pamela Evans in the 1970s and a picture of the American/UK supergroup from this period.

Bosses at Wolverhampton Civic are appealing for music lovers to cast their minds back to find out if blues rock legends Fleetwood Mac played the venue more than forty years ago.

The appeal has been sparked by former Wulfrunian Dave Finely who emigrated to Australia in the 1980s and recently got in touch with the Civic Hall.

Dave, aged 63, emailed the Civic asking for help to see if historic records proved his memory right.

He said; “I am currently writing recollections from my life and I have a memory of going to the Civic Hall or Wulfrun to see the band in or around 1970. It was the first date with my then girlfriend Bernadette Evans.

“I lived in Fordhouses and was an apprentice at Dowty Boulton Paul Aircraft Ltd. I was 17-years old and studying at Wulfrun College. Bernadette was 14 and she lived in Finchfield.

“I am sure I got hold of tickets for the Fleetwood Mac gig and asked her to go with me, so I can say that it was the Civic that brought us together.

‘I had long been a fan of Fleetwood Mac and so was stunned when we entered the hall. I recall that there was no backing band and that only the front two rows of seats were occupied.

“I had cheap tickets at the back but we walked to the third row which only had one person sitting in it. The lineup of the band was odd. I understood it to be the first, or a trial, without Pete Green but both girls.

“The music was also little like the old Fleetwood Mac and more like the later more modern romantic Fleetwood Mac.

“I can’t recall whether it had been whispered at the time that this was a test run for the new line-up, or whether I just came to that conclusion on my own. Therefore this may not be the case.

Did Fleetwood Mac Play Wolverhampton Civic Hall?

“I find it really odd however that the Fleetwood Mac site, which lists all of their tours, line-ups and concerts since the start, does not mention this concert, or any concerts at the Civic/Wulfrun at any time, hence my appeal to the Civic and their records.”

Mark Blackstock, head of Visitor Economy at Wolverhampton Council, said: “We were intrigued when Dave emailed us about Fleetwood Mac playing the Civic or the Wulfrun Halls in either 1969/1970.

“Both venues have hosted all the great names in the music business for more than 70 years so I wouldn’t be surprised if they had played on one of those stages, however our records don’t go that far back – so we are appealing on Dave’s behalf to find anyone else who was there and if they have any memorabilia from the gig.”

Like hundreds of people before and after, Dave and Dette’s first date at the much-loved venue blossomed into romance and later marriage.

Dave, now a grandfather of seven, said: “Dette and I married and lived in Newbridge until emigrating to Australia in 1982. After 25 years married we divorced and I later married someone else. However, we are all good friends. I see both Dette and my second (also divorced) wife daily and we all get on well together.

“I have four children and seven grandchildren now and looking back many fond memories of going to see bands play at the Civic and Wulfun halls. I can remember chatting with Marc Bolan of Tyrannosaurus Rex (before the abbreviation to T Rex) in the bar during a break. Also, being an apprentice and then many years as an engineer, at Dowty Boulton Paul Aircraft in Pendeford, I remember the annual Christmas parties that we had for many years in the two halls combined.”

He added: “I have almost completed a history of my life’s recollections in 500,000 words. I am trying to tie down a few critical dates and this is the big one that I am having trouble with. It should be extremely easy. Our date was at a very particular concert with a well-known band in the top Wolverhampton venue at the time!”

Anyone with information can email Wolverhampton Civic Hall, or go to and click on the contact us form to get in touch.

Sedgley Post Office Burglary Leaves Owners and Local Residents Shocked

The scene outside Sedgley Post Office today after the burglary on Sunday night

Sedgley Post Office is usually a hive of activity at the start of each new week. However, people visiting this morning (Monday, June 13th) were shocked to find their local branch shut due to an overnight robbery on Sunday, June 12th.

Standing outside the popular Dudley Street branch, the owners explained what had happened to passers-by, and assured them the popular Post Office would open again as soon as possible.

Shocking Robbery in Sedgley

“It’s shocking. You just don’t expect this sort of thing to happen in Sedgley,” said one local woman.

Although the robbery has left the owners shaken, they say not too much damage has been done and are determined to have the branch up and running again as soon as possible.

In the meantime, there are barriers and signs up outside the premises apologising for any inconvenience caused.

In the meantime, anyone who has any information is urged to contact Crimestoppers in complete confidence on 0800 555 111.



Sedgley Beacon Blind Centre Secures ‘Social Enterprise’ Double Award


SEWM BC (P)One of the region’s best-known charities was the major winner at this year’s Social Enterprise West Midlands Awards after its pioneering new venture secured a ‘double triumph’.

Beacon Opticians Plus+, which provide optical healthcare, beat off a host of challengers to take home the SE Potential and SE Prima titles after impressing judges with the way it is competing with high street and independent opticians.

Just two months on from its official launch and the social enterprise has turned over £3500 in sales, completed 50 eye tests and offered people additional support and services through the Beacon Centre for the Blind in Sedgley.

Held at the University of Birmingham, the high-profile event also saw eight other social enterprises honoured for their commitment to the region, including a manufacturing assembly specialist, a creative youth engagement agency and an individual who champions getting ex-offenders back into employment.

Recognising Innovation in the West Midlands

Sallie Ryan, Partnerships Manager at Social Enterprise West Midlands (SEWM), commented:

“This is one of the biggest award ceremonies in our sector and it is only right that we recognise organisations, enterprises and individuals that are creating businesses that have a sustainable impact on the communities in which they operate.

“We had a record number of entries this year, showcasing tales of expansion, innovation, passion, community spirit and employee development. These are serious businesses, with clear strategies that are being delivered and helping to add wealth and jobs to the West Midlands.”

She continued: “Once again we have had a fantastic response from our supporters who make this event happen, including sponsors Amey, Big Society Capital, PwC, UnLtd, Development in Social Enterprise and the Enterprise Foundation.”

Other winners on the evening included:

  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s Paul Smith (SE Partner) – Providing expert support and facilities to social enterprise start-ups.
  • Beatfreeks (SE Passion) – An agency that uses creative arts to engage with and inspire young people.
  • Nick Comley, Community First (SE Professional) – Providing expert advice to social enterprises in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
  • Production Assembly Services (SE Profit) – Providing assembly outsourcing services to the region’s manufacturers.
  • Witton Lodge Community Association (SE Planet) – Enhancing the local environment by replacing sub-standard housing and organising gardening, walking and wildlife clubs.
  • Changes UK (SE People) – Delivering innovative person-centred support for people seeking abstinent recovery from drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Bill Longmore (SE Inspire) – Leading the West Mercia Police and Crime Commission’s approach to helping ex-offenders back into employment.
  • PM Training (SE Aspire) – Demonstrating best practice in delivering apprenticeships and work placements

The final award on the evening went to the Social Enterprise ‘Moment of the Year’, which went to The Key Fund’s Sam Tarff for his involvement in the recent Pitcher’s Platform.

With the ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to a panel of finance and funding experts drawing a tie from the audience vote, the decision was made to award the £500 grant and social finance mentoring for 12 months to Green Revolutions.

Rather than see Approachable Parenting’s valiant efforts go unrewarded, Sam stepped in to match the offer.

Beacon Opticians Plus+’s Nick Comley concluded: “It was fantastic to be surrounded by some of the finest social enterprises in the West Midlands and even better that we came away with two of the main awards…just a couple of months after starting to trade.”

Social Enterprise West Midlands is the leading business network and consultancy for social enterprise in the region.

The membership-led organisation offers access to expert consultancy, advice and guidance, as well as a series of event and workshops designed to educate, inform and promote a sector that has the highest percentage of social enterprise start-ups outside of London in the country.

The SE Awards were backed by a host of sponsors, including Anthony Collins Solicitors, iSE, and Lister Trade Frames.

For further information, please visit or follow @_sewm on Twitter.

Gornal Colts net Sixes ‘Academy’ Deal

Gornal SixesA local junior team has joined forces with a Kingswinford indoor football centre to develop the next generation of footballing talent.

Gornal Colts and Gornal Girls has taken the ambitious decision to create a new academy in partnership with ‘Sixes’ in Ham Lane as part of its 10th birthday celebrations.

The club, which currently operates ten teams made up of over 100 players, will provide a number of special courses and training sessions to get children as young as 3-years old involved in the game.

These will be staffed by experienced FA coaches and utilises Sixes’ two indoor pitches and changing facilities.

Gornal Sixes action pic“This is a really exciting development for our club and provides us with a constant stream of young players, who are well coached and understand the game,” explained Alan Moore, Chairman of Gornal Colts and Gornal Girls.

“Sixes is often the first experience some children get of football so we thought we’d build on our existing relationship with them and formalise a clear progression route into our teams and hopefully into semi-professional or professional clubs.”

He went on to add: “We’ve seen a gradual decline in the number of players wanting to get involved in organised teams, especially on the girls side. Hopefully, this move will be rectify this and enable us to build our club up so we can compete at every age group from under 7s upwards.”

Natural Progression for Gornal Colts

Sukh Johal, Director of Sixes Football Centre, added his support: “We have been involved with Gornal Colts and Gornal Girls for many years so we see this move as a natural progression.

“It also raises our profile in grassroots football, which can only be good for our business. If we can also give a little back by helping develop the next England internationals then all the better!”

Gornal Colts and Gornal Girls were formed in 2005 after breaking away from Gornal Athletic’s youth structure.

It plans to mark its 10th anniversary by exploring new commercial partnerships with local businesses and building relationships with schools and colleges.

Longer term, the club is looking at the possibility of developing its own dedicated sporting facility in Gornal, including full size pitches and ‘3G’ training surfaces.

For further information, please contact either or or visit


Explore The History of The Gornals With Sedgley Local History Society

ned williams the gornals sedgley

Ned Williams and photographer Graham Beckley celebrate the publication of The Gornals.

The inaugural Andrew Barnett & Trevor Genge Memorial Lecture takes place on Thursday 8th October at 7:30 pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley.

The speaker is Ned Williams the well-respected Black Country historian and author.

Ned explores the Gornals (the subject of his fiftieth book) and shares his warm affection for the villagers and their traditions. This illustrated presentation reflects a flavour of Black Country life still around, but fast disappearing.

For past and present Gornal folk, it is an evening not to be missed.

As usual, visitors are invited to come along – admission £1. Annual membership of the Society costs £5 and gives free access to the programme of talks.

Schoolteachers, Andrew Barnett and Trevor Genge, were co-founders of the Society in 1984. Andrew launched the Sedgley Local History Museum (closed 2004) and Trevor published five books on the Sedgley Manor villages. Both were avid researchers and staunch supporters of conservation projects.

Visit Sedgley Local History Society for more information.

Black Country History Goes Digital in Sedgley Local History Society Talk

black-country-industry-sedgleyKeen photographers in Sedgley can get a fascinating insight into the history of the Black Country when the new season of talks from Sedgley Local History Society begins this Thursday, September 10th.

This week’s talk will feature society member Eddy Hickey –  a keen photographer and member of the Compton G. Camera Club, Wolverhampton.

His illustrated talk will appeal to everyone who treasures old photographs. Eddy has digitised around 100 images found on glass plates dating from the early years of last century. It is thought that many of the scenes were used on postcards.

Eddy will begin his presentation at 7:30 pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley.

As usual, visitors are invited to come along. Individual talks cost £1. Annual membership of the Society costs £5 and gives free access to the programme of talks.

Full programme & Summer Teaser –

Black Country Accountancy Firm Finds New Home in Sedgley


The team at Bytheway & Co Accountants, Sedgley, l-r: Hannah Duerdin, Dan Bytheway, Alison Murray, Reg Bytheway, Helen Kershaw,
Dave Bytheway and Amy Massey

One of the Black Country’s leading family-owned accountancy firms is celebrating its 35th birthday in style with a move to prestigious new offices in Sedgley.

Bytheway & Co, which was set up in a small home garage by current director Reg Bytheway, has invested substantially into transforming a derelict building in Sedgley into its new home.

A string of new contracts with local businesses has paved the way for the expansion, with its Bilston Street premises now having additional meeting rooms, the latest technology and dedicated parking.

Backed by a £19,500 grant from the Green Shoots Fund, the company has already taken on two new employees and expects turnover to grow by 10% this year.

“We’ve come a long way from when I first started in 1979 and I’m delighted that we have grown the business by keeping it in the Black Country and in the family,” explained Reg, who is joined at the helm by his two sons David and Dan.

“The new office provides us with a modern image that reflects our new branding, not to mention giving us more space to grow and take on additional clients. We’re also about to launch a new website as part of the marketing push.”

He continued: “There is no doubt the Green Shoots Fund has brought forward our plans by 12 months and hopefully we are starting to pay some of that back by employing more people and bringing an important building back to life.”

Accountancy Services for Black Country Businesses

Bytheway & Co, which has the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants accreditation, offers a comprehensive range of accountancy and business advisory services to starts-ups, sole-traders, partnerships and Limited companies across the West Midlands and the UK.

Its family-orientated approach has seen it build strong relationships with a client base that spans construction, entertainment, manufacturing, professional services and retail.

“Most of the firms we work for have been with us for more than 15 years, some even from the start…back in 1979,” continued Reg.

“We try to do things differently, offering a pro-active and personal approach to their requirements, whether it is around payroll, personal/business taxation, tax planning or corporate transactions.

“One example is the free initial consultation we provide for small business, an offer that companies have already taken advantage of in 2015.”

He concluded: “There definitely appears to be a growing demand from clients to seek support from independent accountancy practices that offer both excellent advice and importantly value for money.”

For further information, please visit or contact 01902 675243

Creative Black Country Brings Arts to Sedgley


Artists and performers in Sedgley can showcase their talents as part of an exciting new project launching soon.

Creative Black Country is a new Arts Council England funded project bringing the best in high quality performance and visual arts from around the world to the region showcasing the finest the region has to offer.

The Queens Square shopping centre West Bromwich will come to life on the 22nd January with the official launch of the new project, which features performances from ACE Dance & Music, Crashmat Collective Contemporary Circus, an innovative Holographics display by a local artist, some rather unusual characters, and much more. The event is free and open to everyone.

Black Country Creativity

Programme Director, Sajida Carr says: “The Black Country has always been and still is a hot bed of creativity and innovation. Through this project we will celebrate the artistic excellence and creativity that is the backbone of a region that has given the world Led Zeppelin, Noddy Holder, Goldie, Frank Skinner, Julie Walters, Beverly Knight and still has so much to offer artistically and

Her thoughts are echoed by Mark Davis, Chair of the Creative Black Country partnership, who says: “This event is a great opportunity to enjoy and experience something fantastic, fun and
different right on our doorstep. We hope as many people as possible will come and be part of this Creative Black Country launch event, to get a taste of some of the exciting things to come.”

Creative People and Places projects are taking place in parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average, with the aim of increasing the likelihood of participation. The project will support local groups and communities to create their own arts activities as well as commission arts activity across Wolverhampton, Walsall and Sandwell.

Join the Creative Black Country Facebook page here  or follow the project on Twitter here



Sunshine And Song In Sedgley This Weekend

There is something for all the family in Sedgley this weekend with the Our Big Gig event at Baggeridge

Music lovers in Sedgley are spoilt for choice this weekend, with two superb events which are sure to make the glorious sunshine even more enjoyable.

Our Big Gig is coming to Baggeridge Country Park near Sedgley this weekend

On Saturday, July 13th,  Baggeridge Country Park is the venue for Our Big Gig – a series of community music celebrations taking place across the country.

The Sedgley event, organised by South Staffordshire Council, features live music from 1pm until 5pm, with performances from Stolen Comfort, Ellowes Hall School Funk Band, Matt Gallis and My Girlfriend’s Last Boyfriend.

Visitors will also be able  to enjoy music played on the new giant outdoor xylophone and hopefully be able to help construct it!

Throughout the afternoon, there will be a variety on musical performances on offer, including folk, jazz and rock.  Music lovers can also enjoy open mic sessions, junk instrument making workshops and musical masterclasses.

Our Big Gig has been made possible thanks to funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government, Arts Council England and the National Lottery. Organised by local volunteers with assistance from not-for-profit arts organisation, Superact, the events are part of the government’s Olympics legacy commitment to reconnect communities and ensure the benefits of the Games are spread across the country long after the sporting events have ended.

Enjoy the golden age of Music Hall at Dudley Canal Trust this weekend

Old-time Music Hall in The Cavern

This Sunday, lovers of the golden era of Music Hall can enjoy a canal boat cruise through the incredible caverns beneath Dudley while basking in the sounds of a much-loved bygone era. The Old Time Music Hall event is organised by Dudley Canal Trust Trips and promises to be a great way to round off a scorching weekend in Sedgley and the Black Country.

Sing along with classics from yesteryear, as the team from Funtime Theatre takes you back in time to a rich age of music, when songs such as ‘Teenager In Love’ and ‘Rhythm Of The Rain’ were staple tunes on Wurlitzer jukeboxes in coffee shops up and down the country.

Performances start at 7pm and 8.15pm on Sunday, July 14th. Tickets are £10 each and available from Dudley Canal Trust Trips on 0121 557 6265.