Last chance for Dudley Zoo free panto tickets

Hurry, hurry, it’s your last chance to grab free panto tickets!

Dudley Zoological Gardens is sponsoring the dress rehearsal of Jack and The Beanstalk at The Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton and has got more than a thousand tickets to give away for the December 7 panto date.

The family favourite will feature Loose Women presenter Sherrie Hewson, veteran entertainer Keith Harris, plus the lovable Orville, with Nigel Ellacott joining the line-up as the distinctive dame.

DZG CEO Peter Suddock, said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with a premier theatre that’s on our doorstep and hope everyone will enjoy Jack and The Beanstalk at The Grand – particularly those who join us at the dress rehearsal – and then book into Santa’s Jack and The Beanstalk-themed grotto at DZG.”
Dudley Zoo is also looking for charities and local organisations who would like to join them at the dress rehearsal on Friday, December 7 at The Grand, in Wolverhampton, starting at 7pm.

If you think YOU or someone you know is eligible please get in touch and tell them why.

Contact or call  01384 215313 – there are more than a thousand tickets to give away!!



Sedgley Woman Uncovers Memories of Dudley Zoo

Trainee keeper Alex Randle with the book about Dudley Zoo’s animal collection in the 1950s.

An old book discovered in the attic as she prepared to move house brought back fond memories of Dudley Zoological Gardens (DZG) for Mrs Lynette Collins of Sedgley recently.

Among the yellowing pages of 1960’s hardback The Zoo Keeper, by D H S Risdon, Lynette found a photograph of her late father-in-law, Ernie Collins, who headed up DZG’s Cats’ Section during the 1950s and early 60s.

 Lynette said: “The book is all about Dudley Zoo’s collection and reading it brought the memories flooding back and I remembered lots of stories Ernie used to tell about the zoo animals and staff.
“The photograph shows him cleaning out a leopard’s cage and the text explains the basic principles of zoo keeping, highlighting hard physical work and common sense as key to the job!”
She added: “I have donated the book to DZG archives as I’m sure they will find it most interesting.”

Insight into Dudley Zoo’s History

DZG Head of Media and Communications, Jill Hitchman, said: “The book offers a fascinating insight into DZG’s collection in the 1950s and early 60s and was written by Donald Risdon who was the zoo’s General Manager at that time.

 “It concludes with A Day in the Life of a Keeper, which is almost identical to today’s procedures and explains the importance of routine and commitment.
“One area that has changed is uniform – back in the 1950s staff used to wear a formal jacket and peaked cap, but modern-day zoo keepers wear more comfortable, casual, less restrictive clothes.”
She added: “The book has now been added to our new archives department and has already been passed around several members of staff who have found it very interesting reading.”


Reap the Rewards of Autumn at Sedgley Community Centre

With summer nearly over, Sedgley Community Centre has a packed programme of events this autumn guaranteed to warm up those dark nights and keep everyone entertained.

On Saturday, September 29, Ashmore Male Voice Choir will be hitting all the right notes and treating guests to an evening of all types of music and monologues. Tickets for this event, priced at £4, are available from Mary Lavender on 01902 885816 or on the door.

And, as autumn moves into winter, what better than an evening of music and dancing to keep the cold at bay? The Sedgley Live event on Saturday, October 27, will feature a performance from Old Enough To Know Better, who will be getting everyone up on their feet with a selection of songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Also performing are Be bewitched, (bothered and bewildered) and a Frank Sinatra Cabaret.  This event begins at 8pm and Sedgley residents will be able to dance their socks off until late in the evening. Tickets, priced at £3, are available from Lesley Whitehouse on 07971 739042 or on the door. Bring your own drinks and enjoy the fun!

As the festive season draws near, get into the Christmas spirit with a concert from St Andrews Singers on Saturday, December 1, which starts at 2pm. Tickets for this event cost £3 and include refreshments.

Sedgley Community Centre, based in Ladies Walk, is well known for hosting a series of events for local residents throughout the year, including the popular Flower and Vegetable Show, which celebrated its 18th year earlier this month. Other well-attended events include the Sedgley Live Arts and Crafts festival and the harvest festival.



Discover The History and Future of St John’s Church

Sedgley Local History Society will be hosting a talk dedicated to the preservation of St John’s Church, Kates Hill, Dudley

Sedgley residents can learn about the fascinating history of St John’s Church,Kates Hill, Dudley, as the new season of talks from Sedgley Local History Society gets underway.

During the event, held on Thursday, September 13 at 7.30pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley, guests will be treated to an illustrated talk from group chair, Deb Brownlee and Chris Smith, editor of community magazine, Village Voice. The speakers will be highlighting the efforts of the St

John’s Church Preservation Group and how their project to restore this 1840s building to its former glory depends on community support in order to succeed.

The Significance of St John’s Church

St John’s Church is a hugely significant building in local history. Not only is it the burial place of William Perry, the famous Tipton Slasher, it’s also the last resting place of Julia Hanson, who is synonymous with Hanson’s beer and brewery. Marion Richardson, the famous art and handwriting teacher, is also buried there, and Reverend Edward Noot, who served at St John’s for 63 years until his death in 1905, was related to Edward Jenner, the famous physician who discovered vaccination and thereby helped eradicate smallpox in the UK.

This Grade II listed building was closed in 2002 due to health and safety concerns but, since forming in 2007, the St John’s Preservation Group has worked hard to demonstrate how it can be fully restored and take its rightful place in the community once more.

Numerous local celebrities have lent their support to the campaign, including former cycling champion Geoff Hill and Professor Carl Chinn – himself a descendent of the famous Tipton Slasher, William Perry.

Sedgley residents are warmly invited to the talk, which costs £1 to attend. Annual membership of the Society costs £5 and gives free access to the programme of talks.

Visit the St John’s Preservation Group’s website for more details on this important local landmark.

Appeal To Find Missing Sedgley Man Lee Whickett

Missing Sedgley man Lee Whickett has been missing from his Woodsetton home since Monday, August 20.

Dudley Police have today issued an appeal to help find the whereabouts of Sedgley man, Lee Whickett, who went missing from his Woodsetton home on Monday, August 20.

The 27-year-old was last seen on George Road and, despite police inquiries, has not yet been traced.

Lee is described as white, around 5ft 4ins tall and of slim build with shaved dark brown hair.

He was last seen wearing a dark blue flat cap, a grey hooded top with green writing, blue jeans and black trainers.

Inspector Simon Bradbury, from Brierley Hill police station, said: “We know that Lee has had a difficult time of late because of personal issues and his family are extremely concerned about him.

“They just want to know he’s safe and are urging him to contact police or return home. “There are some suggestions that Lee may have gone to Dudley town on Monday and so I would ask people who were in the area to think back about whether they may have seen someone matching this description.”

Anyone with information about Lee’s whereabouts should call Dudley Police on 101.

Get Ready For Lift-off With Launch Of Vintage Chairlift at Dudley Zoo

Sedgley residents and visitors from across the UK can get ready for lift-off with the launch of the much-loved chairlift at Dudley Zoological Gardens this Friday, August  24.
The official ceremony, which will be carried out by BBC Radio WM presenter Jenny Wilkes, follows a three-month £117,000 Heritage Lottery-funded refurbishment of the country’s only vintage chairlift.
Work included a full refurbishment of the 41 chairs and roller system which carries the cable, plus an overhaul of the engine – a British-made DC which is electrically-driven with a reduction gearbox. The chairlift was last operated in 2002.

Dudley Zoo CEO, Peter Suddock, says: “We are so thrilled this is happening. One of the most common questions we are asked by national and overseas visitors is: ‘When’s the chairlift going to be running?’ so we are very well aware the refurbishment will create lots of interest.”

Finance for the project is via a £1.2million bid for Heritage Lottery Funding, which will also see the restoration of four of the site’s 12 listed Modernist structures which form part of the world’s largest single collection of Tecton buildings designed by renowned architect Berthold Lubetkin.

Mr Suddock adds: “It’s a fantastic year. Not only is it our 75th anniversary, we’ll also be finalising plans for the new entrance, retail complex and Tecton interpretation centre which will go on public display.There will also be additions to the animal collection and, of course, the chairlift will be restored, so there’s a lot to celebrate.”

Chairlift Was First Passenger-carrying Aerial Ropeway In England

The chairlift at Dudley Zoo was the first passenger-carrying aerial ropeway to be installed in England. It transports visitors from the zoo’s lower zone to the 11th century Dudley Castle on the upper level within a two-minute journey offering panoramic views across Sandwell to Birmingham, before travelling directly over flamingos and rare breeds of sheep grazing on the banks.

Mr Suddock says: “We have all the original drawings and, despite its age, the changes to the chairlift mainly centre on cosmetic refurbishment where it has suffered exposure to the elements and some slight modifications to the T-bars on the chairs. It’s a fantastic piece of machinery and a tribute to 1950’s engineering techniques.”
The chairlift opened to DZG’s visitors on May 11, 1958 and within six months had carried more than 154,000 passengers – approximately one third of persons visiting the zoo during that period.
Mr Suddock adds: “Early passengers paid sixpence for their journey, but 2012 travellers will be able to use the facility for free.”
Visit the Dudley Zoo website for more information on the exciting refurbishment of this 1950s chairlift.

Sedgley Residents Invited To Cook Up A Storm on Come Dine With Me

ITV is on the lookout for aspiring Sedgley chefs to appear in its popular cookery programme, Come Dine With Me.

Anyone who loves dinner parties and considers themselves a good cook is invited to apply and be in with the chance of winning a tasty cash prize.

In the much-loved daytime TV series, five strangers from all walks of life take turns to host the perfect dinner party for each other over five days. During this time, the strangers get to know each other better and sample each other’s cuisine – often with hilarious results. And, at the end of the week, the best host wins a £1,000 cash prize!

Anyone who would like to take part or knows someone from the Dudley area who would like to be involved is invited to call or email ASAP and leave their name, address, age and contact details.

Email or call 0871 244 4142 to apply. Callers from a BT landline will be charged a set up fee of 14p per call plus 10p per minute. Calls from other networks may be higher and from mobiles will cost considerably more.

Shoot dates are 10th September – 14th September 2012 and the show’s producers are looking for people over 18 years of age with a passion for cooking who want to demonstrate their skills.




Family Fun Day In Memory of Shane Watson

Murder victim Shane Watson of Monument Lane, Sedgley

When Shane Watson died from head injuries following a vicious assault in an alleyway near the Beacon Estate last month, it sent shockwaves through Sedgley.

Now, local residents are invited to come along and show their support for Shane’s family and friends at a special family fun day held in honour of the popular 23 year old.

The event, which is to be held at The Crown public house in Wolverhampton Road, Sedgley, on Saturday, September 1, promises to be an emotional affair. However, according to organiser Cheryl-ann Stanley, it will also be a fitting occasion to remember Shane, whose family and friends say always lived life to the full.

Everyone is welcome to come along from 12 noon until 5pm and celebrate Shane’s life. Pay and display parking is available for motorists at the top of Bilston Street next to the Queen Victoria school and there are regular bus routes to Sedgley from Wolverhampton and Bilston.

Police are still appealing for witnesses who were in Monty’s Bar on the night Shane died to come forward with any information.

Shylon Wishart, 19, of North Springfield, and James Cartwright, 18, of Sandyfields Road, both from Sedgley, were charged with Shane’s murder soon afterwards and a trial date has been provisionally set for April next year.

More than 2,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the alleyway where Shane was brutally attacked to be closed. A recent Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting at Dormston School was attended by almost 100 people, who came forward with numerous suggestions on how to improve safety in this and other thoroughfares in Sedgley.

Visit the Facebook page set up for the family fun day in memory of Shane Watson.


Summer Events in Bloom at Sedgley Community Centre

Summer’s in bloom this weekend at Sedgley Community Centre, when green-fingered local residents will gather for this year’s Flower and Vegetable Show on Saturday, August 18.

The event, organised by Sedgley Gardening Club, continues to grow in popularity and is now in its 19th year. It’s an ideal opportunity for local growers to display their potting prowess and show off some of their bumper crops.

Members of the public are invited to come along to the Community Association Hall in Priory Lane and enjoy a packed programme of entertainment lined up for the day, including music from Wolverhampton Brass Band, plant stalls, cream teas, and a raffle and tombola with many prizes up for grabs.

The free event takes place from 12 noon and is sponsored by Dudley Building Society.

Harvest Festival Fun

Later on in the year, Sedgley residents can enjoy the best in local produce at the Community Centre’s Harvest Festival and Ploughman’s Lunch which takes place on September 15. During this event, a short thanksgiving will be held at 11.30am followed by an auction of produce.  The Ploughman’s lunch will commence at 12.30 pm.

Tickets, priced at £3, are available on the door or by calling Mrs Evelyn York on 01902 661682.
The concert by Ashmore Male Voice Choir on September 29 is sure to hit all the right notes this autumn  and begins at 7.30 pm.  Ticket price is £4 which includes tea/coffee.
On October 27, Sedgley residents can indulge in some spooky fun at the Community Centre’s Halloween Evening, where live band, Old Enough to Know Better, will be performing a selection of 60/70s and country music and a Sinatra cabaret will keep crowds entertained.  Guests and ghouls are invited to bring their own drinks for what promises to be a lively and hugely enjoyable evening of entertainment which will include
a charity raffle.
The evening starts at 8pm and tickets priced at £3 are available on the door or by calling Lesley Whitehouse on 07971 739042.



2000 Sign Shane Watson Petition To Close Alleyway

Murder victim Shane Watson of Monument Lane, Sedgley

The brutal murder of Shane Watson sent shockwaves through the communities of Sedgley when the tragic news was announced recently.

After enjoying a night out at Monty’s Wine Bar, the 23-year-old former Dormston School pupil was on his way home to Monument Lane when he was

viciously attacked in the alleyway leading off Springfield Grove, leaving him with serious head injuries from which he later died in hospital.

Shylon Wishart, 19, of North Springfield, and James Cartwright, 18, of Sandyfields Road, both from Sedgley, were charged with Shane’s murder soon afterwards and a trial date has been provisionally set for April next year.

Residents living near the alleyway say the thoroughfare has long been a magnet for drug dealers and anti-social behaviour and, at last night’s Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting at Dormston School, it was revealed more than 2,ooo people have signed a petition calling for it to be closed.

At the meeting, which was attended by almost 100 people including Shane’s friends and relatives and local councillors, it was claimed that reports and complaints about the alleyway had been ignored for years. In addition to calls for its closure, residents suggested alternatives including CCTV, improved lighting and installing gates.

Numerous opinions were expressed as to whether closing the alleyway would be the best option and several residents expressed concerns regarding health and safety if this were to happen.

Sergeant Rob Simpson of West Midlands Police said he believed several other alleyways in Sedgley were also a problem and that numerous complaints were pending on these. Detectives are still appealing to clubbers who were in Monty’s Wine Bar the night Shane died to come forward with any information which could shed light on events.

The meeting ended with the promise of a consultation with police and local councillors, although a date for this has yet to be set.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included concerns regarding a stalker at the Queen Vic School and a community group has been set up by concerned mothers to highlight this issue. Another local resident appealed for support with the work she is carrying out at the youth centre near Dormston School.