New Sedgley beauty spot sign ruined by vandals

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The vandalised sign on Turls Hill Bridleway

For centuries, the tranquil surroundings of Turls Hill Bridleway have provided pleasure for countless numbers of Sedgley residents. Recently, however, a new information sign put up along this idyllic thoroughfare has been ruined by vandals, angering local residents who fear the historic footpath is also attracting anti-social behaviour.

In 2009, The Woodsetton Charitable Trust secured funding of more than £90,000 to restore the bridleway to its former glory. The sign, the latest addition to a wide range of improvements along the historic path, was intended to inform visitors and local residents about the fascinating history of Turls Hill Bridleway, which it is believed dates back to the 17th century. Yet, less than a week after being installed, this useful source of information has been defaced with graffiti and has had its glass smashed.

Jacqui Prosser is one of many dog-walkers who regularly use the bridleway and was shocked at her recent discovery. She says: “The sign was only erected last week.  Imagine my shock and disgust when I walked my dogs up through the woods yesterday to find that it has been totally wrecked!

Shocked

“Some mindless idiots have smashed the glass and sprayed graffiti all over it – you can hardly read the map now as there’s black spray paint all over it. I’m not sure who was responsible for putting the sign up but, as a local resident who walks up through the wood most days, I thought it was a great idea – it’s nice for the locals and ‘tourists’ to learn a bit about the history of the area.

“I’m well aware that this part of Sedgley has more than its fair share of anti-social behaviour and on many occasions, while out walking my two dogs, I’ve come across gangs of youths up to no good.  But, I was truly shocked by this wanton vandalism.”

Jacqui has emailed Dudley Council about the damage, but is angry and saddened by what appears to be a senseless attack on a local beauty spot.

She adds: “It’s such a shame this has happened, as Turls Hill Bridleway is such a picturesque part of Sedgley.”

What are your views on Turls Hill Bridleway? Is anti-social behaviour in this area getting worse? Get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

Two men jailed for fatal Tipton Road smash

Two men have today been sent to prison for causing the death of two men in a collision in Sedgley last year.

Michael Allen aged 22 from Dudley was sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court to nine and a half years imprisonment and disqualified from driving for 12 years.

Simon Skidmore aged 25 from Sedgley was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and disqualified from driving for 10 years.

The pair were arrested after a collision on Tipton Road, near to the junction with Setton Drive, on 8 April 2011.

A Honda Civic car collided with traffic lights and a wall at around 10.15pm. Two passengers in the Honda, Tim Morris, aged 22, and Daniel Eales 24, both from Gornal, died shortly after the incident.

An 18-year-old woman, also travelling in the vehicle, suffered minor injuries.

Sedgley Residents Invited To Share Memories In The Jubilee Time Capsule

As the nation looks forward to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations from Saturday, June 2 until Tuesday, June 5, Sedgley residents are being invited to share their memories as part of the Jubilee Time Capsule (JTC), a unique project organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society.

As part of the initiative, people are invited to upload their pictures and memories from any day in the last 60 years. Although the capsule will contain high-profile events and images that helped shape history, the organisers of the project also want people to come forward with their personal stories too.

It is hoped the JTC will give a fascinating insight into the lives of people all across the globe during the Queen’s reign and provide an invaluable resource for future generations.

Sedgley residents can now become a part of history as they upload their own memorable events, such as birthdays, weddings, previous Jubilee street parties and many more.

Watch the video to find out how to participate, or visit the Jubilee Time Capsule website to read all about this groundbreaking project.

Townsend Avenue parking charges cause fury among residents and traders

The sign at the High Street entrance of Townsend Avenue car park

For more than 40 years, this large car park has been well used by shoppers in Sedgley and has been an invaluable asset to traders in the village.

But all that changed at the end of November last year, when free parking in Townsend Avenue, behind Monty’s Wine Bar, was abolished almost overnight and replaced with what many residents and traders see as extortionate parking charges.

A recent meeting of Sedgley Traders’ Association was attended by members of the public and traders, who were furious about the unexpected charges and deeply concerned about the impact they say this will have upon trading.

Many residents also brought along demands for payment of parking fines from Chorley-based car park management company, Parking Eye, which some say are extortionate and unexpected.

“Why should every business in Sedgley suffer as a result of this company’s greed?” asked local resident John Spragg, who regularly used to park his car in Townsend Avenue while he visited the village.

His views were echoed by Lee and Helen Seabridge, owners of Beacon Crafts, who say they have already seen a decline in trade as a result of the 60p per hour parking charge.

“Several of our customers are elderly,” said Helen, “and they don’t want to park too far away. This parking charge means they are less likely to come into Sedgley and visit our store, which is obviously bad news for us and many other local traders.”

Inconvenient

The surface of this pay and display car park is littered with pot-holes

As well as damaging trade, many local businesses say the new charges have also made coming to work inconvenient for them. Each premise is now only allocated one parking space, yet many of the businesses nearby employ more than one person.

“It’s made life difficult for all traders in Sedgley,” added Laura-Jayne Porter, a stylist at High Street hairdressers Verve 62, formerly known as Christopher’s. “To my knowledge, nobody was ever consulted about the charges – it all came as a complete surprise.”

Lease

So, which company is behind these charges and why have they suddenly come in effect?

David Caunt, who has been a councillor for Sedgley since 1970, explains: “It all dates back to 1967, when Dudley council was originally offered the lease for half the car park by the developers behind the shops on High Street.

“When the lease came up for renewal last year, the owners of the land (a joint venture between KUC Properties Limited and Birmingham-based Ciel Properties Limited), decided not to lease it again to the council, meaning it is now completely privately owned. Now, Dudley Council only owns the accesses into the car park – one on High Street and the other on Ettymore Road.”

As a result, Dudley Council says there is little that can be done about the situation, although Sedgley residents and traders have already stopped using the once full car park in favour of much cheaper, but less convenient, alternatives elsewhere in the village. Another point raised at the Traders’ Association meeting was that although people now have to pay to park there, the surface of Townsend Avenue car park is still littered with potentially damaging pot-holes.

What do you think about the parking charges in Townsend Avenue?

Have you found yourself having to pay a large parking fine as a result?

Get in touch with us – we’d love to hear your views.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teenager assaulted in mobile phone theft on Sedgley street

Sedgley police are urging people using their phones to be extra vigilant after this nasty incident

It may be the season of goodwill, but police are urging Sedgley residents to be extra vigilant after a 19-year-old man was attacked with a metal bar and threatened with a knife on a busy road last week.

Dudley CID is investigating the robbery, which took place on Wednesday, December 14 at  8:10pm, where the teenager was robbed of his mobile phone.

Detective Constable Louise Porter of Dudley CID says: “This was a particularly nasty robbery, whereby the victim was approached by an unknown offender who demanded he hand over his phone. He was then threatened with a knife. A second offender then struck the victim over the head with a metal bar, which caused left him with a head injury.”

The first offender is described as being a white man with a slim build and approximately 5’10” tall, he was aged between 19 and 21 years of age and had blonde hair. He was wearing a light grey hoodie with the hood up and dark coloured tracksuit bottoms and black trainers.

The second offender is described as also being a white man with a slim build and 6′ tall, he is between the ages of 16 and 20 years of age and was wearing a dark coat with a hoodie underneath, dark tracksuit bottoms and black woollen gloves.

DC Porter adds: “I am asking for people to come forward if they witnessed this nasty robbery take place.

“Dudley Road is a busy through road and at that time of night, I am sure there would have been passers-by that could have seen the incident happen or who saw two men running away from the scene”.

If you can help Dudley police with their enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Dudley CID on 0345 113 5000. If you would prefer to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Supermarket sweep for mysterious Mario Lanza artist

Following on from a visit to Sedgley’s Beacon Hotel earlier this year, it seems local legend AJW, renowned for leaving beermats in pubs featuring a drawing of 1950’s star Mario Lanza, has been getting hungry for more exposure.

Anthony Arnold, a regular reader of Sedgleyscene, was amazed to discover the mysterious artist’s latest calling card drawn on an empty box of chicken pies in the somewhat unglamorous surroundings of a local Morrison’s supermarket toilet.

He says: “On Monday, November 21, I found a drawing of Mari Lanza . It had been drawn on the back of one of those frozen chicken packages. It’s got the usual picture and signature AJW and the Facebook.com under the picture and a Yahoo address down the side. No message except ‘Super Mario!’ written on it. I found it on top of the thingy machine in the gents toilet at Morrison’s, Wednesbury. I thought he only did them on beer mats – don’t know if it’s the real thing or what.”

Could this be the latest calling card from the mysterious AJW?

Impressed by his discovery, Anthony took a picture, which is posted here. All the trademark signs are there – the line drawing of Mario Lanza, together with this anonymous artist’s Facebook page and email addresses. However, Tony is unsure as to whether this latest offering is the real deal and is appealing to Sedgleyscene readers to help.

The mysterious drawings, which have been appearing on beermats in pubs since the 1970s, have continued to baffle local residents.

No-one seems to know why each inscription by this phantom artist – who simply calls his or herself AJW – bears a dedication to Mario Lanza, a famous American tenor singer and actor who died in 1959.

This enduring mystery has led to a Facebook page being set up in this mysterious character’s honour which now has 172 members. It seems AJW also likes to get around, leaving calling cards in pubs and other public buildings across the Black Country and Birmingham – often with personal dedications to members of staff.

Some avid followers of AJW also believe there could be several artists at work – especially as the original phantom would now be more than 80 years old – but no-one has been able to confirm this.

Can you help Sedgleyscene and Anthony confirm this latest discovery? Get in touch with us at sedgleyscene@gmail.com We’d love to hear from you.

CLIC for Christmas at Clifton’s charity week

Staff and customers at the Clifton have been raising money throughout the year for children's cancer charity, CLIC Sargent

Magic, movies, comedy, grottos and fancy dress – there’s something for the whole family this Christmas at one of Sedgley’s most popular pubs.

And, as well as having fun, visitors to JD Wetherspoon pub, the Clifton, this festive season, will be raising vital funds for leading children’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent.

Suzanne Nickl, who is organising this year’s event, says: “Our previous efforts to raise money for CLIC Sargent have been a huge success, so we wanted to build on that and promote the excellent work carried out by this charity, while providing a great range of entertainment for customers of all ages. We want everyone to join in, have fun and help raise funds for a very worthy cause.”

The packed programme of events gets underway on Monday, December 19 at 2pm, when a children’s entertainer will put smiles on the faces of youngsters and their families.

This is followed at 7pm by a movie marathon, where customers can relax with their favourite food and drink while enjoying a great selection of films including some festive favourites.

Garden grotto

On Tuesday, December 20, from 2pm, youngsters can get into the festive spirit by making their own tree decorations, while at 5pm, the Clifton’s garden grotto will be unveiled, featuring a stall selling hot roasted chestnuts and jacket potatoes.

Wednesday, December 21, sees a packed programme of events beginning with a special Christmas party for youngsters at 2pm, where there will be tasty treats and party games aplenty.

This is followed at 6pm by an incredible display of trickery from Sedgley-based magician Colin Tighe, while at 8pm, budding comedians are invited to take the spotlight for the Clifton Christmas comedian open mic event. Anyone interested in entering can see a member of staff for details on how to apply.

Thursday, December 22, may be the shortest day on the calendar, but there’s still plenty of time for youngsters to make their own Christmas cards and post their letters to Santa from 2pm till 4pm.

As the big day draws near, Santa will be opening his grotto on Friday, December 23. At this event, which runs from 2pm until 4pm, youngsters will not only be able to meet the big man himself, they’ll also receive a gift for every donation to CLIC Sargent.

Pyjama party

From 7pm, it’s time for grown-ups to enter into the spirit of the season, with the Clifton’s Friday festive pyjama party. Despite encouraging everyone to arrive dressed in their nightwear, Suzanne and her team promise this will be anything but a sleepy occasion, with festive shots on offer for £1 and all monies raised going to CLIC. The first 10 people to arrive in fancy dress will also get a free jelly shot to help them get into the party mood.

On Saturday, December 24, grown-ups can enter into a little seasonal sauciness with the Clifton’s sexy Santa Saturday event. Customers are encouraged to come along and sparkle in their best party outfits, while enjoying festive shots for £1. As with the pyjama party, the first 10 people dressed up will receive a free jelly shot and all money raised will be going to CLIC Sargent.

Registered charity CLIC Sargent is dedicated to helping children with cancer and their families. Every day, 10 families are told their child has the disease and, as the UK’s leading children’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent is the only organisation to offer them all round care and support. Visit their website for more information.

Visit the Clifton’s Facebook page for more information on the pub’s forthcoming events. Suzanne has also set up a page, Christmas CLIC Week at the Clifton, dedicated to the fun-packed programme of events taking place in the run up to the big day.

Sedgley woman leads remembrance silence at Dudley Zoo

Senior keeper and Sedgley resident, Lesley Lewis, takes part in today's two-minute silence

A Sedgley woman joined fellow staff in observing the two-minute silence today, November 11, across the 40-acre site of Dudley Zoological Gardens.

Senior Keeper and proud Sedley resident, Lesley Lewis, led others in the poignant ceremony, which ties in with this Sunday’s Remembrance Day parade.

Peter Suddock, chief executive officer at the zoo says: “All employees, including keepers, gardeners, maintenance, catering and admin staff marked the silence out of respect for those servicemen and women who died for their country.
“It was particularly poignant for several members of staff whose family and friends have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.”
On Sunday, presenters will be muffling visitor announcements to avoid disruption of Dudley’s civic Remembrance Day parade.
Mr Suddock adds: “Our 11am announcements are quite detailed, so we will be making them early to ensure the sound doesn’t carry down the hill to the cenotaph during the wreath-laying ceremony.”
Visit the zoo’s new-look website for more information.

The Lines help local bands get on track at Wulfrun gig

Sedgley-based group, The Lines, are keen to support local talent

They’ve repeatedly sold out Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall and picked up rave reviews for their live performances across the world.

But recently, Sedgley-based four-piece, The Lines, demonstrated just how much they support local talent by inviting two of the region’s most promising up-and-coming bands to support them on their forthcoming hometown gig.

Wednesfield's The Limelight will be supporting The Lines when they play Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall in December

The group will be joined by Dudley’s Dakota Beats and Wednesfield boys The Limelight when they appear at the Wulfrun on Saturday, December 3 – a gig lead singer Alex Ohm is really looking forward to.

He says: “We are extremely pleased to announce that these superb local bands will be supporting us. Both groups are starting to build a big following in and around the Midlands and will fit the bill perfectly on the night.

“If any of you managed to catch our gig at the Wulfrun Hall last year, you may have seen The Limelight support us and put on a top notch show!”

Dudley-based band Dakota Beats

Tickets for the gig are already selling quickly, with half of the allocated tickets for the Wulfrun Hall already dispatched, so fans are advised to purchase theirs early to avoid disappointment.

Alex, lead guitarist Dean Bate, bassist Danny Pease and drummer Dave ‘Paddy’ O’Connor also have further cause for celebration, having been chosen to support Ocean Colour Scene again this Christmas after a storming set of gigs earlier this year.
Alex says:”We had an amazing time when we supported the band back in February and are honoured to have been asked back for this tour.”
Visit the band’s website or www.wolvescivic.co.uk to buy tickets for what promises to be one of the best local gigs of the year.

Baggeridge and broomsticks for Halloween hoots

Councillor Joan Williams and Baggeridge Country Park manager Steve Gallis with some of the 'magic' potions made on the day

Baggeridge Country Park was the venue for some ghastly Halloween potions and witches’ brews this week, when a group of young people braved the wind and rain to learn about the medicinal uses and folklore of herbs.

The event was one of a series of activities held at the park in Gospel End Road, Sedgley, during half term, which aim to get local people involved with nature and the stunning countryside available on their doorstep. Other activities included making broomsticks from scratch using the natural materials available in abundance.

Park manager, Steve Gallis, says: “It was great to find that, despite it being a wet and pretty miserable afternoon,  eight young people turned up for potions class. We looked at the ‘magical’ medical uses and folklore of wild herbs and brewed up some bubbling potions – nobody minded about the rain!

“The potions class involved the use of a variety of fun ‘ingredients’ such as badger dribble, slug bile, dragons blood and unicorn tears – all completely made up for effect with coloured water mixed with bicarbonate of soda which, when mixed with the ‘magic’ ingredient (vinegar), gives a very impressive bubbling potion.

“Before mixing our witches’ brews, we had a look at a range of plants and the folklore and medicinal uses. We looked at willow, the bark of which was used to cure headache – not surprising really, as it contains salicylic acid, which is basically Aspirin.

“Other plants, such as like Yew, are really quite poisonous, although this now has a modern medicinal use as the poison Taxine, which has been used as the basis for the cancer drug Taxol.

“The tree which is supposed to protect against poisoning is the oak – apparently  a concoction of its bark protects you against poison. There may be some truth in this, as it would contain a lot of tannin which would probably stop the stomach from absorbing anything – never mind poison!

“We also looked at mugwort, which was believed to protect against magic spells. Another nice little tale about this plant says that if you bury a piece of coal under the mugwort, leave it a month then dig it up by the light of the full moon and then place it under your pillow, then that night you will dream of the person you are going to marry!

“A lot of people know St John’s wort, as it is widely used as a natural anti- depressant and was known back in the 1600’s as a ‘cure for the melancholy’.

“It also has an interesting bit of folklore about helping women who have difficulty getting pregnant. The tale suggests dancing naked around the St John’s wort plant. I can’t remember whether it was supposed to be by moonlight or at dawn, but either way, you can see how it might be effective!”

Steve is a mine of information and this event was no doubt helped by his regular informative updates on the country park’s Facebook page, which has shown how social media can become and invaluable tool for engaging the local community.

Since setting up the page earlier this year, Steve has seen increased interest in Baggeridge and its stunning landscape, which is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

Subscribers regularly upload photos of the park in all its glory, revealing the

He says: “Some people don’t realise they’ve got all this wonderful nature on their doorstep. The Facebook page is a great way of publicising it and getting them involved.”

Formally the Baggeridge Colliery and part of the original Himley Estate of the Earls of Dudley, the site has now been transformed into 150 acres of attractive country park.

Baggeridge has numerous facilities for outdoor pursuits including the exciting new Aerial Ropes course. The quality of the park and its range of events has resulted in Baggeridge winning a national Green Flag award for the 13th year in a row.
Visit http://www.sstaffs.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=12695 to learn more about Baggeridge Country Park.