J HOWELL &
FUNERAL DIRECTORS LICHFIELD
LICHFIELD’S LONGEST ESTABLISHED INDEPENDENT,
FAMILY RUN FUNERAL DIRECTORS.
SECOND GENERATION BUSINESS HERE TO ASSIST YOU
AND YOUR FAMILY.
24 hours a day
We are proud to be Lichfield's longest established family run funeral directors offering a wide range of
choices to suit all requirements. Horse drawn hearse, non religious ceremonies, floral tributes and
memorials are but a few of the services we offer.
Pre-paid funeral plans are also available.
For a truly personal service please call
Private Chapel of Rest 116 Netherstowe,
Lichfield, Staffs. WS13 6TS
Welcome to CITYLIFE in Rugeley & Cannock Chase, a
monthly magazine bringing you our pick of the area’s news,
events and stories. Each month CITYLIFE in Rugeley &
Cannock Chase is delivered to 11,000 businesses and
homes in Rugeley, Cannock Chase, Heath Hayes,
Ravenhill, Etchinghill, Slitting Mill, Armitage,
Handsacre, Colton, Hamstall Ridware, completely
free of charge; bringing you the best that the area has
Each issue features heritage stories exploring the rich
history of our area, plus competitions, interviews and the
latest in fashion and style.
Got a story or charity event you want to share with our
readership? Think you’ve snapped an image that captures
the spirit of the region? We want to hear from you!
Editor - Kristen Lackajis 07885 380632
Features - Jono Oates 07785 757201 email@example.com
Steve Brown 07740 166497 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Hill 07970 513144 email@example.com
7 Citylife's Cutest Pet
Send in your pet pics and we'll pick our
10 Ha-has & Murder!
Jono Oates looks at the history of Ingestre Hall
12 Tastes of the Season
Sweet Treats from chef Simon Smith
20 Beneath the Surface
Blithfield Reservoir uncovered with Kate Gomez
31 The Origin of Batesway
By The Landor Society
Production - Helen Smith 07967 154187
Citylife In Lichfield Ltd
PO Box 7126 LICHFIELD WS14 4JS
CITYLIFE in Lichfield and CITYLIFE in Rugeley magazines
are not connected to any other publication or publisher, and are
wholly owned by CITYLIFE in Lichfield Ltd.
Citylife In Lichfield
Citylife in Lichfield Ltd does not endorse any business or organisation
appearing in these pages, and the publication of any advertisement,
editorial, event listing or advertising editorial does not constitute an
endorsement by Citylife in Lichfield Ltd.
Your Local Magazine
My Month in
By Amanda Milling MP
Over the past two months
we’ve all had to make huge
changes to our everyday lives.
We’ve been working from
home, practicing social
distancing, only going out for
exercise or trips to the
supermarket and some of you
have been teaching from the kitchen table.
I want to thank all of you for the huge changes you’ve
made because it’s these efforts that have helped protect
our NHS and save lives.
Despite us being apart, our community has
continued to thrive. An army of volunteers and
community groups continue to get vital supplies to the
vulnerable. Each Thursday our clapping for all the NHS
and health care heroes echoes louder and louder from
streets across Cannock Chase and Rugeley. We even
marked the 75th anniversary of VE day by flying flags
from our homes to remember the courage and sacrifice
of men and women in the Second World War.
We recognise how tough it has been on you and that
is why the Prime Minister has made changes to allow
you, while following social distancing, to meet up with
one person provided you remain 2m apart, exercise
more, play sports with members of your own
household, sit in the sun in the local park and drive to
These are welcome changes, but we must proceed
with caution, we’ve come a long way in the fight against
the virus and we can’t stop now.
Everyone has a role to play in continuing to control
the virus by staying alert and following the rules. You can
return to work if it’s not possible for you to work from
home, if not we must stay at home as much as possible
and work from home if we can, limit contact with
others, keep our distance when we go out, wash our
hands and self-isolate if we or if someone in our
household has symptoms.
By doing this we can keep the rate of infection and
the number of new cases down.
If we stay alert and follow the rules, in the coming
weeks, we will slowly be able to start getting life back
on track. If we do that now, some aspects of our lives
could start heading back to normal with schools and
shops beginning to return to normal in the months
I will continue working with the NHS Trust, Police,
Staffordshire County Council and Cannock Chase
District Council to ensure that new changes are
implemented and any issues that arise are tackled.
We can control the virus if we all stay alert. As always,
if you need to contact me for help with any issues or
concerns please do get in touch on
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
The Hive's Charity
Throw back to a pre-lockdown training hike, where
friends Jessica Davanzo, Sean Bird, Michelle
Haycox, Kelly Weatherer, Pat Cannon, Phil Grigg
were building up to the big day! Photo thanks to
Katy Buxton of Dark Light Photography.
The Hive is a friendly, informal networking
group created by local business owners in the
Rugeley area and is as much about building
community as it is about gaining business.
Attendees enjoy the relaxed, welcoming vibe to
events and have been delighted at the growing
number of collaborations taking place. Friends
through the group planned a 20 Mile Charity
Hike on Cannock Chase in support of the
Midlands Air Ambulance Charity on May 23rd
and aim to raise £2,500 enough to fund a single
life saving mission. This trek is sure to prove a
challenge for participants, but all it will be worth
the reward for such a noble cause. Amongst
those taking on the challenge are participants
have never been hiking, others over coming
serious accidents and illnesses and at least one
who cannot read a map! Though lockdown
means a postponement of this trek, the group
are still pushing to raise crucial funds for the
charity and are currently holding bi-weekly
meetings virtually through Zoom. For further
details on the Hive or how to donate, please
check out www.thehive-rugeley.uk.
Sign Up for 30 Days
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust are encouraging
people to sign up for a month-long challenge to
go wild during June.
There are just a few weeks left to sign up for
this year’s annual 30 Days Wild challenge, which
takes place during the whole of June.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is inviting individuals,
groups and families to take part in this year’s 30
Days Wild campaign.
Last year, over 2,000 people from the county
signed up to take part in 30 Days Wild and
people can now sign up for their free pack of
ideas by visiting www.staffswildlife.org.uk/30DaysWild
Now in its sixth year, 30 Days Wild encourages
everyone to enjoy nature in our gardens
through daily Random Acts of Wildness;
listening to bird song, gazing at butterflies,
growing borage for bees and much more.
Evidence shows that taking part can also make
us happier and healthier.
This year’s challenge will be based around what
people can do in their homes, gardens and
during their daily walk in their neighbourhoods
to comply with Government guidance on the
Research from the University of Derby has
shown that spending time in nature is good for
you, for fitness, mental health and wellbeing.
Jon Owen, Press and Social Media, said: “30 Days
Wild is a much-loved challenge and it’s set to be
an exciting month for everyone taking part.
“Last year, we were delighted 2,000 people
signed up to take part and we want that figure
to be even higher this year.
“The coronavirus pandemic means we’re having
to rethink how we ask people to take part in
this year’s 30 Days Wild, but there’s dozens of
activities to do in homes, gardens and during a
“We are all in need of something to focus on
and to engage with nature as much as we can
during this time, and 30 Days Wild gives us the
opportunity to do just that.”
To find out more and to sign up for your free
pack, visit www.staffswildlife.org.uk/30DaysWild.
Running to Support
Selfies from the runners
On Sunday 19th April, more than 90 runners
from Chasewater Running Club took part in an
Ultra Marathon relay, around their local streets
and gardens, in aid of the charity 'Our Blue
Light'. The virtual baton was passed by each
runner who posted a selfie after completing
their leg of the relay.
Adhering to government guidelines and
restrictions, each runner ran for 15 minutes,
along a route that was close to home, or even
laps of their garden.
The relay took place between 07.30am and
8pm, with many of the 15 minute slots being
occupied by two or even three runners, who
each took part from their homes.
In just over 12 hours, the runners covered
128.5 miles, equivalent to almost five full
marathons. In total, the virtual relay raised an
incredible £1,815 for the charity, which
supports the mental health and well-being of
emergency service and essential workers.
Local Lad Runs
Instead of the dreaded end of Primary School
tests, a local Rugeley lad had his mind, and legs,
set on raising funds for the NHS.
Eleven-year-old Otto Homer, decided to help
raise funds to help the NHS during the current
Covid-19 pandemic. He set up a make-shift
donation box outside his house which filled up
rapidly with donations from residents of his
Etchinghill street and passers-by.
On Saturday 9th May Otto, who attends
Lichfield Cathedral School, ran up and down his
street for one hour, non-stop, cheered on by his
family and neighbours, raising more than £250!
Every year, pupils from Lichfield Cathedral
School in Years 5 and 6, as part of the school's
Ethical Leadership Programme, are encouraged
to develop a social responsibility where acts of
kindness are an everyday normality. This year
pupils were challenged to come up with their
own unique ways of raising funds.
From doing jobs round the house, to
sponsored events and bake sales! To find out
more and donate, please visit
ay. All money goes directly to the NHS
of the month
Think your dog is adorable or your cat is
the cutest? Does your rabbit have real
character or your hamster have model
looks? We’re looking for the Citylife’s Cutest
Pet of the month, and we want to see your
pictures of your dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters,
pigs, horses, snakes – anything goes!
Every month we’ll pick our
selection of the cutest pets and
we’ll show them here in Citylife
on VE Day
Asmall ceremony, in accordance with the
Government’s social distancing guidelines, took
place at Rugeley cenotaph at 11am on Friday 8th May
2020 to remember the fallen on VE Day.
To get the ball rolling, here are
our pets at Citylife magazines –
Stan the Border Terrier and Tui the
New Zealand Huntaway, Border
Send your pet pics to
with your name and the
name of your pet.
Chase, the group
which runs Chase
Leisure Centre and
Centre, has built a
new website called
Home Health Hub,
and videos to help
people stay healthy at home during lockdown.
The site features exercises, as well as games and
challenges to do with kids, plus food and weight
Visit the site at https://homehealthhub.org/.
The Inspired Group is also running an online
survey until Sunday 17th May in order to to
gauge pre-lockdown, during and post-lockdown
participation in fitness.
The information provided will help Inspired
understand if the temporary closure has
changed people’s attitude and participation in
sport exercise and fitness activities. All
responses are anonymous.
Take part here:
Council Supports Local
Rugeley Town Council donated £5,000 to local
secondary school, The Hart School, to help
manufacture face shields - a key element of PPE
in the fight against COVID-19.
Impressed by the staff’s initiative, Town
Councillors agreed to contribute a donation of
council funds to the school
All Care Homes, GP surgeries and district
Nurses in Rugeley have been provided with the
face shields. Rugeley residents working at
Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital, Good Hope,
Walsall Manor, New Cross Hospital, Stoke
Royal and County and others have also received
face Shields, and staff in local business are
among the recipients of these important pieces
The school continue to receive requests for
PPE and currently has a target to produce
25,000 shields. Part of the donation will support
the school in taking the product into industry
for mass production.
Kindness on a
The fallout of the
situation has struck
some people bitterly
hard - leaving them in
dire straits. However,
Brereton Million, led
by support worker, Sue
productive team who conduct acts of kindness
for their neighbours on a daily basis.
The results of their neighbourly door-to-door
check up on residents to offer helps and
support found older residents stuck at home
with empty cupboards and unaware that help
was available; families whose free school meal
vouchers hadn’t arrived and didn’t know how to
get them; parents whose jobs or businesses no
longer provided for basic family needs; and
young families stuck indoors with anxiety and
mental health problems arising.
Brereton Million has left food parcels on
doorsteps, distributed crafting packs, and
collated mental health resources, amongst
Brereton Million’s well-established
comprehensive website has a new COVID-19
dedicated page with useful information, guides,
advice and forms to apply for assistance or
for further details.
VE Day in Rugeley
Lots of families dressed up their houses, and
themselves, to celebrate VE Day 75 on 8 May.
The Kettle Family, including Landor Society
secretary Marion Kettle, were dressed for the
occasion, and Jane Bond sang a selection of
wartime classics to keep the whole street
serving parks and
open spaces and
Council will be
r e - o p e n i n g
course of Thursday 14th May.
This follows the latest Government guidance
that the public can now travel to sites and take
unlimited exercise, as long as they follow social
During Thursday 14th May the Council reopened
its car parks, which either serve or are
close to its main parks, open spaces and tennis
Car parks at Cannock Park, Hednesford Park,
Heath Hayes Park, Ravenhill Park, Elmore Park,
The Stadium and Castle Ring and tennis courts
at Hednesford Park, Cannock Park and Heath
Hayes Park will re-open through the course of
Councillor Christine Mitchell, Portfolio Leader
for Culture and Sport said “We would ask that
residents use the facilities in the District
responsibly and follow government guidance on
social distancing and to stay alert at all times.
Residents should also be mindful that toilets,
cafes, play areas and outdoor gyms will remain
The car park at Mill Green Nature Reserve is
currently being used by the contractor who is
undertaking works for the new designer outlet
village and will remain closed until all works
have been completed.
Currently the Golf Course at Cannock Park
will remain closed until appropriate safety and
operating arrangements can be put in place. We
are working with our partner, Inspiring healthy
lifestyles, and providing appropriate social
distancing, safety and booking arrangements can
be put in place; it is planned that the golf course
will re-open on a limited basis from Saturday
23rd May. This will enable IHL to test the new
social distancing rules and booking systems
before the course opens fully.
Further updates available at
By Jono Oates
Situated about four miles from Stafford, Ingestre
Hall has a history dating back to the 12th century
and it was the ancestral home of two of the most
powerful Staffordshire families, the Chetwynds and
The land was part of the Baronry of Stafford which
was granted by William the Conqueror to Robert de
Stafford. In the 12th century, at the time of King
Henry II, the manor belonged to Ivo de Mutton, and
when Isabel de Mutton married Sir Philip Chetwynd
in the 13th century, the estate became home to the
‘happened’ to pass by the scene, claiming to be on a
deer hunting expedition, despite the fact that deer
had not been spotted in the area for years. Although
it was clear that Stanley had been responsible for the
murder of his rival, he was never brought to trial or
Sir Walter Chetwynd arranged for the original hall
to be built in 1613 in the Jacobean style. Walter’s
grandson (also Walter) was a noted 17th century
antiquarian and, under his ownership during the
1670s, a church was built alongside the hall, which was
reputedly designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
In 1549 a feud erupted between Sir William
Chetwynd and Sir Humphrey Stanley, the Sheriff of
Stafford, who were both royal courtiers. Sir
Humphrey was jealous of William’s standing at Court
and set a trap to eliminate his rival. He lured William
out of Ingestre with a forged letter, asking him to
attend a meeting early one morning at Stafford. On
the way to Stafford, with just his son and two servants
to accompany him, Sir William’s party was set upon at
Tixall Heath by twenty heavily-armed men and Sir
William was killed. It was said that Sir Humphrey then
In 1748 Catherine Chetwynd married the
Honourable John Talbot, a British judge, who inherited
the estate though his wife, becoming John Chetwynd-
Talbot. The famous landscaper, Lancelot ‘Capability’
Brown laid out the plans for the formal grounds, and
gardens in 1756, including his signature piece, a ha-ha.
During the 1830s an Orangery was built close to
the hall. It was originally believed to have been
designed by the architect brothers James and Samuel
Wyatt, but is now believed to have been taken from
the Wyatt’s plans of the Orangery at
Blithfield Hall, which had been copied by
Henry Ward, a Stafford planning officer.
In 1856 the 3rd Earl Talbot, Henry
Chetwynd-Talbot, became the 18th Earl of
Shrewsbury, after a lengthy inheritance
battle in the House of Lords.
The original hall was more or less
destroyed in 1882 when a fire swept
through it, many valuable paintings and
antiques were lost, and the hall was then
rebuilt, in the same Jacobean style as the
The 21st Earl of Shrewsbury sold the
estate in 1959 and it is now a combination
of business ventures. Part of the hall is
owned by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough
Council who run a Residential Arts Centre
and the Orangery is an event venue.
*Please note that Ingestre Hall and the
Orangery are both currently closed during
the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tastes of the Season
By Simon Smith
Well here we are still in lockdown and the
world is baking. Even with a catering business
I’m still struggling to get flour and light
muscavado sugar which makes life difficult. We
are having to learn to adapt as in the war
years but sometimes that can give us better
skills and a chance to experiment. The setback
is that baking is more of a science than
savoury cookery which is much more forgiving
as far as quantities, ingredients and
temperatures are concerned.
As most children are still currently at home,
I’m giving a couple of easy recipes that the
children can join in with and develop their
skills in the kitchen.
100gms macadamia nuts
50gms pecan nuts
1 x pack filo pastry
Melt the butter either in a microwave or a pan.
Take a sheet of filo, lay it on a baking sheet and
brush with the butter. Lay another on the top
and brush again. Repeat until you have 5
Chop the nuts or whizz in a food processor
but only until chopped not blitzed. Mix with
the honey and
cinnamon. Put this
mix onto the filo
pastry and roll like
a sausage roll.
Bake in a
preheated oven at
180 for 15
minutes or until
the pastry is
golden. When cold slice and serve. For a bit of
added luxury I serve with mascarpone and
Jam Roly Poly
This is a long time favourite and one I had to
make for a dinner in the trenches at
Whittington for the officer’s mess.
200gms self-raising flour
100gms shredded suet
1tbsp caster sugar
7tbsp raspberry jam
Mix the flour, suet and salt together in a bowl.
Add the milk and knead together. Put on a
floured surface and gently knead for a further
3 minutes. Roll into a rectangle and put onto
some baking parchment on a baking tray.
Spread with the jam and roll up like a Swiss
roll. Turn so the joint seam is at the bottom to
hold it together. Bake in a preheated oven at
180 for 35 minutes. Serve with custard.
Simon Smith runs a catering business from his
production kitchen in Lichfield, providing bespoke
private dinners plus wedding, corporate and event
catering. Simon also undertakes cookery
demonstrations around the country and with local
businesses such as Arthur Price and Tippers. During
the summer months Simon works for private clients
both on superyachts and in villas in St Tropez and
Europe. If you are looking for catering or a day of
cookery skills go to www.simonsmith-chef.com
*Please take extra care when preparing and
handling hot foodstuffs. Go to www.food.gov.uk for
I am now delivering grazing platters consisting of 10 different
tapas style items at £15 per head, payable via contactless card
To see the full menu, look at my Facebook page (Simon Smith
Chef) or email me at email@example.com.
In the meantime stay safe.
A Green Sweep
Friendly and dedicated is our ultimate cleaning mantra. From domestic to
commercial cleaning, at Green Sweep we only use natural products and
provide a highly-trained, fully-vetted team, armed with that “can do”
By Jill Hayward
During lockdown, many of you will be
home-schooling your children (challenging in
itself!) but what do you do when faced with
the question: “What can I make?”
Using just a few stock craft items that you
may have lurking in a cupboard, you can keep
your little ones entertained for hours!
Follow our step by step instructions to
make something easy and fun using only
things you might find around the house and
items usually included in store bought craft
kits. You may need a bottle of PVA craft glue
for securing ends and fixing.
Ring-a-Rosie Window Hanger
You will need:
• Plain paper, card or a cereal box
• Paper clips, sticky tape or glue
• String or wool
• Pens, pencils or crayons for colouring
• Pom poms or foam shapes for decoration
On plain paper draw around a plate and cut
out the circle. Fold in half, then into quarters
and then again, one more time, until it looks
like a slice of pizza. Now using a pencil draw a
simple outline of a figure, make sure they are
linked at the hands but not at the feet.
Carefully cut around the shapes (this is a bit
fiddly so probably needs a grown up to do
this), then gently unfold until you have a chain
of people in a circle. Decorate by drawing on
faces and clothes. Put to one side.
Take a strip of card (I have used the inside
of a cereal box). Cut the strip so that it is of
slightly greater depth than the dolls (I have
had to join two together to give a long
enough piece). Decorate by colouring the top
half blue and the bottom green, don’t worry
about being too careful. Use foam shapes or
sequins to make trees and flowers.
Carefully make a tube of the card and insert
it into the ring, gradually opening it until it fits.
Trim off the excess and fix the tube together
(don’t worry if you break the ring you can
always glue them back together and no one
will know). Use paper clips to hold it while
the glue dries. Fix the dolls to the background
with dabs of glue.
Place three paper clips on the top edge of
the card, knot a piece of string to each clip
and bring them to the middle. Thread the
strings through a bead or two and adjust so
that the whole piece hangs straight. Tie the
pieces of string to secure them and use them
to suspend your Ring-a-Rosie hanger. Give it a
spin and watch your little people dance
around the ring!
Jill Hayward is an artist and illustrator. For
more information on her work go to her
Facebook page Jilly Ink Illustrations.
*Please remember that small beads can
form a hazard to very small children, so this
activity is not recommended for children
under three and close supervision is
recommended during the entire task. Please
take extra care when using scissors. Craft
activity is undertaken at your own risk.
Win our Rainbow Pendant
whilst raising money for the NHS
*Nominate your NHS Hero or Keyworker*
Here at Allen Brown
Jewellery we are really
grateful for people who
work for the NHS and
keyworkers during this difficult
time. We would like to give our
thanks to those who are
providing vital services and
therefore are giving NHS and
keyworkers the opportunity to
win our Rainbow Pendant. Designed and made in our onsite
workshop, it is an 18ct white gold sapphire pendant. Set with
1.44ct of red, orange, yellow, green and blue sapphires.
We are asking you to nominate your NHS Hero or keyworker.
You can do this via our social media pages either on Facebook or
instagram by tagging in your nominee to our charity post along
with a reason why they deserve to win. You can also email us
firstname.lastname@example.org with your nomination.
When you nominate if you would like to donate to our
fundraising page we are raising money for NHS Charities Together.
This national campaign, endorsed by NHS England, acknowledges
and supports all NHS staff and volunteers who are looking after
those affected by coronavirus. It would be really appreciated to
help show our support for this worthwhile cause.
Visit our JustGiving page to donate
The winner will be chosen at random from all people who
have been nominated on Monday 1st June 2020.
Many thanks and stay safe
The Allen Brown Jewellery Team
Whilst the gallery is closed, Allen will be using this time to
work on new designs for the gallery. For enquiries on any
current orders, or information on new commissions/remodelling
or repairs please call us on 01543 481 948
We also have a new online shop where some of our
pieces can be purchased. Visit our online shop via
Rooms with a View
Office garden rooms – are they set to become the new norm?
Merging nature and the workplace has been hailed in recent years for
maximising productivity and boosting workers’ mental health.
So much so, that bringing the outside indoors into large office spaces is a
tactic that has been used effectively by huge brands such as Amazon, Microsoft
Now, this alternative way of working has crept out of normal workplace
settings and is on the rise after being deployed in gardens around the country
Garden rooms are now being increasingly used by remote and flexible
workers to slash commuting costs and improve work-life balance by moving
workspaces out of domestic environments and into natural outdoor oases
Garden rooms are helping launch self-employed ventures
They’re also proving a huge hit with the self-employed, who are using them
to launch independent ventures, ranging from salami-making to glass blowing,
have the potential to boost property values, and have also started to feature
on property shows like Location, Location, Location.
The current pandemic has also demonstrated how easy it is for employees
to work from home, and how quickly it could become an unforeseen necessity
in the future for extended periods of time.
In fact, some lockdown surveys are even going so far as to suggest that huge
numbers of people are hoping they’ll be able to work from home more in the
So, could garden rooms become the new norm? Is it something on your wish
If so, Roundpeg Outdoor Buildings, a new local business, could make your
dream for a better work-life balance, less travelling time and reduced financial
outlay, a reality – and swiftly.
New Roundpeg venture creates bespoke buildings for outdoor offices
It was after 30 years working in the industry, that two friends Sallyann Smith,
54, and Adam Timmis, of Rugeley, made the brave leap to go it alone and set up
Roundpeg, an independent manufacturer of garden buildings, with the goal of
creating a more bespoke, personal offer.
It’s a perfect working relationship with Sally focused on customer services
while Adam is hands-on creating buildings to meet customers’ bespoke
While the UK went into lockdown just a few weeks after its launch, the firm
has still been receiving orders for garden buildings and has been able to fulfil
them following social distancing rules.
And it may soon be able to expand. So, why do they think outdoor garden
buildings are becoming so popular? And do think their popularity will continue
Helping redress the work-life
Director Adam, aged 36, who
boasts 15 years of experience in his field, said: “Garden offices have become
increasingly more fashionable in recent years as a new, alternative, better way
of working, as people try to redress their work-life balance.
“The benefits of getting back to nature have been extensively documented
with proximity to natural light, natural views and better air quality all helping
improve mental health and well-being as well as productivity.
“Multi-national companies have seen the benefit of creating botanical spaces
for employees and it’s perfect for the self-employed to keep costs down and
profits up too.
“With a garden room there’s no need to worry about converting a room of
your home, or spending hours in traffic or racing to get onto public transport
to get to and from jobs.”
The father-of-two added: “Life is fast-paced and busy. To make the hard work
worthwhile I think we all appreciate, now more than ever, the importance of
spending quality time with family and friends.
“So, what better than at the end of the working day to just close your garden
office behind you and take that short walk into the house to relax with those
we care for.”
Garden rooms are more than just offices – some are gyms and bars
In fact, Adam’s wife Donna is just one of the many people to launch a new
business, Metamorphosis Nail and Beauty salon, from a garden room after 10
years of working in a salon in Armitage.
Other customers, from across the West Midlands, including Rugeley,
Birmingham, Burton, Uttoxeter, and further afield, have created hobby rooms,
bars and gyms in their garden rooms to enjoy more of what they love without
leaving their homes.
Fellow director, mother-of-two Sallyann revealed that while lockdown had
made the launch harder, expansion could be on the cards if business growth
continues, including creating new local jobs.
She said: “We’re now getting more and more orders and are starting to think
about looking for staff.”
Roundpeg Outdoor Buildings’ manufacturing base is in Fauld, near Barton-
Under-Needwood, just a 15 minute drive from Lichfield. It offers high-quality,
as well as eco-friendly, bespoke garden rooms, as well as standard sized timber
outbuildings and sheds too.
For more visit: www.roundpegoutdoorbuildings.co.uk, find them on
Facebook, Instagram, call 07377 633735 or email
Rugeley & District Lions Club
By Peter Fielding
We continue to look at ways in which we can help the
community during these trying times.
production of Face Masks for local surgeries, Care Homes and
Our presentation of Mary Queen of Scots had to be postponed
and will now hopefully be held on 27th October. Those who
have already bought tickets can use them for the changed date.
Anyone who cannot attend the amended date can return their
tickets to Instaprint for a full refund.
The Fashion Show and Proms Night have been postponed and
new dates will be arranged as soon as possible.
In the meantime we have been looking to see how we can
support local organisations helping the Community. Substantial
donations have been made to Stafford Women’s Aid and
Pathway Project who deal with domestic abuse in our area,
having seen incidents rise during the lockdown. A donation was
also made to the Rugeley Foodbank.
We were lucky to be able to obtain a grant of £1000 from Lions
International Foundation to help The Hart School in their
Finally we heard of a local group working to provide scrubs for
local NHS called ‘Scrubs for Stoke’ and we have been pleased
to provide material direct to the Rugeley group headed by Coordinator
Karen Shepherd to ensure that nurses living in
Rugeley and Doctors’ Surgeries in the area have received
Scrubs immediately. In addition, Scrubs have been made to be
divided between Stafford and North Staffs Hospitals.
Members have also been producing scrub bags for local
hospitals and one member is busy sewing scrubs.
If you have any questions or want more details about Rugeley
& District Lions Club please contact us on e-mail
email@example.com or via Facebook.
In the meantime we hope that you will all stay at home and
Boats on Blithfield Reservoir
Aerial view of Blithfield Sailing Club
The History of Blithfield Sailing Club
This year, Blithfield Sailing Club
celebrates its 50th
Anniversary of sailing on
Blithfield Reservoir, near Rugeley.
Commodore Anthony Kurcaba tells
us more about the club and its
Blithfield Sailing Club is one of
several users of Blithfield Reservoir, a
beautiful 790-acre manmade lake set in
the rolling hills of Blithe Valley,
between Rugeley and Abbots Bromley.
The other users being Blithfield
Anglers, Staffordshire’s premier trout
fishery, West Midlands Bird Club and
there are also Permissive Walks
around part of the northern area of
the lake. The Reservoir is divided into
roughly two equal areas separated by
the causeway road bridge and B5013
which runs along it from Rugeley to
The origins of Blithfield Sailing Club
can be traced back to a meeting in
Rugeley public house on Wednesday,
15th February 1967. This meeting had
been called to form a group to
negotiate for permission to sail at
Blithfield. From this meeting the
Mercian Yacht Club, forerunner to
Blithfield Sailing Club, was formed and
following lengthy negotiations,
approval in principle was received in
March 1969. Further meetings to
complete the details were held and on
24th September 1969, Blithfield Sailing
Club was formally constituted, with
Cal Hall serving as its first
Commodore. Then the lengthy
procedures of applying for grant aid,
preparing plans for the Clubhouse,
raising money from prospective
members until finally all the hopes
were realised with the building and
equipping of the Clubhouse. The
building commenced on 31st March
1971 and was handed over to the Club
on 1st January 1972. Boats actually
took to the water for the first time on
4th March 1972 and the official
opening was on Saturday 20th May
1972 by the late Julian Ward Snow,
Lord Burntwood, former MP of
Lichfield and Tamworth. Organised
racing commenced with the autumn
The original classes of boats in 1972
were Fireball, GP 14, Merlin Rocket,
and OK. Today, the main classes are
Merlin Rocket and Laser followed by
RS 200/400, Osprey, Phantom, Solo
and Supernova, and for those who do
not want to get their feet wet, the
In April 1996, the Club became a
Royal Yachting Association (RYA)
recognised training establishment.
Today the training section, under its
Principal of Training Tim Male, and his
team of RYA qualified instructors,
teaches approximately 20-25 local
juniors per year, from the ages of 7 to
17 throughout the spring and summer
months and also organises Beginners
and Improvers Adult sailing courses in
the spring and autumn, which are
available to both members and also
non-members. The club has an
extensive range of training and club
boats which new members can hire at
minimal cost to hone their new skills,
whilst contemplating a suitable boat to
purchase for themselves.
On 24th May 2000, Sport England
awarded the Club a grant from the
Lottery Development Fund to extend
the existing Clubhouse facilities to the
superb facilities available for members
Junior members participating in RYA training course
Clubhouse wet area and bar
today. These comprise large changing
rooms, a wet area for sailors, a
separate dry area for spectators and
visitors with an outside veranda and a
superbly equipped kitchen/galley with
licenced bar (5) (6) serving hot & cold
beverages and food and are used for
all its training courses, sailing racing
open events and social events.
On the sailing side Blithfield has
hosted many Midlands area
championships for numerous dinghy
sailing classes over the years, primarily
due to its superb expanse of open
water and good winds and the
preponderance of a pool of top
sailors. One of its recent notable
sailing successes has been one of its
youngest sailors, Lydia Barber who
succeeded in winning the prestigious
RYA Regional Youth sailing award in
2019, aged only 17. Lydia received her
award from double Olympic medallist
and RYA Director of Racing, Ian
Walker, at the RYA Dinghy Show in
London in March 2019.
During the winter months when a
lot of clubs close down due to the
inclement weather, Blithfield hosts the
Blithfield Barrel, the premier winter
sailing series, a gruelling eight race
allcomers handicap event spaced over
four months from November to
February. Originally devised in 1985 by
the then Commodore Allan Cooper,
by the proclamation of a challenge, in
the form of a medieval scroll sent to
all Midland clubs to send their best
boats and knights to a historic jousting
challenge on the waters of Blithfield
Reservoir against Blithfields best
sailors, which was answered in similar
style. The event now sees competitors
from all over the country and the
2012/13 season saw a record number
of entries, with 97 boats registering
for the challenge to win the coveted
Barrel. Rumour has it that the first
Barrel event did actually present the
proud winners with a Barrel of locally
brewed beer, but no one at the club
can actually substantiate this fact!
Blithfield is a Community Amateur
Sports Club, a not for profit
organisation run entirely by its
volunteer members for the benefit of
its membership in the pursuit of sailing
and windsurfing. The club is open for
membership to the whole community
from all walks of life and without any
discrimination. Membership is
available from the ages of 7 to 107, for
family, single, cadet, junior/youth and
also non sailing house members, who
simply want to enjoy the atmosphere
and the beautiful surroundings. For
those who do not want to get their
feet wet, the club runs a radio
controlled model yacht sailing/racing
section based on DragonForce 65cm
Blithfield is open all year round on
selected days during the week and its
members are a hardy lot and do not
neglect any opportunity to sail no
matter what the weather, even with
icebergs in the water but sometimes
old Jack Frost does have the last word
as in the great freeze of 2010.
*The Blithfield Sailing Club emblem
on its flag, the "Bagot Goat" is used by
kind permission of the late Nancy
**Extracts about the history of
Blithfield Reservoir are used with kind
permission from South Staffordshire
Winner of RYA Regional Youth Sailing
award 2019, Lydia Barber
Blithfield Reservoir was opened by the
Queen Mother in October 1953. Work
had commenced in 1947 after being
delayed by the Second World War and in the
six years it took to complete, almost 500
people were employed in its construction.
Around one third of the labour force came
from a unit of the Polish Re-Settlement Corp
who were based at a nearby camp. Others
lived on-site and each day buses would arrive
with labourers from Rugeley, Lichfield and the
The reservoir was created by damming the
River Blithe and forcing the water into the
adjacent valley, flooding around 790 acres of
farmland. Trees, walls and other structures
were submerged including Kitty Fisher’s
Bridge which, according to local folklore,
takes its name from a local woman who met
with a tragic end. During periods of drought,
such as the summer of 1976 when the
reservoir was only 37% full, the water level is
sometimes low enough to reveal surviving
tree stumps and stonework, including the
foundations of Blithfield Mill.
The South Staffordshire Waterworks
Company, as it was previously known,
purchased the majority of the land for the
reservoir from the Bagot family, along with
their ancestral home Blithfield Hall which had
fallen into disrepair. The hall, dating back to
the 14th century, was later bought back by
the 6th Baron, Caryl Bagot, who renovated it
along with his wife Nancy. In 1961, Lady Bagot
was able to buy the freehold from the family
trust, to ensure that she could continue to
restore Blithfield, even after her husband had
died, something she continued to do until her
own death in February 2014. The hall and the
Bagot family have a long standing connection
with the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance and
each year, it is performed on the lawn in front
of the house.
Alongside the hall is the church of St
Leonard which was originally constructed in
the 13th century and contains the tombs and
monuments of several members of the Bagot
By Kate Gomez
Horn Dance Blithfield Hall
family. Outside, in a niche on the south wall of
the church, is an effigy of a priest. Although
well worn by the elements, there are still
traces of paint which once decorated the
tomb, along with some interesting graffiti
carved into the stonework. The churchyard
also has the remains of a medieval cross, with
a Victorian shaft and head sitting on top of
the original steps and socket stone.
Somewhere in the vicinity of the hall and
church, there was once a medieval village too,
believed to have been deserted by the 1500s.
There are no above ground remains, but just
Medieval cross at Blithfield Church
Priest effigy at Blithfield Church
as at the reservoir, traces of the past may lie
hidden beneath the surface.
By Byron Lewis
Where do I begin?! The sunniest Spring for years, and we're in the
middle of a global pandemic and people are staying at home and
hopefully in the garden.
Here at the garden centre, it's definitely been a testing time. We closed
the doors at the end of March and then went straight into selling
everything for home delivery - we're certainly not set up for this and the
main shop looks more like an Amazon warehouse!
As I write this, we've made more than 1000 deliveries of compost,
manure, plants, canes, you name it and we've delivered it to the people
of Lichfield and surrounding areas. Rest assured, as soon as we are
allowed to open we will - all with safe social distancing in mind of course.
Our plant area had just had a refurbishment which none of our
customers have seen yet - it's made the place feel a lot bigger and there
is plenty of room to move about.
The sunny weather has got many people into their gardens - some for
the first time, and we hope to see these new 'green fingers' in the garden
centre when we can open again (as well as all our regulars!). However,
nature does not stop for Coronavirus, and May traditionally signals the
start of the summer patio plant season - the garden centre is full of
traditional favourites like Marigolds, Lobelia and dozens more. Cottage
Garden plants are looking good and Fresh Herbs are now ready. For
more details on everything we have see our Social Media channels on
Facebook and Instagram where you'll find videos about our favourite
Vegetable growing has hit a new high because of the pandemic, and
now is the time to either sow seed or plant out ready germinated
seedlings into the garden. For quick growing crops, try salad vegetables
such as Spring Onion, Radish and Beetroot. May is a great time to set
Runner Bean seeds - make sure you build your climbing frame for them
before you sow, as they can reach up to 8ft tall! And don't forget lots of
vegetables can be grown in window boxes or large pots too.
Turning to lawns, it's time to give a weed and feed product to your
lawn - many of our customers had lawns which turned to dust after last
summer. Feeding will help new growth, but if your lawn is thin you can
also re-seed. Use multi-purpose lawn seed, which is generally hard
wearing and mix it with compost, then sprinkle evenly over the thin area.
A word of caution - water the lawn BEFORE sowing, as you can end up
washing all the seed into one area causing thick patches. Also protect the
seed for a few weeks from the birds by getting some netting over the
Finally please stay safe and we look forward to welcoming everyone
back to the Garden Centre as soon as we possibly can!
Byron Lewis runs Lichfield Garden Centre at
Curborough Countryside Centre, Watery Lane,
Lichfield. Tel : 01543 254306 or visit
Our feature writer, Jono Oates, tells us how
the lockdown has affected him and how he
has noticed a change for the best in the way that
people behave and act.
The weather has been so glorious since the
lockdown started that is appears as though we have
had the perfect English summer already…were it not
for the fact that we are in the middle of the current
crisis. Normally on such bright, sunny Spring days I
would be out in Lichfield all day – taking photos,
looking for local history, chatting to people I know and
sitting outside a café with an iced Americano, while the
day drifts hazily by.
But now my daily outings are curtailed – I am limited
to one hour and a half exercise walk a day. I ask you…
just an hour and a half to explore every historical
treasure that Lichfield has to offer…it’s just
So I’ve developed a new routine…I spend my
morning working out my route and what I’m looking
for, so that it is more like a military operation…’Walk
800 metres in a northerly direction…halt…
photograph a church grave headstone…turn to the
west for a view of the cathedral spires…wait for it…
wait for it…Snap!...now yomp 1,500 metres to Stowe
There is, however, a code of conduct that is being
applied. If I see someone move across to the other
side of the road for me, I hold my hand up to them and
smile or say thank you. The person then does the same
back to me and, for a fleeting moment, we share a
moment of connection and mutual respect. If I do go
to the shops I wait patiently in a queue until it is my
turn and, as the last customer comes out, I stand well
back and wait till they are clear before going in.
These small courteous and respectful gestures are
easy to follow, take up little time and could easily be
applied post Covid-19. Perhaps, once the restrictions
are finally lifted, we will go back to barging through
shop doors as fast as we can, not waiting for people to
pass in the street, trying to get everywhere as quickly
as possible at the expense of everyone else.
I am quite enjoying the calmer, more relaxed lifestyle
and also the little shows of respect and kindness
displayed on my daily walks. With less road and air
traffic noise, fewer people around and the glorious
weather, these signs of respect and acknowledgment
have perhaps taken us back in time, to the Britain of
the 1940s and 50s and that, to my mind, is no bad thing.
Will it continue after the restrictions have been
lifted…we will have to wait and see…but for now I’m
content being ‘In the Mood’.
*This article is dedicated to the memories of Robert Hill
and Susan Lackajis.
Normally when I meet people on my walks I’d stop
and chat, or they’d ask me what I was photographing
and why. But on my Covid-19 restricted walks if I see
someone coming now, I dive in to the middle of the
road (only if it’s safe of course!), or get up close to a
nearby wall and scurry on by. If I spot friends we stop
briefly and yell, making ridiculous hand and arm
gestures to communicate what we are trying to say,
with the inevitable misunderstandings and quizzical
looks…’Did he just say he was taking photos of an old
Solving Your Work-from-Home Internet Woes
By Neil Fletcher
Your internet used to meet your needs. You
could check social media and stream a TV show
whenever you wanted without trouble. Now,
since working from home, you’re finding your
internet service more frustrating: it’s too slow
when you want to send and receive large work
files, or erratic when you take part in video
meetings. Here’s help.
Blame your service provider
Ah, the familiar pastime – blaming someone
else. The problem could be with your provider.
Yes, it’s a good idea to keep your expenses low,
and that budget internet provider may not have
been a problem in the past. But internet service
providers (ISPs) may save money by buying less
bandwidth. Bandwidth impacts the data transfer
rate, which makes a difference to downloads and
connectivity. ISPs might also oversell their
capabilities, betting that everyone won’t be
online at the same time. Yet, now, everyone is!
Switching to a higher-quality ISP can help
address your connectivity concerns. It’s a good
idea to find out what kind of connectivity they’re
Some people are fortunate to live in places
with full-fiber connections. This new technology
uses fiberoptic cable to send more data, more
quickly. Other people have to rely on providers
using copper cables. Copper cables are old
school and designed to carry call data as
electrical pulses. The further your internet signals
travel, the more your signal strength falters.
If poor wired infrastructure to your home is
the issue, swap instead to point-to-point Wi-fi,
4G, or 5G. For instance, for Wi-fi, you’d install a
Wi-fi dish on your roof pointing to a nearby
wireless provider. With a 4G connection, you’d
be using cell phone towers. 5G is the same, but
you’ll find it faster if its available.
Redundancy is another way to go. Your existing
wired connection may be fine most of the time,
but you’ll have a backup in place. You can roll
over to the 4G option if the wired internet goes
Sorry, the problem’s at your end
It’s possible the root of your internet
problems is right there in your home or
neighborhood. You are no longer the only person
using your internet connection. You could be
trying to download something on one computer
while your partner is taking a video call. Maybe
you also have kids online in an online classroom
or looking for a supply llama in Fortnite.
Even if you’re only trying to watch Netflix, just
as you used to, you might notice you’re lagging
more than before. There are probably more
neighbors on their Wi-Fi, too, which can result in
congestion in your area.
If you can switch to a 5 GHz connection, do so.
The speed will improve. Plus, you’ll find you’re
not in competition with as many others, as many
home Wi-Fi setups are on the 2.4 GHz
There’s a solution out there
The solution to your work-from-home
internet woes will vary. It depends on your
location, what’s around, and the internet service
You don’t have to troubleshoot your
internet on your own. There’s no one-sizefits-all
solution, but our tech experts can help
find the right fit for your needs. Contact us
today 01889 579990.
Cannock Women’s Institute
By Jill Gooch
Sue clipping the dog
Members are being creative and
industrious during ‘Lock Down’ as
they keep themselves busy.
Patterns and ideas have been shared as
they craft scrubs, scrubs’ bags, headbands,
ear protectors, paired hearts for patients
and relatives who cannot be together, and
baby clothes and blankets for the
Premature Baby Unit.
Our Facebook thread ‘Be like Margaret…’
continues with: ‘Be like Sue’… clipping her
dog’s coat; Angela gardening; Elaine reading
new publication Amazing Grace from another
W.I. member Kim Nash; and Meena who has
nearly worn out her sewing machine with the
amount of PPE’s she has made.
President Di has been keeping in touch with
members through the tried and trusted
telephone, setting up a Buddy Pyramid for the
committee to share the telephoning duties.
This has been particularly successful in
addressing a National W.I. campaign
‘Alleviating loneliness’. Through this personal
contact we have found out far more about
each other’s personal lives and offered
support to those who are finding it difficult
coping with isolating, illness, or partner’s
Our weekly committee virtual catch up on
Meena’s rainbow of ear protectors
Zoom with six of us, has now developed into
a virtual coffee and chat room that this week
saw seventeen of us all trying to talk at once
- hilarious! The biggest achievement was
getting Dorrie on Zoom, at 84 she is our
oldest participant - which proves it’s never
too late to learn!
As women we continue to be great
communicators, finding ways through
adversity to innovate, smile, help others, and
keep occupied in a positive way.
Our W.I. meetings are on the second
Thursday of the month, 10.30am, at St Luke’s
Church Centre, Cannock. Visitors are always
welcome to come and join us for
refreshments and a chat- but not for a while
– wait for the ‘all clear’! Follow us on
Jenny modelling scrubs
Facebook for updates. You are
also welcome to join by Zoom -
please get in touch!
Cannock Women’s Institute
Further information email:
What do you do when a group of friends who love
animals want to help rescue and rehome those in
need, but don't have any facility to take them in?
We didn't let that stop us and we decided to support the
small and local rescue groups who do have facilities instead.
We are all volunteers and give our time for free, we take no
money from the funds raised, just the pleasure to know we
have helped an animal in some way.
During 2019 we decided to hold fundraising events local to
Lichfield and donate the money to the rescue groups that
we felt needed it the most. We raised and donated over
£4,000 in our first year and had great plans to beat that
figure during 2020, but then everyone’s world changed and
we could no longer hold fundraising events. Coronavirus has
had such a devastating impact on everyone and, sadly, the
sick, abandoned, homeless and injured animals are suffering
too. However, we couldn’t let the lack of events stop us
So what do we do now?
We collect donations of pet food, treats, litter and bedding
for the rescues that we support and deliver to them
(following social distancing rules) as often as we can. We still
collect money for them too and distribute it between the
We are also looking at ways we can raise funds online for
all of the groups during the remainder of the year by selling
new items that have very kindly been donated to us. Please
see our Facebook page (Animal Rescue Volunteers) over the
next few weeks to find out more about this.
These are the 18 sanctuaries and rescues we are currently
supporting. They all have their own Facebook pages which
tell you about the wonderful work they do for homeless
animals. These people are amazing, please support them:
Peppers Pet Rescue
Little Paws Cat Haven
Linjoy Wildlife Sanctuary and Rescue Midlands
Tracy's Cats Kitty Rescue
Coulsons Family Rescue
Broken Souls Rescue
Rugeley Cats Society
Rugeley Welfare for Dogs
West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue
The Donkey Sanctuary
Broadmeadow Guinea Pig Rescue and Sanctuary
Tamworth Hedgehog and Bird Rescue
Stray Cat Rescue Team West Midlands
Greyhound Trust Hall Green
British Hen Welfare Trust
The Humane Research Trust
Humane Society International
Wolseley Road, Rugeley
By Peter J Everall
When the modern National Insurance scheme started in 1948
some odd quarters were chosen as local offices (from necessity
- they were stringent times) but one which was pleasingly
memorable was the Rugeley office at Churchdale.
Churchdale was a delightful old Georgian house which had seen better times.
It cried out for some gentle tlc. The main room downstairs was heated by an
antiquated coke stove; the others by uneconomic coal fires in old cast –iron
grates; the toilets were antediluvian; the roof leaked. It had belonged to the
titled Littleton family, as witness the cattle trough on nearby Wolseley road,
(“presented by the Revd the Honble C. J. Littleton of Churchdale, 1909”), but
by 1960 it was owned by an MP, leased to the Ministry of Works, and the lease
was running out. Soon, its grounds would be part of a large housing enterprise.
The demolish – and – burn philosophy of the 1960’s was rushing in.
On a frantic day in 1961 (Lady Day – the very day the lease expired) we
moved to an excellent new Vic Hallam building in Sandy Lane (a journey from
quasi- rural to unremitting urban) and said farewell to the house which had
been our work place, to the fine stables and other out buildings, the
unexplored timber summer – house which probably contributed to one of the
many bonfires (not just in Rugeley but all over England) which then burned on
building sites. And farewell to the remaining grounds into which cattle from
the adjoining farm would sometimes wander and peer curiously at us through
Today Churchdale would be protected as a listed building. Not so in 1961.
But begone dull care!
This tale has a pleasing postscript. Someone who has a house with a canal
at the bottom of his garden (on part of the old Churchdale land, perhaps?) has
his holiday- hire narrowboat berthed on the Trent & Mersey there. She is called
the ‘Churchdale’. When not abroad, and but a short walk from the canal bridge
on Station road, she may be seen, tied up at home.
May God bless all who journey in her.
Churchdale canal boat
Rugeley Church from Church Dale
Cattle trough, Wolseley Road
Connecting with Nature During Lockdown
By Nicola Lynes
It’s been said too often now – these are strange times. From
winter flooding to record breaking April sunshine, followed by
a huge temperature drop and frosts in May, my poor potatoes
have suffered this week!
Oh, and the nationwide lockdown due to COVID19, of course.
At Transforming the Trent Valley Landscape Partnership
Scheme (funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund) we have
had to cancel all of our face to face events for the foreseeable
future. For a scheme which is based around encouraging people
to join us outside, learn about and connect with nature through
play, guided walks and activities, this has obviously meant a big
shift in the way we work. Working from home rather than out
on nature reserves meeting people has been tough, but we’ve
come up with lots of ways to continue to explore nature and
help our own wellbeing from our homes and local areas.
A few activities that you can get involved in:
Join us live on Twitter (@thetrentvalley) every Wednesday to
discover what is in your garden or on your daily walk, and help
us to record what species share our landscape in the Trent Valley.
There is a different theme each week to help you explore nature
in a variety of ways in your local patch.
GetWild TV with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
Our Wildchild Officer will be leading nature crafts in our ‘after
school club’ each Tuesday at 3.30pm, broadcast through our
Facebook page (@thetrentvalley)
Tales of the Riverbank
We’re collecting memories of the Trent Valley through written
words. Can you write a poem, a short story, a memory of an
event you experienced along the river Trent, Dove or Tame and
share it with us? Perhaps you could tell us about your favourite
places to visit, or what games you used to play as a child within
the rivery valleys. Have you had any exciting wildlife encounters
in the landscape? We’d love to hear from you! Send your
contributions by email to
Nicola.firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to
Transforming the Trent Valley, 19 Lower Brook Street, Rugeley,
5 Ways to Wellbeing
Above all, we want you to look after yourselves during this
difficult time. Not everyone has a garden, but we can all open a
window at home and listen to birdsong, or watch the clouds and
feel the wind on our cheeks. We can all take a couple of minutes
to ourselves to sit with no distractions, and allow our minds to
wander. For more tips on wellbeing during lockdown and how
you can benefit from a connection with nature, we have
interviews on our Youtube channel (Transforming the Trent
Valley) with our Transforming Lives Officer.
For more information on any of the above, look on our
website www.thetrentvalley.org.uk, or you can call us on 07837
127165 for a chat with our Community Engagement Officer.
We hope to see you all outside on the riverbanks soon.
Week 7, Day Number - No Idea
By Jo ‘Crunch Cream’ Howell
It’s funny how the
quickly become the
norm isn’t it?
Where the thought
of doing my teams
filled me with
horror no more
than a few weeks
(ok months) ago,
now it feels
perfectly ok to have
c o n v e r s a t i o n s
across the medium
of technology. Little do we know but habits are
being formed and what was the norm, will soon
feel unusual – although I will do a happy dance
when my favourite coffee shop reopens.
So, what have I learnt or discovered this week?
1: Technology Is My Friend
Obviously I can’t see my family so we have
downloaded zoom – an app I am familiar with, my
Dad not so – and every evening we connect, share
our day and I spin the camera round to show him the
dog, who is normally asleep and blissfully unaware of
what’s going on.
And tonight, I have joined an online Zumba class
(again via zoom) and whilst I have no doubt I will
regret it in the morning, there was something wildly
liberating about dancing in my kitchen whilst my fish
pie cooked and the dog looked on with mild
2: Virtual Slimming Class
Last time I lamented about the copious amounts of
biscuits being consumed (the crunch creams didn’t
make it to the weekend by the way) and how I
started to realise I would be rolling out of my house
when the lockdown is lifted. But then my Slimming
World Consultant cheerfully announced she would
be running the normal group, at the normal time on
a Saturday morning – only this time via (guess which
app?!) yep, zoom. Dam blast. I could no longer eat
myself into a biscuit coma – I needed to ‘weigh in’
each week, be accountable and not be the only
person who gains a stone during lockdown.
3: The nights are lighter, the dog’s legs are
We would normally rejoice the clocks going
forward – goodbye winter, hello spring – but last
week I felt very underwhelmed by the extra hour.
Looking at the lighter nights from the comfort of my
settee doesn’t have quite the same appeal as sitting
in a pub garden. However, me and the four legged
one are enjoying a very long walk each evening and
we swop and change our route each time – more for
me than her, I hasten to add. Understandably she’s
exhausted by this new super long walk and my only
companion in the house, spends most of the evening
So, as we float into Week 8 of homeworking, I’m
looking forward to more dancing in the kitchen, a
virtual coffee and cake with friends and taking the
four legged one on more hourly adventures each
evening. Oh, and I’m definitely not looking forward to
my virtual sliming class or my real ‘weigh in’. Pray for
Grant Enables Trust to Educate
from the Armchair
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and
resulting school closures, Staffordshire Wildlife
Trust has had to rethink its Formal Learning
programmes to continue engaging with schools in
Thanks to the grant of £3000 provided by The
Community Foundation for Staffordshire, SWT will soon
be ready to launch its Virtually Wild programme. This aims
to provide a wealth of content on how to carry out a
range of outdoor learning activities in school settings,
with children of key workers who are still attending.
The Trust’s Learning team is busy putting together the
content, which will launch for schools in this month.
Being outdoors is proven to aid people's mental health
and wellbeing, therefore it will be of great help to both
adults and children in a school setting to find ways to
learn, appreciate nature and have fun outdoors in these
very challenging circumstances. Time outside will give
children the chance to play, learn, get valuable exercise
and build up mental and physical resilience.
Vicky Broad, from the Trust’s People Engagement team,
said: “When lockdown was announced, we wanted to
ensure we could still provide a way for school
communities to access our activities and engage with
“Our Virtually Wild idea came about as a result and it
will soon be ready to launch, aided by the grant we’ve
received from The Community Foundation for
“It is tailored for use in schools by teachers and
teaching assistants, and will give them the confidence and
knowledge to get the children learning outside. All
activities use resources that will generally be available in a
school setting, and that can be used in a variety of
locations, whether the school has lots of green space or
Steve Adams, CEO of The Community Foundation for
Staffordshire said: “I am delighted that such an imaginative
idea could be supported via the Coronavirus Response
Fund which has so far distributed over £300,000 across
Teachers will be contacted by email when the resources
are ready to launch. For more information visit
For funding opportunities during Coronavirus contact
the Community Foundation for Staffordshire on 01785
339540 or email@example.com.
Staffordshire Wildlife Centre, Wolseley Bridge, Rugeley (Credit Steve Turner)
SI Cannock & District
By Margaret Bennett
Members of SI Cannock holding their first Zoom meeting
During the pandemic when so many are struggling
to cope with lockdown and social distancing,
financial difficulties, and the dangers involved in
the caring for others, SI Cannock is trying to find new
ways to help the community and to keep in touch with
The group is also carrying on its work by collecting
hand and face creams which are to be used by staff in
hospitals and care homes who are suffering sore faces
and hands from constant washing and wearing masks.
Anyone who has any unopened face or hand creams can
leave them in the box in the driveway of 52 Hatherton
The club officers remain the same this year with Trish
Smith remaining as club President and Jackie Prince is
President Elect. Trish’s motto for the coming year is
particularly apt for the present situation, as is “We
Make a Living By What We Get, But A Life By What We
Women's Aid remains President Trish’s chosen charity
as the club is particularly concerned about the rise in
Domestic Violence. Anyone needing help or advice
about domestic abuse please ring the 24 hour
confidential Helpline number 0300 330 5959.
The next SI Cannock Zoom meeting is on 19th May
and details can be found on the website and Facebook.
In addition the club has instigated a buddy system so
that even those members who cannot join in the online
meetings has someone they know who will ring to
check that they are coping.
Please follow all of Cannock Soroptimist activities at
www.sigbi.org/cannock-and-district or on Facebook at
Members of Rugeley WI at their regular Zoom meeting
Everyone seems to be doing their best during the
coronavirus lockdown to keep motivated and safe, but
it is difficult for people who are perhaps living on their
own or just missing friends and their regular group meetings
to remain positive during this difficult period in our lives.
Obviously for safety reasons our monthly WI meetings have
been suspended for the time being.
Rugeley WI committee decided that it would be a good
idea to keep in touch with members via ‘Zoom’ for those
who are computer minded. Thanks to WI member Barbara
who is familiar with ‘Zoom’, we have had a number of
meetings via this method. Some of us were totally unfamiliar
with the technology but after cameras facing the wrong way
and microphones not switched on Barbara eventually sorted
the group out!
Members were glad to see one another on their screens.
It was very reassuring to find that everyone present was well
and just making the best of life. Mostly, members said that
they were either gardening, decorating, reading or baking;
no-one was bored, which was lovely to hear.
Barbara will continue to set up meetings during the
coronavirus crisis and hopefully more people from Rugeley
WI will join us on our Wednesday 3pm meetings.
Keep safe everyone.
The Origin of the Name Batesway
By Harry Thornton
a member of the Landor (local history) Society
It has been suggested that the name Batesway is derived from the name Beaters Way dating from the time when
‘Beating the Bounds’ took place periodically as parishioners walked in procession around the boundary of their
respective parishes to ensure knowledge of it was fixed in the minds of each generation, small boys being reputedly
beaten at significant points, such as changes of direction, to concentrate their minds. In fact part of the boundary
between parishes of Armitage and Longdon still follows Batesway.
As the name Batesway doesn’t appear on old maps and documents until Victorian Times, when ‘Beating the Bounds’ had mostly
been discontinued as maps began showing parish boundaries, the name more likely describes the way to five fields at its southwest
end which are respectively named on the 1842 Longdon Parish Tithe Map as Big Bate, Little Bate, Sidelong Bate, Hilly Bate
and Crabtree Bate. However, a document showing the valuation of the same five fields in 17981 shows their names ending in
Beach2 instead of Bate, for example Big Beach, Little Beach, etc.
1. Fields valuation of 1798 at Staffs Record Office ref: D240/E/F/8/41
2. The name Beach, or more often Byrche or Birch, is apparently derived from the Old English ‘bryce’
meaning newly cultivated land.
Appeal for Hand
People’s generosity and kindness has
continued as shown by the collection of
hand and face creams by Cannock
Soroptimists. Following the overwhelming
support during the first week of their collection,
Soroptimists have extended the collection and
now have boxes in Lower Road, Hednesford;
Stoney Lea Road, Cannock and Woodstock
Drive, Cannock, as well as Hatherton Road,
Soroptimists are acutely aware that Care Homes
are bearing a large burden of tackling this virus &
wanted to provide help to them as well as to front
line hospital staff. It appeared that staff at care
homes were also experiencing soreness and chafing
of the skin from wearing PPE and would benefit
from having creams readily available. This became to
focus for the collection and at the end of another
week when friends and neighbours put their
sanitised, unopened creams into the boxes,
Soroptimists were delighted to have enough to
donate to the care homes.
Soroptimists are continuing to collect donations
of creams at all four addresses and hope to deliver
soon to the Renal and Oncology departments at
Cannock Hospital. They are working alongside
Cannock WI who also make scrubs, washbags,
headbands and hearts as well as donating creams. As
soon as there are sufficient donations Soroptimists
will begin to replenish stocks at all venues.
Further details are on the club’s website
www.sigbi.org/cannock-and-district or their
Facebook page www.facebook.com/SICannock.
An Introduction to
Roasting Meat on the BBQ
This Beer Can Chicken recipe is perfect if you’re
wanting something new to try on the barbecue!
Serves: 4 Prep: 15 minutes BBQ: 1 – 1.5 hours
Method: Charcoal roast / gas roast
For the rub:
• 1 tsp dry mustard
• 1 tsp granulated onion
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp granulated garlic
• ½ tsp ground coriander
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• 1 whole chicken
• 2 tsp vegetable oil
• 1 can (450g) beer
• Weber Original Poultry Roaster
• Weber GBS Poultry Roaster
• Weber Style Poultry Infusion Roaster
• Weber Original Instant Read Thermometer
1. To make the rub: In a small bowl combine the rub
2. Remove and discard the neck, giblets, and any
excess fat from the chicken. Rinse the chicken, inside
and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly cover
the chicken with the vegetable oil and season, inside
and out, with the rub.
3. Open the beer can and pour off half of the beer.
Pour the rest of the beer into the middle cavity of a
Weber Style Poultry Infusion Roaster or Weber GBS
Poultry Roaster. Alternatively, place the beer can in
the centre of the Weber Original Poultry Roaster
and place the chicken on top. Transfer the bird to
the grill, keeping the poultry roaster upright.
4. Grill over In-direct Medium heat, using a Weber®
Original Instant Read Thermometer, until the
internal temperature reaches 76ºC in the breast and
82ºC in the thickest part of the thigh, 1¼ to 1½
5. Wearing barbecue mitts, carefully remove the
chicken and the can from the grill, being careful not
to spill the beer – it will be hot. Let the chicken rest
for about 10 minutes before lifting it from the
can/poultry roaster. Discard the beer. Cut the
chicken into serving pieces. Serve warm.
All Weber products featured on
this page can be purchased at
www.pavingplace.co.uk (part of the