Citylife in Rugeley and Cannock Chase July 2020


As business starts to come back to life our sunshine-bright, summery July online edition is just the thing to read over the lazy, hazy days of summer! Fulll of local news, history features, ideas to beat those lockdown blues and a whole host of readers cutest pets pics! Enjoy!


Welcome to


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

to offer.

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

Advertising -

Steve Brown 07740 166497

Rebecca Hill 07970 513144


12 National Writing Day

Pick up your pens and celebrate!


14 Cutest Pets

Our favourite pictures of your furry friends


18 A Sanctuary of WWI

Jono Oates explores Ravenhill House

Hospital's past


22 Three Months In

Jo Howell on how she's surviving in



Production - Helen Smith 07967 154187

Citylife In Lichfield Ltd


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

After working for 10 weeks

in Rugeley I’ve now returned

to a near-normal Parliament

with many MPs back in the

House of Commons and

voting in person.

It’s great to be back where I

can meet with Parliamentary

and Ministerial colleagues.

Of course, we are all having to adhere to strict

social distancing rules which does mean votes are

taking a little longer than normal.

Over the last few months I have spent most of my

days and evenings on video conferencing calls. Three

months ago I’d never heard of Zoom, but now I’m an


Across the country and in Cannock Chase we are

all adapting to a new way of life. While we must

maintain social distancing, we can enjoy much more

of the great outdoors. It has been great to see so

many of you getting out and enjoying Cannock

Chase, but this has sadly seen a rise in litter.

Areas like the Marquis Drive Visitor Centre have

seen rubbish discarded in open spaces and on paths.

Recently we marked World Environment Day which

is a reminder that we should enjoy the countryside,

but we must look after it so please take your litter

home with you.

I have regular catch-ups with the local Police and I

am aware there have been issues with anti-social

behaviour which caused the police to deploy a

dispersal order. I’d like to thank Staffordshire Police

for all of their hard work because I know they were

quick off the mark and took prompt action to

address this issue.

Although life is beginning to get back to normal, we

must still stay safe and look out for one another. I

remain in close contact with our local councils,

hospitals and police and I am working with them to

make sure that everyone in Cannock Chase can stay

safe as we continue to gradually and slowly ease


One of the things we have to look forward to in

2022 is the Commonwealth Games coming to

Cannock Chase and I was delighted that the

Commonwealth Games Bill passed through recently.

I look forward to continuing to work with all the

relevant authorities to make this a huge success and

put Cannock Chase on the map.

As always, if you need to contact me for help with

any issues or concerns please do get in touch on or visit



Local Markets to


Outdoor markets in Cannock and

Rugeley are set to re-open this month,

following updated advice from the


Rugeley Outdoor Market re-opened on

Tuesday 2nd June. All traders have been

briefed, with signs displaying social

distancing measures, hand sanitizer

available and all hard surfaces being

sanitized regularly.

Cannock Street Market, operated by

Sketts, will also open earlier than

originally anticipated on Friday 19th June,

following adequate risk assessments and

plan for a new layout.

Cannock Indoor and Rugeley Indoor

Market Halls are working towards

opening week commencing 15th June,

once risk assessments are complete and

appropriate signage is in place.


Ridwares WI Gets

Royal Mention

Recently, WI groups across the country

received a special letter from HRH The

Countess of Wessex expressing her

disappointment at not being able to join

the groups at this year’s AM. However,

The Countess highlighted some of the

important work the organisation does

and mentioned The Ridwares WI in her

address. Needless to say, the members of

The Ridwares group are all delighted to

have been personally mentioned!


Hednesford Group

Wins Queen’s Award

The Friends of Hednesford Park have this

week received the Queen’s Award for

Voluntary Service.

This award is the highest recognition that

can be given to volunteer groups across

the UK. A total of 230 organisations have

been given the award this year.

The award coincides with Volunteer’s

Week, which took place from 1st-7th

June. The award celebrates groups whose

work has enhanced and supported local

communities over a number of years.

The Friends of Hednesford Park was

officially established by the Council on

22nd September 2011, and with 30

volunteers are a community organisation,

who work closely with Cannock Chase

Council, on the restoration and upkeep of

Hednesford Park and Hednesford War



Council Ready for

Shops to Re-Open

Cannock Chase Council is able to

support retailers planning to re-open

from 15th June with practical advice and

information on how to manage customers

queueing and entering the premises and

protecting retail staff with appropriate

hygiene measures.

The Council’s Environmental Health

Teams have already been working with

food premises providing a take away

service and are on hand to support all

non-essential shops across the District

due to open soon.

Government guidance allows nonessential

shops to open from next

Monday which will include a whole range

of retailers with the exception of

personal care services such as

hairdressers, nail bars and tattooists.

To help businesses work through

government guidance around COVID-19

and the documents available at


specially prepared checklist from the HSE

has been produced to help businesses

navigate the guidance and ensure they

have covered the key elements.

Once the checklist has been completed

and businesses have implemented the

necessary controls, they are encouraged

to sign and display a statement in their

shop windows confirming they are

COVID-19 secure having completed the

HSE’s Five Steps to Safer Working

Together checklist. Customers will then

have confidence that they can shop safely

which will be good for them and those


As part of the re-opening of non-essential

shops, Cannock Chase Council has been

awarded £89,622 by government through

its Reopening High Streets Safely Fund

open to all local authorities. The Council

will be committing this money to

marketing promotions to stimulate trade

in town centres and to pay for signage

required to manage visitors to its town

centres to navigate people safely around,

as more shops open up.


To Advertise

please contact


07970 513144



07740 166497


Cannock Women’s


By Jill Gooch


Deb's 'knitted knocker' New member, Gill

Members have extolled the virtues of walking

on Cannock Chase, watching the flowers

grow in their well-tended gardens, sitting in the

sunshine (with a glass of wine of course!) and

listening to the bird song. Their creativity is

extensive, as they have had the time to take up

new crafts and return to oft forgotten skills. As

the requests for PPE and masks have dwindled

other requirements are being met - ‘knitted

knockers’ have been made by Debbie as an

initiative to knit boobs as prosthesis for breast

cancer patients. We also continue to supply

‘scrubs’, scrub bags, headbands, ear protectors,

paired hearts for patients and relatives who

cannot be together, and baby clothes and

blankets for the Premature Baby Unit.

Despite not meeting in person, we have gained a

new member in Gill who joined us through sharing

plants, joined us on Zoom and the telephone buddy

system, and decided she liked us enough to become

a member.

President Di and the committee have regularly

kept in touch with members through a telephone

buddy system, and we are continuing our weekly

virtual catch up on Zoom for a coffee and chat,

along with our monthly meeting. Sharing,

communicating, supporting, be-friending has given

us joy, laughs and positivity to get through these

difficult times, and gradually we can see the light at

the end of the tunnel!

Follow us on Facebook for updates. You are also

welcome to join on Zoom! Email or visit and



CHAPS Hopes to Keep

to Schedule

quite badly and we have been able to take

deliveries of food, bedding and also help

out with bills. We have also supported the

people who have re-homed dogs with their

food bills and veterinary care.

We are very grateful for all donations and

the bric-a-brac that helps us to do the

fundraising, which in turn helps save our

rescue animals.

Thank you from Ruth and Pauline.

smoke bombs!

This was followed by a home-delivered

cream tea from by The Pink Flamingo Cake

Company and a YouTube message from

Elvis (alias Rik Gaynor’s Elvis Tribute Act)!

The celebrations ended with a evening

Zoom reception of friends toasting the

bride and groom-to-be!


Giving Back to the



Artist's impression of the memorial

Like many groups and organisations,

Chase Arts for Public Spaces (CHAPS)

has taken an enforced break over the last

few months as the Coronavirus pandemic

has caused such disruption to all lives.

CHAPS’ committee is thankful that noone

directly involved with its latest

project to erect a lasting monument to

the work done by all miners of this

country at the National Memorial

Arboretum has been directly affected.

As restrictions are eased the committee

is looking to re-engage with the public

and continue the work it had begun to

raise funds for the memorial - it would be

wonderful if it were possible to keep to

the original timescale and dedicate the

memorial in June 2021, as originally


Everyone interested is asked to follow

developments on the Facebook page

paces where comments, ideas and

donations will be very welcome.

Additionally, there is an email for

contacting the project leaders at


Thank You from

Rugeley Welfare for


We would like to say a big Thank You to

everyone who has continued to support us

through this difficult time.

People have continued to donate food and

bedding to us which has enabled us to

support other rescues that have been hit


Happy ‘Not

Wedding’ Day!

During the recent Corona virus pandemic

many couples have had to cancel their

Wedding days and Rugeley couple, Lara

Coburn and Stuart Tapper, were no


Their wedding, originally planned for 6th

June 2020, has been re-scheduled for next

year however like many couples they

wanted to celebrate their original wedding

day in style and were given a few surprises

along the way!

Early morning they were sent a surprise

video of good wishes from guests who

would have been attending the wedding!

They dressed to impress with Lara wearing

a simple white dress and carrying a

bouquet made by her grandmother.

They then had a special “doortrait”

photography session at home to

commemorate the occasion by their

official wedding photographer, Abigail May

Photography which included a photo

session with Champagne and wedding

Trish Mellor, Co-Chairman &Treasurer, Cannock

Friends of St Giles with items generously donated

by Newlife Charity

Life at St Giles Hospice has obviously

changed over recent weeks, a major

difference being that families can sadly not

visit the hospice at present. As well as

adding to the emotional stress, this also

provides practical difficulties. Prior to

Covid-19, patient families would provide

nightclothes and take laundry home for

washing. It is no longer possible for this

to happen: all laundry is now done on-site

and many patients, particularly those

admitted from hospital, have no change of


St Giles had used up all of its stock but

Cannock-based Newlife Charity and

Cannock Friends of St Giles came to the

rescue in May, with four crates of

nightwear being provided from Newlife,

including nightdresses, dressing gowns,

underwear, slippers and pyjamas suitable

for men and women of all ages.

St Giles has launched Katie’s Appeal for

its key workers working during these

extremely uncertain times and anyone

who wishes to can donate at’sappeal. A

gift of as little as £5 could pay for meals

for a patient at the end of their life.



Record Sales for



By Alex Keller


Richard Winterton Auctioneers has achieved record

sales as business adapts to the coronavirus landscape

with two safe, online-only auctions.

The Lichfield family firm has revolutionised its business due to

coronavirus in order to operate safely.

A range of contactless, free, specialist valuations for jewellery,

watches and antiques plus COVID-19 secure options for house

clearances, consignments and collections are now available – for

details, please see our advert on page 15.

Sales at The Lichfield Auction Centre now take place behind

closed doors with strict social distancing measures for staff in


The Fine Arts & Specialist Sale achieved a 91.5 per cent selling

rate with 2,726 registered online bidders.

Highlights included the Peter McAleese SAS medals collection

selling for £25,000 and a stunning sapphire necklet (photo

attached) which fetched £32,000.

The Michael Gilbery Collection of paintings and sketches

exceeded £35,000 with a self-portrait of the artist making


“There were terrific results in all categories, from jewellery,

watches and silver to stamps, comics, cameras and whisky,” said

auctioneer Richard Winterton.

This fabulous sapphire necklet sold for

£32,000 in the Lichfield Fine Arts auction,

the first taking place entirely behind

closed doors. Left: The moment Richard

Winterton brought down the hammer

Tom Winterton achieved excellent prices for brown

furniture in the online-only Three Day Sale

“Hot on the heels of the Fine Art came our Three Day Sale on

May 19-21, again held entirely behind closed doors and with strict

social distancing measures in place.

“With 1,349 lots entered and 1,301 sold, a 96.4 per cent selling

rate was achieved with an average price of £116 per lot.

“All the hard work and meticulous planning paid off as we

smashed our Three Day Sale record, breaking the £150,000

bracket and attracting 2,742 bidders from around the world.”

Highlights included a collection of military watches fetching

£2,000, a stamps section totalling £4,000 and a specialist

technology section making £7,200.

“We also saw the strongest demand for brown furniture we’ve

seen for a number of years,” added Richard.

“We have evolved to operate totally differently yet our results

are better than ever. Safety of staff and clients is our number one

concern and we are taking every precaution in order to ensure

we can still offer a valuable service to people across Lichfield.”

New online-only Antiques & Home Sales begin on Monday, June

15, with another on Monday, June 22, and again on Monday, June

29, starting at 10am on all days.

Upcoming auctions include a sale of steam and hand-built

vehicles set to make thousands, a collection of Roman artefacts

and the important house contents of a large country estate.

Visit, telephone 01543 251081

and email


Celebrate National Writing Day!

By Charlotte Benton


Dust off your notebooks and pick up your pens,

because Wednesday 24th June is National Writing


This annual celebration seeks to encourage everyone, old

and young, to put pen to paper in celebration of the power

of writing creatively. Whether it be for self-expression,

adventure or simply to document your day, the power of

writing should not be underestimated.

This nationwide celebration is driven by a coalition of

leading literacy organisations and publishers, and this year

is encouraging people to use their writing ability to share

their lockdown experiences using the hashtag

#WriteFromHome on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Here are five suggestions of different writing activities

that you could take part in:

1. Write a letter to a friend or family member

As we are all aware, we have been unable to meet up with

people outside of our household, so writing a letter to

those we have missed or not seen for some time, would be

a great way to mark National Writing Day.

2. Write down your favourite recipe

Lockdown has proved to be the perfect time to develop

our culinary and baking skills. Why not jot down the recipe

of your favourite make or bake so far. This is your chance

to make a note of any secret ingredients or top tips that

are key to the recipe’s success.


3. Create your own short story

Unleash your imagination and design a new world of

fiction. Whether you imagine yourself creating a dystopian

world, a fantasy sphere or a new sci-fi planet, celebrate

National Writing Day by embarking on your own storytelling


4. Keep a diary for a few days

The past few months have definitely differed from the

norm, hence one day we may wish to look back on the

bizarre days that were lockdown. Perhaps you could keep

a diary, documenting what you get up to each day, what you

watch on television, how you choose to spend your leisure

time, maybe even as simple as what you had for dinner.

These daily things are bound to change over time.

5. Note down a few top tips that relate to your


From gardening to knitting, and running to skiing, you

could jot down a few pieces of advice and some top tips

that can help other people who are looking to develop

their skill set and make improvements. After all, every little


Writing regularly is known to benefit our mental health

and wellbeing, alongside developing our literacy and

attainment. National Writing Day is the perfect opportunity

to rediscover your voice. To tell your own story, to define

your world through writing. Be sure to share your work

and celebrations of National Writing Day using the

#WriteFromHome on social media. Now get to work!

Find further guidance and inspiration from this helpful

resource at

Advertising Feature

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Cutest Pets

Cutie of the

Month! Pixie

Fast asleep is Leah Hemmings' 16 week old

pup Pixie!

Thank you to everyone who has sent us pictures

of their pets. It’s an incredibly hard job

choosing who to feature as we think all of your

furry friends are gorgeous!

If you haven’t already sent us pictures of your pets,

please send them to

(remember to clearly mark your entries ‘Cutest Pet’

and to tell us the name of your pet, and a little bit

about them). Sorry but we can’t return any pictures

sent to us by post.

This is Stan the man 12 year old

Border Terrier, sent in by Glynn

Pat Cannon's Rugeley


Arthur keeping his eye out for mice

on the moon! Arthur is one of owner

Florence Bull's rescue cats.

Here is Coco a French Bull Dog

Owned by Lucy

Here is Lolly. She is the sister to Coco.

Owned by Natalie May

Here we have Tigger.

Owned by Krissy.


This is Yvonne Norman's

cocker spaniel Luna trying to

catch bubbles in the sun!

This is Sarah Jordan’s little puppy

Minnie with her rather larger puppy


This is Oscar owned by David Novakovic

This is Jill Gooch’s cat Molly doing

some sunbathing on the back lawn!

Jill is secretary of the Cannock WI

group who provides a monthly

update in our magazine.

This is 3 year old Bodhi, she’s a

Chorkie who lives in Slitting Hill with

her mum Cate Preece.

Larry and Jacob owned by

Gemma Roberts from


Hippy owned by

Gemma Roberts from


Ripley is 6 months old and a Jackapoo. He is

owned by Chantelle Allen and her family

Darwin looking cool in his

shades - keeping an eye on

owner Jessica Davanzo!

This is Sooty who loves to watch owner

Katy Buxton play the piano!

Here is sofa lounging Rossi - owner Kelly

Weatherer says that people are always

stopping in the street to say hi to him!

Here we have Henry (ginger) and Martha. Owned by Tracie Lee.



News from

Rugeley Town Council

Rugeley Supports

Local Covid-19


Over the past weeks, Rugeley Town Council

has given £5,000 to The Hart School to enable

them to produce face masks which have been

sent to all local doctors surgeries and care

homes and given to local residents who work

in the care industry outside the area too.

Rugeley Town Council is also supporting

Brereton Million Covid-19 Resident Support

Group and have given £500 to support the

creation of craft bags for Rugeley families with

young children. Rugeley Town Council are

applying for grant aid to further support the

work of this group in Rugeley. Thank you to

all the volunteers involved in this work.

What is the

future of


Events in our


Rugeley Town Council run several

community focussed events during the year

but by necessity, these will have to change as

we are required to keep social distancing

measures in place for some time yet. The

Town Council runs a Community Engagement

Committee which looks at community

projects and events. Have you some ideas for

events that you would like to see happen in

the town and surrounding areas? When we

can meet up again, it would be great if we

could do it in a way that celebrates the

greatness of the people of Rugeley. If you

would like to submit your ideas about possible

future projects to the council for

consideration, please email the Town Council


Rugeley is

getting ready!

From the 15th June 2020, Rugeley retailers will be

opening their doors to accept your trade. Support is

being given to our local businesses by Environmental

Health and Economic Development officers at Cannock

Chase District Council. Advice on how to prepare the

local shops for social distanced trading is being given

and we hope to see the streets of Rugeley once again

flowing with people. In order to help our traders, why

not pop some hand sanitizer into your shopping bag so

that you can keep your hands clean? Don’t forget to

wear a facemask if you are coming in by public transport.

If you are walking into town, why not bring the children and see how many rainbows

you can spot in peoples houses on your walk in?

We recently saw the reopening of the outdoor market in Rugeley. Again, officers

from Cannock Chase were on hand to offer advice and guidance to shoppers and

retailers. In July, Rugeley Town Council will once again be promoting the shop

window scheme and Totally Locally to encourage and support our local businesses.

The start of 2020 saw record numbers of local shops supporting these schemes

and it will be lovely to see retailers decorate their stores and promote their produce

in this post coronavirus world.

While you are out and about shopping, take a look at the local shops and let us

know of any great bargains and brilliant service and we will promote the shops in

coming weeks through our Facebook page. Drop us an email: or message us through our Facebook Page.

New Councillors for Rugeley

Town Council

We have two spaces for co-opted councillors on the Town Council and following

advertising of these spaces, 6 candidates came forward to be considered. The

council will be interviewing the candidates at an extraordinary council meeting on

Tuesday 23rd June. We look forward to welcoming the successful candidates at our

Annual Town Council meeting on 1st July 2020. Don’t forget that all council

meetings are now held via Zoom and are live streamed over our Facebook pages.

If you would like to ask questions of councillors and participate in the public part

of the meetings, please contact the Town Clerk who will send you the link to the



Please quote

when responding

to adverts

To Advertise

please contact


07970 513144



07740 166497








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Pre-paid funeral plans are also available.

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Ravenhill House Hospital

A Sanctuary of WWI

By Jono Oates


During the Covid-19

crisis the hospitals,

and their workers,

of Britain have provided

excellent care and devotion

for their patients, and the

‘clap-for-our carers’ and

NHS Rainbow of Hope have

become key symbols over

the last few months. Several

emergency hospitals,

named Nightingale after the

Crimean nurse Florence,

were opened this spring

and, in 1915, following the

outbreak of World War

One, a similar emergency

hospital opened in


Brereton, Rugeley: The

Ravenhill Auxiliary Military


As the casualties from the

front lines continued to

increase in 1915 many

emergency military hospitals

started to be opened across

the country and, in March

1915 Ravenhill Auxiliary

Military Hospital, on the

Lichfield to Rugeley road at

Brereton, was opened. The

house was gifted for use as a

military hospital by Darea

Curzon, 16th Baroness

Zouche, and the wife of the

Hon. Robert Curzon, Baron

Zouche, who had owned

nearby Hagley Hall.

The hospital was supervised

by Commandant Miss

Lambert, of the 14th

Staffordshire Voluntary Aid

Detachment (VAD), part of

the Red Cross nursing

scheme, and there were

initially beds for 20 patients.

As well as the house Baroness

Zouche also gifted £50, a lot

of money in those days, to

help with running costs.

In December 1915 the

patients and staff celebrated Christmas as best

they could. The wards were decorated with

holly, evergreens and flowers from the nearby

Hawkesyard Estate, and framed pictures of the

King, George V, and Queen, along with

prominent Army and Navy servicemen, were

hung in the main passage. They enjoyed a good

dinner of roast turkey and plum pudding and

in the afternoon were entertained with carols

sung by the Rugeley Parish Church Choir.

A measles outbreak closed the hospital for

four weeks in August 1917 and it re-opened in

September when the number of beds was

increased to thirty-three. Baroness Zouche

had sadly passed away in July 1917 and the

new owner was not able to help with funds, so

the hospital relied heavily on raffles and events

to help keep it going.

In August 1918 the hospital held a third

anniversary event in the grounds, for staff,

patients and guests. In the afternoon they held

a number of sporting events including an egg

and spoon race, a hat trimming contest, needle

throwing, apple bobbing and a tug-of-war

contest. The male patients’ attempts at hat

trimming generated ‘streams of laughter’ and

the tug-of-war, with 12 female nurses on one

side and SIX male patients on the other, also

generated lots of interest, especially when the

nurses won! Afterwards photographs of the

staff and patients were taken in the grounds of

the house, and it is believed that this is when

some of the photographs shown in this article

were taken.

After the war the hospital was closed down

and became a private residence again. The

building was scheduled for demolition in 1939

but continued until 1993, when it was finally

demolished after being an electronics

company which was part of the Thorn EMI


During World War One the Ravenhill

Auxiliary Military Hospital provided essential

nursing care for patients who had suffered

injuries, both physical and mental, and inspired

the local people of Rugeley in exactly the

same way that the NHS, and key workers, have

done during this current national crisis.

Sources: The British Newspaper Archive;;


A Picture of

Cannock Chase


The lockdown restrictions of Covid-19 have

meant that we haven’t been able to visit the

green spaces around Rugeley and Cannock

Chase so far this summer. This collection of old

postcards, mainly from the early 1900’s, shows

Edwardian holiday makers and visitors enjoying

the great outdoors at Seven Springs, Milford,

Little Haywood and Rugeley. Please note that

social distancing did not apply at that time! Let’s

hope that as restrictions are gradually lifted that

we can all spend more time in the wonderful

natural beauty of Cannock Chase later this

summer, guidelines allowing of course.

The Green at Milford, dated July 1907

Seven Springs at Little Haywood - undated On the Road at Milford, dated July 1908

Little Haywood, Cannock Chase - undated

Chaseley Road at Rugeley - undated


*Postcards courtesy of Jono’s Tourism.


Three Months In

By Jo Howell


“On the 12th week

of lockdown… my

Zoom call gave to me:

“12 Can you hear

me’s; 11 fuzzy

cameras; 10 noisy

backgrounds; nine

callers with no sound;

eight colleagues

yawning; seven men

not shaving; Six kids a

playing; Five……

you’re on muuuuute;

four lost connections;

three ‘You go firsts’;

two people in PJs; And an employee who doesn’t

know the day of the week!”

It’s safe to say after 12 weeks of embracing

technology more than ever, the quirks of Zoom calls

and Teams meetings are settling into the ‘new

normal’. And whether we're talking with colleagues,

hosting a family quiz or having a virtual lunch with

our friends, connecting with each other has never

been easier.

But now the lockdown is starting to lift, is going

back to the old ways of catching up going to be quite

as easy? Sitting in your favourite coffee shop might

still be a few weeks, if not months away, so is there

another way of creating the feel-good factor but

without relying on a good WIFI connection?

Drink on the Drive

Now most of us are permitted to meet up, all rules

abiding and in a socially distanced kind of way, of

course, how about inviting your friends/family for a

coffee and cake on the drive? I did this with a good

friend last weekend and with the freshly baked, and

still warm, fruit cake and two mugs of steaming hot

coffee, we wondered why we'd want to do anything

different ever again.

Picnic in the Park

It’s been years since I had a picnic but with no sign

of restaurants or pubs reopening anytime soon,

finding an alternative way to eat, drink and enjoy the

company of others has just become a little more

appealing. What can be sweeter than grabbing a

camping chair, a coolbox full of scrummy snacks, a

bottle of something cold and losing a few hours in

the local park with a few friends?

Outdoor Cinema

Now if you’re feeling really creative and you have

the know-how, creating an outdoor cinema in the

back garden has got to be one of the best ways to

enjoy your favourite film. All you need is a laptop, a

projector and a white sheet – add in the popcorn,

the blankets and a few candles and boom! Singing

along to Grease or Dirty Dancing under the summer

night sky will make you think twice about sitting in a

stuffy cinema ever again.

Of course, all of the above will work perfectly if the

weather is kind to us, but if not? Well, like everything

in the last 12 weeks, we adapt, change plans, have a

rethink and start again.

So, as we start to emerge from lockdown, take a

look at what you can do that’s familiar but different.

Introduce some old yet new habits and embrace the

new normal – I think it’s going to be here for a while.


Big Weekend Wildlife Watch


The county’s largest nature conservation

charity is calling on people of all ages to

become wildlife detectives to celebrate the 30

Days Wild Big Wild Weekend (20th – 21st June).

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is holding a Big Weekend

Wildlife Watch during the weekend of 20th and 21st

June and is asking people to head into their gardens,

local green spaces, parks or nature reserves to look

out for 30 key species across Staffordshire to help

survey the state of the county's wildlife.

The Big Wild Weekend is two days of wildlife and

nature events which take place across the country to

celebrate the half-way point of 30 Days Wild.

Through the Big Weekend Wildlife Watch, the Trust

wants people to record sightings of species, the likes

of bees, mammals and woodland birds, to paint a

picture and analyse the state of Staffordshire’s wildlife.

Those who sign up will be sent a special guide on

what to look out for and how to send in their


The Big Weekend Wildlife Watch was launched last

year and saw hundreds of people take part across


Lauren Penny, Senior Marketing Officer from the

charity, said: “For the Big Wild Weekend, in

Staffordshire, we are encouraging people to head

outside and get involved in our exciting Big Weekend

Wildlife Watch survey.

“Many species are threatened and we need to act to

put nature into recovery before it is too late.

“By recording species for our Big Weekend Wildlife

Watch you will be helping us analyse the state of

Staffordshire's wildlife. Once numbers have been

collated, we can start to see which species aren't

doing so well and therefore make extra efforts to help

these species.

“We have chosen 30 species but if people see other

wildlife not listed, we’d also be interested in those

records too.”

Anyone interested in signing up to the Trust’s Big

Weekend Wildlife Watch can do so by signing up at

Anyone who wishes to sign up for 30 Days Wild can

do so via



The Drowning of Sir William

Wolseley in 1728

By Landor (local history) Society member Ken Edwards


In the Rugeley area, floods and fires were of

frequent occurrence. On one occasion an

extraordinary occurrence at Longdon,

mentioned here, caused the death of Sir William

Wolseley, 3rd Bart.

Sir William was a great traveller, and on one

occasion he brought four beautiful Arab mares back

to England from Persia. In Persia he had had his

fortune told to the effect, that as a punishment for

having consulted a fortune-teller, he and his four

mares should be drowned together. To avoid this

calamity he sent his mares home in one ship while he

followed in another.

Some years after, while living at Wolseley Hall, he

invited the Rector of Colwich to accompany him to

Lichfield and dine there, but the Rector excused

himself on account of a dream his wife had had the

night before.

Wolseley Hall

Sir William accordingly went to Lichfield by himself

and was returning about 8pm on 6th July 1728 in the

midst of a great storm. He reached the little brook at

Longdon (Shropshire Brook) and at that instant the

increase of water in the brook caused by the

thunderstorm burst the mill dam, and a great flood of

water came down carrying horses and carriage with

Sir William down the stream and drowning them. The

coachman’s life was saved by means of an overhanging

tree which he clung to.

One hundred years or so later one of the plates of

the hammer-cloth was dug up near the spot and

taken to Wolseley Hall.

Sir William was buried at Colwich St Michael’s

Church on the 9th July 1728.

These notes were taken from an article written by

George Marmaduke Cockin and from Colwich Parish


Staffordshire's Hidden Gem


Rodbaston Hall complete with its beautifully landscaped gardens is the perfect backdrop to enjoy

your special day. Located within the Staffordshire countryside, Rodbaston Hall has earnt its

name as Staffordshire’s hidden gem. Inside, our elegant banqueting suites provide the perfect space

for you to dine and dance with your closest family and friends. As the perfect day turns to dusk and

the moonlight begins to fall on the 19th Century building, the twinkle of the outdoor lights glow,

creating an atmosphere that is truly magical.

We pride ourselves on exclusively. This means that when booking Rodbaston Hall, your price will

include exclusive hire of the entire venue. You and your guests will have access to lakeside views

amongst the gardens, outside furniture on the lawn, sound system, TV screens, bar and free parking.

Our banqueting suites can accommodate 120 daytime guests and 175 evening guests, you will also

enjoy a bespoke service led by a dedicated wedding coordinator to help you every step of the way.

Venue hire prices start from as little as £2500, so to start your journey, why not contact our

Wedding and Events team today for more information,


Cannock Soroptimists

By Trish Mellor


Over the past weeks Cannock Soroptimists

have been collecting and delivering hand

and face creams to local Hospitals and care

Homes. The creams ease the suffering

experienced by staff wearing PPE. Donations

have come from Soroptimists themselves, their

friends, families and neighbours. Altogether

almost 700 units of creams and other toiletries

were very generously donated and have been

delivered – wonderful!


Amongst the donations were items such as soap,

shampoo, shower gel which weren’t needed by

hospitals and care Homes. A phone call to Cannock

Food Bank confirmed that they could definitely make

use of them – and so two boxes full were delivered

to the Food Bank. The member of staff who received

them said how extremely grateful they were – it

appears that they are desperately short of toiletries

and cleaning materials.

Soroptimists received a request from Fairoak Ward

at Cannock Hospital – did we make fabric masks? It

appears that staff need to wear them when not on

duty to ensure the safety of others around them but

working such long hours means they don’t have the

time to make them. So President Trish Smith and

member Pat Stanley led the charge and they, along

with two other members, took to their sewing

machines with a further member covering the wires

needed for the bridge over the nose. Enough masks

for all staff were delivered and the staff have

confirmed that the masks are extremely comfortable

to wear. No doubt they enjoyed choosing which

colour and pattern they would each have!

Further details are available on the club’s website at, its Facebook

page, or on twitter


Summer Solstice


Despite the recent restrictions imposed by

lockdown, it may seem as if we have already

experienced the longest day of the year yet, rest

assured, it is still to come! Meanwhile, the glorious

weather that we have experienced throughout May, may

have also led us to believe that summer is underway,

however the astronomical season does not actually begin

until later this month. Charlotte Benton explains the

longest day in the shortest way!

The longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere

takes place between the 20th -22nd June annually, this is

what is known as the Summer Solstice. This year the

solstice will take place from sunset on Saturday 20th June,

until sunrise on Sunday 21st June and the UK will enjoy a

whole 16 hours and 38 minutes of sunlight on the 20th

June. The sun is due to set at 21:26 before it rises again on

Sunday 21st at 4:52. This is what marks the beginning of

the astronomical summer.

So, you may be wondering what happens during the


The Summer Solstice occurs when the tilt of Earth's axis

is most inclined towards the sun and is directly above the

Tropic of Cancer. The solstice at this time of year signals

the moment the sun's path stops moving northward in the

sky, hence marking the beginning of the days becoming

steadily shorter as we approach the winter months. Not

only do we mark the Summer Solstice, but there is also a

Winter Solstice in which fewer hours of daylight are

experienced as a result of the Earth’s axis being tilted

furthest away from the sun, directly over the Tropic of


In order to mark the occasion, traditionally crowds will

gather at Stonehenge in Avebury, Wiltshire, to celebrate.

The sarsen stones that were placed at Stonehenge in

about 2500BC are carefully placed at the centre of the site

and are designed to line up with the movements of the

sun. Only on this day, once a year, does the rising sun reach

the middle of the stones when it shines on the central

altar. The entire layout of Stonehenge is in accordance

with the extreme limits of the sun’s movement; the

solstices. The summer solstice is a rare occasion when

English Heritage allows the public to access the stones.

Sadly this year, the thousands of tourists who usually

gather at Stonehenge and wait for the sun to appear will

not be present to greet the moment dawn breaks.

Unfortunately, English Heritage has been forced to cancel

this year’s event as a result of the pandemic. Instead, the

sun rise will be live-streamed for everyone to enjoy on the

English Heritage social media channels, alongside a later

broadcast that will feature experts and historians

discussing the symbolism of the solstice.

This year a virtual summer solstice festival will be taking

place online in order to celebrate the official beginning of

summer. To ensure the longest day of the year does not go

unnoticed, you can get involved and experience this year’s

summer solstice at

Be sure to set your alarm clocks, this is a sunrise that

you do not want to miss!



The Hermit of the Woods

By Landor (local history) Society member Ken Edwards


IIn the middle of the 18th century a man called Dick Slee

worked as a Labourer on the Shugborough Estate in the

service of Lord Anson, he was very much a loner. One day

he asked his master if he could retire and live on the Chase

where he would build himself a home. Lord Anson agreed

and Dick set about building a hut on the side of Marquis

Drive in the Sherbrook Valley, just below his chosen site was

a small spring. He carried a few bricks each day to his

selected site and then built a turf hut on the brick

foundations. He planted a small garden and a few trees, the

villagers sent their children with small gifts of food and he

settled into his new way of life (some reports say he was

jilted by his cousin and became a hermit due to a broken


Dick was often seen to roam around the Chase wearing a long

brown coat that reached down below his knees and would also

sit for hours outside his hut. He became known as the Hermit of

the Woods, and people said he had uncanny powers.

He made a pet of a hare, which he named Bess - she became

very tame and remained with Dick near to his hut. Lord Anson

instructed his huntsmen not to allow the hounds to chase Dick’s

Garden Shed Auction Raises

Funds for NHS


Acharity auction broadcast from a garden shed in

lockdown by TV personality Charles Hanson has raised

£38,000 for the NHS.

Charles, an auctioneer based in Derby, antiques expert and

familiar face on BBC Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip,

decided he just had to do something to help health workers and

patients battle Covid-19.

He came up with the idea of running an online auction from

his garden shed for the NHS and in

less than a week sourced more than

50 lots from members of the public

and celebrities including Drew

Pritchard from TV’s Salvage Hunters.

The sale made a final total of

£29,270. That figure was enhanced by

public donations on a Just Giving page

set up to support the sale, plus a

decision by Drew Pritchard to double

his lot offer of a day our salvage

hare and to keep them

away from his hut, but

one day a mistake was

made and the hare was

killed. Dick buried his

friend and became

very depressed and

failed to look after

himself. Dick was

reported to have said

that “she was my sole

companion and silent


Finally the Parish

Cannock Chase near to

Dick Slee’s Cave

Photo courtesy of William Ives

authorities thought it advisable to put him in the Rugeley

Workhouse, where Dick later died. After Dick moved to the

Workhouse his hut was vandalised and only a few bricks

remained to mark the spot where he lived, later maps show the

place and often call it Dick Slee’s cave.

A Richard Sleigh was buried at St Augustine’s Church on the

6th April 1797.

shopping. Every penny has been donated to Derby and Burton

Hospitals Charity Covid-19 Appeal.

The top selling lot was a day out salvage/antique shopping with

Drew Prichard which was contested to £3,700. His iconic cap

brought in another £480. Post-auction, Drew decided to offer a

second day out with him to an under bidder which meant his

lots alone raised £8,000.

Hounds &

Hastings at Hoar


By Jono Oates


Situated 10 miles from Lichfield is the former stately home of

Hoar Cross Hall, now a residential resort spa, but previously

home to many generations of the Meynell-Ingram family.

The land on which the hall was built was part of the Needwood

Forest and in the 11th century belonged to Henry De Ferrers, who

owned land throughout the country following the Norman

conquest. In 1740 the Hon. Charles Talbot, a relative of the Earl of

Shrewsbury, bought the estate and it was then sold to Hugo

Meynell, another major land owner and politician. He was one of the

two MPs who represented Lichfield in Parliament in 1762. The

Meynell family claimed that their family line could be traced back to

Hugo de Grand Mesnil who was one of the few known companions

of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings and was, again, a

significant landowner.

Hugo Meynell was a noted fox hunter and developed a breed of

hound that was quicker, fitter and had a better sense of smell than

earlier breeds. He was Master of the Fox Hounds of the Quorn

Hunt in Leicestershire and is often considered to have been the

father of modern fox hunting. Hugo married Elizabeth Ingram-

Shepherd, daughter of Charles Ingram and their son, also Hugo, was

the first to be given the surname of Meynell-Ingram.

Their grandson, yet another Hugo, married Emily Charlotte

Wood, the daughter of Sir Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax and

they oversaw the construction of the current hall, which was

completed in 1871 after 10 years of building work. It was designed

by the English architect Henry Clutton and was modelled on the

design of Temple Newsam, the stately home of the Ingram family in

Yorkshire. Several months before the building had been finished

Hugo Maynell-Ingram had fallen from his hunting horse and, just a

few months after the family had

moved in, he passed away. His widow,

Emily Charlotte, remained in

residence at the family home, and

arranged for a church to be built

alongside the hall, the Church of the

Holy Angels. The church, built in her

late husband’s memory, was

completed in 1876.

The couple had no children so,

when Emily died in 1904, her brother

Fredrick Wood, who had been living

with her at Hoar Cross since Hugo

had died, took the surname of

Meynell-Ingram to continue the

family name. In 1953 the last Meynell-

Ingram to live at the hall, yet another Hugo, and his family, moved to a

smaller residence at nearby Newborough and the hall’s long association

with the Meynell-Ingram’s came to an end.

In 1970 William and Gwynyth Bickerton-Jones bought the hall and

restored it before selling to businessman Stephen Joynes MBE, who

turned it into a luxury spa hotel which saw many famous celebrity faces

over the years attending to get their relaxation fix. Just last year, the

resplendent hall was sold once again following Sir Joynes’ retirement

and is now part of the Baron’s Eden Hotel group.

Sources:; by Viv Wilson (nee Bickerton-Jones);



Garden Revamp!


With a lot of us being furloughed or

working from home, coupled with the

exceptional weather we are

experiencing, means one thing… plenty of time in

the garden! And with a little extra time on our

hands, what better way to spend it than by

revamping your beautiful outdoor space? We’ve

got a few ways you can inexpensively transform

your garden into an alfresco paradise!

1) Add some colour

It’s a quite fix that brings instant colour and

life to a garden. If you have soil borders you

can purchase some beautiful shrubs and

bedding plants from your local garden centre

(as most are now open to the public again). If

you don’t have any flower beds, pots, tubs and

hanging baskets are a great way to add


2) Comfortable living

If you’re planning on spending more time

relaxing in your garden, then it could be time

to chuck out the tired, worn plastic table and

chairs that you’ve had for years! There are

some really nice and affordably priced bistro

and patio sets on the market at the moment,

with corner rattan sets being a particularly hot

trend this summer. Choose muted neutral

shades of grey or cream to add a touch of

Mediterranean sophistication to your living


3) A lick of paint

There is nothing that smartens up a garden

more quickly than a paint job! Fence panels

and sheds will benefit greatly from a coat or

two of protection and it gives your garden an

instant fresh feel. There’s plenty of colours to

choose from – you can keep it traditional by

opting for a dark brown stain, but why not try

the latest look which is a charcoal grey? Or

you could even opt for something a little more

flamboyant such as a deep purple or green!

4) Water water everywhere!

A water feature not only looks great, but it

provides a gentle trickle reminiscent of lying by

a woodland spring and soaking up the

sunshine! If you’re thinking it’s too much hassle

to install a water feature, you’d be wrong!


Nowadays they require no plumbing or

water supply as many are solar powered and

simply run in the sun! They’re quick and easy

to set up and require little to no maintenance

at all.

5) Outdoor dining

We all love a barbecue – there’s something

about cooking in the great outdoors that

really gets us feeling at one with nature. And

now is the perfect time to think about

investing in a good, sturdy ‘barbie’ to see you

through the hot, long summer we’re surely

expecting! There’s a range of options, from

the less-expensive coal-fired kettle

barbecues, to gas-powered monsters, or why

not even get creative and design your own

brick-built barbecue/pizza oven? Family

mealtimes will never be the same again!


Advertising Feature

Alfresco Living!


Get the look with these fantastic

outdoor items, all available from

Tippers, Europa Way, Lichfield.

Weber Smokefire EX6 GBS Wood Fired Pellet Grill, priced at

£1,449 inc VAT.

With a large area of dual cooking space, this BBQ is designed to

distribute heat evenly across the cooking area. Searing as well as

smoking the unique Weber porcelain enamel finish helps prevent

cracking and rusting!

Weber Smokey Joe Premium, priced at £72.99 inc VAT.

With superb cooking ability, as well as the ultimate in

portability, this unique take on the traditional kettle

barbecue is the perfect companion to those long summer

days out!

Anglia Range in Blanco 605mm x 605mm, priced at £39.85 per m2 inc VAT.

This stylish paving is perfect for revamping your patio or outdoor space and creating

something truly unique.


Animal Rescue



We are a group of friends who love animals, we

would love to help rescue and rehome those in

need but we don't have any facility to take them

in ourselves so we decided to support the small and local

rescue groups who do have facilities instead. (And a few

larger ones that are close to our hearts too.) 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.

This year, we had great plans to hold lots of fundraising

events but sadly with the situation we all find ourselves in

we have had to cancel them for the foreseeable future.

Coronavirus has had such a devastating impact on everyone,

sadly, the sick, abandoned, homeless and injured animals are

suffering too.

They need our help and we are determined to continue to

help them in any way we can, so 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 groups.

Since lockdown started to ease, we have been selling

books outside our houses to people taking their daily

exercise and now we have items for sale online on our

Facebook page (Animal Rescue Volunteers).

Our first virtual Summer Fayre event will be online

Saturday 4th July between 11am and 8pm. This is an

opportunity to buy from the animal rescues themselves,

knowing that your money will be directly helping animals in

need. Each rescue will post their own information and items

to sell, details on animals that are looking for a home and

other ways they need help. A few trade stalls will be joining

us on the day, they too have donated money for their stall

direct to the rescues. We are taking no money from the

event – all profits will be distributed directly to the rescues.

Please see the Facebook event on our page for full details

and please join in with your support on the day.

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

Harley's Hounds

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


Midlands Air Ambulance Charity

Appeals For ‘Virtual’ Supporters




Air Ambulance Charity is recruiting people in

Staffordshire to become ‘virtual’ supporters to help support

its lifesaving cause.

The charity relies on donations from the six regional

communities it serves to fund its daily lifesaving operations.

However the organisation also depends on its dedicated team of

volunteers and supporters to assist with fundraising activity,

ranging from hosting events and staffing charity shops to attending

networking sessions, providing talks and receiving cheque


Due to the continuing restrictions resulting from the COVID-

19 pandemic, this has meant many of the typical ways people

support the charity are temporarily no longer possible. As such,

the charity has moved its fundraising efforts online and is

appealing for ‘virtual’ volunteers and supporters.

Midlands Air Ambulance Charity volunteers have become

‘Virtual Volunteers’ and are undertaking Zoom charity talks, and

virtual cheque presentations. Meanwhile, the public are being

asked to get involved too. There are many ways you can raise

awareness of its vitally important lifesaving service. As a virtual

supporter, you can:

Take part in online initiatives: For example, the virtual Tatenhill

Airbase Open Day, taking place on Sunday 28th June.

Get involved on social media: Make sure you like Midlands Air

Ambulance Charity on Facebook and follow the organisation on

Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and encourage family and friends

to do the same. Also, share and like any posts to help spread the

word about its rapid response service.




o LinkedIn

Website support: For those not on social media, keeping up-todate

with the charity news on its website is a great way to show

your virtual support –

If you happen to live on the flight path and see the charity’s

helicopters flying over regularly, you could take pictures (where

safe and legal to do so) of the aircraft and share them with the

charity via social media

Simply join our mailing list – to receive the free Take Off

magazine and sign up to our regular update emails – email to sign up

Alison Hill, donor support and volunteer manager for Midlands

Air Ambulance Charity, said: “Throughout the COVID-19

pandemic, we have been keeping in regular contact with the

volunteers that support us by calling them and checking in with


“While many of our volunteers are still able to support us

during these unprecedented times, it would be beneficial to our

lifesaving cause to see more virtual engagement with our online

fundraising initiatives.”

Find out more about Midlands Air Ambulance Charity at and follow the organisation on social



Re opening

Wed 17th



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