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
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
22 Three Months In
Jo Howell on how she's surviving in
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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!
Wins Queen’s Award
The Friends of Hednesford Park have this
week received the Queen’s Award for
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
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.
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
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
email@example.com or visit
CHAPS Hopes to Keep
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
Thank you from Ruth and Pauline.
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
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
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 www.richardwinterton.co.uk, telephone 01543 251081
and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 https://firststory.org.uk/writeday/.
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”
Cutie of the
Fast asleep is Leah Hemmings' 16 week old
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 email@example.com
(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.
Rugeley Town Council
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
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
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:
firstname.lastname@example.org or message us through our Facebook Page.
New Councillors for Rugeley
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
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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
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
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
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
callers with no sound;
yawning; seven men
not shaving; Six kids a
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
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?
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
“We have chosen 30 species but if people see other
wildlife not listed, we’d also be interested in those
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 www.wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWild.
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
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, email@example.com.
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
www.sigbi.org/cannock-and-district, its Facebook
page www.facebook.com/SICannock, or on twitter
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.
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
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.
www.growingupinastatelyhome.uk/blog by Viv Wilson (nee Bickerton-Jones);
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
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!
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
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.
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
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
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.
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 – midlandsairambulance.com
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Find out more about Midlands Air Ambulance Charity at
midlandsairambulance.com and follow the organisation on social