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 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 email@example.com
12 A Window on the Past
A look at the history of Rugeley Guides
16 The Disappearance of Handsacre Hall
Jono Oates takes us back in time
24 Simply Pawfect!
The best local places to board, walk and
groom your furry friends
30 Tastes of the Season
Simon Smith cooks up an alfresco treat
Steve Brown 07740 166497 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Hill 07970 513144 email@example.com
Production Design - 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
Notice of Correction
Citylife in Lichfield Ltd wishes to point out that an advertorial item on page 21 of the
December 2020/January 2021 issue of Citylife in Rugeley & Cannock Chase omitted the
declaration of 'advertising feature.' The publication of any advertisement, editorial, event
listing or advertising editorial does not constitute an endorsement by Citylife in Lichfield Ltd.
By Jill Gooch
April is our Annual
Meeting month where
the new committee was
voted in and outgoing
President, Di Jones,
welcomed in the new
President, Meena Khiroya.
The Annual Competition
winner was Janis Lomas
who was presented with
the Eileen Boden Badge, a
certificate and £10. The
Surprise Raffle prize will
Presentation of a Bay Tree to
outgoing President Diana Jones
by committee members
be delivered by Clare, to include a socially distanced
and protected doorstep chat.
It is also time to reflect on the year’s events and report
back to members. So, under President Di’s calming, caring,
and competent leadership; and with the guaranteed
support of a wonderfully committed committee who
have responded to lockdown challenges it is amazing just
how much we have managed to achieve.
We have been pro-active, inclusive, acted on
suggestions from members, engaged individuals to share
their skills in competitions, responded to appeals for PPE
and embraced the ideals of the wider WI community with
‘Show the Love’ campaign. With a weekly Zoom Chat
Room, and regular Newsletter’s sharing members stories,
we hope members feel that the committee has kept them
informed, offered friendship, provided opportunities to
make new friends, participate and socialise, despite Covid
restrictions. If so, then the committee have had a
successful year, ensuring a vibrant, inclusive and
interactive Club that have kept abreast of challenging
To thank members for renewing their membership the
committee put together a “Meeting in a Bag” containing
gifts of a cake, chocolate egg, free invitation to an
Afternoon Tea, raffle ticket, bookmark and lots of
information. Six of us met at Shoal Hill to share out the
items into goody bags. But it was also a good excuse to
have cake and a flask of coffee. Then it was off to do
doorstep deliveries to delighted members.
Our W.I. meetings are on the second Thursday of the
month 10.30am at St Luke’s Church Centre, Cannock.
Visitors are always welcome to come and join us for
refreshments and a chat- but not for a while – wait for
the ‘all clear’! Follow us on Facebook for updates. You are
also welcomed to join by Zoom: get in touch!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook
Local resident Dave Edwards sent in these two
fantastic photographs he took of an old bridge
at High Fall on Sant’s Brook. The brook runs
alongside the Heritage Trail from Hagley Field
to The Horn’s Pool, located just behind The
Horns Inn, Slitting Mill.
The art auction took place on Facebook, with a
page dedicated to the auction of the 45 items
already donated. The pieces ranged from art
created by students to pieces of art donated by
The auction ran from Monday 15th March at
9am until Sunday 18th April at 4pm.
Bird's Eye View of
of the plans.
The new trails will also be used as a venue for
the mountain bike races during the Birmingham
2022 Commonwealth Games.
Staffordshire County Council has provided
£50,000 towards the costs of the project.
Local School Holds
Online Charity Art
Chase Grammar School students got creative
with their fundraising plans this year through
holding an online charity auction in aid of two
charities: Mind UK and Cancer Research UK.
Each year, students at the school pick two
charities to support, engaging in a wide range of
fundraising activities across the year. This year,
students and staff have had to think even more
creatively whilst continuing to raise money
Students had already begun fundraising, taking
part in a range of socially-distanced activities
including online quizzes, fitness challenges and
Citylife reader, Simon Wilberforce, sent in this
fantastic image of Abbots Bromley from the air!
Have you snapped an image of the local area
you wish to share? Send it to
email@example.com for consideration in
the next issue of Citylife.
New Biking Trails to
Cllr Victoria Wilson with Gary Kelsey, Forest Centre
Manager for Cannock Chase Forest, and Richard
Scott, District Civil Engineer for Forestry England.
New mountain biking trails being built on
Cannock Chase Forest will boost the local
tourism economy and help more people stay
The project, being developed by Forestry
England, will see the construction of a highquality
off-road mountain bike trail. A family
bike play facility and a new regional centre of
excellence for safe, off-road cycling are also part
A local lady donned her walking boots and
raised more than £300 by walking for charity.
Tina Hart Prieto, of Lichfield-based business
Capture 24 Photography, recently undertook
the 10,000 steps a day challenge in February in
aid of the charity Brain Tumour Research.
This involved walking a total of 10,000 steps
each and every day throughout February, and
Tina enjoyed strolls across Cannock Chase, as
well as walks in her hometown of Lichfield.
Tina set out to raise money for the cause
following her friend’s diagnosis of inoperable
brain tumours in 2018 and, although she took
on the challenge by herself, there were many
others across the country who decided to walk
Brain Tumour Research.
Throughout the month, Tina covered a total of
325,062 steps and raised a total of £315.
Congratulations to S Woods and
S Prince who both receive a
copy of Kim Nash's latest novel,
Moonlight Over Muddleford
Does Your Garden
Need Some Love?
Billy’s Borders is
run by Debbie, a lady
gardener who offers
fully insured garden
services and is
certified by the Royal
Her services include
weeding, pruning and
planting - but that’s
not all! You can also have your garden designed and planned
out to suit your needs and requirements by Debbie,
whether it’s redesigning a new garden, having a revamp, or
trying to find ways to attract more wildlife.
Debbie is a local self-employed gardener with a passion
for all things horticultural and can assist in making your
shrubs shapely, your borders beautiful and your lawn feel
loved again. Available as a regular service, or one-off tidying
and planting job, Debbie’s reasonable rates have something
to suit all budgets.
Billy, her beloved canine companion, doesn't actively join
in with the work but provides valuable back up and final
inspection if required!
So if your garden is in need of a little TLC this year, give
Debbie (and Billy!) a call on 07760 296192 or visit Billy’s
Border Control on Facebook and see how this dynamic duo
can help you!
Local Beauty Spots
Cannock Chase and Chasewater Country
Park are set to receive £450,000 funding to
improve and develop facilities, enhance the
visitor experience and increase tourism to the
The funding comes after Staffordshire
County Council allocated funding from the EU’s
European Agricultural Fund for Rural
Development and committed money raised
from car parking fees at the two local parks.
Lichfield District Council is also contributing
towards improvements at Chasewater Country
Amongst the developments, there will be new
areas for children to play plus exciting new
walking, path improvements and upgrades to
the visitors’ centres.
The country parks will also see new
interpretation panels, multi-media displays
inside the visitors’ centres and a new walking
route linking the two.
Cannock Chase Can will
launch across the District
this summer to help
people improve their lives
by making healthy lifestyle
The Council is working
closely with the
team at Inspiring Healthy
Lifestyles (IHL) and other
partners to launch this
Impression of how
the app will look
on a mobile
exciting new programme which will focus local
efforts on supporting the Government’s Child
Obesity Action Plan. It will help address poor
health and obesity by changing behaviour and
attitudes towards better lifestyle options.
The focal point for the programme will be the
new Cannock Chase Can mobile app which will
enable residents to sign up and create personal
profiles including target weight, personal goals,
and individual wellness journeys.
It will also provide information about healthy
eating, physical activity, and advice about how to
make healthier lifestyle choices. It will host a
variety of wellness challenges which can be
undertaken as an individual, group or family.
If you would like further information about this
Grant for Local
The Museum of Cannock Chase
Cultural Services in Cannock Chase have been
given a financial ‘lifeline’ from the second round
of the £1.57 billion Government’s Culture
Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, which manages the
Prince of Wales Theatre, Museum of Cannock
Chase and Arts Outreach service, has been
awarded £174,930 of funding to support
reopening and recovery. Inspiring Healthy
Lifestyles is among more than 2,700 recipients
to benefit from this latest round of awards.
The funding will allow the Prince of Wales
Theatre to welcome audiences back for socially
distanced shows with details, soon to be
announced, of local amateur group
performances in June. The Museum of Cannock
Chase plans to reopen its doors on 20th May, in
line with Government guidance, with family
activities to do on site each Saturday, as well as
a programme of workshops and outdoor trails.
Tribute to Son
A local artist, based in Colton and specialising in
female figurative oil paintings, has chosen to
rebrand his artwork and his company as a
lasting legacy of his late son, who passed away at
the age of 34 in August 2020.
Now known as Sterling Lee Fine Art, a new
website has recently been built reflecting this
rebrand and is the ideal place for visitors to find
out more about the artist as well as purchase
high-quality, original pieces.
The company is open to commissions and
offers worldwide postage. It is also a supporter
of charities Cardiac Risk in the Young and the
Visit www.sterlingleefineart.com to find out
Our very own feature writer, and local
historian, Jono Oates took part in the March
the Month campaign to raise money for charity.
Jono, of Jono’s Tourism, Lichfield, participated in
the walking challenge, which saw him covering a
minimum of 11,000 steps every day throughout
the month of March, on behalf of Prostate
Cancer Research UK.
Over the 31 days of March, Jono walked a total
of 375,245 steps and raised more than £800 for
A Mouseman dining table and chairs.
Tom Winterton setting up the annual
By Tom Winterton
Setting up your own home is one of life’s defining moments.
Securing your own space, your own floors, walls and doors for the first
time expands and redefines the old saying ‘home sweet home’.
But it also usually provides the new occupant with the ultimate blank
canvas – and that can be just as exciting or daunting whether they’re a
first-time buyer, renting anew or a serial doer-upper, repeatedly
renovating and moving in a perpetual quest for property perfection.
From painting or papering the walls to prepping the floors, there’s
always so much to do. And we haven’t even talked about the garden!
Putting one’s own stamp on a new abode can be incredibly exciting –
and financially frustrating.
Yet there is a wonderful world of furniture widely available at auction,
spelling both tremendous variety and affordability, with reasonable prices
to suit all pockets.
Plenty of antiques of course, but also mid-century design classics in
teak, up-to-the-minute modern oak and retro statement pieces.
Our furniture department is an ever-revolving Aladdin’s cave of home
and interior inspirations.
From Victorian dressers to designer dining suites, modern light oak to
much-loved mahogany, vintage vinyl settees and leather sofas to 18th
century stools, marble-topped tables to metalwork chairs, all rooms are
There’s also plenty of scope for upcycling too, reusing resources and
breathing new life into well-loved but now rather ‘distressed’ items
through restoration and renovation.
In fact, the whole concept of the wonderful world of auctions sits bang
on trend with the ethos of recycling.
The quantity and quality of furniture we catalogue never ceases to
From 1960s and 1970s designs, with its signature clean lines by wellknown
names such as Robin Day for Hille, John and Sylvia Reid, Ib Kofod-
Larsen, McIntosh and G Plan to high quality modern reproduction style
furniture such as that crafted by Titchmarsh and Goodwin, it is, as they
say, all there.
Auctions are great place to pick up superb desks and that perfect
office chair, plus other practical equipment, if you’re working from home
rather more these days.
And of course we all have a soft spot for the fine art furniture, which
just makes you go ‘wow’ when you check out the level of work and
Modern light oak furniture
such as this sideboard comes up
regularly at auction.
This oxblood leather
armchair sold at auction for
Even ultra-modern homes can accommodate carefully chosen period
antiques from Georgian through to Victorian and Edwardian times.
Just with personal interior design taste, everyone has their favourite.
It goes a little further than furniture, too – wave goodbye to those
blank walls and choose from a huge selection of pictures ranging from
original oils and limited edition prints to vintage posters and decorative
Whatever your vibe or colour scheme, you can find a unique piece at
auction which will make you smile every time you look at it.
Mirrors of all shapes and sizes and superb quality rugs can be picked
up reasonably at auction along with other home furnishings such as
vases, dinner services and canteens of cutlery.
In fact, pretty much anything you would find in someone’s home is
being sold at auction nowadays.
It’s a clean sweep which even covers the bathroom – one of our
auctions last month included an array of boxed vanity units, basins, taps,
sinks, shower trays and doors, panels, toilets, a roll top bath and lighting
We won’t be leaving out the kitchen either – we sell white goods of
all shapes and sizes, often in superb condition, including fridges, freezers,
tumble driers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and power tools along
with other electricals such as televisions, vintage record players and
modern hi-fi sound systems.
And we PAT test them all.
It’s perfectly possible to pick up a nearly new Samsung, LG or Sony
LED TV at auction for just £100.
As we’re talking entertainment, the furniture department also handles
pianos from the most prestigious grand to homely uprights.
Recent sales have featured table football, bagatelle boards and a
brilliant foldaway bar billiards; a full-size billiards table sold earlier this
year and we’ve handled games tables incorporating chess, backgammon
and even a roulette wheel.
As this magazine was going to press our current auction included an
ingenious convertible pool/dining table – which allows players to have
their cake and eat it! – and even a couple of rocking horses.
And still we haven’t even talked about the garden!
Let’s step through our imaginary conservatory – yes, we handle all the
furniture you need for in there, too! – and survey the outdoors.
From maintenance of your lawn and borders to decorating the patio,
you can access it all at auction.
We feature outdoor items throughout the year in addition to an
annual spring sale dedicated to the garden.
Our latest Garden Sale included more than 20 lawnmowers, benches,
garden tables and chairs, statues, stoneware, ladders, tools – even
So auctions really do have it all, from antiques to apiaries.
After all, there’s nothing like home sweet home!
For furniture enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For
bidding, auction and house clearance enquiries, email
email@example.com or telephone 01543 251081. For
upcoming sale dates, check www.richardwinterton.co.uk.
A Window on the Past
In March 1918 a group of people met to form the first
local Guide Association. Guiders were trained for the 1st
and 2nd Rugeley companies and the first Rugeley Guides
were enrolled just seven months later. Among those first
guides was Dora Harris (soon to be followed by her
younger sister, Cecile). Dora went on to become Captain
of the 2nd Rugeley Company and later District Secretary.
In 1942 they started fundraising for a building of their own
and in 1954 the new District Headquarters in Brewery
Street was opened. This was later replaced by a building in
1. The 2nd Company Rugeley Girl Guides Patrol that won
the Stafford Division Guides Cup in June 1925. Dora Harris
holds the Cup.
2. The Misses Sylvia, Dora and Cecile Harris in 1986. All
three sisters were founder members of the Trefoil Guild in
1955. Sylvia had been Rugeley Scouts Cubmaster for 10
years from 1916.
3. Programme for the 1959 pantomime performed by the
Rugeley Grammar School Girl Guide and Sea Scout groups.
4. Sixty trees were planted in Elmore Park and Western
Springs Road in 1960 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee
of Guiding. Fourteen of them were planted as a tribute from
the Rugeley Girl Guides to the Girl Scouts of Western
The Landor (local
history) Society is a focus
for those who wish to
learn more about the
history of Rugeley and its
surrounding parishes. It
was founded in 1953 and
was named in honour of
Walter Noble Landor,
local and county
historian, who became the
Society’s first President.
More information is
available at www.landorlocalhistorysocietyrugeley.btck.co.uk
to the email
Win a Granite Chopping Board
If you require our services please do not hesitate
to call us on 01785 711096 or email your quote
request to firstname.lastname@example.org
With the largest variety of natural stones in the Midlands, the
solid slabs are kept on-site and are available for a virtual viewing
from 9am-5pm on Monday to Friday. Located at The Stone
Works, Pillaton Hall Farm, Penkridge, ST19 5RZ.
We’ve got a bespoke Chopping Board (in the
colour of your choice) to give away! To be in
with a chance of winning this magnificent prize,
simply answer the following question correctly:
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Our showroom and stock barn is now fully open to our customers. You're welcome to call us on 01785 711096, or
email email@example.com, to arrange your visit. This will allow us the time to fully show you around and for
you to take in the varied materials and textures available.
Appointment times available are between 9am-5pm on weekdays and 9am-12pm on Saturday.
We are all really looking forward to seeing you again and getting back to normal as safely as possible!
Where does the supply
of granite come from?
To enter, just send your name, contact details and answer to Just
Granite Competition at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your
entry to Citylife in Lichfield Ltd, PO Box 7126, Lichfield WS14 4JS by
the closing date of 23rd June 2021. One entry per household.
Multiple entries will be disqualified. No cash equivalent. Please note
you must be 18 or over to enter. All entrants’ information is
processed in line with GDPR Data Protection Regulations and our
Full t&cs on page 34.
Designer Outlet’s Long-
The highly-anticipated McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West
Midlands opened its doors to customers at 10am on Monday
12th April, providing shoppers across the UK with one of the
country’s finest open-air retail and leisure experiences. Located in
Cannock, the £160 million centre offers up to 80 iconic brands in
its first phase, with year-round savings of up to 60 per cent.
Underlining the centre’s excellent fashion credentials is a collection of
sought-after international names, including Coach, Kate Spade, Hugo
Boss, Levi’s, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Calvin Klein, Ted Baker, Reiss,
Kurt Geiger, Gant, Radley and Joules, all set in an exceptionally designed
Completing the line-up of leading sportswear and athleisure brands
are Adidas, Under Armour and Skechers, while Starbucks and Five Guys
are the first much-loved food and beverage brands to open, with their
restaurants overlooking the Mill Green Nature Reserve. Shoppers can
also look forward to a host of exciting arrivals in the coming weeks,
including the openings of Nike, Wagamama and Asics.
To ensure that all customers enjoy a memorable day out when visiting,
the centre features a one-of-a-kind children’s adventure playground
that’s adjacent to the nature reserve, as well as luxury guest amenities,
a dancing fountain, a bespoke sculpture and a Changing Places facility.
Commenting on the opening, Centre Manger, Mike Thomas, said:
“We’re open! It’s been a long time coming, but we’re up and running, and
we are thrilled to welcome visitors from the local community, the
region and even further afield. The pandemic has affected every aspect
of life, so I’m delighted to be here today, seeing people start their new
jobs, seeing visitors safely shopping and enjoying a day out, and seeing
the start of what is going to be a shopping and leisure destination that
provides our customers with one of the finest retail experiences
To create a greener, more sustainable retail destination for customers
to enjoy, the centre includes around 400 newly planted trees, along with
solar panels, on-site beehives, a wormery, electric car charging points
and bicycle parking. It also provides direct access to the adjacent nature
reserve and its network of footpaths, encouraging local shoppers to visit
The centre is Bureau Veritas Safeguard Covid-19 certified, with a wide
range of health and safety measures in place to keep customers safe and
enhance their wellbeing. These include hand sanitiser stations
throughout the mall, complimentary face masks available in guest
services, social distancing signs in the centre, queue management
systems and store capacity limits, as well as increased cleaning rotas.
Spanning 285,000 square feet in total over two phases, the centre will
create 1,000 new jobs and support around £20 million of employment
income each year. A partnership with Walsall College for a new training
academy has helped connect local people to job opportunities with the
Bob Kean, Acting Managing Director for Cannock Chase Council, said:
“Despite the global pandemic, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West
Midlands is open! It looks amazing and we’re immensely proud to have
this designer outlet in our District. We look forward to the ongoing
benefits it will bring to residents, the area and the local economy.”
Designer Outlet West Midlands is McArthurGlen’s seventh British
centre, joining its leading destinations in Ashford, Bridgend, Cheshire
Oaks, East Midlands, Swindon and York, and it is the group’s 26th
location across Europe and in Canada. The arrival of the landmark
shopping centre is a significant moment for McArthurGlen, as it marks
the group’s first UK opening in over 20 years as well as a return to the
market where it introduced the concept of designer outlet retailing in
Europe with Cheshire Oaks in 1995.
The centre has been brought to life as a joint venture between
McArthurGlen, Aviva Investors and the Richardson family.
Handsacre Hall 1890s Francis Forster owner of Handsacre Hall 1890s Handsacre Hall 1930s
The Disappearance of
By Jono Oates
By a housing estate, just off Shropshire Brook Road in
Handsacre, is a small wooded area heavily overgrown with
bushes and nettles and surrounded on three sides by murky
water. Easily missed as cars travel along the road to Armitage, the
trees and bushes mask the former location of one of Staffordshire’s
most historic and imposing family estates… Handsacre Hall.
An information board on the Manor Court Drive side of the woods
provides some background to the Hall and also has diagrams showing
what it looked like during its heyday. During the winter months, when the
foliage dies back, it is possible to see some of the crumbled remains of
the former moated manor house which dates back to the 14th century.
A building had been on the site since before the Domesday Book in the
11th century and the first person to assume the name of the Manor was
Hubert de Handsacre, a knight at the time of King Henry I. The Manor
passed to several generations of the Handsacre family and at the end of
the 14th century the lord of the manor was Sir William Handsacre. In
1403 the King, Henry IV, was being challenged for the crown by the rebel,
Sir Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy. Handsacre supported Henry Hotspur but his
near neighbour, and fierce rival, Sir Robert Mavesyn, supported the King.
The two rivals mustered their troops and were marching to meet-up
with their respective leaders when they fell across each other close to
Shrewsbury. In the resulting skirmish Sir Robert killed Sir William and at
the Battle of Shrewsbury Sir Robert was himself killed. The rift between
the two Staffordshire families was later healed however when Sir
William’s son, also William, married Margaret, a daughter of Sir Robert.
The Hall remained in the ownership of the Handsacre family until the
middle of the 15th century when it became home to several families. At
the end of the 19th century the Hall was owned by Sir Francis Villiers
Forster, 3rd Baronet, and long-time Master of the South Staffordshire
Hounds. Forster also owned nearby Longdon Grange and used that as his
main residence while Handsacre Hall and grounds became a farm, loaned
out to tenants. For many years the farm was run by Mrs Fanny Boycott
and her sister, Miss Sarah Harvey, on behalf of Sir Francis. The farm was
exceptionally well run by the two sisters and the farm tenancy was then
taken on by two brothers, Ernest and Oswald Smallwood. When Sir
Francis died in 1930 the two brothers purchased the Hall and the farm.
In July 1931 Neville Wood, a writer for the Staffordshire Advertiser
newspaper, visited Handsacre Hall as part of his ‘More Nature Notes’
column, when he spoke about the beautiful effect of the irregular gables
as illustrated in the photograph taken at the time and stated that it was,
in his opinion, the ‘finest home in the immediate neighbourhood’. He
described the ducks playing merrily in the waters of the former moat and
the fact that the fourth side of the moat had been replaced by the
entrance drive and the foundations of the farm buildings. At that time the
farm consisted of 125 acres, with 40 acres under plough, and its primary
function was milk production.
Ernest Smallwood continued to farm at Handsacre Hall until October
1961 when he retired from farming. It was purchased by another local
farmer but the Hall quickly fell in to a state of disrepair and was subject
to large scale vandalism. In March 1973 Lichfield Rural Council granted
permission for it to be demolished leaving only a scattering of the original
Today the moated area is a Historic England scheduled monument but
the Hall itself can no longer be seen. In July 1931 Neville Wood
summarised his visit to the Hall by saying that ‘Handsacre Hall is in good
hands, and here is one little treasure that certainly will neither be spoilt
nor lost to the nation for a considerable number years at any rate’.
Unfortunately, Neville’s prediction did not stand the test of time and a
mere 40 years later this once magnificent, and ancient, manor house had
disappeared from the Staffordshire skyline for ever.
Sources: www.historicengland.org.uk; www.armitagewithhandsacre-pc.co.uk;
The British Newspaper Archive; Ridware History Society website
Cannock & District
By Alison Cardy
Many social clubs are either folding or in abeyance until
lockdown restrictions are eased but meeting through Zoom.
In April, ladies from Cannock & District Probus Club met, to be
entertained by speaker Neil Weyham, giving an amusing
entertaining talk entitled Tales of a Carpet Cleaner (not quite
Confessions of a Window Cleaner but he spared our blushes!)
Neil relayed snippets from his many experiences with Chem-Dry
since he joined them in 1991. Explaining his background, as owner of
Chem-Dry, he also works on match days at West Bromwich Albion and
Aston Villa, a snooker coach, Steward at Edgbaston Cricket Club and
Magistrate at Birmingham’s Magistrates Court. However going back 43
years to 1978, joining Reckitt and Coleman, he regaled us with
memories of products of days gone by.
Redundant after 13 years, Neil next ventured into Chem-Dry and
shared amusing anecdotes. An unusual job was to clean two 2-seater
sofas, and whilst chatting Neil asked if they had been bought locally but
was told they were from London off the Set of Good Morning with
Holly and Phil so many celebrities had sat on them over the years!
Neil who, at 6ft 5 inches tall is known as the Jolly Clean Giant, was
thanked for his talk for which payment was donated to his chosen
charity of St Giles Hospice.
Should any retired or semi-retired professional or business ladies
wish to join Cannock & District Ladies Probus to share friendship,
particularly in these difficult times, the club normally meets on the first
Thursday of each month at The Chase Golf Club at 12 noon. New
members are always welcome. Annual membership is £16. Further
information can be obtained from Membership Secretary Barbara on
01889 882166 or Chairman Anne on 01922 418037.
Cannock Chase Council has extended the range of businesses
who are eligible for its discretionary grant scheme known as
Additional Restrictions Grants (ARG).
It follows the Chancellor’s budget statement in March which promised
further support from April to those businesses continuing to be affected
by lockdown measures and means grants will become available to selfemployed
businesses from 30 April.
The Government has allocated £2.9m to the Council to be used at
the Council’s discretion to help local businesses severely restricted by
trading restrictions during the lockdown and for longer-term skills and
training initiatives in the District.
The new grants for self-employed people and small businesses
operating from home will be a one-off grant of £2,000 to businesses
who do not have commercial premises and have suffered a loss of
income of 30% or more due to the trading restrictions.
Full details can be found at www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk in
Coronavirus and Council Services on the homepage then `Business,
Employers and Employees`. This section has details of all support
available including ARG.
Cannock & District
By Trish Mellor
Amanda Milling MP at the meeting
SI Cannock & District marked International Women’s Day 2021 in
March by featuring 12 local women on their social media, their
website and by inviting them to a special evening conducted on
Zoom. The theme this year was #ChooseToChallenge – gender
These women have chosen to challenge stereotypes by going into
careers traditionally thought of as male roles. Cannock Soroptimists
approached a firefighter, prison officer, a Sky technician, a local councillor,
an MP, and CEOs of local organisations to ask them to share their
experiences, both positive and negative, of having a successful career in
what might be seen as mainly a man’s world. They also wanted to highlight
how working mothers have coped during the pandemic, juggling working
from home with home schooling, alongside running a home and all that
Seven of the women were able to accept the invitation to join the
meeting to mark International Women’s Day 2021 – the others were
working or at pre-arranged meetings. They were joined by Soroptimists
from other clubs in the Midland Chase area and from Port Talbot, Wales
and Harrisburg, USA: 41 in all!
The women were asked to say a little about ways they have handled
gender discrimination. They had all found different ways of doing this, but
the main theme that ran through their responses was that having
confidence in their abilities gave them the strength to carry on despite
some often major setbacks. They also found that proving those abilities
often meant that they received the respect they deserved from their male
They were also asked about what advice they would give to younger
women thinking of embarking on similar paths to theirs – it was a
resounding ‘Go for it!’ What was obvious with all of the answers our
women gave was the desire they had to ‘bring others with them’ on their
journey to achieving success in their chosen careers. They advised that the
ability to empathise with those they work with was key to a harmonious
working environment. Another feature of everyone’s answers was the
importance of role models whether that be family or school.
Before the meeting ended, everyone held a hand up high to show our
commitment to choose to challenge and call out inequality.
Cannock Soroptimists can be contacted by email
email@example.com, found on website
www.sigbi.org/cannock-and-district, or on Facebook
By Kim Nash
Twilight WI Cannock held both their annual general
meeting and celebrated their one-year anniversary on
Thursday 8th April. Clare Davies was elected as
President for the year ahead and would love to invite
new members to come along and join the group.
The Women's Institute is based on the idea of establishing
a strong female community, providing women with
educational opportunities and the chance to make a
difference in their communities.
Our programme for the year ahead includes gin tasting, a
visit from a chocolate shop and a talk about how we can live
a greener life.
Twilight WI Cannock meet on the second Thursday of the
month at 7.30pm until 9.30pm. Meetings are currently held on
Zoom, but when back up and running, physical meetings will
take place at St Luke’s Church Centre, Cannock. Parking is
available at the venue.
If you’d like to find out more about Twilight WI Cannock
please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on
Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/WI.Twilight.
LDEP, or Lancashire
Dynamo Electronic products
to give its full title, was a
major employer in Rugeley in
the 1950s and 60s before
becoming Thorn Automation
in 1967. It owed its origins to
a company called British
Electronic Products (BEP),
which became part of
Lancashire Dynamo and
Crypto of Trafford Park when
finance was required to
purchase the drive motors
for a contract to build the
control equipment for a
Pickle Line in Pontypool,
My connection to LDEP
began in 1956 when the
company was expanding and
were happy to take on exservice
personnel with some
knowledge of electricity or
radio and train them on the
job. I started in the Test
Department testing small
timers under the supervision
By Cyril Cooper of The Landor
(local history) Society
Ravenhill House the original home of BEP.(2)
Office block built by LDEP in 1961,
demolished in 2008
of a mentor, Sidney Boughey, later progressing to working on small drives and large
These large systems included an advanced control system for a company called
Harland Drives which specialised in paper mill control systems. We also had a large
contract for equipment for a complete rubber tyre factory for installation at
Dnepropetrovsk in the USSR. This included witness testing under the observation of
Russian engineers. Large DC motors were tested at Trafford Park as the Rugeley test
bed did not have sufficient capacity.
LDEP was a pleasant place to work with a very good company atmosphere as we
all felt we were working towards a common goal. The works’ director, Mr Burr-Sid,
had his office within the works and was often to be seen out and about. If you were
working very late, he often popped in to see that all was well. Sometimes someone
had not told their Mum they were working late and Mum had rung Sid, who had the
company night line, to find out where their child was. I remember him saying to
Roland W: “Roland, please tell your Mum what you’re doing!”
Mr Wood, the works’ manager, added a bit of style by arriving to work in his open
Alvis sports car.
At this time LDEP had designed and were suppling sophisticated power supplies for
computer manufacturers. When the Government introduced the Clean Air Act, LDEP
were quick to manufacture smoke density equipment to measure smoke going up a
flue, record the value and sound an alarm if the smoke exceeded a set level. All said,
a happy company at the forefront of what was then current control technology.
My Month in
By Amanda Milling MP
It has been a year since we
entered the first
coronavirus lockdown, and as
we enter into another spring
with coronavirus still in our
minds, we can be proud of
local efforts taken over the
past year to fight the virus
and support our neighbours
and wider community.
In the coming months, we all
look forward to seeing more of Rugeley open up and a
return to normal life. The latest changes to social
restrictions (which allow more outdoor contact) will
be very welcome to so many, as well as the prospect of
being closer to a much-needed haircut!
The local testing and vaccination efforts across
Cannock Chase have remained very impressive and I
would like to thank everyone involved in this huge
national effort. I would like to particularly congratulate
the Rugeley and Great Haywood PCN for topping the
region’s tables in terms of vaccinating cohorts one to
nine. This is a huge achievement! We do need to remain
vigilant to the virus. We still have to do our bit to stop
the virus being transmitted in order to protect our
family and friends.
Meanwhile, as your MP, I have been undertaking many
of my normal day-to-day activities, such as holding
surgeries, having meetings and running events, however
these are all done virtually. As the restrictions have
started to be relaxed, it has been great to be out
delivering leaflets ahead of the local elections on
Thursday 6th May – it’s a good way to enjoy some great
weather as well as shed some lockdown pounds!
We have a bumper crop of elections coming up with
the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner election,
Staffordshire County Council elections and some
Cannock Chase District Council seats up for election
too. Don’t forget that if you can’t make it to the polling
station, you can always register for a postal vote or
proxy vote. Also, this year, emergency proxy votes will
be available for anyone who has Covid or has to selfisolate.
To find out more please go to
As always, if you have any issues you need my help
with, please email me on
email@example.com, call 01543 877142
or visit www.amandamilling.com/contact.
Free Countryside Course
Free countryside course with animals, plants and
creativity for people recovering from mental ill health.
Courses are for Staffordshire residents. Support with
transport available. No prior knowledge required but
must be willing to commit to 27 hours of the course.
For more information contact Carol on 07814
'Moving into the Light' Art Fair, a celebration of
Spring 22nd - 31st May, 10am until 4pm. In partnership
with Gallery at 12, Eccleshall, exhibiting a range of arts,
ceramics, glass, woodwork and jewelry in the beautiful
setting of the Orangery. Free entry. Booking via
The Mysterious Case
of the Chasewater
By Jono Oates
In February 1974, Wolverhampton businessman Ronald Milhench
emerged from the waters of Chasewater, near Brownhills, having
swum to the bank after his car had crashed into the lake. There
was, however, no sign of his wife who had been in the passenger
seat of the car. His wife’s lifeless body was later recovered from the
lake, starting a series of events that involved police investigations,
court appearances and the forgery of one of Britain’s Prime
Ministers. For the following 12 months, Ronald Milhench and
Chasewater were very much front-page news in the local and
On Wednesday 27th February 1974, Ronald Milhench, an insurance
broker, had been water skiing at Chasewater with friends from the
Chasewater Power Boat Club. Later in the day he returned to the club
with his wife, Kathleen, to look for some equipment he had left behind.
Driving a hired car, Milhench allegedly lost control of the vehicle and it
powered in to the lake submerging the occupants below the wintry icycold
waters. Ronald managed to escape from the vehicle, was unable to
locate his wife, and swam to the water’s edge before running half a mile
to raise the alarm. Rescuers could not locate her though and the
following morning when light came police divers eventually found her
body under 25 foot of water.
During the inquest, which was held on 14th March, a number of
surprising issues emerged which added intrigue, and the attention of the
media, to the tragedy of the incident. The hired Toyota car had caused
problems previously and had been checked by the garage a few days
before the incident. Mrs Milhench had described the car as a ‘veritable
death trap’ when it had surged uncontrollably across the road as she was
reversing out of their drive. It also emerged that she was planning a trial
‘marriage’ with her lover, although Ronald described their own
relationship as amicable and he was aware that she may leave him to live
with her lover on a trial basis. It was then disclosed that Milhench, a few
weeks before the fatal drowning, had doubled the insurance value on
Kathleen’s life – from £20,000 to £40,000.
Despite this potentially damning information the resulting inquest
ruled, by a majority verdict, that Kathleen’s death had resulted from
although the coroner
did express the
concern that the car,
even with a potential
mechanical issue, had
had enough velocity to
surge over a bank at
the side of the lake and
then be carried a
across the water.
therefore a free man
and was able to claim
the £40,000 life
insurance pay out.
However, this was not the end of Milhench’s story as in April 1974 he
was arrested and charged with numerous forgery and firearms offences
dating back to 1973. Milhench had become involved in a land
development case, regarding the purchase of 90 acres of land at Ince-in-
Makerfield, near Wigan, to provide a housing estate which would, he
estimated, net him a £1,500,000 profit over seven years. When the
project looked as though it might fail, Ronald obtained some officiallyheaded
notepaper and forged the signature of the then Prime Minister,
Harold Wilson. The letter indicated that Wilson was giving his full backing
to the venture, which Milhench hoped would sway the outcome of the
deal in his favour. He then, bizarrely, attempted to sell the forged letter to
a newspaper journalist for £25,000 and his plot was subsequently
In November 1974 Ronald Milhench was sentenced to three years
imprisonment at Stafford Crown Court for eight offences including
forgery, deception and firearms, one of which was the ownership of a
sten machine gun. News of his conviction made the national press as well
as local newspapers, and the case was even featured in the New York
Milhench was released on parole in March 1976, having served 16
months of his sentence, and in 1979 he headed off to Manila in the
Philippines to set up a water sports centre.
The Milhench case was a very unusual, and mysterious, one and the full
truth behind the accidental drowning and the court cases that followed
will probably never be known – but for a short period in the middle of
the 1970s the eyes of the country, and the national press, were firmly
fixed on the usually peaceful and tranquil lakes of Chasewater.
The British Newspaper Archive; BBC Home On This Day website
As the world slowly opens up
again, there’s plenty of our furry,
four-legged friends who will be
needing a haircut, a walk or somewhere
to stay this summer! Find your pawfect
pet solution in our guide to the best
local pet services in the area.
Located in a secluded spot near Hixon,
surrounded by rolling countryside, K9 Pastures
offers a safe, secure, stress-free space that you
and your canine friends can enjoy together.
Available for private and individual hire, K9
Pastures is ideal for dogs of all sizes to enjoy their
freedom, or for owners to train new or young
For further information and booking details, visit
www.k9pastures.co.uk or call 07718 751406.
K9 ACRES LTD
A rural safe haven for your dog! K9 acres is a large
purpose-built secure dog field facility, based in
Longdon, available for private individual hire. With
two dedicated fields, 'Country' and 'Meadow',
there’s no better way for your four-legged friend to
enjoy the countryside!
To find out more, or to book, visit
www.k9acres.co.uk or call 07968 550006.
Started by Stewart in 2019, Chasewater Dogs
offers experienced handling of dogs. Stewart
uses his passion and 10 years’ worth of
experience as an ex-British army dog handler
to help and assist dogs of any breed,
temperament and situation. Chasewater Dogs
has packages to suit all needs, and offers
nutritional advice and support too.
Find out more at www.chasewaterdogs.co.uk
or contact Stewart on 07367 466519.
Square House Boarding Kennels
Square House Boarding Kennels & Cattery is
located on the B5012 between Cannock and
Penkridge. We provide a boarding service for
dogs and cats, as well as doggie day boarding.
Viewing by appointment only. Open 10am-6pm,
364 days a year.
Tel: 01543 466 880
Old Barn Boarding Kennels
Established over 12 years ago, Rugeley-based Old Barn Boarding Kennels is run by husband and wife team,
Steve and Debbie. Prices for boarding start at £20 per pet per night, or £25 for luxury log cabin
accommodation. Stays include twice daily walks in the three-acre paddock, plus a doggie collection and
delivery service is also offered.
Visit www.oldbarnkennels.co.uk, find them on Facebook or telephone 01889 504181 for more information
and to book.
Houndspeak is a professional and personal dog
training and walking service which is passionate
about creating an unbreakable bond between
you and your four-legged friend. Using ethical,
reward-based training techniques, which are
grounded in a sound scientific understanding of
canine behaviour, Houndspeak can help you and
your dog communicate with each other more
effectively. Also offers dog walking services to
nervous, reactive and rescue dogs, to help build
confidence. For more information, visit
Have you snapped a great photograph of your pet during
lockdown? Do you think your pet has what it takes to
be a magazine model? We’re looking for the cutest pets
in the area, so send your photos through to
firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your name and your pet’s
name, and we’ll print our favourites in the next issue!
Animals at Home
Jeff and Donna offer a complete range of pet
care services to meet all your needs. They
offer a great alternative to a kennel or cattery,
providing dog home boarding, and cat home
visits. Along with dog walking and housesitting,
they also provide a 24 hour pet taxi/animal
ambulance service. Whether you have a
routine vet appointment, or a more urgent
emergency, they can help! For more
information call 07973 827821
Doggy Easter Raffle
Paulie and Ruth from Rugeley
Welfare for Dogs would like to
thank everyone who supported
their Easter Raffle this year, and
thank Sam Macgregor for
donating two of the fabulous
A total of £330 was raised overall
from the raffling of the Easter
hampers - this will go towards the
cost of keeping the rescue dogs
along with their vet bills.
Ash Brook Dog Walking Field
Ash Brook Dog
Walking field is set
across two acres of
and is available for
you to hire on an
individual basis, seven
days a week.
Enjoy hassle-free walking knowing your dog is
secure with 6ft high fencing and a double gate
coded entry system.
Booking is via the website at
Two years into Transforming
the Trent Valley
By Louise Morris
The Trent Valley is a special landscape.
For millennia it has been an
industrious region. From farming the
rich fertile soils of the floodplains to
navigating the river; from extracting the
cool, sweet ground water for beer
brewing, to the mills and factories that
sprung up during the industrial
revolution, the Trent Valley has a long
history connected to its river.
It is the people and their communities
that form the beating heart of the Trent
Valley. This is a landscape in which people
have always lived, worked and relaxed. The
landscape has changed continually through
time and continues to do so. Mineral operations are leaving their mark on
the landscape and climate change is leading to an increased frequency of
highly damaging flood events. New transport links are scything through the
countryside and development is increasing pressure on our natural
‘Transforming the Trent Valley’ is a scheme that is embracing the
challenges and opportunities presented by this landscape. The Trent Valley
is peppered with a rich cultural and natural heritage that we are setting
out to celebrate and explore. Two years since our launch, and despite a
global pandemic, we have some exciting achievements under our belts.
We are working with the natural processes of the river to reconnect
the River Trent with its floodplain, and we are working with communities
supported by statutory agencies to improve flood resilience and restore
our natural habitats. Our singing success is the reconnection of an old
river channel at Cherry Holme, near Catholme, where a large river island
has been re-established, restoring much needed habitats for wildlife.
We will be improving access through the valley for walking, cycling and
paddling and have made great headway through upgrading some of the
worst sections of towpath along more than 5km of the canal network.
Our family activities, paused during the lockdowns, have moved online
with videos, worksheets and bookable zoom events keeping families
connected with nature. A broad spectrum of ‘Trent Talks’ have been
launched covering topics from bird ringing to recycling to dog walking and
attracting audiences across Staffordshire, the Midlands and even as far
afield as Japan! Community groups have been supported with over
£35,000 awarded to some great local initiatives with our Community
Finally, we are supported by a large team of volunteers, each helping us
in their own unique way. Survey volunteers are contributing to our
knowledge of the heritage features in the landscape including Stop Line 5,
a relic of the Second World War that is delineated by more than 70
pillboxes. Photography volunteers are capturing images and footage of the
valley to illustrate its transformation through time, and our Wildlife
Recording volunteers are supporting us in generating valuable biological
For more information about ‘Transforming the Trent Valley’, our projects,
our people and our partners, visit our website www.thetrentvalley.org.uk
Tales of a Private Chef
By Simon Smith
Some four years ago I was asked to join a friend of mine who was
the chef on the superyacht ‘Lady Feryal’ to help for a week at
the Monaco Grand Prix.
There would be 12 crew members to feed plus 12 guests who were
staying on board but, in addition, there would be 80 day guests changing
on a daily basis. The yacht had been chartered by an event’s company for
the week and was moored end on to the track with spectacular views of
the cars coming out of the tunnel. The resident guests had paid £12,500
each for four days and the day guests had paid £3,500 each for as much as
they could eat and drink. To some people that was seen as a challenge and
by midday they were crashed out and never saw a car.
One major issue that arose was that the event’s company hadn’t told
the resident guests that the yacht would be full of day guests for three
days. There were all sorts of arguments and upsets between the two
Resident guests were to have breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and a fourcourse
dinner. Day guests were to have a running buffet between 11am
and 5pm. The galley of course was only designed for the 12 crew and 12
guests as was the fridge space, so the logistics were a nightmare. In
addition, all the roads were closed between 6am and 6pm as they were
the racetrack! As a result, we couldn’t go shopping so had to order all the
food through an agent (which added 30% to the food cost) and it was
delivered across the harbour by tender at 4am in the morning.
While these yachts all look very pretty and spacious from the outside
the crew quarters are always very ‘cosy.’ As I was an extra crew member
with no allocated cabin space, they found me a sunbed mattress and I slept
on the floor of the engine room for the week.
Providing a 5-star service is difficult where staff numbers are restricted
by space and logistics, and the expectation is that you work at any time of
the day or night. Although these jobs seem glamorous (and they often are)
the work is really demanding and flexibility is all important.
for a Sales
Citylife in Lichfield
Ltd is expanding!
We currently have an opportunity
for a Sales Executive to work on our
two magazines – Citylife in Lichfield
and Citylife in Rugeley & Cannock
Chase. You must be self-motivated
and comfortable speaking to clients
on the phone as well as face-to-face.
The post is commission only and a
car is essential.
For further information and a full
job description, please email
J HOWELL &
FUNERAL DIRECTORS LICHFIELD
LICHFIELD’S LONGEST ESTABLISHED INDEPENDENT,
FAMILY RUN FUNERAL DIRECTORS.
SECOND GENERATION BUSINESS HERE TO ASSIST YOU
AND YOUR FAMILY.
24 hours a day
We are proud to be Lichfield's longest established family run funeral directors offering a wide range of
choices to suit all requirements. Horse drawn hearse, non religious ceremonies, floral tributes and
memorials are but a few of the services we offer.
Pre-paid funeral plans are also available.
For a truly personal service please call
Private Chapel of Rest 116 Netherstowe,
Lichfield, Staffs. WS13 6TS
The Great Outdoors
Now the sunny weather is finally here, it’s time to throw the doors open wide and embrace the
beauty of our outdoor spaces! Whether you have a wild, natural garden; a perfectly honed
landscape; or a modern entertaining space, there’s never been a better excuse to enjoy the
fresh air. We’ve put together a few of our favourite items from local retailers to help make your
garden area the perfect haven for a relaxing summer.
Need a home office? More space? Or just a
peaceful haven? Why not add an extra room in
the garden with Roundpeg Outdoor Buildings?
With more than 30 years of combined
experience, Roundpeg can work to all budgets
to design and create your perfect garden room.
Visit www.roundpegoutdoorbuildings.co.uk or
call 07377 633735.
Belgio Perla Porcelain Paving Slabs are
reminiscent of Belgian limestone, which is
renowned for its consistent colours, contrasting
with embedded marine fossils. Belgio is an
enduring classic oblivious to fashions or trends,
it has been used unceasingly for generations.
Priced at £42.59 per m2 inc VAT. Available from
Need a home office? More space? Or just a
peaceful haven? Why not add an extra room in
the garden with Roundpeg Outdoor Buildings?
With more than 30 years of combined
experience, Roundpeg can work to all budgets
to design and create your perfect garden room.
Visit www.roundpegoutdoorbuildings.co.uk or
call 07377 633735.
Have a go at growing your own vegetables this
year! Choose from the wide selection of fruit
and vegetable plants which are now ready at
Piper Nurseries & Plant Centre, Watling Street,
A5, Gailey. You can also find a huge variety of
bedding plants and accessories to ensure your
garden is blooming this year!
Dine alfresco in style with the Hopetown
Bistro Set, manufactured using 100% aluminium
powder coated frames which ensures rust will
not occur at any time, and round Textelene
Rope. All seat cushions are zipped to allow for
machine washing at 40°C. Available from The
The Weber Master-Touch GBS C-5750 grill
combines the traditional sense of a charcoal
grill with new innovative features and a dose of
convenience.With the included Gourmet BBQ
System grill, you can cook breakfast, roast a
joint, or bake a crispy pizza out in the open.
Priced at £279 and available from
Tastes of the Season
By Simon Smith
We are, at last, into BBQ season. There are so
many choices with a BBQ whether it be a
traditional charcoal, a big green egg which
comes with a hefty price tag, or a gas one
which, again, range in price from the
affordable to a whole outdoor kitchen! My
least favourite are the portable ones where
the food is so close to the charcoal that it’s
bound to burn.
The biggest problem with cooking on a BBQ
is burning the outside but still having the
inside raw. Another problem is the ‘flare up’
where the fat dripping out of the meat
catches fire. This is a particular problem with
larger joints. I did a shoulder of lamb last
week (before the snow came and ruined
everything!) I marinated it in a curry paste for
24 hours. I then cooked it slowly in the oven
for three hours on a cooling rack so all the
fat dripped out. I finished it on the BBQ for
30 minutes so that you still get the taste but
no fat dripping and flaming. I would use that
same system for a rack of ribs. It always pays
to keep a squirty bottle of water by the side
to damp down the flames if things go wrong.
There are also those who like to sprinkle
herbs on the wood to infuse the meat and
give a nice smell to the area. Another method
is to use rosemary stalks as skewers.
A marinade will always be good for meat or
fish and although you can buy many different
ones in the shops it’s fun to make your own
as you can choose all your favourite
ingredients. You don’t need a vacuum machine
as you can just do it in a plastic bag. Put the
meat or fish in the bag, add some olive oil
(flavoured if you wish) and any number of
ingredients such as garlic, chilli, fresh herbs,
citrus zest and juice, ginger, curry leaves, or
balsamic vinegar. I would generally leave for 24
hours and then drain off the excess oil before
cooking. Start the cooking over a lower flame
to give the food a chance to cook all the way
through. Finish off over a hotter part of the
BBQ to give a caramelised outside. Bear in
mind that if you are cooking on a gas BBQ
with the lid down the temperature will
The recipe I’m doing this month is a
Vietnamese-style chicken skewer which is low
in fat so both healthy and easy to cook. I’m
also doing a salmon dish which takes just
minutes to prepare.
Chicken Skewer (serves four)
4 x chicken breasts (skinless)
1 x chilli
1 x lime, zest and juice
2ozs fresh ginger
1 x tbsp fresh chopped coriander
1 x tbsp fresh chopped basil
1 x clove crushed garlic
Salt and pepper to season
Roughly chop the chicken breasts and put
into a food processor. Chop the chilli and add.
Peel and grate the ginger and add. Add the
rest of the ingredients and season. Whizz
together quickly. I try not to purée the
chicken so that you still have some bite to it
rather than a mush. Take out and form into
kebabs, either round a rosemary skewer or a
Cook on the BBQ. Time will depend on how
big you have made them and what sort of
BBQ you are cooking on.
4 x salmon portions or ½ side
1 x bunch spring onions
1oz pickled ginger (Normally found in the
International section of a supermarket) or use
2 x tbsp soy sauce
1 x tbsp Lemon flavoured olive oil
1 x fennel bulb
Finely slice the fennel bulb and put in some
folded tin foil. Lay the salmon on top. Finely
chop the ginger and spring onion and sprinkle
on top. Top with the soy sauce and oil and
sprinkle with some sea salt. Close the tin foil
over the top of the salmon. This whole
package can then be cooked on the BBQ in
the foil for 10 minutes. When you open the
foil all the ingredients will have steamed
together and you won’t have a messy griddle
Simon Smith runs a catering business from his
production kitchen in Lichfield, providing bespoke private
dinners plus wedding, corporate and event catering.
Simon also undertakes cookery demonstrations around
the country and with local businesses such as Arthur
Price and Tippers. During the summer months Simon
works for private clients both on superyachts and in
villas in St Tropez and Europe. If you are looking for
catering or a day of cookery skills go to
*Please take extra care when preparing and handling
hot foodstuffs. Go to www.food.gov.uk for further details.
**Please take extra care as bones may be in the fish.
Special for Dad
Father’s Day is on Sunday 20th June this year, but what do
you get the man who has everything? We’ve compiled a
guide of unique gifts and creations from some of our
favourite local retailers to ensure that Dad feels extra-special
this Father’s Day.
Lichfield city illustrated A4 print available in
blue, pink or yellow. Unframed £10 or framed
Based in Burntwood and specialising in quality
bespoke homemade cakes, bakes and fudge, Tina’s
Temptations and Fudging Lovely has something for
everyone. Ranging from luxury celebration cakes
to treat boxes comprises of a variety of different
tasty items, you’ll find the perfect nibbles to help
you celebrate Father's Day in style!
Find out more on Facebook
Man's best friend! At £14 this British-made
pewter keyring is the perfect gift for Dad this
June (other designs available). With so many
items of jewellery, gifts and minerals to choose
from, Odonata Studios really is a little shop full
of treasures. Located in Middleton Hall
Courtyard, Tamworth. www.odonatastudios.co.uk
“If music be the food of life, play on” (Orsino,
Twelfth Night, Shakespeare)
Naturally hand crafted, the beautifully designed
MI SQUARE pocket Bluetooth speaker really
packs a punch. In solid natural wood with a
rechargeable battery, it delivers exceptional
sound quality. Take your travel music seriously.
Available from At The Cedars, Rear of 48 Main
Street, Barton under Needwood.
Upcycled Floor Tom Drum Drinks Table
Stands on four chrome legs with a choice of
your pictures on top. Priced at £60.
All products are hand finished and are all
completely unique. Collection available in person
from Brownhills or can be delivered for cost of
fuel. Take a look at more items on Facebook and
Treat Dad to a unique piece of artwork this
year, such as this beautiful piece entitled Relaxing
by the Pool, which is painted on a stretched box
canvas so there is no need for a frame. Size is
40cmx40cm and is priced at £250. Available from
A beautiful piano, such as this upright model, is the
ideal addition to any home! All pianos are sold
guaranteed with free local home delivery. There's
lots of different models to choose from at Lichfield
Piano Centre, Curborough Craft Centre, Watery
To Advertise please
contact our classified
£35 plus VAT
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