Thursday, 31 July 2014

Cow rescued from river near Castle Bromwich

PULL THE UDDER ONE: Firefighters rescue the cow from
the river near the M6 motorway. Credit/WMFS
A HEAVILY-pregnant cow had to be pulled from a local river by firefighters this afternoon.
Crews were called in to moo-ve the animal, after it stumbled into the waters of the River Tame, near Castle Bromwich.
A specialist sling was fitted round the cow, which weighed a hefty half a tonne. Around 20 men and women were needed to haul it to the bank.
A West Midlands Fire Service spokesman said that crews from Sheldon, Sutton Coldfield, Highgate and a technical rescue unit from Bickenhill attended, following a call at around 4.15pm.
Both the animal and its unborn calf were uninjured following the ordeal.

Students speak out after teacher is banned for life

HUNDREDS of students have leapt to the defence of a teacher who has been banned from the classroom for life.
Jason McDermott, who taught for more than a decade at the CTC Kingshurst Academy, was found guilty of unacceptable conduct by the National Council of Teaching and Leadership.
The 45-year-old former soldier was accused of punching or jabbing pupils on three separate occasions and in another incident it is alleged he had grabbed a student’s hair.
The disciplinary panel had heard the incidents happened between September 2012 and March 2013. Mr McDermott was suspended by the CTC shortly afterwards and subsequently resigned.
Explaining the panel’s decision to impose a lifetime ban from teaching, Paul Heathcote said: “The public interest considerations outweigh the interests of ­Mr McDermott, particularly as his behaviour involved recurring violence against students of a potentially criminal nature.
“Mr McDermott accepts that what he did was wrong and that he regrets his actions.”
But within hours of the decision appearing on local news sites, scores of ex-students have spoken out in support of the teacher – who taught the school’s BTEC course in Uniformed Services.
Eighteen-year-old Paige Griffiths set up a Facebook page – Support for Jason McDermott – which has received more than 1000 likes since this morning. Ex-students and their parents were among those to leave messages.
Sean Boyd posted: “One of the few teachers who seemed to respect the pupils, treated us as equals. Over 10 years ago he taught me and I can still remember positive lessons learnt from him!”
Jenni Dunn said he “had always shown pupils how to respect others”, while Chris Willetts described him as “a great teacher and lovely bloke.”
In a statement, Mr McDermott had said that physicality between staff and students had always been part of the relationship on the course - which prepares teenagers for careers in the army or emergency services - and this included “boisterous play” between himself and students.
It's unclear if the teacher will choose to appeal against the ban, which prevents him from returning to work in schools, sixth forms or youth services.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Lego event in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust

SHIP SHAPE: The Titanic model is 5ft 10 long and was
created by artist 'Legohunter2014'

A MASSIVE model of the Titanic – built from thousands of Lego pieces – will be the centrepiece of a charity event in Chelmsley Wood tomorrow (Sunday).
The ill-fated ocean liner is one of several extraordinary exhibits, painstakingly created using the toy bricks.
The ‘Fan of the Brick’ event will take place at St Anne’s Parish Church, Bosworth Drive, from 12noon-5pm. There will also be stalls selling Lego products and the chance to meet the artists who have created some of the models.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

100 years on: Marston Green to remember the Great War

VIGIL: A ceremony at St Leonard's Church is one of
several events taking place in Marston Green next month
A FOUR-day event will be held in Marston Green to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War.
Bickenhill Parish Council has spent months planning for the anniversary – like so many villages, a number of young men from the locality lost their lives in the conflict.

  • Friday, August 1 - A talk by author John Garth at the Parish Hall, Elmdon Road. Over 10 years, Mr Garth wrote Tolkien and the Great War - a biography which looks at the lasting impact that fighting on the frontline had on the Lord of the Rings author. The talk will also reveal how Tolkien gave a Marston Green man, Robert Gilson, a place in the epic trilogy. The event starts at 7.30pm. Tickets available from Margaret Wilden (0121 779 2196) or Clive Hill (0121 779 3558).
  • Saturday, August 2 - Take a trip back in time to the summer of 1914. There will be an evening of entertainment, again at the Parish Hall, with music, poetry and community singing of the sort that was popular a century ago. Book tickets on the numbers above.
  • Sunday, August 3 - Service of commemoration in the Garden of Memory - the site of the local war memorial.
  • Monday, August 4 - The programme of events is rounded off with an evening service at St Leonard's Church. The event will be one of hundreds of candlelit vigils taking place at 11pm - the time that Britain declared war on Germany. As the then Foreign Secretary, Edward Grey, remarked on that fateful night: "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Crackdown on off-road bikes is welcomed following safety fears

A CHELMSLEY Wood councillor has welcomed news that police will be stepping up attempts to end the scourge of off-road bikes in parks and open spaces.
As reported yesterday, the Kingshurst & Fordbridge neighbourhood team have secured the support of officers on motorbikes. The unit will be out in force in North Solihull over the coming weeks.
Coun James Burn (Green), who has been calling for more to be done about the problem, said he was pleased that the council and police were taking “real action” to deal with the issue.
“There have been a number of close-calls and even a number of accidents where property and people have been hit by these bikes,” he said.
“Lots of people in Chelmsley Wood think it's just a matter of time before someone - especially a child or older person - is really hurt.”
There have also been changes to local fences in a renewed effort to keep the bikes out of parks.
If anyone knows where a bike is being used or stored, call officers on 101.

Strictly Come Dancing star visits Chelmsley Wood

DANCING QUEEN: Natalie Lowe has partnered
celebs like Michael Vaughan on Strictly
ONE of the stars of Strictly Come Dancing put the cha-cha-cha into Chelmsley Wood last weekend.
Natalie Lowe, who has appeared in four series of the smash hit show, came to town to teach a move or two to members of the local FitSteps Class.
The Australian dance champion started the FitSteps franchise a few years ago, in partnership with Ian Waite, and classes run at more than 700 venues around the country.
The hobby has been compared to zumba, but a few steps straight out of ballroom and latin dancing make the workouts rather unique.
In Chelmsley Wood, the sessions are run by local mum Teresa Farrell, who was delighted to welcome Natalie to her Saturday afternoon class.
Having previously partnered heavyweight boxer Audley Harrison and former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, Natalie took the trip to The Loft in her stride.
FitStep sessions take place throughout the week; other venues include The Three Trees Centre, Bosworth Community Centre and St Anne’s Community Centre.
If you would like to join any of the classes call Teresa on 07463 873711 or visit

Monday, 21 July 2014

"We will find you" - Police warning to off-road bikers

MENACE: Off-road bikes are an increasing problem in North
Solihull and over the border in Shard End, Birmingham
PEOPLE who ride off-road bikes around parks and open spaces will be hauled before the courts, police have warned.
Sergeant Peter Wall, from the Kingshurst & Fordbridge neighbourhood team, said that putting the brakes on the boy racers was his No 1 priority in terms of anti social behaviour.
He was reacting to a rising number of complaints about masked men tearing around local parkland, nature reserves and alleyways.
One resident recently described the bikes as “a nightmare”, with the noise of the engines sometimes loud enough to drown out the TV.
In response to the problem, the neighbourhood team have enlisted help from the
force’s motorbike unit, with increased patrols in North Solihull this summer.
“The message to the riders…is that you are not welcome in the parks and open spaces. We will find you, we will identify you and we will prosecute you for what is a criminal act,” said Sgt Wall, in an interview with Radio WM.
Councillor Chris Williams (Green, Chelmsley Wood) explained that the problem used to be associated with warm weather, but now worried residents were getting in touch all year round.
“This past winter there was not a week when there weren’t off-road motorbike complaints,” he said.
“We have got a lot of alleyways/walkways where people live on and they are going round those blind bends and causing a danger for us all. People are afraid there will be an accident.”
The issue was discussed at a Full Council meeting last week, with concerns raised that police officers on foot were struggling to catch those responsible. It's hoped that the arrival of help from the motorbike officers will make it easier to chase and detain the culprits.

Bike box:

  • The only place off-road bikes can be lawfully ridden is private land (with the permission of the landowner) or a dedicated track. Police advise riders that the nearest facilities locally are in Water Orton or Bickenhill.
  • Those who flout the law can be hit with significant fines and may have their bike crushed.
  • Solihull Community Housing has run an initiative called Operation Kickstart to try and crackdown on the problem.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

New bus link will serve Chelmund's Cross

THE No 70 bus service will follow a new route from Monday, so it can serve the new Chelmund’s Cross Village Centre.
The half-hourly service, which runs between Birmingham and Solihull, will follow the same route as previously until it comes to Coleshill Heath Road.
From there it will turn into Chelmsley Road and Carisbrooke Avenue, passing a new stop at Chelmund’s Cross. Leaving the village centre, it will turn left into Dunster Road and then resume the existing route towards Chelmsley Wood.
A section of Dunster Road between Chelmsley Road and Craig Croft will no longer be served by the No 70 (which was formerly the No 90).
The diversion was discussed for over a year, with residents in Carisbrooke Avenue urging the transport authorities to consider an alternative route.
They feared that bringing double-decker buses down a road that was previously a cul-de-sac would pose a road safety problem and around 50 people signed a petition against the plans.
Solihull Council said last autumn that while it was sympathetic to residents’ views, it was important that Chelmund’s Cross was well served by public transport.
An alternative route down Chester Road was ruled out after road chiefs concluded it would have meant a large proportion of residents would have been an unreasonable distance from the nearest bus route.

Summer Fun Day in Smith's Wood

LET’S hope the rain holds off for the Summer Fun Day taking place in Smith’s Wood today (Saturday, January 19).
There will martial arts demonstrations, zumba sessions and all sorts of stalls at Smith’s Wood Community Primary, in Kingfisher Drive
The event has been organised by Smith’s Wood Parish Council and is open from 11am-4pm.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Ex-Kingshurst councillor in line for police commissioner job

A former Kingshurst councillor has emerged as the frontrunner to become the next West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.
David Jamieson, who lost his seat in May, is poised to make a rapid return to frontline politics after being chosen as the Labour candidate for the post
The previous commissioner, Bob Jones, died suddenly earlier this month and a by-election will be held on August 21 to fill the £100,000 a year role.
Many were surprised by this week’s news that Mr Jamieson had received his party’s nomination. It was widely assumed that Yvonne Mosquito, who was Mr Jones’ deputy and the current acting PCC, would be put forward.
Mr Jamieson, aged 67, vowed to carry on his predecessor’s good work in the role, which is responsible for holding the region’s police force to account.
While all the major parties are set to contest next month’s election, Mr Jamieson is the firm favourite to win – Bob Jones secured more than double the number of votes of his nearest rival when the West Midlands last went to the polls a little over 18 months ago.
Mr Jamieson is an experienced politician, having first served on Solihull Council in the 1970s. He went on to become MP for Plymouth Devonport and was appointed a junior transport minister in Tony Blair’s government.
He left Westminster in 2005, returning to his hometown and in 2010 started a second spell on Solihull Council. He had been the leader of the borough's Labour group for the past three years, but was one of several members to lose their seat at the local elections – unable to see off a challenge from UKIP.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Bigger and better Chelmund's Day takes place next weekend

RESIDENTS are busy getting ready for the third annual Chelmund’s Day, taking place next weekend.
There will be stalls, games, live music and many other family activities on the day, which celebrates Chelmsley Wood’s community and heritage.
A VIP appearance by a band of Saxons acknowledges the area’s ancient past, but there will also be some nods to more recent history – such as the ‘bogey on a stick’ coconut shy.
Northern Star Arts, Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church, The Three Trees Centre and Windy Arbor/Coleshill Heath Schools are among the groups who will be involved.
This year’s event – which is being billed as the biggest yet – will take place at the Bishop Wilson School on Saturday, July 19. Activities run from 11am-3pm.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Free running facility officially opened in Chelmsley Wood

FACILITY: It is hoped the free running facility will give young
people in Chelmsley Wood more to do.
AN OUTDOOR obstacle course – tailor-made for a daredevil sport - has been officially opened in Meriden Park.
The “free running” facility has been purpose-built to give young people a place to practice their hobby.
It is hoped that the equipment will reduce anti social behaviour at the nearby shopping centre, with police officers receiving powers to move youths out of the precinct and into the park.
Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Kate Wild, opened the obstacle course last week and said it would bring huge benefits to the local community.
“It will give our local young people the opportunity to remain active and enjoy a unique hobby in one of the borough’s beautiful parks.”
Free running, or parkour as its sometimes known, is best described as “urban acrobatics” and involves running, climbing or jumping from one place to another as quickly as possible.
It started in France some 30 years ago, but its profile rose in this country with the release of a BBC advert in the early noughties. The 90 second trail involved a man scrambling over rooftops to avoid the rush hour traffic.
Solihull’s youth services previously ran sessions in 2011 and they proved so successful that it was decided to create a permanent facility in Chelmsley Wood.
The project involved Solihull Council, CAFÉ (Community Action in Fordbridge) and local schools.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Robber who preyed on elderly residents "may never be released"

A THUG who shoved an 87-year-old woman against a radiator during a terrifying robbery at her Chelmsley Wood home has been jailed for life.
Lee Roberts (pictured) was caged after he was found guilty of targeting the pensioner and four other elderly women either side of the New Year.
Police described the raid in Bosworth Drive, which happened on December 20, as the most appalling of all.
During her ordeal, the woman was dragged from room-to-room as Roberts demanded cash. She suffered serious facial injuries after he pushed her against the radiator.
The 33-year-old thug fled the scene with £500 cash he’d found in a bedroom wardrobe, leaving the victim with a cushion tied across her face.
He went on to target a 73-year-old woman, in Stonebridge Crescent, Kingshurst, on January 2 and two days later snatched a 91-year-old’s pension after following her to her home in Colesbourne Road, near Solihull Ice Rink.
Later the same month he snatched a handbag from a woman’s doorstep in Hay Mills and ransacked the home of a dementia sufferer, again in Solihull.
The crook had previously been convicted of manslaughter ten years ago, after robbing the home of a 90-year-old in Hobs Moat. Neville Bassett had died five days after the break-in.
Roberts was released in 2011 but relapsed into crime. He was linked to the latest spate of offences after a Vauxhall Astra was discovered in an Olton car park on January 8. When detectives checked the vehicle’s on-board tracker they found that it had been parked outside the home of each of the victims at the time of the offences.
On Friday (July 4), Roberts, of no fixed abode, admitted four counts of robbery and one burglary at Birmingham Crown Court. Judge Roderick Henderson ordered he serve at least six years and nine months behind bars.
Det Con Arran Cox, from Solihull CID, said: “These were terrifying ordeals for his victims: they were threatened, assaulted and had to watch as their homes were ransacked.
“He has a track record of nasty rush robberies and has already served many years in prison after one victim, who he left with broken ribs, died from pneumonia as a result of his injuries.
“Residents can now feel reassured that Roberts is no longer free to commit such despicable offences – and may never emerge from prison if authorities deem he poses a risk in the future.”

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Chelmsley Wood road named after area's much-loved GP

A ROAD in Chelmsley Wood has been named after the popular doctor who opened the housing estate’s first ever GP surgery.
Pomeroy Way, near the Three Trees Centre, is named after Dr Richard Pomeroy (pictured above), who started the surgery single-handedly in a small rented house in 1968.
By the early 70s, the Craig Croft facility was already dealing with 15,000 patients and the pioneering practitioner was later awarded an MBE for his services to healthcare.
Describing the challenges which faced the fledgling practice, Dr Pomeroy later said: “The health problems were of a kind endemic to areas of deprivation, where there was a lot of unemployment and actual poverty.
“Infant mortality was quite high compared with the national average and pneumonia was a frequent cause of death.”
The father-of-five died last July, aged 76, and warm tributes were paid by former colleagues. His first GP partner, Dr Martin Allin, had described him as someone who “worked for the public rather than himself.”
Twelve months on from his death, Dr Pomeroy’s role serving the community has been recognised by the recently installed road sign.