Wednesday, 29 July 2015

North Solihull Sports Centre urged to reinstate popular lifeguard

THOUSANDS of people have signed a petition urging North Solihull Sports Centre to reinstate a well-known member-of-staff, who has been dismissed after more than 35 years’ service.
Long-serving lifeguard Ray Lill (pictured) was sacked following claims by leisure centre bosses that he had used his mobile phone at the poolside last month.
The 64-year-old has strenuously denied the suggestion and an online petition calling for him to be given his old job back has been signed by over 3,000 local residents.
Today (Wednesday), some of those supporters took part in a protest outside the centre; some have already cancelled their membership, while others are calling for a boycott.
Stuart Paling, who started the campaign, said that Ray had dedicated his life to the Chelmsley Wood area and was a familiar face to generations of people who had visited the swimming baths.
“He has touched thousands of lives during his tenure there. Many of you I’m sure have learnt to swim as a result of Ray.”
Many of those who have rallied behind the grandfather-of-six left messages of support online.
Pat Bourke, from Coleshill, said: “Ray’s welcoming smile and affable nature have always been a part of my experiences at the pool since I first visited, both with school groups and as an individual over the past 30 years of so. One just expects to see him there.”
Ian Robinson wrote: “Although I didn’t know Ray by name I recognised him instantly. Ray has been a figure at those baths since I was a child. He was always cheerful and I can remember him helping my mum with cramp when she was struggling.”
The lifeguard has worked at the centre since it opened and had been due to retire next year.
His daughter, Alison Fox, said her father had been touched by the public response.
A spokesman for Parkwood Leisure, who operate the centre, said that they had dismissed Ray for “gross misconduct” due to a breach of health and safety regulations.
“Health and safety is our company’s number one priority, we therefore have strict measures in place to safeguard both customers and employees.
“Any breach of these measures is taken extremely seriously and dealt with in line with our HR disciplinary procedures.”
It is understood that the trade union Unison is challenging the dismissal.
  • The latest issue of Other Side of Solihull's digital newspaper is out now.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Other Side of Solihull: New edition out now

THE latest issue of Other Side of Solihull's digital newspaper is available to read here.
Don't forget you can send your stories to

Monday, 20 July 2015

Police clamp down on street races near Marston Green

RECKLESS: Videos were posted online of the street racing at Bickenhill

POLICE have vowed to bring boy racers to book, following concerns about dangerous driving on a road near Marston Green.
Last month, several video clips surfaced on Youtube showing vehicles taking part in an illegal street race on Bickenhill Parkway.
The alarming footage shows spectators lining the dual carriageway as cars jockey for position and speed round a traffic island.
A number of worried residents had contacted police about the event, which took place during the early hours of June 22.
After officers were originally criticised for their response, they have stepped up their response to the problem over the course of the last two weeks.
Around 100 drivers will be prosecuted for speeding, while 18 anti social behaviour notices have been handed out.
West Midlands Police have said that they would be looking to get an injunction to stop the races being held on the road, which runs near to Birmingham Airport.
Street races, sometimes known as cruises, have been a problem around the region for several years now.
Previously the racers have held late-night meetings at Fort Parkway, near Castle Bromwich, and Landor Street, just outside the city centre.
While operations to break up the races are often successful, there are concerns that in many cases the drivers simply find another location.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Man in court after dropping his trousers in pub

A CHELMSLEY Wood man exposed himself to a bar manager after she ordered him out of a village pub, the Birmingham Mail reports.
Joe Borland has been ordered to pay compensation following the incident at the Red Lion, Coleshill in October 2013. He was told by a Judge that he should be "utterly ashamed" of his behaviour.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Kingshurst principal steps down

THE CTC Kingshurst Academy today said a fond farewell to its long-serving principal.
Ann Jones has been at the Cooks Lane school since it opened in 1988 and has held the top job for almost 14 years.
Staff and students this week paid tribute to Miss Jones, who has overseen many changes during her time in charge - the college converted to an academy in 2008 and in recent years has also undergone a significant rebuilding project.
Miss Jones has also been a vocal supporter of the International Baccalaureate - the qualification that the CTC offers to its sixth form students in place of A Levels.
"The CTC really is a remarkable place to learn and work,” she said.
"The academy is in very good-heart and it is thanks to the incredible dedication and commitment of staff that our students have enjoyed such considerable success."
When students return to school in September, their new principal will be Damon Hewson.
Like his predecessor, Mr Hewson started off in the college's English department.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Transport roadshows to take place in North Solihull

RESIDENTS in North Solihull are being offered a chance to have their say on the development of the borough’s transport plan over the next 20 years.
Among the items on the agenda for the next few years will be how to mitigate the impact of the high-speed rail link and the options available for alleviating congestion on local roads.
Roadshows will be held at Chelmsley Wood Library (on July 29) and Marston Green Library (August 17).
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, said: "This is an opportunity for residents to take an active role in shaping their surroundings.
"It is my hope that these roadshows will allow us to have a proper dialogue - we want to hear your thoughts and opinions."

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Massive turn-out at memorial service for Marston Green woman Anne Dunkley

MUCH MISSED: Anne Dunkley
THE son of Marston Green woman Anne Dunkley - who died following a disturbance at her home last month - has thanked the community for their kindness following his mum's death.
Matt Dunkley said that the family wanted to express their "heartfelt appreciation" for the many tributes paid to the former primary school teacher and guide leader.
On Monday (July 6), many of those who had known the 67-year-old attended a memorial service at St Leonard's Church.
The event was described by Matt as a celebration of his mother's wonderful life and he said the family had been overwhelmed by the number of people who turned out.
"We have been touched by the strength of the warm support we have received from the community in Marston Green and beyond, and the size of the congregation was testament to the impact mum made on so many during her life," he said.
"We would also like to thank those who were unable to attend the service but sent messages and were with us in spirit."
In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to the Children's Society - reflecting Mrs Dunkley's long-standing commitment to young people.
A permanent webpage has been set up, enabling others to make donations to the charity, as well as share their memories of the popular pensioner.
"A difficult journey lies ahead, but we have taken some comfort from being able to spend time with mum’s friends, neighbours and colleagues, and share in giving thanks for the special person we all knew and loved. Thank you."

  • Mrs Dunkley died at her Elmdon Road home on June 5. Her nephew Gareth Emery, 24, of Shirley, has been charged with murder.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Chelmund's Day is here

CHELMSLEY Wood residents will once again be celebrating the rich history of the local area with the return of the popular Chelmund’s Day event.
The annual fair, held for the first time four years ago, takes its name from the Anglo Saxon landowner from whom the name of the estate is said to be derived.
Morris dancing, music, re-enactments and a whole host of games will be among the attractions.
Organisers have confirmed that a book on the history of the area, from ancient times to the present day, will also be launched at the event.
This year’s celebration will be taking place at Bishop Wilson School today (Saturday, July 11), from 11am-3pm. Admission is free.
For more details visit

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Marston Green tea party takes place today

BRUMMIE FUNNYMAN: Malcolm Stent will be serving up a slice of local
humour at the tea party.

COMEDIAN Malcolm Stent will be the special guest at a charity event in Marston Green this afternoon.
Organisers of the Blooming Great Tea Party will be hoping that the recent spell of sunny weather will continue through today.
Malcolm, perhaps best known locally for his annual pantomime, has agreed to cut the ribbon at the fund raiser.
The event, which will be raising funds for Marie Curie, will feature a plant sale, tombola and book stall. Tea and cake will also be served.,
The tea party is to take place at 69 Elmdon Lane, from 2.00-4.30pm. Tickets are £5 and available from Linda (0121 779 4787) or Ian (0121 684 0707).