Daily Archives: January 29, 2014

Canal News – A ‘dad’s army’ relic causes a stir and ‘Folk in the Museum’, Foxton

Canal News

A ‘dad’s army’ relic causes a stir5346

A volunteer at the bottom of Lock 66 Grand Union Canal holding the WW2 helmet

 A watched phone never rings.

I’m waiting for a colleague to ring me back because I want to take a picture of him with a hat. Not very exciting, you may think. But it’s not just any old hat. It’s a World War 2 steel helmet of the type worn by all branches of HM forces as well as the police and emergency services, including civil defence personnel (the Home Guard – unfairly dubbed ‘Dad’s Army’) and air raid patrol wardens.

The helmet was found at the bottom of Apsley Lock 66, Grand Union Canal, when it was drained in preparation for replacing the gates. While the lock was empty, we held one of our weekend open days and more than 1,200 members of the public came and had a look at some of the things we do to keep 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in working order.

Throughout the day groups of visitors were shown around the chamber of lock 66 by staff and volunteers. As well as free lock tours there were children’s activities run by education volunteer co-ordinator Elaine Stanley and her Explorers team, an opportunity to try fishing under the watchful eye of match booking organiser Dick Pilkinton and national angling development manager Becca Dent, boat trips, and guided tours of Frogmore Mill. National volunteering manager Ed Moss and volunteer leader South East Miriam Tedder had made sure there was a heavy volunteer involvement on the day. Despite the cold January weather, there was a real festival atmosphere.

Anyway, back to the hat. Down in the lock, the helmet – which was thought at first to be a theatrical or fancy dress prop – was shown to interested visitors. Because of the queues of customers waiting to go down into the lock, I was using the ‘family hold back’ philosophy, so I didn’t get the chance to take a close up of the chap who found the helmet – which has now been verified as the genuine article by the ‘Curator Uniforms, Personal Equipment and Flags’ no less, – that’s a great job title isn’t it? – at the Imperial War Museum! I hope my colleague rings back soon…

Foxton Locks

Folk in the Museum at Foxton Locks Canal Museum

02 Feb 2014  7:30 pm – 10:00 pm


Middle Lock  Gumley Road  Foxton  Market Harborough

Leicestershire  LE16 7RT

Free event

Folk in the Museum on Sunday 2nd February

Free event, please take part or sit back and enjoy

For more information please call Tel: 0116 2792 657

Lichfield & Cannock Chase News

 Lichfield & Cannock Chase News

Lichfield News

Beacon Park

CPCG Beacon Park stream improvements

Published on Monday, 27th January 2014

A group of volunteers is set to kick off 2014 with two days of conservation work at Beacon Park this February.

Lichfield District Council’s Countryside & Parks Conservation Group (or CPCG for short) volunteer to help maintain local parks and green spaces across the district.

This year, an extra day of conservation work has been added to the monthly programme, so the volunteers will be rolling up their sleeves twice a month to help cut back scrub, build insect hotels, create paths and more.

The first two events of 2014 are on Wednesday 5 and Wednesday 19 February from 10.30am to 3pm.

Both events will take place at Beacon Park, where volunteers will don their wellies to make improvements to the stream.

Councillor Andrew Smith, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure & Parks, said: “The Countryside & Parks Conservation Group does a fantastic job in helping us to look after and improve the district’s parks and green spaces. These two events will help to maintain Leomansley Brook, which runs through Beacon Park. It will involve clearing back scrub and vegetation and digging silt out to make the stream flow better.”

Anyone over 18 years of age can volunteer. All tools are provided as well as light snacks. Wearing outdoor waterproof clothes and sturdy footwear or wellies is recommended.

Councillor Ian Pritchard, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth & Development, added: “The extra day a month will mean that even more conservation work can be tackled and I hope plenty of people volunteer to get involved in this important work. I know the group is always keen to welcome new members, so do come along if you are interested in taking part.”

To book your free place, please call Denice Deverall at Lichfield District Council on 01543 308183 or emaildenice.deverall@lichfielddc.gov.uk


Cannock Chase News

Volunteering Day – Holly ClearingShoal Hill Common

Shoal Hill Common

Nature reserve in the corner of Shoal Hill. Shoal Hill is an isolated fragment of Cannock Chase separated from the main body by the old Littleton Colliery site. It is nonetheless heavily used by walkers and horse riders and offers a taste of the open areas of the Chase, typically heather and silver birch woodland.  © Copyright John M and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Date: 7th Feb 2014

Location: Shoal Hill Common

Time: 10:00 – 15:30

Cost: Free of Charge

Volunteering day – Holly clearing on Shoal Hill Common

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) holly clearing volunteering day on Shoal Hill Common

Voluteer leader is Bob Collett

Most leaders will be on site until 3:30pm or until the task is complete. Volunteers are welcome to stay until the end but any time you provide is gratefully appreciated. Please ensure that you wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring a packed lunch if you intend to stay after lunch.

For more information contact Emma Beaman, Assistant AONB Officer on 01785 619186 or email emma.beaman@staffordshire.gov.uk


 Lichfield News

Olympic torchbearer cuts ribbon on improvementsFriary opening

Published on Tuesday, 28th January 2014

A day of celebration took place at Friary Grange Leisure Centre on Sunday 26 ,

January 2014 to officially launch the £500,000 makeover.

Former Friary School pupil and Olympic Relay torchbearer, Tom Bolton, cut the ribbon to formally open Friary Grange Leisure Centre’s improvements.

Tom was joined by project partner representatives, including Lichfield District Council, The Friary School, Staffordshire County Council, Sport England and Aiming High.

To celebrate the improvements, Lichfield District Council invited everyone to a day of celebrations, offering an extended free swimming session, fun swimming activities, and Evolve Fitness membership deals.

The day was a chance to showcase the completed makeover that includes the new frontage and reception, refurbished swimming pool changing rooms, improved access to the leisure centre and pool, and a viewing gallery to the pool from an extended refreshment area.

Councillor David Leytham, Chairman of Lichfield District Council, said: “The day was a great success with more than 400 people coming to see the improvements and to enjoy all the activities on offer. The works have made such a difference to Friary Grange Leisure Centre, from the new entrance to the changing rooms. I am also really pleased the project has made it easier for people with disabilities to access the pool and the rest of the building.”

Tom Bolton said: “It’s a fantastic makeover, and I hope it encourages more people to swim, especially people with disabilities. It was great to be asked to cut the ribbon and to be back at my old school.”

The Friary Grange Leisure Centre Makeover Project was funded by Sport England, Aiming High, Staffordshire County Council, Lichfield District Council and section 106 contributions.

For more information about the project, visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/friarymakover