You’ve only got until 4pm….

…to visit Bearwood's first food festival, and the way things are going you may need to get there before then, because at midday it was getting pretty packed. Now, where's my scone and cream!

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Storytime at Thimblemill

This is a spin off from the sell out event Tell me on a Sunday that ran for 3 years at the Ikon gallery in Birmingham. From these shows, Cat Weatherill the host chose the creme de la crème, from the storytellers, to form this new company.

There are 7 storytellers, all telling realife stories for 7 minutes from their own life experiences. This event is a taster for Utter Bearwood, which will be back with us in March 2015



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Lightwoods Park update

There has been a lot of speculation about what will be happening in Lightwoods Park, what elements are due to close, and when. Here, Cherie O'Sullivan, Project Officer for Sandwell Council, provides some of the answers.

Lightwoods Park and House are set to undergo a full restoration from the end of January 2015. The restoration is being funded through a grant of £3.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG) and £1.6 million match funding from Sandwell Council.

The aim of this £5.2 million project is to restore the historical elements of Lightwoods Park and refurbish the Grade II Lightwoods House so more people can enjoy, learn about and become involved in the park and house.

The project will include the restoration of the drinking fountains, the 19th Century Bandstand, Shakespeare Garden, walls and railings and a pond. It will also incorporate access improvements and a new play area. The Grade II listed house, which was built in 1791, will be brought back into public use for community meetings, training, functions, a Children’s Centre and on site offices for the park/house management and police. The ground floor will provide public toilets, a tea room and exhibition space. The upper floors of the house will provide rooms for the community, conferencing, weddings and commercial office space. The plant nursery will become a horticultural training centre. Educational and events programmes are also planned for the park and house.

Work was originally due to commence in the autumn of this year, but the complexity of the tendering process and scope of the works of this historic restoration means it is now anticipated that work will start at the end of January 2015. The duration of the works will continue through 2015/2016 with the official opening of a restored and beautiful Lightwoods Park and House now forecast for Lightwoods Park is being restored in a phased approach so that some parts of the park are always accessible during the contract. This is with exception to Lightwoods House and the Shakespeare Garden which will be closed to the public for the full duration of the contract.

Until we have awarded the contract I am unable to announce a detailed timescale showing which parts of the park will be closed and when, I have however sent the rough outline programme (see below) out to Friends members and this is also in the park notice boards. Please note that this is subject to change following further conversations with the selected contractor. As soon as the phasing plan finalised with the contractor it will be published.

There will be a pre-construction briefing with neighbouring residents and members of the friends group before work starts on site to explain all of this

If you are interested in finding out more about the project and / or getting involved then please email the project officer, Cherie O'Sullivan, on and request to join the Friends of Lightwoods Park and House. Cherie sends regular mail outs to all members informing the group of project updates.

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From tiny acorns…

…mighty oak trees grow!

The Farmers' Market in Moseley, voted one of the best in the country, grew out of local residents getting together and organising it themselves. Yes, they got the City Council's highways and markets people to help and advise, but it was their energy and effort that have made it the success it is today.

Next weekend sees the Bearwood Pantry take the initiative to put on the first Bearwood Food Festival, with lots of innovative ideas to let people not just visit, but actively participate. Please try to pop along and give them your support, to paraphrase the late JFK… ask not what Bearwood can do for you, see what you can do for Bearwood!


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Support your local traders

Here at the Bearwood Blog we like food fairs and farmers' markets, and only recently praised the splendid Leamington Spa Food Fair, saying we could do something like that in Bearwood. Well, now, the Bearwood Pantry folk are putting on a Bearwood Food Fair on Saturday week at Bearwood Baptist Church. More about that on here over the next week, but for now, in the first of an irregular feature, we want to sing the praises of our very own Bearwood businesses.

Come rain or shine, all year round, our local traders here in Bearwood are not only providing excellent service and value, they are contributing to the local economy, providing employment, paying their taxes and overheads, and hoping to have something left at the end of it for themselves.

Dave Patrick & Son Butchers Ltd is Just such a business, a small family run traditional Butchers which has served Bearwood & its surrounding areas for over 25 years.

Originally started up by Dave Holt & his business partner Pat Newton, the 2 of them worked together for approximately 12 years until Pat decided to retire, so Dave carried on the business with the help of his only Son Jamie. In 2013 Dave decided to take early retirement passing on the business to Jamie. The shop is presently run by Jamie along with his 2 employees, Craig Smith & Lee Stokes.

Dave Patrick & Son Butchers offers a wide variety of Fresh Meat at competative prices.

All meat in bought in fresh in carcus form and boned out and cut on the premises, Lamb, Pork, Chicken & beef is all 100% British produced.

Whole joints of meat are available 6 days a week, and if its not on show we can cut to the weight or purchase price required by the customer.

Our 3 packs for £5.00 is often popular with families on a budget, offering a choice of Steak, a variety of flavoured Chicken including BBQ & Cajun and also Minted Lamb Chops.

We have a variety of 7 different flavoured Sausages, often making the choice a difficult one !!!

As well as Fresh Meat Dave Patrick's also sells Fresh Eggs, including Free Range, Cooked Meats and the famous Pukka Pies.

We also offer a small selection of Fresh Vegetables.

Orders can be taken for Christmas, and we also offer a Christmas Saving Club.

Dave Patrick & Son Butchers is Situated at 536 Bearwood Road, next door to St Mary's Church

We are a friendly, chatty bunch, so why not come in and see what your Local Butchers has to offer !


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Recently Dudley Castle has hit the national headlines with a visitor taking a picture of the castle's notorious 'Grey Lady'. More locally, for generations kids around here get to hear stories of Warley Woods very own Grey Lady.

Well now you can add Lightwoods House to your list of ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night. With Halloween nearly upon us, Richard Marshall Chair of the Friends of Lightwoods thought this was an apt time to release the following video, taken by Willenhall Paranormal Society earlier this year. It is expected to be the first of a number of 'visits' planned by the Society into Lightwoods House.

Richard Marshall said….”With such a long and chequered history, Lightwoods House is bound to hold some stories and some spirits within the walls. Hopefully Glen and his team (and maybe some of the braver members of the Friends group can meet up with them!”

Glen Smith, leader of Paranormal Society added…… “It's great to study a property as old as Lightwoods. We have looked at many buildings all over the Black Country and we can confirm that following the first visit the team have picked up enough data to suggest that there may be 2 or 3 'curious' sprits in the house. We had a few things that happened on and off camera, such as a couple of the team had their radio mics that we wear around our necks tugged. Also, there was over a 5 degree temperature drop on the servant's stairwell for a short period of time in the early hours of the morning. We can't wait for the next visit, hopefully whoever is there will get to realise we mean them no harm and will get more playful”



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In good company…

Well, what do you know, The Telegraph (not our normal daily read) has published a feature about Britain's Best Councils.

Modesty prevents us telling you who they think is ninth best!


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