The real big society

A couple of weeks ago an elderly woman was mugged in Park Road and hospitalised by the thug who stole her handbag. Her neighbours in Park Road rallied round and held a door-to-door collection for Audrey. The wonderful Webb’s of Bearwood had a donations box in their store to add to the collection. The local social media spread the word, and the Park Road collection raised a staggering £460, and the Webb’s collection an additional £355, including a single donation of £50 from Sandwell Lions.

Of course the money won’t mend Audrey’s broken bones, or relieve the trauma of being assaulted, nor catch the little thug who robbed her. But it does demonstrate to her, and everyone else, that we are part of a big society, and we don’t need smooth talking folk in Westminster to try to invent one for us!

Well done those who organised the collection, and a big thank you to everyone who contributed anything.

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3 Responses to The real big society

  1. Pauline Russell says:

    I was trying to find a way on Bearwood blog to thank those neighbours who walked the full length of Park Road (not sure if that was the only road they did) knocking on doors, so here is my chance – Thank you, you did a good job and yes Bearwood always comes together in a crisis. Hope Audrey continues to improve.

  2. Adam Carey says:

    In recent weeks some deeply upsetting developments: the tragic hit and run; the burning of benches; the theft of coping stones; this disgraceful assault. But the defining feature is the wonderful community solidarity that makes Bearwood such a special place. Thank you Bob, for so clearly sharing this quality, which so strongly confronts these few malcontents.

  3. Keith Bracey says:

    Hear! Hear! Bearwood is Brill!

    And thanks to Bob and Dr Ann Jaron and Coun Steve Eling for helping to make it so………!!!!

    Super events like the May Day Festival in our magnificent Lightwoods Park, soon to get a £5.2m lift to Lightwood’s House’s ageing countenance as it benignly looks down over the park and play area…….

    As a true Bearwoodian, albeit on the Birmingham side from Willow Avenue, rather than Smethwick…….

    By the way did all you Bearwood folk know that two, yes two war heroes Major Herbert James VC who won a Victoria Cross at Gallipoli in 1915, to go with Bearwood’s own Bill Savage’s VC at The Raid on Saint Nazaire in France in 1941.

    The other is a Second World War hero, the Birmingham General Viscount William Slim, ‘Bill’ Slim of Birmingham who led the ‘Forgotten Army’ of largely Brummie Soldiers and IndIan Army Regular Troops, including many Sikh Soldiers from the North Indian state of The Punjab in The Burma Campaign in 1944 and 1945 with victories at The Battles of Imphal and Kohima in 1945.

    Both Major Herbert James VC and Viscount Slim have Blue Birmingham Civic Society Plaques on their homes in Poplar Avenue on the Birmingham side of Bearwood.

    The brook that runs at the back of Willow Avenue where it meets with Merrivale Road in Smethwick, marks the boundary between Birmingham and Smethwick and the County Borough of Warley which was abolished in 1974 with Local Government changes which set up the late and much unloved West Midlands County Council at Lancaster House in Lancaster Circus near to Aston University and the main Birmingham Fire Station in Gosta Green.

    I think the brook is a tributary of the Chad Brook, which runs along Chad Valley between Harborne and Bearwood

    Do any Bearwoodians remember Chad Valley’s kiddies toys from the 1950’s and 1960’s all made at The Chad Valley Works in Park Hill Road in Harborne?

    These victories by Birmingham’s own General Viscount Bill Slim in crucial battles saved India from invasion and annexation by the Imperial Japanese Army in the Second World War.

    British people on the ‘Home Front’ during WW2 were preoccupied by war events in Western Europe after the D Day landings in Normandy on June 6th 1944 as Burma was a ‘Forgotten Land, so far, far away’ hence the British and Indian troops were dubbed ‘The Forgotten Army’ of the Second World War, because they were thousands of miles away in South-East Asia.

    If India had fallen to the Japanese the event would have heralded and sounded the ‘Death Knell’ for the British Empire as the fall of Singapore to the Japanese had almost done to the British Empire in 1941

    As it turned out the British Empire fell with Indian Independence in 1949.

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