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  • David Walliams's Awful Aunt Arrives In Town!
    18 Oct 2017

    Awful Auntie

    Birmingham Stage Company

    Theatre Severn

    Wednesday 18th October… Saturday 21st October (Matinee Wednesday 18th)

    If you are heading to see David Walliams’s, “Awful Auntie,” and you suspect it will be as much fun as his “Gangsta Granny,” which toured last year, sadly you may well be wrong.

    Clearly as a children’s show it has to offer all the bells and whistles and embrace the new technology. However technology on stage can and does go wrong or fail. More of that later.

    The narrative is set in a country mansion, Aunt Alberta (Timothy Speyer) is caring for her comatose Niece (Georgina Leonidas) and has her wrapped in bandages, she comes to only to discover that her parents were killed in a car crash months ago and Aunt has been caring for her. However Stella Saxby as she is called is the real heir to the Saxby Hall and the title of her Ladyship. However Stella supported by her ghost friend Soot (Ashley Cousins) turn the tables and the auntie meets her comeuppance.

    Auntie Alberta is not without friends however as she has an owl known as Wagner,( Operator... Roberta Bellekom) he gets up to all sorts of mischief in the name of his owner but the path of justice and right prevails. The owl is a good idea but it does look a little moth-eaten. It was a puppet and its operator was clearly visible at all times. It is a deliberate device, used to amazing effect in Avenue Q (Theatre Severn 2015) however this didn’t seem to really work. The character of the Owl was not magical enough and stretched the imagination way too much. As a consequence it was difficult to forget its operator.

    One character that makes no sense and is played as an imbecile was Gibbon the Butler (Richard James.) His madness was way too off the scale to be believed and any tension or belief the show might build up with the audience is broken by this rather foolish character. The question is where is the joke in that? Some people as they get older grow a little confused but, is that something we want to teach children to laugh at?

    There is an unusual amount of arm waving and pointing to nothing in the middle distance. Gesture is a crucial part of building up a theatrical performance but when they gestures make no sense it clouds the water somewhat and leaves one wondering what were the semiotics behind these strange gestures. There could be several reasons; even so they need to mean something. One cannot just point into the auditorium and have no sense of purpose its confusing.

    Costume was interesting, Auntie wore an over the top ensemble, obviously she would! Greens, tartans and ginger hair is an alarming mix but it was funny. Soot , when alive must have been the greatest Chimney Sweep’s boy in the whole of the country because even though he had worked up chimneys and now haunted one, the lack of soot on the boy's face and clothes was obvious.

    The set is brilliant, so cleverly designed and a joy to watch in action. If you can imagine the acting area almost oblong in shape in each corner is a circular tower. These towers turn and show different rooms or aspects of the mansion. If you are fascinated and flummoxed as to how these were working you wouldn’t be alone. The actors enter through it and climb all over it yet it is so incredibly sturdy. It is an incredible set.

     However and one’s heart goes out to the cast and crew today, being the first day of performance in Theatre Severn the set failed. Some cables under the set stopped working and as it was all programmed into a computer to match the action. The show is very heavily reliant on this being there constantly and always working. It’s a case of one error and for whatever reason a cue is missed  the scenery would no longer match the show.

    The company receives great sympathy from this critic and an understanding that gremlins always plague an opening performance of anything. One can be certain that the problem will not present itself again in this run: because until the point of breakdown it was a brilliant and wonderfully designed piece of kit.

    Awful Auntie plays all week until Saturday it is fun for children and when you see a full auditorium of the little cherubs rapt in what is happening on the stage one realises that theatre speaks to us all. Long so it should!

    This is a Three Star Review

    Owen J Lewis

    Owen Lewis
  • Volvo XC60 R-Design
    17 Oct 2017

       Quite where the line is drawn between what makes an SUV an SUV, and what constitutes a crossover these days is hard to determine, but what can’t be argued is the fact that we car-buyers love ‘em – and especially so if they’re considered “premium”.

       At the time a writing, and just a couple of weeks after their glitzy unveilings at The Frankfurt Motorshow, I can name at least another half-dozen that are set to come to showrooms in the coming few months. And with this market sector predicted to grow by another 20% over the next five years you can bet there’ll be more. Everyone seems to want to be in on this particular act.

        It’s into this ever-busier fray that Volvo have recently introduced their new and very handsome looking  XC60.

       The previous generation XC60 was a more than just a bit of a hit: It was Volvo’s best-selling car, and the bestselling car of its type in Europe. Needless to say then the new one has big, and being a crossover (or is it an SUV?), slightly muddy tyre-tracks to fill. It also faces some stiff – no sporty suspension puns intended – and predominately Germanic competition from the likes of Audi’s Q5, BMW’s X3, and Mercedes Benz’s GLC. Then of course there’s Jaguar’s F-pace, and Alfa Romeo’s new Stelvio might turn a few previous XC60 owner’s heads too. Or at least that’s what the Italians are hoping.

        Whereas it could be said that that aforementioned line-up verge towards a more involving and driver oriented feel (hence my hinting at stiff springing) the XC60 goes for a far more laid-back, comfort-orientated - Scandinavian you could say - approach to its driving dymanics. If setting new Nurburgring lap-times is your thing stop reading now; go and buy Porsche’s Macan instead. The XC60 is far too relaxed for such things.

        Those for whom there’s a necessity to seat seven should look elsewhere too: The XC60 is strictly a five-seater – abeit a rather spacious one.

        It’s based like many a modern Volvo on the Gothenberg-based manufacturer’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and thus benefits from the same  powertrains, suspension, seats, and interior operating systems as the beautifully stylish XC90 and the capacious, extremely capable, and equally chic V90. It’s a shortening of the wheelbase, and a narrowing of track, plus no doubt some other tinkerings, that have created the XC60’s underpinnings.

       Four-wheel drive is available on every model as standard, as is an automatic gearbox. And as always with modern Volvos, power comes from either a T5 four-cylinder petrol, a four cylinder diesel in either D4 or D5 guise, or their T8 petrol-electric Hybrid System. Power ranges from 190bhp  –  to a whopping 407 bhp. Volvo also claim you can buy an XC60 with CO2 emissions of just 49g/km.

        Volvo lent us a their XC60 D5 PowerPulse R-design – and very nice it was too. But then so it should be at £43,205 with another £12,775 having been spent on options on top of that (suddenly that Macan doesn’t seem quite so expensive does it?). Panoramic sunroof? That’s £2000. Head-up display? £750. Bowers and Wilkins excellent hi-fi £2,500, plus another £100 for the CD player. Metallic paint – surely a necessity in the leafer parts of Surrey? £650. It all mounts up.

        What can’t be argued about however is just how solidly built and safe the XC60 feels. Doors shut with a resounding thunk and the seats are superb, cupping you firmly and yet very comfortably in place. There’s a also a whole raft of safety systems to prevent you from crashing including ones that can take control of the car’s speed and steering in order to guide it away from potentially dangerous situations, such as drifting into oncoming traffic or pulling out in front of a car in your blind spot.

        Every XC60 also gets pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection integrated within the autonomous emergency braking, plus road edge detection to reduce the chances of the car inadvertently leaving the road. The parking cameras are also superb. Never mind Volvo’s claim that no-one should ever crash one of their cars, no-one should ever scratch one either at this rate.

       But don’t go thinking the XC60 drives like a tank. The snappily titled PowerPulse is a canister that stores a reserve of high-pressure air that’s released into the inlet when you floor the accelerator. As a result the 235 bhp D5 hits 62mph in 7.2 seconds. It’s no slouch. If only the steering was as quick, but at least our car’s optional adaptive damping kept everything, and everyone, in check.

        As you might have guessed, it’s quite hard to be really passionate about the XC60 but it is a very lovely thing in which spend time and travel nonetheless. Keener drivers might be left a little wanting when it comes to involvement behind the wheel, but the XC60’s raison-d’etre really lies elsewhere. Few if any can beat its mix of quality and safety. As a family all-rounder and for the next generation it’s definitely one of the best.


    Volvo XC60 D5 PowerPulse AWD R-Design

    Engine: 1,969cc 4Cyl 16V turbo diesel

    Transmission: 8 speed Auto, Four wheel drive.

    Power:  253 bhp @ 4,000 rpm

    Torque: 354 lbft @ 1750 – 2,500 rpm

    0-62 MPH: 7.2 Sec

    Max Speed: 137 mph

    CO2: 144 g/km

    MPG: 51.4 combined

    Price: from £43,205 (as tested £55,980).


    Many thanks to Luke at Volvo’s UK press office for the loan of the XC60


    Liam Bird
  • Shrewsbury Firm get EU Grant Funding to Develop Innovative Meeting Software
    08 Jun 2017
    Make your Meetings More Productive

    Local firm, Wellmeadow Limited, have announced that they have been awarded a £20,000 Innovation grant from the EU to help it develop its latest product. The grant has been approved to support further work to commercialise a product so that the company can take it to a broader market.

    Wellmeadow has been designing an early version of this software, which helps people to run more effective meetings, for many years. In 2016 it produced its first commercially available product called Magic Minutes and this has been adopted by a number of its consulting clients and other firms. This new boost though will dramatically accelerate progress. The whole look and feel has been redesigned by Shrewsbury design firm The Curious Agency, and now the company can push forward with turning this in to the next version of the software.

    Managing Director, David Parry, said, “This grant is a game changer for us. We can now produce the product we have always wanted to make. We have had great reaction from its current users, but it has been seen as a specialist product. This will make it much easier for anyone to start using – whether you are chairing a board meeting or the local scout group planning meeting.

    “The real benefit of using online software for your meetings instead of typing minutes in a word processor is the automation available. All the actions agreed to can be logged and chased up by the software. You can automate the preparation of the meeting by engaging people with reports circulated before the meeting even starts. During the meeting itself, you can even see how you are progressing against the time allowed for each agenda item – and get a prediction on when the meeting will finish.”

    The company has selected another local firm, Severn Solutions Limited, to help with the software development. Wellmeadow chose Severn Solutions for its first commercial version over a year ago, and Parry said that it seemed a logical decision to stick with the same developers for Version 2.

    The company says that the challenge for this summer is now to get more people to think about using software for their meetings for the first time, something much more common in the USA than in the UK at the moment. In an effort to help with this, Parry explained that a social media campaign had begun to offer Shropshire-based users a free licence. This has already sparked initial interest, and great feedback was being received from new users. These free licences are still available by signing up for a trial at and then contacting the company to extend the free trial.

  • New housing provider for Staffordshire and Shropshire
    06 Oct 2016
    Sarah Boden (centre), the new Chief Executive of the Housing Plus Group, celebrates the successful merger with staff

    A new housing provider pledging to build new homes for communities in Staffordshire and Shropshire officially launched on 1 October 2016.

    Housing Plus Group, formed by a merger between Severnside Housing in Shropshire and South Staffordshire-based Housing Plus, will employ around 600 people locally and have a turnover of more than £60m.

    The group - which also includes Care Plus, Severn Homes, AWE and Property Plus - has 25,000 customers and owns 12,000 properties. Its strength as a larger provider will support a target to build more houses locally, helping to meet a soaring demand for homes to rent or buy.

    Sarah Boden is chief executive of the Housing Plus Group. Having begun her career working with homeless people, she said: “The need for housing has never been greater. Our challenge is to provide the homes our communities need, including disadvantaged or vulnerable people whose needs are not met by the open market.

    “There is a huge responsibility to support thriving towns and villages. As a larger group we now have a tremendous opportunity to build more homes in the local area and offer greater choice and excellent services for customers.”

    The Group will continue to deliver landlord services and property repairs locally, from their operational centres in South Staffordshire and Shropshire.

    “Some things won’t change for our customers,” assured Sarah Boden. “Their home, rights and any charges they pay won’t be affected by this very positive move. Customers can still expect a fantastic service from people who know the area and are part of the community.”

    Rolf Levesley, chair of the Housing Plus Group board, said: “This is a new, stronger group which will deliver meaningful benefits for our customers, communities, employees and partners. I’m proud that we can make a real difference to people in Shropshire and Staffordshire as we strive to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live somewhere they can call home.” 

  • Flower Show Fireworks - User Submitted Photos
    11 Aug 2012

    Want to share your photos of the Shrewsbury Flower show? If so send them to [email protected] and we will add them to our gallery, below are some that have already been sent to us!

    Pete White
  • New service to get people home safely from Shrewsbury town centre hailed as success
    19 Jan 2016

    A new scheme to help late night revellers find their way home safely from Shrewsbury town centre has been hailed as a success.

    Pubs and clubs in Shrewsbury have teamed up with the county’s largest taxi firm, Go Carz, to make sure vulnerable people can get a taxi home even if they have not booked one.

    Members of the Safer Shrewsbury Pub Watch scheme said they wanted to further improve the safety of people who had visited the vibrant nightlife in Shrewsbury town centre. On occasion customers can become vulnerable and stranded in the town after being separated from their friends.

    So a new initiative has been set up to give all door supervisors and bar staff a direct link to Go Carz to make sure they can get home.

    Cindy Wilday, director at Go Carz, said the company was happy to provide the service.

    She said: “Unless you have pre-booked a taxi it is very difficult to hail a vehicle late at night in Shrewsbury town centre, especially for those who have had a few too many to drink.

    “By entering into this partnership with the Safer Shrewsbury Pub Watch scheme, we are committing to providing a taxi as quickly as possible when called by a member of staff from a pub or club.

    “We launched the system in the run-up to Christmas and it worked well. Our drivers were called a few times over the festive period to make sure people got home safely rather than being left to wander the streets.

    “The plan is to continue with this system for the foreseeable future.”

    Richard Goodchild, Pub Watch scheme manager, said the initiative had been developed in response to concerns about people becoming vulnerable after drinking in the town.

    He said: “It was reported to us that between 11pm and 1am in particular, there were people who had consumed too much alcohol who appeared to have been abandoned or got separated from their friends.

    “They were trying to enter pubs and clubs but were being denied entry because they were in no fit state to continue drinking.

    “The problem then is how do they get home? If they hadn’t booked a taxi they were effectively stranded in the town centre.

    “So we thought it would be a good idea to have an agreement with a taxi company who could provide transport for these vulnerable people to get them home safely.

    “Go Carz already has an excellent relationship with the largest venue in the town, The Buttermarket, where staff can call a priority taxi for customers in need, and we are delighted they have agreed to expand that service to all Pub Watch members.”

    Meanwhile, Shrewsbury Street Pastors have just launched a Triage Vehicle which has trained medical staff on board so people suffering from the effects of too much alcohol can be treated in the vehicle rather than being taken to hospital for treatment.

    Shrewsbury Street pastors are on the Pub Watch radio link so they will also use that link to call for a taxi to get people home safely.

  • Charitable Shropshire Firm Shows it has a Heart
    24 Jul 2012

    A local company has swapped the dentists’ chair for the dance floor by hosting a charity ball to raise funds for a worthy cause.

    Implantium, a Shrewsbury-based dental implant supplier, hosted a “Queen of Hearts Summer Ball” in aid of the British Heart Foundation, raising an impressive £1,500. Over 100 people attended the Ball, held at independent school Ellesmere College, including a mixture of Implantium clients, colleagues, and assorted dignitaries from the dental industry.

    Funds were raised through ticket sales and a number of raffles and auctions throughout the evening, with a personal flight in the private plane of Implantium Founder and Director Jason Buglass piloted by the dentist himself, and a meal cooked by Matthew Buglass, a Chef at Manchester City Football Club, amongst the prizes going under the hammer.

    Jason Buglass said: “It was wonderful to see so many friends and colleagues attending our ball and showing their support for such a worthwhile charity. I’d like to thank all our guests for their generosity, and Ellesmere College for hosting such a great event. Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable time, but much more importantly, the evening managed to raise a fantastic sum for the British Heart Foundation.”

    Implantium is a leading UK-based supplier of high-quality, cost-effective Dentium dental implants. Run for dentists, by dentists, Implantium runs its own research programme and actively seeks innovative ideas that could be developed into new products, while it is also home to the Implantium Network, a match-making service which helps place patients who are interested in having an implant placed with skilled dentists in their local area.

    For further information about Implantium, contact 0845 0176 262, email [email protected], or visit

  • Celebrate with the Champions
    31 Jul 2015

    Swap your market boots and breed society uniform for your glad rags - and join UK Dairy Day at its first Champions Dinner.

    Ending the show on a high, the evening will be full of entertainment, celebration and congratulations – with the leading breeders and exhibitors honoured for their successes of the day. Taking place in the Ironbridge Suite at The International Centre, on Wednesday 16th September, the dinner will commence at 7.30pm, directly after the main activities of UK Dairy Day.  

    Visitors, competitors, sponsors and show associates are all being invited to attend the evening. It will be a fantastic opportunity to network with key dairy industry representatives and further develop networks of associates - and most importantly, celebrate and socialise after a triumphant day.

    The evening will start at 7.30pm with a drinks reception before sitting down to a beef dinner at 8.00pm. After dinner, the awards ceremony will take place along side entertainment - finishing off with drinks and dancing! Tickets are now on sale until the 31st August and can be purchased via telephone 01923 695225, or online at:

    Carl Smith, UK Dairy Day Show Director, commented; “We’d be delighted for many guests to join us at Champions Dinner - for an evening of real celebration of the British dairy industry. Representatives from our principal sponsors will be present to network and socialise – and we hope to encourage many visitors and competitors to join. Champions Dinner is a way to congratulate breeders, thank our sponsors, celebrate with show winners and support each other during a challenging time in the UK dairy industry. Please join us and let’s finish UK Dairy Day 2015 on the highest of notes!” 

  • Eyton Races - South Shropshire Hunt Point-to-Point
    17 Mar 2016


    Now in its 93rd year, Eyton Races South Shropshire Hunt Point-to-Point is an amateur form of steeple chasing.

    Set in rural Shropshire there are beautiful panoramic views over Wenlock Edge, as well as a fairground and licensed trade stalls with produce from local suppliers.

    Monday 2nd May - Gate opens 11:00am, first race 2:00pm, last race 5:05pm

    Location: Eyton-on-Severn, Wroexter, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY5 6PW

    Tickets are £10 and free for under 16’s. Car parking is free.

    A great day out for the entire family.

    For more information, visit 

  • Nonagenarian Joan puts her best foot forward for charity
    04 Oct 2016

    A 94-year-old Shrewsbury woman has proved age is no barrier to keeping fit by completing a charity walk and helping to raise hundreds of pounds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

    Joan Hopwood, who lives at Coverage Care’s Briarfields residential home in Belle Vue, finished a one-mile Memory Walk at Attingham Park and raised nearly £200 for the charity herself in the process.

    The nonagenarian was the oldest person to take part in the sponsored walk and was part of a team from Briarfields and Coverage Care, which raised a total of £338.

    Briarfields Manager Denise Morris said: “Taking part in the event was literally a walk in the park for Joan!

    “She likes to go out every day and walk around the local area of Belle Vue and when this event was approaching, she would say she was going out ‘training’.

    “It gave her something to focus on and she raised lots of sponsor money herself from the local community that she meets on her travels.”

    David Coull, Chief Executive of Coverage Care, said: “Joan is an inspiration and a great example of what you can achieve if you stay fit.

    “We support and help our Coverage Care residents to lead healthy lifestyles but Joan needs no encouragement!”

    Coverage Care Services is Shropshire's leading independent care home provider, run on a not-for-profit basis and cares for mainly older people in 14 homes across the county.

    To learn more about Coverage Care, visit

  • British champions at Loton Park ...
    05 Jun 2017

    A hectic weekend is planned for Loton Park Hill Climb, near Shrewsbury, on Saturday and Sunday when both the British and Midland championship contenders compete in an action packed full capacity event.

    Six-times former British champion Scott Moran of Ludlow will be in attendance with his all-conquering Gould GR61X but has ruled himself out of contention this year by electing only to compete in a few events, while current leader and 2012 champion Trevor Willis, of Worcester, is going very well indeed and currently leading the championship pack in his OMS 28 racing car.

    Local driver and Loton Park sponsor with his TTC Group, Graham Wynn, of Shifnal, is competing in his Gould GR55 with assistance of students from the University of Wolverhampton’s Priorslee Campus.

    An invited class for the weekend are competitors in the Porsche Club Speed Championship with around 20 cars taking part, including 911 Carrera, Turbo, 944, Boxster, 924 and Cayman models.

    The single-seater racing car class is full with over 20 of the top makes from Force, Empire and OMS competing in the 1100cc Class alone, where the win is usually decide by a mere 1/100th of a second, so very close competition is expected once again.

    Formula Ford racing cars are making a comeback and regular winner Neville Rollason, of Craven Arms, will have his work cut out this weekend with the return of former class winner Andrew Henson in a Van Diemen, while Ludlow lady Samantha Lester will be driving the Moran Motorhomes Van Diemen.

    All of the UK’s top ten seeded drivers are taking part, with Scottish driver Wallace Menzies still getting to grips with the very latest high-tech Gould GR59 and Tenbury Wells driver and 2015 champion Alex Summers driving his  new DJ Firestorm, along with other top cars from Force, Gould and OMS.

    Local drivers include Steve Morgan of Whittington in an Empire Evo, Martin Jones of Tenbury Wells in a Force PT, Andy Griffiths of Market Drayton in a Caterham Hayabusa, Andrew Collins of Shrewsbury in a Rover Metro, Tim Cross of Ludlow in a Renault Clio, Sean Toms of Shrewsbury in a Subaru Impreza and Rob Wilson of Ludlow in Peugeot 205 GTi.

    The action starts at 9am on Saturday with practice and qualifying then at 9.15am on Sunday in programme order with full commentary, with two run-offs for championship points for the 12 fastest car after the morning and afternoon sessions.

  • Added spice for Mercedes Shrewsbury
    14 Jun 2016

    Mercedes-Benz of Shrewsbury has added a little spice to its business after teaming up with county Indian cooking specialist Lajina Leal of Telford.

    Lajina set up her own cooking instruction business and gives regular demonstrations and lessons in the art of cooking Indian food to corporate teams, school children and in own homes throughout the region.

    Mark Winstanley, sales manager of Mercedes-Benz Shrewsbury, based on Battlefield Enterprise Park, said: “Lajina now drives our latest Mercedes B-Class which is exceptionally frugal, lively, comfortable and also provides her with more than enough room to transport the equipment and ingredients needed for her cooking demonstrations.

    “As many of her demonstrations are given to senior corporate customers at hospitality events or as team building exercises, this is an ideal way through sponsorship for us to get our name out there and we have created specially designed stylish kitchen aprons bearing our name for her clients.”

    Lajina, from Muxton, in Telford, added: “I am very grateful to Mercedes-Benz of Shrewsbury for their continued support and absolutely delighted with my B-Class which is perfect for my new business.”

    PICTURED:  Cooking up a partnership, Lajina Leal with Mark Winstanley and SMART sales executive Lorna Probert at Mercedes-Benz of Shrewsbury.

  • Artist launches a wallpaper with a difference
    12 Jun 2013

    A Shropshire artist’s nine-month project to create a wallpaper made up of photographs of hundreds of women’s breasts has gone on show in Birmingham.

    Sam Pooley this week unveiled her wallpaper installation at the Birmingham City University Fine Art Degree Show.

    A total of 840 women from Shropshire and around the country had volunteered to take part. The images of 264 women were used in the end after a traumatic miscarriage put the 38-year-old in hospital for most of April and ended her hopes of a nationwide photographic tour.

    The majority of the photographs used are those of Shropshire women who queued for up to two hours to be photographed during a charity fundraising shoot at The Shrewsbury Coffee House in March.

    Miss Pooley said the images were subtly displayed beneath the veil of a traditional damask pattern that brought “a familiar domesticity to the design”. She is now looking for a retailer to work with her on developing the project further.

    The wallpaper is digitally printed, comes in 10 different colours and is to go on sale at £100 per roll. Five hundred signed and framed pieces of the wallpaper are also available to order. Twenty-five per cent of the proceeds are to go to Coppafeel, the UK charity that educates men and women about how to check for breast cancer.

    Miss Pooley, of Castlefields, Shrewsbury, said the project had been an incredible emotional journey.

    “I have met so many inspirational women,” she said.

    “Women who have survived breast cancer, pregnant mums, grandmothers, women who loved their breasts, women who hated them, but all of them united in a determination to raise awareness about breast cancer.

    “I am so very proud of all the women, so very grateful to them for taking part. I think that what we have created together is a commentary about ordinary women and how they feel about their bodies in the 21st century. What is striking, when you see the images side-by-side, is how very different we all are.”

    The comments of 100 of the volunteers, talking about their breasts and their involvement in the project, are displayed alongside the wallpaper.

    Miss Pooley was inspired to launch the project following controversy over photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless and a renewed campaign to ban topless models from page three of The Sun newspaper. She wanted to capture images of ordinary women.

    She added: “I’m terribly sad that I could not take pictures of all 840 volunteers, but the final product still works very well. I’m hoping to find a retailer who would send me on the road and develop the project.”

    The exhibition at the BCU School of Art, in Margaret Street, Birmingham, will be open to the public for the rest of the week. Miss Pooley will exhibit the wallpaper at The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse, in Castle Gates, in September. The project has so far raised £2,000 for breast cancer charities. For further information visit

  • The right insurance policy saves Shropshire music publisher thousands of pounds
    23 Dec 2013

    A Shropshire-based music publisher’s home was contaminated with kerosene when thieves stole two oil tanks just days after his wife gave birth to their first baby.

    Anthony Walters, 35, who recently moved to Kinton, near Nesscliffe, from London, discovered oil was leaking into the ground around his house and into his cellar, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

    But if it wasn’t for his insurance policy, which covered household contamination, Mr Walters would have had to pay out himself.

    He used Shrewsbury-based insurance brokers Beaumont Lawrence, who had made sure his house was covered for disasters such as contamination, something which is often excluded from basic house-old policies.

    As part of major renovation work, Mr Walters, who owns music publishing company Cinephonix, had fitted a new oil tank to the property for the central heating.

    Two oil tanks were left in the garden to be removed at a later date but were stolen by metal thieves.

    “In the process, they had managed to spill the residual oil from the old tanks and it seeped into the ground and into the cellar,” Mr Walters said.

    “The whole house smelt of oil and my wife Gráinne and I were really worried about our baby, Atticus, breathing in the fumes.”

    But after contacting Beaumont Lawrence, Mr Walters said everything happened very quickly to get the mess cleaned up.

    He said: “They came immediately because of concerns about Atticus and they checked the fumes were under permissible limits and sealed off the cellar.

    “As the stolen oil tanks were just in the garden and not part of the central heating system of the house anymore, many insurance policies wouldn’t have covered us under general buildings cover and we would have been left with a huge bill.

    “But Ben at Beaumont Lawrence had recommended we went for good insurance cover rather than just the cheapest option you might find online.

    “It meant we were covered when we did have an accident and it was not difficult to make a claim and everything was sorted really quickly.”

    To clear up the mess, 20 tonnes of soil had to removed from the garden and the cellar had to be dug out and put back again.

    “The insurance company just took care of it all,” Mr Walters said.

    Mr Walters said when it came to renewing the policy through Beaumont Lawrence, he was pleased to see the cost of his policy did not increase, even though he had made a claim.

    He said: “It just went up in line with inflation. In theory, I cannot make that claim again because those oil drums are not there anymore. It’s what insurance is there for in the first place.”

    Beaumont Lawrence Managing director Ben Lawrence said many people think contamination is an unnecessary option on a policy.

    He said: “The household policy we offer provides cover for contamination because it’s a necessity.

    “But this is not covered under most household policies and is often listed as an exclusion. But with a decent quality policy, it is included and it’s so important that it is.

    “Without that option, Mr Walters would have been left with a huge bill. As it was, the insurers were very keen to sort the house out, especially because of its tiny new resident.

    “It didn’t cause Mr Walters any difficulties and it was cleared up in no time.”


    Pete White
  • Shrewsbury’s Cub Scouts have something to sing about
    05 Dec 2012

    Cubs and Beavers from one of Shropshire’s oldest Scout Groups will celebrate their 75th anniversary by singing carols for late night shoppers in a busy Shrewsbury shopping centre.

    The Darwin Centre will echo to the sweet sounds of the youngsters, all members of the 26th Shrewsbury Scout Group, on Wednesday evening, December 12.

    The money they raise will go towards the funds for the group which was formed way back in December 1937.

    The boys – and girls – have been rehearsing hard for their appearance in the Darwin Centre and Annette Davies, Executive Committee Secretary for the 26th Shrewsbury, said: “I’m sure they’re looking forward to it. It’s one of a number of fund-raising activities we do but it’s the first time we’ve sung carols in the centre.

    “We’re very proud to be celebrating our 75th anniversary too. A couple of years ago we were down on numbers and in a bit of danger of closing but we’ve turned that round.

    “Now we’re going from strength to strength in Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. In all we’ve got 55 members and we did have a waiting list but we’re still keen to take new members.

    “Across the country Scouting is on the increase and Shropshire has seen the biggest growth right across the UK in Cubs, Scouts and volunteer helpers.”

    The group meet weekly at the Scout Hut n Field Crescent, in Sundorne, Shrewsbury, and new recruits are welcome, boys and girls – there are currently ten girls among the 43 Cubs, aged eight to 11, and Beavers, six to eight.

    On the night the choir will be about 15 strong and they’re polishing their repertoire which includes favourites like Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Good King Wenceslas and We Three Kings.

    Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “We’re looking forward to having the Cubs and Beavers with us that night.

    “It will really add to the atmosphere and we hope the youngsters do really well with their fund-raising and congratulations to them for chalking up 75 years.”

    Annette added: “Scouting has changed a bit since the old days but we still keep to a lot of the old traditions and they still work at their badges and learn how to tie knots and go camping, have swimming galas and play five-a-side football.

    “There are new badges available these days as well, for technology and sciences but they do first aid as well and most of them can probably tie a bandage up properly and at seven years old that’s quite an achievement.”


    Cubs-1 and 2: Members of the 26th Shrewsbury Cubs choir who will be carol singing in the Darwin Centre, in Shrewsbury, next month. Pictured are Beavers and Cubs Adam Davies, Theo Blood, Alex McAree, Theo McAree, Nathanial McAree, Faith Blood, Jasmine Blood and Ollie Davies.

  • EDW Wrestling in town
    17 Jul 2012
    EDW Wrestling live in Shrewsbury

    Join the excitement live with EDW Wrestling in a series of dramatic, breathtaking encounters. If you're looking for something a little unusual to do this Friday evening - then come along to see the excitement and energy of professional wrestling in Shrewsbury!

    EDW has been running professional wrestling shows in Shrewsbury since 2008 and is proud to base its shows at the Hive in the town, with a frequently sold-out crowd creating a fantastic atmosphere. The shows feature some of Britain's fastest rising stars and as a result, events are ideal for people of any age, from the first-timer to the die-hard fan.

    The next show, Proving Ground, is taking place at the venue on Friday 20th July, with doors and bar opening at 7pm. Bell-time is 7:30pm.

    Tickets cost £5.50 for adults and £4.50 for children. They can be booked by calling the Hive on 01743 234970. For more details, visit


  • Severnside celebrates the official opening of new homes in Abbey Foregate
    28 Nov 2016
    Paul Smith, Chair of Homes Board cutting the ribbon with customers at Glebe House, Shrewsbury

    A ribbon cutting ceremony was recently held to celebrate the completion of Severnside Housing’s new affordable homes at Glebe House, Horsefair, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury.

    Constructed on the site of a former plumbing business, Glebe House provides 27 large two bed apartments, built over three floors, with undercroft parking.  Specifically designed for customers over 55, the development cost £3.4m, which was part funded with Social Housing Grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.

    Paul Smith, Chair of Housing Board said “Severnside is extremely proud of the beautiful new affordable apartments at Glebe House built in the historical Abbey Foregate area of Shrewsbury by local builders Morris Property.  Our residents are delighted with their new spacious apartments and have found the undercroft secure car parking safe and convenient.”

    Customer, Gill Gilmore, who recently moved into Glebe House added “I really love my beautiful new apartment, which is extremely spacious.  When I first moved in I was a little home sick for Frankwell, having lived in a Severnside property there for 23 years.  However, I am now getting to know my lovely neighbours and finding it extremely convenient that all the local Shrewsbury amenities are on my doorstep.”

    Over 50 guests from the local community attended the event including residents who have recently moved in, parish and town councillors and contractors.  Guests enjoyed refreshments at the recently completed Drapers Place, built on the adjacent development site.

    Nick Wood, Shropshire Council said “Shropshire Council is delighted to see this impressive development open and occupied. The provision of quality housing that is affordable and helps to meet the varied housing needs of Shropshire’s residents is a Council priority and Severnside Housing have developed this superb scheme of 27 homes, for the over 55’s.”

    Steve Bowen, Contracts Manager at Morris Property Ltd added “We were always keen to work on local projects, and are delighted to work with Severnside Housing who offer a great service to the residents of Shropshire.”

  • Bright idea aids county charity ...
    31 Mar 2017

    Two Shropshire Chamber of Commerce members have worked together on a factory’s energy saving scheme that has also resulted in the provision of a special vehicle for the county’s voluntary search and rescue unit.

    TSI Packing, of Telford has invested over £25,000 in a new energy efficient LED lighting system for its 37,000 square feet factory on Halesfield 21.

    The company has been producing transit packaging, corrugated boxes and bespoke cases for export items and other goods since 1979, currently employing a staff of 18.

    Managing director, Victoria Watson-Smyth, said: “We are always concerned about the environment and keen to be managing a sustainable business, which in turn will also provide long term cost savings for the company.”

    Funding and design of the new lighting was carried out by not-for-profit organisation EcoSave UK, based at Cartmel Drive, in Shrewsbury, who are specialists in renewable technology and cost saving, having saved nearly £1million for clients to date. Once they have completed their projects they then donate profits back into charitable organisations.

    EcoSave UK managing director Nathan Badger, commented: “The system installed will provide a 66% saving for the firm during its usage period over their previous setup, cutting their lighting costs by over £8,000 per year, together with a huge reduction in CO2 emissions.

    “The latest technology LED lighting provides an excellent working environment for staff, being closer to natural daylight, reducing glare, is anti-flickering and automatically dims down in bright sunshine, to make even more efficiency savings.

    “Being a community interest company we are delighted that TSI Packing are using these savings to fund a new vehicle for local charity organisation West Mercia Search & Rescue, based in Shrewsbury, who provide regional rapid response volunteers and equipment, when requested to do so by the Police.”

    Other charities supported by funds saved by EcoSave UK schemes include Telford Food Bank, YMCA Wellington and the British Red Cross.

    Shropshire chamber are supporting a local matched grant called BEEP, Business Energy Efficiency Program, where 40%funding is available for energy saving projects. Ecosave UK managed to secure the first local grant for TSI Packing.

    PICTURED: The new search and rescue vehicle at TSI Packing in Telford with, from left, Nathan Badger, Search and Rescue trustee Matt Weaver and Victoria Watson-Smyth.

  • Eagle eyed visitors spot mystery Dodo egg in Shrewsbury
    02 Apr 2017

    A group of eagle eyed Darwin fans have spotted what appears to be a Dodo egg on a visit to Shrewsbury this week.

    The oversized egg was spotted near to the Darwin statue in the grounds of the library on Castle Street, Shrewsbury.

    Charles Darwin, who was born and raised in Shrewsbury, reported on the fearless and now extinct Dodo bird on a trip to the Galapagos in the 19th Century, as part of his three year adventure on the H.M.S. Beagle.

    “As Darwin noted, the Dodo's fearlessness is typical of isolated birds and it now appears that a brave and rare egg may have survived since Darwin’s travels and chosen Shrewsbury as its birth place. Will this be the first Shrowdo?” said historian Dr A. Fool of Shrewsbury.

    For more information visit or find Shrewsbury on Facebook  and Twitter @originalshrews.



  • The Salopian Open Mic night
    06 Jul 2012

    Salopian Open Mic
    Smithfield Road
    July 5th

    Having been raised in Church Stretton and going to school in Shrewsbury and loving this county as I do, one may suggest I may be a little partisan when it comes to reviewing Shropshire events. Not a bit of it. I will seek out the good and the bad and inform you of both in equal measure, thus is the lot of the reviewer. That said when I tell you that although I have lived in many areas of the U.K., and further away in Europe, I can say hand on heart that the best open mic nights and sessions I have ever been to have been in Shropshire, fact! So naturally it will be my intention over the next few months to seek them all out and share my thoughts with you.

    Tonight, being Thursday July 5th, a warm, remarkably dry night, given current climate, I checked out the Salopian open mic night organised by acoustic music doyen, Fergus Reid. Fergus has worked incredibly hard at not only organising the whole event every Thursday at the Salopian, in Smithfield Road, but he also  sings, plays and compere’s too. I believe it is that level of commitment that ensures the integrity of the session and will tempt the more able players to want to jump in and get involved.

    So unluckily for Fergus tonight’s event was happening with the backdrop of a cider festival. Music? Cider Festival? Should work shouldn’t it? Well yes it did. I arrived at the bar and was greeted with an ambience akin to the Wembley crowd as Geoff  Hurst popped in the winning goal against Germany in the 1966 world cup. Maybe it was even  just slightly noisier, one can only guess however, over in the music area there was little worry about those jollities and the consequential noise that was occurring.

    Fergus, himself, was playing and was being accompanied by some incredible guitar work from local musicians Steve Bradley and Alan Williams. The note-work was stunning and there was an air of improvisation that gives live music its power. Recorded music is fine but live music has that something extra. With all the greatest recording equipment in the world I imagine it would still be impossible to capture that something extra that one gets from encountering a live experience.

    A young pair of lads seriously impressed me; again a Shrewsbury band, known as “Two Blank Pages.” With an eclectic mix of homespun material and more known tracks too, the lads held the audience in their palms for the twenty or so minutes of their set. I combined the ages of the two of them and worked out they were still 17 years younger than me. Ouch, time and tide wait for no man it seems. However they stood ,they played, they sang and they entertained. You can check them out on “You Tube.” Do it, they are good.

    Most importantly there was such a cross generation audience. It seems good music appeals to all ages and all ages can get together to make it.

    So how does an open mic work? It is quite simple. On arrival if you wish to play you would approach the compere and he will find you a spot. In the case of the Salopian night you can find the session on Face Book. Look for “Salopian open mic,” and you will be directed there. That is where you can also message Fergus to book a spot. There isn’t a shortage of willing volunteers that’s for sure, so an early arrival is deemed prudent to avoid disappointment.

    Then when it’s your turn the mics are arranged to your specification and the floor becomes yours. Some sessions are very strict on time and the amount of numbers you would be permitted to perform. Fergus gives the Artists a longer spot which gives the whole thing a concert feel and the Artists get a better chance to show what they can do. This is a healthy approach as musicians never seem to get the chance to fully showcase their talents, not so at the Salopian.

    The evening is beautifully free of charge. There can’t be many places where one could watch such remarkable skills and talents for gratis. The discerning audience realised that fact and were having a great night. 

    Eventually the hubbub from the cider festival either melted away or in fact one became inured to it. Whichever way it didn’t matter because there was such great stuff to hear it was easy just to lose yourself in the music and concentrate on the sounds.

    In summary the Salopian offered an eclectic, enjoyable and welcome interruption into what could have been just another night. The Salopian Open Mic runs on Thursday nights from 8.30. Get your guitar out or just get your ears on and get along. It’s worth it. Going by my five star system I award this event a four star status.

    Owen Lewis


    Owen Lewis
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