The top articles currently trending on Love Shrewsbury.

  • New independent school to launch in Shrewsbury later this year
    30 Jan 2018
    Jane Smalley, Founder of Shrewsbury Prepatoria

    An award-winning nursery which was recently rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, has announced plans to launch an independent school this September.

    Shrewsbury Prepatoria, which was launched in 2013 by Jane Smalley who had previously taught at Shrewsbury High School, plans to launch a provision for Reception and Year One pupils.  The application, which has already been accepted by the Department for Education, comes off the back of strong parent demand from those seeking an alternative to what is already available in the area.

    To ensure that the new school delivers something truly different and unique, Jane, an experienced Early Years Education Consultant, has drafted a brand-new curriculum which will be scrutinised by Ofsted.  She comments:

    “Since establishing The Prepatoria four years ago, I have met many parents committed to providing their children with the best educational start in life, but for whom the current system doesn’t meet their needs once they leave us here.

    “It became increasingly apparent that there was sufficient demand for an alternative to both the local state provision and the independent schools in and around Shrewsbury, but to achieve this it would be necessary to thoroughly consider the curriculum being delivered.

    “When I closely analysed the National Curriculum, it became clear that its focus on academic study and outcomes simply doesn’t suit most young children.  I, therefore, researched alternatives including the Scandinavian model, Reggio Emilia (on which the values of our nursery and pre-school are based) and the Welsh Foundation Phase and set about creating a bespoke and unique approach that drew on the best aspects of each of these.”

    The curriculum that Shrewsbury Prepatoria hopes to deliver at its new school later this year focuses on the whole child with the emphasis being on helping each pupil to develop emotionally, socially and with moral, spiritual and cultural awareness.  To be recognised as a legitimate alternative to the National Curriculum, it will cover linguistic development, mathematical development, physical development, human & social development, technological development and aesthetic & creative development.

    Jane Smalley emphasises, however, that this does not mean any dumbing down on the education that Reception and Year One pupils will receive:

    “Extending to 10,000 words in length, this new curriculum includes a robust assessment process and is, I believe, the perfect approach for children to develop holistically so that they thrive in a more formal education setting later.

    “With a background delivering Early Years Education in school settings, I am totally committed to ensuring that the children who pass through both our nursery and pre-school and, in the future, our Reception and Year One classes, do so in a way that supports them to develop resilience and self-regulation whilst promoting their well-being. 

    “Our attainment levels for those who have progressed on to the mainstream system at five speak volumes for the success our approach has had to date, and I feel confident that we’ll continue to deliver great things in the future.”

    Aside from delivering a new and unique curriculum, the new Prepatoria School will also operate on a model not seen elsewhere in Shropshire.  Open for 48 weeks of the year, the school will deliver the curriculum in a way that repeats key topics in different ways throughout the year to ensure that any children taken out for holidays will not miss out.

    One parent, whose son has attended Shrewsbury Prepatoria full-time since the age of one, is excited by the prospect of an alternative education option when he begins his Reception year in September:

    “The experience that our son has received throughout his time at Shrewsbury Prepatoria is something that we are keen to see extended. The progressive approach that Mrs Smalley and her team take to educating and nurturing every child means that they develop emotionally, academically and socially in a way that is hard to replicate in other settings.  

    “I was very excited to hear about their plans to become an independent school with a Reception and Year One provision and immediately registered interest in a place for our son.”

    The Prepatoria’s application has been accepted by the Department for Education and it is anticipated that Ofsted will grant the school its full licence in the coming weeks, ready for the first intake in September 2018. 

    Anyone wishing to find out more should visit or call Jane Smalley on 01743 460 199.

  • Shrewsbury Colleges Group's super 16 offered places at Oxford and Cambridge
    15 Feb 2018

    This year 16 students from Shrewsbury Colleges Group have been offered places to study at the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge Universities– a record for the College and the first time the number has reached double figures for a number of years.

    The students, who hail from all across the county, are currently studying A Levels at the colleges’ English Bridge and Welsh Bridge Campuses and will take their exams this summer before heading off to study at Oxford or Cambridge.

    The successful students have offers to read a broad range of subjects, including Philosophy, Biomedical Sciences, Experimental Psychology, Computer Science, Engineering, Law, Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

    The nine students offered places at Oxford Colleges are:

    Clare Conroy, 17, from Shrewsbury, previously of Belvidere School, Shrewsbury. She is studying History, Chemistry, French and Biology and has been offered a place at Christchurch College to read Philosophy.

    Imogen Hayward, 17, from Telford, previously of Charlton School in Wellington. She is currently studying History, English Literature and English Language and has been offered a place at University College to read English.                       

    Rose Laurie, 18, from Church Stretton, and previously of Church Stretton School. She is currently studying Maths, Computer Science and French and has been offered at place at New College to read Computer Science.          

    John Lewis, 18, of Much Wenlock, previously of Church Stretton School. He is currently studying Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Geology and has been offered a place at Christchurch College to read Geology.

    Sophie Scott, 17, of Condover, previously of Church Stretton School. She is currently studying Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Psychology and has been offered a place at Lincoln College to read Biomedical Sciences.

    Josephine Blagrove, 17, of Worthen and previously of Mary Webb School, Pontesbury. She is currently studying Psychology, Biology and Chemistry, She has been offered a place at Merton College to read Biological Sciences.

    Georgie Bumpus, 18, of Shrewsbury, previously of Meole Brace School, Shrewsbury. She is currently studying Maths, Physics and German and has been offered a place at St Johns to read Maths.

    Christopher Davies, 17, of Shrewsbury, previously of Priory School, Shrewsbury. He is studying English Literature, History and Maths. He has been offered a place at New College to read Classics.

    Rose Undersun, 17, of Shrewsbury. She was home schooled. She is studying Law, Business and Psychology and has been offered at place at St Edmund Hall to read Experimental Psychology.

    The seven students offered places at Cambridge Colleges are:

    Richard Parsons, 18, of Church Stretton, previously of Church Stretton School. He is studying Maths, Chemistry and Physics and has been offered a place a St John's College to read Engineering.

    Edmund Harratt, 17, from Shrewsbury, previously of Duchess's Community High School, Alnwick. He is studying Biology, Chemistry and Maths. He has been offered a place at Magdalene College to read Natural Sciences.

    Seb Morris, 18, of Shrewsbury, previously of Meole Brace School, Shrewsbury. He is studying Further Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. He has been offered a place at Homerton College to read Natural Sciences.           

    Daniel Webb, 18, of Shrewsbury, previously of Meole Brace School, Shrewsbury. Studying French, Maths, Government & Politics and Economics. He has been offered a place at Gonville and Caius College to read Law.    

    Sophie Iddles, 18, of Shrewsbury, previously of the Priory School, Shrewsbury. She is studying Music, History and Geography and has been offered a place at Robinson College to read Music.

    James Lapslie, 18, of Shrewsbury, previously of the Priory School, Shrewsbury. He is currently studying Further Maths, Physics and Product Design and has been offered a place at St John's College to read Engineering.   

    Connor Bennett, 18, of Much Wenlock, previously of William Brookes School, Much Wenlock. He is studying Further Maths, History, Chemistry, and Physics. He has been offered a place at St John’s College to read Mathematics.

    Principal and CEO, James Staniforth said:  “We are absolutely delighted for all sixteen students.  They are individually and collectively hard-working, intellectually curious, creative and passionate about their subjects.  All of them regularly go the extra mile in their studies.  Cambridge and Oxford are world-class universities, but they are still lucky that so many of our wonderful students will be joining them this autumn.  Sixteen offers is a record for the College and it reflects on both our students and their pursuit of excellence but also on the support of so many teachers and personal tutors who have inspired our students and then helped them through the application and interview process.  The overall strength of our teaching at Shrewsbury Colleges Group is indicated by the range and breadth of the subjects our students have won places to read.

    “The focus of Shrewsbury Colleges Group is to provide this sort of academic excellence as the largest provider of A Levels in the county with the widest choice of A Levels and first rate specialist teachers, alongside the vocational excellence, which we have seen through our Gold medal winners in the national SkillBuild competitions.”

    Daniel Webb said: “My dream is to row for Cambridge. The College enrichment scheme made it possible for me to start rowing and now I love it. ”

    Imogen Hayward said: “My English teacher is great. She is the reason I applied to read English at Oxford and she gave me lots of support with my application.”

    Sophie Iddles said: “I honestly was not expecting an offer, but thought that I might as well try - and still cannot believe it, but am thankful for the excellent music teaching I have received, both at sixth form and my instrumental teachers. I am particularly excited about the range of opportunities available, and to be taught by lecturers who are world specialists in their field. I feel very privileged to be offered a place at such a prestigious university."

    For more information on A Levels, visit or call 01743 235491. For more information about vocational courses and Apprenticeships, visit or call 01743 342342.

  • New and exciting Nerf Wars parties for children launched in Shrewsbury
    12 Feb 2018

    Two Shropshire children’s attractions have joined forces to launch new and exciting Nerf Wars parties for youngsters.

    The Little Rascals Indoor Play Centre and X-Strike Arena have teamed up for a new venture, which they believe will prove a big hit with county children keen to take aim.

    The parties will be held at the Shrewsbury headquarters of Little Rascals, with X-Strike providing the nerf guns and inflatables. 

    Ben Wootton, the co-owner of Little Rascals with Wales international footballer Dave Edwards, said: “We are going to host parties and run other events together on a regular basis.

    "A big space will be created for the X-Strike inflatables in the middle of what is usually our seating area for guests. 

    "Our play structure will also come into play to make it a really fun experience for children as they run around using their nerf guns.  

    “We’ve been open for a little over two years now and we’re always keen to introduce new ideas, so it makes sense to link up with X-Strike and offer something a little different. We think this is really going to take off and be popular with children.”

    Ellen Eagles and Mark Williams, the X-Strike owners, are equally excited about the venture.
    “We recently held a rehearsal and that was a big success,” said Ellen. "We had around 15 children taking part at Little Rascals and some adults were keen to join in as well!

    "The children loved the fact they could incorporate the nerf games with going down slides at the same time. It gives another dimension."

    Mark added: “Little Rascals is a great location and it’s fantastic to have all the little hiding places for the children to enhance the fun they have with the nerf games. It works really well together. 

    "The Nerf Wars parties can start from the age of four and can cater for children up to the age of 11 or 12, so it’s something new and exciting for slightly older age groups as well.”   

    The Little Rascals Indoor Soft play Centre will be offered exclusively for Nerf Wars parties from 4.30pm onwards.  

    For more details, call (01743) 240258 or email [email protected] 

    Pictured: Hands up! Ellen Eagles and Mark Williams, owners of the X-Strike Arena, take aim at Ben Wootton, the co-owner of Little Rascals, to launch their new Nerf Wars parties for children.

  • New statistics show that Shropshire house prices have grown, but not at the same rate as the national average
    28 Sep 2017

    New statistics for property prices in 2017, show that the house prices in Shropshire have grown. However, they also reveal that Shropshire still falls behind the national average. Whilst there is something to celebrate in the rising house prices, there is still a lot of room for improvement. This is something that Shropshire property owners should bear in mind if they are looking to sell their home. If you find yourself in this position, you will need to read on. Below are three ways for you to increase the value of your property.

    Embrace the world of DIY

    If you are looking to save money when you are preparing to sell your property, you should embrace the world of DIY. Why not invest in a basic tool kit? This is a great way to get started and to be prepared for all of the tasks ahead. You could look online for simple YouTube tutorials that will help you to do anything from putting up a shelf to tiling your bathroom. If you are not ready to dive in at the deep end, you could always focus on the cosmetic aspects of your property. Anyone is capable of doing a spot of painting or giving their home a deep clean. If you are struggling to know where to start, you should write a clear list of everything that needs to get done. Then, decide what you can do yourself and what you will need a little help with.

    Be clever about your purchases

    A lot of potential buyers will be swayed by the interior design of your home. You may want to consider giving your property a little facelift. If you decide to do this, you will need to be clever about your purchases. Whatever you do, don’t break the bank. This will make it impossible for you to get a good return on your investment. Instead, look for generous reductions. For instance, you could visit Rug Zone to inject some colour and comfort into your home. The best thing about finding a great deal is that you are getting quality items at a reasonable price. Although it is great to invest in the aesthetic of your property, you don’t want to go overboard. Limit yourself to a few essential pieces. This will allow your potential buyers to imagine their own furniture in your home.

    Have a clear financial plan

    If you are concerned about your finances, you will need to have a clear financial plan for your renovations. Try to be as specific as possible. Don’t just set yourself a budget for each room. Instead, work out the finances for each individual purchase. This will prevent things from getting out of hand. You should also have an emergency fund for any nasty surprises. If you are investing in substantial building work, you may find that unexpected problems arise. Reduce your stress levels by thinking ahead.

    Pete White
  • Fantastic Local Dog Walk From Our Friend Boomerang
    17 Jul 2012


    1 1/4 miles – less than an hour

    This is a lovely walk with no traffic worries for dogs and children as you walk around the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury 1403.

    The battle was one of the bloodiest conflicts ever to take place on British soil and as many as 5000 men are thought to have died. Along the walk are interesting information points which tell you why, when and who was involved.

    With a small detour towards the end of the route you can find out more at the free visitor centre at Battlefield 1403. The added bonus is that you can browse around the farm shop, butchery and tea room. Dogs are restricted to outside areas but are given a warm welcome and there are plenty of water bowls.

    Whilst there you can visit Tilly the English Pointer at the Battlefield Falconry centre.

    1.Park at the Battlefield Heritage site (note there are vehicle height restrictions) PostcodeSY4 3DB. Walk a short distance to a wooden gate and when you pass through take a left. From here you can walk your dogs (and kids!) off a lead if you choose.

    2. Follow the path as you walk around the Battlefield, through gates under the pylons. By the large oak tree there is information regarding the Battle.

    3. Keep following the path until you arrive at a little gate. Keep left and follow your nose through some woodland. Walk through a second gate to arrive at a field.

    4. You will arrive at the beautiful, yet redundant, St Mary Magdalenes church which was built in 1406 as a memorial to those who lost their lives. It is from here that you can detour to the Battlefield 1403 visitor centre by crossing the churchyard and field.

    5. Alternatively, keep following the path until you arrive at a bridge and taking the left hand gate walk into a field which is perfect for a spot of ball throwing! Walk through the gate on the opposite side and take a left to arrive back at your start point.

    Boomerang the dog, also known as J K Growling, and his owner Karen Lloyd write a series of dog-friendly walk books including a book for Shrewsbury and surrounding areas.

  • How to Design a Kids' Room that They Will Love
    02 Aug 2017

    When you first bring home your new bundle of joy, chances are you've already created a beautiful nursery for them to call their own. And while this room is perfect for them at this stage, there comes a point when your little one is ready for the next step in bedroom décor. If you’re well past due on creating that big kids room, and you’re looking for some design inspiration, you’ll appreciate these tips on how to create a kids’ room they will love.

    Choose the Right Theme

    One of the ways you can go about designing that perfect space for your child is to pick a theme, but remember it has to be the right theme. It’s best to think about the child’s interests, hobbies, and their personality.

    Perhaps your child is a big sports fan. If that’s the case, then it’s a natural and fun theme to go with. You can deck the room out in sports memorabilia from sites such as Nike NFL UK. You can even get creative and do things such as shadow boxes for jerseys and gloves, frames for trading cards and posters, and even stands for things such as a prized football.

    Choosing the right theme will make all the difference in the world and will help to personalize the space.

    Don't Hold Back on the Bedding

    Where you may be inclined to choose bedding that is more neutral and subdued for your own room, for a kid’s room it's go big or go home. The bedding is the perfect spot to go bold with colors, textures, and patterns. Don’t be afraid to mix and match and really get creative with the look. You can always pick a more neutral paint color if you don’t want the room looking too busy.

    Give Them Multi-Functional Storage

    Of course, from a practical standpoint, storage is an absolute must in any child’s room. With that said, there’s no reason it can’t be multi-functional. You can find beds with storage drawers, bench seating with storage under it, closet organizers that are great for clothing and toys, and convert a typical bookshelf into one that houses storage bins of different sizes and colors.

    Frame Their Art

    Instead of spending a fortune on framed pictures, why not take your child's own creations and frame them? Not only is this inexpensive, but your child will feel so proud seeing their own art framed on the wall. Once you choose a theme for the room, they can go ahead and create pictures that will work with the theme.

    Encourage Them to Be Involved

    The last tip is to encourage children to be involved in the process. This includes everything from picking the theme, to choosing the paint color, the bedding, and any accent pieces. Giving them the chance to share their own input will help ensure they are happy with the final design. Chances are high that the end result will be a room they feel comfortable and happy in, and can’t wait to spend their time in.

    Pete White
  • 4 Reasons to Advertise Your Business with Custom Postcards
    15 Jun 2017

    When you check the mail and notice that there’s a business postcard present, you probably have to do a double take - that’s how seldom this form of advertising is being utilized anymore. And while you might be able to reach a large volume of customers by sending out emails, you won’t be getting that high of a click through rate. The fact is that consumers respond best to advertisements when they aren’t expecting them. This is why you still see billboards up along the highway and some companies still send out holiday cards during the winter. If you are going to make your own postcard for business purposes keep reading for four reasons why it’s a good idea.

    1. Making a Direct Connection

    With any form of advertising there is a correct and incorrect way of doing things. Send out personalized business postcards that are addressed to your clients directly and you will get a highly favorable response. On the other hand, if you just send out generic postcards that don’t have catchy text, you won’t get any increased sales at your place of business.

    2.  Doing More of What Works

    Send a postcard to your customers that enables them to get a discount on a product or service, and you will see many of them coming in the day after they receive them with the postcards physically in their hands. If you encourage your customers to consider postcards that come from your business as important, they will start to expect them. In other words, this is just a very effective form of advertising that has been around for over one hundred years.

    3. Keep Your Customer Contacts Up to Date

    So, how exactly is a business to know when it has valid contact information for an existing or prospective customer? Email is the most convenient method, but it is also not all that reliable. In fact, most people have several email accounts that they might not check regularly. You can also call consumers, but that will cause a lot of confusion in most cases if they aren’t expecting your call. Remember that people check the mail when they feel like it, so they’re rarely irritated when receiving a piece of mailing from a business that they are familiar with.

    4. It Actually Works

    You might be sending custom business postcards to clients to remind them of appointments or to offer them additional savings on their next purchase. Whatever the reason is, you can anticipate a higher response rate with customized mailers than with emails or a website alone. Consumers know that you have to go out of your way to design a business postcard, have an appropriate number printed up and then spend money to mail them out, and they also appreciate the personal touch.

    Regardless of the size of your business budget, postcard mailings are affordable. Even if you can only send out a few dozen at a time to satisfied customers, you can enjoy an immediate return on investment if you are methodical. So, stop sending out email after email and do something for your customers that will inspire real engagement.

    Pete White
  • Hyundai i30 N
    16 Feb 2018


        Park Hyundai’s i30N next to a VW Golf GTi and it’s easy to see where the Koreans have firmly set their sights. The Golf of course has long been the go-to hatchback bench-mark, and it’s not stretching the imagination too far to say that, even in their respective milder forms, both the i30 and the definitive people’s car share certain similarities: Size for starters, plus the ability to seat five, a decent boot, conservative European styling, solid build, sensible running costs, a range of both petrol and diesel engine options, mild-mannered handling etc. etc. To be fair the same could be said for many-a hatch. But in their sportier guises such things become ever-more apparent.

        The i30N is Hyundai’s first attempt and at building a proper hot-hatch and there’s no doubt about, it they’ve done a sterling job. The i30N gets a 2.0litre 4 cylinder turbo-charged petrol engine (just like a Golf GTi). It’s manual-only and thus gets a six-speed gearbox and front-wheel drive (like a lot of Golf GTis. Some, granted, are DSGs). It sits on 19” multi-spoke alloys that don’t fully hide up-rated brakes and racy red callipers (like a Golf GTi) – they’re shod with specially developed Pirelli P-Zero tyres incidentally. There’s a rear diffuser, deeper, chunkier front and rear bumpers, wider arches, various different driving modes to choose from (you’ve guessed it…).  And there’s something that’s known as an e-diff, to help you through the twisty bits, quickly.

       In fact you should have no problems at all going quickly. The N bit in the name stands for both Namyang – where Hyundai say the i30N was “born”, and Nürburgring – the legendary circuit where it was “honed”, apparently. It’s also the first Hyundai to be built under the guidance of ex BMW M-Sport engineer extraordinaire Albert Biermann. 0-62mph takes just 6.1 seconds (if you opt for the performance pack which adds an extra 30 bhp or so, launch control, and those aforementioned 19” wheels), and top-speed is electronically limited to 155mph. How very German!

        Inside there’s a similarly familiar mix of solid feeling switch-gear, brilliantly clear dashboard dials, virtually black everything, an almost comically chunky steering wheel, and some superbly supportive sports seats; the driving position is spot-on. Some the plastics used may not be quite to Bavarian standards, and the final ergonomics aren’t quite fully resolved either. But this is sub-£30K car, certain things can easily be forgiven.

       And especially so once warmed-up and out it the open.

        The i30N is unashamedly noisy thanks to an exhaust system that’s be tuned especially to be so – it burbles and pops like Thierry Nueville’s I20 WRC car. And when you change down, electronic rev-matching makes you sound like a heel-and toe pro. You can switch it off, but for a while at least it’s actually a lot of fun.

       That’s not something that’s usually said about driving a Hyundai.

        What’s also a lot fun is just how early you apply power during cornering. The i30N grips like the proverbial to a wooly blanket (well, in the dry at least).  Throw precise and accurate steering into the mix, and as your confidence in the I30N’s excellent chassis builds you really can cover a lot of ground in not a lot of time.

        If that is you’ve remembered to select the Comfort setting on the dampers. Hyundai’s all-uncompromising N mode makes things far too stiff for a British B-road. The mid-level Sport setting is too hard for my tastes too. Still at least there’s myriad options of how to personalise how the i30N feels. To each their own, as the saying goes.

           Being a Hyundai of course regardless of how stiff you like your steering and springs you still get a generous standard kit list. LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, and an 8-inch touchscreen sat-nav all put in an appearance, whilst autonomous braking, lane keep assist and road sign recognition are carried over from the regular i30. You also get a five-year warranty.

       That’s not bad at all for £27,995, and that includes the all-important performance pack. But, should you buy one?

       If you like your hot-hatches a little “rough around the edges” then, yes, without a doubt.

       That’s not say there’s anything rough about the i30N I hasten to add – it’s fast, involving, well-equipped, good-looking, and overall a somewhat very likeable car. But, it is a first attempt. In places it shows.

       The i30N faces competition from the likes of Ford’s Focus RS, Honda’s Civic Type R and Peugeot’s 308 GTi, all of which have been around for ages. And then there’s the Golf – a product so polished and honed you wonder if anyone will ever steal its crown. In such illustrious company the i30N feels a little lost.

       Nevertheless you can’t help but admire Hyundai for what they’ve done here. When it comes to trying, they certainly deserve 10 out of 10.


    Hyundai i30N Performance

    Engine: 1,998cc, 4Cyl, 16V DOHC petrol with twin-scroll turbo-charger

    Transmission: 6 speed. Manual Front-wheel Drive

    Power: 271 bhp @ 6,000 rpm

    Torque: 260 - 279 lbft @ 1,500 – 4,700 rpm

    0-62mph: 6.1 sec

    Max Speed: 155 mph (limited)

    MPG: 39.8 combined.

    CO2: 163 g/km

    Price: £27,995 (as driven)


    Many thanks to Sarah at Hyundai’s UK press office for the loan of the i30 N 


    Liam Bird
  • Eh, Bill Who Wrote Your Plays Then?
    22 Sep 2017

    Nicholas Collett Productions

    Your Bard

    The Walker Theatre

    22nd September 2017


    Making a welcome return back to Theatre Severn’s Walker Theatre this evening was the highly uncluttered and totally watchable Nicholas Collett. Your Bard, is as you may well have worked out, a play about the life of Shakespeare and how he came to write his plays…or did he?

    The opening paragraph of this review declared the player to be the uncluttered Nicholas Collett and the reason is plain; if there’s no need or purpose for something on his stage then it won’t be there. This is the epitome of portable theatre and the action suffers the none for the loss of frippery. Collett can bring the drama out of his text from his very soul and has no need for a busy or cluttered set. Just evidence of a very fine and skilfull actor.

    The play is in two halves. Initially one is met by Professor Another and he is about to give his lecture laying out almost without a shadow of a doubt that an ill-educated, Sixteenth century Warwickshire lad, could not have possibly become the great playwright the we today hold in such esteem.

    With a delicious hint of hubris and a load of arrogance the Professor lays out his case, suggesting people like Marlowe or Edward De Vere being the most likely candidates. Without a thought of how he could possibly be wrong the avuncular professor took his bow and went off to malign the Bard elsewhere.

    Naturally the second half of the show the Bard himself appears and sets the record straight. From the clever way the evidence is presented there can be no doubt who really wrote the plays, As most have always believed they were each and every one of them scribed by William’s own creative hands. It may well be an academic argument anyway. Surely we know the plays so well, as bricks in our very fabric that whoever wrote them should surely be known as Shakespeare?  Buts that’s for another day!  (Stop it! I'm just messin with you)

    Nicholas Collett is a popular face at the Walker Theatre and his performances always create an interest. He works alone and that is an incredibly lonely furrow to plough when you are struggling with a show,  Mr. Collett wouldn't argue with the former but I am sure he has very little experience of the latter.

    He can hold an audience spellbound. With a lovable side of fun to his characters he wins hearts. But the work that he puts in is record breaking. There is a responsibility one has to oneself: if you are going to ask a lion to open it’s mouth so you can put your head in it, it is prudent to ensure you can get your head back out again after. Anyone who has ever trodden the boards alone will understand just how good Nicholas Collett is, as he makes it look so easy.

    Not only is this show a beautifully crafted and incredibly witty testament to the work of the Bard it is also testament to the work of this very gifted performer. If you can’t catch this play this time watch your Theatre Severn guide to make sure you can catch this very real force in British Theatre when he comes this way again.

    This is a Five Star Review

    Owen J.Lewis   

    Owen Lewis
  • Summer Sparkles at Crown Jewells - new summer collection is launched
    17 Jun 2015
    Crown Jewells Summer Collection

    Online costume jewellery business, Crown Jewells has launched its new summer collection. With distinctive flamboyancy, elegance and feminity, the summer collection is set to really excite!

    As every savvy shopper knows, adding those finishing touches to an outfit is what makes it really special. A well chosen accessory from Crown Jewells is a simple way to make your outfit right on-trend.

    Shropshire based Crown Jewells is run by Jane Mackay and Adele Garbett and offers the latest fashion must-haves to more contemporary classics. Crown Jewells present a beautiful collection of designer NOUR London costume jewellery. Every item is uniquely designed and hand-crafted by Setareh Shojaie and Crown Jewells are fortunate to be able to sell the jewellery to customers right across the country at prestigious events and shows, and also through their new website –

    Jane Mackay from Crown Jewells commented; “As a supplier of NOUR London jewellery, we are absolutely delighted to be able to bring our customers a vibrant and elegant collection of new season pieces. We have uniquely designed necklaces, bracelets, ear rings and rings all made to very high standards - there is something to suit all tones, styles and tastes. We have completely fallen in love with the new collection and hope our customers will share the pleasure! The new collection is available to buy online from our website”

  • ‘The only way to start your day’ – Breakfast at Maynard’s Farm
    22 Jan 2014

    Maynard’s Farm is celebrating ‘Farmhouse Breakfast Week’ by organising competitions, promotions and opening a Pop-up Breakfast Café.

    Do not miss the breakfast buzz at Maynard’s Farm Barn in Weston-Under-Redcastle in their Pop-up Café - which will be open for business on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd February, 9.00am - 1.00pm.
    An ideal opportunity to taste some of the delicious products that Maynard’s Farm and other local producers have to offer. Fiona Cunningham will tempt you with Maynard’s Farm ‘full farmhouse breakfast’, freshly baked breakfast baps filled with award-winning sausage and bacon or try warming local Pimhill porridge, Shropshire Granola and more…During Farmhouse Breakfast Week – Maynard’s Farm will also be running competitions with tasty local breakfast prizes to be won.

    Farmhouse Breakfast Week  

    The fourteenth Farmhouse Breakfast Week will be taking place from Sunday 26th January until Saturday 1st February 2014. The aim of the week is to encourage the nation to ‘shake up their wake up’ and enjoy a healthy breakfast more regularly. The purpose of the campaign is to educate people on the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and to help them understand the provenance and range of breakfast products available.

    Fiona Cunningham from Maynard’s Farm, commented; “We are looking forward to supporting this national campaign at Maynard’s Farm. It is an opportunity to taste some of the delicious breakfast products our county has to offer - alongside our innovative range of flavoured bacon and sausage! We will be celebrating Farmhouse Breakfast Week in the farm shop with promotional activities - ending the week with our breakfast Pop-up Café over the weekend.”

    Pete White
  • Waste Not Want Not
    28 Dec 2012

    The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust is making sure nothing goes to waste by sending its leftover food to be recycled.
    By sending the food waste to Harper Adams University to be converted into heat, electricity and fertilizer the Trust is both saving thousands of pounds and being more environmentally friendly.

    Harper Adams has developed an anaerobic digestion plant at its campus in Edgmond, near Newport.
    Hospital catering staff now make sure waste food goes into designated bins that are regularly collected by Cartwrights Waste Disposal Services and taken to the university.
    John Ellis-Tipton, Trust Estates Manager for Environment and Risk, said: “This scheme is beneficial for the university and the organisations using its facilities. We are both helping to reduce our carbon footprint and save money by sending our food waste to be recycled.
    “It is important that the Trust plays its part as a good corporate citizen and we are always looking for new ways to minimise the impact we have on the environment, and to make the most of the resources available to us.”

    The Trust started sending its waste food to the university in November. The scheme will reduce the amount of food waste going to landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also reduce the Trust’s water consumption and costs for food disposal.

  • Family History Course - back by popular demand!
    04 Sep 2013

    Mayfair Community Centre in Church Stretton have, due to popularity, started up another family history course.

    The course, titled, 'Use the internet to trace your family history' starts at Mayfair on Tuesday 10th September and runs for 8 weeks.
    Jackie Mantle, course organiser said “following the success of previous courses as well as an exhibition of students work earlier in the year, we are ready to enrol new students”, said Jackie.

    Course Students will be able to trace their family using online resources and the considerable knowledge of the course leaders Bob Seabrook and Ron Kelly. The course costs £25 for 8 weeks. Please contact Mayfair for further information or to book on 01694 722077.

    Pete White
  • Thousands of pounds invested in recycling boost at Shropshire furniture store
    06 Apr 2014

    A Shropshire furniture company has invested £8,000 in new equipment to boost its commitment to recycling.

    And the new baler machine installed at Alan Ward’s distribution centre at Battlefield Enterprise Park, Shrewsbury, means it will also slash fuel bills taking recycling from its premises.

    Steve Eaves, operations manager at Alan Ward, said: “We already recycle 100 per cent of the mattresses we collect from customers when we deliver their new bed or mattress and our strategy is to increase our recycling in other areas.

    “At Alan Ward our distribution centre is responsible for replenishing stocks at our four extensive furniture showrooms each stocking a wide range of home furnishings from sofas to beds and dining sets, as well as carrying out home deliveries to our customers across Shropshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and further afield.

    “As a result we found that we are left with a lot of cardboard and plastic from the furniture packaging.

    “It takes up a lot of space so it made sense for us to invest in a baler machine because it meant we could deal with our recycling on site.

    “The baler is great because it is able to compact recyclables, such as cardboard and plastic into blocks.

    “For us it means we have more storage space as not so much is taken up by the recyclable materials which means we can increase our stockholding and offer customers a quick delivery on a wider choice of stock items.”

    He said: “The baler was a significant investment but we are already seeing the benefits.

    “As well as being a space-saver it also means we can take more cardboard and plastics for recycling at one time but by using fewer vehicles.

    “This has a knock-on effect for our fuel bills because we don’t have to transport the recyclables so often.

    “Of course, for us it’s important that we do as much as we can to protect the environment and reduce the amount of waste unnecessarily thrown away.

    “We are pleased that good use is able to be made of the packaging we send away for recycling.”

    Mr Eaves said that they would be looking at further ways to increase recycling and protect the environment at its stores in Shrewsbury, Winsford and Chester in Cheshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire.

    Pete White
  • Free science and drama workshops as school hosts open week
    25 Feb 2016

    Lab coats and Les Miserables will be the order of the day when one of Shropshire’s leading independent schools hosts free workshops for potential pupils in March.

    Adcote School has organised activities including a science masterclass and a drama workshop with West End performers and directors as part of an open week.

    The first event will see the school at Little Ness, near Shrewsbury, open its doors on March 12 for girls and their parents to view the facilities and meet teachers from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

    The morning includes a workshop for girls in Years 5 to 9 focusing on dance, drama and musical theatre. Performing arts teachers who have appeared in and directed national tours and West End productions will lead the session.

    A science showcase on March 15 will link into British Science Week and involve an energy science master class for Year 5 and 6 pupils and their parents. There will also be a science lecture, demonstrations and interactive experiments, along with afternoon tea, to give families a taste of what the school can offer.

    People will be able to see the school in action and meet staff and pupils at a further open day on the May Bank Holiday (May 2) from 9am to 4pm.

    Headmaster Gary Wright said the open week activities reflected the commitment to providing an all round education.

    “Our aim is to give everyone the chance to excel, be it academically, on the sports field, in music or performing arts and the open events are an opportunity for potential pupils and their families to find out about all that Adcote has to offer, whether as a day or boarding pupil.

    “We pride ourselves on small class sizes and excellent academic achievements. In 2015, we celebrated a GCSE and international GCSE pass rate of 99.6 per cent, with 88 per cent of all grades at A*-C. Our A Level results were similarly good, with a near 100 per cent pass rate and much of this academic success has been in what are traditionally the very toughest subjects such as maths, further maths and the sciences.”

    Mr Wright added: “Those results, coupled with the caring ethos we promote, has placed us as one of the leading independent schools of choice in Shropshire and beyond.

    “We hope the open events will attract families that are interested in finding out how an Adcote education can benefit their daughters.”

    Adcote offers term, weekly and flexible boarding options alongside the day school for girls aged four to 18. It currently has around 300 UK and international students on roll.

    Half of students board with day transport laid on from Newport, Oswestry, Telford, Shrewsbury, Welshpool and Wem. Adcote also offers a range of scholarships and bursaries.

    To register for the open day or activities, email [email protected] or contact 01939 260202. For more information, go to or follow the school on Twitter @adcoteschool or Facebook. 

  • Business community to benefit from £1.9 million investment after University Centre Shrewsbury bid
    05 Feb 2018
    Members of the CREST team outside Guildhall

    The Shropshire business community is set for a £1.9 million boost thanks to a successful bid for European Union funding by University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS).

    A new centre is being created at the institution, in partnership with University Centre Reaseheath, to develop and increase the productivity of environmental science and technology businesses in the area.

    The Centre for Research into Environmental Science and Technology (CREST) is bringing together a range of experts to help businesses grow and succeed.

    They will work with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in the county, including the Telford and Wrekin area. Support will be provided through research and specialist advice, and helping SMEs to develop innovative ideas and products before bringing them to market. This will include workshops to learn about new technologies and opportunities, and researcher placements.

    The Centre is creating jobs directly, including the appointment of business development managers and researchers, and aims to create at least another five jobs in Shropshire by December 2019 as a result of its work.

    The £1.97 million project has been made possible by a European Regional Development Fund grant of almost £1.2 million awarded to UCS, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as a contribution of almost £800,000 from the University of Chester.

    CREST will support businesses offering services and products in areas including: groundwater; contaminated land; bio fuels and energy; flooding and hydrology; ecology; bioscience; air quality; noise and dust pollution and sustainable/smart housing for rural communities

    Paul Kirkbright, UCS Deputy Provost, said: “We are thrilled to have secured this funding to contribute to strengthening the county’s business economy and creating new jobs.

    “The series of principles underpinning the development of UCS include acting as a catalyst for economic growth, linking into key industrial, environmental and commercial sectors, and alongside this, attracting and retaining talent in the area.

    “UCS is already contributing to the vitality of the area by bringing wide-ranging academic and industry experts together under one roof, creating jobs for teaching and support staff, and our hundreds of students are using businesses and services, working and joining organisations locally.

    “The creation of the University Centre is enabling the area to benefit from the opportunities that a university creates and this Centre is a further investment for the future of the Shropshire region.”

    Jon Britten, CREST Project Manager, added: “It’s important that the region contributes to the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy which is about growing our national income while cutting carbon emissions - and this is a key focus of the Centre.

    “Many businesses are not in a position where they can afford to explore new ideas to grow, or may not have even considered that they can benefit from activities such as research and specialist guidance on development and innovation.

    “But there is real potential for growth and we’re excited to work closely with businesses and help them take significant steps to ensure they prosper.”

    The CREST team offers extensive experience in the area of environmental sciences and business, including: research; project development; business support; owning and running businesses; acting as policy leads and working for and with a wide range of national and international organisations including the European Commission, Environment Agency and DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

    Businesses seeking support, or anyone who would like to find out more, can contact Business Development Managers, Simon Burgess at [email protected] or on 07816 306697, or Vicki Ayton at [email protected] or on 07880 784733.

    CREST is based at Guildhall in Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, UCS’s learning and research base.

    The Centre will be officially launched with an event at Guildhall on Thursday February 15, 2018. The event, taking place from 6pm to 8pm, will feature a keynote speech from Dr David Gregory-Kumar, Science, Environment and Rural Affairs Correspondent for the BBC in the West Midlands, and presenter for BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme. Presentations will also be given by leading academic Professor Roy Alexander and Chair of the Centre’s Industry Advisory Panel, Adrian Platt.

    The launch event is free and open to all, but people are asked to book places at

    A partnership between the University of Chester and Shropshire Council, UCS is a distinctive institution, focused on high-quality teaching and research, fostering entrepreneurship and contributing to the community.

    For more information go to Updates on UCS are also available at and

    Further information

    The project is receiving up to £1.2 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund.

    Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

    University Centre Reaseheath is one of the leading specialist land-based Higher Education Institutions in the UK and is part of a strategic alliance with the University of Chester. For further information go to

    For more details about the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership see

    To find out more about the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy visit

  • No Gnomes to Go to
    18 Jul 2013

    Organisers of this year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show are calling on people to offer homes to the Chelsea Flower Show Gnomes, who have been left homeless since the show closed in May.

    After 100 years of being refused entry to this revered flower show, many gnomes rejoiced that they were allowed entry into the grounds of Chelsea and took up residence in some of the world’s most respected and iconic show gardens.

    However, almost 50 days after Chelsea Flower Show drew to a close, the Shrewsbury Flower Show has been inundated with distraught Gnomes looking for a place to rest their weary heads, whilst they travel the length and breadth of the country looking for new homes. 

    Nigel Pearson of Shrewsbury Flower Show said: “With less than a month to go before the 126th Shrewsbury Flower Show, we are determined to help the gnomes, and have offered them a place to stay across our two show days on the 9th and 10th August.  As a nation we have a duty to look after these mythical creatures- if you see a gnome, give it a home!”

    These little creatures have been around in the UK since the early 1930s and are said to bring luck to the owner and the owner’s garden.

    Gnorman Gnowinsky, head of the Rights for Gnomes association said: “We are grateful to The Shrewsbury Flower Show for allowing us to visit and rest for two days. This show is almost as old as we are and we are looking forward to seeing some of the displays. We have met many wonderful people on our travels but nothing beats a good homely garden. At any point this summer you see a lone Gnome? Give it a home.”

    For anyone looking to donate their unwanted Gnome to a lovely home this summer, please bring it to the Secretary’s tent on 9th and 10th August. For more information on this year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show please visit or call 01743 234 050.

    Pete White
  • Flaxmill Maltings Heritage Open Days 2014
    03 Sep 2014

    Once again we will be opening the Flaxmill Maltings complex for the Heritage open days in September.

    Guided tours will be available at regular intervals throughout the weekend. There will be interpretation and displays on the history, structure and uses of the buildings. Explore the social history of the Flaxmill Maltings and take part in learning and fun activities for all ages. There will be an art exhibition and live music on site. Refreshments will be available.

    Opening Times

    Sat 13 September: 10:00-16:00
    Sun 14 September: 10:00-16:00

    Pete White
  • Business Workshops Back by Popular Demand
    18 Aug 2012

    Business owners are being urged to sign up to the final few places on a year-long programme starting next week, which promises to offer practical advice to boost their bottom line.

    As a result of the popularity of a previous string of workshops held, Shropshire-based Horizons Consultants is staging a second wave of its Business Mastermind Workshop Series. The workshops will commence on Wednesday 19th September between 3.00-6.00pm at the Rural Enterprise Centre, Shrewsbury.

    The programme, which is led by Horizons’ Director Alan Adams, consists of twelve monthly seminars lasting three hours, each providing an in-depth analysis of a particular area of business, such as increasing sales, improving time management, and meeting customers’ needs.

    “There are some incredible businesses and business owners across Shropshire, the county really is packed with fantastic ideas and a real sense of entrepreneurialism,” Alan Adams explained. “But while the actual ideas, the products, and the services often come naturally, the practical day-to-day running of a business can be a daunting experience.“

    “We’ve designed this step-by-step Business Mastermind Workshop series specifically for smaller businesses that may not have the funding available for one-on-one bespoke consultancy, but who want to learn the skills they need to help their businesses thrive.  By signing up to the programme, business owners are provided with an opportunity to join with seven or eight like-minded individuals from across the region’s business community to learn valuable skills once per month for a minimal cost.”

    The first session will cover Building a Vision for a Successful Future, with participants drilling down to truly establish what they want to achieve from their business and how they would quantify its ‘success’. Subsequent seminars will be devoted to topics such as Nine Ways to Growth and Profitability, Building a World-Class Team, Successful Selling, and Meeting Your Customers’ Needs.

    “The workshops will commence on September 19th, and although it’s almost fully-booked there are still spaces available, so we’d welcome anyone interested in finding out more to give a dedicated member of our team a call.”

    For further information about Horizons Consultants please contact 0845 373 0046, email [email protected], or visit

  • Suzuki Baleno
    04 Jun 2016


      Suzuki is well known globally for its expertise in small cars and this is their latest example. Called the Baleno, at 3.99 metres long, it fits nicely into Suzuki’s range between the smaller Swift and the more off-road-orientated Vitara SUV and offers a more rational choice for buyers looking for extra interior space and a larger boot capacity. Suzuki say, the Baleno offers the best tandem distance in its class - that’s the measurement between the front and rear seats – and as result also has the best rear legroom when compared to its B-segment peers (think Skoda Fabia, Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and the like).

          On sale from June 1st the Baleno is the first Suzuki to utilise the ‘SUZUKI NEXT 100’ plan, which was announced at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. This new platform targets the reduction of weight, as well as increasing overall structural rigidity. For instance, in the Baleno, body rigidity has been enhanced by approximately 10 per cent and, together with the introduction of a new smoother shaped ‘Liquid Flow’ design theme, the overall vehicle weight has been reduced by around 15 per cent.  This not only makes the Baleno the most aerodynamic Suzuki to date but, when compared with, the similar-sized Hyundai I20, it weighs in a whole 200kg lighter.

       Not only is  the Baleno’s frame lighter but, thanks to the use of ultra-high tensile steel, should heaven forbid the worst happen, collision force energy is dispersed more efficiently and thus overall crash safety is improved. On a more cheery note perhaps, that featherweight frame also helps make the Baleno more fuel efficient.

         Suzuki’s weight reducing ethos is also in evidence under the Baleno’s bonnet. After the debut of Boosterjet in their Vitara S in January 2016, their clever engine technology continues here with an all-new 998 cc three cylinder unit ( a 1.2 twinjet and a SHVS Hybrid drive are also available).

         If anything, the Boosterjet engine is the Baleno’s stand-out feature. Despite displacing less than a litre this little motor produces an output of 111bhp. Thanks to it also being Direct Injection turbocharged (DITC) it also delivers 125lbft of torque from 2,000rpm through to 3,500rpm.

      It works by controlling the wastegate valve; it closes to create higher boost pressure during heavy load operation yet remains open during normal driving.  High levels of both power and fuel-efficiency are achieved due to the reduction of pumping losses whilst an air bypass valve is also utilised to prevent turbo ‘stall’ should the throttle be closed and then quickly reopened.

       I got to sample it on the rather picturesque roads that lie the south-west of Belfast. It’s a thrummy little unit that adds a fun character to the Baleno, and if anything makes it feel faster and more eager than its figures (0-62 in 11.4 seconds) suggest.  When coupled to Suzuki’s accurate 5 speed gearbox (an auto option is also available,) it feels and revvy and pulls the Baleno along with an eager nature. The ride is a tad bouncy at times and the Baleno does tend to succumb to body roll when cornering, especially so when pushed that bit harder. Nevertheless you’d never call it uncomfortable or un-composed. The driving position is good, the cabin is airy, and one suspects, Suzuki have got the ride and handling balance just about right for the Baleno’s targeted audience.

        The standard equipment list should also raise a few smiles – especially so when you consider that Baleno prices start at just £12,999. Sat-Nav, Bluetooth, 6 airbags, 16 inch alloys, HID headlamps, ISOFIX, DAB and air-con are fitted across the entire range with the range-topping (£13,999) SZ-5 also gaining extra niceties such as LED rear lamps, climate control and a 4.2 inch colour trip display, Radar Brake Support and Adaptive Cruise Control. Apple’s car play and mirror link systems also put in a welcome appearance. 

         If you consider the Baleno as Swift’s more practical, more grown-up, sensible cousin you won’t be too wide of the mark. It’s not as much fun to drive as its smaller stablemate and it’s perhaps not as good looking either. But, what the Baleno lacks in looks and dynamics it makes up for with space, standard kit, and practicality.

        And that Boosterjet engine… well, it’s a gem.


    Suzuki Baleno 1.0 Boosterjet SZ5


    Engine: 998cc 3Cyl Petrol. K10C Direct injection Turbo

    Power:  111 BHP @ 5,500rpm

    Torque: 125 lbft @ 2,500 – 3,500 rpm

    Transmission:  5 speed manual, front-wheel drive

    Performance: 0-62 mph 11.4 sec

    Max Speed: 124 mph

    MPG: 62.7 Combined.

    CO2: 105g/km

    Price: £13,999.



    Many Thanks to Jade and Alun at Suzuki UK’s press office for the loan of the Baleno

    Liam Bird
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