The top articles currently trending on Love Shrewsbury.

  • Fiat Panda Antartica
    09 Mar 2015


       “A Fiat Panda 4x4, that’s one I’ve got to see!” came the response when I reeled off my latest list of cars I’d either driven or I would be driving soon. I’m not sure some of my friends actually believed such a thing existed.

        Funny really, Fiat’s go anywhere (well ok, with in reason)  Panda has actually been with us, albeit in various guises, since 1983; it’s won countless awards, crossed deserts, trekked across frozen wastelands and even taken part in the gruelling Paris-Dakar rally. If you want one there’s a waiting list; the outdoorsy types can’t get enough of them across the channel as they’re perfect for tackling narrow alpine village streets. Time then perhaps, to take this little car a lot more seriously.

       With ground clearance of just 150mm – up 50mm over the standard Panda – it’s probably safe to say you’re unlikely to stray too far off the beaten track in a Panda 4x4. But, despite being in a class of one – no other mainstream manufacturer currently makes a four-wheel drive city car - and being diminutively dimensioned, the Panda 4x4 does possess some genuine off-road abilities. Beefed-up bumpers and chunky side sill protection together with some rather sturdy looking aluminium effect skid plates do a sterling job of warding off the worst of the inevitable knocks and bumps, whilst standard fit mud and snow tyres make light work of slippery surfaces. You can even choose to electronically lock the differentials, well sort of. Press the EDC button and the traction control will prevent any lightly loaded wheel spinning away what power this little car can muster.  

       Ah yes, the power. You can choose from either Fiat’s 0.9 litre two-cylinder 84bhp TwinAir petrol engine, or the torquier 1.3 litre Multijet diesel (as driven here). The petrol gets a 6 speed gearbox, the diesel makes do with a 5 speed, both get a low ratio first for extra control on the rough stuff.

       As you might have guessed already with this is no Italian supercar and those tiny bhp figures together with the short gearing reflect in the Panda’s performance. 0-62 takes a near calendar worthy 14.2 seconds and at motorway speeds things can get a tad noisy.                                                                 But, what those numbers can’t tell you is, just how comfortable the Panda 4x4’s ride is and how much fun it is to drive.

       Like all small cars driving the Panda 4x4 is more about conserving momentum than out-and-out speed. Because it doesn’t weigh very much, and of course it grips like the proverbial limpet, you can throw this little car around with the kind of con brio its Italian fore-fathers would applaud. OK, so the steering is not the sharpest, and if I’m honest the gear-change is akin to stirring a bucket of porridge but neither trait is hard to forgive once up and running. Short overhangs and superb visibility mean it’s a doddle to park too.

         And the cost? Hmm…Panda 4x4’s aren’t cheap. Our, albeit range-topping and fully-loaded, Antartica edition came in at a fiver shy of £16,000, and that didn’t include split- folding rear seats, or the rather lovely leather steering wheel – that was a £105 extra.

       Still, if you need a little car that’s great around town and pretty good when well away from of it too, the Panda 4x4 might well be worth looking out for.


    Fiat Panda Antartica  1.3 16V Multijet 4x4


    Engine:  1248cc 16V 4Cyl diesel

    Transmission: 5 speed Manual, four wheel drive.

    Power:  75bhp @ 4000rpm

    Torque: 140 lbft @ 1500 rpm

    0-62MPH: 14.2 Sec

    Max Speed: 99 mph

    CO2: 124g/km

    MPG: 60.1 Combined

    Price: From £15,995


    Many thanks to Catrina at Fiat’s UK press office for arranging the loan of the Panda




    Liam Bird
  • New rock music school adds extra free-to-attend taster day
    02 Sep 2019

    A new rock music school has organised an additional free-to-attend taster day in Shrewsbury this coming weekend.

    Backbeat Music School, which will launch towards the end of this month and already held very popular introductory sessions in Shrewsbury, Wem and Market Drayton, has arranged another date in the county town for next Sunday 08 September at the Stage 2 Performing Arts Academy, off Telford Way.

    Running for a ten week term at a time, the school is open to people of all abilities in the age groups seven to 12, 13 to 18 and 18 to 90 years old. It holds appropriate public liability insurance and all tutors are safeguarding and DBS registered.

    Ian Fourie from Backbeat Music School, said: “It’s been a crazy month and the sessions we’re run so far have been very busy, with lots of people booked up for the first term. However, since the inaugural taster day at The Flaxmill in August, we’ve received more enquiries from Shrewsbury residents, hence the need to organise an additional event; which is very encouraging.”

    Backbeat Music School’s additional free taster day on Sunday 08 August at Stage 2 Performing Arts Academy will run from 12pm until 3pm. Refreshments will be provided. For more information or to book a place contact Adam Knight by email [email protected]

    Picture: Members of the Backbeat Music School team.

    Neville Street
  • Business Seeks Jolly Good sponsors to help charity and themselves
    14 Feb 2015
    Jolly Good Causes

    A LOCAL business set up to help address inequality in the third sector is appealing for local firms and individuals interested in sponsoring it so it can continue to help charities in desperate need.                       

    Jolly Good Causes is a community-interest-company set up by a Powys woman to offer free and low cost communications, marketing, fundraising and other related services to smaller charities, not-for-profits and social enterprises to enable them to get the support they need.

    Jo Barr, 38, a former journalist and senior RSPCA press officer, who now lives in Llanfechain,near the Shropshire border, set up the social enterprise, with her redundancy money, to help smaller charities, not-for-profits and social enterprises to gain the public profile they need in order to be able to continue and grow the work they do.

    But she soon realised that in order to be able to help the charities that needed the support the most she would not be able to charge them anything and so she would need to find additional funding for Jolly Good Causes.

    Jo, said: “There is a massive inequality as over four in ten of the 180.000 registered charities in England and Wales have an income of £10,000 or less. These charities represent 84 per cent of registered charities but have less than 5 per cent of the income recorded.

    “Around just 6 per cent of charities receive almost 90 per cent of the total income recorded. That means the largest 500 charities (0.3 per cent of those on the register) attract almost 50 per cent of the total income.”**

    Jolly Good Causes has already been inundated with small charities in desperate need of help and they have taken on causes which range from from a Condover dog rescue and a mobility to a organisation which helps children with a life threatening skin condition and a rugby club which helps homeless people.

    But it order to cover basic costs the social enterprise is in desperate need of sponsorship and they are hoping the local businesses will understand the significance of what they are trying to do.

    Jo said: “Some people have asked why they should not just give their money direct to charity, which of course they can - but by sponsoring or donating to us they are helping a variety of good causes at once and we have proved that we can make a real difference for small charities.

    On one occasion, a press release put out by Jolly Good Causes for an animal rescue, resulted in a newspaper article that led to the organisation rehoming a pony and a group of local people finding out about a charity, which they had not been aware of and a week later raising £530 for it.

    And on another occasion, securing publicity for a charity, which has failed to do so itself, meant they were able to get volunteers, to take part in a sponsored event, which will potentially raise them several thousand pounds.

    Jo said: “By sponsoring us for £100 a month, or whatever they can afford, a business will be helping us support a wide variety of charities and in many cases the support we offer bring those charities support and money - so it’s good business sense and we also offer training and support to our clients so they can become sustainable and we can move on to help other good causes.”

    Jo, who is the Charity & Communications Coordinator at Jolly Good Causes said: “We all know and love the big charities like the RSPCA and NSPCC, which have become household names and do amazing work.

    “But so much good work is also going on at grassroots level by smaller charities like RSPCA branches, often run on a shoestring, sometimes entirely by volunteers and these are the sort of causes we want to champion as their voices and causes are often inadvertently drowned out by the bigger ones.

    As a social enterprise, the driving force behind Jolly Good Causes is to benefit the community any profit will be ploughed back in, to order to help more clients.. But as with all businesses, it needs to be able to make money in order to pay very basic staff costs and cover its expenses.

    Jo explained: “By sponsoring and supporting charity through Jolly Good Causes not only will be helping us to help them - you will also be benefitting you own business as we will offer free publicity, marketing, branding and other help to our business sponsors - to let the world know that your business has a heart.

    “And if there are any individuals out there who wants to make a substantial investment or donation then since we are a community-interest-company, you may be eligible for social enterprise investment relief, meaning you save tax and help charities.”

    Although there are already paid PR agencies and organisations that support charities by helping with their communications needs, the founder of Jolly Good Causes believes her firm is unique in the approach it takes.

    For more details please visit or email [email protected] or call 01691 779152.

    Pete White
  • Who Has Won Big on the Lottery in Shropshire?
    24 Jul 2019

    Winning the lottery is one of the things that many of us dream about. With life-changing sums of money on offer through various lottery platforms, the potential to alter your life so drastically has never been greater. Over the last few years, lottery jackpots have continued to grow, reaching new record-breaking heights. Moreover, while the lottery was traditionally played and watched through our television screens upon its rise to prominence, the emergence of the digital era has resulted in more people participating through different methods. 

    Although there have been a vast number of jackpot winners from outside of the county, we’re going local, and taking a look at some of Shropshire’s biggest lottery winners.

    Sue and James Schofield

    Back in January of 2013, Sue and James Schofield, who resided in the county of Shropshire, won £1 million on the EuroMillions lottery. The couple, who had been married for five years at the time of finding out about their jackpot win, sought to continue in their day-to-day jobs as they came up with a plan on how to best use their winnings. Despite regularly playing the lottery, the most that the pair had previously won was £2.50, so the jackpot win understandably came as a huge shock. 

    Interestingly, Shrewsbury has enjoyed greater lottery winnings in recent times than in years gone by. According to Lottoland’s report on the luckiest regions for lottery wins in 2018, Shrewsbury was the 334th luckiest city in the UK, with Cambridge, Cardiff and Brighton topping the list, while Carlisle, Lisburn and Newtownabbey came in as the unluckiest cities. Furthermore, according to new figures from a study in 2018, every month, somebody within the county of Shropshire wins a major prize in the National Lottery. 

    Robin and Christine Kiddie

    Following the success story of Sue and James Schofield, Robin and Christine Kiddie went on to scoop over £6 million on the lottery. The ticket itself, which was purchased out of boredom, saw the couple become overnight millionaires after taking a chance on the lottery. Despite being married for 39 years, Christine checked with her mother-in-law to confirm that they had won after being sceptical following many of her husband's practical joke attempts. 

    Since this lottery launched back in 1994, there have been approximately 5,000 winners and of that total, 300 people living in and around the regions of Llandrindod Wells, Shrewsbury and Telford have scooped big cash prizes. Despite not being based in Shrewsbury, Hereford’s Ade Goodchild won £71 million on the EuroMillions lottery and has now become the 15th biggest winner in the history of the lottery in the United Kingdom. 

    The Potential to Win Big

    Although Shrewsbury and the surrounding Shropshire area is not considered as the luckiest destination for hopeful lottery winners, the Welsh county has amassed numerous jackpot winners since the lottery first began and offers the potential to become overnight millionaires such as those mentioned above.

    Pete White
  • Saxonby sponsored cricket summer camp hailed a huge success
    02 Aug 2016

    A recent summer camp for aspiring young cricketers has been heralded as a huge success.

    The event, organised through Beacon Cricket Club and sponsored by Shrewsbury based construction company Saxonby, took place at the town’s Frankwell cricket ground. Planning started in October last year with 63 six to 13 years olds registered by the beginning of the week-long camp.

    Aside from a daily cricket match complementary activities delivered by Simon Evitts from Embrace PE included end zone (similar to netball), rocket ball (a combination of dodge ball and lacrosse), tag rugby and tri golf, with each discipline helping to develop communication, team building, send-and-receive and hand-eye skills. Youngsters also enjoyed canoeing on the River Severn and a trip on the Sabrina Boat.

    Parents were invited to join an open evening on the last day where refreshments were provided. Following the presentation of medals and awards to the summer camp attendees and everyone participated in cricket and rounders matches. The new Frankwell ground cricket nets facility was also officially opened by Cllr Alan Mosley, leader of Shrewsbury Town Council.

    Steve Reese, club development officer at Beacon Cricket Club, said: “All this has been made possible by the fantastic support we receive from Shrewsbury Town Council and Saxonby, and without them we would not be in this superb position. It is now six years since we moved to Frankwell and it really is starting to become a well-respected facility for cricket and a great place for youngsters to be coached and play. The summer camp has been a resounding success and something we hope to repeat again next year.”

    James Wood, co-founder of Saxonby, said: “Saxonby was very happy to support the summer camp organised by Beacon CC for a number of reasons, but primarily because it enabled youngsters of all abilities to enjoy sport. The commitment to the future and sustainability of Beacon CC is clear to see and Steve Reese and his team should be commended for the excellent work they continue to do. Well done everyone and roll on next year!”

    1 Youngsters taking part in the cricket summer camp with organisers and at the front (left to right): James Wood, director, Saxonby, Cllr Beverly Baker, Andrew Copson, director, Saxonby and Steve Reese, club development officer, Beacon Cricket Club

    2 At the opening of the new Frankwell ground nets (left to right): Dave Pharo, president, Beacon Cricket Club, Cllr Alan Mosley, leader of Shrewsbury Town Council, Nick Maegraith from Adelaide, Australia, Beacon Cricket Club’s overseas player and Adam Phillips, junior development officer, Beacon Cricket Club.

    3 Left to right: Dave Pharo, president, Beacon Cricket Club and Cllr Alan Mosley, leader of Shrewsbury Town Council.

    Neville Street
  • The Crafty Cockney has the Raven in his sights!
    11 Feb 2015

    One of the country’s true sporting legends and one of the biggest names in World Darts history, Eric Bristow MBE, will be visiting Shropshire to take on whatever the County has to throw at him!!!

    Eric, known as “The Crafty Cockney” will be holding an exhibition match at The Raven Hotel, Prees Heath, near Whitchurch, on Friday, March 20, supported and compered by legendary MC, Paul Booth.

    Doors will open at 6.15pm and the evening will start with a “meet and greet” opportunity at 6.30pm, before “game on” - where up to 15 guests will have the chance to challenge the five times World Champion at the oche. This will be followed by a Q & A session.

    Joint owner of The Raven Hotel, Mike Dubicki said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting this event with Eric, who dominated the sport for over a decade. Altogether, it promises to be a fantastic evening of darts with a guaranteed huge amount of anecdotes and laughter. We’ve also included a raffle and an auction for two people to get the chance to play against him.” 

    Early booking is essential for this exclusive occasion as admission is limited. Tickets are priced at £15 if booked in advanced or £20 on the door and are available from The Raven Hotel, Prees Heath, near Whitchurch or by calling 07967 808822.

    Pete White
  • Neighbourhood wardens will be eyes & ears of town
    19 Mar 2015

    A neighbourhood warden service which aims to tackle community concerns has been officially launched by Shrewsbury Town Council.

    The roles have been introduced by the Council in a bid to improve quality of life for people by providing a local responsive service in all residential areas.

    Following a workforce restructure, three members of staff have been redeployed to take up these new roles in the North, West and Central areas of the town.

    Each warden has responsibility for their individual areas and works with local ward members, and in liaison with residents and other local stakeholders.

    The wardens are able to deal with local ‘street scene’ issues including litter, fly-tipping, graffiti, dog fouling, derelict sites/gardens, grounds maintenance and play areas. They are also able to give direct assistance to vulnerable residents, report outstanding issues and promote the involvement of young people in their local environment.

    Councillor Alan Mosley, Leader of the Council said: “We are delighted that this scheme has come to fruition as one of our pledges following the local elections in 2013. We now have three excellent staff working as Neighbourhood Wardens responding to local needs on an individual and group basis where necessary.  I’m sure that they will get to know the specific communities they are serving very quickly and they are already making an impact on the street scene and overall environment throughout our town.”

    Pete White
  • The Christians Return for a Third Coming"
    13 Sep 2019

    The Christians

    Theatre Severn

    Friday 13th September 2019

    One was particularly interested in watching the Christians tonight not because they are a top band but because the last two visits from the Eighties super-group have seen them performing in the Walker Theatre. I spoke with Garry Christian after those gigs and he had intimated to me that they would like to return and play in Theatre Severn as opposed to the Walker. This was  simply because he wanted to try a bigger space and see if the people came. Well build it Garry and they will come. Tonight I was delighted to see that the theatre was full and every one of the audience was there to feast on this sublime fusion of music which has always given the Christians that unique sound. It is that sound that will keep this band as relevant and as fresh as ever.

    To look at the show as a whole although they were up against some Friday the Thirteenth gremlins when they were ironed out a young Liverpool lad by the name of Joe Slater. He played first to warm all up the crowd to bring a little more contrast and artistry to the evening. With a voice well above his age and a boatload of songs self-penned one imagine the future will be rosy for Joe Slater.

    Then strolling onto the stage just so noticeably cool as ever, The Christians. Garry Christian defies all the conventions of aging as he looks exactly as he did thirty years ago. Maybe he just looked old back then? However I doubt that, much more likely one believes, there must be a picture in the attic displaying Garry’s sins and true artistic torment. However I guess if all your life you’ve been a pop star you’re bound to look younger than a miner of the same age. However there were no miners to complain but the miner’s strike and the Iron Lady Thatcher all got a mention. This was after all, not just a show for today but a show loaded with content intelligently looking back at where we have come from and where we are now.

    One was deeply moved by the Christian’s tribute to the tragic 96, The Red Sky. It was the Christian's own thoughts about the heartbreaking 96 who lost their lives in the terrible Hillsborough football tragedy. The Christians are a Liverpool group and without any slush or sentiment they played a song displaying great sensitivity and understanding of what Liverpool went through following that awful event. Understated in true Christians tradition, potent and poignant. Those sensibilities give the band that extremely approachable and human touch that keep them that little bit higher than others of the same era.

    So what is that unique sound that they, The Christains have that does really mark them out? Quite apart from the amazing lyrics the back line with its exciting fusion between Jazz, funk, soul and blues goes a long way to indicating who is playing long before Garry comes in with the vocals. The sensitive and intelligent use of the key boards mark them out from others. That is interesting because most eighties bands have synths and keys but if the lads walked onto the stage and picked up someone elses instruments before a note was sung, blindfolded you would identify them by that full use of sound that make the band just so different.

    They layer their music fitting everything in just so. The back line is no different than many others, Drums, Keys, Guitars and Bass and yet they have a fresh and interesting sound, like a Phil Spector wall of sound you know when a Christian’s song is to be played, epic introductions that so beautifully and musically accompany this band and its poetry.

    A night with The Christian’s is still a superb night. It is a night of wit, hilarity, pathos and musicianship unequalled. It is hard to remain objective when oneself has been deeply touched by the performance. I realised I have just shown my hand but in this instance you may forgive me. One hopes the Christian’s will go on making music, making intelligent content and go on treating their audience with the love and respect they do.

    They are still explosive, electric and eclectic! Once again the Christians hove into view blew a Shrewsbury audience away and on they will humbly go to finish off this amazing 26 date tour. A tour-de-force!!

    This is a Five Star Review

    Owen J.Lewis

    Owen Lewis
  • Ford Focus ST
    27 Jun 2020

      Bang! There’s one. Bang! Sorry, there’s another. Oof! That was close. Look out for the next one…

        I’m para-phrasing, but that’s pretty close to how a recent conversation played-out whilst driving the new Ford Focus ST. Pot holes are not its friend. And sadly, the B-roads that criss-cross the Shropshire/Welsh border, the very roads upon which a fast Ford should shine, are littered with them. If you’re reading this in the Ford press garage, please accept my apologies.

        That’s not to say that Focus ST is uncomfortable in any way, far from it in fact. It’s taught, yes, even its Comfort setting – one of four selectable driving modes, the others being Eco, Sport, and Track– but that perhaps was to be expected. No one wants a soggy hot-hatch after all.

        The Focus ST, or should I say the 5 door ECO boost Focus ST (there’s a diesel, and an estate too), sits 10mm lower than a lesser Focus, as a result of having been fitted with what Ford call Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) – that’s adaptive suspension to the likes of you and me. It also gets 19 inch alloy wheels wearing little more than a smear of low profile Michelin Pilot Sport tyres. So no wonder the ride’s a little firm on what passes for Tarmac out here in the sticks.

        The slight bumpiness is offset by a near perfect driving position. I once criticised Ford’s Focus RS for making you sit too high; that’s not the case here. The ST’s partial leather Recaro seats have been mounted much lower and thus offer far less of a perch for both driver and passenger alike, they also hug and support you in all the right places and are heated too. Pull the thick-rimmed steering wheel – also heated – in nice and close and it’s easy to get comfy. Everything else you need falls nicely to hand too, the metal pedals and the chunky gear-knob with its shorter throw.

        It could be said that apart from those aforementioned “sporty” additions the Focus ST’s interior differs little from other Focuses. The dials for instance are direct from the parts-bin; they wouldn’t look out of place in a Transit van, so too the indicator stalks and minor switch gear for that matter. But it’s roomy enough for five people (at a push), there’s ISOfix for the little ones… And besides, the important money has been spent elsewhere.

        And that immediately comes apparent when on the move. Under the bonnet lies the most powerful engine ever fitted to a Focus ST – all 2.3 litres and 276 bhp of it; it’s actually a detuned version of the engine that went into the Focus RS. Anti-lag technology makes the throttle response almost instant and the mid-range torque is, well, shall we say more than ample. 0-62 Mph takes just 5.7 seconds.

        But, it’s the way this car handles the bendy bits that’s the real eye-opener. Those fancy dampers and sticky tyres, together with the fitment of an electronic, torque-vectoring limited slip differential mean there’s huge mid-corner grip. The ST also gains stiffer anti-roll bars front and rear, so there’s virtually no body roll at all. On a smooth surface – if you can find one - you catapult yourself from one bend to the next with ease. As track day car the Focus ST really would take some beating. You can’t help but be impressed.

        Ford have done an excellent job with the new Focus ST, it is everything you’d expect a fast Ford to be. However, when you consider that its rivals (Hyundai’s I30N, and the Renault Sport Meganne) offer nearly everything the ST does for less cash, and that Ford’s reputation was built on offering more for less in the first place, it remains hard to totally convince yourself that that the ST is everything you’d expect a circa £35,000 hot-hatch to be.



    Ford Focus ST 5 door 2.3 Ecoboost

    Engine: 2,261cc cc 4Cyl Petrol, turbo.

    Power:  276 bhp @ 5,500rpm

    Torque: 310 lbft @ 3,000 - 4,000 rpm

    Transmission:  6 speed manual, Front-wheel drive

    Performance: 0-62mph in 5.7 sec

    Max Speed: 155 mph

    MPG: 35.7 Combined.

    CO2: 179g/km

    Price: From £32,495 (As driven, £35,440)



    Many Thanks to all at Ford’s UK’s press office.

    Liam Bird
  • How to Stage Your Shrewsbury Home for a Quick Sale
    19 Jul 2016

    Property prices in Shropshire are lower than the national average, so recent turmoil caused by Brexit is unlikely to improve matters. Like most parts of the UK, attractive properties in good areas command the best prices, but whereas in many other towns and cities first time buyer homes usually sell faster, in Shropshire detached properties are the most popular.

    Thanks to Brexit, property sales have stalled, so if you need to sell your home in the next few months, it is a good idea to make it as attractive as possible. One way to do this is to stage it. Simple things like dressing bedrooms with fresh new bed linen from the Threel web site can make a real difference. You might not achieve a higher selling price, but more buyers will be interested and therefore you should sell it faster.

    What is Home Staging?

    Home staging comes from the US. Over there, home ‘open days’ are common and owners like to present their home in its best possible light. Essentially, home staging is all about boosting curb appeal, so the moment a potential buyer walks up to the front door they are picturing themselves living in the property. Done well, it is an effective way to sell a home fast.

    Spring Cleaning

    No buyer wants to walk into a dirty home. Being greeted with the scent of eau de dog or feline urine is unpleasant and likely to discourage all but the most desperate buyers. If your carpets are smelly and stained, invest in new ones or hire a professional carpet cleaning service. Clean every room within an inch of its life and wipe down every surface to remove dust and dirt. Try to keep on top of the housework while you are looking for a buyer, so if a prospective buyer requests a last-minute viewing, you are ready to go.

    De-Clutter Rooms

    Clutter is the enemy. The more cluttered a room is, the smaller it will appear. Before you put your home on the market, go through every room and pack way all of your ornaments and general clutter, leaving only a few select pieces that show off your good taste.

    Add Personality to Your Home

    Don’t be afraid to add some personality to your home, but avoid going too far overboard, as it could put potential buyers off. A few carefully chosen ornaments and photographs to highlight your life will help to persuade buyers to invest in your home.

    Neutralise Décor

    Whilst a bit of personality is a good thing, it is not advisable to showcase a home with brightly coloured walls and ultra-modern décor. Most prospective buyers have fairly conservative tastes and the prospect of completely redecorating a large property is likely to put them off.

    Create Space

    Remove extra items of furniture to make rooms feel spacious. Put these items into storage or sell them to raise cash for the move.

    With the right staging, it should be possible to sell your home within a few weeks.

    Pete White
  • Reviive present Harlescott Grange Primary School with cheque for £200 from recycling competition
    05 Feb 2016

    A Shrewsbury primary school has won a prize for collecting the most waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) for recycling.

    Organised by Veolia in partnership with Shropshire Council and Reviive; representatives from which recently presented a cheque for £200 to Harlescott Grange Primary School; the  Shropshire-wide competition encouraged children to take broken or unwanted electrical items  such as toasters and hair dryers to their school for recycling, instead of throwing them away.

    Over 4,100 children from 16 schools took part and nearly 3,600 kg of unwanted electrical items were collected in total. Harlescott Grange Primary School’s contribution was 1227 kg, 3.37 per pupil. 

    Julie Hotchkiss, retail manager at Reviive said: “This was a fun competition but with a serious message about the potential of recycling and reducing landfill that we hope young children can benefit from. Everyone at Harlescott Grange Primary School should be congratulated as their final tally of recycled products was absolutely fantastic. Even though it was the heaviest collection, the number of children at the school meant the per-head total was less than the winning entry, but a worthy and well-earned second place.”

    Clement Gaubert, Veolia WEEE scheme manager said: “We are delighted to have worked with Shropshire Council and Reviive on this initiative. We believe the competition has been a great success and has helped raise awareness among the young people about the benefits of recycling their electrical waste.”

    Picture: Presenting a cheque for £200 to year six pupils Tia James and Mitchell Lovett, from Harlescott Grange Primary School’s eco council, (left to right) Angela James, PR communications officer, Veolia, Lisa Twidale, head teacher, Harlescott Grange Primary School and Julie Hotchkiss, retail manager, Reviive.

    Neville Street
  • Shropshire firm helps get more food waste recycled
    05 Mar 2015
    bags of food waste

    Shropshire small enterprise Ecosac Ltd are an industry leader in the supply of environmentally friendly advanced flexible polymer technologies – that’s compostable plastic bags to you and me. 

    The state of the art bio-polymers are made from GM-free corn starch and are proven to break down in composting operations.  Since its foundation in 2002, they have turned over in excess of 32 million bags, sacks, carrier bags and bin liners – mainly as part of environmental regulations which have stimulated markets for recycling and lead to the development of collections of food waste and green garden waste.

    From their base in Tern Hill in Market Drayton the firm supplies businesses and local authorities across the country.  As a proven method for increasing capture rates they are also helping to make collection services easier to use for the general public.  Shropshire led the industrial revolution and in recent years has become something of a hub for green technology businesses and led national efforts to divert waste from landfill.  So it’s great to see yet again local businesses are putting Shropshire is on the map for innovative ways to boost recycling and reduce the cost of waste services.

    James Thompson
  • Reviive celebrates fifth birthday with plans for expansion in mind
    24 Nov 2015

    A Shropshire recycling and resale organisation recently celebrated its fifth birthday, five years in which it has recorded nearly 30,000 sales, opened three additional showrooms and expanded its workforce thirtyfold.

    Reviive was established as a social enterprise or community interest company (CIC) in 2010 by two Shropshire based charities - Shropshire Housing Alliance and South Shropshire Furniture Scheme. Originally employing two people, who still work at Reviive, the workforce currently stands at 59 people including 11 apprentices, located across its outlets in Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Telford and Chester.

    Since 2010 Reviive has secured a number of recycling sector accreditations, rubber-stamping its credentials to continue delivering the work it carries out. These include a Social Enterprise Mark, which is independent proof that the organisation has put its profits towards social or environmental initiatives as well as providing people with life chances, and a licence to operate as an authorised treatment facility for electrical waste (WEEE). Reviive is also Furniture Re-use Network, UK Approved Re-use Centre.

    Commenting on some of the changes and in particular how the current period of austerity is affecting the business, Julian Price managing director at Reviive, who has been with the organisation since its inception, said: “New furniture can often be expensive and times are tough so people are more prepared to buy second hand good quality furniture because of the savings that can be made. Based on the popularity of our furniture restoration courses people are also purchasing our products to paint and personalise, known as upcycling. In addition, we can offer pieces made by our in-house professional furniture maker, at a fraction of the cost of other bespoke items.”

    In addition to the effects of austerity, Price believes that people now proactively look to purchase recycled or second hand goods. “There has definitely been a cultural shift and it’s a combination of the satisfaction which buying an environmentally friendly product creates, added to the design style that re use can offer by mixing materials. Our success and organisational set up has enabled us to develop a strong apprenticeship programme and through our partnerships with local government and housing providers, we have always provided low income families with furniture.”

    Co-operation is a key element to Reviive’s success and growth with its main strategic partner being The Wrekin Housing Trust. “Over the next five years we want to grow and become a regional business serving the West Midlands and the North West, so we are looking at potential new sites in those areas. Our turnover is £1.5 million and we would like to double that over the next five years. Upcycling, bicycle and electrical goods repair, and re-manufacturing furniture from waste are all in our business plan. However, to secure this development we will require additional investment and our aim is to work with social investment funders or other businesses interested in a social and financial return. Equally as important however, is the fact most of the products we sell are donated to us by the public and for that we are very grateful. The ongoing support from local people donating to and buying from Reviive leads to job creation and skills development,” added Price.

    Picture: With MD Julian Price (centre) are two of the longest serving Reviive employees - Mica Ryan, Shrewsbury site coordinator, who started in 2012 and Alex Hughes, AATF technician, who started when the business was established in 2010.

    Neville Street
  • Theatre Severn Is Alive With.......
    31 May 2016

    The Sound Of Music

    Theatre Severn

    31st May- June 11th2016

    The laws of objectivity must apply here otherwise it would just be easy for one to use every superlative in the thesaurus and quite simply leave it at that.

    That said initially attention should be upon Theatre Severn , just for a second, whilst praise is lavished upon them for securing this absolutely, monumentally good Show.

    Following the storyline closely with the film version of the same name this,  “ Bill Kenwright production,” has to be one of the strongest shows ever seen here at Theatre Severn. It is a real spectacle and one that should be seen by as many people as possible. Maybe the total standing ovation it earned as its opening night came to its climax, is evidence enough that this is a winning show.

    So why was it different ? How was it better? Well, quite apart from the amazing true story, its lovable characters, it’s sense of history and its sublime Rogers and Hammerstein score. It is all of it played notably well.

    Co-starring Andrew  Lancel (Coronation Street, The Bill, Marcella) as the aloof Captain Von Trapp and Lucy O’Byrne (The Voice) as Maria the delightful Nun that none could tame. On equal billing one would put Jan Hartley as Mother Abbess. All stunningly observed characters and all  bewitchingly sung .

    A sense of intrigue was bristling throughout the auditorium as people packed in to fill the place to maximum capacity. The question was how was this huge famous movie  to be transmogrified into a stage show?  It did work and it worked amazingly. In truth it was a stage play first, long before technology could capture the magic on film, this show would play all over the world.

    It was a joy to see the theatre working as it should. Incredible bits of scenery dropped in from the flies, the cast all very discreetly brought on and struck the furniture so each scene could seamlessly progress from one to another. Every inch of space was utilised. There can be a danger of a two dimensional view in a proscenium arch show. Not a bit of it in this one the stage has depth and it was great seeing it used.

    It was not difficult to suspend one’s disbelief. If the show wanted you to be on the mountains gulping in the alpine air, then that is where  you would be. If however, the show needed you to soak up the opulence of Captain Von Trapp’s Austrian mansion, then that is what it did. This show is a journey through a very frightened and threatened Austria trying to get used to the Nazi threat. Our journeymen were well worthy leading us through it.

    Director Martin Connor has crafted this musical so well ,not just to capture the sense of history but to find the charm, the hopes and dreams of the entire text. Woking so well with choreographer Bill Deamer and musical Director Tim Whiting; together they have triumphed with a show that should run and run , and probably will.

    The evocative score sounds so powerful when it's live. In the movie one undoubtedly  gets the charm of the songs but not the power. To witness Jan Hartley closing the first half with,  Climb every Mountain, is a theatrical experience that will be  indelibly etched on one’s mind for a long time to come. Andrew Lancel’s version of,  Eidelweiss, with all the Severn Children is a song where one may be forgiven for wiping back tears of emotion as their plight is so apparent. It is however wrapped so beautifully.

    The children? They deserve a paragraph all to themselves. They are wonderful. Such responsibility on such young shoulders. One is in awe of the bundle of talent these delightful little thespians bring to the fore. Enchantingly charming from beginning to end.

    Tonight we have climbed every mountain, we have heard  that the hills are alive with the Sound Of Music, we have interloped on several affairs of the heart and been part of an escape plan, that is why this show got the biggest ovation seen. Everybody in the theatre was on their feet and cheering and whistling. One feels that if the Urbane Captain had said they were going to do it all again the audience would have sat back, rustled  their sweets and lapped it up all over again. This is Musical Theatre at its very best.

    The show will run for 11 days yet and it is this reviewer's recommendation that you get a couple of tickets whilst there may be some left, then get and lose yourself in top notch theatre.

    I don’t know what Hitler would have done if he had caught the Von Trapps… he didn’t, I did, and as a consequence…….

    This is a Five Star Review.

    Owen J.Lewis 

    Owen Lewis
  • Leading Economist Comes to Shrewsbury
    26 Oct 2016

    It’s interesting economic times. Exchange rates are volatile, interest rates are at historic lows and may even go lower, there are major elections coming up in the USA, France and Germany and of course Brexit. Who better to make sense of it all than a world leading economist.

    Roger Martin-Fagg has been commenting on the global economy for 45 years, and is a regular on the professional speaker circuit at executive meet-up events all over the country. A local consulting firm has invited him to come to Shrewsbury to speak at a group they have created called ‘Vantage’, which they sponsor.

    The event, which will be held in the University Centre Shrewsbury on 24 November, is open to all. The Vantage group is intended for anyone interested in professional development in business. The group charges an annual fee but it is heavily subsidised by Wellmeadow Consulting.

    If you are interested in finding out more, or of registering to attend then visit

    Pete White
  • The Big Green Shropshire Gathering
    10 Apr 2015
    carding mill valley view of green shropshire hills

    Following on from the highly successful first event in 2013 when we were joined by more than 80 delegates, the second Big Green Shropshire Gathering will take place on Saturday 25th April 2015 at Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Visitor Centre, Abbey Foregate. Shrewsbury from 9.30am until 4.00pm.  This year’s programme is covering two major environmental and climate change issues:  Sustainable Farming: “How can UK food production be more sustainable?”  and Sustainable Housing: “How do we build affordable, energy efficient houses that are fit to live in?”

    We are delighted to welcome local and national speakers:  Charlotte Hollins, Fordhall Farm and Tim Bevan, Soil Association, speaking on sustainable farming and Paul Sutton, Shropshire Housing Group and Jonathan Hines, Architype, speaking on sustainable housing.

    A variety of stalls showcasing green projects and businesses from across the county will be present, and local Shrewsbury business, EAT UP will provide refreshments on the day.  It has been organised by Green Shropshire Xchange whose aim is to provide a forum for environmentally minded organisations in Shropshire.

    The event is FREE, but please register in advance simply by emailing: [email protected] 

    James Thompson
  • Record Breaking Pantomime Peter Pan flies into the sunset
    22 Jan 2015

    Theatre Severn will be the home to some emotional scenes this weekend as this year’s record breaking pantomime ‘Peter Pan’ comes to the end of its six week run.

    Returning Director and Dame Brad Fitt said: ‘It may have been a six week run but it only feels like a few moments. The cast and I have had a wonderful time. Shrewsbury always makes us feel so welcome, it really does feel like our second home. Myself and the cast would just like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts to each and every one of you that's made this year’s Panto so special ‘.

    Smashing previous box office records, final tickets sales have been revealed at over 38,500, beating the previous year’s total by over two thousand.  The show has been so popular many visitors have returned to see the show for a second or even a third time. One theatre goer said ‘I came to see it with my Scout group and then again with my family. It was brilliant!’

    Visitors have also been incredibly generous. A series of bucket collections, throughout the run, managed to raise around £5,500 for local charity Hope House.

    Over the sixty show run Audiences have been treated to all of the things you would expect from a pantomime, audience participation, lavish costumes, jokes and songs, and a few things you might not such as a breakdancing dog, and a gaggle of unconventional mermaids. The fire filled finale of the first act and the magical flying scenes with Peter Pan and the children’s have also definitely been an audience favourite.

    Theatre Manager David Jack said ‘This has been a fantastic production and Evolution have produced another great show. I can’t wait for Dick Whittington next year, and it seems I’m not alone. We have already sold 2,000 tickets for next year’s show and are expecting it to be another huge success.’

    Tickets for next year’s pantomime Dick Whittington are available by contacting the Box Office on 01743 281 281 or by visiting the theatres website at 

    Pete White
  • SDC commission Shrewsbury musician to arrange songs for forthcoming production of As You Like It at Theatre Severn
    25 Sep 2015

    A Shrewsbury musician has just completed a commission from Shropshire Drama Company (SDC), to write and arrange four pieces of music for its forthcoming production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, which takes place at Theatre Severn from 28 to 31 October.

    Adam Beresford-Browne, who will also be playing the role of Amiens in As You Like It, is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, well known on the local music scene and as a workshop leader at a number of folk festivals throughout the country, including Shrewsbury’s own annual event.  He is also a front person to five-piece folk ensemble Midswégan.

    His compositions use the original words from It Was A Lover And His Lass, Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind, Under The Greenwood Tree and What Shall He Have That Killed The Deer?, the most songs in any Shakespeare play. Originally written on guitar Adam will sing and play a mandola during the performances. Other members of the cast will join him for an a cappella version of What Shall He Have That Killed The Deer?, which was co composed by Karen Dyson from established folk trio The Bailey Sisters.

    Commenting on the process and his approach, Adam Beresford-Browne, said: “This very interesting commission has added to my knowledge and understanding of music from that era. For example, Shakespeare’s contemporary Thomas Morley composed and arranged music for It Was A Lover And His Lass and although I considered adopting Morley’s style across all four compositions, I felt SDC required a revised collection. As a result we have four original songs in a folk style, with strong melodies that are easy to pick up and repeat, but where appropriate contain elements of crashing tankards and ale house bawdiness.”

    Adam Beresford-Browne performs It Was A Lover And His Lass on YouTube at:

    Performances start at 7.30pm and tickets for As You Like It at Theatre Severn are £16/£14 (concs) which includes a £1 booking fee and available through the theatre’s box office on 01743 281281 or online at

    Picture: Adam Beresford-Browne

    Neville Street
  • New exhibition space named after late College Governor officially opens
    20 Jan 2015

    Shrewsbury College held a private event to dedicate its new exhibition and events space as the ‘Clayton Hall’ this week.


    The space, which is available to be used by the community, charities, businesses and other organisations as well as the College, was named after former Governor, John Clayton, who was first appointed to the Corporation in December 1996. He served the College for 18 years before he sadly passed away in March last year.


    Mr Clayton served on several College committees during his service and was heavily committed to many other local business and community enterprises. He was appointed Vice Chair of the College Corporation in November 2001 - to Nov 2003 and served as Chairman from November 2003 - 2006.  He was then again appointed Vice-Chair until his death in March last year.


    The dedication of the Hall saw Governors, College staff and members of the Clayton family gather, with Mr Clayton’s wife, Christine, officially unveiling the plaque.


    Mrs Clayton, said: “At many different levels John encouraged business development and educational achievement in Shropshire, and he recognised that he had benefitted from a good education to University level. 

    “This made him aware of the opportunities that can be within reach, and he was therefore keen to help others develop to their full potential through training and education.  

    “The College became close to his heart and he would have been delighted, if not a little embarrassed, to know that the hall was to be dedicated to his memory. His family wishes the College well with its valuable work in the future.”

    Speaking at the ceremony, current Chair of the Corporation, Iain Gilmour, said: “John gave me a very warm welcome when I joined the Corporation here at the College many years ago.

    “Typically, he was at pains to help me understand as much as possible about the Corporation, and of course it’s estate, which was so dear to his heart.

    “Enthusiasm absolutely characterised John. Whether it was in business, in public life, in his beloved vintage car racing or here in the College, he was the most positive of people and he has been sorely missed by us all.

    “In particular, he was the most enthusiastic supporter of the recent three-phase major investment in the renovating and extending College’s facilities and it is a terrible shame that he did not live to see its final completion.

    “It seems entirely fitting, therefore, that the reinstated hall you see before you should be dedicated to his memory and act as a permanent reminder of his presence here among us.”

    Pete White
  • The Poetry of Warfare at Walker Theatre
    09 Jul 2015

    Midlands Creative Projects,

    In association with Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Bloodaxe Books


    The Hundred  Years’ War

    Walker Theatre

    July 9th 2015

    Take thirty five of the most poignant poems inspired by the conflicts of the last hundred years, add interpretation and understanding of that work, blend with three wonderfully rich voices and you will have created a highly dimensional and diverse piece of work. Thrilling in some areas, heart wrenching in others and tragically sad in total.That is what was presented this evening by the Midlands Creative Projects.

    Poetry should belong in theatre and theatre belongs in poetry.  If the devising process or direction is strong and has a clear objective and one controlling message then brilliant theatre will be created. Such was the case tonight.

    With poems written by the aggressor, the victor, the women and men, the victims of wars and conflicts, the audience was left with no doubts that wherever war is fought and for whatever reasons; the ones who have no control are the ones that suffer most.

    It was chilling to hear  poems written by those we would  naturally consider as foes only to learn they worried about the same things as we ever do. Once again illustrating the stupidity and folly of warfare. If there is one thing this show achieves is to hold a beacon up against inhuman behaviour demonstrating  we are all just people…. aren’t we?

    This was a clever show. With the tenderness found in the delivery one felt one was hearing the people who wrote the verses. Hearing what was happening outside when they were writing and we saw in our mind’s eye what they were looking at as they scratched out their stanzas on whatever came to hand. The company beautifully demonstrated that  even in the darkest hours,  Art is still present, sharper and even more essential.

    Miriam Edwards, Jill Dowes and Zachary Price are all to be commended for their deliveries. No irony, no cry for help no words were missed in this montage of voices and verses from our darker and crazier side.

    This is a show that for the sake of humanity and for the sake of all our futures should be sen by all and then maybe, just maybe, those who write about the effects, the stupidity, the insanity of war could triumph over those who  are happier taking the more demonstrative side of an argument. After all the latter have had it their way for far too long now….surely?

    This is a three star review

    Owen J Lewis

    Owen Lewis
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