Gigspanner Live 10th February The Hub Lichfield

The Gigspanner Big Band are a unique force in British folk music.

Their high-energy, virtuosic performances appeal equally to traditionalists and to those looking for something more experimental, and they have garnered praise from publications as varied as fRoots, The Telegraph and The Wire, where they were described as ‘melodically folk-rooted yet open and innovative beyond the constraints of genre’

Beginning life as a trio – with former Steeleye Span fiddle player Knight being joined by percussionist Sacha Trochet and guitarist Roger Flack – the line-up has been expanded to form the Gigspanner Big Band, with acclaimed multi-instrumental duo Edgelarks (Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin – BBC Folk Awards ‘Best Duo’) and Bellowhead co-founder and melodeon player extraordinaire, John Spiers, joining the fray.

They are playing: Friday 10th February, The Hub at St. Mary’s, Market St. Lichfield, WS13 6LG.  Doors: 19:30. Tickets: £25.00. Box Office: 01543 256611.

“What a fabulous team they make, together producing a startlingly new musical form with few, if any, antecedents. The flights of musical fancy are staggering in their natural invention”
Fatea Magazine

“With the Gigspanner Big Band, Peter Knight has assembled a group of musicians intent on making some of the most important and exhilarating art ever to sit under the banner of folk music” FRUK

“Musical brilliance is abundant” Mojo Magazine

“Totally blown away by the spellbinding Gigspanner Big Band. Lost for words…” Folking. Com

“Utterly thrilling” Northern Soul

Beauty & The Beast Pantomime ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Beauty & The Beast Pantomime – Cloc Musical Theatre Company

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall

Monday 6th February 2023 – Dress Rehearsal

By Nigel Gambles

Photography – Nigel Gambles Photography

 

Cloc Musical theatre, are back at Sutton Town Hall with their annual pantomime this years offering is Beauty and The Beast.

Not to be confused with the Disney version, the story tells of the love of Belle (Beauty) played wonderfully by Sophia Powers  for a Prince (Erin Mooney) who has been transformed into a Beast (Graham Halliday) by a wicked sorceress, scorned by the Prince’s rejection of marriage. If he can find the love of another, without revealing his true identity, before the last rose of summer withers and dies, then only will the spell be broken. Belle, whose father is imprisoned by the Beast, offers herself instead and discovers her captor to be her true love. Set in and around the village of Franglais de la Mer, the pantomime introduces some interesting new characters. Among them are Belle’s too ugly (less glamorous) sisters – Brittany and Whitney played brilliantly by Hannah Muxlow and Charlene Walker- both greedy for cash and completely bent on improving their looks. To help them – Marcel and Monique – joint owners of the local beauty salon where all sorts of fun and frolics take place when the sisters turn up for their weekly therapy I have say at this point that for me Hannah playing Brittany stole every scene she was in.

The show is filled with some great toe tapping songs and plenty of audience participation. This crazy comedy is just what is needed to cheer you up on these dark winter days.

Group A Strep – What you need to know

Group A streptococcus (GAS), also referred to as Strep A is a common bacterium. Lots of us carry it in our throats and on our skin and it doesn’t always result in illness. However, GAS does cause a number of infections, some mild and some more serious.

The most serious infections linked to GAS come from invasive group A strep, known as iGAS.

These infections are caused by the bacteria getting into parts of the body where it is not normally found, such as the lungs or bloodstream. In rare cases an iGAS infection can be fatal.

Whilst iGAS infections are still uncommon, there has been an increase in cases this year, particularly in children under 10 and sadly, a small number of deaths.

This blog explains more about GAS and the infections it can cause, as well as how it is spread and what to look out for when your child is unwell.

How is it spread?

GAS is spread by close contact with an infected person and can be passed on through coughs and sneezes or from a wound.

Some people can have the bacteria present in their body without feeling unwell or showing any symptoms of infections and while they can pass it on, the risk of spread is much greater when a person is unwell.

Which infections does GAS cause?

GAS causes infections in the skin, soft tissue and respiratory tract. It’s responsible for infections such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis, scarlet fever, impetigo and cellulitis among others.

While infections like these can be unpleasant, they rarely become serious. When treated with antibiotics, an unwell person with a mild illness like tonsilitis stops being contagious around 24 hours after starting their medication.

We are currently seeing high numbers of scarlet fever cases.

The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands (a large lump on the side of your neck).

A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later. It looks looks like small, raised bumps and starts on the chest and tummy, then spreads. The rash makes your skin feel rough, like sandpaper. The rash will be less visible on darker skin but will still feel like sandpaper. More information on scarlet fever can be found on the NHS website, including photos.

What is invasive group A strep?

The most serious infections linked to GAS come from invasive group A strep, known as iGAS.

This can happen when a person has sores or open wounds that allow the bacteria to get into the tissue, breaches in their respiratory tract after a viral illness, or in a person who has a health condition that decreases their immunity to infection. When the immune system is compromised, a person is more vulnerable to invasive disease.

Which infections does invasive group A strep cause?

Necrotising fasciitis, necrotising pneumonia and Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome are some of the most severe but rare forms of invasive group A strep.

What is being done to investigate the rise in cases in children?

Investigations are underway following reports of an increase in lower respiratory tract Group A Strep infections in children over the past few weeks, which have caused severe illness.

Currently, there is no evidence that a new strain is circulating. The increase is most likely related to high amounts of circulating bacteria.

It isn’t possible to say for certain what is causing higher than usual rates of these infections. There is likely a combination of factors, including increased social mixing compared to the previous years as well as increases in other respiratory viruses.

What should parents look out for?

It’s always concerning when a child is unwell. GAS infections cause various symptoms such as sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches.

As a parent, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement.

CONTACT NHS 111 OR YOUR GP IF:

  • your child is getting worse
  • your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
  • your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration
  • your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38C, or is 3 to 6 months and has a temperature of 39C or higher
  • your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
  • your child is very tired or irritable

CALL 999 OR GO TO A&E IF:

  • your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
  • there are pauses when your child breathes
  • your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
  • your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake

What are schools being asked to do?

Schools are being asked to follow the usual outbreak management processes as set out in our guidance if an outbreak of scarlet fever is identified. An ‘outbreak’ is defined as 2 or more probable or confirmed cases attending the same school, nursery or other childcare setting within 10 days of each other.

Schools and nurseries should contact their local Health Protection Team if:

  • You have one or more cases of chickenpox or flu in the class that has scarlet fever at the same time. This is because infection with scarlet fever and either chickenpox or flu at the same time can result in more serious illness.
  • You are experiencing an outbreak of scarlet fever in a setting or class that provides care or education to children who are clinically vulnerable.
  • The outbreak continues for over 2 weeks, despite taking steps to control it.
  • Any child or staff member is admitted to hospital with any Group A Strep (GAS) infection (or there is a death).

Schools where outbreaks occur are additionally advised to:

  • Make sure that all children and employees that are ill go home and don’t return until they are well.
  • Tell parents and visitors about the cases of illness.
  • Remind employees to wash their hands throughout the day. Hand washing needs to be done after changing nappies and helping children use the toilet.
  • Make sure that all cuts, scrapes and wounds are cleaned and covered. This also applies to bites.
  • Carry out regular cleaning throughout the day, especially hand contact surfaces – this is covered in Managing Outbreaks and Incidents. Advice may also be given to increase cleaning of areas with particular attention to hand touch surfaces that can be easily contaminated such as door handles, toilet flushes and taps and communal touch areas. These should ideally be cleaned using a disinfectant.
  • Consider stopping messy play, removing hard to clean soft toys, not going on visits outside of your setting and not allowing children to share drinks
  • Once cases have stopped (no new cases or illness for 10 days), do a full cleaning of buildings (including toys, carpets etc)

Who needs to take antibiotics?

Antibiotics are not routinely recommended as a preventative treatment and should only be taken in confirmed cases of scarlet fever or another GAS infection, or in certain circumstances where Health Protection Teams recommend their wider use.

If there are cases identified in a child’s class, any child showing symptoms should be assessed by a doctor/by their GP and will be prescribed antibiotics if needed. Children are not infectious after 24 hours on treatment and can return to school once they’re feeling well enough after this period.

Are children with chickenpox more vulnerable to iGas?

Children who have had chickenpox recently are more likely to develop serious forms of Group A Strep infection, although this remains very uncommon. The chickenpox rash can make it easier for Group A Strep to get into the body, which can lead to invasive infection. If a child has chickenpox – or has had it in the last 2 weeks – parents should remain vigilant for symptoms such as a persistent high fever, cellulitis (skin infection) and arthritis (joint pain and swelling). If you are concerned for any reason please seek medical assistance immediately.

How can we stop infections from spreading?

Good hand and respiratory hygiene are important for stopping the spread of many bugs. By teaching your child how to wash their hands properly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, and keeping away from others when feeling unwell, they will be able to reduce the risk of picking up, or spreading, infections.

 

All information in this blog is from UK Health Security Agency and is used under the Open Government Licence v3.0

Sutton Coldfield Farmers Markets To Continue In 2023

Sutton Coldfield town centre’s successful Farmer’s Markets are to continue in the New Year, after the last event before Christmas drew thousands of festive shoppers. The Grinch entertained crowds at the market on Sunday, November 27, which was the last of three pilot events which aimed to see if local residents would back regular markets. Now organisers Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) – who have more festive attractions planned in the coming weekends before Christmas – have confirmed that the Farmers Markets will return in 2023.

Bid Manager Michelle Baker said: “The Christmas Market was absolutely fantastic, with a great turn out. Lots of families came along to see the Grinch – who behaved himself most of the time – and there was a brilliant response to the stalls that ran all the way along the parade. “When we first started these markets in September, we wanted to see how local residents would react and we have been blown away by how many have supported them. “They have significantly increased footfall to the town centre whenever they have been held – lots of people have said how wonderful it has been to see the Parade so busy. “So, we can confirm that the markets will continue in January. Now we are looking forward to Christmas, and all of the brilliant entertainment we have lined up.

“Next weekend we have Santa, some roller skating Christmas presents and the animated elves, visiting – and if you missed the Grinch at the weekend, don’t worry – he’s coming back!” The Farmers Markets and  extended Christmas activities are part of the new Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield programme of year-round events which aims to encourage more people to choose the town centre as a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax. Christmas activities include an amazing life-size snow globe in the town centre over a three-day period, which shoppers can step inside for a free Christmas photograph. And Christmas characters will be roaming among shoppers, including giant Christmas Penguins, life-size Gingerbread Men, Father Christmas and The Grinch.

Bid Manager Michelle Baker added: “We want to make Sutton Coldfield town centre a big attraction, with regular events to bring people in. “Residents have responded really well to the markets and the characters we have introduced, along with free music and face painting. “We’re also employing BID Guardians, special security guards, in the evening to make a night out in Sutton Coldfield feel even safer.”

UP-TO-DATE LISTING OF SUTTON TOWN CENTRE CHRISTMAS EVENTS

3rd Dec           Meet Santa, Roller Skating Christmas Presents and the animated elves

9th Dec            Giant snow globe, the Grinch, amazing animatronic Polar Bear

10th Dec         Giant snow globe, meet Santa and the Grinch, the Gingerbreads

11th Dec         Giant snow globe, the Grinch

11th Dec         Breakfast with Santa – Bottle of Sack (8:30am-10:30am)

17th Dec         See Santa, meet the Grinch and the Gingerbreads

Caption : The Grinch wowed the crowds at the last Farmers Market in Sutton Coldfield before Christmas. Now the popular events are to continue in 2023.

 

Lionel Barts Oliver! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Oliver – Manor Musical Theatre Company

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall

Monday 24th October 2022 – Dress Rehearsal

By Nigel Gambles

Photography – Nigel Gambles Photography

We were back at the Town Hall the second time in a week and Manor Musical Theatre Company were “Considering Us Part Of The Family”

Yes Oliver has returned to the Town Hall and you will absolutely be asking for more.

Directed by Pam & James Garrington, the staging of the production is very traditional, helping the audience be transported to the era, the set costumes lighting and props were all sympathetic to this. The set was fantastic and a special mention to “Going Dark Theatrical Services” for the atmospheric lighting. Coreography is by Jennie Mason who has created some great routines considering the size of the ensemble and stage keeping them in style of the set. Musical Director is Tim Harding and the nine piece band did a lovely job although I do think the volume was too loud in some cases with the soloists struggling to compete at times.

For this production there are two sets of youngsters team jelly and team custard! We were treated to team custard who are Evan Taylor playing Oliver Twist who very much looked the part and told the story well coming across more confidently as the show progressed. Jack Goode played the Dodger. For me he was one of the stand out performances, his command of the stage was excellent and the the confidence of his performance superb. His rapport with Nancy and Fagan  was also very good.

Fagan is played by Barry Styles a regular with the group, his character portrayal is superb and convincing taking command of the stage on every appearance

Nancy is played by Paula O’Hare who you might remember as an excellent Maria in the company production of Sound of Music earlier this year. She brings great energy and enthusiasm to this iconic role her vocals strong and clear.

Bill Sikes is played by Peter Bushby, suitably scary and menacing.

There are far too many roles to really mention in this review but I will say that all the cast and ensemble were excellent and seemed to throughly enjoy themselves and I felt that the overall acting and storytelling was very strong. The vocals and choreography were excellent. Well done to all on stage and behind the scenes.

We Will Rock You ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We Will Rock You ([email protected]) – Sutton Coldfield Musical Youth Theatre

Sutton Coldfield Town Hall

Monday 17th October 2022 – Dress Rehearsal

By Nigel Gambles

Photography – Nigel Gambles Photography

 

Sutton Coldfield Musical Youth Theatre rocked back into the Town Hall for their second show of the year with Queen & Ben Elton’s best selling jukebox musical “We Will Rock You ([email protected])”

Directed by Paul Lumsen, choreography by Maggie Jackson and musical director Chris Cocoran.

Set in the future on iPlanet where all musical instruments are banned, computers generate the music and everybody downloads it. This is a world where it is cool to conform, be compliant and live your life on the internet (sound familiar), where rock music has been long forgotten. Ruled by Killer Queen played by Sienna Renshaw who gives a fine  performance. Enter Galileo our leading man played by Nate Wallace who is plagued by dreams and memories of songs long gone, he joins forces with Scaramouche played brilliantly by Amelia Waldron who has a fantastic presence and wonderful vocals delivering a great  version of Somebody To Love. Amelia and Nate also deliver some stunning duets, Under Pressure and Who Wants To Live For Ever bouncing off each other well.

Together they set off on a mission to discover the last surviving instrument aided in their quest by a motley crew of Bohemians including Oz and Brit played by Ellie Summerfield and Finley Hunt, both have a wonderful stage presence and deliver lovely vocals in “I Want It All”. For me the highlight of the show was when Ellie sang “No-One But You”…. stunning is all I can say and I bet there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

The second half of the show is where the magic happens, the plot becomes secondary and the hits come thick and fast with classics like We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions and of course Bohemian Rhapsody.

Special mention to Oscar Ralley playing Buddy wonderfully.

This show is pure entertainment and will have you on your feet clapping and singing along.

 

Six Weekends of Christmas Fun

SIX WEEKENDS OF CHRISTMAS FUN IN SUTTON COLDFIELD TOWN CENTRE

Sutton Coldfield town centre will be spreading the festive fun this season, with events every weekend over the Christmas period – including a visit from the Grinch!

Instead of a one-day Christmas lights switch on event, organisers at Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) will be spreading the Christmas magic over six consecutive weekends, so that more visitors and families can enjoy the festive activities in Sutton Coldfield town centre.

Starting on Saturday 19th November and running up to and including Saturday 24th December, the BID is funding six weekends of Christmas fun and entertainment for festive shoppers in the town centre. The extended Christmas activities are part of the new Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield programme of year-round events which aims to encourage more people to choose the town centre as a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax.

Christmas activities will include an amazing life-size snow globe in the town centre over a three-day period, which shoppers can step inside for a free Christmas photograph. And Christmas characters will be roaming among shoppers, including giant Christmas Penguins, life-size Gingerbread Men, Father Christmas and The Grinch.

The town’s Christmas lights switch on event has historically been funded jointly by Gracechurch Shopping Centre and Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) but the event did not go ahead for the last two years due to the Covid pandemic.

This year Sutton Coldfield BID would be the sole funder and has taken the decision to do things differently and spread the Christmas magic over six weekends instead of focusing one evening of entertainment. It is hoped this change will benefit local businesses and boost footfall each weekend in the run up to Christmas.

Bid Manager Michelle Baker said: “We’re aiming to make Sutton Coldfield town centre a big attraction, with regular events to bring people in.“So, we thought for Christmas this year instead of putting all of our efforts into one lights switch on evening, we would do something different and make the fun last throughout the festive season, with something every weekend. “Residents will love the visitors and attractions we have lined up for Christmas – we just hope the Grinch doesn’t spoil everything!”

In recent weeks events organised under the vibrant new Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield brand – including a visit by a giant T Rex and a popular new Farmer’s Market – have seen thousands of extra people flood into the town centre.

The next Farmer’s Market is due to take place on October 30th, with a Halloween theme. 

VRSC XMAS 1 Grinch

The Grinch will be visiting Sutton Coldfield Town centre for Christmas.

VRSC XMAS 2  Snowglobe

A giant snow globe will be available for shoppers to get free photographs.

VRSC XMAS 3 Father Christmas

Father Christmas will mix with the crowds.

VRSC XMAS 4 Christmas penguins

Giant festive penguins will be one of the attractions across the six weeks.

VRSC XMAS 5 Elves

Santa’s elves will be there to greet shoppers too.

Sutton’s New Farmers Market is Huge Hit

PRESS RELEASE 26/09/22

THOUSANDS FLOCK TO SUPPORT SUTTON’S NEW FARMERS MARKET

– AND GORDON RAMSAY LOOKALIKE APPROVED TOO!

Thousands of shoppers turned out in the autumn sunshine to visit Sutton Coldfield’s new Farmers Market – and were amazed to see ‘Gordon Ramsay’ checking out the stalls too. Residents flocked to visit 40 stalls that filled the Parade, offering fresh produce, delicious food and quality craft items. And, wandering among them was the UK’s top Gordon Ramsay lookalike, who spent the day posing for photographs and giving his opinion on the items on sale. The speciality market, organised by Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID), is just one of many ideas designed to raise the profile of the town ­– following the launch of a vibrant new ‘Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield’ brand. The market is the first of three which will take place on the last Sunday of the month from 10am-2pm, with the next events planned for October 30th and November 27th. Organisers have said that if these initial markets prove popular, they will become a regular monthly event, rekindling a tradition that dates back more than 700 years in the Royal Town. And the first event proved hugely successful, with large crowds flocking to the town centre, busy car parks and traders reporting positive sales. Sutton resident Sue Mitchell, who used to work in Sutton’s Marks and Spencer store, said: “I was very impressed with the market because there were so many different stalls, offering different things to different people, at different price levels too.

“We’ve just strolled down here and stopped and talked to various stall holders and the variety of the market is wonderful. I can’t remember the last time there was anything like this on the high street in Sutton.”                Her neighbour, Linda Wright, added: “I think it’s wonderful. I haven’t seen crowds like this for so many years and I think it’s what is needed for Sutton, something to bring people into the town centre.                                                 “There is a great atmosphere to the place and the stalls are all very good, with real variety.”

Stall holders also enjoyed the event, which has already got a waiting list of traders keen to get involved. Organisers are now planning a bigger market, on a Halloween theme, at the end of October.

Councillor David Barrie, a city councillor who is part of the board of Sutton Coldfield BID, said: “We have seen a lot of changes in Sutton Town Centre and we have got through the dreadful years of the pandemic, and this market has just come at a perfect time when people are ready to come out into Sutton and see something different. “There was a really wonderful buzz to the place, and I think it will kickstart regular Farmers Markets and bring a lot of trade into Sutton, which is what we need. “There was a lot of Sutton people enjoying a Sutton event organised by Sutton BID and the atmosphere was fantastic.” BID manager Michelle Baker said: “We really want to put Sutton on the map as a destination and we couldn’t have been happier with our first Farmers Market. “We want to thanks the thousands of local residents who came along on a sunny Sunday to show their support and buy some of the brilliant products and produce on sale. “And, of course, it was great fun to see them react to the sight of Gordon Ramsay wandering around the stalls and having his photo taken. “We’re already planning the next market, on October 30, as well as lots of other events which will promote Sutton Coldfield town centre.”

Thousands flocked to Sutton Coldfield’s first new Farmers market.

Shoppers were surprised to see a famous face among the stalls – the UK’s best Gordon Ramsay lookalike.

COURTESY OF GARY PHELPS COMMUNICATIONS

Hero Walk for St Giles Hospice Care

There was a fabulous turnout for St Giles annual “Hero Walk” plenty of hero’s and their canine friends and a few villains who seemed to have crept in on the action.

The sun shone and the “Rock Choir” sang some excellent versions of classic rock numbers whiles the Heros Assembled.

Sutton Coldfield Mayor Janet Cairns welcomed everybody to the event and wished them all well at 11.00am when our Heros sped off at a walking pace to complete the 4.5K circuit taking part in four activities along the route.

At about 11.45 the first Heros started to cross the finish line and collect their medals

Photography by Nigel Gambles Photography

TRANSFORMERS AND GIANT T-REX TO INVADE SUTTON COLDFIELD TOWN CENTRE

Giant footsteps are set to echo around Sutton Coldfield Town Centre this month when larger-than-life characters mix with shoppers.

This Saturday (August 13th) Transformers Optimus Prime and Bumblebee will touch down in Sutton and patrol the Parade for a free meet-and-greet with fans from 11am-2pm. Then, on Bank Holiday Monday (August 28th) the Royal Town will get a Royal visit with a difference when the King of the Dinosaurs – ‘Chomp’, the T-Rex – stalks the town centre from 11am-2pm. The colourful characters are part of the new Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield BID programme of year-round events which aims to encourage more people to choose the town centre as a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax.

Organised by Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID), the programme of events also includes a new monthly Farmer’s Market, beginning on Sunday, September 25th. BID Manager Michelle Baker said: “We’re aiming to make Sutton Coldfield town centre a big attraction, and they don’t come much bigger than the Transformers and Chomp, who is the world’s biggest, most realistic Tyrannosaurus Rex! “These are amazing performance characters who have to be seen to be believed, so come down to Sutton town centre and enjoy the free entertainment.


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