Tamworth pays tribute to His Royal Highness Prince Philip

Tamworth has been paying tribute to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Buckingham Palace confirmed his death this morning at the age of 99.

In a short statement, the palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”

In Tamworth, flags have been lowered to half-mast from the top of Marmion House and Tamworth Castle and will remain as such until the day after the funeral.

Andrew Barratt, Chief Executive of Tamworth Borough Council, said: “We are deeply saddened on receiving the official announcement of the death of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and we extend our deepest condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family.

“We know our sadness is shared by people across the world as we remember the longest serving consort in British history with affection.

“The people of Tamworth will now come together as a town and community for an official eight-day period of mourning during which we will pay tribute to His Royal Highness and his incredible service to the country over many years.

“Sadly due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and our need to continue to reduce the spread of infection as our first priority, it means that we will not be able to mark this death in the way we would want to.

“There will of course be opportunities for people to pay their respects, but these will primarily be at home and online.

“The book of condolence will be online and this will be made available via the official Royal Family website at http://www.royal.uk, where more details will be released in the coming days.”

Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher added: “We will never see Prince Philip’s like again. He dedicated his entire life to service – service to his Queen, his country and the causes he held dear.

“Our thoughts today must be with Her Majesty Queen and the Royal Family as we mourn the death of a devoted and inspirational husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.”

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Former Tamworth FC star sets sights on a new business in fashion

It’s been a case of football to fashion as lockdown has allowed two non-league brothers to get creative after setting up their own business.

Much-travelled striker Kyle Perry has linked up with older sibling Todd, a non-league stalwart himself with the likes of Atherstone, to develop clothing company, KyTo Apparel.

Despite planning for life outside of football after another frustrating campaign blighted by the pandemic, ex-Tamworth striker Kyle insists he is not planning to hang up his boots just yet.

But, until non-league football is able to resume fully, fashion is the name of the game.

“The last couple of years, Todd and I have talked about creating something and it’s just been a case of trying to find the right thing,” said Kyle, who has also played for Mansfield and Port Vale.

“We knew we had a skill set and we thought what could we do to put skills to good use? 

“We were looking for an idea and we had all these friends who have their own businesses and we just thought how about work wear?

“All our friends wanted to be branded up and have their own identity.

“We thought there was a gap in the market for community, localised work fashion and so we have put KyTo together – Kyle and Todd.

“We have got the machinery in place and a production line going. Every night it’s been non-stop.

“We have day jobs but we have been working into the early hours getting orders out.”

It’s no surprise to see Kyle trying his hand at something new. He has form after all.

“I am always looking for the next thing,” he said. “I had my band, Stubblemelt, which gave me an option to be creative and release what was inside. 

“And then I put on music festivals but now I want to create my own business and push on. 

“We just need to keep it snowballing now.”

Football might be on the backburner but it remains very much in the thoughts of both brothers.

“Todd turns 38 this year and I’m 35 so you start looking and wondering what’s after football,” Kyle added.

“On saying that, Todd’s in the best condition of his life. He’s got the weight off him and we joke he’s like Benjamin Button and getting younger.

“He’s getting young, where I’m getting bigger!”  Kyle joked. “He is playing for Dudley Town at the moment and loves it there.”

 Kyle, meanwhile, has enjoyed what he considers a renaissance with Kettering Town in the National North and he is keen for it to continue.

“It has been class,” he said. “I have spoken to Coxy (Paul Cox) and he has said he’d love to have me there again. 

“I’m at the stage of my career where I can still offer something so fingers crossed I’ll be staying at Kettering next season.”

Your chance to vote for your favourite local takeaway

The British Takeaway Awards are inviting people across Staffordshire to vote for their favourite local business.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

In a survey to mark the annual awards, 33 per cent said fish and chips was their go-to takeaway to cheer themselves up during lockdown.

It also found 70 per cent have ordered takeaways to make themselves feel happier during the crisis.

The awards, sponsored by Just Eat, will recognize these heroes in a new category, decided upon by the judges, called good deed hero alongside the best takeaway chef and best takeaway in Britain.

Consumers will vote for the winners of best local independent restaurant and best restaurant chain.

Andrew Kenny, managing director of Just Eat, said: “The British Takeaway Awards are a great way for people to support local, independent restaurants.”

“It’s been a tough year for the high street and the hospitality industry but our local takeaway restaurants have played a key role in supporting individuals and families as well the wider local community.”

There are 5000 restaurants registered for the British Takeaway Awards and every person who votes for their winner will be entered into a prize draw to win a takeaway every month for a year, courtesy of Just Eat.

Voting is until April 15 at www.thebtas.co.uk

Tamworth FC’s Gary Smith gives thoughts on a season cut short once again

Tamworth FC joint boss Gary Smith has been reflecting on a second successive campaign cut short due to the pandemic.

The FA confirmed last week that the season was over, after Tamworth hadn’t played a league game since October 24, when they defeated Biggleswade 3-0.

The Lambs were lying fifth at the time the season was stopped, having also been in pole position for promotion when the 2019-20 campaign was null and voided.

Smith said: “We will be speaking to Bob (Andrews) and Steve (Lathbury) this week to see what direction we are heading in once we come out of the lockdown we are in, in preparation for next season.

“It’s just been a weird experience for everyone. In football terms, we have seen two years wasted and everyone is back at square one, as you were. We haven’t moved for two years. “

Smith said the squad had been keeping in touch despite being unable to meet.

“We have our whatsapp group and as soon as we hear information we pass it on so that everyone is in the loop.

“Obviously, once we meet up with the chairman we will have a better understanding of what we are able to do and what we can’t do.

“Moving forward we will have to see what happens with the squad. We have some experienced lads and a good core of young lads as well.

“We will have to have a look at what we can keep and what we can’t depending on the power of the club’s spending after this pandemic.

“For many a club it’s going to be very, very tough with no revenue having come in for two years. It’ll make it even harder for clubs to get the teams out there they want.

“We will have to wait and see. I don’t see a total clear out being an option.

“We have a great base of lads and that changing room is great. Just depending on how things turn out, hopefully we can keep a good number. We just have to determine how we are able to operate.”

Smith said he is desperate to get back to enjoying football on a Saturday afternoon.

He added: “We have all missed the matchday experience. We just want to get back on the pitch, on the touchline, the fans on the terraces. We can’t wait for that to return.”

Drayton Park Golf Club gets ready for its reopening

Drayton Park Golf Club will be back open again today as restrictions start to lift around the country.

Photo by tyler hendy on Pexels.com

Outdoor sport facilities including tennis courts and golf courses can open, and organised outdoor sports can resume in the latest easing.

Ahead of the first tee-off time of the day, Drayton Park tweeted: “Let’s get this show on the road.”

Head professional Dan Whitby-Smith added: “We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back. The course is in great condition, it’s had no play for three months.”

Boris Johnson has urged caution and said: “Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come forward for a vaccine when called.”

A new slogan – Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air – was also being unveiled by the government to emphasise the importance of ventilation in reducing the spread of the virus.

Take part in orange April to raise funds for St Giles

Tamworth folk are being invited to get up and go orange this April to brighten up their spring and support St Giles Hospice.

The charity, which has centres in Whittington and Sutton Coldfield, is calling on supporters to dress up or dress down in orange for a day, a week or for the entire month this April.

They can then text to make a donation to raise funds to support the hospice’s work caring for people living with a terminal illness and their families.

St Giles has also drawn up a host of other fun, colourful fundraising ideas to keep supporters entertained throughout the month as they take part in Orange April with friends, family or colleagues, whether at home, at work or even on Zoom.

Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “We’re hoping to add an extra splash of colour to everybody’s April this year by asking our supporters to get up and go orange for St Giles.

“It takes a community to make a hospice and we’ve never need you more than we do today.

“By dressing in orange and taking part in other orange-inspired fundraising activities you can show your support for St Giles and make a real difference to the lives of local patients and their families.

“We rely on voluntary contributions to fund two thirds of the £10m we need to raise each year to fund the care we offer, and throughout the current Coronavirus crisis our services have faced unprecedented demand at a time when we have had to cancel our fundraising events and close our shops.

“Over the past 12 months our clinical and fundraising teams have had to adapt to ensure that we meet the increased demand and deliver our services in different ways – and our supporters have been so imaginative in finding ways to raise funds for us despite the lockdowns and social distancing.”

Everyone wanting to get up and go orange this April can request a fundraising pack in the post, which includes a special orange St Giles Hospice ribbon to add to their outfit along with a whole host of entertaining fundraising ideas and activities, or receive their pack digitally.

These ideas include a special orange Zoom background, a Zoom-based orange-themed scavenger hunt, a ‘guess the weight of your carrot cake’ competition, a ‘guess how many orange Smarties are in the jar’ competition and a new Olly the Orange activity pack for the kids.

“We want everyone to wear their orange ribbon with pride this April, knowing that they are helping us to continue providing care to people in our local community living with a terminal illness,” added Chloe.

The Hospice at Home team at St Giles will be among those dressing in orange to mark Orange April while they are out in the community caring for patients and their families at home next month.

As well as caring for patients at home, St Giles also supports patients at its Inpatient Unit in Whittington.

Orange April has been launched as part of St Giles Hospice’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more at www.stgileshospice.com/orangeappeal

Work of Whittington best-selling author is set to go under the hammer

The life work of an international bestselling author credited as creating the techno-thriller is heading to auction.

Craig Thomas’ 1977 landmark Firefox was made into the 1982 Hollywood blockbuster of the same name directed by and starring Clint Eastwood.

Craig Thomas

Copyright to the book and the former English teacher’s 17 other novels – including two published under the pseudonym David Grant – will be sold as one collection by Richard Winterton Auctioneers on Monday, April 12.

A notice of copyright assignment will be provided to the new owner.

Mr Thomas lived in Whittington with his wife Jill for many years. Fans regard Mr Thomas as the true inventor of the techno-thriller, with his run of meticulously researched novels revolving around cutting-edge technology.

Appropriately, the sale will be hosted online with live international bidding through the internet.

Copyright to the 18 novels will go under the hammer at 9.30am on Monday, April 12, as Lot 1 in Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Antiques & Home Sale from The Lichfield Auction Centre.

The back catalogue is expected to reach anywhere between £20,000 to £50,000.

Mr Thomas died from pneumonia following a battle with acute myeloid leukaemia aged 68 in April 2011.

Auctioneer Richard Winterton said: “We expect this sale to cause quite a stir in the literary world.

“Not only is it a rather unique auction prospect, this is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the legacy of a bestselling author whose way with words, attention to detail and audacious plots spearheaded an entire genre.

“We are especially pleased to be carrying out the sale on the instructions of the estate of Craig’s wife Jill as they lived for many years in Whittington, just a couple of miles from us here at The Lichfield Auction Centre.

“As an ex-teacher held in high regard by pupils and staff alike, he was a popular man locally as well as an author highly esteemed by fans all over the world.

“What a wonderful opportunity to carry on Craig’s literary legacy to a new generation as the tenth anniversary of his death approaches.”

Arguably Mr Thomas’ most famous work, Firefox featured the fictional MiG-31 – a Russian stealth aircraft so advanced British spymasters felt duty-bound to implement a secret mission to steal one of the prototypes.

Such trademark technical details such as the aircraft’s Mach 5 speed, invisibility to radar and guided missile system controlled by the pilot’s thoughts helped propel the novel to bestseller status with a first paperback edition of 250,000 copies.

The book took just four-and-a half-months to complete.

Yet over the next 17 years it was reprinted 33 times – a supply and demand feat no doubt aided by the popular Clint Eastwood movie.

In the film, Eastwood portrayed USAF pilot Mitchell Gant, who would become a recurring character in four of Mr Thomas’ books.

By the time of the Gant character’s fourth and final appearance in 1997’s A Different War, Mr Thomas’ international sales had exceeded 20 million books.

Mr Thomas married his wife Jill in 1967. She was also his editor and the couple lived for many years in Whittington on the outskirts of Tamworth.

Copyright of Mr Thomas’ 18 novels will go under the hammer as Lot 1 in Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Antiques & Home Sale on Monday, April 12, starting at 9.30am.

For bidding and other enquiries, email office@richardwinterton.co.uk or telephone 01543 251081.

Ex-Tamworth FC star goes from football to fashion

It’s been a case of football to fashion as lockdown has allowed two non-league brothers to get creative after setting up their own business.

Todd and Kyle Perry

Much-travelled, ex=Tamworth striker Kyle Perry has linked up with older sibling Todd, a non-league stalwart himself with the likes of Atherstone, to develop clothing company, KyTo.

But despite planning for life outside of football after another frustrating campaign, blighted by the pandemic, ex-Telford and Altrincham striker Kyle insists he is not planning to hang up his boots just yet.

However, until non-league is able to resume, fashion is the name of the game.

“The last couple of years, Todd and I have talked about creating something and it’s just been a case of trying to find the right thing,” said Kyle, who has also played for Mansfield and Port Vale.

“We knew we had a skill set and we thought, what could we do to put skills to good use? 

“We were looking for an idea and we had all these friends who have their own businesses and we just thought ‘work wear’.

“All our mates wanted to be branded up and have their own identity.

“We thought there was a gap in the market for community, localised work fashion and so we have put KyTo together – Kyle and Todd.

“We have got the machinery in place and a production line going. Every night it’s been non-stop.

“We have day jobs but we have been working into the early hours getting orders out.”

It’s no surprise to see Kyle trying his hand at something new. He has form after all.

“I am always looking for the next thing,” he said. “I had my band, Stubblemelt, which gave me an option to be creative and release what was inside. 

“And then I put on music festivals but now I want to create my own business and push on. 

“We just need to keep it snowballing now.”

Football might be on the backburner but it remains very much in the thoughts of both brothers.

“Todd turns 38 this year and I’m 35 so you start looking and thinking about what’s after football,” Kyle added.

“On saying that, Todd’s in the best condition of his life. He’s got the weight off him and we joke he’s like Benjamin Button and getting younger.

“He’s getting young, where I’m getting bigger!”  Kyle joked. “He is playing for Dudley Town at the moment and loves it there.”

 Kyle, meanwhile, has enjoyed what he considers a renaissance with Kettering Town in the National League North and he is keen for it to continue.

“It has been class,” he said. “I have spoken to Coxy (Paul Cox) and he has said he’d love to have me down there again. 

“He feels what I bring to the table, to the dressing room with my experience is positive. 

“I’m at the stage of my career where I can still offer something so fingers crossed I’ll be staying at Kettering next season. 

“I have a lot of respect for Coxy and what he’s done in the game. He gets results and has got good principles and values. He has been fantastic and has given me respect.”

And Kyle admits, whatever happens moving on, his remaining days in football will receive mixed feelings.

“I’m like marmite, aren’t I?” he said. “There are players who stay at a club for a year or two and people don’t have an opinion on them one way or another.

“With me, I get remembered from ten years back and people have an opinion, sometimes good and sometimes bad.”

Saddle up to help St Giles

St Giles Hospice is hoping to relaunch its fundraising events over the next few months – starting with Cycle Spring in May.

Events like Cycle Spring and their annual Solstice Walk raise more than £300,000 each year towards funding care for local people living with terminal illness and their families.

With Coronavirus restrictions begin to be lifted, the hospice is planning to bring the events calendar back as soon as Government guidelines allow.

Cycle Spring is planned to take place on Sunday, May 23, with COVID-compliant measures in place.

Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “If England continues to meet the Government’s COVID-19 milestones, we are hoping that our events should be able to go ahead this year – starting with Cycle Spring.

“We’re absolutely delighted at the thought of being able to welcome back our wonderful fundraisers in person in 2021 after a year when we’ve had to cancel our events and close our shops, which significantly impacted on our income.

“Whether you’re a regular rider or new to cycling, we’d love you to support us at our COVID-compliant Cycle Spring event.

“We sincerely hope that Coronavirus restrictions do not result in further cancellations but the safety of our supporters, volunteers and staff is our top priority. Whatever happens, we’ll be keeping our participants up to date with developments.

“If, come May, we can’t get together at Whittington we’ll provide our participants with everything you need to cycle for St Giles in your own time.

“We’ll make sure that our community can still take part, no matter what! Following sign up, all cyclists will be provided with fundraising packs full of route maps, medals, certificates and more.”

Previous Cycle Spring rides set off from Chasewater, but this year’s event will be starting and finishing at a new location for the first time ever – St Giles Hospice in Whittington.

Riders will be able to choose from three new routes through the beautiful Staffordshire countryside with varying degrees of difficulty.

The 27-mile route is open to all cyclists aged 10 and above and the more challenging 52-mile and 76-mile routes are open to riders aged 16 and over.

Arrival times will be staggered from 7.30am to ensure that social distancing measures can be complied with, and bookings are restricted to a maximum of six people from the same household or support bubble.

Cyclists booking a place before midnight on Wednesday, March 31 can enjoy an early bird offer of £25, and entry at £27 closes at midday on Thursday, May 20,2021.

Chloe added: “Our cycling events have raised more than £250,000 since they were launched in 2013 and we’d like to thank everyone who has taken part and raised funds for St Giles.

“With a new location this year we hope many Cycle Spring veterans will return to join our riders on these exciting routes for the first time – and with three to choose from you won’t struggle to find a cycle challenge to suit you or the whole family!”

To sign up for Cycle St Giles Spring or for any further details visit www.stgileshospice.com/cyclespring

Tamworth FC’s season is over – for second successive year

Tamworth FC have seen their season cut short for the second successive campaign.

The FA have today confirmed they have ratified the end of the Southern Premier League Central campaign.

A statement read: “The FA Council has now ratified the decision of the alliance and leagues committees that the 2020-21 league season for steps three to six of the National League System should be curtailed with immediate effect.

“This confirms that no further league matches will be played in this current season.

“As previously reported a few weeks ago, the FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees considered the large amount of data and information submitted by clubs across the National League System (NLS) Steps 3-6 as part of a survey to gather views on the continuation or conclusion of the 2020-21 league season, in addition to the information set out in the Government’s roadmap.

“Taking into account the survey results and the ongoing impact of Covid-19, which continues to adversely affect incomes for clubs due to restrictions on both spectators and hospitality, The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees reached a consensus that the 2020- 21 league season for Steps 3-6 of the NLS should be curtailed with immediate effect, with no further league matches taking place this season.”

Tamworth hadn’t played a league game since October 24, when they defeated Biggleswade 3-0.

The Lambs were lying fifth at the time the season was stopped, having also been in pole position for promotion when the 2019-20 campaign was null and voided.