Category Archives: Civic

Mayor turns back the clock with Edwardian Christmas cheer

An Edwardian Christmas

Old-fashioned festive fun will delight visitors to Walsall Town Hall this weekend when the Mayor recreates a Christmas past.

Councillor Garry Perry is staging Edwardian Day on Saturday 10 December and will transform the town hall and Mayor’s Parlour accordingly.

Gift ideas a-plenty and for all tastes and pockets will be on offer at a Christmas Craft Fayre which will be held in the town hall from 10am until 2pm on the day.

Visitors are also being invited to enjoy a tour around the Mayor’s Parlour and Council House which will be suitably styled in keeping with the Edwardian theme.

Admission is free and there is still some space available for people to set up a stall at the Christmas Craft Fayre.

The Mayor said: “It doesn’t matter how cold and grey it is outside – a warm welcome will be guaranteed inside this Saturday.

“We have decided to recreate a traditional-style Christmas by opting for an Edwardian theme and the free tours of the Council House will also give people a chance to have a few quieter moments.”

People who wish to have a stall or book a place on a tour are asked to contact the Mayor’s Office on 01922 652013 or email:

The seasonal flavour will carry on into the evening with a Mayoral Christmas Concert at the town hall from 7.30pm until 10pm.

Guests will be able to enjoy performances from Pelsall Schools Choir, Pelsall Ladies Choir, Forest Arts Wind Band and vocalists Amy Hook and Graham Foxall.

Tickets cost just £3 and children under 12 can attend free of charge.

Net proceeds from this event will go to the Mayor’s Charity Appeal.

Doors open at 7pm and tickets are available through the Mayor’s Office on 01922 652072 or from Kind Thoughts on Pelsall High Street.

The Mayor’s chosen charities are The Creating Chances Trust, The Swing and PROUD (Parents Relatives and Others Understanding Down’s Syndrome.

Glittering prizes for Bloxwich gem Jessica

Jessica Watts, Mayor's Ambassador and Miss Teen Walsall.
Jessica Watts, Mayor's Ambassador and Miss Teen Walsall.

Young ambassador, 2010 Bloxwich Carnival Princess and Miss Teen Walsall title holder Jessica Watts has picked up yet another crown.

The talented teenager won Miss Teen English Diamond following a competition in Manchester at the weekend.

Jessica is helping the Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Garry Perry, in his fundraising year and attends a host of events to develop links with the borough’s young people.

She is also planning a catwalk show February next year to be held at the Village Hotel featuring some of the young people who will benefit from the Mayor’s charity appeal.

The 16-year-old, who is a beauty apprentice and lives in Bloxwich, said Saturday’s competition had been an “amazing experience.”

She added: ” I am so excited about my win on Saturday – so much so I even wanted to sleep with my crown on!

“I am proud to be representing Walsall at the pageants and also honoured to be assisting the Mayor as his ambassador.  It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I’m enjoying every minute.”

Jessica won a host of prizes including a sash, a Prada handbag, Chanel purse, a jewellery box and jewellery.  She will hold the title for 12 months and will be required to judge next years competition.

The Mayor said he was delighted that Jessica had done so well.

“She was helping out at Noddy Holder’s music quiz the night before, until late, and had to be up early the next morning to compete so she must have been exhausted,” he said.

“She is a real asset to my fundraising team and is working particularly hard to get the borough’s young people involved in our events.”

The Mayor’s Charity Appeal is raising money for The Creating Chances Trust, The Swing and PROUD (Parents Relatives and Others Understanding Down’s Syndrome)

Former Q3 Academy student Jessica has also made it as a finalist in the national competition – Miss Teen Galaxy next March.

Remembrance Sunday parking arrangements

Walsall Remembrance Sunday. Picture by Frank Smith.
Walsall Remembrance Sunday. Picture by Frank Smith.

Charges will be waived at all council-owned car parks in Walsall throughout Remembrance Sunday for the second year running, it has been announced today.

The council waived its charges for one day last year after considering the views of veterans and others involved in the town’s civic parade.

Walsall Council Leader Mike Bird said: “We will not be charging people to park at all Walsall Council-owned car parks throughout the day on Remembrance Sunday which falls on 13 November this year.  Continue reading Remembrance Sunday parking arrangements

Final countdown for Mayor’s Challenge 100

Mayor and Mayoress of Walsall
Mayor and Mayoress of Walsall

Walsall’s Mayor is asking people for a final push towards his novel fundraiser – with just ten more registrations needed for his Challenge 100 initiative.

Councillor Garry Perry appealed for 100 businesses, groups or individuals to pledge £100 in 100 days to bring in £10,000 for his Charity Appeal.

And with the finishing line in sight this Sunday, he is hoping that the final ten needed for his target 100 will come forward.

The Mayor said: “The response so far has been out of this world with people doing all sorts of things in the name of my three chosen charities.

“We’ve had an 80’s night, an open garden event, sponsored head shaves, cake sales, dances and bike rides, a dog wash, raffles and donations – the list is endless.

“I am so grateful for everyone who has played a vital role in Challenge 100.

“I just hope we can meet our target by this Sunday’s closing date and am making this appeal for another ten groups or individuals to get on board.

“The money pledged so far will help to make such a difference to young people’s lives. But just think what we can all achieve if we can go that little bit further.”

The Mayor is raising money for The Creating Chances Trust, The Swing and PROUD (Parents Relatives and Others Understanding Down’s Syndrome)

The Creating Chances Trust is a partnership between the four Black Country authorities and has been set up to support the education and training of children in care and leaving care.

The Swing improves the futures of bereaved children and young people and was established by Walsall Bereavement Support Service.

PROUD is a parent-led Down’s Syndrome support group that encourages individuals with this condition to lead full and rewarding lives and raises awareness.

To take part in Challenge 100 complete the eform at, contact Jo Whitehouse at, or contact the Mayor’s Office on 01922 652072.

Those who register for Challenge 100 will be invited to a special reception in Walsall Town Hall and the top three fundraisers which bring in the highest amount will be treated to a special visit at their home, school or place of work by the Mayor.

Have Mayor – will travel!

Alex Murray prepares for a Mayoral haircut at Chatabox in Leamore (Pix: Walsall Council)

Walsall’s ubiquitous and always energetic Mayor, Councillor Gary Clarke, went into overdrive this week, spending two days flying across the borough from Bloxwich, Leamore, Blakenall and Coalpool to Aldridge and Walsall to work for businesses and schools while fundraising for charity.

The fun and frantic initiative, dubbed Mayor for Hire, was created by the Mayor in partnership with solicitors Addison O’Hare, with the aim of raising money for his Charity Appeal while giving him a taste of local life and work beyond the Council House.

Tuesday saw Cllr Clarke brushing up his customer service skills at Annette’s Pram Shop in Blakenall Lane, serving up lunch at Coalpool’s popular Edgar Stammers Primary School in Harden Road, washing hair, making tea – and chatting – at Chatabox Hair & Beauty in the Leamore Lane shopping precinct and meeting staff at Piquant Limited on the Willenhall Lane Industrial Estate in Bloxwich.

Kiran Patel and Jenny Turner await their food at Simply Sandwich, Bloxwich

On Wednesday, the Mayor tried his hand at sandwich making at Simply Sandwich Buffets at The Broadway, Walsall, became acting manager at Walsall Bus Station, served lunches at Cooper and Jordan Church of England Primary School and was interviewed by pupils at Castlefort JMI School in Walsall Wood.

All of the Mayor’s ‘employers’ have pledged donations to his Charity Appeal for Walsall Hospice and disadvantaged children, and Chatabox generously agreed to top theirs up by giving 20 per cent of the day’s takings as well.

The two days of fundraising and hard work, supplemented by a collection made by Walsall Hospice volunteers at the bus station, should net around £800 – a remarkable effort all round.

Cllr Clarke said: “I loved every minute of being put to work by everyone – it was an unforgettable two days.  I started at the pram shop and owner Annette Owles-Bryan was an absolute joy. Her business is a real asset to the area and she really goes out of her way to look after her customers.

“Later that day I had the privilege of working at Chatabox hairdressers where I met the charming Doreen Chivers, aged 64, who allowed me to wash her hair and declared that I had a gentle touch!  Owner Joanne Tidman has built up a gem of a business there and deserves to go from strength to strength.

No job too small: the Mayor makes tea at Chatabox

“I was also privileged to meet some of the hard working staff at Piquant Limited, another borough success story that we should all be proud of.   Shan Nagendram has established a fine sauce manufacturing business.

“Paul Keeling of Simply Sandwich had me hard at work in no time at all on day two and told me off for not putting enough meat on the bread. He wasn’t going to let me upset his customers.

“Centro made sure I carried out various checks at the bus station and took the time to listen to passengers’ experiences.

“The business community I met was loyal and committed and showed me just a small example of the talent we have in the borough.”

The Mayor was also asked to serve up lunch at Edgar Stammers Primary School – and did so resplendent in his white unform and purple cap.

He said: “What smashing children, teaching and kitchen staff I met at Edgar Stammers.  I was on Yorkshire pudding duty to start with and progressed to gravy, beans and custard as I got into my stride.  I didn’t stop smiling all the time I was there – although I understand I made service a little slower than normal. That’s partly because I was stopping to answer so many questions about my chain of office!”

The Mayor serves Ellie Fishwick her lunch at Cooper and Jordan School “On day two I went to Cooper and Jordan School where I had to arrive as a fairy godmother, complete with a wand and sparkly headband. The children were fortunate that I’d had some school meal practice and I think I managed to hold my own, again with grateful thanks to the kitchen staff.  Again, the children were fantastic. Some of them queued up at the end asking for my autograph which made me feel like a proper celebrity.”

At Castlefort School the Mayor was toured by Year 6 pupils who then joined in a question and answer session as part of work they have been doing on leaders.

“The school should be very proud of the polite, well-mannered and confident children it has at Castlefort,” said the Mayor.  They gave me a guided tour and showed me all the classrooms and the work that is going on this term.  They fired plenty of questions at me and kept me on my toes but I made sure I answered everything they asked.

“The two days were really enjoyable and I am delighted that I had the chance to meet some of the wonderful people who make this borough such a great place, ” Cllr Clarke concluded.

Anne Ward of Addison O’Hare Solicitors also agreed the two days had been a super success.

“We’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to make pledges and hope they all enjoyed the experience as much as the Mayor clearly did.  Mayor for Hire was always intended to be a memorable fundraising experience for everyone concerned while drawing the Mayor’s term to a fitting close.”

The Bloxidge Tallygraph would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Councillor Clarke.  We have attended many of the events he has supported as Mayor in Bloxwich and beyond, we have always been welcomed and we can’t remember a more active, friendly, supportive and enthusiastic Mayor – and Mayoress!

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