Our latest networking meeting news – National Forest Adventure Farm

Minutes by Rachael Evans

I’m sure you are familiar with the saying “No bad weather just bad clothing” and everyone took this on board when we visited the National Adventure Farm on Thursday 9th October. How lucky we were after torrential rain, to find the weather fine and mild.

On arrival at the Farm members enjoyed tea and coffee plus delicious homemade cake. We met in what was once a cow shed but is now a warm and hospitable meeting room overlooking the children’s indoor play area. On the ground floor of this building is the restaurant serving locally sourced snacks and meals, plus 3 rooms available for birthday parties are also located here.

Tom, a Director of the National Adventure Farm explained that his family moved to Postern House Farm in 1970 and took the decision to diversify during 2004. Starting as a basic play field and creating Maize Maize, the attraction was open for 6 weeks in the first year and welcomed 7000 visitors. Last year 150,000 people paid a visit and the Maize is now between 8 and 9ft high. Tom and his family had to quickly learn new skills including retail and catering, very different from farming.

LDTA members had the opportunity to ask Tom any questions about the venture and I can’t remember a networking meeting where people asked so many. Once satisfied with Tom’s answers, we looked forward to meeting Louise who holds the role of Marketing Manager.

Louise informed us that apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, the centre is open daily 10am to 6pm. Even in dreadful weather, there are plenty of activities to do inside. School and nursery trips are available which encourages learning through fun.

Events are held throughout the year and during the summer months this year, the National Adventure Farm set out to break the world record for the largest display of scarecrows. The record had been held by the USA for 11 years with a parade of 3312 scarecrows. Every child who visited the attraction was invited to make a scarecrow. The strict criteria meant that the figure had to have a head, 2 items of clothing, be around 4ft in size and be free standing or propped up.  It was a happy day when the judges announced that the record had indeed been broken, with the final figure reaching 3800, qualifying for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

Halloween is a particularly busy time for staff, with 2 Halloween events taking place. For younger children a day time Halloween Spook-tacular is planned when fancy dress is encouraged and lots of fun activities to participate in. The extremely popular Screamfest event is aimed for brave people aged 12 years and over. Commencing on 17th October and continuing for 11 nights this is a night not for the faint hearted. Drama students from the nearby college perform in Screamfest as part of their work experience and one of the scariest things is some will be hiding with the scarecrows, so just when you think it is safe one will jump out! If you feel daring enough to take on the challenge of Screamfest online saver tickets are available at halloweenadventurefarm.co.uk     

The afternoon just got better when Louise invited LDTA partners’ to take a tour of the farm and a tractor and trailer ride. Even though there had been heavy rain, good paths are accessible free of mud. The animal barn housed many endearing creatures including pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs plus many more in and outside. The animals take a starring role in the interactive Nativity scheduled for the weekends 29 November – 24 December.

The scarecrows alone are worth a visit the Adventure Farm, what a spectacular sight they made. It would have been so easy to spend time just gazing at all their different faces. However, there was no time to linger as Josh the tractor driver and Emily our guide were waiting to take us on a journey. As we rode around the farm, the idea was to spot random scarecrows dotted around, when we saw one we had to shout “Scarecrow”. How strange to see 23 adults becoming very excited while listening to songs from the Wurzels.

After our tour several members chose to have another cup of tea and others went to have a look at the pumpkins. It was the giant slides that held the attraction for some of us, as the temptation was too great and we just had to have a go. Unfortunately foul play was committed by Paul from FM & J Wait and rather than lose the race down the slides employed some dubious tactics to try and win!

For further information about the National Forest Adventure Farm visit www.adventurefarm.co.uk or telephone 01283 533933. Leaflets are available from Lichfield Tourist Information.

 Thank you to everyone at the Farm for such an enjoyable afternoon and also to Angela, Paul and Brett from FM & J Wait for providing transport.

Our next LDTA networking meeting will be our informal drop-in Christmas get-together

 On: Tuesday 16th December between 5pm and 7pm                                

 At: The Guildhall, Bore Street, Lichfield WS13 6LU                                       

 LDTA Partners’ News in Brief

Roy Barratt: Claymills Pumping Station received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. www.claymills.org    

Robert & Caroline Carr: Rock34 is very busy with online jewellery orders. www.rock34.co.uk     

Allan Hayes: The Walled Garden at Woodhouse Farm is striving to obtain a grant to renovate an old building, making it visitor friendly. www.thewalledgardenatwoodhousefarm.co.uk              

Richard Lewis: Lichfield Chamber of Trade and Commerce is working with Town Team and Lichfield District Council to drive the BID project forward.

Adam Burns-Mace: The Tudor of Lichfield. Christmas chocolate products have now arrived and are on sale in the shop. www.tudorrow.com     

Angela Harvey: FM & J Wait are offering transport free of charge, to take people to the Remembrance Service, on 11th November at the National Memorial Arboretum. www.fmandjwait.co.uk                           

David Bathurst: Chasewater Railway Museum. Santa Special tickets are now on sale. The event sold out last year but this year the emphasis will be on quality rather than quantity. www.chasewaterrailway.org

Jane Lees: Chasewater Country Park. Improvements have been made at the Country Park but this is always a challenge as the area is a triple SSSI site. A LDTA networking meeting has been planned for March 2015. www.enjoychasewater.co.uk                

Julie Dewhurst: Green Badge Guide. Ghost tour tickets are available for a wide selection of dates these can be purchased from Lichfield Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01543 256611. www.visitlichfield.co.uk      

Angela Cornell & Roger Thompson: Elford Walled Garden have experienced a very busy year, the venue is open every day free of charge. The next event is on 1st November which is a Bonfire with refreshments. Tickets priced at £6 adults and £3 children, under 5’s are free. Elford Garden won the Royal Horticultural top award for the 2nd year and a special award for merit, only four of which have been issued this year. www.elfordwalledgarden.org.uk                 

Kerry Mayo: National Paintball Fields. There is high demand for Halloween themed events, the Zombie theme being very popular. It was the busiest August for the past few years. NPF will be offering quad biking for younger people in the New Year. www.npfbassettspole.com            

Nick Misselke: Pipe Hill House. Business is very good and everyone connected with the Bed & Breakfast is extremely proud of the establishments 5 star gold award. www.pipehillhouse.co.uk         

 Brian Pretty: Lichfield Arts. The recent beer festival was a huge success and local bands will be playing at the Christmas light switch on taking place on Sunday 23rd November. www.lichfieldarts.org.uk        

Lisa Biste: Visit Lichfield. Lisa is from Freiburg in Germany and is working with the tourism team for a few months. One of Lisa’s projects is translating the 2015 Visit Lichfield guide into German. Lisa can be contacted on lisa.biste@lichfielddc.gov.uk

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Calling all stallholders – would you like a stall at the Lichfield Literature Antiques and Vintage Market

lichfield literature

Calling all stallholders

Next month, the Lichfield Festival team will be hosting their annual Literature Festival (Wed 8th- Sun 12th Oct) and as part of that, on Saturday 11th Oct, will be holding an Antiques and Vintage Market at Winterton Auctioneers in Lichfield.

On the day of the market, there will also be four separate events (author talks) at Winterton’s, so not only will there be people specifically coming to the market but there will also be audience members from those events who will be encouraged by festival volunteers to go through the market.

 Two of the events in particular are very much directed towards antiques so the audience will be a fantastic target for the market. 12,000 copies of the literature festival brochure (which advertises the market) has gone out to a mailing list and also handed out throughout the city so a very good turnout is expected as the events are currently selling very well.

If you would like to take a stall space, please complete and return the attached booking form to Julie Barry as soon as possible on:

T: 01543 306270

E: julie.barry@lichfieldfestival.org

If you would like to find out more about our Literature Festival then please visit: www.lichfieldfestival.org

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Lichfield Cathedral named as Tempest Ford Charity of the Year

Tempest Ford PartnershipLichfield Cathedral has been named as Charity of the Year for local dealership, Tempest Ford.
The team at Tempest Ford have offered their support for the East End Appeal, which is now in its final phase with just £60,000 left to raise. The appeal will see the re-installation of the Herkenrode Glass in spring 2015, a project costing an estimated £3.7million. The stone work restoration is now complete with the conservation of the 16th century windows from the Lady Chapel now well underway.
The glass originally came from the Abbey of Herkenrode, currently in Belgium, in 1801 having been purchased by Brooke Boothby during the Napoleonic Wars.
Mr Brian Carruthers, Managing Director at Tempest Ford, says: “We are delighted that Lichfield Cathedral will be our chosen charity for 2014. This amazing building is at the heart of our beautiful city and no-one who visits it can come away without being deeply impressed by its towering majesty, inner beauty and calm.
We are keen to help generate funds for the East End Appeal and for the ongoing maintenance of the Cathedral, and over the coming months will endeavour to support the Cathedral management team in any way that we can.”
The Very Rev’d Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield, adds: “We are truly grateful to Brian Carruthers and the team at Tempest Ford. This is a partnership we hope will develop and grow as we move forward, and we look forward to working together in the coming months and years.”
Tempest Ford has decorated the most recent Ford Kuga (pictured) to represent the partnership between the two Lichfield organisations.



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What’s On Autumn and Winter 2014

Whats on autumn winter 2014What’s On Autumn and Winter is packed with events including halloween and fireworks, festive fun, carol services and concerts, Lichfield Christmas Festival and Christmas Lights Switch On, as well as ongoing events such as exhibitions and talks.

To join the mailing list email info@visitlichfield.com or pick a brochure up from the Tourist Information desk at St Mary’s in the Market Square, Lichfield (available mid August). You can also download the brochure from our website today, just go to www.visitlichfield.co.uk/download

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Lichfield Cathedral appoints new Commercial Development Director

Lichfield Cathedral is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Jason Dyer as the new Commercial Development Director.

Jason is currently the Development Director and most recently the acting CEO of Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott in Roxburghshire in the Scottish Borders. He joins the Cathedral with a great deal of experience having worked as Development Director for Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln, and as Principal Fundraising Manager for national medical and environmental charities.

The duties for the new Director will include capital fundraising to finance the Cathedral’s ambitious £20m development plan, becoming the CEO of the Cathedral’s Enterprise Company and taking responsibility for increasing the Cathedral’s income from trading, visits and events and ensuring its network of strategic partnerships is enhanced and sustained.

Jason, who will join the Cathedral team on 29th September, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed. I have always had a deep love of and interest in Church and Cathedral spaces and it has been a great ambition of mine, as a person of faith and with strong historical interests, to come and work in a Cathedral. I’m very much looking forward to moving to the City of Lichfield and facing the challenges of the role.”

The Dean of Lichfield, the very Rev’d Adrian Dorber commented: “Everyone who met Jason during the selection process was impressed with his record of achievement, his proven skill and professionalism, his warmth, friendliness and approachability. He combines great financial and commercial acumen with clear-sightedness about the Cathedral’s mission and potential. We have every confidence in his ability and we look forward to welcoming him as a key player in the staff team.”

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Beacon Park is named one of the best in Britain

Law's Fountain in Beacon ParkKeep Britain Tidy announces a record-breaking number of award-winning parks and green spaces for 2014.
Beacon Park in Lichfield is one of the very best in the UK – and that’s official. The park is among a record-breaking 1,476 parks and green spaces that will today (28 July 2014) receive a prestigious Green Flag Award.
The award, handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.
Beacon Park is set in more than 70 acres of beautiful gardens and open space. On top of historical statues and monuments, it features a large play area, a boating pool, a golf course, football pitches, tennis courts, bowling greens, a community garden, woodland, eateries and a programme of seasonal events and activities.
Councillor Andy Smith, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure & Parks, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to achieve a Green Flag Award for the fourth year running. This award recognises and highlights that people across Lichfield District are benefitting from a green space of the very highest quality.
“The judges told us how impressed they were with our involvement with the Friends of Lichfield Historic Parks, the creation of the remembrance poppy field, and how we work with the police.”
Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Award scheme manager, Paul Todd, said: “We are delighted to announce yet another record-breaking year for Green Flag Award parks and green spaces.
“A Green Flag Award provides national recognition for all the parks managers, staff and volunteers who, through their dedication and hard work, have helped to create these fantastic places for everyone to enjoy.
“Quality green spaces are a vital resource for communities and that is why it is so significant that we have given out more awards than ever before.”

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Great Britain Day Visitors – Latest research

logo-brightVisit England  have recently published a new report, “The Great Britain Day Visitor.”
This is the 2013 annual report of the GB Day Visit Survey, the official statistic which measures this sector of the market, jointly sponsored by VisitEngland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales.
This latest report brings together a wealth of market facts, figures and trends.
In 2013, British residents took a total of 1,370 million day visits in England, spending on average just under £34 per visit, and generating £46 billion in total expenditure.
Both spending and trip volume levels declined in 2013 after a strong 2012 performance, though still remained higher than in 2011, the survey’s baseline year. 
Download a copy of the report here http://www.visitengland.org/insight-statistics/major-tourism-surveys/dayvisitors

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Launch of Drayton Manor Events website

Drayton Manor Theme Park and Hotel has unveiled a brand new website dedicated to showcasing its outstanding conference and events facilities.
The new Drayton Manor Events website, www.draytonmanorevents.co.uk, provides a definitive guide to the facilities available throughout the Drayton Manor site, including executive boardrooms, the 4D cinema and a variety of suites. Whilst the previous websites focused on the leisure opportunities at both the theme park and hotel, the new site is solely focused on promoting it as a destination for corporate events.
The events website is designed to be more modern and user friendly, and is accessible across a range of platforms to meet the growing tendency to browse using devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Future plans for the site include the option to view a virtual tour of the facilities, to further aid with the booking process.
Melissa Topley, Events Manager at Drayton Manor Theme Park and Hotel said: “The new website is a fantastic marketing tool for promoting our conference and event facilities. We wanted to create a modern, concise and easy to use interface that allows prospective visitors to explore what we have on offer for corporate businesses, as a separate entity to the leisure facilities that are so widely recognised.”
Colin Bryan, CEO and Group Managing Director of Drayton Manor Theme Park added: “We have been catering for conferences and events for a number of years now and the new website serves to promote these facilities even further. It’s an exciting addition to the existing websites and ensures that we are competitive in the corporate events market.”
For more information or to book a conference or event, please visit www.draytonmanorevents.co.uk or call 01827 285551.

For regular news and updates, follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/Drayton-Manor-Hotel and Twitter www.twitter.com/DraytonManHotel or www.twitter.com/DraytonMEvents.

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Staffordshire Tourism Awards 2014

Staffordshire’s best tourism businesses are being given the chance to win one of fifteen coveted trophies with the launch of this year’s Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards.  The awards recognise the best tourism businesses across individual categories and culminate in an exclusive ceremony to be hosted in October.

The fifteen award categories range from ‘Tourism Experience of the Year’ to ‘Bed & Breakfast of the Year’. Judges of the 2014 awards will be looking for tourism providers who offer the highest standards of welcome, quality of service and customer care.

Following on from the success of last year, Destination Staffordshire are awarding special commendations focused on the valuable contribution Staffordshire restaurateurs and retailers make in supporting the tourism offer.

The Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards are free to enter and are open to any tourism business located within the county. Winners from this year’s awards will be automatically entered into the national Visit England Awards for Excellence 2015. Last year Staffordshire toasted three of its tourism awards winners who were shortlisted by Visit England.

For business looking to enter please visit www.enjoystaffordshire.com/awards2014

All completed submissions received by 5pm on 30th September 2014 will be eligible for consideration.


Town Crier World Tournament

Fradley  2013 008Lichfield’s Town Crier Ken Knowles has been invited to compete in the World Town Criers Invitational Tournament  held in Chester this August.
Ten countries will be represented at the competition sponsored by the Chester Hotels Association.

There will be three rounds of cries, the first is the ’hometown cry’ that gives each crier an opportunity to extol the virtues of their home town
and Ken will be showing off all that Lichfield has to offer!
Round two is sponsored by a legal firm so the cry is ‘Law and Order’. Ken’s cry will be based on fact and will tell of the Lichfield Cells and the punishments thereof.

Round three is sponsored by LandRover and the cry is ‘What I would like to do with my Land Rover….’

The LDTA membership wish Ken the very best of luck flying the flag for Lichfield this summer.

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