Happy Birthday and Congratulations to Comfortin’ Food

Sue at Comfortin Food

Sue at Comfortin Food

Comfortin’ Food celebrated its 9th birthday on the 6th October 2015 and at the same time had its Environmental Hygiene Inspection and retained its level 5 award for the 3rd time.

Congratulations to the team from all at Visit Lichfield – what a fantastic achievement.

Sue of Comfortin’ Food commented: “We are looking forward to many more years of homemade food and cakes! Come along and we’d love to serve you!”

Visit the Visit Lichfield website to find out more about Comfortin’ Food and its great special offer ‘any bowl of homemade soup with a cheese toastie for only £3.95′ which runs until 31 December 2015.

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The Cheese & Ale Barn to win ‘Cheesemonger of the Year’ in the Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2016

Local Cheesemonger The Cheese & Ale Barn from Middleton, Tamworth are entered into the Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2016, with founding partner Olives Et Al, to recognise excellence in independent speciality retailers and need your help to win!

The Awards recognise the very best standards in specialist retail and to celebrate the highest levels of service, product knowledge, initiative, innovation and community involvement. The aim is to highlight our highly driven and passionate local businesses like The Cheese & Ale Barn , to generate the coverage they deserve. Winning this Award would help build them as a destination, putting them on the map both regionally and nationally and in turn, bringing interest to Middleton, Tamworth.

Nigel Barden, chair of judges and BBC Radio 2 Gastronome commented: “There are some very focused, driven and talented food retailers in Britain, who deserve to be nourished and encouraged. It’s marvellous that these awards can bring them to much wider attention. The 2015 Awards revealed some truly brilliant winners, many of whom source produce locally and it’s marvellous to see that there’s a good spread of outstanding retailers in both urban and rural settings. The British food and drink offer has never been better, as richly illustrated by the Farm Shop & Deli Awards.”

Louise Sharpe, Owner at local Cheesemonger The Cheese & Ale Barn said “We want to offer our customers true British produce by people who are as passionate about what they do as we are. Offering them 1-2-1 customer service, I want our customers to know how important they are to us and seeing the smile on their faces when we deliver that interesting and unique experiance.

The Awards recognise excellence within the specialist retail market, focusing on independent speciality retailers who sell regional fresh/farm produce or have a delicatessen counter offering twelve categories to enter under and win including Cheesemonger of the Year.

Entrants will also have the opportunity to win as a Regional Winner. The Regional Winners will progress through to have the opportunity to win the overall coveted title of ‘Farm Shop & Deli Awards Retailer of the Year’ announced at the Farm Shop & Deli Show, Tuesday 19th April 2016 at Birmingham’s NEC.

Vote online at: http://www.farmshopanddelishow.co.uk/entry/the-cheese-ale-barn or visit The Cheese & Ale Barn at Unit 11 Middleton Hall Courtyard, Middleton, Tamworth, The Cheese & Ale Barn to pick up a voting form. Voting closes on Saturday 31st October 2015.

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Congratulations to our own Town Crier – World Champion!!!

World Town Crier Competition 2015

World Town Crier Competition 2015

Ken Knowles, Lichfield’s well loved Town Crier, attended the World Town Crier Competition in Central Otago, New Zealand and came out on top this month!

Huge congratulations to Ken – you have made Lichfield very proud! You bring such spirit, fun and presence to all of our events, and we’re so delighted that the world has recognised your particular skills! Oyez, oyez, oyez!

The results were:

  • 1st place Town Crier – Ken Knowles (Lichfield England)
  • 2nd place Town Crier – Jerry Praver
  • 3rd place Town Crier – Daniel Richer Dit Laflêche (Canada)
  • Best dressed Town Crier – Daniel Richer dit Laflêche (Canada) 
  • Best dressed escort – Peter Campbell (Australia)
  • Best dressed couple – The Campbells (Australia)
  • Media Prize – Bev and Jerry Praver (USA)
  • Best Ambassador – Dave McKee (Canada) 

This is all the info we have at the moment, but we’ll post more news when Ken returns with all the information!

Congrats again to Ken from all the team at Visit Lichfield!

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Lichfield Cathedral appoints new Operations Director

Simon Warburton

Simon Warburton

Lichfield Cathedral will welcome a new Operations Director, Simon Warburton, later this month.

Simon joins the Cathedral with a wealth of experience having spent four years working at Chester Cathedral. Originally employed as a Development and Fundraising Manager, Simon was promoted to Development Director within a year, and following a restructure, Director of Operations. Simon will leave Chester in a very positive position, with increased number of those attending services and special events, a robust commercial offer in the enterprise operation, a comprehensive events programme and a rejuvenated estate.

In his new role, Simon will oversee the Cathedral’s enterprises including Chapters, the Café in The Close; the Shop at No.9; and commercial events.

Simon says: “Whilst I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Chester, I felt that a new challenge was calling. When the opportunity to work at Lichfield came up, I jumped at the chance. Many of the opportunities at Lichfield are the same as Chester; a desire to grow and provide first class services, promotion of the Cathedral at the heart of the city acting as a spiritual, social and economic driver; a commercial offer that has the potential for growth; and an opportunity to ensure the estate generates sufficient revenue to allow us to secure the majesty and splendour of the Cathedral for future generations.”

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber adds: “We’re very, very pleased that Simon will be joining us. We’ve been impressed with his capacity for hard work, his Cathedral management experience, his initiative and his friendly and approachable personality.”

Simon will join the team on Monday 26th October.

For further information please contact Abby Wilson (Marketing Officer) at abby.wilson@lichfield-cathedral.org or on 01543 306121.

About Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Cathedral – a centre of Christian worship for over 1300 years Lichfield Cathedral is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in Britain and the burial place of the great Anglo-Saxon missionary Bishop, St Chad. It has a rich history, which is reflected in its architecture and treasures. It lies seventeen miles north of Birmingham and it is the only medieval Cathedral with three spires. It is the Mother Church of the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield and its symbolic centre. The Cathedral is committed to the daily offering of worship and prayer to God, and of spiritual nourishment to all who come on their own journey of search and discovery.

Cathedral Treasures Lichfield Cathedral is home to the St Chad Gospels and the Lichfield Angel: The St Chad Gospels, an illuminated Anglo Saxon gospel book which dates from about 730 (that is, about 50 years older than the famous Book of Kells). Discovered in 2003 the Lichfield Angel is a remarkable survival of Saxon sculpture. The carved limestone corner-piece, which is dated to around 800 A.D., comprises three separate fragments which are thought to have formed part of a tomb chest, presumably that of St Chad (d.672).

Lighting and Rewiring Project Lichfield Cathedral has been named as one of 31 cathedrals to receive a grant from government-sponsored scheme, the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund. The fund was set up to support vital repairs to some of England’s most important historic buildings. Lichfield will receive £800,000, the largest of the grants, to go towards the next big fundraising development, the lighting and rewiring project. The Cathedral was facing the possibility of closure without the essential work.

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Tamworth needs your vote in British best high streets battle

Tamworth town centre has won national praise after being shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious Great British High Street competition.

The town is one of 21 finalists selected from a record 230 entrants this year in recognition of the investment and regeneration taking place in an effort to revitalise the high street and promote the area.

Tamworth has been revealed as one of three finalists in the ‘town centre’ category of the Department for Communities and Local Government contest and will now battle it out against Rotherham and Altrincham for the top title.

But to be crowned champion, Tamworth needs your votes. While 50 per cent of the final decision is based on a written application, the other 50 per cent is made up of public votes, alongside a visit to the town by expert judges.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Economy, Cllr Steve Claymore, said: “This is fantastic news for Tamworth. The fact that we have been shortlisted from such a high number of entries is already an amazing achievement and testament to the work that has been undertaken by Tamworth Borough Council and the Town Team Destination Tamworth to revitalise the town centre.

“We now really need everyone to get behind this campaign; to spread the word about the town’s great attributes and attractions and, more importantly, visit the website at www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk to cast their votes.

“Another important element of the competition is creating a buzz on social media, so we need the support of everyone who visits, lives or works in Tamworth. Please share your positive experiences of the town on social media using the #GBHighSt.

“This is something we can take on as a community by pulling out all the stops to impress the judges. We would urge all businesses to help promote the contest by displaying posters and encouraging customers to cast their votes. Winning would really put Tamworth on the map and would be a great boost to trade and tourism, not to mention the fantastic prizes that go along with it.”

If Tamworth wins, the town will get a share of a prize pot worth £80,000, as well as expert training and tailor-made tips from Google’s training taskforce – the Digital Garage on Tour – for 100 of its shops, bars and restaurants.

High Streets Minister Marcus Jones said: “We had a record amount of high-quality entries to this year’s competition – testament to the pride local people have and brilliant work being done to boost Britain’s high streets.

“The local high street is the life and soul of many towns, village and cities across the country and these awards are a great opportunity to not only celebrate those that are the best of the best, but also to help others learn their valuable tips for success. “If you cherish the hard work going on in Tamworth then show your support and get voting.”

Tamworth’s entry to the awards was based on initiatives such as the £5.5million Creative Quarter development, the Gateways Project to improve links between the town centre and Ventura Park, the I Am Tamworth initiative and an impressive programme of outdoor events.

Voting is now open to the public and continues until mid November. In the meantime Tamworth will be inspected by the Future High Streets Forum judging panel – made up of industry leaders from across retail property and business. Posters will be made available soon for businesses and shops to display in their windows.

The Great British High Streets Competition is sponsored by Boots, Costa, Post Office, Marks and Spencer and Tesco and is now in its second year. A total of 135 communities entered last year with Belper in Derbyshire being crowned as the overall winner, resulting in boosted town pride and increased footfall.

This year’s competition also includes special recognition prizes for towns that have become ‘rising stars’ and local people who have made an invaluable personal contribution to their high streets.

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Epic War of the Worlds fireworks spectacular comes to Drayton Manor Theme Park

Drayton Manor Theme Park Fireworks - landscape - Rob Price Photography (Tamworth) - smallDrayton Manor Theme Park is set to close its 65th anniversary season with not one, but a trio of ‘out of this world’ firework spectacular events that are taking place on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st October, and on Sunday 1st November.

The Staffordshire based attraction hosts an annual fireworks finale; but this year is set to be bigger and better than ever with the introduction of a War of the Worlds theme to really get visitors’ spines tingling over the three nights.

Once the sun has gone down, families will head to the lake where guests will be dazzled by a breathtaking War of the Worlds fireworks display. Set to the critically acclaimed soundtrack, and with a fantastic, colourful array of explosive lights, this is set to be Drayton Manor’s most stunning yet.

For the younger visitors, there is the newly expanded Thomas Land™, home to over 25 rides and attractions based on the ever popular Thomas & Friends™ series, where families can enjoy a day out before heading to the main event.

The fireworks begin at 7pm (last admission is 6pm), and a whole host of rides will remain open until 9pm, so the thrills can continue into the evening. Europe’s only stand-up rollercoaster, Shockwave, the drop-tower Apocalypse, and Air Race, which takes riders on an aerial adventure, will be amongst those open until late.

Colin Bryan, CEO of Drayton Manor Theme Park, said; “The 2015 season is such a huge landmark for us as we celebrate our 65th anniversary, so we are determined to close it out in style.

“We’ve commissioned the help of industry expert, Fantastic Fireworks, which was actually the winner of the 2015 British Fireworks Championship so coupling this expertise with the hardworking team we have here at the park, will ensure this is the best fireworks spectacular yet.

“We hope as many of you as possible can come and join us to say goodbye to another fun filled season!”

For further information about Drayton Manor Theme Park visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk or call 0844 472 1950*. For regular updates and news about Drayton Manor Theme Park follow it on Twitter www.twitter.com/Draytonmanor and Facebook www.facebook.com/Draytonmanorpark

For families that would like to prolong the fun and make a night of it, the on-site Drayton Manor Hotel, which is home to over 150 contemporary rooms, is offering a range of stay and play packages. For more information, or to book now, please visit www.draytonmanorhotel.co.uk

*Calls to 0844 472 1950 are charged at 7 pence per minute service charge, for the access charge please refer to your phone provider.

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Lichfield Heritage Weekend success

The city centre was packed with people who explored interesting buildings and enjoyed a range of entertainment at this year’s Lichfield Heritage Weekend.

Attractions across Lichfield City threw open their doors as part Lichfield Heritage Weekend, which took place on 20 and 21 September. The theme was ‘Making History’, which was an opportunity to celebrate Lichfield’s creative past and present.

Heritage venues that took part included The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, Erasmus Darwin House, St John’s Hospital, St Mary’s in the Market Square and Lichfield Cathedral.

Also open were the 17th century Dr Milley’s Hospital on Beacon Street, Lichfield Record Office, Lichfield Library, Cruck House, Wade Street Church and the City Cells in the Guildhall, where visitors could meet characters dressed as police officers through the ages.

Samuel Johnson’s 306th birthday celebrations took place in the Market Square on Saturday. A wreath was placed on the statue and birthday cake was enjoyed by many.

The Market Square featured free activities and entertainment on Saturday, including free face painting and trails, a craft tent where children could make a mini well dressing, a performance by Intimate Theatre, a Mini Town Crier Competition and music from the City of Lichfield Concert Band.

The city council’s Mini Town Crier Competition was won by seven-year-old Freya Watson.

A range of guided tours also took place over the weekend, including two led by Green Badge Guides on the theme of the origin of the city and Dr Samuel Johnson, which were both fully booked. Lichfield Waterways Trust also ran a number of popular tours.

On Sunday Beacon Park ran a workshop, inviting visitors to create their own family seal and turn their paper designs into clay plaques.

Councillor Helen Fisher, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism & Communications, said:

“Lichfield was packed over the weekend with people enjoying the many activities on offer. Thank you to all the heritage attractions that were involved in making it such a success, opening up your fascinating buildings and being a part of this annual event.”


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Lichfield Heritage Weekend – 19 & 20 September

Ken Knowles, Marilyn Masters, Emily Robinson and Jonathan OatesLichfield Heritage Weekend is set to delight history lovers of all ages. This year’s theme is ‘Making History’, with activities celebrating Lichfield’s creative past and present. Heritage venues will throw open their doors for free over the weekend, including St John’s Hospital, the City Cells, The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, St Mary’s in the Market Square, Lichfield Cathedral and Erasmus Darwin House. At St Mary’s in the Market Square costumed historical characters will give talks with the aid of hands-on artefacts. A children’s craft activity using quill pens will also be available. The historic church is also hosting the fascinating 200 Years of the Lichfield Mercury exhibition as well as a collection of Lichfield Waterworks Trust’s photographs and posters. Over at Erasmus Darwin House there will be children’s activities for £1 each, including making a flying bird, designing a racing carriage and following the Lunar Inventor’s trail. The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum will also be offering hands-on activities such as bookbinding, trails and displays. Samuel Johnson’s 306th birthday celebrations will take place in the Market Square on Saturday at 12noon. A wreath will be placed on the statue and birthday cake will be given away (while stocks last). The Market Square will also offer plenty of free activities and entertainment on Saturday, including free face painting and trails, a craft tent where children can make their own mini well dressing, a performance by Intimate Theatre, a Mini Town Crier Competition and music from the City of Lichfield Concert Band. On Saturday Cruck House will open from 11am to 3pm when Friends2Friends history and drama groups will tell the tale of the historic house over the years. Saturday will also see activities running at Lichfield Library and the Record Office, and the 17 century Dr Milley’s Hospital on Beacon Street will open for tours between 10am and 4pm. A number of guided tours are being offered on Saturday, including Green Badge Guided Tours. The Routes and Roots of Lichfield will set off at 11am and will give people an insight into the origins of the city. The Boobies and Blockheads tour at 2pm will give tour goers and insight into Lichfield’s most famous son, Samuel Johnson. These tours are free but must be booked in advance by calling Tourist Information on 01543 256611 or by emailing info@visitlichfield.com Lichfield Waterway Trust is also offering a series of Saturday walks at 10.30am from Speakers’ Corner, 12.30pm from St Mary’s in the Market Square, and at 2.30pm at the Beacon Street/Anson Avenue junction. All three walks are free and do not need to be booked. At Beacon Park on Sunday everyone’s invited to find out about Martyrs’ Plaque, the city’s historic seal, and to create their own family seal and turn their paper designs into clay plaques. Councillor Helen Fisher, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism & Communications, said: Every year more and more people join us to celebrate Lichfield’s rich history, and to enjoy visiting attractions and getting a glimpse of the city’s treasures. Many of the venues are running special events, tours and exhibitions over the two days, so make sure you join us for Lichfield Heritage Weekend on 19 and 20 September. A full programme is available from Tourist Information at St Mary’s in the Market Square and from heritage venues across the city. For more information, please visit www.visitlichfield.co.uk/heritageweekend or contact 01543 256611 or email info@visitlichfield.com.

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Lichfield Cathedral’s concern and help for Syrian refugees

Lichfield Cathedral welcomed over one hundred and fifty people to a meeting last night (Wednesday 16 September) to discuss Lichfield’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield and Chairman of the Association of English Cathedrals, hosted the meeting. The aim was to galvanise public opinion, encourage authorities to take action, and discuss how we can move forward.

The Dean of Lichfield opened with a description of the current humanitarian crisis, before reading a statement from his son John Dorber, who works for the European Council on Refugees and Exiles. John described the situation, whereby 4.5million Syrians have had to flee their homes due to war and terrorism, as ‘grim': “I thought the desperation was all-too-clear when the column of refugees, blocked from taking trains to leave Hungary, decided to try and march to Vienna. There were people on crutches, old women, young children, and people in wheelchairs.”

In attendance at the meeting were Phil Davis from Refugee Action, an independent charity that supports refugees and asylum seekers; Colin Greatorex from Lichfield District Council; Garry Jones and Sandra Payne from Support Staffordshire; Wayne Mortiboys from Staffordshire County Council; and Helen Minchin from Bromford.

Phil Davis stated that there are millions of Syrians in refugee camps, and we must look to find a suitable long term solution. Phil commented: “Returning the refugees to Syria is not an option, as the country is neither safe nor liveable. Local integration would be the next preferable option, however countries near Syria are struggling to find the space to accommodate those fleeing from their homes. The final option is resettlement.” 

Phil went on to offer advice on how people can help, encouraging the group to support charities such as the St Chad Sanctuary in Birmingham, Refugee Action, British Red Cross and Christian Aid. He added: “We need to tell our local MPs and David Cameron that we can do more. Accepting 20,000 refugees over 5 years is a great start, but there’s more we can do.”

Councillor Colin Greatorex of Lichfield District Council spoke about the contingency planning being undertaken by local authorities and how they would seek to address the resettlement of refugees.

Wayne Mortiboys said there are three main touch points that Staffordshire County Council were working on. These are children’s services, education, and public health, and the council are prepared to work with Syrian families to understand their needs, and settle them into the county. 

Those attending the meeting were invited to share their thoughts and ideas on how we can help, with many agreeing that offers of accommodation in private housing is an option we should explore. Other suggestions included writing to MPs, practising hospitality and providing friendship and mentoring when welcoming refugees, and raising awareness to change public opinion.

Brian Carruthers, Managing Director at Tempest Ford, commented: “It would be great if we could gather knowledge about the skills of the refugees. These people who are being forced out of their homes are nurses, dental assistants – people who, once settled, will be self-sufficient. People who can add value to both the city and the county.”

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber suggested five ways in which people can help: think seriously about offering accommodation in private housing; partner with charities, councils and other organisations to understand the problem and be part of its solution; push the politicians and encourage more far-reaching action at National and European level; give generously to charities who are working hard to support the refugees; and pray.

One member of the public also suggested setting up a ‘wish list’, akin to a wedding list, whereby members of the public could purchase or donate items for a new home for a Syrian family, should any families be relocated locally.

It was announced in the meeting that the Dean and Chapter will provide a home for a family of refugees should they be relocated in Lichfield.

The Dean commented: “We will gladly help by any means available to us. If every church in Europe could offer a home, just imagine the good we could do. Pope Francis gas urged every Catholic parish in Europe to provide a home for a refugee family. He has given the whole Church an exemplary lead on this crisis, and we should follow him. We will be gathering as much information and as many resources as possible, and this will be made available on the Cathedral website (lichfield-cathedral.org) for all to access.”

We hope to gather people again to provide further briefing and news on progress.


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Job opportunity Tourism Development Supervisor – Maternity Cover

Please forward the link below/ share with anyone you think may be interested in the post (up to 12 months).
The closing date is 2 October. For queries or more information you can also contact Lizzie Thatcher, Tourism and Communications Mnager on 01543 308781 Elizabeth.thatcher@lichfielddc.gov.uk

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