25 years of Green Badge Guides

Guides 2015Lichfield Green Badge Guides have been guiding tourists and locals around Lichfield for a quarter of a century.

Lichfield Green Badge Guides are celebrating 25 years of welcoming visitors to Lichfield and introducing the city’s rich history to them.

The group of six guides have a national qualification for local guides, the Green Badge, and a wealth of knowledge to share with visitors on general history tours, as well as information on specialty subjects.

From ghost stories and the Civil War, to Georgian personalities and the city’s gory history, there are lots of tours on offer.

Richard King, Lichfield District Council’s Strategic Director of Democratic, Development and Legal Services, said: “Our Green Badge Guides have been showcasing Lichfield’s delights for 25 years, making sure our rich history comes alive for the thousands of people.

“It’s really important to find out about your local history and heritage, and a walking tour is a great way to fire the imagination and find out more.”

This year’s programme of city walking tours was launched by Lichfield District Council this spring. For the full list, go to www.visitlichfield.co.uk/tours

To book tickets please call Tourist Information on 01543 256611 or call into St Mary’s in the Market Square, which is open 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Saturday.

Tours can be tailor made for groups, simply call Visit Lichfield on 01543 308210 to find out more.

Pictured from left to right:

Ian Clark, Julie Dewhurst, Lynne Ingram, Irene Kemp (recently retired), John lake, Sue Baird and Gill Cooper

 

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Lichfield Cathedral granted £800,000 for lighting and rewiring repairs

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, and today Chancellor George Osborne has announced grants of between £12,000 and £800,000 for essential repairs.

Lichfield will receive £800,000, the largest of the grants, to go towards their next big fundraising development, the lighting and rewiring project. The Cathedral was facing the possibility of closure without the essential work.

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield, says: “Lichfield Cathedral is over 700 years old, and the last time it had to close its doors to the public was during a Civil War siege. The possibility of closure was heart-breaking. Cathedral buildings offer so much to so many – at Lichfield we’re currently running a Citizens’ Parliament to discuss the upcoming election, opening up new parts of the church to visitors via our Tower Tours, and celebrating our fine musical tradition. Without this timely and generous grant, all of this this would have been under threat.”

The wiring of Lichfield Cathedral was last done in the 1950s, and light fittings were last installed in 1976. The majority of these lights still stand in the Cathedral today. The new project will see the wiring brought up-to-date to ensure that it meets modern standards, and the lights will be replaced with new energy-saving fittings which will enhance architectural features as well as provide more flexibility for events. The Cathedral is currently supplied by three electrical intakes, all supplied by different substations. The new system will consist of one single intake and will reduce electrical consumption by over 75%.

 The final round of grants has been made available as part of the £20m First World War Centenary Repairs Fund, which was first announced by the Chancellor in the budget in March 2014.

 Lichfield Cathedral, which recently welcomed back the Herkenrode Glass following a 5-year long £3.7m restoration, will now look to find further funding to complete the lighting and rewiring project, which is expected to begin in the next few months.

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Swap Shop Success

Swap Shop 2015Over 45 tourism businesses came to Lichfield & Tamworth Swap Shop at Drayton Manor Theme Park on Friday 13 March. Organised by the Visit Lichfield team and supported by Destination Tamworth, the event gave tourism businesses a free opportunity to promote what was new this year for their venue or organisation. Attractions in attendance included World Of Wedgwood, Bedworth Civic Hall, Erasmus Darwin House, Chasewater Railway, National Brewery Centre, Samuel Johnson Birthplace and more!

The Visit Lichfield team would like to thank the LDTA members that attended and supported this year’s event and thanks to Drayton Manor Theme Park for once again hosting Swap Shop.

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LDTA Elephant

Elephant Lichfield District Tourism Association has a brand new member.

 Our elephant will be flying the flag for tourism as part of Lichfield Festival’s Baby Elephant Parade. From Friday 3 – Saturday 11 July, visitors will follow the trail of baby elephants across the city, all of which will have been decorated by local community groups schools and businesses.

We have teamed up with Community Art Development Officer Celia Houghton who will ask local children to draw what they think tourists come to Lichfield to see and will then transfer these images on to our elephant in the LDTA colours.

We will be posting updates on the progress of this project over the next few months. For more information about Lichfield Festival please visit www.lichfieldfestival.org

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New Managing Director appointed at Drayton Manor Theme Park

Drayton Manor Theme Park, near Tamworth, Staffordshire, has welcomed a new Managing Director to the helm.

William Bryan, MD, will take over the responsibility from his father Colin, who is stepping up to the role of Chief Executive.

William will now assume the role of Managing Director and take over the day-to-day running of the attraction. He has worked at Drayton Manor for the past 20 years, most recently acting as his father’s deputy after being identified as his successor two years ago.

Colin’s niece Helen Pawley, formerly General Manager, Central Services, and his youngest son George, General Manager, Estates, will both assume the roles of Directors.

Drayton Manor Theme Park has been family-run since its gates first opened on 1st April 1950, by Colin’s parents George Bryan OBE and his wife Vera. Helen and George have over 20 years’ experience within the park and bring a wealth of knowledge of Drayton Manor, the theme park industry, their family ethos and values to their roles.

They will both support the board in setting strategy and identifying opportunities for further business growth.

The park is now entering into its third generation of family management; only one in seven family businesses get to third generation. 

Colin Bryan began his career at the Park at the age of 17 as a chef and worked full-time at Drayton Manor for 48 years.

Colin said: “I have been Managing Director for over 30 years and shall be assuming the role of Chief Executive, where I will be supporting and guiding William; and the rest of the board.  As a family we are all extremely passionate about Drayton Manor Park and the announcement comes at an exciting time for the business as 2015 is not only our 65th anniversary year but we are also opening the brand new multi-million pound Thomas Land expansion.”

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Rachael’s Networking Meeting Notes – Chasewater Innovation Centre

DSCN4523Our recent LDTA Networking Meeting was held on Monday 2nd March, at Chasewater Country Park. Jane Lees, Chasewater Development Officer welcomed members to the meeting and immediately made everyone extremely envious, when we saw the wonderful view Jane sees every day from her office. After enjoying a selection of delicious cakes and a cup of tea or coffee we settled down to hear about the reservoir and park.

The reservoir at Chasewater was created in the eighteenth century as a canal feeder, to regulate water in the Midlands canal network. The 200-year-old dam was drained of water in 2010, for repair and safety improvements, this work was completed in 2012. There was great excitement from local people, as to what would be found once the water had been removed. Excitement soon turned to disappointment when a trumpet and a WWII bomb were discovered but no sunken treasure! In May 2011, Chasewater Country Park and reservoir were transferred from Lichfield District Council to Staffordshire County Council to secure and strengthen the future of this lovely site.

002Thrill seekers can enjoy a wide range of water sports including water skiing, paddle boarding, sailing and water zorbing. For visitors who prefer to stay dry, pathways around the reservoir are perfect for a 3 mile bike ride. A brisk walk, crazy golf, bird watching or a leisurely picnic are other activities to be taken advantage of, whatever the season there is something to suit everyone.

 The environmentally friendly Innovation centre boasts three excellent conference rooms and due to the beautiful surroundings are exceptionally busy. LDTA members were certainly made to feel comfortable in the meeting room allocated for our visit. Artists display their exhibitions and a local school holds their Christmas carol concert in the building. A café and a gift shop can also be found within the visitor centre, so all in all this is a multi- functional facility.

Numerous events are held throughout the year and the team at Chasewater is delighted to host a section of the Ironman triathlon in 2015, consisting of a 1.2 mile swim across the reservoir, beginning at 5am. Gordon Ramsey and Jonathan Ross are two of the more famous participants taking part and with thousands of amateur athletes also joining them; this event will certainly put Chasewater firmly on the map.

Rob Davies, a ranger at the park gave us a brief insight into his varied role and the importance of looking after a site of special scientific interest. The country park provides a home for an abundance of birds and wildlife which require looking after. Rare pond weed, heathland and the lake also need to be maintained. Apart from a trusty band of volunteers, help is obtained from a small herd of cows, who keep the heathland manageable. On quieter days, curious wild deer may wander up to the Innovation Centre and if startled retreat into the water, which is an unusual sight to see.

Chasewater offers a comprehensive programme of countryside events and guided walks and the Easter Wildlife trail on Monday 6th April sounds the perfect opportunity to burn off some calories after eating too many chocolate eggs! While listening to Rob’s talk we were lucky enough to see a selection of photographs taken of the park, which were truly beautiful.

Before LDTA partners took the short walk to the railway, Amanda Bourne spoke about ConnecTing You FindaBiz, the Midlands Premier Business networking organisation. This business community helps businesses reach their full potential to connect, sell and save. Amanda highlighted some of the many benefits of becoming a member which include advice on business law, a loyalty card, countless deals, offers and discounts, promoting your business, networking and a regular newsletter.

If you would like more information about the many advantages of ConnecTing You FindaBiz, please contact Amanda Bourne via email amanda@findabiz.co.uk 

Despite the morning being very windy and cold we eagerly made our way to the railway station, to board our vintage train. As partners waited in the ticket office it was like stepping back in time as all the fixtures and fittings were so authentic. Chasewater Railway is a volunteer run charity; Mark Sealey kindly met our group and acted as our conductor. Mark explained that the winter gala had taken place the previous weekend and over 200 visitors had come along to the railway, breaking all previous gate records.

Our journey took us over the last remaining sections of the historic Cannock Chase Colliery lines and throughout last year there were over 65,000 passengers who travelled on the 2 mile line, it was lovely for us to see the park from a different perspective. The railway is home to a collection of steam and diesel locomotives plus vintage carriages. A museum, shops and a model railway all add to the Chasewater Railway experience.

After leaving the train we were fortunate to view the Tea Room at Brownhills West Station which has received a vintage themed refurbishment with a real coal fire to keep visitors cosy on a cold day. Another café is located at Chasewater Heaths station.

 If you would like further information about Chasewater or the Railway, call into Lichfield Tourist Information Centre for a leaflet or visit www.enjoychasewater.co.uk for the park and www.ChasewaterRailway.org for the railway.

Thank you once again to F M & J Wait for providing transport for members to travel to the venue and to Angela and Paul for organising the car and driving us safely.

This was the first networking meeting for two LDTA members, Scott Hollingsworth representing Lichfield Arts and Kim Wilkins from Cruck House; we hope Scott and Kim will be able to join us at our next event.

Our next LDTA meeting will be at:

Arthur Price Factory Shop, Britannia Way, Lichfield WS14 9UY

On

Wednesday 13th May 2015 at 2pm.

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Duke of Gloucester celebrates Lady Chapel with Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield CDuke of Gloucester & Dean Adrian - 10 Marchathedral celebrated in style this week as it reached the end of a £3.7m project to restore the East End of the building, the Cathedral’s Lady Chapel.

Over 700 guests descended onto the Cathedral on Tuesday (10th March) to attend a special service of thanksgiving and rededication, in the presence of HRH The Duke of Gloucester, who has supported the project since its launch in 2008.  The service was an uplifting event which brought together everybody who has helped to fund the project, and everyone who worked hard to restore the chapel. The service ended with HRH meeting those most closely associated with the repair of the chapel and the conservation of the glass, and signing the Cathedral’s Official Visitors Book. Isabella Holder and Ranulf Prentis, pupils of Lichfield Cathedral School, presented HRH with a gift, a collage of images taken from the Herkenrode Glass.

A significant part of this work has been the removal, conservation and re-installation of the famous Herkenrode Glass. The glass is considered to be one of Europe’s greatest artistic treasures, and was installed in Lichfield in 1803 when it was rescued from destruction during the Napoleonic Wars. Having withstood centuries of weather and pollution, emergency action was needed to rescue it once again and the race began to save the Lady Chapel and its priceless Renaissance glass. The glass was removed in 2010 and taken to Barley Studio where the five-year renovation project commenced.

The whole project comprised renewing and repairing stonework in the South and North Choir aisles, replacing some of  the external stonework of the Lady Chapel, removing the Herkenrode glass to safe storage, installing clear isothermal glazing, the conservation and re-installation of  the glass, the renewal of fabrics including kneelers, cushions, hangings, and the altar frontal. All this has been funded thanks to the generosity of donors: trusts, foundations and individuals.

 The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield, says: “It was a very fitting celebration marking the end of a significant chapter in Cathedral history. It provided an opportunity to bring together many people who’ve had an interest in the repair of the Lady Chapel, and many who’ve been generous contributors. It won’t be a day a quickly forget.”

 

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Bird Street car park temporary closures

Lichfield city centre car park is to be closed temporarily for maintenance work.  

The Bird Street car park will be closed for three days from Monday 30 March to Wednesday 1 April, and again for two days from Easter Monday to Tuesday 7 April. The car park is being closed to allow essential resurfacing to take place.

Visitors to the city centre during this time, in particular visitors to Lichfield Cathedral on Easter Monday, are advised to use the many other car parks available in the area, including the new Friary multi storey car park and Lombard Street car park. 

 Councillor Ian Pritchard, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth & Development, said: “Bird Street is a really popular car park and gets lots of wear and tear, so needs to be resurfaced. We’ve tried to time the works so they will have the least disruption for visitors and traders, and whilst we apologise for any inconvenience the works may cause, we are confident it will be worth it in the long-run. We’d like to thank everyone for their patience, and if you are visiting the city whilst the works are taking place, why not try out the new Friary multi-storey car park, which costs just £4 to park for a full day.”

 For more information on all Lichfield city centre car parks visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/parking

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New Library Tour to launch at Lichfield Cathedral

Library ToursLichfield Cathedral is launching a brand new Cathedral Library Tour this spring. The ‘Mirror of the Age’ Tour explores books and manuscripts which mirror the time in which they were written, spanning the 13th to the 18th century.

The tours, which will launch on Wednesday 11 March, will showcase an incredible selection of items including a 13th century Canon Law manuscript, a Geneva Bible from the time of the Reformation, a manuscript containing signatures of Charles I, and an 18th century book about the history and antiquities of Staffordshire.

The Cathedral Library is not usually accessible to the public, is hidden away at the top of a spiral staircase, and houses an incredible selection of historic literary treasures.

Previous library tour visitors have said of the tours, “Fascinating glimpse of a real treasure house”, “Thank you so much for searching out the books for us to view. Fascinating and very precious” and “Fascinating tour and talk.”

Library Manager, Clare Townsend says: “We’re thrilled to be offering this brand new tour of the library. It gives people the opportunity to view some of our most valued library treasures! Past feedback has always been extremely positive, and we’re hoping we’ll have another successful year with the ‘Mirror of the Age’ tour.

Tickets are priced at £18 per person, and include a free tea or coffee at Chapters, The Café in The Close, and a 10% discount on purchases within the Cathedral Shop on the day of the tour.  Tickets are available at the Cathedral Shop at No.9. Library tour numbers are limited, therefore early booking is advised.

 

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Lichfield Visitor Guide and What’s On launched at Lichfield Cathedral

guide launchLichfield District Council has launched its new visitor guide for 2015 to help boost tourism numbers to the area.

Tourism providers and representatives from across the district assembled at Lichfield Cathedral on Friday 27 February to celebrate the formal launch of the new Visit Lichfield guide.

Produced by Lichfield District Council’s tourism team, the aim of the guide is to encourage more visitors to the district, by highlighting city and district attractions, events, tours, shops, eateries, visitor accommodation and much more.

The event was also a chance to unveil the council’s spring and summer What’s On brochure, which lists events taking place across the district from March through to August 2015.

At the launch, guests were welcomed by Councillor Ian Pritchard, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth & Development, who talked about the importance of tourism for Lichfield District.

Guests also heard from The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, who made a short presentation on the progress of Lichfield Cathedral’s East End Project to restore the Herkenrode stained glass windows.

Colin Bryan, CEO of Drayton Manor Theme Park, also spoke about the 65th anniversary of the theme park and the expansion of Thomas Land, which is set to be unveiled this Easter.

Councillor David Smith, Chairman of Lichfield District Council, said: “The Visitor Guide showcases how much there is to see and do across the district. It is full of beautiful pictures and interesting information and helps us along with our tourism partners to encourage more visitors to the district each year.”

Over 60,000 copies of the visitor guide have already been distributed nationwide to tourism providers. The What’s On brochures have been sent to local homes and both publications are available from Tourist Information at St Mary’s in the Market Square or can be accessed online at www.visitlichfield.co.uk/download

“The Visit Lichfield 2015 and the What’s On guides are valuable resources for local people as they are packed with exciting and interesting things to do, right on their doorstep,” continued Cllr Smith.

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