Lichfield Micro Pub The Whippet wins pub of the year award

whippettoutsideLichfield newest pub just one year old ‘The Whippet’ has won the best pub for 2015 awarded by the Tamworth, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield branch of Camra.

In that short time it has served over 482 Real Ales from 146 Breweries plus 103 ciders and has rapidly become a popular watering hole for not just locals but the many visitors who have heard of its reputation.

Secretary of the Camra branch Adam Randall said “Lichfield has many fine pubs but The Whippet had brought a extra dimension to the city with its fine diverse choice of quality ales and ciders.”

Local couple Paul Hudson and Debbie Henderson who run The Whippet were delighted and surprised to gain the award and thanked their loyal customers for support over the year.

 

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New sculpture and trail launch

TWO “significant” new visual art projects for Lichfield launched in the city this week.

The St Chad Statue Project and the Lichfield City Sculpture Trail were unveiled at Lichfield Cathedral on Tuesday (April 21).

Crowds of schoolchildren were among those gathering inside the cathedral for the launch, which saw local artist Peter Walker, founder of The City of Sculpture, introduce the schemes.

The Lichfield City Sculpture Trail, as part of the City of Sculpture Project, is the first such trail for Lichfield, designed and developed to highlight the city’s many artistic treasures and to help people see the place through artists’ eyes.

The City of Sculpture Project started in 2005 after discussion between Mr Walker and composer David Harper to create new work, exhibitions and events in the city.

Having grown up in the area with “limited access” to visual arts yet going on to develop artistic work nationally and internationally, the project was developed to bring something back to an area they cherish.

The first part of a multi-layered visual arts initiative, the sculpture trail aims to increase participation, access and understanding of visual arts.

Artworks on the trail include the Sleeping Children within Lichfield Cathedral, the statue of Captain Smith in Beacon Park’s Museum Gardens, the Dr Johnson Mosaic on Bird Street, the Reading Girl on St John’s Road, the Samuel Johnson Monument in the Market Square and the Formation of Poetry sculpture on Tamworth Road.

The trail can be completed in approximately two hours, or visitors can choose to explore smaller sections of the city.

It can also be completed using smartphones and tablets.

“It is about making an opportunity for people to have a wider access to the arts and Lichfield is the perfect environment to do that,” Mr Walker told the Mercury.

In addition to the sculpture trail, the cathedral also celebrated the launch of the St Chad Statue project.

Mr Walker has been commissioned to design and create this major new artwork, which will take the form of a three metre tall bronze representation of St Chad.

The launch gave visitors an opportunity to see a model of the statue, as well as a series of design sketches.

The statue will become a striking new feature in the grounds of the cathedral in the next two years.

Mr Walker, who will also be working with the cathedral over the coming years as resident artist, plans to incorporate the public as much as possible as the statue is developed.

“As an artist working on such a prestigious project in the area I come from, it is a great honour personally,” he added.

“But the key is to involve the community as much as possible.

“The point of public art for me is in the title – it’s public.”

Numerous events, including workshops about St Chad, are planned to take place as the statue progresses.

Go online to www.thecityofsculpture.co.uk

 

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Festival Elephant Update

IMG_2931The latest images have been sent to us from Community Arts Development Officer Celia Houghton and the Henhouse Children’s Arts School, who have been making progress with the decoration of our elephant.

The LDTA 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.

IMG_2927 40The children have chosen  to use the colours from our Logo – yellow and blue – and have transferred drawings of Lichfield’s tourism ‘hot spots’ to paint in their workshops.

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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School to offer free CPR training

Local people are invited to learn vital lifesaving skills at free CPR training sessions taking place at Lichfield Cathedral School in April and May.

Justin Gardiner, a teacher at Lichfield Cathedral School is hosting the sessions alongside volunteers from the school’s Sixth Form.  Mr Gardiner said, “The British Heart Foundation kindly gave the school a training kit which has been used to deliver CPR training to students and staff.  We would like to offer local people the opportunity to also use this beneficial resource to become skilled in CPR techniques and have the confidence to employ these skills in an emergency.”

 During the hour-long session, you will have the opportunity to:
Acquire lifesaving skills, Use the British Heart Foundation’s Training Kit, Watch and Educational DVD, Practise CPR on manikins, Understand how and when to perform CPR

 Sessions take place on the following Wednesdays: 29 April, 6 May and 13 May 2015 from 4.30pm-5.30pm. You only need to attend one session. Tea/coffee and biscuits will be provided. Places are limited and must be booked in advance.
Contact Amanda Holtham at Lichfield Cathedral School on 01543 306014 to reserve your FREE place.

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Thousands check-in for take-off as Drayton Manor Theme Park launches its latest addition

mas%20Land%20Expansion%20at%20Drayton%20Manor%20Theme%20Park%20-%20From%20left%20is%20Maxwell%20Booker%204%20and%20Maisie%20Booker%208%20from%20Long%20Eaton[1]Fans of the little blue engine and his friends visited Drayton Manor Theme Park on Wednesday 8 April for the highly anticipated launch of the £2.5 million expansion to its Thomas Land™ attraction.

It was hats off as the Fat Controller officially unveiled the extension to the attraction and the crowds in Sodor were delighted when a host of familiar faces, including Percy, James, Rosie and of course the star of the show, Thomas himself chugged into Knapford Station to join in the celebrations.

Europe’s only Thomas Land™ has increased in size by 40% and is now home to a host of exciting new rides as well as the main attraction, Sodor Airport, which is set to be a soaring success. The airport complex includes balconies that offer ‘jet-setters’ unrivalled views over Thomas Land™ and beyond, with the Thomas & Friends themed event rooms, which will be opening in Summer 2015 and it’s very own Sodor Coffee Shop.

Excited visitors couldn’t wait to climb aboard, fasten their seatbelts and prepare for take-off as they became the first to experience the three brand new rides – Captain’s Sea Adventure, Flynn’s Fire & Rescue and Toby’s Tram Express.

Jeremy Jet’s Flying Academy retained its popularity in its new location outside the Sodor Airport complex and Merrick the Crane, a new addition to the Blue Mountain Engines, was also a big hit.

The newly improved attraction is now 3,200 square metres bigger, allowing visitors to move around more freely and rider capacity has surged by 23% to a whopping 5,130 people per hour.

Mum-of-two Hayley Draper, from Leicestershire, said: “The expansion is fantastic. We’re big fans of Thomas Land™ and have been several times before. You can really notice the difference it’s so much more spacious. The children absolutely loved the new rides and the airport is so exciting. There’s so much more to see and do, we can’t wait to come back!”

Thomas Land™ captures all the adventures of Thomas & Friends™ and the magical island of Sodor. In addition to the new rides and café is an impressive fountain of the Fat Controller and four Victorian fairground games, plus a bandstand for live performances.

Colin Bryan, CEO of Drayton Manor Theme Park, said: “Since its launch in 2008, Thomas Land™ has been hugely popular, attracting guests young and young at heart from all over Europe.

“It is due to this popularity that we made the decision to expand the attraction and accommodate the increasing visitor numbers, which have surged year-on-year. We hope that this investment will delight visitors, offering even more Thomas & Friends™ themed fun. The atmosphere here today has been fantastic and we are all really excited about the season ahead.”

Drayton Manor Theme Park’s 2015 main season runs every day until Sunday 1st November. Its 65th anniversary Firework Spectacular weekend will take place on the 31st October and 1st November and the established Drayton’s Magical Christmas event on selected dates from 21st November until 31st December 2015.

lease note: the park will be closed to the general public on Sunday 13th September and on selected dates in September and October.  Please see www.draytonmanor.co.uk for full dates and times.

For more information about the park, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk. For regular updates and news about Drayton Manor Theme Park follow it on Twitter www.twitter.com/Draytonmanor and Facebook www.facebook.com/DraytonManorPark

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Colton House is a double finalist in the 2015 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence

059smallerColton House is a double finalist in the 2015 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence

Colton House has been named as a finalist in the Bed & Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year  and also The Sustainable Tourism category of the prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2015.

As a finalist Colton House  now goes forward to the glittering Awards Ceremony which is being held on Monday 11th  May 2015 at the Sage Gateshead. The Awards will take place in the North East for the first time, coinciding with an exciting year that also sees Rugby World Cup 2015 coming to Newcastle.

The VisitEngland Awards attracted a total of 345 applications. Colton House will have to wait until the Awards Ceremony to find out which award they will receive.  All finalists are guaranteed to receive either a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Highly Commended Award.

James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland said: “It’s been another successful year for our Excellence Awards as we’ve received hundreds of applications of an extremely high standard. That’s why all the finalists should be incredibly proud that they’ve been short-listed against such tough competition. I’d like to congratulate all the finalists who now represent the top five in their category in England and wish them all the very best of luck on Awards night at the Sage Centre in Gateshead – a spectacular venue to celebrate the industry’s best.”

With the additional comment that to find Colton House on the shortlist in two categories is a major achievement.

Speaking on behalf of Colton House Ron Lawrence said “I’m delighted that the way we live our lives, run our business, work with the community, use local business and push the boundaries of sustainability, has been recognised by Visit England”.

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Music, Dance, Theatre, Authors … And Baby Elephants … All Coming To Lichfield Festival This Summer

Lichfield Festival elephants 20153-12 July 2015  – General booking opens Tuesday 21 April

Pack your trunks, the baby elephants are coming to town! Tickets for the 2015 Lichfield Festival go on sale on Tuesday 21 April and this year it’s bigger and brighter than ever.  With over 70 different events in ten days from 3-12 July, Lichfield is one of Britain’s most eclectic multi-arts festivals bringing together world-class national and international performers to the city’s venues.  This year’s festival offers something for all ages and tastes, from orchestral music to literature, theatre to film, comedy, visual art, walks and a host of events for all the family including the not-to-be-missed baby elephant parade.

Artists visiting the beautiful Staffordshire city include comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Mark Watson, authors Michael Morpurgo, Wendy Cope and Bill Oddie, folk songstress Eliza Carthy, and the BBC Big Band.  The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Ex Cathedra give premieres of works by composer-in-residence David Matthews.  The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performs Vivaldi’s ever-popularThe Four Seasons and Julian Lloyd Webber recounts stories from his fascinating career, joined by his wife, cellist Jiaxin Lloyd Webber. The Festival opens in the Cathedral on Friday 3 July with a specially-commissioned adaptation of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute performed by piano duo Anthony Kraus and Ian Ryan and an international cast of soloists.

Performances by artist-in-residence the Sacconi Quartet include a collaboration with Bellowhead’s Jon Boden and an exciting project involving Beethoven, interactive lighting and robotic hearts.  There’s a UK premiere of Tango Stories for accordion and dancers with Ksenija Sidorova and Kirill Burlov, a visit from jazz pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock and special guests, and a series of young artist recitals.  Theatre performances include Twelfth Night with The Malachites theatre company, a one-woman show about Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway entitled The Second Best Bed, and Lipservice Theatre’s comic The Picture of Doreen Gray.  Alex Boyd’s photographic exhibition Sonnets runs throughout the Festival at the Cathedral.

Following the huge success of the Pig Parade in 2011, Lichfield’s historic streets will again by filled with painted animals – this time elephants.  The baby elephant parade, supported by Twycross Zoo, takes place on the opening day of the Festival (Friday 3 July) and is led by Indian dance artists Dance Sansaar and members of the Kenyan Masai Warrior Tribe.

Other treats for all the family include a vintage tea party in the beautiful setting of the Cathedral lawn, a chance to see some of Lichfield’s best treasures in City Saturday ‘open house’ event, and a festival finale tea danceSol Cinema – the world’s smallest solar powered cinema with just 8 seats – will show a selection of short films and shorts produced by local students.  And younger visitors will be entertained by storytelling on a train, elephant-related workshops and trails, and Mimika Theatre’s intimate show in a small white dome.

This year also sees the culmination of a three-year Festival community project Hear My Voice in which students from across the West Midlands perform their own compositions and choreography.  The project is part of the Festival’s ASPIRE learning and participation programme which engages 4,000 people throughout the year and includes a Young Composer’s Award to write a song for the Hear My Voice concert, a young critics’ scheme and newly-formed youth board who will create and deliver an event.

Taking the reins for her very first season as Artistic Director, Sonia Stevenson builds on the Festival’s past success which, last year, saw audiences of c40,000 and the highest ticket sales in its 30+ year history.  She says, “This is a wonderful time to be taking over the artistic reins of the Lichfield Festival and putting together this programme has been a great honour and an immense pleasure.  The offering is as eclectic as ever, with an array of internationally-renowned artists across a wide range of genres offering something for everyone in this most beautiful of settings.  We are grateful to our many funders and supporters, particularly our principal partner London-Midland, who have helped enable us to programme such an exciting Festival  and to make the city in July a ‘must visit’ destination.”

Lichfield Festival runs from 3-12 July 2015 and takes place in venues around Lichfield including the Cathedral, Garrick Theatre and local churches. The city is easily accessible with direct services from Birmingham, London and elsewhere via London-Midland.

General booking opens on Tuesday 21 April.  Tickets and information from www.lichfieldfestival.org.  Box Office 01543 412121.

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Calling all Young Actors and Film Makers

Monday April 13 2015

The Lichfield Festival is looking for aspiring film actors and directors to get involved in this year’s Pop-Up Performance project Strangers On A Train.

Young performers aged 11-18 are encouraged to sign up for the free five week programme, working with a director and film maker to write and perform their own short films, based on Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film.  They will have the opportunity to learn performance skills and technical film skills.

The Pop-Up Performances have been engaging young performers in Festival projects since 2013, offering a new challenge each year.  Previous projects have involved physical theatre and Shakespeare plays.  Each project culminates in a performance at the Lichfield Festival in July (3-12).  The final films created this year will be shown to the public in a mobile cinema in Lichfield town centre (see www.lichfieldfestival.org for more details).

Workshop sessions will take place on Thursday from 23rd April after school at Lichfield Library, with filming at Chasewater Railway during May Half Term.

Places are free but limited and participants must be able to make all workshop sessions and the filming day on Tuesday 26 May.

For more information and to book a place contact the Lichfield Festival Office on 01543 306270 or email info@lichfieldfestival.org

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World Host Customer Service Training

The WorldHost™ training programmes are specifically developed to help retail, hospitality, catering, travel, tourism and leisure businesses improve sales through better customer service. All three programmes can be used across a wide variety of industries where the quality of front-line customer service is key to the success of the business. The certified programmes allow employees to gain valuable skills and techniques to be eligible to wear the WorldHost pin badge, which recognises excellence in customer services.

World Host will be delivered at Lichfield Cathedral will consist of the following units:

  • Principles of Customer Service (Full day)
  • Service Across Cultures (Half day)
  • Ambassador Workshop (Half day)

The course takes place over two days and is free for any staff or volunteers of any small/medium-sized company (with less than 250 employees) based in Staffordshire. The dates are as follows:

  • 16 & 17 April
  • 22 & 23 April
  • 6 & 7 May
  • 20 & 21 May

For bookings please contact:

 Daniel Degg

Business Development Associate

Stoke on Trent College

07796 708218 / 01782 603603

daniel.degg@stokecoll.ac.uk

Click on the following links for course details and further information:

World Host – Customer Service Training 

WorldHost Training Programs – Lichfield

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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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