Faulty Towers bring the comedy chaos to Brum

Faulty Towers bring the comedy chaos to Brum

Photos by Phil Tragen

You can be part of the action as Basil, Sybil and Manuel once again serve up mayhem on a plate with two hours of non-stop laughter in Birmingham – n Faulty Towers The Dining Experience.

The city’s Banqueting Suite at Council House, plays host to the night of comedy and cuisine from 23rd October – 3rd November, following two previous sell-out residencies in 2023.

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, Birmingham

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is a highly interactive experience, where audiences enjoy a three-course meal and 5-star comedy. Devised by Alison Pollard-Mansergh, Andrew Foreman and others, the show has been touring the UK and internationally since 2008, having appeared in 43 countries to date, and employing 56 actors per season.

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, Birmingham

The show has toured to over 1,000 venues, with approximately 400 shows per year on average across the UK. A loving tribute to the BBC’s classic TV series, the show has been seen by over a million people worldwide since the very first show at the Ridges Hotel in Brisbane on 24 April 1997.

It is now the longest running immersive production in the UK, the longest running Fawlty Towers production, and the longest running show based on a TV series, in London. It is also the longest-running Fawlty Towers production of ANY KIND running worldwide.

Tickets are now on sale here.

Young ‘Charity Ambassador’ raises more than £1k for local charity

Young ‘Charity Ambassador’ raises more than £1k for local charity

Molly Ollys, Hugo Wright

A kind-hearted Warwick youngster has raised more than £1,000 for local children’s charity Molly Ollys, following a string of his own fundraising initiatives.

As ten-year-old Hugo Wright prepares to move to senior school this year, his primary school has created a new Year Six Charity Ambassador role to continue the legacy of his good work.

Hugo decided to carry on with his fundraising after quickly exceeding his original £210 target – symbolising the number of pupils at Westgate Primary School – with a cake sale in March, going on to further boost the coffers by organising an Adopt A Bear Stall and, last week, a school Dress Down Day.

He collected more than 100 teddies by advertising on social media and cleaned them, sprayed them with a nice scent, named them, gave them a date of birth and printed off labels before selling them for £1 each at a school sale.

Hugo said: “I was really moved while watching Pride of Britain on the TV one night and thought it would be nice if I could do something to help out people as well. I was looking around at local charities and found Molly Ollys and thought it was a good charity and it just went on from there. I’ve enjoyed it and I’m happy that I’ve raised that much money.”

Hugo’s Dad Callum said: “His mum and I are super proud of him. It was so good to see him show so much initiative and compassion. He’s always had this side to him. When he was about four, he spent some time in the children’s ward at Warwick Hospital after bumping his head. While he was there he was complaining how rubbish all the toys were, so, every year after that, he picked a few of his favourite toys and took them in, until Covid came along and they stopped taking gifts.

“This fundraising has genuinely all been off his own back. And he’s worked really hard. People can’t see how much time and effort goes into it. The rest came in donations from supporters, including family, friends and his football team. It just grew and grew.”

Westgate School Heateacher Matthew Watson said: “Hugo is a star and a great role-model for others. He is a very caring boy who is always looking out for others. He has shown dedication and commitment to Molly Ollys and I am sure that this is only the start of his fundraising. Knowing Hugo, there is already another plan in place!”

Molly Ollys was established in 2011 by Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw following the death of their eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

The Warwickshire-based charity works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing. As well as providing wishes, they donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Molly Ollys, Hugo Wright

The therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave who has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 70 hospitals or health centres, along with a set of books from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave series.

Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “I never fail to be humbled by people’s kindness and generosity with their support for our charity. It is particularly striking when it is someone so young. Hugo is very clear that he wants to make a difference and we love all his ingenious fundraising ideas. What a superstar he is. Thank you to Hugo and his friends and family for supporting his initiatives.”

Molly Ollys, Hugo Wright

To donate visit here.

For more information about Molly Ollys or to donate visit here.

ABOUT MOLLY OLLYS:

Throughout the 10 years Molly Ollys has been running, it has raised more than £4 million; granted more than 2,500 wishes; supported more than 16,000 children and distributed more than 13,000 Olly The Brave books to more than 70 hospitals.

The charity works alongside the NHS to support projects within the hospitals and the community. One key project was the creation and refurbishment of Magnolia House at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. This is a safe and non-clinical space where medical teams and families can have important discussions.

Molly Ollys is also responsible for funding the first ever consultant in paediatric palliative medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, in 2018 and, at the end of last year, it further provided funding for two more consultants, doubling the number of existing roles in the region.

 Molly Ollys need the support of companies and individuals to enable us to help more children. We welcome the opportunity to provide more information about our work. Please help us to make those dark days brighter. For details contact Rachel on 07747 854914.

Turning the lens on local photographer thanks to national award

Turning the lens on local photographer thanks to national award

Darren Powell of Everybody Smile Photography.

A Warwick man who walked away from a career in the fitness industry to focus on his dream job as a photographer, is celebrating winning a national award.

Darren Powell gave up his managerial role to become a freelancer after seven years, so he could spend more time at home with his young sons.

And last month he picked up the Business Success Recognition Awards for Freelancer of the Year for his business Everybody Smile Photography during a glittering ceremony celebrating entrepreneurial success.

The Awards, which are in their third year, were hosted by The Eastside Rooms in Birmingham on Saturday, honouring winners – as well as runners up – from across the country.

Following a rigorous selection process, winners were revealed in 16 categories including Business Start-up of the Year; Rising Star; Business Leader; Networker and Network Marketer; Community and Against All Odds.

Everybody Smile Photography, Darren Powell
Darren Powell receives his Freelancer of the Year Award from Stacey Calder. Photo by Cameron Murray Photography.

Darren, who has lived in Warwick all his life, said: “I originally wanted something that would give me more flexible working, and just as importantly to have a job I was totally passionate about.

“Documentary photography was something I had always loved from doing lots of travelling, I had always been passionate about taking photos that would give me lots of memories. So it made sense to follow that path. I much prefer delivering natural photos over staged ones, and this style of photography can be adapted to fit into weddings, families, events and corporate work. In fact more people now want a more natural approach to photography.”

Everybody Smile Photography saw a rise in demand for its Vlog My Wedding video service during lockdown which involved guests in the special day at a time when strict Covid restrictions meant they couldn’t attend in person.

The newest part of the business was launched this year in the form of Darren’s Everybody Smile Photobooths.

Darren, 46, added: “This was added due to the popularity of photobooths but with a poor end product. We have found away to deliver professional standard photography through a bespoke design photobooth.”

Darren Powell, Everybody Smile Photography, awards
Photograph by Cameron Murray Photography.

The judges said: “Darren’s Innovative approach with “Vlog My Wedding,” shows his adaptability and creativity. There are also strong client testimonials highlighting exceptional service and a unique personal touch.

“The business has also shown successful financial growth with consistent high revenue and expansion into new services.

“He’s also demonstrated work-life balance, taking time off while maintaining business success.”

Awards organiser Stacey Calder said: “‘The business success Recognition awards were set up to recognise small businesses doing incredible things. Darren and the other winners stood out amongst very tough competition. With over 500 nominations this year and a high level of entries it’s a win Darren can be proud of.”

But Darren does not intend to rest on his laurels with further expansion of his business in his sights, including a new photographic assistant who he’s currently training. He’s also revealed he’s in the early stages of exciting plans to build a new Wedding Network Community for businesses who operate within this space.

Reacting to his award, Darren said: “I was genuinely surprised when my name was called out because I feel that the Freelancer of the Year is probably the toughest category because everyone attending is a freelancer and there were some incredibly talented people there. I genuinely felt honoured that the judges saw me as the person worthy of this award.”

First community boxing event and awards hailed a big hit!

First community boxing event and awards hailed a big hit!

Cleary's boxing gym, Leamington

Hundreds of people attended a new community boxing event which also honoured inspirational and upcoming achievers in the local ring.

The event, last weekend (June 30th) was organised by Warwickshire Crimebeat and hosted by Cleary’s Boxing Gym in Leamington. Its aim was to inspire and empower more young people by learning about the sport – as well as celebrate others with special awards.

The non-profit community gym is owned by Edwin Cleary, who trained with Jack Turpin – younger brother of local boxing legend Randolph Turpin – before himself turning professional.

Lord Lieutenant, Mr Tim Cox with Edwin Cleary.

He said: “I really want to thank everyone who was involved with making the event a success and such an amazing experience for the youngsters within the community. I know some of you couldn’t be there in person however your contributions were greatly appreciated by everyone who attended.

“It has been a privilege to host the first of what we hope is many like it. It’s very heartwarming knowing we have people like yourselves within the communities we live, and very rewarding seeing the efforts of so many come together to recognise the importance of the work we all do, as well as the benefits and opportunities it creates for others. We are incredibly proud of our team, the people they are and all they continue to achieve.”

The day also featured a controlled display of boxing training demonstrations as well as the chance to meet Cleary’s own local boxing champ Danny Quartermaine, fresh from successfully defending his IBF European Featherweight Title the night before in Coventry.

Young people from Leamington presented with awards were:

Award-winner Arthur Addavide pictured with Danny Quartermaine

Arthur Addavide, 14 – Most Improved Young Male Award.

Arthur’s mum Jenny, said: “Arthur’s choice to start boxing gave him more confidence and a more healthy development in social skills and self-belief as Arthur didn’t believe he was good at anything.”

Shane Kavanagh receives his award from Lord Ltnt Tim Cox; Warks Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Emma Daniell; Leader WDC Rob Margrave & Lewis Williams.

Shane Kavanagh, 11 – Most Improved Young Male Boxer Award.

Shane’s dad Sean, said: “Since Shane joined Cleary’s a few months ago we have seen many positive changes in him. Before he was shy, quiet and reserved and no one got to enjoy the person he was becoming but now he has the confidence to share this with pretty much whoever will listen. Here he has found a sport he enjoys that keeps him active and healthy and friends that share the same newfound passion all under the guidance of trainers who genuinely care.

“He has gained focus, discipline, a persistent determination to learn and progress. Never giving up when something seems hard and adapting to anything that is thrown his way. Most of all he is happy.”

Rosie Dacre receives her award from Lord Ltnt Tim Cox; Warks Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Emma Daniell; Leader WDC Rob Margrave & Lewis Williams.

Rosie Dacre, 9 – Most Improved Young Female Boxer Award.

Rosie’s mum Sam, said: “Since starting boxing eight months ago, Rosie has developed in her strength, fitness and confidence. She has found something she loves to do, and is so determined to be the best, she wants to be at the boxing gym at all times, even if it is just to watch her brother Ronnie until she is old enough to train through the week as well as her weekend training.”

Ivie Williams receives her award from Lord Ltnt Tim Cox; Warks Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Emma Daniell; Leader WDC Rob Margrave & Lewis Williams.

Ivie Williams, 8: Most Improved Young Female Award.

Mum Liz said: “She was having a tough time with her school life due to being bullied by a boy. She was getting very anxious and worrying a lot about school which was knocking her confidence.

“Ivie absolutely loves the people at Cleary’s and is already a lot more confident, fitter, stronger and, more importantly, she is happier and not worrying about stuff as much. Cleary’s have made Ivie and our son Jai (who has also been training at Cleary’s for 4/5 months now) so welcome and part of their family.”

Cleary's Boxing Gym, Leamington
Charlie Canavan receives his award from Lord Ltnt Tim Cox; Warks Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, Emma Daniell; WDC’s Rob Margrave and Lewis Williams.

Other local winners included Cleary’s Commercial Director Kurt Canavan in recognition of his contribution to the community – as well as his ten-year-old son Charlie Canavan.

Charlie helps train the youngest boxers at the gym after himself being told by doctors he would be unable to fight competitively due to a heart defect at birth.

Dad Kurt said: “We’re so proud of Charlie for having such a positive attitude and for not giving up. Charlie also started campaigning to have a defibrillator in his gym, as he knows how important it is to have the right equipment in the right place. He dedicates his time helping and training the other boxers now.”

The awards followed nominations from Clearys, as well as Boxing Clever in Nuneaton and Bulkington Boxing Club and were presented by Tim Cox, the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire; Warwickshire Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Emma Daniell; Leader WDC Rob Margrave and Cleary’s own Commonwealth 2022 Heavyweight Gold Medallist boxer Lewis Williams.

Cleary's Boxing Gym, Leamington
Shane Kavanagh with Danny Quartermaine.

The gym welcomes up to 300 members since moving into its new £100k premises in Whitnash last September following a crowdfunding campaign. Facilities include three boxing rings (one championship size), a media suite, small conference room, homework space, lounge area, and showers and changing facilities.

The event was supported by sponsors, Warwickshire Institute of Sport, RWS Memorial Foundation and AD Therapy as well as the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

The event took place, on June 30th, alongside the annual Whitnash Picnic In The Park community event.

Find out more about Cleary’s Boxing Gym here.

Fleur Fest in pictures. . .

Fleur Fest in pictures. . .

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford
Photos by We Are The Clarkes

Families and fun-seekers are being thanked by the hosts of a new two-day festival for helping them celebrate a special anniversary.

Nick and Emma Woodhouse have hailed the event, which marks their first decade at The Fleur de Lys in Lowsonford, a huge success.

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

Hundreds of people flocked to the ‘Fleur Fest’ which also raised £650 for a local children’s charity, Molly Ollys, on June 29th-30th. It featured a host of entertainment and activities throughout the weekend, from live musicians and performers – including stilt walkers and bubbleology – to craft and circus skills workshops, market and charity stalls and even a dog show with prizes!

Emma said: “We were delighted to see so many happy faces filling our beer garden for FleurFest. The weekend was intended to celebrate the brilliance of pubs, as well as our tenth anniversary, and it certainly felt very joyful! From children chasing StiltMan around the garden to the sound of great bands filling the air, we really enjoyed doing something a bit different to our normal pies-and-pints operation.

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

“We hadn’t anticipated how fulfilling it would feel to see so many familiar faces supporting us. Also to look out and see neighbours dancing together in front of the stage and kids enthralled by circus performers, as well as so many proud dog owners after the dog show was really satisfying.”

The couple, who juggle running their business with the parenting of two young children, moved to Warwickshire from Bristol for their current project, combining 30 years of experience in the industry.

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

The Fleur De Lys – which translates as Flower of Life – first opened as a tavern in the early 20th century, later going on to introduce the ‘pioneering’ idea of serving food and giving rise to the now famous Fleur De Lys pies.

It is nestled in the picturesque village of Lowsonford on the banks of the Stratford Canal between winding roads which used to be part of The Forest of Arden. The garden boasts an acre of land and is also popular as a stop-off for canal users.

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

A team from Molly Ollys raised funds and awareness across the festival weekend. The Warwick-based charity was established in 2011 by Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw following the death of their eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

It works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as providing wishes and donating therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford, Molly Ollys

The therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These cuddly toys form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 70 hospitals or health centres, along with a set of books from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave series.

Rachel said: “Thank you to Emma and Nick for inviting Molly Ollys to be part of the their 10th Anniversary Celebrations at Fleur Fest. It was a great event for all the family and we loved being a part of it and all helps to raise awareness of our work as well as much needed funds. Thank you to everyone who came to support.”

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

Emma added: “It was a privilege to partner with the Molly Olly charity for this event and raise awareness for this vital local charity, too. We would love to do more events like this and partner with local suppliers, performers and businesses, but we’re going to have to find an excuse sooner than our next big anniversary!”