Rotary donation kickstarts vital windmill repairs

Rotary donation kickstarts vital windmill repairs

LOCAL Rotarians have put wind behind the sails of a fundraising campaign to restore an historic mill back to full working order.

Members of The Rotary Club of Bromsgrove have presented Avoncroft Museum with a donation of £5,000 to finally start work on essential repairs to the windmill which will enable it to sail again safely.

The Bromsgrove museum’s 19-acre site, owned by members and run by volunteer trustees, is home to more than 30 buildings and structures which cover 700 years of history.

Avoncroft Museum, windmill, Rotary Club of Bromsgrove
Court Leet and Rotary on Lammas Day. Photo by Geoff Hawkesworth.

The latest donation comes on the back of another fundraising initiative at the museum to repair thousands of pounds worth of damage caused by vandals shortly after its post-pandemic reopening to the public, in May. Intruders smashed windows and damaged the interiors of Toll House and Nailers Cottage as well as smashing plates and ornaments.

Following an appeal more than £50,000 in donations poured in from around the world which paid for repairs as well as improved security on the site.

John Teece, President of the Rotary Club of Bromsgrove, who presented the latest cheque, said: “The 1820 Danzey Green Windmill is an iconic symbol for the Museum, and for Bromsgrove, and the Rotary Club is delighted to be supporting the efforts to maintain it.

“We were really pleased to be able to join the Court Leet and celebrate Lammas Day* at the same time as presenting the donation to the team at Avoncroft.”

Zoe Willems, Director of Avoncroft Museum, said “Rescuing historic buildings isn’t a one-off event, we have to keep them in good repair. There is a backlog of work needed on many of our buildings which were originally rescued in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – but the Windmill is at the top of the list because it is so iconic.”

Avoncroft Museum, windmill, Rotary Club of Bromsgrove

“We want Avoncroft to be a working museum, so it’s a priority to get the Windmill sailing again. We’re so grateful to the Rotary Club of Bromsgrove for their extremely generous donation, which will bring us more than half-way to the total of £25,000 we need to employ a mill-wright to repair the wind-shaft and running rail.”

“We look forward to welcoming back the Bromsgrove Rotary Club and other donors, as well as our members and visitors, to see a very rare working post-mill in action, once the repairs are complete.”

The Bromsgrove Rotary Club are always running or contributing to local projects that add benefit to the community and schools. More information about their local projects or how to get involved in the work they do can be found here

Donations can still be made to Avoncroft Museum via here

* Lammas Day, celebrated every August 1, is a wheat harvest festival that is also known as Loaf Mass Day. The holiday encourages celebrations and mass gatherings where individuals thank God for the first harvest of the season.

According to tradition, a loaf of bread has to be taken to mass on Lammas Day, hence, it is not a surprise that it is famously recognised as ‘Loaf Mass Day.’

Though Lammas Day originated as a Christian holiday, it is also celebrated by others who want to offer thanks to spiritual entities for blessing the world with a fruitful wheat harvest for a particular year. Description of Lammas Day taken from ‘National Today’ publication.

‘God Is A Woman’ – and other startling truths!

‘God Is A Woman’ – and other startling truths!

“How different would the world be if women’s stories had been included more in the Bible?

Did you know that Adam had a first wife before Eve? Her name was Lilith and she left Adam because she wanted to do reverse cow girl and he would only do missionary – they didn’t mention THAT in the creation myth.”

Luisa Omielan, comedian, Warwick Arts Centre, God Is A Woman
Luisa and Bernie

At a time of pandemics and global warming, we all turn to spirituality for hope and purpose, so let’s hear about the true meaning of Christmas and Jesus courtesy of BAFTA winning comedian Luisa Omielan – now that’s a Sunday school we all would have stayed awake in!

Following a successful Off-Broadway run in 2019, comedian Luisa Omielan is excited to finally announce rescheduled dates for her highly anticipated God Is A Woman tour, which kicked off in Belfast this month.

Luisa already has three groundbreaking hit shows under her belt. First, she asked “What Would Beyonce Do?! ” (sell out across the UK and Australia, is what she would do!), then she asked “Am I Right Ladies?!” and her thigh gap joke went viral with over 45 million views. Then she turned to politics and got a show on the BBC entitled “Politics for Bitches”. So the next logical step was for Luisa to bring her unique genre of comedy to religion – expect Mary Magdalene and men’s private part jokes!

Luisa has been featured in The Guardian, The Radio Times, Forbes, Vogue, The Metro, Stylist Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Telegraph and countless other publications. She’s been nominated two years in a row for Best Comedy Show at the Melbourne International Festival and loves taking her universal shows around the world. She is also the first comedian to be acknowledged with a BAFTA Breakthrough award.

She has created a unique genre of comedy that’s a heart-wrenching journey; part-rave and part-rally. Her shows are uplifting, thought-provoking, ahead-of-the-times and damn funny. Cry your eyes out funny. She counts Dawn French, Lenny Henry, Richard Curtis and Ruby Wax as super fans.

Everything she’s achieved so far has been with a fiercely loyal audience.

Encouraged by her fans, they crowdfunded her to debut God Is A Woman Off Broadway in NYC – now it’s time to bring it home.

Luisa will be accompanied on stage by her partner in crime, Bernie – the funniest Bernese mountain dog on the block.

And the best part? She’s bringing her brand of comedy to Warwick Arts Centre in November! You can book here


21,22, 24 & 25 Soho Theatre, London.
30th – Black Box, Belfast

2nd – Lowry, Salford
3rd – Southport Comedy Festival
8th – Stand, Newcastle
10th – Tivoli Theatre (Aberdeen Comedy Festival)
11th – Stand, Edinburgh
12th – Stand, Glasgow
14th – Playhouse, Norwich
18th – Redgrave, Bristol
21st – White Rock Theatre, Hastings
24th – City Varieties, Leeds
31st – Storyhouse, Chester

4th – Camberley Theatre, Camberley
5th – Corn Exchange, Stamford
7th – Glee, Cardiff
8th – Glee, Nottingham
9th – Glee, Birmingham
10th – Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
14th – Glee, Oxford
19th – Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
22nd – Komedia, Brighton

20th – The Grand, Clapham, London.
Christmas Variety Show – Woolwich Works Dec 10th & 11th


‘One of the most exciting and original voices of her generation.’ – BBC Comedy

‘The biggest stand up hit of the decade’ – The Guardian

‘She should be put on the national curriculum’ – The Scotsman

‘One of the most powerful and provocative hours on The Fringe’ – The Telegraph

Community gets behind ‘fun-draising’ day for charities

Community gets behind ‘fun-draising’ day for charities

Hatton Park Fun Day, Molly Olly's Wishes, Warwickshire Domestic Violence Servive
Some of the organising committee: Jane Robbins, Jolande Hancock, Lou Simpson, Stuart Kettell, Rachel Ollerenshaw, Jennie Long and Jason Sammon. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.

FUN and fundraising were the order of the day at Hatton Park in Warwick on Sunday.

The community event, rescheduled from earlier in the summer due to Covid-19, has been hailed a huge success by the organisers who have raised more than £1,200 for two charities – Molly Olly’s Wishes and Warwickshire Domestic Abuse Service.

The Fun Day consisted of stalls, BBQ, bar, live music, WI Bake Off and competitive events and was the brainchild of local resident Jane Robbins who enlisted the help of friends and neighbours.

Hatton Park Fun Day, Molly Olly's Wishes, Warwickshire Domestic Violence Servive
Rachel Ollerenshaw on the Molly Olly’s Wishes stall. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.

Jane, who runs an events business JR Promotions, said: “The idea came to me one day during one of my lockdown walks around the estate. Bored with the complete lack of events work, I thought wouldn’t it be nice, when restrictions are lifted, for residents, rather than just nodding and saying hello as the passed, to have an opportunity to socialise properly with their neighbours.

“We’re so glad we put out requests on social media for the extra pairs of hands to help on the stalls and the bar as we had over 400 people, of all ages, popping in throughout the day. It really did have a very friendly, happy feel and we were really pleased with how it all went and the support we received.”

The WI Bake Off was a huge success. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.

Molly Olly’s Wishes was established by Hatton Park’s Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw in 2011 following the death of their eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

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

Issy Foyle, 12, on her handmade jewellery stall. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.
Molly Olly's Wishes, Molly Ollerenshaw
Molly Ollerenshaw a few weeks before she passed away, aged eight.

Mascot is a 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 40 hospitals, along with a book from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave six-part series.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the charity which, last October, moved into its first dedicated town centre premises, in Warwick – the month in which Molly would have turned 18.

Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at:

Rachel, who also ran a charity stall, said: “Community has been so important during the pandemic and it was lovely to finally be able to have a Hatton park Fun Day and give everyone the opportunity to meet up.

“It was a good opportunity to raise awareness and funds. The weather was kind and everyone who joined us had a fun day and there was something for all ages. A big thankyou to the organisers.

“Molly Olly’s are feeling the effects of the pandemic more this year than last year and donations are down considerably (approximately 30%) at a time when we have seen a large increase (almost 20%) in the requests for support. The charity has received over 370 wishes over the past year and relies on the support of businesses and individuals to ensure we can continue our services.

Ivy Pielow, 5, and Arthur Pielow, 7, Livy Kettell, 6, Grace Kettell, 8. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography.

“We work closely with the local community nursing teams and together we can help make a very real difference at extremely challenging times. Help can be provided in many different ways and we encourage you to come and meet us and find out more about our work and how you can help support children with life threatening illnesses.”

Half of the proceeds will also benefit the Hatton Park WI-nominated charity Warwickshire Domestic Abuse Service which provides county-wide support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence.

It is a branch of Refuge – the country’s largest provider of specialist support – also offering refuge accommodation, independent domestic violence advocacy, outreach support and drop-in services.

Lynda Jackson, of Hatton Park WI, said: “We chose this charity to benefit after a number of us went and saw a play a few years ago that focused on the ill treatment of women, so it’s close to our hearts.”

For further information visit:

Livy and Grace Kettell at one the stalls. Photos by Victoria Jane Photography.
Sunset and starlight for spectacular end of summer celebrations at Warwick Castle

Sunset and starlight for spectacular end of summer celebrations at Warwick Castle

To mark the end of an extraordinary summer, a five-night extravaganza at Warwick Castle announces the arrival of the new Sundown Spectacular celebrating the Biggest Summer in History at the famous Castle.

Warwick Castle, Sundown SpectacularLive bands, DJs, unique bars and street food courtesy of the Digbeth Dining Club, one of the UK’s leading operators, in the unique confined atmosphere of the castle grounds will be providing the perfect backdrop for this fun-filled festival. As the sun disappears, visitors will be able to marvel as the castle comes to life under the stars with stunning state-of-the-art projection mapping and unmissable lighting illuminating the towers. Each evening will end with an amazing fireworks finale.

From Thursday (26th) to Monday (3oth August) the Castle will come alive after dark with a festival vibe for the ultimate end-of-summer celebration. Tickets priced at just £25 can be booked online.

Commenting on this new exciting event for 2021, Nick Blofeld, Divisional Director at Warwick Castle, said: “After the trials and tribulations of the last 18 months, we wanted to celebrate everything Warwick Castle, its staff and guests have achieved this year, marking the end of a significant period in the Castle’s history with a Sundown Spectacular – providing an experience that will truly resonate with our regular visitors and attract first-timers to take a closer look at the fantastic ambiance the Castle creates as the sun sets over our historic site.

“We are excited to activate this new event in 2021 and will make sure it will be an evening to remember for everyone.”

To book visit here

Local solicitors’ firm goes extra mile(s) for domestic abuse charity

Local solicitors’ firm goes extra mile(s) for domestic abuse charity

A local solicitors’ firm has gone that extra mile to help a domestic abuse charity in Coventry rise to the challenges of the pandemic.

Alsters Kelley, Coventry Haven, charity walk
Some of the walkers before setting off from the Alsters Kelley Coventry office.

Staff and friends of Coventry & Warwickshire law firm, Alsters Kelley Solicitors Ltd raised £775 by walking a 10-mile route between two of their offices in Coventry and Leamington.

The challenge is a welcome boost for Coventry Haven Women’s Aid. The charity, which marks its 50th anniversary next year, has seen a sharp rise in the number of calls post-pandemic as more women experiencing any form of domestic violence and abuse seek their services and support.

Alsters Kelley, Coventry Haven, charity walk, Jaime Richards

Jaime Richards, Development & Funding Officer from Coventry Haven, pictured right, said: “We were extremely concerned about lockdown and knew it would significantly reduce the safe space for victims to be able to reach support; victims became invisible literally overnight.

“We worked hard to ensure women knew that they could still leave throughout lockdown, including TV and radio campaigns, and we delivered our posters to supermarkets, local shops and chemists.

“We saw an increase in third party contacts discussing concerns with friend, family and neighbours, and we delivered various online training sessions to employers and managers around how to recognise signs and deal with any disclosures.

“As expected, as lockdown started to ease, we saw a huge increase of helpline calls and referrals into service and this has remained consistently high throughout the last 18 months. All our services remained open throughout including our three refuges, and the refuge team were there to support our residents through such unprecedented and uncertain times.”

She added: “The last 18 months have been so difficult for everyone and in particular the charity sector, so we are very grateful for Vicky and the team at Alsters Kelley for their ongoing support this year and for all the funds raised by the charity walk.

Coventry Haven is just one of the nominated charities being supported by Alsters Kelley, which was established in the 1980s and now has offices in Coventry, Leamington, Southam, Stratford and Nuneaton.

Alsters Kelley, Coventry Haven, charity walk

Vicky Smith, Conveyancing Assistant and one of the firm’s charity champions who organised the walk, said: “We had a great day – there were about a dozen of us who took part plus children and a dog! The weather was perfect for walking that distance and as well as raising a great amount of money for Coventry Haven it was also an opportunity for us to see colleagues that we haven’t seen for such a long time.”


Donations can still be made at:

Jaime Richards added: “We support women and children through all types of abuse; we listen, we believe and do not judge, and we aim to empower victims to live a life free from fear.”

Further information about Coventry Haven can be found here

Further information about Alsters Kelley’s services can be found here