Colors: Blue Color

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, will be celebrated in the City of Wolverhampton on Saturday 14 October.

The City of Wolverhampton Council has teamed up with the Shri Krishna Mandir, and other organisations for the annual Diwali Mela at Phoenix Park in Blakenhall from 4pm-8pm.

It will feature music and dance, including performances by the Pargan Bhandal Company and dancers and Dhol drummers.

The lights will be switched on at approximately 7.30pm followed by a spectacular firework display.

There will be a wide range of stalls and refreshments, and the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Elias Mattu and Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden are due to attend.

Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Diwali is the biggest and brightest festival in India and we are delighted to be helping to celebrate it here in Wolverhampton once again.

"The event at Phoenix Park is always great fun for all the family, featuring excellent entertainment and a fantastic fireworks display.”

One of the new owners of the first shared ownership properties ever built by Haringey Council was today officially handed the keys to her new home.

Cllr Alan Strickland, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning and Chris Liffen, Managing Director of Homes for Haringey, were on hand to welcome Cristina Andronache to her new home in Brewery House, Whitbread Close in Tottenham.

With shared ownership, home-owners buy a share of between 25% and 55% of the property and pay rent on the remaining share. They have the option to increase the share they own in the future, making this a great way for first-time buyers to get a foot on the housing ladder, when they are priced out of buying a home on the open market.

Owners have now moved into the four new two-bedroom properties in Whitbread Close, built on the site of a former council car park. The new homes are of a high quality, promoting sustainable development, energy efficiency, and affordability.

The homes will be managed by Homes for Haringey, which is responsible for the day-to-day management of the council’s housing stock. These properties are among 31 new homes being completed this year on former garage and car park sites in seven locations across the borough.

Cristina Adronache said: “Being a home owner is a dream come true thanks to the shared ownership scheme and I will always be grateful for this opportunity and for my friends who encouraged me to consider the scheme and supported me though the process.

“Shared ownership means I could get on the property ladder despite having a smaller budget, whilst benefitting from the high standards of modern living in an energy-efficient flat.”

Cllr Alan Strickland, Haringey Council Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning said, “We’re determined to tackle Haringey’s housing crisis and help local residents to get the homes they deserve. It’s crucial that we build a variety of new homes to suit different needs and budgets – including new social rented housing, affordable homes to buy and rent, shared ownership and private housing.

“Shared ownership is a great way for people to still get into the housing market even if their budget won’t stretch to buying 100% of the new home. The Whitbread Close properties are part of our drive to increase the number of affordable properties in Haringey and it was a real pleasure to welcome Cristina to her new home.”

Chris Liffen, Managing Director of Homes for Haringey, said, “Homes for Haringey recognises the need for affordable homes in neighbourhoods where people want to live and can thrive. The shared ownership scheme at Whitbread Close is a great example of how Haringey is continuing to provide affordable housing solutions for local people. I wish Christina all the best in her new home.”

Brightly coloured balloons lined the streets of Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield as families walked together in memory of loved ones and in support of John Taylor Hospice.

Nearly 150 people gathered at the Hollyfields Centre in Erdington to join the Birmingham hospice’s annual Family Walk and Fun Day. The ever-popular fundraising walk, now in its sixth year, raises money to provide care and support for people living with a terminal illness and their families.

This year, walkers had the choice of a pushchair and dog-friendly 4.5-mile walk or a more challenging 9-mile route. The event also offered entertainment for all ages with a Fun Day packed full of activities including bouncy castles, inflatable slides, raffles and stalls.

Setting the walkers off on their way was seven-year-old Louie O’Neill from Kingstanding. The young fundraiser - who has raised £1,000 for the hospice this year – was invited to cut the ribbon to signal the start of the charity walk.

Twickenham Primary School pupil Louie started raising money for John Taylor Hospice when he learned that his grandad has terminal cancer. Super supporter Louie has been busy challenging friends and family members to quizzes, holding a charity car wash, collecting money in supermarkets and organising a fundraising stall. He doesn't plan to stop there and has big plans for the future - including hopes to host his own carnival.

Louie’s mum Charlotte O'Neill said: “There are seven of us here today – along with our dog Maui – to do the walk and watch Louie cut the ribbon. He’s so excited to have been asked to open the event as he feels like a celebrity! He’s been really looking forward to it and we’re so very proud of him.”

Joining the walk for the fifth year were the Smart family from Great Barr. Christopher Smart and his wife Selina walked the 4.5-mile route, with their two sons and their niece by their side, in memory of Christopher’s father Peter Smart.

“My dad had lung cancer and was only at the hospice for a very short time – two to three days,” said Christopher. “The hospice did an outstanding job and it became like a home from home for us. We come to the walk every year to say thank you to the hospice staff for what they did for us. ”

Selina added: “Sometimes when we went to visit Peter we’d have 11 family members in the room at once and the nurses didn't mind at all. Nothing was too much trouble for them, they were incredible and did an amazing job of looking after us all.”

Stepping out together in memory of someone very special were siblings Louise, Emma and Simon Carlo. They walked the longer route - for the third year in a row - to thank the hospice for the care they provided for their mum Sheila Carlo in 2015.

“She was a wonderful woman,” said Simon. “We received incredible support from John Taylor Hospice and our mum was so well looked after, as were we. She was treated with dignity and respect and the hospice staff relieved a lot of the pressure for us.”

Louise, who raised over £1,000 by running the Birmingham half marathon for #TeamJTH last year, said: "When you’ve never had any experience of a hospice you expect it to be a depressing place but it’s not like that at all at John Taylor. We were really struggling before the hospice stepped in to help and we don’t know what we’d have done without them. We come to the walk every year to say thank you for everything the hospice has done for our family.”

Katie Mitchell, John Taylor's Head of Fundraising, said: “Thank you so much to everyone who joined us. We certainly didn't let the dreary weather dampen our spirits and we had a wonderful day.

"The Family Walk is a special day for lots of people with many local families joining us year after year to celebrate the lives of their loved ones and to support the work of our hospice. We're proud to have watched this event grow over the years and we're extremely grateful to everyone for joining us.

“Many families tell us they come to the Family Walk and Fun Day to show support for the hospice and say thank you for the care their loved ones have received. We want people to know that being there at events really does make a big difference. That incredible support help us to raise vital funds and ensures we're there for families - just like yours - when they need our care and support.”

Children and families from across the Midlands are set to benefit thanks to a donation of £131,000 from KFC to Acorns Children’s Hospice.

The donation comes thanks to KFC’s Add Hope Foundation and the activities of staff at KFC branches across the region who encouraged customers to purchase fundraising scratch cards.

Proceeds from the scratch cards will go towards the nearly £10 million Acorns has to raise each year to continue it’s vital care for life limited and life threatened children and young people and support for their families.

Shane Fields, Area Coach at KFC Shirley, said: “The amount raised has been amazing, we are so proud to support Acorns and the brilliant work they do that is so important for families in the area. The KFC Add Hope Foundation gives staff the chance to really get involved in their community.”

Amanda Smallman, Senior Manager, Corporate and Community Fundraising at Acorns, said: “We are so happy to receive this significant donation.  At Acorns, we rely on fundraising and donations from organisations like KFC’s Add Hope for the majority of the income needed to provide our services.

“The donation will make a huge difference to people’s lives by helping us provide nursing care for children and young people and vital support for their families.”

Acorns offers a network of specialist care for children and support for their families across the West Midlands. In the past year the charity has cared for more than 870 children and more than 1,090 families, including those who are bereaved

To find out more about the work of Acorns Children’s Hospice and how you can help raise vital funds, please visit

If you’ve recently moved into a new home, you’ll probably be asking your friends and family around for a housewarming party. But as we enter autumn, you may have noticed an increase in the number of eight-legged visitors who most certainly haven’t been invited.

Despite the old adage, ‘they are more scared of you’, this is cold comfort for those who are terrified of arachnids.

For home owners who have noticed an increase in spiders emerging from their house’s nooks and crannies, NHBC, the UK's leading new home warranty and insurance provider, have compiled some advice to help dissuade spiders from moving in.

  • Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of roughly half water and half white vinegar. Avoiding varnished surfaces, spray the mixture in corners and cracks. Alternatively, as strong smells are believed to deter spiders, try mixing natural oils like peppermint, lavender, rose oil, tea-tree and cinnamon into spray bottles and follow the same method.
  • Seal off your home by filling cracks and crevices around doors and windows which spiders could crawl through.
  • Do you still have cardboard boxes around from your move? If so, spiders like these, so where possible, empty and dispose of them. Try to use plastic boxes as an alternative storing solution.
  • Plant mint, lavender or both underneath or near windows as the strong smells will deter spiders.
  • Spiders also dislike citrus, so rub peel from lemons or limes along skirting boards and window sills. You can also try lemon-scented cleaners and furniture polish.
  • It has been said that spiders hate garlic, so place crushed cloves into a spray bottle filled with water and spritz in corners, floors  and skirting boards.
  • Dust and vacuum regularly to get rid of webs and de-clutter your house as much as possible to reduce the number of places a spider can hide.

Members of City of Wolverhampton’s wolf pack from the city’s biggest ever public art event are to be officially auctioned off for charity next month.

The proceeds will be shared between Outside Centre and the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Cllr Elias Mattu’s chosen charities.

Will Farmer, Director of Fielding Auctioneers Ltd, who is well known for his appearances on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, will lead the Wolves in Wolves auction in the Hayward Suite, at Molineux stadium, on Thursday, November 2.

The wolves to go under the hammer are Wild, Colour, Love, The Sitting, Bayliss, Sunset, Compton, Kiyiya, Rainbow, Meditation, Endless Opportunities, Dynasty, Garden, Sacred Grandfathers, Zeus and Beowulf.

The remaining wolves will either be retained by their sponsors for use in projects, such as Hope at Headstart and Aurora at Talentmatch, both being used for activities with young people.

A handful of the wolves are set to remain on display in the city centre, such as Hunter outside the University School of Art, Old Gold in the Wolves Museum, Thomas at Marston’s House, Support Life at the University of Wolverhampton, Mander at Mander House, Beanstalk at the Grand Theatre, and roaming wolf Claude.

Almost 40 mini-wolves from the Wolverhampton Art Gallery exhibition will also be auctioned off on the night.

Will said: “I am thrilled to be the auction partner for this fantastic and very successful project.

“It will be wonderful to find some new homes for the wolves and to raise a huge amount of money for charity.”

The majority of the 30 wolves are currently resting in a warehouse waiting to be cleaned ahead of the auction.

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “The wolves have really captured people’s imaginations and the whole project has been a howling success.

“The auction now gives people the chance to bid for their favourite wolf and raise money for charity at the same time.

“Wolves in Wolves has showcased the city to visitors and the 30 wolves have helped put the city on the map as a cultural centre.

“It has also been a great way for people of all ages to get active and discover the city and what it has to offer.”

On the day of the auction, doors will open at 4pm for viewing, with the auction starting at 7pm

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announced the 2017 Award of Excellence was presented to the PATA Micronesia Chapter for their outstanding work promoting the region. PATA Micronesia was recognized for their unique approach to marketing the diverse and expansive region, which encompasses 2,100 islands spread over 2.9 million square miles of Pacific Ocean, “the blue continent.”

The Micronesia Chapter was recognized for its unique creation of interactive experiences at major global travel trade shows in core markets, developing face-to-face personal interaction with potential visitors and travel planners. The chapter also capitalized on focused use of digital and social media campaigns to share Micronesia’s diverse culture, hospitable people, and incredible natural beauty.

PATA Micronesia is the only chapter in the internationally acclaimed organization to represent more than one destination, which includes the islands groups of the Northern Marianas, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshalls, and Guam. “The PATA Micronesia Chapter, led by Guam, USA, is amongst the most community engaged chapters within the organization,” said Dr. Mario Hardy, PATA CEO.

“In the true spirit of PATA, they regularly reach out to their various constituents, providing assistance and guidance in their endeavor to promote the responsible and sustainable development of the travel and tourism industry. Furthermore, they also regularly engage with PATA members globally and other chapters in their efforts to further the agenda of the entire organization,” said Hardy.

The Chapter was recognized for its creativity in representing the region globally, winning booth display awards and capturing mass audience appeal with cultural presentations and training opportunities for travel industry professionals. PATA Micronesia also expanded into new markets in 2016, like the LGBTQ travel community, building on Guam and the CNMI’s recognition of same-sex marriage.

“It is an honor to be recognized by PATA for the work we do in Micronesia,” said PATA Micronesia Chapter Chairwoman Pilar Laguaña. “PATA Micronesia is more than the only Chapter representing multiple destinations, we’re spread over millions of miles of ocean. It’s a challenge to effectively capture and share with the world what makes each island destination so special in a single, unified message. This award is an affirmation to our Chapter that our efforts are recognized for their effectiveness in representing our vast, diverse region.”

This is the third Award of Excellence bestowed on the PATA Micronesia Chapter. The Chapter was first recognized in 2004, for its commitment to communication strategies within Micronesia, and again in 2010, for its use of social media and impressive branding strategies.

Every summer, centres and branches end up bursting with cats and kittens as a result of unplanned litters born at this time of year and unwanted older animals.

This can lead to cats and kittens being abandoned in their droves, ending up in rescue centres.

Across England and Wales from May 1 to September 24, there were 11,313 cat abandonment complaints reported to the RSPCA.

The RSPCA is urging responsible pet owners to get their cat neutered from four months old to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Alice Potter, RSPCA cat welfare expert, said: “They may look cute but having a litter of kittens to look after is hard work and costs money. Sometimes the reality of looking after them does not live up to the expectation and it is times like this when we see so many kittens abandoned.

“From being tied up in plastic bags, dumped in boxes, left on a bus, or thrown out with the rubbish, the RSPCA has sadly seen too many kittens abandoned this summer.

“There is a cat overpopulation crisis facing the UK and our centres struggle with the demand especially during the summer months. There are an estimated 10.3 million pet cats in the UK and although it is estimated that around 90% of owners have their cats neutered about 13% of owners of female cats say that their cat has had at least one litter. Of these owners, 70% said their cats pregnancy was unplanned which inevitably results in a lot of kittens*.

“Some people may think cats need to have a first litter to be healthy but this is an old wives tale. Neutering your cat allows them to go outside and do all the things they enjoy, such as climbing and playing.”

From May to September the RSPCA has neutered more than 4,000 cats.

The numbers of cats in RSPCA centres and branches in May reached a whopping 3,652 and June saw even more with 3,848. In July there were 2,492 and August there were 1,950 cats and kittens needing care.

Alice Potter added: “However, not all cats and kittens abandoned by their owners will have been lucky enough to make it into RSPCA care. Unfortunately there are kittens who have been dumped and will not make it, there is likely to be others who weren’t found in time, or never found at all.

“If your cat has had an unwanted litter please do not throw them out like rubbish. There are options and animal welfare charities like the RSPCA who can help.

“If your cat has reached about four months old or more there are voucher schemes which can help with the cost of neutering such as the Cat Smart scheme in Sheffield and the Cat Care and Control Consortium in London. Check with your local RSPCA branch to see what services are available.”


The survey, of more than 3,000 dog-owners across the country, found that of those owners who responded, 20% of their dogs living in the region have walks of less than 30 minutes a day.  This was closely followed by the north east of England, where 19% of dog-owners polled say their dogs get less than 30 minutes walk a day.

The survey was commissioned in the lead up to the RSPCA’s Big Walkies challenge in October, which invites people to walk 10,000 steps a day, with or without a dog, to raise money for animals in need. The results also found that 8% of those who responded  from the West Midlands didn’t walk their dogs at all.

The survey also showed that, in the West Midlands, the dog owners who responded reported that:

Almost 40% of dogs go out for a walk at least twice a day;

47% of dogs have a daily walk of 30 minutes to an hour; 26% go out for one to two hours, and 6% for more than two hours;

23% of dog-owners always let their dogs off their leads during a walk, while 23% never go off their leads.

Nationally, the survey suggested that:

Dogs in London have the ‘best walkies’ in England, as their owners reported that they  are most likely to be walked at least once a day with almost half having two strolls a day, and they are more likely to be allowed off the lead, play with other dogs and have a ball or toy to play with;

44% of owners said that their dogs go out for a walk at least twice a day, while 6% don’t get a daily walk at all;

Nationally, 49% of dog owners reported to a daily walk of 30 minutes to an hour; 27% go out for one to two hours, and 9% for more than two hours


28% of dog-owners report to always let their dogs off their leads during a walk, while 18% never go off their leads.

Animal-lovers who sign up to My Big Walkies will pledge to walk at least 10,000 steps a day - approximately five miles - with or without their dog throughout October while being sponsored to do so.

If they complete the challenge animal lover will have clocked up 155 miles in October - the same as walking from Birmingham to Brighton.

Dog-loving singer Peter Andre who is supporting the RSPCA Big Walkies challenge, said: “It's important to remember how much happiness dogs bring to our lives. Sadly there are many dogs which are ill-treated every day and the RSPCA works incredibly hard to combat animal cruelty.

“I encourage dog-owners to sign up for My Big Walkies. Taking part will help raise money which will enable the RSPCA to carry out this vital work.

“It's also a fantastic opportunity to get out and about with your dog, while helping less fortunate dogs at the same time. It’ll be fun, great for your health and fitness, great for your dog and it's all for a fantastic cause - the RSPCA.”

Dr Samantha Gaines, the RSPCA’s dog welfare expert, said: “The results from our survey suggest that where we live has an impact on how we exercise our dogs.

“London dogs in particular appear to have more opportunities to do what many dogs love - playing with other dogs and their owners as well as toys and balls.

“There are some very lucky pooches in the capital but no matter where you live, you and your dog can enjoy some great walks.

“Taking your dog for a walk can have huge benefits for both of you. For many people dogs are a huge part of the family, and exercising with them offers great opportunities to spend quality time together and helps form a strong bond. It can also boost your own fitness and happiness levels.

“For dogs, having a good sniff and investigating their surroundings while on a walk can boost their health and happiness.

“There are also huge benefits to you as a dog-owner - as a recent study showed that a brisk 10-minute walk a day can add years to your life.** So imagine the benefits you will reap by walking 10,000 steps a day!”

The level of exercise a dog needs will depend on their age, breed and health and 10,000 steps may be too much for some dogs. So if owners aren’t sure how much exercise their dog needs we would advise them to seek advice from their vet.


Residents, businesses and organisations across the City of Wolverhampton are being encouraged to "Go Orange" and support an international campaign to end gender-based violence.

The annual United Nations’ Orange the World campaign takes place over 16 days between 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, and 10 December, UN Human Rights Day.

Organisations across the City, from small community groups and charities to schools and large public sector bodies including the City of Wolverhampton Council and West Midlands Police, are being asked to "Orange Wolverhampton".

In doing so, they will not only raise awareness of gender-based violence – violence primarily committed against women and girls, including domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour-based’ violence and sexual violence – but also the help and support that is available to victims in the City of Wolverhampton.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Gender-based violence in any of its forms is illegal and totally abhorrent, and we are committed to working with our partners to identify and support anyone who is the victim of it.

“We are delighted to once again be supporting the United Nations ‘Orange the World’ campaign and turning the City of Wolverhampton ‘orange’ is an important part of our work to raise awareness of the issues and to make sure people know how to get the help and support they need.

"It is important to stress that the title of violence against women and girls recognises the gendered nature of these issues, in that the majority of victims are female. However, the campaign seeks to end all interpersonal violence affecting women, men, girls and boys.

"There are so many ways organisations and individuals can get involved and we're hoping people will come together to ‘orange’ the City of Wolverhampton in support of the campaign."

Organisations and individuals are invited to respond to the challenge, ‘what will you do to Orange Wolverhampton’?’

As well as using tried and tested ways to Orange Wolverhampton during the 16 days of action – including turning websites and social media channels orange, changing the colour of corporate logos, sharing key messages about the campaign with staff, customers and service users, lighting buildings orange, flying orange flags and more – organisers would like to see groups and organisations being really inventive about what they can do using the colour orange to raise awareness and more.

So whether you are a motorcycle or cycle club that could hold an orange ride and gather for an orange photo, a business with orange branding or a sports team that could play an all-orange match, please sign up your organisation and share your plans at

Individuals can also show their support by wearing orange clothing on “Go Orange” day – Monday 27 November – as well as sporting orange ribbons throughout the 16-day campaign.

People backing the campaign are encouraged to show their support on social media using the hashtag #orangewolves and by tagging @wvsafeguarding in the conversation. Alternatively, please share photos with the Safeguarding Boards via Facebook at

Councillor Sweet added: "Through close partnership working we have made significant progress in addressing gender-based violence, developing more effective ways of working together and implementing a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub which is further improving the way agencies respond to safeguarding concerns.

"The Go Orange campaign is a great way for everyone to show we are committed to ending violence against women, men, girls and boys and highlighting where people can turn to if they are affected by the issue in any way.

“Last year, many people asked if they could make a donation to local support services, and I am pleased to say that we will be setting up a JustGiving page this time.”

Anyone worried about or suffering from any form of domestic violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour-based violence, or sexual violence should call the relevant helpline:

·         The Haven Wolverhampton 24-hour Helpline for women and men on 08000 194400

·         National Domestic Violence helpline for women on 0808 2000 247

·         National Domestic Violence helpline for men on 0808 8010327

·         Wolverhampton Adults Social Care team on 01902 551199

·         Wolverhampton Children's Social Care on 01902 555392

·         NSPCC FGM Helpline on 0800 028 3550

·         Karma Nirvana helpline for victims of so-called honour-based violence and forced marriage 0800 5999 247.

In an emergency, always call police on 999.

2017 marks 125 years since the publication of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to readers of The Strand Magazine in 1891, but the publication of these twelve short stories, on 14 October 1892, brought the detective and the doctor to the masses.

VisitEngland's Year of Literary Heroes survey showed that Sherlock and Watson's escapades tap into the nation's love of suspense, with crime (38%), thrillers (38%) and mysteries (37%) revealed as the most popular genres to read; everything from recent runaway success The Girl on the Train to classics by Agatha Christie keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Holiday-makers who prise themselves from their page-turners can follow in the footsteps of the Sherlock Holmes books, film adaptations and TV series, play detective at Sherlock-inspired attractions, from code-breaking bars to themed escape games, and delve into the real-life locations associated with the fictional worlds of crimes and mysteries from And Then There Were None to Dracula.

SHERLOCK-ATIONS – ON THE TRAIL OF THE BOOKS, FILMS AND TV SERIES PORTSMOUTH: Where it all began… Sir Arthur Conan Doyle moved to Portsmouth with his wife in 1882 to set up his medical practice, and it was there that he first wrote the world's greatest detective into creation. Head to Portsmouth City Museum and explore permanent exhibition 'A Study in Sherlock', the largest collection pertaining to Doyle and his creation in the world. The gallery explores Doyle's life and career, Sherlock Holmes as depicted in film, theatre, advertising and more, and includes a Sherlock Holmes mystery and narration by the collection's patron, Stephen Fry. Doyle's home, which was destroyed in the Second World War, is commemorated by a blue plaque. Admission to the museum is free.

LONDON: Home of Holmes 221B Baker Street is Holmes' base in the books – however this address doesn't actually exist! Head to 237-41 Baker Street to find the Sherlock Holmes Museum, which features a recreation of the detective's disorderly study. Baker Street underground station has a statue of Holmes, and a short walk away takes you to Madame Tussauds, home to waxworks of both Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch as the detective, plus interactive theatrical challenge the Sherlock Holmes Experience. The BBC adaptation used a townhouse at 187 North Gower Street to play the role of 221B Baker Street, and many scenes were filmed at next-door Speedy's Sandwich Bar & Café, where you can get a Sherlock Breakfast of eggs, avocado and salmon. The Criterion in Piccadilly Circus (now Savini at The Criterion) was where Dr Watson first heard about Sherlock Holmes, sowing the seeds of their relationship; a plaque commemorates the literary claim to fame. Brit Movie Tours runs a Sherlock Holmes Walking tour of London.

Celebrate in true British style this festive season and serve one of England's finest wines.  Named as a favourite by many of the country's leading drinks writers, the innovative Lyme Bay Winery has a selection of wines for every occasion, a perfect pour this Christmas and New Year.

Having painstakingly prepared a delicious selection of canapés for a stylish Christmas drinks party, the drinks offering needs to be carefully considered to ensure it enhances the flavours and adds elegance to the occasion.

A serious wine which will appeal to the discerning wine audience, the recently launched Lyme Bay Blanc de Noirs is made using 100% Pinot Noir grapes and provides a wonderful accompaniment to food.  The red fruit characters have a strong presence in this white sparkling wine.  It has a light copper hue in its appearance with fine, consistent bubbles.  On the nose it is rich and earthy with forward strawberry and cherry notes and a delicious richness on the palate is offset by a crisp acidity and a light toast finish.  There is no doubt that guests will be impressed.

The wine to have in the fridge which offers great versatility is a bottle of Lyme Bay Sandbar 2015.  Fresh and zesty with a range of characteristics including grapefruit, guava, box wood and a hint of blackcurrant, this makes a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.  It is produced from 100% Bacchus, a grape which is rapidly growing in awareness and popularity.  Light to medium in body, Sandbar has a beautiful balanced acidity with a great affinity to food pairing, particularly light, citrus-led fish or chicken pasta dishes.

Make your guests feel special this New Year's Eve, serve Lyme Bay Classic Cuvée.  Blended from the noble Champagne varieties Pinot Noir (81%) and Chardonnay (19%) this sparkling wine, with its delicate fine bubbles, golden colour and slight blush tint, has a refined finish.  Underlying lemons, peach and apricot are accompanied by cooked apples, breadcrumbs, honey and almond on the nose.  It has a crisp finesse and a classic look.

Looking ahead to Valentine's Day, Lyme Bay Sparkling Rosé is a stunning choice.  With its vibrant soft pink colour with notes of wild strawberries, pepper and redcurrant on the nose and a bright, fruit-driven palate with a richness of honey and hits of brioche and almond it is utterly divine.  A perfect gift for a loved one and a delicious wine to serve to create a romantic mood.

Charities in the City of Wolverhampton have shared £20,691 courtesy of former Mayor Cllr Barry Findlay.

Cllr Findlay was the city’s first citizen during 2016/2017 and throughout his time in office he and his wife Margaret, the Mayoress, raised money for four good causes.

His chosen charities were Wolverhampton Samaritans, The MS Therapy Centre, Help for Heroes and the Wolverhampton United Ex Service Council.

Over the year, Cllr Findlay and Margaret organised a variety of fundraising activities including an online auction, quizzes, concerts and coffee mornings.

They presented the charities with their cheques at a ceremony last week.

Cllr Findlay said: “It is a dilemma for any Mayor to select the charities they will raise money for during their year of office. There are so many deserving causes out there and we would want to help them all if we could.

“However, the charities I did choose do superb work for our communities and Margaret and I were proud and delighted to fundraise for them.

“I would like to personally thank everyone who donated or attended one of our events. These contributions have now been passed over to the charities and will be used to help people.”

Vernon Dodd, from Wolverhampton Samaritans, said: “We were absolutely delighted that Cllr Findlay nominated us as one of his charities. We take around 2,000 calls a month, day and night, from people in Wolverhampton and all our work is done by volunteers.

“We have to raise 100% of our running costs ourselves, so this help is much appreciated.”

Paul Nicholls, from Wolverhampton United Ex Service Council, said: “It’s a great honour to be nominated as a chosen charity. We will use the money to pay for a new flag known as a standard. We can now go out and people will recognise Wolverhampton Ex Service Council and it will bring us closer together.”

The MS Therapy Centre will use the money to enable it to continue offering various treatments such as oxygen, reflexology, aromatherapy and physiotherapy to people suffering with MS. Help for Heroes, will use the money to look after wounded, injured and sick service personnel.

Eden Project visitors will be pitted against villains springing from the pages of some of the most popular children's books ever as Roald Dahl's Halloweden is unleashed this October half-term (October 21-29).

The whole family can brave challenges from notorious characters such as the ghastly giants from Roald Dahl's The BFG and those devious practical jokers, Mr and Mrs Twit.

Roald Dahl's Halloweden will consist of a terrifying trail of immersive experiences across Eden based on five of the most iconic stories.

The Witches inspires a scary – but vitally important – training session for spotting real witches while Fantastic Mr Fox's Farm challenges visitors to travel through tunnels and sneak out plump chickens whilst evading capture from Boggis, Bunce and Bean.

Mr and Mrs Twit's house is full of terrible tricks and pranks and The BFG's cave is a magical, mystical wonder – just be sure to tiptoe from the dream-making station so as not to wake the sleeping giants.

Matilda's formidable headmistress and former Olympian Miss Trunchbull has set some demanding sports day challenges which must be mastered to avoid ending up in the Chokey.

Polly Randle, Eden Live Project Lead, said: “This Halloweden is going to be extra special with the addition of some of the scariest and most memorable villains from everyone's favourite Roald Dahl's stories.

“We're delighted to have the involvement of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate in creating this unique and imaginative programme that is all set to delight – and terrify – all our visitors.”

Bernie Hall, Marketing Director at Roald Dahl Literary Estate, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Eden during the Halloweden event this year as it provides the perfect opportunity for some of our most infamous villains to be a part of one of the most popular events in the UK and at Eden, and for visitors to be able to experience this enchanting event.

“It has been fantastic to further our relationship with Eden which began with the Biomes hosting Lego Billy for Roald Dahl Day this year.”

Roald Dahl's Halloweden takes place every day from October 21 to 29 and is included in the price of admission to Eden with no booking required.

For an evening of fang-tastic fun the popular party extravaganza Little Monsters' Ball returns to Eden on Saturday, October 28, at 6pm.

Everyone can don their favourite Halloween costumes and shake their bones on one of two dancefloors before indulging in some ghoulish grub such as eyeball pizza or roasted bat wings.

They can then enjoy a spine-tingling skate on the eerie Eden ice rink which will be open throughout half-term week.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is searching for four choirs from the Midlands area to be part of an event to mark the Twelfth Night of Christmas on Saturday 6 January 2018.

Coinciding with the RSC’s forthcoming production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the Company is holding a Wassail in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Roughly translated as ‘be in good health’, wassailing is an English tradition taking place on the Twelfth Night of Christmas, which involves singing the health of apple trees in the hope that they might yield a good harvest.

Choirs of any size, whose members should be aged 18 or over, will be provided with the music for six wassailing songs in advance for them to learn for the big day.  The songs will be arranged by Paul Sartin, founding member of award-winning folk ensembles such as Belshazzar’s Feast, Faustus and Bellowhead.

On the day of the Wassail itself, the choirs will need to spend a full day in Stratford, arriving for rehearsals at 11am and singing between 2-5pm.  The choirs will perform in outdoor locations near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, including Shakespeare’s New Place.

Louisa Davies from the RSC Events and Exhibition team said, “Given that we are performing Shakespeare’s great comedy, Twelfth Night, over the festive period, it felt the perfect moment to stage the RSC’s first wassail.  We are looking for choirs from within a 25 mile radius of Stratford to get involved, learn new arrangements of some rousing wassailing songs, and sing their hearts out here at this very special time of year.”

A local charity has created a new marathon challenge that everyone can get involved in – whether they’re a running novice or a busy, working parent.

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice has launched the ‘i-Marathon’, a new sporting event which allows running enthusiasts to cover 26.2 miles across the month of October.

The unique challenge allows participants to choose how far, how often, when and where they run – so long as they finish the marathon distance within one month.

So whether that’s one mile on the treadmill for 26 days or six miles in the local park every weekend, the i-Marathon is perfect for beginners who want to get into running, people with busy lifestyles, or those who simply want to get more fit and active.

Measuring the distance is easy, which can be done via activity trackers on watches and phones, apps such as Runkeeper, and a paper progress chart which is available in the charity’s free welcome pack.

Those runners that cover the 26.2 miles and raise a minimum sponsorship will also be rewarded with their own commemorative medal.

Created by Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, the DIY-style marathon will help raise crucial funds for the Selly Park-based charity which provides expert care to individuals and families living with terminal illness.

Lucy Watkins, events manager at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said: “With Birmingham gearing up for its first-ever marathon this October, our very own i-Marathon is the perfect alternative for those who want to go the distance but do so at their own pace.

“Marathons are tough but by spreading the distance across the month of October, we hope that more people feel like they can take on the challenge.

“As well as the satisfaction of completing such a gruelling distance, participants will also be helping to make a big difference to local families living with terminal illness. It costs £22,000 to run our Hospice each day and so we rely on the generosity of local people to help us continue to provide our services. All sponsorship money will go towards the Hospice, helping us reach even more individuals, families and carers living in Birmingham and Sandwell.”

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice offers a wide range of services in a number of settings, providing free care and support to over 1,200 local families living with terminal illness.