Colors: Blue Color

The Brexit effect is creating uncertainty among people planning to retire in 2017, with more than one in four (27 per cent) of this year’s retirees worried the decision to leave the EU will negatively impact their finances in the long term, according to the latest research by Prudential.

Prudential’s unique research, which has monitored the financial plans and aspirations of people planning to retire in the year ahead is now in its tenth year. Its Class of 2017 research provides a snapshot of the views of people retiring this year, as the UK starts the process of leaving the EU. It found that, for one in three (33 per cent) of the Class of 2017, the result of last June’s referendum has impacted their plans for retirement.

One in nine (11 per cent) of those who had planned to retire in 2017 have now changed their retirement date as a direct result of the outcome of the referendum. In fact, more than one in every 20 of this year’s retirees (six per cent) have actually changed the country they had planned to retire in including some, who had always planned to stay in the UK, now looking at options to move overseas.

However, two thirds of people planning to retire in 2017 (67 per cent) say that the vote to leave the EU has had no impact at all on their retirement plans, and one in eight (12 per cent) believe that leaving the EU will be good for their long-term finances in retirement.

Uncertainty caused by the decision to leave the EU appears to have underlined the value of financial advice to many of this year’s retirees, with nearly one in five (19 per cent) saying they are more likely to seek financial advice as a consequence of the referendum result. Meanwhile, 14 per cent say they are worried about the negative impact of the post-referendum market volatility on their pension fund.

Kirsty Anderson, a retirement expert at Prudential, said: “People planning to retire this year are expecting the highest retirement incomes since 2008 – so on the face of it, Brexit has had little impact on their retirement expectations. However, looking below the surface, there is a degree of uncertainty and nervousness among many of this year’s retirees.

“As you would expect, for many people who have been planning and saving for their retirement for most of their working lives, even the biggest of political upheavals won’t make a difference to their long-term plans. But with one in three new retirees telling us that their retirement plans have been affected by the referendum result, it is clear that uncertainty is having an impact for some.

“It is encouraging to see that faced with uncertainty, be it around the performance of their investments or where they plan to set up home after their working lives, the Class of 2017 are seeking professional financial advice. It is also important to remember that pension saving is for the long term and, irrespective of single events no matter how momentous, the best way for most people to provide for a comfortable retirement is to save as much as possible from as early as possible, into a pension.”

It was 50 years ago in June 1967 that The Beatles released what is regarded by many to be the greatest album of all time - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. And it was 54 years ago that The Beatles made their third and final appearance in 1963 at the now sadly burnt down Ritz Ballroom next door to the Hare & Hounds on York Road, King's Heath, Birmingham.

Now King's Heath Walk Of Fame are delighted to present a very special show to celebrate this unique double anniversary starring John Lennon's sister's favourite tribute band The Mersey Beatles at the award winning Hare & Hounds on Sunday 4 June

Described by the British Beatles Fan Club as 'the Best Beatles tribute band', The Mersey Beatles were all born and grew up in Liverpool. They were the resident band at the legendary Cavern Club for over 10 years and now regularly tour throughout Europe and the U.S.A. Throughout May they will be performing an 11 date American  tour before returning to perform their Sgt Pepper show at Liverpool's prestigeous Epstein Theatre on 1 June.

Three days later they will bring the show to the Hare & Hounds on 4 June.

John Lennon's sister Julia Baird comparing them to other Beatles tribute bands said 'The Mersey Beatles are the most authentic I've heard ... and I've heard them all'.

Joe Flannery, Brian Epstein's assistant, said 'When I saw them in The Cavern they perfectly recreated the atmosphere that the original Beatles produced. It was like listening to The Beatles again'.

A British Beatles Fan Club review of a previous show said 'The quality of the music was superb with each song reproduced in the original key with spot-on harmonies and perfect guitar solos that had the audience marvelling at the sheer quality of the talent on view'.

In the first half of the concert The Mersey Beatles will perform Sgt Pepper in it's entirety and in the second half 20 of The Beatles' greatest hits.

A weekend stay at a luxury spa hotel complete with an off-road Land Rover driving experience is just one of the amazing lots available in the Mayor of Wolverhampton’s annual charity auction.

This year’s online auction – which launches at 10am on Monday (APR 24) - is the biggest ever with 38 lots up for grabs which have been donated by local businesses, organisations and individuals.

Mayor Cllr Barry Findlay’s chosen charities are Wolverhampton Samaritans, the MS Therapy Centre in Tettenhall and Help For Heroes and all money raised in the auction will go to them.

As well as the spa break with Land Rover driving experience – which was donated by Jaguar Land Rover – there are plenty of other fantastic lots to suit all budgets.

They include:

  • A Porche driving experience at Silverstone (donated by Porche).
  • Signed Wolves shirts and 2 tickets in the directors’ box at Molineux for a match of your choice (donated by Wolverhampton Wanderers)
  • Family tickets to Dudley Zoo, The Severn Valley Railway and Ironbridge Gorge Museums
  • Golfing experiences
  • Luxury hampers
  • An iPad
  • Various health and beauty products
  • Various DIY and gardening products

Cllr Findlay said: “I am overwhelmed by the quality of auction lots we have on offer this year. The generosity of our local businesses and organisations has been amazing.

“People have the chance to bid for some really exciting things – either for themselves or perhaps as a present for a loved one.

“You could be whisking someone away for a luxury spa break or taking the family for a wonderful day out to some of our top regional attractions.

“Perhaps you fancy bidding for one of the lovely food hampers or some of the DIY products. The great thing is that there is something for all interests and budgets.

“I would urge everyone to bid – you never know whether yours will be the winning bid. All money raised from this auction is for charities who do such valuable and inspiring work and rely on donations to help keep them going.”

To see all the lots and to place a bid visit and follow the link to the auction page.

Just weeks after announcing a 26-date summer tour of North America, Queen + Adam Lambert have revealed further live plans for 2017 which will now see the band return to Europe later this year for a series of concerts in the UK and Ireland. The tour will showcase a spectacular new stage production and a set list, which the band hints will provide some surprises.

Queen + Adam Lambert’s UK and Ireland tour will see them perform at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on 30 November and 16 December. 

These shows will mark the band’s first full British tour in almost three years, having last performed across the UK in January 2015 when they played 10 sold out shows. Their only UK appearance in 2016 was a one-off headlining set at the closing night of the Isle of Wight Festival on Sunday June 12, part of a 15-date European summer festival tour. Isle of Wight festival organiser John Giddings credited the band with “the greatest show we have ever had”

For their 2017 tour, the band will unveil a brand new show including a specially designed state-of-the-art production. The choice of performance material will no doubt acknowledge this year’s 40th anniversary of Queen’s biggest-selling studio album to date, News of the World from 1977, which yielded the immortal anthems “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”.

Queen drummer and co-founder Roger Taylor insists the 2017 tour “will look entirely different to the show we took around before. Production has really changed a lot, the things you can do now, you have a much broader palette, the technology has really come along. But we don’t use it all. We don’t play to click track. It’s 100% live. We're planning on doing stuff we either haven't done before or haven't done for a long time. We started as an albums band, that's what we were. The fact that we had hits was just a by-product.”

Guitarist Brian May confirms Queen’s 2017 shows will have a more ambitious musical agenda. “The general public knows the hits, so you've got to cater for that,” he says, “but we can chuck in a few things that people really don't expect. We’ll do quite a bit more of that this time around. There are so many dimensions to Adam, which of course fits with our music. He can get down and do the rock stuff really dirty, and you have all those dimensions, and we can explore that even more.”

Adam Lambert welcomes the challenge of digging deeper into the band’s canon of classics. “What people should know if they came to the shows a couple of years back, is obviously we will still be playing the big hit songs you know and love from Queen, but we thought it would be good to challenge ourselves a bit,” he explains. “Change it up a little bit, change the visuals, change all the technology, change the set list to some degree. We will probably be pulling some other songs out of the Queen catalogue which we haven’t done before, which I am very excited about.”


Unions representing workers in the cultural sector have written an open letter to candidates in the West Midlands mayoral election calling on the candidates to commit to securing a new TV and film studio for the region, greater devolution of arts spending to the region and a fairer deal for cultural workers.

The letter points out that whilst the region is the home of Shakespeare and other fantastic cultural assets the region is disadvantaged when it comes to per head of population arts funding with only £4.58 versus London's £69.

To maximise the region’s cultural potential a cultural manifesto has been published urging the incoming Mayor to address 6 key areas:

  • A Midlands film and television studio facility.
  • Trade union recognition and implementation of negotiated agreements as a condition of public funding.
  • An integrated local government policy framework to support live venues, festivals and street performers (including infrastructure, public transport, regulatory framework etc).
  • An increase in public spending on the arts in the Midlands until per capita regional arts spending is on a par with London.
  • Secure, properly paid, professional employment for cultural workers and arts educators.
  • Local control of all arts spending in the region (including Arts Council England).
In the letter, the culture unions state  “We know what needs to be done to support our cultural industries so we urge the Mayor to push for devolution of arts funding – it's time Whitehall trusted the West Midlands. By working together we can build a cultural devolution that offers fairness for its workers, grows our economy, and benefits all citizens in the West Midlands.”

Residents who want to bring out the bunting and organise street parties for The Great Get Together in June are being encouraged to get applications for road closures in to the City of Wolverhampton Council as soon as possible.

The Great Get Together is taking place nationally over the weekend of 17 and 18 June 2017, with people invited to join family, friends and neighbours for street parties, barbecues, picnics and Bake Off-style competitions.

This year's event is being organised by The Big Lunch and the Jo Cox Foundation, set up in memory of the Batley MP who was murdered last June, in association with a number of other groups and organisations.

Many of those taking part are expected to apply for permission to close their road to traffic in order to hold street parties for the local community.

To help them do this, the City of Wolverhampton Council is fast tracking applications from residents and community groups for road closures over the weekend of 17 and 18 June, and is also waiving the fee for road closures, which is normally around £600.

Councillor Roger Lawrence, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "The Great Get Together is a wonderful opportunity for families, friends and neighbours to come together and have a good time, and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to join in the fun, particularly if they are planning to hold street parties.

“Road closures need to be agreed by members of the Safety Advisory Group, who include representatives from the council, emergency services and transport organisations, and so it is important that anyone who is arranging a street party gets in touch with us as soon as possible.

"We have waived the normal road closure fee for this special event, and in the vast majority of cases no additional licences or permissions will be required.”

A Hairdressing apprentice at Walsall College is set to compete against the finest crop of talent in the Midlands, in the regional heat of the Wella XPOSURE on Wednesday 26th April.

April Morgan, 18, an Advanced Level 3 Hairdressing apprentice at Boyd’s Hair Design in Cannock, is just one of 20 budding hairdressers who have made it through to the Midlands regional heat, after impressing judges with their photographic entries of commercial cut and colour looks.

Three further regional heats are also taking place across the UK, where students will compete and have just one hour to replicate their looks. Five students from each of these heats will then be selected for the national final at Wella World Studio in London on 5th June, where one student will be crowned Britain’s top student hairdresser!

Wella XPOSURE is the leading nationwide hairdressing competition for students. Now in its eighth year, it offers hairdressing students the opportunity to compete in an inter-college challenge.

Ideal for those looking to take their first step on the competition ladder, XPOSURE promises to celebrate imagination, creativity, and talent amongst young hairdressers. It is the ideal springboard for any college student or apprentice, with winners receiving great exposure within the industry.

Top prizes include £1,000 of Wella Professionals training vouchers, a £500 tool kit, a chance to work with a top hairdresser for the day and educational support for a year.

April said: “I’m really excited to have got this far and I’m looking forward to competing on the day. I’m also very grateful that the college and my employer encouraged me to enter this competition as it is a massive boost to my career.”

Walsall College is inviting students across the borough, looking to get on the career ladder, to come along to its ‘Get Set for an Apprenticeship’ event on Wednesday 26th April, 4-7pm. The event will help school leavers brush up their CV and interview skills and search and apply for vacancies.


The days are longer, the flowers are blooming, and Easter has been and gone. That can mean only one thing - spring has sprung in England and Wales.

While the sunny weather has put smiles on the faces of most, spring also means busy season is arriving for the RSPCA’s officers and wildlife centre staff as the baby boom begins. Because hand-in-hand with spring comes a surge of calls about baby wild animals and birds who need the charity’s help.

Whether they’ve been attacked and injured by another animal, separated from their mum, or even orphaned, the RSPCA is always there to help baby animals in need.

Since the beginning of February to today (20 April), the charity has take in 753 young wild animals, including fledglings, nestlings and juveniles - 499 of which were birds and 254 mammals.

Work by Sandwell Council to support the armed forces has led to a top award from the Royal British Legion. The Legion's Tipton branch presented its main award for an outstanding provider to Sandwell Council.

Sandwell’s Armed Forces Covenant has been recognised by the Legion for the work it does to help servicemen and women in the borough. Bal Dhillon, project officer in Sandwell's communities team, accepted the Fred Perry Shield at the branch’s annual award ceremony.

The council, which last year secured a £92,000 bid for a Covenant grant to support armed forces leavers and their families, had already picked up the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award.

It was given the silver award for its support of defence personnel in line with the Armed Forces Covenant.

The award acknowledged the council’s initiatives including employing reservists and service leavers, providing advice on housing, leisure discounts, schools and learning, jobs and volunteering, welfare and financial support and health.

Sandwell Mayor, Councillor Julie Webb, said: "Sandwell is proud to support the armed forces and the council is delighted to be recognised with the Fred Perry Shield."

Last year, Sandwell Council pledged its ongoing support for people who serve or have served in the armed forces and their families.

The council and Ministry of Defence signed a new covenant, which commits Sandwell to supporting the armed forces community.

The Armed Forces Covenant recognises "the value serving personnel, both regular and reservist, veterans and military families contribute to our business and our country".

The council encourages local businesses, community groups and individuals to pledge their support too.

Go to to find out more. This webpage has advice on housing, leisure discounts, schools and learning, jobs and volunteering, welfare and financial support and health.

The key aims of the covenant are to ensure no member of the armed forces community faces disadvantage when accessing local services and that special treatment is considered where appropriate, especially for the injured and bereaved.

The Mayor of Sandwell chairs a partnership board, which meets every three months to make sure the aims of the covenant are being followed.

Landlords now have just a year to meet a new energy-friendly target for the properties they rent – or face a restriction on granting new tenancies.

In 2016, the government declared that all tenanted properties must achieve a minimum of an E rating in their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Landlords whose buildings fail to reach this standard by April 2018 will no longer be able to offer a tenancy to new tenants.

Those who let properties with an EPC rating below or close to the required rating must ensure works are carried out to bring their homes up to scratch in the next 12 months.

Allison Thompson, managing director at property specialist Leaders, says: “Failure to achieve a minimum of an E rating will leave landlords unable to let a property to a new tenant, while some recent legal updates have suggested they could also be prevented from renewing an existing tenancy.

“As the deadline gets even closer, we expect tradespeople capable of carrying out eco-friendly home improvements to be in extremely high demand, so landlords would be wise to have work carried out sooner rather than later.

“The good news for landlords whose properties fall below the minimum standard is that there are plenty of ways to upgrade a property’s energy performance, including adding insulation to the walls and ceiling, draught-proofing, installing a new boiler and repairing or replacing doors and windows.”

Thousands of older properties across the UK – particularly those that date back to the Edwardian and Victorian periods – are expected to fail to reach an E rating, making green improvements a must.

Allison adds: “Although some landlords will be required to spend significant sums on improving their homes in the next 12 months, it’s worth remembering the benefits of doing so. These include potentially enjoying significantly lower gas and electricity bills for years to come.”

Leaders is able to offer support to landlords looking to make eco-friendly home improvements in order to meet the new regulations and can recommend qualified and experienced contractors to carry out work.

ChariTable Bookings is the revolutionary Free Restaurant Booking Service that gives back to charity at absolutely no cost to individuals and fast attracting celebrity support and leading ambassadors.

When making a booking through, from a growing list of 7,726 restaurants across the UK, £1 for EVERY diner in the party will be donated by ChariTable Bookings to a charity of the booker’s choice.

Customers can choose one charitable cause close to their heart every time they make a booking from a list of 7,624 UK registered charities, from local projects to global endeavours, supporting a wide range of causes including education, the elderly, health, the environment, veterans, the homeless, animal welfare, the arts, children’s wellbeing and many more.

Whether for business or for pleasure, ChariTable Bookings is THE philanthropic restaurant bookings platform that gives more availability than any other restaurant booking system. Bookings can be simply made through the user-friendly website, available across all devices and the iOS native app.

From everyone at The Phoenix Newspaper, Happy St George's Day, we hope you have a great day whatever you are doing, especially if you are attending a parade or gathering!

Enjoy an exciting historical jousting tournament at Blenheim Palace from 29th April – 1st May. Recreating the glorious jousting matches of Britain's 13th Century, knights will do battle in a daring display of bravery and skill.

Taking place on May Bank Holiday weekend on the South Lawn at Blenheim Palace the Knights of Royal England with engage in a jousting knockout. Each jousting tournament will be staged twice daily over the weekend starting at 12.30pm and 3pm.

Visitors can enjoy a weekend of entertainment with plenty of interactive activities and family friendly entertainment. Enjoy jesters in the side arena, followed by a Jester workshop and Baby Dragon walkabout.

Watch a thrilling falconry display and see the birds of prey in action. As well as falcons, families will also have a chance to meet a Harris Hawk, Eagle Owl and American Kestrel with two shows daily in the Main Arena.

Furthermore families can get stuck in and have a go at archery on Blenheim Palace's South Lawn as well as exploring the extensive grounds and parkland and taking a ride on the miniature train to the Pleasure Gardens. Once there families can enjoy the permanent features like the Marlborough Maze, Adventure Play Area and Butterfly House.

For the younger children there will be Baby Dragon's walking about. Hatched from a small Dragon sanctuary in the Welsh Marshes, these delightful creatures are very friendly and well mannered, although a dragon is never entirely predictable… Discover an exciting Dragon Procession and head to the marquee to hear some magical Dragon Tales.

This May Bank Holiday head to Pinetum Gardens in St Austell Cornwall to discover two fascinating garden trails. Explore the 30-acres of carefully curated gardens and marvel at 6,000 different plants which include native and exotic species all flourishing on the Cornish Riviera.

New for spring is the Hidden Gardeners Trail – celebrating the natural world's 'hidden gardeners' the sculptural trail feature giant metal recreations of creatures which are essential to garden life.

Visitors can spot these brilliant beasts, which include a bat, bee, beetle, spider, dragonfly and a snail all made out of shaped steel as they walk around the Park. Set into the natural landscape the Hidden Gardeners Trail is perfect for all the family, including the dog, to enjoy over the bank holiday weekend.

Visitors can also take The Soul Bird Trail as they wander around the gardens. Adapted from the enchanting book, first published in Hebrew, by Michal Snunit the trail leads you from the Secret Garden out and beyond the Pinetum to the Soul Bird Hideaway.

Find a series of cabinets artfully located within the flora and fauna of the park which invite you to open drawers and discover poetic phrases, insightful inspiration and thoughts taken from the book. Finish the Trail in the Soul Bird Hideaway and share your thoughts and feelings. Engaging and inspiring on a variety of levels all the family will enjoy the spiritual tour, experiencing the tranquillity of the gardens as well as meeting the wildlife within them.

Separated in to 10 different themed areas, visitors can explore the famous Pinetum which features 80 varieties of conifer including the giant redwood from America which can reach up to 90 metres in height.

Other highlights include the Japanese Garden, inspired by visits to the botanical gardens in Kyoto, the Water Garden, with its giant gunnera, the Woodland Garden, with its bluebells, camellias and rhododendrons, and the traditional Cornish Cottage Garden complete with water features and colourful flowers.

Both trails are free to enjoy.

On St George's Day itself, tomorrow, Sunday 23 April, there is the annual parade and fete organised by Stone Cross St George. The parade will form from around 9.45am in Westminster Road, start around 10.45am and end at Dartmouth Park around 11.45am.

At Dartmouth Park, there will be a short service by the war memorial followed by a fun family fete running until 5pm.

The fete includes fun fairs, craft stalls, re-enactments and bouncy castles. Rolling road closures will be in place for the parade, with roads reopening once it has passed safely through.

Cyclists are gearing up for a day of nostalgia to mark the 75th anniversary of Britain’s first ever road race which had its birthplace in Wolverhampton.

And they will be remembering the city’s world-famous cycle racer and builder Percy Stallard, who organised and championed the historic 59-mile race.

Despite opposition at the time, from the National Cyclists’ Union, Percy Stallard organised the road race for 40 cyclists who rode from Llangollen to Wolverhampton on June 7 1942.

To celebrate the landmark event, which changed the face of British cycling, people are invited to the City Archives, in the restored Molineux Hotel, on Saturday June 3.

Scores of restored Stallard bikes, a Sunbeam and other Wolverhampton-made cycles will be on show alongside displays, photographs and memories about the ground-breaking race and the city’s cycling hero Percy Stallard.

The Friends of the Archives will provide refreshments and Wolverhampton City Radio is broadcasting its regular Saturday Sport Report live from the event from 10am-12 noon.

Percy, who died aged 92 in 2001, ran his cycle shop in Broad Street and made much sought-after bespoke cycles. He became a member of the Wolverhampton Wheelers Cycling club and was a keen competitor in cycle races, competing for Great Britain in international races during the 1930s, including three consecutive world championships in 1933, 1934 and 1935. He was also a successful cycling coach and team captain.

He came up against opposition for his planned road race because up until 1942 cycling in Britain was all track racing but Percy wanted a mass road race much like those held on the continent.

He was quoted years later as saying “I just explained to the police what I was doing and told them that things like that were normal on the Continent and they said they were happy and that they'd try to help.”

He got sponsorship from the Express & Star and offered any profits to the newspaper's Forces Comfort Fund, and recruited 40 riders to take part. The rest was history.

Councillor John Reynolds, cabinet member for City Economy, said: “Wolverhampton has many famous sons and Percy Stallard was certainly one of them. He was instrumental in changing the face of British cycling with this road race and so it is only right we mark its 75th anniversary.”

Bike enthusiast and collector Luke Williams, who is helping to organise the event, added: “Percy’s own bikes are legendary and examples of them, along with other Wolverhampton makes, will be on show. It will be wonderful to see lots of cycling enthusiasts at the archives to celebrate the city’s cycling heritage and the anniversary of this historic event.”