Charity cyclist reaches for the sky

Local resident and keen cyclist Stefan Bird had a very busy summer. Having organised a very successful 1940s themed afternoon and evening in the village in June, he then took part in the Ride London 100 bike ride. All his activities have been in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund, and he’s raised around £1500. Having served in the RAF for six years, it was an easy choice for him to choose which charity to support.

Stefan Bird medal

He really enjoyed doing the ride and completed it in just over six hours, despite having slowed down over the last few miles to support another rider who was struggling with the distance. “The best part was coming round the corner at Trafalgar Square and seeing my family there supporting me” he said.

stefan family

His fundraising won’t stop though, he’s already applied to do next year’s Ride London 100 bike ride, and another social event with music next Spring, again in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund.

If you’d like to keep in touch with Stefan and find out about next year’s events you can email him on

Balsall Common Primary ‘Slips into Slippers’ for Older People’s Day

Balsall Common Primary School recently took part in Slip into Slippers for the second year running. Age UK Solihull is one of their favourite charities, not least because the children love to hear from one of their teachers, Miss Hughes, about her weekly visits to Stan aged 93, as she volunteers as a befriender for Age UK Solihull. Miss Hughes also took part in the Great Birmingham Run in support of the charity on 18 October.

slip into slippers

Lorraine Hart, Fundraising Manager at Age UK Solihull, says, “It was great to see so many schools, staff and local business people take part this year. It’s an easy and fun way to raise money for the charity, but at the same time there’s a serious message about the value of older people in society, both at work and in the home, and a way to recognise all that our parents and grandparents do for us”.

Howard Rose, Funding & Publicity Manager at Balsall Common Primary School said “this is the second year we have supported Age UK Solihull through ‘Slip into Slippers’ and I am pleased to say we have been able to raise even more money this year. The children really enjoy the day and it is a great way to support such a fantastic charity.”

Age UK’s Big Knit campaign is now well underway. If you can knit why not join in, all the information and patterns you need are online at .

If you are interested in fundraising or volunteering for Age UK Solihull, contact 0121 704 3361, email events@ageuksolihull or visit .

Community Bonfire tickets now on sale

This year’s Lions Club and Sports Association Grand Charity Bonfire will take place on Saturday 7 November.  It will be held in the same place as last year, the Lant Sports Ground, Meeting House Lane.

Advance tickets are on sale now at Angela Jayne’s Florist, the A1 Motorist Shop, and Oakes Farm Shop. 

Year 12 pupils at the Heart of England School have been busy working on a magnificent five panel mural based on the film Inside Out. Please do arrive before the bonfire is lit for your chance to see the artwork before it goes up in flames! 


Organisers would love to see as many guys in the competition as possible so get busy making them! Please bring your entries along between 12noon and 2pm or after 5pm on the 7th November.

6:00pm – Gates open
6:30pm – Guy Competition – Judges verdict
7:00pm – Bonfire lit
7:30pm – Fireworks
8:00pm – Raffle Draw
All times are approximate


Advance family tickets*: £15 (includes 2 adults and up to 3 children)
Advance individual tickets: £6 adult; £3 child
Gate fees: Adult £7; Accompanied child £3
Note: There will be no family tickets available for sale at the gates.

Official Ticket Outlets
Angela Jaynes Florist
Oakes Farm Shop
A1 Motorist Shop
Public Health Notice: No sparklers or private fireworks to be brought on site.
Public information: Limited parking.
Local residents are invited to keep this Lions event’s tradition and walk.

bonfire poster 2105

Local group fundraising for Marie Curie

The new Balsall Common and Berkswell Marie Curie Fundraising Group has now raised over £1400 with more donations still to come.

The group had a really successful day at the Balsall Common Festival, running activities on a stall, selling copies of Getting Personal by Bill Fine, and meeting the Mayor of Solihull.

mayor marie curie

Chair of the group John Thomas said: “We were delighted to see so many friends and supporters at the festival, and are grateful for all the donations, offers of time and support for our group. All the money raised will be spent locally helping Marie Curie to care for terminally ill people. They do a great job and we’re proud to support them.”

By coincidence on the next festival stall was Rachel Lilley, a member of the Balsall Common Running Club, who is aiming to raise £1000 for Marie Curie this year.

Along with her partner, Paul Yeoman, she ran her first marathon in Paris earlier this year, and is about to take part in the New York marathon too. A nurse, working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, she has worked hard to fit in her training around night shifts. She supports Marie Curie after they cared for her nan in their hospice in Solihull, and because of her admiration for the work of Marie Curie nurses. It also ties in with Paul’s fundraising efforts for Cancer Research in honour of his late mum.

Rachel Lilley

Rachel is well on her way to reaching her target, if you’d like to help her she has a Just Giving page, she and the local Marie Curie group would be very grateful.

If you’d like to join the group or offer your time – it could be as little as two hours collecting donations in the village a couple of times a year, or more if you’d like it to be – please contact Guy Hawes. You can also find the group on Facebook.