6 November 2015

Unknown Soldiers

The final resting place of Frank Keys
 August 1977. Donna Summer was No 1 in the charts with 'I Feel Love' soon to be ousted by a plethora of Elvis songs due to his death on the toilet in Graceland. The only death that mattered to me during that month was that of my beloved Grandfather at the age of 69. I was 15 and although death had touched my life prior to my Grandfather's passing, it hadn't absolutely crushed my soul as this one did.

This blog is not about my Grandfather though. It is about what went before in the history of my family and what followed. For two weeks following his death I stayed with my bereaved Grandmother, sleeping next to her in my Grandfather's bed, on hand to deal with the tea making and a myriad of other things including keeping her company and holding her hand. Those two weeks along with a week that my Mother spent with me following the birth of my son in 1994, are held as the most precious of times.

At night we lay side by side in twin beds and Nan talked whilst I listened and I learned so much. She talked of her childhood lived in the mean streets of Aston, regaling stories of her sisters and her Mother, of school, of games, of being the Spearmint Queen, of how she met my Grandfather, courting, the Monkey Run in Aston, working at Dunlop and other places too. She also talked about her Father. She had no memories of him for he died when she was a mere 18 months old on the killing fields of The Somme. I've written about him before. Frank Keys was an ordinary man who lived in extraordinary times and he was missed by my Grandmother for all of her life.

Grave with the remains of six unknown soldiers
Those two weeks spent with Nan were in retrospect a wonderful gift, for she ignited a spark that, coupled with stories my Grandfather told me throughout my childhood, grew into a life long passion for family history. We first visited her Father Frank's grave in France in 1990 and I have wanted to return for a very long time. I got that opportunity whilst on holiday in France in July.

Our first day on The Somme was dull with a soft mist of rain that eased only briefly during the day. Despite the rain it was 28C, so being outside was similar to being immersed in a warm bath throughout day.

 First stop was Serre Road No 2 Cemetery where 7,127 soldiers are buried of which, only 2,183 have been identified. It is Frank's final resting place although it was not his first. Frank like so many, was originally in death, an unknown soldier. First interred at High Wood his remains were exhumed on 15th June 1928. The remains were examined, Frank's identity disc was gone as was his hair but he still wore his uniform and boots and had certain pieces of equipment with him. He also had an identifying button and was wearing his wedding ring. Frank is recorded as being 5'7" tall and of his teeth, all were in good condition apart from the 4 upper and 1 lower that had been extracted in life. Frank's death certificate states that he died of wounds and I have spent many hours wondering what those wounds were and if he lingered in pain, hoping that he didn't. I think the answer to this lies in the exhumation report; Frank's lower back was broken.

His wedding ring was returned to his regiment, The South Staffords. What happened to that ring that had lain for 12 years on Frank's body? Frank's widow Ellen died in January 1928, my Grandmother was a mere 13 years old and now an orphan. I am sure that she never knew of it.

None of that information had been available to me the first time I visited Frank's grave so this time, there was even more poignancy than the first time and more questions in my head that can never be answered.

The cemetery is huge, gradually rising from the road on a gentle slope but it is not impersonal. Beautifully kept as all CWGC cemeteries are, it is arranged in such a way so that you do not get the full impact of just how many soldiers rest there until you stand in one of the upper corners and look down towards the entrance. I caught my breath as I imagined those 7,127 soldiers all standing facing the entrance and away from me, as if on parade, uniforms neat and spotless, boots shining. In my imagination they stood silently, their faces unknown but known from the hundreds of photographs and silent films that survive from their time. A tear slipped down my cheek and mingled with the soft rain falling from the sky.

We stood in front of Frank's grave and then Aiden left me to spend some time alone with him. I told him of all the major events in my life since I had last stood there some 25 years before, including the death of my dearest Grandmother,his daughter and of a new generation, my children. I promised once again that he would never be forgotten and that I would return again.

Late morning saw us travel the few miles to the memorial at Thiepval. Thiepval is the largest Commonwealth war memorial in the world. At 45 meters tall it can be seen for miles around. A focal point. This visit was personal too, not for me but for Aiden. I will leave him to tell the full story of Herbert Goulding, his Great Grandfather but he seems to have been an amazing man from what we have discovered of him.

Herbert's name is one of the 72,205 names of Commonwealth soldiers whose bodies have never been found or identified. The unknown soldiers. In addition to the commemoration of the unknown there are also 600 graves at Thiepval, 300 from the Commonwealth and 300 French soldiers. They lie together in perpetuity.

Herbert unlike Frank was a career soldier. By the time World War 1 erupted he was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He was much decorated having spent many years soldiering in Africa including the Sudan and in the Anglo-Boer War. We know that Herbert died on 4th November 1916 virtually at the end of the Somme offensive. We know that he died at Guedecourt and we know that his death must have been 'glorious in war' for he was just a few weeks later, posthumously awarded the Military Cross. He was father to three young children; Ethel, Herbert and Ella and husband to Ethel.

Thiepval was shrouded beneath scaffolding as essential works were undertaken to ensure that the memorial is at its best for the commemorations in 2016 of the centennial of The Somme Battle but it was still an imposing sight. The French Tricolour and the Union flag fluttered above and still the soft warm rain continued to fall. As we walked closer to the memorial the names of some of the unknown became clearer and as we climbed the steps the full impact of what 72.205 names inscribed into Portland Stone actually looks like struck us. Thiepval is a powerful monument. Those columns of names, one after the other, row upon row, wall upon wall, all of them someone's son, father, brother, grandson, nephew, uncle, envelope you, wrapping themselves around you giving a true sense of the enormity of what happened and what was lost; a generation and then the tendrils of events and changes that happen throughout the generations to come because of what happened to these men.

We found Herbert's name. It is an automatic action to reach out and touch the only thing that is left of someone. I left Aiden to his tears and thoughts and he laid his poppy.

Many ask why is this so emotional, to visit a memorial or a grave of someone that is unknown to you but it part of your genetic character? I have no real answer but even in places where neither of us had a relative lying underneath there was still a raw pull against the heart. It's all those soldiers standing there, still whole in your imagination, so young, so full of hope for the future.

We walked around the graves and paid special homage at the grave of an unknown soldier of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

Inside the visitor centre there was more and entirely unexpected emotion to come for both of us. Pam and Ken Linge have been working on a database for The Missing of The Somme for many years and now have biographical  details of over 12,000 of the missing available to view at the centre. Herbert had a full page all to himself and we read newspaper articles reporting comments made by those who had known him in life. All were unanimous in saying what a considerate, kind and thoughtful man Herbert was and how much he would be missed. Beside the computer tables was a panel, created in 2004 containing head and shoulder pictures of 600 of the missing. On the bottom row near the right hand side was a photograph of Herbert. We were amazed and Aiden was overcome. It is not every day that a discovery such as this is made and realisation dawns that thousands of visitors in the centre every year gaze upon Herbert's face. Naturally we purchased the poster.

Later in the afternoon we visited Lochnagar Crater, so named after Lochnagar Street which was a British communication trench. Here in 1916 the enemy lines came within 15 yards of one another. At the end of June 1916 the 179th Tunnelling Company packed 2 explosive charges of 26.8 tons that at 7.28 am on the 1st of July 1916, along with 16 other mines, exploded. The explosion was so loud that it could be heard in Downing Street. The crater is 91 meters in diameter and 21 meters deep. It is immediately apparent that the crater is itself a war grave. It would not have been possible at the time to have recovered all the bodies of those killed on this front line stretch with the myriad of tunnels underneath and indeed men who died so long ago are still being discovered. Private George Nugent went missing in action on 1st July 1916. 82 years later his remains emerged from the chalky soil.

As we stood at the crater looking out across the peaceful and lovely countryside it was hard to remember that this was once hell and is the final resting place of thousands of soldiers, known and unknown. As we drove all around the Somme we were acutely aware of the number of memorials and cemeteries, large and small, so very many. It would take months if not years to visit every single one. We reflected upon how many graves we had seen that day. We thought about 20,000. 20,000 graves in just one day. I tried to imagine 20,000 men standing across the countryside but the number was too large for me to conjure out of my head.

The rain continued to fall and we returned to the car. It is hard not to reflect upon the futility of war, of all wars when you are faced with the reality of the aftermath. Even so I feel humbled by the contribution that mine and Aiden's Great Grandfathers' made and of the ultimate sacrifice they and their families made. The echoes of their lives and deaths are with us still, as are those of all the unknown soldiers, the missing. May they continue to be found.
Thiepval Cemetery

Rupert Brooke

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:

    That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
    In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
    Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
    Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,

    A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
        Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
    And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
        In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

4 November 2015

A small piece of the history of Aldridge Manor House

As we know Aldridge Manor House Youth Club will close soon and the building and substantial grounds will then be placed on the open market and a little slice of history and a building used by generations of people in Aldridge, will be lost to the village. I do however, have some good news!

Last week I received my copy of Sue Satterthwaite's new book "A Patriotic Endeavour - Aldridge Manor House as a Military Hospital 1915-1919" and it is brilliant! Sue has managed to pull together all the relevant source material and tells a story that is probably unknown to many residents of Aldridge. She tells it well, bringing events and people to life once again.

There are some lovely stories within and some that hint at scandal! What shines through though is what a different place Aldridge was then. The people really came together to get the hospital up and running and there are some real heroes and heroines. I was fascinated by the glimpses given of some very interesting people who made Aldridge their home including a militant suffragette!

The book is part of the Aldridge Great War Project and all profits will go to this worthwhile local project.

It is now on sale for £9.99  at the following outlets:

Walsall Garden Centre
Aldridge Library
Lynda's Pets & Plants - Lazy Hill 
St Thomas' Project - Lazy Hill 
Simply Delicious
Croft News
Waterstones - Walsall
Walsall Local History Centre

If you're looking for a special gift for someone for Christmas then this book is ideal. As I say, it is well written, beautifully presented  and of interest to all ages.

3 November 2015

Sweet Sixteen

Around about the same time of day that I am writing this now but 16 years ago, my waters broke and my daughter's journey into the world began. The journey had its moments as all labouring does but she was safely delivered and in perfect form with all fingers, toes and so on, to two ecstatic parents 12 hours later in the dark hours before dawn on the 4th November. In order to impress upon her Father just  who would be in charge right from the word go, she duly allowed the meconium stored within, an exit or maybe an entrance, all over him the first time he held her. Bless!

As a baby she was a joy, never too demanding and allowing us a decent amount of sleep between feeding. She smiled within days of her birth and that smile lit up for everyone who came into contact with her and they became smitten with the simplicity and beauty of that smile.

A few years ago now Father Christmas asked me if she had been a good girl that year. He was disbelieving when I replied that she had been a good girl all of her life. It is however, true. I have never had to raise my voice to her, never had to discipline her. She has been a golden girl for 16 years now.

Like her brother she is fiercely independent and scarily intelligent and as the common denominator to my children I would like to think that my genes have something to do with both traits but alas I can claim no credit for the latter, for she gets to grips with concepts I cannot even fathom and she works so incredibly hard with a determination I can only dream of when immediate enlightenment does not fall.

At six weeks old she was attempting to form words and speak. Crazy. We encouraged this and sure enough, by the time she was just one year old, she could string two or three words together in a basic sentence. It is fair to say she has a gift for the English language, both oral and written. This coupled with her imagination, wild, free and unlimited in its capacity means that it has always been an incredible pleasure to talk with her and to read her writings.

For many years she was my shadow and was with me at every turn. Now she is a young woman, maturing, evolving and what was once a noon shadow is now an early evening lengthening. As it should be.

She has been a wonderful gift this daughter of mine not just to me and her father but to the world. I could wax lyrical all day and night about her and her achievements, which are many but I'll not embarrass her any further and merely say, Happy 16th Birthday my beautiful, brave, intelligent, loving, wonderful, girl. I love you.

24 August 2015

Aldridge, The Great War and The Aldridge Auxiliary Convalescent Hospital at The Manor House

I have mentioned the Aldridge Great War Project before. Today, I learned of a fantastic new aspect to the project that I want to share with everyone and I do hope that you share and can participate too. It's not too onerous to do so! 

If like me you are interested in the history of Aldridge Manor House, then this is for you. You may or may not know that during The Great War, the Manor House became Aldridge Auxiliary Convalescent Hospital for injured military personnel.

This is the text from a leaflet produced, which due to technical difficulties I cannot replicate as a separate form however, if you do want a copy of the form please email me at taxwizzardATgmailDOTcom and I will happily send you a copy.

270, Walsall Wood Road, Aldridge, Walsall WS9 8HB

In 1915 local people came together to provide a military hospital at the Manor House, Aldridge. 100 years later the Aldridge Great War Project is asking for your help to record the remarkable story of the Aldridge Auxiliary Convalescent Hospital. It is a story of sacrifice, dogged determination and triumph in the face of adversity; a story of ordinary people and their response to an extraordinary situation; a story of which we can be very proud and one which deserves to reach a wider audience.

In 2013 we received copies of documents relating to the Manor House from the family of Dr. T. Boyd Stirling. It is these documents which will form the basis of the book. The Aldridge Great War Project would like to give local people the opportunity to subscribe to the publication in order to fund the cost of printing. It is also possible to subscribe as a business, group, society etc. The book will:

Be A4 in size.
Contain seventy original documents, letters, postcards and photographs
Be given to all local schools and libraries as well as local archive repositories.

We would appreciate a minimum donation of £20 for each subscriber who will:

Receive a copy of the book delivered to any U.K. address.
Have the opportunity to have the copy signed if they wish.
Have their name and address included in a list of subscribers at the back of the book under the following heading: ‘In 1915 local people came together to provide a military hospital in Aldridge. 100 years later we are grateful to the following people who have subscribed to this book and thereby enabled this fascinating story from Aldridge history to be told.’

Should the money raised from subscriptions exceed the cost of printing any surplus will be used to further the aims of the Aldridge Great War Project. Details of money raised and spent will be published on our website or can be obtained by writing to the address above.

If you feel able to support this unique publication by subscribing to it please complete the attached slip and return, along with a cheque made payable to the Aldridge Great War Project, to the address above.

Alternatively return the attached form via email to aldridgegwp@outlook.com and make your donation to the AGWP bank account Acc. No. 27717760. Sort Code 77 31 09. Subscriptions close 25th September.

Thanks for your support. Sue Satterthwaite and Len Boulton                                                    Mob. 07982027256
Tear here

Name (Individual/business/society etc.)


Contact number/email address

Donation (minimum £20)

Would you like your name and address to appear in the list of subscribers? YES/NO/NAME ONLY

Would you like a signed copy?                                                                             YES/NO "

I'm told by someone who is proof reading this book for Sue that it is a great read and very interesting. If it's anything like the other books that Sue has written about the history of Aldridge it will be fantastic! Sue has made a wonderful contribution in recording aspects of the history of Aldridge. Subscriptions close 25th September so hurry!

11 August 2015

Riding solo

Whilst we were in France I ventured out on the bike once again with my security blanket also known as Aiden. It had been a while mainly due to an awful bout of vertigo that left me virtually immobile for eight weeks. Even walking down to my Dad's house, ten minutes normally, became a marathon, with every step feeling as though I was walking through thick vegetable soup. I carried on with normal life as much as possible but some days it was impossible. I've never endured an attack that has lasted so long before and I sincerely hope that I never have to encounter one of such length again.

Riddians Bridge
So today I took the bull by the horns and risked a ride on my own and I am so glad that I did. It was a little gloomy when I set off but the weather improved as the ride   progressed and ended in glorious sunshine.

I took off down to Longwood Bridge and made my way along the canal to Rushall before risking a little road cycling before joining NCN5 up to Brownhills and a return to Aldridge along the canal. I can report no dizzy turns and only one prat of a driver!

I never get over just how rural the canal from Longwood feels and sounds. Buzzards were calling, swallows swooping down to the canal, mixed flocks of finches dropped from shrub to shrub and the dragonflies were busy never being still. Heaven.

Goscote Valley is looking gorgeous at the moment, go on, surprise yourself, take a walk down there and see for yourself the bounty of blackberries waiting to be picked and the wonderful array of bright and loud late summer colours lighting up the fields.

I felt so good the mind was allowed to roam free, with the visual delights providing fuel for the mind. Yes Walsall really does provide a feast for the eyes.

It was good to feel a little independence once again.

Goscote Valley


17 May 2015

Child of Mine

You may not believe me but I think about you all the time. At least a hundred times a day my eyes fall upon one of the many photographs of you and I smile and remember one of the millions of memories of you stored away but kept within easy reach, ready to be treasured once again. Sometimes tears will fall when the memory is one where you were hurting and I berate myself for not having protected you from that pain. Mostly I recall all the many ways you  have me smile or laugh, enriching my existence in ways I could never have dreamt of when you were born or I have moments when my heart has nearly burst with pride recalling the so very many ways that you have made me proud of you and all your achievements.

Last weekend I was sitting in a hide watching birds when out of the corner of my eye I saw a young man perch himself on a bench just a few feet away. I caught my breath as just for a second I thought it was you. I stole many glimpses. He was a little younger than you, maybe just 18 but he was a similar build, tall but not quite as tall as you, slim with slender wrists and long, beautiful fingers. His beard was new with the young fluffy growth intermingled with the more mature manly whiskers. It was cut close to his face the way you used to wear yours. It was however, his eyes that mesmerised me. Dark endless brown just like yours, covered with lashes so long and curly that any woman would be envious of such a natural born gift.

Maybe he felt my glimpses because too soon he was gone.

And then the tears rolled down my face, slowly, silently. The pain in my heart solid like a rock. The longing to hug you and hold you, a physical pain almost renting my body in two.

Just a call. Tell me how you are, what you're up to, what your plans are, if you're keeping well and looking after yourself. Keep it light. No heavy stuff. Just a call.

I miss you Son.

4 May 2015

Sins of the Fathers: A Rant against laziness and an apology

I want to apologise to the young people of Aldridge. It isn't my fault because I didn't vote for any of them but I feel the need to apologise on behalf of those who are of an age to exercise their right to vote (and not to vote) for our local councillors who purport to represent the community of Aldridge Central and South.

Last Wednesday I emailed our local councillors, John Murray, Timothy Wilson and standing for re-election on Thursday, John Rochelle, as reported here. The email is reproduced once again:

Dear Councillor,

At the Hustings held at Aldridge Community Centre last Friday I asked a question regarding the future of the youth service in Aldridge and also about the sale of what is currently used as a community asset; Aldridge Manor House.

I was rather hoping that one of you would get in touch with me (I have emailed you on this subject before) in order to offer a helping hand in attempting to save the youth service in Aldridge. Alas this has not happened and so I am emailing all three of you in the hope that one, if not all, will step forward and help the parents who have children who attend Aldridge Manor House Youth Centre to assist in getting the wheels in motion to save this vital service.

When Walsall Council announced that much of the Borough's youth service would be closing, following the setting of the budget for 2015/16 I was most impressed with the way your party colleague and fellow Councillor, Garry Perry sprung into action to help organise and help those who wanted to save the youth service in Pelsall. All credit to Cllr Perry for his support of his local constituents.

There doesn't appear to have been any similar reaction in Aldridge. The young people who attend the centre would like to see it saved and there are parents of those young people who are prepared to go that extra mile to save the service. I can give you contact details if you so wish. One of the reasons that the parents and users of the youth centre have not come forward yet, is that they need constructive help, advice and organisational capabilities plus someone on the inside so to speak, to argue their case. I understand that with appropriate support and advice there is a possibility that this service could be run by the community. 

Furthermore, it is reasonable to say that many inhabitants of Aldridge would be sad to see the actual sale of the Manor House and more likely to be angry if it was bought and then used for a purpose that would not be of benefit to the local community! There is a possibility that the Manor House could be declared a community asset and for the local community to own and manage the building. This would also mean that the Youth Club would have a home as the council were unable to identify any building that was appropriate in the area when they searched for a new home for the youth centre! Again though, residents and those who care about this historical building need help, guidance, advice and some organisational application in order to go through the process if indeed it is a feasible proposition. It may not be. However, first a true temperature test of the strength of feeling would be helpful. If after all there is not enough interest in saving both the youth centre and the building then fair enough, sleeping dogs can be left in peace. I have to say from emails that I receive that there is interest, which is why I am pursuing this with you. Someone has to.

Would any of you be prepared to call a local meeting for the people of Aldridge in order to ascertain if there is sufficient interest and enthusiasm in forming a community committee that could perhaps in the future become a charity to help save Aldridge Manor House as a community building and asset run by local people for the local community?

I appreciate that this is a lot of hard work for one person which is why I am emailing all three of you. You have as Councillors, access to resources, help and guidance that the local people need. As councillors you are effectively facilitators.

Councillor Tim Wilson was good enough to respond within a couple of hours. This is what he had to say:

Good afternoon Linda,

Thank you for your email.

I was unable to attend the hustings on Friday and was therefore unaware that you had raised the important question of youth services in Aldridge.

Youth service provision in Aldridge is important to all three ward councillors and we have been monitoring what IYPSS propose for our young people and have voiced concerns where appropriate.

I think the best way forward is for IYPSS to provide an explanation of their plans for providing the youth service and then we can meet to discuss it if that would be acceptable to you?


My response was swift (so apologies for any incoherence, it was bashed out in an angry manner) and to the point as I did not consider the response to be adequate to the requests for help that had been made:

Dear Councillor,

Thank you for responding so swiftly.

The plans for the Youth Centre have been well publicised as have the plans for all but one Youth Centre in the Borough to be closed, hence my reference to Cllr Perry. It was to close on 31 August 2015 but has been reprieved once again and will now close on 31 December.

The closures are down to the budget cuts.

The sale of The Manor House was agreed by the Council in 2011.

IYPSS searched for a suitable alternative premises but none that were suitable could be found in Aldridge. The Youth Centre was therefore to close with or without budget cuts! The decision was made by the Conservative administration!

IYPSS don't really have much input when budget constraints mean that virtually all youth centres are to close, so I see little point in prevaricating especially when the Centre has lived under the shadow of closure for some considerable time. IYPSS were not even willing to follow up on their promise of a further public meeting with the local community although they did consult with the service users and young people in the locality.

Are you willing to help through direct assistance or not? I don't personally want to get heavily involved although I am willing to be involved. I'm better serving as a campaigning mouth piece as my blog has a reasonable readership. However, I can supply details of one of the parents involved who would like the sort of support and help that Cllr Perry has provided to his constituents. Or perhaps you could attend the Youth Centre and talk to parents and the young people? Or both?

Kind regards

There has been no further communication from Councillor Wilson but at least he tried even if he failed miserably to take on board what the situation is and what help was requested. This is more than can be said for either Councillors Murray or Rochelle. To give them their due, they are merely being consistent in not responding to correspondence from me. 

I'll make no bones about naming and hopefully shaming the three conservative ward councillors for Aldridge Central and South. They each pick up an expense allowance of £10586 per annum to cover costs and help reimburse them for their time and trouble in the onerous job of representing the ward. That's over £200 per week! Now I know that there are Councillors out there that really do help and assist their individual constituents and local communities. They are out there visiting the elderly, the disabled and those that are neither but are needy, to assist with problems that a local councillor can help with and lending a sympathetic ear for problems that perhaps they cannot help with. They are worth every penny and I take my hat off to them and acknowledge the wonderful job that they do. However, Councillors Wilson, Rochelle and Murray have not covered themselves with glory thus far in  helping the young people of Aldridge and also  all the  people of Aldridge that would really like the opportunity to at least try and save the building for the local community. With help, a start could be made but we need that help and it is entirely appropriate for a local councillor to provide it and as I said in my original email, if the interest really isn't out there, then fine. Subject closed. The subject of provision for young people is not however, closed. The majority are not of age to cast a vote but I really hope that they have some influence over their voting parents and grandparents and ask them to NOT VOTE for the lazy, lazy councillors that currently represent our ward. 

No, I don't think calling them lazy is strong. It is my personal opinion based upon my own experience. When Tim Wilson was seeking election for the first time in 2013 he did pop into the Manor House Youth Club during the campaign period. He hasn't (so I've been told) returned there since his election.

Is this really what the people of Aldridge Central and South want? Councillors who are happy to take the generous allowances paid (and funded by us the ordinary people) but who ignore members of the local electorate, ignore the young people of the ward and do not give tuppence about the future of one of the few historic buildings that remains standing in Aldridge?

So I am sorry. I've tried. I asked a question at Hustings and Wendy Morton told me that the issue was of a local council nature, so I once again approached our local tory councillors and have been effectively turned down there too. There you have it. The Tories in Aldridge (unlike those in Pelsall) do not want to know and whilst I think about it, is Wendy Morton even registered to vote from the address given on her nomination form or does she remain on the electoral register at 'home' in Yorkshire?

I imagine that come Friday morning we will have another tory MP who does not engage with all of the electorate, her failure to respond to tweets (on this very subject) is proof enough of that but who in the eyes of many appears to love a photo opportunity more than any super model and come Friday tea time, we will have the same tory councillor who as reported by me along time ago, thought the sale of the Manor House was a good thing. Is that what we really want? Is that what we should be inflicting upon our young people?

Wake up people of Aldridge before it's too late.