The Olympic Torch Relay leaves Stoke-on-Trent

The Olympic Torch Relay has left Stoke-on-Trent this morning and headed off to Crewe and then on to Bolton for its next overnight stop.

Stoke City Manager Tony Pulis got todays relay started at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and ran the first part of the relay. Continue reading

Olympic Torch arrives in Stoke-on-Trent

An Olympic Torch arrived in Stoke-on-Trent this morning ahead of the Olympic Torch Relay which arrives on Wednesday evening.

The Olympic Torch arrived with members of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games who are now working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council in the final preparations for Wednesday afternoon’s spectacular Olympic Torch Relay celebrations in Hanley Park. Continue reading

Tommy Clare memorabilia fails to sell at auction

Tommy Clare in Stoke City team c1892As reported on Pits n Pots last month medals, England caps and England shirt badges of Port Vale and Stoke City legend Thomas “Tommy” Clare were to go under the auctioneers hammer.

The memorabilia offered for auction by the family of Tommy Clare went up in Nantwich as part of a two day sale starting on April 19th by auctioneer Peter Wilson. Sadly many of the items for auction didn’t make the estimated prices at the auction the full list of items, estimated price and sale price is listed below. Continue reading

Rare Stoke City and Port Vale memorabilia up for auction

From The Nantwich News

Rare medals, Stoke City football memorabilia, England caps and shirt badges belonging to Stoke City and Port Vale legend Tommy Clare could be sold for up to £10,000 at a Nantwich auction this month.

The memorabilia, being sold on behalf of the family, is part of a two-day sale by fine art and antiques auctioneers Peter Wilson on April 19.

Thomas “Tommy” Clare (pictured) was born in Congleton in 1865 and played his early football with Talke Rangers, Golden Hill Wanderers and Burslem Port Vale, before becoming Stoke City’s first professional player in 1883. Continue reading

Collection For Ruby Owen At The Britannia Stadium Tonight

Family and friends of four-year-old Ruby Owen from Kidsgrove are asking
Stoke City supporters attending Thursday’s Europa Cup match to help their
appeal to pay for life-saving cancer treatment in the United States.

Fundraising has been taking place across the City since the Owen family told
people the devastating news that Ruby’s cancer had returned, 18 months
after undergoing Proton Therapy Treatment in Indiana.

Upon hearing the news, local logistics company, Barry Proctor Services
Limited based in Talke stepped in to make arrangements for a collection in
aid of Ruby at the Stoke City match at The Britannia on Thursday 16th

And now a team of fundraisers, known as “ËœRuby’s Army’ will be
collecting around the ground before the match and are calling for fans to
give whatever they can for this potentially life-saving treatment.

Stoke-based charity, Caudwell Children, are helping co-ordinate the
fundraising campaign. Chief Executive, Trudi Beswick, said: “It is great to
see such wide-spread support for little Ruby’s campaign. It is thanks to
Barry Proctor and Stoke City that we have this opportunity to boost the
appeal but we really need all the Potters fans to raid their piggy banks and
give whatever they can.

There is only a very limited time period that this treatment is available to
little Ruby so it is crucial we raise the money they need as quickly as

Ruby’s Army will be collecting outside of the ground from 6:30pm on
Thursday night.

Anyone interesting in supporting Ruby’s appeal is asked to visit or contact Ben Sutcliffe at Caudwell Children on
01782 600114.

Tony Walley – On My Stoke-on-Trent Soapbox 16/05/2011

As the red & white half of Stoke-on-Trent comes to terms with their loss in the FA Cup final the political potteries is as flat as boring nil nil draw.

It’s a bit like “Ëœafter the Lord Mayors show post election.

To Speak or Not To Speak

The only sexy story was the attempt at gagging our new crop of councillors with a “Ëœmedia protocol’ that circumnavigated democracy.

The document that was slipped in the new councillors pack was tantamount to a biblical commandment ““ “ËœYou shall not criticise the council, its officers or the executive ““ no matter the size of the monumental cock up or who was responsible!’

More worrying for me was the fact that there were councillors who were queuing up to sign this attack on freedom of speech.

One of them was Paul Breeze, a man who I have a tremendous amount of respect for. He works tirelessly for his community and he has taken a principled stance in not aligning himself with any group in the council chamber.

Paul was quick enough to remind us that he is a free spirit, but his complicity in this matter showed that whilst he is his own man in the political sense he was all too ready to do his masters bidding and put officers before the representation of the people that elected him.

The “Ëœgagging order’ has received a fair amount of political commentary and rightly so. But so far the facts of the matter have been inaccurately reported.

It has been alleged that the individuals responsible for this have been the press and communications team, Mohammed
Pervez and CEO John van de Laarschot.

My information leads me to believe that it was actually Pervez who suggested that the protocol be withdrawn from the councillors’ pack when he read it the weekend before declarations were taken and was unaware of its contents beforehand.

Sources have indicated to me that it was in fact Members Services who directed that this protocol be drawn up and the press team were directed to draft it up.

The bit that is shrouded in uncertainty is how much involvement CEO John van de Laarschot had in the issue.

Who Will Be The Trophies on The Cabinet

Now that it has been confirmed that Pervez will be Council Leader with Paul Shotton as his Deputy Council Leader, the labour Group will tonight [Monday] decide who will make up the remaining 8 places on this the first totally Labour cabinet.

Now I’ve followed the scene in the political Potteries for years and, as all good commentators should, I will make my predictions as follows.

The 8 cabinet places will go to, in no particular order:
Mark Meredith, Tom Reynolds, Sarah Hill, Debra Gratton, Olwyn Hamer, Ruth Rosenau, Janine Bridges and either Bagh Ali or Adrian Knapper.

My guess is that the cabinet will reflect the Labour Party desire to have a 50/50 men/woman split.

We will know soon enough I suppose, but my guesses are more down to instinct as opposed to education.

You may have your own ideas?

S.O.C.C Get a Helping Hand From Former Councillor

The nationally recognised Save Our Children’s Centres campaign has received a boost recently with the news that former Longton South Councillor Mike Barnes has joined their team to advise them on council procedures and future strategies.

S.O.C.C has reignited their fight and will present a massive petition to the council opposing the 30% budget reduction which equates to a huge cut of £2.25million.
The council are embarking on a formal consultation over their proposals.

What is 100% clear to me, having met and held discussions with S.O.C.C leaders, is that their battle lines have been drawn and they are prepared to mount a sustained and aggressive challenge to these savage cuts. The campaign team feel that the services that are on offer will be decimated beyond all belief if these cuts go through.

The election gave the Labour Party 34 councillors and a healthy majority with little opposition in the chamber.
S.O.C.C are more than prepared to take up the opposition role.

Their campaign has gone viral and there are S.O.C.C groups appearing all over the country. They also have the support of Netmums which has a phenomenal web presence.

Stoke-on-Trent has had effective campaign groups in the past like the Trentham Action Group who managed to reverse the decision to close their high school by facilitating government involvement.

S.O.C.C has the potential to make the TAG look like a meeting of the Salvation Army!

They are very angry people at the moment but they are channelling that anger and are using it as a motivational tool.

They are angry about the Labour Party’s campaign leaflet claims that they have saving the children’s centres but failed to mention the proposed budget cuts.

They are angry at the lack of support from the three city MPs’ Joan Walley, Rob Flello and Tristram Hunt who they have described as “Ëœthe invisible man’.

One of the Children’s Centres that is most under threat from these cuts is in Fenton, in fact is virtually next door to the constituency office of Rob Flello.

It could see the services that it offers cut from 5 days down to one half day.

Given that Sure Start centres were the flagship of the last Labour Government, S.O.C.C are expecting, no make that demanding that all 3 Labour MP’s support their campaign.

The case of Fenton’s children’s centre puts Rob Flello in an unenviable predicament as he sees the work they carry out at close hand and his partner Karen Clarke has just been elected as Councillor for ““ yeah you guessed it, Fenton West & Mount Pleasant!

I’m surprised that there is a negative view of Tristram Hunt and I share the view of the S.O.C.C leaders that all our MPs need to back this campaign with every ounce of their moral fibre.

I urge the Labour Group councillors, the newly appointed cabinet, Council Leader & Deputy and the 3 Labour MPs’ ““ do not underestimate this group.

S.O.C.C Hull are about to force a judicial review the same is 100% on the cards here in Stoke-on-Trent.

Our City Council are proposing the severest cuts in Chidren’s Centres budgets nearly anywhere in the country.

Communities will not take this lying down, S.O.C.C will not take this at all and in the words of one of their main players ““ “You have been warned!”

Andy Burnham MP In Stoke-on-Trent To Support Labour’s Campaign

Another Labour Party big gun was wheeled out in Stoke-on-Trent today [Tuesday] in support of the local election campaign.

Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Secretary for Education and the Labour Party’s Election Co-ordinator made time to visit the brand new 6th Form College. He was given a guided tour by college Principal Helen Pegg and took part in an informal question and answers session with a number of students.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Leader Mohammed Pervez and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education Debra Gratton were also in attendance.

The new 6th Form College opened its doors in September 2010, the building provides a brand new state of the art development which incorporates world class resources and design features to provide outstanding learning facilities for young people across the city and from further a field.

Andy Burnham was eager to see the learning environment the new building had created and credited the initiative to the Labour Party’s commitment to Education.

I managed to catch up with Mr Burnham and he gave me his views on his recent war of words with the coalition government about Education Funding, school budgets, EMA, and tuition fees.

He also applauded the local Labour Party for saving Children’s Centres across the City and why, in his opinion, a vote for Labour was a must at the upcoming Council Elections.

Andy also confirmed that it was better to be a Stoke City fan than an Everton fan at the moment.


Stoke City Shot-stopper Begovic Joins Campaign To Save Adults From Abuse

Stoke City number one Asmir Begovic is putting his name to a campaign to save vulnerable adults from abuse.

The Premier League shot-stopper is supporting Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s programme to train people to spot abuse and raise awareness of how to report it if it happens.

Begovic, a Bosnia and Herzegovina international, is promoting a poster which will be placed on notice boards and public places across the city. And his Potters team mates will also support the council’s “Ëœsafeguarding vulnerable adults’ day on Saturday 5 February, at their home game with Sunderland.

“It is wonderful that Stoke City have thrown their support behind such an important campaign. We hope that the huge profile it will create when they play Sunderland will encourage people to come forward and help us stop abuse from happening.

“Vulnerable adults can be a soft target for abuse, be it physical, financial or emotional, but we offer support and training so that the signs of abuse can be spotted and vulnerable people can be helped.

“But in order for us to act, we need people to come forward and tell us of the issues ““ that is why it is vital as many people as possible are aware of how to report abuse when it happens.”

A vulnerable adult can be any male or female over the age of 18 who has physical or sensory impairment, learning disability or a mental health problem and who may be unable to protect themselves from abuse or harm.

Abuse is behaviour towards a person that causes them harm, or distress, endangers life or violates their rights. It is carried out by many different people, but is often someone who is known and trusted and can happen in many different settings including someone’s own home, care home, hospital or public place.

“Adults can be vulnerable and therefore at risk of abuse just like other sections of the community. A caring society has a responsibility to protect all vulnerable residents. People can help in this process by attending free training sessions that will raise awareness and teach skills that will enable attendees to recognise and stop abuse.”

The city council provides free training to spot how to recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse, as well as the different types of abuse, and how to report it.

The authority has a free 24-hour number for people to report any concerns ““ 0800 5610015 for Stoke-on-Trent, and 02456 042719 for Staffordshire.

For more information about the training, which is provided by the Stoke Adult Social Care Employment and Skills consortium, contact 01782 235300,

Longton Park improvements to be unveiled

Around £85,000 of improvements to Queen’s Park in Longton will be unveiled this weekend.

The first part of the project, organised with the Queen’s Park Partnership, is to improve the park with £50,000 from the Big Lottery Community Spaces fund, which restores the park lakes and provides additional community facilities and enhancements for wildlife.

Improvements will include:

*Replacement of the fountain within the bottom lake – not only to improve the visual appearance of the lake but also to improve the water quality.

*Provision of fixed fishing pegs around the larger lake – these will be used to provide angling coaching and tuition to members of the community, in particular young people, and will allow angling to be developed on the lake.

*Improvements to the outflow ““ this includes the repair of a leak which is affecting water quality and should help to stabilise water levels.

*Refurbishment and re-profiling of the cascade between the two lakes ““ this should improve water flow between the top and bottom lake and make it a better experience for visitors by providing an aesthetic and audible water feature. The aim is also to create holding areas within the cascade to provide additional habitats for wildlife and an opportunity to use this area for environmental education.

*Marginal planting ““ to improve aesthetics and water quality and to provide additional wildlife habitats and emergent vegetation for dragon and damsel flies.

“The Lottery funding will allow us to make the lake more presentable and cleaner place, and encourage indigenous wildlife to breed and flourish there.”

Also being unveiled will be the city’s first outdoor gym, which will be officially unveiled by Stoke City legends Alan Hudson and Jackie Marsh.

The £35,000 project has six items of equipment, with four pieces donated by Wicksteed Playscapes and two funded by the Queen’s Park Partnership through an Awards for All grant. Longton South’s three ward councillors, Councillor Mike Barnes, Councillor Bagh Ali and Councillor Olwen Hamer, have contributed £7,000 from their ward budgets to install the equipment, which features:

*Pull down Exerciser
*Leg Press
*Chest Press
*Space walker
*Body twister

”Having an outdoor gym is something we are very proud to have, and it’s also something different. It will hopefully encourage people to see the area as more than just a park and allow them to stay fit and healthy with the dedicated facilities we are providing.”

Make Your Child A “Little Striker”

Future football stars can get their first taste of the beautiful game by taking part in a 10 week skills course.

Little Strikers is a basic football course for children aged 3 to 6 years. It is designed to help improve a child’s football skills with a range of agility, balance and co-ordination activities. The session will be run by two highly qualified sports coaches.

The course will be held at Trentham High School from the July 15 to September 16 and will cost £30 for the 10 weeks. Courses will take place between 5pm and 5:45pm every Thursday.

Councillor Hazel Lyth, cabinet member for adult social care, sport, leisure and culture, said:

“It’s important we get youngsters involved in sport at a young age, and the popularity of football always gives us a good uptake on courses like these. They’re designed to improve balance co-ordination and skill at a young age.

“We might be helping to create the new Stoke City and Port Vale players of the future, and it should be a lot of fun for everyone taking part too.”

Parents are asked to provide their child with a bottle of water and sports kit. There are only 14 places available on the course. To book call 01782 235030 or email