Tour of Britain returns to Stoke-on-Trent

The Tour of Britain is to return to Stoke-on-Trent for the 5th successive year.

The city will host stage 5 of the event, starting from Trentham Gardens and finishing once again in the City Centre, on the way tackling Cannock Chase, the Staffordshire Moorlands and Gun Hill. Riders will have to climb over 2000 meters on this stage in what is being billed as the toughest tour to date by organisers.

The riders will have completed a 156 kilometre ride from Carlisle to Blackpool before they arrive in Stoke-on-Trent on Thursday 13 September. Continue reading

What a waste!

A friend told me of a surprising find in a skip at local recycling centre. Sitting in a skip was, as far as he could tell, a perfectly serviceable Moog Synthesiser 1962 vintage. The sort played by Kraftwerk he thought. I’d seen one played by Keith Emerson in ELP at Trentham Gardens in 1971- but the less said about that the better. The point is that here seemed to be a possibly functioning piece of kit, which could fetch around £1000. My friend pleaded with the manager to let him have the Synthesiser. Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent Tour stage sets TV viewing figures record

The Stoke-on-Trent stage of the 2011 Tour of Britain was easily the biggest hit with television viewers, recent audience figures have revealed.
Close to three quarters of a million people tuned in to ITV 4 to watch the hour-long highlights package of the 80 mile stage which began at Trentham Gardens and finished outside the Town Hall in the city centre.
The viewing figures were split over two days, with the initial programme shown on the night of the event on Tuesday September 13, with a repeat showing the following morning.
A record 592,000 watched Lars Boom power to victory up the hill on Albion Street, just hours after the event finished in the Stoke-on-Trent sunshine. A further 127,000 saw the repeat on Wednesday.
The closest stage to Stoke-on-Trent was Stage 4, when 649,000 tuned in over the two days to see the Welshpool to Caerphilly race.
The figures represent a record for the four-year period the event has been shown on ITV4 and was 250,000 more than watched the televised Stoke-on-Trent stage last year.
Organisers are delighted with the statistics, released by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board, which indicate the UK’s growing fascination with cycling.

The figures all over the country were vastly up on last year, with Stoke-on-Trent breaking records. Nearly three quarters of a million is on a par with ITV4’s Tour De France figures. It is great news for everyone and shows that the event and the sport is growing rapidly in popularity.

This year’s event was the fourth time the Tour of Britain has come to Stoke-on-Trent, with more and more local people coming out to watch each year.
In September Mark Cavendish took part in the race, using it as a warm-up event for the World Championships a week later ““ which he duly won.
Since then Cavendish, a favourite for Olympic Gold next July in London, has joined Team Sky which increases the chances of the 20-time Tour De France Stage winner taking part in his home tour each year.
Initial reports suggest that the Tour resulted in a net economic impact of over £3.5 million for the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire region, with further results expected next week.
In further good news, the city council Event’s Team has won recognition after being awarded a runner’s up place in a competition run by sponsors Halfords for the Tour Series Event back in June.
The award was based on the supporting events, promotion and effort. Stoke-on-Trent were judged second out of eight venues which will result in a number of prizes for the council. 
Stoke-on-Trent engaged local schools and community cycling groups for the day’s activities with a great response. The team at Stoke-on-Trent also worked well during the planning process, making sure everyone was up-to-date with their plans and also open to suggestions and developments.

The city council’s Events Team were beaten into second place by Colchester, but were granted runner’s up ahead of other race hosts’ such as Oldham, Exeter and London. They will receive a certificate, a trophy and a framed winners’ jersey.
All of this is really good news. This year’s cycle events have been better than ever. That so many people tuned into our stage shows how popular cycling is in this region and how good a job our team do in putting it on with partners. It is great to see Stoke-on-Trent setting records.
That our Events team has also been recognised for their excellent work is fantastic. London has a stage of the Tour of Britain and also a leg of the Tour Series and more people watched on TV to see our city’s Tour of Britain stage than they did for the one in the Capital and our leg of the Tour Series has been judged a better event than the one in Canary Wharf by sponsors’. This shows exactly what the city is capable of and is reward for everyone’s good work.

This is brilliant news. It is fantastic that so many people watched the Stoke-on-Trent stage on television ““ and a record too! It was a wonderful day, it is a fantastic event and let’s hope we can bring it back next year.

Lord Mayor To Help Promote Fight Against Polio

Stoke-on-Trent’s Lord Mayor Councillor Denver Tolley will help celebrate the Stoke Rotary Club’s 84th birthday next week by helping to promote a vital international campaign.

On Sunday 20 February the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress will join with their counterparts from Stafford, the Governor of Rotary District 1210 Glyn Johnson and Presidents of 12 Rotary Clubs across the city to visit the “Blooming Crocus”.

The “Blooming Crocus” is a field of 24,000 purple crocuses planted last year at Trentham Gardens to help promote the Rotary Clubs’ “End Polio Now” worldwide campaign.

The purple crocus denotes children in developing countries who have been vaccinated against polio, who dip their finger in purple paint so doctors know they have been immunised.

The “End Polio Now” campaign is backed by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, who has donated over £300m to the project

“I’m proud to be able to support such a worthwhile campaign. Eradicating Polio is a huge task across the world and I’m glad to be able to do something, however small, to help that cause.

“The “Blooming Crocus” field is a powerful symbol of the fight against Polio and in years to come it will serve as a constant reminder of the work that has been done to cure this disease.”

In 1985 when Rotary decided on the goal to eradicate Polio worldwide there 1,000 new cases of Polio reported every day. In 2010 there were less than 1,000 cases reported in total.

“We are now very close to reaching our goal.

“So far two billion children have been immunised and with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation every £1 donated will help save more than 5 lives. With more help we will put an end to this awful disease.”

Man found dead in Trentham Woods

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter

A man was found dead this morning in the Trentham Gardens Estate.

Police were called out when a body was discovered in the woods around 10am.

The man has yet to be formally identified, but his family are in the process of being informed about his death.

The incident is not being treated as suspicious at this stage.

Inspector Dan Ison, from Chase Division CID, said: “Officers were called to the Trentham Wood area at 10.45am this morning following reports that a man was dead in the area.

“Officers attended and confirmed this was the case.”

A sign…?

By Mike Rawlins

“We weren’t even allowed to use the toilet because of the building works,” complains Nick Freeman from Fenton, while his wife explains, “We do this walk once a week, now just to keep active since we retired. But we were not told that this was going to happen.”

So I feel a little better that it wasn’t just me and my wife that went for a walk around Trentham Lake only to find that it wasn’t possible to do the full circuit because of the new boat house being built near the lakeside cafe.  I spoke to a number of people who had walked the ‘back way’ around the lake and not one of them was aware that the circular lake walk was closed.

John Darby from Hanford said: “It is poor that a company the size of Trentham Estate can’t get this right. I know they are not charging for the walk [yet] but even so, a lot of people I know do this walk regularly, a lot of the older ones, might not be able to make it all the way back easily.” He went on to say: “If this is a sign of things to come when the charging starts I won’t be bothering again.”

My wife and I walk around the lake three or four times a week, we know it takes us an hour and we plan it in to our work schedule as we both work at home.  On Monday we did the walk with no problem. On Thursday however, we fell foul of the building work around the new boat house.  We got to the Lakeside Cafe, to find that it was all fenced off and they were digging what looks like will be a boat access ramp to the lake.  Even here there we no signs to say how long the walk was closed for or where any alternative toilet facilities were.

We asked if there was any way around the building works to get us all on to the other side of the lake so we at least had a shorter walk back, to be told that we can go back the way we came or walk up to the car park for the Monkey Forest and out to the A34!  I asked if there was anyone we could speak to about this as there was a group of us now wanting to continue the walk or use the toilet.  We were ever so helpfully directed back to the estate office at the retail village either by walking back the way we came or the A34 route.

We asked the question why were there not any signs up anywhere to say that the walk was effectively closed, to be told that there were signs up all the way from the garden centre.  We had a quick check with the people who were around and strangely not one of us had seen a sign anywhere from the Garden Centre through the stables or on the gate where you go back in to Trentham Estate from the park.

I called the Estate Office to ask if there was any way our ever increasing party could get around the building works to continue our walk, as it was evident that there was nobody on the site who was empowered to make a decision, not even the Trentham Estate security guard, who had been phoned by somebody to come and talk to us.  He decided that helping his mate dig a sign up was more fun than talking to us!

I spoke to a young lady about our situation and she admitted that there was nothing she could do but Mike Herbert was in the office and I could speak to him.  Fair play to Mr Herbert, he took the call which is far more than a lot of company directors would do.

I explained the situation to Mr Herbert who told me that signs were put up, “I saw them being printed off at the beginning of the week ready.” I explained that they may have been printed but there were no signs anywhere to be seen if you walked around the lake the way that we and several other people did.  Mr Herbert apologised and said that he would make sure that signs were put up to inform people.

Mr Herbert went on to explain about the work being carried out around the new boat house should be completed in a week or so and added that  the  the lakeside Cafe is being closed next week (23 March) for a week while they refurbish it  and all the work being done is to improve the facilities around the lake for when the charging comes in to force.

Mr Herbert wasn’t lying when he said signs had been put up, after some investigation we did find them, one inside the visitor centre and one on the wall outside.

I have heard that signs have been put up now, but just in case, be warned you might not be able to walk around the lake and you can’t get a cup of coffee next week..