North Staffs News
news with a positive purpose
Festival to mark the death of Chartist Josiah Heapy
By Adam Colclough
Local trades unionists will join musicians and other performers to commemorate the death of Leek born Josiah Heapy in the Burslem Chartist riots of 1842.
The First Stoke Chartist Festival will take place behind the town hall on Market place, Burslem, on Sunday 20th August and is a co-production organized by New Vic Borderlines and the People’s History Association of North Staffordshire (PHANS).
Support, including the loan of a fire engine converted into a mobile stage previously used when Jeremy Corbyn visited Hanley, has been provided by unions including Unite, the FBU, and Unison.
New Vic Borderlines is an award-winning community arts program that uses theatre to give a voice to those who have been marginalised.
Director Sue Moffatt has written a play based on the events surrounding the Chartist riots and the death of Josiah Heapy that will be performed on the day by members of the community supported by three professional actors.
In keeping with the Chartist theme trades unions active in North Staffordshire will be present to provide information about the work they do to support working people today.
There will also be stalls run by local groups including Period Power, NORSCARF, and community support charity Better Together, as well as craft activities and a display of work relating to Chartism created by students at local schools.
Josiah Heapy was born in Leek and died on 16th August 1842 when troops broke up an open-air Chartist meeting taking place on Swan Bank, Burslem, causing a riot that resulted in damage to several prominent local landmarks.
In the aftermath of the riot 146 Chartists were imprisoned and 54 were transported to Australia.
The Burslem Chartist riots have been described as the ‘Potteries Peterloo’ after the more famous riots in Manchester.
In 2019 a successful campaign saw a commemorative plaque unveiled in Burslem near to the spot where Heapy was killed. A street on a nearby housing development has since also been named after him.
Jason Hill, a member of PHANS who also took part in the campaign to have a street named after Josiah Heapy said the festival will “honour” Josiah Heapy and other trades unionists who “fought for the freedoms that we take for granted today”.
He emphasised the important role played by Heapy and other Chartists in creating the trades union movement in North Staffordshire and nationally.
He believes the festival will “raise awareness of this important episode in the history of Burslem which, sadly, seems to be largely forgotten today."
The festival will feature speakers, including Chrissie Gibson a living relative of Josiah Heapy, music, poetry, and performances of the play at various locations around the town.
The festival will take place on 20th August at Market Place, Burslem, ST6 4AT between 11:00am and 4:00pm.
Newcastle-under-Lyme BID welcomes new Business Engagement Officer
By Charlotte Pearce - Newcastle BID
Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District (BID) team is excited to welcome David Breese as the newest addition to their team. With over two decades of entrepreneurial experience, and an intimate knowledge of the town, David brings a wealth of expertise to his role as the Business Engagement Officer.
David Breese has a deep-rooted connection to Newcastle-under-Lyme, having spent his entire life within its vibrant community. He has not only witnessed but actively contributed to the town's growth and development over the years. As a former small business owner for over 20 years on the outskirts of Newcastle under Lyme, David is well-acquainted with the challenges that local businesses face. His unique perspective as a self-proclaimed "Castle Lad" allows him to connect with the heart of the town and its evolving needs.
"We are thrilled to have David our team," said Charlotte Pearce, BID Manager.
"His deep understanding of the town's dynamics, combined with his extensive business experience, makes him an invaluable asset. David's commitment to Newcastle-under-Lyme’s growth and his passion for its success align perfectly with the BID’s objectives."
In his new role as Business Engagement Officer, David will serve as a vital bridge between the BID team and the town's businesses, particularly those who contribute to the BID levy. His responsibilities include facilitating seamless communication of BID initiatives, offering support to local businesses, and gathering feedback to ensure informed decision-making. Additionally, David will play a pivotal role in fostering connections between businesses and key town centre partnerships, such as the Borough Council and Staffordshire Police.
David's enthusiasm for his new role is evident in his own words: "Newcastle-under-Lyme is in my heart, and I want to help make it a special place for all the businesses and visitors. Let's work together on making this reality."
He encourages anyone interested in connecting with him to reach out via email at email@example.com, or to anticipate his friendly visits throughout the town over the upcoming weeks.
Wildlife Trust says “thank you” following return of successful Wildchild Festival
By Sarah Davison - Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is saying a big "thank you" to all those involved in making its Wildchild Festival a huge success.
Hundreds of people attended the festival at the charity’s Wolseley Centre headquarters on Wednesday 2 August.
Adults and children alike took part in dozens of activities at the festival, including theatre performances from The Fabularium theatre company and Quantum Theatre, along with immersive storytelling sessions, Forest School, and a Construction Zone.
Other attractions included a giant water slide, yoga, wild wellbeing activities, dance workshops, and arts and crafts. Hundreds of children were inspired to take action for nature in the Eco Superhero area and they also had the chance to get up close with aquatic nature in the Wildlife Discovery zone.
The popular event, which previously ran in 2019, was once again supported by funding from Arts Council England.
Katie Shipley, Head of Engagement, Activism and Marketing, for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Since the festival we’ve received huge amounts of positive feedback from visitors and we are thrilled that so many families had such a good time
“It was really exciting to see so many people enjoying themselves at the festival, the first full day festival event we’ve hosted since 2019 due to the pandemic. The huge amounts of planning, preparation and hard-work which went into the festival was completely worth it to see so many happy smiley faces.
“We’d like to say a big thank you to all those people who came along. Our thanks also go to the groups, companies, staff and volunteers who all supported in various ways, making for a truly memorable day.”
The charity is also thanking its event sponsors Ludlow Trust, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, The Prince’s Trust; along with Fairways Garage in Rugeley, Wyevale Garden Centre and Shugborough Estate for providing car parks on the day.
To keep the festival theme of being an Eco Superhero going, the charity is offering a FREE downloadable activity pack for children to enjoy during the summer holidays. It can be downloaded here: www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/WildChildfestival
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thanks for now,
Jerome, the editor