Leg loss doesn't stop Drunken Monkey Festival headliner rocking on

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A MIDLANDS rock festival will celebrate a heavy metal icon’s mega comeback after losing part of his leg on a life-changing South American tour.

Cult band Grim Reaper’s frontman Steve Grimmett will get a resounding reception on the main stage at the August 4-6 Drunken Monkey Rock Festival in Worcestershire.

The Upton-on-Severn blast is also making the news with a trailblazing Augmented Reality (AR) Mobile App that will bring publicity posters to life.

The two stage event combines big names with up and coming bands - including the PiggyDooDar trio of 11 year-olds and South African Gage, who are coming over specially.

The Drunken Monkey Rock Festival was launched in Upton-upon-Severn four years ago, in memory of local man Ian Dowton, who died after a car accident. So far it has raised more than £11,000 for the life-saving Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.

“We’re really excited about this year’s festival. There will be some awesome performances and we are more than looking forward to rock legends Steve Grimmett’s comeback,” says Steve Coyne, Chairman of the festival committee of volunteers.

The three day event includes Soul Stripper, Guns 2 Roses, Troyen, and of course Grim Reaper, which was born in Droitwich and stormed the 100-strong Battle of the Bands in the eighties.

Singer Steve Grimmett, who lives in Swindon with wife Millie, is currently learning to walk on his new prosthetic leg.

He had five operations and three amputations in an Ecuador hospital after picking up an infection during the Walking in the Shadows album tour earlier this year.

Steve, who is planning to write a book about his experience, has been stunned by fans’ support and fund-raising to help cover the $25k Ecuador hospital bill and ongoing recuperation.

“It has been phenomenal and very humbling,” says Steve. 

“I will reward everyone by getting back on stage... and walking round like I had two legs!”

The Drunken Monkey AR Mobile App is the brainchild of creative, rock loving Mick Hurst at Worcestershire-based Areca Design.

It will trigger videos of Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper, Population:7 and Guns2Roses on posters.

“The charity is a wonderful, life-saving service that deserves all the support we can give it. It’s a charity that’s particularly close to my heart, as an avid motorbike man, and we’re all music loving rockers at Areca,” says Mick.

Grim Reaper group shot

He’s back! The legendary Steve Grimmett and Grim Reaper.

Powerful partnership behind new ANT Pershore mooring

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THE official launch of a welcome new tourism and business-boosting mooring in Pershore marked a stream of successes.

Avon Navigation Trust's (ANT) five boat provision at The Angel Hotel is the latest winning partnership project to provide more facilities for boaters.

The event also celebrated the life of a long-standing volunteer, attracted a record attendance at ANT's annual Volunteers' dinner and toasted The Angel returning back to local ownership for the first time in nearly a century.

Wychavon Chairman Frances Smith cut the ribbon and she and Pershore Mayor Bob Gillmor christened the new mooring with a bottle of Pershore Brewery ale at a VIP event that was also blessed by glorious spring sunshine and the Maritime Volunteer Service, who provided a guard of honour.

ANT Chairman Jack Hegarty, Chief Executive Clive Matthews and Angel Founder and Chief Executive Darren Eden also welcomed honoured guest Jenny Rogers, whose late partner Ambrose Emerson is celebrated on a plaque overlooking the river and the Pershore lock he volunteered at for decades.

"Jenny also kindly supplied the wine at the wonderful Angel Volunteers' dinner where there was even more to celebrate when Darren announced that they had purchased the Angel's freehold, protecting its future in the town at the centre of the community," said ANT Chairman Jack, whose day job is heading up Wychavon and Malvern district councils.

"It was a great night and we're delighted with the new moorings," added Darren.

"The revival of Britain's waterways is extraordinary and we at The Angel are happy that we can play a small part in it. Boaters from far and wide are always welcome."

The Angel financed the materials and lease the land to ANT, which designed and built the mooring free of charge.

It's the latest partnership project, following on from a mooring at the Fleet Inn at Twyning in 2015.

"We are working on a new provision for this year. We are very happy to handle these projects in between our day to day work because it means more provision for our boaters," explains ANT Chief Executive Clive.

"Our challenge is that we don't own riverside land and so  we are continually working behind the scenes and on the look out for mooring provision opportunities with businesses and private individuals."



1. Wychavon Chairman Frances Smith and Pershore Mayor Bob Gillmor officially opened the new ANT moorings at The Angel Hotel. Pictured from the left are Angel Founder and Chief Executive Darren Eden,  Mayor of Pershore Bob Gillmor, Chairman of Wychavon Frances Smith, ANT Chairman Jack Hegarty, Councillor John Smith, ANT Volunteer Chairman Paul Cronin, Jenny Rogers, ANT Chief Executive Clive Matthews and Margaret Cronin.

2. The plaque honours long-time ANT volunteer and "jazz musician and kind soul" Ambrose Emerson, from Herefordshire, who died in February at the age of 81.



Green for go: Greswolde Construction's healthy boost for Midlands economy

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TWO Midlands businesses have joined forces to deliver a much-needed new village medical centre, which will also contribute to a healthier local economy and planet.

Harborne-based Matrix Medical has engaged Solihulls Greswolde Construction to produce the 1.8m Kibworth Medical Centre, which will achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for Energy and is generating work for other local businesses and workers.

This development will be our greenest and most energy-efficient to date, using sustainably sourced materials and renewable energy, said Ashley Seymour, Development Director at specialist developers Matrix Medical, which has developed 43 medical centres across England and Wales.

The result will be an environmentally friendly building with lower running costs for the doctors and better facilities for patients.

We are pleased to be working on such a welcome, and green, new facility and generating local business, added Greswolde MD Malcolm Priest, whose Knowle-based companys specialisms include health and education projects.

We have brought in Market Haboroughs brp architects, the design and build projects structural engineers are Couch Consulting Engineers Sutton Coldfield team, we have taken some Kibworth people onto the construction team, and the sites top soil is going to a farmer nearby.

Delighted doctors gathered for a sod-cutting ceremony on site at Beaufield Farm in Leicestershires Kibworth-Beauchamp last week.  
Dr Choudhury & Partners are currently based in cramped and outdated premises 200 yards down the road. 

With the help of specialist developers Matrix Medical, they have secured funding for the new 900 square metre centre, which will include 11 multi-purpose consulting and treatment rooms, a minor operations suite and a counselling room. 

Senior Partner Dr Choudhury commented: We are really excited that construction work has now started. The new building will include new facilities and give us the space to provide a wider range of services. 

The development is being funded by Assura, supported by NHS England and East Leicestershire & Rutland CCG, whose Chief Operating Officer Tim Sacks also welcomed the start of construction, which is to due complete next summer. 

We are delighted to see this project come to fruition at a time when Kibworth is expanding and placing more pressure on GP services, he said.

This development is a long-term investment for the CCG and is a key part of our strategy to improve access to healthcare and improve quality of care, helping patients to lead longer and healthier lives.


PICTURE CAPTION: Celebrating Greswolde Construction starting work on Kibworths new Medical Centre are (from left) Ashley Seymour (Development Director, Matrix Medical), Kirsty Whawell (Kibworth Medical Practice Manager), Naz Choudhury (Senior Practice Doctor/ Partner), Tim Sacks (Chief Operating Officer NHS East Leics & Rutland CCG) and Saskia Freestone (Practice GP & Partner).

All aboard! New Chairman for Avon Navigation Trust

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WYCHAVON and Malvern District Councils Managing Director and Chief Executive Jack Hegarty has taken the helm of the innovative charity Avon Navigation Trust (ANT).

Jack has become Chairman of the Board of Trustees and former General Manager Clive Matthews has been promoted into the role of Chief Executive, as the Wyre Piddle-based Trust powers up for the next thrust forward.

We are delighted to welcome Jack on board. His wide-ranging experience in Local Government, partnership working, the Droitwich Canals project and the Canal & River Trust (CRT) will be invaluable to us as we continue to evolve to ensure the Avon becomes even more of a magnet for boaters, local people and businesses, says Clive.

We are immensely grateful to former Chairman John Tomsett, after his three and a half year term in the lead role. 

John has done such a lot of powerful good for the Trust, particularly for its professional image and public engagement.

ANT has made a big splash in the last decade, making the Avon one of the most expertly managed and well-maintained rivers in the country. 

Innovations include the unique webcam network River Watch, to inform and protect boaters, and numerous partnership projects.

Through Clives leadership the Trust has done a grand job building the Avons reputation. I am looking forward to working with Clive and helping the team move onwards and upwards, says Jack, who lives in Harvington, near Evesham.

As well as his day job Jack, who has 31 years local government experience, is also Chairman of a number of organisations. They include Worcestershire Safer Communities Board, South Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership, The Malvern Hills Science Park and, until recently, CRTs South Wales and Severn Waterways Partnership. But he couldnt resist the chance to lead ANT too.

I enjoy new challenges and these are exciting times for ANT, he explains.

There is a great potential to grow the Avons undoubted importance to our area, our local economy and the world of UK Waterways.

All aboard. Avon Navigation Trust Chairman Jack Hegarty (right) and Chief Executive Clive Matthews.

clivejack website