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Competition ...any other business A roundup of news from Chamber members

Drayton Manor Zoo names meerkat after TV personality

Eco-hub: The park keepers’ cottage

A new era for Witton Lakes

Construction work has now started on transforming the former park-keepers’ cottage at Witton Lakes into a multi- functional environmental community facility. A community asset transfer

from Birmingham City Council, the project site is based within Witton Lakes Park and serves the Wyrley Birch, Perry Common, Upper Witton and Stockland Green neighbourhoods. The project will showcase

and promote energy generation and efficiency, tackle fuel poverty, help cultivate home-produce and encourage the pursuit of outdoor activities. The eco hub will include an

outdoor activities base, an education centre and an orchard which will share its produce with local foodbanks. The transformation aims to

be complete in late autumn and Witton Lodge Community Association says it will provide a significant catalyst for tackling inequality and climate change in the local community. Association chief officer,

Afzal Hussain, said: “It’s been a tough year and we’re delighted to be onsite to bring this project to fruition. “The Association has a

successful track record of physical and community regeneration where local residents play a leading role. "This new facility will create opportunities for volunteering, education and training, as well as a range of health, wellbeing and physical activities which will be much needed as we emerge from the pandemic.”

70 CHAMBERLINK April 2021

Staffordshire-based theme park and zoo Drayton Manor Park has renamed one of its meerkats to pacify TV’s ‘Loose Women’ star Janet Street-Porter. The rent-a-quote celebrity was

apparently fuming when Chester Zoo named a naked mole rat after her, much to the amusement of her fellow panellists. During the show, Street-Porter

said that it was ‘insulting’ to be named after the rat, but added that if anyone had a meerkat, she’d rather be named after that. So, the team at Drayton Manor

Park’s 15-acre on-site zoo obliged, and when ‘Loose Women’ was informed, panellist Ruth Langsford said to Street-Porter: “So a meerkat is what you’d like. “Well, Janet, news just in – the

team at Drayton Manor theme park and zoo have named one of their female meerkats Janet Street Porter. “Janet the meerkat is seven years

old, she’s very sociable – interestingly – and she lives in a gang of eight

Rats the way to do it: The ‘Loose Women’ panellists, featuring Janet Street- Meerkat (third from left)

meerkats. She also lives with three cape-crested porcupines and gets on well with them. She’s spiky, you see.” Street-Porter thanked the park

for naming the meerkat after her – which she described as ‘beautiful’. It’s entirely possible that Street- Porter doesn’t like rats after the

Nursery children share their pandemic stories

Children at Highfield Day Nursery in Edgbaston were inspired to write a book of their own, ahead of last month’s ‘World Book Day’. The book, which is titled ‘Our

World’, has been written and illustrated by six pre-schoolers, and includes their individual experiences of the pandemic through a range of personal accounts and drawings. The six youngsters – Iris, Aylin,

Karishma, Agatha, Maisie and Parie – who are all aged between three and four, have not only sent their publication to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and are now also selling copies to parents at the nursery, in exchange for a small donation to Cancer Research UK. Highfield Day Nursery deputy manager Laura Phipps said: “We are incredibly proud of the children, not only for the way they have navigated the pandemic as a whole, but for being able to articulate their feelings in such a

Sex Pistols threw a stuffed one at her during an interview with Johnny Rotten, according to her autobiography. Either way, ‘Loose Women’ fans

will be able to visit Janet the meerkat in person when Drayton Manor reopens this month.

TV show heads to Aston Hall

Birmingham’s historic Aston Hall is to host TV’s famous ‘Antiques Roadshow’ this summer. During the show, presenter

Fiona Bruce and the Roadshow team will be appraising everything from car boot bargains to treasured family possessions at the 400-year- old Jacobean redbrick mansion. Aston Hall was built between

Budding authors: One of the pages from the book

way and create something beautiful as a result. “The project has been entirely child-led with no influence from practitioners and we are so impressed with the book, as are our nursery families who have purchased their own copies for such a worthy cause.”

1618 and 1635 for Sir Thomas Holte, whose family name is also used by nearby Villa Park, as fans of the Premier League team will be aware. Alex Nicholson-Evans,

commercial director at Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase one of Birmingham’s most important historic properties. “I can’t wait to see what

undiscovered masterpieces Birmingham might have.”

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