Ray Crowther

About Ray Crowther

Ray Crowther is here Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am with the mid-morning show – Stafford‘s community hub, a daily mix of consumer advice, topical local discussion, current affairs and good music.

Posts by Ray Crowther:

WITNESS APPEAL: Collision on Weston Road, Stafford



Emergency services were called to a report of a road traffic collision on the A518 Weston Road just after 6:50am on Friday 16 December.

Two HGV lorries were involved in the collision just outside the County Showground and one of the vehicles jack-knifed, blocking the carriageway.

The road was closed between Blackheath Lane, at the Knot and Plough Pub roundabout, and Within Lane. Diversions were in place and there was heavy congestion in the area for some time while the incident was dealt with. The road was closed for around 6 hours to allow for recovery of both vehicles.

One man was taken to North Staffs University Hospital by ambulance with suspected leg injuries, which are not thought to be life threatening.

Were you in the area at the time? Anyone with information on the above incident is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 102 of 16 December, alternatively call CRIMESTOPPERS anonymously on 0800-555-111


SARH contribute to festive food parcel collection


Kind-hearted employees at Stafford’s largest landlord have been helping to spread a little festive cheer to those in need by supporting the distribution of food parcels by Stafford Lions Club.

A collection at the headquarters of Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) at Parker Court also saw more than 300 items donated, contributing to more than 200 bags of food and other essentials given to the Lions for delivery to the most vulnerable in the community.

Donations included items such as tea, coffee, tinned vegetables, cooking sauces, cereals and nappies for those with young children.

Laura MacPhee, Customer Engagement Advisor at SARH said: “Contributing to local charities at Christmas has become a festive tradition for our staff and customers, as we are always looking for opportunities to support the communities we serve.

“While our staff have made a generous contribution to the Lions campaign, SARH will also be helping to distribute some of the food parcels.”

In addition to the contributions from members of staff at the housing association, the majority of the donations have come from collections in the Baswich and Hillcroft Park area.

Ron Martin, Secretary of Stafford Lions, commented: “Each year we have seen more people in need of food parcels. However it’s heartening that we also see more people willing to make generous donations and those who have contributed will know that everything they have given will go to those who need it.

“This year we’ve been particularly busy but the response has been fantastic and we are delighted at the support from SARH.”

Caption: Helping to deliver food for those in need at Christmas, from left to right, are Ron Martin, Secretary of Stafford Lions, Roger Guy, Stafford Lions President, Laura MacPhee, Customer Engagement Advisor at SARH and Lions co-ordinator June Liddell.

Know your consumer rights during festive shopping period


People looking for bargains online throughout the Christmas and New Year sales period are being urged to get to know their rights and avoid scams.

New consumer laws were brought in last year, giving people greater clarity when they shop in store or online.

The Consumer Rights Act clarifies consumer law and includes legislation to allow people to obtain a full refund on faulty goods within 30 days of purchase, an ability to challenge unfair terms and conditions or those that are hidden in small print, and an ability to demand poor services are redone or that there is a price reduction.

In addition the laws cover faulty digital goods such as online films, games, music and e-books.

People can also take a few simple steps to reduce the chances of falling victims to scams and fraudsters.

Sales of counterfeit clothes and electrical items online have increased in recent years. People should be aware that websites sometimes use a domain name that falsely suggests they are UK-based.

Counterfeiting is illegal, can fund international organised crime and is harmful to businesses and the economy. Consumers who believe they are purchasing genuine goods are often left with inferior items.

Scam websites are often difficult to tell from genuine ones but there are some tell-tale signs people can look out for. People should be wary if the site:

  • Offers are too good to be true, for example the price of an item is markedly lower than the market rate
  • Has no information about the identity of the person operating the business such as the proprietor’s name or the company’s full name
  • Has no geographic address for the business, preventing people from locating the business in the event of a dispute
  • Makes no mention of any cancellation rights
  • Has unfair or restrictive terms and conditions which limits people’s legal rights
  • Only accepts payments via money transfer services such as MoneyGram and/ or Western Union

Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards leader Gill Heath said: “We want people to know their rights and be aware of potential pitfalls if shopping online over the next few weeks. Consumer laws apply to online or instore trade so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with them.

“Unfortunately internet shoppers are targeted by criminals and that’s why it is important people follow some simple safety tips while shopping.  We want people to be able to shop with confidence online, stay safe, and perhaps think about buying a gift from one of our local businesses.”

People with concerns about shopping online should visit Citizens Advice on www.citizensadvice.org.uk


Staffordshire’s top cycling and walking spots revealed


People interested in working off the extra helpings during festive parties and Christmas dinners are invited to stay active over the holidays and explore Staffordshire on foot and by bike.

With acres of country parks, extensive canal towpaths and miles upon miles of cycle paths, Staffordshire continues to be a great county for walking and cycling, and promises to be especially beautiful on dry, crisp winter days.


Now, Staffordshire County Council has revealed some of its top locations to keep active over the holidays. Highlights include:

  • Cannock Chase – Staffordshire’s own piece of the National Forest hides miles and miles of mountain bike and walking trails that are free to use and accommodate every level of skill. Even away from these routes, much of Cannock Chase is also perfect for a scenic cycle ride or walk.
  • Apedale Country Park – a short three mile trip from Newcastle-Under-Lyme town centre will plant visitors on top of Apedale Country Park. Stunning views, green space and a visitor’s centre makes this the perfect spot for a well-earned picnic.
  • The Pedal PEAK project links Staffordshire with the Peak District. It takes riders from the Caldon Canal in Stoke on Trent through to Cheddleton with a split to Waterhouses and Derbyshire or Tittesworth Reservoir in beautiful countryside on newly improved tow paths and signed road routes.
  • South Staffs Railway Walk – Linking the south of the county with Wolverhampton and Dudley, the South Staffordshire Railway Walk provides a beautiful walking path and cycle ride under a canopy of trees away from any vehicles, all running along the disused railway line.
  • Chasewater Country Park’s 90 hectare reservoir provides a five mile circular route with a great view of the lake with no traffic and plenty of stops for turkey leftover picnics and tea breaks.  Great for walking and cycling.
  • Tamworth Castle grounds and a network of canals and car-free routes nearby make trips on a bike or on two feet around this historic site safe and memorable.
  • The National Cycle Network – Route 5 and Route 55 run straight through Staffordshire, taking in dozens of Staffordshire towns and villages, miles of canal towpaths and acres of beautiful countryside.
  • The Roaches – a hike in the challenging Staffordshire moorlands will work off any Christmas dinner calories and reward those who beat it with the best views of the Staffordshire Moorlands and the Peak District National Park.


Mark Deaville, Cabinet Member for Transport and highways at Staffordshire County Council, said: “Staffordshire really is the perfect county for cycling and walking and ideal to walk off the extra pounds gained over the festive holidays.

“Whether its gentle scenic walks, or more challenging hikes or cyclerides you’re after, we’ll have something for you.  Walking and cycling are great activities that help the whole family stay fit and healthy and with improvements to cycleways right across the county, we are committed to making it easier and safer for people to get out and about.”


Criss-crossing Staffordshire are 240km of rural cycle lanes, 772km of Public Rights of Way, more than 2000km of country lanes and over 80km of the National Cycle Network. Individual cycling maps for each district, which show both traffic free and quieter routes suitable for cycling on the road are available from local libraries.   People can find out more by visiting www.staffordshire.gov.uk/transport and clicking ‘cycling and walking’

Community news and events


ROTARY SANTA’S TOUR: Santa concludes his tour of the area with a two day visit to the various parts of Eccleshall. On Friday December 23 he moves to the Eccleshall West area and finishes on Christmas eve starting at 4.30pm in the central section of the town. Funds raised will benefit Rotary charities and other local charities. The Rotary Club of Eccleshall Mercia do the tour each year and bring a little seasonal cheer to the younger members of our community.

RACE NIGHT SUCCESS: Saturday December 12 saw the latest in a series of Race Nights at the Eagle Inn. This time the proceeds went to the Eccleshall Scouts. A wonderful sum of £337 was raised with prizes kindly supplied by the following:- Francesco, Staffordshire Gliding Club, Wines etc, London House, The Artisan, Eagle Inn, Star pizza, Merckx, Mr Simms, Bethan Ward, Eccleshall Chippy, The Royal Oak, The Bell Inn, BBs florist, Keith Hill, Daru Chini Thanks to all who donated prizes and all those who took part in the race night.

SCOUTS POST: Members of the 1st Eccleshall Scout group and friends have been busy over the last three weekends collecting a delivering Christmas cards within the town. This has become a traditional event much welcomed by folks at 30p per card. Money raised goes to Scout funds.


Pic: Olivia Silvester, Tony Eveleigh and Mike Spearman

SOCIETY BUSY: During the festive period the members of the Ecclian Society and friends are busy making sure that the town centre looks at its best for the period. The Society installed over 60 small trees on the buildings in the centre after checking and installing Christmas lights on them. The lights-on event at the lych gate of the church is arranged each year by the Society for the children of the area and at the conclusion of the ‘carols under the Christmas tree’ evening they will be providing mulled wine for the carolers inside the Holy Trinity Church.

STONE ROAD OPENS: The normal road to Stone from Eccleshall was re-opened last week and allows easy access to businesses along the way.

HOSPICE MORNING: The Eccleshall Support group of the Katharine House Hospice were busy again on Saturday December 10 with a coffee and mince pie morning at the cricket club between 10am and 12 noon.


Pic: Joy Jones, Edith Adamson, Judith Roberts, Georgina Worth, Sally Ann Adamson, Vilma Hickman, David Milner and Pat Milner.

CHRISTMAS LUNCH: Members and friends of the Trinity Men’s fellowship will be enjoying a late Christmas dinner at the Swan at Forton on Thursday December 29.

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH:  On Christmas Eve ‘blessing the crib’ a special service for families takes place at 3pm and the Midnight Eucharist begins at 11.30pm. On Christmas Day there are two services the first taking place at 8am and the evening service starting at 10am At Slindon St Chad’s there is a Christmas Communion service at 11.30am on Christmas Day. There is no service in the church on New Year’s Day January 1 but the vicar Reverend James Graham will be in the church at 10am for prayers.

LIBRARY OPENING TIMES: The library will be closing early on Christmas Eve December 24 at 1pm and will be closed December 25, 26 and 27.

CHURCH SERVICES: There is a Christmas Day Mass at 9.15am at the Sacred Heart Church on December 25. There is a Carols by Candlelight service on Christmas Eve at 7.30pm and a Family Service at 9.30am both at the Methodist Church.

INTER CHURCH QUIZ: On Saturday January 14, a special inter church quiz takes place in the parish room of Holy trinity Church starting at 7pm. Teams of no more than six people, booking teams through David Beswick 01785 850622 £5 per person with a fish and chips supper. Bring your own drinks and there is a raffle.

ACOUSTIC NIGHT: The special Christmas Acoustic Night at the Royal Oak on Thursday December 1 was an amazing ‘full house’ affair, with over 80 people in the audience and 17 solo or group performers. The organisers would like to thank all the supporters of their monthly raffles they have raised £537 during 2016 for local charities. The first Acoustic Night of the new year will be on Thursday 5th January 2017.

TRUST LUNCH: Senior Citizens from the parish were treated to a Christmas lunch at the North Staffs Hotel, Stoke on Wednesday December 7. Although numbers were down slightly on last year the food and entertainment were well received. The guest of honour was the Mayor of Stafford Borough Councillor Geoff Collier and the Mayoress Cathy Collier.

NEW YEAR’S DAY WALK: Starting from The Rudge at 10am this annual walk is enjoyed by many who wish to blow the seasonal cobwebs away. It will end at The Rudge with a warming cup of homemade soup and mince pies.

TEA DANCE: The last of 2016 the tea dance takes place at the community centre for dancers of all levels on Wednesday December 28 starting at 2pm.

A merry Christmas!


HOLLY BUSH QUIZ: The regular Sunday evening quiz takes a seasonal break on New Year’s Day and Sally Bell an alternative quiz mistress takes over for one day on Sunday January 8 starting at 8.30pm. Peter & Joy Jones the resident quizmaster and scorer return on Sunday January 15.


BUCKET COLLECTING: Members of the Stafford Rotary Club were collecting courtesy of ASDA in Stafford on Saturday December 10 for their charity account all day. Many thanks to the customers who were generous in their giving.


Pic: Syd Birkin, Karen Milligan, Club President Brian Westerman and David Slee.



Peter Jones Columnist
28 The Burgage, Eccleshall, Staffs, ST21 6DR
01785 851381 / 07815 419166