NEWS: Investigation launched into attempted murder, after shots fired in Soho and suspects apprehended in Erdington on Thursday 7 July

Words & pics by Ed King

Police are calling on the public for information after shootings in Soho yesterday led to four suspects being apprehended in Erdington last night – with a 19 year old man escaping death following a gunshot wound to the leg.

After admitting himself to hospital at around 12:30pm yesterday afternoon, reporting he had been shot at on Clissold Street in the Jewellery Quarter.

Police reported “the offenders made off in a white Vauxhall Astra”, eventually tracking down the vehicle to the car park by Margaret Mary’s Church on Perry Common Road at around 8pm.

After fleeing the scene in a taxi, four people were apprehending by armed police officers around 20 minutes later – with three teenage males, aged 15, 16, and 19, alongside a 20 year old woman arrested for attempted murder.

Police told shots were also fired on Heaton Street, Soho, although no casualties were reported.

Several eyewitnesses around Perry Common Meadows spoke to Erdington Local last night, following the “significant police presence” that appeared around the parkland entrance on Perry Common Road

One local woman and her son were on their way to the Lidl supermarket on College Road, they told:

“We were driving to the supermarket at about 8pm and we saw armed police standing around the car park; there also a couple of (police) cars parked up, but we didn’t think much of it.

“Then by the time we had driven back, about 40mins later, there was a significant police presence – with a white car being loaded on to the back of a tow truck.

“The police were putting blue tape up at the entrance to the meadows and we though this must be something serious.”

Two young men were on the basketball court by the entrance to Perry Common Meadows when the police turned up last night, they told Erdington Local:

“We were just messing about on the court and all these police ran into the park. They started searching around and putting tape up by the car park.

“They didn’t say anything to us, but we thought we’d better leave and just go home. Whatever it was looked serious.”

Another local resident, who lives off Erdington High Street, was waiting at the No28 bus stop when he saw a team of police officers searching the hedgerows on Dovedale Road.

He told Erdington Local: “I was waiting for the bus to go home, and I could see the police car and van parked outside the church (St Margaret Mary’s) on Perry Common Road.

“It didn’t look like anything was happening, but then I saw about six police officers with litter picking sticks looking through the bushes on Dovedale Road.

“I went up to the police and asked what was happening, they were really polite but didn’t tell me much other than it was an ‘ongoing incident’ and there was no reason for the public to be concerned.

“Then I saw the one officer was holding a large knife, or machete, in a sheath – I asked again what was going on and the officer just told me it was ‘in hand’ and there was no danger. I didn’t see or hear anything else.”

After requesting information from the police HQ last night, Erdington Local learnt today about shots having been fired earlier in the day and a 19 year old man admitting himself to hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg.

A statement from West Midlands Police released at around 5pm on Friday 8 July confirmed:

“We’ve arrested four people after a teenager was shot in the leg and shots were fired at an unknown victim in two separate incidents in Birmingham yesterday (7 July).

“A 19-year-old man arrived at hospital with a single gunshot wound to his leg just after 12.30pm. He told officers he had been shot at in Clissold Street, before the offenders made off in a white Vauxhall Astra. His injuries are not life threatening.

“Some time later we received reports of shots being fired on Heaton Street and someone was seen to run from the scene. We have had no reports of any injuries.

“A white car was reportedly involved and the same Astra seen earlier was found in Perry Common Road at 8pm as the occupants made off. A machete was found inside.

“The occupants were believed to have jumped in a taxi, which was intercepted by our firearms officers less than 20 minutes later.

“Two boys, aged 15 and 16, a 19-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, possession of a firearm and possession of drugs. They remain in police custody for questioning.

“Our forensic experts are gathering evidence from each scene and we are exploring CCTV. We have extra officers patrolling the area to reassure the public.”

West Midlands Police are now calling for any information from the public to aid in their investigation, they added:

“We would ask anyone with information to contact us via Live Chat on our website quoting log 1501 of 7/7. We would particularly like to hear from the person shot at in Heaton Road around 5.30pm.

“Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Tell us what you know not who you are.”

NEWS: Jaguar Land Rover bosses pull the rug on pay agreement to keep worker’s wages in line with inflation

Words & pics by Ed King

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) workers are set to lose a previously promised pay rise of 12.2% – despite company bosses agreeing the inflation led increase would be in place for two years.

In an ‘update on pay discussions’ letter sent to all JLR workers, the Joint Negotiating Committee – made up of JLR representatives and members of Unite the Union – explained how the car manufacturer had been ‘severely impacted by supply chain constraints’ and must renege on the previously agreed deal.

The letter continued to explain how the automotive giant was ‘not delivering the profit we need to reinvest in our business’ and how the previously agreed pay rise would add an ‘unbudgeted cost of £118m into the business this year and over £600m in the next five years.’

It further stated: ‘no business… can simply absorb such a cost’ and JLR were now forced to ‘find alternative ways to cover this shortfall’ – including pulling the rug on ‘reasonable and affordable pay increases for our colleagues each year.’

In place of the previously agreed and approved 12.2% pay increase, established to keep worker’s wages in line with consumer inflation, JLR bosses are now offering a 6% pay rise – at about half of the rate of consumer inflation.

Staff would also get a one off £5000 pay out in August 2022, to help ‘combat the immediate cost of living challenges’, although this ‘inflation easing’ lump sum would itself be taxable.

Unite the Union, who represent the JLR workers and make up part of the Joint Negotiating Committee at Jaguar Land Rover, issued their own letter to members following ‘a number of meetings’ to challenge the cut.

In a move by Unite many found frustrating, the union told their members how JLR were ‘not in a good place financially’ and put the fate of the pay deal down to an open ballot – with workers set to vote on Monday 11 July.

The internal memo from Unite, signed ‘in solidarity’, further explained: ‘We (Unite) have stressed how disappointed we are with this approach and that you, the most important people’, will have to be balloted.’

And whilst it was not clearly confirmed in the letter to workers from the Joint Negotiating Committee, the letter from Unite ended by saying:

‘The Company have stated that this (is) their final offer and there is no negotiation.’

But many JLR workers are now feeling let down by both Jaguar Land Rover bosses and Unite, with social media messages calling on them to ‘flood’ the trade union with messages explaining ‘how disgruntled we are with our dire representation.’

Rumours are also circulating about a vote of no confidence against the union at one of the JLR plants, although Erdington Local could not confirm this at the time of writing.

One JLR worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told Erdington Local:

“People are fed up with the company pleading poverty all the time. The unions are so out of touch with their members it’s got to the point where we are cancelling our membership.

“We were promised an inflation based pay rise so the agreement made previously should be honoured. It’s not our fault it’s into double figures.

“If I was a representative of the union, I would be asking the company why they can afford to make numerous managerial positions available and also paying agency workers £30 plus per hour to get customers cars ‘out of the door’.

“The ballot on Monday should not be even happening.”

Workers at Jaguar Land Rover are set to vote on the revised pay agreement from JLR on Monday 11 July.

If you work at Jaguar Land Rover or have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, and want to tell us your side of the story, please email: jlr@erdingtonlocal.com

NEWS: 18 year old in ‘critical condition’ after being attacked in Pype Hayes Park, two teenagers arrested on suspicion of robbery

Words by Ed King

An 18 year old man is in “critical condition” after being stabbed in the chest and back in Pype Hayes Park on Monday 4 July.

Ambulance and police were called to the scene just before 6pm yesterday, after the man had been attacked by a group of ten teenagers whilst walking through the park – seriously wounding him and stealing two phones and his car keys.

A spokesperson from West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed: “We were called to reports of a stabbing at Pype Hayes Park on Chester Road at 5.49pm.

“One ambulance, a paramedic officer and a MERIT trauma doctor attended the scene. On arrival we discovered a teenage male who was treated for potentially serious injuries before being taken to hospital.”

After police arrived at the scene, they deployed drones to scour the area for the man’s attackers – with the National Police Air Service helping officers on the ground.

Two teenagers, aged 14 and 15, were found hiding in “dense shrubs” and arrested on suspicion of robbery. Both have been released on bail pending further enquiries.

West Midlands Police confirmed: “Officers have arrested two teenage boys after chasing them through undergrowth in Erdington following a stabbing in a park yesterday (4 July).

“An 18-year-old man was attacked by a group of around 10 youths at around 5.30pm in Pype Hayes Park. They stabbed him in the chest and back with a knife before stealing two phones from him and his car keys. He remains in hospital in a critical condition.

“We deployed our drone and the National Police Air Service assisted officers on the ground in locating the youths, who ran off in different directions.

“Two of the youths tried hiding in undergrowth in the park, but officers chased them, careering into the dense shrubs to arrest the pair – boys aged 14 and 15 – on suspicion of robbery. They have been released on police bail as our enquiries continue.”

A well used area by families, dog walkers, and people exercising, Pype Hayes Park is an important open-air facility for thousands who live in neighbouring Erdington and Sutton Coldfield. It also houses a popular golf course and gym, used by many local residents.

West Midlands Police have sent extra officers to patrol the park, looking for further evidence and hoping to restore public confidence.

They added: “We understand this incident is worrying, and we have officers patrolling the park and surrounding areas working to identify those involved.

“If you have any information about the incident – including CCTV or mobile phone footage taken in or around Pype Hayes Park, Erdington at the time – please drop us a message via Live Chat at www.west-midlands.police.uk and quote investigation number 20/613404/22.”

NEWS: Fire engine robbed whilst tackling Dulwich Road house explosion

By Erdington Local editorial team

Heartless thieves stole lifesaving equipment from a fire engine as its crew battled the blaze caused by the recent gas explosion in Kingstanding.

Grandmother Doreen Rees-Bibb died during the blast at the house on Dulwich Road, Kingstanding, on Sunday, 26 June, which left another man fighting for his life in hospital and destroyed or damaged six houses.

West Midlands Police revealed today whilst heroic residents and fire crews tried to save lives, someone prised open a cabinet on a fire engine at the scene and helped themselves to vital safety equipment.

A pump, cutters, a hose, and bolt croppers were taken from the fire engine and detectives are combing through footage from the area to identify the offenders.

Chief Inspector Kelly Monaghan said: “This is a despicable act during a serious incident when other members of the public were acting so heroically and selflessly.

“The items stolen are essential for firefighters to act quickly and save lives when it matters most, just like we saw in Kingstanding on Sunday.”

She added: “A side shutter was prised open and a pump, cutters, a hose and bolt croppers were taken. We’re already looking at footage from the area to identify the offenders.

“If anyone has any information please contact us via Live Chat on our website quoting 20/591089/22 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

The outpouring of support for families affected by the blaze was praised by the police, fire service, and Birmingham City Council.

Kind-hearted residents swamped the Kingstanding Inn, Second City Suite, and The Beggars Bush with donations of clothing, essentials and food for the families made homeless due to the blast, which was “most likely” caused by faulty pipework in the property.

A GoFundMe campaign was also set up by Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, who lives on Birdbrook Road. At the time of writing over £2,500 had been raised in donations.

A vigil was also help one week after the fatal explosion, to remember Doreen Rees-Bibb and show support for those affected.

If you have any information regarding the theft from the fire engine, please contact West Midlands Police via Live Chat at: www.west-midlands.police.uk/contact-us/live-chat quoting 20/591089/22

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion

NEWS: Council admits charging Standleys Tower residents for defunct shelter housing scheme

Words & pics by Ed King

Following years of campaigning, Birmingham City Council (BCC) has finally admitted to charging residents of Standleys Tower for a sheltered housing scheme that ended over a decade ago – costing them hundreds of pounds a year for a service that no longer exists.

Amounting to over £460 on their annual rent for 2021/2, people living in Standleys Tower had been challenging the ‘Sheltered Housing Charge’ for more than ten years – with no clarification from BCC about the mistake.

Standleys Tower resident Derek Walton, 62, previously told Erdington Local: “I’ve been here 11 years now, and I’ve always had to pay the service charge. I first raised this about four or five years ago, but it was just like water under the bridge.

“But every year we’ve asked the same question because we’re being told ‘no you’re not being charged for it’.

“We don’t know what we’re being charged for until they send the breakdown in a letter that comes out once a year, just before April.”

In a recent U-turn, Birmingham City Council have now written to Standleys Tower residents finally admitting the charges were an “overpayment”, committing to removing them from their yearly bill and offering backdated reimbursements from April 2019 onward.

With the property company Zoopla listing 36 flats at Standleys Tower, this unwarranted charge could have amounted to well over £16000 last year alone.

The unfair levy was also raised by Erdington Ward councillors Robert Alden and Gareth Moore, with the Council Leader, Ian Ward, refusing to look at the most recent bill during a full Cabinet meeting on 15 March 2022.

When presented with a physical copy of the tenant’s bill by Cllr Alden, clearly stating a weekly £8.86 ‘Sheltered Housing Charge’, Cllr Ward replied if the “asserted” over charging were true the Council would “indeed look into it.”

Whilst relieved the service charges have finally been dropped, Standleys Tower residents are still seeking answers to further charges on their annual bill – including a yearly cost of over £590 for ‘Night Security’, which could have amounted to over £21000 in the billing period for 2021/22.

Tenants have told Erdington Local the only ‘Night Security’ they witness amounts to “a five minute visit” from a private firm, whilst all the internal cameras having been removed from the block around four years ago.

A young mother living in Standleys Tower explained: “We pay £11.44 a week for ‘Night Security’ despite the Council removing all the cameras in the block, and intercom calls coming straight to our flat after a certain time instead of going through concierge.

“Also, we pay £10.70 a week for caretaking costs, but the new cleaner doesn’t do anything. He hangs around with one of the other residents here but hasn’t cleaned properly since last year.

“It’s unacceptable that residents pay these charges.

“Either get a new cleaner for Standleys Tower or remove the charge, because we shouldn’t be paying for a cleaner who doesn’t do his job. Same goes for security.”

Erdington Local has approached Birmingham City Council for comment.

NEWS: Free afternoon of music, art, and poetry at Holy Trinity Parish Church – Sunday 3 July

Words by Ed King

Erdington families are invited to a free afternoon of music, craft, and poetry at Holy Trinity Parish Church, Sutton Coldfield – held on Sunday 3 July, from 12noon to 3pm.

Organised by Sutton Arts Forum and the Church’s Music Director, Jobe Baker Sullivan – who runs Erdington Arts Forum and the monthly Evening of Creativity events at Oikos Café – the free afternoon of fun is part of the citywide 10 to 11 new arts project from Number 11 Arts.

Musicians from all over the world will be coming to perform live at Holy Trinity Parish Church on Sunday, including Polish violinist and Roksana Grobelna and Bulgarian guitarist and singer Stefan Stefonov.

There will also be a special guest appearance from Lucie Chalot, a Parisian musician who has been booked the Erdington based Ceol Agency, which promotes a portfolio of international artists and is also run by Jobe Baker Sullivan.

The afternoon will also one of the city’s most celebrated spoken word artists, as Spoz will be performing some of his poetry live on stage.

Well known across the UK poetry circuit, Spoz was also recently selected to be one of the official poets and spoken word artists to represent Birmingham at the upcoming Commonwealth Games 2022.

The National Trust will also be at Holy Trinity Parish Church on Sunday 3 July, encouraging local people to plant their own blossom trees along the No11 bus route this winter – as part of their Blossom Together project.

For more information on Blossom Together visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/helping-communities-blossom

Ahead of the afternoon of free arts and music, Jobe Baker Sullivan told Erdington Local: “It’s a great privilege to invite people from all around Birmingham to Holy Trinity arish Church, Sutton Coldfield. As Music Director of the parish church, it’s a delight to welcome such a wide range of music, poetry, and craft.

“This is also a great opportunity for us to welcome people to Sutton to see our excellent art and music offering – here at Holy Trinity, we have our Friends of Holy Trinity concerts, with high quality music, and our regular evensong and Sunday services.

“It’s a really great delight to be able to invite a musician that I met in Paris, Lucie Chalot. She is coming to play in our really wonderful international city of Birmingham.

“I hope that the 10 to 11 project is one of many citywide, grassroots, suburban projects where we share the best of our city – and to work with big organisations such as National Express West Midlands.

“It’s important that, moving forward, such organisations see the importance of funding these events and projects, year-round, for a sustainable arts community in our city.”

Running from 12noon to 3pm, event is free to attend and suitable for young children and families – held at Holy Trinity Parsh Church, as part of the 10 to 11 citywide arts project.

The 10 to 11 project is led by Number 11 Arts, an umbrella organisation that supports and champions a city-wide network of neighbourhood arts forums in Birmingham.

The 10 to 11 project has been funded by Arts Council England and is in partnership with National Express West Midlands and the National Trust.

Further events will be held on  Sunday 10 July, Sunday 17 July, and Sunday 24 July.

Roksanna Grobelna – who will be performing at Trinity Parish Church on Sunday 3 July

Spoz – performing ‘Letter to Birmingham’

For more information on 10 to 11, including details on individual events and the arts bus timetable, visit: www.number11arts.co.uk/10-11

NEWS: Dulwich Road house explosion “most likely” caused by faulty pipework

By Erdington Local editorial team

The gas explosion which destroyed a house in Kingstanding and damaged six other properties, leaving a grandmother dead and a man fighting for his life in hospital, was “most likely” caused by faulty pipework West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) have stated.

West Midlands Fire Service came to the conclusion after four days investigating the cause of the devastating explosion on Dulwich Road on Sunday 26 June.

A WMFS spokesman said: “We would like to take this opportunity to again extend our sympathies to everyone affected by Sunday night’s events in which, tragically, a woman lost her life.

“The man who was rescued remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.”

The spokesman added: “Extensive investigations at the scene of the explosion are now complete.

“Demolition work on Tuesday enabled investigators to safely access and test sections of the property’s internal gas piping.

“They have concluded that the explosion was most likely caused by the accidental and inadvertent ignition of a large escape of gas from a joint in the pipework.”

West Midlands Police officers are also gathering evidence for HM Coroner and family liaison officers continue to support those most directly affected.

The Health and Safety Executive will continue to make enquiries as to whether any work-related activities contributed towards the incident.

The WMFS spokesman added: “We are extremely grateful to the families involved, and to the local community, for their understanding and patience throughout the initial emergency response and the subsequent investigation.

“The community has been fantastic in the aftermath of this tragedy, offering support and shelter to those affected, and we would like to thank everyone involved in that effort.”

The Kingstanding Inn has stopped accepting donations of items for those affected by the blast after being deluged by people bringing clothes and food.

Kingstanding Councillor Rick Payne said: “On behalf of those who have done a stellar job of collecting items for the Dulwich Road relief I just want to make everybody aware they there has been an overwhelming response.

“Thank you everyone that has donated for your generosity, The Kingstanding Inn has been absolutely inundated and has asked me to inform residents that they are no longer taking any donations.

“There was a massive surplus and as a result, following a meeting of the charities who have been working within the community over the past few days, a decision has been made to donate the surplus items to local schools and charities.”

A GoFundMe campaign was also set up by Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, who lives on Birdbrook Road. At the time of writing £2,365 had been raised in donations.

For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion

NEWS: Community vigil to be held one week after Dulwich Road house explosion

By Erdington Local editorial team

A vigil is being held on Dulwich Road on Sunday 3 July, marking a week after the tragic gas explosion.

At 7pm the community will come together to mark the moment the blast ripped through the Kingstanding home, killing Doreen Rees-Bibb and seriously injuring a man who remains in hospital.

Several people were made also homeless from the incident, and the Kingstanding community rallied round this week by raising money, giving donations, and offering support.

Sunday’s 7pm vigil will be to remember Doreen, age 79, who was killed in the blast, and to show solidarity for the man still fighting for his life. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Kingstanding resident Cassie Harker said:  “Everyone is going at 7pm we are all lighting the candles at the time the explosion happened.

“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone represent our community and come together as one.”

There has been a massive outpouring of grief for “fun-loving grandmother” Doreen, who died at the scene.

Her daughter Karen led the tributes to her mother saying: “We are so devastated that me and my sister have loss our mother Doreen in a fire, it’s the most terrible way to die. We miss her so much.”

Doreen was a popular figure around Erdington and Kingstanding and friends who remember her enjoying nights in The Acorn and the former HQ, now the Pheasant Plucker, on High Street, flooded social media with fond memories.

Former karaoke DJ at HQ Gary Neale said: “She was my friend, and a lovely lady.”

Several people who she had helped in the past by giving sage advice and support also mourned her loss.

Maureen Harwood said: “I’m so sorry, she was such a good friend to me, and helped me.”

Alex Stanley said: “I can’t believe it is true, Doreen was such an angel, I am absolutely heartbroken. She was always asking about me, telling me to get out of Birmingham saying “Alex you are better than this place”. RIP and party hard up there.”

Eight families were forced out of their damaged houses and there have been several fundraising drives to help them, with the Kingstanding Inn, Second City Bar and Lounge, and the Beggars Bush all accepting donations.

Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, Birdbrook Road, also set up a Go Fund Me which has so far received over £2000 in donations.

Rachael Pike-Franklin said last night (Tuesday):  “We are working alongside some of the families in our community at the Kingstanding Inn the clothes donations have been phenomenal and we are truly grateful for everyone who has been a part of collecting and donating .

“For now we have been asked to not accept anymore clothes donations but are looking for fresh food products to help feed the families in our community at this tragic time.”

Investigations into the cause of the explosion are still ongoing. However, gas suppliers Cadent have confirmed their role in the investigation is over.

Elliott Nelson, Cadent network director for the West Midlands said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those impacted and everyone in this close-knit community.

“Since the incident, our engineers have been on site working with the emergency services.

“Following a thorough investigation, we can confirm that the gas mains and service pipes in the area are sound and were not the cause of the incident in Kingstanding. The matter now lies with other agencies for further investigation.”

A for sale advert for the house posted two months ago included information about the boiler, which “needed replacing”.

West Midlands Fire Service investigators remain at the scene trying to find the exact cause of the explosion.

In a recent public update, WMFS told: “Wed 29 June, it is likely that demolition work will be needed at the scene, following which the next stage of investigations can be planned.”

For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion

NEWS: Man feared dead by staff and public after “beaten unconscious” in attack at Greggs on Erdington High Street

Words by Ed King / Pics by Claire Marshall

A man was feared dead today after being “beaten unconscious” during a random attack in Greggs in broad daylight on Erdington High Street.

After entering the popular sandwich and fast food eatery at around 1-1:30pm, two men got into a sporadic altercation at the counter.

After apprearing to be friends, the larger of the two men viciously “stamp(ed) on him, punched him (the victim) in the face, and kicked him while screaming,” leaving staff and customers fearing the man attacked was dead.

After emergency services were called to the scene, the victim of the horrific afternoon assault was taken to hospital with “serious injuries” – although following immediate concerns West Midlands Police were able to confirm the brutal attack was “fortunately… not life threatening”.

After Greggs staff called the emergency services, a statement from West Midlands Police further confirmed:

“We are investigating after a man was beaten unconscious in Erdington High Street around 1.30pm today.

“The man, in his 30s, was taken to hospital where he remains with serious injuries, although fortunately they are not life threatening.

“A 36-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of wounding and remains in police custody.”

A spokesperson from West Midlands Ambulance Service added: “We were called to reports of an assault on High Street in Erdington at 1.26pm. Two ambulances and the West Midlands Care Team attended the scene.

“On arrival we discovered one male patient who was treated for seriously injuries before being taken to hospital.”

A local resident who was in Greggs at the time of the attack, saw first hand the random and violent nature of the one sided fight that broke out – in broad daylight, at a crowded busy high street establishment.

Not wising to be named, the local resident confirmed to Erdington Local: “I was at Greggs around lunch, when two men came in who appeared to be friends and got to the counter.

“Suddenly the bigger guy knocked the smaller guy onto the floor then proceeded to stamp on him, punched him in the face, and kicked him while screaming.

“He came back, attacked the guy again, then grabbed him by his feet sand dragged him to the door. I was sitting by the door. Two female staff got very upset, and one contacted the police.

“The two staff could not see him from the counter and one thought he was dead, and one of them pulled the metal shutter down. I shouted that the guy was moving and to stop lowering the shutter.

“He (the attacker) came back again screaming and stamping and hitting him (the victim), then pulled him out again.

“He was literally covered in blood, so I got the staff to bring over some tissues… staff contacted the police again, and eventually the ambulances and police arrived.

“While the injured guy was being attended to and four policemen stood outside the shop, talking to some people who had seen the attack outside, the attacker came back – somebody shouted to the police and they chased him round the corner and got him eventually by using a taser.”

NEWS: ‘Bravery and generosity’ – Kingstanding community rally round to support victims of Dulwich Road explosion

Words by Erdington Local editorial team – pics from West Midlands Fire Service

The bravery and generosity of the Kingstanding community has shone through following the tragic house explosion last night.

In the minutes after the blast, 15 local residents tried to save those trapped in the rubble of the burning Dulwich Road house.

And within hours, donations for the families in the houses destroyed or damaged began pouring in and a JustGiving page fundraising page started.

One woman died during the gas explosion; she is believed to be a pensioner who lived in the destroyed house. A man is being treated in Queen Elizabeth Hospital for serious injuries and another four people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

One house was totally destroyed, three were seriously damaged, and several cars were hit by flying debris. West Midlands Fire Service confirmed 21 people were evacuated from their homes, some stayed with family members and others were found emergency accommodation.

Several people were taken to the Kingstanding Inn, Warren Farm Road.

Kathy, the landlady, said: “After the tragic events of last night, we want the community to know we are happy to help.

“We currently have TCI with us which is a local community charity, and have housed those in need overnight.

“Should anyone need clothing, food, or just somewhere safe to chat, please pop in anytime. One thing this has shown is how our community can pull together.”

Young father Callum Attwood raced into the home to save a stricken resident, but after being praised as a hero by the national media wanted to set the record straight this afternoon.

He said: “I don’t want no credit for any of this there was another 10-15 lads in the garden helping and doing much more. I don’t want no credit for this.”

However, despite his modesty Callum and his fellow rescuers have been hailed heroes by thousands of people of social media.

Kiara Parkinson said: “People can say what they like about Kingstanding but when it comes to it we’re some bloody good people, Callum Attwood and anybody else who put themselves at risk running into a house that’s literally burning to help others in these horrific circumstances should be so proud of themselves.”

Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, who lives on Birdbrook Road, set up a Go Fund Me page to help the ‘immediate victims of the Kingstanding house explosion.’ At the time of writing the page had received nearly £800 in donations.

He said: “Such an unpredicted accident which will leave many temporarily homeless.

“The money will be donated directly to the immediate victims to cover costs of temporary accommodation, clothing, food and anything else needed in such a tragic time.

“I don’t personally know those affected by the tragedy but as a resident of Kingstanding also I feel the community can support those affected.

Two young girls have been left “with just the clothes on their back” and Claire Deleon is also collecting donations for those in need and has already organised a charity night at Second City, Kingstanding Circle.

She said: “We are doing a collection of anything you have or can donate food, baby supplies, blankets, anything you can think of that can help the family’s out effected from the fire.

“Come on people let’s all pull together as a community, anybody can drop stuff into Second City and just let a member of staff know it’s for the collection, we will also be doing a charity day/night Friday with a live singer, there will be a collection pot, football cards etc on the day and night so please come and join us.”

The club are also donating 50p of every drink sold on Friday 1 July to help support that affected by the blast.

For more on Second City Sports Bar and Lounge visit www.facebook.com/secondcitybar.lounge

For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion