NEWS: “It made me proud to be a Brummie,” hundreds welcome the Queens Baton Relay to Pype Hayes Park

Words by Ed King / Pics by Angela Chapman

Hundreds of people turned out on Pype Hayes Park today to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Erdington.

Over the last 269 days the Baton Relay has travelled through all 72 countries of the Commonwealth, covering 90,000 miles, before coming to the Games 2022 host city of Birmingham for the final leg of its globetrotting journey.

Over 7500 people have handed the Baton to each other, bringing the Queen’s message bearing icon to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games 2022 Opening Ceremony on Thursday, 28 July.

Having travelled through 180 communities across England over the last 25 days, the Baton ended up in Pype Hayes Park just after midday – with a backdrop of free games and activities to keep the celebration going.

Soft archery, karate demonstrations, a gaming van, and a special army inflatable for young people to test their strength and endurance were all set up on the green space by the Chester Road entrance.

Flags, frisbees, and footballs were given out, branded with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 colours and logo, for people to play with during the Baton Relay and take home as a special souvenir of the day.

There was also a giant screen where people could challenge each other to a live basketball computer game, hosted by Ed James.

People of all ages spent hours in the park before and after the Baton Relay had come through Erdington, after making its way down to Pype Hayes from Sutton Coldfield.

Local mum, Angela Chapman, told Erdington Local: “We were probably there for about an hour and a half, we had a picnic and met family and friends there.

“It was a really lovely community atmosphere; it was lovely to see that many people out in Pype Hayes Park, there was a really good turn out – a real buzz as well.

“One of the highlights was when Perry (the bull – official Games 2022 mascot) appeared and was high fiving all the children, he got the crowd going before the Baton bearers came through. Everyone was waving their flags; it was a really lovely moment.

“For me it made me proud to be a Brummie, the whole build up over the last few days has been amazing, bringing colour to the city everywhere you go.

“When the baton bearers came through everyone was just cheering and clapping, it was just a lovely thing to see.

“It sparked that excitement for the Opening Ceremony tonight, and because the event and activities were free it was really open to everyone, which was great to see.”

Angela’s daughters, Florrie (10) and Violet (7), were also getting in on the fun and festivities.

They told: “It was really exciting; the park was full of games and people. We got to play on this big inflatable army assault course and do a karate class.

“Seeing Perry was amazing; he gave us all high fives before the runners with the Baton came through the park. It was a really happy day.”

Local resident, Alan Thomson, added: “Today was a great day for the people of B23/24. So many good things are happening not only in Birmingham but in Erdington too.

“So nice to see so many people turn up of all ages and cultures to welcome the baton.

“And the cherry on the cake, we got the betting shop proposal stopped on the High Street. Peace and love.”

The Commonwealth Games 2022 launched in Birmingham with the official Opening Ceremony on Thursday, 28 July – with 11 subsequent days of sporting competition and activity.

Fighting for England, Kingstanding boxer Nial Farrell will be competing in the Games – with bouts scheduled at the NEC.

For more on the Commonwealth Games 2022 visit www.birmingham2022.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.”

PICTURE GALLERY: Erdington locals celebrate the return of Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair to Pype Hayes Park

Words by Liam Smith / Pics by Hannah White

Beautiful weather over the recent half term holiday saw families flock to Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair at Pype Hayes park.

Rides, games, prizes and food were in abundance, with the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions meaning the family favourite attraction could return to the park for the first time since 2019.

Erdington Local paid a visit to soak up the atmosphere. Whilst resisting the urge to have a go on the waltzers and dodgems, we spoke to the local residents and families who had also paid a visit.

Courtney, mother of two, told Erdington Local: “It’s lovely, it’s been very good. It’s good to finally get a good day out, it’s been horrible being stuck inside for a year so it’s nice to get out and have something for the kids to do.”

We also spoke to Lee, a staff member running one of the games at the fair. He said: “It’s brilliant to be back. It’s nice to see people out enjoying themselves again.

“We’ve all come out of lockdown and people are wanting to get out and spend their money, which is good for the fair and the community.”

Other parents we spoke to shared the sentiment, with some saying they had been “desperate to get out and do something… the kids have been looking forward to it for weeks now.

“It makes a nice change from only being able to go to school then being stuck in the house all the time.”

Louise, 25, from Pype Hayes, added: “I used to come here all of the time as a child, so for me it’s great to see it back with all of the old favourite rides here. It’s very nostalgic walking through the fair seeing kids running around having fun like we used to.

“I can’t imagine how exciting it must be especially for the younger kids who this could be their first time here. It’s nice to see smiles on everyone’s faces.”

The fair’s return was overall hugely welcomed in the area, with the organisers staying for a week longer than originanlly planned.

Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair has been a longstanding favourite amongst Brummies, popping up in parks across the city for the past 30 years.

Pype Hayes Park is a regular site for the family focused attraction with plans already being made to welcome back the funfair.

PICTURE GALLERY: Robert Wikinson’s Family Funfair at Pype Hayes Park – by Hannah White

For more on Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair at Pype Hayes Park, or to watch out for further events across the city, visit www.facebook.com/Robert-Wilkinsons-Family-Funfair-Birmingham

NEWS: Multi vehicle fire at Pype Haye Park sends thick black smoke across Chester Road

Words & pics by Liam Smith / Video by Tina Kerr

Local residents watched on today as thick black smoke billowed out from behind a residency near Pype Hayes Park.

Two fire engines were called to the scene at around 16:08 on Chester Road – at the vehicle entrance to the park – as a large group gathered on the street to watch firefighters tackle the blaze.

The cause of the fire was identified as two mini-coaches that had been set alight, emitting thick smoke which filled the nearby roads – causing passing cars to come to a standstill as extremely low visibility made it dangerous for traffic.

Smoke was visible far across the local area, with local resident Sue Parker saying: “I saw the smoke from my back garden on Tyburn Road.”

Lisa Smith, who lives in Pype Hayes, told Erdington Local: “I could see black smoke billowing out whilst in my garden. I alerted my family members right away who quickly ran to the scene.

“Initially, we were worried that it could have been a neighbour’s house on fire, but fortunately this was not the case and nobody was hurt as a result of it.”

Another local resident, Tina Kerr, took a video of the scene from the Chester Road – warning people to stay away from the area as conditions got worse. Watch her video below.

Families attending Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair were also caught up in the chaos as the fire raged on not far from the event site, emergency vehicles and fire engines causing a congestion of cars wanting to leave the park whilst the incident was dealt with.

Once the situation was under control and there was no danger to public safety, the West Midlands Fire Officer in charge at the scene told Erdington Local: “there are no casualties, nobody was present at the scene when we arrived thankfully.”

When asked what could have caused the fire, or if it could have started accidentally or naturally, he added: “it looks like a suspicious fire; we’re not treating it as accidental”.

The flames were soon under control, after multiple hoses were deployed with the second engine present at the scene leaving relatively quickly.

However, several curious onlookers stayed to watch as the firefighters continued to control the blaze, with one lady even buying some cold drinks for the emergency service staff from a nearby shop.

The fire has since been completely subdued and a team of investigators are now working to determine the cause of the multi-vehicle fire.

According to the public safety website fireprotectiononline.co.uk in the UK alone ‘there are approximately 100,000 cars fires and around 100 people are killed in a vehicle fire each year.’

Video of smoke across Chester Road – filmed by Tina Kerr

For more on fire safety from West Midlands Fire Service visit www.wmfs.net

NEWS: Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair returns to Pype Hayes Park for first event since 2019

Words by Ed King & Liam Smith / Pics by Ed King

Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair comes back to Pype Hayes Park this week, opening its gates for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic and national lockdowns.

Running from Saturday 29 May to Sunday 6 June, the funfair is open to families from 12noon until 7:30pm everyday – with classic rides for both children and adults, alongside carnival stalls and refreshments.

Following the announcement of the event’s return via social media, hundreds of local residents took to the funfair’s Facebook page – many looking forward to the event after widespread closures and cancellations.

Michaela Aichaoui said: “Excellent news, perfect timing for my daughter’s birthday week.”

Adam Edwards added: “I’m heading down to the fair on Saturday, might even see some old faces from back in the day?”

Another local mum, Raychel Hetherington, said: “We’re coming my special needs lad loves how u all treat him here.”

Hosting events across Birmingham for over 30 years, Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair has been a regular fixture on the city’s cultural calendar – operating from large Council owned parks such as Pype Hayes, Small Heath, Cannon Hill, and Acocks Green.

But since the pandemic all events were put on hold, with Pype Hayes Park the first place to welcome back the Family Funfair since the Government began easing restrictions – returning to the site where the event was last held in 2019.

Speaking directly to Erdington Local, Pype Hayes resident Lailla Silini said: “A fair at Pype Hayes park has been a welcomed event since I was very little girl and still brings a day of enjoyment for many families.

“An affordable day out compared to themed parks and I really hope the weather holds out for them to get some money into their pockets.”

Ruth White added: “It’s nice to see some normality again, something for the kids in the area to look forward to. I hope this is the first of many events in Pype Hayes/Erdington this summer.”

But coronavirus was not the only challenge for the team behind the Family Funfair, as a week of torrential rain and sudden downpours had organisers working around the clock to ensure the event was operational in time.

Thankfully as the half term holiday week approached the bad weather eased up, allowing the crew to complete rigorous checks across the site and open as planned.

Robert Wilkinson, founder and operator of Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair, told Erdington Local:

“The funfair has been out of action for 18 months and this is the first event we’ve been able to put on since the pandemic hit – we’re excited to be coming back to Pype Hayes, bringing the families of Erdington a safe and fun event that they can enjoy together.

“The past year has been hard, people have lost jobs and loved ones, and we’re operating under Covid safe conditions to make sure safety is our top priority.

“People deserve a chance to smile and have fun as a family and that’s also what we’re here to do. So come down and enjoy yourselves; we’d be thrilled to see you in Pype Hayes Park this half term holiday week.”

For more on Robert Wilkinson’s Family Funfair at Pype Hayes Park, or to watch out for further events across the city, visit www.facebook.com/Robert-Wilkinsons-Family-Funfair-Birmingham-385221918652307