Archive for November 25, 2011

fire service managers will reappear in court on January 20th charged with the manslaughter of four of their colleagues who died in a blaze at a warehouse in Warwickshire.

 Dear Supporter,

May we take this opportunity of wishing you a very Happy New Year and thanking you for the wonderful support you have shown to the “Warwickshire Three”

As you are no doubt aware it has been four long years since the tragic fire at Atherstone, this has put an unbearable strain on all those concerned and their respective families. All involved need closure and indeed the fire service itself waits with bated breath for the outcome, because the future of the fire service as we know it rests with this decision.

The next Court date has been arranged for the 20th January, this has now been confirmed at Wolverhampton Crown Court and it is expected that an appeal will be made to the Judge to dismiss the case.

We are therefore appealing for a show of support for our Warwickshire fire-fighters on the 20th, it is vitally important that the judicial system recognise that so many people believe that these charges should be dropped. It is also very important for the morale of the men to see that they have your backing. Should you be able to attend please email as coach transport has been booked with local pick ups from Leamington Spa and Nuneaton. 

You have been tremendous in your support in so many guises: signing our petition, attending hearings, signing the guestbook on the web page, donating towards raising the awareness for our campaign, displaying our campaign car sticker or wearing one of our supporters t-shirts. Whichever it may be, or indeed all – we are eternally grateful and are very humbled that you continue to support us. The 20th January is an incredibly important day as this is possibly the last opportunity for the case to to be dismissed before it is expected that it will go to trial in April/May.

This case affects every one of us – why?

Going forward the decision will have an impact on health and safety issues, for all the emergency services .

The question is likely to be that senior officers may hesitate at an emergency scene as they deliberate that should something tragically go wrong will they find themselves in the dock, as the Warwickshire Three are now.

Fire Scenes are unpredictable and dangerous, even with the best training in the world things still can go wrong, that is why it is vitally important that fire fighters are unrestricted and can act as they see fit at the time without the fear of prosecution.

I am sure you will agree that the fire service is a tremendous service, often undervalued and overlooked until we need them, please show your support and come along on the 20th January.

Thanking you in advance for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you on the 20th. 

Coaches to depart from Leamington Spa and Nuneaton on the 20th January. Approx times are depart Leamington at 7.45am and Nuneaton 8.15am. These may change as confirmation still not received re court time. Please email and reserve your space!


If you are making your own way to Wolverhampton address as follows:


Wolverhampton Crown Court, Pipers Row, Wolverhampton WV1 3LQ

 below is an article from an earlier hearing

Station manager Timothy Woodward and watch managers Paul Simmons and Adrian Ashley were charged with gross negligence manslaughter in February after a long-running inquiry into the fire in Atherstone-on-Stour, Warwickshire, in November 2007.Warwickshire County Council also faces a charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees in relation to the blaze, which claimed the lives of firefighters Ian Reid, John Averis, Ashley Stephens and Darren Yates-Badley.None of the defendants was required to enter a plea to the charges at Friday’s hearing at Warwick Crown Court in Leamington Spa.Simmons, 50, from Hampton Magna, Warwickshire, Ashley, 45, from Nuneaton, and Woodward, 50, from Leamington Spa, were all bailed until a further hearing, expected to take place at Stafford Crown Court in January.

Campaigners in support of the the charged firefighters

Thirty One Drain Covers Stolen In Redditch in one night

11 drain covers were stolen from Arthur Street, , four from Costers Lane, five from Broad Ground Road, one from Stonepits Lane, and 10 from Walkwood Road.

All of the offences happened between yesterday evening, Thursday 24 November, and this morning, Friday, 25 November.

The Arthur Street incident happened at 10.30pm yesterday evening when a worker reported a man in a silver Ford Transit-type van was taking the drain covers. Police attended and an extensive search of the area was carried out but the van had gone.

In Broad Ground Road a car was damaged by driving across one of the holes left in the road.

The drain covers are worth around £100 each.

West Mercia Police is liaising with Worcestershire County Council Highways over the thefts.

The force’s Crime Reduction Advisor for Worcestershire, Mr Peter Aston, said: “Thefts like these hit us all in the pocket as obviously the drain covers need to be replaced.

“However quite apart from the cost, the theft of drain covers obviously leads to safety concerns for road users.

“One car was damaged by driving into the hole left by a missing drain cover and pedestrians and cyclists in particular risk being seriously injured. We are urging all road users to be vigilant, especially during darkness.”

Officers are appealing to residents and night shift workers to report anything suspicious. Thieves may try to pass themselves off as highways workers, wearing fluorescent jackets and using official-looking vehicles. However legitimate vehicles will always be marked with Worcestershire Highways livery.

Anything suspicious should be reported to police on 0300 333 3000, ideally while the crime is in progress, and if possible witnesses are asked to note the registration number of the vehicle. Alternatively calls can be made anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A FREE funeral is among the numerous lots going under the hammer tomorrow (Saturday) as part of fund-raising efforts to ensure a village church’s bells continue to ring out.

Rev David Martin, Rector of St Laurence Church in Alvechurch, is offering to conduct someone’s funeral, even after his retirement, for free as part of the Grand Auction taking place at The Ark in School Lane.

Other lots up for grabs include half a lamb, a photographic family portrait sitting, a day pass to a spa centre, a cut and blow dry, a Christmas hamper, a trip for five through the Dudley Canal Limestone Caverns, dinner and theatre tickets for two, trout fishing and more.

The event is in aid of the St Laurence Bell Restoration Appeal which needs £85,000 to allow the eight bells in the church tower to be removed and sent away to be refurbished with three being re-cast. A new metal frame also needs to be installed in the tower to hold the bells.

So far £65,000 has been raised and organisers are hoping the auction will bring them within reach of the target..

Viewing of the lots takes place from 2pm with the auction starting at 3pm. Admission is free.

Rev Martin said: “I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of well-wishers who want to ensure the church bells ring out over Alvechurch for decades to come