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Have you written your will yet?

It’s not something most of us like to think about, but writing your will is one of the most important things you can do. If it’s there on your long-term to-do list, bring it to the top and do it now.

Says Gary Allmark from GSA Wills:

Even when things are straightforward, if you die without a will, the process of administering your estate is made unnecessarily difficult. This can be stressful and upsetting for those you leave behind, who are already struggling to cope with your loss”

Second Marriage? Read on…

Everybody should have a will, but for certain people the consequences of not having one could leave those you love out in the cold. You should put your will at the top of your to-do list if:

  • you are unmarried partners, particularly if you have children
  • you have previous marriages, again particularly if you have children
  • you have children under 18 -to be clear about how they should be looked after if you die
  • your estate is worth more than £250k (easier than it sounds if you own your house)

Keep it up to date

Already have a will? When is the last time you updated it? If things have changed since you wrote your will, for instance you have separated or divorced, you will need to update it. Gary from GSA Wills says:

“Many an outdated will has caused problems for those left behind. That’s why we send a note once a year to remind you that if your circumstances have changed, your will should reflect the new reality.”

The Season of Good Will?

Before you get caught up in the Christmas preparations, with a million and one things added to your to-do list, call GSA Wills and get Gary to come over and see you.


This article appeared in Recommeded Sutton Coldfield Magazine, a local magazine and business directory delivered to 40,00 homes and businesses in the Sutton Coldfield and surrounding area’s.


Calling all aspiring young performers…

Calling all aspiring young performers…

There is a new opportunity for children in Sutton Coldfield to discover and develop their performing talents. The Theatre House is an exciting new stage school which provides professional training in the performing arts for children between the ages of 7 and 14.  With weekly drama, dance and singing classes, it offers a fantastic chance for children to get a taste of how it feels to tread the boards.

The Theatre House is run by performing arts professionals Deb Crump and Helen Gilfoyle, who realised a long held ambition when they opened their doors in Sutton just 6 months ago. Helen is an experienced drama teacher and Deb is a trained actor for whom dancing is a passion; she says “I think my first steps were probably dance steps!” The Theatre House is their way of passing on their skills and knowledge to a new generation of aspiring actors and performers.

Training for Life

The training that Deb and Helen provide is professional and focussed. “We don’t just get children singing along to backing tracks, we actually train them in the techniques and skills required for singing, dancing and acting.” And the benefits go well beyond the stage; children build friendships, gain confidence, learn social skills and develop their imagination. “The skills they learn will help them throughout their lives.” says Deb.

Classes and Performances

Classes, which are great fun, are held every Saturday at St. James Hall in Four Oaks and further afield, in The Village Hall at Alrewas. And to put those new skills into action?  “We are a company that loves to perform and we provide many opportunities for all our pupils to perform in our local shows. All we ask for is energy, enthusiasm and commitment.”

To find out more call Deb on 07855 981309 or have a look at www. thetheatrehouse.co.uk

This article appeared in Recommended Sutton Coldfield, a local magazine and business directory

delivered to 40,000 homes in Sutton Coldfield and the surrounding area’s.


What! in Lichfield

What Value!  What Variety! What Choice!

What’s this all about then?

Well, there’s a store in Lichfield that you might not have heard of. What is its name. That’s not a question, it’s actually called What!

You might not have noticed it because it’s hidden at the back of the town centre, opposite the Lombard Street car park (on the site of the old Carol’s store for those of you who have been around a few years).  What! is a treasure trove; an Aladdin’s cave of all the things you could ever want, and more.  The prices are fantastic too, often half the price you’d pay in other stores, so you can have a happy afternoon’s shopping and save a fortune at the same time.

What’s in stock?

•             A huge range of wools for Lichfield’s avid knitters

•             Art and craft materials at fantastic prices

•             A garden section with everything from garden gnomes to patio furniture

•             Brand name households goods including cleaning materials, toiletries, groceries and more

•             Pet food and supplies

•             Good quality furniture in traditional solid wood as well as more contemporary items

•             Toys and games to keep the kids happy

•             Seasonal goods; Christmas decorations from September for the early birds

•             Dulux paints, curtains, carpets, bedding, lightbulbs, you name it…………

Owner and manager Dave has a simple philosophy: stock what customers are asking for, keep the quality high and the margins low – and sell lots. It works; there’s always something new in store and plenty of special offers, making every visit a voyage of discovery.

What! is open every day from 9.00am ‘til 5.30pm and 10am ‘til 4pm on Sundays.

What! are you waiting for? Drop in and pick up a bargain.  You’re guaranteed a friendly welcome and Value, Variety and Choice every time.

152 Lombard Street, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6DP

01543 410828

This article featured in Recommended Lichfield magazine delivered to over 16,000 in Lichfield and the surrounding areas every 3 months.

Sutton Coldfield man to undertake End 2 End Cycling Challenge

Local Supporter to undertake End 2 End Cycling Challenge

Local man Derek Wilson, of Sutton Coldfield, will be undertaking a mammoth 1,100 mile cycling challenge in May 2012 in order to raise funds for the Cancer Support Centre.

Derek will be setting off from Lands End, Cornwall on May 5th and will then cycle an average of 74 miles a day aiming to reach John O’Groats, Scotland 15 days later.

Derek said.  “This is the ultimate bike challenge for any cyclist in Britain and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  However there is another reason for me doing this.  In August 2009, my wife Sue was diagnosed with bowl cancer, it has been a long and hard battle and it’s not quite over yet. “

“Along the way Sue and I have had great support from family and friends but sometimes you need outside support.  This came from customers of my business and the Cancer Support Centre in Lindridge Road, Sutton Coldfield.  The therapists, staff and volunteers were a tremendous source of help, support and advice at a very difficult time.  So to give something back I want to raise £1,100 which is £1 for every mile I will be travelling.”

Ann Mckeown, Fundraiser of The Cancer Support Centre, Sutton Coldfield said: “Derek is undertaking an amazing challenge and we really are grateful for all that he is doing for us.  I can’t imagine cycling just 74 miles in one day let alone doing the same distance every day for 15 days.”

“The money that Derek is hoping to raise for us will make a huge difference to the Centre.  We are completely independent and receive no government funding and rely entirely on the goodwill and support of local people like Derek.”

The Cancer Support Centre has a whole host of activities and events that people can join in with and is in particular looking for runners for the Great Midlands Fun Run to support the Centre.  For more information about how you can help The Cancer Support Centre and local people living with cancer call Ann Mckeown on 0121 378 6296 or email fundraising@suttoncancersupport.co.uk for details of the latest activities.


Local Magazine Celebrates 6 Year Anniversary



Walmley Pages has been serving the local communinity in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield for 6 years.  Promoting local businesses, events and news.  Special thanks were given to Jeff Gilbert of Jeff’s Useful Shop who contributes an article each month, most of which will put a smile on your face although some have more serious content.  Jeff is keen to promote our local parks and nature reserves in Sutton Coldfield and encourages us to appreciate the flora and fauna.  The ethos at Walmley Pages is Run by Local People For Local People.  Anyone wishing to contirbute an article, charity event or advertise can contact the editor Richard Barnes on 0121 351 6513.

Property How to find the next property hotspot

Some pundits are predicting a 21% rise in house prices over the next five years. This isn’t a particularly drastic increase, less than 4% a year, but any news of an improvement in the property     market is good news. And now Zoopla, the property website, has come up with a tool to help you make the most of a rising market. It is in the form of a heat map which shows areas with comparatively high house prices, property hotspots, in red and those with low prices in blue. In between the two extremes are shades of orange and yellow.


The idea is that you zoom in on an area you are interested in and   identify the hotspot areas marked in red. What you are looking for is a yellow or even blue area that lies between two or more red hotspot   areas. In theory, prices in this area should be pulled up by its more   expensive neighbours – in other words you have just identified the next up and coming neighbourhood.


There are a couple of problems with the system. The closer you zoom in, the less accurate it becomes, because you might have a single house that sold at a very high price and that distorts the average house price in the surrounding streets. The other problem is that you can’t look at a particular street – only a group of streets in an area. Also, the map might be reflecting sales prices as they were 2 or 3 years ago. Even so, this is a very useful tool for identifying areas worthy of closer  inspection.


If you pick out a few streets in the area you are interested in, you can then go onto the Land Registry website, put in each street name and look at individual house sales on each street over the last few years. Buying a house is not just about finding a home; it is also one of the most          important investments you will ever make. Choose wisely!


Craig Brown

Estate Agent