Okay then, I hope you all forgive me for this as it is not my normal blog post. It isn't very often, heck, it rarely happens that I talk about things that affect me or the things that I want to be involved in. However this has got me really wound up.
Last year, a wonderful lady within a small village called Dickens Heath, on the outskirts of Solihull in the West Midlands, put together a charity night in aid of the charity Help For Heroes. It was extremely well supported within the village and raised within the region of £5000 on the night. It was an overwhelming success, and one that I helped in a very small way to support by donating a signed copy of "For The Lost Soul". A large proportion of the village pulled together and there was a real sense of community spirit.
With the 100th anniversary commemoration of the outbreak of World War One on the 1st of August, that same wonderful lady, Debbie Hobson, wanted to recreate that atmosphere of community spirit and respect for our current and past serving men and women of the armed forces, and so the next Help For Heroes function was arranged. Poppies were ordered and grown at her home and planters bought. These were soon arranged around the venue, The Chalice Bar & Restaurant, in the heart of the village.
Tickets, priced at only £10, were being snapped up and with the regular live band, "New York Minute" booked, everyone was looking forward to a chilled night of entertainment, socialising and of course, fundraising for Help For Heroes. Raffle prizes were coming in thick and fast, myself included of course, and the whole of the village was expecting a fun filled night that would honour those men and women who have served our country so proudly.
OR SO WE THOUGHT
As it turns out, a local resident, one single person, put a complaint into Solihull Council saying that it would be too noisy and that it would ruin their evening's entertainment. Apparantly, the council, in their wisdom as only councils can do, agreed and allegedly have threatened the landlord of the bar and restaurant with losing his license if the event goes ahead and someone complains. This is a local business that has been running for over seven years in the village. A business that supports local charities, such as the Maddie Fighting Fund, which raises money for a young girl suffering from leukemia, who lives within the village. A business that is a focal point for the community of the village.
At every charity event, party, heck even a normal night, the owner ALWAYS insists that no-one is allowed outside the bar with a drink after 10.30pm. Music is always turned down before then. Even though they have a license to run until 2AM, they always ask the customers to respect their neighbours when leaving the premises.
YET Solihull Council has decided that the event is going to be too upsetting for that one resident to endure and so they have killed it off before it starts. There was no consultation with the residents of the village. No consultation with the owner. No consultation with the local Parish council. Someone sat in their ivory tower, with no knowledge of what the majority of the village residents want, has made a decision which has caused the organisers to cancel the charity function. After all, if someone has complained BEFORE the event has actually happened, do we really think that small, petty minded individual will not be on the phone as soon as the evening starts?
Our brave soldiers who fought for freedom from oppression, those very people who the charity night was there to remember and commemorate, must be turning in their graves.
Solihull Council... you need to have a long, hard look at yourselves and decide if you are the type of person that your mother would be proud of.