Haleowen blooming thanks to people power

Halesowen News: Tony Billingham with Draghiceanu Alin Vasre and  Tanase Transafir giving the Hobbs building a facelift. Tony Billingham with Draghiceanu Alin Vasre and Tanase Transafir giving the Hobbs building a facelift.

PEOPLE power has taken over Halesowen as judgement day approaches for the town’s first Britain in Bloom bid.

Inspectors from the prestigious nationwide contest to find the country’s most attractive places will tour the streets on Monday.

Volunteers have been out in force painting street furniture, weeding unkempt areas and litter picking.

In the latest round, 20 staff from McDonald’s spent Monday painting bollards in Queensway, railings in Peckingham Street, railings and a wall at Trinity Point and cleared weeds in Church Lane.

Halesowen and Rowley Regis Rotarian franchisee Afia Sirkhot, who has five McDonald’s including the Bromsgrove Road fast food outlet, galvanised workers to take part through the company’s Love Where You Live campaign.

Crew trainer Delia Hollingworth said: “Everyone loved doing the work. I was really impressed by how much everyone got stuck in and had a great time.

“People even stopped to thank the team which was a real bolster.”

Care home owner Tony Billingham won permission from reclusive property owner Edwin Goodman to give his rundown Hobbs corner building a facelift.

Mr Billingham said: “The Hobbs building was bringing the whole town down because it’s in such a prominent position and as someone who is passionate about Halesowen I had to do something.”

He hired a couple of workers, who are currently restoring a historic garden at his Lapal House Care Home, to give the frontage a much-needed fresh coat of paint.

Halesowen in Bloom chairman Eve O’Connor said: “Everyone has done such an amazing job. Fingers crossed the town’s going to look blooming fantastic on Monday.

“I’m almost speechless at the work people have carried out in the town and can’t thank those who have contributed enough.”

The bells of St John’s will ring out to mark the start of the judges’ tour and the Halesowen Ukulele Band will play in Somers Square.

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