Tag Archives: tara burndred

Sport in go-mode!

For such a small area, Draycott & district is blessed with lots of sport – from fishing to ju-jitsu and cricket, and even horse-racing.
And it seems everyone is getting back into activity mode following the past year of lockdowns.

Ju-jitsu moves

Good news for lovers of martial arts is that Tara Burndred’s award-winning Tatsu Dojo has completed its successful move to Draycott Sports Centre, where the conversion of two squash courts into a Ju Jitsu room is now an excellent new facility.

Ju jitsu room at Draycott Sports Centre

As you’ll know, Tara and her team were formerly in a building on the Blythe Business Park, just 200 yards from the Sports Centre, but decided to decamp up the road. There was a possibility that the forthcoming new access road into the park might go through their old building – so it was a wise move in more ways than one!

Compliments must also go to Draycott Sports & Fitness Centre which is showing how flexible it can be, and responsive to local needs. (Believe it or not, there are over sixty separate sessions at the centre that one can currently book for, from spin-cycling and fitness classes right though to tennis training.)

Get racing!

The news that a horse being trained in this area had won a race at Uttoxeter Racecourse this month was quite a surprise to some people. Where are these stables?, they wondered.
Well, go to the junction of Cresswell and Saverley Green, and there you will find the Leavy Stables, which specialises in horses owned by consortia of ‘ordinary’ punters. The National Hunt trainer Barry Leavy is the one who puts the horses through their paces; Cresswellians often see the horses go through their ‘gallops’ across the fields.

Inishbiggle with owner Georgina Davies

Incidentally, the winning horse we are talking about was Inishbiggle, but you won’t have made much money if you’d bet on him. He was the red-hot favourite, so you could only get odds of a measly 2/9!

Cricket for all

The Blythe CC First XI (based in Cresswell) may not have made a great start to the season, but a cricket club is not just about the first team or the second team. If you look at the club’s fixture list, you’ll see it also has a roster of junior teams, from under-8s upwards.

Blythe Cricket Club ground
The Blythe CC ground has spectacular views

What the club doesn’t have (at the moment) is an all-female team. This is partly because cricket is one of the few sports where males and females can play alongside each other as equals; the rules say a woman could play in the first team if she were picked. Blythe already run a mixed adult men-and-women session.
Nevertheless, the club recognises that girls new to the game may feel more comfortable in an all-female situation, which is why there are special girls-only training sessions on Fridays between 6pm -8pm for girls aged under-9 and girls aged under-11.

It’s great that the club is making really efforts to make space to get youngsters into the game. A list of ‘open-sessions’ where youngsters (of both sexes) can just come along is available on application to club officials.

Just watch

Finally, it’s great to know that spectators are welcome again at outdoor sports activities. There’s nothing like watching a game of cricket on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Blythe CC’s Cresswell ground!

Even the bowls club which plays on the green at the Cresswell business park, Checkley Outdoor, welcomes visitors, though, as secretary Sue Stepek told us: “…we’re don’t really get big crowds…”!!

As you’d expect though, social-distancing is requested at all venues, even after lockdown restrictions are fully relaxed at the end of June.

Links to more sporting opportunities in this district can be found in the sport section of our Local Organisations page

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Place of sporting excellence

What an outdoors-y summer it has been! There has been no excuse at all not to get out and enjoy the weather … and our local sports facilities are certainly benefiting.
In fact, Draycott & Cresswell is now a centre for sporting excellence in many ways…

Best coaches and best support

If you want proof of just how well-regarded our local sport is in the rest of the region, look no further than the latest crop of awards.

At the Staffordshire Moorlands 2018 Sports Awards, around half of the accolades went to folk based here in this village!

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Sports Team of the Year went to Blythe Cricket Club’s 1st XI, who won the NSSCL First Division title with more wins in a season than any in the league’s history.
The Sport Across Staffordshire (SAS) Volunteer of the Year was Angie Heathcote, who has been the managing hand in Blythe Cricket Club’s financial success.
And Sports Coach of the Year went to Tara Burndred of the Tatsu Dojo Club in Cresswell.

Meanwhile congratulations are also in order to Mike Heath at Draycott Tennis Centre; he won the ‘Tennis Staffordshire’ Volunteer of the Year Award (which is part of the national British Tennis Awards).

But it doesn’t stop there. Not only are our people among the best, so are the facilities.


As we all know ‘Draycott Racquet & Fitness Club’ – to give it its full title – offers tennis, indoor-tennis, squash, badminton, and gym. Classes on site include spinning.

In the last few years, they’ve refurbished the gym and squash areas but now they’re pushing on further – by investing over £20,000 into new equipment. Yes, on their way (as we speak) are eight new Impulse Machines, two New Star Trac Treadmills and additional free-weights. Lockers will also be installed.
Work is ongoing, but should be finished by the end of this month. Why not go along and check it out then for yourself?

Surely it’s that forward-looking attitude that has helped the club to produce its first world-ranked tennis player – Elliott Farmer .
Elliott achieved his world ranking in doubles earlier this year when he competed in the Tunisia F18 Doubles – reaching the semi-finals, which means he is now world-ranked. Congrats to him!
Elliott has been training for over 10 years now at Draycott (with his main coach here being Craig Leese). He is now also constantly travelling the world trying to achieve a world ranking in singles too. (Fortunately he has great sponsors – including the South Cheshire-based ABC Solutions company).

So… Draycott – a great place for high-class tennis.
And if you want to see some matches (almost as good as Wimbledon !), and see them for free, head down to the three-day long annual Draycott Open Tournament, which starts on August 5th.

Shiny new nets

Now, everyone pretty much knows the success story that has been the Cresswell-based Blythe Cricket Club over the past two years.
Not only did the club successfully bid for (and build) a new pavilion, costing some half-million pounds, but the first team achieved promotion to the NSSCL Premier Division in 2017, and this season are even challenging strongly for the championship.

But, again, success is built on great volunteers and by improving facilities. The most recent improvement has been the new nets, which replace the rather outdated old ones.

Not mentioned as often as it should be is the fact also that the club runs youngsters’ teams, with even an under-8’s team on the roster. There has been no women’s team since the last one folded in 2014, but (we’re told) the club has not stopped looking for a way to re-start it.


However, one club that has had a slightly more difficult year than other local ones is the CP Outdoor Bowls Club, which is based on Blythe Business Park in Cresswell.

A major distraction has been the future of the business park itself, which will be transformed over the next year with the development of extra infrastructure and industrial units & factories.
However, it does now look as though the bowling green is safe; and the club will continue.

The surface of the club’s green has of course been an issue this summer; three months of hot dry weather have taken their toll. What was a bowling-green is currently a bowling-yellow! (see pic below)Cresswell bowling green summer 2018
But long-time secretary Sue Stepek is stressing the advantages of playing this beautiful game to all who are thinking of an outdoor pursuit.
She says: “New members are always welcome. Newbies will have opportunities to play at most levels. But, if they just want to play for fun, ‘club afternoons’ take place every Thursday through the season (from about 2.00pm). Please contact 01782 396785 – and I’ll make sure someone is around to welcome you!”

Great place to stay sporty

And we haven’t mentioned all the fitness activities in the village we could have – there are keep-fit classes at the dance studios in Cresswell for instance as well – but space is against us…

But, when you think about all that’s here… then, how lucky are we????

NEWS: church repairs / world champion! / spate of thefts / youth work in need

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late September 2015
News of…:  St Mary’s gets a face-lift / Tara retains her world champion title / appeal to keep youth-work going / library to remain open / spate of petty thefts in Draycott …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a concert at Draycott Church Hall. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Things looking up at St Mary’s

If you’ve wandered along Cresswell Old Lane in the past fortnight, you’ll have noticed the scaffolding over the front of the church there.  It’s all to do with long-needed repairs to the front to the building, especially to the coping stones on the pediment, which were sprouting some rather too-healthy pieces of vegetation until recently.
St Mary scaffolding

Scaffolding at St Mary’s

We’re told the repairs will be accompanied by a clean-up to the front: which means the old church will be looking its best when it celebrates its 200th anniversary next year.
The statue of Our Lady, which is installed in a niche halfway up the facade, may also get a fresh lick of paint, which can only be a good thing.
(The statue was donated to the church in 1912 by Lady Stourton.  The Stourtons were Draycott village’s chief patrons at the time; and in fact, the present Draycott Arms was called the Stourton Arms during the nineteenth century).

Incidentally, if anyone has memories of St Mary’s , and feels they can contribute them for the 200th celebrations, would you email us?  …And we’ll put you in touch with the anniversary organisers.

– – –
Top of the world

Well, we’re glad to say that we have a current world champion in our midst!

Tara BurndredTara Burndred (right), who runs the Tatsu Kai Dojo martial-arts and fitness centre in Cresswell, returned a few days ago from a trip to Switzerland – where she had been defending her world title at the World Jiu-Jitsu championships… and she returned in triumph, having done just that!
Tara took silver in the ‘Ladies 2015 Individual Grappling (BJJ) Division 2‘.

Her success is all the more remarkable seeing that she ‘retired’ from major competition in 1993 in order to bring up her kids Ash and Ellie, and only returned to the top-level of the sport two years ago.
Congratulations to her!

You can find a short video on YouTube about Tara and her centre .

– – –
Keeping youth work going

Much of Tara’s work at her centre is devoted to sessions for children, and across the other side of the village, many parents also have reason to be thankful, this time to youth worker Mick Smith, who runs the weekly Mish-Mash Youth Club at the Draycott Church Hall.
However, Mick’s youth work gets no support from the local authority and is largely funded by contributions from local churches.  The one-pound fee for children to get in barely covers costs.

So an appeal, led by St Margaret’s Church, has now been launched to raise funds to keep the work going.  Mick leads sessions in Blythe Bridge as well as Draycott.
Should you need any details, or simply wish to put your name forward as a donor, please contact Graham Stokes (01782 397307) or Joan Pritchard (01782 395616).

– – –
Library stays open

It had been a bit of a worry that the reorganisation of the smaller libraries in this county might have meant the closure of some – including our nearest one, the one at Blythe Bridge.
The county council decided earlier this year that they would no longer run it, and were inviting local groups to come forward to take on its management.

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library

Well, one such group has come forward after all to say it will take-over the running of Blythe Bridge Library.   The ‘Care & Fun Club’ charity, which is better known for running the nursery at William Amory School, has offered its services, and has been accepted.

The details have et to be thrashed out, such as: what will be the opening hours?; will volunteers be needed to run the desk?; how will the finance be managed?…  but, at least, the library will definitely stay open.

– – –
those locks

Finally, the Draycott Facebook group has been discussing the latest spate of petty thefts and burglaries to have struck the area.  The police have put the latest incidents down to small groups of opportunist thieves, probably from Stoke on Trent, turning up and just sniffing around, to see if they can find empty sheds, unlocked garage doors and so on.  Some cars have been damaged too.
The thieves are after small, easily disposed-of, portable items for quick re-sale somewhere.

Obviously, it’s time to check there is reasonable security on any outbuildings you may have; and probably time to think again about secure window-locks etc.
The parish council say they will invite the police to put on a talk sometime soon locally about home security.

– – –

Finally, some may remember George Jones, who used to live here in Draycott before he moved up to Cheadle.  Sadly, his death was reported this week.  He was 85. His funeral is at St Margaret’s on October 13th.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: cuts to buses / VVSM action / Draycott champions / superfast arrives

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late August 2015
News of…:  change of bus provider, and cuts to services / we are the (tennis) Champions! / latest moves over Blythe Park development / at last, local Superfast Broadband goes live  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a free music festival. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Goodbye number 4, hello number 12

Well, any bus-user will be feeling a bit fed up looking at the new bus timetables for our area, which will activate in in a fortnight’s time on September 6th.
The changes have been implemented by Staffordshire County Council, who pay for the service to operate.

Our district only has one bus service nowadays, which goes through Cresswell, then out to Blythe Bridge & Longton along Uttoxeter Road, and to Stone in the reverse direction.
Bennett’s will no longer be running this service through Cresswell-Draycott, which is now taken over by D&G Buses. So, the number 4 bus (Bennett’s) will be replaced by the number 12 (D&G).

Bennett's Number 4 bus

Bennett’s Number 4 bus – a last sighting?

The route is very twisty indeed, going Cresswell – Blythe Bridge – Longton – Stone in a sort of loop.   You can get to Barlaston if you want.  See the complete new timetable here.
You can also see that the number of bus services passing through per day has now dropped from eight (four in each direction) to six.   Yes, they have now taken off the last bus, the one that used to run around 4.30pm.
There is an bus-information event in Stone on Thursday 3 September at Market Square (near the Co-Op) from 10am-2pm.  If you go along, and find out any more, would you let us know?

Things are getting so bad for bus-users, that, in neighbouring Fulford, the Parish Council there has helped to start up a voluntary car scheme to enable residents to get about.

Slowly, slowly, they are whittling our services down.  Soon, we will all need to be getting taxis!

– – –
Draycott Parish Council – a deafening silence

There was a nice big attendance for the meeting organised by local action group VVSM last week to discuss the latest set-back for residents over the Blythe Park development. Despite an overwhelming majority of residents in Cresswell expressing opposition to the plan and the fact that it broke Staffordshire Moorlands own Core Strategy, the SMDC planning committee confirmed its decision to approve the plans.

Unless VVSM can overturn the result legally (by proving negligence on SMDC’s part) all that remains is for the ‘Section 106’ terms & conditions to be thrashed out… though that could take months.

What’s amazing is the Draycott Parish Council’s complete silence over this matter, and over the other local big planning issue, the current housing allocation consultation for Draycott.
Most of us expected that the PC would call an emergency meeting, or at least issue some sort of statement to residents … but not a peep.
The members can’t all be in Tenerife, can they?

– – –
Champions … again!!

Well done to the Draycott Sports Centre tennis team, who have done us all proud by bringing the City & Suburban League Championship title back to Draycott again.

The team, ably led by Craig Leese, were trailing Florence for a lot of the season, but achieved a stunning result at the beginning of August, beating Florence 4-0.  That result made the way to the championship much easier.
Congratulations, lads!

The centre is now going to build on its brilliant tennis reputation by setting up a proper ‘tennis committee’ to develop the club’s plans to branch out even more into the community.  If that is something that you think you want to give some time to, just contact the club’s Jack Redfern.

Incidentally, talking of sport, the last we heard is that Tara Burndred (who is the 4th Dan Black Belt who runs the martial arts centre in Cresswell) is still planning to defend her world title at the Ju-Jitsu International Championships next month in Switzerland.
So, stay fit, Tara … and good luck!!

– – –
Superfast crawls in, at last

Well, after months (and months) of waiting, superfast-broadband is finally here in Blythe Bridge-Draycott-Cresswell.  Twelve months ago, we published an article asking what was happening to the roll-out!
However, the cabinet in the Cresswell lay-by (see pic, below) now proudly bears its little sticker.

Cresswell broadband cabinet
The sticker means the cabinet is now live at last, and – if you upgrade your system – you should be able now to get download-speeds of 80Mbps and upload-speeds of 20Mbps.
If you do sign up, let us know if it’s working as well as that for you.

– – –
Busy busy

Finally, don’t forget to make sure your diaries are up to date with local events.
The pick of the crop are the Draycott Sausage & Cider Festival, which takes place this Bank Holiday Monday of course, and then the annual Cloggerfest Free Music Festival, which takes place the following week at Blythe Cricket Club (on September 5th).
Cloggerfest has over a dozen acts on stage – including Jimmy Dammage & The Shadow, Gypsy Whores, Quiet The Thief, Baxter, Barrelhouse Jukes, Ryan Doole, Rain, Hornswaggle, Dawn, Rich Clough, Nixon Tate and Venus Rising. And the whole event is free.
For parents, there is the good news that weekly Brownies sessions return to Draycott Church Hall in two weeks’ time.

But there are loads more events – check out our What’s On page for the details of these and all the other events.

One what’s-on notification we got did surprise us though…  The Quick-Quick-Slow Dance Studio in Cresswell is advertising a couple of dances that they say will sell out fast – so they are urging us to sign up asap.
And when do the dances take place?  At Christmas!!
(Whatever happened to autumn?!!)

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: Protest reaches govt / vicar’s farewell / changes at Arms / Tara tribute

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early April 2015
News of…:  Cresswell protesters take it to the government / Draycott Arms changes / Tara is a Sports Personality! / our vicar prepares his farewells
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including the QQS Anniversary Ball. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Cresswell protesters take it to the top

Well, despite the Easter holiday, the fight against the Cresswell planning application goes on – and now it’s reaching government level.

Although the planning application – to more than double the size of Cresswell’s housing and industrial units – was approved by Staffordshire Moorlands Council, the VVSM local community action group have once again been burning the midnight oil to try to stop, or at least, delay, the plans being implemented.
The new update from them is a plea to ask anyone who objected to the proposals to get behind their latest project: a direct appeal to the government.   You can read all about what they are trying to do and support them by clicking here.

VVSM document

The hundred-page document of objection drawn up by VVSM – but did all the councillors even look at it?

The more one looks into this matter, the odder things seem to get.
There is now quite a strong suspicion that some councillors on the planning committee (the one that made the decision) did not receive or even see the objections-document drawn up by VVSM.  The document spells out in detail the grounds for objection.

And it now seems that other rural districts in the Moorlands are (quite rightly) getting fearful after this decision – because, by approving this application, the committee has set a precedent, enabling the committee to ignore the so-called Moorlands Core Strategy, the very policy that protects many local small villages from inappropriate development.

– – –
So long, Rector David….

It’s always a sad day when a well-liked neighbour leaves the area, but it is perhaps doubly sad when that figure is a well-respected local vicar.  After eight years here, Rector David Bickersteth is finally retiring from his role as a parish clergyman; and he and his wife Gillian will be moving back to his native Cumbria.

David and Gillian Bickersteth

David and Gillian Bickersteth

The Reverend David’s last duty at St Margaret’s Church will be to conduct the 8am service this Sunday (12th April), but he will then rush over to St Peter’s in Blythe Bridge to hold the 10am service, after which there will be a farewell event there.
We have found David to be nothing but open, trusting and welcoming.  We wish him the best in his retirement.

No successor has been appointed yet, though the vacancy is being advertised already.

– – –
All change at The Arms

By coincidence, another established local figure is also taking a new direction in life.

As you may have noticed the Draycott Arms closed recently, but this is a temporary situation while the new owners get themselves moved in.
John Ford, the landlord & owner, decided that it was time for him and wife Deryn to return properly to their main business, the running of their farm, Cairneycroft.  Many of us have tasted the excellent beef that comes off Cairneycroft – as it was on the menu at the Arms!

John Ford at Draycott Arms

John Ford behind the bar at The Draycott Arms. Notice the Crusader Ale beer-pump…

Although John & Deryn have left the pub, you can still thank them for their work by using their Facebook site.  John told us that buying and refurbishing the Draycott Arms in 2012 was always, for him, a form of giving-back to his community.  The pub had been shut for two years when he took it over and some of us had feared it would not open again.  So…  in that sense… job done!
Thanks to them both…

– – –
Congratulations Tara

One interesting thing about all the people we’ve mentioned so far – the VVSM committee, David Bickersteth and John Ford – is that they have been tireless in caring for their community.
But even they may admit that Tara Burndred has the energy of ten!

Tara founded and now runs the Tatsu Kai Dojo martial-arts and exercise centre in Cresswell, and rarely a week goes past where she is not announcing some new venture.
So, to us, it’s not surprising that the her work at the dojo has seen her listed for a Sentinel Newspaper Sports Personality Award in the sport in the community section…
Well deserved, we say!

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).