Category Archives: Local People

Queen’s birthday honour for Birmingham headteacher


Kamal Hanif, the headteacher of Waverley School, a comprehensive school in Small Heath,Birmingham, has been awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Waverley was designated as an outstanding school by Ofsted inspectors after their visit in 2010. Despite over 90% of its children not having English as their first language, the school is in the top 25 of Birmingham’s secondary schools for GCSE results. Waverley has achieved a dramatic rise in school exam results in the past three years. 66% of the pupils achieve 5 A*-C GCSE grades including English and maths in 2011. That’s a jump of 30% compared with 2008 figures. More than half of the pupils are eligible for free school meals, a statistic usually indicating the level of social deprivation in the area.

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In memoriam Lord Corbett: tributes from the great, the good and the ordinary, to a giant of a man who said on his deathbed: “Castle Vale is in my heart.”


Lord Corbett’s daughter Polly (left) and wife Val (right) with Ruth Miller (centre) Castle Vale’s Neighbourhood Manager, in front of a picture of Lord Corbett saying thank you to his audience


Click here for more photos
Over 90 people gathered in the meeting room of Castle Pool this evening to pay their respects to Robin, Lord Corbett of Castle Vale who died in February this year.
Often emotional, often amusing, the audience heard eulogies from various friends and colleagues. Council Leader Sir Albert Bore talked of Robin’s humour and generosity.
Jack Dromey, Erdington’s MP, described Robin as ‘a legend locally and a massive presence nationally.’
Richard Temple Cox, CBE, former Chair of the Housing Action Trust told the audience that in 1991 Robin Corbett was at the forefront of lobbying at Westminster to get Castle Vale listed as one of the six Housing Action Trusts in the country. He managed to persuade Michael Heseltine to include Castle Vale. This decision meant that the Vale could be transformed during the 1990s and 2000s.
Richard Temple Cox said that Robin was’The Pied Piper who led the residents into the complex area of regeneration.’
Dr Angus Kennedy, OBE, former Chief Executive of the Housing Action Trust told the story of how Robin, at the top of one of the old tower blocks, was describing the plans for Castle Vale with such passion and vehemence that he knocked a cup of tea flying out of the hands of a government minister. It went all over her suit. But he convinced her, and won Vale an extra £60million as a result.
At the end of the official speeches, Steve Clayton handed over the microphone to anyone in the audience who would like to share memories of Lord Corbett.
A diminutive but passionate man, Saieed, from the Iranian Resistance spoke of his respect and affection for Robin. Lord Corbett had championed the cause of those opposed to and oppressed by the current regime in Iran. Robin had been doing so for three decades, and had realised well before most international political experts that the cradle of terrorism was the Iran regime, with its ayatollahs and mullahs. Lord Corbett had stood up for and campaigned for the oppressed in Iran. As he had on many other issues, nationally, locally and internationally.
Several others spoke. Mostly local people.
Most moving was an ex Vale resident called Forrester. Some years ago, he and his wife needed help with their daughter’s education. They wrote to Robin, their MP at the time. To their surprise, Robin Corbett turned up on their doorstep. Forrester described movingly the support that his family received from Robin over a long period of time.
The result: some years later, his daughter graduated in Law from Cambridge University. She now has a top job. After her graduation, Lord Corbett took the family to the House of Lords for dinner. He sent them a Christmas card every year, until this one, when illness prevented him from doing so.
Finally, Robin’s wife Val spoke. With warmth and a sense of humour, she recalled some fond times.  She told the audience that, in his final weeks and on his deathbed, Robin had said that he was most proud of the work he had done in Birmingham and in Erdington, and most particularly in Castle Vale.
“Castle Vale is in my heart,” he said.

Remembering Lord Corbett


Friends and colleagues of Lord Corbett will gather at Vale Swimming Pool tomorrow evening to remember his life and achievements. The event, Memories of Our Robin, will be held in the upstairs room of Castle Pool in Farnborough Road between 6pm and 7.30pm.
Robin Corbett died in February this year.

Charity soccer game tops £8,000 mark


The Aston Villa Old Stars charity football game at Vale Stadium last weekend has raised over £8,000.  Organiser Chris Allen says donations are still coming in. The money will go towards the Callum Wish Appeal, which plans to build an all-weather football pitch at Topcliffe School in memory of Callum Henry.

Missing person: Mubarak Shah, Erdington


Mubarak Shah

POLICE are appealing for help to find a 15-year-old Afghan-born schoolboy, Mubarak Shah, who has been missing since leaving his foster home in Erdington last Tuesday morning (8 May).
Mubarak, who speaks little English, is around five foot tall, of medium build, with short straight black hair. He was last seen wearing a black leather jacket over a black long-sleeved jumper and a white polo shirt. He also wore black trousers and black shoes and was carrying a grey and black rucksack. Mubarak is known to have often played cricket in Small Heath Park.
Anyone who has seen Mubarak or who knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact PC Matthew Surridge at Birmingham North police on 101.

Eleven hundred through turnstiles at Vale Stadium for Villa Old Stars game


Over 1,100 people went through the turnstiles today at Vale Stadium to watch Aston Villa Old Stars play a Castle Vale XI. Organiser Chris Allen described it as ‘a great day.’
“I know it’s hard work,” he said, in a note of thanks to his fellow organisers, “but I would love to see more days like that in the stadium.”
“The support was absolutely fantastic. I really do appreciate everyone’s efforts and I have no doubts that we have made a great contribution towards ‘Callum’s Wish Appeal’.”

Villa Old Stars v Castle Vale: organisers hope for fair weather and big crowds at Vale Stadium


Aston Villa Old Stars kick off at 2pm in their charity game against a Castle Vale Select XI tomorrow. The gates open at 10.30am. A junior football game will be the main feature of the morning’s entertainment. Proceeds go the the Callum Henry wish appeal.
The Met Office say the weather will stay dry, with some sunshine, and temperatures slightly higher than today, at 15 degrees.
The Birmingham Mail is reporting  that 4,000 tickets for the game have been sold (click here for report).