THE fire, and then demolition, that has destroyed the Crooked House has been a huge shock.

Like most people who grew up locally, I remember going there as a child and being amazed at the marbles rolling uphill up the bar.

It was quite emotional seeing the pile of charred rubble that was all that was left of this well-known part of our local heritage by Tuesday.

If there is any way of the Crooked House being rebuilt – whether as a pub or in a living museum – then all possibilities should be looked at.

While investigations are obviously on-going, once they are completed it is important that those responsible for the fire are held accountable.

So far, August is proving to be as wet as July, but in true British and Black Country fashion we’re still making the most of it.

This week, I’ve been travelling around the constituency for my annual ‘Summer Tour’ of mobile surgeries to give local people an extra opportunity to meet me in person and raise any issues.

At the time of writing this week’s column, I’ve spoken with residents at five of the fourteen stops I have scheduled – including at Albion Parade in Wall Heath, at Commonside in Pensnett, at Brierley Hill Market, Wordsley Green and in Netherton. People have raised a wide range of issues with me, but one of the most regular topics has been concern over speeding traffic.

The schedule for the rest of the week is on my Facebook page and on my website (, so please do stop by and say hello if you are nearby for any of the remaining stops.

The rain also meant that last Saturday’s One Community summer festival at Kingswinford Park had to be postponed until Sunday. Still, it was great to see lots of local people able to make the re-arranged event and having a great time.

I was also pleased to be a part of the incredible cyclathon event hosted by Morrisons Kingswinford on Saturday to raise funds for their charity partner, Together for Short Lives in collaboration with Acorns Children’s Hospice. I managed an hour on the bike, and am delighted that together we managed to raise a total of £614.

A big thank you to Helen, Morrisons Kingswinford’s Community Champion, Store Manager Adam, and the rest of the team for organising such a fantastic fundraiser for a worthy cause. The cycling challenge now heading to the Pendeford store and the remaining Midlands stores over the summer.

With indoor activities seeming to be the safer bet for now, it’s even more handy that Merry Hill have launched their family-friendly Play United sporting events programme. I really enjoyed attending their launch event on Monday, inspired by the legacy of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The activities are taking place every day till 18th August between 11am and 3pm in the Lower Mall near Holland & Barratt and are being run in partnership with organisations such as The Albion Foundation and Active Black Country.