About us
The Guides

 

                        

                     David     Caroline    Robin       Lilian       John      Victoria

Tamworth has a group of Green Badge Tourist Guides, who qualified in 2013 following an intensive six month training course sponsored by interested groups and individuals including Tamworth Borough Council and Tamworth Heritage Trust. Having successfully passed a daunting series of written and practical exams the new Associate Members of the Institute of Tourist Guiding were presented with their certificates and Green Badges at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Town Hall. The Guides formed themselves into the Tamworth Guild of Town Guides with the aim of helping to put the town on the tourist map, and to promote its rich heritage and history to locals and tourists alike. The Mayor of Tamworth, ex-officio, became Patron of the Guild.

The guides operate both individually, and jointly as the Guild. They have been busy establishing the Guild and developing tours and talks to offer to local groups and visitors. The Guides have all become firm friends through the Green Badge course. 

DR. DAVID BIGGS was elected by his colleagues as Chairman of the Tamworth Guild of Town Guides. He has been passionately interested in all aspects of Tamworth's history and environment since childhood, and active in local groups since his early teens. He can trace his ancestors back to 1562 when Tamworth's parish records begin, and is descended from several mayors of the borough. He is a founder member of The Peel Society and serves as its Honorary Curator. Over the years he has organised many high-profile events in the town, most recently the prestigious National Service of Commemoration for the 225th Anniversary of the Birth of Sir Robert Peel in 2013. He is a former committee member of Tamworth Civic Society and served on the Tamworth Conservation Area Advisory Committee for several years.

David's career as a manager in central and local government has given him wide experience of life across the U.K., but his heart has always belonged to Tamworth. He believes the Green Badge scheme was long overdue, stating: "Many people rightly bemoan the loss of so many fine buildings and streetscapes in the redevelopment mania of the 1950s-70s. It was tragic municipal vandalism, and we have suffered the consequences. In many ways we had more to offer visitors than Stratford and Lichfield, and look what they have made of their heritage. However, there is much left to be proud of, and we ought to make the most of our incredible history to benefit our whole community and economy. We need to show locals and visitors alike just how good Tamworth is, and reap the benefits of the visitor trade. The trained Green Badge Guides provide a means of helping to achieve that."

ROBIN DRAPER has taken on the role of Honorary Secretary for the Guild. He is a former IT specialist who moved into a heritage career in 2010. He is currently employed part-time by English Heritage at Boscobel House and the Royal Oak, where he provides tours relating King Charles II's famous escape after losing the Battle of Worcester to the Roundheads. His previous experience includes visitor support work at Wenlock Priory, Buildwas Abbey, Stokesay Castle, Wroxeter Roman City, Blakesley Hall, Aston Hall, Sarehole Mill and the Staffordshire Regiment Museum.

Robin has a long-standing interest in church buildings and monuments and currently provides annual coach tours for members of the Church Monuments Society from around the UK. He has previously provided car-based church tours for the Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust. He is a member of both organisations.

Robin is also a guide at the Newman Brothers "Coffin Works" in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter.

Robin also believes that the historic importance of Tamworth has been understated for too long. He said: "The Green Badge course increased my knowledge and I welcome all opportunities to share that with others who want to learn more. I am proud to be part of a superb team of town guides."

CAROLINE PROUD has lived in Tamworth for over 30 years, worked for Staffordshire Youth and Community Service in Tamworth for 16 years and currently is employed by Tamworth Castle as a Museum Assistant, Guide and Facilitator. Caroline has been a member of Tamworth Writers Group who had an anthology published and so she is delighted to be able to say she has a short story in print!  The Writers Group meet weekly in the Town Hall and so Caroline found learning about the history of that building on the Green Badge course a particular pleasure. Caroline has taken several public and private groups around Tamworth Town, St Editha's Church and Tamworth Castle and has found that groups have enjoyed their visit of one aspect so much that they have rebooked to visit one of the other sites!

Caroline enthused "I love Tamworth, it is a real gem. I am totally motivated and passionate about Tamworth and wish to show others what a lovely area we live in. I hope that we will be able to encourage more visitors to our town which has a remarkable history and still has lots of lovely buildings which we want to promote.  It would be fabulous to show visitors who come to Ventura Park Shopping Centre that there is more to Tamworth and I hope we will be able to remind residents of our heroes, benefactors, kings and princesses and that they will be proud of the town in which they live."

Caroline is an efficient tour organiser, planner and guide and loves taking groups on their amazing  journey through Tamworth's ancient past.  Caroline has taken on the role of joint Honorary Treasurer within the Guild alongside LILIAN SYKES who came to the area from Coventry in 2007.

Lilian has a background in sales and marketing, and can also put her days as a drama student to good use in bringing tours to life. Lilian was originally attracted to the course in order to offer an extra service to the visitors to her B&B accommodation.

Lilian enjoyed the learning process on the course enormously. She believes that Tamworth has so much history to capitalise on, and really needs to promote itself more and attract visitors.

For many years VICKY NAILOR was a primary school teacher at Polesworth,

and now works part-time co-ordinating special needs in two schools. Vicky loves archaeology and how it helps to explain the past. Prior to teaching she was an archaeologist specialising in medieval pottery, and actually wrote the pottery report for Tamworth's famous Anglo-Saxon mill excavated in Bolebridge Street in the 1970s. She still works with pottery found on sites in the Midlands, including castles, monasteries, urban sites and those found through field-walking. Vicky is presently re-evaluating medieval pottery from one ofthe Danish burghs - Nottingham.

Vicky has lived in the Tamworth area for over 30 years and says she always thought that it was a "hidden gem" with its magnificent castle and church but that through doing the Green Badge course she has learnt so much more about the town. "Learning about our famous personalities such as Thomas Guy and William Macgregor, to how the Snowdome began, has been a joy. The highlight for me was the talk about the Staffordshire Hoard at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery by Kevin Leahy".

Vicky was inspired by the course to join both The Peel Society and the Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society. She is particularly interested in the town's Mercian history and personalities, such as Offa and his palace and Ethelfleda's fortification of the burh in 913. 

JOHN MULVEY was raised in Tamworth, with local roots through both parents, and attended Tamworth Grammar School. John found his strong local knowledge helpful with the Green Badge course. Originally an accountant, he re-trained to teach in primary schools in Tamworth before becoming a deputy headmaster near Walsall. After over 20 years in teaching he decided to study part-time in counselling, completing a post-graduate diploma and a masters degree. His interest arose from his membership of the Tamworth Samaritans. He has tutored counselling courses at the local college and supervised trainee counsellors.

John is now a partner in a local Bed & Breakfast establishment, but still teaches part time. John has past experience as a volunteer house guide for the National Trust, but most of his spare time is spent as a bell-ringer at St. Editha's Parish Church, Tamworth. He is currently the Secretary of the regional bell-ringing society and one of its representatives on the national ruling body for bell ringing. Unsurprisingly, John loves guiding groups up the unique double-spiral staircase of Tamworth Church to enjoy the fantastic views, and then showing them the belfry and many passages hidden within the tower's walls. 

So there you have it - seven trained, skilled, and qualified Guides ready and eager to show visitors the sights of Tamworth, to talk to local groups about Tamworth's history, to foster civic pride, and put Tamworth firmly on the tourist map.