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I N T H E N E W S Blooming marvellous village fundraiser Fantastic floral displays took over Swinfen’s Heart of the Country Shopping Village over the summer as part of a picturesque charity fundraiser. The Village in Bloom event at the shopping village near Lichfield was to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society, and the boutiques, shops and restaurants throughout the village took part in creating a variety of beautiful displays. Other events included a Forget Me Not Picnic hosted by The Lichfield Tea Company, a floral inspired silver jewellery making course at Allen Brown Jewellery in their workshop, and an antique jewellery and silverware valuation day hosted by Hansons Auctioneers and Allen Brown Jewellery. The finale of the week was the Swinfen Supper Club where people could experience three unique tasting plates in the shopping village’s three fantastic restaurants: The Barn at Swinfen, Lichfield Tea Company and Pear Tree Creperie. Each tasting plate was enjoyed in a different location, allowing for a very social atmosphere. THE VILLAGE IN BLOOM The proceeds of the events held throughout the week meant that £1.930.70 was raised for The Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading dementia support and research charity to help anyone affected by any form of dementia. They believe passionately that life doesn’t end when dementia begins and help keep people with dementia connected to their lives and the people who matter most. Racing ahead with Sam A young driver is motoring into the last race of the season with backing from a local sponsor. Julie Smelt, owner of La Maison Bleue at Heart of the Country Shopping Village, has pledged her business’s support to her son Sam Smelt, who races in the British GT4 class for Race Performance. Sam, who’s 22, began his racing career at the tender age of 13 in karting doing club events, and progressed through the karting ranks racing in Europe between the ages of 15 to 19. Julie says: “His first race in cars was in the VW cup in 2017 where he did this for the first half of the season before he was asked if he wanted to move to the British Formula 4 for the remainder of the season, which he did. “The 2018 season saw a big jump up to the British Touring Car Challenge, where Sam joined AmD Tuning driving an Audi, and where he probably learnt the most in his racing career as this is a very competitive class.” In 2019 talented Sam got the opportunity to drive in the British GT series, where he is driving the Ford Mustang GT4 for Race Performance alongside team-mate Aron Taylor-Smith. Julie adds: “This series is more of an endurance where most of the races are two hours long and one race is three hours. They have had quite a tough year but are hoping to finish the last race which will be at Donington Park on September 14 and 15.” RACING DRIVER SAM SMELT 56

M OTO R S Life in the fast lane J’AIME’S MOTORING EXPERT AND RESIDENT RACING DRIVER MARTIN PLOWMAN GETS TO GRIPS WITH THE NEW CHEVROLET CORVETTE STINGRAY The launch of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has been turning heads for many reasons. As far as new-generation cars go, this is a pretty bold new look for the American classic. It’s been completely redesigned from the ground up, with only a single part surviving from the previous model. My first impression of this car is that it’s as if a Ferrari 488, Honda NSX and Mclaren MP4-12 C all combined to make a super-baby. It’s a pretty good looking car in my opinion, but it has created a bit of a stir among Corvette owners and aficionados. The main reason for the discontent is that the guys at General Motors broke away from tradition by switching from a front-engine arrangement to a mid-engine configuration. In fact, it’s the very first Corvette to do so in its 66-year history. So what’s the big deal? The deal with the new configuration is that a lot of Corvette owners feel that the new car betrays the history and heritage of what a Corvette is meant to look like. It’s a departure from the long, scooping front-end and instead what the mid-engine layout gives you is a very modern, European supercar look. Is that really such a bad thing? Of course not! I guess some people just hate change and are always looking for something to complain about. 57


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