Poundland founder opens his country estate to public

The founder of the Poundland empire is preparing to throw open the doors of his Jacobean mansion to give visitors a glimpse of the stunning country estate.

The grounds of Ludstone Hall, near Claverley, will be open to the public tomorrow. Owned by Keith Smith, who founded the Poundland empire with his son, Steve, the site is home to a kitchen garden, lawns and flower beds and three pools – all surrounded by a moat.

There is also a museum in an outbuilding next to the 400-year-old hall, which features artefacts relating to its history, as well as items collected by Mr Smith during his 50-year business career.

Mr Smith, who bought the hall and its 190-acre estate in the 1990s, said he was looking forward to offering a rare glimpse into its history.

“We only open up once a year, but it is always a special day for people of all ages,” said the 72-year-old, who grew up in Willenhall. “It gives me a lot of pleasure to invite people into the grounds, and with plenty of different stalls and entertainment planned I hope this year’s event will be a great success.”

Full Express & Star story here

Poundland opens first Spanish store as it celebrates record year

Poundland has opened its first store in Spain in the holiday resort of Torremolinos, it revealed today as it also took the wraps off full-year sales figures of nearly £1 billion.

Sales are still rising, said chief executive Jim McCarthy, and Poundland plans another 70 stores this year, creating 1,000 more jobs.

Meanwhile, around 2,700 customers flocked through the tills of its new Spanish store yesterday, with water and soft drinks among the big sellers on a hot day with the temperatures up around 28C on the Costa del Sol.

Click here for full Express and Star story

The Launch of Willenhall Flag – Willenhall Carnival 14th June 2014

The Launch of Willenhall Flag

Willenhall Carnival

14th June 2014


Finally after months of preparation, and over 70 designs and shortlisted to 6 designs, the big day is finally here – Flying the Flag for Willenhall.

The Willenhall Flag will be unveiled at this year Willenhall Carnival at Willenhall Memorial Park on the 14th June.

We wish to thank everyone who took time out to make this happen, from the schools that entered to the entries from overseas.  Huge thanks to our Flag Sponsors, Poundland and of course the judges – who had the hard task of making that shortlist and lastly the public who came out and made their vote count. Special thanks to The Royal George Pub who has donated a prize of £100 to the winning design!

Willenhall will not be disappointed and should be very proud to have its very own flag, its very own mark and identity that will be used to literally fly the flag for out hometown.

The honours will be done by local born and bred Glyn Marston.

Kalie Plant, of Willenhallaywe.co.uk said, we had no hesitation of putting Glyn forward for this occasion as the whole project as been about promoting Willenhall and putting Willenhall back on the map & what better way than by a local man Glyn. Many of you will know the hard work that Glyn has put into fundraising for many years by running over 100 marathons, ran races all over the world and this year marks his 21st anniversary since he started running.

Willenhall Flags will be available immediately after the launch and we look forward to seeing those Flags flying high.

We already have orders from our members and local pubs are putting in their requests too.


We are looking forward to Willenhall folk working together, to literally fly the Flag for our hometown.

Comment from Glyn Marston

I am really overwhelmed by the request to launch the flag for Willenhall. Being Willenhall born and bred I am so proud of our little town and it’s heritage. To see Willenhall get its own official flag is great for our community and I am so proud to be launching the flag for Willenhall. A lot of hard work has gone into making the flag a reality which in itself shows just how proud Willenhall folk are of their town and the flag will signify that we love Willenhall. It will definitely be one of my most proud moments when I launch the Willenhall flag. Glyn Marston


Comments from the judges after the shortlist

A few words from some of the judges –

Philip Tibbetts, Communities Vexillologist, Flag Institute
Advisor, Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee said “On behalf of the Flag Institute I have to commend the Willenhall flag competition for the passionate and dedicated way in which it has been run. Including the anonymous way in which we and the other judges selected the finalists. The proof of the quality of this competition has been proved through the finalists themselves which would all make bold and attractive flags. Indeed in working up the finalists to registration standard artwork we have had to make very little in the way of edits, only a matter of simplification in a couple of cases”.

Pavan Riyat-Ward, Marketing Controller representing Poundland said. “It was a challenge to get down to a short-list of six designs given the number and quality of entries that we were asked to choose from – a great effort from the people of Willenhall. “

Ruth Vyse said ‘She was very pleased that Walsall Local History Centre had been asked to supply a judge for the Willenhall flag competition.  She thought that the number and quality of the entries was excellent.  They reflected the importance of lock making in Willenhall’s history and represented that very imaginatively.’

Simon Hall, Chair at Willenhall Town FC said “we are delighted to be involved in such an innovative project and have been really impressed by the standard of entries into the competition. We’re looking forward to seeing the winning flag flying around the town and at our ground”

Ralph Jackson representing Willenhall History Society said. “We were pleased to be asked to be a selection judge.
Look forward to seeing the winner.

Finalists drawn for #flyingtheflagforwillenhall Flag Competition

Many thanks to the judges who took part in shortlisting the designs to 6, ready for the people of Willenhall to decide what they would like has their flag!

The judges consisted of Pav Rivat-Ward – Poundland (Flag Sponsors), Phil Hobley – WH Tildesley, Ruth Vyse – Walsall Local History, Ralph Jackson – Willenhall History Society, Councillor Ian Shires, Simon Hall – Willenhall Town Football Club, Flag Institute- Philip Tibberts, Les Burrows (of WTFC),

The venue for this part of the competition was been kindly sponosored by 442 Bar & Lounge for supplying the venue plus food for the night.

The winning design of this vote will then be registered as the Willenhall flag and the flag will unveiled at the this years Willenhall Carnival on the 14th June by a local Willenhall celeb!

We have made it easy for you to cast your vote in person at the following venues, where we will be present with our stall – Look out for us 🙂

Public Vote – 12th April Pool Hayes Community Association – Easter Market
Public Vote – 14th April Willenhall Chart Centre Garden!
Public Vote – 19th April The Locksmiths House
Public Vote – 26th April Willenhall Heritage Day – CHART Centre

There will also be online voting via our website, facebook group from 7th April !

Poundland confirms flotation plans

Poundland, the Willenhall-based £1-for-everything chain, has finally gone public with its plans to float on the London Stock Exchange.
It follows intense speculation at the weekend, but today’s announcement offers no clues on share price or valuation. However, it is understood Poundland is aiming to launch itself on the stock market some time in March.

It has been suggested the company aims to raise £300 million to £400 million to fund expansion, valuing the business at around £700m.

Full E & S here

Poundland to open stores in Spain

Poundland, the Willenhall-based £1-for-everything chain, is set to open 10 stores in Spain, it revealed today.

They will be Poundland’s first foray into Continental Europe and will bear the Dealz name used for the chain’s 31 stores in Ireland, where the currency is the euro.

The first Spanish stores will open in the next 12 months, with all 10 open within two years.

Chief executive Jim McCarthy said last year that the plan was for the European Dealz stores to sell more than 90 per cent of their goods for 1.49 euros, with the rest retailing at prices from two to five euros each.

Full E & S story here