Interview with The Sentinel on Life in North Staffordshire // 13 April 2015

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Kate Thomson (or on Twitter I’m @starsinmyteacup). I am a Singer, Singing Teacher & Vocal Coach working with singers, actors and musicians ranging from age 7 – 70+ both privately and  in schools across Staffordshire & Cheshire. I work with both individuals and large workshop groups and I also sing with a few local choirs and vocal ensembles, including, but not limited to, Keele Bach Choir and The City of Manchester Opera. I work part time as a senior receptionist at ReceptionHQ and I design and make handmade jewellery.


Give us five things you love most about North Staffordshire:

1. The Countryside

2. Arts, Ents and local music

3. The people / community

4. The proximity to everywhere else in the UK and the easy transport links

5. Oatcakes


What do you think makes North Staffordshire different from other areas?

North Staffordshire hosts a wonderful and engaging community of people. When friends have visited us, they discover that the residents here are so accepting and welcoming thats it’s difficult not to feel at home here, no matter where in the world you’re from! It is brilliantly located in the middle of magnificent country walks, super eateries and popular attractions such as Trentham Gardens, Alton Towers, local theatres or cinemas and National Trust Properties to name a few. It differs from other areas due to the friendliness of the local residents and it’s excellent proximity to all the things I enjoy most.


If you had to show a visitor around North Staffordshire where would you take them?

The Peak District would be way up the list, perhaps to the top of the Roaches to check out the view. To avoid a steep climb I’d take someone around one of the big ponds nearby instead such as Rudyard Lake or Tittesworth/Knypersley Reservoir. Alton Towers is always a winning day out, as are the NT attractions such as Little Moreton Hall or Biddulph Grange. Trentham Gardens are also gorgeous all year round and you can go out on the lake in summer or stop for a cuppa at one of the cafes in the village.

Breakfast time with visitors (or without!) has to include some cheese filled oatcakes from Halmer End. Later in the day food and beer could be from somewhere like the Hand and Trumpet in Wrinehill which hosts a tasty seasonal menu, real ales, long wine list and always a friendly welcome. Evening activities could include anything from seasonal events such as the Betley Festival or a choice from the plethora shows and musical events on at the local theatres. Alternatively, dancing and cocktails in one of the bars in town is a good option. If I was showing a visitor around, they would have to like music, food and walking!!!


How do you think North Staffordshire can be improved as a place to live and work?

There are always improvements that can be made wherever you live. Lately, there have been massive injections of art and culture in North Staffordshire such as the work by appetite, factory or just local artisans putting on great events for everyone to enjoy and I think this has been an incredible start to a hopefully continuing project and a rapidly expanding network of artists, business people and entrepreneurs! I particularly loved the outdoor installations in Central Park and the piano’s dotted around the city last year, but there were so many events across the city that inspired and encouraged people to do more of what they love. I think more inspiration, belief and continued education is the key to doing anything better, including improving the area in which we live. We should always strive to make life better for ourselves and others around us. The arts impact this massively as it is a catalyst for creativity and a great way to build confidence which can lead to great things to come, so in my opinion, a great improvement would be to continue to encourage more inspirational musical or arty community projects, and to support those who are already doing it.


Interview by Richard Ault. Copy courtesy of Staffs Sentinel. 


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