CROSSING THE TRACKS - AFTER 40 YEARS

One of the region’s oldest charity events is set to celebrate its 40th year.  The Journalists’ Charity is holding its annual Greyhound Night in Birmingham on 14 October. But for the first time the race night will not be held at Hall Green Stadium, which is closing next month after 90 years of greyhound racing.

This year the event will take place at Perry Barr stadium,  which is also run by the Greyhound Racing Association. Perry Barr was founded in 1929, two years after Hall Green opened.

The Journalists’ Charity popular fund-raiser was started in 1978 by former Midlands press photographer Gerry Armes (pictured), who had been helping fellow journalists since the 1950s.

He helped resurrect the regional branch of the Newspaper Press Fund which later changed its name to the Journalists’ Charity. He became a national trustee of the charity and chaired the Midlands branch until 2008 – his 80th birthday – when he became the branch President, a position he still holds today as well as looking after the accounts as branch Treasurer.

Gerry, a former chairman of Birmingham Press Club, started his career with the Birmingham Gazette and Evening Despatch and later joined the Post and Mail where he became chief sports photographer. He has been responsible for helping the Midlands branch raise nearly £500,000 for the charity.

“I never thought when we started the greyhound nights all that time ago that we would be celebrating our 40th year,” said Gerry. “It has been an extremely successful event over the years and we have had magnificent support from our sponsors. I am hoping they will rally round once again on this special occasion.”

The charity’s current Midlands district chairman Derek Inman said: “At one time it looked as if we would have to abandon the event, but we are looking forward to our new partnership with the Greyhound Racing Association at Perry Barr. The Greyhound night is one of the oldest charity events in the Midlands and I am delighted we are going to be able to carry on again this year.”

Tickets for the Greyhound Night are £37 each to include a three course meal in the Grandstand Restaurant. Tables are available for groups of eight people. Individual race sponsorship packages cost £350. For bookings contact Val Deeleyat val.deeley@live.co.uk.

The charity was founded by Charles Dickens among others in 1864. The Queen is its Patron.