Burntwood’s No.7’s Nightclub closed in May after providing a convenient venue for drunken fornication for almost 20 years. Mr Mansell, 78, who has owned the premises for over 40 years, joined forces with co-owner of the business Jennifer Heath, 65, over a couple of bottles of Prosecco in 1987.
‘A 4am licence was granted in the late 1990s for the bar to become a late night venue and Burntwood’s own nightclub was launched. But I’m not getting any younger and I’d recently heard that Burntwood is being closed down in 2016 so we had to make a decision about the future of the business.
‘On Good Friday we opened as usual and the place was packed with family members all looking for easy jobs and free booze. By midnight the drink was flowing down the kid’s necks and the grandson was DJ’ing, cranking up the sound system with a bit of ELO and I turned to Jenny and said “Where did we go wrong?” ‘
Failing to get the Mr Blue Sky reference, Jenny continued:
‘Earlier that day I’d booked tickets to see the truly gifted and genuine psychic Derek Acorah at The Garrick next month. With each internet booking Derek arranges for you to be sent a text message direct from the spirit world. Well, Trevor was dribbling down my cleavage in his ‘70’s reverie when I got this text on my iPhone. Derek’s spirit guide said “Watch out for the pasta.”
‘Well I was absolutely gobsmacked, I’m actually gluten intolerant as you can probably smell. But when I looked up I saw a dark figure approaching us across the dance floor through the dry-ice mist and photo-epileptic strobe lighting.’
Wearing a stetson and cowboy boots the stranger introduced himself to the couple. Trevor recalls:
‘He said “Hi folks, my name is Pastor Sandy of the Beacon Community Church and I’m here to save you.” He sat down at our table and talked to us in his dulcet Scottish tones for the rest of the evening. For the life of me I can’t remember a single word he said, but by the end of the night the club closed and I found myself signing an agreement gifting the Club to the Church.’
Pastor Sandy McMeekin’s mission is to reach out to the community of Burntwood, raise up the community of Burntwood and send out the community of Burntwood to go and live in Brownhills. He explained:
‘Burntwood is dying, it’s vital organs, if you like, are closing down, it’s life-blood is thickening in the town’s arteries. End of Days was foretold in the Bible that I wrote with my sister, sorry, my wife Liz at our kitchen table five years ago. End of Days would be signalled by the triumphant return to the Walled City of the Clown Fabricuntio before the pagan festival of Bower.’
According to Pastor Sandy the signs of accelerated descent are all around, citing as examples the recently announced plans to close Chasetown police station and withdraw officers to the safety of new premises that will be built unchallenged in Lichfield’s Green belt; the leaked plans to sell off and close Chasewater and, most symbolically for the young people, the future, of the town, the closure of No.7’s nightclub
The reverend Pastor explained:
‘No.7, so called because of the average number of revellers that it attracted on a Friday and Saturday night, has been dying alongside with the town. These are dark days, I have answered God’s call, me and my sister, sorry my wife Liz together with our Beacon disciples will guide the lost and dislocated into the light.’
The Church has now received planning consent from Lichfield District Council to convert the former nightclub for its own purposes.
Trevor has no regrets, being a canny business man all his life he added:
‘I may have signed his agreement under the influence of the Pastor’s obvious charisma but what he doesn’t realise is that I transferred the property to my company T.J.M & D. (Burntwood) Limited in February. He’ll have a shock when he puts in for planning to build apartments here next year. Haha.’
Anyone who wants to find out more about the teachings of Pastor Sandy and the Beacon Church will discover very little by visiting their website at http://www.beacon-church.com/pages/