Neil Thomas meets a couple and their son who have made a real difference over three decades. 

Earlier this year, a Broseley family collected a major award recognising a remarkable record of charity fundraising and community involvement. 

Debbie and Wilf Glaze and their son Daniel have raised more than £180,000 for good causes over the past 30 years. 

In the process, they have brightened up their little part of the world and brought joy to many of its residents. 

At the Signature Awards 2022 with comedian Dave Keeling who provided some of the entertainment

Children are spellbound by the annual display of festive lights with which the family festoon their dormer bungalow in Collins Close at Christmas. Music lovers delight in the two-day summer festival they organise in the town centre.  

And charities such as, Midland Air Ambulance, Mencap, Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital and Broseley FoodShare have all benefitted from their fundraising efforts. 

Now the family has won the Community Excellence Award 2022 at Birmingham’s Signature Awards organised by Nachural. 

Bringing the community together – the Broseley Festival 2019

Dan says, “It was an honour to be recognised and we were elated to receive the award.” 

The family had no idea who nominated them, Debbie admitted, but they were very grateful and also thanked the Signature Awards for a great evening at the International Convention Centre in Broad Street. 

“It is important to stress that the Broseley Festival is very much a group effort and this recognition is for our whole team of amazing volunteers.”

It’s not the first time the family has enjoyed the ‘red carpet treatment’ at a major awards night. They headed the Broseley Festival team which won Volunteer of the Year at the national MBCC (Multicultural Business & Community Champion) awards night at Aston Villa FC’s stadium in Birmingham in November 2019. They were recognised alongside Midlands’ music stars Jamelia and Beverley Knight in awards that celebrate contributions to making businesses and communities better places for those that work and live there.  

The Broseley Festival team were also finalists in the Community Organisation category at the National Diversity Awards 2020 in association with ITV News. 

“It is important to stress that the Broseley Festival is very much a group effort and this recognition is for our whole team of amazing volunteers,” Dan adds.  

The Glaze family is very much at the heart of it, with their three decades of putting smiles on faces and raising money to make a difference to lives. So how did it come about? 

Debbie smiles and points at Dan, adding with a chuckle, “It’s his fault! 

“A neighbour put up some outside lights at Christmas and Dan, who was two, pointed and said ‘pretties’. He then asked if we could have some.” 

Wilf smiles and adds, “Of course, we gave in and put a few up. Then we’ve added to them over the years so that they’ve become a bit of a local attraction. Every year the kiddies come up and ask ‘when are you going to put your lights up, mister?” 

Donations are invited for charities and, until Covid restrictions put it on hold, a grand switching-on ceremony was held annually. 

The Christmas lights display

“The neighbours are really good and everyone is very supportive,” Debbie adds.  

Brightening up the world at Christmas comes at a cost, of course, though Wilf says they will doubtless carry on despite soaring electricity prices. 

Putting the decorations up is also something of a daring escapade for Wilf who, thankfully, has a head for heights. 

The Broseley Festival CIC team

“I’ve come off the roof a few times but luckily landed on the grass,” he says with a thin smile. 

“He’s not as young as he was,” quips Debbie. 

The lights have raised funds for charities such as the Midland Air Ambulance and the Bridgnorth branch of Mencap, which supports people with learning difficulties, their families and carers. The latter is a charity close to Debbie’s heart and she was made president of Bridgnorth Gateway club – Mencap, in recognition of years of fundraising. 

“I have a friend, Debbie Moore, who I’ve known since school, whose sister Sally Walmsley has Down Syndrome. Sally’s a family friend as well, in fact everyone knows her. She is really well-known in Broseley. She has been the motivation for fundraising.” 

The Glaze family also raised funds for a well-publicised £500,000 appeal to send Broseley youngster Zac Oliver to the USA for life-saving treatment for a rare form of leukaemia. 

“We like to be involved in the local community,” Debbie says. It was what prompted them to volunteer their services when two local women launched live music  event Broseley Festival in 2015. 

“They were asking for volunteers for a treasurer and someone to do advertising, so we offered to help,” she continues. 

The ABBA tribute act, Waterloo Live, at the Broseley Festival 2019

A couple of years later, it looked like the event would be scrapped when the founders left. 

“We thought that if someone doesn’t take it over, it will fold. So, I took over as chair basically to stop it folding,” Debbie adds. 

The event was relaunched in 2018 as a Community Interest Company, Broseley Festival CIC and was thriving until Covid restrictions brought a halt to live music events. It meant the 2020 and 2021 festivals were called off. 

Not to be outdone, though, 32-year-old Dan – a primary school teacher at Buildwas and something of a techno talent – put on a virtual festival last year. 

“We had 15 bands who all pre-recorded their sets and I put it all together on line,” he explains. It was watched by over 16,000 people. 

This year, though, Broseley Festival is back as an outdoor event on June 18 and 19, with its usual mix of original bands and singers, and tribute artists.  

“I’ve come off the roof a few times but luckily landed on the grass.”

Music is very much in the Glaze DNA – Debbie’s dad ran his own dance band for 56 years, Guy Tonkiss and his Band. 

“They played mainly swing music. Dad played double bass and drums and my mum Dot was singer and dancer. Dad taught me and my sister to dance and we absolutely loved it. I still do, I still go ballroom dancing,” she explains. 

“They were very well known and played all over the region – Birmingham Town Hall, Dudley Town Hall and so on and apparently played with The Beatles. We used to go to a lot of the concerts and Wilf was Dad’s roadie.” 

It is clear, then, where the family’s sense of theatre – the Christmas lights display, the big music festival – comes from.  

Broseley through and through, Wilf, Debbie and Dan’s hearts are very much embedded in their community. And what big hearts they are… 

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