Friday, 23 March 2012

In review: Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen would surely have enjoyed Chapterhouse Theatre Company’s production of Sense and Sensibility, which transfers beautifully to the stage - in this case, at the Lancaster Grand. Live delivery means that intonation, pauses, and speaking through gritted teeth give us this comedy of courtship in ways which more than compensate for the loss of some of Austen’s exquisite written prose – although adaptor Laura Turner’s clever script minimises even this loss. The actors deploy facial expression and movement to the hilt, and whether, when and exactly how a curtsey is done ’speaks’ – no, shows - volumes.

This is a mischievous, hammed-up production, with my first prize going to Sarah Gain’s Fanny Dashwood, Elinor and Marianne’s ‘half sister-in-law’ (she is not fond of her husband’s impecunious ‘other’ family). Everyone’s focus on the all-important goal of marriage is exciting and excruciating by turn for Elinor and Marianne (played by Hayley-Marie Axe and Alyssa Burnett, who convince us of their sisterly closeness). Yet the dark side – strategic courtship, parental pressure, the role of money, and heartbreak when these clash with love – is never far away.

The servants (including footmen), before Elinor, Marianne, their sister Margaret (Maria Lovelady) and their mother (Helen Fullerton) have to leave their comfortable home, are replaced by a single maid at their cottage. But here again this production triumphs in its theatricality. The footmen (Adam Grayson, Stewart James Barham, Liam Webster and Rob Ellis) do not only usefully move the props and screens, they do so with style, interacting amusingly with the main characters. And the maid at Barton Cottage, the versatile and talented Sarah Gain, sings a song of love and suggests the passing of time as she does the laundry.

It was regrettable that the audience was small, but they clearly enjoyed this crisp and funny production, which played in Lancaster for just one night. All praise to Director Rebecca Gadsby and Assistant Director Hannah Robinson here. Their Sense and Sensibility has not quite finished its run. If you’re quick, you can still catch it, though not at the Lancaster Grand, on:

Friday March 23, 8 p.m. Darlington Arts Centre (01325 486555)
Sunday March 25, 7.30 p.m. Hazlitt Arts Centre, Maidstone (01622 758611)
Wednesday March 28, 7.30 p.m. The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury (01684 295074)
Thursday March 29, 7.30 p.m. Exmouth Pavilion (01395 222477)
Sunday April 1st, 7.00 p.m. Loughborough Town Hall (01509 231914)

Tickets: £14/£12

Jane Sunderland

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Council workers' scrap metal perk under investigation

The Lancaster Guardian reports in today's paper that 10 members of Lancaster City Council's repairs & maintenance staff have admitted to selling metal such as copper cylinder cabling and heating equipment acquired in the course of their work to Morecambe Metals for scrap. We charitably assume that this is old stuff that required replacing and that, rather than taking it to the tip, resourceful staff mindful of the current climate of austerity detoured a few hundred yards to the scrapyard instead. The practice appears to have been going on for some time. It's not clear what the City Council policy is on this at present. They are still investigating the matter.

Given that the statute of limitations expired more than a quarter of a century ago, this reporter must confess to having witnessed the occasional lunchtime trip to the scrapyard herself when working for the council's waste collection department way back in the 1970s when they  employed women as well as men for such tasks.  It did seem logical at the time not to just throw good money away that everyone else seemed keen to get rid of. Mea culpa.

Morecambe Metals told the LG that they weren't aware of any wrongdoing and that the sellers were happy to provide full ID and address details, as legally required, when they brought the scrap metal in. Perhaps the City Council will redeploy these staff as recycling revenue consultants and make a few bob out of them yet.

Chair-rific exhibition nears close of run at The Storey

A chair
An exhibition of twentieth century chairs from the collection of the Design Museum in London, currently running at Lancaster's Storey Gallery, has fired the imagination of many visitors - including local councillor Ron Sands.
The Century of Chairs exhibition came to Storey Gallery directly from its previous showing at the 2011 Cheongju International Craft Biennale in Korea where it attracted more than 420,000 visitors.

This exhibition encourages visitors to consider the significance of the chair, illustrating how designers have responded to shifts in the way we choose to rest our legs, and how they have made use of new materials and technologies to create beautiful, sculptural forms.
"You must see it," he enthuses. "I have never seen such a surprising arrangement in any gallery anywhere, with chairs hanging from the ceiling, on raised platforms of different heights and even, yes, standing on the floor in short rows (not many). Over fifty chairs of unimaginable variety, shape, colour and material, all guaranteed to instil wonder, admiration, smiles, and even the occasional wince. It is impossible in words to do justice to this collection from London’s Design Centre."

The chair has a simple function - to elevate and support the sitter whilst they eat or read, work or lounge. A chair usually has a seat, four legs, and a back. A chair without a back is a stool, when raised up this is a bar stool. A chair with arms is an armchair.
The different ways we use a chair, along with technological developments and cultural shifts, have influenced the vastly different designs found in this exhibition. As long as a chair fulfils its intended function, the designer is able to create it in any form, using any material and process available.

This scope for creative interpretation has made the chair a very desirable project for designers to undertake. They have transformed the simple chair from a humble resting place into a glamorous, and much sought after, sculptural commodity, and a design icon. Chairs fill the archives of design museums across the world, demanding more cultural space and higher prices than any other piece of furniture.
In the early 1900s, expectations of what a chair looked like were based on traditional cabinet-making techniques. Impressionism had made Parisian café culture ‘de rigueur’, creating a demand for café style seating similar to that seen in paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Degas. In the 1920s, designers such as Le Corbusier, Charles & Ray Eames, and Marcel Breuer, used tubular steel, perfectly capturing the Modern Movement’s machine-age aesthetic. The Panton chair expresses the technocratic optimism of the 1960s, whilst Jane Atfield’s RCP2 Child’s Chair reflects our current desire to develop sustainable and ‘low impact’ design.

"I lost count of the various materials used – including wood, fibreglass, steel, recycled plastic, polyethylene, wire and – my own favourite – a cork stool, shaped like a pouffe and very solid," says Ron. "This last one designed, apparently “to help the cork industry out of a crisis”, and guaranteed to be rot and insect proof. Other examples include the cantilevered ziz-zag chair made of polished plywood, the bikini chair and the plastic hour glass chair.
"But I guess every visitor will have their own favourite. Give yourself a most unusual treat and see this startling and impressive exhibition before it is gone forever."

- The exhibition guide can be downloaded here. There is a series of Talks on Art related to this exhibition
- An Exhibition of Chairs is at the Storey Gallery, The Storey, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster LA1 1TH runs until 7th April 2012. Opening Times: 11am - 5pm Tuesday to Saturday, late night until 8.30pm on Thursdays. Admission £2

Centros: new draft masterplan for city centre


Centros' revised draft masterplan for the Canal Corridor North Development Site
Following Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet approval of the principles for a five-year extension to the Canal Corridor North development agreement, which was originally due to expire in October 2011, Centros has released its revised master-plan proposals, pictured above, for the development of the Canal Corridor North site. These have been worked up in consultation with the both the City Council and English Heritage, who vetoed their previous proposals. This new scheme is estimated to reflect a proposed investment in Lancaster in excess of £100 million.

Centros director, David Lewis, explained:
“Since the public inquiry in 2009, we have revisited our previous proposals whilst liaising with English Heritage to address their concerns. This week’s decision by the Council’s Cabinet represents a key milestone in the delivery of this major regeneration in the city centre.

"Once legal formalities are concluded, we will be in a position to prepare a new planning application. In the meantime, we intend to continue our engagement with both statutory consultees and local stakeholders, as well as the public.”


You can read the heritage assessment report for the Canal Corridor site on the City Council website here.
Those with an interest in local history and architecture will also find it an interesting read.  The new plan integrates more of the existing buildings, including the now listed brewery, bringing them back into use.

The revised scheme comprises:
· An open pedestrian shopping street leading from Stonewell to a new public square, with multiple pedestrian links to and from Moor Lane, the canal towpath and St Leonard Gate
· A new department store, a variety store and around 30 other new shops including a supermarket
· New cafés and restaurants
· A broad surface-level Toucan crossing at Stonewell and landscape enhancement of lower Church Street, including a shared surface with pedestrian priority
· New public squares in the centre of the scheme – also on St Leonard Gate, on Moor Lane, St Anne’s Place, Stonewell and adjacent to the canal / Heron Works
· A new public park leading up from Alfred Street to the Lancaster Canal
· Re-housing of the much-admired Lancaster Musicians’ Co-operative in the restored Brewery Building
· Creation of a restaurant quarter adjacent to the Lancaster Canal – utilising refurbished Joseph Storey buildings and the courtyard
· An enhanced canalside environment
· Re-engineering of the Parliament Street/Caton Road highways network to provide much-improved road access for the city - as before
· 800 car parking spaces including part undercroft below the new retail street - providing direct pedestrian access to Stonewell, the historic city centre and both theatres
· New residential accommodation, including a terrace of cottages on Alfred Street.

The significant changes to the scheme include:

· Removal of the proposed pedestrian bridge over Stonewell
· Upgrading of the public realm on lower Church Street, Stonewell and lower St Leonard Gate, including a much-improved pedestrian crossing
· Retention and re-use of the listed malthouse building and adjoining brewery tower and courtyard buildings
· Retention of parts of the Joseph Storey/Heron Works
· Part retention of Swan Court
· A 20% reduction in the overall commercial floorspace to 34,500 sq m.

At the end of last year, Centros agreed terms with Mitchell’s of Lancaster to acquire its interests in the development site. It is anticipated that a new planning application will be submitted at the end of this year. On superficial reading, the new scheme appears to be a significant improvement on the previous efforts, with   listed buildings restored and integrated into the plan. With these and additional public space included the development is likely to feel significantly more relaxed than the previous stock shopping precinct plan. However many still have serious qualms about entering into a 250-year deal that leases most of our city centre space to a company based in a British Virgin Islands tax haven. It will put them almost on a par with the Victorian era's Lord Ashton as Lancaster's most powerful lobbyists - after the nuclear power station, a French holding.

Centros to meet with It's Our City on Tuesday
Local group It’s Our City (IOC), who campaigned tirelessly against Centros’ previous, flawed development proposals, (which indeed fell at the Public Inquiry stage) are reserving judgement until they have had the opportunity to scrutinise the full proposals in detail and consult locally. Centros has invited their ‘leadership’ to a meeting at the Dukes next Tuesday 27 March at 7.30pm. As the group has an informal structure its supporters are requested to email Mark.McVicar@centros.co.uk directly should they wish to attend as spaces are limited to 30.

Bury St Edmunds £5million down on Centros link passage deal
Scrutiny is called for. Suffolk's 'Coastal Scene' reported in 2010 that, rather than build a promised £6 million link between the new Centros-built Arc shopping centre and the city centre, a critical part of the development plan, Centros instead gave the St Edmundsbury Borough Council a parcel of land worth just £750,000. Council leader John Griffiths said: “Once it became clear that Centros were not going to make the anticipated profits on the Arc necessary to widen Market Thoroughfare, the borough council tried everything - including the use of a compulsory purchase order - to force them to do so.'
To no avail.

Delancey
According to their website portfolio Centros was acquired by Delancey in 1999. According to their latest press release Centros 'is owned by funds advised by property investment company, Delancey'. The small print could prove expensive. During the last development agreement, the companies set up by Centros as guarantors for their proposals were restructured, leaving them with barely £200 in assets - making Centros' guarantees to the City Council worthless should liability arise. A new proposal for this 250 year scheme will need to prove that its guarantors are more than letterheads - for the forseeable future.

The Centros page on the Delancy portfolio website may look familiar - the image currently shown is the artist's impression of Centros previous proposal for Lancaster - which was chucked out by the 2007 public enquiry.

Police welcome sentence given to Carnforth sex offender

Police have welcomed the sentence given to a Carnforth man who was jailed for eight years for sexual activity with a child.

Alan Spragg, 25, of Pond Street, Carnforth appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday (21 March) after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted grooming; causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and engaging in sexual activity with a child.

Spragg admitted trying to groom two girls, aged 13 and 14, who he had met on Facebook. He then had sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl he had also met on Facebook. Offences occurred between October and December 2011.

He was arrested after an investigation by Operation Breakthrough – a specialist team set up to tackle sexual exploitation of children in the Lancaster and Wyre areas.

“Operation Breakthrough is committed in tackling the issue of child sex exploitation in Northern Lancashire," explains Detective Sergeant Simon Coates. "We aim to help those children who have become or are at risk of becoming victims and target and bring to justice those who are responsible. We will not tolerate individuals who seek to exploit young people sexually.

“I am very satisfied with this sentence and it reflects the serious nature of the offences committed by Spragg. Anyone who is concerned that a young person in their care is being sexually exploited should contact their local police or children’s services department for help and support."

• Anyone with information or concerns about a child who is being sexually exploited can contact police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Court Returns Taxi Driver's License on Appeal


Mr Andrew Kay
A two day hearing in Lancaster Magistrates Court last week heard an appeal by  the chair of the Lancaster Hackney Proprietors Association (HPA), Mr Andrew Kay, against the suspension and later revocation of his Hackney Licence, by the Lancaster City Council Licensing Department.

Last Friday 16 March 2012, District Judge Jeffrey Brailsford upheld the suspension but ruled that Mr Kay should have his license returned to him, albeit with a further two week suspension.

The court heard that Mr Kay had had a spotless record as a taxi driver for over 17 years until he became the chair of the HPA in 2010. In 2011 he was informed that a taxi company based in the Lancaster Licensing Area but licensed only by the South Lakeland Licensing Authority had allegedly been ‘hacking’ fares without the correct licensing in the Lancaster Area. He had visited the proprietor of this company at their address in Carnforth, which was also their home address, and had engaged them on the subject in their front garden.

Following this exchange both Mr Kay and the proprietor of the other taxi company lodged complaints and Mr Kay was issued with a warning notice by the Lancaster Licensing Dept.

However on 10 September 2011 Mr Kay took a telephone booking and drove 11 miles to the Longlands Hotel to find his fare seated in a cab belonging to the taxi company he had previously complained about, albeit with a new driver, and about to depart. He remonstrated verbally with both driver and passengers, informing them that the journey would contravene the insurance policy of the driver as he alleged that it was unlicensed, having been booked at the kerbside by a cab only licensed for telephone bookings.

Again, complaints were lodged on all sides, with the passengers and driver claiming that they had felt threatened by Mr Kay’s conduct.

The appeal court heard testimony from Ms Wendy Peck, Licensing Manager, Cllrs William Hill and Anthony Johnson of the Licensing Committee, Luke Gorst, a Lancaster City Council solicitor attached to the Licensing Department and PCs Gough and Hodgson, also attached to the Licensing Department. Testimony also came from witnesses at the Longland’s Hotel incident.

In October 2011 the Licensing Department suspended Mr Kay’s license for one month, with immediate effect. In most cases the suspension of a license takes effect after 21 days, giving the licensee time to appeal. However in cases where a threat to public safety has been identified, an immediate suspension may be imposed. In this case that was the course the committee took, with a warning notice that he should not take such matters into his own hands but refer them to the authority.

Mr Kay lodged an appeal against his suspension, which was served out, but before the appeal hearing took place he became involved in a further altercation over a parking ticket for obstruction. His language on this occasion was offensive, as Mr Kay acknowledged to the court, and the two police constables involved, who happened to be the City Licensing Dept Liaison Officers, well known to Mr Kay, issued a further complaint.  Mr Kay’s license was revoked, again with immediate effect.

PC Hodgson told the court that it was 'one of the worst taxi incidents I've ever seen'. (Which many would find very reassuring indeed.) Judge Brailsford, noting that PC Hodgson had been a Licensing Liaison Officer for over 17 years, took this as 'a little hyperbolic'.  He went on to say, "I am wholly sure that if it had been anyone other than PCs Gough and Hodgson on Market Street that day Mr Kay would have reacted in a more measured and grown up way. I doubt that such an incident would have happened with a fare on board.; I believe that the issue, in his mind rather than in reality, is his history with these particular officers, and it needs to stop now.'

Referring to testimony from Councillors Hill and Johnson he said 'This is certainly the first time I have had concerned, if not dissenting, members of a decision-making body give evidence, effectively, against their own committee.'

District Judge Jeffrey Brailsford, hearing appeals against both the suspension and the revocation, upheld the suspension but not the revocation. In his judgement he said:

"There is evidence before me that the committee did not address its mind specifically to the issue of public safety in relation to these events (which it must), before reaching the conclusion and imposing the sanction that it did at its January 2012 meeting. There have been historic issue between some, if not all of the people involved." He went on to say "I have come to the evidence-based view that the sanction imposed was the wrong one, reached by the wrong route".  Consequently the revocation was not upheld.

Giving consideration to Mr Kay’s previous suspension and the 67 days he had already been out of work due to the disallowed revocation, District Judge Brailsford replaced the revocation with a 14 day suspension effective in 21 days, giving Mr Kay time to appeal again, should he wish. No costs were awarded.

Mr Kay told Virtual-Lancaster:

"I am delighted and relieved by Justice Brailsford’s decision to return my license and, with it, my livelihood. I have been a taxi driver for 20 years and felt very troubled at leaving my regular fares in the lurch. Our Lancaster & District Branch of the Hackney Proprietors Association is a very new trade association and although it's not every driver's cup of tea I take the concerns of all the 1000 local taxi drivers very seriously. Being the chair has been a very steep learning curve for me and I appreciated Judge Brailsford's very civil remarks about it. 

"I hope that this will end my difficulties with the Licensing Department. We always have a lot of work ahead of us and I am looking forward to our effective cooperation which will see Lancaster continue to have an outstandingly friendly, efficient and safe taxi service at its beck and call at all those difficult times.

"I would like to thank the National Private Hire & Taxi Association for their continued support throughout, without which I might still be out of a job I love."

Commenting on the case, Lancaster City Council issued the following statement:

“It should be noted that the appeal against revocation was successful, but only to the extent that the judge felt that the appropriate penalty to mark the continuing ill-behaviour was three months' suspension rather than revocation.  Because part of that suspension had in effect been served by the implementation of the revocation, only a further 14 days' suspension was imposed.


Mr. Kay's badge has been returned to him. Mr. Kay has 21 days to appeal the judge’s decision to suspend him for a further 14 days.  If Mr. Kay does not appeal, his badge will need to be returned whilst he serves the 14 day suspension that was imposed by the judge.

Cllr John Harrison, Chair of the Licensing Regulatory Committee, said:


"As licensing authority, Lancaster City Council's main concern in making decisions with regard to taxi licences is public safety.  Its Licensing Regulatory Committee take all factors into consideration before making those decisions.   However, licence holders do have a right to appeal against decisions made by the council and Mr. Kay has exercised this right."

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Guilty verdict for organised crime gang members

(Updated): Three men have today (Wednesday 21st March) been found guilty of being involved in an organised crime gang’s cocaine supply chain which stretched across a Lancaster.

A further four people - two women and two men - have also been found guilty of laundering the profits of the gang’s drug dealing activity.

Their conviction comes as a result of Operation Bespoke, a lengthy police investigation into drug dealing and money laundering in Lancaster and the surrounding areas.

Sentencing will take place at Preston Crown Court on 14th May and is expected to last three days.

Warrants executed in late 2009 revealed cocaine, cutting agents, machines used to press the drugs and weapons – including guns, a taser, ammunition and machetes – were being kept at gang members’ homes.

Further investigation by officers led to raids being carried out in Lancaster and Morecambe on 13th July 2010, and 15 people were arrested and charged with a variety of offences relating to drug dealing and money laundering.

“Residents in Lancaster and Morecambe told us that their lives were being been blighted by the criminal activities of a small but organised group of criminals," commented Superintendent Andy Webster from Lancaster police. "We listened to residents and acted on their concerns about what had been going on in their communities.

"This has led to these people being arrested and put before the courts.”

Following a 14 week trial at Preston Crown Court, Anthony Diprose, 27, of Roeburn Drive, Morecambe was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and a proceeds of crime offence. He had previously pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.

Andrew Gunningham, 30, of Ryelands Road, Lancaster, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class b drugs. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class a drugs.

Brian Coulton, 20, of Tarnsyke Road, Lancaster, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Katie Noon, 24, of Austwick Road, Lancaster; Paul Noon, 30, also of Austwick Road, Lancaster; Rachel Lynch, 41, of Tarnbrook Road, Lancaster, and Paul Lynch, 45, also of Tarnbrook Road, Lancaster, were all found guilty of money laundering.

A number of the gang members had pleaded guilty to offences at an earlier stage of the court process.

Jason Diprose, 25, of Austwick Road, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs, conspiracy to supply class A drugs and fraud by false representation.

Kenneth Smith, 23, of Mainway, Lancaster, was found guilty of possession with intent to supply class A drugs. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

David Threlfall, 28, of Artle Place, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to class B drugs.
Aiden Higgins, 21, of Dee Road, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possession of heroin.
Liam Wiper, 24, of Euston Grove, Morecambe, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Liam Parkinson, 24, of Norfolk Street, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, possession with intent to supply heroin and possession of a taser gun.

A date for sentencing has yet to be set.

Supt Webster added: “Lancashire Constabulary is committed to tackling crime and disrupting organised crime groups.

“It is incredibly important that people continue to provide the police with information so that we can keep them safe and look for ways to prevent organised crime groups from operating in the future.”

Anyone with information about crime is asked to contact police on 101. In an emergency always dial 999.

Great Books abridged show opens this week

All The Great Books (abridged)

​Literature’s greatest hits condensed into a 90 minute tongue-in-cheek, slapstick rollercoaster. That's the concept behind All The Great Books (abridged), a whirlwind performance that covers books from Pride & Prejudice and 1984 to Green Eggs and Ham and Harry Potter: a show from Lancaster University students that is enjoyable for any literature lover while also being a great introduction to many of the books!

All The Great Books (abridged) is a production backed by LUSU Involve, from the same team who wowed audiences last year with their production of Reduced Shakespeare, and just like last year the show is completely free to attend.

The shows will be taking place at the following venues and dates:

Thursday 22 March - 7.30pm - Lancaster University-George Fox LT1

Saturday 24 March - 2.00pm Lancaster Library

Tuesday 27 March - 7.00pm - Heysham Library

Thursday 29 - 7.00pm - Morecambe Library

The performance is approximately two hours long (including an interval).Tickets are not required for any of these free events - everyone is invited to 'just turn up' and enjoy the show.

- For more information please contact LUSU Involve on 01524 20592828

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Local police hunt for convicted sex offender

Benjamin Moorhead
Local Police are appealing for help to try and trace a wanted sex offender.

Benjamin Moorhead, 30, a registered sex offender, was last seen on Wednesday 14th March, 2012 after he appeared at Lancaster Magistrates Court for an offence of (non sexual) assault.

Moorhead, formerly of Borrans Lane, Middleton, Morecambe is wanted for failing to adhere to conditions of his registration and for breach of his probation licence conditions.

Moorhead was convicted at Carlisle Crown Court in 2001 for an offence of indecent assault and will be a registered sex offender for life. He is described as a white man, five ft 10 in tall, slim and he has short brown hair. He speaks with a North West accent.

“Moorhead is a registered sex offender and while he is not wanted for an assault of any kind, he is breaching his registration requirements and also his Probation licence conditions," explains Detective Inspector Phil Jones of Lancaster Police. "Therefore I would appeal to anyone who has information on his whereabouts to contact police.

“All sex offenders that are managed in the community by both the police and partner agencies are robustly managed to try and prevent further offending. If they fail to comply with their legal obligations and terms of licence we will take every action to locate and arrest them.”

• Anyone with information should police police on 101 (the new non emergency number) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Appeal after Morecambe Club assault

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a man was assaulted at a club in Morecambe at the end of February.

The assault took place on the main stairwell in the Carleton Club on Regent Road around 10.30pm on the evening of Saturday 25th February 2012 when the club was holding a boxing event attended by over 800 people.

The 42-year-old victim, who is from Lancaster, sustained a broken leg after he was assaulted near the foyer.

DC Mark Greaves from Lancaster CID said: “This is a serious assault and I would appeal to anybody that was in the Carleton Club that night that saw this man being attacked to come forward and contact police.

Anyone with any information should call Lancashire Police on 101.

• People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Olympic Torch Relay route through the Lancaster district announced

The exact route the Olympic Torch will take through the Lancaster district on Friday 22nd June has just been revealed.

During its journey the Torch will be passing through Carnforth, Bolton-le-Sands, Hest Bank, Morecambe and Lancaster on its way to an evening celebration in Blackpool.

Also revealed today are the names of the Torchbearers who will be carrying the Torch through the district.

They include Matt Prior from Carnforth, who was nominated by his mum for the inspirational way in which he has used the power of sport to learn and progress.

Having been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder and epilepsy when he was five, sport quickly became an integral part of Matt’s life and he is currently studying for an extended BTEC diploma at Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Matt has completed his bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh awards and is currently working towards his gold. He will be carrying the Torch through Morecambe.

"I am so pleased to have got through the selection process to be an Olympic Torchbearer,"  he explained.

"My mum nominated me ages ago because of how I have be able to use sport to learn and progress.

“Using sport, including all the different games, the rules, fairness, teamwork and individual skills I have found that sport truly is for all.

“There will always be something to be good at in sport no matter where your strengths lie."

Lancaster City Council is particularly keen to see as many schools involved in the celebrations as possible and watch our local Torchbearers as they carry the Olympic Flame. Schools can access free learning resources linked to the Olympic Torch Relay through Get Set (www.london2012.com/getset), the official London 2012 education programme.

The activities are designed to help schools and colleges make the most of the Relay by lining the route, and cheering on their local Torchbearers.

One of the schools the Torch will be passing on the route is Lancaster Road Primary School in Morecambe.

“When the Torch Relay passes by the school it will bring the Olympic event alive to all those who are privileged enough to see it,:" said Paul Gabriel, the school’s headteacher. "What can seem distant and remote will be there on our doorstep.  A ‘Once in a Lifetime’ event.  We hope to use the Olympics as a tool to motivate all our children and this will serve as a massive inspiration.

“The children are already very excited at the prospect of seeing the Torch.   They will be able to watch the subsequent games on TV and actually feel part of it – ‘they were there’ when that torch passed.  Perhaps in the future  some of these children will be representing Great Britain at the Olympics.”

As an added bonus, Lancaster City Council be holding a celebration of sport over the weekend of the Torch Relay.

Plans are still being developed but it is anticipated that the celebration will include a city centre cycling race on the Friday and watersports, kite surfing, cycling and entertainment in Morecambe on the Saturday/Sunday (23rd - 24th June).

“With much of the action taking place at the Olympic Park in London, watching the Torch Relay is one way in which we can all share in the excitement," feels Coun Ron Sands, Cabinet member with responsibility for tourism and culture.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to say ‘I was there’. The Torch’s passage through our district marks the exact half way point of its 70 day journey through the UK and the eyes of the world will be upon us.

“I’m hoping as many people as possible will dig out their Union flags, take part in this unique opportunity and show just how much we take pride in our communities.

"This is also an opportune moment to showcase our district’s incredible sporting opportunities to visitors seeking action and adventure. I am certain we can look forward to a high octane weekend of excitement.”

• More details of the Torch’s route through the Lancaster district can be found at www.lancaster.gov.uk/london2012 or www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay