Saturday, 1 May 2010

Heysham High School students parade own designs

Heysham High School Fashion Show at Morecambe Library

Budding fashionistas from Heysham High School gave the likes of Vivenne Westwood a run for her money last week as they paraded their designs inspired by the world of fiction, the school's Katherine Beaumont reports.

The GCSE and A level fashion show, Fashion Fiction, which took place at Morecambe Library on Wednesday, April, 21 was organised by Heysham High Design Technology teacher, Stephanie Williams and drew a crowd of over one hundred fashion fans.

As audience seats were filling up, it could have been Lily Cole and the gang loitering in the wings as mums, dads, friends and relatives snatched gleeful peeks the models waiting to hit the catwalk.

The lights dimmed and the two talented comic compares, James Shields and Joe Stanford, from Year 11, stepped on stage to introduce each design based on the theme of something fictitious.

First up in the show for the Year 11 GCSE group was a daring design styled on a toga from Olivia Rothwell which was modeled by Katherine Rhodes.

heysham_high_pros18.jpgNext, Shannade Brockbank was wearing a high waisted mini skirt in this season’s essential cut “funked up” with a punky denim waistcoat.

Kirsty Davis next modeled Claire Canning’s corset and jaunty, drac-black skirt to emanate a gothic theme. Next, stepping up to that theme, was Melissa Denny modeling Pippa Coleman’s number based on the vampire film, Twilight.

Sarah Penman in an uber modern ballet pastiche designed by Jody DrakeSarah Penman appeared in an uber modern ballet pastiche designed by Jody Drake followed by a sophisticated babydoll-cut dress designed by Madeline Lee.

Monika Lewoski modeled her own design based on the classic book The Secret Garden followed by Katherine Rhodes who modeled her bag based on The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

In the second half of the show, the spot light was on the Sixth Formers and we saw Amy model her long slinky gown inspired by romantic novels followed by Stacy Cookland modeling her take on the poem 'Tiger Tiger' by William Blake.

Hannah modeled Kelly Dakin’s design derived from Cinderella and Leyla Penman lent a feline edge to fashion in Laura Ham’s interpretation of Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat.

Amy model her long slinky gown inspired by romantic novelsMadeline Lee modeled Nicole Knott’s neon pink nod to supreme mother of flowery romantic fiction, Dame Barbara Cartland, while Katy Breerly modeled Stephanie Maguire’s dramatic take on a war play.

The evening got curiouser as Adele appeared in a number inspired by Alice in Wonderland, by Becky Peacock and Samantha Smith closed the evening, as Cleopatra, looking spectacular in her own feature length purple gown.

The entertainment did not end there and members of the audience got up and danced to music from local bands, Poison Arrow, Duke Street and Fate Fell Short courtesy of More Music in Morecambe.

“What a fantastic night," commented organiser Mrs. Williams. "I’ve been so proud of our pupils exhibiting their designs with flair and confidence.

"Our collaboration with More Music and Morecambe Library has made this event exciting and memorable as well as giving the public the opportunity to see how great Heysham High School pupils are!"

“With 140 people there, it was really exciting and the marrying of the two themes, fashion and fiction, worked so well within the library," added Senior Assistant Librarian, Elaine Wilkinson.

“The Hesyham High students were amazing and they had worked so hard on their designs. The students really brought our books to life.”

• More about Heysham High School at

Friday, 30 April 2010

Musicians Co-op Cleans Up its Act!

Lancaster Musicians Co-op
Miscians in Lancaster and Morecambe are joining forces on Saturday 29th May for a special clean up day to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Lancaster Musicians Co-op.

Supporters of the rehearsal rooms and recording studio in Lodge Street, Lancaster, are giving the dilapidated building a spring make-over and are looking for businesses in the area to give them a helping hand.

"We've got our 25th anniversary this year," explained David Blackwell, one of the Co-op’s directors. "We don’t receive any revenue funding from funding bodies or the city council so a group of volunteers have put themselves forward to help us do up the building and improve facilities."

Lancaster Musicians' Co-op was founded back in 1985, by a group of ex-Lancaster University Students looking for a place to rehearse. The organisation has spent 25 years trying to get a long term lease or purchase the building from Lancaster City Council so they can raise funds to renovate the building, a vital resource for musicians in the Lancaster and Morecambe district with between 50 and 100 bands practising or recording there each week.

Previous users include Paul (The Rev) Mayers (Towers of London, The Prodigy) , Tom English (Maximo Park), Paul Tipler, Producer (Idlewild, Stereolab), Keith Baxter (3 Colours Red), Mark Hunter (James). Within the last year at least two bands who use the co-op have been played on Radio One and Radio 6 Music (The Lovely Eggs, The Heartbreaks).

The Story of Aten - featuring the Musicians Co-op

In 2003, the Co-op even featured in a short-lived (and unfinished) comic strip published in an Italian magazine using comic strip to teach English as a Foreign Language, with the full permission of the organisation at the time ('Lancaster' became 'Muncaster' for the story).

Over 300 people have joined the Music Co-op’s 25th Anniversary Facebook group, with many signing up to take part in the event - which has been dubbed ‘The Big Spring Clean’.

"The support had been amazing," said David. "We're now asking for businesses to come forward to show their support for us by giving us donations of materials.

"We are looking for donations of paint, fibreboard or light ceiling material, wood, heavy duty carpets and doors.

"Ideally we would love to put on a new front door, as well as a new sign, rebuild a staircase inside and fix the leaking roof.

"If anyone has any materials that could be of use to us, please get in touch."

The Co-op, whose past patrons include Tom English from Maximo Park, have also approached Promenade Music to help them source equipment and are also looking for skilled volunteers such as joiners and roofers to help carry out the work on the day.

"We really need everybody’s help with this," David asks. "If everybody comes together on one day it will make a massive difference to our users. “We really want to improve facilities for the people who rehearse and record here."

• For information on how you can donate or volunteer contact 01524 388544 or email

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Lancashire Economy Needs Renewables, Not Nuclear Say Campaigners

Renewables are the best hope for the local economy, Cllr John Whitelegg explained to a thoughtful audience last night at the Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance (HANA) public meeting to discuss the government's proposals for a new wave of nuclear power stations, which include building a third reactor at Heysham.

Cllr Whitelegg outlined the possibilities of renewable schemes that could locally generate power without devolving the heavy burden of stewarding our toxic waste onto generations yet unborn. In fact, he believes passionately that the best chance for the local economy to grow is by expanding into renewable energy generation. The local area is particularly well resourced for renewable developments and the work is well suited to apprenticeships and adult training.

A nuclear power station, however, would require a largely specialist workforce to construct and maintain which, as when the previous reactors were built, would be imported from outside the area and leave when their work was done. Plans for storage of existing 'legacy' radioactive waste were still being debated, with very long-term secure refrigerated burial of hi-grade waste being favoured by government as the sole safe option. Plans and costs for storage of nuclear material planned for production in the future were not clear.

All the installations would require sophisticated protection and security from terrorist attack or theft of nuclear material.

Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, Dr Noel Cass of Lancaster University Environment Centre and Maurice Pennance from the Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance spoke and took questions and contributions from the audience about current proposals for meeting the UK's future energy needs, the DECC consultation process and how the HANA campaign was meeting these challenges.

Earlier in the day, the Group had joined forces with CND on a stall in Lancaster Market Square commemorating the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which took place on 26 April 1986. The evacuation of the adjacent city of Pripyat began at 2pm on 27 April.

To reduce baggage, the residents were told the evacuation would be temporary, lasting approximately three days. As a result, Pripyat still contains personal belongings. An exclusion zone of 30 km (19 mi) remains in place today.

Soul singer Ruby Turner at The Platform


Ruby Turner, one of the UK's finest soul singers, will be returning to Morecambe's Platform venue on Friday 14th May..

Born in Jamaica, Ruby grew up in Montego Bay but relocated to England when she was nine. Her major break came when she was taken under the wings of Britain's own Blues legend, Alexis Korner. She joined Culture Club at the height of their stardom in the 1980s.

A number of solo hits followed including 'If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)', 'I'd Rather Go Blind', and 'It's Gonna Be Alright'. Ruby has also sung on musical releases by such musical icons as Brian Ferry, UB40, Stevie Winwood, Jools Holland and Mick Jagger's solo album.

A regular guest on Jools Holland`s Later, Ruby has performed on Comic Relief and sang the national anthem for Her Majesty The Queen at the opening of the Millenium Dome.

Ruby's latest album 'I'm Travelling On' is a collection of vintage Gospel with the single 'This Train' becoming extremely popular with radio. Her single 'The Informer' with Jools Holland, was one of last year`s most played songs on Radio 2.

Ruby can breathe life and meaning into a song whether it is a passionate soaring ballad or a soulful up tempo groove.

Described as "truly the genuine article and blessed with a voice that has been likened to Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin" she continues to win the hearts and minds of an ever growing and diverse fan base.

Ruby performed to a full house at The Platform last year – book early to avoid disappointment. The show will start at 8pm and tickets cost £15 from the box office on 01524 582803.

• Ruby Turner's Official web site:

Ruby Turner's YouTube Channel (Note: some videos are not available in the UK)

City Council leader keeps staff redundancy costs secret

Lancaster City Council leader Stuart Langhorn(Updated 30/4/10, Council statement added): City Council leader Stuart Langhorn - also and prospective candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood in the General Election - appears to be keeping decisions on the full cost of recent staff redundancies secret, despite accusing other parties of trying to hide discussions on costs of councillor allowances from public gaze (see earlier news story).

Minutes of the Cabinet meeting of 20 April (PDF) include reference to the restructuring of the Council's Senior Management in a Cabinet decision presided over by Stuart Langhorn. It relates to the expenditure of an amount of public money other councillors are prohibited from disclosing -- but it will have consequences for the future functioning of the City Council that our elected representatives are prohibited from identifying.

The published minutes of the meeting available to the public seem to suggest these costs appear to relate to redundancy payouts for senior and long-serving staff who have recently left the Council's employ as part of ongoing restructuring.

The Council's Chief Executive Mark Cullinan submitted a report at the meeting, which is exempt from publication by virtue of part of the Local Government Act 1972, to enable Cabinet to consider the next phase of the Senior Management Restructure.

JRMace.jpgConservative councillor leader Roger Mace has challenged the secrecy, but in response to asking when it would be possible to quote from the figures in the exempt agenda document, he was told that the costs would remain secret until Cabinet agreed to make them public.

"Sorry," he was told, "I can't specify any point in time when the restriction on this report might be lifted, as exempt reports remain exempt until Cabinet resolves to lift the exemption."

"This is yet another example of the Liberal Democrat led Council making decisions behind closed doors. So much for transparency and openness in local government," argues Roger of the City's increasingly Kafka-esque style of administration, seen most evidently in its controversial handling over proposals on the future for Lancaster Market.

"In my speech explaining to Council the Conservative Group's rejection of the City Council's budget on 3 March this year, I said "... the City Council is likely to be spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to pay senior employees not to work for the Council, instead of paying them to work for the council".

Responding to our story, Lancaster City Council told virtual-lancaster: "Without exception reports are exempt in situations where they refer to individual members of staff and their employment with the council as it would be unfair to them to have their personal circumstances discussed in public."

Earlier this month, the Daily Telegraph reported that, nationally, hundreds of council staff have netted at least £35 million in redundancy payouts after a controversial shake-up of local Government left them without a job.

While the report relates to the creation of 'cost-saving' unitary authorities, the potential costs of senior staff redundancies it reveals is, perhaps, an indication of what the Council leader continues to keep secret.

In Cornwall, This is Cornwall reported last October that Council Chief Executive Kevin Lavery told cabinet members it had cost as much as £1 million to make 30 members of staff redundant. The Council there has been taken to task by trade unions for trying to reduce the redundancy payouts without consultation.

Last month, the Sheffield newspaper The Star reported that senior council staff laid off as part of a cull of senior management pocketed redundancy settlements averaging £101,000 - and the authority's Liberal Democrat leader Paul Scriven has been slammed for the cost of the redundancies.

"Is Councillor Langhorn keen to keep decisions secret until after the General Election?" Roger asks. "Why else did he fail to ask Cabinet on 20 April to lift the exemption from publication imposed on the financial aspects of the decision?"

• Thousands of council staff across the UK are facing the prospect of potential redundancy, but no major political party is offering details of how large such costs may be after the General Election.

Eleswhere, other Councils appear to be more open about redundancy plans. Last December, Bedford Today reported that one in five Central Bedforshire Council staff may lose their jobs in 2010, according to the authority's new chief executive Richard Carr. In January, Nottingham City Council confirmed it was looking to axe 350 jobs to help plug a £20m shortfall in next year's budget and its Chief Executive was challenged by the local newspaper the Evening Post over the cost of agency staff and other issues - but refused to answer questions posed by trade union Unison in public, despite the obvious upset the plans were causing staff.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Lancaster cocaine dealer jailed

Convictd cocaine dealer Alistair KennedyA cocaine dealer who sold Class A drugs to an undercover police officer during Operation Nimrod has been jailed for three years.

44-year-old Alistair Kennedy, of Mount Avenue, Lancaster, appeared at Preston Crown Court charged with three counts of supplying cocaine following a lengthy investigation by officers from Lancashire Police. He was jailed for three years on Tuesday.

Kennedy, who was targeted in the raids after selling drugs to undercover officers in Lancaster, was arrested at his home address as part of Operation Nimrod, which saw a co-ordinated series of raids take place across the city, Morecambe and the surrounding areas over the final two months of 2009.

Convictd cocaine dealer Mark MurrayLast week, 45-year-old Mark Murray, of HMP Haverigg prison, was sentenced to five years and six months in jail for a number of offences relating to the supply of class A drugs. Murray had sold drugs to undercover officers in Heysham and Morecambe during Operation Nimrod.

Detective Inspector Neil Drummond, Lancaster Police, said: “Our work tackling drugs does not end once a dealer has been jailed. We will continue to work with neighbourhoods affected by drug dealing to help make sure that new dealers don’t enter the market.”

• Anyone with concerns about drugs or drug dealing should contact police on 01524 63333.

Up the Junction: Greens call for safer road crossing


Bulk Ward Green councillors have asked Lancashire County Council for a pedestrian friendly re-modelling of the Ridge Lane and Bulk Road junction in Lancaster, saying it is a dangerous crossing point and raising concerns that there could be a death or serious injury if something isn't done.

The Ridge Lane and Bulk Road junction is a very wide road to cross if you are walking from Newton towards Lancaster's city centre. Traffic levels are heavy and vehicles approach the junction very fast indeed from Kingsway and sweep round onto Ridge Lane, paying very little attention to the elderly, children or anyone who can't move very fast.

Green councillors have been in discussion with County Council highways people about this junction but, so far, little progress has been made. They have now formally requested a significant build-out of the pedestrian pavement from the Salvation Army corner to create a pedestrian friendly environment, fearing that without it there may be a fatal or serious injury to Bulk residents crossing this road.

“Enough is enough," insists Coun Maia Whitelegg, commenting on the lack of progress to date. "This road crossing is extremely dangerous and I am fed up of delays and excuses.

"We need an engineering solution to reduce the distance that has to be crossed by pedestrians and to deter the speeding vehicles from sweeping round this bend at speeds that endanger the lives of our children and elderly residents.

"Lancashire County Council claims to be interested in road safety and to want to encourage walking so the time has come to stop dithering and get on with the job.”

Data from the Office of National Statistics for 2003 (which appears to be the most recent available) shows that in the Lancaster area as a whole, 23 people were killed or seriously injured in traffic accidents. 1,152 people were killed or seriously injured in Lancashire for the same period, of 6,884 nationally.

Data from the Association of Public Health Observatories indicates the Lancaster area is "significantly worse than the England average" on road injuries and death." (Note within PDF via that link, page 32).

Cyclists are three times more likely to die on UK roads than abroad, according to researchers from the University of Surrey, Guildford.

Protest at deferred Election Count

Councillor Eileen BlamireLabour members of Lancaster City Council have protested that the General Election counts for the two constituencies that include Lancaster and Morecambe will not take place until the morning after the General Election on Thursday 6th May.

Councils are being asked to start within four hours of polls closing after an amendment to the Constitutional Reform Bill was approved by the House of Commons, but the amendment has yet to be made law and, nationally, some councils are still planning to delay their counts, citing the large number of postal votes to be counted as one reason for the delay.

In Lancaster, City Council Chief Executive Mark Cullinan has blamed procedural changes, geography and the need to count the votes of two different constituencies for wanting to start the count on Friday.

But Councillor Eileen Blamire, Leader of the Labour Group on the Council, maintains that it would reflect badly on the District when voters watching the late night/early morning results being announced live on television realised that their constituencies had effectively been excluded from these early results by the decisions of the Returning Officer.

“Over 600 constituencies throughout the country are beginning their counts soon after the polls close," she notes. "But 'our' constituencies are two of only around 30 which will have to wait until Friday lunchtime for their results”.

It is understood that most of the 30 or so constituencies on the “Friday count” have special reasons for the delay – usually due to the wide geographical spread of the polling stations. Some of these polling stations, such as Holy Island, have to contend with tidal conditions, and others such as Argyll and Bute have both a mountainous terrain and offshore islands to cope with.

Geraldine SmithSpeaking to the Lancashire Evening Post last month, which also reports that Chorley was defyiing protest and delaying its count, Morecambe and Lunesdale MP Geraldine Smith said: “I think we need instantaneous democracy, not slow motion democracy.”

“I realise little can be done at this late stage, but we trust our protest will lead to a thorough reappraisal before the next General Election," says Councillor Blamire. "Watching the television results come in fast and furious in the early hours after the polls close is a national institution for millions of Britons.

"We local residents deserve to share in this excitement by having our own results included”, said Councillor Blamire.

Hustings Meeting for Morecambe, Lunsdale Constituents

There will be a General Election hustings meeting for Parliamentary candidates for Morecambe and Lunesdale Constituency at the War Memorial Hall, Church Street, Morecambe at 3.00pm on Sunday 2nd May.

Organised by Central Methodist and Morecambe Parish Church, each candidate will be invited to make a short statement to the meeting, and they will then answer questions submitted in advance to Revd. Mike Peatman, The Rectory, Church Walk, Morecambe.

• To send in questions for consideration, email

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

BBC: Boundary Changes Put Labour Ahead in Lancaster & Fleetwood

A BBC analysis of the 2005 General Election vote of the electorate in the new constituency of Lancaster and Fleetwood reveals a potential win for Labour's prospective candidate Clive Grunshaw.

In 2005, the old constituency of Lancaster and Wyre was won by Conservative Ben Wallace who took 42.8% of the vote with Labour coming second with 34.8%.

Since the last election, 478 of 533 seats in England, 22 of the 40 in Wales and all 18 constituencies in Northern Ireland have new boundaries.

In order to make fair comparisons with 2005, there are "notional" results, worked out by polling experts, which estimate the votes for each party in each new seat as if it had existed in 2005.

According to the BBC, these results show the Conservative and Labour positions reversed with Labour taking the seat with 42.4% of the vote and the Conservatives getting just 33.6% of the vote. All the other parties together totalled just 24% of the vote.

MP for the old constituency of Lancaster and Wyre Ben Wallace is now standing for election in the new and safer constituency of Wyre & Preston North - which, notionally, was a safe win for the Tories in 2005 with 54.7% of the vote.

clive_grunshaw_labour.jpg"The boundary changes have provided the new constituency with a great challenge, geographically, as it is such a diverse area," Lancaster and Fleetwood's Labour candidate Clive Grunshaw told virtual-lancaster. "However, politically, it is very interesting, as it is now a key marginal between Labour and the Conservatives, with a notional Labour majority. Removing predominantly Tory areas, such as Poulton and Garstang, and replacing them with the traditionally Labour town of Fleetwood, should mean that Labour hold this constituency.

However nothing can be taken for granted and the rise in support for the Green Party and for the Liberal Democrats may take enough votes away from Labour to ensure a Conservative victory. This may be particularly damaging to Lancaster as the local economy is so dependent on support from public sector jobs, that would be directly under threat by any incoming Tory administration."

An ElephantCommenting for UKIP, candidate Fred McGlade said: "As is typical of the BBC analysis they have discounted the elephant in the room... The UK Independence Party."

gina_dowding_greenparty.jpgGina Dowding, Green Party candidate, said, 'We're lucky in Lancaster and Fleetwood because it is not a race simply between the old male, pale and stale Westminster parties who have become mired in expenses scandals, war and a £700bn banking bailout for tax exiles. We have a chance to make history and elect Britain's first Green MP here who is not willing to mortgage the future for financial profit but be an independent voice for justice for all people now, for future generations and for the Earth."

stuart_langhorn.jpg"The Clegg factor has blown the whole election wide open," counters Stuart Langhorn for the Lib Dems. "We have been inundated with support and promises to vote for us.

"What is clear from the doorstep is a wide spread dissatisfaction with Labour and the Conservatives - particularly in Fleetwood," he claims. "People like what we are saying on fairer tax, a fair start for children in schools and reforming our unfair political system. With so many young people registering to vote there is a real opportunity for us here."

Eric Ollerenshaw, who hopes to hold Lancaster and win Fleetwood for the Conservatives observed, brightly,
"This new seat of Lancaster and Fleetwood will be an interesting one. The Constituency itself is almost a microcosm of the whole Country - from a University City to a neglected Port and Seaside Town or from up-land hill farmers down to rural and coastal villages - everything is here including every conceivable political choice. Obviously, I believe that only David Cameron and the Conservatives can bring about the real change needed by our Country and our Area."

We have asked for comments and are still awaiting a reply from Independent Keith Riley.

Council continues talks on Shopmobility scheme

Lancaster City Council is in discussion with a local operator to resume the popular Shopmobility scheme in Lancaster.

The scheme offered the organised provision of wheelchairs and other aids in a particular location to members of the public with limited mobility to help them get around town, but in March, the former provider of the service, Preston Community Transport, informed the council that they were unable provide the service because it no longer had the operators’ licence required to use its vehicle.

The service they provided in Morecambe on Thursdays and Lancaster on Fridays stopped running, to the dismay of its many users. Supporters argue Shopmobility generates substantial local economic benefits, through scheme users their carers and friends using shops and services which are otherwise inaccessible.

The council says it is keen to see the popular service back up and running and is currently in talks with a local operator, who have indicated that they are willing to consider taking on the service.

Subject to the agreement of detailed terms, it is hoped that the service will resume in the near future.

Preston City Council was previously funding the the PCT to the tune of £65,000 a year, according to documentation online (PDF) provided by the Competition Commission relating to a hearing about Stagecoach activities in Eastbourne.

National Federation of Shopmobility

Moorside Parents' Group boosted by petition

moorside_primary_school.jpgMore than 500 people have already signed a petition backing moves by Lancaster's Moorside School governors to resist attempts to allow unregulated access to the Lancaster school’s grounds.

The petition is the first action by the recently formed parents’ group and it say it plans further activities to press their case to county and city councillors, as well as council and government planning officials.

Earlier this month, County Council contractors began installing a modest fence around the school grounds and the parents have given strong backing to the move which they say will protect the school’s grounds from dog dirt and unwanted intrusions.

“The strong and positive response to the petition was very welcome,” said parents’ group’s chairperson Lucy MacCulloch. “We had a wide range of people signing up to our petition. They included our pupils’ parents and other relatives, as well as local people from around the school and further afield around the Lancaster area. The response shows that people are very concerned about this issue and are giving strong backing to the school governors.”

Lucy said the petition was still open and any one wishing to sign can do so at the school office or by contacting the parents’ group at

In another development, an arranged proposed meeting to find a compromise solution between the school’s governors and the community group opposing its plans to secure the school grounds will now not occur.

Lucy expressed “astonishment” that after pushing for several months for a meeting with the school governing body the community group had decided not to attend at the last minute. “It obviously makes sense for everyone to talk about this to find a way forward and it is a shame that the community group doesn’t seem to want to work towards a solution,” said Lucy.

The Moorside School Grounds Parents’ Group was formed in March as a result of recent applications by Moorside Fields Community Association, firstly for a Public Footpath across the grounds, and secondly for a Town Green, which would remove the area from the school’s control.

“We want to get across that the plans proposed by the school governors to secure land behind the main school building with modest fences are reasonable, proportionate and prudent measures to protect children using the grounds”, said Lucy.

“If a Town Green Application is successful, the children at the school will no longer have uninhibited access to well-managed outdoor sports and educational facilities” said Lucy. “For any expedition to the fields in question, each child would require signed parental consent. For a school with over 400 pupils, sending them out to play on the grass because the weather’s nice would be pretty complicated.

"In our minds, the school’s compromise offer is more than reasonable. With secure grounds, we can relax in the knowledge that our children - and generations to come - will have the freedom to run, play and learn outdoors within this area of natural beauty. A rich resource indeed. Let’s hope we don’t lose it.”

Monday, 26 April 2010

Wail let's hear it for the Blues - at the Gregson

Khalif_Wailin_Walter2007.jpgChicago Blues Guitarist and Singer Khalif Wailin Walter will be blowing in from America's windy city, Chicago, to perform at Lancaster's Gregson Centre on Thursday (29th April).

Guaranteed to burn the house down with his electrifying live show, Khalif “Wailin’ Walter lit up the Chicago Blues music scene with his unique style of boogie Blues. He now calls the European market his home base where he was received warmly after several short tour stints there as a sideman.

Khalif's stormy guitar work and brash New Orleans style vocals generate the band’s traditional down-home sound, reminiscent of greats like Freddie King, Albert King, and Albert Collins. Fused with contemporary style and innovative original arrangements, he offers a foot stomping finger snapping Blues that sets the roof on fire.

A guitarist, singer, bandleader, and songwriter Khalif, who has toured extensively across the globe and appeared on stage with such Blues giants as Grammy Winners Taj Mahal and Otis Rush and many more.

• Khalif Wailin Walter The Gregson Centre, Moor Lane, Lancaster Thurs 29th April 2010 Door open 8.30pm Tickets in advance or on door: £7 / 5 concessions

• Check him out at

Dig in for free compost!

Green fingered local residents will be able to pick up some free compost from Williamson Park in Lancaster on Tuesday 4th May (2010).

The compost has come from the green waste recycled in Lancashire and is available free of charge to residents who wish to pop along and fill up to two bags for their gardens/allotments.

The compost will be in the car park off Wyresdale Road from 10am and will be available on a first come, first served, basis. Please remember to bring your own bag or container.

Endangered Moth Spotted In Lancashire

Barred Tooth Striped Moth seen on Warton Crag

An endangered moth species has been recorded by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside on Warton Crag Nature Reserve, the first record for the reserve.

The Barred Tooth-Striped Moth (which has the scientific name Trichopteryx polycommata) is currently known only from a small number of locations in the UK and is a priority species for conservation under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The last confirmed record for the Warton Crag area was in the 1960s.

The caterpillars of this moth feed on wild privet in May and June, before overwintering as pupae. Adult moths emerge the following year and are on the wing for just a few weeks in April.

Habitat preferred by Barred Tooth-striped includes open woodland glades and limestone outcrops, both of which are features of the Wildlife Trust reserve.

Barred Tooth-striped was recorded this year through survey work carried out by Trust staff and volunteers. Light traps were set up after dark in areas of wild privet to attract in moths, which could then be identified before release.

Warton Crag already supports populations of several butterfly and moth species of national conservation concern, including High Brown Fritillary and Northern Brown Argus, Pearl-bordered and Small pearl-bordered Fritillaries, as well as the rare day-flying White-spotted Sable moth (Anania funebris).

The Trust has been undertaking a project to benefit these species on the Crag since early 2008 and work to enhance areas of habitat for Barred Tooth-striped will now be included.

In the past, the moth has been found on woodland edge and scrub on limestone around the Silverdale area, extending eastwards to Dalton and Henridding.

Habitat management work and surveys are carried out by Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers year round, helping to maintain Warton Crag as a hugely important site for butterfly and moth conservation.

Other rare moths in our area include the Belted Beauty, rediscovered in Lancashire in 2001 on the coastal saltmarsh between Potts Corner and Sunderland Point and the Firester, found in damp flower-rich meadows in north Lancashire.

Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside

Butterfly Conservation: Lancashire - Rare Moths Guide