Friday, 16 July 2010

Malaysian royal family visit University of Cumbria

Malaysian nursing students will soon be able to reap the benefits of gaining a qualification from the University of Cumbria. On Monday 19th July, the Crown Prince and Princess of Perlis and other Malaysian dignitaries will visit the Lancaster campus to see health equipment and educational facilities at the campus and speak to the tutors who will be delivering the programmes.

This new learning partnership has been forged between the Allianze College of Medical Sciences in Perlis, north Malaysia, and Cumbria University's Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, reinforcing the university’s ever-expanding international links.

The Crown Princess is president of the college and is keen to see resources at the campus where the BSc and MSc programmes will be taught via distance learning.

“It is a huge honour for the university to welcome the Malaysian royal party to our campus," says Executive Dean for the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Dr Robin Talbot. "This agreement between our two institutions will increase the opportunities open to their students and strengthen our expanding links with Malaysia. Current teaching technologies now make it possible for us to deliver effective tuition to other parts of the globe without the need for students to travel here.”

University of Cumbria's Faculty of Health & Wellbeing has 'the best overall student satisfaction scores of any Health Faculty in the North West’ (2009 NSS Outcomes)

Nursing education at the University of Cumbria was rated second in the North West by the Guardian University Guide 2010.

• For more information about studying at the University of Cumbria, visit the website at or call 0845 606 1144.

More arrests and charges after organised crime raids

Police arrested three more people following early morning raids on houses in Lancaster yesterday as part of an operation targeting organised crime in the city.

Officers swooped on a number of addresses in the Skerton and Ryelands areas early yesterday (Thursday), including Crossgill Place, Owen Road and Mainway, at 7am this morning.

As we previously reported, raids were also carried out Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a lengthy and ongoing investigation into organised crime and money laundering in the city and surrounding areas.

In total 16 people have been arrested; eight people so far have been charged with offences relating to drug supply and proceeds of crime offences.

Yesterday a 19-year-old man, a 22-year-old man and a 23-year-old man, all from Lancaster, were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

Aidan Higgins of Dee Road, Lancaster has been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs, possession with intent to supply heroin and along with with Liam Wiper, of Euston Grove, Morecambe - charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs - was due to appear at Lancaster Magistrates Court yesterday. Andrew Gunningham of Ryelands Road, Lancaster has been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs, conspiracy to supply class B drugs and will appear at Lancasteron 30th July, along with others, including 23-year-old Katie Noon of Austwick Road, Lancaster who has been charged with a proceeds of crime offence.

In addition Jason Diprose and Anthony Diprose, who were arrested on Tuesday, appeared at court on Wednesday and have been remanded in custody. Anthony Diprose will appear at Preston Crown Court today, Friday.

“This is a focused police response to a community problem," explained Superintendant Richard Spedding of Lancaster police. "We have asked the public to work with us. They have sent us a very clear message that they do not want people who are involved in crime to live among them.”

He added: “In our efforts to fight crime, we rely on communities to help us. We must work together. If you know something, do something – call the police.”

• Anyone with concerns about criminal activity in their neighbourhood should contact police on 01524 63333 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Velika Novica! Slovenian Band to rock Lancaster's Yorkshire House

Slovenain rock band Pet Sto Metrov, aka 500 Metres

The last time Janez Skaza came to Lancaster, he was with a choir which sang at the Gregson alongside the Lancaster Singers - and later went on to win the prestigious Slovenia's got Talent. He liked the area so much that he decided to come back with his rock band Pet Sto Metrov (which for non-Slovenian speakers translates as 500 Metres).

"We sang at the Gregson and we liked the people we met in Lancaster so much that we decided there and then to organise a tour," says Janez, who has visited Lancaster on three separate occasions as part of groups visiting from Slovenia. "We loved the sense of hospitality and musical expertise in the city."

Now, he's coming back to Lancaster to play at ace music venue the Yorkshire House.

The band was formed four years ago when they got together to play the world's greatest rock hits, mostly from British bands such as Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, but also Dutch bands such as Van Halen and lesser known Slovenian bands such as Automobil and Sank Rock. Since then they have composed many of their own songs and adapted others to their unique sound.

"But we still rate Toto as our main influence," says Janez.

Since then, they've played a numerous rock festivals and concerts in Slovenia - including the prestigious Rock Otocec festival - but only once in England when they gave a preview of their fiery music in Sedbergh's Dalesman pub last summer. Even those who haven't been near a rock concert for over 40 years were impressed by the band's confidence and musicality.

The line up includes Janez on lead guitar, his brother Matjaz on drums, singer Dusko Videcnik, bass player Denis Kovse and on keyboards Samo Jezovsek. The other two musicians play guitar.

The tour will include most of the great cultural centre in Europe: Ljubljana, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Edinburgh, and Lancaster where you can catch them at The Yorkshire House on Tuesday July 27 at 8.00pm. Tickets: £5 (£3.50 students) at the door.

• You can see videos and photos of the band and read about their music at

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Bare Business plans Tour de France wine tasting

(PLEASE NOTE: This event has been moved to 23rd July): Bare's Wineyard and Deli is marking this years' Tour de France with a special French-themed tasting next week.

"I’ve been busy looking through our French wines and picking out some likely candidates that we can try, and have got a stonking line-up planned," says Ben Hodgkinson, the Deli's Assistant Manager of the planned tasting on Friday 23rd July.

"It includes wines from Champagne, Burgundy, Provence, the Rhone, the Midi/Languedoc, the South-West, and Bordeaux -- a cracking journey through most of France’s best regions."

The Wineyard and Deli - nominated for Deli of the Year - hosts regular tastings, but they're clearly rolling out the, um, barrel, for this one.

"As the French are rightly seen as making some of the best wines in the world, I’ve decided to nudge the budget up a bit for a one-off," Ben explains, "so that we can taste some really top-notch wines (a £27 Bordeaux for example, and a £35-40 Champagne)."

In all, ten wines will be included in the tasting, including some top-value picks at the more affordable end of the spectrum, and the usual 10% discount will be given for any orders taken on the night. 10 different food samples from the Deli will also be on offer.

If you’re keen to taste your way along the route of the Tour de France 2010, though, you'd better be quick. A lot of people have been enthusing about the Wineyard to some of us here at virtual-lancaster, and there has been a lot of interest in this event already.

"No prior knowledge or expertise is needed to attend our tastings," Ben reassures those of us who don't go around sniffing plonk on a regular basis but prefer to twist a screw cap on a £3 bottle from the local supermarket and drink it as fast as possible. "We’re dead informal, and are just really passionate and enthusiastic about tasty wines, and helping you to find what you do and don’t like, and why.

"I always try to pitch the material at the amateur level, and explain any technical or confusing words in everyday English," Ben adds. "If you have any reservations about coming along and joining in, get in touch with me and I’ll do my best to put your mind at ease!"

• Tickets for the Tasting are £15 each. More info here. The Wineyard and Dei is at 23 Princes Crescent, Bare, Morecambe, Lancashire LA4 6BY, tel: 01524 400011, or via Twitter, Facebook or by e-mail – Web site:

More arrests as crackdown on organised crime continues

Three more people were arrested this morning in connection with a crack down on organised crime in Lancaster and Morecambe.

The arrests follow hot on the heels follows from yesterday’s raids, in which ten people were arrested, with some appearing in court today (see news story).

A 28-year-old man from Lancaster, has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to supply class B drugs. Also arrested was a 20-year-old man on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A, possession with intent to supply heroin and possession of a prohibitive weapon.

A 22-year-old man from Morecambe has also been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to possess class A drugs.

• Anyone with concerns about criminal activity in their neighbourhood should contact police on 01524 63333 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Local organised crime suspects charged

raid_130710_Ryelands.jpgAfter early morning raids on the homes of people suspected of being involved in organised crime yesterday (see news story), charges have been brought against several of those arrested.

Ten people were arrested on suspicion of crimes such as money laundering and conspiracy to supply drugs, conspiracy to supply class B drugs, and conspiracy to defraud.

Three of the arrested will appear at Lancaster Magistrates this morning. Jason Diprose, of Austwick Road, Lancaster, is charged with conspiracy to supply class B drugs, conspiracy to supply class A drugs, fraud by false representation; Anthony Diprose of Roeburn Drive, Morecambe, is charged with fraud by false representation, conspiracy to supply class A drugs, and proceeds of crime offence; and Lauren Padgett, also of Roeburn Drive, Morecambe is charged with fraud by false representation, and proceeds of crime offence.

Two more arrested will appear at Lancaster Magistrates on 30th July. Lynda Padgett of South Grove, Morecambe and Paul Lynch of Tarnbrook Road, Lancaster are both charged with proceeds of crime offences.

The remaining people who were arrested have been released on police bail.

• Anyone with concerns about criminal activity in their neighbourhood should contact police on 01524 63333 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Ten arrested in raids targeting organised crime


Police have arrested 10 people following early morning raids on houses in Lancaster and Morecambe as part of an operation targeting organised crime in the city.

Officers swooped on addresses in Austwick Road and Tarnbrook Road on Lancaster’s Ryelands estate and South Grove and Roeburn Drive in Morecambe at 7.00am this morning.

Over 75 officers were involved in the early morning operation, including support units, dog handlers and the local neighbourhood policing teams.

The raids came as part of a lengthy and ongoing investigation into organised crime and money laundering in the city and surrounding areas.

“Residents have been telling us that their lives have been blighted by the criminal activities of small but organised groups," commented Superintendent Richard Spedding of Lancaster police. "They have felt threatened and intimidated.

raid_130710_Ryelands.jpg"These raids show that Lancashire Police will not tolerate criminal behaviour in our communities.

“We have listened to residents and acted on their concerns," he added. "We want to continue working closely with our communities to tackle the issues that affect their lives the most and, together, find a long-term solution to these problems.

“I want residents to feel that they can come to us with information and that we will take positive and robust action against criminals who are making their lives a misery.”

• Anyone with concerns about criminal activity in their neighbourhood should contact police on 01524 63333 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

English Heritage gives Council talk on listed buildings

Mitchells Brewery, Lancaster

English Heritage will deliver a presentation to members of Lancaster City Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee tomorrow - an event that is sure to interest anyone keen to find out more about how buildings are 'listed' in view of the recent furore surrounding Lancaster's old brewery

Nick Bridgland, who is Heritage Protection Team Leader for the North will give a general presentation on the criteria and process for listing buildings and Andrew Davison, Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Team Leader for Cumbria and Lancashire, will deliver a presentation detailing the English Heritage grant programmes.

The presentations will focus on how applications for listing and grants are made, the criteria for assessing cases and English Heritage's role rather than on particular cases.

“The committee welcomes the chance to hear from representatives from English Heritage and find out more about their work," notes Coun John Gilbert, chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. “The presentations are intended to be for our general information to enable the committee members to increase their knowledge of heritage matters, rather than discussing any specific local matters.”

Nick Bridgland from English Heritage, said: “Local Authorities such as Lancaster City Council have a central role to play in managing change in the historic environment. We are always looking for opportunities such as this to provide them with up-to-date information on how the listing and grants processes work."

• The presentation will take place at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 14th July, which takes place at Morecambe Town Hall from 5.00pm. The meeting should be open to the public

Would you like to be a lifeguard?

Lancaster City Council is running two courses for anyone interested in training to become a lifeguard.

The courses will enable confident swimmers to become trained and certified in water rescue, cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.

The qualifications take you a step closer to becoming a respected lifeguard responsible for saving lives and preventing accidents occurring in the first place.

To qualify as a pool lifeguard you need to complete one of the internationally recognised courses; the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) or the National Rescue Standard (NaRS).

Salt Ayre Sports Centre is running the NPLQ course from Monday 26th Saturday 31st July from 8.30am-5.30pm. All candidates must be 16 years of age or over and be able to swim 100 metres on their front and 100 metres on their back without stopping, swim 50 metres under one minute, tread water for two minutes, surface dive to the bottom of the pool at the deepest end (2 metres) and climb out unaided. A swim test can be pre-arranged to ensure you are compliant.

The course covers the principles of lifesaving and swimming supervision and the application of supervision and rescue in a swimming pool.

The cost of the course is £250 which includes tuition, course manual, assessment fee and qualification. There are limited places available so if you are interested call in to Salt Ayre Sports Centre to register as soon as possible or for more information telephone 01524 847540 or visit

Heysham Swimming Pool is running the National Rescue Standard (NaRS) qualification throughout August. This course will commence on Friday 13th August concluding with an exam on Sunday 29th August. All candidates must be 16 years of age or over and be able to swim 100 metres on their front and 100 metres on their back without stopping, swim 50 metres under one minute, tread water for two minutes, surface dive to the bottom of the pool at the deepest end and climb out unaided. You must also attend for a minimum of 36 hours to include the Aquatic Rescue Foundation Unit.

Full details of course dates and times are available by calling in to Heysham Pool, by telephoning 01524 420763 or from

The course fee is £200 and must be paid in full at the time of booking. A limited number of places are available, so to be sure of reserving your place, please visit the pool and complete an application form as soon as possible.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Cancercare's Grand Charity Art Auction at the Town Hall on Friday

Local charity CancerCare will be holding a Charity Art Auction this Friday 16 July in Lancaster Town Hall's Ashton Hall. The show is open for viewing from 6.30pm with the auction itself running from 7.30pm until 10pm. Live music will be provided by Jazz Unlimited and the evening promises a feast of art.

This outstanding show boasts a catalogue of 90 pieces and a silent auction of 46 pieces, to run concurrently with the main auction.

'Woman and Bowl' by Josefina da VasconcellosThe highlights will be three small sculptures by the late nationally-renowned sculptress Josefina da Vasconcellos and three beautiful works by David Gilbert, one of which is a stunning woodcut (artist's proof) “Schrodinger’s Breakfast.”

Other favourites are three lithographs by Ian Gardner, recognised as in the top echelons of working artists in the country.

Two small sculpted figurines by Sally Toms will also raise the bar on the night.

Two pieces expected to draw interest are original works by acclaimed Lancaster artist Chas Jacobs, one of which is a drawing and the other a specially commissioned piece for the CancerCare ½ Bay Cross Marathon Challenge.
And there will also be prints by Bob Armitage, Kay Boyce, J Beddows and many more fine works, figurative, abstract and photographic.

CancerCare offers support and information, free of charge, for people affected by Cancer in North Lancashire and South Lakeland; this includes cancer patients, their carers and family members and those bereaved by cancer. In addition they have a special Children’s and Young People’s Service.

CancerCare provides approximately 15,000 much-needed and appreciated free therapy sessions per year to its clients at the present time and with the prospect of cancer rates doubling in the next decade fundraising is vital for the service it delivers to our community.

Admission to this superb show is only £3.50 which actually includes a free first drink and nibbles! So come and browse to the music of Jazz Unlimited, have a drink, and don’t miss this stellar evening in support of CancerCare.

Appeal following knife-point robbery at Lancaster shop

Premier on Dumbarton Road, Lancaster

Lancaster police are appealing for information after a shop keeper was threatened at knife-point during a robbery.

Two males entered the Premier Store, in Dumbarton Road, Lancaster, at around 2.55pm on Sunday 11th July.

One of them then brandished a knife and the pair were able to steal a quantity of cash, cigarettes and scratch cards.

Both of the men were wearing items covering their faces. Both were white; one was described as being 170cm (about 5' 7") tall, of slim build and wearing black clothing; the other was 183cm (about six foot) tall, of slim build and wearing black clothing, including a waterproof jacket with white piping down the sleeves and he was carrying a black holdall.

“I would urge any witnesses who may have seen these two males before or after the offence to come forward," asks Detective Inspector Jo Dent of Lancaster CID. "It is believed they were hanging around in the area prior to the offence and they ran off up Aberdeen Road and into alleyways in the area known locally as Little Scotland.

"The last sighting of the suspects was in the Balmoral Road area."

• Anyone with information is asked to contact Lancaster CID on 01524 63333.

Picture via Google Maps