Friday, 6 August 2010

Plenty to do for kids across the Lancaster district this summer


A day of fun, free activities brought hundreds of children to Williamson Park on Wednesday, as Lancaster City Council celebrated National Playday.
Children took part in den and fire building, face painting, arts and crafts and water slides. Lancaster City Council’s Play Rangers were also on hand to teach circus skills and host the brand new ‘Play schemes got Talent’ competition.

Children from around the district who had been participating in Lancaster City Council’s Playschemes battled it out in a closely fought talent contest. There were six very entertaining singing and dancing acts, and the winning Playscheme was Morecambe Youth and Community Centre. They had put together a great dance routine to a musical mash up of hits.

"The six acts taking part were very entertaining and it was a tough decision to pick the winning group," says Richard Tulej, Judge of ‘Playschemes Got Talent’ and also Head of Community Engagement for the Council.

"All of the children had worked so hard to put on a great show.The standard was very high -- especially considering that each group had only had two days to rehearse.

"We chose the Morecambe Youth and Community Centre Playscheme as the winner because they had managed to put together an exciting routine to a great musical compilation and really worked together as a team."

National Playday is the annual celebration of a children’s right to play, a national campaign supported by Lancaster City Council’s Playschemes. The Council provides free activities throughout summer for children across the district. Playschemes are aimed at children between the ages of 8 – 11 years.

The Play Day is just one of many activities that have been lined up for children across the district for this summer, with sports, games, crafts trips, parties and more running throughout the week until 27th August.

The Council’s Play Rangers are running lots of free activities throughout the summer for children from the age of 4 to 16 years of age. There are den building and fire building days, bug hunting expeditions and fun water slides to name a few.

These are taking place at various parks across the district so there is bound to be something happening near you.

If you're still stuck for something for your youngsters to do this summer, there's still chance to book onto the holiday activity programme. These sessions vary in price and activities include trampolining, beach volleyball, skiing, snowboarding, horse riding, cheerleading and lots more. Workshops are available from the age of 4 years so there is something for all ages.

• Copies of the Play Ranger summer programme are available at Lancaster and Morecambe Town Hall or can be viewed online at or call 01524 582641.

• For more information about the Summer Playschemes telephone 01524 582827 or visit Leaflets with more information are available at Lancaster and Morecambe Town Halls.

• To find out what is available pick up a Holiday Activity Programme from Lancaster and Morecambe Town Halls or view one online at 

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Boost for local rural tourism

September 2010 will see the official opening of a new coast to coast cycle route, The Way Of the Roses, which runs from Morecambe to Bridlington.

This will bring even more cyclists through our already popular rural areas, and people will be looking for welcoming places to stop for refreshments or spend the night, as well as a secure place to store their bikes.

Feedback from this market suggests that the provision of secure storage facilities, as well as the welcome given to groups of walkers or cyclists, are the most important factors in the customer experience - and the new cycling route should offer even more opportunities for local business to benefit from these groups.

With a big launch planned for September and coverage in the national press, this promises to be an exciting opportunity for tourism businesses located alongside or near the route.

“The rural areas of our district have always been popular with cyclists and walkers," notes Lancaster City Councillor June Ashworth, cabinet member with responsibility for Tourism, "and any improvements rural-based tourism businesses can make to promote themselves and help visitors feel welcome and well-catered for, could bring valuable new business to their door.”

Financial support is currently available for rural businesses who wish to develop their business to attract these types of customers. Funding can be used for a range of initiatives, including the installation of secure cycle storage.

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), jointly funded by the European Commission and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, currently provides grants to eligible businesses, which can include accommodation providers, attractions and service providers.

• To find out if your business is eligible for a grant, contact Sharon McGuinness, Local Action Group (LAG) Development Officer, on 07875 185531 or email Visit for further information.

Morecambe MP David Morris warns of 'total blackout'

David Morris MP claims people say he
'glows in the dark' because
he's pro-nuclear.
Morecambe MP David Morris has been scare mongering in the Commons again, claiming Britain will face a total blackout in 10 years time if the government doesn't back a massive expansion of nuclear power.

An ardent pro-nuclear supporter, not content with two nuclear power stations on his doorstep, Mr Morris is actively campaigning for a third - even though Heysham is on a fault line, a fact that makes it highly rather worrying that another reactor is even being considered.

"Moving up the coast to Heysham, I have heard a few of the jibes in this House and seen the internet blogging that says, 'David Morris glows in the dark because he is pro-nuclear.' he noted during a debate in the Commons last week, reflecting on his first three months in the House. "The truth is, however, that the nuclear power station is the largest employer in Heysham, and I am unashamedly pro-nuclear.

"... I would like to see a third project being built at the nuclear power station in Heysham," he continued, "and I would like more nuclear power stations to be built all across the country. I am very concerned, like most Members, that the lights will go out in 10 years' time."

"I am concerned that there will be no public subsidies for the nuclear power industry," he commented during a separate debate in response to the Annual Energy Statement. "My constituency has two nuclear power stations that pump out 10% of the national grid. One is to be decommissioned in the next 10 years. Nuclear technology is a low-carbon fuel source, and the statement represents that. We should be looking into part-funding privatised nuclear power stations.

Mr Morris also reiterated his support for the Northern Bypass, joining Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw in a call for a re-examination of the decision to cancel the project on cost grounds - even though Lancashire County Council recently cancelled a similar project on the ground of equally vociferous public disquiet eleswhere in the County.

"We cannot get the traffic off the M6 to Heysham port quick enough, and there are problems with transport in Lancaster," the company director argued. We are all trying to get green transportation initiatives working, with the jobs that they will create.

"We all implore the Secretary of State to put roads in our areas at the top of the list, and I do so because the road in question would be a key strategic route to the rest of the country."

Sadly, while he's been active in the House, Mr Morris has been pretty uncommunicative with constituents. There have been complaints in the Morecambe Visitor about his failure to respond to letters; his Facebook page has not been updated since he was elected, and his Twitter page has been neglected since April.

David Morris' Official website (not updated since 8th June)

Priory jewels mystery

Local police are trying to locate the owner of a chest of jewellery that was left in Lancaster Priory two years ago.

The chest was handed to police after it was found amongst the pews at Lancaster Priory in September 2008. Inside were various plastic bags of assorted jewellery an amount of cash.

Police would now like to reunite the box with its owner, who will need to prove that it belongs to them.

“It was not clear if the box was left as a charitable donation to the church," explains  PC Dan Mitchell of Lancaster Police. "If it had been left by mistake or if in fact it was stolen and had been dumped amongst the pews.

“However, it contains some very distinctive pieces of jewellery, which the legitimate owner would be able to describe, so we would like them to contact us so that it can be returned to them.”

• Anyone with information about the box is asked to contact PC Mitchell on 01524 63333, quoting log ref LC-20081109-0591.

SilentMark returns to Diversity FM - Exclusive Interview

When Diversity FM presenter SilentMark Read announced he would be taking a break from the hosting the tri-weekly morning slot The SilentMark Radio Show in June, virtual-lancaster is told his fans were a bit dismayed.

There was more bad news to come: when he returned in late July he announced he'd be tapering off his breakfast slot in line with revisions to the Diversity schedule - and to prepare himself for an upcoming appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Since Mark would be closing one chapter of his radio career and opening a new one with a proposed evening slot, it seemed like an opportune time to catch him with some questions. Fortunately, he was kind enough to answer and, here, SilentMark discusses radio and live comedy with Tom Bramhall: about his return to the airwaves, his contributions to local community radio and some of his experiences writing and performing live comedy.

As something of a fan-boy, Tom counts himself amongst a group of dedicated listeners who contribute regularly to the show, via text, email, call-in or otherwise and he hopes this interview will either serve these listeners well, as well as helping to introduce some new people to Mark s radio and live shows.

(Please note: this interview includes links to several comedians' web sites, whose material may offend some. Virtual-lancaster takes no responsibility for this external content!)

Tom: Mark, it's great to have you back. I strayed - started listening to Alice Cooper! How does it feel to be on-air again?

Mark: Alice Cooper? I am insulted. Ha. I'll be honest -- you could have done worse and strayed to N-Dubz. It's wonderful to be back actually. I have missed it.

Tom: What did you do with your time off?

Mark: I just did my usual. Save the world from natural disasters, granted wishes to 50,000 homeless people and found a cure for Piers Morgan (it's a gun -- shh).

Truth is I just took a rest. It takes it out of me to work nights and do a breakfast show after a while.

Tom: Amazing. I remember you went away before, but maybe that was for a shorter period - It's coming up to three years on air now, right?

Mark: It is, yeah. For me though, in October it will be, I think, seven years since I've been doing Diversity. The same with Evil Lewis, Banksy, Monkey Island and Simon Norfolk, I think. But three years of non stop DFM, it's a scary thought.

Tom: What's changed since the start?

Mark: I've seen lots of people come and go, that's one thing that's changed. In myself, I've found my own way of presenting, which as strange as it may seem suits me: shambolic, pointless, purposefully unorganised. Luckily though, I've managed to be a presenter myself instead of relying on people to do it with me.

When I first started I had a co-presenter (Kim) then met evil Lewis and have been presenting with him since then. We always did shows together, but when we started presenting full time, we did separate shows to make the Friday show the big conglomerate of creativity, chaos and unwarranted laughter you hear on a Friday. Before that, doing shows alone was hard, but I like to think I manage it OK now.

Tom: I think you manage it remarkably well, what's made it easier?

Mark: The same way you get to Carnegie Hall ... use a map. Practice really. I love the music I play and from doing it for many years I've found loads more bands that I enjoy. Having that passion does make it easier.

Tom: Since I'm going to assume some of the people reading this may be new to the show, what can we expect to hear of an average morning?

Mark: There's never an average morning -- OK, yeah, average is about right! I like to think of my show as an alternative to an iPod: songs that might not be singles being played at considerable volume with me talking crap through it. Songs what I like, with a bit of comedy in the middle of it.

Katy Perry. Image via WikiMedia
Tom: It's better than average. You have good ears - maybe you'd like to compile a playlist we can close with? It's interesting how so many of the acts you've played will achieve national success a few months down the line. Is it true that you discovered Katy Perry!?

Mark: Not at all. I'd like to think that I was the first person on radio in the UK to play her, but I'm not 100 per cent sure. I'm just glad I was able to play songs from her album before "I Kissed A GirlI Kissed a Girl" got on Radio 1.

I've played a lot of artists before their official "UK radio play" which is either on Xfm, Radio 1, 6 Music or Kerrang radio.

Tom: You've also championed local bands and musicians...

Mark: Ones I like yes. Including your fine self, I may add. There are some amazing local artists and bands that could easily get air play in national radio, but our station is the best they can do until those stations buck their ideas up.

Tom: That's very kind of you. I think your show, together with The Real Alternative, Northern Skies and Off The Beaten Tracks have all been very supportive of what's been happening locally.

(I wanted to ask if you see any clear differences between community and commercial radio - or else between community level radio and what's happening on the national stations?

Mark: The difference between us and commercial stations is that we actually care about the music we play. Commercial stations seem to have cheesy presenters with a cheesy joke, then a song that nobody actually likes whilst being told they love it, the five adverts that pay for the station... With us, our presenters put time, effort and passion into their shows. You hear our shows and you can tell that these songs mean something to is.

As for national stations, some presenters care about the music, some care about the entertainment side of it (which is also important) but they have the backing of the money, publicity and the staff that make it work. [I think] Chris Moyles wouldn't be popular if he didn't have writers or five people on his staff.

Tom: One of the advantages of Diversity does seem to be their volunteers having ownership on their content. I feel like the shows are more representational of local people and their interests - personalities seem to come through more directly than they do on the commercial stations? It's interesting to me too how rare it is that you'll find people emulating the format of national stations.

Mark: With national stations, they're trying to get an audience. They don't need funding as most of then are owned by the BBC. Commercial stations are looking for customers rather than listeners.

Tom: And yet you seem to have drawn an audience with no apparent advertising or corporate funding?

Mark: It's strange. The whole thing has come about from word of mouth and the odd thing in The Visitor. We've been really lucky. We've got an amazing listener base who tell friends about it, some garages actually tune in their customers cars into us etc. It feels awesome having people think that much of us.

Tom: It's good to know there's so much support for Diversity within the area. Getting away from the radio a bit now, can I ask you how the stand-up is going?

Mark: My stand up is going relatively slowly. I'm having trouble at the moment finding gigs and getting my material tuned well enough to make people laugh.

Writing funny things is very hard. Comedy would be awesome if you didn't have to be funny.

Tom: I assume you to do a lot of preparation for your set pieces, from watching other performers to writing and tuning up the sketches themselves - would that be a fair comment?

Mark: Sort of. Most of the things I have written, I literally come up with in my head and fine tune them there too. Unfortunately for my friends, I try it out on them! I judge how funny it is on them and fine tune those bits there. Not much is written down, which is a downfall as I often forget things.

Tom: What makes you laugh, Mark?

Mark: That's a hard one. I have lots of favourite comedians, but listing them all here would be hard and would fill up the page. Other things make me laugh.

I have a current obsession with Lolcats and clips on the internet of children being kicked in the face with over-sized balls. I'm not a guy that can be easily offended so dark humour can always be a fun thing.

Tom: I think this the dark humour comes across on-air and at the shows. On-air you're clearly bound by Off-Com regulations, but the live stuff - as I know it, seems to skirt the edges of more, uhm, offensive material (for want of a better term). Would you agree?

Mark: I wouldn't disagree. I try not be offensive, and if I'm honest I try to tell people that. I'd like to think that most of the laughter comes from the fact I think the things I say, rather than the things themselves. A section I do about sex is a perfect example. The things are sort of funny, but most of the laughs I get are from the fact that someone thought them.

Tom: how have audiences responded?

Mark: The things I say don't always go down well. Whether that's 'cos my mind is that bad, or the audiences are wrong. Maybe these things should be kept when I have people wanting to come and see me.

Tom: I was reluctant to call it offensive for this reason. The humour seems to play on the expectation that there's probably a more, ah, politically correct take on some of some of things you'll be talking about - and I've seen you exploit this by going somewhere else. But when it's worked best for me, there's also been some pathos. I'll get lulled in by the stories you're telling: the person talking seems funny because he can't be anything else, and the comedy seems to grow out their skewed confrontation with the world. (I guess I'm trying to say that I've enjoyed this about your sketches and I wonder whether some of the impact could be missed if you decided to hold back.

Mark: I actually agree with that. I've always been a nervous person in general and try to give the best impression of myself (I know, a DJ and comic who's nervous!?). My stand up character is supposed to be loud, knowingly obnoxious but who also knows his downfalls.

My problem is that my nervousness in real life still creeps in, so when I do hold back it seems like being actually offensive instead of seeing that I know how ludicrous it is.

Tom: I usually enjoy writers and performers who can let aspects of their personalities colour the material. Maybe it makes things that bit more complete? ... Like I never believed Matt Le Blanc in Friends was ever really dumb, you know? It was cartoon dumb.

Mark: Matt Le Blanc wasn't the only thing I didn't believe in Friends. For example, would anyone be friends with any of them? :)

I know what you mean though. It's nice to see the heart and soul of the performer. That might be why I have trouble watching people like Peter Kay, or Al Murray, or Roy Chubby Brown even. There doesn't seem to be any heart or soul to their performance. Al Murray is good, he gives a brilliant performance as the character "The Pub Landlord" -- but it has now got to the point where this "ironic bigot" and "mirror up to the society we live in now" has started to attract the type of people he was lampooning and has lost the spark in it.

Tom: I wonder how hard it is to keep a spark alive when you've got X-thousand people waiting for you to say something recognisably funny? I guess this was that joke on Extras - getting backed into a corner.

Who are the performers you admire at the moment?

Comedian Daniel Kitson. Image by Charlie Brewer via Wikimedia
Mark: Comedy wise, Daniel Kitson is kind of a hero. Both performance wise and content wise. His method of performing, the shows he does and the passion he puts into them is a special type of amazing. He's a comedian that will never be topped in my opinion. He also has a knack for manipulating you into feeling something. I have never known a comedy show to actually make you feel emotional at the end, but his story show about a church road leaves a lump in my throat at the end no matter how many times I listen to it.

Otherwise, I have a lot of respect for people like Tim Minchin, Rhod Gilbert, I even have respect for Noel Fielding's performing as he has a certain charm that makes people want to watch him... Not me personally, but he puts some people into a trance.

Another performer worth noting is Brendon Burns - an Australian comic based in the UK. He's an offensive comic but with reason. Not bigoted, not overly offensive, but will say things that will shock you. Not because it will shock you, but because of an ulterior motive. He can go from pin-droppingly emotional to belly laughing crude and funny in a second. Watch his DVD "So I Suppose This is Offensive Now!" to see what I mean. I like his performance though, because you know it's scripted, but it seems more like a stream of consciousness.

Tom: Thanks for the tip-offs there. Can I wrap up with a few extra questions ... Do you still wear Vans?

Mark: Of course I do. They're a little haggard if I'm honest. So if anyone from Vans wants to donate a pair, I'm size 9 and checkers would be best.

Tom: You rock the two-tone spiffingly, I should add. What should we look out for from you during the next couple of months?

Mark: Well, these are my last two weeks of doing the breakfast show on Diversity. Circumstances have changed and I cannot do breakfast anymore, so I'm changing time slot. I will tell you as soon as I get it but it will be just as good if not better in the new slot.

Apart from that I am doing a little something at the Edinburgh festival this year (just for a day). I'm doing a part in a quiz called "Quiz In Your Pants". It's a comedy panel show that's done live. I've no idea what I'm doing yet, but it's gonna be fun anyway. I'm doing that on the 22nd August.

Tom: Well best wishes with that, very pleased for you there Mark. In the meantime, you'll be sorely missed of a morning.

Mark: It's going to suck not being there in the morning. But I will say, you haven't heard the last from me sir. Anything else you want to ask?

Tom: Aside from asking if you can leave us SilentMark's Infinite Playlist, I guess there's room here for you to say anything you think we might have missed off...

Mark: Well, it has been an actual honour to present radio towards your faces for the past two and a half years. It's been very very wonderful. I should be back on air on Monday evenings from the 9th  August, but I will let you know. See Tom, it's people like you that have made my job an enjoyable one. It sounds very very "lovey" but it is the listeners that make my job worth it, and every text or email I get means the world to me. Even the ones off Dave the Listener.

OK... so here's my Infinite Play list - a list of ten songs I've played that mean a lot to me:

1) Bouncing Souls - Gone
2) POS - Purexed
3) Black Nazarene - System
4) Shanti Wintergate - Novocain
5) Reel Big Fish - One Hit Wonderful
6) Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere in the Between
7) Imperial Leisure - The Landlord's Daughter
8) TAT - Bloodstain
9) Alkaline Trio - Mercy Me
10) Ponies - Hammer

Tom: Mark, thanks for brightening up my morning's the past couple of years. I wouldn't listen to anything else given the choice. It's been great, hilarious and really nice to see it develop. Here's wishing you all the best for future adventures - comedy and otherwise.

Web Links

• SilentMark can be heard on Diversity 103.5FM on Monday evenings and online at For information on upcoming performances check

• Tom Bramhall writes and plays for Ponies ( A selection of Ponies recordings can be heard at

and you can see them play live this Thursday evening 5 August at the Golden Lion, Lancaster, where they're appearing with Moll Baxter.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Drugs raid nets cannabis and amphetamines

Police discovered cannabis and amphetamine after executing a drugs warrant at a house in Lancaster.

Acting on community intelligence, officers swooped on the address in Lune Street at 8.40am on last Friday morning.

Three people were arrested. A 30-year-old female and a 44-year-old male were later released without charge. Jonathon Bye, 42, of Lune Street, Lancaster, was charged with two counts of possessing class B drugs.

“Residents should be reassured that we are tackling the problems that they have been telling us are a real issue for them," said Sgt James Pinder of Lancaster Police. "We would urge them to come forward with any concerns that they may have about their local area so that we can act upon them.”

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

ForkFest event planned for Kirkby Lonsdale in September

The historic market town of Kirkby Lonsdale in South Lakeland will be the venue for the first ever Fork Fest (4th - 5th September 2010).

Fork Fest - a celebration of local food, real ale and gardening will be opened on Saturday at 11.30am by Celebrity Chef Simon Rimmer.

The weekend is set to be packed with music, demos, food sampling, an ale trail and plenty of entertainment for the children.

“Fork Fest is a fun filled family weekend,” says Claire Benson, the marketing director for the festival. “We're very excited to be involved in pulling together this inaugural event for Kirkby Lonsdale and delighted that local celebrities want to work with us in our first year, as we believe the event will be beneficial for the businesses in town as well as the community as a whole.

“An underlying theme of Fork Fest is buying local," she adds, "and we want to encourage people to adopt some sustainable practices as well to help look after our environment.”

There will be at least 30 food producers at the Food Fest offering food sampling and the chance to meet the producer, 10 beers on tap at the Beer Fest and, combined with the Real Ale Trail, festival goers will also be able to try local beers on tap around the bars and pubs of Kirkby Lonsdale.

Former Corrie star Sean Wilson will be at ForkFest to talk about his cheese making
In the town's Institute, Demo Fest will be taking place with speakers such as Booths, talking about the Slow Food movement, which works to ensure good, clean and fair food as a right for everyone, formr Coronation Street star Sean Wilson discussing his new venture, the Saddleworth Cheese Company; and Greenlands Farm unearthing the real reason for farm diversification.

With Little Fest, the kids are sure to be kept entertained with food related workshops running all day, face painting and an animal farm.

Within the town Flower Fest will be held at St Mary’s Church, while in the shop windows the Children’s Shoe Flower Boxes are on display, and the event's the competition winner - there's a chance to win a balloon ride on the Fest's web site - will be announced at the Producers Charity Auction.

• Tickets for ForkFest are Adults £5, Children under 16 free, can be ordered prior to Fork Fest, so pick up a brochure and send to the Fork Fest office by the 20th August 2010. To find out more visit the website at

Local university opens its doors to artists

'Insect Form' by Christine Hurford, who has benefited from an art access scheme.
The University of Cumbria is offering four local artists the opportunity to make free use of its extensive woodwork, jewellery, textiles, printmaking and ceramics facilities, thanks to the Artists Access to Art Colleges (AA2A) project.

Through this scheme, each artist/maker can apply for 100 hours of access to workshops and supporting areas at campuses in Carlisle or Lancaster, from October 2010 to March 2011. Students will work alongside the artists to gain a valuable insight into the art world outside university.

AA2A is a national set of schemes which give artists the chance to undertake a project or research using workshop and supporting facilities in fine art and design departments of higher and further education institutions. It enables artists to use equipment that might not otherwise to available to them and benefits the institution by bringing in ideas and techniques which may not otherwise enter the education environment.

The University of Cumbria is one of only 31 colleges and universities across England that has been successful in its application to host an Artists Access scheme.

Christine Hurford, one of the artists to benefit from the scheme last year, and felt it helped her adjust to living in the area.

"I had not been living in Cumbria very long and was feeling rather isolated before applying and being accepted onto the AA2A scheme," she says. " It was great to be back in a university environment and I was made very welcome. The students were all around me I could talk to them easily and they could see what I was doing as well. I decided to experiment with unusual clays, different combinations and glazes to improve the textures on my work, something I could not easily do in my studio.

"I had plenty of time to think, and I was able to experiment with plaster and graphite," she adds. "It also led to a burst of creativity as I knew I had to make the most of my time there.

"Since I completed my time on the scheme I have been very busy using some of the work I started and ideas that have developed from it. I am working in a new direction on historical sites and soon have exhibitions locally and in Manchester.

"I would recommend the AA2A scheme to any artist give it a go, " she enthuses. "You never know what will happen; it might change you and if not it will certainly contribute to improving your work."

"I mostly work as a graphic designer, and I use computer software to make visual decisions quickly and flexibly," says Andi Chapple, another of last year's artists. "I applied to use the screen printing facilities at the University of Cumbria's Lancaster campus, because I thought it wasn't a big conceptual step from the methods I am used to.

"I"ve learnt a lot about the craft of screen printing from the University's print technician and lecturers and have made four series of prints over the past six months. I feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to thrash about long enough to come up with something that is maybe a bit more than a beginner's piece and I was also asked to give a talk to students and staff, which made me think about what I had been doing.

"I have had excellent conversations with teachers, technicians and students, and people looked after me despite the pressures they have been under. "

• The closing date for applications is Friday 10 September 2010. To get an application pack contact Karen Graham or Steve Minto on 01228 888745 or email

• For more information about AA2A, visit their website at or

Cycle for Treasure this Sunday

The first Cycling City, Coast and Countryside Treasure Hunt takes place this Sunday - 8th August 2010 - and promises to be an exciting day for all the family.

The 11-mile route is almost entirely off-road, and teams will have to pick up clues along the way to be in with a chance of winning a fantastic prize.

The winner will receive a £75 voucher to be spent in a local bike shop.  The prize for second place is a £50 bike voucher, and there are also five cycling goodie bags for the runners up.

The Treasure Hunt starts from 10.00am on Sunday, and you can start from any point along the route.

Competition forms, along with maps and leaflets showing the district’s cycle network can be collected from 10am onwards from Morecambe Visitor Information Centre at The Platform, or online at

• Competition forms should be returned by Thursday August 12 to or Celebrating Cycling, Morecambe Town Hall, Marine Road, Morecambe, LA4 5AF.

Appeal after burglary at Lancaster's GB Antiques

Police are appealing for information after a burglar stole over £7,000 worth of jewellery during a break-in at a Lancaster antique shop last week.

The burglar broke into GB Antiques at Lancaster Leisure Park on Wyresdale Road, at around 10.00pm on Wednesday 28th July, after smashing a window to gain access to the property.

The offender then removed a number of pieces of jewellery from a wooden cabinet before making off.

Included in the stolen haul were a £900 gold chain with a locket to keep sovereigns in and a £1,200 heavy gold chain with a diamond encrusted flower shaped pendant.

DC Colin Forsyth, Lancaster CID, said: “We would like to speak to anyone who may have been approached by someone selling a large amount of jewellery, or something resembling these two quite distinctive items.”

GB Antiques and Furniture Centre is one of the North West's biggest and most loved antiques centres, with over 140 individual dealers, each with their own specialities.

• Contact police on 01524 63333

Lancaster Bus Station Closure: Bus and Taxi Rank Information

Alternative Bus Stops in Lancaster during the Bus Station closure in August 2010

Lancaster Bus Station will not be in use from Monday 9th August until the re¬opening at 0555 on Wednesday 18 August 2010 due to roadworks on Damside Street.

During this closure, passengers should catch bus services from stops in the City Centre.

The taxi rank at Lancaster Bus Station will also be closed for the same period, and a temporary rank will be established on the car park at Wood Street.

Waiting for vehicles on the car park will be restricted to taxis only.

Please see map above and information below for full details of the changes to servcies, or download this Map (PDF format) from the County Council web site.

Northbound Departures and Lancaster Local Services

Common Garden Street 

Bus Stop A

Service 8A: South Circular Anti-clockwise) via Royal Infirmary, Caspian Way, Hala, Bowerham, St Martins College and Williamson Park
Service 8C: South Circular (Clockwise) via Williamson Park, St Martins College, Bowerham, Hala, Caspian Way and Royal Infirmary
Service 9: Bowerham Farmdale Road via Primrose
Service 10: Ridge via Freehold
Service 18: Lancaster Farms via Williamson Park
Service 28: Scale Hall via Ryelands
Service 147: Abbeystead

Bus Stop B
Service 2, 2A, X2: Heysham via Torrisholme & Morecambe

Bus Stop C
Services 3, 3A, 4: Heysham via Torrisholme, Bare and Morecambe
Services 40, 41: Morecambe via Morecambe Road

George Street

Bus Stop D

Service: 6A: Morecambe via Scale Farm Road, Asda, Salt Ayre Sports Centre and Westgate
Service 7: Vale
Service 49: Halton (The Kellets)
Service 50: Carnforth via The Kellets
Services 55, 55A: Warton/Silverdale/The Kellets via Carnforth
Service 80 Ingleton via Caton, Brookhouse & Hornby
Services 81, 81A, 81B: Kirkby Lonsdale via Caton, Brookhouse and Hornby

Bus Stop E
Service 7: Abraham Heights via Railway Station and Marsh
Service 10: Ridge via Freehold
Services 555, 556, X55: Keswick via Kendal and Windermere

Queen Square

Bus Stop F

Service 435: Silverdale via Carnforth

Southbound Departures

Dalton Square

Bus Stop G
Services 40, 41: Preston via Garstang
Service 42: Blackpool via Garstang

Bus Stop H
Service 3: University via Greaves
Service 4: University via Bowerham, Hala Square and Collingham Park
Service 89: Knott End via Glasson Dock, Cockerham and Pilling (connects with Service 86 at Knott End for Cleveleys and Fleetwood)

Bus Stop I
Services 2, 2A: University via Bowerham and Hala Square
Service X2: University

Chapel Street 

Bus Stop J

Service X1: University via Hala Boot and Shoe
Also for National Express Excursions

Web Links
Lancaster City Council Public Transport Page

Lancashire County Council Lancashire Bus Services Page

We hope this information is accurate (even the County Council seems to think it still has an Information Centre on the Bus Station on its map - but it closed some time ago!), however changes to services can occur, so, before travelling, you might want to contact your local Information Centre for the latest information or ring Traveline on 0871 200 22 33.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Lancaster Social Club member assaulted in robbery attempt

Police are appealing for information after a sports and social club member sustained a minor injury during an attempted robbery.

The member was outside the Lansil Sports & Social Club, on Caton Road, Lancaster, at around 12.30pm on Saturday when he was approached by a man whose face was masked.

The man threatened the member with a piece of wood and demanded money, before striking the victim across the leg and running off empty handed.

The victim was left with a minor leg injury.

The offender has been described as being of slim to medium build, 5ft 10 – 6ft, and wearing jeans with a black anorak or hooded top.

• Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 01524 63333

Second shop raid in Primrose area


Police are appealing for information after a shop worker was threatened in an early morning robbery at a Lancaster store - and think there may be a connection with a similar robbery in the same area last month.

Two white males, in their 20s – 30s and wearing scarves over their faces, entered the Londis shop in Eastham Street, Lancaster at around 7.00am on Sunday. They threatened the female worker with a knife and demanded cash and cigarettes.

The pair then made off with around £1,000 worth of tobacco products.

It's thought the men may have fled the scene in a white Rover, which had been stolen from an address in the Little Scotland area of the city. The car was later found abandoned in Dumbarton Road.

A similar knife-point robbery took place at the Premier shop in Dumbarton Road last month (see news story), and police have told virtual-lancaster they are open to the possibility that the two incidents are connected due to the similarity of the MO and the proximity of the two stores.

The Premier shop robbers, who made off with a quantity of cash, cigarettes and scratch cards, also disguised their faces and 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. He was carrying a black holdall.
“This was a frightening incident for the lone female worker – fortunately she was not harmed," said DC Ciara Campbell, Lancaster CID of the latest robbery at Londis. "I would urge anyone who may have seen the pair, either before or after the incident, or anyone who may have seen a white Rover in the immediate area, to get in touch with us.”

• Contact police on 01524 63333

Image via Google Maps