Saturday, 21 August 2010

Local man marches for charity, Roman style!

roman-4.jpgPreparations are nearing completion for the start of one local man’s grueling quest to help the fight against cancer with a walk along Hadrian's Wall - dressed as a Roman soldier.

After six months of intensive training, 38-year-old Lancaster builder Duane Alexander is now eagerly anticipating the successful completion of ‘Alexander’s March’.

Covering 80 miles, over the four days of August Bank Holiday Weekend (Friday 27th to Monday 30th 2010), the March will see Duane walking the entire length of the national Hadrian’s Wall Trail, from west to east, to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

kit-6.jpgBut this will be no ordinary sponsored walk: Duane will be dressed in the authentic uniform of a mid-second century Roman legionnaire, complete with armour, shield, weapons and period accessories, weighing about 90lbs. To add to the authenticity, Duane will be sleeping in the open, under his cloak and only eating rations that roman legionnaires would have ‘enjoyed’.

His somewhat limited menu will include a wholemeal flour and water gruel, supplemented with anything he can forage along the way; a lentil, flour and bacon broth and simple wheat biscuits – all washed down with water.

kit-1.jpgKeeping him company on the walk will be a small support team, collecting for Cancer Research as they go. On the eve of the March (Thursday 26th), there will be an opportunity for a preview encounter with Duane in Carlisle city centre’s pedestrianised area. During the afternoon, he’ll be present in full uniform and happy to talk to people about the March, Roman soldiers and Hadrian’s Wall, while his support team collect donations for the charity.

The first steps of Alexander’s March will be taken at 9.00am on Friday 27th August, as the team leave Bowness-on-Solway, following the shore of the Solway Firth and bank of the River Eden, passing to the north of Carlisle and finishing in the vicinity of the village of Crosby-on-Eden.

Day two (Saturday) takes the team into the spectacular open countryside of the Northumberland National Park, passing by Birdoswald Fort and Museum and finishing for the night near the impressive remains of Housesteads Fort. On day three (Sunday), Duane continues into the most strenuous part of the journey. After passing by numerous Roman sites of interest, including the Temple of Mithras and Chesters Fort, the team visit Vallum Farm cafe and shop, staying overnight nearby.

The March, which is supported by English Heritage, the National Trust, Northumbria and Cumbria Constabularies and Lancaster's Drawing Room (among others), continues on Bank Holiday Monday, into Newcastle, following the north bank of the Tyne for much of the way and hopefully, arriving at journey’s end, Wallsend Roman Fort, by tea time.

Duane AlexanderDuane is encouraging as many people as possible to meet up with him and the team, during the walk. It will be possible to keep track of his progress by ringing the Alexander’s March Hot Line 07875 552 325, during the Bank Holiday Weekend.

• Anyone who would like to support Duane and make a donation to Cancer Research, will find information on the various ways of giving at or tel. 0787 554 1291.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Daleks takeover Lancaster's Judges Lodgings!

Dalek storms Judges Lodgings

There are a few Summer workshops at Lancaster's Judges Lodgings still to run which sound like great stuff for kids - especially kids that like Doctor Who!

• Monday 23rd August: Join in the family fun with a Robin Hood craft and story time workshop. Booking essential - ring 01524 32808

• Wednesday 25th August: Make a Doctor Who collage. Free event, booking essential - ring 01524 64637

• Wednesday 1st September: Have fun with Dalek T-shirt printing. You need to bring your own plain white T shirt. Free event, booking essential - ring 01524 64637

Booking is essential for all events. Session times may vary. Ring 01524 32808 for further details.

Lead thieves target Lancaster school

Police are appealing for information after lead thieves targeted a Lancaster school over the weekend.

A 30-yard section of lead and another 20-metre section of the material were taken between Friday 13th August and Monday 16th August.

The school was also hit by lead thieves around two weeks ago.

“The damage to the roof, along with the loss of lead, could cost around £1,000 – £2,000 to repair, which will have to come out of funds that should be used for school resources that benefit the pupils," says PC Nikki Kay of Lancaster Police. "As the lead was removed, the roof leaked when it rained and this has damaged the children’s computers – a further cost to the school.

“Due to the height of the roof, the thief will have had to use ladders, so it is possible that people may have seen them taking the lead. If anyone has seen anything suspicious I would ask them to get in touch.”

• You can contact PC Kay on 01524 63333.

Tickets still on sale for summer theatre in Williamson Park

Lancaster's Williamson Park is providing the backdrop this week for two top quality outdoor drama productions by award-winning Illyria theatre company.

The plays will be an adaptation of Shakespeare’s well loved Romeo and Juliet on Friday 20th August and a production of Roald Dahl’s popular children’s story James and the Giant Peach on Saturday 21st August.

Illyria tours the highest quality open air theatre to the most prestigious and stunning locations throughout the UK and regularly receives excellent reviews.

Both plays take place in The Dell - the park's natural amphitheatre. Wooden benches are available for seating but it should be noted that cushions are not provided. The Pavilion Café will be open for refreshments during the interval.

Romeo and Juliet starts at 7.30pm and James and the Giant Peach starts at 5.30pm. The gates will be open 30 minutes prior to the start time.

Tickets cost £12 adults, concessions £8, family (2 adults and 2 children) £35 and are on sale now from the gift shop in Williamson Park. There is a special offer for group bookings – buy 10 tickets and pay for only 9 – so why not get friends and family together this week and take advantage of this generous saving.

Telephone bookings are also being taken on 01524 33318 or through Lancaster City Council’s Visitor Information Centre on 01524 582803.

• For more information about the plays visit

Heysham Pool launches new autumn programme

Heysham Pool is launching its new autumn programme to encourage people to get their bathers on.

For people who are early risers, come along to the early bird sessions taking place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7.30 - 9.00am.

The Fun and Go session on Mondays from 4 - 5.00pm are a great after school treat for children aged 8 years and over. A teacher will also be on hand to offer advice and guidance on swimming techniques and certificates will be given out to those successful in the swimming challenges.

There is a public swim for all ages on Mondays from 7 - 8.00pm, and on Tuesdays from 7 - 8.00pm for adults and families, followed by a public swim from 8 - 9.00pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30am - 12.00pm.

An aqua fit session runs on Tuesdays at 10.45 - 11.45am and on Thursdays from 10 - 11.00am. These sessions are suitable for all ages and you don’t even need to be able to swim to take part. They offer a gentle aerobics session that gives a full body workout to music. For a more strenuous work out, try the Hydro fit sessions taking place on Wednesdays from 10am-11am and again at 7.30 - 8.15pm

The hugely popular swim for £1 offer is still available to everyone on Tuesdays from 7 - 9.00pm.

There is something for everyone at Heysham Pool and for the under 5s there is a Ducks and Ducklings session on Wednesdays from 11.45am - 12.45pm. A parent and child session also takes place on Thursdays from 11am-noon. Young families are also encouraged to come along to a dedicated session on Saturdays from 9.30 - 10.30am.

Children’s swimming lessons begin on Wednesdays and Fridays. The next course will start on the week beginning 6th October in half hour sessions between 4 - 5.30pm.

If you prefer to come to an adults only session, these are available on Wednesdays from 8.15 - 9.00pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays 12 - 1.00pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 8.45- 9.30am

A new programme of adult swimming lessons start on Thursday 9th September from 4.30 - 5.30pm. The one hour sessions run over a 10 week programme and are ideal for improving stroke techniques and confidence in the water.

Heysham swimming pool is also available for private hire on Saturdays and Sundays after 12.30pm until late with excellent value for money rates from only £41 an hour. You can book one of the pool’s excellent parties for the kids (or event the adults) from only £60.

• For more information, please contact Heysham Pool, Osborne Road, Morecambe (telephone 01524 420763), send an email to or visit

Lancaster pub drug dealers jailed

Colin BurnsThree men involved in dealing drugs from a Lancaster pub have been jailed for a total of 12 years.

The trio were arrested after community complaints about drug dealing in and around the now-closed Skerton Hotel pub in Lancaster led to a police investigation.

34-year-old Colin Burns was stopped in the street in December 2008 after officers saw him being given a package by 30-year-old Steven Relihan, a bar man at the pub.

Burns was found to have around one-and-a-half ounces of heroin on him, which was worth an estimated £1,500.

Joseph MooneyForensic analysis of the package found DNA belonging to 44-year-old Joseph Mooney, connecting him to the drug dealing activity.

Relihan and Mooney were arrested and charged in March 2009 and the three appeared at Preston Crown Court for sentence on Wednesday.

Mooney, of Harcourt Road, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and was jailed for six years. Burns, of Howgill Avenue, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to supply and was jailed for four years. Relihan, of Mainway, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and was jailed for two years.

Steven Relihan“With the help of the local community we have been able to stamp out another link in the drug dealing chain that has been putting heroin onto the streets of Lancaster," commented DC Ian Marsh of Lancaster’s targeting team. "This has also helped to reduce the anti-social behaviour that is associated with dealing and drug use.

“Residents should be reassured that if they come to us with concerns about drug dealing in their neighbourhood we will take strong action against it.”

• Anyone with information about drug dealing should contact police on 01524 63333 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.