Friday, 27 August 2010

Competition Seeks Illustrator to Bring Cleveleys’ ‘Mythic Coastline’ to Life

Ever fancied seeing your artwork in a published book, or brought to life by a sculptor? Then grab your pens – or your computer mouse – because the hunt is on to find a talented illustrator for a brand new children’s book exploring the history, landscape and folklore of the Cleveleys coast.

Lancaster-based literature agency Litfest and Wyre Borough Council have launched an open competition to find an illustrator for the Mythic Coastline project, which is developing stories, illustrations, public art works and events to inspire and enthuse local people and visitors to the Lancashire coastline between Cleveleys and Fleetwood.

Critically acclaimed children’s author Gareth Thompson is writing the book, provisionally titled Between the Moon and the Earth, which will highlight some of the area’s diverse environments – including the Bowland Forest, the fishing harbour at Fleetwood and the sand dunes at Rossall – as well as mythic or unseen features such as petrified forests and shipwrecks.

Not only will the book will be published in hardback next year by Foxtail, an imprint of Litfest Publications, as well as in e-book format, but it will also provide the inspiration for public art works to be created by sculptor Stephen Broadbent. And there’s a commission fee of £8,000 up for grabs too.

"We’re looking for imaginative, sparky illustrations which invoke the spirit, history and folklore of this fascinating landscape," said Andy Darby, Artistic Director of Litfest, who will edit the book. "We’ve got a great writer on board – now we need a fantastic illustrator who can give the book another dimension."

Councillor Lynne Bowen, Wyre Borough Council Cabinet member with responsibility for culture, added: "The council has a vision for the Mythic Coastline to capture the imagination of all who see it. This is an extra special project, so it's only right that we search for an exceptional illustrator who can make Wyre's new waterfront come alive."

• Entrants are asked to complete an application form and submit two examples of their work. Full entry details, terms and conditions, and the application form can be found on the website, or can be obtained by calling 01524 62166. The deadline for entries is 27th September 2010.

Check out the Cleveleys web site for possible inspiration

Thief robs charity money for Pakistan from Lancaster nuns

The Ursuline Convent in Lancaster, which was robbed by opportunist thieves.
Image: Google Maps
Charity money intended for the victims of the dreadful Pakistan floods has been stolen - and if that wasn't bad enough, it was stolen from a local convent.

Nuns at the Ursuline Convent on St Thomas More Walk, which is off Wilow Lane in Lancaster, were approached by a man and two young children at around 12.30pm on Wednesday. The trio were given permission to enter the grounds but not given permission to enter the house.

Shortly afterwards, it was discovered that the charity box containing £100 from ticket sales for a prayer and pasta night to raise money for flood victims had been stolen.

The man was described as white, in his 30s, of average build, with short blond or ginger hair and wearing a white t-shirt.

The two boys were aged between six and eight and were both wearing white t-shirts.

"It's tragic that people in Pakistan, who have lost everything, should be deprived of a little contribution that could have helped bring some small degree of comfort," Sister Superior Zela Proctor told BBC News.

"The people who did this don't seem to have any feeling. It makes you really sick."

“Stealing from elderly nuns, especially when the money was destined to help those who are in dire need because of a natural disaster, is quite despicable," commented DC Corinne Cleasby of Lancaster CID. "I hope that this appeal may prick someone’s conscience and that they will come forward with information.”

• Contact police on 01524 63333 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting log ref LC-20100825-0918.

Donate to help Pakistan flood victims via the Disasters Emergency Committee web site

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Park animals ‘taste the difference’

A weaver bird at Lancaster's
Williamson Park.
Image: Williamson Park
The animals in Lancaster's Williamson Park will be getting their weekly food shop from Sainsbury's from now on thanks to a new partnership with Lancaster City Council.

A weekly supply of fruit, vegetables and bread that have reached their sell by date and would otherwise end up in landfill, will be feasted on by the parks butterflies and mini beasts. In particular, the butterflies love bananas and the rabbits and reptiles dine on lots of vegetables.

This is a new initiative for Lancaster City Council and is another step towards improving the sustainability of Williamson Park - and it's a timely announcement following the BBC's Great British Waste Menu programme highlighting the problem of food waste, which was watched by more than five million viewers on Wednesday night.

Lots of work has already been done to improve the Park's costs in several areas, including sourcing locally produced products to reduce its carbon footprint; stocking Fair Trade products, improving recycling and creating a composting area for the parks green waste.

Deputy Manager of Sainsbury's, Mike Coulson said:  “Sainsbury’s support a number of community projects throughout the country and sustainability is one of our key aims.  This new partnership with the park is one of many schemes Sainsbury’s stores operate in the north of England where fruit, vegetables and bread that have reached their sell by date are being put to good use by local projects.”

“Lancaster City Council and Sainsbury's have struck up an excellent partnership that will reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfill," added Coun June Ashworth, the council's Cabinet member with responsibility for cultural services. "This is yet another way that we are working to create a more sustainable park for the community to enjoy for years to come."

Williamson Park is working hard to improve the facilities for visitors and the local community. The butterfly house and café have recently undergone successful transformations and there are exciting new developments to the bird enclosure and mini beast areas to make them more family friendly.

• For further details on butterfly house tours, junior zoo keeper activities and jungle parties at Williamson Park please telephone 01524 33318 or visit

Come Dine With Me seeks local chefs for new series

Come Dine With Me contestants from Manchester, featured on the cooking
show earlier this year. Image: Channel 4
The hugely successful Channel 4 show Come Dine With Me is returning for a new, prime-time series and the production team are looking for people over 18 years of age in and around North Lancashire (including Morecambe and Lancaster) with a passion for cooking and who want to demonstrate their skills.

Over four days, four strangers, from all walks of life, take turns hosting the perfect dinner party for each other. At the end of the week the most impressive host wins a £1,000 cash prize.

First broadcast in January 2005, each competitor rates the host's performance with the winner winning a £1,000 cash prize. An element of comedy is added to the show through comedian Dave Lamb, who provides a dry and "bitingly sarcastic" narration.

The show offers the chance for aspiring chefs to to create the perfect dining experience. You get to enjoy three nights dining out and a chance to win the prize.

• If you or anyone you know would like to take part then call 0871 200 3939 or email

Callers from a BT landline will be charged a set up fee of 10p per call plus 10p per minute. Calls from other networks may be higher and from mobiles will cost considerably more.

Could your voluntary group use a cash windfall?

Voluntary groups across the Lancaster district are invited to apply for funding from Lancaster City Council’s welfare grant scheme.

The city council has money available now and is asking for bids to allocate the welfare grant budget.

Welfare grants are for voluntary organisations whose activities include providing recreation, meals and special events for older people. The maximum grant to any one organisation is £500.

Application forms, further information, and the criteria applied to the scheme are available by telephoning 01524 582096, from Morecambe and Lancaster Town Halls, and on the city council’s website:

The closing date for applications is 30th November 2010.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Gregson seeks old mobiles for charity

A group of people at Lancaster's Gregson Centre are trying to raise funds for the Community Bonfire in November this year, which will take place on Miss Whalley's field.

One of the fund raising ideas is to collect old mobile phones and send them to one of the companies that buy them and then the Gregson can receive cash for them. All cash received can then go straight into the
bonfire fund.

• Please take in phones - working or broken - to the Gregson Centre on Moorgate marked 'FAO Katherine Bevington'.

CCTV appeal after pensioner purse theft at ASDA

asda_theft1.jpgPolice have released two CCTV images after a pensioner had her purse stolen from a Lancaster supermarket.

The 82-year-old was in Asda on Ovangle Road between 2pm – 2.30pm on Monday 16th August when she was approached by two shoppers, one of whom began to ask about what products she should buy. Shortly after the encounter the victim realised her purse was missing from her bag.

asda_theft2.jpgAround £30 had been in the purse at the time it was stolen.

Police would now like to speak to the two women featured in the CCTV images in order to eliminate them from their enquiries.

• Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Rachael Taylor on 01524 63333, quoting log ref LC-20100816-0970

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

CCTV released after £1000 of dresses stolen from Lancaster store

ba1003104-01.jpgPolice have released two CCTV images after dresses worth over £1,000 were stolen from a Lancaster high street store.

12 dresses, worth a total of £1,100, were taken from Monsoon on Penny Street between 1.30 – 1.40pm on Monday 9th August.

ba1003104-04.jpgPolice would like to speak to the two women pictured in the CCTV images in order to eliminate them from their inquiries.

• Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Gary Edmondson on 01524 63333, quoting log ref LC-20100810-1170.

Monday, 23 August 2010

McGuinness motorcross bike stolen in Heysham


Police are appealing for information after a motorcross bike belonging to the family of TT champion rider John McGuinness was stolen from a locked garage in Heysham.

Thieves targeted the home in Norton Grove between 12.30am – 8am on Friday 20th August. The Honda CRF 450R 449cc off-road trial bike, worth £5,000, was taken from an alarmed and locked garage, along with £1,100 worth of tools.

PC Andy Taylor, Morecambe Police, said: “The offenders will have needed cutting equipment to gain entry to the garage and as the motorcross bike was heavily chained it will probably have needed at least two people to move it. The weight of the bike meant that the offenders probably had a waiting vehicle to help them.

“I would appeal for anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area early in the morning to contact police.”

• Contact police on 01524 63333 quoting log ref LC-20100820-0300 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Ken Dodd's Morecambe gig is a sell out

ken_dodd.jpgKen Dodd’s Happiness Show at the Platform in Morecambe on Wednesday 13th October has sold out -- just two weeks after the tickets went on sale.

This is the second time the Liverpool comedy genius has performed at the Platform, the first time being at last year’s Sandcastle Festival. That show was also a sell out.

For disappointed local fans without tickets, Ken is also appearing at the Grand, Blackpool on 26th September, 10th, 17th and 24th October; in Carlisle at the Sands Centre on 16th October. For a full list of tour dates in the North West and beyond for the rest of the year go to

Man left with fractured cheek bone after Lancaster nightclub attack

Police are appealing for information after a man was left needing hospital treatment following a nightclub attack in Lancaster.

The 20-year-old victim was standing with friends outside Lancaster’s Toast nightclub, on North Road, at around 3.35am on Saturday 14th August when he was approached by another man. Without saying anything, the attacker punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall to the ground and lose consciousness.

He was taken by ambulance to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where he was admitted for a couple of days and had to undergo treatment for a fractured cheekbone and a large lip wound that required five stitches.

The attacker was described as a white male, aged 20 – 25, around 5ft 7"-5ft 8" tall, of stocky build with a skinhead and wearing a long sleeved black round neck jumper, with dark trousers.

DC Sarah Cole, Lancaster CID, said: “This was an unprovoked attack which left the victim with some quite nasty injuries. I would appeal for anyone who may have information to get in touch with us.”

• Contact police on 01524 63333 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Milnthorpe nature artist Marianne Birkby honoured by leading conservation group

small dodo.jpgMilnthorpe-based artist Marianne Birkby has been chosen as one of this week's 'Artist of the Day' by the world-renowned Artists for Conservation group.  

Based in Vancouver, Canada, the Artists for Conservation Foundation is a non-profit juried association of artists dedicated to celebrating and protecting our natural heritage.

Headline feature on the Artists for Conservation website will be Marianne's oil painting, "Dodo and Sparrow", an oil painting inspired by the award winning reconstruction of the iconic Dodo at Kendal Museum. The painting depicts the Dodo looking to the future while the 'common' sparrow is looking over her shoulder to the past.

Marianne is inspired by the stunning diversity of Mother Earth who actively speaks up for wildlife. She founded Radiation Free Lakeland in 2008 following Cumbria County Council's "expression of interest" in a high level nuclear waste dump and new build.

Following a request from Marianne, in January, Marta Adams - the Chief Deputy Attorney General at the Nevada Attorney General’s Office - spoke on BBC Radio Cumbria urging Cumbria County Council not to rely on information from Government and the nuclear industry but to take independent advice on the implications of a nuclear dump in the Lake District.

A vigorous 20 year campaign by Nevada state authorities has stopped the proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain. Marianne said “this contrasts starkly with our Cumbrian Council Leaders who have willingly offered the Lake District up as a nuclear sacrifice zone despite geological ‘disposal’ being the worst possible option for looking after nuclear waste”

Marianne's artworks use various media to make marks from the wild spontaneity of charcoal, to the almost obsessive detail of watercolour.

The Artists for Conservation Foundation is a non-profit, international organization dedicated to the celebration and preservation of the natural world. The Foundation represents the world's leading collective of artists focused on nature and wildlife, with a membership spanning five continents and twenty-seven countries, seeking to support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural heritage.

View Marianne's work on the Artists for Conservation page