Saturday, 27 August 2011

Pete Lashley, Drooling Banjos and more at upcoming Gillow folk nights

Pete Lashley plays the Gillow next month. Pic via

Top folk acts including Pete Lashley and up and coming star Mal Gibson are making appearances at the Robert Gillow's Thursday Folk nights next month. Here's the full lowdown of another month of great music at the Lancaster pub .

Thursday 1 September: Mal Gibson

Formerly known as Charlie White, Mal is a singer and guitarist with a growing reputation at clubs and festivals across the country. He will perform a solo set of country blues, some home-grown material and a large wodge of slide guitar. He has also said “I’ll bring the 'banjolele' for a tune this time around”. A set to sing along to – or just listen, drink and enjoy.

Thursday 8 September: Hard Times

We haven’t seen them at the Gillow for over four months, so the Folk Night organisers are very pleased to have them back. Hard Times comprises Geoff Wilkinson (bass), Gordon Johnston (banjo, mandolin, guitar) and Laurie Johnston (everything) – all superb musicians playing a mixture of traditional and modern tunes and songs from the UK, the USA and Europe. They are some of the finest acoustic musicians around and the band is simply brilliant.

River County Incident at the
Robert Gillow last year.
Photo: Simon Davies
Thursday 15 September: River County Incident

River County describe themselves as “acoustic, rootsy, lo-fi Americana”. Dave Gardner plays guitar and sings and Matt Wells plays guitar, Dobro or Weissenborn lap steel guitar and banjo. Throw in a bit of harmonica, some Springsteen, a little Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons and mix with a heap of old-timey Appalachian murder ballad stuff and you’ve got the idea.

Thursday 22 September: Pete Lashley

Pete Lashley is a prolific singer/songwriter and virtuoso guitarist who has, in the last 6 years, released 5 superb original albums and played over 600 gigs. Venues have included Cardiff's Millennium Centre, Liverpool's Cavern Club and London's 12 Bar. His songs have been described recently as "truly excellent" by BBC 6 Music. Cardiff born, and now living in Cumbria, Pete's songs have a timeless quality that reflect the eternal beauty of the northern county's jagged peaks and lakes. His soaring vocals and rhythmical guitar work are really not to be missed!

Thursday 29 September: Drooling Banjos

“We are the Drooling Banjos. There are 3 of us: Steve on guitar and voice, Martin on banjos various and guitar, and Jack the boy wonder on harmonica.”

These guys are a real breath of fresh air. They are a foot-tapping and very, very sensible band of the old school and their energetic renditions of songs familiar and not so familiar are a perfect panacea in a world of woe. They tell us they are back together to perform an international comeback tour, but sometimes we have to ask if they are telling the truth…

• The Robert Gillow is at 64 Market Street, Lancaster, LA1 1HP. Tel: 01524 36092. Official web site:

Thursday, 25 August 2011

RLI Candle Lit Vigil to protest NHS Privatisation

A Candle-lit Vigil will be held on Wednesday 7 September outside the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (on the green opposite White Cross) in defence of the NHS and against proposed changes to marketise it for profit. All are welcome.
The Coalition Government will soon be finalising the Health Bill - they did their 'big listen' and now they are going ahead just as before.
Visit for more info.
Part of Lancaster & Morecambe Against the Cuts.

FAUNA: Volunteers needed to cut Aldcliffe ragwort!

Fairfield Association urgently need your help in their Ragwort Battle

The Fairfield Association Urban Nature Area (FAUNA) fields are covered in ragwort, which is having a very successful year this summer across Lancashire. Although it is good for the cinnabar moth and other nectar-loving insects, ragwort is dangerous to horses and cows and so has to be removed from the FAUNA fields, which are grazed by Robin Loxam’s beautiful heritage White Park cattle.

Oliver Fulton, FAUNA organizer, said:
“The ragwort is almost everywhere. We have removed huge amounts of it in the last couple of months, clearing one and a half fields. But now the ragwort is beginning to seed and so we have stopped trying to dig it out and are now cutting and bagging it, to prevent the seeds from spreading and so allow us to continue digging into the autumn. So we are desperate for help in cutting the ragwort in the next couple of weeks. We can supply tools and show people how to do it.”

Those wanting to help cut ragwort should contact Mick Short urgently: Whitegates, Sunnyside Close, Lancaster LA1 5NH; telephone Lancaster 63890; email:

Please pledge for Fairfield Association nature reserve bid

Local environmental charity, the Fairfield Association, have just bought a strip of land of more than two acres to add to their new 15-acre FAUNA (Fairfield Association Urban Nature Area) nature reserve and seek to buy another. The strip just purchased runs across the area next to FAUNA which the association has been raising money to buy for the last year. For maps and details visit

Oliver Fulton, organizer of the FAUNA project said:
“This is wonderful news. The land we have bought is between the field nearest to the nature reserve and the rest of the land being sold, which stretches up from FAUNA to Aldcliffe Road and the canal. The purchase extends our nature reserve, which local people are so committed to, from 15 acres to 17acres. If we manage to acquire the other fields too, Lancaster’s new nature reserve will be 45 acres!”

Andrew Brennand, chair of the association, said:
“On 10 May we stopped declaring publicly how much money we have raised as we do not want to reveal our hand to our competitors in the sealed tender process. But local people have continued to be very generous. The deadline for tenders is 5 September and the more money we can raise in the next couple of weeks the better our chances will be. So if you want to support us in extending the new nature reserve it is NOW OR NEVER”.

Mick Short, the Fields Project organizer, said:
“The more fields we can buy, the more land will be preserved for local people to walk through and enjoy. We really can make this happen if we all work together.”

The initial part of the nature reserve, on land leased to the Fairfield Association for 30 years by Lancaster City Council, will be completed by Christmas this year.
Those wanting to give donations or make pledges should contact Mick Short urgently: Whitegates, Sunnyside Close, Lancaster LA1 5NH; telephone Lancaster 63890; email:

Apprenticeships: Fresh talent for forward-thinking employers

The National Apprenticeship Service’s (NAS) online Apprenticeship vacancy system allows businesses direct access to a huge pool of talent.
Last week's exam results will see thousands of young people making important decisions about their futures, while employers across the country will begin their search to find the best apprentices for their business. Today, over 3,600 employers, keen to tap into the pool of fresh talent as they join the job market, are using the Apprenticeship Vacancy system available at to find their future employees. The system allows them to advertise their Apprenticeship jobs to over one million prospective apprentices who can use the system to search and apply for the wide range of Apprenticeships available.
There are over 200 types of Apprenticeships available in more than 1,200 job roles ranging from accountancy, engineering and sport to agriculture, hospitality and the creative industries.
This number is set to increase particularly in Advanced Level and Higher Apprenticeships with the Government’s recent announcement of a £25 million fund that will support up to 10,000 Advanced Level and Higher Apprenticeships, giving firms in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, information technology and engineering the hi-tech skills they need to grow.
The additional support available for Higher Apprenticeships will enable employers to develop their staff to a higher standard and attract the very best candidates to support improved productivity and performance as well as plans to grow and diversify their business. For smaller businesses the fund will aim to address some of the specific barriers they face in accessing Apprenticeships as well as ensuring there are clear routes for progression.
To find out how Apprenticeships can be good for your business, visit or call 08000 150 600.

Cumbria Uni Clearing: Sustainable Technologies B.Eng. places available

Cumbria University still has places left on the BEng Sustainable Technologies degree course based in Workington. Big PV solar arrays, biomass boilers, offshore windfarms, hydro-electric, cheap living, fresh air, the best scenery in England to play out in and a sure career in a high demand field with a global future.
Cumbria Uni also have a small number of part-time course places on courses in Arts, Business and Science. Their call centre tel 08080 024 024 is open til 5pm Friday 27 August so get your skates on.

Under Morecambe Skies exhibition set to reveal the town's hidden chaos?

"Under Morecambe Skies" is a new photographic exhibition by Lancaster photographer Richard Davis which opens in the Dukes Gallery, Lancaster next Friday (2nd September)

"The exhibition is a celebration of all things Morecambe, it highlights the often choatic mix of man's bizarre intervention & nature's stunning wonder," says Richard. "Both appeal greatly!"

"Stuck in a timezone all of its own, Morecambe combines vast skies, stunning sunsets and panoramic views with a real unconvential beauty and faded grandeur, which for me, makes a perfect combination.

"Add to this the special coastal light with an ever changing tide, weather and seasons and what you get is a photographer's paradise."

During the opening night event, Richard will also be showing a short film, also called Under Morecambe Skies in the Gallery - a film featuring local luminaries such as The Heartbreaks, Miss P, Liar Liar, Dotty's Vintage, The Lovely Eggs, Jade Xue, Therese Standish, Florence Moulian, Mia Wilson & Michel Gueyrard, all filmed in various locations of Morecambe.

Special guest for the opening night event - Miss P - will give a spoken word narrative on Morecambe whilst the film is shown.

The Exhibition runs in the Dukes Gallery until 25th September and will then be shown at the following locations: Lancaster Library (1st October - 29th October 2011);  More Music, Morecambe (1st November - 28th November 2011); and The Storey Institute, Lancaster (29th November - 29th December 2011).
Under Morecambe Skies by Richard Davis opens in the Dukes Gallery, Lancaster on the evening of Friday 2nd September 2011 at 7.00pm (All Welcome). Drinks/Refreshments will be available. For more info go to

Local councillor piles on the pedal power to raise money for local community centre

Lancaster's Castle Ward Green Councillor Jon Barry will be riding a sponsored 100 mile Tour of Castle Ward to raise money for the Marsh Community Centre next month.

Coun Barry intends to do 19 laps of the 5.3 mile course around the edge of Castle Ward, hoping to complete the course in under 7 hours on Saturday 17th September, depending on the weather, traffic and his legs!

“Like many voluntary organisations, the Marsh Community Centre is in urgent need of funds," says Jon. "We have several funding bids in the pipeline but we need to raise sufficient money to keep us going until these, hopefully, come up trumps.

“I want to do something special to raise money and a 'Tour of Castle Ward' is an idea that I've been thinking about for a while," he continues. "The timing is right to raise both money and awareness, so I'm now in training for the Tour.

"I'd be glad to hear from anyone, whether a resident of Castle Ward or not, who would like to pledge some money, or you can fill in a sponsorship form at the Marsh Community Centre.”

The five mile-plus tour will start and end at the Marsh Community Centre: spanning Willow Lane, Lune Road, St George’s Quay, cycle path to Aldcliffe Hall Lane, Aldcliffe Road, Brook Street, Dallas Road, Westbourne Road, Coolidge Avenue, Leighton Drive, Willow Lane.

“The route is mainly flat but does have a couple of ‘mountains’ in it," Jon notes, "one leading up Aldcliffe Hall Lane from the river and one on Westbourne Road.

"Perhaps more difficult will be negotiating the traffic calming on Dallas Road!”

• If you'd like to sponsor Jon, he can be contacted on or on 01524 844113

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Folk date at Morecambe's Palatine pub on Friday

Image courtesy Lancaster Brewery
Lancaster band The Duo (folk to Floyd 'n'all that) will be appearing this Friday, 26th August, at The Palatine in Morecambe.

Described by one reviewers as Lancaster’s numero uno acoustic act The Duo, a regular act at Lancaster's Robert Gillow are "the perfect choice of material is brought to life by their superb playing and vocal harmonies.”                                 

Recently refurbished, serving Lancaster Brewery beers and ciders and decent food the Palatine - part of Lancaster Brewery's pub group, which owns Lancaster's Sun Hotel - is clearly making an attempt to bring even more great live music to Morecambe, so if you happen to be in town, or fancy popping over to watch the sunset and visit the Eric statue, then drop in on the pub afterwards for some fab folk.

The Palatine is at The Crescent, Morecambe LA4 5BZ • Google Map • Tel: 01524 410503 • Web:

Yorkshire terrier stolen in Carnforth burglary

Police are appealing for information following a burglary in Carnforth in which a Yorkshire terrier was stolen. Although the dog has now been found, items stolen in the raid are still being sought.

Between 10.30am and 1.15pm on Friday 19th August, somebody broke into a house on Main Street in Whittington. They searched the property before leaving with various items of jewellery, including a gold watch, two gold chains and a diamond and sapphire Swarovski broach, as well as the four year old Yorkshire terrier ‘Honey’.

Fortunately Honey was micro-chipped and her 80-year-old owner was contacted the following day to say she had been found on Hobart Street in Bolton and was later reunited with her dog.

However, the jewellery remains outstanding and police are keen to speak with anybody who may have any information about the burglary.

“If anybody has any information at all about this offence then I would urge them to come forward," asks Detective Constable Jonathan Shaw. "Honey’s owner was left extremely upset at her disappearance, but thankfully she was returned to her.

“However, there are a number of items of jewellery which are still outstanding, which are not only of monetary value, but of sentimental value too.”

• Anybody with any information is asked to call police on 08451 25 35 45 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Police seek canal camera thieves

Lancaster police are hunting thieves who stole camera equpment from a bird watcher on the canal.

The incident happened just before 9.00am on Friday 19th August near to the canal path on Aldcliffe Road.

A local nature photographer was approached by two men and one of them started to talk to him and distracted him whilst the other man stole his bag containing various pieces of camera equipment.

Over £1,000 worth of equipment was stolen including cameras, lenses, flashes and battery packs.

PC Ben Hanley from Lancaster Police said, "I would appeal to anyone who has information about this to come forward and contact the police. People may have been offered these goods and if they have I would ask them to get in touch."
Anyone with information is asked to call Lancaster Police on 0845 1 25 35 45.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Pilling it on at the Platform

The Platform is hosting a ‘Last Night of the Proms’ concert with Pilling Jubilee Silver Band and Wendy Sharrock next month.

Pilling Silver Jubilee Band has had great success over the last few years, winning numerous contest trophies – a run of success the band puts down to to a lot of hard work and commitment from the players and conductor, who have all worked as a team.

Soloist and Mezzo Soprano Wendy Sharrock has established a reputation as being a captivating mezzo-soprano with a powerful, rich timbre and the ability to sing in an array of diverse styles, her extensive repertoire ranging from Handel to Verdi, Lloyd Webber to Britten.

Her musical education began at the Guildhall School of Music followed by the Royal Northern College of Music -- receiving several awards and prizes.

Since 1992 Wendy has appeared with Opera North, London Touring Opera, Preston Opera and Heritage Opera. Although she's performed in several local concerts and recitals, she has also performed at an array of destinations such as Covent Garden, the Royal Albert Hall, The Edinburgh Festival and as far away as Penang.

Wendy has sung much of the oratorio and concert repertoire including Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Handel Messiah and Mendelssohn Elijah.

• The concert takes place at the Platform, Morecambe, on Friday 9 September from 8.00pm. Tickets are £8.50 for adults and £4 per child. Tickets can be purchased from the Visitor Information Centres at the Platform, Morecambe and in Lancaster. You can also buy tickets over the phone on 01524 582803 and online at