Friday, 28 October 2011

Fireworks Festival back with a bang!

The skies above Lancaster will be ablaze with colour once again when Lancaster City Council launches its 2011 Firework Spectacular.

This year’s pyrotechnic spectacular takes place on the big day itself – Saturday, November 5 at 8pm – and is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever before.

To warm you up for the evening’s event, there will be city centre Guy Fawkes themed activities to enjoy during the day including guided walks, storytelling, arts and crafts and lantern making workshops at the museum. There will also be music from the amazing Batala Lancaster samba drum band and safe fire-building sessions for accompanied youngsters with the play rangers at Williamson Park. You can find details of all these activities listed in our events calendar at

All those taking part in the lantern making will be invited to join a procession from the city centre to St. George’s Quay to mark the start of the evening’s firework festivities.

As last year, the castle and priory precinct will be closed to the public, but spectators will still be able to watch the action at close quarters from nearby Quay Meadow below.

Accessed from St George’s Quay, Quay Meadow has been used unofficially by people for many years to view the fireworks and is in the heart of the city’s historic quayside area, with an amazing backdrop of Lancaster Castle and the Priory Church.

It’s also close to the firing zone and will allow people to get as close as possible to enjoy the atmosphere as the fireworks are launched.

BBC Radio Lancashire will be broadcasting live from the Maritime Museum and Quay Meadow from 7pm so come along and meet presenters Graham Liver and John ‘Gilly’ Gillmore. Food will be in plentiful supply courtesy of local businesses including the Wagon and Horses and Simply French.

The other main viewing area will be Salt Ayre, where last year more than 2,500 people enjoyed the spectacular view across the river. Festival goers viewing the display from Salt Ayre will also be able to enjoy free parking, hot food and drink and Taylor’s Funfair!

Other official viewing areas include:

• Millennium Bridge and cycle path alongside the River Lune (opposite St George’s Quay)
• Williamson Park and Giant Axe field.

Admission to all viewing areas is free.

If you can't get to one of the venues, watch the fireworks, which start at 8pm, from wherever you are in the district and listen to the specially coordinated music on BBC Radio Lancashire – 104.5FM. The music will also be played at all of the official venues.

This is a hugely popular local event, with good reason. Enjoy!!!!

(And of course, don't forget that your pets are not so keen on pyrotechnics, and are best kept safely indoors on the night.)

Fly to the Platform for pantomime fun

Panto season is rapidly approaching and The Platform in Morecambe is hosting the family favourite, Aladdin from 20th December.

The age-old story from China is brought right up to date in this fast colourful presentation from the renowned Fame Factory in Derby.

Abanazer is banished to Earth, and finds his way to Old Peking, in search of Aladdin, the only boy who can help him find the greatest treasure in the universe. Complications arise when Widow Twanky, a repressed laundry owner, gets her claws into Abanazer who evades her amorous advances by convincing her that he is her long lost brother.

Twanky’s other son, the hapless Wishee Washee, doesn’t help by telling on Aladdin who is secretly meeting the Princess. Aladdin only escapes the Chinese water torture by being apprenticed to, yes you’ve guessed, Abanazer, who promptly takes him on a field trip to a certain magic cave. Aladdin is sent into the cave to bring out the treasure, but finds that Abanazer has tricked him, so refuses to hand over the treasure- a rusty old lamp.

Abanazer, in a fit of pique, locks him in the cave. Aladdin, however, by happy chance finds a genie in the lamp, who brings him safe back to Peking a rich man, and able to marry his princess and live in luxury.

End of story? Nah! Abanazer tricks the princess into exchanging the old, magic lamp for a shiny but ordinary new one, and is promptly spirited away by Abanazer to the ends of the earth.  Aladdin, Twanky, Wishee, and PC Pong eventually confront Abanazer- but can they overcome his magic? Can they rescue the Princess? Only the Dragon knows the secret!

To find out how the story ends book your tickets now.

There are shows on 20th, 21st, 26th and 27th December from 2.30pm. Prices are £7 for adults £6 for children and £22 for a family ticket. Group discounts are also available, please contact the Box office on 01524 582803 for details.

Tickets can be purchased from the Platform and the Visitor Information Centres in Morecambe and Lancaster. You can also buy tickets over the phone on 01524 582803 and online at

• For more events, concerts and shows taking place at the Platform see the latest brochure at

Garastang PCSO’s Peruvian taxi ride raises £3,000 for charity

A PCSO’s 2,000-mile journey across Peru has helped to raise £3,000 for a cancer charity.

PCSO Dave Edwards, of Garstang’s neighbourhood police team, has recently returned from South America where he made the mammoth trek on a mototaxi – a three-wheeled 125cc motorbike. His journey took him through the Amazon and over the Andes, taking around two-and-a-half-weeks to complete.

The 27-year-old, who joined Lancashire Constabulary in 2009, carried out the challenge in order to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care in memory of a friend’s father.

“It was a fantastic trip," says Dave, "and it was made even better by the fact that I knew I was raising money for such a good cause. The mototaxi was not the most comfortable method of transport and it broke down pretty much every day – I think I could probably fix a 125cc with my eyes closed now.

”The people we met along the way were amazing and the scenery, especially the mountain roads, was epic.”

Highlights from PCSO Edwards’ trip includes sleeping in a sheep shed in the Andes after breaking down in the middle of the night and an impromptu street party held in his honour after breaking down in the small town of Pucara. English and guitar lessons were given to the local youngsters while the mototaxi was fixed.

Dave drove along three-metre wide mountain tracks, while trying to avoid the 3,000 metre drop at the side of the road and was given a police escort into Cusco after officers stopped to help him change a wheel (having first laughed and called him crazy for making the trip on a mototaxi.)

• Anyone wishing to sponsor PCSO Edwards can do so by using the Just Giving link or you can text PLAN99 plus the amount you wish to donate to 70070.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

All the World's A Stage for Shakespeare performers

Snippets of Shakespeare performed by men and directed by a woman will be presented in Lancaster next month.

All the World’s A Stage will feature an all male cast taking on all the roles, just as Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed, but this selection of Shakespeare scenes with a modern narrative is being directed by freelance theatre practitioner Emma Rucastle who has set up her own company, Elart Productions.

Based in Lancaster, Emma has previously directed a promenade production to mark Lancaster Cathedral’s 150th anniversary and has run workshops at Leighton Moss RSPB reserve.

“I’m passionate about Shakespeare," says Emma, "and the reason for doing lots of excerpts rather than one straight play is to give a snapshot of the range of stories Shakespeare tells.

“There will be a bit of tragedy, some history and lots of comedy.”

The former head of drama at Lancaster Royal Grammar School says she is enjoying working with the all male cast which includes three professional actors Nick Camm, Paul Slater and David Varga in the lead roles and introduces Ruaidhri Johnston as the boy actor.

All The World’s A Stage will be performed at DT3 in Moor Lane on November 11 at 2pm and 7.30pm and November 12 at 3pm and 7.30pm. It is recommended for anyone aged 11 plus. For tickets priced £9 for adults and £7.50 concessions, call The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or

Commerce leaders set to challenge Council execs on business future

(Updated: please note this event is not open to the public as originally advertised on the Chamber of Commerce web site and the Lancaster Guardian)

As government cuts continue, businesses in the Lancaster District look set to face some challenging times over the coming months. Now, Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce is giving business owners the opportunity to meet and speak to Mark Cullinan, Chief Executive of Lancaster City Council and Phil Halsall, Chief Executive of Lancashire County Council along with other Public Service Leaders and help to shape the future of our district.

Although both the City and County Councils are already making cuts to services, further rounds of belt tightening are just ahead, with even more savage cuts in government funding to come over the next two years.

Questions that might be posed at the meeting next week at Lancaster Town Hall include: what services are most important and what needs to be maintained for the district? What is the business community's contribution to these? What impact are budget cuts likely to have on public services for our district? How can we prepare for change and what role can we all play?

It’s a chance for business people to express their views, raise concerns or ask questions on what else they think needs to be done to secure the economic future of the district.

• The free event takes place at Lancaster Town Hall, Dalton Square, Lancaster LA1 1PJ at 4.30pm on Thursday 3rd November 2011 but you must be a member of the Chamber of Commerce to take part. For more information visit the Chamber of Commerce web site or call 01524 381331

Attempted ATM theft in Carnforth prompts police appeal

Police are appealing for information after the attempted theft of a cash machine in Carnforth.

Between 12.30am and 1am last Friday morning (21st October) police received reports that four men had attempted to break into the ATM at the Co-op store on Market Street.

On arrival, police saw that the men had smashed the wall surrounding the cash machine at the store with what is thought to be a sledgehammer and a crow bar. It would appear that they were disturbed by the officers arriving and ran from the scene and police are appealing for information to try and trace them.

“Early indications are that there were four men involved in this attempted theft," says Detective Superintendent Mark Stephens, "and they left two vehicles behind at the scene which were a blue Ford Transit Van and a green Ford Focus which, it would appear they had used to conceal their activity at the cash machine.

“I would appeal to anyone who may have any information at all about either the offenders or perhaps about the vehicles to come forward.

“I would also be keen to speak with anyone who spotted any suspicious behaviour in and around the Co-Op and Market Street areas in the hours or even days running up to the incident.”

• Anyone with any information can contact Lancaster CID on 01524 596712 or on 08451 25 35 45. Alternatively, information can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Three arrested after fire on Lancaster’s Ryelands estate

Three people have been arrested after fireworks were set off and a fire broke out next to a block of flats on a Lancaster estate.

The emergency services were called to Austwick Road on Lancaster’s Ryelands estate on Monday evening following reports of people throwing fireworks and a consequent fire next to a block of flats. A number of residents had to be evacuated, although fortunately no one was hurt.

The Lancaster Guardian, which has extensive coverage of events in its print edition today, reports youths left Ryelands residents living in fear after starting late-night fires on the estate, one of which spread to two homes.

Youngsters had been seen throwing fireworks before Lancaster firefighters were called to a fire at the Dee Road skatepark at 9.25pm on Monday.

This afternoon, police announced two local men, aged 28 and 29, have been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and have been bailed pending further inquiries.

A 20-year old man has also been arrested on suspicion of burglary in connection with a break-in at a fireworks shop on Bulk Road, Lancaster, on Monday in which £500 worth of fireworks and a £800 camera were stolen. He is currently in police custody.

“We have been carrying out regular patrols on the Ryelands estate since the incident on Monday evening," said Sergeant Jim Edmonds from the Lancaster neighbourhood police team. "This will continue for the foreseeable future and we hope to make more arrests.

“Fortunately nobody was hurt but there was considerable damage caused and we are taking these incidents seriously.

“We would ask that the local community supports us in tackling those who are were intent on causing damage to the neighbourhood with their dangerous behaviour. If anyone has information, we would ask them to get in touch with us.”

• Contact Lancaster Police with information on 08451 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.

Snap, Crackle & Pop at the Dukes

It won’t just be the fireworks making a noise in Lancaster this coming Bonfire Night.

Just before Lancaster’s Fireworks Spectacular kicks off, The Dukes will be hosting Snap Crackle and Pop, a family singing and body percussion workshop where stomping and clapping are encouraged.

This will be a fun family workshop led by Dukes practitioners Louie Ingham and Mark Melville at DT3 in Moor Lane, The Dukes youth specific venue.

No previous experience is necessary to attend the workshop which is recommended for anyone aged 10 plus and begins at 5.30pm on Saturday 5th November.

• For tickets priced £3/£2 concessions, contact The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit

Are you ready for winter?

Hints, tips and advice on preparing for winter can now be found in one handy place.

As part of the nationwide ‘Get Ready for Winter’ campaign, Lancaster City Council has set up a page on its website at to help people prepare themselves for the predicted cold snap.

It includes links to key information from the public sector including Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, the police and NHS.

Advice on the page includes how to keep warm and well, transport and travel updates, crime prevention and the steps people can take to clear snow and ice from their own land.

Local people are being asked to share the advice with their elderly relatives, friends and neighbours to help see them through the winter period.

Spooktacular Comics fun this Saturday at First Age Comics

First Age Comics, Lancaster's very own comic shop will be holding its annual Hallowe'en Spooktacular on Saturday at the Assembly Rooms in King Street.

With ghoulish goodies up for grabs, spooky snacks and paranormal puns throughout the day, owner Mark Braithwaite tells us there will be free comics, free candy, free cakes and free goody bags for customers turning up to buy their latest US and UK comics in costume.

The event kicks off at 10am with costumes welcome from 2pm.

Let the revels commence!

Police appeal after alleged assault in Lancaster

Police are appealing for information following a report of an assault in a residential area close to the city centre of Lancaster in the early hours of Sunday 23rd October.

At around 2.30am a 20-year-old woman was walking home down an alleyway near Dumbarton and Balmoral Road when it's believed that she was approached by a man who then assaulted her.

The circumstances around exactly what has happened are unclear at this stage - however the victim was able to get herself away from the man who then left scene.

An investigation is underway to establish the circumstances of exactly what has taken place.

Police would like to speak with a man who was seen on Dumbarton Road/Balmoral Road between 2.30am and 3.00am. The man is described as white, of large, stocky build, aged in his early 20s, around 5`10" tall with short blonde hair. He was wearing a red and white checked shirt.

DC Melanie Caunce from Lancaster CID said: “We are at the early stages of an investigation and I would appeal to anyone with any information to come forward.

“In particular I would be keen to speak with the man described above who was seen in the area around the time of the offence. I would like to stress that this man may not have any involvement in the incident but could be a key witness and it is vital that we speak with him.”

• Anyone with any information should contact Lancaster CID on 01524 596641 or you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Local health scheme walks its way to success

A local health scheme has walked its way to success after being awarded national accreditation by Walking for Health.

The Active Health Walking Scheme, managed by Lancaster City Council provides a programme of local health walks to encourage people who take little or no exercise to become physically active.

The scheme’s most popular walk along Morecambe promenade which has been running for over two years takes place every Wednesday morning at 11.00am, starting at The Battery end of the promenade.

The walking scheme became accredited this month for successfully demonstrating that it met the required criteria which included offering led walks for beginners and following Walking for Health best practice to ensure walks are run safely.

As an accredited walking scheme, the scheme will benefit from being seen as part of a nationally evaluated programme as well as being formally recognised by health professionals, prospective partners and funders.

Donna Swarbrick, Active Health Manager who is delighted with the news, said:  “To gain national recognition is a great result for our walking group. Many of our group have medical conditions and our health walks are ideal for low level exercise.  They also provide a great opportunity for people to meet new friends and gain the confidence to try out other healthy activities.”

The Active Health Walking Scheme welcomes new walkers throughout the year and anyone can turn up on the day and take part for free.

• Those interested in knowing more about the walking scheme or becoming a volunteer walk leader can contact the council's Active Health Team on 01524 847540 (ext 206) or send an email to

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Folk continues at the Robert Gillow

Dave Gibb - at the Gillow on Thursday 17th November
Picture via official web site
Despite a management change at Lancaster's Robert Gillow, Mitchells have said the pub remains committed to its live music line-up and will continue for the foreseeable future. So time for a big thank you to our local brewery for supporting this coming month's list of folk artists, who include Dave Gibb and Preston-based new band Solid Air.

Get along and have a listen:  they are all good, all different and all helping to keep a good pub alive and ensuring that at least some music is not homogenised bullpoo.

Thursday 3 November: Paul Reynolds with special guest Howard Haigh

Paul Reynolds is usually listed under: “Acoustic World Music, Acoustic Percussive Guitar, Acoustic Jazz, Acoustic Blues, Contemporary” or such like.  Actually he just plays what he enjoys but does it much, much better than most.

BBC Radio once decscribed him as an "eclectic acoustic player - very strong on melody and a solid improviser".

Howard Haigh will be well-known to all acoustic music fans. He plays classical, flamenco, folky, jazzy guitar with an exceptionally large dose of genius.  A night of inspired virtuosity!

 Thursday 10 November: Solid Air

Solid Air is a new combination of talent from the Preston area featuring Dave Gardner and Tony Robinson playing acoustic and resonator guitars and acoustic bass, and singing.  Their performance will comprise a mixture of original songs plus some John Martyn (of course!), Nick Drake, a bit of Alabama 3, a rake of traditional English murder ballads and “the odd ditty of jugs of mead and a hay nonny no!”

Thursday 17 November: Dave Gibb

It's more than two years since we have had the pleasure of presenting this superb Scottish guitarist.  He sings with “a warm, soulful voice” (according to The Scotsman) which easily lends itself to both traditional and contemporary songs and is a unique guitar fingerpicker and a brilliant songwriter firmly rooted in the tradition of the storyteller. 

Hailing from the village of Wanlockhead in Dumfries and Galloway, Dave’s songwriting is firmly rooted in the tradition of the storyteller. Contemporary and historical sources offer a wealth of material for songs that are performed in a style driven by his unique fingerpicking guitar playing.

As a superb interpreter of traditional and contemporary songs his performances (whether on a folk club, concert hall or festival stage) combine all the attributes necessary for a modern day troubadour. "His easy fusion of blues, jazz and folk finger work on the fret board," notes one critic, "coupled with a truly 'west coast' sense of humour and timing had us all totally absorbed and rolling in the aisles – in many cases at the same time.”

Thursday 24 November: The Duo – from Folk to Floyd

The Duo is Dave Emptage and Tony Cooke.  It does what it says – performs songs and tunes from folk to Pink Floyd with two voices and two guitars.  Local critics have noted The Duo’s “eclecticism and brilliance”, “superb playing and vocal harmonies”  and called them “Lancaster’s numero uno acoustic act”.  They are, in these instances, quite right!

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

Lancaster robber gets 33 months

Darren O’Connor
Lancaster man Darren O’Connor, who helped to steal £12,000 from a couple during a daylight robbery in Morecambe last June, has been jailed for 33 months.

The pair, who had just withdrawn the money from a bank, were targeted as they walked down an alleyway next to Pedder Street, Morecambe.

Darren O’Connor, 46, of Mayfield Avenue, Lancaster, previously pleaded guilty to robbery. He appeared at Preston Crown Court on Friday and was sentenced to 33 months in jail.

A second man, Martin Kavanagh, 37, of Thornycroft Road, Liverpool, was jailed in November last year for eight years for his role in the robbery.

“This was a frightening ordeal for the couple to have to go to through," said Detective Constable Sue Palmer, Lancaster CID, speaking after the sentencing, "and although two men are now behind bars this will not ease the financial pressures placed on the couple as a result of losing such a substantial amount of money.”

Morecambe man sentenced for child sex offences

Peter Barber, who was originally convicted for
child abuse last year
Sex offender Peter Barber, who groomed four local youngsters over a period of 10 years, has been given an indeterminate sentence, with a minimum of six years in prison.

Barber, 63, formerly of Morecambe, was originally jailed last year after being convicted of a number of child sex offences at Carlisle Crown Court. The subsequent media coverage led to four boys from Morecambe coming forward to say that they too had been abused by Barber.

The offences, which happened when the boys were aged between six and 15, took place over a decade, culminating in 2010.

Following an eight-day trial in April this year, Barber was convicted of 19 sexual offences against young boys. Preston Crown Court had heard how Barber would take the boys to his home in Sandylands, or out in his car to Middleton Sands, before abusing them.

He appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday and was given an indeterminate sentence, with a minimum of six years in prison. (Barber currently has two years left to serve for a previous sentence. The minimum six years in prison will commence once this original sentence is served).

An indeterminate sentence allows a judge to set a minimum tariff for incarceration but once this is completed the offender must satisfy the authorities he or she is fit for release and does not pose any threat to the community. Those who have not addressed their offending will remain in prison.

After the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Simon Coates, of Lancaster’s public protection team, said: “Barber has serially targeted young boys and put his victims through extra pain by making them go through the trial process. Barber is a predatory paedophile who preyed on vulnerable children before systematically grooming them with alcohol, cigarettes and sweets. His victims have suffered psychological problems as a result of the abuse and I hope that this sentence will offer some comfort to them and their families.”

Monday, 24 October 2011

The bus now arriving at Lancaster will be a secret

Local Green councillors have condemned Lancashire County Council's decision to switch off bus information displays at Lancaster bus station from 1st December 2011.

"This is a dreadful decision," says  County Councillor Sam Riches."We need to be encouraging people to use public transport and these displays are very important for making this easy and convenient for people.

"Surely, providing easy-to-read information about when your next bus is leaving and from which bay is a basic requirement of a decent system."

The Council has apparently justified the decision partly on the grounds that many public transport users now use  mobile Apps to check on transport times, but Greens point out that not everyone has access to such technology.

"At a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet it is not reasonable to assume that all bus users will have the money to invest in this kind of personal technology," Sam notes.

"Considering that Lancashire County Council is happy to pick up a £30 million bill for its contribution to the northern bypass it is not surprising that it is thrashing around to cut genuinely useful and worthwhile projects like real-time information displays.

"This cut is the first of many that are needed to help fund the tarmaccing of the countryside around Lancaster," he argues.

Police appeal for wanted high risk sex offender

Wanted: Lee Shaw
Police in Lancashire are appealing for information about the whereabouts of a very high risk sex offender.

Lee Shaw, 27, a Registered Sex Offender, is wanted for offences of breach of bail and failing to notify.

He appeared at Fleetwood Magistrates Court on 1st September for an offence of failing to comply with notification requirements and was remanded on bail to live and sleep at an address in the town. But he has since failed to report to the police and to keep an appointment with the Probation Service.

The last positive sighting of Shaw was in Sheffield on 15th September.

Shaw was convicted in 2003 at Edinburgh High Court and sentenced to 18 months for offences of lewd, indecent and libidinous behaviour after he sexually assaulted a young boy.

He has five previous convictions for failing to comply with sex offender notification requirements – most recently in August 2011.

Shaw has links to Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

He is described as white, 5ft 5ins tall, slim build, with blue eyes and short fair hair. He speaks with a Yorkshire accent.

Detective Inspector Phil Jones, head of Lancashire Constabulary’s Northern Division Public Protection Unit, said: “Lee Shaw is a very high risk sex offender with a conviction for a serious sexual offence. I believe he poses a significant risk of harm and I would appeal to anyone who knows where he may be to get in touch with us.

“Sex offenders are managed in the community by police and partners, a system which aims to prevent them committing further offences, but if they do not comply with the obligations of their licence or notification requirements, then we will take robust and positive action to locate them, as we are doing in this case.”

• If anyone has any information about Shaw’s whereabouts they can contact Lancashire Police on 08451 25 35 45 or they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

April Poets back at the Storey - in November!

Carla Scarano
There's another great 'April Poets' event coming up at the Storey next month (Tuesday 10th November) with a fine mix of local talent treading the boards, plus music from Jo Gillot. Here's the line-up.

Carla Scarano  -    “Musical Poetry of the Everyday”

Carla Scarano recently published A Winding Road, her first pamphlet of poetry collecting her poems about Italy and her migration from Rome to Lancaster.  She has translated the works of Italian poet Eugino Montale and is currently studying for a Creative Writing MA at Lancaster University.

David Tait
David Tait    -     “Celebrates Love’s Loose Ends”

David Tait’s pamphlet Love’s Loose Ends was a winner in The Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition for 2011.  His poems have been published in a number of places including The Rialto, Magma, The Guardian and Stand, and he's House Poet for the Carol Ann Duffy and Friends poetry series at Manchester Royal Exchange. 
His particular interest lies in the literature produced by independent presses, many of which are under threat due to the recent  arts cuts. 
He runs LIPPFest, an annual festival based in Leeds which celebrates the diversity of independent presses and edits Cadvarine Magazine,  which publishes the best new poetry, prose and non-fiction from under 30's.

Sarah Fiske       -   “Poet, story-teller, deviser of plays...”

“I need to write.  it feels integral to who I am”.  Sarah’s own writing and her work with writing in the community has made her one of the pillars of the Lancaster writing scene.  She produces poetry and stories and is published in many anthologies.  She devises plays and tours and acts in them. She has run many creative writing projects and co-runs the famous Spotlight, Lancaster’s live literature cabaret club.  In 2003 she won an ACE writer’s award.

Alan Dent  -   “Poet, translator, reviewer, unsung hero of the small press world”

Alan Dent’s commitment to poetry and literature in general is long-standing. As well as his own writing he has supported and encouraged lesser known writers through The Penniless Press, which he founded and edited for twenty eight  issues as a hard copy before it became an on-line magazine.  The hard copy version has transmogrified into Mistress Quickly’s Bed which he edits along with the poet Nancy Frost.

He has published five books of his own poetry, one on-line collection, and two books of translations from the French, the latest being Common Cause, a collection of more than two hundred poems by Francis Coombes. He has also published hundreds of reviews of contemporary poetry and fiction, a number of literary and cultural essays  and a  number of short stories under pseudonyms. 
He was educated at Lancaster University in the early 1970s and helped in the production of  Fireweed, the Lancaster based magazine edited by David Craig and Nigel Grey. 
In the early 1980s he was one of the founders of the Black Horse Poets in Preston and several of his plays have been given rehearsed readings in the  London Fringe.
Jennifer Copley     -   “Poet of the domestic Gothic”

“Copley gets into the dank and dripping hearts of her characters” (Mslexia). Jennifer lives in Barrow and  frequently appears for readings on this side of the Bay.  She will be launching her new pamphlet Living Daylights (published by Happenstance), the latest of five collections. These include Unsafe Monuments  (Arrowhead 2006) and  Beans in Snow  (Smokestack 2009 ). 
She has published widely and has been well placed in many competitions including national winner in the Faber/Ottakar Competition of 2005, second place in the Academi  2007 and third in the Bridport 2010.  She has also been shortlisted for the Strokestown Prize.   Individual poems have been published in The Rialto, The North, The Independent on Sunday and in the Forward Prize Anthology.  In 2010 her work was included in GCSE Poetry unseen Revision papers.

Jo Gillot
The night rounds off with music by Jo Gillot, described as “an astonishing new voice” by Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 2. A remarkably talented musician and lyricist, Jo has just released her latest CD The Lido.

• April Poets in November: 7.30 Thursday 10th November, The Storey Auditorium, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster

Monday, Monday: Sunrise over Skerton

Traffic was backed up in Skerton this morning as roadworks began on Owen Road from its junction with Morecambe Road to its junction with Lune Street. The County Council works should be completed by 30th October but delays are expected to be severe.

Businesses close to Skerton Bridge such as Lancaster Model Shop and Hyslops Office Supplies are trading as normal and you can still park close to both.