Saturday, 31 March 2012

Massive rise in liability costs for nuclear operators

The Government has confirmed its intention to substantially increase the third party liabilities of operators in the event of a nuclear incident, meaning any accident at Heysham Power Station could incur much higher costs for its owners.

This follows a public consultation held last year on the UK’s proposals to implement changes made to an international treaty on nuclear third party liability – the Paris and Brussels Conventions, to which the UK and most of the other European Union countries are signatories.

Currently, operator liability is limited to £140m per incident. The UK is increasing this to €1.2bn, to ensure that more compensation will be available to a larger number of claimants in respect of a broader range of damage. This €1.2bn is €500 million more than the minimum necessary under the revised Conventions.
The new level will be phased in over five years starting at €700 million when the new regime comes into force and increased annually by €100 million.

The changes will apply to existing nuclear operators in the UK as well as any potential new build operators.

• The Government’s response to the consultation on the Paris and Brussels conventions is available at:

Police appeal after seal is shot

Police are appealing for witnesses following the discovery of a dead seal in Great Eccleston.

The grim find was made by a member of the public on Wednesday 28th March at around 5.00pm under a footbridge on the side of the River Wyre close to the Cartford Arms pub.

The man who found the seal informed his neighbour who yesterday went to recover the animal and the police were informed.

From examining the aquatic mammal, it is clear it has been shot. An autopsy will now be carried out by a local vet to try and recover the bullet which killed the animal which will help to try and discover who shot it.

Lancashire Constabulary’s Wildlife Crime Officer, Mark Thomas who is heading up the investigation said, “I am appalled and disgusted that someone can go and shoot a seal. It is a sickening crime committed in Lancashire’s countryside.

"The person responsible has committed a very serious offence. Not only is this a breach of the Conservation of Seal’s act but it also illegal to use a rifle unless authorised by the landowner.

"I want to reassure the public that we are taking this matter extremely seriously and are already following a number of lines of enquiry. I would appeal to anyone who has been in the area during this good weather and who may have witnessed something suspicious to come forward and contact the police. Incidents like this just cannot be allowed to happen and the person who has done this needs to be caught and brought to justice."

A spokesperson from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said, "Seals in England are protected by the Conservation of seals act 1970. It is illegal to kill a common seal without a license. We are totally opposed to shooting seals without a license and the full force of the law should be used to find and prosecute anyone who decides to shoot a seal without the necessary license."

• Anyone with information should call Lancashire police on 101.

• People with information can also 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.

Have a splashing time this Easter at Happy Mount Park

Lancaster City Council is pleased to announce that the Splash Park in Happy Mount Park, Morecambe will re-open in time for Easter.

The Splash Park will open each weekend starting on Friday 6th April (Good Friday), and opens fully for the season from Monday 21st May – September 10.30am-7pm.

The Splash Park is one of the biggest in the region and is still free to enter. Inside there is an aqua arch, water fences, and a ‘fill’n’spill’ feature along with interactive water jets, sprays and cannons. Children must be supervised at all times.

There are many other attractions free of charge in the park including a play area for young children and an adventure play area for older ones. With shady woodland areas for quieter moments, sunny spots with beautiful flower beds, mature Japanese Gardens and plenty of spaces for picnics, there is something for everyone.

The free brass band concerts in the park will return, every Sunday afternoon from 29th April – 9th September at 2.30pm.

You will also find an array of attractions available for a small cost including swing boats, trampolines, crazy golf and putting, a miniature railway, Playland and a children’s roundabout. There is a café and Pirates in the Park for indoor fun too.

• For more information about Happy Mount Park, visit:

Action packed activities planned for Williamson Park

Lancaster's Williamson Park is preparing for its biggest year yet.

Following on from England Tourism Week, the park will continue offering great events and activities for all the family throughout the year.

Keep the kids busy this Easter with one of the great activities. Be a Zoo Keeper – learn to look after their animals and be brave and handle some of the mini beasts. There are two sessions on Tuesdays 3rd and 10th April from 9.30am – 12.30pm costing £5.

Bring the family and take part in a free wacky races session on Tuesday 3rd April at 1.00pm. Join the sack race or take part in the egg and spoon race. Children aged five and over are welcome to take part.

Get ready for the Olympics and design your own t-shirt or flag on Monday 9th April from 1.00pm. This is a free session for ages five to eight and all completed designs can be taken home.

Join the Wildlife Adventure Day for an unforgettable nature experience. In the morning, look after animals with the zoo keeper, go behind the scenes and get hands on with the creepy crawlies.

Join others for lunch then spend the afternoon tracking down creepy crawlies in the woodland using special bug hunting equipment. All children aged eight to 14 are welcome to join in on Wednesday 11th April 9.30am – 2.30pm priced £10.

A treasure hunt is taking place on Wednesday 11th April at 10.30am and is ideal for children aged 4 to seven. Solve clues, put together a puzzle and discover hidden treasure, only £3 per person.

Ever wondered how you would do at a bush tucker trial? Then get along and take part in ‘I’m a child…get me out of here!’ on Wednesday 11th April at 1.30pm. Great for ages eight and over and costs £5.

More free activities are available with the ‘foam javelin frenzy’ on Friday 13th April at 10.30am for children aged six and over. Could you be the next Fatima Whitbread? Put your skills to the test.

For more information visit the web page at or call 01524 842493 or visit Salt Ayre Sports Centre to book your place (including the free sessions).

The park will be celebrating other events including ‘Love your Zoo’ week in May, ‘National Insect Week’ in June, ‘Love Parks Week’ in July and national ‘Play Day’ in August.

The park is set to host a month of outdoor theatre this August with productions of Shakespeare’s Henry V, Roald Dahl’s The Twits, HMS Pinafore, The Railway Children and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tickets will be available from the park gift shop and online at soon.

There will be plenty to come this autumn with activities to commemorate the 400 year anniversary of the Lancashire Witches trial leading up to the Fireworks Finale in November.

Returning this Christmas are the popular carol concerts in the Ashton Memorial and we hope that Santa will also be visiting his grotto.

The Butterfly House, Mini beast cave and woodland garden are also open all year round. The entry price includes all three attractions and children under three go free. Take a picnic or try something from the locally sourced menu in the recently refurbished Pavilion café.

• Join the Park's Facebook page at or find out more by visiting their pages at

Friday, 30 March 2012

Reclaim your lunch hour!

With British lunch times getting shorter and shorter, people rarely have their full hour. Some people only have 10 minutes to shove a pasty down their throats (if they can still afford one, of course) whilst still at their desk.

On May Day, join with others in Market Square, Lancaster, to get away from work and share your lunchtime with others.

Go on, you know you want to!

• More info:!/events/320161481379494

Dukes line-up blends film, theatre into one

Cinema and theatre collide in a brand new season at The Dukes in Lancaster this spring.

The Intermission Season celebrates The Dukes dual use as a home producing theatre and independent cinema – making it unique in the North West.

Among the entertaining treats in store from April to June are a chance to Scratch N Sniff The Goonies, experience a new film and live action version of a Sherlock Holmes adventure, watch a spellbinding classic film featuring shadow puppetry and a live score, and even Sing-A-Long-A-Wicker Man.

The Intermission Season launches on 17th April with The Hound of the Baskervilles, one of the greatest stories of the 20th Century brought to life using film and live action, which runs until 21st April.

The life of a man permanently trapped in the present is explored through dynamic physical action and 3D animation in 2401 Objects presented at The Dukes on 12th May following its standout success at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The first film of the Intermission Season is The Adventures of Prince Achmed (PG), a spellbinding classic loosely based on 1001 Arabian Nights. It makes innovative use of silhouette and shadow puppetry and when screened on 13th May, Lancaster-based composer Andy Whitfield will be performing a live score accompaniement.

If film nostalgia with a twist is more your thing, The Dukes offers Scratch N Sniff The Goonies (12A) on 20th May. Experience the Eighties classic with an added sensory dimension using scratch n sniff cards to trigger memories and the sweet smell of adventure. Fancy dress is actively encouraged at this screening.

A unique fusion of live animation, music and puppetry combine in The Rock Charmer, a bewitching live film created on stage on 24th May.

And to bring The Intermission Season to a rousing finale, pick up a pagan hymn book and Sing-A-Long-A-Wicker Man (18) on 16th June. This memorable night of entertainment will feature live music, audience singalongs, super 8 screenings and other treats.

• For more information on any of these events and to book tickets, call The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit

Gren Bartley confirmed as April guest at the Gillow

Lancaster's Robert Gillow pub has landed another top act for its folk nights. They've just announced that Gren Bartley, the rising star of the British folk scene, will be appearing there next week (Thursday 5th April).

A "phenomenal guitarist and singer", Gren is deeply rooted in old folk and blues traditions whilst stamping his own style on the genre.

Whilst the first thing you'll hear is his virtuosity on guitar, it is his mature vocals and poetically crafted lyrics that will ensure the longevity of this young musician's career.

His first full solo album “Carry Her Safe” was a collection of original songs and tunes, played on guitar and banjo. His second CD "e.g.", with fiddle sensation Tom Kitching, led to a record deal with folk stalwarts Fellside Records. He is often compared to the likes of Richard Thompson, Nic Jones and Kelly Joe Phelps - an emerging talent not to be missed.

Also lined up next month are:

Thursday 12 April - John Harper

It is only a couple of months since John’s last performance here but, due to public demand, the Gillow are pleased to have arranged another visit from this exceptionally talented guitarist and singer.

John Harper ( is a regular Lancaster entertainer who always dazzles everyone with his powerful renditions of British and American contemporary songs, his own compositions and traditional folksong.

His new CD is currently being mixed and mastered in the Dublin studio where it was recorded earlier in the year – the event organisers are not sure whether he will have copies with him or not, but you could go along and find out!

Thursday 19 April - Howard Haigh and Patrick O’Sullivan

Howard Haigh ( will be known to all acoustic music fans. He plays classical, flamenco, folky, jazzy guitar with an exceptionally large dose of genius.

He has a degree in Performing Arts and a University of London master’s degree in Music and Composition.

Howard has worked at the English Contemporary Dance School, English National Ballet and Royal Ballet; written for string quartets, orchestras and choirs; had his pieces performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, Purcell Room and Saddler’s Wells – and has danced with Gloria Gaynor.

For this event, he teams up with the Irish guitarist and singer Patrick O’Sullivan to present a cross-cultural evening of songs and tunes, duets and solos, Latino rhythms and Celtic melodies.

Thursday 26 April - Mal Gibson

Steeped in the traditions of the blues Mal ( was formerly known as Charlie White and 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 he’ll play a few tunes on the banjolele. A set to sing along to – or just listen, drink and enjoy.

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

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Police appeal following armed robbery in Lancaster

Police are appealing for witnesses following an armed robbery in Lancaster this afternoon.

The incident happened at Cumbrian Property Services/Marsden Building Society on Church Street at around 12:00pm this afternoon. A man has entered the business premises, approached the counter and threatened the assistant with what is believed to be a handgun and demanded cash.

He stole a quantity of cash before calmly leaving the premises and heading off in the direction of New Street towards the bus station area.

The alarm was raised and officers attended the area. The force helicopter circulated the area to help track down the offender, but he remains at large.

He is described as being white, around 5ft 10inc tall with a pale complexion and was clean shaven. He had blonde/red hair and a local accent. He was wearing a grey silver hooded cardigan with distinctive toggle style fastening akin to a duffle coat, dark tracksuit bottoms, grey gloves, and a black/grey scarf and was wearing sunglasses.

Detective Chief Inspector Vicki Evans from Lancaster CID said, “This incident happened in broad daylight at a busy lunchtime in the city centre. I would appeal to anyone who witnessed what happened or who saw the man leave the shop to come forward and contact the police.

“Fortunately nobody was hurt although the assistant has been left shocked following what can only be described as a terrifying ordeal. If anyone has any information then I would urge them to contact the police.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Lancaster CID on 101.

People with information can also 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, 28 March 2012

The Romans return to Lancaster!

A spectacular re-enactment of the Roman 'Tubilustrium' – a ceremony to make the army fit for war – will make a triumphant return to Lancaster this weekend, on Saturday 31st March.

The event will begin at 11.30am with a procession through the city, starting at Lancaster Castle and passing down Church Street and China Street before turning right onto Cheapside and then Market Street. It will finish up outside Lancaster City Museum in Market Square.

There, around 20 costumed Roman soldiers, horn blowers and dancers will recreate the amazing historical ceremony that was held in Rome in a building called the Hall of the Shoemakers (Atrium Sutorium).

Then, to show they are not so scary after all, the Romans will be at Lancaster Museum until 3.00pm, meeting visitors and entertaining them with fascinating facts about ancient Roman life.

Lancaster's history goes back to Roman times (and beyond) and once had its own Roman army base on Vicarage Fields. The remains of some Roman baths can still be seen nearby.

"We are thrilled to welcome back the soldiers of Roman Tours UK, who will be wowing visitors with their re-enactment of Roman soldiering," says Heather Dowler, Lancashire county council's manager at the museum.

"This is the fourth year we have run this fantastic event, and I can't think of a better way for people of all ages to have fun while discovering what it was like to be a Roman in Lancaster many, many centuries ago."

Lancaster Museum is run by Lancashire County Council on behalf of Lancaster City Council.

Dave Gibb at the Gillow

Lancaster's Robert Gillow pub presents the excellent folk musician Dave Gibb tomorrow night, Thursday 29th March.

Dave is a soulful singer, a completely whizz guitarist and man of immense wit and humour. You'll love his performance - and the pub is great, too!

We also have word that April's Folk Nights at the Gillow have some great acts planned, including a performance from the rising star of the British folk scene, Gren Bartley. More news as we get it.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Morecambe man found guilty of manslaughter

42-year-old Hugh McMahon of Westminster Road, Morecambe has been found guilty of manslaughter by a jury following a trial at Preston Crown Court. He was convicted of killing Colin Wilson in Lancaster in November 2012. He was found not guilty of murder.

Police were called to a flat on Cawthorne Street, Lancaster, at around 9.15pm by the ambulance service. On arrival, they found paramedics were treating Mr Wilson for a stab wound to his chest. He was taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary but died shortly after arrival.

A major investigation was launched and following a number of enquiries, Hugh McMahon was arrested the following morning and subsequently charged with Mr Wilson’s murder.

Senior investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Andrea Barrow from the Force Major Investigation Team said, “McMahon was a habitual knife carrier and on this occasion used his knife to cause a single stab wound to Colin Wilson which sadly killed him.

“The local community were left shocked following this horrific crime, as incidents like this are thankfully very rare in Lancaster. A full and thorough investigation was carried out where members of the local community assisted the police, we are very grateful to those who came forward with information.

“The past few months have been incredibly difficult for the family and friends of Mr Wilson, however they have showed great courage throughout the investigation and the court case and I hope they can find some closure following today’s outcome.”

McMahon will be sentenced on Tuesday 27th March.

Lancaster Women Runners take on the Blackpool 10k

Lancaster Women's Running Group
at the Blackpool Goal-Den  Girls 10k Women's Charity Race
Lancaster Women’s Running Group (LWRG) is back from the Goal-Den Girls 10k race in Blackpool. The LWRG is a local group for women runners of all ages, sizes and abilities.

The group celebrates its first year anniversary in April 2012 and after a few months of training the ladies in the group have just run their first 10K, the Goal Den Girls 10k in Blackpool -  a women only charity race. 24 ladies turned up on a sunny day in Blackpool, all wearing LWRG vests. The ladies ran really well and were pleased with their race times which ranged from 45 minutes to 1 hour 17. Their next goal is to run the Preston Guild series which runs through the summer and ends in Autumn with a half marathon.

Over its first year year the group, which has a several regular runs locally each week, has increased in size and each run has between 6-18 ladies. Many of the ladies had not really run  before joining the group and took it up for all sorts of reasons.

Led by Personal Trainer Sadie Mckeand, the group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6.30pm, Saturdays at 10am and for ladies who have never run before there is a pre running group at 7.30pm Tuesdays. Sadie also runs circuit training sessions on Quernmore Road field at 8.30am Saturdays and offers Personal Training packages and Sports Massage. For more information see website or contact Sadie on 0781 1868851.

Spoil your garden rotten with free compost

Local residents can reap the rewards of food and green waste recycling by collecting free compost made from the waste collected from green bins.

Lancaster City Council, with the help of pupils from Lancaster Road School, will be at Sainsbury’s, Morecambe on Thursday 29th March. Everyone is welcome to come along from 8.00am to fill up their bags. Compost will be limited to two bags per household.

People are asked to bring their own bags, and arrive early to avoid disappointment. Free compostable food caddy liners are also being given away on the day.

The compost is made from the food and garden waste that people recycle in their green bins, and is suitable for all types of plants.

• To find out what food waste can and can’t be recycled visit

Sunday, 25 March 2012

First Morecambe Vintage and Variety Festival line up revealed

The first Morecambe Vintage and Variety Festival is going full steam ahead for its debut on May 5th and 6th 2012.

Set in Morecambe’s atmospheric Winter Gardens, the theatre, which closed to the general public in the summer of 1977, will come alive once again as an international cast of jugglers, sword swallowers, contortionists, Punch and Judy men, street entertainers, circus stars and show girls tread the boards for a new two day festival in the Sea Side Town.

Former Morecambe resident and event organiser Neil Kendall is the man behind the spectacular May Bank Holiday event.

"The Weekend is a return to the glory days of seaside variety and theatre, he says.

"The Morecambe Variety Festival is a colourful tribute to our Town and promises to be spectacular fun for people of all ages."

Saturday night will see two lavish shows in the old theatre with stilt walkers, a vintage 1930’s carnival side show, a girl in a giant moon and fire eaters to name but a few of the acts.

The Family Variety Show at 6pm will showcase Britain’s brightest talents as hula hoopist Pippa Cochran, World Famous Mouth Juggler Rod Laver and the strange Doctor Diabalo and his Chamber of Horrors thrill the crowds with a 12 act show .The King Neptune’s Ball at 8pm is for the grown ups and is already half sold out.

For this all new show audiences can expect an international array of burlesque queens, death defying stunts including a Chinese pole artist and chair balancer there will also be a Carnival Parade and tour of the majestic building.

The event will be topped off with vintage dancing from local artist Anthony Padgett who shall be playing vintage music on a gramophone player at the after show party.

On Sunday, a traditional ball room tea dance shall take place and a performance of Captain Murderer and The Morecambe Mermaid shall be performed on the stage. Events and acts shall be staged throughout the day times from 12 noon till 5 pm.

Visit the Winter Gardens website for more information and tickets for the shows are being sold at and also Dotty Vintage Shop on Morecambe Promenade.

• More information on - search for Facebook Morecambe Variety Festival and