Friday, 7 September 2012

Lancaster takeaway assault: man sought

Police are appealing for information after a woman was assaulted in a Lancaster takeaway.

At around 3.00am on Monday 27th of August, the 18 year old woman was in ‘Flames’ takeaway on Rosemary Lane in Lancaster when a male customer started to become aggressive towards other customers. When the victim challenged the man, he punched her in the face, knocking her unconscious. The man then ran from the building.

Fortunately, the victim was not more seriously injured but was left shocked by what had happened and officers are appealing to anyone with any information that might help to trace the man responsible to come forward.

PC Sarah Chadwick said, “There was a number of customers in the takeaway at the time of the assault and so I would urge them to come forward and contact police if they have not done so already.”

The man is described as white, of stocky build and around 6 feet tall. He was in his late 20’s with short, black hair and stubble on his face and had an Irish accent.

Anyone with information can contact police by calling the new non-emergency number 101 quoting crime reference number BA1202943 or alternatively, information can be passed via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Heysham Safety Day planned

Heysham residents will have the opportunity to find out how they can get involved in making their local community a safer place at a special event next month.

Staff and volunteers from Lancashire Constabulary will be taking part in the National Personal Safety Day event at Heysham library between 3pm – 7pm on Monday 8th October.

National Personal Safety Day is an annual event run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and is aimed at raising awareness of the simple, practical solutions that everyone can use to help avoid becoming a victim of crime.

There will be a chance to find out more about becoming a Special Constable or a police volunteer and the chance to join up to your local neighbourhood watch scheme.

- More information about the national day can be found at


Huge coal theft at Lancaster industrial estate

Police are appealing for information after two tonnes of coal was stolen from an industrial estate in Lancaster last week.

At some time between the 27th and 28th of August, someone broke into the E & S Fuels unit on Lune Industrial Estate by removing some of the fencing at the rear of the compound. Once inside, they stole two tonnes of coal from inside a crate, it is believed, using a vehicle before leaving the compound.

Officers investigating the theft are appealing for anyone with any information to come forward.

“I would ask if anyone had seen any suspicious activity in or around the area either on that night or in the days leading up to the offence to come forward," asked PC Matthew Entwistle.

Anyone with information can contact police by calling the new non-emergency number 101 or alternatively, information can be passed via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

In Review: NT Live: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Play: Christopher, fifteen years old, stands beside Mrs Shears’ dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington.

He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world...

The Review: It's no easy thing to nip to the National Theatre for the evening. Certainly not from Lancaster, when the cost of rail tickets and overnight stay are likely to cost you an arm and a leg. So the opportunity to see the much-praised The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, beamed live from London to The Dukes this week, was just too tempting to pass up.

The original novel is one of Britain's best-loved, and with a cast that includes Niamh Cusack, Una Stubbs and Spooks star Nicola Walker, you won't be surprized to hear the show is a sell-out success for the National, through to the end of October. And while watching the performance of a play on a big screen might seem a little odd, that certainly didn't seem to put off the good people of Lancaster – because this first Dukes airing of the show was sold out, too. (Luckily, if you missed it, there are repeat performances at the end of the month).

This was the first time I'd been to one of these plays-as-films events at The Dukes: but for those of us who recall with ever-increasing fondness television's once much enjoyed Play for Today and other theatrical-style presentations, watching this performance on a big screen may not have been 'the real thing' but it was so well shot that really didn't matter. Yes, you got those fourth wall breaks as cameras glided into shot to set up for the next take, and you saw the occasional audience member in the background: but none of these were any more distracting than going to any play in the round, which was how Curious Incident was performed. Well worth the price of admission (and cheaper than going to see it 'live', too).

As for the performance: this is a stunning adaptation of Mark Haddon's 2003 novel, which carried me through its entirety: funny one moment, jaw-droppingly heart breaking the next. The inspired use of light and sound to give the audience an insight into autistic Christopher's world (performed with breath taking precision and passion by Luke Treadaway) was impressive, the performances throughout a delight, as the young student struck out on a journey that for most of us would be easy, for him a white knuckle ride.

There were moments – such as his frantic search for his pet rat, in the path of a fast-approaching tube train - that had some audience members forgetting he was running around a hole in a stage down in That London. It was that remarkable.

I'd thoroughly recommend trying these National Theatre Live events at The Dukes based on this experience. It was a terrific night of theatre - without any of the travel nightmare (well, except for the nightmares that unfolded on stage!)

• Encore screenings this original broadcast will take place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September 2012. More info here on The Dukes web site

More about the National Theatre show here

Louise on the loose at The Platform

Up and coming singer and musician Louise Jordan performs at The Platform in Morecambe on Wednesday 19th September, as part of her Album Launch Tour.

Hailed ‘a rising star’ by the Telegraph, Louise’s award winning debut album has been described as ‘a masterclass in songwriting’.

Louise will be playing songs from her second album Florilegium, consisting of original works, musical settings of literature as well as her own unique arrangements of traditional material.

Accompanying herself on piano and guitar Louise’s songs cross musical divides; influenced by acoustic, classical and folk Louise’s music appeals to all.

• Further details

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Every dog has its day at Morecambe’s Festival Market

Get ready to pamper your pooch in time for the annual fun dog show at Morecambe’s Festival Market.

This great family event takes place on Saturday 22nd September and promises to put your favourite pets on centre stage.

Registration opens at 10.00am and there are plenty of categories including best dog, waggiest tail, dog most like its owner and dog with the best smile. There will also be prizes for the best veteran, puppy and rescue dog and many more.

There is a small entry free of £1 per dog per category with all funds being donated to the Save-a-Pet and Wolfwood charities.

The dog show starts at 11.00am and there will be other entertainment on the day and a raffle and tombola. The RSPCA will also be offering micro-chipping and the council's Dog Warden Service will be on hand to offer information and advice.

The Festival Market will be open as usual with over 100 stalls selling an amazing array of products and treats. Why not stay for lunch and try one of the cafes serving delicious homemade meals and cakes?

• The full list of categories is available from the Market Office or online at

• For more information please contact Tracey Bruce, Market Manager, by calling 01524 414251 or visiting the Market Office, Festival Market, Central Drive, Morecambe, LA4 4DW

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Beyond the Castle - Share your stories and explore the space

People are again being asked to share stories about a historic part of Lancaster to help shape plans for a new public space.

The second series of events has been announced for Beyond the Castle - a project that will involve local people in shaping the future of the site on Lancaster's Castle Hill. Everyone is invited to imagine and design new possibilities.

The event on Saturday 8th September will involve people sharing stories about the site, while the second event on Saturday 22nd September will look at the accessibility, ecology and history of the site.

The Beyond the Castle area includes Castle Park, Vicarage Fields and Quayside Meadows. The project wants to make a high-quality public space from the area around the city's historic castle and priory.

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: "This project isn't a consultation - it's co-design. We want to listen to people's ideas so that we can design Beyond the Castle together.

"We've already had some really fun ideas from local people - including a wildflower meadow, a treehouse and a castle built entirely of plastic bricks! And we still want people to give their ideas.

"There's a lot of potential for the castle itself and we want to support this by creating an interesting space in the area around it, that reflects the traditions, history and future of this exciting site."

If you have a story to share, you can come along to a special 'drop-in' event on Saturday 8 September from 12 noon to 3.30pm. Meet outside Lancaster Priory, where volunteers and designers will help record stories - old and new - about the area, its history and its future. People can walk around the space, and have their ideas recorded in drawings, stories or recordings.

For the second event, people are invited to look at the ecology, history and accessibility of the park. The session will look at how the space can fit the needs of local people and those who visit it. Meet outside Lancaster Priory on Saturday 22 September from 2pm to 4.30pm, or 6pm to 8pm.

Everyone is invited to come along to these drop-in sessions, which can last for as little as 15 minutes. Both sessions will build on ideas gathered in August from shoppers in Market Street, when project members spoke to hundreds of local people about the project.

The Beyond the Castle project was initiated by Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council, and is supported by a co-design challenge led by Lancaster University through PROUD, an EU INTERREG project.

• For more details, visit: 

Monsoon shoplifters sought

Police are appealing for information after almost £500 worth of dresses were stolen from the Monsoon store on Penny Street, Lancaster.

The offence happened at around 3.45pm on the 18th of August when three women entered the store, selected five ‘Cleopatra’ style white dresses, concealed them and left the store without making payment.

Officers have released CCTV images of people they wish to speak to in connection with the offence and are asking anyone with any information to come forward and contact them.

Council to report on Lancaster Market building's future

Lancaster City Councillors will be presented with an update report on the latest position on Lancaster Indoor Market when Full Council meets next week.

The indoor market is due to close on 14th September, with many of the traders now having relocated to empty shops in Lancaster.

The Council says this paves the way for continued talks with the owner of the market building, Allied, with the eventual aim of securing a new future for the building that should bring more new life to the city centre.

"The closure of the indoor market is a very sad occasion," notes Coun Jon Barry, Cabinet member with responsibility for markets. "However, I believe that it is important to look at the many future positives for the city centre.

“Many of the market traders who are relocating will greatly benefit the city centre by giving it an increased number and better mix of independent traders to complement the existing stores, as well as the Assembly Rooms and Charter Market.

"I personally want to wish all of the traders good luck and every success in their new ventures."

Whether key council staff and councillors (past and present) will again get a roasting for the way they have dealt with this whole matter will only be heard by councillors however.

The update report to Full Council is exempt as it deals with "sensitive commercial issues" -- but a public minute will be made available after the meeting.

Ryelands Park robbery - police hunt copper thieves

Police are appealing for information following the theft of a quantity of copper piping from football changing rooms in Ryelands Park, leaving them flooded.

Police say the cost of repairs will be enormous.

The incident happened between 6:30pm on Sunday 2nd September and 9:00am on Monday 3rd at the changing rooms on Ryelands Park on Owen Road.

The offenders forced a lock off a wooden door and entered the changing rooms and toilet area, then stolen all the copper piping leaving the whole area to flood with water.

PC Adam Jussub from Lancaster police said, “I would appeal to anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity on Ryelands Park on Sunday night or Monday morning to come forward and contact the police.

“It is going to cost the authorities money to repair the damage and replace the stolen copper in order to get the facility up and running again.

“If anyone has any information about this incident then they should come forward and contact the police.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Lancaster 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.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Sand Pilot walks across the bay start on Saturday

Photographer: Ben Eaton © Invisible Flock
The first Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts Sand Pilot event takes place this Saturday.

Sand Pilot - an 'Invisible Flock' project about walking - is part digital, part installation, a book and a very famous walk.

Made in collaboration with Cedric Robinson, the Queen's official guide to the sands, the project uses the sands of Morecambe Bay and the famous cross bay walk as the backdrop to the work.

The Invisible Flock company with Cedric Robinson - the Queen's official guide to the sands.
Photographer: Ian Hughes
Inspired and created from the guide's history, the story of the walk and the bay itself, as well as personal and unique stories, Invisible Flock invite you to join them for one of four special walks, starting from Arnside, as part of the wider project exploring how and why we walk and the journeys we take in our lives.

The eight mile walk from from Arnside to Grange over Sands, guided by Cedric, will be part of an intimate exploration and portrait of walking.

Walks are on the 8,10,22 & 24th September 2012 at various times. See this LICA web page for full details
•  Virtual Lancaster have put together a useful pdf of important safety notes when crossing Morecambe Bay
A percentage of your ticket price will go to Cedric's chosen charity.  

Grand serves up 'A Taste of Dickens'

Lancastrians are cordially invited to A Taste of Dickens - a newly-devised celebration of Charles Dickens, to be held at the Lancaster Grand Theatre, this Friday (7th September 2012).

The event offers an evening of readings devised, written and directed by Michael Nunn to celebrate the birth of Charles Dickens, to be served with a Victorian Buffet using recipes by Mrs Charles Dickens published in he cookbook What shall we have for Dinner in 1851.

During the interval, a Victorian Buffet, including dishes made to recipes by Mrs Dickens by The Borough, Dalton Square, will be served.

After the performance, to be attended by the Mayor of Lancaster and her consort, there will be an opportunity to 'Meet the Cast' for a talk-back and questions-and answers session for twenty minutes or so.

Tickets can be bought from The Grand Theatre Box Office in person between 10.00am and 3.00pm, by telephone on 01524 64695, or online at Tickets are £15 with concessions at £12, including the buffet. Disabled access is limited, but there are wheelchair spaces available on prior request.

• More info:

Robin Hood heads for Lancaster next summer

Robin Hood - set to storm Lancaster next year. Photo courtesy The Dukes

Legendary outlaw Robin Hood will be setting up camp in Williamson Park next summer - when The Dukes return with their acclaimed outdoor walkabout theatre season.

Robin and his Merry Men will have audiences quivering with excitement when they swap Sherwood Forest for Lancaster’s premier park from 5th July until 10th August 2013.

“Williamson Park is the perfect setting for Robin Hood," explains Dukes director Joe Sumsion. "It has the two essentials for the story – fantastic woods and, in the Ashton Memorial, a very grand castle indeed.

“The park is looking better than ever -  work that the city council has done recently has opened up spaces that people will see afresh during our production which will be full of fun, adventure and lots of humour.”

There will be strong community involvement in the show and opportunities for the audience to be part of the unfolding drama.

The Dukes version of Robin Hood will be written by Kevin Dyer, who has been nominated for the Writers Guild of Great Britain Best Theatre Play Award for Merlin and The Legend of King Arthur, which the Lancaster theatre produced outdoors in 2011.

“We want to make a show that clearly connects with Merlin because almost 18,000 people saw that production and loved it,” said Joe.

Since 1987, The Dukes have built up a reputation for outdoor walkabout theatre productions which became the largest of their kind in the UK. A version of Robin Hood was last produced by The Dukes outdoors in 1993.

• Tickets for Robin Hood are now on sale with very early bird discounts offering a saving of £3 per ticket on bookings made before the end of January. Children’s tickets have been frozen at 2011 prices.

• For more information and to book, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit

Monday, 3 September 2012

Gladly Solemn Sound's Heritage Concert announced

Gladly Solemn Sound, a Lancaster-based choir, will be performing in the city's best-known closed church, St. John's this weekend -- part of the Heritage Weekend programme which offers free entry to local historic venues.

Formed in 1992, the Gladly Solemn Sound now number about two dozen and usually sing unaccompanied, though a small string band is sometimes added for special occasions.

They sing West Gallery Music: the all but forgotten rural church music of the 18th and early 19th centuries, disliked by Victorian reformers and supplanted by the more decorous 'Hymns Ancient and Modern', sung by children's choirs, to organ or harmonium accompaniment.

West Gallery "quires" were led by fiddles, clarinets, cellos, bassoons etc - music florid and lively, rhythmically energetic, delighting in earthy (sometimes unorthodox) harmonies and simple polyphony.

Gladly Solemn's Sound repertoire consists mostly of English metrical psalm settings, anthems and carols (often taken directly from local manuscript sources), but they also sing related material: secular glees, American Sacred Harp music and pieces recently composed in a compatible idiom.

The choir has performed at concerts, folk festivals, weddings (including a pagan wedding) and has made two CDs.

• The Gladly Solemn Sound, 1.00pm, Saturday 8th September, St John's Church, North Road, Lancaster

• Official web site:

• More about West Gallery Music:

Lancaster folk music master departs the City

Local ceilidh band Moorgate
Local musician Tony Cooke has been organising 'Thursday Folk' in Lancaster for 20 years, but, sadly, his time providing this invaluable service for music lovers will come to an end this month as he's moving away (although will be back to play folk here as often as he can).

The last dates he has organised at Lancaster's fine hostelry, the Robert Gillow, are listed below and include what is bound to be an emotional performance from Tony's own band, Moorgate, this Thursday and a show by Dave Emptage and Tony, performing as The Duo, on the 27th.

What happens to Thursday Folk after that is in the hands of the landlord of the Gillow.

While folk has always been his passion, Tony has been a key figure in promoting music in general in Lancaster for much longer than that: he was one of the first musicians to perform in the Brown Cow in the 1970s, a pub that went one to became one of the first to offer live music to its customers. Since then, many have followed and Tony and friends have performed in many of them.

He will be much missed, even though we know he will be back to perform. Best of luck, sir!

Thursday 6 September: Moorgate

Moorgate comprises Simon Booth playing melodeon and harmonica; Richard Robinson playing clarinet; and Tony Cooke on guitar.  All three have been playing folk dance music for years (with The Ran Tan Band, Free Reed Band, Shake A Leg, One Foot In The Gutter, Slur et al.) so this is one belting-good ceilidh band! 

The music comes from all over Great Britain and other parts of Europe and has strong melodies, subtle harmonies and traditional dance rhythms. More info:

Thursday 13 September: Hard Times

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.  No further explanation is necessary, the band is simply brilliant.

Thursday 20 September: John Harper
Another welcome 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.  Music to make you think, music to make you sing and reaffirm that the best live music is to be heard here! More info:

Thursday 27 September: The Duo – from folk to Floyd

The Duo comprises Dave Emptage and Tony Cooke.  Their guitars and voices are well known to Gillow regulars.  Offering what's been described as a "strange kind of magic" when they play, expect their usual brilliant mix of folk, pop and rock rich in vocal harmonies and excellent guitar accompaniment - tonight with a special 'Harvest Festival'.

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