Friday, 19 October 2012

City Council takes over 'nitro drink' investigation

Gaby Scanlon - still in hospital after
'nitrogen drink' incident

Image posted publicly on facebook
Following the conclusion of Lancashire Constabulary’s investigation into the liquid nitrogen incident in which an 18 year old Heysham girl Gaby Scanlon was hospitalised shortly after being served a drink containing liquid nitrogen, the matter has now been formally handed over to Lancaster City Council to investigate under safety and food legislation.

As was widely reported, both here on virtual-lancaster and elsewhere, the incident occurred on the evening of 4th October at a Lancaster bar and the girl underwent emergency surgery.

Gaby had to have her stomach removed after drinking a liquid nitrogen cocktail - and is still in hospital, but speaking to the Lancaster Guardian this week, her mother Lisa Henshall has praised local medical staff for saving her life.

The Council's Environmental Health Officers were initially advising and assisting the police investigation under established inter-agency working arrangements and used powers under the Health & Safety at Work Act to formally prohibit the bar from serving drinks containing liquid nitrogen.  They also took possession of the liquid nitrogen equipment on the premises.

The council's investigation will now examine further the causes and circumstances of the incident and whether any offences have been committed.  A family liaison officer has been assigned to the injured person and her family following their traumatic experience.

The council is in contact with the Food Standards Agency and liaising with other local authorities and the Health & Safety Executive.

Meanwhile, Morecambe MP David Morris has begun a campaign to ask Parliament to consider banning liquid nitrogen being served in drinks and the Food Standards Agency is currently advising against drinking liquid nitrogen in a posting on their website.

"There are safety and handling guidelines around the use of liquid nitrogen, especially in relation to food," commented the FSA’s Head of Incident Management, Colin Houston. "It is the business owner’s responsibility to make sure that their staff have been trained and are aware of the potential risks of using liquid nitrogen. They also have to have appropriate safety measures in place to protect both their staff and consumers.

"The FSA will be making local enforcement officers aware of the practice of using liquid nitrogen in the use of cocktails and it will be something officers can incorporate as part of their inspection regime.

"We’re also working with other departments and agencies to investigate the issue and whether we need to take any further action."

Food manufacturers, retailers and businesses in the UK have a legal obligation to make sure that any and all food they are serving to the public is fit for human consumption.

The city council says it is their policy not to comment on the detail of ongoing regulatory investigations and they do not plan to make any further media statements. The investigation is likely to last a number of weeks.

Spotlight Club's LitFest Special tonight

Spotlight's Litfest Special is on tonight, Friday 19th October – and they're back at The Storey.

The event is a Prize Open Mic Slam, inviting poets, writers and other performers to present their best work to the audience.

Spotlight is a cave of ideas, always on the hunt for new and experimental writers and performers at it's Open Mic spots. Taking place on the third Friday of every month the event gives a platform to poets, writers, comedians, ranters and musicians. It's a dynamic platform on which a wide variety of aspiring writers are positively encouraged to experiment with words, music and performance.

Compered by Simon Baker, tonight's event kicks off at 8.00pm at the Storey Auditorium, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster. Doors Open 8.00pm (£4 / £2 students/unwaged/concessions ).

• Web:

In Review: Drawing on Much Ado

Drawing On Much Ado
Photographs and Drawings
by Kim Lewis, Cathy Duncan and George Coupe
displayed at the Dukes Gallery
15 to 27 October 2012.

Reviewed by Peter Clarke

This exhibition captures the atmosphere of the recent and outstandingly successful Demi-Paradise production of 'Much ado about Nothing', produced by Steve Tomlin and performed at Lancaster Castle and Priory Church earlier this year. The display comprises sketches and photographs of by Demi-paradise artists in residence Kim and Cathy, showing the initial readings and rehearsals of the play. Also displayed are production photographs by company photographer George Coupe. In presenting an exhibition of the play Demi-paradise is building on their relationship with the Dukes theatre.

Artist Kim Lewis succeeds in capturing elements of the play and relationship of characters with depiction of the expressive hand gestures of the actors. This display of her work is in the form of fifteen photographs collected into five sets, along with eight drawings. The photographs have a soft appearance and are virtually monochrome.  They form a record which enabled Kim to create the drawings using the medium of pencil. The drawings are very detailed and realistic though retaining the character, individuality and softness of a pencil sketch. Each drawing can take up to two weeks to produce. All these art works depict hands, along with part of a torso, the hands clasping, holding or engaged in some activity. This gives a very original and rather intimate method of capturing the actions of the actors and the progress of the play and its production. Kim is known for her success as author an illustrator of numerous children's books

An alternative take on the plays production is provided by artist Cathy Duncan  in the form of four frames of collected pen and ink sketches. Individual sketch are relatively small and each was completed in the space of ten minutes or less as the action unfolded. They show scenes from the rehearsals of the play and vary from a few lines capturing dancing figures to quite detailed sketches of actors in dialogue. This degree of time pressure has resulted in a set of very lively and spontaneous works of art which give a time line to the unfolding of the play. Cathy has exhibited her work throughout North East England and she develops her sketches into linecuts or paintings.

George Coupe is a freelance photographer who has worked with Demi-paradise on almost all of their productions to date. Four of his stunning colour production photographs provide a framework and another point of reference for the viewer.

The simultaneous presentation of three very different approaches by three artists of the same play allows the viewer to contrast these approaches and have three alternative yet complimentary viewpoints of the production.

This exhibition will obviously appeal to anyone who enjoyed the Demi-paradise production of 'Much ado about Nothing. However the work of each of these artists also stands on its own merit as a fine collection of original and skilled artwork.

It is intended that the exhibition itself will go on tour, the next venue likely to be The Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.

Date of review - 16 October 2012.

The Dukes Gallery, Moor Lane Lancaster, LA1 1QE, is open everyday from 10:00. Entrance is free. Please call the box office on 01524 598500 to check opening times if you’re making a special journey as occasionally the space is closed to the public. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

£128,000 facelift for Silverdale library opened

Good news for once for the beleagured library service today, as improved community facilities and up-to-date technology were on show at an event to mark the official reopening of Silverdale Library.

County Councillor David Smith, lead member for community services, cut the red ribbon at the revamped library on Emesgate Lane during a special celebration last week.

The £128,000 makeover includes a full refurbishment of the inside of the building, a new main entrance with automatic doors, which has been moved to the side of the building to improve accessibility; an extra public-access computer and a large plasma screen.

The Library now boasts improved lighting and heating, Wi-Fi to enable customers can use their own laptops and an outdoor area with decking so customers can read outside and hold story time events and other activities

These refurbishments are part of Lancashire County Council's Regenerate scheme, a £5.5m programme which has seen a complete renovation of 15 libraries with more to come.

"The outdated fixtures and fittings have been removed and replaced to create a modern, welcoming library," commmneted Mr Smith, lead member for community services.

"The way we use libraries has changed and the new-look Silverdale Library is an even better place to read, use the internet, or attend community events.

"Since the library reopened in December 2011 public use of the PC network has increased by 50% and we're pleased that the library is allowing even more people to access the internet.

"Silverdale Library is very much at the heart of the local community and after speaking to local residents, we're pleased that they are so positive about the work we've done."

Although there were library closures in 2011, in Lancashire Public Library News reports there have been a number of service extensions and upgrades to services in 2012, including 24 branches to be open from 9am rather than 9.30am , further upgrading of Accrington, Harris (Preston), Bacup, St Annes and Earby libraries, a £1m upgrading for Earby and Rosegrove libraries.

However, there have been increases in charges, volunteers used to extend hours in some branches. In April, the Lancashire Telegraph reported earlier this year that the libraries budget had been cut from £22m p.a. 2009/10 to £17.1m 2012/13

Skerton Primary School to be demolished

A former primary school building in Lancaster is to be demolished for safety reasons and to prevent vandalism.

Plans have been approved to level the site of Skerton Primary School and nursery, off Mainway, which closed in July 2010.

Skerton Learning Centre, which provides short-stay and alternative education, is separated from the main site by a driveway and fence and will not be affected by the plans.

The site will be reinstated with soil and seeded over, so it can be used by adjacent Skerton High School as a playing area until a permanent new use can be found.

Charles: "Sad to see a building go"
Tory County Councillor Susie Charles, who approved the decision, said: "The buildings have been empty for some time and despite our efforts we have not been able to find a new occupant who is in a position to move into the buildings, either from within the county council or the community.

"Disused buildings deteriorate quickly and are a target for vandals. I understand this is already the case at Skerton Primary where lead has been stripped from the roof, allowing to water getting in and causing ceilings to collapse.

"We have fenced off the buildings and done our best to make them secure, but I fear they would continue to be a target for anti-social behaviour, or – worse – someone might gain entry and be hurt in an accident.

"It is always sad to see a building go, but the decision to demolish the former school will remove these dangers and save us money on security and maintenance in the long run."

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Countdown begins for this year's Lancaster Firework Spectacular

The countdown has begun for this year's Lancaster Firework Spectacular which will see this year’s dazzling display being launched – for the first time ever – from the roof of historic Lancaster Castle.

On Saturday 3rd November, the Duchy of Lancaster has given permission for this magnificent building to be the centrepiece of the pyrotechnics, moving the launch from its traditional spot on the nearby Vicarage Fields.

Not only will the castle act as the perfect backdrop for the drama of the display but the new location will also increase the height of the firework launch by up to 100 feet, and therefore increase the distance from which they can be seen.

As in previous years, the castle and priory precinct will be closed during the display which takes place at 8.00pm.

Viewing the display from the Giant Axe and Quay Meadow

Despite being what the Council described as a spectacular success in terms of visitor numbers last year, there was some criticism of the way the viewing areas were marshalled (see news story). In response, organisers have introduced a free wristband system for the two official viewing areas closest to the castle at Quay Meadow and Giant Axe.

Well over half of the wristbands allowing access to these sites having already been allocated, so you are advised to register for your wristbands now at or call  01524 582906.  

You can request up to six wristbands per household and these will be posted out ahead of the event.  The deadline for registration is 5.00pm on 24th October.

As well as a fantastic view of this year's display, spectators at the Giant Axe will also be able to enjoy a number of small fairground rides courtesy of Taylor's Funfair as well as live entertainment from Lancaster's very own samba band - Batala. Refreshments will also be available at this site.

BBC Radio Lancashire will be broadcasting live from Quay Meadow from 7pm with a special programme of co-ordinated music on 104.5FM. Visitors are invited to go along and meet Lancaster's very own breakfast show presenter and TV news broadcaster, Graham Liver, as well as other Radio Lancashire personalities. Refreshments and entertainment will also be available at this venue before the fireworks are launched.

Other official viewing areas

Although the fireworks will be visible from almost anywhere in the city that can see the castle, there are three additional official viewing areas which do not require passes:

• Salt Ayre, where more than 2,500 people enjoyed the spectacular view across the River Lune last year. Visitors will also be able to enjoy free parking, hot food and drink and Taylor’s Funfair
• Millennium Bridge and the cycle path alongside the River Lune (opposite St George’s Quay)
• Williamson Park

Representatives from local charity CancerCare will also be in attendance this year at all official viewing areas to raise money to support people affected by cancer.

The Fireworks Spectacular is just the culmination of a weekend of activities in Lancaster.

The celebrations will start on Friday 2nd November with ‘Light Up Lancaster’, brought to you by arts partners from across the district. The event invites you to stroll through the squares and alleyways at the heart of Lancaster by night and celebrate its heritage through illuminating performances of music, art and dance.

As a warm up for the evening’s event on Saturday 3rd November, there will be witches and Guy Fawkes themed activities throughout the day in the city centre, including guided walks and tours, storytelling, arts and crafts and lantern making workshops.

• For more information on the viewing areas and a full programme of the weekend’s events, visit

City Council launches major planning consultation

Lancaster City Council is launching a major consultation on a new draft Local Development Plan for the district.

The Local Plan will allocate land for the district’s future housing and commercial needs, protect land for its environmental, social and economic value and set out a series of planning policies which will manage future proposals for all types of development across the district.  The Local Plan also includes proposals for the regeneration of Central Morecambe via the Morecambe Area Action Plan.

The consultation on the draft Local Plan will start on Monday 22nd October and run for eight weeks through to Friday 14th December. Prior to the start of the consultation exercise, the council will be distributing a leaflet to all households within the district which will provide details of what the main implications of the Local Plan will be and how residents can get involved.

As part of the consultation the council has organised a series of events across the district where anyone interested will be able to speak to council officers about any affects the Local Plan will have on their area.


29th Monday - Heysham Library (2pm - 7pm)
30th Tuesday - Morecambe Library (2pm - 7pm)
31st Wednesday - Bolton-le-Sands Village Hall (2pm – 6.30pm)


2nd Friday - Morecambe Town Hall (10am - 3pm)
3rd Saturday - Lancaster Market Square (10am - 3pm)

6th Tuesday - St Paul's Parish Hall, Scotforth, Lancaster (2pm - 7pm)
7th Wednesday - Morecambe Town Hall (10am - 3pm)
8th Thursday - Silverdale Gaskell Memorial Hall (2pm - 7pm)
9th Friday - Middleton Village Hall (2pm - 7pm)

12th Monday - Carnforth Railway Station (2pm - 7pm)
13th Tuesday - Morecambe Town Hall (10am - 3pm)
14th Wednesday - Lancaster Market Square (10am - 3pm)
16th Friday - University of Cumbria (Alexandra Gallery) (2pm - 7pm)
21st Wednesday – Platform, Morecambe (2pm - 7pm)
22nd Thursday - Lancaster University (Bailrigg Conference Centre) (2pm - 7pm)

26th Monday - Hornby Institute (2pm - 7pm)
27th Tuesday - Morecambe Library (2pm - 7pm)
28th Wednesday - Caton Victoria Institute (2pm - 6.30pm)
30th Friday - Galgate Village Hall (2pm - 7pm)


4th Tuesday - Marsh Community Centre, Lancaster (2pm - 7pm)
6th Thursday – The Centre, Halton, (3.15pm - 6.15pm)

The draft documents which comprise the Lancaster District Local Plan will also be available to view at Lancaster and Morecambe Town Halls and local libraries from the start of the consultation.

• For a full list of consultation dates or for more information on the draft Local Plan visit or contact the council via email:   For information on the Morecambe Area Action Plan email

Ryelands Park improvements - local views sought

Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, North Lancashire Primary Care Trust and the Friends of Ryelands Park are working together to help improve Skerton's major green space.

The partners have now put together a draft plan for the future of Ryelands Park based on the views of local residents. These are currently only proposals and no decisions have been made. The final plan will enable us to secure funding to carry out improvements to the park.

We value your opinion on the plans and would like to ensure that any improvements made to the park meet local community needs.

• An outline of the plans can be found at

• If you are interested, have your say on the draft plan for the Future of Ryelands Park (closing date: November 30 2012)

Friends of Ryelands Park are holding a drop in session to discuss plans for the Park on Tuesday 20th November between 4.00 and 7.00pm at Lune Park Children's Centre, Ryelands Park.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Cricket Club readies for bonfire night

Lancaster Cricket and Sports Club in Lune Road will again be celebrating the annual Lancaster firewords display on the evening of Saturday 3rd November.

The view from the Club of the fireworks is one of the best in Lancaster, especially now that they are to be launched from the roof of Lancaster Castle.

There will be free entry, hot food and drinks in the Clubhouse and fun for all the family from 7pm onwards. Any funds raised will be used to support the development of the Club.

Volunteering One Lancashire gets underway

Volunteering One Lancashire, a new pilot project taking place across the county, will support volunteers and voluntary groups.

Backed by Lancashire County Council, the Project aims to create new volunteer hubs across the county for Volunteer Groups to work together.

The three hubs will encourage people to volunteer, help organisations find volunteers and enable volunteers to gain new skills to help their work.

It will also develop links between voluntary groups in Lancashire to share information and good practice.

The county council is investing almost £130,000 from a Central Gateway Grant in this pilot project, which will run for a year. Additional funds have also been drawn from One Lancashire - a support network for voluntary organisations, which is funded by the government.

Once completed, the pilot will be reviewed to look at its successes and plan a way forward to further develop volunteering across the county council.

To cover the whole county, three hubs will be created:

  • North: Lancaster, Morecambe, Fylde and Wyre

  • East: Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley

  • Central: Preston, South Ribble, Chorley, and West Lancashire

At present, schemes that support volunteering take place in some parts of the county, but not others . This pilot will fill these gaps and provide countywide coverage, while building on the work of existing networks and volunteering schemes.

"By working closely with groups who are already involved in the voluntary sector, we can target this service in a much b! etter way than the county council could have done on its own," explains County Councillor Mark Perks, who is Chair of the Cabinet Working Group for the Third Sector.

"Voluntary work takes place all across the county and can bring tremendous benefits to people and communities. We want to support their work and the introduction of Volunteering One Lancashire will be an important part of this support."

In total, seven jobs will be created - two for each hub and a part time project co-ordinator. Other work at the hubs will be done by volunteers, helping to create more volunteering opportunities in the county.

The One Lancashire project will be led by Selnet - the social enterprise Lancashire network - with support from other agencies to deliver the project in each area.

Volunteering Lancashire is a network of volunteer infrastructure organisations. This multi-agency partnership aims to promote high quality volunteering and encourage a greater number and diversity of volunteers that will in turn improve access, services and resources.

The One Lancashire partnership was established February 2012 as a result of a successful bid to Cabinet Office for Transforming Local Infrastructure funding. The partnership has six core members with Selnet acting as the lead agency and the accountable body to the Cabinet Office.

The transformation programme is designed to improve support and services to voluntary, community and faith sector organisations and social enterprises in Lancashire.

• Further details about One Lancashire can be found at

Police hunt Lancaster car vandals

Police are appealing for information after nine cars had their paintwork scratched on a quiet cul-de-sac road in Lancaster.
The damage took place on Meadowside, close to the Poynter Roundabout, when vandals targeted the vehicles between 11.00pm on Saturday 14th October and 10.30 am on Sunday 15th October.
“This is the second incident this year," notes Sergeant Dave Callan, "with seven vehicles damaged on the same stretch of road in July. 

"Understandably residents have been left angry and upset.
“An investigation is underway and I’d ask anyone with any information with regards to either incident to contact us on 101 or alternatively to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting log number LC-20121014-0592.”

Pens and Pixels merge for new exhibition

Children enjoying 'Pen, Paint and Pixels: Touring the English Lakes across 250 years' at Dove Cottage recently
A unique art exhibition offering a world first use merging art and photography with smartphone technology will enable visitors to the Lake District to take full advantage of the amazing lakes and mountains landscape this autumn and winter.

Pen, Paint and Pixels: Touring the English Lakes across 250 years, at Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere, allows visitors to travel between the past and the present, while tapping into their inner creativity. Taking up its challenge and follow in the footsteps of a very early travel writer, an artist and a digital photographer, it encourages visitors to take the inspiration gained at the exhibition out into the landscape with the help of OS map co-ordinates and a free smartphone app created by Norfolk-based Pocket Palaces.

Brathay Bridge by Thomas Farington
Autumn and winter present some of the best opportunities to explore the stunning Lake District thanks to the russet colours of the fells and the greater visibility of the lakes through the leafless trees. This makes the ‘Pen, Paint and Pixels’ experience even richer.

The exhibition features 28 Lakes locations at which travel journal entries, followed by paintings and finally by digital photography, were created by eighteenth century artist Thomas Gray, such as his painting of Brathay Bridge, above, and Joseph Farington - and modern day photographer John Murray.

The exhibition features all three media, showing the same locations over 250 years and providing interesting insights. Using OS map coordinates available in a free brochure or the app’s GPS technology, exhibition visitors can absorb the views in the exhibition’s full-size paintings, then head to as many locations as they wish, to take their own pictures, sketch, or maybe even write about the same Lakes beauty spot.

Hints are provided by the free, interactive app, but also by John Murray’s book A Tour of the English Lakes, which non-smartphone owners can buy at the Wordsworth Shop next to Dove Cottage or online a

Anyone who feels Murray has not got the position from which to take a photo quite right can explore the locality and find a better place. They can then check their version against those printed in the book, or provided by the smartphone app.

Using an app in this way is a world first for an exhibition. It allows visitors to interact with the landscape in a totally unique way, but also guides them to some of the Lake District’s most beautiful locations, which they might otherwise never find.

The best starting point for this journey is the Grasmere-based exhibition itself. Admission is £7.50 for an adult, £4.50 for a child and £17.20 for a family. Murray’s book costs £14.99 as a softback and £25 hardback. Entrance includes a tour of Wordsworth’s former home, Dove Cottage, as well as exhibition admission.

The exhibition, Dove Cottage, the Wordsworth Museum and Art Gallery are open daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (last admission 5 pm). The Jerwood Centre is open by appointment to all with a research interest.

• More information can be found at The free app – A Tour of the English Lakes - can be downloaded at the Apple App Store or from GooglePlay for android. ‘Pen, Paint and Pixels’ runs to January 6, 2013


Monday, 15 October 2012

Hard-hitting images highlight Lancashire's 20mph aims

Hard-hitting images of injured children are the focus of a new campaign to drive home the message that obeying the new 20mph limits in Lancashire's residential areas could save lives.

The posters on billboards and bus shelters highlight Department for Transport research that shows a person hit at 30mph is seven times more likely to die than a person hit at 20mph.

The launch comes as 20mph signs have now been installed on more than half of residential roads as part of Lancashire County Council's programme to establish 20mph as the new limit on all residential roads and outside schools by the end of 2013.

The limits are unpopular with some drivers, judging by mail received by virtual-lancaster, but casualty records in Lancashire show 68 per cent of accidents where people are seriously killed or injured are recorded in 30mph areas, and 79 per cent of these are either on foot or cyclists.

County Councillor Geoff Driver, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "Many areas of Lancashire now have 20mph limits and this campaign highlights why we've introduced them.

"Although accident rates have fallen in recent years, figures show that some parts of Lancashire have among the worst accident records in the country.

"The images used in the campaign are hard-hitting because our research suggests they will be an effective way of encouraging drivers to recognise the serious consequences the 20mph areas are designed to guard against.

"The new limits will only add a short time to most car journeys and the message is that taking an extra minute or so could be enough to save somebody's life."

The county council recently announced promising results from three 'pilot' 20mph schemes which have been established for approximately 18 months.

In the three years before the 20mph limits were introduced the total number of casualties across the three areas was 137. But in the period since, only 25 injury accidents have been recorded.

A senior paramedic from the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust advised the county council on the type of injuries that, from their experience, a child could expect to suffer if knocked down by a car at 20mph, or higher speed.

Ian Walmsley, NWAS Sector Manager for East Lancashire, said: "In my 30 year career I've attended many accidents where people have been hit by cars, and those involving children are often the most distressing.

"There is nothing more harrowing than turning up to a scene where a child has been killed and you know that by reducing the speed by just 10mph could have saved their life. In the scheme of things that one minute extra on your journey is nothing when you are considering someone's life."

Lancashire Constabulary is also supporting the campaign by highlighting the link betw! een speeding and accidents which result in death or injury, and the knock-on impact upon families.

PC Jason Moore, Family Liaison Officer said: "As an experienced Family Liaison Officer within the Roads Policing Unit, my most difficult task is having to meet a family and deliver the most devastating news imaginable - that their child has died.

"Many road accidents take place on residential roads and reducing speeds in these areas could make a real difference to the outcome for the hundreds of families who are affected by injuries and deaths each year."

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Rhodes added: "Figures released earlier in the year show that the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads is at the lowest in 30 years but we are not complacent and this is part of our dedication to reducing this figure even further."

The 20mph areas are part of an overarching initiative called Healthy Streets, which ties together many areas of the council's work such as encouraging people to walk, cycle and car share, to improve safety by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles on residential roads.

• For more information on 'Healthy Streets'  email 

Morecambe FC soccer schools sessions announced

Morecambe FC has announced a series of new soccer schools sessions at the Globe Arena.

Community Sports soccer schools sessions at the Globe Arena run 10.00am - 3.00pm over three days and are open to boys and girls of all playing abilities aged 5 to 15 years of age. 

As well as exercises and drills, the days will include small-sided games, a World Cup-themed tournament, a penalty shootout and a tour of the Globe Arena. 

All players who attend all three days will also receive a certificate and a free match ticket for a Morecambe FC home game, whilst there are trophies and medals up for grabs for competition winners.

• Each day of coaching costs £10, or you can book all 3 days for only £25. For more information or to book a place on the soccer schools, please contact us now on 01524 412125 or pick up at form at the Arena.

• You can also email If you would like a booking form sending out by email, or to be added to our mailing list for news about other football coaching sessions.

Warning as Poulton pensioner is duped by PPI fraudsters

Police are warning elderly people to be on their guard against fraudsters claiming to be able to recover cash spent on payment protection insurance after a Poulton pensioner was duped out of £310.

On 30th September a 76-year-old woman was contacted over the phone by a man who claimed she was entitled to a refund for the sum of £4,700 for bank charges.

She was told that there was a cheque of payment waiting to be delivered to her but she was advised that in order to claim the cheque a tax of £310 needed paying.

The victim duly paid the fee via Ukash transactions at a local shop, only realising later that she had been duped.

Every month police receive reports from victims of cold callers claiming to be from a PPI company.

The caller will tell them that they have several thousands of pounds waiting for them and advise them to obtain a ‘Ukash’ voucher for a set amount, usually between £100 and £900 claiming that they need the voucher in order to release the funds.

The victims will obtain the voucher, send it off but then never hear back from the company.

“Sadly this is an all too common occurrence in which an elderly and vulnerable person has been conned out of money," says DC Tony McClements from Lancashire Police. “The issue of PPI recovery is extremely topical at this time; a situation compounded by a recession where people are struggling to make ends meet.

“Near cast-iron guarantees are given by the fraudsters that they will recover your PPI payments subject to an advance fee payable by you but no reputable company would ever ask you for advance payment.

“Although Ukash itself is a legitimate and reputable company, the callers claiming to be from this PPI company are often not and they are just using a legitimate company’s name to try and give themselves credibility.

“The best way to tackle this is never do business with a cold caller unless you have checked them out thoroughly. One way of checking this is by typing the company name or telephone number into internet search engines and you will often find other consumers highlighting potential fraudsters.

“I would also ask that friends and relatives of those who may be vulnerable are alert to the problems so that they can warn their loved ones to this developing issue.”

• Anyone who believes they have been targeted by on-line fraudsters should report it to in the first instance. If they realise that they have been scammed they can also contact Ukash directly via their customer services and an attempt can be made to block the voucher code before it is used.

Information can also be passed to the police by calling 101 or alternatively, people can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Zombies set to storm Morecambe!

Zombieville Morecambe
Morecambe's new annual dark weekend of the weird - Zombieville - hits the resort for the first time on the weekend of 19th - 21st October with three whole days of music, monsters, mayhem and magic at Smokey O'Connor's on Morecambe Street and other parts of the resort, includung the Winter Gardens.

Dress up as scary as you dare or get one of the organising team's many FX design team to help you join the ranks of the eternal undead - well, at least for the weekend anyway.

You will nervously arrive at the Friday night Launch Party (the first of three great night events with bands, singers and DJs), then get zombie-up again and take part in the Zombie Crawl down Morecambe Promenade on Saturday afternoon and maybe even win an award on the Sunday night at the Zombie Oscars show with Live Bands and Undead audiences.

All the evening entertainment over the three nights will be taking place at Smokey O'Connor's on Morecambe Street. The venue will be split into three rooms on different levels. The main room on the third floor or the " Vyper Lounge " and will be the main event room and will host the main attractions and the Adult Zombie Oscars. The second floor is the chill out room called the " Batcave " and will have music, stalls, movies and other Dead Good Stuff.

The ground floor level or the "Crypt" will host rock and indie DJ's on the opening Friday launch night.

Live music over the weekend will be provided by bands such as Idol Minds, Underwater Gunfight, Brendan Cleary, Phoenix Down, Blood Yard and Sam King.

Admission will be on the door. Zombieville wristbands which will give you entry to all three night or just the one night will be available to buy.

Morecambe's allegedly haunted Winter Gardens will host an afternoon of free spooky fun on Sunday 21st October (12.00pm - 5.00pm) as part of the festival, where the special FX team will again be on hand to Zombie-fy people in readiness for a variety of family entertainment. There will also be stalls, football competitions for the kids to get involved (with prizes), also special ‘Zombie Oscars’ for the kids, who can transform themselves into a gruesome Zombie. Plus four DJ’s on hand to provide the music.

The Festival is intended to be great fun for all ages. Take the kids, dress 'em up, and prepare yourselves for a monster weekend at Zombieville. Go on, you know you really want to!

Zombieville is the brainchild of events promoter and DJ, Steve Middlesbrough.

“It’s something a bit different where we can have a bit of fun and capitalise on the current popularity of all things zombie.," he told Visitor earlier this year. "Someone even told me ‘zombies’ are the third most popular search term on Google.

“It will cater for adults and kids who love dressing up, and we want people to join in.

“The weirder the better. We’ve even got one guy who’s building papier mache coffins!”

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