Friday, 2 August 2013

Appeal for missing 70 year old Morecambe man

Police are appealing for information about a 70 year old man missing from his home in Morecambe.

Carl Foster, known as Keith, was last seen at his home address on Brunswick Road in Heysham around 10.00pm on Wednesday 31st July and police are growing increasingly concerned for his welfare.

PC Jonathan Smith said: “I’d appeal to anybody with any information about Mr Foster’s whereabouts to contact police.

“We believe he may have travelled to Anglesey in North Wales or South Cumbria and are very concerned about his wellbeing. Any sightings of him should be reported to Lancashire Police on 101.”

He is described as being white, slim build with receding and thinning hair. He is likely to be travelling on a distinctive ladies bike in light colour with a basket on the handle bars. Attached to the rear is a trailer described as home-made, white in colour with Perspex sides and chipboard.

Free Health Checks To Help Lancashire Live Longer

Public Health bosses at Lancashire County Council are urging people in Lancashire to live longer by getting themselves checked out by their GP.

Free NHS Health Checks are available to anyone aged between 40 and 74, who has not been diagnosed with an existing vascular disease and is not being treated for certain risk factors.

The recently announced NHS Health Checks programme aims to prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

The programme systematically targets the top seven causes of preventable death: high blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption.

Around 352,000 people in Lancashire are elig! ible for a Health Check every five years as part of the public health role of local authorities.

County Councillor Azhar Ali, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "Behind the statistics about health problems in Lancashire lies the heartbreaking human story of real people dying earlier than they should.

"By encouraging people to go for a health check with their GP we will ensure that life-shortening conditions are picked up earlier, which will mean people in Lancashire have more years of quality life to spend with their families.

"Not all GPs are currently offering these checks but we are working hard to ensure that they will be available to everyone who is eligible across the county."

Research behind the programme suggests that every year in Lancashire it could lead to:

  • More than 6200 additional years of good quality life over the lifetime of those who receive a check.
  • More than 1100 additional people being diagnosed with kidney disease
  • Nearly 500 additional people being diagnosed with diabetes
  • An additional 1400 people receiving treatment for high blood pressure
  • 3200 people completing a weight loss programme
  • More than 800 people taking up regular physical activity

The programme in Lancashire will be rolled out over five years, with 75,000 people tested each year. The Health Checks are very simple and include a questionnaire to assess risk, a blood pressure check, a simple blood test, lifestyle advice and, if necessary, a referral to services offering support and advice on switching to a healthier lifestyle.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Frack the North West, not the North East, says Lord Howell

(Updated 18:10, added Gordon Marsden, Labour MP's response): Tory Lord David Howell - Chancellor George Osborne's father-in-law - has apologized for confusing the North East for the North West when he suggested fracking should take place in the "desolate North" rather than the South of England.

Earlier this week, during a Lord debate, Lord Howell of Guildford
recommended that the search for shale gas deposits in Britain should not be allowed to tarnish “beautiful rural areas” but be confined to “large, uninhabited and desolate” areas, specifically the North East.

"My Lords, does the Minister accept that it could be a mistake to discuss fracking in terms of the whole of the United Kingdom in one go?" he said. "Obviously, in beautiful rural areas there are worries not just about drilling and fracking — which I think are exaggerated—but about trucks, deliveries, roads and disturbance, which are quite justified.

"However, there are large, uninhabited and desolate areas, certainly in parts of the north-east, where there is plenty of room for fracking, well away from anybody’s residence, and where it could be conducted without any threat to the rural environment.

"Does the Minister agree that a distinction should be made between one area and another rather than lumping them together...?"

Having already outraged and re-opened the fabled North-South divide with his assinine comments, Lord Howell has now exacerbated the furore he's caused with an apology that has infuriated many, including BBC Radio Lancashire's Graham Liver.

“What was in my mind was much more the drilling going on off the Lancashire coast,” the lord, who served as energy secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s first Cabinet, explained to the Daily Telegraph. “But it came out of my mouth as the North East, which you can blame me for rightly. And that has created a great furore.”

"Lord Howell says it was a stupid error – a simple mix-up between East and West…but is anywhere in Lancashire actually 'unloved'?" challenged Mr Liver. "It seems an odd choice of word… we Lancastrians are proud of the whole county, aren’t we? Is Lord Howell right to suggest there are corners of Lancashire which we don’t care about…and if so, should we frack the heck out of it? Or, is the noble Lord hopelessly out of touch with the North of the country?

"Perhaps we should invite him up for the weekend, so he can admire the beauty of the county…"

We might have a while to wait for Mr Howell to take up any offer to visit - he's off on his holidays to France and Cornwall, well away from the North.

“Lord Howell’s comments are outrageous. First he slurred the North East and now it seems he confused it with the North West," said Gordon Marsden, Labour MP for Blackpool South. “The North West is neither ‘desolate’ nor ‘unloved’.

“It just goes to show that the Tories are utterly out-of-touch.”

As well as noting his equally fatuous comments about carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes, the Daily Telegraph reports that Lord Howell treats with resignation the storm he has aroused, accepting it as an example of the volatility that accompanies politics in the internet age.

“Twitter does allow instant opinions to be uttered, which is not necessarily good… Public opinion can swing around and people in government have to develop steadiness in the face of it. It’s like sailing in a much more gusty, dangerous wind.”

Perhaps he shiould sail off into retirement.

Police appeal after man hit by car in Morecambe

Police are appealing for witnesses following an assault in Morecambe.

The incident took place at around midnight Thursday 18th July into Friday 19th July when the victim, a 26 year local man was walking in the area along Euston Road in Morecambe towards Lancaster.

At the mini roundabout at the junction with Euston Road, York Bridge, Thornton Road and Bridge road, the man started crossing towards Thornton Road. As he did so, he was struck by a vehicle which then made off over York Bridge to Lancaster Road in Morecambe from the incident without stopping.

The victim was treated for relatively minor injuries at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and an investigation has been launched.

Detective Sergeant Mark Stephens from Lancaster CID said, “I would appeal to anyone who was in the area to come forward and contact the police. I believe that this may have been a deliberate act and I would ask anyone who has any information to come forward.

“Fortunately, the victim was not seriously hurt but it could have been much worse. We are investigating to establish exactly what happened.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Lancaster and Morecambe CID on 101 quoting log reference number 10 of July 19th.

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, 31 July 2013

Lancaster NEETs 'Activ8' their employment prospects

A group of nine young people from Lancaster who are not in employment, education or training have successfully completed a course that has helped them to improve their chances of finding a job.

Activ8 is a three-day per week, six-week training program. Organised by Lancashire Adult Learning, the course uses online media resources to enable 19 – 24 yr olds who are not in employment, education or training to develop their skills, abilities, personal development and confidence.

Lancashire Adult Learning worked in partnership with external businesses including the EU funded MyStory, Ripley School, DHE Solutions and SilverSkills to ensure the Activ8 course provided young people with the skills and training! they need.

"I'm delighted that the students successfully completed the course, and have clear routes into employment," says Course Leader Roberta Byram from Lancashire Adult Learning."We wanted to design a course that gave young people the media and online skills that software developers and hi-tech companies need these days."

As part of the course, the students attended a convention in Manchester where they were in discussion with Microsoft, O2 and other blue-chip multinationals, and helped run the event.

"I cannot stress strongly enough how much the young people have benefited from this course. And, the great news is that all of the students have something positive to move on to," said tutor Charlotte Hardacre.

"One of the students has secured work as a photographer with the organisers of the Manchester convention and another has been employed by DHE Solutions (MyStory) to take and edit films for them.

"The Activ8 course will run in Lancaster again in September. The plan is to extend it across the county."

Speaking at the end of the course, some of the students described how they have benefited. Dan Sayers said: "This course has taught me a lot about how to prepare for interviews and also about presenting, which will definitely help me in the future."

Michael Mullen added: "I thought I was confident, however this course has made me more confident and inspired me to take control of my life"

And Thomas Fuery also feels more confident after attending the course: " The various activities have enabled me to increase my confidence in my creativity and speaking, and in doing so has enabled me to refind my path"

• For further information please contact Lancashire Adult Learning on 0845 600 1331 or email

Warmer summers ahead a worry for overheated workers

Hot enough for you this summer? Although there's rain predicted for later today, the forecast for the rest of the week is looking promising for sun lovers locally.

While that's great news for sun lovers, spare a thought for workers in local bakeries and other places, as. despite an ongoing campaign from some MPs, there is still no maximum temperature where management would have to authorise the downing of tools, although current legislation demands that during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.
However, the application of the regulation depends on the nature of the workplace i.e. a bakery, a cold store, an office, a warehouse.

The temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius unless much of the work involves severe physical effort in which case the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius. These temperatures may not, however, ensure reasonable comfort, depending on other factors such as air movement and relative humidity.'

Where the temperature in a workroom would otherwise be uncomfortably high, for example because of hot processes or the design of the building, all reasonable steps should be taken to achieve a reasonably comfortable temperature, for example by:
  • insulating hot plants or pipes;
  • providing air-cooling plant;
  • shading windows;
  • siting workstations away from places subject to radiant heat.
The full guidance on minimum and maximum temperatures is here on the Health and Safety Executive web site: You might want to copy and paste the information before the Tories go even in their efforts to 'streamline red tape' and succeedd in abolishing the HSE, which is what some business leaders and and Tory activists have been clamouring for. Safety inspections have already been curbed by the ConDem government, potentially endangering workers lives.  Shops, offices, pubs and clubs  no longer face health and safety inspections.

The bad news for those affected by the heat, based on the data gathered by NASA documenting climate change down the decades, is that there might be a lot mor hot weather to come.

Global temperatures have warmed significantly since 1880, the beginning of what scientists call the "modern record." At this time, the coverage provided by weather stations allowed for essentially global temperature data.

As greenhouse gas emissions from energy production, industry and vehicles have increased, temperatures have climbed, most notably since the late 1970s.

In the NASA animation above of temperature data from 1880-2011, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.

• View it on YouTube:

Monday, 29 July 2013

Labour chooses Lancaster candidate for next General Election

Cat Smith: Photo: Lancaster and Fleetwood Labour Party
Lancaster resident Cat Smith has been selected to stand for the Lancaster and Fleetwood Labour Party at the 2015 General Election.

Local campaigner Cat Smith has lived in Lancaster for over a decade. Born in Barrow-in-Furness, the former student at Lancaster University has been involved in fighting for the area for many years, including standing for Labour in Wyre and Preston North at the last General Election.

Cat Smith combines her job, supporting social work professionals, with being an active community campaigner. She recently addressed the rally to protect services at the Lancaster Royal Infirmary - from which the Conservative MP Eric Ollerenshaw was absent - as well as speaking out against the threat to rehabilitation beds in Fleetwood.

Citing her priorities as tackling unemployment, protecting the health service and campaiugning for more affordable homes she argues the Tories have no plan to bring the jobs and growth the local economy needs.

"With long-term unemployment in Lancaster and Fleetwood up by a shocking 36%, the Tories are letting local people down," she says. "Labour must deliver an economic recovery which addresses the North-South divide and ensure the benefits of growth are felt beyond the South East.

"As a candidate, I will develop a local plan for investment in infrastructure to spur jobs and growth. I strongly back the re-introduction of Fleetwood’s rail link, supporting our local businesses and creating jobs.

"The NHS is the most civilised aspect of our society," she feels. "The creeping privatisation of our NHS is wrong in principle, damaging in practice and economically inefficient. Profits should never be put before people.

"With the current threat to services in the Morecambe Bay Health Trust, I will defend Lancaster’s 24-hours A&E and maternity unit. Fleetwood must also not suffer any withdrawal of services, which must always remain free at the point of use and supported with qualified staff who have secure jobs."

And on afforable housing she notes that for many of our young families, renting is no longer a stepping-stone to home ownership, but their long term reality.

"21% of local residents rent privately, many more than are in housing association (7%) or local authority homes (4%). With rising prices and a lack of quality long-term secure family housing, I will campaign for new council house building, the expansion of shared ownership schemes plus the regulation of private landlords, with long term secure tenancies and rent regulation."

Cat is determined to give the Tories a fight in the election.

“I would like to thank my fellow local Labour Party members for selecting me to fight for the people of Lancaster and Fleetwood," she says. “Eric Ollerenshaw's Government has let the people of Lancaster and Fleetwood down badly. Theirs is a Government which doesn't care about ordinary people in communities like ours.

“The Tories won this seat by less than 1% at the last election - but our area can't afford to give them another five years in power.

“I now look forward to listening to people across Lancaster and Fleetwood. We need an MP who will stand up for ordinary people in our area, not someone who just keeps on supporting the failed policies of David Cameron and George Osborne. We need an MP who will put Lancaster and Fleetwood first.”

• Cat Smith's election web site:

Witness appeal after man hit by car on Bulk Road

Police are appealing for information after a man was hit by a car at around 10.00pm on Wednesday 24th July on Bulk Road.

The 21-year-old man was with his mother when the car came screeching down the road and performed a U-turn and stopped. A short conversation took place before the vehicle drove knocking the man over.

He went up onto the car bonnet and the windscreen but escaped with minor injuries. The man was treated at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and was released shortly after.

The vehicle has been described as a dark grey Audi A3.

It’s thought the driver is known to the victim.

PC Michael O’Regan said: “It was pure luck that the victim wasn’t more seriously injured and I would urge anyone who witnessed the incident to contact us. You can contact Lancashire Police on 101 quoting the log number LC-20130724-1948 or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Recumbent Trike stolen from Lancaster yard

The stolen trike is similar to the one attached but is blue in colour.
Lancaster Police are appealing for information about a distinctive blue Recumbent Trike stolen from a yard in Lancaster town centre.

The theft took place sometime between 5.00pm on Thursday 25th July and 8.00am on Friday 26th July at a rear yard at a house on Queen Street.

The bike is described as being a blue ICE 21 gear Recumbent Trike with 20inch thick wheels and a light bracket fitted at the front.

PC Philip Williamson said: “The trike is very unusual and is made by Inspire Cycle Engineering ICE Cornwall. It is worth in the region of £2,500 so it’s possible it has been stolen to order.

“I’d appeal to anybody that has any information about the theft or the whereabouts of the trike to contact police on 101 quoting reference LC-20130726-0436.”

Tips to keep kids safe online this summer

Lancashire police are offering tips to help keep children safe on line this summer.

Officers are hoping the advice will remind young people to put their personal safety first when connecting with others online whilst encouraging parents to make sure their children and teenagers are protected online.

Lynne Asbridge from Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit said: “The internet is now a major part of most people’s lives so it is important that we all know how to use it safely.

“Unfortunately, over recent years we have seen that the internet has become an ever increasing method by which offenders seek to meet, groom and then sexually exploit young people.

“Whilst young people are more computer literate and confident in using the internet, they may not understand or acknowledge the necessity to protect themselves online. Therefore, we’re asking parents, carers and teachers to work with young people to advise them about how to protect themselves while on the internet, and youngsters can then return the favour by sharing their knowledge too.”

Safer ibternet tips for children and young people
  • Never give out personal details to online friends if you do not know them offline.
  • Remember people online may not be who they say they are – use caution when chatting to people who you do not already know.
  • Never arrange to meet up with strangers without an adult present who you trust.
  • Think carefully about the information and pictures you post on your profiles. Once published online, anyone can change or share these images of you.
  • Don’t open files from people you do not know – they may contain viruses which could damage your computer.
  • If you feel uncomfortable about anything that happens online tell a trusted adult.
Safer internet tips for adults
  • Make sure your firewall and anti-virus software is up to date.
  • Use different passwords for different sites.
  • Use secure and official sites (look for the padlock sign) when making purchases on-line.
  • Keep back up copies and print outs of on-line documents.
  • Do not disclose bank details as proof or age or identity.
  • Don’t reveal personal details to people you meet, or who contact you, on-line.
• Further advice is available by logging on to or by visiting or

Youth Games hailed a success, 2014 venue anounced

Photo: Lancaster City Council
The Lancaster International Youth Games - a week long festival of sport - came to a close on Friday with a glittering ceremony at Salt Ayre Sports Centre and the home team topping the medal table.

The successful sporting event, which saw local young athletes competing with rivals from some of Lancaster's "twin towns" - Lublin in Poland, Aalborg (Denmark), Almere (Holland) and Rendsburg (in Germany) saw more than 400 young people from the Lancaster district and across Europe competing in 10 sports.

Photo: Lancaster City Council
It was the ninth time that Lancaster has held the International Youth Games and competition took place at venues across the district including Salt Ayre Sports Centre, Lancaster University, Morecambe High School and the John O’Gaunt Rowing Club.

Photo: Lancaster City Council
Sports included athletics, badminton, rowing, table tennis, tennis, golf,  karate, and swimming.

For the first time, echoing the success of the London 2012 Paralympics, disability sports also featured in the International Youth Games.

Photo: Lancaster City Council
The home team topped the medal table with an impressive 70 gold, 100 silver and 95 bronze.

As well as the sporting activities there were cultural, music and dance activities.

“The Games were a great success and we received some very positive feedback from our European compatriots," enthused Councillor Ron Sands, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, culture and tourism. "I would like to thank everybody who was involved in their organisation, without whom they could not have taken place, and the families who hosted the visiting competitors.

"The unique thing about the International Youth Games is not just in the competitiveness of the sports but the sharing of experiences and learning about people from different countries.

“The Games also showcased the district and its sporting venues and it was good to see so many participants enjoying our facilities."

The Lancaster International Youth Games are organised by Lancaster City Council with valuable support from local sports clubs and community organisations including the volunteer leaders, without whom the opportunity to take part would not exist.

2014 will see the Games take place in Almere, in Holland.

Photo: Lancaster City Council

The Medals Table

Lancaster: Gold 70 Silver 100 Bronze 95
Lublin: Gold 44 Silver 3 Bronze 1
Aalborg: Gold 43 Silver 41 Bronze 42
Almere: Gold 40 Silver 31 Bronze 29
Rendsburg: Gold 14 Silver 17 Bronze 21

Youth Games page on Lancaster City Council web site

More photos on the event's Facebook page

Lancaster's "Twin Towns" - details  

2014 Youth Games Web Page (on