Thursday, 29 August 2013

Walks on Lancaster Wildlife corridor

Lancaster Canal walkers last weekend, led by Reverend Hullah. Photo: Frank Sanderson
Walking the Lancaster Canal Wildlife corridor is becoming more and more popular.

Sunday 25th August saw the annual walk by St Patricks Church, Preston Patrick, that started on the canal at Millness then proceeded north on the towpath before cutting across on a circular route via the old tramway and following the canal feeder from Pease Beck, (tributary of the River Bela) that runs out of Killington Lake. The historic commentary given by Tony Mason was much appreciated by about 15 walkers.

A similar group, led by Right Reverend Peter Hullah and his wife Penny, of Twickenham, started on Saturday walking from Lancaster to Garstang, Sunday Garstang to Tewitfield Locks, and arriving early Monday, at Crooklands, where they met up with the Lancaster Canal Trust narrow boat ‘Waterwitch’ and were given a boat ride  to help them on their way to Kendal.

Lake District Tumbrels from Lancaster Canal
Commenting on the glorious weather and lovely and peaceful scenery, the Right Rev Peter explained they were enjoying sponsorship for their walk in aid of together for Sudan and hoped to raise £2,000 to educate young women as teachers. (See

The ‘Waterwitch’ continued their Bank Holiday weekend with a very busy schedule taking passengers on forty minute trips, meeting several other groups, large and small. Ends.

• Further information:

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Police extend search for missing schoolgirl

Police are appealing for information to help trace a teenager who has been reported missing from the Manningham area of Bradford.

Sixteen year old Maaryha Akhtar who was last seen at a family wedding on the afternoon of Sunday 25th August and could now be in the Greater Manchester area or in Lancashire.

She is described as Asian with long black hair and brown eyes, 5ft 3" and of slim build.

Officers and Maarya's family are concerned for her welfare and are urging her to get in touch at the earliest opportunity.

Anyone with information regarding Maarya's whereabouts is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police on the non emergency number 101 or (01274) 376452.

Splurge Guns at the ready for 'Bugsy Malone'

Morecambe's Platform will step back into the era of prohibition, Speakeasies and gang rivalry when Morecambe Warblers Amateur Operatic Society (Youth Productions) present Bugsy Malone this September.

Follow the cast as they perform a slapstick musical comedy featuring the rivalry between two half witted street gangs and a well intentioned one-time boxer who steps in to take control of Fat Sam’s gang and gives Dandy Dan and his boys what they’ve got coming.

The message is one of good clean fun and the weapons of choice are ‘splurge’ guns and custard pies.

Performances are on Friday 6th September at 7.30pm and on Saturday 7th September at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are £10/£8 concessions.

Tickets are available from the box office on 01524 582803 or buy them from the online shop at

Alternatively tickets are available from the Visitor Information Centres in Morecambe and Lancaster.

• Follow the Platform on Facebook at and Twitter To view the latest brochure and see what’s on visit

Juice Cafe to run "Juice Fasting" event

Juice fasting (also known as "juice cleansing") is a controversial fasting method and a detox diet in which a person consumes only fruit and vegetable juices to obtain nutrition while otherwise abstaining from food consumption.

The health benefits are unproven, with many health professionals raising warning signals - so for those of you who may be considering such a diet, you can find out more about the diet at Juice Cafe in Lancaster's Market Street tomorrow night (Thursday 29th August), where folk will be on hand to offer samples, testimonials, the science bit and more

Juice fasts may last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The juice consumed during a juice fast is not the type commercially available, but rather that produced from freshly juiced fruits and vegetables.

The event starts at 5.30pm and runs until 7.00pm.

• Juice Cafe online:

Huffington Post: Do Juice Cleanses Work?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Online applications for Lancashire school places go live 2nd September

Fire up those laptops – online applications for Lancashire school places go live on 2nd September 2013.

Last year, a massive 85 per cent of parents found applying online was the easiest way to request a primary school place, and 65% of those applying for a secondary place.

The all-important form can be found at and search 'school admissions'.

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: "More and more parents are using the online option as a quick and easy way to apply for school places – it's become really popular.

"What is important is applying on time. Each year there are late applications and they c! annot be considered at the same time as those which come in on time, so I'm encouraging parents not to leave it till the last minute.

"Don't forget that having a child at school does not automatically mean that his or her younger sibling will be allocated a place – you must still apply.

"I know how important it is to families to feel they have the right school for their child, so we're doing everything we can to help, especially at present when the rising birthrate means that places are tight in some areas.

"I'd like to reassure parents, however, that officers within the county council are working hard to ensure that there is adequate provision of school places in areas of need."

Applications open on 2nd September 2013 and the closing dates are 31st October 2013 for secondary schools, and 15 January 2014 for primary.

Children start primary school in the September after their fourth birthday.

For more information, go to and search 'school admissions' where you'll find all the information you need. Parents in the Lancaster and Morecambe area can also call on 01524 581148.

Robin Hood Helps The Homeless

Generous Dukes theatregoers were inspired by Robin Hood to give to the poor this summer.

Thousands of people saw The Dukes new version of Robin Hood in Lancaster’s Williamson Park during its five-week run and at the end of each performance, they were invited to make donations to local homeless charities.

More than £4,000 was raised and shared between Lancaster’s Christ Church Night Shelter, Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service and West End Impact in Morecambe.

Homeless charities were chosen in memory of George Lowery, who slept rough in Williamson Park for many years and died there in March.

McGuinness denied Classic TT glory

John McGuinnes takes Ginger Hall during the 500cc Classic TT.
Photo:  Stephen Davison - Pacemaker Press International

John McGuinness was denied a potential race win in the inaugural 500cc Classic TT on Saturday when he was thwarted by electrical problems. The Morecambe ace was riding the Winfield Paton and, after a promising start to practice week, looked well placed to challenge for honours but the machine stuggled to really get going and John was forced to retire at the end of the opening lap.

Back on the world famous Isle of Man Mountain Course, practice week had started in superb fashion for John as he set a superb lap time in the opening practice session of 111.19mph, just a fraction outside the 500cc Classic Manx Grand Prix lap record, but that was as good as it got with the Paton failing to run properly for the rest of the week. Indeed, John never to got to complete a full lap in the remaining practice sessions, going into the four-lap race very much in unknown territory. Almost immediately from the start, John knew the bike was still not running right and his opening lap of 94.901mph saw him way down the order in 23rd place and he reluctantly pulled in to retire.

Speaking later, a disappointed John commented; "It's really disappointing for the race to end like it did as the bike was flying at the beginning of practice week. The lap of 111mph felt great and came relatively easy but after that we had nothing but trouble and we never did get to the bottom of the electrical problems.

"The team did everything to get the bike ready for the race day but it wasn't right and all I could do was cruise round. It's a huge shame for everyone concerned - myself, the team, the fans - as I felt we could have given a good account of ourselves and put on a good show but it wasn't meant to be. I've really enjoyed the whole Festival of Motorcycling though so hopefully we can come back next year and give it another go."

Local charity volunteers go fishing for rubbish in the Lune

Maritime Volunteer Service's Nick at Halton Army Camp with the rubbish collected on the day from the River Lune

Volunteers from the local Morecambe Bay unit of national charity the Maritime Volunteer Service, conducted a litter pick with a difference on Bank Holiday Monday - on the River Lune, using a boat!

The Lune is teeming with wildlife including swans, salmon and otters - and organisations such as The River Lune Trust are working hard to improve the quality of the water. Litter isn't just unsightly but has a negative effect on the river's wildlife - it could easily trap an animal.

Litter can also present a hazard to river users, having the potential to foul propellers and, with the river flowing straight into the Irish Sea, the impact isn't just local.

Local people have participated in organised BeachClean events for many years but this is thought to be the first time anyone's done it afloat.

"Our unit teaches nautical skills" said Nick, one of the organisers, "and so it seemed like a logical idea to add an extra dimension one of our training sessions.

"It's more difficult to manoeuvre a boat at slow speed in moving water, and so trying to aim for fixed or floating litter is great practice."

The unit's boat is an ex Royal Marines rigid raiding craft, designed to land on beaches, so it's perfectly suited to getting up against the river bank where other small boats may struggle.

The volunteers collected six bags of rubbish - most of which will hopefully be recycled - as well as a large traffic cone and motorbike parts.

"Lancaster City Council were very helpful," Nick says. "After we made contact through their website they were more than happy to provide us with litter grabbers, gloves and rubbish bags.

"They will also be collecting the bags we've collected to save us having to dispose of them ourselves."

• If you want to know more about the Maritime Volunteer Service you can visit their national website or for more local information

• Twitter:  @MBayMVS • Instagram: • Facebook:

Lancaster City Council will supportanyone wanting to organise a community litter pick - you can get more details from their website

Local sunbed users warned: Four out of five sunbeds fail safety checks

Lancashire County Council Trading Standards is warning tanning salons after high numbers of sunbeds were found to fail safety checks.

Officers tested the UV radiation levels of 37 sunbeds which were available to the public in 14 businesses across Lancaster and Morecambe.

Just seven sunbeds (19%) were found to comply with product safety standards that impose a maximum UV emission of 0.3W/m2, which is equivalent to the summer midday sun in the Mediterranean. 18 sunbeds (48%) were found to be at least two times over the limit whilst five (13%) were found to be at least three times over the limit.

Businesses which failed the safety test have been warned and instructed to lower UV emissions to acceptable levels or face poss! ible legal action.

The World Health Organisation warns against the use of cosmetic sunbeds due to the adverse effects on health including skin cancer, eye damage and premature skin ageing. Cancer Research UK studies have found that the main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to UV radiation.

County Councillor Janice Hanson, cabinet member for public protection and waste, said: "The number of tanning salons whose sunbeds have failed these tests is quite alarming.

"Whilst work so far has been focused in Morecambe and Lancaster, the problem is likely to be more widespread and we'll be carrying out tests in other areas in the coming months. However, we want to take this opportunity to highlight the problems we have already encountered.

"Whilst the high failure rate is of great concern, we are hoping that the work will increase awareness both with sunbed users and tanning salons.

"Public safety is of utmost impor! tance and these results show that Lancashire residents need to exercis e care if they are planning to use sunbeds.

"I would also urge businesses to take steps to ensure that their sunbeds comply with UV limits and that sunbeds with excessive UV emissions are not made available to the public.

"This may involve having to replace tubes in the sunbed with ones of a lower wattage. If in any doubt, we would advise salons to seek guidance from the manufacturer of the sunbed or their sunbed tube supplier. Businesses face possible legal action if they don't comply with the requirements."

Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards Service will be writing to all businesses that make sunbeds available to the public to alert them to the test results and ask them to check theirs are safe.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Hornby's Gilbert & Sullivan press-gang seek crew for 'HMS Pinafore'

Poster illustration from original 1878 production

Ahoy there! The Hornby Occasionals (HOs) invite you to spend this coming Autumn and Winter with them on board Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore and in the court room of Trial By Jury.

The HOs  are a 30-year old operatic society which performs a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta each year in the Spring at Hornby Institute, where they also meet and rehearse on Friday nights from mid-September, with some Saturday mornings too in the run-up to the show dates.

 Do you enjoy singing and performing?  They are looking for experienced singers for principal roles and all voice types to join the chorus. The HOs particularly need men to crew the ship! Tenors and Bases. If you would like to be involved in the theatre but not perform, volunteers are needed for technical and support team roles too. Backstage crew such as stage management, props, wardrobe and make-up mainly get into full swing a bit later in the production than performers.

A scene from Trial by Jury as illustrated in the magazine
Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News of 1 May 1875
If you have just moved into the area or would like to meet new people, they are certainly a fun and friendly group, and we see from their website that some of them are also putting on an 'Allo, Allo' tribute show later in the Autumn.  (Judging by the excruciating use of accents in the news bulletins it looks as if it's rather a jolly wheeze already, so hang onto your moustaches :-)

The productions of HMS Pinafore and Trial By Jury will be performed on Wednesday 26th to Saturday 29th March 2014.

Rehearsals commence on Friday 13th September in Hornby Institute at 7.30pm. What could possibly go wrong?
For more information please visit or give the Secretary, Christine Turner, a call on 01524 221740.