Friday, 15 May 2015

Lancashire Libraries, Musuems, support Dementia Awareness Week

A week-long schedule of events has been organised in libraries and museums across Lancashire to support Dementia Awareness Week and the support services available.

The events at libraries from Sunday 17th May to Saturday 23rd May will promote the use of books to help people living with dementia, their families, friends and the carers who support them.

They have been co-ordinated by library staff with partner organisations including the Alzheimer's Society, Dementia Friends and Genesis Care and include dementia friends' sessions, a memory festival and café and coffee mornings.

Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: "Unfortunately in Lancashire the number of people living with dementia is higher than the national average, so it is important that we do all we can to raise awareness of the condition and to help those people who are living with it.

"Libraries are providing book-based support for people as we know that this can help. Since the launch of Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia in January, loans of books in this scheme have increased.

"Our collection ranges from self-help books to powerful personal accounts of how the lives of people have been shaped assisting a loved one with dementia and medical information offering practical advice about the condition.

"People touched by dementia, whether living with it or caring for a loved one, can gain crucial support and encouragement to help live their daily lives from these books.

"I'm delighted that our libraries service is supporting this initiative."

• People will be able to find out more about events taking place near to where they live by calling 0300 123 6703. Anyone who lives in the UK can join a Lancashire library, either online or by visiting in person. It's free and there are no age restrictions.

• For more information about Dementia Awareness Week events or libraries, go to and search under events; or visit the national site on the Alzheimer's Society web site at

"Evita" comes to Lancaster in June

The Morecambe Amateur Operatic and Drama Society is bringing the highly acclaimed musical, Evita, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to Lancaster for the first time in June, at the Lancaster Grand Theatre.

Told entirely in song, the story charts the rise of the First Lady of Argentina, who won the love of the nation after marrying the miltary turned president, Juan Peron. Set in Buenos Aires between 1935 and 1952, the musical portrays Eva Duarte Peron in her journey from fatherless chld to ambitious actress, to the most powerful woman in Latin America and, eventually, to a saint-like figure after her death at the age of 33.

The show features such popular chart hits as 'Oh What a Circus', 'Another Suitcase' and thet timeless classic 'Don't Cry for Me, Argentina'.

• Evita, Tuesday 23rd June to Saturday 27th June at 7.15pm. Tickets £12.50, Tues and Sat Mat, £15 all other performances. 10% discount for parties of 10 or more. Book though the ticket secretary 01524 852399 or the theatre box office 01524 64695 or on line

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Call for Greater Powers for Lancashire

The Leader of Lancashire County Council has welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor, George Osborne, of more powers for cities but stressed the importance of devolving similar powers and funding to the country's county regions.

Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "I welcome the announcement of further powers and funding for England's cities, including Manchester and Liverpool, but this needs to be matched by a similar devolution to the county regions.

"Lancashire is the second largest economy in the North West, contributing £25.5bn to the region's economy each year, some 20 per cent of the total. I support the argument that decisions about our great cities should be made by the people who live there rather than down in London and the same should go for the 1.4 million people who live here in Lancashire.

"Work is continuing to explore the possibility of creating a combined authority for Lancashire which would enable its local authorities to work together on strategic issues including transport and economic development.

"I'm very keen for the Government to recognise early on that the door should be open for county regions, as well as cities, to combine this sort of collaboration with the ability to make important decisions closer to our local communities."

M6 Link: High Winds Hit Torrisholme Road Closure Plan

Costain's plan to close Torrisholme Road for the bridge sections of the M6 Link to be lifted in place (see news story) has been postponed to the weekend of Friday 29th May 2015, due to the high levels of wind experienced this week.

The wind has affected our crane operations for the removal of sheet piling which is required prior to the bridge sections being lifted in.

The company has moved the closure to the 29th May, avoiding the bank holiday next weekend.

The previously announced travel restrictions on the roads affected will presumably be the same.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

New Dates Set For Lancashire Shale Gas Decisions

Lancashire County Council has scheduled new dates in June for its Development Control Committee to make decisions on planning applications for shale gas development at two sites in the county.

The committee is due to determine applications from Cuadrilla to drill, frack, and test gas flows, with associated separate applications for environmental monitoring, at two sites in Lancashire - Preston New Road at Little Plumpton, and Roseacre Wood at Roseacre.

The applications relating to the Preston New Road site are scheduled to be decided at meetings to take place on Tuesday 23rd June and Wednesday 24th June.

The applications relating to the Roseacre Wood site are scheduled to be decided at meetings to take place on Thursday 25th June and Friday 26th June.

The Development Control Committee previously met in January to consider the applications and resolved to defer their decisions following a request by Cuadrilla to consider additional information about the applications.

The council has subsequently consulted upon the new information provided by Cuadrilla and planning officers are now reviewing the feedback from the consultation period, and the details supplied by Cuadrilla, in order to prepare reports and offer recommendations to the committee.

Reports to be considered by the committee will be published at on Tuesday 16th June.

You can see more information on shale gas developments in Lancashire here on the County Council web site

Local Cinema Round-Up for 13th to 21st May 2015

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

There are three new releases this week to enjoy. Mad Max: Fury Road (15) provides post apocalyptic action and adventure. Pitch Perfect 2 (12A) brings music and comedy whereas Force Majeure (15) is a fine international comedy drama.

Films that have vanished this week include the two family favourites Big Hero 6 & The Hero of Colour City as well as the comedy drama While We're Young. However we do see the return, for one day only, of the biographical drama Wild.

Looking into the future, films that are due to arrive at the Lancaster screens later in May include Dino Time; Friday Download Presents: Up all Night; Spy and Whiplash.

As well as the new releases there still a good collection of adventure films on offer including Big Game, the spy thriller Spooks: The Greater Good, science fantasy drama with Avengers: Age of Ultron and high speed action with Fast and Furious 7. Science fiction romance comes with The Age of Adaline and horror is represented with Unfriended.

For more family oriented entertainment there is Cinderella; Home; Shaun the Sheep and Two by Two. However the big attraction will be coming at the end of June with the expected release of Minions.

Culture this week includes opera with The Pirates of Penzance and theatre with Man and Superman.

One movie of note is the David Lynch film Wild At Heart (18) showing at the Dukes.


A Little Chaos
Director: Alan Rickman
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Helen McCrory
The film is set in Paris in 1862. King Louis XIV (Rickman) wishes to build a marvelous garden at the Palace of Versailles and so hires the famous landscape artist Andre Le Notre (Schoenaerts) to undertake the work. Le Notre advertises for an assistant and hires Sabine de Barra (Winslet), a talented and attractive woman with modern ideas on gardening. Sabine has something of a past (told in flashback) and must overcome the obstacles of her class and sex to function within the court. The film is a period romance with the sexual chemistry building between Sabine and Andre, while being opposed by Andre's scheming wife Francoise (McCrory). The performances are excellent and the film a delight of stunning gardens and costumes. An entertaining if somewhat unchallenging film.

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, James Spader, Paul Bettany
This is the eleventh film in the franchise and the movie starts where 'The Avengers' finished. Following a raid on a Hydra outpost, Stark (Downey) and Banner (Ruffalo) complete Stark's defense program to protect the earth using an artificial intelligence. However the latter, Ultron (Spader) strives for human destruction. Ultron attacks the avengers and develops a plan to end humanity. Following the battle the avengers start to fight among themselves. However Stark creates a new being, Vision (Bettany) who aids the avengers in their final confrontation with Ultron. This is a very fast acting movie, louder and bigger than its predecessors with complicated plot and titanic special effects. The movie has received good reviews and will delight anyone who enjoyed previous Avenger movies.

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Certificate: U
Cast includes: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgard, Richard Madden
Disney's re-telling of the story of Cinderella. Cinderella (James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother Lady Tremaine (Blanchett) following the death of her father. The film sticks very close to Disney's 1950 animated musical. Cinderella is rather 'sickly sweet' but this is offset by the malevolence of the character of Lady Tremaine. The movie has some comedy action and a good selection of special effects. There is nothing in here to offend and the movie will be loved by all.

Far From the Madding Crowd
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Juno Temple, Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen
The latest film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic novel of the same name. Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) is a willful young woman who has come into property by inheritance. Her looks and manner result in three potential suitors looking to marry her, a sheep farmer Gabriel Oaks (Schoenaerts), a middle aged neighbour William Boldwood (Sheen) and a handsome Sargent Frank Troy (Sturridge). However Bathsheba comes to regret her choice of husband. This is a fine adaption of what is a difficult novel to bring to the screen. The scenery is glorious and acting excellent. A solid period drama romance.

Fast and Furious 7
Director: James Wan
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham
Dominic Toretto (Diesel), Brian O'Connor (Walker) and the rest of their associates return to the USA where they hope to find peace. However Deckard Shaw (Statham) is the latest villain after Don and the team as he seeks revenge for the death of his brother. The film is thus a sequel to the 2013 Fast and Furious 6 and it involves even more car chases and madcap action. The film suffered from the death of the actor Paul Walker during filming but this does not detract from the frenzied action. A worthy successor to this popular franchise.

Spooks: The Greater Good
Director: Bharat Nalluri
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Jennifer Ehle, Laura Pulver, Kit Harington, Tuppence Middleton, Peter Firth, Elyes Gabel
A terrorist, Adam Qasim (Gabel), escapes from MI5 custody. Harry Pearce (Firth), head of counter terrorism, is blamed and Harry subsequently vanishes. Agent Will Halloway (Harington) is brought back into MI5 to investigate. He succeeds in finding Harry and the two of them work to uncover a traitor who deliberately freed the terrorist and who is plotting to destroy MI5. The film is set in London and marks the cinema debut of the TV series that was first broadcast in 2002. The movie captures the spirit of the series and references events in the final episode. The plot is unpredictable with plenty of twists and turns and the film has its fair share of action. This is a tense, fast paced offering that will delight anyone who enjoyed the TV show. However it may not quite have enough presence to win over an international audience.

The Age of Adaline
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford
Adaline Bowman (Lively) is almost eighty years old. However she has kept her youth as, following a freak accident, she stopped ageing when she was 28. She hides the secret of her age by leading a solitary existence, and making a new identify every decade. However after a chance encounter with a philanthropist Ellis Jones (Huisman) she falls in love with him. She meets his family, but is recognised by his father William (Ford) who knew her in the past. The plot of this movie is a little contrived, but if you can forgive that it is a well crafted and well acted fantasy love story.

Director: Levan Gabriadze
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Jacob Wysocki, Shelly Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman
This was initially released under the title Cybernatural. The movie is based in California, though the set of the film is the screen of the computer of Blaire Lily (Hennig). Blaire's friend Laura Barns (Sossaman) committed suicide a year earlier after a video was released on the Internet which shamed her. Now Blair and her set of friends find themselves being stalked on Skype and other social media by an unknown figure who starts to reveal the dark secrets of the group of friends. This is a teen horror movie that will appeal to a generation whose social life revolves around social media. The film has its share of frights and setting the movie on a computer screen is breaking new ground for the horror genre.

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Reese Witherspoon, Thomas Sadoski
A biographical drama based on Cheryl Strayed's memoirs of her trek across America. Cheryl (Witherspoon) is a woman with an unfortunate past. Her mother died of cancer. Her marriage failed and she fell into reckless and self destructive behaviour. In an attempt to make sense of her life, Strayed decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on her own. The trail is in excess of 1000 miles, extending from Mexico, through California to the Canadian border. The film follows Strayed's journey, with frequent flashbacks to fill in the details of her earlier life. This is a fine drama supported by the music and poetry that kept her going. It is difficult not to feel that you are accompanying her on the way. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Police Appeal in Hunt for Horse Trailer Thieves

Police are appealing for help to identify a vehicle used to steal a horse trailer form Lancaster last month – which was then apparently offered for sale on Gumtree, the classified advertising site.

The incident happened at around 12.30am on Tuesday 21 April on an industrial estate on Chapel Lane, Galgate, Lancaster.

It is thought that the silver Ifor Williams double axel horse trailer, worth around £3,000, had the wheel clamps removed and was hitched onto a vehicle and driven off from the estate. 

The vehicle is described as a large 4x4 type car which is lighter on colour around the top than bottom but the make and model is unknown.

PC 3577 Rachel Crossley of Lancaster Police said: “The vehicle that took the horse trailer is very distinctive and I would appeal for anyone with information about the vehicle’s make or model or who owns it to get in touch.

“We are also keen to recover the trailer which we believe was advertised for sale online on Gumtree in the Cumbria area between 21st and 23rd April. I’d like to speak to anyone who has viewed or bought the trailer or has information about its whereabouts.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log number 0195 of April 21st. Alternatively Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at

Road Closure announced as part of M6 Link drainage upgrade work

Drivers will be diverted away from Hest Bank Lane while vital work takes place to upgrade the drainage culvert and help prevent flooding to many properties and businesses within the Slyne-with-Hest area.

As part of the new drainage culvert for the Heysham to M6 link road, Lancashire County Council has secured additional monies from DEFRA to undertake further work to continue the replacement of the drainage section up the A6 to and onto Hest Bank Lane which has a long history of flooding.

Image: Google Maps

From Monday 18th May until Friday 6th November, traffic will be redirected from the Throstle Grove/Hasty Brow Junction onto the A6 Lancaster Road and vice versa. Hest Bank Lane will be closed to through-traffic during the works.

 Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use Hest Bank Lane for the duration of the works.

Phil Durnell, Head of Services Highways, said: "We're very grateful for people's patience while we close Hest Bank Lane over the coming months to carry out these essential drainage works. Installing a larger drainage culvert will assist in alleviating the long history of flooding within the area and the distress that is caused to many residents whenever it happens."

Once work commences on Hest Bank Lane the county council's highways team will be working extended hours and every effort will be made to reopen the road at the first opportunity.

Although diversion signs will be erected, it is important that drivers familiarise themselves with alternative routes, and plan their journeys ahead.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Lancaster Comics Day Children's Comic Competition Launched

Art: Nick Miller. Buy T-Shirts Here!

Are there aliens in your dustbin? Is a gorilla living in your ginnel? As part of Lancaster Comics Day on Sunday 14th June at Lancaster Library which features comics guests including Image and Marvel Comics writer Andy Diggle and Doctor Who artists Dave Taylor and John Ridgway, organisers are challenging young comic creators to come up with short illustrated stories that tell stories of life as it might be in in the city (or nearby!) – in comic strip form.

They're looking for two page comic strips featuring your very best ideas, whether it’s rockets blasting off into outer space from the Ashton Memorial or stories of a chance encounter on a Lancaster street that can be true or completely made up – as long as it's a story you have told and doesn’t use copyrighted characters.

Entries must be received at Lancaster Library by Thursday 28th May 2015 and the team, which includes Lancaster-based comics editor John Freeman, will pick five winners from each entry age group who will win some comic-related prizes courtesy of local comic shop First Age Comics in Moor Lane, Lancaster.

Good Luck!

• Fancy a spiffing "Another Day Out" t-shirt, featuring art from Lancaster's very own Really Heavy Greatcoat comic strip by John Freeman and Nick Miller? Buy one now from Cafepress!

Lancaster Comics Day 2015 Children's Drawing Competition Rules
  • Your comics must be presented at A4 (210 mm width x 297mm height) or A3 (297 x 420mm) size and can be in pencil, ink or full colour.
  • All entries must be handed in at Lancaster Library reception by 12 noon on Thursday 28th May 2015. You can also email your entries (using the same dimensions as for paper entries) to – . (Use WeTransfer or other file-sending services for big files)
  • All entries must be accompanied by a contact name, address and parent’s telephone number (if under 16) or email which will be used solely for the purposes of informing the competition winners. Include these separately to the entry or written on the back of paper entries.
  • There are two age groups: 10 and under and 11-16. Five winning entries will be selected by the judging panel which will include John Freeman, former Marvel Comics editor
  • A selection of entries may feature in an exhibition on or around Lancaster Comics Day on Sunday 14th June at Lancaster Library
  • The judges’ decision on winners is final.
  • The Lancaster Comics Day team regret that entries cannot be returned without a stamped addressed envelope