Friday, 15 April 2016

Global Link secures Lottery Funding for World War One project, ‘Women, War & Peace’

A British soldier helping a woman farmhand to gather in the crops on the Home Front. Credit: Horace Nicholls © IWM (Q 31134)
Locally-based charity Global Link has received £9900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project called ‘Women, War & Peace’ in Lancashire.

Awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme, the project will focus on the role Northern women played in the pacifist movement of the time as well as their role on the Home Front in Lancaster.

The project is a development of Global Link’s Documenting Dissent heritage projects where volunteers research the roles ordinary people have played in the historical struggles for peace, equality, human rights and social justice.

Volunteers from across Lancashire are invited to join the project, and will attend workshops, visit North West Archives, collect newspaper clippings, photos and letters, and document these histories on the website To volunteer on the project please contact Global Link on 01524 36201 or email

Project worker Alison Lloyd Williams said, ‘We are delighted to have received this funding. Having previously worked with volunteers from across the region to research the histories of conscientious objectors, we are delighted to now explore the role women played in the movement for peace at the time. This will include the roles women played in campaigning as well as providing ‘safe’ houses for conscientious objectors.’ We are also delighted to work with girls from Lancaster Girls Grammar School to research the contributions of girls and women in the Lancaster area to the war effort.’

Based at Lancaster's YMCA, Global Link is a development education centre. They deliver workshops, training and heritage projects which explore the ‘global dimension’ to our lives, then and now. The global dimension includes key concepts such as human rights, social justice, and diversity.

Global Link online:|

• More about HLF World War One-related projects here

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 13th to 21st April 2016

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.

Only two new releases make it to the local cinemas during this period. There is family adventure with the re-release of The Jungle Book (PG) and modern day horror with Friend Request (15).

Drama is represented at the moment with Eddie the Eagle and Eye in the Sky whereas horror comes with 10 Cloverfield Lane; The Boy and The Witch.

Science fiction or fantasy movies include Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice; High Rise; Midnight Special and The Huntsman: Winter's War.

For family entertainment there is Kung Fu Panda 3; The Good Dinosaur; The Jungle Book and Zootropolis.

High culture during this period comes with Margueritta and the return of The Danish Girl.


Director: Tim Miller
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Ryan Reynolds, T L Miller, Morena Baccarin
Another Marvel comic super-hero makes the big screen. Wade Wilson (Reynolds), a mercenary, is diagnosed with cancer. He agrees to take part in an experimental cure and this gives him super powers but leaves him disfigured. He escapes from the laboratory but feels he can no longer return to his girlfriend and his previous life. Taking advice from his best friend Weasel (Miller), he decides to become a masked vigilante and subsequently is invited to join the X-Men. He finds that his girlfriend Vanessa (Baccarin) has been kidnapped and so seeks her safety and his revenge. Made on a low budget, this is an enjoyable movie. It makes fun of the super-hero movie genre and does not take itself very seriously. Full of wise cracks, one liners and excessive violence this is still a very entertaining film.

The Danish Girl
Director: Tom Hooper
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Ben Whishaw
The film is based on a novel by David Ebershoff and inspired by the lives of Dutch artists Lili Elbe/Einar Wegener (Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Vikander). Set in the mid 1920's Geida is a portrait painter, but a sitter is late for an appointment. Hence Geida gets her husband Einar to stand in for the missing female sitter. This has consequences. Einar has been harbouring a drive to become a female and the finished portrait attracts favourable attention from art dealers. Einar decides to become his alter ego Lili Elbe and becomes one of the first people to received a surgical sex realignment procedure to change from a man to a woman. The movie follows both the artists as they come to terms with the change from Einar to Lili. A serious movie, well acted and well received that highlights the issues of gender reassignment.

The Jungle Book
Director: Jon Favreau
Certificate: PG Cast includes: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba
Based on Rudyard Kipling's works, this is a reworking of a the well known classic using live action and CGI. Mowgli (Sethi) is an orphaned boy raised by a wolf and thence by Bagheera (Kingsley) a black panther. Mowgli alienates the Bengal tiger Shere Khan (Elba) and so must make his way to humankind for safety, meeting the well known characters Baloo and Kaa on the way. Subsequently he returns to the jungle to face Shere Khan. The movie is a good example a remake that improves on the original. An excellent movie that will entertain all ages.

Zootropolis (Zootopia)
Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman
This is a comedy animation set in the city of Zootropolis which is populated by animals. Judy Hopps (Goodwin) is a rabbit rookie police officer. She parters with a con-artist fox Nick Wilde (Bateman) to solve the mystery of a missing husband. An excellently made fun movie that will appeal to a wide range of ages.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Fund Raiser Launched for shop dog Dottie after vicious attack

Friends of the owners of popular Lancaster shop dog Dottie are raising funds to pay her vet bills, after she and her walker were repeatedly attacked by a dangerous dog last Thursday afternoon (7th April) on Quay Meadow - but was saved by a brave group of teenagers who rushed to help.

Dottie is owned by Andrew and Lynne Long, who run the Slip Inn Lane Emporium and was being walked by Mandy Holten, who adores her.

Dottie was playing with her favourite ball moments before she was suddenly attacked by a pit bull type of dog.

"It was a totally vicious and sustained attack from a dog that was completely out of control," says Mandy, who is currently walking with a crutch after the horrendous attack. "Time slowed down. I was in shock.

"We were at the end of the walk when the dog appeared from nowhere and attacked Dottie savagely, shaking her like a rag doll."

Luckily, both Dottie and Mandy were rescued by a group of teenagers - but it was far from easy and they put themselves at risk to do it.

"Four teenage boys got the dog off Dottie three times," Mandy says, "but they couldn't hold it because it had no collar and was very powerful.

"It kept coming back to attack again.

"I was afraid Dottie would bleed to death," she admits. "I had her in my arms a few times and it dragged her out. When I tried to hold her above my head, the dog savaged my left arm.

Dottie's injuries after the attack
"I think we might both have been killed, except a man with a dog on a lead appeared. He began to shout, the attacking dog turned and then attacked his dog. The second victim has injuries to the muzzle and stomach.

"The man managed to get the dog under control using his spare chain lead. In the mean time a 17-year old girl helped me and Dottie to escape. We headed for the nearest safe place which was the train station.

"Dottie would not have survived a fourth attack. I will always be grateful for the kindness of strangers.

"Dogs are let off the lead in the meadow to exercise," says Mandy,  whose stick coat and backpack were ruined in the attack. After police investigated, they told her that the girl had only got the dog that same day from a charity and they had told her the dog was ok.

"If they have no more sense than to give such a powerful dog to a slip of a girl who can't hold it there is something sadly amiss," feels Mandy.

Dottie spent Thursday night at the vets on a drip after the attack to replace fluids, administer painkillers, antibiotics, and anti inflammatories. Her wounds checked and stitched and she is now at home after her awful ordeal.

"We'd like to send a special thank you to the group of teenagers who helped to rescue Dottie," says co-owner Andrew Long. "Whilst Mandy was trying to fight off the dog, their efforts eventually allowed her to escape with Dottie.

"Our thanks also go to another dogwalker who helped out whose dog was also bitten; and also to James Glass at Lancaster Veterinary Centre, who stayed late to treat Dottie that evening.

"She was lucky, and she is a strong little dog. What affect this will have on her mental state however remains to be seen.

"And we are proud of, and grateful to, Mandy, for standing up to the attacking dog, risking her own safety in the process."

Friends of Andrew, Lynne and Dottie have rallied to raise £275 to help pay the unexpected vet bills, raising £75 so far.

"Dotty is a rescue dog and was found wandering the streets of Bolton, scavenging for food," fund raiser Clare Long Summers told Virtual-Lancaster. "It's possible that her previous owners may have abandoned her due to an eye problem and the associated vet bills. So it's very sad that another traumatic event should've happened to her."

Virtual-Lancaster understands the dog that attacked Mandy and Dottie will now be destroyed.

You can help Dotty back to health by donating here

Morecambe Businesses urged to be a Good Sport this May for Window Dressing Competition

Could you create a view for Eric? Image: Lancaster City Council
This May, shop owners and businesses in central Morecambe are being asked to celebrate what promises to be a packed summer of sport with the town’s annual window dressing competition, as part of Lancaster City Council's View For Eric regeneration project.

The competition, now in its fourth year, helps showcase the best of what businesses have on offer and attract new customers.

This year’s theme is sport, building on the huge summer we have ahead of us with the European Football Championships in France and the Rio Olympics.

Made You Look, Made You Stare founders Janet Billings and Helen Goodwin.
Image: Made You Look, Made You Stare 

As in previous years, visual display expert Helen Goodwin of York-based Made You Look, Made You Stare will be on hand to offer advice and tips.

A free demonstration from Helen will take place on Monday25th April from 6.00 to 7.00pm at Kerry’s Coffee House on Marine Road Central. Pop in for a free brew and cake as well as expert advice on how to create an award-winning display.

If you can’t make it, then a limited number of appointments will be available when Helen will visit businesses at their premises for a short and free one-to-one appointment. These will take place on a first-come, first-served basis on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th April.

Councillor Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration, said: “This summer we’ll be treated to a summer of sport with the European Championships and Rio Olympics, among others, providing plenty of scope to come up with some eye-catching displays.

“And if businesses can incorporate Eric Morecambe in there somewhere in what would have been his 90th birthday, all the better!

“This competition is always a sure fire hit and I’ll be looking forward to judging it once again.”

Supporting businesses is an important part of the Morecambe Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) 2: A View for Eric, a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Lancaster City Council.

THIs seek to invest in and regenerate historic town centres and help communities learn about and look after their heritage. Window displays offer a cheap and effective means of promoting identity and quality and help towards creating a healthy town centre.

A range of prizes will be available for the winners of the competition. Judging will take place on the morning of Friday 13th May 2016

• For more information and to register your interest visit the ‘skills and training’ link at, call 01524 582023 or email

Chamber of Commerce Announces Women in Business Conference

Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce has announced the details of its annual Women in Business Conference, which will take place on Wednesday 18th May 2016 (9.30am – 2.30pm) at The Globe Arena, Morecambe FC.

The event is for "aspiring and ambitious business women" and will be packed with refreshing ideas, business advice and networking opportunities.

The guest speaker will be Melanie Sensicle, Programme Delivery Director for the Northern Tourism Growth Fund at Visit England.

Melanie is an experienced strategic planner for destinations and organisations providing help and support with organisational development. Melanie will be sharing her passion for women rising to the top of the career ladder and her own journey in business.

The event will also see presentations by RoleBaines Wilson and Jane Binnion where the focus will be on women and equality and the issues faced by women in business plus, how you can achieve that all important work-life balance without having to be superwoman.

The Chamber will also be holding a prize raffle to raise funds for their charity of the year,
St John's Hospice.

This event is ideal for women who are looking for an event with a difference, networking opportunities and inspiration to unlock their potential and be tomorrows leaders in business.

• Cost: Members £40 +VAT, Non Members £60 +VAT. Exhibition space is available for £35 +VAT. Book via this link. Contact: INFO@LANCASTER-CHAMBER.ORG.UK OR call 01524 381331