Thursday, 26 January 2017

2017 Moonlight Walk in aid of St. John's Hospice has a superhero theme

The day before this year's Lancaster Comics Day (11th June 2017) in Lancaster Library, local cancer care charity St. John's Hospice are running their annual Ladies Only walk - which this year has a superhero theme.
Ladies are encouraged to sign up for this fund raising event and go along dressed as their favourite superhero, or make one up! 
(Maybe the person you plan to walk for is your superhero).
As ever, there will be two walks to choose from, 14km and 25km. This year the 14km route is also available as The Moonlight Run.
Based in Skerton, St John's Hospice is a local charity which provides free palliative care to patients with life shortening conditions. It has been caring for people with life shortening conditions and their families for 30 years, day and night, all over North Lancashire, South Cumbria and parts of North Yorkshire. Their work really makes a difference to the lives of thousands of local families in need of their support.
By supporting your local hospice and taking part in the Moonlight Walk, you are already their heroes! 
• For more information and to sign up visit:

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Local Cinema Round-up for the 25th January to 2nd February 2017

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 is a good selection of new and recent movies appearing in local cinemas during this period. We have family entertainment with the fantasy A Monster Calls (12A); a musical animation Sing (U) and the animation based on a trading card game YU-GI-OH! The Dark Dimension. Drama comes with Manchester by the Sea and the sequel to Trainspotting in T2 Trainspotting (18). Finally there is the biographical war drama Hacksaw Ridge.

The big draws at the moment are the romantic musical comedy La La Land and the black comedy sequel T2 Trainspotting

Science fiction this period comes with the established movies Arrival; Passengers and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

For earthbound drama there is tragedy in Collateral Damage and Manchester by the Sea. Also we have psychological horror in Split; crime drama with Live by Night; action in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage: biographical wartime action in Hacksaw Ridge and family reunion in Lion.

Family entertainment is well represented with a mixture of old and new. There are the animations Ballerina; Moana; Sing; Storks and Trolls as well as the fantasies A Monster Calls and Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them.

High culture this period comes with National Theatre Live: Amadeus and The Royal Opera: Il Trovatore.

A film of note is Ghost in the Shell being shown by the Dukes. This is the original Anime version that precedes the Hollywood remake. Finally, the lift at the Vue is currently out of action.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell
This is a Harry Potter prequel, inspired by J K Rowling's book of the same name. The movie is set in the 1920's, where Newt Scamander is a magizoologist, collecting and studying magical creatures. He visits New Your City where several of these creatures escape from his suitcase. He collects about him a group of allies to try to recapture the beasts. However New York at this time has been under a reign of terror from the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) and in the era of suspicion the creatures are believed to be responsible for an attack. Hence Percival Graves (Farrell), a director of magical secrets, declares war on Scamander and his helpers. This is a wonderful film and a fine tribute to the creativity of Rawlings. There are lots of plots, strange people and weird and wonderful beasts. The movie has received favourable reviews, but is perhaps a little darker than the Harry Potter series.

La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
Mia (Stone) works as a barista during the day but aspires to be an actress. She is involved in a road rage incident with Sebastian (Gosling) a jazz pianist. The two subsequently meet again and start to fall for each other as they try to satisfy their ambitions, she attending auditions and he playing in dingy bars as he plans to open his own jazz club. However the daily drudge of trying to live their dreams starts to take its toll. This movie, set in modern day Los Angeles, is brilliantly written and very well acted. Excellent musical entertainment.

Director: Ron Clements and John Musker
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson
A Walt Disney animated fantasy adventure. Moana (Cravalho) is the teenage daughter of the chief of a Polynesian island. However the fish and island produce become less abundant and hence Moana undertakes a nautical quest to find the magical amulet Te Fiti's heart and the demigod Maui (Johnson). The quest involves monsters and battles This is a magical film, with music, comedy and a good dose of adventure. It is extremely well produced and has received excellent reviews from both critics and audience. A must see movie for all ages.

Director: Morten Tyldum
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt
The rocket 'Starship Avalon' is on a 120 year voyage from earth to the colony planet Homestead II, transporting over 5000 people who are travelling in hibernation pods is a state of suspended animation. However two of the pods open prematurely releasing their occupants while they are still 90 years from their destination. These are journalist Aurora Dunn (Lawrence) and mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Pratt). They are drawn to each other and romance blossoms. However they need to understand the apparent malfunction that released them early from their hibernation and decide how to respond to their plight. They discover that the pods are not the only problem and the spaceship and its entire cargo is in jeopardy. This is a science fiction movie with a good helpings of romance, suspense and action. An entertaining movie.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Director: Gareth Edwards
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Felicity Jones
This movie is set just before the events of the original Star Wars. There are rumours circulating that the Galactic Empire are about to construct a horrendous new weapon, a 'Death Star' designed by Galen Erso (Mikkelson) A small team of rebels led by his daughter Jyn Erso (Jones) and Cassian Ander (Luna) strive to find the designer and steal the design schematics. The movie hosts new and familiar aliens who strive to 'use the force' and it comes with breathtaking special effects. This is more gritty that the familiar star wars offering, more of a war move with a higher body count and more muddied ethics. The movie has been well received and will delight audiences. It breaks new ground from the classic Star Wars, but only just.

Director: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Kelsey Grammer, Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Anton Starkman
Conerstone used to be in the business of delivering babies and most of its employees are stalks. However CEO stalk Hunter (Grammer) discontinued the service for the more lucrative business of delivering parcels. The business receives a letter from Nate (Starkman) a neglected boy who wants a baby brother and Tulip (Crown), a woman working for Cornerstone, causes the baby machine to create a girl in response to the letter. Now Tulip and her stork friend Junior (Samberg) must deliver the baby before Hunter finds out. This involves their facing a pack of wolves, militant penguins and an avalanche. This is a bizarre, non stop and fun packed movie that will appeal to all ages. It has been well received by the critics and is sure to please.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Final Days for This Year's Lancashire’s Young Citizen of the Year Search

The search to find Lancashire’s Young Citizen of the Year 2017 as part of a countywide competition is drawing to a close soon.

This year, High Sheriff John Barnett MBE DL is welcoming applications involving young people who have put others first.

He said: “Sometimes young people receive negative coverage in the media but my experience has always been that the vast majority are hardworking and help others.

“Perhaps you know someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty at school, a young charity fundraiser or they may be a young carer who looks after a family member – whatever they have done, we’d like to hear about it and they may win the top prize!”

The awards take place every year and involve the High Sheriff inviting applications to find a young person, ideally aged up to age 21, who has helped either their local neighbourhood, an individual, family member or local organisation.

The University of Central Lancashire are sponsoring this year’s awards, and are happy to be supporting the scheme.  Vice Chancellor Mike Thomas said:  “As a University we are delighted to sponsor the High Sheriff of Lancashire’s Young Citizen of the Year Awards 2017. The University is committed to deep-rooted engagement with the wider communities of Preston, Lancashire and the North West and so the ethos behind this initiative is one we support wholeheartedly.

“Our young people play a huge role in making local communities safer and better places to live and it is extremely important that we recognise and celebrate their achievements. Many step out of their comfort zones to make a difference and crucially they act as powerful ambassadors for inspiring positive change in others.

“My congratulations go to all this year’s nominated candidates.”

Winners and runners up are selected by the High Sheriff and a panel of judges from the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC), Lancashire Constabulary, the University of Central Lancashire and the former High Sheriff Rodney Swarbrick, who initiated the award.

Lancashire Constabulary’s Chief Constable, Steve Finnigan said: “We are extremely proud of our continued involvement in the Young Citizen of the Year Award and I am really looking forward to seeing the fantastic entries I am sure we will receive this year.

“This award highlights the contribution that young people can make towards supporting people in their communities, helping to reduce vulnerability and build community resilience.

“Our Volunteer Police Cadets are an example of that as they show that young people have a lot to offer and I am really pleased to play a part in making sure that young people get the recognition and support they deserve.”

All finalists will be invited to attend a presentation at Lancashire Constabulary Headquarters in March 2017 where the winner will receive £500 along with a specially commissioned trophy and certificate from the High Sheriff and Chief Constable Steve Finnigan.

The scheme is being administered by the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC) charity on behalf of the High Sheriff and the closing date for nominations is 31st January 2017.

Two runners up will also receive £100 and a certificate.

Approval of a parent or guardian is needed for the nomination, subsequent publicity and any future events involving the finalists.

• Application forms can be completed online at For more information you contact Al Yusuf from LANPAC on 01772 412796

Community Alcohol Partnership Launches in Lancaster

A Community Alcohol Partnership - the first in Lancashire - is to be launched in Lancaster this month in the Bulk Ward area to tackle underage drinking and anti-social behaviour.

CAPs are made up of partnerships between retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to empower communities to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people and improve the quality of life for residents.

They aim to reduce the sale of alcohol to under 18's, advise them on the dangers of drinking and provide alcohol-free activities through youth services and local charities.

Across the country CAPs have had outstanding impacts on local crime, anti-social behaviour, litter, feelings of safety and reductions in underage purchasing of alcohol.

By the end of 2016 there were 124 local CAPs across the country and local partners’ evaluations show that on average, in CAP areas alcohol-related youth anti-social behaviour fell by 40%, confiscations (police seizures) of alcohol from under 18s drinking in public fell by 85% and attempted purchase of alcohol by under 18s fell by 75%.

Attempted “proxy purchase” of alcohol by adults on behalf of children also fell significantly (ranging from 41% - 65%).

The Lancaster CAP will bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including Trading Standards, Police, Ridge Community Centre, local retailers, primary and high schools, local agencies, Police and Crime commissioner and the community.

County Councillor Azhar Ali, the county councils cabinet member for health and well-being said: “There is growing concern about the levels of underage drinking in Lancaster among local residents, councillors and retailers, so I am delighted to announce the introduction of the Lancaster (Bulk Ward) CAP to tackle alcohol-related harm in the area.

"Drinking alcohol at a young age brings serious risks to children’s health and development and puts them in danger of both physical and social harm. They are far more likely to injure themselves or someone else, engage in unsafe sex, fail to reach their potential at school and engage in anti-social behaviour. We are committed to making a positive difference to their lives and to our local community.”

CAP Chair Derek Lewis said: “A significant proportion of children have not only drunk alcohol before the age of 18 but are likely to have been drunk at least once in the last four weeks. This can be seriously damaging to their health and development and impact negatively on the wider community.

"CAPs offer a great opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to our nation’s relationship with alcohol, starting with the current generation of young people.”

• The formal launch of the Lancaster CAP, the first in Lancashire, will take place at the Ridge Community Centre, 2-4 The Square, Lancaster on Thursday 26th January 2017 at 1pm. The chair of the national CAP Derek Lewis will speak at the event and everyone in the area is invited to come along and pledge their support to help make the community a safer place

Find out more about Community Alcohol Partnerships here