Story Shorts 02/03/12

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A round up of news in brief from across Lancashire

Beauty spot will host contest for craftsmen

An unusual yearly tradition will take place near Preston this weekend. The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Hedgelaying Competition will be held on Saturday. The competition, which has been running for more than 20 years, brings together hedgelayers from around the region. This year it will be held at Higher Alston Farm, off Preston Road (the B6245), between Spade Mill Reservoir and Ribchester. It is expected that between 30 and 35 competitors will take part in classes ranging from junior to championship standard. Spectators can see the craftsmen and women in action from 10.30am, with judging around 2.30pm. To sign up for the competition or for more information, contact Lancashire County Council’s Dave Padley on 07860 578558.

Extra time for theatre screenings

Live screenings of National Theatre productions beamed from London to Lancaster’s Dukes Theatre are proving so popular that the venue is to provide encores. The Moor Lane theatre will be showing re-runs of two sold-out recent showings, She Stoops To Conquer, starring Chorley’s own League of Gentleman star Steve Pemberton and Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, with comedian-turned- thespian Lenny Henry. The Comedy of Errors, a contemporary version of the Bard’s tale, was beamed live from the National Theatre yesterday. But tickets sold out so quickly that The Dukes will show the recording again on April 1 at 4pm. She Stoops to Conquer, based on the classic Oliver Goldsmith novel, also stars Katherine Kelly in her first stage role since leaving the role of Becky McDonald in Coronation Street and will to be screened live on March 29 but tickets for this play have also already sold out, more than a month ahead. The recording of the live showing will be played again two days later on March 31 at 2pm. Tickets for encore screenings are £13 or £12 concessions on 01524 598500 or online at www.dukes-lancaster.org

Visitor sites ‘shown off’

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, will take a peek behind the scenes at Morecambe Visitor Information Centre as tourism staff prepare for English Tourism Week.

The wealth of attractions in the area, such as Lancaster Castle and Morecambe’s Midland Hotel will be highlighted as part of the event, which takes place from Saturday, March 10 until Sunday, March 18.

Coun Ron Sands, cabinet member with responsibility for tourism, said: “England’s visitor economy is worth £97bn a year and expected to be worth much more in 2012 having been blessed with events such as the London 2012 Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Torch Relay, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.

“All of these will without doubt attract thousands of visitors to our shores.”

Farm crimes

Members of Lancashire’s farming community have been invited to a special conference aimed at fighting rural vehicle thefts. Lancashire Constabulary is holding the event at its Hutton headquarters on Thursday March 22, from 9.45am to 3pm, to provide agricultural workers with advice to protect themselves.

Paint with nipples to mark Mother’s Day

Mums and daughters are urged to share laughter by taking part in a Painting By Nipples event in aid of the Rosemere Cancer Foundation. Fire 4 U in Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, is holding the mother and daughter evening on Thursday, March 15 and participants will be able to paint pottery together, using their breasts if they want to. Jane Fox, who runs Fired 4 U, which specialises in ceramics, clay modelling and copper enamelling, has held a number of successful Painting By Nipples events to raise breast health awareness as well as money for good causes. The evening costs £10 per pair which includes a welcome drink and the cost of painting for the evening. Any pots can be chosen, starting at £8 and 30% will go to the Rosemere Cancer Foundation. Call Jane on 01772 203060.

Fairtrade market fair

A fairtrade fair will be taking place at Preston’s Flag Market on Saturday. The event will feature a variety of covered stalls selling a wide range of fairly traded products including crafts and food. People will have the chance to support producers from across the world and hear their stories. There will be hot coffee on tap and dance performances throughout the day. It will take place from 10am to 4pm. Call 07813 870641.

City gearing up for local elections

With two months to go, residents of Preston are being reminded to make sure they are registered to vote. The local elections are being held in the city on Thursday, May 3. Peter Welsh, head of electoral services, said: “You must be on the electoral register to have your say on who sits on your council. “If you have recently moved to the area, or moved house, it is important to make sure that you register at your new address otherwise you won’t be able to vote. It only takes a few minutes to complete a registration form but you must make sure we receive it by April 18.” Registration forms are available by calling 01772 906908. Barbara Lines, regional manager from elections watchdog the Electoral Commission, is also reminding voters they can still vote even if they can’t make it to the polling station on May 3. She said: “Even if you will be away on holiday or think you might be caught up in work, you can make sure you have your say by applying to vote by post or proxy. You can print off the forms from www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.” To vote in the election, people need to be on the electoral register, be 18 or over on polling day and a British, Irish, EU or qualifying Commonwealth citizen.

Competition to name new services for mental health

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation is running a competition for the public to help them name two up coming developments. The first, on Ashton Road in Lancaster, will provide a base for older adult community services including enhanced day care, intermediate support team, memory assessment services and Lancaster Community Mental Health Team. Work is currently underway and the services are set to open in autumn 2012. The second development is the nearby Oaklands Unit on Pathfinders Drive, Lancaster. This is set to open in autumn 2013 and will provide inpatient facilities for people with mental health problems. The competition is open to residents of Lancashire, staff, service users, carers and foundation trust members. Anyone who suggests a name will be entered into a prize draw to win a £30 Tesco voucher. The closing date is March 30. Call 01772 695384, e-mail: mentalhealthmatters@lancashirecare.nhs.uk or visit www.facebook.com/lancashirecare.

£100,000 charity fund thrown out

A bid to create a £100,000 cash pot for South Ribble’s voluntary groups has been thrown out. Coun Matthew Tomlinson, the leader of the borough council’s Labour group, put forward proposals to ring-fence the cash from the authority’s reserves. He said the money could be used to “increase capacity” of the borough’s voluntary and charities sector. He said: “In this era of cuts, the Government wants these groups to stop some of the gaps created by its cuts.” The proposal put forward at the council’s budget meeting on Wednesday was thrown out. Council finance chief Stephen Robinson told the Labour group to come back “with firm figures” if it wanted to progress its proposal.

Cross-Atlantic talent on at show

Members of a youth church group will be performing with help from friends across the Atlantic tonight. Youths aged 12-19 of the Cornerstone Church, based at Carr Hill School, Kirkham, will be at Kirkham Market Square for a performance of music and drama. The event, which will be helped by a number of international students from the USA and Canada, will run from 7-9pm. The students are currently studying at Capernwray Bible College, near Carnforth, and have agreed to help out the performance. Anyone from the community is welcome to come along and watch the performances. For more information call 01772 685798.

Homes plan for city printers

A former printers is to be turned into two homes. The owner of the property on Broadgate, Preston has applied to the city’s council for permission to carry out the work.

New sign plan for North End

Preston North End has applied for permission to put up new signs for one of its sponsors. The club wants to put up Dewhurst Homes signs on its Deepdale stadium.

Plea over prices of fuel in country

A countryside campaign group said the cost of fuel is threatening the rural economy. The lowest drivers in the Ribble Valley can expect to par is 143.9p per litre of diesel compared to 140p in urban areas. Barney White-Spunner, executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, said: “Not only do people living in rural areas have to drive further to go to work, further to access essential services like schools, doctors and the supermarket, but they have to pay a lot more for their diesel to do so. “The cost of fuel is a major concern for everyone who lives in the countryside and cars are fast becoming an unaffordable necessity for many rural families. We urge the Chancellor to help the rural economy get back on its feet and to cut fuel duty in his forthcoming budget.” People living in Purbeck, Dorset, and Ryedale, North Yorkshire, fare the worst with 146.9p being the lowest price in their area for a litre of diesel. Many city dwellers across the North West can expect to pay 139.7p, a difference of 7.2p per litre.

Bluesman Trout gig

Acclaimed American blues rocker Walter Trout, who is renowned as one of the world’s greatest guitarists, is to play a show at Clitheroe Grand Theatre. The guitar icon, who was formerly a member of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers alongside Eric Clapton, and Fleetwood Mac stars Peter Green and Mick Taylor, comes to the venue on Saturday March 10, as part of a UK tour. Tickets are on sale now at £20 from the venue on 01200 421599.

Warning over computer scam

Residents were today warned about a single computer-based scam which has accounted for almost a third of all complaints about cold calling to Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards chiefs. Officers say fraudsters are trying to steal personal data by tricking PC-owners into giving them access to their computers. More than 250 complaints were received from April 2011 to the start of this year about conmen posing as workers from software giant Microsoft who encourage people to download software to fix a non-existent problem with their home PC. But the software turns out to be malicious ‘spyware’ which allows criminals access to their personal data. Those targeted by the scam could also be urged to buy software by giving the caller their credit card details.Call Consumer Direct with any concerns on 08454 040506.

Guild Wheel group plans

The group behind the Guild Wheel cycle path set to open around Preston this year has applied for permission to build two further sections. The Guild Wheel Users Group has applied to the city’s council for permission to build parts of the route at Bluebell Way, Fulwood, and Blackpool Road, Ribbleton.

Date for next PACT meeting

The next Ashton area Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting takes place on Monday at Ashton Methodist Church hall, Wellington Road, Ashton, Preston. The meeting gets underway at 6.30pm and all residents are invited to attend.

BMX floodlight plans for track

A Preston biking club wants to put up seven new floodlight pylons at its home. The Preston Pirates BMX Club has applied for permission to erect the pylons at its base on London Road, Fishwick.

Caravan fire escape

People are being reminded to make sure they have working smoke alarms in their caravans after a fire. Firefighters were called to the caravan on Grasmere Road, Bare, Morecambe, just before 12.20am on Thursday. A fire service spokesman said: “One of the pipes to the gas fire had corroded and gas had escaped and ignited. “The owner was sleeping in it, luckily he woke up and smelt smoke.” Firefighters fitted a smoke alarm after the fire, which caused minor damage.

Firefighters were called to the garden of a property where rubbish and furniture were being burnt on a bonfire.

It happened at around 8pm on Chestnut Crescent on Wednesday, a fire service spokesman said. He added the bonfire was too big for the size of the garden and a passer-by reported it to them.

Worshippers will be moved into a cinema while their church is refurbished.

The Inglewhite Congregational Church will hold its Sunday services at the Palace cinema in Longridge as it carries out a £450,000 expansion plan.Pastor John Irwin said he expected the cinema to become “a community hub”. He said: “We are inviting everyone in Longridge who doesn’t have a church to come along and join us.”

Work is set to start on building 11 homes on the site of a Preston church.

Housing association Adactus is to put up a sign on the site of the former Methodist Church on Eldon Street, Plungington, Preston, to signal the start of work. It is to build 11 family homes and parking spaces following the demolition of the church.

An army of young people is being sought to spend more than 15,000 hours helping their communities tackle social problems under National Citizen Service 2012.

Under the Government scheme, 610 places are being made available for 16-year-olds to get involved in schemes such as helping the homeless, teaching kids sport and refurbishing youth centres in the county.