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May 2013

RLI ward closures planned; NHS Trust budget cut by 13%

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMB) has circulated a consultation document to staff outlining proposals to save the Trust £30 million from its annual turnover of £250 million. (You can see a scanned PDF copy of the consultation document here.) Changes proposed include a reduction of 200 front line clinical and nursing staff and 40 clinical admin support staff.

Summer drink driving crackdown gets underway across Lancashire

Lancashire Constabulary’s summer drink driving campaign will be launched tomorrow (Saturday 1st June). The crackdown will see high-profile enforcement activity take place across the county throughout the month of June with a focus on under 25s and daytime drinkers. There will be checkpoints at key locations where officers will administer drink and drugs tests.

Garstang indecent exposure driver sought by police

Police are appealing for information after a naked man repeatedly exposed himself to several women across Garstang and Wyre on Wednesday night (29th May). Officers are currently investigating five separate reports between 4.45pm and 8.00pm whereby a man, described as being white and aged between 40 and 60 years old, has indecently exposed himself to passing members of the public.

Housebound pensioners terrorized by walk-in burglar

Police are appealing for information after an elderly couple were confronted by a burglar at their home in Morecambe, stealing over £2000 in cash. The offence took place at around 5.35pm on Saturday 18th May at an address on Charles Street. The victims were sat in their lounge watching television when a man walked in through an insecure front door.

Fishy Business: thieves steal angling equipment from Lancaster home

Police are appealing for information after thousands of pounds worth of fishing equipment was stolen in Lancaster.

Yes, we do love to be beside the seaside: Morecambe wins top beach award

Lancaster City Council has scooped a top award that places two of Morecambe’s beaches among the best in the UK. Seaside Awards recognise and award beaches in England that achieve the highest standards of beach management.

Tory County Councillor condemns minority alliance politics

County Cllr. Alycia JamesConservative County Councillor Alycia James (Lancaster Rural North) is calling for changes to be made to the way Lancashire County Council is run after Labour negotiated a minority administration last week. The format is strangely reminiscent of the last general election election. Except that the roles of Labour and the Conservatives are reversed.

Critical Mass Bicycle Ride this Friday pays tribute to road accident victim.

Critical Mass Bicycle RideLancaster cyclists have announced that they will be holding a 'Critical Mass' bicycle ride in Lancaster this Friday 31 May. Cyclists are invited to assemble at Dalton Square in Lancaster at 6pm to ride en masse at a sedate pace around the Lancaster one-way city centre ring road.

City Council asks County to purchase Viking "Silverdale Hoard"

Part of the Silverdale HoardLancaster City Council’s Cabinet has agreed to ask Lancashire County Council to secure an important collection of Viking treasure for the county. Known as the Silverdale Hoard, the collection of coins and jewellery was found near to Silverdale in September 2011 by a metal detector enthusiast and has been valued at £109,815.

City Cabinet defers decision on Chancery Lane closure

Lancaster City Council's cabinet has voted to defer a decision on the possible closure of Chancery Lane between Market Square and Church Street (see news story), after virtual-lancaster highlighted the proposal within the Lancaster Square Routes plan.

NuBlue backs Lancaster BARTER Research Project, seeks local support

(with thanks to by Sita Bridglal): NuBlue, a local business based in InfoLab21, has lent its support to the BARTER research project, as part ofLancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications.

Endangered eels rescued from Luneside West tanks

A European Eel. Image: WikipediaForty eels - a critically endangered species - have been rescued from tanks destined for burial on Luneside West and released into the River Lune this week. Their rescue from two large tanks came after local councillor Jon Barry raised concerns about their fate as work progresses apace on the development of the site.

Fairfield Association's "Promises" auction set to raise funds for new nature reserve

Lancaster's Fairfield Association will be holding an Auction of Promises and Gifts on Saturday June 8 - offers that have been generously donated by members, sponsors and supporters.

80-year-old cyclist dies after Lancaster road collision

(Updated, 15:11): We're sorry to report that the 80 year old pedal cyclist involved in a serious road traffic collision with a Citroen Berlingo on Cable Street in Lancaster on 16th May, died of his injuries yesterday. Police have named him as as George Mitchell from Lancaster. The driver of the car involved, a 32 year old man from Morecambe, is helping police with their enquiries.

In Pictures: Lancaster Castle opens its gates to the public

Lancaster Castle opened its gates to the public for the first time on a regular basis this weekend and local photographer Alan Phillips was on hand to record the day. 2013 marks the first time the Castle has opened daily top the public, officially marking its transition from former prison to major tourist attraction.

Council sneeks proposal to close Chancery Lane to pedestrians into Square Route plans

While the latest news on Lancaster City Council's Square Root plans to revamp Lancaster city centre are great news for the town, supporting local business and other community efforts to boost it, there's a sting in the tail to the current plans to be discussed next week - the proposed closure of Chancery Lane, a centuries-old right of way between Market Square and Church Street.

Lancaster Paper Mill fined £10,000 after worker's accident

If you needed any reminding about the reasons trade unions and others have fought for the health and safety regulations the current government is trying to dismantle, then the story of a local worker who could have been killed when metal grating gave way under his feet at a tissue factory might give you pause for thought.

Police launch appeal after assault near Bull Hotel, Morecambe

Police are appealing for witnesses following an assault in Morecambe last month. The incident took place on Sunday 21st April at around 10.30pm outside the Bull Hotel on Lines Street. A disturbance took place outside the pub and the victim, a 31-year-old man from the local area, received a punch to the face causing a fractured jaw that required hospital treatment.

Bay Blue Art goes on display in the Williamson Park's Pavilion Café

Oyster Catchers by Steve Smith‘Bay Blue’ is a new collection of images including photographs and paintings from around Morecambe Bay by local artist Steve Smith, now on display at the Pavilion Café in Lancaster's Williamson Park.

Liberals, Labour agree power-sharing deal for County Council

An agreement has been reached by negotiators from the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups on Lancashire County Council under which the Liberal Democrats would support the Labour Party in a minority administration. The agreement will be put to meetings of the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups before tomorrow's Annual Meeting of Full Council.

Appeal after eight year old boy is attacked by dog in Lancaster

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after an eight year old boy suffered facial injuries after being attacked by a dog in Lancaster last night, 22nd May 2013. The incident is believed to have taken place around 8pm in a front garden of a house on Lupton Place on the Ryelands Estate.

Lancaster City Centre proposals to be discussed by Cabinet

Above: the two options under consideration for a new look to Lancaster's Market Square. Designs courtesy Lancaster City CouncilMajor new plans which would see nearly £1 million invested in Lancaster City Centre will be discussed by the city council’s Cabinet on 28th May.

New exhibition surfaces at The Storey

Art by Daniel Rozin The official opening of 'Surfaces in the Making' a fascinating multi-media exhibition, will take place at The Storey in Lancaster tomorrow night (Thursday 23rd May), featuring the work of acclaimed interactive media artist Daniel Rozin, flown in from New York especially for the event.

Animal attractions set to "awe..." at Williamson Park

Photo: Lancaster City Council Meet Dandelion who, along with her new friend Burdock, is one of the very cute new additions to the small mammals area in Williamson Park's animal attraction. Other new additions to the mini beast house include Poison Dart Frogs, Green Flower Beatles and Katydids.

'Enjoy' the latest from Williamson Park in Lancaster

Williamson Park in Lancaster has produced a brand new digital magazine called ‘Enjoy’ which is crammed with news and summer events. In the first edition, find out what the volunteers group have been up too. Plus, meet two new furry residents in the animal garden - Dandelion and Burdock and see how you can get involved in Love Your Zoo Week.

Police hunt for Lancaster barber shop attackers

Police are appealing for information after a man was assaulted at a barbers shop in Lancaster earlier this month - and have released CCTV of a man they would like to talk to in connection with the attack. At around 4.10pm on Saturday 11 May, three men pulled up in a car outside Off Your Head on St Leonards Gate.

Appeal after cyclist is injured by car in Lancaster

Police are appealing for information after a cyclist was injured by a car that failed to stop in Lancaster on 20th May 2013. The collision took place around 3.30pm when a car stopped on King Street close to the junction of Queen Square. The passenger opened the front car door and alighted from the vehicle and was then involved in a collision with a 51 year old pedal cyclist.

Pensioner to lead vintage tractor convoy cross-bay attempt for Diabetes UK

The first ever convoy of vintage Massey Ferguson tractors will (we hope!) cross the hazardous sands of Morecambe Bay, between Cumbria and Lancashire, to raise money for Diabetes UK on Sunday, 2 June 2013.

Morecambe Police hunt teen "flasher"

Police are appealing for information after a teenager indecently exposed himself in Morecambe. Between 3.50 and 4.00pm on Thursday 16th May, a 49-year-old woman was walking along Marine Road Central when a boy stepped out of the bushes, dropped his trousers and touched himself inappropriately. The boy is described as white, around 5'6” tall, of slight build and aged around 14-15 years old.

Student robbed in Penny Street ginnel, police hunting muggers

Police are appealing for information after a 19 year old student had his wallet and phone stolen after using a cash point in Lancaster. The robbery took place just after midnight on Thursday 17th May 2013, when the victim withdrew £30 cash from the Halifax cash machine on Penny Street - and was then attacked by two men in the alley next to the bank.

Difficult North West 200 meeting but solid results for McGuinness

Photo: Mark ‘Wally’ WaltersMorecambe’s John McGuinness scored two top seven finishes at the International North West 200 road races this week but poor weather conditions affected the race schedule throughout and ultimately saw practically Saturday’s entire schedule abandoned.

In Review: Haffner Players at Atkinson's Priory Hall Cafe

Haffner Players at Atkinsons Priory Hall, China St, Lancaster,LA1 1EX Friday, 17 May 2013 Reviewed by Henry Prince It wasn’t supposed to be a concert but that is how it turned out. As a patron of the orchestra, I went along to support the joint venture between a small group of Haffner Orchestra players and Atkinsons at the latter’s latest venue ‘The Hall’ on China Street, Lancaster.

Love Your Local Market campaign launches, our markets not involved?

Almost every market across the North West is taking part in a fortnight of events backed by the Government to promote local markets...

Police Facebook fans name new police horse

Lancashire Constabulary’s Facebook fans have named the police’s new horse recruit ‘Hutton’. Over 230 people voted to give the Irish Draught breed the name after a poll was run on the mounted branch’s Facebook page. A total of 657 people voted from a list of pre-selected names.

Will Lancaster host the Silverdale Hoard?

Photo: Prioryman Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet will consider the options available to secure an important collection of Viking treasure for Lancashire when it meets on 28th May. Known as the Silverdale Hoard, the collection of coins and jewellery was found near to Silverdale in September 2011 by a metal detector enthusiast.

Renewed appeal for witnesses to Cable Street accident, pensioner in critical condition

Lancaster Police have made a renewed appeal for witnesses following an accident on Cable Street yesterday involving an 80-year old cyclist. The man was knocked off his push bike by a vehicle which failed to stop at the scene at around 9.10am yesterday (Thursday 16th May) on Cable Street.

Police appeal following Morecambe burglary of vital laptop

Police are appealing for information following a burglary in Morecambe which on Friday 10th May, between 12:00pm and 6:00pm at an address on Woodhill Avenue. The victim and her son, who is registered blind, were out raising money for charity and during that time the offender has forced entry to the property and has stolen items from the bedroom.

Morecambe's Festival Market on the look out for rising 'Bake Off' stars

Morecambe's Festival Market is on the look out for rising stars to take part in a bake off at this year’s Family Fun Weekend. This years event takes place on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7th July. As well as a whole host of entertainment planned during the weekend, the Festival Market is inviting residents to showcase their cooking skills by taking part in the market's first ever bake off.

Lancaster Pensioners' Group condemns NHS dementia proposals, calls public meetings.

Lancaster District Pensioners' Campaign Group will be meeting again this Wednesday 22 May 2013 at 1pm in Room 2 of the Lancaster Friends Meeting House to discuss local and national issues affecting seniors. A further Public Meeting is planned for 12 June (see below).

Gillow Breakfasts: Music, Champagne and Buskers

Landlord Mark promises NOT to play the ukele at breakfast: "I wouldn't want to scare the customers" photo: Barrie MarshallThe Robert Gillow has been opening at 8am for breakfast since October 2012, and in keeping with owner Anthony Mark Cutter's business ethos he's decided it's time things got a bit musical.

Free Adult Learning Taster Courses at White Cross

There are still a few places left on the free and friendly taster courses being offered at Lancaster's White Cross Adult College during half term (18 - 24 May) and a quick glance at the website shows more being offered in June too, covering everything from stress management and family finances to arts, culture, social networking and local history.

Star Buddy Breastfeeding Support for local Mums and Babies

The Breastfeeding Network(BFN) and Lune Park Children's Centre in Ryelands Park are collaborating to deliver a pilot project that offers information and support to local mums who choose to start breastfeeding their new babies and continues until the babies are eight weeks old. It has been running since 2012 and is funded until August by the Early Intervention Fund of the Children's Trust.

Serious collision in Lancaster

(updated 1610, more info on car): Police are appealing for information after a man in his 70s was knocked off his push bike in Lancaster by a vehicle which failed to stop at the scene. The man was hit by what is believed to have been a silver vehicle at around 9.10am this morning (Thursday 16th May) on Cable Street and the vehicle drove off in the direction of Greyhound Bridge.

Lancaster Castle to open gates to the public for the first time in 900 years

Lancaster Castle courtyard. Photo © Copyright Ian Taylor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons LicenceAn exciting new era in the life of historic Lancaster Castle begins on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, when the imposing John o’Gaunt gates swing open to allow people to look inside.

Carnforth Post Office revamp welcomed

Alycia James, County Councillor for Lancaster Rural North, has welcomed news that Carnforth Post Office is to get a major revamp. The Post Office on Market Street will be subject to a refurbishment ahead of a relaunch with extended opening hours. The branch’s opening times will be extended by five hours on Saturdays when the new look building opens its doors on July 1st.

Join in with the Castle Hill Bioblitz!

Could you help to survey and monitor local wildlife and green spaces at Castle Hill in Lancaster? People are invited to volunteer for a BioBlitz on Saturday 18th May at the 'Beyond the Castle' site - the green space running from the castle down to the quayside. Early birds can join the team at 5.00am for a breeding birds identification walk. You can also study mammals, moths, reptiles etc.

Morecambe carer jailed second time for theft

A carer from Morecambe has been sentenced to 24 months imprisonment for stealing more than £4,500 from two elderly ladies that she cared for - one of them in her nineties. 54-year-old Karen Higgins of Wilson Grove, Heysham, befriended both of her victims: one was a 99-year-old lady and the other was a disabled pensioner in her late 60’s.

Local MPs back Agricultural Wages Board abolition; local farm workers face hard times ahead?

Eric OllerenshawBoth local MPs have backed the Government's decision to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board - a decision that will potentially affect the livelihoods of many local farm workers when it ceases operations in October.

St Michael crash - victim named as Lancaster University student Ryan Rostron

Following the fatal road traffic collision that took place in St Michael’s last night (see earlier story), the victim can now be named as 22 year-old Lancaster University Ryan Rostron, from Blackpool. Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after Ryan died in a road traffic collision in St Michaels.

M6 southbound carriageway closed after accident

There has been an incident on the M6 southbound carriageway between junction 33 and 32 that took place at around 2.30pm and the southbound lanes are likely to stay closed for at least two hours.

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