Hollyoaks stars kick off the 120 mile race for Freshfields

Freshfields Animal Rescue will launch their Rescue to Rescue Cycle Challenge on January 27th with soap-star style.

The yearlong campaign, that aims to raise much needed funds for the Merseyside rescue centre, sees teams join together to complete the 120 mile distance, between the Liverpool Rescue centre and their other branch in Caernarfon, Wales.

One of the four teams kicking off the event will be the Hollyoaks Team.

Daisy Wood-Davis, star of Hollyoaks and a Freshfields Ambassador, said: “I have very little experience in long haul cycle rides but I jumped at the chance to help Freshfields raise money for their wonderful rescue centre.

“This is a real rescue centre, who truly care and fall in love with all of their animals no matter how they got there or what they are.”

Some of the Hollyoaks cast are about to cycle 150 miles for the animal rescue charity Picture © Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre

Joining Daisy in Liverpool ONE shopping centre to complete this challenge are some of her Hollyoaks co-stars; Jessica Ellis, Duayne Boachie, Luke Jerdy and Parry Glasspool.

Fundraising Manager, John Rullo said “The Cycle Challenge is symbolic of the link that connects our centres. The distance of 120 miles may be great, but with teamwork nothing is insurmountable.”

Fans of the Channel 4 soap can show their support by visiting on the day and leave a donation for the animals at the Ince Blundell-based shelter waiting for the right home.

If the event inspires you to help raise funds then Freshfields are eager to help anyone set up their own teams and host these kinds of events at their local workplace, supermarkets and other busy locations throughout the year.

For more information please contact John Rullo on john@freshfields.org.uk or 07577 464820.

Liverpool City Council crack down on issue of pavement parking

An investigation made by the Liverpool ECHO highlighted the rise in pavement parking across the Merseyside region, and how the ‘selfish actions’ of drivers were impacting on residential areas.

Liverpool City Council have started a campaign to crack down on people who are blocking the way for pedestrians.

Cllr pam
Cllr Pam Thomas, who is a wheelchair user, is campaigning to keep pavements for people © Pam Thomas / Twitter

Cllr Pam Thomas was announced as the new Inclusive and Accessible City cabinet role at a Council Meeting in September

She said: “I have had to weave in and out of oncoming traffic because there were cars parked where they shouldn’t be. It really is that dangerous for some people to be able to just cross a road.

“Often, even if I am able to get on a high pavement, I have to get off again because of vehicles in the way.”

The West Derby councillor, who is also a wheelchair user, highlighted her experience of finding it impossible to move because parked cars made it impossible for her to use the pavement.

She said: “There are plenty of other pedestrians with needs for additional space, such as people with visual impairments or mothers with prams who also struggle on a daily basis because of this problem.”

Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet member for highways, said: “Pavement parking makes life extremely difficult for wheelchair users, parents using buggies and prams and puts pedestrians in danger.

“Our ambition is to eventually be able to cover all areas of the city where there are issues, but we want to trial it in some areas and then gradually build up so we aren’t spreading ourselves too thinly.”

The worst affected areas in the city were highlighted as…

  • Riverside
  • St Michaels
  • Greenbank
  • Kensington
  • Old Swan
  • West Derby

He added: “It’s important to stress that we won’t be targeting those narrow terraced streets where pavement parking is required to maintain access for emergency service vehicles, such as fire engines.”

The campaign has begun gathering a massive amount of support from people who face the struggle of navigating around cars parked on Liverpool footpaths on a daily basis.

Sarah Johnson, a local mother, said: “I often need to weave in and out of the road to avoid these parked cars. It’s not easy with a twin buggy either.

“I think it is very disrespectful of these drivers to be taking up the pavement and potentially putting lives at risk.”

Below are just a few examples of pavement parking in West Derby village, highlighted as a significant problem when Cllr Thomas agreed to be interviewed on the subject.

Now, taking action herself, Pam often takes to the streets of her own ward to give drivers a gentle reminder of who the pavement is intended for.

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DISCLAIMER: It was advised, where visible, to obscure the number plates of the cars pictured in this article in case the drivers were unaware of the law or were parking on the pavement due to a genuine emergency. (All Photos © Andrew Nuttall)

Garston community comes together for elderly residents at Christmas time

Christmas can be a pretty lonely time of year if you don’t have anyone to spend it with, but the Garston community has made sure that local pensioners have had a great afternoon celebrating the festive season.

Staff at Garston’s Swan Inn pub organised a Christmas party for local pensioners in the community to avoid them Feeling lonely at this time of year.

Dawn Cook, event organiser, said: “Today has been a huge success. Seeing everyone laughing and talking to one another was really beautiful.”

swan inn
The Swan Inn Pub in Garston, Merseyside where the Christmas party was hosted © Andrew Nuttall

Elderly people were offered a drink of their choice and a buffet-style Christmas dinner.

With the Christmas songs on repeat and the drinks flowing, the smiling residents of Garston showed how they truly look out for the entire community.

Some even helped out with washing the plates and clearing up the empty glasses!

Dawn added: “We’ve been planning the event for a while now, it’s a great way to bring everyone together as a community.”

Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, but over half a million older people spent Christmas Day alone last year, according to figures released by the charity Age UK.

A chance to meet up with old friends and make new friends, the ticketed event sold out quickly and is sure to make a welcome return in 2018.



REVIEW: Aladdin spreads a certain Scouse sparkle over the Liverpool ECHO Arena this Christmas

This years festive offering of Aladdin at the Echo Arena’s Auditorium was a performance not to be missed.

Friday’s opening night saw a near-sell out venue follow Aladdin – played by Britain’s Got Talent star Michael Auger – on his adventure to win the heart of Princess Jasmine (Jessica Johann) and stop the evil Abanazar (Dean Sullivan – Brookside’s Jimmy Corkhill) from world domination.

The stars of the show had plenty of opportunities to showcase their vocal talents, with the Slave of the Ring – brought to life by Radio City’s Leanne Campbell – having some as well as great on-stage banter with other cast members that had people in stitches at times.

Despite the Eastern setting of Aladdin, the cast made sure to bring us right back to the North-West with well placed references to Liverpool that cracked a few laughs.

Children’s entertainer Mark Jones’ was in his natural habitat on the pantomime stage – which made his clumsy character all the more likeable with the audience.

Whether Wishee Washee was swimming through cream cakes or just failing to know what was going on at all, his antics had the audience howling in laughter.

Another stand out performance came from Ruby Murry – who dominated the stage as the larger than life Widow Twankey, with various outfits that were just as funny as the one-liners and innuendo-riddled humour.

All photos © Liverpool Echo Arena

Tonight wasn’t the standard Christmas pantomime but overall, audiences left the arena looking pleased. With all the vital cliches we’ve all come to know and love (oh yes there was!), it had something to get everyone smiling and clapping along.

It was announced tonight that tickets are on sale for 2018’s Christmas pantomime, which was revealed to be Peter Pan.

Until then, Aladdin runs until Christmas Eve, with tickets still available from as little as £12.50.


4 stars



YouTube: Liverpool Echo Arena


BSL Choir bring Christmas cheer to Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Hundreds of winter holiday-goers stopped in their tracks as a choir with a difference spread some festive cheer at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

The choir performed some Christmas classics using British Sign Language (BSL).

Choir leader Helen Andrews, said: “It’s fabulous to see everyone engaging in BSL and even trying to copy along with us when they hear the songs.

It’s all about raising awareness for what we are aiming to do for the BSL community.”

YouTube: Andrew Nuttall

BSL For You (formerly Woolston Signing Choir) was formed in 2009 by Helen as an intergenerational community choir.

There are 125,000 deaf adults in the UK who use BSL to communicate, which is what makes the inclusive nature of the choir so appealing.

Co-leader David Lawton said: “It’s been great fun coming to the airport tonight and raising some much-needed awareness for what we do.”

With well over 100 public performances under their belt, the choir were raising money tonight to help fund their project, Deaf Nepal Expedition 2018, where both Helen and David will be working with Deaf children in Nepalese Deaf schools and repairing those with significant damage.

BSL Choir at Liverpool John Lennon Airport
BSL Choir ladies at Liverpool John Lennon Airport © Andrew Nuttall

Ranging from very young to the young at heart, choir members regularly meet up and learn how to communicate with their deaf friends and family through the use of BSL in general and then by performing well-known songs that those of us who can hear often take for granted.

If you would like to join the choir or help with the Deaf Nepal Expedition fundraising, then contact the choir on their Facebook page.



‘Psychic’ pig’s Liverpool derby win prediction falls flat

thumbnail_Jurgen reading sports pages
Jurgen Kloppig reading the sports page © Freshfields Animal Rescue

A ‘psychic’ pig living on Merseyside is looking a bit red-faced this morning, after he failed to predict the 1-1 outcome of Sunday’s Merseyside derby clash.

Quite how the pig in question, named Jurgen Kloppig, came to be wandering around the streets of Anfield remain a mystery to those at Freshfields Animal Rescue, near Crosby, where he now lives and his special psychic abilities have been brought into doubt.

John Rullo, Fundraising Manager at Freshfields, said: “Jurgen was quite upset after the match, he thought there was only one team in it and those were the vibes he was getting before the kick off.

“Perhaps in the cup, when he gets it right, people will see that he is a psychic pig after all.”

The prediction process involves putting some of the swine’s favourite foods inside blue, red and white boxes, to represent an Everton victory, a Liverpool win, or a draw respectively.

Quite simply, whatever box he eats from is his chosen outcome!

The rescued pig has made these ‘psychic’ predictions ahead of the last two Merseyside derby clashes, and has failed to get his hat-trick by guessing that Liverpool would continue with their back-to-back wins for a third year.

John added: “He did have a bit of controversy before the prediction, with our chickens getting in his way of his psychic powers.”

“He had a good sniff around all the boxes but went with Liverpool in the end. In a way, he knew they both had a good chance of scoring then.”

With threats to retire from psychic pig activity, only time will tell if Jurgen will make his predictions for the next derby clash.

YouTube: Andrew Nuttall

Scouse Santas make their annual dash through the city centre streets

The 14th annual Liverpool Santa Dash saw more than 8,000 Scousers don red and blue Santa suits for the UK’s biggest festive 5k run.

The record-breaking fun run started at the Pier Head and took participants through the city centre, ending up outside the Town Hall.

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell said: “We staged the very first Liverpool Santa Dash in 2004 and, little did we realise back then, that so many people would take the festive fun run into their hearts.

“It’s a really special day for everyone involved – the smiles on everyone’s faces says it all.”

YouTube: Andrew Nuttall

Last year, Liverpool ranked second in the world for their Santa Dash, with Las Vegas narrowly claiming the title with just under 8,000 runners.

This year’s event attracted not only locals, but people from across the globe.

People from Germany, America & Australia came to take part in the festive fun in Liverpool this weekend.

The Everton FC fundraising favourite, Speedo Mick, poses with fans at the 2017 Santa Dash event Picture © Twitter – @LynseyBoyd86

Amongst the masses of Father Christmas lookalikes were some local famous faces, like Everton FC’s favourite fundraiser, Speedo Mick.

Year on year, the Santa Dash proves to be a big success, raising money for hundreds of different charities.

Claire House Children’s Hospice, which has bases in Wirral and Liverpool, is the official charity for the Liverpool Santa Dash 2017, but many people were running in aid of other charities as well.

The festive fun will continue at Liverpool’s St Johns Shopping Centre on December 7th, with a fundraising Santa Conga which starts at 6pm in Roe Street.


Runcorn Linnets superfan flies 6,000 miles from China to visit dream team

A Chinese football fan has made a staggering 6,000-mile journey to visit his favourite English football team.

Huang Wenbin, from Xiaman, was not heading to the North West for a Premier League giant – like Liverpool or Everton – but to see the Runcorn Linnets.

His love of Runcorn stems back to the Championship Manager 2001/02 computer game, where Webin took the team from non-league to Premier League victory.

In an interview with the Runcorn Weekly News, Huang said: “The first time I made the decision to find Runcorn FC was in 2015.

“I went to Liverpool by train to watch Steven Gerrard’s last match at Anfield. When the train was parking, I saw a sign for Runcorn.

“I told my friend I will be there again to find my club.”

Playing as manager of Runcorn FC in the game, Huang took the club from obscurity to Premier League victory, signing David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Steven Gerrard and Roy Keane.

The 37-year-old flew to Liverpool with his wife Lin Xiaoru and their children, Yandao and Geshu, this week to finally see the local club in person.

After spending a total of 27 hours travelling to the Cheshire town, his family were greeted by club chairman Mark Buckley and were given a tour of the infamous Millbank Stadium.

Mark said: “The Linnets have a Swedish and a Norweigan fan group, but China is a little bit special.

“I don’t think Huang realised that we were as glad to see him as he was glad to see us.”

Gallery Photos © Twitter / Huang Wenbin

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Read all about it! Garston pupils join in mass reading event

Liverpool school children have dropped what they’re doing this week to show how much they enjoy reading.

Pupils at Garston C of E School stopped their lessons on Friday afternoon (this afternoon) for a mass reading as part of the city-wide Liverpool Readathon.

Lead English teacher, Sarah Keiley said: “The kids have all really enjoyed doing something new like this. Staff have been really good at helping to include this focus on reading into their already busy lessons.”

The children took part in a variety of fun activities focused on reading and writing such as Harry Potter-themed phonetic potion making, visiting the local library and a few guests too.

Visitors to the school included local author Jude Lennon and children’s poet Craig Bradley.

Younger pupils looked at the popular book series ‘The Gruffalo’ with a set of exciting activities planned, such as role playing the story and creative writing to promote reading as a fun thing to do, even out of school!

Mrs Keiley added: “This is the first time that we have took part in the Liverpool Readathon event and I’m sure the kids are looking forward to the next one already.

“It’s been a great way to push the kids to be reading more at home, it really is a wonderful feeling when a child comes into class and tells me all about what they read last night.”

The event culminated on Friday afternoon with every class meeting in the school assembly hall for a massive group reading session for 20 minutes.

Jennifer Holder, the Reading Coordinator for Liverpool Learning Partnership, said: “It has been brilliant to come along to the school this afternoon to see what Garston C of E have been doing.

“They have really embraced the event and it’s great to see all the kids, and even the staff getting stuck into a good book!”


Check out a few photos that were taken during the week © Twitter: Garston C of E

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Shops on Walton’s County Road given new urban look by local residents

Shop fronts in Liverpool that were looking somewhat drab have been given a new lease of life after a lick of paint by members of the community.

Walton residents have decided to inject a bit of colour into the sombre-looking shop shutters that line up along County Road.

The development has been organised through local community group, Love Walton CIC, who commissioned the work on the shutters out to Zap Graffiti in February this year.

Kieran Gorman, from Zap Graffiti, said: “We are a Liverpool-based art studio who have been promoting graffiti as a positive art form across the UK since 1995.

“It was great to be contacted by the community of Walton who thought this would brighten up their area and get our message out at the same time.“

Sitting in the shadow of Goodison Park, County Road is home to an eclectic range of independent shops, bars, and cafes and, of the 46 shutters that have been painted, each mural designed by the street artists as part of the scheme cleverly relates to what the business inside does.

Project coordinator Maureen Delahunty-Kehoe said: “We wanted something striking and visual that would really make an impact when you came down the road and the shops were shut.

“We were price-matched by Councillor Roy Gladden as part of the project, whereby the shops only had to pay for half of the materials needed to paint their shutters and they paid the rest.

“It was really nice to be able to have council backing, as it showed they believed in us as a project.”

county road
County Road, in Walton, received a new lease of life in the form of urban graffiti on shop shutters Pictures © Andrew Nuttall

This artistic scheme aims to bring back the life to the area and what some local residents are calling ‘a shopping area in decline’.

Walton resident, and keen shopper, Theresa Bloome said: “I think areas like Liverpool ONE have taken interest away from smaller, independent places like County Road.

“Hopefully these colourful and interesting pieces of art will give people something to talk about when they come to the area to shop.”

This isn’t the first time that street art has graced the L4 postcode, as the former Ethel Austin store it’s a host to an amazing mural of a woman with multi-coloured hair, painted by street artist Whoam Irony earlier this year.

Another resident Esther McBride, who lives just off County Road on Croyland Street, said: “I’ve lived on this street for quite a few years and I’ve definitely noticed a drop in the number of people coming here to shop.

“This new artwork isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste but it’s definitely something unique to the area and much better than plain old shop shutters.”

The shutters were only the start of Maureen’s big clean-up for the area, as she now plans to get the local schools involved in the building of a virtual garden on Hale Road in the next few weeks.

Ms. Delahunty-Kehoe said: “I decided to get the schools that were nearby involved in this clean-up so that the kids were aware of their surroundings and would ultimately have a bit of pride in their area, knowing that they can make a difference.”


Below picture gallery © Andrew Nuttall

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