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.

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.



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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Smelly send-off as elephants pack trunks

Knowsley Safari Park is moving its elephant herd over to France during the construction of a new habitat – with a rather smelly way of settling them into their new home.

Plans are underway for a state-of-the-art facility to be built here on Merseyside as part of the park’s ‘Foot Safari Transformation’ project.

In the meantime, Knowsley’s four African elephants will be making the move over to ZooParc de Beauval in Saint-Aignan in southern France to participate in the European Breeding Programme while their old habitat is being renovated.

To help them cope with the transition, their own dung is being shipped across the Channel as well as some French equivalent coming in the opposite direction.

Knowsley Elephant keeper Alex boxes up the local herd’s dung. Pic © Knowsley Safari Park

Eveline de Wolf, Head of Animal Collection for the park, said: “We have been preparing for this move for the last year and our team of keepers have been working closely with our elephants to make the journey as comfortable as possible for them.”

A spokesman for Knowsley Safari Park explained that elephants have a very sensitive sense of smell, and sniffing another elephants’ dung can reveal key information about newcomers, such as their gender and if they are ready for a mate.

When the keepers arrive in Knowsley from ZooParc de Beauval, they will bring with them boxes of the stinky stuff from the French elephants, which is then introduced to the herd in Liverpool so they can start to get to know each other before the big move to assist with sharing habitats until the new facility is completed in 2019.

The keepers from France will then take some of the local elephants’ waste back over the Channel with them for their herd to get an intimate sense of their new companions.

YouTube: Knowsley Safari Park

Doors open at new Bootle cookery school

A Bootle-based cookery school has opened and is ready to teach the next generation of caterers.

StedyChefs has been in the process of building their business targeted at students with disabilities and learning difficulties.

The doors officially opened on Friday with help from the Mayor of Sefton, Councillor Iain Brodie-Browne.

The new StedyChefs in training with Head Chef, Lisa Jamieson [2nd from right]. Pic © Andrew Nuttall
He said: “It’s been great to come down here and officially open up the school. A big congratulations is in order to all involved for a successful open day too.”

The food continued to flow from the ovens in the newly-opened outlet, as the new students were providing guests with all the refreshments including sandwiches, chips and cakes.

Stephen Bygrave and Sean Ellis, who each have over 30 years’ combined catering experience and met whilst working at the city’s Alma De Cuba bar, founded StedyChefs and have now set up the kitchen to educate people.

Mr Ellis, Co-Director of StedyChefs, said: “Today has been a great success, we’ve had a fantastic response and a lot of interest from the students and we’re very excited to officially start the programme now.”

Mr Bygrave said that the company decided to include an additional communal area so that parents are able to stay and watch their children flourish in their new career path, sampling their dishes and providing an element of comfort for those who find the experience unnerving.

The Mayor of Sefton unveils the golden plaque, officially opening the school.  Pic © Andrew Nuttall

Head Chef Lisa Jamieson has over eight years of experience working in the culinary trade and is now passing on those skills to the new generation of Stedy-Chefs.

It wasn’t all fun and games, as chefs worked hard behind the scenes in the new kitchen area cooking up a storm.

The qualified sports therapist said: “The students have been great today and really took everything on board. We’ve had a good time in the kitchen and they’ve all learnt something new, I’m sure they’ll be great chefs one day.”

The courses run at varied lengths, depending on the needs of the student. They can range from small, attentive sessions or full, year-long courses.

Students who attended the open day said they were happy with the outcome and felt confident to return on Monday morning for the start of their development with the company.

YouTube: StedyChefs

Football rivals walk stadium to stadium for charity

It’s not often Manchester United and Liverpool FC fans share the same common goal, but best friends Scott Baron and Craig Holland enjoyed a winning result together – raising hundreds of pounds for two causes close to their hearts.

Scott, 31, from Grapenhall in Warrington, has started his charitable quest by putting football rivalries aside to walk from Anfield to Old Trafford, accompanied by his childhood friend and Liverpool FC supporter Craig, 32, from Great Sankey.

The men completed the 34 mile walk from Anfield to Old Trafford, kicking off a year of charity fundraising © Scott Baron

The former British Army soldier has devised ‘Scott’s Dirty Dozen’, a series of 12 challenges, such as cycling around Anglesey; a 10km army obstacle course, and completing the Three Peaks mountain adventure challenge to support the ‘Blue Apple Heroes’ war veterans’ charity and ‘Beating Bowel Cancer’.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to do something for charity and I’m not one to do things by half. So, this year I’m going to push myself and lots of different friends to their limits.

“Walking from Anfield to Old Trafford is just the start.”

The Warrington duo set off from Anfield at 6am and reached their destination of Old Trafford 11 hours later, raising £340 for their chosen charities.

The father-of-two said: “This challenge goes to show that Manchester United and Liverpool fans can come together in a very powerful and productive way.”

To support Scott in his charitable quest, visit https://scottsdirtydozen.wordpress.com/.