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16th December 2015
GP appointments over Christmas and New Year
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During the festive period, people in West Lancashire are able to make an appointment to see a GP when their normal practice is closed.

To support the increased demand for health services at this time of the year, the local GP out of hours service is offering routine GP appointments during the day over Christmas and New Year.

Appointments will be available 9am – 5pm from 26 to 28 December 2015 and from 1 to 3 January 2016.

To book a routine GP appointment on the above dates, please call 01695 574634. These appointments are being offered at either West Lancashire Health Centre in Ormskirk or at Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre.

Dr John Caine, local GP and Chair of NHS West Lancashire CCG said ‘’As demand for health services can be high during peak times over winter, these additional appointments for residents of West Lancashire will help reduce pressures on our A&E departments which should be accessed for serious illnesses and life-threatening injuries only’’.

If you need a GP appointment outside of these hours (9am-5pm), the GP out of hours service is available for urgent appointments by calling NHS 111.

14th December 2015
Hospitals lift restrictions on visiting hours
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Friends and family will be able to spend much longer with patients at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals from 18th December 2015.

Wards will open for visiting at midday and stay open until 8.30pm, seven days a week.

The decision by Simon Featherstone, Director of Nursing and Quality, follows a successful trial at Southport hospital earlier this year.

“The support and company of friends and family is an important part of any patient’s recovery but traditional visiting times don’t always fit round people’s working lives and personal commitments,” said Simon.

“We also know some visitors want to play a more active role in the care of the patient they’re visiting, such as helping at mealtimes and providing a familiar voice in unfamiliar surroundings, so I hope this more flexible approach will help them.”

He added: “To make this work, we also need visitors to help us too. We ask that there should be only two visitors per bed and, from time to time, we may ask visitors to leave the bedside during personal care for patients or consultant ward rounds.”

14th July 2015
Reported by: Chris Jowett

Banks W.I. held their Christmas party on Thursday 3rd December. After an excellent buffet supplied by The Pantry there was a fancy dress parade, won by Margaret (the elf) with runners-up Sue and Sheila.

We then had two quizzes. After some funny stories read by Alison the evening finished off by everyone joining in the singing of some well known Christmas carols.

We meet again on January 7th starting at 7.30pm, when the theme will Be Ascot Hats led by Karen Corbett.

11th December 2015
North Meols Nifty Fifties Golf Lunch
Reported by: Stuart Atkinson

Over 25 members of the Nifty Fifties Golf group enjoying Christmas Lunch at the Golf Club Cafe after playing in their Christmas Tournament at Southport Golf Academy, Leisure Lakes.

Nifty Fifties Golf GroupThe Nifty Fifties is now almost 12 years old and as well as the Golf group we have an Art group, play badminton, take walks, do Yoga and have social outings all with the aim to keep fit.

The Mayor of West Lancashire, Nikki Hennessy, who was instrumental in beginning the Nifties, attended our meeting recently when the children of St Stephen's School came to sing carols.

We support local events and the community in general and are proud to have major fund raising each year supporting local charities.

26th November 2015
Poppy presentation cheque
Reported by: Stuart Atkinson

On Tuesday 24th November a cheque for £621 was presented by Silwyn Atkinson to  Sarah Curry, Business Manager, of Byng House Royal British Legion in Southport.

The money was raised through the sale of knitted poppies made and sold by North Meols Nifty Fifties who were proud to support Byng House.

Byng House presentation by Nifty Fifties

26th November 2015
Junior doctors’ industrial action

The public is being asked to use NHS hospital services responsibly ahead of a strike by junior doctors planned for Tuesday 1st December.

It is the first in a series of three strikes junior doctors have planned in their dispute with Government over a new contract.

Rob Gillies, Executive Medical Director at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said the Trust was working with nurses, doctors not affected by the strike and other clinical staff on robust plans to ensure that appropriate care is delivered.

“With the exception of dermatology, ophthalmology and maxillo-facial care, many of the planned services our hospitals provide will be affected and we are in touch with the patients concerned,” said Mr Gillies.

“Put simply, our message to patients with appointments is: ‘if you haven’t heard from us, we still want to see you on Tuesday’.”

Mr Gillies added: “Patients in need of emergency hospital care will continue to receive the treatment they need, when they need it. In all cases priority will be given to those patients with the most pressing health needs.

“A&E is for people facing life-threatening and emergencies such as serious accidents, serious burns, breathing problems, heart attacks and strokes.

“Anyone who needs help in such circumstances should not hesitate in calling 999. There are other healthcare options available for less serious situations – such as visiting your pharmacist or GP, calling NHS 111 or using NHS Choices (

The first junior doctors’ strike will last for 24 hours and start at 8am on Tuesday and affect all hospital services except emergency care. Two all-out strikes are planned for Tuesday 8th December and Wednesday 16th December between 8am and 5pm.

6th November 2015
Reported by: Lynda Richards

Banks W.I. met for their Annual Meeting on Thursday November 5th, we had a lovely evening but no fireworks when Carol our president for the last 3 years stepped down.

Carol has been a great president, she gave her time and expertise to organise many outings and fun evenings.

This last year has been especially busy with it being the Centenary Year of the W.I. and I think the Fashion Show which was held in September was the highlight of year.

Our new President is Alison Rimmer and I'm sure she will enjoy the challenge, I will be handing over to Chris Jowett who will keep you all well informed of our future activities.


5th November 2015
NHS & Macmillan team up for people affected by cancer
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The NHS is joining forces with Macmillan Cancer Information at a free health and well-being clinic in Southport on Thursday 12th November.

The event at Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is an opportunity to find out how to access local support, information and advice to help patients and their families adjust to life with and beyond cancer. It will run from 1pm to 3.30pm.

Jackie Brunton, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust’s lead cancer nurse, said: “We’re delighted to join forces again with Macmillan, building on the success of previous health and well-being clinics.  We would also be delighted to welcome friends and family to come along as we understand how a cancer diagnosis affects not just the person with cancer.”

Visitors will have the opportunity to find out what local support, information and advice is available to them, their families, carers and friends to adjust to life with and beyond cancer. Clinical nurse specialists will also be on hand. There will also be:

  • Healthy food demonstrations
  • Hand massages from Sefton OPERA (Older Persons Enabling Resource and Action)
  • A benefits advisor
  • Representatives from local cancer support groups
  • A performance by the Living Well Centre/Macmillan Singing Group
  • Expert-led sessions around fitness, wellbeing and Macmillan’s work

Helen Jones, Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre Manager, said:

“We understand how patients can often feel they lose the safety net of support they receive while attending the hospital regularly for treatment. These events are designed to help people to return to everyday activities and make the most of the good things in their life. If you have any questions, we are here to help.”

Places are free but limited, booking is essential. For information or to book a place contact Macmillan Information & Support Centre on 0151 288 6793/7 or email Sefton council is offering subsidised parking at 80p per car.

The event is organised by Macmillan Information and Support Centre in partnership with Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group.

28th October 2015
NHS CCG welcomes views on LOCAL health services
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The NHS in West Lancashire is welcoming views from the general public about experiences of using local community health services.

As part of its ongoing re-procurement of the community services contract, NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) would like to know what is working well locally and what could be improved.  Community health services and primary care includes various local services such as GPs, district nurses, community matrons, mental health services, podiatry, dieticians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, treatment room services, leg ulcer clinic, continence service, MSK (musculoskeletal) clinics and end of life care teams.

The CCG has launched a survey, which is available online via:  Printed copies of the survey can be requested directly from the CCG by calling 01695 588 203 or emailing

Claire Heneghan, chief nurse of NHS West Lancashire CCG, said:

“As local healthcare commissioners, we must continuously review all the contracts we hold in terms of patient safety, quality and choice, clinical evidence and value.  This procurement is therefore part of normal NHS practice.  This decision to re-procure is part of our vision for joined up care, which will bring improvements in care locally and deliver services closer to people’s homes.

“We will ensure we work collaboratively with everyone, such as hospital and community staff, the voluntary sector and other partners, on our plans and importantly consider the local community’s views as part of this process.   This element of co-design is something we’re committed to.  It is crucial we understand from the people using these local services what is going well, what could be improved and any other experiences or feedback they wish to share”.

The CCG’s website is updated regularly with news on this procurement including a summary of the local NHS body’s vision for joined up care: More information can be requested by contacting the NHS using the details above.

4th October 2015
Reported by: Lynda Richards

Banks W.I. met on Thursday 1st October. It was a lovely evening and everyone was busy catching up with other members.

Our Fashion Show was a great success and thanks were given out to everyone who helped leading up to it and especially on the night, we had a good turn out and local groups will be feeling the benefit.

Carol is sorting out the letters of thanks.

Margaret put together a lovely exhibition of the history of Banks W.I. Past and Present and we hope everyone enjoyed looking at all the photo's and memorabilia. We are always in need of new members and the exhibit was to show what an interesting and active W.I. we are.

Next month is our A.G.M. and Carol will be stepping down as our president I can't believe it has been three years since she took the Presidency.

Our speaker was Marrianne Walsh who told us about her life in the theatre. She has worked with many famous people including Richard Gere and Bruce Forsyth and she has appeared in 'Grease' 'Evita' and 'Billy' most of these were on the London stage. She has spent many years in the theatre and has had adventues along the way.

The County Show was also in September and some of our members went along to Garstang to see all the lovely exhibits.


6th September 2015
Reported by: Lynda Richards

Banks W.I. met on thursday 3rd July.

100 years of the WI celebration cakeThe Summer Outing this year was a visit to Bury Market were everyone had a chance to stock up on the delights of Black Puddings, Fish and Meats of all varieties.

This was followed by Afternoon Tea on the Pullman Express which was delicious and a quick stop at Bents Garden Centre.

All plans are being finalised for our Centenary Fashion Show on the 18th September which is being held at Banks Leisure Centre, only £5 entry and it starts at 7.30pm.

We had a double celebration - HRH The Queen becoming the longest serving monarch on the 9th September and this month celebrating 100 years of the W.I. a wonderful cake had been made by Margaret Wright and iced by Sheila Johnson. We had Bucks Fizz and a slice of cake to toast the special events.

Our speaker was Josie who showed us how to make chocolates and brought along a lovely variety of goodies to tempt us.


3rd September 2015
Ask your NHS a question
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Members of the public are invited to the annual general meeting (AGM) of local NHS leaders, West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The AGM will be held at Banks Leisure Centre (Greaves Hall Ave, Banks, PR9 8BL) on Tuesday 22 September at 11.30am (for registration) until 3pm and is a chance to learn more about the local NHS and ask questions directly to the management team in a panel style question and answer session.

Dr John Caine, chair of NHS West Lancashire CCG and local GP, said: “Despite our AGM being a formal requirement, we also view this as a valuable opportunity to highlight our achievements, challenges and plans for the year ahead, and welcome views and input from our community”.

The event is being hosted alongside a health network event of West Lancs CVS.   Greg Mitten, chief officer of West Lancs CVS, said:  “The AGM will involve updates and discussion with the voluntary, community and faith sector and allow both local voluntary groups and members of the public to quiz the NHS management team about a broad range of topics.”

Refreshments will be provided on the day. It is therefore encouraged that places are booked in advance by contacting advising of any special dietary, sensory and venue accessibility needs.

Similarly if anyone is travelling from Skelmersdale, Ormskirk and other areas and would like transport to be provided, please contact us on the above details or phone 01695 588 000.

The CCG will take questions on the day and would welcome any submitted in advance by using the above email address.

The CCG’s board meeting will take place at the same venue earlier in the day at 9.30am.  Members of the local community are welcome to attend to observe the board meeting. Questions relating to items on the agenda, which is published one week prior to the meeting on the CCG’s website, can also be raised by contacting 01695 588144 by noon on Monday 21 September.

There is also the opportunity for attendees to have an informal discussion with some of the board members following the closure of the meeting.

12th August 2015
Broke FMX back at Mere Brow BANK HOLIDAY FAIR
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Broke FMX Motocross DisplayFreestyle Motocross has become a leading spectator attraction since it took-off just a few years ago and is now one of the country’s leading crowd-pullers. And anyone unfamiliar with it need look no further than Southport Town & Country Fair over the Bank Holiday weekend at The Leisure Lakes, the Gravel, Mere Brow.

There will be a packed programme of events over all three days, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, August 29 – 31, but the Broke FMX team will be giving three, breath-taking, displays only on Sunday and Monday.

With the riders performing acrobatic stunts: at up to 35 feet above the ground, or around height of an average house and over ground distances in excess of 100 feet; they will literally be impossible to miss ! And just in case you don’t believe what you are seeing the riders even provide an on-board commentary while performing some of their hair-raising stunts. While between displays show-goers can visit the Broke FMX interactive stand, meet the riders and a get a close-up of both them and their machines.

Leader of the Leyland-based team, John Pearson, commented: “We have spent around ten years traveling the world, pushing the boundaries of FMX and setting new, high, standards for other motorcycle display teams to follow. We came to Southport for the first time last year – to the Country Fair – and we really impressed with how enthusiastic and knowledgeable the crowd were. So we are really looking forward to this year’s show.”

There will be a number of themed areas within the overall site, such as:

Dog arena: fun dog shows (Saturday and Sunday only 13.30 approx.), organised by the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home with prizes and rosettes for the Class Winners. Classes include ‘Handsomest’ dog, best biscuit catcher, golden oldie, waggiest tail and the not-to-be-missed ‘fastest sausage eater’ – so bring along the family’s best friend. Southport photographer Diana Celine will be providing each class winner with a free 10 x 8 ins. portrait of their choice. Demonstration and Scurry by Mere Brow Gun Dogs on all three days. Siberian Huskies, including a main arena parade on Saturday and Monday.

Creature House: ever-popular favourites include the North West Reptile Society, Banks Homing Pigeon Society, ferrets and, still-to-be-confirmed, budgerigars.

There’s a veritable A – Z of Country Pursuits to be found throughout the site: alpacas (Sunday only), duck-racing, ferret-racing, goat-racing, North West Stick-Makers and S&R Birds of Prey static display of hawks, owls and other raptors Sunday & Monday only).

Other attractions range from Jema Leopold’s Performing Horses and Ponies to a display of Ford side-valve vintage cars (Monday only), air-rifle shooting with the Tawd Vale Shooting Club, and antiques and Egyptian artifacts.

14th Southport Town & Country Fair - 10.00 - 17.30, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, August 29 - 31, The Leisure Lakes, the Gravel, Mere Brow, PR4 6JX. Tickets £6.00 for adults or just £5.00 if booked in advance via the Ticket Hotline on 01704 212734. OAPs and the disabled £5.00. Children (over three years) FREE on Saturday and until 12.00 Sunday – and £2.00 thereafter. Family Ticket, for two adults and three children, just £16.00.

12th August 2015
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Villages in Partnership is the trading name of the Rural Community Partnership Trust, Charity Number 1111237, which is based in Eccleston. The Villages in Partnership Board of Trustees are a group of people who are there to govern and oversee the charity’s activities to ensure we are compliant with charity law.

They are the governing body of the charity and are ultimately responsible for everything the charity does. They are also responsible for setting our short and long term strategic aims and objectives.

  • The Trustees’ fundamental role is to determine:
  • The overall direction of the charity
  • Provide leadership
  • Uphold the charity’s fiduciary responsibilities

Villages in Partnership would like to add more trustees to their board. By becoming a trustee you will be joining the charity at a time of growth and development.

We are looking for individuals with the skills, energy and passion to assist with continuing the boards’ work in taking the charity forward. This role requires attendance at the monthly meeting of the trustees, which are usually held on the second Tuesday of each month.

For further information and details of how to apply, please contact or telephone 01257 452698.

3rd August 2015
Banks St.Stephens S&SC, Bowls SectioN UPDATE
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The Bowling Section of St Stephens Sports and Social Club in Banks are indebted for the continued support they have received from many local businesses, Councils, and individual donations in their quest to continually improve the facilities offered on and around the Bowling Green to members and visitors alike.

During the last few years major improvements have been directed towards the replacement of the floodlighting around the Green, new team ‘shelters’, renovation of the pavilion, reinstatement of pathways and floral tubs around the Green, together with work associated with the playing surface itself. None of which could have been achieved without the considerable support received from those advertising their services on display boards on the surrounds, grants from both public and private bodies, and the contribution from individuals.

Chairman of the Bowls Section, Stuart Atkinson, reflected on the support provided by local organisations and the enthusiasm shown by Club Members to improve facilities ‘As a Committee we recognise the difficult financial situation endured by many of our supporting organisations and their continued belief in our efforts to provide an excellent facility for Members and the community at large. Without their on-going efforts much of our work would not have been possible, and with their continued support we will ensure that Members have the best possible facility available to them. Whilst it is not possible to mention all of those organisations who have supported us over the years it remains that we are so very grateful for their generous support. We are always happy to discuss additional opportunities to support the efforts of Members, and if you want to be involved do not hesitate to contact any Member of the Bowls Section’.

New Bowlers always welcome!

9th July 2015
A Day at the Races – you can bet on it !
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‘Punters’ after a ‘flutter’ and some fun need look no further than the 2nd Southport Country Fair Race Day at The Leisure Lakes, the Gravel, Mere Brow, on Sunday July 19, 2015.

The show was launched last year by local businessman Kelvin Pye and proved so successful that is back by public demand.

Pig racing‘They’re off !’ at 11.30 and Kelvin has promised a minimum of a 12-race card featuring a range of farm-yard and domestic animals including: ferrets, goats, Indian Runner Ducks, pigs, sheep, Shetland Ponies and even International Formula 5nail . . . for those who like their fun a little less than ‘Fast and Furious’.

‘Honest Joe’ the bookie will be on-site and covering all bets . . . up to a maximum of £1.00 . . . and for the uninitiated it is literally as simple as picking your favourite colour.

“We had a great time last year,” said Kelvin, “Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I hope it will be even better this time around.”

In addition to the racing there will be a full programme of events throughout the day.  This includes a, musical, horse and pony ‘Liberty’ performance by circus-trained, Jema Leopold, who has been running her own display team since 2006.

The show is very dog-friendly and owners are encouraged to bring their ‘man’s best friend’ along with them.  There will be a Fun Dog Show, organised by the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, starting around 13.15.

There will be a total of seven different classes and owners entering their dogs into two classes will be entitled to enter a third class for free.

Other canine capers will include a Gun Dog demonstration and scurry from the local Mere Brow Gun Dogs Club and Flyball dog-racing plus Siberian Huskies demonstrating their sled-pulling prowess.

There will also be an air-rifle shooting range, with proceeds raised going to the Royal British Legion.

2nd Southport Country Race Day - 10.00 – 18.00, Sunday July 19, The Leisure Lakes, the Gravel, Mere Brow, PR4 6JX.  Adult tickets £4.50, (or £4.00 if booked in advance via the Ticket Hotline on 01704 212734), OAPs £4.00,and children (over three years) £1.00 or just £11.00 for a Family Ticket covering two adults and up to three children. 

5th July 2015
Reported by: Lynda Richards

WMembers of Banks W.I. met on July 2nd at Meols Court Lounge.

It was a warm evening and there was lots to catch up on. To celebrate 100 years of the W.I. Banks W.I. are holding a Fashion Show on September 18th at Banks Leisure Centre, the evening will be hosted by Lilac Grey Boutique tickets are just £5 and this includes a drink on arrival and nibbles.

Please come and support us, all proceeds will go to local charities. Tickets can be bought from any committee member.

Our speaker this month was Yvonne Pinder with 'Pinnys Pots' she had brought along a large selection of hand decorated pots which she then went on to demonstrate, she showed us a simple way to decorate any terracotta pot, I think her workshops will be very busy for the next few weeks.


Banks WI

28th June 2015
NHS & Macmillan event for people affected by cancer
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Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is joining forces with Macmillan Cancer Information at a free health and well-being clinic in Southport on Thursday 9th July.

The event at Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is an opportunity to find out how to access local support, information and advice to help patients and their families adjust to life with and beyond cancer. It will run from 4pm to 6.30pm.

Jackie Brunton, the Trust’s Cancer Services Manager/Lead cancer Nurse, said: “We’re delighted to join forces again with the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service, building on the success of previous health and well-being clinics.  We would also be delighted to welcome friends and family to come along as we understand how a cancer diagnosis affects not just the person with cancer.”

Cancer nurse specialists will be on hand to offer advice and support along with local organisations including Sefton Active Lifestyles, local benefits advisors and Sefton/West Lancs Carers Support.

Information on fitness, walking groups, diet, benefits, stopping smoking, and carers’ support will also be available as well as the opportunity to talk to other people living with and affected by cancer. Refreshments will be provided and interactive sessions will include:

  • A presentation on the benefits of physical activity during and after cancer 
  • A tai chi taster session
  • Mini make-up classes from Boots No7
  • Healthy food demonstrations
  • Hand massages from Sefton OPERA (Older Persons Enabling Resource and Action)

Barbara Flowers, Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre Manager, said:

“We understand how patients can often feel they lose the safety net of support they receive while attending the hospital regularly for treatment. These events are designed to help people to return to everyday activities and make the most of the good things in their life. If you have any questions, we are here to help.”

Places are free but limited, booking is essential. For information or to book a place contact Helen, Barbara or Sarah at the Southport Macmillan Information and Support Centre on 0151 288 6893 or

A further event will be held on Thursday 12 November between 1pm and 3.30pm.

17th June 2015
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The most traditional of ‘cutting-edge’ technologies, the ancient art of scything, will be show-cased at the brand new, one-day, Southport Garden Festival at the Leisure Lakes, The Gravel, Mere Brow, on Sunday, June 28.

Scythe association demo

The Scythe Association of (Britain and Ireland) will not only be staging demonstrations of scything but also ‘peening’: cold-forging the blades using a hammer and anvil to bring them to the razor’s-edge of sharpness necessary for precision cutting.

Jez Hastings – one of the three-man demonstration team – reckons scything is quicker, more efficient, eco-friendly and even safer than using strimmers or lawnmowers.  And he should know.  Jez, who lives in Pitshill in the Peak District has learned to scythe almost 30 years ago.

He was one of the founding members of the Association – a professional order representing scythes-men and scythes-women set up just five years ago - and only about 2,000 years after the arrival of the scythe on our shores.  Then there were only around a dozen members, but today there are 230 spread throughout the British Isles.

At the Festival Jez and his colleagues will be working in and around an over-grown ditch, but Jez says the scythe is ideal for a range of uses from meadows and crops to allotments and even lawns.  He even appeared, briefly, in the film ‘Anna Karenina’ as part of a team mowing the lawn of a country estate with scythes.

“Before moving to the Peak District I lived in the Hebrides for a while and the scythe was still in everyday use.  Done properly it is not hard work and is extremely satisfying” he said, “On one hand there is a group of allotment-holders in Goven in Glasgow, that I was involved with, who have chosen to use scythes as their ‘management tool’.  On the other Prince Charles is obviously known for being very eco-friendly and so scythes are in regular use on his Highgrove estate.”

While harvesting and cutting are obviously important so is planting and growing.  The Association’s chairman, Richard Brown, produces wildflowers and seeds, and so the team also hope to have some available to sell on the day.

A packed programme for the day will also feature falconry and ferrets, a fun dog show – so make sure you bring your family’s best friend along – an unusual display of pig-herding from Jema Leopold, and a pony display set to music.  Plus music from the Ceilidh Folk Band and a stalls ranging from rare and unusual plants, vegetables and fruit trees, to local wildlife organizations and even Egyptian artifacts and antiques.

1st Southport Country Fair - 10.00 - 17.00, Sunday, June 28, The Leisure Lakes, the Gravel, Mere Brow, PR4 6JX.  Tickets £4.00 for adults or £3.50 if booked in advance via the Ticket Hotline on 01704 212734.  OAPs & Disabled £3.50.  Children (over three years) just £1.00.  Family Ticket, covering two adults and three children, only £10.00

15th June 2015
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The Environment Agency will shortly be serving notice on five satellite pumping stations marking the beginning of a two year period before closure.

The stations involved include Rufford, Clay Brow, Boundary Brook, Kew and Banks Marsh.

The Agency is holding a series of engagement events for those directly affected.

The first meeting is aimed at farmers and landowners and will be held on: Thursday 2nd July, 2015, 7.00 p.m. at the NFU Offices, 1 Moss Lane View, Skelmersdale, WN8 9TL.

7th June 2015
Reported by: Lynda Richards

What a busy and exciting month this has been.

WI Royal Garden PartyOn Tuesday June 2nd Jean Johnson and I attended The Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, we were very excited, the day was fine but a little breezy so a few hats were flying through the air but thankfully not ours. We walked through the palace gardens and took afternoon tea there were 8,000 members present so we didnt get much of a view of our royal quests but enjoyed the experience.

Margaret Wright and Alison Rimmer atended the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 4th June and had a wonderful day. HRH The Queen was present with HRH The Princess Royal both seemed really relaxed enjoying the day.

While we were on London our own W.I. members enjoyed a lovely evening with 'Canapes and Cocktails' Carol and members of the committee organised a special evening and Emma Kelly came along with her floristry knowledge and helped members to make a little corsage in green and cream.

Time to get our feet back on the ground plenty of exciting things coming up.


Banks WI

22nd May 2015
Calling women in Banks and surrounding areas
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Calling women in Banks and surrounding areas

The local NHS in West Lancashire is looking for female volunteers over the age of 47 years old to attend an informal focus group about breast screening.

  • For North Meols/Banks residents, the session is on Wednesday 17 June 5.30- 7pm at Banks Leisure Centre

The focus groups will aim to understand women’s feelings about and knowledge of breast screening – whether they have or have not been screened.  The discussion will be informal and confidential with female NHS members of staff, and will last approximately one and a half hours.  Refreshments will be provided.

Carol McCabrey of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“Through this focus group, we are hoping to understand why some women do not attend their breast screening appointment and others do.  The discussion will be very informal and will help us make improvements in terms of educating our local communities about why screening is so important.”

Women aged 50 -70 years are invited for breast screening every three years.    Breast screening is carried out at special clinics or mobile breast screening units locally in West Lancashire. The procedure is carried out by female members of staff who take mammograms using an x-ray machine.

Please confirm in advance if you would like to come along to the focus group.  If you’d like to attend please email or alternatively call Meg Pugh on 07795 952837.

This focus group ties in with the local NHS’ priorities around prevention and cancer.

22nd May 2015
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Detectives have issued an appeal after a robbery from a delivery wagon in Banks on Wednesday (20 May 2015).

At around 10.40am, a driver has been making a delivery at a store on Church Road.

Whilst unloading the vehicle, the driver has been approached by two men in dark clothing and threatened. The pair have then stolen around £1600 of cigarettes and made off in a waiting dark coloured Ford Focus, travelling down Church Road in the direction of Southport.

DS 64 Diane Higham from Skelmersdale CID said: “The attack understandably left the driver shaken up.

“I am asking anyone who saw a dark coloured Ford Focus vehicle in the area at the time or to get in contact with us.”

Anyone with information about this incident can contact DS 64 Diane Higham from Skelmersdale CID on 01695 566114. Alternatively, if they fail to get an answer, they can call 101 quoting reference number LC-20150520-0373.

Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at

18th May 2015
Trials bike champion to headline Southport Country Fair
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

In the high-octane, high-risk world that is international trials bike riding Steve Colley has won just about everything there is to win

And now the Isle of Man based rider will be show-casing his incredible skills at the 9th Southport Country Fair at the Leisure Lakes, The Gravel, Mere Brow PR4 6JX, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 29 - 31, 2015.

Steve, who is known as ‘Mr Showtime’ for his ability to really make things happen when it matters, began his career a two-times winner of the BBC Junior Kickstart competition.  Other titles gathered along the road and down the years have included:

3 times British Solo Trials Champion
4 times winner at Scottish Six Days Trial
11 times winner Manx National Two Day Trial
Winner 2007 Tough One Trials Challenge
3 Times winner Paris Bercy Trials Master Indoor
4 times winner Val De Isere Mountain Pursuit Trial

‘Mr Showtime’ – who is appearing on Saturday and Sunday only - is equally at home riding his bike over cars and even buses indoors as he is up and down seemingly impossible mountain courses.

“This is my first time at Southport,” he said, “But I understand it’s a very friendly and knowledgeable crowd I am hoping to give them something they will remember for years to come.”

Also new for 2015 are a Falconry Display and other Birds of Prey (Friday and Saturday only), budgerigars and parakeets courtesy of the Southport Budgie Society, a display from the Southport Original Cruisers Motorcycle Club.  While for those who tastes are a little more historic there will antique and Egyptian artifacts stalls.

As usual there will be a packed programme of events over all three days including: air-rifle shooting with proceeds going to the Royal British Legion, alpacas (Sunday), Creature House – featuring reptiles, homing pigeons and bees - Donkey Rides and a Show (Sunday), ferret racing, gun dog demos and ‘scurry’, Pony Club Games and musical pony rides (Friday - provisionally), Side-Saddle displays (Sunday) and the Show’s very own Fun Dog Show (Friday and Sunday)

Friday tickets are just £3.00 for adults; Saturday and Sunday tickets: £6.00 for adults - or just £5.00 if booked in advance via the Ticket Hotline on 01704 212734 – OAPs £5.00.  Children (over three years) are FREE all day Friday and up to 12 noon on Saturday and £1.50 thereafter.

16th May 2015
Reported by: Lynda Richards

Banks W.I. met on Thursday 14th May, a week later than usual owing to the General Election. We had lots to talk about with the lighter spring nights and summer on the way.

Some of our members have visited Tarlton W.I. last month and saw a Hanging Basket demonstration by local man Duncan Taylor. Our Summer outing this year is a trip to Bury Market with afternoon tea on a Pullman Express we will be calling at Bents Garden Centre on the way home, that will be in August we are all looking forwards to it.

Plans are coming together for our Fashion show in September and our meeting in June will be a celebratory one as it takes place on the same day as the W.I. Centenary Meeting in London. Our speaker was Angela Danby who was an editor and journalist for 'The Southport Visitor' for many years. Angela gave us an interesting insite into her years chasing stories, We were shown a copy of the first edition of the paper dated 1844 it contained 'tips on matrimony' which was very enlightening and the front page told us who was visiting the resort, were they were staying and how long - how thing have changed.

Angela has covered many interesting stories including a million pound fire at Huntapac and the visit of Princess Diane in 1992 to the opening of Queenscourt.

Our competition was a Hand written Handmade Scroll which was won by Margaret Mayer she designed a beautifully presented scroll with a personal message to all members of the W.I. it will be treasured by all of us.


11th May 2015
HOSPITAL Nurse recruitment open day
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is holding two recruitment events for nurses to find out more about working there.

The first event will be held on Tuesday 19 May at Southport hospital, Clinical Education Centre, between 4pm and 8pm. This is a chance for newly qualified and experienced nurses to come along and meet other nurses and team members at the Trust and discover what opportunities are available. Nurses looking to return to practice will also be warmly welcomed. There are vacancies available in all areas.

On the day, the Trust will be holding informal interviews and potential candidates are asked to bring along some identification. There will also be a chance for tours around the hospital and representatives will be on hand from nurse education to explain how the Trust supports nurses in their career development.

Light refreshments will be available for all those attending.

The second event will be held at Ormskirk hospital, Education Centre on 10 June, between 4pm and 8pm.

To view all current vacancies at the Trust visit and search for Southport and Ormskirk.

5th April 2015
Reported by: Lynda Richards

Banks W.I. met on Thursday 2nd April we were entertained by Yvonne and Math they had brought along a variety of musical instruments and songs.

Most of the songs we knew and lots of members joined in. We learn't some of the history of the Bango, Ukelele and Mandolin and that Tom Dooley realy did get hanged for a murder he didn't commit.

We held our draw for a member to atend the W.I.Centenery Royal Garden Party and another draw for a member to attend the Royal Albert Hall for our Centenary Annual Conference.

Banks W.I. are holding a Centenery Fashion Show at St Stephens Institute on September 15th with the help of 'Lilac Grey' fashion shop there will be more details to follow.

With the lighter nights and the days getting warmer we are in for a very busy year, everyone is welcome you can come as a visitor to our meetings, we meet on the first Thursday of the month at Meols Court Lounge. Lynda


28th March 2015
free support for social enterprises in West Lancs
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

Have you ever thought that you'd like to start a business that doesn't just make a profit, but also makes the world a better place? Then you might want to think about starting a social enterprise - a type of organisation that combines the business savvy of the private sector with the social mission of a charity.

Big social enterprises that you may have heard of include The Big Issue, Jamie Oliver's chain of 'Fifteen' restaurants, or Divine Chocolate - but there are also lots of much smaller social enterprises that all try to improve the world we live in, in their own particular way.

Like the idea but don't know where to start? Get in touch with a new, free, local service designed to help new social enterprises in the Southport and West Lancashire area. You can get one to one support from a qualified business advisor to help you see if your idea could be developed; access to small amounts of start-up funding (up to £500); plus additional training and development opportunities as your organisation grows.

For more information, email

24th March 2015
Reported by: Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Changes to hospital parking and fees:

Parking for patients and visitors should increase by at least 120 spaces at Ormskirk and District General Hospital later this year.

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is seeking planning permission to expand parking at the top of the main car park which faces the hospital entrance. The land is currently set aside for helicopter transfers.

Neil Aindow, Capital Projects Manager, said: “There are now few occasions when this facility is needed. By making alternative arrangements we can use this land more productively for the benefit of patients and visitors.”

The Trust also announced charges for some visitors parking at Ormskirk and Southport hospitals will rise from 1 April 2015. It is the first increase since 2013. Parking for staff will also cost more.


Current fee

Fee from 1 April

Less than 20 mins

No charge

No charge

20 mins to 2 hours



2 to 4 hours



4 to 8 hours



More than 8 hours



5th March 2015
Reported by: Lynda Richards

Banks W.I. met on Thursday 5th March our speaker was John Clayton who is an Editor at Radio Lancashire. He started on hospital radio before a spell at Radio Manchester, he told us some funny stories about people he had brought onto the show and described the power of radio to take you anywhere.

On Thursday 12th March the W.I. hold our Spring Council Meeting in Southport this year our speakers are Diana Birch who is NFWI Chairman, Sally Kettle who is an ocean rower and was the first woman to row the atlantic twice from East to West and Dame Stella Rimington DCB who was Director General of M15.

The W.I. have lots coming up this year with a Royal Garden Party and our Annual Centenery Meeting at the Royal Albert Hall, we are finalising our special celebrations also.


5th March 2015
Bowling Club AGM
Reported by: Stuart Atkinson

Banks St Stephens Bowling Club AGM to be held at Banks Sports & Social Club, Hoole Lane Banks. 30th March 2015 at 7-30 pm. Old and New Members welcome.

5th March 2015
VIP Network Meeting
Reported by: Villages in Partnership

Villages in Partnership, a local community charity with shops in Eccleston, Longton and Burscough, are holding a network meeting on Wednesday 18th March, 2015 at 4.30pm.

The venue for this one is Longton VM Sports and Social Club, School Lane, Longton.

These meetings are aimed at community groups and small charities as we try and support their growth. We can offer support and advice on fundraising and funding.

If your group would like to attend to see if we can offer them any support, then please feel free to come along, or contact Simon Kenyon, Project officer, on 01257 452698 for more information.

4th March 2015
Reported by: Mr S. Davies

The X2 bus service will be serving the village as in from Crossens The Plough via Banks Road, Hoole Lane, Guniea Hall Lane and rejoining the A565 to continue to Preston.

The service is expected to start on 12 April 2015 with timetables presently being prepared. Stagecoach will be monitoring the viabilty so use it or loose it!

2nd March 2015
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

Last September local author and illustrator Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts released their first book together called Madeleine Goes to the Moon.

New Madeleine book on KickstarterIt was extremely well received with perfect reviews across the board. Peter has spent much of his spare time since visiting local schools, libraries, nurseries and fairs reading the book to children, and the one question he is always asked is ‘When is the next book coming out?’.

Well, Madeleine’s next adventure is written and is called Madeleine Goes to the Sunken Shipwreck. In it, Madeleine dives to the dark depths and explores the bottom of the ocean in search of hidden treasure. But what she actually finds there takes her somewhat by surprise…..

In order to turn Madeleine’s next imaginary adventure into a reality, Peter will be running a Kickstarter project for 30 days, from 2nd to 31st March. During this time Madeleine Goes to the Sunken Shipwreck will be available to pre-order from the Kickstarter website, and if enough orders are placed to reach the target goal, then work on creation of the book will commence in April.

So how does Kickstarter work? Well, in reality it is quite simple and very easy to use. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Place a pre-order of the book on the Kickstarter website.
  2. Provide payment details but pay nothing now.
  3. If enough pre-orders are taken within the 30 day time limit, the book will be created and payment taken.
  4. The book (and anything else you order) will be delivered in October.

If you are interested in supporting Peter and Charlie in their next project then please click here to pre-order a copy of Madeleine Goes to the Sunken Shipwreck.

23rd February 2015
38% Paid less than living wage
Source: Southport Visiter

The South Ribble constituency which includes Hesketh Bank, Tarleton, Banks and Rufford has come third in a list of living wage black spots in the North West.

In South Ribble 38.1 per cent of of the jobs based there pay less than the living wage. In the neighbouring constituency of West Lancashire, 37.7% of jobs pay less than the living wage.

Across the UK, 26.6 per cent of women are paid below the living wage, rising to 28.9 per cent here in the North West. In West Lancashire the figure is a 48.3%, and South Ribble is 47.9%.

Click here to read the complete Southport Visiter article

5th February 2015
Reported by: Southport Storm RLC

Newly formed Southport Storm Rugby League club will be playing their home games at Tarleton RUFC, Carr Lane, Tarleton this season.

Their first match is at Tarleton on Saturday 14th February against Runcorn, 2pm kick off. Spectators are very welcome.

Storm also train at Carr Lane on Monday and Wednesday nights 7 to 8.30 pm. The club has a squad off 22 but would like more. Contact Dave Oliver on 07720  660533 for more information.

There is another home game on Saturday 28th against Chester Gladiators, 2pm.

28th January 2015
Phoenix Rebels named UK's best Country club
Source: Southport Visiter

Phoenix Rebels Country Music Club has been named as the ‘UK’s Best Club’ in a national country music competition.

Awarded by, the title celebrates the best of the UK’s country music scene.

A judge from the radio station, known as ‘Big Jack’ visited the venue and gave it a gold award for ‘The UK’s Best Country Music Club.’

The venue, which opened in 2000, is run by husband and wife team Fred and Julie Jorden, who say they’re “very proud” of the award.

They said: “We’re all very proud with the award. We’ve come such a long way - we started off with around 50 members 15 years ago. Now, we have around 200 members.”

56-year-old Mrs Jorden says Phoenix Rebel’s "all round friendly atmosphere” is the secret to their success.

“We’re always very welcoming to newcomers, and we have such a mix of people that everyone feels welcome. We’re a really friendly bunch and that must be why we’ve been successful

“We don’t worry whether or not country music is popular at the moment - it’s all we’re interested in and so to us it will always be popular,” she added.

Originally, the club was known as ‘Riverside Rebels’ situated at Hesketh Bank Bowling club, however a change of circumstances meant that the club re-located to its current site at Leisure Lake, earning its new name ‘Phoenix Rebels.’

Phoenix Rebels Country Music Club is based at Leisure Lakes Caravan Park and is open on Friday and Saturday nights.

It holds a weekly ‘casual night’ every Friday, with free entry, line dancing, drinks and music, with Saturdays dedicated to live music hosting a different live act each week.

Click here to read the complete Southport Visiter article

12th January 2015
Reported by: Hubmaker Media Follow Hubmaker Media on FacebookHubmaker Media on Twitter

Health leaders ask local people to examine their options

NHS leaders across north Sefton and West Lancashire are asking for the public’s help this winter to keep health services available for those who need them.

As part of the Examine Your Options campaign, health and social care providers are working together to advise local communities on the range of health services available to them.

Jonathan Parry, Chief Executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust said: “We are seeing unprecedented demand for care from older, frailer patients and people living with long-term health conditions.

“These patients often require hospital treatment but can take longer to get better and may need care arranging at home, delaying their discharge and limiting the beds available to new patients.

“This is why we are experiencing unavoidable delays in some departments such as Accident and Emergency.”

He added: “Our staff, many of whom are working long hours, continue to demonstrate their tireless dedication and commitment to patients during this challenging period.”

Fiona Clark, of NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Mike Maguire, of NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: “As demand for care rises, together with our colleagues from council social services, we are working to ensure patients get the best and most appropriate care. 

“However, we’d also like to encourage local people to consider the health service options available to them and not just A&E.  Walk-in centres and pharmacies don’t require appointments but are available to offer advice and treatment on a daily basis.”

A&E is for people facing life-threatening and serious emergencies such as serious accidents, serious burns, breathing problems, heart attacks and strokes.  Therefore the health organisations are supporting the Examine Your Options campaign, which highlights the range of health services available to people.

Pharmacies. Pharmacists are qualified to offer advice on health issues and medication as well as treat coughs, colds and other common illnesses without an appointment. Private consultation rooms are available. The pharmacy minor ailments scheme means that you can have a consultation with your pharmacist and obtain advice about treatment.

GP out-of-hours services. If you need to see a GP when your local practice is closed, simply dial the usual number and you will be automatically redirected to the GP out-of-hours team. 

NHS walk-in centres. With no appointment necessary, walk-in centres are managed by doctors and nurses who are available to deal with minor illnesses and injuries.

  • Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre at The Concourse (01695 554260) is open weekdays 7am to 10pm and weekends 9am to 5pm
  • West Lancashire Health Centre, to the left of the main entrance at Ormskirk hospital, (01695 588800) is open 8am to 10pm weekdays and weekends
  • Litherland Walk-in Centre at Hatton Hill Road, L21 9JN (0151 475 4667) is open 8am to 8pm daily

Emergency dentist. If you need emergency treatment when your dentist is closed, call 01704 548863 from Southport and Formby or 01772 777397 in West Lancashire

To find your local NHS services, go to to use the free service finder.

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and its NHS commissioners are easing the pressure on services over winter by investing an extra £3m through the local Care Closer to Home programme. Among the schemes the NHS is funding are:

  • Dedicated nurses to help co-ordinate care for vulnerable patients and offer additional support in community settings
  • A Short Stay Unit at Southport Hospital to treat and discharge frail older people and offer them the specialist care they need
  • Extra staff in A&E, radiography and mental health liaison
  • 38 community beds in local nursing homes to provide appropriate out of hospital care
  • Some additional GP appointment slots, and GPs in local nursing homes to treat people quickly and avoid hospital admissions

9th January 2015
Reported by: Lynda Richards

A meeting of Banks W.I. was held on Thursday 8th January, everyone was wished 'Happy New Year' and there was plenty of talk about the festive period.

We have lots to look forward to in 2015. Firstly a scrabble afternoon on Wednesday January 14th 2pm everyone welcome. A trip to Oswaldtwistle Mill in February will help us blow away the winter blue's and our Spring Council Meeting in March which is held at Southport Theatre.

Our speaker for the evening was Mike Cullerton who is a 'Master of Ceremonies, he presides over corporate functions. weddings and special occasions, he took us through his day as he looked after the wedding party from the groom ariving at the event to the toasts and speeches. He had some funny and emotional stories to tell and gave us a very enjoyable evening. 2015 is the centenary of the Womens Institute and special events will be organised all over the country we are interested in joining in some of these events.



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