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7 March 2012

Vol 19 • Issue 10

Where it all began


The Champion may not have had an auspicious start, it’s first edition was produced with sales staff working out of the Scarisbrick Hotel, the editorial team gathered the news from the editor’s home and the administration and accounts were based in a garden shed. The newspaper itself was put together on B & Q paste tables and the staff had a whip-round to pay the printer up front. It may not have been the most auspicious

Part of today’s Champion team

SPECIAL REPORT by David Simister The surprise launch of the Champion 18 years ago was in defiance of the Southport Globe being sold to a rival publisher, closed down and the loyal staff being made redundant.

So, in true Champion spirit, the staff decided to launch their own title. Within four days of losing their jobs the first edition of the Champion hit the streets! Rival publishing groups scoffed and claimed it would never last. But, with each edition the Champion grew stronger and despite several attempts to thwart its progress it proved unstoppable. Readers and advertisers were quick to support the new title and their encouragement was a key factor in the title’s success. Eighteen years later there are seven titles in the group with a

combined circulation of just over 166,000 copies. It has become the largest weekly newspaper group in the area. In this special supplement we reflect on that first edition and look at some of the exciting stories and events we have covered over the years. We focus on local businesses with their own success stories. Today we employ almost 50 people at our head office and distribution centre in Southport and over 740 people earn a steady income every week as Champion distributors.

launch but it was certainly the most exciting. It is still just as exciting and perhaps even more so as we, like most other businesses, find ways to succeed in today’s market. We are proud of our publishing history and the contribution we make to the communities we serve. We still believe in the power and the integrity of local newspapers and the vital role they play in supporting the local economy.

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAMPION’S MD For the past eighteen years I have been proud to work alongside the Champion team and I am delighted to have this opportunity to thank them for their loyalty and hard work. A special thanks to our unsung heroes and heroines who brave all weathers and conditions to deliver your Champion. And finally, a sincere thank you to our readers, advertisers and suppliers for their help and support.

Champion Newspapers · Clare House, 166 Lord Street. Southport PR9 0QA · Tel 01704 392392 © 2012 Champion Media Group. All rights reserved. All details and information contained herein believed correct at time of going to press but are subject to change without notice. Designed by Mike Rose, Champion Creative Team

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more Champion stories

from 1996


Martin Hovden LOCATION

Southport town centre and seafront

• The Champion launched a successful campaign for a permenant memorial to Southport’s five Victoria Cross recipients to be set up in the resort.


Government ministers arrive in the resort to announce a multi-million pound grant to help create a vital new seawall for Southport


TAKE a stroll along Southport’s seafront today and it’s hard not to notice the impact this story had on the resort. The announcement of a £4.4m grant to create a new sea wall along Marine Drive paved the way for a series of projects which helped revive the resort in time for the 21st century, with extensive investment in the Pleasureland amusement park, a revamp of Southport’s historic pier and the creation of the Ocean Plaza site following the seawall’s construction.

1996 Two ministers from John Major’s government Environment Secretary John Gummer and Heritage Secretary Virginia Bottomley visited the resort to announce the investment, which Sefton Council chief executive Graham Haywood hailed as being a great Christmas present for the resort. A Christmas present we were only too happy to share with Champion readers.

• Ormskirk shoppers got the chance to head to a major new supermarket in the town, after a newly-constructed Safeway store opened its doors for the first time. Although the name has now disappeared from Britain’s high streets, the supermarket itself trades to this day as a Morrison’s store. • Champion reporter Andrew Capper interviewed Donny X, the leader of a Southport and Formbybased underground group whose members had predicted the end of the world. The apocalypse they foretold, which was predicted to happen in 2006, still hasn’t happened yet.

• Tourists in Southport could check out an unusual new attraction, in the form of the resort’s model railway village. The creators of the Promenade-based attraction, which features a minature rail system, say the site was inspired by real-life buildings from across the region.

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more Champion stories

from 1997


Jane Hudson LOCATION

St Peter’s Church, Formby THE STORY:

Formby residents unite in grief with the rest of the world to mourn the death of Princess Diana.


Your Local Office Furniture & Stationery Suppliers


Stationery Office Furniture Design, Planning & Installation Martland Mill Mart Lane Burscough L40 0SD T: 01704 891155 F: 01704 891156 Email: Order online at

IT WAS a sombre occasion which everybody can remember - the sad day when the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, was announced. When the lady fondly referred to as The People’s Princess was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997 newspapers across the nation helped reflect the grief of millions by paying tribute to her - and that week’s Champion was no exception. In Formby tributes were led by then MP Clare CurtisThomas, who said Diana was “a very human person to

1997 whom ordinary people could relate, and yet she had a most extraordinary appeal” and was truly a People’s Princess. Many Champion readers had particularly fond memories of Diana, as she had paid a visit to Queenscourt Hospice in Southport just a few years earlier. The following week, Formby joined towns across the country by holding its own memorial serivce at St Peter’s Church.

• The Liberal Democrats regained the Southport seat at that year’s General Election, which saw Ronnie Fearn defeat Tory incumbent Matthew Banks. Nationally, Tony Blair became Labour’s first Prime Minister in 18 years after the party won a landslide victory. • The Champion called for a fair and open inquiry into calls to change Sefton’s boundaries after it was alleged that a senior council officer had inside information from the Local Government Commission. • Our newspaper gained a high profile fan - Her Majesty The Queen! We sent a copy of The Champion to Buckingham Palace as a birthday present, which a Lady-in-Waiting said the Queen was “most interested” to read.

• A campaign to create a memorial for Southport’s Victoria Cross heroes finally paid off, with veterans invited to a grand opening of a memorial stone at the Centotaph that year. • Two people were killed in July when the engine on their Bulldog training airplane failed shortly after taking off from RAF Woodvale. A subsequent investigation by the Ministry of Defence revealed a fault with the aircraft’s fuel gauge.

The Champion • Wednesday 7 March 2012

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The Denture Studios

Company Fact File

Business Type

Dental Laboratory Owners

Nigel Mansley and Ian Barker esTaBlished

2011 address

40 Liverpool Road Formby L37 6BZ TelephOne

08455 230 230 weBsiTe

• Quality dentures at affordable prices • Implant retained dentures • Emergency dental repairs • Denture relines/adjustments

Our clinical dental technicians have been manufacturing dentures for over 20 years and can now make dentures direct to their local residents. The company’s owners Nigel Mansley and Ian Barker pride themselves on offering a friendly, discreet and relaxed service. The team at Formby are experts in manufacturing and fitting removable dental appliances and have been creating perfect smiles since opening the Denture Studios directly to the public in 2011. Ian along with fellow Clinical Dental Technician Kevin Armstrong have years of experience in the manufacturing of dentures and can offer patients their technical knowledge of what can be achieved and ensure that the new appliance will be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Kevin said: "Patients are involved in the decision making throughout the manufacturing process to ensure that they are completely satisfied that they have been advised of all treatment options available to them and that they are happy with their dental appliance. "We can also be more flexible in timescale where new dentures are required very quickly."

The services they provide include new dentures, valplast dentures, implant retained dentures, emergency denture repairs, They reline existing dentures and are a supplier of Smile Again Denture Cleaner & Valclean. Kevin added: "A Clinical Dental Technician can work independently of other members of the dental team to manufacture new dentures or adjust/repair existing dentures privately and direct to the public. "They will see the patient at their Studio/Laboratory and work closely to achieve the expectations of the patient via consultations and discussions throughout the manufacture of the appliance. "Any concerns can be conveyed and resolved before the final process to ensure that each patient is completely satisfied with their final appliance." The Clinical Dental Technicians also liaise with local dentists to ensure all patients who require referrals receive the best possible care. Kevin explained: "Referrals from a dentist can be arranged here at

The Denture Studios. Your CDT & Dentist will together discuss and agree the options available to you. "They will consider any prior treatment required to prepare the mouth to receive a new partial denture, any findings from X-Rays, your previous dental history and any possible complications that might require more treatment in the future. "By your CDT working with your Dentist we can ensure that you will receive the highest possible dental care. "A Denturist will go through all treatment options available to you so that you can make an informed choice before continuing with any treatment." The Denture studios are open from Monday to Friday and can be flexible with appointment times. For more information visit www.

Eat, Smile, Talk with Confidence Complete dentures made directly to e v i e c e R 10% t patients by an Experienced Clinical Dental Disrocduoctiuonnof Technician, whose attention to detail on p creates outstanding natural results this advert Call for a FREE Consultation

08455 230 230

• Also at Milnthorpe and Blackpool e:


The Denture Studios 40 Liverpool Road, Formby L37 6BZ

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The Champion • Wednesday 7 March 2012

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more Champion stories

from 1998



Haig Avenue, Southport and Wembley Stadium THE STORY:

Southport FC score an historic victory by earning themselves a place at the FA Umbro Trophy at the Wembley Stadium




SUPPORTERS of Southport FC would have been greeted by the famous twin towers at the original Wembley stadium when they travelled to the capital to see their team play. The Haig Avenue team were given a heroes’ welcome to the stadium on May 17, 1998 after securing themselves a place in the FA Umbro Trophy - and we were all too happy to report that the town’s residents had gone “Wembley crazy”. Southport FC’s then manager Paul Futcher told The Champ: “I’m absolutely delighted to get through to Wembley - for the players, for the club, and for the town.”


1998 The team bagged themselves the place at the world famous London stadium after scoring a 2-1 victory over rivals Slough Town, at a game packed with proud supporters. Although Southport’s game under the shadow of the twin towers ended in defeat, losing 1-0 to Cheltenham, supporters still regard the Wembley game as one of the proudest moment’s in the club’s history.

• Traders in towns across Sefton and West Lancashire angrily complained about plans to open a “retail super centre” in Dumplington, Greater Manchester which they feared would harm businesses across the north west - but in the end The Trafford Centre opened as planned. • In Skelmersdale plans were unveiled to regenerate the town centre, with proposed attractions including a new cinema. As of 2012 plans to regnerate the town centre have yet to go ahead.

• Southport’s seawall finally opened for the first time in May, helping to revive tourist interest in the resort’s seafront.

• Maghull and Lydiate residents railed against plans to create a Greater Liverpool Council, arguing that the plans would leave the area at a disadvantage. The scheme, which attracted criticism from the area’s then MP George Howarth.

• Another development which also didn’t go ahead were plans to create a new “Waterworld” swimming complex on the Ocean Plaza in Southport. The land proposed for the site, at the front of the development, was never built on.

Story File YEAR

more Champion stories



from 2001


Lynda Roughley and Sam Thomas

• With regular firefighters on strike emergencies across the region including a major arson at a Southport scrapyard - were attended by reserve crews in Green Goddesses.


Liverpool Crown Court THE STORY:

A former casino croupier from Southport is jailed for life after admitting brutal murder




THE HEADLINE said it all. After Mitchell Quy admitted killing and dismembering his wife it was how the region’s residents wanted to describe him - an evil man. At The Champion we reported on the many twists and turns to find 21-year-old Lynsey Quy, who had not been seen since 1999. It was 18 months later that police made a grim discovery which brought the search to an end - officers found her remains on wasteland near the Pleasureland amusement park. Mitchell Quy, a former casion croupier, was jailed for life after admitting murdering his


2001 wife, cutting up her body and then dumping her remains at locations around Southport. In the same edition we explored the Birkdale resident’s “cold and calculating” double life, using every opportunity - including an appearance on This Morning with Richard and Judy - to give the impression his wife had walked out on him. The truth, as the region’s residents later discovered, was far more shocking.

• Thousands of residents turned on their TV sets and watched in horror as a series of terrorist attacks hit American targets on September 11th. • Strong results in the region helped Labour to secure a second landslide victory at the 2001 General Election, with West Lancashire’s Colin Pickthall and Sefton East’s George Howarth both holding onto their seats. Southport was held onto by the Liberal Democrats but saw current MP John Pugh take over from Ronnie Fearn.

• In March Lydiate pig farmer Simon Edwards told The Champion he was “hoping and praying” for the future of his business, after a nationwide outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease closed farms across Sefton and West Lancashire. • A bid to bring Christmas lights to Formby Village was launched for the first time - a campaign The Champion still backs to this day.

The Champion • Wednesday 7 March 2012

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Creative Joinery (Chorley) Ltd

Company Fact File

Creative Joinery (Chorley) Ltd.


Manufacturer and fitter of Sliding Doors OWNER/MANAGER

John & David Swarbrick ESTABLISHED


192 Lyons Lane Chorley PR6 0PP TELEPHONE

0800 587 4487 FAX

01257 233331 WEBSITE

OPEN your doors to a Chorley-based company who offer one of the biggest choices of wardrobes anywhere in the north west. Creative Joinery, based on Lyons Lane, manufacture and fit many full ranges of professional sliding door wardrobes, and traditional hinged opening door wardrobes, together with matching furniture, and have on-site separate showrooms to display full size examples of each type of these products. 'We have the most varied displays of types of sliding door wardrobes in the North West. You can actually see and feel what you are buying in full working units. Our sliding doors are all made to measure, and come in a wide variety of colours and finishes. We are particularly proud of our "Swan Systems" aluminium reinforced MDF sliding doors,

Creative Joinery (Chorley) Ltd.

Made to Measure Sliding Door Wardrobes

which set a precedent in both colour choices and quality,' the company told The Champion. 'As a Company with a considerable manufacturing base we are able to provide a bespoke service in all our products. We can make and produce products for whatever the customer desires. Most suppliers will offer a product range - we offer a product for each individual client. Our pricing lists are most competitive, as we deal directly with the customer. You pay for the product, not for the "salesman's commission. We give the advantage of product displays without retailing charges being incurred.' The company has one of the

most varied selection of sliding door wardrobes which you are likely to see in the whole North West. There is no substitute for "on site" working displays. We currently show nine separate full size complete sliding door wardrobe systems, plus numerous other part and display items. Creative Joinery can cater for inexpensive examples in bedroom design, right up the ranges to very high quality vinyl finishes. The Retail Outlet is open 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday, and 10:30am until 2pm on Sunday. For more information visit the company's website at www.

Free Planning & Design


• •

Project Management In-house Fitters

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Individual Interiors Matching Furniture

Retail Outlet: 192 Lyons Lane, Chorley, PR6 0PP OPEN Monday to Saturday from 10.00am to 4.00pm and Sunday from 10.30am to 2.00pm

visit our website at:


FREEPHONE 0800 587 4487

Visitus us@ 66••Visit

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Story File YEAR


more Champion stories

from 2010


Henry James LOCATION

The Promenade, Southport

• Residents in Formby, Maghull and the surrounding areas became part of the new Sefton Central constituency, and voted in Labour’s Bill Esterson as their first MP in the General Election in May.




Mechanical Repairs & Servicing to all makes & models of cars and light Commercials


01704 544641 workshop 0789 9911660 mobile




The Kingsway nightclub, where the Beatles famously played in the 1960s, is destroyed by fire SOMETIMES a striking picture is the heart of a big story - and The Champion managed to capture these dramatic images when a blaze took hold at a Southport nightspot. The Kingsway, on The Promenade, had been a popular nightclub and venue in the town since the 1960s, and gained nationwide attention after The Beatles played a series of concerts there. When we ran the pictures of the nightclub fire on the front of that week’s Southport Champion they were

2010 accompanied by a suitably snappy headline. The Kingsway, which had been known as Bliss for several years, had closed its doors for the last time in 2006. It was built in 1931 and is believed to be the venue where The Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr took over from Pete Best and first performed for the band. Other celebrities to have performed there include Tom Jones and Cilla Black.

• Snow gripped the region both at the beginning and the end of the year, leaving council gritting teams struggling to cope, as two severe winters in succession hit northern Britain. • Holidaymakers were hit hard by the largest shutdown of British airspace since the Second World War, after the erruption of the Eyjafjallajˆkull volcano in Iceland filled the skies over Europe with ash clouds. • Champion reporter David Raven’s story about a bus being given a parking penalty as it allowed a group of disabled World

War Two veterans to disembark in Southport won an award from the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). • The Champion launches a new edition in Crosby - and helps residents opposed to controversial plans to build a supermarket to get their views across.

Story File YEAR


more Champion stories

from 2011


Henry James, Natasha Young, Stephanie O’Connor and David Raven

• The Champion won the Scoop of the Year prize at the O2 North West Media awards, after our exclusive report on a bungled cruise ship rescue captured by a Burscough couple caught the attention of the national and international media.


Street parties where you live THE STORY:

Hundreds across the region hold patriotic street parties as Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot


SCORES of you took to the streets last year to celebrate Kate and Wills tie the knot - and Champion photographers recorded the patriotic scenes. Roads in Southport, Skelmersdale, Maghull, Crosby, and many other towns and villages across the region were decked out in bunting and Union flags to commemorate the Royal Wedding on April 29, a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey watched by millions across the globe. Our coverage including a piece on a street party in Birkdale,

2011 claimed to the biggest taking place anywhere in the north of England,and pictures from across Sefton and West Lancashire of the parties you took part in. More street parties are being planned for June this year as the region prepares to join in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations - and if you’d like The Champion to come along and take a few pictures, give us a call.

• Sefton residents protested against a number of controversial spending cuts agreed by councillors, as part of efforts to trim £44m from Sefton Council’s spending. • Liverpool FC star Jamie Carragher teamed up with Bootle MP Joe Benton to help us launch our seventh edition - The Bootle Champion, launched last September. • The media came under intense scrutiny after it emerged the News of the World

was involved in illegal phone hacking, a scandal which led to the tabloid’s closure. The Champion, you’ll be pleased to know, has never resorted to the controversial practice! • Liverpool was one of several English cities affected by public disorder and looting in August, with Bootle residents among those arrested during subsequent police investigations.

The Champion • Wednesday 7 March 2012

Company Fact File

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Granite House by Stonemasters

Business Type

Granite Bespoke worktops, natural stone tiles and stone paving Manager

Brian Johnstone esTaBlished

2001 address


01704 228574 weBsiTe


M ANY businesses might be crumbling because of the recession but customers looking to buy from Granite House can be rest assured -as their foundations are rock solid. So rock solid in fact, that the team at Granite House regularly travel as far as Brazil, India and even Madagascar to make sure their imported materials are of the finest quality. Granite House is based in Banks, near Southport, and sells a wide range of limestone, marble, granite, quartz, sandstone, onyx and travertine and have grown as a business year on year over the last 10 years. They manufacture worktops for the finest showrooms in the UK and have installed worktops in prestigious projects as far a field as Jersey, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Stone Paving

Bespoke Worktops

But it is not just their versatility that the company are proud of, they are one of the only importers of natural stone and worktop manufacturers to be a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative. The team at Granite House often visit the source of their material around the globe to ensure that there is a social responsibility in their supply chain and the best interests and health and safety of the workforce are always a primary concern. Granite House have also helped out on the set of Channel 4's Television Programme "The Restoration Man" a number of times.

Customer Service Manager Brian Johnstone Says" We are not just a worktop company, We are a UK-wide business that covers almost everything to do with natural stone. But it's not just worktops, floors or paving, we like to attempt the impossible that other companies dare not try because we are a business that likes a challenge" Brian quotes a recent restaurant fitted with onyx and 2 marble lions carved from solid blocks of marble as an example. For more information on the company visit or call 01704 228574.

Natural Stone Tiles


Unit 2 The Old Laundry (Off Aveling Drive) Greaves Hall Banks Southport PR9 8BJ

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The Champion • Wednesday 7 March 2012


Company Fact File Why i-Lipo?

The i-Lipo system has many advantages over other similar systems. Here are just a few.


Non-invasive liposuction OWNER/MANAGER

Rachel Wright ADDRESS

87 Liverpool Road South Maghull L31 7AD TELEPHONE

07912 204 962 WEBSITE

SPECIAL OFFERS • First THREE i-Lipo sessions £99 • First Cellulite rejuvination £25

CLINICALLY PROVEN Independent clinical studies have shown I-Lipo to be, in some cases, comparable to the results achieved by liposuction. Ultrasound imagery shows up to 30% reduction in the fat layer depth after just one treatment. Addictional treatments improve results further. Results can be seen immediately after each treatment as the fat cell contents are released. Light exercise post treatment can accelerate the removal of the released fat. AFFORDABLE TREATMENT Compared to surgical liposuction and other ultrasound or laser techniques i-Lipo is much more affordable with similar results. SAFE AND PAINLESS i-Lipo uses low levels of visible red laser light to create a safe and painless bio simulation effect in the targeted fat tissue. I-Lipo does not produce any abnormal effects in the body or damage body tissue such as cells, blood vessels or neighbouring nerves or vital organs. The treatment can be performed on all skin types and body areas where unwanted fat is stored and you can return to normal activity immediately after treatment.

Call Rachel Wright 07912 204 962

IMMEDIATE RESULTS Results can be seen immediately after treatment. Typically a 2-4 cm loss in abdomen circumference can be achieved with every treatment. A course of 8 treatments is recommended over 4 weeks with 2 treatments per week. TARGETED FAT REDUCTION i-Lipo can target fat reduction in specific problem area. By positioning the laser pads on the target area such as chin, upper arms, abdomen, thighs, knees and ankles, fat can be broken down and removed specifically from that area. This is a big advantage over diet and exercise which can reduce overall body fat but not shape individual areas. ULTRA CELLULITE REJUNEVATION The new ultra incorporates vacuum massage and infra red skin tightening to target more stubborn fatty deposits, enhance lymphatic drainage and promote skin renewal. The vacuum massage action of the Ultra enhances the removal of released fat cell contents and by its suction action optimises absorption of infra red laser in the dermis to promote collagen growth and enhance blood circulation in the area. The result is a slimmer tighter and smoother looking skin.

• The only 8 treatment pad machine in Liverpool • Complementary use of the exercise suite post treatment • Free consultation • Friendly and welcoming clinic • Treatments available for men and women • Fully trained staff • Gift vouchers available • New Fusion 3D Face Lift coming soon


Champion 18th Birthday Supplement  

A collection of news stories from the Champion's first 18 years.