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Liverpool Life


December 4, 2019



Saving the human race, one tree at a time NEWS EVENTS LIFESTYLE SPORT


Norovirus alert as cold snap looms By MAISIE HARVEY Doctors are warning families across Liverpool about the dangers presented by norovirus and telling them how it should be treated. Norovirus is a sickness and diarrhoea bug which is more common during the colder months, although it can strike at any time of year. Dr Neil Haslam, deputy medical director at Liverpool University Hospitals, said: “Norovirus is pretty nasty and can make people feel very ill. However, most people do not need hospital care for this type of illness and you can help protect yourself from catching it. It is really important to wash your hands properly with warm soapy water and to sanitise surfaces as this will limit the spread of germs.” Although norovirus is usually a mild illness, children who experience symptoms such as vomiting blood, developing a stiff neck, feeling pain when looking at bright lights, and getting a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache should be taken to A&E.

Lucy sets her sights high By DANIEL WILLIAMS A former top junior athlete has set her sights on Mount Everest to raise money for a meningitis charity. Lucy Miller, 18, was one of the best cross-country runners of her age group when she was 14, and competed at international level. Now she faces the monumental challenge of climbing to the Mount Everest base camp in 2020 - which stands at 5,360 meters above sea level. The teenager hopes to reach the camp to raise £3,000 for the Meningitis Research Foundation, a charity that helps those suffering from Meningitis and Septicaemia. The charity holds a special place in the Childwall resident’s heart. She said: “This charity is personal to me. My granddad suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis for 20 years. Ultimately, the reason why he passed away was complications with Septicaemia. “I was really close with my granddad - my whole family were.” Through injuries, Lucy has faced setbacks in her running career, but

hopes her latest challenge will rekindle her passion. She added: “This will be the biggest challenge I’ve ever had. I’m not a huge climber. I have been on walks but I’ve never done anything on this scale, so this is new to me. “I like to put myself through challenges. I like to work hard at something and I feel that if I did complete it, I would have such a great sense of achievement. It’s going to be tough, not just physically but mentally as well. “I’m really determined to get back to the elite level I used to be at and I think this challenge will motivate me. “I’m excited but nervous. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just want to take it.” Lucy, who studies Fine Art at Loughborough University, is set to make the climb in September 2020 alongside 15 to 20 fellow university students. She has already raised £700 and if you wish to further support the 18-year-old, follow this link:

AIM: Lucy Miller hopes to raise £3000 for meningitis research © Lucy Miller

Commuter rail cheer

Hackathon inspires young coders



Commuters have been promised journey times will be slashed by at least half an hour across some services from Liverpool Lime Street. London Northwestern railway has announced that at least five trains from Lime Street will arrive into London 30 minutes earlier because of the timetable changes. The new timetable is set to come into effect on Sunday December 15. The timetable changes will also see the services from London to Liverpool become less congested. Johnny Wiseman, head of customer experience for London Northwestern Railway, said: “The timetable changes we are making this month is to make it simpler, meaning passengers travelling from Liverpool Lime Street should start to enjoy a more reliable service, with more improvements coming in the following years.”

A unique event aimed at inspiring Liverpool’s next generation of coders took place at the Central Library last week. One hundred secondary school students took part in the ‘Hackathon’, a two-day event in which they learned about the importance of coding and how it can give them a head-start in life. The event was organised by Liverpool City Council and IamtheCODE with the goal of empowering students from all backgrounds to think about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship and Design. The event was sparked by award-winning technologist and business woman Marieme Jamme, who has been named as one of the BBC’s 100 Power Women UK, and also named on the UK Power


Central Library played host to Hackathon. © LCC list as one of Britain’s 100 most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage. Marieme told Liverpool Life: “We need to invest in young people and encourage them to get into these sectors through creative learning and technology”. Students learned about a variety of subjects such as coding, app building and data analysis during the two-day event. Speakers in the various fields also discussed their ex-


periences in the industry, and mentors guided the students during the activities. Through local programmes and mentoring with partners in the UK, Asia and Africa, the best ideas to come out of the event will be developed with help from IamtheCODE. A spokesperson from Iamthecode told Liverpool Life: “The main aim of the hackathon was to give an opportunity to marginalised communities in Liverpool. The IamtheCODE main goal is to teach a million women and girls by 2030. Young people should learn about coding in Liverpool as they will be the future builders of industries”. The event, which is also part of the RISE programme aimed at celebrating female artists, thinkers and leaders, is direct action of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to improve economic outcomes for women.



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EDITOR: Olivia Wagg PRODUCTION TEAM: Megan Stringer, Aoife Monohan, Charlotte Kenny, Rosie Patel, Laura Kelly, Demi Williams, Ben Lynch, Solomon Murphy, Ethan Jukes-Mcnee, Faye Wasilowski, Adam Higgins, Evelyn Edward, Dan Jones FRONT COVER PHOTO: Ash Rowe


Suicide Public boost mother’s barriers set to save fresh plea for Helen’s Law lives By DANIEL WILLIAMS

By CHARLOTTE KENNY A young Wirral woman has launched a petition urging Wirral Council to instal suicide-prevention fencing on motorway bridges after a young man fell to his death. The petition has been launched by 18-year-old Llanah Owens and calls for fencing on motorway bridges and barriers by railway tracks in the borough. Daniel Fleming fell from a bridge on Oakdale Road in Wallasey last week and suffered fatal injuries at the scene. He was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Llanah Owens, from Wirral, said: “Too many men and women are taking their own lives and there is not even half as much support out there as there could be. “Personally, I think that if it was harder to think that they may realise that there is another way.” Several people left comments about their reason for signing the online petition on the website. One user, Victoria Iredale, wrote: “I didn’t know Daniel but at such a young age this broke my heart. I was in the traffic that morning. “It made me think that it could have easily been my daughter. Things need to change to prevent this from continuing.” Llanah Owens also told LL: “The petition means a lot to me because three of my male friends have taken their own life in the space of a year and you only realise how much men’s mental health issues aren’t addressed and there’s no support for men. “Men also find it hard to tell people their problems because most males feel the need to be strong and they beat themselves up about it when they feel down. Silent cries for help are so hard to recognise until it is too late.” The petition was started on the November 19 and as Liverpool Life went to print almost 11,000 supporters had signed the petition. Llanah Owens added: “I want to try and make it possible for people to give themselves a second chance.”

Children’s toy appeal Radio City are appealing to their listeners to purchase and donate one extra gift this Christmas for thousands of disadvantaged children. Mission for Christmas is an annual campaign, which is now the largest toy appeal in the UK. New and unwrapped toy donations can be taken to a variety of drop-off locations, which are listed on the Radio City website.

The mother of murder victim Helen McCourt has vowed to challenge the latest decision to release her killer and has the public’s backing to do so. Ian Simms, now 63, abducted and killed the 22-year-old as she walked home in 1988. Her body was never found. Simms was jailed in 1989 and was originally sentenced to a minimum of 16 years. But now, over 30 years later, Simms is set to be released on December 12 after a parole board decided he was fit to be released - despite never showing where Helen is buried. Helen’s mother, Marie, has fought for four years to prevent Simms’ release and urged the government to introduce Helen’s Law, legislation that will prevent killers from being released who do not disclose the location of their victims’ remains. The initial petition started by Marie gained almost 600,000 signatures. Now she has started a fundraiser for judicial review of the Parole Board’s decision to release Simms. The GofundMe page has already raised almost half of its £50,000 goal. She said: “So much has been raised already and I think it’s just amazing that people are doing that. I have never asked for anything from anyone except for support on Helen’s petition. “It’s been almost 32 years [since Helen was killed] and I think it’s amazing that people still want to help.”

Devestating: Helen McCourt was murdered when she was only 22 years old © Marie McCourt Facebook Marie still searches for Helen whenever new information arises about her possible location, and believes the continued support reflects how loved Helen was. She added: “Helen from a baby was a very determined and clever little girl. She always wanted to help other babies like her; she thought she was a mum to them. She grew up like that. “She always had so many friends.

Only after her death did I realise how amazing all her friends were. They still to this day keep in touch. I can’t recall her ever having an argument with anyone. She was always very caring; she would do anything to help somebody. “You don’t realise until they are gone just how special they were. I think we take people for granted. “I miss her terribly. I really do.”

Dining haven for allergy sufferers By LOUISE JAMISON A Liverpool restaurant has teamed up with tech experts to create a more relaxed dining experience for allergy sufferers. The world is becoming more and more allergic to foodstuffs, and allergy sufferers know all too well the risk of dining out. The Food Standards Agency recently found that three in five young adults with food allergies or intolerances avoided eating out due to fear of inflaming their condition. That prompted Liverpool restaurant Maray to join forces with Menu Guru, a personalised menu. LL spoke to general manager, Antony Hardbattle about their instalment of Menu Guru into the restaurants. He said: “At Maray, we want to ensure that our guests with allergies and dietary requirements can dine with us in confidence and Menu Guru is an essential part in

delivering just that.” Menu Guru is a handheld digital menu that is personalised by customer’s allergy requirements. Customers at Maray are presented with the app displayed on a tablet, where the guest can then filter their chosen dish with over 100 allergens and intolerances. Antony added: “We have been using Menu Guru at Maray for a while now. “We work very closely with Menu Guru to identify all potential allergens across our menu, providing them with all of the ingredients that go into the preparation of each dish. “Once the choices have been made it summarises these choices in a simple format, showing whether there is anything that needs to be separated from their chosen dish. Our regulars even look forward to using it now they are familiar with it.” Maray was first brought to Liverpool in 2014 with a desire to bring back a piece of Paris’ fourth arrondissement to the City, and has since opened a third site.

CONSCIOUS: Maray on Bold Street ensures customers can dine in confidence ©Maray Liverpool



Mobile grotto provides festive cheer By TOM BATTISON Across Merseyside people are getting ready to celebrate the festive season - but in some areas of Liverpool families simply don’t have the money or resources to do so. A group of people looking to change that are those at the City Care initiative, who are bringing a mobile grotto to deprived areas of the city for free. The volunteers have identified places where communities will benefit from the Grotto bus, such as in Newsham Park near Tuebrook and areas in Speke. With Stagecoach having loaned the group a bus, the event will run over December 7 and 8, with Lipa students and even X Factor alumni in attendance to provide festive cheer to those who need it most. Those behind this heart warming set up also have a Gofundme page where they have currently raised more than £500. City Care is based at Liverpool One Church, Richmond Row, Liverpool, to offer support and help to those who are most vulnerable and in need in our city.

One of the key members behind the event is John Collins, who volunteers with his wife and four children. He told LL: “A number of years ago me and my wife decided to do an event, just off our own backs. We wanted to show the public, that people still care, that the old community is still there. “So we did an event called ‘make an impact’, along with City Care. We did an event for the homeless including a meal, and it was lovely. “The main motivation was the information that we see everyday in regards to child poverty. “I firmly believe that Christmas is for children, no child should go without that experience, that bit of magic, it’s magic that you can’t touch. “Every child should experience that, every parent should have that opportunity to see their child’s face light up. “The reception to this has been absolutely phenomenal, absolutely amazing. I love what I do. “All I know is when I see these things happening, I see the generosity of people out there, who are willing to help, and it makes my heart want to burst.

Circus-theme play centre is now open By DANIEL HOPKINSON

The Grotto gang © John Collins “That’s where the love is, that’s my reward, and our reward at City Care and our church, is to see people flourish.”

Liverpool’s latest play centre has opened its doors, but this one has a twist - it’s circus-themed. Cirq D Play soft play centre is decorated exactly like a circus ring, using the colours red, yellow and blue to make playtime exciting for children. The centre, on Great Homer Street, is filled with swings, ball pools and tube slides for kids to enjoy and have fun. For birthdays, the venue offers a choice of themed packages, ranging from the Toddler or the Circus to the Greatest Showman. Cirq D Play is situated on the retail park between the Gym and Home Bargains and is open seven days a week.

Youth concern over climate crisis By SARAH ALMOND Hundreds of people held a demonstration against climate change in Liverpool city centre on Friday. The protest, organised by Youth Strike for Climate Change Liverpool, was part of a coalition of students and staff across the UK. This follows their strike last month where 30,000 people took part in Liverpool alone and 7m across the rest of the world. The protest began at 12 noon outside St George’s Hall and concluded with speeches from local councillors and young campaigners at Derby Square. With the UN climate talks taking place on December 13 - the day after the UK General Election - the protesters had one specific message to the candidates. “We demand a climate election. This is the most important issue of our time, it would be foolish for our government to ignore that,” said organiser Amy Woods Friday’s strike was put together to protest against what they claim is the government’s inaction over the climate emergency. Extinction Rebellion explained how important these campaigns are and how they believe the events that unfolded in London were necessary. They said: “It’s a really effective campaign, and since then we have come to the forefront and the agenda has risen because even more people are talking about it. “Those people are prepared to make decisions to act as powerful as they can.” Youth Strike for Climate Change have been running events every


Protestors CHANGE: Protesters at the climate emergency strike © Sarah Almond month since February, each month’s turnout being bigger than the last. Being a group formed of young people and students across the city, the success of every strike they have put together is admirable. Amy told LL: “It creates hope seeing how many people come out to show support, although not as big as September’s march, this month shows how still hundreds of people are willing to support the cause regardless of the harsh winter months.” Although commuters were not so happy about the protest being held on the streets, campaigners did not

seem phased by the ongoing honking coming from the vehicles behind. Campaigners claim the obstruction is necessary to garner as much attention as possible to themselves and their cause. It creates a lot of media attention and exposes the issues to passers-by on the street so they can be informed on what is happening to our planet. It is their local solution to help a global cause. “I wish we didn’t need to strike in the first place, but we have to do this and we won’t stop until we get a solution,” said Amy.

© Sarah Almond


COMMUNITY: Music brings the Liverpool’s together © Catherine Cole

Tale of two cities: LJMU project aims to link global Liverpools

By DANIELLE WILSON A university programme has been unveiled that plans to connect every town or city called “Liverpool”. Liverpool2Liverpool plans to link all 19 such locations, starting with a partnership between Liverpool, UK, and Liverpool in Sydney, Australia. John Moores University has teamed up with the University of Wollongong to bring together numerous collaborators to create sub-projects. The programme was debuted on Wednesday 27 November, in a meeting that included a Skype call with those taking part in the project from Australia. Catherine Cole, one of the organisers of the programme, said: “I’m from

Sydney originally and it was interesting to see just how many Liverpool connections Sydney and Liverpool, Merseyside shared. “My academic colleague in Australia, Dr Brogan Bunt, shared this enthusiasm and we forged some ideas and projects to develop a programme connecting Liverpools around the world.” Australia’s city was named after the Earl of Liverpool Merseyside, on which some of its architecture is based. Catherine said: “Once we have the Australian project under way, we’ll be in touch with other Liverpools to tell them about what we’re doing, to establish links between us all. “Where the cities have universities

we’ll join with their staff and students on international activities. “We’ve identified a number of areas we want to share and we have authors, staff researchers and community organisers which will connect with one another to develop joint research and community activities.” The team behind the project want to bring both cities together by exploring the similarities and differences between the two urban areas. The LJMU lecturer continued: “We are planning projects that take account of drama, writing, immersive technologies, film, food, high street culture, cities-based research and music. The partnership has a lot of potential to explore each city’s culture.”

Prof. Catherine Cole ©LJMU Those involved are hoping that the program will be expanded in the months to come, involving more places called Liverpool until all 29 are included in the project.

Council announce timetable for eco waterfront development scheme

Stanley Park party returns



Liverpool City Council is set to outline a timetable for a Mersey waterfront development scheme. The scheme plans to transform a former landfill site on the southern shoreline of the Mersey, near Festival Gardens into a ‘green community’. A report will be presented to the city council’s cabinet on Friday, which will identify four major plans that could lead to the creation of 1,500 eco-friendly homes. The plans include submitting planning application for remediation of part of the 28-acre site, accepting grant funding from Homes England and to apply for funding from Liverpool City Region Authority. The city council is intending to facilitate the remediation of the site and ground infrastructure works before selling off the land to IMFG Developments in order to create the green community.

The annual Stanley Park Christmas party is returning to the Isla Gladstone Conservatory. This year the party takes place on Sunday December 15 from 1pm-3.30pm with tickets costing £5 per child. Adults and children under the age of two get in free. The party is perfect for children aged five to 11 as art workshops, storytelling, games and even a visit from Father Christmas himself are included throughout the afternoon. The fun ends with a free concert on December 17, taking place from 6.30pm, which will feature a live performance from the Salvation Army band and a visit from Santa at around 7pm. Tickets are not necessary for the concert so anyone can turn up to enjoy the festivities. Families will also be able to have their photos taken professionally.

DECISIONS: Council furthers their plans A £9.9m funding boost has already come from Homes England, which could help to kick-start the project and potentially see the first homes becoming available by 2022, depending on planning permissions. Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson explained: “A huge amount of work has

© Benjamin Lynch

already gone into understanding how this former landfill site and barren wasteland can be transformed, and we are now at a very exciting stage of asking for approval to prepare the site in readiness for what could be one of the UK’s best eco-friendly housing developments.”




Degree of success in dealing with disaster By MEGAN STRINGER


dead body, a house fire and a road accident were some of the staged emergencies which first-year LJMU policing students had to deal with during their third annual Disaster Day. The event took place at the Emergency Services Training Centre (ESTC) in Birkenhead. It offers students a unique experience to deal with real life scenarios in a safe environment. The ESTC is used by a variety of emergency services to help them in their training, and is equipped with everything you may encounter in the scenarios, such as a hospital complete with a theatre, a Merseyrail train and various ambulances, fire engines and police cars. There were five scenarios that students had to complete, and for each scenario, a member of the group would have a radio to contact the mock control room, where module leader Nick Kealey would be. He was on hand to guide the students, and offer information that may be relevant to the scenario. Nick Kealey, lecturer at the Liverpool Centre for Policing Studies and module leader, said: “Our programme is very strong academically, so the students wanted to do more of the ‘doing’ side of it all as part of their learning, so I spoke to Emergency Services Training Centre, and came up with the scenarios you have seen today. “What they do is reinforce the learning and how to deal with victims and witnesses, issues about the importance of team building, and the approach that police officers need to take when they’re dealing with major incidents.” The day started off with first aid and CPR training in the centre’s mockup of a hospital, complete with dummies to practice on, before getting stuck in with the scenarios. Throughout the day LL got a taste of what many of the scenarios were like, with Jed Mack, fire training instructor at the ESTC taking us into the house fire simulation, something that was exciting as we got the chance to actually understand how the students would be feeling. He took us into the smoky building, and showed us how they use the equipment and create the controlled fire. Amy, Freya and Casey, policing students who took part in the fire scenario said: “We went into the build-


ing and there was a fire on the ceiling, and we just got a taste of what it would be like to be in a fire and how to respond. “There was another room filled with smoke, and it was just showing us how dangerous it could be, not being able to see in our area. “It helps to give us an insight into what were actually going to be dealing with when we are actually working for the emergency services, and it’s great really.”


he event comes after Merseyside Police have join forces with LJMU to launch a new recruitment process, which is based at the University. Those wanting to join the police can now apply via the new national ‘Policing Education Qualifications Framework’ TRAINING: Emergency services teach students. Photo by Olivia Wagg (PEQF). The PEQF is intended to support the ing after huge groups of our officers “But there are other opportunities to development of policing as a profesas they go through apprenticeship join Merseyside Police without havsion, recognising and raising educaschemes, so they’ll be doing a little bit ing to go through the degree process.” tional standards. of work with the police, but also going Also involved were level 5 and It will guarantee that all police ofthrough a degree programme as well. 6 policing students, as well as past ficers in training receive the best “It just gives us a professional outstudents who took on the part of rolepossible education and professional look to the whole service moving forplaying within the situations. support to build the skills they need ward. Roxanna Tusa, one of the policing throughout their careers, both physi“There may be some people who students, explained the scenario to cally and educationally. think they’re not capable of doing a Liverpool Life: “I’ve been assaulted Chris Hitchell, Chief Inspector of degree, but we’d still encourage them by my boyfriend at a party, and I’m force operations at Merseyside Poto look at it, because of the likes of in a room trying to ask for help, but I lice, told LL: “Not every single potoday, you’ve got a basic understandam a Romanian girl, so there is a lanlice officer has to have a degree to join ing of the police, and it will just give guage barrier. the police, but this is something that them a little bit of grounding, and then “The students will have to get witwe’re doing now to professionalise when they back that up with some leness statements, try and translate with the service a little bit more. gal framework behind it, it will just a translator and arrest my boyfriend “We will have people who go to give them that confidence to move for assaulting me, and call an ambuJohn Moores, and they’ll be lookforward. lance.”

It just gives us a professional outlook to the whole service

GROUNDING: Students get a taste of emergency service work. Photo by Olivia Wagg


© Maisie Harvey

Members of the Mersey Forest team who contributed to 600 trees being planted in Croxteth Park.

Croxteth community branch out for a greener outlook Liverpool Life’s MAISIE HARVEY pulls on her wellies to join a Mersey Forest tree-planting day


t was an extremely frosty morning and as I ventured out to Liverpool’s Croxteth Park to join a tree-planting event, I wondered whether the whole thing might have been called

off. Is it even possible to plant trees in such cold? Won’t the ground be too hard? Are people really willing to do this on their day off? It turned out my worries were baseless - the climate change warriors were out in force to secure the future of the human race, one tree at a time. “I think it’s a massive issue - it’s the biggest issue that our current generation faces. I think it’s criminal that our politicians aren’t doing more to put it on the agenda,” said Laura Wark, who came along to plant trees, corgi in tow. Little did she know a politician was in their midst, councillor for Greenbank, Lawrence Brown, was there to do his bit. “I think it’s important for everybody to partake and take the climate emergency seriously, and try to do their bit in addressing the major problems we’ve got ahead of us. “Tree planting, I think, is one of the cheapest, easiest, and most costeffective solutions that we’ve got,” said the man from the Green Party, spade in hand. I asked him what else people could do to make a difference. He said: “Driving cars a bit less, in other words, taking the bus sometimes – maybe try some walking, maybe try some cycling. And also, I would say things like recycling, making sure that recycling is done to the maximum extent possible.” But this event was all about the trees, from Birch to Elder to English Lime to Oak, around 600 trees were given new homes in Croxteth Park.

The trees were being planted as part of the Big Climate Fightback, a campaign led by the Woodland Trust aiming to get one million people to pledge to plant a tree on November 30. The tree planting session at Croxteth Park was arranged by The Mersey Forest, an organisation whose entire reason to be is developing the region’s green spaces. Ben Greenaway, of The Mersey Forest, explained a little more about the work they’re doing in parks across Liverpool. He said: “This year we’re planting 12,000 trees in Liverpool in parks. We’ve got something around 12 schemes. The intention with the park schemes is to plant some commercially and some with groups like today. “In some of the parks we’ll be putting up fencing and planting wildflowers as well.”


ome volunteers were battling far more than the cold. Pauline Neville came down to plant a tree despite being booked in for a knee replacement. “I just want to do my little bit for the climate change, I was protesting on Friday. “It was all because of Greta Thunberg, when that all started and I found out about her protests, and now I try and do little bits whenever I can,” said the Penny Lane local. She added: “I think we need to have a planet for future generations.” It was a family affair for many who came to plant trees at Croxteth Park - Christina Sanders was one of those who brought along their children. She said: “It’s lovely for the kids to be a part of history, and to be able to say they’ve planted a tree somewhere they go for walks – and hopefully one day they’ll take their kids too.”

It is clear that the day was a tremendous success, and this can be measured not only by the number of trees planted, but by the sense of pride felt by all who planted a tree. Clare Olver, who works for The Mersey Forest, labelled the day “fantastic”. She said: “People who wouldn’t normally get engaged in tree planting have come along and planted trees. It’s been really nice.

“The best bit really is to see the youngsters coming along, the tiny ones in the prams and on their bikes and on their tricycles and scooters, all the way through to the grannies. It’s been lovely.” After spending the day with everyone planting trees at Croxteth Park, I feel optimistic about the future of our country. I rather like the idea that one day we’ll all live in treehouses.

We need to have a planet for future generations

© Maisie Harvey SPADEWORK: Community eager to make a difference in Croxteth



Funky, festive, fashion fun


By MASIE HARVEY he music was pumping, the drinks were flowing and the visitors were shopping at the Winter Fashion and Beauty Fes-

tival. The first of its kind event, held at funky Baltic Triangle venue Hinterlands, showcased the best of Liverpool’s independent businesses. From tie-dye clothes to skincare, there was something for everyone and it was a perfect opportunity to tick some Christmas presents off the list. Young entrepreneur Emily Evans started her jewellery business, Angel Designs, a year ago when she was just 14. She said: “Everyone likes the sparkle. The beaded bracelets are everyone’s cup of tea. “The business has kept growing, my mum has joined in – it’s like a daughter and mum business. We’re doing really well at the minute.” Meanwhile, fellow stallholder Jess Gibbons has been growing her vegan skincare brand The Skin Sister through Instagram. “It’s a natural organic skincare brand – basically everything is handmade by small independents. It’s all free from harsh chemicals, and it’s vegan and cruelty free. “We sell mainly online.” Georgia McGee created her clothing brand Giarosa in her first year of university, and now has her own

Independent showcase studio. She said: “It’s all partyware, I do some hoodies as well – like personalised hoodies. But it’s mainly partyware, and festival stuff as well in the summer.” These were just some of many women in business at the festival, providing an insight into the future of Liverpool’s fashion scene.

Walking in a Wavertree wonderland



collection of enthusiastic volunteers, community groups, businesses and people of all ages and backgrounds - have joined as one to breathe new life into Wavertree. After reading an article describing their hometown as not much of a place to live, the people of Wavertree decided not to take offence but instead head out into the streets and celebrate the place they proudly call home. They described it as “the best neighbourhood response to a piece of thoughtlessly negative journalism”. Now, they are striving to deliver positive social change for the area. The group told LL that they wanted to conserve the historical aspects of the area, “build on the cultural uniqueness and flourish in the


shade”. With three new initiatives underway, LoveWavertree are making a positive difference to their community and are doing all they can to provide for those less fortunate this Christmas. Engaging extensively with the local community, the Love Wavertree collective told LL: “LoveWavertree is just a brand name for us all to work together. Every community group is undertaking their own activity, but by all aligning activities around events, we can demonstrate that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Meeting on a monthly basis as a formal community meeting, members of the community agree on a way forward and decide what is next for their hometown. Just one of the many Christmas focused initiatives is the Christmas

Landlord of the Prince Alfred pub, Andrea, pictured above Hampers, delivered all across the area to families. The Prince Alfred Pub in Wavertree have kick-started a food bank, collecting food donations for local families as well as clothes and toys, to create the hampers. The community’s generous donations have already created 16 hampers. As well as supporting their local community, LoveWavertree are also making a conscious effort to support other local charities. Fundraising is underway to support Liverpool Charity ImagineIF who are holding

their annual Christmas Day dinner event, feeding 250 individuals that might otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. This month, Wavertree Wonderland is bringing all things Christmas to the town centre. A `Mystery Elf Run`, craft stalls and carol singing choirs are set to fill everyone with the festive feeling. • For more information on Wavertree Wonderland and other events led by LoveWavertree visit: tree

Merry Christmas from Liverpool Life

Festive eight-page special edition Liverpool’s Christmas lights Pantomine round up Santa Dash Christmas Spiegeltent


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Under £20 Escape Room Party Game £13.99 Bored of the usual board games? fed up with falling out with your mum after the annual game of Monopoly? Escape Room brings all the fun straight to your home with 16 different maths, optical, physical and linguistic puzzles to keep you entertained after dinner.

Paladone Smartphone Projector £8.99 Transform any wall, ceiling or blank surface in your home into your own personal cinema with the Paladone smartphone projector without the fuss of batteries and wires. Simply insert your phone into the device for a unique vewing expereince.


The Kiipix portable smartphone printer is the perfect gift to make this years Christmas memories ones to last forever. Insert your phone into the printer for instant film pictures, with powerful editing tools and filter options to help you get the perfect shot, this printer proves to be a gift that will keep on giving.

Playstation Classic £48.99

Hot Chocolate Bombes £8.99 What would christmas be without decadent chocolate winter warmer? These marshmallow-filled chocolate bombs are a luxurious treat for all the family, simply drop a bomb into hot milk and watch it transform into a thick, instant belgian hot chocolate.

Relive the excitement of some of Sony’s most beloved games. The Playstation classic delivers a classic retro gaming experience for veteran and beginner players of all ages. Preloaded with 20 classic games, including Spyro, Grand Theft Audo and Metal Gear Solid, the Playstation classic is a must have for gamers.

Beurer MG16 Massager £13.99 Aches and pains in hard to reach places? This handheld deep tissue hand massager features four balled feet that simultaneously massage most areas of the body. It’s erogonomic hand grip and compact size makes this the perfect christmas treat for elder relatives.


DASH-ing through the snow By TOM BATTISON

The 100-day countdown to one of the biggest events in Liverpool’s Christmas calendar came to a triumphant end on Sunday as thousands of people flocked to the Pier Head to take part in the BTR 5k Santa Dash. Regarded as the biggest festive fun run in the world, for a good reason, adults, toddlers and dogs piled through to the start line with a sea of red and blue Santa costumes in view. The city centre was vibrant with palpable excitement and festive cheer along the route which took in the Strand, Church Street and other city centre roads before reaching the finish line at the Town Hall. Waiting there was Lord Mayor Councillor Anna Rothery, who was one of many VIPs in attendance at the event, alongside Liverpool CEO Peter Moore, Everton Ambassador Graeme Sharp and more. Cllr Rothery told LL: “No other city can do a Santa Dash like we do in Liverpool. Over five and a half

thousand Santas. “It grows and grows every year, everybody takes part, you’ve got elders, you’ve got toddlers, you’ve got dogs, the only thing I’m waiting is for a Llama to turn up next year. “It’s so important in this moment in time in terms of the current financial

Liverpool has got a massive, big heart

Collecting for a canine Christmas

A team of Santas at this years Sant Dash climate to make sure we raise as much money as possible for our charities and they are all fantastic charities, and the year on year commitment from them goes to show that Liverpool has got a massive, big heart.” “This is the best city in the world, bar none,” said Tommy Feragan, 33, a participant in the 5K run. He told LL: “It’s fantastic. Just a way of kickstarting the festive season, a family day out. Great turnout as always, it’s the biggest fun run in the world I think.” One runner very much in the Christmas spirit was Glen Foulkes, who was running with his dog Archie for British Heart Foundation. When

© Tom Battison

asked if any other city could host an event like this, Glen told LL: “Simply no. Me and my dog have done this every year, the atmosphere is electric, it’s unique, is Liverpool.” Event organiser Yvonne Rothwell spoke to LL about the massive success of the event, and said: “We started with 1175 people 16 years ago. “It’s just grown and grown every year. We’re up to about six and a half thousand Santas now. “Claire House are our official charity partner this year, with over 150 runners on their behalf. We have Autism Initiatives, Cancer Research, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, who help and fundraise for their charity.”


A Bickerstaffe dog groomer is asking for donations this Christmas for her canine Christmas shoebox appeal. The donations will go towards providing gifts for the animals at the Carla Lane Animals in Need rescue centre in Melling. Some of the items Netty Hodson is looking for include toys, tins of food and treats, all things animals will enjoy. Netty, whose business is called Groomingdales by Netty, said: “Like the shoebox scheme they do for the kids I thought we’d do one for Carla Lane, we’ve had loads in up to now. “It’s just horrible, you know, when you think of the dogs being in kennels and the girls at Carla Lane are absolutely amazing. “They give so much of their time up to go at Christmas and they’re there at Christmas Day.” The centre aims to rescue, rehabilitate and, most importantly, rehome dogs, cats and other animals.

These are animals that have been abandoned in their previous life and are usually rescued from dog pounds when they are due to be destroyed. Netty picked Carla Lane because of the work they did with her rescue dog Boo. The St Bernard was near death when Netty found her roaming fields near the M58. Staff at the centre nursed her back to health and then later saved her life through a lifesaving operation. Netty said: “This is the first year I’ve done the shoebox thing, up to now we’ve had not even just shoeboxes but people bringing in big sacks of food. “We’ve got treats for them; we have Taylors Farm donating some big bones to them as well.” The cut off for donations will be the December. Donations can be taken to the centre or to the Foresters Arms pub, Shevington Moor, Wigan.

Groomingdales dog treat cones © Netty Hodson



Liverpool’s sparkling line up

It really is the most wonderful time of the year! Liverpool’s festivities are set to be huge this winter so we’ve compilied something to do for every kind of person


Xmas Bazaar

Story time with Santa

Thurs 6- Thurs 20 December

Thurs 7-Tues 24 December

The beautiful surroundings of Liverpool Town Hall will play host to Father Christmas as he tells stories and sings songs in front of a cosy log fire. Children can share their Christmas wishes and receive a small gift from him. Liverpool Town Hall High St, Liverpool L2 3SW

Sing-along with Santa Sat 14-Sun 15 December

Santa himself will be leading the Liverpool Philharmonic Children’s Choir as they play wellknown Christmas songs children will love. The concert lasts around an hour and fancy dress is encouraged. Booking essential. Philharmonic Hall Philharmonic Hall, Hope St, Liverpool L1 9BP Box Office: 0151 709 3789


Light Spectacular

Fri 15 November- Sun 5 January A success in Spain and Belgium, the light spectacular is coming to Liverpool. A 70-metre tunnel of lights and music will entertain both young and old to the sounds of popular Christmas tunes. Church Street L1 9BP Church Street, Liverpool, L1 1DA

Pop Up Cinema

Sat 30 November- Sun 8 December Snuggle up with your loved ones and watch a selection of festive movies. Ranging from Home Alone to Die Hard, there’s something for everybody. Bring your best blankets though, because its bound to be cold. Booking essential. Albert Dock 3-4 The Colonnades, Liverpool L3 4AA


Evening of festive song Weds 4-Friday December 6

Explore the grounds of this National Trust Victorian Hall and enjoy a carol concert in the Great Hall, followed by festive refreshments. Speke Hall

The Walk, Speke, Liverpool L24 1XD

A celebration of Christmas Sat 14 December

Join BBC Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips, the Metropolitan Cathedral Choir and some very special guests for what promises to be a magical event. Booking essential. Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Cathedral House, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5TQ


Liverpool Christmas Market

Sat 14 November- Sun 22 December Liverpool’s Christmas Market returns next to the beautiful St Georges Hall. There will be local arts, Christmas decorations and candles on sale, along with popular food stalls such as the Yorkshire Pudding Wrap. St Georges Plateu St George’s Pl, Liverpool L1 1JJ

Every Thursday on the run up to Christmas this emporium of curiosities in the Baltic Triangle will be stocking up on all manner of local art, craft vinyl and more. Hobo Kiosk


Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto

Sat 24 November- Sat 19 January Sleeping beauty is this years panto at the Everyman, and it’s sure to live up to the success of last years. There will also be several accessible performances for those who need Sign Language interpretations, captions and audio description. Everyman Theatre 5-11 Hope St, Liverpool L1 9BH Box Office: 0151 709 4776

A Christmas Carol Sat 7 December

A Christmas Classic brought to life, Charles Dicken’s infamous ghost story will be brought alive with period costume, song, and musical score. The Atkinson Lord St, Southport PR8 1DB Box Office: 01704 533 333

Peter Pan

Sat 7- Sun 29 December Take a flight to Neverland this Christmas in this pantomime adventure. An all-star cast boasts X Factor finalist Niki Evans and the Empires favourite funny man John Evans. Liverpool Empire Lime St, Liverpool L1 1JE Box Office: 0800 587 5007



for Christmas and New Year


Fancy being fancy for the New Year? Here is a small selection of the events from around the time

Sunday 29 December Have you been struggling to find yourself this year? Well whatever that means (and please do not use that phrase again) at least you can scour for some fun at one of Liverpool’s many treasure hunts. This is a regular event, but it does finish at the pub, so if you want to go there but need an excuse to do so as the clock ticks down on your miserable year, maybe this is the event for you. Tickets: £14.99-£24.99


New Years’ eve Prohibition Party


The Snowman with live orchestra

Tuesday 31 December

Saturday 28 December

Visit Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral on December 28 for a Christmas classic. The Snowman, complete with a full orchestral accompaniment comprising some of the best musicians around, will be played alongside A Donkey’s Tale, which tells the story of Connemara, Ireland, where an ordinary Donkey takes an extraordinary journey. A classic and family friendly Christmas film will be suitable for all ages.

Tickets: £15.51-£24.04 St James Mt, Liverpool L1 7AZ


Viennese Christmas by candlelight Saturday 28 December

Viennese Christmas by candlelight Fancy indulging your classical side for an evening? Or do you at least want to enjoy telling your friends that you have one? Well, the beautiful St George’s Hall will host chamber orchestra London Concertante, who will entertain with a number of classical tunes from the likes of Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Schubert.

Admit it, you love Peaky Blinders and you want to dress up just like them. Well, on New Year’s Eve at Tusk Baltic you can at this ‘20s-themed party. A live swing jazz band as well and burlesque performance (not from the same performers as the trumpet is not effective enough cover) will welcome you to the new decade, with special 20’s cocktails served by your immaculately suited waiters. Tickets: £25

Cains Brewery Village, 5 Mann Street, Liverpool L8 5AF

Smuggler’s Cove Tuesday 31 December

Smugglers Cove at the Albert Dock are offering you the chance to celebrate NYE in ‘true pirate style’. Pirates were actually vicious and experienced seafarers, not the happy go-lucky, bearded seamen with stripy shirts, so don’t get confused! Britannia Pavillion Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AD

St George’s Pl, Liverpool L1 1JJ


Liverpool Treasure 13

Panto is back! (Oh yes it is!)

The cast of Aladdin from St Helens Theatre Royal By DANIEL WILLIAMS


t’s finally December and that means one thing - it’s Panto season. Christmas trees and holiday cheer are starting to sprout up all over the city, and what better way to prepare yourself for the big man in red than these classic pantomimes? Pantos are loved by many and there’s a lot of Christmas cheer you can catch in Liverpool this year. Here is our guide to the biggest shows.

Peter Pan

Starting with the boy who doesn’t want to grow up, we have Peter Pan. The show will take families on a swashbuckling adventure to Neverland, as the Jolly Roger navigates the high seas.


You can catch the Darlings, Lost Boys and Captain Hook at the Empire Theatre this Christmas. Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, L1 1JE December 7- December 29, 2019

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Radio City’s Breakfast host Leanne Campbell returns as The Wicked Queen for the latest rendition of the Disney classic. You can see the fairest in all the land at the M&S Bank Arena this holiday season. M&S Bank Arena, Kings Dock, L3 4FP December 13 – December 24, 2019

Miracle on 34th Street

The timeless Christmas classic is set to be re-told this holiday season at The Playhouse Theatre. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical tells the story of sixyear-old Susan and her mother as they meet an old bearded gentleman who turns their world upside down. The Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool L1 1EL December 7 - January 4, 2020

Elf: A Christmas Spectacular

The 2003 Christmas favourite is set to make a Broadway musical appearance at the M&S Bank Arena. Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh takes on the role as Jovie, as former

EastEnders actor Shaun Williamson stars as Buddy’s dad Walter Hobbs. The show has three stages, with a giant 30-foot-tall Christmas tree to boot. M&S Bank Arena, Kings Dock, Liverpool L3 4FP December 7 – December 8 2019


Another Disney classic makes our list. Families are in for a genie-us adventure as the titular character battles with the evil Abanazer. With Princess Jasmine and the Genie of the Lamp, you can ride the magic carpet at the St Helens Theatre Royal. St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporate Road, St Helens WA10 1LQ December 7 – January 12 2020

Snow White with a Scouse spin


f you don’t take your theatre too seriously, then Scouse Snow White is perfect for you this winter. The Royal Court which has hosted previous Christmas performances, including The Scouse Nativity and The Scouse Cinderella, have added another hilarious show onto their yearly festive resume. Putting its own spin on the children’s fairy tale, the show follows Snow White’s (Hayley Sheen) escapades as she looks to celebrate Christmas with her Nana Dwarf and miniature family. Whilst this sounds simple enough, the hilarity begins to ensue when the Queen (Lindzi Germain) begins her many attempts to kill the heroine of the story.


The Evil Queen’s lair being set in Wirral should be a key clue as to the type of humour you can expect here. These jokes in particular got the crowd involved and it was clear that the cast knew their target audience, as they drew the biggest reactions of the night. Throw in some well-known tunes, including Uptown Girl and Material Girl and accompany them with traditional Christmas jingles, and guests in attendance were tapping their feet throughout. Notable highlights were narrator Andrew Schofield, who kept the story glued together with his scenes and Keddy Sutton’s version of Joe Anderson. Sutton in particular stole the show on the night, with her bumbling

impersonations of the city’s mayor. The idea of a key figure in Liverpool summoning a genie to grant wishes from a Superlambanana is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Overall, the show is great fun, particularly for adults who love their Scouse humour and would enjoy this different take on a familiar story.



Have yourself a veggie little Christmas...



s the festive season edges ever closer, people’s heads are already turning to the endless preparations needed for the big day. Surely the dinner being the most important? There is nothing quite like a table full of food surrounded by those you love. However what if those you love don’t eat meat? Most dinners include turkey, ham and perhaps beef. As many are now turning to a meat-free diet, what are the best alternatives this Christmas? Tesco is offering shoppers a wide range of options including a Mushroom and meat free stuffing lattice, retailing at £3.00. Taking it up a level, the store has several options from their finest range. For the main, why

not give their Sweet potato and red cabbage log a go? On the shelf for £10.00, you can keep your meat-free guests happy and not spend a fortune. Nobody doesChristmas like Marks and Spencers, their mouth-watering adverts could get anybody’s tummy rumbling. © M&S It’s Christmas, so that means the full works, starters, mains, desserts and then a cheese board, if you are not too bloated. M&S’s range of vegetarian starters are something to behold, Ricotta

stacked with a range of vegetables and creamy white wine sauce, £7.00 for two portions.


or a main to be remembered, then Asda’s vegan wellington with a red wine gravy should hit the spot. The pre-meal nibbles can sometimes be just as important as the meal itself. Asda is sorting that out with their range of finger food, from vegan Bombay potato croquettes to mini mushroom burgers, all under the £5.00 mark. So it’s over to you now, hopefully

this list will give provide the inspiration to have a merry meat-free Christmas, whether you choose a vegetarian or vegan diet, or just try to cut down on your meat intake.


Sweets and treats for everyone Get ready to fill your stockings with these veggie and vegan treats!




Vegetarian Vegan


This vegan chocolate is the perfect collection of dark chocolate. Available at Hotel Chocolat for £27.50. © Hotel Chocolat

Friar’s vegan truffle collection is a wonderful gift for the vegan truffle lover... Available online at © Friars Family Favourite: Percy Pig’s are a perfect

stocking filler for the kids! Available in M&S © Marks & Spencers.


VE VE Lindor’s Lindt chocolate are the ultimate sweet snack for sharing over the holidays! Available in supermarkets or online at © Lindt

This selection box from Moo Free is perfect for the kids. Available on © Moo



Fancy something fruity? The Zotter chocolate star might be perfect for you. Available on

Booja Booja Special Edition Truffles are available in many exotic flavours; perfect for the foodies in the family. Available in Harvey Nichols. © Booja Booja

© Zotter


Homemade gifts baked with love

Show someone how much you care this Christmas by not just buying a gift, but by making it yourself. Get creative, instead of leaving some cookies for Santa, why not include them as your Christmas tree decorations? LAURA KELLY shows how

Festive Cakes • • • • •


225g Margarine 225g Caster Sugar 4 Medium Eggs 225g Self-Raising Flour 250g Icing Sugar (Makes 24 cupcakes)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Pre-heat oven to 180C Mix the margarine and caster sugar together. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs then gradually add into the mixture. Gradually sieve in the self-raising flour, making the figure eight as you’re mixing to remove any air bubbles. Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. Mix the icing with a teaspoon of water and spread onto the buns, decorate them in whatever way you like.

Christmas Tree Cookies 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7. 8.

Pre-heat oven at 180C. Ingredients Mix the margarine and caster sugar together. • 225g Margarine Gradually add in the plain flour until you form a dough. • 100g Caster Sugar Roll the dough, roughly 1cm thick and use some christmas • 250g Plain Flour cookie cutters for some festive shaped biscuits. Add a small • 475g Icing Sugar hole to the top of the dough so that you can later put string through it. (Makes 48 biscuits) Line a baking tray with greasing paper, place biscuits in oven for 10-12 minutes. Leave to cool. Mix the icing in with a teaspoon of water. Spread the icing on the biscuits, then use some festive sprinkles to complete your Christmas cookies. Once the icing has dried, tie a string through the hole in the biscuit and add to your Christmas tree.

Party venue that’s in-tent on pleasure


iverpool’s Spiegeltent is certainly a party venue like no other. “Spiegeltent” literally translates as “mirror tent”, and they were created in the Flemish Region of Belgium in the late 19th century, writes LOUISE JAMISON. Spiegeltents are hand-hewn pavilions known for their decadent ambiance and used for travelling dance halls, bars and bohemian entertainment salons. This Christmas season a large tent has been constructed at Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, in the Cain’s Brewery Village district. The magnificent round tent is made of dark wood with intricately carved panels, stained glass windows, bevelled mirrors and an impressive draped ceiling. The festivities started on Friday night with the grand opening of the Spiegeltent. Drinks on arrival and canapés gave a taster of the menu. Their resident DJ was rendering appropriate music throughout the venue and the evening was hosted by an excellent drag act, who added comedy

whilst providing a rundown of the upcoming events over the Christmas period. Unlike some venues, all tables and seating have a good view of the central entertainment stage. All sizes of groups are catered for, with various tables on the floor seating up to 12 people and cosy booths around the outer of tent seat eight. The tent will be playing host to guests of all ages, with upcoming family friendly shows including a cabaret night and even a baby disco. Friday’s guests were thrilled with an all-round entertainer, who performed various acrobatics, whilst balancing on a unicycle, finishing with an aerial show in a ‘cirque-du-soleil-esque’ style. This is a guaranteed unique experience, ideal for the Christmas party season. Ticketed guests can expect fizz on arrival, a 3-course meal and live entertainment taking you into the wee hours. Until December 15.


STYLISH: The Spiegeltent


Don’t be a drag just be a queen ‘RuPaul’ superstar brings a touch of glamour to Liverpool By CHRISTOPHER MEGRATH


superstar from RuPaul’s Drag Race has lit up the Liverpool stage. Breakout star from the hit VH1 show, Vanessa ‘Miss Vanjie’ Mateo made a stop-off in Liverpool for her sold-out show, ‘An Evening with Miss Vanjie’. She rose to fame during her run on season 10 of the RuPaul extravaganza and was quickly invited back next season due to her impassioned elimination monologue. Miss Vanjie originally placed last on her first run but came back fighting for a second season. Fusion nightclub on Fleet Street hosted the event, organised by the Klub Kids, where Miss Vanjie took to the stage. The evening was nothing short of a Broadway performance with an entourage of dancers, visual effects and several costume changes. Liverpool local Violet Period Pain opened the show with a campy cabaret number before Miss Vanjie came out for a louder-than-life medley of Destiny Child songs, dressed head-to-toe in a fringed leather costume.

STAR: Miss Vanjie Mate The audience refused to let her speak after her opening performance as cheering and chanting followed for almost two minutes. Miss Vanjie, overwhelmed with the response, joked: “Wow, y’all really like me. Last time i was in Liverpool y’all were good but not this good, damn! Glad you all enjoyed because it only goes downhill from here!” The show included a high-energy dance number to a Cardi B rendition, surrounded by half-naked dancers filling the room, and a slowed-down intimate performance in front of a microphone to bring the audience in. Costume changes were not sparse, going from a sequined dress, to a bedazzled sports jersey and even a Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’-inspired piece. The evening ended as it started, in a roar of applause as Miss Vanjie blew kisses and thanked the audience for the two hours she was there. The tour has been all over Europe, including Milan, Berlin and London, with the final shows being in Helsinki.

Photo © Klubkids UK

Glad you all enjoyed because it only goes downhill from here!



he little bird on everyone’s lips is John Bird, who is finally reviving his much-missed podcast. The co-founder of the LCR Pride Foundation has revitalised his 2016 series in which he talks to some of Liverpool’s most influential movers and shakers. ‘The Little Bird Told Me’ invites people from all walks of life to sit down one-on-one and discuss their journeys and what has affected them throughout their lives and careers in a biographical half-hour segment. The podcast previously focused on topics that John felt were important or relatable to the LGBTQ+ community,

as well as ask key profile individuals, including Hollyoaks actor Scott Drinkwell and the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK The Vivienne. After a brief hiatus due to his work with the LCR Pride Foundation, John has declared that in the New Year, his range of topics will expand. He said: “With the relaunch, I have a series of individuals who I believe have great stories to tell that encompasses many issues our community faces, including Merseyside Police’s Tracy O’Hara, young transgender performer/activist Felix Mufti-Wright and House of Suarez’s Darren Suarez.” The podcast acts as a platform for

John to highlight people the audience may have heard about without knowing much about them, such as Liverpool’s legendary drag queen Lady Siann. “I’m excited to share these stories with everyone,” John said. “I started The Little Bird Told Me to do something I couldn’t do in my video content, and that was provide a voice through discussion to members of the community who, otherwise, maybe would not have an opportunity to speak out.” The podcast is hosted on all streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts. By CHRiSTOPHER MEGRATH

PLATFORM: John Bird © John Bird


Michael and some of his work Pictures © Chloe Morgan


Michael’s landscape memories


aintings and prints by artist and filmmaker Michael Brown were displayed in Liverpool for the first time last week. The exhibition titled “Landforms” was held at Editions Gallery on Cook Street and featured a collection of 17 pieces of artwork. Live music was played at the event after a short talk from Michael, a lecturer at LJMU, discussing his inspirations and the methods of creating his work. He told Liverpool Life: “I’m working in a sort of impressionist style so my memories and experience of the landscape is what I’m trying to get on the canvas. I’m not looking for someone to stand in front of the canvas and say ‘I know where that is’.” Michael moved to Liverpool this Spring after 20 years living in Ireland working on a not-for-profit film-making resource. Alongside creating his artwork, Michael lectures at Liverpool John Moores University in documentary filmmaking. He said “The painting and printmaking is a parallel activity it’s more than a hobby. It’s not part of my professional work at LJMU. It’s important to me as a person.” He added: “People say ‘oh it must be so relaxing to paint or printmake’ but it’s not because you’re

CHLOE MORGAN speaks to Michael Brown about his passion for art striving to create this image that you are looking for so it’s quite a torturous process, especially painting. It is a real battle with the canvas sometimes to get that image that you’re looking for.” Michael shares a collective workspace with other artists at the Hub in the Baltic. He said: “We all pay a monthly fee and collectively we are able to run that bigger space and we have it all divided up into our work areas.” He explained how his exhibition at Editions came about: “I was very lucky with Editions. The venue owner Olwen McLauhling had a relationship with some of the other artists in the hub so she visited and she saw my work there.” He added: “You can contact a lot of galleries and you never get a reply. That is quite common. Building relationships with galleries is quite important and it’s a slow process.” The majority of Michael’s artwork features landscapes inspired by places in Ireland and the Cambrian coast. He goes out with a scrapbook and creates his canvas painting from there without using photographs.

When talking about his work, Michael’s passion is evident. He said: “You have to go out and engage with the landscape. Part of the engagement of the landscape is experiencing the landscape in all of its weathers and there nothing better sometimes than being wrapped up at the top of a mountain when it really is bad weather.” When asked about his goals for the future Michael expresses an interest in displaying his work in more galleries specifically in Dublin and London. He plans to spend more time working in North Wales while living and working in Liverpool and intends to open his next show in Aberystwyth. He said: “I guess what you’re looking for as an artist is a tipping point where you have a number of people that collect your work. They look out for your next show with an intention of buying a piece.” He added “Painting is something that you never think you’re going to retire from. It’s a passion, so you paint until you die. “Hopefully there will be an unfinished painting on the easel when I pass.” • The Landforms exhibit at Editions Gallery runs until January 18.



Distinct digital artist brings seasonal drawings to life TAMMY-LEE WALSH meets with illustrator Helen Maguire to check out her festive art in the run-up to Christmas


iverpool-based illustrator Helen Maguire, who highlights the city’s best features with her original artwork, has been creating some festive designs in the run-up to Christmas. The artist has been sharing her work via social media this past year and collaborating with local businesses. The illustrator told LL: “Liverpool has so many amazing independent businesses, unique shop fronts and beautiful architecture, so it’s easy to get inspiration from this city. “I’ve been drawing since a really young age but I stopped when I went on to do a degree unrelated to art. I’ve never really known what I’ve wanted to do with my life but I realised earlier this year I wanted to do something creative again, even if it was just a hobby. So I can really only say I’ve been illustrating since the beginning of this year.” If you’re stuck for Christmas gift ideas, Helen also accepts commissions from people who would like bespoke pieces. She said: “People can request a personalised design. “I enjoy doing illustrations of landscapes and buildings the most but I’m happy to have a go at anything. “I’ve had varied requests from customers including dog portraits and product packaging.” The process of creating an illustration typically

Helen Maguire, below, and, above, one of her creations work

takes Helen around four to five hours and she mainly works on an iPad. She regularly shares stepby-step pictures of this process. She said: “I always have to do a rough sketch on paper before I begin any illustration, then I’ll take a photo and upload it to Procreate, which is a digital illustration app, before adding detail and colour. The timing really depends on what project I’m working on. “Digital illustration is still new to me. I started when I got a new iPad this year and before that, I’d use pencil and watercolour or acrylics, which I still really love using now, so I’m very happy to take commissions from people who prefer ‘real’ paintings over the digital version.” Helen’s other work focuses on the independent businesses that could use support this season, and through this she has developed a distinctive style. She told LL about some of her favourite designs, saying: “I think my favourite illustration is still the very first one I did of Petit Café du Coin, which is a lovely French bar on Berry Street. I think that was the point I developed a style and I was really happy with it.” In the New Year, Helen has plans to sell her work at local art fayres. As well as this, she is working on a website for her work. For now, you can find Helen’s illustrations on her Etsy store and Instagram, where she also accepts commissions.

©Helen Louise 19


Bewitching set by rockers MARY SLOWEY reviews metal-heads Witch Tripper at EBGBS


iverpool heavy metal fans enjoyed a high energy night with Witch Tripper in the spotlight. The event, hosted at E.B.G.B’s, was one of the latest instalments of the club’s underground shows and this one did not disappoint. The small basement venue came alive as three supporting acts set the heavy theme for the evening. Witch Tripper took to the stage last and the trio began to play their niche genre of Rock and Groove, which certainly caught the attention of the crowd. The Nottingham band combined heavy intense metal sounds of drum and bass with smooth guitar riffs to creating a unique sound. Made up of vocalist and guitarist Richie Barlow, drummist Gary-Eric Evans and bassist Chris ‘Stoff’ Daughton, the band actively engaged with the audience throughout the performance, particularly Richie, whose high-energy presence along with a few jokes made between songs created a vibe even a classical music fan would enjoy experiencing. Combining songs off their two albums, the set list did not let them down as they performed “Roll the Dice” and “Attitude Adjustment.” The ‘UK’s Hardest working band’ more than lived up to their reputation as they put another shift in on what was a very successful night. Witch Tripper press manager and bassist Chris Daughton, who prefers to be called Stoff, said: “It was a great gig, such a cool venue, all the bands were awesome, I think we did ok?

“It was a great sound and was cool to see so many people watch us.” The band are their own hardest critics. Stoff said: “We’re constantly on the search for the perfect riff! I think gigging as much as we do and seeing the other bands around the country give you something to aspire too, new music, old music, ENERGETIC: ‘The UK’s hardest working band’ in action revisiting past albums, looking at what we’ve already done and seeing how we could be better.”


toff explained what ‘Witch Tripper’ means: “It’s a song by Down, can’t remember how it properly came about with us, but I just liked the wording, I like bands like Orange Goblin and Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath, so I wanted two words that wouldn’t normally go together, but do.” The band’s next gigs are in Bath and Manchester, for those who fancy a more local trip to see them. In terms of what’s to come for the group, Stoff said: “Next year we’re focusing on a new album and more significant gigs, we need a rest but don’t want to slow down. We have some really cool line ups next year so no doubt we’ll still be gigging like mad!” The bass player has his own favourite songs. He said: “When I personally write something, I like it to be fun to listen to as well as fun to play. At the moment I’m loving Hellbound, I’ve got some funky basslines kicking off under the guitar solo.”


Here comes Arcadia Sun

©Mary Slowey

‘ ’

We’re constantly on the search for the perfect riff

By LEWIS BATTY Liverpool-based band Arcadia Sun debuted their new single at Jimmy’s on Friday night. The five-piece band, consisting of lead singer Tony Manley, lead guitarist Adrian Nally, rhythm guitarist Gareth Cobham, bassist James Donnelly and drummer Bart Gaz debuted ‘Lifeline’ during a special gig, along with a host of other indie rock bands at the recently-opened Jimmy’s bar on Bold Street. The band told LL: “We’ve been together now as Arcadia Sun for almost a year and a half. Me and Adrian have been knocking about in bands for years. “Friday’s gig was great, loved who we got to perform with. Our management picked AYA who opened perfectly and really got the crowd going, then our picks were Gunman of the apocalypse and Hyena who did wonderful sets. We had a ball! “Lifeline is our new single and is out on all digital download and streaming sites. It’s a high-energy indie rock song and the first song our guitarist had written alongside our singer Tony. Hopefully there’s more to come from their song writing together.” The band gave a confident performance and when it was time to play the new single, they had gathered an enthusiastic and adoring crowd.

Arcadia Sun during their performance


© Lewis Batty



Passionate DJ on the rise Hannah Martin meets musician and producer Michael James at Liverpool’s Get Down event


t has been a “crazy” year for Michael James. The DJ and producer has been travelling the world to different venues every weekend but he still makes time for events that are close to home too, which is why Michael, who lives in Manchester, was excited at the prospect of Liverpool’s Get Down festival at North Shore Troubador. He has been on the rise for the past few years. His unique minimal grooves topped with house have positioned him as one of the top prospects within the underground electronic music community. His music is regularly released on labels such as Constant Sound / Black, Rowle, Hoarder and he’s been enjoying support from industry heavyweights such as Apollonia, Ricardo Villalobos, Barac, Enzo Siragusa and many others. 2019 saw him performing all around the globe, from Australia, South America and across Europe. Michael told LL: “It’s been crazy recently, I’m getting flights every weekend all over the world. During the week I mainly try to focus on making as much music as possible. “The travelling can sometimes be tiring and even lonely every now and again but I love it, it’s my

passion and it’s going really well for me right now.”


ichael then spoke about his earlier influences and of the music genres he enjoyed when he was growing up. He said: “I know a lot of people grew up listening to all different types of genres but my tastes haven’t actually changed that much. House and techno music is where I’m at. “The first CD I got was at 12 years old and it was a best of Ibiza album.” Looking ahead to the future, he said:“The only way is to keep moving up and growing my support base. I’ve been working on a few different collaborations with Enzo Siragusa and Burnski, which is incredible. I’m a bit older and wiser now, so when I’m playing a set I’m more focussed on committing to the crowd and the music rather than having a great night out!” The collaboration with Enzo is set to be massive with Siaragusa being one of the big names in electronic music. Michael James and Burnski have been working on new music for their Relic collaboration.

DJ Michael James performing in Liverpool

© Hannah Martin

The all-female production company making change



e’ve all heard of Warner Bros, Universal Pictures and Lionsgate - they’re big names in a big industry. One thing that the three giants have in common (other than California headquarters) is that they’re very male-dominated. In 2018, women made up less than a third of the people behind the scenes in the film, barely scratching the surface. It’s something that hasn’t gone unnoticed, but a group of girls in Liverpool haven’t let it stop them from getting what they want. “If we can’t get a seat at the table, we have to build our own table,” said Lauryn Poutama, CEO of Tempest Studios, an all-female production company It all started when she found herself doing freelance work. Lauryn soon realised her talents could not


only make her money but with the help of her own band of girls, they could also be making strides to close the bridge in the film industry. Lauryn is one “leg” of the table of talent that is growing out of Tempest. She said: “It’s the strength and talent of the group that helps us grow and become better filmmakers.” The women at Tempest aren’t trying to exclude men, they’re happy to collaborate with anyone - as seen with their numerous projects with local singer Callum Crighton. Tempest do a lot of commission-based work, including a piece with National Youth Theatre recently. But they also make documentaries and dramas funded by this work, covering topics that they are passionate about or think are in need of greater awareness. Their first was on the Liverpool

Homeless Crisis and followed Mister Old Hall Street and his friendship with David O’Keefe. This relationship set his life back on track. Tempest hosts screenings of their latest documentaries - the next being Thursday 5th December. The girls are tackling the Climate Crisis and Human Trafficking. Amy Hones, a producer within the company, said: “We feel strongly about bringing film events into the community, instead of everything being based in London.

“Films can have such an impact on people and how they perceive things, so there should be more content on the city you live in.”


LIVING LEGEND: Don showing his true colours

© Stephen Rawlinson

Five decades of football Stephen Rawlinson talks to Don Rimmer about his career as a club chairman


hat is heartening is on a Sunday morning when you go out to the local fields and you see the kids with the club strip on and the parents are shouting for the REMY, that is a great feeling.” You can hear in the voice of Don Rimmer, how passionate he is about the football club where he is currently the chair. Having being a part of Sefton-based Litherland REMYCA FC for more than 50 years, taking on all manner of positions, from footballer to manager and committee member, Don finally took the step forward in his latest role and brought his team into non-league and the football pyramid in 2014. “What is gratifying for me is that we are taking steps towards long-term future success for the club. None of us are getting any younger, so we are building that infrastructure, which will make us sustainable.” The team are in the midst of celebrating their 60th year since their

inception and Don has been instrumental in the progression of the club. He recalled the difficulties of being part of a grassroots football league that was in decline. “There were thoughts about the future of the club and where it was going, the standard of grassroots football was in decline and we thought it would be appropriate to take the next step forward.” The club currently sit bottom of the North West Counties League Premier Division, but even being able to play at this level is something Don is particularly proud of. “We had an internal meeting where two or three of us really pushed to become a non-league team, but of course there were requirements, such as needing 100 seats. We have that at our ground currently and despite being on a shoe-string budget we managed to do it. It has to go down as an ‘against the odds’ achievement really.” Showing me around Litherland Sports Park, home of the REMY for

their league games. Don was keen to point out when I met him, that his team were instrumental in the rise of grassroots teams taking the next step into non-league. “It is interesting that we were the first club to make the transition for virtually 20 years in Merseyside and what you see now is other clubs realising they can do the same. A vast amount of teams have now taken the step up and we like to think we paved the way for that.” Don certainly came across as a humble man and he consistently credited Ken and Bill Edwards, founders

of the club, for the support, they have given him and the committee to move the club forward. “We certainly got the backing of Ken and the founding fathers and what’s been achieved in that amount of time is phenomenal. “We have expanded to become a community club with more than 40 age groups.” As our conversation wrapped up, the chair was keen for me to add that his favourite memory with the club was beating Everton U23s in the Liverpool Senior Cup in 2017: “What a match, that’s one I won’t forget!”

You see kids with the club strip on and the parents are shouting for the REMY, that is a great feeling


REMYCA: Proudly flying the banner

© Nick Gerrard


Pride as Rainbow Laces campaign week kicks off


The Rainbow Laces campaign week scored a success at St Helens Town FC at the weekend. The local derby between St Helens Town FC and Ashton Town was nominated as a Rainbow Laces campaign showcase match, part of the campaign to promote LGBT inclusion in football. With both sides in the North West Counties division, this was an excellent opportuntiy for the club to help promote LGBT involvement in the Merseyside lower leagues. Each player sported rainbow laces on their boots and supported the national campaign, which runs over two weeks and was set up by the charity Stonewall. St Helens Town FC Club Secretary Jeff Voller told LL: “As a club we were delighted when the County FA approached us about the game against Ashton Town becoming the showcase game for this year’s campaign within the region. “Our volunteers work hard both on and off the field to ensure that the club delivers the best it can for the local community and we feel that this has been recognised by being selected for to showcase delivery of such an important message.

“The key message from the campaign as a whole and indeed for us as a community football club is that we are fully supportive of inclusion on and off the field. “The figures that 43% of LGBT+ people think that public sporting events are not a welcoming space for them is shocking and we wanted to get the message out there that we as a club have an inclusive, welcome and supportive environment for anyone who wants to participate within the club be that playing, coaching, volunteering or supporting. “We have a link with St Helens Mind which has been ongoing for several years whereby they attend games as a group which helps to reduce isolation and improve mental health one of the major health challenges at the moment. “The support of 37 Liverpool County FA teams for the campaign is fantastic and shows more awareness and willingness to address the issue of inclusion within the game and society at large but the more clubs that get involved the more we can spread the message and the sooner we can make sport everyone’s game.” Because this match was selected as the Rainbow Laces showcase game, the match programme front cover firmly proclaimed its support (pictured, right).

Rainbow Laces: the matchday programme

© St Helens Town

Merseyside football Christmas fixtures LJMU Mens Rugby Union team

LJMU Men’s Rugby team raise £1,085 for Movember By LYDIA BAGGS

LJMU Men’s Rugby Union grew their ‘tashes again this year in aid of Movember. The team raised £1,085, doing their bit to raise awareness for men’s health issues and male suicide. Globally the rate of suicide amongst men is rising and Movember aims to reduce male suicide by a quarter by 2030. Men’s health has hit a point of crisis with testicular cancer rates doubling in the last 50 years. The November trend has been running since 2004 in a bid to change the face of men’s health. Set up by the Movember Foundation, men worldwide are encouraged to get involved, growing a moustache

for the 30 days of November. LJMU Rugby captain George Goldspink highlighted the importance of raising awareness for men’s health. He told LL: “As a male rugby team, it is something that will affect us all at some point. It is a great charity which we support every year.” After another successful Movember attempt the rugby team plan to grow their tashes again next year. George added: “It is something that we can have a laugh and joke about but also make a difference. We hope that it is something LJMU Rugby can continue in the future.” Follow the link below to donate:

December 21 North West Counties League Premier Division Burscough vs Bootle Whitchurch Alport vs Skelmersdale United Winsford United vs Litherland REMYCA FC North West Counties League First Division North AFC Liverpool vs Chadderton Garstang vs Lower Breck St Helens Town vs Atherton North West Counties League First Division South Abbey Hey vs Cammell Laird 1907 Abbey Hutton United vs Vauxhall Motors December 26 North West Counties League Premier Division Bootle vs Litherland REMYCA FC Skelmersdale United vs Burscough North West Counties League First Division North Lower Breck vs AFC Liverpool Pilkington vs St Helens Town North West Counties League First Division South Cammell Laird 1907 vs Vauxhall Motors 28 December North West Counties League

Premier Division Congleton Town vs Skelmersdale United Litherland REMYCA FC vs Barnoldswick Town Northwich Victoria vs Bootle North West Counties League First Division North AFC Liverpool vs Shelley Cleaton Moor Celtic vs Lower Breck St Helens Town vs Chadderton North West Counties League First Division South Cammell Laird 1907 vs Barnton Vauxhall Motors vs Ellesmere Rangers January 4 North West Counties League Premier Division 1874 Northwich vs Litherland REMYCA FC Bootle vs Squires Gate Skelmersdale United vs Padiham North West Counties League First Division North AFC Darwen vs AFC Liverpool Shelley vs Lower Breck Steeton vs St Helens Town North West Counties League First Division South Stockport Town vs Cammell Laird 1907 Vauxhall Motors vs Abbey Hey


LLSPORT Derby gesture to bring clubs together By MATTHEW NYLAND

The banner that is set to fly at the Merseyside Derby. Pic Fitwell by TimE Design via Twitter

Everton fans travelling to Anfield for tonight’s Merseyside derby clash were planning to reveal a banner demonstrating their support for the 96 Hillsborough victims. The banner, half-blue and half-red, was set to be displayed across the two sets of fans between the away and home ends. There has always been a strong bond between the Merseyside clubs over Hillsborough, with Everton standing side by

side with Liverpool throughout. This banner represents another sign of the two clubs’ solidarity. It reads: “All Scousers know the Truth” - a reference to what many in the city feel about what happened on that horrific day. “The Truth” was the frontpage headline used by a tabloid newspaper in the wake of the tragedy and which made unfounded allegations about the victims.

Gym’s MMA fighters chalk up a winning weekend By JADA JONES Liverpool’s MMA gym to watch has struck again, with four Aspire athletes competing in the Almighty Fighting Championship 15 at the weekend. First up was Ethan Quinn. Fighting at Liverpool Olympia, he went all three rounds before a split decision went in favour of his opponent. The grappling in the second round showed off Quinn’s skills. Luis Harry wasted no time. Opening up the second half of the fight card, he completed the job within two rounds. The 18-year-old Liverpool-born fighter rendered Nathan Graham unable to fight due to a leg injury. Harry said: “It felt really good to be in the cage again, Nathan was a good competitor but I remain undefeated.” Scott Johnson was the first title fight of the night. He was up for the Almighty FC Flyweight title belt, and not only did Johnson win the belt against Fran Breen, but he also got finish of the night. Marlon Jones went up against Macca “The Terror” White, as the main event. The fight didn’t last long.



Jones secured the belt at 2 minutes and 50 seconds of the first round, by rear naked choke. This win makes Jones the new Almighty FC Bantamweight Champion, a second champion belt joining his collection as Jones already holds the Cage Warriors Academy Flyweight Champion title. Following his win, with fans chanting his name around the venue, Jones said: “I thought that I could have went the five rounds tonight. Obviously the take-down happened and once it got there I felt confident. “Banging them shots in, I thought I would’ve got the finish there. But I went back to my roots and got the RNC.” Liam McCracken, the Cage Warriors Academy Flyweight Champion and Jones’s training partner, said: “It was a great performance tonight from Marlon, he took his time and it paid off. “It was nice and relaxed, he didn’t rush anything.” Saturday night was another example of talent coming from the gym.

Rainbow laces campaign p23

Left to right: Liam McCracken, Dean Garnett, Marlon Jones, Phil Turner, Aaron Robinson. Photo courtesy Marlon Jones

Interview with Don Rimmer p22

Merseyside Christmas fixtures p23

Profile for Steve Harrison

Liverpool Life 8:9 December 4 2019  

Liverpool Life is a weekly news magazine produced by final year undergraduate students on the Journalism and International Journalism progra...

Liverpool Life 8:9 December 4 2019  

Liverpool Life is a weekly news magazine produced by final year undergraduate students on the Journalism and International Journalism progra...