Big Bang Theory Gathurstâ€™s explosive past
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Bucket List Publisher: Local Life 247 Ltd P.O. Box 631 Wigan WN1 9HF Advertising: Chris Pearce 01257 498329 email@example.com Editorial: Nicola Gray 01257 498329 firstname.lastname@example.org Accounts: Sally Boon 01695 627999 email@example.com The March edition of Local Life will be published on Thursday 23rd February. The copy deadline for this issue is Thursday 9th February. Local Life is published every month. Distribution areas will alternate each month between two separate edition areas; Edition 1 is delivered to over 12,500 private homes and businesses in Standish, Whitley, Shevington, Appley Bridge, Parbold, Wrightington, Newburgh and Hilldale. Edition 2 is delivered to over 12,500 private homes and businesses in Orrell, Billinge, Winstanley, Up Holland, Highfield, Marus Bridge, Roby Mill and Pemberton. You can also pick up a free copy of Local Life, on or around the first weekend of the month, at Tesco Extra in Wigan or at Sainsbury’s in Marus Bridge. Or you can check out our online publication at www. locallife247.co.uk. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher or its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or other cause. No part of this publication, including pictures, may be copied or reproduced without the prior written consent of Local Life 247 Ltd.
When you receive the new edition of Local Life - remember to recycle the old one.
How are the New Year’s resolutions going? Yes, mine have ground to a halt too! Sometimes we’re guilty of choosing only negative resolutions; give up this, give up that, give up the other. That’s all very well, but hey, what’s life for if it’s not to live! When you compile your next list of resolutions don’t forget the positive stuff too. Indeed, one relative of mine has put together a ‘bucket’ list – which is a list of stuff to do and places to go before she kicks the bucket. That’s style for you! So what’s in this issue? Well, there’s lots of fantastic money saving offers on hair, beauty, blinds, furniture and lots more! There’s also a feature on Gathurst’s explosive past. Don’t miss our new ‘Dish of the Month’ feature – this time it’s Beef with Guinness and Herby Dumplings! For those who you (like me!) who tend to be grumpier during winter months, you’ll be pleased to know that next month we return to the great outdoors and we’ll be bringing you the return of Jack’s Tracks, our local What’s On guide, and whatever else we can think of to make your read even more enjoyable. Don’t forget - please support our advertisers whenever you can, as these are the people who make it possible for us to design, print and deliver your Local Life to you.
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In this issue Great Hair & Beauty Offers! 15% off all furniture! 50% off Perfect Fit Blinds! The Magical Mystery of Egypt The Lost Decade – fact or fallacy? Top Tax Tips! Dish of the Month – Beef in Guinness Gathurst’s Explosive Past Hamper Competition Winners Angie’s Garden Diary Plug and Go – the Ampera Motoring Services Home Services Jobs Green and Clean’s Useful Numbers
7 12 15 28 30 33 34 38 40 42 44 46 48 53 54 Local Life
If you fancy blowing away the cobwebs and taking in the wonderful local wildlife in early Spring whilst raising a few quid for worthy causes, then Janet Lumley would like to hear from you. Janet is organising a Sponsored Winter Walk around the Pennington Flash area in aid of the Mayor’s Charity Appeal. This year’s appeal will support Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Wigan Multiple Sclerosis Society.
This 4 ½ mile walk takes place next Sunday (5th February), starting at 10am and takes in the new canal towpath, wildlife areas and the Flash itself. Participants will meet at the portacabin next to the Wardens office and light refreshments will be served at the end of the walk. Please contact Janet on 01942 404149 for further details and sponsorship forms.
Local Life requires distributors (aged 13+) to deliver our magazine. We currently have vacancies in the Gathurst Lane area of Shevington, the Station Rd/Mill Lane area of Parbold and the Hilldale area. We are also welcoming applicants from all other areas for our waiting list, particularly Shevington and Parbold. Distributors will typically work for 2/3 hours every 8 weeks, delivering in their own neighbourhoods. You must be fit, enthusiastic and reliable. Please email your name, address, landline number and date of birth to firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 2012 marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and members of Shevington & District Community Association are not likely to let this momentous occasion pass by. The group held a planning meeting this Friday (27th January) at Shevington Methodist Church Hall, for volunteers to put themselves forward and for the community to contribute ideas on how to celebrate the Queen’s 60 year reign. Now, if you can’t get to that meeting or your Local Life arrived after the meeting, then don’t worry. You can speak with Councillors Carole Miles on 01257 401834 or Callum Chadwick on 07557 657187 about the celebrations – or we’ll carry more information about the plans in the next issue of Local Life.
No, not the little fat fella from Brookside, but the production of Sinbad the Sailor, which is coming your way courtesy of the St James’ Players from Wrightington. This traditional pantomime/comedy is
one of the tales of the Arabian Night, where Sinbad sets sail to make his fortune and win the hand of Princess Haidee, unaware that someone is trying to kill him. The show takes place at St James’ Church Hall, on Church Lane from this Saturday (28th January) until Saturday February 4th. Tickets cost £6 with a concessionary ticket costing £4. For more information, or to book your tickets please call Marie Taylor on 01257 434919.
Douglas Music cordially invites you to enjoy award winning string quartet, Escher. This four-piece string ensemble has received critical acclaim for their unique sound after being appointed the BBC New Generation Artists 2010-2012, the quartet play the violin, viola and the cello. Escher will be entertaining audiences with their rendition of ‘Contrapuntal Arches’ at Parbold Village Hall on Saturday February 11th at 7.45pm. Admission is £12 for adults and £5 for young people and students. For more information about future concerts or to book tickets please call 01257 464946.
Going Loco in Newburgh
The Red Lion Railway Circle is always on the lookout for fellow rail enthusiasts to join their growing group which meets in the Red Lion at Newburgh every month. The group have a full programme lined up for 2012; the first meeting is next Tuesday (31st January) starting at 7.30pm and all enthusiasts are welcome to come along.
U3A lands in Parbold
No, this isn’t R2-D2’s younger brother, but a global organisation for the retired and semi-retired and now the University of the Third Age has arrived in Parbold. If you are retired or semiretired and interested in learning new skills, making new friends and, above all, having fun - then read on! No qualifications are needed and there are no exams to be taken in order to join the group. The aim of the U3A is to encourage enjoyment, prolong life and help to keep the mind and body fit and healthy. To find out more about joining the group please call 01942 215297 or e-mail email@example.com
There is also an established U3A group based in Standish, they meet weekly on Tuesday afternoons at 2pm in St Wilfrid’s Parish Hall in Standish. New members are welcome to attend a few meetings to help them decide if they would like to join. For more information please contact Betty McDevitt on 01257 427179.
Standish Art Group meets in the Standish Community Centre on Moody Street in Standish and they would like any budding artists to join them for a spot of painting every Wednesday evening from 7-9pm. A basic knowledge of drawing and painting is required as the group isn’t a teaching medium but they are a group of people who get together to enjoy anointing with like-minded people. The group always strives to encourage improvement with a range of planned activities such as demonstrations, live models and occasional workshops. For further information on the group please contact the secretary Ron Lidgard on 01942 321672.
The PEG Stitchers, Parbold’s Embroidery Group, would like to hear from anybody interested in joining their group. The branch meets on the second Saturday of every month at the Parbold Village Hall at 2pm. The group hosts a varied programme of talks, demonstrations and hands-on sessions as well as four full day workshops throughout the year. The next event takes place on Saturday 11th February and Liz Almond will be talking about ‘A Blackwork Journey’. If you would like more information, the group now has a blog, which is packed full of information about what the branch is up to; just have a look at www.pegstitchers.blogspot.com or call Sandra Kedzlie on 01704 229097.
The Rotary Club of Wigan would like to say a huge thank you to the people of Wigan who gave so willingly to Santa and his helpers this Christmas. President John Walls told Local Life, “We are all
absolutely delighted that we managed to raise just over £10,000 thanks to the amazing generosity of the Wigan people. “As a result of this record collection we will be able to achieve all our aims for 2012 to support both local and international projects, well done to everyone involved”. Members of The Rotary Club volunteer their efforts to improve the quality of life for people in their own communities and raise funds through a variety of events including RUN4ALIFE, Dragons Den and the Santa floats. If you think you could help or would like further information about joining the Rotary please contact the club on 07813 471000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the longest established drama groups in the area - St. John’s Pemberton, Amateur Concert & Dramatic Society – are performing their latest pantomime, Aladdin from next Friday (3rd February) to the following Saturday (11th February). The group, who have been performing shows since the 1950’s, are staging the show at St. John’s Primary School in Church Street, Pemberton, where tiered seating means that everyone gets a good view of the stage. The performances start at 7.30pm during the week and 7.00pm on Saturdays (there are no Sunday performances) and tickets are priced at £6 for all adults, £5 for schoolchildren and can be booked by ringing 01942-621701. Block bookings from groups are welcome, but please reserve your tickets soon as this popular show often sells out.
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Parbold’s Picture House is readying itself for a very timely screening of Gasland, a documentary about the controversial energy extracting practice known as fracking, which has recently caused uproar in the Fylde area of Lancashire. When the film-maker, Josh Fox, was asked to lease his land for gas-drilling, he embarked on a journey across America to discover all he could about drilling by hydraulic fracturing (fracking)and the risks it poses to human and environmental health. Gasland is screened this Sunday (29th January) at 7pm.
Stuck for ideas for that perfect gift? Susan Dingle
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Cert.15) will be screened next Sunday (5th February) at 7.00 p.m. Described as the film event of the year; the storyline follows the British Secret Service and their hunt for a mole. With a superstar cast including Gary Oldman and Colin Firth you won’t want to miss this one. Another date for your diary is Sunday February 19th at 7.00 p.m with a screening of hilarious comedy The Guard (Cert. 15). An Irish policeman is paired with an FBI agent on a drugs-bust in the West of Ireland - what could possibly go wrong? For more information please visit the website at www.parbold.info.
The Coffee Morning at Hilldale Village Hall swings into action at 10.30am this Saturday today (28th January). You can enjoy a spot of tea or coffee, and if you’re feeling a bit peckish then there is always a selection of yummy cakes, scones and bacon rolls on offer. The event is held on the last Saturday of every month so if you have missed this one, then the next Coffee Morning is Saturday 25th February. If you’re a member of a community group and you want to publicise your next event free in Local Life, then just email details along with a contact name and number to firstname.lastname@example.org
Why not have a photo of a family member or pet transformed into a beautiful pencil portrait? They’ll love it and so will you! For more information please call: 07541 300378 or email at: email@example.com 10
Dog Walkers Required
Do you live in the Swinley area? Are you a dog lover? If so, the Cinnamon Trust would like to hear from you. The Trust is a national charity manned by volunteers who give part of their free time to help with dog walking and other pet care to elderly and terminally ill pet owners. They have two lovely dogs in the Swinley area who would love to go for a good walk; one is especially boisterous so really does need to get out for some exercise. If you could spare any time, even an hour a week, then please contact Sally on 01736 758707, e mail volunteer@ cinnamon.org.uk or download a volunteer registration form from our web site www.cinnamon.org.uk
Join the Brownies!
If you have an active daughter or granddaughter between the ages of 7-10 and they have free time to spare then when not think about them joining the Brownies? The 1st Shevington (St Annes) are looking for new members to join their Brownie Unit. The group meets for lots of fun every Thursday (5.15pm-6.45pm) at St Annes Parish Hall in Shevington, and do lots of different activities. They work towards badges such as First Aid, Computers, Stargazing, Circus Performer, Cook and lots more. If youâ€™re interested in finding out more, then please call 07527 603741 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If youâ€™re a member of a community group and you want to publicise your next event free in Local Life, then just email details along with a contact name and number to email@example.com
Local Life 11
Heritage Plaque Award
Members of the Standish Community Forum gathered for a rather special reception recently and Local Life were lucky enough to join them there. The reception was held at Ashfield House, where the owners were presented with a plaque by the Standish Community Forum to mark the history of Ashfield House and its place in the history of Standish.
meaning that they ate ‘humble pie’ by conceding to the mine owner’s demands. Current owners of Ashfield House are the Street family, who after an extensive period of renovation in the early nineties, have transformed the building into a successful restaurant and hotel. Pictured with the heritage plaque are Mel Street, Keith Douglas, Katie Street, Nadine Street and Graham Wilcox.
Ashfield House was built in 1755 by Felix Leach. It has been home to Wigan’s MP, a wealthy merchant, a mill owner and others, but the house was taken over by Standish Urban District Council and then by Wigan College of Technology, before being left to deteriorate. The place has allegedly a connection with the ‘pie eaters’ phrase which has come to represent Wigan people. Representatives of the miners who worked at a local pit visited Ashfield House, which was then the home of their employer, to concede defeat in their strike. Thereafter they were known as pie eaters,
Local Life 13
If you have ever wanted to develop your singing voice, seize your chance now! Parkside Colliery Male Voice Choir is hosting a one day ‘Learn to Sing in Harmony’ workshop. It is to be held at the YMCA buildings on Hilton St, Ashtonin- Makerfield on Saturday 18th February 2012. The course will commence at 10am with registration from 9-30, and run through to 4pm with comfort intervals. Candidates will be given professional tuition by Neil Firth. Neil is the Musical Director at Parkside, who won the Adult Choir of the Year award in 2008. He will
cover the art and skills of singing, giving advice on voice range, singing in tune, stance and posture for relaxed singing, dynamics, matching pitch and vowel sounds. This will culminate at the end of the day with us all singing a song on four part harmony. This is an ideal opportunity for anyone wishing to improve their singing technique and is absolutely free! If you’re interested in giving this a try then please call Jim on 01942 724477 or Alan on 01942 418863, or visit the website www.sing.co.nr.
Local Rugby League team, the Shevington Sharks are looking to recruit and boys and girls interested in trying their hand at a game of Rugby League. The club runs teams for children aged six and upwards. If your child is interested please contact Martyn Ellis on 07978 777563 or Jennie Campbell on 07725 236236. For more information about the club please visit www.shevingtonsharks.co.uk.
Local Life 15
Only a few days into the New Year and 2012 is already looking up for Standish-based Got To Go Travel. The family-run business, which is situated on the High Street in Standish, has been nominated for a prestigious Agents Achievement Award. The Agents Achievement Awards is the UK’s leading awards programme created to recognise excellence and achievement in the UK’s travel agents. Got to Go owners Ryan and Karen Speakman are firmly in the running for Best Small Agents of the Year category in the North West and North Wales region. Ryan told Local Life, “We’re not sure who nominated us, but it was such a great surprise, we couldn’t be happier. “We would like to say how thankful we are for all the local support; we are going from strength to strength since we moved to bigger premises on the High Street.” Ryan and Karen will find out at a glittering ceremony on 26th March in London if they have won the accolade. Fingers crossed! You can check out the latest Got 2 Go promotional offers on the centre pages of this issue of Local Life.
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Local Life 17
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the Belarus Aid Group in Parbold is campaigning to raise enough money to be able to donate a mini bus to the disabled children of Gomel. Gomel was one of the worst affected areas in the region and the children living there often need to visit hospitals and children’s centres. However, because the mini bus they use is unreliable and is constantly breaking down, many children in outlying villages have become isolated. The children become virtually housebound and their carers have no respite. The Belarus Aid group desperately want to provide a properly fitted mini bus and need to raise £14,000. So, the group have decided to host the Lancashire Night at Parbold Village Hall with the aim of raising £2,000 on the night to put towards the funds. Previous Lancashire nights have been extremely successful and raised thousands of pounds, so here’s your chance to help! You can expect fabulous entertainment on the night from highly skilled musician
Mark Dowding, Lancashire dialect performer Sid Calderbank, along with music from Peter and Barbara Snape. There will be a bar and a hotpot supper included. The evening takes place on March 10th. To purchase tickets, for more details or to make a donation please contact Sue Halton on 01257 463703 or Maggi Huyton on 01257 464215. For more information about the Belarus Aid group please visit the web-site at www.belarusaid.co.uk.
You might think that the party season is well and truly over, but there’s time yet for one last fling of the Highland persuasion, when the Thistle Society brings you a Burns Night celebration to remember. This Scottish-dancing society always puts on an excellent evening of entertainment to celebrate Robbie Burns and this year will be no different. The celebration will take place this Friday (27th January) at Lowton Civic Hall and after a traditional Burns night supper you will be treated to a first class evening of both Scottish Country and Old Time dances. The evening kicks off at 7pm and tickets cost £16.50; for more information please contact The Thistle Society on 01942 861549.
Simple as ABC
St Wilfrid’s ABC group is a great place to take the kids for a bit of fun. The group meets in the Parish Hall on Church Street at 2pm each Thursday during school term time. The children can play together with a large selection of toys and enjoy a quick cup of juice and biscuits before getting back to the rather serious business of enjoying themselves. Meanwhile mums, dads, grandparents, carers and other visitors can all enjoy a chat and a cuppa. If you’re interested then why not pop along and join in the fun, it’s a great chance to meet other parents and it’s free!
Local Life 19
For information about this walk and future walks, please contact the club’s secretary Jill Shilladay on 01257 421926, or email Jill on Jill.shilladay@ btinternet.com.
The Wigan Rambling and Climbing Club are out and about this Sunday (29th January) on a trip to Arnside, and you’re invited to join them! You’ll have a choice of three different walks to suit your ability and fitness. Arnside is less than an hour away on the beautiful Silverdale peninsula and all the walks have glorious views over Morecambe Bay and, hopefully, the distant Lake District. The coach leaves Wigan town centre at 8am picking up in Standish en route and arrives back at approximately 6.30pm. Reservations are essential and the cost is just £10.
20 Local Life
A definite date for your diary is the Gift and Craft Fayre being held at St Anne’s Parish Centre in Shevington on Saturday 31st March. The Fayre runs from 10am-3pm and will feature all manner of craft and gift stalls, a Fair Trade stall and craft demonstrations too. Refreshments and light lunches will also be available. If you’d like to book a stall at the event, please call Linda Hill on 01257 252496. St Anne’s Church, which is next to the Parish Centre, is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2012, will also be open on 31st March for people to enjoy the window displays which will be decorated by local schools and organisations to mark the anniversary.
The Standish Art Group is holding an exhibition of their artwork in The Galleries Shopping Centre in Wigan town centre between 5th March and 30th March. The display will be held at the Wigan Plus shop, which is next door to Clarke’s shoe shop and opposite Brucciani’s café. The paintings are all by amateurs using various mediums and techniques, in their own individual styles and covering a wide diversity of subjects. The majority of works are for sale at prices to suit most people’s pockets. Viewing is free, so do come and enjoy, even if you do not wish to purchase any of the paintings.
If you fancy yourself as the next Freddie Flintoff then Standish Cricket Club would like to hear from you. The club is looking for players of all ages and standards, so if you’ve never bowled a ball in your life or are the next budding superstar, everyone is welcome. In particular the club is looking for amateur players of all disciplines to strengthen the 1st team squad. Are you currently playing cricket and not getting your chance to bat or bowl? Do you think you have what it takes to be a future professional why not showcase your talent in the oldest league in Lancashire and the 2nd oldest league in the World!! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org The club is also on the lookout for a Cricket Coach.
Are you a professional playing at a local club or a qualified coach able to spare a few hours each week coaching the juniors? Standish Cricket Club has a very committed and promising junior section that would benefit from some input. They are looking for a suitably qualified cricket coach with passion and enthusiasm to help with the juniors. If you are interested in playing at Standish CC or helping with the juniors please e-mail paul@ standishcc.co.uk or email@example.com with your contact details.
If you’ve over-indulged this Christmas and need to shift a few pounds, you could enrol for the hard-core Bikini Body Boot Camp! Parbold Village Hall will be hosting Boot camp style classes twice a week on Monday and Friday starting at 9.30am. Classes start on Tuesday 28th February; for more information call Michaela Lewis on 07812 062220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Local Life 21
90 Years of Service
2012 is a landmark year for the Standish Branch of the Royal British Legion as celebrations for their 90th anniversary kick off this month - the branch was formed on 12th February 1922. To mark the Branch’s 90th anniversary, a service will be held in St Wilfrid’s Church on Sunday 12th February at 3.30pm, 90 years to the day when the branch was conceived. The New Rector of Standish, along with the Archdeacon of Lancaster the Venerable Michael Everitt, will conduct the service. You can step back in time and enjoy a rare glimpse of Military standards and Legion standards as they parade from the Unity Club to the Church. Attending the service will be the Mayoress Joy Birch, local MP Lisa Nandy, local councillors and local residents whose family members fought in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. The Standish Royal British Legion would like to invite everybody to join them in their
The Beer God
February is a great month to get down to your local cask ale pub and get settled in a cosy corner with a nice glass of warming winter ale. Insulate yourself against the modern era of austerity and also the cold wind of winter. I think you’ll agree it’s much better than staying in alone with a cold glass of tasteless fizzy Greek lager. We’ve just finished our successful winter ale festival here at The Crown. It was encouraging to see how many people of all ages are turning to cask ale. It is no longer the domain of boring woolly-jumpered beardy-weardies. Consumers are turning their backs on bland mass produced beers and looking for locally produced ales with provenance, taste and quality. Speaking of which, our brewer of the month is Northern Brewery who are based in Sandiway in Cheshire. Many of their beers have a Northern Soul theme, like Soul Rider, Two Tone and Soul Time, but they also beers such as Liquorice, and Chilli and 22 Local Life
celebrations; you are also invited to join them after the service at the Unity Club for some light refreshments. The main purpose of the Legion was straightforward, to care for those who had suffered as a result of service in the Armed Forces, helping communities back to their feet and raising morale. This ethos is still very prominent today and the work of the Standish Branch doesn’t go unnoticed. To date the branch has sent more than 6,500 shoeboxes to our serving soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The recent Poppy Appeal by the Standish Branch of the British Legion raised a magnificent £14,000 surpassing 2010’s final total of £12,000. 2012 will be a year of celebration for the Standish Branch with many more events planned so keep your eyes peeled or better yet get involved and see how you can help out. Members meet in the Unity Club in the Standish Centre on Cross Street, on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm. For more information please call David Williams on 01257 401274. If you’re a member of a community group and you want to publicise your next event free in Local Life, then just email details along with a contact name and number to email@example.com.
Chocolate. They have recently brewed a proper IPA which is super hoppy and reasonably strong at 6%. This is my beer of the month. More enlightened brewers are making ‘proper’ IPA’s now. IPA stands for India Pale Ale and these beers are high in alcohol and are full of hops, which back in the Empire days is how the beer survived the trip to India, hence the name. They sell very well despite the higher alcohol levels reflecting our affinity with our British Heritage and not the 21st century nanny state. Next month, watch out for Liverpool Organic Brewery - one of the best new kids on the block and majorly excellent and innovative. Until then - drink good beer! See you soon and wherever you be drinking good ale, let me know your ale tales! www.crownatworthington.co.uk
Local Life 23
The miners’ strike of 1984 and the legacy of the mining industry is the focus of a new exhibition at the Turnpike Gallery, Leigh. Face is a specially commissioned documentary, archive and audio-visual exhibition by Paula Keenan, Lesley Sutton and Dave Meehan which is open at the Turnpike until 3rd March.
objects relating to mining in Wigan have also been borrowed from the Museum of Science and Industry. Against the backdrop of images, stories, artefacts and maps depicting the huge number of coalfields in our area, emerges the changing face of our local working community over the last century. Project co-ordinator, Paula Keenan said: “This exhibition is the culmination of two years work from planning to completion. We have tried to capture something that is no longer visually present in our communities but is still alive in the hearts and minds of those once part of the coal industry. We hope people can take away shared memories, facts, and knowledge of a lost industry that Wigan is still proud of.” Entrance to the exhibition is free. Face then moves to the Museum of Wigan Life in Wigan from 10th March to the 5th May. For more information call the Turnpike Gallery on 01942 404 420.
It focuses on personal stories, the impact of the Miners’ Strike of 1984 and how the legacy of the mining industry is still a vital element of local culture and landscape. A documentary film by Dave Meehan and Paula Keenan features interviews with ex-miners and their wives, including stories from the 1984 strike. Archive images of pit brow lasses sit alongside other archive images and recent photographs of working women to reflect the journey of women in employment in the borough over a 150 year period. Historical
24 Local Life
If your New Year’s resolution involves getting out, meeting new people and perhaps even letting a little romance into your life, then you’ll be interested in hearing about The Phoenix Club. Based in Standish, the Phoenix Club aims to help you reach out for a new beginning and form new friendships, which can be a daunting experience, even for the bravest of us.
and other social events. Local meetings are held at St Wilfrid’s Parish Hall on Church Street, Standish on Saturday evenings from 8pm. New members are always welcome, and within a few minutes you’ll be joining in the fun, having a chat or a dance. For more information about what the Phoenix Club can offer you please contact Tony on 07971 956532 or visit the website at www.wiganphoenix.co.uk.
Bard in Bispham
Are you a fan of Shakespeare and his works or would you like to become more acquainted with our most famous bard? A group of Shakespeare readers now meet at the Eagle and Child in Bispham village. They would like to invite anyone to come along and listen or better still read a part. They meet on the last two Mondays of each month and admission is free. For more information please contact Concepta Hite on 01695 556703 or 07971 283113.
If you’re divorced, separated or widowed and over 45, then you’re welcome at the club which hosts dances
Local Life 25
Your Health Check Blood Pressure
I hope that you all enjoyed a great Christmas and that your New Year will be happy, prosperous and of course, healthy. Following the welcome traditions of the Christmas festivities usually come the obligatory New Year’s resolutions. Many of these apply to our health, and if this sounds familiar I wish you good luck and success. Along with any investments such as these that we make in our health, it’s also a great idea to have our current levels of health assessed. One of the most important and yet simple annual health checks we should consider is a blood pressure measurement. It takes less than a minute but helps prevent many major health problems, prolonging your life. Your GP, Practice Nurse, Chiropractor and some Pharmacists offer this service. Blood pressure consists of two measurements. These are the forces (or pressure) your heart produces when it beats to pump blood and when it relaxes between beats. It is usually measured with a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope. The NHS currently says that these two blood pressure measurements should usually be less than 140 and 90 if you are healthy. There is no way of telling whether or not your blood pressure is normal or high without it being tested properly by a qualified health care professional.
Parbold Flower Club is back and members are hoping that 2012 will see the group bloom to new proportions. The first event on the calendar takes place on Wednesday February 8th with a demonstration based around ‘Flowers in Mind’. Interested? The group would like to invite visitors so they can see what happens at the Flower Club and experience the friendly atmosphere and watch some fantastic demonstrations. The club meets at Parbold Village Hall on the second Wednesday of the month at 1.30pm, and admission is £4. For More information please call Eileen Martin on 01704 893124 or visit the website at www.flowersnorthwest.net.
If your blood pressure is above these measurements it can lead to serious health problems affecting the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes. This includes strokes and heart attacks. If your blood pressure if high, your GP can prescribe medications to reduce it. There are many simple self-help measures we can take to reduce high blood pressure. These will keep you healthier and happier in general also. What we eat and drink is very important. A good healthy diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, low in processed foods and salt is very beneficial. Reducing our caffeine intake is important as is enjoying drinking in moderation. Reducing excess pounds reduces blood pressure. Regular exercise keeps your heart healthy and lowers blood pressure. This should include 40 minutes of an activity each day which is continuous and makes you slightly out of breath. Many health clubs are competing for your business at this time of year, so there are many good deals to be had. Oh, and lowering stress through regularly enjoying hobbies, (and also laughing!) lowers high blood pressure too. For further information go to www.nhs.uk/
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suFFeRING WITH MusCLe, jOINT OR NeRve PAIN?
What sorts of problem can you help me with? We can relieve pain that is caused by a variety of muscle, joint and nerve problems. This includes both new and old pain resulting from your job, sports, poor posture, accidents and some types of arthritis or wear & tear. We specialise in treating neck and back pain as well as pulled muscles, stiff joints and trapped nerves.
How soon can you help me? We are open six days a week and offer appointments the same or the next day. We are open Monday-Friday 8am-7pm, Saturdays 8am-4pm.
Why do we offer gentle treatments? Because we treat young children and senior citizens, we know that people prefer gentle, painless treatments.
Don’t suffer with muscle, joint or nerve pain!
How can you help me? We always start
Find out how we can help you:
off with a 45 minute consultation and examination to find the underlying causes of your problem. We then use gentle, safe hands-on treatments to relieve your pain.
Why do you have a digital x-ray department? We have our own digital x-ray department at the clinic so that we can take and show you your pictures within 24 hours. This helps us to show you the underlying causes of your problem, allowing us to start treatment quickly and get you out of pain.
Mike Paull Doctor of Chiropractic
Dr Matt Birch Doctor of Chiropractic
• Consultation & Examination £59 • Digital X-ray pictures (per area) £59 • Treatment sessions (each) £35
Chris Green Sports Injury Specialist
Jenny Richmond Sports Injury Therapist
© Designed for Wigan Family Chiropractic Clinic by Lindsey Brightwell firstname.lastname@example.org
t Wigan Family Chiropractic Clinic, our team of Chiropractors and therapists can help to relieve most types of muscle, joint and nerve pain.
Low back or neck pain? visit our clinic WIGAN FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC
TReATMeNT FOR YOuR sPINe, MusCLes, jOINTs & NeRves 27 BRIDGeMAN TeRRACe. sWINLeY. WIGAN. LANCAsHIRe. WN1 1TD LBWFC1 051111
A5_single page_WFC1.indd 1
Local Life 27
Award-winning holidays to Egypt
We only sell holidays to Egypt. That means we can focus on finding the very best holidays for you, with an exclusive range of 4★ and 5★hotels, personally vetted by us for quality, service, location and value. It’s not just about Sharm el Sheikh! We also offer holidays in Makadi Bay, Hurghada, Dahab and Taba Heights, plus excursions, cruises and tours that let you experience Egypt’s rich culture for yourself.
That’s why we were voted Best Tour Operator to North Africa in the 2011 British Travel Awards. But don’t just take our word for it, try our award winning service for yourself.
Book early, save more Summer 2012
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Got 2 Go Travel Standish is proud to be working with Red Sea Holidays our preferred Egypt Partner Call 01257 472113 or visit us at 22 High Street, Standish
Sharm el Sheikh
The Makadi Palace
Nestled in the centre of the sweeping Makadi Bay, overlooking the crystal waters of the Red Sea, the Makadi Palace is the perfect choice for those wishing simply to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings offered by its superb beachside location. Ideal for couples wanting a romantic break, its abundance of sporting activities and diverse range of restaurants serving anything from Mediterranean buffets to full à la carte menus also makes it popular for those families with From older children.
The Grand Hotel Sharm el Sheikh
On a high plateau with fantastic views over the Red Sea and Tiran Island, the Grand Hotel has something for all ages. Its private sea front location makes it ideal for snorkelling; its extensive selection of restaurants and bars provide ample places to relax and savour the atmosphere; and its relaxed pool and beach areas are great for just topping up your tan. From
MS Grand Rose
Elegant and sophisticated, this is one of the most beautiful ships sailing the Nile today. The MS Grand Rose is the height of understated luxury, offering panoramic views from the sun deck; exceptional international cuisine at the Jasmin restaurant; and the opportunity to relax and enjoy a cocktail in the Tulip bar as the sun sinks beneath the horizon – the perfect location for that special occasion.
The Grand Resort
Bed & Breakfast
In the heart of the modern resort area of Hurghada, the Grand Resort’s service and facilities are also on a grand scale. Built in an unusual figure of eight style, one side of the hotel has two pools plus two kids pools and is very lively, offering music and entertainment. The other side of the hotel, with its single large pool, is more quiet and relaxing, making it ideal for both families and couples alike.
The Egyptian Experts ABTA No.Y2507
Terms & Conditions: *Per person, based on 2 adults sharing. Subject to availability. ^Book by 29 February – conditions apply; see brochure for details. © Red Sea Holidays 2012.
Money & Investment
The Lost Decade? Firstly, happy new year to all readers let’s hope that it is going to be a (wait for it!) ‘Prosperous’ one! Without a doubt, 2011 was a massive challenge for investors with the awful events in Japan following the tsunami and nuclear threat. The Libyan crises and the ongoing Euro debt issue all created nervousness which impacted upon global stock markets. At the time of penning this article (5th December) a summit meeting has been arranged with all the Euro leaders to deal with the support package for Europe. The outcome of this will now be known and my hope is that a robust, credible package has been agreed which the markets find favour with. My message to readers is that markets do tend to be resilient and historically have bounced back from previous corrections. Listening to the constant doom and gloom on the news you would be forgiven if you felt nervous at
the thought of investing at the moment. The likes of Robert Peston (BBC Business Editor) get wheeled out whenever markets fall and belch out statements along the lines of ‘billions wiped of pension funds’, ‘we are facing financial meltdown’ etc. It’s interesting how he fails to report with such enthusiasm when markets head north! Many journalists call the last ten years, ‘The Lost Decade’. In other words, investors would have been better investing in cash rather than shares over the last 10 years. But how true is this label – would you really have been better off sticking your cash in the bank? Let’s have a look at the facts according to the Financial Times Money Management August 2011; Investing £25,000+ in an average UK savings account from July 2001 to July 2011 would have brought you an investment return of 17.2% (net of tax).
30 Money & Investment brought to you by Prosper Independent Financial Advisers
Let’s have a look how the markets as a whole performed over that same period; Best Emerging Market fund Average Emerging Market fund Best UK Equity Income fund Average UK Equity Income Fund Best UK all Cos fund Average UK all Co’s fund Best Global Equities Average Global Equities FTSE100
450.1% 255.1% 136.4% 61.8% 203.9% 51.9% 245.3% 46.8% 5.7%
‘Never let the facts get in the way of a good story’ is a favourite saying for journalists and you can see that the media have focused on the FTSE100 to ‘prove’ their point. It’s true that the FTSE100 has had a rough ride over the past decade, but the index is only part of the story. It does not include the value of the dividends that have been generated from these underlying companies during this period. Assuming a dividend yield of just 2.8% pa over ten years, this would add a further 30% plus over the 10 year period and therefore would have comfortably beaten the average savings account return. Of course past performance is no guarantee to future returns and shares do not have the same security of capital as cash savings. Ordinarily within any investment cycle we tend to see one or possibly two colossal events which result in huge swings in share prices both during and after these events, but this last
decade really has been quite exceptional. The dot com fall out of 2001 was quickly followed by the Twin Towers attacks and the Enron accounting scandals. The London terror attacks happened in 2005, followed by the credit crunch of 2008, the BP disaster in 2010 and the long running Eurozone Debt Crisis. All of these events happened in the past decade and have affected confidence in the markets, but history shows that the markets are resilient and confidence soon returns. So if you have committed capital to the stock market for the long term as part of a balanced portfolio, you should not be too swayed by day-to-day movements. Such volatility is the price you pay for returns that have consistently been, over the long term, higher than those from cash deposits or fixed interest investments. If you feel the New Year is time to review and blow the dust off your investment plans then please do not hesitate to give us a call. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Investments can go up or down, and you may not get back the original amount invested
Choosing a financial partner may be the most important decision you’ll ever make. ● Financial Advice ● Investment Solutions ● Portfolio Management ● Inheritance Tax planning ● Regular Financial Reviews Call Prosper today on 01257 423800 to arrange your FREE no obligation initial consultation.
Brought to you by David Barton of Prosper Independent Financial Advisers. David is a specialist in retirement and investment planning for the over 50’s
Prosper Independent Financial Advisers Ltd Prosper House, 99a High Street, Standish. WN6 0HD 01257 423 800 www.prosper-ifa.co.uk
David K. Barton DipPFS
Visit us online at www.prosper-ifa.co.uk 31
area or you want to speak to the police to pass on information about crime in your area. 101 is being introduced to ease pressure on the 999 service, and help to efficiently tackle crime and disorder. You should continue to call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened. Calls to 101 (from landlines and mobiles) cost 15p per call, no matter what time of day you call, or how long you are on the phone. Calls to 101 are answered by police call handlers in the control room of the local police force. You will not be put through to a large national call centre. When you call 101, the system will determine your location and connect you to the local police force. You will hear a recorded message announcing the police force you are being connected to. If you live in Lancashire or near to the Wigan/Lancashire boundary , the recorded message will give you a choice of which force to be connected to.
There’s a new phone number in use to contact the police –101. You should call 101 to report less urgent crime and disorder. For example, you should call 101 if your car has been stolen, your property has been damaged, you suspect drug use/dealing in your
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General nuisance or environmental issues should be reported to your local council as usual – see our useful numbers section on page 54. If you’re a member of a community group and you want to publicise your next event free in Local Life, then just email details along with a contact name and number to email@example.com.
CMA Accountancy Guide to Success in 2012
Hello and welcome to the latest article from CMA, a proactive accountancy firm based in Appley Bridge. By the time you read this article most tax returns will have been submitted and it will be time to plan for the future. Here at CMA, as well as making sure your businesses finances are in the best shape we are also experienced business advisers and provide assistance to help you grow. This month we are looking at business planning for 2012 and how to get the best from your employees and create a winning team. Whether you are thinking about starting out or you have been running a business for a long time, here are some useful steps to take to build a great business: Assess where you are today – make a realistic assessment of your business and look at your strengths and weaknesses and what do you need to build on. Failure to plan is plan for failure – January is a good time to plan for the next 12 months. Set your sales targets for the next year and think about any new products or services you can offer your customers. Define your teams’ roles – make sure everyone in your business is clear on their respective roles. Identify Goals – Develop and implement a performance measurement and reward system to support your plans. Coach your team – Regularly provide guidance and training so that they are updated with the latest trends and issues in your market. We are happy to talk to anyone about their plans for the next year and look at ways to help you grow your business. If you would like to find out more about any of the issues raised in this article CMA offers a free initial consultation, either at our office or yours, at a time to suit you. If you would like to see how we can help, please get in touch.
If you’re on a low income and have savings with a bank or building society, are you paying tax on your interest?
The PAYE system is complicated and as a result there are vast numbers of incorrect PAYE tax codes. Is your tax code correct?
When setting up as a sole trader, did you know that you can claim against your profits for items used in your business even if they were purchased prior to commencement of trade?
Did you know that married couples can arrange their finances to utilise each personal allowance (£7,475 for 2011/12) and lower rate tax bands (£35,000 for 2011/2012). Can you transfer income producing assets to a spouse to take advantage of their lower taxable income?
Chris Alcock ACMA, CMA Accountancy 39 Skull House Lane, Appley Bridge, Wigan, WN6 9DR Tel: 01257 255521 Email info@handsonaccounting. co.uk web www.handsonaccounting.co.uk www.locallife247.co.uk
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Dish of the Month Beef in Guinness - with herby onion dumplings You’ve finally finished the turkey leftovers and you’re ready to try a winter’s dish that will really stick to your ribs - celebrate the New Year in style with this Irish dish that uses Guinness to make a delicious sauce. Serves 4.
Ingredients For the stew
For the dumplings
2 tbsp oil
75g butter , frozen and grated
1kg braising steak, cut into large pieces
150g self-raising flour
2 tbsp plain flour , well seasoned
1 small onion , grated
3 onions , sliced
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
Water for mixing
2 sprigs thyme
1. Heat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. 2. Heat a little of the oil in a large oven-proof pan. 3. Lightly flour the pieces of braising steak and fry in small batches until well browned. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate. 4. Add the onions to the pan and fry on a fairly high heat until they soften and tinge brown at the edges. 5. Pour the Guinness into the pan, letting it bubble up, then return the meat to the pan along with the thyme. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours or until tender. The sauce will sweeten and thicken during the cooking time. 6. Make the dumplings (towards the end of the cooking time by mixing the suet, flour, onion and thyme together and season well.) 7. Gradually add water to the dry ingredients until you have a soft dough. Divide into 12 balls. Place the dumplings on top of the casserole and return it to the oven, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Serve with shredded Savoy cabbage
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A Street Car Named Desire is the latest production at the Wigan Little Theatre; this American classic, written by Tennessee Williams, will be running from 15th to the 25th February at the Crompton Street theatre. Blanche DuBois comes to live in the slums of New Orleans, with her sister Stella and Stella’s husband Stanley Kowalski. Blanche doesn’t understand how Stella, who is expecting her first child, could have picked a husband so lacking in refinement, whilst Stanley is enraged by Blanche’s airs and affectations, her perpetual reminiscences about her genteel past and her open distaste for his coarse vitality.
When Stanley Kowalski’s buddies come over to the house to play cards and one of them, Mitch, finds Blanche attractive, Stanley has no hesitation in destroying Blanche’s only hope of salvation and tells Mitch about what kind of a woman Blanche really is. What will happen when Stella goes to the hospital to have her baby and just Blanche and her brother-in-law are in the house? Postal booking forms are available from the box office or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book online at www.wiganlittletheatre.co.uk or by telephoning 01942 242561.
All Saints’ Church in Appley Bridge is already looking forward to the year ahead. Their popular Alpha course starts again this Monday (January 30th) at the Wayfarers in Parbold; a great night out is promised! For more information on other events taking place at All Saints’ Church please pop into the church on Finch Lane in Appley Bridge.
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Take your Marks
Emma Maye will be moored at the canal bridge in Parbold Village this weekend (28th and 29th January) and the boat will be open to the public from 10am4pm. The boat also visits Burscough and Rufford during the winter months. For more information, please contact Carole or Colin on 07931 356204 or check out their online mooring at www.thewoolboat.co.uk
Rosie and Jim tugging along on the old Rag Doll are known to millions of us as a popular children’s TV programme, but how many of you are familiar with Carole and Colin and their rather unique Wool Boat affectionately known as Emma Maye? Carole and Colin have combined their creative ambitions with their passion for the waterways, and they have created a unique yarn and wool shop on board their narrow boat where you can indulge in exclusive and commissioned hand knitted garments, photo art and knitting supplies.
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There’s always something for the kids and families to do at the Museum of Wigan Life, but on Tuesday 21st February the museum team will take the short trip up the hill to the Grand Arcade for a half term fun session. The Take your Marks session will run from 10.30-3.00pm in the Grand Arcade and will be a chance to show the kids some of Wigan’s proudest sporting moments; there will be activities for the kids and sporting memorabilia from the town’s collections, plus a visit from a few special sporting guests! Don’t miss it! Wigan Council’s Active Living team have just published a new walks brochure for 2012. There are a variety of walks featured lasting from 20 minutes up to 2 hours, with the odd themed walk thrown in there for fun. So if you enjoy a nature walk or would like to try something new like Nordic or power walking in 2012 then pick up a brochure. Pick up a brochure at your local library or call the Active Living centre on 01942 465481.
Local Life 37
Big Bang Theory
Once upon a time (in the 18th and 19th centuries to be precise) there were seven collieries within the village boundaries of Shevington. Indeed, past inhabitants of Shevington were a pretty industrious lot; not only did they work hard all day, but they also found the time to raise money to build their own schools and churches. In 1886, a new explosive called Roburite was developed to help extract Shevington’s coal from the ground and the following year a Roburite Works (pronounced ‘Robe-rite’ by us locals) was opened in nearby Gathurst. Originally the factory was made up of a series of separate workshops to prevent the danger of a chain reaction; the whole factory blowing up if an explosion went off. The site was also split down the middle by the River Douglas. On the north side of the river explosives were mixed, ammunition cartridges filled and explosive goods stored whilst on the south banks of the ‘Dougy’ just below Gathurst Station, was the chemical production process. Having the river in the middle of the site posed a logistical problem which was resolved by the construction of a small railway. The two halves of the factory were linked by an internal narrow gauge railway set on a viaduct and the tracks of this line were set closer together than standard railway tracks. Why? Because this type of railway was cheaper to build and its carriages were light, so the trucks could be pushed by hand if there were enough of you pushing. There was an explosion at the site in May 1913 and three men were killed; the manager at the time, a Mr Cooksey, did the best he could for his staff and went on to be awarded a medal for gallantry in saving lives. You can find a couple of pictures of Roburite girls around this period on the Wigan World website.
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Over the years the factory changed hands and got a lot bigger. Anyway at some point the factory became known as the Nobel Roberite Works, until it was taken over by ICI and then eventually by Orica, a massive Australian Company. And now? Well, this is where the Roburite site becomes explosive once more. Orica closed the site in 1981 and a spokesman from the company at the time said there was an ‘exciting opportunity’ when it came to redeveloping the area. New houses were top of the list. But while the Roburite site was winding down, wildlife from neighbouring woodlands showed little respect for the numerous ‘Keep Out’ signs and began to take over parts of the site. The woodland and its inhabitants, in particular the bats, had become important residents since the dangerous substances have been removed. In 2007, celebrity conservationist David Bellamy OBE jumped onto the campaign to stop housing development at the site when he said; ‘By and large, this haven for all kinds of wildlife is one of the best in the North West. It’s crazy to consider putting houses there. It should be opened up to the public to enjoy. After all, they’ve been prevented from enjoying its acres for over a century.’ It’s a tricky issue; local jobs and investment are needed. Researchers are warning that by the end of this decade the average age of first time buyers could be forty years of age. It is believed that we need more affordable housing.
At first, outline planning permission was granted for Builders Taylor Wimpey to build 89 homes on the Vicarage Lane end of the site. Despite protests from Shevington Parish Councillor Roy Bridge, to name but one, the extended development has been given the go ahead by Wigan Council. Mr Bridge had argued that if more houses are built then there will be a strain on local roads. He said: “Vicarage Lane is totally inappropriate for the extra traffic that will be generated and there can be little doubt that St Anne’s Drive will turn into a short cut during periods of heavy traffic trying to exit onto Gathurst Lane.” Whatever happens from here on in, there may no longer be an explosives factory at Gathurst but issues surrounding the area are still rather flammable today.
But we need to preserve our countryside and wildlife too, especially in an existing area of natural beauty like the Douglas Valley.
Local Life 39
Hamper Winners Our annual Christmas Hamper competition went down a storm again this year! The lucky winners are listed below and all received their hamper a couple of weeks before Christmas. We would like to thank our hamper sponsors who dug deep and paid £100 for the privilege of sponsoring a hamper. Local Life would also like to thank Windy Arbour Farm Shop who, in addition to sponsoring a hamper, also provided many of the goods at cost price. The draw was made at the Pemberton Wigan and Leigh Hospice Shop before Christmas, and pictured is Chris Pearce, the Publisher of Local Life, handing over a cheque for £500 to Julie Dennis, the Fundraising and Events Officer at Wigan and Leigh Hospice. The donation was made on behalf of all of the ten companies (see advertisement below) who sponsored a hamper in our competition.
Pictured on the opposite page are; John Hanley from Whitley Crescent in Wigan pictured with his daughter Roisin and Steph Bowen from Morpheus Glass in Orrell. Melanie Taylor from Woodhurst Drive in Standish pictured with Ian Johnson from GreenThumb in Wigan. Mr and Mrs Holmes from Chorley Road in Hilldale near Parbold pictured with Chris Alcock from Appley Bridge-based accountancy firm CMA. Mrs Billings from Longbrook in Shevington pictured with Ste Ball from Borron Shaw estate agents in Orrell. Catherine Ackerley from Arbour Lane in Standish, pictured with Pam Turner from Windy Arbour Farm Shop in Billinge. Other hamper winners not pictured here include James Hall from Tarnside Road in Orrell, Maureen Greenacre from Kilburn Road, also in Orrell, Mrs Bailey from Fulbeck Avenue in Marus Bridge, Geraldine Griffin from Belmont Avenue in Billinge and Barbara Colton from Warminster Grove in Winstanley.
would like to thank the following companies for sponsoring our Christmas Hamper competition and raising £500 for Wigan and Leigh Hospice.
bespoke fused glass design
morpheus glass Orrell Councillors 40 Local Life
Delph Tavern www.locallife247.co.uk
Local Life 41
Our resident gardening expert Angie Barker, provides us with some more gardening hints, tips and seasonal selections.
Decking - love it or hate it? The beauty of installing a deck in your outside living space is that it can be designed to suit your lifestyle and your individual garden. It is fantastic for dealing with awkward levels and if you run it at the same height as a conservatory door or French doors opening into the garden it feels like an extension to your indoor living space. It is relatively quick and easy to install, it can be cheaper than most other hard landscaping materials and can be a quick fix for covering up unsightly slabs or concrete. In my experience people either love decking or hate it, and the latter usually comes from experience of tired looking decks which are also slippery. There are a few myths about decking which are covered on the Timber Decking Associations web site at www.tda.org.uk. This sites gives some good practical information concerning decking, construction and maintenance. One thing I would say is that decking works best in open, sunny sites and as long as it is kept clean, it should never be slippery.
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Please don’t be tempted to simply plonk a square deck at the back of the house and surround it with spindles. Decking offers the opportunity to create really interesting shapes which can link into the rest of your garden. Planting holes can be incorporated to soften the look and raised beds made of tanalised timber work particularly well in association with decking and look very contemporary. Try also experimenting with large rounded pebbles on or around the decking for a contrast in texture. The photo is the decking in our own garden. I have had decking in both of my own gardens over a period of nearly 20 years and I love it. So does Hubby. In fact if I had a pound for every hour we’ve spent on our decking with a chilled glass of wine (mulled wine of course in winter) I’d be a very rich woman. But then who needs riches when I’ve got my deck - oh and Hubby of course! Author: Angie Barker Dip GD (Inst GD) BA (Hons) Garden Design For All Seasons Tel: 01942 522 405 Mob: 07857 008 383 www.angiebarker.co.uk
Local Gardening Life 43
Plug n Go! The Vauxhall Ampera is a plug-in electric vehicle with a Plan B. Andy Enright reports. It’s fair to say that we haven’t exactly been falling over ourselves to buy electric vehicles (EVs). This slow take up isn’t due to any inherent aversion to the concept, but rather the fact that the products and the pricing haven’t done enough to appeal. By far the biggest issue most prospective buyers have with the products is that of available range. Even in a bestcase scenario, an EV that can only manage around 100 miles and then require a lengthy charge just isn’t a practical solution for stress-free family motoring. But Vauxhall now have a vehicle that offers the zero local emissions of an EV with the range of a normal family car. It’s called the Ampera and it might just be the cleverest car I’ve ever driven. The Ampera is, in effect, two cars in one. It has the big, floor-mounted battery pack of a pure EV but backs that up with an 86bhp 1.4-litre ECOTEC petrol engine under the bonnet. You can plug it into the mains for a three hour charge and you can put petrol in it in the time honoured tradition. Its how these two systems work hand in hand that’s so intriguing.
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The batteries are good for a range of 50 miles or so. When the battery is depleted, rather than the petrol engine chugging into life and driving the front wheels, something rather remarkable happens. The engine drives one of the two electric motors, so the Ampera still feels exactly like an electric car. Performance is certainly brisk, with 60mph arriving in 8.5 seconds and although it’s quite a heavy car, handling is reasonably good. It rides on an adapted version of the Astra’s chassis and refinement is a strong point. In fact, so quiet is the Ampera that there’s a stalk-mounted chirper to warn pedestrians or cyclists of your approach. Practicality isn’t at all bad, and the build quality is better than you’d expect for a family hatch with a mainstream badge. The Ampera’s £28,995 price tag (inclusive of plug-in car grant) might at first seem somewhat steep, but once you’ve sampled the complexity and ingenuity of the product, it certainly seems to offer better value for money than similarly-priced but simpler ‘rivals’. It’s hard to know exactly what to compare it to because there’s nothing like it. It would be unfair to compare it to a pure EV like a Nissan LEAF or a Renault Fluence Z.E., chiefly because the Ampera has the massive practical advantage of its internal combustion engine.
Standard equipment includes a 60GB hard drive includes 30GB dedicated for music storage and is accessed via the infotainment touch-screen display. In addition to the standard radio with steering wheel controls, an optional Bose premium audio system is offered together with a navigation system, voice recognition and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity as an optional package. Other standard features include heated front seats and twin seven-inch display screens which replace traditional dials.
The Vauxhall Ampera is a genuinely revolutionary concept. It solves the problem of running an electric vehicle for urban commutes while offering something more versatile for weekends and holidays. It’s not cheap but it is something really rather special. Swishing about on battery power makes even the most refined petrol engined car feel old-fashioned and makes a diesel feel positively archaic. Company car drivers will delight at its 5 per cent benefit in kind taxation, while the free vehicle excise duty will also win it many admirers.
Try asking the mpg question about the Ampera and the response is usually a knitted brow and a ‘that depends’. One full electrical charge tends to cost around £1 and will get you around 50 miles. When the internal combustion engine is running, the Ampera returns a combined fuel figure approaching 40mpg. The petrol engine will operate in three specific output levels so again, your emissions will depend on load. Naturally, you’re CO2-free when operating solely on battery power, at least at the local level. The usual arguments as to the environmental efficiency of your local power station will, like the Ampera itself, run and run.
While it might be a tricky car to conceptually understand, the Ampera is simplicity itself to operate. It’s thoughtful too, not allowing you to drive away when it’s plugged in and turning the engine over periodically to keep it in fine fettle. Those looking to get hung up on definitions won’t like the Ampera. For those with a more open mind, it’s something very special indeed.
For more details about the Ampera, please contact Evans Halshaw at Challenge Way in Wigan (01942 212221) or 06 Skelmersdale at Inchfield in Skelmersdale (01695 554000)
Local Life 45
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Domestic Cleaners Required - All Areas Growing company requires cleaning staff for immediate start. You must be honest and reliable, and all references supplied will be checked. Flexible hours to suit your lifestyle and good rates of pay for the right candidate. For details call Stephen or Joanne on 0800 043 0722 or 01942 203442. Distributors Required Local Life requires distributors (aged 13+) to deliver our magazine. We currently have vacancies in the Gathurst Lane area of Shevington, the Station Rd/Mill Lane area of Parbold and the Hilldale area. We are also welcoming applicants from all other areas for our waiting list, particularly Shevington and Parbold. Distributors will typically work for 2/3 hours every 8 weeks, delivering in their own neighbourhoods. You must be fit, enthusiastic and reliable. Please email your name, address, landline number and date of birth to email@example.com.
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The Useful Numbers Medical
Boston House Concourse Walk-in Centre Linacre Centre Ormskirk Hospital Parbold Surgery Shevington Clinic Shevington Surgery Standish Clinic Standish Medical Practice Wigan Infirmary NHS Direct Emergency Dental Repairs
Greater Manchester Police Wigan Policing Team Lancashire Police West Lancs Local Team
Other Useful Numbers Parbold Library Shevington Library Standish Library Local Life magazine
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01942 482000 01695 554260 01942 244000 01695 577111 01257 463126 01257 501300 01257 253311 01257 501320 01257 421909 01942 244000 0845 4647 01695 623334
0161 872 5050 0161 856 7124 01695 566134 01257 462239
Councils and Councillors (Wigan) Wigan Council Wigan Council (out of hours) Cllr Collins (Shevington) Cllr Crosby (Shevington) Cllr Liptrot (Shevington) Cllr Atherton (Standish) Cllr Fairhurst (Standish) Cllr McGurrin (Standish) Cllr Davies (Wigan Central) Cllr Hunt (Wigan Central) Cllr McLoughlin (Wigan Central)
01942 244991 01942 404040 01942 487684 01942 486860 01257 407005 01257 407006 01257 407078 01942 486861 01942 486864 07766 478296 01942 487686
Councils and Councillors (West Lancs) West Lancs Council Cllr Pope (Newburgh) Cllr Blake (Parbold) Cllr Kean (Parbold) Cllr Baybutt (Wrigh’ton & App. Bridge) Cllr Gartside (Wrigh’ton & App.Bridge)
01695 577177 01704 894540 01257 463636 01695 633396 tbc 01257 368453
01257 463769 01257 252618 01257 400496 01257 498329
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