ordeal ends for
by David Skentelbery
THE six months bail ordeal of the grieving parents of murdered Warrington teenager Shafilea Ahmed is over.
Police have announced that the couple – originally arrested shortly before Christmas on suspicion of being involved in the kidnapping of their daughter – will not be required to surrender to police bail on July 17.
A spokeswoman for Cheshire Police said that in the circumstances and taking into account the length of time involved, it was not considered necessary for the couple to remain on bail.
But investigations into Shafilea’s murder continues, she added.
Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed were originally bailed to surrender to Warrington Police Station on April 19.
Later, bail was extended until July 17 as police inquiries continued.
All along, the couple have strenuously denied any involvement in their daughter’s death or having any knowledge of her disappearance from their home in Liverpool Road, Great Sankey.
Shafilea, aged 17, disappeared on September 11 last year, triggering a major police search in the Warrington area.
Her body was found some six months later concealed on the banks of the River Kent, near the village of Sedgewick, in Cumbria. Police said it appeared she had been murdered – and that her body had probably been by the river since the day of her disappearance.
The former Great Sankey High School pupil had been on holiday to Pakistan shortly before her disappearance and had been introduced to a “suitor” for an arranged marriage. She later swallowed bleach, damaging her throat, in an apparent protest although her parents insist she swallowed the substance by mistake, thinking it was a mouth wash.
They insisted there had never been any question of her being forced to marry anyone against her will.
170th Walking Day
gets under way
by staff reporter
THE 170th Warrington Walking Day dawned today grey, overcast and with the constant threat of heavy showers.
But the sun peeped through the clouds and the rain stayed away for most of the time while more than 3,000 people from more than 30 churches paraded through the town centre in celebration of Christian Witness.
However, a heavy shower blighted the end of the procession and many walkers got a soaking as they dispersed.
The Rev Michael Finlay, Rector of Warrington, whose contingent led the procession from the Town Hall, said: “Walking Day is a tremendous tradition that brings the people of Warrington together every year and we want this year to be just as good, if not better, than ever before.”
As usual, many roads in the town centre were closed to traffic and diversions were signposted to keep through traffic away.
Thousands of people lined the streets in the town centre – and Warrington-Worldwide cameramen were out-and-about to cover the event.
A selection of pictures of the Walk can be seen by clicking here
Walking Day was originally founded by a former Rector of Warrington, the Rev Horace Powys, as a counter-attraction to Newton Races, which he believed were luring too many people towards the evils of drink and gambling.
Newton Races disappeared years ago – but the Walking Day tradition continues.
Would-be nurses get
insight into training
by John Hendon
WOULD-BE nurses got an insight into training for the profession at an open day at Warrington Hospital’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Care.
The school – launched four years ago and set to move to a nearby university college- provides training for students keen to become registered nurses and midwives and has attracted many nurses from a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
Theme for the day was ‘Where and How Do Nurses Learn’ and its aim was to provide prospective nursing students, pre and post registration, with an opportunity to get together and share ideas on nursing.
The Nursing School is set to move from the hospital in September, freeing up much needed space, while providing state of the art educational facilities at nearby Padgate Campus, run by University College, Chester.
Paul Tubbs, head of the education training, said: “While this puts a little distance between us and the Trust, the partnership remains as strong as ever and the Trust is in great need of space and accommodation.
“Our students will continue to enjoy the support of their mentors while benefiting from their placements at the hospitals at Warrington and Halton and have the HE resources provided at Padgate.”
Mr Tubbs said the creation of a skills lab at the Warrington Campus would benefit pre and post registration students.
“The future for nursing and nurses at Warrington has never looked brighter especially since we will be exploring inter-professional teaching with our colleagues in social care on campus.”
New recruits include 19-year-old Toni White from Birchwood, Warrington, who has a young son Jack aged 17 months. Her desire to go into nursing stems from the amount of time she spent herself in hospital as a child. With a catalogue of admissions to hospital ranging from broken bones, the removal of her tonsils, appendix, and suffering from viral meningitis twice, Toni wants to give something back to the NHS who treated her so well.
She said: “As a child I was almost a walking disaster. A bit of a tom-boy, I played a lot of football and rugby and was forever breaking bones. I also suffered some bad burns when I was electrocuted after my pet rabbit chewed through some wires and I was silly enough to touch them.”
Toni’s experiences in hospital continued with her son who became ill at only six-months old when his bowel was turned inside itself and he had to have an operation to correct it.
Toni added: “I was previously in the Army Cadet Force and travelled a lot throughout Europe and Canada but I am now convinced that nursing is where my heart lies.
“The training is going really well and I cannot express how helpful the teachers have been. The other students are very nice and we are all getting on well and, while studying is hard, we also manage to have a lot of fun too.”
Top picture shows the student nurses team with education training head Paul Tubbs. Lower picture shows student nurses Toni White (right) and Louise Bowe, with boney friend!.
batsman is run out
by Lesley Wilkinson
BUS drivers were bowled over, passengers stumped….for there, waiting at a bus stop was a scarecrow complete with bat, pads and in full cricketing gear.
He was heading in the wrong direction for Old Trafford – and with a broken leg and shattered arm, looked as if he had been facing up to some “bodyline.” In fact, Mr Owzat was an entry in Lymm Festival’s scarecrow competition.
Pranksters had moved him from his pitch in Booths Hill Road during the night and left him in a bus shelter in Barsbank Lane.
Early morning commuters found him – and joined him in the queue.
In the meantime, his proud owners were desperately trying to find out where and why he had “walked.” Lorraine Wright and Ann Oakes had made the 6ft 4 inch cricketer – one of nearly 50 scarecrows created for the competition and displayed outside homes, schools and businesses throughout the village.
Ann said: “Eventually, I had a phone call to say he was at the bus stop.
“When we got there it looked really funny. There were people waiting for the bus and he looked as if he was in the queue.
Mr Owzat – who had been created from items from the lost property section at Lymm Oughtrington Park Cricket Club – was returned to his rightful spot later in the day – looking slightly bedraggled and in need of attention for his broken limbs. Lorraine and Ann soon rest
ored him to full health in readiness for the competition which is to be judged next week.
by David Skentelbery
A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build nine houses in the grounds of an existing house at Stockton Heath has been thrown out by planning chiefs at Warrington.
Members of the borough’s development control committee voted to refuse planning consent for the scheme despite a recommendation to approve from officers.
Planners had visited the site in Grappenhall Road after hearing of objections from more than 100 nearby residents.
The scheme involved nine detached houses in the garden of 81, Grappenhall Road. All would have been two-storey and grouped in a semi-circular arrangement around a turning head forming an extension to Hollow Drive.
Coun Celia Jordan, who represents the area, said: “We are pleased this scheme was rejected. It is a beautiful site – a green oasis for wildlife.
“People in Hollow Drive were concerned that their quiet little cul-de-sac would become a much busier through road.
“Generally, we thought the scheme would be detrimental to the amenity of existing residents.”
Other objections were based loss of privacy, overcrowding of existing schools and increased noise and pollution.
Stockton Heath Parish Council had also objected. They claimed the site formed part of an old mill and mill pond with several underground water courses which have affected other developments in the area.
?400,000 facelift for
town centre gardens
by Lesley Wilkinson
QUEEN’S Gardens in Warrington is set for a ?400,000 facelift aimed at providing a more secure and attractive area for people in the town centre to enjoy.
Improvements to the park, in Palmyra Square, are being funded by the Warrington-based North West Development Agency (NWDA).
Changes will include natural stone pathways, better lighting to improve security and a performance space for the use of local community groups. Extra seating and litter bins will also be provided.
Alan Stephenson, Warrington’s strategic director of environment and regeneration, said: “The refurbishment of the gardens is an important part of the regeneration of Palmyra Square and the development of the town centre’s Cultural Quarter.”
Work, to be carried out by Lowbury Construction Ltd, has started this week. There are further plans for landscaping works in the autumn.
Chris Koral, NWDA area manager for Cheshire, said: “This is an important initiative which will be of great benefit to the local community and will create an attractive open space that will project a positive image to visitors.”
by staff reporter
PARENTS who went back to school to learn new skills were presented with certificates at a Family Learning Awards ceremony at Warrington.
Those joining the Family Literacy course spent a full day at school over 14 weeks, working with their children on fun activities aimed at improving the child’s numeracy and literacy skills.
Course organisers wanted to help parents recognise the learning opportunities in everyday life, such as a ride on a train, a visit to the shops or visits to parks and museums.
Coun Maureen Banner, executive member for education and Sue Cockerill, senior education officer, presented the certificates. The Mayor, Coun Ted Lafferty, attended the ceremony.
Coun Banner said: “The course recognises that parents and family members are our first, most familiar and influential teachers. They have a powerful influence on our learning throughout our lives.”
by Lesley Wilkinson
A CHRISTIAN art exhibition is being staged at Warrington’s Pyramid Centre over the next two months.
The Methodist collection of Christian art – What’s in the frame? Canvassing Spirituality – is being supported by Warrington Council of Faiths.
The collection was started by Rev Douglas Wollen in 1962, when he visited London galleries and exhibitions throughout the country. It is normally housed at Westminster College, Oxford.
To coincide with the exhibition weekly worship sessions and workshops will be taking place at the arts centre, the Methodist Mission, Warrington Museum and in Golden Square.
Rev Stephen Kingsnorth, chair of the organising group and Pyramid chaplain said: “This world-famous collection poses significant spiritual questions and it symbolises the connection between art and spirituality and what the two traditions contribute to each other.”