Tuesday 13th July 2004

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Families in fear of
cowboy workmen

by Terry Johnson
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TRADING watchdogs at Warrington are advising fearful householders to dial 999 if they or their children are threatened by cowboy workmen – demanding up to ?3,000 cash for jobs they do not want doing.
Families in the Appleton area have been left “severely shaken” by threats from tarmac and block paving gangs who ripped up their driveways and patios – refusing to stop working without payment.
Trading Standards chiefs say they are dealing with the worst cases of intimidation and shoddy workmanship they have encountered.
Complaints from householders in Appleton, one of the town’s most affluent areas, have led to a Warrington-wide warning about the con-men’s activities.
Town hall community spokesman Coun Mike Hannon (pictured), said: “These people are walking onto private property and starting to dig it up with no consent whatsoever.
“They continue to work, despite protestations of the householder. Then they extract payment with threats.”
The picture emerging is of home-owners being intimidated and ‘conned’ out of thousands of pounds.
Said Coun Hannon: “If people have concerns for their safety, or the safety of their family, they should contact the police – in an emergency dial 999.”
It was crucial that everyone in the community looked out for their neighbours, friends or family – especially the elderly and vulnerable.
“I would caution people very strongly against discussing any potential work that they may be considering with traders who knock on the door”, said Coun Hannon.
A Boro. Council spokesman said: “We have received complaints from people initially approached by a smartly-dressed man who called at their door.
“Any householder who expressed an interest was asked to agree to a follow-up visit from a representative, who would provide samples of brickwork and a quote for possible work.
“However, in all cases this ‘visit’ never happened. Men just turned up and began working without any agreement. Attempts to persuade them to stop fell on deaf ears as they continued to dig up driveways and patios.”
The quality of work is described as “utterly abysmal”.
Trading Standards advise home-owners not to give work to anyone who knocks on the door and tells them “they have a problem.”

Thousands attend
Disability Awareness

by Gary Skentelbery
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DESPITE over cast skies and showers thousands of people turned up at the 13th annual Disability Awareness event at Walton Gardens, Warrington. As well as celebrating independent living the event, sponsored by the North West Development Agency, was used to help launch the inaugral Postive Action Awards, to recognise best practice with employment or service delivery for disabled people and/or carers. The awards aim to provide disabled people and carers living in the North West with an opportunity to nominate employers, businsesses, service providers or individuals who deserve recognition for promoting inclusion through the delivery of accessible services, or sustaining exemplary employment practices. Nominations close on August 27th and culminate with a glittering award ceremony at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, on October 14. Nominations can be made by visiting the website www.postiveactionawards.org.uk Meanwhile a total of 228 exhibitors attended the DAD event at Walton Gardens, Europe’s largest voluntary led event organised by the Warrington Disability Partnership. Event co-ordinator Dave Thompson MBE, thanked the various sponsors and supporters, including all those who “work behind the scenes” to make it a successful event.
Picture shows Dave Thompson and sponsors at the DAD 2004 event.

Students perform well
in biology contest

by staff reporter
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STUDENTS from Warrington’s Priestley College performed admirably against a range of other North West College’s during this years Institute of Biology quiz held at Edge Hill College in Ormskirk.
Priestley’s all girl team made up from first year A-level Biology students Lisa Yates, Emily McNicholas, Vicki Leyland and Kirsty Ward were pitted against opponents from other 16-19 College’s as well as from independent schools.
The make-up of the quiz was certainly not academic with the students involved in hands-on practical exercises including the identification of trees growing in the college grounds. Other interesting topics tackled included identifying which droppings came from which animal, matching skulls to that of the correct primate and a typical Biology round of “animal, vegetable or mineral.”
At the completion of an action packed day, Priestley’s team finished the competition 10th out of 30 entrants who had taken part.
The idea behind the quiz was to complement the A-level course, which the students are currently enrolled on whilst also having a sense of fun.
Dr Louise Norbury from Priestley’s Biology Department said: “It is always good to get out and about and be involved in such events. As well as being entertaining for the students the quiz was more than useful in an educational sense in that it taught them the answers to questions they didn’t necessarily already know.”

Pictured is Priestley’s team, left to right, Lisa Yates, Emily McNicholas, Vicki Leyland and Kirsty Ward with the mugs they received for taking part.

Charity auction gives
hospital ?6,500 boost

by John Hendon
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WAYNE Rooney’s football boots kicked off the creation of a new hospice room at Warrington Hospital – after an auction of sports, film and music memorabilia raised more than ?6,500 for the Women’s Cancer Unit.
A current side room will be transformed thanks to this cash boost which will help patients be more comfortable in modern and pleasant surroundings.
Said Steve McConnell, organiser of the event: “It will give the patients of Warrington Hospital more choice and give them a nice environment after their treatment.
“This is the third year that we’ve raised money for the hospital and so far the total is more than ?14,000. In previous years the money has gone towards new electronic beds, CD equipment and an ice machine – generally making life more comfortable for the patients”
Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician Nigel Holland added: “The hospice room will allow patients to feel more at home by being less clinical and more comfortable. It is a wonderful gesture from Steve and on behalf of the hospital I would like say a big thank you to him.”
Mr McConnell raised the money through a Gala Evening sponsored by Alliance & Leicester with all memorabilia kindly donated by Sporting Icons.
Wayne Rooney’s boots fetched nearly ?400, a signed Arsenal shirt ?580, and a signed Pele shirt ?400. Other items up included a signed Real Madrid shirt and signed photos of Jonny Wilkinson, Sir Steve Redgrave and pop stars Elton John, Madonna and Kylie Minogue.
Pictured above (left to right) are: Julie Dale (Clinical Nurse Specialist in Gynaecology and Oncology, Nigel Holland (Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist), Steve McConnell, Jonathan Seddon (Alliance & Leicester Financial Advisor), Keith Bennett (Directorate Manager of Womens and Childrens department) and Anne Howard (Nurse Practitioner Gynaecology)

Planners to visit
riverside scheme

by John Hendon
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PLANNING bosses at Warrington are to visit the site of a proposed nine-storey block of riverside apartments before deciding if it can go ahead.
The Howley Residents Association has objected strongly to the proposals for land alongside the Mersey between Navigation Street and Howley Quay.
They claim the

proposals, put forward by Quayside Developments, would be completely out of keeping with existing property and that they will be left looking only at brick walls.
The new homes would hide the river from the rest of the local community.
After hearing of the objections, members of the borough council’s development services committee decided they would visit the site before reaching a decision.
The scheme would involve 77 apartments and planning officers believe it would provide high standards of design.

Councillor wins pledge
on local “grot spots”

by David Skentelbery
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A NEW councillor has moved swiftly to win pledges of a clean-up of “grot spots” at Stockton Heath, near Warrington.
Newly elected parish councillor Patrick Mullee arranged a meeting with borough council community liaison officer Phil Chadwick and toured eyesore sites taking photographs of litter, weeds and overgrown trees and bushes.
Mr Chadwick promised action to clean up the area.
An immediate outcome of the meeting was that the litter bin on Beech Road that used to be used by visiting canal boats is to be reinstated.
Coun Mullee has also raised the issue of speeding cars in Whitefield Road, Stockton Heath in the vicinity of Warrington Sports Club.
He is pressing for a 30 mph speed limit in the area.

Warehouse blaze
by staff reporter
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FIRE crews tackled a serious blaze at a storage warehouse in Loushers Lane, Latchford, Warrington in the early hours of the morning.
The blaze involved racking inside the building and six fire appliances were sent to the scene because of the possibility of it becoming a major fire.
Ten firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze using hosereels.
A Fire Service spokesman said: “The fire was bad enough, but it had the potential to have been much more serious.”
The cause of the outbreak is being investigated.


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Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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