Police officer killed
while on mercy mission
by David Skentelbery
A WARRINGTON police officer has been killed while on a mercy mission in the wake of the Asian tsunami disaster.
PC Kevin Brinkman, aged 33, a member of the Warrington Community Action Team, was killed in a road accident in Thailand.
Two other Cheshire police officers were injured in the crash.
PC Brinkman, who has served in Warrington and at Stockton Heath as a uniformed patrol officer had more recently been a member of the Community Action Team. He had been a police officer for 11 years.
Cheshire’s Chief Constable, Peter Fahey, said: “Kevin was a fine officer and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
The three officers had been deployed to Thailand as part of the British Police Response Team offering relief following the tsunami.
Their work involved identification of tsunami victims – in itself a harrowing and distressing task. Mr Fahey said the tragedy had stunned colleagues of the officers who would find it more difficult to carry on with their work.
One of the two injured officers is said to be in a serious condition.
In 2002, PC Brinkman received a Chief Constable’s commendation for bravery after he arrested two armed robbers who held up a jeweller’s shop at Stockton Heath.
for drugs rehab unit
by staff reporter
TORY councillor Fiona Bruce has launched a campaign for a drugs and rehabilitation unit in Warrington.
She believes an organisation similar to ADAS – Alcohol and Drug Abstinence Service – a Stockport-based charity, should be set up in Warrington.
The Penketh councillor, who is also Conservative Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Warrington South, said: “There is no comparable scheme in Warrington, and one is much needed. Handing out clean needles is not a solution. Drugs wreck lives, fuel crime and fracture communities. The Conservatives are committed to giving families the chance to win back their children from drugs.”
Coun Bruce invited Helen Massey-Roche, head of ADAS to Warrington to talk about her organisation and to meet former Tory Leader Iain Duncan-Smith, head of the Centre for Social Justice while he was in town.
Ms Massey-Roche explained how ADAS provides a family oriented recovery programme for addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
She said: “The programme works with the families of addicts and addicts themselves to help them come off and stay off drugs – for life.”
Mrs Bruce said Conservative leader Michael Howard had promised to take action to get youngsters off drugs as part of his commitment to the electorate in the pending General Election.
She added: All the evidence shows that rehab is the best way to get people off drugs for good. We can give hope to communities and families ruined by drugs. We can build a better future by investing in residential rehab programmes. I am quite convinced it is the way forward.
“Conservatives will expand the number of residential rehab places more than tenfold to 25,000, give the police powers to direct addicts to treatment without going through the courts. Other measures will include discouraging children from drugs by funding a major campaign with a clear, consistent anti-drugs message and ending the current confusion over whether cannabis is dangerous by restoring its Class B classification.
“All of this is positive news from the Conservatives for mothers like me.”
Mr Duncan Smith said: “It was inspiring to hear of the excellent work Helen is doing in Stockport to rescue addicts and their families from the misery of addiction. I greatly support and admire Fiona Bruce’s efforts to help ADAS establish in Warrington. It’s time for government to give abstinence-based approaches a fair chance to access funds.”
Cowardly attack leaves
man with fractured jaw
by David Skentelbery
A MAN required hospital treatment after being knocked unconscious in a cowardly attack by a group of youths at Warrington.
The attack took place on waste land near Padgate Brook, off Hilden Road and involved a group of three or four youths, aged 16-21.
They sneaked up on their 19-year-old victim from behind and attacked him for no apparent reason.
He was knocked unconscious and suffered a double fracture of the jaw and required an operation in hospital.
A police spokesman said: “There is no description of the attackers, other than that there were three or four of them, all wearing dark clothing and aged between 16 and 21.
“They approached the man from behind and attacked him for no apparent reason.”
Anyone who can help police with their inquiries is asked to call DC Gary Matthew on 01244 613834.
Prison drama raises
awareness of cancer
by John Hendon
INMATES at Thorn Cross Young Offenders Institute, near Warrington, are using drama to raise awareness of testicular cancer – the most common cancer to affect young men.
The 15-minute play, Talking Balls, has been written by Barrow-in-Furness playwright John Kenneth Hall.
It focuses on two young male friends, Kev and John, and shows how difficult it is for Kev to talk about health issues and decide to get a check when he thinks there’s something wrong.
The performance, by inmates for inmates, will run eight times today (Wednesday) and tomorrow. The actors have been working on the play for the last couple of months.
Katie Roberts, Warrington Primary Care Trust’s health improvement specialist for prisons, said: “There are many men within our communities who have difficulty talking about health issues. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of testicular cancer is not well understood by men. This project aims to break down the barriers and raise awareness; this is particularly important with young men, as they are the group more at risk of developing testicular cancer.”
The play will be followed by an open discussion led by Jamie Spencer from Macmillan Cancer Relief and Bill Ryder, of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Partnership Group, both of who have had testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer primarily affects young men in the 15 to 44 year old age group, where it is the most common cancer. Each year there are nearly 2,000 new cases in the UK. Testicular cancer responds particularly well to treatment, and over nine in 10 patients are cured.
A spokesman for Macmillan Cancer Relief said: “Macmillan Cancer Relief is very aware that many men avoid talking about health issues. Talking Balls is a unique way of increasing the awareness of testicular cancer and encouraging more young men to self examine. Macmillan is delighted to be involved in this project.”
Town outperforms the
rest of the country!
by business staff
A BUOYANT Warrington is continuing to outperform the regional and national economy in terms of employment, output and growth.
That’s a finding from the Warrington Annual Property Report, which is launched at Warrington’s International Business Centre next Tuesday.
The report, compiled by BE Group in conjunction with Warrington Borough Council and Warrington 2000-Plus, provides detailed information on the borough’s strategic developments, movements in its commercial property market and reviews key deals in the office, industrial, distribution, retail, investment and leisure sectors.
Among the key highlights set to be unveiled this year, includes soaring numbers of office transactions, an increased amount of retail floorspace being occupied and industrial and office rentals at an all-time high.
It reveals home-grown companies are continuing to succeed on the national stage, with both Altrix Healthcare and Auto Union Finance receiving recognition for their outstanding growth.
The town’s reputation as a telecommunications cluster has been bolstered by the expansion of Carphone Warehouse in Birchwood – adding to investment by Sony Ericsson and Phones 4 U.
Almost twice as many investment deals have been completed compared to 2003.
Speculative development is also coming to the fore, with six times as much floorspace programmed for the current year compared to last.
Trade counter demand is driving further speculative development, particularly along the A49 corridor between the M62 and Warrington town centre.
The borough council’s executive member for Environment and Regeneration, Coun Terry O’Neill, said: “This Property Review is one of the key elements we have for evaluating Warrington’s development and potential.
“It shows Warrington’s commercial potential is huge and its draw as a place to ‘do business’ is getting ever stronger. We hope that continues and we are working hard with our local, regional and national partners to make sure we all do everything we can to ensure it does.
“Warrington is a hub of investment and regeneration and the changes that are happening now, and we hope over the next ten to 20 years, will shape our future. We are well placed to contribute to, and benefit from, the Northern Way Growth Strategy, which developments such as the proposed Omega scheme also feed into.
“Major businesses are investing in our housing supply, the multi-million pound Chapelford and Town Centre Modus developments are fine examples of that. And our retail sector is experiencing its largest ever investment, with international retail developers investing some ?120million in Golden Square Shopping Centre.”
Golden success for
by John Hendon
FIVE proud young people from Warrington’s Muslim community have been presented with their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards – just two years after a local girl became the first-ever Muslim youngster in Cheshire to gain the award.
The five received their awards at St James’s Palace after working through a gruelling programme of developing new skills to serve their communities and demonstrating their self-reliance and confidence.
They were Sagheer Zaman, 23, Sameer Zaman, 22, Bilal Ahmed, 18, Jummakhan Alizada, 20 and Sheraga Alizada (18) were among only 12 recipients of the Gold Award from the whole of Warrington.
Mushtaq Ahmed, chairman of Warrington Islamic Association said: “They are the first young Muslim lads to complete this award. Their success is a shining example of what can be achieved when the right opportunity is provided for young people, but above all it is a testament to the dedication and hard work put in by these young people.”
Salim Malik, Asim Shafaat, Sofia Shafaat and Tahir Zaman successfully completed the DoE Silver Awards and have now embarked on their own quest for Gold.
In 2003, Kanza Ahmed became the first Muslim girl from Warrington and possibly, Cheshire, to gain the Gold Award.
Following her success the Warrington Islamic Association launched an initiative to bring the award to enthusiastic youngsters from Warrington’s ethnic minorities. With support from Connexions and Warrington Borough Council a Community Development Worker, Ishtiaq Mohammed was recruited and with the help of Kanza’s experiences, the Warrington Islamic Community Centre became the base for a group of young people to go for Gold!
Man escapes flat blaze
through bedroom window
by David Skentelbery
A MAN was taken to hospital at Warrington early today after escaping from his first floor flat by smashing his double-glazed bedroom window.
The 26-year-old suffered cuts to his hands breaking the window but was then able to reach safety via an exterior landing.
Fire crews wore breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze in Statham Avenue, Orford.
The fire broke out at about 1.50am and is believed to have been started by an unattended candle. The lounge was wrecked by fire but fortunately the occupant was aroused by a smoke alarm.
A fire service spokesman said: “Fortunately the smoke alarm woke the occupant up. But we cannot repeat too often the warning about using candles. They should never be left unattended.”
The man required treatment for cuts to his hands and also for smoke inhalation.