for disabled people
by Gary Skentelbery
A SPECIAL narrowboat which has provided holidays and breaks for disabled people for nearly two decades has been gifted to the Warrington Disability Partnership (WDP) by a local church.
WDP has now taken ownership of the Wizard narrowboat along with an ?705 donation, from St James’ Church, Westbrook.
WDP founder Dave Thompson was presented with the Wizard at Thorn Marine, London Bridge, Stockton Heath, by Father Stephen Boyd and church verger Bill Gaynor.
Fr. Stephen said: “The future of the boat has been preserved for the benefit of the people of Warrington who have so generously supported it over the past eighteen years.”
The boat was originally the brainchild of former vicar of St James’ Rev David Long, with the help of many volunteers and funding from the “Books Ancient & Modern” charity bookshop run by the church.
Commenting on the gift Mr Thompson added: “We are proud and excited to be given the opportunity to carry on the excellent work laid down over the years by the volunteers at St James’ Church.
“The Wizard helps us to maintain our primary goal in breaking down the barriers to social inclusion, in providing disabled people and their families in Warrington a rarity amongst the boating community – a narrowboat commissioned and built to be accessible from its very first day.”
The Wizard is available free to families and groups in the Warrington area, the only criteria being that a family or group must have a person who is disabled with them on the trip.
To help bring the narrowboat up to date WDP are now looking to raise around ?10,000 to help fund a new engine, an accessible toilet, kitchen and hot water faciltiies and maintenance on the lift water systems.
Further details are available by visiting www.disabilitypartnership.org.uk/service/narrowboat.shtml
Man obtained ?13,000
through false claims
by court reporter
A 49-year-old man falsely claimed more than ?13,000 in benefits from Warrington Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Leonard Hill, 49, of Jubilee Avenue, Padgate, Warrington was sentenced to 140 hours community service at Warrington Crown Court.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to declare a change in circumstances and one count of false accounting.
The court heard that between December 2001 and March 2004, Hill defrauded the council of Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit totalling ?7,309.26 and the DWP of ?2,735.40 in Income Support and ?3,131.54 Incapacity Benefit.
After the hearing, Adrian Webster, the council’s Benefits Manager, said: “Benefit cheats are not just defrauding the government, but their own tax paying neighbours and communities. With the new methods of data matching we are using, the obvious message to benefit cheats is – ‘You will be caught’.”
Fraud Operations Manager for the DWP Roy Paul added: “The public is fed up with cheats who steal money from the taxpayer when it should go to those in genuine need of help.”
Hill received 140 hours community punishment order for each count, to run concurrently. He will be pursued by the relevant bodies for the overpayment in full.
Driver dies as car
ploughs into pub
by David Skentelbery
A MOTORIST died early today when his car careered off the road at Warrington and crashed into the front of a pub.
The crash occurred at about 3.54am on the A57 Manchester Road at its junction with Padgate Lane.
A red Volkswagen Golf driven by a 36-year-old man from the Midlands left the road and crashed into the front of Chevvie’s Rock ‘n’ Roll pub.
The driver was trapped in the wrecked car and was released by fire crews and rushed to Warrington Hospital by ambulance. He died later in hospital after undergoing emergency surgery.
Padgate Lane was closed to traffic for some time after the crash.
Police are seeking witnesses of the one-vehicle crash. Anyone who can help is asked to call 0845 45800.
Student plans his
own theatre company
by Tony Banks
AFTER graduating with a 2:2 in Performing Arts Management, Michael Pirks hopes to put his skills to good use as the manager of his own theatre company.
Michael, 21, from Padgate, Warrington set up his own drama production company, called ‘Wallyville’ two years ago, while studying for his degree at the Warrington Campus of the University of Chester. Using the knowledge from his course he now writes and performs in his own plays.
One of his productions, called ‘Snippets’ was staged at the Brindley Art Centre in Runcorn.
He explained: “It was a comedy sketch show influenced by the TV programmes The League of Gentleman and Little Britain. It took us 12 weeks in total to prepare the show.
“I am hoping to stage a lot more shows now I have completed my degree. I feel more confident with the skills I have learned.”
In his final year at University, Michael was assessed on a one man show, which he wrote and performed himself.
He said: “It was extremely difficult and very stressful at times but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have been performing since I was eight years old, so it has been extremely rewarding to gain a degree in something that I really enjoy doing.
“I am absolutely gutted now I have left. My tutors were fantastic and I made so many friends. It’s an experience that has changed my life.”
Town to crackdown
on street beggars
by Lesley Wilkinson
BEGGARS and people who urinate in the street at Warrington will be among those targeted by a high-profile police initiative aimed at making shopping a more pleasant experience.
A crackdown on daytime anti-social behaviour – Operation Yellow Card – has been launched with high visibility patrols from the Community Action Team hitting the streets for a fortnight.
Their targets include beggars who use aggressive tactics to get money from shoppers, such as making demands or intimidation. It will also focus on low-level anti social behaviour, particularly the offence of urinating in public.
During the campaign the town centre’s CCTV cameras will be used to pinpoint trouble hotspots with operators keeping in radio contact with officers.
The Town Centre Warrington Partnership is backing the campaign, and is particularly against aggressive beggars.
Insp Damien Smethurst, of the Warrington central neighbourhood policing unit said: “We will not tolerate people begging, or urinating in the street.
“This type of anti social behaviour discourages people from using the town centre, but with the help of our partners we intend to take positive action to put a stop to it. Together we want to make sure people can enjoy themselves whilst shopping, or socialising in the town centre,” he added.
Warrington town centre manager Nick White, said: “People visiting, shopping and working in Warrington should be able to use the town centre without being subjected to intimidation by beggars or people urinating in the streets.”
People found begging will be put in touch with agencies that can help with clothes, food etc. But those who persist will face warnings, or possible arrest. People urinating in the street will be given warnings, Fixed Penalty Notice tickets, or arrested. Future treatment may involve offenders being forced to clean the street where the offence was committed.
Insp Smethurst said: “The Town Centre Warrington Partnership has discussed the possibility of purchasing portable jet wash machines to make offenders take responsibility for cleaning up the area where they have urinated. This type of approach could help to deter people from committing the offence again.”
Swing bridge to close
for emergency work
by John Hendon
HIGHWAYS chiefs at Warrington are warning of the potenti
al for traffic chaos when Knutsford Road swing bridge at Latchford is closed for about three hours today (Tuesday) The closure – which is due to come into force from 1pm – is to enable emergency work to take place on the bridge, which will be closed to both traffic and pedestrians.
Alternative routes will be signposted, involving Hunts Lane, Ackers Road, A56 Grappenhall Road, A49 London Road, Wilderspool Causeway, A5061 Knutsford Road and vice versa.
The bridge was “off” to motorists several times about two weeks ago, when the mechanism “stuck” as a result of metal expanding during hot weather.
Fire crews were called out to hose down the metal structure to cool it down.
Peel Holdings, owners of the Manchester Ship Canal, said at the time it was investigating ways of preventing the bridge was sticking during hot weather.
Hundreds of motorists were caught up in traffic jams as a result of the closures.
by John Hendon
TWO men were rescued from the River Mersey at Warrington.
Police, fire crews and paramedics were involved in the rescue near the bridge over the river leading to Centre Park.
Fire crews launched a rescue boat and one man was pulled from the river using ropes.
The second man managed to reach the river bank himself and was pulled to safety by police officers.
Both were taken to hospital by ambulance but were not thought to be seriously harmed.
It is not clear how they came to enter the water.
by staff reporter
A FIRM has beaten off competition from 10 other finalists to take the Start-Up Business of the Year award in the Warrington Business Awards.
Premium Appliance Brands Ltd (PAB), of Centre Park, was established in 2003 and has developed several new white goods brands and designs, sourcing products from Europe and the Far East to sell to retailers and distributors throughout the UK and Ireland. It is hoping to expand next year.
Managing director Guy Weaver said: “We have had a highly successful two and a half years and we are thrilled to gain recognition as a company that has a reputation for high quality, innovation and added value in terms of our products, marketing and after sales service.”
YOUTHS are being blamed for starting a fire which caused extensive damage to a derelict warehouse building in Oxford Street, Latchford, Warrington during the night.
Firefighters managed to prevent the blaze spreading to other neighbouring buildings. Police are investigating.