The Visitor review of the year 2017 - part 1

Convicted paedophile Marian Dorobek, 68, was taken from HMP Wandsworth on March 10 and handed over to the Polish authorities
Convicted paedophile Marian Dorobek, 68, was taken from HMP Wandsworth on March 10 and handed over to the Polish authorities
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From a wanted sex offender from Poland being arrested at Heysham Port to the toppling of Morecambe’s Polo Tower, the year 2017 has been full of highs and lows. Reporter Michelle Blade looks back on the stories that made the news between January and June.

JANUARY

Former volunteer at Carnforth Station Jim Walker, who has been banned from the station following a complaint about him from a member of the public regarding an alleged remark he made.'Jim at the station with a map he has been issued marking the routes around the station he is allowed to follow.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'30-1-2017

Former volunteer at Carnforth Station Jim Walker, who has been banned from the station following a complaint about him from a member of the public regarding an alleged remark he made.'Jim at the station with a map he has been issued marking the routes around the station he is allowed to follow. PIC BY ROB LOCK'30-1-2017

l A brave puppy found by police with a badly broken leg enjoyed her first Christmas in her new home.

Named Summer by staff at Animal Care in Lancaster, who looked after her, the eight-week-old puppy had to have her leg amputated because her injuries were so severe.

Members of the public donated £600 towards the cost of Summer’s operation and her aftercare.

Julie Elkins adopted her from Animal Care.

Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

l Darts star Dave ‘Chizzy’ Chisnall hit the bullseye by marrying his beautiful bride despite a mishap with the wedding rings.

Chizzy and Michaela Davis were wed after a brief panic when they got to the church and realised the rings had been left behind!

The couple’s driver dashed back to the house to retrieve them and the wedding was only delayed about 10 minutes.

l One of Lancaster’s car parks was named among the most popular locations for outdoor sex in the country.

Fire on Mary Street, Lancaster.

Fire on Mary Street, Lancaster.

According to a ‘swinging’ website Lancashire boasts 216 locations for kinky late-night liaisons - including the car park on the site of Halfords, Currys and B&M in Bulk Road.

The website claimed to have more than 21,000 members in Lancashire who admitted to engaging in public sex with whoever happened to be there at the time.

l A Morecambe mum spoke out to warn other parents after legal highs nearly killed her teenage daughter.

Cheryl Howe, of Clarence Street, appeared on BBC’s Panorama programme to talk about legal highs with her 16-year-old daughter Sharon, who ended up on life support after taking three legal highs bought over the counter.

Homeless man, Chad, pictured in happier times.

Homeless man, Chad, pictured in happier times.

FEBRUARY

l One of Poland’s most wanted sex offenders was arrested at Heysham Port after a tip-off.

Convicted paedophile Marian Dorobek, 68, was captured after police learned that he was on a ferry due to arrive at the port.

Dorobek was eventually deported back to Poland to face justice from the authorities there.

l New street lighting was being proposed for the Bay Gateway following a series of incidents on the A6 roundabout.

Lancashire County Council was planning to introduce street lighting at the A6 roundabout on the Heysham M6 link road, which it hoped would increase visibility and ensure drivers slowed down at the junction.

Flower beds next to The Midland hotel in Morecambe are empty. Picture: Michelle Blade.

Flower beds next to The Midland hotel in Morecambe are empty. Picture: Michelle Blade.

l A wanted man who eluded the police for two weeks was captured walking on the cycle track.

Response officers from Morecambe were alerted to Scott Cardwell’s whereabouts after an alert passer-by recognised him and called 999.

At Preston Crown Court, Cardwell pleaded guilty to wounding with intent, possession of class A drugs, arson and harassment in respect of three separate incidents and was jailed for seven years.

MARCH

l A team of builders answered a DIY SOS-style call for help to get a Heysham teenager back home as he fights leukaemia.

Although Joe Shaw was in remission, his family desperately needed to raise money to pay for a leak in their roof to be fixed.

Wayne Jobey, who runs a building and roofing supplies firm, along with three of his colleagues, spent two days working on the roof.

North West Roofing Supplies from White Lund supplied all the materials free of charge, while A1 Skips loaned a skip for free to collect all the waste material.

l A pensioner banned from entering Carnforth station over an alleged racist comment said his human rights were being breached as he was unable to attend public meetings on the premises.

Jim Walker was banned from parts of the station by Carnforth Station Trust after a member of the public made a complaint against him over an alleged racist comment.

It meant he was no longer able to keep the station clock, which featured in the Brief Encounter film, running.

Carnforth Station Trust said Mr Walker had a particular reason to attend a meeting he should apply to the board for permission.

l A new Morecambe and Wise two-part documentary series featuring previously unseen pictures of the famous duo was to be shown over the Easter weekend.

Morecambe and Wise Forever, narrated by Martin Clunes, would hear stories told by those who knew Eric and Ernie best, including Eric’s wife Joan and sons Gary and Steven and daughter Gail.

APRIL

l Smoke could be seen as far as Morecambe after a major fire broke out across the river.

Nine fire engines and crews raced to Mary Street in Lancaster city centre where flames could be seen above the shops.

Nearby businesses were evacuated as emergency services battled to control the flames and smoke.

l Police were clamping down on yob behaviour after a picturesque park was trashed yet again.

Vandals smashed alcohol bottles, overturned litter bins and broke windows in the latest in a spate of criminal damage at Happy Mount Park over the past few years.

A police spokesman said parents had been dropping children off at the park after it had closed and eight warnings had been dished out for anti-social behaviour in the area.

l A grandmother who had just recovered from a spinal injury thought her time was up when a car knocked her down at a Morecambe supermarket.

Cherie Bell said the trolley saved her life as a car drove into her at Aldi supermarket car park on Marine Road West.

The 69-year-old barely had time to react as she headed to her car with her shopping.

l Flowers and tributes were left outside a Morecambe shop in memory of a well-known homeless man who died.

People also set up crowdfunding pages to raise money to remember Chad with a memorial bench and a plaque at the crematorium.

Chad, whose real name was Martin Pollock, hung around the West End and town centre of Morecambe and would often sit on the corner of West End Discounts where the floral tributes were left.

MAY

l Custodians of Morecambe’s grand old theatre were counting the cost after thieves struck yet again.

Volunteers working to restore the Winter Gardens were furious after culprits - believed to be four youths - got onto the roof and stripped off three to four metres of protective lead in the dead of night.

The theft was a blow for the ongoing restoration work at the theatre.

l Flower beds near The Midland remained empty as summer approached.

Lancaster City Council made the decision to stop planting public flower beds with spring blooms and instead asked businesses, residents and community organisations to come forward and adopt a flower bed.

But no-one came forward to sponsor the flower beds near The Midland, which were just empty soil until summer blooms were planted.

l People from Morecambe and Lancaster told of their escape from a horrifying bomb blast in Manchester.

Twenty-two people, including children were killed and 59 injured in the suicide attack at Manchester Arena.

Many people from the area were at the concert, including Heysham teenager Rachel Simpson, who posted afterwards on Facebook to reassure loved ones that she was safe.

Ella Donnelly, 17, from Lancaster, was there with a friend. Both escaped unhurt.

l The Polo Tower was set to be toppled after 23 years at Frontierland.

The Polo Tower was originally a revolving ride offering spectacular views of Morecambe Bay but afterwards it fell into disrepair and stood on the front unused - other than a for a telecommunications mast - for almost 20 years.

The demolition was seen as a step in the right direction towards work finally starting on the proposed new £17 million shopping park on the former fairground site.

JUNE

l A 12-year-old Heysham boy who spearheaded a musical campaign to raise £16,000 for a life-changing operation smashed his target.

Rory Holmes, who has Cerebral Palsy, launched Rory’s Rhizotomy Riff Challenge in May, hoping to raise enough funds to pay for a major operation on his legs.

The campaign came to the attention of musicians across the worldand raised a total of £16,285.

l Vandals damaged a children’s playground before it even opened to the public.

Workmen at the new kiddies’ play park opposite the town hall in Morecambe had to cut sections of flooring out where footprints were left by yobs who trespassed on it before the flooring had chance to set properly.

The city council said it was a great shame the new play area had been attacked in such an underhand way before it had even opened.

l Checks were carried out on high rise blocks in Lancaster in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Lancaster City Council and Lancaster University both reviewed fire procedures after the London tower block fire where 79 people were thought to have lost their lives.The blaze in the Kensington block started in a fridge freezer.

Photo Neil Cross'Morecambe's iconic Polo Tower prepares to be demolished after 22 years

Photo Neil Cross'Morecambe's iconic Polo Tower prepares to be demolished after 22 years

From left: Steven Wren, Rory Holmes, Neil Thomson and Jim and Shirley Holmes.

From left: Steven Wren, Rory Holmes, Neil Thomson and Jim and Shirley Holmes.