The Visitor review of the year 2017 - part 2

Photo Neil Cross
Jacky Burns has started off a new craze in the Heysham area called Pebbleart - she finds pebbles on the beach, paints and varnishes them, then hides them in the local area for people to find, with her grandchildren Olivia, Leo and Calvin
Photo Neil Cross Jacky Burns has started off a new craze in the Heysham area called Pebbleart - she finds pebbles on the beach, paints and varnishes them, then hides them in the local area for people to find, with her grandchildren Olivia, Leo and Calvin

From flash floods to a painted pebble craze, the stories that hit the news in the second half of the year between July and December were hard hitting and affected the whole community. Reporter Michelle Blade looks back at the second half of 2017

JULY

Photo Neil Cross
Alistair Eagles of Seatruck at Heysham Port

Photo Neil Cross Alistair Eagles of Seatruck at Heysham Port

l Brave women bared their bodies in a unique jotter celebrating the strength of those battling cancer.

The ‘Knocker Jotter’ featured women who had been or were going through the harrowing journey of breast cancer.

The women were members of Phoenix, an online group supported by CancerCare charity.

l Work was under way on new luxury accommodation on the site of a former hotel.

Rojmina Patel is a finalist in the Miss Lancashire competition and is hoping to win it. She wears a hijab and wants to use Miss Lancaster and the platform of the beauty competition to raise awareness.

Rojmina Patel is a finalist in the Miss Lancashire competition and is hoping to win it. She wears a hijab and wants to use Miss Lancaster and the platform of the beauty competition to raise awareness.

Construction vehicles were at the Broadway site to begin building an eight-storey white-rendered and glass apartment block. Lancaster-based building firm MH Stainton Ltd began work on June 12.

l A new £2.5m trampoline centre was springing into action in Morecambe.

The state-of-the-art Jump Rush attraction on the Winter Gardens car park was due to be fully open to the public from July 24. Meanwhile Jump Rush bosses revealed plans to open a tenpin bowling lounge above nearby Pleasureland.

l A storm that hit Morecambe and Lancaster causing flash flooding was a one in almost 500-year-event.

Reece Holt on Beyond Radio in Lancaster on Tuesday night. Photo by Mike Jackson.

Reece Holt on Beyond Radio in Lancaster on Tuesday night. Photo by Mike Jackson.

Rainfall data obtained from United Utilities showed that the area was hit by a storm of intensity classed as 1 in 480 years.

There was flash flooding in Morecambe, Lancaster city centre, Bowerham, the Marsh, Ryelands and near the Canal Turn at Carnforth.

AUGUST

l Fire alarms covered with socks and plastic bags and fire doors propped open with fire extinguishers were just some of the shocking breaches of fire regulations uncovered at a ‘death trap’ hotel in Morecambe.

Investigators who visited Sunny’s Inn on West End Road found several people were staying at the time, with two being long term residents and other short term residents staying for varying periods.

Fire doors and the ‘dumb waiter’ were wedged open, meaning any fire on the ground floor could quickly spread to the upper floors.

Landlord Syed Masood Ahmed pleaded guilty to 12 offences which placed people at risk of death or serious injury by fire and was later sentenced.

l Morecambe town centre was to receive a huge fitness boost with the opening of a new 24/7 gym.

Snap Fitness, offering round the clock access to exercise machines, was moving into empty shop units near the Arndale.

Snap Fitness also has a gym underneath the Travelodge on Spring Garden Street in Lancaster.

l Painted pebbles were creating waves in Morecambe – and the craze showed no sign of abating.

Pebbleart, based on the American ‘Kindness Rocks’ project, was the brainchild of Jacky Burns of Morecambe and a Facebook Pebbleart page had already attracted nearly 1,300 members.

l A police car used in a Hollywood blockbuster, junior Miss Morecambe and town councillors dressed as Dalek, Chewbacca and Andy Pandy were part of a colourful Morecambe Carnival parade.

The traditional event saw beautifully decked out floats representing businesses, charities and other organisations – many carrying costumed characters who waved at crowds lining the prom.

l Technology experts hacked their way into a Morecambe family’s home gaining access to personal pictures and live footage through baby monitors.

The Woodhouse family were approached by ITV and asked if they would allow a team of hackers to attempt to get into their technology around the home.

The family, who are avid bloggers, said yes in a bid to raise awareness of how easy it can be to get hacked.

SEPTEMBER

l A haulage firm invested 
£1.3m in a new depot at Heysham Port.

Surefreight launched its new Heysham Depot intended to improve port accessibility for businesses and consumers across the country.

Port owners Peel Ports Group said it welcomed the investment.

l A parent was prosecuted for not stopping their child committing anti-social behaviour in Morecambe’s West End.

Police said it was the first time such legislation had been used in England.

The adult appeared at Lancaster Magistrates’ Court for breaching a community protection notice and was fined.

l Aldi was given the green light to build a new supermarket on the site of Morecambe’s 10-pin bowling centre.

Morecambe Superbowl and current Aldi store on the front was to be demolished after Lancaster City Council gave permission.

The bowling alley building also included Bedland and 
Sofaland furniture store, and Tongue ‘N’ Groove body piercing shop.

l A flying drone was instrumental in helping to find a dog lost on moorland above Lancaster.

Holly, a black and white spaniel, disappeared near Abbeystead and her frantic owners Beth and Darren Thompson immediately started searching for her.

Drone pilot Jack Cordingley of Carnforth and his drone helped to find the lost dog.

OCTOBER

l A new and improved state-of-the-art CCTV system was to be installed in Lancaster and Morecambe.

The new system would replace the district’s existing CCTV cameras but would be more advanced, allowing secure remote viewing via any device connected to the internet.

Installation costs were £100,000 and the installation was due to be completed by March 2018.

l A lorry driver had a near miss after a ball bearing was fired through his cab windscreen just inches from his head.

Ken Smith said if he had been leaning slightly to the left, the shot could have blinded or even killed him.

Ken was driving along Mellishaw Lane in Morecambe after leaving Heysham Port.

l A beauty queen from Morecambe who wears a hijab had racist insults hurled at her since wearing the headscarf.

Rojmina Patel, 23, from Westminster Road, Morecambe, was a finalist in Miss Lancashire 2017 and only a few months before the competition decided to wear a hijab headscarf.

But Rojmina was shocked and upset at the racist comments she received when she had her headscarf on.

l A couple from Arnside revealed how they were scammed out of more than £100,000 in savings by online fraudsters.

Jane and Stephen Caldwell, who run the Posh Sardine cafe, featured on the BBC programme Rip-Off Britain with Angela Rippon in a bid to highlight the scam.

They told how fraudsters used a sophisticated method to clean out pension and inheritance savings from their bank accounts.

l More than 18,000 vehicles had used the Bay Gateway since it opened.

The Heysham M6 link Road officially opened on October 31, 2016.

It signalled a renaissance of the transport infrastructure in the Lancaster district, promising to give better access to Morecambe and Heysham and relieve traffic in the city centre.

NOVEMBER

l Hundreds raved the night away with world renowned DJs at a historic Morecambe building.

The Carleton (the former Alhambra theatre) in the West End was converted into a three-roomed night club for one night only.

The ‘Full Moon Party’ was hailed a success as hundreds from across the country came to the resort to party.

l Musicians from the Morecambe and Lancaster area – and a few special guests – recorded a charity single to raise money on behalf of a schoolboy who is battling cancer.

The track was a cover version of REM’s hit ‘Everybody hurts’ and was due to be released nearer Christmas to raise money for Team Reece – a charity set up in the name of Reece Holt from Overton.

Reece was undergoing treatment for Malignant Anaplastic Astrocytoma, an extremely rare brain tumour.

l Marks and Spencer refused to confirm it would be opening a food store at Morecambe’s planned £17m shopping park throwing doubt on the whole scheme.

Planning permission was granted for the Bay Shopping Park in November 2014 but so far Premier Inn had pulled out of a deal to build a hotel on the site, and B and M stores and TK Maxx, who were in talks with Opus North in 2015, had failed to sign up.

l A Heysham grandmother had the shock of her life when a strange insect ate its way out of an angel statue displayed in her home.

Marion Nolan bought the statue at Viva Interiors in Lancaster in February 2015.

She noticed what looked like woodworm holes in the base and six months later heard a tapping noise which went on for a few weeks.

She then spotted a little creature sticking out of a hole in the base.

The insect had been living inside the base for some time and had managed to eat its way out.

DECEMBER

l A Morecambe cobbler was preparing to retire after an astonishing 65 years in the trade.

Wally Woodhouse, now 80, was due to close his Euston Road shop just a stone’s throw from where he started working for his dad Arthur in 1952.

Wally took over his current premises 30 years before and decided to retire to look after his wife Sheila, who was recovering from a stroke and a broken hip.

l Scared parents who feared for their children’s lives on the school run were demanding action.

The junction outside St Peter’s C of E Primary School was labelled as “a fatality waiting to happen” by parents.

A petition had been set up to call for a crossing outside the school.

l The town’s community pulled together in the wake of a stark report into child poverty in Morecambe.

Organisers of an open forum in Morecambe said they were “overwhelmed” after 300 residents and community groups turned out in support.

The meeting was arranged by Sustainability Morecambe, The Creative Exchange, Stanleys Youth and Community Centre and Morecambe Fringe in the light of an ITV investigation which revealed some of the lengths schools were going to in order to help families in the resort.

This included offering laundry services and allowing parents to charge their mobile phones if they did not have enough money for electricity.