The Visitor review of the year January to June

From stories of human resilience against the odds, to hero workmen who tackled a mugger who assaulted an OAP, January to June 2018 was full of interesting stories. Michelle Blade reports on the stories that hit the headlines in the first half of 2018.

Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:23 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 12:35 pm
Photo Neil Cross David Waddington, owner of Miaitalia in Bolton-le-Sands, has taken over the former Harts cafe in Morecambe from the former owner Paul Hart


A mum and dad started the New Year on a high after spending their first Christmas with miracle baby Leya.

Morecambe Bay Foodbank.

For more than three years Jannicke Ive and her partner Karl Dixon struggled to have a child of their own.

The couple had to overcome many hurdles including miscarriages and health scares.

Now they looked forward to starting 2018 with their baby daughter.

Morecambe Bay Foodbank collected 12 tonnes of food and gave out special parcels to more than 1,000 people over the Christmas period.

Picture by Julian Brown 19/02/18 Mal Neill who is organising hundreds of Poppy Appeal boxes in the basement at The Cumberland View Hotel, Heysham, Morecambe.

The charity, which collected the food to hand out to poverty stricken families in December, launched a new project to help hard up parents with school costs.

The Uniform Project would collect school uniforms from supermarket collection points, and have a brand new base in the Arndale Centre.

Morecambe’s famous Hart’s cafe reopened under new ownership and with a new name.

Owner Paul Hart handed the town centre business over to David Waddington, of the award-winning Miaitalia in Bolton-le-Sands.

Dean Halliwell and Callum Wilkinson, who both work at the VW restorers M&W in Morecambe, prevented a robbery near the company and also apprehended the woman thief. Dean (left) and Callum. PIC BY ROB LOCK 26-2-2018

Scoop and Grind on Queen Street in Morecambe continues to be a successful business.

Tributes were paid to Morecambe lifeboat crew’s most decorated volunteer who passed away at the age of 81.

Keith Willacy was a founder member of Morecambe’s RNLI inshore lifeboat crew and served them for many years, taking part in more than 200 rescues.

Keith received several awards for his heroic efforts in rescuing people in difficulty at sea including the RNLI Bronze and Silver medals.

Photo Neil Cross Shauney Huntriss, 22-year-old who has cerebral palsy and is trying to raise money for surgery, with Bau

Morecambe Superbowl was demolished to make way for a new supermarket.

Lancaster City Council gave approval for the building to be demolished to make way for an expanded Aldi supermarket.

The Aldi supermarket opened later in the year.


A schoolgirl targeted by bullies who called her fat and ugly made it to the semi-final of a beauty pageant.

Alisha Jae Dixon, 14, a student at Heysham High Sports College, was selected for Miss Junior Teen Great Britain.

An artists impression of Eden Project North, a proposed new attraction for Morecambe . Credit: Grimshaw Architects

Alisha’s mum Kerry, 30, said: “Alisha managed to overcome the bullies and after entering the competition for the first time she was picked.”

A girl was assaulted when a gang of youths ran amok in a Morecambe supermarket throwing items around the store.

One of the youngsters was just 12-years-old, suspected of taking drink and drugs and not registered to attend any local school.

Since the incident Lancaster City Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) team had joined forces with police and local parents to tackle anti-social behaviour caused by children in the Poulton area.

A record £30,000 was raised in Morecambe and Heysham for ex-forces personnel as part of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

Mal Neill took over the Poppy Appeal for the area four years before and said that initially he struggled to get enough volunteers to help distribute the boxes in local shops and on stands in supermarkets.

But thanks to Mal’s hard work and the voluntary efforts of recent veterans, 2017 saw an increase in donations of £3,000 on the previous year.

Hero workmen Dean Halliwell and Callum Wilkinson stopped a robber in her tracks after spotting her assault a pensioner.

The pair chased the woman until the police arrived after she robbed an elderly woman of her purse outside her shop in Morecambe.

Dean said: “I didn’t really stop to think what I was doing but afterwards you think ‘that could have been my nanna’.”


A charity single to support a boy with terminal brain cancer raised thousands for other poorly children.

The CD, a cover of R.E.M’s ‘Everybody Hurts’, recorded by local singers, raised £6,650 for charity Team Reece.

Team Reece was set up by 12-year-old Reece Holt, from Overton, who has terminal brain cancer.

A young Morecambe woman aimed to make her dream come true of walking unaided - just like her twin sister-come true.

Shauney Huntriss has cerebral palsy and was fundraising to pay for life changing selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Westgate, hoped the new operation would give her a new lease of life, and allow her to live ‘normally’ like her sister Hollie.

Morecambe became the UK centre for the International Theatre Institute (ITI) and was bidding to to host its World Congress in 2020.

The new title had already created a huge cultural boost - as the ITI’s Shanghai based director general flew in to visit the town and watch a performance by Morecambe’s newly created DIY Theatre Company.

A successful bid to host the congress would see performing artists, educators and trainers, politicians as well as leaders of UNESCO and the UN from up to 90 countries across the globe descend on Morecambe for presentations, speeches and performances.

A group of volunteers were on a mission to transform Morecambe’s back alleys into colourful community gardens.

The Beautiful Back Alleys Project, set up by Coun Margaret Pattison, aimed to improve neglected alleyways across the town.

The group hoped to cover all 64 alleys in Morecambe, transforming them into a place which their owners and neighbours could enjoy.


A major £100m bid for transport and road improvements in Lancaster was given the green light.

Infrastructure plans to support new homes in Lancaster and the development of Lancaster University, including the new Health Innovation campus, received approval to be taken to the next stage.

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

The advanced technology replaced the district’s existing CCTV cameras and adopted a 4G wireless connection allowing more cameras to be added without incurring additional costs.

The cameras would provide evidence to help police in the event of a crime and would also be used to monitor public areas to assist in managing events and identifying issues relating to litter, vandalism and dog fouling.

A new gallery celebrating Morecambe’s art scene opened in the Arndale centre.

The White Elephant Contemporary Gallery aimed to promote the resort and tourism.

Manager at the Arndale Centre, Sarah Harrison, said: “The White Elephant Gallery has been a great addition to the centre.”

The Eden Project in Cornwall confirmed it was working with partners to bring a “world class” experience to Morecambe Bay.

David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International Limited, said that plans were in the early stages but visibility and feasability studies were already underway.

The Eden Project North project would bring a huge economic boost to Morecambe and be a “game changer” for regeneration.


Morecambe announced new owners ahead of arguably the biggest game in their history.

The majority shareholding in the Shrimps had been sold to Bond Group Investments Ltd.

Jim Bentley’s team faced Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena and needed a point to hang on to their Football League status.

Morecambe avoided relegation with a goalless draw at Coventry City.

A unique day out featuring two of Carnforth’s top attractions was shortlisted for a top award.

Carnforth Station and neighbouring Leighton Hall began working together in 2017 to entice more group visitors to the local area, by offering a special day out featuring both attractions.

“A Brief Encounter with Leighton Hall” as it was named, was shortlisted as a finalist in the revered 2018 UK Coach Awards.

The extent of labour exploitation in modern-day Britain was laid bare by a body set up in the wake of Morecambe’s 2004 cockling disaster.

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) was formed after a team of Chinese cocklers perished when they were caught in fast incoming tides at Hest Bank on February 5, 2004.

Police believe 23 people died, though only 21 were recovered.

Punks took things ‘nice n sleazy’ for a festival held in Morecambe.

The four day Nice n Sleazy festival held at the Trimpell Sports Club attracted punk and ska enthusiasts from all over the country as bands such as UK Subs, 999 and Department S entertained on the four stages.


Headteacher John Shannon promised “exciting times” now Heysham High was officially an academy.

The school was renamed Bay Leadership Academy after becoming part of the Tauheedul Education Trust.

Changes included a new school badge and uniform.

The health trust that runs the Royal Lancaster Infirmary had the biggest financial deficit in the north of England for 2017/18.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT) recorded a £67.6m deficit, despite making £17m worth of savings.

Only four other health trusts in England had higher deficits figures from NHS Improvement revealed.

The owners of Heysham Port were predicting an economic boost and new jobs for the area if and when the UK leaves the EU.

Peel Ports said that although many in the logistics industry were predicting that delays due to border checks would worsen the current shortage of HGV drivers, with knock-on effects through the rest of the UK, more cargo owners would ship goods using unaccompanied lorry trailers, especially on Irish Sea routes.

A Morecambe engineering firm’s work is on show for many generations to come at new galleries inside Westminster Abbey.

T.P.Aspinall & Sons Ltd completed a contract to design, detail, manufacture and install more than 50 display support structures for the new Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries.

Aspinall’s, based on White Lund, won the tender for the contract following a rigorous interview process in 2017.

Morecambe Bay sunset by Spencer Ross
Photo Neil Cross Dredging at Heysham Port
The annual Nice N Sleazy Morecambe Punk Festival attracted another number crowd to The Trimpell at the weekend. The four day festival attracted punk and ska enthusiasts from all over the country as bands such as UK Subs, 999 and Department S entertained on the four stages. A pair of Mohican''s silhouetted in the Live Lounge. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday May 27, 2018.