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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 150

Date:- 08 May 2004

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A FRENCH chef who escaped Nazi imprisonment, was feted by the Duchess of Windsor and saved Croxteth Hall from being burnt down is to star in a documentary about Liverpool's French connection. 

To be shot in Liverpool and Avignon, ‘Croxteth Hall and the French Connection’, looks at the life of Raymond Lempereurs, chef to the last Earl of Sefton. 

The film, made by Liverpool company Souled Out Films and funded by the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and the Liverpool Culture Company, is one of five which will explore the lives of Liverpool people. 

It traces the life of M. Lempereurs and Croxteth Hall from the roots of the Molyneux family (Lords of Sefton) through to links with William the Conqueror and ancient Normandy, to Avignon, central Italy and back to Croxteth Hall. 

M. Lempereurs originally trained under King Edward VII's French chef, Monsieur Gonin. In 1949, he began working at Croxteth Hall after he was recommended to Lady Sefton by Mrs Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. 

During his time at Croxteth Hall, Raymond cooked for many famous guests, including Douglas Fairbanks Jnr and Her Majesty the Queen. 

He made his greatest mark in 1952 when he saved the hall from destruction in a blaze by alerting the fire service and saving most of the invaluable contents of the hall, including 200 paintings. 

Raymond's culinary skills are well known but his early years, as a fugitive in Nazi occupied France, have only recently come to light. 

Raymond, now 78, and his wife Elda still live in the grounds of Croxteth Hall. And he is already the subject of a new book:-  Avignon to Liverpool, by Maureen Lavelle. 

Film producer Dave Cotterill said:- "This is a tale of two nations, two cities, two families and two classes with life stories on a historical canvas, shaped by the guillotine, revolution, war, food, fire and fate.  Lord Sefton was a personal friend and lord-in-waiting to King Edward VIII. They both married American divorcees, both had connections with France, and both died childless. And both had le chef franchaise. Through this connection a remarkable story unfolds." 

Another French chef with royal connections also caused a stir in the Hall's kitchens. In 1789, during the French Revolution King Louis XVI's chef, Eustache Ude, fled France, and found employment at Croxteth Hall. 

Sir Bob Scott, Chairman of the Liverpool Culture Company, said:- "This amazing story has huge significance in terms of local, national and international history. It touches on one of the city's real cultural gems, like Croxteth Hall. ....

continued ....   It is a real thrill to see stories like this being uncovered and told by Liverpool people. The city has a fantastic and vibrant film industry and Liverpool with its amazing history as a world port has many more fascinating tales to be told." 

The film will be premiered as part of Liverpool's city of culture celebrations on August 20 2004 at John Bosco City Learning Centre, and also at Croxteth Hall the following week.


HUNDREDS of pounds were raised last month for the RSCPA Merseyside, at the PAL Scruffts Liverpool heat in Croxteth Country Park.

PAL Scruffts, the fun-filled event for family dogs, called upon all Liverpudlian crossbreed canines to strut their stuff in a bid to become the city’s ‘scruffiest’ dog. Every entry fee paid by proud pooch owners was matched and doubled by PAL, who then generously donated a grand total of £254 to the RSPCA Merseyside in support of the great work they carry out throughout the year.

Rick Mason, representative of the RSPCA Merseyside says:- "The RSPCA are delighted to have teamed up with PAL Scruffts in such a fun and family orientated event, and we are extremely grateful at their kind donation. We look forward to working together again in the near future."

PAL Scruffts consists of six ‘tongue-in-cheek’ categories, such as Child’s Best Friend* and Crossbreed the Judge Would Most Like to Take Home. Whilst touring eight cities this summer, the fun-filled competition will be raising money for local animal charities across the country in its quest to find the nation’s ‘scruffiest’ dog.

Embrace; Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Network

THE next meeting of the network will include guest speakers from South Sefton Primary Care Trust and the new Patient and Public Involvement Forums. 

This meeting will look at primary care services in Sefton and how appropriate they are to the needs of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. In particular the meeting will look at GP services in Sefton and how to make them more accessible.

Date & Time:- 7.00pm on 11 May 2004.. Venue:- Merseyside 3tc Building, Crosby Road North, Waterloo

Guest Speakers:- Alison Shaw, Director of Health Services Margaret Yarwood, Patient and Public Involvement Forums.   Membership of the Embrace is open to all lesbians, gay men and bisexuals that live or work in Sefton.  For more information contact:- Carolyn Spittle, Equalities Officer, Sefton CVS or ring  0151 928 2233 ex.403.


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