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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 203

Date:- 29 May 2005

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Cycling Chester pensioners win national award

A group of cycling pensioners from Chester has been recognised in a national award scheme to find the UK's most active over-60s. Watson's Wanderers, led by Aston Park's Harry 'the bike' Watson, 76, has won a Stay Active Award of £100 towards keeping up their active lifestyles and providing inspiration to other over-60s. The award was given as part of the Stay Active campaign launched by Powergen Staywarm, the fixed price gas and electricity service solely for the over-60s, to encourage older people to keep fit and well through exercise.

The group of cyclists, all aged between 50 and 76, meet every Tuesday at the Plough Inn, Christleton, for bike rides of up to 70 miles - with Harry often carrying on and reaching the 100 mile mark.

Harry said:- "We're delighted to have won this award and have decided to use the £100 to 'refuel' ourselves during the pub stops. In 15 years of bike rides we've visited 461 pubs and a swift pint does the trick every time."

Local Powergen Staywarm advisor Terry Caldecott said:- "Cycling is not only a great way to keep fit and healthy but also a means of socialising and making new friends. I hope that many older people will be encouraged to take up the sport as a result of this campaign."

Statistics show that we all take less and less exercise as we get older and, by the time we reach 60, few of us take any regular exercise at all. Just 32% of men in England aged between 55 and 64 do the recommended 30 minutes of exercise most days (in Scotland the figure is 26%) and for women in England it is only 21% (with Scottish women at 19%). For 65 to 74 year olds, the figures drop to 17% of men (14% in Scotland) and 12% of women (8% in Scotland)?.

As part of the Stay Active campaign, Powergen Staywarm will also be using NHS guidelines to help spread vital advice to older people on ways to keep mobile. The advice outlined in NHS Keep Warm, Powergen Staywarm advisers at meetings will distribute Keep Well leaflets across the community.

"Moving around generates extra body heat, so any kind of activity will help to keep you warm,"
said Professor Ian Philp, the Department of Health's National Director for Older People's Services. "We advise older people, who are able to, to undertake moderate exercise, such as walking, as it provides real health benefits if you do it regularly all year round. We're delighted Stay Active is encouraging people who can do so to enjoy active lifestyles."

Powergen is part of E.ON UK, which is part of the E.ON Group, the world's largest investor owned utility.

Lord Mayor cheers on the Reds

THE FINAL whistle went on the Lord Mayor's term of office when he jets off to cheer on the Reds as they face AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League Final.  this was Councillor Frank Roderick's final civic duty before he handed the reins to Councillor Alan Dean. It's the perfect way for the life-long Liverpool FC supporter to sign off his year in office. Councillor Roderick said before he left:- "I've had such a wonderful time as Lord Mayor and I'm really going out on a high. It's been an exciting year in Liverpool and I have been very proud to have played a part in the continuing success story of the city. Liverpool is well and truly on the up. And, hopefully this marvellous year will have a perfect ending when the Reds lift the Champions League trophy on Wednesday!"

You have to work for our votes, say tomorrow's voters

'TURNOUT or turn off?' - an online debate held on gave young people without the vote a platform to share their views on the campaigning, results and significance of the 2005 general election. The report, findings and transcripts have now been published on and make essential reading for all MPs and government ministers serving in the new Parliament. The contributions made in debate should come as a shock to those convinced of young people's political apathy.

On a site funded by the House of Commons and DfES, participants had clearly set out to shake off the apathy stereotype and make a statement about the value of their involvement in the political process.

Highlights include:-

Stinging criticism for the lacklustre attempts of the 'Big 3' parties to connect with young citizens; 

The close attention paid to the parties' campaigns and treatment of issues;

Praise for the effort made by some of the media to present the election in new and interesting ways; 

Passionate arguments for and against a change in the voting age;

Reflection on democratic opportunities in the UK compared with societies around the world, 

Ideas for ways in which young people and politicians can work together to tackle political disengagement.

Ross Ferguson, New Media Manager at the Hansard Society, put out a challenge to elected representatives and the Government:- "Having expressed good intentions in the past, Parliament and Government now have a great opportunity to capitalise on the enthusiasm created by the election. For those who genuinely want to make a difference, the main recommendations from these young people are to 'get creative, give us more ways of getting involved and get into some proper dialogue'. In this debate young people showed that they are ready to do their bit, but are politicians ready to do theirs?"

MDI win Friendship contract

MERSEYSIDE Dance Initiative (MDI) has won the contract to breathe new life into school project The Friendship. Organised by the Liverpool Culture Company, the portable ship has already been taken to 80 schools and touched 18,000 children. After a spell in dry dock being fully rebuilt and redesigned, the ship will go back out to Merseyside schools to teach a further 20,000 children later this year.

Packed with treasure troves of cultural artefacts, the Friendship is so successful it is also going national later in this year to the 9 cities who bid alongside Liverpool to be European Capital of Culture.

Executive member for culture, Warren Bradley, said:- "At a time when bullying is an ever-present problem, this is an ideal project to teach children how to make friends, which is a skill in itself, but also give them an appreciation of culture at a young age." 

MDI already has external commissions from many organisations including the Anglican Cathedral, and works with thousands of people across the city in a vast array of dance styles.

Karen Gallagher, MDI's Director, said:- "MDI is committed to educating our young people through appreciation of the arts. Creating and animating the new Friendship project for the Liverpool Culture Company is one we are really looking forward to."

MDI will employ a team of local artists including a designer, director, choreographer, dancers and a stage manager to help realise this significant
Capital of Culture commission in order to create an enticing and visually stunning structure.

Friendship organiser Kathy Heywood said:- "We know this is already a project that works but adding dance to it in this way gives it an extra boost. We hope to reach every child in Liverpool on this exciting journey towards a fantastic European Capital of Culture in 2008."

For more information about MDI, visit

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