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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 212

Date:- 31  July 2005

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New Pier Tram arrives in Southport

THE new Southport Pier Tram has arrived in the resort. It will now undergo an initial period of testing before being officially opened to the public. The 100-seater all-weather vehicle will link the end of the UK's second longest Pier and the Ocean Plaza leisure complex with Southport town-centre. Estimates suggest it could attract an extra 70,000 visitors to the resort annually.

The modern, air-conditioned tram has been funded with a quarter of a million pounds from Mersey Waterfront, alongside £45,000 from Sefton Council and a further £30,000 from The Pier Trust. 

Louise Hopkins, Director of Mersey Waterfront, says:- "Southport Pier tram will create direct benefits for the resort's tourism industry, and will help secure the Pier's future. The new Tram will also complement the support Mersey Waterfront has already given to the award-winning Marine Way Bridge and ongoing improvements at Crosby Marine Park."

Sefton Council's Head of Tourism, Tony Corfield, said:- "It is very exciting to see the pier tram arriving in Southport for its testing schedule ahead of the official opening soon. This is another chapter in the pier's history and I am sure the tram will prove to be very popular with visitors and residents."

Southport Pier Tram is electrically driven by the latest battery technology to ensure it is environmentally friendly.


ONE of the world's most famous yachts 'DRUM' is currently making it's journey from Scotland's Rhu Marina to Liverpool's Canada Docks. The maxi yacht formerly owned by Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon will be moored at the docks from Friday 29 July 2005 as it stops in Liverpool to pick up crew members en route to Cowes where Le Bon and his crew will compete in the world famous 'Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race' on the 7 August 2005.

The yacht hit the headlines 20 years ago when it capsized in bad weather off the coast of Falmouth whilst competing in the 1985 Fastnet Race. Le Bon and the other 24 crew members were plunged into the English Channel narrowly escaping death. To mark 20th Anniversary of Drum's last endeavor, Simon Le Bon is gathering the original crew for a new attempt on this famous race.

The yacht now renamed "ARNOLD CLARK DRUM" is owned by leading Scottish car magnate Sir Arnold Clark, who has 6 motor dealerships in Toxteth, Aigburth and the City Centre. Sir Arnold who kindly agreed to loan the yacht to Le Bon and his crew when he heard about their plans for Drum to race again and to raise awareness of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (R.N.L.I.).

The biennial Rolex Fastnet Race is considered to be one of the world's classic ocean races, the 608-mile course is a test for skippers and crews with its tricky tidal currents and changeable weather conditions. The race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, with the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Western Yacht Club, Plymouth will start on Sunday 7 August 2005, off Cowes, Isle of Wight. The Royal Ocean Racing Club's classic event will attract in the region of 250 yachts this year.

Sir Arnold Clark of the Arnold Clark Organisation commented:- "When I heard about Simon's plans to race the yacht again with the original crew and to raise awareness of the R.N.L.I, I was absolutely delighted to offer my help and assistance. Since I acquired Drum, the yacht has become one of my biggest passions in life. Normally it's the keys to cars that I'm used to handing over to customers, not the keys to my yacht! It will be a proud moment to see her entering the race again in August. We wish Simon and the rest of the crew, the very best and look forward to seeing Drum at the finishing line"

Alex Tsimboyskis, General Manager of the Arnold Clark Motorstore in Sefton Street, Toxteth, added:- "It's very exciting to have 'Drum' docking in Liverpool. Some of our customers have been given the opportunity to sail on Drum before it enters the Fastnet Race in August. It'll be something they will never forget. I have been up to Scotland where the yacht is a bit of a celebrity itself, so to see it here in Liverpool is a strange sight, but definitely most welcome."

Simon Le Bon has taken time out of his busy touring schedule with Duran Duran to enter the race in August. The band who reformed in 2001 have enjoyed a hugely successful comeback since the original five members of Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor were reunited. Following the race, Le Bon will rejoin his other band members for the ongoing 'Astronaut World Tour' in Japan and America. The two year world tour will draw to a close in December of this year with the band returning to the UK to perform their final shows in Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and London. The band will have performed to 3.5 million fans across the globe over the last two years in 22 different countries.

Commenting on the forthcoming race and being reunited with the yacht Simon Le Bon said:- "I am thrilled that we are able to race Drum again and for Sir Arnold Clark to have been so kind to loan the boat to us for the race. It will be a very special moment being back on board with the original crew members, we went through a great deal together in 1985 so there is a lot of unfinished business. But most importantly the motivation behind all of us doing this was to also raise awareness of the valuable work of the RNLI and the Search & Rescue teams who we all owe a great debt of gratitude to. We felt it was very important to highlight the tireless work of the RNLI and its dedicated team of volunteers."


CALDESTONES Park, home of some of the finest gardens to be found in a public park in the country - celebrates its 100th birthday this week-end. A series of events organised by the Friends of Calderstones Park and Liverpool City Council is being held on Saturday 30 July to mark the park's centenary. Among the birthday events will be the raising of the Green Flag, again awarded this year to Calderstones, at 2.30pm in front of the Mansion House. Other activities from 11am onwards include a display of wood turning, art exhibition and, at 4pm a guided walk with the Rangers. The i2i Arts group will also be telling the tale of Acorn Jack the Cabin lad during the afternoon.

Councillor Warren Bradley, Executive Member for Leisure, said:- "For 100 years, Liverpool people have enjoyed one of the city's biggest and most beautiful open spaces. Its unique plant collection, specialist gardens and lake make it a popular destination for residents and visitors to enjoy - and it's great that just last week the park was awarded a prestigious Green Flag which recognised its high standards. Saturday is a very important date in the park's calendar, and I hope that many people come along and take part in the day's activities. As a city council we are committed to getting people to make the most of the green havens on their doorsteps, and Calderstones' special centenary day is a great opportunity for everyone to find out more about one of Liverpool's most popular green spaces."

The mansion and an estate of 93 acres were sold to Liverpool Corporation in 1902 by the shipping family, the MacIvers. A year after the park opened in 1905 it was attracting 20,000 visitors a month. During the First World War the original estate was augmented by the 32 acre Harthill estate to produce the 126 acre Calderstones Park. Among its features are ornamntal gardens, walled kitchen gardens, Japanese Garden, Bog Garden and a unique text garden in which the names of flowers are spelled out in a maze. Calderstones also has fascinating ancient features including the Allerton Oak, claimed to be 1,000 years old, under which, according to legend the Hundred Court used to sit. The Calder Stones which date back to the Bronze Age are housed in the park's Vestibule.

A recent addition has been a children's playground, opened by Sir Paul McCartney in 2000 and dedicated to his late wife Linda. For the past few years the Park has also hosted the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament which attracts some of the world's leading players.

Local Man Scoops June Prize

A local man, Steward Ellett, has been named monthly winner of the Nature and Environment category in the Panasonic Batteries Amateur Photographer of the Year Award 2005. 

For having wowed the judges with the best Nature and Environment photo during the month of June, entitled 'Wildcat', Steward from Haydock receives a luxury Samsonite Sahora Backpack which will give the ultimate in protection for his camera and supplies while on future photographic expeditions! 

The Panasonic Batteries Amateur Photographer of the Year Award, which began in May, is aimed at uncovering photography talent across the UK. Open to all amateur photographers regardless of experience, the Award which runs until October 31st 2005 provides talented photographers with the chance to win the overall prize of a fantastic and exclusive one-week holiday for two at the fabulous Epacha Game Lodge & Spa in Namibia, worth over £3,500.

Each month, the five best photos from five categories - Nature & the Environment, Travel, People, Motion & Speed and Abstract - will win an amazing prize, ranging from Panasonic rechargeable batteries to tripods and camera bags. 

Steward says:- "I was really pleased with my photo but never thought it would win me anything! When I heard about the award I couldn't wait to upload my favourite pictures. I'll now cross my fingers to win one of the overall prizes but having looked on the website there is some really tough competition on there."

Tim Clark, Marketing & Communications Manager at Panasonic Batteries and one of three judges comments:- "The Award has begun with a high number of quality entries indicating that this year will be a hard-fought competition. The judges particularly picked out Steward's piece for his use of composition and imagery so congratulations to him!"

Taking part is simple and prospective participants are invited to visit, register and follow the instructions to upload their pictures! After a few days, entries are placed in the online gallery. Those without a digital camera can still enter - analogue photographs can be scanned into a computer and the digital version then uploaded to the website.

1st prize: an exclusive 1-week holiday for 2 in the fabulous Epacha Game Lodge & Spa in Namibia (worth over £3,500).

2nd prize: a top of the range Panasonic LUMIX Digital Still Camera DMC-LC1, DSC with Leica DV Vario-Summicron Lens, 3x Optical Zoom, 5 Mega pixels, 2.5" LCD Monitor and 16MB SD Memory Card (worth £999.99).

3rd prize: a Panasonic DMC-LZ2 Digital Camera featuring a 6x Optical Zoom, 5 Mega pixels and Mega Optical Image Stabilizer (worth £249.99).

The Award coincides with the recent launch of the new Panasonic Digital Xtreme Power battery, which delivers up to three times more energy than alkaline batteries allowing the user to take three times more photos, quicker shooting and more rapid flash recovery. What better opportunity for budding amateur photographers to get snapping and have a better chance of capturing a perfect winning shot?

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