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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 229

Date:- 12 December 2005

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Memorial Garden for babies given top award

LIVERPOOL'S Pity II Memorial Garden has been awarded a prestigious landscape award for its sympathetic design and calm setting.  The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) singled out the garden as one of its 2005 National Landscape Award winners in the soft landscaping category.

The garden at Allerton Cemetery was created in the wake of the Alder Hey organ retention scandal.  It is an area where parents, whose children's organs were removed without their permission, can visit for peaceful reflection.  It was designed by green specialists Glendale, who worked with the Pity II support group for parents and Liverpool City Council's cemeteries and crematoria service. 

Liverpool City Council's executive member for green issues, Councillor Richard Oglethorpe, said:- "We worked closely with Liverpool residents to create a harmonious area, where people can reflect peacefully on their loss.  We are all delighted the garden has been awarded such a prestigious accolade and it is a credit to all those involved in designing and maintaining the area."  

The garden resides in one of England's largest public cemeteries, nestling under a picturesque line of mature pine trees.

Glendale's contract manager in Liverpool, Peter Cosgrove, said:-  "The teamwork involved in creating the memorial garden was tremendous.  3 landscape gardeners were supported by our maintenance teams including gardeners, JCB drivers, litter pickers, grave diggers and grass cutters.  We are very pleased the garden has attracted such praise and attention and we hope it will continue to be a special place for many members of the community."

The entrance to the garden leads families to the main feature - a memorial stone which forms the centrepiece of the garden.  Features include grassed and paving areas, seating and colourful planting to create a calm and relaxing area.  As a gesture of support and goodwill, Liverpool City Council donated the land for the garden, and it was opened earlier this year by Michael Redfern QC, who chaired the enquiry into the scandal.

The BALI Award ceremony was held in London and the memorial garden received a special award under the category of soft landscaping under one hectare.


THIS week Olympic medallist Sharron Davies was guest of honour at the re-opening of the Queens Drive McDonald’s restaurant in Merseyside that was damaged by a fire 5 months ago.

As part of the re-opening ceremony Sharron was also able to present a cheque to the Ronald McDonald House, Alder Hey, as part of the restaurant’s support for the facility which offers free home-away from home accommodation to parents with sick children undergoing treatment at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital.

Sharron said of her visit:- "I have been involved with McDonald’s for a number of years through my work with the McDonald’s Mums’ Panel and McDonald’s Team Sport. I am really pleased to be here today to open the fabulous new restaurant, and present this cheque to the Alder Hey Ronald McDonald House. T

he work of the House is extremely important, especially with Christmas around the corner when it is a time for families."

£525,000 for soldier injured on tank exercise

A SOUTHPORT soldier with more than 20 years service who was blown-up and suffered serious leg and foot injuries while on exercise in Canada has been awarded a settlement of £525,000 by The Ministry of Defence.

Married father of 2, REME Staff Sergeant Russell Speed B.E.M (41) was commanding an armoured vehicle observing a tank exercise on the vast BATUS artillery range in Northern Alberta when the vehicle ran over and detonated an unexploded shell.  Staff Sgt. Speed was flung into the air by the force of the blast and landed back on the roof of the armoured tracked vehicle but suffered extensive compression injures to his heels, ankles and lower legs. After recovering from the accident he was transferred from active duties to a desk job in Bicester for the remaining 2 years of his service.

Michael Molloy, of leading North West law firm Rowe Cohen, negotiated the out of court settlement with the MoD:- “This is a case where liability was never in question. Staff Sergeant Speed was not on active service in a combat zone when the accident occurred. I must say that The Army’s legal representatives have acted with sympathy and complete propriety in dealing with this matter. His regiment, too, has made every effort to minimise the impact of the accident on SSgt Speed, his wife and 2 teenage children.  That said, a serving soldier who suffers an accident has rights in law like anyone else. In this case, the settlement reflects the need for a career soldier like SSgt. Speed to leave the forces capable of starting a new life, in spite of some residual disability.”

Reaction to Proposed Changes to Tobacco Purchase Age Limit

RETAILERS Against Smuggling, the campaign of the Tobacco Alliance, has questioned calls to raise the legal age for buying tobacco to 18.

Solly Khonat, the North West Spokesman of Retailers Against Smuggling and a retailer in Blackburn, commented:- “Raising the legal age for buying tobacco to 18 will not stop young people smoking and runs the risk of encouraging more youngsters to buy tobacco illegally from smugglers on street corners and at car boot sales. In our recent Retailers Against Smuggling survey, one in five of our shopkeepers stated that they knew of smugglers supplying underage smokers.

To raise the age limit will only provide a new market for the smugglers who are already targeting the UK because of this country’s high tobacco taxation policy. To introduce such a regulation would suit smugglers down to the ground and mean more youngsters committing the crime of buying smuggled goods instead of buying legally from shopkeepers.  However, whatever the age limit, responsible retailers demand proof of age such as CitizenCard before making a sale. Smugglers just don’t care.”

A recent Retailers Against Smuggling survey found that 74% of independent shopkeepers said that the only way to stop the tobacco smuggling problem was to reduce or freeze taxes. The survey also found that 21% of independent shopkeepers were considering closing down their business as a result of tobacco smuggling. In addition, 35% were aware of counterfeit tobacco products in their area.

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