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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 03 April 2006

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AGE triumphs over youth when it comes to people in Southport choosing the perfect celebrity partner… for a bicycle made for 2.  A survey commissioned by the NSPCC to launch the charity’s first ever nationwide family fundraising event, the Big Bike Ride (30 June to 2 July 2006), asked which celebrity would look sweet, upon the seat, of a bicycle made for 2.

In the North West, veteran actors Sir Sean Connery and Dame Judi Dench were the top male and female choice.  The survey also revealed that comedian Ricky Gervais, best known for his role as David Brent in The Office, was the celebrity senior and middle managers most want to ride in tandem with.

Steve Morton, head of community appeals for the NSPCC in the North West, said:- “This is good news for those of us who are maturing gracefully. Participants were offered a choice of young bloods such as Ewan McGregor, David Beckham and Robbie Williams, but they opted to be ‘shaken not stirred’ riding in tandem with Sir Sean Connery.  Similarly, the handsome maturity of Dame Judi was preferred to the youth and beauty of female celebrities such as Cat Deeley, Charlotte Church, Kate Winslet and Catherine Zeta Jones.  It also seems that many senior managers feel they could pick up a few tips on management while cycling in tandem with Ricky Gervais, alias David Brent.”

In the North West, Sir Sean Connery was in pole position for the male celebrities with 20% of the public vote. Pop star Robbie Williams was just behind with 19% and David Beckham was in 3rd place with 17%. 4th place went to Ewan McGregor on 16% followed in 5th place by Rick Gervais on 13%. Graham Norton and Eddie Irvine tied on 7% of the vote. Film star Colin Farrell, veteran singer Tom Jones and Welsh rugby player Gavin Henson trailed with 5%, 4% and 2% respectively.

In the North West public vote for a female cycling partner, Dame Judi Dench was laps ahead with 27%, leaving Welsh singer Charlotte Church (19%), TV presenter Cat Deeley (16%) and Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones (16%) behind in her tracks. The rest of the voting was as follows: Kate Winslet 14%, Jordon 10%, KT Tunstall 7%, Andrea Corr 7%, Victoria Beckham 7% and Nadine Coyle 4%.

Voters were allowed to suggest preferred celebrities of their own, which accounts for the remaining percentage.  One thing all the voters agreed on was that getting on our bikes for the NSPCC is a great idea this summer.

The NSPCC’s Steve Morton said:- “The Big Bike Ride is a simple idea that enables all types of groups to come together to raise money for the NSPCC, be it families, work colleagues or friends. We need people to set up every kind of sponsored bike ride from small family outings around the local park to events involving hundreds of cyclists. If you don’t own a bike then why not clock up some miles on the exercise bike in your local gym? As long as you’re on a bike, you’re on the Big Bike Ride. Everyone, young and old, can get involved and do their bit to end cruelty to children, so join me in pedalling up the pounds for the NSPCC.”

The family friendly event aims to get people to organise and take part in their own bike rides in their local communities, while raising vital money for the children’s charity. Regardless of age, fitness, ability or the speed of your bike, the emphasis over the weekend (30 June to 2 July 2006) is to have fun and help make a difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the country. All Big Bike Ride organisers will be sent a pack chock-full of advice and handy cycling tips. To find out more about getting involved in the Big Bike Ride call 0845 456 0001, or visit this website.

Pioneering community project launching in Liverpool 8

AN INNOVATIVE project, EverybodyOnline, is launching in Liverpool 8 to help local people access the Internet, learn new skills and find out how technology could improve their lives.  The EverybodyOnline launch event will take place between 12.30 and 4.30pm on 5 April at Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre, 4 Princes Rd, Liverpool.

Lucy Ethell, the newly appointed EverybodyOnline Project Coordinator, who will be permanently based in Liverpool 8, will be on hand along with the EverybodyOnline team to run an Internet taster session for local residents. As well as the opportunity to experience the myriad of benefits of the World Wide Web, there will also be refreshments, entertainment and give aways.  The project will be working in partnership with INclude for Neighbourhood Regeneration who will be coming along on the day to talk to clients about how they can improve their services and the event will officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool.

The EverybodyOnline project is an initiative run by the national charity Citizens Online and is supported by BT. It aims to help communities overcome any barriers they may have to technology so residents can take advantage of the wealth of opportunities digital technology and the Internet has to offer.

EverybodyOnline is unique in its approach, rather than simply bringing in technology and walking away, Lucy will be working with the community to overcome the issues that prevent access. For example, setting up partnerships to provide childcare at computer taster sessions so parents don’t miss out, or ensuring that current community equipment is made available at the times that suit the residents as opposed to the venue. EverybodyOnline is about giving the community what they need.

Catherine Maxwell, Director of the EverybodyOnline Project said:- “We’re delighted about launching this, our tenth EverybodyOnline project. We believe EverybodyOnline is something very special. We’re about building bridges and creating useful partnerships with local organisations so people really get the skills and support they need to start using technology. We’re really looking forward to meeting the local community and helping people make those first important steps into the digital world.”

Peter Connor, BT Regional Manager said:- “BT and EverybodyOnline have been working in partnership since the projects’ inception in 2002 and we're delighted to be supporting the launch and delivery of EverybodyOnline in Liverpool 8. Communication is at the heart of our business and we believe that information and communications technology (ICT) can really enrich people's lives, that's why our digital inclusion campaign is a key part of our community investment strategy."


THE North West’s livestock industry will face days of lost production as UNISON members employed as inspectors by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) stage a 5 day strike over proposed cuts to the Local Government Pension Scheme, from 12 midnight on Sunday 2 April till 12 midnight on Friday 7 April 2006.

No meat plant is permitted to operate unless under close supervision by the MHS and more than 125 inspectors in the North West will be out. Abattoirs in Lancashire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire will be hit, with some forced to close completely.

UNISON members, who provide essential services such as meat inspection, the people who make sure the meat on your plate is safe, have been saving towards a pension that is threatened when it could be protected at no additional cost to the tax payer.

UNISON Regional Manager, Steve Stott, said:- “Our members are dedicated to the important role that they play in getting safe meat to consumers. The decision to call them out on industrial action has not been taken lightly- but they have risen to the challenge, because they believe it is the only way to get the Government to listen.

Consumers will see an impact on the meat available on the supermarket shelves at Easter, when we buy more meat than at any time, other than Christmas.”

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