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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-  29 May 2006

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DID You know that spring’s still warmer than it was 30 years ago? Six of the past eight springs have been well above average and despite the bitterly cold start to this year, it was still marginally warmer as long-term trends show that temperatures were higher than the 30-year average.

Nearly 100,000 observations made by our masses of recorders, including reports sent in direct from the field by mobile phone, have helped draw up a superb and detailed picture of how Nature’s Calendar has unfolded ahead of BBC2’s Springwatch with Bill Oddie.

And despite this year’s stop-start ‘cold’ spring being around 1.5C below 2005, it was still marginally warmer as long-term trends show temperatures were still higher than the 30-year average.

Among this year’s avalanche of recordings the British public noted:-

* Temperatures compressed the spring and meant it blossomed at around the same time across the UK.

* The average peacock butterfly observation was eight days later than last year, but still a full week earlier than the 30-year average.

* Frog spawn was first spotted in December but many breeding frogs later faced sub-zero temperatures early in the new year.

* Frog spawn was first reported in the Orkneys in mid-March – about the same time as East Anglia, which is typically the last area of the UK it is seen in.

* Observations of seven-spot ladybirds got underway before Christmas, but quickly tailed off as freezing temperatures started to bite during January and February.

* Early observations of peacock butterflies near John O’Groats were reported in mid-March.

Springwatch presenter Bill Oddie says:- “Every one of these observations helps draw up a picture of how our changing climate is affecting our wildlife. Springwatch 2006 will highlight how important it is for us to continue getting outdoors to gather accurate information on what’s been happening this year - and how vital it is we all help maintain little wildlife havens right in our own backyards.”

The full results will be revealed in Springwatch with Bill Oddie on BBC Two, from Monday, May 29.

The British public was asked to look out for the first signs of spring by going online at, texting observations or by filling in postcards and recording their first sightings of frog spawn, seven-spot ladybird, peacock butterfly, red-tailed bumblebee, swift and flowering hawthorn. The Springwatch survey is run by the BBC in association with the Woodland Trust and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, to assess how nature’s timing is responding to climate change.

Woodland Trust project manager Jill Attenborough said:- “This year’s response has been absolutely fantastic and recorders’ observations have thrown up some very interesting findings. What it does confirm is how responsive species are to temperature. But even in an apparently stop-start cold spring like this year, some events are still beginning earlier highlighting just how confused nature is getting.”

This year’s spring may have felt like the coldest in a generation but it was still slightly warmer than the 1960–91, 30-year average Central England Temperature and the long-term trend highlights how the season is warming up reflecting the impact of climate change. Findings from this year’s survey will be analysed by the UK Phenology Network to monitor and evaluate changes in nature’s events.

During the first weekend in June there will be 15 Springwatch events at venues around the UK. They promise to be great days out for all the family.

New attraction set to be a tourism pull on the Wirral

NEW attraction called 'Sunlight Vision' is an exciting museum located in the world famous model village Port Sunlight. It will be opening its doors to the public in August 2006.

The museum will provide a fascinating glimpse into the colourful social history of Port Sunlight. Visitors will be able to discover astonishing facts about life as a Sunlighter, marvel at the village memorabilia and be amazed as the characters they meet in the exhibition zone come to life in the audio-visual experience. This eye opening attraction will allow you to see the true magic of one man’s dream and his workers reality.

Martin King, Director of Tourism at The Mersey Partnership said:- “As well as being one of Merseyside’s best loved visitor attractions and home to the unique collection housed at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight is also a very important part of the UK’s social history. Sunlight Vision will be a welcome and significant development by The Port Sunlight Village Trust which will allow visitors to learn and understand more about how and why the village was created.”

Sunlight Vision is supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the European Objective One Programme and is managed by The Port Sunlight Village Trust, a charitable trust set up in 1999 by Unilever to be responsible for the conservation of the village.

Explaining the importance of the project, HLF’s Regional Manager Tony Jones told us that:- “We want to get people excited about the history on their doorstep. Port Sunlight has a wealth of stories to tell about its past and this funding has enabled the village’s history to be brought to life for everyone to enjoy and learn from for years to come.”

Angharad Hughes, Head of Heritage Development at Port Sunlight also commented:- “We can’t wait to open the doors of the exhibition to the public. It has taken a lot of planning but we feel it will be worth the wait. Visitors will really be able to get a feel of what life in the village was like.”


Music-2R-Eyes is the fourth instalment of overexposed, Cornerhouse’s bi-monthly regional filmmakers’ night. On Tue 6 June, overexposed will celebrate the richness of the North West’s musical scene with a music videos screening followed by live music. Filmmakers and acts reflect the variety and talent of the region with work from established filmmakers, such as director Alex Cox and Manchester based producers Soup Collective and Liverpool’s Hurricane Films, screening alongside that of emerging film talent. Acts featured include The Coral, Jim Noir, Gideon Conn, Baikonour, The Mighty Wah, Dear Eskimon plus many others. The music videos will be followed by a Q&A session with some of the filmmakers and a live acoustic performance by Gideon Conn.

The screening will include Hurricane Films’ Heart as big as Liverpool: shot in one take, the music video directed by cult film-maker Alex Cox features Wallasey Town Hall (Liverpool) in the guise of heaven. The night will also be the first showcase for the fruits of exposures’ Video Challenge... which gave student filmmakers just 2 weeks to produce a music video to accompany a track provided by a range of Manchester musicians. The results range from animation to live action. Entrants for the challenge will feature past exposures UK Student Film Festival participants, including last year’s 15 year-old Music Video runner-up Archie Leigh-Jones and Music Video winner Sharon Keighley. Keighley’s video for Gideon Conn’s single Eccentric will be screened at Music-2R-Eyes. The pair re-teamed after the video for Gideon Conn’s That’s What So Sad, brought Keighley the exposures Music Video’s top prize. Keighley will be one of the directors present at the post-screening Q&A session.

The evening comes to a climax with a live acoustic set by Gideon Conn in Cornerhouse café allowing the audience to discover the allure of his music themselves. With musical influences spanning from folk to hip-hop Conn’s performance promises to be an eclectic mix much like the Music-2R-Eyes night itself.

Cornerhouse,Manchester,6 June, 6:45pm. Tickets are £3.50 full / £2.50 concessions for film screening, the Gideon Conn performance is a free event taking place in the café at Cornerhouse following the film screening.

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