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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 12 February 2007

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LIVERPOOL is to play an important role in the reintroduction of an old English tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, which has its history steeped in treachery and murder.  However, more than 1000 years on, the Loving Cup of England will be used for good and charity, bringing people together as it begins a three month grand tour of the 50 cities of England - an important part of the build up to celebrations for St George’s Day 2007.

For the 1st time people who call England home are being encouraged to get together on 23 Apri with their family, friends and colleagues to recognise and appreciate the country they live in. And 3 leading charities, AICR (Association for International Cancer Research), RNID, the leading charity representing the 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK, and WRVS, the leading volunteering organisation helping older people get more out of life (and formerly known as the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service), have been chosen to benefit from the fundraising celebrations.

The exquisite silver gilt Cup will be officially received in St George’s Hall, William Brown Street, Liverpool, on 13 February 2007 at 2.00pm by The Right Worshipful The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Joan Lang, on behalf of the citizens of Liverpool. It will be filled with English apple juice to enable people from all walks of life to drink from it in an act of common celebration of peace, friendship and harmony within their community and the communities of England.

Chairman and National Organiser Bruno Peek OBE, MVO who has played a major and sometimes a leading role in many national events over the past 25 years, including The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the Trafalgar bi-centenary and the Millennium celebrations says:- “I believe the people of Liverpool will agree there is much to celebrate in England. We all lead such busy lives that little of our time is devoted to recognising and appreciating the place in which we live. That’s why St George’s Day (23 April) is so important and the Grand Tour of the Loving Cup will, I believe, act as a catalyst to get us all thinking about this great country of ours. Not only that, but this gives us the opportunity to raise thousands of pounds for three very deserving charities. I am very much looking forward to visiting the City of Liverpool with this unique Cup.”

The Right Worshipful The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Joan Lang, says:- “I am delighted that our City will be joining in this unique event. We are a city with a long and proud history of tradition and service and I know the people who live and work here feel a sense of pride in our community.”

The organisers hope that on 23 April 2007, people of all ages and from different backgrounds and cultures will get behind the celebrations by organising their own events at home and work or in their local pub, school or community. There are also regional and national competitions with big cash prizes including the search to find a modern day St George and Rose of England, best-dressed pub and house and a schools’ poetry competition. Following on from the unique tour of the Loving Cup, individuals and communities throughout England will be invited to come together at 10.45 pm on 23 April 2007 to stop whatever they are doing and raise a glass to the toast ‘England and St George.’

Derek Napier, AICR’s Chief Executive says:- “We are proud to be involved in such an important event that will not only raise funds for our great causes but will increase awareness of our work. We expect that the public will choose to celebrate England on this special day in their own communities in a variety of ways. This will be a first and its great that the organisers understand the added value that involving the voluntary sector can bring to such an event.”

Dr John Low, Chief Executive RNID says:- “Our involvement in the St George’s Day celebrations seemed a natural partnership to make: just as St George was a champion for the vulnerable and disadvantaged, so RNID fights to slay the dragons of injustice, neglect and discrimination that deaf and hard of hearing people face everyday. Not only will the celebrations raise vital funds for our work, but the spirit of unity in which they’ll be raised will promote equality and inclusion.”

Mark Lever, Chief Executive WRVS adds:- “WRVS is proud to be part of the St George’s Day celebrations. Bringing communities together is an important part of our work and St George’s Day will help do that throughout England, and raise money that will help us provide more support to older people throughout the country. The Loving Cup tour is just the beginning, we hope people in communities throughout England will start planning now how they will celebrate on 23 April.”

More than 150,000 copies of a free 34 page guide to taking part in the run up to and on April 23 are being distributed later this month and will include fundraising ideas and competitions. The guide will be reproduced on an interactive website  which will be activated on Tuesday, 16 January 2007 the official national launch day.

Merseyside fans urged to take up the Challenge!

RUGBY'S charity, Wooden Spoon, is inviting fans on Merseyside to demonstrate their support for its work with disadvantaged children and young adults by tackling England’s longest, steepest and highest outdoor charity event.  The Ford Ranger Great Lakeland Challenge is a unique, annual event which combines canoeing, cycling and fell running. During the past ten years it has generated in excess of £1m, which Wooden Spoon uses to fund a host of capital projects such as wheelchair facilities, sports and play equipment and sensory gardens.

The 2007 Ford Ranger Great Lakeland Challenge takes place in the Lake District on Friday, 18 May 2006, when up to 40 teams will canoe the length of Lake Windermere (10.5 miles), cycle 26 miles over the Wrynose and Hard Knott passes and climb Scafell Pike (3,208 ft). Their aim – to complete all 3 elements consecutively, in the space of just 12 hours!  Each 3-person team is assisted by a support driver, using a vehicle supplied by main sponsor Ford, who is responsible for helping his athletes through the transition stages by ensuring their equipment and clothing is in the right place at the appropriate time.

“All those who take part in the Ford Ranger Great Lakeland Challenge say it’s one of the UK’s most rewarding charity events, and although the entry list includes people from all walks of life, we’d like to see some teams representing Merseyside.

I’m keen to encourage anyone who is fit – or wants a good reason to make 2007 the year they get into shape – to register now and join the growing number of ordinary men and women who are willing to put in extraordinary efforts to raise the funds we need to make a difference in young people’s lives.” says Wooden Spoon chief executive Geoff Morris. 

Each team pledges to raise a minimum of £4,400 for Wooden Spoon – the charity born on a rugby pitch in 1983 and which has since become a national organisation supporting physically, mentally and socially disadvantaged young people.  In addition to their event vehicles, teams receive a set of Challenge clothing, have use of a canoe, paddles and buoyancy aids and enjoy 2 nights’ accommodation, breakfast and a prize-giving celebration at the Langdale Hotel and Country Club.

If you are ready to conquer England’s longest lake, steepest passes and highest mountain – and have fun while fundraising – Wooden Spoon wants to hear from you!  Contact the Wooden Spoon Challenge Office on 01889 582889 or email. for an information pack and entry form. Details on the Ford Ranger Great Lakeland Challenge are also available online.

Work set to start at Bootle Oriel Road Station

MERSEYTRAVEL has appointed contractors for the transformation of Bootle Oriel Road Station and work will get underway on the £4.25million project at the end of February.

Rail specialists Kier have been awarded the 12-month, refurbishment contract for Bootle Oriel Road and will construct a new ticket office and booking hall, a footbridge with new stairs and new lifts to provide step free access to the platforms.

Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel, said:- “The new-look station will complement the surrounding area which has seen some major investment over recent times. We are pleased that work is almost ready to get underway and in a year’s time people will really benefit from the improvements we are making.  The works will help restore the station to its former glory, improving access to rail services for many people and re-establishing it as an important transport link to and from the area.”

Councillor John Fairclough, Chair of the Merseyside Strategic Transportation and Planning Committee (MSTPC), represents Linacre Ward, home to the station.

Cllr Fairclough said:- “Bootle Oriel Road is a gateway to this area and the transformation will help give a better impression for many people coming into the area, as well as improving facilities for the many thousands of people who use the station every year.”

The station will also be equipped with state-of-the-art CCTV cameras for the safety of passengers.

Other improvements getting underway include a new shelter on the Southport bound platform to match the new shelter on the Liverpool platform.

As part of the works, the subway between Oriel Road and Canal Street will remain open but only for pedestrian use.

Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel, added:- “This refurbishment is part of our objective to provide an integrated public transport system that is accessible to all.”

Work is starting before the end of the month and is due to be completed by February 2008.

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