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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 3 December 2007

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A Christmas card design by a disabled artist from Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Freshfields at College Path in Formby, Merseyside has been picked as part of the 2007 range of Christmas cards to help raise money for Leonard Cheshire Disability.

‘A Starry Night’
by Anne Cronin which shows a traditional nativity scene was one of the winning three entries. The other two winners were from Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Services in Surrey.

Speaking of her success Anne said:- “Taking part in the arts and craft sessions at Freshfields has always been a great pleasure as I find it so relaxing and love doing creative work. I’m thrilled my card was selected as one of the three winning designs.

My faith gives me strength and I feel Jesus is always with me. I chose the nativity as I feel the real meaning of Christmas lives with the birth of Jesus and in Him bringing joy to the world.”

Anne Cronin was born in the 1960s and as she puts it she was a ‘thalidomide baby’.

Anne said:- “I started attending Freshfields in 1997 for two days a week on a Monday and Tuesday to do the art and pottery classes. I always enjoyed art at school but hadn’t done anything for quite some time. When I went to Freshfields for the two days it gave my mum a break as she would have some time for herself and do things she couldn’t get round to when I was there.

I lived at home with my mum until 2000 but as she’d looked after me for 40 years I decided to move permanently to Freshfields.”

Anne walked for quite some time, but in 1991 she fractured her right leg when she got off a settee causing her to loose a lot of her mobility. Today Anne uses a manual wheelchair at Freshfields and a motorised wheelchair for her trips into town.


ACCORDING to Merseyside Home Watch, over recent weeks there has been a few reports from various areas of Sefton that Bogus Callers are targeting vulnerable people. These callers came in various guises, from passing themselves off as Water Board officials, tradesmen seeking work as roofers or house repairers or even police officers.

On one reported occasion a female called at a house and stated she was authorised by the police to sell household cleaning products as part of her rehabilitation programme. This was untrue.

One of the reported bogus calls sees a "Trader cold who calls elderly residents (who are often physically/ mentally disabled) and informs them that a roof tile has slipped off their roof (or a job of an equally minor nature). He offers to rectify the problem for a nominal fee such as £50. He then returns at several times throughout the year and "invents" problems with the building, such as damp, roofing repairs, and replacement of soffits. The traders prices inflate substantially as he informs them that the original minor fault is far worse than he anticipated. Due to his seemingly pleasant manner, elderly residents actually think that he is a very nice person! In most cases he even offers a "free guarantee" with the initial minor repair but this is an extremely deceitful way of gaining access to the victim's house at several times during the year."

If you have any information, please call Crimestoppers on:- 0800 555 111.


FAMILY problems were one of the main reasons that children and young people contacted ChildLine for counselling over the twelve days of Christmas last year, which is why the children’s charity is inviting everyone to support them this Christmas at Carols by Candlelight.

ChildLine, a service provided by the NSPCC, reveals that of the 4,700 plus children counselled nationally between 24 December 2006 and 5 January 2007, over 600 callers phoned with concerns about family relationships, with the majority of calls taken on Christmas Day being about this subject. Other calls taken during this period focused on loneliness, bullying, physical and sexual abuse.

The charity relies on voluntary contributions to run such vital services. Carols by Candlelight is an opportunity for people to come together in the spirit of Christmas and help to raise funds for the children’s helpline service. ChildLine warmly invites everyone to join them at Liverpool Cathedral on Tuesday 11 December 2007 at 7pm for an evening of music and song in the beautiful candlelit setting of the cathedral.

Mark Tobin, ChildLine services manager said:- “We all think of Christmas as a joyful time for everyone to get together with their families. It is very easy to forget that there are many families out there who find Christmas a time of great stress. It is sad to think that there will be children this year who are feeling so lonely on Christmas Day that the only way they can talk to about family problems is by calling ChildLine. We mustn’t forget as well that there are many who don’t get through to ChildLine as a lack of funds means that we are unable to answer every call.

I want to ask all Liverpudlians to remember a very important Christmas message that – amongst all the celebrations - this is also a time for thinking about children across Merseyside who are desperately in need of help. One way for people to show their support is to come along to ChildLine’s Carols by Candlelight at Liverpool Cathedral.”

Dana, winner of the 1970 Eurovision song contest and former-MEP, will be performing a song from her latest album as well as giving a rendition of ‘Silent Night’. Esther Rantzen CBE, NSPCC trustee and president of ChildLine, will be giving a speech of welcome. The special service will end as the congregation sings the final carol by the warm light of votary candles.

Date:- Tuesday 11 December 2007

Venue:- Liverpool Cathedral

Time:- Doors open 7pm, performance starts at 7.30pm

Tickets:- £6 adult; £3 OAP and children

Contact:- Fundraising Helpline 0870 336 2922

All money raised at the concert will fund ChildLine, which is a free and confidential helpline for young callers across the UK. Trained volunteer counsellors talk to children and young people who are desperate for support with problems such as bullying, sexual abuse, family tensions, exam stress and self harm.

In the New Year, ChildLine will be opening the city’s own ChildLine base, housed in the NSPCC Hargreaves Centre on Great Homer Street which was funded through the generous support of the people of Merseyside through the Safe Place Appeal.

The event has been generously supported by the Liverpool office of legal services organisation DLA Piper and leading church furnishings manufacturer and supplier Hayes and Finch who also have a base in Liverpool. Hayes and Finch are the sole distributors of Dana’s music in the UK and are kindly providing the votary candles for the event. Dana’s Christmas album will be available to buy at the service and a donation from Hayes and Finch will be made to the NSPCC for each CD sold.

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