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Issue:- 11 August 2011

Magic of Star Wars at Spaceport, Seacombe

A week-end of intergalactic fun awaits Star Wars enthusiasts when The Emperor and his imperial forces descend on Spaceport in Seacombe.  Organised in conjunction with Star Wars re-enactment group, The 99th Garrison, the weekend 13 August to 14 August 2011, gives fans the chance to get up close with over 20 costumed characters, whilst exploring Spaceport’s interactive, hands-on exhibitions.   There will be a range of prop replicas and memorabilia from the Star Wars universe, including lightsabers, blasters and 8 foot high model Droids and visitors will have the chance to be photographed with the characters in a ‘Death Star Corridor’.  For budding Jedi’s the weekend includes workshops and Q&A sessions in the Spacedome and the opportunity to interact with model droids, including R2D2. For those who really want to get in the swing of things there’ll be face painting available, offering the chance for visitors to emulate their favourite character and join in the fun - plus with certificates for those attending the workshops or in fancy dress, this really will be a weekend to remember!  Paul Truesdale, 99th Garrison membership officer said;- “There is a huge appetite for Star Wars, the characters and the gadgets, with people of all ages taking a real interest. This weekend has something for everyone – it’s a chance for established enthusiasts to get together and for those who are new to Star Wars to find out more.”  Usual admission prices apply with no extra charge for workshops and Q&A sessions. Face painting £2 extra charge. See:- or call:- 0151 330 1566 for full details.


THE number of motorists found drink and drug driving in Merseyside during this year's targeted summer awareness campaign has fallen compared to last year (2010).  During the month-long campaign in June, a total of 3,034 drivers were stopped in Merseyside and breath tested.  Of those, 90 people failed or refused a breath test (2.9%).  Last year, 2,475 drivers were given breath tests with 119 of those failing or refusing (4.8%). The number of under 25 year olds who tested positive or refused a breath test however increased slightly from 4.4% last year to 4.6% this year. This equates to a difference of 28 under 25 year olds in 2010 to 30 under 25 year olds in 2011.   The number of drivers who were tested for drugs increased by 69%. This resulted in 7 arrests.  Head of Merseyside Police's Roads Policing Department Chief Inspector John Hogan said:- "Merseyside Police is committed to tackling drink and drug drivers on our roads and these figures clearly demonstrate that our message is getting through.  We work hard with our partners to challenge the perception that it is acceptable to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.  Each month the Roads Policing Department holds awareness campaigns which are a combination of education and enforcement to continue to drive down unacceptable behaviour behind the wheel of a vehicle.  Road traffic collisions destroy lives and while the number of collisions in Merseyside continues to fall year on year we are determined to do all we can to ensure this remains the case and fewer lives are ruined as a result of careless or dangerous driving."

Cassidy & Banks commit their futures to the Vikings cause

THE Widnes Vikings received a further boost, when both Mick Cassidy and Dave Banks committed their futures to its coaching department. Former Great Britain, England and Ireland international, Mick Cassidy served his hometown club, Wigan for 14 years before joining the Vikings in 2005, earning the ‘Player of the Season’ award in his first year. After three seasons, Mick left the Vikings and spent a year at Barrow Raiders before returning to the Stobart Stadium to take up the role of strength and conditioning coach.  Speaking of his new appointment as Assistant Coach, Cassidy said:- "I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to continue working alongside Denis Betts. As a player, I thoroughly enjoyed being in his company and it’s exactly the same to this very day. By the same token, having colleagues such as Clive Brewer in the same department as you is another massive bonus, and collectively we’ll be working hard to ensure the Vikings’ hit the ground running in 2012. Our recruitment for next year is going well and hopes are high that we can compete in Super League from day one. Before that happens, we’re hoping to finish the current season strongly and as a group we’re confident that we can do this."  Vikings’ Head Coach, Denis Betts added:- "Mick shows lots of passion and drive in his role at the club, which is no surprise given they were the very same attributes he had as a player. Aside of his abilities, he’s also a person who I trust implicitly and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have him alongside me, as my ‘number 2’. Mick’s work ethic and drive is there for all to see and he’s already making massive strides in this environment and I’m looking forward to playing my part in his overall development in the next few years."  Taking up the position as Assistant and Technical Coach is Dave Banks, who has been a permanent fixture at the club since arriving in February 2006. Banks’ first role was as Academy Coach, guiding his team to a minor Premiership success with a 100% win ratio in his first season. After more than 2 years in charge, he was promoted to Reserves Coach in July 2008, and went on to enjoy a Grand Final victory within months of his arrival. In December 2010, he was appointed as a First Team assistant to Denis Betts and has since been responsible for a number of key tasks, such as analysis of preparation and performance and assessing opposition strengths and weaknesses.  Denis Betts added:- “Having worked at the club since 2006, I’ve seen the evolution of Widnes Vikings into a professional, well structured and successfully run club” said Banks. When I was asked to commit my future, and continue working as an assistant to Denis and contribute towards the next exciting chapter in the club’s history, it was an easy decision. My association with Denis stretches back to 2003 when I worked alongside him at Wigan Warriors and having always aspired to coach in the Super League competition one day, I’m really looking forward to the many challenges that lie ahead for the club and making the most of my opportunity.  Dave understands the game really well, knows exactly what his strengths are and again, there’s a massive trust element between us. What I also like is the fact that he’s forthright and he doesn’t mind telling me something or offering his opinion on things, even if I don’t necessarily share his belief at times. As a coaching department, this type of interaction creates an open-debate mentality between us and allows for a certain amount of conflict in our opinions without necessarily upsetting or offending each other. Instead, we get behind one another and plan the best way forward together. The past few weeks have been pretty busy at the club, and we’ve made a whole host of announcements. I can assure each and every one of our members that we’ll be leaving no stone unturned in our recruitment drive which is entirely geared towards employing only the very best people at Widnes Vikings."

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