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Issue:- 1 November  2012


07: Fireman Sam meets Merseyside firefighters, Bert Parry, Mike Buratti and Danny Tyrrell.

FIREMAN Sam had a special meeting at a Birkenhead shopping centre with 2 young fans who don't let disability get in their way.  Brave little Steven Williams had a huge smile on his face when he met his screen idol at a personal meet and greet at The Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre.

02: Fireman Sam with Thomas and Adam Lee, five and three.The 4 year old Ellery Park pupil is blind and was diagnosed with septo-optic dysplasia, optic nerve hypoplasia and eye nystagmus when he was born prematurely. He also has autism.  His mum Cheryl , 28, of Prenton, who has 2 other children, Adam, 8, and Mia, 4 months, said:- "Steven loves Fireman Sam but when he is on the television, obviously he can only hear him. Today he has been able to meet him personally, feel him and it means he can use some of his other senses to make the most of seeing him in the way other children would.  To see his face when he met him was lovely. His face just lit up with this huge smile and it really was very special for him to have his own personal meeting with him.  He is always such a happy and determined child anyway so it is no surprise to see a smile on his face. He has never really let things get in his way."

Also personally meeting Fireman Sam was 8 year old Charlotte Eccleson from Moreton who has Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, which can make crowded, busy events such as queuing to meet Fireman Sam a very testing event.  The Eastway Primary School pupil came with some friends and her little brothers Jack, 6, who is also being tested for behaviour problems, and 2 year old Joshua.

15: Fireman Sam with (children left to right) Korey Johnson, A.J Johnson, Jack Eccleson , Lillie-Mae Johnson, Charlotte Eccleson, Josh Eccleson and mum Karen Eccleson.

Charlotte's mum Karen, 30, said:- "Queuing and crowded places cause Charlotte to get very stressed which is not nice for me but more importantly, it is not good for her either.  So, if the shopping centre hadn't been able to offer us this fantastic personal meeting with Fireman Sam, then I simply wouldn't have come.  The thing with Asperger Syndrome is that it is a hidden disability so outwardly Charlotte looks perfectly healthy but we have to think about it all the time to make sure she is as happy as possible.  Everything we do together has to be planned. Even through the holidays, I have to make sure we have a structured day together where we all know what we are doing to avoid as much upset as possible.  When Charlotte gets worked up, it is very difficult, she will smash things, strike out at her brothers, and often she runs away which is very challenging if I have Jack and Joshua with me.  So I am very grateful for this personal meeting and it has been lovely for the children as a half term treat."

Also enjoying the Fireman Sam visit were hundreds of other young shoppers. 

Derek Millar, Commercial Director for The Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre, said:- "We have had quite an astonishing amount of people turn up to see Fireman Sam and I am pleased we have been able to offer such a fun, free event for the half term break.  As a father myself, I know the value of being able to bring children to events such as these, particularly when they don't cost you anything.  It has been great to have so many families enjoying the visit with us and looking round, there were lots of happy faces."

08: Steven Williams meets his screen idol Fireman Sam.

Also attending the event were fire officers from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service who took the opportunity to talk to families about the upcoming fireworks and bonfire night season.

Michael Buratti, Arson Reduction Officer for the Wirral, said:- "We are coming up to one of our busiest time of year so it has been terrific to come today and give families safety messages and advice.  Linking in with Fireman Sam has been very handy and with there being so many people here today, it has given us the opportunity to engage with around 4,500 people and promote our key safety messages."

There were also Halloween inspired dance routines put on by Birkenhead based Expressions Dance College during the times when Fireman Sam was taking a well earned break.

09: Expressions Dance College students entertain the crowds at the Fireman Sam visit.

To find out more about events at The Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre, go to:- website for more information!

Residents can take the budget challenge

RESIDENTS in Liverpool are being invited to try and balance the books when it comes to deciding the City Council's spending priorities for the coming year.

Over the past 2 financial years the local authority has had to find savings of £141 million - £91 million in 2011-12 and a further £50 million by end of 2012-13.  The Council gets 80% of its money from central Government, and as a result of severe cuts to grants from Whitehall, anticipates having to find a further £143 million in savings over the next 4 years, to the end of 2016 to 17.

For the next financial year, 2013 to 2014, £32 million needs to be found, and all options are being considered.  As part of the consultation process, people are being invited to use You Choose, an online budget calculator. They have a choice of boosting or cutting spending, making efficiencies and generating income; but they have to balance the books.

Mayor Joe Anderson said:- "We face some horrendous decisions due to the cuts which have been imposed upon us by central Government. 4 out of every 5 pounds we spend comes from Whitehall, with only a relatively small proportion of our income generated through Council tax. The scale of the reduction means that no area of our spending will be immune. We face some stark and difficult choices. People should be under no illusion that it will change the way we deliver services forever and will impact on the lives of people in the City.  But I am clear that we have no choice but to make these decisions and set a legal and balanced budget. Failure to do so would be an abdication of responsibility and mean the Government would send in somebody to do it for us, with no regard to the Council's priorities.  This is a chance for local people to tell us what their priorities are and where they would choose to direct our spending if they had control of our finances.  The information that is fed into the system will be included as part of the consultation when we come to make choices in order to balance the books.  We want to protect, as far as possible, the essential services to the most vulnerable. However, given the scale of the reductions we face, and coming on top of already having to find £141million in the past 2 years, even important front-line services will not escape the impact.  We are determined to be as open and honest as we can about the process, because the decisions we make will affect every single resident in one way or another."

Budget options are being released in three tranches so that there is proper detailed consideration of the consequences before setting the final budget in March 2013. The first tranche have already been approved by Cabinet and will be considered by Full Council on 7 November.

The spending categories which people can consider and prioritise are:-

►  Children's services
►  Adult services
►  Housing and neighbourhoods
►  Culture, Sports & Leisure
►  Roads and refuse
►  Environment and regeneration
►  Council support and public engagement

Feedback from You Choose, which is open until 4 January, will form part of the budget-setting process. There will be other public consultation exercises and regular updates posted onto the Mayor's website  and take the budget challenge.


SYNEXUS, the world's largest multinational company dedicated to the successful recruitment and running of clinical studies, is currently recruiting patients across eight countries - including the UK, for a study to assess a treatment for Asthma. The study has been mandated by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration).

Asthma is a long-term condition that can cause a cough, wheezing and breathlessness due to inflammation of the airways. The severity of the symptoms vary from person to person with the condition affecting both adults and children. The World Health Organisation estimates that there are over 300 million asthma suffers worldwide, and worldwide deaths from asthma have been estimated at over 250,000 patients per year. In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma and this figure is on the increase. That is 1 in every 12 adults and 1 in every 11 children and the NHS spends around £1 billion a year treating and caring for people with asthma.

While there is no cure for asthma, symptoms can come and go and there are a number of treatments that can help control the condition. It is vital that additional research is carried out to find treatments which may help to reduce the severity of the condition and provide improved medications for everyday use to control and treat the symptoms.

The study that Synexus is currently running is an assessment into a treatment that may help ease the symptoms associated with Asthma. Synexus is looking for people who:-

Are aged 18 years old or over
Have been diagnosed with asthma
Are already taking medication for their asthma

Synexus is now offering complimentary health screens to people who meet the above criteria at its 7 Dedicated Research Centres across the UK. At this visit patients can have an informal chat with a Synexus Doctor or Nurse about their asthma condition. Also included is a respiratory health check involving a pulse and blood pressure check, and peak flow measurement (air flow from your lungs). The outcomes of these simple procedures will be discussed with the patient on the day (no preparation is required for the health screen). Synexus is interested in seeing patients even if their asthma symptoms appear to be under control, and even more so if they have had a recent asthma attack.

Those who would like to find out more or are interested in participating in this study should contact their nearest Synexus centre and quote the relevant reference number - Merseyside:- 0151 5509951 (Ref: code 10334)

Alternatively they can register their interest at:- - a dedicated website that Synexus has set up as part of its 'Challenge asthma' campaign which has been launched in the run up to the study to raise awareness about the need for further asthma research.

There is no obligation for people to participate in the study and if they do decide to take part, their GP will be kept fully informed of their involvement. Patients will be reimbursed for their time and all reasonable out of pocket expenses if they are accepted onto the study.

Synexus has many years experience in conducting a wide range of clinical studies. The purpose of a clinical study is to answer important questions about a new medicine, for example: does it improve a person's health and which dose of the medicine works best?

Each year, thousands of patients take part in clinical studies at Synexus' Dedicated Clinical Research Centres. There are many different studies running at each of the Centres throughout the year including potential treatments for conditions such as osteoporosis, smoking cessation, high-cholesterol, insomnia, vaccines, psoriasis and childhood eczema.

Participating in a Synexus clinical study means patients receive increased medical attention and may benefit from medications that aren't yet available to other sufferers of their condition, while making a positive contribution to the health of future generations.

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