SUCCESS FOR SHOPPING CENTRE SECURITY TEAM
MARVELLOUS moustaches have
been grown by security staff at a Birkenhead shopping centre to
raise awareness about a form of cancer which has affected one of
Bryan Walters, a security supervisor at The Grange and Pyramids
Shopping Centre, was diagnosed with testicular cancer aged just 25.
Within days of getting the devastating news he underwent an
operation to remove the tumour which had already spread into his
lymph nodes and endured 6 cycles of chemotherapy to beat the
He was given the all clear in 2003 and doesn't miss an opportunity
to share his personal story with friends and colleagues in a bid to
encourage them to visit the doctor if they have any concerns.
Bryan, 47, from Wallasey who has worked at The Grange and Pyramids
Shopping centre for 16 years, said:- "I had left it a while
before going to the doctors and he told me off at the time for not
going sooner. It's true what they say, men hate going to the
doctors and put it off, but with something like this, you must not
I have had friends and colleagues coming to me in the past who know
what I have been through and have asked me what they should do
because they have found a lump and my advice is always the same.
Get yourself checked out fast because testicular cancer is one of
the most curable forms of cancer particularly when it is caught
I tell them about how when I was on the hospital ward getting
treated, there was another young man, a really good lad, who was not
as lucky as me. He had just got married and had found out the cancer
had spread to his brain and it was terminal.
That's why I tell people not to wait but to get things checked out
if they are worried."
Bryan has been among approximately 850,000 men globally taking part
in Movember. The increasingly popular event, which gets its
name from a combination of moustache and November, sees men show off
their weird and wonderful facial hair to raise money and awareness
about men's health, in particular prostate and testicular cancer.
Leading the campaign at The Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre is
security officer Sean Cunningham who recruited a team of fellow
security guards and the man in charge at the centre; Commercial
Director Derek Millar; on his moustache mission.
Derek said:- "Growing a
moustache has been a laugh, but I think we will all be glad to get
the razors out. We have managed to raise close to £300 but I
think more importantly, it has got us all joking and talking about
some of these issues and that is important. Particularly as one of
our own close colleagues knows what it is like to be faced with the
terrible situation of dealing with testicular cancer. Men are not
very good about discussing their health and this can be to our
detriment so I think Mission Moustache at The Grange and Pyramids
Shopping Centre has been a great success for more than one reason."
Bryan, an American Football fan, who went on after his cancer
treatment to play with The Merseyside Night Hawks for 7 years,
said he would also be pleased to get rid of his Movember moustache.
Bryan added that:- "My wife
Angie is not impressed and will be glad to see it gone. I tease her
and say I have got quite attached to it. It has all been for a
good cause at the end of the day and I suppose no one knows that
better than me."
You can donate to the Movember team at The Grange and Pyramids
tobacco smuggling ring smashed
10 people have been
arrested in a series of co-ordinated raids in the UK and Luxembourg
during an investigation into a suspected £50 million tax fraud by an
international tobacco smuggling ring. The gang is believed to have
used microwave ovens and other white goods to smuggle tonnes of
illegal tobacco into the UK.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigators, assisted by Luxembourg
police, carried out searches in Kent, Devon, Greater Manchester,
West Lancashire and Luxembourg last week and arrested 9 men and 1 woman.
The arrests follow a covert HMRC investigation into the large-scale
import and export of microwave ovens and other white goods filled
with hand rolling tobacco (HRT) or cash. So far HMRC officers have
seized 4,800kg of HRT (worth over £1.5 million in evaded duty) HMRC
have also seized large quantities of cash.
Mike O'Grady, HMRC Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation,
said:- "Using household appliances as a cover, this gang was
on track to evade £50 million a year if they had succeeded. Further
details cannot be provided at this early stage, as our investigation
is continuing. However, tax fraud and attempts to launder the
proceeds of crime are treated extremely seriously by HMRC, and we
will relentlessly pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to
be attacking the public revenue in this way."
sights on empty homes hit-list
LIVERPOOL City Council is
setting to work on a new 'hit-list' of empty properties in
the City; and pledging to take firm action to bring them back into
use. The Council's housing team has begun contacting the
owners of the top 1,000 empty homes in the City. Owners are being
encouraged to bring their properties back into use as quickly as
possible, and are being informed that enforcement action will be
taken, where appropriate.
The new clampdown, which gets underway during National Empty Homes
Week (25 November to 1 December), is part of the City's 3 year 'Bringing
Empty Homes Back Into Use' programme, which aims to tackle void
properties across Liverpool, deal with problem landlords and improve
the standard of the City's rented accommodation.
Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann
O'Byrne, said:- "We are absolutely determined to bring empty
homes across the City back into use and provide valuable homes for
our residents. Identifying and targeting this hit list is a hugely
important part of our work to achieve that. Properties left vacant
blight our neighbourhoods and are a wasted resource. They can lead
to a reduction in overall property values and can deteriorate
rapidly, causing real problems for the community - including the
accumulation of rubbish, vermin infestations, the risk of injury to
children who enter buildings and arson. This clampdown sends
out the message loud and clear that we are serious about tackling
this problem. Supported by our 10 point pledge for landlords, we
will work with owners to encourage them to bring their properties
back into use. Where enforcement is necessary, we will have no
hesitation in taking action."
The top 1,000 empty properties have been prioritised according to:-
► Whether the property falls within one of the priority areas
identified in the City's Empty Homes Plan
► The impact the property is having in an area
► The level of complaints received
► The level of outstanding debt owed to the
Housing officers are now contacting owners to find out why their
property is vacant; whether there are any barriers to bringing it
back into use; and what support or advice they might need.
The new push, backed up by the powers to take enforcement action, is
expected to prompt many more owners to take the necessary action to
bring their properties up to scratch.
Liverpool's Empty Homes programme supports the Mayor of Liverpool's
pledge to deliver 5,000 new and refurbished homes for the City by
2016. It includes a 10 point pledge on landlord issues. The pledge
aims to build on the positive relationship the Council has with many
landlords while taking a robust stance against the small minority of
poor landlords and provide a level playing field for all.
The 10 point pledge includes:-
► The adoption of a Liverpool Standard for private rented housing
which will set out the minimum standards expected of landlords.
► A free, voluntary register for landlords to encourage better
communications with the Council.
► A Citywide landlord accreditation scheme, and
'Scores on the Doors' service which recognise good landlords.
► Incentives for landlords who manage their properties well,
including access to renewal funding.
► A dedicated website for landlords and tenants and confidential
freephone line where people can report unregistered or poor quality
► A Landlords Advisory Group, comprised of landlords and also
lettings and managing agents
► A Rogue Landlords Hit Squad, which will seek out and investigate
poor landlords and take appropriate action.
Liverpool has achieved significant success in recent months in
securing Government funding to tackle vacant properties. The City
was awarded £13.5 million in 'Clusters of Empty Homes funding'
in May which will bring over 700 empty homes back into use,
including in the Anfield and Welsh Streets areas of the City.
The City also hopes to build on the success of the 'Beautiful
North' voids pilot, which brought over 200 properties back into
use in 2011.
National Empty Homes Week is organised by the charity Empty Homes to
highlight the waste of empty property nationwide, to celebrate the
success of numerous examples and new initiatives to bring empty
homes back into use and to encourage more widespread action.
New statistics released by the charity show that although there has
been a reduction of 10,000 in the number of empty homes in England
over the past year, the figure still stands at over 710,000. Almost
260,000 of these are identified as long-term vacant properties.