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Issue:- Monday, 25 April 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 5 news items.    Page - 3.

Something for everyone at Wirral Walking Festival

SEASONED walkers and absolute beginners alike are limbering up for 1 of the outdoor highlights of the year, the Wirral Walking Festival, which runs for the whole of May 2016. Now in its 4th year, the Wirral Walking Festival continues to grow and grow with more groups and leaders offering an increased number and variety of different walks over 2016.

With nearly 200 have been planned events to take place over 2016 and 1 those will be a short series of 3 walks led by local walking guide author, Anthony Annakin Smith.  There is also a 14 mile hike around West Wirral, including:- Hilbre and the Wirral Way, as well as evening bat walks at:- Port Sunlight River Park and Brotherton Park.

Alongside these and other guided walks there are regular themed events included on the schedule. Health Walks take place at 13 different locations, Buggy Park Fitness and Run in Wirral sessions are also included as part of the festival.

There are some practical tasks featured in the festival this year, including one that plans to help cut back and maintain the greenery along the Wirral Public Right of Way network.

Kids can dress up as a pirate for a Seashore Walk with the Wirral Rangers in New Brighton and early birds could join the Dawn Chorus walk at Rivacre Valley Country Park, but be warned, it's a 4am start!

The Wirral Ramblers are heavily involved in the organisation of the festival once again, working alongside Wirral's parks and countryside service, and they have a number of walks planned, including evening ones. These are always particularly attractive as usually they finish with a drink in the local pub.

Other planned events include walks down memory lane learning about about the history of Wirral Country Park and the Wirral Way, which is based on the route of the old Hooton to West Kirby Railway.

Ranger Jo Hanik, who co-ordinates the Wirral Walking Festival, said:- "We are delighted once again to have put together a schedule for the month long festival which genuinely has something to offer everyone. I'd urge everyone to come along and enjoy the award winning parks and stunning coastline of the Wirral Peninsula."

A brochure with details of all the scheduled walks and when they take place has been distributed across the region. A copy can be downloaded electronically at:- VisitWirral.com.

John Durkin from Southport is sentenced over historic sex offences

MERSEYSIDE Police have said that they are pleased with the 16 year sentence of John Durkin, from Southport, Merseyside, for historic sexual offences on Friday, 22 April 2016. 53 year old Durkin, of Mount Street in Southport, was convicted of 18 counts of Indecent Assault against a female under the age of 16. As well as being sentenced to 16 years in prison, Durkin was also issued with an indefinite Sexual Offences Protection Order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely. All the offences are historic and date back to the 1980's to 1990's.

Detective Inspector Jimmy Belmar from Sefton Vulnerable Persons Unit said:- "Durkin's victims have shown immense bravery in coming forward. Time should never be a barrier to obtaining justice and I hope his sentence gives them some sense of closure and vindicates their decision to come forward. If anybody else is out there suffering in silence I want you to know that there is help and support available to you, both from Merseyside Police, where we have specially trained Officers who will listen to you and treat you with sensitivity and compassion, and from reliable and trusted support groups who will support you from your initial report and for as long as you need. In the last 6 years we have experienced increased levels of reporting, including historic cases, and this is a real indication of confidence in the way the Police and other agencies on Merseyside respond to complaints of rape and serious sexual assault. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure anyone who has suffered a sexual offence that if you can find the courage to come forward and speak to us, we will treat you with sensitivity and compassion and make sure that reports are properly and thoroughly investigated."

Anyone wishing to report a sexual offence can call Officers in the Force's specialist Unity Team on:- 0151 777 1382. Information can also be passed to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111.

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