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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 96

Date:- 26  April 2003

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CROWDS FLOCK Model village gets go ahead to re-open

THE return of Southport’s famous model railway village is reported to have lost thousands of pounds in revenue due to an insurance bungle. As hundreds of frustrated members of the public were turned away from the re-opening due to a cancellation of the village’s insurance just hours before the event. 

A scheduled start to their season was due on April 12, but Royal Sun Alliance withdrew their offer to cover the site, causing the sites opening to be delayed until a sympathetic insurance broker could be found to guarantee the opening of the attraction. The withdrawal was due to the heightened threat of terrorism to tourism venues and are considered a high risk to the safety of the public.

Proprietor Ray Jones sought help from Bekonskot Model village in Buckinghamshire whom assisted with an eager broker who gave the go ahead for the opening of the site. 

An appreciative public was able to return to the grand re-opening of the Model railway village six days later in great numbers.


TOP Chef Nigel Smith will be back at the Southport Spring Garden Festival at Meols Hall, Churchtown for the whole of the coming May Bank Holiday weekend.

His culinary excellence and unique brand of kitchen humour made him a popular attraction with visitors to the 2002 Festival - so much so that Nigel will be appearing twice daily on all three days this year.

"Nigel has become something of a celebrity in recent years and his popularity has spread from his restaurant in Mellor near Blackburn right across the North West. He is a regular contributor to lifestyle magazines and regional TV & radio stations."
Festival Director Tom Bradshaw told us.

Nigel will have a specially designed kitchen surrounded by seating for 100 people in the Speciality Foods Marquee. The marquee, which will be packed with stalls selling Lancashire Cheeses, smoked fish, cured bacon & ham, ostrich meat products, boar pies, chutneys, pickles, cakes and traditional fudge & toffee, and will give Nigel the chance to demonstrate his flair using top quality regional produce.

The 2003 Festival is already breaking all records in its four-year history, with marquees enlarged to cope with demand and trade stands almost sold out. Attractions include displays by top growers and international exhibitors, outside gardens, a contemporary floral art design show, the amazing world of bonsai exhibition and national competition, plus gardening advice, talks and demonstrations including question time with TV's 'Big' Jeff Turner and his team of experts. 

Creative crafts, quality trade stands, excellent catering, family entertainment and live music will complete the line-up for annual gardening year even which continues to grow in stature.

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A TOUCH of Seventies magic is set to return to the Liverpool Empire on May 11 in a format that includes pop bands of the era, Sweet, The Rubettes and the renowned Showaddywaddy.

Many will remember such hits as Under the Moon of Love and Sugar Baby Love by at least two of the bands. Reliving some past memories and experiences of the bands, who spent a four-year period of dominance of British Music – a record not surpassed - will be a time remembered by many.

Sweet in particular were responsible for bringing Androgyny and guitar pop that led to many different tribal looks of teenagers today. The iconic Rubettes managed to sell eight million copies of their records during the seventies period.

The celebration of the sensational show ‘Glitz, Blitz and 70’s Hitz’ sees the combination of bands that dominated the British pop charts. This one stop show sees Showaddywaddy celebrate their continued presence of 30 years in the music industry.


THE county's top folk band HOUGHTON WEAVERS will be appearing live over the May Bank Holiday. The popular and venerable mainstream folkies will take time out of their busy tour schedule to entertain visitors at the Southport Spring Garden Festival on Sunday 4 and Monday 5 May. 

Well known for their unique blend of folk music and catchphrase 'Keep Folk Smiling' they are guaranteed to keep toes tapping at this year's event. This will be their second visit to the Festival, which is on target to beat previous attendance records. 

Lead singer of The Houghton Weavers, Tony Berry said, "We played at the Southport Spring Garden Festival for the first time on their Lancashire Day last year. The atmosphere was great and we had such an appreciative crowd. There is so much going on for all the family at the Festival and I would thoroughly recommend it as a day out. Our next album is due out at towards the end of the year featuring a mix of old favourites and a couple of new surprises which we may treat visitor's to this year's Festival!"

Held in the grounds of Meols Hall, Churchtown over the early May Bank Holiday Weekend (Saturday 3rd, Sunday 4th & Monday 5th May) the Southport Spring Garden Festival is widely recognised as the launch event for the gardening year attended by some of the UK's top growers and exhibitors.

Over 30,000 visitors are expected to attend the Festival now in its fourth successive year. The Festival offers a changing programme of music throughout the three day event to appeal to all the family, both young and old.

"We are delighted the group will be playing again this year",
said Festival Director, Tom Bradshaw. "They are always a crowd pleaser and known for their down to earth humour and style of entertaining. I think the group must have a soft spot for Southport as they have three other dates planned for May and June at the Riverside Leisure Centre. We are certain that they will be a popular feature of the Festival both with local people who know their music well and with visitors from farther afield."


Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.