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Southport Flower Show is 'Chelsea of the North' says top horticulturist Christine Walkden

RENOWNED horticulturist Christine Walkden is to return to the Southport Flower Show to share her expertise with visitors to the 90th Anniversary Show.  The award winning TV and radio presenter will be at the show, from Saturday, 17 August 2019 to Sunday, 18 August 2019, within the Show's Garden Theatre, with talks on how to attract wildlife into the garden, followed by a question and answer session. She said:- "Southport Flower Show always gives pleasure and interest to gardeners as there is so much to see and do. Great plants and gardens plus lots of entertainment too. It's a good day out for all and I consider the show to be the Chelsea of the North."

Originally from Lancashire, Christine started growing vegetables on an allotment near her home when she was just 10 years old. Her 1st job after leaving School was in the gardens of her local park and she progressed through a series of posts including a spell at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, before she brought her infectious enthusiasm and passion for plants to wider audiences as a Broadcaster and Lecturer.

Christine is the resident gardening expert on:- 'The One Show' on BBC1 and is also a panel member of BBC Radio 4's 'Gardener's Question Time.' She has presented BBC's 'Gardeners World' and her own BBC2 TV series:- 'Christine's Garden' and 'Glorious Gardens From Above.' She has also appeared on:- 'BBC Breakfast' and 'The Paul O'Grady Show' as well as appearing as a guest on the comedy quiz show:- 'Shooting Stars.' As well as her broadcasting work, Christine has written 5 successful books on gardening and has travelled the world visiting gardens on field trips.

Christine has been honoured with a string of awards in her career and is widely recognised as one of the UK's leading horticulturalists and plantswomen. Christine's new BBC1 show:- 'Glorious Gardens From Above' recently won the Royal Television Society Award for:- 'Best Daytime Series 2015.' She was also named as:- 'Amateur Gardening Magazine's TV Gardener of the year 2014.' General Manager Ray Roukin said:- "We're delighted Christine will be joining us again this year as she's hugely popular with visitors and is so knowledgeable on all things horticultural."

This year's Southport Flower Show is having a garden party theme as the show celebrates it's 90th Anniversary and the line up also features a food festival, amateur growers' competitions and entertainment for all the family. Christine will join a host of famous names at Southport this year including Matthew Wilson who will also be passing on gardening tips.  For more up to date information on the show, celebrity announcements, details and ticket bookings visit:- SouthportFlowerShow.Co.UK.

The Museum of Liverpool ranked as the number 1 accessible visitor attraction in the UK

REVITALISE, a national charity that creates revitalising holidays for disabled people and their carers, conducted a 2nd national report to understand the accessibility of the UK's visitor attractions. The Revitalise Accessible Tourism Report identified the Museum of Liverpool as the number 1 attraction in the UK, beating all other attractions including:- popular southern venues such as the Tate Modern, Science Museum and the National Gallery in London.

The latest report by Revitalise comes 5 years on from the last study to understand if visitor attractions have been actively making positive changes since 2014 to become accessible to disabled visitors. 6 of Liverpool's attractions dominated the rankings in the North West also featuring the:- Walker Art Gallery, International Slavery Museum, World Museum Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool.

The estimated annual spending power of disabled visitors has increased to ₤249 billion compared to ₤212 billion in 2014, and the updated study shows that visitor attractions have been actively making changes since the 2014 findings. The Revitalise study highlights progress made by British visitor attractions.

1 in 4 UK visitor attractions (26%) are more than 90% accessible, compared to the 1 in 10 in 2014

45% of UK visitor attractions have all their staff trained in disability awareness, which is almost tripled from the 17% in 2014

28% of attractions are now equipped with hoists, almost double when compared to the 15% recorded in 2014

Essential disability access information is now available across 57% more attractions' websites. 8 out of 10 venues now include essential disabled access information compared to the 3 out of 10 in 2014. This has come after Revitalise highlighted the need for greater clarity and more thorough information to be on their websites for the benefit of their disabled visitors.

Revitalise have welcomed these improvements in accessibility, but would still like to highlight where more progress needs to be made:-

More than ½ of venues still do not have all staff trained in disability awareness.

¾ were not equipped with hoists; an indispensable item for many disabled visitors.

The survey scored UK visitor attractions on hoist availability, staff training in disability awareness, general accessibility, concessions for disabled visitors and their carers, disabled toilets as a percentage of the total number of toilets and disabled parking, and whether this information was available on the venue's website.

Commenting on the charity's survey findings, Revitalise Chief Executive Officer Chris Simmonds said:- "We're thrilled to acknowledge the venues that have made necessary changes in their accessibility for the benefit of disabled people. We are also impressed with the efforts of those venues that not only represent the very best of our British Culture, but that are making that culture fully accessible to everyone.  1 in 3 of us lives with a disability or has someone close who does. Accessibility is not only the right thing to do, but we say it's also the smart thing to do. Disabled people and their households spend around ₤249 billion each year; have you done everything you can do to make sure that they're spending some of this money with you? The best advice we can give to venues is to involve disabled people in your plans; they know what real accessibility means and will tell you the truth about whether you're getting it right."

Revitalise congratulated the Museum of Liverpool on their achievement and invited them to speak about their success. Deputy Director, Kate Johnson from the Museum of Liverpool said:- "The achievement means a lot to the team at Museum of Liverpool. We want all of our visitors to feel welcome and able to appreciate and enjoy the amazing stories we tell here. From the outset the design of the building was intended to be fully accessible and we also reflect that intention in our staff training and the displays and events we hold. We are so proud to be at the top of the list and will continue to listen and work with disabled people and organisations like Revitalise to maintain this position."

Revitalise are the people who create revitalising holidays for disabled people and carers. They provide everything you'd expect from a proper holiday, combined with the reassurance of excellent Nurse led care and an army of brilliant volunteers. Revitalise Sandpipers is situated in Southport. Revitalise has 2 other accessible holiday centres situated in Chigwell, Essex and Southampton all designed for guests to leave feeling refreshed. Accessible excursions to many of the tourist attractions listed on ALVA, live entertainment, and activities are an integral part of every Revitalise holiday, combined with CQC regulated care support.

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