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Westerleigh's West Lancashire Cemetery and Crematorium raises ₤10k for local charities

WEST Lancashire Cemetery and Crematorium is marking its 4th Anniversary by raising over ₤10,000 for local charities. The funds raised have been donated to local charities including:- Skelmersdale's Twinkle House, St Joseph's Hospice, in Thornton and Wirral's Claire House Children's Hospice.

Manager, Steve Glen, has overseen the launch and management of the crematorium, which is set in over 40 acres, in the heart of West Lancashire's countryside. He said:- "We wanted something positive to come out of what can be a very sad time and donating these funds to local causes, which offer such a vital service, seemed like a natural choice for us. We're always looking out for new charities to support and we ask our Funeral Director partners and the local community for suggestions too."

Since it opened 4 years ago, the crematorium which is 1 of 34 Westerleigh sites throughout the UK, has families travelling many miles to this excellent location. This is something Steve puts down to the uniquely personal service offered to all 3,800 services that have been held there.

He added:- "People come here to remember, mourn and celebrate the lives of their loved ones. We regularly see families travel from as far as:- Preston, Liverpool and Wigan to have a funeral here which I think is due to the personalised service that we deliver, and the beautiful location and facilities. We cater for all religions and non-religious services, with spacious grounds and longer than normal service times that allow a more unique approach. Whether families want the coffin to arrive in a tractor instead of a hearse; whether they want to bring a pet along; or whether they want to decorate the chapel in banners and flags from their favourite football team, we are happy to accommodate their wishes."

Regional manager George Bell added:- "We're delighted with the amount of funds we've been able to donate to charities since we opened in West Lancashire. Families' feedback about the site has been very positive. The team go the extra mile and this has been reflected in the distance people travel from to use the site, and the breadth of funeral directors we now work with throughout the Region."

Transport for the North welcomes "fresh start" with OLR franchise award replacing Northern

TRANSPORT for the North has welcomed the news the Secretary of State for Transport is stripping Northern of its rail franchise and is bringing in the Operator of Last Resort (OLR). Barry White, Chief Executive, said:- "Our hard pressed passengers have been calling for action for some time, as have our Members. Now, at last, we have the chance of a fresh start. Action has been taken and we can move forward. This new initiative must put passengers 1st and provide a reliable rail service that rebuilds trust that has been lost. In addition to this change, essential infrastructure is needed to reach the levels of performance and reliability we need, and we now need to see early commitment to this and accelerated delivery from Government."Barry said the move provides "a bridge to a better, longer term solution that works for the North" and marks "the start of a journey."

Transport Minister, Grant Shapps MP, has said it is expected the new franchise arrangement will be formally in operation from 1 March 2020. The decision follows a Request for Proposals issued last year with 2 options on the table; a Direct Award to the incumbent, Northern, under a short term franchise arrangement; or an award to the Operator of Last Resort bringing the rail franchise under Government control.

Barry continued:- "There may be some changes but we will continue to be a champion for the North's passengers and expect to be fully involved as things evolve. We will monitor and hold the OLR very closely to account." He said that, in making the award, the Government has stated it recognises Transport for the North's priorities include improving the situation for passengers, improving performance and ensuring the delivery of the franchise enhancements. "We called for this. It is good the Government has listened. The DfT has also said it recognises the importance of planning for future growth and enhancements. We want to work in partnership with the operator on the development and delivery of our long term vision." said Barry.

He added that what matters 1st is restoring trust and confidence in the railway, increasing local input and the operator's accountability and delivering on the Blake Jones recommendations. "Difficult decisions will be needed as we move forward, but they should be taken with the involvement of Northern leaders; those closest to the passengers; and they must not prevent the delivery of what has been previously agreed."

Barry also added that the move also brings the opportunity to rebase performance targets and ensure they best serve the interests of passengers. He said he also expected improvements in leadership. The Department for Transport have been clear that they are committed to delivery of the new baseline of the 2020 timetable and new rolling stock with easier mechanisms for adding enhancements where they are deliverable within the 2 year Direct Award period as part of the franchise specification.

"This a significant moment," said Barry, "it brings with it the chance of greater involvement in the way we deliver connectivity across the Region and it will be further informed as we adopt recommendations from both the Blake Jones and forthcoming Williams Review."

Transport for the North's engagement with the Department for Transport is already underway and the organisation has made clear it remains very much part of the team shaping change; both through its existing Partnership Agreement and through the wider rail related initiatives it is involved in; including the major rail programmes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, the TransPennine Upgrade and HS2.

So what are your thoughts on this? Please email us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com with your views on this transport issue.

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