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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 9 July 2007

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Smile! It’s Love at First Sight

PROOF that love at first sight leads to long-term relationship success.  A staggering 22m Brits admit to having fallen in love at first sight, with 2 in 5 Liverpudlians still in a long term relationship with the other person after 10 years, new research reveals.

The thunderbolt research conducted by the UK’s busiest dating website, reveals a nation of die-hard romantics, with 87% of Scousers passionately believing in love at first sight - a phenomenon also experienced by Bill and Hilary Clinton, Katie Holmes and George Clooney.  A nice smile, good eye contact and the sound of a person’s voice are the biggest romantic triggers among Brits who admit to falling instantly in love with a stranger.

However, of those that felt an instant attraction with a complete stranger who passed them by, only 30% acted on impulse, plucking up the courage to make a connection and talk to the other person.  Like a scene from 'Sliding Doors', the remaining 67% of people weren’t brave enough to make the first move, and of those 77% admit to regretting not making contact right there and then. Sadly, 10% Brits admit to regretting the missed connection for years afterwards and dream about what could have been with the other person.

Sophy Silver of says:- “It seems it’s real love, not lust, at first sight for Brits, which will come as a real surprise to all the romance cynics out there.  For the die-hard but shy romantics, there’s an opportunity to re-connect anonymously online through ‘Missed Connections’, where singles can post an ad looking for the person they’ve had a moment with. For that group, it can be a case of ‘love at first site’, which holds equal promise. The trick is to include as much detail as possible – from the colour of the person’s hair to the colour of their eyes, what seat on the bus they sat at or whatever book they were reading at the time–that way there’s little confusion and people reconnect with the exact person they passed by.”

On the site, hundreds of people post ads for missed connections’ every week, with more and more people putting their hearts on their virtual sleeves in search for a stranger they’ve fallen for. Since January, postings for missed connections have increased by a record 367%.

A posting from the site reads:- “On the District line from Richmond. You had a red handbag and rucksack. You were reading Saturday on a Tuesday morning. You have the most amazing eyes. Just thought I’d let you know, you made my morning”

Smile, you’re in love!

For 66% of Brits a nice smile is the biggest trigger of romantic attraction. 1 in 2 fall for nice eyes, with 28% of Brits blindly falling in love with another person’s accent or the sound of their voice. The way the other person dresses (26%), walks (19%) and their perfume or aftershave (17%) are the other biggest turn-ons, coming ahead of a person’s hair cut (11%) and height (10%).

Other research highlights

· 25% of those questioned admit to falling for a stranger in a bar or a club. 14% people admit to acting on impulse and connecting with a complete stranger on a train and 11% of people have hooked up at a music festival

· 50% of Northern Irish have fallen in love at first sight while 61% of people in the North West have never experienced it

· 37.5% of Londoners would make a connection rather than see it pass by

· 12.5% of people in Northern Ireland most likely to make the first move

· 20.9% of people in Midlands have never made a move and still regret it to this day

· Almost 2 out of 5 men make the first move with 75% using eye-contact to grab a girl’s attention

· 26% of men find they fall head-over-heels at work while 1 in 5 confess to finding their lady-love while out shopping

· 33% of men prefer to stick to old-school charm and chivalry to wooa stranger. Opening the door or giving up their seat on the bus or train being the most popular gestures

· 4% of Scots to fall in love on a train, it happens to 25% of Northern Irish on a bus – 66.7% of which have made a connection – and 1 out of 10 people in Wales get revved-upat traffic lights!

· The research also points to an increasingly competitive market for British singletons, with 28% admitting that they devote more time to their work life than their love life and so are keen to snap up everylove opportunitythey can get - even if that’s on the tube commute to and from work

When they made the alphabet they should have put U and I together

Smile – It’s contagious and will make you much more approachable

Make eye contact – look across at the object of your affections, catch his/ her eye and then look away. Do it gently so that it appears natural and don’t stare – it’s a turn off!

Make the first move. You might not get another chance so take a deep breath, move closer to the person you want to meet and open a conversation. Say hello!

Avoid chat up lines at all costs. Who wants to hear “how was heaven when you left?” when you’re running late for work having not had enough time to wash your hair and iron your suit? It won’t do you any favours

If you can’t pluck up the courage to speak to that person then and there, don’t loose heart – you can always post a missed connections ad. After all, you never know who reads them

If you are going to turn someone down, do so graciously

Pioneering arts festival attracts 1,200

A FLEDGLING Merseyside arts festival attracted over 1,200 people for a line-up that included brass bands and Bond girls last week.  The Prescot Festival of Music and the Arts was in its 3rd year, and took a big gamble when it increased from 4 days in 2005 and 2006 to 10 days in 2007.

"We're a small town and a small organisation, and we just didn't know whether people were going to turn out ten nights in a row," said Artistic Director Dr Rob Howard, "but we took a risk and it paid off. It's the first time Prescot has tried anything on this scale. But it couldn't have been more successful."

On the 1st weekend, a performance of Faure's Requiem featured a choir of 85 singers specially assembled from all over the region. As the weekend went on, audiences packed in for a programme that mixed the best of amateur, semi-professional and professional talent, both local and national.  For many, the highlight was Word of Honor, a 1-woman show presented by Honor Blackman, the actress who made her name as Pussy Galore in the 1964 James Bond flick Goldfinger. Still looking as glamorous as ever, the sixties sex symbol held the audience spellbound as she told the rags-to-riches story of her illustrious life and career.  The Merseyside Police Band brought the Festival to a close on Sunday night with a Last-Night-of-the-Proms-style finale, featuring a potpourri of classical, jazz and pop favourites, alongside traditional rousing anthems such as Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory.

"We're already busily preparing for the 2008 Fest," Dr Howard continued. "It's the Capital of Culture year for Liverpool, and that will be an exciting time for anyone involved in local arts in the region. Watch this space."

More information about the Prescot Festival, including the town's all-year-round arts programme, is at the official website,


A WAVE of teenagers will navigate the Atlantic high seas of the American seaboard this week – thanks to a unique sail training programme.  After rigorous interviews, 9 Liverpool youngsters, aged 16-17, have been selected for a trip of a lifetime to sail on board the Tall Ship Prince William in the prestigious American Sail Training Association (ASTA) Challenge.

The 9 nautical novices will be racing on the 200 foot square rigger from Newport, Rhode Island to Halifax, Nova Scotia from June 30 to July 14.

Those flying to the USA this weekend are:-

* Helena Appleton, 17, Aigburth

* Terry Cannon, 17, Fairfield

* Anna Marie Flanagan, 17, Norris Green

* Virginia Hale, 17, West Derby

* Fiona Hastings, 17, Allerton

* Kate Hubbert, 17, Norris Green

* Joseph Hughes, 16, Dovecot

* Abdulaziz Saad, 17, Toxteth

* Darren While, 17, Kensington

Their places have been funded by Liverpool City Council’s Youth Service and Liverpool Culture Company in the UK’s largest publicly funded sail training programme. Launched in 2006 it will have sail trained a 100 youngsters by the end of the year.

Liverpool’s sail training programme was devised in preparation for when the city hosts the start of the 2008 Tall Ships Races next July 18-21. More than a million people are expected to flock to the Mersey for the maritime extravaganza – and the aim is to fund more than 200 Liverpool youngsters to race to Maloy in Norway.  For the Asta Challenge, Merseyside Fire Service and the Tall Ships Youth Trust (Merseyside Branch) have also sponsored a further 10 young Merseysiders to board the Prince William.

Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said:- ‘’The 2008 Tall Ships Races is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect a new generation to the sea and showcase a new look Mersey. I’m delighted that with our partners we’ve created a sail training programme that is already capitalising on this event to the full, providing real life-changing experiences for so many youngsters.’’

New Theatre opens at Ormskirk Hospital

FOLLOWING the move of Ophthalmic surgery to Ormskirk & District General Hospital at the beginning of April a new operating theatre has been built bringing the total of theatres at Ormskirk to seven. £1million has been spent converting offices into the new state of the art facility for ophthalmic surgery.

"The new theatre will undoubtedly cut waiting times", said Penny Hipwell, Theatre Manager at Ormskirk, "as it means we will be able to do more operations each week". Rob Gardner, specialty lead for ophthalmic surgery and his team are delighted with the new facilities, he said "at the moment we do around 55 cataract and inter-ocular surgeries each week and this is likely to increase, and as the eye surgery has had to be done in one of the existing theatres up to now, this additional theatre will mean we can do more surgery."

The new theatre will be used for eye operations every day except Tuesdays and it has the potential to be used for other work on that day. As well as special facilities for ophthalmic equipment and the normal clean theatre environment it has also been fitted with a special Howarth Ultra Clean Laminar Flow Unit that forces ultra clean air over the operating table. This is used particularly when joint replacements are being carried out, as it creates an ultra clean environment, and this makes the theatre multi-purpose if required in the future.

The first operations in the new Theatre will be carried on Monday 9 July 2007.

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