Man Bailed in Rainhill Monteith Murder Case

A man arrested on suspicion of murdering Rainhill dad-of-three Kevin Monteith has been released on police bail.

The 46-year-old, from Huyton, was questioned by detectives last Friday before being released on police bail.Mr Monteith's body was discovered by his eldest son, Robert, 21, at about 10.30pm on Saturday, November 22.
The 42-year-old electrician had been battered to death with a weapon on the driveway outside the family home on Holt Lane, Rainhill.Earlier this month, in an emotional appeal for witnesses, Mr Monteith's widow Anne said her family 'will not rest' until her husband's killer is brought to justice.

Free Buses on Christmas Day to St Helens & Whiston Hospitals

Buses will be free for hospital staff and visitors on Christmas Day.

Merseytravel is offering the seasonal gift on a number of routes. Hospitals served include the Royal Liverpool, Liverpool Women’s, Whiston, Walton, Alder Hey, St Helens, Broadgreen, Fazakerley, Clatterbridge and Arrowe Park.

Free buses will operate a limited service on routes including 10A, 20A, 92A, 102, 201 and 212 in Liverpool, 110 and 118 in Wirral and the 10A, 24X and 194/195 St Helens Circulars. First buses go from around noon and run until around 6pm.

A limited network of bus services will also run throughout the region on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, with most services operating from around 10am.

St Helens Well Placed to Beat Economic Downturn

St Helens is one of the best equipped towns in the country to survive the looming recession, according to new research.

The town - along with Tewkesbury, Dover and Corby - is well placed to ride out the current economic storm.

Figures complied by the Oxford Economics give councils across the country a vulnerability score depending on how well placed they are to cope with the downturn.

St Helens has the best score on Merseyside and, at 282 out of 408, one of the better scores in the country.

The figures are based on local factors such as types of industry in any one area. Types are scored for vulnerability in the current economic climate and an overall score is achieved.

The report highlights that Central London, other London Boroughs and the wealthy areas of Macclesfield, Chester and Bournemouth among others, which have high concentrations of jobs in banking and auxiliary services are those most at threat.

However, the findings of the report, released last week, will make stark reading for many in the town. Eighty jobs were lost last week when Pimblett's collapsed, and earlier this month figures showed 1,700 repossession orders had been issued by courts in St Helens so far this year - an increase of 20 per cent from 2007.

Councillor Richard Ferry, executive member for Urban Regeneration, said: " Everyone is worried about the economy being hit by the twin pressures of the credit crunch which is restricting the supply of finance particularly for house buying, and a squeeze on disposable incomes due to the high rises in energy and food prices.

"A key part of our economic strategy has been to attract a wide range on business and industry making us well placed to ride out economic downturns and it does seem that this is making us well placed to ride out economic downturns.

"While recognising that the credit crunch is adversely affecting many families in St.Helens we can take come comfort from this report that we might not be as badly affected as many part of the country."

To view the full report log on to

Christmas Food Safety Tips From St Helens Environmental Health Depertment

Follow these safety tips when preparing festive fare over Christmas

Make sure your Christmas is not only happy but safe too by following these food safety tips when preparing your festive fare.

This simple to follow advice has been issued by St.Helens Council’s Environmental Health officers in a bid to ensure good health over Christmas.

If you are catering for family and friends storage can be a problem, so always ensure there is enough fridge and freezer space to keep perishable food cool and safe. If you are short of space you should take drinks out to make more room for cooked foods. Drinks can be stored in another cooler place in the house or in a cool box with ice.

Keep raw meats and defrosting food at the bottom of the fridge to prevent any drips from falling onto other food. Always store cooked foods and left overs away from raw food. Keep the

temperature of your fridge at about 5C by monitoring it with a fridge thermometer

Frozen turkeys and other poultry have to be thoroughly thawed in a cool room before cooking. To check the bird is completely thawed, make sure there are no ice crystals in the body cavity and that the legs are flexible. Once defrosted, store in the bottom of the refrigerator until required.

It is strongly recommended that stuffing is cooked separately. If the bird is stuffed, this should be placed in the neck cavity only and additional cooking time must be added.

The table below is a cooking guide. Cook at a temperature of 190 deg centigrade, (375f) or Gas Mark 5 and baste regularly. To test the bird is cooked, insert a skewer into a thigh and ensure that the juices run clear. It should finish cooking approximately 30 minutes before serving, then left to stand/rest. This also makes carving easier. Any meat remaining should be cooled quickly, placed in the refrigerator and used within three days.

Oven ready weight Thawing time Cooking time (foilwrapped) Approxserving

550-1.4kg 4-10hrs 1-1.5 hrs 2-4

1.4-2.3kg (3-5lb) 10-15hrs 1.5-2 hrs 4-6

2.3-3.6kg (5-8lb) 15-18hrs 2-3 hrs 6-10

3.6-5kg (8-11lb) 18-20hrs 3-3.5 hrs 10-15

5-6.8kg (11-15lb) 20-24hrs 3.5-4.5 hrs 15-20

6.8-9kg (15-20lb) 24-30hrs 4.5-5 hrs 20-30

You should remember that oven temperatures may vary - this is just a guide.

If you have a meat thermometer ensure the deepest muscle temperature is 75 deg C or above.

Twelve tips for a safe Christmas

1. Do not prepare food too far in advance

2. Take chilled/frozen food home in cool bags

3. Check the 'use by' dates

4. Keep your kitchen clean

5. Keep your fridge between 0 and 5 degrees centigrade

6. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food

7. Keep cooked and raw food separate

8. Plan the menu and defrost food thoroughly before use

9. Keep pets away from food

10. Store cooked food above raw food in a refrigerator

11. Follow the cooking instructions on packets

12. Cook food thoroughly and "have a safe meal"

To avoid cross contamination, prepare raw and cooked food separately and clean and disinfect all utensils and surfaces thoroughly before preparing different foods. Use a food sanitiser such as antibacterial spray on work surfaces, especially after preparing raw meats. Wash dishes, utensils and work surfaces with clean hot water and detergent and keep your hands clean at all times by washing them frequently in hot soapy water, particularly before handling foods. Cover any cuts or grazes with waterproof dressings, keep dishcloths clean and change hand and tea towels often.

It is easy to know when food is "off" by amongst other things the smell. But if the food is pre-packed, how can you tell whether the food is fit to be eaten?

One way is by looking at the date mark on the packaging. There are two types of date mark - "Use By" and "Best Before".

A "Use By" date is the date by which a food should be used. This type of date mark is only applied to highly perishable foods, where to use the food past the date shown may pose a health risk e.g. food poisoning.

A "Best Before" date is a date by which a food should be used if it is to be enjoyed at its best. In other words this type of date mark relates to food quality rather than food safety. This type of date mark is only applied to those foods with a long shelf life including frozen and tinned foods.

For further advice and information contact: Environmental Health, 3rd Floor Wesley House, St.Helens, WA10 1HE, Tell: 01744 456338

Christmas Lantern Procession Through St Helens - Official Route

A sparkling procession of hundreds of lanterns is set to bring the spirit of Christmas to St Helens town centre.

As part of the town's Winter events programme, children from four local primary schools have been busy designing handmade Christmas lanterns which they will be displaying in style on December 11th.

Starting from the Parish Church at 6pm, the procession, accompanied by Valley Brass Band, will pass along Hardshaw Street, Cotham Street and Church Street before returning to the church for a short service of carols and prayers.

North West artist Wendy Meadley has been working with youngsters from Allanson Street, Ashurst, Holy Cross and Parish primary schools together with older residents from Helena Partnerships to make the lanterns that will light up St.Helens during this festive event.

Councillor Richard Ferry, executive member for Urban Regeneration, said: "This is the third year that the Christmas lantern procession has been held and it is a magical event, both for those taking part and also for the many people who get so much enjoyment from seeing the town light up in this way. This is the perfect opportunity to visit the town centre and enjoy a really unique Christmas experience at the same time."

Obese Man Hurt Falling Off Sofa

An obese man had to be helped into an ambulance by firefighters after he hurt himself falling off the couch.

Fire crews in the leafy suburb of Newton-le-Willows, described how they helped paramedics load the patient into an ambulance shortly after 10am on Thursday (December 4).

Members of the Fire Service's special rescue team helped to lift the 'bariatric' patient - a term which indicates he had a Body Mass Index (BMI) rating of more than 40 - into the ambulance before he could be taken to hospital.

The extent of the man's injuries are unclear and a spokeswoman for the Ambulance Service declined to comment.

Sixty Jobs Lost as Pimblett's Goes Under

Sixty jobs have been lost at St Helens-based baker and confectioner John Pimblett & Sons after the firm was placed into administration.

Advisors KPMG Restructuring sold 10 shops around the town to Waterfield’s Bakery, saving 80 of the 140-strong workforce.

But the bakery was closed and the remaining jobs lost.

KPMG Restructuring director Paul Flint said: “The tough trading conditions experienced by retailers up and down the country have unfortunately led to John Pimblett & Sons being placed into administration.”

The company was founded in 1921 by John and Mary Pimblett.

Unruly Rainhill High Pupils Disciplined for Unruly Behaviour

A number of pupils from Rainhill High have been disciplined after they were caught lobbing chips at the village's civic Christmas tree.

A local resident, who asked not to be named, claimed up to 30 teenagers in Rainhill High uniforms were throwing chips and wrappers at the tree last Wednesday lunchtime (November 26).

He said: "These kids are representing their school when they're ADVERTISEMENTout and about, but this was an absolute disgrace.

"It's a lovely tree and people a lot younger than me were delighted to see it go up last weekend. Why do a minority of people always come along and ruin nice things?"

He added: "I rang the school straight away to complain about their conduct. It was totally disrespectful to all the people who like this tree. I hope the headteacher has a word with these pupils to set them straight."

A spokesperson for Rainhill High said: "As soon as we were informed that the incident had taken place, we acted immediately and have found the culprit and punished them.

"This incident took place during the Year 11 examinations period. Normally only ten students are allowed out at lunchtime - and that is to go home. We will be reviewing future examination and lunchtime arrangements to ensure this sort of incident does not occur again.

"It is a shame that the mindless conduct of a tiny minority deflects from the exemplorary behaviour of 1,400 plus students."

St Helens Growth Strategy Presentation Alienates Audience

The launch of the St Helens City Growth Strategy last week was designed to show a wider audience what the town has to offer.

And the strategy document was full of surprises. The first was when it used the word complementarity, which we are reliably informed is a local colloquialism for “goes together” and is a phrase that is often uttered in local hostelries.

St Helens is world-famous for its homegrown rugby league talent, which left everyone attending at a loss to explain why the four stars shown in the strategy document were Matt Gidley, Chris Flannery, Willie Talau and Francis Meli, who are well-known in . . . er . . . Australia and Samoa.

So there you go, another chance to show what the town has to offer and all it manages to do is generate negative press, like this!

Police make Progress in Rainhill Murder Case

Kevin Monteith rainhillDetectives leading the Kevin Monteith murder investigation say they are keeping an open mind as they seek to establish a motive for the 'ferocious attack'.

The married father-of-three was found dead outside his home on Holt Lane, Rainhill, at about 10.30pm on Saturday, November 22.

A Home Office post mortem recorded 'head injuries' as the cause of death.

Police say they now believe the 42-year-old electrician may have met his death as early as 7.15pm that evening.

Detective Chief Inspector Karen Cummings, who is leading the investigation, said: "This investigation is a completely open book.

"Mr Monteith had spent the afternoon watching his sons play football before going to the Holt Hotel pub on Warrington Road in the evening. He then returned home and changed into his slippers before something has taken him back outside.

"We've identified a witness who saw the front door of Mr Monteith's property open as early as 7.15pm. It is possible the attack could have happened around that time."

DCI Cummings added: "What I do know is that Kevin Monteith was popular in the area and had lived there for many years. He had lots of friends and was a close family man. At this stage we have not established a motive for what was a ferocious attack. Mr Monteith doesn't seem to have been in dispute with anybody.

"I've got a number of lines of inquiry open to me at the moment, but I'm keeping a completely open mind. If you think you saw something untoward in the area that evening, or saw anyone acting suspiciously either on foot or in a vehicle, please come forward."

Police are still keen to speak to anyone who was in the Holt Lane area between 7pm and 11pm that evening.

If you think you might be able to help police with their investigation, call 0151 777 8603 or 0151 777 8652.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.

Farewell to LollyIce Man Badgi

It was a funeral procession to do veteran ice cream man “Badgi” Majitha proud.

For 45 years, he plied his trade on the streets of Liverpool, selling 99s, sweets, groceries and cigarettes.

As a fitting final tribute to the veteran trader, his cortege included four ice cream vans – with their distinctive bells silent as a mark of respect.

The unusual procession was the brainchild of Mr Majitha’s family, including his wife Saroj, who was known as Rose, and children Kusum, Shirley and Lalit.

Lalit said: “My dad would have been made up with this. He really found his niche with the ice cream van and he would be chuffed they were in the procession.

“In the 1950s and 1960s, there was still a lot of poverty in Liverpool and he would give people things on the ‘tick’, knowing they had no money.

“I remember him driving around on Christmas Day giving out selection boxes to the kids who he knew would not be getting presents.

“A lot of people in Liverpool will remember my dad for things like that.”

Aged 23, Mr Majitha, whose first names were Baij Nath but was known as Badgi, came to England from India in 1954 and got a pedlar licence to sell clothes in Liverpool.

He saved enough to buy his first ice cream van for £750 in 1957 and started his round in Huyton, Page Moss and Dovecot.

Mr Majitha died aged 77 on October 24.

The funeral procession, with a hearse, three limousines, four ice cream vans and 30 cars, left his Rainhill home before winding its way around St Helens and on to the crematorium.

One of the vehicles was Mr Majitha’s state-of-the-art ice cream van with tinted windows and Mercedes engine.

It was the vehicle Lalit inherited from his father.

He said: “I took over at 16 and I remember that van was wicked.

“I started work on the ice cream vans at the age of seven – I was never paid any wages but I could eat as much ice cream as I liked.”

St Helens Top Table for Inward Investment

St Helens has seen a rapid influx of new businesses over the last five years, keen on tapping the city's new support infrastructure.

There has been more than a 40 per cent rise in the number of companies in the city since the inception of a growth strategy in 2003.

Initially the plan outlined 70 business-generating projects, targeted for completion by 2013.

But as almost all have been finished, city authorities have revised this target to 90, with more than £1.1 billion of capital projects already approved.

The total spending on improving the Merseyside city's competitiveness now stands at £1.8 billion.

Chairman of the Enterprise Forum Steve Gange said: "If anything the new [city growth strategy] CGS is even more deliverable than the last, particularly if you look at how the funding stacks up."

St Helens, which is home of racetrack Haydock Park and the Saints' ground, was one of four areas in the UK selected by the government for special focus to boost facilities for the local economy.

St Helens is the Happiest Town on Merseyside - It's Official

St. Helens is one of the happiest places to live according to researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester.

They have drawn up a map of happiness down to district level across England, Scotland and Wales.

St.Helens came 14th out of 273 towns,making it the happiest town in Merseyside and one of the happiest in the North West.

Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, where people were asked about their sense of wellbeing.

After adding in factors such as employment, health and educational qualifications, the team found that the area of Brecknock, Montgomery and Radnor in Powys was the happiest place.

Manchester came second, followed by West Lothian.

Brian Spencer, Leader of St.Helens Council said: "This comes as no surprise to the people who live, visit and work in our town. St.Helens certainly has the feelgood factor with its vibrant culture and heritage together with a booming economy. It really is becoming a choice of destination whether it be for business, culture or lifestyle."

City Centre Apartments Plunge In Value Amid Credit-Crunch Gloom

Lower Hall StDevelopers have slashed the price of new apartments in the heart of St Helens town centre to £50,000 as they attempt to beat the property slump.

Countryside Properties has dramatically cut the cost of more than 20 flats at its trendy HQ development on Hall Street after the economic downturn left many would-be buyers struggling to secure mortgages.

Prices for the apartments stood at about £95,000 when the properties in the 198-apartment site went on sale in April this year. Now they are almost half that figure.

In the past week both an experienced estate agent and a veteran builder have described the stagnation of the property market and the construction industry “as the worst they have seen in living memory”.

It is understood the firm has cut the prices after research showed prospective buyers are struggling to secure mortgages above £50,000.

The developer says the properties are “priced purposefully to fly off the shelf”, with one bedroom apartments starting at just £50,000 and two beds at £60,000. Countryside Properties will also cover five per cent of the deposit for every buyer.

Those still struggling to meet these mortgage payments can even choose to purchase a home at 70per cent of the price – which means a one bedroom apartment could be just £35,000.
Martin Leggett, Countryside Properties’ Regional Sales Director said: “These are incredible prices no question, but I can promise there is absolutely no catch. These are top quality homes and we just want to sell them at prices people can afford to pay.

“Within hours of releasing them we have had four reservations so we really do expect them to fly off the shelf; which just goes to show that despite troubling economic times, property at the right price and in the right location is a sound investment.

“So whether you want to make HQ your home or you are buying a nest egg for the future, make sure you come along this weekend before they are all snatched up When buyers purchase apartments at 70per cent of the price, Countryside Properties will take care of the remaining 30per cent for 10 years.

“This can be paid back to the developer when the property is sold or at any time within the 10 year period. There is no rent to pay and the share is completely interest free but the home is still fully owned by the buyer from day one.”

Homebuyers can find out more by calling 01744 20747 or visiting The HQ sales and marketing suite is also open from 11am to 6pm on Lower Hall Street, St Helens.

Thanks to St Helens Star

Tragic St Helens Youth's Death Leads to Camaign for Windle Island Crossing

George FaulknerFrom The BBC

A 17-year-old boy was killed when he was hit by a car near a dual carriageway in Merseyside.

Police said the collision happened on the eastbound carriageway of the East Lancs Road in St Helens, near to the junction with the Rainford by-pass.

The teenager, who was hit by a silver Ford Ka, was pronounced dead at the scene on Friday night.

Merseyside Police said the driver stopped at the scene and helped officers with their inquiries.

Anyone who witnessed the collision at about 2300 BST is asked to contact police.


Since the accident George Faulkner's family have set up a website to honour their son and to campaign for a Pedestrian Crossing at Windle Island. Please visit their site to read more about George, the campaign and to sign the petition

Accident Blackspot Claims Another Victim

Catchdale Moss LaneA woman from Prescot has been killed in a crash on a St Helens country road.

The 34-year-old had been driving a red Toyota Yaris along Catchdale Moss Lane inEccleston when she collided with a white van travelling in the opposite direction.

Both vehicles left the road at around 4.20pm on Monday (November 3).

She was rushed to hospital where she later died. Her family has been informed.

The road was closed off for more than 12 hours as traffic officers tried to piece together what had happened. It was re-opened at 9.10am on Tuesday.

The driver of the van stopped at the scene and is helping police with their inquiries.

An inquest is expected to be opened at St Helens Hospital later today (Tuesday).

Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident to contact them 0151 777 5771 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

St Helens Comedy Festival Line-up Announced

THE line-up of next month’s St Helens Comedy Festival has been revealed, with Phoenix Nights star Paddy McGuinness and 8 Out of 10 Cats captain Jason Manford heading two weeks of shows and events.

John Bishop, who will be fresh from his month in Edinburgh, will also be performing, and much-loved comedy band the Lancashire Hotpots will be playing at the town hall.

The Citadel will also play host to an entertaining "Born and Bred" night with featuring local comedians Dave Twentyman, Ray Peacock and friends.

Regular events Bus Stop, Stand Up, and Drink Up, Stand Up will be taking place, as well as amateur workshop and showcase events Stand Out and Funny Business

Best of the Northwest at the Theatre Royal will mark the final night of the festival, with new and renowned comedians take to the stage for one-night only.

Cllr Richard Ferry, executive member for urban regeneration and housing at St Helens Council, said: "Building on the success of our previous comedy festivals, 2008 will be packed with even more big name acts and comedy events."

"This is great for local residents and visitors from across the Northwest to visit St Helens and take in a fun-filled show or enjoy stand-up comedy in their local pub."

The St Helens Comedy Festival is at various venues from September 17-28.

St helens Bistro Owner Fined for Further Hygiene Breaches

A St Helens restaurant owner pleaded guilty to 26 food safety offences.

Jeffrey Wood, of Duke’s Bistro, Duke Street, St Helens, admitted he had not kept his kitchen clean, used foods unfit for public consumption and stored foods where they could be contaminated.

Food hygiene inspections by St Helens council’s environmental health officers revealed Wood, also of Duke Street, stocked foods past their use by date and did not have any food safety management systems in place.

Wood was told to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay £250 costs – at a rate of £3 per week – at St Helens magistrates court this week.

Environmental Health officers said they gave Wood advice and guidance on how to improve standards. But they were so concerned they felt they had no choice other than to prosecute.
Wood was also given a prohibition order banning him from managing a food business again.
It is the second time the business has been prosecuted by the council for food hygiene offences.

The restaurant was closed in March.

Eclectica Festival Will be a 10 Hour Music Fest

Britpop stars Shed Seven and festival favourites The Levellers will be the headline acts at Saturday’s free Eclectica Music Festival, in St Helens.

The concert in Victoria Square will start at noon.

It will provide nearly 10 hours of exciting and innovative entertainment, combining established acts and flourishing new talent.

Shed Seven will be delving into their extensive back catalogue, including the classics Going for Gold, Chasing Rainbows and Getting Better.

Eclectica will be a key date in the Levellers’ calendar for 2008, their 20th anniversary, just two days before they get ready to release their latest album, Letters from the Underground.

Support will be provided by Merseyside up-and-comers The Maybes? and Amsterdam.

The latter have already had a very successful 2008, with acclaimed festival performances and live gigs.

St Helens bands appearing include The Cubical, Genghis Grimes, The Hang Project, Red Orchestra, Mama Beani, Silent Thunder and Ariel Chambers.

Liverpool bands The Little Hydes and Beaker Folk of the Bronze Age complete the line-up.

Following the festival, the St Helens Citadel is hosting an official Eclectica party.

Tickets are £10 from the box office (phone 01744 735436) or visit

Purple Aki Loses Bicep Appeal

An infamous 'bogeyman' known as Purple Aki has lost an appeal against an order banning him from squeezing other men's muscle.

A judge who heard Akinwale Arobieke's appeal described him as 'out of control'.The 46-year-old had challenged a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (Sopo) that stopped him from pressing flesh and asking men and boys to squat.

The odd obsession with muscle development landed him with a six-year jail spell in 2003 when he admitted 15 counts of harassment and a charge of witness intimidation.Many of the young men targeted by Arobieke were from St Helens, and after his release from jail he was barred from entering the town.In jail complaints against the 6ft 5in asthma sufferer continued to rack up from inmates claiming he touched them and asked to measure biceps with a shoelace.

Despite jail and the Sopo, Arobieke insisted he should be allowed to touch men's muscles in private and with consent.

He insisted it was nothing sexual - contrary to witnesses' claims he was aroused when jumping on their backs and bearhugging them.Judge William George insisted the Sopo, made by magistrates last year, was valid.Referring to an episode in which Arobieke, who is originally from Toxeth, Liverpool, touched a stranger's arm in Preston last year after the Sopo was made, the judge said: ''It shows he is out of control.

He is out of his own control according to his own evidence.''Arobieke has never been convicted of a sex assault - though charges of indecent assault were left to lie on file when he was imprisoned in 2003.Until explicit accounts of his odd and terrifying behaviour were outlined in court during his 2003 trial many believed Purple Aki was little more than a urban legend.

His infamy is now such that he has a page on Wikipedia detailing his bizarre antics, while television cameras captured a music fan at this year's Glastonbury festival waving a purple flag emblazoned with his police mugshot.

Dr Sue Ryan, a psychologist for Merseyside Police, told Liverpool Crown Court: ''I believe that without psychological intervention and or external restraints through a Sopo, Mr Arobieke will continue to reoffend by harassing and touching male children and young men.''

Rob Wynn-Jones, counsel for Arobieke, said of him: ''He was achieving infamy in Liverpool and surrounding areas and he was engaging in - his own words - eccentric behaviour.''His reputation grew as a local bogeyman. Stories about him grew wilder and wilder.''

Saints Get Stadium Boost

St Helens moved a step closer to realising their dream of a new stadium today when the Government approved plans for a massive regeneration of the town.

A decision by the Government Office for the North West not to send the scheme to public enquiry will accelerate the development and means Saints could move into their £25million 18,000 capacity stadium in time for the start of the 2011 season.

St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus said: “This is excellent news for the club and its supporters. “We are now looking at an identifiable timeframe and have avoided the onerous costs of a central government call-in.

“This is another important hurdle out of the way and we look forward to the work and challenges ahead. The future of the club and of the town is looking very healthy indeed.”

Developers had already received local planning consent to transform a derelict 46-acre former glassworks site into a new home for the Saints and a multi-million pound supermarket. As part of a separate plan, Knowsley Road, home to St Helens for the last 116 years, will be developed for housing.

The developers must now work with St Helens Council on a conservation management plan for the ancient monument and site clearance, which is expected to start by the middle of next year with a target for completion of February 2011.

Mayor of St Helens Golf Day to Raise Funds for Willowbrook Hospice

The Mayor of St. Helens, Councillor John Beirne will be holding a golf championship to raise funds for his Mayors Appeal which is the Willowbrook Hospice.

The Mayor of St. Helens, Councillor John Beirne will be holding a golf championship to raise funds for his Mayors Appeal which is the Willowbrook Hospice.

The popular annual event will be held at Sherdley Park Golf Course on Saturday 16th August at Sherdley Park Golf Course, St. Helens. Entry fee is £13.00 for adults and players must have a recognised golfing handicap.(Forms available from Democratic Services)

Since the tourney was launched 19 years ago around £60,000 has been raised for various charities and it has become an established event in the sporting calendar attracting players from all over the North West.

Holes can be sponsored at a cost of £100. Each sponsor will receive two free entries into the competition, advertising on the tee and around the club house plus a complimentary buffet meal for their competitors. There will also be a special prize for the best card recorded by a sponsor. Individual players can also enter. For further information contact Alan Jenkins on 01744 456818.

Entry forms are available from Sherdley Park Golf Club - 01744 815518. Individual entry is £13 for men and £10 ladies. Entry forms are also available from the Council’s Democratic Services Section at the Town Hall in Victoria Square, St.Helens.

Says Councillor Beirne: "We are indebted to Sherdley Park Golf Club for organising this wonderful fund raising event. This has become a favourite in the golfing calendar and I sincerely hope everyone who take part will have a thoroughly enjoyable day and make the event as successful as ever."

A Snippet of What's On at St Helens Festival 2008

Visitors due to flock to the St.Helens Festival this weekend (July 5 & 6) will be able to access a wide range of information about Council services blue badges

Thousands of visitors due to flock to the St.Helens Festival this weekend (July 5 & 6) will be able to access a wide range of information about Council services including a focus on key services for disabled people.

The Blue Badge team will be their to discuss applications for blue badges and disabled parking bays.

They will be on hand to give advice on completing applications and eligibility as well.

The work of the popular Ward Committees are also featured and visitors have a chance to win a picnic basket plus Marks and Spencer vouchers.

St.Helens residents will be asked to come up with environmental with a winner drawn out at random.

The Festival will celebrate and showcase the Borough’s rich heritage and wealth of talent and from the official opening carnival parade there will be a packed programme of music, sport, arts, culture and much more.

There really is something for everyone at this year’s festival which has been organised by St.
Helens Council.

Highlights include jaw dropping stunts, thrilling medieval jousting and fearless displays in the Main Arena and activities galore in the Children’s Zone including Bob the Builder and Friends taking to the stage on Saturday, Snoopy keeping youngsters fit on Sunday plus sandcastle building at the beach, face painting, donkey and train rides and Punch & Judy too.

The Youth Zone, for 11 to 18-year-olds, is packed with adrenaline pumping challenges and local, national and international bands will cater for all musical tastes in the Music Pavilion.

New for 2008 in the Country & Heritage Zone are traditional country craft demonstrations and shire horses, falconry and gun dog displays. Here you can also purchase unique jewellery and gifts and find out about local history.

Creative St.Helens gives Festival visitors the chance to get involved and includes a community stage for local musicians, dancers and performers, the Big Art Project, acrobats, stilt-walkers,
carnival artists and exhibitions.

You can get active in the Sports Zone where rugby, football and table tennis tournaments have been lined up and in Access St.Helens you can find out about Council services and those provided by community organisations ranging from health issues to saving money on Council Tax.

Man's Body Found in Newton - Cause of Death Unknown

Police are investigating the unexplained death of a 45-year-old man, whose body was discovered at a house on Willow Avenue, Newton-le-Willows.

The man, who has not been named, was found at around 7pm on Sunday, June 29. Investigating officers are currently awaiting the results of a post mortem to determine the cause of death.

Purple Aki Appeals Muscles Ban

An 'infamous' criminal - dubbed Purple Aki - who was jailed for harassing a number of young men in St Helens has launched an appeal to overturn an order banning him from squeezing people's muscles.

Akinwale Arobiele kept what he called a ''stalker's manual'' containing details of young men he became fascinated with. The 46-year-old was jailed for six years in 2003 for 16 counts of harassment and has been known to the police for years because of what he admits was an ''unusual interest in muscles, the development of muscles and the potential of young men to improve their physique''.

He was released from prison in 2006 - after racking up several complaints from other prison inmates and warders - and Merseyside Police immediately applied for a sexual offences prevention order against him. The order, which was granted by magistrates in Liverpool, banned him from entering St Helens as well as engaging in a number of bizarre activities, including asking people to perform squat thrusts and touching muscles.

But now Arobieke, who has never been convicted of a sex assault, is bidding to have it quashed through a civil court hearing at Liverpool Crown Court. He believes the magistrates made the order illegally and its terms were too punitive.The case against Arobieke, formerly of Cavendish Gardens, Toxteth, Liverpool, is outlined in papers given to Judge William George, who is sitting with justices and without a jury.

Kenderik Horne, on behalf of Merseyside Police, said: ''During the course of the investigation into the St Helens and Warrington offences, the appellant was arrested and his home searched.''Police found numerous photographs of powerfully-built young men with personal details of the men and their families; copious hand-written notes in relation to other young males around the country including body part measurements and an address book (referred to as the 'stalker's manual') with an index of contact numbers including previous and ongoing victims, electoral roll numbers and victims' personal details.''

As well as being banned from feeling muscles and asking people to squat, under the Sexual Offences Prevention Order Arobieke is also forbidden from approaching under-18s; working with under-18s; driving unless the make, model and colour of the car are notified to police; going near schools, colleges, and universities without written permission from Merseyside's Chief Constable; entering or loitering around sports clubs and gyms and leaving Liverpool without telling the police.

Giving evidence from behind a curtain, a bodybuilding champion told the court Arobieke felt and prodded his muscles over three years. He said the attention culminated in 1996 when on holiday in Tenerife and Arobieke stabbed him, for which he needed hospital treatment.Arobieke's barrister Rob Wynn-Jones, whom he repeatedly beckoned during proceedings, denied the accusations, saying they were prompted by a fall-out the bodybuilder had with Arobeieke's brother.

He said: ''You knew his reputation as Purple Aki and the stories that were going around.''Such is his reputation as Purple Aki that at last weekend's Glastonbury festival a huge purple flag could be seen featuring Arobieke's police mug shot and a defamatory allegation, and he even has a page on the internet site Wikipedia.Mr Wynn-Jones said: ''He became a local celebrity, infamous among younger members of the community.''The hearing which is due to go on until Friday was adjourned until tomorrow.

For more details of the history of this case click here

St Helens Town vs AFC Liverpool Ticket Information

For St Helens Fans

St Helens Town have announced ticket details for the friendly against AFC Liverpool, taking place on the 16 July.
Tickets are £5 for adults, and £3 for under 16s.
This friendly match is the first ever competitive AFC Liverpool fixture.
Given the 1000 capacity at the Edge Green Street stadium, this match will be all ticket.
St Helens Town v AFC Liverpool, Wednesday 16 July 2008, 7.45pm kick off, at Ashton Town FC, Edge Green Street, Ashton-in-Makerfield.

This game will be all ticket with an initial capacity of 1000.
Adult £5, U16s £3 Tickets will be available, in the first instance, by postal request from: John McKiernan, Chairman, St. Helens Town AFC, 35 Roysten Gardens, St Helens, Merseyside, WA9 1RJ Postal requests should detail the numbers of Adult and/or U16s tickets required and should include a cheque/postal order payable to “St. Helens Town AFC” and include a stamped self addressed envelope.

For AFC Liverpool Fans

Here are the ticket details for AFC Liverpool v St Helens, and coach details for AFC Liverpool v St Helens and AFC Liverpool v Nelson.
Please note that the St Helens match is the first ever competitive AFC Liverpool fixture.
Given our fanbase, and given the 1000 capacity at the Edge Green Street stadium, this match will be ALL TICKET.
It will be played at the home of Ashton Town FC, Edge Green Street, Ashton-in-Makerfield
Tickets will be available on general sale from Wednesday 18th June 2008 until further notice at:
News From Nowhere Radical Bookstore96 Bold StreetLiverpool L1 4HY
Tickets are priced at £5 for adults, and £3 for under 16s.
You will also be able to purchase a seat on the coach for £5 per seat.
Alternatively, on Saturday 28th June, from 1pm until 4pm ONLY, you will also be able to purchase tickets from
The Casa29 Hope StreetLiverpool L1 9BQ
You will also be able to purchase a seat on the coach for £5 per seat.

For more information go to the AFC Liverpool website

St Helens College Displays Gormley's "Field"

Gormley FieldA spectacular sculpture installation featuring terracotta figures created by the artist Antony Gormley, is being exhibited in its Merseyside birthplace.

Field for the British Isles is one of Antony Gormley's best-loved works of art featuring 40,000 clay figures.

The figures were handmade by 100 volunteers aged seven to 70 in St Helens using local clay.

Winner of the 1994 Turner Prize, Antony Gormley is renowned for his distinctive representations of the human form.

It will now be shown in a specially constructed installation in St Helens College until 23 August.

Gormley has described Field as "25 tons of clay energised by fire, sensitised by touch and made conscious by being given eyes ... a field of gazes which looks at the observer making him or her its subject".
Gormley Place
Anthony Gormley's installation Another Place is also on Crosby Beach in Merseyside.

There are 100 cast iron figures looking out to sea on Crosby beach
In 1995 Field was purchased by the Arts Council Collection with the support of the Henry Moore Foundation and the National Art Collections Fund.

Local councillor Richard Ferry said: "Field has special significance for St Helens having been crafted here 15 years ago by local people, so it is fantastic news that we have succeeded in bringing it back home at last.

Since its acquisition Field has been seen by nearly 400,000 visitors around England and Wales.

"The fact that this internationally renowned artwork will be on display over the peak summer months of the year that neighbouring Liverpool is European Capital of Culture means that the exhibition will attract even greater numbers of visitors from the UK and abroad to the town centre than normal."

St Helens Golf Scheme Singled Out As Being Best In The Country

A joint golfing project between St.Helens Council and Eccleston Park Golf Club, which is introducing the sport to more young people, has been singled out as the best in the country at a major annual awards ceremony.

The Golf Foundation Presidents Awards held at the world famous Wentworth Golf and Country Club, Surrey reward inspirational junior organisers, volunteers, schoolteachers and PGA professionals.

The Laddie Lucas Award for the best local initiative went to the St Helens Golf Project. It was formed after the School Sport Partnership embraced golf within schools and developed strong links with Eccleston Park Golf Club. As a result of this, the club professional, Bryan Joelson-Mulhall has delivered golf sessions in 12 local primary schools and two secondary schools and promoted a Tri-Golf festival during assemblies.

The golf club also closed two holes to enable a family fun day to take place and by welcoming youngsters, the committee has helped to create a 600% increase in the number of junior members. A piece of land has been earmarked for a junior-only practice area and three new driving bays have been introduced specifically for the school groups. In addition, 10 retired members and 10 pupils from a local high school piloted the new Junior Golf Leaders Award and have gone on to give over 750 hours of their time as volunteers.

Rob Vaughan, the Council’s Partnership Development Manager said: "This is a great achievement for ourselves and Eccleston Park Golf Club as it recognises the club and the Sports Partnership as the best in the country for 2007. If you take into account there are 450 school sport partnerships in England alone as well as thousands of golf clubs, this is something to be really proud of."

While the biggest names in golf warmed up for this year’s BMW PGA Championship out on the course, in Wentworth’s tented village another group of hard-working and talented individuals were gaining recognition for their achievements in helping the Golf Foundation to bring more youngsters into golf.

A packed crowd of VIP guests heard eight remarkable stories of commitment to junior golf in 2007 as Golf Foundation President Ken Schofield CBE presented the awards.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: "Golf has so much to offer young people, from making friends to giving them skills for life. Working with the national golf partnerships, we are striving to introduce the sport to as many youngsters as possible from all backgrounds and abilities.

"To make this happen, the Golf Foundation relies heavily on the teachers, club volunteers, PGA professionals and development officers all working together to run innovative and exciting junior programmes. Their enthusiasm and dedication is fantastic and we were celebrating some of the best examples of their work at Wentworth".

How Will St Helens Lad Dale Howard Fare on Big Brother 9

Dale Howard is a super confident 21-year-old from St Helens. A part-time DJ , Dale is desperate to be rich and famous and have girls screaming his name.

He rates himself 10/10 for looks and believes his peers are often jealous of him. Dale is described by his friends and family as friendly, funny but mostly arrogant, big-headed and over confident.
Dale is currently studying to be a PE teacher, although deep down he dreams of being a pro- footballer. In his youth he had trials with Manchester United and Wigan Athletic but didn't get through, which he now regrets.

He likes to keep his body in good shape by daily visits to the gym and playing football for his university.

Dale's first love is now music and loves to DJ in his spare time. He says that DJ'ing is the second thing in the world that makes him happy – after money of course! A party animal, Dale loves to go clubbing at the weekend in Liverpool with his mates.

Dale loves "fit" girls and has a thing about women with funny noses. His dream celebrity dates would be Mischa Barton and Abbey Clancey. To Dale winning Big Brother means everything "f*** taking part, no one remembers the losers".

He says he should be on the show because of his good looks and that he gets on with everyone, especially the girls.

He says he is mentally and physically strong and ready to take on any challenge Big Brother throws at him.
To check out the rest of the BB9 Housemates click here

Big-Name Bands to Headline St Helens Festival

The St.Helens Festival, the biggest free event in the Borough's social calendar, is back in Sherdley Park on 5th and 6th July.

Traditionally one of the most popular attractions, the Music Pavilion has once again headline bands and show stopping entertainment throughout the two days. Acts include The Lancashire Hotpots, Mark Wilson, The Murmurs of Tension and Giant Root Attack. And, offering an international flavour, there will be performances by bands from St.Helens twin town of Stuttgart.

This year’s Streetwaves final will also take place on Sunday. Streetwaves is a Liverpool Culture Company project that brings together young people from across Merseyside to perform locally made music and is open to bands and solo performers aged between 14 and 25. So come along and give them your support!

This year’s line-up has been programmed with help from The Citadel, Music Net and St.Helens Musician Collective.

For further details about the wide variety of attractions at this year’s Festival visit

Saints Aghast at Morrisons Stadium Smear Campaign

Saints have issued a statement about letters that Morrisons have been sending to St Helens residents.

Read it here

5 Day Old Baby Becomes Youngest Member of St Helens Library Service

A five-day-old baby is the latest member of St. Helens Council’s growing library service.

The council recently ran a competition to find out who their youngest borrower was.

The winner was Rianna Latham, who was only 5 days old when she joined Central Library, Victoria Square, St.Helens.

The council currently has almost 42,000 borrowers ranging in age from five days to 104 years of age.

Kathy Johnson, the council’s new Head of Libraries, presented Rianna and her parents with vouchers and books, and a selection of baby gifts which were kindly donated by Morrisons supermarket.

The competition was run as part of the library service’s celebrations for this year’s National Year of Reading.

More information on future events and activities may be obtained from Jane Rimmer on 01744 677573 or email

The Face of Sutton Manor Revealed

The St Helens Star has exclusively revealed (along with every other news provider!) the design for the Face of Sutton Manor. Read about it here

The article is accompanied by some comments that show how there is still a great deal of misunderstanding locally about this project, and you can't help but think that what should be a great success for the town is in danger of becoming a PR Disaster. What a shame if it does!

BBC Merseyside have also published a story which can be found here as have St Helens Council

More information can also be found in our previous post here

St Helens to Rename Knowsley Road

Saints Stadium Knowsley RoadSt Helens have announced that they will be renaming their Knowsley Road ground as part of a sponsorship deal.

The stadium, which has been the club's home since 1890, will now be known as The GPW Recruitment Stadium until the end of the 2010 season.

Saints' chief executive Tony Colquitt said: "GPW have been long time supporters of the Saints.

"We're sure this partnership will have benefits for both organisations to go from strength to strength."

St Helens have submitted plans to build an 18,000-capacity stadium on a derelict 46-acre site on the edge of the town centre to the local council.

Subject to gaining the necessary permissions, work is scheduled to begin on building the stadium this year with the first game set to be played there in 2010.

New Woodland for St Helens

Work has started on creating a new community woodland in St.Helens, as part of one of the countrys biggest green regeneration programmes.

A team of experts from the Forestry Commission is working on a former landfill site in the south of St.Helens to give the area a green makeover.

The new Brickfields Community Woodland will include multi-purpose leisure trails, wildflower meadows and wetland habitats. The whole site, which lies between Lea Green Road and Chester Lane, is equivalent to more than 40 football pitches.

£2.1 million of funding is being provided for the Brickfields project via the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and Forestry Commission partnership programme, ‘Newlands’. A number of local partners, including Ibstock Brick Ltd, The Mersey Forest, St.Helens Council and Groundwork are also involved in the project.

A major operation has just been completed to bring 11,000 tonnes of earth onto the site so that trees can be planted in areas where there was previously no covering of soil. Small hills and other features have also been created, giving the site a more natural look.

New saplings have been planted and additional landscaping work will also create hard wearing trails and other elements such as signage and gates will be installed.

Various groups of local residents are busy helping to design four new gateway entrances for the site, with help from Oneninesixtwo Design.

20 different designs reflecting the history and community spirit of the site will be turned into a resin brick format and incorporated into clay brick kissing gates, sourced from the neighbouring Ibstock brickworks. A series of community design workshops has also been set up by The Mersey Forest.

Bob Baker of Ibstock Brick Ltd. says:
"The brick theme is being used in the site name to remind everyone of the industrial heritage of the area, including the present brickworks next door.

"The original fields were worked for clays and are now being returned to a green use - amenity woodland for the recreation and benefit of the local community."

Later this month more mature trees will be planted on parts of the site, helping to ensure it is quickly transformed into an attractive area of woodland.

A central avenue of English Oaks will be created, with some cherry trees and pine trees to provide variation as people travel from one part of the woodland to another.

When the scheme is complete, it will provide a much improved area of green space for local people and visitors to enjoy.

Simon Brown, Works Supervisor for the Forestry Commission in the North West, says:
"It’s a real pleasure watching the site changing on an almost daily basis. When we’ve finished I think local people are going to be really pleased with the results. There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone to enjoy the outdoors, whether it’s walking the dog, cycling or running.

"The project also includes a 20-year management plan so people can be confident that this new woodland will be kept in good condition."

The regeneration of the site will also benefit the local economy by helping to improve the image of the area and visually enhancing the main rail route between Manchester and Liverpool. This will help to form part of The Mersey Forest in St.Helens, which has seen the town transformed over the past ten years with the planting of over 2 million trees so far.

St.Helens Council has completed a St.Helens Town in the Forest study that identified the importance of regenerating brownfield sites, such as Brickfields, in helping to secure environmental improvement, which will enhance the image of St.Helens and help to secure direct and indirect economic benefits for the area.

Additional work is being planned for 2009, completing the transformation of the entire Brickfields site.

The plans are part of Newlands, a £59million NWDA-funded land regeneration scheme, which is rejuvenating around 900 hectares of the region's brownfield land to encourage economic growth, while creating new opportunities for leisure and recreation. Newlands, which stands for New Economic Environments Through Woodlands, is a partnership scheme involving the NWDA and the Forestry Commission.

Paul Lakin, Head of Development at the NWDA, said:
"Sustainable development is at the heart of all of the NWDA’s activities and we are delighted to support the sensitive development of Brickfields. New community woodland will not only enhance the environment for local people and visitors, but it will also raise the area’s profile as a place to invest."

Additional funding of over £300,000 from EU Objective One via The Mersey Forest Trust has been secured.

The Brickfields project has also been funded by Biffaward, a multi-million pound environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT), which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.

Further information about is available at

St Helens Giant Eagle Owl Recaptured in Widnes

Scrambling over roofs and balancing on teetering ladders, birdman Brian Grace finally managed to capture what is thought to be the European Eagle Owl which recently escaped from a home in Clock Face.

Read the original story here.

The big bird, boasting a wing span of 6ft had flown to Widnes after flying from its perch a month ago.

Brian (25) who has been a falconer for more than a decade, used his skill and knowledge to trap the owl on the Dock Estate in Widnes.

He made several attempts to snare the owl, eventually catching it after it was being dive-bombed by six crows.
Brian, who is convinced that it is the same bird which has featured in the Star for several weeks, explained: "Whenever a bird is spotted around Widnes, they call me, so I went out to take a look.
"At first I tried a line with meat on it, because when it grabs it, it doesn't let go.

"But it didn't work. I climbed up the roof and got within six feet of it before it took off."

Brian successfully captured the giant predator after another attempt,

His efforts follwed a series of sightings of the owl in Widnes from readers who posted messages and sent pictures to

The bird, which is the largest breed of owl in the world eats insects but has been known to prey on animals the size of a fox.

It has distinctive brown, grey and white markings, with large ear tufts, yellow or orange eyes with a black beak and talons.

Brian is currently checking proof of ownership before returning the bird.

St Helens Star

George Groves - The Quiet Little Englishman

George Groves plaque I am bringing you this post becayse I was fascinated by a story on Northwest Tonight on April 24th 2008, about how a play has been commissioned as part of the Liverpool '08 celebrations about one of St Helens' famous sons who played a crucial role in the development of sound in Hollywood movies.

George Groves was born above his father's barbershop at 57 Duke St, St Helens in December 1901, which is now a Cartridge World and only the plaque on the wall gives a clue as to who one of its former residents was.

For the full story of George Groves and his life, the followiCartridge World Duke St St Helensng links are provided

Saints Sign NRL Star Puletua for 2009 Season

Tony PuletuaSaints have announced the signing of New Zealand and Samoa foward Tony Puletua for next season.

Puletua, aged 28, will join from 2009 on a three-year contract.

He is currently playing for the Penrith Panthers in the NRL.

"He sees St Helens and Super League as a new challenge after 10 years at the Penrith Club in Australia."

Puletua added: "I'm really excited about joining the world famous St Helens Club.

"I'm really looking forward to the new start and new challenge in England and Saints' fans can be assured of my absolute commitment to the club's continuing success."

In a statement Saints chairman, Eamonn McManus said: "Tony will add size, athleticism and experience to our pack next year.

The forward, who will represent Samoa in the 2008 World Cup, has made more than 190 appearances for Penrith

Saints Draw Warrington Wolves in Cup

The draw has been made for the fifth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.

Defending champions St Helens face a home tie against local rivals Warrington Wolves, whilst last year's beaten finalists Catalans Dragons face an away trip to Bradford Bulls.

In total there are four all engage Super League ties with the others being Harlequins RL against Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR versus Huddersfield Giants.

At least one team from either The Co-operative National League One or Two will make the Quarter Finals after Dewsbury Rams were drawn against Oldham.

Ties from the fifth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup will be played on the weekend of 10 and 11 May.

The two televised ties will be St Helens V Warrington Wolves on Saturday 10 May (BBC 1, kick off 15:00) and Hull KR V Huddersfield Giants on Sunday 11 May (BBC 2, kick off 13:15) This year's final will be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 30 August.

The full draw is: Hull KR V Huddersfield Giants.

Barrow Raiders V Wakefield Wildcats.

Dewsbury Rams V Oldham.

Bradford Bulls V Catalans Dragons.

Wigan Warriors V Whitehaven.

Widnes Vikings V Hull FC.

Harlequins RL V Leeds Rhinos.

St Helens V Warrington Wolves

St Helens Star

Mick Potter Confirmed as Saints' New Coach

mick potter saintsCatalans Dragons coach Mick Potter will succeed Daniel Anderson at the helm of St Helens at the end of the season.

"Mick is a first-class coach and is improving year in year out," said Saints chief executive Tony Colquitt.

"He is exactly what we will need next season to take over a pretty difficult mantle in replacing Daniel."

Australian Potter, who has agreed a two-year deal, said it was an "honour" and "privilege" to be appointed coach of "this world famous club".

Anderson, who steered Saints to the treble in 2006, will end his reign at the end of the season in order to return home to Australia.

Potter will continue as Catalans coach for the rest of 2008.

The 44-year-old emerged as favourite to succeed Anderson after guiding the Dragons to last year's Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

They lost to Saints that day but have continued to improve under Potter, climbing to third place in the Super League table.

The French club had offered Potter a new two-year deal but he turned that down to accept the challenge at Knowsley Road.

Potter, a full-back with National Rugby League clubs Canterbury Bulldogs, St George and Perth Western Reds, cut his coaching teeth as an assistant to Matthew Elliot at Bradford Bulls from 1996-1998.

He joined the backroom staff of St George on his return to Australia and coached the New South Wales Under-17 squad before being head-hunted by former Great Britain coach David Waite to take on at the Dragons in February 2006.

Potter said: "I am looking forward to next season. However, my immediate commitment is to the Catalan Dragons, its players and supporters as we look to continue the good work and progression the club has achieved."

Colquitt told BBC 5 Live: "He was an all-time great in Australia, he was a great full-back.
"He brings the energy, enthusiasm and toughness he had as a player. He certainly understands players and how they play.

"We are really excited but that is for next season. This season we are focused on Daniel and the team and I am sure Mike will be focussing on the Catalans on their team and we will talk about it in October and November."

BBC Merseyside

Duke St Regeneration to Continue With New Community Healthcare Facility

Planning permission has been secured for the development of a community health centre that regeneration chiefs hope will breathe new life into an area of St Helens town centre.

The Lowe House Primary Care Resource Centre will be built at the corner of Oxford Street and Crab Street, St Helens, housing four GP Practices and a range of community-based health and social care facilities.

It will replace St Helens PCT services and one GP practice in the existing Lingholme Health Centre as well as Albion Street Clinic.

These will include a musculoskeletal pain clinic, sexual health and family planning services, a minor surgery suite, children's audiology suite, ophthalmology suite, phlebotomy, respiratory care and a retail pharmacy unit.

Rebecca Burke-Sharples, chief executive of St Helens Primary Care Trust, said: "This building will be the jewel in the crown of the Duke Street regeneration plans. Our aim is to provide a building that meets the needs of the local community in an imaginative and practical way. Key to the success of this development is the commitment to partnership working."

St Helens Primary Care Trust said the complex, which will be built by the PCT's LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) company, Renova.

It is hoped the development will provide a focal point for the ongoing regeneration of the Duke Street area of St Helens and that will enhance the main Western gateway approach into St Helens town centre.

St Helens Star

Building work could begin in September and be completed by December 2009.

St Helens MP Warns Morrisons Over Stadium Opposition

Morrisons St HelensSt Helens MP Dave Watts has warned supermarket chain Morrisons that its local business interests could be damaged if it does not drop objections to a planning application which includes proposals for a new Saints stadium.

Watts held talks with Morrisons in Bradford where he urged the firm's property director, Roger Owen to drop their opposition for plans to build a Tesco Extra supermarket alongside a new Saints stadium at the former United Glass site, Peasley Cross.

But the MP described the outcome of the talks as "negative", saying: "I got the impression that Morrisons did not fully understand the level of support that the application had from the whole of the St Helens community.

"I warned Morrisons that their present stand risked alienating the entire St Helens community, damaging their long term business interests in the town."

Watts and fellow St Helens Labour MP Shaun Woodward, who is a cabinet minister, are hopeful of swiftly arranging talks with Morrisons' chief executive.

Asked to comment on the meeting with Mr Watts, a spokesperson for the supermarket chain said: "Morrisons Group property director, Roger Owen met with Mr Watts MP to discuss the proposed new Saints rugby stadium and associated development.

"Mr Owen re-iterated the company's continuing concerns about the retail proposals, specifically the consistent application of retail planning policy."

Some Saints supporters have already said they will boycott the store's supermarkets at Baxters Lane, Sutton and Boundary Road, St Helens, because of the firm's stance on the UG planning application.

Meanwhile, Watts, has also held "positive" talks with representatives of a Saints fans pressure group, who in recent weeks have protested over what they see as delays in the stadium proposals progressing through the planning process.

He met with supporters at Knowsley Road on Friday following Saints' win over Harlequins. According to the MP, he explained to fans that any attempt to shortcut the planning process could cause further delays if objectors could prove the applications had not followed rules and regulations.

He said funding for the new stadium would be made up of contributions from Saints, the North West Regional Development Agency, Tesco and St Helens Council.

But the MP added these funds depend on all three interlinked planning applications - housing at Saints' Knowsley Road ground, the current Chalon Way Tesco being transformed for shops, and the stadium/Tesco development - being granted planning permission.

St Helens Festival Returns - And it's Going to be Bigger and Better

Following on from last year’s inaugural event, the St.Helens Festival is back by popular demand on 5th and 6th July 2008.

The largest event in this year’s Council calendar, the Festival is being held at Sherdley Park and will open from 12 noon daily.

Spread over two days, the free Festival (which replaced the St.Helens Show) will celebrate the Borough’s rich cultural heritage and wealth of talent through a packed programme which includes music, sport, arts, culture and much more.

St.Helens Festival also gives business’ the opportunity to trade and exhibit their products in a parkland setting offering prime outdoor retail space.

The Music Pavilion will host some of the best music and bands that the region has to offer, with support from The Citadel Arts centre, St.Helens Music Net and St.Helens Musicians Collective.

The Lancashire Hotpots have been confirmed as the headline act for Sunday 6th July.

Other attractions with a ‘fun for all’ theme include a Children's World with donkey rides, inflatables, entertainers, a Main Arena with live stunt shows, a Sports Quarter, a Country and Heritage Section, Classic Cars and a fairground to name just a few.

For information about St.Helens Festival please call the events team on 01744 456360 or email

Saints Still Cagey over New Boss Speculation

WhileSt Helens fans wait with bated breath for smoke signals regarding the appointment of a new coach, chairman Eamonn McManus is remaining as cool as ever.

Despite reports that Catalans Dragons boss Mick Potter is in negotiations to take over from Daniel Anderson as Knowsley Road supremo at the end of the season, McManus is sticking rigidly to his club’s policy.

He said: “We’ve said all along that when we’ve sorted out a deal for a new coach, we’ll announce it. It’s as simple as that.

“There may be other clubs involved and we don’t wish to prejudice anybody’s position.

“I don’t see any point in making an announcement before matters are done and dusted.”

Potter himself has been a little more forthcoming having admitted he has spoken to St Helens and is now “weighing up his options”.

It is understood he has been offered a two-year extension to his current deal by the Dragons but the lure of silverware may well tempt him to cross the channel.

Despite picking up the wooden spoon in his first season at the Dragons, the former St George fullback has since impressed many observers by guiding the French side to an historic Wembley final last year and to a club record winning run this term.

In the meantime, current boss Anderson has been preparing his men for Sunday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup fourth round tie against London Skolars at Knowsley Road.

The National League Two minnows shouldn’t provide too big a hurdle for Anderson’s men eventhough they look set to be below full strength.

Paul Wellens is expected to be on the sidelines for up to three weeks after picking up a quadricep injury. Matt Gidley will deputise at fullback.

Hooker James Roby will be rested after taking on a heavy workload this season but his mentor Keiron Cunningham returns to action after a long injury lay-off.

Anderson has chosen to leave out loose-forward Paul Sculthorpe with an eye on next Friday’s crunch Super League match at Warrington Wolves and scrum-half Sean Long is also out.

Liverpool Echo

Man's Body Found in Haydock

The body of 29-year-old Stephen Vaughan was discovered on a path off Wagon Lane in Haydock by a passer-by at about 0800 GST on Tuesday morning.

Police are trying to trace anyone who saw him in the 24 hours before he was found dead.

His death is being described as unexplained and tests are being carried out to determine how he died.

Anyone with information should contact police.

BBC News

Catalans to Thwart Saints' Potter Bid

St Helens' hopes of appointing Mick Potter as a replacement coach for Daniel Anderson could be thwarted by Catalans Dragons.

Potter, 43, is St Helens' top target to replace Anderson, who is returning to Australia for family reasons at the end of the season after four glory years in charge.

Potter has led Catalans, the Perpignan-based club, to their best run of six unbeaten matches as they have climbed to third place in the Engage Super League. He also steered Catalans to a Carnegie Challenge Cup final last year, when they were beaten by St Helens, and the French club have made rapid strides since he succeeded Steve Deakin, who is now at Oldham, two years ago.

Potter is out of contract at the end of the season and has also been linked with a move to National Rugby League strugglers Canterbury Bulldogs in Australia.

The quietly-spoken and deep-thinking Potter has the credentials to make him an obvious choice for St Helens.

However, Catalans have now offered the former full-back a new contract and their chairman, Bernard Guasch, is confident they can persuade him to stay in the south of France.

Guasch, whose side visit Featherstone Rovers in the Challenge Cup fourth round on Sunday, said: "We expect Mick to re-sign within the next week. We have made him an offer, there is still a lot of work to be done in Perpignan and I believe Mick will stay another two years.

"His first choice would be to return to Australia, because he has two children in Sydney, but the offers he is likely to receive I think mean he will stay with us."

Ian Millward, the North Queensland Cowboys assistant coach, could be set for a surprise return to his old club, Leigh, but any move to St Helens can be ruled out.

The Super League hopefuls are looking for a new coach after the resignation of Darren Shaw last week.

Millward, who took charge at St Helens and Wigan after leaving Leigh, would prefer a move to a Super League outfit but an approach from his first club in this country could be tempting.

Hull are linked with a move for Tony Puletua, the New Zealand Test forward who will be allowed to leave Penrith Panthers despite having 18 months of his contract to run.

Clint Newton, man of the match in Hull Kingston Rovers' 20-18 victory over Bradford Bulls on Sunday, has been ordered to appear before the Rugby Football League disciplinary committee tonight charged with making a dangerous tackle.

Daily Telegraph

Heroic Steve Prescott Completes London Marathon

Former Saints full back Steve Prescott completed the Flora London Marathon in just over four and a half hours.

The 34-year-old, who was diagnosed with the rare cancer Pseudomyxoma Peritonei 18 months ago, battled through cramp for the final third of the race.

He was running to raise funds and awareness for Christie Hospital, where he is being treated, and the RL Benevolent fund, but also to inspire other people like himself fighting cancer.

St Helens Star

St Helens MP to Meet Morrisons Boss in Stadium Plea

St Helens MP Dave Watts is to meet Morrisons' chief executive Marc Bolland in a bid to convince the retail giant to drop their objections to plans for Saints new stadium.

The supermarket, which has two store in St Helens, is opposed to the scheme because of the involvement of their rivals Tesco, who will have a giant retail complex built into the new ground.

Mr Watts' meeting assumes greater importance after it was announced a date has finally been set to hear the planning application for the proposed stadium.

The news follows weeks of increasingly fevered protests by fans concerned plans for the new stadium could be shelved.

And on Tuesday Saints coach Daniel Anderson warned the club could be forced out of the borough if they did not get a new ground.

Saints announced last Thursday (April 3) plans for the stadium would heard on May 20.

Mr Watts, Labour MP for St Helens North, defended the length of time taken to bring the proposal to the planning stage.

He said: "I don't want to have a go at the coach because I understand that he just wants what is best for the team and wants a world class stadium for the fans - but I think if he had been talking to his chairman (Eamonn McManus) then he would have known more about what is going on.

"It is a complicated process. There are four separate applications and each one has to follow due process. If that doesn't happen then opponents will simply challenge it in the courts."If we take shortcuts then Morrisons could challenge it in the courts. I'm meeting Morrisons' chief executive to see if I can persuade him to drop his company's objection to the application."

Are You Proud of St Helens?

St Helens creative design agency PalfreyGreer says the new brand it has designed for its home town is proving a great success.

The agency, working with St Helens Council economic development team, created Brand New St Helens to showcase the town as a “vibrant, regional location of choice at the heart of the North West”.

The project aims to highlight St Helens’s regeneration, encourage investment, promote local pride and challenge perceptions of the borough.

PalfreyGreer’s design features a St Helens logo in red and white. The logo features on signs throughout the borough, including five “boundary markers” at key points in the town displaying information on forthcoming events.

A central website for St Helens has also been created at www., linking to other sites promoting St Helens’s location, investment opportunities and visitor attractions.

ŠJohn Whaling, economic development manager at St Helens Council, said: “PalfreyGreer is a great example of the creative talent we have here in St Helens.

“We have undergone an exciting transformation and the place branding initiative reinforces the many changes that have taken place by renewing our image and showcasing our assets.”

The websites include one urging people to be POSH – Proud of St Helens. It lists reasons why town residents should hold their heads high, ranging from the borough’s success at attracting new businesses to internationally known St Helens icons such as Johnny Vegas and St Helens Rugby League Club.

PalfreyGreer director Stephen Palfrey said: “The brief was to create something striking and vibrant to reflect the changing face of St Helens and convey the notion of a dynamic, modern borough.

Š“This has been a really exciting project to work on because of the forward-thinking way in which St Helens Council has approached its place branding and the way that we have worked in close partnership together to create Brand New St Helens.

“For a local authority, what they have achieved has been very innovative indeed.”

Liverpool Daily Post

Giant Eagle Owl Escapes in St Helens

Eagle owlA Giant European Eagle Owl has escaped from a home in St Helens and residents are being asked to keep their pets indoors!

The intimidating-looking bird of prey, which was being kept at a house on Burnage Avenue, Clock Face, was reported missing to St Helens police last week.

The largest breed of owl in the world, the European Eagle Owl is typically around three-feet tall and has a wingspan more than a metre wide.

A protected species, it has distinctive brown, grey and white markings, with large ear tufts, yellow or orange eyes and a black beak and talons, although if you manage to get that close you will have probably already realise what it is!

Found in Northern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, it can make nests in a variety of habitats, but usually uses a rock ledge or cave as a base.

At night, the European Eagle Owl is active, flying swiftly and noiselessly while scanning the ground for prey. It will eat insects, small birds, small reptiles, fish, and small mammals like cats.

Most often, European Eagle Owls prey on animals smaller than rabbits, but they can kill prey the size of foxes and have been known to attack other birds of prey.

The birds, which are rare, but are not in danger of extinction, can growl or even bark if they feel threatened.

If you've spotted a giant European Eagle Owl swooping near you, please contact your local police station.

With thanks to St Helens Star

St Helens Pensioner Dies After Burglary Con

Margaret BriersThe BBC Merseyside News website carries a full story about the death of Carr Mill resident Margaret Briers, along with an e-fit of her suspected assailant.

Although a man has been arrested the investigation is still ongoing so if you have any information that may be useful please contact the Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

St Helens Pond Body Formally Identified

mark lyonPolice have named a man found in a pond in Bold.

Mark Lyon's body was discovered by a passer-by last Wednesday night (April 2) in water off Gorsey Lane.

Mr Lyon, 47, from Parr, had been reported missing six months ago.However, post mortem tests over the weekend to determine the cause of death proved inconclusive. Further tests are to be carried out, a spokesman for Merseyside Police said.

His parents reported him missing from home on October 8. Since his disappearance his worried family and Merseyside Police have issued appeals for his safe return.

Investigations are continuing but his death is not being treated as suspicious.A police spokesman said:

"We are not treating Mr Lyon's death as suspicious but we are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his demise.

"We are piecing together what happened during his lengthy disappearance in order to discover how he died."

St Helens Line Up Potter as Anderson's Successor

St Helens expect to name their new coach within the next month. The Super League club will lose Daniel Anderson when he returns to Australia at the end of the season and are thought to be well down the road in discussions with the Catalan Dragons' Mick Potter.

"We have genuinely not made a decision yet," the club's chief executive, Tony Colquitt, said. "There are a couple of names we're talking to, but we've got to respect confidentiality."

One complication is that Potter, like Anderson, is a contender for the Canterbury Bulldogs job which will be vacated at the end of the season by Steve Folkes.

Meanwhile, Saints have warned their local council that they could be forced to leave the town and play at Bolton's Reebok Stadium if they do not get permission to build a new stadium.

Saints' Test forward, Maurie Fa'asavalu, faces a possible suspension tonight after being sent off for running in and striking Castleford's Craig Huby.

Warrington are in double jeopardy at the same disciplinary hearing. Ben Westwood was sent off for a reckless high tackle at Wakefield on Sunday, while Adrian Morley has been cited for a careless high tackle in the same match. Wigan's Michael McIlorum faces a similar charge.

Hull are waiting for a specialist's report on what they fear is a serious neck injury to their half-back, Richard Horne. The Great Britain internationalwas thought to have suffered an arm injury against Bradford on Friday, but the problem has been localised to his neck. The club hope that Adam Dykes will recover from a neck injury of his own in time for Friday night's game at Castleford.

Hull's second-rower, Danny Tickle, has agreed a new two-year contract.

Darren Shaw resigned as football manager at Leigh yesterday, the day after their surprise defeat by Featherstone in the Northern Rail Cup.

Five Clubs Chase Lockyer

darren lockyerFive engage Super League clubs are on the trail of Australia captain Darren Lockyer, including Hull Kingston Rovers.

The Brisbane Broncos and Queensland skipper, 31, is out of contract at the end of 2009 and in the past has spoken about the possibility of ending his career in England.

Lockyer’s manager George Mimis confirmed that "five or six" clubs had approached him about signing the Test and Origin star from 2010 onwards.

"Each year there’s interest," Mimis told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"This year, at least five clubs, maybe six, would be interested."

Hull KR are one of the clubs, although Mimis refused to divulge the others.

He said he had already had some "tentative" discussions with Lockyer about "what life might look like" after his contract with the Broncos expired.

"Super League would feature as one of the discussion points," Mimis said.

"It’s a possibility. He’s enjoyed the time he’s had, football-wise, over there.

"He’s enjoyed travelling there on a couple of occasions socially as well. He doesn’t dislike the whole environment."

Local Man Moves Up in Health & Safety

chris power

A Rainford man has joined one of the UK’s leading health and safety consultancies and will be advising companies from Cheshire to Cumbria on how to make their businesses compliant with fast changing legislation, and safer places to work.

Chris Power (42) of Rainford has become one of the UK’s elite health and safety consultants by joining 4See Risk Management, the UK’s leading nationally operating health, safety and environmental consultancy. Chris joins from the management consultancy, Sysco where he provided health, safety and environmental training, and NVQ assessments to clients. In his new role Chris will give advice and training to client companies on all matters relating to health safety and environmental compliance.

Chris originally from Whiston, has lived in Merseyside for most of his life. He has been married to his South African wife for 18 years, and the couple have three children.

Car Park Causes Road Closures

Motorists driving through St Helens will face traffic diversions over the next 10 weeks while work is carried out on a new car park in the town.

Birchley Street will be closed except for access from Birchley Street Car Park to Clifton Street junction.

The road will be completely closed from Clifton Street junction to Standish Street junction from Thursday onwards.

Diverted traffic will be routed via Standish Street, College Street, Corporation Street and Birchley Street.

The work is expected to be completed by the middle of June

St Helens Seeks a New Motto

The Big Art Project is taking hold in St Helens as the town searches for a new motto which celebrates it.

With 400 years of mining history, school pupils and community groups were asked to think of a new motto using only letters from the gates of the town’s former colliery.

The Daily Post had a sneak preview last night of the 28 mottos created from the words “National Coal Board Sutton Manor Colliery”.

Realise Your Roots and A Smile Says It All are just two of the ideas which will be soon be transferred onto huge billboards across the town.

This is just the start of a process which could see the existing Latin motto of Out of Earth Cometh Light permanently replaced with a modern version.

Spanish artist Jaume Plensa has already been commissioned to create an iconic piece of public art set to become Merseyside’s answer to Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North.

The project has a working title of Ex Terra Lucem (Out of the Earth Comes Light) and will be built on the former Sutton Manor site overlooking the M62. Ex-miner Alan Roby, 50, who worked at the colliery for 18 years, has been helping two leading artists with the project over the past five months.

Mr Roby said: “I come from a mining family, my parents and brothers worked there. But I enjoyed it and after the pit closed in 1993, I and other miners formed a heritage group so the history and importance of the site was never forgotten.

“There’s not much left there now apart from the gate, but we need to move with the times and make the site accessible to the young and old.

“It’s been a rollercoaster but we’ve told people about mining life and the history of Sutton Manor then it was up to them to come up with the ideas.”

Mr Roby and artist Alan Dunn and writer Jeff Young visited hundreds of people to encourage them to get involved.

Alan Dunn said: “I’ve never seen anything quite like this.

“The Big Art Project is a positive thing for St Helens and its great to have the knowledge and backing from the ex-miners themselves.”

Following an exhibition at the Godfrey Pilkington Gallery in St Helens town centre which opens today, the mottos will be transferred to the billboards.

After the ideas have been on the billboards for two weeks in April, they will be transferred into 20,000 booklets which will be delivered to every home in the borough.

There is also the possibility one motto will be chosen to become “concrete” and placed somewhere in St Helens.

St Helens is one of seven sites across the UK chosen by judges and the public to be part of Channel Four’s Big Art Project.

The town will now work to create the public art commission at Sutton Manor.