Sunday Snippets, 26 November 2023

Welcome to “Sunday Snippets” a weekly feature from Birkenhead News. It is a round-up of the important local news stories you may have missed over the last seven days. Click or tap on each story to read the full article.

Woodchurch residents say ‘there’s nothing left’ as leisure centre set to be demolished

Residents of Wirral’s largest housing estate have said “there’s nothing left” as they mourn the loss of their leisure centre.

At a committee meeting on Tuesday, Wirral Council decided to not move ahead with community plans by Woodchurch Wellbeing to take over the leisure centre on the Woodchurch estate. This means the community facility will be demolished.

Woodchurch Leisure Centre closed down in 2022 as part of £20m budget cuts that year. A Wirral Council report said the plans were unviable but at the committee Woodchurch Wellbeing at the meeting criticised inaccuracies and said it was “designed to create a narrative to fulfil a predetermined need for demolition”.

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Big future ahead for heritage jewel of Birkenhead

The transfer of Wirral Transport Museum from Wirral Council to a local Community Interest Company (CIC) has now been completed.

Big Heritage CIC, which already has a strong track record of running museums and visitor attractions in Merseyside and Chester, has now officially taken over the running of the Taylor Street attraction on a 28-year lease from the council.

Dean Paton, Founder and Managing Director of Big Heritage CIC, said, “Big Heritage can now begin work on transforming the existing museum into a vibrant and engaging space for visitors. Building renovations will develop spaces where visitors can explore Birkenhead’s rich transport history.”

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Funny and bizarre record cover exhibition opens at the Williamson

From the unintentionally funny to the completely bizarre, Steve Goldman’s collection of more than 500 record covers, currently on display at the Williamson Art Gallery, is something to behold.

Collected over a seven-year period from charity shops and online marketplaces, Steve’s selection criteria is stringent: Is this one of the worst record covers in the world?

On what makes an album cover suitable for inclusion in his collection, Steve told Birkenhead News, “There’s so many forms of ‘bad’, but it just has to make me laugh!”

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Sisters share tragic story of brother’s drowning

Losing a family member to drowning is shocking enough, but it’s even more shocking when the person is fit, prepared and confident around the water.

Haydn Griffiths was exactly that. He was a sailor, a scuba diver, and a paddleboarder, with water safety knowledge.

In episode 93 of the RNLI’s 200 Voices podcast, sisters Megan and Brogan Griffiths share the heartbreaking story of losing their younger brother Haydn, who was just 23 when he drowned in the Irish Sea near Hoylake in 2022.

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£10.7 million Levelling Up Funding for Liscard

Liscard is in line to receive £10.7 million Levelling Up funding as part of what will be a major boost for the town and local traders.

Wirral Council had bid for Levelling Up Funding in July 2022 and was initially unsuccessful but the Government has looked again at the plans submitted by the local authority for the town centre.

For the latest round of Levelling Up Funding the Government has drawn on bids previously submitted which were not funded but were assessed as high-quality and ready-to-deliver. This includes the bid for the Renewal of Liscard Town Centre.

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Magenta Living and partners showcase art exhibition on social housing perceptions

Magenta Living teamed up recently with Happy Times Activities and Open Door Charity to develop an art exhibition showcasing social housing and challenging some of the perceptions around social housing. 

The LENS experience is the brainchild of Lee Pennington, founder of Open Door Charity and they partnered for the second time with Happy Times Activities, a local Social Enterprise whose mission is to increase happiness and provide a sense of belonging for vulnerable adults.

They use a range of movement, sensory, creative, and musical activities for all to enjoy. The first LENS exhibition was held earlier this year to raise awareness of Autism and Learning Disabilities. 

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Heswall FC to rename ground in memory of Danny De Brabander

Birkenhead man, Danny De Brabander, was diagnosed with terminal Bowel Cancer in 2019 and through #TeamDDB raised over £135,000 for local charitable causes.

Sadly, Danny passed away last month following his long battle with cancer.

Over the last few years, Heswall FC has supported the charity work and fundraising of #TeamDDB. Danny and the team did a magnificent job in raising awareness, bringing in over £135,000 in vital funds and performing random acts of kindness.

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Wirral schools honoured at the Educate Awards

Three Wirral schools were crowned winners at the Educate Awards on Friday, 17 November.

Now in its twelfth year, the Educate Awards showcases the hard work and creativity in the education sector, from STEM and performing arts to sports and literacy.

The awards also recognise the individuals who bring schools and colleges to life, from inspiring teachers and dedicated support staff to strategic leadership teams.

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Hackney fares set to increase

Wirral taxi tariffs are set to become the highest in Merseyside with a new charge brought in for people dropped off in Liverpool.

The new tariffs are being brought in as hackney carriage drivers represented by Unite the Union said costs for insurance and tyres had dramatically increased as well as the need to earn a living as food prices increase. This was approved by a Wirral Council regulatory and general purposes committee but is subject to public consultation over 14 days.

The current day rate is £3.60 for the first 300 yards and 20p for every 207 yards. This will change to £3.60 for the same distance but 20p every 175 yards after that.

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Workshop to be held about Liscard-Birkenhead accessible walking and cycling route

People interested in the accessibility of walking, wheeling and cycling routes are invited to attend a workshop to share their thoughts on the plans for a route between Birkenhead and Liscard.

Based in Birkenhead on Thursday, 30 November, the workshop will be an opportunity to sit and view the plans in more detail with a focus on specific elements of the design from an accessibility point of view.

Running from Chester Street, Birkenhead, connecting Hamilton Square station, Woodside Ferry, Wirral Waters, Seacombe Ferry Terminal, Eureka! Science and Discovery Museum, and Liscard town centre, the proposed route is a significant regeneration project to help make it easier for people to get to work, school or the shops – or simply create a more pleasant environment for people to travel along and spend time in.

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West Kirby RNLI rescue six people cut off by tide at Hilbre Island

On Friday, 17 November, volunteer lifeboat crew from West Kirby RNLI rescued six people who were cut off by the tide on Hilbre Island.

At approximately 12.17pm, West Kirby RNLI were tasked by HM Coastguard to reports of six people cut off by the tide on Hilbre Island. The casualties had made the call to the Coastguard themselves realising they were surrounded by the high tide.

The station’s D class inshore lifeboat Leonard Pownall was launched and was on the water within eight minutes, with Helm Neil Potter and Crew Members Jamie Marston and Joe Hughes-Jones.

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Wirral woman appointed as Principal Second Trumpet at Liverpool Philharmonic

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra has announced the appointment of Hannah Mackenzie as Principal Second Trumpet. Her first performance in the role will be Thursday, 30 November.

Hannah was raised in Wirral and joined the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company at 16 years old.

The Youth Company is the largest community of young musicians in the North West created to develop young musical talent. During her time in Youth Company, Hannah won the Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition and performed as a soloist.

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Letters to the Editor: When will West Kirby memorial bench plaques be reinstated?

Peter Ryan of West Kirby writes: “Prior to the building of the wavy wall on West Kirby Promenade, there were some 90 individual benches most of which had been “adopted” by local people who wished to honour and remember their loved ones.

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Wirral Met students bring home the medals at UKs biggest skills competition

Students from Wirral Met College’s hairdressing and media departments secured silver and bronze at the WorldSkills UK National Finals.

Held in in Manchester the competition saw over 500 students and apprentices taking part across 51 categories culminating in the announcement of the winners at a glittering awards ceremony on Friday 17 November at The Manchester College’s City Campus.

The competitions are designed by industry experts and help young people to develop the skills that employers need in their workplace. Competing on a national and global level in their field of expertise, the finals, welcome only the top students and apprentices within their category from across the UK.

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Wirral pub beats hundreds to win big at hospitality awards

The Shippons Inn in Irby is celebrating success after battling it out with 204 other pubs across the country to secure a duo of accolades at the latest Thwaites Hospitality Awards.

Hosted by Lancashire-based, family-owned hospitality company, Daniel Thwaites, the Spanish-themed awards ceremony saw 145 people gather at the four-star Cottons Hotel and Spa in Knutsford, with guests treated to a sangria reception, followed by a three-course meal and an evening of entertainment.

The annual Thwaites Hospitality Awards recognises excellence across the company’s portfolio of over 200 pubs, with 205 operators battling it out to scoop honours across just 12 winning categories including ‘Pub of the Year’ and ‘Best Newcomer’, as well as an accolade crowning the ‘Best Pint’.

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Teachers at Birkenhead School to be balloted for strike over pension and contract changes

Teachers at Birkenhead School, a fee-paying independent School, are set to be balloted to take industrial action.

The ballot, taking place in early January, is in protest of the employer’s proposals to stop paying its contributions towards the teachers’ pension scheme alongside further detrimental changes to staff contracts.

The employer currently does not recognise trade unions and has refused to sign a voluntary trade union recognition agreement with the National Education Union (NEU). The NEU members at the school have already indicated their support for strike action in an indicative ballot with a turnout of 95% and a yes vote of 80%.

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Tranmere secure convincing win against Gillingham

Tranmere moved two points clear of the League Two relegation zone, securing a 3-1 win against Gillingham at Prenton Park on Saturday.

Rob Apter seized an opportunity from a defensive error to open the scoring, delivering a powerful shot past Jake Turner just before the half-time whistle.

Connor Jennings, recently awarded a one-year contract extension, headed in a goal to further strengthen the lead. Apter then netted for the fourth time this season, marking the hour with another successful strike.

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Wirral Police weekly news round-up

This is the Birkenhead News weekly round-up of police activity in and around Wirral during the last seven days.

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What’s On? Guide

Visit our “What’s On?” guide for Wirral and the surrounding areas in the coming weeks.

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