Sunday Snippets for week-ending 9 January 2022

Welcome to “Sunday Snippets” a weekly feature from It is a round-up of important local news stories from the two weeks. Click on each story to read the full article. launches free newsletter is to launch a new newsletter to keep you up to date with all the latest news from around Wirral.

The newsletter will include stories about the local community, sport, local environmental issues, arts and entertainment, the emergency services, and much more.

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The famed artist born in Birkenhead, Philip Wilson Steer

On December 28 1860, a day of heavily falling snow, a baby boy was born in Birkenhead. His name was Philip Wilson Steer and he grew up to become one of the era’s most renowned British artists.

He was a painter of landscapes, seascapes, portraits and figure studies. He was also an influential art teacher. His sea and landscape paintings made him a leading figure in the Impressionist movement in Britain but in time he turned to a more traditional English style, clearly influenced by both John Constable and J. M. W. Turner, and spent more time painting in the countryside rather than on the coast. As a painting tutor at the Slade School of Art for many years, he influenced generations of young artists.

He was the son of portrait painter and art teacher, Philip Steer (1810–1871) and his wife, Emma Harrison (1816-1898.) He was born while his parents lived at 39 Grange Mount in Birkenhead. At this address, his father held a ‘School of Fine Art for Ladies’, with a ‘class for Gentlemen on two evenings of the week.’

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Warning of bogus ‘water board’ callers in Wirral

United Utilities has warned its customers in Wirral to be on their guard against bogus callers. 

During the winter months there is often an increase in scammers posing as employees from the “water board” or United Utilities to get into properties and steal valuables. 

There have also been reports from Police in Wirral about people pretending to be United Utilities employees. 

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Sunday morning gigs for kids to launch at Future Yard

Future Yard has announced a new party coming to the Argyle Street venue: Mosh Tots!

Mosh Tots is a brand new series of gigs for kids (and well-behaved parents!), here to introduce kids to the rockin’ world of live music in a safe and fun environment.

A spokesperson for Future Yard said, “We believe that live music should be for everyone, no matter your age. For too long live music venues have been off-limits for young children (not to mention their parents); Mosh Tots is going to flip that on its head and is an opportunity to share the joy of live music together as a family.”

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Multi-award winning wartime feature filmed in Wirral and Liverpool

A Feature film shot in and around Liverpool and Wirral has been collecting multiple awards in festivals around the World.

War-time drama ‘Enemy of the Heart’ has won more than 30 accolades in Rome, Florence, New York, New Jersey, Miami, Cannes, Toronto, Tagore, and London.

Created by Claryn Scott, the production is inspired by true events and centres around an Anglo-Italian family living in Liverpool during the outbreak of war. On 10 June 1940, anti-Italian riots erupted across the UK in response to Benito Mussolini’s allegiance with Adolf Hitler to attack France and Britain.

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Wirral schools raise £27k with the 2021 Rudolph Run

Twenty Seven of Wirral’s schools, including Hayfield specialist school, took part in the Rudolph Run’ involving hundreds of children in aid of Wirral Hospice St John’s.

The successful Rudolph and Elf Runs over the previous two years have contributed to a record number of schools encouraging their youngsters to take part in an enthusiastic and healthy walk or run, part of their PE lessons, to help raise the funds.

In the run-up to the events, and sometimes just before, schools were visited by popular hospice mascot, John Bear, to give the children a ‘warm up’ and, alongside hospice staff, to sensitively explain the work of the hospice.

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Hoylake and West Kirby RNLI thank community for support at Boxing Day events

Volunteer lifeboat crews from Hoylake and West Kirby RNLI have thanked the hundreds of people in the local community who turned out to support them at a Boxing Day Dip and traditional Tug o’War competition on 26 December 2021. The events raised over £2,200 to support the charity’s lifesaving work.

While many people may have been sleeping off Christmas dinner, hundreds of intrepid swimmers had made their way to West Kirby Marine Lake to take part in a Boxing Day Dip organised by the Underground Training Station (UTS). The Hoylake-based gym has organised the chilly morning challenge for several years and it has become increasingly popular.

West Kirby RNLI launched their D class lifeboat Seahorse to oversee and support the daring dippers taking to the water. The event raised an impressive £704.56 on the day, with many more donations from participants made to the RNLI online.

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Wirral Special Constable awarded British Empire Medal

A Merseyside Police Special Constable with 40 years of dedicated service has been awarded the prestigious British Empire Medal (BEM).

In his time as a Special, Don Elliot has helped keep the public safe at a series of historic events including a visit from the Pope, the abandoned Grand National in 1997, and even a Michael Jackson Concert at Aintree.

The BEM is awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown, and in Don’s case for the long term ‘hands-on’ voluntary service he has provided for local communities.

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Top Tips to be a Wirral Climate Rockstar in 2022

This is the first article in an occasional series on environmental and green issues by Edward Lamb, a member of the Wirral Climate Action Group  and founder of Rethink Now CIC .

Climate change. It’s the era-defining issue that just won’t go away. Sadly, the longer we delay serious action, the more we’ll need to do further down the line. So we’d better get to it, right?

The great thing about many of the changes that we need to make is that they are things that will make us happier and healthier, so why not get started in 2022? Here are some top tips for personal and community action for the year ahead…

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Save Wirral’s Green Belt. Uproar at Leverhulme plans to build 830 homes on greenfield sites

The Leverhulme Estate has identified around 140 acres of green belt land for residential development in Wirral and has submitted early-stage proposals to Wirral Council in the form of Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Opinions, identifying the sites and outlining its intentions for each.

Hundreds of Wirral residents have voiced their concerns on the many Facebook local community groups that cover the areas where they live.

Wirral Council has a brownfield first policy but will need residents’ support in order for this to be implemented.

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Wirral students explore ‘Fresh Perspectives’ on art at Lady Lever

Fresh Perspectives, the exhibition of inspiring artworks from students of five Wirral secondary schools, returns this January for its fifth, bi-annual outing. 

Running from 28 January – 20 March 2022 at Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, the exhibition contains a diverse range of paintings, photography and other artworks, all of which have been created by pupils from five Wirral schools: St Mary’s Catholic College in Wallasey, Wirral Grammar School for Girls in Bebington, The Oldershaw School in Wallasey, Wirral Hospitals’ School in Claughton, and Prenton High School for Girls.  

Fresh Perspectives aims to celebrate, nurture and encourage the artistic talents of local students, as well as highlighting the importance of engaging with arts and culture outside of the classroom. A key goal of the exhibition is to support those with an interest in further education in the arts, offering them an insight into creative careers. Opening at the end of this month, Fresh Perspectives begins celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Lady Lever Art Gallery, which will take place throughout 2022.  

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Wirral tech pioneer’s historical adventure book

The Wirral product engineer who manufactured some of the very first touch-screen computers has gone back in time for his first attempt at writing a novel.

Howard Matthews has been rewarded with a string of five-star reviews for his remarkable page-turning debut, Welsh Gold: Mrogi-Rixs Yr Riketo(Lord of the Sky)

The imaginative 65-year-old’s first foray into fiction is a highly convincing adventure that stretches from present-day all the way back to almost pre-history.

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Mersey Tunnels tolls to increase for first time in 5 years

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has shared an update on proposed tunnel tolls for 2022/2023 with rates set to rise for the first time in five years, in response to increasing public sector budget pressures and increasing maintenance costs.

While there will still be a discount for Liverpool City Region residents using the Fast Tag or T-Flow prepayment systems, the cost of a single crossing is set to rise by 20p for car drivers from April 1, if the proposals are approved at this month’s Combined Authority meeting.

The rate change will mean that many motorists are still paying a full £1.10 less than the maximum amount authorised by the Tunnels Act, and only same toll as Tunnels users in 2004 despite inflation since then being 76%.  

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Parents urged to return primary school applications before deadline

Parents across Wirral are reminded that applications for admission into Wirral primary schools next autumn must be made by Saturday 15 January 2022.

All parents of children born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018 should have received a leaflet from their child’s preschool telling them how to apply.

Parents have to apply for a primary school place for their child by the deadline of Friday 15 January  to give their child the best chance of getting a place at one of their preferred schools. 

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Wirral animal lover urges others to volunteer for Humanimal Trust

An animal lover from Wirral has urged people to join a charity that seeks to close the divide between human and animal medicine.

Humanimal Trust, a charity founded by orthopaedic-neuro veterinary surgeon, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick – otherwise known as The Supervet – has launched a campaign to recruit volunteers to help in lots of different ways, from supporting at events and giving talks in the community to organising local fundraisers and sharing their expertise.    

Sarah Horner, 49, has been a Humanimal Trust volunteer since 2019. She said, “My background is in human nursing but I have a long history in animal welfare and rescue, so both humans and animals are of equal importance to me. Being part of a charity that is dedicated to ensuring a fairer deal for animals is so rewarding and inspiring.

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Birkenhead MP calls on Government to support cash-strapped Council

Wallasey Town Hall

Mick Whitley, Member of Parliament for Birkenhead, has condemned the Government’s failure to avert the “potentially catastrophic” funding crisis facing Wirral Council and called for the poorest communities in the local authority to be shielded from any further cuts to frontline spending.

The council recently made a successful application to central government for exceptional financial support, but now faces significant pressure to implement additional spending cuts.

Writing to Michael Gove – the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities – the Birkenhead MP slammed the Conservative Government’s “shameful abdication of responsibility” in not doing more to support local authorities grappling with funding shortfalls.

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Walk-in pop-up vaccination sites for Wirral throughout January

The NHS in the North West continues the drive to offer more places for people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, with a range of new pop-up sites launching soon. 

The latest vaccination sites planned for the borough include Future Yard live music venue in Birkenhead, Rock Ferry One Stop Shop, a matchday pop-up at Tranmere Rovers, and Seacombe Children’s Centre.

The NHS has been rapidly expanding the number of hyper-local vaccine services to encourage vaccine uptake in the region. More than 80 new sites have been set up since the start of December, a mix of one-off pop-ups and temporary additional services running for several days or weeks in key locations to improve access to the vaccine, with more sites planned. 

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Wirral MP calls for a debate on the impact of NHS privatisation

Margaret Greenwood MP has called on the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees Mogg, to provide time for “a debate on the impact of the government’s NHS privatisation agenda”.  

The Wirral West MP was speaking in response to the Business Statement which traditionally takes place each Thursday when Parliament is sitting and outlines the parliamentary business for the following week.

MPs are then able to respond and suggest issues on which they believe the government should make time for a debate in the House of Commons in the near future.  

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Sweeping proposals to balance Wirral Council budget

Wallasey Town Hall

Wirral Council has brought forward a broad range of proposals to streamline council services and bridge the £27 million gap in next year’s budget. 

The council is legally obliged to set a balanced budget or risk Government intervention, and the measures being proposed are intended to put the authority on a stable footing for the long term. 

Year after year the authority has faced major gaps in its budget between the services it has been – and sought to continue – delivering, against increasing pressures and a falling income.  

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Tranmere thrash Scunthorpe and climb to second in table

Wallasey Town Hall

Tranmere’s run now extends to six league wins on the trot following a thumping win over Scunthorpe at Prenton Park.

Rovers moved up to second in the league following with goals from Jolley, Nevitt, Foley, and Watson securing the three points against struggling Scunthorpe.

A 24th-minute volley from Jolley curled beyond Scunthorpe keeper, Rory Watson. A few minutes later, a half-volley from Nevitt found the top corner to make it two before the break.

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