Warrington Mid February Roundup.

Warrington and music fans were left shocked and saddened at the news the four members of the Indie Rock band Viola Beach, and their manager were killed following a car crash in Sweden.  Flowers, candles and other tributes have been left outside The Lounge bar in Warrington town centre, where the band had played many times building up their following locally. There has also been a book of condolence placed in Warrington town hall and Contact Warrington on Horsemarket, while the town hall flag will be at half mast, as a sign of respect for the rest of the week.

All four members of the band had been students at Priestley College and were due to play a “home coming” gig at the Parr Hall on march 12. Swedish police are still examining the crash, while fans have already got their single Swings and Waterslides, into the iTunes top three. The band’s record label Communion have confirmed that the proceeds from the sale of singles will go to the families of the band and manager: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/16/viola-beach-oil-tanker-reportedly-sailed-over-wreckage-mt-tellus)

The photo below is from Warrington Worldwide:



Emergency works took place on Saturday 13th February to make parts of the Garnett’s Cabinet works safe, following damage due to vandalism over the past year and the complex left derelict for many years. The water tower, built in 1906, is a prominent feature on the Warrington skyline, and I personally feel would be a great shame to lose it, as shown in the centre below:

Civic Society Chairman John Shipley said: “We were particularly pleased with the use of a mobile platform from Barbauld Street for access rather than the partial demolition of former Industrial School originally proposed by the owner’s appointed contractor.” John added that the Warrington Civic Society was calling on the council to commit to preserving as much of the site’s heritage as possible.



Myself and the Civic Society have also expressed dismay as another historic building went up in flames in Thelwall today, the 16th February. Four fire engines were called out to tackle the fire in the roof space of the barns and disused farmhouse  in Bell Lane, believed to date back to the 1700s. Chairman John Shipley said: “I am Dismayed to see another historic building go up in flames”, and added; “In this case there seems to be less public risk from any structural damage and emergency repairs must be the first consideration.

There also needs to be a full and thorough investigation by the relevant authorities into how this was able to happen.”. Warrington remembers the fire that destroyed the Ritz cinema/Mr Smith’s nightclub back in April 2015.


Almost everyday I walk down Winwick Road, the A49 I see an increasing amount of litter along the verges and bushes. It only seems to be getting worse, and as this is one of the main routes driving into Warrington, the first image you see driving in.  I have already contacted the council about organising a litter pick on the 12th and 13th March, as part of the Clean for the Queen campaign for her 90th birthday year.


Anyone who is interested can contact me through here or my Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1714484325450427/  and I am planning to meet by the Toby Carvery at 10am on Saturday 12th, then the same again on Sunday 13th March.

Lastly the petition against the Peel Hall development by Satnam, is nearly reaching 1000 signatures online, thanks to Barry May for setting up the page: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/782/175/074/stop-satnam-building-in-winwick-and-orford/?taf_id=20766481&cid=fb_na  The consultation with Results Communications ended on the 13th February, now is just a waiting game for the next stage, and the application.

Breck Bednar and being safe online

Around a week ago I watched a heartbreaking docudrama shown by the BBC, about the murder of 14 year old Breck Bednar and how internet safety should be a priority to show to children and young people. Even though the programme can be hard to watch, I believe showing it in schools and discussing how to stay safe not just while gaming, but anytime online is the best way raise awareness of the dangers.

Breck’s mother Lorin LaFave is brave and inspirational to have made a documentary about the loss of her son through such manipulation and deceit, while gaming online. This docudrama brought his close friends together to tell their story, and is available on BBCiPlayer for a few more weeks:


Gaming isn’t really something I got into, and when age 14 in 1999 it didn’t really exist like it does today. Cases of cyber bullying, grooming and other dangers were barely heard of and talked about, as the internet was still new to most. I however can understand how from others it can take over and become an addiction. Even I have times when technology and the internet can feel all-consuming and am I missing out on something?

After watching the programme I have also become aware of the work Breck’s mother is doing with starting up the Breck Foundation which raises awareness in his memory, for playing safe while using the internet. In my view this shows an amazing courage and resilience to limit the dangers to others, with sharing a heartbreaking story.  We all have to remember that the friends we make on-line are not the same as the real ones; “Play Virtual Live Real.”

More about the foundations’ work can be found at:


As today the 9th February is Safer Internet today the foundation is launching “No Tech 4 Breck Day”, an awareness fundraiser to help promote the safe and moderate use of technology by all, both young and old. Many opportunities exist online but moderation should be exercised, as dangers can occur without guidance and education, and then negatively affect our lives.

“No Tech 4 Breck Day” is a fundraiser between today the 9th February, and Breck’s birthday (17th March) encourages you, your friends and family to find ways to live and enjoy a single day without the gadgets we all now take for granted. This could be meeting up with friends, going for a walk or playing a board/card game. There are sponsorship forms available through the website and I will be taking part myself.

Crosfield Bell


As a member of the Warrington Civic society I have been following the story of, and have got involved in the campaign to save the 133 year old Crosfield bell, and get it brought back to Warrington.

The bell has been removed from St Thomas’ Church at Stockton Heath, by contractors of the foundry John Taylor & Co who in Loughborough who originally installed it back in 1883. It has been valued at £10,660 including VAT, and was donated by John Crosfield, in memory of his wife Eliza who died in 1882. John was the son of Joseph Crosfield who founded Crosfield & Sons in 1815, manufacturing soap at Bank Quay, which later became split between Lever Brothers (Unilever) and Ineos Silicas.  A timeline of Crosfield’s history can be found at:


The old tolling bell has not seen active service for decades and eight new bells have been moved from a church in Bollington near Macclesfield:



The civic society has since learned that the bell can still toll. It was just felt that the Crosfield Bell was unsuitable to work alongside the new bells, and St Thomas gave the bell to the foundry as part exchange for the new ones.

The Walton Lea Partnership, a charity providing individual learning and skills development and supported employment to adults with learning disabilities have offered to re-home the bell in their Victorian Walled Garden which is based in what remains of the Crosfield Mansion in Walton. This would bring the bell back to the home of the Crosfield Family, and give their many visitors the opportunity to admire the bell at close quarter.

More on the charity’s work can be seen at: http://www.waltonlea.org.uk/

A total of £5330 is needed as a deposit by February 12 to prevent the Bell from being lost to Warrington, with more time to fundraise for the other half. At the time of writing donations have been coming in online via virgin giving (£170 so far), over £160 in cash, and a larger donation from the West Lancashire Freemasons (Via their Warrington Group) who have offered £1000 towards the return of the bell. There will also be members of the Civic society fundraising at Marks & Spencer’s in Stockton Heath on Saturday 6th February.

Griff Rhys Jones, who is the president of Civic Voice, the national organisation representing Britain’s civic societies and is also the president of many other preservation and conservation charities has commented:

“What a great project. I urge the people of Warrington to get behind the fundraising appeal to save the historic Crossfield bell. Give a little, give a lot and ring that bell for Warrington”

Anyone interested helping with a donation, or to get involved to save the bell should contact Civic Society Chairman John Shipley by email at Warrington.civsoc@gmail.com or by calling 07954 521 972.

You can donate online at: