Parish Councils meeting hits buses nail on the head

Last night I attended a meeting of the ’10 Parishes’(the umbrella organisation that brings all 10 Parish Councils in Sefton Borough together) if only for a sort time because of other commitments. They were discussing the preparations for the 3rd Local Transport Plan (LTP) for Merseyside and had a transportation expert from Sefton Council leading the discussion. Now LTP planning has filled more pages over the years than I care to remember, principles, policies, strategies, aims……………… you get my drift. But it took Gerry Lee the present Chairman of Melling Parish Council to say that all he wanted is ‘for someone to listen to us about the poor buses services in our Parish’ or words to that effect. Gerry was of course right and others chimed in with similar concerns from across the Borough. Access or the lack of it by public transport to Ormskirk and Fazakerley Hospitals (and Litherland NHS Drop-In Centre, I would add) were the big concerns.

What we can all learn from this is you can have as many glossy brochures as you like, costing loads of money to produce, but if like Melling Parish Council you have shouted from the roof-tops for 10 years that  bus services in the evenings, on Sundays and on Bank Holidays are non-existent why on earth should you think that another round of glossy brochures is going to solve the problem?! 

Like Melling Parish Council I have been raising with Merseytravel time and time again how poor Melling’s bus services are and like them I have had the brush off. I have posted blogs about this before and will probably end up doing it again.

Frank Hornby Trust – Good news and progress

Well we had our Trustees meeting with officials of Liverpool Museum on Monday and a positive meeting it was (my blog of 14th November refers). I am sure we can reach a partnership agreement with the Museum to work with the Maghull based Trust.

Our challenges are to build up our collection of Hornby artifacts and to develop educational opportunities around the work of the Trust to satisfy the Heritage Lottery Fund to whom we are looking for some financial help. The odd thing about a collection is that we trustees are sceptical of the need to have a significant one as we can easily source items for display from collectors or indeed Liverpool Museum. We thought we had proved that case by the success of the 3 hugely popular public exhibitions in Maghull Town Hall that we put on in 2007, 2008 and 2009. However, Heritage Lottery say they want us to have and to hold a collection of significance.  These two differing views will need to reconciled as we move forward. What we want to collect are the things that the collectors and museums do not hold but I am sure we will resolve this issue.

The really good news is that the new waterfront Museum of Liverpool which is due to open next year wants to partner with us. They will obviously have some exhibits about Hornby and his famous Liverpool factory on display but what they have offered to do is to signpost folks visiting their new museum to Maghull to see our dedicated facility. This is excellent news and it fits well with discussions that I have been having around Phil Redmond’s Cultural Collective Table about the whole City Region needing to benefit from people visiting Liverpool.

Uncle Albert – He saw the bombing of Liverpool from a birds eye view point

One of my greatest friends is Charles Walker a still quick witted and lively 89 year old who only got into politics when he was 74! I mention Charles because of a chance remark about Remembrance Day that I overheard today. The remark was made between two people I do not know but it was to the effect that neither knew anyone who had taken part in WWII.

Charles is Uncle Albert to his close friends and yes it does come from the old chap in Only Fools and Horses who was famous for the catch phrase ‘During the War’. When we got to know Charles he would, without too much prompting, tell us about his experiences during the war. On one occasion I recall him telling us about when he worked in George Henry Lees Department Store in Liverpool and how he would be sent to stand on the roof at night to fire watch during the bombing raids. In fact Charles was on that roof the night the church at the top of Bold Street was bombed out. The walls of the church are still standing as Liverpool folks will know and so is Charles although his knees are not quite as strong as they once were. Strangely, he does not seem to think of himself as brave but how many of us in this day and age would stand on a roof in a city being bombed to hell and back?

By the way Charles is a Town Councillor in Maghull and was a campaigner for the now hugely busy interchange at Maghull Station. He has also campaigned against the spread of Japanese Knot Weed locally but most of all he is one of the nicest and kindest people I have ever known.

Graham Hewer is to retire – I must be getting old!

Today I received in the post an invitation to the retirement party of Graham Hewer who is the Head Teacher of Green Park Primary School in Maghull. I remember Graham starting as Head Teacher well, as my daughter Jennifer was a pupil there at the time; but that was 18 years ago! Jennifer is now all but 26, where have the years gone?

I wish Graham well as I know, having spent some 20 years as a Governor of the School (now retired from that myself), how much he has done to develop Green Park Primary and integrate it with the community whilst carrying on the good work of his predecessor David Killick.

Frank Hornby – Maghull’s world famous resident

Tomorrow I am meeting with officials from Museums and Galleries on Merseyside (see my link to their web site) at the World Museum in William Brown Street Liverpool. I am going with fellow trustees of the Frank Hornby Trust which we set up to help to develop a Hornby Museum in Maghull.

For those who don’t know Frank Hornby lived in Maghull for the majority of his working life in two houses, one being The Hollies on Station Road, the other Quarry Brook which now forms apart of Maricourt High School. The Hollies gained the first ever English Heritage Blue Plaque outside of London thanks to the efforts of Maghull Town Council.

We have made considerable strides with the Trust over recent years, having now established a large room within the new Meadows Leisure Centre as a base for our activities. This was done with the help and support of Sefton Council to whom we are grateful indeed. The next step is to fit out the room and continue to develop a collection of Meccano, Hornby Trains and Dinky Toys which were the major products of the Hornby factory in Binns Road Liverpool. We are in discussions with the Heritage Lottery Fund for help from them and our meeting tomorrow is to try to establish a working relationship with Museums and Galleries on Merseyside for the Trust to borrow items for display in Meadows leisure Centre.

Remembrance day in Aintree Village

Today I attended the dedication of the new war memorial next to Old Roan Station (see my previous posting of 7th November). In particular I noticed 3 soldiers, one serving (Alan Dowd, a Sergeant in the Scots Guards) one not so long ago retired (Jack Colbert – Ex Royal Green Jackets) and an old navy man, whose name I did not catch, who had a chest full of medals from his days of National Service. All three were proud of their work defending the Country and in turn we were proud of them. 

Remembrance Day is sobering and possibly it is lost on some young people in particular, yet it remains an important time for us all to reflect on the horrors of war. Whether you agree with me about Iraq being an illegal war or not (I firmly believe that it was by the way) all of us can come together to thank those who are brave enough to fight for their Country.