A tribute to Dave (Mr. Lydiate) Russell

No this is is not a obituary, Dave is still very much alive and kicking but it is a tribute to a man who has done so much for Lydiate over the past 25 years or so. I made mention of Dave in part of a recent posting about the recent local elections but here is a more detailed tribute to him.

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

Dave lost his seat on Lydiate Parish Council in the recent elections and whilst this is the way things can go once you stand for public office I was genuinely shocked that my fellow Lydiate residents (in Lydiate North Ward) decided to show Dave the electoral door so to speak.

Dave and Pam Russell

Dave and Pam Russell

Dave has been Chairperson of Lydiate Parish Council for as long as I can remember and with his lovely wife Pam is a leading light in the Maghull & Lydiate History Society. Here are just a few things that Dave has done for Lydiate:-

* He led the campaign to get Lydiate Village Centre built together with the then Clerk to Lydiate Parish Council and Andrew Blackburn. In doing so they brought in a £500,000 lottery grant.
* Dave has been passionate about the upkeep and maintenance of St Catherine’s Abbey and has been pushing and shoving all kinds of organisations to do their bit to help preserve and maintain this famous local Lydiate landmark.
* He started Lydiate Civic Day which has now been taken over as Lydiate Festival.
* As a passionate walker he has campaigned for the upkeep of the local footpath network.
* Dave is also a passionate about Lydiate as a community and has fought to retain it’s unique semi rural nature and character. Battling against property developers and Sefton Council he led the Parish Council to become a prominent environmental campaign group.

I really don’t know why the good people of Lydiate North Ward decided to ask Dave to leave and close the door after him but whatever the reason’s I think all we Lydiate residents owe Dave a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless campaigning for the community he loves. As a Parish Councillor Dave did not not get paid for his work, he did it because he thought Lydiate was worth fighting for.

Whatever you decided to do next Dave do it with the knowledge that we think of you as a good and decent man who more than did his bit for Lydiate – Mr. Lydiate is indeed the right title for you.

Maybe in 25 years another Mr Lydiate will have come along – Let’s hope so.

Maghull – Youth Council – Nickie Smith – A big thank you and a nagging sadness

Nickie Smith writes – I am afraid I think the time is now right for me to withdraw from leading the [Maghull & District] Youth Council and the [Youth] Coffee Bar. I have been involved with the Youth Council for the last 25 years since I was 11 and with the Youth Coffee Bar since the start! In fact I was one of the members who approached the council with the suggestion of the Coffee Bar. Recent years have been very trying fighting for the Coffee Bar and the support that was once there seems very lacking these days. Now with my job and family commitments there are just not enough hours in the day and if I am honest I haven’t got the energy any more.

Nickie Smith

Nickie Smith

I hope the Town Council will continue to support the young people as the Coffee Bar and Youth Council have helped many people including myself develop and guided many vulnerable young people over the years. It seems now a days that all the good things young people do or need help with are very often forgotten or overshadowed by the minority of negative instances with young people.

I am sad to finish volunteering but I think now is the right time.

Tony Robertson writes It made me very sad to read this especially as it is from the very person who has been the guiding light for Maghull & District Youth Council and Maghull Town Hall’s unique Youth Coffee Bar from day one.

Sadly, and I think my Labour opponents will agree with me here, the Youth Coffee Bar and Youth Council have hardly been high on their priorities list since they took control of Maghull Town Council in 2011.

I have always seen young people as as a priority in my time as a councillor and that’s why I backed the setting up of the Youth Council and Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull many years ago. When we Lib Dems lost control of the Town Council it really did not enter my head that Labour would not see youth as a priority too. But you live and learn.

Nickie has done a splendid job, indeed she became a local councillor herself for number of years as a direct consequence of her work with local youngsters. She was helped along the way by many people both young and old but two people really do require a mention – Cllr. Andrew Blackburn and former now retired youth worker Nova Rimmer. Both of them stood by Nickie in the tough times and when young people came under the spotlight from those who did not support them as they did.

It can be tough working with youngsters because, by their very nature, they are trainee adults who make mistakes and sometimes act inappropriately; but we have all been there! The ethos of the Youth Coffee Bar when it was set up was that young people controlled it, looked after its finances and learned some life skills along the way. Adults were there to help when required but not to be controlling or dominant in any way.

My priority has been to put young people first and that meant the Youth Coffee Bar always being available for young people to use and it only being used by adults when young people were not using it. This was an important principle to me and indeed it used to be for Maghull Town Council. But, as I say, the priorities of one political party are not those of another and it has been obvious to me that young people are simply not near the top of Labour’s list of priorities. So much so that the Youth Coffee Bar will be closed between the 5th and 18th of November this year whilst it is used for another purpose. And yes, you have guessed it, the young people were told rather than consulted!

I have penned this tribute to Nickie and my moan about youngsters no longer being a priority more in sadness than in anger.

My previous posts on this subject are at:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/02/15/maghulls-famous-youth-coffee-bar-faces-funding-threat/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2011/07/11/maghulls-execellent-youth-coffee-bar/

Gove plans to punish bad pupils’ parents – Community Service or fines?

Michael Gove says that parents who fail to ensure their children turn up to school “ready to learn and showing respect for their teacher” will be punished through measures such as the docking of child benefit payments from parents of habitual truants.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 12-13 The Independent, Page: 4 Independent I, Page: 8 Daily Mail, Page: 10 Daily Mirror, Page: 19 Yorkshire Post, Page: 10

The principle has some merit because parents should suffer the consequences of their children’s behaviour. Oddly, the day before reading this news item from the LGiU I had been discussing such issues with my fellow Lib Dem Maghull councillor Andrew Blackburn.

Our discussion had been more associated with youngsters involved in ASB and crime but a similar principle applies. Our concern is that when the Police, for example, take a youngster home who has been up to no good in their community some parents can at times show a complete lack of interest in what their children have been doing and the consequences of it.

In such circumstances our view is that the parents need to suffer consequences themselves so it forces them to know what their children are doing and to moderate their behaviour. But we feel the fining parents is not likely to be effective and have come to the conclusion that parents who do not make an effort to control and discipline their children (and indeed to get them to school regularly) should have to do some form of community service.

Dead tree needs to be removed – Westway Maghull

Our Team has reported to Sefton Council a dead tree that is leaning over at a considerable angle above the footpath that leads from Dawson Gardens up to the Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path.

Pictured below is Cllr. Andrew Blackburn with the tree – the significant lean is all too evident and clearly it will fall at some point if it is not removed by the Council.

rsz_andrew_blackburn_-_dead_tree_westway_mag_12_13

Letter Boxes!

Being a Liberal Democrat means that I deliver many, many Focus leaflets and have been doing so since 1980. In this time you certainly come across some across some odd situations.

Take the guy who politely came running after me and asked me to take back the leaflet I had just put through his door. Now you would think that this meant he was not a Lib Dem supporter but what it actually meant was that he really did not like anything coming through his letter box from anyone! Indeed, he then asked me for one of our ‘bogus caller’ cards to put up in his window and proceeded to tell me that he had just chased after a charity worker to give them their leaflet back. Sounded like an unhealthy case of OCD to me.

Or how about the chap whose letter box would not open. Not that unusual as it can mean that the owner has a dog that either chews up all the post or that is too dangerous for anyone to put their hand through the box. So I looked for an outside ‘on the wall’ box, but none could be seen. Then I tried to push the leaflet under the garage door but it was firmly sealed. Then I turned around to find the householder stood there looking at me and asking what I was doing. When I explained he told me ‘the letter box was locked’. Did he really have to sit watching for people delivering to his house and meet each one?

Sometimes a house has no letter box at all; rare but it happens. On one occasion, at a house I had long ago given up delivering to for this very reason, I was walking past and saw a chap in the garden. I asked him why he did not have a letter box and he replied to the effect that he went to the Post Office Sorting Office for his mail every day as he did not want things put through his door. How did he find time to do that every day when the Post Office will deliver to his door for free every day?

What links all 3 of the about stories is that they were all youngish men; all under 45 I would say.

Now what about what my chum Cllr. Andrew Blackburn calls ‘backbreakers’. By this he means the letter boxes that are near the floor. They really are hard work and I am surprised that the Post Office union has not lobbied for them to be made illegal!

The worst ones are those where a little terrier sits there without a sound. Of course most dogs are daft enough to let you know they are there by barking but the bright ones who like to bite fingers do not. They just await something to be pushed through the letter box and pounce. Ask Andrew again what this leads to – a badly damaged hand!