2016 – A year to forget? Well yes, but there was the odd glimmer of hope

BAD NATIONAL & GLOBAL EVENTS

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* Given the biggest self-destruct button the UK electorate has probably ever been tempted by i.e the EU referendum – they pressed it!

* Sociopath Trump wins in America, seemingly with help from Putin in the Cremlin!

* We manage to get rid of a centrist (for a Conservative that is), if hardly competent, Tory Prime Minister (Cameron) for him to be replaced by someone who looks utterly lost, is in a job probably well above her pay grade and who is riding us off into a inglorious right wing sunset!

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* Our NHS and elderly social care system has been systematically neglected and left to wither on the vine by our clueless government whilst we chuck goodness knows how much money on a replacement for the Trident nuclear missile programme that will never be used. There are guilty people in all political parties over this.

AND GOOD NATIONAL & GLOBAL THINGS?

* Well Lib Dem anti-Brexit candidate Sarah Olney winning the Richmond Park Parliamentary by-election comes to mind.

* The beating the right took in the Austrian Presidential election was a pleasant if somewhat surprising turn of events.

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* Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shining a light for tolerant, inclusive and progressive politics from over the pond in Canada. Is there anyone else in power on the global stage who can match his progressive approach to running a country?

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* The low and high of Notts and England batsman James Taylor being struck down by an almost fatal undiagnosed heart condition and then him coming through it. Yes we have lost on brilliant batsman but so glad he is still alive. And yes I am an Notts supporter.

AND LOCAL LOWS AND HIGHS?

Inside the Youth Coffee Bar after a refurb' a few years ago

Inside the Youth Coffee Bar after a refurb’ a few years ago

* LOW – We had the depressing news that Labour-run Maghull Town Council was finally killing-off the innovative Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall which local youngsters had started 20+ years ago. And hey what a surprise (NOT) anti-social behaviour is a problem in the area of Maghull where it once operated!

St Catherine's otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey

St Catherine’s otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey

* HIGH – The ‘Friends of the Abbey’ in Lydiate gaining a Lottery grant to start the process of trying to conserve and preserve the ruins of St Catherine’s Chapel for future generations.

Former Maghull/Lydiate Borough Councillor Robbie Fenton with the petition she raised to try to save the Leighton Ave toilets a few years ago. Sadly they are all but gone now via neglect and vandalism.

Former Maghull/Lydiate Borough Councillor Robbie Fenton with the petition she raised to try to save the Leighton Ave toilets a few years ago. Sadly they are all but gone now via neglect and vandalism.

* LOW – The running down of and then appalling vandalism to Maghull’s once award winning public toilets in Leighton Avenue.

The long view of 2016 winter planting down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

The long view of 2016 winter planting down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

* HIGH – The continuing success of the Maghull in Bloom and Maghull Station Volunteers as they try to improve Maghull’s environment.

A Maghull Town Council leaflet from 1998 - Strangely this time round the now Labour-run Town Council did not fight the Green Belt grab.

A Maghull Town Council leaflet from 1998 – Strangely this time round the now Labour-run Town Council did not fight the Green Belt grab.

* LOW – The rubber stamping of the Sefton Local Plan which will ruin Green Belt and kill off some of the 2% highest grade of agricultural land in England. A black cloud for for environmental campaigners indeed.

Canal Bicentenary

* HIGH – The Bicentenary celebrations of the completion of the Leeds Liverpool Canal

On a personal note the start of 2016 was grim as I attended 4 funerals of people I knew in the first 4 months – former Lib Dem Councillors Joan Blackburn, David Rimmer and Kath Jones together with Lib Dem activist Susan Ashton. It finished with a further death this time of a relative in December whose funeral I could not get to because of traffic jams on the M6. But of course there were personal highs as well –

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* Being invited to play Santa for a session to help Maghull & Aughton Rotary Club and Maghull in Bloom fund raise was great fun.

Me sat in my old choir stall  at Sefton Church. I recall sitting in this very seat - if memory serves at all of course - it was over 40 years ago!

Me sat in my old choir stall at Sefton Church. I recall sitting in this very seat – if memory serves at all of course – it was over 40 years ago!

* Being invited to rejoin the choir of St Helen’s Church in Sefton Village, where I had been a choirboy in 1970, despite being an atheist was lovely. Obviously I politely declined.

Carl Cashman for Mersey Metro Mayor Launch 08 16 - Credit Charlie Green

* Helping a great young man to be selected as Lib Dem candidate for the Liverpool City Region Mayoral election to be held in May 2017. Carl Cashman is that young man. I have known him for some years now and am delighted he will be on the ballot paper.

Iain Brodie Brown - Mayor of Sefton at the Leeds Liverpool Canal Bicentenary celebrations in Maghull

Iain Brodie Brown – Mayor of Sefton at the Leeds Liverpool Canal Bicentenary celebrations in Maghull

* My old chum Iain Brodie Browne becoming Mayor of Sefton. A Liberal down to his boots and one of the most radical, capable and compassionate politicians I have ever come across.

So sadly 2016 has been a year of some very significant lows indeed. Some of those lows we will be grappling with the consequences of for maybe 10 years or more. Fortunately the odd bit of good news did filter through but surely 2017 has to be better?

Leeds Liverpool Canal – Bicentenary celebrations in Sefton’s East Parishes

2016 has been the year to celebrate the bicentenary of the completion of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. In Sefton’s East Parishes (Aintree Village, Melling, Maghull & Lydiate) we had a event on 18th June.

£9500 was raised by 3 of the 4 local parish councils (Melling had their own separate event), Sefton Council, the pride of Sefton Charity and the Rent-a-Space company to fund the celebrations.

Sadly, as we all know, the big day saw a massive rain storm in the afternoon but the celebrations went on anyway and a good time was had by all. Here are a few reminder photo’s:-

Canal Bicentenary

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Iain Brodie Brown - Mayor of Sefton at the celebrations

Iain Brodie Brown – Mayor of Sefton at the celebrations

Neatly lined up

Packed into Scrummies refreshment tent

Packed into Scrummies refreshment tent

Lining up for the Flotilla

Lining up for the Flotilla

So how was the money spent? £780 on portaloos, £480 on a Marquee [I remember sheltering in that!- Ed], £325 on the visiting hawks display, £1,700 on the stage, £500 on catering,, £964 on traffic management and of course many other items of expenditure that come along with such an event. And it all came within budget with a small amount to be returned to each of the funders I understand.

See you at the 400th year celebrations event!

Leeds Liverpool Canal Bicentenary Voyage – The last leg to Liverpool

Just after 7.30am today the flotilla (see previous postings over the past week) of 8 boats set sail for Liverpool. I caught up with lead barge Kennet at Bells Lane swing bridge in Lydiate:-

Kennet at Bells Lane

and then just a little further down the tow path towards Maghull I saw this narrow boat all decked out for the 200 year celebrations:-

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That’s about it for the 200 year celebrations of the completion of the Leeds Liverpool Canal folks, its been nice recalling how the slowest form of transport affected the communities of south and east Sefton.

The first photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

200 year commemoration voyage flotilla arrives in Lydiate

Tonight saw canal barge Kennet and its flotilla arrive in Sefton Borough to moor at Mersey Motor Boat Club in Pilling Lane, Lydiate. It’s on a voyage from Leeds to Liverpool to commemorate the full opening of the Leeds Liverpool Canal 200 years ago. My previous recent postings refer.

Kennet arrives at Mersey Motor Boat Club , Lydiate r

Tomorrow at 7.30am it will set sail on the last leg of its journey into Liverpool.

Fly Boat Ribble was also in the flotilla

Fly Boat Ribble was part of the foltilla r

Leeds Liverpool Canal Bicentenary Voyage – Update

Leeds Liverpool Canal from the Stanley Road Bridge in Bootle

Leeds Liverpool Canal from the Stanley Road Bridge in Bootle

www.llcs.org.uk/html/bicentenary_events.html

I am indebted to the excellent Lydiate World web site for tracking down more detail (from the Leeds Liverpool Canal Society) about the historic voyage taking place this very week along our 200 year old Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Please use the link above to access further information which looks like it will be updated throughout the week of sailing.

Looking north along the canal from the Waddicar Lane road bridge through Melling.

Looking north along the canal from the Waddicar Lane road bridge through Melling.

This is a link to the Lydiate World web site – www.lydiateworld.com/

Leeds Liverpool Canal – Bicentenary Voyage from Leeds to Liverpool 15th to 23rd October

Museum of Liverpool and Museum Canal Link Tunnel.

Museum of Liverpool and Museum Canal Link Tunnel.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-37671372

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

The inaugural 1816 boat passage by Yorkshire and Lancashire merchants on the 127-mile Leeds and Liverpool Canal is being recreated on a former working boat called Kennet.

Canal Bicentenary

The good ship (or in this case barge) Kennet set sail from Leeds last Saturday and it should arrive in Liverpool on Sunday 23rd. That means it should be sailing through West Lancashire and Sefton Boroughs on 22nd and 23rd i.e. next Saturday and Sunday. Should be worth keeping an eye out for.

Looking through Pilling Lane canal bridge, Lydiate at boats moored outside Mersey Motor Boat Club.

Looking through Pilling Lane canal bridge, Lydiate at boats moored outside Mersey Motor Boat Club.