Maghull – Volunteers make Station look special but have you seen the weeds on the line?

A walk across the level crossing at Maghull Station recently brought this into sight:-

Network Rail have weed spraying trains that travel the rails of the UK dealing with the unwanted growth between and at the side of the rails and it looks like the Liverpool – Ormskirk Northern Line of Merseytrail must be due a visit.

Beautiful award winning flower displays at Maghull Station by Maghull Station Volunteers.

Considering the work Maghull Station Volunteers do to make Maghull an award winning station a little weed spraying by Network Rail would not go amiss me thinks.

The first photo is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

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.

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* 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?

Maghull in Bloom launches on Facebook

Maghull in Bloom News on Facebook

Maghull in Bloom was launched 9 years ago by a handful of volunteers who wanted to green-up/tidy up Maghull and its public places.

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.

They have tackled many environmental projects since then working with various other official, business and voluntary organisations.

Taking a break - Volunteers in the courtyard of Meadows Leisure Centre which they help to maintain.

Taking a break – Volunteers in the courtyard of Meadows Leisure Centre which they help to maintain.

Now they are moving into social media to get their message across, to keep the community informed and to aid the recruitment of new generations of volunteers.

Beautiful award winning flower displays at Maghull Station by Maghull Station Volunteers.

Beautiful award winning flower displays at Maghull Station by Maghull Station Volunteers.

Their new Facebook Group can be found by searching for:-

Maghull in Bloom News

Maghull – In Bloom volunteers strike gold again at awards ceremony

Maghull was awarded another Gold at the North West in Bloom awards ceremony, held recently in Southport which was attended by hundreds of volunteers from all over the North West.

The award winning work of the Maghull Station Volunteers on display at Maghull Station.

The award winning work of the Maghull Station Volunteers on display at Maghull Station.

This is the fourth time in 6 years that the town has received a prestigious gold award in the large town category.

While this award recognises the efforts of both Maghull in Bloom and the Station Volunteers, it also takes account of the work of other organisations and groups that help brighten up the town with colourful displays.

Flowering barrier planters at Maghull Square help smarten up the down at heel shopping centre.

Flowering barrier planters at Maghull Square help smarten up the down at heel shopping centre.

The Maghull in Bloom Volunteers also won 5 Neighbourhood Awards

Station Road – Level 5 Outstanding – This included the displays at the Station and Mogul pub as well as Tree View Court

Central Square – Level 4 Thriving

Maghull Leisure Centre Car Park and Courtyard – Level 4 Thriving

Maghull Fruit Meadow – Level 4 Thriving

Canal Litterpickers – Level 4 Thriving

Beautiful award winning flower displays at Maghull Station

Beautiful award winning flower displays at Maghull Station

The Station Volunteers also won Best Station in the region again as well as an outstanding Neighbourhood Award.

A circular prize winning flower planter on Maghull's Westway.

A circular prize winning flower planter on Maghull’s Westway.

Congratulations to all those who have helped out over the past year and lets hope that we can repeat this success next year.

Maghull – Keeping up appearances

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Maghull has been looking good again this summer due to the work of the Maghull in Bloom (I don’t include my own meagre efforts here) and Maghull Station volunteers.

There are a lot of maintenance jobs to do not least the work of the ‘dead headers’ who each week take out of the baskets at the Square all the dead flower heads. It is a long task but the end result is more beautiful flowers being displayed.

Maintenance of the baskets on the Town’s boundary signs also needs to be done and Sheila and I have responsibility for the one on Southport Road. Watering and dead heading is required and we think that some kind person is helping as often when we check whether it needs water it seems to have been done. Whoever you are thanks and please don’t stop, your contribution is appreciated.

Maghull in Bloom – Preparing for the summer

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A lot of hard work is going into making Maghull look good this summer by the Maghull in Bloom and Maghull Station Volunteers groups.

Here’s a couple of shots of recent work undertaken to the Westway barrier baskets and the circular pavement planters:-

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We are always look for new volunteers. If you fancy helping out please contact Maghull in Bloom Chairman John Harrison by e-mail at johnf.harrison@talktalk.net or respond to me via this blog site and I will let John know of your interest.