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Royal invite for Sefton foster carer couple

Two selfless foster carers from Sefton are on their way to Windsor as special guests of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

Southport couple Dawn Butterworth and Louise Todd have been foster carers in Sefton for six years and in that time have worked tirelessly to care for 24 children across the borough.

It is their hard work, dedication and love of their role which has seen the duo nominated by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside to be special guests at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19.

Partners Dawn and Louise will spend the day at Windsor Castle where they will be able to listen to a live broadcast of the ceremony and watch the departure of the Bride and Groom’s Carriage Procession.

The Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Dave Robinson, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet with Dawn and Louise ahead of their once in a lifetime experience!

“They have been foster carers for Sefton since 2012 and have cared for lots of children in that time – from babies to teenagers!

“The care Dawn and Louise have provided over the years has been exemplary to say the least and the impact they have had on positively shaping children’s futures is invaluable.

“Like all our foster carers Dawn and Louise are passionate about the children they care for and go above and beyond.

“To have been given this honour shows just how much Dawn and Louise have done for fostering in the borough.”

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle takes place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, from 12pm on Saturday, May 19.

Upcycle group help pull the plug on irresponsible fly-tippers

A bathtub which had been irresponsibly fly-tipped in Sefton has been given a new lease of life after being ‘upcycled’ into a floral planter.

The acrylic tub, which had been dumped on the roadside, was used on the council’s social media channels to raise awareness of making sure people report fly-tipping to the local authority.

The bathtub which was found fly-tipped on the pavement

Southport based eco-firm Plughole Planters contacted Sefton Council to ask if they could take ownership of the bath and ‘upcycle’ it into one of their famous bathtub planters.

Once completed, the transformed bathtub planter was generously donated to the North Park Community Gardens group, where it will now be filled with colourful flowers in time for summer.

Steve Smith, Sefton Council’s Environmental Health & Trading Standards Manager, said: “Fly-tipping is never acceptable, however we would like to thank Plughole Planters for their fantastic efforts in transforming this unsightly dumped bathtub into a beautiful and environmentally friendly planter.

“There was never any need for this bathtub to be dumped in the first place as upcycling groups like Plughole Planters, as well as charities, would put them to better use.”

Morgan Griffin, Managing Director of Plughole Planters, said: “We were delighted that Sefton offered us the chance to ‘upcycle’ this unsightly piece of fly-tipping.

“It was lovely to meet with Ali Horton of the North Park Community Garden where the planter will now be proudly displayed and filled with beautiful flowers.

“Fly-tipping is unsightly and anti-social. There are so many responsible and eco-friendly ways to get rid of your unwanted household items and this is a happy ending to an otherwise unsightly and illegal act.”

Residents are encouraged to report any instances of flytipping via Sefton Council’s website. For more information visit www.sefton.gov.uk/bins-recycling/litter-and-fly-tipping.

To find out more about the Plughole Planters visit www.plugholeplanters.co.uk

Appeal to find Halewood Women who changed course of history

June 2017 will mark 50 years since women sewing machinists at Ford’s plant in Dagenham walked out in a row over equal pay.

The strike is now regarded as a watershed moment in the fight for equality and the role played by the women in Dagenham has been told on stage and on screen.

However, the role of ladies working at Ford’s plant in Halewood, who downed tools in solidarity with their southern colleagues, is a part of the story that has largely been forgotten.

The strike, which started because of the pay grading system used by Ford at the time, eventually resulted in production grinding to a halt as the supply of covers for car seats ran out.

It was only due to the intervention of Barbara Castle, Secretary of State for Employment, that a resolution to the dispute was found, but by that point, momentum was on the side of the women workers, and it was just two years later that the Equal Pay Act (1970) was passed by Parliament.

As we approach 50 years since this historic event took place, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is trying to track down some of the women who were involved in the walk out at Halewood, and invite them to a commemoration event that is being organised in conjunction with Dagenham Council.

While the women of Dagenham are now famous in their own right, due to the success of the film Made in Dagenham, the Halewood ladies have proven more difficult to track down.

Attempts by Unite the Union to find them some years ago were not fruitful. It is clear that, although the women worked at Halewood in the 1960s, they could now be living anywhere in the city region or further afield.

Speaking about the upcoming anniversary, Steve Rotheram said: “The women who worked at Halewood in 1968, and walked out in solidarity with their colleagues from Dagenham, played an instrumental role in the fight for equality.

“The car industry at that time was very much a man’s world, but the women were not intimidated – and were relentless in their demand equal pay.

“Without the stand they took, we would not have had the Equal Pay Act.

“They are an inspiration to young women here in our city region and throughout the country.

“It would be great if we could find some of them and give them the recognition they deserve.”

If people wish to get in touch with information, they can contact: 0151 330 1467 or info@liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk

Southport falls silent to honour Victoria Cross hero

A Special commemorative paving stone has been laid in Southport to recognise war hero Private Richard George Masters VC.

The laying of the commemorative stone is the latest of five permanent tributes to former residents across Sefton who received the Victoria Cross during the First World War.

Members of Private Masters’ family joined the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside and Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Dave Robinson, to unveil the VC Commemorative Flagstone as part of special service held at the War Memorial, Lord Street, Southport on Saturday April 21.

Prior to the service, 238 Sefton Squadron RLC paraded from Nevill Street to the Monument in tribute to him.

Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Dave Robinson, said: “It was an honour and a privilege to pay tribute to a true Sefton hero.

“Private Masters did what nobody else thought ever possible and his actions on the battlefields of France saved hundreds of lives in just a day.

“So many men from across the borough fought in the Great War and this is just the latest in a number of events taking place across Sefton to remember their sacrifices.”

Private Richard George Masters was a 41-year-old Ambulance driver stationed near Bethune, France in 1918 when an enemy attack left his fellow soldiers cut off and facing certain death.

Although thought impassable, Private Masters single-handedly drove his ambulance across the battlefield, through a barrage of heavy fire and bombing, in a bid to rescue the wounded.

He made journey after journey throughout the afternoon. When the gunfire stopped and the dust settled, Private Masters had rescued nearly 200 men.

His heroics did not go unnoticed and Private Masters was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Tails start wagging with interactive Good Dog Code posters

Tails will be wagging with the launch of a brand new smartphone campaign from Sefton Council Good Dogs Code.

The Sefton Good Dog Code has launched a series of QR codes which will be displayed across parks, beaches and main roads in Sefton to encourage good and responsible dog ownership in the borough.

The interactive smartphone adverts are simple to use. After taking a photo of the code on a phone camera, users are directed to the Sefton Good Dog Code website which details how dog owners can encourage others to be responsible for their pets.

Local residents and dog lovers have worked alongside Sefton in the creation of the Code, which tells residents to clean up after their pets, respect those who don’t like dogs, follow the rules and ensure their dog is socialized before it mingles with other dogs.

Steve Smith, Sefton Council’s Environmental Health & Trading Standards Manager said: “The code was jointly put together by ourselves and residents to promote responsible dog ownership.

“Along with the poster and flyers, we’ll now be placing QR codes around our parks, coastal areas and cemeteries which links to the online version of the Good Dog Code.

“There are plenty of ways you can be a responsible dog owner, from making sure you clean up after your pets to respecting none-dog lovers.

“Unfortunately some dog owners are not responsible and have no regard for their community. For these few, legislation is tough on them.

“Enforcement action such as fixed penalties and possible court action can be taken against these dog owners.”

Lyn Hilton the founder of local volunteer group ‘Sefton Dogs’ added: “What began as a campaign to ensure that our dogs could enjoy off lead experience at the beach and on our local nature reserves changed into a volunteer movement which aims for a friendly, informed and responsible approach to dog ownership in Sefton.”

Since July 2017, Sefton has had a Public Space Protection Order across the borough with informs dog owners about certain rules which must be followed.

For more information about these rules and to learn more about the Good Dog Code, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/thegooddogcode.

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