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Antonio Street war heroes honoured 100 years after end of WW1

Nineteen soldiers who never returned home to a single Sefton street from World War One have been honoured with a special commemorative stone, one hundred years after the conflict ended.

The Mayor of Sefton has today (Wednesday, December 12) officially unveiled the permanent tribute on Antonio Street, Bootle, to honour those residents who fought and died during the 1914-1918 war.

Throughout the geographical area now known as Sefton, nearly 4,000 men and women perished in World War One, but the impact of the conflict was perhaps felt strongest in the small terraced row of houses of Antonio Street, where it is often claimed every household lost somebody close to them as a result of the war.

Brothers John & Frederick Palethorpe of Antonio Street, Bootle, were killed in action during World War One

The tribute was commissioned as part of Sefton Council’s ongoing commemorations to mark the Centenary of the end of World War One and the Local Authority’s emotional Beyond The War Memorials project.

Sefton’s Mayor, Cllr Dave Robinson, said: “We wanted to make sure Antonio Street has a permanent and lasting memorial to honour the incredible sacrifice those nineteen men made for their families, their neighbours and their country.

“There are so many heart wrenching stories from behind the doors of this street. At number Four, a couple lost two sons.

“Their first son, John George, was just 30 years of age and married with two small children, when he was killed at Ypres. His younger brother Frederick was in the navy. He sadly died age 22, when his ship HMS Laurentic struck a mine off Ireland in January 1917.

“Two family members were also lost at number 19, when cousins Joseph Sloey and Joseph Kane were both killed.

“To be able to permanently honour these brave men, on the street they grew up on, is incredibly important and I hope that many future generations of Antonio Street residents pause to learn of the great sacrifices that were made.”

As part of Sefton Council’s Beyond The War Memorial campaign, 2,000 households in Sefton have received special information packs in the post, which include the details of those who lived at that address and died in action.

For more information about Antonio Street and to read more about the Beyond The War Memorials project, visit www.seftonwarmemorials.org.

Sefton cracks down on festive flytippers at Recycling Centre

Sefton Council has taken extra steps this festive period to combat Christmas flytipping outside South Sefton Recycling Centre.

Working in partnership with Veolia and the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA), Sefton Council’s Environmental Enforcement team want to deter those who flytip outside South Sefton Recycling Centre on Irlam Road, Bootle when it’s closed during the festive season.

Despite only being closed for three days during the Christmas and New Year period (December 25, 26 & January 1) irresponsible people will leave their rubbish outside the centre.

Last year this resulted in 16 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) being issued to fly tippers.

This year CCTV cameras will be in place to catch flytippers in the act and anyone caught will face a £400 FPN.

Failure to pay the penalty will result in a prosecution and those found guilty will face significant fines.

Signage will also be erected near to the site and regular messages will be circulated via the council’s social media to remind residents of their rubbish responsibilities.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “There is no excuse for this kind of irresponsible behaviour and most residents are well aware that leaving waste like this is flytipping.

“Information on collection services and recycling services during the Christmas holidays, as well as recycling centre opening times, is readily available to residents via both the Council and Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority websites.

“South Sefton Recycling Centre will be closed for just three days during the Christmas and New Year period so there is no need for irresponsible people to flytip their rubbish outside on the public highway.

“Any act of flytipping is not only illegal but also extremely disappointing and we are taking proactive steps to deter anyone from doing this.

“Those that still ignore the many warnings run the risk of prosecution and significant fines.

“We actively encourage people to play their part in keeping the local area clean and green and everyone has a responsibility for maintaining the environment where they live.”

Residents can report any instances of flytipping across the borough easily online via www.sefton.gov.uk/flytipping.

Wirral take on Borough of Culture title From St Helens

St Helens’ year as Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture enjoyed a fitting finale as the title was handed to Wirral at a spectacular event on Saturday 8 December, as a dazzling light projection brought St Helens Town Hall to life.

Speaking about the handover, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “It is very exciting to see Wirral officially take over as our Borough of Culture for 2019. I know that they have a very exciting programme of cultural events planned for the year ahead.

“It has been a great year for St Helens, as they have celebrated their 150th anniversary, and this event was a fitting finale.

“Culture and creativity are an integral part of our city region’s DNA. They are what we are known for and integral to achieving our vision for a prosperous, fair and exciting place to live, work and invest. The Borough of Culture celebrations are just one element of boosting culture and creativity across the whole of the city region.”

Speaking at the event, Phil Redmond, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Cultural Partnership, said: “The beauty of the Borough of Culture programme is that, as well as giving all areas of the city region the opportunity to showcase their cultural highlights, it also stimulates creativity by giving people the chance to join in and get involved.”

Commenting on the past year, St Helens Council Leader Derek Long said: “We’re proud to have been Liverpool City Region’s first Borough of Culture.

“Our 150th anniversary year has been packed with award winning cardboard castles, a tribute day to commemorate the unsung heroes of the borough, and a tasty International Food and Drink Festival attended by thousands of residents, as well as a 70 strong delegation from Stuttgart to celebrate 70 years of a successful twinning partnership. I’m sure our friends in Wirral will have as great a year.

“This experience will certainly leave a lasting legacy in St Helens, and as a council that is looking to capitalise on the borough’s growing reputation as a centre for excellence for arts and culture, we will now build on this success and lay the foundations for a thriving future.”

Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, said: “We are thrilled that Wirral has been awarded the title of Borough of Culture for 2019. We’ve had a fantastic response to the highlights we’ve revealed so far but we know that there is so much more to come and we’re looking forward to unveiling the full programme in the new year.

“We have set ourselves a high bar following the success of this year’s Imagine Wirral programme but I am confident that 2019 will be bigger and even better.”

The Borough of Culture title is awarded by the city region’s Combined Authority to one of its six local authorities (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) on a rotating, annual basis.
The title is part of a £300,000 funding package to support cultural events through the year, delivered as part of the city region’s pioneering 1% for Culture programme.

The 1% for Culture programme saw Liverpool City Region become the first in the country to commit to spending the equivalent of 1% of its annual £30 million devolution funding from government to support cultural activities.

A competition has just been launched to find a winning design for the official logo for the Borough of Culture to be used by each borough in their year of the award.

The competition is open to anyone aged 16 years or over, amateur or professional, living in the Liverpool City Region. More details on the logo competition and how to enter are available at http://liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/logo-competition

Experience the extraordinary life of Queen of Soul Aretha at the Atkinson

Sweeney Entertainments presents their brand-new concert show, Respect to Aretha at The Atkinson in January 2019.

Life-long Aretha Franklin fan and power-house vocalist, Letitia George stars in this heartfelt and uplifting dedication to the Queen of Soul.

Aretha Franklin’s extraordinary career as a singer and songwriter spanned over sixty years. She rose from church gospel singer to international stardom at a young age and is widely accepted as the finest female soul singer of our time. Her talent has always been unequalled. Massive hits including A Natural Woman, Say A Little Prayer, Chain Of Fools, Until You Come Back To Me, Think, I Never Love A Man, and of course Respect, will ensure that Aretha’s legacy will continue forever.

Life-long Aretha Franklin fan and power-house vocalist, Letitia George, rose to the spotlight after featuring on series 4 of BBC 1’s The Voice UK, where she became a member of Team Ricky and soared her way through to the knockout rounds. Letitia also presents the radio show ‘The C Word’ on BBC Radio Coventry every Monday evening, which discusses the issues affecting young people in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Whilst Letitia George will always be remembered for her breath-taking performances on series four of The Voice, she has gone on to forge an enviable reputation as one of the most passionate and hardworking soul singers around. Aretha’s sad passing has inspired Letitia and her outstanding backing band to attempt the seemingly impossible. Very few singers could ever do justice to the Aretha Franklin songbook… but Letitia George manages to capture the very spirit!

Sweeney Entertainments, co-founded by Julie and Peter Sweeney, has been providing a wide repertoire of top-quality touring shows for theatre and corporate events for over eighteen years both in the UK and internationally and now boasts a repertoire of fourteen touring productions.

The company saw its busiest year to date in 2018 and now has even more performances on offer, at a growing number of venues, and with the strongest audience figures to date. Julie Sweeney, who has been a life-long fan of Aretha, was one of the lucky ones to see Aretha Franklin perform in New York last year. It had been a lifelong dream to see her live. Julie says “This is my most passionate project in 18 years! I am so delighted to be producing this show. Nobody will ever replace the Queen of Soul but this is our way of paying tribute to the greatest Soul singer of all time.”

Book your tickets to join Letitia and her fabulous band for an evening that fully captures the great music of Aretha Franklin on Thursday 31 January at 8pm.

Ticket are £22.50 – to book call Box Office on 01704 53333 or by book online at

Respect to Aretha

Visit the website theatkinson.co.uk and join our mailing list to keep up to date with the full programme of events coming to the venue soon.

Festive success for talented New Centre stage performers

Talented members of a unique Sefton drama company scored a seasonal success with their ambitious festive production this week.

The Spirit of Christmas, presented by New Centre Stage, was the first show to be staged in the group’s new studio theatre at its HQ in the David Brown Centre, Magdalen Square in Netherton.

The production featured a large cast of more than 25 performers with support needs from across the borough who belong to the group, which is run by Sefton’s leading adult social care provider, New Directions.

The show took as its theme the age-old question – what really is the true meaning of Christmas?

In a bid to get to the bottom of this question in the play, each member of a fictional family explained what the festive season means to them, with the help of song-and-dance support from members of the cast.

New Centre Stage Christmas production

The answer was revealed at the end of the production, but only after the audience had been treated to a hugely entertaining series of scenes based on classic Christmas stories from the nativity to Dickens and Cinderella.

The Spirit of Christmas was directed by New Centre Stage Co-ordinator Vicky Bennett with colleagues Denise Airey, Veronica Morrison and Pam Pickford.

It was the latest in a series of successful productions from the group, the most recent being The Wizard of Oz in the summer.

Members are now looking forward to performing with the In Another Place Gospel Choir and at the Feelgood Factory Christmas fayre in the coming weeks.

Vicky Bennett commented: “The Spirit of Christmas was another outstanding success for the members of our group, who came up with many ideas for the production themselves during our initial discussions.

“Once again, the show in its final form was the result of many weeks of hard work by the cast, and I would like to thank them all for their input and their commitment.

“As well as being a thoroughly entertaining evening, I hope the show provided audiences with some food for thought as we prepare to celebrate this very special time of year,” added Vicky.

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