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Marine Way Bridge to close for routine maintenance works

Routine maintenance works are set to take place on Marine Way Bridge, Southport next month.

The extensive works are scheduled to begin on the bridge, which is now fifteen years old, from Monday, September 9 and take up to three weeks to complete.

In order to carry out the works safely and to allow for access for large equipment, Marine Way Bridge will be closed to all traffic, including pedestrians during weekdays.

However to compensate for increased traffic on weekends, the bridge will be reopened temporarily for both weekends commencing September 14 and September 21.

Diversions will be in place throughout the closure to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, said: “The dates for the work have been chosen to take account of school holidays, the Air Show, the Musical Fireworks Championship and the 24 hour Yacht Race.

“The Marine Way Bridge is a vital asset both to our highways network and is the gateway to some of the most beautiful coastline in the North West.

“We have been working closely with our Tourism team and partners to make sure the works take place during a brief quiet period in Southport’s packed events calendar.

“The works will start following the end of the Southport Air Show and we are confident they will be completed before the British Musical Fireworks Championships on September 27-29.

“However if bad weather delays any works, the bridge will be opened during that weekend to accommodate visiting traffic.”

A diversion route will be in place to direct traffic across Marine Lake and advanced signs on Marine Drive at the North and South will allow motorists to choose their preferred route to the East or West of Marine Lake.

For more information about road closures across the borough please visit www.roadworks.org

Sefton’s Graham pens first book to help Alder Hey children

A Sefton Council officer is marking a new chapter as he realises a lifelong dream of becoming a published author.

Graham Parry, a Strategic Housing officer for the local authority, has published his first ever book, ‘Alder’, about a boy who, while sick in hospital, is able to travel through a passage he has drawn on the hospital room wall to a magical world, called “Alder”, where he encounters all kinds of adventures.

Proceeds from each sale of ‘Alder’ will go towards Alder Hey Hospital in Aintree.

The Liverpool  born author, 43, who now lives in Melling said that he couldn’t wait for children to read and enjoy his book, saying: “the idea for the story came to me when I awoke from a sleep one night and all the details of the story were clear right from the start!

“This is my first attempt at a writing book and I am delighted that some of the proceeds from each sale will go to supporting the brilliant and important work of Alder Hey.

“For any parent of a poorly child in Merseyside, having such a fantastic institution as Alder Hey on our doorstep is so comforting – I am happy, in my small way, to be able to help them.”

“I would also like to thank my incredibly supportive colleagues at the Council while I was writing ‘Alder’ and I am touched that copies will be available across our Sefton library network.”

Graham was recently invited to Alder Hey to launch his new book, before hosting a special reading of ‘Alder’ at Formby Library. 

Copies are available to buy at local bookshops, Alder Hey Hospital and online via www.blossomspringpublishing.com.

South Park set for action packed family fun day

Preparations are well underway for the annual South Park Family Fun Day in Bootle.

Each year Sefton Council and its partners host the South Park Family Fun Day, which this year takes place on Thursday August 22 from 12pm – 4pm

The day will include a live DJ, inflatable games, bike marking, face painting, go karts, horse rides, bouncy castles and much more!

Be sure to bring a picnic – and of course the ice cream man will be there too!

The family fun day is a popular event in the local calendar and attracts hundreds of families each year to the beautiful park on Balliol Road.

The event is free to attend with activities starting from 12pm.

Social Workers Jenny and Justine gear up for epic charity cycling adventure

Two best friends of two decades who have worked together at Sefton Council for 20 years will undertake the challenge of a lifetime for three women’s cancer charities in 2020.

Social Workers Jenny Stuart (pictured with blonde hair) and Justine Hoiles (pictured with brunette hair) will embark on a gruelling 416km cycle challenge from Bangkok to Koh Samui in Thailand to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

The Women V Cancer Cycle Thailand 2020 Challenge will take place over nine days in October 2020, with around 60 female challengers cycling a stunning route that takes in the Sam Roi Yot National Park and the Gulf of Thailand.

Jennifer and Justine, who first became friends in September 1998 on their first day at Riversdale College in Aigburth, Liverpool where they both undertook an Access to Higher Education course, are hoping to raise almost £7,000 between them in sponsorship to donate to the charities.

Jenny, who lives in Formby and now works as a psychotherapist with Sefton Council’s Therapeutic Support Team in Ainsdale, is taking on the challenge after her mum was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to undergo a hysterectomy.

Justine, a Sefton Council Social Worker from Crosby, has lost several family members to cancer and decided to take part in the event after spotting an advert for it in a magazine.

Both women are now completing a training programme to ensure they are fit and ready for their epic adventure, and planning a series of fundraising events to help raise their sponsorship money.

Jenny said: “When my mum was diagnosed with cancer I felt so helpless and I wanted to do something massive to try and make a difference. I had always thought she was indestructible and then I suddenly realised she wasn’t, so I wanted to do something to help.

“Justine and I are both Social Workers and our instinct is to fix things; we both wanted to do something on a big scale that would raise a significant amount of money and make a difference in some way.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and really exciting. It will definitely push us out of our comfort zone but we are both pretty active and we have been doing lots of cardio and cycling to prepare for it – I have never pushed myself so hard.

“Next year, 2020, both Justine and I will have worked for the council for 20 years and we have been best friends for 20 years so it seemed like the perfect time to do it.

“We met on our first day at training college and we have been best friends ever since. We’ve been there for each other every step of the way and I can’t think of anyone else I would want to do something like this with. It will be an amazing experience.”

Justine said: “Cancer has affected so many people and it’s so common. I have lost family members to it and I know how devastating it can be.

“This is a daunting challenge, not just in terms of the route itself but also the training and the fundraising, and we both feel quite exposed, nervous and vulnerable. But our friends, families and colleagues have been so supportive and we will be taking on the challenge with 60 other wonderful women so we know we’ll achieve it.

“Neither of us has ever done anything like this before and we’re so excited. To be doing it together, and sharing the experience with all the other cyclists who have all lost people to cancer too, will be a very special experience.”

To support Jenny and Justine on their incredible journey visit their Just Giving pages at https://www.justgiving.com/Jennifer-Stuart76 and www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Justine-Hoiles1

To find out more about the Women V Cancer Cycle Thailand 2020 Challenge visit https://www.dream-challenges.com/challenges/women-v-cancer/women-v-cancer-cycle-thailand-2020/

Reviewing Officer Audrey celebrates 40 years at Sefton Council – and counting!

A Reviewing Officer from Sefton Council’s Adult Social Care team is celebrating after spending 40 years working for Sefton Council – and plans to continue until her retirement.

Audrey Forkings, 56, began her career with the authority as a carer in July 1979, helping vulnerable adults across Sefton.

She has since progressed to work as a Home Care Supervisor and on to her current role as Reviewing Officer with Sefton’s Adult Social Care team, providing help and support to people in the borough when they need it.

Her long career has seen her support individuals and families in the borough through difficult times and crises, and she has twice been nominated for a Sefton Council ‘STAR Award’ – awarded to employees who go the extra mile and achieve exceptional results in their roles.

Looking back on her 40 years Audrey, who has lived in Southport for most of her life and has three children aged 12, 16 and 22, says she feels “proud” to still be working in a job that makes a difference to peoples’ lives.

She said: “I am so lucky to be able to say I still love my job after all these years. Being able to help people going through tough times is a real privilege and never stops being rewarding.

“My job is so diverse and every day brings a new challenge and opportunity. I still go in to work each day looking forward to what the day will bring.

“I work with an amazing team and over the years I have worked with so many lovely colleagues who I now class as great friends.

“A career highlight was when my team and I were twice nominated for a STAR Award, which we won at last year’s event. It was a wonderful moment for us all, and we all felt very honoured.

“I still plan to stay in my role for many years yet and I look forward to what the future holds. I don’t have a set date in mind for retirement yet, but when I do I’ll look back on a job that’s made me feel very happy and fulfilled. I’m proud to have helped make a difference.”

Jerry O’Sullivan, Project Manager for Adult Social Care at Sefton Council and Audrey’s manager, says Audrey is a “great asset” to the team and continues to go the extra mile.

He said: “Audrey is a joy to work alongside. Not only is she conscientious and hard-working, she is also a brilliant practitioner who delivers everything with a smile.

“Even in very difficult situations, her warmth and understanding helps service users, their carers and families achieve the very best outcomes and she is regularly complemented for her compassion and support.

“She is a great asset to the team and she still goes the extra mile and gives 100%, even after 40 years. Her length of service, commitment, hard-work and dedication are all things she should be incredibly proud of. It’s a fantastic achievement.”

Deborah Butcher, Interim Director of Adult Social Care at Sefton Council, said: “We are incredibly lucky in Sefton to have such dedicated staff across all of our teams. Audrey is a great advocate for vulnerable people and their families in Sefton.”

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