National Armed Forces Day in Liverpool, England.

The national event in Liverpool, attended by Prime Minister Theresa May and Prince Edward, saw a Red Arrows flypast and a parade to the waterfront.

Mrs May said that armed forces are more relevant than ever, “playing a vital role” after the Manchester attack.

The day was billed as a chance for people to show their support for those connected with the armed forces.

As well as those currently serving, the event honours veterans, reservists, cadets, families and charities.

Parades, military displays, gun salutes and Typhoon and Red Arrows flypasts have been some of the highlights.

The Royal Navy’s type-23 frigate HMS Iron Duke was docked in Liverpool for the celebrations. A series of displays along Pier head also took place featuring planes, helicopters, tanks and marching bands.

Mrs May praised the “tremendous job that the armed forces do for us here at home and across the world, helping to keep us safe”.

The parade in Liverpool comprised about 100 personnel from each of the services, plus bands, veterans and about 300 cadets.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said there are some 10,000 service men and women who are working around the globe on operations or in British bases.

“They’ve been helping to deal with terrorism, they’ve been helping to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean, they’ve been on Nato deployments, they’ve been peacekeeping in South Sudan.

“All of that keeps us safer here at home. They’re out of our sight but they should never be out of mind,” he said.

For pics see my link below:-


Military parade

Umbrella Project Officially Launched in Liverpool

200 Umbrellas were hung above the street in Liverpool City Centre to raise awareness of ADHD.

The Umbrella Project was named by children who work with the ADHD Foundation because ADHD and autism are ‘umbrella terms’ for a whole variety of neurodevelopment difficulties.

Each umbrella will be signed by a young person with ADHD and or autism, with a statement written by a Liverpool child stating “My Superpower is…”.

Children from St Oswalds Primary School in Old Swan, performed to the song “Happy” with umbrella’s and a simple dance routine.

The Umbrella Project has been made possible thanks to sponsorship from Equazen, makers of the scientifically developed omega-3 supplements, Liverpool City Council and the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, who has pledged to make Liverpool “a truly ADHD and autism-friendly city.”

Explaining the idea behind the Umbrella Project, Dr Tony Lloyd, chief executive of ADHD Foundation, commented: “The name for the project was actually chosen by the brilliant children who work with the foundation.

“ADHD and autism are ‘umbrella terms’ for a whole variety of neurodevelopment difficulties, and we want to highlight that fact and challenge the stigma of what can be ‘invisible’ disabilities.

“The Umbrella Project is about reminding adults – be it parents, teachers or potential employees – that young people with ADHD and other conditions possess many gifts, talents and skills to offer their communities.

“Their condition is not a disabler, but an enabler, a superpower!

“The foundation would like to thank Equazen, Liverpool City Council and the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, whose support for the project has been amazing.”

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “I wholeheartedly support ADHD Foundation’s Umbrella Project.

“Liverpool City Council is fully committed to supporting the education, mental health and employability of people with ADHD and autism.

“Raising awareness is fundamental in engaging conversations and promoting the general public’s understanding of ADHD.

“With half a million children across the country being affected by the condition, with many going completely undiagnosed, it is more important now than ever that as a city we lead the way in doing everything we can to support them.

“I want Liverpool to truly be an ADHD and autism friendly city.

“We have to work together to remove the barriers that are preventing people from being able to reach their true potential.

“The Umbrella Project is a great way of showing that commitment and engaging those conversations.”

For pics see the link below:-

Church Alley

BTR Port Sunlight 6th Annual 10k and 5k race.

The 6th Annual BTR Port Sunlight races were held once again on a hot sunny day in South Wirral yesterday.

The two-race event is staged in the heart of the picturesque village of Port
Sunlight in Wirral, with the race routes taking runners round the tree-lined
The BTR Port Sunlight Village Road Race is organised in conjunction with
Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT), with sponsors Unilever supporting the race
day for a fourth year.
This is the sixth consecutive year of the event, which features a 5K race and
two-lap 10K followed by a children’s 1K fun run.
Unilever is sponsoring the race day as part of its brightFuture campaign. One
of the company’s goals is to help a billion people around the world improve
their health and well-being by 2020.

A team of 85 runners from Unilever will take part in the 5K, 30 of whom have
successfully completed the Couch To 5K running training programme – using
lunch breaks and after work training runs to prepare for the race.
Unilever is extremely proud of its history and heritage in Port Sunlight, where
company founder William Lever built his factory and village in 1888. The
company continues to have world class manufacturing, R&D and IT facilities
based here, along with a third of its UK workforce. Unilever’s brands include
household names Persil, Dove, Tresemme, Radox, Comfort and Surf.
Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight, commented:
“Unilever is delighted to be supporting the BTR Port Sunlight Village Road
Race for a fourth consecutive year. As a global brand with our roots firmly
established in Port Sunlight Village, we feel this is a perfect way to show our
commitment to the village while encouraging people to get fit and active.
Good luck to everyone taking part, including our own Unilever team who have
taken on their challenge with real determination.”
The 5K race started at 10am, followed by the 10K race at 11am.
All finishers received a technical T-shirt, commemorative medal and goody bag
which includes items from sponsor Unilever, as well as complimentary entry
into the Port Sunlight Village Museum.

The event welcomes runners of all abilities – those taking part in their first 5K
or 10K; fundraisers; as well as those chasing a new personal best. Last year’s
event saw three new course records being set – showcasing the excellent
standard of the race, course and running.

For photo’s of the event see the link below:


Pte William Ratcliffe Commemorative Memorial Stone Unveiled.

A commemorative paving stone has been unveiled in memory of a Liverpool docker, a century to the day since he was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War 1.

The stone was laid in honour of William Ratcliffe (1884-1963) who was presented with the Victoria Cross in 1917 whilst serving with the South Lancashire Regiment (now amalgamated into the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment).

William – known as Bill – was born at 38 Newhall Street in the Dingle, and was a pupil at St Vincent’s School in nearby Norfolk Street. When he left school, William worked on the Liverpool docks before joining the British Army at the age of 17 and served in South Africa during the Second Boer War. After serving, he returned to the docks until the outbreak of WWI when he re-joined his old regiment.

In April 1917, during the Battle of Messines, William Ratcliffe was awarded a Military Medal for gallantry and on 14th June, only a matter of weeks later, earned his Victoria Cross. He was 33 years old and a Private in the 2nd Battalion, the South Lancashire Regiment, when his battalion was ordered to attack a line of German trenches on Messines Ridge. William Ratcliffe was a stretcher-bearer, following up behind the advancing troops to bring in the casualties, and spent most of the night bringing in the wounded through a heavy barrage. He also located an enemy machine-gun which was firing on his comrades from the rear, picked up a rifle from a dead comrade and single-handedly rushed the machine-gun position and bayoneted the crew. He then brought the gun back into action on the frontline. His actions brought the award of the Victoria Cross, with which he was invested personally by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 26th September 1917.

When the war was over, Bill again returned to his job on Liverpool docks where he was affectionately known as “The Dockers VC”. In 1956, celebrations were held in London to mark the centenary of the Victoria Cross and all living holders were invited to be reviewed by the Queen in Hyde Park. Bill was reluctant to attend as he couldn’t afford to buy a suit for the occasion. When this became apparent, The South Lancashire Regimental Association intervened and a local gentleman’s outfitters readily made him a new suit free of charge, and Bill travelled to London.

He never married and later lived with relatives at St Oswald’s Gardens in Old Swan. He died on 26th March 1963, aged 79, and is buried at Allerton Cemetery. His medals, including his Victoria Cross and Military Medal, are on loan to the Imperial War Museum London. The German Maxim machine-gun which he captured that day in 1917 is on display at the Lancashire Infantry Museum.

His citation in the London Gazette reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery. After an enemy’s trench had been captured, Pte. Ratcliffe located an enemy machine gun which was firing on his comrades from the rear, whereupon, single-handed and on his own initiative, he immediately rushed the machine gun position and bayonetted the crew. He then brought the gun back into action in the front line. This very gallant soldier has displayed great resource on previous occasions, and has set an exceptionally fine example of devotion to duty.”

The commemorative stone is part of a national scheme run by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which will see every World War One Victoria Cross recipient remembered in this way.

The event was attended by Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, veterans and serving military representatives and also relatives of William Ratcliffe.

The Lord Mayor said: “William Ratcliffe was a gallant and fearless soldier whose selfless actions saved many lives. He was completely devoted to his duty.

“Liverpool is incredibly proud of him and this is why we are honouring him with this fitting ceremony on the centenary of his VC award. I am personally privileged to be able to attend and unveil this stone in his honour.

“The stone will be a permanent reminder of the incredible contribution that he made to the war effort and his role in making sure that more soldiers weren’t lost.”

William Ratcliffe is one of nine men from Liverpool who were awarded the Victoria Cross during World War 1, and a further four will be honoured in this way between now and December 2017.

For pics see link below:-

Memorial Stone

Mermaid Trail Launched in New Brighton, Wirral

The New Brighton Mermaid Trail, which takes its inspiration from ‘The Black Rock Mermaid’, who was said to have appeared to a local sailor in New Brighton in the 18th century, was officially unveiled on Wednesday 7th June.

The Mermaid Trail is a set of six identical Mermaid statues situated in key locations across New Brighton. They have each been individually decorated, four of them by local schools, one by a community group and one by the local artist who designed and sculpted the statues, Barry Canning-Eaton. Both the design and decoration have been kept a closely guarded secret in the lead up to the unveilings.

Each statue is accompanied by an information board which, when followed in order, takes trail followers through a story based on the legend of ‘The Black Rock Mermaid’, as told by local storyteller Cathy Roberts.

Starting from Kings Parade, the first statue – the ‘Ebb & Flow Mermaid’ – is situated next to the Championship Adventure Golf and is decorated by children and young people engaged with Ebb & Flow Community Interest Company, with its decoration inspired by natural wonders in and around New Brighton.

Statue number two is the work of pupils from St Mary’s Catholic College, with a nautical and sea-faring inspired decoration that they have called ‘The Inked Siren of Black Rock’. This is situated on the corner of Victoria Road and Atherton Street close to New Brighton railway station.

The location of the third mermaid is on Seabank Road near to its junction with Magazine Lane. The ‘Rock On Mermaid’ is decorated by pupils from The Mosslands School in Wallasey and tells a strong story of young people, boys and girls, who are finding their own voice.

Vale Park, looking out onto the promenade, is where visitors will find the fourth mermaid, decorated by young people who attend Wirral Hospitals’ School. Entitled, ‘Paxtonea – the Soothing Siren’, its decoration tells the story of the legend in a way that provokes awareness of the sensory needs of people with anxiety and on the autistic spectrum.

Pupils from St George’s Primary School are responsible for the ‘Mermaid of Memories’, the fifth statue on the trail. Situated on the promenade opposite the Floral Pavilion Theatre and Conference Centre, the pupils have sought through their decoration to take people on a journey back in time to a dark yet glowing evening at New Brighton fairground.

The trail ends on Victoria Parade in ‘Old Town’ New Brighton with the sixth statue – the eponymous Black Rock Mermaid – this one decorated by the creator of the Mermaid statues, Barry Canning-Eaton.

The Mermaid Trail project has been made possible thanks to a successful bid for £10,935 by the New Brighton Coastal Community Team (NBCCT) to the Burbo Bank Extension Community Fund, a grant scheme set up by DONG Energy to benefit voluntary groups and organisations located near to the coastline where it is carrying out the extension to the offshore wind farm.

Caroline Laing, Wirral Council’s representative on the New Brighton Coastal Community Team, said:

“It is hoped that the trail will raise awareness of the legend of The Black Rock Mermaid and bring her story to the attention of the hundreds of thousands of visitors the resort attracts each year. The trail is purposefully designed to show visitors parts of New Brighton that they might not otherwise have got to see and show them some of the attractions and unique character that can be found away from the traditional tourist locations.”

For photo’s click below:-

Mermaid of memories

WW1 Victoria Cross Recepient Honoured in Liverpool.

A COMMEMORATIVE paving stone was unveiled in memory of a Liverpool man who was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War 1.

The stone was laid at Princes Park in honour of Ronald Neil Stuart (1886 – 1954) who was awarded the honour on 7 June 1917 for actions whilst serving with the Royal Navy Reserve on board HMS Pargust, a converted Tramp Steamer. The ship was torpedoed by an enemy submarine but the actions of the crew ensured that it was able to retaliate by opening fire, sinking it.

Ronald was born into a seafaring family on 26th August 1886 at 31 Kelvin Grove, Toxteth Park and attended Liverpool Collegiate School before taking on an apprenticeship aged 15 years with local shipping company Joseph Steele & Co.

He went to sea in 1902 on board the barque ‘Kirkhill’ and later joined the Allan Line which was taken over by Canadian Pacific. In 1914, he joined the Royal Naval Reserve as a probationary Sub-Lieutenant and was later promoted to Lieutenant Commander RNR in 1918.

In March 1917, in an action almost identical to that described in Stuart’s VC citation below, Campbell earned his VC and Stuart was awarded his Distinguished Service Order (DSO). The action for which Capt. Ronald Neil Stuart received the Victoria Cross took place on 7th June 1917 when he was serving on board H.M.S Pargust, again with Campbell.

For the action of H.M.S. Pargust and Capt. Ronald Neil Stuart, the citation in the London Gazette reads:

“On the 7th June, 1917, while disguised as a British merchant vessel with a dummy gun mounted aft, H.M.S. “Pargust” was torpedoed at very close range. Her boiler-room, engine-room, and No. 5 hold were immediately flooded, and the starboard lifeboat was blown to pieces. The weather was misty at the time, fresh breeze and a choppy sea. The “panic party,” under the command of Lieutenant P. R. Hereford, D.S.C., R.N.R., abandoned ship, and as the last boat was shoving off, the periscope of the submarine was observed close before the port beam about 400 yards distant. The enemy then submerged, and periscope reappeared directly astern, passing to the starboard quarter, and then round to the port beam, when it turned again towards the ship, breaking surface about 50 yards away. The lifeboat, acting as a lure, commenced to pull round the stern; submarine followed-closely and Lieutenant Hereford, with complete disregard of the danger incurred from fire of either ship or submarine (who had trained a maxim on the lifeboat), continued to decoy her to within 50 yards of the ship. The “Pargust” then opened fire with all guns, and the submarine, with oil squirting from her side and the crew pouring out of the conning tower, steamed slowly across the bows with a heavy list. The enemy crew held up their hands in token of surrender, whereupon fire immediately ceased. The submarine then began to move away at a gradually increasing speed, apparently endeavouring to escape in the mist. Fire was reopened until she sank, one man clinging to the bow as she went down. The boats, after a severe pull to windward, succeeded in saving one officer and one man. American Destroyers and a British sloop arrived shortly afterwards, and the “Pargust” was towed back to port. As on the previous occasions, officers and men displayed the utmost courage and confidence in their captain, and the action serves as an example of what perfect discipline, when coupled with such confidence, can achieve.”

It was indicated that the whole of the ship’s crew deserved the Victoria Cross, but in accordance with the regulations governing the award, the men were only allowed to nominate one officer and one seaman by ballot – and Lieutenant Stuart DSO and AB William Williams DSM were chosen. He was 30 years old and his medal was presented to him by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 21st July 1917.

He survived the war and pursued a naval career with Canadian Pacific, including the captaincy of the ‘Empress of Britain’, before giving up the sea in 1936 but continuing in a managerial role with the Company. He died in Kent and his medals are on display in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

The commemorative stone is part of a national scheme run by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which will see every World War One Victoria Cross recipient remembered in this way.

The event was attended by Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, veterans and serving military representatives and also relatives of Ronald Neil Stuart.

The Lord Mayor said: “Ronald Neil Stuart displayed undeniable courage whilst also instilling confidence in his crew.

“It is important that his contribution to World War 1 is remembered and I am privileged to be able to attend the unveiling of his stone.

“It will be a permanent reminder of the incredible contribution that he made to the war effort and his role in making sure that more lives weren’t lost.”

For pics see link below:-

The Memorial Stone to Mr Stuart VC

Flower Festival in Liverpool Cathedral for the Golden Jubilee

A flower festival was held over 4 days in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral as part of their Golden Jubilee Anniversary Celebrations.  Flower arrangements from over 20 different clubs were on display in side rooms and chapels. The event was free to attend with hundreds of people attending to see the displays.

For photo’s see below link:-

Floral display