Zeebrugge Raid Centenary Service

Wirral played a key role in national commemorations to mark the centenary of the Zeebrugge raid.

The vital wartime mission took place towards the end of the First Word War and the Mersey Ferries became famous for their role in the daring raid across the Channel.

Scores of service personnel including members of Royal Marines, Royal Navy, and Veterans marched along Wirral’s promenade accompanied by Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Portsmouth (Royal Band).

The ferries were at the centre of the anniversary event which took place on Sunday April 22, reflecting their importance to the vital mission 100 years ago.

Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Ann McLachlan, said described it as “a truly memorable occasion and a significant opportunity for Wirral to remember those who took part in the Zeebrugge Raid”.

The ferries Iris and Daffodil, built in 1906, took part in the top secret attack on Zeebrugge on April 23 1918 which aimed to prevent German U-boats from attacking Allied shipping in the English Channel and the South West Approaches to the UK.

The Mersey ferries were used because they could carry large numbers of Marines and Sailors in shallow waters. Both Iris and Daffodil sustained significant damage in the raid but both managed to return home – although Iris had been hit by numerous shells and just about limped back.

It was for their heroic service that both ferries – and their successors – were awarded the “Royal” designation.

Since the early 1920s – with the exception of the war years – a commemoration service has been held aboard a Wallasey ferry on the Sunday closest to St George’s Day, 23 April.

A short service was held on board the Royal Iris Ferry in which veterans and serving military were present.  Towards the end of the service wreaths were thrown into the River Mersey by dignitaries and high ranking officials.

Once the ferry returned to land, a further service was held alongside the Zeebrugge memorial outside Seacombe Ferry Terminal.

Afterwards there was a march down Wirral Promenade towards Wallasey Town Hall, led by the Royal Marines Band Portsmouth and tailed by the Royal British Legion Riders on motorbikes.

For my photo’s and my video see links below:-

Wreaths at memorial

Video:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WdZS8umwcg


Hamilton Square Architect receives Blue Plaque.

On Saturday, 10 March 2018, Wirral’s Mayor, Cllr Ann McLachlan unveiled a Blue Plaque on the flanking wall of No 63 Hamilton Square. The plaque commemorates James Gillespie Graham who had worked with the Laird family in Scotland and when William Laird thought that the rising new town of Birkenhead needed designing, Gillespie Graham was top of the list to do the work. Having designed Moray Place in Edinburgh, which had proved very successful, Gillespie Graham used the same formula for Hamilton Square – resulting in the largest number of Grade I listed buildings in England, outside London. Placing the plaque on the flanking wall of No 63 was particularly relevant as John Laird actually lived in the house for some years.

James Gillespie Graham 11-6-1776 to 11-3-1855 was born in Dunblane, Scotland. Graham principally designed country houses and churches, including St Andrews Cathedral in Glasgow. He was commissioned by William Laird, after he had seen what Graham had done in the New Town, Edinburgh a few years earlier.
Graham’s design envisaged long and straight wide avenues lined with elegant town houses. Hamilton Square would be located where it would get the maximum benefit from the area’s topography. This would ensure it would be visible from the Liverpool waterfront emphasising Birkenhead’s civic pride. Work started on the eastern side of the new town around Hamilton Square in 1825. However, due to the economic depression throughout the mid 19th century, this would become the only part of Graham’s plan to be fully completed.
As the square would be the focal point of civic authority in Birkenhead, a lot was purposely left vacant on the east side of the square for a town hall. In 1883, almost sixty years after work started, construction on the town hall began. Birkenhead Town Hall, which opened in 1887, was designed by local architect Charles Ellison. Hamilton Square Railway station was opened on 1st Feb 1886.

For photo’s see my pics on my Facebook page:-

Wirral Mayor Cllr Ann McLachlan officially unveiled a new blue plaque outside number 63 Hamilton Sq, (Former home of…

Posted by James O'Hanlon on Monday, March 19, 2018

Thousands gather across Merseyside for Remembrance Sunday

Thousands of people came out across Merseyside to pay their respects to the fallen on Remembrance Sunday .

Despite bitterly cold weather, huge crowds were there for Liverpool’s commemoration, centred around the Centotaph at St George’s Hall with service personnel, local dignitaries and veterans marching through the city to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This year’s service was especially poignant as it focused on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendale.

Joey the life size puppet from the National Theatre’s production of War Horse was at the service – to recognise the importance horses played in the infamous battle.

Representatives from all faiths helped to lead the service at the plateau, with Danielle Louise Thomas leading the crowds in singing the National Anthem.

Following the Last Post and the two minute silence, thousands of petals cascaded down from St George’s Hall in a very moving display.

For photo’s see the link below:-



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

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

Liverpool Homeless Games 2017

The Homeless Games took place today at Wavertree Sports Centre.  The Games was officially opened by Deputy Mayor Cllr Ann O’Byrne. Games the competitors took part in were, pool, darts, football, badminton, tennis, basketball, quick cricket and mini golf.

The initiative, which was founded in 2009, aims to bring together those who have experienced homelessness or social exclusion, in order to provide a platform that unites them through sport and companionship.

Competitors played regardless of ability or skill.

In partnership with Liverpool City Council and the Liverpool-based retailer Healthy Foods Online, the games will also offer participants and the public with advice on health, education and employment. Using the games as a platform to improve the health and wellbeing of homeless people, to increase their feelings of self-worth and allow them to feel a sense of pride for what they have achieved on the day, both in sport and personal progression.

Organisers of the Olympic Games, Eric Houghton and Steve Barton said:

“The Homeless Games alone cannot make the difference. It is only through working together that we can change lives. We need everyone to play their part, whether you’re a support worker who can champion the Homeless Games within your organisation or and organisation who could support the day.“

With the successful sounds of the Rio Olympics still ringing in our ears, there is little wonder why the 7th Homeless Games is set to be the most exciting and biggest yet.

For pics of Day 1 see link below:-

Group shot before the match started


Day 2 pics:-

Team Wales

Edward Kemp Blue Plaque Unveiled.

THE Landscape gardener who brought Birkenhead Park to life has been honoured with a blue plaque in his memory.

Edward Kemp was selected by Joseph Paxton – gardener to the Duke of Devonshire and creator of Crystal Palace – to supervise the development of Birkenhead Park.

Born in Streatham, Surrey he arrived in Birkenhead in 1843 to begin laying out the park, and remained living on its edge for the rest of his life.

His contribution was remembered with the unveiling of a plaque at the park day – 170 years to the day of its formal opening in 1847.

Performing the unveiling ceremony was carried out by the Mayor, Cllr Pat Hackett. He said: “2017 is not only the 170th anniversary of the opening of the park but the bicentenary of Edward Kemp himself so it’s fitting we will be remembering him on this special day.”

Paying tribute Elizabeth Davey, from Conservation Areas Wirral, told the Globe: “Edward Kemp was probably one of the leading Victorian landscape gardeners.

“He trained in what was then the very best place; the Horticultural, not Royal then, Society Gardens in Chiswick.

“He then worked there under Professor John Lindley and was selected from there to go and work with Paxton at Chatsworth and worked with him on his publications.

“So when Paxton was commissioned by the Birkenhead Improvement Commissioners to come a design this Park, obviously he didn’t have the time as he was busy doing all sorts of other things.

“So he recommended that Kemp be appointed and, with various ups and downs, Kemp remained, nominally really, Superintendent until the day he died.

“He would have been responsible for engaging staff to dig out the lakes, create all the landscaping, laying out the paths and getting the planting right.

“He had quite a large labour force and quite a big budget. This was really the jumping off point for his career as an independent landscape gardener.

“He was a very good family man; at various times he had his mother-in-law, sister-in-law, his sister all living with him”.

Professor Robert Lee, chairman of Friends of Birkenhead Park, added: “This is a momentous day, again, for Birkenhead Park.

“We’re celebrating the start of the bicentenary of Edward Kemp’s birth in 1817 and the start of the 170th anniversary of the opening of Birkenhead Park on April 5, 1847.

“In a sense that represents the uniqueness of Birkenhead Park; the first publicly-funded park, not only in Britain but in the whole wide world.

“It recognises the incredible skills and expertise that Kemp developed; not only here but elsewhere.

“He was initially asked by the commissioners in New York to advise them on the applications for the design of what became Central Park.

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

The plaque