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Neston - The Year in Review

Author: Carrie Spacey Published: 31st December 2011 13:35


From January through to December, we bring you highlights of the news we have covered during 2011.  There's certainly been plenty going on in Neston!

These are just some of the stories we covered during 2011.  More can be found in our current Local News here (from October 2011 to date) and in our News Archive (January to Sept 2011) here.


The New Year's Honours List was published and saw Burton resident Wendie Darlington receive an MBE in recognition of her amazing fundraising work for Claire House.

PRDG consultation in NestonResidents were consulted on the PRDG. Photo
by Linda Pelling

On the subject of honours, Neston Players were delighted to receive no less than 5 nominations in the NODA North West Amateur Theatre Awards.

It was also announced this month that Peter Bowling, Clinical Director at Neston's Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital had been appointed to provide equine care at the 2012 Olympics.

'Speak Up Friday' took place in the town centre, as residents had an opportunity to have their say on a number of local issues, including the proposed Public Realm Design Guide. 

It was bad news for the Friends of Burton Manor, as their AGM heard the future of the site was uncertain.  Subsequently, in March, the college closed and there is still no word on what will happen to it in the future.


Neston Kidz Choir kicked off the year in style, as they performed for family and friends.

Guardsman Lewis WhilbyGuardsman Lewis Whilby

Parkgate and Neston United Reformed Church celebrated receipt of a £12,000 grant from Cheshire West's Rural Development Fund, to enable them to make improvements to their Community Hall.

Also in February we heard about the heroic minefield dash of Neston guardsman Lewis Whilby whilst on deployment in Afghanistan.

In the first of several metal theft crimes this year, thieves helped themselves to cable from the BT building in Park Street, leaving hundreds of Neston residents without telephone and broadband, and costing local businesses thousands in lost trade.

On a lighter note, it was announced by Neston Town Council that the then Mayor, Cllr David Clark, would endow Neston High School with an annual prize for the most improved GCSE student each year.


Pupils and staff at Woodfall Primary School celebrated World Book Day in style, with excellent costumes and a spectacular cake.

We heard about three generations of the Race family and their passion for tennis as patriarch Steve Race celebrated his 80th birthday.  

Young people in Neston joined with professional graffiti artist Andy Birch to give Stanney Fields Skate Park a make-over, to complement the work carried out on the underpass in 2010.

Parkgate Pre-School was officially opened.Official opening of Parkgate Pre-School

Parkgate Pre-School's brand new building was officially opened, after many months of hard work and fundraising.

Neston High and Woodfall Primary Schools sang out in a project involving their international partner schools in Capetown.

A Neston-based musician told his story of the terror of being caught up in the earthquake that rocked Japan this month.

Comic Relief was very well supported in the Neston area - we received some fantastic photos from the local area as people got dressed up to raise money.

Neston High School played host to some local 'dragons' as students benefitted from the advice of business people in the travel and tourism industry.


Parkgate's Mosquito Sanctuary announced..ish!'RapFlo Oil' became the 'must-have' product of the year when AboutMyArea announced that Parkgate would become a Mosquito Sanctuary...oh, ok then, it was April 1st...!

The Friends of the award-winning Stanney Fields Park gathered for a snowdrop-planting event in memory of Barrie White, who had dedicated so much of his time to the park.

Neston's Equine Hospital at Leahurst was back in the news, as it was announced that a £1million intensive care unit for horses would open later in the year.

Woodfall pupils celebrate Beatles DayWoodfall pupils celebrated Beatles Day

Local primary schools were particularly busy this month:  Woodfall celebrated Beatles Day in style; Neston Primary celebrated as Ofsted commended pupils on their oustanding contribution to the community; children at St Winefride's went a little crazy for charity and Parkgate Primary pupils helped to 'roll back the stone' at St Thomas' Church.

Also going crazy this month were locals at The Brewers Arms, who took part in a sponsored bungy jump to raise money for the cancer care unit at Clatterbridge hospital.

Neston Air Cadets celebrated taking Silver in a Merseyside competition, in their 50th anniversary year.

Parkgate Pony Sanctuary celebrated their re-opening at Easter.


Residents in Parkgate gathered to celebrate the Royal Wedding with a special party held at St Thomas' Church.

Cllrs Pat Hughes and Martin BarkerNew Deputy Mayor Cllr Pat Hughes with new
Mayor, Cllr Martin Barker.

Local elections took place for Cheshire West and Chester and Neston Town Councils, and  Councillor Martin Barker was subsequently elected as the new Mayor of Neston.

Neston Players gave Downtown Abbey a run for its money, with their well-received and entertaining production of Lord Arthur Savile's Crime.

Andy Birch was back in town, this time helping Neston Primary School pupils to create a unique mural.  The school also celebrated its 105th Birthday this month.

Neston High Year 11 pupils glammed up for the annual 'Prom,' and it was doors to manual at St Winefride's as pupils took part in an International day.


Ladies Day once more saw the historic and unique parade of women and girls with their flower staffs weave through the streets of Neston.  Special mention here for our two major photographic contributor:  to official photographer Linda Pelling for her herculean efforts in capturing over 2000 photos of the day, and to Bernard Rose for this amazing picture:

Ladies Day 2011 - photo by Bernard Rose

It was, however, a shocking start to June when residents learned of the theft of the 100 year old bell from Neston Primary School. A massive fundraising effort got underway to pay for the damage to be repaired.

CH64 Big LunchFundraising for the Neston Primary School Bell
Fund at the CH64 Big Lunch.

In brighter news, the second annual CH64 Big Lunch took place, with hundreds enjoying a picnic and entertainment at Stanney Fields Park.

Auditions took place for this year's Neston's Got Talent competition, with the standard of entries as high as ever, making the judges decision very difficult!

Children in Little Gems class at St Winefride's were awestruck to receive a thank-you letter from the Royal newlyweds.

After months of research and planning, Neston Town Council and their partner organisation CAN, delivered the first Neston Area Guide to local residents.

Neston resident Gordon Nicholas was in celebratory mood as the Vintage Radio station he chairs won a national award.


Proud Neston Mum Samantha Woodhouse shared the news with us that her son, David, had been on parade during some of the year's most prestigious Royal events.

Fancy dress winners at Neston Village Fair 2011Fancy dress winners at Neston Village Fair 2011

It was a grand day out once more as Neston's Village Fair took place, a truly inspiring community event that goes from strength to strength thanks to the huge efforts of the fair's committee and all the organisations who come together on the day.

Linda Pelling was on duty again the following day at the Neston Cricket Club Family Fun Day, another annual event that just gets better and better.

Members of the congregation at Parkgate's St Thomas' Church came together for a triple celebration.

Stanney Fields played host once more to the annual Silver Band Picnic in the Park and the community in Willaston came together to raise funds for next year's Festival.

Pink Fillies take part in Race for Life 2011Pink Fillies Gill Morrison & Jan Myers took part in
the Race for Life.

The Pink Fillies set off from the Brown Horse pub in Neston to take part in this year's Race for Life - great fun, and over £2000 raised for a cause close to the hearts of many of the ladies who took part.

Neston & District Chamber of Trade announced its affiliation to the North Wales and West Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, opening many doors to the wider area for Neston's local businesses.

Talented locals took part in a musical fundraising night at the Hinderton Arms, and a fundraising day took place at the Lady Hamilton pub in Little Neston, in memory of local resident Rob Taylor.

It was announced that Neston High School pupil Sophie Roscoe had created the winning design for the 2012 Olympic's North West mascot badge.


The BBC popped into the Atelier at Burton Manor as part of their coverage of the annual Neston to Chester Viking Walk.

Families enjoyed Fun Days at Neston's Stanney Fields and West Vale parks.

Neston High School students celebrated their A Level and GCSE results - once more breaking records in achievement.

Legwarmers and shoulder-pads came out as an 80's Night at British Legion was held to raise funds for Neston Primary School's Bell Appeal.

80s Night in Neston - photo by Linda Pelling


A new audio trail was launched to celebrate Neston's coal mining heritage.

Local vintage car enthusiasts took part in the annual South Wirral Gordale Run.

Parkgate Primary pupils received a visit from Andrew Miller, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

Stanney Fields Park Fun Dog Show 2011Stanney Fields Park Fun Dog Show

It was good news/bad news month for Neston Library.  In the good news corner, they celebrated record participants in the Summer's Circus Stars reading challenge. On the bad news front, they had to appeal to the green-fingered thief who had been stealing plants from the Library's Sensory Garden to please stop!

There was widespread condemnation following the news that metal plaques containing the names of those who had given their lives in combat, had been stolen from the War Memorial in Willaston. A Neston man was charged with handling stolen goods.

Stanney Fields Park played host to the Annual Fun Dog Show - this year's victor was Chocolate Labrador puppy, Raya.

Neston Cricket Club's Tennis Section announced that junior player Lara Wedd had snagged the Mini Red Tennis County Championship title.


Ness Gardens welcomed home their exhibit from the Shanghai World Expo - an interactive device that will help teach visitors about the importance of plants and horticulture.

Harvest Flower Arrangement at St Thomas' Church, ParkgateHarvest Flower Arrangement at St Thomas'
Church, Parkgate

St Thomas' Church in Parkgate was in the news again, this time with photos of the beautiful flower arrangements created for their Harvest Festival.

Leahurst's Intensive Care Unit for Horses was officially opened by Lord Derby.

The skills and expertise of Wirral Theatre School's staff and pupils was in evidence, as several students landed key roles on national and regional stages.

Cheshire West's Chief Executive Steve Robinson took the second of two tours of the Neston area.

It was announced that two Neston High School pupils would be Platinum Sports Ambassadors in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

Members of Neston Civic Society attended the Community Pride awards, bringing home an award for the Bushell Fountain at The Cross.

Neston Nomads Under 12's got a new kit, as did the Neston Nomad Knights. Both teams are part of the incredibly successful Nomads project that brings football to the heart of the Neston community for children of all ages.

Neston bike racer Chris Morley in actionNeston bike racer Chris Morley in action

Work got underway to develop a 'brand' for Neston, as part of a wide-reaching programme to improve the quality of life and prosperity in the town centre and wider area.

Willaston celebrated Make A Difference Day with the installation of a bench in the Recreation Ground, commemorating the highly successful 2009 Willaston Festival.

Neston bike racer Chris Morley told us about his great season, finishing inside the top 10 in every race entered since June.


After weeks of uncertainty and heated debate, it was announced that plans to create a permanent Gypsy & Traveller site at Clayhill had been abandoned.

Alan MortonAlan Morton pictured outside the Town Hall.

Veteran seaman Alan Morton was interviewed for AboutMyArea following his successful campaign to have the VE Bench reinstated outside Neston Town Hall.

Neston Primary School said a huge thank you to residents, local councillors and businesses who had helped with fundraising following the theft of the school bell earlier in the year.

Ness Gardens and Roses Tea Rooms were shortlisted in the Marketing Cheshire Tourism Awards.

Neston Players trod the boards at the Civic Hall once more, this time with a classic whodunnit - Prescription For Murder.

Pupils at Willaston Primary School were featured on TV and Radio after they designed their own plaques to temporarily replace plaques stolen from the Willaston War Memorial, and a moving Remembrance Sunday parade took place in Neston.

Jessica Christy received the Mayor of Neston AwardJessica Christy received the Mayor of Neston

It was winners all round as the first Mayor of Neston Award was handed to Jessica Christy;  Neston Cricket Club won a national Cricket Club of the Year award and the CH64 Events Group announced the winners of a primary school Christmas Tree art competition.

The Neston-based Northern Lights charity announced that 2012 would be its 25th anniversary, bringing with it a slew of fundraising ideas to try and raise £25,000.

A project to dredge and de-silt the main drainage gutter and create new ponds at Parkgate marsh was completed. Aimed at reducing the 'mosquito menace' the next phase will get underway in the Little Neston area in 2012.

Shimmering Reflections came to the rescue of Neston High's Cinderella cast as they donated a fabulous ballgown.

It was announced that Dad's Den had received a grant from Neston Town Council, allowing them to continue providing their programme of sessions for Dads and kids on Saturday mornings at NCYC for another year.

The Knott Family launched their annual Christmas lights extravaganza, raising money for Help For Heroes.


Neston Christmas Lights Switch-on 2011Neston celebrated the beginning of the festive season with the annual Lantern Parade, Christmas lights switch-on and entertainment in the Market Square.  A wonderful evening, once more organised by CAN and the CH64 Events Group as part of Neston Christmas Festival 2011.

Earlier the same day, Linda Pelling was in full voice, busking in town to raise money for Save Our Sue.

Meanwhile, over at the Parish Church, volunteers dressed up to the nines to man the stalls at the annual Christmas Festival Market.

We heard that Neston's Air Cadets had taken part in the Liverpool Santa Dash - looks like fun!

Neston High School's Governors announced that the school will be converting to Academy Status in 2012, in the same week that we heard about their award for learning outside the classroom.

And finally....in what can only be described as AMAzing news (!) - AboutMyArea CH64 celebrated this week as the 1,000,000th visit to the website was recorded.  Since we launched in April 2008 we have watched the visitor count grow and grow, and we are delighted to be able to celebrate this landmark moment just as we come to the end of another year of reporting on all that goes on in Neston.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our contributors, particularly local photographers Linda Pelling and Bernard Rose, and, of course, all the local businesses who support us.  We couldn't do it without you, so our heartfelt thanks to you all. 

If you haven't already signed up for our weekly newsletter, simply register here. You will receive, each Wednesday morning, an email containing links to all the stories added in the previous week, and upcoming events. It's a handy way to ensure you don't miss any news from the Neston area.

It only remains for us to wish all our website visitors, colleagues and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Related content:

CH64 - The Year in Pictures - 2011

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At 10:40 on 21st December 2011, , commented:
Love the review and thanks for all the hard work put in to this website to keep everyone informed of what is happening in the area.

This review just shows how many great things happen in this town
Paul T
At 15:48 on 21st December 2011, Paul T commented:
I agree. Thankyou for the service you provide. I also appreciate the chance to have a moan now and again!
Helena E
At 21:05 on 21st December 2011, Helena E commented:
Well done. None of the papers bother to keep up with the news here, so your efforts are very much appreciated.

Have a good Christmas everyone in Neston, and I look forward to commenting on the news here in 2012,

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