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Neston - The Year in Review - 2015

Author: Carrie Spacey Published: 22nd December 2015 09:49

2015 In Neston

It's been another busy year in and around Neston. Here we bring you some of the highlights, as reported on AboutMyArea CH64.

It seemed we were blessed in particular this year with some extraordinary sunsets, like the one captured above by Bernard Rose.

Click on the highlighted words to read more about any particular story.  You can also scroll through our entire News Archive here.

If you would like to be sure that you never miss out on a news story or event, sign up for Neston News - our weekly e-newsletter that will land in your inbox every Wednesday.


Local business owners and councillors began the year with protests over the proposed closure of the Nat West Bank.  A petition gathered  over 750 signatures, but it was all in vain, as bank bosses insisted the closure would proceed as planned in March.

A petition was handed in to protest at the closure of the NatWest in NestonCllr Martin Barker (right) delivered a petition against the NatWest closure, but it was to be in vain.

Neston's Christian Aid Committee reported on another successful year of fundraising and Willaston Primary School joined the Rotakids family.

An appeal was launched to save Neston Village Fair, as it was announced that several key committee members would be standing down.   The Brewers Arms suffered damage in a fire, though fortunately no one was hurt.

It was announced that several local business people had come together to launch the Neston & District Community Fund, to support vital projects.

Linda PellingLinda Pelling - Care Home Idol for 2014.

It was congratulations to Linda Pelling, local singer and photographer, as she scooped the Care Home Idol Award for 2014.

The month ended with a fitness fundraiser by Zone Fitness at Sainsbury's, during which staff from both organisations 'rowed the Channel' in the supermarket foyer.


The Rotary Club of Neston caught us up on their successful collections for charity in the past year, Grease was the word at Neston Flicks and more new stalls were added to the now-thriving Neston Farmers' and Food Makers' Market.

Neston High School's ambitious building plans got the green light from borough planners while local residents had their say on the proposed Neston Neighbourhood Plan. Meanwhile, we heard about the launch of Neston Action - a group committed to promoting the interests of the town.

Neston police reported that two youths had been arrested for anti-social behaviour, in the first of several incidents scattered throughout the year. They also continued their clampdown on drug dealing in the area.

Schools sent us their updates, including a fundraising report from St Winefride's Primary and news of a very busy half term at Neston Primary.

Neston Air Cadets bade farewell to a high flying cadet, Neston Rotary Club held an International Evening and Neston Players scooped a number of nominations in the regional NODA awards.

High Tide by the Harp InnHigh tide near the Harp Inn. Photo by Rob Clive.

A high tide at Parkgate and Little Neston was reflected in a number of great photos sent in by readers.

Businesses hit the headlines, with Elephant in Neston playing host to a film screening for the first time, Andrew's Estates announcing the opening of another new branch, this time in Wallasay, and Redcliffe Dental Practice telling us about their 50th birthday celebrations.

Campaigners celebrated the collection of 2000 signatures on a petition calling for improvements to bus services through the area,  residents, the council and police united to tackle speeding through Burton and a new bench was installed at Cuckoo Lane in memory of Wirral countryside campaigner, Max Kirby.

Cuckoo Lane memorial bench for Max KirbyA bench was installed at Cuckoo Lane in memory of Max Kirby.


Gill and Mike Harper Local couple Mike and Gill Harper were training
for the Iron Man challenge.

Community spirit was on display in Parkgate, as local residents banded together for a tidy up of the sea wall and the marsh. Local couple Mike and Gill Harper told us they would be taking on the physically demanding Iron Man challenge and local resident Margaret Heibel dressed up to highlight Fairtrade Fortnight.  Meanwhile, Neston Angels announced plans to help make Neston more dementia friendly.

Neston Business Matters Forum was launched and got off to a strong start, Neston High School won Best App at the Coca Cola Real Business Awards and Ness Gardens was awarded legacy funding.

In schools news, Neston High scooped two out of three of the awards at this year's Technology Tournament,  reading was in the spotlight at Bishop Wilson in Burton and at Neston Primary School and Woodfall maths wizards triumphed again.

'UFOs' were spotted over Parkgate, local people threw themselves into raising money for Comic Relief and several readers sent in their photos of the eclipse.

Lenticular clouds over ParkgateLenticular clouds over Parkgate. Photo by Bernard Rose.

Willaston Scouts took delivery of a brand new canoe trailer and the over 50s swimmers at Neston Recreation Centre were delighted with their new pool steps.

The Merton College Choir performed in Neston thanks to the Rotary Club,  Neston-based OAKS charity had a visit from a couple of Apache helicopter pilots at the annual fundraising ball and local resident Kiran Fulton was presented with her British Citizenship by her father-in-law, the Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside.


Hip & Harmony's Adult Choir took a day trip to the Community Choirs Festival in Stratford - a fabulous time was had by all.  Yours truly became the first ever female Chairman of Neston & District Chamber of Trade.

Christ Church in Willaston welcomed their new vicar, Neston's Mia Town completed her own version of a triathlon to raise money for Comic Relief and local salvage artist Deebris erected a cross on the marsh at Parkgate to wish everyone Happy Easter.

Happy Easter from Deebris!Happy Easter to Parkgate, from Deebris.

From CBeebies to  Afternoon Tea, Neston Primary pupils had been enjoying a variety of activities during the preceding half term while pupils at Woodfall Primary turned purple for charity.

The race to become the next MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston heated up at a Hustings Event at the Town Hall.

Lots of celebrations this month - three women from Neston had clocked up 100 years of Girl Guiding between them;  Doreen Busby had her 100th birthday party at Weatherstones House Nursing Home; students from Wirral Theatre School danced their way to success; shoppers won prizes in the Neston town centre Easter promotion and events began to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Lady Emma Hamilton, with an exhibition opening in the Parish Church.

Lady Emma Hamilton exhibition launchAn exhibition marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Lady Emma Hamilton in Ness was launched.

Parkgate Community Spirit volunteers had another clean-up around the Parade and there was a multi-agency effort to address issues that residents had raised concerns about, particularly speeding, parking, flytipping and dog fouling.

Neston's InterACT Youth Theatre performed at the Lowry in Salford, Neston Angels' Memory Walk raised funds for the Alzheimer's Society and Neston High's Fashion Show raised over £500. In sport, Neston Nomads triumphed in the Wirral Sunday League Premier Cup Final after a nailbiting penalty shoot-out.


Elections were high on the agenda this month and several changes took place amongst the area's representatives at different levels of government.  Justin Madders became our new MP;  In local council results, Cllrs Gittins and Williams retained their seats, but there were two new Cheshire West and Chester ward members - Nigel Jones for Little Neston and Burton and Martin Barker, who as representative for Parkgate, became the only independent councillor for CWAC. The following week,  Cllr Louise Gittins was appointed deputy leader of the Council.

Justin Madders MPJustin Madders became the new MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston. Photo by Bernard Rose.

Neston Town Cllr Mike Shipman was elected as the new Mayor of Neston with Cllr Ceri Lloyd as his Deputy.

Neston Players picked up their NODA awards and a Barndance in Willaston went down a storm. The Neston & District Community Fund made their first grant award and Neston Rotary Club celebrated its 50th anniversary with an event at Neston Cricket Club.

New Mayor and Deputy Mayor for NestonA new Mayor (Cllr Mike Shipman) and Deputy Mayor (Cllr Ceri Lloyd) for Neston.

Schools were busy again - Neston Primary held a memory day for Joseph Windsor and pupils at St Winefride's were talking about a food revolution.

Meanwhile, we published what would be the first of a series of updates by Roy Wilson on a family of owls he had spotted in Parkgate, while over in Liverpool everyone's eyes were on the Three Ships.

Towards the end of the month local resident and keen cyclist Brian MacDonald picked up an award for his work with Charlotte's Tandems and  Neston Players wowed audiences with their production of Enchanted April.


In what was set to be one of the busier months of the year, the highlight was, of course, another stunning Neston Ladies Club Day. 

Neston Ladies Club 2015Photo by Bernard Rose.

Also early in June we heard that Northern Lights children's charity was to receive the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - a fantastic achievement. 

Neston Riverside WI were busy signing and singing, work began on renovations at Hadlow Road station in Willaston,  Jessica Weaver from Neston raised over £2000 for charity with her inspired trike ride and Neston Primary Rotakids saved up their own money to make up gift baskets for elderly residents at Hallwood Court.

Fun in the sun at Neston's Big LunchFun in the sun at the CH64 Big Lunch. Voted Pic of the Year by AMA Editor Carrie - well done to Rob Clive!

There was plenty of fun in the sun for people of ALL ages at the CH64 Big Lunch in Stanney Fields Park - what a lovely annual event this is, looked forward to by so many local residents. Sadly, in less pleasant news, Stanney Fields was the target as several trees were cut down by mindless vandals.

In much better news, Ness Gardens picked up a TripAdvisor award, former Neston High student Ben Twells took on the Tri-Peak Challenge and funds were raised for Clatterbridge Cancer Charity at a special Me-Moir-ial Event. Meanwhile the Neston Vets football team were celebrating a double triumph and Neston Nomads Knights were taken on a paintball outing as a reward for their efforts during the season. All the Nomads then got together for a special presentation day.

Neston based Andrew's Estates picked up a Gold Award for Best Northern Lettings Agent at an event in London and Little Actors Theatre Company were commended in the Cheshire West Arts Awards.

We asked whether you had experienced any difficulties with the North West Ambulance Service - your responses were very interesting.

Teenager Amber Rushby from Parkgate took part in the Tall Ships Challenge, new cadets were enrolled at Neston ATC,  Woodfall Primary supported the Send a Friend to School campaign, Neston Angels' Summer Health Fair was a great success and Ness guides stayed awake for Claire House.

June ended on a high, with the fabulous four day Willaston Village Festival - much fun had by all!

Willaston Village Festival 2015Willaston Village Festival. Photo by Linda Pelling.


Go Neston! That was the tag-line attached to the first weekend of July, encompassing a number of local events, encouraging residents and visitors to get involved.  There was, of course, the annual Neston Village Fair - a beautiful day enjoyed by hundreds of people.

Neston Village Fair 2015Neston Village Fair - and the Vicar gets a soaking, again! Photo by Steve Ebbrell.

Then, as well as the Farmers' Market on Saturday, we had events throughout Sunday - the Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool cycle route came through Parkgate and Neston for the first time in a decade and there was the Big Colour Run from Willaston to Parkgate, followed by a Fun Day at the Cricket Club. The Great Tour cyclists also arrived in Parkgate on the Sunday.  Local cyclist Brian Macdonald was one of those taking part.  All in all, a great weekend that showcased the wonderful community spirit in the CH64 area.

The Big Colour Run 2015The Big Colour Run during Go Neston! Photo by Roy Wilson.

In other news, local schoolchildren's flower-themed art was displayed on semi-permanent panels in the Market Square and in other floral news, Neston Flower Society were out and about.

In a somewhat contentious move, Cheshire West went ahead and imposed a 20mph limit on The Parade in Parkgate, attracting applause and criticism in roughly equal measure.

The annual Burton Gardens Open Day raised thousands for charity;  there was much horsing-around at the Parkgate Pony Sanctuary open days; Riverside WI joined in with the organisation's birthday celebrations and Willaston & South Wirral Rotary Club told us about their busy month.

Parkgate Pony Sanctuary Open DayParkgate Pony Sanctuary Open Day. Photo by Marlies Brenninkmeyer

Schools were also busy ahead of the summer break: Woodfall Rotakids visited Ronald McDonald house;  there were fabulous end-of-term theatrical extravaganzas at Neston Primary and Woodfall; Neston High was showcasing their learning outside the classroom initiative and Neston Primary had another bumper half term of activities.

Parkgate was in the spotlight: a vintage car rally came through the village;  new welcome signs were installed and a stunning photo by Bernard Rose went on sale as a postcard at Mozkitos.  In much sadder news, tributes were paid to Parkgate councillor of many years, Brenda Dowding, who had passed away in June.

Neston's town centre benches had their pictures taken; a Neston cyclist took on The Big Ride and Gordale picked up 14 gongs at the national Garden Centre Awards.

Andy Griffiths was named as new Neston Nomads FC player manager in the West Cheshire League and shortly afterwards the team was promoted to Division 2.

Hip & Harmony CIC put on a fabulous event to showcase all the hard work of the various groups and inviduals that the organisation nurtures in various performing arts.

Hip & Harmony Street Dance at the Variety ShowStreet Dancers of all ages performed at the Hip & Harmony annual variety show. Photo by Linda Pelling.


The Friends of Stanney Fields hosted another great night of smooth jazz in the park.  There were big smiles in Willaston at the annual horticultural show.  Neston Flower Society told us how they would be honouring the area's fallen servicemen from the two world wars.

Willaston & District annual horticultural showSmiles all round at the Willaston & District Annual Horticultural Show.

A local campaigner highlighted the disparity and travel times and costs between train journeys from Neston and Hooton and local MP Justin Madders followed up on our concerns about the North West Ambulance Service.

The Neston Christian Aid committee reported on another great year of fundraising; Neston Air Cadets had been busy and Ness Gardens announced they were returning to seven days a week opening.

Neston High School students were jumping for joy as their A Level and GCSE results were announced.

Neston High School GCSE resultsStudents celebrated their GCSE results at Neston High School.

A service was held at Neston Parish Church and war memorial to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day and  there was another 100th birthday celebration at Weatherstone's - this time for Muriel Colley.

The Parkgate Community Spirit initiative continued to make a difference;  a new bike hire service became available at Neston Community Youth Centre at weekends; West Vale Park Play Day was a big hit with local families; there was fun in the sun for young boxers and footballers at Stanney Fields and the first phase of improvements to Willaston's play area were completed.

West Vale Play DayFun for all at the West Vale play day.


Lots to celebrate - Neston Cricket Club celebrated the 50th anniversary of the local cricket team winning the Liverpool & District Competition;  the Village Fair Balloon Race winner was announced; the Friends of Hadlow Road celebrated the re-opening of the restored signal box;  we heard that two members of staff at Phillip Bates & Co had clocked up 55 years service between them and, in possibly the year's most romantic moment, Hip & Harmony CIC's choir helped a local resident get a 'yes' when they performed a secret 'flash mob' when he proposed at Cheshire Oak's Miller & Carter restaurant.

Hip & Harmony community choir on a secret missionHip & Harmony Community Choir were on a secret mission.

Three local lads took on a cycling challenge in London to raise money for Claire House;  some enterprising young people made their selling debut at Neston Market; Neston Angels took some local residents out for lunch and Willaston Rotarians helped out at the District Disabled Fun Games.

Woodfall duckWoodfall's duck won a Facebook competition.

There were oompa loompas at Neston Primary; Woodfall Primary's duck came out on top in a Facebook competition around the Chester Duck Race; Some students from Neston High went off on a Honduran adventureFour dance students from Wirral Theatre School qualified for a national awards event to take place next year; Neston Flower Society enjoyed cake along with their blooms and Sophie & Rex took top honours at Neston's annual Fun Dog Show in Stanney Fields Park.

Stanney Fields Dog Show 2015Sophie and Rex came out on top at the Fun Dog Show in Stanney Fields Park. Photo by Rob Clive.

Susan Chambers became the newest Town Councillor for Parkgate ward; the Council announced its intention to pursue an enhanced bus service for the town; the latest Cycle Fair was hailed a great success and we heard that one of it's key organisers, Eileen Miller of CAN Group, was moving on to pastures new after 10 years of great work within the community.

At the end of the month, a Zumbathon raised more funds under the #PowerofGeorgie banner and Northern Lights Children's Charity committee members were presented with the Queen's Award by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire at a special afternoon tea event at Neston Cricket Club.

The Queen's Award presented to Northern LightsThe Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire presented Northern Lights with the Queen's Award.


We heard that Neston Players' upcoming production of  'My Boy Jack' would feature some local new young faces; Hadlow Road's restored signal box was officially opened and a fun dog show at Ness went down well with residents.

Young faces to appear in Neston Players' next productionNew young faces were to appear in the next Neston Players production.

Two local women ran the London Parks half-marathon; it was announced that Little Actors' InterACT youth theatre group would be taking part in the 21st anniversary of the National Theatre's Connections programme and Burton & Neston History Society celebrated its 40th birthday.

New fingerpost signs were finally installed in Neston town centre after years of lobbying by Neston & District Chamber of Trade, amongst others;  there was a row over signage on the Clayhill Industrial Estate and we heard that Costa Coffee would be opening in the town in 2016.

Neston Over 50s swimmers of the year were presented with awards by the Mayor;  Redcliffe Dental Practice won a Little Gem award in the Cheshire Community Pride competition; Rotakids from several schools were flying the flag for Neston at the District Conference; a Winter Health Fair took place at the Town Hall and Neston's Fairtrade Group set out its stall.

Neston's Fairtrade steering groupA new steering group working on making Neston a Fairtrade town.


Parkgate resident Nick Lynch received an award for 'paying it forward' at the Liverpool Powerful Together event; Neston's war memorial was framed with flowers and its railings adorned with knitted poppies; a new bike pump was installed at the Cross and Neston Town Council announced plans to lobby for improvements to Neston Recreation Centre.

Neston Remembrance Sunday 2015A flower frame and knitted poppies adorned Neston's war memorial for Remembrance Sunday. Photo by Rob Clive.

Remembrance Sunday was observed in Neston and was well attended despite the rain.

Links were made between Neston Air Cadets and the Kingdom of Lesotho; a new local history website, NestonPast.com was launched;  Neston Civic Society looked back at a busy year at their AGM and Neston's MP and councillors launched a petition to improve train services for the town.

Neston Primary pupils went dotty for Pudsey; Parkgate Primary Rotakids raised pounds for Polio, as did St Winefride's Rotakids when they turned purple for the day to raise funds and Woodfall Rotakids went on a day trip to see where the funds they raise were going.

Neston Primary go dotty for PudseyNeston Primary pupils went dotty for Pudsey.

Neston Cricket Club donated tennis balls to be made into nests for mice at RSPB Burton Wetlands; Parkgate Society told us about a heritage trail with plaques that would soon be set up in the village; the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire visited Neston High School and a community forum in Parkgate discussed parking, open spaces and mosquitoes.

A call went out for more female players to join Neston Nomads Ladies team.

Neston accountancy firm Phillip Bates & Co were instrumental in the sale of Clive Watkins Partnership to the country's leading estate agency group; the Town Council launched a public consultation on transport matters and well known local photographer Bernard Rose won a significant award for his other interest, karate.

Bernard Rose receives Instructor of the Year awardThe snapper snapped!  Bernard Rose received the 'Instructor of the Year' award for his Shotokan Karate work.

Neston police told us that those thought to be responsible for the NatWest robberies in 2013 and 2014 had been charged.

We heard that Burton Manor was back on the market after the seller's preferred buyer dropped out.


The month began with a bit of a barney about the newly painted Ship Hotel in Parkgate.  Opinions were polarised, but a sharp risposte from the management of the Ship seemed to nip things in the bud (see the comments section on the article).

We heard that Cheshire Police were happy with the start of their Rural Watch scheme, but it was less good news when break-ins occurred at NCYC and the office of Neston Taxis on the Clayhill.

John Evans Ltd, presented with award for Long Standing BusinessBarry Evans received the Long Standing Business Award from the Mayor, Cllr Mike Shipman. Photo by Rob Clive.

Neston Town Council and Neston & District Chamber of Trade co-hosted a Celebration of Business in Neston event, at which a handful of awards were given out, including one for long-standing business to John Evans Ltd - fitting the feet of Neston for over 60 years!

Christmas lights celebrations took place as planned in both Parkgate and Willaston.  Severe weather forced the cancellation of Neston's event, but thankfully organisers were able to re-schedule Lights 'n' Lanterns, which went ahead a week later.

Neston Christmas Lights n Lanterns 2015Neston Christmas Lights n Lanterns. Photo by Bernard Rose.

A Christmas shopping promotion and festive markets went well, with lots of festive cheer on display.

Students at Neston High raised the glamour stakes with their production of 'Hairspray', Little Actors received a grant from the Town Council for a Young Writers programme and Hip & Harmony CIC raised the roof of the Civic Hall with their 'Celebration of our Youth' event.

Hip & Harmony Celebration of our YouthPerformers at Hip & Harmony's Celebration of Our Youth event. Photo courtesy of Capture My Big Day. 

Also at Neston High, the Parents and Friends were delighted with the £5000 raised at their Christmas Fair, whilst  Neston and Woodfall Rotakids were busy raising money, again!

Meanwhile, Neston Nomads FC were celebrating their 7-0 win over cup champions Dock FC in a Wirral Premier Cup match.  

A couple of bits of bad news came in - Iceland announced they would be closing their Neston branch and there were doubts raised over the future of Hadlow Road Station.

Bringing a little bit of light relief, Elephant and AboutMyArea once again joined forces with Northern Lights to organise a Santa Dash from Neston to Parkgate, well supported despite the rain.

Christmas celebrations were in full swing throughout the area.  We heard about a busy season at Neston Primary, fun and singing at St Winefride's, Bishop Wilson pupils supporting Cash for Kids, fundraising for Northern Lights at a special coffee morning hosted by Cheryl Barker, festive fun for Riverside WI and Neston Angels' took volunteers and clients out for Christmas lunch.

Neston High students current and past were in the news, with four Sixth Formers winning places on a prestigious academic residential at Cambridge University and former student Gabby Byron getting on the career ladder with a highly regarded financial services firm in Liverpool.

Santa Dash from Neston to ParkgateHigh jinks at the Elephant Santa Dash from Neston to Parkgate.

Rounding off the month, and year, we had Christmas messages from Justin Madders MP, the Mayor of Neston Cllr Mike Shipman and Reverend Alan Dawson.  

As is now traditional, AMA Towers closes its doors the week before Christmas, in order to charge batteries and be ready for the news-filled year ahead.  This Review of the Year is the last thing published before the hatches are battened.  We hope you've enjoyed having a look back at what's been going on in the area.  These are just some of the stories published, of course.  You can find recent news stories here and older ones here.

It just remains for us to say thank you to a few people.  Firstly, our contributors, particularly Bernard Rose, Rob Clive, David Sejrup, Susan Chambers, Steve Ebbrell, Roy Wilson, Rob Ward and Linda Pelling.  Thanks also to the businesses who support us and make it possible for AMA and Neston News to be delivered to you regularly. 

Finally, thanks to all our readers - we wish you all an AMAZing Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

See also: CH64 - The Year in Pictures

AboutMyArea CH64



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At 11:58 on 22nd December 2015, Lambster commented:
Can I just say I think this is marvellous. I have lived in many places in the UK and I can honestly say I have never come across anything like this website. It is a mine of information and clearly a great deal of hard work goes in behind the scenes. Congratulations and I hope you have a well deserved rest now!
At 13:37 on 22nd December 2015, Tony commented:
Joey's Mum
At 16:43 on 22nd December 2015, Joey's Mum commented:
Really good to see what has gone on over the last year, well done and happy Christmas.
Katie Robson
At 09:48 on 23rd December 2015, Katie Robson responded:
Thank you for your kind comments. It takes most of December to put the Review together and I'm never sure how many people read it, so it really is encouraging to see your compliments. Merry Christmas!
At 20:09 on 3rd January 2016, Jemima commented:
Well done, a good read

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