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Neston - The Year in Review - 2016

Author: Carrie Spacey Published: 21st December 2016 08:50

Neston - the Year in Review 2016Photo by Rob Clive

We take a look back at local news and events highlights of 2016, as reported on AboutMyArea Neston.

It has to be said, 2016 has not been the greatest year on record.  Globally there have been many difficult times, from the seemingly relentless reports of high profile individuals who have passed away, to Brexit and the controversial US Presidential election.

Closer to home, here in Neston, if would be hard not to notice the misbehaviour of a minority whose thoughtless actions have made life difficult for others.  However, as is our ethos here at AboutMyArea, we are not going to dwell on the negatives, our review of the year will tend towards a celebration of the positives and hopefully see you through to 2017 with a smile.

Click on the highlighted words to read more about any particular story then use the 'back' button on your browser to return to this article. 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.


We kicked off the new year with a round up of some Christmas stories, including Northern Lights Children's Charity's annual trip to Lapland.  We also heard that Andrew's Estates saved Christmas Day for one Wirral family, while here in Neston, volunteers laid on a Community Christmas Dinner and people gave generously to Christian Aid's collections in the festive period.

Northern Lights 2015We had a report from Northern Lights' trip to Lapland.

We heard that a student from Neston High had reported from the red carpet at the new Star Wars movie premiere and one of Woodfall Primary's governors was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours.

Dressing gowns were donned for the launch of Neston's Fairtrade Breakfast, Bishop Wilson schoolchildren had new iPads thanks to the PTA, the Neston Community Fund received a boostbuilding work began on the new Neston High School building, Neston Civic Society installed a new bench and the Emma Hamilton Memorial was placed in Ness.  Meanwhile, players old and new came together for Neston Cricket Club's Squash Lunch.

The community came together to support the parents and family of 4 year old Esmé Weir, who had tragically died following an accident earlier in the month.


The month kicked off with Neston police searching for the Queen's knickers...yes, you did read that correctly! Meanwhile, Neston's MP was calling for England to have its own National Anthem and a new John Wesley plaque was unveiled.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016A new plaque was unveiled to commemorate the visit of John Wesley.

News emerged of plans to close the HSBC branch in Neston, but in better town centre news it was announced that Elephant had acquired the former NatWest and would be converting it into a pizzeria and bar.

Neston's Scottish Dancers hailed the haggis for Burns' Night,  Woodfall pupils enjoyed a Living History Day and Neston & Willaston Rotakids were busy raising funds.

Neston Players achieved their best ever clutch of NODA award nominations, Neston's former and current MPs received honours, dance students from Wirral Theatre School celebrated reaching the finals of a national dance competition and Neston Air Cadets got dressed up for their annual dining-in occasion.

High tide prompted photographers to head down to Parkgate, resulting in some great shots, as ever. 

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016High tide at Parkgate, captured by Karen Davis

At the end of the month we heard about the Go JoJo appeal, launched in memory of Neston resident Jo Peers.


At the start of March we heard that CAN Group would sadly be calling it a day after 10 great years serving the community.  The good news was that Zaria would be heading to NCYC to continue many of the activities the group had become known for.

Super slimmer Louise Sutherland told us about her wedding-day incentive, there was a 'great escape' mystery involving some mice at Neston Methodist Church and James Chalmers filled us in on his play's success in Scotland.

Parkgate's Community Spirit team had a clean-up for the Queen, there was a bumper Book Day in Burton, another at Parkgate Primary and we heard how Neston would be supporting Fairtrade Fortnight.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Parkgate Community Spirit volunteers cleaned-up.

A rural crime taskforce involving both police and members of the community was launched,  an advanced young drivers' scheme supported by Project Rural Matters saw its first successful student pass the test and a Neston-based financial planner warned of pension upheavals following the Budget.

It was announced that this year's Neston Ladies Day walk would start from the Market Square, to not entirely universal approval.  Neston Riverside WI enjoyed a literary lunch and Neston Cricket Club welcomed Angus Fraser MBE to their pre-season dinner event.

Neston Town Council continued their fight for improved transport, with their appeal for rail lower ticket fares during reduced service periods.  At the same time, it was announced that there the evening bus service through Parkgate was to be significantly reduced.


The month began with a giggle as we published our annual April Fool's article - this time suggesting that residents would soon be required to pay a tax on the view from their windows.  This coincided nicely with the launch of the Parkgate Heritage Trail.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Promotions for some of the Neston Air Cadets

Neston Air Cadets were busy, with some getting promoted and others attending the organisation's 75th anniversary celebrations. Meanwhile, we heard about Neston Primary School's packed term, a visit by the descendants of Emma Hamilton and national recognition for Neston financial advisor Helen Brown.

An award-winning games development student from Neston was taking another ambitious step forward whilst  Neston Army Cadets were walking for the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.

Neston Town Council rubber-stamped the Neighbourhood Plan and NCYC announced the launch of the Neston Arts Network. We heard from Parkgate Poet Barrie Youde, with his musings on the Queen's 90th birthday, keen runner Laura Boote was one of a million runners who took part in the London Marathon and Little Actors Theatre Company picked up a prestigious award at the Leverhulme Drama Festival.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Success for Little Actors Theatre Company

Local transport was high on the agenda, with the Town Council calling for improvements and Justin Madders MP spoke in Parliament about rip off rail fares for Neston commuters.


Neston Players picked up some gongs at the annual NODA awards,  dancers from Wirral Theatre School were crowned champions and there were celebrations all round for Neston Air Cadets.

 Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Wirral Theatre School with their fabulous array of prizes

Neston residents voted Yes to adopt the Neighbourhood Plan,  the Friends of Hadlow Road Station were pleased to hear their efforts to secure the future of the historic site had been successful and Neston Flower Society celebrated the Queen's 90th birthday.

Neston Nomads needed a bigger trophy cabinet after they brought home the double.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Hip & Harmony CIC picked up a special recognition award for their work in the arts locally.

Hip & Harmony CIC and Little Actors Theatre Company made Neston proud with big wins at the Cheshire Arts Awards, while a shot by Neston photographer Bernard Rose won the Mersey Maritime Museum's On the Waterfront competition.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Bernard Rose, Neston-based photographer and regular AboutMyArea contributor, picked up an award.

Pupils at Woodfall Primary were getting on their bikes, Willaston's barn dance went down a storm and Maz Ferguson braved the shave for charity.

Andrew's Estates became the largest independent estate agency in Wirral with the opening of their sixth branch, Neston & District Community Fund backed the Close to Home befriending programme, the Neston Arts Network was taking shape and Cllrs Mike Shipman and Ceri Lloyd were re-elected as Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Parkgate Primary School sang for Claire House, Neston Primary Rotakids raised hundreds with a car wash, Woodfall Rotakids took part in the fun run at the Chester Half Marathon and at Bishop Wilson they were building Go Karts.

Little Gems Pre-School's annual Barnados Toddle was especially poignant this year as the children remembered their friend Esmé.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Little Gems were remembering Esmé during their annual Barnados Toddle.

Nellie Eynon celebrated her 100th birthday, Neston-born Cheshire Chutney Company gained national approval for their products,  local residents Carla and Ian Smith ran in the Liverpool Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and we heard that those responsible for two robberies at Neston's Nat West Bank had been jailed for a total of 83 years.


It was beautifully sunny for the annual Neston Ladies Day, the backdrop of the Market Square making for some great photos.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016A lovely start to the Neston Ladies Day walk

Cllr Nigel Jones took part in the Wirral Coastal Walk to raise money for charity,  members of Neston Riverside WI celebrated the Queen's birthday, as did Neston Primary School - with a party fit for a Queen! There was also a surprise visitor at the Welcome Café's celebrations and a special service at Neston's Friday Market.

Residents in Burton braved the rain for their annual Summer Fete and there was much laughter and lots of singing at the CH64 Big Lunch, which was relocated to Neston Community Youth Centre.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Another great make-over for Neston Railway Tunnel

The tunnel under Neston Railway Station received another make-over, a Parkgate-based PR consultant received two major industry awards, members at Zone Fitness were racing for Mia and the annual MeMoiRial Garden Party looked likely to raise over £7k for the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.

Schools were busy - Neston Primary School's sports week was themed on the Rio Olympics, Woodfall's Eco Club went Pond Dipping and Parkgate pupils were hiking for charity and enjoying their annual music recital.

Towards the end of the month, Hip & Harmony's Community Choir were engaged to sing at Chester Zoo and we heard that Willaston Councillor Myles Hogg was the new Sheriff of Chester.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Singing at Chester Zoo - Hip & Harmony Community Choir


Review of the Year in Neston, 2016The Rose Queen and her attendant at Neston Village Fair

The first weekend was all about Go Neston!  This included the annual Neston Village Fair - another successful event created by the hard-working committee and all the volunteers. It also incorporated the Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool bike ride, which saw thousands of cyclists come through the area and enjoy the sights and services.  Also on the Sunday was the Colour Fun Run and family afternoon at Neston Cricket Club. A great time had by all!

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Refreshments served at Hadlow Road for the start of the Colour Fun Run. Photo by Linda Pelling.

Meanwhile in Burton, poor weather failed to see off the crowds who enjoyed the annual Garden Open Day and a number of women from Neston got Pretty Muddy!

Parkgate Proms hit a high note, Wirral Theatre School students enjoyed a masterclass with none other than Wayne Sleep, Woodfall Sports Coach was playing with none other than the Harlem Globetrotters and local schools got together for an Arts Festival.

Meanwhile, Neston Nomads celebrated at their Annual Awards event.

The North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Alliance told us about their campaign to improve local rail services and  a new look at Phillip Bates & Co brightened up the High Street.

Phillip Bates & Co - new officesPhillip Bates and Alan Mellor outside their new look offices. Photo by Bernard Rose.

As the school year drew to a close, three lads at St Winefride's Primary received the Father Courell Memorial trophy,  Neston Primary told us all about their busy half term, Woodfall pupils were learning about making money grow and pupils at St Winefride's enjoyed an 'Apprentice' experience.

Kind-hearted Neston people were helping to raise money for a special wheelchair for Maisie Edmunds and a  Victoria Cross commemorative stone was unveiled in Burton.


At Neston Community Youth Centre, David Clark was appointed as the new Chairman and Neston Town Council appointed Claire Evans as Assets & Events Manager.  The Town Council again demonstrated their focus on local transport matters by challenging CWAC over the Quarry Road traffic scheme and asking Merseytravel for fairer fares. 

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Fun in the sun at Stanney Fields Park

There were lovely, sunny family days at both West Vale Park and Stanney Fields Park. Meanwhile there were calls for a Friends group to be formed for the park in Woodfall Lane.

Neston cyclist Chris Carlin took part in the RideLondon event for Claire House and we heard that a dental practice in Neston were getting into recycling for charity.

Neston Air Cadets said farewell and thank you to long-serving Flying Officer Ann-Marie Mitchell, local councillors and police got together to highlight parking and cycling matters in Parkgate and two sisters took top prizes at Willaston's annual horticultural show.

It was A for Awesome as Neston High students celebrated their A Level results, closely followed by another set of excellent results for GCSE pupils.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Students at Neston High celebrated great A Level and GCSE results with Head Teacher Steve Dool.

Andrew's Estates made it a magnificent seven with the opening of their new Heswall branch, Air Cadets were having a very busy summer and a group of volunteers tidied up a neglected corner of Brook Street with their gardening skills.


Good news for anyone in Neston wanting to get to Arrowe Park, as Avon announced they were extending the 22 bus route. There were three new Neston Town Councillors, The Friends of Hadlow Road Station received good news about funding  and Burton Mere Wetlands had a bit of a facelift.

Meanwhile, some Neston residents took up boxing to raise money for charity.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Elephant Coffee - best design award at the Café Life event.

There were double celebrations for the Elephant team as they were cited as being in the Top 21 coffee houses in the UK and were announced as having the best design of any coffee house anywhere in the country, at the Cafe Life awards.

Grant funding allowed Little Actors to offer scholarships, residents were asked to help turn Neston's economic plans into reality and residents in Burton expressed concerns over a claim to the mineral rights under their homes.

There was recognition in the form of awards for NCYC's green-fingered volunteers, this year's Neston Balloon Race winner was announced and Parkgate's clean-up crew were once again out and about, this time with members and officers from Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016NCYC's green-fingered volunteers received well deserved recognition.

Members of Neston churches held a special Harvest service in support of the local food bank and a replacement rail project was announced for the Neston line.


The Parkgate Poet once again regaled us, this time with a few verses about the erstwhile harbour at Parkgate. A Neston Mum received help from the Morgan Foundation to allow her to get out and about with a special buggy for her daughter,  Woodfall pupils took part in a mini-Marathon and we heard that a former Neston Primary School pupil had bagged Silver in Rio.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Neston Primary School mounted an 'Out Area' exhibition of their work.

It was a very busy month in local schools: Neston Primary launched their 'Our Area' exhibition and popped up at the Market for a dance event; Woodfall raised money with a cake sale; Parkgate pupils were finding out about the properties of chocolate and enjoying their new outdoor classroom; a new Pre-School at Bishop Wilson in Burton was proving popular and at Neston High, students took part in a hard-fought spelling competition and had a visit from an inspiring author.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Grand opening of the new Claire House shop in Neston High Street. Photo by Bernard Rose

There was the grand opening of the new Claire House shop in Neston High Street, we heard that Willaston had new, colourful, walking trails, Neston's community pride was rewarded at the borough competition and the Neston shopping bag was launched.

Newly revamped and re-named, Rope Walk Car Park was formally re-opened, Neston's Ann Howard took part in a mile-long zip wire challenge for her 70th birthday, a brand new bounce-tastic attraction, Jumpin' Josephs, opened at Clayhill and Justin Madders MP spoke again in Parliament about Neston's railway line.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016The revamped Ropewalk Car Park was offficially opened.


Parkgate's Ropewalk play area received new equipment, a popular Neston shop had a make-over, becoming My Gift Place, there was a Fairtrade event at the Farmers' Market and the Friends of Lees Lane Ponds celebrated fundraising success.

Justin Madders MP was fighting for local motor industry jobs, the Over 50s Swimming Club were pleased to hear of plans to upgrade Neston Recreation Centre, local Brownies picked up a prize in a craft contest and Neston Players received rave reviews for their production of Shakespeare's Henry V.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Hundreds took part in the Remembrance Sunday parade and services in Neston

Remembrance Sunday was observed with great dignity, as usual, in Neston.

There was much discussion about the possible loss of the Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool cycle ride through Neston, though ultimately it looked like it would be saved.

 We heard about a local partnership formed to support improvements at Neston Railway Station and there were celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Hadlow Road Station in Willaston. Neston Civic Society updated us on their recent news, Neston's Youth Theatre announced they would once again be participating in the National Theatre's Connections programme and Neston Parish Church Youth in the Community celebrated a lottery bid success.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Celebrations took place for the 150th anniversary of the opening of Hadlow Road Station in Willaston

A young Neston ballroom dancer sparkled in a national contest, Oompa Loompas were spotted in Neston and Northern Lights Children's Charity announced their 30th Anniversary Lapland Challenge. Cheshire West opened up a consultation on parking in the borough, Hip & Harmony's 64 N'Ukes brought Christmas cheer to a 'Live at Home' shopping event and a local driving instructor told us about going the extra mile for Pudsey. Neston Cricket Club celebrated a year of sporting greatness with a lively awards event and President's Dinner.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Neston Cricket Club celebrated a year of sporting success.

Neston police told us that five people had been sentenced for their involvement in an unpleasant incident on Ladies Day and that arrests had been made in connection with recent anti-social behaviour.

At the end of the month, Justin Madders MP stood up in Parliament for football fans.


We were all asked to consider volunteering for a new Macmillan transport support scheme locally,  part of Little Gems Pre-School was transformed into a Little Elephant and a new CCTV camera was added to the local area in response to recent incidents.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016NCYC's Carols and Campfire event got Christmas off to a great start.

Christmas began early, with a thoroughly festive Carols, Campfire and Lanterns event at Neston Community Youth Centre, the Neston Christmas lights were switched on at the Town Council's Victorian Christmas Festival and we heard that students at Neston High would be organising another Christmas Party for senior citizens.

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Neston went back to Victorian times for the Christmas Festival this year. Photo by Bernard Rose

We heard that local game designer Dan McCabe had won Gold at the EuroSkills event in Sweden and Neston Town Council had approved further support for a scheme to help local people back into employment.

Parkgate's Pill Box received a clean-up and Neston High celebrated recognition at the national Educate awards.

Awards were handed out at the Christmas Celebration of Businesses in Neston, with Balducci, Elephant, market trader Sion Jones, Mozkitos and Mike McFeat taking the honours. 

Review of the Year in Neston, 2016Well deserved awards were handed out to local businesses.

Neston & District Community Fund announced they would be backing a vital project for families in a joint venture with the Children's Centre.  Meanwhile, Hip & Harmony CIC's Christmas Cracker show was a resounding success, celebrating the wealth of local talent in Neston.

Review of the Year in Neston 2016Emily and Paula from Hip & Harmony take a bow after a highly successful show.

Elephant Bank Pizzeria and Bar was the most anticipated new business opening of the year - bringing the old NatWest building back into use and creating a new food and drink offer to the town centre.

At Neston Primary School a Nativity Play and Elf Day helped get staff and pupils in the mood for Christmas. Meanwhile, Moo Music-ers were having a party in Parkgate and Neston Flower Society held their annual Christmas event at Gordale.

Northern Lights Children's Charity, just entering their 30th anniversary year, took 20 excited children to Lapland, while Parkgate Primary pupils performed in a round-the-world Nativity Play, Neston Primary told us about their breakfast club boost and there was more good news about the Recreation Centre.

Finally, AboutMyArea published Christmas messages from the Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Shipman; the Vicar of Neston, Rev Alan Dawson, Sgt Daniel Greenhalgh and Justin Madders MP.


As always, our huge and sincere thanks to everyone who contributes news, photos and other information to AboutMyArea Neston, we wouldn't be able to do what we do without you.  A massive thank you also to our advertisers for their support - please show them your support by using local shops and businesses in 2017.

Finally, thank you to you, the readers, for keeping coming back for more.  We hope you've enjoyed this review of the year and look forward to keeping you up to date in 2017 and beyond.

Carrie & the AboutMyArea team

Related content: CH64 - The Year in Pictures









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At 19:11 on 21st December 2016, Tony commented:
Top drawer piece and what a lot has been packed in! Hope 2017 is a good one.
Rob Ward
At 23:13 on 21st December 2016, Rob Ward commented:
Congratulations to Carrie for compiling this excellent summary, and to all those who have been active in the Neston area in 2016. I'm thankful to be living in this thriving community.
I'm looking forward to 2017, when our brilliant High School will have a superb new building, and the Rec may be renovated.
Tim Wright
At 08:42 on 22nd December 2016, Tim Wright commented:
I wholeheartedly agree with both of you. I have very much appreciated being kept up to speed on local news. This is a service I have not seen anywhere else I have lived, or at least not to this standard. Well done.

You need to log in before you can do that! It's only a quick registration process to join the AMA network and completely free.

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