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Neston - the Year in Review - 2018

Author: Carrie Spacey Published: 19th December 2018 10:26

Month by month, we look back at the events, news and features published on AboutMyArea CH64 during 2018.


Neston Review of the Year 2018


This was a big year for us as we celebrated our 10th anniversary of bringing you local news, events, businesses and useful information through AboutMyArea.  To celebrate, we even launched the Neston Life app, which has proved a big hit with all of you.

Click on the highlighted words in the text for each month below, 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.  If you've previously signed up, but stopped receiving Neston News this year, it's due to the GDPR changes that came in. You can find how to ensure you're signed back up here.

Huge thanks to all our contributors and advertisers for your support once again this year. Particular thanks to Bernard Rose, whose photos never fail to enhance the stories we publish.


What a way to start the New Year - the Christmas tree at the Cross in Neston blown over by high winds.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Oops!

In better news, and in the first of many updates from the Friends of Hadlow Road Station this year, they announced that a grant from the Postcode lottery would allow them to refurbish existing track.

Parents at Woodfall School signed up to a parking charter, devised by the School Council and Junior Road Safety Officers. Children at Bishop Wilson Primary were learning sign language and pupils at Neston Primary were invited to the University of York to present their work on the Polar Explorer Programme.

There were awards aplenty, as Creative Touch Nails & Beauty were shortlisted for Nail Salon of the Year (which they subsequently won!),  Coral Jade Hair & Beauty was in the running for Best Hair Salon and Neston's railway station was highly commended at the Chester Best Kept Station awards.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Neston Railways station highly commended at Chester awards.

Neston Flower Society showed their fundraising support for a number of local good causes and Rotakids at St Winefride's Primary went Purple for Polio.

Neston Town Council announced its first precept rise for three years and  Cheshire West were clamping down on irresponsible dog owners in Parkgate.

A local lad came home to roost as the new site manager for RSPB Burton Mere was announced.


Justin Madders MP spoke up in parliament about Neston's rail services. 

Local vet Richard Sanderson warned of the dangers of Parvovirus which was doing the rounds in the local area.

Parkgate Primary were appealing to past pupils and parents to help them put together a commemorative magazine for the schoo's 50th anniversary year.  Meanwhile Bishop Wilson Primary had a visit from GB Paralympic footballer Roy Turnham.

Ness Gardens announced a brand new partnership with Dovecot Nurseries in Burton;  The Brewers Arms became Neston's only Free House and NCYC Manager, Gareth Prytherch, told us about the many services now available to local residents from the Centre.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Neston's Brewers Arms became the town's only Free House.

We shared a wonderful 'Bird's Eye View' video of Parkgate, compiled by John Bushell for his Dad, Thomas', birthday.

Neston Singers presented Northern Lights Children's Charity with a cheque for over £500 from their fundraising Christmas carol concert.

Children in Willaston were delighted with the improvements to the local park and  Neston Primary School pupils enjoyed all kinds of weather on their trip to Conway in North Wales.

An hilarious evening of entertainment with the DreamBoyz doing the 'Full Monty' raised nearly £7000 for the Alzheimer's Society.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Neston's DreamBoyz.

Two youths were handed Criminal Behaviour Orders after a spree of anti-social behaviour and criminal offences in the Neston area.

Neston Review of the Year 2018The new Neston Life app


We 'gave birth' - to the Neston Life app, launched this month as part of the celebrations for our tenth anniversary. It provided Neston with a new way to access news and events, and to support local businesses through special offers and reward cards.

'Confusing' signage relating to a new 20mph scheme in Neston left some motorists scratching their heads. We heard that Maurice Rigby was finally retiring after trimming hair in Neston for over 50 years.

Schools in Neston celebrated World Book Day, donning a range of fabulous costumes.

Neston Nomads Under 21s scooped the Wirral Junior Sunday Cup and we heard that Neston Nomads Girls had an exciting few weeks coming up.

A new plaque was installed at Hadlow Road Station to mark its 150th anniversary. Residents in and around Burton got digging for faster broadband and in Parkgate, Cllr Martin Barker secured funding to improve a local footpath.

AboutMyArea wasn't alone in celebrating its 10th anniversary; at their annual ball, Neston-based OAKS charity was also celebrating 10 years of its school in Sierra Leone.

Neston pupils pulled up their socks for World Down Syndrome Day and Parkgate pupils enjoyed a week of activities on the run up to Sport Relief.  Neston's 64 N'Ukes were also supporting Sport Relief, busking at Sainsbury's.  We also heard that Neston's Community Fund had given away £50k to local causes since its inception in 2015.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Maurice's musical farewell, at Rigby's Barbers.

A church service and ceremony was held for the unveiling of Christopher Bushell's VC Commemorative Stone.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Christopher Bushells VC commemorative stone was unveiled.


We heard that improvement work on 'Shand' in Neston had ground to a halt, following the discovery of an exotic and rare plant species....or had it?

ShandShand - home of an exotic plant....or was it?

Brownies from Neston visited Number 10 Downing Street and it was announced that Morgan Cars would be visiting this year's ParkgateFest, along with 'monsters'!

Ness Gardens announced the winners of their annual photo competition and there were cute hats and a giant cat at Neston's Easter Market.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Snowdrops by Luke Neale - winner of this year's Ness Gardens photo competition.

Willaston & South Wirral Rotary Club made their first charitable donation of the year , a Willaston resident told us about her upcoming involvement in the Western Front Trek and a reader asked for help identifying Willaston footballers from 70 years ago

Ofsted decided that Neston's Little Gems was 'Outstanding' and Parkgate & Neston URC Women's Guild had a visit from some special bikers.

It was announced that Sytchcroft Park in Neston would receive a major make-over, as partners came together to agree funding and part of the Wirral Way received a clean-up thanks to the Community Payback Scheme.

Neston Review of the Year 2018The fabulous bluebell carpet at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands.

There was a stunning bluebell carpet at RSPB Burton Mere and Neston Music Festival got off to a spectacular start. Students from Neston High picked up a West Cheshire Youth and Community Award for their work as Mental Health First Aiders.

Sadly, despite huge efforts by the community and emergency services, the search for Jean Lloyd had a tragic ending.

A major highlight of the month came as Brio Leisure proudly announced the grand re-opening of Neston Recreation Centre, following a £2.2m refurbishment programme.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Brio's Elly McFahn, Lesley Finnigan, Tracy Call and Anthony Annakin-Smith outside the newly extended Neston Recreation Centre (the floor-to-ceiling windows of the brand new gym are visible on the upper floor behind them.) Photo by Bernard Rose


Local artists impressed at the annual Neston Art Society show;  Neston & District Chamber of Trade announced a new committee and change of venue for their monthly meetings and Neston Cricket Club welcomed poet Pam Ayres, who gave a talk and book-signing.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Pam Ayres visited Neston Cricket Club

A new 'pink poo' campaign was launched in Neston, while in Willaston the Rotary Club said thank you to residents for their birthday support.

Young people hit the headlines this month, with award celebrations for Hip & Harmony's Street Dancers, excellent festival success for InterACT Youth Theatre and two Neston High students attended Buckingham Palace to collect their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Festival success for Little Actors.

Neston Music Festival finished on a high and was roundly applauded, while Summer officially got underway with the CH64 Big Lunch at Stanney Fields Park.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Hip & Harmony Street Dancers at the CH64 Big Lunch. Photo by Bernard Rose

Swimmers from Bishop Wilson Primary won an inter-schools Gala, competing against 15 other teams and pupils at Woodfall 'ran' to Lapland. Meanwhile, art students from Neston High saw some of their work installed at the Blue Planet Aquarium.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Neston High students saw their mural installed at Blue Planet Aquarium

A fantastic fundraising day at The Harp resulted in over £1200 for Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.  Neston-based Creative Touch Nails & Beauty gained international recognition for one of Linore's trailblazing designs. For the second year running, Neston Town Council appointed Cllr Pat Kynaston as Mayor of Neston.

Local resident Nick May was the lucky winner of our ParkgateFest Golden Ticket prize draw.

In May and June there were sporting successes galore for Neston Nomads' U12 girls teamVikings and U11s.


The month got off to a colourful and sunny start with the annual Neston Ladies Club Day.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Neston Ladies Club Day. Photo by Bernard Rose

Hot on its heels came the return of ParkgateFest - another resoundingly successful event.

Neston Review of the Year 2018ParkgateFest 2018

Northern Lights' Karen Jones picked up her MBE from Buckingham Palace and it was announced that her colleague at the charity, Alan Johnson, had also been awarded an MBE.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Karen Jones collected her MBE from Buckingham Palace. 

It was announced that Neston railway service could be increased to half-hourly, but we might have to wait a few years. The 272 bus service was rescued after a touch-and-go few days of negotiations. Meanwhile Neston's InterACT Youth Theatre were once again celebrating awards success.

Neston Angels took to the water, with the Wirral Community Narrowboat Trust. Bishop Wilson Primary School held a successful summer sports day and Neston photographers were in Chester for the Royal Visit by the Queen and Duchess of Sussex.

Jazz was on the menu for the annual Stanney Fields Picnic and a cat that had been missing from its Little Neston home for 9 months was reunited with her owner

Neston Primary and St Win's were campaigning for children to walk to school, while in Parkgate, pupils were going wild in Wales and saying no to plastic.

Neston Town Council expressed concerns over local transport links and rock memorabilia was stolen in a burglary on Chester High Road. In better news, a Neston guide leader was a finalist in the North West Region Guiding Idol awards.

The month ended as it had begun - with a fabulous community event, as Neston Village Fair took place on a beautiful sunny day.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Neston Village Fair


On a blisteringly hot day, thousands of cyclists once again pedalled through the town, on the Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool bike ride, stopping for much needed refreshments at NCYC.

Neston Review of the Year 2018The Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool Bike Ride came through the area.

Cllr Martin Barker updated us on the campaign to improve local road safety and Phillip Bates Financial Services welcomed new members to their team.

Very sadly, we heard of the passing of Lynette Balducci, who had owned and run Balducci Jewellers in Neston for over forty years. Also lost this month was Jimmy Pratt, who did so much to support the renovation of St Thomas' Church in Parkgate.  We were also informed that Ian Babbs had passed away. Ian was well known in Neston as leader of the Youth Club in the 1970s.

Willaston Phil Supporters were waving their flags for the last night of the Proms and  Ness & Little Neston WI were 'marching for votes.'

Neston Review of the Year 2018Parkgate Carnival

Parkgate Carnival was a huge success again, with a day in the very hot sun at the Cricket Club, raising money for Northern Lights. We also heard about the other events that took place during a very successful Marquee Week at the Club.

Neston went a little mad for the World Cup, with the still-unidentified mystery roundabout painter making the news.

Children at Parkgate Primary were highlighting the damage that the production of Palm Oil does to the environment, there were Pirates at Bishop Wilson in Burton and Neston Primary pupils followed the Yellow Brick Road for the Summer musical extravaganza.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Children at Neston Primary performed in the Wizard of Oz.

The Friends of Park Fields celebrated their successful application for Green Flag status,  Neston Rotary once again visited local schools' Rotakids and it was happy birthday time for WCC on the Clayhill.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Green Flag status for Neston's Park Fields

We heard that Neston Nomads football kit had made it all the way to Malawi,  Neston's very own 'mermaid' was in the finals of a national competition and Hip & Harmony CIC showed us that Neston really does have talent, at their Summer show.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Hip & Harmony's young street dancers performed at their Summer show.  Photo by Kira Ellam


Information was made available about Admiral Nurses in Neston, to help people with dementia and their carers and local job hunters were informed that they might qualify for free courses to help improve their skills.

A Neston parent 'braved the shave' for the Little Princess Trust, and in other hair-related news, we heard that Towey's Hair Salon and Creative Touch Nails had joined forces to provide a one-stop-shop for Neston's beauty needs. Meanwhile in Little Neston, Coral Jade was celebrating as she became a Master of Colour with hair industry leader Schwarzkopf.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Joining forces - June and Linore from Neston's Towey's and Creative Touch.

There were larks in the park at West Vale's annual family fun day and it was a dream come true for two Neston football superfans, as they were named Young Grassroots Supporters of the Year and met some of their heroes at Wembley.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Will and James Bather with Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose

A flower 'carpet' was installed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 and Neston's 64 N'Ukes were raising money for Help for Heroes.

There was more news about Hadlow Road Station, where fundraising success meant more work could be done to improve the site. Rising costs were cited as the reason for calling off the annual Burton Fun Run and we heard that a Neston resident would be travelling to Vietnam later in the year, to help with a vital accomodation building project. 

Neston High celebrated a clutch of top grades at A Level and GCSEs.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Celebrations at Neston High School

In less positive news, there was a ram raid at the newsagents in Willaston and the first of many reports of 'idiots' hurling objects (mostly dog poo bags) off the Millennium Bridge in Neston.

Neston's two taxi firms merged to offer a better service to local residents and businesses and we heard about a raft of courses being available for Autumn at Neston Community Youth Centre.


PC Vicky Reid gave us an update on police activities in the local area;  Parkgate Community Spirit volunteers undertook one of many clean-up operations in the year and residents in New Street enjoyed a good old-fashioned street party.

Neston Review of the Year 2018New Street's traditional street party.

Cheshire West planners rejected an application to build retirement apartments on the former British Legion site in Hooton Road, but in Burton there was better news, as we heard that Burton Manor was finally going to be developed and restored.

Town Councillor Dominic Roberts called for residents to report any fly tipping activity, having come across a significant pile of rubbish left in the Woodfall area.

A number of Neston and Parkgate businesses and organisations were nominated in the Wirral Life awards. Neston Rotarians were showing their support for the RNLI and Headkase became the latest sponsors of Neston Nomads.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Headkase became new sponsors for Neston Nomads

NCYC went wild for wildlife at their second annual festival celebrating flora and fauna and Bluebell Tea Rooms announced the winners of their summer colouring competition.

Neston Swimming club was back with a splash, following the refurbishment works at the Rec.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Back with a splash - Neston Swimming Club

Over 50s were invited to take part in a new theatre project, with Little Actors and Brightlife Cheshire. New trees were planted in Drake Road, thanks to the Town Council and Mersey Forest.  Meanwhile it was a busy month for Willaston Rotary Club.

Sadly, police had to appeal for witnesses to a fatal road accident that took place near the junction of Damhead Lane and the A540.

At the end of the month Neston played host to this year's Big Dee Clean-Up campaign and another Neston mum braved the shave, this time for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Neston hosted the launch of this year's Big Dee Day clean-up


Neston got off to a healthy start for Autumn, as the first Happy Healthy Fair promoted better lifestyles. Neston's first Lego Church was launched and residents were invited to have their say on local transport.  Meanwhile, five people were charged in connection with the ATM ram raid in Willaston and we had another update from PC Vicky Reid.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Residents were shocked by the ram raid in Willaston, but the culprits were caught.

Schoolchildren in Burton were getting ready for the village's upcoming Pumpkin Festival, Neston High School were shortlisted for a Spirit of Enterprise award and St Winefride's Primary were celebrating their Gold sports award.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Elephant Collective took on AP Mitchell Ltd in a charity football match to raise money for NCYC.

Elephant Collective trounced rivals AP Mitchell Ltd in a charity football match to raise money for NCYC. On the same weekend there were some interesting sights and sounds in Neston for the Fun Palace event at the Library.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Special guests were in town for the Neston Library Fun Palace.

Brio Leisure, which runs Neston Recreation Centre, was hailed as a Community Leisure Leader in this year's Parliamentary Review.

Rotakids at Woodfall School were congratulated for their fundraising efforts for Maggie's Centre at Clatterbridge. A significant loss of internet was reported in the local area due to the accidental cutting of cables and local dog owners were warned to be aware of new rules coming in.

Neston Town Council was looking for volunteers to help with a review of the Neighbourhood Plan and local residents were discussing the chicanes in Lees Lane.

We heard that next year's fundraising for Northern Lights would focus on the Chester Marathon, Half Marathon and Metric Marathon, meaning Parkgate Carnival would not be taking place in 2019.

Parkgate Primary pupils were making Purple Poppies for remembrance,  Bishop Wilson had an educational visit from the Ambulance Service and children from Woodfall Primary were helping to plant bulbs in Little Neston.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Children from St Win's were planting bulbs in Little Neston with Cllr Louise Gittins and Justin Madders MP.

Burton & Puddington's Pumpkin Festival was a brilliant event, with local residents showing remarkable ingenuity and raising a good few laughs. Neston's WW1 Exhibition was discussed on Radio Merseyside and Ian Norris released his 'Hometown Heroes' project, giving people the chance to find out how the Great War affected the local area.

Neston Review of the Year 2018One of our favourite Neston News headers this year was this one, taken at Burton's Pumpkin Festival.

Neston Private Hire and Thunderbirds became the new sponsors of Neston Nomads Sunday team.

Neston Review of the Year 2018New kit for the Nomads, courtesy of Neston Private Hire/Thunderbird


Elephant Collective announced this year's Santa Dash, pledging once again to support NCYC and Northern Lights' pioneer Alan Johnson collected his MBE from the Palace.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Alan Johnson collected his MBE.

There were several local winners at the Wirral Life awards: Constables, ParkgateFest, Northern Lights and Cheeky Chilli. Neston also did well at this year's Best Kept Village competition.

Neston Review of the Year 2018ParkgateFest picked up an award from Wirral Life.

We received a report on the many and varied activities of Neston Nomads Girls' squad.

Remembrance was honoured, along with the 100th Centenary of the Armistice, throught the area.  There were cascading poppies at the Parish Church; a tour of local churches by 'Tommy'; a commemorative bench unveiled in Little Neston; a weekend of events in Willaston and the Sunday service and parade in Neston.

Neston Review of the Year 2018

It was celebration time at AMA Towers as AboutMyArea Neston was awarded Best Local Information Website in the North West Enterprise Awards. 

Neston Review of the Year 2018

Champagne corks were popping at Elephant Bank, too, after it was awarded Best Independent Pizzeria in the UK at the 2018 PAPA Awards. AMAZing!

Neston Review of the Year 2018Elephant Bank - Best Independent Pizzeria in the UK

Rave reviews came in for Neston Players' final production of their Centenary Project, Goodnight Mister Tom.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Neston Players put on 'Goodnight Mister Tom' at the Civic Hall, to rave reviews.

Concerns were expressed over a planning application to develop land to the rear of Old Quay Close in Parkgate and Justin Madders MP raised the safety of the A540/Raby Road junction in Parliament.

Sadly we heard of the passing of Barrie Massey, who had held aloft the Dispensation Staff for Neston Female Society for a number of years, and based his Richmond Electrical Services business in the town centre.

Neston's Fairtrade group awarded certificates of thanks to a number of local outlets, Rotakids from St Winefride's were proud to wear their new branded t.shirts and Ness Village Hall were saying farewell and welcome to trustees old and new.

There were more busy times at Hadlow Road Station,  Ian Norris told us about his recent trip to lay wreaths for Neston soldiers in France and Belgium and Neston's John Stevenson was awarded Cheshire Fire's STAR Volunteer of the Year.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex was in Neston to officially open the new High School building. Meanwhile the school's new Head Teacher was introduced to us.

Neston Review of the Year 2018A royal visitor for Neston High School

Neston Primary went dotty for Children in Need,  Hip & Harmony's Street Dancers did amazingly well at a regional competition and Neston was represented at the World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims, in Liverpool.

Neston Review of the Year 2018Great results for Hip & Harmony's street dancers at a regional competition.

Local resident Dave Bladen made another trip to the OAKS School in Sierra Leone and appealed for support for the cause.  We heard the very sad story of local siblings James and Rebecca Ryan, who had lost both their parents in a few days.  The appeal for support for them was greatly assisted by Jason Manford's 'charity ninjas'.

Neston Sports Awards were handed out at the annual President's Dinner at the Cricket Club and there was a mischief of elves in the Market Square.

Neston Review of the Year 2018A mischief of elves in the Market Square, publicising the Christmas event.


Christmas officially arrived in Neston with the fabulous Elves 'n' Bells event that took place throughout the town centre on Saturday 1st December.  

Neston - the year in review - 2018

There were celebrations for Neston photographer Michael Holden, who won Young Sports Photographer of the Year, and for  the young footballers from St Winefride's RC Primary School, who triumphed in a regional competition.

Neston - the year in review - 2018Three of the winners at the Neston Business Awards - Nick White (Market Trader), Laura Spencer (Mozkitos Coffee House) and Colin Berry (Neston Building Supplies)

The improved Sytchcroft Park in Neston was formally re-opened. Neston businesses got together for the annual Christmas party and awards event and Hip & Harmony's Street Dancers brought home a Christmas sackful of trophies from a dance competition in Liverpool.

Neston - the year in review - 2018Some of Hip & Harmony's trophy-winning Street Dancers.

Elephant's annual Santa Dash was another festive success, as was the Parkgate Carols at the Donkey Stand.At Neston Primary School there was a party-themed Nativity play, to get parents, friends, staff and children in the mood for Christmas and children at Bishop Wilson School in Burton raised nearly £1000 at their Christmas Fair.

Sadly we saw the closure of Marsh Nurseries in Parkgate, but we were happy to hear they have found a new home in Willaston which will open next Spring.

20 children had the trip of a lifetime, with Northern Lights' annual visit to see Santa in Lapland.

Neston - the year in review - 2018Nativity party time at Neston Primary School

We finished up the year with some lovely Christmas messages.  Firstly, AboutMyArea received one from the children at OAKS School in Sierra Leone.  Then we heard from Justin Madders MP, Cllr Pat Kynaston - the Mayor of Neston, and Rev Alan Dawson.

It only remains for us to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2019.  See you next year!

See also:

CH64 The Year in Pictures

Local News (current)

News Archive

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