Regional press news – this story updated 10.6.2000
News In Brief from around the regions
by HoldTheFrontPage staff
CROWNING GLORY: A quiet Bolton street has been unmasked as the most famous neighbourhood in the country.
The row of terraced houses in Coronation Street’s opening credits was always thought to be in Salford – but the city may now have lost its claim to fame after viewers took a closer look at the distinctive skyline.
The Manchester Evening News explained how two Bolton pals believe the titles show Back Lawn Street, in Halliwell. Colin Guy and David Crook told the paper: “We recognised Bolton Town Hall’s clock tower and a nearby chimney and realised it was possible to see two of the clock’s faces from the street shown in the credits.”
Soap bosses say they don’t know exactly where the scenes were shot.
KING OF THE CASTLE: A seaside resort has thrown down the gauntlet in a bid to create a world sandcastle-building record.
An army wielding buckets and spades is being sought to create a whopping half a million castles on the sands at Weston-super-Mare, according to the Western Daily Press.
The event takes place in September and is expected to raise up to £50,000 for the charity WaterAid. Appropriately, comedian Eddie Large launched the challenge, with the help of a mechanically-built 10ft castle made from 200 tonnes of sand.
Britain’s only mussel heritage museum has opened its doors to the public ready for a busy summer season, the Liverpool Daily Post reported.
Conwy Mussel Centre tells the story of how the shellfish became popular and were farmed extensively from the 1840s before scares at the turn of the century led to a pioneering purification process.
Funding for the new heritage centre has come from Europe and Conwy Borough Council.
FRY-UPS FOR LONG LIFE: Fred Stevens is the perfect antidote to all those centenarians who put their longevity down to abstinence or moderation.
The Oldham Chronicle interviewed Fred as he prepared for a party to mark his 101st birthday and discovered that his diet is built around chips, sausages, eggs and bacon. Fred also smoked 30 cigarettes a day, until his wife ordered him to go to the doctor’s, and always has a drop of sherry or whisky in his tea at night.
PSYCHOTIC GULL: An infamous gull which dive-bombs a Gloucester car park attendant every summer has come back with reinforcements this year – a young pal which follows up with a second shot at the hapless chap.
Reporters at the Gloucestershire Echo related how six dropping-splattered jumpers have already been consigned to the dustbin by the unlucky attendant.
Since his first experience of the “Wellington Bomber” – which carries out its raids in the Wellington Street car park – the attendant has written a children’s book about his experiences.
He told the paper he did not know if the newcomer was a girlfriend or a naughty apprentice.
BOULES BARNEY: The normally peaceful French bowls-type game of petanque is causing a row in the Devon village of Ottery St Mary, reported the Exeter Express & Echo.
The Salston Hotel set up a petanque alley in its grounds, but a neighbour complained to the council that noise was a nuisance when 30 to 40 players got together for matches.
The council agreed to take no action after the hotel argued that the game was within its recreational and leisure use and no other complaints had been received.
A petanque player said: “There may occasionally be some laughter and applause when the prizes are presented.”
PENSIONER BARRED FROM CENTRE: A top barrister and anti-discrimination campaigner has taken up the case of an 18-stone pensioner who claims she was barred from a day centre for being too heavy.
The Cambridge Evening News reported that barrister Helen Jackson, who at 22 stones is founder and chairman of the Size Acceptance Campaign, said: “Large people face discrimination in employment and throughout life, and our aim is to defend their rights.”
JACK’S NOT DEAD: The Lancashire Evening Telegraph was inundated with phone calls after a bank worker e-mailed more than 350 Blackburn Rovers fans, and the newspaper, to say he’d been told that the club’s owner Jack Walker had died.
The e-mail sparked a flurry of rumours but Mr Walker was only in hospital, receiving planned treatment, a club spokesman said.
The fan said he regretted putting the message on the mailing list and added: “I suppose it was one of those urban myths.”
SCOOP ON POOP: A rapid response team had to be called in after dog owners complained of having to shot-putt their pets’ mess into a poop bin due to a council blunder.
The Stoke Sentinel was worried that frustrated owners in Leek, Staffs, had to try to lob the doggie deposits over a fence to reach the bin.
The problem arose when council workers built a new fence – but overlooked the bin and fenced it in. Residents claimed you needed to be “a good shot” to make use of the facility.
SAW SEEN: A shop owner in Trallwn, South Wales, was threatened with an unusual weapon during a robbery – a garden saw.
The men, who pounced on the owner as he opened up at 6am, escaped with cigarettes and the till. The South Wales Evening Post carried an appeal for witnesses.
BARMBY WAS A CHUBBY KID: Oh, the perils of fame! As Nicky Barmby hopes to make the starting line-up of the England side in Euro 2000, his old primary school teacher has shared his memories of Nicky’s formative years with readers of the Hull Daily Mail’s letters page.
Peter Railton, from Cottingham, recalled: “When he came into my class, he was football-mad. He was soon a team captain. Nick was a small, chubby lad, who seemed dwarfed by his kit!”
He added: “He could run extremely fast for such a little lad – he still can. If he was knocked over or slipped, he was on his feet and straight back in there again.”
TRIPLETS DOWN TO THATCHER: Proud parents Karen and Darren Sanders told the Exeter Express & Echo that they believed their new-born triplets were the result of having their roof thatched.
Fertility symbols, shaped like corn dollies, were put on the roof of their home by the thatcher.
Karen said: “One was put above out bedroom window when the roof was thatched in March last year. We got married in August, and by October I was pregnant.”
ALL SHOOK UP: Swansea’s answer to Hank Marvin went on the radio to make up with the local “Elvis” after the pair fell out at a talent contest.
The off-stage spat happened when one of them kept the other waiting after they had agreed to meet up for a pre-rehearsal drink, the South Wales Evening Post reported.
Hank was too upset to perform after their tiff but the pair made up later.
Contest promoter Mike Slater told the paper: “It was a case of handbags at 30 paces.”
TANKS FOR NOTHING: An oil tanker is sinking TV reception in Aberdeen.
TV signals are bouncing off Shell’s 63,000-tonne supertanker, Norrisia, anchored off Bridge of Don, and returning to screens as ghostly images.
BBC TV engineer Noble Macpherson told the Aberdeen Evening Express: “The tanker is just like a big mirror and the signal bounces back off it. This is a relatively common problem around the coast.”
FEELING SHEEPISH: Television scriptwriter Carla Lane was “dumbfounded” after a goat gave birth to a lamb at her animal sanctuary in Sussex.
“We have called her Cilla after the programme Surprise, Surprise, because she is a surprise,” she told the Brighton Evening Argus.
It is thought the cross-breeding happened after the goat, 18-year-old Molly, was put in a field with some rams rescued from a market. “We suspect our Sussex ram because he is a big, tough guy,” Carla said.
CYCLIST’S BATH-TIME: From the Bath Chronicle comes the tale of a Bath resident who has completed a 24,000-mile journey to visit every place in the world which shares the same name as his city.
Journalist Rob Ainsley (39) visited 18 Baths during his yea
r-long trip – much of it by bicycle – and raised more than £8,000 for Imperial Cancer Research.
The tour took him to Japan, New Zealand and the U.S. but he told the Chronicle that the most interesting Bath was in Jamaica.
FOWL DEED: A mum has appealed through the Shropshire Star for the return of her teenaged daughter’s pet chicken.
It got mixed up with hens for sale at Ann Stranger’s Ladywell Farm in Whixall, near Whitchurch, and was missing after a man called and bought 10.
The missing animal is called Hen but does have one distinguishing feature – half a beak.
CHRISTMAS IS COMING: We’re not even halfway through the year and already one paper has come up with a Christmas lights story.
The Evening Herald revealed with a pictured spread how Plymouth would be “transformed into a city of light” under ambitious plans to make it the South West’s number one shopping destination this Christmas.
The city council and traders have drawn up an £80,000 scheme, including eight-foot figures on lamp-posts, after last year’s drab display sparked a public outcry.
OFF HE TROTTERED: A week-old piglet called Wilbur went on an amazing journey through the Devon countryside.
The Exeter Express and Echo told how Wilbur trekked over hills and at least four fields, negotiated five farm gates and crossed two busy roads before being caught rummaging in vegetables in a garden two miles from home.
He was put in a disused rabbit hutch until he could be collected by owners Tracey Webb and Ron Hardy. They breed pigs for slaughter but told the paper that because of his courage, Wilbur was being spared.
HEAVEN HELP US: The Nottingham Evening Post has revealed a new weapon in the fight against crime: prayer.
Police and churches in the Clifton area of Nottingham have joined forces in a scheme called Crime Prayer-vention. The paper explained that officers would pass on details of crimes to congregations, who would pray for a solution.
NAME THAT SPOOK: A ghost has been identified – at an ID parade.
Ray Cook was so intrigued by the apparition of a woman he saw in the grounds of Torre Abbey, Torquay, that he joined a local history group in the hope of finding out who she was. His quest ended, the Herald Express reported, when he identified the woman from family portraits abbey as Emily Cary, who lived at the abbey in the 19th century. She was the latest in a line of spooks reported at the abbey, including a decaptiated monk who was seen clutching his head under his arm, with blood still dripping from the severed neck.
OGGY OGGY OGGY – OUT OUT OUT: The best player in a Lancashire football squad has got to leave – because she’s a girl.
The Lancashire Evening Telegraph told how ten-year-old Kaye Widdicombe has won several trophies during her one season with Oggy Hotspurs.
Chairman of the Blackburn and Darwen Junior Football League, Phil Beach, told the paper: “She’s fantastic. We’d love to keep her on.”
Lancashire Football Association and FIFA rules say girls can only play for mixed teams until they are 10. Kaye is now looking for a place in a local under 12s girls’ team.
HEAD’S LOLLY STAND: A Cornish head teacher has trained as a crossing warden after the county council said the school did not qualify for a permanent crossing patrol.
For the past two years, said the Plymouth Evening Herald, Jean Snell has stood in the road to guide children across. But the council warned her that in the event of an accident she would not be covered by insurance and would be liable if a child was involved in an accident.
Her only options were to pay for a crossing warden out of the school budget – or train officially and wear the uniform herself, so she opted for the latter.
“I am more concerned about the children than my own safety,” said Mrs Snell.
SIR CYRIL’S GIANT BOOK SALE: The Oldham Evening Chronicle told how a clear-out by former Rochdale MP Sir Cyril Smith could raise pots of cash for local school, St Cuthbert’s.
Sir Cyril has sorted out more than 20 books with special inscriptions, authors’ signatures or descriptions of how he acquired them.
Among them are signed books by Sir Bernard Ingham, FA boss David Davies, a copy of The Canterbury Tales, signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban signed by children’s author of the moment J K Rowling.
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