AddThis SmartLayers

News In Brief from around the regions

Regional press news – this story updated 23.6.2000

News In Brief from around the regions
by HoldTheFrontPage staff

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME: Football fans can now log on and share poetic thoughts on a new Internet site.

The Gloucestershire Echo reported how a team of performance poets from their patch had dreamed up the idea and set to work creating the website

The Stroud-based group is already getting rave reviews from around the world – but that was before the England team’s demise.

‘Webmaster’ Dave Cockcroft told the Echo: “It’s a chance for people to express themselves.”

NEW STOCK: Farmers in Devon are swapping their cattle for badgers in an attempt to cash in on the booming nature-watching industry.

They were hit hard by the crisis in the beef sector and plan to open up their farm near Tiverton to the public.

The Exeter Express and Echo reports how they are hoping to diversify further by allowing parties of schoolchildren through the gates.

Their business plan shows it could be more profitable than the farming they have carried out for the last 12 years.

HERE COME THE FRIES: The sweeping lines of the open-topped Rolls-Royce swept out of the churchyard and into McDonald’s.

Yes – on their way to the reception, Rochdale newlyweds Derek and Jill Alfrey took a surprise detour through their local drive-thru burger bar.

She had a burger and he chose a chicken sandwich, plus fries.

The Manchester Evening News explained that the couple were running ahead of schedule and wanted to use up all the car hire time available.

CHAIR DEAL: Visitors who need a wheelchair at Kettering General Hospital now have to make a quick search for loose change after a supermarket-style deposit system was introduced.

The Northants Evening Telegraph described how you now have to put in a pound to release the catch on six new £500 wheelchairs bought to replace those which used to be kept at outpatients reception at Kettering General Hospital.

Managers said the old chairs were often wheeled off to different departments at the hospital and it might take weeks for them to find their way back.

BAAAMY HEATING SYSTEM: Council tax payers have been subsidising an unusual form of heating – where sheep and cows have been the main beneficiaries.

Farm animals were spotted lying in a row in a field at Liverpool council’s education centre in Clwyd and investigations showed an underground pipe had been leaking steam which warmed up the ground.

The problem, estimated to have cost the council at least £5,000 a year, is one of several energy blunders uncovered by investigators, the Daily Post revealed.

HISTORY FOR SALE: Got rid of your Euro 2000 football hangover yet? Not Welshman David Lines, who’s bought a slice of English football history by securing the seats from Wembley Stadium

The South Wales Echo found he’ll have 29,000 seats for sale through his Web site,, once the stadium is demolished in October.

The collection holds some of the most prized seats, including a batch put in before the 1966 World Cup final.

David told the paper: “I was definitely influenced by the sale of parts of the Cardiff Arms Park when it was demolished.”

CAR LOT HONOUR: Regency buildings and award-winning flower gardens are not the only attraction for visitors to genteel Cheltenham.

For the spa town has decided it is time to honour some of its more unlikely landmarks.

The Western Daily Press informs us that among the buildings singled out for civic awards this year are a new car showroom and a public convenience.

The owners of the buildings are due to receive commendations in a presentation in a more traditional setting – the drawing room at Cheltenham town hall.

TIME OFF: Welsh people are among the least likely to skive off work, according to a new poll – the South Wales Evening Post triumphantly reported.

Just 17 per cent of Welsh workers are set to skip their duties this summer, half the national average.

The poll, by Virgin Radio, found one in four nationally, admits to skiving, accounting for 6.5m working days lost every year.

LOONY THREAT: The former headquarters of the Monster Raving Loony Party is at the centre of a planning dispute.

The Golden Lion, one of Britain’s best-known pubs through its political connections, now lies empty and could be turned into flats.

But the Western Morning News told how plans for the Ashburton property are subject to protests from the East Street Preservation Society.

The pub, which has been an inn for 210 years, is one of the town’s most historically significant buildings.

LUCKY COW: A cow has been named “Lucky” by its owners after surviving a 300-ft cliff plunge.

The Friesian was saved by wet mud as it slid down a gully at the foot of the cliff.

The Exeter Express and Echo told readers that a teacher walking along the beach at the time alerted the emergency services after watching it fall.

Lucky has been subdued since her adventure.

STONE ME: A guided walk in Humberstone, Leicestershire, to visit the Humber Stone nearby benefited from the hard work of volunteers to get the attraction ready for visitors.

The Leicester Mercury reported how a working party had cleared the area around the stone and an information plaque had been put up to fill people in on the myths surrounding the mysterious Humber Stone.

The paper added: “The story goes that anyone who touches the stone invokes the curse of the fairies, but nothing has happened to the volunteers”.

GUMMY GIFT: Lost property and a bit of lip are what you might expect in a nightclub packed full of revellers.

But finding a pair of false teeth on the bar after closing was a first for staff at Hull’s Lexington Avenue nightclub.

The Hull Daily Mail told how the lost gnashers were found among full ashtrays and empty beer glasses left in the club’s Orleans suite.

The paper helped out with a plea on its pages to help return them to their owner – who must be getting hungry by now.

TROUBLE IN STORE: Strange marks on a shop door led manager Pat Tancock to call for police help fearing a mad axeman at large.

Gouge marks in the Exeter Sue Ryder charity shop’s front door led her to fear the worst – until she stumbled on a squirrel in the store room.

The scavenger was hoping for a tasty treat – but was instead lured out by a trail of bird seed after advice from the council’s pest control department.

Pat told the Express and Echo: “It leapt out like a grey flash and hid behind some suitcases. It gave me the shock of my life.”

HERO WORSHIP: The blue-rinse brigade is out in force in Bristol, the Evening Post reported.

One lady, 50-year-old Pauline Meeks, had camped outside the Colston Hall for four nights to snap up tickets to see her idol Daniel O’Donnell there later in the year.

The paper told how she sees him up to 20 times a year and was looking forward to her Bristol date in October as much as any of the rest.

Mrs Meeks said: “I brought my camp bed, sleeping bag, washing facilities, food, drink, change of clothes and an umbrella in case it rained.”

RALPH’S MAKING HISTORY: Sheriff of Lincoln Ralph Toofany has hit the headlines on the other side of the world after people living in his homeland of Mauritius watched his investiture live on the Internet.

He was also front page news in The Mauritius News, which hailed the islander as someone with “a place in the history of England and possibly a place in the Guinness Book of Records”.

The Lincolnshire Echo has reported over the years on Coun Toofany’s progress as Lincoln’s first black councillor, the city’s first Mauritian Mayor, Lincoln’s first black Sheriff and the first Sheriff of the new Millennium.

CLEARING THE HURDLE: A novice racehorse threw her jockey and swam half a mile down a river
during a race meeting.

The Torquay Herald Express said Norwey Lady, a four-year-old from Somerset in her first race, almost drowned in the incident but was saved after a combined operation by fire and lifeboat crews.

After ditching jockey Simon Burrough, she leapt over railings into the adjoining River Teign, swam downstream on an outgoing tide and ended up on a sandbank in the middle of the water.

PAINTING BLINDFOLD: An exhibition of paintings created while the artist was wearing a blindfold has gone on show in the West Country.

Painter Robert Lenkiewicz said he had the idea for the unusual series while his wife was in hospital.

They feature his representation of a blind man walking forwards and are inspired by Bible stories of the power of sight, according to the Western Morning News.

BARING UP: Readers of the South Wales Evening Post were treated to the sight of a bridegroom baring all after he was dumped in the middle of the city on his stag night.

Staff at a petrol station got more than they bargained for when the groom and his best man – both naked – turned up to use the phone.

The petrol station had just installed new security cameras and staff were only too keen to share the pictures with their local newspaper.

DITCHED AGAIN: A woman who was being driven home from hospital after a car crash ended up in the same 20ft ditch from which she had been rescued five hours earlier.

Retired police office Carolann Henderson’s Ford Escort flipped on to its roof and landed in the bottom of the ditch in Hoton, Leicestershire, in the first crash. She managed to reach her mobile phone and was eventually freed by firefighters. After hospital treatment, she was returning home with her brother when his vehicle was hit by an out-of-control car and ended up in the ditch again, the Nottingham Evening Post reported.

For last week’s nibs click here

Do you have a story for us?
Ring the HoldTheFrontPage newsdesk on
01332 291111 x6022, or e-mail us now