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Sunday, 8 December 2019

Weston Christmas Light Display 2019 is revealed - and it’s bigger and better than ever!


After months, weeks, days and hours preparing and planning this year’s Weston Christmas Light Display, it has finally been revealed.
The big switch on took place on Sunday 1st December and once again Graham Witter has transformed his family home into a magical Winter Wonderland to raise money for The Donna Louise Hospice. 
This is the seventh year that Carters Green Farm in Weston has been decorated with tens of thousands of twinkling lights and decorations by Graham Witter and his family, in memory of Graham’s late sister Jessica.
Graham said “I’m so pleased with the 2019 display, it simply looks stunning. I have added several new animated silhouettes to the garden village scene, added more lights to the house and have designed my own stunning Christmas Tree, which is a brand-new feature this year. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking when we do the big switch-on, but I’m delighted that everything went well. To have seen so many happy faces enjoying the display already makes the months of planning and erecting the display worthwhile.” 
Everyone across our community is welcome to visit the Weston Christmas Light Display this December, where they’ll be able to visit Santa’s Grotto, indulge in a #festiveicecream and have a #sleighselfie with Santa, not forgetting having photo’s at the magnificent light display.
Graham added, “I hope the local community will come along to enjoy this year’s light spectacular, it doesn’t cost anything to visit, we just ask for a donation to our chosen charity, The Donna Louise Hospice, a place which is close to mine and my family’s hearts”
Graham first started the display six years ago to raise money for The Donna Louise where his sister received respite care. In that time he’s raised an incredible £92,310 to help local children and young people with life-limiting conditions, who are supported by the Hospice.
He added, “I’m really hoping to pass the £100,000 fundraising milestone this year – that would be a massive achievement. I feel so proud to continue this festive fundraiser in Jessica’s memory and know she would have laughed and smiled at all these magical lights and decorations.”
The Weston Christmas Light Display will shine bright every evening until 28th December, from 6.15pm – 9pm, at Carters Green Farm, Jack Lane, Weston. Santa will visit every Friday, Saturday, Sunday evening and each night the last few days before Christmas. Everyone’s welcome!
For more information email info@westonlightdisplay.co.uk












Victorian Steampunk Christmas’

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston
The inaugural ‘Victorian Steampunk Christmas’ took place in Crewe over the weekend of Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th December 2019 in association with Crewe Town Council.
The event took place on Lyceum Square and at Crewe Heritage Centre on the Saturday and moved entirely to Crewe Heritage Centre on the Sunday due to the forecast of poor weather.
There were numerous Steampunk memorabilia trade stalls, a salt plate photography studio, craft workshops, a Steam Wars exhibition with a Steampunk re-imagining of Star Wars, refreshments, live festive entertainment and a Steampunk Santa.
Crewe Heritage Centre was open to visitors including the Crewe North Junction signal box, the Advanced Passenger Train, static locomotive displays and miniature railway rides.
Despite windy weather on Sunday the event was enjoyed by several hundred people, many of whom had travelled from across England to attend.
For further information relating to Steampunk please visit: https://www.asylumsteampunk.co.uk/








Council prosecutes woman whose stairlift business lost pensioners more than £50,000


Cheshire East Council’s trading standards team has secured a successful prosecution against a business woman who left several elderly customers more than £50,000 out of pocket.

Belinda Rogers, of Devonshire Drive, Alderley Edge, took huge deposits from her customers but failed to deliver stairlifts to some customers or installed products that were faulty. 

Rogers, who ran Britannia Homelifts from offices in Congleton, received a six months’ suspended prison sentence and must pay £50,350 in compensation to people she had let down, plus £500 compensation to each of three customers who suffered distress after their lifts failed to arrive. She was also ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work.

She was also disqualified from being a company director for 10 years and ordered to pay £7,500 in prosecution costs. Her prison sentence was suspended for two years.

The case represents one of the most distressing cases the council’s trading standards team has had to investigate and involved support from other trading standards teams around the country.

Rogers, who advertised her business nationally, appeared at Chester Crown Court on 28 November for sentencing and was told by the judge Mr Justice Ian Dove that she displayed ‘dreadful’ business incompetence, had caused financial distress to her customers, had let old people down and demonstrated a litany of failures.

She pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to contravening professional diligence, an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The court was told of eight instances where customers had paid substantial deposits – from £7,000 to £13,500 – for stairlifts and through-the-floor domestic lifts intended to assist people with mobility difficulties. Some lifts were not delivered at all and those that were delivered developed faults and could not be used or were not fit for purpose.

One 96-year-old, who lost £11,000, had a hole cut in his floor but waited 18 weeks for his lift only to learn the business had gone bust. When another elderly customer refused to pay the balance until repairs were made, the company instead deactivated his lift, which the local council condemned as a fire hazard owing to its location in the house.

An elderly woman – who paid a £8,000 deposit – was left with a hole in her floor for two months and never received her lift or a refund. She had to sleep downstairs.

Another elderly woman paid £6,365 but the lift installed had no stop mechanism and she suffered falls from the equipment as a result. She was also forced to sleep downstairs for five months, suffering ‘significant’ impact on her health and wellbeing.

Although three customers were reimbursed via their credit card chargeback scheme, others lost substantial sums when the company went into liquidation. Rogers said the day-to-day running of the business was delegated to staff and she relied on her managers. She said staff had not followed procedures. The court heard she would sell property to reimburse all those who lost money.

After the hearing Frank Jordan, Cheshire East Council’s acting executive director of place, said: “This was a lengthy, and at times, distressing investigation by our trading standards officers and I wish to thank them for bringing this case to court and ending the highly irregular and insensitive business practices of this company.

“The council would also wish to express its sympathy for these elderly, vulnerable adults who have lost huge sums of money as a result of the incompetence of this individual.”

Mary Nash, daughter of Dr John and Rosemary Gittus, from Alcester, Warwickshire, said: “My father died early this year, aged 87. He never recovered from the distress this had caused him.  It has been desperately distressing and all the people affected by this have been elderly and vulnerable people.

“I am eternally grateful to Cheshire East trading standards for the hard work they have carried out to bring this matter to court.”

Rogers had been previously disqualified for two years in 2018, when her business collapsed. However, the council has succeeded in securing a further disqualification owing to the scale of the distress and financial loss to her customers.

Winter Wellbeing – prepare your home for winter


Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

This week, we remind people that there are numerous checks that can be completed, which can minimise the effects of bad weather.

Our advice includes:

● Insulate pipes and drain off outside taps to prevent frozen pipes;

● Know where your stop tap is and make sure you can turn it on and off with ease;

● If you are going away, consider asking a friend or neighbour to check on your house regularly. That way, if you have a burst, it will be discovered early;

● Leave your heating on if the weather is forecast to be freezing;

● Insulate your loft or walls to keep the heat in. Free and impartial advice about energy saving measures, grants and discounts is available from the Cheshire Green Doctor on 0808 168 3547 or visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/helpwithheating;

● Fit draught proofing to seal any gaps around doors and windows;

● Get your boiler serviced regularly by a qualified engineer. Remember, for gas boilers, check that your engineer is Gas Safe registered. Oil-fired heating needs servicing too;

● If you don’t have central heating in your home, check to see if you are eligible for a grant at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/helpwithheating;

● Be prepared for clearing ice and snow this winter – have a snow shovel, brush and grit or salt ready;

● If a member of your household is of pensionable age, has a disability, has a chronic illness, has hearing and/or visual difficulties or you have a child under eight-years-old, you may be eligible for free or priority services. You can contact your energy supplier to check;

● If electricity supplies go down in your area, do not assume that your supplier knows – call them and have your name, postcode, house number and telephone number handy and;

● If you have a burst pipe, collect the water in a bucket and switch off your central heating. Turn off your stop tap and turn on your sink taps to drain your water system.

Do not touch wiring or switches which you suspect may have been affected. If in doubt, turn off your electricity at the mains and call a plumber. For more information, contact United Utilities on 0845 746 2200 or visit: www.unitedutilities.com

Dr Matt Tyrer, Cheshire East Council’s acting director of public health, said: “We know that winter can be a daunting time of the year for some people but there are simple things that residents can do themselves, to help them stay warm, well and safe.

“For those that do need a little extra help, there is lots of support out there and we’ll be issuing advice and information throughout the winter period.

“I’d also like to encourage residents to keep an eye on friends, family members and neighbours during the colder weather, as some people can find it quite isolating.”

For further winter-related advice including information about getting your flu jab, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk and scroll down to the winter wellbeing section.               Advice can also be found on the council’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil and on Twitter @CheshireEast

Residents can help friends and neighbours, who are unable to access the internet, by downloading and printing off information and giving it to them.

Monday, 2 December 2019

'Xmas Fair’

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

The 64th Cancer Research UK 'Xmas Fair’ took place at Wistaston Memorial Hall, Church Lane, Wistaston on Saturday 30th November 2019. This annual event was organised by the Crewe & Nantwich Cancer Research UK Group.

There were numerous stalls with children’s games, tombola, cakes, chutneys, cheese & pickles, sweets, chocolate Santa’s, books, toiletries, plants, a wine tombola, a teddy tombola, Christmas cards and Cancer Research UK merchandise. The café had a new menu this year serving the usual drinks and snacks and bacon baps. Children were able to visit Father Christmas and receive a present from him.

£4,180.80 was raised at the event, with match funding to follow and this will go to Cancer Research UK: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org . Cancer Research UK pioneers life-saving research to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

A representative from Crewe & Nantwich Cancer Research UK Group said: “The long-term support of our committee and friends is crucial to the continued success of Cancer Research UK. We are very fortunate that, once again, the local community has supported us so well by either attending, or giving up their time to help, or donating items for us to sell. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped us to achieve this fantastic amount. We hope to see you again next year.”

If you would like to learn more about the work of the Crewe & Nantwich Cancer Research UK Group or would like to volunteer at any of their events please contact Lesley Rowlands, Treasurer, on 07496756447. Alternatively, you may wish to look at our Facebook page Crewe & Nantwich Cancer Research UK Group. Donations may be made, at any time: https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/unite/crewe-and-nantwich-committee

Don’t miss out on making your postal vote count


Cheshire East Council is urging people to return their completed postal vote in plenty of time before General Election day.

Postal voters are being asked to complete and return their postal ballot documents at the earliest opportunity.

People are being advised to follow the instructions enclosed in the postal vote pack carefully. For a postal vote to be valid, electors must return both the ballot paper and the correctly completed postal voting statement.

Postal voters need to complete the postal voting statement accurately, with their date of birth and signature.

The deadline for postal votes to be received is 10pm on election day on Thursday 12 December. However, please complete and return your postal vote papers as quickly as possible, because sufficient time must be allowed for these to be returned through the post before the deadline.

Kath O’Dwyer, acting returning officer for the four parliamentary constituencies of Crewe and Nantwich, Congleton, Macclesfield and Tatton, said: “I would urge everyone who has opted for a postal vote to fill in their pack and return it as soon as possible – and not leave it until the last minute.

“It is really important for the health and vitality of our democracy that people, who are eligible, exercise their right to vote and have their say on the issues that affect us all – and that they don’t miss the deadline to make their ballot count.

“If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice – so I would urge everyone, who is eligible, to take the time to vote and be heard.”

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote, where a voter nominates a trusted person to cast a vote on their behalf, is 5pm on Wednesday 4 December. Completed forms must be received by the Cheshire East Council elections team before this deadline.

Anyone looking for more information about voting should visit the website: www.yourvotematters.co.uk

Remember: registering to vote does not mean you have to – it just means you don’t lose out on the opportunity to do so.

On polling day, Thursday 12 December, polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm. Information about voting at this election is available from the Electoral Commission at: www.yourvotematters.co.uk

Winter Wellbeing – have you had your flu jab?


Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.
This week, we are encouraging residents to get their flu jab as soon as possible.

While some people might think influenza is a bad cold, ‘flu’ can actually be a severe illness that can lead to serious complications.

People at increased risk of severe illness if they catch flu are older people, the very young, pregnant women, those with long-term health conditions – particularly chronic lung or heart disease – and those with a weakened immune system.

The flu jab is the single most effective way to protect yourself and those around you.

While most healthy people generally recover within a week, flu can lead to serious complications, like pneumonia, which require hospital treatment. Every year, thousands of people die from this preventable disease.

As the flu bug changes every winter, it is very important that people are immunised each year, as the flu jab protects against the latest strains circulating.

The best time to get vaccinated is before the flu season starts, so please speak to your GP surgery or pharmacy about getting the vaccination as soon as possible.

Those eligible to receive a free flu vaccination on the NHS are:

● People aged 65 or over;  

● All pregnant women;

● People living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility;

● Those in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill;

● People aged from six months to less than 65 who have certain medical conditions;

● All two and three-year-olds (nasal spray vaccine); and

● All children in school reception class and school years one-six and up to the age of ten years (nasal spray vaccine).

Parents of young children are strongly recommended to make sure that their children have had their free flu vaccination. For children aged two to ten years, it is quickly done with a simple nasal spray instead of a jab.

Dr Matt Tyrer, health protection lead at Cheshire East Council, added: “Flu is a highly-infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly, especially fever, tiredness and aching joints.

“Both adults and children can be very ill with flu and can spread it to others even before they become unwell. Children are also ‘super-spreaders’ of flu, so vaccinating them can protect more vulnerable members of the community, especially older people.”

Residents who come into contact with anyone who has a weakened immune system and health and social care workers are also urged to protect themselves and those around them, by having the jab.

For advice and information about the flu vaccination, speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist or visit: www.nhs.uk/staywell/

For further winter-related advice, visit: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil and www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/winter

Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.

Don’t lose your voice on election day – check the location of your local polling station


Voters are being urged to check the location of their local polling station – so they don’t lose their voice in the General Election.

Cheshire East Council will be responsible for running 280 polling stations across the whole borough, where votes can be cast on 12 December 2019.

Voters can check on their polling cards, which will identify which polling station they should visit to cast their ballot. Any residents affected by changes to polling stations have also been written to by the council, informing them of where they will be able to vote.

Cheshire East Council’s acting chief executive Kath O’Dwyer, who is the acting returning officer for Cheshire East, said: “I would urge all voters to check the location of their local polling station before election day. It is worth bearing in mind that there are a small number of our usual polling station venues unavailable due to refurbishment, repair works or unforeseen circumstances.

“It is really important for the vitality of our democracy that people, who are eligible, exercise their right to vote and have their say on the issues that will affect us all.

“If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice – so I would urge everyone, who is eligible, to take the time to vote and be heard.”

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote, where a voter nominates a trusted person to cast a vote on their behalf, is 5pm on Wednesday 4 December. Completed forms must be received by the Cheshire East Council elections team before this deadline.

Anyone looking for more information about voting should visit the website: www.yourvotematters.co.uk

Remember: registering to vote does not mean you have to – it just means you don’t lose out on the opportunity to do so.

On polling day, Thursday 12 December, polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm. Information about voting at this election is available from the Electoral Commission at: www.yourvotematters.co.uk

Have you had your say on the council’s environmental plan?


Cheshire East Council has a live consultation on its environmental strategy and is urging everyone to have their say on its priorities and vision for the future before it closes on Sunday 1 December.

Six ambitious priority areas have been developed, following the council’s declaration of a climate change emergency. They are:

● Cheshire East will be a carbon neutral council by 2025;

● Waste and pollution will be reduced;

● Air quality will improve;

● Increase sustainable transport and travel;

● Sensitive and sustainable new development; and

● Protect and enhance our natural environment.

Paul Bayley, director of environment and neighbourhood services for Cheshire East Council, said: “We welcome any comments on the strategy and our commitments to meet the challenge of climate change and reduce carbon emissions. We have an ambitious target of being carbon neutral by 2025.

“However, the council only accounts for one per cent of the carbon emissions across the borough of Cheshire East. We also want to work with our partners, communities, businesses and residents to help them reduce their carbon emissions and welcome any suggestions for how we can do this.”

The consultation can be accessed by visiting: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/consultations

Queens Park Crewe November 2019