Wythenshawe man quids in after England World Cup delight

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England fans at Wythenshawe Town clubhouse were celebrating along with the rest of the country as Panama were hit for six.

It was an extraordinary  display by the Three Lions with talisman, Harry Kane scoring a magnificent hatrick in England’s best ever World Cup performance.

But when Panama’s Baloy scored their team’s only goal of the game, there was one proud England fan who was praying his team would not increase their lead.

Steve McArthur had backed a winning score for England of 6-1 at odds of 80-1. So there was joy when Panama’s goal went in followed by an anxious 12 minutes till the final whistle.

And when the game finished, a delighted Steve said: “My only regret is only putting three quid on it.

“It was a great result. And it’s great that England can now relax for the Belgium game.”

England top Group G as they have fewer yellow cards than Belgium. If they draw the final game it will go down to disciplinary records to decide who finishes first – and if that is level lots will be drawn.

In case you’re wondering, Steve’s prediction for England’s last group game on Thursday is a 2-2 draw.

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Fathers’ Day online premier for Wythenshawe zombie movie

creative-england-bfi-network-leapling-films-a-fathers-day-abiA multi-award winning zombie movie filmed in Wythenshawe has it’s online premier today.

Writer/Director Mat Johns and Producer Chris Lane’s short film ‘A Father’s Day’ was
selected for Short of the Week, a premiere destination for short films online. The film will be available from 3pm.

Produced by Leapling Films and funded by Creative England and BFI Network, the story follows George and Abi, an estranged father and daughter who are unexpectedly reunited with each other in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The twist is, they are no longer the humans they once were but zombified versions of themselves. Read More…

A year after Grenfell – Wythenshawe tower block residents still waiting for sprinklers

DSC_0131A year after the Grenfell fire, resulting in the deaths of 72 people, sprinkler systems have still not been fitted to Wythenshawe’s high rise tower blocks.

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, which runs the town’s 10 high rises said in December it would be installing sprinklers in the tallest block early this year.

The fitting of the sprinklers was approved by the Group’s board, but in a statement made this week it said sprinklers won’t be fitted before they have finished installing fire alarms, due to be completed in the autumn this year.

The WCHG statement in full:

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group remain committed to ensuring safety in high rise buildings and continue to work closely with GMFRS, MCC and other Registered Providers to ensure a consistent robust approach to fire safety in tower blocks.  The Group owns and manages 10 high rise buildings in Wythenshawe and none contain ACM panels.  Village 135 did have feature ACM detail to the projecting balconies, these panels were removed immediately and replaced with compliant solid metal cladding.  We have worked closely with our residents in all of our high rise buildings which have had annual Fire Risk Assessments completed by an accredited consultant.

Since June 2017, we have repeated and reviewed in detail our approach to fire safety with our Fire Safety consultants to identify any further improvements that can be made to each block.  Based on these findings further enhancements have been approved by the Group Board for the installation of sprinklers and full fire alarm systems to the traditional high rise buildings. We have prioritised fire alarm installations to meet  FRA recommendations and a number of them have already being installed,  with the remainder being completed by Autumn 2018. The fitting of sprinkler systems will follow the installation of the fire alarms.

Today marks the first anniversary of the fire in Grenfell Tower in North Kensington in which 72 people lost their lives. The inquiry into the disaster has heard how combustible material in external cladding fitted to the building was the primary cause of the fire’s spread.

And a report published by the London Assembly, taking evidence from fire safety experts recommended that all residential buildings should be fitted with sprinklers to save lives.

The report said sprinklers should be required by law in new care homes, sheltered housing and blocks of flats higher than six storeys, and the measures should be the first steps on a “road map” towards making sprinklers mandatory in all homes in England.

Solidarity events are taking place across the country this week to remember the victims of the Grenfell tragedy, including a candle-lit vigil in Salford at 6.30pm tonight, organised by the local Trades Union Council.

Wythenshawe MP backs Manchester lawyer calling for end to legal aid cuts after being paid £255 for seven months work

2233509492_a51cb4937e_zA Manchester solicitor is calling on the government to reverse cuts to legal aid after it was revealed by Wythenshawe MP Mike Kane this week that she was paid just £255 for seven months work.

Catriona McLauglin, a solicitor advocate, based in Manchester says criminal lawyers are leaving the profession because of the cuts, denying access to justice to some of the most vulnerable people accused of crimes.

And the independent body which represents solicitors, the Law Society, who are mounting a legal challenge to the latest government cuts, say criminal defence lawyers could become extinct unless action is taken.

Catriona’s case, raised by Mike Kane in parliament, involved seven months of work representing a man in his sixties who had suffered a serious stroke. He was charged with handling stolen goods and possession of a bladed article.

He had been remanded in custody and the case involved numerous prison visits. Because of the stroke the defendant couldn’t speak, so all communication had to be written down, making the visits longer than they would have been otherwise. Catriona also spent a lot of time with the man’s family who were distraught when it was suspected he had suffered a further stroke in prison.

The defendant was represented in Manchester Magistrates Court and was due to be tried in the Crown Court, but thanks to the Catriona’s work, the man pleaded, avoiding the need for a trial and saving the state thousands of pounds. But under the legal aid system revamped by the government four years ago, the law firm was paid £255 for the work.

“This was a very complex and difficult case to deal with and at the end of it we got £255 for it,” said Catriona. And she told the Reporter the case is not unusual because of the way legal aid now works in which a fixed fee is set depending on the category of the offence and whether it goes to trial, regardless of the amount of hours put in by lawyers.

“It’s just been progressively getting worse and worse until now we are in the position where that is the fee we are being paid. It has just been cut after cut,” said Catriona.

“It’s difficult to justify putting in the hours for cases like this when you know you’re making a big loss every time. We are torn because of course we have duty to these people  who are very vulnerable.

“Lots of firms have left the profession. Very few are left in predominantly criminal legal aid work, so you are ending up with a kind of legal advice desert. They are leaving the profession because it can’t work because the fees are so low.”wp-1478947269179.jpeg

Mike Kane, challenged justice minister Lucy Frazer this week in parliament. He said: “My constituent Caitriona McLaughlin, who is a solicitor, was recently paid £255 for seven months’ work on a criminal legal aid case. Does the Minister think that this was enough?”

The minister replied: “It is obviously very difficult to comment on a particular rate in a particular case for a particular individual, but I am very happy to talk to the hon. Gentleman about it. It is very important that criminal legal aid barristers and solicitors are paid appropriately for the amazing work that they do every day, up and down this country, in protecting the most vulnerable.”

Mr Kane said the government needs to take immediate action.

 

And the minister’s comments did not reassure Catriona McLauglin. She told the Reporter: “We have seen our fees slashed year after year. They are empty words not backed up with action.”

Catriona says the Law Society’s judicial review due to be heard next month would halt the most recent cuts to legal aid but more work would need to be done. She said most of the damage to the justice system was done by the the current under-fire transport boss  Chris Grayling when he was justice secretary.

Grayling pressed ahead with “far reaching” reforms aimed at slashing £350 million off the legal aid budget despite warnings in 2013 that the plans could be “catastrophic”.

The Law Society says there is a recruitment crisis for criminal defence lawyers which is becoming an increasingly ageing profession. Data published by the Society shows that in some areas of the country, nearly 70 per cent of criminal lawyers are over 50. In Greater Manchester it is 41 per cent with just eight per cent under the age of 35.

Law Society president, Joe Egan, said: “The justice system is facing a cliff edge scenario; criminal duty solicitors are part of an increasingly ageing profession, and government cuts mean there are not enough young lawyers entering the field of criminal defence work.

“If this trend continues, in five to ten years’ time there could be insufficient criminal defence solicitors in many regions, leaving people in need of legal advice unable to access their rights.”

A person who is arrested on suspicion of wrongdoing has the right to ask for the local ‘duty solicitor’, who can provide legal advice free of charge. Duty solicitors are available twenty four hours a day and are independent of the police.

The police station advice scheme was set up in the wake of a series of scandals in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when a significant number of convictions were overturned due to police misconduct against suspects. These solicitors protect suspects against inappropriate treatment, and protect the police against false allegations of mistreatment.

“Criminal justice is at the heart of a democratic society and duty solicitors ensure a fundamental part of the justice system is upheld,” Joe Egan said.

“Twenty years without any increases in fees, and a series of drastic cuts have pushed the criminal justice system to the point where lawyers can no longer see a viable career doing this work.”

Wythenshawe Reporter joins forces with regional press to demand action on rail misery

TODAY we issue a rallying cry to the north: join us to demand what government promised us.

As part of our day of action, news titles across the region are starting a petition calling on ministers to come good on their northern powerhouse pledges – by ending the chaos on our rail services, signing off the upgrades they promised us and redressing decades of underfunding to the region.
Four years ago this month, then-Chancellor George Osborne promised – when unveiling his vision for a northern powerhouse – to ‘join our northern cities together’ with faster, modern transport connections.

Directly addressing the franchise eventually won by Northern Rail a year later, he said: “We’ll want to see not just better services, and more seats at peak times, but also better journeys.”

We agree.

So now that’s what we want.

Instead of launching a lengthy inquiry that will not report back – with information the government should already know – until the end of the year, transport secretary Chris Grayling needs to end the chaos on our rail network NOW.

We need a fair, fit-for-purpose compensation scheme put in place within days.

And we need the rest of the northern powerhouse that government promised us too: the major transport projects – such as extra platforms at Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road – we were pledged, but which are now languishing on Mr Grayling’s desk.

Finally, we want fair funding – not more second-class services, while London eyes up its SECOND high-speed CrossRail link.

With one voice, we say to the Prime Minister: You promised us a northern powerhouse.

It’s time you delivered it.

Sign our petition here: https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-end-the-northern-rail-nightmare-give-us-the-powerhouse-you-promised

By Jennifer Williams

Wythenshawe man in court following death outside Stockport club

Nathan Marshall

A Wythenshawe man is due in court today, charged with murder following the death of a man outside a club in Stockport.

Nathan Marshall, aged 30, from Brinnington died after a car was is collision with people outside the Salisbury Club on Sunday night.

Jonathan William Snape of Yew Tree Lane has been charged with murder,attempted murder, affray, assault, and dangerous driving.

Paying tribute to Mr Marshall, his family said: “Nathan was our much loved son. He was kind and loving and a wonderful friend to the many people who knew and cared about him.

“Nathan was our first born. He lit up the room when he was alive. Living without him will be the hardest thing we will do as a family and we are devastated by our loss.

“We would like to ask you to respect our family’s privacy at this time. “

REVIEW: Blood Brothers @ The Palace Theatre, Manchester

Blood Brothers - group shot

The show has Kenwright written all over it, literally – with his beloved Everton football club emblazoned on the set.

And who can begrudge him that in a show which bristles with energy, fun and tragedy, exploring the concept of nature versus nurture?

Penned by Merseyside playwright, Willy Russell, the story centres around twins separated at birth but drawn together throughout their lives by fate, with tragic conclusions.

Blood Brothers - Lyn Paul as Mrs Johnstone (previous cast production)Lyn Paul, who some may remember from the 1970s pop group the New Seekers, gives a powerful performance as the long-suffering working class mum, Mrs Johnstone, forced by circumstances to give up her son to middle class employer, Mrs Lyons, desperate for a child .

The promise that Mrs Johnstone can see her son every day is quickly broken, but the two boys lives are intertwined bringing together two very different worlds.

Sean Jones is particularly excellent as Mickey. We watch his progress with class division there for all to see from encounters with police in his youth to the harsh realities of adulthod. While his brother Eddie goes to university and ends up with a position on the council’s housing committee Mickey is thrown onto the scrapheap.

There are certainly tear-jerking moments but this is a show which is full of energy. The songs are a bit corny and there is no shortage of clichés in the dialogue but this show is more than the sum of its parts. It is well worth a visit.

Runs till May 26th

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