FROM Friday 12 November to Thursday 23 December the Liverpool Christmas market will return, with around 40 stalls, festive rides and twinkly lights will transform St John’s Gardens, William Brown Street and the area around the North Entrance of St George’s Hall (near the Stebble Fountain) – in a slight change of location this year.

Open every day, the market will be packed with a range of food and drink, including the famous Yorkshire pudding wraps, German sausages, dipped pretzels, siu mai, crêpes and hot chocolate.

Those after a festive tipple can choose between from a variety of festive themed bars including the iconic Windmill, Tepee tent and Barrel Bar, as well as the Alpine Lodge and its karaoke cable cars. For 2021 there is also the new addition of the Bavarian bar where visitors can try a selection of German beers or hot cider.         

Shoppers looking for the perfect gift will find personalised decorations, glass baubles, photo prints and jewellery.

Kids (big and small) can enjoy Santa’s Village with its variety of festive rides including a big wheel and a giant Bavarian snow slide.

Plans are also being put in place for live entertainment to take place at the markets across the festive period, and Culture Liverpool is on the hunt for any local music talent who would like to be part of the programme. Performers must be over 18 and be able to provide their own small PA system. Anyone interested should contact the team via email –

The market will be open Sunday to Wednesday 11am to 9pm and Thursday to Saturday 11am to 10pm. Following the announcement around roadworks taking a break around the Christmas period, the Christmas markets will be accessible from lower and upper William Brown Street and via St Johns Lane.

The markets are organised and operated by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team, in partnership with Clark Events.

The 13th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment receive their Colours in Liverpool from Field Marshall Montgomery in 1953

THE Liverpool branch of the Parachute Regimental Association received the Freedom of the City in a special ceremony at the city’s Parish Church.

The organisation – formed in the late 1950s of World War Two veterans – was awarded the Freedom Roll of Associations and Institutions for its work to promote opportunities for veterans to continue the links and friendships made during their service with the regiment and airborne forces.

They hold monthly meetings, functions, visits, Remembrance Services, Armed Forces days and an annual church service at Liverpool Parish Church, as well as providing welfare and support to those members and their families who are in need.

The Liverpool branch is now one of the largest and biggest military associations in the city, with a board of trustees and members from all areas of Merseyside and a wide variety of professions including the emergency services, teaching and civil servants.

It has regular contact with its national headquarters, the Royal British Legion, military charitable organisations and supports St Mary’s College Crosby CCF (Combined Cadet Force).

Its parent organisation – the Parachute Regiment – has a long relationship with Liverpool and in 1953 the 13th (Lancashire) Battalion of the Regiment received their Colours from Field Marshall Montgomery outside St George’s Hall on Lime Street.

President of Liverpool Parachute Regimental Association, Joe Harkon, said: “The Parachute Regimental Association, Liverpool Branch are delighted and humbled to be awarded the Freedom of the City from the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. Origins of our branch can be traced back to Airborne veterans both regular and reserve who saw action across a range of key battles of WWII and our oldest member is currently an Arnhem veteran.

“We have many members who also served in more recent conflicts including Suez, Cyprus, Borneo, Aden, Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Kosovo, Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The Parachute Regimental Association (PRA) was formed at the end of the Second World War to further the interests of The Parachute Regiment and to organise functions and activities so members could continue associations formed during their service with the Regiment and Airborne Forces.

“We are a very active branch and in partnership with local charities provide welfare and support to members serving who have served and their dependents. We regularly attend both formal and social events and have more recently took part in the memorial parachute jump on the 75th Anniversary of the battle of Arnhem – ‘Operation Marked Garden’ into Holland.

“We will continue to support our veterans and the work with our partner agencies, charities and the communities of Liverpool to promote our ethos. Our branch regularly welcomes new members from the Regiment and Airborne Forces as well as honorary members.”

In March 2012 the Freedom of Liverpool was conferred on the 4th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, whose origins can be traced back to 1942.

Steve Rotheram

THE Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, has announced £110,000 of pre-development funding for an innovation centre that could help to make the UK a world-leader in sustainable packaging, and play a significant role in helping to meet the region’s environmental targets.

Steve Rotheram says this initial funding is an important first step towards the creation of a £60 million National Packaging Innovation Centre, that could put the UK at the forefront of the global £1 trillion packaging market and create more than 2000 research and development jobs across the wider supply chain.

Speaking about the project, Steve said: “The Liverpool City Region is a hotbed of innovation, especially areas like advanced manufacturing that have a big role to play in cutting our carbon footprint.

“This funding is an important step towards the development of the National Packaging Innovation Centre in partnership with Unilever, that will help put our region at the head of the £1tn global packaging market.

“As well as making a substantial environmental impact, this centre will attract investment to our area and create thousands of jobs and training opportunities for local people. The rest of the world will look and learn from the working we’re doing.”

Specifically, the funding will enable project sponsor CPI to expand its offices to Liverpool Science Park, which is located in the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool Innovation District, enabling it to drive collaboration with industry and academic partners in the region as development on the National Packaging Innovation Centre continues.

Leanne Katsande, Head of Commercial at Liverpool Science Park, said: “Liverpool Science Park is already home to a fantastic mix of like-minded and ambitious innovators, developers, creators and scientists and we are excited to be welcoming CPI into that community. Moving into the park is about more than a lease and an office, it is about becoming a part of the innovation ecosystem that we have worked hard to create with our strategic partner, Knowledge Quarter Liverpool.”

The Centre is being co-developed by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and CPI with Unilever as a founder partner. CPI is a deep tech innovation organisation with a long history of working with industry to translate clean tech ideas into new sustainable products and manufacturing processes. Unilever is home to the largest pool of packaging engineers in the UK at their existing Research & Development hub in Port Sunlight.

The Centre would be focussed on the commercialisation of innovations in packaging materials and production technologies, bringing together industry and academia.

The announced support from LCRCA will catalyse engagement with industry partners who would provide financial support to the project, matching requested investment from government.

Katherine Jones

THE founder of ThinK Wines, Katherine Jones, has won two international awards.

The Glass of Bubbly Awards is an annual ceremony judged by 50 top wine professionals from around the globe. Katherine took home two silver awards.

The entrepreneur from Liverpool has this year launched the brand into the US market, with her Prosecco and their Pinot Grigio Sparkling Rose proving popular in California, New York, New Jersey and Florida.

Back home the business has also experienced rapid growth which resulted in the recruitment of three new team members within three months and they are still on the look-out for another recruit.

ThinK, which is known for its reduced calorie, organic and vegan tipples, has also onboarded with Thomas Ridley for distribution.

Katherine said: “This year has been full of surprises and incredible opportunities for ThinK. We celebrated our second birthday this summer with the launch of our ThinK Miniatures, and I have been overwhelmed with the response we have had since launching in America.”


Stagecoach long service awards event at Hilton Hotel Liverpool

STAGECOACH employees from across Merseyside & South Lancashire were recognised for their loyal service and commitment to passenger transport at a special long service award ceremony. 

The ceremony was held at the Hilton hotel in Liverpool and included employees from Birkenhead, Chester, Gillmoss, and Preston depots with two employee’s celebrating an incredible 50 years of service. 

Thirty members of the Stagecoach team celebrated their long service which totalled 870 years with four employees also celebrating their retirement.

Matt Davies, managing director, Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire said: “We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating the long service achievement of our employees and to wish well those who are retiring. We are very proud of our people. Across our workforce absolute dedication and commitment is shown every day and the Long Service Awards Ceremony gives us the opportunity to recognise that and say thank you.” 

Paul Askew and Harry Marquart

PAUL Askew, along with a collective of other Liverpool chefs will launch intimate Scouse brasserie, Barnacle, this November.

The story of the region’s food provenance will be told by the chefs, which along with Paul include Bone and Block’s Harry Marquart and local kitchen stars Kieran Gill and Jake Lewis.. They have all worked under Paul’s tutelage during their careers and are uniting for the first time with Barnacle.

Together they will set out to explore Liverpool’s stories and celebrated past to the present through ingredients and ideas which have found their way here over the decades.

Based in Duke Street Market’s mezzanine, Barnacle will focus on fresh, organic and free-range dishes; locally matched food and drink inspired by the port and its global history will be brought to life in dynamic meat, fish and vegan menus inspired by the markets and seasons.

Paul said: “My dad was Captain Barnacle Bill Askew and he sailed the world on the Blue Star lines – it was his travels which inspired me when I was young for our project now. I think of barnacles on the hulls of the great ships which once sailed to and from Liverpool and brought beef from Argentina, apples from upstate New York, lamb from New Zealand and wines from France – all of this knowledge ended up back here in Liverpool.

“We are aiming to tell the story of the city’s food and cultural odyssey through its maritime history which has shaped it into the glorious place we know today. Myself, Harry, Kieran and Jake have worked locally and travelled the world and are bringing all of our experience into our new restaurant.”

Harry said: “I’m so proud of Barnacle. Liverpool has an incredible feeling right now and watching the revival of old buildings is testament to the times when shipping brought the city all kinds of food discoveries. Paul has been a figurehead for the city’s hospitality sector for years we are blessed to be working with him again. “

Paul is Chef Patron and owner of The Art School and The Art School Cellars and is celebrating his 40th anniversary in the culinary world. He is one of the UK’s leading chefs and a passionate voice for the hospitality industry locally and nationally. Harry is a chef and restauranteur with sites across the city and Kieran and Jake are disciples of The Art School and Bone and Block.

Matt Farrell, Director of Duke Street Market, said: “Myself and the Duke Street Market team are delighted to welcome Barnacle to the mezzanine. Sustainability is the core ethos of the market and so Barnacle will fit in perfectly here with its focus on supporting local farmers, butchers, bakers and fishmongers. Paul and Harry are both highly esteemed chefs and renowned for their expertise in the industry. Harry already manages two fantastic kitchens at the Market and we have a great relationship with Paul; this collaboration marks the next stage in driving the Market forward as a culinary beacon for the city.”

MERSEYRAIL is celebrating as the brand was first seen on trains 50 years ago, in October 1971.

It was then that the name ‘Merseyrail’ started to be applied to the Wirral line trains with the Northern line roll-out following the year after along with station entrance signage, timetables, posters and more.

Pupils from schools across the Liverpool City Region have celebrated the anniversary by designing birthday cards for the rail operator.

The name ‘Merseyrail’ was created by the British Rail Liverpool Division following the creation of The Mersey Railways Extensions Act, and it was decided that a new name was needed due to the local nature of how our rail systems were operated.

The network was divided into four separate segments – Exchange, Central Low-Level, Central and Lime Street – and it was decided that the routes would be renamed Northern, Wirral and City lines.

It was not just the name that changed, however, as the development of the brand involved a series of initiatives including service improvements, fares simplification and publicity and advertising.

A lot has happened over the last 50 years, including:

  • The opening of the Loop line underground stations in 1977
  • New Class 507 trains entering into service in 1978
  • Opening of Bache, Bromborough Rake and Eastham Rake stations in 1984, 1985 and 1995
  • Opening of Overpool station in 1988
  • Opening of Brunswick and Conway Park stations in 1998
  • Opening of Liverpool South Parkway station in 2006
  • Opening of Maghull North station in 2018

There is a lot more to come, with a new fleet of trains on the horizon and potential new stations at Headbolt Lane in Kirkby and the reopening of the old St James station.

Andy Heath, Managing Director for Merseyrail, said: “Over the last 50 years the Merseyrail brand has gone from strength to strength – from creation to the upcoming roll-out of the new fleet of trains.

“It is a privilege to serve the people of the Liverpool City Region and our performance is a result of the hard work and dedication shown by our staff day-in, day-out.

“Being recognised for our punctuality and winning multiple awards is an honour and I’m sure the best is yet to come.”

ORIGINALLY scheduled in as the Easter Panto, Jack and the Beanstalk at St Helens Theatre Royal was unable to play to a live audience in the spring and instead was recorded in a slightly adapted version suitable for online streaming. Now it is back on stage again with a few cast changes and, all importantly, the added benefit of an audience to interact with.

St Helens’ favourite comic lead Reece Sibbald has again provided the script for the show as well as playing the role of Jack’s brother Simple Simon, and he really knows what he’s doing on both fronts. A skilled hand at getting the audience on his side and keeping them there, Sibbald works his socks off in this show, really getting the children screaming with delight. As always he has managed to load the script with local references, making maximum mileage out of some of the more comical place names, and in one very clever patter song dedicated to the Theatre Royal he also squeezes in an affectionate tribute to Ken Dodd.

Timothy Lucas is fast becoming another hugely popular name here, and he brings his signature energetic lunacy to his cheeky but lovable Jack. His Princess Jill is another welcome return from Olivia Sloyan, and both of them give some excellent vocal performances in the musical numbers.

He has been in panto for nearly 40 years, but Mark Two is making his first appearance as Dame on the St Helens stage here as Dolly Trott. Mark brings with him his own collection of costumes, and certainly keeps the dressers busy, because we reckon we can count an average of one costume change every 8 minutes at the very least! No wonder Dolly’s catchphrase is “D’ya like me gear?” That isn’t the end to his theatrical arsenal though, because Mark Two Character Productions also provides the troupe of UV puppets that create a linking sequence to cover a scene change. It might be a throwback to variety acts of the 1970s but still remains a hit with the children.

The main cast is completed by Jenna Sian O’Hara and Catherine Cunningham as Fairy Mary and Mrs Fleshcreep, who both give their all to their parts, although every now and then a little too much reverb on their mikes threatens to blur their lines a little.

Add to this a proper Pantomine cow, some great choreography from the 6 strong team from Dance Dynamix and seamless musical accompaniment by Callum Clarke, and it all makes for a tremendously colourful and energetic show. Director and Producers Chantelle Nolan and Jane Joseph, who have recently also taken over ownership of the venue, know how to keep their loyal audiences happy, and have once again pulled a real crowd pleaser out of the hat with this great half-term family treat.

For info and tickets visit

Star rating – 4 stars

Review by Nigel Smith

LIVERPOOL’S Imagine That! is about to get scarier as the kids discovery centre celebrates Halloween this October half term.
With the spookiest date of the year firmly back on the calendar, the popular attraction will have a week of themed activities. 
Get ready for a spellbinding science show, spooky spin art and serious amounts of slime.

The half term fun runs from Saturday, October 23 to Sunday, October 31 and visitors must book tickets in advance. 
Manager Aly Fielding said: “We know how much the kids love Halloween, so we’ve added some spooky activities just in time for the holidays.
“It’s so exciting to have our amazing slime troughs back in our Slime Factory. The kids love them because there’s unlimited gooey slime, including our Halloween slime with an ‘eyeball surprise’.
“Children will also be mesmerised by our special Halloween-themed science show.”

The three-hour journey starts in the Imagination Village before moving to the Artbeatz area, where kids can paint Halloween fridge magnets to take home, as well as paint a real car.
There’s a giant digital graffiti screen experience, so little ones can climb onto a broomstick for a souvenir photo, then hop onto the spin art bike to create pumpkin designs. 

Other highlights include a Halloween-themed science show in the Bright Sparks science zone, and a snow workshop amid a flurry of falling snowflakes.
The guided tour finishes in the Slime Factory where kids can play in eight huge tubs of slime, and troughs with Halloween ‘snow’ or jelly.
The discovery centre on Wavertree Technology Park, formerly Underwater Street, is aimed at children under 11.
It also features water activities and an outdoor area, which currently has a dinosaur theme.

Tickets are £14.95 per child, £12.95 for under threes (babies go free) and £7.95 per adult. Adult and child tickets are £22.90. 
To book or for more details visit

A KNOWSLEY construction company has stepped in to support South Liverpool FC.

Sterling Services, which offers services across electrical, building maintenance and project divisions is the official kit sponsor of the club’s youth team for 16 to 18-year olds.

Paul Blennerhassett, Sterling’s managing director, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the club which offers much more than just sport and is a real community asset to South Liverpool.

“We have a lot of young people and apprentices in team Sterling so it felt right to support the youth team of such a famous club in non-league circles.

“South Liverpool FC can not only boast of ex-players like Jimmy Case and John Aldridge who went onto football glory with Liverpool FC, but also the impact it’s having on young people’s lives.

“Growing up in Page Moss as a kid I remember how hard it was to stay out of trouble and do something positive. Football can teach so many things from teambuilding, time keeping and winning to hard work, fall outs and defeat.

“I know the club does amazing work across a growing number of teams catering for the whole community.”

Formed in 1935, the club was promoted to the North West Counties League for the 2021/22 season making a return to the National League System after a 30-year-gap.

Club Secretary Jim Stanway, said: “It’s fantastic that local businesses and people like Paul who have become successful want to give something back to the community.

“It costs so much money to run teams for all ages, maintain the grounds, pay for kit, coaches etc so we appreciate the support of all our sponsors. know Paul values the opportunities we offer young people as he understands it’s much more than just football.

“One of the best parts of my role is seeing young players transformed over the years into not only talented footballers of course but also great people that you’d want to know or work with.”

The club has junior teams from Under 7s to Under 16s, an Under 18 youth side along with Veteran teams, three open-age teams and an Over 55’s Walking Football Club alongside facilities available to the community.


FROM Friday 12 November to Thursday 23 December the Liverpool Christmas market will return, with around 40 stalls, festive rides and twinkly lights will...


THE Liverpool branch of the Parachute Regimental Association received the Freedom of the City in a special ceremony at the city’s Parish Church.The organisation...