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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 1 May 2006

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IF YOU are looking for the perfect summer activity to help you keep fit and to help a good cause, then this could be the event for you.  The search is on to find local people prepared to take part in the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride to raise funds for a major medical research charity as it continues the search into a cure for muscle wasting diseases.

As part of its 2006 ‘Every Second Counts’ appeal, the NorthWest Office of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is asking readers to enter the event and to get sponsorship from friends and family for their efforts. Riders who take part for the charity will be sent an ‘Every Second Counts’ t-shirt to show their
support during the ride and a certificate and commemorative medal to mark the sponsorship raised.

Says Charles Horton, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Regional Fundraising Manager:- “We need as many people as possible to enter the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride and raise funds if we are going to beat this disease. It’s a great way to help others and to stay fit and healthy yourself. Every week, 5 people in the UK are born with muscular dystrophy. Every second counts if we are to help improve the lives of those people in the future”.

The 57-mile Manchester to Blackpool bike ride takes place on Sunday July 16, starting from Manchester’s Albert Square in front of City Hall.

For further information and an entry form and sponsorship pack call the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Regional Office on 01244 403012 or e-mail

We're running out of time...

As part of the campaign against ID Cards, NO2ID are calling for people to renew their passports in May. If yours has less than half way to go (say, 5 years) it is to your own direct advantage to renew your passport before time.

Why? May is the last month you can get a passport and not be automatically entered onto the National Identity Register, worth it in it's own right.  Also once the technology is in place for the ID Cards themselves you will be charged £95 for a passport and ID Cards,  regardless of whether you 'choose' to take an id card.

So buy now and save later. Lots more details and info can be found at:-

The allotment... a green lung

AS THE child obesity crisis gathers pace and concerns grow for the health of our future generations, allotment gardening offers a significant source of healthy food, an understanding of where food comes from and an outlet for exercise. The growing trend of young families taking-up allotment tenancy is a significant indication that more people are starting to recognise the opportunities that self-growing presents, and they are starting to reap the benefits.

The Grow It! section at this year’s BBC Gardeners’ World Live will put the spotlight on encouraging youth community to enjoy growing their own. The show will feature a Grow It! garden propagated by children, for children, and the launch of ‘Family Sunday’, a first in the show’s history, will feature a ‘children’s trail’ that will lead young visitors and their parents around various gardens and exhibitions, introducing them to growing techniques and allowing them the opportunity to have a go themselves.

BBC gardening expert Monty Don explains:- “It is vital for our younger generations to experience the opportunities that growing fruit and vegetables offers. They can learn where food comes from and how to grow crops free of chemical enhancers, and get some exercise at the same time.”

Neville Lilly, a gardening enthusiast from Jamaica, will be showcasing his Birmingham Youth Organic Environmental, YOE, garden in the Grow It! area. Neville has been working with children from the Birmingham area since 2003, after experiencing first-hand, how little opportunity children living in inner-city housing projects have for genuine, outdoor activity and exercise. In the 3 years the project has been running, attendance has risen from an initial 10 children, to over 2000 children and young people, including twelve schools and community groups visiting and participating.

“Many of the children in central Birmingham live in flats and houses without facilities to engage in gardening and don’t spend much time out in the fresh air”, Neville explains. “The hands-on approach we adopt offers the children life skills as well as the knowledge to cultivate land and grow their own produce, proving how simple and enjoyable it is to grow and eat your own vegetables! The time spent in the garden also diverts them away from anti-social behaviour and provides a real opportunity to get some exercise.”

Kimoi Riley, one of the founding members of the Birmingham Youth Organic Environmental, says:- “I have been coming to YOE allotment since it opened, I saw an advert in the local paper.  I used to be bored at home, but now I have something to do. We take the vegetables home and they are all free! It’s good to get the children involved because it gives them something to do.”

Allotment gardening has been growing in interest amongst younger generations of city dwellers over the last 5 years. Inner-city areas like London, where the waiting list for a plot is up to 6 years, are an indication of the burgeoning enthusiasm, but the implications go much further than urbanites seeking a bit of calm away from the sprawl of busy city life. Sales in fruit and vegetable seed, in particular runner beans, tomatoes and onions, have overtaken those of traditional ornamental seed for the first time since 1945 and the indication is that people are increasingly turning away from aesthetic gardening, in order to gain greater control on what they eat.

BBC Gardeners’ World Live will provide a feast of gardening inspiration for visitors of all generations and perhaps the BBC Gardeners World experts of the future will find their gardening inspiration at the show this year! For further information on all show gardens and nurseries attending the show and ticket information visit  Tickets can also be booked on 0870 165 5573.
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