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Brunton Park to host thousands of carol singers

A crowd of 2,500 is expected at Carlisle United's Brunton Park on Sunday afternoon for a special carol singing event.

The Silent Night Carols service has been organised by HOPE Carlisle, which helps bring churches together to transform communities.

The service will give people the chance to celebrate Christmas as well as the opportunity to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One.

The moment when the battlefield guns fell silent on Christmas Day in 1914 and soldiers from both sides sang carols and played football during a temporary truce, will also be marked.

The gates will open at 3pm on Sunday 14 December, with pre-service events running from 3.30pm, ahead of the service which stars at 4pm.

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Festive fire safety warning

Cumbria County Council-Festive fire safety warning Credit: ITV Border News

The risk of dying in an accidental house fire increases by 50% over the festive season so firefighters are calling on Cumbria’s households to put fire safety at the top of their Christmas lists.

Last year there were 27 house fires between 15 December and 5 January compared to 17 from 15 January to 5 February 2014.

“While of course we want people to have a merry and relaxing Christmas and New Year, it’s important that everyone is aware of the potential fire dangers around the home during the festive season.

Just taking a few basic precautions though can prevent what should be one of the most enjoyable times of the year turning to tragedy.”

– Ian Cartwright, Cumbria’s County Council's Chief Fire Officer

Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is issuing the following hints and tips for festive fire safety:

  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home. Test your smoke alarms weekly and never remove batteries.
  • Never leave cooking unattended and avoid cooking while under the influence of alcohol. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
  • Never leave candles unattended. Keep decorations, cards and wrapping paper away from candles, fires, lights and heaters.
  • Ensure you switch off Christmas tree and fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or leave the house. Check your lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598).
  • Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.
  • Don’t overload sockets – ensure only one plug per socket. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.
  • When dry, real Christmas trees can take less than a minute to completely involve a room in fire so it’s essential real trees are kept in a suitable stand that can be topped up with water.
  • Always use a fire guard on a real open fire to protect against flying sparks and hot embers. Also make sure embers are properly out before going to bed.
  • Make sure cigarettes are extinguished properly and never smoke in bed. Put it out, right out.
  • Check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas to ensure their safety at this time of year.
  • In the event of fire - get out, stay out and call 999.

Crackdown on drivers with too much Christmas spirit

Cumbria Police are launching their Christmas crackdown on people who drive whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Credit: PA

To prevent a 'tragic Christmas' people are being asked to do their part for a campaign against drink driving.

Despite a national campaign every December people are still being caught having consumed an excess of alcohol or drugs whilst driving, according to police.

This year police will be steeping up their visibility around the county's pubs and speaking to landlords and their customers about the dangers of drink driving. They will also ask people to report anyone who they suspect is driving under the influence.

In December 2013, 2589 breath tests were administered which resulted in 97 people failing or refusing a test. This was more than the previous year where 85 people refused or failed the breathalyser test.

Of the 97 tests last December, 17 followed a crash. In 2012, this number was 23.

People are reminded that they can still be over the limit the morning after they've been drinking:

“One area of concern that we would like to highlight is the number of people who drive the morning after a night where they have been drinking. Many people will be attending Christmas and New Year parties during December and may have more to drink than usual. What many can underestimate is the effect that this has the following morning and some will get in a car thinking they will be fit to drive when they are in fact, still over the alcohol limit.

Our message is clear, don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs. It is easy to make alternative arrangements to get home. Don’t ruin your own or other people’s Christmas of by making a decision to drive whilst under the influence, it’s not worth it.”

– Sergeant Roberts, Cumbria Police

Santa visits Kendal for Xmas light switch-on

Credit: Kendal Christmas Lights Switch on

Santa, Elsa and Anna (from the Disney film Frozen) were just a few of the many visitors that attended the Christmas light switch-on in Kendal on Sunday (16th November).

Festive stalls, live music and the traditional reindeer sleigh procession entertained the crowds. A Santa Dash also raised £1000 for charity.

Click here to visit the Kendal Christmas lights switch-on Facebook page.

Credit: Kendal Christmas Lights Switch on
Credit: Kendal Christmas Lights Switch on

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Shoppers return as weather improves

The improving weather has meant a boost at the tills at the Gretna Gateway Outlet Village. The stores are much busier than yesterday, where shoppers stayed away from the open air mall due to the adverse conditions.

Both the main and overflow car park have been full for much of the day and 2013 is on course to be the busiest ever year for the centre.

The Lanes visitor numbers down on last year

The number of visitors to The Lanes shopping centre in Carlisle dropped by almost 100,000 people compared to the same time last year.

Nearly 760,00 visited the centre between December 1st and Christmas Eve this year. In 2012, the figure was 872,000.

Commercial Director David Jackson puts it down to changing shopping habits and increased online sales.

Shoppers hit the Christmas sales

Shoppers in Cumbria and the south of Scotland have been braving the bad weather as they hit the Christmas sales.

New research from Begbies Traynor, an independent business recovery practice, suggests many shops need it.

It says 151 UK retailers are now facing "critical" financial problems, up 8% from the last quarter of 2012, while the number of retail businesses with "significant" financial issues rose by 15% to 15,792.

The number of shops in each sector experiencing "significant" distress has become worse in second hand stores and market stalls, followed by food, drink and tobacco retailers, electrical goods merchants and clothing and footwear retailers.

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