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'Dinosaur' skeleton discovered near Kendal

Credit: Lakeland Maze Farm Park

A giant dinosaur skeleton has been found in a field near Kendal.

Aerial photography of the creature suggests that the dinosaur – spotted at Sedgwick, close to M6 junction 36 – is a Tyrannosaurus Rex – a large theropod dinosaur that last roamed the land 66-68 million years ago.

The 'discovery' comes just a month after the launch of the movie Jurassic World which has put terrifying dinosaurs back into the spotlight.

Luckily for those who have seen the movie, this dinosaur will not be coming to life and running rampage through the beautiful South Lakeland countryside. The dinosaur skeleton has actually been cut out of a crop of maize, at the Lakeland Maze Farm Park in Sedgwick, and forms the theme for this year’s family maze.

Children and adults can venture through the dinosaur’s body, negotiating twists and turns on the paths that lead through the maze, as they attempt to find their way out, exiting through the creature’s hand.

The Lakeland Maze Farm Park will be using the design to fire up children’s imaginations, running a story competition that children can enter, throughout the summer, which asks them to create a story on the theme, ‘The day the Sedgwick dinosaur came to life.’

Credit: Lakeland Maze Farm Park

“We hope we won’t be awakening any sleeping dinosaurs, but are sure we will be sparking children’s passion for discovering more about these prehistoric creatures.

"This year’s theme should be a lot of fun and we expect to draw in around 18,000 visitors from across the north west, as well as locals and Lake District holidaymakers. We can almost hear the roar of approval now … unless that is the dinosaur coming to life.”

– Graham Wadsworth, Lakeland Maze Farm Park


£100k to tackle domestic abuse in South Lakeland

Credit: South Lakeland District Council

Support for victims of domestic abuse in South Lakeland has been boosted by a six figure grant award.

A joint bid by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), the Springfield women’s refuge and Impact Housing Association has secured £100,000 to fund programmes over the next two years to support victims of domestic abuse, deliver more counselling services and also develop education sessions with school-age children and young people.

The money is coming from a £10 million pot announced by the Government to tackle domestic abuse issues.

The £100,000 awarded to South Lakeland is the full amount requested in the bid and South Lakeland is the only area of Cumbria to be allocated money from the fund.

The money will be used to support both female and male victims of domestic abuse through a number of projects, including:

  • A ‘Recovery Toolkit’ programme delivered in partnership with Barnardo’s, working with domestic abuse victims to aid ‘trauma recovery’, build confidence and help victims to make choices in the future to avoid controlling or abusive relationships
  • Prevention work – delivering training for teachers in schools about ‘healthy relationships’ and how teenagers can spot the signs of a potentially abusive relationship. This will cover issues such as peer pressure and ‘sexting’
  • ‘Building better relationships’ sessions for abusive men, delivered in partnership with Cumbria and Lancashire Community Rehabilitation Company (formerly probation services)
  • Supporting the existing work of the Springfield refuge

“The award of this money is excellent news and it is a great credit to everyone involved that this funding has been secured for South Lakeland.

“No-one should have to live with or suffer domestic abuse and the important and innovative programmes that this funding will support will have a positive impact on the lives of many.

“The council has a clear commitment to work to tackle issues of domestic abuse in South Lakeland and I am delighted that we have been able to work with partners to secure this funding."

– Cllr Graham Vincent, SLDC portfolio holder for health and wellbeing

Lottery funding for Cumbria's smallest cinema

Cathouse Cinema Credit: Oxen Park Cinema Club

Cumbria's smallest cinema at a village in Grizedale has been given £8,000 by the National Lottery to go digital.

Oxen Park's Cathouse Cinema shows DVDs on a big screen for people who can't get to Barrow or Ulverston.

Oxen Park is a small village of around 20 houses and is eight miles from the nearest cinema in Ulverston. In 2002 a group of local people started a film club in response to foot and mouth. The outbreak meant many farmers had to stay indoors and people felt something needed to be done to bring the community back together.

"There was a sort of general low feeling of spirit and it was just a really good reason to get people together again and try and sort of lift them and of course that seems a long time ago now but it has made that sort of difference. You know, our people that come to watch a film they're a different group to the ones that go and do upholstery or go to WI. We do pull in people that you know maybe they don't do anything else."

– Carol McNeilL, Oxen Park Cinema Club

Initially they showed DVDs in village halls with a large mobile projector and screen but two years ago the club was able to transform an old pub outbuilding into a cinema with the help of a £50,000 grant.

The National Lottery funding will now pay for improved equipment including editing software and computers for their film-making workshops.

Free lunch networking event for South Lakes businesses

Retailers are being invited to think about innovative ways to boost their businesses at a free lunch and networking event in Bowness.

The ‘Retail Special’ business lunch, organised by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), is being held at the Laura Ashley Hotel The Belsfield, in Bowness, on Wednesday, 11 March from 11am to 1pm.

Guest speakers will be encouraging retailers to think about everything from their shop window first impressions to their on-line offering.

Visual display trainers from York-based ‘Made You Look!’ will be offering handy hints on how to create eye-catching window and interior displays and on how retailers can raise their profile and increase sales.

There will also be a presentation from a second speaker about how retailers can complement and enhance their high street trading by using effective on-line promotions, sales and marketing.

The council’s Invest in South Lakeland economic development team holds regular free working breakfasts/lunches and networking events throughout the year across South Lakeland.

The lunch at the Belsfield is open to all South Lakeland businesses and any that may be wanting to re-locate to this area.

“These events help the council to engage with businesses and provide a forum for businesses to discuss issues that directly affect them.

“They also provide attendees with an ideal opportunity to network with other businesses and make new contacts.

“This lunch is aimed at retailers in South Lakeland to offer some useful advice and support as part of our commitment to work with local businesses to encourage growth in our town centres.’’

– Councillor Giles Archibald, SLDC portfolio holder for town centres and small business

For further details and to register for the lunch on 11 March, visit:


£120k fine for council over bin lorry deaths

A Cumbrian council has been fined £120,000 after two women were killed by reversing bin lorries in the space of nine months.

South Lakeland District Council was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation that found the local authority had failed to tackle the risks from reversing vehicles.

Carlisle Crown Court heard the first incident happened on a single-track lane off Easedale Road in Grasmere on 2 June 2010. Mary Cook had been walking down the track while on holiday with her husband when she was struck by a reversing rubbish truck. The 54-year-old from Nottingham died from her injuries.

The driver pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving in a separate prosecution. However, the HSE investigation also found that it was normal practice for 7.5 tonne bin lorries to reverse down the long track to reach a holiday rental home, without a council employee walking behind to guide the driver.

The court was told the council should have reviewed all its bin collection rounds following the incident to eliminate reversing whenever possible, or to make sure employees guided drivers from behind vehicles when there was no other option but to reverse.

This did not happen and instead reversing was actually introduced at St Mary's School on Prince’s Road in Windermere where the second incident occurred.

The council had been carrying out fortnightly collections of recycling waste from outside the school gates for a term when it changed its system and instead began reversing the trucks onto the school grounds to collect the rubbish.

On 17 March 2011, council employee Dorothy Harkes, 58, from Ulverston, was walking behind a rubbish truck to guide the driver when she was struck, causing fatal injuries.

The driver of the vehicle was also convicted of causing death by careless driving but the HSE investigation concluded that there had been no need for council trucks to reverse onto the school grounds.

South Lakeland District Council was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

“Both the drivers have already admitted their part in Mary and Dorothy’s deaths but our investigation found the council had not done all it should have to protect the public and their employees from the danger of reversing rubbish trucks.

“The lane that Mary Cook and her husband had been walking along was heavily used by holidaymakers and yet the council failed to make sure measures were in place so that its vehicles could reverse safely.

“What’s particularly disappointing is that the council actually introduced reversing as part of its collection of recycling waste from St Mary's School, rather than trying to eliminate it wherever possible following Mary’s death.”

– Mark Dawson, HSE’s Principal Inspector for Cumbria and North Lancashire

MP challenges BT on broadband secrecy

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has urged the Communications Minister to ask BT to disclose where rural broadband will be delivered.

Mr Farron wrote to Ed Vaizey MP after residents complained to him about the lack of information being provided by BT.

“It matters that we have this information so that we can work to find alternative solutions and at the same time campaign to have those areas included. BT are using public money to deliver this project, so its all the more important that they tell the public exactly what they are planning.

“I wrote to the Minister today to push for a Ministerial directive under which BT would be statutorily required to specify the precise locations to which the programme will guarantee to deliver fast broadband. I don’t think that this is asking too much, and I’ll continue to fight for our right to access good quality rural broadband, at the same speeds as urban areas.”

– Tim Farron, MP for South Lakes

With fast broadband small businesses will have the modern internet connections that they need to trade and families in the area can take advantage of the latest technologies.

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