Friday, March 31, 2023

A reminder that the UK already uses restraint on children in the care system

There has, rightly, been an outcry against the Home Office announcement that child asylum seekers will be forcibly restrained if they 'resist deportation. But we shouldn't forget that restraint is widely used on children living in the care system.

In July 2021, Children & Young People Now reported:

Dozens of MPs have joined forces to call on the government to ban the use of handcuffs on children in care.

Ministers are backing the Hope Instead of Handcuffs campaign, launched by Emily Aklan, chief executive of children’s social care provider Serenity Welfare, which is calling for legislation allowing a child in care to be handcuffed during secure transportation to be scrapped.

It is currently legal for private transport providers to physically restrain children at their discretion without the accountability of regulation or monitoring of restraint.  

The magazine quoted the Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy, who had tabled a parliamentary motion stating that a child who has not committed or is not suspected of committing a crime should not be placed in handcuffs or any other form of physical restraint:

"The rising use of restraint against children in the care system reflects a whole series of policy failures and wider lack of early intervention. If we're going to keep children safe, we need transparency about how they're being treated. 
We must shine a light on practices which have been allowed to stay in the dark away from public knowledge for far too long and start acting to stop the social care system causing further harm to already vulnerable children and young people."

Emily Aklan, who launched Hope Instead of Handcuffs, said:

“I’ve seen far too many children with red marks around their wrists with massive distrust towards the system which is supposed to be helping them. But with no need to monitor and report any use of handcuffs and safeguarding issues preventing children from being able to share their stories, it’s been incredibly difficult to prove just how widespread this issue is.”

Concern over the lives of children in the care system does break out now and then, though it tends not to last long, but there was some good news last year.

As I blogged at the time, Wales became the first UK nation to protect children from being handcuffed or restrained when being transported between care settings.

The new Lib Dem Code of Conduct for Members and Registered Supporters is announced

The Liberal Democrats approved a new Code of Conduct for Members and Registered Supporters at their spring conference, which was in York earlier month.

It was announced to those members and supporters last night in the briefest of emails - though it still managed to misspell the name of the party.

Most members don't attend conference and probably weren't expecting this new code, so it would have been good to have received an email that explained why it has been produced and what it is designed to achieve.

The code is potentially draconian, but it would be wrong to condemn it before there is a body of case law to show how it is being interpreted in practice.

Last September, Liberator reported a trenchant preliminary ruling from the party's Federal Appeals Panel (FAP):
Among a series of robust comments, it states: "A Liberal party cannot be in the business of policing the thoughts or beliefs of its members", and "no person has a right never to be offended by other people’s speech, or to have others agree with their point of view".
It called compelled speech "an affront to freedom of conscience and expression, and contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights", and went on to say the party "may not compel its members to express beliefs (including about gender) that they do not hold, nor to use language or grammar that they do not wish to use".

The report concludes: "The Liberal Democrats' formal disciplinary process is not set up to punish people for being unsympathetic or unkind characters. Nor is it designed to deal with 'political' policy disagreements, personality clashes, inadequate job performance or skills, or minor slights or discourtesies."
But things did seem to be improving:
The document does show the complaints process is not now being used for denunciations and score settling on a scale reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia. Complaints peaked at more than 300 in 2020, but are now "consistently under 100, and still declining". 
In the past year 184 complaints were received of which 133 were dismissed and just eight upheld, although 10 of those dismissed received warnings.
Let's hope the new code of conduct will see this trend continue.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Joy of Six 1121

"Talented Tory politicians are no longer gossiped about as potentially the next Prime Minister, but as the next Leader of the Opposition. Others are standing down early rather than go through the motions of waiting for voters to kick them out." Asa Bennett says the real battle for the future of the Conservative Party will begin when they have lost the next election.

Michael Walzer talks to Dissent about his new book The Struggle for a Decent Politics: "A liberal is someone who’s tolerant of ambiguity, who can join arguments that he doesn’t have to win, who can live with people who disagree, who have different religions or different ideologies. That’s a liberal. But those liberal qualities don’t imply any social or economic doctrine."

Joanna Blythman says we must take a stand against the farmed salmon industry.

"In the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, some experts worried that children confined at home would be vulnerable to abuse ... But the evidence suggests that in some parts of the United States, including New York City, those dire predictions were wrong: while the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc across the country, the epidemic of child abuse never arrived." An accidental experiment during Covid lockdown suggests too many children are removed to foster care, reports Tracy Tullis.

"Ray looks worried even when he is promising to love you all day (and all of the night). Dave looks like he’s won the pools even when he’s singing about an alcoholic clown expiring alone." Gareth Roberts celebrates 60 years of The Kinks.

Curious British Telly remembers Not With a Bang, a postapocalyptic sitcom from 1990.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Could this be the reason I have a strong interest in Edwardian Liberalism? This is me in a sailor suit

Paddy Logan. Charles Masterman. Lord Bonkers. These are my political heroes.

But why am I so keen on Edwardian Liberals?

Browsing through the family photo albums, of which I'm now the custodian, I have found a possible answer. 

Because this is a photo of me in a sailor suit.

I'm not sure how common they still were in the early Sixties, but maybe the fact my mother has been in the WRNS and my father in the Royal Navy was an influence.

I remember my mother saying I used to get excited when she got it out because I knew that meant we were going somewhere.

Ed Davey launches Lib Dem local elections campaign in Berkhamsted

The tractor of Liberalism demolishes the blue bales of Tory privilege.

From BBC News:

Speaking ahead of the launch, Mr Davey said: "People are having to wait hours for an ambulance, weeks for a GP appointment or months for urgent cancer treatment as the NHS crisis spirals out of control.

"The local elections in May will be the final chance before the next general election to send a message that enough is enough.

"People are turning to the Liberal Democrats because they know we work hard for our communities, we hear your concerns, and we never take you for granted."

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Row brewing over repairs to wall beside Bridgnorth Cliff Railway

Good news: repair work on the wall that closed the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway began yesterday.

Bad news: a row is brewing over who will pay for it.

The wall in question is the one on the left-hand side of the photograph above.

BBC News reports

The owner of a cliff railway has said he will walk away if he is asked to pay for repairs to a nearby wall.

Dr Malvern Tipping, who has run the railway in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, for 12 years, said the wall is the responsibility of the town council and he could not afford the likely costs.

And the Shropshire Star has photos of the work being carried out.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Follow Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince as they prepare the first West End production on Sweeney Todd

I first posted this in 2010 after watching the film, where "Johnny Depp sounds like David Bowie and you fear little Toby may break into a tap dance at any moment".


In those days this wonderful early edition of The South Bank Show was on YouTube in seven parts. Today you can enjoy the whole thing in a single video.

We follow Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince as they prepare the first West End production of Sweeney Todd, which stars Daniel Massey and Sheila Hancock.

Am I getting nostalgic - I watched this when it was first broadcast in 1980 - or do you just not get arts programmes this good on British television any more?

Whatever the truth of that, let's pause a moment to give thanks for Melvyn Bragg.

Most Leicester councillors deselected by Labour's NEC are from minority ethnic backgrounds

From the Leicester Mercury this morning:

Nineteen sitting councillors have been told they cannot stand as a Labour candidate in the coming May election, after party heads decided to take the decision out of the hands of local members and placed the national executive committee (NEC) in charge.

But both deselected councillors and their constituents are questioning the party's motivations after it was revealed that a majority of those deselected are from a minority background. 

Fifteen out of the 26 BAME Labour city councillors have been removed from their positions compared with just four of the 22 white Labour councillors.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

The Joy of Six 1120

"We live in a global, interconnected community and it is ridiculous to think that if we only act in our own self interest, there will not be consequences to our ability to engage internationally. It’s not as if we are anywhere near the top of the league table of countries where refugees flee." Tim Farron says that if Rwanda can support the wellbeing and integration of refugees, then so can the UK.

Pam Jarvis argues that changes to education have created a toxic environment of overbearing discipline, 'zero tolerance' and the rote learning of a narrow curriculum.

Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, Charles Dickens' great-great-great-granddaughter, talks to the Mirror: "The gap between the rich and poor in Dickens' time was huge, and in recent years the gap has grown again. We have never been so like the Victorian age in terms of the haves and have-nots. People lived hand to mouth, they weren’t saving to buy a home. They were trying to cover their rent - there is similarity today." 

"Wolves are making a dramatic comeback across mainland Europe, but the controversial prospect of their return to the UK remains unlikely for the foreseeable future. Instead, the growing focus here is on the lynx, a much less well-known predator, but one that many believe could prove less challenging to live with. So, how realistic is a lynx reintroduction and what might it mean for us, should we find ourselves sharing familiar spaces with this unfamiliar cat?" Hugh Webster asks if we could learn to live with the lynx.

Pitchfork choses the 50 best Britpop albums.

"It’s nearly 10 years since I last visited the ruins of Ruperra Castle, in the county borough of Caerphilly, but, to judge from photographs, this magical and unexpectedly sequestered ruin between Newport and Cardiff has only grown more melancholy with the passage of the years." John Goodall makes the case for saving Ruperra Castle.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe: When I First Sought the Lord

It's high time we heard more from the wonderful Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

We've seen her singing Didn't It Rain? on the platform of Wilbraham Road station in suburban Manchester in 1964. Here she is more than a decade before singing, playing the guitar and reminding us that black American religious music was part of the mix that produced rock.

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. (Psalms 34:4)

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Work to allow Bridgnorth Cliff Railway to reopen starts on Monday

Good news from the Shropshire Star. Work to allow the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway to reopen will start on Monday.

There had been problems establishing who owned an unstable wall beside the line, but these must have been overcome:

When the railway was closed in December due to the discovery of a serious fault in a retaining wall to the funicular railway, 14 of 16 of its staff members were made redundant.

But following the news that repair work is due to start on Monday, the Cliff Railway workers are celebrating.

"We are over the moon," said Peter Bridger, 77, who was laid off in January after seven years of ferrying passengers from Low Town to High Town. ...

"I honestly thought HS2 would be finished before the Cliff Railway was, but this is great news."

The 9th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon

This weekend Terence Towles Canote is running a 'blogathon' - what we used to call a blog carnival in the days when blogging was a thing - on his A Shroud of Thoughts blog where people write about their favourite television episode on their own blogs.

There are 16 posts listed, and all except mine on Softly, Softly: Task Force are about episodes from American television series.

Subjects dealt with so far include Scooby Doo, Falcon Crest, Moonlighting, The Golden Girls and The Twilight Zone.

Softly, Softly: Task Force and the history of police on television

This post is written for the 9th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon on Terence Towles Canote's blog A Shroud of Thoughts.

It’s 1968 and downstairs I can hear the theme music for Softly, Softly playing. But it’s eight o’clock and I'm only eight years old. Not suprisingly, I long to watch the programme.

A couple of years later, when I could watch it, Softly, Softly had metamorphosed into Softly, Softly Task Force and it is an episode of this latter series - Copper Wire, first broadcast on 1 December 1971 - that I shall be writing about here.

But to set it in context, we need a bit history of first - the history of police series on British television, or at least on the BBC.

The fall and rise of PC Dixon

That history really begins in the cinema. Ealing Studios released its police drama The Blue Lamp in 1950. It dealt with the murder of a London policeman who’s coming up to retirement, PC George Dixon played by Jack Warner, and the capture of his killer.

As in many British films of that decade, the villains are much more sharply drawn than the good characters. So the young hoodlum who shoots Dixon after robbing a cinema of its takings, Dirk Bogarde, still seems sexy and dangerous today. But James Hanley as the new constable who lodges with the Dixons and acts as a sort of surrogate son comes over as a wet haddock.

But then The Times critic of the day complained that: 

There is an indefinable feel of the theatrical backcloth behind their words and actions ... The sense that the policemen they are acting are not policemen as they really are, but policemen as an indulgent tradition has chosen to think they are, will not be banished.

That didn’t stop George Dixon rising from the dead to become nearly immortal.

In 1955 the BBC began to screen Dixon of Dock Green, a police series featuring several characters from The Blue Lamp, including a resurrected PC Dixon - again played by Jack Warner.

Warner was to go on playing him until the series ended in 1976, by which time he was 80 himself.

Dixon of Dock Green is written off in the TV history books as being ridiculously dated long before its 21 years on screen were up. 

I remember watching it as a small boy in the Sixties - it was shown at Saturday teatime, so no bedtime issues arose - and each episode began and ended with a homily delivered straight to camera by Dixon himself. 

These generally ran along the lines of “Young Johnny wasn’t a bad lad, but he fell in with the wrong crowd.”

Before I move this history on, I should add that, out of curiosity, I watched a 1970 episode of Dixon of Dock Green and found it wasn’t dated at all. 

Yes, Jack Warner was visibly at least two decades past retirement age – even his son-in-law Andy Crawford, the equivalent of Jimmy Hanley’s character in the film, must have been disappointed not to have made it past Detective Sergeant at his age. 

But the rest of it felt like 1970 and there was good use made of then-derelict Dockland locations.

Even Dixon’s opening monologue, which was about how you could work with someone for years but never really know them, was haunting rather than cosy.

Enter Barlow and Watt

In 1962 the BBC embarked on a new police series set in a new town in the North West of England.

The first episode of Z-Cars began with Detective Inspector Barlow (played by Stratford Johns) and Detective Sergeant John Watt (Frank Windsor) meeting by the graveside of another version of the original PC Dixon – an old constable gunned down by a young hoodlum.

While the makers of The Blue Lamp could only suggest more bobbies on the beat, Barlow and Watt have a modern answer to the problem. 

Watt says:

“If we had crime patrols like other divisions, Reggie Farrow would be alive today. If we had crime patrols in Newtown, when the burglar alarm went at the factory it would have been two tough commandos that tearaway met instead of old Reggie and his bicycle.”

And the rest of the episode shows them assigning suitable officers to these new motorised patrols.

The original run of Z-Cars between 1962 and 1965 – it was one of the last British TV dramas to be screened live – had a strong impact and was hailed as presenting the police as they really were.

When it returned in 1968, it was without Barlow and Watt, who had become the dominant characters in a new show. These later years of Z-Cars was never as ground-breaking as the original series, and scheduled like a soap on two evenings a week, it was in danger of turning into a soap.

Still, the Z-Cars theme tune remains one of the greats.

I finally get to watch Softly, Softly

Barlow and Watt had moved on to Softly, Softly. This new drama series again tried to keep up with developments in British policing by covering the work of a regional crime squad – in this case in a fictional region called Wyvern located somewhere near Bristol.

The series took its name from the motto of Lancashire Constabulary Training School: ‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey.’

In 1969 Barlow and Watt, by now promoted to Detective Chief Superintendent and Detective Superintendent respectively, moved to a new series called Softly, Softly: Taskforce. Set in the fictional town of Thamesford and filmed in the Medway towns in Kent), this concentrated on a team of uniform and plain-clothes police establish to carry out large operations.

It was this series that I got to watch as a boy.

Copper Wire

I’ve chosen Copper Wire for two reasons: the first is what it tells us about policing in 1971 and the second is the quality of the acting.

To get a result, the Task Force relies on either catching the criminals red handed or getting a confession out of them. There is little mention of forensic science beyond fingerprinting - the analysis of blood groups could eliminate suspects but not convict them.

And to get catch criminals in the act you needed a tip off, either from police intelligence – another force hearing rumours that one of their regular customers is planning a job in Thamesford – or from an informer. Every detective has his informers and their identities are jealously hidden even from superior officers.

If you wanted a confession, then Barlow was your man. This was the age before the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, but I can’t remember an episode when he beat it out of a suspect. He could be a bully, and he was sometimes shown bullying innocent, but he also used cunning and psychology. In Copper Wire he resembles a priest hearing confession.

Barlow is being driven home by his sergeant from a dinner where he has drunk too much. Listening in on the police radio for entertainment, he hears a name he recognises from his days in the North West. Partly out of mischief and partly out of nostalgia, he inserts himself in the investigation.

What follows in the second half of this episode is a wonderful two-hander between Stratford Johns as Barlow and Peter Kerrigan as Tiger Mulholland.

Stratford Johns was a mighty actor. Before Z-Cars he had been with the Royal Court in its glory years and he would later shave his head and play Daddy Warbucks in the first West End production of Annie. When he left Softly, Softly: Task Force in 1972, initially to play Barlow in a series of his own, the it was never as good.

But Peter Kerrigan is marvellous here too. In what could be a stereotyped Liverpudlian role, he underplays beautifully. Kerrigan had been a docker on Merseyside and was later to appear in many of Alan Bleasdale’s television plays.

Not that good acting in Task Force was a surprise. Thamesford’s Chief Constable was played by Walter Gotell, whose granite face and gravelly voice made him a regular Bond villain. And the dog-handler PC Snow was played by Terence Rigby, who was one of Harold Pinter’s favourite actors.

Frank Windsor devoted much of his career to playing John Watt, but when the series ended he went back to the stage and won warm reviews for his comic acting.

My favourite Task Force character as a boy was Inspector Harry Hawkins, played by Norman Bowler. I was later to learn that Bowler had been a member of the Soho set in the 1950s - here is talking about the artist John Minton.

To end, and to prove there was some humour in Task Force, here from another episode is a short exchange between Inspector Hawkins and PC Snow, who is gently breaking in his new police dog.

Friday, March 24, 2023

A blogger re-reads all 20 of Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine stories

The writer of Life Must Be Filled Up set herself the task of re-reading all 20 of Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine stories, from Mystery at Witchend (1943) to Home to Witchend (1978). 

She reports that she enjoyed the experience more than she had expected to, and sets out her conclusions in three posts - on character, the strange behaviour of parents and romance.

Her conclusions on David Morton, the captain of the Lone Pine Club are brutal but only a little unfair. She finds him:
thick and very dull indeed with no sense of humour (there’s very little humour in the books). Far from being ‘annoyingly steady’, he’s often the one who refuses to get help from the police or adults when the Lone Piners realise they are in trouble.
The good news is that she has warmed a little to the Morton twins:
Many people are unable to read these books because they find the twins so irritating with their put-on baby talk and constant complaints about the others having secrets from them. Their propensity to get locked up in ruined cottages by villains gets rather wearing. 
Surprisingly, on this reading, I found them more tolerable, especially Mary, who is very observant and often understands other people’s feelings before any of the others do.

This time it's the previous geneations of Mortons in the firing line:
I really don’t understand the Morton parents. The children are all at boarding school, so they see little enough of them, yet they are permitted to gad off to Yorkshire, Dartmoor and Rye, when their parents must know that no good ever comes of these holidays. In Seven White Gates, they are allowed to camp at a place owned by people they don’t know. 
The Mortons put far too much responsibility on poor old David, expecting him to keep the twins safe but in Lone Pine Five and The Elusive Grasshopper they are in great danger.
All true, but then I always liked the books where the twins were in great danger best.

Home to Witchend ends with David Morton getting engaged to Peter (Petronella) Stirling, and Tom Ingles to Jenny Harman.

But, as the Call Me Madam blogger observes, there is no third engagement. Why not Jon and Penny Warrender too?
I’ve read somewhere that, as first cousins, Jon and Penny regretfully decided they didn’t have a future together. I can’t find any such reference in the texts, so I wonder where it came from?
I can help here. I've not seen the sources, but I've been told that it was Malcolm Saville himself who was worried by the prospect of cousins wedding. He discussed his doubts in letters to friends and fans of the books.

He even considered pairing Penny instead with Dan Sturt, the young West Country journalist from Saucers Over the Moor and Where's My Girl?, though there is no trace of this in the books.

So if Jon and Penny did tie the knot after the close of Home to Witchend, Malcolm Saville wasn't there to record the occasion.

If you've enjoyed this post, you may like Read Martin Crookall on Malcolm Saville's children's fiction.

Mystery Surrounds How Cow Made Its Way Into Market Harborough Tennis Club

Sorry to have two Market Harborough stories today, but I suppose it proves that the judges are autonomous. Because they have given Harborough FM our coveted Headline of the Day Award.

For myself, I can only see this as a positive moo-ve. If British tennis is to prosper, it will have to shake off its image as a middle-class preserve and appeal to a wider population.

Cows' money is as good as anyone else's, so I say let them join.

Market Harborough is one of the best places to live in the country

Not content with recently being voted the second coolest place in Leicestershire, Market Harborough has now been included on the Sunday Times's list of the best places to live in Britain.

The Leicester Mercury quotes the Sunday Times pen portrait of the town:

'With so many beautiful old buildings, it’s hard to avoid history in Market Harborough, but it’s a town with plenty of modern, practical attractions, too.

'Rail connections to London and elsewhere are impeccable, schools are good and the town centre is a good mix of useful chains and interesting independents – none more inspiring than the Eco Village, a lively hub of mini-businesses that offers an environmentally friendly alternative to supermarket shopping.'

Bishop's Castle in Shropshire and the county of Rutland are also on the list.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Four East Devon Independent councillors to stand for the Lib Dems in May

Four Independent councillors on East Devon District Council  - the leader of the council and three cabinet members - are to stand for the Liberal Democrats in May.

They are council leader Paul Arnott and the cabinet members Nick Hookway, Geoff Jung and Marianne Rixson.

Since 2019, the council has been run by the East Devon Alliance, comprising Lib Dem, Green and Independent councillors.

A spokesperson for the four told Devon Live:

"The historic election victory of Richard Foord MP last summer was a watershed moment. In order to grow a progressive, centrist East Devon – with Homes, the Environment and Economic Growth at its heart – we believe that by standing as Lib Dems we can help guarantee this for the future."

When the Walker Brothers lost their shirts in Market Harborough

This is a cutting from the Leicester Daily Mercury for Monday 6 September 1965, so the concert must have taken place on 4 September.

I see newspapers were still giving 'pop' scare quotes, but I like the wiggly line around the item. I used to do a similar thing with a black felt pen when I included press cuttings in Focus and we pasted the artwork down. Letraset and Cow Gum, isn't it? Marvellous. 

Where did the concert take place? A Scott Walker timeline gives the venue as 'Embi Hall', which must mean the Embi Club.

Cinema Treasures says this was the old County Cinema on The Square, which was originally the New Hall, where the Liberal Party held its public meetings. 

I like the idea that two of my heroes, J.W. Logan MP and Scott Walker, performed on the same stage. (More prosaically, New Look and Superdrug occupy the modern building on the site.)

Another Leicester Daily Mercury cutting, this one from 18 May 1968, reports a break in at the Embi Club, but gives its address as 55 St Mary's Road. 

This would have been the old Oriental Cinema, so if Cinema Treasures is right the Embi Club changed venue at some point. 

Yet another club, the Frolickin Kneecap, was still using a venue on The Square that year, which must have been the old County Cinema.

Can any reader confirm where the Walker Brothers concert took place?

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Joy of Six 1119

"'It's time​ for the police to stop virtue-signalling and start catching robbers and burglars,'’ the home secretary, Suella Braverman, said at the Conservative Party Conference last autumn. 'More PCs, less PC.' It’s not surprising that the government’s most committed culture warrior would use her speech to launch an attack on wokery. What’s strange is that anyone could think that the main problem with the British police is a surfeit of political correctness." Daniel Trilling reviews two books on the problems facing British policing.

Heidi Siegmund Cuda explores how Russia joined forces with our own anti-vaxxers to wage biological warfare by proxy against the West: "In this undeclared cognitive warfare - where the human mind is the battlefield - a global pandemic becomes weaponised and too many people have no inoculations against disinformation."

The UK government’s attempt to frighten people into protecting themselves against Covid was at odds with the scientific advice it was receiving, say Stephen Reicher et al.

"Something sinister is going on with cuteness. Over the last five years, we’ve seen the sudden appearance of cute Facial ID Recognition surveillance, cute government health messaging, cute military propaganda, cute identity wars and even cute robotic elder care." Ewan Morrison on the rise of cute authoritarianism.

John Grindrod on the conundrum that is the green belt: "within it lie some of the most curious buildings in Britain, ghosts of long-lost ways of life, thwarted plans and the secrets of a nation running out of places to hide them."

"Without doubt Steve Winwood stole the show with Ginger a close second.  Winwood sang every song (he wrote most of them, too) and his keyboards dominated throughout."  Stuart Penney was at Blind Faith's Hyde Park debut and he remembers it.

Leicester man loses dad's ashes in Tesco bag for life during pub crawl

Our Headline of the Day Award goes to the Leicester Mercury. The judges were particularly pleased the paper had found a clickbait story that had local relevance "unlike most of the stuff it tweets these days".

I asked the judges if, deep down, this wasn't a sad story. They replied that most of our award winners are if you think about them for more than a moment.