MINE’S A PINT… A Cheshire village hall and Flixton Conservative Club have been named as two of the Campaign for Real Ale’s top four clubs in the country. The Appleton Thorn Village Hall in Warrington includes a pool room, offers seven real ales, and hosts an annual beer festival in October. What’s more, according to an inside source with the initials PU, the club also serves six cask ciders. Both Appleton Thorn and Flixton Conservative Club will have to wait until next spring to find out whether they’ve won, and are up against the Albatross Club in Bexhill-on-Sea, and the Real Ale Farm in Wales. Keith Spencer, Club of the Year Co-ordinator said: “All four clubs demonstrate a first-class commitment to real ale and a dedication to the respective communities they each serve, making them all absolutely vital to their local areas.”
FUN RUN… If you weren’t feeling festive enough yet, the sight of 7,500 Santas running through the streets of Liverpool might put you in the Christmas spirit. The weekend’s 14th annual Liverpool Santa Dash was claimed to be the UK’s largest festive fun run, and saw the Santas raise money for the Claire House Children’s Hospice. Alongside well-known fundraisers including the scantily-clad Evertonian Speedo Mick, the dash also attracted Santas from Australia, Gibraltar and Spain, according to the organisers. If you’ve got the itch to take part, next year’s dash will take place on Sunday 2 December.
TOWER OF LIGHT… Fresh designs have been revealed of architect Tonkin Liu’s “Tower of Light” in Manchester. The architect beat three rivals in the design competition: Barfield & Marks; Feilden Clegg Bradley; and Hawkins\Brown to the project, and has now shared more impressions of how the project might look, including a view from inside. The 40m-high flue tower and façade forms part of the city’s energy network and will sit alongside the Manchester Central events centre. The wider energy network scheme will provide low-carbon, efficient and reliable energy to a number of buildings across the city, and a planning application from Vital Energi and the city council is expected to be submitted in January.
TEA WITH THE MAYOR… Lancaster Town Hall will open its doors to the public next week with a guided Christmas tour. Visitors on 14 December will explore areas often off-limits to the public including the council chamber, the mayor’s parlour, and its subterranean prison cells. Visitors will also get a chance to see Ashton Hall, which includes a concert organ and a collection of heraldic art. If that wasn’t enough, the tour includes tea and mince pies with Roger Mace, Mayor of Lancaster, in his official parlour. The one-hour tour starts at 2pm and you can pre-book tickets here.
PIGEON PARK… A patch of urban scrubland behind Manchester Piccadilly, normally frequented by avian visitors, has been transformed into what’s claimed to be the city’s smallest park. The Green Health Alliance, working with the Mayfield Partnership, have installed planters containing 15 apples trees on the triangular site near the Star & Garter pub on Fairfield Street. At just 1,900 sq ft, the park won’t have enough room for a kick about, but it’s a welcome addition to an area that hasn’t historically been known for its smart looks. Kath Whittaker of the Green Health Alliance said: “The Pigeon Triangle project has been devised and delivered by grass-roots organisations in Manchester whose volunteers have spent many hours making the tree planters using recycled and reclaimed materials.”
REEL OPPORTUNITY… A former cinema in Dingle on one of the main roads into Liverpool city centre could be yours for just £75,000, according to auctioneer Venmore’s catalogue. The cinema on Park Road is up for sale on 13 December, marketed as “an ideal residential development” subject to planning. The 13,400 sq ft building has permission to be converted into a tool hire shop, but with an unusual shape, a prominent location, and an imposing façade, it could be converted into something more impressive. Although it will require quite significant TLC, the guide price looks like a steal.