Funeral of Darwen’s poet laureate

Sadly  Jim Atherton died last week.  Jim was well known in Darwen and across Lancashire for his dialect poetry.  He won many competitions and awards as well as raising large sums of money for charity through his poetry.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends.  His funeral is at Spring Vale Church on Monday 23 May 2016

Jim Atherton in costume reading one of his dialect poems

Jim Atherton in costume reading one of his dialect poems

Lib Dems defend right to criticise Labour Council

Blackburn with Darwen’s Annual Council Meeting saw the Labour Leader of the Council, Cllr. Khan, attack the opposition for negative campaigning in the recent local elections. Responding to the attack the Liberal Democrat Leader, Cllr David Foster, said,”As an opposition we will continue to criticise when you’ve got things wrong, we will continue to scrutinise very carefully your actions and we will support when we agree. If Cllr. Khan thinks this is “running down” the town then he does not understand the role of an opposition in the Council.”

Jack’s Key Drive resurfaced at last

Lib Dem Councillors in the Whitehall Ward are delighted that the entrance to the Jack’s Key Estate is being repaired and resurfaced at last. Cllr Karimeh Foster said, we and local residents have been campaigning for this for over a year as the road had deteriorated a lot, we are pleased that at last the work is being done.

However we do question the fact that a small repair was done to the road just a few weeks before thew whole of it was resurfaced – this was a complete waste of money.”

Cllr. David Foster has welcomed the election of Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Cllr. David Foster has welcomed the election of Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Tim Farron said that under his leadership, the party would oppose the cuts to tax credits and other benefits in the Conservative’s budget and push for greater spending on infrastructure such as transport and broadband.

At his first speech as leader, Tim said “If you care about human rights join us. If you think you shouldn’t have your emails snooped on join us. ‎If you think everyone deserves a decent home join us.” You can watch Tim’s inspirational speech here.

Cllr. Foster said, “These principles are at the heart of what drives the Liberal Democrats, our members and activists. More than ever Britain needs a party that will stand up for what we believe in, so we’re continuing our fightback and I’m asking local residents to be part of it.  Tim is a Lancashire led, born in Preston and was for a time a councillor on Lancashire County Council.  He knows the North West well”

There has never been a more important time to join the party.

Across the Country since the General Election 17,000 people have joined the party. Locally we have been joined by dozens of new activists and members this year, including a large number since it was announced that Tim Farron was elected. The Liberal Democrats have also seen stunning election victories at local council by-elections across the UK, beating both Labour and the Conservatives.

If you would like to join please go to and join the FOCUS teams fightback.

Blackburn Labour MP’s hypocrisy – fails to oppose benefit cuts

Local Liberal Democrat Leader, Cllr David Foster has condemned Blackburn’s Labour MP, Kate Hollern for failing to oppose the government’s proposed Welfare cuts that will affect many local families.
Cllr Foster said, “For the last 5 years I have sat in Blackburn with Darwen’s Council chamber and listen to Kate Hollern condemn the former coalition government for imposing welfare cuts. At the Last Council meeting Labour councilors queued up to condemn them. However their Labour MP has failed at the first hurdle. She did not vote against the Welfare Bill in Parliament yesterday. Liberal Democrat MPs including our new Leader, Tim Farron did oppose it. Kate Hollern was proud of stating in the council that she was willing to go against her party if she thought they were wrong, but in this crucial vote she meekly toed the party line and abstained. ”
Cllr Foster added we can now see the government implementing some of the more drastic cuts that the Liberal Democrats prevented them from doing when we were in coalition.

Gulley Cleaning

Cleaning leaves from gulleys

Cleaning leaves from gulleys

We were out gulley cleaning on the A666 last Saturday.  Following recent heavy rain manuy of the gulleys were blocked with fallen leaves and we collected 4 bun bags full of leaves.

Cleaning leaves from gulleys

Cleaning leaves from gulleys

Free school meals for infant children

From next September every child in infant school in England will get free school meals, saving families around £437 a year.

This is one of the most important changes in our education system for a generation. A hot, healthy meal at lunchtime for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will raise school standards and cut the attainment gap.

It would also never have happened without the Liberal Democrats in Government, fighting to cut the cost of living for millions of parents who are feeling the squeeze.