This weekend

Sunday 19 November 11.30 am

A word of warning about a beach hazard

Saturday 18 November 10.30 am

Formby Choral Society Autumn Concert

7.30pm 18 November Our Lady of Compassion Church Formby

Haydn - Nelson Mass
Zelenka - Missa Beat Purificationes


FCS Autumn Concert 2017An exciting concert - one huge favourite, and one completely unknown!

The Nelson Mass is generally considered to Haydn's greatest choral composition. We will be performing it in the original scoring of trumpets, timpani, organ and strings. Although Haydn subsequently added other wind parts to it, under pressure from a publisher, this scoring is beautiful and exciting.

The Zelenka work has only been performed once before in the UK, and we had to purchase the right to use the scores produced for the Czech choir who have made the only recording. It is a fabulous work!
(Source: http://formbychoralsociety.org/page38/)

 


Formby pub wins acclaim for the quality and standards of its toilets

A Formby pub has won acclaim for the quality and standards of its toilets ˗ in the Loo of the Year Awards 2017.

Wetherspoons-2

Google Street View

The Lifeboat in Three Tuns Lane has been awarded a platinum star rating by inspectors ˗ the highest award possible.

The awards, celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, are aimed at highlighting and improving standards of 'away from home' toilet provision across the UK.

Loo of the Year Awards inspectors makes unannounced visits to thousands of toilets at sites across the UK, in order to judge them.

All of the toilets are graded from bronze to platinum with unacceptable toilets not graded at all.

The platinum rating is given only to outlets which offer "exceptional toilets."

The toilets are judged against numerous criteria, including décor and maintenance, cleanliness, accessibility, hand washing and drying equipment and overall management.

The Lifeboat, a Wetherspoon pub, is managed by Ashleigh-Jane Briscoe.

Ashleigh-Jane said:

“We are delighted with the award. Staff at the pub ensure the toilets are in first-class condition at all times and it is great that this has been recognised by the inspectors.”

The Loo of the Year Awards 2017 managing director, Mike Bone, said:

“The toilets at The Lifeboat have been designed and fitted out to a very high standard and are both clean and well maintained.

“The pub richly deserves its platinum award – the highest individual award the judges can deliver.”

 


Take control and Self Care for life

Take control and self-care week-long campaign

Dr-CaudwellServices and schemes available in Sefton to support residents to take control of their health and wellbeing are highlighted during a week-long campaign (13-19 November 2017) from the borough’s two NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

NHS Southport and Formby CCG is celebrating Self Care week with a series of video stories focusing on the ways people can look after their health, as well as some of the schemes and services to help them to do this, by giving them new skills and information about taking better care of their physical and mental wellbeing.

Speaking of the campaign, Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG and local GP, said:

“The video stories featured on the CCGs’ websites and social media are an excellent way of highlighting how people can treat themselves and look after their own health and wellbeing.”

Sefton residents are also being reminded that one of the quickest and easiest ways to get advice on self-care is to visit any high street pharmacy. Chemists can provide expert help and advice about caring for minor illnesses and ailments, along with healthy living.

 

As well as the regular support people can access from their local pharmacy, 17 across Sefton also offer Care at the Chemist, which ensures more vulnerable residents who do not normally pay for their prescriptions have quick, easy and free access to medicines for range of minor illnesses and ailments without the need for a doctor’s appointment.

Embracing self-care is all about the little things people can do every day to live well and be healthy. Being active, eating healthily and learning when to treat common ailments without the need for a doctor’s appointment are all ways to embrace self-care.

Dr Caudwell said:

“There are so many easy things we can all do to help ourselves, such as keeping active, eating well, stopping smoking and limiting alcohol to recommended levels are all important in helping us maintain physical and mental health.”

The video stories featured on the CCGs’ websites and social media during Self Care week  highlight the range of help and advice available at local pharmacies in Sefton, the support for older residents to help them prevent injuring themselves due to falls at Active Lifestyle’s Active Ageing group, the methods and techniques residents can adopt to look after their mental health and wellbeing and much more.

The video stories will be posted every day through self-care week on the CCG’s website at www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk and Twitter at @NHSSFCCG.

More information on how everyone can use self-care to improve their health and wellbeing is also available on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk and from the Self Care Forum at www.selfcareforum.org.

 


This week's stories

Friday 17 November 10.00 am

Formby Choral Society Autumn Concert

7.30pm 18 November Our Lady of Compassion Church Formby

Haydn - Nelson Mass
Zelenka - Missa Beat Purificationes


FCS Autumn Concert 2017An exciting concert - one huge favourite, and one completely unknown!

The Nelson Mass is generally considered to Haydn's greatest choral composition. We will be performing it in the original scoring of trumpets, timpani, organ and strings. Although Haydn subsequently added other wind parts to it, under pressure from a publisher, this scoring is beautiful and exciting.

The Zelenka work has only been performed once before in the UK, and we had to purchase the right to use the scores produced for the Czech choir who have made the only recording. It is a fabulous work!
(Source: http://formbychoralsociety.org/page38/)

 

 Thursday 16 November 12.o5pm 

Not Long Now

Formby Christmas lights depend each year on a great deal of sponsorship and support from many of the local businesses. And the volunteers who contribute their time and enthusiasm into planning the event.

The switch-on is Saturday 26 November at 5.00pm it deserves your support. 

 Wednesday 15 November 9.30 am 

As a follow-up to yesterday's World Diabetes Day 2017 I thought you might like to know about this idea.

 Tuesday 14 November 10.20 am 

Advice from our local NHS on World Diabetes Day 2017

Are you looking for advice and support? here's the latest in this week's video series from our NHS professionals.

 Monday 13 November 4.15 pm 

NHS Southport and Formby CCG is celebrating Self Care week

The CCG is publishing a series of video stories focusing on the ways people can look after their health, as well as some of the schemes and services to help them to do this, by giving them new skills and information about taking better care of their physical and mental wellbeing.



 Monday 10.00 am 13 November 

Are you addicted to the internet?

image from formbyfirst.typepad.com

Edge Hill University student is investigating Internet Addiction.

The research is being conducted by Georgia Riley, from the Department of Psychology (Her contact details are available on the survey site)

"The research project aims to investigate the relationship between self-esteem, personality and internet addiction. The topic of internet addiction is relatively new and is a growing concern; therefore, it is important to identify the factors associated with excessive internet use. In doing so, this project aims to fill a gap in current research."

For more information and to participate in the research https://edgehill.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/georgia-riley-1

  Beach-View-at-Halfterm


Isn't it time for electoral reform?

I don't know about you but I think our electoral system is broken.

I have some experience I was a member of 2 political parties at some point in my life,  the Labour party and the Green Party. I was a Councillor for a number of years on Sefton Council and on Formby Parish Council and Little Altcar Parish Council. 

It's time to make long overdue changes and these short extracts from a Parliamentary debate explain why. Here's what the Electoral Reform Society has to say.

The Electoral Reform Society operates on a simple premise - that politics can be better than it is. We campaign for a better democracy.

The Electoral Reform Society is the UK’s leading voice for democratic reform. We work with everyone – from political parties, civil society groups and academics to our own members and supporters and the wider public – to campaign for a better democracy in the UK.

Our vision is a democracy fit for the 21st century, where every voice is heard, every vote is valued equally, and every citizen is empowered to take part.

Last week a group of MPs from across the political spectrum came together in parliament to debate the topic 'To make votes matter, adopt Proportional Representation for UK General Elections'.

Members of Labour, SNP, Green, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat parties all stood up for fair votes. Here are three of the main speeches, but many more MPs made short interventions.

At the Westminster Hall debate on electoral reform. Jonathan Reynolds MP recalled his youth growing up in the North East of England - an area where the government simply didn't need to win votes to stay in power.

After gaining over a million votes in 2015 the Green Party only had one MP elected. Caroline Lucas MP explained the impact of First Past the Post on smaller parties in the UK at the Westminster Hall debate on electoral reform.

Closing up the Westminster Hall debate on making seats match votes, Tommy Sheppard MP pointed out that not one single support of first past the post had argued that seats should not match votes. Instead, they focus on a series of distractions and obfuscations.

image from www.formby.today


A Time to Remember

Sunday 12 November 8.30 am

When You Go Home, 

Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Your Tomorrow, 

We Gave Our Today.

 

Saturday 10 November 11.00 am 

“In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

 

Posted at 9.40 am 11 November

Armistice Day

A Two-minute Silence takes place at 11.00 am today.

There will be a short Service at the Formby Village War Memorial to remember the fallen of the two world wars and present-day conflicts around the world.

This is one of the more poignant images reminding us in Formby of the fearful consequences of war. War is often described rightly as the failure of politics - who can forget those wise words 'Jaw Jaw is preferable to War War'.

image from www.formby.today
 
Graves of Polish Airmen who perished while serving at RAF Woodvale during WW2


Here are the graves of Polish airmen who lost their lives in common with many others from overseas, fighting with us from within this country

"When you go home tell them of us, and say
for your tomorrow, we gave our today"

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations and coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays.

Both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday are commemorated formally. In recent years Armistice Day has become increasingly recognised, and many people now attend the 11:00 a.m. ceremony at the Cenotaph in London – an event organised by Royal British Legion, a British charity dedicated to perpetuating the memory of those who served in the First World War and veterans of all subsequent wars involving British and Commonwealth troops. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armistice_Day)

 Friday 9 November 9.25 am 

Formby War Memorial

The War Memorial in Three Tuns Lane in the centre of Formby village is a Celtic cross on a square plinth and three stepped bases. The memorial contains the names of those who died in the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945) and Afghanistan (2001-2014)
Behind it facing outwards towards the village is a low concave wall.

War-Memorial-Cross

The cross is inscribed with the names of all 120 who died in the First World War.
The cross is also inscribed with the following words.

TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF
THOSE WHO GAVE UP THEIR LIVES
IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1918

ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION
UNVEILED
BY
LIEUT COLONEL JOHN FORMBY DL JP OBE
SUNDAY - NOVEMBER 12TH 1922 Wall: 1939 - 1945

AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN/ AND IN THE MORNING
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

The wall is inscribed with 69 names who died in World War II.

On the left of the wall, an individual section is inscribed with the name of a serviceman who lost his life in Afghanistan.

S. Swarbrick, 2nd Sept. 06

Flight Lieutenant Steven Swarbrick 120 Squadron Royal Air Force. One of 14 British servicemen killed when a Royal Air Force Nimrod MR2 reconnaissance aircraft accidentally crashed about 12 miles (20 kilometres) west of Kandahar, Afghanistan, on September 2, 2006

On Saturday 11th November Village life will pause for a few minutes to commemorate Armistice Day led by Formby British Legion members.

 9 November 9.00 am 

The Chindits in Formby

There is a rather nondescript electricity transformer building at the junction a footpath from Proctor Road to Gorse Way, on the Harington Road estate.

Behind a secure iron gate, a small plaque is attached to a wall, largely unnoticed by passers-by it commemorates a so-called unforgotten army. The Chindits who as the 13th Kings Regiment prepared for war in Burma.

Chindit-Transformer-Wall

I first wrote about this forgotten and largely ignored war memorial in 2009. 

"I was photographing the plaque a little while ago, some local residents asked me if I was responsible for it, they went on to tell me that up until about two years ago (2007), an elderly gentleman would lay a wreath on VJ Day. They wondered who he was and what had happened to him because the wreath laying had stopped. I promised I would follow it up, so rather belatedly I told the Formby RBL about it".

The Plaque is shown below:

Chindit-Plaque

"13th KINGS REGT WERE STATIONED HERE, BEFORE MOVING TO
INDIA IN 1942. THEY MARCHED INTO BURMA IN 1943, WITH
BURMESE, GURKHA AND BRITISH UNITS SUPPORTED BY R.A.F.
1st KINGS REGT WERE FLOWN INTO BURMA IN 1944 WITH INDIAN,
NIGERIAN, GURKHA & BRITI5H UNITS SUPPORTED BY
RAF & USAAF
THE CHINDITS MAYANMAR (BURMA)
THE BOLDEST MEASURES ARE THE BEST"

According to my research:

"The Chindits, known officially as the Long Range Penetration Groups, were special operations units of the British and Indian armies, which saw action in 1943–1944, during the Burma Campaign of World War II. The creation of British Army Brigadier Orde Charles Wingate, the Chindits were formed for raiding operations against the Imperial Japanese Army, especially long-range penetration: attacking Japanese troops, facilities and lines of communication, deep behind Japanese lines." (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chindits)

I'm always amazed when so little is made of this important part of our local history around the time when we commemorate all those who served in the Armed Services in defence of our nation.


Posted 5.00 pm 8 November 

Still time to buy your Poppy

Posted 10.00 am 8 November 

In Flanders Fields

In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields to write a now-famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields'. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance.

 

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

CC
© IWM (WMR-15236)
For queries, please contact memorials@iwm.org.uk.

Posted 11.15 am 7 November

Is this a unique approach to Remembrance?

Last week I was in Padiham for a brief visit. I enjoyed a coffee and a slice of homemade cake in the Mooch Cafe, opposite the Town Hall.

As I walked back to my car this large container caught my eye.

Padiham-Remembrance-Crosses
This is one of two such containers either side of the Town Hall main entrance. I've never seen another example of Remembrance like this elsewhere.

Padiham-Remembrance-Crosses-2
I particularly like the 'personal' touch in this tribute.

Someone, perhaps several people have added an individually handwritten inscription to each of the simple, handmade crosses.

I like the implied care, respect and personal tribute to each of the fallen.

So much more moving than the normal list inscribed on a granite memorial.

Well done Padiham Royal Britsh Legion, the townsfolk in general and Padiham Town Council for a unique and especially moving act of respect.

Posted 8.40 am 7 November

Have you got your Poppy yet?

 

Posted 11.05 am 6 November

 Formby and Ypres Talk


Posted 9.30 am 7 November

Sefton Council Remembrance Services

The Mayor of Sefton, Councillors and Council officers will all attend Remembrance Day services taking place across the Borough.

Formby Memorial Garden Poppy Logo

They will all remember those who died in conflict at services being held on Sunday, November 12.

  • Aintree Junction of Brickwall Lane/Lunt Road/Bridges Lane, Opposite Sefton Parish Church, Sefton Village, L29 10.30 a.m. 10.45 a.m. Cllr John Sayers
  • Ainsdale War Memorial Village Green 10.30 a.m. 10.45 a.m. Cllr Lynne Thompson
  • Bootle War Memorial King’s Gardens, Stanley Road 10.25 a.m. 10.57 a.m. Mayor of Sefton – Cllr Dave Robinson
  • Waterloo War Memorial Five Lamps, Gt George’s Road 10.30 a.m. 10.57 a.m. Cllr Paul Cummins
  • Crosby War Memorial Garden Alexandra Park, Coronation Road 10.30 a.m. 10.57 a.m. Cllr Les Byrom
  • Formby Holy Trinity Church Rosemary Lane, Formby 2.50 p.m. 3.00 p.m. Mayor of Sefton – Cllr Dave Robinson
  • Hightown War Memorial St Stephens Road, Hightown 10.35 a.m. 10.45 a.m. Cllr Steve McGinnity
  • Ince Blundell War Memorial Lady Green Lane, Ince Blundell 12.05 p.m. 12.15 p.m. Cllr Catie Page
  • Litherland War Memorial Town Hall, Sefton Road 10.30 a.m. 10.40 a.m. Cllr Ian Moncur
  • Maghull St Andrew’s Church Damfield Lane 9.50 a.m. 10.00 a.m. Cllr Marion Atkinson
  • Southport War Memorial Monument Square, Lord Street 10.25 a.m. 10.57 a.m. Cllr Ian Maher (Leader of the Council)

Full story: http://mysefton.co.uk/2017/11/03/remembrance-day-services/#.WgAs0jJPWo0.twitter


Posted 8.30 am 7 November

The morning after the night before

Just a brief thought after bonfire night!

There can be no place in a 21st-century parliament for people with 15th-century titles upholding 19th-century prejudices.

Paddy Ashdown 1941- : comment 24 November 1998

This post is updated everyday.


Formby Parish Council Meeting

Formby Parish Council meets tonight at 7.00pm in Formby Library. 

image from www.formby.today

The meeting is open to all members of the public. The agenda is shown below. 

Notice of Meeting

All members of the Council are hereby summoned to attend the next ordinary Meeting of the Parish Council, which will be held at Formby Library, Duke Street, Formby, on Tuesday 7 November 2017, at 7.00pm.  

Claire Jenkins

Clerk to Formby Parish Council

Agenda

1.0 To receive Apologies

2.0 To Receive Declarations of Interest          

3.0 Public Forum (the meeting will be adjourned for this item)

4.0 To consider and approve the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 3 October 2017.

5.0 Matters of Report from Previous Meeting – for information only               

6.0 Planning Applications – Sefton’s weekly list email, also available on Sefton Council’s website.

6.1 To note current position on Formby Development Sites in Sefton’s Local Plan.

7.0 To discuss and resolve the following:

7.1 To discuss and approve a donation of £500 to cover the cost of public liability insurance for the Churches Together Nativity Play                       

8.0 To authorise Payments (enclosed)

9.0 Chairman’s Report   

10.0 To receive an update on the Draft Neighbourhood Plan   

11.0 To receive the following reports – enclosed for information only

    Clerk’s report

    Environment Group minutes

    General Projects Group minutes

    Finance Group minutes

    Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

12.0 Date of Next Meeting – Tuesday 5 December 2017 to be held in the Meeting Room, Formby Library at 7pm


Members of the press and public are welcome to attend

 


Parking Restrictions proposed for Formby Village

On 10 November Cllr John Fairclough, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member - Locality Services will be asked to give approval for the introduction of Traffic Regulation Orders at various locations in Formby Village.

Formby-Village-Parking-2

He will consider two reports, an extract from one of these is shown below.

Following objections to the introduction of car parking charges on Sumner Road car park, it was agreed with Ward Members and Parish Councillors, that officers would carry out a comprehensive parking survey prior to the introduction of the parking charges. This was done in September 2015.

A second survey was carried out in April 2017, once parking patterns had settled down, in order to establish whether there had been any displacement of parking following the car park charges. In both surveys, special attention was also given to several areas where complaints had already been received, regarding obstructive and dangerous parking.

The purpose of this report is to highlight whether any parking has been displaced, following the introduction of the charges, and to evaluate whether any roads within the study area required additional waiting restrictions.

Results of Surveys

In both surveys, parking surveys were carried out on a Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Any vehicle parked within the study area was noted...... In addition to the location of the parked vehicles, an assessment was made at the time by the surveyor, as to whether the positioning of the vehicles resulted in any obstruction/congestion.

In addition to identifying the location of any on-street parking, the surveyors also quantified the number of vehicles in each of the three car parks.......

As ..... usage of the Sumner Road car park has remained almost at capacity, despite the charges being introduced, and none of the parking has been displaced into surrounding roads.
A number of locations which were initially raised as concerns, still remain a concern and require various waiting restrictions in order to remove the congestion and improve safety.

Proposal

It is proposed, therefore, to introduce a number of waiting restrictions on:-
 Halsall Lane
 Gores Lane
 Lonsdale Road
 Rosemary Lane
 Freshfield Road
 Duke Street

Source  http://modgov.sefton.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s78803/Appendix%20-%20Briefing%20report%20-Formby%20Village%20-%20proposed%20waiting%20restrictions.pdf

For all the details use the following link: http://modgov.sefton.gov.uk/moderngov/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=51110&Opt=0


Why not ask your pharmacist?

Health experts in Sefton are reminding residents to ask their pharmacist about the range of services available in local chemists during a week-long campaign, running from 6 to 12 November, and beyond.

Winter Pharmacy Story
 
Pharmacist, Sarah Halpin encourages people to discover the advice and support available from their local pharmacy

NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS South Sefton CCG are supporting ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ week, which highlights the range of services and support that is available to people from their local chemist.

Ask Your Pharmacist complements the national Stay Well This Winter campaign, encouraging people to look after themselves during the winter months – reminding them to see a pharmacist if they need advice on managing cough or cold symptoms; and for older people, a reminder to keep warm during the winter months by putting on an extra layer or turning up their heat.

Often, people make unnecessary trips to the GP or even A&E, when their neighbourhood chemist could help instead. In recent years, pharmacists have expanded their role, and now provide a wide range of clinical and public health services, within easy reach of the people who need them most. However, whilst most people go first to their chemist for medicines and medicines advice, many don’t know about the range of other healthcare services on offer in chemists.

Sarah Halpin, a pharmacist at Alexander’s Pharmacy in Waterloo, said:

"Your local pharmacist is often the best place to go when you have a concern or question about a minor ailment. We can advise you on a number of conditions including aches and pains, sore throats, coughs, colds, flu, earache, cystitis, skin rashes and more.

“Your local pharmacy can help you look after your own and your family’s health by offering advice on healthy eating, physical activity, losing weight and stopping smoking.

“The best part about seeking advice from your pharmacist is that you don’t need to book an appointment, and many pharmacies are open longer hours than some GP surgeries.

Another way to make the most of your local pharmacist is by signing up to NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG’s Care at the Chemist scheme, which is aimed at more vulnerable residents who do not normally pay for their prescriptions. Care at the Chemist is available at a number of pharmacies across the borough and provides expert advice and medications for a wide range of conditions, without the need for a doctor’s appointment.

Susanne Lynch, the CCGs’ head of medicines management, said:

“If you are one of our more vulnerable residents and you do not normally pay for your prescription, then Care at the Chemist is a great way for you to be seen by a health professional, who can advise on treatment for a number of ailments and offer medication where appropriate.

For a list of pharmacies signed up to the Care at the Chemist scheme and how to register, visit NHS South Sefton CCG’s website at southseftonccg.nhs.uk and NHS Southport and Formby CCG’s website at southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk.

For more information about the Stay Well This Winter campaign please see: www.nhs.uk/staywell

 


Pregnant women in Sefton urged to get their flu jab

Pregnant women across the Borough are being urged by Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG to make sure they get the flu jab this winter

 

Laura

Laura Gibson who works at NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG gets her flu jab

If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge. The flu jab is the safest way to protect you and your baby against flu. The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu and of complications and potentially harmful consequences for both mother and baby if you do catch the flu, such as premature birth and pneumonia. It also reduces the risk of your baby getting flu in the first few months of its life.

The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu as it reduces the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk - including expectant mothers.

Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result, mothers may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member Health and Wellbeing, said:

"Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly. It can cause serious complications for at-risk groups, such as expectant mothers and people with long-term health conditions.

"The flu jab can be the last thing on people's minds, especially expectant mums.

"However, while for many people flu is an unpleasant illness, for pregnant women it is extremely dangerous. My advice for anyone eligible for the free flu vaccination is to get it now before flu starts to circulate in the Sefton community.”

Laura Gibson, who works at the CCG’s in Sefton, said:

“This is my first pregnancy and I think it’s so important to be vaccinated as it protects both me and my baby, It’s great that the NHS is offering the jab for free to pregnant women like me and that the vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy.”

Free flu vaccinations are being offered to all pregnant women, all children aged 2 to 4, residents of all ages with a long-term health condition and everyone aged 65 and over. Most people who are eligible can get vaccinated at their local GP practice.

Dr Wendy Hewitt, clinical lead for children and maternity, NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, added:

"You can have the flu vaccine at any point in your pregnancy and not only is it safe for you and your baby, it’ll reduce your chances of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu from things like pneumonia, premature birth or even miscarriage.

“The added advantage is that your baby will continue to be protected from flu for the first few months of their life. Talk to your GP or midwife if you have any questions and they’ll be happy to help.”