New Website in Beta

Just a brief update.

FormbyOnline ScreenGrabWhen I first started my blog I chose a platform called Ning. It was considered rare amongst 'hyperblogs' but it got spotted by others, in particular by the 'Talk Local' network. But eventually I transferred my affections to Typepad and I've used that as my base since 2006.

But I've rediscovered Ning and my affections for the platform have been reignited. So here's the result, It's a responsive design so it adjusts to suit the users' devices. In the PC or laptop mode, the front page is much richer in links and services. But it still works well in the mobile phone setting.

I'm likely to change the title of the blog from 'formbyfirst'  (Previous) then to 'formbyblog' (Current) and finally, now it will be known as 'formbyonline'.

It will be less personal or entirely focussed on Formby in the future but while retaining that core idea the use of 'articles' will add a wider dimension.

Forums, Polls, and Groups are exciting extensions available on this platform which I've added to the site.

And I'm also hoping that people will become members (for free) and take advantage of running their own blog and contribute articles, forum discussion items and complete the occasional poll.

The original site will still be here but at some point relatively soon I won't update anymore.

New Website Link: Letters from Formby


Hunt for the winning rock

Join us in the Race To Find The Winning Rock and the chance to win a £30 Amazon Voucher.

Over the Bank Holiday Weekend of Saturday 25th May 2019, we will be hiding some bright and colourful rocks for you to find in some of our favourite Canine Adventure Trails around Formby.

Follow the instructions on the rocks. Take a picture and share it on Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) using the hashtag #paulaspetservices.

One special rock has a different message on the back.

The first person to find it, post it on social media using #Paulaspetservices will win a £30 Amazon Voucher to spend on whatever you choose.

Read our Terms and conditions on our website


Pinch Punch: First day of the month


In the UK, an April Fool joke is revealed by shouting "April fool!" at the recipient, who becomes the "April fool".

Today is April Fools Day, enjoy the day, though I may be wrong the celebration seems to be much more muted these days.

I still remember the BBC hoax where they broadcast an apparently short but serious story about the spaghetti harvest season. The truth of the story was reinforced by the gravitas of the presenter Richard Dimbleby.

According to Wikipedia:

A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK, and in countries whose traditions derived from the UK, the joking ceased at midday. This continues to be the current practice with the holiday ceasing at noon, after which time it is no longer acceptable to play jokes. Ergo, a person playing a joke after midday is considered the "April fool" themselves.

In Scotland, April Fools' Day was traditionally called 'Huntigowk Day', although this name has fallen into disuse. The name is a corruption of 'Hunt the Gowk', "gowk" being Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person; alternative terms in Gaelic would be Là na Gocaireachd, 'gowking day', or Là Ruith na Cuthaige, 'the day of running the cuckoo'.

The traditional prank is to ask someone to deliver a sealed message that supposedly requests help of some sort. In fact, the message reads "Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile." The recipient, upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts another person, and sends the victim to this next person with an identical message, with the same result.

In England a "fool" is known by different names around the country, including a "noodle", "gob", "gobby" or "noddy".

What was your favourite April Fool joke that you ever perpetrated?

Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals are Celebrating Recruiting their 100th apprentice

Southport and Ormskirk hospitals are celebrating recruiting their 100th apprentice on National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March).

Alex Prior2Alexandra Prior joined the Trust in February as an administration apprentice, having worked for NHS Professionals within the safeguarding team.  She has already commenced her business administration level three apprenticeship in partnership with Southport College.  Alexandra joins a hugely successful apprenticeship programme now worth £764,000, one of the best NHS trust performances in the region.

Alex explains:

“I feel very privileged to have been given this excellent opportunity to springboard my career within the NHS – I’m looking forward to what the future may bring!”

The Trust currently offers 60 different courses via the apprenticeship route.  Courses are available in a wide range of subjects and levels – everything from an MBA to catering, pharmacy, midwifery, data analyst or even carpentry.

Victoria Kearny, Apprenticeship Lead explains:

“We are delighted to be able to announce our 100th apprentice – well-done Alex!  This is a fantastic route for anyone who wants to work and study at the same time.  This suits many people as the cost of the course is covered by the Trust, plus they still earn a wage.  This works well for those just starting out, but also assists continuous professional development for our existing staff.”

NHS Apprenticeship Vacancies can be searched using (Tip: set up an alert to be emailed about upcoming opportunities in your area).  Apprenticeship vacancies can also be searched at  Job vacancies at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust can found here

To discuss apprenticeship opportunities at the Trust please contact Vicky Kearney at


Kirwans solicitor urges Formby residents to check eligibility for LPA refund

A leading Solicitors for the Elderly member is urging people to check their eligibility for a lasting power of attorney (LPA) fee refund after it emerged that many were overcharged by the Office of the Public Guardian.

Claire Currie HeadshotClaire Currie, Head of Private Client at Kirwans law firm said that those affected should look at whether they could be owed a refund after almost two million people paid over the odds between 2013 and 2017.

Prior to April last year, anyone who wanted to apply for an LPA was charged £110. The price was then reduced to £82, and according to the Office of the Public Guardian, which processes LPAs, the old application fee was higher than the costs incurred in processing applications.

Claimants can expect to receive a refund of up to £54, along with any interest accrued since the registration was made.

So far, only 200,000 of the 1.8million people owed have claimed their refund, meaning that there’s £77million still owed to customers.

To apply for a refund visit: The exact amount will depend on when the registration was made, and claims must be made by 1st February 2021.

Claire Currie said:

"Claiming for a refund takes about ten minutes online, so it's well worth people taking the time to find out whether they're owed any money. You’ll need the donor’s bank details and a copy of the LPA, if you have it. If you need help or more information about making a claim, there’s a Refunds Helpline you can contact, either via telephone on 0300 456 0300 or email”

An LPA is an important document that gives a loved one the power to make decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so. There are two types of LPA: a health and welfare LPA, and a property and financial affairs LPA.

Recent research from Solicitors For The Elderly (SFE) found that there are only 7% of LPAs in place across the UK, meaning that millions of people are currently unprepared for later life. SFE urges anyone planning for their future to consider setting up an LPA and seek advice from a specialist lawyer.

Lakshmi Turner, Chief Executive of SFE, said:

"Whilst it’s comforting to know that people are making provisions by putting in place LPAs, millions of families, many of whom may have been going through a tough time with elderly relatives, will have been needlessly overcharged.

“It’s good to see the OPG addressing the error, and with the deadline for applications approaching, we’re urging people to check their eligibility for a refund soon.”

If you need assistance, speak to your local SFE lawyer. To find an SFE accredited lawyer near you go to: