21 feel-good stories from April that are sure to brighten up your long weekend

April has hosted some gorgeous spring evenings. Despite the cooler temperatures, for the first time this year beer gardens started filling-up and the winter coat has finally been ditched for summer.

While things begin to feel brighter, there are good things worth shouting about happening all over the county too. Whether its an incredible effort in a Pheonix Nights themed stag do or the fact the Lytham windmill wings have been restored, we’ve gathered up the brightest headlines from the past month.

Over in Blackpool, the resort’s beloved Bonny Street market opened for one final season of work and they hope to see customers from all over the UK come to visit for one last hoorah before they close for good.

READ MORE: Liam Gallagher at Blackburn’s King George’s Hall – review

In Blackburn, global artists Forence + The Machine and Liam Gallagher played intimate shows for fans that could get their hands on tickets. Nearby, in Burnley, a 14-year-old actress is set to star alongside Peter Andre.

Tyson Fury also retained his championship status after knocking out Dillian Whyte in the sixth round. Celeb news aside, Lancashire has had its fair share of good news this month. We’ve rounded up some of the most uplifting good news stories from around the county below, get yourself a cuppa and enjoy.

If you’ve got a feel good news story for us, contact our reporter rebecca.lockwood@reachplc.com

Kind-hearted woman sets up fresh food collection

Diane Ireland, who is setting up a new group, 'Fresh Food for Working Families' in Fylde
Diane Ireland, who is setting up a new group, ‘Fresh Food for Working Families’ in Fylde
(Image: Diane Ireland)

The kind nature of food bank volunteer Diane Ireland is seeing a new group set up to help families in Fylde get fresh food.

Diane, who has also volunteered with the Kirkham and District Food Action Group, has now set up her own Community Interest Company, entitled, “Fresh Food for Working Families” and is appealing for help.

Through the group, Diane is helping 45 people and 14 families by donating fresh food to them which they can collect if they are able, or have delivered if they don’t have transport. She told Lancs Live: “All these people work; they just need help.”

Delight for bargain hunters

Heritage Charity Shop opened their third outlet in Accrington this month and its located at the Arndale Centre. Bargain hunters were seen queueing on the day of the opening and it sells a wide range of ladies’, gents’ and children’s clothing and accessories.

There will be a selection of toys, books, DVDs, jewellery, watches, bric-a-brac, and shoes. All children’s clothing, both new and pre-owned, will be 50p. A 50p rail for adult clothing will be on offer in all three shops.

‘Unwanted’ boy, 8, finally back home in Lancashire

An eight-year-old boy who was sent to Australia has reunited with his long-lost family in Lancashire 75 years later.

Dorian Reece left the country at the age of eight and grew up believing he was either unwanted or orphaned. 75 years later, he discovered that his father had begged the authorities to let him bring up his son and to put him in touch with Dorian’s mother, who had been forced to give her son up after having him out of wedlock.

Dorian was one of thousands of children who were sent to former colonies between 1946 and 1970 as part of the child migrant scheme. Eventually, he reconnected with his mum, but he desperately wanted to find out about his father.

His search finally met an end when he met his British niece – the closest living connection to his dad – in emotional scenes aired on ITV’s long lost family.

Actin – the pet goat and pub regular in Chorley

Damian Stanley, together with his pet goat Actin, who turns a few heads when he is taken for a walk to the pair's favourite pub The Black Horse in Chorley, Lancashire.
Damian Stanley, together with his pet goat Actin, who turns a few heads when he is taken for a walk to the pair’s favourite pub The Black Horse in Chorley, Lancashire.
(Image: James Maloney/Lancs Live)

Meet Actin, the Chorley goat who bought a joyful stir throughout the county this month. Actin captured people’s attention after he was spotted with his owner Damian Stanley in Chorley this month.

LancsLive spoke to Damian and asked him about his pet , who he walks every day. He praised Actin’s ‘fantastic personality’ and says Actin is one of 15 animals that he keeps which help him with his mental health.

Actin, who he bought online about a year ago, has been named after the popular phrase, ‘acting the goat.’ He is just one of a collection of cherished animals that Damian keeps at his home on Draper Field in Chorley.

Windrush generation charity granted new community hub

A Preston based organisation working to spread awareness of the hardship faced by the Windrush generation has opened its doors to a new community hub.

Adrian Murrell, organiser of the Windrush Initiatives CIC has overseen the group in Preston for almost 10 years. And opening up the new hub is the start of future plans that he has for the community.

His team is made up of a group of volunteers and residents who have been operating without a base over previous decades of work. Adrian and team hope the hub will unify the community and encourage more events and meetings.

Morecambe to host 2,000 strong Promenade picnic party

Morecambe promenade is set to host a 2,000 strong picnic party in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The extended bank holiday in June will be used for the town’s record-breaking attempt hosted by the Morecambe town council. Its expected more than 2,000 locals will flock to the seaside spot to mark the anniversary and Morecambe’s Beacon Lighting Ceremony will take place on the Stone Jetty from 6pm-10pm on June 2 with live music, pyrotechnics, fireworks, food stalls, and a DJ, with Morecambe’s Beacon being lit at 9.45pm.

The Morecambe Big Lunch on June 5 will be an afternoon of entertainment for all the family. Tables for up to six persons are available to book at ticketsource.co.uk/morecambe-town-council – priced at £10 each – with all proceeds being donated to charity. Attendees are reminded to bring their own picnic and chairs.

Barrow lads go viral

The group dress up as the cast of Phoenix Nights for their friend's stag do in Lancaster
The group dress up as the cast of Phoenix Nights for their friend’s stag do in Lancaster

A group of men have gone viral on social media this month after they were spotted heading around Lancaster dressed up as the Pheonix Nights cast for a stag do.

Lee Norman, 36, from Barrow-in-Furness, and his friends planned a stag do for groom to be, Aron Zaccarini, 32. The group of 16 took inspiration from one of their favourite shows, Phoenix Nights, created and by and starring local comedian Peter Kay.

The group decided the stag himself needed to be Brian Potter and went to a local charity shop to find the right props.

“We’ve been to Lancaster before in fancy dress a few of us and it’s really good and they’re big fans of the show, we all are, really, so we got a random generator and each got a character, but the stag was always going as Brian Potter and his dad was going as Jerry St Clair because he got grey hair, but apart from that we just all picked our names out,” Lee said.

The group swept up a load of attention while out on the Lancaster stag do. They even caught the attention of Paddy McGuiness himself. Retweeting the post, the Bolton-born comedian wrote: “Belting! Hope you had a good do lads and it’s nice to see Bruno Fernandes next to Kenny Senior.”

Blackpool’s Bonny Street traders prepare for their final season

Market traders who have spent decades running stalls in Blackpool’s beloved Bonny Street Market have opened for their final season.

The lease on the site of the market was terminated by the council at the end of last year because the land had been earmarked for the development of the £300m Blackpool Central leisure development. But on April 14, traders returned to their stalls to restock and reopen for one last season. The stalls will operate from April 15 for the summer season.

Great Harwood kids collect masses of rubbish

Children at St Wulstan’s Primary School in Great Harwood have collected hundreds of pieces of plastic in the UK’s largest ever plastic survey, The Big Plastic Count.

Students had been tasked with collecting an entire week’s worth of their household plastic waste during the April holidays and MP Sara Britcliffe joined the 30 students as they sorted through, studied and recorded data on their wide range of soft and hard plastics.

The school was one of the first in the UK to take part in The Big Plastic Count. They joined more than 60,000 households and nearly 1,200 school classes nationwide who have pledged to take part in the challenge. Headteacher Fiona Hadfield said the children thoroughly enjoyed developing their understanding of their responsibility to protect the earth.

Peter Kay launches wheelchair-accessibly ‘wheelyboat’

(Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

This month Comedian Peter Kay launched a new wheelchair-accessible ‘wheelyboat’ near his home town of Bolton. The comic, writer and actor said he and his children had enjoyed outdoor activities at The Anderton Centre, near Chorley, where the boat was launched on the Lower Rivington Reservoir.

The Coulam Wheelyboat V17 – a purpose-built fully wheelchair-accessible powerboat is the first for public use in Lancashire.

Blackpool Zoo begins work on new modern house for big cats

Plans for a new £1.5million home for big cats at Blackpool Zoo were announced in April. The Pride of Blackpool exhibition – which currently houses Amur tigers and African lions – will be extended and renovated to create a state-of-the-art facility designed to focus on the specific needs of each species.

Work on the new home is set to begin in early May and will produce increased indoor spare and a larger off-show management area complimented by extended external paddocks and improved keeper facilities which will enable to best possible care for the endangered animals.

Bin workers given massive pay rise

Waste disposal workers across South Ribble are in line for a pay rise after councillors approved the biggest change in decades to the way the bin collection service is run in the district.

For the first time in 30 years, South Ribble Borough Council will take direct control of the operation after the authority opted not to renew its contract with the private firm that currently collects residents’ rubbish, recycling and garden waste.

Labour council leader Paul Foster said the move to end the outsourcing deal will mean the service’s 54 staff are soon paid the real living wage – presently £9.90 an hours – like all of the local authority’s own employees.

Mum’s pride after 10-year-old autistic son’s act of kindness

Richard Walters 10 with Elissa Whitter Callum Thompson who work at The Old Station Café
Richard Walters 10 with Elissa Whitter Callum Thompson who work at The Old Station Café

A 10-year-old schoolboy from Longridge has been praised after he stopped in the street to help a stranger in distress.

Richard Walters, 10, met up with friends on April 23. The schoolboy, who also has autism, was on his way to meet back up with his mum at a local café but found she wasn’t inside and had gone to the park next to it. There, Richard spotted a woman who was visibly upset after she accidentally stapled her finger.

The young boy stopped on his way back to his mum and instead helped to console the woman. Callam Thompson, manager of the Old Station Cafe was with his colleague Elissa Whitter when she caught the staple in her finger. She looked to others for advice but was approached by the 10-year-old who told her not to worry and explained he only lived nearby and would help if she needed.

When Richard reunited with his mum, Sonja, she was concerned as to why he had a can of coke, telling him not to accept drinks from strangers. Sonja wasn’t aware how her son got a hold of the drink until her own parents told her to check her phone.

Callam had posted the random act of kindness on Facebook in hopes of explaining why Richard went home with a drink. After reading the post, Sonja says she broke down in tears, full of pride for her son.

Global stars perform intimate shows in Blackburn

Both Liam Gallagher and Florence + The Machine played intimate shows in Blackburn’s King George’s Hall this month to high praise from fans who jumped at the opportunity to see them play in the county.

Liam Gallagher’s set was to celebrate the collaboration with Darwen trainer designer Gary Aspden. All proceeds from the show went to local charity Nightsafe and the performance received a shining five-star review from LancsLive reporter George Hodgson.

Florence + The Machine performed at the same venue on the Easter bank holiday weekend and queues of fans lined up around King George’s Hall to get in.

Caton ranked as fourth best place to live in the UK

Caton, a stunning village in Lancaster, was ranked as the fourth best place to live in the UK in The Best Places to Live 2022 report compiled by Garrington Property Finders.

The annual league table sees every location judged against four criteria – natural beauty, architectural beauty, quality of life and green credentials (which includes the number of public EV charging points and energy-efficient homes in the area).

Caton, just moments away from the Crook O’Lune, ranked fourth in England and Wales for post-pandemic living. It scored 15 for its natural beauty, 294 for its architectural beauty, 275 for its quality of life and 117 for its green credentials. The average cost of a family home in the village is £333,789.

Popular Blackburn market stall still thriving after almost 100 years

Giles Hayton is the current owner of Mayer's Fishmongers
Giles Hayton is the current owner of Mayer’s Fishmongers
(Image: Mayer’s Fishmongers/Blackburn Market)

Blackburn Market was established in 1848 and is home to some of the best local produce, businesses and business owners the town has to offer. One business that has called the market home since 1925 is Mayer’s Fishmongers, a family-run fishmongers that is a favourite with the locals.

Giles Hayton, part of the Midland Fish Company family is the current owner of Mayer’s spoke to LancsLive about the business. Despite facing hardships such as the pandemic and the Cost of Living crisis, Mayers said it is continuing to thrive with customers returning weekly for some of their locally sourced fish.

Bacup school where everyone ‘starts the day with a smile’

In the first sentence of their latest Ofsted report, students attending Britannia Primary School in Bacup were said to always ‘start the day with a smile’.

Britannia Primary School, on Rochdale Road, was visited in January and retained its Good Ofsted rating, with Lead Inspector John Tomlinson noting that “ambitious” leaders and staff have high expectations of pupils’ behaviour and achievement.

He said: “Pupils feel safe in school. Pupils explained to inspectors that staff will listen to their worries and help them when needed. Pupils are rewarded for their positive attitudes and hard work. Those who consistently show these qualities receive a coveted ‘Britannia Bee’ badge. Pupils wear their badges with pride.”

Terminally-ill girl with the incredible bucket list

Laura Nuttall, 21, from Barrowfood in Pednle, was diagnosed with terminal Glioblastoma Multiforme in 2018. Laura has managed to outlive her original prognosis due to an innovative cancer treatment she receives in Germany and throughout the treatment she has been ticking off her bucketlist which has included meeting Michelle Obama, taking Peter Kay to the pub and fishing with Bob Mortimer.

Now thanks to the help of her mum, Nicola Nuttal, she’ll be carrying the baton at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham due to take place in July.

Lytham Windmill restored to its former glory

Lytham's famous windmill just had its sails restored after more than six moths without them
Lytham’s famous windmill just had its sails restored after more than six moths without them
(Image: James Maloney/Lancs Live)

The historic Lytham windmill has been restored to its former glory – with its signature sails replaced.

Last October, high winds snapped one of the sails in two and upon further inspection, it was found to be rotten inside. As a result, Fylde Borough Council decided to take all four sails down so that repairs could be conducted.

This month, new sails were crafted and restored onto the windmill with the bespoke replacement sail created by veteran millwright Joe Gillet and his team.

Burnley-born actress to star alongside Peter Andre

A Burnley-born teenage actress will star alongside Peter Andre in a new filming project.

Lamissah La-Shontae first met the Mysterious Girl singer when she was only six-years-old. Now, she has been reunited with him for a new project that has just finished filming.

The 14-year-old has many on-screen strings to her bow, having featured in more than 50 films as well as a fully-fledged modelling career and being nominated for a National Diversity Award. LancsLive also reported earlier this month that she had been recognised for her fundraising achievements and awarded a British Citizen Award. Congrats, Lamissah!

Blackpool Asda worker’s random act of kindness

An Asda employee from Blackpool has been praised for a selfless act of kindness which saw her help an elderly couple with their shopping.

Mandy, a member off staff from Asda in Blackpool paid for a couple’s shopping after she saw them struggling with their bank card at the self scan checkout. The employee found saw the lady becoming worried and found out that her husband, who was equally agitated had dementia.

The lady expressed her concerns for the card being declined which is when Mandy stepped in to help them out. Mandy covered the cost of their £25 shop from her own pocket and has now been praised by her fellow colleagues and across social media, where she received a shout out for her goodwill.

Lancs Live – Blackpool