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A locally born writer is eagerly awaiting the launch of his first published novel on February 15th.

Rob Palk was born in Blackburn in 1981. His early years were spent in Rishton before the family moved to Accrington where he attended school. He went to Benjamin Hargreaves Primary School before attending St Christopher’s Secondary in the town and later went to Blackburn College.

Rob now lives in Leicester where he shares a house with his housemate and their respective girlfriends. All four are writers.

“Animal Lovers” is not Rob’s first novel. He has written two previously but this one is his first to be published. He told me that he doesn’t have an agent so had to look for an independent publisher. A friend of his from the publishing business gave him some recommendations, and it was one of those, Sandstone, based in the Scottish Highlands who accepted his book.

“Animal Lovers” tells the story of a newly married man recovering from serious illness whose wife leaves him to save the badgers, and his subsequent, and sometimes really amusing, attempts to win her back.

As badgers are a constant theme throughout the book, I asked Rob if he himself was a conservationist. He told me he was not but didn’t wish them harm either.

The story is told from the viewpoint of Stuart, the husband in question, and is well written, containing just the right amount of pathos and humour to make it eminently readable. The Halloween Party near the beginning of the book is deliciously funny and although some of the chapters that deal with Stuart’s illness are particularly harrowing, a hint of humour is never far from the surface.

The book is set in London, where Stuart lives and Gloucestershire where the badger cull is taking place.
I asked Rob if he was waiting with bated breath for the book’s launch. He said:

“It’s a weird thing having made something and it’s going out to the world. It’s quite exciting to see what people make of it.”
About his main protagonist, Rob told me:

“Stuart, the main character; I quite like him but also think he is a little badly behaved. I imagine some people will sympathise with him and others not so much.”

I can heartily recommend this novel, and at just less than 300 pages it is about the right length I believe. This author has all the tools and his writing, though intellectual is never condescending.

On behalf of myself and Acorn News, I wish him great success with this novel and any he writes in the future.

© Peter Jones 2018



A small crowd queued from 8.45 a.m. on Monday January 15th to witness the grand reopening of Oswaldtwistle Library by mayor of Hyndburn, County Councillor Peter Britcliffe.

The library was closed on September 30th as part of cost-cutting measures by Lancashire County Council after tireless campaigning to keep it open failed.

Among speakers at the reopening was Peter Hargreaves who also brought the original key from when the library was first opened by his Great Grandfather, Arthur Hargreaves in October  30th 1915 (Peter is pictured with the key here).
The theme for the opening was “trace your family history,” one of the services offered by “Lancashire Archives” the Preston based County Records service run by Lancashire County Council.

As part of the opening celebrations and to promote the service Councillor Britcliffe was presented with his own Family Tree.
The presentation was made by Katherine Walsh, manager of Accrington library.

It is hoped that the library will be as well used as it was prior to closure as figures showed it had been one of the best-used libraries in the area over the past few years.

It was the home to a readers group, writers group, knit and natter and Children’s Storytime and a regular venue for other local groups.

The building, originally gifted to the people of Oswaldtwistle by Andrew Carnegie is steeped in history and at its 100th Anniversary in October 2015, Oswaldtwistle and Church Rotary reopened the famous stocks in its grounds.

Its reopening is a triumph for everyone who never wanted to see it closed in the first place and a jewel in Oswaldtwistle’s Crown has been happily restored. Councillor Britcliffe summed up the reopening with these words:

"Oswaldtwistle Library is a particularly special library with historic origins and a proud history.

”We're very glad to have our library back and I'm delighted to have the honour of reopening it today.

"There are good reasons why people love their local library.

"They offer something of interest for everyone as well as being a place where people of all ages can meet and get involved in activities."

© Peter Jones 2018  Pictures courtesy of Tracy Simmonds.

Opening times for Oswaldtwistle Library are:

Monday 9am to 5pm
Tuesday 9am to 7pm
Wednesday 9am to 5pm
Thursday Closed
Friday 9am to 1pm
Saturday 9am to 1pm
Sunday Closed




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Iconic Great Harwood landmark, Churchfield House, is set to have new windows soon, thanks to a cash boost from the Council.

Churchfield House was gifted to the Urban District Council by its owner Milton Haydock.   Milton, a former Councillor, left his house, his artefacts and the grounds in the care of the Urban District Council, for the use and enjoyment of the people of Great Harwood after his death in 1926.

The house has undergone many changes since then and now, run by Churchfield House Ltd, this valuable community asset is available for hire and use and is also home to a popular café.

Lynn Wilson, of Churchfield House Ltd, said; “Churchfield House was gifted by Milton Haydock to the people of Great Harwood and Churchfield House volunteers have been really concerned in recent years about the state of the windows, which would not have lasted another winter.”

Council Leader, Miles Parkinson, said; “Churchfield House is a fabulous resource for the local community and the Churchfield House Ltd volunteers have breathed new life into the house by restoring it to its former glory and encouraging as many local people and organisations as possible to use the house.  The windows are in great need of replacement and, as they are in a conservation area, the requirements for new windows are very specific. With this £25,889 boost to replace the windows the house can continue to grow from strength to strength in the capable hands of the volunteers there, for the people of Great Harwood and the whole Borough.”

Lynn added; “We expect work to start to replace the windows soon and are really looking forward to seeing them in place. We’ll remain open throughout, so please pop in, everyone is more than welcome.”

Council Leader, Cllr Miles Parkinson Presents The Cheque To Lynn Wilson Of Churchfield House

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Families now have more options for commemorating their loved ones at Accrington Cemetery, with the installation of a new Stone Book of Remembrance in the Rose Garden, which incorporates a unique ashes scattering bed with small memorial plaques.

Cllr Ken Moss, Cabinet Member for Cemeteries, said; “The installation of the Stone Book of Remembrance is part of the ongoing improvements to the Cemetery, giving families more options to commemorate their loved ones. Other recent improvements include the refurbishment of the Chapel and moving the Book of Remembrance from inside the entrance to the Chapel to its own building next to the office, to make it easier for people to access.”

Plaques can also be placed in memory of loves ones whose ashes have already been scattered within the Gardens of Remembrance or the Rose Beds.

For more information about the Stone Book of Remembrance and all the options available to commemorate a loved one at Hyndburn cemeteries, please contact the Cemetery Office on 01254 232933 where staff will be happy to help.




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