Man accused of robbing a South Cumbria filling station shop to stand trial

by Amy Fenton

A MAN accused of robbing a South Cumbria filling station shop is to stand trial later this year.

Colin Eaves, 33, faces two charges which arise out of a late night incident at the Burton Road business premises in Oxenholme.

This is said to have occurred at around 10:30pm on November 22, sparking a police investigation and a public appeal for information. Eaves appeared at Carlisle Crown Court on Monday over a video link for a short hearing in front of Judge Nicholas Barker.

Eaves pleaded not guilty to the alleged robbery of a male shop employee, and also the possession of an offensive weapon – a meat cleaver – in public “without good reason or lawful authority”.

Cash, tobacco products and alcohol are said to have been stolen during the raid, and staff members threatened.

A Cumbria police spokesman said in the aftermath: “No one was injured during the incident.”

Eaves, who is said to be from Kendal but of no fixed address, is now due to stand trial in front of a jury at the crtown court. The hearing is due to start in the week of March 30 and, it is estimated, will last around four days,

In the meantime, Eaves was remanded in custody by Judge Barker.

Published by the Westmorland Gazette, 8 January 2020

1999: Gold top heroine

A MILKWOMAN known as Maid Marion lived up to her famous name when she spotted a house fire during her round and led an elderly couple to safety.

Marion Sanderson, whose business is called Maid Marion Dairy, was delivering milk in Oxenholme early on Tuesday morning when she heard a smoke alarm. She opened the letter box of Len and Hannah Fothergill‘s Scar View Road home and could see smoke.

Marion, 45, of Staveley, dashed to the rear of the bungalow and hammered on the bedroom window, waking the couple. Mr Fothergill, 73, managed to get to the door and Marion helped him out before plunging into the smoke-logged building.

“I got him outside and asked where his wife was,” said Marion. “She had got out of the bedroom and was half way through the living room and I helped her out. It was nasty and there was a lot of smoke. They were a bit shocked.”

She admitted she had been reluctant to talk about her good deed but added: “In actual fact it’s quite good for the industry because it reminds people that we are there early in the morning if something like this does happen.”

Marion had also woken neighbours Raymond and Christina Barker. Mr Barker ran round with coats to keep the Fothergills warm and waited at the end of the road to direct the fire engine, while Mrs Barker dialled 999. They then provided everyone with cups of tea.

Mr and Mrs Fothergill were both admitted to Kendal’s Westmorland General Hospital with smoke inhalation and Mr Barker was kept in because of complications with asthma. He was said to be feeling much better later in the week.

“I just want to thank them all,” said Mrs Fothergill, 84, after her ordeal.

The Fothergills’ daughter, Sylvia Newhouse, said the rescue was even luckier because Marion was running late that morning.

Kendal fire officers said the kitchen blaze was probably caused by an electrical fault with a gas-fired boiler.

Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put out the fire using a hose reel. The blaze was confined to the kitchen which was smoke damaged.

Extracted from Westmorland Gazette, 9 January 1999

2016: £60,000 play area opens in South Lakes village

As published by The Westmorland Gazette, Friday 28 October 2016

CIVIC DUTY: Councillor Sylvia Emmott pictured (left) testing the new play area with the Mayor of Kendal Cllr Stephen Coleman and Emma Turner of Oxenholme Play Area Development (OPAD) who helped to raise the funding. Copyright Westmorland Gazette. 23/10/2016

A new-look £60,000 play area has opened in a South Lakeland town. Excited children joined councillors for the grand opening of the new play area at Bolefoot in Oxenholme on Saturday afternoon.

The community group Oxenholme Play Area Development (OPAD) helped raise funds for the project through a ‘crowdfunding’ appeal. It raised enough money to add a ‘space net’ climbing area to the scheme, which also includes brand new slides, swings, climbing frames, seating and shelters. There was also a £25,000 contribution from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), £5,000 from Kendal Town Council and other funding from local councillors’ member budgets, charitable trusts, leisure organisations and local company donations.

OPAD chair and mum-of-three Emma Turner, said: “It has been a real community effort and lots of people have got involved, contributing funding and giving ideas about what they’d like to see in the park. We’ve been helped by SLDC, the town council, local businesses and charitable trusts and residents in Oxenholme have also paid towards it, we even had a sweetie jar in the local shop for donations. It should be something the whole community can be proud of because they have played such a big part in making this happen. The play area will be great for young people in the village. Because of Oxenholme’s relative isolation, it is the only park that is easily accessible and it is also the only real community space that we have where people of all ages can get together.’’

Playground manufacturers, HAGS SMP, designed the new play space incorporating ideas and suggestions from consultations run by OPAD in both 2014 and 2015, for a playground suitable for youngsters aged up to 14 that is accessible to both disabled and non-disabled users. Cllr Brenda Gray, SLDC ward councillor for Oxenholme and Natland, has also supported the project and contributed £3,000 funding through her last three years’ member allowances.

Oxenholme Play Area Development (OPAD) organiser Emma Turner with her son Isaac 6, and village youngsters who celebrated the opening event.


2016: Tractor driver receives suspended prison sentence for causing death of pedestrian at Troutbeck Bridge


A TRACTOR driver who caused the death of a pedestrian in a Lake District road tragedy has been sentenced by a judge.

Angus James Freeman, a 33-year-old farmer, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court today.

He pleaded guilty to causing the death of 59-year-old great grandmother Elaine Steele by careless driving at Troutbeck Bridge, near Windermere, on February 6 last year.

Holiday park worker Miss Steele, of Oxenholme, was walking on a pavement alongside the A591 when she was struck by Freeman’s five-tonne Massey Ferguson tractor.

She suffered severe head and neck injuries, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The court heard Freeman had inexplicably failed to observe a “give way” sign and markings immediately before joining the A591 and striking Miss Steele.

But despite her heartbroken family wondering why, Freeman had no recollection nor explanation for exactly what happened on a route he used every day.

Having heard considerable mitigation on behalf of Freeman – a man of previous good character – Judge Barbara Forrester suspended a 24-week prison sentence for 12 months.

Freeman, of Town End Farm, Troutbeck, was also given a one-year driving ban and must pay £545 costs.

His lawyer, Anthony Haycroft, told the court: “Unfortunately this was a tragedy in the very true sense of the word.”

Westmorland Gazette, 8 August 2016

18 new homes planned for land off Burton Road, Oxenholme

by Rachel Kitchen

EIGHTEEN new homes have been proposed for land east of Burton Road, Oxenholme.

Local developer Oakmere Homes Ltd is seeking planning permission to build on grassland bordering the A65 road, at the foot of the Helm.

According to planning documents, the homes would be mostly dormer bungalows with stone and render walls and slate roofs. Six of the properties would be affordable, and works would be done to resolve drainage and surface water issues at the site.

The plans are with South Lakeland District Council.

Published by Westmorland Gazette, 16 June 2016

2016: Oxenholme residents kept awake all night by ‘horrendously noisy’ engineering works

by Katie Dickinson

Works being carried out on Sunday, November 14

OXENHOLME residents have been kept awake all night for two weekends running due to ‘horrendous noise and vibration’ caused by works on the rail line.

Villagers described being ‘almost thrown out of bed’ in the early hours of Sunday morning as Network Rail engineers carried out noisy ‘pile driving’ on the track-side. The loud metallic banging awoke people on Helmside Road at 1am and continued intermittently until 5am. It marked the second Sunday in a row that residents had been woken up by the racket, with several leaving their beds to go down to the station and complain to the workers.

Helmside Road resident Stephen Warner said he had ‘never heard anything like’ the din in 22 years of living in the village. “We recognise that living next to a rail line and station brings some disruption and noise from time to time but this was beyond anything ever experienced in the past,” he said. Mr Warner’s wife Lizzii Nicholas said: “It’s not just the noise – the whole house was shaking and we worry about what it’s doing to the property foundations and the pipes.”

Stephen Warner and Lizzii Nicholas in their back garden, overlooking the site of the noisy engineering works

Since receiving several complaints, Network Rail has written to residents confirming that piling work will take place again over the next two weekends, and could continue for an extra weekend on March 6. The letter, from Community Relations Manager Sarah McArdle, said: “Please accept my apologies for the lack of notification in regards to this activity – we aim to be a good neighbour and pre-warn communities of such noisy activity.”

The rail company said that the work could only be done outside of train travel time and that pile driving – the cause of the noise – was necessary to install new gantries. Residents have been told that the usual installation process was to place the gantries on concrete platforms, but workers have had to resort to piling due to flooding on one side of the line making it impossible to control the water in the excavations.

But Ms Nicholas said: “It’s not good enough – we should be told what times the pile driving will be taking place. “We understand it has to be done outside of travel time but why can’t they do the most noisy work between 10pm and midnight, rather than keeping everyone up all night.”

Another Helmside Road resident, Ellis Butcher, said: “Network Rail has failed spectacularly with its community relations and have undermined any respect we had for them. “People in Oxenholme love living next to a railway but surely the first rule of being a good neighbour is you don’t wake next door up at 3am on a Sunday. And certainly not two weekends in a row.”

Westmorland Gazette, Thursday 18 February 2016

2016: Confusion over electrification of the Lakes Line

The Lakes Line

CONFUSION surrounds the long-awaited electrification of the Lakes Line – as a new report could delay work until 2024. The line, connecting Windermere with the West Coast main line at Oxenholme, had been due to be electrified by 2017. Now, a document called the Hendy Review has prompted an announcement from Government that work will be pushed back to ‘Control Period 6’, meaning electrification will not be finished until between 2019-2024.

But a Kendal-based train enthusiast has cast doubt over the announcement, saying that the decision has been made based on incorrect information. Malcolm Conway, chairman of TravelWatch North West, said that the Hendy Review puts the Lakes Line in the same bracket as other railway lines, such as the Bolton to Wigan service, where electrification work has not yet begun. But Mr Conway says work has started at Oxenholme, with more scheduled for April and May 2016, according to the Network Rail electrification timetable. He feels it is unlikely that if those behind the Hendy Review knew about this they would be happy to allow the work already conducted to lay idle for what could be close to a decade. TravelWatch NW is attending a meeting in Manchester on February 18 with Network Rail to discuss the issue.

The electrification of the Lakes Line was initially agreed during the previous coalition government, when Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced a £16m investment package in the rail network.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron is deeply unhappy about the Hendy Report’s revelations, criticising the impact it could have on the local economy and infrastructure. “The electrification of the Lakes Line is an important infrastructure upgrade which will provide a real boost to the local area,” he said. “It makes economic and environmental sense, and will enable the line to be better integrated with the main line routes. “There is a sense of déjà vu in once more making the case for this to happen – it was given the go-ahead by the Lib Dems in government, but has now been delayed by the Conservatives. Once again, much-needed infrastructure investment in our area is being overlooked by the government, but I will continue to campaign for this.”

Westmorland Gazette, Friday 12 February 2016

2015: NOSTALGIA: Dad helped the war effort in the countryside

The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author

Bill Moffat, of Natland, recalls life in the 1940s

“I was born in 1938 in Kendal, where I lived with my mum, dad and two sisters. Both my parents were from farming families, my father’s farming at Dent and mother’s (the Mounsey’s) up the Langdale Valley. I suppose this accounts for my early interest in agriculture. Dad left home and worked both on farms and in the building trade and for a time in a milk house in Liverpool. From 1942-49 he worked around Westmorland for the War Ag, an organisation which helped the farmers produce crops by good land usage, helping the war effort in the countryside.

The team of men working from this area (South Westmorland) were based at Oxenholme stable buildings, which belonged to Oxenholme House. Here was a large workshop, store, office and tea room. Implements were kept in a large Nissen hut and in the stores were various parts for ploughs, binders, mowing machines, thrashing machines, standing balers and tractors.

About 30 men worked at Oxenholme, including three mechanics, a clerk and a man named Parker Hodgson, whose job it was to go around the farms assessing then allocating the work for the men. Some of the ploughmen were Jack Moffat, Bill Shaw, Bob Jackson, Tom Smith, Bob Wilson, Bert Hill, Jack Airey, Harry Jones, Percy Ellwood, Clifford Smith, Arthur Cheeseman, Ben Robinson and Jim Armer. The tractors used for ploughing would be mostly wheel tractors but some caterpillar tractors were used for rough and steep ground. (D2 and International TD6, these came from America on Lease and Lend along with Ford Ferguson wheel tractors). In February through to March when the thrashing season had ended the ploughing out of lay or grass would begin.”

Westmorland Gazette, Sunday 6 December 2015

2015: Staveley man jailed for violent domestic attack

The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author

A MAN who left a woman bleeding in the shower after a violent domestic attack has been jailed by a judge.

Stuart Grady, 27, struck Michelle Larkin twice to the head inside her house at Oxenholme, near Kendal, on June 4. Grady lost his temper after Miss Larkin was sent a text message by another man. She was left with a scar to her forehead following an incident which occurred while the couple were involved in a “tempestuous” on-off relationship.

Grady was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday having pleaded guilty to four offences. He admitted an actual bodily harm assault on Miss Larkin and the theft of £110 from her bank account the same day. Grady also entered guilty pleas to possession of a 12 inch kitchen knife and an extendable pole in the street near her home on June 3. Judge Peter Davies sent Grady, of Main Street, Staveley, to prison for 18 months. Grady was also given a restraining order which prevents him contacting his now former partner for 10 years.

Westmorland Gazette, Tuesday 24 November 2015

2015: Elaine Steele named as Troutbeck Bridge tractor crash victim

Ms Steele worked at a holiday park in Windermere

Police have named a pedestrian who died following a collision with a tractor and a car in the Lake District. Elaine Steele, 59, from Oxenholme, was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident on the A591 at Troutbeck Bridge, near Windermere, on Friday. The male drivers of both the tractor and the car were not seriously injured.

The family of Ms Steele, who worked at a Windermere holiday park, described her as a “kind and soft-hearted woman” who would “do anything for anyone”. A police investigation into the crash is continuing.

BBC Cumbria, 8 February 2015