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If you can see through the layers of dust that have gathered here since I last wrote something on this blog, then well done.

A lot has changed since I last wrote on these pages. I’ve now graduated with a 2:1 from my Journalism degree at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), and have been elected as Media Officer at UCLan’s Students’ Union (SU). And it is my first few months in the job which I’ve decided to talk about.

I’m now, worryingly, nearly a third of the way into my term of office. I say worryingly because the time is rapidly flying by and from time to time thoughts are turning to next year’s elections and who my successor may be and what they will do.

A lot of people, who don’t go to UCLan, ask me what I do in my role and I often say: “I’m the editor of our student newspaper, Pluto, and PR1, our magazine. I am also chief executive of Frequency radio and PSTV television station, as well as a student representative and trustee of the Students’ Union.”

But there is so much more to my job, and I thought this post could give you an idea of some of the things I’ve done since I started on July 1, why I did them and what I’ve learned in that time.

Preparation over the summer means a smooth start to the year

Between starting the job and Freshers’ week, there are two months where campus is quiet and it’s tempting to be lulled into a false sense of security. However, there are often many things that need doing during the summer in terms of preparation for the new academic year.

A few of the things I did this summer include: look for new printers for Pluto and PR1, repair much of the equipment n the Frequency studio, build new website for PR1 and order a new website for PSTV, order a new printer and upgrade the computers in all of the offices.

It may not look exciting, but this printer's already made a big difference to student media this year

A lot of these changes are not seen and probably not noticed by the people who read or listen to the student media here at UCLan, but they are all vital to making everything work. Last year the computers in the offices slowed right down and one by one stopped working which led to a decline in quality of media and volunteer satisfaction. Therefore, with the help of the university’s IT department, a lot of the computers were upgraded with new memory and bigger monitors and a new machine was installed in the radio studio.

This has helped fine tune the student media and allowed the volunteers to do a lot of the work while I go to meetings and fulfil my role as a student representative and also makes the office a much happier place to be. The quality has improved in Pluto, PR1 and Frequency since the start of term.

Go the extra mile for the volunteers

It’s easy to take the attitude of ‘I’m the paid Media Officer, I know best’ and work on a Monday to Friday, 9-5 attitude. However, with the students working in the evenings and at weekends (Frequency schedules go up to the small hours on some days) I have had to be on hand help people at all hours.

For instance, just tonight (Sunday) I received a call to say Frequency wasn’t broadcasting, so off I went to the studio at 7pm to fix the problems. It’s a bit of a cliché but it’s impossible for me to produce student media without the volunteers so I am obliged to help them whenever it is needed.

But going the extra mile also means listening to their suggestions and requests and offering constructive criticism. Over the summer, I redesigned PR1 with a glossy cover. However, at one stage, due to financial restrictions, I considered dropping the glossy cover but was persuaded otherwise by volunteers who wanted it. After all decisions I make this year affect other people’s portfolios so they should have input on what goes on.

Lots still to do

Two weeks ago I organised a concert for the launch of Frequency Radio in our SU bar, Source, which went down really well. There will be more gigs as the year go on under the Frequency banner which will help promote the awareness of the station.

Mike Dignam was a big draw at the Frequency Radio launch party. Photo by Grace Cappy

The PSTV website will be arriving very soon, and will finally give the station the platform it needs to show off the talents of students at UCLan, both behind and in front of the camera. It is also the first step of my aim to get PSTV affiliated with the National Student Television Association (and I will put updates about my progress on that here).

And the Pluto/PR1 juggernaut just keeps on rolling along with another 10 Plutos and five PR1s to be made this year. So if you’re on campus do remember to look out for them and pick them up.

There is still a long way to go this year and it’s exciting to be head of it all.

Shorthand: A first attempt

About five years ago a friend of mine gave me a book which I knew one  day would be very important to me in my journalism training.

Well today was the day I finally used it for the first time as I embarked on learning shorthand. It’s called ‘Teeline Gold: The Course Book. This particular edition was printed in 1991 but the principles and techniques involved in shorthand have not changed in the 19 years since its publication.

Shorthand is an important tool in journalism and one which, although may not be used as much today thanks to dicta-phones and other recording equipment, I still believe it’s an important tool to have. But anyway, today was the first time I tried my hand at shorthand and I thought I’d share my efforts with you and the way I went about it.

The easiest way to start off with was to have a go at writing the alphabet in an attempt to get to grips with basic shorthand. With the shorthand alphabet being very different to the traditional alphabet, copying each letter out five or six teams was the best way to develop my technique and get the letters correct in terms of shape and positioning on the lines.

After this an attempt at basic words which the book suggested was in order.

Something shorthand does is removes unnecessary and silent letters from words. Thus, the word light is just spelt ‘lt’ and cough becomes ‘cf’. When writing down what someone is saying, why bother with extra letters?

Most of the letters are fairly easy to write however there are one or two which I found harder to keep tidy, with ‘f’ in particular proving difficult to get correct, especially when I tried upping the pace.

However at this stage, technique is far more important than speed and I’ll continue to work at getting that right before attempting sentences and longer words. To pass the shorthand course at UCLan, I have to achieve 80 words a minute. However that test is a long way off yet so for now technique and ensuring what I write makes sense takes priority.

It’s going to be hard but it should be worthwhile and hopefully prove invaluable. Over the next few days I plan to repeat the alphabet and these simple words again and again before moving on to longer words and my first sentences.

Today’s first practise has been quite encouraging.

These may look like squiggles, but they are the first steps towards learning an important skill

Well this is it, my week in Cornwall is now over. Although I’m writing this on Friday evening I’m not bothering to publish it tonight, as I know there’s no point seeing as everyone will be watching the World Cup.

My last day was an office day again. Still more work on the British National Party story was needed with a few more facts and information needed for my story. This picture possibly gives an indication on what the story revolves around. This isn’t the only one that has been sent out to Cornish members in recent weeks and there has been some unrest regarding the party’s treatment of some members.

However enough of that.

I was also required to fulfil a fairly mundane job of ringing round the local primary schools to see if any of them had any events coming up soon which could be covered by the Cornish Guardian, even if it’s just sending a photographer down.

It was a slow news day, and as things stand there’s no story for the front page of the next issue out on Wednesday. However I’m sure something will come up, it has to! Even if the front page splash isn’t great it can’t be as bad this which was shown to me earlier in the week…

What else happened?

Well someone came into the office with this poster and asked if we were happy to have it up on the door. We agreed. Miss Cornwall was held last night next door to our office, however none of us went. I know some of you may not agree with beauty pagents however it was a moment of a relatively quiet day when the mother of the current Miss Cornwall (Charlotte Holmes) came in to ask for permission to put the poster up. I also apologise that my mug appears in this photo, not much I could do about it!

I had a quick trip out to next door’s pub in the afternoon to keep tabs on the first match of the World Cup, though annoyingly I missed the goals. Sticking to the World Cup theme I found this article earlier from the Western Evening Mail. I hear Emile Heskey Bus crashed into Rio Ferdinand bus the other day whilst Emile tried to go round a roundabout.

Overall I’ve enjoyed the week. Being in a district office may not be as busy as working in a big city office but it’s still enjoyable and there is still plenty of news that needs to be reported. It’s a bit more relaxing too, not having others check up on you constantly and working in a quieter atmosphere but this does not mean that you slack. Deadlines are still to be met and the motivation is still high. Speaking to one of the reporters over lunch one day he admitted the pay isn’t great but he doesn’t do it for the money. He does it because he enjoys it.

I know that one day, if I get a job and a career in the journalism industry, that I will work in an open plan office at some point and probably will spend a lot of my career in one. But I would like the chance of working in a small office at some point. Whether these offices and local papers survive long enough though remains to be seen.

I’m not going into the economics of regional journalism now but it’s a well known fact that many local newspapers are losing money at a higher rate than ever before. What the situation is at the Cornish Guardian I wouldn’t know. What I do know is that I am allowed to return one day for more experience if I so wish, which can’t be bad.

One thing I got to include yesterday. We became aware of this video during the day and I thought I’d share it as it definitely needs publicity…Enjoy.

First of all my I point out that there will be no pictures of women in swimming outfits today, sadly.

So what happened today?

Well to be honest there wasn’t anything which happened that required a trip out of the office, except for lunch. And I’m pretty sure that nobody is interested in a picture of Burger King or of me with my lunch. So instead here’s a clue as to what my main story of the day has been about.

Yep, everybody’s favourite people.

To put it in context, late morning I was sitting around having just checked up on the grandparents (Grandma had a fall last night). One of my colleagues then said he had a story for me. A member of the BNP who was quite prominent in the region within the party rang up to say he’d been suspended.

Needless to say he wasn’t happy.

Now I shouldn’t say too much otherwise I’ll be breaking the story before it’s appeared in the newspaper I’m writing for. Suffice to say that there are rumblings going on within its membership, particularly down here in the West Country. Several other members have also been expelled recently for ‘speaking out of turn’ and they’re not happy about it. There’s a feeling within members of the BNP in Cornwall that they’ve been cut off by the rest of the party and in particular the hierarchy.

One source told me: “There’s a pyramind structure within the party and at the apex of this pyramid is Nick Griffin. What he says happens.”

Pretty interesting I thought. This train of thought was repeated in the other people I spoke to who criticised his leadership style and gave their thoughts on what is best for the party and the number seems to be growing from what I understand. Tomorrow I hope to find out more about what’s going on and get a party line about the rumblings down in the West Country so I’ll keep you posted.

I know many of you reading this will probably have no time for the BNP but it’s an interesting development which could go somewhere and something I will try to monitor beyond my stay in Cornwall. I could be hideously wrong though, so I’ll have to play it by ear. If not though I’ll keep you posted.

Certainly this is more exciting than writing about more charity fundraisers which is how the day started out.

I would like to explain the story further however my own article for the paper is not yet complete, and it would be unfair to write it for them then just come on here and blab it all. If you are interested check out the Cornish Guardian’s website next Wednesday and hopefully it will appear online. If not I’ll post it here too.

And finally…

On the way home I nipped in to see if there was any progress with the derailment I photographed yesterday. There was! Some men in orange jackets and orange trousers had turned up. How exciting!

They’ve  brought something pracitcal with them too, mainly this big crane  to help rerail the stricken wagon.

Apart from that there’s nothing else to say really. Tomorrow is my last day down here. Hopefully something will come up but if not there’s always the BNP to fall back on…

Picture courtesy of Leo Reynolds

Well at least it wasn’t raining this morning. But it was still 7am when I woke up which for a student is a big, big effort. However needs must and I agreed to do this work experience so it’s about time I joined the real world.

Anyway, today was spent mostly in the office. There were several stories which involved more phonecalls including one to the widow of an RAF pilot who received an Elizabeth Cross at RAF St Mawgan recently. Having not been in the situation of talking to a widow and having to talk to them about something which involved her late husband it was a weird and awkward moment but a moment that I shall no doubt get used to and one that must be done, however hard it may be.

The seventies inspired swimming costume made by a student at University College Falmouth

Other articles I wrote on were not so tough at that one and included a charity race across Newquay Harbour for a children’s hospice charity, completing the story about a new local One Stop and students using an aquarium for a photo shoot. Although these aren’t really exciting stories they’re all part of local, regional journalism. And when you get photos like this, it’s not all that bad! This was a photo sent to the office in a press release from the aquarium.

This is in stark contrast to the last thing I did today which was go to Newquay Town Hall for a meeting othe Chamber of Commerce, of which five out of 17 members turned up. And I nearly fell asleep. Nothing happened as you can probably imagine.

After everything I wrote yesterday and photographed, today probably comes across as a bit of a disappointment and a bore.

I still had things to do, it’s just taking a photo of a phone and a computer isn’t that interesting. In a place where many people know each other and the local reporters mainly have stories told to them by various sources  rather than rely in press releases it can be slightly limiting for someone who doesn’t know the area or the people and is only around for one week.

However there was one last little thing I’ve done today.

On the way to the office this morning the local radio reported that a derailed train had meant all trains to Newquay were cancelled. After finishing today I thought I’d check it out to see if it was still there. It was, at right angles to all the lines. How it got like that I don’t know, but here are a couple of snaps of the incident.

It made a standard drive home a bit more interesting…if you’re interested in that sort of thing! What I want to know is, how the hell did it get like that?!

Photograph at Blue Reef Acquarium taken by Kirsty Macdonald.

This week I’m down in Cornwall doing work experience at the Cornish Guardian. So what I thought I’d do is to blog about my week and what I’ve been doing during my time down here.

Now you may notice that this first blog is appearing on a Tuesday rather than a Monday. Very good reason for that. Yesterday the weather was so awful I didn’t want to use my camera for fear of it breaking (after a recent repair I’m quite paranoid about it!) so the photos here are from Tuesday when the weather improved. Secondly, the Cornish Guardian is a weekly paper and goes to print on a Monday evening so the reporter for the area, Stuart Radnedge, takes Tuesday afternoons off to make up for his long 12 hour day on the Monday. So I didn’t really have much choice!

So where is this office?

Well it’s in Newquay and you may notice it doesn’t look too big. It isn’t. Only two people work here during the week, covering the local area for the Cornish Guardian who have their main offices in Truro.

From the outside it’s not readily noticable and is discreetly tucked away next to a nightclub looking more like an estate agents than a newspaper office. I don’t mind this though as it’s a different way of working and a different atmosphere to what I’m used to. Rather than being one of many in a big open plan office in a city centre, here it’s down to one or two people to cover a mainly rural area for the local paper.And just because it’s small and away from the city doesn’t mean that there’s any less swearing or urgency to prepare for deadlines!

And as you can see, when you get views like this on your way to work, who cares?!

First thing upon arrival on Monday was go straight back out again with the local reporter to RAF St Mawgan to interview the station’s Wing Commander about his failed medical and imminent discharge from the air force. For security reasons we had to hop into an RAF police car from the main gate to the Wing Commander’s house which is on the base. In this instance Land Rover Defender, man those cars are an effort to get into!

Anyway after that was over, a trip back in the Defender and another car trip took us back to the office for work to be done. I was going to take a photo of the the entrance to the base but, again, for security reasons thought best not to. So here’s a still from Google Street View…

During the day a few stories came in for me to work on. My main article was about an ambulance which had its windscreen wipers nicked the day before. During a visit to Newquay Police Station I asked the Inspector if he knew if there had been any progress. After me explaining the crime to him I quickly realised that he didn’t know which was strange as although I was disappointed not to get any more information on the crime, filling in an Inspector about a crime was quite fun!

The rest of the day was spent mainly finishing off copy in the office, making phonecalls and fielding more calls for my temporary colleague who was busy chasing up leads to other stories. A late trip up to Newquay Ambulance Station, to get a picture of an Ambulance with windscreen wipers held on by cable ties after the originals were stolen the day before, was my only time away from the desk during the afternoon which rounded off Monday.

Tuesday broke to more grey skies. After fighting through the traffic in St Austell I made it to the office at 9am. There wasn’t too much to do except chase up quotes and information for a few articles for next week’s paper. Although it isn’t out for another eight days, the work starts here and already a quote which I thought was going one way suddenly went another when new information came to light during the conversation. The joys of journalism!

In the foreground you can see the desk I’ve used for the past couple of days to chase up stories such as builders helping schools, ambulance wiper blades being stolen and plans for a new One Stop. OK they may be standard run of the mill stories (Stuart in the corner has been working on slightly more exciting things) they’re still important must be covered by someone.

A lunchtime finish allowed us to enjoy a try up before heading off for the day. With the weather being so good in Newquay I took the opportunity to take a couple of shots before the cloud came and it duly arrived the minute I left the town. Now I’m back at home in Lostwithiel with the rain bucketing down outside. So to cheer myself up here are some photos of Newquay in the sunshine from earlier on today.


I’m having a break from the norm in this post and writing about football. I apologise now if reading that word has made you want to stop reading already, but hang on. The domestic season is now over and so to mark this momentus occasion, I thought I’d look back on some of my favourite moments from the last year before the new season next week.

Some of these moments may great goals. Some may be brilliant matches. Some may even just be plain funny. Yes funny things do happen in football from time to time, unless you watch Soccer Saturday where they happen every time Chris Kamara appears on the screen…

Best coverage

Often watching Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday is far more entertaining than watching the football itself, especially if it’s Bolton Wanderers. This is Kamra’s finest moment, probably of his entire career. I think you’ve all seen this by now but regardless of whether you have or not it is always worth another viewing. We often see Kamara make mistakes and get way too excited about the games he’s at (unbelievable, isn’t it) but I don’t think anyone for a single second would expect him to miss a red card. But he did.

Best goal

Although there have been some cracking strikes from players you expect to start great goals this season, my choice for the best goal this season goes to Wigan’s Maynor Figueroa. There are several reasons for this. One, it’s from his own half! Although other players have done that over the last few seasons, this one didn’t rely on a slip by the keeper, be towards an open goal or just trickle over the line. No, this flew into the top corner after a great piece of opportunitism. Second he’s a defender. How many left backs do you see failing dismally with shots from 20 yards let alone 50?! And third and he plays for Wigan. Most Wigan player’s can’t score when they’re in the opponent’s penalty area.

Best celebration

No look back on a Premier League season would be complete without Jimmy Bullard somewhere. One of the most likeable men in football, the midfielder has overcome some serious knee injuries over the past two years and is playing regular football again. This celebration after his late equaliser was one of the most ingenious ways of commemorating a goal I’ve ever seen. This was as about as good as it got for Hull this season though.

Most bizarre moment

If anyone has any an answer asto what the hell is going on (apart from the obvious!) and why, then please do get in touch.

Biggest gaffe

This isn’t the photo of when the gaffe took place but it does show the guilty party, Rafael Benitez. The actual gaffe os available here. When Rafa made the ‘guarantee’ that Liverpool would finish fourth in the Premier League they were seventh in the league and 13 points off the top of the table. Seventh is where they stayed, just scraping into the Europa League and finishing 23 points behind Chelsea, a long way off the Champions League guarantee by Benitez in December. After coming second the year before it was a pretty big fall. Well done Rafa.

Angriest fan

Photo courtesy of marianthipop

I’ve dropped down the divisions for this one. The photo above is of Blundell Park, the home of Grimsby Town who have been in the Football League for 99 years. Sorry, that should say had. Because at the end of the 2009/10 season they dropped down to the Blue Square Premier. Now there is a theory that the lower a team is in the league then the happier the fans. Not this fan though, evidence of which can be found here and here. I have to warn you there is a fair bit of swearing on those links. Still funny though.

Best tax form

Every football ground has fans who bring banners and placards. This one was made by a Stoke fan when Liverpool visited the Britannia Stadium in January. With pressure on Rafael Benitez mounting as the season went on, this P45 was made for the Liverpool manager who days before had seen his team beaten in an FA Cup 3rd round replay by Reading. This is far more original than any ‘Rafa out’ or ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ banners or chants, not that you’d ever see anything like that around Anfield anyway.

Photo of Rafael Benitez courtesy of Nigel Wilson.

Preston’s haunted tunnel

A few days ago I was invited to walk down a disused railway tunnel in Preston called Miley Tunnel. It’s only a quarter of a mile long, however it was apparently haunted by a grey lady who would walk the tunnel towards any oncoming visitors.

The Deepdale end of Miley Tunnel

Myself, Joe Stashko and Andy Halls decided to check this out for Blog Preston to see if there was any truth in this legend. So armed with torches and a camera we headed down to investigate. Now before I go any further let me just explain a bit about the tunnel and the railway that used to run through it.

The Preston and Longridge Railway company opened a line from the Lancashire city which ran 6.5 miles to Longridge in 1840. Originally the wagons on the line were horse drawn or powered by gravity (which sounds a bit risky!). In 1846 the line was taken over by the Fleetwood, Preston and West Riding Junction Railway who had an ambitious plan to use the route as part of line which would connect Fleetwood to Leeds and Bradford.  However this never materialised and no extensions were built.

By 1930 buses in Preston were proving to be the more popular way of moving about so the line closed to passengers. Freight traffic remained until 1980 when the line closed for good.

So what of the line today?

Well it’s very overgrown for a start. We decided to walk from the Deepdale end towards the West Coast Main Line, with the other end of Miley Tunnel being located in the heart of the University of Central Lancashire’s campus. Scrambling down the banks of the cutting proved to be a challenge with brambles aplenty. If you don’t fall over the twisted branches then the rusty track and rotten sleepers are hiding in the weeds waiting to trip you up.

The tunnel itself was dirty and full of litter with a bent fence at the end offering a feeble barrier between us and the dark. After 200 yards or so the tunnel curved round and very quickly the last remaining traces of sunlight disappeared leaving us in total darkness and liable to fall over the track and dips in the ballast.

If the ghost was to appear then this was the time.

Well after a few more paces a white light started to appear in the distance, rapidly getting bigger and bigger. And you know what it was? The light coming in from the other end. No grey lady or any other ghost.

A couple of minutes later we had reached the other end with no haunting experiences. The only thing which puzzled me in the trip is in the two photos below.

These two photos were taken at the Moor Lane end of the tunnel, where the line is in a deep cutting briefly between the Miley Tunnel the other shorter tunnel under the university campus. I apologise for the blurriness of these photos however they were on a 1.6s shutter release and I didn’t have a tripod so the quality of them is reduced.

But what is that blue line? It may just be a trick of the light or my flash but it doesn’t make much sense in my mind. If anyone has any ideas or just some wild speculation let me know on the comments below! Maybe I’m being an idiot. Maybe I’m looking for something that isn’t really there. It’s probably nothing but part of me wants it to be something.

For more photos of Miley Tunnel, please visit my Flickr.

Last week saw myself and three other journalists cover the General Election in Preston for Blog Preston. My main role of the evening was to get photographs for the website, both of the count and of the key people at Preston Guild Hall without breaking any laws!

So here this time are some of my photos of the evening, in chronological order, with some information about each one to give you an idea of how the night unfolded. It was a very long evening. We arrived at Guild Hall at about 8.30pm, and left just before 5am on the Friday morning. Apparently another count in Lancashire saw the journalists given bacon sandwiches, how I could have done with one. Sadly none were forthcoming which was a disappointment!

Taken early on in the night, this was the scene in Guild Hall at about 9.30pm before any ballot boxes had arrived. Nothing much was really going on with just a handful of city councillors and journalists wandering about and preparing for the night ahead.

Our home for the evening. The four laptops set up in the corner of Guild Hall. From left to right; Andy Halls, Daniel Bentley and Joe Stashko all ready and raring to go and report the evening’s events.

This turned into a familiar sight as the night went on. Labour candidate and current MP Mark Hendrick observing the count and sorting of ballot papers. For hours he went round just watching the papers being counted with a nervous expression on his face and refusing to do any press interiews. None of this helped to dampen various rumour that were flying around the room about which way the vote was going.

Another common sight, lines of councillors standing over. The Lib Dems were taking a much larger interest than others, as you can see by the line of yellow rosettes! Quite what this achieves I’m not really sure, especially when they are only sorting between the General Election and local election papers, which was the case here. Later on me and another journalist had a look round during the count to try and get the winner and we weren’t all that accurate!

A lot busier than earlier! By now everyone decided to get in on the act and have a good stare at somebody putting ballot papers into different piles. Completely pointless but with a fair bit at stake it’s understandable I suppose that people were going to just watch this all night long.

Joe Stashko and Daniel Bentley interviewing the Conservative candidate, Nerissa Warner-O’Neill for Blog Preston. I attempted a shot of shotting over Joe’s shoulder and into the screen on his video camera to give the view he had of the interview as well as my own. It worked to an extent though there was an issue with the focus of the image, however you can see the image on the screen in this shot too.

A conversation which was of great interest to us between Nerissa and Mark Hendrick. This went on for about 10 minutes and I’ve never before heard two people talk so quietly! What they were talking about, we can’t be sure, but I thought it would be interesting to get a photo of the two chatting. From where they were standing, this was the only place I could get a photo from in front without standing right in their faces and making them quite angry!

The facts. Unlike most parts of the country, where the turnout was higher than in the previous General Election, Preston saw a slight dip in voter turnout this year. You may notice that the number of people eligible to vote was also down. A reshuffle of various wards in the past few years has seen the Preston constituency shrink since 2005. For example, Bamber Bridge is now in the Ribble Valley constituency…no I don’t get that one either.

The candidates on stage awaiting the results to be announced. If some of them don’t look too cheerful that’s because they’d already been told the provisional results, and they didn’t all win! The candidates on stage were (from left to right): Mark Jewell (Lib Dem), Mark Hendrick (Labour), Nerissa Warner-O’Neill (Conservative) and Richard Muirhead (UKIP).

To everyone’s surprise (not really) Mark Hendrick won with a majority of nearly 50 per cent, ensuring Preston remained a Labour safe seat. Labour won the seat in 1945 and has remained red ever since. So shocked was Mark Hendrick at his victory that he even had pre-written his victory speech…

The victory photo. As the Lanchashire Evening Post’s photographer organised the Labour group to celebrate their victory, he positioned himself in front of a sofa. So I climbed onto the sofa behind and took this photo of a very happy set of people with red rosettes. The smiling faces could either be about the fact they won the seat or that finally they could go home, as it was gone 4am by this point! That was what pleased me the most as it was a very long night. Worth it, but long!