I overheard what I considered to be a most inane conversation this week.

Having coffee in a Leigh café, a group of well heeled, young mums were discussing their children’s forthcoming birthdays and party arrangements.

“Ah,” I though, “how sweet” – until I heard this conversation …

Highly-Bronzed mum says to trendy boho mum: “Well, *Tristan’s having an entertainer for his party this year.”

Trendy boho mum, “Oh yes, I don’t blame you, it’s much easier than doing it yourself.”

Highly-Bronzed mum, “Oh no, it’s not the effort - it’s just that everyone’s having entertainers this season and I don’t want Tris’ to feel left out.”

This sheep-ike mindset was desperately tragic but could have been just about palatable were it not for the fact that Tristan was flipping ten months old and totally oblivious to what an entertainer even is!

Honestly, as my pal Lucia would say: “It just BOGGLES the mind!”

*changed name here for obvious reasons!

But this barmy exchange did resonate with me because here in Leigh, we are a pretty cosseted lot.

We don’t have to walk miles for water, we’re not hungry or at war, we don’t have to step on syringes in our parks, we have first class schools and it’s a comparatively well to do area.

It’s also an aesthetically uplifting place to live in too.

We’re not confronted by urban sprawl and tower blocks but pleasing views of the sea and greenery.

When we walk down Leigh high street, we see beautiful clothes and fabulous artwork and photographs in our shop windows.

However, all this loveliness can have a downside.

For it can make us complacent and reluctant to scratch beyond the surface of what we see and who we believe ourselves and others to be.

Why bother digging deeper when everything is already so nice..?

Well, I suggest that perhaps, it isn’t all as nice as we like to think.

Leigh has an increasing drug culture and escalating alcohol problem.

We can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.

Those of us with kids who use library gardens have experienced first hand groups of young people smoking dope quite openly in the park.

And that’s only the start.

The high earning, coke snorting brigade who descend on some of Leigh’s bars, may be a minority but they bring with them a culture that seems dangerously aspirational to young people.

And quite honestly, society seems to have lost the plot somewhat when it comes to defining what is successful.

Celebrity magazines sell more than ‘proper’ books – so what does that tell us about what we fill our heads with?

Can someone please tell me why heroin addict Pete Doherty is the most famous man on the planet at the moment?

I could maybe understand the appeal of the tortured, angsty artist it if he wrote better songs. Or maybe I have really morphed into Victor Meldrew without realising it.

People audition in their 1000s for shows like Big Brother, in the hope that an appearance will catapult them into celebrity status.

But rarely can any of these wannabes demonstrate any aptitude or talent that would earn them any ‘real’ fame.

What’s the problem with being ‘ordinary’ anyway? Are we
so consumed by insecurity that we can only be validated as people via reality TV and magazines?

There seems to be a sociological trend these days, to cultivate the external, very often at the expense of the internal.

And in a lovely town like Leigh where our values and standards are not really challenged very much, so let’s not forget that real depth of character and being a decent human being matters far more than what we own, what we wear and our earning potential.

Is it possible that much of what appears to be ‘meaningful’ is actually just an illusion that we use to distract us from life’s real challenges?

We don’t need any more artificial clones thanks.

I’m not for one moment suggestion that Leigh residents are shallow – far from it.

I’m just saying, let’s be mindful of our comparative good fortune and wary of slipping into an ‘I’m all right Jack’ mindset.

Let’s give our young people something of real substance to aspire to in order that they may fulfil their authentic potential – let’s demonstrate by example by thinking about who we really are instead of who we want to emulate.


I’d like to know why eating whilst driving is illegal but not smoking?

Personally, I think smoking with a child in a car should be illegal.

hat right has anyone got to inflict their harmful addiction on a child’s defenceless lungs?

At least if you’re driving and eating something you can drop it – not so easy with a fag, unless you want to chance a burnt lap which has got to be more distracting for a driver than an apple core!

Leigh Road Baptist Church

LRBC is an amazing example of what a community church should be.

Its tagline, “In the heart of Leigh with a heart for Leigh” is an ethos they actively seek put into practise.

The members demonstrate their faith and love of Leigh in actions from volunteering to do litter duty and cleaning up at the folk festival and recent regatta to providing free hot chestnuts at Christmas lights time with a whole lot more in-between including drama classes, pre school groups and kids clubs.

The church is also home to the fantastic set of venues called the Stables that are super rooms for all sorts of activities such as clubs, meetings, functions, receptions, keep fit, classes, rehearsals, open evenings, advice centre, counselling, celebrations and children's parties.

I can personally vouch for the warm, friendly welcome visitors get on Sunday mornings too, so if anyone reading this has been considering exploring Christianity or even feels a little lonely or isolated and in need of some company, do pop along on a Sunday as you’ll be made to feel ever so welcome. See www.lrbc.org.uk for more information.

Leigh festivals

Isn’t it fantastic that our little town is host to three huge crowd pulling festivals?

This summer has seen the Leigh Art Trail, the Leigh Folk Festival, the Fishing Festival and the Old Leigh Regatta.

All of these were massively successful and clearly illustrate not only how special Leigh On Sea is but how popular these traditional, family orientated events remain.

Getting to the Nitty Gritty

Parents of school age children will sympathise when I say the dreaded NITS word!

Like many people, I don’t want to use chemicals on my kid’s heads so I was thrilled when I discovered a remarkable device called the Nitty Gritty comb.

And the best news is, it’s FREE to everyone on prescription so I’m spreading the word (and no, I’m not on commission)!

If you go to this link http://www.nittygritty.co.uk/ng/index.jsp you can download a letter for your doctor, who will then give you a prescription for this fab, bit fighting tool!