Exploring the creative side of Warrington
PUBLISHED: 00:00 18 March 2019
Musicians, artists and entrepreneurs are creating a vibrant community spirit across Warrington
One of the definitions of, ‘to be inspired’ is a strong belief that one can do something. In Warrington, not only do they believe they can do something, they waste no time in getting on and actually doing it!
Lynda Price was inspired to open Warrington’s only fully vegan restaurant, ‘The Green Room’ by a weight loss, reducing from a dress size 22 to a size 10!
‘I became interested in plant based cooking and the weight came off but, far from feeling deprived, I was convinced that vegan food simply tastes better. I’m a parent governor and whenever I brought along my brownies to a meeting, the custard creams were pushed aside,’ laughs Lynda who opened her restaurant last April.
‘Many people believe in the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet and others have conditions such as a lactose intolerance.
‘Carnivores enjoy my food-especially my nut topped lasagne- but the local Vegetarian Society also hold their meetings here,’ explains Lynda who sources her ingredients from within ten miles, although diners travel further: from North Wales, Lancashire and Birmingham!
Jennifer Perry is a bit of an inspiration herself! Jennifer, who owns Room Forty- a mobile afternoon tea emporium- has won Hospitality Provider of the Year at the Warrington Business Awards and offers a mentoring service to others.
‘In 2016, I stopped dreaming about a mobile afternoon tea company and actually did it! A proud moment was providing a celebratory afternoon tea for The Pankhurst Society. I made cakes in Suffragette colours- green, white and purple- and wore matching ribbons. It appeared on the BBC, which made up for the fact that I had to work from a room no bigger than a cupboard with no running water,’ laughs Jennifer. She now has hundreds of pieces of vintage china, so her husband had to build a special shed for them.
‘People donate china, as they know I’ll treat it well, although carefully washing up after 150 people takes four hours. I know, because it’s my mum’s job and she’s told me…many times. I do all the baking though,’ says Jennifer who brings her afternoon teas to homes, businesses and village halls for celebrations, as well as holding baking classes.
Somewhere in his huge emporium, Sven Hill of Hunt and Gather Antiques and Collectibles, will have some vintage china tucked away among his thousands of items, which he collects from Europe and the UK. He has almost everything else from giant Georgian chests and church doors to a Victorian death mask and street signs.
‘I opened the emporium when my wife, Emma, told me that I couldn’t use the house as a storage facility. She dreaded my van coming back from trips, especially if I had gone to buy a pocket watch and come back with a teacher’s desk,’ laughs Sven, who is 31, half German and who sometimes wonders if has Viking blood, which would explain his hunting instincts.
Television companies make a beeline for his door. ‘Find it, Fix it, Flog it’ and, ‘The Antiques Road trip’ have both come to find treasures among the utensils, church pews and pickled amphibians.
‘It’s fun to be on the television, even if it adds ten pounds,’ laughs Sven who also furnishes homes, bars and Santa’s Grotto in Manchester’s Winter Wonderland!
Max Mansbridge-West was inspired by his art teacher, who realised that he had something special. He did and he was accepted by the prestigious London Atelier of Representational Art; although his mum recalls that, as a toddler, he enjoyed painting on himself with marker pens!
Today, he paints mostly in oils and his work has appeared in exhibitions from Liverpool to London.
‘My portrait of my sister, Mica, was selected for the Royal Society British Artists’ Exhibition: 1,500 artists applied so it was exciting to get through and even better to be highly commended and admired by Philip Mould, the TV art expert,’ says Max, 25, who believes that, if the amount of enquiries to his website are anything to go by, oil portraits are fashionable again.
‘They capture a person much more than a quick selfie,’ says Max.
Jacqueline Richards also paints but it is words that inspire her.
‘I’ve always written but I am a midwife, often travelling abroad as part of outreach work but there comes a time when you have to make a dream come true and so I wrote my first children’s book-The Hungry Housefly Who Ate a Whole House- and was delighted when it was successfully publishes,’ says Jacqueline, who used her qualifications in community health to shape her story.
The book is proving popular and, as Jacqueline is also a talented singer, her next book might explore Warrington’s most successful choir.
The Cheshire Chord Company is a ladies only choir who, last year won the LABBS Championship Chorus, gaining their eighth gold medal.
‘We sing a capella -that’s singing without accompaniment - and although we have many awards, our motivation is fun-we’re a happy bunch,’ smiles member, Julie Phillips who is sure that the choir will be bursting into impromptu song on their way over to Holland later this year, to represent LABBS.
It’s hard work too though, as the ladies dress up and bring an energy fuelled buzz to each performance.
‘That’s why we audition: a capella singing isn’t easy but it is hugely rewarding. We have ladies from every walk of life -I’m a deputy head - but we all pull together because singing our hearts out, is a joy and, in front of an audience, it’s exhilarating,’ says Julie.