Manx Wildlife Trust has shared the exciting news that real puffins have been spotted on The Calf of Man. We say real because the charity has been using decoy puffins to try and attract the birds to The Calf, where they used to be a common sight. However their breeding numbers have dropped off dramatically over the years to virtually zero. A statement from MWT said: ‘Some really exciting news today!! 2 real puffins were spotted yesterday at Kione my Halby, on The Calf, with the decoys
‘Keirron Tastagh from Adventurous Experiences spotted them while out kayaking and managed to get a photograph
‘This is the first photographed puffin sighting (that we know of) on The Calf since the puffin project started!’
Manx charities are set to benefit from a windfall of £657,000 as a result of banks releasing money left in accounts untouched for at least 15 years. More than £4 million has been received by the Treasury following the introduction of new legislation, and the first payment has now been released for distribution by the Manx Lottery Trust.
Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said: ‘I am pleased that the Dormant Assets legislation is having a positive impact on our community and that local charities can have access to a new source of funding. I want to thank the banking industry for their cooperation in achieving this outcome.’
The Dormant Assets Act was signed in Tynwald on 18 June 2019, approving the creation of a fund for the transfer and redistribution of dormant assets for charitable purposes.
Proceeds of a bank account are considered dormant when it has been inactive for at least 15 years. During that period the account owner will not have made contact with the bank, or responded to any requests for information or notifications. The Manx Lottery Trust will now choose how to distribute the funds in the most appropriate way based on grant applications it receives. Anyone whose money transfers into the fund retains the right to reclaim their money indefinitely.
What a Waste of Money
Douglas Borough Council lost £24,255 in legal fees in a failed employment tribunal case against road worker William Pye, according to new records uncovered by the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance under Freedom of Information Act protections.
‘It is not good value for money to spend tens of thousands of pounds on legal fees to fight over a relatively small amount. If Douglas Borough Council were genuinely concerned over £3,500 being paid to a relatively lowly paid road worker in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, they should be positively outraged over £24,000 being paid to lawyers on this losing case,’ said Michael Josem of the MTA.
Charity Shop Reopens
Age Concern’s shop in Port Erin has reopened after a refurbishment. The shop was officially reopened by Olga Stirling aged 95, Ruth Matthews aged 85 and Don Matthews aged 90, who helped set up the first Age Concern Charity shop in Port Erin. The trio have together clocked up a magnificent 75 years of volunteering for the Charity.
Olga said: ‘I really enjoy coming into the Age Concern shop and meeting people. It is wonderful to be welcoming people back.’
The shop now has significantly better disabled access for customers and volunteers. The upgrade has created a better and safer environment, and energy efficiency improvements will reduce running costs. The Charity has also opened a nearby pop-up Donation Station, next to the Post Office, where you can drop off pre-loved clothes, accessories, jewellery, household, vintage items, books and music.
Maureen Cowbourne, Deputy Chief Executive of Age Concern IoM said: ‘We are so grateful to everyone who has called in to our new Donation Station to drop off items. Lots of people had a clear-out during lockdown and very kindly held onto items for us. Our shops in Port Erin and Ramsey are community hubs in friendly, accessible spaces. They are a great way to raise essential funds so we can deliver our services for local older people.’
To learn more about donating to or volunteer with Age Concern, call 631740 or visit www.ageconcern.im.
A grant of more than £1,800 has been awarded to Yn Cruinnaght by Manx Lottery Trust to upgrade its PA system. Yn Chruinnaght, which translates to ‘the gathering’ in Manx Gaelic, is a celebration of Manx culture and the relationship between the Isle of Man and five other Celtic countries; Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Run by a group of like-minded individuals who love all things Celtic, each July the group holds a Celtic Gathering which encompasses traditional music, dance, language, arts and crafts and more.
Dave Rowles from Yn Chruinnaght said: ‘We are so grateful for the support received from Manx Lottery Trust. More than 3,000 people will benefit from the PA system each year at events such as Tynwald Day, local gigs and, of course, Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering. It will also help to generate income for the group as we can hire the system out for a range of events, reducing our reliance on funding support.’
David Dushman, the last surviving soldier who took part in the liberation of Auschwitz, has died at 98. A Jewish Red Army veteran who later became an Olympic fencer, he died in Germany over the weekend. As a 21-year-old soldier, he used his tank to mow down the camp’s electric fence. One of just 69 men in his 12,000-strong division to survive the war, Mr Dushman later became the USSR’s top fencer, and later one of the world’s most respected fencing coaches.
Speaking to news agency Reuters in 2020, Mr Dushman said: ‘When we arrived we saw the fence and these unfortunate people, we broke through the fence with our tanks. We gave food to the prisoners and continued. They were standing there, all of them in [prisoner] uniforms, only eyes, only eyes, very narrow – that was very terrible, very terrible.’
Colin Pitchfork, the first murderer to be convicted using DNA evidence has been granted parole. Pitchfork, 61, was jailed for life for raping and murdering 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in the 1980s. He has spent 33 years in prison and was denied parole in 2018.
Amazon Blast Off
Amazon owner Jeff Bezos has said he and his brother Mike will be heading to space next month. The two will take part in the first human flight launched by his space company, Blue Origin. The flight will take place on July 20, just two weeks after Mr Bezos steps down as Amazon CEO.