North Shropshire aviation firm Metal Seagulls inspires women of all ages

Helen Morgan learns how North Shropshire aviation firm Metal Seagulls inspires women of all ages

Liberal Democrat Candidate Helen Morgan met directors Patricia Mawuli Porter and Jonathan Porter to find out how they are promoting essential skills to a wider audience.

Local business woman Patricia Mawuli shows Helen how she is promoting engineering careers to women and young people in the Midlands
Local businesswoman Patricia Mawuli shows Helen how she is promoting engineering careers to women and young people in the Midlands

Liberal Democrat Candidate Helen Morgan visited local aviation firm Metal Seagulls Ltd on Friday to learn more about the light aircraft industry in the area and a special project plane registered G-WXYZ. The light aircraft has been built by Patricia with a team of around 300 volunteers keen to learn new skills, 75% of whom were women and/or under 25. The Zenair CH750 STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) plane is now complete. Having completed its test flight programme it will be sold to raise funds for the next exciting project at Metal Seagulls, which will give even more youngsters much needed hands-on experience of engineering in aviation.

Patricia is the first civilian Ghanaian woman to obtain a Ghanaian Pilots licence, the only black female aircraft inspector in the UK for the Light Aircraft Association and British Microlight Aircraft Association, and she is the only woman worldwide to be factory trained by Rotax Aircraft Engines and ULPower Aero Engines… and is now running an aviation business with her husband at Sleap Aerodrome in Shropshire.

Helen learning how local firm Metal Seagulls is promoting careers in STEM to young women
Helen learning how local firm Metal Seagulls is promoting careers in STEM to young women

Helen said “Patricia is an inspiration to women who might not have considered a career in engineering. As our industries become more automated, engineering skills will be increasingly important, but many women lack the confidence to enter traditionally male occupations. The G-WXYZ project has provided valuable insight for a huge number of young people, and we are lucky to have Metal Seagulls in North Shropshire.”

Metal Seagulls director Jonathan said: “It is a pleasure to receive a parliamentary candidate who shows such a genuine interest local development, was down to earth and shared the same values and beliefs as we do in relation to the needs of business and young people in Shropshire. We wish Helen every success and believe that she will make an outstanding MP for North Shropshire.”

Blackberry Fair visitors are ready to demand better

Lib Dems at the Blackberry Fair to talk to voters

Liberal Democrat Candidate Helen Morgan says that support for the party is surging across North Shropshire

Helen, who was selected as the party’s candidate in August, was campaigning with a local team at the centre of the annual Blackberry Fair in Whitchurch on Saturday.

Former Councillor and Mayor of Whitchurch, Ray Hatton, backs Helen Morgan's campaign
Former District Councillor and Mayor of Whitchurch, Ray Hatton, supporting Helen Morgan’s campaign to become North Shropshire’s next MP. Ray said: “Helen will make an outstanding MP for North Shropshire and I urge everybody to back her in the looming General Election.”

The local party has seen a surge in interest, with membership more than doubling over the last six months, as the government’s Brexit strategy descends into chaos.

Helen said “Whitchurch residents have told us today that they are shocked by the Government’s disrespect for the law, that they are fed up of being lied to, that they are shocked by the behaviour of Tory MPs and that they want Brexit stopped.

“Local farmers and businessmen are increasingly anxious about the threat to their livelihoods from a no-deal Brexit”.

This is a pattern reflected across the constituency, with new members from all corners of North Shropshire. These new members and supporters have previously voted both Conservative and Labour, and Helen believes they have joined because the only party representing their values is the Liberal Democrats.

“Of course stopping Brexit is the priority for us, but our clear stance on fighting the climate emergency, putting a cash injection into the NHS and reversing Tory cuts to the school budget is proving really attractive to voters” Helen explained.

“The Liberal Democrats are the biggest party of Remain and following our brilliant results at the European elections, are the only party that can oust the Conservatives in North Shropshire at the next election.

“The response today at the Blackberry Fair has been fantastic. We’ve had a great day here enjoying the entertainment and the party atmosphere, and we feel real optimism about a general election in the next few months.”

Today Heidi Allen, a former Conservative MP, joined the Liberal Democrats putting the parliamentary team a 19 MP.

Outrage as North Shropshire MP accused of abuse of Parliamentary Standards

Helen Morgan selected as Lib Dem PPC for North Shropshire

Owen Paterson, the MP for North Shropshire, has been accused by The Guardian of lobbying on behalf of firms from which he also receives a salary.

Revealed: Owen Paterson lobbied for firms he was paid to advise

The Guardian newspaper claims it has seen documents revealing he had several meetings with officials and a minister, and that he also wrote letters asking them to take steps which would benefit healthcare firm Randox Laboratories and Lynn’s Country Foods Limited. Mr Paterson receives a salary of £100k per year for 16 hours a month from Randox, while Lynn’s Country Foods Limited pays him £12,000 per year for 24 hours work in total.

The newspaper also claims that Mr Paterson has twice used House of Commons notepaper to write to ministers in his capacity as a Randox employee, in breach of the rules. Furthermore, it alleges that Mr Paterson was involved in a sustained year-long lobbying campaign on behalf of Lynn’s Country Foods Limited in which the Company sought to persuade the Food Standards Agency to change its labelling requirements.

These allegations follow demands for an inquiry earlier this year into the source of funding for Mr Paterson’s overseas trips after £39,000 of donations were anonymously routed through a company of which he was the only director.

Speaking for North Shropshire Liberal Democrats, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Helen Morgan said:

“If true, these allegations are hugely disappointing and add to the long list of scandals from this Government. The Tories don’t seem to care about ordinary people trying to make ends meet – they are only interested in making money for themselves and their billionaire backers.

“North Shropshire needs an MP that is honest and is working hard, full time, for the constituency, not using their public position to demand £500 an hour from private companies. If elected, I promise to work full time for a bright future for this beautiful part of the countryside.”

North Shropshire Lib Dems PPC condemns plan to Prorogue Parliament

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Helen Morgan, North Shropshire Lib Dems PPC condemns plan to Prorogue Parliament.

‘I am angry and dismayed at the Government’s decision to prevent Parliamentary debate for five weeks in October. The United Kingdom faces its greatest crisis since 1945, and eight weeks before a disastrous crash-out Brexit, the Government is tying Parliament’s hands, hell-bent on driving this country over a cliff-edge.

‘To suggest that this closure is just a few additional days after the conference recess is simply not true. Parliament decides for itself whether it will have a recess, and it was becoming increasingly likely that it would be cancelled. The debate over the summer has focussed on the possibilities of using this arcane mechanism to force a crash-out Brexit, and this is clearly a cynical attempt to achieve just that.

‘The British Constitution is based on precedent and has relied for hundreds of years on the decency of the government not to abuse the accepted principles of a sovereign Parliament. Boris Johnson has proved his disrespect for the institution by trampling on these principles. He sets a dangerous precedent. If this goes ahead, any future minority government could simply close the doors of Parliament to push through unacceptable legislation.

‘Furthermore, on Sunday morning, Michael Gove refused to confirm that the Government would abide by any legislation passed by Parliament in the coming week. This is a truly unacceptable state of affairs, in which a referendum result of over three years ago, procured by lies and corruption, is used to justify the elimination of Parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom.

‘On Friday afternoon, I spoke to a large rally in Shrewsbury to voice my opposition to the prorogation. The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight these developments, and fight to uphold the sovereignty of Parliament in the UK.’

Watch here in full:


A5 Queens Head to Gledrid roundabout combined nightime closure

David Walker in West Felton

Highways England are going to be closing the A5 from Queens Head to Gledrid roundabout for 2 weeks from the end of September. The roadworks are combining two seperate projects to minimise disruption. The A5 will be closed overnight from the 30th of September until the 10th of October. A representative from Highways England will be attending Whittington Parish Council on Tuesday the 27th of August to update the community on the project.

A5 Queens Head, Mile End to Five Crosses roundabout combined worksA5 Queens Head, Mile End to Five Crosses roundabout combined works
A5 Queens Head, Mile End to Five Crosses roundabout combined works

We require 3 nights of closures between Queens Head and Mile End from 25 September to complete work on laybys and emergency telephones. We also need to complete some resurfacing and works on laybys as well as some road markings both north and south of Whittington roundabout. We need 2 weeks of night time closures for each area and as the diversion route is the same for both, through Whittington from Queens Head to Gledrid. We will mitigate the issue of lorries coming through whittington village from Oswestry by extra signage from Oswestry encouraging the use of the B5069 to Five Ways. We will look to start 30 September for 2 weeks.

Martin Follmer, Highways England Customer Service Manager

Closing the A5 from Queens Head to Gledrid roundabout for 2 weeks is bound to cause some disruption. With the works taking place overnight this is kept to a minimum. The A5 is a busy primary route even at night. Hopefully closing the A5 from Queens Head to Gledrid roundabout for 2 weeks will not disrupt or disturb residents along the route at night.

What is interesting is that Highways Egland say that the proposed diversion is a 2 minute delay. The fact it is so small tells you all you need to know about normal traffic flows during the daytime. Many vehicles use the old holyhead Road still as they know delays at Mile end are possible. SatNav systems will also send people this way a peak times. Highways England need to get their act together to improve flow on the A5. Likewise if Shropshire Council effectively managed traffic safety along the old route, as residents want, traffic slows down, journey times increase and traffic using this route as a rabbit run use the A5 like they should. Everybody wins.

Full Details are here: and will be updated nearer to the time of the diversion.

If you have any problems or concerns with the proposed closure let me know or pop along to Whittington Parish Council on Tuesday to take them up with the Highways England rep.

Whittington level crossing closure

David Walker in West Felton

As many people will be aware, but worth repeating for those that don’t, Whittington level crossing closure is happening from the 30th of August to the 9th of September. This was published in the Shropshire Star in July: Shropshire village to be cut in half for 10 days

The closure is to rebuild the level crossing. This is welcome as the crossing certainly isn’t very level for road users. However, the disruption will be significant. The reconstruction of the crossing means a complete closure for 10 days.

Whittington level crossing closure for 10 days for reconstruction works. Diversion route mapWhittington level crossing closure for 10 days for reconstruction works. Diversion route map

The designated diversion route is via Station Road, Holyhead Road to Queens Head, the A5 back up to Whittington Road roundabout and back towards Whittington. This route does present a couple of problems:

  • Its length means many people will take the shorter route via the Orthopaedic and Park Hall.
  • School and service buses (70 / 70A) will need to reroute as well. If these buses follow the designated route it will be a lengthy double back either side of the diversion. Arriva haven’t published online any details of the route changes they want to make. School and service bus disruption isn’t particularly helpful during the first week of the new term. School buses from West Felton to The Marches school stand to be significantly delayed. {Update: Having chased Arriva they have confirmed that their buses will divert via Park Hall, the orthopaedic and Derwen Garden Center. They have also reassured me that posters will be put on the buses this week to advertise the changed route. They anticipate that under normal traffic conditions that this will add a 5 minute delay. For 10 days West Felton will have a direct route to the orthopaedic which many residents have asked for for a long time.} I can’t see many vehicles following the designated diversion.

The complete closure with run from 10 pm on Friday the 30th of August until 7:30 am on Monday the 9th of September.

Roadworks on A495 Oswestry Road, Whittington, Shropshire

West Felton PC August meeting

David Walker in West Felton

On Tuesday evening I chaired the August meeting of West Felton parish council. Below is the summary report I have sent to the parish magazine:

With Marion Hesketh on holiday, David Walker chaired the meeting.

With a high number of people away we discussed whether meetings in August were wise. The Clerk said that she could use her time better to manage the back office workload. Most councils don’t meet in August or September. We will look at this again at a future meeting including the need for a good scheme of delegation if this happens. The police weren’t able to attend so we received a report on crimes in the area. There were no other reports from Shropshire Council or any outside bodies or meetings.

On planning matters the Threshing barn at Woolston Road was on the agenda again. In previous months the Parish Council had objected to the design and character in the context of The Mound , moat and church yard and the removal of the footpaths. Last month we received representations from the developer to ask us to consider withdrawing our objections, having altered the design and were protecting the footpaths. We also heard from a resident about the location of a manure heap. We modified our objection to support the application, but asked that Shropshire Council protected the footpaths and the setting of the Mound by condition. This month the application returned with revised drawings, a relocation of the manure heap and more comments from consultees. The resident had withdrawn their object as their concerns had been addressed. So the Parish Council deleted those references from their previous decision. The Council is in favour of the application and still wishes to see the footpaths and the setting controlled by condition.

The Parish Council received updates on the School Expansion project, the Bench at Grimpo, Bus Shelter seating and Smartwater. Notice was received of the overnight closure of two sections the A5 – at Queens Head, and between Mile End and Whittington roundabouts. The closure will be for 2 weeks from the 30th of September starting at 8pm. The diversion will be through West Felton, Whittington and rejoining the A5 north of Gobowen.

Smartwater signage is being upgraded at no cost to the parish. David Walker is meeting Tim Williams on the 21st to help upgrade the signs. Residents had also asked for Smartwater kits and David agreed to take them some kits. If you would like a free kit then please contact the Clerk.

Cllr David Walker, Vice-Chair.

Helen Morgan selected as Lib Dem PPC for North Shropshire

Helen Morgan selected as Lib Dem PPC for North Shropshire

Helen Morgan selected as Lib Dem PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) for North Shropshire by Members at a packed meeting in Wem. Members at a well-attended meeting in Wem voted to select Helen as their PPC.


Helen Morgan, a Chartered Accountant, mother and community campaigner has been selected by local North Shropshire Liberal Democrat members as their candidate to fight the next General Election. Helen Morgan, who lives with her young family in Harmer Hill works for a prominent North Shropshire business as their accountant.

Helen Morgan selected as Lib Dem PPC for North Shropshire
Helen Morgan selected as Lib Dem PPC for North Shropshire

Speaking about her selection Helen said:

“I am delighted that members have selected me to be their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the next General Election. The General Election could happen in a matter of weeks. Both the Conservative and Labour parties are gripped by crises and infighting.

“Not only is Brexit likely to be a disaster for North Shropshire, it has led to increasing extremism in British politcs, with trust in politicians at a historic low.  Many voters feel that the two main parties of the past century no longer reflect their values.

“We need politicians who will act in the interests of their constituency and country, whose standards of behaviour are civilised, whose motivations are not clouded by personal ambition or financial gain, and whose opinions withstand rational challenge. I can meet these standards, and with the positiive message of the Liberal Democrats, inspire voters of all ages, defend our liberal values and make a difference at a local and national level.

“Under Jo Swinson’s leadership, I believe that the Liberal Democrats are strongly placed to respond to the needs of the country and more locally in Shropshire. Britain rightly demands better than the mess we are in.”

David Walker, Chair of North Shropshire Liberal Democrats, said:

“The Liberal Democrats are surging nationally and locally with booming membership levels following our best ever Local Election and European Election results. In North Shropshire, our membership has grown by over 44% since the beginning of May. In Shropshire, we came 2nd in the European Elections and returned Phil Bennion to the European Parliament.

“In local council by-elections up and down the country Lib Dems are gaining seats with massive swings from the Conservatives. We were leading in one national opinion poll and are consistently now on a par with the old parties. The recent addition of Chuka Umunna and victory in Brecon and Radnorshire shows that the Liberal Democrats are also back in the game at Parliamentary level.

“We are overjoyed to have such a high calibre PPC as Helen to take on the Conservatives at the next General Election. For far too long the electors of North Shropshire have been taken for granted at local and parliamentary level. Helen will allow us to build upon our growth and campaign for the open and fair society we all need and demand.

“People are working hard, paying their taxes, doing their part, and yet, for far far too many people, they’re not able to get a fair wage, afford a home or generally build a good life. That’s not how it should be.

“We will be the voice for millions of voters who feel powerless and frustrated at the direction our country is taking. The Liberal Democrats demand better and will deliver real change. Helen will have a critical role to play in delivering that change.”

Phil Bennion MEP and Helen Morgan at a recent talk to members in Market Drayton
Phil Bennion MEP and Helen Morgan at a recent talk to members in Market Drayton

Farmer and MEP Dr Phil Bennion said:

“I am delighted by Helen’s selection as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Shropshire.

“Brexit has caused the biggest crisis in our politics since the war and a general election this autumn is very possibly the only way we are going to break the impasse which is paralysing our government. Thousands of people who never thought of themselves as political before are now joining us, hundreds in Shropshire alone.

“Helen has experience and commitment and understands the perspective of ordinary North Shropshire people who do not buy into the extreme Brexit ideology for which their current MP has become a high priest.

“I am convinced that Owen Paterson’s faith in a no deal Brexit, which is not what he promised in the two debates I had with him during the referendum, is not shared by a majority of his constituents. They stand to lose so much from local disruption to agriculture and trade.

“With Labour hopelessly split, Helen offers a serious challenge as the leading candidate for Remain.”

Join Helen Morgan and the North Shropshire team and help us Demand Better for Shropshire and Britain or contact us for more information

Top Street road safety scheme rejected

David Walker in West Felton

I am pleased to see the Top Street road safety planning application has been rejected, particularly as I helped Top Street residents frame their objections to the scheme.

Oswestry and Border Counties Advertiser news article:

Shropshire Council throws out village road safety scheme

The Church Street / Top Street junction is dangerous with poor visibility and excessive speed coming into the village. HGVs and other through traffic use Top Street as a cut-through – such traffic is highly inappropriate for a residential street. The proposed scheme ultimately failed to address any of these concerns.

More details can be read on the application on Shropshire Council’s website: 18/03382/FUL | Construction of approximately 11m by 2m of raised kerb build-out to reduce road width

To me, it makes more sense to stop vehicles using the Church Street end altogether. This would ease problems with traffic cutting through Top Street and improve residential amenity. I am glad Shropshire Council has rejected this flawed application and supported the concerns of residents. Sound design is needed to address Top Street road safety issues and those of the wider area, not piecemeal flawed design.

It is also worth pointing out that installing a Vehicle Activated Speed (VAS) sign at the Church Street entrance to the village is urgently needed. Excessive speed of vehicles entering Whittington from Gobowen presents a very real danger to residents and motorists on Church Street or using the Top Street Entrance. Residents have complained to me about this and I will be heading out with my speed gun to assess the extent of the current problem and compare the date to previous speed measurements that I have taken. I have referred them to the parish council to initiate the request to Shropshire Council.

Farming community facing tough times

David Walker in West Felton

The farming community plays a big role in Shropshire’s economy. Today the president of the NFU has once again laid out how badly the farming community will be impacted by a no deal Brexit. A tariff wall would lead to massive oversupply, farmers going out of business and a huge cull of livestock would be the inevitable consequence of a catastrophic no deal.

NFU President: No deal ‘Economically disastrous’

Whatever your views on Brexit nobody voted to be poorer or for vast swathes of businesses to go out of business in the process. British farmers are the envy of the world, particularly postural farmers who are a global leader in animal welfare standards.

Earlier in the year Richard Huffer made a similar point in the Advertiser: Shropshire sheep farmer criticises ‘woefully irresponsible’ Brexit response

The food supply industry is massively important to the UK economy. Anything that undermines farming and food producers is dire news for everybody.

Only last week Cheshire’s last livestock auction closed down. Today we heard the Mullers were closing down a dairy…. What would be the impact on Shropshire if Mullers closed? That doesn’t best thinking about. If no deal happens there will be a lot more closures like that as the sector rapidly reorganizes to face to massive pressure Brexit will bring.

The Conservatives reckless handling of Brexit is definitely irresponsible. The farming community deserves better. Demand Better for farming.