Nostalgia Saturday AUGUST 17 SPREAD - For Pages 2 to 3 - Use 9 pic 300 word template

Text for Saturday Spread on clean beaches

Headline: Sandcastle contest and a retired beauty queen help celebrate award for Furness beach

Strapline: Major operation to remove mystery paraffin wax slick showed how difficult it could be to keep our shoreline clear of pollution

A RETIRED beauty queen, the borough mayor, sandcastles and a big flag helped to celebrate an important quality award for a Furness beach 20 years ago.

The Mail, on Wednesday, July 21 in 1999, noted: "A Walney beach is proudly flying the flag after scooping a seaside award as one of the best in Britain.

"And to celebrate, dozens of youngsters descended with their buckets and spades on Biggar Bank to enjoy a huge sandcastle competition.

"Barrow mayor, Cllr Jean Waiting, hoisted the distinctive yellow and blue Seaside Award flag near the Roundhouse.

"The beach had to pass 13 different checks, including all EC requirements for bathing water, providing safety measures, good beach management and information to the public."

Cllr Waiting said: "We are very pleased as the Seaside Awards given by the Tidy Britain Group are much sought after.

"Biggar Bank is one of only 10 beaches in the North West to receive an award."

The article noted: "Barrow Council and North West Water have been working together on Furness Beachcare, a three-year programme to improve beaches.

"Water quality monitoring results are displayed on noticeboards at all beaches on Walney.

"Former bathing beauty queen Ida Townson, of Neville Street, Ulverston, was also at the flag unveiling ceremony.

"The 72-year-old was crowned Miss Barrow at the Walney outdoor swimming pool in 1949.

"She was invited back by the mayor for the award presentation.

"More than 50 children at the ceremony then braved the wet and windy conditions and spent the day building sandcastles."

How difficult it can be to keep our beaches clean was shown by an earlier incident in the summer of 1999.

The Mail, on Wednesday June 23, noted: "Workers are struggling to remove a mass of paraffin wax that has washed up along Walney and the Furness coast.

"Sita maintenance workers and Cumbria County Council staff tried to burn the substance off yesterday but that failed to eradicate the mess.

"They returned to Walney this morning in oilskins, wading into the water to pick up the lumps of wax by hand.

"The wax engulfed Walney on Sunday morning and quickly spread along the 11-mile shoreline, up to Haverigg and into the Duddon Estuary."

It was not known where the wax pollution had come from but it was not thought to be dangerous.