The custodians at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln marked its reopening from the latest coronavirus lockdown by receiving the Lincoln Civic Award for 2020.

Natalie and Mike Hayes-Cowley were thrilled to receive the award, which couldn’t be officially presented last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The presentation came at an important time for the theatre, which marks its week of reopening with live performances of Strictly Cabaret X that can be seen on Fridays, May 21, May 28, June 11 and June 18, as well as Saturday, June 19.

New Theatre Royal Lincoln Artistic Director Natalie Hayes-Cowley and Managing Director Mike Hayes-Cowley.

The theatre is now looking to put the Civic Award on show to the public.

Giving out the award marked the final official engagement for the current Mayor of Lincoln, Councillor Sue Burke.

She was accompanied by the Mayor’s Consort Councillor Chris Burke, City Sheriff Jo Rimmer and the Sheriff’s Consort Kraig Needs, along with the Civic Award trustees.

The new mayor, Councillor Jackie Kirk, and the incoming civic party are starting their year of office on Tuesday, May 18.

Natalie and Mike Hayes-Cowley follow in the footsteps of previous winners – outgoing University of Lincoln Vice-Chancellor Professor Mary Stuart, and former Lincoln City managers Danny and Nicky Cowley, who won the awards in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

Artistic Director Natalie Hayes-Cowley said: “The whole theatre family is honoured to have been presented with the Lincoln Civic Award. Securing this prestigious accolade is beyond what we thought was possible when we became custodians of the theatre back in 2016.

“To be officially recognised as an organisation which has ‘brought credit to the City of Lincoln’ is simply wonderful.

“Like all our achievements, it is very much a team approach at the theatre. Without the passion, hard work, long hours put in by all our staff and our amazing front of house volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to create this magical place that the people of Lincoln know and love.”

Mayor of Lincoln Councillor Sue Burke; Lincoln Civic Award Trustees’ Chairman Henry Ruddock; New Theatre Royal Artistic Director Natalie Hayes-Cowley and Managing Director Mike Hayes-Cowley at the presentation ceremony at the theatre.

Managing Director Mike Hayes-Cowley said: “Being a Lincoln Civic Award winner puts the theatre amongst some incredibly successful people and businesses who have really given something extra to the City of Lincoln.

“We are elated to have at last received this award. This recognition for the theatre and the team behind it makes all the hard work worth it.

“We are delighted to have been visited by Lincoln’s outgoing Civic Party and to have had the award presented by the (outgoing) Mayor Councillor Sue Burke just days before we welcome back theatregoers – thanks to the lifting of the Coronavirus restrictions. We hope they are going to love our sparkling show Strictly Cabaret X.”

Lincoln Civic Award Trustees Chairman Henry Ruddock said: “This award was agreed before the pandemic struck. But only now – fifteen long months later – have we been able to present it.“

“But what an opportunity it has been for recognition, encouragement and optimism. Viva Theatre Royal!, Viva Lincolnia!”

A couple on a boating trip in Lincoln helped to rescue a struggling and freezing cold dog from Brayford Pool at the weekend.

A crew from Saxilby and a water rescue team from Gainsborough Fire Station attended reports of a dog, believed to be a Terrier, in the water on Saturday, May 15.

Esli Richards and his fiancée Victoria Hayes were visiting Lincoln from Northampton for the weekend, staying in one of the Sealine yachts at Burton Waters Boat Sales.

The dog was trapped and had to be rescued. | Photo: Victoria Hayes

The couple decided to hire ‘The Imp’ boat on Saturday, which was named by The Lincolnite readers in March, and they decided to stop for lunch at the The Pyewipe Inn.

They were going to turn around and go back, but decided to venture on and are glad they did. As they got close to Wagamama at around 2pm they noticed something in the middle of the water that was moving and soon realised it was a dog.

Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue, police and a water rescue team were on the bank so Esli and Victoria offered to take them across on the boat.

The dog was freezing cold after being rescued and was taken ashore to safety. | Photo: Victoria Hayes

A man from Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue went on the boat with them and managed to hook the boat onto the nearby shrubs before jumping across. He untangled the dog, whose lead was caught in the shrubs and debris in the water.

The dog was taken back ashore and the emergency services/rescue team took her away to be checked over and to try and trace the owners.

Emergency services helped to get the dog ashore to safety, where she was checked over and fortunately uninjured. | Photo: Victoria Hayes

Esli told The Lincolnite: “We feel really happy as we’ve got dogs ourselves and wanted to help. After stopping at the pub, we then got into Lincoln and were going to turn around, but we kept going and are glad we did.

“It was our first visit to Lincoln and we’ll definitely come back again. The people are lovely and Burton Waters (Boat Sales) are fabulous.”

This wasn’t the only animal rescue in Lincoln over the weekend as a horse and deer were also saved, while Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue and the RSPCA also helped a pigeon in Boston.

A fisherman from Lincoln was the hero of the day when he stripped off and jumped into the water to rescue a mallard stuck on a tree and entangled in fishing line.

Luke Hutchinson, 20, is a member of the Lincoln & District Angling Association and has been carp fishing at Hartsholme Park for over five years.

At around 8am on Saturday, May 15 one of his rods was going off and he noticed the duck struggling in the river that feeds the lake at the park.

The duck had gone under the water to eat his bait, but then swam away. It got stuck by a tree on the other side of the lake and entangled in someone else’s discarded fishing line, meaning it was struggling to keep its head above water 10 feet from the bank.

Luke, who works in fishery management, stripped off and went to the other side of the lake where the duck was struggling before jumping into the water. He went into the water with just his underwear, scissors and a saw.

The mallard was exhausted after struggling to get free and could have drowned had it not been for Luke’s heroics. He sawed through the branch which the Mallard was entwined on and slowly pulled the duck to shore, with help from a few others who came to assist.

Once on the bank, Luke was able to fully take off the fishing line, while a hook was removed from its mouth by another man before the duck was able to fly off happily and land in the river.

Luke told The Lincolnite: “It was freezing, but I don’t like seeing animals struggle. I had to untangle the fishing line and keep it still as the duck was flapping around.

“I also had to saw some branches off the tree to be able to free the duck. I checked the duck over and untangled all the fishing line before it happily flew away.

“The duck was distressed and needed rescued and I like to look after nature. People need to take their rubbish and any fishing line home so that ducks don’t get stuck.”

Luke added that he has saved some other ducks before in other areas of the country and likes to look after nature.

Luke has been carp fishing at Hartsholme Park for over five years.

Passer-by Joy Baker captured the rescue on video and described Luke as the “hero of the day”.

She said: “It was great to see. He must have been in the water for a good 45 minutes, it was freezing. He’s a talented fisherman and a very caring and brave young man.”

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