Blackpool nurse rubbed himself on woman and told another he wanted to ‘meet her down a dark alley’

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Jose Rodriguez has been banned from nursing following sexual misconduct against numerous colleagues at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

 

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

A disgraced Blackpool nurse has been banned from the profession after a series of sexual advances on his hospital colleagues, including telling one woman they were the ‘type he would like to meet in a dark alley’.

Jose Gabriel Ortega Rodriguez had been a nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital where, over a number of years, he made sleazy sexual advances on staff.

One such instance took place in 2017 where he told one colleague “you would be the type of person I would like to meet in a dark alley”.

He also asked her on a night out after saying he ‘liked her eyes and hair’.

But Rodriguez’s advances on his Vic colleagues started some seven months before this.

In 2016, he touched another colleague from behind on her bra strap.

This saw her approaching a colleague in tears.

All incidents were deemed to be sexually motivated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which said he ‘sought sexual gratification’ from the 2016 incidents and had been ‘pursuing a sexual relationship’ with the colleague who he made the ‘dark alley’ comment to.

Rodriguez’s failings didn’t stop there, with him seen shouting at one patient to ‘get up for a wash’.

Rodriguez – who was sacked from the trust in 2017 following a disciplinary hearing – also failed to observe five patients despite being ordered to do so, leaving work without telling colleagues of this.

In 2016, he delayed cleaning a patient whose stoma bag had burst and delayed replacing it with a new bag. In July of the same year, he ignored a family’s requests to increase medication levels for their relative despite their medical plan allowing this.

Other issues included failing to co-operate with a language assessment with the NMC between December 2017 and February 2018, telling the NMC he was “not interested in the subject of English language assessment”.

In total, Rodriguez was proved to have carried out 34 issues of wrongdoing when he appeared before an NMC Fitness to Practise Committee from February 22 to 23 and June 16 to 18.

As a result, Rodriguez has now been struck off from the nursing register due to the seriousness of his misconduct, lack of competence, and lack of knowledge of the English Language.

The committee found that patients ‘were put at a real risk of physical and emotional harm as a result of Mr Rodriguez’s misconduct’.

“Mr Rodriguez has not admitted any of the concerns nor recognised his shortcomings,” the committee said.

“The panel noted that Mr Rodriguez had a tendency to blame others, did not accept his behaviour was unsafe. Mr Rodriguez has not demonstrated remorse for his actions. The panel considered that Mr Rodriguez’s actions put patients at risk of harm.”

His ‘lack of insight’ into his failings of his sexually motivated behaviour and shouting at patients also made the committee panel rule there was a “real risk of repetition of the concerns raised”.

Ultimately, Rodriguez was stuck off, with the committee noting: “The panel has found that Mr Rodriguez’s misconduct was serious, wide ranging, and involved breaches of professional boundaries, sexually motivated behaviour and deep-seated attitudinal concerns.

“In view of his lack of professionalism, to allow Mr Rodriguez to continue practising would not protect the public and would undermine public confidence in the profession and in the NMC as a regulatory body.”

The striking off order against Rodriguez will take effect after the 28 day appeal period.

If he appeals, he will be given a temporary 18 month suspension order while his appeal is processed.

Kevin Moynes, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This individual has not been employed by the Trust since May 2017.

“When concerns were raised about his actions, the Trust held a disciplinary hearing and dismissed him, before referring him to the NMC.”

YouTube star DanTDM unveils his waxwork at Madame Tussauds Blackpool

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One of Britain’s biggest YouTube stars has unveiled a waxwork of himself at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool

 

Online gaming star DanTDM visited the resort yesterday for the unveiling arriving by helicopter on the beach in the resort.

He is followed by millions around the world and he came face-to-face with his figure at the Promenade attraction – the first time he has ever been immortalised as a waxwork.

Best known for his online video game commentaries, DanTDM – real name Daniel Robert Middleton – boasts more than 25 million YouTube subscribers and has racked up around 18 billion video views to date.

Can you tell which is the real DanTDM?Can you tell which is the real DanTDM?

It was created after DanTDM ‘superfan’ Scarlett, whose mum Trudie Knowles is guest experience manager at Madame Tussauds Blackpool, pitched the idea.

Speaking after his ‘introduction’ to his waxwork, Dan said: “It’s a real honour to have been chosen to have a Madame Tussauds waxwork made of me. I still can’t quite believe it. And coming face to face with myself, in a replica of my office too, was incredible.

“I really hope people have fun hanging out with me in there, it’s unreal how realistic it all is. The team of artists who do this for a living are so talented.”

His waxwork took around 800 hours to create, with experts in hair, makeup and sculpting all lending their skills to perfect the figure.

Coming face-to-face with his own waxworkComing face-to-face with his own waxwork

Each figure is sculpted using around 150kg of clay, with an average of 25 individual artists working on just one figure and approximately 75 hours of hand painting.

Dan’s online video channels include commentaries on popular video games such as Minecraft, Roblox and Pokemon, winning over his masses of fans thanks to his witty and informative content.

In addition to his YouTube superstar status, Dan is an accomplished author, having created his graphic novel, Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal in 2016, while he has also voiced characters in animated film Ralph Breaks the Internet and Netflix series Skylanders Academy.

Helping Dan to arrive in Blackpool in style was helicopter operator HeliSpeed.

Dan arrived by helicopter on Blackpool beachDan arrived by helicopter on Blackpool beach

Operations director Gemma Walker said: “We are delighted to help support the internationally recognised Madame Tussauds unveiling of the new waxwork of DanTDM.”

Stuart Jarman, General Manager at Madame Tussauds Blackpool, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome our newest famous face, DanTDM, to Madame Tussauds Blackpool.

“There’s an incredibly diverse mix of celebrities here and Dan’s figure is just one example of how we’re constantly updating our celebrity rollcall, ensuring there’s something here for the whole family to enjoy.

“We know that Dan is extremely popular with gaming fans, so we’re really looking forward to unveiling his waxwork figure to his huge following and allowing them to get that all important selfie. And we have even recreated his famous office! We are sure he will be massively popular here in Blackpool.”

he said it was a real honour to have a waxwork at Blackpoolhe said it was a real honour to have a waxwork at Blackpool

DanTDM grabs a selfie with his Madame Tussauds waxworkDanTDM grabs a selfie with his Madame Tussauds waxwork

 

Blackpool High Street to be closed to traffic for six months from Monday July 5 and more road closures announced as work gets underway on new Talbot Gateway underpass

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Officials behind the major development of Blackpool town centre announced more roads hell as the latest phase of the works to build a new underpass at North station gets underway.

 

Talbot Road regeneration area will involve road closures including High St and the junction with Talbot Road and Dickson Road

Talbot Road regeneration area will involve road closures including High St and the junction with Talbot Road and Dickson Road

Access to High Street and surrounding streets will be restricted for six months from next week for construction on the new underpass and the new Holiday Inn and Marco Pierre White restaurant on the site of the former Wilko shop.

From Monday, High Street will be closed but other road closures will be in place overnight to help minimise disruption to firms, which will stay open.

Tramway contractor SISK is also back on site at Talbot Road to complete the new £23.4m tram link to Blackpool North train station.

“We apologise in advance for any inconvenience that may be caused and as always we shall keep you up-to-date with plans to help you go about your business as normal,” the authority said.

From Monday, Talbot Road will be hit by a series of closures for four weeks to allow for new overhead electric lines and signals from the terminus area to the Prom:

> From the junction of Dickson Road and Topping Street to the North Terminus from Monday for one week;

> From Talbot Road to the junction of Dickson Road and Topping Street for one week from July 12, as well as the junction with Abingdon Street; and

> The Talbot Square and Talbot Road junction for one to two weeks from July 19, with the Promenade shut.

“The work will be phased overnight only and no daytime closures are planned in order to minimise disruption to local businesses and residents,” a council

spokesman said.

The Hotel Inn hotel should be built by next summer, town hall bosses said, with the tram extension and track completed by the end of this year.

Blackpool garage fire under investigation

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An investigation has been launched into the cause of a fire at a domestic garage in Blackpool.

 

Two fire engines from Blackpool and South Shore were called to the scene in Keswick Road at around 4.45pm yesterday (Monday, June 28).

Firefighters equipped with four breathing apparatus used one hose reel, one water jet and a ventilation unit to extinguish the flames.

No injuries were reported.

An investigation into the cause was opened, the fire service said.

Covid scuppers Blackpool’s Blue Flag bid – but its clean water still brings promise to marine life

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Blackpool Council’s bid to secure Blue Flag status for a resort beach last year was scuppered by the pandemic – but the lack of accolade hasn’t stopped the wildlife beyond our shoreline from thriving.

 

Back in 2019, Blackpool lost the internationally-recognised Blue Flag award for its south beach opposite the Pleasure Beach, which was attributed to a 1.89 per cent drop in water quality.

The council aimed to go for gold again last year, confident in its abilities to put Bispham beach – which is classified as “excellent” bathing water quality by the Environment Agency – back on the Blue Flag map.

But the impossibility of offering and promoting environment education to resort adults and youngsters during the pandemic forced a delay.

A council spokesman said: “In order to apply for a Blue Flag a number of criteria has to be met across four categories. In Bispham our bathing water is classed as excellent and we would meet the vast majority of the required standards but unfortunately this year we know we would not be able to fulfil the Environmental Education and Information criteria.

“This would require us to offer and promote environmental education activities to beach users which we aren’t in a position to do at the moment. Through LoveMyBeach we will continue to work towards this but it just hasn’t been possible this year due to the pandemic.”

Despite this setback, many of the Fylde coast’s beaches, including Blackpool South, Central, North and Bispham, did scoop a Seaside Award in 2021.

In Wyre, Rossall Beach, Jubilee Beach in Cleveleys, Marine Beach and Ferry Beach in Fleetwood also received the accolade, as did St Annes Pier. in Fylde.
Cleaner beaches are thought to be a contributing factor to thriving populations of cetacean species in Fylde coast waters. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media
Cleaner beaches are thought to be a contributing factor to thriving populations of cetacean species in Fylde coast waters. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Seaside Awards are given to beaches acknowledged by environment charity Keep Britain Tidy as having appropriate water quality, clean beaches, and adequate safety services including lifeguards, among other factors.

Water improvements have been prioritised in Blackpool in recent years – with the installation of pumping stations across the resort to clean up the Irish Sea.

United Utilities spent five years building an underwater storage tank and a new storm water pumping station as part of an £80 million project at Anchorsholme Park, and a £35 million project to update an 80-year-old waterworks system which had been struggling to cope during times of heavy rainfall was installed on land off Midgeland Road.

New pipes were laid under routes including Highfield Road and Midgeland Road, existing pumping stations including Lennox Gate were upgraded and an underground holding tank was built at Fishers Field to capture stormwater.

A thornback ray was found stranded on Blackpool's central beach this week, alongside a dogfish - a small species of shark. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaA thornback ray was found stranded on Blackpool’s central beach this week, alongside a dogfish – a small species of shark. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

The projects were undertaken in a bid to ensure sewage systems weren’t overrun with rain water – and are hoped to prevent waste water being expelled into the sea, posing a serious risk to the health of marine and human life.

In fact, the cleanliness of our waters appears to be one of the contributing factors in helping marine life thrive off our coast, one expert said.

A video which emerged on social media last week appeared to show a school of bottlenose dolphins swimming off the coast at Starr Gate, a sight which is more common than perhaps most people think.

And if scientists’ predictions are correct, we could be welcoming larger numbers of another mammal, the grey seal, to our coast in coming years.

Blackpool has cleaned up its water in recent years, with the addition of new pumping stations north and south of the resort. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaBlackpool has cleaned up its water in recent years, with the addition of new pumping stations north and south of the resort. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Dr Emily Baxter, senior marine conservation officer at North West Wildlife Trusts, said a reduction in pollution and improvement in water quality over the past few years could have played a role in increased sightings of cetaceans – marine mammals – off the Fylde coast.

She said: “Dolphin and porpoise sightings (and even whales) have been a regular occurrence in the summer months off Blackpool for at least the past 10 years. There are however, well known hotspots for marine mammals and basking sharks, particularly off the North Wales coast and around the Isle of Man.

“This is due to how weather systems interact with the seabed causing areas of cold, nutrient-rich ‘upwellings’ that stimulate plankton blooms and then fish, birds and marine mammals soon follow. These areas are close to the coast of the North West and Liverpool Bay so when conditions are right, they can be seen feeding close to our shores as well.

“There have also been improvements in water quality and reduction in pollution over the past few decades, which are bound to have helped.”

In the past decade, the grey seal population around Walney Island, north of Morecambe Bay, has boomed five-fold – meaning there is a likelihood of more seals appearing to eagle-eyed coast watchers across the resort.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of grey seals using the South Walney Nature Reserve increasing five-fold in the past 10 years,” Dr Baxter continued.

Cleaner beaches and waters mean cetacean species, grey seals and some fish species are thriving in the Irish Sea. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaCleaner beaches and waters mean cetacean species, grey seals and some fish species are thriving in the Irish Sea. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

“They also started breeding on the nature reserve five years ago and we have had pups every year since. This will mean that more seals are likely to be spotted off the Lancashire coast as they travel to feed.”

According to the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP), which logs all reports of stranded mammals on UK coastlines, a significant drop in reports was received last year – which could be because lockdown was imposed and fewer people were visiting beaches.

However, a decline in numbers since 2017 held promise for populations of marine mammals, as potentially fewer of them were washing up on our shores.

In 2017, 27 dead mammals, predominantly harbour porpoises, were reported to the authority – dropping down to 22 a year later, 19 in 2019 and just 11 last year.

A spokesman for the CSIP said: “There are many reasons why strandings can happen, and most animals we see have been stranded after dying of natural causes.

“Recording strandings allows us to monitor for natural threats like disease and predation as well as human threats like pollutants and fishing bycatch. It also provides a great opportunity to study animals that are otherwise difficult to observe as they live out at sea.”

Although declining, strandings still occur on beaches, albeit usually due to “natural causes.”

A thornback ray was found stranded on Blackpool’s central beach this week, alongside a dogfish – a small species of shark.

Thornback ray populations are commonly found off the Fylde coast, and during the summer hundreds of their egg cases – known as “mermaid’s purses” – can be found scattered along the tideline.

Scott Blacker from Blackpool Sea Life Centre said rays are commonly found swimming around our coast – but their numbers are near-threatened due to fishing or habitat loss.

He said: “We do tend to find these washed up on the beach this time of year and I have seen a couple myself whilst out walking both at St Anne’s and Cleveleys beach.

“The rays may be coming into shallower waters to chase more abundant foods and also for breeding. They are caught a lot by anglers and fishing boats and could be thrown back as bycatch or injured when the hook is removed. The thornback ray egg case is also the most common ray egg found on the beach around here, so we know they have some large groups off the coast.

“They are listed as near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list, and this is mainly due to habitat loss and over-fishing.”

Covid cases across Blackpool and the Fylde coast rise by another 179 in 24 hours

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Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre now have 23,781 Covid cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

There have now been 114,738 confirmed cases in the Lancashire County Council area since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest government data released today (June 30).

Meanwhile, the total across Lancashire, including Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen, now stands at 148,767.

How many coronavirus cases are there in Lancashire?

An aerial photo shows a piece of sand art, depicting the iconic Tower, Pier, and rides of Blackpool in north west England, drawn in the sand on the beach by sand artists 'Sand in your Eye, to promote that the town has re-opened following easing to lockdown restrictions in England on May 17, 2021.An aerial photo shows a piece of sand art, depicting the iconic Tower, Pier, and rides of Blackpool in north west England, drawn in the sand on the beach by sand artists ‘Sand in your Eye, to promote that the town has re-opened following easing to lockdown restrictions in England on May 17, 2021.

Public Health England records cases for each council area. The latest totals for each area in Lancashire are:

Blackburn with Darwen – 23,200 (Up from 23,076) +124

Blackpool – 10,829 (Up from 10,761) +68

Burnley – 11,693 (Up from 11,623) +70

Chorley – 9,614 (Up from 9,525) +89

Fylde – 5,463 (Up from 5,409) +54

Hyndburn – 9,880 (Up from 9,789) +91

Lancaster – 10,576 (Up from 10,470) +106

Pendle – 11,092 (Up from 11,015) +77

Preston – 16,076 (Up from 16,005) +71

Ribble Valley – 5,718 (Up from 5,673) +45

Rossendale – 7,676 (Up from 7,590) +86

South Ribble – 9,799 (Up from 9,739) +60

West Lancs – 9,662 (Up from 9,597) +65

Wyre – 7,489 (Up from 7,432) +57

Police search for missing Blackpool woman with pink hair and tattoosConcern is growing for a Blackpool woman who went missing at the weekend.

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Concern is growing for a Blackpool woman who went missing at the weekend.

 

Danielle Catton, 27, was last seen at Revoe Park at around 10.30am on Saturday (June 26), say police, who are becoming increasingly concerned for her welfare.

She is described as white, 5ft 4in tall, with shoulder length pink hair and tattoos on her arms of roses and a wolf.

She was wearing a red cropped hoodie with blue jogging bottoms and white adidas trainers with silver stripes at the time of her disappearance.

Danielle Catton, 27, is described as white, 5ft 4in tall, with shoulder length pink hair and tattoos on her arms of roses and a wolf. She was wearing a red cropped hoodie with blue jogging bottoms and white adidas trainers with silver stripes at the time of her disappearance. Pic: Lancashire PoliceDanielle Catton, 27, is described as white, 5ft 4in tall, with shoulder length pink hair and tattoos on her arms of roses and a wolf. She was wearing a red cropped hoodie with blue jogging bottoms and white adidas trainers with silver stripes at the time of her disappearance. Pic: Lancashire Police

Danielle has links to Blackpool, Fleetwood, Lancaster and Morecambe.

Anyone with information is urged to call 101 quoting log 0650 of June 27. In an emergency call 999.

 

Creative Blackpool students shine in virtual art exhibition

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Graduating students at Blackpool and the Fylde College have launched a virtual exhibition to showcase their artistic talents.

 

REMOTE, the exhibition, is a collection of work from students leaving college this year, who were unable to show their art in person to the public due to Covid restrictions.

Their art is available to view online via a makeshift virtual tour of an art gallery, whereby viewers can move around “buildings” featuring work from further and higher education students.

The exhibition was launched in conjunction with Creative Lancashire to spotlight some of the most outstanding entries, and was curated by Blackpool School of Arts coordinator Aaron Tonks.

One of the virtual "rooms" showcasing graduating Blackpool and the Fylde College students' work. Pic: Aaron TonksOne of the virtual “rooms” showcasing graduating Blackpool and the Fylde College students’ work. Pic: Aaron Tonks

Aaron said: “I have seen a huge variety of students work during the planning, curation and building of this exhibition and I am enormously impressed by the creativity and quality on show, especially after the disruption caused by Covid-19 over the last year.

“Our students have shown us that creativity and the arts shine brighter in times of crisis.”

This year, the college and Creative Lancashire joined up to host the Industry Award event.

Nominees are highlighted throughout the exhibition with the Creative Lancashire logo, and the three categories of awards are based on Blackpool School of Arts’ values of community, connectivity and process, as well as winners for the overall further education Student of the Year and higher education Student of the Year.

One of the virtual "rooms" showcasing graduating Blackpool and the Fylde College students' work. Pic: Aaron TonksOne of the virtual “rooms” showcasing graduating Blackpool and the Fylde College students’ work. Pic: Aaron Tonks

Ed Matthews-Gentle from Creative Lancashire, and judge for the college’s Industry Awards, added: “It was a pleasure to be associated with the Blackpool School of Art Awards. Our panel of industry peers were incredibly impressed by all nominated students.

“Well done to the winners, and congratulations to all staff and students for navigating such a difficult year and still delivering such staggeringly impressive work.”

The REMOTE art exhibition can be viewed here.

 

Air ambulance called out after man falls from railway bridge in Blackpool

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A man has been taken to hospital with a head injury after falling from a railway bridge in Blackpool.

 

Ambulance crews rushed to Layton railway station after a 999 call at 8.23am Wednesday, moments after a man fell from a bridge at the station in Bispham Road.

The air ambulance was deployed and video shows the helicopter landing in the Pets at Home car park in Holyoake Avenue, off Plymouth Road a short time later.

In the footage, police can also be seen rushing to the scene with blue-lights on.

Video shows the air ambulance touching down in the car park of Pets at Home in Holyoake Avenue, off Plymouth Road, Blackpool at around 9am this morning (Wednesday, June 30)Video shows the air ambulance touching down in the car park of Pets at Home in Holyoake Avenue, off Plymouth Road, Blackpool at around 9am this morning (Wednesday, June 30)

The man, who has suffered a head injury, has been taken to hospital by road ambulance.

A spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said: “An ambulance, helimed crew and response vehicle attended an incident at Layton Railway Station, Bispham Road, following a 999 call at 8.23am, reporting that someone had fallen from a bridge.

“We have taken a male patient to the hospital by road with a head injury.”

Lancashire Police has been approached for comment.

The air ambulance landed in the Pets at Home car park in Holyoake Avenue, off Plymouth Road, where medics were met by a police car that took them to the scene at Layton railway stationThe air ambulance landed in the Pets at Home car park in Holyoake Avenue, off Plymouth Road, where medics were met by a police car that took them to the scene at Layton railway station

Blackpool Elvis impersonator jailed for raping schoolgirl

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A Blackpool man who performed as an Elvis tribute act on Central Pier has been jailed for raping a schoolgirl 19 years ago.

 

Clayton Sandlin – also known as Clayton Mark – has been sentenced to eight years in prison after he was found guilty of historical sex offences dating back to 2002.

The 62-year-old, of Norkeed Court, Queens Promenade, was accused of preying on a 15-year-old girl whilst starring in an Elvis tribute act on Central Pier, where he continued to perform until 2016.

Then aged 43, Sanlin had been singing the King’s greatest hits to unsuspecting crowds whilst using his position of trust to exploit the girl, who he subjected to horrific sexual attacks, including rape.

The 62-year-old, of Norkeed Court, Queens Promenade, Blackpool was accused of preying on a 15-year-old girl whilst starring in a tribute act on Central Pier in 2002The 62-year-old, of Norkeed Court, Queens Promenade, Blackpool was accused of preying on a 15-year-old girl whilst starring in a tribute act on Central Pier in 2002

He was found guilty at Preston Crown Court on Monday (June 28) and sentenced to eight years behind bars. He has also been handed a lifetime sex offenders notification and lifetime restraining order.

Det Con Adam Weaver, of Blackpool Police, said: “Sandlin is a predatory individual who pursued the victim to satisfy his own depravity.

“He used a position of trust to exploit the girl, then 15, before committing several horrific sexual attacks, including rape.

“The victim has shown tremendous bravery in coming forward and telling police what happened. She has also shown great courage during the trial process.

Sandlin, then aged 43, had been working as an Elvis Presley tribute act at a show on the resort’s Central Pier at the time of the sex attacks on a schoolgirlSandlin, then aged 43, had been working as an Elvis Presley tribute act at a show on the resort’s Central Pier at the time of the sex attacks on a schoolgirl

“Sandlin is clearly a dangerous individual and his sentence reflects the gravity of his actions.”

As well as performing on Central Pier, Sandlin also sang at the St Annes Christmas lights switch on in 2014.

How was he caught?

In 2018, Lancashire Police said it received a complaint from a woman alleging Sandlin had committed a number of sex assaults against her in 2002, when she was just 15-years-old.

Following enquiries, Sandlin was voluntarily interviewed by police in connection with the allegations.

He was later reported for summons for one offence of rape and two offences of indecent assault.

Sandlin pleaded not guilty, but following a trial at Preston Crown Court, he was found guilty and convicted of the historical sex offences.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police added: “We would encourage anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence, current or historical, to come forward and report it to us, safe in the knowledge we take all reports seriously and ensure victims are treated sensitively and professionally at all times.”

Blackpool launches a Business Improvement District to boost its tourism sector

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Blackpool is to get its second business improvement district scheme after tourism businesses voted to create their own group to promote the resort.

 

A new Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) is to be launched from Thursday after a ballot, in which more than 90 per cent of businesses gave the idea the thumbs up.

It means that the private sector-led TBID can play a key role in supporting the resort’s post-COVID recovery plan by generating around £1m of investment over the next five years.

The council said the business plan that supported the ballot process showed how a collaboration between private and public sector could be used to focus on protecting and developing a vibrant tourism economy.

Tourism businesses in parts of Blackpool have voted to start a Tourism Business Improvement District scheme to promote the areaTourism businesses in parts of Blackpool have voted to start a Tourism Business Improvement District scheme to promote the area

The TBID promises to deliver marketing and events activity to increase footfall, spend, dwell time and overnight stays, and give businesses a greater say in what is happening across the tourism sector.

The TBID area, which includes more than 250 businesses on the seafront as well as those operating around the Stanley Park and Marton Mere areas, becomes the second Business Improvement District to be formed in Blackpool

The existing Town Centre BID is long-established and recently won another five-year mandate to support town centre traders.

Kate Shane, TBID Project Lead and Head of Blackpool Cluster for the Merlin Entertainments Group, said: “It is brilliant to see our tourism industry recognise the importance of a structured recovery programme and the role that a tourism-focused Business Improvement District can play within that.

Coun Lynne WilliamsCoun Lynne Williams

“By working in partnership with leisure, accommodation, retail, food and drink businesses, and statutory authorities we know we can deliver a strong, cohesive, business-led growth strategy for Blackpool.”

Coun Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This is an opportunity to stimulate investment in Blackpool’s tourism economy and help realise its future potential.

“Throughout this pandemic, partnership working within our tourism and hospitality industry has been a key element of recovery planning. The formation of a TBID can now take that on to a

sustainable footing.”

The TBID will come into effect from July 1. A formal board will be appointed over the coming weeks and businesses will pay a levy towards the costs of running the scheme.

Ian White from hoteliers group StayBlackpool said: “We have been involved from the early days while the TBID was just an idea and in the steering group stage.

“We believe the TBID project will be a significant and vital part of the COVID Recovery period and beyond.

“The TBID brings together the private sector and Blackpool council to offer the strongest possible future path for the towns tourism offer.

“Though StayBlackpool as a group will hold no voting rights, we believe we can hold a significant and instrumental part in keeping our members interests represented for the good of all.”

New pictures show work is underway on M55 link road

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Local leaders have met to celebrate the start of construction of the £27m M55 to Heyhouses link road, which is expected to open in early 2024.

 

The first phase of the project involves around 18-months of earthworks by Duo Operations to prepare the ground for the new road, which will then be constructed by Lancashire County

Council’s in-house team.

The link road, which will improve access between Lytham and St Annes and the motorway network, will connect the existing roundabout at Whitehills Road to the north with HeyhousesLocal leaders met to celebrate the start of the M55 link road worksLocal leaders met to celebrate the start of the M55 link road works

Lane near the Cypress Point development site to the south.

On the northern section, Wild Lane and part of North Houses Lane – single track roads which were closed a number of years ago – will be reopened as a shared path for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

MP’s delight as work on Fylde’s M55 link road finally under way
The start of the M55 link road works
The start of the M55 link road works

The road is being funded thanks to contributions from or managed through the Department for Transport, Highways England, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Lancashire

County Council, Fylde Borough Council, Kensington Developments Ltd, and other developers.

A contract was agreed in March after the project became one of 10 ‘shovel ready’ schemes across the county to receive support as part of the Getting Building Fund to speed up

construction in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The site where the M55 link road is being builtThe site where the M55 link road is being built

County Coun Charlie Edwards, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Lancashire County Council believes this road will make a huge difference to

travel in this area, and is vital to ensure the creation of jobs and homes for local people with the future development which will now be able to take place.

“I know that residents and businesses have been anticipating this moment for many years, and I’m very pleased to be able to say that we’re getting on with delivering those better journey

times and reduced congestion which the link road will bring.

“The project board for this scheme represents a number of local partners, and it has taken an enormous amount of determination from them to secure the land and funding needed to get

us to this point.

“I’d also like to thank all the neighbouring landowners for their support and cooperation in allowing us to secure the land needed for the road, and the access which will make construction easier.

“My thanks also to all of the councillors and local organisations for working together to deliver this for our residents.”

Coun Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Borough Council, said: “There has been enormous determination shown by local leaders to get to the point of contractors finally being on site to build

this much needed road.

“Since the road collapsed in 2013 and was closed as a through route to Whitehills roundabout there have been three different leaders of Fylde Council and yet this priority has never been off the table.

“Reaching agreement between so many interested parties with competing priorities proved challenging and some local residents, understandably, voiced a view that they did not believe

the project was happening until they saw it with their own eyes. I am relieved we are now at that point and the years of negotiations, lobbying and bid-writing has borne fruit.”

It is hoped the scheme will relieve congestion on smaller roads and support the commercial viability of local housing and business development sites.

David Taylor, chairman of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “The LEP is proud to be backing this project, which not only provides an important transport link but which will also

improve access to the nearby Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone and unlock vital local jobs and homes on the Fylde.

“I know a lot of local effort has gone in to making this project happen, and it is great that £5.79m of funding from the Getting Building Fund – provided by the LEP – has been decisive in getting this project across the line.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “At last, we can see works on the M55 link road under way.

“Lancashire County Council stepped up to the mark and Fylde Council doubled its contribution to the project to get it done. I lobbied ministers including the Chancellor and Prime Minister

to secure Government funding and our vital link road is now being built.

“What we must remember is that this much more than just a road; it will help unlock the economic potential of St Annes and Lytham for many years to come.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP, said: “I am thrilled that a £5.79 million Getting Building Fund investment will help kickstart construction to improve access between Lytham and the M55.

“This project will help to relieve congestion on smaller local roads and provide more opportunities for housing and business developments in the area.”

Kristian Marsh, Highways England’s route manager for the M55, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the delivery of this long desired local highway scheme with a £4.78 million contribution from our Growth and Housing Fund.

“It’s a great example of partnership across many organisations that will help unlock the development of new homes and the creation of new jobs.”

A year to save Lancashire’s historic Palace cinema – but will new Community Interest Company attract enough volunteers?

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A CIC (Community interest Company) has been set up as a first step to saving Longridge’s Palace cinema. Volunteers with different skills will be needed to take on the running of this small historic venue on Market Place.

 

Come September the Palace Cinema in Longridge, near Preston could open its doors to the public again.

But that prospect depends upon a willing team of supporters coming forward to help steer its trial year as a Community Interest Company.

Filmmaker Lara Hewitt, who has run the cinema for the past few years, has announced that The Palace Longridge Community Interest Company has now been registered at Companies House.

Lara Hewitt, pictured inside the PalaceLara Hewitt, pictured inside the Palace

She said: “We need people to now run the cinema and we especially need people who can help with fund raising and manage the business and accounts side. There’s potential for it to open. It will be trialled as a CIC for a year but now the community needs to take it on if they would like to do so … I’ll have to step back. I’m looking for other people to run it,”

If there is not sufficient interest to run the Palace as a CIC it will be put up for sale.

Her late father’s company Parkwood purchased the cinema in 2018 and had been subsidising it as Lara and her team worked to build up income and welcome community groups, organising events ranging from live music to a book club. Despite its increasing popularity the venue had not yet broken event and was losing up to £2,000 a month before its doors had to close due to the pandemic lockdown..

Lara wrote on the Palace’s Facebook page: “The Palace has so much potential but she will need a lot of investment, both financially and in terms of time, from the community if she is to be run by you guys. If it doesn’t work out we will put her on the market. But first of all we will give this a chance. All we can do is try…. Now the hard work begins. Can you be a part of it? It is my hope that Longridge and the various supporters of The Palace can pull together to reopen our historic venue from this autumn.”

The Palace Cinema, LongridgeThe Palace Cinema, Longridge

She continued: “I won’t be taking a wage from The Palace any more and therefore can’t work anything like full time on this, and my dad’s company will not be running it but will loan it (for free) for a year to see if, with my help and guidance in the first instance, the community can look after our lovely treasure chest. But I warn you: it’s a big challenge. ”

Now Lara is drawing up a list of the many jobs it takes to run the venue which also boasts a small cafe/bar, exhibition space and meeting room. She pledged: “I will captain the ship as best I can until such time as she’s safely afloat and another captain presents him or herself.”

She plans to hold bi-weekly sessions beginning on Tuesday, July 13 and Thursday, July 15. to help get the CIC operational.

She said: “There is money that needs to be raised, accounting systems put in place, tills and card machines that need to be purchased, walls that need painting, sweeties that need buying, training to be undergone, volunteer rotas to be established and there are hopefully friendships to be formed too. I stress we are NOT yet officially open as an organisation but I am happy to host appropriately distanced planning meetings in the auditorium for now.”

Filmmaker Lara HewittFilmmaker Lara Hewitt

In particular she says the Palace needs: “people who could be a bookkeeper or accountant for her, write funding bids, build her a new website, liaise with Longridge, Ribble Valley and Lancashire councils, help be on or run a marketing team for events, manage volunteers, do some painting and decorating, work some late evenings when there are busy films or events, liaise with schools, run fundraisers locally, programme films and events, be an ambassador to connect with and collaborate with local businesses, clean beer lines and swap kegs over, deal with blocked toilets, dodgy radiators, tiles in gutters, the odd mouse, mystery damp patches and the other things that happen with a hundred and sixty year old building help with projecting films.”

* The Palace first opened in the early part of the 20th century as a music hall and cinema and later became a roller rink and bingo hall before reverting to its cinema/theatre role. It reopened May 2018 after a five month renovation project.

* Lara recently heard that her film about Brexit and loss entitled Goodbye Europe has been selected to be showcased at this summer’s Chichester International Festival. Her film Datsche is available to rent on Amazon.

For more on plans for the Palace and the background to Lara’s decision see here .

Fleetwood man handed three-year football ban after attempting to punch steward at Blackpool match

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A 51-year-old man has been fined £300 and issued with a three-year football banning order after he attempted to punch a steward in Blackpool.

 

Michael McLaughlin, of Addison Road, Fleetwood, was in attendance at the Blackpool and Fleetwood Town match in Bloomfield Road on December 7, 2019.

During the second half of the match, police said an “incident” involving supporters from both sides took place on the pitch after Blackpool took a 3-0 lead.

After a number of Fleetwood Town fans moved to the segregation barrier, McLaughlin walked to the front of the railings in an attempt to separate the barricade.

Michael McLaughlin (pictured) has been handed a three-year banning order after being found guilty of a public order offence during a Blackpool and Fleetwood Town football match. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Michael McLaughlin (pictured) has been handed a three-year banning order after being found guilty of a public order offence during a Blackpool and Fleetwood Town football match. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

CCTV footage reportedly captured the 51-year-old attempting to punch a match day steward after they attempted to push McLaughlin back.

Blackpool Elvis impersonator jailed for raping schoolgirl

McLaughlin was given the order at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on June 23 for his behaviour, as well as a £300 fine, costs of £650 and victim surcharge of £32.

PC Dan Fish, of Lancashire Police, said: “McLaughlin was challenged by the steward over his behaviour leading to a violent confrontation.

“His actions were shameful, attempting to attack a steward simply doing their job.

“We welcome the court result and hope it serves as a warning to others.”