‘Covid is a Hoax’ sign in Blackpool spiritualist shop angers survivors of virus as store owner explains reasoning

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Signs in a Blackpool spiritualist shop window branding Covid-19 as a hoax have angered a husband and wife who have battled the virus.

 

Charles and Rosemary Dawson, both 70, live on Ellesmere Road in Marton and spotted the signs in the window of Aura on Lytham Road in South Shore last week.

The pair, who have been married 46 years and are originally from Oxford, said they were upset because they have both battled the virus with Charles nearly dying.

Charles, a part-time bus driver, said: “I went into hospital on January 9 and I was in there for two and a half months.

Charles Dawson with the sign in the window of Aura in Lytham Road, South ShoreCharles Dawson with the sign in the window of Aura in Lytham Road, South Shore

“Rosemary was at home at the same time fighting the virus while I was at Blackpool Vic. It really was touch and go and they put me on a ventilator which I was on for three weeks and apparently I died three times.

“My daughter also said at one point I had a 20 percent chance of living so when we both saw the sign we were shocked and angered to say the least. We know it is not fake so what right do they have putting it in the window denouncing it as a hoax?

“It’s also not fair to people who will have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. I find it really insulting that it is in the window. I’m still not able to go back to work yet because of Covid.”

Charles confronted the shop’s owner who told him that it wasn’t a hoax.

The shop's owner, Victoria Mackay, said the sign is there to provoke a reactionThe shop’s owner, Victoria Mackay, said the sign is there to provoke a reaction

He added: “She said she wasn’t saying that the coronavirus was a hoax, but yes she is because it is in the window in black and white telling people to wake up. It really is ridiculous. ”

Rosemary, who has lived in the resort with Charles for 17 years, said: “Look how much the NHS has done for everyone across the country and the doctors, nurses and carers who have lost their lives to the virus.

“My sympathy is with everyone who has witnessed Covid first hand, like I have, and have lost loved ones to it. I think it is not fair at all that she can put those signs in the window pretending that it is all fake.”

The owner of Aura, Victoria Mackay, told The Gazette that she knows Covid-19 is not a hoax and that people have died from the virus but the sign is there to intentionally provoke a reaction.

She said: “I will never apologise for my sign as I believe it needs to provoke thought. Because I work directly with the spirit world, I am getting all of these messages which has told me something is not quite right.

“I do apologise to the couple if the sign has caused them offence but I feel as though this is something I need to say and put out there.

“I am happy to speak to anyone about the sign or Covid as a friendly chat if they want to. I have done a lot of research since the start of the pandemic and, while I am not saying the virus itself is a hoax, there are a lot of things that have happened which I don’t believe the public has been told the truth about.”

Victoria added: “Let’s start with the bat at the wet market in Wuhan. It was then changed that it came from a lab in Wuhan, of which Fauci [Dr Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National

Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US] is now under investigation, under the gain of function. Money was invested through Fauci. This is all going to trial.

“The measurements are draconian. There was a pandemic response plan prepared 50 years ago to support the science.

“It was changed weeks before the pandemic, fully conducive to the ideology for the World Economic Forum, the great reset Davos climate change agenda. Vaccine passports will make us dependent and controlled in a totalitarian state, just think China.

“Their words, the UK government, the fourth industrial revolution, ‘build back better’. They are pushing a very convenient agenda.

“I feel it is my right as a human, my right as a human, to get this information out to people.”

 

A sign of confusion at St Annes supermarket

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A banner promoting a Fylde town centre store’s refurbishment has sparked anger over geographical confusion.

 

The Sainsbury’s store at St Annes has proclaimed the unveiling of its new look with a banner which says: “Your new improved Lytham Sainsburys is now open,” although Lytham is actually three miles away and has a smaller Sainsbury’s presence of its own.

The St Annes store, adjacent to St Annes-on-the-Sea rail station and just a few hundred yards from St Annes Town Council’s headquarters, has traditionally been billed as being in ‘Lytham St Annes’ since it opened in former Safeway premises in St Andrew’s Road North in 2004.

But St Annes Town Council felt it had to contact the store giant amid concerns, and anger, according to the Town Council’s chairman Gavin Harrison, that the abbreviation to simply ‘Lytham’ is a step too far.

The banner at the Sainsbury's supermarket in St AnnesThe banner at the Sainsbury’s supermarket in St Annes

Pharmacy counter closes as St Annes supermarket prepares for Argos

Gavin said: “This seemingly minor error by Sainsbury’s is a symptom of a wider identity problem and people from both towns are understandably angry.

“The Post Office define ‘Lytham St Annes’ as a ‘Post Town’ which is acceptable for their purposes and they use postcodes to more clearly define locations.

“But that is no consolation to our residents who are rightly proud of their St Annes heritage and will fiercely protect this.

“We have all had visitors who have accidentally ended up three miles down the road and to have these signs visible from the exit to the station (St Annes station, that is!) just causes more confusion.

“I hope Sainsbury’s will understand this depth of feeling and act to address the issue as soon as possible.”

Town clerk Kevin Martin said: “We have spoken face to face with a store representative to point out the ‘oversight’. He is going to take it up with their head office, which ordered the banner.

“The representative suggested that the banner will ‘not remain in place for very long’, but it was interesting that he has received a number of observations from residents coming from Lytham to shop there saying that there is a Sainsbury’s in Lytham, so the banner is also incorrect.”

The St Annes Sainsbury’s store remained open through the refurbishment, which included the installation of an Argos counter and new fresh food display areas, but the closure of its previous Lloyds pharmacy facility.

Sainsbury’s was contacted for comment.

 

New Blackpool tram stop outside Trilogy nightclub described as a ‘accident waiting to happen’

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A new tram stop built as part of the resort’s £23.4m tram link to Blackpool North train station has been described as a ‘accident waiting to happen’ due to a huge kerb right outside a popular nightclub.

 

The stop is part of the Talbot Gateway redevelopment in the town centre and the 11 inch kerb is directly in front of the Trilogy nightclub in Talbot Square and is situated in one of the busiest nightlife hotspots in the resort.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the opposition on the council, has described the kerb as “ridiculous” and said it needs a total rethink.

He said: “I think it is very dangerous and I have heard of people having slight mishaps on it already. It is only going to be worse when people start coming out of the clubs nearby.

The tram stop 'platform' outside Trilogy nightclub on Talbot RoadThe tram stop ‘platform’ outside Trilogy nightclub on Talbot Road

“They will have had a few drinks and visibility won’t be as good at night either and I think there is going to be some accidents, which means the council are going to get some hefty claims coming their way.”

Coun Williams also had reservations about the layout and design of the kerb.

He said: “This design doesn’t look user friendly to me at all and, in fact, as well as looking like an accident waiting to happen, it’s also ugly.

“For me, I would have said this was a platform rather than a tram stop and looking at the kerb it’s also difficult to see how this is disabled friendly.

The kerb is 11 inches high and it's feared the resort's partygoers will fall off itThe kerb is 11 inches high and it’s feared the resort’s partygoers will fall off it

“I also think the overhanging front edge which provides a handy covering for weeds and a place to sweep litter into has not been considered by the council or the contractors either. It will be an eyesore.

“Ultimately it is the council’s decision and the council’s to sort out. They should have an immediate rethink and look at it again.

“It certainly isn’t safe the way it is at the moment and it either needs bollards but then I don’t think that will prevent falls. Get it sorted, Blackpool Council. ”

Paul Rawson from Blackpool and the Fylde Street Angels, whose volunteers provide help and assistance to those who are vulnerable in the resort, branded the kerb “dangerous”.

Coun Tony Williams said 'it's an accident waiting to happen"Coun Tony Williams said ‘it’s an accident waiting to happen”

He said: “I noticed it and I couldn’t believe it to be honest. Of all the places for that raised part to be is directly outside what potentially could be Blackpool’s biggest nightclub and gathering of people.

“I’m quite shocked it was approved and I don’t think it’s been well planned and thought out at all.

“If there is a need for a raised platform for the trams for whatever reason, I’m sure it should have been somewhere else. Why wasn’t the outside the Catholic church, for instance, a few yards further up? Certainly it shouldn’t be directly outside a nightclub.”.

Paul said he can see people having accidents and hurting themselves.

The council said it has had no reports of anyone falling off the kerbThe council said it has had no reports of anyone falling off the kerb

He said: “It has always been a busy point there, and while a lot of work was going on over the last couple of years for the tram extension, there has been a lot of roadworks around there, which was okay when it was full of barricades and so on but now it’s an open space.

“You’ve got the opening of the new hotel directly opposite as well – so there’s going to be accidents without a doubt

“If they don’t move it, they are going to have to put a railing there and just have a small area on the platform where the tram doors will open but they need to do something.

“For every single person that potentially breaks their leg or twists their ankle, how many hundreds of pounds will it be for each ambulance call out?”

When The Gazette contacted the council about the kerb, a spokesman said: “Discussions have taken place with the owner of the nightclub about the construction of the tram stop and the possible installation of a handrail at the back of the tram stop for added safety.

“However the owner preferred to maintain the open aspect to the front of the club.”

It is part of the multi-million pound tram link project linking the Promenade to a new tram station by Blackpool North railway stationIt is part of the multi-million pound tram link project linking the Promenade to a new tram station by Blackpool North railway station

However, the club, which was formerly called Home & HQ and owned by the Nordwind family, was bought by Matt Taylor last year and he told The Gazette the tram stop was already in place when he took over and not heard from the council in regards to it.

Blackpool Council responded and a spokesman said: “I can confirm that the council have not been made aware of any change of ownership and there have been no complaints or issues raised by the new owner relating to the layout and tram stop in front of the club, and no incidents recorded in relation to the tram stop.”

The spokesman also added: “The pavement is very wide outside the nightclub and tactile paving has been installed along the edge of the platform so there is no large drop from the kerb, the difference in level being just 280mm.

“The tram stop has been in place for a while now and the council has received no reports of any incidents in the area.”

 

HMP Lancaster inmate from Fleetwood left officer with broken nose as he tried to stop him throwing large toaster

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A prison officer was attacked as he tried to stop an agitated inmate hurling an industrial toaster through an office window, a court has heard.

 

Convicted arsonist Shaun Robert Broad, 44, of Warren Hurst Road, Fleetwood, turned on prison officer Martin Hewitt as he tried to diffuse the situation and walk him back to his cell at HMP Lancaster Farms.

He punched Mr Hewitt, breaking his nose, before continuing to attack him on the floor.

The officer managed to call colleagues for assistance during the incident on September 23, 2020.

The attack happened at HMP Lancaster FarmsThe attack happened at HMP Lancaster Farms

Prosecuting at Preston Magistrates’ Court, Andy Robinson said: “Officer Hewitt says Mr Broad approached the office and was asking him to come out.

HMP Garth inmate guilty of homemade weapon stabbing attack

He said in a matter of fact way he was going to get a large toaster and throw it through the office window.

“Mr Broad did walk off and had gone in the direction of where the toaster was and appeared to be in the process of carrying out the threat and he decided it was safest for him to be placed back in his cell.
Preston Magistrates' Court
Preston Magistrates’ Court

“He placed his hand on shoulder to guide him back but as he did he pulled away and punched him straight on his nose.”

As the attack continued Mr Broad suffered scratches to his face.

In a victim impact statement he described the upset for his family, and said he had taken time off work.

He said he was angry that his physical appearance has changed and he has suffered pain in his back and ribs, causing issue with sleep and general discomfort.

Broad is accused of causing actual bodily harm.

The bench committed the case to Preston Crown Court.

(proceeding)

Blackpool hotel guests arrested on suspicion of drug dealing after police search room

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of drug dealing at the Savoy Hotel in North Shore.

 

Police visited the Britannia-owned hotel in Queen’s Promenade on Tuesday morning (August 10) after concerns were raised about illegal activity taking place in one of the rooms.

Officers searched the room and uncovered a stash of suspected Class A drugs which were seized for testing.

Two guests, a 26-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of Possession With Intent to Supply Class A Drugs.

Two guests were arrested on suspicion of drug dealing at the Savoy Hotel in Queen's Promenade, North Shore on Tuesday (August 10) after police found a stash of suspected Class A drugs inside one of its rooms. Pic: GoogleTwo guests were arrested on suspicion of drug dealing at the Savoy Hotel in Queen’s Promenade, North Shore on Tuesday (August 10) after police found a stash of suspected Class A drugs inside one of its rooms. Pic: Google

The pair have since been released under investigation.

A police spokesman said: “Police attended The Savoy Hotel on August 10 following concerns of illegal activity taking place in a room.

“Police located a quantity of what is believed to be Class A drugs in a hotel room.

“A man aged 26 and a woman aged 29 were arrested on suspicion of Possession With Intent to Supply Class A Drugs.

“They have been released under investigation at this time whilst police progress the investigation and lines of enquiry.

“Lancashire Constabulary will not tolerate this kind of illegal activity and would like to thank the Savoy Hotel Management for their assistance in the investigation.”

 

Two people rescued from sea after being spotted ‘clinging onto North Pier’ in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Two people who entered the sea near North Pier were saved by emergency services after getting into difficulty.

 

Police called the Holyhead Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) after spotting two people in the water at around 12.50am this morning (August 12).

The two casualties were desperately clinging onto the supports underneath North Pier as crews from Lytham Coastguard arrived.

Watching the dangerous situation unfold, police threw the casualties life rings before crews “took charge” and pulled one of them to safety.

Two people were saved by emergency services after they were spotted in the sea in Blackpool. (Credit: HM Coastguard Lytham)Two people were saved by emergency services after they were spotted in the sea in Blackpool. (Credit: HM Coastguard Lytham)

After several failed attempts to rescue the second person, crews from RNLI Blackpool finally managed to recover them despite the “very difficult conditions”.

Both casualties were passed into the care of ambulance crews at the scene.

“Fantastic teamwork between ourselves and RNLI Blackpool resulted in two lives saved,” a spokesman for Lytham Coastguard said.

If you see a coastal emergency, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

 

Sherlock star Una Stubbs dies aged 84

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Actress Una Stubbs, best known for roles in the film Summer Holiday and in the BBC sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness And In Health, has died at the age of 84, her agent said.

 

Actress Una Stubbs

Actress Una Stubbs

Actress Una Stubbs, best known for roles in the film Summer Holiday and in the BBC sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness And In Health, has died at the age of 84, her agent The star, who was born in Hertfordshire in 1937, had a career in film, television and theatre spanning decades, including a recent role as Mrs Hudson in the BBC’s Sherlock opposite Benedict Cumberbatch.

A statement from her family said: “Mum passed away quietly today with her family around her, in Edinburgh. We ask for privacy and understanding at this most difficult and sad of times.”

Her agent Rebecca Blond said: “We are desperately sad to have lost not only a wonderful actress, whose screen and stage career, spanning over 50 years, was so extraordinarily varied, from Till Death Us Do Part to Sherlock, as well as memorable performances in the West End, at the Old Vic, Donmar Warehouse, Sheffield Crucible and National Theatre, but also a wickedly funny, elegant, stylish, graceful, gracious and kind and constant friend.

Jon Pertwee as Worzel Gummidge and Una Stubs as Aunt SallyJon Pertwee as Worzel Gummidge and Una Stubs as Aunt Sally

“She was also a highly respected and exhibited artist. We will miss her enormously and remember her always.”

The 1963 film Summer Holiday helped to make Stubbs’ name after she starred in the musical alongside Sir Cliff Richard.

She went on to star in BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part and its sequel In Sickness And In Health, playing Rita Rawlings.

In addition to her work as an actress, Stubbs was also a keen amateur painter who had her work displayed at the Royal Academy in London.

 

Blackpool paedophile spared jail after arranging to meet child for “kiss and cuddle” on Prom

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool man who was stung by ‘peadophile hunters’ has been spared jail after being charged with child sex offences.

 

Michael Wagstaffe, 53, thought he was talking to a 14-year-old girl online when he told her to strip and send nude pictures of herself to him.

On Wednesday (August 11), Blackpool Magistrates heard how he then arranged to meet the youngster on the Prom for “a kiss and cuddle”.

But Wagstaffe was unaware the girl he was grooming was in fact a ‘decoy’ – an adult posing as a child on behalf of anti-paedophile group Fleetwood Enforcers UK.

Michael Wagstaffe, 53, from Lytham Road, South Shore, arranged to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old girl on the Prom for "a kiss and cuddle". But Wagstaffe was unaware the girl he was grooming was in fact a 'decoy' - an adult posing as a child on behalf of an anti-paedophile group

Michael Wagstaffe, 53, from Lytham Road, South Shore, arranged to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old girl on the Prom for “a kiss and cuddle”. But Wagstaffe was unaware the girl he was grooming was in fact a ‘decoy’ – an adult posing as a child on behalf of an anti-paedophile group

After arranging to meet up with his young victim, Wagstaffe was confronted by the vigilante child protection group outside his home in Lytham Road, South Shore.

The encounter was filmed and broadcast live on Facebook, where hundreds of people watched him interrogated by the group before police arrived at the scene.

He was arrested and taken into custody where he admitted to officers that he had arranged to meet a child for sex.

The court heard that during his police interview, Wagstaffe told officers he would “watch young girls in school uniform”.

He pleaded guilty to arranging to meet a 14 -year-old for sex and a second charge of attempting to engage in sexual activity .

Stacey Morrow, prosecuting, said that Wagstaffe used the alias Mike Williams when he was prowling social media for potential victims.

Defence lawyer Gary McAnulty, said Wagstaffe could safely be monitored under the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

In defence of his client’s actions, he added: “At their height these offences amount to asking who he thought was a girl to meet him on the Promenade.”

Wagstaffe was handed a one year jail term suspended for two years and was ordered to pay £241 costs .

He has also been put on a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years.

Teenage girl sexually assaulted after group of men harass youngsters on Blackpoo…

Figures released by Lancashire Police earlier this year revealed that nearly half of all child grooming convictions in the county involved stings by paedophile hunting groups.

Of the 51 grooming offences investigated by the force, which led to charges between 2019 and 2020, a total of 22 involved intelligence provided by such groups.

 

Teenager threatened with knife before being ordered to withdraw cash from ATM in Cleveleys

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A teenager was ordered to withdraw cash from an ATM after being threatened with a knife in Cleveleys.

 

The victim, an 18-year-old man, was robbed in North Promenade at around 7.20 on August 5.

Officers said he was threatened at knifepoint during the terrifying ordeal.

The offender then ordered the teenager to withdraw money from a cash machine.

A teenager was ordered to withdraw cash from an ATM after being threatened at knifepoint in Cleveleys.A teenager was ordered to withdraw cash from an ATM after being threatened at knifepoint in Cleveleys.

No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing, police said.

Anyone with information can call 101, quoting log number 0233 of August 5, 2021.

You can also report it online by clicking HERE.

Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.