Suspect identified after motorcyclist sprayed with ‘unknown liquid’ during attempted robbery in Blackpool

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A suspect has been identified after a motorcyclist was sprayed with an “unknown liquid” during an attempted robbery in Blackpool


The victim, a 52-year-old man, was riding along Talbot Road when he was hit by an “unknown liquid ” at around 2.35pm on Sunday, July 25.

When he got off his motorcycle in Abingdon Street, a man threw the liquid a second time before demanding he step away from the bike.

The offender then fled the scene empty-handed.

A suspect has been identified after a motorcyclist was sprayed with an "unknown liquid" during an attempted robbery in BlackpoolA suspect has been identified after a motorcyclist was sprayed with an “unknown liquid” during an attempted robbery in Blackpool

In a public appeal, detectives said the liquid was “potentially a type of acid”, with PC Mike Schoutetan saying: “I must stress we have not been able to recover the bottle that contained the liquid so can’t say for sure what it was.”

Today (August 24), police said in a short statement: “We have received some information and will be speaking to the person we have been told is in the CCTV in due course.”

New Sing out Strong choir for Blackpool aimed at boosting mental health

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A new choir is being set up in Blackpool next month – aimed at helping to improve people’s mental health.


Stewart Hankinson has conducted many choirs

Sing out Strong is the world’s biggest mental health choir and the organisation provides opportunities for people to improve their wellbeing through singing.

Now it is setting up on the Fylde coast.

The Blackpool and Fylde Sing out Strong choir will meet up on Monday mornings from 10.15am to 11.45am, at the Michael Hall Theatre School on Preston Old Road, Blackpool.

Choir leader is Stewart Hankinson, a highly qualified professional musician who is originally from Lytham and has led choirs at youth, school and community level and performed at venues including the Royal Albert Hall.

Stewart, 61, who now lives in Freckleton, said: “Singing is often used as therapy, it is so good at lifting people’s spirits and taking them to a completely different place.

“That is what we are looking to do with this choir.”

Sing out Strong started life as a UK family of choirs for mental health and well-being, back in 2019, and since then has grown from strength to strength.

When the first lockdown hit the country, there were six choirs on the English/Welsh border, each meeting regularly to enjoy music, friendship and mutual support.

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed down the in-person groups, Sing out Strong switched to running free, on-line choir sessions available to anyone and everyone, being the first UK group to “go virtual”.

Since then, there have been seven unique projects featuring everything from original charity singles to famous, classical works, and the organisation has gone global, working with 11,000 singers in 100 countries.

The Founder and Principal Conductor of Sing out Strong is Emma Rowland, a professional choral conductor with post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Emma set up SOS as a safe place where people could come and sing for their well-being, but also could be open about their mental health or if they were just having a bad day.

All material is upbeat and positive and relaxation exercises are included at the beginning and end of every rehearsal.

Sing out Strong also organises Wellness Days where choir members can try new well-being activities.

Additionally, all choir leaders are trained in mental health safeguarding.

As well as raising awareness of mental health and singing together for fun and friendship, the choirs will come together regularly for spectacular fund-raising galas in aid of

mental health charities.

Choir fees are capped, free places are offered for carers, additional support is made available for disability or learning needs and nobody is ever auditioned, put on the spot or expected to join in or perform.

Founder Emma Rowland said: “I know, from personal experience, how singing and social inclusion can make you smile – even when you think you may never smile again.”

April’s our Miss Blackpool in GB teen pageant

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April Fletcher will be flying the flag for Blackpool later this year.

April Fletcher is Miss Blackpool in the forthcoming Miss Teen GB pageant

April Fletcher is Miss Blackpool in the forthcoming Miss Teen GB pageant

The 16 year old has been chosen to represent her home town in the Miss Teen Great Britain competition, which is being staged at the resort’s Globe Theatre on Saturday, October 24.

April, who will join a performing arts course at Blackpool Sixth Form College next month, impressed competition organisers with her photos to fly through two rounds, ahead of local hopefuls.

Thousands of teenage girls enter the pageant from all across the country every year.

At the final, April will take part in two cat walks and will also be interviewed by the judges.

However, the teen says she will not be nervous.

April, of St Leonards Road, Blackpool, said: “I’m looking forward to it – and it’s an honour to represent Blackpool.

“As Miss Teen Blackpool I’m going to be involved in promotional events and fundraisers for various causes so it’s a positive thing.”

April’s sponsor for the pageant is the Stitch in Time bridal shop on Central Drive in Blackpool – which is owned by her mum, Rebecca.

Rebecca, 47, said: “I think these events are great, they really help to build confidence, they help support good causes and they bring along some glamour.

“After last year, when everything was shut down because of Covid, its return is very welcome.”

April is a keen dancer who has also appeared in small roles on children’s TV, in programmes such as The Worst Witch and the Four O’Clock Club.

A possible career on stage or in front of the cameras may beckon but the former St George’s School pupil said: “That would be nice but I’m not sure what I’ll do yet.”

The popular Miss Teen pageant is a regular event at Blackpool’s Globe Theatre.

There are in fact three separate events – Little Miss Teen Great Britain, Miss Junior Teen Great Britain and Miss Teen Great Britain.

Despite the name, the organisers say they are not beauty contests but a platform to celebrate teenagers, their achievements and their goals.

Winners of each title get a cash prize (£1,000 for Miss Teen Great Britain) beauty products and a chance to help charities.

The events are organised by Pageant Girl UK, who have been organising various pageant events for the last 15 years


Blackpool Night Run for Brian House Children’s Hospice set to shine again this year

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Runners guided by the resort’s dazzling Illuminations lights will take to the prom again this year to raise money for local children with life-limiting conditions during the Blackpool Night Run.


The Blackpool Night Run will go ahead at 8.30pm on Wednesday, September 1 at the Tower Festival Headland.

The event was first held in 2019, when 6,000 people ran 7.5km under the Illuminations and raised a staggering £78,000 for Brian House Children’s Hospice in Bispham.

The pandemic dashed hopes for the run last year, but more than 800 people still took the streets for a virtual Night Run, raising a total of £24,500.

Brian House’s Amanda Swarbrick took part in last year’s virtual Blackpool Night Run with friends to raise money for Brian House. Pic: Brian House

Amanda Swarbrick, 31, a healthcare assistant at the hospice, got involved with the virtual run last year with four friends and said she was pleased to be making a difference for local families.

She said: “Since starting at Brian House in early 2020, I’d seen lots of photos of the different events we hold, and heard how fantastic they were. They looked like such an amazing atmosphere; everyone pulling together to raise money. It was definitely something I wanted to be part of.”

Amanda and her friends pounded the prom during the virtual night run on the day it should have taken place, before Covid restrictions took hold.

She continued: “It was lovely – we saw other people wearing Night Run t-shirts and gave them a wave.

“It’s hard to describe the impact taking part in an event like Night Run has on the hospice. Seeing the children when they come into the hospice, or when we visit them at home, and the smiles on their faces as they are having a lovely time and making incredible memories, it’s priceless.

“I really enjoyed doing Night Run; it gave me something to focus on and I definitely felt like I was making a difference to our local families. I get to see first-hand where the money raised by amazing supporters goes, and how much it means to local fragile children and their families who need us. It’s a nice feeling to have been able to give something back. I’ll

definitely be doing it again.”

Kirsty Miller, events manager for Brian House, added: “We are really looking forward to putting on our second Night Run event after the success of the first one, and seeing our amazing supporters taking part in a live event for us again.

“We have been working hard to ensure that this event is as safe as possible for all those taking part, and we’re confident that this will be yet another amazing event to be part of.”

Wanted man arrested after climbing onto roof in Blackpool

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A section of Central Drive was closed by police after a wanted man climbed onto a roof.


Police shut Central Drive at the junction with Grasmere Road due to an “incident” at around 4.15am today (August 23).

Officers have since confirmed a wanted man had climbed onto the roof of a property.

“He has since come down and been arrested,” a spokesman added.

Lancashire Police have been approached for more information.

Bus services diverted their routes following the closure as traffic began to build in the area.

The road closure was in place for four hours

Central Drive was shut by police.

Central Drive was shut by police.

M61 remains closed after serious crash involving bike rider between Clayton Broo…

Traffic was building in the area following the closure. (Credit: AA)
Traffic was building in the area following the closure. (Credit: AA)

Blackpool Transport investigating wiring damage after temporary tram service suspension

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Blackpool Transport is investigating how a tram’s pantograph became tangled in wire near Festival House yesterday (August 23), causing a two-hour suspension of tram services across the coast.


All tram services between Fleetwood and Starr Gate were stopped at around 3pm yesterday while engineers isolated cable lines between Gynn Square and Manchester Square.

As one of the most popular modes of transport in Blackpool, stranded tourists were forced to find alternative ways to commute between their hotels and resort attractions.

It was caused by a tram’s pantograph – the apparatus mounted on the roof of electric trams to collect power through contact with an overhead line – becoming entangled in cables near Festival House.

Blackpool Transport is investigating how a tram’s pantograph became tangled in wire near Festival House yesterday (August 23), causing a two-hour suspension of tram services across the coast.

Blackpool Transport said around 15 journeys had been affected while trams were out of action, but the issue was resolved within around two hours.

All services resumed as usual this morning, and the transport firm said its engineering team secured the damaged pantograph and towed the tram back to the depot.

An investigation will now take place to see if anything needs to be done to prevent a recurrence – and any potential for further disruption to commuters.

A spokesman for Blackpool Transport said: “There were no known issues or damage with either the tram or wiring before this happened, but both of those aspects are being investigated to see if there’s anything that needs to be put in place in terms of mitigation.

“At the minute there is a speed restriction in place around the area it happened, trams are travelling slightly slower than they usually would as a precaution. But this won’t affect anyone’s travel or cause any delays.

“Whether anything will be put in place depends on the outcome of an internal investigation.”


Blackpool Range gets set to open in-store Iceland

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Staff from supermarket brand Iceland are making the final preparations to open its latest Blackpool store, inside The Range.


The store will launch its new Iceland department on Friday, September 3, providing the community with fresh and frozen food alongside their everyday essentials.

The in-store offer will include brands such as Greggs and Slimming World in the Iceland section, alongside fresh fruit and veg, meat, dairy and store cupboard staples.

The Range building has been extended to increase its floor space to 40,000 sq ft and it will be expanding its offering in the town. The lighting, kitchen and dining plus home décor departments will see new collections introduced.

The Blackpool Range store pictured at its opening in April, 2018The Blackpool Range store pictured at its opening in April, 2018

The outdoor garden centre will be moving from its temporary location to the original bigger garden centre in the store too.

The move is part of an ongoing partnership between the two retailers which began in 2018 and there are now more than 90 branches of The Range with an Iceland in-store.

A spokesman for Iceland said: “Iceland and The Range is an ideal partnership offering customers an innovative shopping experience that brings both concepts together under one roof.”

Iceland has not said if any of its Blackpool stores, such as the nearby outlet in Waterloo Road are likely to be closed as a result of the move.

Red Arrows in Blackpool: When and where to see them this weekend

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Visitors are being encouraged to “make a day of it” and use the airport’s new summer weekend Park and Ride service to get a close up view

The Red Arrows flying over Blackpool Tower

The Red Arrows flying over Blackpool Tower (Image: Visit Blackpool)

The Red Arrows are set to fly over Blackpool this weekend as they set off for their display at the Isle of Man Airshow which takes place on September 4.

The spectacular set off will see the Reds arrive and depart from Blackpool Airport on Saturday (August 28).

For those of us hoping to catch a glimpse of the aircrafts after missing out on the Blackpool Air Show, here are the arrival and departure times for this bank holiday weekend:

The Reds will be at Blackpool Airport on Saturday, August 28.

  • Morning arrival time: 11.30am
  • Morning depature time: 14:12pm
  • Afternoon arrival time: 15.00pm
  • Afternoon departure time: 17.30pm

The Red Arrows are currently based at RAF Scampton which will be closed by 2022 and see the Red Arrows relocated to another RAF base.

Blackpool Airport have encouraged those hoping to see the Red Arrows depart to “make a day of it” and use the airport’s new summer weekend Park and Ride service to get a close up view.

Visitors can enjoy all day parking for £15 per car which includes free unlimited travel on all Blackpool buses and trams.

All Blackpool Transport tram services temporarily stopped due to wiring issues near Festival House

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All tram services have been suspended due to a problem with wiring near Festival House.


Blackpool Transport confirmed this afternoon (Monday, August 23) that all tram services between Fleetwood and Starr Gate will temporarily stop until the issue is resolved.

Overhead cables have been isolated between Gynn Square and Manchester Square tram stops, after issues were found with wiring near Festival House, by North Pier.

It was unknown how long it would take for trams to be back up and running, but the company said it was “likely to take a while.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Transport said: “The overhead wires are isolated between Manchester Square and Gynn Square because of an issue with the wiring near Festival House. It’s likely to take some time to fix, and trams are currently still stationary.”