Major search ongoing in sea around Blackpool’s North Pier following reports of person in water

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A search has been ongoing in the sea around North Pier after a member of the public spotted a person in the water.


RNLI Blackpool were paged to reports of a person in the water near North Pier at around 9.55pm last night (October 5).

Crews from Lytham and Fleetwood coastguard both launched all-weather lifeboats and carried out a “prolonged search”.

Blackpool volunteers also searched the promenade and shoreline on foot with the aid of the coastguard helicopter.

RNLI Blackpool were paged to reports of a person in the water near North Pier on October 5.

RNLI Blackpool were paged to reports of a person in the water near North Pier on October 5.

The search was ongoing this morning (October 6) alongside officers from Lancashire police.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “It was reported that a man had been swept out to sea, close to the North Pier, Blackpool.

“An extensive search has been conducted with our colleagues from the Coastguard and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

“At this time no person has been found.”

Officers said enquiries were ongoing

Anybody with information was asked to call 101, quoting log number 1362 of October 5, 2021.

You can also report any information online at



Every Lancashire speed camera site to watch out for in October – including M6, M61, M55, M65

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Roads across Accrington, Blackburn, Blackpool, Morecambe, Chorley, Kirkham, Freckleton, Clitheroe, Preston, Burnley, Rossendale and Lancaster are included in the list


Lancashire authorities have released a huge list of speed camera spots to watch out for over the next month.

A list of destinations has been put together and published by the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership in the hopes of changing driver behaviour on a regular basis.

In October, roads across Accrington, Blackburn, Blackpool, Morecambe, Chorley, Kirkham, Freckleton, Clitheroe, Preston, Burnley, Rossendale and Lancaster are included in the list.

The list includes five types of speed camera sites – Lancashire RoadWatch sites; community concern; Lancashire RoadWatch Speed Management; fixed; and motorways.

A LRSP spokesperson said: “One aim of the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership is to improve driver behaviour by helping motorists drive at an appropriate and safe speed within designated limits so we operate our safety camera enforcement vehicles across Lancashire, seven days a week.

“Our cameras use highly accurate laser technology to detect speeding motorists but they are also used to identify other offences, including drivers not in proper control or not wearing a seat belt.

“All our mobile sites are risk assessed for safety and we vary how often we attend different locations with sites based on casualty data, known speeding concerns, where a report has been made directly by a member of the public concerned about speeding issues in their area along with any location that has a fixed roadside camera.

“To raise awareness of our mobile sites please note the list of locations below that we aim to visit during October 2021; please remember our safety camera enforcement vehicles can visit any of our sites at any time and for operational reasons the list is subject to change.”

The full list

Lancashire RoadWatch sites

  • A584 Preston New Rd, Freckleton
  • A6 Main Rd, nr Orchard Close, Slyne
  • A683 Melling, nr Lodge Lane, Melling
  • A683 Melling Rd / Main St / Lancaster Rd, nr Monteagle Drive, Hornby
  • A683 Hornby Rd / Lancaster Rd, nr Brookhouse Rd< Caton
  • A589 Broadway, Morecambe
  • A589 Marine Rd East, Morecambe
  • A589 Middleton Way, from Heysham Rd to Middleton Rd, Heysham
  • B5273 Oxcliffe Rd, Heysham
  • B6254 Arkholme, nr Arkholme Primary School< Arkholme
  • A585 Amounderness Way
  • A588 Lancaster Rd Pilling, nr to Taylors Lane, Pilling
  • A49 Wigan Road Euxton
  • A581 Dawbers Lane Euxton
  • A581 Croston Road Croston
  • B5251 New Road / Coppull Road, Coppull
  • A59 Longton By Pass, Hutton
  • B6258 Chorley Road Walton-Le-Dale
  • Preston New Road Samlesbury
  • A59 Liverpool Road/Causeway Lane, Rufford
  • A581 Dawbers Lane Euxton
  • A581 Croston Road Croston
  • Ribbleton Ave/Longridge Rd, Ribbleton
  • Longridge Rd, before motorway bridge
  • A678 Burnley Road, Altham
  • A680 Manchester Road, Accrington
  • A671 Whalley Road, Padiham
  • A671 Burnley Road, Padiham
  • A646 Rossendale Road, nr Cog Lane, Burnley
  • A671 Padiham Road, Burnley
  • A56 Colne Road, Earby
  • A56 Colne Road, Sough
  • A56 Burnley Road, Colne

Community concern (historic sites raised by district partners)

  • A587 East Park Drive, nr Woodside Dr, Blackpool
  • A587 Fleetwood Road, Blackpool
  • Hardhorn Rd, Poulton
  • Blackburn Road, Edgworth

Lancashire RoadWatch Speed Management

  • B5377 Park Lane, Preesall
  • Halton Rd, Halton Lancaster
  • A675 Hoghton Lane Higher Walton
  • Fox Lane Leyland
  • Chorley Lane Charnock Richard
  • Chancery Road Astley Village
  • Rawlinson Lane Heath Charnock
  • Whittingham Lane, Whittingham
  • Catforth Road , Catforth
  • Blackamoor Road, Guide, Blackburn


  • A586 Garstang Rd East, Poulton
  • Fishergate Hill, Preston
  • A586 Garstang Rd East, Poulton


  • M6
  • M61
  • M55
  • M65



Paramedics treat casualty after St Annes kitchen fire

Home | Blackpool Gazette

One person needed treatment for smoke inhalation after a kitchen blaze in St Annes last night.


Two fire crews attended the blaze.

Two fire crews attended the blaze.

Firefighters from St Anne’s and South Shore stations attended the incident at around 6:30pm in Stratford Road.

A spokesman said: “The fire, which involved a chopping board left on the hob, was out on arrival and firefighters used a ventilation unit to clear the smoke.

“One casualty was treated for smoke inhalation by ambulance crews.”



Couple robbed at knifepoint in a Blackpool street

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Police are hunting a man who robbed a couple in the street at knifepoint in Blackpool last night.


Officers say the suspect produced a blade and demanded a bag and a mobile phone.

The victims handed over the valuables and were uninjured in the incident.

The attack happened around midnight in Onslow Road, Layton. After snatching the items the offender ran off towards the Layton Cemetery area.

Onslow Road, Layton where the couple were robbed.

Onslow Road, Layton where the couple were robbed.

A police spokesman said: “We were called to a street robbery where a knife was produced.

“The man demanded a bag and a mobile phone from a man and his girlfriend. They handed over the items and they were unhurt.

“The suspect made off on foot towards the Layton Cemetery area.”

Anyone who either witnessed the robbery or has any information about the incident should call police on 101.



Review: Derren Brown Showman at Opera House, Blackpool Winter Gardens

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The infamous illusionist came to Blackpool with his latest tour, Showman


Derren Brown
Derren Brown

Just before his show finished, Derren Brown asked the audience not to disclose anything about what they had seen, on social media or in any kind of review.

In all honesty, it’s common knowledge that Derren, and most magicians and illusionists for that matter, rely on intrigue and mystery, so splurging details about secrets of their shows would spoil it for those yet to see it.

What I can tell you however, is that Derren’s latest offering, Showman, is personal, for him and his audience.

This is something, Derren hinted at himself four days before the first of three shows at Blackpool’s Opera House on Friday (October 1),in a pre-recorded video on Twitter.

In it he requested anyone heading to see the performance, which is his first tour in six years, to bring along an object from home that has personal significance, and small enough to hide in their hand.

Tip: if you are attending one of the other two Blackpool shows on Saturday (October 2) I recommend taking along exactly what Derren has requested.

The audience plays a pivotal part in almost everything he does, so if sticking your hand up in the hope you’ll get a go up on stage is your thing, you must go to a Derren Brown show.

Derren is aware of his sceptics and openly challenges their theories and inevitable dismissive thoughts on what they see and how he pulls his tricks, mind games and hypotheses off.

But even I, having been convinced beforehand that I wouldn’t be wowed at all, was still left reeling from a number of his stunts several hours later.

The show ebbs and flows, with slower periods but Derren has a knack for keeping you focused for the whole two-hours.

What also intrigued me was Derren’s ability to ooze charm and warmth one minute, while also being sinister and methodical the next.

He’s witty, charismatic and familiar and behind the atmospheric music, choreographed lighting and booming sound effects, there’s just a normal guy wanting to share how the mind works.

Showman is enthralling and confusing, funny and sweet and Derren’s delivery and engrossing presence completes the perfect illusionist concoction.



Fylde photo ace Dave Nelson’s Bond premiere is latest of many top missions

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The red carpet excitement at the latest James Bond film premiere in London was a global media event – and Fylde coast showbiz photographer Dave Nelson was in the thick of it.

Dave Nelson on the red carpet at the world premiere of Bond film, No Time to Die

Dave Nelson on the red carpet at the world premiere of Bond film, No Time to Die

Dave, 56, of Poulton, was perfectly placed to snap the best shots of all the key stars from the new 007 entry, No Time to Die – including Bond actor Daniel Craig and Judy Dench, and VIPs guests including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

There was certainly no time to waste for Dave – extraordinarily, the photos he took were in place on the pages of several national tabloids in a matter of seconds, ready for the newspapers to hit the presses.

It’s high pressure stuff, but freelancer Dave has been involved in press photography for 40 years, from the years he started as an unpaid 16 year old volunteer with the Blackpool Gazette back in 1981, taking photos of top concerts in the resort.

Over the years there have been many career highlights ,including an iconic photo he took of a then-unknown Sophie Ellis-Bextor just as her single Groovejet, with the band Spiller, reached number 1 ahead of chart rival Victoria Beckham.

And this summer Dave was at the forefront of things again when he created an England team mascot for the Daily Star – his photos of the Syd the Psychic Seagull managing to “predict” team scores proved a huge hit.

Dave, who has also found time to work as a club DJ over the years, says: “These have been very tough times for professional photographers because of the Covid restructions, like many other professions, but it helps if you are consistent and able to deliver very good pictures time and again.

“Tabloids and magazines will want to commission you if they know they can rely on you – and if you build up good contacts that helps as well.

“I’ve been fortunate to be able to attend many red carpet events over the years and I also work closely with the soap stars on a regular basis.”

However, Dave has also taken hard news photo as well as his predominately showbiz work, having been called on to record the aftermath of tragic events, such as a fatal gas explosion in Morecambe and mass shootings in Plymouth, both this year.

He said: “A lot of the time the adrenalin really kicks in, because you are up against the clock but need to get the best pictures, good enough to use on the front pages of the tabloids, if needed.”

Dave, who has a twin brother, Darren, started off in the 1980s using pre-digital cameras, with rolls of film which needed to be developed before the photos could be used – and many of these early photos were in black and white.

He said: “At the Gazette I’d work closely with their showbiz reporter Robin Duke, back in the days when top bands and artists would come to Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom or the Opera House, because there was no MEN Arena back then.

“I was there to take phots of Wham!, The Police and other huge bands, it was great experience for me.”

This eventually led to professional work, still with the challenge of having to get film developed, with certain photo labs staying open late at night to accommodate the work.

But in 1999 Dave joined the digital revolution, when new technology meant photos could be taken and used instantly on digital cameras – and even mobile phones.

He said: “It changed everything – anyone could take a picture and you could use it in minutes.

“The quality of the photos may not have been quite as sharp, but the sheer speed of the process was incredible, I knew that was the future.”



Anger at anti-vaccine protest outside Lytham St Annes High School

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Demonstrators who targeted schoolchildren to spout anti-vaccine conspiracy theories as they left class were widely criticised yesterday, with youngsters urged to listen to the experts experts and not “cranks who feed each other on  social media”.


Parents reported some of the protesters directly approaching pupils outside Lytham St Annes High School to falsely warn them of side-effects such as infertility if they took the Covid vaccine and police were called to keep order.

Following Thursday’s chaotic scenes, Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I’m deeply disappointed that protesters have targeted the high school serving Lytham and St Annes

“Everyone has a right to their own view and to protest but children, parents and staff should not be put in such a difficult position. I do not wish to see these scenes repeated.”

One of the messages on a placard at the protest

One of the messages on a placard at the protest

Medical advice reiterated after anti-vacc protest outside Lytham St Annes High S…

Ansdell councillor Richard Redcliffe, a former headteacher of a neighbouring primary school, said: “Everyone has a right to free speech and I respect that everyone has opinions, but where and how these opinions are put across is extremely important and this was the wrong place, the wrong time and the wrong audience.

“Whether or not to have the vaccine is a decision for the children and their families to make.”

Another Ansdell member of Fylde Council, Coun Chris Dixon, said: “It’s absolutely appalling these people targeted not just our high school, but our pupils, teachers and parents.

“Everyone should take medical advice from the respected epidemiologists, doctors and scientists who have been battling diseases like Covid for years, and not from the cranks who feed each other on social media with their utterly ridiculous conspiracy theories.

“I hope we see no repeats of this imbecilic action.”

Coun Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Council, said: “While people have the right to peacefully protest and express their views, this demonstration occurred at a very busy time of the day, which posed an additional safety risk to school children and staff, road users and other members of the public. Staff at Lytham St Annes High School managed the situation extremely well.”

Parent Claire Thomas, 42, said she was incensed after one protester approached her 11 year old daughter, Mia, and told her the vaccination might make her infertile.

Claire, a primary school teacher, said: “This protester went up to her and asked if she wanted babies, because the vaccine could make her infertile.

“It is a good job Mia is sensible and that she phoned me and I could tell her to just ignore it.

“I am all for people having the right to protest and being able to express their opinions, but not to camp outside a school and frighten children.”

The school’s headteacher Ray Baker said in a statement: “The majority of the protesters were harmlessly holding up placards, looking for support from passing drivers. Unfortunately, a couple of the protesters were targeting children with loud and intimidatory messages, creating conflict. The police were called. Staff were wonderful in helping to limit the impact of the minority.

“The location of the protest added increased risk to young people, with 1500 students exiting the school site along a single lane pavement. Whilst we respect the right to protest, the presence of extra adults and large signs presented increased challenge at the end of the school day.

“The school has shared information with parents throughout and has passed on the official information from the NHS. The school’s role in the process in minimal and we know that the offer of vaccination to 12-15 year olds is a personal choice, discussed by families. The school has made this clear to all parents and students.”

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Lancashire lad John Thomson joining the cast of Hairspray at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens for Christmas season

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Actor and comedian John Thomson has joined the cast of Hairspray for a Christmas season at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.


John Thomson, known for his roles in Cold Feet an The Fast Show, will join the hit UK tour as Wilbur Turnblad for three weeks at the theatre from December 13 to January 2.

In his first ever musical theatre stage role, John, who attended All Hallows Catholic High School near Preston and later Runshaw College, will be joining musician, actress and television presenter Brenda Edwards (Chicago, We Will Rock You, The X Factor, Loose Women and Songs of Praise) who has starred as Motormouth Maybelle since the tour opened in Jun 2021 as well as previous runs of the tour.

West End leading man Alex Bourne (Annie, Mamma Mia!, We Will Rock You) will continue in the role of Edna Turnblad.

John Thomson will appear in Hairspray

John Thomson will appear in Hairspray

Katie Brace makes her professional stage debut as Tracy Turnblad with Akeem Ellis-Hyman as Seaweed, Rebecca Thornhill as Velma, Richard Meek as Corny Collins, Ross Clifton as Link Larkin, Jessica Croll as Amber Von Tussle, Rebecca Jane Davies as Penny Pingleton and Charlotte St. Croix as Little Inez.

The full cast includes: Elizabeth Armstrong, Bernadette Bangura, Natalia Brown, Shaquille Brush, Liam Dean, Andrew Dillion, Amandla Elynah, Zoe Heighton, Ceris Hine, Paul Hutton, Jamie Jonathan, Hayley Johnston, Joshua Nkemdilim, Rosie O’Hare, Alexanda O’Reilly, Joshua Pearson, Joseph Poulton and Elliotte Williams-N’Dure.

Hairspray had been due to begin performances in August 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. Performances finally began at Theatre Royal Plymouth in June 2021 under socially distanced requirements and the hugely popular production has now opened up to full capacity audiences as it makes its way across the country and is booking up to April 2021.

Hairspray is directed by Paul Kerryson with choreography by Olivier Award-winning Drew McOnie, designs by Takis, lighting design by Philip Gladwell and sound design by Ben Harrison.



Blackpool man’s anguish as soulmate falls into coma after waiting three hours for ambulance

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

His partner Lee asked ‘why wasn’t he prioritised and why are we waiting 3 hours for an emergency on the brain?’


Jay McMaster (left) and his husband Lee McMaster
Jay McMaster (left) and his husband Lee McMaster

A Blackpool man has been left in a coma after waiting two-and-a-half hours for an ambulance.

Lee McMaster, 44, said he was left in ‘shock’ after finding his husband, Jay, 36, ‘upstairs collapsed on the bathroom floor’ earlier this month.

Lee told LancsLive that Jay had suffered from ‘previous bleeds a couple of years back’ and was considered ‘vulnerable’ before he suffered a bleed on the brain on September 14.

Jay works for Blackpool Promotions as a Hotel manager, and is described by Lee as a hardworking ‘nice guy’ that he considers his ‘soulmate’ having been together for 10 and a half years.

Lee said he called an ambulance as soon as he found Jay collapsed, but was reportedly told that an ambulance would be there in ‘one hour 15 minutes’.

Lee claims it ‘took three hours’ for the ambulance to arrive, and five attempts of calling 999.

He said the first call took place at 8.30pm and the ambulance arrived at around 11pm to their home in Blackpool.

North West Ambulance Service has apologised and said that a full investigation will take place.

“‘He was clutching his head in pain,’ Lee said, ‘And in the last half hour he started really fitting. When the ambulance did arrive, the crew were fantastic.”

Lee claims that whilst he was assisted on the phone, he was eventually told that the operator would have to disconnect to take other calls. Whilst Lee said Jay was breathing, he was continuing to be ‘screaming out due to the pressure on his head’.

Lee said: “He wasn’t prioritised at all, and it was only on the fifth call that they managed to get an ambulance to him. By that time he was rushed to Preston hospital and he’s been in a coma since, they tried to bring him round yesterday but because of where the bleed is, it’s massive.”

Since Jay has been in hospital, Lee said it has been ‘horrendous’.

He added: “Why wasn’t he prioritised and why are we waiting three hours for an emergency on the brain?” I just don’t understand it, it makes me so angry that he had to go so long.”

He added: “By each call, he was getting worse, and they said they had prioritised him but nobody was coming.”

Lee said the fifth operative stayed ‘on the line’ until the ambulance arrived, ‘they were telling me what to do in regards to the fitting’.

Lee told LancsLive: “It needs to be taken as seriously as somebody whose not breathing or somebody whose had a heart attack because the damage now is that he has irreversible brain damage due to the size of the haemorrhage.”

Jay has been in hospital for 17 days at the time of writing and Lee has been unable to visit due to restrictions.

Lee said: “It’s really difficult. People say to me, you should have said he wasn’t breathing, but I was trying to be as honest as possible. The pain was in his head, I’m not going to fabricate something.”

A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson said. “We apologise for the delay in attending to Mr McMaster, and our thoughts are with his family and friends during what must be a very worrying time for them. We do hope he makes a full recovery

“We can confirm we have received a formal complaint from his family, and we are now investigating the incident. The outcome of the investigation will be shared and discussed with them once complete.”



Fleetwood man’s poignant boat tribute to pal after Covid forced him to miss funeral

Home | Blackpool Gazette

When Fleetwood man Alan Smith was asked to be a pallbearer at the funeral of a close pal, he couldn’t have been prouder.


Alan Smith with his model yacht Bullet, which he named after his friend Tony Greenway. He is pictured with Tony's widow Janet Greenway.

Alan Smith with his model yacht Bullet, which he named after his friend Tony Greenway. He is pictured with Tony’s widow Janet Greenway.

Tony Greenway, well known in Fleetwood for running the old Gas Workers Club for many years, had died on June 12 at the age of 56 after a brave battle with cancer.

Unluckily, with just days to go until the funeral at Carleton Crematorium, Alan was ‘pinged’ by the Covid app, meaning he had to quarantine and miss the funeral.

Alan, 56, of Manor Road, Fleetwood, was devastated that he couldn’t pay his respects – and even more so that he couldn’t fulfil the promise he had made to Tony’s widow Janet about carrying the coffin.

Tony Greenway

Tony Greenway

But, weeks later, Alan found a way in which he could pay his own tribute to Tony.

Entered into a world championship model yacht race at Fleetwood for the first time, Alan had to buy a new silver hull to be able to compete. And he named the vessel ‘Bullet’ which was the nickname of Tony for many years.

Alan won the Perseverance Trophy in the championships for competing in every race, and phoned Janet and told her about the trophy and that the vessel was named afer Tony.

He said: “I felt terrible about missing the funeral. It had meant a lot to me.

“Naming the boat after him was just a small tribute but I wanted Janet to know the yacht bore his name and won a trophy.

“His name will always be out there, sailing on the water.”

Mum-of two Janet, 42, of Addison Road, said: “When Alan phoned me up and said he named the model yacht after Tony, I burst into tears. It was such a lovely gesture and Tony always believed in persevering, whatever came his way.”

Tony, who was a popular face around Fleetwood, had been working as a pizza delivery driver when he became ill.

The couple’s two sons are Shayne, 14, and Corey, 10.

Alan competed in around 30 races over three days as part of the national model yacht championships staged at Fleetwood Model Yacht and Power Boat Club last month

Club member Alan was competing against rivals from countries including Sweden, South Africa and Spain.