Blackpool’s world championship fireworks competition won by Germany

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World Fireworks Championship Blackpool has been won by the classical music-inspired entry from Germany.

Germany's dramatic entry, inspired by Beethoven, has won the World Fireworks Championship Blackpool event

Germany’s dramatic entry, inspired by Beethoven, has won the World Fireworks Championship Blackpool event

The Germans’ dramatic display of fireworks set to stirring music by Beethoven, which started with the haunting sound of a gong being struck three times, beat off competition from Russia and Ireland.

The result was announced at tonight’s celebratory display by pyrotechnics experts, Titanium Fireworks.

Judges said it was almost impossible to separate the three entrants because of the sheer quality of the displays, but said they were particularly impressed by Germany’s synchronisation of music that comprised a celebration of Beethoven. They also praised the spectacular finale.

The dramatic German entry edged out the Irish and the Russians

The dramatic German entry edged out the Irish and the Russians

A spokesperson for the winning German team said the show was originally designed for the championship in 2020 to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven. It was dedicated to the composer’s music and was titled “Beethoven’s birthday bash”.

He added: “My decision to limit the soundtrack to the compositions of only one composer made it much more difficult than working on a soundtrack for a “normal” show. The soundtrack begins with three gongs, without fireworks, which is a kind of a signature for my shows.

“One of my favourite scenes in this show is the rising part in the epic version of Moonlight Sonata which still gives me goose bumps every time I hear it!”

This year’s World Fireworks Championships Blackpool has been staged over four alternate Saturdays during September and October from a new launch pad on the beach opposite The Blackpool Tower.

A VisitBlackpool spokesperson said: “This year’s entries have been absolutely spectacular and have truly captured the public imagination.

“After having to cancel last year’s event through COVID restrictions, it has quite literally come back with a bang, attracting record crowds on to the seafront.”

Earlier this week, it was announced that there will be an additional fireworks* event in Blackpool with Titanium producing a family fireworks event at the same seafront location at around 5pm on New Year’s Eve.

The free event is part of a comprehensive programme of Christmas entertainment in Blackpool which includes a Christmas By The Sea village featuring free skating rink, snowfalls, log cabins, themed projection shows and a traditional festive market in and around the Winter Gardens.

For full details, go to www.visitblackpool.com/christmas

*The New Year’s Eve Family Fireworks is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

 

 

Blackpool 2-0 Preston North End: Seasiders take the derby spoils after easing to comfortable victory

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Blackpool took the derby spoils after beating Preston North End in the first meeting between the two sides in eight years.

 

Goals in either half from Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine secured a relatively routine victory against a powder-puff Preston side, who barely laid a glove on them.

The Seasiders never really hit top gear, but neither did they need to.

Nevertheless, it’s yet another shot in the arm for Neil Critchley in mastermining Blackpool’s first win against Preston at Bloomfield Road in 24 years.

Amazingly, the win sees Pool move up to 11th and level points with the play-off spots, having won for the sixth time in their last nine games.

As he so often does, Critchley dropped another big surprise with his team selection with the dropping of Sonny Carey.

The midfielder, who was in inspired form on his first league start in Wednesday night’s comeback win against Reading, was replaced by Gary Madine, as the Seasiders reverted to 4-4-2.

Gary Madine scored his first goal in nine months after an injury-plagued year

Gary Madine scored his first goal in nine months after an injury-plagued year

Madine was one of two changes, as Josh Bowler came in for Demetri Mitchell after an impressive cameo off the bench in midweek.

Dujon Sterling returned from illness to take a spot on the bench, which saw Tyreece John-Jules drop out of the squad altogether.

Kevin Stewart remains sidelined with an ankle injury, joining Daniel Gretarsson (concussion), Reece James (foot), Matty Virtue (ACL), Grant Ward (achilles), CJ Hamilton (foot) and Shayne Lavery (hamstring).

PNE, meanwhile, named an unchanged side from their midweek win against Coventry City.

But Frankie McAvoy’s side, who began the day in 18th, three points adrift of the Seasiders, were boosted by the return of Sean Maguire to the bench.

With the ferocious Bloomfield Road atmosphere behind them, the Seasiders got off to a lightning fast start, Ryan Wintle and James Husband getting shots off at goal inside the opening two minutes.

The first shot on target of the afternoon came the way of the visitors though, as Dan Grimshaw collected Ben Whiteman’s effort from range at the second attempt after parrying the initial shot.

After a little spell of Preston pressure, the Seasiders squandered a big chance to take the lead after just 10 minutes.

It came after the ball broke for Josh Bowler on the wing, Bowler’s pullback deflecting into the path of Kenny Dougall who shot agonisingly wide on his weaker left foot.

Preston caused the Seasiders one or two problems from their first corner of the game, which ended with Alan Browne’s volley rocketing into the head of Husband.

Another half chance came Blackpool’s way, as in-form striker Jerry Yates fired across the face of the six-yard box after his initial effort was blocked.

In all honesty, the game had yet to really catch fire. It was a stodgy affair, with the two sides cancelling each other out a little bit.

Midway through the half, Marvin Ekpiteta was required to make a vital interception to deny Daniel Johnson, who was looking to run onto Emil Riis’ through-ball 10 yards out.

Just as the game appeared to be drifting a little, Bloomfield Road was brought to life in the 27th minute when the Seasiders edged their noses in front.

From Pool’s point of view, it was well-worked. From Preston’s perspective, it was soft.

It began with a high diagonal from right to left to James Husband, who did superbly to take the ball down before picking out Keshi Anderson on the edge of the box.

Anderson took it first-time, which seemed to surprise keeper Dan Iversen, the ball creeping past him and into the near corner.

In becoming the first Blackpool player to score against PNE in 12 years, Anderson sent Bloomfield Road into raptures as they celebrated their opener, taunting their rivals in the process.

The Seasiders had to survive a moment of danger when Richard Keogh clashed with Emil Riis, as the latter looked to run onto a long ball over the top. Preston thought Keogh fouled their man, but the referee waved play on.

At the other end, Keogh came close to doubling Pool’s lead four minutes before the interval, heading over from Josh Bowler’s right-wing cross.

The game suddenly sprung to life at the start of the second-half, with both sides exchanging great chances.

The first fell the way of Blackpool, who countered from a Preston corner. Bowler played in Anderson, who was denied by a superb tackle from Josh Earl.

The visitors countered themselves, enjoying a four-against-one at one point, putting the ball on a plate for Ben Whiteman who inexcusably fired wide. It was a big let-off for the Seasiders.

Blackpool were almost in for a second when Kenny Dougall picked out Bowler in acres of space, but the midfielder overhit his pass which bobbled through to the keeper.

The second-half was a bit of a damp squib, quite literally too as the rain fell down on the Bloomfield Road pitch.

Midway through the second-half, boos rang out from the home faithful as Blackpool-born Tom Barkhuizen emerged from the bench.

A minute later, Anderson fired over from a tight angle after being set up by workhorse Jerry Yates. It was more of a lofted effort from the winger, but Iversen never looked in too much trouble.

In such a tight, tense game as this, the second goal was always going to prove crucial.

On 68 minutes, it arrived and it came the way of Blackpool. It was a delightfully-worked goal, too, as Yates threaded the eye of a needle by picking out strike partner Gary Madine, who helped the ball on and picked out the bottom corner, scoring for the first time in nine months.

Absolute bedlam ensued.

The visitors turned to another former Seasider in a desperate bid to turn around the game, introducing Brad Potts to more boos.

Blackpool, meanwhile, made their first change with just over 10 minutes remaining, as Yates was given a deserved ovation as he was replaced by Sonny Carey.

Other than long throws, the visitors really struggled to produce much of a comeback, much to the frustration of the visiting supporters who made their feelings clear.

Pool were forced into making a second change seven minutes from time when Kenny Dougall was forced off having received treatment. Callum Connolly was the man to take his place.

PNE began to throw a bit of caution to the wind in dying stages, Sean Maguire firing wide after latching onto a Barkhuizen lay-off.

It was all a little too late for the visitors though and you never truly believed Preston thought they could get back in the game.

Critchley, meanwhile, helped wind down the clock by making his third and final change, replacing Bowler with Demetri Mitchell.

Things went from bad to worse for Preston when Alan Browne was sent off in the final minute of stoppage time, shown a second yellow card for his involvement in some fisticuffs between the two sets of players.

But the game belonged to Blackpool, who celebrated a richly deserved derby win in style.

TEAMS

Blackpool: Grimshaw, Gabriel, Keogh, Ekpiteta, Husband, Dougall (Connolly), Wintle, Bowler (Mitchell), Anderson, Yates (Carey), Madine

Subs not used: Moore, Sterling, Garbutt, Dale

Preston: Iversen, van den Berg, Earl (Maguire), Bauer, Storey, Hughes, Whiteman (Potts), Brown, Johnson (Barkhuizen), Sinclair, Riis

Subs not used: Rudd, Cunningham, Lindsay, Ledson

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 13,946

 

 

Blackpool aren’t just back, they’re roaring ahead: Could Blackpool’s derby win over Preston signal a changing of the guard?

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A  banner that read “GUESS WHO’S BACK?” was unfurled in the North Stand prior to kick-off on Saturday.

 

It got me thinking, at what point did you truly feel Blackpool were “back”? The homecoming in 2019? Bristol Rovers at home, the first game of Simon Sadler’s ownership? Wembley?

Different people will have different answers, naturally. There’s no right answer, either, as quantifying such a thing is extremely difficult to do.

But Blackpool aren’t just back, they’re roaring ahead. They’re not here to make up the numbers, they’re back with a vengeance and are overtaking clubs, Preston included, at an incredible rate of knots.

In terms of West Lancashire football, we’re witnessing a changing of the guard right in front of our eyes. Imagine saying that as recently as two years ago.

This might seem like a bit of a grandiose assertion to make off the back of one derby victory, Blackpool’s first against PNE at Bloomfield Road in 24 years.

But it’s more than 90 minutes of football. It’s about how the club is run, how it’s supported by the best fans in the land, how everyone is on board and pulling in the same direction.

Richard Keogh and Gary Madine celebrated Blackpool's famous win

Richard Keogh and Gary Madine celebrated Blackpool’s famous win

It’s how the team is led by one of the most highly decorated coaches in Europe, who has the unwavering support of Sadler, his team, the supporters and everyone involved.

It’s how the players are giving everything to the cause and following Critchley’s instructions down to a tee.

It’s how Jordan Gabriel, Richard Keogh, Kenny Dougall, Jerry Yates and so on and so on are emotionally invested in the club, aren’t just here for a pay cheque and, as a result, are rapidly becoming the next Tangerine legends to write themselves into Blackpool folklore.

The connection between the club and its fans has never been stronger, not in recent times anyway. Back in 2010, the supporters were on cloud nine, but the club was owned by a charlatan who had no interest in sustaining Blackpool’s success on and off the field.

Even during that magical season under Ollie, Charlie and co, the Seasiders weren’t able to beat Preston at home. This victory, however, was never in doubt.

Of course there were the usual pre-derby nerves that inevitably hit before such an occasion, only worsened by the fact this was the first meeting between the two sides in eight years.

But I never felt threatened. I never felt unduly worried. Then again, under Critchley’s Blackpool, I so rarely do.

If we’re being truly honest, the Seasiders rarely left second gear. They didn’t need to.

Other than the second-half chance for Ben Whiteman, which was a dreadful miss, by the way, you never felt Blackpool were under pressure or about to concede. PNE were kept at arm’s length from start to finish.

It was as routine a win as you can get in an occasion as significant as this.

Blackpool were tactically superior in every facet of the game. In the first-half, the hosts made the most of their superiority in wide areas, which led to their opener. Frankie McAvoy eventually changed his tactics to solve the problem, but by then it was too late.

For the goal, Keogh played a long diagonal out to the left to James Husband, who was left in acres of space. Husband plucked the ball out of thin air before playing it back into the path of Keshi Anderson, whose scuffed effort took Daniel Iversen by surprise and crept in at his near post.

In normal circumstances, the longer a game remains 1-0 the more tetchy and nervous you become. But the North Stand only got louder and louder, sensing the Lilywhites were struggling.

The pivotal moment in the game came at the start of the second-half, where the two sides exchanged 4-on-1 breaks, which is something you don’t see every week.

Josh Earl timed a tackle perfectly to deny Anderson his second at one end, while Whiteman somehow managed to shoot wide barely 60 seconds later when Jordan Gabriel was left on his own to fend off a Preston counter.

That’s pretty much as good as it got for the visitors, who only otherwise threatened from long-throws. But even then, Blackpool – led by the inspired Marvin Ekpiteta – dealt with it well.

The game was put to bed with a real moment of quality midway through the second-half when Jerry Yates and Gary Madine combined superbly to double Pool’s lead.

Yates produced an exquisite touch to bring down a long ball, before showing patience and poise to bide his time before slipping the ball through a defender’s legs to the onrushing Madine, who guided it home into the bottom corner.

It was a special moment for Madine, scoring his first goal in nine months after an injury-plagued 2021.

Critchley’s men managed the remainder of the game expertly, much to the frustration of the visitors whose afternoon went from bad to worse deep into stoppage-time.

Alan Browne, already on a booking, went steaming into a melee of players following a foul on his teammate Sean Maguire and was duly given a second yellow.

Such an act of mindless stupidity comes with a tough punishment, as he will now miss PNE’s upcoming cup tie with Liverpool. Or it could well be a blessing in disguise.

“We are superior”, was the chant echoing around Bloomfield Road prior to full-time. At exactly the same time, “Frankie, it’s time to go” could be heard faintly from the away end, sang meekly much like their side’s display.

If anything, that summed it up. The two clubs are going in different directions.

Preston, who have only won three in 14 all season, are looking nervously over their shoulders. Fans and manager aren’t aligned.

Blackpool, meanwhile, with six wins in nine, are daring to dream, having won six of their last nine, putting them level on points with fifth place.

When Blackpool fans dare to dream, special things tend to happen.

 

 

Campaigners raise £750 to replace vandalised picnic bench in Blackpool’s South Shore

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When mindless vandals set fire to a picnic bench at Highfield Park in Blackpool’s South Shore, campaigners decided to raise funds to replace it.

 

The campaigners at the Highfield Road store raised £750 for the new picnic bench

The campaigners at the Highfield Road store raised £750 for the new picnic bench

The bench, used by families making the most of their local park, was completely incinerated.

Natalie East and Lee Ainsworth, who work as customer assistants at the Highfield Road branch of Tesco, decided to stage a prize draw and put together a hamper packed with goodies as the prize.

The pair, supported by their store manager, were delighted when customers and residents got behind the fundraising campaign and the £750 raised, supported by a donation from Tesco, is enough to buy a new picnic bench.

The incinerated bench in Highfield Park in South Shore

The incinerated bench in Highfield Park in South Shore

Natalie said: “I saw the burned bench and I just thought it was a shame that facilities for the residents could be destroyed like that.

“I know a few people around here were upset about it as well.

“I decided to organise a prize draw and Lee was really good at promoting it.

“The support we’ve had has been brilliant, I was really pleased we raised so much in such a short time.”

Natalie liaised with the Friends of Highfield Park and Blackpool Council and a replacement picnic bench is to be installed soon.”

Gary Pennington, chairman of the Friends of Highfield Park, said: “There were only two picnic benches, so when one of them was destroyed people weren’t happy about it.

“The park is well used and residents like to get together and sit on the benches.

“The way businesses and residents have got together in this way just shows how strong the community spirit is around here.

“We cannot thanks the staff at the local branch of Tesco enough for starting this.”

 

 

‘I hope they enjoy their night’: Neil Critchley dedicates Blackpool’s derby win against Preston to the fans

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Neil Critchley hopes the Blackpool fans celebrate long into the night after masterminding a derby victory against fierce rivals Preston North End.

 

Goals in either half from Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine secured a relatively routine victory against a powder-puff Preston side, who barely laid a glove on them.

The Seasiders never really hit top gear, but neither did they need to, as they beat Preston for the first time since 2010.

The derby win is yet another shot in the arm for Critchley in overseeing Blackpool’s first win against Preston at Bloomfield Road in 24 years.

Amazingly, the win sees Pool move up to 11th and level points with the play-off spots, having won for the sixth time in their last nine games.

“It’s a strange day in a way, because there’s so much anticipation and emotion around the game. Sometimes you’re not sure what you’re going to get,” Critchley said post-match.

“In the first-half I thought we were very good, we controlled the game, played some really good football and forced them to change their shape.

Neil Critchley celebrates with the Blackpool fans at the full-time whistle

Neil Critchley celebrates with the Blackpool fans at the full-time whistle

“We got a bit of fortune with the first goal, I’m not sure how it went in but it did.

“In the second-half, they’ve thrown a lot of balls forward, they’ve had a few corners and long throw-ins but I thought we defended them very well.

“Obviously there’s the big miss from Ben Whiteman which came at an important stage in the game.

“We then score the second, a fantastic goal, a really good goal, and then we saw the game out fairly comfortably in the end.

“It’s a great win, it’s three points and these days are for the supporters, so they can go and enjoy their night and I’m delighted for them.”

The only time Preston really threatened was when Ben Whiteman missed a gilt-edged chance to level when the game was at 1-0.

The visitors worked the ball well from back to front, putting it on a plate for Whiteman who surprisingly fired wide.

Aside from that, the Seasiders were relatively comfortable and were able to keep the Lilywhites at arm’s length.

“We’re solid at the back, which is something we pride ourselves on,” Critchley added.

“We had a really good defensive record last season, but it’s not quite been the same this season and we need to get back to that. But today we were because we limited them to very few chances really.

“They put a lot of balls into the box, but we defended the goal really well in numbers, bodies on the line and the goalkeeper has had very little to do.

“But if Whiteman takes that chance at that stage of the game, then the game might change so that’s the fine margins of this division.

“Prior to the Whiteman chance, we had a little breakaway and Keshi (Anderson) goes to ground. At first I thought it might have been a penalty because he gets Keshi first and then the ball. But it was probably the right decision.

“It’s our corner and we should put the ball back in the box, but we try to play it short so of course we’ve committed a lot of men forward and it gives them the chance to counter-attack and break.

“To be honest, when you put Ben Whiteman with his quality in front of goal you expect him to score, so it was a big miss and an important moment within the game.

“But Preston have got good players, they’re a good team and have a good manager.

“There was nothing in-between the teams at that stage of the game, but I felt we were the better team in the first-half.”

 

 

Preston North End boss Frankie McAvoy ‘bitterly disappointed’ by derby defeat to Blackpool

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Preston North End boss Frankie McAvoy has spoken of his “bitter disappointment” at his side’s derby defeat to Blackpool.

 

Goals in either half from Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine secured a relatively routine victory against a powder-puff Preston side, who barely laid a glove on them.

The Seasiders never really hit top gear, but neither did they need to.

Nevertheless, it’s yet another shot in the arm for Neil Critchley in masterminding Blackpool’s first win against Preston at Bloomfield Road in 24 years.

Amazingly, the win sees Pool move up to 11th and level points with the play-off spots, having won for the sixth time in their last nine games.

It leaves Preston, meanwhile, languishing in 19th place, having won just three of their 14 games this season.

“I’m disappointed with the score. I felt in the first half Blackpool were better in the game,” McAvoy said.

PNE boss Frankie McAvoy shakes the hand of Neil Critchley prior to kick-off

PNE boss Frankie McAvoy shakes the hand of Neil Critchley prior to kick-off

“I changed midway through the first half and went 3-4-3, I felt we got better.

“At half-time we had a chat and said we needed to be more aggressive, the same as we were against Coventry City the other night.

“We needed to get the wing-back high up the pitch and make it as difficult as we could for Blackpool.

“In the main we did that. Goals change games and we had a magnificent opportunity for Ben Whiteman to equalise.

“When we didn’t get the goal and saw the time ticking away, I felt we had a lot of front players on the bench who we could use to try and burst the game open as best we could.

“We went with four up top but unfortunately we conceded the second goal.

“I didn’t think we were carved open many times, there were a few mistakes which happened.

“Over the piece Blackpool have won the game 2-0 and I didn’t think there was a great deal in it.

“I haven’t seen the stats yet but I didn’t think there was a great deal between us in terms of the opportunities and chances. I’m just so disappointed they came out on top.

“When I changed the shape and went 4-4-2, I was disappointed we didn’t create enough. We knew we needed to get back into the game.

“I’m bitterly disappointed for the fans who turned up, I know what it means to everybody. As a group we need to do better.”

It went from bad to worse for Preston deep into stoppage-time, when Alan Browne was shown a second yellow card and sent off.

“It is easy when you are not in the heat of the battle isn’t it,” McAvoy added.

“The incident happened in injury time, I hoped Sean (Maguire)would get up and we would carry on as normal.

“Emotions run high sometimes, we were losing the game. Alan got himself involved and the referee decides to send him off.

“After two yellow cards, he needs to serve his punishment like anyone else. We have a lot of players who will want to get an opportunity now.”

 

 

Blackpool hospital whistle-blowers feared they would be victimised and that there was ‘no point’ speaking up

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The National Guardian’s Office found that black and ethnic minority employees had a worse experience than white colleagues when speaking up about concerns

 

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Staff at Blackpool’s hospital trust reported feeling as if there was “no point” in whistle-blowing and reported being bullied as a result of raising concerns, a damning report has revealed.

The National Guardian’s Office, which oversees and regulates the Freedom To Speak Up health system, launched an investigation at the end of last year after receiving information which indicated that a speaking up case may have not been handled in line with good practice at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The information also suggested black and minority ethnic workers had potentially worse experiences when speaking up compared to their white colleagues.

The investigation followed a Care Quality Commission at the trust in June 2019 which led to a number of improvements being requested by NHS England Improvement including leadership changes.

The CQC inspection found that staff did not always feel respected, valued or appreciated and staff said that they would not speak up. Those who had spoken up reported they had not been taken seriously, supported or treated with respect and some groups of workers, including black and ethnic minority workers, felt ignored and disenfranchised.

In its report, published this month, the National Guardian’s Office revealed its investigation found:

  • Most workers we spoke to described long-standing issues with the speaking up culture.
  • Speaking up had not always been responded to in accordance with good practice
  • Speaking up training had variable reach and uptake and was not always inline with good practice
  • Some groups of workers faced barriers to speaking up not necessarily experienced by other workers.

One employee told inspectors: “I wanted to speak up about certain things, but I was not confident … these would be properly escalated (and) whether I will be victimised.” The NGO spoke to a number of employees who felt there was “no point in speaking up”.

Another worker alleged that their identity was disclosed to the person about whom they had spoken up, breaching their confidentiality. The report also revealed that one trust employee said a derogatory remark had been made against them when they spoke up. They also alleged that they were told that they could be performance managed and that statements could be obtained against them.

As a result, the NGO has issued the trust with 21 recommendations, which must be implemented within three months as well as a further 11 within nine months, one recommendation within nine months and an additional four within 12 months.

The trust’s chief executive, Trish Armstrong-Child who took on her role in September 2021, said: “I am a huge supporter in Freedom to Speak Up and the role of the National Guardian’s Office, working together with our local guardian team, with leaders in the Trust and the system as a whole, to create a more open and transparent culture across the NHS for the benefit of everyone.

Trish Armstrong-Child
Trish Armstrong-Child (Image: Trish Armstrong-Child)

“This report and its recommendations date back to a review around 12 months ago and there is evidence to demonstrate that we have made great progress. However, we recognise there is always more that we can do.

“As we mark and celebrate National Freedom to Speak Up month I want to add my voice and encouragement to this year’s theme: ‘Speak up, listen up and follow up’.

“All colleagues in Blackpool Teaching Hospitals are encouraged to make their pledge to speak up in any way they feel comfortable about anything at all that is bothering them – and know processes are in place to support you.

“In return, my promise and commitment as new Chief Executive is that myself, the Trust Board as a whole and senior leaders across the organisation will listen up and follow up. Between us I am looking forward to being part of an organisation that values and actively encourages people to raise issues and help to resolve them. I recognise our staff are our greatest asset.”

 

 

 

Police appeal after reports of sexual assault in Poulton last night

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Police have launched an appeal after receiving a report of a sexual assault in Poulton’s Jean Stansfield Memorial Park last night.

Police have cordoned off an area of the Jean Stansfield Memorial Park in Poulton

Police have cordoned off an area of the Jean Stansfield Memorial Park in Poulton

In a statement on social media, Lancashire Police stated: “We received a report of a sexual assault in Jean Stansfield Memorial Park, Vicarage Road, Poulton, when a group of four or five men followed the victim before one man carried out the attack.”

The incident is said to have occurred at 10.40pm last night.

Today the park and part of Poulton town centre remained cordoned off, with a strong police presence.

There has been a large police presence in Poulton today

There has been a large police presence in Poulton today

Anyone with information is asked to call 101, referencing log number 1667 of Oct 22

 

 

Blackpool’s care home vaccination numbers are the best in England

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The latest figures available show nearly all care home staff (98.4 per cent) have had their first vaccine

 

File photo of a nurse wearing a mask tending to a patient in a care home
Blackpool care home staff have the best Covid vaccination rate (file photo) (Image: PA)

Blackpool has maintained its record of having the best Covid vaccination rates for care home staff in the country as the countdown continues towards mandatory vaccinations.

The latest figures available show nearly all care home staff (98.4 per cent) have had their first vaccine, while nearly 94 per cent have had both jabs.

Among carers working in people’s homes, 92 per cent have had one vaccination, and 87 per cent have had both vaccinations.

All elderly care home residents have had at least one jab, with the figure for those who have had both slightly under 100 per cent due to the time required between jabs.

Karen Smith, director of adult services at Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the adult social care and health scrutiny committee: “We have achieved vaccination rates that are the envy of the rest of the country.

“As we head towards mandatory vaccinations, our rates are the best in the land for our residential staff and care at home staff.”

The Covid vaccination will be mandatory for all care home staff in England from November 11.

A report to the committee adds: ” For those who resolutely refuse to be vaccinated, but are not exempt, there will need to be individual HR discussions.

“In larger employment settings, there may be suitable alternative
work as an alternative to dismissal due to being unable to meet mandatory requirements. All new staff will have mandatory vaccination as a condition of employment.”

Ms Smith said staff turnover and hesitancy among a small number of staff meant 100 per cent vaccination had not been achieved.

But she added measures including providing private conversations with nurses for people who had concerns about the jab had helped achieve the high rates of vaccination.

She said many women of child-bearing age who worked as carers had expressed worries about the potential impact on their fertility, and had been offered meetings with midwives to allay their concerns.

 

 

Elf: The Musical set to bring Christmas magic to Blackpool early

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The show will play at the Opera House for a 10-day stint, starting on October 21

Blackpool's Tam Ryan will star in Elf: The Musical
Blackpool’s Tam Ryan will star in Elf: The Musical

The stage adaptation of hit Christmas film Elf starring Will Ferrell is flying into Blackpool this week.

Family show Elf: The Musical will play at Blackpool Winter Garden’s Opera House from Thursday, October 21 to Sunday, October 31, to bring some early festive magic to the seaside town.

The production tells the story of Buddy the elf, who accidentally finds himself on Santa’s sleigh and is transported from his home in the North Pole to New York.

 

Follow orphaned Buddy, who is actually a human and not a ‘real’ elf – despite what he believes – as his adventures and mishaps in America teach him about his true identity, while also sprinkling Christmas magic and fun along the way.

Expect a flying sleigh, 20-foot high candy canes, a giant LED screen with Pixar style animated backgrounds and amazing aerial stunts.

The show features songs from Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, who wrote the original Broadway score, and stars stage favourite and Blackpool-born Tam Ryan in the main role for the third consecutive year.

Tam said: “The show is pretty unique in its staging with spectacular effects and a great story combined with marvellous songs.”

He is joined in the cast, which has previously featured Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh, by Kelly Banlaki as Jovie, Buddy’s long suffering love interest.

Kelly is a member of the Endresz family, who have produced and starred in the Blackpool Tower Circus for three decades.

CBBC’s So Awkward star Jordan Conway is included in the cast too – and the actor and singer also designed much of the computer graphic backdrops used in the show.

 

 

Neil Critchley names his team for the Blackpool v Preston North End derby – and drops another surprise

Home | Blackpool Gazette

As he so often does, Neil Critchley has dropped another big surprise with his team selection for today’s derby against Preston North End.

 

Sonny Carey, the star of Wednesday night’s 3-2 win against Reading, has been surprisingly dropped to the bench.

The midfielder, who was in inspired form on his first league start on Wednesday night, is replaced by Gary Madine, as the Seasiders revert to 4-4-2.

Madine is one of two changes, as Josh Bowler comes in for Demetri Mitchell after the winger’s impressive cameo off the bench in midweek.

Dujon Sterling returns from illness to take a spot on the bench, which sees Tyreece John-Jules drop out of the squad altogether.

Kevin Stewart remains sidelined with an ankle injury, joining Daniel Gretarsson (concussion), Reece James (foot), Matty Virtue (ACL), Grant Ward (achilles), CJ Hamilton (foot) and Shayne Lavery (hamstring).

PNE, meanwhile, name an unchanged side from their midweek win against Coventry City.

Gary Madine returns to Blackpool's starting line-up

Gary Madine returns to Blackpool’s starting line-up

But Frankie McAvoy’s side, who begin the day in 18th, three points adrift of the Seasiders, are boosted by the return of Sean Maguire to the bench.

 

 

‘Blackpool man threatened escort on WhatsApp after demanding £20 refund after being unable to perform in the bedroom’

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A man who couldn’t have sex with an escort demanded his cash back – for seven months – Blackpool Magistrates’ Court was told.

 

Daniel Lloyd, 29, paid the man £20 deposit but asked for a refund after being unable to perform due to medical reasons, and then spent months sending WhatsApp messages and making phone calls.

Lloyd, of Horsebridge Road, Grange Park, even threatened to rape the man with a knife and hurt his family, the court was told.

In a victim’s statement, the escort said he had needed therapy and medication as a result of Lloyd’s campaign.

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Blackpool Magistrates’ Court

“I am begging the police to help me,” he said.

Defending, Patrick Nelligan said: “My client suffered a traumatic childhood and has suffered memory loss because of a stroke.”

Lloyd was given an 18-month jail term suspended for 18 months.

He must do 60 days’ rehabilitation days and hit with a five-year restraining order.

He must also pay £300 compensation and £213 costs.

 

 

Women catching up on men to close L-test gap

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The gap between male and female driving test pass rates has narrowed in Blackpool during the coronavirus pandemic, figures suggest.

 

Women are closing driving test gap

Women are closing driving test gap

The RAC said it is encouraging to see the gender gap shrinking nationally, but warned “time will tell” if the trend continues as driving test numbers recover following Covid-related disruption.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency data shows that of 679 tests taken by male drivers at Blackpool Test Centre between April and June, 371 were successful – a pass rate of 55%.

Meanwhile, 50% of 652 tests taken by women were passed over this period, giving a gap of five percentage points.

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton slams social media for stirring up hate as polit…

Figures for this period in 2020 were unavailable for Blackpool, when tests were cancelled due to lockdown restrictions.

Women had a success rate of 42% during the same period in 2019 – compared to 50% for men, meaning there was a gap of eight percentage points between the genders.

In the first quarter of 2018-19, the gap was 10 percentage points.

Across Great Britain, 49.2% of tests taken by women between April and June were passed – a higher proportion than during any similar period on record, and up from 47.1% in 2020-21 as a whole.

Though the male success rate also rose, the gap between the two genders (4.7 percentage points) is now the closest it has ever been – previously peaking at 7.3 in 2018.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “The impact of the pandemic means we’re in unusual times when it comes to driving tests, not least because there’s an enormous backlog of drivers waiting to take tests and get out on the road.

“While it’s encouraging that the gender driving test pass ‘gap’ appears to be closing, only time will tell whether this is a trend that continues as the number of people taking tests starts to return to normal.”

Of the six months of available figures for Blackpool between July and December 2020, women had a pass rate of 44%, while men passed 52% of tests.

The AA said the difference in pass rates between men and women is a long-term trend, but added it is good to see the gap closing slightly.

Edmund King, president of the AA, added: “The pandemic has had an impact on the overall pass rate.

“People who took their test in April to June this year would have been likely to have had their lessons disrupted by the lockdown restrictions of 2020 so may well have taken lessons over a longer period of time than they would have done, had there been no restrictions.

“Many of them would have been in the backlog of people who booked a test, knowing if they failed it may be a long wait before they could re-take it. This could all have had an impact on the small improvement in the pass rate.”

A DVSA spokesman said practical and theory tests are designed to measure a candidate’s ability to drive safely and responsibly as well as making sure they know the theory behind safe driving.

He added: “All candidates are assessed to the same standard and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day.”

 

 

Lancaster man denies trying to strangle partner with leather belt

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A council worker has appeared at court charged with the attempted murder of a Lancaster mum.

 

The case was heard at Blackpool Magistrates' Court.

The case was heard at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

Wayne Morgan is alleged to have tried to strangle his victim with a leather belt, magistrates at Blackpool heard.

Morgan, 32, of Lune Street, Lancaster, is charged with the offence against his partner at her home.

He is further charged with sexually assaulting another woman on the same date, October 17, and assault causing actual bodily harm on a third female victim in the same series of alleged incidents.

Morgan was refused bail and was remanded in custody.

All three cases were sent to Preston Crown Court, where he will appear on November 17.

His lawyer David Leach said Morgan denied the charges

 

 

Blackpool pier’s mysterious brown ‘alien brains’ which have perplexed locals explained by scientist

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

“Never in my life saw anything like that, lived in Blackpool all my life, I am 75 now”

 

The brown mounds discovered under a Blackpool pier that have been likened to "alien brains"
The brown mounds discovered under a Blackpool pier that have been likened to “alien brains” (Image: Linda Cox)

Blackpool residents have been left amazed at giant brown mounds likened to ‘alien brains’ which have formed underneath one of the beach’s piers.

In the past week, several giant clumps have been discovered growing in the sand on the waterfront.

A photograph of the structures emerged on social media on Saturday (October 16) with local people saying they’d never seen anything like it in the time they’ve lived in Blackpool.

 

One man on Facebook commented: “Back in the 1960/70s, l often went down to the piers at low tide to catch crabs for angling and never saw anything like this.”

Another woman said: “Never in my life saw anything like that, lived in Blackpool all my life, I am 75 now, moved to Spain a couple of years ago but miss the people, the views and my old buddies.”

Another added: “They are obviously alien brains and prove that we are being visited regularly by little green men” with one man also saying they were “Like a Chemical Brothers video.”

The brown mounds are actually honeycomb “reefs” that have been formed by a large group of worms.

The Honeycomb Worm, also know as Sabellaria alveolata, is a filter feeder that extends its tentacles into the water when the tide is in to catch floating particles of plankton.

They mainly live on the shoreline and build hummock-shaped reefs on anything from rocks to coastal structures – such as a pier.

Living close together, the worms form a “reef” that has tubes that take on a hexagonal shapes giving them their ‘honeycomb’ appearance.

Close up of Honeycomb Tube Worm (Sabellaria alveolata) encrusting a rocky shore at mid-tide level
Close up of Honeycomb Tube Worm (Sabellaria alveolata) encrusting a rocky shore at mid-tide level (Image: Getty Images)

They need a hard substance to settle on however and plenty of sand to create their homes.

Chairman of the Lancashire Marine Conservation Society, Dr Barry Kaye, said: “These are Honeycomb worm reefs, larger mounds, or ‘reefs’, of this sort are common around Morecambe Bay, and one of the type species for that area.

“They do not form such large reefs in many other places. The reefs come and go when local conditions favour the worm.

“Similar ‘reefs’ were discovered from earlier in the year at Bispham.”

To view the that were discovered, please visit the Marine Conservation Society website here.

 

 

Blackpool’s New Bond Hotel with excellent TripAdvisor reviews taken off the market for drastic makeover

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

The family of four continue to run the establishment at full capacity which enjoys many excellent reviews on Trip Advisor.

 

The New Bond Hotel on Lord Street, Blackpool
The New Bond Hotel on Lord Street, Blackpool (Image: Google Street View)

A Blackpool hotel has been taken off the market and is undergoing a fabulous makeover for its guests to enjoy.

The New Bond Hotel located on Lord Street was up for sale around six weeks ago however its owners are now instead working on re-vamping the hotel room by room.

The family of four continue to run the establishment, which has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, at full capacity.

93% of its Trip Advisor reviews are rated as ‘excellent’, 289 out of 311, with 18 of them rated ‘good’.

One of the twin bedrooms in the New Bond Hotel, Blackpool
One of the twin bedrooms in the New Bond Hotel, Blackpool (Image: the New Bond Hotel,)

One man posting under the name Matthew Wright left a review this month (October) which said: “Absolutely fantastic hotel I’ve been in some bad hotels but this is definitely not a bad hotel.

“Dora, Tony and Meg go above and beyond to help of any problems. The breakfast is amazing, the hotel room is very clean, the location is quite and only 5mins walk from town.

“Dora is the most friendliest person I’ve met here and I’ll always make sure I stay very good friends with her, thanks again from Matthew and Danielle.”

The hotel also underwent an extensive refurbishment throughout in 2018 which included electrical upgrades, new LED lighting, CCTV, L2 Fire Alarm system and new plaster work and flooring.

The dining area in the New Bond Hotel, Blackpool
The dining area in the New Bond Hotel, Blackpool (Image: New Bond Hotel, Blackpool)

The nine bedroom hotel is located in an excellent location on the North Shore close to many entertainment venues and amenities.

Single, twin, double and a family Suite are available which all have en suite facilities.

All bedrooms have complimentary bottled water, tea/coffee making facilities, remote-controlled colour TV with Freeview, towels, toiletries and a hairdryer.

All bedrooms in the New Bond Hotel are en suite and have complimentary tea and coffee
All bedrooms in the New Bond Hotel are en suite and have complimentary tea and coffee (Image: New Bond Hotel)

An iron and ironing board are also available downstairs for guests at any time.

The hotel is open all year round except Christmas week and for a few weeks here and there for the owners’ family time.

To find out more about the New Bond Hotel, please visit the website here.

 

 

Woods Waste death investigation and latest from police and HSE

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

The man, who has not yet been named, died at the Woods Waste Group’s landfill site off Peel Road on October 4

 

Police at Woods Waste in Blackpool on October 4
Police at Woods Waste in Blackpool on October 4

An investigation into the death of a waste site worker in Blackpool two weeks ago remains ‘ongoing’.

The man, who has not yet been named, died at the Woods Waste Group’s landfill site in Westby, off Peel Road, on October 4.

Police received reports that a man working at the site had become trapped under a lorry and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A joint investigation was launched between Lancashire Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the industrial accident.

Two weeks on, brief statements have been provided to LancsLive from both authorities.

A HSE spokesperson said: “This is still an active investigation.

“We can’t provide any further comment at this time.”

A joint police and HSE investigation remains ongoing
A joint police and HSE investigation remains ongoing

Lancashire Police told LancsLive there is “no update at this stage”.

A spokesperson added: “We’re still overseeing the investigation for now.”

On their website, Woods Waste is called “an independently owned and managed business.”

Their services include skip hire and waste management solutions and there are facilities onsite for all kinds of waste tipping.