Omicron Covid variant: Face coverings in shops and on public transport to be made mandatory again

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Mask rules will be mandatory in shops and on public transport, Omicron contacts will have to self-isolate and new arrivals will have to quarantine until they test negative for coronavirus, after two cases of the concerning new Omicron variant were detected in the UK.

 

Boris Johnson warned the new variant could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, as he announced a strengthening of England’s rules at a Downing Street press conference, after the infections were identified in Nottingham and Brentwood in Essex.

In an attempt to slow the spread, the Prime Minister announced “temporary and precautionary” measures to be reviewed in three weeks, alongside a “boost” to the booster campaign.

The UK Health Security Agency confirmed the cases, which are both believed to be connected and linked to travel to southern Africa, after genomic sequencing overnight.

PM Boris Johnson said the rules on face coverings in shops and on public transport will be tightened

PM Boris Johnson said the rules on face coverings in shops and on public transport will be tightened

The individuals and their households were ordered into self-isolation and targeted testing was being carried out in areas where they are thought to have been infectious

Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola will face travel restrictions from Sunday, when they will join South Africa and five other neighbouring nations on England’s red list.

Mr Johnson said: “We need to take targeted and proportionate measures now as a precaution while we find out more.

“First we need to slow down the seeding of the variant in this country, we need to buy time for our scientists to understand exactly what we’re dealing with, and for us to get more people vaccinated, and above all to get more people boosted.”

But the Prime Minister said border measures can “only ever minimise and delay the arrival of a new variant rather than stop it all together”, so all contacts with a suspected case of the new variant will have to isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

“We will also go further in asking all of you to help contain the spread of this variant by tightening up the rules on face coverings in shops and on public transport,” Mr Johnson said.

While the effectiveness of vaccines against Omicron is currently unclear, Mr Johnson said there are “good reasons for believing they will provide at least some measure of protection”.

He said “we’re going to boost the booster campaign” by asking the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to consider giving boosters to “as wide a group as possible as well as reducing the gap” between second doses and the booster.

 

 

Blackpool ice rink re-opening date confirmed after Storm Arwen causes damage

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

The attraction, which is part of the town’s Christmas By The Sea offering, needed some ‘care and attention’ after the severe weather conditions hit Lancashire

 

The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool's Christmas By The Sea village
The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village

The reopening date for Blackpool’s ice skating rink has been confirmed.

The attraction, which is part of the town’s Christmas By The Sea offering, needed some ‘care and attention’ after the severe weather conditions hit Lancashire.

The closure was confirmed on Friday (November 26) for safety reasons.

A yellow weather warning was active across the county with experts warning that injuries or danger to life from flying debris is possible, as well as damage to trees and buildings.

However, Visit Blackpool has now confirmed plans to reopen the rink on Sunday (November 28).

It is thought that the free sessions will continue until 9pm.

A spokesperson for Visit Blackpool said: “After taking a battering from #StormArwen, our Christmas By The Sea skating rink is getting some much-needed care and attention.

“We are now planning to reopen early afternoon on Sunday (28 November) with free sessions continuing until 9pm.

“Thanks for your patience!”

 

 

Blackpool teenagers reflect on the damage that knife crime can do following visit to Knife Angel monument

Home | Blackpool Gazette

In the week that Blackpool Police held a drive to get illegal knives off Fylde coast streets, Blackpool youngsters took a trip to see the Knife Angel sculpture currently on display outside Blackburn Cathedral.

 

The 27ft high statue, has been made from 100,000 seized knives and blades by the British Ironwork Centre.

Members of the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club made the pilgrimage to see the huge work of art this week and recognised something of the sadness, regret and the burden of evil it carries, just like Marley’s Ghost in Dickens seasonal tale A Christmas Carol.

Youth workers from the club began to deliver programs around knife crime and its effects, and the young people had produced knife crime posters, 50 young people also attended the ‘JJ effect award winning knife crime workshop’.

Members of the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club at the Knife Angel statue in Blackburn

Members of the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club at the Knife Angel statue in Blackburn

The club’s fortnight of intensive events culminated with 12 Young people visiting the knife angel display.

Pete Riley, senior youth worker at the club said the members came up with some profound comments after seeing the statue, including pointing out how many ordinary kitchen knives were in the creation and how the angel looked sad and like Marley’s Ghost when he came to warn Scrooge to mend his ways in Dickens’ story.

He said: “The point made by the young people about the Knife Angel being similar to ‘Marley’s Ghost’ is indeed a profound one.

“They understood this completely and together we took the analogy further, so the the chain and money boxes he forged in life became like the myriad of knifes the poor ‘Knife Angel’ has to carry across the streets of Britain with all the terrible associated pain and anguish” that goes with knife crime.”

One of the posters the teenagers designed on the issue of knife crime

One of the posters the teenagers designed on the issue of knife crime

The knife angel was created to highlight the negative effects of violent behaviour and the critical need for social change. A spokesman from the British Ironwork Centre said it was a National Monument Against Violence and Aggression.

The spokesman said: “Not only does the angel act as a catalyst for turning the tide on violent and aggressive behaviour, but it is also acts as a beautiful memorial designed to celebrate those lives who have been lost through these violent and thoughtless actions.

The visit of the Knife Angel to Blackburn was organised by the Vice Dean of Blackburn Cathedral, Canon Missioner Rowena Pailing and her team to form a month long educational project about the dangers of knife crime in the county. It will be there until November 29.

Birmingham City 1-0 Blackpool: Seasiders condemned to disappointing away defeat by questionable late winner

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A late hammerblow condemned Blackpool to a cruel defeat away to Birmingham City.

 

The Seasiders dominated for large swathes of the game at St Andrew’s, but were lacking a killer touch and composure in the final third.

Some good chances were squandered, the clearest falling to substitute Josh Bowler who was denied by an impressive stop from goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

But the hosts, who had previously only threatened from long throws and set pieces, stole the points nine minutes from time through substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz.

There was some fortune involved in the winning goal too, as the experienced striker – who appeared to be in an offside position – bundled home from close range with his thigh despite knowing very little about it.

Despite the setback, which comes off the back of three straight draws, Neil Critchley’s men remain in the top half of the Championship table.

After two physically demanding games, Pool’s head coach opted to switch things up by making four changes to his side from the midweek draw against West Brom.

Jutkiewics bundles home Birmingham's late winner in controversial circumstances

Jutkiewics bundles home Birmingham’s late winner in controversial circumstances

Jordan Gabriel was rested and dropped down to the bench, which saw Dujon Sterling take his spot at right-back.

Elsewhere, Ryan Wintle was surprisingly named among the substitutes despite being a virtual ever-present since arriving on loan from Cardiff City. Callum Connolly took his spot in central midfield alongside Kenny Dougall.

Demetri Mitchell replaced Josh Bowler in a like-for-like replacement, while Owen Dale came in for Shayne Lavery – which saw the Seasiders revert to a 4-2-3-1 system with Gary Madine leading the line on his own.

Chris Maxwell (quad), Richard Keogh (calf), Oliver Casey (ankle), Luke Garbutt (knee), Kevin Stewart (ankle), Matty Virtue (ACL) and Grant Ward (achilles) all remain sidelined with injuries.

The likes of Sonny Carey, CJ Hamilton and Tyreece John-Jules were left out of the squad altogether.

Birmingham, meanwhile, made three changes to their side from their midweek draw against neighbours Coventry City.

The hosts, who began the day 17th in the table, thought they’d taken the lead inside the opening 60 seconds, but Jeremie Bela’s rasping long-range drive hit the side netting, rather than creeping in.

Dan Grimshaw was required to make an important save early on as the Seasiders faced an aerial bombardment from the direct hosts.

A long throw hurled into the box deflected off the head of a Blackpool player and towards goal, but Grimshaw backtracked well to tip the ball over his crossbar.

Blackpool’s first chance, meanwhile, came from Gary Madine, who got across his man at the near post to flick just over from Keshi Anderson’s ball in.

The Seasiders were getting into some good positions out wide, especially down the right with Dujon Sterling’s overlapping runs.

Some good openings went to waste though, especially on one occasion when Sterling crossed to three waiting teammates who all remained motionless despite a good delivery from the Chelsea loanee.

When Blackpool kept the ball on the floor, they looked the more threatening side by far. Equally, when the ball was in the air, the hosts looked more dangerous.

The Seasiders looked really dangerous in spurts, when they worked the ball between each other with quick and incisive passing.

That’s exactly what happened between Demetri Mitchell and Keshi Anderson, whose ball back into the middle was pounced upon by Matija Sarkic – the brother of Oliver – just as Mitchell was readying himself to tap home.

A moment later, Reece James dragged a shot wide after the visitors had worked the ball well from right to left.

Mitchell, meanwhile, would then curl an angled free-kick just past the far post as Critchley’s side ended the half strongly.

The chances continued to come and go, as Madine headed wide from Dujon Sterling’s cross following a lightning-fast break.

Pool started the second-half just as they ended the first, well on top and piling the pressure on – but just lacking that final bit of composure in the final third.

Other than long throws, the home side were offering very little and looked a side well short of confidence or standout quality.

The Seasiders were far hungrier though, beating the hosts to loose balls across the pitch and chasing down lost causes they had no right to reach.

Birmingham produced a rare moment of promise just after the hour-mark when dangerman Scott Hogan, who had been quiet up to that point, got behind Pool’s backline.

The striker opted to cut back past Marvin Ekpiteta though, rather than shoot, before playing the ball into the six-yard box where the Seasiders were able to scramble clear.

This prompted a spell of pressure from the home side, who went close again when Deeney played a quick one-two with Hogan before firing at goal, only to be denied by a heroic block from Marvin Ekpiteta.

With just over 20 minutes remaining, and the game still on a knife-edge, Critchley turned to his bench, introducing Josh Bowler for Mitchell.

The winger almost made an instant impact, having a low drive turned behind by Sarkic after combining well with Owen Dale.

It was Dale’s last action of the game, as a moment later he was replaced by Shayne Lavery as Pool went two up top.

Just like Bowler, Lavery was straight into the action, running in behind to meet a through-ball only to be wiped out by a recovery defender – but no penalty was given.

Critchley and his assistant Mike Garrity were incredulous on the sidelines, holding their hands in disbelievement.

It was utterly typical then that the home side would finally make the breakthrough in the 81st minute.

To rub salt into the wound, there was a great deal of fortune involved in the goal, as Kristian Pedersen’s left-wing cross ricocheted straight to substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz, who bundled the ball home off his thigh despite appearing to be offside.

Critchley responded quickly to the surprise setback, making his third and final change by replacing Madine with Jerry Yates.

Pool stuck to their principles in the dying stages in a bid to get something from the game, but they were unable to carve an opening for themselves and the hosts held on with relative ease.

It was a disappointing end to what was another positive performance from the Seasiders, who will rue their failure to make their dominance pay.

TEAMS

Birmingham: Sarkic, Pedersen, Roberts, Sanderson, Bela (Aneke), Graham, Sunjic, James, McGree, Hogan, Deeney (Jutkiewicz

Subs not used: Etheridge, Castillo, Dean, Oakley, Walker

Blackpool: Grimshaw, Sterling, Ekpiteta, Husband, James, Connolly, Dougall, Mitchell (Bowler), Anderson, Dale (Lavery), Madine

Subs not used: Moore, Gretarsson, Gabriel, Wintle, Yates

Referee: Matthew Donohue

 

 

Blackpool’s Total Wipeout-inspired attraction where you can play human Hungry Hippos

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

Compete in a giant Hungry Hippos game, negotiate inflatable obstacles and take part in a jousting match at Blackpool Sports Centre

 

Inside Wacky World, which is coming to Blackpool for two days in December
Inside Wacky World’s Wacky Wipeout , which is coming to Blackpool for two days in December (Image: Wacky World/Facebook)

Total Wipeout is one of those gameshows that is hilarious to watch other fail at, but would you actually be any better at negotiating giant inflatable obstacles yourself?

Well, now is your time to find out as Wacky World is bringing its version of the popular BBC gameshow with the giant red balls to Blackpool Sports Centre on December 3 and 4.

From toddler-friendly to adult-only sessions, the festive-themed Wacky Wipeout, complete with Santa’s grotto and snow machines offers fun for all ages.

Try out the reindeer hoopla, ride the rodeo reindeer, throw yourself down the Christmas slides and attempt to get past the giant moving inflatables.

Or you could re-create children’s board game Hungry Hippos in real life, where you try to grab more balls than your opponents before being ‘sprung’ backwards.

Fun-seekers can book one and a half hour slots in specific age categories which begin at 10am, with over-18s sessions reserved for the evenings. The Wipeout Arena closes at 10pm.

Parents must either purchase a spectator or participant ticket if they would like to join their child on the attraction.

To book your session, click here

Real-life hungry hippos
Real-life hungry hippos at Wacky Wipeout (Image: Wacky World/Facebook)

The Blackpool home with an indoor swimming pool and rooftop garden perfect for summer by the sea

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

Described as an “outstanding large residence”, the home sits in secluded grounds and is around 3300 square feet

 

The exterior of the Sixth Avenue house in Blackpool
The exterior of the Sixth Avenue house in Blackpool (Image: RightMove)

Sitting behind electronic gates is an amazing five bedroom detached house on Sixth Avenue, Blackpool up for sale at £650,000.

Described as an “outstanding large residence”, the home sits in secluded grounds and boasts a swimming pool, sauna, shower, cinema room and gym.

Comprising of around 3300 square feet, the property also has a hallway, cloaks, WC, lounge and open plan living kitchen diner.

The lounge has parquet flooring, a fireplace with log burning stove and double glazed windows with doors that lead through to the gymnasium.

The gym then has double glazed surrounding windows and double doors that lead through to the swimming pool complex and rear garden.

Swimming pool complex with double glazed doors

A look inside the Blackpool house with swimming pool, sauna, cinema room and gym for £650k

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The swimming pool complex is a bright room with three large windows to the rear and two sets of doors with side panel windows which lead through to the gym.

The study dining room also has double glazed doors to rear garden.

The large open plan living/kitchen/diner area has a range of fitted wall and base units with a breakfast bar with electric double oven with a 5 ring hob and extractor hood, integrated fridge, freezer and fridge freezer.

Cinema room showing "Rambo"
Cinema room showing “Rambo” (Image: RightMove)

The cinema room has an electric blackout blind to a double glazed window and the gym has double glazed surrounding windows and double doors that lead through to the swimming pool complex and rear garden.

There is also a ceiling lantern window, heated pool, sauna, shower room, boiler room and non slip tiled flooring.

On the first floor are five bedrooms, two en suite and a family shower room.

There is also a roof garden laid with synthetic turf set in large landscaped grounds with a detached annexe in the grounds comprising a spacious lounge, bedroom and shower room.

Outside are extensive lawned gardens to the sides and rear with mature trees, shrubs and bushes.

To the front there is also ‘Crete Print’ front garden and a timber decked patio area.

To find out more about this amazing property, please visit the Right Move listing here.

 

 

We spent £25 at Heron Foods with ‘lowest prices’ to see how much we could get

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

Heron Food’s slogan says they provide ‘top quality, lowest prices’ so we spent just under £25 to see if that was true

 

Heron Foods next to Houndshill shopping centre in Blackpool
Heron Foods next to Houndshill shopping centre in Blackpool

A weekly shop nowadays that costs £25 is certainly one that is considered good value with prices of daily basics now mounting.

Finding good quality products with prices that won’t leave pockets empty is every shopper’s mission but where exactly can you get that from?

Having seen the slogan from Heron Foods: “Top Quality, Lowest Prices” we had to try to see if the store really lived up to those claims.

With a budget of £25, we set our sights on the nearest Heron Foods in Blackpool and bought what we could- all tailored around a regular weekly shop.

Two bags full of food items bought from Heron Foods
Two bags full of food items bought from Heron Foods

We selected 19 items to go into our trolley catering for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a couple of treats that are of course necessary for the weekly shop.

19 food items bought all for under £25
19 food items bought all for under £25

Typically, when buying budget items, it’s easy to assume that the cheaper the price, the lower in quality the items are but in this shop, we stuck to mainly branded food items to see if we could get enough for a low price.

What can be said for this shop is that there are no fresh fruits and vegetables meaning additional costs will need to be planned for when doing the weekly shop at Heron Foods.

Considering the vast majority of these items were top brand names like Nestle, Nescafe, Kingsmill and Goodfellas, it was clear to see where the slogan comesfrom.

Nescafe Gold coffee 200g
Nescafe Gold coffee 200g

Avid coffee drinkers will know that it is a ‘pot of gold’ moment to find a large jar of branded coffee for less than £5, but Heron Foods sells 200 grams of Nescafe Gold instant coffee for £4.79 which over time, would work out a lot cheaper than most supermarkets charge.

Goodfella's cheesy garlic bread
Goodfella’s cheesy garlic bread

Goodfella’s pizzas and garlic breads are often on offer at supermarkets but when they’re not, they can be considered pretty pricey at full price but are always at the reduced price of £1.25 at Heron Foods.

Kingsmill bread
Kingsmill bread

Kingsmill wholemeal bread at £1 isn’t as exclusive as the other discounted prices at Heron Foods but given a lot of others supermarkets do charge more than a pound for the very same loaf of bread, knowing you’re getting a top quality loaf for a reduced price here is always a welcomed bonus.

500g Frosted Sreddies
500g Frosted Sreddies

Cereals are always a must have on weekly shops particularly for families with children who need a quick bite to eat before rushing off to school- Heron Foods have a great deal of £1.50 for a 500 gram box of Frosted Shreddies that will certainly be making the regular shop.

Heron Foods does deliver top quality products for low prices but the variety of choice is not as vast in other supermarkets, particularly with the diary items.

Whilst there may be less to chose from, what is there is definitely sufficient enough to make up a weekly shop- you’ll just have to go elsewhere for fresh fruit and veg.

The shop in full:

Frosted Shreddies: £1.50

Cathedral City Cheddar: £2.30

Goodfellas Cheesy Garlic Bread: £1.25

Cheese and Onion Pasties: £1.50

Penne Pasta: 3 for £1

Kingsmill Wholemeal Bread: £1

15pk Eggs: £1.19

3pk Branstons Baked Beans: £1.50

Nescafe Gold Coffee: £4.79

Mushy Peas: 79p

Jammie Dogers: 2 for £1

Napolina Passata: 69p

Diet Coke: £1.69

Kitchen Roll: £1

2L Semi Skimmed Milk: £1.19

Bake At Home Croissants: £2

 

 

We went on Blackpool’s Star Flyer ride and it’s higher than it looks

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

The Star Flyer ride has come to Blackpool lifting riders up 60 metres into the air, so naturally we wanted to give it a go too to see what all the buzz was about.

 

The Star Flyer ride on Blackpool's sea front opposite the Tower
The Star Flyer ride on Blackpool’s sea front opposite the Tower

It will be hard to find a local in Blackpool who hasn’t heard the term ‘Star Flyer’ or ‘Europe’s biggest swing ride’ because this brand new addition to the sea front has definitely caught much attention.

The Star Flyer ride was initially planned for St John’s Square in Blackpool but after a series of safety concerns, the ride was forced to find a more suitable spot.

Having travelled all the way from Holland, organisers were able to secure a front row seat along the seafront and directly opposite the Tower.

With so much talk already going on about the ride, we decided to head down ourselves to take a look at it and even hop to give it a try.

Despite it being a cold Monday morning (November 22), small crowds gathered along the Promenade to witness the ride in its full glory and watch as people stepped up to the plate and braved the skyscraper heights.

The sheer size of the ride is certainly daunting at first but with an ever so slightly shaking hand, we paid the man in the box the £7.50 ticket fee and were escorted to our seat.

Like many swing rides, the swing consisted of two seats, meaning holding someone’s hand for moral support is definitely an option. Riders are then secured in by a metal bar clipped into place by staff working on the ride.

Seats on the Star Flyer, Europe's biggest swing ride
Seats on the Star Flyer, Europe’s biggest swing ride

With loud music booming in your ears, the excitement soon builds and then the adrenaline sets in as an ominous countdown begins.

Seconds later, your’e lifted up in the air to the top 60 metre mark and what feels like touching distance from the tower itself.

One thing is for certain, anyone with a fear of heights should avoid this ride- there’s no questioning the fact that this ride is high.

If you’re brave enough to look, the views from the swing are spectacular despite making your head spin. What was a big surprise was the speed of the ride – it was faster than expected, not enough to be a ‘scary’ ride but certainly one to avoid heading on to with a full stomach.

Making the circular laps, dangling meters above the sea and the Comedy Carpet, gliding through the air was both an amazing yet eye-watering experience and one that might have been more enjoyable had it been a tad warmer- not fault of the ride of course.

The spinning, did, ever so slightly get a bit much but thankfully, only minutes later the ride came to a halt as riders were gradually lowered and feet were firmly back on the ground.

Europe's biggest swing ride has come to Blackpool
Europe’s biggest swing ride has come to Blackpool

Big grins were plastered all over the faces of spectators and even the riders as everyone got their shaky legs to take them down the steps and back on the Promenade.

Whilst it is definitely not one for young children, this ride is certainly one to try for the grown ups and would be a perfect stop on an evening in Blackpool for a group of friends when the illuminations are blazing.

The Star Flyer is now up with Blackpool’s other iconic attractions that just have to be put on every bucket list and for us, we can officially tick that off.

Would you be brave enough to try out Europe’s biggest swing ride?

 

 

Blackpool lockdown trip costs man more than £1,000

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

Spencer Williams has been left counting the cost of his trip to the seaside town

 

Blackpool
Blackpool (Image: Getty Images)

A man has been left with a bill of more than £1,000 after driving to Blackpool during lockdown restrictions.

Spencer Williams made the 50 mile trip to Blackpool on March 27 this year where he was caught by officers from Lancashire Constabulary.

The 21-year-old, from Great Sankey near Warrington, lived in a Tier 4 area at the time. He admitted to leaving the area without a reasonable excuse to be outside his place of residence.

Williams, of Cheddington Crescent, pleaded guilty to the offence on November 10 at Preston Magistrates’ Court, CheshireLive reports.

He now has to pay more than £1,000.

On top of a £842 fine is costs of £90 and a victim surcharge of £84, bringing the total to £1,016.

Warrington was under Tier 4 restrictions at the time of the offence in March 2021, which meant that residents could not be outside their homes without a “reasonable excuse”.

Travelling between counties was prohibited to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Across England, anyone over the age of 18 was at risk of a £100 fine for a first offence rising to £6,400 for repeat offenders.

 

 

Storm Arwen: Huge Christmas trees outside Sainsbury’s and in the town centre toppled and buildings damaged as winds batters Blackpool and Lancashire

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The winds from Storm Arwen have quietened down after a rough night in Lancashire, leaving residents and businesses to count the cost of the damage.

 

Gusts of up to 60mph yesterday saw the Prom in Blackpool shut after a building crumbled as tourists inside scrambled to safety at around 5.40pm.

The resort’s large Christmas trees in Talbot Square, outside Sainsbury’s, and in St John’s Square, were both toppled, as were ‘snow-topped’ trees placed in front of the Tower for the Winter Wonderland festivities, which were called off.

The tree in St John’s Square was this morning being removed by workers.

The large Christmas tree outside Sainsbury's and the council offices in Talbot Square was downed by Storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, 2021 (Picture: Darren Nelson)

The large Christmas tree outside Sainsbury’s and the council offices in Talbot Square was downed by Storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, 2021 (Picture: Darren Nelson)

There was drama in Bispham Road, Cleveleys, at around 8.55pm while firefighters removed 15 metres of loose signage from a ‘dangerous’ building.

Around 20 minutes later, fire crews were called to Westgate Road, near Blackpool Airport in South Shore, and taped off a footpath while they removed loose tiles from a rooftop.

Elsewhere in the county, two people were hurt after a tree fell on their car in Higham at 10.40pm. They had to be cut out the stricken motor. The extent of their injuries was unknown this morning.

A Lancaster man was killed when a tree fell on him in Ambleside at 11pm, Cumbria Police said.
Bricks fell from a building on Blackpool's Promenade during Storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, 2021 (Picture: Darren Nelson)

Bricks fell from a building on Blackpool’s Promenade during Storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, 2021 (Picture: Darren Nelson)

Police and other agencies were still at the scene, in Vicarage Road, this morning as the tree remains in a dangerous position, and people were asked to avoid the area until it is made safe.

Tens of thousands of people across the north west lost power overnight, Electricity North West, which put 70 extra workers on stand-by, said.

Around 140 in Lancashire were still affected by 8.30am, with engineers unable to climb poles to repair damage due to the strong winds.

“Last night’s conditions were treacherous and extremely severe with debris and falling trees damaging a large number of overhead power lines, mainly in Cumbria and Lancashire,” Clive Wilkinson from the power firm said.

Homes in New Longton, a village four miles outside Preston, were among those without power as residents woke up this morning.

The Met Office said wind speeds hit 98mph, albeit in Northumberland, which was one of the eastern areas covered by the forecaster’s rare ‘red’ weather warning, which expired in the early hours of today.

In Northern Ireland, a man was killed when his car was hit by a falling tree, while roads were also closed by fallen debris in the worst-hit parts of Scotland.

Train services north of Newcastle also ground to a halt, while trams in Blackpool were axed along the town centre stretch of track.

ITV bosses were forced to pre-record last night’s live episode of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! in North Wales amid concerns, including that poor weather would interfere with the broadcast around Gwrych Castle.

Last night’s rugby union Premiership game between Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors was also postponed due to safety concerns.

Meanwhile ScotRail services were disrupted between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street, Dunblane and Stirling after a barn was blown onto the line close to Polmont, near Falkirk.

The Met Office described the conditions as “horrendous” and people also reported power cuts.

Northern Powergrid said severe gales had caused power cuts for more than 55,000 customers, mainly in the Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear areas.

Footage showed howling winds whipping up the North Sea in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, and snowfall elsewhere, including in Redcar, Yorkshire, and Whitley Bay, Northumberland.

North West Motorway Police said around 120 lorries were “stuck in the snow” on the M62 at junctions 21 and 22 and urged motorists to avoid the area.

Tweeting pictures of the motorway blanketed in white, they said snow ploughs had been deployed.

A Met Office statement said: “People should stay away from the coast as waves and debris are a danger to life.”

A less severe ‘yellow’ weather warning was due to remain in place across much of the UK until 6pm, while cold weather was expected until Monday.

 

 

Storm Arwen: Blackpool’s Christmas festivities – including Star Flyer ride – called to a halt as strong winds blow over ‘snow-topped’ trees on Promenade

Home | Blackpool Gazette

 

Strong winds saw the temporary halt of Blackpool’s festivities on the Prom – with the new Star Flyer ride and ice rink shut as organisers battened down the hatches.

 

Gusts of around 60mph were expected on the Fylde coast as Storm Arwen swept into the country on Friday.

The resort escaped major damage, though, as Scots were warned not to travel under any circumstances as the Met Office issued a rare red warning – putting parts of Scotland and the north of England on maximum alert.

Temperatures were set to fall with the storm too, with the forecaster warning that the north west – including the Fylde coast – will experience cold weather until Monday.

Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette

Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette

Will Land, head of civil contingencies, said: “The UK will see temperatures drop to below average in the coming days, as cold air is drawn in from the north. This is coupled with the strong winds associated with Storm Arwen, which means it will feel especially cold in the wind.

“Areas in the north will see temperatures below freezing overnight, with daytime maximum temperatures only getting into the low single figures.

“It’s important to note that strong wind speeds, in excess of 65mph in exposed locations, will exacerbate the cold temperatures we’ll be seeing over the weekend.

The UK Health Security Agency issued a cold weather alert, and Agostinho Sousa from the service urged people to keep an eye on older neighbours and relatives, saying: “Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, particularly for older people and those with heart and lung problems, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.
Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette

Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette

“It’s really important to keep checking on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or those who have serious illness.”

 

 

Phil Walker’s delight that his appearance at Bobby Ball tribute gig to be followed by tour with Jason Manford

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Lytham funnyman Phil Walker had the perfect follow-up to a dream appearance on the Blackpool bill paying tribute to legend Bobby Ball – the opportunity to tour with another of his favourite comedians, Jason Manford.

 

Phil said he was “very emotional” at taking to the stage of the Blackpool Opera House earlier this month for the Bobby Ball Foundation’s Rock On Variety Show, which was hosted by Jason and saw a host of stars, including Tommy Cannon, performing in tribute to Bobby, who died last year, aged 76, after contracting coronavirus.

That night, and the ball which followed in the Empress Ballroom 24 hours later, raised around £150,000, which will be split between the Blue Skies Hospital Appeal at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and the Love Lowther appeal to refurbish Lytham’s theatre, as well as ensuring a statue of Bobby will be placed in Lowther Gardens.

Phil hosts regular Woofers comedy club sessions at Lowther Pavilion, with the latest coming up tonight, and Bobby provided great encouragement, regularly dropping in to check out the gigs and have a chat.

“It was an honour and a privilege to share the Opera House stage with many other talented entertainers to celebrate the life and legacy of dear friend Bobby,” said Phil.

“One of my favourite memories of Bobby was when he invited me to his house and gave me a comedy panto masterclass for the whole afternoon – a priceless memory that I will cherish forever.

“It was amazing that £150,000 has been raised and I was Incredibly lucky to be able to perform in such a beautiful theatre in front of 3,000 people,

“I came off stage on such a high but of course great sadness that Bobby is no longer with us.

“The very next day, I was thrilled to see a social media post from Jason Manford saying ‘If you look in your local comedy club listings and ever see @Philwalkercomic listed – get a ticket. One of the funniest acts out there. Great to work with him again’.

“That made my day, but then to get a call asking would I like to join him on some of his tour dates in 2022 just blew my mind.

“To top my weekend off, me and my good friend Steve Royle headed off to London to perform in David Slattery-Christy’s Naturally Insane, a play about the late, great panto star Dan Leno, which was staged in Lytham in the summer.

“Performing two shows at the Criterion Theatre, Leicester Square alongside Steve, John Thomson, Neil Rowland, Janet Maher and Nicole Violet will be something I will remember for ever.”

Phil can be seen in pantomime this festive season playing Silly Simon in Robin Hood Phil can be seen in pantomime playing Silly Simon in Robin Hood alongside Tristan Gemmill, Matthew Kelly, Matt Terry, Jodie Prenger and Flawless from December 11 to January 9.

But first, it’s the final Woofers comedy session of the year at Lowther on Thursday, November 25, with Phil he compere and featuring Marcus Birdman, Nina Gilligan and Eddie Brimson. Ticket details at www.lowtherpavillion.co.uk

 

 

Storm Arwen: Christmas tree in Blackpool town centre hauled away by workers after being wrecked by 60mph winds

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The large Christmas tree in Blackpool town centre was this morning removed after being wrecked by Storm Arwen.

 

Workers were spotted hauling branches away from St John’s Square, loading them onto a flatbed truck after 60mph winds toppled the festive attraction.

It comes after 60mph winds yesterday, which saw the Prom in Blackpool shut after a building crumbled as tourists inside scrambled to safety at around 5.40pm.

Another Christmas tree in Bickerstaffe Square, outside Sainsbury’s, was also blown over, as were ‘snow-topped’ trees placed in front of the Tower for the Winter Wonderland festivities, which were called off.

Picture: Dan Martino

Picture: Dan Martino

There was drama in Bispham Road, Cleveleys, at around 8.55pm while firefighters removed 15 metres of loose signage from a ‘dangerous’ building.

Around 20 minutes later, fire crews were called to Westgate Road, near Blackpool Airport in South Shore, and taped off a footpath while they removed loose tiles from a rooftop.

Elsewhere in the county, two people were hurt after a tree fell on their car in Higham at 10.40pm. They had to be cut out the stricken motor. The extent of their injuries was unknown this morning.

A Lancaster man was killed when a tree fell on him in Ambleside at 11pm, Cumbria Police said.

Picture: Dan Martino

Picture: Dan Martino

Police and other agencies were still at the scene, in Vicarage Road, this morning as the tree remains in a dangerous position, and people were asked to avoid the area until it is made safe.

Tens of thousands of people across the north west lost power overnight, Electricity North West, which put 70 extra workers on stand-by, said.

Around 140 in Lancashire were still affected by 8.30am, with engineers unable to climb poles to repair damage due to the strong winds.

“Last night’s conditions were treacherous and extremely severe with debris and falling trees damaging a large number of overhead power lines, mainly in Cumbria and Lancashire,” Clive Wilkinson from the power firm said.

Picture: Dan Martino

Picture: Dan Martino

Homes in New Longton, a village four miles outside Preston, were among those without power as residents woke up this morning.

The Met Office said wind speeds hit 98mph, albeit in Northumberland, which was one of the eastern areas covered by the forecaster’s rare ‘red’ weather warning, which expired in the early hours of today.

In Northern Ireland, a man was killed when his car was hit by a falling tree, while roads were also closed by fallen debris in the worst-hit parts of Scotland.

Train services north of Newcastle also ground to a halt, while trams in Blackpool were axed along the town centre stretch of track.

Picture: Dan Martino

Picture: Dan Martino

ITV bosses were forced to pre-record last night’s live episode of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! in North Wales amid concerns, including that poor weather would interfere with the broadcast around Gwrych Castle.

Last night’s rugby union Premiership game between Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors was also postponed due to safety concerns.

Meanwhile ScotRail services were disrupted between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street, Dunblane and Stirling after a barn was blown onto the line close to Polmont, near Falkirk.

The Met Office described the conditions as “horrendous” and people also reported power cuts.

Northern Powergrid said severe gales had caused power cuts for more than 55,000 customers, mainly in the Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear areas.

Footage showed howling winds whipping up the North Sea in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, and snowfall elsewhere, including in Redcar, Yorkshire, and Whitley Bay, Northumberland.

Picture: Dan Martino

Picture: Dan Martino

North West Motorway Police said around 120 lorries were “stuck in the snow” on the M62 at junctions 21 and 22 and urged motorists to avoid the area.

Tweeting pictures of the motorway blanketed in white, they said snow ploughs had been deployed.

A Met Office statement said: “People should stay away from the coast as waves and debris are a danger to life.”

A less severe ‘yellow’ weather warning was due to remain in place across much of the UK until 6pm, while cold weather was expected until Monday.

Picture: Dan Martino

Picture: Dan Martino

Lottery grant kept vital coastwatch service in Fleetwood afloat during pandemic

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The pandemic hit Fleetwood’s National Coastguard Institution hard but they found a way around financing the vital service.

 

Thanks to recognition by Wyre Council as being a good cause, the service, which operates from the Coastguard Tower at Rossall Point has benefited from Wyre Community Lottery.

David Croall, secretary at NCI Fleetwood said, “We signed up with Wyre Community Lottery when it was first launched and quite frankly it has been a life saver. During the pandemic most of our normal fundraising activities, which make up the majority of our income, have had to stop. The income generated from the lottery has made all the difference.

“We rely entirely on the generosity of local people. We’ve got a lot of expensive equipment which needs to be maintained, and from time to time needs to be replaced so there is considerable expense involved in running the station.

Fleetwood National Coastwatch at Rossall Point

Fleetwood National Coastwatch at Rossall Point

“We’re very grateful to everyone who has signed up to the lottery and nominated NCI Fleetwood as their chosen cause.”

The NCI Fleetwood is open 365 days a year and their volunteers watch over vessels out at sea and people using the foreshore and the beach, reporting any incidents to the coastguard. The money received from supporters buying tickets has kept the charity afloat during the pandemic. Forty one other good local good causes have signed up and last year alone benefited from over £30,000 of funding.

Councillor Lynne Bowen, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Health and Community Engagement comments, “The local lottery was set up by Wyre Council in a bid to raise money for charities and good causes in Wyre. It is an innovative way to support these organisations, and gives local people the chance to win some great prizes.”

To buy your tickets for Wyre Community Lottery visit www.wyrelottery.co.ukCommunity groups and good causes in Wyre can still sign up to benefit from the lottery. To register call 01253 578579 or email support@wyrelottery.co.uk

 

 

Mini wrapped in 2,000 Christmas lights touring UK – including Blackpool – to raise money for charity

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Mini Electric wrapped in 2,000 Christmas lights is to begin a five-week tour of the UK later this month to raise money for three charities – and it’s heading to the Fylde coast.

 

Nicholas “Nico” Martin, 32, a software engineer from Bracknell, Berkshire, has been wrapping his car in festive lights since 2017, and has been loaned a Mini Electric by the car manufacturer for this year’s tour.

He is hoping to raise £50,000 for the MS Trust, Duchenne UK and Alzheimer’s Society with the dazzling trip, which begins on Thursday in his home town.

Mr Martin first wrapped his Mini in fairy lights for Christmas 2017, displaying it around Bracknell.

Nico Martin with the Mini Electric wrapped in thousands of Christmas fairy lights (Picture: Jacob King/PA Images)

Nico Martin with the Mini Electric wrapped in thousands of Christmas fairy lights (Picture: Jacob King/PA Images)

In December 2020, amid Covid restrictions, he took his festive Mini to people’s doorsteps to replace the usual Christmas lights displays, raising more than £5,000 for MS Trust and Duchenne UK.

“I just knew last year I had an opportunity to cheer people up and also to raise funds for the MS Trust and Duchenne UK”, he said.

“Both charities mean a lot to me – unfortunately my mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis six years ago, and in 2019 I was asked to take the Festive Mini to surprise an incredible young boy, Marcus Rooks, who was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“When I saw his face light up with so much joy and excitement, I realised that I had created something truly special. Ever since meeting him and learning about his condition, I’ve wanted to support him in any way I can.”

Mini are supporting Nico, providing him with a Mini Electric wrapped in thousands of lights ready for him to take out on the road (Picture: Jacob King/Press Association Images)

Mini are supporting Nico, providing him with a Mini Electric wrapped in thousands of lights ready for him to take out on the road (Picture: Jacob King/Press Association Images)

The lights on Mr Martin’s Mini Electric this year are able to change colour.

Over the coming weeks the car’s tour will include Blackpool, Warwickshire and the Silverstone circuit.

Although a time has yet to be confirmed, it will arrive in the resort on Sunday, December 19, at Lloyd Blackpool Mini in South Shore.

“I can’t wait to get out on the road to spread some festive Mini spirit and raise lots of money for the three charities,” Mr Martin said.

Picture: Jacon King/Press Association Images

Picture: Jacon King/Press Association Images

Mini UK’s director David George said: “We’re extremely humbled to be a part of Nico’s fundraising project with the Festive Mini Electric.

“It’s a wonderful idea that will bring people together, make them smile, and also raise funds for some amazing charities.”

To donate to Mr Martin’s fundraiser, go to: www.festivegiving.org.uk/fundraising/festive-mini

 

 

Storm Arwen: Front of building collapses onto Blackpool Promenade as tourists scramble to safety

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The front of a seafront building crumbled as holidaymakers scrambled to safety as gusts from Storm Arwen blasted Blackpool on Friday evening.

 

Bricks plummeted to the ground after falling from the building, on the corner of Springfield Road and the Promenade, opposite the Metropole hotel, at around 5.40pm.

Motorists saw their Illuminations journeys disrupted as police officers braved the howling winds and swirling sand to shut the Prom and cordon off the building, which has a banner advertising fireworks on the ground floor.

The first floor hosts holiday flats and were occupied at the time, a council spokeswoman said.

Bricks littered the ground after falling off the front of the building earlier this evening (Picture: The Gazette)

Bricks littered the ground after falling off the front of the building earlier this evening (Picture: The Gazette)

They managed to get to safety, with no injuries reported, and have either returned home or been given alternate accommodation, she said.

Firefighters from the resort’s Forest Gate station helped with a ‘small number of evacuations from adjoining properties’, the service said.

Drivers were told to avoid the area until experts can determine whether the building is safe, the council spokeswoman added.

The electronic signs dotted around the resort this evening warned of the emergency, which came after hours of strong winds of up to 60mph.

Trams were also axed along the town centre stretch of track, with services running from the Cabin to Fleetwood stops in one direction and Starr Gate to the Tower in the other.

Although the storm saw the temporary halt of festivities on the Prom – with the new Star Flyer ride and ice rink shut as organisers battened down the hatches – other parts of the country have fared much worse.

A man in Northern Ireland was killed when a falling tree landed on his car, while people in parts of eastern Scotland were warned to bunker down and avoid travel for any reason.

The Met Office issued a rare ‘red’ warning for wind from 3pm today until 2am tomorrow as winds arrived to batter the country, with gusts forecast to be as high as 90mph and waves as high as 10 metres.

The red warning stretches along the east coast from Middlesbrough to beyond Aberdeen and is the first maximum alert to be issued since Storm Dennis in February 2020.

Grahame Madge, a Met Office spokesman, said the forecaster didn’t “issue red warnings lightly” and warned people to stay away from the affected area.

“People need to recognise, really, that we don’t issue red warnings lightly so, therefore, when we do, we feel that there is a much higher threat of risk,” he said.

“We urge people, obviously, to take action as a result of that and that action in this case is probably don’t go to the coast.

The warning, which is the highest the Met Office issues, means the impact is likely to be severe with the potential for damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down.

The Fylde coast was, along with much of the UK, issued with a ‘yellow’ warning, which means the chance of severe disruption is lower but still exists.

 

 

Star Flyer ride: Europe’s tallest white knuckle ride goes back up in Blackpool after a change of location

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Europe’s tallest fairground ride was going back up in Blackpool today, not far from the site where it was taken down yesterday.

 

The 260-foot white knuckle Star Flyer is being relocated to the Tower Festival Headland after talks between council officers and the ride’s operators.

The move followed a crisis meeting when Town Hall chiefs ordered the huge structure to be dismantled because of concerns it was too big for its original site in St John’s Square.

It is now being shifted to the Headland in front of the Tower, next to the 40-metre long Promenade Ice Rink which is the centrepiece of the resort’s Christmas By The Sea Village and is free to use.

The Star Flyer is almost half as tall as Blackpool Tower.

The Star Flyer is almost half as tall as Blackpool Tower.

A council statement released today said: “We have been working with the ride’s operators to find a suitable alternative site.

“We are pleased to be able to announce that this ride will now go ahead at its new location – the Tower Festival Headland.

“The ride will be positioned next to the ice rink and will give the rider spectacular views across the town.

“It’s new position will compliment the Winter Garden’s Wonderland and Christmas By The Sea village and all the wonderful Christmassy things they have to offer to all our residents and visitors.”

The view from a Star Flyer ride in Sheffield.

The view from a Star Flyer ride in Sheffield.

Work began today to erect the ride in its new location. It has not yet been announced when it will open to the public.

The Star Flyer is almost half the height of the Tower. But when it was built in St John’s Square this week council officers admitted they hadn’t realised how big it would be.

“We had received no technical specification for the ride prior to its arrival,” said a spokesperson.

“When it arrived in the square, it was clear the overall footprint would have increased significantly when vehicle mitigation measures (safety bollards), which are always required for these sort of attractions, were put in place.

“Hence the view was taken that it would not be safe to operate so close to what is a public highway.”

Blackpool Promotions, the firm responsible for bringing the white-knuckle ride to the resort as part of the Winter Gardens Wonderland festivities, said the setback would delay the opening of the markets.

“We hope to open very soon and will keep you all up to speed on the latest opening dates/times, ” it said.

“We remain committed to creating the best possible experience for everyone in Blackpool and the many thousands of visitors to the resort this Christmas.

 

 

Woman, 84, fought off thug who tried to steal handbag in Blackpool

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

Police want to speak with the man pictured in connection with the investigation

 

Police want to speak to this man after an attempted robbery in Blackpool
Police want to speak to this man after an attempted robbery in Blackpool

An 84-year-old woman fought off a would-be burglar who tried to steal her handbag.

The woman refused to let go of her bag when the man attempted to rob her in Blackpool yesterday.

Police were called around 3.20pm yesterday when the attempted robbery was reported to have happened on Abbey Road.

A witness appeal has now been launched and police have released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak with.

A spokesman for Lancashire Constabulary said: “The attacker had approached the woman and tried to grab her handbag. The victim fought the man off, with the offender running away from the scene. The woman was not hurt.

“Following enquiries we are keen to speak to this man, pictured, in connection with the offence.”

“Anyone with information can conta

 

 

Festive delight in Lytham and St Annes

Home | Blackpool Gazette

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – certainly in Lytham and St Annes, which both hosted their festive lights switch-ons in front of bumper crowds.

 

Both events featured an afternoon of entertainment and attracted bumper crowds, despite rain and civic officials and traders in both town are looking forward to a memorable season, especially after the pandemic restrictions hit celebrations last year.

Comedian Steve Royle pulled the switch at Lytham, where Brenda Blackshaw of the organising Lytham Christmas team said: “It was a brilliant afternoon and we are all looking forward to a wonderful festive season.”

At St Annes, Town Council chairman Coun Gavin Harrison pulled the switch alongside Fylde deputy mayor Coun Cheryl Little and Gavin said: “What an event the great performers gave us – the youngsters in particular will remember the afternoon for a long time and it’s great to see the lights on as we all look forward to a super Christmas.”

Father Christmas makes his way through Lytham town centre. Picture: Mark Liebenberg.

Father Christmas makes his way through Lytham town centre. Picture: Mark Liebenberg.

Lytham and St Annes Christmas Lights Switch-On events

Father Christmas was on stage for both switch-ons. Ahead of the Lytham event, he travelled in his Polar Express in a procession through town to the stage, while before arriving in St Annes centre for the ceremony, he toured the town’s neighbourhood shopping areas, including Alexandria Drive, Whalley Place and St Albans Road, to meet residents.

Steve Royle performs the Lytham switch-on

Steve Royle performs the Lytham switch-on
Father Christmas on his tour of St Annes shopping areas at Alexandria Drive.

Father Christmas on his tour of St Annes shopping areas at Alexandria Drive.

Elsa, Olaf and Anna from the film Frozen on stage at the St Annes switch-on

Elsa, Olaf and Anna from the film Frozen on stage at the St Annes switch-on