Road cordoned off after ‘sign becomes loose’ outside Ma Kelly’s in North Shore during Storm Barra

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Talbot Road was closed after light fixtures outside the Ma Kelly’s in North Shore became loose as Storm Barra brought 70mph winds to Blackpool.


Firefighters were called to secure the loose light fittings in Talbot Road at approximately midday today (December 7).

Pictures from the scene show crews used a cherry picker to access the signs outside the Ma Kelly’s in order to make the scene safe.

A spokeswoman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “This incident is still in progress so I don’t have all the details at this stage, but LFRS were called to the scene of a loose sign to make the area safe.

Talbot Road was closed after light fixtures outside the Ma Kelly's in North Shore became loose

Talbot Road was closed after light fixtures outside the Ma Kelly’s in North Shore became loose

“Firefighters are using a cherry picker to access the sign and secure the scene.

“The road is currently closed.”

Ma Kelly’s has been approached for comment.

Crews used a cherry picker to access the signs and make the scene safe

Crews used a cherry picker to access the signs and make the scene safe

The incident came after 70mph winds battered the resort as Storm Barra wreaked havoc across the country.

A yellow warning for wind – which was issued by the Met Office earlier this week – came into force at 9am this morning (Tuesday, December 7) and will be in place until midnight.

Residents were warned to expect travel disruption and short-term loss of power, as well as spray and large waves in coastal communities.

Click HERE for a full hour-by-hour weather forecast.

It comes after gusts of up to 70mph were predicted to hit the resort

It comes after gusts of up to 70mph were predicted to hit the resort

Residents were warned to expect travel disruption and short-term loss of power

Residents were warned to expect travel disruption and short-term loss of power

Wanted sex offender from Blackpool arrested after police appeal

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A wanted sex offender from Blackpool was arrested by police following an urgent appeal.


Stephen Pennington – who was jailed for rape in 2009 – was wanted for breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and notification requirements.

Police launched an urgent appeal to find Pennington and urged members of the public to come forward if they had any information about his whereabouts.

Today (December 7), officers confirmed the 33-year-old was arrested overnight.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We posted yesterday evening about a man called Stephen Pennington from Blackpool who we wanted to trace and we are pleased to say he has been arrested overnight.

“Many thanks to everyone who helped to share our appeal – your help and support is invaluable to us in our efforts to keep you and your communities safe.”



Blackpool care home owner blames inspectors for ‘inaccuracies’ after flaws found

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The owner of Feng Shui House Care Home in Blackpool says she is contesting the Care Quality Commission’s report which found flaws in the latest inspection in October.


Feng Shui House Care Home, Blackpool
Feng Shui House Care Home, Blackpool (Image: Google)

A Blackpool care home has hit back at an inspection report which found flaws in its safety and leadership.

Feng Shui House Care Home in Blackpool was visited by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission in October, who gave it an overall rating of ‘Requires Improvement’, and said it was not always safe or well led.

The unannounced visit took place at the residential care home which provides personal care to people of 65 and over, and is registered to support up to 20 people, with one person living at the home at the time of the inspection, according to the report.

The latest inspection, which comes after a previous one in May this year when the home was rated as inadequate, has found some improvements which means it is no longer in special measures.

However, the owner of Feng Shui House Care Home has hit back at the report for ‘inaccuracies’ and says she is planning to contest it.

Yet inspectors found flaws in safety procedures, which homed in on weaknesses in infection prevention and control, including the use of PPE, as there had not been enough improvements.

They said: “The service was not always safe. We observed staff not following good practice guidance around infection prevention and control including the use of Personal Protective Equipment.”

They added: “At our last inspection, we found people who used the service were placed at risk because the provider did not always follow best practice when preventing the spread of infection.”

The inspection report added: “Although improvements in the environment were evident, not enough improvement had been made at this inspection.”

Fire safety was also highlighted by the report, which said Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service had been alerted.

They said: “Fire safety was not adequately risk assessed and planned for. On the day of the inspection, we found several fire doors did not close adequately to delay the spread of a fire.”

Similarly, records were not always up to standard, according to the inspectors, who said: “The service was not always well led. Records relating to care and the management of the service were either incomplete, inaccurate, and/or not kept up to date.”

There had been no impact on people, said the report, but this could have compromised quality and safety of service.

Also highlighted were shortfalls in systems for assessing, monitoring and improving service.

The report said: “We found shortfalls in the oversight by the provider. Systems to assess, monitor and improve the service had not always been implemented and operated effectively.”

However, levels of care, effectiveness and responsiveness at the care home were found to be good in this inspection.

Inspectors found many positive points, including an adequate supply of PPE, clean and tidy premises, people being supported in the least restrictive way possible and policies and systems supporting this.

Also praised were the fact that initial assessments and care plans were being used to support people, policies and procedures in line with regulations and laws were being followed and staff were working with other agencies to provide a good standard of care.

Similarly, staff training and recruitment were good, and people’s nutritional needs were being considered. Communal areas were comfortable, the home was well equipped, and levels of care were good while service levels were flexible, responsive and positive. People received ‘personalized care’ and care records were written in a person-centered way, with people being encouraged to maintain contact with friends and family.

The report said: “We observed people were relaxed and comfortable in the service.”

It added: “People were treated with respect, compassion and kindness; they were given emotional support when needed.”

A ‘positive culture’ was observed, with inspectors finding that staff knew people well and that staff and management meetings which took place regularly were ‘open forums for information to be shared’, with staff feeling ‘supported and valued by the management team.’

Inspectors said: “Good relationships had been developed between staff and people who used the service and their family members.”

Following on from the report, the CQC has requested that the care home send a report outlining what action it is going to take over flaws in risk assessing, preventing and controlling the spread of infection.

The regulator has said that although the home is no longer in special measures, it will work alongside the provider and local authority to monitor progress.

They plan a return visit according to their reinspection programme, although they warn that they could return sooner if any concerning information is received.

Kate Blyth, owner of the care home, said that the Care Quality Commission should not have published the report as it was in the draft stage and contained factual inaccuracies.

She said: “The Care Quality Commission should not have published that report. The fire brigade has been in here and they have no issue with this care home – everything is in place.

“The factual accuracy of that report is inaccurate. It is a draft report and should not have got published. I have been a care provider for 25 years and the CQC come in and do the report as what they see on the day.

“I am contesting it. The fire brigade has said that they do not have any issues.”

However, a spokesperson for the Care Quality Commission said that while there was an opportunity for providers to challenge draft reports, that period had expired and the report that had been published was the final report.

The CQC spokesperson added: “Following a CQC inspection we send a draft copy of the report to the provider and give them the opportunity to come back to us within a set time period with any factual accuracy comments which we review and consider. Following this process there were no changes made to the draft report for Feng Shui House Care home in Blackpool and the final report has been published on our website.”

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service was contacted for comment.



Buckets of love for Blackpool nurse who died of skin cancer aged 30

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A Christmas market in Bispham will raise buckets of cash in memory of a Blackpool-born nurse who died just a few weeks after getting married.


Rachel Turner, who died in August

Rachel Turner, who died in August

Rachel Turner, née Walmsley, a neo-natal nurse who worked at Royal Preston Hospital, died in August following a two-year battle with advanced skin cancer.

A Christmas fair at the First Bispham Scout and Guides Group, on Devonshire Road, tomorrow has been organised by her family in her memory, in the hopes of raising £5,000 for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.

Rachel Clarke, 24, who is the older sister of Mrs Turner’s stepchildren Oliver and William, said: “We have gone around as many businesses as we can to try and find people who want stalls. We have been working away for the past few months to come up with our own stalls, and we’ve set up seven between us.

“It was Oliver who actually wanted to do something. Oliver and Rachel were really close, and they had a tight knit relationship. They would do everything together. Oliver has really struggled with grieving Rachel and he has still not processed it, but he wanted to do something to help people, so other people don’t have to struggle the way he and his dad have struggled.

“Rachel was only 30 when she died, and that’s no age at all. The Rosemere Cancer Foundation was amazing, not just with Rachel but with her mum and dad, her husband and Oliver and William throughout everything, from the moment she was diagnosed to the moment she actually passed, and after that. This is a way for us to give something back to them, letting them know their hard work has not gone unrecognised at all.”

The Christmas fair, with a raffle, tombola stands, and at least 15 stalls selling food, drink, Christmas gifts and arts and crafts, will take place tomorrow, December 4, between 10am and 3pm.

Rachel said: “We’re hoping to raise around £500. If we can make £500, then we’re going to be really happy, but even if the most we make is a penny, it will help. We want to show as much support as possible.”



Tide Organ on Blackpool seafront to be pulled down due to safety concerns

One of Blackpool’s most unusual sculptures is to be pulled down after 21 years – just a few months after its artist called for it to be demolished.


The Tide Organ, situated near Sandcastle Waterpark, will be taken down starting Monday, December 13.

It was created by Liam Curtin and John Gooding on commission by Blackpool Council at the start of the millennium – however, Mr Curtin later called for it to be demolished as he said it had been ‘badly neglected’ by the local authority.

Recent surveys of the Tide Organ revealed damage to the steel caused by the harsh seaside weather.

The Tide Organ will be pulled down this month

The Tide Organ will be pulled down this month

Specialist contractors will be called in to tear down the sculpture, with works expecting to last no more than a week depending on the weather.

It is also planned to de-commission ‘The Frankenstein Project’ by artist Tony Stallard early in 2022.

Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We know the art works on South Promenade have entertained thousands of visitors and local people over the years but we are following professional advice that the Tide Organ now needs to come down to ensure it does not become unsafe. We value the unique contribution artists can make to our own community and the council will continue to be ambitious in commissioning a range of artists when opportunities arise.

“We are proud of the art works people can enjoy on the seafront from the international award winning ‘Comedy Carpet’ by Gordon Young to our latest sculptures ‘Call of the Sea’ by Laurence Payot and the tram benches by Andy Hazell on Talbot Square.”



‘Surge in bookings’ for resort restaurateur after Omicron variant emerged

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Matt Naylor, owner of The Function Room in St Annes, said his customers aren’t worried about the new Covid variant


A restauranteur said he noticed a surge in bookings after the new Covid variant emerged – along with the threat of another lockdown.

Matt Naylor, who runs The Function Room in St Annes, said he thinks punters are unafraid of Omicron, said to be the most contagious strain of the virus which causes Covid-19, and want to lead a normal life.

He said: “We’d had no cancellations and, in fact, we’ve had at least 10 enquiries over the weekend. We had two this morning.”

Matt Naylor said he's seen a boost in bookings since the Omicron variant was confirmed

Matt Naylor said he’s seen a boost in bookings since the Omicron variant was confirmed

The variant, first spotted during enhanced testing in South Africa, is already spreading in the UK and is widely expected to become the main strain globally.

Mr Naylor, of Lytham, who said his eatery struggled last year when Government restrictions saw weddings and birthday parties banned, also owns Amore in St Annes and the Italian Kitchen in Thornton.

“It’s obvious people are aware of the new variant but they just don’t seem to be feeling it,” he said.

“People just aren’t worried at all – they prefer not to talk about Covid.

“We’ve all been jabbed and just want to get on with life.

“When you go in the shops, there’s nobody wearing masks so I just think people are desensitised.”

Victoria Baxendale, manager at The Tractor Shed Bistro at Farmer Parr’s Animal World in Fleetwood, added: “We’ve had a few cancellations but mostly it’s just kids feeling a bit poorly.

“We don’t ask them if it’s Covid-related so it’s hard to know.

“It hasn’t affected us yet.

“Maybe that will change but right now it’s steady.”

The head of the UK’s Health Security Agency has urged people not to socialise if they do not need to as a health minister insisted that “of course, Christmas is on track.”

Dr Jenny Harries said people could do their bit to slow the spread of the new Omicron variant by reducing the number of social contacts they have as she urged people to have their booster jabs.

Some 14 cases of the variant have so far being identified across the UK, though experts expect this number to rise in the coming days.

It is thought the variant could be more transmissible and may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, though England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, has said jabs may still prevent severe disease.

Dr Harries said that even if our “vaccines appear to be effective, but we find that the variant is more highly transmissible, having lowish grade infection, but in very large numbers of the population, (it) could still be a significant impact on our hospitals.

“And, of course, our behaviours in winter and particularly around Christmas, we tend to socialise more, so I think all of those will need to be taken into account.”

Asked whether people should be told to work from home in England, as is happening in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, she said: “We’ve seen that not everybody has gone back to work and I’d like to think of it more in a general way, which is if we all decrease our social contacts a little bit, actually that helps to keep the variant at bay.

“So I think being careful, not socialising when we don’t particularly need to and particularly going and getting those booster jabs which, of course, people will now be able to have at a three-month interval from their primary course.”

In October, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said that Plan B measures should be implemented in unison to have the biggest effect in tackling any surge in Coronavirus cases.

Out of the individual measures, Sage said working from home would have the biggest impact.

New measures to combat the new Omicron variant of Coronavirus came into force yesterday, with face coverings again compulsory in England in shops and settings such as banks, post offices, hairdressers, and public transport.

All travellers returning to the UK must also take a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a Downing Street press conference to urge people to have their booster jabs when called forward by the NHS.

Dr Harries said the Sage advice was to bring in working from home if there was a surge in cases but she stressed there were still only a low number of confirmed cases of Omicron.

“So it’s a very early stage for this, I think, but certainly, if we see surges, then working from home will be a good thing to do,” she added.

Asked whether the UK would see a return to work from home guidance, she said: “The whole point about the booster programme and the introduction of mandatory face mask wearing in enclosed public spaces is exactly to try and avoid that because we’ve made huge progress, we have great defences and, in the background, the dominant strain in the UK at the moment is very definitely Delta.”

Elsewhere, the health minister, Gillian Keegan, said the Government is “very much hoping that we can keep Christmas on track”.

She said the position this year was much different due to the vaccine rollout.

“Of course, Christmas is on track, and actually what everybody wants for Christmas is if you haven’t had your first jab, come and get it, if you haven’t had your second jab, come and get it, and if you haven’t had your booster, come and get it when you’re asked,” she said.

Asked about the prospect of Christmas plans being called off, Professor Paul Moss, from the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy at the University of Birmingham and a member of Sage, said: “I don’t think we need to worry too much about that at this stage, the measures that we got in place have a good chance of gaining some control here.”

He said much more would be known about the variant before Christmas, adding: “You probably saw that the doctor in South Africa, who initially identified it, had seen relatively mild cases, which is very encouraging.

“However, you know, that’s a much younger population.

“It’s the elderly population, we need to worry about – in South Africa only six per cent are above 65 years whereas we’ve got a much higher proportion.”

Meanwhile, Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said that now is a “time for caution” as he urged people to do “anything that they can do to reduce the risk” of catching Covid-19.

He said: “It goes on making sense that people should recognise that this virus has not gone away, and anything that they can do to reduce the risk to themselves, their families, and the people they’re in contact with makes good sense.

“So I’m very pleased that people are now being encouraged to wear masks when indoors at the moment, lateral flow tests are a very good way of finding out whether or not you’ve got the infection, so people should carry on doing those.

“But, at this particular time, it is a time for caution.

“It’s a time for people to be careful, to stay at home when they can to avoid contact with others, just to help us get through this difficult period.”

Asked about Christmas, he added: “Well, certainly, we don’t want to cancel a Christmas yet again.

“But in the build-up to Christmas the more we can keep a watchful eye open for this virus, we reduce the risk of getting exposed to it.

“And I really am a big fan of these lateral flow tests. They’re a very good way of finding out whether you’ve got the infection because young people can have the infection without realising it and if you’ve got the infection, then you can avoid contact with those vulnerable people – the elderly members in the family, people who’ve got immune suppression or other conditions.

“So there’s a lot we can do to minimise the risk.”

In the US, Pfizer’s chief executive, Albert Bourla, said during an interview that the firm has already started making a vaccine against the Omicron variant.

He said: “Within 95 days, basically we will have a new vaccine.”



Record Santa Dash in Blackpool raises £35k for Brian House

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No less than 2,000 Santas took to Blackpool’s sea front for the biggest ever Santa Dash for Brian House children’s hospice.


A total of 2,000 santas took part in this year's Santa Dash

A total of 2,000 santas took part in this year’s Santa Dash

Blackpool Santa Dash returned on Sunday, where the runners turned the town’s promenade into a sea of red as they ran, jogged and

walked around two miles from The Sandcastle to Manchester Square and back, all in the name of charity.

The record event is expected to have raised at least £35,000 for Brian House – the Fylde coast’s only children’s hospice.

Santa Dash is organised by the hospice to raise money to provide specialist care for the most fragile children in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre and their families.

The hospice’s Events Manager, Kirsty Miller, said: “On a crisp winter’s morning, it was absolutely fantastic to see so many people dressed up in their Santa suits and dashing up

and down the prom to support their local children’s hospice.

“Santa Dash is a firm favourite with our supporters as it truly kicks off Christmas, and we really missed seeing them in 2020 as the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“We worked hard to ensure this event, like all of others this year, were Covid-secure, and it was just wonderful to see all of our Santas enjoying themselves in this very festive event and

raising such an incredible amount of money for our outstanding children’s hospice.”

Assistant Clinical Director, Lisa Barlow, said every penny raised would help to provide exceptional hospice care to local children, whether there were in the Bispham-based

hospice, or in their own home.

She added: “It is amazing that so many people took part in the very festive and fun event to help us support some of the most poorly children and their families in Blackpool, Fylde and


“With the support from people who take part in our events, our nurses and health care support workers can care for children with very challenging life-limiting and life-threatening

conditions and those who are at the end of their loves.

“The support they give helps to relieve the pressures on their families, while helping to create memories and supporting these truly

remarkable children to play and have fun, as all children should.

“A huge thank you to every single one of our Santas, and their little four-legged helpers, for taking part, and the incredible volunteers who helped to make this event the huge success it

was for our local children.”



Here’s how many patients are on the waiting list in Blackpool – and what’s being done about it

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Measures including the addition of a new 24-bed modular ward are being taken to try and help Blackpool Victoria Hospital cut long waiting lists.


Hospital bosses are also sending some patients for treatment at Blackpool’s Spire private hospital, and bringing in private companies to treat NHS patients at BVH when NHS staff are unavailable.

The number of patients on the waiting list at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals in August 2021 was 21,229, which is an increase of 1,710 patients from 19,519 in August 2020.

Treatments are being held up as doctors are unable to discharge some patients due to the staffing crisis in social care, a meeting of Blackpool Council’s adult social care and health scrutiny committee was told.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital is working to cut waiting lists

Blackpool Victoria Hospital is working to cut waiting lists

At one point recently there were 106 patients medically fit to go home, but they were kept in hospital as care packages were unavailable.

Meanwhile new patients are arriving at A&E with more serious illnesses and requiring a hospital bed because of delays in seeing a doctor when their symptoms first appeared.

Janet Barnsley, executive director of operations at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “There are some patients that are ready to leave us but due to shortfalls in care packages and domiciliary care, we are unable to discharge a cohort of patients which adds pressure to the front door.

“That is combined with patients presenting at A&E whose acuity has increased and they are presenting in a very poorly condition and need admission.

“We feel some of that is also associated with the pandemic as people didn’t present when they first became unwell and therefore their condition has deteriorated.”

The meeting heard recruitment difficulties in the social care sector was a further obstacle.

But Ms Barnsley said the hospital had been able to restore all its services, with up to 95 per cent of surgery restored, and diagnostics restored by 103 per cent.

She added it had been important for staff not to “burn out” after working hard through the pandemic so additional capacity had been found from external providers.

This includes a contract with the Spire Fylde Coast Hospital, and also external companies coming in with their staff to use BVH facilities such as operating theatres, which would otherwise be under utilised, to treat NHS patients.

The hospital has also received funding to install a new 24-bed modular ward at the BVH site which would will help reduce waiting lists for routine surgery.



Blackpool’s academy already making positive steps under Simon Sadler’s ownership – new data shows

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Blackpool’s academy has already taken some positive steps since Simon Sadler’s takeover, new data shows.


That’s according to rankings released by Training Ground Guru, a company that offers insight into coaching and football performance.

Entitled the ‘Academy Productivity Rankings’, the list is based on the number of clubs’ England-eligible players who made at least one league appearance in 2020/21.

The initiative was started in 2016/17 by Mark Crane, who became frustrated at the lack of information he could find about academy productivity when trying to find a club for his son.

All academies from Categories One to Three have been ranked and points are weighted according to the level an academy graduate played at last season, from Premier League down to the National League.

Blackpool, who operate a Category Three academy, sit 66th out of the 83 clubs listed, one place behind neighbours Fleetwood Town.

The first year these rankings were compiled in 2016/17, Blackpool finished 71st. The following year they dropped down to 75th. The rankings then took a three-season hiatus.

Blackpool owner Simon Sadler

Blackpool owner Simon Sadler

For the third season running, Manchester United top the list ahead of Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton.

The top 10 clubs are all Category One.

Swansea City and Newport County sit bottom of the table due to a flaw in the methodology as most of their graduates are Welsh, not English players.

Middlesbrough, in ninth, are the only side in the top 10 from outside of the Premier League, while League One Crewe Alexandra are the highest-ranked Category Two side, in 11th.

The top Category Three side in the rankings are AFC Wimbledon in 33th.

Last year, the club set out its long-term vision to become the country’s top Category Three side before eventually progressing to Category Two level.

Ciaran Donnelly, who returned to the club after a spell with Fleetwood, has been tasked with making that dream a reality alongside Sadler and the club’s hierarchy.

The club has also outlined its objective to see five academy products reach the first-team squad by 2025.

After suffering from a severe lack of investment during the Oyston years, owner Simon Sadler has made the academy one of his main priorities over the coming years.

However, the club are well aware this will be a long-term project and it won’t happen overnight.

Key to the academy’s development will be the building of a new training ground, with plans expected to be announced over the coming weeks.

The club’s youth team are in FA Youth Cup third round action on Thursday night against Huddersfield Town at Bloomfield Road. Entry is free and the game kicks off at 7pm.



Concern at Blackpool abortion rates – but fewer teen pregnancies

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The number of women in Blackpool having an abortion is increasing with the rate  “significantly higher” than national figures.


Now more is to be done to encourage access to contraception so fewer women are faced with unwanted pregnancies.

The total abortion rate per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in Blackpool in 2019 was 26.8, compared to the England rate of 18.7 per 1,000.

Among women aged under 25, the rate in Blackpool has increased from 30 per 1,000 women in 2014 to 35 per 1,000 women in 2020 (compared to 22 nationally).

More women are facing unwanted pregnancies

More women are facing unwanted pregnancies

Among women aged over 25, the rate has increased from 15 per 1,000 in 2014 to 26 per 1,000 in 2020 (compared to around 17 nationally).

Of those women aged under 25 years who had an abortion in 2019, the proportion who had had a previous abortion was 28.3 per cent, similar to 27.7 per cent in England.

Judith Mills, consultant in public health for Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the adult social care and health scrutiny committeee: “Abortion rates continue to increase, as in the rest of the country, but it is an area where we need to refocus our efforts.”

This includes to improve services encouraging the use of contraception.

Ms Mills said access to contraception needed to be “totally embedded” in the process when a women chose to have a termination.

But she warned this could be “difficult to achieve because of all the emotional turmoil at that time.”

She added: “The commitment from providers is there and we need to get access to contraception up as high as possible.

“Also in maternity services, we need to make access to contraception as easy as possible.”

Coun Peter Hunter questioned whether women considering a termination, were given all options including going through with their pregnancy as part of the counselling process.

Ms Mills said: “There is a very in-depth counselling and support mechanism to make sure women are making the best decision for them.”

Meanwhile the number of teenage pregnancies in Blackpool remains higher than the national average but the rate has dropped considerably in recent years.

Figures presented to the committee showed in 2019, the conception rate for under-18s in Blackpool was 31.1 per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 17 years, compared to the rate of 15.7 in England.

However this has reduced from a rate of 66.8 per 1,000 girls in 2009 (when the national figure was 37.1).

A council report says: “While Blackpool does have higher teenage pregnancy rate than the national average, overall the gap between Blackpool and England is continuing to narrow.”



Covid pandemic was a boost to sexual health in Blackpool

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Fewer people in Blackpool caught a sexually transmitted disease during the Covid pandemic as lockdown restrictions meant they could not meet new partners.


Figures just published show in 2020 there were 500 fewer cases of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) seen by medics in the resort.

A report by public health chiefs says Blackpool “has had consistently higher rates of STIs than the national average over a number of years” with more than 1,500 cases a year being the norm.

But in 2020 this fell to 944 “due to the impact of the pandemic” according to a council report into sexual health.

Lockdown stopped people meeting new partners

Lockdown stopped people meeting new partners

The report, which was presented to the council’s adult social care and health scrutiny committee, says national data “suggests that fewer people met new sexual partners in 2020, and the number of sexual partners met reportedly reduced”.

It adds: “However, a substantial proportion of people still had ongoing risk for STIs/HIV, and two thirds of those who reported having a new sexual partner

during this period, also reported not using a condom.”

National date from Public Health England shows diagnoses of STIs dropped by around a third (32 per cent) in 2020 compared to 2019, although some of this was also due to less testing as lockdown disrupted sexual health services.

But it was also down to “changes in behaviour during the coronavirus pandemic which may have reduced STI transmission. Despite the fall

in diagnoses, STI diagnoses overall remain high.”

While Blackpool has had significantly higher rates of diagnosed STIs than the national average, sexual health services in the town are testing more people.

In 2019 8.6 per cent of tests were positive, compared to 7.1 per cent nationally, but the report said this showed “services are successfully targeting those most at risk.”

Of those diagnosed with a new STI in 2019 in Blackpool, 51.7 per cent were men and 48.3 per cent were women. Young people aged between 15 and 24 years accounted for 47.6 per cent of new STI diagnoses.



How Neil Critchley views Blackpool’s goalkeeping situation following Chris Maxwell’s return

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Neil Critchley believes he’s now in the incredibly fortunate position of having two number ones vying for Blackpool’s goalkeeping jersey.


Chris Maxwell made his long-awaited return from injury on Saturday in Blackpool’s 3-0 home defeat to Luton Town.

His place in the side was taken by Dan Grimshaw, who performed superbly, conceding just eight goals in the nine games he played.

Maxwell though remains the club’s captain and has arguably been Pool’s standout performer over the last couple of seasons.

When asked if Maxwell’s significance to the team made it a simple decision to bring him back into the fold on Saturday, Critchley told The Gazette: “No, not at all. It was a tough decision because Grimmy has been excellent.

“He’s played very well in the games he’s had. He’s managed to get experience he didn’t have before.

“I spoke to him about it on Friday and I told him he made the decision very difficult, but Maxi is the captain, he’s been the number one, he was fantastic last season and he’s been fantastic until he got injured this season.

Maxwell returned to the starting line-up on Saturday following his return from injury

Maxwell returned to the starting line-up on Saturday following his return from injury

“What makes it apparent now is that we’ve got two genuine number ones.”

Maxwell will be the first to admit he was a little rusty on his return from a torn quadricep, a setback he suffered in the victory against Blackburn Rovers at the start of October.

Both of Luton’s first two goals came from deep crosses into the six-yard box which Maxwell, as well as the defenders in front of him, failed to deal with.

“It’s always a collective thing,” Critchley said.

“You look at the first goal, which comes from the corner. The conditions were horrible for both teams, it’s swirling around and we’ve not dealt with the big fella at the back post.

“We could have stopped that, it was a soft goal to give away.

“The goals were poor, the first and second. Yeah, there’s the third goal, but the game is over by then anyway. It’s the first two really, they were just poor goals to give away.”



Blackpool paedophile given suspended sentence for string of child sex crimes

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A Blackpool man was spared an immediate jail sentence after being convicted of making and distributing child pornography.


Kyle Stephen Howard, 24, of Enfield Road, North Shore, was found guilty of three counts of making indecent images of children, one count of distributing indecent images of children, one count of posessing child pornography, and one count of possessing extreme pornographic images following a trial at Preston Crown Court on November 23.

He was also found guilty of inciting a girl under the age of 13 to take part in sexual activity.

Howard was sentenced to a two year prison sentence suspended for two years, and was ordered to sign the sex offenders register. He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court

Dundee United boss responds to speculation linking star midfielder to Blackpool, Rangers, Celtic, Wigan Athletic and others

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The boss of Dundee United says he’s not at all surprised that clubs including Blackpool are reportedly looking at midfielder Jeando Fuchs.


The Seasiders, Peterborough United and Wigan Athletic have all been linked with the 24-year-old in recent weeks.

It comes as the January transfer window is set to open in just three weeks’ time.

Fuchs, a combative, tough-tackling central midfielder, is out of contract at the end of the season, but it’s understood he has been offered a new deal.

Addressing the speculation after Dundee United’s 3-0 defeat to Celtic at the weekend, Tangerines boss Tam Courts told the Daily Record: “Even today, from Jeando’s performance and throughout the last few weeks you can see he is a top player not just for us but also in this league and I have always gone on record as saying if any players, particularly the top performing ones, have aspirations to get to the top level then the types of club you mentioned will naturally be interested.

“Jeando is a focused guy and our relationship is really strong and he likes to do his talking on the pitch so yes, there is not much more I can say on that.”

Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers as well as German outfit Stuttgart have also been mentioned as potential suitors in the past.
Fuchs in action against Celtic

Fuchs in action against Celtic

Fuchs arrived at Tannadice last year following their promotion to the top tier of Scottish football.

He has since been a regular performer, making 45 appearances in all competitions.

The Cameroonian began his career in France with Ligue 2 side Sochaux, before being signed by Spanish club Alaves in 2019.

However, he never made a first-team appearance for the La Liga outfit and was loaned out to Isreali side Maccabi Haifi before his move to Scotland.

He’s been capped on two occasions by his national side, making his debut in 2018 against Brazil.

The Seasiders are currently without central midfielders Matty Virtue (ACL), Grant Ward (achilles) and Kevin Stewart (ankle) through injury.



Driver arrested after car crash close to primary school in Blackpool

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A man has been arrested and woman in her 80s has been taken to hospital


Police at the scene of the collision where one man has been arrested
Police at the scene of the collision where one man has been arrested (Image: Simon Mitchell Bpl Bible)

A driver of the vehicle involved in the crash near Common Edge Road in Blackpool has now been arrested.

Police officers were called to the scene on New Hampshire Road around midday today to reports of a crash between two vehicles.

A Volkswagen car and Honda car had been involved in an incident close to the junction with Common Edge Road.

The driver of the Volkswagen was initially arrested under suspicion of drug driving but has been taken to hospital after sustaining injuries a suspected broken arm during the crash.

Common Edge Road, near to Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School, has been blocked in both directions since lunchtime as police, paramedics and the fire service respond.

North West Ambulance Service have said they believe a woman in her 80s has also been taken to hospital in connection with the collision.

The condition of the woman has not been confirmed.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: “We were called around 12.05pm today (Thursday, December 2) to a report of a collision in Hampshire Place, Blackpool.

“A Volkswagen car and Honda car had been involved in an incident close to the junction with Common Edge Road.

“The driver of the Volkswagen was initially arrested on suspicion of drug-driving. He suffered a suspected broken arm and was taken to hospital for treatment.”

An eyewitness at the scene in Blackpool reported that a garden wall has been ‘demolished’.



Police search for missing Blackpool man

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Police say they are becoming ‘increasingly concerned’ for a missing man from Blackpool.


Kyle Weir, 21, was last seen in Blackpool at around 3pm yesterday (Monday, December 6).

He is described as being 6ft 1in tall, with ginger/brown ear length hair and a stocky build. He also has a long, ginger/brown beard and was last seen wearing a black jacket with a black hoodie and blue jeans.

A police spokesman said: “We are becoming increasingly concerned about Kyle Weir, who is missing from an address in Blackpool.

Kyle Weir, 21, was last seen in Blackpool at around 3pm yesterday (Monday, December 6)

Kyle Weir, 21, was last seen in Blackpool at around 3pm yesterday (Monday, December 6)

“We are now concerned for his welfare and we are appealing for your help to find him.

“If you have seen him or have any information, please call us on 101 quoting log reference LC-20211207-0060.

“Please share this post and thanks for your help.”



Blackpool to face Hartlepool: Full FA Cup third-round draw

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool have been drawn away to League Two Hartlepool United in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup.


The Seasiders’ North-East hosts are currently 17th in the fourth tier, having defeated Lincoln City in the previous round

Now in the Championship, Blackpool were a League One side last season when they reached the fourth round, losing to Brighton & Hove Albion of the Premier League after eliminating West Bromwich Albion.

FA Cup third round ties are to be played from January 7-10

FA Cup third round ties are to be played from January 7-10

The most eye-catching tie in the draw is the visit of Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to Manchester United.

The ties are to be played between January 7 and 10.

FULL THIRD ROUND DRAW: Boreham Wood or St Albans v AFC Wimbledon, Yeovil Town v Bournemouth, Stoke City v Leyton Orient, Swansea City v Southampton, Chelsea v Chesterfield, Liverpool v Shrewsbury Town, Cardiff City v Preston North End, Coventry City v Derby County, Burnley v Huddersfield Town, West Bromwich Albion v Brighton & Hove Albion, Kidderminster Harriers v Reading, Leicester City v Watford, Mansfield Town v Middlesbrough, Hartlepool United v Blackpool, Hull City v Everton, Bristol City v Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur v Morecambe, Millwall v Crystal Palace, Port Vale v Brentford, Swindon Town v Manchester City, Wigan Athletic v Blackburn Rovers, Luton Town v Harrogate Town, Birmingham City v Plymouth Argyle, Manchester United v Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sheffield United, Newcastle United v Cambridge United, Barnsley v Ipswich Town, Peterborough United v Bristol Rovers, West Ham United v Leeds United, Queens Park Rangers v Rotherham United, Charlton Athletic v Norwich City, Nottingham Forest v Arsenal.



Blackpool boss Neil Critchley hopeful over latest injury setback for Gary Madine

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Neil Critchley is hopeful Gary Madine’s latest injury niggle isn’t too serious.


The striker was missing from Blackpool’s squad on Saturday as the Seasiders were beaten 3-0 at home by Luton Town.

When asked about the striker’s absence, Critchley revealed the 31-year-old picked up a knock during training.

Gary Madine last played for Blackpool against Birmingham City 10 days ago

Gary Madine last played for Blackpool against Birmingham City 10 days ago

“He just felt his groin on Tuesday,” head coach Critchley said.

“It’s settled down and he feels a lot better than he did but he wasn’t right for today’s game, so hopefully in the next few days he feels better. Hopefully it’s not a long-term issue for him.”

Blackpool fans will be concerned to hear of further groin trouble for Madine.

The striker has already missed large chunks of football this calendar year before making his return in the middle of September.

Madine, who has since scored twice, was left out of Blackpool’ s initial 25-man Championship squad after a close-season operation to address the groin complaint which limited his game time during the second half of Blackpool’s promotion-winning campaign.

But after Madine’s 13 appearances this term, Pool fans had hoped his injury problems were behind him.

Speaking to The Gazette a few weeks ago, Madine admitted he still feels pain in his groin occasionally.

He also revealed he had considered retiring because of the problem.

Blackpool were given better news on Saturday, with the return of Chris Maxwell to the starting line-up.

The 31-year-old made his first appearance since tearing a quadricep in the win over Blackburn Rovers two months earlier.

Richard Keogh also recovered from a calf problem to be named among the substitutes.

The 35-year-old defender’s return is timely ahead of Pool’s trip to his former club Derby County on Saturday.

Critchley said: “Keesy is back fit and he played 45 minutes during the week in the friendly against Huddersfield.

“It’s nice to have him back, with his experience around the squad.

“As I said to the group after the Luton game, we have to come back in on Monday and show a response, firstly in training but secondly at Derby on Saturday.”