‘Critical incident’ declared at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust amid Covid staff crisis

Home | Blackpool Gazette

An internal critical incident was declared at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals as health leaders warned the NHS was “in a state of crisis”.

Trish Armstrong-Child, chief executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, confirmed an “internal critical incident” was declared due to “operational challenges across the organisation”.

These included Blackpool Victoria Hospital running at “full capacity”, long waits in A&E and “high staff sickness absence levels of above 10 per cent.”

Outbreaks of Covid in the community also resulted in more people being admitted to the hospital each day than those discharged.

The trust is responsible for Blackpool Victoria Hospital and two smaller community hospitals – Clifton Hospital and Fleetwood Hospital.

Natalie Hudson, Chief Operating Officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTH), said: “Like hospitals across the country, we are currently seeing very high demand for our services and long waits to be seen in our emergency departments and across our urgent care pathways, continued challenges to discharge patients who no longer medically need to be in hospital but have nowhere to go or no care package in place, and very high levels of bed occupancy, all of which is exacerbated by rapidly rising rates of Covid-19 in our communities and rising rates of admission to hospital which is creating further pressures around discharge, as well as a significant impact on staff absence rates across the organisation.

“Because of the pressures the trust is under, we have made the decision to declare an internal critical incident which means staff across the trust will be working together today to take actions immediately to attempt to alleviate the pressure we are under including stepping down some non-urgent activity in order to deliver all of the things we can and need to do to provide the very best care possible.

“We will also be working across the Fylde Coast with our partners too, to ensure care packages and support are provided as quickly as possible to aid discharge, and encourage the public to help us respond to this period of high demand by doing everything they to protect their families and friends by ensuring they are fully vaccinated and following guidance around social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing their hands, and crucially seeking help from the most appropriate health services, only attending A&E for serious accidents and emergencies, and using NHS 111 first to seek advice about the most appropriate care for your needs.”

An internal critical incident was declared at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals

An internal critical incident was declared at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals

The news came after Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health in Lancashire, said health officials were “bracing for a tsunami of Omicron cases” in the county.

“Lancashire is beginning to experience what London did at the beginning of last month,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “We are only at the foothills of this particular wave in Lancashire.”

Dr Karunanithi added that the spike in Omicron infections across the region was “leading to more staff absences,” warning that Covid restrictions in the area may be too lenient because “staff absences don’t always get presented in dashboards”.

Multiple hospitals across the country have declared critical incidents amid warnings the NHS was “in a state of crisis”.

Prime minister Boris Johnson insisted on Monday that no further Covid restrictions were needed in England, though he admitted pressure on the NHS was “going to be considerable”.

Defending his light-touch approach – in stark contrast to crackdowns in the rest of the UK – Mr Johnson said: “We have got plan B in place, people should never forget that.”

He added: “The way forward for the country as a whole is to continue with the path that we’re on.

“We’ll keep everything under review – of course we keep all measures under review – but the mixture of things that we’re doing at the moment is, I think, the right one.”

 

Neil Critchley: I must set right example for tricky Blackpool FA Cup tie at Hartlepool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Neil Critchley says his Tuesday night at Hartlepool was among the coldest of his life, though he has no doubt it left the home club fully fired up to face his Seasiders in the FA Cup.

 

Blackpool’s head coach watched League Two Hartlepool United warm up for Saturday’s third-round clash by eliminating Bolton Wanderers from the Papa John’s Trophy – and was impressed by what he saw.

The Pool boss said: “Hartlepool want to play football and have a good balance between being able to play through midfield or in behind.

Neil Critchley is just thawing out after watching Hartlepool but says his midweek visit was very important

Neil Critchley is just thawing out after watching Hartlepool but says his midweek visit was very important

“They will think they have nothing to lose and it’s a dangerous game for us. We have to give them respect and we will.

“Sometimes you have one of those days, a decision can go against you maybe and you can lose. That’s the beauty of the FA Cup but we have to try to control the aspects of performance that we can.”

He may still be thawing out but Critchley believes his attendance at Victoria Park was imperative.

He explained: “The preparation for these games is really important and, if staff sense I’ve taken my foot off the pedal this week or I’m not taking the game seriously, that can set the wrong tone for the team.

“It’s really important we don’t approach this game any differently. We have a consistent way of working and we have to treat Hartlepool exactly the same as if it’s Bournemouth away. It is a tricky tie.”

Despite the focus on the league, it’s a tie Critchley is fully committed to winning.

He added: “We know they had a good win in the week over a team from the league above, so they will be thinking, ‘Why can’t we beat Blackpool?’

“If we drop standards and they lift their game, we could be in trouble. We know it will be difficult but we have to concentrate on what we can bring to the game.

“We have to be fully focused and professional, and if we are, that gives us a good chance but there are no guarantees.

“Sometimes you can be the better team and still lose but we have to give ourselves the best chance of getting through because we want a good run in the FA Cup.”

 

Former Blackpool, Tottenham and England footballer Paul Stewart launches course to help protect youngsters from abuse – backed by Gary Lineker, Kevin Sinfield and other stars

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Former Blackpool, Spurs, Liverpool and England footballer Paul Stewart has helped develop a new course to protect young sports stars from abuse.

 

Paul, who became a top level striker despite suffering repeated abuse as a young boy from a youth coach, has worked with High Speed Training and the NSPCC on the project.

It comes as a study shows that a third (32 per cent) of parents are unsure whether their child’s sports coaches have undertaken safeguarding training and that one in ten parents stated that they’re unsure of identifying the signs of abuse.

The course, which is backed by sport icons such as Gary Lineker, rugby league giant Kevin Sinfield, former England and British Lions great Brian Moore, Olympic medalist Marilyn Okoro and Ryder Cup golfer Ian Poulter, provides sports coaches, parents and volunteers with the tools to be able to identify and prevent abusive behaviours in grassroots sports, as well as understanding and implementing the recommended safeguarding procedures around the above points.

Paul Stewart who has helped produce a course to help protect young sports people from abuse

Paul Stewart who has helped produce a course to help protect young sports people from abuse

Paul was inspired to speak out about the abuse he suffered, after new began to break about incidences of abuse that young footballers endured began to surface. In 2016, he was sitting at his office desk one morning when he read a Daily Mirror story about one of the abuse cases.

That changed his world and he came forward to highlight the situation and has written about his experiences in his book, entitled Damaged.

Paul said it was a comprehensive safeguarding course with exercises and assessment and on completion a certificate is presented.

He said: “I am delighted that, by working with safeguarding and training experts, High Speed Training, I have been able to produce something which can make such a positive impact on an issue that is personal to my life.

Paul, far left, scoring for Spurs in the FA Cup in 1991 against his old team Blackpool

Paul, far left, scoring for Spurs in the FA Cup in 1991 against his old team Blackpool

“By developing this course, I am determined to turn what was such an upsetting childhood experience into something positive for children in sport.”

Gary Lineker said: “It’s thanks to the work that grassroots sports clubs do that children have the opportunity to play sport.

“This course is designed so that coaches can get on with what they do best, safe in the knowledge that their safeguarding procedures are robust and up to date.

“Unfortunately, history tells us that things can go wrong, so club leaders need to ensure that they put measures in place to prevent any abuse taking place.”

Paul has written a book of his experiences

Paul has written a book of his experiences

Richard Anderson at High Speed Training said: “Our research shows that more needs to be done to ensure that parents and coaches are both able to identify signs of abuse and mistreatment and report it appropriately, and prevent any form of abuse happening at their sports club.

“With a third of parents unsure whether their child’s sports coaches have undertaken safeguarding training, we hope that our research will encourage people to initiate these important conversations and encourage enrollment on the course to protect our young aspiring athletes.”

 

 

St Annes panto is back after illness – oh yes it is!

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A pantomime which was called off at two venues just after Christmas because of non-Covid illness among the cast, is back on stage this weekend at a double dose of locations.

St Annes Parish Operatic Society’s planned stagings of Babes In The Wood at St Annes Parish Rooms on December 27 and Marton United Reformed Church Hall on January 2 as part of the company’s traditional ‘mini-tour’, were cancelled.

But the panto is due to go ahead this Saturday, January 8 at St Thomas Church Hall, St Annes, with two performances, at 3pm and 7pm, and it will also be staged at St Annes Parish Rooms, Headroomgate Road on Sunday at 3.30pm.

“I hope people can join us for some great family fun,” said Society spokesman Alison Thornton. “The company was unable to perform the panto last year because of the pandemic and has put a lot of preparation work into this production.

Geraldine Brown as Robin Hood and Clara Curtis as Maid Marion in rehearsal for the St Annes Parish Operatic Society panto Babes In The Wood

Geraldine Brown as Robin Hood and Clara Curtis as Maid Marion in rehearsal for the St Annes Parish Operatic Society panto Babes In The Wood

The show is written and directed by Paula Curtis and cast members include Geraldine Brown as Robin Hood and Clara Curtis as Maid Marion (pictured inset).

Details from 01253 739235 or 07821 626121.

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.

 

Pleasure Beach bosses promise white knuckle thrills as the attraction gets ready to reopen in 2022

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool tourist attraction is getting ready for a thrilling new year reopening.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach re-opens in 2022 for White Knuckle Weekends from Saturday, February 12 until Sunday, March 27.

Guests can travel 235ft into the air before descending at breathtaking speeds on the UK’s tallest rollercoaster, the Big One then check out the twists, turns and acceleration of ICON, the UK’s first and only double launch coaster. In total the park has 10 rollercoasters and there is something for everyone.

If guests prefer things a little more sedate, they can enjoy the River Caves, Alice in Wonderland and the world’s first Wallace & Gromit ride, Thrill-O-Matic.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is set to reopen next month

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is set to reopen next month

Thrills of the rides as Blackpool Pleasure Beach grew

Amanda Thompson OBE, managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, said: “We’re all so excited to open the park gates for the White Knuckle Weekends – they’re such a fantastic way to start the year as we welcome back all of our visitors old and new after the winter break.”

For more information and to book, please visit: https://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/

 

Six year old girl initially suspected of having chest infection now needs life-saving operation following cancer diagnosis

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A family from Thornton Cleveleys are in desperate need of raising £200,000 for life saving treatment for their six-year-old daughter who has been diagnosed with cancer.

While most six-year-olds play with their new Christmas toys, Isabelle Grundy has been in Manchester Intensive Care Unit since Boxing Day after suffering a collapsed lung.

Since then, she has had 3,777mls of fluid drained from her right lung and is now breathing on her own with minimal assistance from a ventilator.

This is one of the many side effects she is left to endure as she bravely battles a rare and aggressive form of cancer, all the while reserving a quiet strength and smile on her face.

Six year old Isabelle Grundy who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Six year old Isabelle Grundy who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Her mother Louisa Moss, 33, needs to raise £200,000 to gain access to treatment in the USA that is not readily available in the UK.

Isabelle, a pupil of Anchorsholme Primary, who has just turned six was diagnosed in July as a High Risk Stage Four Neuroblastoma – a rare type of cancer that affects mostly babies and young children. This means she has a 50 percent survival rate and of the 50 percent that survive 60 percent relapse and of them only five percent survive it.

Louisa said: “She’s improving but still needing to stay on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for the time being.”

Since diagnosis Isabelle has undergone a lot of intensive treatment, ranging from high dose chemotherapy, numerous cannulas, MIBG scans, CT scans, ultrasound scans, several blood and platelet transfusions, high risk surgery – of which only a small section of Isabelle’s tumour was safely removed, stem cell harvest and transplant.
Isabelle with her mother Louisa.

Isabelle with her mother Louisa.

In the New Year once Isabelle has recovered from her stem cell transplant, she will move on to her next stage of treatment which will be radiotherapy at The Christie.

Explaining when she first noticed something was wrong with her little girl, Louisa added: “She was a fit and healthy little girl from a baby growing up – all the normal milestones.

“In June she started feeling poorly but around that time there were a lot of bugs going round.

“We took her to Blackpool Victoria Hospital after I found a lump in her tummy. We went to her GP who managed to get us a fast track, same day appointment.”

A smiling, positive and determined Isabelle.

A smiling, positive and determined Isabelle.

Initially suspected of having a chest infection, a concerned doctor then sent Isabelle to Manchester Hospital the following morning by ambulance and within a couple of days she was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer.

“She went through a strong case of chemotherapy which she is just over halfway through.

“She also had her high risk surgery to which we were told they (doctors) can’t guarantee she will make it.”

Louisa and her partner, Isabelle’s father Blaine Grundy, 35, then endured an agonising six and a half hour wait which she describes as “horrendous.”

Isabelle and Theo.

Isabelle and Theo.

“She has done absolutely amazing so far. Now she’s got as far as she has we are looking a the vaccines which are not approved in this country.”

To brighten Isabelle’s stay in hospital and not wanting his friend to be left out at Christmas, kindhearted Theo Robinson, who is in the same class as Isabelle, came up with the idea to put on his list to Santa that she was in hospital in case he was not aware.

He then went to the toy shop with his mother Emma Robinson and that night they compiled a video asking if friends and family would like to help.

In just one week they received over 100 presents for the family of four, with local businesses also donating.

Emma said: “I’m so proud of Theo for what he has wanted to do for his friend.

“I went to Anchorsholme School myself with Isabelle’s mum and we too were in the same class.

Warrior Princess Isabelle.

Warrior Princess Isabelle.

“This could have been any one of our children and came so unexpectedly for their family so doing this has been an honour to have been able to help.

“The next mission now for me and Theo is to do what we can to help raise the £200,000 needed to look into treatment in the USA for Isabelle in the future to stop any relapse.

“She certainly is a fighter and her mummy, daddy and brother are so brave too.”

Although Isabelle’s treatment is going to plan at the moment, things can change unexpectedly change, evident in the fact that she now has a condition known as VOD which is an inflammation of the liver – a side effect from her high dose chemotherapy.

For this reason Emma Robinson has also set up a GoFundMe page in the hope of reaching a target of £200,000 to help raise funds in order for the family to travel to America for Isabelle to receive possible life saving treatment.

Louisa added: “Never in a million years did we ever think our family would be in this situation, our world has been completely turned upside down.

“Thank you to everyone who has shown support, love and kindness towards Isabelle and our family, we are eternally grateful for each and every one of you.

“All donations great or small mean the world to us.”

If you would like to help Isabelle CLICK HERE.

Friends Isabelle and Theo.

Friends Isabelle and Theo.

Theo has sent Isabelle gifts and a Christmas video while she is in hospital.

Theo has sent Isabelle gifts and a Christmas video while she is in hospital.

Isabelle and her nine-year-old brother Grayson who also attends Anchorsholme Academy in Blackpool.

Isabelle and her nine-year-old brother Grayson who also attends Anchorsholme Academy in Blackpool.

Isabelle, 6, was diagnosed in July as a High Risk Stage Four Neuroblastoma - a rare type of cancer that affects mostly babies and young children.

Isabelle, 6, was diagnosed in July as a High Risk Stage Four Neuroblastoma – a rare type of cancer that affects mostly babies and young children.

Isabelle always keeps a positive mindset.

Isabelle always keeps a positive mindset.

Hour-by-hour weather forecast for Blackpool with heavy rain and hail expected in some areas as temperature drops

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A yellow weather warning has been put in place for parts of the region today as the mercury plummets across Lancashire.

The warning means frequent sleet, hail and snow showers may lead to some disruption to travel during Thursday and Friday.

This is the hour-by-hour forecast for Blackpool for Thursday, January 6, 2022:

12:00 – 60% chance of rain and the possibility of sleet/snow. Wind gust 35mph

A weather warning is in place for parts of Lancashire

A weather warning is in place for parts of Lancashire

13:00 – 60% chance of rain. Wind gust 38mph

14:00 – 90% chance of rain. Wind gust 41mph

15:00 – 90% chance of rain. Wind gust 41mph

16:00 – 40% chance of rain. Wind gust 33mph

17:00 – 30% chance of rain. Wind gust 37mph

18:00 – 10% chance of rain. Wind gust 38mph

19:00 – 50% chance of rain. Wind gust 38mph

20:00 – 50% chance of rain. Wind gust 35mph

21:00 – 40% chance of rain. Wind gust 37mph

22:00 – 10% chance of rain. Wind gust 35mph

23:00 – 80% chance of rain. Wind gust 37mph

 

Poulton building site where 102 homes are being developed is underwater again

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A large plot of land off Holts Lane, Poulton, where plans for 102 affordable homes were controversially approved by Wyre Council, has been left waterlogged following a period of heavy rainfall.

 

The flooded land is intended to be the foundations for four one-bed, eight two-bed, 66 three-bed and 24 four-bed mews-style houses, built by developers Seddon Homes Ltd and their partners.

However, little progress appears to have been made onsite since the scheme was approved in December 2020.

Ashley Sorensen, of the Wyre Council Residents Concerns and Actions Group, said: “I think if they are going to build there, they are going to do it no matter what, but all it will do is push the water somewhere else, and the drains can’t take it. I think it’s very concerning.

The flooding on Holts Lane. Picture by Bryn Hughes

The flooding on Holts Lane. Picture by Bryn Hughes

“Effectively we are being faced with an increasing number of properties in Wyre, which are supposed to be off-set by increasing provisions for residents – but we’ve had nothing. Unfortunately this place is becoming nothing more than a property developer’s dream.”

This is not the first time the Holts Lane site has been flooded.

In June last year, a 10 tonne JCB digger sank into the mud on the site and remained stuck there for several days despite attempts to remove it.

In October, with one resident compared the site to ‘a boating lake’, while another said he ‘couldn’t wait for the boats to be put on’.

The flooding on Holts Lane. Picture by Bryn Hughes

The flooding on Holts Lane. Picture by Bryn Hughes

A Wyre Council spokesman said permission to develop the site was originally granted by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate, and that none of the land lies within designated flood zones 2 or 3.

It does, however, lie adjacent to the River Wyre, designated a main river by the Environment Agency.

They said: “It is a matter for the developer, Seddon Homes, to be aware of and appropriately manage and deal with ground conditions within their site, although they may wish to liaise with Lancashire County Council (as lead local flood authority) and/or the Environment Agency, given the proximity to watercourse.

“Wyre Council approved the ‘reserved matters’ planning application in 2020 subject to conditions on (amongst other things) sustainable drainage, design, layout, finished floor-levels and discharged said conditions in consultation with the lead local flood authority and the Environment Agency.”

Mr Sorensen said: “At the end of the day, it’s not Wyre Council’s loss, because if they have given the correct instructions to develop that land they can relinquish any responsibility and hand that over solely to the builders, when this development should never have been approved in the first place.”

Seddon Homes was approached for comment.

 

 

Blackpool hospital healthcare worker faces multiple sex charges

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A hospital healthcare worker has made his first court appearance charged with sexually assaulting women at his place of work.

 

Blackpool vic staff member Hernando Puno arrives at court

Blackpool vic staff member Hernando Puno arrives at court

A hospital healthcare worker has made his first court appearance charged with sexually assaulting women at his place of work.

Hernando Puno, 51, of Onslow Road, Blackpool, faces nine allegations involving seven women dated between 2012 and 2021.

He denied all the offences during his four minute stay in the dock.

Blackpool Magistrates sent Puno for trial at Preston Crown Court and bailed him to the higher court where he will appear on February 2.

Each charge alleges Puno sexually touched women at Blackpool Victoria Hospital without their consent.

His arrest happened as Lancsashire Poluce were involved in two major investigations at the hospital .

The first involved allegations of poisoning the stroke Ward and the second an allegation of murder involving an elderly female patient Valerie Kneale.

They are not connected with the Puno case.

Puno was bailed on condition he does not take health care employment and does not enter NHS premises apart from receiving clinical treatment .

He must not leave the UK without police permission and must not contact witnesses.

 

 

Anchorsholme Academy teacher launches new book to teach children about the environment

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A teacher at Anchorsholme Academy has launched a new children’s book, to teach kids how to improve the environment.

‘What’s Wrong with Mrs. Earth?’ was independently released by Catherine Powell, a Year 2 teacher at the Thornton-Cleveleys school, on December 15th. The story is based around the character of Mrs Earth, who falls ill due to the state of the world, and needs everyone to come together to help make her better. The book is aimed at children aged three to eight years-old and gives plenty of useful tips on how to help the environment.

Catherine was inspired to write her first book after the Cop26 conference last year. After the feedback she received from Mrs. Earth story, Catherine has plans to release even more children’s books based on helping children cope with the feeling of loss.

“I got started on October Half Term. I have always wanted to write a children’s book, but it was Global Climate Change week in October and with the Cop26 stuff going on as well. And I thought the children don’t really know that much about it. So being inspired by the likes of Julia Donaldson, writing in rhyme, I thought it would be an easy way for kids to understand hard topics.

Catherine Powell

Catherine Powell

“I want to teach kids more ethical, taboo kinds of topics, on a level that they will understand. So for my next one, I have written it already, and in a couple of months it is coming out. It is about grief, bereavement and loss. Then stuff like bullying, peer pressure, poverty and families that come in different shapes of sizes, homophobia and stuff like that.”

If you wish to purchase ‘What’s Wrong with Mrs. Earth?’ by Catherine Powell, click here.

 

 

Anger at damage to St Annes beach huts

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The owner of a prime Fylde attraction is calling for CCTV to be installed on St Annes Promenade after being angered by another vandalism spree at his property.

 

One of St Annes Beach Huts had wooden panels smashed as an apparent attempt was made to break into it just hours into a new year, which will see the huts business celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Stuart Robertson, who runs the award-winning seafront feature with his wife Zoe, quickly repaired the damage, which follows a run of damage to windows at the huts in recent months – but says CCTV in the area would be a big help in a bid to prevent repeats.

“It’s certainly a disappointing start to the New Year,” said Stuart. “Clearly the vandals were trying to get into one of the huts by removing the back panels.

The damage to the beach hut at St Annes

The damage to the beach hut at St Annes

“I always knew the beach huts would get a certain amount of vandalism when I came up with idea for the business so I try not to let it upset me too much but some CCTV on the promenade would be a great deterrent.

“We’ve had a lot of smashed windows over the last few months. To combat this I’ve been doing my best to drop the security shutters as soon as the huts are vacated and no longer in use.

“It’s not easy as we often have a few huts in use even through winter, with guests leaving at all different times of the day and night.

“I’ve also stocked up on replacement windows as we often have bookings the following day in the damaged huts, so repairs are needed really quickly.”

PSCO Damian Rowe, of St Annes Police, said: “We are increasing patrols in the area, including having as many officers out on foot in key areas at the key times. We are scanning and analysing data to find out where this anti-social behaviour is happening too.

“We know most of the locations, we know who the majority of the group involved are and we are addressing this with parents, schools and local youth co-ordinators as well.

“AFC Fylde are currently running a divert youth programme through the local community trying to assist with 11-17 year olds through a recruitment campaign to try and address some of these issues with some of these youngsters too.

“The increase on foot is our main proactive engagement and we will continue targeting the key areas at key times. All local neighbourhood police team staff are aware of these issues and we are working together to target those involved.

“The offending and anti-social behaviour is forming part of a specific policing plan for St Annes. Working with community beat managers will give us a better chance to try and catch these offenders and take appropriate action.

“We would encourage anyone with information about the offending to call police immediately on 101. In an emergency all 999.”

The first of the Robertsons’ huts were installed between the mini-links golf course and the shore in 2012.

The business won visitor experience of the year at the Lancashire Tourism Awards in 2016 as well as regularly being rated Fylde’s No 1 attraction on the Tripadvisor travel website.

Ten huts installed in 2018 took the total there to 36 and the Robert have planning permission for 10 more. All have been built by Ecologic Developments, specialist carpenters based in Dorset.

Fylde Council was contacted for a comment regarding the plea for CCTV.

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.

 

 

Blackpool owner Simon Sadler would love FA Cup run

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Simon Sadler knows Blackpool’s priority is to consolidate in the Championship but the owner admits: “I’d love us to have an FA Cup run”.

 

Last season’s run to the fourth round, which included the scalp of Premier League West Bromwich Albion, has whetted Sadler’s appetite for more cup heroics – and promotion to the second tier means Pool need win only one game to reach that stage this time.

That third-round tie is a lunchtime kick-off this Saturday at League Two Hartlepool United, who proved they are unfazed by higher-level opposition when they knocked Bolton Wanderers out of the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday.

Blackpool celebrate Gary Madine's goal in last season's third-round tie against West Bromwich Albion, which the Seasiders won on penalties

Blackpool celebrate Gary Madine’s goal in last season’s third-round tie against West Bromwich Albion, which the Seasiders won on penalties

Sadler told The Gazette: “Growing up, my earliest memories of football were from the mid-1970s and every kid of that era looked forward to cup final day.

“I can remember every cup final from Man United v Southampton (1976) to probably the mid-1980s, as well as where I was and who I was with.

“The FA Cup is big and for Blackpool there are the three finals in 1948, 1951 and 1953.

“There is nothing I’d like more than for this club to have a really good cup run. I don’t think we’ve got past the fifth round for donkey’s years, a long, long time.”

The club last reached the fifth round in 1989/90, losing to Queens Park Rangers in a tie that needed two replays.

Pool fans who remember a quarter-final appearance need to have been around since 1958/59, when Luton Town beat them in a reply.

Sadler added: “I enjoyed last year, although it’s helpful starting in the third round as it gives you more of a chance of going further.

“Hartlepool away is not going to be an easy game but I’d love us to go on a cup run … fingers crossed.”

But the Championship is Blackpool’s bread and butter and Sadler’s top priority at the outset of the season was that his club proved themselves worthy of their place.

He recalled: “That first match at Bristol City, I was so excited. I was so pleased to grab the late equaliser.

“Our second game was at home to Cardiff, which was a bit of an eye-opener. It was like, ‘Wow, it’s the land of the giants’. I was asking myself, ‘Are we going to be all right?’

“I was a little bit twitchy after those first couple of games, but once we saw that comeback against Bournemouth – and Bournemouth are clearly a very good team, who play very good football – we’ve since gone on a good run.

“After a little bit of a wobbly start, which was understandable, we’ve got up to speed and we’re here on merit. Hopefully we’ll stay here on merit.”

 

Animal sanctuary weeks away from being forced to put down its animals

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

An animal sanctuary near Blackpool may have to close its doors and consequently euthanise its animals due to a lack of funding and public support

 

Bailey Lister from Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue and Sanctuary
Bailey Lister from Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue and Sanctuary (Image: Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue & Sanctuary.)

A Lancashire animal sanctuary is facing imminent closure due to successive lockdowns and a lack of funding.

Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in Staining, near Blackpool, has said it may have to euthanise some of its animals if funding is not secured by next month.

Bailey Lister, founder of the sanctuary said: “I opened the sanctuary in 2018 and over the last nine months we rapidly expanded so we’ve moved into a bigger premise. In total, we have 87 animals, our running costs are £400 per month and vet bills an additional £700 per month.

“Due to some of the animals having behavioural and medical issues, it’s not just as simple as finding them a new home or a new sanctuary.

“We have crows that are blind or can’t fly and birds of prey that have bonded to our staff so if we took them away, it would really affect them mentally.

“That’s why if we close down, then we may have to euthanise these animals and that’s obviously not something we even want to consider as an option.”

One reason the sanctuary is struggling to re-home the animals is due to the Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 – or RHDV2 – outbreak amongst the rabbit population, which is halting adoptions.

RHVD2 a relatively new strain of the disease and highly contagious. It often shows few to no symptoms and kills rabbits quickly and suddenly.

According to charity, Blue Cross for Pets , RHVD2 is estimated to have put 1.3million pet rabbits in the UK at risk and recommends rabbit owners have their pets vaccinated against this new strain.

18-year-old Bailey said: “We have 20 rabbits in the sanctuary at the moment which is a lot more than we’d usually have as a lot of them have had to quarantine for four months to avoid the disease. RHVD II causes the rabbits to bleed internally which is a truly horrible way for them to pass away – we’ve lost four rabbits in the last four months.”

The sanctuary has always relied on public donations, even prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. In the past, locals have put on bake sales and other fundraising events in order to raise money and keep the sanctuary going.

However, due to the current climate and people struggling to donate, the sanctuary has found itself struggling financially.

You can donate to Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue and Sanctuary by giving what you can on their Just Giving pagetheir PayPal account or by purchasing something on their Amazon Wish List for the animals.