Simon Sadler: Signings will be difficult this month but Blackpool will try

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Simon Sadler will do his utmost to bring transfer targets to Blackpool this month – but believes it will be an especially difficult window to do business in.

The Seasiders have enjoyed success loaning young prospects from Premier League clubs but the owner warns the Covid-19 situation can only make such deals tougher to complete.

This was among several subjects Sadler discussed with The Gazette in an interview over the weekend.

Ellis Simms was a successful signing for Blackpool in January last year

Ellis Simms was a successful signing for Blackpool in January last year

As the month-long transfer window opened, he said: “We’ll do our best in this window.

“We do have two or three targets but I suspect it might be quite a difficult window to get much done.

“We’ve already seen some players being recalled from loans, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the situation made a difficult January window that bit more difficult.”

Sadler is well aware that successful January recruitment can make a major difference.

The goals of Everton loanee Ellis Simms, signed 12 months ago, were a key factor in Blackpool’s surge into the Championship via the play-offs.

Sadler added: “What we’ve seen in the last couple of years is that we’ve managed to get good Premier League loans.

“Ellis Simms was one last season, then there’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Conor Ronan, but I would imagine clubs might be more reluctant to do things like that.

“The goal, as always, is to try and improve the squad window upon window and we will see what we can do.

“If we can improve the squad, we will do, but we’re not forced to do anything.”

 

Blackpool show faith in Tayt Trusty with professional contract

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Tayt Trusty has become the second Blackpool youth player in successive days to sign a professional contract at Bloomfield Road.

 

The midfielder, who featured in the pre-season friendlies against Carlisle United and Burnley, has agreed an initial 18-month deal, which includes an option for a further year.

He follows defender Jack Moore in agreeing such a deal, with the club convinced Trusty is “ready for senior football”.

Tayt Trusty has signed an 18-month Blackpool contract

Tayt Trusty has signed an 18-month Blackpool contract

He has made 17 appearances for the youth team this season, scoring three goals.

The teenager, who embarked on a two-year scholarship in 2020, said of his first pro contract: “I’m over the moon. This is something that I’ve wanted to do ever since I started playing football.

“I had a slow start coming to Blackpool, having moved away from my family, but over the past year or so I’ve met some great people and had a fantastic time. The coaches here have really helped me on my scholarship and I’ve improved massively.

“I now want to keep working hard, make further progress and train more with the first-team, with the aim of playing games in the future.”

Academy director Ciaran Donnelly said: “The progress Tayt has made in a short space of time, having joined us at 16, is remarkable and that tells you everything you need to know about his character.

“He has the ability to dominate opponents with his physical style of play, and his willingness to learn has put himself in a position where we are all very excited at the player Tayt can become over the next couple of years.

“He is ready for senior football, having outgrown the youth team programme. You can see through his performances that he is in a really good place and we are now ready for him to take that next step.

“This is a well-deserved professional contract and I’m sure our supporters will enjoy watching Tayt progress.”

 

Blackpool prospect Rob Apter on the move again to Chester

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool forward Rob Apter has joined National League North club Chester on a 28-day youth loan.

The attacking midfielder returned from a successful loan at Bamber Bridge on December 15, having scored 10 goals in 22 appearances for the Northern Premier League club managed by the former Blackpool player and Fleetwood Town captain Jamie Milligan.

Apter, who turns 19 later this month, has recently signed a two-and-a-half-year contract extension at Blackpool.

Rob Apter making his Blackpool debut in an EFL Trophy win over Leeds United Under-21s last season

Rob Apter making his Blackpool debut in an EFL Trophy win over Leeds United Under-21s last season

The Liverpudlian signed his first professional contract with the Seasiders in November 2020 and has been selected for Scotland Under-19s this season.

Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansord recently said of Apter: “He’s really embraced the loan move to Bamber Bridge and I suspect there will be interest in Rob from higher leagues.

“We’ll use the loan window to continue to develop him. I’m pleased one of our brightest young players has committed his long-term future to the club.”

Chester operate a level above Brig and drew with AFC Fylde last week.

Apter made his first two senior appearances for Blackpool last season, including an EFL debut as a substitute in the 5-0 win at Wigan Athletic.

 

Blackpool prepare for Hartlepool United FA Cup trip despite further Covid cases

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool FC have recorded more Covid cases in the squad this week but will again do their utmost to ensure tomorrow’s FA Cup tie at Hartlepool United goes ahead.

 

So says head coach Neil Critchley, adding that he did not envisage “wholesale changes” to his side for their visit to the League Two club due to a personnel shortage and Blackpool’s desire to win the tie.

Speaking yesterday morning about the prospects for the 12.30pm kick-off in the North-East, the Pool boss told The Gazette: “I’d like to think so (that the game will be on) but I don’t want to say for certain because anything can happen in the next 48 hours.”

Covid has again affected Critchley’s plans this week but he admits they appear to have got off lightly compared to some clubs.

Luke Garbutt is back in training with Blackpool

Luke Garbutt is back in training with Blackpool

He said: “We had Covid over Christmas and we lost two this week.

“But, touch wood, we haven’t had an outbreak like last year, when we lost six players the day before the FA Cup game against Brighton.

“Our Covid issues seem to come in ones or twos and every few days.

“We also seem to contain it better than most. Maybe it’s the sea air!

“We’ve had Luke Garbutt (who hasn’t played in over two months) back in training after illness – not Covid – but we will have a couple missing after Covid issues this week, so we’ll see what happens in the next 48 hours.”

Blackpool are priding themselves on keeping matches on whatever their adversity.

They are one of only four Championship clubs to have played three times since Christmas – and only Pool and QPR played those three in the space of seven days.

Critchley added: “We do want to play and will do everything we can to play.

“We have not called a game off in two years of this pandemic and not many clubs can say that. It’s just what we do.”

The FA Cup affords teams the luxury of fielding five substitutes from a bench of nine, though that may be of little benefit to a club battling to make up the numbers.

It’s why Critchley doesn’t envisage too many changes to his starting XI as his options will again be limited.

“It won’t be a case of wholesale changes,” he added, “though Ryan Wintle has gone back to Cardiff this week, we’ve lost Sonny Carey to injury and we have more Covid cases.

“So the situation means there won’t be wholesale changes but I also want us to win and get through.

“It could be a case of young players on the bench. Luke Mariette and Rob Apter (now on loan at Chester) have been to games recently to be around the dressing room and see how we prepare. That’s good for their development.

“With nine substitutes, that could mean one or two get to travel and – who knows? – they could have an opportunity to get on the pitch.”

 

 

Malcolm Frary: Blackpool murder investigation update as police seek two key items

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

The dad-of-four was found in the doorway of his home on New Year’s Day and two men remain in custody on suspicion of murder

 

Malcolm Frary
Malcolm Frary

Detectives investigating the murder of a widower who was found dead on New Year’s Day are appealing for the public’s help in identifying two items which could potentially be significant to their inquiry.

Malcolm Frary, 76, was found “slumped” in the doorway of his Blackpool home on January 1 and his death is now being treated as murder following a Home Office post-mortem examination.

Mr Frary, a former engineer, was a father-of-four who had lived in the house for at least 40 years, The Sun reports.

Two men from Blackpool, aged 43 and 51 from Blackpool, have been arrested on suspicion of Mr Frary’s murder and remain in custody tonight (January 4) after detectives were given more time to question them.

Now Lancashire Police are appealing for the public’s help to trace a camouflage style jacket and a Redmi 9 mobile phone (both pictured below), possibly green in colour.

Camouflage style jacket
Camouflage style jacket

The phone could be in a case and so may not appear as it does in the photograph.

Detectives are also continuing to appeal for witnesses and are keen to speak to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area of Eccleston Road and Harris Street on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Officers are also appealing to anyone living in the Horncliffe Road and Woodstock Gardens areas of South Shore, who saw any unusual behaviour, to come forward.

Redmi 9 mobile phone
Redmi 9 mobile phone

Det Ch Insp Lee Wilson, of Lancashire Police’s Force Major Investigation Team, said: “First and foremost my thoughts remain with Mr Frary’s loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.

“Although we have made two arrests, our investigation is very much ongoing.

“I am now appealing for help from the public in locating the two items described above, which we believe could assist us in better understanding the circumstances in which Malcolm Frary died.

“I believe both items were discarded in the Blackpool area between 6pm on New Year’s Eve and 6pm on Sunday, January 2.

“If you have any information on their whereabouts or you have any information which could assist our enquiries I would ask that you contact the police as soon as possible. I would like to reassure members of the public that any information they give will be treated in confidence.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log 1276 of January 1.

Alternatively information can be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

We would also encourage people to report information and upload any dashboard mounted camera footage that may be relevant from Horncliffe Road and Woodstock Gardens on these two dates using the Major Incident Public Portal here.

 

 

Blackpool continue discussions over Crewe Alexandra loanee

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool will “try to find a way” to resolve the Owen Dale issue before his loan contract expires next week.

 

The forward arrived at Bloomfield Road from Crewe Alexandra on September 1 with a view to the deal becoming permanent this month.

No agreement has yet been reached and Crewe boss David Artell stated last month he would welcome the 23-year-old back at Gresty Road.

Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley said: “The loan runs until the 10th and we have to try to find a way, if we can, of bringing Owen here. Those discussions are happening.”

Blackpool loanee Owen Dale

Blackpool loanee Owen Dale

Blackpool owner Simon Sadler would love FA Cup run

The last of Dale’s 10 Seasiders appearances was at Derby County on December 11.

He was an unused substitute against Peterborough United a week later but has not featured since Christmas.

Elsewhere, debate has continued throughout the week over Blackpool’s winning penalty against Hull City on New Year’s Day and Critchley is happy the correct decision was made.

He told The Gazette: “My initial reaction was ‘penalty’ and I’ve not seen anything since to suggest it wasn’t.

“Josh Bowler has touched the ball ahead and the Hull player has stretched a leg out and not made contact with the ball. These decisions are borderline sometimes but it was about time we got one.”

 

 

Blackpool Britannia Grand Hotel guest slams ‘awful’ New Year’s stay ending in 5am chaos on seafront

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

A Grand Hotel guest also complained about the fighting, vomiting of noise of other guests.

 

Grand Hotel Blackpool, owned by Britannia Hotels
Grand Hotel Blackpool, owned by Britannia Hotels (Image: Google)

A family say they were given no explanation or guidance as they were forced to evacuate a “dirty” Blackpool hotel in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Sarah Walker and family, along with “hundreds” of other guests, reportedly left the Grand Hotel onto the cold seafront at around 5.25am when a fire alarm rang throughout the building.

Sarah, who described the experience as “awful and unsafe”, said she was separated from her sister during the mayhem that followed as staff reportedly failed to offer any guidance on where to evacuate or what was happening.

Eventually, guests began to return to the Britannia-owned hotel around 20 minutes later as their alarm continued intermittently.

Sarah had travelled to Blackpool for the New Year’s celebrations with her partner, sister and six-year-old nephew and had already been left unimpressed by alleged dirtiness in their £137 a night rooms and the ‘fighting, vomiting and noise’ of other guests.

She told LancsLive: “After very little sleep due to drunken people and arguments on our floor, at 5am we were woken to the sound of the fire alarm. We evacuated the hotel along with everyone else. There was not one staff member to sight, no instruction, no guidance and older people struggling down the stairs.

“We made it outside again not to receive any instruction or guidance. There were people using all kinds of exits possible to get outside. No fire wardens at all.

Dirty carpet at the Grand Hotel in Blackpool
Dirty carpet at the Grand Hotel in Blackpool

“We all waited outside and again not one staff member was in sight. After 20, 25 minutes everyone proceeded back into the hotel with the alarm still going off. No one knew what to do. The lifts were all still in use so [there were] huge queues for the lifts and no one to advise whether these should or should not be in use.”

Sarah said no staff were present throughout the “chaotic” ordeal and questioned what fire procedures were in place and how they were followed during the incident.

Hours later, Sarah was told by a hotel employee that the incident was caused by “drunken men running round setting the alarms off”.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service explained that the alarm was triggered automatically, which means firefighters will seek confirmation as to whether there is a genuine emergency or a fault before attending.

That alarm was triggered at 5.23am, shortly after the same thing happened at the Hilton Hotel.

When the fire service called the Hilton to check whether there was a fire, they were told they were not needed but when they tried to contact the Grand, no-one responded and it was decided they did not need to attend.

Around half an hour later, staff from the Hilton again called the fire service to explain the alarm could not be reset.

While it appears likely the same issue affected the Grand Hotel, Britannia did not respond to LancsLive’s request for comment.

Sarah had already been left with a bad first impression of the hotel after arriving to find “stained, dirty carpet, which had clearly not been hoovered as evidenced by excessive hairs”. She said her nephew knelt on the floor and found his new trousers were now covered in hairs and dirt.

She said that the bath was also stained and had red splatter marks and a lamp had rust which transferred when touched.

The experience was made worse during a visit to the hotel bar as they returned to see the new year in.

She explained: “We found somewhere to sit near the bar. The room was ridiculously hot. We spoke to one of the female bar staff, a young lady, who confirmed the air conditioning was broken”

They then asked whether any fans were available but were reportedly told the hotel didn’t have any.

Sarah claimed that other visitors were visibly sweating, while the bar worker agreed the heat was ridiculous. At around 10.30pm, they decided it was “unbearable” and decided to return to their rooms, at which point they saw air conditioning units being brought out.

The experience was only to get worse even before the evacuation.

“Between the hours of 12am and 4am none of us in either room could sleep due to the noise. We of course expected some noise due to New Year’s Eve but not to this level.

Broken glass was left in the exit of the Grand Hotel
Broken glass was left in the exit of the Grand Hotel

“There were people being sick, arguments, fights, shouting, loud sexual noises, we could hear a group of men discussing whether to call an ambulance for their friend and telling him to lie on his side.”

“The room walls are very thin. My sister and I have text messages that we were sending to one another throughout the night from our rooms describing what we could hear.”

After heading downstairs for a breakfast which reportedly involved dirty cutlery and a lipstick-stained glass, their departure was symbolically marked by Sarah’s nephew accidentally ‘walking through broken glass’ in the exit.

Unhappy at the experience, she complained to the hotel and asked for a full refund but was reportedly told that the maximum amount that the shift leader could authorise was 10%. When she followed up with an email after returning home, a manager apologised for her “experience” but insisted all procedures were correctly followed and said no further refund would be given.

LancsLive contacted Britannia for comment but did not receive a response.

 

 

These are the Lancashire mobile speed cameras locations in Preston, Blackpool, Burnley, Lancaster for January.

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Lancashire Road Safety Partnership have revealed speed camera locations for January.

 

In Lancashire 54 sites have been identified in major roads and areas of concern, including 48 which speed camera vehicles can visit at any time during January, as well as two fixed locations and four motorways.

Enforcement vehicles monitor areas across the county seven days a week, including locations in, Blackpool, Burnley, Lancaster, Morecambe, Preston, South Ribble, Fylde and Wyre.

Regular checks are also planned along some of the region’s motorways, including the M6, M61, M55, M65.

These are the Lancashire mobile speed camera locations during December

These are the Lancashire mobile speed camera locations during December

A spokesman from Lancashire Road Safety Partnership, said: “Our cameras use highly accurate laser technology to detect speeding motorists but they are also used to identify other offences, including drivers not in proper control or not wearing a seat belt.

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

Here is the full list of locations where enforcement vehicles could be stationed during January:

Lancashire mobile speed camera sites:

A589, Broadway, From Westgate To Marine Rd East (30mph), Morecambe

A678 Burnley Road, Nr St. James C.E. Primary School (30mph), Altham

B5268, Fleetwood Road South,Victoria Road East To Norcross Roundabout (30mph) Thornton

A682 Rawtenstall By Pass (40mph), Rawtenstall

A585, Amounderness Way, Victoria Rd West To Eros Roundabout (40mph), Cleveleys

A5147 New Street (30mph), Halsall

A6, Main Road, Nr Orchard Close (30mph), Slyne

A6, Preston Lancaster Road, Cabus Nook Ln To Lancaster Rd (50mph), Cabus

A59 Sawley (60mph), Sawley

A681 Bocholt Way (30mph), Rawtenstall

A678 Blackburn Road, Nr Dunkenhalgh Hotel (30mph), Rishton

A679 Blackburn Road (30mph), West End

B6241 Tom Benson Way (40mph), Preston

B6243 Preston Rd, From Whittingham Lane To Near To Alston Lane Primary (30mph), Grimsargh

A59 Myerscough/Smithy Road (50mph), Mellor Brook

A59 Liverpool Road/Causeway Lane (30mph), Rufford

A6 Garstang Rd, From Watling Street Rd To Moor Lane (30mph), Preston

A59, Clitheroe By-Pass (60mpn), Chatburn

A589, Broadway, From Westgate To Marine Rd East (30mph), Morecambe

A59 Preston New Road (Eastbound) (50mph), Samlesbury

A6 Garstang Rd, From Jepps Lane To James Tower Way (40mph), Broughton

A5085 Blackpool Rd, From Preston West To A5072 Tulketh Rd (30mph), Preston

A570 Rainford Road (60mph), Bickerstaff

A6 Garstang Rd, From Lfrs Headquarters To Watling Street Rd (30mph), Preston

A6 Lancaster Road, Nr Beaumont Gate Farm (30mph), Lancaster

A565 Southport New Road (50mph), Banks

A679 Accrington Road (30mph), Hapton

Speed Management;

Barton Road (30mph), Lancaster

St Vincents Road (30mph), Preston

North Park Drive (30mph), Blackpool

Simonstone Lane (30mph), Simonstone

Birch Green Road (30mph), Skelmersdale

Clifton Drive (30mph), Blackpool

Blackburn Road (30mph), Edgworth

M65, Between Junctions 7&8 (70mph), Altham Lane

A584, Promenade/Fleetwood Road (30mph), Blackpool

B5258 Warren Drive (30mph), Thornton Cleveleys

A586 The Avenue (30mph), Churchtown

Inner Promenade (30mph), St Annes

A6177, Haslingden Road, Nr Hospital, Blackburn

A675 Hoghton Lane (30mph), Higher Walton

A586 Blackpool Rd (30mph), St Michael’s

A59 Guildway / Golden Way (40mph), Preston

A673 Bolton Rd (30mph), Anderton

Roman Road (30mph), Blackburn

Whalley Old Road (30mph), Blackburn

Fixed mobile speed camera locations:

A586 Garstang Rd East, Poulton

Fishergate Hill

Motorways:

M6

M61

M55

M65

 

 

Blackpool Harry Potter actor David Thewlis on why he wasn’t in reunion special

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

The 58-year-old is known for playing Professor Lupin in the films in the episode

 

David Thewlis as Remus Lupin in Harry Potter.
David Thewlis as Remus Lupin in Harry Potter. (Image: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Enterta)

The Harry Potter 20th anniversary reunion special was released over the new year weekend warming the hearts of book and film fans.

But some fans were left wondering why Blackpool-born David Thewlis wasn’t in the special episode.

The 58-year-old is known for playing Professor Lupin in the films.

He did not return to appear alongside actors such as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.

READ MORE: BBC The Apprentice full list of candidates ahead of new series

But David took to social media to joke that he was ‘banned’ from appearing because of a backlash from fans over an Instagram post last year.

He wrote: “Well, last year, as some of you may recall, I foolishly posted what I thought was an amusing picture of a Lupin action figure to which I had attached some comically large feet.

“It seems I did this on a sensitive anniversary, upsetting many.

“This led to an enormous number of fans (and some cast members) taking to the streets in protest and signing a petition demanding that I be banned from any future Potter celebrations.

‘”In my defence, it was my wife’s idea.

“I did not realise the significance of the date, and following the advice of my legal team, the post has since been removed.

“I hope that has cleared things up.”

So, while there was no official explanation given for his absence, it looks like he’s taken the whole thing in good humour.

 

 

Blackpool Symphony Orchestra all set for centenary celebrations in 2022

Home | Blackpool Gazette

It’s promising to be a vintage year for Blackpool Symphony Orchestra for a good reason –  the ensemble is celebrating its centenary.

The Blackpool Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its centenary

The Blackpool Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its centenary

The orchestra was founded by musician Percy Dayman in 1921 but a string of celebratory events in 2021 had to be postponed because of uncertainty over the Covid pandemic.

It means that most of the celebrations for the orchestra, known as the BSO, will be held in 2022 with a series of special concerts, including a major musical spectacle at the Winter Gardens in July.

During the past 100 years, the orchestra’s chief aim has been to ensure that residents on the Fylde coast can access live performances of classical music, including many of the greatest works in the repertoire.

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Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic the orchestra, under the dynamic leadership of music director and conductor Helen Harrison, was still able to complete a number of projects and provide inspirational performances for music lovers in 2020 and 2021.

Helen said: “Now more than ever, we need music.

“As musicians, playing music is not just something we do but who we are.

“Being able to play our music to others so they can enjoy it is so important to us.

Helen Harrison, music director and conductor of Blackpool Symphony Orchestra

Helen Harrison, music director and conductor of Blackpool Symphony Orchestra

“We’re really looking forward to sharing our centenary with music-lovers on the Fylde coast.”

The BSO attracts players from across Lancashire with a core membership of 50 semi-professional musicians under Helen’s direction.

This year Helen was chosen to participate in the Women Conductors’ International Masterclass run by the Royal Opera House in July.

The previous month she was invited by the Royal Philharmonic Society to work with the Royal Northern Sinfonia as one of four emerging conductors in a project to advance gender equality on the podium.

The orchestra performed Somewhere Over the Rainbow online

The orchestra performed Somewhere Over the Rainbow online

The BSO was really put on the map when the orchestra’s dazzling performance of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, performed and recorded virtually over social media, not only raised £3,000 for Blackpool Food Bank but won the Making Music national award for Best Virtual Concert Video 2020, was highly commended by the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards 2020 and the Classical Music Digital Awards 2020.

The video can be watched here:

Once restrictions were relaxed last year, the orchestra was able to perform at a well-received Centenary Prom Concert at the Grand Theatre Blackpool in September with an audience of 500 and featuring international soprano soloist Jane Irwin.

This concert also marked the 10th anniversary of Helen Harrison becoming the Music Director of the BSO with a special presentation at the concert of a Golden Baton.

BSO enjoys a special relationship with Our Lady of the Assumption RC Primary in Blackpool as their ‘Orchestra in Residence’.

Over the past ten years the orchestra has worked on a range of projects staging concerts in the school, joint performances in professional venues and opportunities for the school band to rehearse with the BSO music director.

The orchestra rehearses on a weekly basis at the school, putting it at the heart of the community.

BSO’s centenary concert plans for 2022 include a concert at Fleetwood’s Marine Hall on Saturday March 19, in conjunction with pupils from Our Lady of the

Assumption, which is specially designed to introduce new audience members and youngsters, to the joys of live orchestral music.

Music will include highlights from Beethoven’s famous 5th Symphony , Mussorgsky’s Night on a Bare Mountain, ‘Mars’ from Holst’s The Planets and many other

classical favourites.

On Saturday July 2, there will be a concert at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, including Mendelssohn’s much-loved violin concerto and and the overture from Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta, HMS Pinafore Overture.

And on Saturday September 3 the BSO will perform at a proms concert in Lancaster Castle in honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

For further information about the orchestra visit: https://www.blackpoolsymphony.co.uk

 

Blackpool Grand Theatre looking ahead for packed programme in 2022

Home | Blackpool Gazette

It’s promising to be busy 2022 for Blackpool Grand Theatre as the team prepare for a packed schedule of vibrant and varied shows and events.

 

The theatre successfully emerged from a tricky year in 2021, with the various restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It culminated in the huge success of the theatre’s pantomime, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, which completed its full run of 52 performances and enjoyed much acclaim.

Now the theatre is looking forward to delivering its programme for 2022, with some real treats in store for theatre-goers.

Blackpool Grand Theatre's production of  Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, with Jamie Steen (left) as Dame  and Steve Royle as Muddles

Blackpool Grand Theatre’s production of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, with Jamie Steen (left) as Dame and Steve Royle as Muddles

Although the team are cautious about the challenges of another year under the shadow of the pandemic, there are exciting shows lined up for all tastes.

Highlights already include: Ellen Kent’s incredibly staged operas Bizet’s Carmen and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly; Will Mellor and Ralf Little in their Two Pints Podcast and Joe Pasquale in Some Mother’s Do‘Ave ‘Em.

Fans of soap Dallas will look forward to seeing Patrick Duffy appearing with fellow US star Linda Purl in Catch Me If You Can.

Dance lovers can catch An Evening with Wayne Sleep or Craig Revel Horwood.

Steve Royle juggles guitars during Blackpool Grand Theatre's production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Steve Royle juggles guitars during Blackpool Grand Theatre’s production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

There will also be The Four Seasons by James Wilton Dance; from the author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful.

And look out for Olivier Award-Winning comedy-drama from Jim Cartwright with The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, starring TV favourite Shobna Gulati (Coronation Street,

Dinnerladies, Loose Women), British soap royalty Ian Kelsey (Emmerdale, Casualty) and ‘the girl of a thousand voices’ and two-time Drama Desk Award Nominee Christina Bianco, as Little Voice.

Not forgetting a raft of A-list comedians including Omid Djalili, Ed Byrne, Katherine Ryan, Julian Clary,Jason Manford, Rob Beckett, Milton Jones, Harry Hill and Jon Richardson.

Ruth Eastwood, Chief Executive said: “Blackpool Grand Theatre has always been, and will continue to be, committed to increasing access to culture and broaden its audience.

“We will ensure routes are available for people from every background to discover the joy of live performance.

“Our leadership team and Board aim to become increasingly diverse as we believe that access to the arts through diversity of class and socio-economic background are incredibly important.

“We pride ourselves on our programme of works for young people.

“This coming year, will be presenting David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny, partnering with Children’s Theatre Partnerships to present George Orwell’s Animal Farm and for the younger audience’ television favourites Peppa Pig, Milkshake! Live.

“As an introduction to classical dance, we will hav Northern Ballet’s Pinocchio.”

As previously announced, 2022 will also bring a new Chief Executive to Blackpool Grand, Adam Knight, who joins the Grand from HQ Theatres and the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe, where he is currently Theatre Director.

Adam said: ”It’s a great privilege to be offered the chance to take over the reins at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.

“Not only is it one of the country’s most iconic heritage assets, it is a vibrant, bold and ambitious organisation committed to creating opportunities for all kinds of people to enjoy, participate

and learn through theatre.

“Theatre is my passion, and I look forward to sharing that passion with audiences, artists and staff at the Grand Theatre.”

Ruth Eastwood added that the theatre was still fighting overall to maintain its presence and deliver a programme for local people and families in extremely uncertain times.

She hoped locals would support the theatre by attending its range of shows in 2022.

To discover what’s on at Blackpool Grand Theatre visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk

 

Blackpool pub gives dozens of families free Christmas dinner to make up for ‘shambolic’ day at another eatery

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

The Blackpool pub said their totally random act of kindness is all about ‘community’

 

Elaine Borsay and her family were among the guests invited to The Newton Arms to celebrate.
Elaine Borsay and her family were among the guests invited to The Newton Arms to celebrate. (Image: Elaine Borsay)

Around 40 Lancashire families got a second chance at Christmas dinner after a Blackpool pub invited them for a complimentary meal.

It came after complaints made online about the Christmas day service at another pub, which customers described as ‘shambolic’.

Guests who visited Singleton’s Miller Arms on Christmas day have shared their frustration for their service which was labelled ‘shambles’ and a ‘disgrace’. The Pub’s director has since said that the day went “spectacularly wrong” and claims many issues were “out of their control”.

However, some guests who voiced their upset online, were approached at random by Aaron Johnson from The Newton Arms in Blackpool and were offered a complimentary Christmas meal.

Elaine Borsay and her family were among the guests invited to The Newton Arms to celebrate.

They had been at Miller Arms on Christmas day but got to re-do their Christmas dinner on January 2 at The Newton Arms.

Mrs Borsay told LancsLive that their experience at The Newton Arms made up for their ‘awful’ Christmas day.

“We enjoyed that day and made it our Christmas day, because it was ruined on Christmas day,” she said.

Mrs Borsay and her family paid £65 per person at The Miller Arms and said they ‘expected everything to be perfect’.

She was one of many to post an upset review to The Miller Arms Facebook Page.

“People have commented on my post saying ‘don’t be so lazy, what you going out for a meal for, cook at home,’ but I wanted to treat myself. I don’t want to be standing doing the cooking and the washing up. I want to be spending that quality time with my family.”

Mrs Borsay said they had decided to eat out for a ‘change’ but ‘won’t be doing it again’.

The Newton Arms got in touch a few days later and offered her a complimentary Christmas dinner at her convenience.

“Obviously there were a lot of people who had left negative reviews on The Millers Arms Facebook page and they went through and at random they just picked people out and invited them to have a Christmas meal free of charge.

“They said they would have loved to have invited everyone, but they couldn’t. I couldn’t believe it and thought it was a joke,” she said.

Mrs Borsay was told to ‘choose’ whatever she wanted from the menu and to let The Newton Arms know when they would like to come for their meal.

When Mrs Borsay and family arrived she said the effort made by The Newton Arms was ‘so nice’. They had laid the table and provided crackers to make up the Christmas Dinner.

Christmas dinner at The Newton Arms
Christmas dinner at The Newton Arms (Image: Elaine Borsay)

Aaron Johnson has been the General Manager of The Newton Arms for the last three years and said the random kind act was simply down to the pub having a big focus on community.

“We’re a community brand and I have been really big on community,” he said. “We had been reading reviews on Facebook that people have had a bad christmas day, for whatever reason, and we had excess Christmas stock so I was speaking to the team and we said let’s reach out to these guys.”

Previously the pub has raised ‘just under’ £4,000 for Headway Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde who support brain injury survivors and their families. During the national lockdowns, they raised a further £1500 through a virtual event.

Offering the families a second chance at Christmas day was simply the pub giving them the ‘opportunity’ to sit down as a family again, Mr Johnson explained.

“Its important because none of us had that last year, and most people were really looking forward to it this year. Hospitality is really difficult with loads of challenges but we were in a position where we had over-ordered for Christmas to make sure we had enough for everybody and we had some spare stock.”

Previously the pub has raised 'just under' £4,000 for Headway Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde who support brain injury survivors and their families.
Previously the pub has raised ‘just under’ £4,000 for Headway Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde who support brain injury survivors and their families. (Image: The Newton Arms)

Mr Johnson said they had not been able to ‘reach out’ to everybody, but said there is around 40 people who have been invited for the complimentary Christmas and to his knowledge, ‘all really enjoyed it’.

“We weren’t bothered about the circumstances there (The Miller Arms), we don’t know, but what we were focused on were people who didn’t have their Christmas dinner and we’ve been able to give them that.”

The Newton Arms describe themselves as a ‘big community pub’ who host ‘a lot’ of fundraisers throughout the year including fun days and firework displays.

At Christmas they hosted a Christmas grotto because ‘nobody had the opportunity’ last year.

The Newton Arms in Normoss, Blackpool, is open every day from midday until late.

 

 

Little Noah was final baby born at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in 2021

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Noah Elliot Houston didn’t want to wait for New Year – he turned out to be the final baby born at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in 2021.

 

Little Noah Elliot Houston

Little Noah Elliot Houston

The bonny infant had originally been expected on Wednesday January 5 and might have been one of the first babies born at the hospital in 2022.

But he clearly isn’t one to hang about and he came into the world at 11.30pm, just half an hour before the bells chimed at midnight and ushered in the New Year.

Noah, who weighed in at a healthy 81b 3oz, is the first son of Emily Houston, 24, who is single and works as a receptionist.

Noah Elliot Houston was the final baby to be born at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in 2021

Noah Elliot Houston was the final baby to be born at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in 2021

Emily is the only daughter of Donna Houston, 46, of Hodder Avenue, Fleetwood and Noah is Donna’s first grandchild,

The proud grandmother, an admin assistant at the Spire Hospital in Blackpool, said: “It’s fantastic to be a grandmother, he’s just beautiful and I can’t get enough of him.

“Noah and Emily are both doing really well.

“He wasn’t due until January 5 but he obviously had other ideas and Emily went into hospital on Wednesday, January 29.

“When Noah was born the staff told us he would be the final baby of 2021 to be born at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.”

Mother and baby are due to leave the hospital’s neonatal until and go home on Wednesday this week.

Noah is also the first great grandchild for Robert Houston, Donna’s father, a former inshore fisherman who still lives in Fleetwood.

Donna added: “It’s really wonderful – our celebrations started before the New Year came in.”