New Walk the Big One XL experience at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

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Thrill seekers will get to see Blackpool from a viewpoint like never before


Blackpool’s new Walk the Big One XL experience (Image: Twitter/Pleasure Beach)

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is introducing a new ‘Walk the Big One XL’ experience to the theme park this summer.

Thrill seekers will be “taken to places the public have never been before” as the original ‘Walk the Big One’ attraction is extended.

Participants will ascend the 72 metre roller coaster and are taken to two new exciting and different locations outside on the ride course to enjoy unique access and spectacular views of the ride, the park and the sea.

They will then have to descend 420 back down to terra firma.

Afterwards, visitors will have a chance to exclusive Walk the Big One XL merchandise.

The experience is described as an ‘in depth extended version of Walk the Big One’.

In total, the full experience lasts 90 minutes and harnesses and protective clothing will be provided.

Sensible shoes or boots with a good grip must be worn, but will not be provided by the organisers.

This activity may not be suitable for everyone. The walk is a physically demanding activity including steep climbs, drops, heights and the surface can be uneven, dirty and slippery.

It goes without saying that the activity is weather dependent so it will be worth checking the forecast if you do book.

The experience is priced at £150 per person.

Limited dates are available for the unique experience.

  • Friday 29th April – 4 spaces per walk. 5.30pm & 7.30pm
  • Friday 6th May – 6 spaces per walk. 5.30pm & 7.30pm
  • Friday 17th June – 6 spaces per walk. 5.30pm & 7.30pm

To book and for more information, visit the Pleasure Beach website.



Concern growing for two missing teenagers believed to be in Blackpool together

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A search has been launched for two missing teenagers who may be in Blackpool together, police said.


Caitlyn Morgan and Alicia Bond both went missing from the Bispham Road area at around 10.30am yesterday (Monday, January 10).

Police believed the two teenagers were in Blackpool together and launched a public appeal to help find them.

Sgt Riz Dala, of Blackpool Police, said: “We are growing increasingly concerned for Caitlyn and Alicia and I would appeal for anyone who has seen them or has information about where they might be to get in touch.

“I would also ask the girls themselves to contact us if they see this appeal.”

Caitlyn, 15, is described as white, 5ft 4in tall, of average build, with blue eyes and long blonde hair with green tips.

She was last seen wearing a grey Zavetti Canada coat, black jeans, black and red Nike trainers and a black JD bag.

Alicia Bond (pictured left) and Caitlyn Morgan (pictured right) (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Alicia Bond (pictured left) and Caitlyn Morgan (pictured right) (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Alicia, 16, is described as white with brown eyes and long brown hair with blonde highlights.

She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black puffer jacket with belt, light coloured trainers and a black JD bag.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting log number 0478 of January 10.

For immediate sightings call 999.



Around 400 Blackpool NHS staff still unjabbed

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Some NHS staff on the Fylde coast ‘remain adamant’ they will not have a Covid vaccine despite facing possible dismissal from their jobs.

Mandatory vaccinations are due to come into force for all patient-facing NHS staff from April, , subject to the passage of the regulations through Parliament.

Around five cent of staff at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (BTH) remain unjabbed according to hospital records, which is around 400 people, according to figures given to a meeting of the board of directors.

Of those, analysis shows 95 are nursing staff.

Some NHS hospital staff remain unjabbed

Some NHS hospital staff remain unjabbed

Letters had previously been sent out to 800 unvaccinated hospital staff urging them to get their Covid jabs.

But despite the pleas, many NHS staff are still refusing to come forward for a vaccine, and the Trust had received some responses, in the form of a standardised letter, challenging the requirement for a vaccine.

Peter Murphy, director of nursing at BTH, said: “With the intent of these letters, it appears as though some people are still adamanet that they will not receive the vaccine.”

But he said since the government had issued its mandate, “there has been a large number of people presenting for their first jabs.”

The options for staff who refuse a vaccination include being redeployed into roles away from services where they directly care for patients, or they will face dismissal.

The meeting was told the hospital trust would follow national guidance when it came to the dismissal process and a consistent approach was expected by all hospital trusts in the region when it came to dealing with non-vaccinated staff.

This included the adoption of a process to handle applications to be exempt from having a vaccine.

The Trust could also consider whether future contracts of employment would require staff agreeing to have the Covid vaccination.


Urgent treatment remains the priority as Blackpool Victoria Hospital warns of ‘unprecedented pressure’

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Some non-urgent treatment has had to be cancelled at Blackpool Victoria Hospital as medics battle to prioritise the sickest patients while coping with the impact of rising Covid infections.

Urgent procedures remain a priority, a meeting of the hospital’s board of governors was told on Thursday, as health chiefs are faced with keeping services afloat in the face of rising demand and staff absences.

An internal critical incident was declared on Monday by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTH) in response to beds being at full capacity.

BTH chief executive Trish Armstrong-Child told the meeting: “We didn’t have enough beds for the 24 hours coming up so we had long waits in our emergency department.”

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

But she reassured the board and the public “this is an organisation and a team operationally and clinically in control and doing all they possibly can to keep our services going and our patients safe.”

It also means a setback for efforts to restore surgery and other treatment after waiting lists increased during lockdown.

There were 916 patients waiting more than a year for treatment in November, down from 1,046 the previous month, and 18 waiting for two years compared to a peak of 50 in July.

Natalie Hudson, chief operating officer at BTH, warned the hospital was “under unprecedented pressure” but measures were being taken to “keep services running as much as possible.”

She told the meeting the hospital was maintaining its clinically urgent procedures as well as treatment for those patients waiting longest.

But some non-urgent in-patient procedures and out-patient-clinics had had to be stood down “to redeploy medical doctors, to get them on the wards to support our ward rounds.”

The Emergency Department also continues to be under pressure with more than 200 attendances a day being a regular occurrence in November, and more than seven per cent of people waiting more than 12 hours in A&E.

The Trust had the second highest ambulance attendance in the region in November, with 2,554 people conveyed to hospital, of whom nearly 300 had their transfer delayed by more than an hour.

Janet Barnsley, executive director of operations at BTH, told the board these pressures had worsened in December, and were predicted to become more challenging further into January.

An increase in Covid patients from 35 on Christmas Eve to 125, along with a staff absence rate of 12 per cent, had exacerbated matters.

At the same time there were currently 95 patients who no longer needed to be in hospital but had nowhere to be discharged to with the average waiting time for a care package mounting up to nine days.

However action has been taken including to increase the area which ambulances can use to offload patients, and finding more support for patients who no longer need to be in a hospital bed.


Lottery grant joy for Blackpool park

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool park has clinched a National Lottery grant of almost £10,000 which will be used to install wheelchair-friendly play equipment.

The funding has been awarded to the Friends of East Pines Park in Anchorsholme, where work will begin this spring on the third phase of redevelopment.

The money will be used to install a wheelchair-friendly roundabout which will be the playground’s first wheelchair-friendly piece of equipment.

Phase three of investment will also see the playground railings painted blue and tangerine by volunteers to make it an even more inviting space.

The playground at East Pines ParkThe playground at East Pines Park

Chairman of the Friends of East Pines Park Coun Paul Galley said: “We are so grateful to the Lottery for backing us with this project.

“The roundabout will make our playground and park a place for children of all physical abilities to feel valued and most of all enjoy. This in turn will allow more families to enjoy the benefits of being in a great green space.”

The previous two phases of work have included the installation of a new play ship, swings, slide and new tarmac surfacing including a world map.

The friends group has raised more than £75,000 for the three phases since 2015 as part of a wider £150,000 raised for the rest of the park in that time.

Funding has included a £4,000 grant from the Swallowdale Children’s Trust as part of a community competition run by The Gazette.

Two years ago a grant of £16,000 was also received from an anonymous benefactor to install the new slide and safety surface and resurface the base of the playground.

Anyone interested in volunteering to join the painting team at the playground can contact Coun Galley on 07904 12161 or email


Blackpool teenagers arrested as homes, cars and sheds targeted in St Annes and Lytham crime spree

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Incidents on Woodlands Road in Ansdell, Warton Street in Lytham and Victoria Road, Salcombe Road and St Albans Road in St Annes


Homes, cars, garages and sheds were targeted as thieves went on a late-night rampage on the Flyde coast.

Four teenagers from Blackpool have been arrested by police following alleged thefts and attempted thefts across Ansdell, St Annes and Lytham.

Officers were called to a report of people trying to break into a property in Woodlands Road, Ansdell, at around 10.40pm yesterday (January 5).

Police then received further phone calls of several people attempting to break into sheds, garages and houses, in the same area.

A boy was arrested following a search of nearby roads and a moped and iPhone, both believed to be stolen, were recovered along with a bag containing bolt croppers.

Later in the evening a further report was made to police of an attempted break in on Hall Park Avenue, with two boys arrested. A fourth boy was later arrested in Blackpool.

Officers are investigating a number of offences linked to the group, including;

  • Damage to a vehicle in Woodlands Road, Ansdell
  • Theft from a vehicle in Warton Street, Lytham
  • Burglary in Victoria Road, St Annes
  • Theft from a garage in Salcombe Road, St Annes
  • A shed break-in in St Albans Road, St Annes

All the offences were reported to police on Wednesday night with officers appealing for information and urging residents to be vigilant.

Two boys aged 16 and two boys aged 15, all from Blackpool, were arrested on suspicion of burglary, theft and theft of a motor vehicle. They remain in custody.

Ch Supt Karen Edwards, West divisional commander, said: “As I would expect in these circumstances, my officers deployed immediately to the initial reports and quickly made several arrests and recovered property.

“This was a fantastic policing effort and I believe prevented further offences taking place.

“Such offending and the nature of such crimes shows a blatant disregard for the impact on the victims. I am grateful to the members of the public who came forward with information, reporting the incidents and allowing us to make a number of significant arrests.

“We know how emotive these crimes are. The impact of burglary or theft isn’t just financial; it can also have a significant impact on your emotional well-being and sense of security.

“I would like to reassure residents all these reported crimes will be fully and thoroughly investigated.

“While we know of some reports, we would encourage people living in these areas to check their property, including cars, garages and sheds. If you suspect you have been the victim of a crime, please call 101 immediately.”



Fleetwood’s transport fest Tram Sunday to return this year

Home | Blackpool Gazette

One of the Fylde coast’s most popular events is set to make a return for the first time in two years.


The SpareParts Festival has added an extra dimension to Tram Sunday

The SpareParts Festival has added an extra dimension to Tram Sunday

Fleetwood Festival of Transport, most commonly known as Tram Sunday, is due to be staged in the town on Sunday July 17.

The colourful spectacle combines major displays of classis cars, buses, motorbikes and trams with the eccentric SpareParts Festival, involving street theatre and a bizarre transport-themed parade.

One of the most memorable episodes from previous years was a dance of giant yellow diggers on Fleetwood beach.

Unfortunately the coronavirus epidemic put paid to the festival over the past two years -but now its back.

Terry Rogers, who took over as festival chairman last year, says the team is determined to make this year’s festival worth the wait.

But he says new volunteers are needed to help ensure the event, which has been running for more than 30 years, can safely go ahead.

He said: “We are looking for volunteers to undertake a variety of roles.

“We will need stewards and people who can deliver First Aid but they will be fully trained and coordinated so that they know exactly what is happening and what they need to do on the day.”

Terry said the absence of the event for two years meant that festival organisers were having to start from scratch in many ways.

He said: “We need to know how many vehicle owners are still exhibiting. We have to approve potential sponsors and talk with the various stakeholders such as Blackpol Transport – but we are back!”

Anyone interested in volunteering can email Terry at or visit the Fleetwood Festival of Transport Facebook site.



Second man found dead in Blackpool hotel in just seven months

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The body of a man in his 40s was found in a house in Blackpool town centre this week.


A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said they had attended ‘an incident’ at the house at 7pm on Tuesday, January 4, when the man’s body was found.

Police were notified and attended the scene at 7.15pm.

The man, who was described locally as a member of Blackpool’s homeless population who was placed in housing during the coronavirus pandemic, is the second person to be found dead at the Astoria Hotel in the past seven months.

Hull Road

Hull Road

In June 2021, the body of a man in his 30s was found at the property.

Neither death is believed to be suspicious.



Owen Dale Blackpool deal expires amid Cameron Brannagan reports

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Owen Dale’s loan deal at Blackpool was set to expire today, with no announcement on his future as yet from the Seasiders or parent club Crewe Alexandra.


The 23-year-old forward arrived on September 1, initially on loan but with a view to making the move permanent this month.

Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley said last week the club would “try to find a way” to resolve the issue.

Owen Dale in action for Blackpool against Luton Town last month

Owen Dale in action for Blackpool against Luton Town last month

Dale scored on his Blackpool debut in the victory at Reading but has featured only six times since. He most recently appeared in the defeat at Derby County a month ago.

Crewe boss David Artell said before Christmas that Dale would be welcome back at Gresty Road if a deal could not be agreed.

Meanwhile, Blackpool continue to be linked with the Oxford United midfielder Cameron Brannagan.

The League One club revealed that a bid for the 25-year-old, reported to have been from the Seasiders, has been rejected.

Manager Karl Robinson has criticised the player’s agent for bypassing him in a bid to force the deal through. Robinson added that the club’s offer had been made through the right channels.

Brannagan played in Saturday’s defeat at Lincoln City but was forced off injured.

An Oxford player for the past four years, he played in both legs of last season’s play-off semi-final against Blackpool.

Known to Seasiders boss Neil Critchley from his time in the Liverpool youth set-up, Brannagan spent the second half of the 2016-17 season on loan at Fleetwood Town, helping Uwe Rosler’s side to force their way into the League One play-offs.



When will Lancashire mornings start to get lighter? Here’s everything you need to know

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Nobody likes getting up in the pitch black and freezing cold and one question on everyone’s lips is ‘when will the mornings start to get lighter?’

Winter is great … for so long. But everyone needs their daily dose of Vitamin D and it’s difficult to get if you are working from home all day with dark mornings and even darker evenings.

So here’s everything you need to know about the lighter, brighter days ahead …

With the Winter Solstice marking the shortest day of 2021 on December 21 last year and only eight hours of sunlight in the UK, the mornings will already be getting slightly lighter – even if they still appear to be quite dark and gloomy.

Lighter mornings are on their way in Lancashire

Lighter mornings are on their way in Lancashire

After the Winter Solstice, days begin to increase in length by approximately two minutes and seven seconds every day.

This means that by January 18, and every four weeks after this date, we should see an additional hour of daylight.

Evenings will start to get lighter as they gradually shift to become equal in length to mornings – a process which officially takes place on the Spring Equinox.

The Spring Equinox will see both mornings and evenings last for roughly 12 hours each from Sunday, March 20. The clocks go forward to move us into British Summer Time on Sunday, March 27.

The clocks go forward to British Summer Time on Sunday, March 27

The clocks go forward to British Summer Time on Sunday, March 27

After this point, we will see lighter days and evenings as we approach the Summer Solstice, which falls in late June and marks the longest day and shortest night.

Then it’s time to fire up the BBQ!

Roll on summer!


Jake Beesley boosts firepower for Neil Critchley after ‘glaring’ Blackpool misses and lack of quality at Hartlepool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Neil Critchley will be delighted to have boosted Blackpool’s firepower with the signing of Jake Beesley after admitting his side missed “really gilt-edged, glaring chances” in their shock FA Cup exit at Hartlepool United.


Beesley joined on a three-and-a-half-year contract yesterday, having scored four goals in his last two games for Rochdale.

And head coach Critchley admitted the Seasiders could only blame their own faulty finishing for Saturday’s 2-1 third-round defeat against League Two opposition, after chances to build on Keshi Anderson’s early goal were squandered.

Shayne Lavery battles for the ball at Hartlepool but it wasn't Blackpool's day in front of goal

Shayne Lavery battles for the ball at Hartlepool but it wasn’t Blackpool’s day in front of goal

Shayne Lavery in particular had an off-day in front of goal and Critchley said: “We missed big chances, not half-chances. At 1-0 we were in control and we had some big opportunities to go two or three goals up. Ultimately we weren’t good enough at both ends of the football pitch and that’s why we have been beaten.

“It wasn’t our lack of effort towards the end. We threw everything at them, changed the shape and got lots of balls into the box but we couldn’t force a goal.

“Goals change games and theirs gave them a lift at important times. It gave them something to hold on to and our quality was found wanting.

“When you create the chances we did you would expect to take one of them. If we had at 1-0 you could only see one winner but if you don’t take your chances you don’t win games.”

Blackpool had scored seven goals in their previous four games, having managed just one from open play in the previous seven.

Critchley added: “I think we’ve been looking more of a threat attacking-wise recently. We’ve scored more goals in our league games and in the cup we should have scored more than one.

“We got into really good situations, but the last action in front of the goal frame has cost us. Our decision-making and final pass have been good, it has just been our technique or technical ability which let us down unfortunately.”

But Critchley, a fervent believer in the magic of the FA Cup even when on the wrong side of a giantkilling, was gracious enough to accept the day was all about Hartlepool, whose reward is a fourth-round trip to Premier League Crystal Palace.

He added: “We’ve had a real taste of what FA Cup football is all about. We had our success last year against West Brom at the same stage and now we are on the receiving end. It’s not a nice feeling, I can assure you.

“You could see their celebrations and there’s something magical about the FA Cup third round. It’s a great day but unfortunately for us these days can happen. We are not the first and won’t be the last.

“But what has cost us has been our start to the second half, a 15 or 20-minute period when we were not at it at all and totally unrecognisable from a Blackpool team I’ve been in charge of in my time here.”



Blackpool hits back over ’14th worst place to live in England’ claims

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool has appeared on another ‘worst’ list but supporters of the town have hit back at new claims that it is the 14th worst place to live in England.


Blackpool Tower is one of the nation's top landmarks

Blackpool Tower is one of the nation’s top landmarks

The town, which remains Britain’s number one seaside resort, appeared on the ’50 worst towns/cities in England’ list published online by satirical website I Live Here.

Blackpool was just above 15th placed Blackburn, although only a few derogatory words explained why the town was high on the list .

Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire surprisingly topped the unenviable chart.

Blackpool's green gem, Stanley Park

Blackpool’s green gem, Stanley Park

Although the resort does have its deprived areas and like any town has its problems, Blackpool remains much loved across the nation and residents say there are plenty of good reasons to live here.

Prior to the Covid pandemic, figures from Visit Britain placed Blackpool as the UK’s top seaside destination, with 8.6 million day visits generating, spending of £406m.

And last year even greater numbers came to Blackpool, with many vowing to return, after giving foreign holidays the chop because of Covid.

Along with well known attractions such as the Pleasure Beach, the unique Blackpool Tower complex, the Sandcastle Water Park, the Sealife Centre, the theatres with varied shows and events, no less than three piers and of course, the famous Illuminations, the town is proud of its miles of golden sand.

Making the most of Blackpool's golden sand, in front of Central Pier

Making the most of Blackpool’s golden sand, in front of Central Pier

Blackpool boasts a unique seafront tramway which is an attraction in its own right, Grade II-listed Stanley Park with its new BMX trail and beautiful flower gardens, the Marton Mere Nature Reserve and, as many have attested, a still thriving community spirit.

Claire Smith, from hoteliers association Stay Blackpool, said: “I have lived here all my life and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

“I take these silly surveys with a pinch of salt.

“There is always something going on in Blackpool and something to do, and a lot of them are free.

Claire Smith, of Stay Blackpool, is a firm champion of the resort

Claire Smith, of Stay Blackpool, is a firm champion of the resort

“How can you knock a town that gets so many visitors and is the number one seaside attraction year after year?

“Every town has its problems and there is always someone who is unhappy with their lot in life, no matter where they are, but we have so much here in the town itself, in nearby places like Lytham and Fleetwood.

“We still have a great community spirit here, demonstrated all the time by the people who actually live here.

“And our location is perfect, so close to the vibrant cities of Liverpool and Manchester and the Lake District.”

Paul Dewick-Day of the Bella Vista Lodge guesthouse on Havelock Street, said: “Blackpool is a fantastic place to live, wok and visit.

“The money that is being invested in the town at the moment is really encouraging.

“Last year a lot of visitors who haven’t been to Blackpool in ages came back here.

“And speaking personally, many of them will be coming back because they realised what they were missing.

“The numbers speak for themselves.”

Claire Smith added: “I take these silly surveys with a pinch of salt!”