Giant sand artwork welcomes visitors back to Blackpool

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It was a simple message in the sand as Blackpool’s arcades, pubs, eateries and attractions rolled out the welcome mat to visitors and declared ‘Blackpool is back.’

Visit Blackpool teamed up with artists from the Sand in Your Eye company to create a 70m etching of the town’s skyline – including the Tower, Central Pier’s big wheel, and the Big One – to mark the latest milestone in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Giant sand artwork welcomes visitors back to Blackpool | Lancashire Evening  Post

The sand art, raked into the sand on a stretch of beach along the famous Golden Mile, took nearly six hours to complete.

It is one of the largest pieces of sand art ever created in Blackpool. The process is described by the four artists from the Sand In Your Eye company as nature’s equivalent to a giant Etch A Sketch.

Blackpool Council tourism boss coun Gillian Campbell said: “It’s exciting – it’s been a bit like waiting for Christmas this reopening.

“It’s been a long time coming – it’s been a very long and tough 15 months for everyone – everyone who works in the tourism industry and for us as a Council and Visit Blackpool not being able to put on any events.

“It’s been incredibly difficult. But I think we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel now fingers crossed.”

“So we are delighted to draw in the sand one of Britain’s most iconic skylines to announce that Blackpool is back”.

Today’s easing of restrictions means that major indoor attractions such as The Blackpool Tower and Circus, Sandcastle Waterpark, Coral Island, SEA LIFE and Madame Tussauds will be able to open for business ahead of the next Bank Holiday at the end of the month, along with indoor venues such as the Winter Gardens, VIVA Blackpool and Funny Girls.

Hundreds of hotels and guesthouses, including the brand new Premier Inn North Pier which has been built on the site of the historic Yates’s Wine Lodge site in Talbot Square, can also open to overnight visitors.

Blackpool is back! Resort celebrates biggest unlocking of lockdown yet

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The sun shone on the resort, which today celebrated the biggest unlocking of Covid restrictions yet.

With arcades, pubs, eateries and attractions filled by the sound of chatter and laughter – and the jingling of tills – the excitement was palpable as traders declared: ‘Blackpool is back’.

To mark the big day, a 70m etching of the town’s skyline – including the Tower, Central Pier’s big wheel, and the Big One – was raked into the sand on the beach.

“We are thrilled our tourism businesses can get back to doing what they do best – providing fun and entertainment to millions of people,” tourism chief Coun Gillian Campbell said.

To mark the big day, a 70m etching of the town’s skyline – including the Tower, Central Pier’s big wheel, and the Big One – was raked into the sand on the beachTo mark the big day, a 70m etching of the town’s skyline – including the Tower, Central Pier’s big wheel, and the Big One – was raked into the sand on the beach

“The last 15 months have been incredibly difficult but finally we can tell the world that we are back in business.”

The easing of lockdown measures meant major attractions like the Tower and Circus, Sandcastle Waterpark, Coral Island arcade, Sea Life aquarium, and Madame Tussauds waxworks museum could all reopen for the first time in months ahead of the upcoming bank holiday.

Other indoor venues welcoming visitors once again include Winter Gardens, Funny Girls, Viva, and hundreds of hotels and guest houses – including the new Premier Inn North Pier, built on the site of the burned down Yates’s Wine Lodge in Talbot Square.

Friends Mary Caveney and Maria Farrar at the Winter Gardens
Friends Mary Caveney and Maria Farrar at the Winter Gardens

“We are feeling a range of emotions at the moment but mainly we are all raring to go.”

Tower Circus clowns Mooky and Boo took to the Comedy Carpet this afternoon to practice.

Mooky said: “We’ve been rehearsing for this day since the beginning of the second lockdown and we can’t wait to be entertaining live audiences once again.”

Last month, self-catering accommodation and outdoor hospitality and attractions – including the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, and the resort’s three piers – were allowed to open.

Jade Benson and Joe Cooper pulling pints in the Brew Room.Jade Benson and Joe Cooper pulling pints in the Brew Room.

The next phase, which would see all remaining restrictions on social contact scrapped, is pencilled in for June 21 – although concern over the Indian variant of coronavirus has cast doubt on that date.

That dark cloud on the horizon didn’t dampen any spirits, though.

Friends Mary Caveney, 69 and Maria Farrar, 68, were among the first few to sit down for a cup of tea and a sandwich in the Winter Gardens.

The pair hadn’t seen each other since before Christmas and were enjoying a catch up.

Three-year-old Jaiden and six-year-old Jasmine at the arcades on Central PierThree-year-old Jaiden and six-year-old Jasmine at the arcades on Central Pier

Maria, of Norbreck Road in Bispham, said: “It’s the first time I have been on the trams in over a year and I am really happy to be out.

“Mary and I haven’t seen each other for quite a while and decided we’d meet today.

“It seems really weird to say it but I have found it quite emotional coming back into Blackpool because it has been so long.

“It’s quite a big deal for me and we had been talking about the Winter Gardens so we have come here especially to have a nice gossip and natter.”

Mary, of Willow Bank Avenue in South Shore, said: “I’m slightly different as I have been out a few times as I can’t stand being cooped up in the house.

“I have been very impressed with how all the businesses have been dealing with the lockdown relaxation so it’s really good to be out.”

The arcades were all open again in BlackpoolThe arcades were all open again in Blackpool

The pair, who have known each other for more than 15 years, have both had their two jabs and feel safer than earlier in the pandemic.

Maria said: “It gives you a sense of security knowing you have the vaccine in you.

“Perhaps it won’t stop me from catching it but it makes me feel like I won’t end up in hospital with it.

“I don’t like wearing my mask at all but I do it out of courtesy and you don’t have to wear it while you are sitting down having a bite to eat and a cuppa anyway.”

Mary added: “There has been far fewer flu and food poisoning since we all started wearing masks so I’m all for them.

“I don’t like wearing them all the time but they have their plus points.

“It makes you think how many people haven’t been washing their hands all these years.”

Susan and Barry Taylor from Bispham said they think the resort is back in business for good – and had a pint at The Brew Room in Church Street for the first time this year.

Susan, 70, said: “It feels really good to be in the pub again after the year we have had.

“I’ve had problems with my heart and am having tests on it, so it feels great to have something to look forward to and enjoy at the moment.

“We really like the food in here and we knew it would be one of the first places to go once it reopened.

“It’s also great to be supporting local business and workers in Blackpool because they have all been hit hard recently.

Barry, 69, added: “It really does feel great to be doing things in Blackpool again and back in some sort of routine.

“It’s a Marmite town but one that some people really do love and it is great to see people coming back on their holidays here so soon as well.

“For Susan and I, it’s just great to be able to have a stroll round town and pop in for some pub grub, which we have been missing.

“We just have to hope that this is the last of the virus and we don’t get pushed into another lockdown.”

Businessman and former Blackpool mayor Robert Wynne, owner of The Brew Room, The Rose and Crown, and West Coast Rock Cafe, said the response to lockdown relaxation has been super.

He said: “It has been a really positive start for all three places.

“We are offering online table bookings and in the last two weeks we have done 1,200 bookings.

“We are also allowing walk-in customers and the response at West Coast has been brilliant on the first day.

“It’s great to have both Blackpool residents and tourists back in the town and with even more options for them to do something they haven’t been able to do in so long.”

Friends Gail Prasher, Maureen Penfold and Eve Wells from Banbury in Oxfordshire came to Blackpool for the weekend and had been looking forward to the resort’s arcades being open again.

The trio were at Central Pier on the penny machines.

Gail said: “I’ve been coming to Blackpool every year since I was a child and I just really enjoy it.

“With all the restrictions being relaxed we thought we would make a weekend of it.

“It’s just nice that we can do stuff like this again and not be in fear of the virus all the time.

“It does help having the vaccine as well.”

Maureen added: “I think doing things like being at the arcade helps a bit with your mental health as it is something different for your brain to try out.

“We’ve not had much luck yet in the arcade – but fingers crossed we will before we leave.”

And Eve said: “The thing I most enjoy about Blackpool is the same thing I have missed in the last year – socialising. Everyone is so friendly here and they make you feel welcome.

“It’s always good to get the opportunity to come and we have all had a good weekend of shopping, drinking and enjoying being out with friends again.”

James Mulachy from Liverpool visited with his family and also took advantage of the arcades reopening to entertain his children, Jaiden, three, and Jasmine, six.

He said: “We hired a lodge for the weekend because the children really love it in Blackpool.

“It’s really good to get away from your house because after so long you get sick of seeing the same thing all the time.

“We head back today but it was good to get them into the arcades after so long.

“Each relaxation of the lockdown feels like normality is being resumed again and it has definitely put a smile on Jaiden and Jasmine.”

WHAT CHANGED?

Since midnight, people in England have been able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30, and indoors in groups of six, or two households.

Pubs and restaurants are able to serve customers outdoors, although they are still limited to table service.

Other recreational venues such as cinemas, museums, theatres, and concert halls are allowed to open, although there are capacity limits on large events.

Up to 30 people are allowed at weddings, and the cap on the number of mourners attending funerals was lifted, in line with the safe capacity of venues.

Secondary school pupils in most areas are no longer being told to wear face masks in class and communal areas, and university students can return to campus for in-person lectures.

The ‘stay in the UK’ restriction has lifted and people can travel to ‘green list’ countries without having to quarantine, provided they take on post-arrival test.

FLY IN THE OINTMENT?

Boris Johnson and health experts urged people to exercise caution when they head to pubs and restaurants as the lockdown eases despite concerns about the spread of an Indian coronavirus variant.

Although ministers believe the vaccines will be effective against the highly transmissible Indian variant of concern, there are worries about the impact of its spread on those who have refused to have a jab or not yet been offered one.

The Prime Minister urged people to treat the latest easing of restrictions with a “heavy dose of caution” while Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warned against excessive drinking for those returning to bars.

Mr Kwarteng insisted the June 21 date for the ending of restrictions in England was still likely to be met.

He said “people should have common sense, they should use judgment and I think if we act in a reasonable way, there is no reason to suppose that we can’t reopen the economy entirely on June 21”.

He added: “We need to be cautious because if we get too carried away and the mutant variant spreads too quickly, that could endanger our ability to open up on June 21.”

Professor Graham Medley, a member of the Government’s Sage scientific advisory panel, said the chances of the June 21 date being delayed was “well less than 50 per cent” but added “it is uncertain”.

The main cause for concern is the Indian variant, which is on the way to becoming the dominant strain in some places including Bolton and Blackburn.

A major campaign has been launched to encourage people in those areas to receive a jab.

Mr Kwarteng said he did not want to “stigmatise people” over vaccine hesitancy, but said: “We’re not exactly where we want to be among certain communities but I think the take-up has been much greater in the last few months and more and more people are convinced that this is the way to keep themselves and their families safe.”

Dr Helen Wall, who is leading the vaccination effort in Bolton, said over the weekend more than 6,200 vaccines were administered in the area.

She said before the weekend there were around 10,000 people in the area in the highest priority groups, those deemed to be clinically vulnerable and the over-50s, who were yet to be vaccinated, but added: “I’m hoping that we’ve made a big dent into that now”.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said there were “concerns” about small numbers of older people who are yet to take up their vaccine offer.

“The biggest risk comes from, if there are large numbers of older people who are unvaccinated,” he said.

Mr Kwarteng defended the timing of tougher restrictions being imposed on travel from India amid speculation decisions may have been delayed due to the Prime Minister’s planned trade mission to the country in April.

India was placed on the red list, effectively banning travel except for returning Britons who had to go into a quarantine hotel, on April 23.

“It is easy with hindsight to say things could have been better or quicker and all the rest of it, but I think there was a balanced approach,” he said.

Despite the pleas for caution, some drinkers took advantage of the relaxations to sink pints shortly after midnight yesterday.

 

New ‘bucket and spade trade’ frog bin installed at Anchorsholme Park

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A new frog-shaped recycling bin has been installed at Anchorsholme Park, to encourage children to share their toys and simultaneously keep plastic out of the sea.

The bin, which cost around £300, was funded by Blackpool firm Glasdon UK, and the idea was the brainchild of Emma Howard, a Co-op community member pioneer for Blackpool.

Miss Howard’s role entails thinking of innovative ways to improve the Blackpool community, and she was keen to help with the prevention of plastic ending up in the sea.

Emma said: “My job is basically to look for potential issues in the area and try to address them.

Anchorsholme Park's new "bucket and spade trade" frog bin.

Anchorsholme Park’s new “bucket and spade trade” frog bin.

“I used to work in a hotel, and I saw for myself the amount of plastic buckets and spades which were left behind by families – so I know there is a big issue with plastic, especially in the sea.

“I’m hoping parents visiting the park will encourage their children to put their plastic toys in the bin, not only because it teaches them to share but also because they can say they’re helping animals.

“Hopefully by putting their buckets and spades in the frog bin, other children can reuse them and it keeps the plastic out of the sea.”

Neil Gilkes, national sales manager at Glasdon UK, added: “We were delighted to be asked to work on this innovative project for the park. We upcycled one of our existing products to bring Frog to life and it really is great to see the way the local community has embraced the idea and the positive impact this scheme is already having.”

Emma is hoping to gain more sponsorships for the scheme from local businesses or donors, to provide more parks and seafronts across the Fylde coast with the bins.

If you can help, you can email her here.

‘Thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes and tobacco’ stolen from Tesco lorry travelling to Blackpool

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Brazen thieves broke into the back of a lorry before stealing “thousands of pounds” worth of cigarettes and tobacco on a busy road near Blackpool.

The theft took place as the HGV was travelling along the A585 Fleetwood Road at around 10am on Friday, May 14.

At some point between the Shell Garage close to Greenhalgh Lane and the Windy Harbour lights, the driver of the HGV stopped to let a vehicle turn.

It is at this point officers believe the offenders broke into the lorry via the back doors.

They then took off with thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes and tobacco, police said.

DC Eleanor Jewell, from Blackpool CID, said: “The thieves had the audacity to break into this wagon whilst it was on its way to drop off stock to Tesco, on a really busy road.

A generic picture of a Tesco lorry.A generic picture of a Tesco lorry.

If you think you witnessed the incident unfold, or you have any dash cam footage, contact 101 quoting incident reference number 394 of May 14.

Alternatively, you can email 8060@lancashire.police.uk or contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

Police believe the theft took place when the driver of the HGV stopped to let a vehicle turn at some point between the Shell Garage close to Greenhalgh Lane and the Windy Harbour lights. (Credit: Google)Police believe the theft took place when the driver of the HGV stopped to let a vehicle turn at some point between the Shell Garage close to Greenhalgh Lane and the Windy Harbour lights. (Credit: Google)

Medics speak of new Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

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A new urgent care centre for people visiting the accident and emergency department in need of mental healthcare has opened at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centre (MHUAC), which opened last week, is located next to the A&E department where work is underway to create a multi-million pound ‘Emergency Village’.

The centre aims to provide a safe and calm assessment space for patients who appear at A&E with urgent mental health needs, and have no coronavirus symptoms or physical injuries.

It is open to anyone experiencing mental health concerns over the age of 18 via the emergency department at Blackpool Vic.

The Mental Health Liaison Team at the Vic's new Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centre. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaThe Mental Health Liaison Team at the Vic’s new Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centre. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

There are three assessment rooms with six nurses, two healthcare assistants and a team of doctors to ensure anyone presenting with mental health symptoms receives the care they need, without the distractions of beeping machines and people walking around outside cubicles.

Dr Mark Worthington, consultant liaison psychiatrist and deputy chief medical officer, said: “This is about being able to see mental health patients in a more timely way, so they’re not having to sit in A&E.

“It’s a much calmer environment here, particularly for those who are distressed.

“A&E didn’t have a dedicated mental health assessment area, so patients were being seen in cubicles or on wards in rooms that weren’t appropriate.

The MHUAC has three assessment rooms designed to provide a calmer space to conduct mental health assessments than the busy A&E department. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaThe MHUAC has three assessment rooms designed to provide a calmer space to conduct mental health assessments than the busy A&E department. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

“So the new centre has dedicated, safe rooms which are quiet, calm and not in as busy an environment.

“Patients coming here will have been assessed in A&E and sent over for a joint assessment, but in terms of purely needing mental health support we would always encourage someone to call the mental health crisis line as a first point of contact.”

The liaison team at the MHUAC works alongside other mental health provisions on the Fylde coast, including the Light Lounge on Whitegate Drive and Sycamore House in Warbreck Hill Road.

Sycamore House is a service for any one dealing with mental health issues over the age of 16 upon referral through the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCft) Home Treatment Team.

It was launched in collaboration with charity Richmond Fellowship, Fylde Council, the Vic and LSCft, and allows a person to stay up to seven days, offering a safe space for intervention, assessment and treatment.

Kelly Morrison, MHUAC and Fylde coast urgent pathway service manager, said: “We recognise that the emergency department isn’t always the best place to attend when in a mental health crisis, so we have this beautiful new unit which is really conducive to supporting people’s mental health.

“Mental health needs have changed during the pandemic, and we have seen a lot of people presenting with new mental health problems, where we saw the demand in the emergency department.

“People were reaching out for help in different ways, which is why as a Trust and locality we’ve really invested in what resources we have available.

“If a triage nurse identifies that someone is in need of mental health treatment only, they are now only a 30 second walk away for an assessment and signposting to the most appropriate service to suit their needs.”

Anybody experiencing a mental health crisis is urged to call the Mental Health Crisis Line on 0800 953 0110, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, or visit https://www.lscft.nhs.uk/crisis for more information.

 

Extra police patrols will monitor the reopening of pubs and bars as lockdown rules are relaxed today

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Extra police patrols will monitor the reopening of pubs and bars as lockdown rules are relaxed further today (Monday, May 17).

Lancashire Police says officers will take a "common sense and proportionate approach" to policing as lockdown rules are relaxed further today (Monday, May 17)

Lancashire Police says officers will take a “common sense and proportionate approach” to policing as lockdown rules are relaxed further today (Monday, May 17)

The force is urging people to continue to follow the rules and guidance as Lancashire’s pubs, bars, cafes and other businesses prepare to welcome customers inside for the first time this year.

From today (Monday, May 17), we can socialise indoors in groups of up to six or two households, including for overnight stays. Up to 30 people can also meet outside whilst pubs, restaurants, cafes and other venues can welcome customers back indoors.

Ch Supt Russ Procter, of Lancashire Police, said officers will take a “common sense and proportionate approach” to policing as lockdown measures continue to be eased.

“Our overall policing style won’t change – we will still be very visible and take a common sense and proportionate approach to policing the regulations in force at any point in time,” said a Lancashire Police chief

He said: “While we are moving back towards some normality and today’s easing of certain lockdown measures is a further step in the right direction it is important to remember that the virus is still with us and we don’t want confidence to lead to complacency.

“The vast majority of residents in Lancashire have shown tremendous patience and support in following the rules since the start of the pandemic and we would absolutely encourage them to continue to do so.

“We’re looking forward to seeing people out enjoying themselves but please remember to do so safely.

Police say around 80 people were involved in a drunken brawl at the Talbot pub in Balshaw Lane, Euxton at around 10.30pm on Saturday (May 15)
Police say around 80 people were involved in a drunken brawl at the Talbot pub in Balshaw Lane, Euxton at around 10.30pm on Saturday (May 15)

“We’re of course mindful about a return to people being allowed indoors in pubs and restaurants. Please follow the rules, pace yourself and drink safely. Stick with your mates and plan your journey home.

“We’ll police with pride and professionalism and we will be engaging, friendly and fair – we won’t however tolerate significant anti-social behaviour, violence or criminality.”

The message from Lancashire Police comes after a mass brawl broke out at a pub in Euxton, near Chorley, at the weekend.

Police say around 80 people were involved in the drunken fracas at around 10.30pm on Saturday (May 15) and three people were injured after being struck with glass bottles.

The force said three people were “seriously assaulted with glassware” and required treatment from ambulance crews.

Local councils say their licensing teams will be monitoring pubs and bars this week to ensure they are following guidance, meeting licensing conditions and keeping their customers safe.

New Covid vaccine clinics open in Lancashire with thousands of extra doses avail…

Lancashire Police said its officers will support local councils to ensure these rules are followed and will visit pubs and bars during their patrols.

Ch Supt Procter added: “The last year has been really been tough for us all but there is cause to be hopeful. If you are heading for the pub, have a good time but please be responsible.

“We’ll be visible, with extra officers on patrol and will have a focus on pubs, bars and the night-time economy.

“We still expect it will be really busy for us across Lancashire. Many of our officers haven’t had much of a break since the pandemic started – please let’s do our best to help us stay on the road towards normality over the next few weeks by being responsible and having respect for yourself, others and the law.

“On the whole, the people of Lancashire have shown tremendous support and respect for the regulations – let’s make sure this continues.

Live updates as Lancashire take the next step and rules ease further – Follow our live blog as lockdown rules are relaxed in Lancashire from today (Monday, May 17).

Traders raring to go in Fylde as restrictions ease further

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Fylde businesses and other venues which have been closed for months are eagerly looking forward to the biggest lifting of coronavirus  restrictions yet.

Cafes, restaurants, hotels and pubs among those allowed to welcome back customers indoors today for the first time this year.

Jamie Croasdale, who runs the Black Sheep Tea Rooms in Lytham and St Annes with wife Melanie, said: “We are really looking forward to letting our customers through our doors again.

“With the weather being so uncertain, it will make a big difference and we hope to see a busy few weeks ahead.”

Jamie and Melanie Croasdale of the Black Sheep Tea Rooms in St Annes and LythamJamie and Melanie Croasdale of the Black Sheep Tea Rooms in St Annes and Lytham

Veli Kirk, proprietor of the Anatolia Seaview restaurant in St Annes, said: “We’re raring to go. We’ve had plenty of advance interest and are so looking forward to seeing our customers again.”

Lytham Hall will open again to visitors, with assistant manager Paul Lomax saying: “We’ve had a great response from the public to our outdoor facilities in recent weeks and the Hall will from this week be open free flow style six days a week.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “We have kept to the restrictions so well here in Fylde and thank you to everyone for doing so.

“We must do everything we can to stick to the remaining rules and ensure we continue seeing a decrease in Covid cases – and the end of restrictions once and for all in the near future. It

has been difficult for so many people, but now we can enjoy the latest relaxations and support local businesses as much as possible.”

Inquest opens for Jordan Banks at Blackpool town hall

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The investigation into the death of nine-year-old Jordan Banks has begun.

Jordan BanksJordan Banks

Jordan, a Stanley Primary School pupil who played for Clifton Rangers JFC, was struck by lightning during a one to one coaching session on Common Edge playing fields on Tuesday, May 11. He was taken to Blackpool Victoria hospital, where he died.
Opening the inquest, coroner Alan Wilson said: “This incident occurred shortly before 5PM on Common Edge Road. Jordan was participating in a football coaching session when he was struck by lightning.

“He was taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where his death was confirmed shortly before 6PM.”

People all over Britain united in mourning the ‘amazing’ youngster, who was a Liverpool FC supporter and drew praise from the club’s vice-captain James Milner in January, when he raised £2.3k for mental health charity Counselling in the Community.

READ: Blackpool united in grief: 24 pictures of the convoy tribute to Jordan Banks. His dad Matt Banks said: “Jordan was, and is, the most amazing little person. He had the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone, and when parents say they have the best kid ever, he generally was the best ever, and if I ever could have asked for a perfect child that was my Jordan. I couldn’t have been prouder of him always putting other people himself, such a selfless little person.

“Even now his kindness has meant that three other children may be able to live, as he always told us he wanted to be able to help other people if he could, so was a donor… which we know will be what he wanted.”

A full inquest was arranged for 11.30am on July 21.

 

Blackpool B&B owners call for action over eyesore hotel hit by fly-tipping

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Hoteliers around North Promenade Blackpool are pleading with the council to clear up a notorious eyesore before holidaymakers start arriving.

 

Frustrated B&B owners are fed up with fly-tipping at the derelict New Hackett's hotel. Pictured are Michael Higgins from The Pembroke and Mark King from The Beaucliffe.Frustrated B&B owners are fed up with fly-tipping at the derelict New Hackett’s hotel. Pictured are Michael Higgins from The Pembroke and Mark King from The Beaucliffe.

B&B owners say that a derelict hotel in a prime site will put off visitors, is a health risk and attracts fly-tippers.

They want the council to board up and tidy up the New Hacketts hotel which has been derelict since 2018 and last year had a fire across four floors.

Mark King, from the Beaucliffe Hotel, Holmfield Road, speaking on behalf of a group of B&B owners in the area, said that the council had promised to do something about the hotel which has been hit by repeated break-ins.

The hotel is an eyesore which will put off visitors say the B&B ownersThe hotel is an eyesore which will put off visitors say the B&B owners

He said: “We spoke to the council last year and they did say they were going to board it up and make it safe but nothing has been done.

“We are all busy getting our hotels ready for when we are allowed to welcome guests again, but this eyesore makes the place look terrible. It is disgraceful.

“People going past in their cars or on the trams must think this part of Blackpool is terrible. We are all trying to attract new customers to Blackpool while people are staycationing and this does not help. Now we have got fly-tipping on that site too.

It was damaged in a suspected arson incident last year and now has attracted fly-tipping
It was damaged in a suspected arson incident last year and now has attracted fly-tipping

He said the hoteliers realised the council has had difficulties dealing with the New Hackett as it is in private hands and because of the effects of the pandemic, but now was the time to act to prevent the problem becoming more dangerous.

He added: “The building has had fires and now this fly-tipping, with furniture and all sorts dumped there. We just want the council do do what they said and board it up and make it safe.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard has been supporting the hoteliers.

He said: “I have been working to support business owners in King Edward Avenue and to bring to the council’s attention the condition of the Hackett’s site.

The B&B owners are calling on the council to board it off and tidy it upThe B&B owners are calling on the council to board it off and tidy it up

“I have stressed that with guest house businesses opening from Monday the importance of the site being presentable. If necessary enforcement action should be taken to make sure the premises are tidy and secure.

“In the longer term I wish to see this large hotel property brought back into use and contributing positively to our local economy and the community.

“Numerous proposals have been discussed but it is ultimately up to the site owner how to proceed.”

Blackpool Council has now sent enforcement officers to the site to inspect the extent of the problems.

 

The fortune-telling family that made Blackpool famous for psychics and clairvoyants

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The Ellis family were experts in palmistry, physiognomy, crystal gazing, fortune telling, graphology, hypnotism, and spiritualism

Ida Ellis giving a palm reading circa 1896

Ida Ellis giving a palm reading circa 1896 (Image: Courtesy of Wyre Archaeology)

The forecasting of future events and the assessment of one’s character by means not considered rational has been practised since as far back as 4000 BCE, with its origins in ancient Egypt, China and Babylonia.

By the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, the concept of fortune telling became rapidly more organized and sophisticated.

The practice began to flourish not in the country’s capital of London but in the ever-growing popular seaside resorts with Blackpool being the most influential.

The newly built and developed railway network to the town meant meant the middle and working classes could embark on better holidays and so the fortune tellers of the day followed this trend.

One infamous family in Blackpool however took this trade to its maximum potential.

Ellis Family advert circa 1896

Ellis Family advert circa 1896 (Image: Courtesy of Wyre Archaeology)

The Ellis family, who were qualified scientists of the time, established themselves in the town in 1891.

They were experts in palmistry, physiognomy, crystal gazing, fortune telling, graphology, hypnotism, palmistry and spiritualism.

The occultists were famous for their practice of phrenology which involves the observing and feeling of the skull and bumps on one’s head to determine an individual’s psychological attributes.

Although by today’s standards we could write the family off as quacks and charlatans, the Ellis’s truly believed in their methods and managed to successfully acquire a grand premises based on, not only their successful entrepreneurship of land and property, but also because of what we would deem as a good ‘business model’ today for their fortune telling.

Forget the notion of stripy pop up tents, candles and beaded curtains, by the early 20th century the Ellis’s occupied a house with 11 rooms, had a domestic servant and operated from a site that is where the current Madame Tussauds wax museum is today.

Queuing at the opening of Madame Tussauds on Blackpool promenade.

Not originally from Blackpool, husband Albert and Ida Ellis and brother Frank Ellis moved from Leeds and then briefly in Batley as the seaside’s town reputation for fun and entertainment grew.

In 1890 Albert and Ida had a son named after their uncle.

Albert, an insurance agent, had gained a lot of influence in the town when they arrived and became a town councilor.

He also established a partnership with butcher John William Outhwaite and established a thriving fairground alongside the gypsies and hawkers who traded on the seafront.

His family business however was ran like a true service and each family member having a specialty.

Frank’s was physiognomy, Ida’s was palmistry, crystal gazing, automatic writing and psychometry and Albert’s was graphology and phrenology.

The literature created by the family was incredibly sophisticated and provided stiff competition for the psychiatrists of the day mostly written by Ida and published by Albert.

The World War I veteran’s home sponsored Phrenology Booth at a fair. London, Ohio, Summer 1938. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images) (Image: CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images))

If you crossed the palm of an Ellis family member, they would then delve deep into your psyche asking complex and probing questions.

The height of scientific analysis, a calculation was made on paper in pencil of your ways to gain success, bad omens and pitfalls to avoid.

Although seemingly primitive, this “chart” was packed full of information from a personal reading where customers could take home and live by the prescribed advice.

Even babies could get their “charts” done to serve as a predicter of their personality, potential characteristics and where they would and wouldn’t excel in life.

Although more organised and sophisticated than the Gypsies and palmists who endured all weather out in tents on the beach, the family still lived with the suspicion and stigma of their beliefs.

Ida Ellis giving a palm reading circa 1896

Ida Ellis giving a palm reading circa 1896 (Image: Courtesy of Wyre Archaeology)

Their time in Batley saw them have their first brush with the law in 1891 when they were accused of writing and publishing “obscene” literature.

The trio were subjected to ridicule, contempt, fines and imprisonment and Ida herself had a short stint in Preston Gaol.

Despite this they successfully set up a publishing house and were very protective of their written work.

Their eye catching posters and charts of crystal balls and palms were incredibly eye-catching which help stay on top of the Blackpool fortune telling scene.

Being a “bump feeler” proved lucrative and even the stands on the beach that practised phrenology could earn them up to £10 a day which a lot of money at the time.

Although the family could be seen as making a quick buck from vulnerable people, their personality traits did express empathy and sympathy for the human condition and they appeared to have sincere intentions to help people.

A sign advertising a fortune teller's services on the central pier in the seaside town Blackpool, Lancashire, April 1987.

A sign advertising a fortune teller’s services on the central pier in the seaside town Blackpool, Lancashire, April 1987. (Photo by RDImages/Epics/Getty Images) (Image: Epics/2010 Getty Images)

Despite suffering controversy at times, Ida’s sensitivity and Franks’ political liberalism made the pair popular with those they met.

All three founded ‘The British Institute of Mental Science’ situated on Kent Road, Blackpool based on their principals though its overall success was questionable.

The 1920s proved a quiet periods for the Ellis’s and in the early 1930s they loved to Cornwall after falling in love with the resort.

Albert died in Trewinnard, Cornwall on October 3 1934 after being ill for some and Ida herself died later in 1940.

Albert’s brother Frank remained in Blackpool all his life and died in late 1939.