New future eyed for controversial Blackpool ghost train site

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The Carnesky’s Ghost Train was demolished in 2014 after moving to Flagstaff Gardens from the Winter Gardens

The former Blackpool ghost train ride at Flagstaff Gardens

The former Blackpool ghost train ride at Flagstaff Gardens (Image: TripAdvisor)

The site of a controversial Blackpool ghost train ride is set to become the destination of a new hospitality venture.

Blackpool Council is currently looking for parties to take over part of Flagstaff Gardens, South Shore, which was once home to the Carnesky’s Ghost Train.

This was until it was dismantled seven years ago.

And it is hoped the land, close to the Promenade between Withnel Road and Osborne Road, could attract a seasonal operator with the sale of food and drink among the potential options.The ghost train was moved to Flagstaff Gardens after initial failings at its previous home in the Winter Gardens.

It attracted controversy after costing £285,000 to initially install.

The investment was part of £875,000 the council had to allocate from its own budget to lever in £3.5m worth of grants from the North West Development Agency.

The land was later leased to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and last year a new toilet block was built by Danfo on the southern portion of the site.

Access would need to be maintained to underground water tanks which are owned by United Utilities.

The notice adds: “Proposals are invited for a summer leisure use only with moveable structures to allow access to United Utilities’ facilities.

“Award will be based on most appropriate use for this prestigious site.”

Potential operators have until midday on Friday May 28 to submit their offers.

 

21 fun-filled pictures as locals and visitors make the most of Saturday in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

These were the scenes in Blackpool yesterday

Visitors flocked to Blackpool yesterday as the sun made a brief appearance following a week of wet weather.

We were out and about, dodging zombies, and capturing the scenes as the resort took an other step back out of lockdown.

This is how you made the most of the day.

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Dachshund cafe coming to Blackpool where you can meet adorable sausage dogs

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The Pup Up Cafe event in Blackpool this summer will feature ball pits, competitions and more

Calling all dog lovers! A pop-up Dachshund cafe is coming to Blackpool this summer in what promises to be a “sausage mad day”.

You’ll be able to take your sausage dog to the special event where they can make lots of adorable four-legged friends, dive into ball pits and enjoy unlimited puppuccinos.

Pup Up Cafe are holding the Dachshund event at Revolution Blackpool on Saturday, July 17, from 10am until 2pm.

Organisers say that all staff are vaccinated, hand sanitiser will be available and Covid safety regulations will be in place.

Dogs and their owners will be able to mingle with furry little friends, in line with Covid rules, with sessions limited to up to 50 dogs and owners.

A Dachshund cafe is coming to Blackpool

A Dachshund cafe is coming to Blackpool (Image: Pup Up Cafe)

There will be unlimited dog treats and puppuccinos for all pooches, and your pet can have their moment of fame with photographers on hand to capture all the cuteness.

Your pet can also run around play in ball pits and tunnels and there will be plenty of toys and fun props to get stuck into.

And to add to all the fun there will be competitions throughout the day and you can mark the occasion by purchasing Dachshund and dog goodies from trade stands.

Join our brand new website TeamDogs now.

When you get there, make sharing a picture of your dog in our Top Dogs feed your very brilliant first job.

Maybe when you’ve done that, leave a recommendation to help fellow dog owners in the TeamDogs community.

Organisers at Pup Up Cafe said: “We’re hosting a Pup Up Cafe: Dachshund Edition at Revolution Blackpool! Grab tickets and come and join the Pup Up Cafe fun!

“COVID SAFE – staff have had vaccinations, hand sanitizer available at the venue and reduced numbers are in place, come and have some safe fun with the Pup Up Cafe!

The Dachshund cafe will feature ball pits, puppucinos, and lots of fun

The Dachshund cafe will feature ball pits, puppucinos, and lots of fun (Image: Pup Up Cafe)

“Dachshund Owners & Regular Humans alike: Do you love Dachshunds? Do you enjoy seeing many little sausages in the same place? Looking for your little pup to make some sausage friends? Come and join us for a sausage mad day!

“Our events usually gather 150+ Dachshunds & lots of Dachshund owners throughout the day!”

You can find out more about the event on their Facebook page, or you can book tickets here.

 

Ex-Blackpool FC and Leicester City player Tommy Wright now fighting crime as a police officer

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Tommy Wright had a 20 year career in football playing for the likes of Leicester City, Blackpool FC, Luton Town, Darlington FC, Corby Town, Brentford FC, and Barnsley FC

Former Blackpool FC and Leicester City footballer Tommy Wright in his police uniform

Former Blackpool FC and Leicester City footballer Tommy Wright in his police uniform (Image: Leicestershire Police / SWNS)

He spent two decades kicking a football around for a living.

But for former Blackpool FC footballer Tommy Wright, those days are now over with a focus on fighting crime after joining the police.

36-year-old Tommy, who scored six goals in 13 games for the Tangerines during a season at the club in 2005, has swapped the football pitch for the blues and twos.

And he says being recognised from his footy days has had its advantages.

Apart from Blackpool, Tommy played Premier League football at Leicester City with 21 appearances over a five year stint. He scored two goals at the Foxes including the winner against bitter rivals Nottingham Forest.

It is that goal that is often brought up when people spot him in his new uniform at Leicestershire Police.

He told the Irish Mirror: “Some people have obviously recognised that I played for Leicester.

“I’ve had it in custody as well, which was so funny.

And then the suspect’s appropriate adult had a Nottingham Forest face covering on, so he said, ‘I’ll tell him about your goal against us’. We had a bit of banter when it was appropriate, which I think can help tense situations like that.

“You see the initial look on their face when they notice and have a quick joke before getting back to the matter.”

Tommy, who was born in Leicester, says he has been recognised at least six times since completing his police training.

On one occasion he pulled over a driver who said: “You alright, Tommy?”

Another job saw the dad of a suspect recognise him from his footballing days.

Tommy made over 250 professional appearances for the likes of FA Cup winners Leicester, Barnsley, ­Brentford, Blackpool, Darlington, Grimsby and ­Aberdeen.

He represented England at the Under 19s European Championships and Under 20s FIFA World Championships.

On his career in football, Tommy said: “It’s fairytale stuff – stuff that you dream of as a boy. I was the fan on the terraces. All I ever wanted to do was to play for Leicester.

“I see that goal in my head like it was yesterday. Jumping the barrier and celebrating with the fans kind of felt fitting for me – because I was one.”

Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “Tommy’s a really good example of a local guy who wants to put something back.

“He’s used to being in a team, he’s used to the disciplines of training, he’s used to learning.

“Those are a really good skills base to put into being a police officer.”

 

Liverpool FC fans welcome Jordan Banks’ family and friends to Anfield after 46 mile walk

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Jordan Banks died on May 11 after being stuck by lightning while playing football in his home town of Blackpool

Liverpool FC supporters gathered outside Anfield this weekend to welcome the family and friends of Jordan Banks following a walk to the stadium from Blackpool in his honour.

Nine-year-old Jordan had been playing football on a pitch in the Common Edge area of Blackpool when he was struck by lightning during a severe storm on May 11.

Known as ‘Mini-Milner’ after one of his favourite Liverpool footballers, Jordan’s death shocked the country with outpouring of tributes and support for him and his family from the public and footballers across England.

Saturday (May 22) saw Jordan’s family, including his mum Danielle Begg, and friends walk 46 miles from Blackpool to the home of Liverpool FC, Anfield, in memory of the little man.

Arriving at 1pm, the group were met by local fans who had arranged a huge banner in remembrance of Jordan.

And the banner itself will be displayed in the Kop stand at Anfield during Liverpool FC’s final game of the season later today (May 23) as part of a tribute to the tragic young LFC fan, the Echo reports.

Family friend Campbell Simpson, 27, organised the walk.

“Then last Friday night I was getting a kebab and bumped into some pals and said I was thinking of doing a charity walk for Jordan’s family, they said where do you want to walk? I said, what about Anfield? With Jordan and his family being mad Liverpool fans it seemed the walk to do.

Family, friends and supporters of Jordan Banks including his mum Danielle Begg (front, third left ,at Anfield Stadium.

Family, friends and supporters of Jordan Banks including his mum Danielle Begg (front, third left ,at Anfield Stadium. (Image: Andrew Teebay / Liverpool Echo)

“So we set up a group, with a few lads and my partner agreed to jump on with her friends and also Jordan’s aunty. We decided to set up our own on JustGiving to see how we would get on and so far we’ve raised £12,000, but with the buckets we’ll be just short of £15k.

“Me and the group of lads, we put on Facebook that we were doing it, and there was eight of us and we said people were welcome to join, but then we realised we didn’t want people getting lost or hurt so we stuck to our group.

“I thought there’d be 15 or 20 in the car park when we met but about 50 people started the walk, people who we didn’t even know were there too and someone even turned up from Wales to do it.

“It was very emotional. Obviously I’d organised it but I was gutted I had to pull out 22 miles in. I got blisters on my feet two miles and was in agony so I went in the support vehicle and was giving people things they needed, picking people up and helping out.

“I jumped out at the top of the A159 and re-joined the walk anyway and ended up walking through Liverpool. It was very emotional, and so was watching everyone else getting emotional too.”

Vicki Sinclair, Jade Begg, Carly Jackson and Kensi Gallagher arriving at Anfield Stadium in memory of Jordan Banks

Vicki Sinclair, Jade Begg, Carly Jackson and Kensi Gallagher arriving at Anfield Stadium in memory of Jordan Banks (Image: Andrew Teebay / Liverpool Echo)

LFC staff opened up the ground at Anfield for the group to have a visit and see club tropgies and memorabilia.

David Jones, 30, from Formby was one of the fans who organised the banner

It properly struck a chord with me when I heard what happened to Jordan,” he said.

“I used to go to football at that age and hearing about it really hit home for me, I just thought is there anything we could do to bring any comfort for the family and friends.

“It was literally a random passing comment from one of my mates made on Twitter asking if anyone had organised a banner for Jordan Banks for the last game which started it, so I spoke to the person who does banners for the Kop and they said no problem and gave me a quote.

“We were only looking to fundraise £100 for the cost of the banner, but we’ve well surpassed that and are going to give the remainder to the fundraiser page. It just shows how the Liverpool family are, the way the fans all came together in 24 hours to get the banner sorted.

“We spoke to the people arranging the walk on social media and went down there today to meet them. I’m a season ticket holder and a big LFC fan myself, so I’ll be there tomorrow and it’s all arranged with the club so the banner will form part of the tribute to Jordan. He’s touched so many people.”

To donate to the JustGiving page associated with the walk to Anfield, click here.

 

Theatre, crafts, films and more planned for Blackpool’s new cultural hub

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We’re delighted to have been awarded this money and it will be good to be working with our partners on a project which we all have a real interest in”

St John’s Square in Blackpool looks set to become a cultural hub

St John’s Square in Blackpool looks set to become  cultural hub

St John’s Square in Blackpool looks set to become a cultural hub after the council received an £80,000 grant to fund a new events programme.

The money has been awarded by Historic England as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and Community Cultural Programme.

Activities based around the themes of theatre and performance, creative arts, film and heritage will be aimed at drawing more people into the town centre.

Ideas include outdoor theatre productions, craft workshops, film screenings in different venues and heritage tours and talks.

Coun Lynn Williams, council leader and cabinet member for tourism and culture, said: “The cultural programme and funding offers very clear opportunities to engage local communities in a number of different ways and on a number of levels with both Blackpool’s heritage and its dynamic and exciting artistic community.”

The funding is part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Community Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The events programme has been developed by the council in partnership with the Winter Gardens Trust, Blackpool Civic Trust and the Friends of the Grand, with further details set to be revealed at a later date.

Coun David Owen, chairman of the Winter Gardens Trust, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this money and it will be good to be working with our partners on a project which we all have a real interest in.

Last September Blackpool also received £532,575 from the scheme which is being used to restore Victorian frontages including at the Winter Gardens.

Kirkham has also been awarded £80,000 from the same fund to deliver a cultural programme in its town centre.

 

Dirty Dancing stage show coming to Blackpool Opera House

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Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage is set to be one of the first major shows to return to the Opera House Blackpool since the first lockdown in 2020

Baby and Johnny in the stage version of Dirty Dancing.

Baby and Johnny in the stage version of Dirty Dancing.

The cult classic 80s movie is coming to Lancashire as a stage show.

Broadway producer Karl Sydow has announced new 2021 dates for a UK and Ireland tour of Dirty Dancing, including a month-long run in Blackpool.

A dazzlingly renewed version of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage, will be show at the Blackpool Opera House from Tuesday, August 3, to Saturday, August 28, this year.

Dirty Dancing is set to be one of the first major large scale shows to return to the Opera House Blackpool since the first lockdown began in March 2020.

This is the first time since 2017 that the stage version of the 1987 film, starring Patrick Swayze, will be coming to Lancashire.

The iconic story of Baby and Johnny, featuring the hit songs ‘Hungry Eyes’, ‘Hey! Baby’, ‘Do You Love Me?’ and the heart stopping (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’, returns to the stage, following two blockbuster West End runs, four hit UK tours, and multiple sensational international productions.

The stage version of Dirty Dancing is coming to Blackpool.

The stage version of Dirty Dancing is coming to Blackpool.

The stage show originally opened at London’s Aldwych Theatre in 2006 with a record-breaking advance of £15m, making it the fastest ever selling show in West End theatre history.

The production became the longest running show in the history of the Aldwych Theatre and played to over two million people during its triumphant five-year run.

Since its Australian debut in 2004, Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage has become a worldwide phenomenon, with productions staged in the USA, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore and throughout Europe, consistently breaking box office records.

The first ever UK tour of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage launched in 2011 and then returned to the West End in 2013 playing at the Piccadilly Theatre in London, prior to launching a second UK and Ireland tour.

Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing (Image: Publicity Picture)

A further tour and West End Christmas season followed in 2016-17.

It went on to embark on a 2018/19 tour, entertaining audiences up and down the country.

Produced by Karl Sydow and written by Eleanor Bergstein who penned the original 1987 film, the stage show features the much-loved characters and original dialogue from the iconic film, as well as exciting extra scenes.

Tickets are on sale now for Dirty Dancing.

 

Police, coastguard and RNLI called after drunk person jumps off Central Pier

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Emergency services were quick to respond after a drunk person jumped off the end of Central Pier in Blackpool today.

Police, coastguards from Fleetwood and Lytham, and Blackpool RNLI were called at around 6.30pm to reports of a person in trouble in the water at the end of the pier.

A Lytham coastguard spokesman said: “We were called out to reports of an intoxicated person who had jumped off the end of Central Pier.

“We quickly arrived on scene and made our way onto the pier to meet with the first informant, as we arrived at the end the casualty had managed to climb back up onto the pier and they then made their own way off.

The coastguard at Central PierThe coastguard at Central Pier

“Don’t become a statistic this summer! Water and alcohol do not mix, stay away if you’ve had a drink and enjoy yourself another way. We also strongly discourage people to jump off the piers, there are hidden dangers underneath the water, you could cause yourself serious, life changing injuries and could ultimately, lead to death.”

An RNLI Blackpool spokesman said: “Our RNLI volunteers were called out this evening to reports of a person in difficulty near Central Pier. One D class launched and the other stood by, but fortunately the person was helped to safety by Blackpool police.”

 

Kids are catching a new Covid strain from pet dogs – and scientists are worried

The new disease evolved from a coronavirus that afflicts dogs (Photo: Shutterstock)
The new disease evolved from a coronavirus that afflicts dogs (Photo: Shutterstock)

A new coronavirus which originated in dogs is infecting children, new research has found.

Findings from a US study in Clinical Infectious Diseases suggest that coronavirus can be transmitted to humans from domestic pets, sparking concerns of further health crises in the future.

Study Co author Dr Anastasia Vlasova, of The Ohio State University, said: “At this point, we don’t see any reasons to expect another pandemic from this virus.

“But I can’t say that’s never going to be a concern.”

Linked to breathing difficulties

The new disease evolved from a coronavirus that afflicts dogs to infect humans, and may contribute to respiratory symptoms.

Analysis found that the virus may contribute to respiratory symptoms after some participants in the study suffered with breathing difficulties, while one young patient developed pneumonia.

Project leader Professor Gregory Gray, of Duke University, North Carolina, analysed the archived nasal swabs of 301 people treated in a hospital in Sarawak in East Malaysia in 2018.

Eight of these patients, all but one of them children, were found to have been infected with the new coronavirus, named CCoV-HuPn-2018, with one of the patients aged just five and a half months old.

All eight patients recovered from the virus and were discharged after four to six days, following oxygen therapy to help them breathe.

The US research team identified the novel canine coronavirus using a molecular diagnostic tool that they created last year to detect Covid-19.

Dr Vlasova grew the virus in her lab from one of the clinical specimens, which came from a child, and by reconstructing its genome, the team were able to confirm the canine coronavirus.

However, it is not yet clear if the virus poses a serious threat, but researchers are concerned animal to human infections will become more frequent.

Prof Gray said: “How common this virus is, and whether it can be transmitted efficiently from dogs to humans or between humans, nobody knows.

“What is more important is these coronaviruses are likely spilling over to humans from animals much more frequently than we know.

“We are missing them because most hospital diagnostic tests only pick up known human coronaviruses.”

“We need to conduct such virus discovery work among people with pneumonia and also among people who have intense exposure to animals so that we get early warning of a new virus which may become a future pandemic virus.”

The researchers stressed that better surveillance of areas where animals and humans intersect are needed to help mitigate the threat of outbreaks in the future.

Dr Gray added: “If we really want to mitigate the threat, we need better surveillance where humans and animals intersect, and among people who are sick enough to get hospitalised for novel viruses.

“Diagnostic tools like his have the potential to identify other viruses new to humans before they can cause a pandemic.

“These pathogens don’t just cause a pandemic overnight, it takes many years for them to adapt to the human immune system and cause infection, and then to become efficient in human-to-human transmission.

“We need to look for these pathogens and detect them early.”

Research ongoing

The researchers plan to study the new virus further to determine how harmful it is, or could become, to humans.

At the moment, it is unknown if the virus can be passed from person to person, or how well the human immune system can fight it off.

Dr Vlasova said: “We don’t really have evidence right now that this virus can cause severe illness in adults.”

She noted that only one of the infected patients was an adult, adding: “I cannot rule out the possibility that at some point this new coronavirus will become a prevalent human pathogen.

“Once a coronavirus is able to infect a human, all bets are off.”

When a virus alters its genetic makeup enough to go from infecting an animal to people, a combination of factors determine how well it replicates and spreads.

It must first enter the human body and recognise something on the surface of the cells, then bind to them. Around half of the genes of the canine coronavirus are similar to those of Covid-19.

The virus causes different symptoms in dogs, including gastrointestinal problems, while infected people experience a respiratory illness.

The potential threat posed by the viruses of dogs or cats, which also suffer illnesses from coronaviruses, has not been studied widely, but researchers are now calling for better monitoring

Dr Vlasova added: “Monitoring animal viruses is a way of protecting public health.

“We primarily put the emphasis on studying emerging disease in humans – not animals. That is a big flaw in the current approach.”

 

Blackpool street cordoned off by police

Home | Blackpool Gazette

West Street in Blackpool town centre remains cordoned off after police cars and vans descended on the area last night.

Police at the scene. Picture by Dave Nelson

Police at the scene. Picture by Dave NelsonPolice were seen in the street near Robert’s Oyster Bar at 9.30pm yesterday.

They remained at the scene this morning.

Police have been approached for further details.