Andy Mitchell watches abseilers brighten up the town

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I’ve never been much good at DIY. I’ll give it a go in the vain effort of showing an interest, but I’ve always been of the opinion things are best left to the experts.

Norbreck Castle

Norbreck Castle

I’ve tried painting things before around the house only for the paint to run, or a tin of the stuff accidentally get kicked over.

So when I glance around the town at the fabulous paint jobs being applied ahead of the new season, I can only wonder at the expertise being deployed, and at great speed.

A fine example of this is the facelift being applied to the Norbreck Castle Hotel. This vast landmark has been a part of the North Shore for a century, and has appeared in several different colours since it was built.

The cream colour has been looking a bit tired for a while now, so a refurb was due. Just how you paint a structure so big became clear one morning, when commuters on their way to work were treated to a display of bravery not seen since I was shoved through a trap door at the top of the Tower and told to abseil down the side.

It seems the best way to paint the Norbreck Castle (pictured), is, of course, to send a team of abseilers off the roof armed with tins of paint and a roller. It really is breathtaking watching them from the ground, and these decorating dare devils have become a tourist attraction in their own right in the last couple of weeks.

They’ve covered quite an area in a short space of time. As for the colour scheme, it’s a contemporary black and grey, when set against the new white window frames, will certainly give the landmark a new lease of life as it enters its second century.

It’s heartening to see so much repainting going on. As noted in this column recently, and after years of campaigning by local councillors, the Clifton Hotel is finally starting to look like its part of the town’s smart civic square after some much needed investment.

As for the idea of abseiling down the walls at home to complete a similar job, I’ve already been looking online for a suitable harness and bucket for the current Mrs M to make a start.

Blackpool Transport to celebrate 100 years of buses with bumper weekend of events

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Blackpool Transport will be celebrating 100 years of buses on the Fylde coast with a weekend of events.

 

Friday, July 2 will mark 100 years since the first ever bus service started running on the Fylde Coast and the occasion is being marked with a weekend of events between July 2 and 4.

On July 2, 1921, the first bus service to be operated by the then named Blackpool Corporation commenced running between Cleveleys and Thornton Railway Station, every 15 minutes with a 4d fare being charged for the full journey.

Fast forward 100 years, and now operated by Blackpool Transport, there are 16 bus routes serving Blackpool and the Fylde Coast with environmentally friendly buses.

Blackpool Transport will be holding special events for its 100 years of Fylde coast buses

To mark the occasion Blackpool Transport, with the support of the Fylde Transport Trust, are running a range of transport themed events on Friday 2, Saturday 3 and Sunday 4.

On the Friday and Sunday, members of the public will be able to enjoy a ride on a Vintage Bus along Blackpool’s promenade, travelling on sections of the original bus route from 1921.

And on the Saturday there will be a convoy of up to 20 buses taking place from Starr Gate to North Pier from 10am. Buses in the parade will date back as far as the 1950s, showcasing buses through the ages.

The parade will be followed by a static display of ten rare, vintage buses on the Blackpool Tower Headland from midday to 4pm.

Shane Grindey, marketing manager at Blackpool Transport said: “This is a real celebration of our history that we can’t wait to share. Our weekend of events has something for all and we’re looking forward to welcoming families young and old to experience our buses of the past and present.”

Residents and visitors will also be able to enjoy free rides on vintage buses on the Promenade on the Saturday and Sunday.

A selection of buses will run every 15 minutes between Starr Gate and Gynn Square, free of charge although donations will be accepted.

On the evening of the Saturday, the Fylde Transport Trust are running a timetable of free buses between North Pier, Castle Gardens and Poulton, allowing travellers to stop off at various eateries along the route.

On the Sunday, vintage buses will also operate on a special timetable between Blackpool Tower and Blackpool Zoo via Stanley Park, again operated by the Fylde Transport Trust free of charge.

Peter Watts, trustee at Fylde Transport Trust said: “2021 marks a significant anniversary in Blackpool, and the Fylde Transport Trust is proud to be a part of these celebrations, allowing local residents and visitors to the town a chance to sample a ride on some of our historic vehicles from Blackpool dating back as far as 1959.”

A full events calendar as well as booking information can be found at www.blackpooltransport.com/100years.

Treasure hunt at Lytham Hall on Sunday for WonderHall festival tickets

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Live music fans are being invited to take part in an exclusive treasure hunt at Lytham Hall this Sunday (June 6) to secure tickets to Lancashire’s newest music festival.

Lytham Hall is playing host to new festival WonderHall

Lytham Hall is playing host to new festival WonderHall

Tom Jones, Anne-Marie, Russell Watson and Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra are among the headliners at WonderHall taking place in the grounds of the hall from

Wednesday August 25 to Bank Holiday Monday August 30.

The treasure hunt will start at 12pm and fans will have until 4pm to find the tickets.

And lucky customers at Lytham restaurants will also find WonderHall tickets hiding in their menus on the same day.

WonderHall promoter Peter Taylor said: “The excitement is really building as we get closer to the start of WonderHall.

“We can’t wait to bring live music back to Lytham this summer so we thought we’d have a bit of fun now by creating a treasure hunt in the beautiful setting where we’re holding the event.

“As well as giving people the chance to win tickets by hunting around the grounds of Lytham Hall, we are also encouraging visitors to enjoy Lytham’s lovely hospitality venues by hiding tickets in their menus too.

“We are spoilt for choice in Lytham but the last year has been difficult for many businesses, so we hope people will visit the town not just for the WonderHall Festival, but to eat out too.”

The venues where tickets will be hidden in menus on Sunday are Lytham Hall, The Queens, Lytham House, Spago, Bosco and The Deacon.

For more information on WonderHall go to www.wonderhall.co.uk

Lytham ‘flasher’ suspect named after being charged with exposing himself in Witch Wood

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A man has appeared in court today (Friday, June 4) charged with indecently exposing himself in Lytham’s Witch Wood.

 

Adrian Fitzgerald, 58, of no fixed address, appeared at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court this morning.

He is accused of ‘flashing’ at walkers in the woods off Bridge Road on Wednesday (June 2) and has been charged with two cases of indecent exposure.

He is further accused of breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order by entering Witch Wood.

The 58-year-old is charged with two cases of indecent exposure after allegedly 'flashing' at walkers in Witch Wood, Lytham on Wednesday, June 2. Pic credit: Kate Yates
The 58-year-old is charged with two cases of indecent exposure
after allegedly ‘flashing’ at walkers in Witch Wood, Lytham on Wednesday, June 2. Pic credit: Kate Yates

The 58-year-old did not enter any pleas. His cases will be dealt with by Preston Crown Court on Wednesday, July 7.

Fitzgerald was arrested, charged and remanded in custody yesterday afternoon (Thursday, June 3), just 24 hours after the alleged offences.

A police spokesman said: “Following reported incidents of a male exposing himself on Wednesday (June 2) in Witch Wood, Lytham, a male has been arrested, charged and has been remanded in custody.

Dispersal order issued in Blackpool to tackle troublesome youths in North Shore

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Anti-social youths had to be dispersed from the streets of North Shore again (Thursday, June 3) under orders from police.

 

Police patrols were ramped up in the area and a Section 34 Dispersal Order was put in place between 11pm and 5am to rid the streets of troublemakers.

It is the second time this half-term that Lancashire Police has used its dispersal powers to clear the streets of those suspected of criminal and anti-social behavior.

A map provided by police shows a broad area of North Shore covered by the dispersal order – from the Promenade (east) to Layton Road (west), Warley Road (north) and Church Street/Newton Drive (south).

Police patrols were ramped up in North Shore and a Section 34 Dispersal Order was put in place between 11pm and 5am to tackle anti-social behaviour

Police patrols were ramped up in North Shore and a Section 34 Dispersal Order was put in place between 11pm and 5am to tackle anti-social behaviour

The dispersal powers allows police to order anyone suspected of being involved in the anti-social disorder to leave the area and return immediately to their homes.

The Gazette has asked Lancashire Police whether any arrests have been made and is awaiting a response.

Last night, a police spokesman said: “A dispersal order has been authorised tonight at 11.11 pm by Insp Matt Kneale.

“This is in response to the increase in youth ASB and criminality in the area defined by the map, the order has been authorised until 04/06/2021 at 5am.

A map provided by police shows a broad area of North Shore covered by the dispersal order - from the Promenade (east) to Layton Road (west), Warley Road (north) and Church Street/Newton Drive (south)

A map provided by police shows a broad area of North Shore covered by the dispersal order – from the Promenade (east) to Layton Road (west), Warley Road (north) and Church Street/Newton Drive (south)

“If you are suspected of causing or going to cause ASB in this area you will be directed to leave or taken home.

“Extra patrols will be in the area and robustly dealing with any reports of youth ASB.

“Failure to leave the area when directed to do so, could result in arrest.”

Inadequate Thornton-Cleveleys care home closed for good after residents left without baths in building ‘falling to bits’

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Morvern Care Centre was temporarily closed in December and will not reopen

Morvern Care Centre in South Promenade, Thornton-Cleveleys.

Morvern Care Centre in South Promenade, Thornton-Cleveleys. (Image: Google)

A Lancashire care home which was placed in special measures last year has had its registration stripped by the health and social care watchdog.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) officials rated Morvern Care Centre in Thornton-Cleveleys Inadequate and put it in special measures late in 2020 following a full inspection.

The CQC then temporarily suspended Morvern’s registration in December amid safety fears for the residents after a visit from the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, who deemed the Promenade building unsafe.

Residents were moved to a temporary facility with a view to the centre opening again in the future.

That was until May 27 when new documents from the independent body were published, stating that the registration had been cancelled.

The new document reads: “CQC have issued a notice of decision and cancelled the registered providers registration.”

The watchdog inspectors descended upon the care home over three days in September after receiving concerns over risk management, resident safeguarding and living conditions in the care home.

Upon arrival, they found the South Promenade home’s 48 residents were ‘sometimes exposed to risk of harm’, with the call bell system not fully working and risks to stop residents from falling not consistently addressed and managed.

“People are safe,” one staff member said, “apart from when the buzzers aren’t working.”

They found residents sometimes didn’t receive their prescribed medicine due to a lack of ‘robust’ re-ordering of drugs, with medicines, creams, and ointments also seen left in residents rooms unsupervised.

One staff member told inspectors they had not received any training around working safely in a Covid-19 pandemic, while another said they had a significant medical condition that had not been risk assessed.

Inspectors also came across very unpleasant odours’throughout’ the care home.

In their inspection report, published in November, 2020, they said one section of flooring was water damaged, meaning it could not be properly cleaned.

A total of nine mattresses were found to have stains, with one also being ripped.

Patches of damp were highlighted, as well as wallpaper peeling off walls, water leaks, a fault window and two out of use bathrooms.

In total, 14 bedrooms were exposed to damp with 20 bedrooms in need of decorating. A total of 24 rooms needed new carpet and fresh flooring was needed in communal areas.

One resident’s records also indicated they had not been given a bath in 62 days, with another resident’s not recording one for 22 days.

Care home bosses were adamant this was a ‘documenting error’ but this was contradicted by team meeting minutes which highlighted the fact that residents were not getting baths.

The conditions “compromised people’s human rights”, inspectors said, who were told by one person that “the building is falling to bits”.

Morale was “low”, according to one staff member, with one resident telling inspectors: “It’s quite stressful for the staff, we could do with a few more.”

“We are short staffed,” the staff member added. “I have been doing five, 12-hour days for plenty of weeks, covering for sick.”

Another report, published today (June 4) expanded further on the fire safety concerns.

At the time, fire authorities served and enforcement notice and provided a three-month time frame to make the building fire safety compliant.

Inspectors found that 18 people whose bedrooms were on the upper floors were dependent on the use of a wheelchair but there was no evacuation equipment, such as evacuation chairs or sledges to ‘safely evacuate people who could not independently mobilise on the stairs’.

The most recent report adds: “The identified evacuation route for one person on the lower floors had not been considered andprotected. This was because the egress was not adapted for wheelchair use and was blocked from theoutside by patio furniture making it unusable in the event of a fire.

“A visual inspection of the building noted a significant number of the fire doors were ill-fitting or unable toclose automatically and not suitably maintained. This would allow the rapid spread of smoke and fire. Thishad not been identified and addressed by the provider’s safety checks.”

A spokesperson for Movern Care Centre confirmed that the home would not be reopening, saying: “We have agreed with CQC to proceed on cancellation of our registration as this building is very old and it is not viable to change this in to modern care home therefore we did withdraw our tribunal appeal against CQC for cancellation.”

Statue beheaded in St Annes rose garden

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Vandals knocked the head off a statue in Ashton Gardens in broad daylight yesterday.

The damaged statue in Ashton GardensThe damaged statue in Ashton Gardens

“They have potentially used some sort of device to take the head off, because it is quite a solid statue. You would need some heavy blunt force to take the head off, so they may have used something to remove it.”

A Fylde Council spokesman said: “We’re devastated at the damage caused in Ashton Gardens yesterday

“Whilst most people appreciate our beautiful gardens and treat them with respect, it appears the minority are intent on spoiling it for the rest of us.

“We’ve seen an increase in anti-social behaviour throughout the borough in recent weeks, but the good news is our security teams will be stepping up their existing patrols.

“Our teams are clearing up the debris this morning and the incident is being logged with the police. We have recovered the head of the statue and will be organising repairs through a specialist stonemason.”

Anyone who knows anything in relation to the criminal damage is asked to call 101 quoting log number LC-20210604-0485.

Giant jellyfish up to two metres are washing up on Lancashire’s beaches – here’s why

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One woman mistook the sea critter for an octopus whilst another speculated if it was an alien left behind during the recent filming of Star Wars: Andor

Giant barrel jellyfish one and a half meters long discovered on Cleveleys beach

Giant barrel jellyfish one and a half meters long discovered on Cleveleys beach (Image: Mateo Sandford)

There have been several reports of giant jellyfish washing up on the shore in and around Cleveleys this past week coinciding with the weather turning significantly warmer.

A resident from Thorton-Cleveleys was shocked when he came across one of the deceased sea critters that was around one and a half meters long.

Mateo Sandford posted a picture of his find at Cleveleys beach on social media which quickly went viral.

The jellyfish pictured was that so large that one woman mistook it for an octopus whilst another speculated if it was an alien left behind during the recent filming of Star Wars: Andor in the area.

The creature is actually a barrel jellyfish and is relatively harmless to humans but can grow up to two meters long.

They have eight frilly tendrils which contain small stinging tentacles surrounded by hundreds of little mouths.

A sting from one might be mildly irritating but not severe.

Chair of Lancashire Marine Conservation Society, Dr Barry Kaye said: “They are not very dangerous, I am told that you can get a rash/burning sensation if you touch them, but the tentacles are not as extended or hard to see as those of the Lion’s Mane, so it is easy to avoid getting hurt.

“They are actually pretty common in the Irish sea, and typically a meter in diameter, though they can grow much larger. Occasionally, usually in the summer months, you will find one or two beached around the Bay area, as photographed here.”

The large creatures swarm in warmer coastal waters in late spring and often wash up on our beaches in May or June, often in their hundreds, which explains their current large presence on the Fylde coast.

Their favourite meal is plankton, which can be found in shallow waters, and as they under estimate their own size they often end up washed ashore.

They are identifiable by their translucent flesh and huge mushroom shaped bell along with their frilly tendrils below.

Barrel jellyfish on Cleveleys beach that was mistaken for an octopus

Barrel jellyfish on Cleveleys beach that was mistaken for an octopus (Image: Mateo Sandford)

They also have a violet fringe around the bell which contains sense organs.

If found, it is best not to handle one, even whilst dead, as they can still sting.

It is a good idea to report your sighting of a barrel jellyfish to your local Wildlife Trust providing a date, location, number and ideally a picture.

The Wildlife Trusts work with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of ‘Living Seas’, where marine wildlife thrives.

To find out more, please visit the Wildlife Trust website here.

Mrs. Brown’s Boys is set for live show return to Blackpool next year

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Actor and comedian Brendan O’Carroll and Mrs. Brown’s Boys have announced they will return to Blackpool next year.

Mrs Brown's Boys will return next year

Mrs Brown’s Boys will return next year

‘Mrs. Brown D’Live Show…Encore Tour’ will now take place in June and July 2022 with all tickets remaining valid for the rescheduled dates.

The tour will start at Blackpool Opera House on Monday, June 6 with other shows on Tuesday, June 7 and Wednesday, June 8.

A spokesman for the tour said: “The Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Musical? production next year will see them perform in some venues and cities that they haven’t played in for many years.

“Mrs. Brown’s Boys promises to take audiences on an exhilarating and side-splitting adventure.”

Brendan O’Carroll, who plays Mrs. Brown said: “It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever written. Even I laugh and I know what’s coming next!”

The tour follows on from the hit TV show Mrs. Brown’s Boys which has had notable success. It was voted the number one sitcom of the 21st century and it also include five BAFTAs and four National Television Awards.

The tour was scheduled to appear in Blackpool this summer with 30 per cent of the audience, after it was postponed from last year due to the pandemic.

However Brendan O’Carroll announced in April that the 2021 tour would also have to be postponed as the health of staff and crew, as well as the audience, was the most important thing for him.

In a statement, he said: “We had hoped to be putting our rescheduled 2020 shows on in 2021 but as time has gone on we can see that is not going to happen.”

Tickets are sale now via http://gigst.rs/MrsB and www.ticketmaster.co.uk.

 

Blackpool comedy club’s priceless TripAdvisor response to one-star reviewer who went to the wrong venue

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This is why you don’t mess with comedians, especially the ones at Comedy Station

Comedy Station in Blackpool

Comedy Station in Blackpool

The host of a Blackpool comedy club has published a cutting response to a one-star reviewer who went to the wrong venue.

Ryan Gleeson, of the Comedy Station Comedy Club on Bank Hey Street, posted the hilarious retort after the venue received a poor review from someone who wasn’t impressed with the line up.

The reviewer criticised the venue for not showing the Ken Webster show, which they believed they had bought tickets for.

He said: “Give people what they think not something else though I was booking ken Webster not comedy club it was rubbish.”

Mr Gleeson was quick to point out that the Ken Webster show is actually showing at the Pleasure Beach Comedy Club, which is almost two miles from the Comedy Station at the other end of Blackpool Promenade.

In his witty reply, the comedy host explained, in a roundabout fashion, that it is not the venue’s job to make sure customers are booking tickets for the correct venue.

The response:

“Here at the Comedy Station, wherever we do something wrong, we always aim to put it right, especially when it results in a one star review.

“Here’s what we’ll do, to improve, following your suggestions: Every time someone books tickets, we’ll contact them to ask who they thought was performing at the Comedy Station.

“We admit that we’ve been a little complacent in assuming advertising the full line-ups would be sufficient and for this, we unreservedly apologise.

“Secondly, we’ll contact them again, to ensure that they didn’t want tickets to another venue altogether. When customers arrive at our venue, we’ll ask again, to check that they are definitely at the venue they think they’re at, and not actually two and a half miles away from the place they thought they’d booked for.

“Where customers actually wanted to purchase tickets for an entirely different venue which matches the one in their thoughts, we will transfer your tickets, give you a lift there, buy your drinks and make sure you’re facing the right way.

“We’ll also wait until that show is over, give you a piggy back home and tuck you in, before you go to sleep.

“Throughout the shows, we’ll remind the audience where they are, just in case they suddenly remember that they didn’t want to watch stand-up comedy.

“We will also change all of our marketing to clearly state that we are not the Horseshoe Bar, we are not at the Pleasure Beach and that Ken Webster is not performing.

“We are sincerely sorry, that despite our clear description on the site from where you booked your tickets stating that the show comprises three comedians, hosted by Ryan Gleeson, we did indeed fail to point out that it wasn’t the Ken Webster Hypnotism show, and that we aren’t The Horsehoe Bar and we aren’t at the Pleasure Beach.

“Regard your comment about the show being rubbish, we do fully appreciate that comedy is subjective and we’ll never please everyone, all of the time, but given the fact that all other reviews have been amazing, perhaps your sense of humour may be as healthy as your ticket booking skills. Best regards, Ryan Gleeson Comedy Station Not Ken Webster Hypnotist Show At The Horseshoe Bar At Pleasure Beach Comedy Club.”

And that is why you don’t heckle a comedian, in public or online.