Speculation mounts that Blackpool will allow former Sunderland midfielder Ethan Robson to leave on loan

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Ethan Robson will be allowed to leave Blackpool on loan next season, according to reports.


The midfielder made 36 appearances for the Seasiders last season, scoring once, in his debut campaign with the club.

But the 24-year-old, who arrived last summer on a free transfer from Sunderland, ended the season as a substitute, only making fleeting appearances off the bench.

He was also left out of Blackpool’s squad for their recent Wembley win against Lincoln City in the League One play-off final.

Robson was linked with a move away midway through the campaign during the January transfer window – Scottish sides Rangers and Motherwell were both linked with his services.

When asked about speculation regarding Robson and MJ Williams – who ended up joining Bolton Wanderers – back in January, Critchley told The Gazette: “We have to look at the balance of the squad and what we think is right, what is best for the club and for the player.

“No deal at the moment is imminent, but I’d be surprised if at the end of the day there wasn’t some type of movement in and out.

Ethan Robson could be allowed to leave Blackpool on loan next seasonEthan Robson could be allowed to leave Blackpool on loan next season

“Until it’s definite these deals happen, I wouldn’t want to comment on individual players at this moment in time.”

According to website Football Insider, Blackpool have given Robson the green light to find a loan club for next season.

They claim the midfielder is attracting interest from clubs in the EFL and in the SPL.

Robson has previous experience of playing north of the border, making 13 appearances on loan with Dundee during the 2018/19 campaign.

He also made 21 appearances for Grimsby Town the following season, scoring three times.

With Kevin Stewart, Kenny Dougall, Matty Virtue and Grant Ward already under contract, Robson’s chances of getting regular game time in the Championship with Blackpool appear slim.

The likes of Teddy Howe, Oliver Sarkic and Joe Nuttall are also likely to be loaned out next season, having rarely featured this season in League One.


Poignant ceremony at Veterans Walk in Blackpool’s Stanley Park

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A poignant dedication and memorial ceremony has taken place on the Veterans Walk area of Blackpool’s Stanley Park.

Three new memorial trees are unveiled in the Veterans Walk area of Stanley Park

Three new memorial trees are unveiled in the Veterans Walk area of Stanley Park

Three new memorial trees and plaques were unveiled, dedicated to three recipients – the NHS, Blackpool Palatine Rotary’s blood bike service and the Friends of Stanley Park.

There were already 12 oak trees and plaques along this part of the park, many of them devoted to lost servicemen and women in various wars and conflicts while others are in honour of emergency services and community organisations.

It was intended to add the latest three trees last year, but the Covid restrictions intervened.

Blood Bike rider and rotarian Mark Rooker with Terry Harrison, president of Palatine Rotary and Elaine Smith from Friends of Stanley Park.Blood Bike rider and rotarian Mark Rooker with Terry Harrison, president of Palatine Rotary and Elaine Smith from Friends of Stanley Park.

The project , which has cost around £5,000 overall, has been overseen by the Friends of Stanley Park, who contributed most of the funds, supported by Blackpool Palatine Rotary Club.

The memorial unveiling was attended by Lancashire Deputy Lieutenant John Barnett MBE, who gave a speech, as well as representatives of all three recipients.

Elaine Smith, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park, said: “Veterans Walk is a lovely part of the park which honours those who have provided service, including those who lost their lives in times of conflict.

“We have wanted to include these extra trees for some time but just when we were ready early last year, Covid struck.

Peter Murphy and Jim Gardner from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals with the tree dedicated to the NHS.Peter Murphy and Jim Gardner from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals with the tree dedicated to the NHS.

“Because of the ongoing restrictions, we didn’t have as many people there are the unveiling as we would have wanted, but it was wonderful to have the Deputy Leuitenant there.”

She added: “We have lost some of our members in the Friends group, because of Covid, so we thought it was also a fitting way to honour them too.”

Joyce Street and Elaine Smith from the Friends of Stanley Park.Joyce Street and Elaine Smith from the Friends of Stanley Park.

One of the plaques unveiled on the dayOne of the plaques unveiled on the day


Warning over Blackpool town centre parking as Winter Gardens hotel gets go ahead

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A multi-storey car park is earmarked for the site of the former Syndicate nightclub in Blackpool which would help replace public parking lost when a hotel is built alongside the Winter Gardens.

Artist's impression of the proposed hotel

Artist’s impression of the proposed hotel

The plans include a double level car park with 94 spaces, but these will be for use by hotel guests only.

Ian White, a director of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, warned councillors parking provision still needed to be made for people staying at smaller b&bs and hotels in the area.

He told the meeting: “Since earlier applications the immediate locality has seen significant pressure on parking.

“The new medical centre with boundaries on South King Street, Adelaide Street and Alfred Street will put significant extra pressure on parking.

“Not forgetting that this development will see the loss of approximately 80 spaces, many of which are used by guests staying in the adjacent holiday accommodation and that loss will be felt significantly within the local community.”

Council planning office Clare Johnson told the meeting while the hotel development would mean the loss of a car park, the former Syndicate nightclub site was designated for a multi-storey car park.

The latest scheme is the fourth to secure planning permission since 2010, but so far development has stalled.

However it is hoped this application, by Hertfordshire based developer Kewdeal Ltd, will be more lucrative as the hotel will stand directly opposite the town’s £28m new conference centre which is nearing completion at the Winter Gardens.

The site is currently being marketed for sale by Manchester-based property agent Savills with a price tag in excess of £3m.


Police seek witnesses after teenage motorcyclist seriously injured in Blackpool crash

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A 19-year-old motorcyclist who sustained serious head injuries in a crash on Whitegate Drive this morning remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Whitegate Drive this morning

Whitegate Drive this morning

Police are appealing for witnesses and dashcam footage following the incident, which happened at 10.10am this morning, June 10.

A Renault Captur and a Honda CBF 125CC motorcycle crashed close to the health centre.

The motorcyclist, a 19-year-old man, was taken to hospital with a serious head injury, where he is described as being in a stable condition.

The driver of the Renault was uninjured.

The road remained closed for approximately four hours to facilitate collision investigation work at the scene.

Blackpool biker seriously injured in Whitegate Drive crash

Sgt Steve Hardman, of Lancashire police’s serious collision investigation unit, said: “This collision has left a man in a serious condition in hospital and my thoughts are with him and his loved ones at this difficult time.

“We have now opened an investigation to establish the circumstances that led to this collision, and I would ask any witnesses or anybody with dashcam or CCTV footage which could assist our enquiries to get in contact with the police.”

Anyone with information or footage is asked to email 2385@lancashire.police.uk or call 101, quoting log 0377 of June 10, 2021


Blackpool’s ‘Call to the Sea’ mermaid statue unveiled as regeneration continues

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The ‘Call of the Sea’ sculpture is sited close to the popular new heritage tram benches

Blackpool's new statue

Blackpool’s new statue

A new statue celebrating the importance of protecting Blackpool’s coast and marine life has been unveiled today (June 10) at Talbot Square.

The sculpture is one of a number of works commissioned as part of the ongoing regeneration plans aiming to make the town centre more attractive to shoppers, residents and investors.

The ‘Call of the Sea’ sculpture is sited close to the popular new heritage tram benches by artist Andy Hazell.

Artist Laurence Payot wants the statue to become a new local character inspired by sea goddesses and heroes across cultures.

Covered in replica shells and sea life based on those found locally, the statue gives a message of hope for the marine environment that is threatened globally by climate change.

The funding for the statue has come to Blackpool from a grant through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership under its Growth Deal.

The design was developed from the results of a community consultation led by the artist and plays with Blackpool’s link to performers using magic and illusion to entertain people, and in particular the traditional street performer disguised as a statue.

During the consultation phase, Laurence spent time with fashion students from Blackpool and The Fylde College, pupils from Blackpool Gateway Academy and the council’s beach patrol team in creative workshop sessions before finalising her design.

Charlotte said: “I was born in Blackpool and I couldn’t imagine living away from the sea – it has intrigued me from a very young age. The sea has so many hidden features, it is a beautiful and mysterious world.

“I was delighted to help Laurence create this work, from seeing the initial children’s designs, to testing outfits and positions, and being 3D scanned! It was fascinating seeing the process from casting in wax, to bronze, and painting.

“I’m representing my generation, who have become more aware of the problems we now face. We live at a turning point – we need to take action, and this is what this statue represents, looking after and fighting for our environment and our future.”

The sculpture has been made by Castle Arts Foundry using a state-of-the art 3D scanner on the live model so that the statue looks as realistic as possible. It has then been cast in bronze and painted an array of colours reflecting the natural vibrant colours of an undersea coral bed.

Call of the Sea in Blackpool

Call of the Sea in Blackpool

Laurence said: “Call of the Sea will mark a turning point for Blackpool which has declared a climate change emergency and send a positive and optimistic message about the town’s progress to maintain its quality sea water and clean beaches.

“She was carefully designed with and for Blackpool, and emerges out of the sea, like a magical and surreal apparition. I hope people will accept her and care for her, for she represents hope, change and kindness.

“She is a motherly figure, caring for local sea life found in the Irish Sea, holding it tight to her heart. But she is also a powerful figure, a fighter with a determined position, moving forward and raising a bright red conch shell as if raising an emergency call, inviting us to follow her path. She is a call for the sea, and for the young and future generations.

“Her body, the sea, and the fauna and flora she is holding are all intertwined into a colourful web of life. Reds and blues, opposite colours, sit together, representing the contradictions she embodies, and the choices we have to make.

“I cannot wait to see her in situ. I hope she will surprise passers-by, and make children dream of a beautiful future.”

Cllr Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, said: “We are a forward-thinking town and as we recover from the impact of the pandemic, I am pleased we have a statue that local young people wanted to represent their passion for protecting our natural environment.

“I’m sure the statue will prove to be a popular landmark for people to meet at before going and enjoying the many attractions including our wonderful beach and piers where you can get close to nature.

“Our seaside resort is proud to have recently received the Keep Britain Tidy Seaside Awards for the high standards of all four of our beaches and bathing waters so it is very fitting that the statue celebrates our beautiful natural coastline and our award-winning beaches.

“This project is just one element of our wider plans for the town centre regeneration and is part of the ongoing work taking place to create a resilient resort for the 21st century.”


Popular Blackpool cocktail bar Don Pepe to close for good next month

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A popular Blackpool cocktail bar owner is set to retire – and the bar itself is to close for good.

Bill Tankard's Done Pepe bar is set to close in a matter of weeks

Bill Tankard’s Done Pepe bar is set to close in a matter of weeks

Billy Tankard, 66, has been running the Don Pepe cocktail and juice bar, on King Street, for 27 years.

During that time, the bar’s unique drinks have gained a near-legendary status, with names such as Boy Meets Girl and the racy One Night Stand.

Billy has become so synonymous with the friendly venue that some regulars even call him ‘Don’.

Inside the Don Pepe barInside the Don Pepe bar

But the Yorkshire-born businessman, who bought the then-struggling establishment back in 1994, will shut the doors for the last time on Sunday July 18.

It’s the end of the line for Don Pepe because a row of buildings on King Street is being demolished to make way for gleaming new offices as part oftown centre regeneration plans. The bar has been compulsorily purchased by the council.

Billy, who grew up in Castleford, said: “I’ll miss the social side the most. There are some people who come in just to see me, to have a chat and a couple of drinks and it will be hard to say goodbye to that.

“We cater for all ages and there’s a great atmopshere in the bar.

“Some people who’ve been coming here for years do call me Don – and I don’t mind!”

Billy started out in the supermarket trade in Leeds and spent 11 years to Australia.

Back in England, a family trip to Blackpool led to him buying Don Pepe and he added: “I’ve made some great friends.”

For the next few weeks, Don Pepe is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 5pm until midnight.


Blackpool woman’s Barbie collection star in fantastic plastic films

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She’s a Barbie girl and she doesn’t mind admitting it!


Blackpool businesswoman Clare Rawling has rediscovered a childhood love in lockdown and discovered a whole world of new friends thanks to the best-selling doll.

Clare, 40, decided to buy back the Barbies she had as a child early last year as the pandemic hit and for her birthday got a Barbie themed present for every year.

And not content with collecting she has launched her own social media channels, uploading stop motion animation films featuring her favorite dolls

Clare Rawling who films her Barbie collection using stop-motion animation techniques and uploads them for an online community of collectorsClare Rawling who films her Barbie collection using stop-motion animation techniques and uploads them for an online community of collectors

Clare runs The Film Poster Store, selling vintage original posters online, and she and husband Colin are both keen collectors of memorabilia.

She said: “I absolutely adored Barbie when I was younger. I decided to buy back the ones I had , not really knowing how much the vintage ones are worth these days.”

She said some can fetch £200 if they are in their original boxes. Collecting them is a world wide phenomenon and she has been interviewed by the Financial Times about her hobby.

She took pictures of the dolls when they arrived and put them on social media and discovered many other people did the same.

Clare started collecting the fashion dolls in lockdown by re-buying the ones she had as a childClare started collecting the fashion dolls in lockdown by re-buying the ones she had as a child

From there she started doing films, painstakingly posing and photographing the dolls and setting it to music. She has around 70 Barbies plus accessories.

“I totally understand that I look like a complete idiot having a mid-life crisis! I gave up Barbie when I went to secondary school, some girls found out and I had to stop.

“My dad had boarded out the loft as a Barbie room full of furniture and all that sadly went. He passed away six years ago so some of it is memories of my childhood.”

But the real attraction has been the friendships she has made. One lady from the US shipped over a whole a box full of furniture she had made and clothes.

Her films have been a hit with other Barbie collectors across the world

Her films have been a hit with other Barbie collectors across the world

Now she enjoys making a posting videos she has made.

She said: “The feedback I have had has been amazing and I just enjoy doing it.

“It is not hard, but it is time consuming and you need a lot of patience to balance them in position and move them.

“Yes I am 40, with a 12 year old son Zach! Luckily he thinks some of my videos are ‘OK’ and my husband is very supportive too.

Clare has more than 70 of the dolls plus scores more accessories including a Barbie dolls houseClare has more than 70 of the dolls plus scores more accessories including a Barbie dolls house

“Not long after starting my Instagram account, I was invited to join a UK project called Dollsinboots. This is a group of UK dollstagrammers who share a passion for dolls (mostly Barbies) and who share a pair of travelling red wellies! They take pictures with their dolls wearing them and then share on social media.

“I have made so many friends, most of them of around the same age and from all over the world.”

Her films can bee seen on Instagram, You Tube and Facebook under the name Vintagebarbieclare.

Barbie is made by US toy firm Mattel, and launched in March 1959. It was created by Ruth Handler who knew that kids would want a grown up doll to dress up and play with. In 2020 Mattel sold $1.35bn worth of Barbies and accessories.

Fleetwood’s Flakefleet school charms England fans with latest video

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A Fleetwood school’s fun video lending support to the England football team has gone viral.

Flakefleet Primary pupils spur on the England team

Flakefleet Primary pupils spur on the England team

Youngsters from Flakefleet Primary School, no strangers to attention after the choir reached the final of Britain’s Got Talent two years ago, have warmed the hearts of mums, dads – and England fans – with their short film.

Set to the stirring sounds of Land of Hope and Glory (Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March no 1), pupils of all ages are seen waving their St George’s flags and dancing in accompaniment to the music.

The video is on YouTube and has already gone down a storm with parents on the school Facebook site.

It comes just days before the England team play their first match in the European Championships 2020, delayed from last year because of Covid restrictions.

Gareth Southgate’s men will be taking on Croatia at Wembley on Sunday at 2pm in their openeing match, facing the team they lost to in the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018,

Flakefleet, led my head teacher Dave McPartlin, has adopted the motto ‘Dare to Dream’ as part of an ethos of positivity in the school.

The school, on Northfleet Avenue, has produced a string of light-hearted videos in recent years, including a spectacular ‘Royal wedding’.

Mr McPartlin said: “Things have been a bit serious over the last 12 months, because of the Covid lockdowns.

“In school, we weren’t able to celebrate Christmas in the school like we usually do.

“So this was just a chance for us to be a have a bit of fun and get everyone involved.

“We really did have a lot of of fun making this one and were able to lend a little bit of support to the England team at the same time.”

Come on England!


Blackpool man gets bizarre letter calling him a ‘greedy little gremlin’ over lost KFC delivery

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“You took my KFC into your GOB with no remorse”

(Image: PA)

A Blackpool man has shared a picture of a bizarre note he received through the post from a neighbour over a lost KFC order.

Ian Dickman was at home yesterday (June 9), when someone posted the letter accusing him of eating their takeaway.

In the note, the apparently angry person called his neighbour a ‘greedy little gremlin’ for taking his KFC, which had initially been taken to the wrong address.

However, Ian was quick to point out that he never accepted the food and instead sent the delivery driver on his way to find the intended owner.

He has also offered to provide CCTV footage of the delivery driver leaving with the goods to prove that the KFC was not consumed by him, as suggested.

The letter said: “I know you have just tucked into a succulent KFC which to belong to me. I ordered it to your address accidently (sic).

“I thought I had faith in humanity, but BOY WAS I WRONG!

“You took my KFC into your GOB with no remorse! Any decent person would of not of (sic) accepted it. But you are just a greedy little gremlin.

“Thank you for being a tight arse. P.S. You owe me £36.”

The letter called the man a 'greedy little gremlin'

The letter called the man a ‘greedy little gremlin’

In response to the note, Ian took to social media to try to discover who had posted it.

He said: “To the person that has put this through my letter box, you should have had the decency to knock and find out the truth. We are not the idiot who ordered his/her takeaway and could not remember their own address.

“Yes they knocked but were clearly told it was not ours and the two took it away in a silver car. There is cctv across the street if you would like to add to your embarrassment we would be happy to get it. So we owe you nothing.”

The exchange has attracted attention on social media, with many people mocking the poster for not knowing his own address.

Others have been asking the question, ‘who spends £36 on KFC?’


Blackpool Whitegate Drive crash sees motorcyclist rushed to hospital with serious injuries

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Whitegate Drive in Blackpool closed after a crash between a car and a motorbike

The taped off area of Blackpool

The taped off area of Blackpool

A motorcyclist has been taken to hospital in a serious condition after a crash this morning in Blackpool.

Lancashire Constabulary and North West Ambulance Service were called to Whitegate Drive at around 10.15am today (June 10).

There was a collision between a car and a motorbike that required the motorcyclist to be taken to hospital by ambulance. The air ambulance was also in attendance.

A spokesperson for North West Ambulance Service: ““We received a 999 call reporting an RTC between a car and a motorbike on Whitegate Drive at 10.05 this morning.

“We have taken the motorcyclist in a serious condition to hospital by ambulance.

“An air ambulance crew and response vehicle also attended the scene.”

A spokesperson for police said: “Please be advised that due to a road traffic collision, there is currently road closures in place in Blackpool by Woodland Grove, Cumberland Avenue, Westmorland Avenue and Whitegate Drive in the area of the Health Centre.

“Traffic in the area is building up and we are urging that people avoid the area at this time and use an alternative route if possible. Thank you.”

The road has since reopened.