Blackpool schools opt out of ‘One Britain One Nation’ singing amid Covid guidance confusion

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Blackpool school leaders have said their resort pupils won’t be joining in with the Government’s call for children to sing a patriotic song tomorrow, because singing “still isn’t allowed” in schools.

 

The Government is encouraging school children to sing a patriotic song which celebrates a “strong Britain great nation.”

The move is part of One Britain One Nation Day on Friday, June 25 – which is a government-backed campaign that aims to instil pride in Britain.

In a post on social media, the Department for Education said: “We’re encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate One Britain One Nation Day on 25 June, when children can learn about our shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect.”

The OBON website describes its vision as to “create a strong, fair, harmonious and a proud British Nation, celebrating patriotism and respect for all our people”.

But leaders in schools across the resort said their pupils will not be participating in the event, largely due to guidance set out by the Government itself about singing.

A spokesman for Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), one of the resort’s biggest trusts which runs schools including Montgomery Academy, Gateway Academy and Westcliff Primary Academy, said: “The answer is going to be no, largely because [they’ve] only just heard about it, and the other thing is, singing still isn’t allowed in schools.

“Assemblies haven’t been held for ages, so it’s not been approved as yet.”

One Britain One Nation 2021: Blackpool school leaders say they won't be participating in OBON Day tomorrow - because they were not told about it soon enough by the Department of Education, and singing restrictions still aren't lifted in schools. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)One Britain One Nation 2021: Blackpool school leaders say they won’t be participating in OBON Day tomorrow – because they were not told about it soon enough by the Department of Education, and singing restrictions still aren’t lifted in schools. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Government guidance around singing in schools during the pandemic outlines the “additional risk” of singing in schools – but allows for music lessons to continue to take place.

It says: “There may be an additional risk of infection in environments where singing, chanting, playing wind or brass instruments, dance or drama takes place. Singing, wind and brass playing should not take place in larger groups such as choirs and ensembles, or assemblies unless significant space, natural airflow and strict social distancing and mitigation can be maintained.

“You should take particular care in music, dance and drama lessons to observe social distancing where possible. Additionally, you should keep any background or accompanying music to levels which do not encourage teachers or other performers to raise their voices unduly.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education said: “The department has not asked people to sing songs or endorsed any specific materials for One Britain One Nation day.”

But on June 3, it shared a Twitter post from One Britain One Nation, which said: “Inspiring a generation. Urging all schools to join us on 25th June for #OBONDAY2021 campaign supported by @educationgovuk to spread the message of #Pride #Unity #Love #Respect for all through a song composed by @StJohnsCE.”

The Musicians Union also advises music teachers to “avoiding singing, wind and brass playing in larger groups unless there is sufficient space and ventilation, or the activity can take place outdoors.”

Despite this, a promotional video for OBON Day showed children waving flags and singing the lyrics: “We are Britain and we have one dream, to unite all people in one great team.

“Our nation survived through many storms and many wars.”

The campaign was founded by retired police inspector Kash Singh, who said the concept was “born from my dream as a police officer” after coming to the UK as a six-year-old boy who “couldn’t speak a word of English”.

He said he set up the campaign in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 2013 after retiring from the police force in 2012.

But Anchorsholme Academy headteacher Graeme Dow said although the One Britain One Nation song was a “jolly little tune,” he was not aware of the campaign being promoted locally.

He added that despite calls for singing nationally, the Government still had not fully permitted the activity in schools.

Mr Dow said: “It has certainly not been promoted to schools locally, not that I am aware of. It is a jolly little tune and it is always lovely to hear children singing.

“As this is the first I have really heard about it, that would not be enough time for us to prepare the children to sing it. As such, we would not be able to take part, even if we were asked to do so (and nobody has asked us).

“I’m not sure how the government is expecting schools to sing when they haven’t as yet fully lifted the restrictions that have been placed on singing in schools.”

Latest data indicates boost for Blackpool education

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The latest government figures show more than 80 per cent of pupils in Blackpool attend a school rated as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors.

 

The data from the Department of Education (DfE) shows 15,695 pupils attend one of these schools out of a total of 19,180 who attend a school which has been rated.

But 2,758 attend a school rated as ‘requires improvement’ and 727 a school deemed ‘inadequate’.

Blackpool is ranked in 117th place in a performance table, with the worst performing local authorities at the top of the table.

Most pupils in Blackpool attend highly rated schools

Most pupils in Blackpool attend highly rated schools

Education leaders say the figures reflect progress made by Blackpool’s Education Vision and Strategy 2020-30.

Frank Norris, chairman of Blackpool Education Improvement Board, said: “In the past we would have expected Blackpool to be near the top of a table showing the lowest proportion of children attending a good or outstanding school, but our 10-year strategy is beginning to have an impact.

“The town has benefited greatly from external intervention from the DfE and has been well supported by the Opportunity Area that has pumped in around £10m over a five-year period.

“We are seeing the schools collaborating and co-operating well and working together to improve the education outcomes for all the children of Blackpool.”

The research is intended to highlight areas with the low proportions of pupils attending Ofsted rated ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools so additional support can be offered, but Blackpool is not deemed to fall into this category.

The Education Vision is the result of a joint effort from Blackpool Council and the partners within the Blackpool Education Improvement Board (BEIB) with priorities including improving standards of literacy and promoting inclusive practice.

The Blackpool School Improvement Board (now the Blackpool Education Improvement Board), was developed in 2015 to improve outcomes for all children and young people.

Coun Jim Hobson, Blackpool Council cabinet member for children’s social care and schools, said: “The results from this update from DfE illustrate just how hard everyone in our schools’ community is working to bring about long-lasting change to the education system.

“The perceptions of Blackpool schools and the quality of the education that they receive are changing.”

Government school performance data shows Blackpool currently has six schools or colleges rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – Blackpool and the Fylde College, Blackpool Sixth Form, St Nicholas Primary School, Highfurlong School, Layton Primary School and Park Community Academy, plus 32 rated as ‘good’.

Blackpool lap-dancing row after two men fall out over property

A meeting heard the two men had fallen out in a dispute over the lease of the property at 15 to 17 Queen Street where Eden One is

 

Eden One, in Blackpool
Eden One, in Blackpool

A dispute over the future of a Blackpool lap-dancing club has triggered a battle over who has the right hold its licence.

David Moseley, who owns the premises on Queen Street occupied by Eden One, has applied to the council to have the club’s sexual entertainment venue (SEV) licence transferred to his company Pool Construction Ltd.

But Mark Newton already holds the licence through his company AA Recreation 1 Ltd and objected to the transfer.

A meeting of the council’s public protection sub-committee, which met to consider the licence application, heard the two men had fallen out in a dispute over the lease of the property at 15 to 17 Queen Street where Eden One is based.

Mr Newton, who already holds two SEV licences including for Sinless on Central Promenade, and Mr Moseley failed to reach an agreement on the tenancy of the building.

Barrister Sarah Clover, representing Mr Moseley, said her client had had tenants for 11 years who had “operated the SEV satisfactorily”.

Mr Moseley had offered a similar tenancy agreement to Mr Newton but he had turned it down in order “to hold Mr Moseley to a commercial ransome”, she said.

Ms Clover also suggested Mr Newton’s ultimate goal was to hold all four SEVs currently available in Blackpool.

Mr Moseley argued the licence should remain attached to the building which he owns, and he had lined up an experienced manager to take over the running of the lap dancing club.

But Mr Newton told the committee he could not agree to the terms of the lease offered to him by Mr Moseley because it meant he would have to give up his business interests in Eden One if he handed in the licence.

He said he had bought the business from its previous operators and planned to relocate it to neighbouring premises on Queen Street if he could not lease the property owned by Mr Moseley.

Mr Newton’s solicitor Richard Williams said Mr Moseley was not suitable to hold the SEV licence due to previous transgressions relating to his business interests.

Mr Williams told councillors: “In terms of your policy, David Moseley is totally unsuitable to be a licence holder regardless of what was going on behind the scenes regarding business negotiations.”

The meeting was adjourned to allow the sub-committee to consider its decision.

Eden was stripped of its SEV licence in July 2019 after a 25-year-old man on a stag do was torched by a dancer wielding an aerosol can and a lighter – leaving him in hospital suffering from second-degree burns to his torso.

But following talks with the council around how the club would operate, it was allowed to re-open in January 2020.

However the club has not opened since Mr Newton took over the licence due to Covid lockdowns.

In January this year the council’s licensing committee agreed a new policy which would permit only one sex shop to trade, and set a zero limit on lap dancing clubs.

The resort’s existing four clubs can continue operating under their ‘grandfather rights’ but once existing licences lapse, for any reason, they would not be renewed.

The life and legacy of Brian London “The Blackpool Rock” who fought Mohammed Ali

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After his boxing career, London went on to become a successful business man in Blackpool and opened the town’s first upmarket nightclub called 007 frequented by England’s sporting elite

 

19th March 1955: British boxer Brian London (Brian Harper) (right) with his father, former British and Empire heavyweight champion Jack London, at home in Blackpool where Brian is training for his first professional fight against Denis Lockton at the Albert Hall, London.
London (Brian Harper) (right) with his father, former British and Empire heavyweight champion Jack London, at home in Blackpool (Image: (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images))

Blackpool sporting legend and former heavyweight boxer Brian London has died at the age of 87 following a bout of ill health.

Born Brian Harper in Hartlepool, he was heavyweight champion from 1958 to 1959 and enjoyed a 15-year-career fighting 58 times with some of boxing’s biggest names.

“The Blackpool Rock”, as he came to be known, died yesterday (June 23) just four days before his 88th birthday.

Brian London named himself after the cult author of the same name and was six feet tall, big-framed with a style that some regarded as crude and cumbersome.

Brian London AKA "the Blackpool Rock" in 1966
Le boxeur britannique Brian London s’entraîne le 1er août 1966 à Blackpool, Royaume-Uni. (Photo by KEYSTONE-FRANCE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) (Image: (Photo by KEYSTONE-FRANCE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images))

Also known as the British Bulldog, London was the spirit of national optimism when took on titan of boxing Muhammad Ali in 1966.

He was unfortunately defeated in the third round via knock-out however “did his sport proud” and also Blackpool proud according to Olympic boxing coach Kevin Hickey.

When asked if he wanted a rematch with Ali, London famously said: “Only if he ties a 56-pound weight to each leg.”

On August 6, 1966 at Earls Court Arena, Kensington, London, England, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, from Louisville, Kentucky, defended his title against Brian London, from Blackpool, England.
Muhammad Ali defended his title against Brian London (Image: (Photo by David Johnson/Mirrorpix/Getty Images))

Other highlights of his career were his memorable fights against Sir Henry Cooper OBE and American professional boxer Floyd Patterson.

Born in County Durham in 1934, London moved to Blackpool when he was 16 and was encouraged to take up boxing while doing national service with the RAF.

This was after an officer discovered that his father was former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Jack London.

His brother, Jack Junior, also fought as a light-heavyweight.

19th March 1955: British boxer Brian London (Brian Harper) running on the beach in Blackpool as his father, former British and Empire heavyweight champion Jack London, watches him. Brian is training for his first professional fight against Denis Lockton at the Albert Hall, London.
Brian London running on the beach in Blackpool (Image: (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images))

London turned professional in 1955 and won the first 12 bouts of his career but lost when he came up against Henry Cooper in 1956 who said that nobody had ever hit him harder in his career.

An eighth-round knockout of Welsh fighter Joe Erskine in June 1958 saw London claim the British and Commonwealth title.

Two years later, tempers flared when he got involved in the notorious 1960 “Brawl in Porthcawl”.

His heated exchange with Newport’s Dick Richardson erupted in a fight of both camps and London was fined £1,000 for punching Richardson’s trainer.

In his final fight in 1970, the Blackpool Rock was defeated by Australian-British-Hungarian opponent Joe Bugner.

London ended his career on a record of 58 total fights with 37 wins, (26 by KO), and 20 losses.

Miss UK 1966. Boxer Brian London judging at Blackpool. 9th August 1966.
Boxer Brian London judging (Image: (Photo by Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images))

The boxer went on to become a successful business man in his hometown and opened Blackpool’s first upmarket nightclub called 007 originally on Water Street.

Not only was London a draw himself but the club became well frequented by England’s sporting elite.

Locally, the heavy weight boxer was known for his kind ways and being a true gentleman.

He was often spotted jogging relentlessly around Stanley Park and waiting to pick up his grandchildren at school.

Upon the announcement of his death, tributes poured in from the local community.

Boxer Brian London and Andrew Sumner

One post on Facebook said: “Brian London was a gentleman for all the 60+ years I have known him around town. I loved the 007, in my teenage years and he should be appreciated for all he meant to Blackpool . God bless you Brian.”

Another read: “R.I.P Brian you were a true gentleman. My dad said you always stopped the car to give a lift to the RAF lads at Weeton camp when you were training there. A sad loss to Blackpool. Condolences to the family.”

One woman said: “My daughter cared for him at The Anna Cliffe care home where he was. She always said he was the Biggest best loved character in there.”

London leaves behind his childhood sweetheart, Veronica Cliffe, and his three children, Brian, Melanie and Jack.

Blackpool Town Hall being given massive upgrade to historic exterior

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The Grade II listed Town Hall was built between 1895 and 1900

 

Scaffolding at Blackpool Town Hall
Scaffolding at Blackpool Town Hall

Blackpool Town Hall is being given a £40,000 upgrade to its historic exterior.

Scaffolding has been installed around the building in Talbot Square to enable maintenance and repair work to be carried out, which is expected to be finished by the end of July.

A spokesperson for Blackpool Council said: “Maintenance and improvement work is being carried out including cleaning of the facade and windows, repairs and painting of the windows, new pigeon protection, installation of new external lighting and new curtains and blinds internally.”

The Grade II listed Town Hall was built between 1895 and 1900 in a Jacobean style.

Work was carried out in 2019 to repair the decorative ceiling of the council chamber, at a cost of £13,000.

Blackpool housekeepers make a dash for it with their cleaning trollies in tow for 5km charity fundraiser

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A team of  housekeepers made a dash from the exit with their dusters in tow for a charity challenge which has raised nearly £2,000 for a children’s charity close to the heart.

 

Housekeeping staff at Hotel Sheraton complete trolley dash for Molly Olly's Wishes charity

Housekeeping staff at Hotel Sheraton complete trolley dash for Molly Olly’s Wishes charity

The seven-strong team from Hotel Sheraton,in Bispham, who have been hit hard in the wake of the pandemic, came up with a fundraising drive in a bid to raise morale in the resort and give back to those less fortunate.

Taking inspiration from housekeeping ‘stars’ of TV and film, Sheraton head housekeeper Jeannette Lovatt backed by Alison Beavers, Annie Hatcher, Ellie Spencer, Sandie Beavers, Cliona Beavers and Peter Cox donned their best fancy dress and their cleaning trollies for a 5km sprint starting from the hotel to Blackpool Tower, then Bispham and back.

Sheraton manager Liz Brown praised her ‘enthusiastic’ team for a job very well done.

Head housekeeper Jeannette Lovatt was joined by Alison Beavers, Annie
Hatcher, Ellie Spencer, Sandie Beavers, Cliona Beavers and Peter Cox for the 5km dash to Blackpool Tower, Bispham and back to the hotel where they started.Head housekeeper Jeannette Lovatt was joined by Alison Beavers, Annie Hatcher, Ellie Spencer, Sandie Beavers, Cliona Beavers and Peter Cox for the 5km dash to Blackpool Tower, Bispham and back to the hotel where they started.

Proceeds from the trolley dash are being donated to Molly Olly’s Wish, a charity founded by her good friends Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw,in memory of their daughter Molly who died from a rare kidney cancer in 2011.

Liz said: “It was absolutely magic. And the support has been incredible. This team are so enthusiastic and they just wanted to something fun, raise team spirit after such a tough time for the industry in lockdown.

“Life has not been easy for some of them during the two lockdowns, yet they have the time and inclination to put their energy to great use and, more importantly, support others.

“The guests all came out to wave them off and then our sister team at the Elgin gave them a big wave as they went by. It has brought a little bit of laughter and at the same time helped a wonderful charity.
Sheraton Hotel manager Liz Brown (in pink) pictured with her housekeeping team. She said was 'so proud' after raising nearly £2,000 for charity.Sheraton Hotel manager Liz Brown (in pink) pictured with her housekeeping team. She said was ‘so proud’ after raising nearly £2,000 for charity.

“I’m so proud of all of them.”

Liz added the overwhelming support from other local businesses and guests to the hotel has now led to plans to make the trolley dash an annual event, including many more housekeepers from hotels across the resort.

She added: “It has been so challenging for everyone so to feel that support from the other businesses has been fantastic – Ma Kelly’s made a donation of £250 to the cause.

“Making it an annual event would give us all something to look forward to and get involved in so I really hope we can make it happen.”

Liz, originally from Warwickshire, where the children’s charity was founded by her long-time friend Rachel, has long been a supporter of their work, helping provide grants and support children with terminal and life-limiting illnesses. Staff at the Sheraton have raised more than £6000 for them previously.

Charity founder and friend Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “The Hotel Sheraton Team have been great supporters of Molly Olly’s over the years and this is another fun idea to fundraise.

“We are always grateful for the support but now more than ever we appreciate the help at a time when the hotel, like so many businesses, has had a difficult year.

“It is really kind of them to take time to think of others. We hope that people will get behind them and help make the dark days brighter for children with life threatening illnesses.”

Anyone wishing to support the trolley dash can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mollyollytrolleydash

Blackpool man who drowned at West Yorkshire reservoir named for first time

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A man from Blackpool who died after getting into difficulty while swimming in a West Yorkshire reservoir has been named.

 

Ponden Reservoir
Ponden Reservoir (Image: YorkshireLive)

A Blackpool man has died after gettting into difficulty while swimming in a reservoir.

Alan Rasoul drowned in Ponden Reservoir in West Yorkshire on Tuesday, June 15 – and an inquest has been opened into his death.

The 27-year-old, who was born in Kurdistan, had been living in Blackpool, reports Yorkshire Live.

Today, an inquest heard that Mr Rasoul had been travelling home when he and his friends decided to stop off at Ponden Reservoir.

Coroner’s officer Jo Marsden told the hearing: “Mr Rasoul went into the water and got into difficulty.

“Unfortunately he went under the water and did not resurface.

“The emergency services were called and an extensive search was carried out, locating him a short time later.”

Ponden Reservoir
Ponden Reservoir (Image: YorkshireLive)

A post mortem examination found that he died as a result of drowning due to submersion in water.

Assistant coroner Crispin Oliver adjourned the inquest for further inquiries to be carried out.

Emergency services were called to the reservoir at 5.45pm after reports of someone in difficulty in the water, and a body was recovered shortly before 10pm.

The reservoir is a popular water recreation and swimming spot, even though there are signs on some edges of the water advising against bathing.

Following the tragedy, police said that they were not treating the death as suspicious.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Farrell, of Bradford District Police said: “This has been a tragic incident in which a man has lost his life and I would like to remind all residents in and visitors to West Yorkshire of the extreme dangers posed by swimming in or entering open water not designated for such use.”