Ex-professional footballers team up with family of Jordan Banks for charity match in his memory

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The dad and stepdad of Jordan Banks teamed up with ex-pro footballers for a charity match, to raise money for Blackpool Victoria Hospital in his memory.

 

Ex-Blackpool players Trevor Sinclair and Alan Wright were among the professionals who took part in the match at AFC Fylde on Saturday (June 26), to pay tribute to Jordan, nine, who was tragically struck by lightning in a thunderstorm on May 12.

Ian Evatt, John Hills, Gavin McCann, Jamie Milligan, Steve Thompson and former Premier League referee Neil Swarbrick also took part in the commemorative match.

Local football coach Daz Meehan, 50, a fire safety officer in the NHS, organises a match for the Vic’s in-house charity Blue Skies Hospitals Fund every year – and this year it was in Jordan’s memory.

Jordan Banks' step-dad Daniel and dad Matt are applauded onto the pitch during a charity match in the youngster's memory. Photo: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaJordan Banks’ step-dad Daniel and dad Matt are applauded onto the pitch during a charity match in the youngster’s memory. Photo: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Despite having no personal connection to the family, Daz and the rest of the team were so moved by the news of his death that they set out to honour him in the best way they could.

Daz said: “When I heard about the devastating news I just thought it seemed right that we should help a young family who must be going through a very distressing time.

“For me and all the players involved it was a no-brainer to use this opportunity to raise some funds for them.”

This year, the coveted trophy was renamed to “The Jordan Blue Skies Trophy”, in honour of the “amazing young man who selflessly did so much for this community.”
Ex-professional footballers and Jordan Banks' loved ones teamed up to play a charity match in his memory. Photo: Daniel Martino/JPI Media
Ex-professional footballers and Jordan Banks’ loved ones teamed up to play a charity match in his memory. Photo: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Half of the proceeds from the match will go to Blue Skies, and the other half will go to Brian House Children’s Hospice, a charity chosen by Jordan’s family.

In a joint statement, Jordan’s dad Matt Banks and stepdad Daniel Begg, who both took part in the match, said: “Thank you to everyone who came together to make this event happen. We’ve been blown away by the support we’ve had since Jordan passed. You’ve all made a very difficult time that little bit easier.”

So far, around £2,000 has been raised for the two charities, and donations can still be made here.Blue Skies is also holding an auction of football memorabilia to raise money as part of the football tournament.

Kila Redfearn, head of fundraising at Blue Skies said: “When I was asked if half the proceeds this year could go towards Jordan’s family, the answer, in a heartbeat was of course, yes.

“As a mum of four, I cannot imagine how hard this must be for the family and friends of Jordan, so we are only too happy to help.”

Brian London: Funeral procession to go around Blackpool’s Stanley Park for people to pay their respects to boxer

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The funeral for the Blackpool boxer Brian London will take place on Tuesday with the procession making its way around Stanley Park ahead of the service.

 

Known as the Blackpool Rock throughout his professional career, Brian died on June 23 at the age of 87 following a long illness.

He was British and Commonwealth Heavy Weight Champion from 1958 to 1959, and twice fought for the World Heavy Weight Title, against boxing greats Floyd Patterson in 1959 and Muhammad Ali in 1966.

Later in life Brian also owned the 007 night club in Blackpool.

Brian with boxing legend Muhammed Ali in 1966Brian with boxing legend Muhammed Ali in 1966

His family said he ‘passed away peacefully’ and was surrounded by his family.

The funeral cortege will make an honorary lap of Stanley Park at approximately 1pm, before arriving at Carlton Crematorium for the funeral service at 2pm.

The family are inviting people to pay their respects at the park, close to Brian’s former home and where he was a regular jogger.

A spokesman for Brian’s family said: “Due to strict Covid regulations, only family and very close friends are able to attend the funeral service held in the Chapel but the family welcomes anyone wishing to pay respects to gather outside the Chapel where a screen will be erected by Scanlite, paying tribute to Brian in the form of a televised display featuring some of his best boxing matches in addition to some cherished memories. Floral tributes are also welcome.

The funeral for boxer Brian London, who died at the age of 87 last month, will take place on TuesdayThe funeral for boxer Brian London, who died at the age of 87 last month, will take place on Tuesday

“He will be lovingly remembered by his three children, Brian, Melanie and Jack; his five grandchildren, Kristy, Kelby, Antonia, Jack Jr. and Elise; and two great-grandchildren, Florence and Halle.”

Brian with fellow Blackpool boxer Brian Rose in 2018Brian with fellow Blackpool boxer Brian Rose in 2018

Joey Blower to take a break from summer performances at Viva as he prepares to fly out to Prague for life-saving treatment for prostate cancer

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Veteran resort entertainer Joey Blower is to take a break from showbiz as he jets off abroad for specialist cancer therapy.

 

Veteran entertainer Joey Blower will undergo private Proton Beam Therapy for prostate cancer next week

Veteran entertainer Joey Blower will undergo private Proton Beam Therapy for prostate cancer next week

While he hopes for more happy years ahead, he says with real openness ‘ this is the last shot.’ He spoke candidly to Nicola Jaques.

Over the last few months, time has become ever precious for Joey Blower

The comedian, who spent years entertaining holidaymakers on North Pier before recently moving to town centre venue Viva, isn’t prepared to waste it either – after being diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year.

So, this weekend, after 27 summers working the crowds, he will wrap up his show before hanging up his mic for an as yet indeterminate length of time so he can try and recover from the disease.

His treatment will now mean four weeks of private proton beam therapy in Prague, the Czech Republic’s capital city, and means a last minute change of plans for the performer.

Joey, 58, wanted to stay in the UK but said he had second thoughts after “losing confidence” in a private clinic, which he said delayed his appointments – amounting to weeks he believes he can ill-afford.

And he’s conceded that Prague is now his “last and best chance” of recovering.
Joey Blower will put on his final show at Viva this weekend ahead of his treatment at a Prague clinicJoey Blower will put on his final show at Viva this weekend ahead of his treatment at a Prague clinic

It has been an “emotional” week, he said, not least because he has to leave his wife Nam and daughter Olivia, four, at home when he flies overseas on Monday ahead of his treatment programme, which starts next Friday.

Joey said: “I have taken Olivia to nursery and picked her up every day for the last year and that time, honestly, has been so special.

“She has known Daddy is not well and I have to go away, but she thinks it is a few nights and being away for four weeks is going to be hardest part.

“It’s heartbreaking but kids are resilient and I’m doing all this to ensure I have many more years ahead with her.

Joey's young daughter Olivia who has been part of a fundraising drive to help with funds towards the entertainer's treatment.Joey’s young daughter Olivia who has been part of a fundraising drive to help with funds towards the entertainer’s treatment.

“I’m a little apprehensive about the treatment but I know I’ve only got one shot at this.”

Proton beam therapy means shooting high energy protons, which are small parts of atoms, at a tumour, rather than high energy x-rays, called photons, to treat specific types of cancer.

The procedure is painless but can come with side affects often experienced with other forms of radiotherapy.

“It’s noninvasive,” Joey said. “I will complete the scans and all my pre-assessment immediately after the quarantine, and then the programme begins after the weekend. It will be every other day for two weeks before further scans.”

Proton beam therapy is offered by the NHS but is hard to access, although there are plans to make it more easily available and new clinical trials look to be in the works..

Joey said he has spoken to bosses at leading cancer hospital The Christie in Manchester, which opened a proton beam therapy centre in late 2018, in the hope more patients will soon qualify for the state-of-the-art treatment, an alternative to surgery that can lead to incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Joey wasn’t suitable for surgery – while prostate cancer is relatively rare for someone as young as him.

“I’m proof it can happy to anyone,” he said. “ Given my age and the fact I have had none of the symptoms – it isn’t common for men in this age bracket.

“It’s so important to keep talking about it and this is why I’m so passionate about raising awareness.”

Joey said part of his set, which he will perform for the last time before treatment on Saturday afternoon, includes talking about his diagnosis – and said he has been overwhelmed by the response from the audience.

He said: “I’ve had grown men weeping and some come at the end of the show to thank me for putting a spotlight on the disease because they have known someone who has been affected.

“Even if it helps just one person through sharing, it’s worth it.

“Cancer can make you feel very isolated but – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the wishes and support from people in this town has been terrific.

“The donations, the cards, the messages, the small gifts, they’ve all meant so much.”

Joey said he hopes to return to the stage in August after being discharged on Friday, July 30.

He added: “The guys at Viva have been great at rescheduling those booked for the July performances. I’m in the right hands.”

Visit tinyurl.com/37tpr4te to donate.

Full steam ahead for Fleetwood’s multi-million pound fish park as work begins

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The sound of bulldozers at work signalled the start of progress this week on a new multi-million pound fish and food park on Fleetwood Docks.

 

Project Neptune will see modern fish processing facilities built on on Fleetwood Docks

Project Neptune will see modern fish processing facilities built on on Fleetwood Docks

Project Neptune – the building of a new, modern commercial food processing facility – is finally under way and will be the new home for some of the current fish processing businesses in the port when it officially opens, expected to be in spring next year.

Diggers have begun the groundwork on the Dock Avenue site, currently owned by Associated British Ports (ABP), in a scheme set in motion by a £4m Government grant last year.

It is projected that the scheme can help generate up to100 new jobs in Fleetwood s fish-processing sector, which currently employs around 250 people in the town.

Project Neptune, led by Wyre Council, working in partnership with ABP, will create a 40,500 sq ft modern commercial food processing facility providing space for 11 businesses housed in two state-of the-art buildings, replacing the dilapidated premises some have had to work in.

Andrew Riches, chairman of Fleetwood Fish Merchants Association, said: “This project is a reality and hopefully it will be ready to roll by March next year.

“The fish processing sector in Fleetwood is already in a good place at the moment, with the owners of 16 boats from the Cumbria ports and Wales now bringing their fish overland to be processed here in Fleetwood, because they know of our reputation here.

“We are keeping that tradition here in Fleetwood alive and well, so the advantages of having improved facilities and investment here can only make things even better.”

He added that with a small number of boats still landing shellfish and fish in Fleetwood and some dredging work currently being carried out in the channel, Government incentives such as more favourable quotas could boost the currently small catching sector in the town.

He added: “The potential to have a larger fishing fleet is still there in Fleetwood, if conditions are right.”

It is hoped that this project will unlock future investment for Fleetwood to safeguard the existing fish processing industry jobs and create the new ones.

The successful joint bid by Wyre Council and ABP for £4m from the UK Government’s Getting Building Fund kick-started the project.

Neptune has been facilitated by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, as well as capital investment from Wyre Council to purchase the facility and financial support from Lancashire County Council’s Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund.

In 2020, the Government announced a £900 million Getting Building Fund to deliver jobs, skills and infrastructure across the country.

This Fund is being targeted in areas facing the biggest economic challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is supporting the delivery of shovel-ready infrastructure projects, agreed with Lancashire Enterprise Partnerships to boost economic growth and fuel local recovery and jobs.

Coun Michael Vincent, Deputy Leader of Wyre Council and Portfolio Holder for Resources at Wyre Council, commented, “The creation of a modern day fish and food processing facility has been high on our agenda for many years and we’re very pleased that the work has now begun.

“We hope that Project Neptune is just the start of great things to come for Fleetwood.”

County CounAidy Riggott, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for economic development and growth, said: “We established the Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund to support schemes which can be quickly developed following the pandemic to secure local jobs and invest in future growth, and I’m very pleased that work is already getting underway on Project Neptune which will be so vital to Fleetwood’s economy.”

David Taylor CBE DL, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said, “This is an exciting project that will boost Fleetwood’s economy and create jobs whilst maintaining the town’s historic links with fishing and the sea. I’m really pleased that the LEP and the Getting Building Fund have been able to support Project Neptune and get it to this point.”

£18,500 antique silver tea service presented to Blackpool FC legend Sir Stanley Matthews to be auctioned

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A silver tea service presented to former Blackpool FC player Sir Stanley Matthews is being sold at auction

 

The tea service was presented by Stoke City FC to Matthews when he was their player and it marked his record 44th cap for England

Nicknamed ‘the wizard of the dribble’, Matthews made his record international appearance in the 2-0 win against Belgium in January 1946.

He was presented with the service shortly before he moved to Blackpool after what the press described as a ‘bust-up’ with Stoke’s manager Bob McGory.

The silver tea service presented to Sir Stanley Matthews is to be auctioned offThe silver tea service presented to Sir Stanley Matthews is to be auctioned off

The outside right would later return to Stoke where he played in the top flight until he was 50. He died in the Staffordshire city in 2000 aged 85

The tea set consists of a teapot, hot water jug, sugar bowl and milk jug and each piece is monogrammed with ‘SM’.

The teapot is also inscribed with the words: “Presented by Stoke City Football Club to their player S Matthews in recognition of his creating a record of 44 appearances for England which he established when playing against Belgium on January 19th 1946.”

It is being sold by Charles Wallrock of Wick Antiques on the 2Covet antique portal.

Auctioneer Steve Sly said he would be delighted for the tea service to go back to Stoke City who originally gifted the setAuctioneer Steve Sly said he would be delighted for the tea service to go back to Stoke City who originally gifted the set

His fellow 2Covet director Steve Sly, who was previously co-owner and vice chairman of AFC Bournemouth, has pledged the first £1,000 of the £18,500 asking price if the service were bought for Stoke City.

The tea set was made by Pidduck & Sons of Sheffield in 1932 and is described as being ‘of a fine quality’.

Steve, from Bournemouth, said: “I’d love to see it go back to Stoke. Having been involved in the game I know how much these things are valued by the fans.

“Matthews was one of our greatest ever players and I was delighted to learn that he played at Bournemouth when representing England schoolboys against Wales in 1929 in front of 20,000 fans.

It was presented to Matthews in 1946 after achieving a record 44 appearances for EnglandIt was presented to Matthews in 1946 after achieving a record 44 appearances for England

“He is the only footballer ever to be knighted while still playing, and his list of achievements is as long as his playing career and includes being the first person to win the Ballon d’Or.

“It is fitting that he was presented with a tea service because the only time he drank alcohol was when he supped some champagne straight from the FA Cup after winning it in 1953 – the famous ‘Matthews Final’.”

Following his record 44th cap, Matthews went on to represent his country another ten times and finally retired from playing in 1965.

Afterwards he became a manager and coach all around the world and gave up much of his time to coach in poor parts of Africa

It has a valuation of £18,500It has a valuation of £18,500

Steve added: “This tea set is a wonderful historic item which is of interest to collectors of silver and of tea sets – but it’s of most interest to Stoke City fans.

“If there is a pledge to buy it for Stoke I will put in £1,000.”

Charles added: “I have had this for several years and decided it’s time to sell.

“It is a lovely silver tea service by a fine maker and of course it’s unique because of the inscription and who it was presented to.

“I agree with Steve that we would feel very proud that 2Covet had helped this unique historical artefact return to its home at Stoke FC.

Blackpool house fire under investigation

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An investigation has been launched into the cause of a house fire in Blackpool.

 

Three fire engines from Blackpool and South Shore rushed to the scene in Patterdale Avenue at around 8.30am today (July 1).

Firefighters equipped with two breathing apparatus used one hose reel to extinguish the flames.

A ventilation unit was then used to clear the property of smoke.

No injuries were reported.

An investigation into the cause was opened, the fire service said.

‘Brave’ Blackpool police officers praised in House of Commons after ‘shocking’ machete incident

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Police officers who rescued a woman from an armed man in Blackpool have been praised in the House of Commons today (July 1).

 

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton took to social media to praise the bravery of police officers who saved a woman from being attacked with a foot-long machete in May.

Mr Benton was out on patrol with PC Jeff Blincow and Sgt Helen Mclaren when they spotted an armed man repeatedly punching a young woman on May 29.

Hailing their bravery as “second to none”, he described the ordeal and spoke of how two local police officers prevented “multiple fatalities”.

Police officers who rescued a woman from an armed man in Blackpool have been praised in the House of Commons.Police officers who rescued a woman from an armed man in Blackpool have been praised in the House of Commons.

He said: “Without hesitation, the officers got out of the car and after a short chase and the use of PAVA spray, they were able to get the man to the ground and arrest him.”

“The bravery and professionalism of the officers was second to none and they deserve immense respect and admiration for their actions.

“Had they not acted so quickly we could have seen a serious incident with loss of life.”

Fleetwood man handed three-year football ban after attempting to punch steward a…

Mr Benton then asked: “Will the Leader of the House join me in thanking Jeff and Helen and indeed all police officers, for the brilliant job they do day in, day out protecting our communities and does he think it would be in order to have a debate in this House to recognise the work of our serving police officers?”

MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House of Commons answered: £What he has raised in this House is of fundamental importance, and we are so lucky [to have] the police who serve us in this country…therefore I do thank and commend the bravery of Constable Jeff Blincow and Sgt Helen Mclaren and I’m glad to be able to bring it to the attention of the House.

“The work that they clearly did on that day is a model of good policing”

First trailer released for new Amazon Cinderella movie with preview scenes of Blackpool Tower Ballroom

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The first teaser trailer for Amazon Studio’s new fairytale Cinderella with Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Camila Cabello playing the star role has been released and offers more than a  glimpse of a radically transformed Tower Ballroom where some of the magical scenes were set.

 

Lead actress Cabello, 24, celebrated her birthday in the resort while last March filming the new musical adventure, which will be released worldwide on Amazon Prime Video on September 3.

Details behind the major production’s visit to the Tower were kept firmly under wraps but extras from the film, directed by Kay Cannon and produced by James Corden, were captured at the time in full costume.

Insiders revealed scenes were being shot inside the Ballroom which has recently undergone a £1 million refurbishment. The dance floor is highly recognizable in the preview scenes.

Following the release of the one minute and 15 second clip, Cuban born Cabello shared a post with her 53.5 million fans on Instagram which read: “This was one of the most magical experiences of my life. I cannot wait for you to see it.”

She later updated her Instagram to thank all her supporters for their “kind reactions” to the trailer.

Visit Blackpool bosses also shared a tweet with shots of the ballroom scenes, adding: “Exciting news! The first trailer of @Cinderella has just been released, starring @Camila_Cabello

“The major production came to Blackpool last year to film in the world-famous Tower Ballroom. We can’t wait to watch it!”
Key scenes in the new Camila Cabello vehicle, Cinderella, were filmed in Blackpool. The film is out in September Picture: Amazon Studios
Key scenes in the new Camila Cabello vehicle, Cinderella, were filmed in Blackpool. The film is out in September Picture: Amazon Studios

The classic story has been given a contemporary rewrite and features an A-List Hollywood cast including Frozen star Idina Menzl, former James Bond Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver, and Tony Award winner Billy Porter.

Cabello stars as princess Ella, who starts out as a peasant with big dreams. With a passion for dressmaking, she longs to become a famous designer where she’ll sell some of the best dresses the kingdom can buy.

Broadway star Porter will play her fairy godfather – dubbed Fab G.

Jennifer Salke from Amazon Studios said: “Cinderella is a classic we all know and love, but this time … the filmmaking team have taken this beloved fairy-tale and revamped it with a fresh, empowering perspective that will resonate with audiences and families around the world.

The Grammy nominated Cuban singer-songwriter described filming the musical as a 'magical experience' Picture: Amazon StudiosThe Grammy nominated Cuban singer-songwriter described filming the musical as a ‘magical experience’ Picture: Amazon Studios

“We couldn’t be more excited for our global customers.”

Blackpool tourist nicked for drink-driving as he drove home after finding girlfriend in arms of another man

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A Blackpool tourist found his girlfriend in the arms of another man before he got booted out of a hotel and then nicked for drink-driving.

 

Holidaymaker Jonathan Ashton, 34, of Moorland Road, Bolton, had a nightmare trip to Blackpool – with resort magistrates told he went to the loo and returned to find his girlfriend in the arms of another man.

After a row, he was then booted out of his hotel – and arrested for drink-driving on the way home, the court was told.

“To compound it all, he lost his job,” defence lawyer Mitch Sarangi said.

Jonathan Ashton was arrested for drink-driving following an argument with his girlfriend.Jonathan Ashton was arrested for drink-driving following an argument with his girlfriend.

Ashton was banned from driving for a year and told to pay £239 in costs.

Happy ending to Fleetwood RNLI boat rescue saga

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The grateful owners of an old rowing boat retrieved by Fleetwood RNLI from the sea two years ago have contacted the lifeboatmen to share a photo of its transformation.

Phil Smith and James Walker after the vessel was rescued

Phil Smith and James Walker after the vessel was rescued

Back in August 2019, the inshore lifeboat ‘Mary Elizabeth Barnes’ D-719, was tasked by HM Coastguard to investigate a small boat, spotted floating way out in Morecambe Bay by a passing merchant ship.

Fortunately, there was nobody aboard and she was towed back to the lifeboat station.

The name on the little boat was almost illegible, but the team took a guess and asked on their social media accounts if anybody knew who owned it.

My Girls is now restored

My Girls is now restored

Incredibly, Lancaster men Phil Smith and James Walker saw the posting, identified it as ‘My Girls’ a boat they lost off Sunderland Point in 2017, during a storm – two years previously.

They never thought they’d see it again.

The vessel had been bought as a project to help local youngsters learn joinery skills.

Today, the boat has been transformed with the help of some of those youngsters and James has been back in touch with the Fleetwood RNLI lads to thank them again and show them My Girls in her newly revamped state.

With a new lick of paint and fully restored, Phil and James now take the boat out fishing in Morecambe Bay

Ken Harcombe from Fleetwood RNLI, said: “The latest photo shows My Girls in all her glory, looking fantastic.

“We thanked James for sending us the update. It’s brilliant news.”

Phil Smith explained how they’d moored up at Sunderland Point after salmon fishing, in the summer of 2017, and said it must have drifted off and got caught in the marshes.

Phil said: “We never thought we’d see My Girls again. She was in remarkably good condition, considering.”