Family, friends and fans of Blackpool boxing legend Brian London have paid their respects earlier today at his funeral.
Brian London’s coffin is taken into Carleton Crematorium
Best known as the Blackpool Rock throughout his professional career, Brian died on June 23 at the age of 87 following a long illness.
Prior to the service at Carleton Crematorium at 2pm, the funeral cortege made an honorary lap of Stanley Park, close to where Brian lived and where he was a regular jogger.
As people gathered at the crematorium ‘Gonna Fly Now’, best known as the theme from the film Rocky, played through speakers as Brian’s coffin was carried in.
Dozens turned out for the service
As well as a packed congregation inside, dozens paid their respects outside with a projector screen erected showing a televised display of some of Brian’s best boxing matches in addition to some cherished memories with his family and friends.
During the service the poem ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was read out along with memories of Brian and a speech by his daughter-in-law Angela.
Another touching moment during the service was a pair of boxing gloves being placed on Brian’s coffin by his grandson 12-year-old Jack Harper, who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather.
Jack is a dedicated student of the sport at Brian Rose’s Blackpool gym, where he is tipped as a potential champion.
Floral tribute to the Blackpool Rock’s career
Following the funeral people made their way outside with Survivor’s Eye of The Tiger being played out.
Brian 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.
His family said he ‘passed away peacefully’ and was surrounded by his family.
Blackpool boxer Brian Rose came to pay his respects
Prior to the funeral a spokesman for Brian’s family said: “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.”
Among those that came to pay their respect were current Blackpool boxing favourite and six-time national champion Brian Rose and his trainer Bobby Rimmer.
Fans of the boxer also wanted to make sure Brian had a good send off.
Tommy Jackson, 82, of Inver Road, Bispham said he remembers some of Brian’s most famous fights and followed his career.
A projector outside the crematorium played clips of Brian in his boxing days
He said: “He was your proper English gentleman fighter and it was a real honour that he chose Blackpool as his home town. He was someone that everyone wanted to do well because of representing the town.
“I think it is testament to his character by how many people showed up today to show and pay their respects to the man.
Karl Redman, 38, of Swan Drive, said he had met London a couple of times and he always wanted to talk about boxing.
He said: “He would talk about any upcoming bouts and was always happy to chat about all things boxing.
“I wasn’t around when he was in his fighting prime but his name is legendary across Blackpool as a boxer and I have been able to watch clips of him fighting in his day.
“I thought it was right to come and put respect next to his name today and I wasn’t the only one to do so either.”
The procession had been around Stanley Park earlier
There’s less than a fortnight to go before last orders will be called on Blackpool’s longest-running cocktail bar, and owner Billy Tankard admitted he will feel emotional when the time comes.
Bill Tankard outside the Don Pepe bar
Yorkshireman Billy, 66, who has been at the helm of King Street bar Don Pepe for 27 years, said he is not normally a man given to too much sentiment, but this occasion will probably prove to be an exception.
The friendly bar will be closing for the last time next Sunday (July 18) because the row of buildings it’s on is being demolished as part of the council’s regeneration plans.
Billy said: “After all this time it will be emotional.
“In a place like this you make a lot of friends and the social side is the best part of it for me.
“So on the final day, it will mean a lot.
“Since news of the bar closing has got out there, people who haven’t been here for years have come in to see me.
“I know regulars are going to be sad. It’s taken me years to make the bar what it is and then it will be gone.”
One of the features in the bar is a huge 20ft by 5ft board covered with a montage of photos depicting some of the many customers who have called in at Don Pepe over the past three decades.
Billy said: “People are welcome to have those photos, I’m sure they will bring back some great memories so they can come it and get them.”
Originally from Castleford, Billy started out in the supermarket trade in Leeds and spent 11 years in Australia.
Back in England, a family trip to Blackpool led to him buying Don Pepe, as he was looking for his own bar to run.
At that time, Don Pepe was struggling to stay afloat and Billy had little idea that he would still be there 27 years later.
He said: “It was a very difference place in those early days but over the years it became what it is today.”
In the meantime, Billy will be dispensing his famous cocktails, some of them unique to Don Pepe, over the next two weeks, on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays – and that final Sunday.
He says he will be happy to see old friends return before the final bell rings.
For the next two weeks, Don Pepe is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 5pm until midnight.
A landlord has lost his battle to secure the right to operate a lap dancing club on his premises after councillors refused to transfer the licence to him.
Blackpool Council’s public protection sub-committee ruled David Moseley’s previous track record made him ‘unsuitable’ to hold the sexual entertainment venue (SEV) licence for Eden One on Queen Street.
Operators in row over Blackpool lap dancing club licence
Mr Moseley, who owns the premises, had applied to the council to have the SEV licence transferred to his company Pool Construction Ltd.
But Mark Newton already held the licence through his company AA Recreation 1 Ltd and objected to the transfer.
The sub-committee, which met on June 22 to consider the licence application, heard the two men had fallen out in a dispute over the lease of the property which had prompted Mr Moseley to apply for the licence.
He wanted to bring in his own manager to take over the running of the club.
In publishing its decision, the council said it was “an unusual situation where the holder of the SEV licence does not have the right to occupy the
But this did not “automatically mean that the premises owner is entitled to have the licence transferred to him”.
The council still had to consider “the suitability of the applicant company with its sole director Mr Moseley to hold this licence”.
This included ensuring the operator was qualified to run a lap dancing club, understood and would comply with the conditions of the licence and could show a track record or managing compliant premises.
But evidence given to the sub-committee included that Mr Moseley had never held an SEV licence while a previous alcohol licence had been reviewed twice, including for selling booze to under age drinkers.
Evidence was also given in relation to breaches in relation to care homes owned by Mr Moseley.
As a result the sub-committee “concluded that the applicant is unsuitable to hold this licence based on the history of regulatory non-compliance and lack of experience/understanding of licence conditions.”
Mr Moseley has the right to appeal to the magistrates court within 21 days.
Coleen, Anne, Maureen, Linda and Denise are set to reunite for a second series of their show Nolans Go Cruising
The iconic girl group The Nolans who formed in Blackpool in the 1970s are set to perform on stage together for the first time in 43 years.
Coleen, Anne, Maureen, Linda and Denise are set to reunite for a second series of their show Nolans Go Cruising.
The reunion comes amid Linda’s ongoing cancer battle.
The 62-year-old underwent chemotherapy at Blackpool Victoria Hospital along with her sister Anne last year and has praised her hometown community for their support after going public about her cancer returning
The Nolan sisters, who took part in the first series without sister Denise, will all take part in the coming series and perform again as a group for the first time in four decades.
The announcement comes after the Nolans planted a tree to mark the eighth anniversary of their late sister Bernie’s death, after she died of secondary breast cancer in 2013 aged just 53.
Anne’s secondary breast cancer was cleared up by chemotherapy.
Linda, whose condition is now incurable, told the Mirror: “We had so much fun on our last trip and it’s great all five of us are doing it this time around!”
Offering an update on her treatment, she said: “I have a CT scan coming up and after that, I’ll get the results from my oncologist.
“Every time, I worry if it’s spread again. I’m scared of dying. There’s so much to live for. You realise that when you’ve been through all that I have. Every day is a gift.”
Coleen said: “I can’t wait to be setting sail with my sisters again, letting our hair down and exploring the UK coast together.”
Last month, Maureen revealed she’ll be stepping in for her sister Linda to perform in the musical Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun will kick off in Telford, Shropshire, in September and includes some classic female-first anthems including the Cyndi Lauper hit it’s named after.
The song list also includes the Nolan Sister’s own much-loved tune I’m in the Mood For Dancing.
Of Maureen’s selfess decision to fill in for her, Linda said: ‘I’m gutted that I can’t do the tour. I was really excited but I know Maureen will do an amazing job. I’ll be cheering her on in the wings.’
The man was voluntarily interviewed by police and is suspended by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
A man arrested by police as part of ongoing investigations related to Blackpool Victoria Hospital has been voluntarily interviewed in connection with further alleged offences.
In November 2018, police began an investigation into allegations of mistreatment and neglect on the stroke unit.
Enquiries led to the identification of other offences including the murder of 75-year-old from Blackpool and alleged sexual offences against patients and staff at the hospital.
In March, a healthcare professional was arrested on suspicion of murder, two offences of rape and one offence of sexual assault.
The man remains on bail until September 3 and is suspended by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
Yesterday (July 5), the man was voluntarily interviewed in connection with further allegations, including the rape of two patients and seven sexual assaults on healthcare professionals on the stroke unit. He was not arrested.
Lancashire Constabulary said the inquiry is not linked to the ongoing investigation into allegations of poisoning and neglect.
Anyone with information in connection with the investigation can contact police on 101 quoting log 0942 of March 3 or report it via the major incident portal here
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.