Desperate search for missing baby parrot who flew away near Blackpool Salvation Army Citadel

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The owner of a baby macaw who flew away unexpectedly last week is hoping members of the public will keep their eyes and ears out for the bird, who has never flown outdoors alone.


Diego the blue and gold macaw is just over a year old, and flew away from his garden in Raikes Parade on Sunday afternoon (August 29).

His owner Andy Floyd, 41, a teacher who lives in Raikes Parade, said it was out of character for Diego to fly off, and he did not know what had triggered him to take flight.

Diego was last seen flying past the Salvation Army Citadel towards the direction of Sainsbury’s in Talbot Road, but has not been seen since.

Diego the baby macaw was last seen flying towards Talbot Road on Sunday afternoon. Pic: Andy FloydDiego the baby macaw was last seen flying towards Talbot Road on Sunday afternoon. Pic: Andy Floyd

Andy hoped members of the public would keep their eyes and ears out for the parrot, who is sometimes so vocal he “sounds like something from Jurassic Park.”

He explained how he had planned to train Diego as a free-flying macaw, which is why his wings were left unclipped.

“I’ve had Diego since around December 2019, and I didn’t want him to be kept in a cage for the rest of his life, they can live anywhere up to between 80 and 120 years, so I had planned to start training him to free-fly,” Andy said.

“He’s spent a lot of time in the garden, and I take him over to Stanley Park a lot, he sits on my shoulder while we walk round.
Diego the baby macaw was last seen flying towards Talbot Road on Sunday afternoon. Pic: Andy Floyd
Diego the baby macaw was last seen flying towards Talbot Road on Sunday afternoon. Pic: Andy Floyd

“I was doing some gardening when suddenly I heard his wings flap, and he was off. I followed him but couldn’t catch up to him, he got past the Salvation Army Citadel and was heading towards Sainsbury’s.

“I don’t know what could have caused him to fly off, he’s only a baby and not a very strong flyer so I was surprised he got so far, but I was told that sometimes the air current can carry them further than they’d be able to fly on their own.”

Andy said he felt that Diego was still somewhere nearby, but unable to find his way home.

“My gut feeling is that he’s somewhere nearby, but I don’t know for sure how far he could have gone,” he said.

“Most people just keep parrots in cages forever. He likes his cage, but we wouldn’t want him to be stuck in it forever. But we appreciate the risk, if you have a bird it flies.”

Diego has a ringlet on his foot with a breeder serial number on, so if a finder contacts an organisation such as the RSPCA he can be traced back to Andy.

Ride the Lights 2021: Hundreds of cyclists enjoy sneak peek of Blackpool Illuminations

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People young and old donned fancy dress and covered their bikes in vibrant fairy lights, lamps and lanterns


Hundreds of cyclists took part
Hundreds of cyclists took part

Hundreds of lucky cyclists enjoyed a sneak preview of this year’s Blackpool Illuminations as the annual ‘Ride the Lights’ event returned.

People young and old donned fancy dress and covered their bikes in vibrant fairy lights, lamps and lanterns as they pedalled tonight (August 31) along the Promenade to view the Illuminations from beginning to end.

VisitBlackpool closed off six miles of road to traffic between Starr Gate at South Shore to Red Bank Road in Bispham with participants able to travel as much or little of the route as they wanted.

Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Covid cases increase by 172 in 24 hours

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Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have now seen 37,582 Covid cases since the beginning of the pandemic.


There have now been 154,374 confirmed cases in the Lancashire County Council area since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest government data released today (September 1).

Meanwhile, the total across Lancashire, including Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen, now stands at 198,790.

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An aerial photo shows a piece of sand art, depicting the iconic Tower, Pier, and rides of Blackpool in north west England, drawn in the sand on the beach by sand artists 'Sand in your Eye, to promote that the town has re-opened following easing to lockdown restrictions in England on May 17, 2021.
An aerial photo shows a piece of sand art, depicting the iconic Tower, Pier, and rides of Blackpool in north west England, drawn in the sand on the beach by sand artists ‘Sand in your Eye, to promote that the town has re-opened following easing to lockdown restrictions in England on May 17, 2021.

The Prime Minister has gambled on trusting the public’s judgment and the protection offered by vaccines as he scrapped mandatory mask-wearing and lifted social distancing requirements.

The so-called “freedom day” went ahead on July 19.

Officials acknowledged that Covid-19 cases and deaths would continue to increase – albeit at a much lower level than before the vaccination programme – but it was now necessary to find a new way to live with the virus.

Public Health England records cases for each council area. The latest totals for each area in Lancashire are:

Blackburn with Darwen – 26,927 (Up from 26,869) +58

Blackpool – 17,489 (Up from 17,402) +87

Burnley – 14,759 (Up from 14,724) +35

Chorley – 13,328 (Up from 13,282) +46

Fylde – 8,391 (Up from 8,365) +26

Hyndburn – 12,456 (Up from 12,419) +37

Lancaster – 15,177 (Up from 15,106) +71

Pendle – 13,720 (Up from 13,676) +44

Preston – 20,588 (Up from 20,546) +42

Ribble Valley – 7,444 (Up from 7,426) +18

Rossendale – 10,079 (Up from 10,045) +34

South Ribble – 13,302 (Up from 13,241) +61

West Lancs – 13,428 (Up from 13,379) +49

Wyre – 11,702 (Up from 11,643) +59

Plan for 131 new homes in Blackpool set for green light

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Proposals to build 131 new council houses in Blackpool are being recommended for approval when they go before town hall planners next week.


The scheme, which was submitted in June, will see two sites on the Grange Park estate developed if it gets the go ahead from the council’s planning committee when it meets on Tuesday. (((SEPT 7)))

A mix of family dwellings, bungalows and sheltered apartments is included in the development.

Architects Cassidy and Ashton have drawn up the proposals for 53 two and three storey houses on land accessed from Chepstow Road and Gateside Drive, along with public open space.

Artists impression of new homes proposed at Grange Park

Artists impression of new homes proposed at Grange Park

The land was previously occupied by Christ the King Church and the Chepstow Road shops which were bulldozed in 2018.

A second site, accessed from Dinmore Avenue, is set to see the construction of 78 homes including two and three storey houses, bungalows and sheltered housing.

The former Grange Park Primary School previously stood on the land before being demolished in 2014 when it was replaced by Boundary Primary School.

If planning permission is granted, agreements must be reached to fund additional public services required by the new residents.

This includes a contribution of £631,418 towards providing extra secondary school places, and nearly £42,000 towards extending services at the Grange Park Health Centre where an additional 333 patient places would be needed.

A planning report says: “Socially the proposal would make a substantial contribution towards the borough’s housing land supply and would provide much-needed affordable housing which weighs heavily in favour of the application.”

It adds the inclusion of sheltered housing in the scheme would help residents to remain on the estate while freeing up some larger homes for new families.

The proposed housing will be developed by Blackpool Council which owns the land, managed by Blackpool Coastal Housing and funded from the England European Regional Development Fund.

Families shine a light on their artistic talent with healthy outdoor beach art

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Families in Fleetwood enjoyed some healthy outdoor fun and shone a light on their artistic talents.


Almost 50 people took part in a beach art day organised by Fleetwood Museum and Healthier Fleetwood to get people out and about and spark their creative flair.

Families teamed up to create a lighthouse on the beach using a mix of materials including pebbles of various shades of grey.

Angie Hesketh was one of the organisers from the museum and Healthier Fleetwood who took part.

An overhead picture of the Fleetwood beach art, taken by Scott Rimmer using his drone

An overhead picture of the Fleetwood beach art, taken by Scott Rimmer using his drone

She said: “We normally run crafts events at the museum but because of Covid and the need to social distance we have not been able to do everything we wanted this year.

“So we came up with the idea of an outdoor art event where people would work in 2m squares and everyone could take part in a wide-open space.

“It was difficult for people to see the overall picture as they were doing it, but when it all came together and they saw pictures taken by a drone they were amazed.

“It was a great fun event. We had around 50 people – children and their families up to the age of 70!”

Museum manager Ben Whittaker said: “We normally run craft sessions over the summer but due to Covid we haven’t really been able to do what we wanted. We have got craft boxes that they can use outside. So we wanted to do something bigger and with the help of Healthier Fleetwood Angie and the team came up with the beach art idea.

“It was a nice way to bring people together again and it went really well on the day as we had lovely weather on the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend.

“People were collecting pebbles across the beach and Scott Rimmer came along with his drone and did some photographs which really showed off their efforts.

“Everyone enjoyed it and it was great to work with local partners Healthier Fleetwood.”

Ben said the museum has been busy since the Fleetwood Museum Trust took over in 2018 and this year a combination of people holidaying at home rather than going abroad and the relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions, meant that it had its best summer so far.

It currently has an exhibition celebrating the women of Fleetwood, called This Lass Can, which will stay in place until next year.

The museum will be open until the end of November.

Blackpool ice cream parlour Notarianni Ices goes green to tackle climate change

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A South Shore ice cream parlour famed for its vanilla produce has gone green in a bid to help the environment.


Notarianni Ices in Waterloo Road has seen four generations serve a secret family recipe since 1928, and last year made an eco-friendly move by introducing compostable packaging across their range, with more additions in 2021.

Tubs, cups, hot drink lids, and spoons are all made from materials that can break down completely into non-toxic components, mitigating any impacts on the environment.

Luca Vettese, managing director of Notarianni Ices, said: “It is a lot more expensive than a lot of other packaging, but you can’t put a price on the environment. I know a lot of bigger companies are trying to move onto compostable packaging where possible, but I think it’s something we all need to do. It also encourages customers to care about the environment too and dispose of their waste appropriately.

Managing director of Notarianni Ices Luca Vettese with his sister Maddalena, who have adopted compostable packaging in a bid to protect the environment. Pic: Blackpool CouncilManaging director of Notarianni Ices Luca Vettese with his sister Maddalena, who have adopted compostable packaging in a bid to protect the environment. Pic: Blackpool Council

“With them being compostable, it doesn’t mean people can just throw them on the floor, they still need to be disposed of appropriately. We encourage people to use all the bins along the promenade, and we have our keep Blackpool Tidy flags out [in front of the parlour] and on our screens.

“We’re massive fans of the town and we love Blackpool to pieces, so we have to make sure it’s nice and tidy for visitors, locals, and the environment in general. We’re always looking at ways we can improve and what positive impact we can have on the community and the local area.

“Keep Blackpool tidy everyone and do your bit. If you go for a walk on the beach and you see some rubbish just pick it up and put it in the bin.”

The move supports the council’s mission to reach 100 per cent clean energy for the resort’s functions by 2030 – meaning the town will use 100 per cent renewable energy sources.

Blackpool Council appealed for both businesses and residents to play their part in tackling the climate crisis, as it “only has control over a small proportion of carbon emissions.”

Coun Jane Hugo, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for climate change, said: “I am delighted to see the team at Notarianni’s playing their part in tackling Blackpool’s Climate Emergency, and getting behind the Keep Blackpool Tidy campaign.

“It is so important that businesses across the town take inspiration from the ice cream parlour and follow suit, so that together we can reach our aim of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“Blackpool Council is only responsible for three per cent of these emissions, which is why it is crucial our partners and residents work alongside us to ensure we all make a real change.”

Fleetwood heritage under the microscope in new science and art project

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Fleetwood’s heritage is set to be brought to life through anthropology and art after two researchers were commissioned to run a new science and discovery club.


An “exciting programme of interactive events” during the next six months was promised by Wyre Council, which has commissioned both an artist in residence and scientist in residence to run a science and discovery club.

Henry Iddon, artist in residence, has worked in professional photography and lens-based arts practice for 25 years, and Dr Jessica Symons, scientist in residence, is an anthropologist and founder director of Visioning Lab, a creative digital studio based in Manchester.

During their residency, they will be offering a programme of interactive events and activities across the Lodge, the Pavilion and the grounds, as well as working on community outreach with schools and contributions to Fleetwood Library, Healthier Fleetwood and Fleetwood Museum programmes.

Fleetwood's heritage is set to be brought to life through anthropology and art after two researchers were commissioned to run a new science and discovery club. Pic: Nick HarrisonFleetwood’s heritage is set to be brought to life through anthropology and art after two researchers were commissioned to run a new science and discovery club. Pic: Nick Harrison

Dr Symons said: “200 years ago, Fleetwood was sand-dunes and rabbit warrens. Now there is this amazing Victorian architecture, a rich fishing heritage and stories about local lives.

“Meanwhile, the birds keep coming, the wind keeps blowing and shells keep washing up on the beach. I want to spend my time at Fleetwood mapping it all to find out – how did it all get here?”

Councillor Lynne Bowen, portfolio holder for Leisure, Health and Community Engagement at Wyre Council, added: “It is great to commence with the science and discovery club activities and provide opportunities for locals to engage with science and the arts whilst discovering more about the heritage and history of The Mount.

“We are delighted to welcome both Henry and Jessica to their residencies and are certain that with their incredible talent, history of success and wealth of experience, they will deliver some terrific activities for people to enjoy as well as valuable learning opportunities too.
Henry Iddon is the new artist in residence. Pic: Wyre CouncilHenry Iddon is the new artist in residence. Pic: Wyre Council

“We encourage everyone to visit the new Artist and Scientist in Residence and join in with the sessions that will be coming up over the next six months.”

The activities begin this week, with a launch event and several interactive sessions planned for people to drop-in and attend.

The first activity, “how photography and cameras work,” will be delivered on Tuesday, August 31 by Henry, teaching children aged between seven and 10 how cameras work and encouraging them to have a go developing their own photography skills.

The session takes place between 11am and 2pm at The Mount Lodge, with all equipment provided and parents/carers are welcome to stay with children during the session.

Dr Jessica Symons is the new scientist in residence. Pic: Wyre CouncilDr Jessica Symons is the new scientist in residence. Pic: Wyre Council

Between August 30 and September 3, Jessica will be walking along the shore, finding materials and taking them back to the Lodge to investigate their origins.

Residents of all ages are welcome to visit and work alongside her, researching and discovering what the sea and weather has to offer in Fleetwood.

Locals are invited to the art and science project launch event on Thursday September 2 at The Mount Pavilion from 6pm until 8pm, where Jessica and Henry will give talks, demo their existing work and discuss their plans for the next six months.

The Mount Lodge will also be open on Wednesday September 1 from 4pm until 6pm, where people have an early opportunity to meet them and learn about their work and the upcoming science and discovery club programme of activities.

Blackpool haulage firm to challenge planning refusal amid jobs fears

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A Blackpool haulage firm is continuing its battle to remain operating from a site off Squires Gate Lane.


Fox Brothers has lodged an appeal after the council rejected its retrospective planning application to use land at Squires Gate Industrial Estate for the storage of up to 67 wagons, a workshop and a concrete mixing plant.

The application was thrown out by the planning committee in June after more than 40 objections were received mainly from residents of nearby Oakwood Close, but also from Common Edge Road and businesses on Amy Johnson Way.

They complained of air pollution, environmental contamination and the “horrendous noise” of a concrete crusher and other heavy machinery at the site which the contractor moved to in 2019.

Drivers Jordan Dempsey and Keith Thirsk at the Fox Brothers' site.Drivers Jordan Dempsey and Keith Thirsk at the Fox Brothers’ site.

Now an independent planning inspector will re-examine the council’s decision and could either rule in favour of Fox Brothers or uphold the original outcome.

In July drivers working for Fox Brothers, which employs around 100 people at its Squires Gate site, spoke out about their fears the company may have to relocate outside the resort with jobs potentially moving to Leyland.

Spokesman Keith Thirsk said many drivers would not be able to travel to Leyland for work.

He said the company had “made great efforts to reduce noise”, and the concrete crusher had been removed from the site.

But a report by town hall planners said the council and the Environment Agency had “received a significant number of complaints about noise and dust from local residents”.

It was also feared the closeness of the depot to the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone would jeopardise its ability to attract “new, modern, hi-tech companies and their staff into the area.”

‘A decent window now becomes a very good one’: Matt Scrafton’s verdict on Blackpool’s deadline day business

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The belated but welcome confirmation of Blackpool’s last-minute deadline day deal for Owen Dale has made a decent transfer window a very good one.


The main focus yesterday had to be securing the services of a right-back. The Seasiders started the day with zero, but ended it with two.

In that regard, it was job done.

The 21-year-old comes with plenty of pedigree, having featured heavily under Thomas Tuchel’s Champions League winners in pre-season. Fans of his former loan club Coventry City also rate him highly.

It transpires right-backs are very much like London buses. You wait all window for one to arrive, and all of a sudden you have two within the space of an hour.

Jordan Gabriel was the next full-back through the door, the 22-year-old sealing a sensational return from Nottingham Forest.

Blackpool boss Neil CritchleyBlackpool boss Neil Critchley

Gabriel is a real favourite among the Blackpool faithful after his performances in tangerine during last season’s promotion-winning campaign.

Not only that, he clearly took the club to his heart and was dead-set on returning to Bloomfield Road, despite starting the season in Forest’s first-team. As Gabriel said himself on social media, he wanted to be at a place where he felt wanted.

The Seasiders have received plenty of criticism in recent weeks for their steadfast refusal to rush into a deal, leaving them without a recognised right-back for their opening five games of the Championship season.

But the club’s patience has now paid off, Neil Critchley now having not just one, but two high-level right-backs at his disposal.

Pool have shown previously they’re not willing to pay over the odds just to get a deal over the line and refuse to be taken to the cleaners over a potential swoop. They’ve adopted the same approach again this summer and I expect they will do in future, too.

It might mean the playing squad is a little weaker than we’d ideally want for the opening stages of the season, but the club aren’t prepared to navigate away from its ideals and nor should they. It served them extremely well last season, after all.

Blackpool’s head coach clearly wanted to get a central midfielder into the building before last night’s deadline but, it has to be said, their approach did come off a little scattergun.

They were linked with Josh Vela from Shrewsbury Town for a reported £300,000 fee last week. It must be stressed though that Shrews boss Steve Cotterill came out publicly and said he was never made aware of an offer being lodged.

Come deadline day, Blackpool were still being heavily linked with Oxford United’s Cameron Brannagan. But an agreement always seemed unlikely given the high fee the U’s would require for the midfielder’s services. A bid of just over £500,000 was never realistically going to cut it.

Eventually, Karl Robinson came out in the local press before Oxford’s EFL Trophy game against Cambridge United and confirmed Brannagan was staying put, putting an end to Pool’s hopes well in advance of the 11pm deadline.

Then, as MK Dons battled Burton Albion in the EFL Trophy, it was reported that Blackpool had lodged a bid for their midfielder Matt O’Riley.

Somewhat comically, the 20-year-old scored an own goal within minutes of the announcement going live on Sky Sports’ website.

Leaving a potential move so late in the day left MK with precious time to find a replacement, so again this always looked like an unlikely one.

Nevertheless, the three midfielders all fit the right profile of what the club is looking for, which is young, up-and-coming players, often from the division below.

Unfortunately young talent costs a lot of money and the selling club has every right to demand they’re paid sufficiently. That’s just life.

Either way, Blackpool’s approach for O’Riley was knocked back and the club would end the window without strengthening their central midfield options, where they’re looking a little light due to long-term injuries to Matty Virtue and Grant Ward.

The Tangerines still have Kenny Dougall, Kevin Stewart and Ryan Wintle, though, while Reece James, Callum Connolly, Cameron Antwi and Sonny Carey can also fill in there if required.

Another midfielder coming through the door would have been the icing on the cake, rather than a necessity.

Heading into the final hours, minutes and seconds of the summer window, Pool’s business looked satisfactory. The Seasiders had two players in each position, as Critchley likes, and the right-back conundrum had been solved.

All they were lacking was that final sprinkling of stardust to cap it off, but in Dale – a young winger who scored 12 times last season – it appears the Seasiders finally have it.

A central midfielder would have made things even better, but we can’t have everything in life, can we?

Deadline day really takes on a life of itself and clubs can find themselves getting sucked into the melodrama.

Ideally Pool would have sorted their business weeks in advance, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

The Seasiders are just one club within a chain and they can often be stuck twiddling their thumbs waiting for other clubs to make their move, which then frees up the player Pool are after.

It’s pain-staking business at times, but unfortunately it’s a necessity.

It’s also a rollercoaster of emotions. Come 11am, when Sterling and Gabriel had already been announced, Pool fans were feeling ecstatic. By 4pm they were impatiently waiting for further deals, by 9pm they were getting frustrated after news broke of the Brannagan and O’Riley setbacks. Come 11pm, confusion and uncertainty reigned. Once the Dale move was eventually confirmed, things were all quiet and pleasant again.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, analysing a whole window’s work of recruitment based on the final day is ludicrous. But we continue to do it. I’m guilty of it myself, so we need to look at the club’s business as a whole.

Simon Sadler has put his money where his mouth is yet again, forking out a reported £750,000 for Gabriel, having previously paid fees for Oliver Casey and Sonny Carey earlier in the window.

A FOUR-YEAR deal for Gabriel, as well? That’s unheard of in these parts.

Before I finish, it’s time for my by-annual reminder that Blackpool are still able to sign free agents outside the window.

This was an avenue that proved highly successful last season, with both Kenny Dougall and Kevin Stewart – two key components of Pool’s promotion-winning side – arriving shortly after transfer windows had closed.

If my calculations are correct, Pool could well have one free spot remaining in their 25-man squad list, which they must now submit to the EFL now the window has closed.

Most Championship sides will have already filled their 25-man quota, so this gives Pool leverage when it comes to the best free agents on the market.

INS (13)

Josh Bowler (Everton)

Oliver Casey (Leeds)

Sonny Carey (Kings Lynn)

Callum Connolly (Everton)

Owen Dale (Crewe, LOAN)

Jordan Gabriel (Nottingham Forest)

Daniel Grimshaw (Man City)

Reece James (Doncaster)

Tyreece John-Jules (Arsenal, LOAN)

Richard Keogh (Huddersfield)

Shayne Lavery (Linfield)

Dujon Sterling (Chelsea, LOAN)

Ryan Wintle (Cardiff, LOAN)


Ben Garrity (Port Vale)

Liam Feeney (Tranmere)

Alex Fojticek (Partizan Bardejov)

Sullay Kaikai (Wycombe)

Ethan Robson (MK Dons, LOAN)

Jack Sims

Nathan Shaw (AFC Fylde)

Jordan Thorniley (Oxford, LOAN)

Ollie Turton (Huddersfield)

Adi Yussuf (Yeovil)