Hoax call leads Blackpool’s sea rescue teams on wasted search under North Pier

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A hoax call led Fylde Coast rescue teams on a wasted search of the water under North Pier (Sunday, September 5).

 

Coastguard and RNLI crews were called to reports of a person clinging onto the pier legs in the freezing water at around 7.10pm.

Both Fleetwood and Lytham Coastguard rushed to the scene and two rescue officers in dry suits made their way under the pier legs to investigate.

With the tide incoming, RNLI Blackpool also launched one of its D-class lifeboat to search the end of the pier, but the team did not find anyone in need of their help.

Coastguard and RNLI crews were called to reports of a person in the water clinging onto the legs of the North Pier in Blackpool at around 7.10pm last night (Sunday, September 5). Pic: HM Coastguard Fleetwood

Coastguard and RNLI crews were called to reports of a person in the water clinging onto the legs of the North Pier in Blackpool at around 7.10pm last night (Sunday, September 5). Pic: HM Coastguard Fleetwood

Following discussions with the MRC (Maritime Rescue Centre) at Holyhead in Wales, it was decided the report was a hoax call and both Coastguard teams and Lifeboat crews were stood down.

It was the second hoax call the Coastguard had received over the weekend.

It followed another busy weekend for Fylde Coast rescue teams, with one casualty rescued from the water at North Pier in the early hours of Saturday morning (September 4).

At 1.10am, RNLI Blackpool were mobilised after it was reported that a person had been injured jumping from North Pier into the sea.

It was another busy weekend for Fylde Coast sea rescue teams, with one person rescued from the water at North Pier in the early hours of Saturday morning (September 4). Pic: RNLI Blackpool

It was another busy weekend for Fylde Coast sea rescue teams, with one person rescued from the water at North Pier in the early hours of Saturday morning (September 4). Pic: RNLI Blackpool

A D-class lifeboat was launched and crews found the person in the water and helped them to safety.

Fortunately, it was established that the person had not jumped from the pier but had been swimming and was suffering the effects of cold.

The person was lifted into the lifeboat and taken ashore were they were treated by ambulance crews.

If you would like to make a donation to support the life-saving efforts of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), you can do so here.

 

Lytham Festival given go-ahead to run for 10 nights in 2022

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Lytham Festival will deliver a 10-day live music extravaganza in 2022.

 

Councillors at a meeting of Fylde Council’s Licensing Panel Hearing voted to give the green light to the extension for the Festival to take place over two weekends between June 28 and July 10.

Welcoming the news, Lytham Festival and Cuffe and Taylor director Peter Taylor said: “We are delighted with the support and decision of Fylde Borough’s councillors in approving our plans.

“The live music industry has been devastated by the global pandemic so to be able to bring 10 days of live music to wonderful Lytham in 2022 will not only be a huge boost to the industry we work in, it will provide massive economic benefits to the whole of the Fylde coast and beyond.

Lytham Festival was last held on the town's Green over five nights in 2019

Lytham Festival was last held on the town’s Green over five nights in 2019

Lytham Festival 2021 officially cancelled, bosses promise a ‘triumphant return’ …

The 10-day premises licence is for one year only and in 2023 Lytham Festival will revert to its usual five nights.

The granting of the license comes days after the new WonderHall Festival presented by Cuffe and Taylor at Lytham Hall.

The six-day festival, which took place last week, was a huge success and resulted in £153,000 being donated to Lytham Hall from all ticket sales for the Sunday Picnic Proms concert headlined by Russell Watson.

WonderHall will return for one night only in 2022 with a Last Night of the Proms-style concert and from 2023 Lytham Festival will revert to five nights, while WonderHall will return as a five-night festival.

Lytham Festival 2022 has already announced headline shows from Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi, Diana Ross, Duran Duran and Snow Patrol.

The headliners for the remaining five nights will be announced soon.

 

Blackpool’s latest cocktail bar and where it’s set to open

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Blackpool’s latest watering hole is set to open in the shadow of Blackpool Tower

 

Victoria Steet, Blackpool, where the cocktail bar is set to open
Victoria Steet, Blackpool, where the cocktail bar is set to open (Image: Google)

A former Blackpool clothes shop is set for a new lease of life as a cocktail bar.

Plans have been lodged with Blackpool Council to convert the store at 73 Victoria Street, in the town centre, into licensed premises aiming to serve cocktails, specialist gins and craft ale.

Blackburn-based Angeline Richardson, who has lodged the proposals for the unit previously occupied by the Stawberry Moon fashion store, says she wants to create a venue aimed at the over 25s.

In a planning statement accompanying the application, she says: “We have found that customers over 30 struggle to find a good place to go out that is not full of younger people because of drink promotions etc.

“Inside the bar will be decorated to a high standard and door supervisors will be employed and advised to challenge anyone who is lucky enough to look under 25.”

Angeline and her husband, who already operate three bars including in and around Lancashire, hope to sell locally produced gins and ales.

She adds: “We know that Blackpool already has several party bars that cater for hen and stags but this is not the market we are going for.

“We have visited a lot of bars and clubs in the area and feel that there is a gap in the market for something a bit more upmarket where people can sit, relax have a drink and chat with friends.”

The family run business hopes to recruit up to 10 members of staff if the venture gets the go ahead.

The application will now go before town hall planners at a future date for consideration.

 

Blackpool’s £13m entertainment museum hits major milestone and when it’ll open

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The museum, set to open in April 2023, will allow visitors to get up close with the entertainers who put Blackpool on the map such as comedians, dancers, acrobats, performers and larger-than-life characters

 

An artist impression of Blackpool's Showtown museum
An artist impression of Blackpool’s Showtown museum (Image: Blackpool Council)

Construction has finally began on Blackpool’s first ever museum showcasing the resort’s fun and entertainment.

Work has begun on the £13million museum, named ‘Showtown’, after a lease was signed by Blackpool Council, Coolsilk Property and Investment Ltd.

The Blackpool attraction, located in the historic Sands Building on the Golden Mile, next door but one to Blackpool Tower, has been working with Bamber Bridge construction firm, Conlon, who are laying the groundwork for the museum.

The museum is set to open in April 2023.

Coolsilk’s co-owner, Peter Swann, said: ‘”We are delighted that the museum will be developed alongside our Sands Venue Resort Hotel – Blackpool’s first 5-star hotel when it opens next year.

“Our resort will create 91 luxury rooms and penthouses, restaurants, spa, conference space, existing themed Wild West Diner and soon to open cocktail bar.

“We can now look forward to hosting this exciting new Museum and look forward to working with the council to attract even more visitors into the resort”.

The museum will allow visitors to get up close with the entertainers who put Blackpool on the map – the comedians, dancers, acrobats, performers and larger-than-life characters who turned a seaside resort into the home of show business.

Left to right; Michael Conlon, Chairman of Conlon Construction Ltd; Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen,
Chairman of Blackpool Museum Trust; Alan Cavill, Director of Communications and Regeneration for Blackpool
Council and Marcus Walker, Director at Coolsilk Property and Investment Ltd
Left to right; Michael Conlon, Chairman of Conlon Construction Ltd; Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Chairman of Blackpool Museum Trust; Alan Cavill, Director of Communications and Regeneration for Blackpool Council and Marcus Walker, Director at Coolsilk Property and Investment Ltd (Image: Dave Nelson)

Darren Lee, Commercial Director at Conlon Construction, said: “Blackpool is known all over the world for its history of entertainment and Showtown is shaping up to be the latest world-famous attraction located in the seaside town.

“It’s a pleasure to work with Showtown and we’re all excited to see the finished result.”

The themed exhibitions will be the first permanent displays in a UK public museum relating to circus, variety and ballroom dance and will hold more than 800 objects from Blackpool’s collections.

There will also be items on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum and several private partners.

Speaking of working with Conlon Construction, Blackpool Council leader Lynn Williams said: “As Blackpool’s first museum of fun and entertainment we wanted to work with a company that truly understands our product and is on board with all the excitement that is to come.

“We are delighted to be working with Conlon Construction, who come with a wealth of experience in the North West, having worked on exciting projects in the culture category, including Harris Museum in Preston and Avro Heritage Museum in Stockport.

“Conlon Construction recently restored the beautiful Spanish Hall at the Winter Gardens, so we know there’s a shared vision for the look and feel of Showtown, and we are in safe hands with their extensive knowledge of heritage sites.”

Estimations project that Showtown will attract about 300,000 local, regional, national and international visits each year; engage with 7,500 local school children annually; create around 40 full-time jobs and 20 training placements and play a critical role in Blackpool’s re-imagining.

Funding for the £13m Showtown includes £4.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £1.75m from the Coastal Communities Fund, £4m from the Northern Cultural Fund, £1.5m from the Lancashire Economic Partnership Growth Deal and £1m from Blackpool Council.

To find out more about Blackpool’s latest museum, please visit the Showtown website here.

Blackpool North MP Paul Maynard says Metropole Hotel asylum seeker decision is ‘deeply, deeply inappropriate’

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The MP for Blackpool North, Paul Maynard has criticised the decision to place more than 220 asylum seekers in a Blackpool hotel.

 

Paul Maynard said he has concerns over the decision to house the asylum seekers in the Metropole Hotel on the Promenade

Blackpool Council have already criticised the decision by the Home Office to place them in the resort without consulting with town hall officials.

Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said the Home Office had presented the Council with a fait accompli and seemed determined to go ahead with the placements regardless of the serious issues raised.

Paul Maynard said he has concerns over the decision made by the Home Office

Paul Maynard said he has concerns over the decision made by the Home Office

Blackpool’s Metropole Hotel to gain 220 asylum seekers – but not from Afghanista…

Mr Maynard told The Gazette: “I share the Council’s concern and regarded this as short-sighted, panic measure which shows no concern for either refugees or local people.

“While we will always seek as a community to be welcoming to those in greatest need, a group of this size, placed in what is already one of the most deprived wards in the country, places a strain on the local community and services which already face immense challenges, and does not help the refugees in any way either.

“I have made clear that the Metropole is a deeply, deeply inappropriate choice of accommodation, no matter how short the duration of the stay. I had lengthy and forceful discussions with the relevant Minister and am only disappointed he did not see fit to listen to my warnings. I will continue to urge Ministers to move these individuals on to more sustainable settings urgently.”

The Home Office and Britannia Hotels, which owns and runs the Metropole, have been contacted for comment.

 

Warning of children at risk from respiratory illness as Blackpool hospitals gear up for winter

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Doctors are expecting to see a surge in respiratory diseases this winter among young children because lockdown meant they were not exposed to the usual  germs.

 

The threat is among factors taken into account in a £2.2m Winter Plan which has been prepared by health chiefs at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

It is proposed to recruit 110 new full-time equivalent staff to help cope with increased winter pressure on the NHS.

Natalie Hudson, chief operating officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (BTH) NHS Trust, warned this winter would be particularly challenging as medics juggled the potential impact of flu and Covid with trying to restore routine treatments.

Hospital bosses are drawing up their winter plan

Hospital bosses are drawing up their winter plan

She told a meeting of the hospital board: “We need to recognise the potential impact that Covid, flu and Norovirus could have this year.

“We also have a predicted RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) surge which we have already seen in children and paediatrics saw that peak in August.

“But we also expect a similar surge again throughout winter.”

It has been predicted cases of RSV could increase by up to 50 per cent with children aged under two at most risk.

A report to the board says: “As a result of national lockdowns to manage the Covid 19 pandemic there is an increasing cohort of pregnant women, young infants and children who have not been exposed to respiratory viruses which is now posing a risk to surge infections.

“Public Health England suggests an increase in RSV cases of circa 20-50 per cent, peaking in November, although early presentations have been noted.

“RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in children under two years, although often causing mild infections, it may be severe.

“Typically, RSV circulates during winter, from September, peaking in December.

“Regional teams and the Paediatric Critical Care Network (ODN) have developed regional and supra regional plans to support increased paediatric critical care capacity.”

Ms Hudson added vaccinations for flu and Covid boosters would continue to be rolled out to staff and care homes, with this due to start in September.

All school aged children will be offered the flu vaccine from BTH’s School Aged Vaccination and Immunisation Team, with an expected uptake rate of 70 per cent.

Plans are also being made to convert more wards to medical wards, while a new medical high care unit could be created for patients needing enhanced care but not poorly enough to require intensive care.

But Ms Hudson warned it was key to get staff in place and recruitment was beginning earlier this year to ensure everything was in place.

The Trust holds £5.4m in reserves to fund winter 2021/22. £2.2m, of this is locally funded by BTH and the other £3.2m is commissioner funded.

 

Blackpool’s Metropole Hotel to gain 220 asylum seekers – but not from Afghanistan

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The Metropole Hotel in Blackpool is to be used to house 220 asylum seekers, with the council’s leader expressing serious concerns over the plans.

 

The Council has been advised by the Home Office that around 220 people will be moved into temporary accommodation at the seafront hotel, in the heart of Blackpool, from the end of this week as part of the Government’s response to the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel.

The relocation has been approved by the Home Office despite the Council, police and health leaders raising several questions about the rationale of placing vulnerable people in such a high-profile tourist location without undertaking any proper consultation with public services.

It’s alleged that the NHS, police as well as the council were not advised about the proposals, at a time when all public services are already under enormous pressure.

The Metropole Hotel will house 220 asylum seekers

The Metropole Hotel will house 220 asylum seekers

In addition, the Council says there is no evidence that any risk assessments have been undertaken with regard to location, appropriateness of accommodation or impact on the local community.

Today, Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said the Home Office had presented the Council with a fait accompli and seemed determined to go ahead with the placements regardless of the serious issues raised.

She said there was a visible lack of understanding of the town illustrated by the fact that the placement was being made at the start of the peak Illuminations season and in a hotel, which is run by Britannia Hotels, located in the heart of the tourism zone.

She said it felt more like “a marriage of convenience” between the Home Office and Britannia Hotels than a carefully thought-out plan as to how best to place asylum-seekers in a suitable location with appropriate and sustainable wraparound services in place.

Coun Williams said: “We have tried to make sense of this with the Home Office and raised numerous questions about how they arrived at this decision. Most of those questions have fallen on deaf ears.

“We fully understand the pressures that the Government is facing in terms of the numbers of asylum-seekers crossing the Channel but, at the same time, the Home Office needs to understand that it cannot place people simply because it has a marriage of convenience with certain hotel operators.

“As a local authority, we are enormously sympathetic to the plight of refugees and are working with Lancashire to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees, but this is a very different situation. Such placements can only be made if there has been a thorough risk assessment undertaken as well as consultation with those agencies that will have to provide assistance for people who are in need of high levels of support.

“Given that the Home Office has avoided most of the questions we have asked, we have no details of where these 223 asylum-seekers are from, what specific needs they might have and how long they are going to be placed in temporary accommodation in the middle of one of our main tourism areas.”

Both the Home Office and Britannia Hotels have been contacted for comment.

Anthony Pilkington impresses Barry Nicholson with his calming influence at Fleetwood Town

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Anthony Pilkington can give a youthful Fleetwood Town side the benefits of his experience this season.

 

That’s the view of assistant boss Barry Nicholson, who singled out the winger for praise after Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Leicester City Under-21s in Town’s opening Papa John’s Trophy group game.

A summer signing following a season in India, Pilkington has featured in all seven Fleetwood games so far this season but has started only one of their five League One fixtures.

Anthony Pilkington's cool-headed play was a positive influence for Fleetwood's youngsters

Anthony Pilkington’s cool-headed play was a positive influence for Fleetwood’s youngsters

But the 33-year-old former Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town star can be a steadying influence in Fleetwood Town’s youthful side, and he certainly was playing from the start against the young Foxes.

Nicholson said: “He was chomping at the bit to get in the team and his performance was one of the better ones on the night.

“He showed some lovely touches. He always brings a calmness to our play and brings other people into play.

“His performance was excellent and I am sure he will be in the manager’s thoughts for the next game against Rotherham.”

But Nicholson believes Pilkington will be far from the only player to have given head coach Simon Grayson food for thought in Tuesday’s comprehensive Highbury win.

“All parts of the performances we are pleased about,” he added: “The start was important. We showed in the first five minutes that we were in control of the game and we went on from there.

“We probably would have liked to have played again off the back of this result,” added Nicholson, referring to the fact Town don’t return to action until a week on Saturday after Wigan Athletic called off this weekend’s scheduled fixture due to their international call-ups.

“But we have had a lot of games since the start of the season. It is a crazy schedule, so I am sure a few of us will be ready for a little break before we get back in to prepare for Rotherham.”

 

Blackpool Cricket Club complete league and cup double

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Blackpool Cricket Club have done the league and cup double.

 

Monday’s three-wicket derby victory at St Annes sealed the Northern Premier League title with a game to spare following Blackpool’s triumph in the 40-over competition.

It’s a record-extending 18th NPCL title for Blackpool, who lost their opening game of the season but have not been beaten in the league since, despite playing most of their matches away from home due to ground improvement work at Stanley Park.

Matt Siddall bowled a season's best 6-26 for Blackpool in their title-clinching victory at St Annes

Matt Siddall bowled a season’s best 6-26 for Blackpool in their title-clinching victory at St Annes

It means St Annes go into their final game on Saturday at Leyland not yet safe from the drop, while Fleetwood will finish in the relegation places after a 69-run defeat at Fulwood and Broughton, the only team to have beaten Blackpool in division one in 2021.

St Annes chose to bat against Blackpool but struggled to build any momentum, number three Nathan Bolus their top scorer with 30 in a modest total of 116 from 44.4 overs.

Blackpool’s Cumbria spinner Matt Siddall took a season’s best 6-26 and did the damage in the crucial period which saw the hosts slump from 68-3 to 75-7.

But Blackpool found batting anything but simple either as none of their top five reached double figures and victory was looking doubtful at 22-4 and later 62-6.

Wicketkeeper Ben Howarth’s unbeaten 37, which included six fours, eased any nerves and propelled his side to victory at 117-7 in 45.5 overs, despite three wickets apiece for Harry Birkman and St Annes captain Tom Higson.

Fleetwood needed a victory at Fulwood and Broughton to take their battle at the bottom down to the final game against fellow relegation scrappers Chorley on Saturday.

Fulwood were put in to bat and set a target of 180-9 as professional Dyllan Matthews did his utmost to give Fleetwood a fighting chance of victory with a return of 6-56, the second time the South African has taken six wicket from the club. The home side’s Ben Rosbottom was run out one short of his half-century.

But the chase was never really on for Fleetwood, who struggled to 60-5 and lost Matthews without scoring.

Declan Clerkin fought back with a top score of 23 but Fleetwood were all out for 111 in 39.1 overs, Dominic Wilson taking four wickets from 3.1 overs as Fulwood ensured their survival.

Other results: Chorley 251-7 drew with Leyland 162-8, Garstang 129 beat Lancaster 112 by 17 runs, Longridge 235-6 beat Morecambe 165 by 70 runs, Netherfield 195-8 beat Kendal 131 by 64 runs.

 

Fylde coast cricket preview: Fleetwood CC hope to end a tough year on a high

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Fleetwood Cricket Club are determined to bounce back up to the Northern Premier League at the first attempt – but their immediate aim is to end their 69-year stay in the competition on a high.

 

Defeats in relegation battles with St Annes and Fulwood and Broughton over the holiday weekend sealed the fate of the NPCL founder members, who will contest the Palace Shield next season.

Chorley will go down too unless they win tomorrow’s final game at Broadwater but Fleetwood captain Adam Sharrocks is anxious not to let that happen.

He told The Gazette: “We’ve lost enough games this season and we want to finish with pride and win for the people who have supported us. We would do the league an injustice by not doing our best.

Fleetwood CC skipper Adam Sharrocks (batting)

Fleetwood CC skipper Adam Sharrocks (batting)

Blackpool Cricket Club can challenge for years says proud captain Paul Danson af…

“The game at St Annes was in our hands and that would have given us momentum to take into Monday but we threw opportunities away.

“I’m extremely disappointed for this great club but we have an opportunity to re-evaluate and move forward.

“I’ve had many good times here but we feel we’ve let the club down, though there is a real spirit of togetherness.

“The Palace Shield is a great competition with some very good teams, but our focus will be on getting back to where we think we should be.”

St Annes require six points at Leyland to guarantee their safety, with Morecambe the other club Chorley could potentially overtake.

There are no such worries for champions and cup winners Blackpool, who end their campaign at home to Netherfield.

Though the NPCL ends tomorrow, the Fylde coast cricket season does not. The Shield has two Saturdays to go and the Liverpool Competition three, though promotion-chasing Lytham play their final home game tomorrow against Ainsdale.

Fleetwood are set to join a Palace Shield premier division containing fewer Fylde coast clubs, with South Shore and Fylde CC relegated.

Kirkham and Wesham could yet climb into the NPCL, though victory at Penwortham tomorrow is probably a must if they are to challenge Vernon Carus for the second promotion spot behind Penrith.

TOMORROW’S FIXTURES

Northern Premier League (12.30): Blackpool v Netherfield, Fleetwood v Chorley, Leyland v St Annes, Kendal v Longridge, Lancaster v Fulwood and Broughton, Morecambe v Garstang.

Liverpool Competition first division (12.0): Lytham v Ainsdale.

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division (1.30): Fylde v Thornton Cleveleys, Great Eccleston v South Shore, Penwortham v Kirkham and Wesham, Barrow v Preston, Croston v Penrith, Eccleston v Vernon Carus.

Division 1B: St Annes 2 v Leyland 2, Chorley 2 v Fleetwood 2, Fulwood and Broughton 2 v Great Eccleston 2, Netherfield 2 v Blackpool 2.

Division 2: Thornton Cleveleys 2 v Longridge 3, Ingol v Norcross, Whittingham and Goosnargh v Wrea Green.