Rising indie band The Lathums are to join a rich line of inspired bands from the Rolling Stones, Oasis and Stone Roses and play Blackpool’s 125-year-old Empress Ballroom next April.
The Lathums release their debut album How Beautiful Life Can Be, on Island Records on Friday September 24 2021
Hailing from Wigan, the quartet – with a sound nodding to the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and The Smiths – have announced news of a very special one-off show at the iconic Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom. They will perform at the iconic venue on Saturday April 9 2022.
Tickets will go on sale at 9am this Friday.
The show is poised to be a seaside celebration of the band’s progress over the past two years, seeing them perform much-loved songs of youthful hope, including I’ll Get By (featuring the resort in its colourful promo video) and How Beautiful Life Can Be, plus soon-to-be-fan-favourites from their long-awaited, imminent album.
A spokesperson for the band said: “Headlining such a landmark venue so early in their career is a testament to the band’s steadily growing position at the heart of British guitar music, putting them under one, ornate roof with the passionate music-lovers who have been on their remarkable journey with them.
“Support on the night comes from friend and people-powered singer-songwriter, Jamie Webster, whose debut album, We Get By, landed at Number six on the Official UK Album Chart last year, also scooping the accolade of being the Official UK Folk Chart’s first, ever Number One artist.”
The Lathums’ last full-length performance in Blackpool came in October 2020 when they live streamed a rare show from under the Victorian Tower Circus’ imposing roof, gripping over 4,000 viewers and spurring #LathumsLive to trend on Twitter internationally throughout the performance.
The show was later given a limited-edition Record Store Day vinyl release.
The Lathums release their debut album How Beautiful Life Can Be, on Island Records on Friday September 24 2021.
Blackpool comedy mainstay Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown will return to his ‘second home’ at the North Pier this week amid fresh controversy over the cancellation of one of his upcoming shows.
Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown
The stand-up comic, whose real name is Royston Vasey, will appear on Friday night at the Joe Longthorne Theatre, where he has performed annually for more than 30 years.
The comedian recently made national headlines due to the cancellation of an upcoming show at Sheffield City Hall due to criticisms of racist and sexist material, and the subsequent backlash from fans who opposed the City Trust’s decision.
A spokesman for Chubby Brown said the 76-year-old had been ‘overcome with the support’ he has received.
Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown is well known for the content of his shows
It was said he is now looking forward to returning to Blackpool, which has become his ‘second home’.
“Roy is part and parcel now. He’s a stick of Blackpool rock. He’s synonymous with Blackpool, and the locals appreciate that he has brought so much money to the town over the years, because the fans do stay over, they book into hotels,” the spokesman said. “Over 30 years, hes probably brought in a fortune.
“He should be the one switching on the Illuminations. He’s the one turning the lights on.
“Chubby loves Blackpool, and Blackpool loves him.”
In a statement following the cancellation of his Sheffield City Hall show, Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown himself said: “At first I had a sense of anger and disbelief, but on reflection I now feel just disappointment and sadness with the decision and the way things are going generally.
“I have been performing at the City Hall annually for the last 30-plus years and have always had great nights there and a wonderful working relationship with the management and staff at the City Hall, and my fans have always come along and supported me in their thousands through the years
“Now in these strange times of snowflakes and political correctness it has been decided that I am no longer welcome.”
He said his adults-only show was “an act with one sole purpose… to put a smile on people’s faces, certainly not to offend”, but added, “IF EASILY OFFENDED, PLEASE STAY AWAY!”
The decision to axe the show was made by Sheffield City Trust, the charity that runs Sheffield City Hall, following complaints.
Andrew Snelling, chief executive of Sheffield City Trust, said: “We don’t believe this show reflects Sheffield City Trust values, particularly our ambition that our leisure, culture and entertainment venues are inclusive for all in Sheffield.”
Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, wrote to the Trust and said: “This is the right thing to do. There is no place for any hate-filled performance in our diverse and welcoming city.”
An online petition to reintroduce the show to the City Hall’s calendar was signed by more than 28,000 people.
Chubby said: “I won’t name call or get involved in politics, but it amazes me how I’m not allowed to perform behind closed doors in certain areas, to an audience who want to see me, but there are a lot of very similar things widely available on television and social media publicly and most importantly to children which I would think are very offensive to certain people and communities. Would the efforts of the councils, snowflakes, censorship committees not be better used by looking into this than stopping my show which doesn’t offend anyone?
“I would confidently suggest that 90 per cent of people who complain about my show have never even seen it, so how can they possibly comment or have an opinion?”
His spokesman added: “He’s a bit gobsmacked by how supportive fans of been. He’s really a very senstive man, and his fans have rallied in support of him.
“There’s a big divide between your average Chubby Brown fans and the general public, but the general public has largely sided with him as well. He’s got support some everybody, which is fabulous.”
A sick swan from Blackpool’s Stanley Park had to have its eye removed in a life-saving emergency operation.
The female swan, called Columbo, was picked up by animal rescuers in the park on Friday after it was noticed by concerned passers-by.
It was taken to the Veterinary Health Centre in Lytham, where it had an operation to remove an infected left eye.
From there, it was taken to the Swan’s Rest rescue centre, where it is now settling into a long recovery.
The swan is currently undergoing rehabilitation
Mel Greenhalgh, of Brambles Wildlife Rescue in South Shore, said: “She has found her feisty side again which is good news as she was very placid when we plucked her out the lake… which is worrying as swans are usually feisty.
“She must have been in great pain with her eye as it was, and she will cope just fine with one eye. In a few weeks she will be re-released by us to Stanley Park. Only teamwork can make this happen so a big thank you to the Veterinary Health Centre and Swans Rest for working with us to get her the treatment she needed, and for their love and care in helping this magnificent girl.”
A friends group dedicated to the upkeep of a pretty sunken garden on Blackpool’s North Shore seafront has made a desperate plea for new members.
Volunteers from the Friends of Jubilee Gardens are desperate for new members to help with the gardens. Pictured is June Lockett, George Williamson, Dana Gledhill and Ali. Photos: Dan Martino
The Friends of Jubilee Gardens meet up once a week to tidy the area, weed the flower beds and generally make sure it looks its best.
But sadly the Friends are now down to just four members.
And their struggles to keep Jubilee Gardens up to scratch are given extra poignancy as the park is right next to a monument (inset) paying tribute to policemen who drowned in 1983 while trying to rescue a man who had gone into the sea to save his dog.
The 999 memorial, which pays tribute to all emergency service workers but specifically the police officers lost in a tragic drowning incident off Gynn Square
PC Angela Bradley, 24, 23-year-old PC Gordon Connolly, and PC Colin Morrison, 38 died along with Scottish holidaymaker, 25-year-old Alistair Anthony, on January 5 1983,
Dana Gledhill, who played a key part in setting up the blue 999 monument in 2013 and who is a member of the Friends, said: “The park is so close to where the officers died at Gynn Square.
“It isn’t right to have a monument there asking people to ‘always remember’ their bravery and sacrifice and then let the gardens right next to it become derelict.
“It is very difficult terrain because it is exposed to salt from the sea.
The Friends of Jubilee Gardens at work in the North Shore park
“But it is very rewarding.”
Jubilee Gardens first opened in 1914.
She added: “It isn’t necessary for any new members to come every week, any help we can get, even if it’s just once a month, would make a difference.”
Anyone interested in helping out can phone Dana on 07734328987.
Volunteer June Locket is busy at Jubilee Gardens
The wrought iron gates of Jubilee Gardens in North Shore, where the dedicated Friends group are looking for more volunteers to join them
A plaque in memory of Alan Ashton, the leading heritage campaigner dubbed ‘Mr Lytham’ has been unveiled at the town’s Heritage Centre.
He was the founding chairman of the Lytham Heritage Group in 1987 and the Heritage centre garden was chosen as the venue for the tribute in recognition of his outstanding work in promoting local heritage, while it was also felt fitting that the Ashton family has long been involved in a large local horticulture business.
The garden has been revamped with the help of Lytham in Bloom to commemorate Alan’s work at the Centre.
The plaque was unveiled by Heritage Group president Audrey Kirby, while Sue Forshaw, the Group chairman, welcomed some 25 members of Alan’s family together with the Fylde mayor Coun Elaine Silverwood, Trevor Mackey from Lytham In Bloom and the current art exhibitor at the Centre, Margaret Rodwell as well as members of the Heritage Group committee.
The unveiling ceremony outside Lytham Heritage Centre
Tributes to ‘Mr Lytham’ Alan Ashton
Mr Ashton died in 2019,aged 91, and among the glowing tributes to him at the time, Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “He was an iconic figure in Lytham who put his heart and soul into the town.
He received an MBE in 2000 for services to Lytham, and eldest son Jeremy said following his death: “We were so proud of him and his legacy. He was such a great example to us.”
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Fylde mayor Coun Elaine Silverwood at the ceremony with family representative David Ashton, Heritage Group president Audrey Kirby (second right), chairman Sue Forshaw (right) and currently exhibiting artist Margaret Rodwell
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One of the most successful bands of the ‘British folk revival movement’ are heading to the Fylde coast next month – led by Blackpool-born Maddy Prior.
The 2021 vintage of Steeleye Span, featuring Blackpool-born Maddy Prior (centre)
Original singer Maddy, who grew up in the resort until she was a teenager, has been a key figure with Steeleye Span since they were formed in 1969.
With her clear and distinctive soaring voice, she helped them enjoy major hits with songs such as “All Around My Hat” and “Gaudete” in the 1970s.
Combining traditional folk with elements of rock music, the band also enjoyed a number of hit albums, sparked by their highly influential debut, Hark the Village Wait in 1970, which launched one of the most enduring stories in the British folk world.
Maddy Prior has one of the most distinctive voices in any genre of music.
And, with a winning blend of original members and a new generation of musicians, they continue to have a sizeable ‘live’ following today, on the back of 21 studio albums.
Five decades on from their debut album breakthrough, they will be coming to Fleetwood’s Marine Hall on Thursday October 7, from 7.30pm.
Maddy returns to her native Fylde coast with a seven piece line-up featuring some of the most skilled musicians on the UK folk scene, and their 50th anniversary tour will be a celebration of the key tracks from that album as well as favourites and gems from their long and famous career.
The tour has been rescheduled from last year after the concerts were postponed because of the Covid pandemic.
Maddy is joined by long term member Liam Genockey (drums), Julian Littman,(guitar/keyboards and vocals) Andrew Sinclair (guitar), Violeta Vicci (violin and backing vocals), Benji Kirkpatrick (guitar and backing vocals) and Roger Carey (bass).
Awarded the MBE In 2001 for services to folk music, Maddy has enjoyed a parallel career with The Carnival Band since 2007.
A spokesman for Steeleye Span said: “Maddy Prior is a true legend of folk and popular music.
“Her voice swooping and soaring in harmony and melody. Her voice is still remarkable.”
For details on tickets, phone the Marine Hall box office on (01253) 887693.
The opening date for the Bispham’s new Aldi supermarket has been confirmed by bosses.
The new Aldi store, in Holyoake Avenue, will be opened at 8am on Thursday, September 23.
Retail bosses said some 35 locals had been hired to work in the new store, and it will be run by store manager James Turek.
To celebrate the store opening, Mr Turek and his team will be joined by Team GB bronze medallist Daniel Purvis to cut the ribbon on opening morning.
Bispham’s new Aldi supermarket will open on September 23. Pic: JPI Media
Mr Turek said: “We can’t wait to open the doors to the new store in Bispham. It’s set to be a special day and having Olympic hero Daniel Purvis join us will make it a morning to remember.”
Olympic gymnast Daniel Purvis added: “I’m so excited to be opening Aldi’s new store, it will be great to chat to customers and a lovely way for me to thank Aldi for its support of Team GB.”
The retailer has moved into the 20,000sq ft former Poundstretcher unit, which closed in February.
Discount retailer B&M Stores confirmed last month that it would be opening in the second half of the unit next to Aldi, “sometime in Autumn.”
The new Aldi is also calling on local charities and food banks in Bispham to register with Neighbourly, a community engagement platform that links businesses to charitable organisations in the local community.
Local charities that register will be able to collect surplus food and perishable products, such as fruit, vegetables and baked goods, up to seven days a week.
Any charities in the area that would like to partner up with the new Aldi store should email email@example.com.
A Blackpool sailor bullied early in his career over his sexuality has been awarded a medal for promoting diversity in the maritime sector.
Second Officer Paul Owen is the first recipient of the Merchant Navy Medal for championing LGBT+ rights, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.
Mr Owen, 53, helped establish the Pride in Maritime network while seconded from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) to umbrella body Maritime UK.
The network educates and enables individuals and companies to embrace the LGBT+ community.
Mr Owen said he was “deeply humbled and surprised to receive this honour”.
He went on: “Having suffered a degree of bullying early in my career because I identify as LGBT+, I made the conscious decision to offer support to fellow seafarers who were experiencing difficulties because of their sexuality.
“This has been on an informal basis through social media and company forums but going forward I will be appointed as the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s LGBT+ champion when I return to the RFA this autumn.”
He was among 16 mariners to be recognised with Merchant Navy Medals, which are awarded by the DfT for outstanding service by Merchant Navy seafarers.
Second Officer Paul Owen
Another recipient was Captain Susan Cloggie-Holden, 37, from Seamill, North Ayrshire, who was the first woman to reach that rank in the RFA’s 116-year history.
She was awarded the medal for working tirelessly to support women in maritime.
“I’m honoured to be awarded this prestigious medal alongside some truly inspirational seafarers,” she said.
“To reach the rank of captain has been my career ambition and I now feel it is my duty to help others to reach their goals.
“I believe diversity is key to this, as an inclusive and diverse working environment ensures everyone is equal and enables them to reach their potential.”
Maritime minister Robert Courts said: “Every year I am humbled by the dedication of these sailors, captains and mariners who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty to protect and enrich the sector and our country.
“I’m delighted to see Paul and Susan rewarded for their outstanding service.
“Diversity is vital for the success of any sector and the extraordinary work they do on a daily basis not only makes maritime a welcoming career path for everyone but improves the lives of those already in the workforce.”