Blackpool Illuminations switch-on concert to be shown on MTV this weekend

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Live sets from KSI, Ella Henderson, The Wombats and Wes Nelson will features in the double-header programme


KSI arrives for the Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On
KSI arrives for the Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On

A concert which launched this year’s Blackpool Illuminations will be shown on MTV Music and MTV UK this weekend.

The show, which featured live sets from KSI, Ella Henderson, The Wombats and Wes Nelson, was filmed at Blackpool Tower Ballroom and will be screened today (Friday 15) and Saturday, November 16.

The first of the 30-minute programmes, MTV Live: KSI features the headline set from the UK artist while the second entitled MTV Live from Blackpool Switch-On will feature the Watford-born singer along with the other acts on the line-up.

The lights were officially switched on by Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas at the event on September 3.

It is the first time the extravaganza has been staged at the world-famous ballroom, which recently underwent a £1m makeover.

Blackpool Tower comes alive as the illuminations are switched on

Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On 2021: 21 amazing photos from an electrifying evening

VisitBlackpool said: “We are thrilled that thanks to MTV, people will get another opportunity to see the best of our Illuminations Switch-On concert as well as the full set by KSI.

“Being able to stage a Switch-On concert in the Tower Ballroom meant we had the opportunity to create something really special – and MTV delivered a show that will go down as a unique moment in the long and proud history of the Illuminations.”

The illuminations have been extended for 2021 and will run until Monday, January 3 2022.

Screening times:

Friday, October 15 on MTV Music

MTV Live: KSI, 6pm

MTV Live from Blackpool Switch On, 6.30pm

Saturday, October 16 on MTV UK

MTV Live: KSI, 12pm

MTV Live from Blackpool Switch On, 12.30pm



Blackpool shop brawl sees toilet rolls sent flying and blood splattered across the store

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The shopkeeper hid in the back as men fought with batons


Red Bank Road, Blackpool
Red Bank Road, Blackpool (Image: Google)

A shopkeeper retreated to a store cupboard as toilet rolls went flying and blood splattered in a violent melee in his shop.

Luke Drinkwater, 22, has been sentenced for his role in the brawl which saw men with batons and bottles spill out into the street on the afternoon of March 11 last year.

The fight kicked off when Drinkwater was assaulted in his home and suffered a wound to his head.

But he admitted that his response went beyond “reasonable self defence” after he and three others chased his attacker down the street and into the Premier Convenience Store in Redbank Street, Blackpool.

Preston Crown Court was shown shocking CCTV footage of store displays being strewn and men hitting each other with wooden batons.

Recorder John Jones QC, sentencing, said: “The footage shown was quite concerning and it must have been terrifying for the shopkeeper.”

In a victim impact statement, the shopkeeper said the incident scared him and he retreated to the back of the shop as he did not want to be caught up in the violence.

However the court heard Drinkwater was the only person to have been injured, as a result of the initial attack on him, which sparked the incident. He suffered a cut to his eyebrow, which was glued in hospital and is awaiting a referral for migraines and seizures he has suffered from since he was attacked.

Recorder Jones QC said: “Initially you may have acted in self defence but it seems to me that downplays it, and it is not reasonable to say that lasted very long. Thereafter you and the others involved became the aggressors.”

Drinkwater, of Sunny Bank Avenue, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to affray following the violent incident. He admitted it was “stupid, madness and out of control” and said he deeply regretted his actions on March 11.

Two other youths, who can not be named for legal reasons, were given youth cautions in respect of the incident.

Since the incident last year, Drinkwater has moved to settled accommodation, become a father and started work as a labourer, building visiting pods at care homes during the Coronavirus pandemic. Recorder Jones sentenced him to nine months suspended for 18 months and ordered him to carry out 30 days rehabilitation and take a ‘Resolve’ program to tackle violent offending.



Guest finds ‘wet curry stain’ at Blackpool hotel after checking in

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Gemma Thompson is still waiting to receive refund from Norbreck Hotel a year after her ‘awful’ stay


Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool
Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool (Image: Google)

A woman who found curry spilled on the floor of her Norbreck Castle Hotel room says she is yet to receive any compensation for her ‘awful’ stay, one year after she spent the weekend there.

Gemma Thompson, 37, is an occupational therapist from Salford. She visited the Norbreck Castle Hotel on August 15 last year after deciding last minute to join her son and partner on a weekend break with their younger son, aged 2 at the time.

The hotel has previously been under scrutiny after a number of different accounts from guests who have reported fleeing in the night and finding ‘blood on the walls’.

Others reportedly cut their holiday ‘four days short’ and more recently, another guest claimed her family holiday was ‘ruined’ after the hotel failed to cater to her needs as a wheelchair user.

When Gemma arrived she said she noted a ‘strong overpowering smell of curry’ in the room, before noticing a ‘fresh wet stain’ that had been left on the carpet by the bed.

In emails seens by LancsLive, Gemma requested compensation, and after asking for confirmation of the email, said she only heard it was ‘being looked into’ but has not received any rebate for her stay that cost £250.

Gemma told LancsLive: “We got into our room and as I opened the door, the curry hit me, but after so long it became overpowering. Straight away, right by where you would put your feet in the morning, there was a stain from where previous guests must have spilt it. They’d obviously tried to clean it up, but it was still stained and there were bits on it.”

By the kettle, Gemma claimed there was ‘oil’ from the curry which had not been cleaned either.

“I thought it would be resolved straight away,” she said, “I didn’t expect it to go on this far. I expected it to be cleaned the first time round, but it never worked like that.”

Gemma said she reported the issue to staff, including an issue with urine being left around the toilet, and left the room for ‘a couple of hours’ so that it could be cleaned.

But when the family returned, Gemma said the issue remained unresolved.

The 'curry stain' was said to be left unresolved throughout Gemma's stay.
The ‘curry stain’ was said to be left unresolved throughout Gemma’s stay.

The family were then set to go out for dinner and said they reported the incident for the second time. A member of staff was said to have apologised and assured Gemma it would be resolved by time they returned from dinner.

After dinner, Gemma said they simply had to ‘persevere’.

She claims she reported the issue to reception again, and was assured that all complaints were noted in a management book so that managers would be aware of her experience.

Gemma said: “I thought ‘that’s pretty good’, because then there is evidence that I’ve had a bad experience.”

Gemma had stayed at the hotel once before in a last-minute stay with a friend and her older son, around 18 months prior to her second visit.

The hallway of the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool
The hallway of the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool (Image: LancsLive)

She added: “I’ve given long enough for them to acknowledge my concerns, have the decency other than an automated email to address what I was saying. I see other stories in relation to the poor standards, and it’s even more reason they should be responding to people, it isn’t fair that we should have to go this extra step to get my money back for the horrendous night I had.”

Gemma had requested compensation for her room only, not the rooms her boyfriend and family friends had occupied, costing £250 for two nights in August.

The Norbreck Castle Hotel is owned by Britannia. They did not respond to a request for comment.



Blackpool hotel owner’s response to TripAdvisor claims of ‘flat tyre’ and ‘odd’ behaviour during trip

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The owner at the Somerville Hotel said they were ‘only being friendly’


Co-owner of the Somerville Hotel, Sheila Cassells, responded to a review claiming they 'don't understand personal space'.
Co-owner of the Somerville Hotel, Sheila Cassells, responded to a review claiming they ‘don’t understand personal space’

The owner of a Blackpool hotel has hit back at a TripAdvisor reviewer who claimed they ‘do not understand personal space whatsoever’.

The guest, who stayed at the Somerville Hotel in June, decided to leave a review about their stay two months later. The user, Lizzy21, rated the hotel as ‘poor’ and said ‘Avoid! They sit with you constantly at breakfast! Don’t give Keith your car keys!’

The Station Road hotel, co-owned by Sheila and Keith, is a licensed hotel that hosts en-suite rooms and caters for families.

Sheila told LancsLive that this year has been ‘the hardest season’ as a hotelier in Blackpool, with tourists heading to the resort due to travel restrictions.

She said that both herself and her husband, Keith, ‘try and help people’ as much as they can and do the ‘best’ they can to make sure guests have a comfortable stay.

User, Lizzy21, said they had ‘thought extremely long and hard’ before writing the review about their stay from Wednesday through to Sunday.

They said the hotel was ‘ok’ although the bar ‘never seems to be open’ and is ‘filled with clothes, toys and other bits and bobs’. They also said their room was ‘clean’ and ‘fine’, although they ‘managed’ with it being on the top floor of the hotel.

Lizzy21 added that co-owners Shelia and Keith “do not understand personal space whatsoever!”

They wrote: “Every morning when I went to go have a cigarette before breakfast, they would be right beside me and after it, would actually sit beside me and my family all throughout breakfast!

“It felt extremely strange even my sons found it extremely odd! At breakfast we want peace to eat not to sit and talk politics at 9am!”

The review went on to claim that co-owner Keith ‘went on and on’ about the guests giving him their car keys, ‘to the point it was as if he was demanding them’.

They explained that Keith wanted to move their car from the back of the hotel to the front once a space became available.

Lizzy21 wrote: “And guess what happened? We got a HUGE nail stuck in our tyre!”

They claimed Keith was ‘the last to drive’ the car and parked the vehicle ‘to avoid’ them seeing the flat tyre.

The Somerville Hotel is located on Station Road and is rating 'excellent' on TripAdvisor.
The Somerville Hotel is located on Station Road and is rating ‘excellent’ on TripAdvisor.

Lizzy21 wrote: “When confronted he completely acted dumb and never offered any help whatsoever!! £178 we had to pay for a new tyre just to get home! I will never ever stay here again and don’t recommend anyone else staying!

“You are basically living in someone’s house, Sheila constantly tells you how she hates what she does and can’t wait to quit as she’s fed up with guests! And to sit constantly every morning with us at breakfast is just down right weird! Then the tyre was just the icing on the cake and to offer absolutely NO help whatsoever after you caused it!”

Co-owner of the Somerville Hotel, Sheila Cassells, responded to the review.

Sheila wrote: “Thank you for your review, we are sorry if we spoke to you as we were only being friendly. We did not speak to you every day as you said you was not the only guest in.”

Sheila explained that the ‘mess everywhere’ was caused by ‘folding washing up’ in the bar during the day. She said: “But (it) was moved because I ironed it and put it away, and as for the toys up the corner, it is for the children.”

Sheila continued: “If we frightened you and our hotel is as bad as you’re trying to make out, why didn’t you book out sooner because you did not pay until you left. As for the tyre, you can not blame Keith, it could have happened on the way down because he told you you had a slow punch (sic) when he moved it.”

Sheila then said: “As for you moaning about the mess round the hotel, my towel had to be thrown away with thick black make up. Our cleaner asked you if you had any rubbish in the bedroom, you said NO. We had 3 black bags of pizza boxes and take away food.”

The Somerville Hotel is rated #323 out of 893 B&Bs in Blackpool. They are rated ‘Excellent’ overall on TripAdvisor, from 93 reviews left by guests.

Sheila and Keith have been labelled as ‘fabulous hosts’ by another guest who visited in August, with another saying they are ‘welcoming and friendly from the get go’.



Blackpool doctor ‘knew in his gut’ something was wrong with newborn baby before he died

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Finnley Morris was starved of oxygen for around 50 minutes after being born and later died


Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

An on-call doctor who was first on the scene after a baby began to struggle to breathe said he was given insufficient information and that there was no-one in control of the situation.

Finnley Morris was born at 12.20am on October 1 last year after first-time mum Emma Morris was induced at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Mrs Morris was induced by way of her membranes being artificially ruptured after reporting a change in foetal movements when she was five days past her due date.

When Finnley was delivered he failed to take a breath but medics didn’t intubate him until around 42 minutes later. He suffered irreparable brain damage and died four days later at the Royal Preston Hospital.

A four-day inquest into Finnley’s death started on Tuesday of this week and today (October 13), Coroner Alan Wilson heard from some of the doctors involved in his care.

Dr Sam Esiere, a GP trainee and hospital doctor, said that as soon as he entered the operating theatre and saw Finnley, shortly after his birth he “knew in my gut instinct that something must be seriously wrong”.

“I said something wasn’t right and as the midwife brought the baby over to me he was floppy,” Dr Esiere told the inquest at Blackpool Town Hall.

Dr Esiere raised concerns about the lack of leadership around the attempts to resuscitate Finnley as well as the “insufficient” information he had been given when he first arrived. He told the inquest he had not been told why Mrs Morris had been taken to theatre for delivery or her gestation.

Dr Esiere added: “I felt there wasn’t the leadership I would have expected in this situation.”

After Finnley’s death Dr Esiere was one of a number of clinicians who were interviewed by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB); a national organisation which investigates incidents involving factors that have harmed or may harm NHS patients.

In his interview with the HSIB Dr Esiere said: “If I could just say something… this same issue of poor handover is something I raised during our de-brief (after Finnley died).”

Around five minutes and 30 seconds after Finnley was born a registrar and neonatal nurses arrived in theatre. Dr Esiere was asked if he believed he had needed their assistance sooner.

“Yes,” the doctor replied.

The inquest is being held at Blackpool Town Hall.
The inquest is being held at Blackpool Town Hall.

During the first day of proceedings the coroner heard that the on-call consultant, Dr Sunitha Peiris, arrived 30 minutes after being paged but it was a further 12 minutes before Finnley was finally intubated.

The inquest has heard that this delay was partly caused by Dr Peiris having forgotten her reading glasses which she needed in order to carry out the procedure.

Dr Esiere said today: “The consultant had forgotten her glasses. I heard her asking some of the nurses if they had reading glasses she could borrow in order to intubate the baby.”

The coroner asked Dr Esiere: “Did you form the view that that issue had caused any delay?”

“Yes,” he replied.

The inquest heard that although the registrar in theatre, Dr Suriya Dhulipala, is qualified to intubate a patient it is normal practice for the consultant to carry out the procedure.

Obstetrician Dr Jennifer Hamers, who delivered Finnley but who now works at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, said the decision to artificially induce Mrs Morris was taken because an ECG indicated the baby was getting tired.

Dr Hamers was questioned on why the policy at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was not to administer prostaglandins, drugs which act like natural hormones in triggering labour, which is “the opposite” of national guidance from NICE.

Victoria Beale, a lawyer representing Finnley’s family during the inquest, asked Dr Hamers: “Would you have preferred to use.”

“Yes I would have preferred her to have it,” Dr Hamers responded.

The inquest continues and is scheduled to conclude on Friday. Tomorrow’s evidence is set to include expert testimony from two obstetricians as well as the findings of the hospital trust’s review into Finnley’s treatment.



Blackpool to welcome Cold Feet actor John Thomson in Hairspray musical theatre debut

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Comedy actor John Thomson has been cast as Wilbur Turnblad, and will feature when the tour hits Blackpool Winter Gardens in December


John Thomson
John Thomson (Image: ITV)

Cold Feet actor John Thomson has joined the cast of Hairspray.

The Salford-born actor, who has also appeared in TV favourites including The Fast Show and Coronation Street, will join the UK tour as Wilbur Turnblad.

The show will head to Blackpool Winter Gardens from a three-week stint on December 13.

This is the 52-year-old’s first musical theatre stage role and he joins TV presenter Brenda Edwards who plays Motormouth Maybelle and West End stalwart Alex Bourne as Edna Turnblad in the star-studded cast.

John, who is also a stand-up comedian and voiceover artist, most recently featured in ITV’s The Masked Singer and will take over as Wilbur from Norman Pace, who first played the role in 2017.

John Thomson(right) is not a complete Stanger to the stage, as he starred in Aladdin at Manchester Opera House with (right) with Sherrie Hewson and Ben Adams in 2016
John Thomson (right) is not a complete Stanger to the stage, as he starred in Aladdin at Manchester Opera House with (right) with Sherrie Hewson and Ben Adams in 2016 (Image: Mirrorpix)

Set in Baltimore in 1862, the musical’s story follows big-haired Tracy Turnblad, who is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national television. It is based on the original film, which was realised in 1988 and starred Divine and Ricki Lake.

The show features show-stopping numbers such as You Can’t Stop the Beat, I Know Where I’ve Been and Big, Blonde and Beautiful.



Blackpool residents’ free health MOT offer to combat resort’s lung disease problem

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Health professionals say the appointments ‘could seriously improve your quality of life’


Blackpool has an above average rate for residents with lung diseases
Blackpool has an above average rate for residents with lung diseases

More than 1,000 people in Blackpool have been offered a special lung health MOT check to combat the resort’s higher rate of lung diseases.

Health professionals believe this is due mainly to the prevalence of smoking in the seaside town.

A total of 4,227 potentially eligible people, who are aged between 55 and 74 and have ever smoked, received a letter inviting them for a lung health check virtual appointment during a six-week period from August to September.

After further checks were carried out over the phone with the patient, a total of 1,265 people were then invited for a Lung Health check with a nurse. Some 754 were then referred for a CT scan at a mobile scanning unit in Bank Street park close to the town centre.

NHS England data shows Blackpool has a higher than average rate of lung diseases which is why it has been chosen as one of 10 pilot sites for the programme. The mobile scanning unit has now moved to Blackburn with Darwen but will return to Blackpool later in the year.

Dr Ben Butler-Reid, a Blackpool GP and clinical director for NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We are pleased with the number of people who have come forward to engage with the service and take up the appointments that are offered. It could seriously improve your quality of life.

“We know Blackpool has a higher rate of lung diseases than the national average, due mainly to the prevalence of smoking in the area. This service has the potential to reach around 32,854 people in Blackpool over four years. That’s a huge number of people who could benefit from discovering any lung abnormalities early enough to be treated and to prevent long-term damage.”

For more information, call 01530 432 341 or click here.



Green Flag Award for Fleetwood’s Mount Gardens

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Fleetwood’s Mount Gardens – recently the subject of a £3 million restoration project – has received a prestigious Green Flag Award.


Fleetwood's Mount Gardens and Pavilion

Fleetwood’s Mount Gardens and Pavilion

The Mount Pavilion and Grade II listed gardens joins Wyre’s other Green Flag status parks, including Fleetwood’s Memorial Park, Poulton’s Vicarage Park and Hawthorne Park and Wyre Estuary Country Park in Thornton.

The Green Flag Awards scheme is run by leading environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy who also run the Blue Flag/Seaside Awards for beaches. They recognise well managed parks and quality open spaces which serve the local community.

This international award is a sign to the public that Wyre’s parks boasts the highest possible environmental standards, are beautifully maintained and have excellent visitor facilities.

Coun Simon Bridge, Street Scene, Parks and Open Spaces Portfolio Holder at Wyre Council, said: “We are very proud to win another Green Flag Award. It provides us with the chance to showcase our parks and allows everyone to celebrate these beautiful spots in Wyre.

“It is terrific to see The Mount Gardens awarded Green Flag status following its first time entry to the awards this year. This is a testament to the incredible restoration that has recently been completed, reviving the Pavilion and enhancing the garden’s natural beauty as well as creating more places for people to enjoy the outdoors with the new playground and rose gardens.

“We are lucky to have some beautiful green open spaces on our doorstep and we will continue to invest in these and our parks. We know how important these areas are to our local community and it is wonderful to add another Green Flag park that helps to support people to live healthy lives in Wyre.

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making The Mount Gardens worthy of a Green Flag Award including Wyre Council’s officers and volunteers.”

The extensive restoration of The Mount Pavilion and gardens was funded through a generous personal donation of £1m from Mrs Doreen Lofthouse and the £2m grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund and was completed this year.

Find out more about The Mount’s restoration project and learn more about Wyre’s other Green Flag Awarded parks at



Pumpkin-carving fun planned for Fleetwood’s Memorial Park

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Halloween pumpkin carving event for families is being staged in Fleetwood’s Memorial Park – and funds raised will help buy additional equipment for the play area there.


The event is being organised by the Friends of the Memorial Park and will be held on Saturday October 30.

Although the Friends have been staging this event annually for almost 10 years, last year’s spectacle had to be cancelled because of the Covid pandemic.

This year it has a different format, with families needing to book one of three separate 45 minute slots – at 11am, noon and 1pm.

(l-r) Iain Johnstone, Vice Chairman, Yvonne Johnstone committee member, and Les Fletcher chairman of Friends of Fleetwood Memorial Park promote their Pumpkin Carve event. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

(l-r) Iain Johnstone, Vice Chairman, Yvonne Johnstone committee member, and Les Fletcher chairman of Friends of Fleetwood Memorial Park promote their Pumpkin Carve event. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Although entry is free, there will be a small charge for hot drinks, a sweet stall and spooky activities.

Earlier this year the park’s play area was boosted by a £37,500 revamp with new bespoke equipment, such as a multi-unit climbing frame, an inclusive roundabout suitable for all abilities and a revolving cup seat,

The money for this first phase was provided by a grant of £29,500 from the Lancashire Environment Fund, a donation of £5,212 from the Friends group and funding of £2,788 from Wyre Council.

Les Fletcher, chairman of the Friends group, said they were now busy raising funds for the second phase of the project, aimed at providing extra equipment for the play area, although at this stage it has not been confirmed what that equipment will be.

He said: “We were delighted to get the first phase of equipment installed, it was something we had been working hard for over several years.

“We have had incredible support from the local community who have been behind us every step of the way.

“Our aim is simply to have the best play area we can, as an amenity that all children can enjoy.

“We are busy fundraising for phase two and hoping for support from another source.”

He added that Wyre Council, the lead partner on the first phase of the project, had played a vital role in making it possible.

In 2016 the Grade II listed Memorial Park was awarded £2.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the site for the community, including the rose garden and the war memorial.

However the play area was not included, prompting the Friends to begin their fundraising quest.

To book for the pumpkin carve, phone 01995 602125.