The last Covid infection rates in Blackpool, Wyre, and Fylde – with Fylde suffering fifth worst leap in the UK

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Blackpool’s community Covid infection rate has dropped, according to the most recent numbers.


The figures, for the seven days to October 25, are based on the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in either a lab-reported or rapid lateral flow test, by specimen date.

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

The rate in Blackpool was 413.4, down from 517.4 the week before, the data showed.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Fylde recorded the fifth highest rise in the UK, going from 498.7 to 634.2.

And Wyre’s rate dropped to 617.3 from 721.7.

Of the 377 local areas in the UK, 147 (39 per cent) have seen a week-on-week rise in rates, 227 (60 per cent) have seen a fall and three are unchanged.

Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire has the highest rate in the UK, with 933 new cases in the seven days to October 25 – the equivalent of 965.6 per 100,000 people.

This is down from 1,148.8 in the seven days to October 18.

Stroud in Gloucestershire has the second highest rate, down from 1,224.9 to 892.5, with 1,079 new cases.

Bath & North East Somerset has the third highest rate, down from 1,076.1 to 881.0, with 1,730 new cases, the data added.



Blackpool FC lands six figure lottery jackpot

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Seasiders have secured hundreds of thousands of pounds for community work


Blackpool FC has hit the lottery jackpot after securing hundreds of thousands of pounds of funding

The club’s community trust has landed £616,000 to to boost the activity levels of people in Blackpool.

A new programme from Sport England, funded by the National Lottery, and delivered by the Football Foundation will support targeted communities in Blackpool get more active.

Blackpool FC Community Trust has secured lottery finding

Blackpool FC Community Trust has secured lottery finding

The Active Through Football scheme is providing Blackpool FC Community Trust with the money to increase participation in football.

Working as part of a consortium with key partners, including Blackpool Council’s public health teams, Active Blackpool, Lancashire FA, and Active Lancashire, they will target working age adults who live or work in central Blackpool, to become more active through football.

Ashley Hackett, chief executive at Blackpool FC Community Trust said: “Blackpool is rich in assets, although no asset is greater asset than the community who live and work here.

“However, we know that there are significant health inequalities around the country, and Blackpool is no different in that regard. This award therefore gives us a great opportunity to try and make a meaningful, long-term difference, for which community involvement in developing this further, and ultimately owning, is pivotal and will be a central feature of our consortium approach.

“It has also been really heart-warming to build and develop the working partnership , and particular thanks must be made to Jason White, Head of Community Programmes at BFCCT, and Laura Ivinson and Dave Rohman at Active Blackpool, for driving this really exciting opportunity.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This grant award to Blackpool FC Community Trust is fantastic news for the local community in Blackpool. Football is a game for everyone – regardless of their background – and it’s only right that people across all walks of life are able to play the nation’s favourite game.

“Over the past 21 years, we have been working with communities up and down the country to ensure everyone has access to play football.

“Thanks to Sport England National Lottery Investment, this new project will help to transform people’s lives by developing football related opportunities in Blackpool, unlocking the many benefits of football for the community.”

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “There is a reason why football is followed and played by so many the world over. It brings people together and helps build connections in communities.

“It’s also the sport that is played the most in England and has a reach into places where our research shows activity levels are lower.

“Sport England is proud to be one of the funding partners helping to tackle these inequalities and to support more people from a variety of backgrounds to enjoy playing football and all the benefits that brings.

”There is a reason why football is followed and played by so many the world over. It brings people together and helps build connections in communities. It’s also the sport that is played the most in England and has a reach into places where our research shows activity levels are lower.

“Sport England is proud to be one of the funding partners helping to tackle these inequalities and to support more people from a variety of backgrounds to enjoy playing football and all the benefits that brings.”



Waterloo bowling championships on the move from Blackpool to Fleetwood

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Blackpool’s historic Waterloo bowling championships will live on … in Fleetwood.


All the tournaments traditionally held at crown green bowling’s most iconic venue, the Waterloo Hotel on South Shore, are to be staged at Fleetwood Bowling Club from next year, including the jewel in the crown that is the Autumn Handicap.

It follows a long but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to safeguard the future of the Waterloo arena itself, where massive investment was needed for redevelopment of the stadium.

The 2019 Waterloo championships were the last at a South Shore venue which has staged them for well over a century

The 2019 Waterloo championships were the last at a South Shore venue which has staged them for well over a century

The campaign group, spearheaded by five-time Waterloo champion Gary Ellis, succeeded in raising the £75,000 required through an online funding appeal, but they could not agree a new lease for the site to make the expenditure worthwhile.

Ellis and his colleagues felt the 10-year lease offered by the owners did not provide enough security to justify such an outlay for rebuilding.

But after 114 years of Waterloo bowls, a new bowling committee has been formed to maintain the traditions of the Waterloo at a new home a few miles up the coast.

It is spearheaded by Staffordshire-based Waterloo stalwart Jeff Brown, while the role of bowling manager has been assumed by Mark Mills, a dedicated Waterloo organiser of recent years.

The Fylde green bowling scene has enjoyed a successful revival after its greens stood empty through 2020, and one of this year’s most successful events was the Fleetwood Bowling Festival at Fleetwood BC on Upper Lune Street.

Mills takes up the story: “We saw what a good venue it was and it made sense to play the Waterloo competitions there.

“Even if the situation at the Waterloo suddenly changed, I don’t think we could get the green ready in time to hold events next year. It’s amazing how quickly nature takes over.

“We’ll still call it the Waterloo and play for the same trophies. Everything will be the same, it’s just the venue that has changed. I know that’s a big deal because so many people’s hearts were in the Waterloo, but we hope that in the next few years everyone will come to terms with these events having a new home and will enjoy them as they always have.

“Of course we’d love to carry on playing at the Waterloo and we will all miss it, but this is the right thing to do. It means the tournaments can continue and we don’t lose all that history.”

Mark hails from Stockport but is based in Staining for most of the year. His son Ben won the North Lancashire and Fylde Junior merit title.

Those who donated to the Waterloo appeal have the option of a refund or of seeing their money used to develop the Fleetwood site as a major tournament venue. And a GoFundMe page specifically for this purpose has been launched online:

Dates for the 2022 spring (April 13-May 2) and autumn (July 2-September 21) Waterloo championships have been confirmed, though entries are not yet being taken.

Sponsors for all next year’s Waterloo competitions are also being sought. Any interested parties are asked to contact Mark at



Sergio Martinez defeat a distant memory for Blackpool’s Brian Rose as European title fight is announced

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Blackpool’s Brian Rose will look to bounce back from his controversial defeat to former pound-for-pound great Sergio Martinez when he returns to the ring later this year.


The ‘Lion’ was beaten on the scorecards by Martinez in Spain last month, despite dominating the bout.

But rather than complain about the setback, Rose has decided to get back on the horse straight away and will now travel to Germany in December to challenge for a version of the European middleweight title.

The 36-year-old takes on the undefeated Denis Radovan in Ilsenburg on Friday, December 3.

“If I had been beaten badly in my last fight, I would have called it a day 100 per cent,” Rose told The Gazette.

“But I’ve got a chance to rectify that defeat and this fight is for an IBF title.

“I probably wouldn’t have got this opportunity had I not lost to Sergio Martinez, I would have moved onto bigger and better things. But this is still massive. I’m blessed in a way to have this opportunity.”

The Lions heads to Germany to fight for a version of the European title in December

The Lions heads to Germany to fight for a version of the European title in December

The middleweight added: “Everyone I spoke to (after the Martinez fight) said I rolled back the years and that I looked really good, especially during the first six to seven rounds. It was only late on that I tired a little bit.

“But if I’m honest, the food over there wasn’t great so when I weighed in, I couldn’t refuel as well as I’d have liked.

“But I’m not going to sit here and go on about that fight and make any excuses, because it is what it is and I don’t like to cry over spilt milk. I just brush myself down and go again.”

Radovan is highly-rated in Germany, having won 14 of his 15 fights, drawing the other.

His second-to-last victory came against Clitheroe-based Luke Blackledge in 2019, a fighter Rose knows well.

“Luke was coming to the end of his career when he fought him, but there’s no doubt he’s well thought of in Germany,” Rose added.

“That’s because of who he’s fought, he’s not fought the usual journeymen, they’ve put him in with kids who can have a fight.

“Him fighting me after 14 fights says it all, because he’s looking to step up and progress and not fight journeymen throughout his career.

“I know he was a really good amateur, but people don’t know that I was a good amateur as well. Because I’ve been pro for so many years, people just forget about that experience.

“I had 90 amateur fights and I only lost 13, I boxed for England all over the world and I was similar to what he was, but 20 years ago.

“There’s no doubt he’s a good fighter, but I don’t think he will be as good as Sergio Martinez and he’s nowhere near as experienced as me and on the night, I think that will prove crucial.

“I don’t take fights I know I can’t win and there are fights out there that I probably wouldn’t take because I’m at a different stage of my career, so I know my limits and I know what fights I’m capable of winning and what fights I’m not.

“This fight, I know I’m capable of winning.”



Patients are ignoring advice to call 111 before turning up to A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital – which is being ‘overwhelmed’ by 250 people every day

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Hundreds of people are pouring through the doors of A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital every day and are waiting hours to be seen, it was revealed.


Those needing to visit casualty were being warned they “will have a long wait to be managed and processed if your condition is not an emergency or urgent” and urged to be “patient if you still choose to attend”.

It comes as electronic signs outside the hospital, in Whinney Heys Road, today said there were 61 people sat in A&E, with the longest wait to see a doctor being five hours and 36 minutes.

The longest time to be triaged by a nurse – the first medical step at A&E – was given as 54 minutes, with the average time spent in the department listed as three and a half hours.

Outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 (Picture: Kelvin Stuttard for The Gazette)

Outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 (Picture: Kelvin Stuttard for The Gazette)

One source said yesterday there was a lengthy wait for Covid beds, with “patients being kept on ambulances”, with “up to six in the queue currently”.

It was a similar picture last week, they said.

As of last Wednesday, there were 33 Covid patients on the general wards and “six or more” fighting for their lives in intensive care, medical director Dr Jim Gardner said during a briefing.

He added: “All of the NHS is incredibly busy. What we are seeing is real pressure now in social care as well.

“There are patients in hospital who are really waiting now to go home or go back to care homes and we really need as much help as possible from the whole community – friends, family – to look after each other and get people out of hospital and back to where one would assume they would like to be, either in their homes or in a care home to move forward.”

Vic bosses recently installed a new audio system which airs “subtle” messages in various accents to “encourage patients to consider alternative services for their next health intervention”.

That’s on the back of figures that show few people were calling 111 first – and that the Vic was failing to hit its target of treating 95 per cent of people within four hours of their arrival at A&E.

Documents shown to bosses last month revealed that number so far this year was 83.16 per cent.

Some patients, particularly those suffering from mental illnesses, were forced to wait over 12 hours – a breach of target.

The papers also revealed concern over delays in handovers – the process of paramedics passing patients over into the care of hospital staff.

They added: “The easing of lockdown has significantly increased the number of ED attendances – overwhelming the ED/trust.”

Over the summer, the number of patients turning up to casualty topped 250 daily, with the department struggling with social distancing.

An action plan put in place to ease the pressure was put in place and was being reviewed twice weekly.

But talks were held between deputy chief executive Prof Nick Latham and director Mark Beaton, who said the £13m work to overahaul A&E and build an ‘emergency village’ may not be enough to cope over the long-term.

In a statement, Dr Gardner said this afternoon: “The trust has been experiencing very high numbers of people coming into hospital every day and night for care and treatment and particularly through the accident and emergency department at Blackpool Victoria for a long period of time.

“We have had over 100 people in the Emergency Department at some times which has been very difficult indeed and has affected our waiting time to be seen.

“This level of demand puts pressure on the entire hospital and, in particular colleagues in A&E, who are working diligently and incredibly hard to help as many people as possible.

“The trust, as part of the wider health and social care system across Lancashire and South Cumbria, is actively doing everything possible not only to manage this demand but also reduce our waiting lists and see as many people for elective treatment as soon as possible at the same time.

“The pressure on people and our services is huge and we are considering every possible way to improve the situation for patients, their families and our colleagues.”

He added: “We are asking members of the community to help us by thinking about the best way to get the advice or treatment needed.

“Please only come to A&E if the problem is urgent or life-threatening, consider visiting your local pharmacy, contacting your GP or using 111 by phone or online to help find the right service for you.”



Blackpool avoid festive fixture change as Sky Sports reveal TV picks for December and January

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Blackpool’s Championship fixtures over the festive period will remain as they are.


It comes as Sky Sports have announced their TV picks for the second half of December and the first few days of 2022.

No Blackpool games have been selected, meaning their fixtures will remain as they are.

Neil Critchley’s side begin the month with a home game against Luton Town on Saturday, December 4.

The following week, they make the trip to Pride Park to take on Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.

Blackpool host fellow newly-promoted side Peterborough United on Saturday, December 18, before making a Boxing Day trip to Huddersfield Town on Sunday, December 26.

The Seasiders finish the year with a home game against Middlesbrough on Wednesday, December 29, with the game kicking off at 7.45pm.

Sky Sports have revealed their TV picks for December

Sky Sports have revealed their TV picks for December

That’s before Blackpool kick off the New Year with another home game, this time against Hull City, on Saturday, January 1.

The following week, Critchley’s side will take a break from league action as they enter the FA Cup at the third round stage.


Fri 3: Fulham vs Bournemouth (7.45pm)

Sat 4: Coventry vs West Brom (12.30pm)

Sun 5: QPR vs Stoke (2.30pm)

Tues 7: MK Dons vs Plymouth (7.45pm)

Wed 8: Portsmouth vs Sheffield Wednesday (7.45pm)

Sat 11: Huddersfield vs Coventry (12.30pm)

Mon 13: Sheffield United vs QPR (7.45pm)

Fri 17: Barnsley vs West Brom (7.45pm)

Sat 18: Middlesbrough vs Bournemouth (12.30pm)

Mon 20: Fulham vs Sheffield United (7.45pm)

Sun 26: Barnsley vs Stoke (3pm)

Mon 27: Doncaster vs Sunderland (12.30pm), Derby vs West Brom (3pm), QPR vs Bournemouth (5.30pm)

Thurs 30: Nottingham Forest vs Huddersfield (7.45pm)


Sat 1: Sheffield United vs Middlesbrough (12.30pm)

Mon 3: Swansea vs Fulham (3pm)




Woman gave man shelter from the rain and he repaid her by raping her in her sleep

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Matthew Cawston has been sentenced to ten and a half year. He cried as he was taken away to cells.


Matthew Cawston
Matthew Cawston (Image: Lancashire Police)

A rapist who attacked a woman in her own bed while her child slept in the next room has been sentenced to 10 and a half years.

Matthew Cawston, 27, knew the woman and had called at her home to help with a domestic emergency.

But when the job was finished he said he did not want to cycle home in the rain and asked to stay the night.

She agreed he could stay on the sofa, but made it very clear she did not want to have sex with him, Paul Treble, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court.

She said: “It was banter, but he kept on asking for sex.”

The woman went to bed and left Cawston on the couch, but later woke to find her pyjama bottoms had been removed and Cawston lying on top of her having sex.

In a statement, she told police she ‘froze’, adding: “He was trying to be as gentle as possible and as quiet as possible so as not to wake me.”

Cawston left the house the next day, leaving his victim unsure how to deal with what had happened to her.

A few days later she texted him, asking: “Why did you do it? You had sex with me while I was asleep?”

The defendant replied: “I was horny. Sorry.” and asked if she was going to report him.

The woman later told a college tutor and then the police.

Cawston, of Hoyle Close, Blackpool, was arrested and insisted he had never had sex with the woman without her consent.

However he later pleaded guilty to rape.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she suffered nightmares and flashbacks and had felt she had to move house following the attack.

She no longer invites visitors into her home and does not feel safe going out.

She said: “Because he was sexually frustrated he has completely destroyed my confidence and trust in people and seriously affected my mental health…

“I can never put into words the true effect this has had on me, my daughter and my family, and will continue to have for a very long time – possibly forever.”

Since the attack she has started self harming and has spoken to family about who would care for her daughter if anything happened to her, Mr Treble told the court.

Barbara Webster, defending, said Cawston has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and receives support from a social worker.

Ms Webster said: “It does not excuse what he did but it gives an insight into his behaviour.”

Sarah Armstrong, a social worker, said Cawston had “difficulties understanding relationship boundaries” and was “significantly exploited by people, both financially and materialistically, who he considered friends.”

She said her team had been working with the defendant to identify positive behaviours and reinforce boundaries for personal safety.

When Ms Webster spoke to the defendant before the sentence hearing, she read him the victim impact statement and asked him what he thought.

Cawston replied: “I am so, so sorry for what I did.”

Judge Sara Dodd, sentencing, said: “It is very clear to me that this offence has had a great impact on your victim…

“She described feeling like her life is on hold and can’t move forward until justice is done. I have also to consider the fact you are still a very young man and you have no previous convictions. Your own mental difficulties, your autism, no doubt played a significant part in your offending. I accept your remorse in this case is genuine.”

However she said Cawston posed a very real risk to adult women he was in a relationship or friendship with.

Judge Dodd sentenced Cawston to ten years and five months, comprising of six years and five months in custody and a four year extended licence.

He sobbed as he was led away to the cells.



Man has chunk of ear bitten off in fight outside St Annes pub

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A man was taken to hospital after a chunk of his ear was bitten off in a fight outside a St Annes pub on Saturday (October 23).


Police were called to the brawl outside Number 15 bar in St Annes Road West at around 12.10am, where they found a man in his 40s with the grisly injury to his ear.

He was taken to hospital, but was left with a “life-changing” wound to his ear, police said.

Detectives are hunting for the attacker, who ran off after the fight, and any witnesses are urged to get in touch.

Police were called to a report of a fight outside Number 15 bar in St Annes Road West, St Annes at around 12.10am on Saturday (October 23). Pic: Google

Police were called to a report of a fight outside Number 15 bar in St Annes Road West, St Annes at around 12.10am on Saturday (October 23). Pic: Google

Det Con Kirstie Clarke, of Blackpool CID, said: “We are appealing for witnesses after a man was left with a life-changing injury to his ear following a serious assault in St Annes.

“The attacker made off from the scene and we believe many people will have seen what happened.

“If you can assist our enquiries please come forward immediately.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or email quoting log 0019 of October 23.

Alternatively, you call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



Former Man City goalkeeper continues to impress in between the sticks for Blackpool

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Dan Grimshaw has been exemplary since standing in for Blackpool’s number one Chris Maxwell.


Other than two brief loan spells with Hemel Hempstead Town and Belgian side Lommel, Grimshaw had never made a senior appearance.

But the 23-year-old has barely put a foot wrong since replacing Maxwell, who tore his quad during the win against Blackburn Rovers last month.

Grimshaw produced another stellar display on Saturday during the 1-0 win against Sheffield United, making a fine save to deny Morgan Gibbs-White before setting up Keshi Anderson’s winning goal.

The former Manchester City academy product has earned the praise of his boss Neil Critchley, who has been impressed with the way his young keeper has performed.

“Grimmy has come into such a tough period of games,” Pool’s head coach said.

“You don’t get much bigger than Forest away, Sheffield United away, a Preston derby at home. You couldn’t pick much tougher.

Grimshaw congratulated by Neil Critchley after Saturday's win at Bramall Lane

Grimshaw congratulated by Neil Critchley after Saturday’s win at Bramall Lane

“But he’s come in and he’s grown and got better in every game.

“He’s inexperienced at this level, he’s not played in atmospheres like this but he looked really confident and assured against Sheffield United.

“We know he’s got great distribution as he showed with the assist for the goal, but he’s also great at keeping the ball out the back of the net and I’m glad he’s shown that.”

Critchley was also delighted to see Anderson add his name to the scoresheet for the second game running, having previously told his winger he needs to add more “numbers” to his game.

“If he starts adding more goals on a regular basis then he’s a top player,” Critchley said.

“He’s got undoubted ability, physically he’s very good and he’s intelligent. He’s coming into the prime years of his career and he’s been a fantastic performer for us.

“What a goal as well off his weaker left foot right into the top corner and he shows that in training, so I’m absolutely delighted for Keshi.”





Man jailed for orally raping a woman in a night club

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A man who orally raped a woman in front of her friends in a nightclub has been jailed.


Bruno Nunes Da Silva has been jailed for a sex attack in a disco

Bruno Nunes Da Silva has been jailed for a sex attack in a disco

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Bruno Nunes Da Silva, 27, who is from Dublin, orally raped the woman after he had been dancing with her in a nightclub in Liverpool in the early hours of the morning on 17 September 2021.

She left the dancefloor and went to talk to one of her friends and sat down. He then came up to her, turned her head around and raped her in full view of her friends. He was arrested at the scene. On 11 October 2021 at Liverpool Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to rape.

On October 22 , at Liverpool Crown Court, he was jailed for three years and will remain on the Sexual Offenders Register for the rest of his life.

In a Victim Personal Statement, the victim talked about how she had previously been a carefree, outgoing person, who loved to socialise with her friends. She said she had been very trusting of people but this had all changed.

She now felt anxious and wary of strangers, and concerned when she went out that she would be attacked again. She said the incident has also made her friends and family worried when she goes out. She added: “I feel that I will be a different person because of this incident. But I hope that , over time, I will regain my confidence and my trust in people”.

Sarah Egan, a Specialist Rape and Serious Sexual Offences lawyer with CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: “This was a disgusting attack by Nunes Da Silva. Every woman and girl has the right to go out and enjoy themselves without fear of being attacked. Nunes Da Silva ruined that for the victim. This incident has had a dreadful impact on her. This kind of behaviour is inexcusable, will not be tolerated and will be dealt with by the full force of the law.

“I’d like to thank the victim for her courage and strength in coming forward to report this, and her ongoing support throughout the court process, as well as her friends and the other witnesses who assisted her.

“Their support is paramount to these cases. I would strongly encourage all victims and witnesses in cases involving any kind of sexual abuse to come forward to report them.”