Gary Madine drops out as Neil Critchley makes a couple of alterations to his Blackpool side for Stoke City clash

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After naming an unchanged side on Saturday for just the fifth time in the league during his tenure at Bloomfield Road, Neil Critchley has opted to switch things up for tonight’s game against Stoke City.


Out goes Josh Bowler and Gary Madine, while Demetri Mitchell and Sonny Carey come into the side – the latter handed his first home league start for the Seasiders.

Elsewhere, Chris Maxwell (torn quad), Matty Virtue (ACL), Grant Ward (achilles) and Shayne Lavery (hamstring) all remain sidelined.

Reece James, who hasn’t made an appearance since the end of August, returns to the Blackpool bench having recovered from a foot injury.

He replaces Dujon Sterling, who appeared to suffer a knock during the warm down at Bramall Lane at the weekend.

Stoke, who begin the day in ninth place and just two points adrift of the Seasiders in the league table, make one change from their weekend capitulation against Cardiff City.

The Potters, who are without a win in their last five, squandered a three-goal lead to draw to the Welsh side.

Sonny Carey is handed a first home league start

Sonny Carey is handed a first home league start

Former Seasider Jordan Thompson starts in the Stoke midfield, while Tom Ince is among the substitutes.

Blackpool go into the game looking for a fourth straight win to take them back into the Championship play-offs.


Blackpool: Grimshaw, Gabriel, Ekpiteta, Keogh, Husband, Dougall, Wintle, Mitchell, Anderson, Carey, Yates

Subs: Moore, Connolly, Garbutt, James, Dale, Bowler, Madine

Stoke: Bursik, Souttar, Batth, Wilmot, Smith, Allen, Sawyers, Thompson, Tymon, Brown, Fletcher

Subs: Davies, Vrancic, Campbell, Ostigard, Duhaney, Ince, Surridge

Referee: John Busby



Central Pier in Blackpool is to get a ‘bigger’ £4 million Big Wheel

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A new Big Wheel is to be built on Central Pier, it was announced.


The attraction, which will cost £4 million, will take a year to make and hopefully open before summer 2023.

The Blackpool Pier Company, which owns the resort’s three piers, said: “It’s been something we’ve been planning for a while and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of something that will help shape the future of Blackpool’s tourism by upscaling this iconic attraction.

“We are, as they say, going large!”

Central Pier's Big Wheel, pictured in May 2020 (Picture: Dave Nelson)

Central Pier’s Big Wheel, pictured in May 2020 (Picture: Dave Nelson)

The current wheel – built in Holland 36 years ago and brought over in containers to be reassembled on the pier, which was purposefully strengthened to accommodate the weight – stands at 108ft tall and is a firm favourite for wedding proposals, film projects, and holiday snapshots.

Made by Dutch firm Mondial, it was bought by First Leisure for £750,000 and installed on Central Pier and opened in April 1990.

Over the past three decades it has been refitted and overhauled, including repainting and the installation of LED lights.

The last overhaul, in April 2017, cost £500,000 and came after the Sedgwick family bought all three piers two years earlier.

The new attraction will have accessible carriages that are wheelchair-friendly, VIP carriages, and carriages that are “partly enclosed to protect riders from the weather”.

The pier’s plans must also first navigate the council’s planning process.

If approved, the current wheel is likely to stop taking visitors on sky-high rides from the next of the 2022 summer season when the pier closes for winter.

It will then be dismantled and removed – with the new 50 metre/164ft wheel built in its place.

It will tower over £300m work on the Blackpool Central development – which will transform the site of the former Central railway station.

Earlier this month, the council approved a hybrid planning application which included outline permission to build three indoor theme parks, a 200-room hotel, plus bars, restaurants, and outdoor entertainment space.

Full permission was also granted to convert and upgrade buildings in Central Drive, including the King Edward cinema and pub.



Neil Critchley: Blackpool players must keep feet on ground but I want fans to dream

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Neil Critchley insists he’s more than happy to see Blackpool fans beginning to dream.


Blackpool’s players are keeping their feet firmly on the ground according to Critchley, who has led his side into the Championship play-offs after 15 games.

But Pool’s head coach is more than happy to see the fans getting carried away.

Players must not get carried away but it's great for the fans to, says Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

Players must not get carried away but it’s great for the fans to, says Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

Critchley said: “At the start of the season we warned the players we might experience more disappointment this season than we did last season.

“That doesn’t mean I just accept getting beaten. It’s just that we have to be realistic of where we are.

“That’s a strength of ours – we don’t get too down if we lose and we don’t get too carried away when we win. We’re realistic with our expectations.

“Of course we want the supporters to get carried away, be excited and dream of whatever they might be dreaming of at the moment. Why not?

“That’s why we’re all involved in football – to have that excitement and emotion. But dreaming about it and the actual reality are two different things.

“We know how hard it is to come away with a victory in any game in the Championship. We know the level of preparation you need and how ready you have to be physically and mentally for every game. It’s an enormous effort.

“By all means let the supporters do what they do. What a following we had again on Saturday and it was brilliant to see them celebrate our goal (the winner at Sheffield United) and the end of the game.

“I’m sure they will be feeling really good about the situation at the moment. We are as well but we have to be a little bit different.”

The Seasiders, who host Stoke City tonight (7.45), have responded brilliantly since losing captain Chris Maxwell and top scorer Shayne Lavery to injury in last month’s defeat at Nottingham Forest. Critchley’s men have since beaten Reading, Preston North End and the Blades.

“The players never cease to impress me with how they respond,” Critchley said. “We knew there would be a good chance we would lose more games, concede more goals or go behind more often than last season.

“We spoke about overcoming disappointment during games and after games, and how we deal with it as a group.

“So far we’ve done it very well. You only have to look at the Bournemouth and Reading games – we respond to going behind and we’ve responded when we’ve been beaten.

“I’ve been delighted with the response and we know this league is unforgiving, so a winning run can quickly turn the other way.

“We always guard against complacency and we’ll be ready to go again on Wednesday night.”



The Anti-Fracking Lancashire Nanas will appear at Cop26 rally alongside Greta Thunberg

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Anti-frackers who protested against Cuadrilla’s operations on the outskirts of Blackpool will speak at a climate campaign rally in Glasgow as the city hosts Cop26.


The Anti-Fracking Lancashire Nanas will talk from the Fire Brigade Union’s fire engine alongside reps from Black Lives Matter Scotland and the Stop Cambo campaign – calling for an end to further oil prospecting 125 miles north-west of Shetland – and Unison.

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg will speak to tens of thousands of protestors at the Cop26 Coalition’s Global Day for Climate Justice rally.

She will join Mitzi Jonelle Tan from the Philippines, Vanessa Nakate from Uganda and Scottish activist Darren McGarvey, also known as rapper Loki, in addressing the rally on Saturday November 6 – the middle weekend of the two-week international climate conference.

The Nanas during their 100th protest at Cuadrilla's now abandoned fracking site off Preston New Road, Peel, near Blackpool, on July 9, 2019 (Picture: Ros Willis)

The Nanas during their 100th protest at Cuadrilla’s now abandoned fracking site off Preston New Road, Peel, near Blackpool, on July 9, 2019 (Picture: Ros Willis)

The coalition wants governments to commit to cutting emissions and implementing globally just solutions that limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees – including calling for zero carbon, not just net zero.

Organisers expects simultaneous mobilisations in more than 50 places across the UK and around 75 countries worldwide.

Sarah Fleming of the Cop26 Coalition said: “Amongst all the rhetoric and empty promises, it is clear that justice won’t be handed to us by world leaders or delivered by corporations.

“Only we can imagine and build the future that works for all of us.

“The solutions that we desperately need to survive the climate crisis, and in doing so build a more just and fair world, can only be brought about through making our voices heard together.”

She added: “That’s why we’re bringing together everyone from Glasgow communities to indigenous peoples, from farmers to health workers to families, to take to the streets across the world and demand climate justice at Cop26.”

Organisers hope striking council workers will join the marchers as they head from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow Green.

The demonstrators will gather at 11.30am in Kelvingrove Park.

A series of campaign groups including activists from Extinction Rebellion, Climate Justice, Not False Solutions and Workers and Trade Unions will form the backbone of the demonstration, which is expected to leave the park at midday.

The march will be met by smaller marches from Glasgow Southside and groups of cyclists from across Scotland ahead of the rally at Glasgow Green from 3pm.

The Cop26 Coalition said that public health and safety during the ongoing pandemic were a primary concern and they are “fighting for climate justice at Cop against the backdrop of global vaccine inequality” and a need to keep everyone in our communities – both in Glasgow and abroad – safe.

More than 10,000 police officers a day are expected to be on the streets during Cop26.

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said detailed planning has been under way for more than a year and Police Scotland is well prepared for the unique challenges presented by Cop26.



Thornton couple in their 20s stabbed in their home by burglars

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Two men have been arrested after a double-stabbing at home in Thornton last night (Tuesday, November 2).


The victims, a man and a woman in their 20s, were taken to hospital after they were stabbed at their home in Tallington Close, off Fleetwood Road North, at around 7.30pm.

Officers were called to the scene but their attackers had already fled. Police searched the area and two men were stopped and detained later that night.

The pair were arrested and taken into custody, where they remain this afternoon (Wednesday, November 3).

Police say a man and woman were taken to hospital after they were stabbed at a home in Tallington Close, off Fleetwood Road North, at around 7.30pm. Pic: Google

One man, aged 28, has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary, and a second, aged 41, has been arrested on suspicion of assault (GBH).

Lancashire Police said “enquiries are ongoing”.

A spokesman for the force said: “We were called at around 7.30pm on Tuesday, November 2 to a report of a stabbing at an address on Tallington Close, Thornton Cleveleys.

“A man and a woman were injured and taken to hospital for treatment. Both victims are aged in their 20s. They have both since been discharged.

“Following a search of the area two men were subsequently arrested and are currently in custody.

“One aged 28 has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary, and a second, aged 41, arrested on suspicion of assault (GBH).

“Enquiries are ongoing.”



Coronation Street actress Harriet Bibby, who plays Summer Spellman in the ITV soap, helps local drama school with fundraising

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Scream Theatre School has been busy fundraising for The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), working closely with Harriet Bibby, who plays Summer Spellman in Coronation Street.


Harriet’s character in the long-running ITV soap was recently diagnosed with type one diabetes, with the resort actress, who went to the local school, in Wareham Road, Bispham, nominated in the Best Newcomer category at the Inside Soap Magazine Awards.

Harriet said: “Working on Summer’s story has helped me understand how life changing this condition is.”

Scream Theatre School has been fundraising through charity fun days held during classes, as well as setting up an online Just Giving page for external donations, which will take its final donations on Sunday, November 14, when World Diabetes Day is marked.

Harriet is also known for her role as Kaden’s Mum in hit Sky drama comedy Brassic, and as Clara Bindon in Doctors.

Youngsters at Scream Theatre School in Bispham have been raising cash while having fun during lessons (Picture: Dave Nelson)



Crime property on Blackpool’s Grange Park closed to protect vulnerable residents

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A property on Blackpool’s Grange Park has been shut down by a Closure Order after it was believed an organised crime group was taking advantage of vulnerable people there.


A property in Grange Park, Blackpool, has been shut down via a Closure Order

A property in Grange Park, Blackpool, has been shut down via a Closure Order

Police said the activities at the property were related to Class A distribution and the order was the result of agencies working together.

The Order will last three months with an option to extend it should there be further issues.

Police said: “This was the result of the Councils Public Protection Team, Blackpool Coastal Housing’s Anti-Social Behaviour Team and the Neighbourhood Policing team working in partnership to tackle anti-social behaviour and the exploitation of vulnerable people in the community.”

Chief Supt Karen Edwards recently reiterated her commitment to keeping people safe and not tolerating criminality or anti-social behaviour and will work with the local community to bring to justice those who insist on causing harm to good law abiding citizens.

The Closure Order proceedings began on Tuesday (Octover 26).



Fleetwood 2 Wigan Athletic 3: Town let two-goal lead slip against new League One leaders

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A stunning second-half comeback saw Wigan recover from two goals down to go top of League One and deny Fleetwood a badly-needed and landmark win.


Danny Andrew’s sixth goal of the season fired Simon Grayson’s side into an early lead.

Alex Cairns produced two superb saves to keep the advantage intact.

Callum Morton puts Fleetwood two goals up from the penalty spot before the Wigan fightback at Highbury

Callum Morton puts Fleetwood two goals up from the penalty spot before the Wigan fightback at Highbury

So, when Callum Morton, converted a 52nd-minute penalty, Town were firm favourites to register a first ever league win over Leam Richardson’s promotion-chasers.

Instead, Fleetwood conceded three times in 10 minutes and were unable to produce a comeback of their own as they had done against Wycombe four days earlier.

Goals from Callum Lang, Will Keane and Curtis Tilt sealed Wigan’s win and kept Town in the bottom three.

Wigan’s visit was the second of four successive home fixtures for Fleetwood in three separate competitions.

But a four-game winless run ensures the upcoming FA Cup and Papa John’s Trophy games against Burton Albion and Accrington Stanley have become much secondary in importance to climbing clear of relegation.

However, there was great expectation when Andrew fired Fleetwood into a seventh-minute lead.

Tendayi Darikwa’s foul on Paddy Lane was belatedly punished after referee Ross Joyce took instruction from linesman Paul Newhouse.

Latics’ management team protested in vain and Andrew curled in a left-foot free-kick from 18 yards. Dead-ball specialist Andrew has scored in four of his last five home games in League One, though his celebrations in front of the away end did not go down well with the travelling Latics supporters

Joe Garner’s 19th-minute header from Lane’s cross wasn’t far off doubling the home advantage. In between, Wigan showed their threat with Charlie Wyke heading wide from a Tom Bayliss centre.

Cairns was alert to punch away James McClean’s in swinging corner before another inviting delivery almost yielded an equaliser.

The Irishman’s raking left foot centre was headed goalwards by Wyke only for Cairns’ leg to deny the ex-Sunderland striker. Will Keane’s follow-up header was poor and wide.

Cairns rescued Town again after 33 minutes, tipping away Darikwa’s blistering 25-yard drive before the Latics’ skipper was booked for scything down Morton.

Andrew’s similar challenge on Bayliss soon after resulted in the same yellow outcome.

But despite incessant Wigan pressure through to half-time, Fleetwood kept their lead intact.

That stout defending was rewarded when Morton drilled in his spot-kick after he had been upended by keeper Ben Amos chasing down McClean’s ill-advised back-pass.

But 2-0 became 2-1 10 minutes later as Callum Lang squeezed in a low shot from the tightest of angles when Cairns appeared to misread the weight of Bayliss’ through-ball.

And Latics had already hit the post, via a Fleetwood boot, when Keane headed in from Wyke and McClean’s build-up.

Roared on by their 1,000 strong following, Wigan claimed the win when Tilt rose unmarked to convert Max Power’s corner.

Town’s Under-18s host Tranmere Rovers in the FA Youth Cup first round on Wednesday Kick-off at Highbury is 7pm.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Hill, Clarke, Andrew, Johnson, Matete (G Garner 78), Camps, Batty, Lane (Morris 73), J Garner, Morton; Subs not used: Crellin, McLaughlin, Clark, Biggins, Pilkington

Wigan: Amos, Kerr (Edwards 57), Whatmough, Tilt, Darikwa, Keane, Bayliss, Power, McClean, Lang, Wyke; Subs not used: Jones Watts, Pearce, Massey, Jones, Humphrys




Blackpool biker Sam Cardwell, who died after hitting a road sign and parked car at 51mph in 30mph zone, had ‘drugs and booze’ in his system, inquest is told

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A motorcyclist who died in a collision in Blackpool was found to have drugs and alcohol in his system over the legal limit, a coroner said.


However, during an inquest into the death of Sam Cardwell, assistant coroner Victoria Davies said the results of blood tests “should be interpreted with caution”.

Evidence presented to the court, held inside the town hall on Tuesday, showed booze and drug levels were only checked during the 27-year-old’s post-mortem examination — after he had been given a blood transfusion.

A toxicology report found that he had alcohol, cocaine and cannabis in his system at levels higher than the legal limit but Ms Davies said the results should be taken with “a pinch of salt”.

Sam Cardwell, 27, died after crashing his motorbike at 51mph in a 30mph zone, his inquest was told

Sam Cardwell, 27, died after crashing his motorbike at 51mph in a 30mph zone, his inquest was told

Described as “loving, popular” by his mum, who said his “main purpose in life was to enjoy it”, Sam was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Saturday, June 19 before being transferred to Royal Preston Hospital.

He had been mortally wounded when the Benelli TNT motorcycle he was riding veered off the road while negotiating a bend in Ansdell Road.

His bike then hit a stationary Honda Jazz car.

Giving evidence, Sgt Andrew Hemingway, lead investigating officer with the Lancashire Police Tactical Operations Unit, said: “It was estimated he was travelling at 51mph.

“He collided with a road sign and then hit the rear of a parked vehicle.”

Ansdell Road has a speed limit of 30mph.

Further investigations into the crash site determined there was a defect with the road surface but it did not contribute to the crash.

Sam died from horrific chest and gut injuries, the inquest ruled, with his death ruled as happening as a result of the accident.



Comedian Steve Royle to switch on Lytham Christmas Lights

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Lancashire funny man Steve Royle will light up Lytham as he officially switches on this year’s Christmas Lights.


The Britain’s Got Talent finalist will be joined by a host of local performers for an afternoon of live music and entertainment on Saturday, November 20.

Comedian, juggler and variety star Steve, who starred in Naturally Insane! The Life of Dan Leno at Lytham Hall in the summer, said: “I’m absolutely honoured to have been asked.

“It is such a beautiful town with so much to offer. I’m really chuffed it’s me that will be flicking that all important switch this year to help bring some festive cheer.”


Comedian Steve Royle

Comedian Steve Royle

The event will run from 1.45pm until 6pm, with the official lights switch-on and firework display taking place between 4.30pm and 5.30pm.

Appeal for help with funds for Lytham’s big festive switch-on

Lytham Community Choir will open the entertainment followed by Lytham dance school Dance Etc.

There will be live performances from singers Scarlett Hackett, Mei Mei and Monroe, while local musicians and singer-songwriters Ike James, Daisy Atkinson and Edward Rhodes will also


Party band 80s Rewind fronted by St Annes singer and former The Tailormade’s Jack Frimston will get everyone dancing, and Lytham’s very own The Coustics will headline following the

official switch-on by Steve.

Fylde Mayor Coun Elaine Silverwood will be a special guest, while BBC Radio Lancashire’s Graham Liver will host the event.

Sign language interpreter Tony Redshaw will also be on stage throughout. A familiar face to Lytham, Tony recently entertained the crowds at this summer’s WonderHall Festival with his

sign language skills and accompanying dance moves.

And while the entertainment is taking place in Clifton Square, Father Christmas will lead a procession around Lytham setting off from the Assembly Rooms on Dicconson Terrace at 4pm.

Lytham Christmas Lights Switch-On is organised by Coun Brenda Blackshaw with support from Lytham Business Partnership and a team of volunteers.

Coun Blackshaw said: “We are thrilled with this year’s line-up as it will see Lytham presenting some of the best talent the Fylde and Lancashire has to offer.

“Steve Royle is the epitome of funny and is loved by children and adults alike so he is the perfect star to flick our switch.

“Added to that we have an incredible line-up of local performers who will sing, dance and make merry as we kick off the festive season in our beloved Lytham.”

The line-up announcement follows an appeal by organisers of Lytham Christmas to ask the public’s help to raise £15,000 towards the event.

It costs around £18,000 to stage the official Switch-On with an additional £9,000 needed to keep the festive lights shining until the end of January.

To donate, visit