Lytham singer Peter relishing spot on Bobby Ball tribute bill at Blackpool Winter Gardens

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Lytham singer Peter Anthony is relishing the prospect of being among a host of performers paying tribute to comedy legend Bobby Ball in Blackpool on Friday.


Peter, a long-time professional singer who is now manager of Lytham Hall and also a Fylde councillor, is among several locally-based acts joining stars of stage and TV at the Rock On Variety show at the Opera House, organised by the Bobby Ball Foundation.

The show, which sold out in quick time, will benefit the charities closest to Bobby’s heart – Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion and Blue Skies Hospitals Fund – as well as supporting the cost of the planned Bobby Ball statue to be erected in Lytham’s Lowther Gardens.

The performers have given their services free of charge to celebrate the life and legacy of Bobby, who lived in Lytham, and they will include Bobby’s long-time comedy partner Tommy Cannon as well as the likes of actress and singer Sheridan Smith, tenor Russell Watson, and Blackpool’s The Nolans.

Peter Anthony is among several Fylde-based acts on the bill for Friday's show

Peter Anthony is among several Fylde-based acts on the bill for Friday’s show

“It’s going to be a wonderful event in memory of a very special man,” said Peter.

“I have such fond memories of supporting Cannon and Ball in panto at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool and it is a privilege to be involved.

“Bobby loved the Fylde coast and was a great supporter of so many good causes – it’s an honour to help pay tribute to him in this way.”
Bobby Ball

Bobby Ball

Bobby died in October last year at 76.

His widow Yvonne said: “To see that stage filled with people helping raise money for the charities that were so close to Bobby will be very special. It is going to be a wonderful evening.”

The show will be followed 24 hours later by The Bobby Ball in the Empress Ballroom for the same causes.



It’s 100 not out for jolly Jack Rhodes of Bispham

Home | Blackpool Gazette

He has been a friendly welcomer at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and a programme seller at the Grand Theatre – now Jack Rhodes has celebrated his 100th birthday.


Jack, of Wolverton Avenue, Bispham, enjoyed the birthday milestone with his family on Friday, November 5.

The retired grocer has lived in the Blackpool area since 1988 and says he loves being by the sea.

Jack, who lives with daughter Barbara and is often described as being jolly, says: “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, especially as my family is here.”

Jack Rhodes celebrates his 100th birthday at home in Bispham

Jack Rhodes celebrates his 100th birthday at home in Bispham

He was born in 1921 in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, where his parents ran a local pub and as soon as he was old enough, he’d be collecting glasses and wiping down tables.

As a youngster he enjoyed scooting off to the local roller skating rink, a popular meeting place, just along the road in Batley.

Whilst at secondary school, Jack was awarded a two year scholarship to attend the local School of Arts and Crafts – quite an achievement at the age of 15 in 1936.

Jack Rhodes at home on his birthday

Jack Rhodes at home on his birthday

He was a talented artist, but his speciality was signage printing – a great asset in the early days of his grocery career.

Following a stint in a local garage, Jack was desperate to sign up, much to his mother’s dismay, and in November 1939, at the age of 18, he joined the RAF.

After initial training as an Armourer with 252 Squadron, he then spent four years abroad in the Middle East stationed at Edku, a desert base, just outside Cairo in Egypt.

His role was maintaining – in tip top condition – the shells and ammunition for the Beaufighter planes prior to loading them at a moment’s notice.

Having become involved with the squadron’s concert party, he and another airman, Percy Nicholas, formed a comedy duo – Nicholls and Rhodes.

Jack played the stooge – very reminiscent of Morecambe and Wise.

They performed in local shows on the base and enjoyed a three month stint at the Fleet Club in Alexandria where Wing Commander Sholto Douglas announced,

after watching one evening, that it was the best entertainment he’d seen for a long time!

Once demobbed, Jack entered the grocery trade, working for a local firm – Lodges of Huddersfield, before joining Wm Morrisons Supermarkets in 1970.

He quickly became a general manager, set up and opened two of their stores, before moving into personnel and latterly becoming their pensions officer

prior to retirement at 65.

Jack had met and married Ann in 1947, and together they raised their only daughter Barbara.

Sadly, Ann passed away in 1986, but had the pleasure of seeing her granddaughter Geraldine who’d been born in 1985.

In 1988, Jack moved with Barbara, Alex (her late husband) and Geraldine to live in Bispham, Blackpool.

He very quickly got involved with voluntary activities in the town, ranging from welcomer at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, programme seller at the Grand Theatre and various stints in

charity shops, together with supporting the family over the years in local drama groups.

Jack said: “It has been an absolute blessing for me to have seen Geraldine grow up, as well as my two great grandchildren – Ellie and Jessica.

“I credit my mum’s Yorkshire puddings for living so long, being as well as being cared for by my family in the best place to live – Blackpool by the Sea!”



Remembrance Sunday 2021: This is when services are taking place to honour our armed forces heroes in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre this week

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People in the Fylde coast will pay their respects this week at services to commemorates British service members who have died since the First World War.


Many Remembrance services were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

This year many services have returned with events taking place in the Fylde coast and across the county.

Here’s our round-up of the Fylde coast services honouring our armed forces heroes.

Remembrance Sunday service at Blackpool's war memorial in 2019.

Remembrance Sunday service at Blackpool’s war memorial in 2019.

If you’d like an event to be added to this list, please email

Blackpool Remembrance services taking place this week:

Blackpool Remembrance Service 2021 – Sunday 14th November

There will be the two minutes silence, a service and wreath laying ceremony in memory of those who gave their lives in the service of their country followed by a parade between 10am and 12.15pm.

Fylde Remembrance services taking place this week:

St Annes

Assemble at the Pier car park on North Promenade at 10:30am and proceed (route St Annes Road West and Clifton Drive North, returning via Garden Street and St Annes Road West) to the memorial at 10:38am. Fylde Council’s civic party will be led by Councillor Elaine Silverwood, Fylde Mayor.


Assemble at the Assembly Rooms at 10:30am. Procession to move off at 10:45am to the war memorial via Dicconson Terrace, Henry Street and Queen Street (returning by reverse route). The civic party will be led by Councillor Cheryl Little, Fylde Deputy Mayor.


Assemble on Orders Lane at 1:30pm and move off at 1:45pm. The service of Remembrance will commence at the Cenotaph at 2:00pm. The procession will return to the Community Centre at approximately 3:00pm where refreshments will be served.


Assemble at the War Memorial, Station Road/Weeton Road at 10:45am. Following the Act of Remembrance, refreshments will be served at Wesham Community Centre.


Remembrance Service conducted by Revd. Jim Crawford at St Luke’s Church, starting at 9:30am, before moving on to the Memorial at Jubilee Gardens at 10:30am. A short service will be hosted by Cllr Jayne Nixon to encompass the last post and 2 minutes silence at 11.00am.

Ribby with Wrea & Westby with Plumptons

Remembrance Service at St Nicholas Church, Wrea Green starting at 10:00am, before moving to the Wrea Green War Memorial.

Wyre Remembrance services taking place this week:

Bilsborrow –Thursday 11 November

Service at the War Memorial, Bilsborrow. Those attending are asked to assemble at 10.20am.

Fleetwood – Remembrance Sunday 14 November

Memorial Park, Warrenhurst Road. A Parade assembles at The Kings Own Club, Adelaide Street at 10.00am alternatively the full Parade assembles at the top of Warrenhurst Road at 10.30am

Garstang – Remembrance Sunday 14 November

Procession assembles at the High Street Car Park at 9.00am for parade to St Thomas’ Church for Church Service at 9.45am followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial at 10.45 am

Poulton-le-Fylde – Remembrance Sunday 14 November

War Memorial, Market Place followed by a service at the Parish Church of St Chad. Those attending are asked to assemble at the Old Town Hall, at 10.45am

Preesall – Remembrance Sunday 14 November

Service in St Oswald’s Church, Lancaster Road, Preesall at 10.00 am. Procession to assemble after the Service at 10.45 am for wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial.

Thornton-Cleveleys – Remembrance Sunday 14 November

Cenotaph, Four Lane Ends. Those attending are asked to assemble at the Thornton Little Theatre at 10.30am.



Thornton-Cleveleys grandad wins three Lottery jackpots in the same draw

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

“My stomach is a knotted up and I’m in a bit of a dream world”


Ken Bunney
Ken Bunney

A grandad from Thornton-Cleveleys has proved the old adage that ‘good things come in threes’ after racking up three winning tickets in the same Lottery draw.

Ken Bunney scooped £90,000 after his postcode FY5 1RJ was announced as a winner with People’s Postcode Lottery.

The retired civil service worker said he is still “in a bit of a dream world” and his stomach is “knotted up”.

Ken, 72, plans to share his good fortune with his daughter who needs a new kitchen.

On hearing the good news via Zoom, Ken said: “Good grief, heavens above – that’s more than I imagined. My laptop is quivering a bit. That’ll do me for Christmas, thank you very much!

“My stomach is a knotted up and I’m in a bit of a dream world. I think it’s a bit too early for a drink yet but I’ll need to warn the bank!

“Only last week my daughter Michelle said she needed a new kitchen so that’ll be sorted out now.

“It’s the sort of thing I never expected to happen but it’ll sort Christmas out too for my two granddaughters as well.”

Two of Ken’s neighbours also scooped £30,000 each, while the remaining winners chose to remain anonymous with their prize paid into their bank account, the Mirror reports.

People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Judie McCourt broke to the news to the lucky lot via Zoom. She said: “It was my absolute pleasure to present Ken and his neighbours with their cheques and spread a little happiness in Thornton-Cleveleys.

“I hope Ken and our other lucky winners all enjoy putting their prize to good use.

People’s Postcode Lottery costs £10 a month to play and there are guaranteed winners every day. People play with their chosen postcode and are automatically entered into all draws.

A minimum of 33% from each ticket goes to charity and players have raised more than £750million for over 9,000 charities and good causes since 2005.

This draw was promoted on behalf of Postcode Dream Trust, which will provide funding to charities helping society recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.




Blackpool to get Lancashire’s first Taco Bell as plans for another site scrapped

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Blackpool will now be the site of a new Taco Bell after plans for one in Thornton-Cleveleys were scrapped


A general view of a Taco Bell drive-thru restaurant
A general view of a Taco Bell drive-thru restaurant

Plans for a Taco Bell drive-thru restaurant in Blackpool have been given the go ahead by the council just weeks after plans for a site in Thornton-Cleveleys were scrapped.

The Blackpool scheme will see the former Steals clothing store on Rigby Road, which was originally a car showroom, knocked down and the site redeveloped.

Town hall planners, who approved the application using delegated powers, considered the potential impact on health of allowing a fast food outlet to open in the area which has high levels of obesity.

The brand, which mainly operates in America, specialises in Mexican style fast food.

Bloomfield ward has one of the worst obesity rates in England, with 11.3 per cent of reception age pupils and nearly 25 per cent of year 6 pupils overweight.

Planning policies are due to come into force in Blackpool to ban new hot food takeaways in or within 400 metres of wards where there is more than 15 per cent of year six pupils or 10 per cent of reception pupils with obesity.

But planners ruled a fast food drive-thru would mean parents having more cotrol over the food being ordered for children.

A report setting out the decision says: “The restaurant would likely be frequented by families where there would be greater control by parents over food choices for younger diners.

“The drive-thru would be regulated by the legal driving age of 17. Young children would be protected by the inherent character and location of the site and reduced access to ordering food themselves compared to adults.

“Therefore, it is considered that the takeaway element of the scheme would have a limited adverse impact on the aims and objectives of the council when managing childhood obesity and would not, in this instance, warrant refusal of the application.”

Developer the Adil Group already operates KFCs and Costa Coffee outlets in Blackpool.

In its application, it said it wanted “to reinvest, create employment and bring the first Taco Bell restaurant for Blackpool’s community to enjoy.”

The restaurant would hold up to 66 diners in total within the building, with 10 covers at ground floor and 56 at first floor.

Up to 55 new jobs would be created, including 25 part-time positions and 30 full-time positions, according to the planning statement.

Currently the nearest Taco Bell restaurants to the Fylde coast are in Manchester and Liverpool, while plans for a branch at the former DWP site at Norcross, off Norcross Lane, were recently scrapped after it emerged houses are set to be built on the land instead.




Slowest Lancashire A road named and shamed with traffic moving at 13mph average

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Average speeds across key local routes in Lancashire increased last year, with lockdowns leading to less traffic.


The A5073 in Blackpool has been named and shamed as the slowest A road in Lancashire
The A5073 in Blackpool has been named and shamed as the slowest A road in Lancashire

The A5073 in Blackpool has been named and shamed as the slowest A road in Lancashire, with traffic moving along at just 13.0mph on average.

The latest data from the Department for Transport shows that average speeds across key local routes in Lancashire increased last year, with lockdowns leading to less traffic.

In Blackpool, average speeds on local A roads – at all times, not just morning and evening peaks – rose from 17.7mph in 2019 to 18.4mph in 2020.

Meanwhile, average speeds increased from 19.6mph to 21.2mph in Blackburn and Darwen, and from 25.6mph to 27.3mph across the rest of Lancashire.

That compared to a national average of 27.3mph across all local A roads in England.

However, some A roads in Lancashire see traffic go much slower – with the A5073 the worst of all.

With average speeds of 13.0mph, the road typically sees delays of nearly two minutes for every mile spent on the road.

It means for every 10 miles spent in typical levels of congestion on the road, you’ll see an extra 19 minutes and 28 seconds added onto your journey, compared to if there was no traffic at all.

In comparison, the A65 in the wider Lancashire county is much quicker, with traffic moving at 43.6mph on average – with congestion only adding on one minute and 39 seconds every 10 miles.


The DfT data is based on annual counts that take place over 24-hour periods on weekdays, weekends and Bank Holidays, with the aim of producing a robust overall average for all motorists at all times.

They show that across England, average speeds on local A roads increased from 25.3mph in 2019 to 27.3mph last year.

Now that restrictions have eased and cars are returning to the roads once more, we’re likely to see these improvements reverse when the data for 2021 is published next year.

The slowest A road in the country was the A4201 in Westminster, London, where the average speed was just 6.5mph – adding an extra 50 minutes onto a journey of just 10 miles.

Outside London, the slowest A road was the A3039 in Bath and North East Somerset, where the average speed was 9.7mph, causing average delays of nearly 27 minutes every 10 miles.

These particular figures only include A roads that are the responsibility of local councils.

Separate figures cover some larger A roads that link cities and motorways, which are the responsibility of Highways England. These roads are typically much faster.



Blackpool’s Ewan Bange seals fresh loan move after prolific spell with Bamber Bridge

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool striker Ewan Bange has sealed a loan move to National League North side AFC Telford United after a prolific spell further down the non-league chain.


Bange reached double figures for Northern Premier Division side Bamber Bridge, where he was managed by former Seasiders Jamie Milligan and John Hills.

The 19-year-old has starred alongside his Blackpool teammate Rob Apter, who recently earned a call-up to the Scotland Under-19 squad and will remain with Brig until December 12.

The pair, who joined Brig on youth loans back in August, have played a starring role to help Milligan’s side up to third in the table and just four points off top spot.

But Blackpool have now decided Bange needs to test himself further up the pyramid by loaning him to Telford, who are one division above Bamber Bridge.

The Bucks are currently struggling at the wrong end of the table though, sitting third from bottom with just two wins from 12 games.

Bange, who will remain with the club until January, will link up with fellow Seasider Cameron Antwi who joined Telford on loan in October.

Bange has been in prolific form for Bamber Bridge this season

Bange has been in prolific form for Bamber Bridge this season

The midfielder, who has impressed since joining interim manager Dennis Greene, has also extended his stay until January.

Speaking recently about Blackpool duo Apter and Bange, Brig boss Milligan told The Gazette: “They are great lads and so coachable. They want to get better and they have been outstanding for us, the lads love them.

“There is nothing better for these young kids to go into a changing room full of men.

“To go out on the pitch and fight for three points against lads who, for some, non-league football is their livelihood.

“ You don’t get better experience than what Ewan and Rob are getting at the minute.

“I can never understand it when I hear tales of some young lads who won’t go out on loan to whatever level or whether they think the level is too low for them.

“I just don’t get it because a lot of them are just going to be stuck there playing Under-23s or Under-21s football, which for me, it’s not real football.

“You can find that when these players stay at clubs playing Under-23s football when they do finally leave because they are not making it there, it’s too much of a shock for them when they drop down the leagues or go into non-league.

“For me the boys who have come to us at Brig, it sets them in good stead for the future.

“The academy that myself and Trevor Sinclair run, probably more than half of the lads are all playing non-league football.”



Blackpool Fire Station training tower for high-rise rescues given green light

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“The proposed training tower will offer improved / essential training opportunities for high rise fire and rescue training scenarios”

The fire service says it needs a new facility at its Forest Gate base
The fire service says it needs a new facility at its Forest Gate base

Plans for a new training tower at Blackpool Fire Station have been approved by Blackpool Council.

The fire service says it needs a new facility at its Forest Gate base in order to meet modern training requirements.

The proposed tower will 1.8 metres higher than the existing 12 metre tower.

The application for planning permission said: “It is essential that the fire service are able to undertake the necessary and relevant training activities at the fire station site.

“The existing training tower no longer meets the training needs of a modern

day fire service, thus the proposal is to provide a new training tower which will provide for these needs.

“The proposed training tower will offer improved / essential training opportunities for high rise fire and rescue training scenarios.”