Covid booster jab: These are the Blackpool pop-up vaccination site locations this week

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Blackpool residents are being encouraged to get their Covid-19 vaccination booster as people across the UK were told to get their top-up to help prevent restrictions this Christmas.

 

This latest vaccination push comes as the chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency said the number of deaths among the vaccinated population is on the rise as immunity wanes.

According to the latest figures, more than 10 million people across the UK have had the Covid booster jab.

A number of walk-in vaccination sites offering first or second doses and booster jabs have been confirmed across Blackpool this week.

These are the Blackpool walk-in Covid vaccination site locations this week

These are the Blackpool walk-in Covid vaccination site locations this week

First and second doses of the vaccine are available to over 18s, while boosters are available at all walk-in sites to those eligible.

Here are this weeks locations and dates:

Wednesday, November 10

Comedy Carpet Promenade, FY1 1APComedy Carpet Promenade, FY1 1AP – 10.00am to 4.00pm

Thursday, November 11

Frank Townend Community Centre Kensington Road Cleveleys FY5 1ER – 1.00pm to 7.00pm

Friday, November 12

New Aldi / B&M Holyoake Avenue Bispham FY2 0QN – 1.00pm to 7.00pm

Saturday, November 13

Community Testing Hub, Hounds Hill, (opp rear entrance to M&S), Unit 95, Victoria St, FY1 4RJ – 10.00am to 4.00pm

Sunday, November 14

Tesco Extra, Clifton Retail Park, FY4 4UJ – 10.00am to 4.00pm

 

 

Investigation into attempted burglary which saw Thornton couple held at knifepoint in their home continues

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Police urged anyone with CCTV footage to come forward as investigations into an attempted burglary in Thornton continued.

 

A couple were held at knifepoint by two offenders wearing balaclavas inside their home in Tallington Close on Tuesday, November 2.

The victims, a man and a woman in their 20s, were both injured in the frightening assault and were rushed to hospital for treatment.

They have since been discharged to continue their recovery at home.

Two men were arrested later that night following a search of the area.

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

The pair were taken into custody but have since been released on police bail.

A couple were held at knifepoint by two offenders inside their home in Tallington Close, Thornton (Credit: Google)

A couple were held at knifepoint by two offenders inside their home in Tallington Close, Thornton (Credit: Google)

Det Chief Insp Jill Johnston, of Lancashire Police, said: “While two arrests have been made our investigation is still very much ongoing and I would therefore encourage anyone with information to please come forward with anything at all they think could assist with our enquiries.

“We are particularly interested in speaking to anyone with CCTV, ring doorbell or dash cam footage from around the local area to get in touch as this may have captured the offenders running away or any vehicles seen acting suspiciously at around 7.30pm and could therefore contain vital evidence.”

Footage can be uploaded directly by clicking HERE.

Anyone with information can also contact police by calling 101, quoting log number 1316 of November 2.

Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.

 

 

Will this be Blackpool’s scariest ride?

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Blackpool is to get a sky-high thrill-seekers’ ride as part of the town’s forthcoming Winter Gardens Wonderland attractions – and it promises to be pretty scary.

 

The mammoth structure is in fact Europe’s largest travelling aerial ride and it will propel riders to heights of more than 210 feet, nearly half the height of Blackpool Tower.

It will head to the resort from Friday November 19 until January 2 and will be a first for Lancashire.

The giant will be located in St John’s Square directly outside the Winter Gardens Complex.

This big ride is heading to Blackpool next week

This big ride is heading to Blackpool next week

A spokesperson from Blackpool Promotions, who are putting on the Winter Gardens Wonderland event, said: “This ride is not something you see every day – previously appearing at

Fairgrounds and Christmas markets across Europe and around the globe.

“For us to secure it for Blackpool is a very special thing, we are incredibly proud to have this for the resort during the festive season.”

Blackpool is certainly pulling out all the stops to ensure visitors can come to town throughout the winter and be assured of plenty of things to do and places to see.

There will also be a Festive Village in front of the iconic Blackpool Tower courtesy of Visit Blackpool, including free ice skating, falling snow, a magical forest and festive lights.

There will be special Christmas tram tours, West End Style shows, Illuminations and the jewel in the crown – Blackpool Promotions incredible Winter Gardens Wonderland — Blackpool’s Christmas Market, adding to the seasons wonder.

With Bavarian Style Christmas chalets, Winter Gardens Wonderland will spread right throughout the resort, both inside the historic Grade II listed Winter Gardens and outside in the main square and surrounding streets.

It will feature a magnificent Santa’s Grotto, state of the art VR Experiences, photo snow domes and much else.

John Westhead, head of operations for Blackpool Promotions said “I am thrilled to be bringing this to the resort make this Christmas one to remember.”

 

Preston children’s home worker Fred Wilding jailed for raping girls in his care

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A paedophile pensioner has been jailed for raping vulnerable girls whilst working at a Preston children’s home in the 1970s.

 

Frederick Wilding, 80, of Windmill View, Wesham, was convicted in September after he was found guilty of raping and indecently assaulting three girls at Harris Park Children’s Home.

At Preston Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday, November 9), the disgraced pensioner was sentenced to 9 years in prison. The 80-year-old paedophile was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for the remainder of his life.

All three girls were in their teens when they were preyed on by Wilding, Preston Crown Court heard. They cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Frederick Wilding, 80, of Windmill View, Wesham, has been jailed for 9 years after being found guilty of raping and indecently assaulting three girls at Preston's Harris Park Children's Home in the 1970s

Frederick Wilding, 80, of Windmill View, Wesham, has been jailed for 9 years after being found guilty of raping and indecently assaulting three girls at Preston’s Harris Park Children’s Home in the 1970s

At trial, he was found guilty of four counts of raping a child under 16 and was handed 9 years imprisonment on each count, but the jail terms will run concurrently.

Wilding was also found guilty of three counts of indecent assault against a girl under 14, but the 18 months imprisonment for these offences will also run concurrent with his rape sentence.

The pensioner had lived at the children’s home in Garstang Road, run by Lancashire County Council, with his late wife Kathleen, who was employed as a house mother at the home in the 1970s. The couple’s two daughters also lived there with them.

One of the victims described how she was sent away from Holly House – the house run by Wilding and his wife on the Harris Park estate – to a separate house on the complex after Mrs Wilding discovered her diary and learned of her husband’s heinous crimes.

Wilding lived at Harris Park Children's Home in Garstang Road, Preston with his late wife Kathleen, who was employed as a house mother at the home in the 1970s, and their two daughters

Wilding lived at Harris Park Children’s Home in Garstang Road, Preston with his late wife Kathleen, who was employed as a house mother at the home in the 1970s, and their two daughters

During his trial, Preston Crown Court heard the first woman made abuse allegations against him in August 2000 but it was filed away and only resurrected when other allegations came to light regarding the children’s home.

Tragically the woman died in February ahead of the trial and never saw her abuser face justice.

Jurors were played a video of her filmed in July 2019 in a care home in which she confirmed the contents of her statement to a police officer, who then read it aloud on the footage on her behalf, due to her ill health at the time.

The second victim, who gave evidence in person, confirmed she made a complaint statement in 2016 when she was spoken to about another resident at the home – Christopher Hartley – who was also tried for sexual offences.

It has been calculated that more than 2,200 vulnerable children had been cared for within the grounds of the Harris Park Children's Home, which was run by Lancashire County Council

It has been calculated that more than 2,200 vulnerable children had been cared for within the grounds of the Harris Park Children’s Home, which was run by Lancashire County Council

She alleges she was indecently assaulted by Wilding aged 13, when she would get up early and do chores, and during the summer holidays when many children would return to their families during holidays.

A third woman said Wilding raped her as a child, pushing her onto the floor while she was wearing her nightie.

Wilding left the home in the early 1980s because his wife had been seriously ill.

He had worked as a care assistant at Croft House, Freckleton, at John Booth’s foundry in Preston, at the Royal Preston Hospital as a porter for a decade, and at Sion House in Ribbleton as a care assistant for 15 years.

The orphanage, which consisted of seven detached houses run by house parents, was opened in early November 1888 and leased to Lancashire County Council in 1940.

There were usually 12 children in each house and it has been calculated that more than 2,200 children had been cared for within the grounds of the institution.

 

 

Extended festive lights aim to boost trade in St Annes

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Local entertainers will launch an extended festive season aimed at boosting business for traders in St Annes later this month.

 

The town centre and adjoining streets will be alight with festive colours and decorations ready for the Christmas Lights Switch-On event on Saturday, November 20.

The ceremony is back after two years, having gone virtual last year because of the pandemic and is being held on a week earlier than previous occasions, which organisers hope will extend the festive season and benefit traders.

It’s the same date as Lytham’s switch-on, headlined by Britain’s Got Talent finalist Steve Royle, and is thought to be the first time the ceremonies in the neighbouring town s have coincided.

St Annes town crier John Spencer-Barnes at the switch-on ceremony in 2019

St Annes town crier John Spencer-Barnes at the switch-on ceremony in 2019

Comedian Steve Royle to switch on Lytham Christmas Lights

The festivities are organised and run by the Community and Neighbourhood Group (CAN) of St Annes on the Sea Town Council.

The fun will begin around noon with Christmas music hosted by Emma Louise Jackson.

Local performers – Paul Dobie, Peter Anthony, and Steve Canavan – will take to the stage from 2pm until 5.30pm.

Entertainer Paul Dobie will be among the locally-based performers

Entertainer Paul Dobie will be among the locally-based performers

Santa will visit the shopping areas around St Annes at Alexandria Drive at 11.30am, Whalley Place at 12.30pm, Headroomgate Road at 1.30pm and St Alban’s Road at 2.30pm.

He will then return to the town centre for the switch-on, which will see St. Annes on the Sea Town Council chairman Gavin Harrison and deputy mayor of Fylde Coun Cheryl Little flicking the switch at 5.30pm.

Coun Harrison said: “I’m delighted to be part of this traditional community switch-on event, it’ll be great to see the lights shining more brightly than ever this year.

“There’s something for everyone, with talented local performers compered by the fabulous Emma Louise – my thanks to them all for contributing to what I know will be a great family day out in our wonderful town.

“Santa will be visiting the local shopping areas before putting in an appearance at the big switch on, so if you see him, do give him a wave.

“I’d also like to thank the CAN Team of councillors and officers have worked really hard to bring this event to the people of St Annes and I look forward to seeing you all on the big day.”

Town Crier John Spencer-Barnes and councillors will also be in attendance.

The lights and infrastructure have been upgraded with the ability to turn all the lights on in unison.

Following the switch-on, Churches Together will hold a Crib Blessing at the amphitheatre in the town centre.

The event – organised by St. Thomas’ Church – will include a short procession, music and unveiling of the nativity crib.

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Man arrested and two people hospitalised after ‘assault’ in Blackpool

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Two people were hospitalised and a man was arrested following reports of an assault in Blackpool.

 

Police attended Crossland Road after an assault was reported at around 10.25am today (Friday, November 5).

Two men were injured in the incident and were taken to hospital for treatment.

A 45-year-old man from Blackpool was also arrested on suspicion of assault.

Two people were hospitalised following reports of an assault in Crossland Road (Credit: Google)

Two people were hospitalised following reports of an assault in Crossland Road (Credit: Google)

“[He] remains in police custody at this time,” a spokesman for Lancashire Police said.

 

 

Another Portuguese man o’ war found on Fylde coast beach

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Another venomous Portuguese man o’ war has been found washed up on a Fylde coast beach.

 

The jellyfish-like creature, which is commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean, was found on St Annes beach this morning.

It follows the discovery of another man o’ war by a dog walker on the beach halfway between Preesall and Pilling on Monday.

A Fylde Coast Sand Dunes spokesman said: “This isn’t one animal, but a mass of smaller animals called zooids, which live together as a single floating colony.

The man o' war on St Annes beach. Picture by Fylde Coast Sand Dunes

The man o’ war on St Annes beach. Picture by Fylde Coast Sand Dunes

Portuguese man o’ wars have a sail and gas-filled bladder which allows them to be carried along ocean currents. Unfortunately though, this also means that they have no control over where they drift, and can be stranded after being blown ashore by strong winds.

“After last week’s stormy weather, Portuguese man o’ wars have been spotted on beaches all over the North West. If you do see one though, please don’t touch it! They have a painful sting which they use to catch fish, but their tentacles can still sting after they are dead.”

Man o’ war stings usually cause severe pain to humans, leaving whip-like, red welts on the skin that normally last two or three days, though the pain usually subsides after about 1 to 3 hours.

But the venom can travel to the lymph nodes and can cause symptoms that mimic an allergic reaction, including swelling of the larynx, airway blockage, cardiac distress, and an inability to breathe. Other symptoms can include fever and shock, and in some extreme cases, even death.

A Blackpool Council spokesman added: “Whilst they certainly look intriguing, if you spot one of these during any coastal walks, please be sure to take a peek with your eyes only as they can deliver a painful sting.”

 

 

Drunk driver killed student after hitting them at ‘motorway speeds’ in 20pm zone in Kirkham

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A 19-year-old student was killed after a drunk motorist travelling at “motorway speeds” collided with him as he walked to work in Kirkham.

 

David Turner had consumed “ten pints of lager and two alcoholic shots” when his Audi S3 ploughed into teenager Gabriel Fields on July 4, 2020.

The collision occurred shortly after 10pm as Mr Fields was walking to a local shop in Station Road where he had a part-time job.

The 19-year-old Salford University student suffered “multiple injuries” and died shortly after the collision despite the efforts of emergency crews at the scene.

David Turner (pictured) had consumed "ten pints of lager and two alcoholic shots" when his Audi S3 ploughed into teenager Gabriel Fields (Credit: Lancashire Police)

David Turner (pictured) had consumed “ten pints of lager and two alcoholic shots” when his Audi S3 ploughed into teenager Gabriel Fields (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Gabriel’s mum Jacqueline Blache-Rostron said: “Nothing, and I mean nothing, can prepare you for the devastation and emptiness you feel when you are told that your child, someone that you gave birth to, are meant to protect, who you would do anything for, who you love more than anything else in this world, will never come home.

“You will never see him again, you will never hug him again, you will never tell him that you love him again and you will never tell him how proud you are of him.

“All because of the actions of that man.”

Turner, who police said had been drinking all afternoon, hit Mr Fields after losing control of his car and mounting the curb.

Gabriel Fields (pictured) died shortly after the collision despite the efforts of emergency crews at the scene (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Gabriel Fields (pictured) died shortly after the collision despite the efforts of emergency crews at the scene (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Mr Fields was thrown onto a grassed area as Turner’s car proceeded to crash into a bench before colliding with a tree.

As well as the fatal injuries caused to Mr Fields, one of Turner’s passengers suffered a “number of serious injuries”

Two other passengers sustained “less serious injuries,” according to detectives.

Sgt Finn Quainton, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Gabriel’s death was totally unnecessary.

Mr Fields was thrown onto a grassed area as Turner's car proceeded to crash into a bench before colliding with a tree.

Mr Fields was thrown onto a grassed area as Turner’s car proceeded to crash into a bench before colliding with a tree.

“It happened because of David Turner’s complete disregard for the drink-driving laws and because he drove so selfishly fast that he lost control of the car.

“Gabriel Fields had no alcohol in his system and was innocently walking on the pavement”

David Turner, 31, of Martin Avenue, Lytham, admitted one count of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was sentenced to 10 years for the death by dangerous driving and 16 months to run concurrently for the serious injury by dangerous driving at Preston Crown Court today (Thursday, November 4).

Turner was also sentenced to a five-year driving ban to take effect upon his release from prison, after which he will also have to re-sit an extended re-test.

“My thoughts today remain with all of Gabriel’s loved ones and I hope that today’s sentence can bring them at least some comfort,” Sgt Finn Quainton added.

Police investigate after man found unconscious in Blackpool alleyway

Gabriel’s step dad Adam Rostron said he “could not have asked for a better son”.

He added: “I have had the privilege of being Gabriel’s step-father and friend for 10 years.

“If I can be more like Gabriel then I know I will be better for it.

“I am sad and angry that Gabriel will never have the opportunity to graduate university, get married, achieve his dream job, buy his own house.

“I am sad and angry that I will not have the opportunity to help guide him if or when he became a father.

“I am sad and angry that I will not get the opportunity to ask him to pick his clothes up, turn his music down or get up out of bed in the morning.

“I am sad and angry that I will not have the opportunity, as Gabriel grew older, for us to be best friends as adults, something I had always said and knew would happen.”

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you.

 

 

Beware deadly ‘parsnips’ washed up on Fylde coast beaches

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Strange white roots known as ‘Dead Man’s Fingers’ have been reported washed up on Fylde coast shores. But though these plants resemble harmless parsnips, they are actually the most poisonous plant in the UK.

 

The smallest trace of hemlock water dropwort can prove quickly fatal to both humans and animals. If left untreated, symptoms of ingesting the root include nausea, vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, breathing troubles, and eventually death.

A suspected sighting of the deadly root was reported at Rossall Beach on Sunday.

A Fylde Council spokesman said: “A sighting of ‘hemlock’ has been reported to our officers. This plant, with roots that look a lot like parsnips, is extremely dangerous when ingested. Whilst we try to keep our beaches clean and safe, dangerous items can wash up and we ask members of the public to report any further sightings and any other unusual items to us by calling 01253 891000.”

Picture by the Millom Coastguard Rescue Team

Picture by the Millom Coastguard Rescue Team

The discovery followed warnings from the Millom Coastguard Rescue Team in south-west Cumbria on November 1.

A spokesman said: “Please be aware that we have received reports of a highly poisonous plant being washed up on local beaches. So far there have been confirmed sightings at Millom and St Bees.

“Hemlock Water Dropwort (Oenanthe crocata), also known as Dead Man’s Fingers… Even a small portion can prove fatal to humans by attacking the nervous system. It is also fatal to animals. The plant has a highly poisonous root that looks, and smells, like parsnip.

“It is highly likely that this is happening due to the aftermath of recent stormy weather. We advise people, especially with children and animals, to stay vigilant, avoid this plant and take extra care when visiting the beach.”
Picture by the Millom Coastguard Rescue Team

Picture by the Millom Coastguard Rescue Team

Lancashire firefighter sacked for gross misconduct after sex acts banter with recruits

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A Lancashire firefighter has been sacked after he joked about a sex act with recruits.

 

Richard Holden, 46, has been dismissed for “gross misconduct” after a disciplinary investigation into “inappropriate comments” made during a team building event in September 2020.

Based at Preesall fire station near Fleetwood, Mr Holden was reported to senior colleagues after he repeatedly joked about a particular sex act.

The 46-year-old said he had not known what the term meant when it was first mentioned by a young female recruit.

A 46-year-old firefighter has been sacked for "gross misconduct" after a disciplinary investigation into "inappropriate comments" made during a team building event in September 2020

A 46-year-old firefighter has been sacked for “gross misconduct” after a disciplinary investigation into “inappropriate comments” made during a team building event in September 2020

But the part-timer, who was training to be a full-time firefighter, said he started using the term himself in an attempt to fit in with the younger recruits.

He had previously fronted campaign posters to promote ‘values’ within the fire service and regularly raised money for the firefighters charity. In 2018, he was awarded an ‘LFRS Star award’ for his service.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) said Mr Holden had never been involved with any other disciplinary incidents prior to this.

In addition to the ‘inappropriate” sex talk, LFRS said his conduct during its internal investigation constituted “separate and further breaches of the service’s values”.

He was fired after the tribunal concluded he had shown a “lack of honesty” and “no remorse” during its investigation.

Further details emerged at an employment tribunal in Manchester where Holden, who joined the brigade in 2014, lost his claim for unfair dismissal.

What did the tribunal report say?

The tribunal report read: “The claimant’s lack of honesty, and his attempts to minimise what he had done during the investigation and disciplinary hearing, were in fact separate and further breaches of the respondent’s values.

“His lack of remorse and acceptance of wrongdoing also meant that he was less likely to amend his behaviour in the future.

“There would therefore be the possibility that he would breach the values again in some way, making him an unsuitable employee.”

It was decided that Mr Holden’s overall behaviour amounted to gross misconduct, which justified immediate dismissal.

Two of the young recruits, a man and a woman, were spared dismissal and handed written warnings. Their conduct was deemed ‘less serious’ because it took place outside work hours, the tribunal heard.

Mr Holden later submitted an appeal on the grounds that the severity of the sanction was too harsh and inconsistent with similar cases.

The tribunal also heard how Holden had stood up against bullying and dishonesty and devoted his own time to raise money for mental health charities and other good causes.

However, the tribunal found that Mr Holden had been fairly dismissed.

What did Richard Holden say at his appeal?

He said: “While I was certainly naive during the days we are discussing, it was concluded in the hearing that I had been dishonest, evasive and restricted.

“I haven’t been in any way dishonest or evasive at any point as is proven by my immediate and complete admittance of my part in each of the circumstances questioned.

“I was the only one dismissed and the increased severity of my treatment seems to be based on my not showing as much remorse and emotion.

“I have confirmed all along I knew it was a sexual activity, and I knew and accepted it was stupid to say it, and for that reason I apologised to the instructor immediately at the end of the lecture.

“But I did not understand the gravity of the comment when I said it until afterwards. There is no dishonesty in my case – the severity of my dismissal is much too harsh.”

What did the tribunal judge say at the hearing?

Judge Brian Doyle said: “He was much older than the other recruits on the course, as many of the recruits were in their twenties, whereas he was in his forties.

“He tried his best to join in conversations and to be part of the group.

“Most of the conversation was around partners and the topic turned to sexual matters.

“One recruit mentioned how her last partner had enjoyed a particular sex act.

“The claimant asked about the meaning of the word because he had no idea what it meant and he had the impression that he was the only one who did not know what this meant.

“She explained what it was and another recruit said he also enjoyed it.

‘”It was the station manager’s view that everyone bar Mr Holden took responsibility for their actions, were remorseful and, she believed, would be able to demonstrate those values in their future employment with the respondent service.

“In her view, the claimant’s lack of honesty, and his attempts to minimise what he had done during the investigation and disciplinary hearing, were in fact separate and further breaches of the respondent’s values.

“She regarded him as having displayed a lack of integrity, showed that he could not be trusted, and demonstrated a lack of respect to the respondent service and the disciplinary procedure by not being honest.

“His lack of remorse and acceptance of wrongdoing, she considered, also meant that he was less likely to amend his behaviour in the future.

“There would therefore be the possibility that he would breach the values again in some way, making him an unsuitable employee.”

What has LFRS said about the tribunal outcome?

Bob Warren, director of people and development, at LFRS said: “Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is pleased that the tribunal has agreed with the outcome of our internal investigation.

“The service strives to keep a safe and positive environment for all staff and we have a set of values to help us achieve this.

“Where any employee fails to live up to the standards that we set, we will take the appropriate action.”