Twenty three people have died with Covid in the past week at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, taking the death toll there to 862, deputy medical director Dr Grahame Goode said.
Speaking during the Whinney Hey Road hospital’s weekly coronavirus briefing, Dr Goode said six people remained in critical care with the disease and were fighting for their lives yesterday.
He said: “I send my condolences to the families of patients we have lost.
“This just illustrates how serious Covid still is.
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
“Although I think a number of people out in the community feel the Covid pandemic is over, it certainly isn’t, as reflected in the number of patients in hospital and the number of deaths we’ve had.”
Some 43 people considered Covid-positive – ie they’re within 14 days of their first diagnosis – remain in hospitals on the Fylde coast for treatment, Dr Goode said, while he added: “In terms of the general picture, our emergency department is exceptionally busy.
“We declared a major internal incident last week due to the pressure in the hospital in terms of lack of beds and the pressure on the emergency department.
“We had 140 patients in our emergency department, which is a huge number for us, and we had as many as 13 ambulances waiting outside to deliver patients into the emergency departments.”
A&E attendances in England last month were 36 per cent higher than a year ago, NHS England said – although again this is a reflection of lower-than-usual numbers for October 2020, which were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A total of 2.2 million attendances were recorded in October 2021, up from 1.6 million in October 2020.
The equivalent figure for October 2019, a non-pandemic year, was 2.2 million.
But the number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has risen to a new record high.
A total of 5.8 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of September 2021, according to figures from NHS England.
This is the highest number since records began in August 2007.
And a record 7,059 had to wait more than 12 hours at A&Es in England last month from a decision to admit to actually being admitted.
The figure is up from 5,025 in September and is the highest since records began in August 2010.
A record donation of £11,000 has been made to Lytham Hall following the most successful season yet of open air plays there.
The donation was handed over by Julian Wilde, organiser of this year’s six play season, to Hall manager Peter Anthony – and the gift will be used on a project all visitors to the Hall will be able to see and enjoy.
“The money will go towards the continuing improvement of the Hall’s South Prospect garden,” said Peter.
“A lengthy avenue of formal hornbeam trees will be planted from the Parterre Garden, home of the recently restored and much-loved Diana statue.
Lytham Hall manager Peter Anthony (left) receives the cheque for the record donation from plays organiser Julian Wilde
Huge demand for Lytham Hall outdoor theatre tickets
“A Wisteria Arch, appropriately coloured violet, will be a wonderful new attraction each May and June and the South Prospect will become an eye-catching feature.”
The donation brings the total raised by the 49 plays staged since 2010 to £57,000.
Julian believes that the support of patrons from the local business community and the work put in by an army of unpaid volunteers has enabled the 2021 season to be the most successful yet, in spite of the continuing pandemic.
“I will always remember the enthusiasm and commitment of everyone involved with the 2021 season,” he said.
“We had a capacity audience of 550 for the opening play Macbeth by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men in June and achieved the largest attendance figures in the country for the three plays by Illyria in August.
“That’s a wonderful tribute to the loyalty of Lytham people and the four visiting theatre companies responded with five star performances.”
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men will again open the 12th season of theatre at the Hall next summer with their production of Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It’ on Friday, June 17. Details of booking arrangements will follow in the New Year.
A Lytham great-grandad is calling for more to be done to warn families and lone youngsters about an open fence he feels is a danger to life.
Ron Emery, of Badger’s Walk, says he is horrified at the prospect of what might happen if a toddler wanders towards the bank of Liggard Brook at the Park View 4U site, which is a popular recreation area for all ages.
Liggard Brook is a waterway which flows through Lytham to the River Ribble and Ron is concerned about an area which he feels is concealed from but close to the play area.
A small sign urging people to stay away is at the site, but Ron feels it is inadequate, especially if a youngster wanders towards it without realising the brook is so close by – and is calling for more prominent warnings to ensure no-one falls in.
Ron Emery at the site which he feels poses danger to youngsters
£150,000 anniversary fund-raising aim at Park View, Lytham
“In an ideal world the area is so dangerous, it should be closed to the public until adequate protection is in place. There is a clear cocktail of risk that is a danger to life/health on a daily basis and it needs to be taken seriously.
“Twice in my life I have identified similar risk where no one would listen and in both cases tragically I was proved right.
“In the first instance, a toddler drowned and in the second case, a young child suffered severe brain damage from near drowning.
The signage which Ron feels is inadequate
“Every one of us has a responsibility to protect our children and all responsible parents using the facilities at Park View4U would surely wish be made aware of the concealed dangers lurking just a few feet away from where their children are playing and the health hazards so connected.
“As a grandfather of four and a great grandfather of two small children, I am only too aware of how quickly they can move and get themselves into trouble.
“This was brought home to me many years ago when my own young brother was killed on Lytham Road in Blackpool,while returning from Arnold School.
“Just one quick momentary thoughtless decision to run into the Road cost him his life.
Play equipment is close to the site
“Of course that was a ‘foreseeable’ risk which most parents and the police had identified and wished to address by putting on a School Crossing Patrol, but just like this site, the people whose responsibility it was did not act quickly enough despite being made aware until it was too late.
Ron has contacted Fylde Council on the matter and a spokesman for the council said: “The Park View Trust and Fylde Council are currently undertaking an assessment of the brook and surrounding area, to consider reasonable measures to improve safety.
“There are a number of possible options, however any actions will require consultation with the Environment Agency, who are responsible for the brook/banks in the area.
“In the meantime the Council is working closely with the Trust to organise the installation of safety signage to signify a polluted waterway, as well as some periodic sections of post and wire fencing.”
Park View 4U park ranger Jukie Norman said: “Liggard Brook and the banks alongside it are the responsibility of the Environment Agency.
“We have spoken with Fylde Council and are happy to follow all recommendations from them and any consultations with the Environment Agency to increase awareness of the waterway.”
The Fishermen’s Mission is holding an online Thanksgiving Service to recognise 140 years of service to the fishermen of the UK.
The service will be held on Friday November 12 at noon and all are welcome to join.
The mission has been a part of Fylde Coast life for decades, particularly in Fleetwood where it offered pastoral support to families of fishermen during the port’s heyday – and it still does.
Fleetwood Mission pastor Rev George Ayoma said: “Next month, families here in Fleetwood, those who remember when the S.T. Goth and the Red Falcon were lost in Icelandic waters, will take a moment to remember their men who never returned. Time may have passed but these personal stories remain. The Fishermen’s Mission was there for the families then.
Fleetwood Fishermen’s Mission pastor Rev George Ayoma
“And as we celebrate 140th year of our work, many local people still know how important the local Mission means to them.
“That is why we’re inviting individuals to join us this Friday, via Zoom, to hear about the work we now do to support communities across the nation.”
Ali Godfrey, the mission’s deputy CEO said: “We are a charity deeply rooted in our Christian Faith and so it is appropriate for us to recognise this and to give thanks for the work that we have undertaken in the past 140 years and the continuation of our work into the future.
The Fishermen’s Mission is a unique charity as we are the only charity that solely provides vital services to our fishermen, both active and retired, and their families’. Throughout our 140 years we have seen many changes and challenges in fishing.
Trawlermen on board the Red Falcon
“Sadly, some things never change, and fishing remains the most dangerous peacetime occupation in the country. To join in visit their website www.fishermensmission.org.uk and go to the Thanksgiving Service tab.
Plans to transform a former Fylde department store into a spa, restaurant, bar and hotel have been given the go-ahead by Fylde councillors.
Fylde Council’s planning committee has passed an application to convert the prominent premises in St Annes Square into ‘Sanctuary’.
The permission is subject to several conditions concerning the style of windows and doors and exterior light as well as bar serving hours but it means a new lease of life at last for the building which has been empty for almost seven years.
The JR Taylor department store at the corner of St Annes Road West and Garden Street closed its doors in January 2015 after more than a century of trading.
The planned rooftop bar at the former store
This is how the former JR Taylor store in St Annes would look, if plans approved
It also details plans for medical treatment and massage rooms on the first floor as well as a roof top bar on the third floor.
A spokesman for the St Annes Enetrprise Partnership said: “It’s fantastic news that this key site in the centre of St Annes will be coming back to life again.
“The exciting new plans offer the prospect of drawing more visitors and day trippers to the centre to spend money in our town.
“We wish them well with their redevelopment.”
Fylde MP Mark Menzies has also welcomed the council approval for the scheme.
He said: “I’m pleased to hear planning permission has been granted to redevelop the former JR Taylor store in St Annes.
“There are still some finer details to be resolved but I view this as an important step towards bringing this prominent site back into use.
“This location is key to the regeneration of St Annes and it is good to see progress being made.”
When the plans were submitted Mr Menzies said: “It is incredible to see this level of investment and confidence in the town.”
Fylde Council leader Coun Karen Buckley said when the application was submitted: “The submission of a planning application for JR Taylors has been long-awaited.
“The redevelopment of this site is just what St Annes needs post-pandemic and will give the town a real boost.”
Coun Gavin Harrison, chairman of St Annes Town Council and also a Fylde councillor for Ashton ward, which includes the premises, said at the time of the plans being subnitted: “This is just the kind of forward thinking proposal the town needs.
“Hopefully we will be able to attract other developers with similarly attractive proposals to make St Annes a destination of choice for many years to come.”
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