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‘He was beyond loved’: Jordan Banks’ mum remembers the boy who made the world a better place to be

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“He is irreplaceable, a one off. And we just hope that this was his destiny. He had done all he could here and was needed elsewhere. We won’t stop doing what he had been doing all his life.”

Jordan Banks with his characteristic 'cheeky grin'
Jordan Banks with his characteristic ‘cheeky grin’

The mum of nine-year-old Jordan Banks who was tragically killed on Tuesday (May 11) by a lightning strike whilst at football training in Blackpool has spoken out about her kind-hearted son.

Danielle Begg, 38, has had to deal with every parent’s worst nightmare since the tragic events unfolded a week ago on South Shore playing fields.

An empathetic and caring child, Jordan was well-known in the community for his determination to raise money for Blackpool charity Counselling in the Community on behalf of his uncle who lost his life due to mental health issues.

The young Liverpool fan regularly went the extra mile, or four, to complete a 30-mile run in memory of his Uncle Reece who took his own life in 2018.

Jordan Banks was killed in Blackpool last week after he was reportedly struck by lightning.

Jordan Banks was killed in Blackpool last week after he was reportedly struck by lightning. (Image: Lancs Live)

This determination got him noticed by one of his LFC heroes vice-captain James Milner who told him to never give up, that he’ll never walk alone and sent him some football shirts for him to keep and also to raise money for his cause.

Since the tragedy occurred, Jordan’s organ’s have been donated to help save the lives of three other children.

Danielle told LancsLive: “Jordan was selfless, he wanted to help everyone. Whether that was a friend at school, a charity, a homeless person.

“He couldn’t understand why the world would ever be cruel and wanted everyone to be happy. Only a few days earlier I had been raising money for Brian House children’s hospice, and had told Jordan about the work they did.

“Little did we know we would be one of their families. He was a joy, full of life. Cheeky and fun-loving.

“Everything was an adventure and we were part of it. Proud doesn’t come close to what we feel for everything he’s done and continues to do.

“He had empathy and could sense people’s feelings. What ever “it” is he had it. I think whoever met him instantly liked him you couldn’t not.”

Jordan Banks and his dad, Matt, in their Cobra Kai t-shirts

Jordan Banks and his dad, Matt, in their Cobra Kai t-shirts (Image: Matt Banks)

Since Jordan was named on Wednesday (May 12) the tragedy has affected all those who heard about it across the nation.

In his home town of Blackpool, hundreds of flowers and tributes have been placed at Common Edge playing fields and a winner’s medal from an 11-year-old boy on a rival team left as a stark reminder of the lives he touched.

Hundreds came out in a vehicle convoy on Sunday (May 16) united in grief at such a tragic loss of a life.

Sir Kenny Dalglish, James Milner and Robbie Fowler were among Jordan’s LFC heroes to pay tribute to him along with stars of his favourite TV show Cobra Kai.

The reds wore Jordan Banks, number 7, shirts ahead of their clash with Manchester United on Thursday (May 13).

Nine football emojis continue to be shared on social media in honour of how much Jordan loved football.

Danielle has said that every tribute, big and small, hasn’t gone unnoticed.

She added: “The tributes have been overwhelming. We have taken comfort in the kindness of our friends and family but also the strangers who never got the pleasure to meet Jordan.

“He would have loved seeing the Liverpool players with his name on, the Cobra Kai tweets and the sports cars with his name on too. But it’s also the little things, handmade items, cards, gifts for the kids that mean so much.

“We’ve had post without our address on and just saying Jordan and it’s arrived. It means so much and even though we can’t thank everyone individually we really appreciate it. He was beyond loved.”

Nine-year-old Jordan Banks dressed as one of his favourite Liverpool players , Mo Salah

Nine-year-old Jordan Banks dressed as one of his favourite Liverpool players , Mo Salah (Image: Danielle Begg)

Due to the circumstances of Jordan’s death, his family have been thrust into the public spotlight in such a short space of time. Danielle admits that this has been difficult to deal with at times.

The media attention the tragedy attracted has meant that some coverage has been challenging for the family to see and hear.

“We understand that what happened to Jord is extraordinary,” she added. “We understand the press have to report these things but we did feel it all came very early.

“We hadn’t even been home and we had phone calls and messages asking for our thoughts. It seemed a cruel way to go about things. “We wanted to do it our way and tell the world about ‘our Jordan’ .

“We knew he would hate the photo they used too. You will struggle to find a photo of Jordan not smiling or with a cheeky face, but they did.

“The photo was actually of him after one of his runs, tired and upset with himself. We wanted to spread the message of love which Jordan would have. No negatives, just his beautiful face beaming and the joy he gave everyone.”

The family will continue to grieve privately however remain focused on spreading Jordan’s message of kindness and empathy to others.

Jordan's dad praised his son's kindness and said the little boy has donated his organs

Jordan’s dad praised his son’s kindness and said the little boy has donated his organs (Image: Matt Banks)

Danielle added: “Everyday is a struggle, as a family we are doing all we can to keep going for Jordan and carry on his legacy. His sisters and brother give us strength.

“Nobody should have to loose a child, we take comfort in that his organs were donated and he would have helped others yet again.

“He is irreplaceable, a one off. And we just hope that this was his destiny. He had done all he could here and was needed elsewhere.

“We won’t stop doing what he had been doing all his life. And hope that others stop and look at their own lives, kids, and be a bit more Jordan. Take those risks, dance, sing, live every moment.

“Go on family days out, be kind and help others. Life is too precious to waste. Like Jordan, it’s a gift.”

 

Fun looks set to end as Blackpool’s famous joke shop faces demolition

Home | Blackpool Gazette

An iconic seaside business looks set to face closure after being told it must move to make way for the £300m Blackpool Central scheme.

Drummers House of Jokes on Central Drive, known to thousands of holidaymakers for its eye-catching murals of horror film characters Chucky and Pennywise, faces an uncertain future after the council said it will be compulsory purchasing the site.

The shop has sold jokes and costumes to countless visitors and locals for the past 51 years, but now the family that runs it say they will struggle to make it work elsewhere in the town.

The business was founded by Asa Heron, who had a flower and Nottingham Lace shop on part of the site in 1969.

Drummers House of Jokes on Central Drive is under threat of closure.  Pictured are sisters Adeline Langton and Samantha Harper.Drummers House of Jokes on Central Drive is under threat of closure. Pictured are sisters Adeline Langton and Samantha Harper.

A second shop became available after a bookmakers closed down and he expanded his businesses, launching the joke shop in 1970.

His daughter Samantha Harper, who runs the shop with sister Adaline Langton and her children Jamie and Bobby, said: “This is the perfect location for a joke shop and we get so many visitors.

“We get parents coming with their children in for stink bombs and things, who came here when they were children.

“The council has said the building will be compulsory purchased but we don’t know when. We are living in limbo.
Adeline Langton, pictured and her sister Samantha are the daughters of the business' founder Asa HeronAdeline Langton, pictured and her sister Samantha are the daughters of the business’ founder Asa Heron

“We looked into moving across the car park to a new location there but the rent and rates are so high – over £38,000. We don’t think it will be viable.

“Don’t get me wrong, Blackpool needs regenerating massively but it will be at the cost of our shop being knocked down.

“It has gone to compulsory purchase but what they are offering us is not worth it.

“They have not offered premises anywhere else but we have looked. However you can’t really replicate what we have here now. It is looking like the end of an era unfortunately.

Asa Heron, also known as Drummer, who founded Drummers House of JokesAsa Heron, also known as Drummer, who founded Drummers House of Jokes

“We have survived Covid, we have survived the recession, we have survived the internet, but none of that seems to matter to the council.

“I know there’s no sentiment in business but it is sad that it has to come to an end like this.”

Samantha said the family had been waiting since 2017 for firm details of the Blackpool Central development but were still in limbo.

“ There was a council meeting the other night and one of the councillors said that retail was dead in Blackpool, which really annoyed us,” she said.

The shop is well known for its horror film style artworkThe shop is well known for its horror film style artwork

“They have been testing the ground on the main car park for foundations so they are getting ready.

“We know the multi-storey car park will be the first to be built. Whether anything else does remains to be seen but we lived through the casino plans 15 years ago – all that hype – and that is why we haven’t been holding our breath until now.

“We have been doing this for 50 years and one minute you think it would be time for a change, but then it would be such a shame to end the family business like this and we feel gutted.

“We are too young to retire. What are we supposed to do?”

She said customers’ favourites were the traditional joke shop items and said people loved going in just browsing.

She said: “It has to be the stink bombs, the fake dog poos, all the things that people remember from their school days. We have little lads being brought in by their dads who used to buy them. It takes them back to their youth.

The joke shop is a family business. Pictured are Adeline Langton, Bobbie Langton, Leigh Langton, Janie Langton and Samantha Harper.The joke shop is a family business. Pictured are Adeline Langton, Bobbie Langton, Leigh Langton, Janie Langton and Samantha Harper.

“Also popular are the fancy dress, hats and wigs, with people getting dressed up for their stag and hen dos,

“There is also now a big interest in BB guns and sports air rifles for shooting ranges from dads and lads.

“We are mainly a boys shop – big boys and little ones.”

The building features artwork from Fylde coast artist Christian Fenn, also known as Seca One, who created the Chucky mural and also Karl Tsang, a graffiti pro, who did the jokeshop whoopee cushion imagery.

Samantha said: “Dad died eight years ago and my sister and I have been running Drummers ever since.

“Dad’s nickname at the time was Drummer, so that’s why the shop has its name.

“In 1987, Dad bought the lease for 125 years. Businessman Max Smith had property on Central Drive and bought the derelict flats and turned them into holiday flats. He let the businesses below have the leases. Central Drive was busy in those days, all good businesses and a thriving community.”

The Central Car park area is set to be cleared to make way for the £300m Blackpool Central tourist attraction scheme.

It will feature a flying theatre with a Chariots of the Gods theme, rides, an immersive virtual reality experience, a rooftop bar, plus cafes and restaurants.

First revealed in 2018, it is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs and boost annual spending in the town by £75m.

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “Proposals for the Central Car park site and surrounding area have been widely publicised for a number of years.

“In order for the developers to deliver this transformational change and large scale investment within the town, the council needs to acquire the remaining property assets contained within the area of the site.

“Over the past few years, the council has been in ongoing discussions and negotiations with the parties that continue to hold interests in the site, including a number of units that remain on Central Drive.

“We continue to offer support to seek to ensure that an amicable resolution is found with all parties.

“The council is committed to help deliver the Blackpool Central scheme and a council executive in January authorised a compulsory purchase order that will be sought from the Secretary of State in the near future, so that a cleared site is secure d to enable the development to be brought forward.

“It is the intention of the developer to make a planning application for Phase One of the site this summer.”

 

Blackpool mum brings emotion to resort street through artistic talent

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool mum and art student used her final college assignment to brighten up the area she lives in, and bring people hope during the pandemic.

Kirsty Rea, 48, painted a mural on a gate in Granville Road, beside her Durham Road home, as her final submission piece for a foundation art diploma she is taking at Blackpool and The Fylde College.

The mural was painted to represent “hope and togetherness,” which mum of seven Kirsty hoped would bring joy to people in the area after the hardships of the pandemic.

After becoming wheelchair-bound through illness six years ago, she began to feel “stuck in a rut,” until the day her partner brought home some materials, sparking her passion for art.

Kirsty Rea with her mural. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaKirsty Rea with her mural. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Kirsty said: “My final project at college was ’emotions,’ and a lot of the things I seemed to be drawing were representing quite dark, gloomy things.

“So I wanted to paint something on a nice note, to really show different people’s togetherness.

“My partner came home with some canvases and paints around four years ago, and said ‘okay, paint, do something, find a hobby.'”

“I never really had the time before, but since then I’ve always been able to draw and paint.”
The mural represents "hope and togetherness" during the pandemic. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaThe mural represents “hope and togetherness” during the pandemic. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

The mural was painted onto the wooden gate using acrylic paint, and was sprayed with waterproof gloss sealant.

Kirsty hoped onlookers would be able to relate to the art, and said she would love to be able to paint other areas of Blackpool too.

She continued: “I would like to do it elsewhere because it’s brightening up Blackpool’s streets, really.

“I’d paint nice things, but I think it needs to be thought-provoking.

“People need to know that there are other people out there, they’re not alone, especially after all the lockdowns and mental health issues.”

 

Toys and belongings ‘strewn all over street’ after Heysham explosion, MP says

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Toys and belongings were “strewn all over the street” in the aftermath of a suspected gas explosion which killed a toddler, MPs have heard.

George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, died following a blast on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire, in the early hours of Sunday.

Conservative David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale) described the “heartbreaking” scene of the explosion to the Commons and said he “wasn’t prepared” for what he saw.

He called on the Government to “ensure that we all have a very safe home to live in” and added that “any measures to be learned from the still ongoing investigation into this tragedy in my community should be heeded by the Government”.

Emergency workers at the scene of a suspected gas explosion, in which a young child was killed and two people were seriously injuredEmergency workers at the scene of a suspected gas explosion, in which a young child was killed and two people were seriously injured

Shocking new images from the explosion scene in Heysham show a picture of utter …

Mr Morris told MPs: “I would like to convey to my House a tragedy that occurred in my constituency on the very early hours of Sunday morning, precisely at 02.36am.

“As it happened I was actually wide awake, and it was in my community within a quarter of a mile of where I live and I heard a loud explosion and my windows were shaken.

“I found out about an hour later after watching from where I live – I live on top of a hill, I can see all around the district, blue lights coming from all directions – that a house explosion occurred, not a quarter of a mile away from where I live in Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham.”

He went on: “I waited until the next day when I was invited by the local council to look at the site – I have to tell you it was heartbreaking.

“What I saw I wasn’t prepared for. There were belongings strewn all over the street and toys and just debris everywhere. The whole community in that area were out, they were all in shock.”

George’s parents Vicky Studholme and Stephen Hinds were also injured in the incident, but not seriously, and have since been discharged from hospital.

Paying tribute to the emergency services who responded, Mr Morris said: “It was unbelievable and what they had to contend with I just cannot imagine.

“But we’re so lucky to have them and my whole community and the wider area have clubbed together to make sure that anyone who was affected will be looked after. I’m so proud to represent my community.”

 

Elaine to take over as new Fylde mayor

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Elaine Silverwood is to be the next mayor of Fylde.

The independent councillor who has represented the Kirkham North ward since 2007, will officially take over the role next week at Fylde Council’s annual meeting.

The socially-distanced event will be lower-key than usual and a full ‘mayor-making’ ceremony is set to follow in the summer.

Coun Cheryl Little, who represents the Fairhaven ward, will be the new deputy mayor.

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Elaine Silverwood has been a Fylde councillor since 2007

Elaine Silverwood has been a Fylde councillor since 2007

Fylde mayor set to stay on for a second year

The pandemic lockdown also accounted for the mayoral balls, traditionally the main single charity fund-raisers of the year, not being possible.

Coun Silverwood is a former Kirkham town mayor and was Fylde’s deputy mayor in 2013-14, when Coun Linda Nulty was first citizen.

The new mayor-elect has chosen three charities to support during her year of office – The Linden Centre, a service at Trinity Hospice which provides counselling and support to adults, children and young people who have, or are caring for, someone with a non-curative or life-limiting illness; Fylde Coast Women’s Aid and Kirkham and Wesham Club Day.

This year’s Club Day, as in 2020, has already been called off because of the pandemic, along its counterpart in Lytham and St Annes Carnival.

Coun Silverwood, whose book and cafe business based in Kirkham town centre, celebrates its 21st anniversary next month, said: “It’s going to be an interesting year with still being in Covid’s shadow.”

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Lancaster City Council to support investigation into Heysham explosion

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Lancaster City Council is fully supporting an investigation into the cause of an explosion in Heysham in the early hours of yesterday (Sunday, May 16).

Emergency services were called to Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham after an explosion caused a number of houses to collapse following which George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, tragically died.

Council officers attended the scene to support the emergency services and Salt Ayre Leisure Centre opened as an evacuation centre.

Any residents who have been affected are being supported to find alternative accommodation. Work is also underway to clear the scene and surrounding area.

Blast site at Mallowdale Avenue. Heysham. Photo: David HurstBlast site at Mallowdale Avenue. Heysham. Photo: David Hurst

Lancaster City Council can confirm that it owns one of the properties affected and support is now being provided to investigate the incident and its cause.

Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “This was a truly tragic incident and our sympathies and thoughts are with George’s family at this terrible time.

“Our officers quickly attended the scene to provide support to the emergency services and the local community. It goes without saying that this support will continue for as long as is necessary.

“I’d like to thank all of those involved for their swift response and the community for how they have come together to support those affected in their hour of need.

“It’s now important that we find out the cause of the explosion and have a full investigation into the circumstances, which the council will assist with in any way it can.”

As a mark of respect, the flags on both Lancaster and Morecambe town halls have been lowered to half mast.

Anyone who has been affected and requires support following the incident should contact Lancaster City Council on 01524 582000.

Council housing tenants can call 01524 582929 for support and advice.

 

Inquest opens for Jordan Banks at Blackpool town hall

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The investigation into the death of nine-year-old Jordan Banks has begun.

Jordan BanksJordan Banks

Jordan, a Stanley Primary School pupil who played for Clifton Rangers JFC, was struck by lightning during a one to one coaching session on Common Edge playing fields on Tuesday, May 11. He was taken to Blackpool Victoria hospital, where he died.
Opening the inquest, coroner Alan Wilson said: “This incident occurred shortly before 5PM on Common Edge Road. Jordan was participating in a football coaching session when he was struck by lightning.

“He was taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where his death was confirmed shortly before 6PM.”

People all over Britain united in mourning the ‘amazing’ youngster, who was a Liverpool FC supporter and drew praise from the club’s vice-captain James Milner in January, when he raised £2.3k for mental health charity Counselling in the Community.

READ: Blackpool united in grief: 24 pictures of the convoy tribute to Jordan Banks. His dad Matt Banks said: “Jordan was, and is, the most amazing little person. He had the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone, and when parents say they have the best kid ever, he generally was the best ever, and if I ever could have asked for a perfect child that was my Jordan. I couldn’t have been prouder of him always putting other people himself, such a selfless little person.

“Even now his kindness has meant that three other children may be able to live, as he always told us he wanted to be able to help other people if he could, so was a donor… which we know will be what he wanted.”

A full inquest was arranged for 11.30am on July 21.

 

Shocking new images from the explosion scene in Heysham show a picture of utter devastation

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A major incident was declared today after a gas explosion at a residential area in Heysham, Lancashire

 

The scene of the explosion in Heysham

Lancashire Fire said in a tweet units were called to a row of terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in the early hours of Sunday and that firefighters are searching a collapsed property.

Thousands join in convoy for Jordan

Home | Blackpool Gazette

They painted the town red for Jordan Banks, the Blackpool boy struck by lightning while playing football.

Around 100 were expected to drive in convoy along the Golden Mile, but thousands turned out to honour a little lad who touched the hearts of so many with his passion for giving.

The nine-year-old Liverpool fan’s death sparked an huge outpouring of grief as truckers, bikers and scooter riders joined a seemingly never-ending parade from the Norbreck Castle Hotel down to the football field in Common Edge Road where the tragedy happened during a thunderstorm last Tuesday.

“We’re just stunned,” said organiser Dave Hall, who admitted he never dreamed the response would be so overwhelming.

Crowds lines the streets as the convoy for Jordan took almost an hours to pass Blackpool Tower.Crowds lines the streets as the convoy for Jordan took almost an hours to pass Blackpool Tower.

“We expected a good turnout, but nothing like this. It’s absolutely incredible.”

The convoy was so long it took almost an hour to drive past the tower where Jordan’s family watched from the roadside, many of them wearing Liverpool football shirts with Jordan 7 on the back.

Hundreds of bikers from far and wide descended on the resort to ride in a procession of their own to the start line, revving their engines and honking their horns, before joining in the main cavalcade.

Hundreds of bikers descended on the town to pay their own tribute to Jordan.Hundreds of bikers descended on the town to pay their own tribute to Jordan.

One biker, from Manchester, said: “I was mopping my kitchen floor this morning when I got a message asking me to join the convoy. I dropped everything, got my gear on and I was off. It was such a sad story you couldn’t fail to be touched by it.”

Bars along the route played “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as the procession passed by, in salute to the football mad youngster who loved the Reds.

Vehicles were decked out in red balloons, Liverpool flags and club scarves.

On the side of one car was “Fly High Jordan,” another had the words “Jordan the Brightest Star in the Sky.” Even a white Rolls Royce was in the convoy adorned by red ribbons.

The convoy had everything from juggernauts to jeeps.The convoy had everything from juggernauts to jeeps.

A giant tractor had a giant football fixed to its front. And a huge truck had a Preston North End shirt fixed to the front with the words: “Jordan – RIP Little Man.”

 

Blackpool Tower lit up in red as resort pays tribute to Jordan Banks

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool’s iconic Tower was lit up in red yesterday evening (May 12) as the resort paid tribute to 9-year-old Jordan Banks, who died after being struck by lightning on Tuesday.

The Tower and the Illuminations shone red – the colours of Jordan’s favourite football team Liverpool F.C. – as the resort showed solidarity with his grieving family and friends.

Blackpool Town Hall also lowered its flag to half-mast to remember the boy, who has been described as one of the resorts “brightest lights”.

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The whole town is shocked and devastated by the tragic accident that took place on Tuesday night on Common Edge Road playing fields.

“Our thoughts are with Jordan’s family and friends. I can’t imagine what they are going through but I hope they can take some comfort from the outpouring of love and support from the whole community.

“Our critical incident team have been at the school offering support to staff and pupils during this difficult time.

“A dedicated space has been created for pupils who require more support and we will do all we can to assist them.

“The flag at the Town Hall has been lowered to half-mast and tonight Blackpool Tower and the Illuminations arches will be lit in red as we know he was a keen Liverpool FC fan.”

Blackpool Tower and the Illuminations were lit up in red for Jordan Banks last night (May 12), as the resort showed its solidarity with his grieving family and friends. Picture by Dave NelsonBlackpool Tower and the Illuminations were lit up in red for Jordan Banks last night (May 12), as the resort showed its solidarity with his grieving family and friends. Picture by Dave Nelson

‘He was loved by staff and pupils alike’: Headteachers remember ‘bubbly’ boy Jor…

Blackpool Tower added: “Tonight, Blackpool Tower and the Illuminations arches will be lit in red as a tribute to nine-year-old Jordan Banks, a keen Liverpool FC fan, who sadly died after being struck by lightning in Blackpool.

“Our community lost one of it’s brightest lights, so this evening we stand alongside Jordan Banks family, friends and our community to remember a remarkable young man.

“Our sincere thoughts remain with the family, and all affected by this tragedy.

Jordan's family said the nine-year-old was their "brightest star" and was "wise beyond his years, caring, considerate, generous and so loving"Jordan’s family said the nine-year-old was their “brightest star” and was “wise beyond his years, caring, considerate, generous and so loving”

Yesterday, Jordan’s family paid tribute to the 9-year-old, describing him as their “brightest star” and “wise beyond his years, caring, considerate, generous and so loving.”

A fundraiser set up following his death has raised a staggering £54,000 as of this morning (May 13), with more than 3,000 people making donations in Jordan’s memory.

Blackpool Tower illuminated in red for Jordan Banks. Credit: Blackpool TowerBlackpool Tower illuminated in red for Jordan Banks. Credit: Blackpool Tower