Pensioners throw weight behind Gazette campaign

Mark, Geoff and Joan Adams add their names to the  Gazette's growing rail petition.

Mark, Geoff and Joan Adams add their names to the Gazette's growing rail petition.

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Delegates from the Pensioners’ Parliament, which has been held at the Winter Gardens this week, have added their support to out On Track to the Capital campaign.

With many of those attending having travelled from the south of England for the conference, a direct rail link would have made their journey to the resort easier.

Alan Johns, 71, from Bognor Regis, in Sussex, said: “I remember that’s how we used to get here and I’d like to go back to that.”

Tom McGallan, 80, from Saville Road, South Shore, said: “It’s such an advantage, not just for the people here, but the people coming to Blackpool too.

“One of the excuses given by Network Rail is there are already too many trains on the track, I think it’s a weak reason.”

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE GAZETTE’S PETITION FOR A DIRECT RAIL LINK BETWEEN BLACKPOOL AND LONDON

Business owners and Blackpool residents have continued to sign up.

Mark Adams, who runs A and B Christie Jewellers, on Corporation Street, said: “We’re supposed to be the biggest resort in the country and we don’t have a direct line.

“I go to London on the trains quite a lot and it works both ways, because if we get a direct link to the capital city, maybe we’ll get more exhibitions and conferences here.

“It’ll be for the greater good but it’ll be better for me and the business.

“It’s all about bringing people this way, rather than the other way round.”

Joan Adams, from Beechfield Avenue, near Stanley Park, added: “They should bring it back because it would bring a lot more visitors from London.

“There are a lot of traders in Blackpool who need it and to get a direct line through would be 
great.”

Pensioners’ Parliament draws to close with unity between delegates

The Pensioners’ Parliament has drawn to a close at the Winter Gardens, with unity between the young and the old a major topic of discussion for delegates.

Senior citizens travelled in their hundreds from all over the country to attend – with pension schemes, bus passes and the winter fuel allowance all on the agenda.

The three-day event opened on Tuesday with a march in the town centre from Adelaide Street West to the Winter Gardens.

This was followed by a rally with speeches from John McDonnell MP, author Owen Jones and Frances O’Grady – general secretary of the Trades Union Congress. Debates held at the conference include the future of the state pension, dignity in care, pensioners and devolution, the future of concessionary and public transport, protecting the NHS and uniting the generations.

Attendees said they were particularly impressed with a speech by Josh Rowlands, from the National Union of Students.

Ann Coltart, 71, from Glasgow, said: “It’s great to see a bunch of us oldies get so passionate about and we’re linking up with the National Union of Students.

“The inter-generational thing is an excellent idea because there’s a lot that people can learn from each other.”

Janet Rowe, 76, from Barwell, in Leicestershire, said: “It’s been good but we’re getting older and we need new delegates to go forward, and we need people to come and stand with us.”

Judith Olley, 66, from London, said: “It’s the first year we’ve come, I love Blackpool and the Winter Gardens is very impressive.”

Delegates were also treated to a fun-filled evening of entertainment on Wednesday evening with performances at the venue by Bill Barrow’s Jazz Knights and The Merseybeats.