With Blackpool’s glitzy new showbar VIVA! now open, celebrity ice skater Daniel Whiston was first out of the traps to wish his friend Leye D Johns good luck.
Leye, and his partners Martin Heywood and Phil Burrows, have transformed the former Mecca Bingo club on the promenade into a dazzling new venue that can accommodate more than 600 people for every show.
And showbiz pals of Leye have been queuing up to wish him well, as he launched the venue with a VIP night last night.
Daniel, who has won Dancing On Ice twice, thinks Blackpool needs more family entertainment like VIVA!
He said: “Good luck Leye!
“He’s a great performer and I wish him all the best with VIVA! Now we need to see everyone down there to see what a great show he puts on.”
Work has been non-stop on the building since the teams were given the keys last month and they have ploughed their life savings into the ambitious new venture.
Leye added: “I never thought I’d be doing manual work, and goodness knows I’ve chipped my nails over the last few weeks painting and decorating, but VIVA! is now ready and I can’t wait. This is my dream to own a club where I perform and give the public exactly what they want.
“Blackpool has had its problems, but we have got to stay optimistic. If people invest, like we are doing at VIVA! and get behind the resort, then it will soon be back to its former glory.
“I’m very grateful to Blackpool Council which granted us a licence – it wasn’t an easy process but they could see how passionate we were to provide a great venue and they believed in us. I know the economy is tough right now but I truly believe that if you offer a quality product, it will be successful.
“I’ve put together a great bill of entertainment that changes regularly to keep it fresh, and I’ve got a superb team around me so I’m ready to shout to the world about VIVA!”
VIVA! opened last night and will have performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays all year round. For more details check www.vivablackpool.com.