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Local businesses make hay while sun shines on Fylde coast

Abigail Dodd with a Notarianni Ice Cream, where staff have been working flat-out to serve customers their famous treat and, inset, bank holiday crowds enjoy the beach on Sunday
Abigail Dodd with a Notarianni Ice Cream, where staff have been working flat-out to serve customers their famous treat and, inset, bank holiday crowds enjoy the beach on Sunday
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As the temperature tipped 26 degrees Celcius, tourists and residents flocked to Blackpool to make the most of their extra day off. Reporter Michael Holmes spoke to tourism leaders and businesses about the top notch weather and its effect on trade.

Another bank holiday Monday, another day of scorching hot weather in Blackpool – and another day for local businesses to make hay while the sun shines.

As the mercury tipped 26 degrees Celsius on the Fylde coast yesterday, traders ordered extra stock and all hands to the deck as tourists and residents made the most of an extra day off – with top quality weather to boot.

The Early May bank holiday, on May 7, was hot but marred by outbreaks of chaos in the town centre caused by young farmers. However, this weekend’s Spring bank holiday break was all about family fun in the sun. The Winter Gardens is hosting a dance festival until Friday, while Northern Soul fans gathered in their hundreds on the Comedy Carpet on Sunday (see pages 34 and 35).

Luca Vettese, from Blackpool’s famous Notarianni Ice Cream, which is celebrating its 90th year, said work had been ‘nonstop’, leading to an extra order from the milkman: “We are having to double up what we would usually order on a weekend.

“It has been chaos all weekend. The weather has been really good the last two bank holidays – they have been scorchers.

“It looks like it will carry on during the week as well. It’s nice to see the beach so packed. Blackpool needs the sunshine and it flourishes.”

Claire Smith, president of StayBlackpool and joint proprietor of two B&Bs in the town, said: “It has been absolutely fabulous, and people have been very happy. It has been heaving this weekend, and we have that coupled with the dance festival at the Winter Gardens.

“Blackpool looks so much better when the sun shines, and that’s great for the dancers because we want them to come back.”

Paul Little, the Coastguard officer for Lytham and Blackpool, said the beaches were ‘incredibly busy’ over the weekend, as people tried to catch some rays.

It led to a busy few days, with call outs to a drunken man who fell over on the Prom behind the Metropole hotel in Blackpool at around 4am on Sunday, to some people cut off by the incoming tide on Sunday evening, and to a group of around 13 children under North Pier – where music festival Pier on the Pier (The Big One) was being held – also on Sunday evening. They were listening to the music but had to be moved for their own safety, Mr Little said.

Fleetwood Coastguard, as well as the RNLI, also had a number of call-outs. Both services went to the beach at Cleveleys after a kayaker got into trouble at around 1.30pm on Sunday, and were later diverted to Fleetwood shortly before 2pm, after reports a kite surfer was in trouble. Mr Little urged people to be careful by getting off the beach before high tide, and keeping inflatables out the water.

Central Blackpool Business Forum chairman Charlie Doherty, of the Astoria Hotel in Albert Road, added: “The weather brought people out and it has been lovely. We had events on. We’ve had the Electric Dreams at Stanley Park, which is a great venue with live music. We’ve got the dancers and it’s great to see them all walking around in their costumes looking beautiful. It has all been a great success. It’s nice to walk about, get a coffee and see all these diverse people from all over the country.”