Fylde stories making the headlines in December 2005 - Alfie Boe performing in Fleetwood, cooking with Gordon Ramsey and the fall of crime rates

Here are some of the the stories that everyone was talking about 16 years ago.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 4:40 pm

Russell cooked up a storm in Gordon’s kitchen

Rookie chef Russell Lee cooked up such a storm in Gordon Ramsay’s TV kitchen he landed himself a stint in a swanky London hotel.

Famously foul-mouthed Gordon invited the catering student to work as a commis chef in his restaurant at Claridges in London after he was named runner-up on the reality cooking show The F Word.

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Chef Russell Lee of 12 Restaurant, Thornton who will appear on television with Gordon Ramsay

And Russell, from Cricceith Place, Thornton, is going to take up the offer, despite the hot-tempered chef’s reputation as a terrifying taskmaster.

Russell said: “Gordon’s an animal in the kitchen, but off camera he’s lovely, very supportive and kind.

“He invited me to come and do work experience in his restaurant at Claridges during my holidays and I hope to go down in January and do a few days and then during holidays from college.

“He shouted at me all the time during the series, but I got used to it. He shouts at everyone, it’s just his way and I feel very lucky to have worked for him.”

Tenor Alfie Boe performed in his home town of Fleetwood in 2005

The Blackpool and the Fylde College catering student made it through to the final showdown but was just pipped at the post. Blackpool nostalgia 2004Alfie wowed in Marine Hall show

Alfie Boe had played in some swanky venues but in 2005 one of his favourites was sure to be Fleetwood’s Marine Hall after the rapturous reception he got from his hometown crowd.

And those enjoying the power and passion in the fund-raiser for St Wulstan’s RC Church were delighted to hear that he had a recording contract with Sony with a release due in 2006.

The gala concert under the wing of North Star Opera, featured Alfie in just a handful of numbers, but their quality was sufficient to leave the audience well satisfied.

There was a great warmth, but very little that was flamboyant, about his performance. Then again, it was hardly necessary. There was strength, precision and just beauty of tone.

An emotional highlight was Bizet’s Pearl Fishers’ duet sung with his brother Michael.

Earlier Alfie had charmed with You Are My Heart’s Delight and left the audience breathless with Recondita Armonia from Puccini’s Tosca.

His versatility was demonstrated throughout.

Sat nav thefts

Officers were targeting those motorists who received new systems as Christmas presents in a bid to cut car crime.

Wyre crime prevention officer PC Ian Hill said: “A number of people will have got a ‘sat-nav’ system for Christmas and we urge they do all they can to protect them.

“We’re making a concerted effort to tackle car crime and target offenders in the area, but we need the co-operation of motorists by removing the opportunity for theft. They are often held in cradles attached to the windscreens or dashboards on full view. “Our message to motorists is to take the devices with them.”

Falling crime rates in Blackpool

Fylde’s police chief pledged to turn up the heat on thieves and louts in 2006 after another crime-busting year.

Chief Supt Russ Weaver revealed his officers dealt with 2,500 fewer crimes in 2005 compared to 2004.

When he took over the town’s top job at the start of the year, the boss of Lancashire’s Western Division was already looking at figures for vehicle crime and burglary that stood at 10-year lows.

But those numbers had fallen again and the pattern had been seen right across the division – which covered Blackpool and South Fylde.

Chief Supt Weaver (pictured)said: “We’re always looking to continue cutting crime. It’s our core business and what the police are here to do.

“I’m very pleased some of the things we thought we had reduced as far as we could have gone down even lower.

“We are 2,500 crimes down on last year and a lot of these we’re already looking to take down even further in the next 12 months.”

Anti-social behaviour, violent crime and drugs continue to be major challenges.

Operations and initiatives were launched under the new Local Area Agreement to tackle those issues.

Police, health workers and council bodies, as well as the voluntary sector, will focus on crime and disorder, health, education and social care.

Much of the work to reduce crime over the previous 12 months had been done through local community safety partnerships – groups which brought together expertise from drugs services, neighbourhood schemes and other crime-fighting initiatives.

Coun Sue Wright, chairman of Blackpool Community Safety and Drugs Partnership, said: “We’ve instigated a number of successful initiatives this year, which have played a crucial role in reassuring the public, and cutting back crime.

Festive lights were a win win

It was an illuminating time for one family who raised £2,800 for their favourite charity - and won themselves a week’s holiday in Spain into the bargain.

The Langfords lit up their home in Larkholme Lane, Fleetwood, like a Christmas tree and came tops in a TV competition which won them the sunshine trip to Salou.

“It’s been a terrific year, “ said Derek Langford who put on the display with his wife Linda, supported by their family in aid of Trinity Hospice.

The sum they raised was £700 up on the previous year and compared to £1,036 when they started fund-raising in 2002