My Blackpool: Time to get behind your resort

Town crier Barry McQueen launches The Gazette's My Blackpool campaign
Town crier Barry McQueen launches The Gazette's My Blackpool campaign
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Stand up and shout for your Blackpool!

The Gazette has joined forces with town centre traders to help launch a Christmas campaign to remind everyone what Blackpool has to offer.

Launched today, our ‘My Blackpool’ rally cry is urging readers to support traders and promote the excellence of our town centre.

Town centres up and down the country are fighting against a tidal wave of internet shopping.

But with some of the best theatres and venues in the country there is no reason why anyone can’t make a day of it.

We have detailed how to get here, where to park for £1, as well as the important events over the coming days and weeks you should not miss.

Town crier Barry McQueen, who yesterday rang the bell to open the campaign, said: “Blackpool is still the favourite place. We have got everything. People love coming here – we are still the premier resort.”

Michael Williams, chairman of Blackpool Improvement District (BID), said: “The festive season is upon us and there really is something for everybody.

“We have a great range of independent traders across the town centre and coupled together with the fantastic offer from Blackpool Transport we feel local people should support the My Blackpool campaign.

“Shoppers’ habits have changed and so has every high street.

“But Blackpool is working above that.

“It is all too easy to order what you need online but we are encouraging people to come to the town centre and help the town prosper.”

What they say

Lynda Baker, House Manager of Winter Gardens said: “Blackpool is a great place to live. I have been here 31 years and I have seen many changes – all for the better.

“My children love it and now my granddaughter will experience Blackpool and all the joy it has to bring – Stanley Park, the zoo, the amazing attractions and the Illuminations.

“All at which I have met some really great people who are very passionate about what they do.

“All you need to do is walk down the Prom through the season and see the tourism that Blackpool brings.

“I believe we are doing something right otherwise they wouldn’t come.

“Every day is a new day in my job, every audience brings a new challenge, every event brings a new dimension to the service we offer.

“We are hosting international audiences and all age groups throughout the year.

“The best part of my job is the people .

“ I meet people who call in just to look at our Ballroom where they met their spouse 70 years earlier.

“And I meet people who have come to Blackpool every year for 30 plus years on holiday and call in to the Winter Gardens to see what changes we have made this year.

“What’s not to proud about being part of that?

“ I am delighted we are hosting two Christmas-themed productions Wizard of Oz and Santa’s Sleigh in the Pavilion.

“We have two performances dedicated to schools which is so rewarding for all involved, some of these kids have never been to a theatre and their little faces light up.

“They are the next generation and we want them supporting out theatres and keeping live shows going.”

SATURDAY

The Blackpool Christmas Lights Switch-On:

Emmerdale actor Danny Miller, who plays Aaron Dingle in the long-running ITV soap, will flick the switch to turn on Blackpool’s Christmas lights this year.

The free event will be held from 2pm on Saturday in St John’s Square in the town centre, and hosted by local funnyman Joey Blower, and Scott Gallagher from the Radio Wave breakfast show.

There will guest appearances and performances from the cast of the Wizard of Oz production at the Winter Gardens, the cast of Viva’s Christmas Show, Owen Holt, Birchall, Nicola Hayton, Demon Pixies from The Up Beat Rock Academy, and other local acts.

“We hope the switch on event and discounted car parking will be a great incentive for people to not just shop in Blackpool this Christmas, but also enjoy some of the rich entertainment that is on offer at our theatres and venues,” a spokesman for Blackpool BID said.

Small Business Saturday:

Also held this weekend, this ever-growing grassroots movement aims to celebrate all that is good about our smaller and independent shops by supporting them with our cash.

Gordon Marsden, Blackpool South MP, said he will be visiting a number of firms as part of the nationwide event.

HOW TO GET TO BLACKPOOL ON SATURDAY FOR Christmas LIGHTS SWITCH-ON

By train to Blackpool North

From Kirkham and Wesham

10.41am, 11.32am, 12.32am, 12.41pm, 1.32pm,

From Poulton

10.50am, 11.41am,12.41pm, 12.50pm, 1.41pm,

From Layton

10.54am, 11.45am, 12.45pm, 12.54pm, 1.45pm,

By tram

SOUTHBOUND: Fleetwood Ferry (12.15pm); Fishermans Walk (12.21pm); Cleveleys (12.33pm); Little Bispham (12.37pm); Bispham (12.42pm); North Pier (12.53pm)

NORTHBOUND: Starr Gate (12.30pm); Pleasure Beach (12.36pm); North Pier (12.47pm)

SUNDAY

Santa Dash – thousands of people dressed as the man in red will run, jog, or walk a 3km route from the Sandcastle Waterpark on the Prom in South Shore from 11am on Sunday.

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £5 for children, or £25 for two adults and two children. The event is in aid of Trinity Hospice. Call (01253) 359355.

WHAT SHOWS CAN I SEE?

++Beauty and the Beast, Grand Theatre, from Friday December 7

++The Wizard of Oz The Musical, from Friday, December 7

Plus many more - see The Gazette tomorrow for a full list of what’s on where.

HOW TO GET TO BLACKPOOL for late night shopping:

By train

All times and prices from thetrainline.com

From Kirkham and Wesham

4.52pm, 5.41pm, 5.51pm,

From Poulton

5.01pm, 5.21pm, 5.44pm, 5.50pm, 5.59pm,

From Layton

5.04pm, 5.54pm, 6.30pm, 6.07pm

By tram

All times and routes from Blackpool Transport

SOUTHBOUND: Fleetwood Ferry (5pm); Fishermans Walk (5.06pm); Cleveleys (5.18pm); Little Bispham (5.22pm); Bispham (5.27pm); North Pier (5.38pm)

NORTHBOUND: Starr Gate (5.15pm); Pleasure Beach (5.21pm); North Pier (5.32pm)