Letters - February 8, 2018

View of Festival House and Blackpool Tower
View of Festival House and Blackpool Tower
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Be careful when you
take a wedding photo

It was wonderful to read the story about the couple from Stoke on Trent who chose Blackpool as the location for their wedding (Gazette, February 3).

It was a relief to see that the main wedding picture, taken outside Festival House on the North Prom, had been framed with the ‘Vegas’ venue in the background. If the camera had been angled slightly differently, the happy couple might have found a half-renovated building, covered in scaffolding and torn mesh, providing the backdrop to their happy pictures.

It’s a mystery to me why the work on the building which houses Revolution bar and the MFA bowling alley has not yet been completed. Nothing seems to have been done for many months. It looks an absolute mess. I feel sorry for the owners of Revolution whose own internal revamp, completed last year, is masked by unsightly wooden boards and scaffolding. And, to continue with the wedding theme, it’s not a good backdrop for weddings taking place at Festival House.

There have been several letters in The Gazette criticising the council for its slow response in dealing with derelict hotels which spoil the appearance of the town centre. Is the council doing anything to speed up the work on the Revs/MFA building? I believe scaffolding of this sort requires a weekly licence from the council so someone at the town hall must be aware of the length of time the scaffolding has been up and, therefore, the apparent lack of progress with the work?

I don’t need to point out what an asset the register office at Festival House (pictured) is to Blackpool and the financial benefits of attracting wedding business from all over the country (and beyond!) so let’s hope the wedding photographers continue to frame their pictures to exclude an eyesore which I sincerely hope can be dealt with before the season of spring weddings begins.

J Birdsall

Shaw Road
South Shore


Are The Girls on the Calendar yet?

It seems I’ve picked up a bit of a reputation for my calls to the Opera House management to explain why so many top musicals, currently on long tours, are not seen in Blackpool.

Twice recently I have been approached with comments like ‘I’m sick of having to trail to Manchester, Liverpool or Salford to see a top show’ and ‘Why are your requests for excuses not being met by the booking manager at the Opera House?’ I honestly wish I knew - but I feel I now have yet another request that they surely can’t fail to answer.

It has been announced by no less a celebrity than Gary Barlow and producer David Pugh and Dafyd Rogers that Calendar Girls - the Musical (formerly known as The Girls will start a 60-week tour of 30 UK theatres) starting with Leeds Grand on August 16.

Whilst the original writer Tim Firth’s play has proved an outstanding success, this musical version has added attraction because among the cast are the very popular actresses Ruth Madoc, Fern Britton and Denise Welch.

So it’s over to you Michael Williams (pictured) at the Winter Gardens. Are you getting a date on our theatrical calendar for The Girls?

Neil Kendall

Stamford Avenue
South Shore


UK longevity now starting to fall

New figures from Public Health England have revealed that life expectancy in some parts of the country has fallen by more than a year since 2011.

People in post-industrial towns and isolated rural areas are dying younger.

Economic stagnation and cuts to services such as social care is among theories suggested for consistent falls in life expectancy of over half a decade in dozens of local authority areas. Nationally, female life expectancy at birth is static at 82.9 years and male life expectancy stands at 79.2 years, while people in other European countries live increasingly longer.

The areas where people in Britain were dying sooner seemed to be the less “economically vibrant”, but they are not dying of new diseases.

In rural areas the lack of social infrastructure is significant with a lack of community groups, poor public transport and a lack of family support. The findings also cast doubt over the government’s plan to raise the state pension age (SPA) to 68, seven years earlier than planned — affecting all those aged between 39 and 47.

There are reasons why the oldest generation have lived longer, this is the generation that sacrificed their young adulthood fighting the dark forces of Europe with a will to live and had food rationing from 1940 to 1954 unlike the fast food and inactive young generations of today who’s life expectancy will be far less than today’s pensioners.


West Lancashire Pensioners