Probe launched over ‘freezing’ pigeon gala fury

British Homing Pigeon World Show of the Year 2015 at Blackpool Winter Gardens
British Homing Pigeon World Show of the Year 2015 at Blackpool Winter Gardens
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Organisers of one of Blackpool’s biggest events of the year have hit out after their gala evening was left “ruined” amid complaints of freezing conditions at the Tower Ballroom.

The Royal Pigeon Racing Association’s event on Saturday was branded a “disaster” after more than 400 people were left in cold conditions – with some guests choosing to dance in their coats due to the cold.

Organisers said it was “beyond belief” the ballroom was not heated properly in what is the show piece event for the British Homing World Show of the Year – one of Blackpool’s biggest weekends of the year.

Stewart Wardrop, secretary of the RPRA, said: “What should have been a celebration ended up being a disaster.

“What was meant to be a room full with 400 people was soon empty by 9.30pm.

“We had French, German, Belgian and Dutch representatives – I am sure they were not impressed.

“The show at the Winter Gardens passed off very well. In the grand scheme of things it is one evening, but we were still let down. It ruined the whole mood of the evening.

“It is a gala evening – people go to be entertained. They wear their best clothes – they do not go to experience sub-Arctic conditions.”

In a letter to the Ballroom Events and Operations manager Danny Hickes, Mr Wardrop called the incident unacceptable, adding he expected a full letter of apology, the waiving of the hire fee for the venue and assurances about the venue for next year’s event.

Mr Wardrop also revealed the RPRA would have to reimburse guests who paid £15 a ticket. Kate Shane, general manager at Blackpool Tower said a full investigation into the incident would be carried out.She added: “The ballroom heating remained on and was as it normally is. We brought four additional heaters into the building and they were on all day Friday, all day Saturday and Saturday evening.

“We had a tea dance during the day on Saturday and not one person complained.

“The outside temperatures had a significant impact.

“We are carrying out a full internal investigation and we will communicate with Mr Wardrop regarding his requests.

“Our guest experience is of paramount importance to us.”

Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, said: “We’re keen to work with all parties to help resolve any issues there may be and work towards a solution.”