As the grand reopening on June 21st looms, Covid-19 cases have sadly been climbing across Greater Manchester.
The rapid increase in case numbers across many boroughs is thought to be being driven by the Indian or Delta variant of the virus – and those surges are continuing the latest infection rate, new data from Public Health England shows.
Despite increases slowing marginally over twenty-four hours, cases have more than doubled week-on-week in Manchester, Stockport and Trafford, and almost doubled in Tameside and Salford.
Subsequently, eight of the top twenty areas with the highest rates are now in Greater Manchester.
Bolton, which has seen enhanced measures for several weeks now, is the only borough where cases are falling but it still has the highest rate in the region and the second highest in England.
Second to Bolton, and one of three boroughs with infection rates of over 200, is Salford, where there were 600 positive tests in the week ending June 4th, 299 more than in the previous week.
In the city of Manchester, the latest infection rate is 224.1 and the number of cases has gone up by 101pc.
A total of 1,239 people tested positive for Covid in Manchester over the seven days, 623 more than the week before.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday that the region had been designated an ‘enhanced response area’ and extra support would be provided including surge vaccinations and increased testing.
The support includes military support with testing and supervised in-school testing. Local public health bosses will also be able to reintroduce face masks in communal areas.
Whilst residents are being urged to take extra precautions and ‘minimise’ travel in and out of the area, leaders say it is not a local lockdown or travel ban.
As well as staying local, this new advice also says that wherever possible, people should meet outside and keep two metres apart from anyone they don’t live with.
However, Hancock didn’t actually mention the changes to advice when he spoke to the Commons yesterday.
Wilko releases full list of final 111 stores to shut including Manchester branch
The closures will happen over three separate dates in the first week of October
The final 111 Wilko stores are due to close next month – including the Manchester store – after the chain’s collapse.
The last of the company’s shops will close for good with the majority having already closed their doors throughout this month, – the latest wave being yesterday. The closures are expected to result in a total of over 12,000 job losses.
Earlier in September, rival retailer The Range bought Wilko’s intellectual property including the website and many of its goods it can continue to sell in its stores.
Two other rivals, B&M and Poundland, bought up a number of Wilko sites. B&M have agreed to purchase 51 stores and Poundland 71 stores, but will reopen under their own brands.
The bargain homeware and hardware company will now be closing around 29 locations on Tuesday, October 3rd, 41 locations – including Manchester – will close on Thursday, October 5th and the remainder will close on Sunday October 8th.
Wilko was founded by James Kemsey Wilkinson in Leicester in 1930. At the time of its collapse last month, Wilko employed around 12,500 workers and had 400 stores.
The Wilko stores that will shut on October 3rd:
St Albans, Hertfordshire
Weston Favell, Northampton
Leeds Trinity, West Yorkshire
Halifax, West Yorkshire
Washington, Newcastle upon Tyne
Metro Centre, Gateshead
Cannon Park, Coventry
Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey
Barnsley, South Yorkshire
The Wilko stores that will shut on October 5th (including Manchester):
Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire
Tottenham Hale, London
Worthing, West Sussex
Selly Oak, Birmingham
Birstall, West Yorkshire
Lee Circle, Leicester
West Ealing, London
The Beacon Eastbourne, East Sussex
Beaumont Leys, Leicester
Riverside Shopping Centre, Northampton
Stourbridge, West Midlands
Hamilton, South Lanarkshire
Clifton Moor, York
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway
St James Retail Park, Sheffield
Frenchgate Shopping Centre, Doncaster
The final Wilko stores that will shut on October 8th:
Neath, Neath Port Talbot
Cardiff, South Glamorgan
Selby, North Yorkshire
Ayr, South Ayrshire
Horsham, West Sussex
Kingston Centre, Milton Keynes
Perry Barr, Birmingham
Castleford, West Yorkshire
Brighouse, West Yorkshire
Chelmsley Wood, West Midlands
Sunderland, Tyne and Wear
Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Crystal Peaks, Sheffield
Newcastle upon Tyne
Coventry, West Midlands
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Wood Green, London
On Sunday, October 8th, Wilko will disappear from the high street for good.
Peter Kay’s touching gesture on opening night of Manchester residency goes viral
He continues to contribute to a charity set up in Laura’s honour
The audience were left emotional after a touching gesture from Bolton-born comedian Peter Kay for a ‘beloved daughter and campaigner’ as he opened his sell-out residency at the AO Arena.
The Phoenix Nights creator pledged that a portion of the ticket sales to his sell-out string of Manchester shows would be donated to a charity in memory of Laura Nuttall, who died of cancer earlier this year.
The beloved daughter and campaigner was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) – an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer – after attending a routine eye test in 2018.
After she was told she only had 12 months left to live, she went on to complete a bucket list of goals she wanted to achieve including graduating from university, presenting the weather forecast for the BBC, as well as raising thousands of pounds for brain cancer charities.
Laura, from Pendle in Lancashire, also went fishing with Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse, got to meet Johnny Marr and watch Fleabag performed live on stage.
In 2021, Peter Kay came out of retirement to raise money for Laura’s treatment and hosted two sold-out Q&A sessions at the Manchester Apollo called Doing it for Laura.
The money raised meant Laura could travel to Germany for specialist treatment that was unavailable in the UK.
She had previously had extensive cancer treatment including surgery to remove a tumour but unfortunately, it returned just days later.
Kay announced on Saturday night (September 23rd) he would continue contributing to a charity set up in Laura’s honour.
Due to the aggressiveness of her cancer, Laura had to drop out of university in London and was forced to put her life on hold while she bravely endured a craniotomy to remove the largest of eight tumours.
She then underwent a gruelling programme of radiotherapy and chemotherapy before her family came across an innovative new treatment available in Germany.
With the help of donations from family, friends, and the wider public through a fundraising page, Laura was able to travel to Cologne in Germany to start immunotherapy – for which she would have to travel back and fourth every six weeks.
She responded so well to the treatment that she was able to continue with her university course. She graduated from her politics, philosophy and economics degree last summer with proud parents Nicola and Mark, and her sister Grace by her side.
Laura continued raising money and awareness for brain charities, as well as promoting the research being undertaken at The University of Manchester’s Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre.
However, her cancer progressed last autumn and the family decided to bring forward their Christmas celebrations to November so they could all enjoy one last one together with Laura.
In a heartbreaking tweet earlier this year, her mum Nicola announced that Laura had passed away, writing: “I’m heartbroken to share the news that we lost our beautiful Laura in the early hours of this morning.
“She was fierce & tenacious to the end and it was truly the honour of my life to be her mum. We are devastated at the thought of life without our girl, she was a force of nature.”
On Saturday night, at Peter Kay’s Manchester AO Arena show, Laura’s mum Nicola tweeted again to thank the comedian for paying tribute to Laura in the form of the generous donation to the foundation in her name.
Sharing a picture of her family, she said: “Such a brilliant night watching Peter Kay in Manchester, we laughed till our faces hurt & my goodness we needed it!
“Couldn’t have been more surprised when he mentioned Laura and her foundation. Thank you Peter you are truly a legend x.”
Missing grandad Ronald was found supping a pint in Piccadilly Gardens’ Spoons
He was found in a local Spoons in Piccadilly Gardens
An 81-year-old grandad who went missing from home for eight days was found sipping on a pint in a Manchester boozer.
Grandfather-of-five, Ronald Webster, disappeared from his home in Oldham, on September 14th, but was found ‘safe and well’ supping a pint at a pub in Manchester, on Friday September 22nd.
‘Ronnie’, as he is known to his family and friends, was captured getting off the 184 bus in Huddersfield before entering the train station moments later.
Police made several appeals to the public to help find the missing pensioner. Ronald’s frantic family also launched an appeal asking the public to help ‘keep him safe’ until the police or they could get there.
The family also carried out a search around Greater Manchester and Yorkshire as concerns grew for Ronald, who has recently had a triple heart bypass and did not take any of his heart or epilepsy medication with him.
After making a 240 mile round trip, stopping off in Scarborough and Bridlington in Yorkshire, Ronald was spotted by a member of the public supping on a pint at Spoons in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens.
Ronald’s granddaughter, Paige Tattersall posted to Facebook: “They have found him!!!! Will update properly soon but he’s coming home!”
After a torturous week for his family, they were glad to have their loved one back home with them and hear about what he had gotten up to.
Paige continued: “He was in Wetherspoons in Manchester drinking a pint [before] coming home. He got the train to Huddersfield to Scarborough to Bridlington like we thought.
“He’s absolutely fine, he was just scared of going back to my gran I think! He knows he’s in trouble!”
Adding: “We are absolutely elated. To get that phone call that they have found him safe and well, will never ever be compared.
“And then to be able to reunite him with my grandma. We can all sleep tonight knowing he’s home safe where he belongs.”
Greater Manchester Police posted a tweet on Friday afternoon to inform the public the grandad had been found.
It read: “We are pleased to be able to share with you that we have found missing Ronnie safe and well following a phenomenal effort from members of the public and police officers. He has been reunited with his family.”
A member of the public had spotted him in Piccadilly Gardens and reported it to police who were present around the city centre as part of Operation Vulcan.
An officer found Ronald in the Wetherspoons where he contacted the investigation team so that they could make arrangements to return Ronald home to his family.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Walker, of GMP’s Oldham district, said: “This is the result we are always hoping for when we open investigations into missing persons.
“We are all relieved that Ronald is safe and well and that he has been reunited with his loved ones, who were understandably incredibly concerned.
“We are really thankful to the members of the public who shared our appeal, and partner agencies who assisted us with our enquiries.
“It is a testament to Operation Vulcan that, on their first official day in Piccadilly Gardens, they have been noticed by members of the public – enabling them to help us to bring this investigation to the best conclusion.”