A professional ballet dancer from Manchester with a severe peanut allergy has sadly died after eating a mislabelled cookie in the US.
Órla Baxendale lost her life after after suffering severe anaphylactic shock while at a social gathering in Connecticut on 11 January.
The anaphylactic shock came after she had a severe allergic reaction to a vanilla florentine cookie.
The 25-year-old – who was said to have been born and raised in Manchester, and then lived in Helmshore in East Lancashire, before moving to New York in 2018 as a scholarship student to eventually pursue her professional career in dance – had a severe peanut allergy, but the cookie she consumed at the social gathering had no mention of peanut on the ingredient list.
The cookie – which was purchased as part of a pack from US supermarket, Stew Leonard’s – was, in fact, found to have contained peanuts, despite the fact nuts were not mentioned as part of the recipe on its packaging, state health officials said.
Stew Leonard Jr, who is the president and chief executive of the retailer, said in a statement issued earlier this week, that the company‘s supplier, Cookies United, made the change from using soy nuts to peanuts in the recipe, without notifying their chief safety officer – however, Cookies United has disputed this, and claimed it informed Stew Leonard’s of the change back in July 2023.
Cookies United said Stew Leonard’s knew the product contained peanuts, and that all products shipped to the supermarket had been labelled accordingly.
The supplier said the incorrect label was created by Stew Leonard’s.
Since the news of Órla’s tragic death was announced, tributes to the talented dancer have been pouring in from across the world of arts and entertainment.
The 25-year-old’s family, and former dance schools – the prestigious Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham, and the world-renowned The Ailey School in New York – as well as her current professional company, MOMIX, are among those to share their memories.
Órla’s family said in a tribute statement to her: “Órla was truly one of a kind.
“She was a beautiful, radiant, brave soul who always believed she would achieve her biggest dreams – and that’s exactly what she did. She danced her way across the world and lived life to the fullest every day.
“We will never recover from the pain of having her taken from us so soon, in the prime of her life. But we are also so proud to call her our daughter and sister, and to have had the privilege of sharing 25 years with such an incredibly special person.
“It is incomprehensible that allergies can take lives in 2024, and we want to urge everyone to educate yourselves and those around you about anaphylaxis, how to use EpiPens and the early warning signs for severe allergic reactions.
“We have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of messages coming in from across the world, from all the people who loved Órla and will never forget meeting her or seeing her dance. It is clear that she meant so much to so many people, with her mesmerising talent, her cheeky nature and her incredible compassion for others.
“The truth is, Órla got more out of life in 25 years than most do in a lifetime – and she will now live on in all our hearts forever.”
A look at the plans to turn historic Ancoats mill with rich musical heritage into new apartment complex
Hodder + Partners have just revealed new CGIs and a more detailed look at the plans for their redevelopment of the longstanding Brunswick Mill in Ancoats which is set to become a brand-new apartment complex.
The proposals to turn the once creative space with decades of musical heritage into a new residential site were revealed back in 2021 and approved within just a few months, despite having been met with plenty of resistance given its history and cultural significance.
Nevertheless, Northern company Big Red Construction recently kicked off the £50+ million renovation on behalf of developer Arrowsmith Investments and the apartments are projected to be finished in 2026.
With that in mind, the architectural designers Hodder have just released a new look at what Brunswick Mill is set to look like once completed:
The short trailer gives a glimpse at the history of the Brunswick Mill space and what it’s set to become.
Set to transform the historic industrial mill-turned-creative space and music studios on the edge of New Islington into 153 new apartments, ranging from one, two and three-bedroom residences, the redevelopment will be spread across two phases.
In line with designs by Hodder + Partners, the initial phase involves converting the existing mill building and the construction of new four and seven-storey elements to accommodate the remaining 127 homes on the Bradford Road plot in Ancoats.
Big Red Construction, who are also working on the Peelers Yard building for CERT Property and Myprotein founder Oliver Cookson, are expected to complete phase one by the first quarter of 2026.
Here’s another look at what living space people are already buying up:
The bathroom plans.‘New with the old’ bedroom-designs.A first look inside the Brunswick Mill flats. (Credit: Supplied)
Along with Hodder + Partners as architects, the project team also consists of HW Consultancy who are covering structural aspects, Manchester firm Clancy for mechanical and electrical considerations, as well as AM Pyro as fire engineers.
With property company Orlando Reid serving as estate agents for the project, 42 out of the 153 apartments have already been sold off-plan, with managing director Baljit Arora describing it as “an exciting period for all parties involved and for the city of Manchester”.
This is just the latest chapter in the continued regeneration of the Ancoats and the New Islington areas, which remain two of the most heavily re-developed areas in the city centre and Greater Manchester as a whole. You can see other hot properties in and around the region HERE.