Sports fans will not return to stadiums in October, Michael Gove confirms
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, the Minister for the Cabinet Officer responded to questions about the government's live sports spectators scheme - which originally planned for supporters to be gradually reintroduced to grounds in greater numbers across Britain from next month.
Sports fans will not return to stadiums on October 1 as originally planned, Michael Gove has revealed this morning.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, the Minister for the Cabinet Officer responded to questions about the government’s live sports spectators scheme – which originally planned for supporters to be gradually reintroduced to grounds in greater numbers across Britain from next month.
However, according to Gove, the plan has now been placed “on pause.”
“It was the case that we were looking at a staged programme of more people returning; it wasn’t going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans,” Gove reiterated during the liver interview.
“We are looking for the moment at how we can pause that programme.”
Several fixtures across team sports in England, including football and rugby, had previously been earmarked as occasions where small numbers of fans could attend.
1,000 Blackpool supporters visited Bloomfield Road for The Seasiders’ League One fixture with Swindon Town on Saturday; with the hosts emerging 2-0 winners.
The idea was to slowly increase capacity moving ahead, but this is now being halted indefinitely.
Britain is suffering the start of a second coronavirus wave, and it appears unlikely that supporters will return to seats in big numbers before Christmas.
However, Gove admitted that the government still have plans to get larger crowds back inside sporting arenas in the future.
“What we do want to do – as and when circumstances allow – is get more people back,” said Gove.
“The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors.
“But again, it’s in the nature of major sporting events that there’s a lot of mingling.
“People look back now at the beginning of the pandemic and look at some of the major sporting events and ask: ‘Why were they allowed to go ahead?’.
“One of the things we must do now, whatever the wisdom of decisions made then, is to look at sporting events with caution.”
Gove also admitted that sport is set for a “challenging time”.
The UK recently moved to Level 4 on the alert system – meaning the virus “is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially”.
Pubs and restaurants nationwide are set to be hit with curfews later this week, whilst tighter restrictions have been placed on over 11 million people across the country.
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away free music lessons
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away a host of free music lessons next month in a bid to inspire people to learn a new instrument, or pick up an old one.
The store is giving new and returning musicians a chance to receive a 10–15-minute free music taster session as part of its Music for All Learn to Play ’22 event.
Taking place across 8 and 9 October between 10am-5pm (8 October) and 1130am-30pm (9 October),short taster music lessons will allow all ages and abilities to have a musical experience that could turn into a lifetime of enjoyment, or even a new career.
Speaking on the free music lesson initiative, Emma from Forsyths said: “The past two years have shown how important music is to all our lives and how it can bring people together even in the most difficult of circumstances.
“We aim to help as many people as possible understand the unique joys and benefits of learning an instrument (or taking part in a choir).
“Anyone interested in learning to play an instrument or looking to pick it up again, should come and join us for this two-day celebration of music making.
“We’re delighted to be part of Music for All’s Learn to Play ’22 event, and we can’t wait to get started.”
OBE Jools Holland, Patron of Music for All, said: “Making music is very important to me. It’s my work, my pleasure, my friend, companion and therapist.
The charity Music for All believes passionately in the unique power of music to change lives and that is why it runs Learn to Play.
Music for All believes everyone should have equal access to music making.
The charity supports disadvantaged music makers by providing cash grants for tuition and instruments and by donating instruments directly.
Celebrated author Dame Hilary Mantel has died ‘suddenly yet peacefully’ aged 70
Dame Hilary Mantel has died aged 70.
The unexpected passing of the critically-acclaimed author whose celebrated career spans nearly five decades has just been announced by her agents 4th Estate Books and her publishing team at HarperCollins in two separate statements released this morning – who confirmed that she died “suddenly yet peacefully”.
The Glossop-born writer was famed for historical fiction work, and was most-known for being the author of the beloved Wolf Hall trilogy.
The statement by her agents confirming her passing reads: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald.
“This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work.”
Mantel’s publishers HarperCollins called her “one of the greatest English novelists of this century”.
The company’s statement reads: “It is with great sadness that AM Heath and HarperCollins announce that bestselling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE died suddenly yet peacefully yesterday, surrounded by close family and friends, aged 70.
“Hilary Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics.
Mantel has twice been awarded the Booker Prize, the first time for the 2009 novel Wolf Hall, a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII, and secondly for the 2012 novel Bring Up the Bodies, the second instalment of the Cromwell trilogy.
She was the first woman, and fourth person, to receive the award twice.