Thousands of people are being evacuated from popular Greek islands Rhodes and Corfu, which are being ravaged by wildfires.
Horrifying footage from the islands shows a sky filled with smoke and an orange haze, and tourists running down the streets as the flames creep closer to hotels.
Many have had to flee their hotels and shelter in nearby schools, airports and alternative hotels.
The evacuation on Rhodes has been described as the ‘biggest in Greek history’.
Similar scenes are now beginning to unfold on Corfu too as extreme temperatures rage in parts of Europe.
Jet2 and TUI have both cancelled all flights to Rhodes, but are still taking scheduled planes out to the island without passengers, ready to bring people home.
Jet2 said yesterday: “The situation in Rhodes continues to evolve quickly, and our absolute priority is the health, safety and well-being of customers and colleagues in the affected areas.”
EasyJet has cancelled all package holidays to the island up to and including Tuesday 25 July, though some flight-only bookings are still operating.
The latest advice from the British government is this: “Extreme temperatures are affecting many areas of Greece and there are a number of active wildfires. If you are a British national affected by wildfires, please follow the guidance from the emergency services. Call the Greek Emergency Services on 112 if you are in immediate danger.
“The Greek government has established a Crisis Management Unit to respond to the situation in Rhodes. They can be contacted on +30 210 368 1730 / +30 210 3681259 / +30 210 3681350.
“In the first instance, please contact your airline or travel operator who can assist you with return travel to the UK.
“If you are planning to travel to any areas affected by wildfires, please check with your travel operator or hotel prior to travel that the area you plan to visit.”
And here’s the latest advice from major airlines operating to Rhodes
Jet2 – Rhodes advice as of Sunday 23 July 2023, 10.50pm
Due to the wildfires affecting Rhodes and the impact across the island, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all flights going from the UK to Rhodes up to and including 30 July. As a result of this, we will be contacting affected customers with regards to their refund and rebooking options. We currently plan to operate flights from Rhodes to the UK as normal.
We know the situation for many currently in Rhodes is very difficult. The safety and wellbeing of our customers is our highest priority and we are doing all we can to assist customers in affected areas.
We will be operating two repatriation flights tomorrow from Rhodes to Gatwick in addition to our scheduled flights. We will also operate a further repatriation flight on Tuesday.
Any easyJet flight-only customers who have been evacuated from their hotel and are currently at the airport should contact easyJet’s airport staff. Any customers from affected areas wishing to travel back early can contact easyJet’s Customer Services team on our dedicated line for customers in Rhodes + 44 (0) 330 5515147 (open 7am-11pm BST or 9am-1am EEST)
Other flight-only customers due to travel to and from Rhodes over the coming days should continue to check the status of their flights on Flight Tracker. If you are booked to travel to or from Rhodes before the 29th of July, our flights are still operating. However, if you would like to change your plans, then you will be able to transfer your flight to another date or can request a flight voucher for the value of your unused flights, by calling easyJet Customer Services.
Our tour operator, easyJet holidays is currently working to comply with requests of the local authorities and is in contact with customers in resort to support them.
easyJet holidays have sadly had to cancel easyJet holidays packages departing up to and including Tuesday 25 July, and customers will receive a full refund. We are proactively contacting easyJet holidays customers due to travel up to and including Saturday 29 July to confirm their options.
TUI – Rhodes advice as of Sunday 23 July 2023, 2pm
Our teams are working hard with local authorities in Greece to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our customers currently on holiday in Rhodes and impacted by the wildfires. We’d like to reassure you that we’re doing all we can to provide support and assistance. We appreciate how distressing and difficult it is for those who have been evacuated and ask they follow the advice of the local authorities, reps on the ground and hotel staff.
For those due to travel to Rhodes we can confirm we have cancelled all outbound flights up to and including Tuesday 25th July and passengers will receive full refunds. Those due to travel on Wednesday 26th July can amend to another holiday or cancel free of charge.
Those customers currently in Rhodes will return on their intended flight home.
The safety of our customer and staff is of top priority and we will continue to keep a close eye as the situation develops and share more updates.
Trafford’s £75m surf park and leisure resort project is finally moving again
The exciting £75 million development over in Trafford Park that will see a brand-new luxury leisure centre, surf and spa resort arrive in Manchester is finally moving again after two years of delays.
Originally slated to arrive in 2023, planning permission for Modern Surf Manchester was granted back in September 2021 but due to problems with funding, the hugely ambitious project has been held up ever since, with the opening date pushed back to sometime in 2025.
Modern Surf is part of a larger 20-year project to upgrade the TraffordCity complex, with around £2.6bn set aside for the huge investment and undertaking, with this set to be the first inland surfing destination in the North of England — and we’ve already had a spellbinding glimpse of what it’s going to look like.
Using technology from Wavegarden to create an artificial lagoon and giant surf park, the TraffordCity attraction will produce 1000 waves every hour at varying intensities and will be able to house up to 90 people at any one time, delivering a kind of surfing few will ever have experienced before.
Better still, once completed, Modern Surf Manchester will create over 140 new full-time jobs during peak times and –
The wider regeneration of Trafford Park also includes a whopping £250m set aside for the highly-anticipated, Therme Manchester, which was first announced back in 2020 and will be a similarly unprecedented addition to the region and the North as a whole.
The water park, spa and wellness resort situated just next to the Trafford Centre will span nearly 30 acres alone and the latest images depicting how it’s going to look are pretty incredible:
The sheer scale and scope of Modern Surf Manchester and the surrounding investments in Trafford can’t be overstated, not only generating new business and tourism for Greater Manchester but even adding fitness and mental health benefits to locals.
Speaking to TraffordCity, Manc professional surfing coach Alan Bisseker, who has worked with Olympic and professional organisations including GB Surfing, said that “there are few sports that give you as many health and fitness benefits as surfing”, insisting that this “combined with the significant positive impact on mental health and wellness is undeniable and well-documented.”
Andy Hadden, Founder of the newly appointed Tartan Leisure team who are soon set to finish their Lost Shore Surf Resort in Scotland, added: “There has been an enormous rise in popularity for surfing over recent years with proven benefits to our overall health and wellness… the response and appetite that we have seen from the public has been phenomenal. [Modern Surf] will be a very exciting addition to an already incredible combined retail and experienced-based leisure destination for all to enjoy.”
Trafford is already a hub of culture, leisure and sport in the UK and when this thing arrives that’s only going to become more apparent — sod the New Year, roll on 2025 and surf park city!
Featured Images — Trafford City Council (planning portal)/Modern Surf Park Manchester
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.