Council called mean-spirited after forcing charity event to drop word Blackpool

The organizer of a dance competition which will raise funds for Ukraine has been told by Blackpool Council that it cannot use the word ‘Blackpool’ in the title of the event to be held next month .

Paul Killick originally called his event ‘The Blackpool Open’ but renamed it ‘The Open’ after he said he received a letter from the council’s legal representatives. The title of ‘The Blackpool Open’ is among 17 trademarks for dance competitions whose ownership the council has claimed.

Blackpool’s council said its actions were intended to protect “long-established events”. But Mr Killick, whose competition will take place at the Tower Ballroom on May 7 and 8, with all proceeds going to the Ukrainian Dancers Fund, called the council’s actions ‘petty’.

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He said: “We were overwhelmed with entries so I couldn’t risk people arriving from all over the world and the competition not being able to go ahead. So we removed Blackpool from the title, to protect fundraising and because we want to raise funds for Ukraine.

“I’m disappointed with this action from the board, especially when Ukraine brings so much to Blackpool. Over the years all of their dancers have come to Blackpool and supported City. This branding situation is hanging over our heads. and it’s so petty.

A council spokesman said: ‘We are not looking to stop this fundraising event from taking place. We just try to avoid confusion with existing and long-established events in Blackpool.

Former Latin dance champion Paul now trains dancers from all over the world, including Ukraine.

He added: “We have a lot of dancers from Ukraine, who are now in other countries, planning to come to our event in Blackpool.”

The Open will take place over two days this year, but he hopes to expand it to six days next year. The council was embroiled in a dispute with the British Dance Council after filing a trademark application in February.

Marcus Hilton, chairman and chairman of the British Dance Council, said there had been no consultation on the decision and threatened to withdraw support for the competitions. Talks to resolve the situation are ongoing.

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