Each week, Ben Hopkinson looks back at a serious, crazy, and happy news story from the past week.
In an upsetting statistic, the UK has lost 83% of main department stores since BHS collapsed in 2016. The figure shows that COVID pandemic sped up changes in shopping habits as lockdowns were bought into place. The data was compiled by CoStar Group, a commercial property information firm which also reveals that more than 66% of these stores remain vacant. In 2016 there were 467 stores open, across Beales, BHS, Debenhams, John Lewis and House of Frasier, and now there are only 79 remaining open. It’s a sad fact, but shopping is changing, high streets are becoming emptier and more will be closing as time moves forward.
Helen Phillips sent a photo of her lateral flow tests to her a friend who works as a doctor and was disappointed to have tested positive and miss out on work, when her friend thought it was a pregnancy test. When her friend asked how she felt, Helen replied “she had a minor cough and sore throat but nothing major” and was then confused when asked if she was happy. However, even after the confusion they were both in hysterics. I’m pretty sure that this hasn’t been the first time (or the last time) that these tests have been confused over the past 16 months or so!
14 year-old Lily Swanson saved people trapped in a burning apartment after raising the alarm following what she had watched on Disney+. The teenager from Leyland in Lancashire watches 911 on Disney+, and after smelling a strong burning smell while walking the dog she began to investigate. After looking around, she finally noticed the smoke coming from an apartment window and so she ran to wake up her dad and called the emergency services. Her dad, Mike then grabbed ladders and ran to the scene to help those trapped escape. Talking about the incident, she said: “It had only been a minute or two since I first saw the smoke but as we were running over to help them, one of the windows blew off and fell into the street”. Jonny Nottingham, the fire station manager for Leyland says “We’d like to thank Lily for calling us so quickly after spotting the fire in the apartment. We have seen in the past that people can have lots of different reactions to seeing a fire but Lily showed maturity and calmness beyond her years to quickly and effectively notify us”. What an inspiring teenager.