Blackpool Council said its actions were aimed at protecting “long established events”
The organiser of a dance competition which will raise money for Ukraine has been told by Blackpool Council he cannot use the word ‘Blackpool’ in the title of the event being held next month.
Paul Killick originally called his event ‘The Blackpool Open’, but has 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 which the council has applied for ownership of.
Blackpool Council said its actions were aimed at protecting “long established events”. But Mr Killick, whose competition will take place at the Tower Ballroom on May 7 and 8, with all profits going to the Ukrainian Dancers Fund, branded the council’s actions ‘petty’.
He said: “We have been inundated with entries so I couldn’t take the risk of people flying in from all over the world and then the competition not being able to go ahead. So we have removed Blackpool from the title, to protect the fundraiser and because we want to raise money for Ukraine.
“I am disappointed by this action from the council, especially when Ukraine brings so much to Blackpool. Over the years, all their dancers have come to Blackpool and supported the town. This trademark situation has been hanging over our heads and it’s so petty.”
A council spokesperson said: “We are not seeking to stop this fund-raising event from taking place. We are simply trying to prevent any confusion with existing, long-established events in Blackpool.”
Former Latin dance champion Paul now coaches dancers from all over the world including Ukraine.
He added: “We have a lot of dancers from Ukraine, who are now in other countries, who are planning to come to our event in Blackpool.”
The Open will run over two days this year, but he hopes to expand it to six days next year. The council has been involved in a dispute with the British Dance Council after it applied for the trademarks in February.
Marcus Hilton, president and chairman of the British Dance Council, said there had been no consultation over the move and threatened to withdraw its support for competitions. Talks to resolve the situation are ongoing.