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@Link4Life

Fusilier Lee Rigby Middleton tribute to be unveiled

fusilier lee rigby tributeA permanent memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby in his hometown of Middleton will be unveiled this month, Rochdale Borough Council has confirmed.

A bronze drum, alongside a plaque for Lee and a memorial wall where in time other local soldiers will be commemorated is being unveiled in Middleton Memorial Gardens on Sunday 29 March during a private ceremony, before being open to the public from 2.30pm.

Lyn Rigby, Lee's mother said she welcomed the lasting tribute: "It will be a lovely tribute to Lee who put his life on the line every day to serve his country. Over time the memorial will remember not just our Lee, but other soldiers, whose bravery will also never be forgotten."

Councillor June West, Chair of Middleton Township said: "The way the Middleton community came together after Lee's tragic death was very moving and the township have always committed to ensure the calls for a local memorial were answered. I thank our residents for their support and I am pleased that Fusilier Lee Rigby and other service personnel will be forever remembered in this way. Lee's family were keen to ensure it also included a permanent reminder of those who have served and lost their lives in conflict."

Philip McClure, Lee's father said he was pleased there would be a lasting local memorial in his name: "I am still coming to terms with what happened ... Lee will never be forgotten and this memorial is keeping his memory alive in his hometown. He enjoyed many good times growing up in Middleton and this will be a place for people to come along and pay their respects in a way they've not previously been able to."

Lee's wife Rebecca said: "I am pleased this memorial is being unveiled in Middleton. It should be seen as a celebration of his life because that is what he would have wanted. People will be able to come here in peace, remember Lee and reflect."

The unveiling will be during a private ceremony, prior to being opened to the public at 2.30pm on Sunday 29 March. It will then be open to the public seven days a week.

Ed Byrne books Middleton Arena show

ed-byrne-outside-looking-inStand-up comedian Ed Byrne has announced a date at Middleton Arena this year with his brand new show. The master of observational comedy and star of television shows including 'Live at the Apollo,' 'Mock the Week' and 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks' will make his debut at the arena on Wednesday 30 September during his 'Outside, Looking In' tour.
A sucker for a quiz, recent highlights for Irish born Ed have been taking part in Celebrity Mastermind and being a contestant on Celebrity Pointless. He's also a regular contributor to comedy and music shows on both BBC Radio. The iconic star has had 3 hit live comedy DVD's and is a regular at the Edinburgh Festival where he was nominated for the Perrier Award in 1998.

Byrne has performed three sell-out UK tours. He has also developed huge success on the international circuit where he has performed to capacity audiences in Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Few details about the show have been revealed as yet, but expect plenty of anger and irony aimed at the modern world, as Ed continues to ease into his 40s!

Ed Byrne visits Middleton Arena at 8pm on Wednesday 30 September. Tickets (£19) are available online or by phoning 0844 855 4020 or collect in person at the Arena box office.

Ed will be the latest comedy star to appear at Middleton Arena in recent years, following in the footsteps of other big names including John Bishop, Lee Mack, Kevin Bridges, Jason Manford, Julian Clary, Sarah Millican, Dave Spikey, Josh Widdicombe, Andy Parsons, Rich Hall, Paul Chowdhry and many more.

Rochdale Strollers go viral with FA People's Cup qualifying win

rochdale-strollersWalking Football team the 'Rochdale Strollers' are an overnight You Tube sensation as a video clip of them celebrating their qualifying round win in the 'People's Cup' went viral with nearly 250,000 views. The clip went live on the BBC's Match of the Day and Get Inspired sites on Saturday. Over 1,000 comments have been added congratulating the team and saying it's never too late to get back into football.

The FA and the BBC have joined together to launch The FA People's Cup in one of the biggest five-a-side tournaments ever staged, competing for a chance to taste the glory of lifting a trophy at Wembley Stadium on FA Cup Final Day.
The Rochdale Strollers, who entered in the walking football category, were winners of their regional heat in February at Blackburn Soccer Dome. They will now take part in the semi-final stage taking place in Manchester in April.
A second local team 'Stroke Active' also did well on the day and over 30,000 people took part in the competition nationally over 3 days with 4306 teams made up of all age groups and abilities.

Craig Preston of Stroke Active said, "It was a great experience for many of the guys who had not played competitive football for many years and some who thought they never would again, I would encourage anyone thinking about getting involved to contact Link4Life and give it a go."

Link4Life, the Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust, who run the Walking Football sessions in partnership with Rochdale AFC, are always looking for new players of all ages and abilities. Sessions are held weekly in Rochdale at Kingsway Park Sports Centre every Wednesday from 5pm-6pm and Rochdale Leisure Centre every Thursday from 10am-11am. There is also a weekly session in Middleton at Bowlee Park Sports Centre held every Thursday from 6pm-7pm.

For information contact Paul Gardner, Health Activities Officer for Link4Life on 01706 926235.

Julie goes ‘digital’ for Rochdale’s new festival

julie-goes-digitalActress Julie Hesmondhalgh was in town today to help with final preparations for Rochdale Digital Festival which takes place this Saturday at Number One Riverside.

The much loved star, best known for playing Hayley Cropper in ITV1's 'Coronation Street' will be supporting the festival 'virtually' – and has recorded video clips, tips and messages that will be shown on screen during the event which aims to de-mystify technology and show just how useful and easy it can be.

Julie will be giving festival goers her own take on technology, and whilst she'd be lost without using Facebook and Twitter on her phone, says she does need help every so often:

"I've got a Macbook, iPhone and an iPad Mini, which I use with varying degrees of success! I'm certainly not someone people would come to for help with technology, I'm usually the one doing the asking, so Rochdale Digital Festival is a great idea as there will be lots of people there who can actually help!"

Ethan Marriott elected as Rochdale’s Member of Youth Parliament

myp-elections-photo-2A Falinge Park high school student was officially announced as Rochdale's new Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) at a ceremony at Rochdale Town Hall on Wednesday 11 February.

Year 11 student Ethan Marriott takes over the title from the out-going MYP Leon Hollinrake, and was elected after beating five other candidates with nearly 9,000 votes cast from secondary schools and sixth form colleges throughout the borough.

Ethan, who is studying for his GCSEs, won 27% of votes with his manifesto to campaign for exam resits to be reinstated, for young people to be portrayed in a more positive light by the media and for youth mental health issues to be given more attention, with more confidential help and advice to be made available.

Glennis Brierley : Celebrating A Creative Life

glennis-brierleyThe new Gallery One exhibition at Touchstones Rochdale showcases the work of the local artist Glennis Brierley – who died tragically in December 2013. This exhibition 'Celebrating A Creative Life' celebrates the richness and diversity of Glennis's artistic talents through paintings, drawings, embroideries and mixed media work representing a lifetime of creativity.

Celebrating A Creative Life shows the whole range of Glennis's work from her time at Manchester Polytechnic to her most recent pieces completed just before her death. From her earliest work onwards, whether a linocut print of a cat, a pencil drawing of a dead bird or an abstract painting, Glennis demonstrated her strong sense of composition, her eye for detail and her distinctive, sometimes quite graphic style of drawing.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band coming to Middleton Arena

grimethorpe-colliery-bandThe multi award winning Grimethorpe Colliery Band will be performing at Middleton Arena later this year during their 2015 tour.

The world famous brass band, formed in 1917 by a group of miners, visit Middleton for a show on Sunday 13 September. They were the real stars of the smash hit film 'Brassed Off,' which brought the band international fame in 1996. Since then they've toured the globe, including shows at the World Cup, Eurovision and major music festivals.

More recently the band was seen in action by a worldwide audience of 2.5 billion during the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony alongside the London Symphony Orchestra, in Danny Boyle's epic production. Grimethorpe were part of the spectacular 'Isles of Wonder' presentation that saw the vast green and pleasant landscape inside the stadium turned into the industrial revolution, with the band's performance having echoes of both its own famous industrial and film heritage.

The film 'Brassed Off' was based on Grimethorpe's struggles against pit closures, and its soundtrack was recorded by the band. It told the story of a brass band from the fictional Yorkshire mining town of Grimely who, faced with the closure of their pit, went on to triumph at the National Brass Band Championships. The film took Grimethorpe on to international stardom, receiving standing ovations and critical plaudits wherever they appear. Performing regularly on radio and television, last year they recorded a track with Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott. Their CD featuring a selection of their most popular tracks reached Number 1 in the classical music charts and on several occasions they've been crowned National Brass Band Champions of Great Britain.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band - 'Brassed Off' is at Middleton Arena on Sunday 13 September at 3pm. Tickets (£18) from www.middletonarena.com by calling 0844 855 4020. Or collect in person at the arena box office.

Rochdale to unveil memorial to heroes of Gallipoli

Rochdale Memorial GardensCouncil call for residents whose relatives fought in Gallipoli.

A permanent memorial will be unveiled in Rochdale this summer to honour the service of local men who fought in one of the bloodiest campaigns of the First World War and the sacrifices made by their relatives at home.

Rochdale Borough Council have confirmed that the memorial stone to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of local soldiers will be unveiled in Rochdale Memorial Gardens during a special Gallipoli Commemoration Event on Sunday 28 June. The event, which will also include a military parade in the town centre will be part of the boroughs national Armed Forces Day celebrations.

Preparations for the afternoon, which will feature the Kings Division Band are well underway, with further details set to be announced in April. In the meantime the council are asking residents who had relatives who fought in Gallipoli to contact them so they can take part in the parade in their honour. Families are asked to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  .

Back in August 1914, 1,000 soldiers from the 6th Battalion of Lancashire Fusiliers gathered in Rochdale before being sent to Egypt and on to the killing fields of Turkey. Few came home alive or unscathed. Those who enlisted were remembered last summer with the recreation of a march made by more than 1,000 soldiers from the 6th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

Councillor Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for the Armed Forces at Rochdale Borough CouncilCouncillor Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for the Armed Forces at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "The Gallipoli Campaign saw considerable losses for Britain and her allies. It is right that we commemorate those local men who fought and died and remember their sacrifices. It is also important to remember the sacrifices of those left at home who kept the home fires burning. I hope as many descendants as possible are able to attend to remember their loved ones, along with members of the public who also want to join with us as we pay our respects."

Rochdale was also one of the first councils in the country to sign the Armed Forces Community Covenant in November 2012, aimed at encouraging local communities to support services that promote and encourage activities that help integrate Armed Forces personnel back into civilian life. It also encourages authorities to work more closely to support those in service and their families, ensuring there is no disadvantage associated with serving in the Armed Forces.

For more details visit www.rochdale.gov.uk/armedforces .

See also: Link4Life offer free use of Rochdale Borough Leisure Centres for Armed Forces Personnel. Follow this link for details.

Charity Spinathon to raise funds for Hospice

Link4Life are inviting people to take part in a charity three-hour Spinathon to help raise money for Springhill Hospice.

It will take place on Sunday 25 January between 2pm and 5pm at Rochdale Leisure Centre on Entwisle Road. Already more than 30 people have signed up for the indoor cycling event and around £300 has already been raised.

Brainchild of Lin4Life fitness instructor Shelley Burns, this is her 10th year of fundraising at these events.

Centre manager, Kevin Costigan said, "We are aiming to raise as much money as possible for this excellent cause. We are bringing in extra bikes specially and we'd like as many people as possible to get in touch and take part on the day."

To book in to take part call in to Rochdale Leisure Centre on Entwisle Road or ring them on 01706 926000.

Link4Life Chief Executive Appointment Announced

gillian-bishop-chief-executiveA new Chief Executive has been appointed at Link4Life, the Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust which leads and manages culture and leisure services on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council.

Taking up her new role from 1 April 2015 will be Gillian Bishop who has served as Interim Chief Executive at Link4Life for just over a year.

Chair of Trustees, Clint Street, making the announcement, said: "The Board are delighted to have secured a permanent Chief Executive for the Trust who so clearly and ably demonstrates the passion, experience and vision we require."

He continued, "Gillian has already successfully supported the Board, in her Interim role, in establishing a three-year vision and strategy for the Trust. We look forward to continuing to work with her to deliver this vision, to develop communities that are active, creative and healthy and to ensure that Link4Life is effective and efficient in taking the lead role in delivering leisure and cultural services in the borough of Rochdale."

Gillian Bishop brings with her a wealth of experience in leading and managing a range of organisations. She joined Link4Life in her Interim role in September 2013 and was previously Corporate Director at Wigan Council. Prior to that she was Chief Executive at the North West Improvement and Efficiency Partnership from 2008 to 2010, Chief Executive at Allerdale Borough Council from 2005-2008 and Deputy Chief Executive at Rossendale Borough Council from 2003-2005. She lives locally with her family.

Gillian Bishop said, "I am delighted to be taking up this permanent role in the Rochdale borough. I have a strong belief that the social enterprise model is the way forward in ensuring a secure future for publicly owned leisure and cultural services. Rochdale has led the way in introducing that model and I look forward to taking that work further."

She added, "My priority will be to focus on the future direction of the Trust to ensure it is best placed to meet local needs and I am looking forward to working with Board members and colleagues at Link4Life, together with Rochdale Council and wider partner organisations, to deliver on this."

Welcoming Ms Bishop to her role, Rochdale Council Chief Executive, Steve Rumbelow said, "I have worked with Gillian in the past and I look forward to renewing this experience. This is a challenging time for the future of all public services and I am confident that Gillian will be a most valuable asset."