Paul Chowdhry

Paul Chowdhry

It's time to enter PC's World - Friday 19 September

Rave On - A Tribute to Buddy Holly

Rave On - A Tribute to Buddy Holly

 That'll Be The Day! - Friday 12 September - 55th Anniversary Special

Art4Families Saturday Club

Art4Families Saturday Club

Starting Saturday 20 September

Big Screen Movies

Big Screen Movies

'Bad Neighbours' and 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' are coming to the big screen at Middleton Arena

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Action all the way for summer fun at Middleton Arena

The school holidays are in full swing at Middleton Arena with over sixty children a week joining in Link4Life's summer fun days.

Middleton Arena Summer Fun afternoons have been attracting children each week from both boys and girls aged 5- 12 years.

Children and young people have had the opportunity to take part in activities such as climbing, archery, swimming, basketball, hockey and arts & crafts. The fun days are a huge success with children coming back each week to take part in all the fun activities.

Funded by Middleton Township the days have offered children and young people the chance to take part in new sports and games and also fun and exciting activities they would not normally get the chance to do.

Link4Life's Go4it holiday club organiser, Leigh Anne Carnall, said "The children and young people of Middleton have thoroughly enjoyed all the events that have taken place especially the swimming and climbing. All the coaches and staff have enjoyed working with the children to keep them busy throughout the summer."

Link4Life's Go4it holiday programme provides a wide range of activities running up to the end of August with something for all ages. The programme also includes sports, arts and crafts activities at Bowlee Sports Centre as well as sessions at the borough's sports and leisure centres. The full programme can be found online at

Panto Stars in town for Free Cinderella launch

same-differenceParents and children of all ages are invited to come on down to the Middleton Arena on Sunday 14 September to meet the stars of this year's pantomime, Cinderella, and to see them in action on stage.

Perhaps the most popular of all Christmas shows, this year's production stars X Factor finalists 'Same Difference' as Prince Charming and the Fairy together with Byker Grove's Hazel Pude as Cinderella.

Same Difference brother and sister act, Sean and Sarah Smith made it all the way to the final of UK X Factor in 2007 winning over legions of fans with their energetic and thrilling live performances.

The Cinderella launch will be at Middleton Arena from 1.30pm-3.30pm on 14th and tickets are free. A meet and greet with the stars will kick off the event with a one hour variety show on the stage from 2pm after which there will be the chance to take photographs with the Panto principals.

Said Link4Life Entertainments Manager, Graham Duckworth, "Tickets are already selling very well with the Christmas week performances filling up fast. We are looking forward to another fantastic show from Shone Productions here at the Arena with an exciting and talented cast. We are pleased to be welcoming them here to Middleton."

Entry to the event is free but tickets must be booked in advance from the Middleton Arena box office either in person or by ringing 0844 855 4020. Group bookings are welcome up to a maximum of 15 seats.

Cinderella will be at the Middleton Arena from 1 to 24 December. Performance details are available from the Arena or online at

Street renamed in honour of Crimean War VC recipient

private-anthony-palmer-vc-paradeCouncillors, veterans and members of the public gathered to pay respect to a true hero as a street in Heywood was renamed in commemoration of Private Anthony Palmer, a soldier in the Crimean War and Victoria Cross recipient, who is buried in Heywood Cemetery.

A heritage sign was unveiled on the former Wood Street, outside Heywood Library, at 1.30pm on Sunday August 24, to mark the official renaming of the street to 'Private Anthony Palmer VC Parade'.

Among the guests was Private Anthony Palmer's only living relative, his great-great-great grandson Ronnie Cooper, who had made the journey from Spalding, Lincolnshire.

Other activities, jointly organised by Rochdale Borough Council and the Lancashire Veterans Association, included the 'Private Anthony Palmer VC' parade, during which veterans marched from The Bay Horse pub on Torrington Street to Heywood Library. Music will be provided by the Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of the Grenadier Guards.

Councillor Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for the Armed Forces, said: "Private Palmer's story is one of gallantry and selflessness, he is buried in Heywood and, as such, we have an obligation to preserve his memory and to recognise his incredible heroism."

Ronnie Cooper said: "It's been a brilliant day, I'm extremely proud. When someone got in touch to let me know that the council were looking to trace Private Palmer's relatives, I was more than happy to get involved. "Naming streets after people who have won things like the Victoria Cross is a fantastic way of keeping their memory alive."

Private Palmer was born on the 10 March 1819 in Brereton Green, Cheshire. He joined the British Army and served with the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards during the Crimean War (1854-1856).

He is buried at Heywood Cemetery, in a family plot with father James and mother Mary Rachel. The citation on his gravestone reads 'An upright, valorous, god-fearing hero much beloved'.

Following the War, he was presented with the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour, by Queen Victoria at Hyde Park in London in June, 1857.

A digest of his VC citation reads: "During the Battle of Inkerman, Crimea, on 5th November 1854, Brevet Major Sir Charles Russell offered to dislodge a body of Russian soldiers from the Sandbag battery if anyone would volunteer to go with him. Private Anthony Palmer volunteered. The attack succeeded. Private Palmer was present when the charge was made in defence of the Colours. Sir Charles Russell also witnessed Private Palmer make a single charge against the enemy. He undoubtedly saved Sir Charles' life when he shot an assailant who was about to bayonet him."

Private Palmer is also believed to be one of only 13 recipients of the Bentinck Medal for Gallantry. First presented by Major-General Sir Henry Bentinck, KCB in 1855, the medal recognised Guardsmen who had performed outstanding service, at a time when insufficient official awards for gallantry were available.

After leaving the army in 1863 he rose to become the Head Constable of The Millwall Dock Company. He died on 12 December 1892 at the age of 73, in Crumpsall Hospital, Manchester.

The unveiling of 'Private Anthony Palmer VC Parade' follows that of 'LCpl Joel Halliwell VC Way' in Middleton and 'L Cpl Stephen Shaw MC Way' in Heywood, in recognising servicemen associated with the borough, who have received awards for their gallantry.

The street renaming is one of a host of events across the borough this year commemorating the sacrifice of British service personnel. To find out more visit

Rochdale was one of the first councils in the country to sign the Armed Forces Community Covenant, aimed at encouraging local communities to support services that promote and encourage activities that help integrate Armed Forces personnel back into civilian life.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council.

Doors open in September as Rochdale borough celebrates its heritage

touchstones-rochdaleThe borough of Rochdale is getting ready to celebrate its fantastic architecture and heritage next month with the return of the national Heritage Open Days festival.

Billed as England's largest voluntary cultural event, this year marks the twentieth anniversary of 'opening the doors' on properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge an entrance fee.

Running for four days, from Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 September, this is a once-a-year chance to enjoy events and activities which bring to life local history and culture. All free to explore, buildings of every age, style and function across the borough will be opening, along with fascinating guided walks, tours and talks.

the-old-boars-head-middletonCo-ordinated nationally by the Heritage Open Days National Partnership and locally by Link4Life Arts and Heritage Service, the borough's cultural trust, the event thrives on the enthusiasm and expertise of local people as thousands of volunteers from all walks of life share their knowledge and memories. And with exciting new additions to the programme, festival co-ordinators are expecting this year to be even bigger and better.

Acknowledging the enthusiastic support received from the many different organisations taking part, Julian Jefferson from Link4Life said, "Our fantastic heritage offer is hard to beat and we are really excited about this year's programme. With over forty-five different things to do across the borough it will give local people the chance to explore our better known historical buildings as well as find hidden gems in unlikely places."

Many of Rochdale's historic and religious buildings will open including the Grade I listed Town Hall, the Pioneers Museum and Touchstones Rochdale which will welcome a visit by the mobile Yelloway Motor Coach Museum reliving over fifty years of memories of day trips and holidays. There will also be a behind the scenes visit to the Regal Moon pub, with its original features going back to the days when it was one of the town's many cinemas.

A highlight of the festival in Middleton will be a 'Grand Day Out' of the town's Golden Cluster, which includes the work of architect Edgar Wood, with a specially organised land train to take visitors around a circular route of places to visit combined with children's activities in the town centre.

yelloway-motor-coach-museumHeywood's historic churches will open with a chance also to step back in time to the 1930s to visit the courtroom and cells of the town's iconic former Police Station.

And on the edge of the Pennines, Littleborough will be inviting visitors to explore the Victorian history of Hollingworth Lake as "the weighvers' seaport" with an arts and crafts festival at the country park. World War One memorabilia will also be on display in the Littleborough History Centre based in the original railway station buildings in the town centre.

Cabinet Member for Community, Culture and Tourism at Rochdale Borough Council, Councillor Daalat Ali said, "It will be an interesting and enjoyable four days and a real showcase for the richness and diversity of Rochdale borough's local heritage. I would encourage everyone of all ages not to miss this chance to find out more about the many hundreds of years of history that have helped to shape this borough. Not just from books but from seeing with their own eyes and talking to those who know."

Full details of this year's Heritage Open Days programme, and how to pre-book onto the free sessions, is available online at Copies of a twelve page colour brochure produced by Link4Life can also be picked up from the Visitor Information Centre at Touchstones Rochdale and at local libraries and leisure centres.

Rochdale taxi drivers set the wheels in motion for tourism boom

rochdale-borough-ambassadorA group of Rochdale cabbies have turned tour guide as part of a scheme to help visitors discover the borough's treasures.

The scheme to turn drivers into ambassadors for their town saw 22 eager volunteers attend a training session during which they found out all about what makes Rochdale great.

Drivers from Car 2000, Central and Town Taxis found out about the history of the borough as a major weaving and cotton district, and its stunning Grade I Listed Town Hall, which is widely regarded as one of the best examples of Victorian architecture in the country.

They also learned about the Flodden Window in St Leonard's Church in Middleton. The window, which commemorates the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513, is thought to the oldest war memorial in the country.

Lesser known facts covered during the course, which was also attended by some hackney carriage drivers, include the fact that Space Shuttle nose cones were manufactured in Littleborough.

Fast forward to the present day and the drivers also picked up vital information for those looking for a pitstop at one of the three breweries in the borough, the Pictish, the Baum and the Mill brewery at Nutters Restaurant, all winners at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards 2008.

The drivers can also tell their passengers about the regeneration work happening in the town, including the new Leisure Centre and Transport Interchange as well as the planned retail and leisure development.

And anyone who wants to know how to make the most of summer in Rochdale will find that the ambassadors are full of ideas, including enjoying the outdoors at Queen's Park in Heywood, voted the nation's favourite in 2011, having afternoon tea at Nutter's restaurant and visiting Hollingworth Lake.

The course was organised by Rochdale Borough Council and Link4Life, who deliver leisure and heritage services in the borough.

Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, Councillor Richard Farnell, said: "Our taxi drivers come into contact with hundreds of people every week, many of whom will be new to the borough, so they're perfectly placed to sing Rochdale's praises. There are so many interesting facts to find out and so many things to enjoy that I can't think of a better welcome to give to our visitors." Taxi drivers who have completed the course will all display a purple sticker in their car, so people will know they are an ambassador."

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council.

Corrie star Jane Danson confirmed amongst headliners at Rochdale’s festival feast

jane-dansonCoronation Street star Jane Danson will be amongst the headline shows at this autumn's Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival.

The 35 year old actress, best known for playing Leanne Battersby in the ITV1 soap will be hosting a workshop at the festival in October, showing budding young actors and actresses how to develop their acting skills, along with techniques and tips for performing on stage and screen. For those who manage to get a ticket, it promises to be a real masterclass - Jane won a coveted British Soap Award in 2011 for 'Best Dramatic Performance'.

She'll also be talking candidly about her life and television career at the arts extravaganza during a live interview.

In Coronation Street, her controversial Battersby family were dubbed the 'neighbours from hell' and made an immediate impact on the long-running show's loyal audience. Danson has been centre stage in a series of harrowing and dramatic storylines ever since!

Aside from the Street, her other television credits include Children's Ward, The Grand, and The Bill. She's also an accomplished theatre actress.

Jane Danson will be appearing on Saturday 25 October.

Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival runs from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 October, with a range of events covering drama, comedy, dance, music, theatre, films, visual arts and children's shows.

Jane joins the line up alongside the previously announced singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan, comedian Dave Spikey, DJ Liz Kershaw, television presenter Bill Turnbull, author Chrissie Manby, poet Ian McMillan, writer Jackie Kay and performance poet Longfella.

Tickets are available from or in person at the festival box office at Rochdale Central Library, Number One Riverside.

The festival will include guest speakers, authors, writers and local arts organisations and is aimed at encouraging more people to engage in reading and philosophy. It will include events at venues in Rochdale town centre and boroughwide, aimed at all ages.

It's all due to the generosity of Annie and Frank Maskew, a Rochdale couple who shared a passion for reading and thinking, and originally met in Rochdale Library. They left a sum of money to be used on resources and events related to literature and philosophy to ensure classic works are available for future generations.

For festival updates on Twitter connect with @RochdaleLitFest

The festival is organised by Rochdale Borough Council, funded by the Maskew Bequest.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council.