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New exhibition

New exhibition

Gallery Three at Touchstones Rochdale

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Latest News and Press Releases

Here you will find all the latest news and press releases relating to Link4Life, including articles published Rochdale Borough Council.

Free Fitness for Armed Forces extended

Link4Life is to continue to offer serving armed forces personnel free use of its fitness facilities and swimming pools for a further twelve months to the end of March 2017. And thanks to the success of the scheme that was set to come to an end in March 2016, Link4Life’s board of trustees has also extended the use of the scheme for veterans in the community who are out of work.

Since the scheme started in June 2013, Link4Life have had over 24,000 visits with 5,000 of those occurring since April 2015.

The response from those taking part has been extremely positive.

The armed forces discount has been a key factor in the pilot’s success as one of the top three reasons for taking part with the other two being the range of facilities available and the location of the centres.

Link4Life manages leisure and cultural facilities on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council. Both organisations signed 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. 

Creative Play Sessions for Babies and Parents at Touchstones Rochdale

baby play baby doDo you have a baby under 2? Touchstones Rochdale is welcoming babies and their parents to a new creative play session in the Art Gallery.

Every first Tuesday morning of the month; 3 May, 7 June, 5 July, 2 August, 6 September, 11am-11.45am babies will be taking over the gallery in Baby Play Baby Do!

Parents are invited to let their babies crawl, cry and gurgle amongst the exhibitions. Creative play specialist Frances Walker will be leading an informal, drop-in session where your baby can explore interesting textures, colours, objects and fabrics.

The sessions are free and will be an opportunity to meet other parents and babies and take time out in a different environment. Buggies are welcome in the gallery and the sessions are designed to be relaxed, so you and your baby can drop in and out of the session and wander round the other galleries and museum at your leisure.

For more information on Baby Play Baby Do please contact Touchstones Rochdale on 01706 924492 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Touchstones Rochdale is an award winning Arts & Heritage Centre with an art gallery, museum and Local History Centre.  It has a regular programme of contemporary visual arts exhibitions. Visit

Women Artists: From 1861 to 2015

19 March 2016 - Spring 2017

women artists 1861 2015

A new exhibition at Touchstones Rochdale, Women Artists: From 1861 to 2015, celebrates the role of women in the art world and commemorates the Art Gallery's history of collecting work by female artists.

The show includes newly acquired work by Hayley Tompkins alongside artworks from Touchstones Rochdale's permanent collection featuring Henrietta Ward, Dorothea Sharp, Laura Knight, Stella Magarshack, Gillian Ayres, Lubaina Himid, Maud Sulter, Cornelia Parker, Junko Mori amongst others. There is a variety of artwork on display including painting, sculpture and photography.

Exploring the role that gender has played in the production of art, the exhibition begins by charting Victorian attitudes which placed restrictions on women artists, through to the gradual freedom of the early 20th century, progressing to the 1960s with the rise of the Feminist Movement to the present day. Acknowledging the challenges and limitations faced by female artists, recent initiatives, such as the Contemporary Art Society's (in partnership with the collector and philanthropist Valeria Napoleone) efforts to increase the amount of artwork by women held in collections, emphasize that exhibitions such as this one are still highly relevant.

Touchstones Rochdale continues to expand it's collection of works produced by female artists, building on the legacy already created, as recent acquisitions from Claire Barclay and Hayley Tompkins testify.

Women Artists will run until Spring 2017 with some of the works on display being changed after six months, ensuring that a revisit is worthwhile. The exhibition also includes interactive boxes for under 5's, books for those interested in discovering more about women's art and its history, as well as the opportunity to get involved with the Dear Friend letter-writing project, which was launched as part of International Women's Day 2016.

Touchstones Rochdale is an award winning Arts & Heritage Centre with an art gallery, museum and Local History Centre. It has a regular programme of contemporary visual arts exhibitions. Visit

Flag-raising family fun for St George’s Day

rochdale-town-hallRochdale Borough Council is flying the flag for St George’s Day by inviting residents to take part in celebrations at the annual flag-raising ceremony outside the town hall on Saturday 23 April.

The ceremony will begin at 10am with the reading of a St George’s Day poem. The Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Surinder Biant, will then raise the St George flag outside Rochdale town hall, (where it flies 365 days a year alongside the Union Flag) to celebrate the day of England’s patron saint and promote pride in our national heritage.

Saint Chad, Rochdale Parish Church, will also mark the occasion by ringing the church bells at 10.30am.

Following the flag-raising residents can take tea and scones inside Rochdale town hall.

Free family activities like face painting, balloon modelling and a St George’s Day-themed craft session will also be on offer at Touchstones museum from 10.30am-1pm (craft session from 11am).

Coun Biant said: “We would like this year’s St George’s Day to be bigger and better than ever, so I want to encourage all our residents to come together as one big community and get involved in the celebrations. Let’s show everyone how proud we are of our country.”

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 15/04/16.

Rochdale salutes Major Edmund Gartside

rochdale-salutes-honouredMajor Edmund T Gartside TD DL MA has been made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough, the highest civic honour Rochdale Borough Council can bestow on an individual.

The Freedom of the Borough was awarded to Major Gartside, 82, at a special conferment ceremony held at Rochdale Town Hall on Friday (8 March).

Councillors at the ceremony agreed to honour Major Gartside, a lifelong resident of Bamford, because of his work developing and promoting the Armed Forces Community Covenant within the borough, as well as his work on behalf of the Fusiliers Association Rochdale and the Royal British Legion Rochdale branch.

The Freedom of the Borough is rarely used and only awarded to residents who have made a significant contribution to the locality or have achieved something outstanding.

At the ceremony the Mayor, Councillor Surinder Biant, said: “I am honoured to recognise those who have given so much to the community. Edmund Travis Gartside is one of those people who have given so much over many years of service. This award is well deserved.”

A drinks reception was held in honour of Major Gartside before he was invited to accept his accolade at the official ceremony, by signing the Freedom of the Borough scroll.

Valerie Gartside, Major Gartside’s wife of 33 years, spoke on behalf of her husband, she said: “Edmund feels very honoured to be in this situation. We would like to thank those who proposed him for the honour and everyone who shared the occasion with us.  After 63 years of serving his community Edmund is now taking life easier and enjoying his retirement with his family.”

Major Gartside was also a successful businessman who sat on the council of the Institute of Directors and was High Sheriff of Greater Manchester from 1995-1996.

He served in the Lancashire Fusiliers, commanding a TA company in Rochdale, and is a director of the Fusiliers Museum in Bury.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council 11/04/16.