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Details of a public event at Tandle Hill Park, Royton on June 23rd

The families of Alison Howe and Lisa Lees are inviting the people of Royton to join them for a Picnic in the Park to pay tribute to their loved ones.

This event will be taking place at Tandle Hill Country Park from 5pm onwards on Friday, June 23 following funerals earlier that day at St Anne’s Church.

Alison and Lisa were taken from us in the Manchester Arena attack and we have since been overwhelmed by offers of support and condolences from across the community.

We are inviting local people to bring picnics to Tandle Hill to join an event to honour and celebrate the lives of two angels who represented “the best of all of us”.

Entertainment will be provided by local musicians on a stage from around 6pm onwards until 10.30pm.

Our families hope that many others will join us to show that – while our hearts are broken – the community stands together.

Please note that we politely ask people to arrive on foot to minimise disruption/ parking issues in the neighbourhood.

People can bring their own food and drinks but barbecues, Chinese lanterns, tea lights or other flammable objects will not be permitted in the interests of public safety.


This event is supported by Oldham Council, Greater Manchester Police and a range of partners in the area.

2017 Diggle Blues Festival

To see a gallery of images taken during the 2017 Diggle Blues Festival click here

Turnpike Challenge riders raise over £900 for Prostate Cancer UK

by Jon Stocker

The Turnpike Challenge just gets better and better.

This year with the fantastic sunny weather the event saw its highest number of entrants. Eighty six riders turned out for the challenging 25 mile ride up into the Pennines.

As might be expected, the hot weather took its toll on some of the riders but, thanks to the Clarion Cycling Club and their motto of “no one gets left behind”, everyone made it safely around the course.

All participants were treated to much needed refreshments at Diggle Band Club and Jo Castle’s famous meat and potato pies were a lifesaver.

Chris Moreman, Co-founder of the Turnpike Challenge, commented, “ As the event grows, it is attracting a broad spectrum of riders, this helps to create a great atmosphere and camaraderie during the ride “.

A big thank you should go to Jo Castle of the Diggle Band Club for giving her time to help run the event, to all the Clarion riders who provide support to the riders, to Saddleworth Rotary  members for standing on the corners of the streets directing the riders down the correct route, to  CycleTech for providing mechanical and medical support. Also we need to thank Becca and Marilyn for running  the feed station which were in great demand and for the water and special flapjacks provided by the staff of  North Ainley. Finally we must give a big  thanks to all the riders who as of today have raised over £900 for Prostate Cancer UK – once again this is a record amount!

Young people to benefit from half price bus tickets

Almost 100,000 young people aged between 16 and 18 are set to benefit from half price bus tickets following a new offer agreed between the Mayor of Greater Manchester and bus operators.

The deal will see the cost of a day ticket for young people cut in half – reducing the cost of journeys and enabling young people to more easily access work opportunities, training, education and skills. Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Throughout the mayoral campaign, I promised to help our young people get on in life, and this is the first step in delivering on that. We will only build a strong and prosperous Greater Manchester by giving every young person hope at the end of school and help to take up new opportunities. The cost of travel is a major barrier to young people’s progress and I am determined to remove it. I look forward to working together with bus operators in the future to improve the transport offer in Greater Manchester.”

The scheme will see Greater Manchester Travelcards Ltd (GMTL), which represents all bus companies in Greater Manchester, extending its multi-operator 50% discounted 16 and under ticket and introducing a Junior Day Ticket to cover 16 to 18 year olds. Eligibility to use the ticket would run up to the 31 August after the user’s 18th birthday.

As with the existing igo card scheme for under-16s, ongoing eligibility will be linked to behaviour – with poor or anti-social behaviour resulting in the card being withdrawn.

Trevor Roberts, Chairman of GMTL, said: “GMTL, on behalf of public transport operators, is pleased to be able to assist in realising the Mayor’s aspiration, by introducing a new smart travelcard product for 16 to 18 year olds, building on the already successful range of its travelcards offered across Greater Manchester.”

Phil Medlicott, Managing Director at First Manchester, adds: “As one of the major bus operators in Greater Manchester we’re pleased to support today’s announcement as we continue to work in partnership to deliver reliable and value for money bus services across the region. This news supports our continued aim to ensure that buses are accessible to everyone, which is why we’ve recently launched new initiatives such as allowing parents to purchase mTickets and transfer these onto their child’s mobile phone. We look forward to continuing to work with Transport for Greater Manchester and the Mayor on new initiatives to improve bus travel in the region.”

Stagecoach Manchester Managing Director, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “We already offer the best value bus fares in Britain and we are delighted to work with the mayor to deliver this significant cut in the cost of travel for young people in Manchester. This is one element of a wider package of comprehensive partnership proposals which would deliver an improved transport offer for Greater Manchester. Critical to making these improvements a reality are urgent measures to tackle rising congestion. Reducing congestion would lead to more reliable bus services and faster journey times, helping boost the local economy and improve air quality for the citizens of Greater Manchester.”

Phil Cummins, Area Managing Director of Arriva North West, said: “We look forward to working with the newly elected Mayor and combined authority to provide the very best transport services to support residents and businesses in Greater Manchester. We recognise the need to work in partnership to make bus travel an even more attractive choice, and we are already working with stakeholders and partners on plans to further enhance services.”

Lisa O’Loughlin, Principal of The Manchester College where the scheme was officially launched, said: “We welcome the proposal to make travel cheaper for our thousands of students. Typically, over 85% of our students travel an average of more than three miles to get to our campuses for study, the majority using public transport. Minimising the burden of travel costs to young people can only be good in the long term, to encourage students to access the available opportunities in training and apprenticeships. This will benefit the future of the city, our training providers and the businesses which will be able to grow with a highly skilled and motivated workforce.”

To benefit from the discount users would be required to apply for a personalised 16-18 get me there smartcard (issued by TfGM). The new ticket and smartcard will be available from September 2017 with applications being accepted from August onwards. More details are set to be shared with schools and colleges ahead of the summer holidays.

Saddleworth Group of Artists Annual Summer Exhibition 2017

‘Niamh’. Oil. Artist – David Oag

Well known local artists will again be exhibiting their work for the Saddleworth Group of Artists Summer Exhibition at the Saddleworth Museum from Saturday 17th June to Sunday 16th July

Always a popular show, the exhibition will be comprised of up to fifty works, with styles ranging from photo realism to expressionistic. Most paintings will be on sale.
The group, founded in 1950 by water colourist Ellis Shaw and friends, is currently comprised of around sixty enthusiastic members. Some are full time professionals but all are seriously committed to their work.

Lottery funded refurbishment of the Saddleworth Museum last year has transformed the existing museum with improved access, enhanced displays and exhibitions and an engaging learning programme, all ensuring the museum’s future for many years to come.”

Check out our website –

Saddleworth Museum, High St, Uppermill, OL36HS Tel. 01457874093.
Entry to the exhibition gallery is free of charge.

Assembly Winder’. Watercolour. Janis Bowie.

Whit Friday in Diggle

To see the full gallery visit: Whit Friday in Diggle

The Greatest Free Show on Earth

Wit Friday walkers in Diggle (Photo: ©StuartColeman)

This year’s Whit Friday band contests are set to attract thousands of people to the borough – including musicians from as far afield as Switzerland and Australia.

Dubbed ‘the greatest free show on earth’, this traditional event dates back to 1884. Contests will run across 11 villages from 4pm until around 10.30pm on Friday, June 9 – following on from the traditional ‘Whit Walks’ in the morning.

This year the Tanunda Town Band from South Australia has made the journey not just to participate in the contests, but also to perform in concerts in and around Saddleworth. BBC Radio 2 will be broadcasting live on the day as part of ‘Listen to the Band’ and will also be filming the event for a BBC Music Day legacy film.

Several months of planning between partners have taken place to ensure residents and visitors can enjoy the day. Helen Lockwood, Executive Director Economy, Skills and Neighborhoods, said: “For more than a century the Whit Friday Band have helped put the borough on the musical map – it is the biggest event on our calendar. We’re delighted to be welcoming bands and visitors from across the country and a lot further to this great free show. It is vital we all support major events like this because they not only put smiles on faces and showcase Oldham, but also contribute to the local economy

“Thanks to the huge efforts made by the organisers and volunteers the event has been a success year after year. We’ve all been working for months with our partners, such as Greater Manchester Police, to ensure that we have all the right traffic diversions, stewarding and policing arrangements in place to make the event a success. We’d encourage everyone to act responsibly and have a great day.”

Once the music has stopped there’s also a huge clean-up operation to carry out. Working alongside an army of volunteers, council staff will clear away litter and empty street bins so that things can return to normal as quickly as possible.

The Saddleworth and Lees District Executive has been closely involved in organising the event and its’ members have again given a significant financial contribution from their devolved funding from Oldham Council towards the costs of prizes, stewarding and other vital amenities.

Some road restrictions are in force in the area from 4pm until midnight on June 9. These have been signposted in advance. Event stewards or police are also on hand at venues if motorists need help. For more information visit: Notices on inSaddleworth

GMP officers will be in attendance across the various contests. They advise all parents to keep in touch with children throughout the day so that you know where they are, who they are with and when you can expect them to return home. Any young person suspected to be in possession of alcohol may be searched.

For more background information on the band contests visit:

Follow the Thread exhibition celebrates Oldham’s industrial past 

A fascinating exhibition has launched at Gallery Oldham celebrating Oldham’s proud industrial past.

In 1865 Godai Tomoatsu, a student from the western Japanese island of Kyushu and agent of the Prince of Satsuma, secretly came to Oldham. At the time Oldham was the world’s greatest cotton mill town. Godai visited the famous Platt Brothers’ Works in Werneth and placed an order for textile machinery and spindles. He also arranged for engineers to visit Japan to set up the country’s first modern textile mill – inspiring and igniting the Japanese Industrial Revolution.

Now, more than 150 years later, the ‘Follow the Thread’ project celebrates Oldham’s historic Japanese cotton connection. The project and exhibition brings together Crompton Primary School and Hashima Elementary School in Ichikikushikino, the city from which Godai first left Japan. A joint picture, produced by children from both schools, will be on display at the exhibition celebrating the relationship between Oldham and Ichikikushikino. A supporting exhibition highlights the history of these two towns and how their link is being renewed in 2017.

Sheena MacFarlane, Head of Heritage, Libraries and Arts said: “It’s wonderful that the unique history between these two towns is being recognised and that school children on different sides of the world are being given the opportunity to learn about their past. I hope the link between these two schools continues to flourish and I would urge anyone with an interest in Oldham’s history and our impact on the world during the Industrial Revolution, to visit the gallery.”

The exhibition opens on Saturday 27 May until Saturday 8 July. For more information visit: Gallery Oldham

Transport services return to Victoria following terrorist attack

City leaders in Greater Manchester have welcomed the reopening of Victoria Station following last week’s horrific terrorist attack at Manchester Arena.

The station, which has been shut since the incident on Monday 22 May, will reopen from tomorrow (Tuesday 30 May) – with Northern, Trans Pennine Express and Metrolink operating a full timetable of services.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We continue to grieve with the families of those who died, and support those injured. I’ve been clear that all public bodies must take a families-first approach in the days, months and years ahead to ensure their needs and wishes are fully understood and considered.

“Victoria station’s reopening is an important statement about our city’s recovery from this devastating attack. It continues to send out the message that we will not be bowed, we will not be divided, and we will stand together.”

The opening of the station, following the lifting of the police cordon, means full timetabled Metrolink and rail services will resume across the network. To find out more passengers should check with their rail operator, at or on the National Rail Enquiries website.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This has been an incredibly difficult week for Manchester and everyone affected by the attack. Our thoughts remain very much with the families and friends at this time.

“The re-opening of Victoria Station, a major transport hub, is a symbolic moment in the recovery process as the city shows its defiance and resilience by moving forwards. I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of the emergency services and railway staff, many of whom were among the first on the scene of last week’s devastating events, to return the station to use.”

Public transport users are asked to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to staff or the police and to continue visiting our page or follow our social media channels for the very latest travel information and advice

For further information about public transport across Greater Manchester visit, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.

The Plan for Saddleworth – Have Your Say!

Are you concerned about issues such as planning, development, schooling, transport, traffic, health care & protection of the Green Belt in Saddleworth?

Saddleworth Parish Council are preparing their Neighbourhood plan and want to ask local people about the issues that matter to them.

Rob Knotts Chair of Saddleworth Parish Council Planning Committee is holding an open meeting and workshop at 7.30pm on Tuesday 30th May at Diggle Band Club, Bankfield House, Huddersfield Rd, Diggle.

This meeting will enable you to find out more information, get involved and have your say.

This is our chance to influence the way Saddleworth is managed and developed in the future – please come along and get involved.

For more information contact the Diggle Community Association Chairman, Mark Brooks at