Memorial bench and silhouette soldier to be unveiled in Bacup

A COMMEMORATIVE bench and silhouette soldier statue will be unveiled in Newgate Gardens, Bacup, the ‘hidden gem’ next to town’s museum.

Bacup Natural History Society and Museum, based on Yorkshire Street, has been hosting a series of events since 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Nat secretary Wendy Watters successfully secured three Heritage Lottery Fund grants, which have paid for major developments at the museum.

She said: “On Easter Saturday April 20, we will be holding another Meet the Tommy event when Scott Knowles will come dressed in period uniform and he will stage a First World War display. At 11.30am the ceremony will take place in Newgate Gardens, next door to The Nat, and we have invited Pat Smith and Andrew Walmsley from Bacup Pride to do the unveiling.

“We had 32 members of The Nat who served in the First World War, but five did not come home – these were brothers Fred and Frank Horrocks, William Pickup, Alex Pounder and Samuel Myerscough. The latest successful lottery bid was for a Sharing Heritage grant and the bench and statue will be in memory of those five.

“Newgate Gardens really is a hidden gem. Bacup Pride do an outstanding job taking care of the steep flower beds that lead to the gardens and inside there is so much of Bacup’s history to explore. On Bacup Nat’s website there is a pdf available that people can download so they can find out the history behind the stones and artefacts that are contained in the garden.”

The Britannia Coconutters have agreed to take time out of their very busy boundary-to-boundary dance on Easter Saturday to call in at Newgate Gardens in the afternoon to dance. Heritage Lottery grants have led to developments at the museum including the Fern Hill Room, which captures a scene from Fern Hill Auxiliary Hospital that was based in Stacksteads during the First World War and looked after soldiers who had been injured in action.

Mrs Ibbitt’s Shop and parlour was also created in an underused storage room and ongoing work has been carried out with primary school pupils and uniformed movements. This year marks the 140th anniversary of Bacup Nat – originally known as ‘The Muck and Flea Club’. Events to celebrate that milestone continue throughout the year and have included working in tandem with Bacup and Stacksteads Carnival.

This year organisers BASCO will be celebrating the centenary of the Peace Procession, the forerunner of the present day event, and grants from the Nat have assisted parade entries and shop displays. The Sharing Heritage project will conclude with an event in August at The Nat.

by Catherine Smyth Media

International opera star Sean Ruane and friends take to Bacup theatre stage

Sean Ruane Photos Liz Henson Photography

A SHOWCASE of home grown talent will be given a huge stage when tenor Sean Ruane returns to his roots – Bacup Royal Court Theatre.

The international opera star started his career in the theatre’s footlights and is delighted to be able to offer a variety of local acts the chance to perform in the 500-seater auditorium.

Sean said: “This is not about me it is about giving the incredible talent that we have in Rossendale a platform. This night will be much more than just opera; it will be a real variety show with something for everyone. The Lomax Brothers Aaron and Guy are in-between ships and cruises on Friday May 31 and so fortunately they are able to bring their original musical act to the stage.

“Since September I have been working with Linsey Hernon to set up St Anne’s Community Choir in Edgeside and their musical director is Ruth McCartney. The choir has between 35-40 members aged from Year 6 in primary school right up to singers in their 70s and they are absolutely brilliant. Linsey approached me to help set up the choir and an outreach programme for St Anne’s.”

He said the choir’s largest audience had been in the church and so the Bacup performance will be a huge venue and the funds they will raise by attending the event will help to keep the choir going.

Singers Jade Schofield and Rachel Spencer, who owns Sophia Management and Casting Agency, will also be performing. Sean said: “Rachel is a really good singer and Jade is in Valley Aloud Community Choir and has experience of performing. I want her to take it to the next level and give her the experience of going solo.”

From starting as a singer in Bacup, Sean’s career has taken him all over the world to sing on many different stages and sporting venues. He now runs his own company Chant Productions, working with young people, groups and businesses to develop choirs and perform.

He said: “I wanted to put on the show because in Rossendale we have really good singers here because of their vowels, ok sometimes you have to correct their pronunciation, but they have a real quality in their voices.”

Also taking to the stage will be 12-year-old Danny Dunning and 11-year-old Max Harwood-Lomax – who has inherited his father’s performance skills. Sean spotted Danny’s potential when he was singing a Hymn in a concert at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School that he was attending. Fortunately he already knew his dad Robert because he has tuned Sean’s pianos.

He said: “His dad sent me videos of Danny singing and I asked if he could perform in the concert – before his voice drops and he becomes a baritone.”

Tickets for the one night only show on Friday May 31 at 7.30pm are available at Wishes Galore in Rochdale Road, Bacup, priced £12.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Valley packed with events for first Rossendale Heritage Festival

2018 Bacup and Stacksteads Carnival – photo: Liz Henson Photography

A HUGE summer heritage festival will see 10 days of activities and events held across Rossendale for all cultures and ages.

The first Rossendale Heritage Festival will run from Friday June 28 to Sunday July 7 beginning with an event at The Boo Theatre in Waterfoot and concluding with the annual festival service at historic Goodshaw Chapel.

Activities will begin in earnest on Saturday June 29 when South Asian heritage and arts group Apna Rossendale will be holding an event in Haslingden. That first weekend will round off with the traditional Bacup and Stacksteads Carnival, which this year is celebrating the centenary of the Peace Procession of 1919, the forerunner of the present day event.

A Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been obtained by Bacup Natural History Society to help youth groups and schools recreate parade entries from 100 years ago. Artist in residence at The Boo Alastair Price is the parade and outreach co-ordinator for Waterfoot Wakes, a two-day festival that will be held on July 6 and 7 at the end of the festival.

He said: “When we held the first Waterfoot Wakes last year we realised that there seemed to be a lot of events happening in Rossendale over a short period of time in the early summer. We thought a heritage festival would be a great way of bringing all kinds of different events together under one umbrella. It will mean all of the activities will be better promoted and we will make sure people get to know more about what is going on.”

Cacophony Arkestra lead the Waterfoot Wakes 2018

Rossendale Heritage Festival is being backed by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant secured by CAST – Community Assets Standing Tall – a charity set up to identify and preserve assets that the community values.

A small group has been formed of representatives from the different events and information for a programme is currently being compiled. Alastair will be running a series of workshops to help participants make parade entries for the carnival and also the Waterfoot Wakes procession and these visual representations will be based around assets that CAST has identified. At the same time as Waterfoot Wakes, Rawtenstall Annual Fair will be happening with events all weekend at The Whitaker in Rawtenstall.

Fair organiser Sid Calderbank is Chairman of The Lancashire Society and is co-ordinating a large group of performers who will be taking to the stage to keep traditional Lancashire dialect songs and poetry alive for present generations.

Alastair is also a member of Cacophony Arkestra – a musical carnival procession entry that will be appearing in both parades. He said: “The festival will be a cultural celebration and will be an opportunity to bring together people of all ages and communities. We have a living heritage and it is about making that accessible to a modern day audience.”

Organisers are keen to hear of heritage related events and meetings that are happening over duration of the festival so they can be publicised in the programme. For more information contact Esther Ferry-Kennington at the Horse and Bamboo Theatre on 01706 220241 or email esther@horseandbamboo.org

Nowt Poncy and VIC join forces

A SAUCE manufacturer and a veterans’ charity have joined forces.

The Nowt Poncy Food Company was founded in Water, Rossendale, in 2016 and now has five successful sauces, which sell UK-wide. Co-founders Jools and Karen Abel wanted to make sure their business gave something back and as Jools’ father was in the Royal Navy and Karen’s father completed his National Service they chose to link up with Veterans In Communities. The Haslingden-based veterans’ charity works all over East Lancashire and also parts of Greater Manchester.

Karen, a former headteacher, and Jools, a time-served mechanical engineer who spent time in the photographic equipment repair industry, now work full-time building their business and brand. Karen said: “We have lived in Rossendale for 30 years and we have read about VIC and the work the charity does in the newspapers.

“When we first started the business we said that once we take on staff we wanted to employ veterans. We would like to be able to offer veterans a chance and also help them to resettle in Civvy Street. As veterans they will be used to following specific methodology and so they will have the skills that we are looking for.

“The training they have had will be something they can bring to our business and we are very committed to the idea of giving back.”

Nowt Poncy is currently seeking to relocate its manufacturing base from Hyndburn to Rossendale and is looking for commercial kitchens that are maybe underused and could offer to rent their premises.

All the company’s sauces are based on authentic recipes including an Italian tomato and basil, a New Orleans based Creole and a North Indian curry. They also supply seven types of pasta. The company’s products are available in 70 retailers across the UK, predominantly in the North. Nowt Poncy has also just begun supplying an outlet in London. Locally, they sell sauces in Rowan’s Butcher’s in Waterfoot, Riley’s Butchers in Crawshawbooth, Simply Vegetarian in Rawtenstall and the town’s market.

Jools said: “To start with we will be providing VIC with a small percentage from all the sauces we sell. We are also offering to support social events that VIC arranges when they are providing catering and we will provide contributions towards emergency food parcels for veterans.”

The VIC Centre in Bury Road is open during the holiday period when other charities close, and when it ‘opens all hours’ food is always provided for those who drop in to enjoy the banter.

Operations Manager Bob Elliott said: “We are very grateful to Nowt Poncy for the generous offer of support for VIC. This is a partnership which we hope will be able to grow and develop over the years to the benefit of both organisations and hopefully will also lead to job opportunities for veterans who have left the armed forces and are transitioning to civilian life.”

To find out more about Nowt Poncy visit www.nowtponcy.co.uk

By Catherine Smyth Media

Centres urged to work together

AN INNOVATIVE scheme aims to unite groups and encourage the sharing of community premises and services across Rossendale.

It is hoped a pilot project can be set up to link the voluntary, community and faith sectors from Haslingden to Bacup and all towns and communities in between.

So far two discussion meetings have been held to discuss ‘more than medicine’ to look at how groups with community premises can work together to ensure the sustainability of the individual facilities.

REAL – Rossendale Enterprise Anchor Limited – is an organisation which has supported the community of Rossendale since 2008.

It encourages the sharing of skills and called together different groups to explain how the scheme could work.

Chair of REAL Hazel Harding said: “Organisations across Rossendale should be working more closely together, to increase their income, share some services and maximise the offer across the Valley.

“Although REAL has put forward this idea, it will be a collective of community groups that will lead it and take the idea forward.

“It’s about working together to meet need, to enable Rossendale and its people to flourish. By putting forward a combined offer, we hope to be able to attract significant funding to ensure the viability of all these centres.”

Already Haslingden Community Link, Veterans In Communities, Crawshawbooth Community Centre and Whitewell Bottom Community Centre have formed links.

Six ‘more than medicine’ events were held in Haslingden when patients with conditions including diabetes, COPD and anxiety and depression got to meet in an informal setting to discuss with experienced professionals and learn from each other.

Hazel said: “This was a huge success, and was like a mass consultation. It could be easily be replicated in another community centre to tackle issues that are prevalent to the local area.”

It is hoped that other groups that have their own facilities including the Doals Centre, the A, B and D Centre and the churches in Rawtenstall will also link up.

Hazel explained: “If three centres are running the same activity then they dilute the number of attendees, but if they work together then the courses will be well attended and more sustainable.

“There is community transport available to make different venues accessible for all and this is a way of ensuring the future viability of all the centres, which our towns and villages need.”

The next meeting is on Thursday February 28 at Haslingden Community Link at 4pm and voluntary groups interested are welcome to attend.

Once a partnership has been formed, the intention is to bid for funding for a Rossendale-wide pilot project.

If successful, larger funding will be sought to sustain the scheme and the Rossendale model could be then used as a template for other areas across Lancashire.

To find out more email realadmin@realtd.co.uk

Award Winning Business Opens Shop in Rawtenstall

Nicola Bailey outside the new premises of Bright & Beautiful Rossendale – based in Barlow Street, just off Bank Street, Rawtenstall.

BUSINESS owner Nicola Bailey has come a long way in seven years from working out of her garage to opening her own town centre shop.

She runs Bright & Beautiful Rossendale and last November picked up the Service Business trophy at Rossendale Business Awards. Nicola took on the franchise in October 2011 after researching different cleaning companies to find one whose ethos fitted her own.

Her home in Rawtenstall became the business base and for the first month she worked on her own with her first task being to clean a tricky stone kitchen floor with a scrubbing brush and toothbrush.

Nicola, 53, said: “It wasn’t easy. After about a month I took on my first team of cleaners and the franchise company helped with recruitment. I wanted to run my own company, and not just be self-employed, because I wanted to have the back up and support of an established business model.”

Her new premises, in Barlow Street, just off Bank Street, is well known to all as the former ‘photo shop’ but the striking new pink livery makes it impossible to miss. Moving into the shop has meant she can widen the scope of the service the company provides.

Franchisee Nicola Bailey with her R-Award trophy.

She said: “We have always offered a laundry and ironing service as part of our housekeeping package when a team goes into someone’s house, now we can have customers bringing laundry into the shop. These premises were ideal because I have space for a shop and also a separate room for the operational part of the business.”

Nicola originally trained as an electrical and electronic engineer and was one of only three girls out of 100 students at Loughborough.

Until she took redundancy in 2001, she worked for a major electronics company latterly a commercial accounts manager.

From there she retrained in accountancy and ran her own bookkeeping service in 2007 before looking for a franchise to take on.

She said: “I knew that there was flexibility in cleaning services and it allows members of my teams to be able to work around their other commitments. We now have 65 clients and work throughout Rossendale, Ramsbottom, Bury and parts of Bolton. I have three teams with three members in each and when they go out to do a job they always go as a team, this ensures efficiency, the quality of work and safety of the team.

“There are cornerstones to the franchise: the trusted team – who are all ethically employed on a salary with benefit entitlements so not self-employed and all our products are eco-friendly. Our service is holistic so not just cleaning but we will sort bedding if required and wash and iron to a hotel standard. We say it is like the fairies have been in and all our team wears smart pink uniforms.

“Our clients come from a range of different backgrounds, many work long hours and they appreciate knowing that when they get back to their house it is a bright and beautiful home and they can have family time instead of cleaning time.”

To find out more call into she shop, round the corner from Reeds Rains, email nicola@brightandbeautifulhome.com or call 01706 396668.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Fabulous Fossils go on Show

Fossil Expert Arthur Baldwin with a 300 million year old fossil found in Sharneyford, Bacup.

FANTASTIC fossils dating back 450 million years will be available for visitors to examine.

The Fossil Fest at Bacup’s Natural History Museum on Sunday February 3 will launch a series of 2019 celebrations for the 140th anniversary of the society.

Bacup Nat Secretary Wendy Watters said: “We have an amazing collection of fossils at the Nat and many that people will have never seen.

“Our fossil expert Arthur Baldwin will be bringing in items from his own personal collection that will amaze the visitors. We are also asking children to bring in their own items for Arthur to identify and examine.

“They will be able to view them using the microscope and if parents bring their smart phones they can also take pictures. We will be having a special dinosaur guest and the children will be asked to name the dinosaur to win a fossil hunting kit.”

The event will be open from 10.30am to 3pm and all children under 12 will receive a small specimen freebie and a goodie bag.

Some of the many fossils at Bacup’s Natural History Society Museum

The Nat started life in a terraced cottage in 1878 on Rochdale Road and in 1947 it relocated to the former Hare and Hounds public house on Yorkshire Street, where it has been based ever since.

Wendy successfully secured a further Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Grant for £10,000 to cover a series of events. She said: “Inside the Nat there will be a timeline display explaining the history of the society and the town over each of the decades. There will be a lot of information about things that happened in Bacup that visitors may not even be aware of.

“We have ordered a special bench which will be unveiled at Newgate Garden on Easter Saturday. It is being made by David Ogilvie Engineering in Kilmarnock, Scotland, and has an intricate design on the back featuring all the armed forces, a war horse, ambulance and poppies. The company is also going to be making a silent soldier statue, which shows a soldier in mourning and that is going to be a permanent fixture in the garden.”

Events will cuminate in the 100th anniversary of the Peace Procession, which was the forerunner of the town’s carnival.

She said: “We are working with Bacup and Stacksteads Carnival to celebrate the centenary by encouraging youth groups and schools to recreate parade entries from the 1919 procession and also shop window displays. We are providing a small grant for those groups we work with if they take part in the carnival procession on Sunday June 30 to celebrate the Peace Procession anniversary.”

The Nat is open every Thursday from 7.30pm to about 10pm and the third Saturday of every month from 10.30am to 1pm.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Former pit transformed into stunning holiday accommodation

Mayor Councillor Ann Kenyon with Rossendale Holiday Cottages director Rachel Wilson in the latest cottage to be opened at the Water site.

A FORMER colliery site has been transformed into a stunning collection of holiday cottages and glamping pods attracting hundreds of people into Rossendale.

Jonny and Rachel Wilson, from Summerseat, bought the 20 acre-site on Dean Lane, Water, in 2010 on a speculative basis. With a background in marketing promotion for prestigious hotels, Jonny has travelled the world and used that knowledge to develop Rossendale Holiday Cottages.

The first three cottages opened in 2014 and now eight have been developed with the latest two Bluebell and Buttercup being officially opened by the Mayor of Rossendale Councillor Ann Kenyon.

Councillor Kenyon said: “It is fantastic and a big asset to the Valley because we are short of holiday accommodation for families visiting their relatives. I had heard about the development but visiting it has exceeded all my expectations; I would come here for a break.”

Jonny said: “We have a unique place here in a great location, the best facilities, staff and places for people to visit in Rossendale.”

Glamping pods were added from 2016 and permission has been granted for subterranean accommodation, which will be built into the hillside with a grass roof.

Jonny said: “We will be building eight luxury guest bedrooms, a swimming pool and health spa. We will be able to offer treatments and there will also be a small bar and bistro. We will still be encouraging visitors to explore the local area and we provide all our guests with a book of places to go to and where to eat.

“All of our accommodation has been built and developed by local tradesmen to a very high specification and wherever possible we source from local businesses.”

The company currently employs 10 people but that will expand to around 18 when the next development opens in 2020.

Jules Grady from Ramsbottom has previously stayed at Rossendale Holiday Cottages on a yoga retreat. She said: “It is an idyllic location and you almost feel like you are in a part of rural England, Scotland or Wales. I would never have thought to come to Rossendale on a retreat but it really works as a venue.”

In the Spring, a children’s play area will be opening with a fort, zip wire and play equipment. Already 4,000 native deciduous trees have been planted and Rachel said they were looking to add evergreen trees and shrubs to provide all year round greenery.

As well as the popular yoga and cycling themed weekends, Jonny said the location lends itself to corporate retreats for business professionals or team building activities.

For more information visit www.rossendaleholidaycottages.co.uk, email stay@rossendaleholidaycottages.co.uk or call 01706 534364.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Independent Small Businesses Make Our Town Centres Unique

There is retail retreat happening everywhere, as larger businesses and chains desert our town centres (with many ceasing trading altogether or locating to out of town retail parks) under intense competitive pressure from online retail. One thing is becoming abundantly clear, they will never be able to come back…

This may, on the surface, look like a bad thing, but it is also a major opportunity. A preponderance of chains led to identikit town centres, their absence may leave empty shops and poor footfall, but the small independent businesses that remain can give each town centre a unique character and the possibility of a unique selling proposition to local residents and visitors alike.

To make the most of this opportunity, we need to bring the independent small businesses together, so that they can help each other identify and promote that unique selling proposition – what makes shopping in a particular town centre different (and better) that anywhere else. These businesses perhaps feel too small, too isolated and too dispirited to believe that collectively they can make a difference. We must find a way to help them come together an participate in something positive, to rekindle self-belief and inspire further collective action.

We are seeing this happen in Rawtenstall, Haslingden and Crawshawbooth, how can we make it so everywhere?

What do you think?

Rob Carder, Chair Valley at Work

Anita Finds Natural Way to a Healthy Life

AS A teenager Anita Graham-Bateson struggled with her health, but it was not until her 40s that she realised it was her own body that was not in balance. After a series of serious health issues, doctors said she would be on medication for life. Anita said: “I was not prepared to accept that and was walking past a shop and saw a poster advertising The Nutritional Healing Foundation and it just talked to me. I immediately picked up the phone.”

This led to a meeting with a naturopathic doctor. For the first time in her life, Anita found someone who was able to understand her. “Instead of trying to resolve issues with medication,” she said, “this doctor was able to get to the root cause of my problems. It turned out I was sensitive to chemicals and electro-magnetic frequencies.”

It took years for Anita to begin feeling ‘normal’ again and a complete change of lifestyle. With hard work and determination she was able to regain energy and feel healthier than she had done in decades. She said: “I began to understand how the body heals, in what order and to not overload, how to step back and, yes, in my case I changed my way of life to be in tune with my body. I knew I got sick if I overdid things and so I promised my body, mind and soul that I would be clean in my eating, rest and learn to love myself.”

Anita, now 50, embraced those changes by learning more and studied at the Nutritional Healing Foundation College in Liverpool on an intensive three-year course in anatomy and physiology and nutritional healing, therapy and science. While having treatment she learnt about NES health – a technology driven healing system that scans the electrical field of the body and pinpoints areas of imbalance. Ever the student, after her advanced diploma she also trained to become an NES health practitioner and two years ago she set up her own therapeutic business Well-NES and Nutrition.

She said: “I looked for premises in Rossendale, but was unable to find anywhere so we constructed a purpose-built therapy room at our Haslingden home. As the New Year often leads to resolutions, especially around health and wellbeing, I want people to know that, if they are willing to make the changes necessary, I can help them to improve their lives.”

Testimonials on her website recount how Anita’s help has made a difference to the lives of people with a multitude of different health and wellbeing complaints. She said: “I can show you how to listen to your amazing, beautiful, unique you. To heal, be healthy and be happy. I use naturopathic healing. The NES scan identifies imbalances and I carry out a comprehensive assessment of a person’s lifestyle and genetic history to be able to evaluate the whole person. I then create a bespoke healing plan to help them adapt to improve their own health.”

For more information visit www.well-nes.co.uk or call 078555 24273 or email anita@well-nes.co.uk

Story by Catherine Smyth Media