Advice Charity’s 80 Years of Free Service

AN ADVICE charity that has helped thousands of people across Rossendale and Hyndburn celebrated its 80th birthday with an open house.

Memories came flooding back for the scores of visitors to the Citizens’ Advice Rossendale and Hyndburn offices at Stubbylee Hall, Bacup. Not least Rossendale’s Mayor Councillor Barbara Ashworth who used to be the manager of Bacup.

She said: “I first started as a volunteer in 1978 and then I got a paid job at Heywood. I returned to Rossendale as manager in Bacup when the Citizens’ Advice Bureau was based in Pioneer Buildings.”

Coun Ashworth was manager for six years and recalled how in those days the bulk of the agency’s funding was from the local authority.

Present manager of Rossendale and Hyndburn Rachel Whippy said: “Now we seek grants and funding from trusts and foundations and we only receive around 25 per cent from local authorities.”

The Citizens’ Advice Bureau was founded nationally on September 4 1939. On April 4 1940 the Bacup office opened in the town’s library and on September 3 1940 the Accrington and District CAB opened.

A time line was created by supervisor at Hyndburn CA Julia Hannaford and files of newspaper cuttings told the stories of both offices. A ledger from 1944 caused great interest and included in the inquiries were lots of claims for missing laundry, a request for a permit for wellies, pensions for soldiers missing in action and mothers trying to trace American soldiers for child maintenance.

Linda Allen, 74, from Whitworth, began volunteering with the bureau 30 years ago. She said: “I started when my youngest son had got married and my oldest was already married and I thought I would like to do some volunteering.

“I was initially an adviser in Whitworth, and I was there when Princess Anne came to open the new office. When Whitworth closed I then began volunteering in Bacup, first at Pioneer Buildings, then King Street and now at Stubblylee Hall and this is the best place. I now do just one or two days a week, reception and filing. Today has brought back lots of memories and I have made many good friends here over the years.”

The agency is constantly evolving and has just launched a new project across Rossendale and Hyndburn funded by a grant from the Henry Smith Foundation.

Rachel explained: “We identified that there was a need in a certain group of clients – mainly single adults who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. We were giving advice and help, but then when they left the service it wasn’t always being implemented. They would find themselves in the same circumstances and return to us for assistance.

“This funding enables us to have two new posts to cover both offices to help them get a tenancy, assist in learning how to budget and manage their money and hopefully break the cycle.”

For more information on the Citizens’ Advice contact 0300 456 2552 or visit www.carh.org.uk

by Catherine Smyth Media

Talking Newspaper Celebrates 40th Anniversary

LISTENERS, readers, volunteers and dignitaries packed a steam train to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Rossendale Talking Newspaper.

It was 1979 when the first Chairman Barry Lonsdale launched the audible version of the Rossendale Free Press and present Chairman Rodney Poucher, who has been involved since 1986, took over the chairmanship 10 years ago.

He said: “When the Talking Newspaper started we recorded the Rossendale Free Press onto 90 minute tapes and it would be distributed to 160 people. The tapes would then be returned and recorded over each week. Nine years ago in 2010 we went digital and started recording on to a memory stick which the Royal Mail distributes for free. At the moment we have 40-45 listeners.”

Jane King, 83, from Bacup, said: “My right eye went about 12 years ago and then about two years ago my left one went and now it is very hazy. I could not see the steam engine because it merged in with the background. I have always had the newspaper ever since I lived in Bacup and thanks to the Talking Newspaper I can now ‘read’ it again.”

There was a lovely atmosphere on the train as readers and listeners mingled and shared stories.

Sheila Brierley, 71, from Helmshore, said: “I can’t read the newspaper anymore because I have macular degeneration and so have had the Talking Newspaper for four to five months. Malcolm, my husband, used to read the news to me off the internet, but now I have a machine and I get a USB and can listen to it myself. I can also use it for audio books. I now know what is going on and what is coming up in Rossendale.”

The paper does not just help people with sight problems keep up to date, it is also useful for people who have dementia or who for whatever reason struggle to hold a newspaper and turn the pages.

Members of 38th Rossendale Scout Group from Beavers to Explorer Scouts were guest readers this year and have selected the Talking Newspaper as its charity of the year and representatives were on the train.

The Mayor of Rossendale Councillor Barbara Ashworth said: “It has been a lovely journey and I have learnt about something I didn’t know that much about. The paper is not just for people who have eyesight problems but lots of other issues too; including dementia.”

Also on the train was Rossendale Council Leader Councillor Alyson Barnes who was one of the readers for the first nine years when she moved to Rossendale.

Rodney added: “We have 57 people involved as volunteers, both readers, those who arrange distribution and the committee. Since 1979 we have had about 300 volunteers involved who have read 1,962 editions of the Rossendale Free Press.”

Anyone wanting to have an audio copy of the paper can contact Rodney on 01706 213962.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Salon’s 50th Celebration Raises £4k for Good Causes

Photo Naomi Entwistle Photography

A SPARKLING Sixties-style celebration to mark a business’s 50th anniversary raised more than £4,000 for three good causes.

It was in 1969 when Tony Winder and his then wife Patricia opened Antony and Patricia’s Hair Salon in Rawtenstall (A&P), initially in premises on Newchurch Road. Many visitors attending the celebration at The Whitaker, in Rawtenstall, entered into the spirit by dressing in ’60s style clothing.

A&P moved to a former laundrette premises in Bank Street in 1972 and the business has never stopped evolving, opening Bosun’s Barbers on the upper deck in 2016 and the hugely successful Noah’s Ark Children’s Salon in 2018. However one thing that hasn’t changed is its director Tony Winder – who is still steering the ship.

Tony, 72, said: “I am very grateful to everyone who has come along tonight to make this celebration so special. I started my career in 1962 at Les Howarth’s barber’s in Haslingden and then was a camp barber in Butlins and on one day in Filey I did 65 haircuts in one 9-6 day and still had an hour for lunch.

“A lot has changed over the years with the business but one of our outstanding success stories has been Noah’s Ark that attracts children from all over the North West one that travelled from London.”

More than 150 guests attended the evening including actor Jane Horrocks, originally from Rossendale, who was guest celebrity. The star, best known for ‘Little Voice’ and her character Bubbles in ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, recounted her days modelling in one of Tony’s hair shows as a punk.

Describing the salon as like a ‘home from home’, she said: “I have very fond memories. My mum also modelled in the shows and Tony would always do a demonstration of every generation of hair. To have a punk hairstyle in the show was fantastic for the Valley.”

Guest Julie Kszych, a long time skiing friend of Tony and his wife Karina, who is also a director of A&P, heard about the party when the friends met in Switzerland in January and made a 5,000 journey from her home in Florida for the celebrations. Julie, who used the trip to catch up with several friends in the UK, said: “My motto has always been savour the moment. This is the first time I have been to Rossendale. Tony and Karina are a lovely couple.”

The event included charity fundraisers, food and entertainment from Sarah Davis and singer Charlotte May and Thomas and was raising money for Civic Pride Rossendale, Tor View Specialist Learning Community and the Manchester and District Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND). John Edmondson, who went on to run his own salon in Monton, has MND. He said: “I was 17 when I joined A&P as an apprentice, my sister Christine was already there. Tony was very strict but in a professional way and he wanted to get the best out of you. There were lots of practical jokes – like when an apprentice was sent out to get a bucket of steam – but he taught me well and for 26 years I had my own salon.”

On behalf of Tor View, Clare Mulderrig explained how the school had grown from 40 pupils to more than 200 from nursery to further education and this year was offering 20 independent college places.

A&P has long been a supporter of Civic Pride Rossendale and trustee Lynn Smith said: “We thank Tony from the bottom of our hearts for everything he has done.”

The current team at A&P joined former colleagues, many of whom had been apprentices under Tony’s tutelage, to recount and reflect their time at the salon.

Tony used his speech to announce that he was now going to be taking Tuesday’s off, would be coming into work at 9am instead of 8am and was going to begin planning for his retirement.

Towards the end of the evening, former Tony Blair spin-doctor and fellow Claret supporter Alastair Campbell also called in to wish Tony well.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Bacup’s Booming Centre Gains Another New Business

Mayor Barbara Ashworth with foot health practitioner Catherine Hunter and her daughter Grace opens Hunter’s Foot Health Clinic

HAVING reflexology before her fifth round of IVF treatment not only led to a successful pregnancy, it also gave Catherine Hunter a new career path. Grace is now 16 years old and waiting for her GCSE results; her mum Catherine retrained from being a medical receptionist and has just opened Hunter’s Foot Health Clinic in her own shop at 29 St James Street, Bacup.

She said: “I found out I could not have children naturally at 24 and began on IVF. On our last attempt I had reflexology at a critical time before the fifth round of IVF and it worked. I call her my ‘saving’ Grace.

“Someone said I should do something for myself and so I started to research reflexology and I completed an intensive course.”

Catherine, 45, got bitten by the study bug and went on to complete a course in anatomy and physiology. She started volunteering at a Sure Start children’s centre in Todmorden helping to support families by using her skills.

She said: “I came to live in Sharneyford just over seven years ago when I was studying a foot health practitioners’ course. I knew I was going to have to go into the private sector because the NHS was cutting back.

“I qualified in September 2015 and opened a room at Pioneer Health Studio, initially when they were based at Riverside, Bacup. That first week I had just three clients. I moved with the gym to Park Road and the business grew, but it was always my aim to open my own premises.”

She had seen Bacup town centre transformed with the Townscape Heritage Initiative money that was awarded to Rossendale Council.

In May as a finalist in the Health Therapist of the Year category of the Lifestyle Awards, she passed a vacant shop premises on St James Street. She said: “I was delighted to be a finalist and then when I passed the premises again on my way back home, I knew I was going to move there.

“I now have 350 clients, but with one room I did not have the space to expand at Pioneer. Natalie and Gavin Smith were the best landlords I could have had and they both have wished me all the best. I am grateful for the support I have had from everyone, including my family, local businesses that refurbished of the premises and traders and old and new clients who have called in since I have opened.

“This is something I have been working towards over the past three years, but the time wasn’t right – now it is.”

Mayor Councillor Barbara Ashworth performed the opening ceremony and said: “I am so pleased to see the changes in the town centre and I think this is really going take off and I know there is a market both for younger people and older people.”

Catherine is also hoping to take on a second practitioner and to extend the clinic to create a serenity room for relaxing reflexology and Warm Wax Therapy.

To find out more visit the clinic at St James Street, email thehunters.foothealthclinic@gmail.com or call Catherine on 07854 435937.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Sam taps his way into acclaimed company

DANCER Sam Hughes is a step closer to his West End goal after landing a place on an Associate Programme with a prestigious tap dancing company Tap Attack.

The 14-year-old started dancing at two-and-a-half at Dansworks Dance Academy of Performing Arts. When Dansworks opened, initially in Waterfoot, Sam, from Whitewell Bottom, was one of the first people to join.

His mum Helen said: “His friend was going to a dance class and Sam asked if he could go along with her and he was hooked. From the age of five to seven he would choreograph and write out dance routines, which he would then perform.”

He was initially just doing Tap and Ballet and then decided to join a different dance school and tried cheerleading before at nine he returned to Dansworks, and the studios in Bacup have now become his second home.

Sam, a student at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School, now has dance lessons in Tap, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Contemporary Dance Modern Jazz and Drama and loves taking part in the shows and competitions. He first auditioned two years ago for Tap Attack, which is based in Halifax, but  he didn’t get through.

Sam said: “Tap has always been the style I like best. At the audition this time I was quite nervous when I went into the room, but as soon as the teacher started talking I thought, ‘I could do this’. I liked the atmosphere and as I settled into the audition I could tell that my ability was on a higher level that the other students in my age group.”

Sam, who has previously performed in Halifax in the professional pantomime Aladdin, is looking forward to joining Tap Attack at a two-day Workshop in Swindon and hopes to get picked for the team that will compete in the Tap Dancing World Championships.

He added: “I will be learning American style Street Tap which is less traditional and is very rhythmical. I would love to perform in bigger theatres and with large companies. Gemma Nuttall has recently been my tap dancing teacher at Dansworks. She has been amazing, she has inspired me she understands what I want to do and she has helped me to get where I have today.”

Danworks Principal Karen Roe said: “We are so proud of Sam, he has always had a passion for dance but the last two years he has worked so hard and has been so determined to get to the level he needed to be at. His improvement in all his dance styles this year has been phenomenal – attaining 96 per cent in his most recent Dance Exam – and he thoroughly deserves his place on the Tap Attack Associate Programme.”

Photos Liz Henson Photography

Words Catherine Smyth Media

One Year On, Two Awards, The Hub of the Community – Anna’s Cafe Bar

A RURAL village bar that has become the heart of a remote community celebrated its first anniversary by picking up a second business award.

In June 2018 when Anna Preece opened Anna’s Cafe Bar on Burnley Road, Weir, Bacup, she looked up and down the busy main road wondering if anyone would visit… and they did. By lunchtime the café was packed and after just eight weeks the business had already achieved the target Anna had set for six months.

The success continued and in November Anna’s was the ‘Invest in Rossendale’ award winner at Rossendale Business Awards, and now at the Rossendale Lifestyle Awards it picked up ‘Bar of the Year’.

Anna, 44, used to be a full-time mum, make soup and bake bread to sell locally and was a part-time copywriter. Now, along with her husband Dave, she is partner in the business, which has offered full and part-time employment to many in a village where there are few job opportunities.

She said: “At the Lifestyle Awards Councillor Sean Serridge was announcing the winner and as he used to live in the village until recently and visits here, I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if he presented the award to us.’ Then he did. It was such a strong category with so many great bars as finalists I didn’t think we would win it.”

Initially, Anna and Dave were looking to rent the premises, which used to be a shop, and had started the planning process only for the owners to announce they were selling to a third party. Anna said: “I was gutted, but then that fell through and we were offered the building and were able to raise the money to buy it. We got the deeds in February and the first thing I did was come in and start knocking walls down.”

Anna and Dave have two children Poppy, 15, and Huey, 12, and Anna said it has been important for them to understand that hard work reaps its own rewards. She said: “Before we opened I was worried about how it would go, but I sort of knew it was going to work. I always knew what I wanted to do with the building and had a vision, but this has become so much bigger.

“We are now a hub for the community to meet, socialise, get to know their neighbours and hold parties. We have also had a visitor come all the way from Leeds – how many cafes did he pass on his way just to come here?”

Meeting a real need in the remote village by providing a warm and welcoming place, has ensured Anna’s is packed every weekend and tables need to be booked in advance. Now Anna is considering an Anna’s 2 and possibly an Anna’s 3 in other areas, replicating the successful template of the Weir business.

She said: “These awards are as much for my team as they are absolutely key to Anna’s being as successful as it is. We knew we had high quality products, we only use high quality ingredients and everything is home-made, but the excellent service, welcome and making people feel comfortable is just as important as we want them to come back.”

Anna’s also gives back and has donated nearly £1,300 vouchers to charities and community groups since it opened.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Nine Days of Heritage Activities Across Rossendale

FROM Asian comedy, to a traditional carnival procession, dialect song and dance to a comedy night – the nine-day Rossendale Heritage Festival has something for everyone.

When it was realised that a number of heritage events were happening across Rossendale at the same time, organisers got together to see how they could work in unison to promote all the attractions and boost visitor numbers.

The result will be a hectic nine day festival starting on Saturday June 29 at 11am with an interactive storytelling session at Haslingden Library all about Ramadan. Eight days later it will conclude on Sunday July 7 at 6pm when the Larks of Dean Quire will sing historic Hymns at Goodshaw Chapel at the annual sermon.

Marketing and publicity officer at The Boo, in Waterfoot, Michelle Darwin said: “We have been working in partnership with all different venues all across Rossendale. We have Smash Bengali at The Whitaker in Rawtenstall at 6pm on Saturday June 29, he is a British Bengali YouTuber Hashu who fuses his two cultures in his own unique style of comedy.

“As part of the heritage festival there will also be two parades. The first being on Sunday June 30 to mark the Centenary of Bacup and Stacksteads Carnival which started with a Peace Procession in 1919, to celebrate the signing of the Armistice. Then on the penultimate day of the festival, Waterfoot Wakes procession will be held celebrating the traditional Wakes Holidays when mills would close and the workers would enjoy a week off work.”

The Wakes celebrations will be held in venues across Waterfoot from June 4-7 and include a ceilidh and a meal and comedy night, when the audience will dine at the Old Library Café, before attending a comedy night at The Boo to watch a preview of two Edinburgh Fringe acts. Two acoustic nights will be held – at Anna’s Café Bar in Weir on Monday July 1 and at The Whitaker on Wednesday July 3.

Also on the final weekend of the heritage festival a two-day Dialect-I-Fest celebration will be held at The Whitaker in Rawtenstall with stages inside the hall and in the park hosting live acts, music, song, dance and brass bands. Rosso has been asked to switch one of its service buses for a liveried bus for the duration of the festival.

At Bacup Natural History Society Museum an exhibition to mark 100 years of the town’s carnival opens this Saturday June 15 and will be on throughout the Heritage Festival until Sunday July 7. A Heritage Lottery Grant awarded to Community Assets Standing Tall, a charity seeking to have historical assets listed to ensure their preservation, has brought the festival together and helped to fund workshops.

Programmes listing all the events for the festival have been distributed across Rossendale and for more information log on to https://www.horseandbamboo.org/ or contact The Boo on 01706 220241.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Fantastic Fun Family Flowerpot Festival … returns

FANTASTIC flowerpot sculptures are set to adorn businesses, houses and streets around Bacup and beyond.

The zany celebration brings out the creative side in young and old and also encourages people to explore their neighbourhoods to see the spectacular displays which will be on show from summer to September.

Chairman of Bacup Pride Pat Smith said: “This is the third year that Bacup Pride has organised the festival and we are very grateful to our funders Reaps Moss Community Fund and also Newground for the use of premises. The grants enable free making workshops to be offered and we have a plentiful supply of plant pots for anyone who wants to make a sculpture.”

The first workshop was held at the Doals Centre in Weir and was a huge success. Now a whole series of workshops have been announced at the annexe across from Stubbylee Hall in Stubbylee Park.

The free making sessions will be on Thursdays June 13, 20 and 27 from 10am to 12 noon and also on Sundays June 16 and 23 from 1.30pm-4pm.

Making a sculpture is easier than you think and at all the making sessions there are helpers on hand who can assist with the creation.

Pat said: “The idea of having a flowerpot festival came about after visiting Settle and happening across their event. It was amazing to go round following the trail admiring all the different sculptures and seeing parts of Settle I never knew existed.

“We brought the idea back to Bacup and people loved getting involved in making and creating. We also saw lots of people and youth groups touring their town to check out the sculptures. Last year we had a rock star hanging off a house on New Line and then in the town centre a bride and groom were in the window of Icing on the Cake in Pioneer Buildings.

“On St James Street there were a series of sea creatures in the window of Beauty Culture and there was a lost little sheep in the gardens of Trinity Baptist Church on Market Street. The imagination people put into their flowerpot creations never ceases to amaze me and this year will be no exception.

“Please join in, please have a go and make sure you put your sculpture on display and fill in the form so we can include it in the trail.”

All the information on the making workshops will be on the Facebook page Bacup Flowerpot Festival.

Bacup Pride will be having a stall at Bacup and Stacksteads Centenary Carnival on Sunday June 30 in Moorlands Park where people can find out more about the event and the organisation. For an application form please email bacupride@gmail.com or call Pat on 07751 380 392.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Coffee Cafe Culture Comes to Bacup

Wendy and Stephen Middleton in 1832 Barista

SEEING the improvements that have been made in Bacup led to Stephen and Wendy Middleton to invest in bringing ‘coffee culture’ to the town.

They both have links with the town and decided to open 1832 Barista on St James Street because of the investment that has been made in new shop fronts and pavements as part of Rossendale Council’s £2M Townscape Heritage Initiative. Visitors to the coffee shop, which also offers a take-away service, are impressed with the changes to the former greengrocer’s shop and even though it only opened at the start of May, it has already built up regular customers.

Joiner Stephen said: “We spent eight weeks working 12 hours every day, including weekends, to renovate the inside. We took the walls back to the original stones and that revealed that the building used to be a gable end.

“We used old scaffolding boards to create the tables, a bar, shelves and worktops and when we removed the floor we discovered the old tiles around the door so preserved them. The finished interior looks exactly like I planned it to be.”

The busy barista on Bacup Community Weekend

They found a pre-decimal half-penny while renovating and decided to preserve it in the wall while it was being pointed.

Wendy used to work for an estate agent but was looking for a job that got her away from the desk. She said: “I like meeting people and everyone has been so welcoming and friendly since we opened. The reception we have had has been amazing and people are now using the Barista as a place to meet and chat. Many of the local traders have also been in to support us.

“We felt like people were passing Bacup by and we knew people who would travel down the Valley just to pick up a good coffee, now they can come to us. You can see the way Rawtenstall has been regenerated and I think the same thing will happen to Bacup; we wanted to be a part of that.

“There is a coffee culture in this country and as a family of coffee drinkers we wanted to bring that to Bacup.”

Stephen and Wendy said they hoped that because they had shown confidence in the town by opening a new business, it would encourage others to also invest in the town.

They called is 1832 because their deeds say that was when the building was constructed.

Acting Chairman of Bacup Townscape Heritage Initiative Councillor Jackie Oakes said: “I am delighted to see that Bacup has welcomed yet another fantastic new business. The town has been transformed in recent years thanks to the THI funding that Rossendale Council was able to secure; it has really made a vast improvement to the look of the town making it an attractive place for prospective businesses to invest in.

“The council also has a Bacup 2040 vision for the town and has made a bid to the Future High Street Fund to hopefully see that become a reality.”

by Catherine Smyth Media

Charities Benefit as Salon Celebrates Golden Anniversary

THREE charities will benefit from a celebration to mark the golden anniversary of a Rawtenstall business.

Antony and Patricia Hair Salon first opened on Newchurch Road on October 17 1969 and Director Tony Winder is still steering the ship and overseeing developments which now include nautical-themed Bosun’s Barbers and a children’s salon Noah’s Ark to complement the ladies’ salon.

The salon relocated to Bank Street in 1972 and has been a key business on the high street ever since training hundreds of apprentices and stylists who now run their own successful salons.

Tony said: “On Saturday August 31, I will be inviting people to The Whitaker, in Rawtenstall, where there will be food and entertainment and attendees will be asked to make a donation and support fundraising that will benefit three worthy causes. I have selected Civic Pride Rossendale because of the amazing job they do to keep the Valley clean and tidy.

“Money will also be raised for the Manchester and District branch of Motor Neurone Disease Association because a former trainee of mine in the late ’70s John Edmondson was diagnosed with the disease two years ago. He ran a successful salon in Monton, Manchester. The third charity to benefit will be Tor View Specialist Learning Community because of the links the salon has had since we opened our special autism room ‘The Lifeboat’ in the children’s salon.”

Former staff and current colleagues, loyal and lapsed clients, friends and family will receive special invitations and all guests are asked to make a donation into a charity fund. The event is limited to 125 guests and the charities will be involved with organising fundraisers on the night.

Local artistes will be providing entertainment. This includes, the Lomax Brothers, singer Charlotte May Tomlinson and friend Joe Teoli.

Chairman of the Friends of Tor View Vanessa Prater has been a client of the salon since before the specialist Noah’s Ark Children’s Salon opened. She said: “I have four children and one has complex special needs and since Noah’s Ark opened I have been a real advocate. Staff are all well trained and it is a relaxed, child-friendly and welcoming place making it a much nicer experience for the whole family.

“We are bidding to get a sports hall at the school, as we are the only secondary school in the Valley without one.”

Tony used to be president of Rossendale Valley Motorbike Show and when the organisation disbanded Civic Pride Rossendale was one of the beneficiaries from the left over funds. Chairman Chris Blomerley said: “Tony has always been a great supporter of us and we are delighted that Civic Pride Rossendale has been invited to be a part of the celebration of Antony and Patricia’s 50 very successful years in business.”

The organisation is always busy and has just taken delivery of a grant-funded commercial greenhouse to offer opportunities to volunteers of all abilities to be able to help the organisation. For further information contact Charlotte or Haidee on 01706 217129 or visit the Antony and Patricia Facebook page.

by Catherine Smyth Media