Saddleworth News

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Reporting Team

Ruby Anstee – Editor
Stuart Littleford – Reporter
Allan Roach – Reporter
George Wilson – Reporter and IT
Judith Grinter – Reporter

Past Articles

Stage play of Classic Ealing Comedy is a pre-Christmas treat

Saddleworth NEwsLyceum Theatre Oldham in the heart of the town, brings colour and life to the classic black and white film comedy The Ladykillers this month.

In 2011, TV writer Graham Linehan (known for sitcoms such as Father Ted and The IT Crowd) turned an Ealing Comedy into a comic play. However, he chose a film with possibly the most complex set – a run down, leaning, rickety house which needs to be constructed on two storeys with a scene on a roof and the knowledge that there’s a train track running close by.

Win two tickets to the play with Saddleworth News. Just send  the answer to this question to SN here : “What’s the name of Father Ted’s hilarious tea lady? ”  ( Competition guidelines as previously published on SN. ) Entries to be received by 12pm Saturday Nov 25.

Lyceum Theatre Oldham, famed for its ability to create realistic sets in its small basement theatre, have taken on the challenge! Coupled with an experienced set of actors and an imaginative Director, this promises to be the must-see production of the year in Oldham!

The comic play tells the story of one small woman who inadvertently welcomes a gang of criminal misfits into her home. Despite their larger than life threatening demeanour, diminutive Mrs Wilberforce refuses to let them get the better of her.

Joan Duffin, who plays Mrs Wilberforce, is the only woman on set for most of the play. She tells us “It’s fun being the only woman and the men are behaving themselves!” When asked about the set, Joan assured us “The set is coming along fine. It is indeed very complex but Ian and the team are working well on it. It is not so bad for me but becomes very involved and complicated for the Gang.”

Tickets for The Ladykillers are selling fast and are available online for only £8.50 each from

Top Tips to remain in good health this winter

Winter is almost upon us and we need to be prepared to ensure the cold weather doesn’t affect our health adversely. Saddleworth News is pleased to be working with Caremark of Oldham to bring you a top tip once a week to help with good health this winter:

1. Keep Warm

  • Ensure your home is heated to at least 18degreesC (65degrees F). You may prefer to keep your main living room slightly warmer.
  • Keep your bedroom window closed on a Winter’s night as breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
  • Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but don’t use both at the same time.
  • Layer your clothing using lots of thin layers (cotton, wool, fleecy fibres) both indoors and outdoors. Saddleworth News top tips
  • Wear a warm hat when outdoors and wear a scarf around your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air.
  • Wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside to help prevent slips and falls.(Source of advice regarding keeping your home warm – Warm Homes Scheme – contact Warmhomesoldham on Freephone 0800 0191084, website –

Green Party says ‘Support the Save Our Valleys campaign’


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Members of Oldham & Saddleworth Green Party showed their support for the “Save Our Valleys” campaign on Monday 20th November, by joining a protest outside Uppermill Civic Hall. The campaign aims to halt proposed developments around Thornley Brook and Ashbrook valleys that, so the Green Party claim, would destroy this vital green space.


Russell Homes propose building 265 family houses and a new link road on the land.

Andy Hunter-Rossall of the Green Party told Saddleworth News: ” The plans will have a devastating effect on the wildlife, including badgers, bats, deer, owls and other birds; will create air, noise, light pollution and increase the danger of flooding. The local schools and GP surgery are already full to capacity. Little, if any, of the new housing is likely to be ‘affordable’ and certainly won’t do anything to meet the needs of the 15,000 households currently on the waiting list for social rented housing. A precious green area for the recreation of local residents will be lost along with the all the benefits for health and wellbeing that such open spaces bring.”

“Building on a green rather than a brownfield site is bad news for all of us in Oldham, it increases the threat to green spaces across the borough, and it means fewer trees and open areas, more air pollution and less breathing space for us all. Oldham & Saddleworth Green Party is totally opposed to the whole plan and is giving its full backing to the campaign.”

Residents from across the Grotton, Lees and Springhead community, who are fighting the proposed development of a major link road and 265 homes that will devastate the valley, were pleased to hear the members of Saddleworth Parish Council mirror their concerns and support the opposition to this development.

Save Our Valleys Campaign told Saddleworth News : “The plan to build the link road will involve landfilling the valley and culverting the brook with the proposed development resulting in the loss of OPOL (Other Protected Open Land) which forms a large part of the area concerned. This area not only supports a large range of wildlife but also is enjoyed by many residents for recreation and physical exercise, and it is widely accepted that open green spaces contribute to mental well being.

“The development, if allowed will take 7-10 years to complete putting further strain on already stretched resources and add an additional 500 + cars, bringing more air and noise pollution to the area. The link road, rather than alleviate current issues of congestion will just bring more cars to the area, including Oldham Road, and lead to traffic issues from Saddleworth to Oldham centre. Residents also have great concerns about road safety issues as the link road has an 11.3m high embankment and exits by a staggered junction on a narrow lane. Issues pointed out in a Road Safety Audit are merely being ignored by the developers.

The council have been approached for a comment.

Rusholme Bus Drivers Unite

Reporter – Ruby Anstee

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First Manchester drivers from Rusholme have confirmed that they will strike again on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until 15th December. Only the 41, 42 and 53 services will be affected by the action and bus services from First Manchester’s Oldham, Queens Road and Bolton depots are unaffected including Manchester’s Metroshuttle, Yellow School Buses and Vantage.

First Manchester’s Managing Director is urging his drivers from the Rusholme depot to accept the pay offer and to put an end to the industrial action. Union Unite have responded with a press interview, rather than a press release, as they wish to put their point across involving discussion.

Rusholme bus depot was taken over in early 2013 by First Manchester, involving 70 drivers. Apparently the buy-out involved promises of harmonising the pay structure to bring the Rusholme drivers in line with those in other depots owned by First Manchester. The drivers at Rusholme are on up to £2.55 “per hour” less than the other depots for eg Oldham and Queens Rd and the Bolton Depots.

Neil Clarke, a union rep for Union Unite told Saddleworth News : “In order to cover the strike action and provide a service, First Manchester are bringing in managers from other parts of the country and putting them up in hotels. You should see the car park, BMWs and more. On a day when the strike is off it’s a very different story.

“It is an absolute indictment that a cash rich organisation (Frist Manchester) manage to pay those at the top a small fortune whilst paying those at the bottom a very small share of the pie.”

The Wilmslow Road route that the Rusholme drivers take is one of the busiest in Europe. Stagecoach drivers also take this route. Neil told Saddleworth News: “The Stagecoach drivers get paid £1.90  an hour more than we do as well. I urge your readers to boycott the Rusholme First Manchester buses until the dispute is sorted. ”

First Manchester’s response to the strike can be read here.


Julie smashes swimming record in Oldham Pool

ASaddleworth NEws new European record has been set by a swimmer in the pool at Oldham Leisure Centre (OLC). Julie Hoyle of East Leeds Swimming Club set a new LEN European Short Course* backstroke record over 50m, in the 55-59 age category.

The record was broken in the 25m pool at Oldham Community Leisure’s flagship site on Sunday 12th November 2017. Hoyle swam 50m in 33.15 seconds.

Hoyle, who is a primary school teacher in Leeds, broke her own recent short course record of 33.37 seconds, which she set in October in Ponds Forge, Sheffield during the Swim England Masters National Championships. She recently won silver at the World Masters Championships in Budapest for the 200m backstroke in the 55+ age category, as well as silver in the 100m backstroke and bronze in the 50m backstroke.Saddleworth News

Julie told Saddleworth News: “I first got into swimming aged 10 and swan consistently through teenage years, but gave it up due to an injured shoulder. I got back in the pool aged 29, but didn’t start competitive swimming again until I was 50, and I haven’t looked back since.  I just didn’t expect to go that fast! Of course, I always try to beat my personal best, all athletes do, but I can’t do that every time I go in the water. As I’ve not competed recently due to an injury – I only got back into the water in August – I was amazed. It felt brilliant! When I looked up at the clock I just went ‘oh wow’; I never thought I’d swim that fast again.

“I keep thinking I’ll start becoming slower as I get older, but I don’t think I’m ready to slow down yet. I’d like to break my own record again.”

Stuart Lockwood, Chief Executive at OCL, says: “We’re thrilled Julie’s record-breaking achievement happened in our pool. It’s great to have a certified competition-sized pool; this was our first formal external event, and we have two more booked in for next year, as well as a number of local swim galas.”

Saddleworth news

Debbie slams proposed peak time gaps in service for Greenfield commuters

Reporter : Ruby Anstee

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, demanding he intervene to overturn planned changes to train timetables that will create up to a 44 minute gap on the Huddersfield to Manchester line at the busiest times of the day.

Debbie’s letter also raised the issue of the lack of direct travel to Ashton-Under-Lyne, Manchester Victoria, Salford Central and beyond in these proposals, pointing out this will add considerable time on to the journeys that people have to make to work.

Debbie said: “Many of my constituents have built their whole working lifestyle around the current timetable.

“If these changes go ahead the new service will do little to take peak times into account, creating up to a 44 minute wait between trains at two of the busiest times of the day which is ridiculous.”

The proposed peak time trains from Greenfield to Manchester Piccadilly are: 06:46, 07:29, 07:45, 08:29.

Debbie added: “If these proposals are implemented the 08:29 train will get my constituents into Piccadilly at 08:58 which will be of little use unless they work at the station.

“Clearly there needs to be a service between 07:45 and 08:29. Currently there is a train at 08:04 but this change will mean constituents have to leave 20 minutes earlier, to get on a busier train and some will have their child caring and other morning routines greatly disrupted.”

The proposed peak time trains from Manchester Piccadilly to Greenfield are: 16:17, 17:02, 17:18, 18:01.

Commenting on the Piccadilly to Greenfield timetable Debbie said: “The 17:18 will be made incredibly busy by these changes. This is a service which is already uncomfortably full at peak times and this proposed timetable will only exacerbate the situation. The lack of a service between 17:18 and 18:01 will cost people quality time with their families.”
The current timetable has trains leaving Victoria at 17:11, 17:26 and 17:57.

Debbie said: “I’ve told Chris Grayling that some of my constituents work in the Spinningfields area of Manchester, Salford and Ashton and they are concerned about the impact that the new timetable will have on their journeys to and from work.

“It is a five minute walk from Salford Central to Spinningfields and this change to Piccadilly will turn it into a 25 minute walk. This combined with the prsaddleworth news ggloposed timetable I have highlighted will lead to even earlier starts and later finishes for my constituents.

“I’m deeply concerned by the extra pressure that this proposed timetable will have on our already congested roads. Plus the possible impact on constituents’ health, and the environment, caused by the pollution of those needing to drive to work; in the west of Manchester, Salford or Ashton.

“My final point was to say that the proposals do little to tackle the ongoing issues with accessibility to Greenfield Station. I have previously written to the Department for Transport about the lack of step free access for those travelling from Manchester towards Huddersfield.

“It’s simply not good enough for my constituents including parents with prams, those using wheelchairs and those with mobility issues to be unable to access platform 2 at Greenfield Station. And I have asked Mr Grayling to let me know what plans he has to ensure that Greenfield is a fully accessible station.”

The Office of Rail and Road Statistics estimate that the annual rail passenger usage in Greenfield in 2015/2016 was over 330,000 people.

Great Expectations for the Saddleworth Players

Saddleworth News

What’s on

Reporter : Stuart Littleford

Charles Dickens’ classic story Great Expectations is being performed at the Millgate this November.

Saddleworth Players will start the Christmas season with performances of the stage-adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic story, Great Expectations, at the Millgate Arts Centre in Delph from November 25 to December 2.

First published in 1860, Great Expectations is one of Dickens most-loved and enduring stories. It tells of the adventures of young orphan Pip, whose chance encounter with escaped convict Magwitch in a graveyard on Christmas Eve, sets in motion a series of events that will change his life forever. On his journey from humble beginnings to wealth and fortune, Pip meets some of Dickens most colourful and memorable characters, including eccentric Miss Havisham, cold and cruel Estella, and kind-hearted Joe the blacksmith.

Adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett, the script uses Dickens’ own exceptional language. This inventive and atmospheric adaptation brings a thrilling story to theatrical life, exploring childhood terrors and hopes, as well as adult dreams and regrets.


This stage-adaptation of Great Expectation is directed by Karen Barton. The cast includes: Sam Reed (Pip), Phil Clegg (Wemmick and Joe Gargery), Neil

Bamford (Compeyson and Mr Jaggers), Margaret Thompson (Mrs Joe and Biddy), Patricia Redshaw (Miss Havisham), Kate Davies (Estella), Ian Crickett (Mr Pumblechook), Helena Tinker (Sarah Pocket), James McKean (Herbert Pocket), David Lyons (Mr Wopsle and Bentley Drummle), and John Hankin (Abel Magwitch).

Saddleworth Players will perform Great Expectations at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from November 25 to December 2.

Tickets can be purchased online at, from the Millgate Arts Centre box office: 01457 874644 (Tuesdays 2pm – 5pm, Wednesday & Thursday 2pm – 7pm and Fridays & Saturdays 9:30am – 1pm), or from Delph Library, Millgate, Delph, Oldham OL3 5JG.

Winter clear-up for UCAN

Reporter : Ruby Anstee

The UCAN group is making great progress with our winter season activities, they have completed the planting of over 800 Daffodil & Bluebell bulbs in various green spaces and raised beds along the towpath sections, and they look forward to enjoying the colourful result come Spring.

They have also begun clearing the towpaths of dead leaves now Autumn is well underway, and  have worked a good stretch of the towpath so far from Moorgate Bridge up to Dungebooth Lock,

UCAN is pleased to report they continue to have the help of volunteers from Tesco Greenfield, and would like to thank them for their kind support.  For their 16 November project day they had a small group celebration to mark the departure of Belinda [UCAN’s Press Secretary] who is leaving the UK soon, and also to give thanks to Judith for much appreciated and generous supplies in hot drinks & refreshments.

For their end of year project days, as well as continuing with general litter-picking, they plan to continue clearing dead leaves further along the towpath up to Limekiln Lock to enable easier walking underfoot. And for their final meetup of the year on December 9 they will celebrate a successful year of activities and the start of the festive season with mince pies & refreshments.

Belinda Watson of UCAN told Saddleworth News: “Getting involved in volunteering in the local environment is a great way of meeting other locals, enjoying some healthy exercise & fresh air, with a well earned hot drink and biscuit at the end!
“We are always pleased to welcome new members to join us and help make Uppermill an even better place to live.”

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Belinda told us: ” All equipment is provided by CRT [Canal & River Trust], and you are recommended to wear stout footwear and suitable clothing for the weather conditions on the day. The usual meeting point is 10am at the canal bridge on Moorgate Street, but this is sometimes changed. New volunteers are advised to check a few days in advance, with the Project Day calendar view-able on our website. ”


For anyone interested in joining UCAN on future project days their upcoming programme is:

Nov. Thursday 30
Dec. Saturday 9


House on the Hill – Bed and Breakfast and more

House on the Hill in Mossley is a quirky answer to your accommodation needs with visitors this season.

Your host, Jenny, invites you in to her house that is beautifully decorated with all the facilities you need for a comfy stay plus more.

The house can accommodate 2 couples or a couple and a single in large double rooms and one smaller, all with large comfy beds.

Jenny says: ” Help yourself to breakfast. Cooking facilities are available with full use of the country kitchen, so you can cater for yourself if you wish. There is a breakfast bar, so you can again help yourself. The house has two reception rooms with sofas so can have your own tv room if you prefer some privacy.”

Jenny’s on site so can help with advice such as where’s nice to go in the area, where’s nice to eat close by. Each room has it’s own tea making facilities and wifi.

Jenny works tirelessly on her gardens, front and back, which make for a wonderful quiet time to sit and take in the beautiful Pennine views.

At present her charges are as little as £45 a night for the large attic room with the king sized bed, and £25 for the single. She offers discounts for longer rental periods.


To book please visit Jenny’s Facebook page here. 

What Saddleworth News readers love about Saddleworth – Poll

Saddleworth News wants to hear from our readers what is most important to them about Saddleworth. What do you love about it, think of if you go away on holiday, tell people that don’t live here why it’s such a great place to live. You can vote for more than one suggestion and add your own suggestions.( The other suggestions will be added to the poll and votes will be counted. )

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;;pd.src=’’;s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !==’undefined’)jQuery(d.body).trigger(‘pd-script-load’);}(document,’script’,’pd-polldaddy-loader’));

Rusholme Bus drivers strike ongoing

Reporter : Judith Grinter

Drivers from Rusholme have confirmed that they will strike again this Monday (20th November) and then every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until 15th December. Only the 41, 42 and 53 services will be affected by the action and bus services from First Manchester’s Oldham, Queens Road and Bolton depots are unaffected including Manchester’s Metroshuttle, Yellow School Buses and Vantage.

The service details for Monday 20th November will be:

• 41 and 53 services will operate […]

Christmas Gift ideas at the Reclamation Room

The Reclamation Room in Uppermill is not only a café but also hosts a wealth of creative events, workshops and photography sessions.

‘The Room’, as known to those that regularly visit, opened in November 2015. It is a vibrant creative space for all the community to enjoy. It’s a place to simply hang out, discover new skills, shop, browse or meet up with friends for a coffee or lunch in our open concept cafe. There is always something going on.


Eating tapas in Dobcross with hopes of meeting the Queen

Reporter: Judith Grinter

The Mayor’s Fundraising Committee has been nominated for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for their efforts in supporting the local community.

One of their fundraising events, this week, included enjoying a Tapas evening held at the Navigation Inn in Dobcross. They raised over £200 for the Mayor of Oldham’s Charity Year.

Neil Cadd of the MFC told Saddleworth News: ” The committee is doing some sterling work this year as they do every year raising in […]

Have you seen 16yr old Dylan?

Dylan has now been found. Thank you for the shares.

Have you seen missing 16-year-old Dylan from Rochdale?

Dylan Winnie, 16, was last seen at 6.40pm on Tuesday 14 November 2017 at his home on Delamere Road.

He is a slim, white, teenage boy, around 5ft11in tall, with short brown hair and facial hair.

Dylan was last seen wearing navy tracksuit bottoms with a black jumper and black trainers.

Sergeant Gaz Davies of GMP’s Rochdale borough, said: “Dylan’s family are […]