Saturday, December 15, 2018
Families Matter

If you’re going to be alone on Christmas day and would like some company, then book your place at CURZON ASHTON FC where they’re organising a Christmas Breakfast at the Tameside Stadium

Starting at 10.00am and lasting until 1.00pm, the Directors and volunteers at the big-hearted football club are providing a fabulous cooked breakfast; absolutely FREE for those who are hungry or lonely on Christmas Day, followed by some entertaining games and fun activities inside the ground.

For those who wish to attend, but may not have the mobility to get there, the club have secured the services of a number of local helpers who have volunteered to pick and drop them off home afterwards.

Andy Cheshire, Curzon Ashton’s Community Development Manager said, “We are the only place in Tameside open on Christmas morning, so we really hope we can reach the most vulnerable with this community initiative.”

So, book your Christmas morning at CURZON ASHTON for your FREE hot Christmas breakfast, lively entertainment and good company as well as transport to and from the event.

If you know someone who may be interested, encourage them to book their place early by calling Andy Cheshire on: 07914015532                      or email:

Curzon poster – Christmas comforts at CAFC-1

You can download and send this poster to all your contacts. Simply click on the image.

A Hyde veterinary practice is warning of the risks of buying pets as Christmas presents, without finding out about their specific requirements, after research revealed more than a quarter of people have bought pets on a whim.

White Cross Vets says it’s more important than ever to carry out in-depth research into both the suitability of a pet and also where it is coming from, with an increasing number of pets being sold illegally by unscrupulous breeders on the internet.

This follows research from veterinary charity PDSA and YouGov, which surveyed more than 4,600 dog, cat and rabbit owners in the UK and revealed that 24% did no preparatory work before bringing a pet into their home.

Mike Robinson, from White Cross Vets in Hyde, said: “Although people usually buy pets with the best intentions, owning a pet can be a big commitment for many years, so getting it wrong can be disastrous. The good news is that there’s a pet to suit almost every environment, but it’s vitally important that people take their time and research what species and breed suits both their home and their lifestyle.

“We’d also never recommend buying a pet on the back of a current trend. Otherwise the reality is that an unsuitable pet will inevitably end up lonely, unhappy, overweight or stressed. It’s a difficult situation for the owners to find themselves in, when they realise that they are unable to meet a pets’ needs.

“Another concern with people not researching what they’re buying, is that it’s highly unlikely that they will look into the provenance of where or who they are buying from. There is currently a huge range of pets for sale on the internet and estimates suggest that 1,000 new online pet adverts appear every day, with this soaring in the run-up to Christmas. The reality is that lots of these will be from illegal puppy farms and unscrupulous breeders, and many of those pets will suffer health problems and be kept in harrowing conditions, so it’s essential this market isn’t fed further by unwitting buyers.”

Mike added: “Anyone buying a pet should generally check to ensure they are lively, alert and not showing any signs of illness or injury. It’s important to see kittens and puppies interacting with their mothers in the place they were born and raised. The breeder should also provide relevant paperwork that also shows they have been microchipped.

“Generally, it’s puppies that are most likely to have been illegally bred and it’s vital that buyers do their homework, or else they could end up with a whole host of problems. For anyone that’s unsure about a breeder, The Kennel Club’s ‘Find a Puppy’ service offers details of breeders with registered pedigree dogs for sale and it lists Kennel Club Assured Breeders, who have been through a rigorous inspection process.

“A good way of avoiding illegal breeders is to consider adopting an older pet which can be very rewarding. Many will be already trained and are unlikely to require the same levels of supervision that youngsters need, but it is important to ask questions about their history and why they are being rehomed.”







Anyone wanting further information should call White Cross Vets or visit




Willow Wood’s two ‘Light Up A Life’ dedication services have now taken place and, as always, were both uplifting and emotional as hundreds gathered to remember loved ones.

For the first time this year the Book of Memories has been available online, and many in our community have left messages of love and remembrance.   The Book will remain open for the rest of this year and throughout 2019 so that dedications can be revisited at other special times, such as birthdays and anniversaries.

We know that this will bring comfort to many: indeed, by leaving the Book open dedications can be made at significant dates throughout the year.  It’s also good to know that as you remember your loved ones, you are at the same time helping those who need our care.  A £10 gift will pay for a patient’s meals for one day, £25 will pay for an hour of complementary therapy and £50 would gift a full half hour of nursing care in our in-patient unit.  What a wonderful way to honour that unique and special person.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped and supported ‘Light Up A Life’ this year, and we invite you to view your dedications by visiting .

Diners at the Amaani restaurant, during a recent ‘Foods around the World’

So, as we say farewell to 2018, the invariably cold month of January always seems a dark and dismal time after the parties and celebrations of New Year.  That’s why it’s good to have something different to look forward to, and Willow Wood’s latest FOODS AROUND THE WORLD – IN TAMESIDE & GLOSSOP which takes place on 30 January 2019, certainly fits the bill.

For the latest stop on our culinary cruise we’re visiting South Africa, with a very tasty meal at the Cask & Kitchen in Glossop.  There’ll be Biltong nibbles on arrival, skewers of Boerewars (spiced farmer’s sausage) and Pap (cornmeal with a tomato and onion sauce) as a starter and then a choice of Bobotie (fruity Cape Malay curry) or Oxtail Potijie (slow roasted Afrikaans stew).

Elaine McConnell, event organiser, said: “I do love organising the ‘Foods around the World’ trips.  They always have such a great atmosphere and this one should be really special.  Few of us have probably been to South Africa, so it’s an opportunity to sample their distinctive dishes, and at just £22 per person it’s a very affordable treat.”


If you’d like to be part of this gastronomic journey you can book online at, or contact the fundraising department on 0161 330 7788 or



It’s hard to believe December is here already, and at such a busy time of the year it’s very easy for the odd thing to slip your mind. We’d like to remind you to return your tickets into the Willow Wood Christmas Draw as soon as possible to ensure you’re in with a chance to win £5,000.

The draw will take place on 20 December, and all tickets must be in by 17 December at the latest. With another 12 cash prizes up for grabs as well, it’s certainly worth having a flutter. And if you haven’t got tickets, or it’s not convenient to get to a post box just log onto our website and play online! It’s easy, it’s quick and it’s totally secure.

Emma Craigmyle, clinical assistant said “With every £1 ticket you buy you’ve got another chance to hit the jackpot. Not only that, but you’ll know that every penny coming back to Willow Wood helps us continue our care for local people.

Why not go to now and have a go. You might not win the £5,000, but you’ll certainly win our gratitude.”


If you are looking to start the Christmas festivities early, there are just a couple of tables left for the Willow Wood ladies only Winter Wonderland lunch on Wednesday 12 December, so if you’d like to treat your mum, sister or best friend to an early Christmas present don’t leave it too long to book.

It’s going to be a fabulous occasion, and the imposing surroundings of Oaklands Hall, Hyde will make a suitably grand backdrop for your best party dress. The afternoon starts in style with a glass of Prosecco, followed by a delicious three course lunch. To really get you in the party mood, there’s some wonderful entertainment – it really is going to be a lovely afternoon.

You might even be able to finish off your Christmas shopping as we’ve arranged for a pop-up shop stocked with gorgeous clothes, handbags and accessories plus indulgent Body Shop toiletries.

Tickets are just £32 each and you can book online at, quickly, easily and securely.

Alternatively, ring our fundraising office on 0161 330 7788 or drop us a line at We look forward to seeing you there!

This weekend, thousands of families across Tameside and beyond will be venturing out to find that very special Christmas tree.

If you’re thinking of buying a real tree, then we’ve got some tips for you. 

Jack Hulme of B&J Hulme in Dukinfield, talks to Local Community Matters Editor, Roger Bamford about the different types of Christmas trees available and offers some simple tips to help you make sure you pick the right one and how to treat it, to keep it fresher, for longer, over the holiday period.

With the traditional ‘Christmas tree’ being the focus of every living room in the country, picking out that perfect tree to dominate your living room is essential.

As you travel around the borough in the run-up to the festive holidays, you’ll notice there are a whole range of real Christmas trees cropping up in shops, garages, superstores and market stalls, but where do you get the best tree for your money?

Established in Christmas tree sales for more than 36 years, B&J Hulme who are well known manufacturers of high quality, year-round fencing products and erecting service; are also one of the oldest Christmas tree suppliers in the region – with prices that vary depending on the type of tree.

However, with a wide range of trees to choose from, picking out the right’ no drop real Christmas tree for your home, can be confusing.

This guide will help you decide which Christmas tree species is right for you.


Originating from Hungary the Nordman Fir has grown in popularity since being introduced to the British market. The reason for its popularity is its excellent needle retention and uniform shape. The needles on this tree are large dark green and soft to touch, therefore ideal for youngsters.

Tree Size range from 4FT to 15FT (sizes above this are available when pre-ordered)


This tree could be described as Britain’s original Christmas tree. If you’re a traditionalist this is as much a part of Christmas as turkey and the Queen’s speech, it has dark green slightly prickly needles but is not known for good needle retention in warm places.

Tree Size range from 4FT to 15FT (sizes above this are available when pre-ordered)


Originating from North America the Fraser Fir is similar to the Nordman Fir, but lighter in the foliage and more easily shaped during growing, with excellent needle retention. This tree is ideal for a narrow space. Fraser Fir’s are known for their wonderful ‘Christmassy’ scent.


The Potted Norway Spruce pot grown Christmas tree has mid to dark green needles that are a bit prickly to touch, but it makes a lovely traditional Christmas tree, because the pot grown Norway

Spruce has been grown in a pot and has a very good root system, it should not lose its needles as long as the tree is kept well watered and not placed besides a radiator or fire.

Some simple tips for looking after your Christmas tree

  • Measure your room. There’s nothing worse than picking out the best Christmas tree on the lot, getting it home, and finding out it’s too tall for your room. Before you leave home, measure both your ceiling height and the height of the topper you plan to put on top of your tree plus any base or tree stand so you don’t have to re-cut the tree when you get home.
  • Getting your tree home. Before you choose a tree, make sure you can fit it in your car – if is a large one, it may need to go on the roof, in which case don’t forget your roof ties to keep it in place.
  • Keep your tree cool. As tempting as it may be to place the tree next to a fireplace, know that heat sources — including a heating vent — will cause your tree to dry out faster.
  • Caring for your tree. To keep your Christmas tree looking perfect, ensure your tree is getting enough water – they need a lot, and thrive best on approximately 1-2 litres daily.

Jack, who has been at the forefront of this local family business, for ‘donkey’s years’ explained, “Our goal is to create an unparalleled experience when families turn up to pick out the perfect tree for their homes.

Each of our friendly and knowledgeable staff members will help and assist customers with identifying, selecting, and purchasing their desired tree. We can supply wooded Christmas tree bocks for an extra cost and also net and help them tie down the trees to customers’ cars before departure. Alternatively, we can offer a delivery service”


Ashton-Under-Lyne, Audenshaw, Denton, Droylsden, Dukinfield, Hyde, Mossley, Stalybridge, Mottram and also Stockport, Glossop and Greater Manchester


MONDAY – FRIDAY: 8.00am – 7.00pm – SATURDAYS: 8.00am – Until Dark – SUNDAYS: 10.00am – Until Dark

You can find B&J Hulme at: 107 Crescent Road, Dukinfield SK16 4HG or Tel: 0161 344 5138

So whether you’re decorating your home or looking for a Christmas tree to dominate your office this Christmas, the team at B&J Hulme has that perfectly sized, reasonably priced tree type just for you!


Bring your children along on Saturday the 15th of December to the Helping Hand Charity Shop on Market Street, Hyde, where SANTA will be visiting WITH A GIFT FOR EVERY CHILD* This December, children are invited to meet Father Christmas at one of the town’s most successful charity retail outlets.

For £1.00*, each child will meet Santa, and receive an early Christmas gift!

But selling good quality previously loved items, books, clothing and toys, is just one aspect of the great works that the Helping Hands Charity offers. For instance, they support students from both Tameside and Whitebridge Colleges, along with candidates from Job Centre Plus many other organisations and the community.

They also provided work experience placements for many candidates from all walks of life.

The charity is a registered ‘Disability Confident’ organisation and provides opportunities to those seeking to gain first-hand experience and training related to the retail industry. Many others benefit from ‘volunteering’ in a relaxed social working environment for a few hours a week.

Since its inception, many of the charity’s volunteers have been recognised for their work in and for the community, receiving awards, recognition and financial donations from a variety of sources including Amphorea Packaging of Hyde, the Rotary Club of Hyde, Job Centre Plus and Age UK Training. And for that they say a big, genuine ‘Thank you to all.’

If you think you too have something to offer, volunteers are most welcome to join our team and will experience working in a warm and friendly environment.

Donations too are also always welcome; our remit from the Methodist Church is to sell items at the lowest possible price to the community which means that our shop is most popular as a source of excellent value, high quality, spotlessly clean products. Our team to date have steam cleaned in excess of 45000 clothing items.

The average cost of all items sold since 2013 to date is a mere £1.30.

At The Helping Hand, they are proud of what has been achieved and the reputation they have gained during the last 6 years. They follow a robust recycling policy. And are ‘Disability Confident’ registered with the Department for Work and Pensions. They have worked with ex-offenders, and continue to work with both Tameside and Whitebridge Colleges.

They have held ‘Fashion Shows’. Worked alongside, and with the Hyde Town Team. Organised guided tours of major retailers. Taken part in carrying out mock work interviews for year 11’s with JCP and local colleges. Provided after dinner speeches and presentations to many organisations throughout Greater Manchester. Delivered courses of retail development training to in excess of 90 candidates and have helped more than 25 of those candidates to move into employment.

So, if you are looking for a worthwhile cause, come and introduce yourself to the Helping Hand team, bring your children, grandchildren nephews and nieces to visit Santa on Saturday 15th December. The event runs from 11:00am to 3.00pm      

From all at Helping Hands, we wish you, A Peaceful and extremely Happy Christmas.


The annual Gee Cross Christmas tree festival launches next week at Hyde Chapel and will be open to visitors from Friday 14th December – Sunday 16th December 2018.

Many of our readers will no doubt recall the wonderful Gee Cross Christmas tree Festival that was held for the first time last year.  It was so magical that the organisers decided it is held again this year and it really is worth a visit.

There will be over 30 Christmas trees on display decorated by local community groups, children’s groups and businesses, including GX Brabyns Neighbourhood Watch, which is currently being worked on by some of their members.

The Hyde Chapel location of the church is ideal for this event and people from all around the area are invited to walk around and admire the trees.

This year’s theme is “Countries of the World” and we have China. There will be a raffle (for adults and children ) with some amazing prizes donated by local businesses , an adults and children’s Tombola , a children’s quiz and on the Saturday some lovely musical interludes.

There will be refreshments available throughout the festival, so please go along join the festivities and vote for your favourite tree.

The festival will cumulate in the Nativity service to be held at Hyde Chapel on Sunday 16th at 6.30pm which will feature a live donkey!

The festival is open during the following times:

3.00-4.30 pm Friday 14th December 

10.00-4.00pm Saturday 15th December

1.00-4.00pm Sunday 16th December 

 A warm welcome will be extended to everyone who wishes to attend

The Town Centre collaboration between Hyde Town Team, Tameside Markets and The Clarendon Square Shopping Centre, is delighted to announce details of their exciting ‘Christmas Shopping Event’ for all the family to enjoy on Saturday 8th December 2018.

You can expect to find traditional Christmas stalls selling locally made crafts, handmade gifts, local produce and delicious seasonal food! There will also be mulled wine, Christmas trees and lights, live entertainment, fitness displays, dancing and children’s activities for the little ones!

The event starts at 10.00am with festivities continuing until 3.00pm. The event will be officially opened at 10.30am by The worshipful the Civic Mayor of Tameside, Cllr Denise Ward and our local MP Jonathan Reynolds.

Father Christmas with his helpers will take pride of place in the indoor market’s themed Grotto.

There will be a variety of entertainment taking place throughout the day, filling the town centre with the sound of festive music. There’ll also be Craft Stalls, Fabulous food & Mulled Wine, Bar, Dancers, Choirs, a guest appearance by BJORN the BEAR, Solo Artists, Face Painter and local Rock Band – NARROW MARGIN.

Blood Bikes Manchester and Specsavers staff; assisted by Hyde United’s ROARY the TIGER will be on hand to point out the visibility problems that can be encountered whilst winter driving and the Hyde Town Team will be running a Grand Raffle with great prizes, a ‘Guess the Price’ competition, where you could win a child’s electric ride-in car and a fabulous Tombola stall.

The team have also arranged for a couple of very cool walk-around Christmas characters for both the indoor and outdoor markets; helping everyone to get in the festive mood.

In addition you’ll also be able to stock up on all your Christmas Shopping from regular market vendors, so you can pick up your usual fruit and vegetables, fresh turkeys, beef joints, Christmas savouries and mince pies from retailers in The Clarendon Shopping Centre and the indoor Market Hall, which will be open from 8.30am for you to pick up those special gifts and Christmas bargains.

To make sure shoppers do not miss anything, a Town Centre Christmas events guide with full musical listings will be available to pick up in stores?

Jonathan Reynolds said: “Christmas is a great time of the year and it is also a vital trading period for our local Town Centre retailers.” He went on to say, “Once again the Town Team, with the help and cooperation with The Clarendon Square Shopping Centre and Tameside Markets have lined up an outstanding programme of events and performers. The line-up has something for people of all ages and will attract shoppers and visitors who want to take part in the fun.”

Cllr Denise Ward, said: “This Christmas Shopping Event in Hyde will mark a 17 day countdown to Christmas in the Town Centre and with the announced support programme of live entertainment to get everyone feeling festive, it’s no wonder that this Hyde Town Centre event is expected to attract a large number of shoppers looking for those special gifts and purchases.”


Willow Wood’s ‘Light Up A Life’ dedication services bring comfort to many in our community as we celebrate the lives of loved ones with carols, readings, brass bands and choirs.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to view the dedications in our Book of Memories.

However, so many people attend and want to view the Book that you may not feel you have long enough to take it in.  If you would like to spend a little more time with your memories, then visit our multi-faith prayer room where the Book of Memories will stay throughout the Christmas period and then for the whole of 2019.

Our ‘Light Up A Life’ stars, inscribed with your dedication, will be proudly displayed on the two trees in our prayer room from 17 November until Twelfth Night.

Please be assured that if you have chosen our online Book our staff and volunteers will write and hang the stars to ensure that every single dedication is in place.  You may come along to Willow Wood at any time to view these.

However, as we transform our lovely gardens into our magical Garden of 1,000 Lights from 20 November, why not take advantage of our open evenings every Tuesday and Thursday until 20 December.  

There will be festive refreshments available, and as well as perusing your dedication you will be able to walk round the beautifully illuminated gardens and enjoy a hot chocolate or winter cocktail along with a delicious home-made mince pie.

Willow Wood has to raise £2.5million to maintain and develop our services and we have a wide-ranging calendar of fundraising events. Two very different events being held in the next couple of weeks are our Kids.Com Car Boot Sale and the Festival of Christmas Music.

Sunday 25 November sees our last indoor car boot sale of the year at Astley Sports Centre.  All pitches are already sold out, and it’s the ideal place to pick up a pre-loved bargain – just in time for Christmas!  As the name suggests, it’s aimed at children of all ages, and there will be books, toys, DVDs, clothes and more, all at bargain prices.

The following Sunday, 2 December sees the ever-popular Festival of Christmas Music, in the impressive surroundings of the Albion Church, Ashton.  Organised by a committed team of volunteers, this will feature the Accord Choir and the Ashton-under-Lyne Brass Band.  Admission is by programme, available at the Willow Wood reception and both the Ashton and Stalybridge Hospice shops.

At just £5 including a cup of tea or coffee and a mince pie it’s a wonderful way to start the festive season.


For further information on Light Up A Life or the Garden of 1,000 Lights, please visit our website, which will give you full details of these and our other fundraising events


New Charter Homes and Aksa Homes; part of Jigsaw Homes Group have been awarded a gold rating for its environmental performance, after being assessed by a national environmental benchmarking group, SHIFT (Sustainable Homes Index for Tomorrow).

The accreditation measures the environmental work of organisations in the housing sector and assesses key areas that they need to deliver in.

According to the report, the organisations were recognised for their sustainability projects such as carbon literacy training for all staff and installing electric vehicle charging points at offices.

Different categories have looked at the environmental impact of all of the housing associations’ work, including new build and day to day office practices, existing property works and future plans for remaining environmentally friendly.

Danny Vose, Head of Asset Management for Jigsaw Group said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to gain the gold rating from SHIFT and are really pleased to be recognised so highly for our awareness of the environment that we work in.

“We understand that, now more than ever, all companies need to recognise the impact that they have on the environment but particularly so in the case of building work. We work hard to have only a positive impact on the communities that we work and develop in, so we’re delighted to be recognised so highly by a national body.”

For more information, visit or Twitter @JigsawHG.