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Community Events

SPECIAL TRIBUTES TO A SPECIAL MAN

A TRIBUTE TO TONY DOBSON

I’ve chosen this photo because it typifies for me what kind of a person my fellow-Councillor and friend Tony Dobson was.  We never nominated him for an award or honour – I suppose we thought there was plenty of time for that in the future – but last year he nominated me for a High Sheriff of Lancashire Award for “great and valuable services to the community”.  What a pity we can’t nominate Tony for an award posthumously – I’m sure his list of “credentials” was far longer than mine!   Tony always referred to his group of Councillors as his “team” and was far more concerned to encourage and develop his team members than he was to seek “glory” for himself.

I first met Tony when I became a Councillor over ten years ago, shortly after he’d been Mayor of Hyndburn.  Particularly at Election times he had a knack of organising tasks and people without ever having to raise his voice – I can never remember him shouting at anyone or losing his temper.  I always found him to be respectful and obliging, willing to offer lifts to colleagues, even to social events (which of course meant that he couldn’t have a drink!)  Tony was always good for a laugh on such occasions, even if the joke was at his expense!

At small fund-raisers – usually a meal at a local pub – we all took a raffle prize, typically alcohol or chocolates.  On one occasion, a person who’d won four beer cans noticed that they were past their sell-by date.  Tony admitted to being the guilty party and told us that he had a special drawer at home where he kept a collection of raffle prizes he’d brought back from his golfing weekends in Spain, etc and he hadn’t noticed that particular prize was “out-of-date”.  We never allowed him to forget that and afterwards, whenever he brought a prize, we used to ask, “Is it ‘in date’, Tony?”  He never took offence but always reacted with good humour! 

Tony Dobson had multiple facets to his life and was well-known to many people in different contexts.  I never heard him mention much about his education or qualifications but he struck me as a “born entrepreneur”, a community champion and a real social networker – such attributes aren’t learned from text-books.  In his electoral ward of Barnfield, where he’d been a Councillor for the past 20 years, he went above and beyond the call of duty and helped his residents in both an advisory and a practical way.  As a local businessman he was keen to see Hyndburn prosper and was a member of the Accrington Town Team. 

Tony’s many roles included ownership and management responsibilities in the licensed trade and as a property landlord; he was a long-standing Governor at Mount Carmel RC High School and was passionate about helping young people.  He was a Director or Chair at various times of several Hyndburn-based organisations such as First Call Hyndburn, CVS (Community & Voluntary Sector), the Community Safety Partnership and Accrington Stanley Community Trust.  Of recent years, Tony had been particularly involved with the management of the Hyndburn Voluntary & Community Resource Centre on Cannon Street.  In the two weeks before his death, when the Coronavirus pandemic struck, he was in the forefront of co-ordinating the community response and had been busy making shopping deliveries to elderly and vulnerable residents. 

Besides all these “official roles”, Tony was a great friend to many people in the golfing fraternity, in the community and on the social scene.  Most of all, he was a devoted family man – my condolences go especially to Trish and his two young sons.

Tony Dobson was taken from us far too soon and his sudden and untimely death has been a tremendous shock to the community of Hyndburn, leaving a void that will be impossible to fill.  Rest in Peace, “Mr. Accrington”! 

Councillor Judith Addison

Editor of Acorn Community News had this to say:

"My condolences  go out to Trish, the boys, family and friends at this sad and destressing time.

"I have known Tony for a long time as I worked at Shifters when it first opened and he did some dee-jaying there.
Tony and I have been on many committees together and his opinions were always welcomed and many were put into action.

"When I was president of Accrington Lions, Tony and Trish were at many an event when they were Mayor & Mayoress of Hyndburn in 2007/2008.


"I will miss the many conversations and meetings we had, and thank you for all the advice given to me over the years.


"When I received phone calls from readers or my advertisers, if I couldn’t answer them Tony was always one of the first to ring to see if he could help.

"A true gent who always had a smile on his face; the community and fellow colleagues will miss you greatly. R.I.P.xx"

 

 

 

RHYDDINGS PARK A JEWEL IN HYNDBURN’S CROWN ONCE MORE

Jessica McClurg (marketing) and Nick Carter at the end of the process. Picture: Peter Jones

Last August, I spoke to Nick Carter of Rosslee Construction about the building works his company had undertaken at the top end of Rhyddings Park, renovating the original coach house and adding a big two storey extension. They also demolished the single storey building that was used to house the the Park Keeper’s tools and created a brand new workshop in its stead. The two million pound project took around eleven months to complete. The work started in October 2017 and the finished building was opened to the pubic in week-long series of events, starting on August 26 2018.

The project was an open public tender - tendered through Hyndburn Council (advertised on the OJEU website). The appointed architects were SPA (Sunderland Peacock Architects Surveyors)

Nick told me that the project on completion would be run jointly by Bootstrap Enterprise and the Friends of Rhyddings Park (FORP) and that FORP and Hyndburn Borough Council had been working towards this funding for the past twenty years.

The project was by no means plain sailing though. There is no suitable access for plant at that end of the park, so a compound had to be established at the inside the front gates of the park, where everything was delivered and stored and then all the components needed for the building work had to be painstakingly carried to the site at the top of the park. Quite a logistical nightmare for Rosslee.

“We had to endure ‘The Beast from the East’ parts one, two and three, and we never stopped, but it certainly challenged us.”

Outside the new buildings there is an extensive garden area, including greenhouses and the intention is to grow as much of the produce there that they can to service the new café within the coach house. Now that the work is completed, the coach house has rooms upstairs and down for local groups to meet and also for functions to be catered for.

When you set this against the backdrop of a beautiful park, the whole concept comes to life. From now and through the summer, weather permitting, this promises to be a lovely and popular venue and once all the spring and summer colours come to fruition, it should be pretty special.

In the course of the project, Nick has found out quite a lot about the history of the park. Apparently in the grounds stood a magnificent manor house that was owned by a factory owner, and the park was his garden. This disappeared many years ago and the only remnants that remain are balustrades.

Nick also told me that the original coach-house was built in 1853 to house the owner’s coaches and horses.

It is wonderful to know that a public park with so much history has been given a new lease of life so that people, young and old can appreciate the new build and its beautiful surroundings for many years to come.

Footnote: Rhyddings Park is having an official re-opening on May 19th 2019 to mark the 110th Anniversary.

© Peter Jones 2019: Pictures courtesy of Rosslee Construction

Two pictures above: Peter Jones Taken April 2019

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PLEASE SUPPORT FUNDRAISING EVENTS FOR BRAVE JASON

Jason Hencher was born 2 months early, weighing only 2lb 14oz. He progressed really well, spending 4 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), before coming home.

At about 8 weeks old, Jason became ill with Pneumonia and was very lucky to survive. The aftermath of this then left a weakness in his chest causing breathing difficulties, which meant he was back in hospital on a weekly basis.

Things just weren’t progressing as they should, so tests were done when Jason was around 6 months old. The results were a massive blow to his family, as Jason was diagnosed with a Chromosome Translocation between his 8th and 13th pair.

His family were informed that this was unique. Consequently, there was no way of knowing what the future held for Jason. The Translocation had caused Jason’s brain to develop abnormally, and even more worryingly, his prognosis was only to live until he was a young adult, and have very limited function.

Good News was on the horizon, however, as after three very scary years, Jason was proving them wrong. He started to get stronger and increasingly became aware of his surroundings. With a few more years of intense therapy Jason was beginning to use his hands, able to sit up, and even able to master a few steps.

Jason who is now 13 years old is severely delayed, and has no form of verbal communication, but he has a massive character, and just wants to do everything that his brothers and sisters can do.

The family raised funds to buy the bicycle seen in the pictures and would like to raise money to help others.

They now hope that their fundraising efforts help other children, with additional needs, who need an adapted cycle, to be able to access one. The family have seen the difference Jason’s cycle has made to him. The charity’s motto is: “every child should have a bike.”

Recently, Specsavers in Accrington have promised to add their support by sponsoring “Jason’s Wheels.”

 

 

 

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Local Events

As all local libraries are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the events below will be updated as soon as there is any change in the situtaion.

Accrington Library

Weekly events

Monday 10:15 – 10:45    Storytime. This group is aimed at preschool children and involves both singing and an interactive story. Free for everyone, just turn up on the day

Monday 10:30-12:00       Beginners computer courses.  Know somebody who still hasn't joined the digital age? We hold learn My Way courses every Monday morning to help people get online, no previous experience is required.  For more details or to book a place please call in or phone 0300 123 6703

Tuesday 1:30 – 3:00         Knit and Natter. A social knitting group who join up to swap patterns and have a natter over a cup of tea, also help people who are learning wool crafts including crochet and knitting.  Free for everyone with donations for refreshments, just turn up on the day.

Friday 10:15-10:45            Baby Bounce and Rhyme. Aimed as babies and small children, packed full of sing along songs and great fun had by all. Free event for all, just turn up on the day. 

Fortnightly events

Saturday 1:00-3:00           Teen Xtreme. A social group aimed at 12 year olds plus who want to get involved with other library projects, or just meet up with likeminded teens to get involved with reading and craft activities.  Special events and visits also planned.  Next meetings are as follows:

13th July, 27th July, 10th August, 24th August

 

Writers group - 2nd and 4th Friday of each month at 2 p.m. 

Upcoming events

 

Accrington Library Opening times

Monday               9:00-5:00

Tuesday               9:00-5:00

Wednesday        9:00-7:00

Thursday             9:00-5:00

Friday                    9:00-5:00

Saturday              9:00-5:00

  Oswaldtwistle Library

Weekly events

Mondays 10.30am-11am - Story time – pre-school age children, term time only

Tuesdays 10.30am-12pm – Learn My Way (Computer course), booking essential

Wednesdays 11am-12pm – Up n Active session, delivered by Hyndburn Sports Centre Staff, optional weigh-in, healthy eating advice, free, no booking required (this is not an exercise class)

Fridays 10.30am-11am – Baby Bounce n Rhyme – pre-school age children, term time only 

Monthly events

1st Monday 10.30am-12pm – Family History session, booking preferred but drop-ins welcome

2nd Tuesday 2pm-3pm – Reading Group, no booking required

2nd Tuesday 4pm-5pm – Character Storytime, delivered by the Civic Theatre, booking preferred, £1 per child (February's session is on 5th Feb not the 2nd Tuesday of the month) 

Bi-monthly events

2nd and 4th Wednedays 2pm-4pm – Writers Group, no booking required 

One-off events

Tuesday 26th February 10am-12pm – Introduction to Mindfulness (free taster session delivered by Lancashire Adult Learning, booking essential at the Library or via www.eventbrite.co.uk) 

Library Volunteers required

Various opportunities advertised at Lancashire Volunteer Partnership - https://lancsvp.org.uk/opportunities/

 

Great Harwood Library

Monday

Knit and natter every Monday (except 3rd in the month) 2.00-3.30 p.m. all abilities welcome.

Reading Group 3rd Monday in the month 2.00-3.30.

Wednesday

Scrabble Club (alternate weeks) next games 13th May, 27th May, 10th June. Etc.

Thursday

Baby Rhyme Time every Thursday (except 2nd of each month) 10.45-11.30.

Coffee Morning with guest speaker every 2nd Thursday in the month 10.30-11.30. 14th May, 11th June, 9th July, 10th September, 8th October, 12th November.

Friday

Shared Reading 1.30-3.00, join in reading together or just sit back and relax and be read to, very informal.

 


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