Wythenshawe FM

Goodbye St Wilfrid’s

St Wilfrid's Church Northenden

Greg Forster shares 36 years of Northenden memories with WFM 97.2


In a wide-ranging interview, recently-retired Rector of Northenden, Greg Forster, reflects on his career, life in Northenden, the state of belief in the UK, and the role of the Church of England in the 21st century.

You can listen on 97.2 FM or online on at the following times:


Sunday March 27th

6.00 pm Part 1
7.00 pm Part 2
11.00 pm Parts 1 & 2

Monday March 28th

8.00 am Part 1
9.30 am Part 2
10.00 pm Parts 1 & 2

Tues March 29th

8.00 pm Parts 1 & 2

Thurs March 31st

10.00 pm Parts 1 & 2
Greg Forster, Rector of Northenden, has retired after 36 years in charge at historic St Wilfrid’s Church in Northenden.

After serving the Parish since 1979, the energetic 68-year-old decided it was time to put his feet up at the end of 2015.

Now for Easter, Wythenshawe FM presents an in-depth interview, in two parts, recorded with the Rector before his retirement, as he was packing and preparing to say goodbye to the Parish.

In this interview, you can hear what Greg Forster had to say about the unique insights he gained into Northenden in his role as Rector and in his role as President of Northenden Civic Society.

You can hear about the discoveries he made as a local history researcher and amateur archaeologist – in a Parish which has a history of more than a 1,000 years – and also learn why the Rector could sometimes be spotted wielding a scythe in the churchyard, what all those flags hoisted above St Wilfrid’s Church were about, and why NOT playing the guitar had advantages at the job interview back in the 1970s.

In this wide-ranging interview, Greg Forster reflects on his career, life in Northenden, the state of belief in the UK, and the role of the Church of England in the 21st century.
[Pic of pulpit at St Wilfrid’s Church in Northenden by Tim Young]

Wythenshawe FM

Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner meets with ex-offenders who have turned their lives around

DSCF4602Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner has praised retailer Timpson for helping ex-offenders turn their lives around.

The Wythenshawe family-run retailer, known for its locksmith and shoe-repair services, describes itself as a real equal opportunities employer, considering anyone for vacancies as long as they are able to do the job. This includes ex-offenders and other marginalised groups. The business also operates as Max Spielmann and Snappy Snaps photo shops.



Tony Lloyd said:

“The transition from prison to normal life is enormous. Without proper support, ex-offenders can easily find themselves turning back to a life of crime because they are struggling to find employment or adapt to life on the outside.

“Businesses like Timpson help to reduce reoffending and criminal behaviour which benefits us all, not just the individuals they support. I would urge more businesses in Greater Manchester to take a look at their impressive business model, particularly the high regard with which they hold their staff.”

Tony  visited the Timpson store in Bury to speak firsthand to ex-offenders who have been employed by the retailer, including store worker Sarah Barker who was sentenced to five years for stabbing a man who attacked her.DSCF4616

In the months leading to Sarah’s release, a representative from Max Spielmann came into the prison to recruit for staff for their stores. Sarah successfully applied for a position and worked for the store for six months while under release on temporary licence, and has been with Timpson since her full release 2011.

Sarah said:

“When I was released from prison I had no family to help me and not very many friends. I was so glad to be released, but it felt like such a daunting prospect – I didn’t know where to start. I had nowhere to live and no one to turn to.

“My store manager let me live with her until I was able to transfer to a shop in Bury, where I knew a friend lived. I worked really hard and became manager there but had to take time off because of post-traumatic stress disorder over my attack. They were really patient and understanding, and let me return to work in a less stressful position. I’ve been with them since 2010 and am so grateful for the support they’ve given me. They really helped me turn my life around and I’m supporting myself now.”

Tony added:

“Thanks to support from Timpson, Sarah has worked hard to get back on her feet and restart her life. It’s an impressive achievement for which both Sarah and Timpson should be proud.”

Timpson works closely with the prison service and says it can identify potential candidates within prisons who have the right kind of personality to make it on release working within the business. It’s a closely managed process from selection, training and mentoring, up to release, with the opportunity to secure employment from the company from walking out the gates. 10% of Timpson employees were recruited directly from prison.

Chief Executive James Timpson chairs the Employers Forum for Reducing Reoffending (EFFRR), a group of likeminded employers who offer a second chance to people with a criminal conviction. Its members actively encourage other employers to be more willing to recruit ex-offenders and are on hand to help guide businesses along the way to help maximise the success of any placements.

Timpsons Bury

Wythenshawe FM


Sgt John Brennan with roadside drug drive testing kitGreater Manchester Police caught 240 drug drivers in nine months following on from introduction of new legislation.

On 2nd March 2015 new legislation was introduced, which set limits for 17 legal and illegal drugs and made it easier for officers to detect drug drivers.

New kit was also launched, enabling officers to test motorists for cannabis or cocaine at the roadside using a saliva sample.

Between March and December 2015, police arrested 365 drug drivers and 240 tested positive.

Inspector Susan Redfern from the Road Policing Unit, said: “Officers are more equipped than ever to catch drug drivers and in the last year we’ve detected and prosecuted more people than ever.

“Drug driving is just as dangerous as drink driving and anybody getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs is putting themselves and others at serious risk.

“Tackling this type of crime remains a priority for police but we also need the public to help us by taking greater responsibility for their own behaviour and challenging others.

“Our message is simple – if you are driving then no amount of drugs or alcohol is safe. Have none for the road, or arrange another way to get home.”

To report a drug driver please call Greater Manchester Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency when a drug driver poses an immediate threat to themselves or others, please dial 999.

For more information from GMP’s traffic unit, please follow @gmptraffic on Twitter and the hashtag #nonefortheroad

Wythenshawe FM

Neighbourhood officer to receive Chief Constable’s commendation for rescuing former England footballer

Tommy Banks with PSCO Derek ThomasA Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) will be honoured by Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable for rescuing an 86-year-old former England footballer who was stranded for six hours while walking his dog.

Tommy Banks, who made around 250 appearances for Bolton Wanderers Football Club during his career, was reported missing at 5:30pm on Friday 12th February after he went out walking his 10-year-old Welsh border collie, Susie, before falling and becoming trapped in Blackleach Country Park in Bolton.

Tommy followed his dog off into a wooded area before he slipped and became stuck in the boggy undergrowth in freezing conditions.

Spotting a tree around 20 metres away, he dragged himself towards it hoping to use the branches to pull himself up, but he only managed to move 10 metres in six hours.

PCSO Derek Thomas, who knew the layout of the park, was tied up on another job at the time but was released by his Sergeant to join the search.

PCSO Thomas, who knows the FA Cup winner from his Farnworth beat, was searching the park when he saw Susie barking and shone his torch towards Tommy, who called out for help.

The former Bolton MRT Honorary Support Group Chairman found Tommy collapsed but conscious, being comforted by his dog.

It then took an hour for Mountain Rescue, police officers, and paramedics to rescue him on a stretcher.

Tommy was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital with hypothermia at 7.30pm and kept in overnight but has no serious injuries.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “This is a great example of community policing and highlights the importance of our neighbourhood officers and their extensive local knowledge.

“Derek’s dedication saved the life of a popular local character and I am delighted that Tommy is now safe and well.

“His actions that night deserve to be recognised and I am proud to be able to award him with a Chief Constable’s Commendation.”

During the incident Tommy lost a handkerchief that he had kept in his shorts pocket when he first played for England and PCSO Thomas returned to the country park days later to find it, returning it to its rightful owner.
PCSO Thomas said: “At the end of the day, I knew that I would be able to find him. I don’t know why but I just had a feeling that if I could be released from my duties I had the ability and the knowledge of the area to locate him.

“It’s fantastic to be nominated. The best reward was seeing Tommy safe and well the next day. He’s a great character and a cracking bloke.

“The rescue was a brilliant team effort and I’m grateful to my colleagues for their help in getting Tommy to safety. I’m over the moon to be nominated.”

Tommy, who was a member of England’s 1958 World Cup squad, said: “Susie ran off into the woods and off over a ridge. I followed her but I slipped and couldn’t get up.

“I saw this tree in a few yards away but I couldn’t move through the undergrowth, I was physically drained. I was in there for six or seven hours.

“Then all of a sudden I heard Susie barking and saw this torchlight. I picked my head up, I was so relieved. It was so close but it felt a million miles away.

“Then they all started swarming round me with blankets. They were wonderful, absolutely marvellous. I am so grateful. They saved my life.”

Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “This story highlights the importance of neighbourhood policing and the valuable role of PCSOs in their communities.

“Despite the difficult conditions, Derek’s tenacity and hard work resulted in Tommy being rescued and reunited with his family. He is a credit to GMP and the local community.”

Wythenshawe FM

Let it Be, Opera House, Manchester until Saturday 6th March

Pic for website Let it BeRoll up, roll up for the Mystery Tour!

The Let it Be audience had a Ticket to Ride for the best musical journey in town when this exuberant celebration of the musical magic of the Beatles came to Manchester’s Opera House this week.

The wheels started rolling and the momentum of this scintillating journey built slowly, with timeless early Beatles tunes played against a minimalist set to reflect the black and white imagery of the early sixties, before technicolour broke out for the Beatles (and society in general) in the Shea Stadium era, and then total colour saturation and full-blown psychedelia for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The Beatles stopped touring in 1966 and seeing and hearing Let it Be felt like taking a fantasy trip to an alternative reality where the Beatles kept gigging as a band and played their late sixties masterpieces from Sgt Pepper, the White Album, and Abbey Road albums live on stage.

Some of the Beatles songs were re-imagined here as sit-down acoustic set numbers, with Here Comes the Sun played to great effect.

And it was spellbinding to see the remarkably Lennon-like Reuven Gershon sitting at a piano in his yellow Sgt Pepper uniform singing A Day in the Life and hearing the band belting out Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

The While My Guitar Gently Weeps guitar solo electrified the audience as it sliced through the air and, as well as the surprise of actually hearing it played live, I think audience members would have had to fight hard not to have a visceral response as the heavy sound of Come Together broke out in the electric guitar workout part of the show.

A word of praise must go to Michael Bramwell, their very own George Martin, who provided the backing sounds, brass and keyboard, including a fine solo on In My Life. Behind the scenes, he was a one-man orchestra – giving songs like A Day in the Life the orchestral power that George Martin created on the track by blending the Beatles genius with a 40-piece orchestra. Lighting Designer Humphrey McDermot and his team deserve credit too for using lighting to ramp up the excitement towards the finale.

At the end the crowd were on their feet to give the band a standing ovation after two encores and the audience didn’t want to let them go even after the musicians had put down their instruments and taken their final bow, as if the band had been channelling the Beatles for everyone and they didn’t want the magic to end.

And, in the ultimate compliment to the hard work of all concerned, it seemed the Let it Be musicians had also won the audience over on their own behalf, with their good humour, versatile musicianship, and thrillingly accurate vocal evocations of the Beatles classics live on stage.

Let it Be is on that the Opera House in Manchester until Saturday 6th March. There are two performances, at 4pm and 8pm, this Saturday. Ticket prices start from £24.90 and the student concession is £16.90. To book tickets contact the Box Office on: 0844 871 3038 or book tickets online at

Wythenshawe FM


P1100032Friday night and it’s Opening Night at CIRCUS FUNTASIA here in Wythenshawe Park.
My colleague, Ian Hills and I are invited back once again to this evening of acrobatical fun.

We had the pleasure of going along last year too. It was FABULOUS!
Could they possibly transcend 2015’s performance??
We arrived and were greeted like old friends, and It was a wonderful feeling.

We were shown to our Ringside seats and offered, a very much welcomed, large cup of coffee. It’s relatively a full house and kids and adults alike are waving their newly bought flashing spinning wheels, joyously, to the sound of the background music!
I am now ready to be mesmerised!

The BIG TOP, suddenly, is thrown into darkness, tumultuous music erupts, electrifying the atmosphere. Kids are waiting wide eyed and open mouthed. Anticipating what was coming next.
And THEN, from the audience, steps a funny little man into the ring! IT’S EMILIO!!!

Emilio is one of the main characters of the show. He’s the typical clown, without the suit.
He’s Very funny and it’s a toss up, who loves him more, the kids or the adults!! Emilio appears in the show throughout the evening at various times.

The main acts begin.
I can see straight away, the costumes are much more elaborate and the acrobatics, are much more daring! Some acts have changed altogether. The mix between aerial acrobatics and floor work is in perfect balance. Not too much of either where you get to the point of, “please shoot me!” Some of the acts you were holding your breath, especially when, Mia, who, by the way was the youngest circus performer in Britain to have her own act!! She is the daughter of the owner and Ringleader Tracy. Mia, spins a huge 3 dimensional cube on the palm of her hand then begins to spin it around her body at the speed of a tornado. I was sat directly in front of her. I didn’t breath for 1 minute, I sat, frozen in fight or flight mode!

I had nothing to worry about as she controlled it with expert precision as she always does, she possesses expert hand eye co-ordination. The young children who were sat in the next box to me, were spellbound by her captivating performance as she ran towards them throwing rings in the air!

There was the high flying performance which involved the walking on the outside of a metal wheel, called the Wheel of Death, high up in the air, above our heads. You really do need to see this done!

Emilio reappears, to the delight of the audience, he begins to drag chosen children from the audience into the ring and turns them into super heroes. Then it’s the turn of the adults in the ring, where he subjects them to some humiliation of the funniest kind, the reenactment of Star Wars! YOU JUST HAVE TO BE THERE!!
THEN, 2 minions appear!!!!, Kids go wild. ITS THE MINIONS!!! TreTre goes wild too!! I WANT A FULL SIZE MINION!! HAHHAHAH.

It’s now the interval, and the Minions stay in the ring much to the delight of the kids who are now in the ring cuddling their favorite one! Raffles and Circus memorabilia go on sale and the smell of hot dogs and burgers are just TOO mouth wateringly tempting!! They’re just too good to miss! nom nom nom!!

Once AGAIN. It all goes dark. BUT, something is different, it remains in darkness, the curtains open, the eerie music starts up setting the tension in the atmosphere and outsteps a HUGE, alien looking being, all lit up with fluorescent tubing on the moving parts of his body, creating a wonderful alien like effect from head to toe.

On his feet he was wearing running blades, which elevated him to an alarming bloodcurdling height. THEN, a brilliantly lit flying saucer is brought before our very eyes, and out step 2 alien humans who perform various moves on a trapeze suspended below the space craft. First time I’ve ever seen this done! The audience loved it.
Throughout the 2 hour performance, various acts followed just as exciting, I’m not going to give too much away! You will just have to go and witness it for yourselves!

BUT, i will just mention the HUMUMNGOUS METAL CAGED BALL with 3 motocrossers and at one point, a woman! yes! a woman in the middle, while a motorbike whirls around her head!
Was this value for money? Yes, but even better with the £5 off vouchers available in and around the forum, medical centre and WFM RADIO, call in for some NOW!!

Did they transcend 2015’s performance?

Written By TreTre (WFM Radio)







Photos taken by Ian Hills.

Wythenshawe FM

Cyclist dies in Wythenshawe tram collision

FOR WEBSITE Cyclist Martin HughesA cyclist has died after he was in collision with a tram in Wythenshawe.

Paramedics attended but 51-year-old Martin Hughes died shortly after the incident which happened near the Metrolink stop at Robinswood Road in Woodhouse Park at around 7am on Tuesday 16th February.

Police are now investigating.
Chief Inspector Helen Caldbeck for GMP’s City Centre Division said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the man at this tragic time.


“We are now working with Transport for Greater Manchester to investigate what exactly happened and our specialist officers will be supporting the family and helping them get the answers they deserve.
“Specialist officers are also supporting the driver of the tram to help him at this difficult time.”
TfGM’s Metrolink Director, Peter Cushing, said: “I am devastated by this very tragic and sad news and would like to extend my thoughts and deepest sympathies to this man’s family and friends.

“While of absolutely no comfort to his loved ones, I want to make it clear that alongside us supporting the police inquiry in any way we can, a thorough operational investigation into the circumstances surrounding this collision will be undertaken.

“Support will also be provided to the driver and any other staff that may be affected by what’s happened.

“Due to the nature of this incident it would not be appropriate for me to make any further comment at this time.”

Martin Hughes’s brothers have paid tribute to him: “Martin was a very private man and liked to keep himself to himself. He was a much loved brother, uncle, and brother-in-law. He has lived all of his life around the South Manchester area.

“His family are very proud of his academic achievements, having graduated from Bangor University with a BA Hons Degree. He had also successfully completed post-graduate studies.
“Martin was a great lover of the outdoors and loved going for long walks in the countryside and hills around Greater Manchester and beyond. He was also a keen cyclist.
“He is a former Royal Green Jacket and was proud of his regiment.
“Martin had only recently started a new job having previously volunteered at a local Hospice shop.
“We are all devastated that he has been taken from us so suddenly.”
Anyone with information should call Police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Wythenshawe FM

Christmas Radio Shows 2015

merry xmas






Thursday 24th Dec

11am Dr Dawn Harper News Item
12pm A Christmas Tale
1pm Dr Dawn Harper News Item
2pm Health and wellbeing show with Mike George
3pm Home Front 1 (Broadcast in 2005 about WW2 – local residents stories, radio dramas, interviews)
4pm The Crew Show
6pm Home Front 2 (Broadcast in 2005 about WW2 – local residents stories, radio dramas, interviews)
8pm Domestic Abuse Programme 1 (Listen to Helen’s story about domestic abuse with interviews, Written by Jason Kenyon & Performed by Stephanie Bishop)
9pm Wythenshawe Hall tour Special

Friday 25th Dec

10am Mike Kane Christmas Message
11am Snog, Marry, Divorce (One hour show by Katie Wray and Jason Kenyon about relationships)
12pm Mike Kane Christmas Message
1pm Freddie Flood Xmas Special
2pm Jimmy Lamberts country show
3pm Home Front 3 (Broadcast in 2005 about WW2 – local residents stories, radio dramas, interviews)
4pm Christ Embassy Faith Show
6pm Home Front 4 (Broadcast in 2005 about WW2 – local residents stories, radio dramas, interviews)
7pm Northern Soul with Ian Hills
8pm Domestic Abuse Programme 2 (Listen to Helen’s story about domestic abuse with interviews, Written by Jason Kenyon & Performed by Stephanie Bishop)
9pm Manchester Christmas Light switch on
10pm The Late Run with Bill Mitton

Saturday 26th Dec

10am The Irish connection
2pm Home Front 5 (Broadcast in 2005 about WW2 – local residents stories, radio dramas, interviews)
4pm John Keane Chrismas Show
5pm Castle Rock Recording Studio Tour
6pm A Christmas Tale
8pm Domestic Abuse Programme 3 (Listen to Helen’s story about domestic abuse with interviews, Written by Jason Kenyon & Performed by Stephanie Bishop)

Monday 28th Dec

10am Urmston Live special part 1
11am Urmston Live special part 2
2pm Country Folk show with Colin Smith
3pm World war Special Part 1
4pm World war Special Part 2
7pm Domestic Abuse Programme 4 (Listen to Helen’s story about domestic abuse with interviews, Written by Jason Kenyon & Performed by Stephanie Bishop)

Wythenshawe FM

Campaigners march to save services at Wythenshawe Hospital

Wythenshawe Hospital supporters at Civic CentreMore than a thousand people marched through Wythenshawe on Saturday, 7th November, to protest against plans to axe services at Wythenshawe Hospital.

The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band led the way as Keep Wythenshawe Special campaigners marched, turning Wythenshawe streets into a sea of white balloons and white t-shirts.

And, in a remarkable show of cross-party unity, Labour and Conservative MPs shared a platform at the rally that followed at Civic Centre.

The Keep Wythenshawe Special campaign was launched following the outcome of the Healthier Together consultation into the future of health and social care in Greater Manchester. The planned downgrading of services at Wythenshawe Hospital could cost lives, campaigners say.

In the latest development – on Monday this week – a High Court judge, having considered the legal challenge mounted by campaigners to plans to downgrade Wythenshawe Hospital as a specialist centre for general surgery – has now agreed a judicial review can take place, raising the possibility of the decision being reversed.

Here is the statement from the Keep Wythenshawe Special campaign:
Monday, November 9, 2015

Today we have received notification from the High Court of Justice that the judge has considered our legal challenge to Healthier Together over plans to downgrade Wythenshawe Hospital as a specialist centre for general surgery and has agreed the case for a judicial review.
It means that we can now challenge to have the decision reversed. We believe it is vindication that we were right to question the process by which the commissioners at Healthier Together made their decision to overlook Wythenshawe Hospital.
We would like to thank hospital colleagues, our local MPs Mike Kane, Graham Brady and Kate Green and the community of south Manchester who have stood firmly with us in challenging what we and they always believed was a flawed decision. Indeed, on Saturday more than 1,200 of them joined us in a March and rally in Wythenshawe town centre to voice their concerns.
Of course this is just one step in what we are sure will be a long and costly process but our Keep Wythenshawe Special campaign is entirely self-funded, and we are determined to see this through to what we hope will be satisfactory conclusion for all the patients we treat and care for, not just in south Manchester but in the wider Greater Manchester population.

Wythenshawe and Sale East MP Mike Kane led a pipe band on the  march Altrincham and Sale West MP Graham Brady                                                       [Pics by Dave Dale]

Wythenshawe FM

Manchester shows how to kick-start the Christmas season with incredible Switch-on event

MANCHESTER Christmas light with on 2015
MANCHESTER Christmas light with on 2015

Thousands of people flocked to Manchester city centre for the annual Christmas Lights Switch-On, marking the start of the festive season in Santa’s favourite city.

The Manchester Christmas Light Switch-on, in association with Key 103, has become the beginning of Christmas for generations of Manchester people, and this year was a part to remember.

Albert Square became Britain’s biggest entertainment venue as thousands of people watched performances from some of the most loved stars in the business.

Soap favourite, Catherine Tydlesley, best known for her role in Corrie delighted the crowds with a musical number, showcasing her fantastic voice with a medley of Santa Baby and Rocking Around The Christmas Tree, before welcoming her co-star Kym Marsh on stage to push the button on this year’s Christmas lights.

Catherine Tyldesley said of the switch-on show: “Manchester is my favourite city, not just because it’s my home but because we don’t anything by halves. The merriment outside on the square was overwhelming!”

Live performances from indie pop favourites Scouting for Girls and chart topping R&B star Lemar, hyped the audience beautifully with a selection of crowd pleasing favourites and new material.

Gary Barlow appeared before the crowds via the digital screens to wish Manchester a very merry Christmas ahead of his new musical, The Girls, which starts at the Lowry in the New Year.

Lucy O’Bryne, star of the Sound of Music at The Lowry – and winner of the BBC’s The Voice competition – gave Albert Square a memorable rendition of the class The Hills Are Alive as the audience all but took over during a boisterous sing-along.

The star of the Opera House’s Cinderalla, Eloise Davies, was given a warm reception from the happy crowd, which included many younger members excited to see the fairytale icon.

The night was opened and pulses set racing by the choreography of the Printwork’s Street Dance competition winners, Aim Sky High Company, from Stretford, following a rousing choral performance of “Fairy tale of New York” from the ever brilliant Manchester Show Choir.

MANCHESTER Christmas light with on 2015
MANCHESTER Christmas light with on 2015

The event concluded with a 10-minute fireworks spectacular.

Lit for the first time this year, Manchester’s Giant Santa has returned newly refurbished with 90,000 glowing LED lights – a true icon of Christmas in the city.

Follow him on twitter: @MCRSanta for a unique perspective on the festive season.

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester Christmas spokesperson, said: “Tonight we have broken all records and we’ve had the most amazing start to our festive season. Seeing Albert Square filled with thousands of people – and of all ages – it feels like the whole of Manchester has come down today. All the acts were fantastic and the crowd has been brilliant.

“Our switch-on show is the real start to Christmas for generations of Mancunians and now our Giant Santa has been refurbished, he’s so bright and sparkling I would think he can be seen from space! I wouldn’t be surprised if we get visitors from another world ready to celebrate the festive season now Santa has been turned on.

Lights 2

“But, of course, we’ve only just begun. The markets are back next Saturday, so between now and then, the city will be transformed in readiness for more than six weeks of Christmas in Manchester.”

Manchester’s award winning Christmas Markets will open officially to the public next week on Saturday 14 November, spreading across 10 sites in the city centre with 350 stalls.

The Markets are the UK’s ORIGINAL, BIGGEST and BEST!

Pictures Copyrighted to Mark Waugh (

Video to follow

Wythenshawe FM

Listen to WFM 97.2 Special – Tommy Steele in the Glenn Miller Story

Tommy Steele in The  Glenn Miller StoryWythenshawe FM interviewed former teen idol and star of countless musicals, Tommy Steele, when he came to Manchester earlier this year to promote his new musical, The Glenn Miller Story, which opened at the Palace Theatre in Manchester this week and runs until Saturday 7th of November.
Now you can listen to our interview with Tommy Steele and hear the question and answer session recorded with the public at the Palace Theatre earlier this year before the production started touring.
Listen to our Tommy Steele in the Glenn Miller Story Special on WFM 97.2 or online on at the following times:

Friday 6th November 11 pm
Saturday 7th November 9 am, 6 pm

Wythenshawe FM

The Glenn Miller Story, Palace Theatre Manchester, until Saturday 7th November

Tommy Steele doesn’t try to beThe Glenn Miller Story - Palace Theatre Manchester a Glenn Miller lookalike in this production but continues to sell his own brand – the loveable song and dance man and star of countless musicals.

The American accent was very much optional and although the tousle-haired star didn’t morph into lean, austere, bespectacled Glenn Miller, Tommy Steele, nevertheless, led us through a warm-hearted, engaging production where the audience was swept up by the power of classic, massive-selling swing band hits of the 30s and 40s.

In the first half, Miller falls in love and marries, works on musical arrangements, and dreams of a new sound which, after years of gestation, emerges as the all-conquering Glenn Miller Orchestra, with its unique set up consisting of a clarinet leading the melodic line, working with four saxophones plus trombones.

In the second half, the show comes back with all guns blazing – a toe-tapping delight. I defy anyone not to go home with Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree and Chattanooga Choo Choo on repeat inside their heads.

There’s energetic dancing throughout and Tommy Steele is in fine voice for his poignant solo The Nearness of You.

The Glenn Miller Story is a treat which, if you’re not already a fan, will convert you to the swing band sound that, whatever your age, will take you back in time to re-live an era.

Sadly, many of the people who danced and loved and married and brought up kids to this music are no longer with us and this musical may bring a tear to your eye and make you feel closer to them as you see the dancing and delight of people who were young in the 1940s recreated.

The Glenn Miller Story is a winner for pure musical delight, for a sentimental journey, and for the joyful re-discovery of a style of music that was once king – a sound that broke hearts and mended them and filled the dance floors 70 years ago.

The Glenn Miller Story runs until Saturday November 9th at the Palace Theatre, Manchester. Ticket prices start from £21.40. To book tickets phone 0844 871 3019 or go to the website

Wythenshawe FM

Metrolink Airport line soars on 1st birthday

Metrolink Airport lineSoaring passenger numbers have seen 1.88 million journeys made on Metrolink’s multi award-winning Manchester Airport line in its first year.
The 15-stop line, which was opened more than a year ahead of schedule, celebrates its first birthday on Tuesday 3 November.

The success of the £400 million line – one of the largest locally-funded transport projects of its kind in the country – was recently recognised during the industry award season with FOUR wins at different national award ceremonies.
The line – which required 3,412,123 hours of work to deliver – has brought with it economic growth and opportunity that stretches far beyond the nine miles of track that run through the heart of south Manchester.
Wythenshawe town centre has prospered since it opened, welcoming thousands more visitors into the town every week.

Town Centre Manager, Jeff Jackson, said: “Wythenshawe is a great place to work and visit: the people are friendly and it has a great array of shops and other facilities.
“Since the line opened we’ve seen footfall increase by between eight and 10 thousand people a week and this has attracted new businesses to the centre.
“With Metrolink and the new interchange people have got accessibility to the Airport and wider Manchester area, offering them increased job and leisure opportunities.”

Almost 60km of rail track was used to construct the line, which uses 670 overhead poles to power the trams. Twenty-eight tramway/highway junctions were either newly installed or modernised; a 337 metre-long viaduct was constructed over the River Mersey and two 580 tonne motorway bridges were installed over some of the busiest sections of urban motorway in the country.
Local residents have also benefited by the so-called ‘Metrolink effect’, which has seen house prices near to the line increase well above the national average.
An innovative scheme to recruit staff local to the area by Metrolink’s operator, RATP Dev, was also an unprecedented success, with 12 employees going on to work as part of the wider customer service team at Metrolink.

Customer Ambassadors1

One such employee and local councillor for Sharston, Madeleine Monaghan, said: “Recruiting locally for Metrolink jobs was such a fantastic initiative and the Airport line has brought so much to the area.
“As well as being able to travel from A to B – and the tourism element of being able to travel to the airport and city centre – you can’t underestimate the impact the Airport line has had on the area.
“There are so many new businesses in the area that have created employment opportunities and up-skilled residents, and from working on the line I’ve had so many first-hand accounts from people who have told me just how much it’s improved their lives.”

Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink Director, said: “The Airport line has been hugely successful, delivering improved public transport and access to employment, business, retail and leisure opportunities, as well as education and healthcare.
“Part of its charm and success stems from the recruitment drive that ensured jobs went to local residents: people with knowledge and passion for their communities as well as the Metrolink network that serves them.
“Our success is ultimately down to our customers and staff.”

TfGM Committee Chair, Councillor Andrew Fender, added: “We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from residents’ right along the Airport line, who’ve seen their local communities rejuvenated.
“Businesses are thriving in outlets that at one time stood empty. Home owners have seen the value of their homes soar and job opportunities are increasing all the time. All this is testament to the fact that the successful delivery of major projects like the Airport line goes well beyond simply helping people get from A to B.”

Manchester Airport Line launch 3 Nov 2014

Chris Coleman, Managing Director, Metrolink RATP Dev, which operates the network on behalf of TfGM, said: “We were very clear from the start that we wanted to recruit local people from the Wythenshawe area for the new customer service roles on the Airport line. We worked with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group as part of their Talent Pool programme which saw interest from 250 local residents for the positions.

“We achieved unprecedented success with the recruitment programme which has not only meant employment for Wythenshawe residents, but has also allowed us to use the local knowledge of our new employees to provide even better customer service to our passengers.
“As a result of the success of the project, our new recruits have now gone on to form part of the bigger customer service team here at the company, including a new customer ambassador project which will see them provide customer service at key city centre stops.”

The Manchester Airport via Wythenshawe line was delivered by the MPT consortium, formed of Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales.
Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network is one of the most successful light rail systems in the UK, carrying over 32 million passengers every year. The opening of the Airport line brought the number of Metrolink stops across Greater Manchester to 92, spanning some 60km.
For more information on the Metrolink network, visit


Kirsty Howard’s funeral: Hundreds of people donned pink in tribute

1Hundreds of people donned pink in tribute to courageous fundraiser Kirsty Howard at her funeral.

The 20-year-old’s coffin was laid to rest at Southern Cemetery, in Chorlton, following a service at St Michael and All Angels Church.
Crowds of mourners turned out to pay their respects as a cortège left Francis House in Disbury led by a horse-drawn hearse, made its way to the church in Wythenshawe.

Applause broke out as the pink coffin, pulled by white horses dressed in pink feathers, passed. The cortège made stops at places important to Kirsty including her family home, located on the same road as the church.






Kirsty met a number of celebrities during her fundraising campaign, with Royle Family star Sue Johnston and Coronation Street actress Samia Ghadie at her funeral.


Opera singer Russell Watson was also among the mourners and his song recorded in tribute to Kirsty, named Is Nothing Sacred Anymore, was played at the beginning of the service.
The service was led by the Reverend Stephen Edwards, with mourners singing hymns Morning Has Broken and All Things Bright and Beautiful in the packed church.
He spoke of Kirsty’s “amazing energy” and the way her inspirational fundraising had “touched thousands of people”,
Fellow fundraiser Susie Mathis, who asked Kirsty to front the Francis House fundraising campaign, gave a eulogy.

The church erupted into laughter when she spoke of the time Kirsty met idol Ronan Keating and when she joined David Beckham in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.






Debbie Winstanley, from Wythenshawe Hospital, talked about Kirsty’s brave spirit while she was in hospital adding: “Don’t cry because it’s over, but smile because she was here”.
Poems were also read out by Sue Johnston and Kirsty’s close friend Frankii Maia.
The Rev’d Edwards read a tribute written by sister’s Zoe and Kim Howard, which described Kirsty as “the best auntie in the world”.







Following the ceremony the cortège travelled to Southern Cemetery, making stops at Rack House Primary School and the Lancasterian School, before a private service took place.