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Round the Horne Interview

Monday, September 21st, 2015

From 1965 to 1969 there wasn’t a bigger radio show than Round the Horne, with up to 15 million people tuning in every Sunday to listen to Kenneth Horne and his merry Crew. We spoke to Tim Astley, director of a new stage adaptation created from original Round the Horne radio scripts…

What prompted you to revisit Round the Horne all these years later? I grew up listening to cassettes of Round the Horne, it was a huge part of my childhood. When I realised that the 50th anniversary of the show’s first broadcast was fast approaching, I decided to create a theatre show to celebrate the programme that had given me so much joy. It’s the closest fans will get to sitting in the audience when the hilarious and ground-breaking programme was originally recorded in the 60s.

There were some very distinguished and beloved actors in Round the Horne including Kenneth Williams – it must have been a challenge for the actors portraying those roles?

It was important to us that the cast do justice to the real people they are portraying.  Whereas the majority of acting is open to interpretation, with an actor’s take on a role very much up to him or her, with this production there is very much a right and wrong way to do it. The cast have spent a lot of time listening to the original Round the Horne broadcasts, particularly the sketches we are recreating and they’ve watched a lot of TV and radio that their characters appeared in.

The show was laced with gay innuendoes at a time when homosexuality was illegal; do you think RTH’s appeal helped the Gay rights movement?

Round the Horne was hugely ahead of its time. The use of the hitherto little-known gay slang, polari, was a fantastic device for the show; it enabled the characters of Julian and Sandy to say outrageous things while not being too explicit about it. The BBC censors didn’t always know what was being said either, meaning that a lot of material that probably would have been cut made it to air. I think the popularity of these characters and the love the British public had of them certainly played a role in homosexuality becoming decriminalised in 1967, the year of Round the Horne’s third series.

How does the show relate to a modern audience?

Some comedy ages well, some doesn’t. There is no doubt in my mind that Round the Horne has aged well. I think that the silly, over-the-top style of the show is one that British people can relate to. It is fundamentally the same kind of thing that has been making us laugh for centuries, from pantomimes to Carry On films to Little Britain – it’s that British love of silliness which has endured.

The last of the English snow hares

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

A major citizen science project will be launched in the Peak District and South Pennines this autumn to gather more information about the enigmatic snow hare, and how this species is being affected by a warming climate.  This area is the only place in England where this animal – whose fur turns white in the winter for camouflage – is still found in any number.  However, more information is needed to find out how this cold-loving species is responding to our increasingly mild and wet winters with less snow.

The Community Science project, run by Moors for the Future Partnership and funded by the Heritage Lottery, will rely on volunteers to recording their hare sightings.  Sarah Proctor, Project Manager said: “Involving local communities gives us the best chance of collecting large amounts of data about our only upland specialist mammal.  The aim of the project is to provide a wide range of opportunities for people to collect valuable information about how our uplands are changing, whilst also inspiring people to take an interest in moorlands and look at them a bit closer”.  Sarah added, “There are loads of ways to record your sightings of the snow hare, its coat colour and whether there is snow on the ground when you saw it – through our website, by picking up one of our postcards, or by using our new ‘MoorWILD’ smartphone app, which is free to download.”  Snow hares – also called mountain hares – are a UK Priority species, and are well suited to living on cold and exposed hilltops. As the UK’s most south-easterly population, English snow hares are likely to be the first to feel the effects of our warming climate.

Community Science started in 2013 initially focussing on moorland birds, butterflies and bees, but is now being expanded to include studies into mammals and the vital peat-forming Sphagnum moss.  The man behind this year’s hunt to find Britain’s national bird, David Lindo, has given his backing to the campaign and said: “As far as I am concerned, the only way to really get conservation messages out there is to encourage volunteers to participate in citizen science. Exactly what you guys will be doing. It is people like you that help to create the cornerstones of our increasing knowledge of the natural world.”

To find out how more about the project and how you can get involved go to:

About Snow Hares:

Snow hares (Lepus timidus) are the UK’s only native lagomorph – the others – brown hares and rabbits were introduced species.  In England they were once widespread, but died out about 6000 years ago. They were reintroduced to the Pennines about 150 years ago, and there are now thought to be approximately 5000 individuals in England’s last remaining population. The mountain hare is listed in Annex 5 of the EC Habitats Directive (1992) and is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species.

In Scotland the snow hare is more abundant, but 2013 research by the BTO has indicated numbers had declined by 43 per cent since 1995.

Glossop Juniors score top award

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Glossop North End AFC Juniors had reason to celebrate recently as they were crowned the PFK Cooper Parry Club of the Year at the 2014 Derbyshire Sport Awards.

Held at the Roundhouse in Derby, the evening – which was hosted by BBC East Midlands Today’s Colin Hazelden – celebrated sports teams from around the county and awarded them for their hard work, commitment and achievements.

Glossop NE AFC Juniors have over 300 children – both boys and girls – playing football over more than 20 teams across various age groups. Not only that, but behind the scenes they’ve helped a number of their coaches and junior leaders achieve FA qualifications.

The Derbyshire Sports Awards are organised by Derbyshire Sport and recognise some of the county’s most committed and talented youngsters, volunteers, coaches, athletes, clubs and organisations.

The Soup Seller appeals for local help

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

The Soup Seller, a much-loved addition to Glossop’s High Street West, is calling on urgent local support so that it can continue trading in the town centre.

Launched in 2012, the café has developed a loyal following due to its homemade hearty soups, lovingly-made cakes and an ethical, ecological approach to both food and business. But despite its fans, high business rates, competition from big chains and the soaring cost of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and utilities have resulted in this local eatery struggling for survival.

Rather than give up hope and admit defeat, The Soup Seller’s founder, Jenny Kieras, has hit on a novel – and very community-driven – way to raise money and stay on the high street.

Jenny is calling on local businesses and people to take part in crowd-funding, a process which allows fans to pledge and donate money in exchange for rewards from The Soup Seller.

Jenny said: “We are asking anyone who loves our soup, or who wants to support a truly local business, to pledge money in exchange for meals, soup recipes, soup travel mugs and even invites to our seasonal tasting sessions. Our food is made from proper, locally-sourced ingredients and everything is made from scratch and with lots of love. We want to extend our business and give back to the local community. We’d like to donate our organic compost to people who grow their own vegetables and we’d even like to host events for local children to learn about food and where it comes from.

“As it stands, if we don’t generate the funding required. We’d have to close altogether which would be heart breaking. So, if you’d like to take part in this community venture, please donate by November 11th and Save our Soup!”

The Soup Seller, located at 73 High Street West, sells lovingly-created sandwiches, cakes and homemade soups from locally-sourced ingredients, as well as Fairtrade coffee and proper tea.  Everything, even the stock used for the soups and the pesto – is made from scratch by Jenny and her team. The venue also plays host to The Mama Café, and is children, baby and breast-feeding friendly.

The Soup Seller’s Crowd Funding initiative has a deadline of November 11th 2014. Proper food fans can Save our Soup by visiting to pledge small or large gifts to keep this fabulous local business open. The Soup Seller will be closed temporarily from week commencing October 27th.

Funding for growth in High Peak

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Creating new jobs and work space are at the heart of a new regeneration initiative being launched in the High Peak.

High Peak Borough Council has approved the principle of creating an investment fund for regeneration projects in the borough and is now looking for suitable projects to support. No financial figure has been allocated but the Council is interested in investing in projects that will promote growth and jobs.

The ‘fund’ can support private or public sector projects which are commercially viable and which will create new jobs or workspace. Funding can be in various forms such as equity investment in the development of start-up employment units, loan funding to help enable a significant expansion or relocation of business, or investment to bring forward mixed use development schemes.

The initiative will be formally launched at business breakfast briefings at the Palace Hotel in Buxton on Thursday, 6th November and at Glossop Cricket Club on Tuesday, 11th November where further details will be available.

Council Leader Councillor Caitlin Bisknell said: “We’re delighted to be launching this initiative to support projects to deliver job opportunities and workspace across the High Peak.

“It’s aimed at projects and schemes which might not otherwise proceed but which will have a real impact on jobs and growth in the borough – a key priority for the Council. With that in mind, we’re making an initial call for projects and we will work with applicants to bring forward suitable schemes as soon as possible.”

Councillor Godfrey Claff, executive member for regeneration, added: “The Council already has measures in place to support businesses and to make sure they have information about, and access to, other funding streams and training opportunities.

“The ‘Growth Fund’ complements this. It will provide a real focus to bring forward the best projects to benefit our residents.”

Further details are available on the Council’s website – – and at the business breakfast meetings in Buxton and Glossop in early November.

The breakfast briefings are taking place between 7.30am and 9.30am in both Buxton and Glossop. To book a place at either event visit the website


Dickinson’s Real Deal comes to Buxton

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Antiques expert and television presenter David Dickinson is coming to Buxton on Saturday to help make you rich!

Popular ITV show, Dickinson’s Real deal will be popping along to Buxton Pavilion Gardens and encouraging people to bring along their untold treasures.

If you have goods to sell, visit The Octagon Room from 9am – 5pm and you could soon be quids-in.

If your antique is of value, you can either take money for it there and then from an antiques dealer, or turn them down and try and make more for it at auction instead.

The show’s team of experts will look at every item brought along; if you are interested in selling your antiques or valuables bring them along for the chance of getting the Real Deal.

Doors are open between 9am and 5pm. Admission is free - you do not need to book an appointment or buy a ticket- simply turn up on the day, but please bring photographic ID and proof of address.

For more information, see

Soup Seller ‘Cooks Up’ New Business Scheme

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Local business The Soup Seller is taking unusual steps to raise funds and bring ‘Soup for the Soul’ into the wider community.

Owner Jenny Kieras has turned to internet fundraising site to help raise money to prevent them from closure.

Crowdfunding is an alternative means of funding that gives individuals the opportunity to promote their ideas and ask those who believe in them to donate towards it in return for an exchange of services or goods.

Says Jenny, “When the Soup Seller opened, it was intended to be the first stepping stone of a bigger journey. We’ve learnt a lot so far but now we need to take the next step and make things not only better but bigger. We believe passionately in making ‘Proper Food’ from simple, local ingredients, not because it’s trendy but because it makes sense.

“We’ve spent all our money opening and improving our little shop but we need to spread our reach further and make our mission clearer, or we face imminent closure.”

The Soup Seller already makes all their own soups from scratch, composts all organic waste and recycles all packaging waste, but wants to give back more to the local community.

“We want to give homemade compost to those that grow their own fruit and veg. We want to give seeds to local schools and community projects to encourage them to set up veg patches which we can then use to make fabulous seasonal soup”, says Jenny.

“We would also like to develop a recipe book and run cooking classes showing people how they can make soup for themselves at home.”

Outside help is critical to this mission, as says Jenny “making ‘Proper Food’ properly costs more, and we are very conscious not to pass this on to customers as it should be accessible to all, but now we’re struggling to survive, let alone thrive”.

Donators can pledge from as little as £10 to up to £1000, and each pledger will receive a Soup Seller reward in return, from food hampers, meals, recipe cards and Soup Seller merchandise.

They have already raised over £2000 of their £15000 target, which they hope to reach by November 11th. Find out more about The Soup Seller at or donate to their mission at

Win up to £25,000 with the Reuben’s Retreat Unity Lottery

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Local charity Reuben’s Retreat is offering people the chance to win up to £25,000 by playing their Unity Lottery.

Playing the Unity Lottery in aid of Reuben’s Retreat is a simple way to support them. 50p of every £1 you play is donated to Reuben’s Retreat – the other 50p goes into the prize fund and covers administration costs.

For every £1 you play, you’ll receive a unique 6-digit lottery number that is yours for as long as you keep playing. You can sign-up to enter the weekly draw for as little as £1 per week.

3 digits in the correct place wins £5
4 digits in the correct place wins £25
5 digits in the correct place wins £1,000
6 digits in the correct place wins £25,000

To start playing simply visit and complete the online direct debit form.

If you would like to donate directly to Reuben’s Retreat, please click here 


Simmondley schoolgirl’s super achievement

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

To celebrate Gas Safety Week 2014 – September 15- 21, the Gas Safe Register (formally known as Corgi) ran a competition calling upon registered gas safe engineers to get their families involved.

Kids aged between four and 12 were invited to submit drawings of what they think a gas safety hero should look like along with a short story which depicted their relative or family friend- a gas safe registered engineer – keeping the community or a particular family gas safe.

The drawing had to capture the spirit of Gas Safety Week and showcase the great work registered gas safe engineers do to keep the nation gas safe.

Lee Turton, an engineer of Glossop’s Gas Care UK Green Energy was keen to participate and enrolled his seven year old daughter Ruby Turton from Simmondley Primary School.

Ruby made her dad the hero in her story and came up with Freddie the Flame. He was staying at Mrs Shaw’s house and became very poorly and turned yelllow, a change from his usual healthy blue colour. A worried Mrs Shaw remembered she hadn’t had her boiler serviced for a long time, so called Gas Care in Glossop and booked her boiler in for a service with Lee. Freddie began to feel well again and returned to his healthy blue colour.

There were more than 40 entries and at the beginning of Gas Safety Week the Gas Safety Register announced Ruby had finished second, which meant Ruby had her drawing and story turned into a comic illustration. During Gas Safety Week, Ruby’s story was used to promote gas safety across the nation.

Find out more about Gas Safety Week at

Ruby Turton's winning story for Gas Safe UK

Ruby Turton’s winning story for Gas Safe UK


Glossop Landlady in bid to help Manchester Dog’s Home

Friday, September 12th, 2014

A Glossop landlady is collecting items to donate to Manchester Dog’s Home which was recently subjected to a horrifying arson attack.

The Grapes Pub on High Street West, Glossop (opposite Fig Creative) is accepting items such as dog beds, blankets, towels, leads, collars, dog food and treats and dog toys (not soft toys) and cash donations, and landlady Pauline will be making regular runs to the donation site at the north Manchester police headquarters.

People can drop items off with bar staff, or deposit them in the black plastic bins which will be left outside the pub during closing hours.

You can donate directly to Manchester Dog’s Home by texting MDOG57 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070, or visit the Just Giving page at

There are also other local collections happening at Pets at Home, Victoria Vets, Snobby Dogs, Tesco and Tameside Elite Boxing Academy.

Would you like to help The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is currently looking for volunteers in our area who’ll take on the role of collection box co-ordinator, a vitally important function with the association.

Matt Freeman of the association explains “Our co-ordinators are right at the heart of our fundraising efforts, and help us to spread the word about the work we do.

Being a collection box co-ordinator is really easy to fit into your daily lifestyle and can be planned around work and family commitments. We’ll just ask you to get out and about in your local area, placing our iconic dog-shaped boxes in local shops and businesses. Then, after a few months, we’ll need you to go back, empty the boxes, and send us the funds. By volunteering, you’ll have a great opportunity to meet people in the community, whilst having the satisfaction of knowing you’re playing a central role in helping Guide Dogs to raise funds needed to support people who are blind or partially sighted. In fact, our co-ordinators often tell us they’re pleasantly surprised at the amount of money collected in our boxes, even during tough economic times.”

If you’d like to apply, or just find out more, email the East Midlands office at, or call 08453 727 424. There’s also plenty of information on the Guide Dogs website, at

Glossop girl makes the cut for hair charity

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

A Glossopdale student has undergone a stunning transformation, all in aid of a throwaway comment she made as a youngster.

Tabitha Ballington, 16, donated approximately 50cm of hair to The Little Princess Trust, a charity organisation which creates real-hair wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment.

Having had waist-length hair since she was 9 years old, it was a big change to make, but one she had been thinking about for a while. Says mum Laura Ballington, owner of Laura’s Coffee Lounge on Henry Street, Glossop, “When she was younger, she once said ‘when I’m older, I’m going to have all my hair cut off and give it to little bald children’, and then she went and did it”.

Says Tabitha, “my hair got quite annoying, so I Googled ‘hair donation’ and came across The Little Princess Trust and decided to do it”.

Hairdresser Samantha Whyatt from Arturos made the cut (and a great job she’s done too!), donating her fee to The Little Princess Trust too.

Tabitha admits there were tears, especially as the whole family came to watch – mum, dad and grandparents were all in attendance – but she’s already gelled with her new style, “it’s really great, I love it” she says. “I’d definitely do it again”.

Find out more about The Little Princess Trust at

Click here to watch the video.

Tabitha before

Tabitha before

Tabitha after

Tabitha after

Local group soldier to victory to make the Eggheads toast!

Friday, November 8th, 2013

A Glossop man was part of a triumphant team that took on BBC2’s Eggheads – and won!

Kitchen designer Mark Slater appeared on the popular BBC quiz show this week along with fellow brainiacs Mark Haywood, Gary Hutchings, Stuart Jamieson and Tony Dagnall.

Despite the two Marks, Stuart and Gary failing to win their individual rounds, Tony – a volunteer coordinator for Trafford Carers – refused to crack under pressure and successfully beat the five-strong panel of quiz champions, seeing the show shell out a cool £41,000.

The group – along with reserve player Chris Wrighton, an accountant – met years ago at the networking group BNI and travelled up to Glasgow in March this year to film the show.

Mark was pitted against Who Wants to be a Millionaire winner Judith Keppel in the Sports round, and admits that losing to her saw him “take a right ribbing” off his friends.

Daphne, Kevin, Pat and Dave made up the remaining challengers, whom Mark says were all “really nice, and they were thrilled for us when we won, which was lovely”.

The show can still be viewed on BBC iPlayer for the next three days at

One17 Bakers rolls out a sweet deal with Barclays

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Barclay’s Bank will swap one kind of dough for another this week, as Glossop-based One17 Bakers tempt customers with a selection of tasty treats.

One17’s head baker Frank will be whisking up a mouth-watering selection of goodies to sell to morning traders, with all proceeds going to local charity High Peak Women’s Aid.

With an assortment of breads, cakes and savoury pastries, as well as family favourites such as Gingerbread Men, Chocolate Chip Cookies and – fittingly – Millionaire Slices, One17 Bakers will surely have something to tickle your taste buds.

One17 Bakers’ Jane Cooper will be laden with freshly baked goods at Barclays Bank, 1 High Street, Glossop on Friday, September 20th from 9.30am until they run out, so even if you don’t leave the bank with a full wallet, you’ll leave with a full belly!


One-17 Bakers sweeten up Glossop High Street

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Glossop High Street has welcomed its newest business today as One-17 Bakers opened their doors for the first time.

Although the official opening was planned for August 3, new owners Jane and Frank Cooper found there was so much interest from residents that they had to open earlier than planned to satisfy demand – and appetites.

“As far as appearances go, it is a shop in progress,” says Jane, “but it is spanking clean and welcoming so come on down whenever”.

Shop hours are planned for 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 4pm on Saturdays, and will supply a range of delicious home cooked cakes and pastries, aiming to bring a mix of sweet and savoury direct to Glossop.

The ‘official’ opening day is still planned for August 3, from 9am to 4pm. Samples will be given out from 2pm to 4pm and (weather permitting) there will be live music from bluegrass band Walton’s Mountain Sniffle Group.

Jane – originally from Philadelphia – is new to Glossop and keen to meet as many friendly faces as possible. The new bakery – located at 117 High Street West – was previously Alice Rose, so is perfectly kitted out for creating tasty treats and will surely be whetting the appetites of Glossop for years to come.

Wetherspoon completes £1 million refurbishment at Howard Town Mill

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

JD Wetherspoon has welcomed scores of customers in the first few weeks at its new pub at Glossop’s Howard Town Mill, which is owned by Peveril Securities in partnership with Real Estate Development Partnerships.

The pub has signed up to a 30 year lease at the mixed use scheme and joins existing tenants Dominos, Travelodge, M&S Simply Food, Cotton Traders and Mountain Warehouse. JD Wetherspoon undertook a £1million fit-out of scheme which took two months.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We are delighted to have opened at Howard Town Mill and to be a part of such a superb development.”

Damian Flood, managing director of Real Estate Development Partnerships added: “We would like to congratulate Wetherspoon on completing the works to such a high standard. Howard Town Mill is really starting to establish itself as a true retail and leisure destination for Glossop and with Wetherspoon now open we are confident the number of people visiting Howard Town Mill will continue to rise.”

Hadfield hosts Auction of Promises in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Local resident James Peel will host an Auction of Promises to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The auction takes place on Friday, 7th June from 7.30 at St Andrew’s Church, Church Street, Hadfield. There will be an entry fee of £5.

So far, over 30 ‘promises’ have been made for services including as an evening’s babysitting, or a week’s worth of ironing. There’s also singing lessons from a classically trained opera star, tickets to see the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the opportunity to drive a race car around a professional race track.

The full list of promises can be seen here and you can donate to James’ Just Giving page to support him in his quest to cycle from London to Paris here

“Dead Body” – false alarm

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Police turned out over the weekend after receiving reports of a body lying face down in a resevoir.

On arrival the dead body was found to be a scarecrow.

You read it here first!!

This story has now been picked up by the BBC and The Manchester Evening News.