Day 30

It is always a pleasure when the local contact writes up the daily blog and I must thank John from TheBestOfRochdale for this excellent overview of my day spent in Rochdale.

DAY 30 18th June


After meeting Steve at thebestofbury exhibition the previous evening, I was looking forward to welcoming him to Rochdale and giving him all the support thebestofrochdale could offer in his challenge to raise awareness of the issues facing the world’s millions of refugees.

The sun was shining down on Steve as he arrived in Rochdale. We met at the Bridge Inn, Norden for a tasty lunch and a refreshing drink and Steve shared some of his more notable experiences on his journey so far. After a quick ‘pit-stop’ it was off down to Spotland, where Stuart Ashworth had very kindly agreed to present Steve with a replica shirt. With Stuart otherwise engaged, it was down to Jan Marsh to do the honours and rather reluctantly pose for the obligatory photo. UP THE DALE!

A short cycle trip and we were in Lower Falinge to meet some of the dedicated workers and volunteers at NESTAC – The New Step for African Community charity. Steve was pleased to be given the opportunity to see for himself an organisation that is working tirelessly to improve the lives of refugees who have chosen to settle in Rochdale. A quick walk next door and we were greeted by Jackie Robinson who introduced Steve and I to the women at the Lower Falinge Arts and Crafts Group. It was great to see women from different cultures coming together like that and hopefully, Steve will be spurred on by their genuine support for his efforts.

Before Steve had to leave for Oldham, I had one final stop planned – a visit to Rochdale’s magnificent town hall and a meeting with the Mayor Zulfiqar Ali. Steve had met many people on his trip but this was a first, and it clearly meant a lot to him. Thank you to the Mayor for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet Steve.

Steve’s visit to Rochdale was brief but I’m sure it will form a memorable part of his journey. Thebestofrochdale wishes Steve well during the remainder of ‘The Shirt 2010’ challenge and I’m sure we’ll be in touch.



From Rochdale, it was a fast ride down to Oldham Athletic and then on to Glossop. Oldham’s ground did not seem to have changed much since I was last there and it’s clear they have much to do on and off the pitch to get back to the top league. I wish them well – I have always enjoyed visiting them. Ground number 24 and I reminded myself that after I had “collected” Rochdale as ground 23, I was one quarter of my way through the journey. I also reflected that the next ten days would take me to one third of the way through my trip as there another dozen grounds in the north west.

From Oldham it was a tough climb to Glossop. Whilst Stalybridge Celtic’s Bower Fold is one of the UK’s most pictoresque grounds, it is also on a extremely steep hill. I struggled past it, remembering all the exciting games I had seen there. Happy Days.

Finally, I arrived in Glossop. Why did I make that 40 mile trek to a non-92 ground? Quite simply because Björn was superbly treated when he was there last August and I have to say I was also regally treated. I simply wanted to pass on my/Bjørn’s appreciation, to visit the famous Friendship Pub and to pay my respects to Mike, the landlord, who is in hospital after an horrendous accident. I could not see Mike as he is still in hospital with a fractured pelvis but I send my best and hope to see you running around again very soon. Thanks to all who made me so welcome at Glossop and especially to Jonathan and Barry who sorted out a bed for me.

I watched the England versus Algeria game which was a sad end to an otherwise perfect day!


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