A bakery in Bolton run by ex-offenders has been left flying high after winning big at the 2022 British Pie Awards.
Proving that everyone deserves a second chance, the bakery scooped up four gongs at this year’s prestigious ceremony held inside Melton Mobrawy’s 12th Century St Mary’s Church, also known as the ‘Cathedral of Pies’.
Cleaning up, the team of ex-offenders impressively won the overall vegan category with their chickpea curry pasty – leaving them feeling completely ‘ecstatic’.
HM Pasties were also awarded silver for their cheese and onion pie and twos bronzes for their traditional pastry and creamy vegan leek and mushroom pies.
In a heartfelt post shared to social media, the bakery said that achieving such recognition felt like a ‘validation of the work of the whole team’.
“This is such wonderful news for everyone in the bakery team,” they wrote.
“Four of our products to be recognised in this way, judged by experts, is such a validation of the work of the whole team.
“We couldn’t be prouder and thank everyone who has wished us well, bought our products and supported our journey so far.”
HM Pasties, set up by former prisoner Lee Wakeham in 2018, offers a lifeline to those in need of work experience after leaving prison.
Using ingredients from local prison farms wherever possible, the bakery makes delicious Cornish pasties and pies.
They weren’t the only ones to win big, either, with a total of six different Greater Manchester pie makers taking home gongs this year.
Ate Days A Week (Stockport), HM Pasties (Bolton), Great North Pie Co, Patel’s Pies (Manchester), Fraser’s Butchers (Bolton) and Baldy’s Pies (Wigan) all scooped up impressive comments from the judges this year – proving chefs in the north west more than know what they’re doing in the pie department.
Ate Days A Week, which has only been churning out pies for 18 months now, took home four awards – most notably, a prestigious Gold for their Lamb Pie Of The Tiger.
The team also took home silver awards for their Madrassive Attack and Ox Cheek Pie of the Tiger pies and scored a bronze for their Salt and Pepper Chicken Pie Of The Tiger.
Speaking on the win, owner and chef Andy James said: “Proper proper mad to even conceive that we’ve not even been making or selling pies for 18 months yet and that’s 5 awards in that time.
“I’m seriously proud of what we’re doing and where we’re going. Next year, we’ll be a class winner I promise that!”
Local favourites, longstanding winners and now, also, judges at the awards, the Great North Pie Company alsos did well – picking up two more awards to add to their collection.
Their Corned Beef and Potato and Chicken and Bovril Balti pies both earned Bronze awards at this year’s event, spelling good things to come for their Manchester pie shop – also due to open in the city later this year.
Elsewhere, Patel’s Pies, founded during the pandemic by ex-scaffolder Steve Patel, won two silver awards for their Aloo Matar and Chickpea and Paneer pies.
HM Pasties Bolton neighbours Frasers Butchers also got an acknowledgement, receiving three awards in total: a silver award for their pork pie and Huntsman pie, and a bronze for their classic meat and potato pie.
Meanwhile Wigan’s Baldy’s Pies, not to be overlooked, picked up a gold award for their Fisherman’s Pie.
The team was also awarded with a bronze gong for their Big Jim pie – comprised of bone marrow, braised beef shin, confit onion and pistachio crumb.
Further afield, the Cheshire Pie Company and Glossop’s butchers Mettrick’s also picked up awards at the 2022 competition.
Amazon to donate surplus essential goods to Greater Manchester families in need
A new charity initiative has been launched this week to help more than 50,000 families in need across Greater Manchester.
The Brick-by-Brick Project has been set up with support from Amazon, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and Wigan-based charity The Brick, and it’s setting out to donate more than 400,000 surplus essential goods to over 50,000 families in need throughout the region this year.
With the rising cost of living crisis sadly continuing to make its impact felt nationwide, the Brick-by-Brick Project will work as a community donations hub, where Amazon and other local companies can donate a wide range of surplus products to.
While reducing waste and helping the community at the same time, the donated surplus products will then be distributed out to to people in need through a network of local charity groups and care professionals – including teachers, midwives, and social workers.
The launch of the initiative comes after it was revealed that, in February 2023, more than 32,500 people in Wigan, and the borough town of Leigh, were claiming Universal Credit, while 29 of the borough’s 200 neighbourhoods also all fall within the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in England, which makes up for roughly 15% of Wigan’s total population.
The Wigan project is an extension of the ‘multibank’ model first launched in Fife in Scotland as ‘The Big House’ in 2022, which has now supported 50,000 families in Fife, Edinburgh, and the Lothians.
The Brick-by-Brick Project will bring the knowledge and network of charity, The Brick, together with other local charities, logistics expertise, donations from Amazon, and product donations from other national and local retailers to “provide the right products at the right time”.
Suppliers and partners will provide products that “meet the particular needs of families in the area”.
Some of the essential surplus products set to be distributed include bedding, toiletries, nappies, wipes, clothing, backpacks, home furnishings, lightings, and electrical products.
Speaking on the launch of the project this week, Andy Burnham said: “Last year, Gordon Brown invited me to Fife to see for myself the work he was doing with Amazon and a local charity there to support thousands of families with essential household items.
“The project made a huge difference to people’s lives, and that’s why I was determined to work with Gordon and Amazon to set up a pilot in Greater Manchester, so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support the partnership with The Brick and I’m blown away by what has been achieved so far.
“Families in Wigan are struggling in this cost of living crisis and that is why this project is vital in helping those who need it most.
“During these difficult times, it’s right that the public, private and VCSE sector work together and do what we can to alleviate difficulties, and I congratulate all those involved in this, and look forward to it being rolled out elsewhere across Greater Manchester.”
Qatar and Sir Jim Ratcliffe set to submit ‘world record’ offers to buy Manchester United as other bidders are expected to join the race
The deadline for the second round of bidders in the race to takeover Manchester United football club has officially passed, with multiple world record offers reportedly on the verge of being submitted.
Following the first round of bids, which saw a Qatar investment group headed up by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, and British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe both put in their initial offers, Manchester United set a second deadline of 9pm on 22 March for them to increase their offers and welcome other offers.
While the opening bids matched each other at £4.5 billion, working with financial advisors Raine Group who are brokering in the deal from the US, neither reached the Glazer family ownership’s estimations, who value the club closer to £6bn.
As a result, both went on to carry out further negotiations — each visiting Old Trafford last Friday and staying for upwards of six hours (more than 10 in the case of the Qataris) — but it is now thought they may no longer be the only parties involved in the bidding war. Whether it will be in time is the issue.
Despite earlier reports that Sheikh Jassim and his associates had submitted a “world record offer” before the Glazers and Raine Group’s 9pm deadline (5pm New York time), Sky Sports‘ Kaveh Solhekol has now clarified that the bid was not submitted in time and that they have asked for an extension.
Man United are said to have agreed to the extension and Sheikh Jassim still remains confident that they have the “best bid” of the bunch.
Moreover, as per the likes of Mike Keegan, Jim Ratcliffe was also set to enter his second bid, with both offers said to have increased to around the £5bn mark. However, the INEOS chief exec is also said to have failed to meet the deadline and been granted an extension, according to a senior source.
Kaveh also went on to detail that multiple other offers have in fact been submitted, with the numbers said to be “approaching eight” different bidders.
Any bid of more than £3.75bn would break the world record fee for a sports club set when the Denver Broncos were sold last summer.
As for the frontrunners, both offers are still around a billion short of the Glazer’s asking price and not only have Sheikh Jassim and co. already warned they will ‘walk away’ if the price is too high, but it’s unclear how far Ratcliffe’s wealth can stretch if he is to continue pursuing a deal.
The key difference between the two bids is that Qatar’s bid will apparently make the club debt-free given the sheer mass of state wealth behind them, whereas the Failsworth-born businessman’s financing may be more complex to put together.
Trying to clear up the confusion, The Times‘ Matt Lawton said on Twitter that “both Qatari and INEOS representatives said their bids were in, United sources [are] saying they haven’t yet bid and have asked for an extension”, with offers now set to be made by tomorrow.
As reported by Sky Sports earlier this week, it was thought that “at least five other bidders” and as many as eight in question could join the race along with Ratcliffe and Qatar, who were the only two parties to have submitted an official offer for United during the first round of bidding.
However, a detailed list of the other candidates and precisely how many are still yet to be confirmed; Kaveh did go on to suggest that some could simply be a form of “hot air” designed to hopefully urge the ‘serious bidders’ to edge their offers up even higher.
As for next steps, neither of the parties in the supposed two-horse race expect an immediate decision from the board, especially after the unexpected delay, and those who submitted new offers in the second round of bidding will have to wait at least seven days to hear back from the club and brokers Raine Group regarding their progress.
However, it is worth noting that these subsequent bids may not necessarily be attempts to buy the club outright and not only is there a feeling that a third round of negotiations could take place, but there is also a growing sense that the Glazers could still pull out of a potential buyout altogether.