A retired couple from Oldham who have fostered 41 dogs for charity over the past five years are backing an urgent appeal encouraging others to do the same
When dog-lovers Phil and Elizabeth Ashton, from Delph in Oldham, called it a day on their careers to begin their lives of well-earned retirement, the pair decided they wanted to something to help – and so they chose to become foster carers for Dogs Trust back in 2018.
Since then, the couple have gone on to foster 41 dogs for the charity.
“We both absolutely adore dogs,” Elizabeth explained.
“We had one many years ago, but when we were both working, it wasn’t fair to have one, so when we retired, we wanted to do something to help dogs in need and decided fostering was ideal for us.
“We have looked after Chow Chow puppies, a beautiful German Shepherd with separation anxiety, a 13-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier and many, many more. It’s the perfect scenario as we get to have a dog, or dogs, in our life but also know we are helping dogs that really need it.
“We can take a break whenever we want but we love it, which is why we’ve looked after so many.”
Dogs Trust fosterers form part of the ‘Home From Home’ scheme – which was launched in Manchester back in 2016 – and play a huge role in giving the dog welfare charity’s four-legged friends a second chance at a loving life by offering valuable home experience and getting to know “what makes them tick” so they can eventually find their forever home when the time is right.
Fosterers are tasked with feeding-back to the charity on everything from what their dogs’ favourite toys and treats are, to the kinds of walks they enjoy and where they like to sleep.
Since the scheme was launched at Dogs Trust Manchester, more than 900 dogs have been cared for by fosterers across the region.
Currently, the ‘Home From Home’ scheme in Greater Manchester has 41 foster carers.
But with a waiting list of dogs needing to come into Dogs Trust, the charity has now issued an urgent appeal for more fosterers, and is asking local dog lovers across the region to get in touch as soon as possible and welcome a dog into their life temporarily.
Dogs Trust Manchester says it’s facing a record numbers of enquiries, so they’re looking to foster carers to provide a temporary home for dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes who “have nowhere else to turn”.
“We are facing a crisis as our kennel space is really stretched, but we need to act now to be there for as many dogs as possible,” admitted Tracey Hill, co-ordinator of the Home from Home fostering scheme at Dogs Trust Manchester.
“Fostering a dog is a great opportunity for dog lovers who are currently unable to have a dog of their own.
“We cover the essential costs, and you’ll be playing the most important role, giving stability, love and care to a dog in need as you prepare them for life in their forever home.”
Dogs Trust Manchester says it would be particularly keen to hear from people able to foster larger dogs, puppies, or pairs of dogs looking for a home together, so if you would like to apply to become a volunteer foster carer, then head on over to dogstrust.org.uk/foster or call 020 7837 0006.
Featured Image – Dogs Trust Manchester
Oldham Council is asking local kids to name its six new gritters
Oldham Council has announced the news that a handful of its hardest-working salt spreaders are retiring this year.
After gritting more than a million miles between them over several years of “super service”, it’s now the end of the icy road for six of Oldham‘s famously-named gritting fleet, and a new wintery journey is gearing up to begin for the town’s replacements machines.
But, you know that that means – the the popular ‘name a gritter’ competition is back once again.
With the nights drawing in, and the weather getting colder and colder by the day, it won’t be long before local residents will be able to see the big yellow machines traveling around the borough spreading grit and salt.
Fan-favourites Winston Chur-chill and Nicole Saltslinger will be making welcome returns this year, but they’ll also be joined by six newbies, and it’s our job to name them equally-iconic names.
Oldham Council‘s ‘name a gritter’ competition is now open, and it’s hoped that primary and junior-age children in the town will, once again, come through with “an avalanche of entries” like they have done in the past.
Brad Grit, Gritiana Grande, Snowbee One Kenobi, Nick Gritshaw, Leonardo de-ice-io, and Basil Salty are just some of the names of the gritters who’ve spread Oldham’s salt in previous years, so they should be able to serve as inspiration for what the Council’s looking for.
The winning names from this year’s competition will be added to the front of the six new cabs.
“Oldham Council was one of the first local authorities in the country to name its gritting fleet, and since then many others have followed our lead,” Councillor Chris Goodwin, who is Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said as the competition opens.
“In the past, we’ve always run the competition as a bit of fun and it’s really captured the imagination of our young people, so please urge your children to get their thinking caps on and send in some names.”
Unfortunately, Cllr Goodwin did stress that this year’s competition is only open to all children aged four to 11 who live in Oldham or attend one of the boroughs primary or junior schools, and that any “40-odd-year-old ‘comic’s who are thinking of sending in unfunny names” should thinking again, because they’ve “heard it all before”.
As social media suggestions “will not be accepted”, parents, guardians, and carers will need to help their little Oldhamers get their entries in on the Oldham Council website here, and you’ll need to make sure the child’s details are included, plus how the Council can contact you.
The closing date for entries is 11:59pm on Friday 3 November.
All naming suggestions will then be put to a panel of councillors and council officers to have the final say, and the lucky winners will be invited down to the town’s Moorhey Street depot to have their photo taken with the gritter they’ve named.
Featured Image – Oldham Council
Four jailed for over 70 years for ‘daylight murder’ of Withington teen Kyle Hackland
Four teenagers have been collectively sentenced to more than 70 years for the murder of another teenager in Withington last year.
Kyle Hackland, who was just 17 at the time, was brutally stabbed in broad daylight in Withington at around midday back on Tuesday 22 November 2022, and went on to sadly pass away in hospital as a result of his injuries – which were described as “catastrophic”.
Detective Superintendent Neil Jones, of GMP South Manchester Division, said at the time that the force understood the incident would “cause distress and concern to the community and across Manchester”, but assured the public it was an isolated incident and there was no wider threat.
Several men were subsequently charged in connection with the incident nearly two weeks later on 7 December, and were remanded in custody while awaiting trial.
And now, after the trial at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court has finally concluded yesterday (Tuesday 3 October), and accumulative sentences of more than 70 years were handed out, all four men have been publicly named.
They have been named as Yousef Sesay (24/11/2004), Lewis Ludford (05/12/2004), Tafari Kosey-Smith (26/06/2006), and Alfie Benson (30/03/2006).
Sesay was sentenced to 22 years, Ludford for 21 years (with two years concurrent for a bladed article), and Kosey-Smith for 19 years (with two years concurrent for a bladed article), after all were found guilty of murder.
Benson has been jailed for 12 years (with two years concurrent for burglary offences) after being found guilty of manslaughter.
Kyle lost his life in what the court heard this week was “a pre-mediated revenge attack”, and was “brutally attacked with knives” by the four teenagers during the “violent assault” in broad daylight.
“This is another heartbreaking example of how carrying a knife can have devastating consequences in a matter of seconds,” said Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector David Moores, after the trial concluded yesterday.
“Our thoughts as a force are once again with Kyle’s loved ones, who will have to continue to live with the pain, but hopefully this can be eased in some way with the conviction of his killers.
“Officers in our Major Incident Team have worked tirelessly to bring justice, and, in our role, we are reminding any young person willing to carry a knife to put it down and think twice before doing so.