A Labour councillor and former health worker has been awarded an MBE for her role in bringing to the light a child sex abuse ring in Rochdale.
Sara Rowbotham, a Labour Councillor for North Middleton Ward, played an integral role in exposing the abuse of young girls in the area between 2005-11.
As a front line sexual health worker who led the NHS crisis team, she made 181 referrals detailing the abuse and sexual grooming of young people during this period.
She subsequently had a BBC film made about her involvement in the case, called Three Girls, whichfirst aired back in 2017 and saw Maxine Peake play her.
Following the screening of the film, a petition was launched online calling for her to be formally recognized for her services to the Rochdale community.
Five years later, it’s finally happened.
Sara said that being awarded the MBE shows she ‘did the right thing’.
She added that the award gives validation not just to her but to her whole team and that it was ‘quite emotional to think things have come so far, and to receive this honour is really important’.
Sara was appointed MBE for services to young people by the Princess Royal in a ceremony at Windsor Castle, after making hundreds of referrals detailing the sexual grooming and abuse whilst working for the NHS over a period of six years.
Girls as young as thirteen, reported Sara at the time, were being plied with drink and drugs and ‘passed around’ by older men who used them for sex.
Initially, her reports were not taken seriously but over time, thanks to her persistence, the perpetrators were brought to justice.
As part of this, she presented her findings to the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2012, telling them that her bosses had ignored repeated warnings about the grooming of young girls.
Sara was made redundant in 2014 – two years after presenting to the Rochdale inquiry and blowing the whistle on those senior to her.
Having been made an MBE, Ms Rowbotham told the PA News Agency it was “quite emotional to think things have come so far, and to receive this honour is really important”.
“It really reminds me of those times and it’s almost a bit of a trigger after coming to the end of such a horrible situation,” she said.
“To be recognised for the hard work and energy and effort of not only myself, but the rest of my team is really important.”
She said it was “really important that people understand the complexities of exploitation”, adding: “It is a really difficult phenomena.”
“I did feel as though I was kind of being pushed aside – for then everybody else to recognise that I did the right thing is validation really,” she said.
“The energy and effort that was put in, the anger and the frustration that I felt is acknowledged.”
Feature image – Twitter
A ‘lost town’ in Yorkshire has been discovered 650 years after being ‘swallowed by the sea’￼
The sunken town is dubbed ‘Yorkshire’s Atlantis’.
Britain’s lost Atlantis is thought to have finally been discovered after falling into the North Sea 650 years ago.
Historians believed it lay at the bottom of the ocean around a mile off from the Yorkshire coast.
The search team hope to find the footprint of the town including its sea wall, harbour and foundations.
This will allow them to map it all out and create a 3D map which divers could then use to explore the site.
Scientists say they now have all the data needed and will be analysing the area under the sea in the coming weeks.
After all this, they should be able to confirm whether the findings are infact the lost Yorkshire town of Ravenser Odd.
Hit Christmas market stall opens permanently at Piccadilly Gardens
Crunch Korean Gansig has become a must-try foodie stall at the Manchester Christma Markets, now it’s pulled up at Picadilly Gardens permanently.
The hit Korean hot dog stall has wowed visitors over the past few years with its cheese, potato and meat-filled creations.
Deep-fried in a crispy waffle coating and then lightly rolled in sugar, these sausages on a stick come drizzled in sweet ketchup and mustard.
Incredibly moreish if we do say so ourselves, since first making their appearance at the 2021 Manchester Christmas Markets they’ve consistently been ranked one of the event’s best food traders.
Now, thanks to a new permanent stall popping up where it all began for the team, Manc foodies can enjoy their hot meaty and cheesy Korean goodies all year long.
Popular flavour choices include all-cheese, all-sausage and half-and-half versions, with a vegetarian-friendly cheese-filled version wrapped in a potato waffle coating, and halal-friendly options that are made using separate batter and fryers.
This really is a hot dog stand that caters to everyone. With owners having previously said they would work on a vegan hot dog once they got their own permanent stand, we don’t expect the plant-powered gang will be left waiting too much longer.
Sharing the news to Instagram, the Crunch Korean Gansig team wrote: “Hey guys, we’ve got exciting news to share! We are launching a new market stall in the Piccadilly garden street food market from tomorrow.
“After two years of successful Christmas trading, we are ready to take on a new challenge, and love to serve our hotdogs to you guys again!
“So come on down to the market and say hi, we love to see you there! See you soon!”
Fans of the Korean hot dog stall have responded to the news with enthusiasm, flooding into the comments to share their excitement.
One person wrote: “So excited we will have to go!!”
Another person said: “Nooooo stop!!! I’m so happy I could cry”