Olympian Matt Walls has been spotted by eagle-eyed residents in Oldham Council’s new animated Christmas advert.
With the adorable animation – which is aptly-titled ‘Christmas in Oldham’, and was released at the start of December – Oldham Council is giving retail giants a run for their money by encouraging visitors to the borough’s town centre to “shop local” over the festive season.
Following a turbulent 18 months for Oldham’s high streets and markets due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council say the new animation is intended to promote the Christmas season in the town and urge locals to support independent businesses when shopping for presents for their loved ones.
The animation shows a local family exploring the high streets of Oldham for the perfect Christmas gift, and ends with Santa and his reindeer flying high over Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre.
And, to make the film even more “authentically Oldham”, the clip also features the iconic Oldham Lights, reference to the wonderful outdoor markets of Royton and Shaw, and Delph Brass Band – who along with conductor Phil Goodwin provide the music for the clip.
Oldham Council has worked with Jo and Paul Perry from Delph-based award-winning animation production company, Periscope Studios, to create the festive film.
But that’s not all.
Eagle-eyed Oldhamers also noticed that 23-year-old Olympian Matt Walls – who was born and raised in the Greater Manchester borough, and won both a gold and silver medal for track cycling events at Tokyo 2020 – made an appearance in the animation.
He was shown with a beaming smile outside the town’s cycle shop.
Matt’s appearance in the animation may be obvious in one scene, but he’s actually hidden in there a few more times than initially meets the eye too, which is why the Council is soon to launch the ‘Where’s Walls?‘ competition – its own take on Where’s Wally – and those who enter can win one of five £50 Love to Shop vouchers by simply watching the video and commenting under the Facebook post how many times they spot Matt in the background of the animation.
Winners will be notified on Friday 17 December.
Speaking on the launch of the new Christmas animation, Cllr Arooj Shah – Leader of Oldham Council – said: “Christmas is an important time for us all, and a chance for us to spend time with loved ones [so] we wanted to reflect this when creating our Christmas animation, which was commissioned to promote the boroughs retail business offer.
“We’re incredibly proud of our markets and retailers – independent and high street alike [as] they’ve worked tirelessly to adapt against ever mounting odds to keep residents safe.”
She continued: “People say that it’s a shame that the high street is dying, but if people are sat at home buying online, that is unfortunately what could happen. If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift, why not visit your local Oldham high street first?
“The heart-warming message of the animation is something that we can all relate to after the restrictions on seeing loved ones last Christmas.”
Head over to Oldham Council’s I Love Oldham Facebook page here for more details on the competition.
Featured Image – Oldham Council
Oldham Coliseum Theatre makes ‘incredibly difficult decision’ to cancel upcoming shows as funding is cut
Oldham Coliseum has been forced to take drastic measures after losing vital funding, announcing today that its entire Spring-Summer programme and its 2023 pantomime have been axed.
The beloved local theatre will cancel all its upcoming events and theatre shows, from Sunday 26 March onwards.
The news comes after the historic venue was dropped from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio from 1 April.
Oldham Coliseum said in a statement today that its board of trustees have been working hard to find a solution to the loss of funding, but has now had to take an ‘incredibly difficult decision’.
They added that ‘the current financial situation is not sustainable for the season as planned’.
Ticket-holders for cancelled shows, including their 2023/24 pantomime Sleeping Beauty, will be refunded automatically in the coming weeks.
The news has been met with dismay from the local community and those in the theatre world.
Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace said: “This was the news we’d been dreading. One of the north’s most important grassroots theatres, effectively killed off by the Arts Council withdrawing ALL funding. Remember… the Royal Opera House got £22 MILLION and still moaned about it. SAVE THIS THEATRE!”
Former MP Liz McInnes said: “This is tragic. @OldhamColiseum has been a part of Oldham life for literally as long as I can remember. I used to get taken to pantos there as a kid and grew up with a love of theatre. I do sincerely hope that funding is found – this is too important to just let it go.”
Theatre critic Mark Shenton posted: “What an ominous turn of events. @OldhamColiseum cancels all events after March 26, following the withdrawal of its @ace_national funding from April 2023. So ‘levelling up’ seems to mean losing a major theatre entirely.”
Someone else wrote: “Shocking that a theatre with such history and legacy must go dark. Hundreds of phenomenal actors, directors, writers and crew began their artistic journeys here. Stunned!!! I hope to see it rise again!”
The full statement from Oldham Coliseum:
“It is with great regret that Oldham Coliseum Theatre is cancelling all forthcoming events from Sunday 26 March 2023, including the Spring-Summer programme and the 2023-24 pantomime Sleeping Beauty.
“Following the news on 4 November 2022 that the Coliseum will no longer be part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio from 1 April 2023, the Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership Team have been working hard to find a solution to this reduction in funding.
“The theatre put the pantomime on sale in November and announced the Spring-Summer season in early December with the best possible intentions, while still exploring options that may have enabled the continuation of the programme. However, the current financial situation is not sustainable for the season as planned. We are working with Arts Council England and Oldham Council to honour agreements with artists and producing partners.
“All events at the Coliseum until 26 March will go ahead as planned. Ticket holders for all other events will be refunded over the coming weeks. If you have paid for tickets using a debit or credit card this will be refunded directly onto your card. If you have paid for tickets using cash the Box Office team will be in touch to arrange an alternate refund method. Any donations made to the theatre when booking tickets for cancelled events and Our Coliseum members whose memberships are due to expire after 26 March will also be refunded.
“It has been an incredibly difficult decision to cancel the programme of events and we understand the disappointment this will undoubtedly cause. The Coliseum asks audiences to be patient whilst staff work through each refund transaction manually.”
Featured image: Oldham Coliseum
Dorking Wanderers manager’s X-rated rant after being battered by Oldham Athletic is as hilarious as it is honest
Marc White, manager of National League side Dorking Wanderers FC, has gone viral after his brutally honest and downright hilarious assessment of his team’s performance against Oldham Athletic.
Some top-notch casual cussing, here.
White was speaking to the club’s official YouTube channel after his side’s hefty 5-1 defeat to the Latics on Saturday, 7 January, and didn’t mince his words for one second.
Although David Unsworth’s team put on an impressive display, with striker Karl Mike Fondop Talom bagging a hattrick as the Greater Manchester outfit cruised to victory, the Dorking manager not only praised the opposition but also went fully in on his own players.
Here’s just a taste. Tell us how you really feel, Marc…
The 49-year-old coach and founder of the ever-ascending semi-pro team kicked off the no-nonsense appraisal of his team by breaking down things into the simplest terms possible: “Well, from our perspective, obviously sh*t.”
We appreciate your brevity, Marc.
After making sure to thank the Dorking fans for their “loyalty” and for “getting behind the team”, as well as giving a “big thanks to the Oldham fans for getting piss wet through”, White wasted no time digging into his squad.
He summed up the root cause just as succinctly: “Oldham won 5-1 because we’re sh*t at defending”. Penny for the centre-half’s thoughts right now.
Here’s his rant in full.
We counted at least six references to ‘sh*t’ and or ‘piss’. Just under one a minute.
As you can see, he also had very little time for the referees on the day, insisting that the “officials were so bad it was unbelievable.
“I’ve got to say, honestly, they should pack it in — literally pack in doing what they do”. He really wasn’t letting anyone off the hook.”
He went on to argue that the National League should get rid of what he perceived as an obstructive over-reliance on headsets, describing the refs as appalling and akin to “Domino’s drivers all talking to each other” to the point that the first official “can’t ref his own game anymore”.
While we can only sympathise with the Dorking players who are undoubtedly in for a rough week of training and equally hilarious bollockings, we’re just glad we got to better familiarise ourselves with a straight-talking manager as they’re an increasingly rare commodity these days.
Sitting 16th in the standings, Dorking face Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Trophy on Saturday, 14 January and travel to 21st-placed Gateshead for their next league game next week.
Part-time or not, White and his men will no doubt be hoping to get back to winning ways against two very beatable prospects.
For now, you can watch the full Dorking vs Oldham highlights down below. We’re sure Oldham fans will be happy more than to.