Is 2022 the year you’re planning to take on a new challenge?
For many of us, the start of a new year often brings with it some motivation to make a few resolutions or set about achieving some goals we’ve been meaning to for a while, or, for the more daring among us, to get stuck into a challenge you’ve never tried before – but for those of us who aren’t really the adventurous type, who’s to say we can’t have a hand in picking out a daredevil task for others to try instead?
Well, that’s exactly what one of Manchester’s most iconic charities, We Love MCR Charity, had in mind when they asked us to give them a helping hand in deciding on its official fundraising challenge for 2022.
This new and yet-to-be-decided fundraising experience will form part of the ongoing ‘We Love MCR Charity Challenge Event Series’, which sees the charity put daredevil Mancunians’ mettle to the test.
The people over at We Love MCR Charity got the ball rolling by picking out a selection of four challenge ideas, and it was then left down to you – our loyal audience of over 200,000 Mancs on our Instagram – to pick which one would be chosen as the first instalment of the series this year by casting your votes on three head-to-head polls shared to our Instagram stories earlier this week.
The four challenge ideas battling it out were:
A Valentine’s Day dip in Debdale Park Reservoir
An abseil off a city centre high-rise tower
A skinny dip at dawn on the Autumn Equinox at Druridge Bay beach
A jump off a 10m diving board
Round 1 of voting on Monday saw a Valentine’s Day dip in Debdale ReseRvoir go up against an abseil off a Manchester city centre tower block, with the abseil taking the win in a close call with 57% of the vote, all before round 2 got underway on Tuesday and saw a skinny dip at dawn on the Autumn Equinox at Druridge Bay beach clinch the win with 56% of the vote over a jump off a 10m diving board.
It was then left to the winners of the first two rounds to go head-to-head with each other – and it was eventually revealed, after hundreds of Mancunians got their votes in, that an abseil off a Manchester city centre tower block was the pick of the bunch in another close call, grabbing 54% of the vote.
But will it actually be crowned the winner? That’s down to We Love MCR Charity to make the final call in an announcement that’s coming next week.
The 2022 challenge comes after the success of the charity’s first – and probably the last – sponsored ‘firewalk’ event, which made history as 50 “brave soles” raised over £18,000 and counting by walking over 700-degree hot coals in St Peter’s Square in the heart of Manchester city centre last October.
Against a backdrop of Manchester’s Central Library and with a massive crowd cheering them on, each of the participants conquered their fears and completed what they previously thought was impossible.
We Love MCR Charity said that fundraising events like this are vital for its ongoing mission of supporting the city.
All sponsorship money raised by those undertaking the soon-to-be-announced 2022 challenge, or indeed any sponsored event across the city-region throughout the year, will go directly to We Love MCR Charity’s two current grant programmes – the ‘Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund’, and the ‘Stronger Communities Fund’ – which both support local communities and ambitious young Mancunians to overcome the barriers in their way and recover from the problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you fancy taking on a more personal challenge this year though, then did you know that the charity is also providing The Manc’s readers and followers with an exclusive opportunity to get £25-worth of entry fees to any sponsored event refunded if they choose to commit to raising some worthy funds in its name?
These three Greater Manchester Wilko stores are reopening as Poundlands this weekend
The first 10 Wilko stores to start new lives as Poundlands are reopening this weekend, and three of them are in Greater Manchester.
We all know by now that it’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for Wilko after it entered administration earlier last month, but after it was sadly announced back on 11 September that all of the retailer’s outlets across the UK would be forced to close, leaving around 12,500 jobs at risk, a glimmer of hope was offered.
And that glimmer of hope was that several dozen stores had been saved.
Only, they wouldn’t be remaining under the Wilko name, as they’d be reopening as another popular bargain retailer instead, and that’s because Pepco Group – the company which owns Poundland in the UK – managed to strike a deal with Wilko administrators PwC to take control of up to 71 store leases.
With lease assignments expected to be completed in the coming weeks, according to Pepco, this meant that the some 71 stores would join Poundland’s existing 800-plus UK outlets before 2023 is out.
Pepco Group published the full list of stores set for conversion earlier this month, and also confirmed it would be offering employment some of Wilko’s former employees – with it being good news for six Greater Manchester sites.
Altrincham, Bolton, Eccles, Sale, Leigh, and Stockport were confirmed to be the region’s towns set to get themselves a new Poundland, and Poundland added that it intends to convert the stores over to its brand “as soon as is practical”.
It turns out that window of practicality has arrived this weekend for three of those confirmed sites.
Among the 10 former Wilko branches across the UK that are set to start a new chapter and begin lives as Poundlands this weekend are sites at The Peel Centre in Stockport, The Mall in Eccles, and on Lord Street in Leigh.
It’s expected that dates for the new round of Poundland conversions will be announced in due course, as will news from PwC about the other deals it has struck for the Wilko name to live on.
You may remember that administrators had previously struck a deal for fellow discount chain B&M to buy 51 other Wilko stores, while another high street chain, The Range, had also confirmed a last-minute deal to buy Wilko’s brand last month.
The Range has bought Wilko’s website and intellectual property, so shoppers can expect to see Wilko own-brand items appear in The Range stores nationwide very soon.
Featured Image – Poundland
Iconic Sycamore Gap tree renamed ‘Sycamore Stump’ after heartbreaking vandalism
Someone has already changed the name of the iconic Sycamore Gap tree to ‘Sycamore Stump’ after it was felled in what’s believed to be an act of vandalism.
The famous tree was believed to be about 300 years old and was made famous when it appeared in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
It’s one of the most photographed trees in the world (Rockefeller’s Christmas tree might just edge that one) and has stood on Hadrian’s Wall for centuries.
But overnight on Wednesday, this world-famous tree was felled, leaving just a small stump behind.
Someone has already changed its name on Google Maps from Sycamore Gap to Sycamore Stump, echoing the public outcry over the tree’s disappearance.
The National Trust said on Thursday: “We are shocked and desperately saddened to learn that the famous Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian’s Wall has been felled overnight, in what appears to be an act of vandalism.
“We know just how much this iconic tree is loved locally, nationally and by everyone who has visited.
“We are working with our partners to understand what has happened and what can be done. The incident has also been reported to the police.”
Police have now confirmed that a 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
Supt Kevin Waring of Northumbria police said: “This is a world-renowned landmark and the events of today have caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond.
“An investigation was immediately launched following this vandalism, and this afternoon we have arrested one suspect in connection with our inquiries.
“Given our investigation remains at a very early stage, we are keeping an open mind. I am appealing to the public for information to assist us – if you have seen or heard anything suspicious that may be of interest to us, please let us know.”