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This page last updated Sunday, 2 November 2014
What happpened?

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This page will cover events and happenings around the town.
It will be updated occasionally, with the most recent
event covered by mywarrington at the top of the page.
See also the Classic Motor Shows page for transport events.

Featured on this page

Acker Bilk & his Paramount Jazz Band The Cycle Museum Market Grand Day Out Olympic Torch Relay 2012
Andy Prior Jazz Concert D-Day 60th Anniversary NatWest 175th Anniversary Ordinary Lies
Bawming of the Thorn Fire Station Open Day National Play Day 2011 - Spitfire Day Prince Charles

Christmas 2010

Georgie Fame Concert National Play Day 2012 - Swing Boats Queen's Diamond Jubilee Visit 2012
Stockton Heath Musical Evening Disability Awareness Day 2012 WBT Centenary Event 2002

Ordinary Lies

A BBC 1 comedy drama filmed in Warrington for broadcast in spring 2015.

ordinary_lies_michelle_keegan_141006_01.png (1218729 bytes) BAFTA and Emmy-winning writer Danny Brocklehurst returns to BBC One with a new six-part drama series from Red Production Company.

Set in a car showroom, Ordinary Lies focuses on a group of compelling characters all dealing with every day dilemmas and what happens when the lies people tell to keep their heads above water spin out of control with sometimes tragic, sometimes funny consequences. The executive producer is Nicola Shindler.

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The photo (above, left) shows me in a selfie with Michelle Keegan at the shoot in Dallam on 6 October 2014.
Charlotte Moore [BBC1 controller] says: "Danny Brocklehurst is one of our most talented storytellers and a master at making the ordinary cross over into the extraordinary. Set in the colourful and competitive world of car sales, Ordinary Lies is full of surprising twists and turns, a roller coaster of a ride for our audience."
Residents of Dallam were lucky enough to meet Michelle Keegan as she filmed scenes on 6 and 7 October 2014.
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Michelle Keegan films scenes at the location shoot in Dallam. Michelle plays a party
girl and wannabe WAG Tracy who works on reception but dreams of a life of luxury

The cast, includes Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street), Max Beesley (Mad Dogs), Jason Manford (Little Crackers), Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean), Jo Joyner (EastEnders), Rebecca Callard (Glue), Sally Lindsay (Mount Pleasant), Belinda Stewart-Wright (The Inbetweeners), Shazad Latif (Spooks), Shaun Dooley (Misfits) and Fisayo Akinade (Cucumber).

Writer and creator, Danny Brocklehurst says: “I'm delighted to have attracted such an amazing cast to Ordinary Lies. This is a show I'm truly passionate about and it's a dream come true to be making such a bold series for BBC One. Red Production Company has a track record of making brilliant, powerful, life affirming drama and I hope Ordinary Lies continues that trend.”

  

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Producer, Tom Sherry, says: “Ordinary Lies is full of gripping suspense as well as dark humour and should have audiences shouting 'don't do it!' at the screen, yet also laughing along with them. Danny’s writing is so clever because all the characters feel like friends and you can't help but root for them, despite their sometimes ludicrous choices.

“We are making a drama with great ambition both in scale and look which is reflected in the wonderful talent that will lead the cast and the skilful directors that will bring Danny’s vision to life.”

Polly Hill, BBC Head of Independent drama says: “It is testament to Danny's wonderful scripts that they have attracted this fantastic cast. The scripts have you laughing one minute and crying the next and with this cast it promises to be a real treat for our BBC One audience next year.”

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Michelle was happy to pose for photographs and sign autographs
It was an exciting event for the community to witness the filming of a national TV show in Dallam. The production crew from Red Productions Company worked alongside the residents to ensure the minimum of disruption. The residents returned the compliment by keeping quiet during takes, and were patient to wait hours in some cases to take their photos and get their autographs.

BBC Website

Red Productions Company

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National Play Day
Wednesday 1 August 2012

at Warrington Market

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National Play Day is an annual event traditionally celebrated on the first Wednesday in August.
On Play Day thousands of children and their families get out to play at hundreds of community
events across the UK. See the Playday website for more.
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Mascot. Exterminate! Exterminate! Statue. Helter Skelter.

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Pies. Pies.
Who wants a pie.
Donkey rides
for the children.
Swing Boats. Not
seen these for years.
Radio Warrington
broadcast van.
Other attractions including puppet shows, circus skills workshops, face painting,
badge making and entertainers. There were plenty of stalls from Warrington Market

21st Disability Awareness Day 15 July 2012

dad_disability_awareness_day_120715_01.JPG (101951 bytes) Your Housing Group was the principal sponsor
of the 21st Disability Awareness Day at Walton
Hall Gardens. The event went ahead due to a lot
of hard work behind the scenes, in a year which
saw major events across the country cancelled
due to the adverse weather conditions. An
estimated 20,000 people visited the event
with 317 organisations exhibiting their services.
Link to the Warrington Disability Partnership
and Disability Awareness Day websites.
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Founder and Event
Co-ordinator Dave
Thompson MBE DL MBA.
Network Warrington
shuttle bus to and
from the event.
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Host Pete Pinnington
in the arts marquee.
John Holt Cancer
Support Foundation.
Link to their website.
One of the companies
exhibiting their
equipment and services.
Vocalist Hollie Caddock.
Link to her myspace
website page.
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Radio Warrington,
the town's online
community radio
station, broadcast
live from the
event on 87.8 FM
on a temporary licence.
Tom Lythgoe tries to
interview her majesty.
Bit of a tall order
because she wasn't
saying much!
Steve Lewis had
better luck with his
interviewee Aden
Walker, champion
swimmer and
Olympic Torch bearer.
The kids were
entertained with
a puppet show.
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Drumming entertainment
 from music group
Batala Liverpool.
They are part of  a
worldwide network of
bands playing Brazilian
Samba Reggae rhythms.
Refreshments were
available for those who
wanted to pay for them.
I was on jam butties and
apple pies, all washed
down with
bottle of lemonade...
Last year they hired a
helicopter to take photos of 
the event. But the pilot got
his bearings wrong and photos
were taken of the transport
show down the road instead!
This year they got it right and
we all waved as they flew by.
Advanced notice
of next year's event,
again with support
from principal sponsor
Your Housing Group.

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OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY
DAY 13 - WARRINGTON
...AND IT RAINED!

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Steve Deakin MBE
proudly displays his
torch at Orford Jubilee
Park, with yours
truly alongside.
Here we see Jason 
El-kaleh and Helen Lea 
changeing over the
torch  flames at
Tesco Warrington.
Nobody complained
about the weather.
The sun shone in
our hearts today.
olympic_torch_relay_orford_jubilee_park_120531_08.JPG (187376 bytes) The Olympic motto:
Citius, Altius, Fortius,
 Latin for
'Faster, Higher, Stronger'.

The story of the 2012 torch.
2012 is the third time London has hosted the Olympic Games (previously in 1908 and 1948) and so a three-sided design was cretaed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby of
Barber Osgerby, for which they won the 2012 Design of the Year award from the Design Museum. Each torch is perforated with 8,000 laser-cut holes to represent each of the 8,000 Torchbearers. They are 80cm long, made of aluminium and weigh 800-850g, including the central propane-butane burner. Read more at the BBC website.

The torch entered Warrington from Widnes at lunchtime and went past the town hall,
Horsemarket Street, Winwick Street, Tesco, Orford Jubilee Park and Europa Boulevard.
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Jason El-kaleh onstage
with the Coca-Cola
host at
Tesco Warrington.
Brian Norris
at Orford
Jubilee Park.
Emily Woodward with
Cheshire Chord Company and radio presenter
Pete Pinnington
at Orford Jubilee Park.
Alex Boun
shows off
his torch at
Orford
Jubilee Park.
Ben Cowgill was
cheered on by
the crowds along
Winwick Road as he
walked his 0.2 mile
section of the route.

The full list of those who carried
the torch through Warrington are
(from Warrington unless stated):

1. RICARDO RADOMYSLER, 43
(from Brazil -
sponsors employee)
2. SUE STOUT, 41
(From Liverpool - her 
husband Paul was killed in
Afghanistan in June 2008)
3. OSCAR SCHMIDT, 54
(from Brazil - former basketball star)
4. JOHN PAUL SMITH, 25
(from Widnes)
5. STEVE DEAKIN MBE, 51
(transplant games champion)
6. JASON EL-KALEH, 17
(Wolves Foundation volunteer)
7. HELEN LEA, 41
(Head teacher)
8. BEN COWGILL, 31
(from Bolton)
9. ALEX BOUN, 22
(from Bury)
10. BRIAN NORRIS, 43
(from Manchester)
11. EMILY WOODWARD, 12.
Two employees of BT took part in
an extra leg at Europa Boulevard:
TINA BYE, 46
(from Brighton)
LAUREN ASHWORTH, 19
(from Birkenhead)
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The host gets
the crowd
going at Tesco.
A clock counted
down the
torch's arrival.
Olympic torches from previous summer and winter games were
on display.
Interaction is the name of the game in the modern world. Here we see the public trying the latest internet music activity.
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Promotional vehicles - receive a free drink from
one and recycle your platic bottle in the other.
Warrington Wolves supported the event. Is that Mr Bolt on the tarmac?
Well, today's part of the torch relay does finish up in Bolton tonight...
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The crowds wait in
the rain for the torch's arrival. Nothing
dampens the spirits of
us Warringtontonians!
The Torchbearer's
route to the stage.
Chariots of Fire by Vangelis was played
on his approach.
The family of Jason El-kaleh display a
welcome banner for
him as he approaches
the stage.
Jason El-kaleh appears
on stage with his
personal torch - yes,
it is his to keep -
he (or his sponsor)
paid £200 for it!
Hello to workers
at Dallam Court
who took a break
to witness the
historic event.
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Jubilee Way, leading to Orford Jubilee Park. The torch arrived before I did and I walked along the road with Paul to cheers from schoolchildren! Entertainment was provided at Orford Jubilee Park by Pyramid Parr Hall, with host Pete Pinnington, local radio pressenter on Wire FM, the town's FM radio station. Sorry, but I forgot to take a note of the singer's name. Does anybody know who she is? Let me know so I can give her a mention. Support vehicles are an essential part of an event like this. As well as these two sponsor vehicles, a media van was feeding live TV pictures to the nation thanks to the BBC and the internet. Event staff were transported in two coaches between towns and the police outriders helped to keep the procession running smootly.
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Lloyds TSB van. Paul says hello to
the world from
alongside one
of the relay cars.
Coca-Cola bus.
It looks like a giant
toy, but it is a genuine roadworthy vehicle.
Police outriders take a break from proceedings. Coke Zero mini
and trailer outside
Orford Jubilee Park. 

Here are some of the Torchbearer profiles, based on the statements of those who nominated them.

olympic_torch_relay_steve_deakin_mbe.JPG (18988 bytes) Steve Deakin MBE is the team manager of the Royal Hospital Transplant sports team. He is currently back on the waiting list for a kidney transplant following the failure of the transplant he had 25 years ago. He has also had both of his legs amputated below the knee. Steve has represented the UK in two world transplant games and he did the swimming leg of the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon. He has also swam the English Channel.
olympic_torch_relay_jason_elkaleh.JPG (15027 bytes) Jason El-kaleh is a young talented volunteer for various disability groups, including the Warrington Wolves Foundation, and puts his enthusiasm into promoting events, fundraising and working around the office. He was the Torchbearer who gave the spectators at Tesco Warrington their first glimpse of the Olympic torch.
olympic_torch_relay_helen_lea.JPG (18677 bytes) Helen Lea is a headteacher and is passionate about children having access to and enjoying sport facilities. Her dream is to get as many people from different generations involved in a wider variety of sports. She truly believe that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. She says: "It is my goal to encourage not only the pupils in my school but the people of Warrington to become more active and feel that being part of the Olympics will be a platform to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to become more active".
olympic_torch_relay_emily_woodward.JPG (17240 bytes) Emily Woodward was only 12 years old when she carried the Olympic torch. She had already received recognition for her academic success in several subjects, including performing arts, English and art and French, demonstrating that she always strives to achieve her best. Sport is another one of her many talents and through her participation in gymnastics, trampolining and volleyball she has made many new friends. Always smiling, enthusiastic and helpful, Emily is a true asset to the form group and wider school community.
olympic_torch_relay_brian_norrris.JPG (20722 bytes) Brian Norris has been an inspiration and role model over the last few months of this year by promoting healthy eating and exercise. He has lost 3st 6 pounds and adopted a healthy eating plan which he has shared with his colleagues, helping to encourage them to live a more healthy lifestyle through his example.

Two other Warrington people who carried the Olympic torch were Aiden Walker, champion swimmer and Adrian Darbyshire, Great Britain wheelchair fencer. Their contribution to the torchbearing procession took place outside Warrington.

Jubilee Weekend: A Smooth Radio presenter said this on Saturday 2 June 2012
"I've checked the weather forecast, so you'd better make sure you have colour-fast bunting for your celebrations".
And he wasn't wrong - so well done to the singers and musicians who kept going despite the rain
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ROYAL VISIT

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QUEEN ELIZABETH II DIAMOND JUBILEE TOUR

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ORFORD JUBILEE PARK, WARRINGTON

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THURSDAY 17 MAY 2012

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Warrington Borough Transport special bus to mark the occasion A special decorative welcome for their Majesties on Jubilee Way The Queen and Prince Philip greet the crowds Close-up of the crown Warrington Borough Transport celebrates its 110th anniversary
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The VIPs await the arrival of the Royal party.
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The Royal party arrive at around 11.30am having been in Chester earlier this morning and will travel on to Liverpool later
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Prince Philip shares a joke with the Mayor The Queen meets a group of school children Prince Philip (the Duke of Edinburgh) and the Mayor Entertainment was provided on the sports field behind the centre
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The Royal car A child waves her flag as the Queen passes by slowly My favourite shot of the day - it seems as though the Queen is smiling just for me! The Mayor's car with registration plate ED1. In former days each town had its own identity - Warrington's was ED.
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The £30 million Orford Park Project is a London 2012 Inspire Mark Project and has been recognised as an Olympic Legacy Project (the only one outside London) for its commitment to delivering a tangible and long-lasting legacy from the Games later this year – ensuring there is sporting, economic, cultural, and environmental benefits for the communities of Warrington for years to come.
The outdoor areas also house a network of walking and cycling paths, new sports pitches,
skateboarding and BMX cycle park, children’s play area, floodlit bowling greens and a new pavilion.
The project is led by Warrington Borough Council and will be managed by LiveWire, a new community interest company once opened in partnership with TONP (The Orford Neighbourhood Project), Warrington Collegiate, Warrington Wolves, William Beamont High School, Warrington Disability Partnership, Network Warrington and NHS Warrington.
From Friday 18 May 2012, Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub will be open for business, providing top-class
sport, health, education, leisure and community facilities to the local community and beyond.
  | For more information see www.warrington.gov.uk

A 10-foot high sculpture of Queen

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Elizabeth II displayed at the Pyramid

I don't know who created it. If you know, or were involved, contact me with
details and I will give the appropriate credit. The flag, by the way, is my own design.

National Play Day and Warrington Spitfire Event - Wednesday 3 August 2011

spitfire_play_day_110803_001.jpg (97972 bytes) National Play Day is an annual event traditionally celebrated on the first Wednesday in August. On Play Day thousands of children and their families get out to play at hundreds of community events across the UK. See the Playday website for more.

Warrington Market was host to a replica of a World War II aircraft, the Mark VB Spitfire W3644, courtesy of The Lytham St Annes Spitfire group. Members of the group were on hand to give talks and answer questions from the public. The original Mark VB purchased by the Lytham St Annes residents was shot down by a Focke-Wulf FW190 whilst on escort duty during a bombing mission of Morlaix, France. The mission began over Start Point, Devon, and once hit, the Spitfire crashed into the sea on 23 June 1942.

In Warrington on 14 September 1940, a lone German bomber attacked the recreation ground of Thames Board Mills at Arpley Meadows, killing sixteen men, women and children at a fundraising event, ironically to buy a Spitfire. Over a period of time, enough money was raised to buy two Spitfires.
These two Spitfire fighters were presented to the RAF by the people of Warrington, who had raised £10,000 to pay for their cost. Spirit of Warrington I went into action on 29 August 1941 and was engaged in several important campaigns. It acted as escort on bomber raids, protected a naval destroyer and even shot down at least two enemy planes in action. It was listed as missing in action on 13 March 1942. Spirit of Warrington II had a shorter career. It was shot down over the English Channel in October 1941, a month after joining its squadron. Courtesy of Warrington Museum & Art Gallery (Warrington Borough Council). spitfire_play_day_110803_011.JPG (125368 bytes)
Warrington Museum has a photograph of Spirit of Warrington II on display. More on the Lytham St Annes Spitfire later.
spitfire_play_day_110803_010.JPG (86846 bytes) At the town centre event, entertainment and hands-on activities, including face-painting and badgemaking, were available to encourage the importance of play. A fancy dress parade took place, and street art was featured, including a sand sculpture. I wanted to interview the creator of a cat and dog sculpture, but unfortunately he didn't understand much English. However, if you go to the Golden Square page, you can see a sand sculpture from September 2006 which uses the same technique. There was a rock climbing wall and a circus skills workshop.
Events With a Difference is a local family-run business from Cuerdley near Fiddler's Ferry, who provided a helter skelter for the day. They were most helpful in allowing me to take some photos from the top, but I forgot to take a mat up with me so I had to walk back down the stairs again when I had finished, unlike Steve, the manager at the market, who took his video camera up with him to film the ride down. Well, it was a job somebody had to do! Market stalls were also available, selling the freshest fruit and vegetables to a grateful public. Warrington Wolves mascot, Wolfie, was on hand to meet and greet the children, as were Laurel and Hardy. spitfire_play_day_110803_031.JPG (85186 bytes)

Other entertainment and activities included Stuffett's Puppet show and a flight simulator. In fact, there was so much going on, I didn't get chance to see everything!

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Workshops were on hand
throughout the event
Cat and dog sand sculpture. Fancy dress parade Visitors admire the Spitfire

Music was provided by the Red Rose brass band, and children performed in an open-air marquee with song and dance routines. Donkey rides were enjoyed by the children. I didn't see a bucket and spade, but I did see a bucket and shovel - to clear up after the donkey! Warrington-born TV presenter and historian, Mark Olly, explained Celtic history and there were demonstrations of sword fighting. Warrington's online community radio station, Radio Warrington, broadcast live from the event, with music mixed by my friend DJKenny, who has his own shows on Tuesday and Saturday evenings. Tune in by visiting www.radiowarrington.co.uk. DJKenny also runs his own website, www.djkennylive.me.uk.

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Red Rose perform.
I Like the brolly
Wolfie meets his many fans Press the button
to make him laugh
Radio Warrington broadcast
live from the portable studio

So now it's time to see some more photos of the Spitfire. I am not including any technical details or history about the fighter plane here. You can find information in Wikipedia and other websites. Instead, I will just let you enjoy the sights and to tell you that lots of money was raised by allowing visitors to sit in the cockpit of the replica Spitfire for photographs. By the way, the spitfire is called Lucy. don't forget to view The Lytham St Annes Spitfire website.

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Five views of the Spitfire from every angle, apart from above (I wasn't allowed on the roof). Actually, I didn't ask,
because I didn't want to face any health and safety issues - there was enough said against that on the day!
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Although the main Spitfire on show was a replica, there was a trailer displaying part of a real version (first photo, above). Unfortunately, nobody was allowed to sit in it due to health and safety regulations. Strange isn't it, there was no health and safety in the war time when brave young men and women were risking their necks to save us from the onslaught of Hitler and his cronies. There's only two things I don't like in this world, and they are health and safety! The second photo shows a black plaque, which is positioned close to the cockpit on the fuselage of the plane. The third photo shows the flight control panel and part of the cockpit. The plaque in the fourth photo features various messages and honours to the local people of Lytham St Annes and the Fylde coast for their fundraising efforts in the war. The white label says "Not for ourselves but others". The plaque in the fifth photo contains the Latin phrase Per Ardua Ad Astra, which means Through Adversity to the Stars (or Through Struggle to the Stars), and is the motto of the Royal Air Force.

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The first photo, above, shows the side of the promotional trailer. The next seven photos show the Spitfire in closer detail. The ninth photo shows one of the weapons of war, on display in front of the Spitfire. They were selling empty shell cases on the stall. The last photo shows the pride of the British people, the Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack. It is possible that the term "Jack" occurred because of its regular use on all British ships using the "Jack Staff" (a flag pole attached to the bow of a ship). There is still debate on whether one should say Union Jack or Union Flag. I leave to your own choice...

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I mentioned Events With a Difference earlier. Their helter skelter took about three hours to assemble, and the same time to take down at the end of the day. It was built by Orton & Spooner in 1932. George Orton was born in Measham, Leicestershire in 1843, and a wheelwright and coachbuilder by trade. Charles Spooner, a wood carver, was born in 1871 in Burton-on-Trent. Orton established the Lion Carriage Works in 1875 and Charles Spooner was one of his suppliers. They worked together from 1894 and amalgamated in 1925. For more detailed information on their work, visit The Fairground Heritage Trust website.

I am Grateful to Events With a Difference for their assistance with the following ten photos. Visit their website to see what else they do. Meanwhile, have a look at some views of the town centre from the top of the helter skelter.

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 Here we see the top of the helter skelter in the first photo, with a view of the route down in the second. I hope this scene brings back some childhood memories for you. Why not Email me with your experiences for Memory Lane. This view looks northeast towards Bank Street and Buttermarket Street. The Cheshire Lines warehouse, now an apartment block, is in the centre of the first panoramic photo. The pyramid roof of the market is seen here in the third photo (looking south). There are major plans to redevelop the Bridge Street and River Mersey area, including a brand new market.
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A rock climbing wall was assembled behind the Howard Building (the former Boots store). John Howard wrote a book on prison reform and stayed at a house on this site. A plaque is dedicated to him on the front of the building on Bridge Street. Read his profile in Warrington People. In the 1900s this magnificent building on Bridge Street was occupied by W Hodgkinson Ltd, Warrington's premier department store. This is the water tower of Garnett's cabinet works. It was recently saved from demolition by Warrington Borough Council. Back at ground level, this view looks once more at the helter skelter, this time from the southeast.

Mark Olly is a local TV presenter, historian and author. If you are a subscriber to Sky television you can still see his Lost Treasures series on a regular basis. He is currently preparing the fourth book in the series Celtic Warrington and Other Mysteries. If you haven't read the first three, they are still available to buy, or you can borrow them from the library. The fifth and final one of the series is due out in 2012. Meanwhile, take a look at these photos from the Play Day event, where he set up a medieval encampment for the day. He even took his chances with the sword fighting demonstrations and lived to tell the tale.

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Mark Olly The medieval encampment The shield, left, depicts Mark's personal arms

Mark and his colleagues were on hand to describe life in the middle ages and to encourage visitors to handle the various artefacts from his collection. He has a presence on Facebook. See what interesting facts you can find there.

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Chain mail - very heavy A variety of shields and helmets

The six scenes, below, were photographed at high speed over a two-second period to capture the various actions in one of the sword fighting demonstrations. In the olden days you had to be fit and strong to both hold a the sword and to wear the heavy chain mail. I don't think I would have made the grade.

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Christmas 2010

The ice sculpture above (shown the normal way round on the left and as a mirror image on the right) was one of the attractions in Warrington town centre this November for the Christmas celebrations. It was created by Glacial Art of Liverpool. The sculptors started with one solid block of ice at 9 a.m. and, using a chain saw, completed the work by 2 p.m. Clients for their work include MTV Awards 08, Liverpool 08 European Capital of Culture, Jaguar, Reebok and Gucci. In 2009 won First Place in an International Ice Sculpting Competition in Latvia. See more of their spectacular work at www.glacialart.com.

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Other attractions at the Christmas Market included the three wise people and their camels.

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Classic vehicles were on display at the Vintage Christmas event by Warrington market, including a Christmas Mini and the town's heritage bus, the Leyland PD2-40 Special. Other events in Warrington this Christmas were the Christmas Lights Switch-on, a Christmas fayre in the Old Market Place, a lantern parade and a Christmas grotto in Warrington market. Various musical recitals, lunchtime choirs, church services and the Salvation Army band were also available. Entertainment for the festive period at Pyramid and Parr Hall included Ken Dodd's Happiness Show (10 Dec), Vienna Festive Ballet - Sleeping Beauty (11 Dec), Northern Chamber Orchestra - The Manchester Carols (15 Dec), Back for Good recreating the magic of 'Take That' in concert (16 Dec), Christmas Comedy Store (18 Dec) and Jack and the Beanstalk in pantomime (2-15 Jan 2011). For details of future events visit www.pyramidparrhall.co.uk.

Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band (Sat 25 August, 2007)

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Acker Bilk gained worldwide fame with his hit single 'Stranger On The Shore' in 1962, which stayed in the charts for 55 weeks and was the first number 1 hit in UK and USA simultaneously. He also had a big hit with 'Aria' in 1976. Born in January 1929, he has previously worked in a tobacco factory and also done a bit of boxing. 

He began playing the clarinet in 1948 and has received many gold and platinum disks for his music. In 2001 Acker was honoured with an MBE for his services to the Music Industry. He now tours with his Paramount Jazz Band.

On Saturday 25 August 2007 he gave a sparkling performance at The Old Fish Market at Golden Square Warrington in a free concert which was sponsored by Golden Square, The Town Centre Partnership and Warrington Borough Council. Here are photographs of that performance. For more on the man, try this link: www.ackerbilk.co.uk
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Acker Bilk died on 2 November 2014, aged 85, after a lengthy illness.

Stockton Heath Steam and Music Event (Thu 21 Sep, 2006)

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On Thursday, 21 September 2006, a musical evening with a difference was held in Victoria Square, Stockton Heath. A Merenghi 89 Key Fairground Organ was on display to play well-known tunes in a free 'concert' . The organ was powered by a 1914 Fowler Showman's steam engine. Donations on the night were given to the St Thomas's Church Restoration Fund. It was an excellent evening, attracting lots of attention from curious members of the public, including a delightful baby who was fascinated by the marvellous sounds created. A full description of the organ is given below, as it visited the town during the recent Market Grand Day Out event.

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Andy Prior's Big Band Jazz Concert at Golden Square ( Sat 19 August, 2006)

In July 2004, Andy Prior performed with his Big Band on Granada TV, the first such TV concert in over 30 years. Town Centre Warrington Partnership invited Andy and the band to perform in the open air under the Old Fish Market at Golden Square to an audience of over 600. The free concert was attended by the Mayor, Linda Dirir and consort Allin Dirir. It was a musical treat and the audience were enthusiastic and appreciative of Andy's humour, especially when he involved Rhode Island Coffee shop. They remained open to serve refreshments all evening and Andy created a new concept - the coffee towel! You've heard of tea towels? Well, the staff were promoting the name of the shop on towels - not tea towels but coffee towels, as Andy named them. Later the staff came round with alcoholic beverages to which Andy shouted out from the stage, "What are you selling now?" The audience were roaring with laughter. (The building housing Rhode Island Coffee next to the Barley Mow was where William Beamont, the first Mayor of Warrington, ran his solicitors business in the 19th century.) An excellent performance of 'drumnastics' was performed by drummer Bob Howard, who gave a sparkling solo performance. Andy sang some classic songs in a show which had the audience wanting more. Check out Andy's website at www.andyprior.co.uk

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Andy Prior.
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Andy performs one
of his many songs.
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Bob Howard's
drumnastics.
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Rhode Island Coffee. Andy thanks the
audience for attending.
Standing room only
for the audience.
The Mayor, Cllr Linda Dirir
and consort Allin Dirir.

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NatWest - celebrating 175 years of banking in Warrington (2006)

NatWest's Warrington branch first opened in 1831 as an office of
Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Co, which had been founded
in 1829 and already had branches in Oldham, Liverpool and Hanley.

Situated on the Mersey midway between Liverpool and Manchester, Warrington was a thriving market town by the 1830s,
with over 18,000 inhabitants and a variety of industries including textiles, glass, pins and tools. By the end of the decade
it had two railway stations, with the Sankey and Bridgewater canals close by. When Manchester & Liverpool District Banking
Co opened its branch here on 25 July 1831 in Friars Gate, it was only the second bank to be represented in the town.

The present branch building in Sankey Street (a most 'handsome edifice' according to a local publication of the time) was
constructed in 1856. It was designed by the prolific Manchester architect Edward Walters, and incorporated an imposing
banking hall with a large lantern roof-light. Many prominent buildings were built in Warrington around this time, including
the Museum and Library in 1857, the Public Hall and baths in 1866, and the Town Hall in 1867.
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Warrington's branch
in the 1930s
.

Business flourished, and by 1883 the branch had over
1,000 accounts. By the end of the century Warrington
had expanded considerably, with new iron foundries,
soap works, and a population of almost 94,000.

Following the First World War, the bank faced increasing
competition and had to grow in order to compete. As a
result, District Bank, as it was by then known, merged
with the Manchester-based County Bank in 1935.

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The banking hall
 in  the 1930s
.
During the Second World War, the bank suffered difficulties as staff joined the forces and controls were imposed on lending
and exchange. In 1962 District Bank was acquired by National Provincial Bank, one of Britain's 'Big Five' high street banks,
but continued to trade under its own name. Towards the end of the decade Warrington branch's interior was remodelled to
incorporate a new counter and a machine room for mechanised accounting.
In 1970, National Provincial Bank merged with Westminster Bank to form National Westminster Bank,
and all of the new bank's branches, Warrington included, began to trade under the new name.
In 1994 the bank's branch in Bridge Street, originally opened by National Provincial Bank in 1890, was merged with the one
in Sankey Street. The present premises, listed in 1975, were refurbished to accommodate the combined business.
NatWest is proud of its long
association with Warrington.
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The branch today.
Today, 175 years after
we first opened for
business, our aim is
just as it has always
been: to provide a
high quality service
to our community.
The copyright of the text and 1930s images belongs to NatWest. I would like to thank NatWest for permission to use this information.

Warrington Market's Grand Day Out (Sat 1 July, 2006) - Part of Culturefest '06

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Saturday 1 July 2006 saw Queens Gardens transformed into a fun park for the day with fairground rides, market stalls, games and entertainment. Even Wallace and Gromit made an appearance.

The carousel was a magic event, and brought back memories for me, and no doubt countless others. I hope my old school classmate had a go in the end – he thought he might be too old to ride it.

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wallace_gromit_day_060701_organ_1.JPG (110180 bytes) My thanks go to Mr Priestner for permission to feature his Merenghi 89 Key Fairground Organ. She is called “Lady Hamilton”, and was built in 1903. Originally having 70 keys, she was converted to 89 keys in 1920. The organ was fitted into the 1968 Bedford T. K. lorry in 1972, and now appears at rallies in Northern England. She is powered by the owner’s 'John Fowler Showman’s' engine “Evening Star”, although it does have its own 110-volt generator. The sound from it is amazing, and professional recordings have been made of the organ. wallace_gromit_day_060701_organ_2.JPG (141419 bytes)
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This steam engine was built in 1916 and registered in 1918. The Savoy Jazz Men entertained us with their renditions of many famous tunes. If you wish to book them for a show, telephone 0151 722 1478. Wire FM 107.2…Latest Hits…Greatest Music… broadcast live from the event.
Various market stalls holders attended the event, including Fair 4 All, the Fair Trade stall.
This kind of stall sells goods of a more diverse nature from around the world with the aim of obtaining a fair price for the producers of the goods. wallace_gromit_day_060701_fair_trade.JPG (126700 bytes) If you are interested in supporting this kind of venture, call at the stall in the market to find out more, or click on to the Make Poverty History website.
Other stalls included a chance to buy something, or help raise money for a good cause by taking part in games or tombolas. The middle image (below) was one for the Mayor’s Charity Appeal where you had to get a ball to fall through the various nets into the blue tray at the bottom to get a prize. I did it with my first shot. But if you think that was beginner’s luck, well, you are probably right because I missed with my next three! Still, I won a bag of crisps…
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It was a brilliant sunny day, which encouraged many people to visit.
Pyramid Centre even put up a large screen for football fans to watch England play Portugal in the World Cup Quarter Final…

Also on show were examples from The Cycle Museum at Walton Gardens. See Below.
See Warrington Green for more on Walton Gardens.

The Cycle Museum

Paul Adams, Curator of The Cycle Museum at Walton Hall Gardens, displayed a small selection of bicycles at Warrington Market's Grand Day Out in 2006. Here he describes them to me. And like many great ideas, the museum outlived its original home and moved to Walton because it needed more space.

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The oldest bicycle on show today is a boneshaker, dating from 1868. It is one of 3 in the museum collection.

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Next we have three examples of the famous penny-farthing. The first two date back to 1878, whilst the one on the right is from 1879.

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This diamond frame machine had wooden wheels. It is shaft driven – no chain or brakes, and was made in Chicago in 1901.

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Made by Raleigh in the 1950s. Soon after, it was converted into a knife-grinding machine. The man would tour the streets on his bike, place it on a stand, ring a bell and people would bring out shears, knives, bread knives, carving knives and be charged around sixpence to sharpen them. The drive system is simply a rim off a smaller bicycle and fixed to the spokes, with a curtain spring. With the back wheel off the ground the wheel would be turned and the knives sharpened. The little wheel on the back would sharpen scissors.

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This is a replica of a 1905-06 machine, which Paul also owns. The original was made by a Mikael Pedersen, a Dane, who came to this country and set up a business in Dursley, Gloucestershire, hence its name, a Dursley-Pedersen. The triangulated design is his design and is 14 tubes all set in a diamond shape, and soft-soldered into the bottom bracket. The hammock seat allows the machine to work like a suspension bridge. When you sit on the machine the whole frame stiffens up and it gives you your riding position, which, as you can see by the height of the bars, is very elegant to ride. The inventor made allsorts of machines, including milking machines, but sadly he died in abject poverty. If you want to read more about him, try the company website www.dursley-pedersen.net

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This photo was taken in the 1950s at Arpley Bus Station. The ABC cinema can be seen in the background - which became Mr Smiths nightclub, now Halo. The members of Warrington Cycling Club in the picture dressed up as tramps to raise money for good causes. If you recognise yourself, get in touch with the museum on the number below.

The Cycle Museum is located at Walton Hall Gardens off the A56 (M56, Junction 11), and is open from 10am to 6pm on weekends and bank holidays, except when Paul is at a show like this one. On such occasions information is left on the noticeboard indicating where to find him. Telephone in the UK 07930 882569 or the Rangers Office on 01925 601617.

APPLETON THORN - Bawming of the Thorn (Sat 17 June, 2006)

Appleton was known in the Domesday Book as Epletune and means ‘a settlement where apples grow’. It is located in the southern area of Warrington. In the 12th century the landowner was Adam de Dutton, a Norman knight in the Crusades. It is said he brought a cutting from the Christmas flowering thorn planted by Joseph of Arimathea, hence the other local name Appleton Thorn. Bawming of the Thorn takes place on the Saturday nearest to Midsummer’s Day in June each year (17th June in 2006), and is the only place in Britain where you can witness the event. The ceremony dates back to the 19th century when it was part of the annual walking day. It was stopped in the 1930s but was revived by Appleton Thorn Primary School head teacher Bob Jones in 1973. Bawming means 'decorating the tree with flowers and ribbons'. Once the tree has been decorated, children then dance around it, singing the ancient Bawming Song. The chorus goes like this:

Up with fresh garlands this midsummer morn,
Up with red ribbons on Appleton Thorn,
Come lasses and lads to the Thorn Tree today
To Bawm it and shout as ye Bawm it, Hooray!

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The children performed the song and dance wonderfully, and are to be congratulated on their hard work, not forgetting of course the teachers and parents of Appleton Thorn Primary School. After the ceremony a fun day was held on the field behind the Village Hall.

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Appleton Thorn Parish Hall - a noticeboard promoting the event - The Church of St Cross. The decorated tree.
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The tree itself was dedicated as one of 50 Great British
Trees in recognition of its place in the national heritage
at the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in June 2002.
The Flower Arranging Competition attracted some
wonderful entries. In my eyes they are all winners.
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The 2006 event was officially opened by Colin Parry, JP, OBE, who also judged the children's fancy dress competition, and presented medals to the schoolchildren. Colin lost his 12-year-old son Tim in the IRA bombing of Warrington town centre in 1993, and has been an ambassador for the peace process ever since. A plaque dedicated to Tim, and three-year-old Jonathan Ball (who also lost his life in the tragedy), can be seen on Bridge Street in Warrington town centre outside the former Boots store (the Howard Buildings).

Broadcasting live from the event was Warrington Hospital's Radio General. The station broadcasts requests and
general items to patients in the hospital 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (366 in leap years!). Click here view their website.

Prince Charles visits Warrington (Fri 18 November, 2005)

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The Prince of Wales receives the salute from members of the Territorial Army

His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, visited Warrington on Friday 18 November, 2005. Prince Charles presented medals to members of the King's and Cheshire Regiment's Territorial Army (TA) at the Town Hall. In total, 227 soldiers received medals for duties in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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More pictures of Prince Charles' visit  to Warrington on 18 November 2005.
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Fire Station Open Day (Sat 1 October, 2005)

On 1 October 2005, the fire station on Winwick Road was the setting for a fun and awareness day. Some of the brigade's latest fire and rescue equipment was on display, plus the splendid old engine belonging to Joseph Crosfield and Sons Limited. 

The most dramatic demonstration was how to deal with a chip pan fire. If you've never seen this for real, it is a spectacle. The basic message is NOT to throw water onto a burning chip fan. Instead, if it is safe, use a damp tea towel and place it over the pan to snuff out the chance of oxygen getting to the fire. No oxygen means the fire dies. Then leave it for at least 30 minutes to cool down completely before attempting to remove it.  If the towel is removed too soon, the intense heat would cause the fire to ignite again, as was clearly demonstrated on the day. The fire brigade say a safer method for cooking chips is to use a deep fat fryer rather than the chip pan as these have a thermostat to control the heat. If in doubt, get the fire brigade out - or go to the chip shop!

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Various demonstrations took place throughout the day, including a display from the fire
station cadets, who showed how to rescue a 'damsel in distress' from a burning high-rise building.
The Joseph Crosfield heritage vehicle is shown here on the right.
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Rescuing "a damsel
in distress".
Crazy Circus Fun House. Putting out a chip pan
fire with a tea towel.
The Fireman's Prayer.
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Dramatic demonstration of what happens when water is thrown onto a chip pan fire. This sequence took just ONE SECOND to react.
And for light relief, the Crazy Circus Fun House was available. Charity and community stalls were also on display, including a burger stall manned by the fire fighters themselves. It was a brilliant day and even the rain couldn't dampen anybody's spirits.

Georgie Fame performs at Golden Square (Sat 27 August, 2005)

During the summer of 2005, Warrington Borough Council, in conjunction with The Town Centre Partnership, Pyramid Parr Hall and Golden Square, arranged a free concert under the Old Fish Market in Golden Square. It featured Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra along with entertainer Georgie Fame. The concert took place on Saturday 27 August, 2005, and was supported by Warrington jazz guitarist-singer, Peter Price. The evening was introduced by Mayor Hans Mundry. mywarrington now presents a small selection of images from the event, which was witnessed by hundreds of townsfolk.

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Wigan Youth
Jazz Orchestra.
Mayor Hans Mundry
introduces the
evening's entertainment.
Warrington's Peter
Price opens the show.
Wigan Youth Jazz
Orchestra take
to the stage.
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Wigan Youth
Jazz Orchestra.
Legendary Jazz singer
Georgie Fame joins
the orchestra for
a dazzling performance.
The show lasted
almost three hours.
The show was enjoyed by 
hundreds of people,
including families with
young babies.

I have spoken to one or two folk since the concert who agree with me that the show was a fabulous event and an incredible success. Thank you to all the organisers and I'm sure I speak for many when I say that I look forward to seeing many more events like this in the future.

For more information on  activities at Pyramid, call 01925 442345 or visit their website www.pyramidparrhall.co.uk

D-Day 60th Anniversary Celebrations (Sat 1 May, 2004)

Like the rest of the country, Warrington played its part in celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy of 6 June, 1944, when allied forces joined up as part of Operation Overlord in the battle against Germany. Military vehicles and weapons were on display at Golden Square, with the Kings Division Normandy Band entertaining the crowd with music and marching. The Warrington Guardian promotions team were giving away copies of their original 1944 front page. The Warrington Borough Transport bus shown in the WBT Centenary Open Day section below was on display at Cockhedge Shopping Park.

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Warrington Borough Transport Centenary Open Day (Mon 3 June, 2002)

In 2002, Warrington Borough Transport celebrated 100 years of serving the community of Warrington.
An Open Day was held at the Wilderspool Causeway bus depot on the May Day Bank Holiday.

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Warrington's own preserved heritage bus, number 148, is a Leyland PD2/40 Special (above right), which was new in 1965. On the day
was used to ferry passengers to and from the bus station, but was taken off by midday due to technical problems with its 42 year old engine.
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Vehicles from all over the northwest were on display.
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A heritage tour was available throughout the day by open-top bus.
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Memorabilia was on sale to collectors, along with charity stalls and refreshments
It was a great day for nostalgia. wbt_centenary_020603_21.jpg (75954 bytes) Chester City Transport also
celebrated its centenary in 2002.

Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

mywarrington - created by Gordon I Gandy
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The mywarrington Radio Show every Friday lunchtime between 12 and 3 on Radio Warrington.

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