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With Market 41 due to open in the New Year look back on the decade that changed the face of Manchester’s dining scene

in Manchester News

From food halls to dark kitchens, a lot has changed in the last 10 years

Back in 2010, the Arndale Market was the closest thing Manchester had to a food hall, and street food got about as sophisticated as a burger van in a B&Q car park.

The craft beer scene had barely begun to brew, vegan options were little more than a footnote on most menus, and Deliveroo was not yet a twinkle in an entrepreneur’s eye.

Greater Manchester had just lost its only Michelin star with the closure of Juniper in Altrincham, and the city centre hadn’t had one for more than 30 years.

Fast forward 10 years and the region’s food and drink scene has developed almost beyond recognition.

“Manchester’s dining scene has expanded in every possible way in the last decade; wider, deeper, more geographical spread, more variety and more quality,” said Thom Hetherington, restaurant consultant and CEO of the city’s Northern Restaurant and Bar show.

Recent figures back that up: the number of restaurants in Manchester has risen by more than a quarter in the last five years, we reported in September . And while its pace has slowed in the last year, it’s still growing – fuelled by a rise in quality, independent operators – against a national backdrop of 18 closures a week.

“It’s certainly not been plain sailing, and nor is it perfect, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the innovation, ambition and resilience of Manchester’s food and drink landscape,” said Thom.

“It’s impossible to talk about food and drink in the city without mentioning food halls,” he said.

“Alty Market House was an astounding arrival on the scene, and has changed how people choose to eat and drink not just in Manchester but across the UK.

“There are now market halls in the Northern Quarter, Stockport, Didsbury, and Stretford, with sites in Urmston and Radcliffe also expected to open.

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The famous faces and community heroes from Greater Manchester who died in 2019

in Manchester News
Just some of the famous faces we said goodbye to in 2019 Image MEN
Just some of the famous faces we said goodbye to in 2019 Image MEN

Stars from the sporting world, actors, musicians and entertainers were lost this year

Their work inspired, thrilled, amused and informed – and is destined to be looked back on with fondness.

Here the M.E.N. salutes their work and also pays tribute to just a few of the many unsung community champions from Greater Manchester who passed away in 2019


Dianne Oxberry

Much-loved BBC presenter Dianne passed away at the Christie Hospital on January 10 after an illness.

The mother-of-two was 51.

Dianne was one of the most recognised faces on TV in the region, having worked on North West Tonight for more than 20 years.


Iconic former Manchester United coach Harrison died aged 81.

He was diagnosed with dementia in 2014 and spent his final few months in a nursing home.

During his 27 years as youth-team manager at United, Eric nurtured the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes into first-team players.

Harrison was awarded an MBE for his services to football in the 2018 New Year Honours.

Albert Finney

A Salford lad who became one of Britain’s most celebrated actors, Finney was 82 when he passed away peacefully after a short illness.

Finney received five Oscar nominations, but never won. He turned down a CBE in 1980 and refused a knighthood in 2000.

The actor was best known for his roles in Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Erin Brockovich, Murder On The Orient Express, Skyfall and Annie.


Ray Boddington

Ray, the iconic and much-loved frontman of Manchester band Piccadilly Rats, died on April 18, aged 77.

The singer, who was struck by a tram in Manchester city centre, was in hospital surrounded by his family.

Well known as a busker in his hometown, he had previously appeared on The X Factor and Judge Rinder.


Jeffrey Worrall

Jeffrey Worrall, known to everybody as Jeff, sold ice-creams to customers from his van in Partington and Urmston for more than 15 years.

The 53-year-old died suddenly after suffering from a bleed on the brain.

Jeff, who has six children and three grandchildren, was previously fit and healthy.

He was known for giving out free ice creams to families struggling for money.

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British Heart Foundation appeal for unwanted Christmas gifts

in Manchester News
BHF Shop
BHF Shop

With homes in the North West crammed with unwanted Christmas gifts today, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is offering a solution to help cut the clutter and raise funds for life-saving research

The festive season is one of the most generous times of the year, but the BHF is appealing to those left disappointed by Santa’s offerings to donate unwanted gifts to them, to help beat the heartbreak caused by heart and circulatory diseases.

While it’s the thought that counts, it wouldn’t be Christmas without some gifts that miss the mark. But, rather than throwing these items away, the BHF is appealing for quality donations to help support the charity’s vital work and save unwanted items from landfill.

“We love the gifts you don’t!” said Allison Swaine-Hughes, Retail Director at the British Heart Foundation. “This year, our shops are open from 27th December, when we will welcome everything from good quality clothes, shoes, handbags and jewellery to DVDs, CDs, books and children’s toys. Electrical items can also be donated to one of our 180 furniture and electrical stores, so think of us when re-gifting that blender or coffee machine.

“If you want to donate a gift or cut down the clutter after the festive season, then just drop your donations in at your local BHF shop or take advantage of our free collection service. Your quality items will be saved from landfill and help us raise funds for vital research into heart and circulatory diseases.”

As the UK’s largest charity retailer, each year the BHF’s 740 shops help raise £30 million for life-saving research. Without the public’s generous support the BHF could not continue to turn bargains into scientific breakthroughs.

From the clothes and shoes that don’t fit to the accessories not to your taste, and the books you’ve already read, BHF volunteers and shop staff can transform unwanted gifts into money for heart research and help the environment. If you’ve had an upgrade, the BHF can also take old speakers, clothes or anything that’s been replaced by Christmas gifts.

To find out more about how to donate to our shops or to arrange your free collection, visit:

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Jasmine Grill the Manchester restaurant opened on Christmas Day to feed the homeless – with all the trimmings

in Manchester News

Jasmine Grill opened their doors on Christmas Day to serve hot Xmas dinners and give out gifts to those less fortunate

Lebanese restaurant Jasmine Grill opened its doors to rough sleepers and the homeless on Christmas Day to give out free food and gifts.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Jasmine Grill Manchester received copious donations including festive cards, socks, underwear, toiletries, gloves, hats, chocolate and sweets.

For their first Christmas since taking over the restaurant in Manchester’s Gay Village this summer, the restaurant’s owners, who also run Manchester taxi firm Street Cars, invited local homeless charities to help out on the day.

“The magic of Christmas has brought us all together this year,” said Sam Arshad proprietor of Jasmine Grill. “It was great to see so many happy faces around our restaurant.”

The good people behind Jasmine Grill and Street Cars even offered free taxi pick-ups to bring people to the restaurant from across Manchester and, as promised, were happy to take them back afterwards free of charge, too.

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Hospital car parking charges to be axed for millions of people – this is who will get free parking

in Manchester News
Manchester Royal Infirmary
Manchester Royal Infirmary

Those with the ‘greatest need’ will benefit

The government pledged to end NHS hospital car parking charges for millions of patients, relatives and staff when Boris Johnson outlined his election manifesto in November.

And further details of how thousands of NHS patients and visitors will be able to access free hospital parking was revealed today – just over a fortnight after the election.

From April, all 206 hospital trusts in England will be able to begin offering the concession in line with the government’s manifesto promise.

Those with the “greatest need” will benefit.

They include people with disabilities and NHS staff working night shifts.

Under the current arrangements, hourly charges at hospitals for parking vary between £1 and £4.

It is up to trusts to make their own car parking arrangements.

NHS hospital car parking fees were abolished in Scotland and Wales in 2008, although a small number of hospitals in Scotland still charge as they remain tied in to contracts with private companies that manage their parking facilities.

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Boxing Day sales divide shoppers as people queue at the crack of dawn for bargains

in Manchester News
Trafford Centre Boxing Day Queues
Trafford Centre Boxing Day Queues

While many consumers rushed to stores at the crack of dawn this morning, others aren’t so convinced

Love it or hate it, bargain hunting has become a Boxing Day tradition in its own right, and for years shoppers have been bagging themselves some serious reductions as stores slash prices by over 50 per cent to mark the end of Christmas.

But while many consumers rushed to stores at the crack of dawn this morning, others aren’t so convinced, and have been left questioning exactly why anybody would want to set their alarms quite so early on Boxing Day – instead calling for retail workers to be allowed to spend time with their families.

Posting on Twitter, many shoppers have been calling for stores to take inspiration from the likes of John Lewis and Home Bargains, and remain shut on 26 December so staff can enjoy time with their families.

One disgruntled shopper said: “Why can’t sales wait until after the Christmas holidays. The festive period is to be with family and friends. It should be made mandatory that businesses close on Christmas Day and Boxing Day at least.”

Another added: “I will not be going to the shops & #boxingdaysales . As someone that use to work in retail for many years, I think the shops should be closed today. Lets be honest we can surely manage for 2 days.”

Somebody else vented: “Shopping today? YOU are the reason staff have to work rather than being with family and friends If “you’re just out for a walk” go to the park If “you just want to get out of the house” spare a thought for those who would like to be at home but can’t coz of YOU! #boxingdaysales .”

“As someone who used to have to work the #boxingdaysales I’ve always boycotted them. Shoutout to those poor s*ds in retail who only had one day off at Christmas,” said another empathetic social media user.

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Manchester Dogs’ Home on Christmas Day: ‘It is like having kids at home, the dogs have presents and lovely food’

in Manchester News

All the dogs who will be spending Christmas Day at the kennels – and the festive dinner with all the trimmings that they’ll eat

All the dogs staying at Manchester Dogs’ Home this Christmas were treated to a turkey roast dinner with all the trimmings today.

Staff at the shelter, on Moss Brook Road, in Harpurhey, were up at the crack of dawn to make sure the pooches did not miss out on celebrating Christmas Day.

Volunteer dog walkers turned up to help with giving the dogs an early morning walk to stretch their legs.

When they returned they were treated to a full Christmas dinner, with chicken, turkey and Yorkshire Puddings to enjoy in their kennel.

It’s all thanks to kindhearted members of the public, who donated to the Manchester Dogs’ Home Christmas Dinner campaign.

Every £1 donated went towards providing a Christmas dinner for the pooches.

Then the staff brought presents and stockings for all of the pooches to open.

The dogs were given sturdy toys – so none of them risked swallowing parts – and lots of treats.

Festive decorations are also put up in the adoption centre, with stockings placed on each kennel and a Christmas tree in the centre.

Baubles are placed on the tree displaying names of dogs who have died over the last year.

Owners who have lost their dogs are invited to hang a decoration on the tree as a tribute to their pet.

Neil Outram, assistant kennel manager, says it has been a busy day, but staff always enjoy the atmosphere on Christmas Day.

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The mum and team of volunteers cooking up A THOUSAND turkey dinners for the lonely and needy this Christmas Day

in Manchester News
Natalie Lek Image Vincent Cole
Natalie Lek Image Vincent Cole

Mum-of-five and university student Natalie Lek’s brainchild has grown into a big operation with over a dozen volunteer

A mum and a team of volunteers have rustled up a staggering one thousand Christmas dinners for those on their own and in need today.

They will then be delivered warm and ready to eat to ensure even the most isolated in Greater Manchester get into the festive spirit.

The idea is the brainchild of a mum-of-five who now every year gives up her own Christmas to slave away at a stove and spread some joy.

Eight years ago Natalie, 40, who lives in Swinton, felt compelled to put out a message on social media saying that anyone who was going to be on their own, or who couldn’t afford a dinner to let her know and she would cook them one.

“I thought it would be about 10 or 15 people” she says. “It ended up being around 70.”

And the numbers have grown and grown each year and they expect to cook a thousand this year.

The Launch Project has now become a full-time operation with the project receiving referrals from local councils and charities such as Age UK and the Mustard Tree.

This year she will be helped by a team of around eight volunteers to help cook the hundreds of meals that have been requested.

The cooking started on Christmas Eve and despite working till gone midnight Natalie was back up at 5:30am to ensure all the meals were boxed up ready for serving and delivery by another team of around 15 volunteers who also check on them.

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Blood, breast milk and a load of burly bikers… meet the motorcyclists saving lives with the city’s most important deliveries

in Manchester News
Blood Bikes Manchester will be running a 247 service this Christmas. Pictured Steve Deakin, front, left to right Stuart Brown, Andrew Brady, Andrew Hughes and Jim Wilson Image ABNM Photography
Blood Bikes Manchester will be running a 247 service this Christmas. Pictured Steve Deakin, front, left to right Stuart Brown, Andrew Brady, Andrew Hughes and Jim Wilson Image ABNM Photography

Volunteers from Blood Bikes Manchester will be on hand 24/7 this Christmas to help the NHS

You will have no doubt seen them at some point, perhaps even moved out of the way to let them pass.

Their brightly liveried bikes with the word BLOOD written in bold across the front are pretty hard to miss.

But what you might not know about Blood Bikes Manchester is that every single person involved is a volunteer.

The charity transports things such as urgently needed blood, donor breast milk, vaccines and other medication between hospitals and hospices for free, so that the NHS can put the savings back into what matters the most – patient care.

Steve Deakin has been part of Blood Bikes Manchester for four of the seven years it’s been going.

“If someone is ringing at 2am because they need blood for a hospital, it’s not to top up stocks, it’s because someone needs it and is waiting for it,” he said.

“I’ve had instances in the last few months when I’ve been taking blood to a particular hospital and there has been a nurse waiting outside for me so the blood can be taken and processed straight away for whoever needs it.

“We never know who the patient is or what their condition is, but in cases like this it is clear they were waiting for it.”

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Recycling Centre worker seriously assaulted at a tip in Manchester

in Manchester News
Longley Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre in Sharston, operated by SUEZ Image Alan Hamer
Longley Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre in Sharston, operated by SUEZ Image Alan Hamer

The incident happened on 19 December 2019.

It has highlighted the regular threats of violence and verbal abuse workers suffer across Greater Manchester’s household recycling facilities.

The assault resulted in the victim’s jaw being broken in two places. Hospital treatment was required and surgery may still be needed – the member of staff has now been able to return home to recover.

Greater Manchester’s 20 HWRCs are operated by SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

Councillor Andrew Western, Green City Region Lead for the GMCA, said:

“Staff across Greater Manchester’s HWRCs carry out a vital role in managing thousands of tonnes of our waste and helping residents make sure recycling is deposited correctly and responsibly.

“However, these hard-working people doing a difficult job regularly experience verbal abuse and threats of physical violence from members of the public. It is appalling that, sadly, hundreds of these incidents occur every year at our HWRCs. This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated, with legal action enforced if needs be.

“Unfortunately there are people who use waste recycling centres illegally, when they are designed specifically for Greater Manchester’s residents to dispose solely of domestic waste. Illegal use by traders is reducing recycling rates, pushing up running costs of HWRCs and could ultimately raise council tax charges; traders and businesses must remember to use a licensed trade waste facility with a weighbridge, arrange a commercial waste collection or hire a skip.”

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