Longfella to open Christmas fair

Date Released - 30/11/2017

DENTON poet Tony Walsh, the man who made such an impact at the Albert Square vigil in memory of the Manchester Arena victims, has agreed to open the two-day Christmas fair at the Together Centre @ Loxley House on Friday (December 1).

Tony, who is also known as Longfella because he is 6ft 5ins tall, has a special connection with the Birch Lane, Dukinfield, facility. His father, Frank, attends the weekly Freedom Club that welcomes people to socialise, paint, play games and go on trips.

On Friday, the fair will be open from 10am to 1pm and Tony, whose powerful performance in Albert Square was described as the perfect symbol of the pride, passion and defiance of the people of Manchester, will give a 15-minute recital starting at 11.

Although he has become famous for his poem “This is the Place”, and his call for people to choose love in the face of terrorism, Tony, who grew up on Acre Street, has written several anthologies. He became a full-time writer in 2005 and was poet in residence at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2011.

Tony said: “I was born and bred in Tameside and went to school and college in Denton, Audenshaw and Hyde. I have lots family still in the area and it's always great to come back.

“My dad attends the Together Centre and I know he gets a lot from his time there. Places like this do really important work supporting people in our communities and so I’m delighted to be able to attend their Christmas fair and share a few poems. The Together Centre? This is the place.”

At noon on Saturday, the fair reopens until 3pm. Over the two days attractions will include tombola, play your cards right, lots of stalls, a raffle, refreshments, art sale, gifts, and a visit from Father Christmas.

The fair also marks the Together Centre’s change into a charity. Its mission is to provide a friendly welcome and an exciting range of activities chiefly for people with physical disabilities, but everyone is welcome.

It is home to a range of clubs such as Noah’s ART, the Freedom Club, The Shed, the Loxley Group (Tameside’s Council’s day service for people with physical disabilities), St Anthony’s Centre and the Stroke Association’s Life after Stroke group.

There are also various drop-ins, and Active Tameside provides dancercise, tai chi, yoga, and gentle exercise. Full information on all the clubs and activities, and what they offer, will be available at the Christmas fairs.

The Together Centre @ Loxley House can be found at 85 Birch Lane, Dukinfield, SK16 5AU. Tel: 0161 366 9746

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