News from Howe Bridge



May I start by wishing  EVERYONE A HAPPY, SAFE, HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS 2020. And, we hope that the NEXT decade will be kind to you and yours.

During the past ten years we have seen quite a few changes in the village, some of them have been good changes, some not so good, for various reasons we have lost some of our most loyal, enthusiastic and prolific working members of our group.

a few of the reasons are, by their passing, retirement, moving away from the area, poor health and work commitments, but, on the positive side we have recruited a few absolute diamonds who within a very short time have integrated and become very important members of the Howe Bridge Community.

Although ALL former members of our group have contributed tremendously to the many successes we have enjoyed, I would like to mention a few of people who went the extra step to ensure that when we created the present day version of Howe Bridge, it was created with the future and sustainability of our many projects guaranteed.

It is not my intention to embarrass these people. I just think that ALTHOUGH  they are no longer an active part of our group, their contribution should still be RECOGNISED.  

My unsung honours list.

Susan / Phil  Loudon { Elected Councillor, Retired } Susan was a founder member of the Bridgers and she was instrumental in introducing many of the working practices and procedures that we still use today. The original idea of a   “ Walking Nativity in Atherton  “   was put forward by Eileen Smethurst who was member of the Bridgers at one of our meetings, but, it was Susan who organised all of the various aspects of the event.

The “ Annual Brass Band Summer Concerts “ that was held on the renovated Park area behind the 2nd Atherton Scout Headquarters, Leigh Road, Atherton was also an original idea from a Bridgers meeting and this was also organised by Susan, this was probably the forerunner of the “ Proms in the Park “ that are held in Atherton Central Park at present.

Susan was also the link between Wigan Council and ourselves and as such she was involved with getting permission for the Bridgers to take over the maintenance and improvements of Colliers Corner.

The “ Howe Bridge Heritage Trail “ was Susan`s idea and this won the National “ Heritage Award “ for the group in the Northwest in Bloom Awards.

 “ Phil’s Walk “ was named after Phil Loudon who unfortunately passed away nearing the completion of the project

Keith & Val Sumner { Founder / Chairman Atherton Environment Projects } was a partner of the Bridgers and undoubtedly the most prolific worker we had who dedicated his life to Howe Bridge.

Keith did so much for the benefit of our village and its residents that it is impossible to highlight everything, but, one thing is indisputable, without Keith`s incredible contributions, we wouldn’t have such a beautiful village or facilities.

Christine Ridyard, Another founder member who contributed so much to Howe Bridge that again it would be impossible to highlight everything she did.

Frank Belch, Frank was an unsung member of our group who generally kept in the background, but, his contribution was immense, he created our website and managed it for many years, he was also one of the brains of the group.   

Richard Sivill,  Richard is a Local Historian and another unsung member of the group who contributed so much to the group.   

Derek Simpson / Robert Buckley / Jonathon Moores Derek,  Robert and Jonathon  were our spiritual leaders for many years and their advice, leadership, standards they set and pastoral services they offered was the backbone of the excellent relationship between the church and our local residents.

Joe & Mary Morris, Joe was the Chairman of the 2nd Atherton Scouts / 3rd Atherton Guides for almost ALL of his adult life and his and Mary`s  contribution to our community is immeasurable, he was / is the ultimate example of  how to develop young people and turn them into responsible and community minded young adults that their families could be proud of. 

There are many others whose contributions to our village have helped to create the Howe Bridge we have today, these include,

Ernie Yates { Retired but still delivers our newsletter }

Pam Stewart { Elected Councillor Retired }

Jan Woods { Former Headmistress, St Michaels Primary School }

Steven Williams { Wigan MBC }  

Gavin & Natalie Haynes { Still Involved with St Michael`s Church }


During the past ten years we have had tremendous success in the North West In Bloom competitions with our village attaining a “ GOLD STANDARD AWARD “ or “ LEVEL FIVE—GOLD STANDARD AWARD “ every year for many years, in 2014, we won the Category Winners award and were invited to represent the North West in the “ Britain In Bloom National Competition “

In this National competition we didn’t quite make the Gold standard. but, we were awarded a “ SILVER GILT AWARD “  which was an amazing achievement for such a small “ self funded “ village like Howe Bridge, we were up against sponsored projects in large towns and villages, we were told that we only just missed out on a Gold.


This is a charity that was created by local Councillor Mark Aldred and his wife Karen following the death of Marks Dad John, from Dementia.

Mark was the Mayor elect and on his succession he adopted Dementia Care as his Mayor`s charity.

The charity has gone from strength to strength and has now been extended to cover almost ALL of the North West, the number of people who have benefitted from the scheme now runs into four figures, and rising rapidly.

One of the major successes has been the opening of the MEMORIES TEA ROOMS, at the former Atherton Town Hall, the tea room is managed by one Chef / Manager but, ALL of the staff who work in the tea rooms are UNPAID volunteers, of various ages and abilities, but, this doesn’t stop them from giving tremendous service and commitment to the tea room, to tell the truth, the volunteers are absolute DIAMONDS who have enhanced the lives of everyone who visits the tea room and, they enjoy their important role in our community.   

The group have a monthly Luncheon Club and Coffee Morning and the attendances at all of these events is excellent.

Luncheon Club, 1st Monday in Month, £3.50 per person,  booked in advance,

Coffee Morning 3rd Friday in Month, FREE, this is a “ walk-in “ event.

The group also have many Social and Fundraising events throughout the year, details are published in our newsletter in advance of the events.

There are four groups that I have left until last that should be recognised because of their tremendous contribution to the success of the Howe Bridge Community and our Group, they are,

Our VOLUNTEERS, Including Gardeners Bowling Club Members  Undoubtedly amongst the best in the Country.

MURBROS PRINTERS, Amazing contributions over many years, we would be lost without their tremendous help.

MOSS BANK NURSERIES,  Fantastic partners and supporters, couldn’t` do without their support and help.

Finally, YOU, the residents of our beautiful village,  you inspire us to continue.


The date and venue of our next meeting will be advertised on Social Media and in our NOTICE BOARD in due course.