Ashton town centre has certainly seen many changes over the past 10 years, with physical changes to the market ground, the building of Tameside One and the Ashton Interchange.
Now the town centre is gearing up for a special celebration on Saturday 12 March, when residents will be encouraged to show their love for Ashton.
The Love Ashton event has been funded through the Welcome Back Fund, which aims to attract people back into town centres following the Covid-19 pandemic. The event is being supported by Ashton Town Team and Tameside Markets.
On the day, there will be characters from Mossley’s No Eyed Theatre on the Market Ground appearing in an Alice In Wonderland theme providing some unique photo opportunities for shoppers.
In addition there will be a martial arts demonstration from the popular Sitsiam Camp from Stalybridge with demonstrations from adults and children showing off their skills.
The Tameside Air Cadets will also be present providing some rousing music from their band to entertain everyone.
Children will also be able to go ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ with an Alice In Wonderland character trail to find Disney’s character cut-outs in shops around the town centre to win a prize!
There will also be fun in the shape of Laurel and Hardy who’ll be causing mischief around the market. The Town Team will also be hosting their popular prize tombola too and will be joined by the infamous Black Knight himself.
Kevin Taylor, chair of Ashton Town Team, said there are lots of reasons people should love the town.
“The town centre has an incredible variety of independent businesses that cover a wide spectrum from luxury jewellery and clothing to high quality furniture, professional beauty services and specialist businesses,” he said.
“There’s no need to travel out of the area to find artistic tattooists, beautiful fabrics, pet supplies, giftware, baby and nursery goods, balloon designs and wonderful fresh flowers - it’s all here.
“You’ll also find a wealth of cafés and restaurants that can cater for your every need from a substantial meal to a refreshing drink.
“These small local businesses provide the highest calibre of service to customers that big name retail cannot match.”
Kevin added: “Ashton Market is a multi award-winning indoor and outdoor retail and specialist market.
“Ashton Market Hall itself is home to more than 70 fantastic independent traders, offering a wide range of goods and services.”
The Market Hall is open six days a week Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm. With its broad offer of food and non-food retailers, the market is popular with shoppers of all ages, welcoming on average 50,000 visitors each week.
Kevin also pointed to the town’s rich heritage - another reason to ‘love Ashton’.
Back in the 14th century it was Sir Ralph De Assheton, known as The Black Knight, who was instrumental in the town gaining its market charter back in 1412. You can find out more at the display inside Ashton Market Hall.
Portland Basin also provides a wealth of heritage information on the town centre and other areas of Tameside.
There are also several statues around the town centre too which include The Pieman on Market Street. This life-sized bronze statue commemorates John Allen, known locally as ‘Uncle John’.
The former collier turned caterer sold pies at local football matches and was well known for his generosity during the cotton famine.
With work being undertaken to restore Ashton Town Hall, groundworks to be carried out on the market ground and a new visitor/shopper app from DSCVR on the horizon there’s still a lot to come and a lot more to love.
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