Hollywood comes to Wigan

Wigan Life Centre launch with Joyce Redfern and the VIPs Stuart Maconie, Billy Boston, John Winnard and Lord Peter Smith
Wigan Life Centre launch with Joyce Redfern and the VIPs Stuart Maconie, Billy Boston, John Winnard and Lord Peter Smith

THREE of Wigan’s most famous sons had their names immortalised in a Hollywood-style Walk of Fame at the launch of the final part of the Wigan Life Centre.

Rugby league legend Billy Boston, writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie and John Winnard, one half of the team behind Uncle Joe’s Mintballs, were honoured for their services to the town by having their names unveiled on stars.

The stars were the first to be placed on the Walk of Wigan Life, situated on the open piazza at the front entrance of the new North site, housing a new library and facilities for public services and voluntary organisations.

The council hopes the trio will be joined on the Walk of Wigan Life by other people who have helped the town or put Wigan on the map.

Billy said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to have the star. Wigan’s a wonderful town with the best people in the world.

“People keep saying about what I have done for Wigan, but really it’s what Wigan has done for me. The new Life Centre is a lovely facility, and it’s fantastic for the town.”

Stuart said: “I’m particularly pleased to see the new library, which is a subject very close to my heart. I believe passionately that libraries empower people, and I remember as a child the library seemed a magical place. It’s fantastic to have the star, and particularly nice for my family and parents, who are Wiganers born and bred.” John, who recently travelled to Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE, said: “I’m very proud and honoured, and it’s especially nice to be recognised by the local community. To be alongside Stuart and Billy is absolutely fabulous.

“The new facility could be a heartbeat for Wigan, it reminds me of the sort of one-stop shop the Investment Centre was years ago.”

The last part of the multi-million pound Life Centre to be officially launched, the Information, Learning and Neighbourhood Zone contains a huge library split over two floors, facilities for council services including touch-screen computers which people can use to search for information, advisers on issues including housing, benefits and jobseeking, and voluntary services including the Citizens Advice Bureau.

One of the key aims for the site was to bring all the council’s public services under one roof.

The library has 37 computers with free internet access, separate rooms for teenagers, children and children’s activities such as storytelling sessions.

The south site of the Centre, housing the town’s new swimming pool, a leisure complex and council offices, opened last year.

Wigan Council leader Lord Peter Smith said: “It’s been very tough and needed a lot of hard work to get the project finished. We’ve now got great facilities right in the heart of Wigan, and the building is for the future, and shows that we are looking forward.”