by Mark Barrow
CHANGES ARE in the air for the Saddleworth Village Olympics as the popular annual events goes from strength to strength following its 30th anniversary celebrations last year.
A new flag hand-made especially for the event will be flying high, thanks to the ladies at Uppermill Methodist Church, to replace the old flag which was unfortunately misplaced.
And this year’s schedule, slightly later than usual from September 10-25, could see the introduction of crown green bowling, subject to approval.
It is also the first year that the Olympics can classify themselves as a registered charity, following confirmation in April.
The Olympics have grown into one of the established events in the local calendar, with hundreds of children competing for their home villages in a variety of sports, including basketball, athletics, cricket and football.
Most of the sports will be competed at Saddleworth School, with other venues used including Greenfield Cricket Club, Churchill Playing Fields and St. Anne’s Rugby Club.
Yet this year’s Olympics are tinged with the disappointing news that, due to a lack of volunteers, St. John’s Ambulance Service are unable to offer their assistance.
The Olympics’ Co-Chairman, Adrian Green, is hoping local first-aiders will come forward to ensure none of the sports are cancelled as a result.
Adrian, who co-chairs the event with Jon Mayor and Martin Roo, said: “It’s a real shame that St. John’s are unable to help this year, as they’ve always done a great job in the past. If anyone can help out instead then do please get in touch.
“I’d like to thank all our sponsors, including The Saddleworth Rotary Club and Robert Scott & Sons, who sponsor our shirts.
“Also thanks to people who donated to us at a fundraising event we held recently at Greenfield Tesco.
“I’m hoping the Olympics will continue to be a great community event, where kids get chance to be competitive with their friends. It’s great that it helps bring people together.”
Meanwhile, a generous cheque was presented to Saddleworth Olympics by Saddleworth Rotary Club to help fund the popular annual event.
Jon Mayor, Chair of Saddleworth Olympics, received the money from Tony Burke, President of Saddleworth Rotary Club.
The donation will go towards purchasing gazebos for the event – probably essential, knowing the notorious Saddleworth weather.