Some of Wigan’s best-known people have had their names immortalised in stone as part of the borough’s very own Walk of Fame.
To celebrate the launch of Wigan Council’s exciting new public services hub – the Wigan Life Centre - a trio of famous Wiganers who have excelled in the spheres of sport, culture and business have now got their very own ‘star’ inserted in the impressive Piazza at the front of the new building.
It is hoped that they will be the first of many to receive the honour, which over the years will create a feature similar to the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, entitled ‘The Walk of Wigan Life’.
The Life Centre is a multi-million pound project which has changed the faces of public services in Wigan Borough. Spanning two new buildings either side of Wigan Town Hall the multi-million pound project has taken 10 years to complete and has been finished on time and within budget.
“At a time when communities are facing difficult economic times and are being forced to make drastic cuts Wigan has delivered this fantastic multi-million regeneration project,” says Leader of Wigan Council Lord Peter Smith. “The project has created employment opportunities for local people, supported borough businesses and has put Wigan on the map as a confident and forward thinking borough.”
The Life Centre consists of an Information, Learning and Neighbourhood Zone – which acts as a hub for all public, voluntary and community services as well as a new public library and a Healthy Living Zone – which includes new swimming pools, leisure complex and council offices, which opened over the summer.
Both buildings have been created by the council’s primary construction partner Morgan Sindall. Jim Morgan, Morgan Sindall area director says: “The new centre is a tremendously important facility for the people of Wigan. This has been an exciting and ambitious project to work on and it’s fantastic to see people enjoying the new facilities.
“We’ve enjoyed a particularly strong partnership with Wigan Council throughout the project and we’re very pleased to have played a role in revitalising the town’s civic heart.”
The Walk of Fame 'stars' mark the launch of the Information, Learning and Neighbourhood Zone.
The first three recipients are:
- Writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie – An award-winning radio and television presenter and acclaimed author, Stuart is also patron of Wigan’s Libraries. Hailing from Worsley Mesnes and still an avid Wigan Athletic fan, Stuart receives a star for his contributions to culture.
- Rugby League legend Billy Boston, MBE – Originally from Cardiff, Billy has become one of Wigan Borough’s best-loved adopted sons. His prowess on the field of play remains unrivalled. The World Cup winner represented Great Britain 31 times and scored 478 tries for Wigan. Billy receives a star for his contributions to sport.
- Businessman John Winnard, MBE – One half of the team behind the borough’s best known global brand – Uncle Joe’s Mintballs. Recently honoured by Her Majesty the Queen for outstanding services to the UK food manufacturing industry, John has overseen the company’s continued presence as product that is uniquely Wigan but recognised everywhere. Last year the company celebrated the production of the two billionth mintball! John receives a star for his contribution for business and enterprise.
Lord Smith says: “The Walk of Wigan Life celebrates the new confident approach we have to our borough and recognises those people who added to the richness of life in Wigan.
“Residents of our borough have told us that they wanted us to make it as easy and convenient for them to do business with us and get the information they need. The Life Centre and its ethos is our response.
“We have plenty to be proud of in our borough and we have chosen people from across the spectrum of achievement and those who would act as an inspiration to our young people. We couldn’t have asked for better people to become our first ‘stars’ and we look forward to seeing many more joining them in the years to come.”
Speaking about the honour, Stuart Maconie said: “I'm delighted to be part of the celebrations of this great day for modern Wigan and honoured to be getting my own stone on the Walk Of Life."
Billy Boston said: ““I am proud and delighted to be recognised in this way. Rugby is all about teamwork and this new building will allow the council to work together more effectively which can only be a good thing.”
John Winnard added: “We’re really proud to fly the flag for Wigan Borough! Wigan Life is something that we should all celebrate and it’s clear that the new Life Centre embodies everything that is positive about our borough.
“It’s a credit to the council and its partners that they have been able to provide the borough with such a fantastic and iconic looking building and more importantly they have introduced a fresh and exciting approach to public services. We’re sure it will serve the people of our borough well for many years to come.”
The Wigan Life Centre Life Centre opens as follows:
- Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm
- Sat 10am - 4pm
- Mon 8am – 5pm
- Tue 8am -8pm
- Wed 8am -5pm
- Thurs 8am -8pm
- Fri 8am -5pm
- Sat 9am -5pm
For more information, call the Life Centre on 01942 404364.