Howard Murphy has had a keen interest in photography for many years and has worked in the Ashton Town Centre Management office and as part of Tameside Markets team. Each issue he will share some gems from his collection.

Many events will be held across Tameside this year with a Christmas theme including light switch-ons, Christmas Artisan markets and fairs and also fun activities.

With the holiday season now getting into full swing in years gone by here in Ashton there have always been lots of attractions to keep the whole family entertained and amused.

Christmas characters including reindeers, penguins, snowmen and elves could often be seen around the town centre, indoor market hall and the town’s two shopping centres Arcades and Ladysmith.

Do you remember the famous Ladysmith shopping centre’s ‘Santa on the Moon’ Christmas grotto? That was something very different and certainly brought the crowds into the town centre. Families were transported to Santa’s very special grotto which was based in a moon setting – it was a very original and unique idea. One Christmas the Ladysmith even brought along real reindeers for shoppers to see!

Local brass bands have always been a popular yuletide attraction and often played at various venues in the town. The sound of Christmas music being played by the bands is always enjoyed.

A regular and familiar local charity group who have been a mainstay of Christmas every year are the local Tameside Rotary Club. The popular fundraisers bring along Santa Claus and his sleigh. This is a long-standing great Christmas tradition which raises lots of money for local charities.

Text & images by Howard Murphy