Rochdale’s old bus station and former council building, the black box, are finally on their way out after Rochdale resident Dave Pauley and his daughter Nicole took the controls of a giant digger at weekend to help see it off for good.
As the winner of the town centre demolitions raffle, Dave got in the machine for a photo before handing over to a contractor and sounding a klaxon to signal the destruction of the 1970s structures.
The raffle was designed to get residents involved in the huge changes taking place in the town centre as well as raise money for charity, with £1,000 raised through ticket sales going to Springhill Hospice. Connell Brothers Contractors, who are doing the town centre demolitions, have also donated an additional £250 to the hospice.
Dave, from Norden, who has lived in the borough for 22 years, brought his daughter Nicole along on the day.
They said: “Having lived in Rochdale for so long, we thought the chance to get directly involved in the demolition of such iconic buildings was too good to miss.
"The changes taking place in the town centre are going to transform Rochdale and it will be good to look back and know that we played a part in it, however small.
"The fact that all the money is going to such a well-loved local charity is also fantastic.”
The raffle was organised by the Round Table working with the council and Rochdale Development Agency (RDA) and the winner also received prizes in the day.
The event on Saturday officially started the town centre demolitions following preparatory works which have seen the removal of the car park ramps and the old travelshop.
Leader of Rochdale Council, Colin Lambert, said: “It’s great to see things moving so quickly in the town centre and now the demolition has officially started, people can expect the skyline to change very rapidly.”
“The raffle has clearly captured people’s imagination and we’d like to thank everyone who bought a ticket and helped raise money for the hospice.
The demolition, which will also involve the removal of the bridgelinks between the Wheatsheaf and M&S, as well as the deconstruction of the old black box, is expected to be completed by the end of October. People can follow the demolition live from start to finish on the town centre webcam which can be viewed at www.rochdaletowncentre.com
Springy the mascot, Cllr Colin Lambert, Danny Williams Rochdale Round Table, Gareth Shelvin and Kevin Brooks Connell Brothers