Only weeks after the Channel 4 cameras, production crew left Stanley Grange, the charity stepped into the limelight again to take to the stage of the Blackburn Empire. A gala concert on Tuesday 24 May was a collaboration with the ‘GO on Tour’ group led by their creative director, Mandy Stableford.


The GOs (Golden Oldies) group originally began 15 years ago as a weekly exercise group to keep mentally and physically fit and active. The soloists and dancers who are in their 60s, 70s and 80s love to perform and combine their routines with choreography, costumes, comedy, and props. The talented team now take their fast-moving show of song and dances through the decades on tour to residential schemes, parties, and venues across the region.


As Covid restrictions eased, one of the first trips for the people of Stanley Grange was an afternoon of entertainment with the GOs at Hoghton Village Hall. Over the next few months, the group began to rehearse weekly at the Blackburn Empire, slowly moving from the studio space to the main stage and finally with professional sound and lighting effects, costumes and audience supported by Activities Coordinator, Liam Pemberton. At the end of the show, the GOs and the stars of Stanley Grange were joined by the award-winning Future Directions Stronger Together Choir.


The Future Directions team and the people they support, families and friends received VIP tickets and free refreshments. Volunteers backstage helped with the quick changes, flipping seamlessly between Spanish outfits and sombreros to Victorian bathing costumes, full length clown onesies and wigs and a range of sequinned waistcoats.


Audience member, Jane Price said:


‘Alan and I wanted to say thank you for the wonderful afternoon at the theatre yesterday. Everyone was just marvellous. We felt so proud of our friends on the stage, who all played their parts with such enthusiasm and professionalism. All the preparation was certainly worthwhile because everyone in the audience had a very good time. So, thank you to all the staff involved, who played their part in ensuring happy faces all round.’


Andrea Morley, Operations and Projects Manager said:


We hope that the GOs learned as much as the people from Stanley Grange in what is a very special partnership for us. We certainly feel that new friendships have been made and look forward to continued projects together.


Mandy Stableford said:


It was a wonderful experience working with and getting to know and love the residents at Stanley Grange. We had a great time with them all.  The support workers were brilliant. Everyone was dressed and on stage when they should have been. We couldn’t have asked for more from everyone. 


This project was made possible with funding from National Lottery Community Fund.