As the New Year approaches it is time for The Bolton News to review some of the biggest stories of the year.

Here is Part One.


Royal visit

The Bolton News: Their Majesties sign a book. Picture: Paul Heyes

The town came to a standstill as His Majesty King Charles III arrived to mark the 150th anniversary of the town hall.

The appearance, a part of a tour of Greater Manchester, was the first from a monarch in the town centre for 35 years.

On arrival at the town hall, which was opened by His Majesty's great-great-grandfather a century and a half ago, he was treated to a number of performances and a showing of LS Lowry's painting Going To The Match.

Store shock

The Bolton News:

M&S announced the closure of its Bolton Deansgate store in what was one of a number of closures across the country.

The announcement brought an end to its presence in the town centre for the first time since it opened a Penny Bazaar in the 1800s.

It was a surprise to leaders who were told about the closure in an email around an hour before it was reported in The Bolton News.



The Bolton News:

Hollywood A-lister Ewan McGregor came to town as it took centre stage in a star-studded drama set during the Russian Revolution.

The area around the town hall was fenced off for a few days to allow for a shoot for the Paramount+ series A Gentleman in Moscow.

McGregor – of Moulin Rouge and Star Wars fame – was seen outside the town hall but co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead – of Birds of Prey and Die Hard fame – was nowhere to be seen.

Tough times

The Bolton News: Stadium

Bolton Wanderers signed a multi-million-pound contract with Toughsheet Ltd to become their stadium sponsor.

The Toughsheet Stadium replaced the University of Bolton Stadium, or UniBol, at the end of the same season.

Dougie Mercer, the managing director of the biggest damp-proof membrane manufacturer in the UK, said it was his late wife's love of The Whites which was the inspiration for the investment.


Death devastation

The Bolton News:

A Bolton at Home resident was discovered dead at his home a number of years after he is thought to have died.

Robert Alton was a tenant of the borough's biggest housing association whose staff were the ones to make the discovery after accessing it to check for gas safety.

In an exclusive interview with The Bolton News, Bolton at Home chief executive Noel Sharpe said the death of Mr Alton was devastating for all involved.

Primark relocation

The Bolton News:

Primark announced a relocation from Crompton Place to Market Place as a part of a plan to clear the site.

The clothes store is to move into the site of what was once a Debenhams department store by early 2025.

The council said the relocation was a significant step in its attempts to clear Crompton Place for redevelopment as a part of its Bolton Town Centre Masterplan.


Whites win

The Bolton News:

Bolton Wanderers took The Papa Johns Trophy on a first trip to Wembley Stadium in more than a decade.

They trounced Plymouth Argyle thanks to Kyle Dempsey, Dion Charles, Elias Kachunga and Gethin Jones.

The attendance of almost 80,000 was the highest of any football fixture on the continent on the weekend of the final.

Ofsted question

The Bolton News: Young people go back to school after St Joseph's RC High School reopens after the floods

A headteacher called for a review of the approach to rating educational establishments after his school received a rating of requires improvement.

Tony McCabe, of St Joseph's RC High School, said the system of rating educational establishments in one word or two words was reductionist.

It came after Ofsted came under criticism for the death of Ruth Perry who took her own life while waiting for a report taking her school in Reading, Berkshire, from the highest rating to the lowest rating.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.