Artist to bring newspaper project to Prestwich Arts Festival

An artist is working with Bury’s archives services to preserve the legacy of a much-loved community newspaper.

Bob Nutts Jr, 46, launched the Eyewitnesses Say Project in a bid to share memories of the Prestwich and Whitefield Guide, a publication that printed its first edition in 1921.

Since the project began in June, Bob has been researching the paper and focusing in particular on quirky and light-hearted stories that show a unique side to the area.

Bob has also set up a Facebook group for readers to share their memories and stories, and has even interviewed some of those featured in his pages.

Interviewees include Trevor Williams, a former “Hell Driver” who took part in destruction derbies in his youth before moving on to drag racing.

Bob said: “It’s been really interesting to see people’s reactions to the stories which weren’t really headline stuff.

“My favorite story is one called Mr Chips about a young girl called Lorna. Her mum went shopping and bought a bag of potatoes and one of the potatoes had a face on, so she kept it as a toy!”.

“I [interviewed] a gentleman called Nigel Holmes, who’s the 2016 backwards running champion, he won a gold medal in Germany.”

The Guide was founded by Walter Butterworth and ran for most of its existence by the Butterworth Family before it ceased publication in 2015.

Bob says he hopes the project will encourage residents to interact with the archives alongside historians and archivists.

The Eyewitnesses Say Project will be at Prestwich Arts Festival. Photo: Bob Nutts Jr

He said: “It’s interesting the amount of people who have been in touch on Facebook telling us to say how much they miss the [Prestwich and Whitefield Guide] because of that specifically local news and stories and stuff that normally would get overlooked, like Mr. Chips.

“That thing that wouldn’t make anything whatsoever in any other kind of newspaper, but because it was part of the community they were living in, it had to go in, and that’s wonderful.

Bob will showcase his work on the project at the Prestwich Arts Festival this weekend.

Residents are invited to see the project at Prestwich Library from 10am where they can search the archive themselves and design their own front page.

Bob will also have artwork on display and will be debuting new interviews from people featured in the guide over the years.

After it’s complete, the Eyewitnesses Say Project will become part of Bury Archives, with everything available for residents to see.

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