Hornets fan Abigail shows her artistic side

Date published: 08 September 2020

Six-year-old Abigail Yarwood didn’t have to think very hard when it came to submitting an entry for possible inclusion in a giant artwork planned for Rochdale town centre.

The youngster is a massive fan of Rochdale Hornets and draw a picture of a rugby ball with a girl playing in a Hornets kit.

She responded to an appeal from Rochdale Development Agency for 88 budding artists to have their work featured on the side of 21 Baillie Street for the next year.

All the images have to depict what Rochdale means to the sender and can be a drawing, painting, photograph, craft item - or even a piece of knitting - and is open to everybody from novices to more experienced artists. 

Abigail lives in Failsworth, in Oldham, but her mum Janet Yarwood is from Rochdale and her entire family still live in the town.

Abigail wrote: “My name is Abigail and I am six. I have never lived in Rochdale but my Mummy is from there and all my family live there. I like to come to Rochdale to watch the rugby with Mummy and Grandad Tom.

“We all support Rochdale Hornets. I love rugby and I play for Limehurst Lions in Oldham but I always make sure I have some Hornets kit on!

“This is my Rochdale Hornets picture. I hope you like it.” 

Explaining her daughter’s love of rugby league, Janet Yarwood said: “We grew up in Newbold near Rochdale Hornets’ old stadium at The Athletic Ground. I used to go and watch the Hornets with my dad so it’s in my blood.

“My dad took Abigail along to a match and she absolutely loved it. Her favourite player is Shaun Ainscough.  She wants to be a winger like him and because she’s a fast runner.

“The Hornets are part and parcel of Rochdale and Abigail feels part of Rochdale. She got into art during lockdown and has her own Instagram account.”

Her submission won lavish praise from Steve Kerr, chief executive of Rochdale Hornets Rugby League.

He said: “Abigail’s artwork is fab. She is a fantastic fan to the club and always engages in club and community activity. She obviously has a talent for art and It’s great to see her take an interest in this project. I’m sure her love of the sport will continue and like her picture, I hope we see her in the ladies’ team in years to come. Well done Abigail.”

As well as being a celebration of the best bits of Rochdale, it’s hoped the transformation of 21 Baillie Street will become a magnet to entice people back into the town centre in the same way that the Dippy the Dinosaur exhibition attracted more than 100,000 visitors when it was displayed at Number One Riverside.

The ‘Find Your Space’ art project is a multi-agency initiative led by Rochdale Development Agency and also involves Rochdale Borough Council; Action Together, Link4Life, Rochdale Business Improvement District (Rochdale BID); and Marketing Manchester.

Anyone with a Rochdale link can submit an entry, and it’s hoped some famous Rochdalians will also take part.

For more details of how to take part and the full terms and conditions, go to:

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