We have reached the end of our Christmas Challenges – and everyone’s made them a fantastic experience! In the last week we’ve held an eclectic mix of activities in celebration of the DofE Diamond Anniversary.

Crowds gathered on Monday for our “I’m a student, get me out of here!” Challenge. Students and staff were eager to experience the thrill of holding a 17 kg python, a bearded dragon, tortoises, an assortment of creepy crawlies (including a scorpion, a tarantula and giant cockroaches), as well as watch an African Bullfrog eat his dinner.

On Tuesday, our Reindeer Rodeo, complete with flashing nose, brought a taste of the Wild West to the SLZ. Participants tried to ride our Christmas-themed bucking bronco for as long as possible. Thirty seconds was a good score – our Champion rodeo-rider, Mohammed Alselini, managed an impressive 59 seconds and was rewarded with rapturous applause.

THE BIG SING and Christmas Carol Service on Wednesday brought campus together in festive song. The Carol Service, led by Dr Gill Smart, was attended by the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Lynda Byrne and her Consort John, as well as a range of staff and students from many faiths and none, promoting peace and goodwill. After refreshments of mulled wine and mince pies, THE BIG SING led by Honorary Doctorate holder and Mezzo-Soprano Antonia Sotgiu, and accompanied by pianist Martin Taylor, raised the roof of the SLZ with vigorous renditions of popular Christmas songs. The grand finale of Christmas classic White Christmas was especially memorable.

Thursday saw our table tennis star, Brett Haslam, return for the third time. Our Champion remains undefeated after over 100 matches against staff, students and visitors.


Our final Challenge – “Can you achieve the fastest lap in our motor racing simulator?” – tested participants driving skills. Congratulations to Panayiotis Archontides who completed the circuit 30 seconds faster than anyone else!

A huge thank you to all of you who took part and helped us achieve our goal of 1000 participants.

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