Burnley businesses and cricket shine bright on BBC Two's Andi Oliver's Fabulous Feasts

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Cricket, curry and a whole lot more from Burnley were featured on television last night in a new primetime cookery programme.

As revealed in the Burnley Express, the town was chosen as the venue for the latest episode of Andi Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts on BBC Two which saw the celebrity chef help out an inter-faith cricket match as well as visit local establishments.

At the heart of the show was an annual cricket match, played last summer between the Church of England in Lancashire (Blackburn Diocese) and Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM), took place at Calder Vale Sports Club last summer.

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The inter-faith county cricket match has grown in popularity and profile since their first encounter in 2018 and has a reputation as an exemplar of good community relations.

Andi Oliver's Fabulous Feasts filmed in Burnley. PICTURE: Clive Lawrence for Blackburn DioceseAndi Oliver's Fabulous Feasts filmed in Burnley. PICTURE: Clive Lawrence for Blackburn Diocese
Andi Oliver's Fabulous Feasts filmed in Burnley. PICTURE: Clive Lawrence for Blackburn Diocese

That reputation caught the attention of Andi and the BBC who wanted to film the teams when they next came together for their friendly encounter.

Sadly, heavy rain stopped play on the day (although the match still went ahead a few weeks later) but filming took place anyway; with the teams tucking into Andi’s creations during the special cricket tea; with food sourced from the best local producers.

Andi said: “It’s been so beautiful to be here in Lancashire to see people celebrating difference; supporting each other and understanding their communities.

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“I’m a big fan of cricket teas and we used to make cricket teas all the time when I was a kid. Cricket and sport generally brings people together but it’s the intention that’s important and the intention of this match is community cohesion and genuine friendship and I am quite moved by the honest intention people have here.”

Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev. Philip North said: “The match was immensely good fun but also achieves a really good purpose, which is to bring together faith leaders from Muslim and Christian backgrounds. The atmosphere was really lovely.

This cricket match is not just about building bridges, it also models to the wider community the joy of unexpected relationships. We come together for sport, for food, for friendship and to model good social cohesion.”

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Burnley Council leader Coun. Afrasiab Anwar, who helped organise the inter-faith cricket match, said: “It was a wonderful day that brought people from across all communities and faiths together, despite the rain that sometimes accompanies British cricket matches.

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“The fact that the BBC cameras were there and we had a TV chef celebrity on hand to help with the post-match food just made it the perfect day for everyone involved, and a match, that wasn't, to remember!

“The programme really captured the common ground that we have with each other over many things in our daily lives, no matter what your background or beliefs, the love of good food being one of them.”

Andi, who is host of the BBC's Great British Menu, created a special tea for the event, and also visited Aroma Indian restaurant in Church Street, Mill Town Pies in Colne Road, and also Basically Cheer CIC, a not for profit community interest company based in Plumbe Street.

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