Burnley will be serving up a cricketing treat for new BBC series starring celebrity chef Andi Oliver | Afrasiab Anwar column

Next week there will be an exciting event taking place in Burnley!
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Andi Oliver from the BBC's Great British Menu visited our town to film for a new series. The focus of the episode will be the annual Interfaith Cricket match between the Lancashire Council of Mosques and the Lancashire Diocese, which brings together Imams and Clergy from across Lancashire to play cricket, enjoy food, and foster friendships.

The BBC coverage of this event will provide a fantastic opportunity to showcase Burnley and highlight its unique qualities. It was a pleasure for me to show Andi around our countryside, parks, and ongoing developments such as Pioneer Place and Town to Turf. I also shared our ambition to transform Burnley into a thriving university town with the help of Burnley College and UCLAN.

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Exploring the town together was an opportunity to reflect on the progress and development that Burnley has undergone over the past twenty years. It's always inspiring to see how the town has evolved and grown whilst preserving our heritage.

Burnley Council leader Afrasiab AnwarBurnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar

It was particularly delightful to hear that Andi was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful Burnley is. Sometimes preconceived notions or stereotypes about a place can be misleading, and it's wonderful when visitors discover the true charm and beauty of a place. Andi's positive feedback is a testament to the town's unique appeal and the efforts made to create an inviting environment.

By showcasing the beauty of Burnley to a wider audience through the BBC coverage, it offers an opportunity to challenge misconceptions and highlight the town's positive aspects. It's great that Andi's experience can contribute to changing perceptions and shining a spotlight on Burnley.

The cricket match itself will be a fun family event open to everyone, taking place on Friday, July 14th at Belvedere and Calder Vale Sports Club from 4 pm. The event will have entertainment, a great atmosphere, and Andi will be collaborating with local businesses and producers to provide food for the participants. The match will be filmed by South Shore Productions, known for their work on shows like Hairy Bikers and Freddie Flintoff's Field of Dreams.

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I am looking forward to playing in the fixture and this year's event will have a special appearance from the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Philip North. His presence adds a significant and meaningful aspect to the occasion, emphasizing the spirit of unity and collaboration between different faith communities.

The presence of notable figures like the Bishop of Blackburn can also help generate further interest in the event and draw attention to the positive initiatives taking place in Burnley. It's an excellent opportunity to promote the values of inclusivity, cooperation, and community spirit, which are integral to events like these.

If anyone wants to attend the event, they can confirm their place by emailing [email protected]. It's important to note that attendees should be comfortable appearing on camera, as the event will be filmed. Additionally, it is recommended to avoid wearing clothing with large logos and come prepared to support this unique sporting fixture.

It promises to be a memorable day, bringing the community together and celebrating the people of Lancashire. Let's hope for good weather and an enjoyable event!