Manchester Arndale’s giant ‘M’ bench opens with show from The Ultra Girls

By Kathryn Cummings

The Ultra Girls stopped-off at Manchester Arndale last week to launch the city’s largest bench in the shape of an over-sized ‘M’.

Lucy, Laura, Amy and Lauren jumped onto the giant bench for the launch, and put into practice some of their dance moves, which have won them lots of fans as the support act for Kylie Minogue on her Aphrodite 2011 tour.

The Ultra Girls formed when they met cheerleading for the Leeds Rhino rugby club, then went on to appear on the X Factor in 2009 where they reached Louis Walsh’s boot camp stage of the show.

The giant bench located in Halle Square, which is 18 metres long, now forms a new meeting and resting point for hundreds of shoppers who pass through the busy shopping centre each day.

Manchester Arndale’s new installation is already proving popular with shoppers who wish to sit and relax and for those who have literally ‘shopped til they dropped’, the bench will also be used as a catwalk for future fashion shows.

Designed by Beyond Communications, the top of the bench is made out of red linoleum which is an environmentally friendly 100% natural material, this is combined with a natural timber seat edging and a black linoleum base.

One section of the bench is interchangeable and has a backrest for older people or for those needing more support, there is also a higher part for those who find it difficult to bend plus a lower end for children to sit on easily.

Glen Barkworth, general manager at Manchester Arndale, said: “The Ultra Girls have been great sports in helping launch our ‘M’ bench and we hope to welcome them back in the near future for a performance in the mall.

“For many years there hasn’t been a specific meeting point within the centre and it makes it difficult for people to agree where they should begin their shopping experience.

“We wanted to create something memorable which will become an iconic meeting point, hence why it is shaped as a curvy ‘M’.

“It certainly should be a new talking point for Manchester Arndale as I don’t think there is another bench like it anywhere else in the city centre.”

A CATWALK OF SORTS: The Ultra Girls (Lucy, Laura, Amy and Lauren) strut their stuff on Manchester’s ‘largest bench’

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