Director of Fun names his top five toys for Christmas at Rochdale Exchange

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TOYS on sale for Christmas at the Rochdale Exchange shopping centre have been put to the test by the mall’s official Director of Fun.

Sam Doherty, nine, chose his five favourite toys on sale at Beales department store in the shopping centre, delivering his verdict on each and picking out his personal favourite.

The Meanwood Primary School pupil has performed various tasks since being appointed to his Director of Fun position earlier this year.

He officially opened the Rochdale Exchange summer entertainment programme, brought the Footlights theatre group which he is a member of in to perform a pirate-themed flashmob at the mall, and launched this year’s Christmas grotto with Santa.

So getting the chance to play with potential presents was a real treat for Sam, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome aged six.

“He’s over the moon,” said his mum Jayne Doherty. “He’s been really looking forward to it and he’s in his element playing with all the toys.

“His favourite is definitely the remote control Mini Cooper as we were struggling to get him to leave that one and go on to the next toy.”

Lorenzo O’Reilly, shopping centre manager at Rochdale Exchange said: “This is precisely why we appointed a Director of Fun. To get feedback from a child’s perspective is invaluable and he’s been a great help to our team this year.”

Keith Rudman, manager at Beales department store said: “We’ve got a great selection of gifts for children in store this year going right across the price range.

“Sam has chosen a really nice selection of options for both boys and girls.

As well as highlighting his first choice, Sam delivered his verdict on each of his top five choices at Beales in Rochdale Exchange, and rated them in the following order:

Sam Doherty with Mini Cooper remote controlled car

Sam Doherty with Mini Cooper remote controlled car

  • Remote Control Mini Cooper by Rastar priced £22.50 (reduced to £15 at Beales)

Sam says: “This is really great. All boys would like this but actually so would my sister so it would be a good present for girls too.

“It’s really easy to control with buttons for forward, backwards, left and right and it moves really quite fast – it’s pretty nippy.

“I reckon this would be a great gift for anyone from about seven or eight up to 13 years old.”


  • Star Wars Bop It

    Star Wars Bop It

    Star Wars R2D2 Bop It by Hasbro priced £19.99

Sam says: “This is cool as it’s a game like the normal Bop It but in the shape of R2D2. It’s good fun – the voices are the real ones from the film so it sounds good and you have to tap his head to make one noise, twist it to make another or pull one of his legs. It’s a really good idea.”

Jayne added: “I wouldn’t have known it was a game actually, Sam worked it out, but it’s good because it just looks like a figurine from the Star Wars film.”


Sam Doherty with Deep Sea Lego city

Sam Doherty with Deep Sea Lego city

  • Deep Sea Lego City £79.99

Sam says: “I really like Lego and it’s always a great present. The Deep Sea set is really cool because you can make up your own stories with a submarine, and have an underwater adventure. It’s worth the wait building it to be able to play with it afterwards.”

“I also really like the new Star Wars Lego so that’s another option.”


Sam Doherty with Shopkins

Sam Doherty with Shopkins

  • Shopkins Cool and Creamy Collection Food Fair £12.99 (plus a pack of 5 Shopkins characters £4.99)

Sam says: “All the Shopkins stuff is really popular, especially from children aged five and over.

“I really think that this set will sell a lot. I have cousins who are girls aged five and six and I know that they would just love this.

“You can collect so many different characters – I think there are over 140 – and it’s all based on food and shopping. So each one comes with a shopping basket and looks like something. “There’s one here that I think is a pie and another that looks like a mini fridge.”

Sam Doherty with Barbie Glamour Jet

Sam Doherty with Barbie Glamour Jet

  • Barbie Glamour Jet was £79.99 now £49.99

Sam says: “I’m sure girls would like this but it’s not really my kind of thing!”

For more information about Rochdale Exchange go to or go to the centre’s Facebook page or Twitter account @rochdaleexch





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