A COMPANY that prides itself on its multi-ethnic workforce made a £1M offer to sponsor Celebrity Big Brother and is hoping to bring one of the show's stars to the town.
The offer was made the day after loudmouth Jade Goody was accused of bullying Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty in the Big Brother house.
The row sparked off masive national outrage about alleged racism and sponsors Carphone Warehouse decided to pull out.
Netmovers.net, of Bridge Street, Church, which is the UK's largest online property sales company, had talks with Channel Four bosses over placing an advert before the 9pm show.
But after a week of discussions, time ran out as the series ends on Sunday.
However, the company is now looking to sponsor a future series of the controversial reality show and hopes Shilpa Shetty might visit Church in the coming weeks.
Company director Israr Sarwar, 36, said: "We are astonished by the fuss that the current Celebrity Big Brother has created. In our view the conflicts are predominantly about class, culture, ignorance, rudeness and clashes of personality rather than racism.
"Big Brother holds a mirror to society and what we've seen is no more than what anyone who has lived in the UK for years will have experienced."
The company, which has a £2.5M advertising budget, prides itself on employing staff from various ethnic backgrounds including Asian, Chinese and West Indian, and all religious festivals are celebrated equally.
Employee Bilal Ahmed, 23, said: "I think a bit of it is racism in the sense they have been ganging up on Shilpa and picking on her, but people have different issues relating to class, race and background and no two people are the same."
Chief executive Gordon McCallum and Mr Sarwar dismissed claims that by supporting the show they were supporting racism, saying the move could only be positive given the company's diverse workforce.
Mr McCallum, 62, said: "This was a very exciting move for us. Channel Four said its involvement with Carphone Warehouse is part of a long-term advertising strategy despite it withdrawing its branding.
"We are still in talks about sponsoring a future series and are supporting Really Good Television which is writing a Bollywood-style film set in Lancashire.
"We are hoping Shilpa Shetty might star in the film and that she will visit our company office."
In April Netmovers.net will be floating on the Stock Market and is expected to raise £75M.