Today we enter the second week in our countdown to next Monday's Examiner Community Awards. We spotlight the three shortlisted nominees in the Arts Award and the winner will be revealed at the glittering awards night at the Galpharm Stadium.
HE’S the driving force behind a theatre group who have ploughed £100,000 back into their local community over the years.
Peter Armitage and the Avalanche Dodgers pack the hall at Marsden every year with fans of their popular all-male pantomimes.
Marsden local Peter – whose son is the famous poet Simon Armitage – pens the plays every year while on holiday in Majorca.
The 76-year-old told the Examiner he was “bemused” he had been nominated for an arts award.
He said: “I haven’t done anything I haven’t enjoyed – I’ve done quite a bit of work for charity but I like doing it.”
The Avalanche Dodgers have raised around £100,000 since their first panto in 1978 – all the money goes to local projects in Marsden village.
Peter has also organised events to raise money for the Laura Crane Trust and Kirkwood Hospice, and he also comperes the Marsden Jazz Festival.
He said: “We were just a group of lads from the choir and the operatic society and we formed in the 1970s.
“It all came about by accident. One lad said he’d better go home or else there would be an avalanche and we said you’d better dodge that. And so we became the Avalanche Dodgers.”
The Dodgers have also performed for the British Legion and done private shows to cheer up two seriously ill local children.
Peter said: “We’re vaguely the same group of lads we’ve had since 1976.
“But we’ve got some newer members now who are in their 30s.
“I’ve had some in their 80s ringing up to ask if they can join but I’ve had to say ‘no’ – we need a bit of energy on stage.”
Peter has worked with musical and theatre societies across West Yorkshire as actor and director.
He has appeared at the LBT countless times and was in its opening night show.
He is closely connected with Marsden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society – a connection rooted in the Armitage family.
Several family members have performed in the society and he has written and directed shows for them.
He has compered charity concerts across the county and renowned for his wicked sense of humour and his interest in encouraging young performers.