TODAY we look at the Community Event Of The Year shortlist – three events which mean so much to Huddersfield and give people such special memories.
PEARSON Funeral Service is a local family firm serving the local communities throughout Huddersfield for more than 91 years.
Owners Clive and Leanne Pearson said: “We always strive to support events in our local communities whenever we can and are honoured once again to be the sponsors of this year’s Community Event Award.
“We wish the best of luck to all the nominees and look forward to meeting them at the Galpharm Stadium on the night.’’
DAVID ROEBUCK went to a big outdoor musical event at Harewood House, but came away thinking it lacked atmosphere.
He thought Huddersfield could stage something better – so he set about organising it.
Twelve years ago the first Concert On The Hill was held at the YMCA sports ground at Laund Hill at Salendine Nook and one thing it’s never short of is atmosphere ... and it’s ability to raise money for charity.
David, 74, said: “Huddersfield has excellent brass bands, brilliant male voice choirs and great amateur dramatics so I thought we could get a good concert out of that.
“Lindley Band has taken part every year along with Honley and Colne Valley Male Voice Choirs. More recently Lindley Junior School Choir has really enjoyed it … so much so that they now invite themselves!’’
Over the years the event has raised thousands of pounds for the Forget Me Not Trust Children’s Hospice, oncology at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary after David lost his wife to breast cancer and for the Holly Bank Trust.
Other main organisers have included Steve Metcalfe from Salendine Nook, his wife, Anne and daughters Lucy and Katie along with Gary and Ann Haigh and Malcolm Eastwood.
All are YMCA members.
The event, which is always held on the first Saturday in July and has been sponsored for many years by Kingsgate, was nominated by Peter Gill who lives in Salendine Nook.
He said: “The event brings together the local community, grannies and grandads, mothers and fathers, young people, children and babes in arms.
“It’s an event that appeals to all age groups and all musical tastes.
“Not only do the locals attend and those living in other areas of Huddersfield but many who have left the area return to enjoy the Concert on the Hill and to meet up with friends old and new.
“It’s a true drawing together of the community.
“It doesn’t just ‘happen’ of course.
“There is a lot of work undertaken by a group of YMCA members who volunteer to give up their time and to work tirelessly before, during and after the concert organising, arranging and cleaning up in the hope that the field will be full to bursting point of happy people enjoying THE event of the year.
“It’s an evening of entertainment and pleasure, an emotionally charged rollercoaster covering the whole gamut of emotions, joy, pleasure and laughter and moving through from pride with a little tear in the eye to the purely patriotic rendering of Land of Hope and Glory.
“It can be quite an exhausting experience.
“As darkness falls the emotional crescendo increases and finally the sky is alight with the most spectacular of firework displays.
“For me, it epitomises the very essence of a community event.’’
HOLMFIRTH could well have become England’s answer to Hollywood.
A vibrant film-making industry sprung up there, but was interrupted by the First World War and then the focus switched to making postcards.
But that tradition has been revived in fine style by the annual Holmfirth Film Festival that continues to thrive in these days of the internet, multiplex cinemas and masses of instant entertainment gadgets.
It was founded in 2010 under the leadership of author, researcher and Huddersfield University lecturer Stephen Dorril along with enthusiastic support from a committee, volunteers and the wider community.
The festival was nominated by Clem Bacon, who said: “The film festival would not have happened without Stephen’s drive, enthusiasm, sheer hard work and dedication. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of film which he puts to use producing an outstanding programme of the highest quality.
“The community really benefits from this festival and people are drawn from a wide area of Yorkshire and beyond.’’
Clem added: “The festival is establishing itself as a benchmark for community film festivals in the country and is run completely by dedicated volunteers. Ticket prices are kept to a minimum to ensure the festival is accessible to all with additional financial support coming from sponsorship within the community.
“The festival has over 40 events covering a broad range of interests and tastes. There are film events and film-making competitions for young people, workshops, talks and discussions, international films and local short films.’’
Stephen said: “We have moved up a step this year with 40 feature films in all and four events on each night in different venues across the Holme Valley. To put it into context, we started with about a dozen films but both the festival and its audience have both grown to make it such a success.
“While doing this I’ve become amazed as to how many people now living in Huddersfield and the Holme Valley have links to making feature films and Hollywood.
“We aim to bring to the valley the best of the year’s films both here and abroad – award-winning movies, the great films from last year that escaped attention, the lost gems of British cinema and those that we believe you have got to see.’’
IF you want a real community event then go to Shepley each spring.
For the entire village gets involved in attracting visitors near, far and wide to Shepley Spring Festival. And this year the headline act will be world-renowned singer Elkie Brooks this Thursday with the festival happening over this coming weekend.
The festival was nominated by Harvey Cole who said: “As a Morris Dancer with White Rose Morris Men based in Huddersfield I have been every year since it started in 2007.
“This is not just a festival that happens to take place in Shepley for the benefit of people who come from far and near and who like folk dance and folk singing.
“What actually happens is that for one weekend every May the village of Shepley becomes the festival. Farmers give up their land for parking and camping, people become stewards, the cricket club becomes the festival site, pubs are venues for morris dancing and music sessions.
“For some time before the festival local schools prepare for the Saturday lunchtime schools showcase concert. The village hall and St Paul’s Church are also involved. This year Shepley Band, Shepley Singers, Shelley Music Centre Group and Bolderstone Male Voice Choir all performed in the church.
“All this goes on alongside concerts and events mainly on the festival site featuring some of the most talented artists in the folk music world.”
Harvey added: “There must be huge benefits to Shepley and the surrounding area. The organisers have ploughed funds back into Shepley Cricket Club so enabling them to improve club facilities.’’
Money will also be raised this year for the Meningitis Trust’s Charlie Mann Tribute Fund in memory of cricket club secretary Ian Watkinson’s baby grandson, Charlie Mann, who died from the disease aged just 15 weeks.
Harvey said: “Shepley is now firmly on the ‘festival calendar’ and people come from all over Britain and some from abroad “.
The festival was founded in 2007 by James and Nikki McKinlay, who live in from Lepton as a way of introducing as many people as they can to the folk music scene. It now has 150 volunteers working at the event.
One of the festival's directors, Sally Atkinson, said: “So much hard work goes into it by many, many people on a voluntary basis“. ’’
The festival also coincided with the start of a community choir The Shepley Singers which is still going strong and local charities also have opportunity to raise money through stalls.
Sally added: “The festival’s sustained work with the cricket club had meant that improvements to the facilities and planned improvements have been possible with the festival as partners. This in turn directly benefits the local community all year round. An ongoing legacy of which the festival is really proud.’’
“We put hundreds of voluntary hours into the festival. But the sense of community and the fabulous event that is created from the hard work seems to be all worth it in the end.’’