RAMSDENS Solicitors is a forward-thinking, award-winning, progressive law firm with its roots firmly embedded in the region – a local firm serving private individuals and commercial businesses.
With 150 team members and eight offices across Kirklees and Calderdale, Ramsdens is the cornerstone of the legal community.
Ramsdens are proud supporters of the Examiner Community Awards 2012.
Paul Joyce, Managing Partner at Ramsdens, said: “Holding these awards is central to the local community because it establishes a sense of pride in what we are all doing.
“Getting people together to celebrate what we as a community have achieved and also recognising the not-for-profit work in Kirklees that is also being done is important to everyone in the community.’’
THOM Meredith is renowned as an inspirational musical leader in Kirklees.
In short, he’s Mr Music and has helped raise thousands of pounds for Huddersfield charities along the way.
And the 46-year-old from Oakes will be leading the biggest music event Huddersfield has ever seen – the huge Stadium Spectacular concert at the Galpharm Stadium on June 29 when he will be conducting a 4,500-strong choir in a music and dance event featuring no less than 116 Kirklees schools.
Thom began his music career in this area in 1989 when he began conducting Colne Valley Male Voice Choir – and he’s still its musical director 23 years later.
He then became Head of Music at Colne Valley High School in 1991 and worked there for seven years putting on concerts, shows and musicals and the highlight was the school’s 40th anniversary concert in Huddersfield Town Hall.
Thom joined Kirklees Music School as Assistant Principal in 1999 and took on the role of Principal in 2004.
There used to be seven youth orchestras but had dwindled to none so Thom’s first task was to set up Kirklees Youth Orchestra which has forged a national reputation and goes on tour every two years.
It has been very successful in concerts and competitions with players going on to study at degree level at conservatoires across the country.
Kirklees Music School has just been selected following a bidding process by the Arts Council as the Music Education Hub for Kirklees and will be working closely with those who provide music education here in the years to come.
In 2010 Thom worked with Colne Valley Male Voice Choir to set up Colne Valley Boys to encourage youngsters to develop their love of singing and ensure that Kirklees continues to celebrate and expand its rich musical heritage.
Thom said: “I now spend my life encouraging music making in all forms in Kirklees and beyond. I have devoted my life to making sure that people both young and old get the chance to make music to the best possible standard they can.’’
Thom – who represents the Yorkshire and Humber Music Services for the Federation of Music Services and also conducts the Yorkshire Deaf Youth Orchestra – has used music concerts to raise thousands of pounds for charities over the year, especially for the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Trust and Kirkwood Hospice. A special fundraising event at Huddersfield Town Hall in March raised £4,000 for the Trust.
Thom added: “Groups I work with do a lot of work for charities and I not only launch myself into supporting them musically but recently also by abseiling down the university for the Forget Me Not Trust Children’s Hospice.
Thom takes groups on trips both here and overseas and Kirklees Music School is setting up a bursary scheme to try to support young people who want to learn to play an instrument or sing, but who face financial difficulties
Thom’s son, Harry, is already following in his footsteps by currently studying percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music.
JAMIE Smith has already attained phenomenal musical success ... and he’s still only 17.
The cornet player from Dalton is the first person ever to be principal cornet player for the National Children’s Band – a role he secured when he was just 13 – and then the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.
This carries the same prestige as the lead violinist in an orchestra so Jamie has been the principal player for both bands.
He’s now a member of Yorkshire 1st Section Champions, Hammonds Saltaire, and top bands like Black Dyke and Brighouse and Rastrick call on him for help if they are short.
Jamie is also principal cornet with Sellers International Youth Band and musical director of Mighty Oaks which is Sellers’ intermediate band for new starters.
Not bad considering he only started to play the instrument nine years ago.
His father, Paul, said: “To begin with Jamie’s music teacher wouldn’t let him play cornet, not until he’d got his proper front teeth. He had to start on percussion.’’
Jamie said: “I lost one of my teeth making a rash rugby challenge when I was very young but because of the importance of music in my life I can no longer play rugby.’’
But he is determined to make music his life – and has already lined up two solo guest appearances for bands in Holland next year.
“I would love to be a professional musician,’’ he said. “I’ve never been someone who is really gifted but when I want to do something I’ve worked hard at it.
“I’ve never seen it as a chore – just wanted to improve.’’
He proved that determination to get the top role with the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. He had to audition and was unsuccessful at first but just kept trying again the more he improved.
His mum is Carol and Jamie has an elder brother, 22-year-old Jonathon, who also plays euphonium.
Jamie is now in his first year at Greenhead College. He is a former head boy of King James’s School in Almondbury
He is taught by Darren Stott, a former Principal Cornet of Sellers International Band, and more recently Jamie has been mentored and coached by the highly experienced Morgan Griffiths, former Principal Euphonium of the Yorkshire Building Society Band and the Black Dyke Band.
Jamie is also advised by Rob Westacott, Soprano Cornet of the Brighouse and Rastrick Band.
ST Mark’s Players are a vibrant community-minded drama group who donate more than £1,000 a year to local good causes.
They were formed in 1988 by a small group from St Mark’s church in Longwood with the intention of entertaining the community and having a bit of fun at the same time.
Since then they have grown and grown and now involve around 50 adults and 20 children – and some of the original cast are still regular performers.
But the group is eager to bring youngsters on and the junior group for children aged eight and over was started in 2009 by a couple of the adult players. This group runs weekly and is so busy it now has a waiting list. The children perform a show every summer and wow over 150 people with their talents.
Lisa Woodhead from the players said: "St Mark’s Players are a bit of a family affair and many of us have partners and children involved and grandchildren on the waiting list too.’’
The group began at St Mark’s Parish Centre on a makeshift stage which had to be put up each year but relocated to the refurbished Longwood Mechanics Hall which has a superb stage.
Lisa added: "We perform an annual pantomime every February which is enjoyed by over 750 people and is always a sell out. We are very proud that we are able to keep our prices low and attract many local families to the pantos.
"We have a dedicated team of stage crew who work tirelessly throughout the year planning, drawing, painting and creating props. We also have a small team of volunteers who support us with tea and coffee during panto week.
"The cast provide most of their costumes and work wonders with charity shop bargains. These are often adapted and trimmed to make outstanding costumes.’’
During the summer months they perform a show titled LAFTA’S – Longwood’s Answer to Film and Television Awards! It’s an interesting mix of drama, song and dance.
The Players will stage a big musical celebration in St Mark’s church to mark their 25th anniversary next year.
Lisa added: "We are a not for profit organisation and to that end we make regular donations to St Mark’s Church and Longwood Mechanics Hall.
"We have also supported one of our junior group to go to Sweden on a scout Jamboree and supported one of our members to do voluntary work in Kenya in a children’s orphanage.’’