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Harold Wilson's family enjoy a "lovely day out" in Huddersfield

His son Robin, wife and daughters, attend day full of events to commemorate his centenary

As Huddersfield’s most famous son, Harold Wilson famously “burned himself out for Britain.”

Today, (Friday), it was his home town’s turn to turn out and pay tribute to his towering achievements as one of the most successful politicians of the modern era.

The day began in St George’s Square with one of his granddaughters, Jen Reynolds, attaching a special birthday balloon inscribed with his name to the statue which commemorates him.

TV news crews were there along with numerous other media to record the visit by Harold’s son Robin Wilson, a maths professor and his wife, Joy Crispin-Wilson and their twin daughters Jen and Catherine Lidbetter.

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But amid the pomp and ceremony of their visit which included the Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs’ sermon at St Peter’s Church and a lecture at Huddersfield University by former government minister Alan Johnson MP it was a visit to Harold’s birthplace that stood out.

The media crowded into the tiny living room of an overwhelmed Wayne Harrison, 31, and his wife Babette in their modest two-up and two-down terrace home at 4 Warneford Road, Cowlersley, to record the moment.

See pictures of the Wilson family's visit to Huddersfield below

Wayne, a father of two girls, four-year-old Elise and seven-year-old Breanna, said: “I was quite shocked actually. The university got in touch a couple of months or so ago and came round one evening.

“Initially it was just going to be the Wilson family stood outside but we both said it would be nice for them to experience where Robin’s dad was born and so that is what happened. The fact that none of the family had ever been in the house really added to the occasion.”

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Jen said: “It’s been really good. It was amazing going to his house. The family were really lovely. I remember Harold from holidays to the Scilly Isles where he and his wife Mary had a bungalow. I accompanied Mary out there last summer.

“I remember him puffing on his pipes, boat trips and his dog Paddy, a golden Labrador or retriever.”

Catherine added: “He would come and visit us in Oxford and take us out for lunch. People would come up to us and say ‘hello.’ We were aware that he was a public figure but to us he was just granddad, really.

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“I have really enjoyed today. That people in Huddersfield know who he is and value him.

“Obviously he is going to get lost in the mists of time but not, it seems, in Huddersfield.”

Watch former Prime Minister Tony Blair's tribute to Harold Wilson below

As well as visiting his birthplace Robin and his family visited the nearby memorial garden in New Street, Cowersley, which bears Lord Wilson’s name and which was the site of the former Prime Minister’s primary school.

And no visit to his home town would be complete without a visit to Royds Hall Community School which he attended.

The family enjoyed a private luncheon there before Robin cut a red ribbon to celebrate the renaming of a key part of the school, The Harold Wilson Building.

Afterwards pupils put on a special play about Harold Wilson called appropriately enough, Wilson 100.


Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent