By Lynda Elmore, Chairperson
Members of the committee consist of a small group of Diggle residents who represent churches and other interested groups in the village. At the moment there are 8 members and our main aim is to raise funds for the Whit Friday morning walks.
Our expenses include: paying two bands to march with the procession, refreshments for the children on the playing fields in Uppermill, prizes for sports competitions in the afternoon, the coach to and from the main service in Uppermill (for less mobile villagers) and hymn sheets etc.
In the not too distant past, money was raised by holding various functions in the village such as Lancashire nights, jumble sales and fashion shows. Since 2005 we have concentrated on the house to house collection which currently raise the majority of our funds.
With costs of around £1000 to pay for everything, the collection is very important to us and we have a network of volunteers who give up their time to go out in all weathers at the beginning of May.
Many years ago, money was raised by collecting house to house, with the name of every resident who contributed being written in a book, along with the amount given! In those days, a hot meal was given to every child upon return to the Sunday schools, cooked on the premises. Nowadays things are more streamlined, due to work commitments. However, the day is enjoyed by several generations of Diggle folk and has been a village favourite for children (and adults) over the years.
One of our more senior residents, Mrs. Eileen Farmery, of Harrop Green, writes a description of her Whit Fridays as a child:
‘Thursday before Whit Friday was a day of great preparations – we used to scan the skies and pray for a perfect sunny day. Baths, hair curled and above all else, early to bed. We got up early on Friday morning, very excited, and looking forward to getting dressed in white from head to foot.
When we arrived at Sunday School, we were rigged out with a red, white and blue sash from shoulder across to waist. We all felt very proud,no matter what age group we belonged to. Everybody waited for the band to arrive off the train at Diggle station; one or two tears were shed as they marched down to Sunday School playing ‘Hail Smiling Morn.’
We started out and walked all the way to Saddleworth Church via Ward Lane (rather exhausting, especially if it was a windy day) We got chance of a rest during the service at the church, then onwards down Church Road to Uppermill. When all churches had arrived in the ‘back meadow’ we enjoyed a very lively service. Little legs were aching, feet sore, but we walked back via Huddersfield Road to Kilngreen, where a hot dinner was waiting for those who weren’t asleep, usually home made potato pie. After dinner we had an afternoon of sports for everyone. I can remember my mother running the three-legged race and being very embarrassed by it. During the sports, the Band played on……..’
Former chairmen have included Frank Bradbury, Anne Eccles, Dorothy Rhodes, Mr K. Redfearn and Mr. Eddie Clegg. The present chairman is Lynda Elmore; a comer- inner to Diggle since 1984.
Whit Friday has been a very special day in Saddleworth since around 1850 and the present committee have every intention of keeping this wonderful tradition going for many years to come. We are very grateful for the financial support given by the very generous people of Diggle and with your help Whit Friday will continue to be a great community event.
Please look out for the little brown envelopes and give generously in our house-to-house collection between MAY 6TH -13TH