Windy Whit Friday Walk (Photo: Stuart Coleman©2015)

Windy Whit Friday Walk (Photo: Stuart Coleman©2015)

An appeal to the residents of Diggle for their continued support of the Whit Friday Walks

by Lynda Elmore

Members of the Diggle Whit Friday Committee consist of a small group of Diggle residents who represent both churches in the village. At the moment we have eight members and our aim is to raise funds to ‘put on’ the Whit Friday morning walks.

We have a range of expenses which include: paying two bands to march with the procession, refreshments for the children on the playing fields in Uppermil, the coach to and from the main service in Uppermill (for less mobile villagers), hymn sheets and a PA system.

In the past, money has been raised by organising events in the village such as Lancashire Nights, jumble sales and fashion shows. Since 2005 we have concentrated on the house-to-house collections, which raise the majority of our funds. As it costs around £1000 to pay for everything, this collection is very important to us and we have a network of volunteers who give 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 looked forward to by so many 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 -most of all scanning the skies and praying for a perfect sunny day. Baths, hair curled and above all else, a very early to bed.

‘Up early Friday, very excited, and can’t wait to get 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 were in. Everybody now waiting 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 back 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. I am the present chairman, a comer-in to Diggle since 1984.

The last two years have proved to be quite a challenge due to the scaling back of the police presence to maintain the safety of the walkers on their way to Uppermill.

Whit Friday has been a very special day in Saddleworth since around 1850. The present committee have every intention of keeping this wonderful tradition going for many years to come but we do need the continued financial support from the very generous people of Diggle.

We would like to extend our profound gratitude to our group of local collectors who go out and to knock on doors in order to keep Whit Friday funds ticking over.

Whit Friday

Diggle (Photo courtesy of Saddleworth Museum)

The post Supporting Tradition in Diggle: Diggle Whit Friday Committee appeared first on Diggle News.



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