Arts Hub at Whaley Bridge Launch

whaley-arts-hub groupProfessional artists from Whaley Bridge who take part in Derbyshire Open Arts each year have formed a new group in the town based at the Pear Tree Café.

The Arts Hub will have a permanent display of work and a shop at the café in Canal Street and will also hold related events throughout the year.

They aim to showcase the local creative talent in and around Whaley Bridge and to develop a more vibrant arts scene in the town.

A launch event is being staged in the café, owned by Georgina Wilkinson, on October 24 from 2pm until 8pm.

To celebrate each artist will be providing their own unique interpretation on the theme of a pear. These will be available for sale as originals and as greetings cards.

The second event in store will be an Affordable Art Fair at the café on the weekend of December 5 and 6.

It was principally the idea of Tamsin Cunningham and Sarah Poynter but has developed since then with the input of others. The group also includes Helen Brocklehurst,  Andrea Joseph, Jill Kerr, Anna Massey, Lynne McPeake and Jill Petch, although there are plans for future growth.

Tamsin said: “During a series of meetings to discuss the success of Derbyshire Open Arts in Whaley Bridge, it became apparent that there was an opportunity to broaden its scope and to develop further the strong artistic community in the area.”

Arts Hub Launch

Martin Thomas, vice-chairman of Whaley Bridge Town Council, was invited to the meetings and is enthusiastically supporting it as he hopes that it will encourage other creative activities in the town.

“It was through Derbyshire Open Arts that I discovered a vibrant local community of amateur and professional artists working in a great variety of different media, producing interesting and thoughtful work to the highest standards,” he said.

“I very much welcome the formation of The Arts Hub. By collaborating together local artists can share resources, engage in joint publicity and have a shared platform for promotion.”

Firework Display in Whaley Bridge


  • The display will take place on Saturday 1 November at Whaley Bridge Bowling Club, with the launch taking place from the adjoining Primary School, by the kind permission of the Head, Mrs Walton. This year’s theme is “under the sea”.
  • The W3 catering team will be present selling ‘Whaley Burgers’.
W3 sausage team
  • A charity band night in aid of Headway (the brain injury association) will follow the Firework display, with four rock bands playing inside the Bowling Club.
  • Discussions are taking place regarding a short lantern walk from the Reservoir Road entrance of Memorial Park.
  • Lantern making workshops will be announced in due course – but preliminary dates for these are Sat 25th October and Wed 29th October, in the Mechanics Institute.
  • Tickets will available to purchase from Weds 9th October.
  • Please contact the fireworks committee if you can assist as a volunteer  by email to

Be sure of a big surprise – teddies dropping by parachute!

If you go down to St James’ on Saturday, 27 September, you can be sure of a big surprise. Teddy bears on parachutes will be dropping from the 40ft tower of the ancient church at Taxal, to the delight of children and famIlies.

Last year 40 children brought along favourite teddies, all of whom survived the drop,before an impromptu ‘teddy bear picnic’ of tea and cakes.

Children bringing a teddy along will be given a square of material and string, and some guidance, to make their parachute. Dave Graham, a local potholder, will climb up the inside of the tower, then lower a basket on a rope to collect the teddies one by one. He will drop them into a waiting blanket below to be reunited with the owner.

One of the organisers Jean Oldbury said: “It’s a fun event, so we hope lots of children come along. We’ve never lost a teddy yet!”

The charge is £2 per child. The event lasts from 2-4pm. Last year part of the proceeds were sent to Manchester’s Royal Children’s Hospital

A recycling event for unwanted or broken household electrical items. SAT 27th SEPT

Residents of Whaley Bridge and surrounding areas have an opportunity to pass on unwanted household electrical items for recycling or reuse in a novel scheme being run by Derbyshire County Council in conjunction with the Glossopdale furniture project, Advantage Waste Brokers, and Tescos in Whaley Bridge.

Just bring your unwanted items, broken or working, to Tesco, Bridgemont, Whaley Bridge , SK237HT on Saturday 27th September 10am to 4pm.

Working items will be safety tested by Glossopdale Furniture project and used to help families on tight budgets or sold at low prices in their shops.

Broken items will be recycled and turned into useful new products.

If you have large working items, you can call Glossopdale Furniture project on 01457 857 505 and have the items collected for free.

Almost everything will be accepted, except industrial equipment or lightbulbs. A list is shown in the brochure below.

The event is a great opportunity to have a clear out and to see your unwanted items recycled rather than land-filled, with the possibility of winning a £50 shopping voucher as well.

Hint – Click on the pictures below to get a much clearer image.





Strolling along to St James’ on Heritage Sunday

Heritage Sunday this weekend (14 Sep) is always special at St James’ church, Taxal, one of the most historic in the High Peak. Members of the public can drop in for a cup of tea and biscuits from 12.30 midday to 4pm, and examine the beautiful windows. Afternoon teas are also available at £3.50 each.

The Sunday Strollers, a group of walkers based at the Uniting Church in WhaleyBridge, will be supporting Heritage Sunday. David Frith will lead a group for what he calls “a gentle, three mile, two hour stroll in the Goyt Valley.”

Members of the public are invited to join them. Meet at St James at 2pm, back about 4pm in time for tea. David can be contacted on 01663 732 706.

St James is the venue for the annual children’s favourite, the Teddy Bears’ Parachute Drop from the church tower on Saturday 27 September, 2-4pm.

Eric celebrates golden memories of blue ribbon tomatoes

Whaley Bridge’s garden show, last of the town’s big summer events, was a great success. Good summer weather had provided some bumper vegetable specimens, with giant cucumbers and onions, well developed parsnips, some very fine dahlias and that Whaley favourite, monstrous marrows.

Tomatoes, too, were outstanding. They brought back golden memories for veteran grower Eric Townend. The 82-year-old, at Whaley Bridge bowling club to judge vegetable entries, remembered vividly a truss of 16 tomatoes he had grown to win a blue ribbon for best in show at the Whaley event 50 years ago to the day.

Eric, a machine operator at Ferodo for 35 years, brought along his carefully preserved blue ribbon from Saturday 5 September, 1964, when the Whaley show was held in the old parish hall opposite Holy Trinity church. In his winning truss were 15 red and one green tomato.

Eric recalls: “Home-grown tomatoes are much better than bought ones. You can put them in the fridge for a month, and they are still perfect. I was able to show my truss at Buxton a week later and a few days after that at Burbage. They won best of show two more times.”

A golden anniversary, indeed. Eric is still growing tomatoes at his Buxton home: in a plastic tunnel and a greenhouse.


Tomato man: Eric Townend with 2014 tomatoes on his golden day

Some white dahlias, winner of best in show, were admired by visitors. Gena Slater, the show’s treasurer, and committee member Loraine Coverley, took time out to enjoy the perfect blooms. The show also featured fruit – a good year for apples – and children’s inventive creations. Who would imagine a banana, with a strategic knife cut, could look like a dolphin? Home produced honey, jams and baking were a treat for the judge who naturally had to taste them all!


Enjoying the show-stoppers : Gena Slater and Loraine Coverley admire winning dahlias



Is it a banana, is it a dolphin?



Homage to the Bowling Club, home of the show.



A good year for Apples.


Campaigners make legal move over Whaley greenfield estate

Whaley Bridge campaigners, still in shock over planning permission being given to a 107 homes estate on a greenfield site, are fighting back. Whaley Bridge Matters (WBM), the group set up in January to try to stop the development on fields bordered by Macclesfield Road and Linglongs Road, has taken legal advice which could lead to a Judicial Review over how the planning committee’s decision was reached.
The campaigners raised hundreds of pounds from a ‘whip round’ among nearly 200 supporters to seek the legal advice.

WBM chair Kevin Worthington said: “We were all disappointed with the committee’s decision, after all the hard work we had done since January. Our supporters were wonderfully generous in getting together the money for the legal advice.

“Our grounds for challenging the decision are linked to not only the process generally , but also problems of access to any new estate. The community has been very upset over the dangers from increased traffic, especially the latest proposed access on Macclesfield Road near a blind bend. If necessary, we are ready to raise more money should it come to a full Judicial Review with legal costs to be met.”

Gladman Developments, a large company from Congleton, announced their project just before Christmas last year.

The proposed estate on a greenfield site, used over the years as a play area for local children and a prime walking route to the Goyt Valley, provoked outrage. A protest march, which appeared on BBC TV, was followed by months of campaigning, with support from other areas in the High Peak. At one stage, the Whaley Bridge site only stayed in the council’s Local Plan for future housing needs by just one vote.

American minister takes over at Whaley churches

The Uniting Church Partnership in Whaley Bridge, Fernilee and Kettleshulme is to get a new minister. American-born Rev Keith Sandow will be welcomed at an induction service in the Whaley Bridge church at 10.30am on Sunday (31 Aug).

Keith is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He achieved a BA in music at university in Cleveland. Later, at Emory University, he received a Masters of Divinity degree. At one time, he studied under the legendary Archbishop Desmond Tutu and was once an intern at the Jimmy Carter Centre in Atlanta. He received an award for volunteer work in the Ecuador rainforest.

Keith came to Britain in 1999 and served in the Sale Methodist circuit. He was ordained into the British Methodist Church in 2002, serving as a superintendent minister at Ashton under Lyne for eight years.

Keith is the second American to lead a church in Whaley Bridge in recent years. Rev Cheri Pinner was priest in charge of the Church of England parish until two years ago.

Tears as Whaley Greenfield estate is voted through

Whaley Matters

Fighting to the end – Whaley campaigners at Chapel town hall meeting

Whaley Bridge’s battle against the Gladman housing estate, which started at Christmas, came to an end on Monday, 4 August. The development control committee of High Peak Borough Council voted the controversial plans through with just two objections, despite final pleas by a young mother and solicitor and all three of Whaley’s borough councillors. Some of the large group of campaigners who sat in Chapel town hall through the meeting left in tears.

A disappointed Kevin Worthington, who has led the campaign group WhaleyBridge Matters since early January said later:

“This is a very sad day for all of Whaley Bridge. Clearly, the precedent this sets means that no green field site is safe whilst there are landowners willing to sacrifice their heritage for short term monetary gain.

“The approval of this site with such poor and dangerous access means that it is only a matter of time before the first serious injury or death occurs and I along with the rest of the members of Whaley Bridge Matters will be there to remind HPBC and the councillors of their very poor decision.” Continue Reading »

Grants for World War One community projects

High Peak Borough Council are inviting ‘not for profit’ groups to apply for grants for World War 1 commemorative projects:-


They have made £20,000 of grant funding available to be allocated in small grants (maximum £500 or more by exception) to support local community organisations, Town and Parish Councils to deliver local centenary projects.

What can the grant be used for?

This £20,000 fund is to support local, small scale World War 1 (WW1) Centenary community projects such as those which bring cultural, sporting, recreational, health, environmental, intergenerational, heritage or educational benefits to the local community. Continue Reading »