What a surprise! A vintage summer in Whaley Bridge

There may have been plenty of rain this summer, but it has also been a surprisingly good vintage year as Whaley Bridge  Show and Garden Society’s annual event  demonstrated.


Who knew that such beautiful Victoria plums grew in Whaley?  Or that the carrot roots grew to about a meter long, with onions as big as your head?  And to complete the vintage image, so many people make their own wine?  plums

long carrots

In the children’s section, one entrant made their own edible gold and silver Olympic medals.

olympic medals
New resident of Whaley Bridge, Victoria Cooper, was impressed by the flowers which seemed to thrive in a wet summer.  She works for Macmillan Cancer Support, and will be visiting the local Macmillan coffee morning in Java Gallery on Friday 30 September.

victoria and flowersSisters Niamh and Eliza Orritt, seven and five, won prizes for their flower arrangements in the children’s section.


The Garden Society welcomes new members.  Contact Jane Gregson on 01663 734 132.


Best in Show: Dahlia display by Cedge Heathcote


Christmas disco party time from the Rose Queen Festival

Over 100 children, with parents and grandparents, enjoyed the annual Christmas disco put on by the Whaley Bridge Rose Queen Festival committee as ‘a thank you to the town from the committee’.

Getting ready for pass the parcel

Getting ready for pass the parcel

Most of the money collected in buckets during the 40th carnival last June – just under £1,500 – was distributed to youth-linked organisations in the area.  Committee chairman Tim Mourne said about £40,000 had been distributed back into local organisations over the last 40 years.

Cllr Martin Thomas, town council chair, with group representatives who received grants

Cllr Martin Thomas, town council chair, with group representatives who received grants

Martin Thomas, Chair of Whaley Bridge Town Council, presented grants to these organisations:

Buxworth School,  library books; 1st Taxal Scouts, tent pegs and groundsheets; Babies and Toddlers, sensory toys; 1st Whaley Guides, storage for camping equipment; 2nd Whaley Rainbows, identification clothes; T & T Parents and Friends, outdoor play equipment;  Whaley training band; Whaley Parish,  resources for ‘messy church’; Todbrook Sailing Club, junior sailing;  Well Dressing, junior boards; Footsteps youth group. Continue Reading →

Coming up – two Christmas treats for Whaley Bridge

Christmas is getting closer all the time.  Two big treats are on the horizon, ready to get the family and youngsters into the mood:

TREAT NO 1:   the Parish of Whaley Bridge adds to the jollity this weekend (4-6 Dec) with the annual Festival of Christmas Trees in Holy Trinity church on Buxton Road.  It starts from 6pm on Friday evening with school choirs singing among the decorated trees. Santa visits from 6-7pm, and there’s mulled wine with mince pies for mums and dads.  On Saturday, the church will be re-styled as a café with tables among the beautiful trees.  School choirs will sing, with Santa’s arrival at 7pm, and mulled wine and mince pies for mums and dads.

From 10am-4pm on Saturday, there will be refreshments, Christmas market stalls and another visit from Santa at 2pm-4pm.  On Sunday, the usual family communion service will take place among the trees at 10.30am. In the afternoon Whaley Bridge Band entertains visitors, as they sip their coffee or tea.

Holy Trinity church, café-style: Coffee and tinsel at the tree festival

Holy Trinity church, café-style: Coffee and tinsel at the tree festival

TREAT NO 2:  The annual Christmas disco for local youngsters, organised by the Rose Queen Festival committee, takes place  in the Whaley Bridge Bowling Club from 6-8.30pm on Friday 11 December.  Admission is free. At the end of the evening, there will be the presentation of grants to local youth organisations – over £1,500 was raised from collections at the carnival last June.

Death of David Frith: he inspired Whaley Bridge to enjoy the great walking and history all around us

David Frith, who has died of lymphoma at the age of 63, brought pleasure and pride to so many people in Whaley Bridge over the years.  Pleasure because he inspired many to take up walking, and pride in the traditions and history of Whaley Bridge and the Peak District which he brought vividly to life.

David Frith leads the Sunday Strollers. This picture appeared on the front of the town guide for 2010.

David Frith leads the Sunday Strollers. This picture appeared on the front of the town guide for 2010.

He gave talks, illustrated by his wonderful photographs, to almost every social and cultural organisation. He had a leading role in the creation of the Whaley Bridge parish paths map, the ‘bible’ for walkers in this area..  And he dug out history stories from the area – industry, railways, canals, work and social history, architecture – that provided a background for other fascinating talks.

At David’s memorial service, his beloved Uniting Church was packed.  Minister the Rev Keith Sandow spoke movingly – and upliftingly – of David: “His philosophy was to enjoy working for a living, but don’t live to work.”

David Frith walking past St James’, Taxal. He led walks at heritage weekends, bringing the party back for tea.

David Frith walking past St James’, Taxal. He led walks at heritage weekends, bringing the party back for tea.

David was awarded Whaley Bridge Town Council’s annual community awards in 2015 for ’his work with Uniting Church activities and services to local public rights of way.’

Cllr Martin Thomas, chairman of the council, said:  “When I first met David I was immediately impressed with the kind way in which he addressed me. He had an unparalleled knowledge of the history of the town and the surrounding area. I recall going on a walk with him up to see the Roosdyche, my first visit there, and it was an unforgettable walk. At every bend in the path David pointed out something I might not have observed before.

“The Town Council wish to recognise the exceptional contribution which David gave to the community in his many roles over the years, in his interesting career and vocations. His contribution to the establishment and maintenance of our rights of way in particular is greatly appreciated.”


To read a full report of the Rev Sandow’s tribute, follow the link here

‘Mums’ army’ gets to work with the Rose Queen Festival

Volunteers who stepped forward to help save Whaley Bridge’s Rose Queen Festival have got down to work with members of the committee, some of whom wish to retire.

Tim Mourne, Rose Queen chairman, with some of his ‘mums’ army’

Tim Mourne, Rose Queen chairman, with some of his ‘mums’ army’

A ‘mums’ army’ of at least half the volunteers put forward some of their ideas to chairman Tim Mourne.   After sitting with them at a meeting in the Bowling Club reception area, he said:  “I’m very confident at the way things are moving for next year.”

A group of teenage lads has also come forward – Elliot Pickering and Jack Maney, fellow students at Chapel High School, and brothers Stuart and Daniel Stout, living in Warrington but moving to Whaley Bridge soon.

Young volunteers: Elliot Pickering, Jack Maney and brothers Matthew and Daniel Stout

Young volunteers: Elliot Pickering, Jack Maney and brothers Matthew and Daniel Stout

The volunteers and committee next meet up at the Rose Queen presentation evening, incorporating a children’s disco from 6pm on Friday 11 December in the Bowling Club. Over £1,500 collected at the carnival in June, will be distributed to youth organisations.

The annual general meeting takes place at 7.30pm on Monday 18 January in the Bowling Club.

Rose Queen volunteers get together this Thursday

Volunteers who came forward at Whaley Bridge Rose Queen Festival’s ‘save the carnival’ meeting last month meet for the first time at 7.30pm on Thursday (19 Nov) in the Bowling Club.

Up to 17 local residents stepped forward to indicate support for the existing committee, many of whom wish to give up after years of service.

Vice chairman John Barnes said: “We were delighted with the response. Anyone who wishes to come to the latest meeting to offer their help is most welcome.”

The Rose Queen Festival, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in the summer, has raised thousands of pounds over the years for local youth charities.

Over £1,500, collected at the carnival in June, will be distributed to youth organisations at a presentation evening in the Bowling Club on Friday 11 December. There will be a Christmas disco for youngsters at the same time, from 6-8.30pm.

The young honour Whaley Bridge’s war dead

Young people were among the many local residents who paid their tributes to the war dead of Whaley Bridge and district on Remembrance Sunday..

young flags lowered
The names of the 140 who died in World War I and the 44 killed in World War II were read out at a service around the Cenotaph in Memorial Park on a breezy – but dry – autumn Sunday. It was conducted by the Rev Margaret Jones, priest in charge of Whaley Bridge parish and chaplain to the local branch of the Royal British Legion.

As the Last Post was sounded, Scouts and Beavers lowered their flags in homage. A touching moment that spans the generations.

Then came the laying of wreaths from many organisations in Whaley Bridge: the town council, the fire service, many voluntary organisations, And a special tribute from another generation: eight year old, Seren Adlington laid her tribute on behalf of the Rose Queen committee on the Cenotaph steps. In the summer Seren was a princess at the carnival, with six year o;d Katie Fairs, who was watching at the service..

John Cooke, chairman of the local Royal British Legion, was very pleased with the support of so many people.

Members of Whaley Bridge Band accompanied the hymns and two verses of the national anthem.

After the service, refreshments were served in the Uniting Church, which had held a service at the same time as the Cenotaph event so that people who couldn’t climb the steep path in the park could pay their respects.

More pictures below:

Continue Reading →

Whaley Bridge rallies round to save the Rose Queen

Whaley Bridge has rallied round its iconic summer event, the Rose Queen Carnival. Organisers, who feared the carnival might die, were delighted with the turnout at a public meeting called to discuss ways of saving the event.

More than 40 people crowded into the reception area of the Bowling Club, with a glass of wine provided to lubricate the discussion. Eleven of them agreed to join the committee or be a helper in a specific role at the carnival.

A relieved chairman of the carnival committee, Tim Mourne, said: “I’m very encouraged and now feel confident the Rose Queen will go ahead next year. Thank you Whaley Bridge. The meeting was excellent. There were far more people than we ever expected and some very constructive ideas came out.”

One speaker even thought the carnival could modernise into areas like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding!

The crisis meeting was called when organisers realised a number of committee members, with long service, wished to retire. After the successful 40th anniversary in June, it was a moment of truth: if younger people didn’t come forward, there wouldn’t be a show in 2016.

One retiring committee member said: “This is a valuable opportunity for new people with new ideas. They are not bound to do everything in the same way.”

The new volunteers will meet in the Bowling Club at 7.30pm on Thursday 19 November. The annual general meeting will be at the same venue on Monday 18 January.

600 years on, a Whaley Bridge link to Agincourt

Next Sunday (25 October) is St Crispin’s Day and also the 600th anniversary of one of the most famous battles and victories in English history: Agincourt.

Amazingly, there is a Whaley Bridge link to Agincourt. One Roger Jaudrell – from the family now known as Jodrell – was one of King Henry V’s archers at the Battle of Agincourt, in northern France. Luckily for him, he evaded capture by the French, whose treatment of English archers was cut to cut off their fingers.

Inside St James’s church at Taxal, a Jodrell family memorial stone records Roger’s service at Agincourt, and his death eight years later. The memorial stone slab, in the chancel floor, was installed in 1925 – just a few years after the 500th anniversary of Agincourt – when Dorothy Ramsden-Jodrell, wife of Lt-Col Henry Ramsden-Jodrell, presented new choir stalls to the church.

The very first name carved in the stone is William Jauderell, known as ‘The Archer’, who died in 1375. He is remembered more than 700 years on.

Next is Roger Jaudrell of Agincoirt, and with yet another spelling change of the family name, a George Joydrell , who died in 1463. And so the
generations are recorded on the memorial, up to 1756.

• Col Ramsden-Jodrell, one time lord of the manor of Taxal, was a benefactor to the 161st Manchester Scouts now known as ‘Jodrell’s Own’, who visit St James every year on their annual camp. The colonel’s grandson Michael, now living in Dorset, was an honorary member of the 161st as a child. Two years ago, with

SOS: Can you help Whaley Rose Queen Carnival survive?

Only three months after celebrating its 40th anniversary, Whaley Bridge’s Rose Queen Festival has sent out an SOS to local people: Come forward as a volunteer or the carnival will be over.

Tim Mourne, chair of the organising committee, says: “We desperately need new committee members and volunteers to help next year’s carnival, otherwise this long established event, part of Whaley Bridge life, will not carry on.”

Tim has invited anyone to an open meeting in Whaley Bridge Bowling Club at 7.30pm on Thursday 15 October to discuss the future of the carnival. To help the conversation flow, the Bowling Club is providing a free Continue Reading →