June 27, 2022

An inspiring commentative local heritage story of The Queen's Platinum Jubilee 2022  

The story reflects partnership working within the Calderdale area as part of the wider District of Rotary in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Rotary’s involvement with The Queens Platinum Jubilee celebrations began when Hazel Brindle, Assistant Governor read the challenge, in the national Rotary Magazine, to have a beacon lit in each Rotary Club area.  Hazel contacted various local dignitaries who had no knowledge of any planned celebrations, but the initial contact soon led to a series of planning meetings which culminated in four days of celebrations at The Piece Hall in Halifax.  The first day saw the lighting of the Beacon on Beacon Hill, Halifax, At the same time Rotary Club of Denby Dale arranged for the Beacon on Castle Hill to be lit.

It was at one of the meetings it was suggested that as Rotary members are good at gardening so maybe we could create a commemorative garden however it was decided to focus on commemorative stone instead. 

The search was on, not only for a stone but for a suitable location.  Calderdale Parks Department Ranger Amy Powell-Bevan came to the rescue by suggesting that a space was available at Crow Wood Park, Sowerby Bridge, Halifax with the added bonus that the Parks Department would maintain the site and plant up each year.  

The search was now on for an appropriate commemorative stone of a reasonable size and with a history appropriate to our area.  Completely by chance Hazel met a young local businessman called Matthew Pitchforth at Rotary Club Huddersfield Centenary Civic evening.  Upon hearing about our Commemorative Stone project, Matthew promptly stated that he had a stone to suit our requirements. The stone he had in mind was from an old mill at Cragg Vale.

A trip to the site of the old mill was arranged where we witnessed the dirt covered stone being lifted from the ground where it had stood for over a hundred years.  

This stone which now forms the base plinth of the Commemorative stone was the foundation stone for the mill steam engine. An irregular stone was then chosen to form the top stone on which to place the Rotary plaque.  The top stone was too tall and had to be cut by a local stone mason, when he heard the story behind the stone and its purpose he offered his services free of charge.  

The Rotary Club of Todmorden donated a Time Capsule which was filled with a script and Club Banner from the South West Clubs.  The capsule was then topped up with lots of memorabilia depicting The Queens Platinum Jubilee.  Ultimately, the Time Capsule contained 400 items.  Todmorden Rotary Club President Derek Davies had the honour of placing the time capsule in gravel below the commemorative base stone.  

The time capsule being positioned

We arranged for the unveiling ceremony to coincide with Crow Wood Park Queens Platinum Jubilee coffee morning on 15 June 2022

The day was glorious with wall-to-wall sunshine which brought out about a 100 people, Rotarians, and Friends of Crow Wood Park to witness the unveiling. The stone was unveiled in a short ceremony by Tim Cole Deputy Lieutenant of the West Yorkshire Lieutenancy and Rotary District 1040 Governor Stephen Ellis.

The morning was rounded off with tea and cake provided by Friends of Crow Wood park.  A huge thank you to all who helped make this unveiling ceremony such a special occasion.

We are so grateful to Matthew Pitchforth and his family for donating and installing the stone, plaque and historical information board in Crow Wood Park, his reason for donating the stone being that he had lived in the area when he was young, played in the park and went to the local school. 

The stone in place
Matthew with the information board
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