PRESS RELEASE - FINALLY!!
The people of Mytholmroyd are being invited by Royd Regeneration and Calderdale council to a grand dedication ceremony where the new head to the memorial statue will be unveiled.
The ceremony, planned for Sunday 16th October will begin at 2.15 at St Michael's Square, from where a procession to the Memorial Garden will leave. The statue will be unveiled by Mrs Barbara Jeffrey, whose father Gilbert Hartley opened the garden on 11th July 1922. "I never imagined I would follow in my father's footsteps in this way," said Barbara, "it is a great honour to unveil the statue that commemorates those who never came home. Many local people were very upset when the original head was stolen" she continued.
The original head, which disappeared in 1992, was very quickly replaced by local stone mason Andy Barraclough. "The replacement head was never meant to be permanent" said Andy, "I just didn't want to see a memorial statue without a head for the armistice celebration. I never expected it would be there for twenty years!" The eagerly awaited new head has been sculpted by John Swift from the West Riding stone carvers.
"Once the ceremony has taken place we will be joining the Sunday Afternoon Appreciation Society at St Michael's Church Hall for an afternoon of celebration" said Jade Smith from Royd Regeneration. "Feel free to dress 1940's style, dance to 1940's music and try out war time food, including trench cake, wooton pie and Anzac biscuits!"
Also available on the day is a commemorative booklet, which records the names and photos of all the fallen from Mytholmroyd. The booklet, complied by Jade Smith, is based on an idea by Annie Greenwood who between 1914 and 1918 cut from the Hebden Bridge Times pictures of the men she knew who had gone to war and then stuck them in an exercise book. Said Jade, "I felt very humbled by the dedication shown by Mrs Greenwood and wanted to honour that piece of personal yet social history by making something similar available to the village."
Royd Regeneration has also teamed up with Pennine Horizons who have many un-named photographs of soldiers and nurses who went to war. "It would be a great help to us if we could get members of the public to identify people in these photos" said Frank Woolrych. "Our thanks go to Royd Regeneration for letting us share the event," he added.
Cllr Christine Bampton Smith added "the memorial gardens are a real asset to Mytholmroyd, it is lovely to see people sitting in them enjoying the sun. Finally we have a new head to be proud of."