Community festival is a historic success

From the left, Olive Birch, Pam Booth, Beryl Ellis, Mary Marshall and Florence Dean at the community feast at Central Methodist Church
From the left, Olive Birch, Pam Booth, Beryl Ellis, Mary Marshall and Florence Dean at the community feast at Central Methodist Church

TODMORDEN stepped back into the past for a medieval celebration.

Thousands of people enjoyed old fashioned community fun and welcomed in the new Paulinus Way pilgrimage route to York.

The inaugural Paulinus Festival proved to be a big success, with organisers branding it a boost to the town’s bid to attract tourism.

Stuart Clayton, one of the 32-strong team which organised the free event, said: “What we’re trying to do is bring the community together as a whole and there were an awful lot of people talking for the first time and meeting people they hadn’t seen for a while.

“For example, one of the street entertainers took his clown mask off turned around to talk to me and it turned out to be an old neighbour of mine from growing up in Burscough, who I hadn’t seen for 50 years!”

During the three-day festival, there was a medieval themed feast, community art, street entertainment, a special pilgrim service at St Mary’s Church, a flower trail, a special Paulinus ale and more.

But, one of the highlights of the festival was the ultimate Paulinus pie contest, in which Sandra Peach from Todmorden Independent Living Group, narrowly beat Tony Thomas, from Ham Corner on Todmorden Indoor Market.

“The bake off was a very close run thing between the two. I think there was only one vote in it, but Sandra Peach won in the end,” said Mr Clayton.

The festival was also a chance for local artists to show off their talents and Todmorden Mayor Coun Richard White, who officially opened the event, said it proved what creative flair the town has.

“We have got a lot of people with artistic talents here. I think in the past people thought Hebden Bridge was where all the arty people where, but now I think people are realising that we have got those talents here as well,” said Coun White. “I’d like to thank all the people who contributed with stalls and the people who came along.

“We need to get behind these events and encourage people to innovate.”

The event organisers would also like to thank everybody who was involved with the festival.