Last September the ladies of Todmorden Trefoil Guild agreed to join many others in the Valley in accepting the challenge to create the longest stretch of bunting in existence.
This will create a new Guinness World Record, that of creating the longest continuous line of bunting, and will stretch for 10km and line the Cragg Vale Road when the cyclists in the Tour de France make their way along this route. It is the longest continuous gradient in England, a challenge for ordinary cyclists perhaps but not for these champion riders.
After several months of discussion which involved working out the amount of material for bunting, the amount of bias binding, the amount of red fabric (essential for the lettering of the Guild’s name) and adhesive for the red fabric and the Guild’s initials, the moment of action arrived.
One of the ladies of the Guild offered her home as the workshop for this endeavour. Alison Stansfield’s home had enough room to provide a large worktop surface for measuring and cutting out the bunting, another worktop surface for measuring and cutting out the bias binding, a large ironing space to iron out the creases of the red fabric, three more large areas (one for ironing the adhesive needed for strengthening the lettering, the second for attaching the letters of the Guild’s name onto the red fabric, the third for sewing the bias binding to the bunting pennants), then a cosy area where the letters template was cut out, and lastly but very importantly a kitchen where two ladies could brew up and refresh the flagging arms and spirits of these very busy Guild ladies!
Then came the night when the ladies of the Guild arrived at Alison’s to execute the challenge. Some arrived with handbags, others came heavily laden with fabric and yet more arrived even more heavily laden with their precious cargo of sewing machines.
The ladies set to with zest and enthusiasm, the rooms echoed with chatter and laughter which was stifled only by the arrival of a very welcome cuppa or two and the passing round of a box of chocolates left over specially from Christmas.
Who was doing what had long been decided (some work had actually been done before) but the majority of the work was done that night. The manufacture progressed steadily, one group replacing another when there was a slight halt to extract more fabric and place it on work surfaces. This lull in proceedings was always met with some relief. But for one group the work was non-stop, the sewing ladies.
By the end of the evening most of the bunting had been made. In total the Guild will have produced 3 x 50 metres of bunting to line the route. Sadly the entire stretch of 10km of bunting will have been removed for Health & Safety reasons on the day of the ride.
‘Tis a pity that the cyclists will not see this bunting, the effort of many groups and individuals but this effort will surely remain long in the memory. There will always be the photo of Guild ladies standing proudly under the bunting bearing their name to remind us of the Challenge we helped to achieve and of the fun we had in creating it.
You see, Todmorden Trefoil Guild ladies are always busy and always ready to Be Prepared!
The ladies involved were: Jeanette Barker, Olive Birch, Lyn Brooman, Vilma Bunn, Anita Butterworth, Shirley Fielder, Maureen Greenwood, Eileen Helliwell, Jennifer Jackson, Sylvia Lofthouse, Helen Lunt, Sylvia Maudsley, Carole Roberts, Maureen (Mo) Shackleton, Doris Sharphouse and Alison Stansfield.