Co-operation is the key as twin events entertain residents

Wendy Coates and Pam Ball with silk paintings at the U3A exhibition
Wendy Coates and Pam Ball with silk paintings at the U3A exhibition

IF you want to beat the Christmas rush, you have be crafty about it, as shoppers discovered last Saturday.

Two events also demonstrated the benefits of co-operation as a community group and a traders’ organisation at one event, and two sections of a leisure group in another came together to entertain visitors to Todmorden.

Water Street was closed to traffic for most of the day, allowing members of Water Street Traders’ Association and INcredible Edible Todmorden volunteers to come together and stage a “beat the rush” exhibition of crafts with Christmas in mind.

Mary Clear of IET said: “It was the coldest day of the autumn so far but music and fun tempted people to step into a shop they othwise might have not. The way to survive tough economic times is to help each other.”

Have-a-go displays included making Christmas mincemeat with local ingredients, face painting, pumpkin carving ahead of Halloween, making simple Christmas gifts for children and making stars out of willow.

An apple press was in operation all day, and pedal power was used to produce some tasty “smoothie” drinks. A rhythmic beat was set by the Handmade Samba Band, who also played for a while at Todmorden Market.

One aim of events like this is also to encourage people to look at other shopping areas, like Water Street or Patmos, in addition to the more highly visible market area.

Meanwhile two sections of Todmorden U3A, which has members throughout the upper Calder Valley, came together for a fantastic display of craft work at St Mary’s Church.

U3A’s practical art and practical craft groups united for an autumn show of members’ work which included paintings in all media plus knitted, embroidered, quilted and felt items, crafted candles, silk painting and corn dollies.

Wendy Coates of the practical art group said: “We did very well and it was very busy at times, with a lot of interest in the demonstrations.”

Crafts being demonstrated included card-making, origami, silk painting and corn dolly making.

A raffle, a tombola and a coffee morning all helped to raise money and individual members taking part will be making donations to charities of their choice.

The practical arts and craft groups have around 35 members between them.

For more details about Todmorden U3A and any of its interest groups call 01706 814623 or 01706 813933, or visit