Having fun and raising funds with festive themes

Todmorden In Bloom volunteers manned one of the busiest Kidsfest tables, showing children how to make Christmas decorations. Picture: Bob Jones
Todmorden In Bloom volunteers manned one of the busiest Kidsfest tables, showing children how to make Christmas decorations. Picture: Bob Jones

THERE was a “crafty” theme in the air at many of the Calder Valley’s Christmas events over the past week.

In Todmorden, the Twelve Days of Todmas continued with youngsters and parents attending a Christmas wreath-making session with Todmorden In Bloom volunteers at Todmorden Unitarian Church - with everything provided to make their own “gold rings”. Bell-ringing and a candlelit carol service completed a busy evening at the church, marking the fifth day.

Todmas day six saw Todmorden Community Band entertain shoppers from a lofty perch at Todmorden Market, which later saw a performance from a gospel choir.

A centrepiece of the day was Kidsfest, which saw supporters ranging from Todmorden Town Council to Upper Calder Charities Assist (UCCA) gather together in Todmorden Town Hall to provide a host of entertainment for children, including many interactive craft events.

Kirsten Fussing said: “There were people queuing to go in when we started and we had a constant flow of people all afternoon. It went brialliantly.”

The council helped out with the cost of some of the materials but the event proved so popular these began running out as the afternoon wore on. Attractions included making Swedish sweet baskets, decorating biscuits, Todmorden In Bloom volunteers making Christmas decorations, members of the Asian community producing mhendi henna tattoos, a children’s entertainer and a safety game hosted by Volker Stevin, the engineers working on Todmorden’s flood alleviation scheme.

“Geese on stilts” promoted Kidsfest around the market and invited people to a storytelling session in a giant peach in the Town Hall! Father Christmas, with his Todmorden Lions helpers, was at the market and nearby Kafe Central hosted a children’s art competition.

Further down the valley, more than 200 people attended Riverside Home School Association Christmas fair at the weekend.

Parents, children and grand-parents enjoyed crafts, games, books, toys, nails and transfer tattoo stalls as well as tucking into tasty treats of buns, cakes, and soup.

One of the popular attractions for the children was a secret Santa area where they could chose a present for their parents which was gift wrapped.

Other events included a tombola stall and a raffle which had 52 prizes donated by shops and businesses in Hebden Bridge. School business manager Susan Bradshaw said: “We are very grateful for all the wonderful prizes donated by local businesses. The event provided a host of fun things to do and buy and the proceeds are in aid of school funds.”

The Boat House craft fair held at Stackhills Road, Todmorden, was held over two days to give local people a chance to buy art and crafts direct from the artists and makers.

Around 110 people attended over the two days, visitors having the chance to browse the stalls whilst enjoying tea, coffee and cakes served on vintage crockery.

Organiser Rachel Johns said: “It seemed like a great idea to get some of my creative friends and family together & to invite people to come along. The event was a really great opportunity to give the public direct contact with creative makers who often remain behind the scenes. We had lots of positive feedback and because of the wide range of contacts that each of us has, it brought new visitors to Todmorden.

“One family asked what else there was going on in Todmorden so we told them all about Kidfest and the wonderful market.”

Those taking part were Rachel Johns (artist - ink drawings), Alison Stansfield (textiles), Hugh Stansfield (woodwork), Hannah Bester (bead craft), Dee Kerslake (Honey Beads jewellery), Sue Mellis (Tozie & Teal screen-printed tea-towels and bunting), Emma Wilkinson (handmade bathbombs), Katronia Skinner (ceramics), Clare Ashton (felt feelings) and Calder Valley fashion house Makepiece with their sale rail.

Another two-day event was held at St Michael’s Church Christmas Tree Festival at Cornholme, where 20 local people or groups has decorated 20 Christmas trees with a carols theme.

Santa in his winter wonderland grotto was a popular attraction and there were games to play, lots of tasty goodies to buy and a raffle, among other Christmassy things in a friendly atmosphere!

It raised more than £1,000, which will enable the church’s historic organ to be fully serviced.