They came from all directions – and made sure the celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Stoodley Pike’s establishment as a monument of peace was a day to remember.
There were too many to count, said Nick Wilding, of organisers Calder Civic Trust, and accompanied by music, puppets and the release of 200 homing pigeons – doubling as doves of peace for the day – it will live long in the memory of everyone who attended.
“It was absolutely fantastic and from every single direction I could see streams of people coming across the moor and there was something quite exciting about it.
“The range of people who joined us was wonderful, from all cross sections of society – families, children, older and younger people, and for people who concerned about the peace aspect, for example there were some people from CND there. When the Deputy Mayor of Todmorden, Coun Michael Gill, spoke and mentioned the peace aspect of the monument there was a big cheer, people knew why it was imnportant we celebrate it,” he said.
Also among those attending were a party of town twinners from Todmorden’s twin town of Roncq in France, bringing full circle the monument’s origins.
The foundation stone for the first Stoodley Pike was laid in 1814 to mark the Treaty of Paris which, until Napoleon’s brief surgence which ended at Waterloo a year later, brought about peace between Britain and France. It was sponsored by many local people and became linked to peace even further when the original monument was struck by lightning on February 11, 1854, on the very day the Russian Ambassador was expelled from Britain at the start of the Crimean War.
Its replacement, the monument at the centre of last Saturday’s celebrations, was build later in Victorian times through public subscription and is still one of the oldest towers dedicated to peace in the world.
Nick said the trust wished to thank people who had helped or offered help, to ensure the day was a success.
They included farmers Chris Greaves and Ralph Kenworthy and his son Bruce, and Trevor Sunderland of Cragg Builders and his daughter Harriet, who were key to transport, including transporting Todmorden Community Band’s instruments up to the Pike, and enabling Deputy Mayor of Todmorden Coun Michael Gill to get there with civic regalia safely.
Handmade Parade provided puppets which were striking as the wind lifted their wings and more music was provided by the Samba Band.
And Kevin Thorp, of Todmorden Homing Society, did a sterling job in getting fellow enthusiasts to provide their racing birds to complete a marvellous occasion.
Nick said: “The Civic Trust were very, very pleased the town twinners from Roncq threw themselves into it and had T-shirts printed with the Pike on the front.
“People have emailed me and said the day reminded them of an old fashioned village fair – with some strange aspects! It was something to remember.”