Townspeople took the opportunity to reflect, on a crisp autumn day

The service of remembrance at Todmorden's Garden of Remembrance
The service of remembrance at Todmorden's Garden of Remembrance

WE shall remember them - and on a crisp autumn day townspeople turned out in numbers to Remembrance Sunday parades and services throughout the Calder Valley to do just that.

This year Remembrance Sunday fell on Armistice Day itself - November 11 - and was a time for reflection on the sacrifices made by servicemen and women over the years.

Chairman of Hebden Bridge and District Royal British Legion, Mr Maurice Jones, said the day was well supported and had gone very well, the morning parade in Hebden Bridge and the afternoon one in Mytholmroyd, both under the aegis of a new parade marshall, finishing with services conducted by the Rev Howard Pask and the Rev Martin McDonald at St James’s Church, Hebden Bridge, and St Michael’s Church, Mytholmroyd, respectively.

“We had a very successful day and there were a lot of people at both events, hundreds of them there,” he said.

At Todmorden the Royal British Legion had appealed for younger servicemen and women and younger veterans to join the second world war stalwarts in the parade and, with organisations including the scouts and Air Training Corps taking place in the ranks with other community groups and civic leaders, it was the largest one for some years as a result.

As was the case further down the valley, hundreds of people were at the town’s Garden of Remembrance in Centre Vale Park for the service conducted by Vicar of Todmorden Canon Owen Page, and afterwards refreshments were served in the United Services Club at White Hart Fold, under a new marquee.

The day saw a new standard unfurled, provided for the Todmorden branch of the Royal British Legion by Todmorden undertakers J. and C. Warburton. Peter Kelly, of the company, presented the standard to the Legion’s Mr Bill Birch.

Darren Widdup of the Legion said: “We had a very, very large attendance and the parade was supported by a lot of service organisations. The club was also very busy and the Legion would like to thank the club for producing the food - they began preparing it on Saturday afternoon and were back in again in the morning.

“Both branch and club have very small committees that work very hard to make these kind of days a success,” he said.

There was also a parade at Luddenden Foot under the aegis of the Sowerby Bridge branch of the Royal British Legion, and many of the valley’s villages also held events to mark Remembrance Day, including at Heptonstall, Wadsworth and Blackshaw Head.

At the latter, for example, around 50 people gathered at the village war memorial where Roger Munday led an act of remembrance.

The roll call of the fallen from the community was read by Councillor Tim Cole, and last post and reveille sounded by a member of Hebden Bridge Junior Band. Michelle Dargan-Cole read the exhortation from Laurence Binyon’s “For the Fallen”, the two-minute silence was held, and a commitment to peace made. It was followed by a Remembrance Day service in the chapel, based around modern war poetry.

About 85 people attended the Remembrance Service, led by the Rev Martin Macdonald, at Luddenden’s St Mary’s Church. Rev Macdonald was supported by Geoff Budd and Peter Alexander, who read the list of fallen from the plaque at the back of the memorial opposite the Lord Nelson inn. It is understood a wreath laid by Jill Smith-Moorhouse on behalf of Luddenden Conservation Society will be taken to war graves in France in December by the British Legion.