Festive cheer after flood

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Preparations are now well underway for the Hebden Royd Alternative Christmas.

Planned for June 25, the day will see residents of the upper Calder Valley celebrate Christmas six months after the devastating Boxing Day floods hit. There will be festive street theatre, carols, Christmas trees and a Christmas Market and even snow.

“The original idea came when I was having a coffee with Tony Addison, of 2-Tone Comics, who suggested rescheduling Christmas,” said Jason Elliott, one of the co-ordinators. “He may have meant it as a joke but I could see the potential.”

Events will be held around the two towns, in local parks and with a lunch for 500 volunteers at Riverside Junior School, which had its whole ground floor wiped out by the floods.

“We wanted to create an opportunity to thank those volunteers who came to help us in our time of need, so we are inviting them to join us for a Christmas lunch - served by those they helped,” added Janet Battye.

The Mytholmroyd Gala, at the Burnley Road playing fields, will act as the town’s hub and offer a focus for families, having its own Christmas tree with a brass band and choirs performing carols, a fair ground, stalls, live music and cabaret.

There will also be carols in St Georges Square, Hebden Bridge, the Fair For Youth at Calder Holmes Park and the town hall terrace will host a climbing wall and cave for eight to 16 year olds.

The Trades Club is throwing a street party, while the Parcel Bar at Hebden Bridge Station will host a more laid-back garden party. The Hebden Bridge Picture House, badly damaged by the deluge, has a free screening of Christmas classic ‘Elf’ open to residents and visitors alike.

The business community, mostly local, independent retailers, are supporting the Hebden Royd Alternative Christmas by launching a Festive Fandango shopping rewards scheme. Lees Yard, in Hebden Bridge, will also host a Christmas Market organised by Calderdale Markets Team, with priority given to Hebden Royd traders and crafters.

Can you give up two hours to help as a volunteer steward during the event? It would be on a micro-shift pattern, so if you would like to help out, email Hazel Draper on purplehazedraper@aol.co.uk.