Celebrations in store for “Mr Sowerby Bridge” - Leslie Godfrey

Leslie Godfrey, founder of the Sowerby Bridge Youth Centre, celebrates his 90th birthday.
Leslie Godfrey, founder of the Sowerby Bridge Youth Centre, celebrates his 90th birthday.

Leslie Godfrey, known to his friends as “Mr Sowerby Bridge”, will this week celebrate his 90th birthday with a party in his beloved Foundry Street Youth and Community Centre.

Mr Godfrey and his late wife, Edna, spent their entire lives in Sowerby Bridge and during the late 60s and early 70s were members of the former urban council.

In fact Mr Godfrey, who lives at Tennyson Avenue, was elected to the council in 1959 and remained a member until it was replaced by Calderdale Council in 1974.

He was the chairman in 1967/8 and is a past president of the Sowerby Bridge Trades Council.

He was an adult education advisor for 38 years and chairman of the Calder and Ryburn Advisory Committee.

He served on the divisional education committee, chaired the area Youth Council and was a school governor.

He has been a member of the Labour Party since 1936.

Mr Godfrey, a life-long Methodist, worked as an engineering fitter at William Bates textiles from 1936 until he was made redundant in 1981.

“When I left shcool, you could walk out of one job and straight into another - it was sad to see the textile industry go and the town’s changed so much over the years.”

When the urban council was scrapped, Mr Godfrey helped set up a neighbourhood council which still exists, on paper.

“But now we are beginning to feel the benefits of having Calderdale Council - we have a new swimming pool, market, canal, station and housing - and when they finish Holmes Road, we’ll have a by-pass of sorts which should reduce some of the traffic congestion and pollution.”

Mr Godfrey was largely responsible for persuading Sowerby Bridge Urban Council to acquire the former Foundry Street Methodist Sunday School for £4,000 in 1972 and convert it into a youth and community centre.

He is still a member of the management committee and a decade ago, the lounge was named after him.

Mr Godfrey has always done his best to help the young people in Sowerby Bridge.

For 40 years, he was was a cycle proficiency trainer and examiner, and chaired the town’s Road Safety and Accident Prevention Committee as well as the Old People’s Welfare Committee.

Recently Mr Godfrey became a member of the town’s WRVS Club.