Halifax Minster: the start of a new era

HALIFAX is hoping for a tourism boost after officially being made a Minster town.

Sunday's commemorative service marked the rededication of the parish church of St John the Baptist. It will now be known as the Minster Church of St John the Baptist, Halifax – or Halifax Minster.

A civic party led by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Calderdale, Arshad Mahmood and Nader Fekri, made its way from Halifax Town Hall to the church, before town crier Les Cutts read a declaration.

A planned parade by religious dignitaries, to be led by the Bishop of Wakefield Stephen Platten, was cancelled due to bad weather.

Bishop Platten led the service, which included readings by Dr Ingrid Roscoe, Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and Leader of Calderdale Council, Stephen Baines.

A commemorative 12-bell peal rang out across the town before a lunch at the town hall and Evensong service.

Councillor Baines (Con, Northowram and Shelf) said: "It is a tremendous boost to the town.

"The new Halifax Minster sets the seal on our ambitious plans for this historic part of town, which already plays a significant role in the cultural life of the community. It will usher in a new era of prosperity for the people of Halifax."

Director of Square Chapel Centre for the Arts Sally Martin said: "This is a wonderful addition to the growing significance of this cultural quarter of Halifax.

"Halifax is set to become a key cultural tourism destination for Yorkshire."

Halifax vicar Hilary Barber said: "Together we can help Halifax reposition itself as a jewel in West Yorkshire's crown."

The service included performances from Ryburn High School students and the Minster choir.