Rushbearing Festival brings community together

The rushcart sets of during Rushbearing Festival, Waiters Arms, Sowerby Bridge
The rushcart sets of during Rushbearing Festival, Waiters Arms, Sowerby Bridge

Dancing, music as well as a huge dose of community spirit and last-minute sunshine made the 38th annual Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival another one to remember.

Despite a wet and dull start to the day on Saturday, rain didn’t deter many from turning out to enjoy the beginning of the Rushcart procession at St. John’s Church, Warley.

Performances from Thieving Magpie, Knots of May and Rampant Rooster kicked off the day in style, before the first rush presentation was made at a special service at the church.

Mayor of Calderdale Pat Allen visited the Church to enjoy the Rushbearing Service and watch the procession as the Rushcart began its journey.

Visitor Diana Monteiiro, from Porto, Portugal, also watched the beginning of the procession at St. John’s.

“I came last year for the first time and it was very nice,” she said.

“It’s a lovely day out and a great way to see the local area.”

Joan Hay, from Norton Tower, Halifax, who was also watching the procession, added: “I’ve gone every year since they revived it and it’s a lovely affair. It brings everyone together.”

The parade wound its way through the area, before reaching the final stop of the day at The Canal Basin in Sowerby Bridge.

On Sunday, the rainy weather of the previous day was quickly forgotten as glorious sunshine beamed across Calderdale.

Gary Stringfellow, organiser of the festival, said: “After Saturday’s washout, Sunday was absolutely wonderful.

“We had thousands of people out, everyone enjoyed themselves and the tradition of Rushbearing is going to keep going for a long, long time.”

After the traditional Rushbearing Festival Service at St. Peter’s Church, Sowerby, the procession made its way to Sowerby Bridge Cricket Club, where crowds soaked up the sun and enjoyed the entertainment.

Courier reader Mark Bromyard went along to both days of the festival and sent us some fantastic pictures of the weekend’s festivities.

And Amanda Grummitt, from Sowerby, said: “I think the festival is lovely, it really brings the community together. The sun has really made it and it’s a great day out for all the family.”

The Eclipse band kicked off the performances on Sunday, before Ryburn Longsword, Rainbow Morris, Persephone Women’s Northwest Morris, Knots of May, Hebden Bridge Hill Millies and Rampant Rooster mesmerised audiences with traditional music and dance.

Members of the Rotary Club of Sowerby Bridge also turned out in force across the weekend to marshall the event.

The weekend drew to a close as the procession arrived in Ripponden, where the traditional Songs of Praise service was held at St. Bartholomew’s Church.