School life: Musical opening for Elland Bridge by Brooksbank students

Brooksbank students playing at the opening of Elland Bridge
Brooksbank students playing at the opening of Elland Bridge

There was music in the air as Brooksbank’s Concert Band took part in the re-opening ceremony on Wednesday, 8 February.

Scores of people gathered on the bridge to witness the long awaited event. Much of the local and wider community has been affected by the bridge’s closure following devastating floods on Boxing Day 2015 which rendered it unsafe.

Cutting the ribbon, Councillor Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, and Simon Bamford, director of asset delivery for the Canal & River Trust, expressed their delight at reconnecting the town.

Councillor Tim Swift said, “This is a hugely important day for Elland. The community has been incredibly resilient since the devastating floods, but we know that everyone has been eager to see the bridge fully open. Now that we’ve reached this major milestone the community can start to properly get back on its feet.

It was a joy to see our musicians and conductor, Mr Jamie Cooper (Brooksbank’s Head of Music) take their places on the newly tarmacked road and play to the delight of the crowd. We couldn’t resist a trip across the newly opened bridge in our school mini bus … thanks to our driver, Mrs Judith Forbes. Elland C of E Junior and Infant School choir also joined in the celebrations and performed a song they had written about flood-hit bridge.

The Grade II listed bridge, first built in 1811, crosses over the River Calder and the Calder and Hebble Navigation. To preserve its historic features, all of the original facing stones have been reused, masking an inner arching concrete structure. Rebuilding has been a complex process, with around twenty-five major utility cables and pipes needing redirection at a cost of £5m.