Ten of the most inspirational Calderdale folk worth celebrating this Yorkshire Day

If tha knos, tha knos. Yorkshire Day is here and with the county-wide celebration of all things White Rose, it's only right and proper that we shine a light on a few Calderdale heroes.

Wednesday, 1st August 2018, 3:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st August 2018, 3:53 pm
Anne Lister.

So without further ado, here are just ten of the most inspirational figures from our fair hills.

John Cockcroft

Todmorden-born physicist John Cockcroft won a Nobel Prize in 1951 for his integral role in the splitting of the atom, alongside partner Ernest Walton.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He was schooled at Todmorden Elementary and then Todmorden Secondary and though he moved away from Calderdale as a teenager to further his studies, the region, and more specifically Todmorden, were always close to his heart.

Sally Wainwright

Born up the road in (whisper it quietly) Huddersfield, Sally Wainwright attended Sowerby Bridge High School and has done much to bring Halifax into the national conscience by delivering award-winning, Calderdale-based drama to television screens across the country.

Currently filming Anne Lister biography Gentlemen Jack at Shibden Hall among other locations, Wainwright is responsible for titles such as Last tango in Halifax, which took home the British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series in 2013, and Happy Valley, which won the same award in both 2015 and 2017.

Percy Shaw

Born in Halifax and brought up in Boothtown, Percy Shaw is responsible for the invention of cat's eyes. Though the inspiration for this brainwave is loaded in folklore, Shaw himself admitted in an interview that he was inspired on a foggy night to think of a way of moving the reflective studs on a road sign to the road surface.

Cat's eyes were patented by Shaw in 1934 and are now seen on roads across the world. The talented inventor lived all but two of his years in and around Halifax before he dies aged 86 in 1976.

Ed Sheeran

Born in Halifax and raised in Hebden Bridge, the pop superstar may have absconded south during his formative years, but we're proud to claim him as one of our own.

His songwriting genius and astounding live performances have garnered critical claim and fan adoration in equal measure and he is now recognised as one of the most popular and influential musicians on the planet. All down to his Calderdale roots, no doubt.

John Fielden

Born into a Todmorden family in 1784, John Fielden went on to change the course of history in Calderdale and beyond when he pushed home the Ten Hours Act, improving working conditions and reducing the maximum time worked in a textile mill shift by women and children to ten hours.

Hannah Cockroft

World-record-holding Paralympic hero Hannah Cockcroft. Not bad for a girl from Halifax. The wheelchair sprinter boasts five gold medals from across the London and Rio Paralympics and no fewer than ten World Championship golds.

A proud Calderdale girl, Hannah is a honorary trustee at the Piece Hall that she opened a year ago today.

Eric Harrison

Continuing the sporting theme, it is quite possible that Manchester United Football Club wouldn't be quite the behemoth it is today without a sprinkling of Calderdale genius.

Eric Harrison, of Mytholmroyd, was a youth coach responsible for the rearing of the famous 'Class of 92', including worldwide superstars including David Beckham, the Neville brothers, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

John Noakes

The former Blue Peter presenter was a television staple for generations and became famous for wild and wonderful stunts, including an iconic climb of Nelson's Column that defied the standards of modern health and safety. He was the show's longest-serving presenter, serving for 12 fun-filled years.

He died last year aged 83 after a struggle with Alzheimer's disease. In a fitting farewell, his ashes were scattered having been shot out of a rocket at Rishworth School, where he studied having been born in Shelf.

Anne Lister

Often referred to as 'the first modern lesbian', Halifax's Anne Lister is an icon of the LGBT community. Her diaries, containing over four million words and touching on subjects ranging from the restoration of Shibden Hall to her sexuality - a complete taboo of the time.

Anne lived from 1791–1840. Her life and times are to be chronicled in a Sally Wainwright TV drama, Gentleman Jack, where she will be played by Suranne Jones.

Geoffrey Wilkinson

Another Todmorden-born Nobel Laureate, Geoffrey Wilkinson pioneered inorganic chemistry and homogeneous transition metal catalysis. So there!

After winning a scholarship, he attended Todmorden Grammar School, where he met physics teacher Luke Sutcliffe, who also taught the aforementioned John Cockcroft.