AN artist known as the ‘Delph Banksy’ and television personality Lorraine Kelly feature as part of Saddleworth’s annual honouring of an age-old tradition.
This year well dressing celebrations centre on two villages but it is hoped the production of colourful tableaux will eventually spread through the community.
The custom to give thanks for the supply and purity of the waters has been around for hundreds of years.
This, however, is the fourth time Saddleworth has produced dressings: two displayed outside Saddleworth Museum and Sacred Heart and St William Church-both Uppermill-and a third close to the River Tame on King Street Delph.
Christine Barrow has helped create distinctive pieces of artwork since 2017 initially to mark the one-year anniversary of completion of the Museum’s renovation project.
This time her display has a simple message: ‘keep well stay safe.’ “We need to look after each other and stay together,” explained Christine.
Along with the clay, stones and petals Christine’s creativity led to including Scottish born celebrity Kelly’s face as part of an illustration of the family unit.
“I just cut them out of magazines; there is nothing significant in it,” she laughed.
“When I first started, I hoped we could have a well dressing in each village so we could start a trail.
“Unfortunately, Greenfield and Denshaw weren’t able to produce one this year but hopefully next time.”
At Sacred Heart, Brenda Cockayne, who has also created well dressings each year, has depicted the Grade II listed Uppermill Viaduct for her 2020 theme.
And she used a variety of materials for her scene ranging from goose feathers to crab apples and hydrangea petals. Her eye-catching display was completed in just three days.
Kath Butterworth helped by Judi Brazier and Jean Sutcliife has created a vibrant well dressing in Delph assisted by their mystery contributor.
“The Delph Bansky produced the outline for the lamp standard and rainbow” said Kath. “We couldn’t have done it otherwise.’
“A lot of painted stones and pebbles for the village during lockdown and then those sold for funds for Carry on Delph were done by our ‘Banksy.’
Kath says locals are certain a well previously existed in Delph but the exact location remains unknown.
“Although the tableau is quite small with a modest design” she said. “It is based on the theme of hope and celebrates how the Delph community have supported each other during 2020.”
*Denshaw resident Mandy Hunter also made her own contribution decorating a local stone feature with some brightly coloured flowers.