SADDLEWORTH IS gearing up for another wonderful Whit Friday on June 9 as visitors come from across the country for the traditional event.
On the morning of June 9, churches across the area will process around the villages with banners flying high, accompanied by local brass bands.
The walks are:
Delph: March at 9am of Delph Junior, Senior and Training Bands through Delph into the Band Club. At 9.30am there is a joint service of the Methodist and Church of England churches at St Thomas’s church. Around 10am the Whit Walk begins and culminates in open-air service in the centre around 11.30am.
Denshaw: Meet at Christ Church at 9.45am to set off at 10am to walk around the village, joined by the Neuenkirch Band from Switzerland.
Diggle: Set-off from Kiln Green at 9am, with brief stop at Sam Road before 20 minute stop at The Gate from 9.30am to 9.50am. Then process to Uppermill (coach for those not able to walk) to King George Playing Fields, Uppermill for joint service at 11am.
Dobcross: At 9am special guests walk from Holy Trinity School to Dobcross Band Club for short service at 9.30am, then process to The Square for short service at 10am, then process to Uppermill for joint service at King George V playing Foelds at 11am, then process back at 12noon.
Friezland: St Anne’s Lydgate will meet Christ Church, Friezland at the junction of Oaklands Road and Church Road around 9.45am and walk to Uppermil for the joint service at 11am.
Greenfield: Service at St Mary’s Church at 9am and Greenfield Methodist Church will have their own service before meeting together at Road End at 10am then processing around the village.
Lydgate: St Anne’s Lydgate will meet Christ Church Friezland at the junction of Oaklands Road and Church Road around 9.45am and walk to Uppermil for the joint service at 11am.
Uppermill: St Chad’s Church and Sacred Heart meet for short service at 9.30am at St Chad’s then process to King George Playing Field for joint service at 11am.
Uppermill: Uppermill Methodist Church start their walk at 9.15am from the church and will be joined by Ebenezer, who leave their church around 9am. Process to King George Playing Fields, Uppermill for joint service at 11am.
Then in the evening, the popular Whit Friday band contests will be held across the villages, attracting competitors and audiences from around the country, as well as the world.
Police have warned they are taking a zero tolerance approach to under-age drinking at the event.
PC Cullen said the Zero Zone initiative will be in force for the event as well as CCTV along Uppermill High Street, which could become a permanent fixture if it proves a success.
And police will be on red hot alert to stamp down on under-age drinking, particularly in Uppermill park.
PC Cullen said: “We will have PSCOs at every venue and hopefully it will be another peaceful year like last year when there were no arrests.
“If we find young people coming in with alcohol, we will take it off them. We’ll have test sticks for bottles and we will be checking their drinks.
“We do not want to be kill joys but we do need to safeguard these young people so we have to have a zero tolerance approach.”
Whit Friday Band Contests will be at:
Delph: Band march down the main street to contest area
Denshaw: Bands perform at contest area opposite Oddfellows on Huddersfield Road
Diggle: Bands perform at contest area at corner of Huddersfield Road and Sam Road
Dobcross: Bands march along Platt Lane to contest area at Church Fields
Friezland: Bands march along Oaklands Road to contest area at Christ Church Friezland Parish Hall
Greenfield: Bands march along Chew Valley Road to contest area at playing fields
Grotton: Band march along Station Road to contest area Pavilion
Lydgate: Bands march down Stockport Road to contest area at White Hart Inn
Lees & Springhead: Bands march along High Street to contest area at the library
Scouthead & Austerlands: Bands march from Three Crowns Inn to contest area at Dawson’s Field
Uppermill: Bands march from Saddleworth Museum to contest area at King George V playing field