White flags fly high as proud locals celebrate Yorkshire Day in Uppermill

WHITE FLAGS and roses flew high as proud locals gathered in Uppermill for the annual Yorkshire Day celebrations.

More than 100 people flocked to the event outside Saddleworth Museum to hear the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity read by Delph resident Gilbert Symes.

It was read at precisely 11.40am to mark the 1,140 years since the county was formed and ended with a rousing ‘Yorkshire forever, God bless the Queen’.

Uppermill Band entertained and Gilbert recited ‘In Saddleworth’ by local poet and historian Ammon Wrigley to the audience and local dignitaries.

Then Cllr Pam Byrne, Saddleworth Parish Council vice-chairman, laid a white wreath on the statue of local poet and historian Ammon Wrigley.

She said: “It is an honour for me to be at this ceremony. I think it is very important our heritage is maintained.”

Mayor of Oldham Ateeque Ur-Rehman, who attended with Mayoress Yasmin Toor, added: “It is important to celebrate culture and heritage and that is what we are trying to do as a borough.

“It is a pleasure to be invited once again to Saddleworth. It is our ambition to move here one day. My wife is a poet and wants to live and write here to be inspired by the countryside,” he revealed.

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, said: “I am a Yorkshire lass born and bred so this is an important day for me.

“While we celebrate I want us also to think about people who are facing adversity, those struggling with ill health or fleeing their own homes and heritage.”

And proceedings were rounded off by Doreen Ainscote, from The Friends of Real Lancashire, who was born in Oldham.

She said: “I have just come to say have a wonderful day and bring greetings from all Lancastrians.

“You hear a lot these days about the ‘northern powerhouse’ so I hope Yorkshire and Lancashire will be working together in the future.”

Other special guests included Geoff Bayley, chair of the Saddleworth White Rose Society, and Judith Preston Anderson who launched Yorkshire Day in 1975 and founded the Yorkshire Ridings Society.

Then with flags waving high, locals processed to the King George V Playing Fields led by Gilbert and Oliver Benson, chair of the Friends of Saddleworth Museum, and Uppermill Band.

There, a country fair offered an afternoon of fun and games for all ages including refreshments, clothes and toys stalls, stone carvers, face-painting and horse and pony rides.

And a mouth-watering Great British Bake-Off was organised in aid of Cancer Research and Macmillan by Nicola Jeffery-Sykes, who herself is fighting breast cancer.

The winners were picked out by local celebrities cheesecake master Mel Robinson from Greenfield and Christine Harrop from the Little Deerhill Catering Company.

Nicola said: “Yorkshire Day is a wonderful event and celebrates what we should be before becoming part of Lancashire and Greater Manchester.”

Nicola also brought along a selection of home-grown produce to sell, as well as chickens to feed and ran a ‘guess the age’ of the diamond sturgeon fish competition.

She also took to the stage to sing a 1940s medley and songs by Shirley Bassey, accompanied by Michael Hindson.


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