Plenty of hard work in Great Harwood

PUBLISHED: 12:14 11 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:29 20 February 2013

Lancashire Life June 2012

Lancashire Life June 2012

Maxine Stones makes new friends as she takes us on a tour of her home town

Rawden Kerr works in the modern world of IT, but outside office hours he spends some of his time dressed in knickerbockers, a frilly shirt and a tricorn hat. Rawden isnt a fan of fancy dress he hold the ancient post of Great Harwoods Town Crier.

When the Civic Society asked him to take over the job 12 months ago he was a little wary, but he admits he now loves every moment playing his part in the history and tradition of this market town.

My home town of Great Harwood is between Blackburn and Burnley and it sits on the edge of some of the most beautiful countryside in England. More than two thirds of the area within its boundaries consists of fields and moorland and it is ringed by green belt.

This is a place with a strong sense of community. One of the biggest events is the Charter Fair and it is Rawdens job to cry it in. Its origins date back to 1338 when Edward III granted a charter for a market and fair. Harwood Fair attracted farmers from as far afield as Scotland to sell their livestock - these days the livestock give way to stalls of food and street entertainment. Rawden opens proceedings with his rousing speech which starts, of course, with the words: Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!

Another important event is the Great Harwood boundary walk. It is the town criers job, aided by his trusty bell, to start it off by calling everyone together. The aim is to preserve these ancient footpaths and bridleways and this years walk is on Saturday, June 2. Everyone is welcome on the ten mile trip. As you walk around you might spot traces of old farmsteads that were abandoned generations ago and have been swallowed up by moorland.

Another reason for people to visit is the The Jubilee Fair on Sunday, June 10. The theme is Kings and Queens and all the members of the Civic Society will have their own costumes including, Great Harwoods Lord and Lady Geoffrey Hanson, who has been associated with the show for 50 years, and Marian Smith. Lots of schools have been keen to get involved and there will be young Princes and Princesses during the parade.

Other entertainment will include the Red Rose Brass Band, medieval musicians, jesters, stilt walkers, a street organ, an old fashioned funfair and displays by various organisations. Lancashire Fire & Rescue will be having an open day at Great Harwood Fire Station.

Community is something we take seriously in Great Harwood. The Friends of the Memorial Park was formed in 2003. For the past 12 months members have worked closely with Hyndburn council to transform the top area of the park into a sensory garden. The dream is to have have a beautiful garden area within the park with brightly coloured and scented raised plant beds, childrens play furniture with willow tunnels and intriguing archways.

This is about involving the people of Great Harwood in the project, bringing the whole community together. A place where children can play, and learn about nature through play. Where the elderly can sit in nice surroundings, and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. says Friends of Memorial Park member, Sandra Robinson.

The total cost will be 106,000. We still have some way to go, says Friends chairman, Ian Wilkinson. We hope the sensory garden will be an attractive place to relax, explore and we envisage a significant number of schools and young people being involved. The planted flowers and berries following the work will provide a paradise for wildlife, attracting birds, insects and butterflies.

The Eco-Council Schools scheme is rooted in a genuine desire to help children become more effective citizens, by encouraging them to take responsibility for the future of their own environment. It is not about environmental excellence, it is about schools starting to look at how it impacts upon the environment and how this is decided upon and can be managed.

Another of Great Harwoods success stories comes from the hard-working team of Great Harwoods Central Methodist Church. Every Thursday a dozen volunteers organise a hearty meal which is open to the public.

The Thursday lunch times have been running for the past two and a half years. There are 25 volunteers in total to help out with the lunch, but it just gets too hectic so we have to take the shifts in turns week by week, says Eileen Bridge, member of the Church. The staff are totally dedicated and committed.

Maxine makes her mark

Maxine Stones, a young professional photographer, born and bred in Great Harwood, writes:
I am very passionate about taking photographs of people, either in the studio or out on location.

I started off my photographic studies at Blackburn College. I then went onto complete a Photography degree at the University of Gloucestershire. I am now living back in my hometown working as a freelance.

The Editor of Lancashire Life gave me the opportunity to photograph and write a feature about my hometown for which I have gained great experience and many useful contacts. Rather than taking photographs of the town buildings and writing about the history, I wanted to get out and meet the people, involving myself with current and on-going projects and talking to the people who are making a difference.

I have met some incredible people along my journey, as you will read in the article. They always made time for me, and Id like to thank them for inviting me into their homes for a cup of tea and a chat

The print version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
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