About the Rotary Club of Hebden Bridge

The club is an active service club based around the South Pennine
market town of Hebden Bridge in the upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. Within its area are
the villages of Mytholmroyd, Heptonstall, Colden, Cragg Vale, Midgley, Blackshaw Head and Luddenden,
as well as numerous small settlements in the Calder Valley between Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden.

Club members are committed to high ethical standards: helping others by giving freely of their time
and talents to serve communities at home and overseas.
The club was founded in 1951 and for over 65 years it has been serving the local community and beyond.
The club supports many local, national and international charities and good causes through funds raised
at a number of popular events, throughout the year.

History of the Rotary Club of Hebden Bridge

By Rotarian Peter Marsland - March 2010


The date is 1951, only six years after the end of World War II and Britain was only slowly making its recovery, in a period known as austerity.
We still had rationing for certain items.  Meat for example, steak for those who could afford it was reduced to 4 ounces per person per week. (This was partly due to difficulties with the Argentinians).
We were in the middle of the Korean War
The first H Bomb was being tested in the Pacific
Our oil interested in Iran were being threatened by nationalisation by the locals.
We had an ailing King George VI on the throne and the Oxford boat sank in the boat race. The Tories won a narrow election victory and Churchill was back again in Number 10.
We had the Festival of Britain

And the first stirings of a Rotary Club in Hebden Bridge.
Exactly who was invited to the first meeting – I do not know.  But it took place at the White Hart Hotel, Todmorden on February 19th 1951.
The District Chairman, the Past District Chairman and the District Extension Officer attended.  The following leading Hebden Bridge citizens were invited to attend:
Raymond Ashworth, Leslie Pickles, Ben Stansfield and County Councillor J W Sutcliffe.
They decided to met on Thursdays starting 1st March 1951, each meeting thereafter new members were recruited.  It wasn't until the 5th meeting that the Halifax club became invited!
By the 9th meeting. 19th April the Founder President, County Councillor JW Sutcliffe, was elected (his classification was Highway Construction – locally nicknamed as Tar Pan Billy). Other elections were:
Ben Stansfield (First Vice President)
Rev JW Heywood (Second Vice President)
Edwin Fletcher (Secretary)
Stuart Dennett (Treasurer) 

Thee Halifax Club was then officially designated as the ‘Foster Club’.
The entrance fee was £3 3s 0d and the annual subscription £3 3s 0d.
The Interim Club of Hebden Bridge was finally admitted as a full member of Rotary International on October 3rd 1951 and a celebration dinner was arranged at the Co-Op Hall on 27th November 1951.
The Charter dinner was attended by 115 Rotarians and guests and 26 Clubs were represented.
The President’s Badge of Office was presented by the District Chairman
(October 1964 Stanley Greenwood presented a new jewel).The ‘Gong’ and Gavel by were presented by the Rotary Club of Halifax, and a Cabinet by Rotary Club of Todmorden.
A Rotary plaque, and ties to each new Rotarian, were presented by District Chairman and at a later date President J W Sutcliffe presented the Speakers Desk.
List of founder’s members and classification:-
23 locally well known businessmen or professionals
The average age was 51.2 years
By the end of 1952, 3 had resigned – 20 remaining, all working (and could find time from work to attend lunch meetings).
Of these, 5 were engaged in the cotton or clothing industry (but the remainder represented the leading captains of industry)
(See profile of members, appendix 1)
Professions:  Doctor, Dentist, Lawyer, Banker, Accountant, Teacher, Local Government, the Church (no Vet or Chemists).  The majority were business people.  (Most of the businesses have since disappeared) engaged in the following industries: Poultry farming, Furniture marking, Blanket manufactory, Asbestos products, Sheet Metal working, Clog Sole     manufacturing and the textile industry, of which there were 5.
Club Service, Community Service, National Service and International Service committees were set up and a Chairman was appointed for each one.
Thursday lunch meetings were 12:30 for 12:45 and ended promptly at 2pm.  Speakers who went on too long soon found their audience rapidly depleting after 2pm.
The format of the meeting has hardly altered since 1951.
Firstly the President would offer Grace in the traditional manner.  In later years it was decided to pass this responsibility on to each member in turn.
The Loyal Toast was eagerly awaited so that the vast majority could then light up their cigarettes. (This HAS changed, with now just one or two members leaving the building for an occasional cigarette).
Another feature was the President never left his place on the top table!  If he wanted to speak to anyone a message was sent down the tables to summon them to the top table.
Since the meetings closed at 2pm there was no time for Committee work. These took place on Monday evenings.  With each Monday of the month being designated for specific committee, culminating with the Club Council, which always met on the last Monday of the month.  These meetings took place regardless of whether there was anything to discuss. The lack of members attending these meeting was always a bone of contention.
By 1974 it was becoming apparent the Club attendance at the lunch meetings was falling and for some time there had been difficulties in recruiting new members. Discussions took place on changing from meeting at lunchtime to evenings.
Finally on April 5th 1976 the change was made 6:15 for 6:30pm with speakers to start at 7:15pm, meeting to close at 8pm.
15 months later 10 new members had joined the Club most of them ex members of Round Table.  To add to this we had in the Chair, our youngest President, David Butterworth.  So you can imagine the Gentle, formal Rotary Club was changed forever!
Numerous successful social events were soon organised.
We had Race Nights & Tudor Banquets. In1976 we had the Dunmow Flitch evenings at Calder High School. In1977 we organised a Jubilee Lecture by David Kossoff and won the Rotary District Song Contest with a production by Rotarians  P Marshall, D Sheard and M Sunderland (they appeared at Batley Variety Club as Diddymen – and won a magnum of Champagne).
1976 saw the formation of the Rotaract Club.  Much work was done by the late John Matthews and the late Stuart Sugden.  The Club only lasted six years and folded in 1982.  In 1980 saw the formation of the very successful Probus Club – with work done by Mike Denton and his father).
The new club now slowly began to recruit more members.
Classification was all important. A new member would only be considered if their occupational classification was under represented or vacant.
The process of entry was quite tortuous.  A name would be selected, discussed – passed through membership, classification committee (totally unknown to the recruit).  Eventually the sponsor would be asked to approach the unsuspecting candidate and invite him to an informal meeting.
This always took the form of a Ham and Egg tea at the White Lion in Hebden Bridge – attended by the President, Secretary, the Information chairman and the sponsor.
If the meeting was successful the candidate would be invited to complete an application from – with the proviso that the Club would still have to approve of his membership.  This could take some weeks – which obviously created some uncertainly in the mind of the prospective member.
In many cases the first experience of a Rotary meeting, for many members, was the day they were inducted into the Club.
Honorary membership was offered to the Chairman of HB Urban District Council and Hepton Rural District Council and later honorary membership was also offered to the Chairman of Round Table.  Incidentally in June 1961 Round Table Chairman Thomas Crabtree became our Honorary Member and the following year joined our Club as a full active member.
We have had several Father and Son Rotarians:
George Crabtree and Michael Crabtree
 Leonard Knight and Richard Knight
We have had 3 Father /Son Presidents
J.W Sutcliffe and Philip Sutcliffe
Wilfred Lord and Ken Lord
Raymond Crabtree and Alan Crabtree
We have 3 current members who have served the Club as President twice:
Alan Neil       1983 and 1995
Tony Scott    1987 and 1996
David Bell     1994 and 2000
In 1964 The Inner Wheel Club was formed and for many years it was successful in the support of our Club.  It was hoped in 1976, with the influx of ex-Round Tablers into Rotary, that their Ladies would join Inner Wheel.  However most of them were members of Ladies Circle and the Tangent Club and were unwilling to join Inner Wheel.  Consequently the Inner Wheel was eventually disbanded in 1986.
In 1998, with the guidance of Rotarian Chris Garner it was decided to do away with the old committee system – we lost Community, International and Vocational Service Committee.  Those were replaced by Fund Raising, Projects, Membership, Meetings, Communications and Social Committees.
Fund Raising
 For many years fund raising was mainly through the pockets of the members.  We had a charity box which was passed round the lunchtime meetings – and members were expected to donate 1/- (the cost of the meal at the time was 5/- so we were donating 20% of the cost of the meal!).
At every social event include a raffle and the President always had an annual Bring and Buy sale, at his home.
Funds were also raised at Mytholmroyd Gala and from Catering at the Car Rally and the sale of Christmas Cards.
In 1974 we did away with the Charity Box and replaced it by adding 15p to the cost of the meal.
Later Rotarian Geoff Greenwood was elected to invite members to contribute loose change into a gallon Whiskey Bottle and he has diligently continued to do this ever since.  Today the Whiskey Bottle plus a weekly raffle raise almost £900 a year.
By 1982 it was decided to involve the public and more with our fund raising and a Wheelchair Marathon Push through Calderdale was organised by Rotarian Mike Denton, this raised the magnificent sum of £2,000.
Earlier in 1976, our Jubilee Year, we celebrated at Calder High School, with a very successful evening with David Kossoff – the well know actor.
We later tried our hand, with mixed success, play the role of impresario at the Picture House.
1990               Houghton Weavers
1995               Pop Concert
1996               Brighouse and Rastrick Band
We then wisely decided to call it a day – before we started to lose money.
We found success in 1999 with the first Wadsworth Boundary Walk and we have continued it ever since. Later we took on the annual Easter Monday Duck Race and the Vintage Weekend. These recent additions to our fund raising  activities have had a huge effect on our balance sheet and enabled us to greatly increase our community service work and the amount we donate to charities and good causes.
Community Service
The first recorded event was in 1952 – Hobbies Exhibition in Hope Street Sunday School.
1954:  Request for financial help from the NSPCC in respect of a local family.  The Club decided it did not give financial help to specific cases – but sent £5 to the local NSPCC to be used specifically for local children in deserving cases.
1955:  Rev Bingham asked for financial help for a Blind and Crippled Trip to St Annes.  This was refused - as they preferred to give personal service.  3 Rotarians went and helped and, quietly, financially helped.
1954:  Presented a Road Safely Trophy to local junior schools and a Service Trophy to Calder High School to be presented annually to the most deserving pupil.
1963:  Presented a Ressusi Ann for HB Ambulance Brigade
1967:  Organised the Calder Valley Festival of Art.
1968:  Provided an Electric Invalid chair for White Windows. Special stretchers for the Mountain Rescue.
For some years the Club has sent Xmas card and £1 note to deserving pensioners – this was stopped when we learned the recipient had been dead for 3 years
1970:  Purchased an instrument at the cost of £35 for HB Brass Band
1972:  Food parcels sent to local residents – who had been without food for 3 days (Round Table also sent food and coal)
1972:  Purchased a tent for the Girl Guides
1972:  We renovated a caravan and presented it to the HB Ambulance Brigade (formerly they had used and ex-Army Bell Tent)
1977:  Donated £400 to Mytholmroyd Community Centre for furniture
1987:  We were given a target of £100 per member to raise for the Polio Plus.  This was achieved £3,200 raided.
1991:  We were advised by an employee of BP, that there was an urgent need in Maputo (Mozambique) for either a fire engine or Land Rover ambulance.
1994:  Funds were raised and a fire engine was purchased. It finally arrived in Maputo – only to find no water hydrants.
1997:  The Club was successful in winning the District Attendance Trophy.  The District Quiz and the Ulrick Anderson Debating Trophy.
2000:  Funds were raised for The Millennium Clock  in Hebden Bridge – a project that was overseen by Rotarians  Brian Boocock and Peter Marshall.
For many years Rotary kept a low profile in the community
The philosophy was mainly to give donations who themselves were providing a service to others e g Scouts, Guides, St John’s Ambulance and the Brass Band
In almost all cases the Club did not seek publicity.
In some cases the beneficiaries might disclose they had been helped in the HB Times - but not Rotary.
In cases where individuals were helped I sometimes wondered if they knew who their benefactors were!
How things have changed!
We now advertise that we have funds to help suitable applications.
In the interests of PR it almost seems obligatory that we should advise our good works.
Appendix 1 - Members 1951-52. First meeting held February 19th 1951

Name of MemberDate AddmittedClassificationOffices held
Raymond ashworth19.2.51Local GovermentCouncil & Publication Secretary
Leslie S Pickles19.2.51Manufacturing - Gas industryCouncil & Chairman Vocational Service.
Ben Stansfield19.2.51Poultry raising1st Vice President, Chairman Club Service
James W Sutcliffe19.2.51Highway constructionFounder President
Thomas Hamer1.3.51General law practiceCouncil & Chairman Community Service
John W Heywood1.3.51Religion2nd Vice President & Speaker finder
James Mitchell1.3.51Cotton weavingCouncil
Garnet Crabtree8.3.51Furniture manufacturing 
Gerald Crabtree8.3.51Blanket manufacturingCouncil & Chairman International Servise
John R B Dearden8.3.51General medical practiceCouncil
Stewart Dennet8.3.51Common bankingTreasurer
John S Lord8.3.51Electrical & radioLuncheon money collector
John Muschamp8.3.51Secondary education 
Norman Smith8.3.51Accounting 
Leslie Donaldson15.3.51DentitryChairman fellowsip. Asst. Sec, Auditior & Attendance
Harold G Maude15.3.51Clog sole manufacturer 
Maurice Mortimer15.3.51Building contractor 
Alexander Cross5.4.51Asbestos goods manufactoringCouncil, Cairman International Service form 1.2.52
Edwin Fletcher5.4.51Coal distributionSecretary
James Greenwood5.4.51Sheet metal working 
Gilbert Astin12.4.51Mens clothing manufacture 
Harold Crabtree12.4.51Cotton dyeingCouncil & Chariman Community Service form 1.2.52
Reginald T Moss12.4.51Cotton goods manufacturing 

President's Year Books

Every year the retiring club President is invited to submit a report on his year in office. The reports are not official records of the club's activities but they do provide an valuable insight into the workings of the club and reflect the development and ever changing nature of the club's service to the community and social calendar.

Scroll down for a list of past Presidents

Click on the links to view or download the books in pdf form.

Presidents Year Book 1951 to 1976


President's Year Book 1976 to 2000


President's Year Book 2000 to 2016

Past Presidents        
J. W. Sutcliffe 1951/52   E.P. Moss 1982/83
B. Stansfield 1952/53   Alan Neil 1983/84
J.W. Heywood 1953/54   Don Sheard 1984/85
L.S. Pickles 1954/55   Michael Denton 1985/86
J.S. Lord 1955/56   Max Sunderland 1986/87
H.E. Earnshaw 1956/57   Anthony G Scott 1987/88
Wilfred Lord 1957/58   Nigel J Robinson 1988/89
Walter Scott 1958/59   Michael R Rooze 1989/90
Norman Smith 1959/60   Geoff D Greenwood 1990/91
W.R. Barnes 1960/61   R Neville Marney 1991/92
P. Sutcliffe 1961/62   Stephen Edwards 1992/93
J. Muschamp 1962/63   J Michael Crabtree PHF 1993/94
H.E Whitaker 1963/64   David Bell 1994/95
S. Greenwood 1964/65   Alan Neil 1995/96
N.H. Singer 1965/66   Anthony G Scott PHF 1996/97
F.C. Chatburn 1966/67   John P Boggis PHF 1997/98
Walter Scott 1966/67   Alan D Crabtree 1998/99
Edwin Fletcher 1967/68   Chris Garner PHF 1999/00
George A. Whittaker 1968/69   Norman Masters 2000/01
Raymond Crabtree 1969/70   Robert A Cross 2001/02
R.M. Hartley 1970/71   David Bell 2002/03
K.T. Crabtree 1971/72   Neil Croft PHF 2003/04
Peter Marsland PHF 1972/73   Duncan S McKie 2004/05
Kenneth S. Lord 1973/74   John M McCart 2005/06
E.P. Moss 1974/75   Barrie Singleton 2006/07
Arthur Sykes 1975/76   Peter Layfield 2007/08
J.R.D. Butterworth 1976/77   John S Richardson 2008/09
Tom E Crabtree PHF 1977/78   Richard W Holborow 2009/10
A.R. Spencer 1978/79   Michael Pearson 2010/11
J.S. Snowden 1979/80   Roger Benn 2011/12
Brian Thomas 1980/81   David Murray 2012/13
Peter Marshall PHF 1981/82   Brian Boocock 2013/14
Peter Marsland PHF 1982/83   Roger Moore 2014/15
K.S. Lord 1982/83   Derek S Bispham 2015/16