About the Hebden Bridge Club

About the Club and its membership

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.

Presidents Yearbooks


Each year the immediate past president contributes a page to the President’s Yearbook  containing his personal account of his year in office, You can use the buttons below to download copies of the Yearbooks from Google Drive files (average file size 12mb).

History of the Rotary Club of Hebden

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. In 1977 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 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 Member

Date Admitted


Office Held

Raymond ashworth


Local Government

Local Council & Publication Secretary

Leslie Pickles


Manufacturing – Gas industry

Council & Chairman Vocational Service

Ben Stansfield


Poultry raising

1st Vice President, Chairman Club Service

James W Sutcliffe


Highway construction

Founder President

Thomas Hamer


General law practice

Council Chairman & Community Service

John W Heywood



2nd Vice President & Speaker Finder

James Mitchell


Cotton weaving


Garnet Crabtree


Furniture manufacturing


Gerald Crabtree


Blanket manufacturing

Council & Chairman International Service

John R B Dearden


General medical practice


Stewart Dennet


Common banking


John S Lord


Electrical & radio

Luncheon money collector

John Muschamp


Secondary education


Norman Smith




Leslie Donaldson



Chairman Fellowship, sst. Sec, Auditor & attendance

Harold G Maude


Clog sloe manufacturer


Maurice Mortimer


Building contractor


Alexander Cross


Asbestos goods manufacturing

Council, Chairman International Service from 1.2.52

Edwin Fletcher


Coal Distribution


James Greenwood


Sheet metal worker


Gilbert Astin


Mens clothing manufacture


Harold Crabtree


Cotton Dyeing

Council & Chairman Community Service from 1.2.51

Reginald T Moss


Cotton goods manufacturing


Past Presidents





J. W. Sutcliffe



Max Sunderland


B. Stansfield



Anthony G Scott


J.W. Heywood



Nigel J Robinson


L.S. Pickles



Michael R Rooze


J.S. Lord



Geoff D Greenwood


H.E. Earnshaw



R Neville Marney


Wilfred Lord



Stephen Edwards


Walter Scott



J Michael Crabtree PHF


Norman Smith



David Bell


W.R. Barnes



Alan Neil


P. Sutcliffe



Anthony G Scott PHF


J. Muschamp



John P Boggis PHF


H.E Whitaker



Alan D Crabtree


S. Greenwood



Chris Garner PHF


N.H. Singer



Norman Masters


F.C. Chatburn



Robert A Cross


Walter Scott



David Bell


Edwin Fletcher



Neil Croft PHF


George A. Whittaker



Duncan S McKie


Raymond Crabtree



John M McCart


R.M. Hartley



Barrie Singleton


K.T. Crabtree



Peter Layfield


Peter Marsland PHF



John S Richardson


Kenneth S. Lord



Richard W Holborow


E.P. Moss



Michael Pearson


Arthur Sykes



Roger Benn


J.R.D. Butterworth



David Murray


Tom E Crabtree PHF



Brian Boocock


A.R. Spencer



Roger Moore


J.S. Snowden



Derek S Bispham


Brian Thomas



Philip Warrington


Peter Marshall PHF



Chris Hoyle


Peter Marsland PHF



 Danny Mollan


K.S. Lord



 Stephen Jagger


E.P. Moss





Alan Neil





Don Sheard





Michael Denton