“There are other rushbearing festivals like this one but none are quite
as spectacular,” said chairman of, the Rushbearing Association, John
Coupe, after this weekend’s annual celebrations.
Sunshine, music and lively traditional dancing were enjoyed by all
those participating in and watching the 2004 Rushbearing
The streets of Sowerby Bridge and surrounding villages came alive as
the rush cart, pulled by 60 men wearing, black trousers, white shirts,
clogs and panama hats, trundled through with its procession of
rushbearers, maidens and collectors.
Mr Coupe said as usual, there had been a great turnout at this year’s
festival, which celebrates the centuries-old tradition of replacing
the rushes used as floor covering in churches.
“Every year there are lots of people take part and come out to watch,”
said Mr Coupe.
“It is always a popular event. There’s really nothing else like it in
The event started at St John’s Church, Warley, Halifax, where vicar
Stephen Bradbury blessed the cart and received the first bundle of
The procession made its way through Warley and Sowerby, stopping at
various pubs as It went, for refreshments and a burst of dancing and
music from the eight dancing groups who were there.
Young women took it in turns to ride on top of the cart, changing at
each stop. The “cart maiden” for the first leg of the journey on
Saturday was 19 year old Lisa Baigent.
“I have been involved with Rushbearing since I was tiny and been a cart
maiden for the last few years,” she said. “I like the socialising, the
drinking and the atmosphere. Everyone knows each other and it is a
great get together.” Cart puller and committee member Paul Holroyde
has been involved with Rushbearing for the past 22 years, along with
his wife Jennifer. The pair are celebrating their 25th anniversary this
week and were enjoying drinks with friends.
“It is always such a good occasion, everyone is so friendly,” Mr
The crowds who had gathered to line the streets and see the spectacle
clapped and tapped their feet as the bands and dancers performed.
Resident Pauline Charlnock had come to the Maypole Inn to see the
“I try to come every year to watch. It is always a bright and colourful
event with such, a good atmosphere, it gives you a warm feeling,” she
Yesterday’s celebrations began with a service at St Peter’s Church,
Sowerby. The procession wound its way through Cottonstones, to Triangle
and down into Ripponden A songs of praise service marked the end of the
The annual duck race, organised by the 12th Halifax Sea Scouts, was
held yesterday, from County Bridge, and the winning duck was number 23.
By Emma Hams Halifax Courier 6th September 2004