Ramblers dedicate centenary bench

Dewsbury and District Rambling Club members add a waymarker to the Centenary Walk route.
Dewsbury and District Rambling Club members add a waymarker to the Centenary Walk route.

A special wooden bench marking the centenary of a walking group has been dedicated at Dewsbury Minster.

The Dewsbury and District Rambling Club celebrated its 100th year in 2013.

The Rev Kevin Partington conducted a service for the placement of the bench, which is situated near the Minster’s main door.

And in club president Malcolm Haigh’s absence, vice president Marlyn Walsh delivered a heartfelt speech.

“It is a great honour that we are here to see the dedication of this wooden seat,” Marlyn said.

“For it marks a century of activity which has not been expensive to pursue yet has brought untold benefits for hundreds and possibly thousands of people.

“Just imagine 1913, the year before the First World War broke out, and a group of people decide to get together and organise their walking interest. They became a club in which they were able to walk and talk and get to know one another together while, at the same time, sharing their knowledge of the local environment.

“What a treat this must have been, for that was a time when hundreds of mill chimneys could be found in the valleys in which Batley, Birstall and Dewsbury were housed, spilling out huge clouds of filthy, mucky smoke every hour on the hour.

“Over that past century the situation has changed in a great many ways.

“But the club still attracts lots of people happy to learn about the local countryside and cherish the contentment and satisfaction it can provide.”

During the Ramblers’ 100th year, the club completed its Centenary Walk booklets. These mapped out six rambles covering 28 miles through Dewsbury, Mirfield, the Spen Valley, Birstall and Batley.

The pamphlets can still be picked up, free of charge, from local libraries and community centres.