Whit Friday – June 10th 2022
… “to the greatest free show on earth”. The Diggle Band Contest took place for the very first time on the 5th June 2009. The aim of the organising committee was to make this new contest a family friendly occasion, and that is just what we have achieved! We have fabulous food offerings, plenty of space for chairs and blankets and tremendous views.
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And finally some good news!
Saddleworth and Oldham group of Whit Friday Band Contests receive
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
The group of volunteers based in the Saddleworth and Lees Villages have been
honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and is the equivalent of an MBE.
Each year, approximately 300 volunteers are involved in presenting the Whit Friday Band Contests at eleven venues in Denshaw, Delph, Dobcross, Diggle, Uppermill, Greenfield, Friezland, Lydgate, Grotton, Lees and Springhead and Scouthead and Austerlands; there are innumerable hours of commitment needed to provide this spectacular, unique event.
This year the group is one of 241 different category winners to receive the prestigious award. The QAVS aims to recognise work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. Created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, award recipients are announced each year on 2 nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Representatives of the group will receive the award crystal and certificate signed by Her Majesty the Queen from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Sir Warren Smith, later this summer.
Spokesman Bob Rodgers, the co-ordinator for the group said “Although contests have been in existence for 137 years this group has functioned since 1993 and we are honoured and obviously delighted to have been successfully nominated for this award, the work that is undertaken to provide the ‘greatest free show on earth’ is a twelve-month rolling programme. To the visitors who
arrive on the evening, it appears to ‘just happen’. Throughout the area thousands of hours are put into planning and preparation. We are indebted to Oldham Council for the infrastructure and advice they provide that only those involved in the running are aware of and the financial support through
the Saddleworth and Lees District Partnership, not to mention the numerous businesses who sponsor the individual contests.
Bob went on to say “The group were told they were being nominated for the award in the Autumn of 2019. It is ironic that since then we have been unable to function for the last two years through restrictions imposed by Covid. However, we are all looking forward to continuing with this great show in 2022, when hopefully all our banding activity will be back to normal.”