Whit Friday – A Very Special Day

One of our earliest supporters, and contributor to the information on this site, was the Reverend Duncan Rhodes, who the community sadly said farewell to in 2019. He was a huge supporter of everything and everyone in Diggle, and will be acutely missed on Whit Friday 2020. He kindly contributed the information below about the history of Whit Friday in Diggle.

This very special day has always been a celebration of community, and thank God it remains so today, just as strong! The strength of a community can be seen in what it does together. The church organisations; the clubs and pubs; the Beavers, Cubs, Rainbows, Brownies, Scouts and Guides; the school, the Diggle Diamonds – all are a vital part of our community and all are a huge part of our functioning as sensible, caring human beings – exactly what the creator we call God wants us to be.

The celebration of the special day begins quite rightly with the celebrations of Whitsuntide, “Whit Sunday”, the day when a very special Holy Spirit filled the hearts of those early friends of Jesus. The walks are just as important today as they were a hundred years ago in stating our fundamental belief in our being a Christian community, which cares and shares in good times and in bad.

These walks have continued through even the most difficult of times, when during the first world wars there were very few you ng men around to carry banners o play in bands, and when severe restrictions on catering arrangements were felt. Still we walked, and we continued to walk through the Second World War, when I was a a boy at Diggle School, and when in 1944, Harry Bradbury, Brian Broadbent and I wore the services uniform to acknowledge our debt to our serving elders.

(That’s me in with the glasses in air force uniform. Note the particularly windy day as we came down from St Chad’s into the square, and the struggle the men who were handling the banner were having.)

The band contests in Saddleworth started in Uppermill in 1884, then later in Greenfield in 1898, always connected with the walks of the schools in the morning of Whit Friday, when the competing bands had played for the walks. I sincerely hope that all “Digglers” will come to value our Band Contest as a really important part of our community life and give both the contest on the day, and the work of the fund raisers over the year, your whole hearted support.

They and Diggle deserve it! May God bless you and keep you well and safe. ENJOY!

Reverend Duncan Rhodes

Click here for more information on the history of Saddleworth