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Lets not walk away, lets walk together

From Jason Elliott

Monday, 8 March 2010

Hundreds of the good people of Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd came together on Saturday 6th of March for a sponsored walk to raise funds for Lifeline Calderdale.

"Lets not walk away, lets walk together" was an incredible show of support for charity and the local families who had lost loved ones too early to the temptations and abuses of alcohol and drugs.

The event was organised by Belinda Jones, sister of two of the fallen young men, and looks set to become an annual event.

On a personal note, I was extremely disappointed to see that vast majority of the people there were from the original working class families of the area, with the organic-flapjack-juggling middle class "chatterati", as well as almost all of our elected representatives, being conspicuously absent.

Sure it would be lovely to have wifi hotspots around the town, and I agree, its terrible the way people are treated in Tibet, and its truly shocking that we have three boarded up shops with blocked gutters in Market Street in the deepest recession since the thities, but come on, people are dying on your doorstep too.

Drugs and alcohol do not care whether you use long words, they don’t care whether you’re rich or poor, eat sliced white bread or tofu. They can affect everyone.

If the so-called "arch enemy of the working class", Craig Whittaker, together with Kate Sweeny from the Green Party, could come and walk the five miles with us, how come not a single Hebden Royd town councillor, NOR any of our ward councillors, NOR the other parliamentary candidates, could interrupt their weekend to show some solidarity? If not on the walk, at the awareness event in Salem Mill afterwards…

Fair enough, I know Lesley Jones and Robin Dixon were clearing dog poo from the canal bank, and John Beacroft-Mitchell had to work so sent some sponsorship money, (£4000 was raised in all) but where were the rest?

Maybe they don’t read the Hebweb or Hebden Bridge Times, nor shop locally so didn’t see the posters, nor watch local news on ITV or BBC, but if that’s the case, how on earth are they supposed to represent us?

Rant over

From Michelle Foster

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

I completely disagree with your comments Mr Elliott.

It was important that those whose lives are affected by substance and alcohol misuse were in attendence, regardless of class or gender - the damage that drugs and alcohol cause affects us all.

On a factual note I need to correct your comments that “no Hebden Royd Town Councillor was present” - at least one was there - myself.

From Jason Elliott

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Apologies on a fine point of order are needed and I am quite content to be pilloried for it.

Apparently one councillor was there.

Sorry to Michelle Foster who I am told was on the walk and was elected to Hebden Royd Town Council as can be seen here

However, this could be a debate about the finer points, or the real issues, as laid out above.

From Jason Elliott

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


It seems our posts on the forum crossed in the night, as I posted my second comment very shortly after the first one was published, long before they both appeared on the forum.

I would like to apologise again for my assertion that no HRTC councillors were present. I had double, triple, and quadruple checked with everyone I could find, including the Joneses, but it seems none of the people I spoke to were aware of your participation so sorry once again.

I am at a loss to understand how you completely disagree with me however. To me, your point that "It was important that those whose lives are affected by substance and alcohol misuse were in attendence, regardless of class or gender - the damage that drugs and alcohol cause affects us all." seems pretty much the same as my basic point of "Drugs and alcohol do not care whether you use long words, they don’t care whether you’re rich or poor, eat sliced white bread or tofu. They can affect everyone."

From Michelle Foster

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


No apology required. You took a great piture of one of our recovering addicts, which is apology enough.

I was there with 4 people in recovery to celebrate the fact that people do recover. I agree that this business is a matter of life and death, but we should hold on to the fact that many people who have substance/ alcohol issues can go on to have productive and satisfying lives.

As I believe in “the power of example”, we should all be pleased that those 4 people were there, able to participate and provide hope for other suffering addicts.

From Belinda Jones

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

I feel I must intervene here, as Jason states here, he did double check with myself and others regarding the presence of Hebden Royd Councillors. I knew you were there Michelle, so I too will apologise, but as a friend of my mums and a part of “Basement project” I associated you with them factors, and in my mind had dismissed your association with HRTC, so again, sorry.

I’m in agreement with Michelle that many people who have suffered through alcohol or substance misuse can recover and go on to lead satisfying and productive lives. But it is a sad matter of fact that unfortnately many don’t, a fact I only know too well, so too do many other families of Hebden Bridge.

However, I feel I must voice my personal disappointment, that only one member of HRTC joined us on Saturday. Despite this, we shouldn’t move away nor lose sight of the main aims of the day. Being to increase awareness in the local community about drugs and alcohol and the dangers, in particular to young people, by bringing the community togther. I stress here the “bringing community together” - as the organiser of the event, I ask myself. Did I/we succeed here? Especially in regards to the towns represenatives?

From Cllr Janet Battye

Thursday, 11 March 2010

This was a really good event - the reason that I was not present at it was because I was having a week’s holiday ! But I understand that my colleague, Cllr Nader Fekri, did attend part of the event.

I have been doing some background work around the regrettable issues behind this. Concerns have been raised with me about the response of the Police to drug-dealing and I have been taking this up with them. They tell me that it is important that people pass information onto them so that they can investigate and take action.

It is also important that there are enough treatment and support services, both for people who find themselves caught up in this situation, and for the people who care about them.

From Michelle Jones

Monday, 15 March 2010

Does anybody know if any of the Clergy in Hebden Bridge were on the walk ? Some of them have had a lot to say about the recent articles on the film Shed your tears. I would be very interested to know.

From Rev Tony Buglass

Monday, 15 March 2010

Marcus Bull was in Texas. I had wall-to-wall engagements which I couldn’t change. I suspect the same would be true for Howard, James, and Father John.

I would have walked with you if I’d been free to do so.

From Michelle Jones

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Thank you for your response Rev Burglass, I am glad you have said you would have come if you had have been able, that’s good to know. I knew about Father John, some of the congregation from the church came along and supported us. Father John has been a tower of strength to my family in the past two years, he has never sat in judgement and as supported us all the way, even though we were not members of his congregation. He still visits us now and offers us love and guidence.

Anyway we are hoping the walk will become an annual event, so i hope to see you next year.

All the best M Jones.

See also

HebWeb News (6 March 2010)

HebWeb News: (Feb 2010)

HebWeb News: Shed Your Tears and Walk Away (Oct 2009)

HebWeb Forum: ‘The lost boys of Hebden Bridge’ (Feb-March 2010)

HebWeb Forum: Shed Your Tears and Walk Away (Oct-Dec 2009)