SCA Through the Years

The Shelley Community Association was officially founded on 20th September 1976 after the same group of people had tirelessly worked to ensure that what was the old Church of England school (1869 - 1975) at the top of Far Bank was converted into what we now know as Shelley village hall. The aim of this page is to try and record what the many people who have actively worked on the SCA have managed to deliver (and continue to deliver) to improve our village life. We will try to be as accurate as possible, however we are reliant on what people remember and also delving into the village archives in (or should that be above) the Mercer room at the village hall. 


So with that in mind if you spot anything that is inaccurate or just want us to record something that is missing or needs further detail then please do  not hesitate to contact us at

1976 - on the 20th September , the Shelley Community Association had their first official meeting and the SCA was finally underway. The first meeting was held in what was to become the village hall.

1977 - on the 1st August, the Trustees of the Shelley Community Association signed a 35 year lease of the Village Hall from Kirkburton Parish Council

1978 - on the 11th May, official confirmation was received from Kirklees that they had approved the conversion of the old school to the village hall

1978/9 - The Shelley Welly Walk was founded (this is an estimated date, and an assumption is made that its first official walk was 1st Jan 1979). The Welly Walk was dreamed up by Len Hoare, supported by many others including Christine Hughes, and is still going strong today. See the Shelley Welly Walk page for more details

1979 - 1996 - TBC

1996 – 1998 (circa) - New Estate

The new estate was a catalyst that galvanised some of the SCA  into a steering group – if it hadn’t been for the SCA Hawthorne Way would have been a double-ended cul-de-sac so people at the bottom couldn’t get to village shop or the top road and vice versa! The SCA met regularly with all the builders and got strict working hours, security for the Green, houses in stone not brick, and a land swap which gave protection to The Whins and brought Healey Greave Meadow and Wood into public ownership.

1998 (circa) - The Art Exhibition

The Art Exhibition was started the then Secretary of the SCA suggested it might be a nice idea – we approached John and Jackie Ewart to hold it at Shelley Hall and Bernard Hanson and Dorothy Burkinshaw helped to organise it and subsequent ones – that was a magical event! Like everything the SCA organise no-one is more surprised than us when we pull it off!!! We couldn’t believe the local artistic talent in Shelley!!! And in the Hall and eventually Emmanuel it was a privilege to be part of this……

The Committee that runs the Garden Festival is pretty well the same as runs the Art Exhibition – Malcolm and Lorna MacDonald, Barbara Wadsworth, Ann Littlewood, Dorothy Burkinshaw and Ann Priestman with Bernard Hanson organising the Art Exhibition. We gave up holding our Art Exhibition a couple of years ago because at the first one we did – held at the beautiful Shelley Hall with the kind and generous hospitality of John and Jackie Ewart (Do you remember their Picnic  in the Parks?) a few residents including Richard Walker and Sheila Trotter formed a Shelley group of artists that became Shelley Art Group and they have become so successful in their own right and hold their own Exhibitions so it wasn’t necessary to hold our own anymore.

1999 – 2000 - Millennium Celebrations

The SCA was probably best placed to  draw in other groups and talents, to organise the Millennium celebrations in Shelley. Our Monthly Meetings had representatives from the major groups attending (There was a very active and kind group in Shelley a bit like a WI and they always made cakes for our functions for us to make some money) We called our first meeting in what is now the Ferret and then  moved round the pubs and clubs for each successive meeting , the Vicar was there as was some brilliant local residents – (Barbara and John Keaveney went on to found the Strollers as well as being active in Emmanuel).

Everyone wore lots of hats which made it easy to know we had other groups to rely on even if they weren’t at the meetings – the same is true today!!

The Millennium became an amazing success despite only about 10 of us actively involved. There was a village Sports Day, commemorative mugs, a huge raffle, dances – it went on for nearly a whole year. The proceeds were used to buy the lights that illuminate both Emmanuel and the Methodist Church path, the Interpretation Boards and (if memory serves) the Trim Trail on the Rec.

1999 - The Garden Festival

The Garden Festival was also a project to bring the village together and to raise funds for the village – over the years we have raised money for the Childrens play area, the basketball court(circa 2000), the greenhouse at Shelley First School, the eco-garden at Shelley College, the new organ at Shelley Methodist Church, a new roller for Shelley Cricket Club, a marquee for the Gala. Many organisations have benefitted.

But as with the Art Exhibition we were as gob-smacked as everyone at the sheer beauty and ingenuity of the gardens in Shelley. We formed a committee to arrange the Open Gardens without actually seeing any gardens! The point then, as it is now, was to open your back space just to let people wander through, offer a cup of tea so that they lingered and raise funds for the village.

Of course that is not the Shelley way at all! As people came to our gardens, where we were effectively marooned, they all kept saying how magnificent the gardens were – we should have charged more – better than Cawthorne (We hold that one dear!!) and someone said we were the Friendly  Festival (We hold that one even dearer)!

We featured in the February edition of the national Gardener’s World Magazine and visitors came from all over the north – which amazed us! A gardener counted the number of visitors and I think he got to 300+ but as he was serving those cups of tea he couldn’t count exactly because, like everyone serving that simple cup of tea, the demand was relentless!

And of course that wonderful highly productive Shelley rivalry kicked in – Dorothy and Ian Burkinshaw have always excelled at that……they have a theme each time – 007, the exotic Far East, French Fine Dining (Well French serving ladies at least..)..a loyal group of about 6 of them dress up in part, serve refreshments such as Dry Martini or Mint Tea and visitors can’t get enough of it! After that other gardens would serve Absinthe or fresh lemonade, gardeners would wade into their ponds to pull up pond flowers or dig in their borders for cuttings for their visitors – the need to share knowledge, joy and flowers was overwhelming – and all our visitors loved it!

Recently we have included local brass bands, crafts, barbecues and an ice cream van and now 2 Prosecco Bars!!! We don’t skimp on ourselves either – we have an evening visiting each other’s gardens ending up having supper at Philip and Jane Robinson’s which is the most magical finale to an exhausting but enjoyable event! And that first night we did finally get to visit these gardens of Shelley felt surreal – we had no idea such beautiful gardens existed in Shelley!!! No wonder our visitors were so excited!

2004 - Yorkshire Village of the Year

We wanted to bring organisations together to cross-fertilise each other – this happened with dramatic effect when we applied for Yorkshire Village of the Year.

Already the village was becoming a vibrant place to live – no-one can claim it is chocolate-box pretty – but it is the people and activities that make Shelley a great place to live for families. Emmanuel Church and Shelley Methodist Church both had lady priests – this is in the time of the Vicar of Dibley so it was pretty unusual – and Malcolm and Lorna MacDonald had founded Shelley Conservation Group (1999)  so we took the judges to both churches, Dearne Lea, Armitage’s and Malcolm gave them a tour of our open spaces including the Village Green – it had the Millennium Stone which had literally fallen off the back of a lorry!!

It was set in position to the tune of a local band, with the Vicar giving it a blessing as John Cook marshalled us all safely under this massive stone! Because time was tight for the judges we then got representatives from every group to gather in Shelley Methodist Hall to tell the judges about their groups.

Now these groups would meet in isolation – they were split between the two Halls, the Cricket Club, the Football Club, the Sports Club and the Churches – and as we opened the doors we were astounded to hear this huge and overwhelming noise – everyone was talking to each other at full voice – and you could see the connections being made between everyone in that room, the judges were forgotten.


We won Yorkshire Village of the Year and then Northern Village of the Year. (coming runner-up in the National category.) When you go on holiday to all the pretty places we have in England you can just think little old Shelley knocked them all, bar one, out of the ball park!.

What was important then, and it is still important today, is that energy, vitality and enthusiasm you get when groups, people and outlooks work together – everyone benefits!

2011 - Big Society Award


More to follow......