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Hundreds turn out for ancient festival

The annual Rushbearing Festival at Sowerby Bridge has been taking place this weekend. Its origins lie in the tradition of carrying fresh rushes to church to put on the beaten earth floor – few events survive today because most churches lost their festivities when they improved their flooring.

The rushbearing cart at the centre of the festival Credit: Chris Dawkes

It begins with rushes being piled high on a special rushcart – the thatching process takes over a week but is complete by Saturday morning. The decorated cart parades its way around the local villages accompanied by morris men, mummers and other entertainers. On Sunday, the special Rushbearing Service is held at St Peter’s Church at Sowerby from 10.30 followed by another procession and more dancing through the day.

Out with the old and in with the new Credit: Chris Dawkes

Breaking: Five boys charged with rape in Calderdale

Five boys aged either 13 or 14 have been charged with the rape of a child under 13.

It happened in Calderdale in July last year.

"Five boys aged 13, 13, 14, 14 and 14 have all been charged with rape of a child under 13. Two of them have been charged with two counts of rape of a child under 13, one has been charged with one count of rape of a child under 13 and sexual assault of a child under 13. The other two have been charged with one count of rape of a child under 13. The charges relate to two incidents involving the same victim in the Calderdale area in July 2013.

– Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson

All five have been released on bail. They'll appear at Calderdale Youth Court on August 20th.

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Police hope to trace mystery caller

Police in Calderdale are appealing for a woman who rang the Calderdale NHS 111 number and called herself Sarah to come forward.

A call came in at 4.22pm on Thursday 8 May.

'Sarah' was clearly in distress, alleging that she had been the victim of a crime and had taken a large amount of tablets.

Since then police have been trying to trace the woman, who said she was in Sowerby Bridge, to check on her welfare.

It is vital that we find 'Sarah' as soon as possible so we can make sure she is OK or get her any medical attention she may need. Officers are currently out looking for her but it is a very big area to search and we don't have a great deal of information on which to go on. We need her, or anyone who knows her to come forward immediately. We will give 'Sarah' any help or advice she needs and ensure she gets any necessary medical attention but we need her to get in contact.

– Chief Inspector Viv Cutbill

Huge crowd turns out to protest over A & E closure plans

Packed room at North Bridge Leisure Centre Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Hundreds of protestors have packed into Nothbridge Leisure Centre in Halifax to show their opposition to plans to close Calderdale's A & E. Halifax MP Linda Riordan said she wants to send a clear message to health bosses of the strength of feeling against the proposed changes.

Plans to close Calderdale A&E are "not final"

"Plans to close Calderdale's A&E unit have not been finalised - and will be discussed with members of the public, according to the commissioning group tasked with finding £50m in savings.

A protest against the possible closure will take place this afternoon at the North Bridge Leisure Centre.

We welcome the views of local people on the possible way forward for health and social care across Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield. "We are keen to hear people's views about the future wherever and however they are expressed. This will help to identify the real options for change which will be subject to a full public consultation later this year.

"We have been working with and listening to patients and local people for almost two years which has shaped the overall direction of travel towards more and better services being provided in or close to people's homes.

"Over the coming few months we will be rolling out our own engagement programme which will include dozens of meetings with a range of interested groups, roadshows and drop-in sessions with health and social care professionals."

– Spokesman for the West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit

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Protest at plans to close Calderdale A&E

A huge crowd is expected to turn out today for a protest against plans to close Calderdale's A&E.

Halifax MP Linda Riordan has called for residents to “come out in force” at what she calls the "biggest issue facing Halifax since the banking crisis threatened to rip the heart out of the town".

The plans have been put forward by an NHS commissioning group - the West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit.

The proposals include options to downgrade either Halifax or Huddersfield’s casualty service - but downgrading Calderdale Royal Hospital's service is the preferred option.

Protestors walk over hospital downgrade plans

Campaigners took their fight to save accident and emergency services in Halifax to the streets today. They walked 20 miles from Todmorden to Huddersfield.

That's the distance they say some in the Calder Valley would have to travel to receive emergency care if plans to downgrade A and E in Halifax go ahead. Chris Kiddey reports.

Protestors walk 20 miles over controversial hospital plans

Protestors get read for their campaign walk Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Protestors who fear for the future of accident and emergency services in the Calder Valley are walking 20 miles from Todmorden to Huddersfield today.

They say changes could lead to the closure of the A & E department at Calderdale Royal Hospital - and services transferred to Huddersfield instead . The protest walk us being led by Josh Fenton-Glynn, Labour's parliamentary candidate for the Calder Valley.

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