Honley - Previous Good News Stories

General update on Positive actions taking place

First of all the facts and figures:


In the space of 4 weeks our volunteers have managed just over 1000 deliveries for our Honleyers, comprising prescriptions, groceries and food bank support and now we're onto sewing for those on the front line. And as for shopping, I couldn’t count the miles travelled albeit I do know that each mile taken is for essential travel only.  


Who are our volunteers?   Well we’ve about 125 now, and have discovered that we can cope with/have demand for around 50 at a time.  More than that results in it looking like a kid’s party – lots of frenetic activity, and a bit of a mess.  Our volunteers are from all walks of life, and every single one has a talent for caring.  What do we do?  It’s more a case of what don’t we do.  Whatever’s needed. 

Sylvia - Lead Co-ordinator

As well as being a professional, well organised team, we’ve also had to get good at being a bit of a Del boy team, - ducking and diving, bobbing and weaving:  Why do I say this?  Because volunteers can be found passing over a glut of potatoes to Punch or Savarro to help with NHS meals, or transferring the mushiest of bananas from the food bank to Café Plus (Elim church), who’ve made it into delicious banana bread.  And you may have seen us at the back of Punch, collecting any left-over meals, which our volunteers deliver to those in isolation.   It can all look a bit dodgy to be honest, as generally speaking you’ll espy a volunteer at the backs of business premises either early in the morning or late at night!


Many of our volunteers have adopted people, exchanging numbers and building new friendships at a time when a familiar voice has true value.  What have we found that brings a smile to peoples’ faces?


  • We’ve learned that a sliced loaf is a thing of beauty if your hands are a little arthritic. Jessie smiled with glee at our knock on her door – she said she’d freeze half and give half to her neighbour (such kindness is common place amongst all ages it seems in Honley).


  • We’ve found a bag of shopping delivered to people’s door is great, but if it’s delivered with time for a chat, then that’s the icing on an already risen cake for those stuck in their homes. Such a chat helps us volunteers to learn a little and wonder a lot at the stamina of the human condition.  There’s Tom who, despite painful knees, completed a 4 mile walk 3 times a week for his grocery shop.  Tom told us in no uncertain terms, that this journey “made his heart sing, in fair weather or foul”.  And therefore the response of “no thank you, I don’t need any help”  was no surprise to hear, but rather a pleasure as it reminded us of the strength of us Honleyers. 


  • For me personally I love the fact that, despite such difficult conditions, standards have not dropped. Let’s take the example of Mary to explain.   Having swapped in what I determined to be perfectly good oranges for what was on Mary’s list, I was reminded that “whilst all oranges are orange, and all oranges are round, not all oranges are the requested “easy-peel” variety”!  And similarly, “Findus petit-pois frozen peas are not tinned marrowfat peas, and no matter what you did with them, you couldn’t disguise them as such! “  I think if Mary could have fired me, she would’ve done, but a bit like the petit-pois, we’re currently stuck with each other.  And I’m thoroughly enjoying this position, thank you! Mary is an amazing lady with stamina aplenty and a smile and laugh to make your heart sing.

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  • “We met Christine and Robert for a socially distant chat when gifting 2 tasty Punch suppers, meaning there was no cooking needed by Christine (or was it Robert?).  They would normally be spending time in their beloved caravan in Flamborough near Filey on the North Yorkshire coast and are looking forward to the time when they can return there. They've lived in Honley since they got married, just over 50 years ago and cannot wait to be able to get out into the community that they love”.  

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Punch Bar and Tapas Food For Heroes reaches more NHS workers daily

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Richard Preparing food at Punch

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NHS Worker collecting food

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Punch Lunches

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Food Bags ready to go

The Punch Bar owners have been serving free meals to NHS workers and their families now for over four weeks. In that time Wayne Roddis and Richard Dunne have prepared over 3000 meals. The restaurant were given £ 20,000 by local couple Jill and Ian Swires back in March to feed NHS employees free of charge through the pandemic and to help ease the pressure for hospital workers after a nurse was featured on the local news, pleading for people to stop panic buying so NHS workers could buy food. All of the couples children had at one time or another, worked for Punch, one of the main reasons they chose to support the restaurant with their campaign.


Since then hundreds of NHS workers, from porters to surgeons, have passed through the doors to pick up a tasty and nourishing meal home made by the chefs Richard and Wayne.


The menu changes every two weeks but usually features a chicken and pasta dish, plus a vegan alternative. Gluten free meals are available upon request.


Originally they were serving the meals three days a week but have now gone up to four days. NHS qualifying staff can book their meals online at the Punch website or on their Facebook page. They are then given a slot to come and collect the food. And it isn’t just for the NHS employees; it is for their families too. At the moment the campaign to feed our NHS is expected to run well into June. So far they have provided meals for workers from Barnsley Hospital and for workers who travel to Holmfirth hospital from as far away as Sowerby Bridge.


Jill and Ian pledged to continue the Food For Heroes project for 12 weeks but have since said they will carry on if the need is there. An additional £7,500 has also been donated by members of the public through a crowdfunding fundraiser www.gofundme.com/f/9yrd84-nhs-menu-punch-bar-amp-tapas


Punch are now also offering a take out service for the general public on Saturdays only so as to keep the NHS customers safe during the week. Orders need to be in by Friday and the special meals are priced at £5 including a side order of garlic bread. See the website for the latest details and to book your collection.


Any unclaimed or left over meals are donated to the Honley Volunteers who distribute the delicious offerings to the food bank in Thongsbridge and also to elderly residents in Honley.

Savaro: A family favourite helping out in a crisis

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Jiyan outside Savaro

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Jiyan and Hassan 

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Jiyan and thank you letter 

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Jiyan's tattoo - Resistance is 

Life in Kurdish

Savaro opened two years ago when Jiyan and her family decide to open a Kurdish restaurant in Honley on the corner of Church Street.  Already residents of Honley they were a family passionate about food and whilst Jiyan takes front of house, husband Hassan and Mum both work in the kitchen.


Now however, Mum has to stay home so only her daughter and son in law are running the take away operation through the lockdown.


Jiyan explains, ‘I began working at 14 so I am used to being busy and this gives us something to do. Mum has had to help us with the spice mixes for the marinating, which was difficult to begin with since she is so precise and was scolding us for not following instruction properly. But we have mastered it now! We have a spice room upstairs and concoct our own very special combinations. In the first week of lockdown we were taking only 5 orders a week, but that has risen significantly. Now there are just us two we can manage to operate safely and leave a 10 minute gap in between collections. We are Kurdish Syrians; we come from a war zone and have learnt that community cohesion is the only way to deal with a crisis. When our government failed us in Syria, our natural response was to take action for ourselves. Although this crisis is entirely different we are approaching in the same way – stay positive, keep going and don’t stop; nothing is forever.  Our saying is ‘Resistence is Life’, meaning whatever faces you, keep going. I even have this tattooed on my side.’


‘For take-aways we have kept the same menu and range of offerings. Our business is not just about making money it is about providing the best food we can; if our customers want their regular favourite, let them have it we say. It has been hard to source some of the specialist ingredients but when we haven’t managed to, we let our customers know.’


‘We have a family atmosphere here and many of our customers have become part of that extended family. We have even named our rice Nelly rice after one of our young customers who particularly likes it. We have another called Savaros Princess;  the chefs all know exactly what she likes when she comes in; she doesn’t even have to order. Since the pandemic we have had some lovely letters, especially from the children, thanking us for supplying their favourite food. It’s heartwarming.  Our family love living in Honley and we continue to serve the community through the best way we know how – with good home made food!’

Friend to Friend Continues through pandemic

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Gill and Suzanne friend to friend story.

The Friend to Friend project has been in operation for over 20 years across the entire Holme Valley and brings together isolated people within the community for events including coffee mornings, speaker events and all sorts of other educational and social activities once every month. Gill, Suzanne and Carole run the Honley club and have over 21 members, mostly in their 80s and 90s.


Since the social distancing and isolation rules have been in place, these three marvelous people have been spending their time making phone calls to keep the group connected and supported.  Calls sometimes last up to two and half hours at a time if their members need that and on average the ladies are making 20 or 30 calls each a week; all funded by them selves.  If any concerns arise, they then contact the relevant services or professionals to step in and help.

Gill tells us,’ Many of these people are a wealth of knowledge and can be extremely interesting; we can learn a lot from them. Especially since they endured the war years, they are on the whole philosophical about it because of their past experiences. I had one lady, who plays the piano, who I called last week, and she had me going through chords on my own piano!’


Suzanne adds, ‘When you are feeling a bit low yourself, a phonecall to one of our friends can pick you up. They are a great bunch of people.

Sally Sew and Sew Needs More Volunteers!

Sally has taken up the challenge of co-ordinating the sewing of caps and gowns for NHS nurses, GPs, carers and staff in care homes, hospices and midwives who are working on the front line. At the moment she has 14 people sewing for the NHS and has had an influx of cotton fabric donated for the project plus sewing machines and over lockers. But she needs more of everything.


‘If there are any people who can sew using an over locker I would be delighted to hear from them as we really need experienced people to sew the gowns. If people do not have over lockers we can equally use them for sewing the caps and we do have some equipment that has been donated in case someone has the skill but not the equipment.’


But we are not the only ones who are helping with sewing garments. In Holmfirth my friend Cathy has an order for 27,000 garments for the HRI and Leeds hospital and has a wide network of people in hand. Jan, who regularly fund raises for the Air Ambulance, has formed a partnership with a company in Slaithwaite to produce specialist PPE work wear from the fabric and patterns produced by the company and in Honley, Jill Squires is busy sewing at home for the NHS. It’s a combined effort that we hope will help protect those who are taking risks every day for us and our loved ones.’

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Sally and Fabric

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Sally and overlocker machine

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Fabric Caps

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Fabric Caps


Thongsbridge Food Bank

The food bank in Thongsbridge was a little known facility until recent times, having operated under the guidance of facilitator Ian Gooch for the past 15 years. With so many vulnerable people needing assistance in the climate of Covid-19 the service has really come into it’s own.


Previously the bank was making up about 25 bags of food per week; but referrals have gone through the roof with an average of 100 packages now being rolled out every week since March 2020. They are currently sending out up to 160 meals per week. 


Claire Leader is a volunteer who now works five days a week at the bank along with her neighbour Fiona Barker. Along with Matthew Barker (driver) and an additional 20 volunteers on standby to help at any given time. Claire told us how the Coronavirus crisis is helping the most at risk in our community. Click here for more details on the excellent work they are doing

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Claire, Fiona and Matthew Barker

Helping Taylors help us

Telephone Interview with June McLean 18.04.2020

Many of you will know June, she has the wonderful Zebra Shop in Honley.

She was keen to join Sylvia Sellen and Trish Willis to help her community when the Corona Virus need arose. They are really proud of the response from our community when the call went out with Honley being the only village to deliver a HVCMA leaflet into every house by volunteers before the shutdown.

Just one of the good news stories she would like to share with you all is Taylors Foodstore.

When the shutdown was first announced Tony at Taylor’s was fearful of how he would be able to carry on, with the fearful shopping his shelves were emptying at such a pace and some staff were unable to work so he thought the only solution may be to close.


However in stepped some volunteers to work alongside his staff to restock shelves and do deliveries, giving Tony and his staff some breathing space to implement the social distancing and installing protective plastic screens for the staff. This has enabled him to stay open and provide a vital resource for the village and for that we thank Tony and his loyal staff. 

On the deliveries side there is again a fabulous list of volunteers at the ready to deliver shopping each day one of these is Rob Hall who is normally up a ladder fitting new windows for his company Hall Glazing but has volunteered to deliver for Taylors each day. Tony said “ Rob and the other volunteers have been a Godsend, he comes in and cheers us all up, he makes everyone feel better.”

The number of volunteers who have come forward to help our vulnerable community and those self - isolating during the outbreak of Covid 19 is amazing and by helping one another we are continuing to show that to live in Honley is fantastic.

Phone Buddy's

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Carol Roberts

The first time I rang this lady and said my name she immediately recognised me!!  She said "You taught me to use a computer at the Methodist Mission in Huddersfield, me and my friend Kath".


The next time I spoke to her she had spoken to Kath and they said they would like to have a catch up with me after all this is over.  How lovely to be recognised by your name after 12 years plus!!  It was like meeting old friends.


I have spoken to this lady again and it is now like speaking to an old friend - you just carry on the conversation as though you had never been apart.  We talk about our families and about what we did for work and it turns out she knows Margaret & Vivian Rayner (who taught one of her children).  I worked with Margaret at the Children's Department of Huddersfield Corporation as it was then.  This was a long long time ago.

Honley is a small village and if you talk to people for long enough you are quite likely to end up related.....


I have talked to all or most of my ladies about recipes for a Cookery Book I would like to put together so that something nice will come out of Covid and it has given them something to think about and also to talk about.  Food brings back memories, lots of memories.

Martyn Crouch


Martyn has been helping the community of Honley for a while now. He helps with the village Christmas lights and has recently become a delivery man for Taylors.

Martyn was glad to “do his bit” and help the people of Honley. He really enjoys the heartfelt thanks from the customers “They can’t thank you enough” he said.

“They enjoy an outside chat with you, especially in this lovely weather.”

If you call Taylors you may get your delivery from this lovely chap.

Regarding helping with the lights he said “I met a young, thin chap called Rob Hall. When I said I was there helping for just an hour Rob said “that’s impossible - the whole thing gets you - the team, the camaraderie, the lights”. And he was right. I couldn’t stay away and here I am back again as part of Honley's great Community team 😬”

Keeping the Village looking Fantastic


Richard Wardle (left) using his daily exercise to maintain planted tubs and cut the grass at the bottom of Station Road. Jared Croft was out early, with watering can in hand, tending the flowering village tubs. They where starting to look a bit sad until Jared came along.

Massive thanks to you both

Helping out and Dog Walking


Troupey and Bella

Our family joined Holme Valley Mutual Aid Volunteers soon after it started, doing a bit of shopping from Taylors and the Co-op for a few local residents. 


We spotted a referral on the HVMA WhatsApp group that a lady who was self isolating needed someone to walk her two border terriers. So, since the beginning of April we have been walking Troopy (aged 5) and Bella (aged 2) every day. 


Troupey is a placid little gentleman, happily padding along, enjoying time to stop and investigate as we go. Bella likes to be upfront leading the way, always alert. We walk them for a good hour every day around Westwood and Farnley Tyas. Together we have found new paths and have enjoyed spending time with them for our own daily exercise. Their owner says that both Troopy and Bella have also enjoyed time out of the house for a while.


Andy, Sandra and Jake Schoolar

Marvellous Marguerita



Come lie in the depths of the woods

Where silence and a sweet perfume

Pervade the air


How cool and calm the earth seems here

Where peace embraces troubled hearts

And heaven feels closer than we ever dreamed


Marguerita 2017


There are few 83 year olds with such a zest for life as Marguerita. A nature loving woman with a spring in her step and such an open enthusiasm for everything and everyone, this amazing woman is an inspiration. I met Marguerita after being introduced through the Friends to Friends project as a possible good news story and after our first telephone conversation decided that she was the personification of good news.


Marguerita describes herself as “A bit of a mad woman; a fairy of the forest who loves to sit beneath the roots of trees and soak up nature. I go out every morning to walk, the countryside evokes everything that made me happy as a very young child when I would wander the fields barefoot for hours”


And she loves Honley with a passion. “The people here are special; I have many friends in the Holme Valley but there is something about Honley – the people are so warm and friendly, the surrounding countryside is stunning and stimulates the creative mind. For me Honley embraces art, music and my Christian faith. I can eat alone in one of the local restaurants and it isn’t daunting. The churches are welcoming and inclusive. You are never alone for long here and there are lots of dogs here, which I love. I have met many like-minded people in Honley, no one thinks it is strange to see me wandering alone in the woods.”


Marguerita has many good memories of Honley. Her son John went to Honley High School (formerly the Grammar school), he was a talented organist and choir master at St David’s in Holmbridge. She herself has been a long serving member of the choral Society in Holmfirth. When a flat became available her she moved from Lockwood in a flash.


Life hasn’t always been easy for Marguerita. By the age of four both her parents had died and she and her five siblings were separated and placed in different foster homes. Marguerita suffered a difficult time, she didn’t find a happy home but she did find joy at school and training college where she trained and later became a teacher to children with special needs. She had a troublesome marriage but ultimately found peace as a mother with her witty and loving son, John. Six years ago, that all changed when she lost John who had endured lifelong health problems. In honour of her son’s birthday she shaved her head to raise money for the hospice that cared for him, hired a hall and threw a big party.


Marguerita has survived five different bouts of cancer, with the past major operation just two months ago but she refuses to let past tragedies define her. “Everyone has bad times”, she says. “Life is a lottery and whilst you can‘t control what happens to you, you can change how you react to it.“


Marguerita has always had a talent for the arts. She used to use music and song in her every day teaching with children who had previously not engaged in learning.  She writes poetry constantly and she recently she won a scholarship to take an art degree at Huddersfield University, studying painting. Since lockdown the studies have been postponed but she plans to continue with her passion and loves nothing more than sitting drawing and painting the beauty that surrounds her. Her appreciation and gratitude for life is infectious.


Since meeting Marguerita I have been in awe at her positive attitude. You can’t walk far without her stopping to talk to a friendly stranger or congratulating someone on their garden or admiring their dogs. I asked her what more she could wish for in life. “I dream of moving into a little cottage in Honley, so if one came up for rent I would love to find that happy place where I could paint and wander the fields. Oh, and a little rescue dog would be marvellous, that would be the icing on the cake.”