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Welcome to North Kirklees News

Welcome to northkirkleesnews.wordpress.com, we will look to provide you with some of the latest news in the North Kirklees area, focusing primarily on the towns of Batley, Dewsbury, and Heckmondwike. We look to cover popular events within the area, local news stories; including interviews with individuals or groups, and news from local sports clubs.

Follow us on Twitter or contact us at NorthKirkleesNews@gmail.com with any queries.

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Sophie makes a bald move for charity

A young daughter has shown a significant amount of support for her mum through her battle with cancer.

Sophie Shelton, 27, shaved off her hair as a show of solidarity to her mum, Michelle Clegg, after she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

This unique and inspirational idea took place on Saturday at Soothill Working Men’s club where Sophie was joined and supported by family and friends.

Sophie pictured with her Mum Michelle on Saturday. Image courtesy of James Breadmore (Davison Photography)

Sophie pictured with her mum Michelle on Saturday.
Image courtesy of James Breadmore (Davison Photography)

Sophie said: “Basically I’ve always been such a girly girl and anybody that knew me would not believe I could shave my hair off.

“So I think it was a test for myself but I felt as it was quite extreme it would raise a significant amount of money.

“I was excited during the weeks running up to the event but that morning I was shaking with nerves.

“A minute before it took place I started to cry as I didn’t think I could go through with it but after looking at all the proud people there, including my mum, I snapped out of it and I’m so glad I did it.”

Sophie’s hair shaving event was also raising money for Cancer Research UK, and it is safe to say she smashed her target of £3,000 by raising an incredible amount of more than £6,000.

The donations have been flooding in, both online and at the Tanning Studios, the salon that Sophie and her mum collectively own on Commercial Street, Batley.

Sophie after she had the chop. Image courtesy of James Breadmore (Davison Photography)

Sophie after she had the chop.
Image courtesy of James Breadmore (Davison Photography)

“I am absolutely overwhelmed at people’s generosity, the support I’ve had has been lovely, and I did not have to ask for a single raffle prize either, everybody approached me which was brilliant”

“It costs £108 for one scientist in a lab for a day, so my donations are going to go a long way and be put to good use into finding a cure,” added Sophie.

Over 300 people attended the event, and approximately £1,600 was raised on the night itself.

Sophie described the occasion as “amazing” and said the turnout was “phenomenal”.

“It was better than I ever imagined, I will never forget how many people supported me and I will always be there to lend a helping hand to any one of them.

“In fact it’s spurred me on to do more fundraising for different charities and I’m actually considering going to Gambia to take Supplies for unfortunate families and children.”

You can still donate at: https://www.justgiving.com/Sophie-Shelton1

Heckmondwike set to join new league in 2016

Heckmondwike and Carlinghow’s application to join the Central Yorkshire Cricket League (CYCL) has been accepted.

The club will leave the Huddersfield Central Cricket League (HCCL) after the close of 2015 season, and are set to join the CYCL for the start of the 2016 season.

They are set to follow local competitors Crossbank Methodists, who left the HCCL after the close of the 2014 season, and have now joined the CYCL for the upcoming season.

Before the start of the season, Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s Dewsbury born Richard Pyrah will open Crossbank’s new clubhouse on April 3, after a substantial extension and improvement has been applied over the last year.

HARD WORK: Heckmondwike players after renovating the scoreboard last season.

HARD WORK: Heckmondwike players after renovating the scoreboard last season.

Cricket seems to be thriving around the local area both on and off the pitch, and Heckmondwike and Crossbank could potentially be a fixture to look out for in the 2016 season.

Peter Arundel, Secretary of the CYCL, is pleased to welcome back Heckmondwike to the league.

He added: “I believe that the league recognised the recent playing ability of the club and the potential to develop this ability further moving forward.

“It is also immensely satisfying to welcome back a name that is synonymous with cricket in the area.

“They were founder members of the CYCL and were a genuine powerhouse club for most of their time in the league until circumstances overtook the club and they sadly dropped out.

“The facilities on offer were for many years amongst the best in league cricket and so it is impressive and to the enormous credit of all now involved at Heckmondwike that those facilities have been returned to their former glories.

“The club appears to be stable, well organised and needs to play at a higher level to progress and attract additional players who will assist in growth and development of both the club and its structure.

Chris Allen, Heckmondwike’s first-team captain, is looking forward to the next chapter in the club’s history.

He added: “For the team and the club as a whole, joining the CYCL will be a massive and timely move.

“It is a really good league which will present various challenges along the way, with some excellent teams and quality players, but you always want to test yourselves as individuals and as a team against the best.

IN ACTION: Chris Allen batting in a warm-up game

IN ACTION: Chris Allen batting in a warm-up game last season, with Paul Cooper bowling.

“I feel that we have enough quality to go into the league and compete with each team no matter what division we start in, in order to create more history that already dates back 123 years.”

“We are determined as a team to sign off from the HCCL by coming away with the league trophy, and to win both the league and cup would be outstanding.”

Heckmondwike’s title challenges begins Saturday April 18 for both their first and second teams, with the first team away to Netherton A and the second team at home to Netherton B.

Local duo settling in to life at the Rams

Two young cousins are currently benefiting from the Dewsbury Rams philosophy of trying to bring through local players.

Brad and James Delaney both played their amateur rugby at Dewsbury Moor, before recently signing one-year deals for the professional rugby league side in January 2015.

Their surnames may sound familiar as Brad is the son of former Rams and Leeds Rhinos half-back Paul Delaney, who played 39 first team games for Leeds and made over 300 appearances for Dewsbury, all between 1985 and 2002.

Paul said: “I am very proud of them both as they have the ability to do well and have worked incredibly hard, so they deserve a shot in the professional ranks.

“Hard work and determination goes a long way, so hopefully they will get a chance at the Rams.

“How far they can go is up to them, they have got their foot on the ladder but now they need to work out what is required to become a first teamer.”

Paul also said he has many great memories at the club, and still goes to watch the Rams on a regular basis, claiming that the spectators are second to none and always give him a fantastic reception.

Left: Brad Delaney as a Dewsbury Rams player, Right: Brad with his dad Paul back when he played. Image courtesy of pitchero.com

Left: Brad Delaney as a Dewsbury Rams player, Right: Brad with his dad Paul back when he played. Image courtesy of Steven Horsfall Photography.

Brad, 19, who plays scrum-half, feels he is settling in great at the Rams, and added: “All the players and staff have made me feel welcome and there is always a great vibe around the place.

“I’m gaining a lot of valuable experience in training and in matches, as most of the time we all train together so I can learn a lot from  the more experienced players, and the coaching staff are always helping me in ways to improve.

“I am enjoying playing for the club my dad used to play for and I feel proud as he is well known throughout the club.”

The goal-kicking scrum-half went on to praise his father, who he says has played a massive part in the success in his career so far.

“My dad has been a massive factor and helped me most throughout my career, ever since I can remember we used to train in the gardens, he’s shown me how to pass, kick, side step and tackle.”

James Delaney as a Dewsbury. Image courtesy of pitchero.com.

James Delaney as a Dewsbury Ram player. Image courtesy of Steven Horsfall Photography.

Meanwhile James, a 23 year-old forward, realises that while he has earned a contract, there is still work to be done.

He added: “The games after have been relatively positive for me with the feed I have received, but there is still plenty of things I can improve on.

“It’s a great feeling playing alongside Brad, he’s a very talented player and the fact that he’s my cousin makes it that little bit more special.”

He looked back at when he watched the Rams as a youngster, and said: “I remember watching my uncle Paul playing as a young boy and wishing that one day I could be in his shoes, and now I feel as though I am heading in the right direction so hopefully one day I can make that dream.”

Heckmondwike confident they can challenge for the title again

The players at Heckmondwike and Carlinghow are confident they can go one step further this year and win the Premier Section of the Huddersfield Central Cricket League.

There was a tense finish to the 2014 season, with Heckmondwike just three points clear of second place Green Moor going into the final round of Premier Division games.

Moor managed to overtake their rivals and claim the league title with a comfortable victory against Upper Hopton, after Heckmondwike suffered a disappointing loss at home to Silkstone.

The West Yorkshire side finished the season runners-up on 212 points, just 11 points behind the title winners, and they expect to be challenging for the title again in the 2015 season.

Paul Cooper, last years first-team captain, said: “It was disappointing to be overtaken on the last day after being top of the table throughout the majority of the season.

“But I believe we can go one better next season and win the league, as the majority of last season we played some very good cricket but just let ourselves down in a couple of matches.”

heck and carl

IN ACTION: Cooper batting in the victory against Edgerton & Dalton last season.

Cooper has recently decided to stand down as first team captain after nine years leading the team, with last season’s vice-captain Chris Allen set to take over if elected next week.

Cooper added: “It has been a thoroughly enjoyable nine years, with plenty of ups and downs.

“I’m disappointed not to have won any of the main trophies but it hasn’t been through the lack of effort in the team.

“I’m looking forward to being told where to bat and especially when I’m bowling during games,” he added.

Allen is hoping the club can win a major trophy this season, and believes both the first and second team has the quality to win both their leagues.

He added: “Last seasons league position did not quite reflect how well the team played and the quality of the individuals in the team, but to finish second place is a great achievement for any team.

“Overall the club should be happy with what was achieved”.

Jonathan Elstub, who finished the 2014 season 6th in the entire league’s bowling statistics claiming 30 wickets, said: “I believe with the talent we have and with a positive mindset, we can win the league, if not the league and the cup.”

Preparation for the upcoming season began this week, with the first of eight indoor net sessions at Heckmondwike Grammar School.

After setting up a junior section last year, this year the club will have an under nines and under 11s team in the Heavy Woolen Junior Cricket League, with the aim to produce potential first and second team players for the future.

Extra funding for Stronger Families Programme in Kirklees

Additional funding has been received from the government for a scheme that supports families with complex needs in Kirklees.

The Kirklees Council’s Stronger Families Programme is set to significantly improve from this funding, as more families will be able to benefit by expanding the scheme.

This means an increasing number of families in the North Kirklees area are set to directly benefit from the extra funding by receiving help on a more consistent basis.

The programme uses the Troubled Families Government Grant to increase the amount of support throughout Kirklees for vulnerable families, and test out new and unique ways to working with families with a variety of needs.

The main aims are to help families where children have a poor school attendance, are involved with crime and anti-social behaviour, or where adults are out of work.

Over 1100 families have received support directly from the scheme across Kirklees, and almost 80% have shown improved school attendance, and have recored no anti-social behaviour in the past six months.

The programme has also placed consultants in partner agencies including the drug and alcohol charity ‘Lifeline’.

These people work together to bring in a plan of action for each family based on their individual expertise, to ensure that the family receives the required support .

This joint approach means that various families will receive sufficient help earlier and continue to receive support until their situation improves.

Following the recent success in results, the government have asked the Council to become an early starter working with the expanded Troubled Families Programme, starting five months ahead of schedule, meaning an increasingly wider range of families get the required help at an earlier stage.

Clare Mulgan, Head of the Stronger Families Programme, said: “88% of families (977 out of 1115) have received a successful turnaround, and the success of this programme to date is thanks to the quality of the intervention workers.

“The family approach to their work with their most vulnerable clients is proving to be a benefit for the partner agencies.

“Thanks to the fantastic performance in the Kirklees area, joining the extended Troubled Families Programme means that almost 200 families will be worked with over the coming weeks.

“The extra funding means we can be confident that the support received means the programme will around for the foreseeable future.”

Youngster Cooper continues pre-season progress against hometown club

As the start of the 2015 rugby league season approaches, players are looking to impress their coaches and stake a claim for a place in the first team.

This applies to Luke Cooper, 20, of Featherstone Rovers, who was recently awarded a place in the first team squad for the warm up games against Castleford Tigers and Batley Bulldogs.

Unfortunately for Cooper, he was on the losing side in both games, as Rovers lost 18-0 to the Tigers, and 26-6 against the Bulldogs.

Luke Cooper in action against Batley Bulldogs last Sunday.

Featherstone’s Luke Cooper in action against Batley Bulldogs last Sunday.

Despite the result, The Bulldogs game was a major highlight in his career, as Batley are his hometown club.

He said: “It was probably the greatest moment of my life to date, to run out on the field in front of over 1000 spectators was such an electrifying experience.

“It was different to anything I’d played in before, I felt like I had to play well in front of all my family and friends, and make them proud.

“If I’m honest I never thought I would be playing because Featherstone are a great team with so many good forwards, so to get my name on the team sheet was a fantastic feeling and it was made that extra bit sweeter that it was against a team that I had watched and supported as a child.”

The young forward looked back at his performance at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, and added: “I’m super critical of my performance so personally I didn’t think I played the best I could have, and I know I have a lot to learn so hopefully I can do as much training as possible, work hard, and get to that required consistent level of performance.”

In 2014, Rovers sent Cooper and another teammate over to Australia in an exciting six-month trip, with the aim for them to gain valuable experience playing at a higher level in the Sydney Group 6 Country League.

This life-changing opportunity provided Cooper with the chance to develop his skills on the pitch, and experience a different culture and lifestyle.

“We received plenty of game time in Australia and have learnt a lot, the whole experience was unforgettable and I am thankful to the club that I was offered this unbelievable opportunity.”

He is now looking to establish himself as first team player for Featherstone Rovers, and play a part in helping the club challenge for a place in the Super League.

Results of pupils in Kirklees on the rise again

Following recent SATs, achievement from pupils across Kirklees primary schools has improved once again over the last year.

The percentage of Kirklees pupils gaining the national benchmark of at least a level 4 in their reading, writing and mathematics, was 78 per cent, a slight increase from 74% in 2013.

The local Key Stage 2 figures (ages 7 to11), released by the Department for Education, means that more than 4,000 Kirklees pupils gained the key national benchmark.

Across North Kirklees in 2013 and 2014, the percentage of pupils achieving level 4 or above in their reading, writing, and mathematics in various schools, were:

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 21.59.14

chart

Head teacher Anthony Rush, of St Patricks Catholic Primary School, Birstall, said he is always delighted when every child achieves their full potential at the school.

He added: “Results may fluctuate from year to year but the defining guide to whether or not they are a good set of results is have all the children reached their potential i.e. have they all done as well as they could have.

“Academic success is only a small measure of what we do, and we are in a business of helping to mound children into becoming good people.”

The head teacher said the high attainment level could be attributed to the high quality teaching and support to every year group in the school.

“The children are well taught, the teaching assistant support is excellent, and underlying everything is a shared aim amongst all staff that we strive to do the best we can for every child.

“We try to make school a safe and welcoming place where the children thrive knowing that they are loved and wanted,” he added.

The improvement in Key Stage 2 results are supported by new figures from Ofsted, that now show young people in Kirklees are increasingly likely to attend at least a good if not outstanding secondary school in the region.