Category Archives: News

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:


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.”

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:

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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.

New plans for Spenborough Sports Complex

Spenborough Pool and Fitness Complex is set to benefit from plans for a new extension, it has been revealed.

The new-build leisure centre is set to replace the existing Sports Centre facilities at Whitcliffe Mount, Cleckheaton, which will be closing towards the end of 2016.

Spenborough Pool and Fitness Complex how it currently looks. Image courtesy of the Spenborough Guardian.

Spenborough Pool and Fitness Complex how it currently looks. Image courtesy of The Spenborough Guardian.

With Whitcliffe Mount School being knocked down, this means the sports centre at Whitcliffe must close as both buildings are situated next to each other, sharing plumbing and electricity.

Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre. Image courtesy of The Spenborough Guardian.

Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre to be knocked down. Image courtesy of The Spenborough Guardian.

The controversial decision to close the Whitcliffe Mount site was made just before Christmas last year, and local residents were concerned the closure would deprive over 50,000 people in the area of access to a local sports centre.

With the support of Sport England, it is hoped the modular build units for studio and fitness will be in place before the closure of Whitcliffe Mount.

The current Spenborough swimming pool. Image courtesy of Kirklees Active Leisure.

The current Spenborough swimming pool.
Image courtesy of Kirklees Active Leisure.

Jo Cox, prospective parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen, feels strongly against the closure of the Whitcliffe centre.

She helped convene two meetings at the centre to allow Cleckheaton residents and users to express their concerns and understand the decisions being taken.

“Many residents and users have grown up using the centre and remain reliant on these facilities not just for their physical and mental health but for a social life.

“At the meetings we heard very moving testimonies for people whom sport at the centre has been a lifeline, and these people deserved the right to express their views before a final decision was taken.”

The Labour candidate recognised that the decision had been forced on the council, and appreciated their efforts to try invest in sports provisions across the Spen Valley.

“The council have my full support in their efforts to find the resources needed to invest in the Spenborough pool – the pool I learnt to swim in and which so many schools, families and residents rely on.

“Even in the constrained financial times forced upon Kirklees Council by central Government we must protect this much loved facility for future generations.”

Looking at what is provided in various other establishments, the council are set to view the provision as a whole, analysing ways in which they can cover what the new centre does not.

Dewsbury and Batley Christmas light switch-ons 2014

Last night saw the town of Dewsbury celebrate the start of the festive season in style at the Christmas lights switch-on.

Pulse Radio in preparation to host the switch-on.

Pulse Radio in preparation to host the switch-on.

Emmerdale star Adam Thomas, who plays Adam Barton in the ITV soap, flicked the switch to light up the town and officially start the countdown to Christmas.

Pulse Radio’s Paul Foster joined the actor live on stage, and helped spread the festive cheer in the crowd throughout the evening.

The crowd were entertained with on stage performances from the Pulse Dance Crew, Powerhooping from the HD Hoopers, and local act Jade Helliwell showcased her musical talents.

“The experience was great, and I was very humble to be asked to perform at the event,” Helliwell said.

“The atmosphere was fantastic, the crowd were brilliant and they sang along regardless of the cold weather,” she added.

Surrounding the stage were plenty of family activities, thoroughly enjoyed by all, including:

  • A giant snow globe
  • Fairground rides
  • Festive donkey rides
  • Face painting
  • A fire sculpture by pa-BOOM
  • And of course, it would not be Christmas without Santa’s Grotto

A tweet from Jade before her performance yesterday:

Dewsbury Ram mascot Roger Ram and Huddersfield Town mascot Terry the Terrier were also present at the event, posing for pictures and interacting with the local crowd.

Batley Christmas lights switch-on 22 November

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For Batley, the countdown to Christmas begins this Saturday with the Christmas light switch-on.

Once again, Pulse Radio’s Paul Foster will be on stage, accompanied by a number of special guests to press that all-important switch-on button to illuminate the town.

The fun and entertainment will begin for youngsters in the market place at 1pm, with fairground rides, face painting, festive donkey rides, and a giant snow globe. 

There will be fun for all the family from 2pm with music, Christmas games, live performances from the Pulse Radio roadshow, and as they did in Dewsbury on Wednesday, pa-BOOM will be showcasing their stunning fire sculpture.

Later in the evening, another headline performance from Jade Helliwell at 5:30pm will lead to the eagerly anticipated lights switch on at 6pm, and will finish with a spectacular firework finale.

“I’m grateful to be asked to attend the Batley event, especially as I have been asked to assist with the switch-on,” Helliwell said.

“I’m from Batley, so to be representing my home town in a community event feels amazing, and it is always a privilege and honour to perform here.

“It is brilliant that my work is being recognised and becoming more and more popular with people around the area.”

Towards the close of the event, the Kirklees Mayor Cllr, Ken Smith, the Mayoress Cllr Christine Smith, MP Mike Wood, Revd Dr Martin Naylor and Santa Clause will all be on stage for the switch on.