Raise high the cross

Cross at Otley ChevinIn wintry conditions, the Otley Chevin Cross was raised for the 50th time at the weekend as a market town celebrated half a century of its annual tradition. Otley’s Chevin Cross was first pulled into place  at Easter 1968.

The cross, measuring 36 foot in height, is seen as a symbol of hope for the town. It is also seen from the air by planes landing at nearby Leeds-Bradford Airport and pilots flying in and out are notified of the imposing cross on the flight path.

Hardy volunteers from Churches Together in Otley made up of different Christian congregations across the area, braved icy winds and drifting snow to carry sections of the 36-foot wooden structure up the hill before ropes were used to raise the cross into place.

The cross was originally built fifty years ago by Methodist Lay Preacher and funeral director, DB Good.

Twenty years ago it was replaced by craftsman Brett Thompson, who used timber from Manchester’s Arndale Centre to remember those who died in the 1996 bombing of the building.

This year’s event also paid tribute to those who were killed in the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena last year.

John Burland of Otley Churches Together told the Yorkshire Post, “The cross went up very smoothly although it was bitterly cold

“It’s a symbol for the town as much as anything else. People passing through Otley can see it on the skyline.”

A special 64 page booklet marking the 50th anniversary of the Chevin Cross has been published, but the bad weather forced the cancellation of the launch event at  Buttercross . They are available at Otley Parish Church.

Watch a video from the Yorkshire Post of the cross being hauled up in the wintry conditions here

(Picture credit, top: Revd Jimmy Lawrence with thanks)

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