TERRY Waite CBE did the honours as the man responsible for bringing Emmaus to Mossley was recognised while the town’s Heritage Centre clocked up 20 years of revealing its history.
Richard Darlington helped buy Longlands Mill for the charity, which now thrives from the location, in 1996.
His role in setting up the Heritage centre in what was a room containing a cotton baling machine can also not be downplayed.
And Terry, a former special envoy for the Archbishop of Canterbury who was held hostage by the Islamic Jihad group between 1987 and 1991, was on hand to help unveil a plaque in Richard’s honour.
He said: “Richard is one of the pioneers. It’s a wonderful thing you’re honouring Richard for his unique contribution.”
At the other end of the mill, Terry and Richard were joined by morris men and now honorary president of the Heritage Centre, Marie Clues.
After securing a grant to help convert the room, Mossley Civic Society has run it and delivered the stories of the town’s history.
School children has been taught about the cotton trade much of the town was built on and learned stories from the past. But as secretary Dyllis Wolinski said, the work is not yet over – far from it.
She told The Correspondent: “20 years is a big thing for the centre to reach. There’s a lot gone on over that time.
“This little room started with an idea coming from Richard. He wanted it to be a symbol of Mossley’s industrial heritage.
“He asked for help. The help he received was from the Civic Society and 20 years ago, Terry came along with morris men – there was a bit of sunshine though, that was the only difference!
“It was wonderful Richard was there to celebrate the 20 years too.
“Over that time, we’ve had people bring in all sorts of artefacts in as symbols and memories of what life was like in the Mossley mills.
“The Civic Society started doing quite parochial things, like looking at planning applications, looking after the market place and keeping an eye on the heritage of the town.
“Since then, we’ve come on quite a lot, having written books, done presentations and lots of research about life in the 1900s.
“We also took part in the saving of Mossley market place and its subsequent yarn storming.
“Recently, we also did a themed weekend based around remarkable women – taking 15 women from Mossley’s history and 15 current Mossley women who are doing similar jobs.
“It will not be a surprise to learn there were more than 15.”
Mossley Civic Society was also responsible for the creation of five trails which ran from each of the town’s primary schools to the Heritage Centre, passing nine historical places.
Now that is established for everyone, the aim is to spread more of Mossley’ history among more of the town’s schoolchildren, with more volunteers being sought to help deliver it.
Dyllis added: “We hope to get more volunteers working with primary schools. A lot of young people now know more about Mossley’s history.
“And now things seem to be steeling after Covid-19, we’d like to do more with Mossley Hollins. We’d like more younger people to come in and find out.
“You don’t need to be a history expert. I’m not, I was convinced into doing this and I love it!”
• IF you would like to become a volunteer for Mossley Heritage Centre, you can contact Mossley Civic Society’s Dyllis Wolinski on 01457 838608.