WITH In Motion, Keighley Transport Festival 2022, fast approaching we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the part played by Graham Mitchell in bringing this event to fruition.

It has now been four years since a conversation which took place aboard the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society’s heritage boat Kennet between John Grogan, then Member of Parliament and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Inland Waterways, and members of the society considered the unique setting of Keighley in relation to historic modes of transport and the need to celebrate this uniqueness.

An initial meeting of the respective societies and organisations pinpointed the possibilities of a much larger celebration than that which had been originally anticipated. It was a festival which fell far outside the capacity of any single organisation to arrange. Graham Mitchell heroically offered himself as festival co-ordinator. The Keighley Transport Festival was born. Little did Graham, nor any of us, anticipate the sheer feat of endurance that would be required to bring the festival into being.

Through much hard work by Graham and his colleagues on the organising committee plans were fully advanced to hold the festival in 2020. We were mortified, none less than Graham, when we were forced to call it off as the first set of Covid-19 restrictions came into place. This could have been the last that any of us saw of the festival. But as restrictions began to be lifted at the end of last year and as the chink of an opportunity emerged, Graham reconvened the group and set about the task of re-instituting the festival with the same dogged determination as that with which he had approached it two years earlier.

So, the festival will now take place over the Jubilee bank holiday – on Thursday, June 2, and Friday, June 3. Festival activities will be taking place over the whole length of Keighley, from Ingrow Railway Station to Stockbridge Wharf – with a free bus service providing the crucial interconnection between the various festival sites. Full information on the extensive range of festival activities can be found at In Motion – Keighley Transport Festival 2022 (keighley-in-motion.co.uk). So, if it’s railways, canals, buses, cars, motorbikes or model railways and local history that captures your imagination please come along. The reason that we are now in a position to extend this invitation is down to the sheer graft and dedication of Graham supported by the other members of the organising committee.

Colin Thunhurst, Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society; Robert Meekings, Craven Old Wheels Society; Tom Marshall, Keighley & Worth Valley Railway; Norman Shepherd, Keighley Bus Museum Trust; Sean McGinley, Canal & River Trust; Emma Rochford, Cliffe Castle; Steve Bown, Keighley and District Local History Society; Peter Morrison, Keighley Model Railway Club; Paul Hopps, Aire Valley Model Railway Club; Clare Fitzgerald, Keighley College; France-Leigh Hadrysiak, Keighley Big Local

* Email your letters to alistair.shand@keighleynews.co.uk