Wednesday 29. January 2014
Donald Crossley in 2002 at the stile leading up from Banksfields to the farms and moors beyond, described in "The Rock"

Donald Crossley in 2002 at the stile leading up from Banksfields to the farms and moors beyond, described in "The Rock"

Donald Crossley reciting from "Churn Milk Joan" at the standing stone

Donald Crossley reciting from "Churn Milk Joan" at the standing stone

Donald Crossley reciting from "Churn Milk Joan" at the standing stone

Donald Crossley reciting from "Churn Milk Joan" at the standing stone

On the way back into Mytholmroyd

On the way back into Mytholmroyd

Above Broad Bottom farm (2004)

Above Broad Bottom farm (2004)

Donald Crossley

Donald Crossley died last week. Donald, who was born and lived in Mytholmroyd, was well-known for his appearance in TV interviews on Hughes's childhood and childhood landscape. Though two or three years younger than Ted, they occasionally played together.

Donald always enjoyed talking of the old days and took great pleasure in showing people around various places in and near Mytholmroyd that Ted had mentioned in poems or that were key sites of Hughes's childhood: the canal, Banksfields, cricket pitch, war memorial, up the moors to the standing stone, Churn Milk Joan, and many other places. At nearly 70 Donald would zip up mountain sides so fast I could barely keep up. At important spots he would take out his folder and recite parts of poems. Or he would enlighten you on local history and context.

I first met Donald and his wife Hilary in 2002 when researching Ted Hughes's childhood landscape. I still remember telling them of the alleged grave of the "Ancient Briton" in Redacre Wood -- and off we went in search of it! Donald was always curious to learn of other texts related to the area and corresponded with Ted's brother Gerald about them. .

The walks with him were always fun. He loved nature and walking and was always generous in sharing what he knew.

There is a short Opens external link in new windowarticle in the Halifax Courrier.