Trojan villagers and bands braved batterings of rain and biting winds to turn Saddleworth’s traditional Whit Friday walks into a musical theatre of joy.

Church parades thronged by parishioners and young children proudly carried Church banners to King George V playing fields, Uppermill, for their annual United service.

Hundreds lining both sides of Uppermill’s high street gave them a rapturous welcome.

Many were lead in procession by their own village bands to join the hymn-singing and prayers with a giant combined congregation assembled under a canopy of brightly coloured umbrellas and capes.

After the traditional playing of “Hail Smiling Morn” they were welcomed by Rev Canon Sharon Jones, Church of England team rector for Saddleworth.

The address was given by Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Middleton, who had marched to the service with members of the Dobcross community.

There were prayers by Rev Aaron Jackman, assistant CE curate, Rev Pat Gillian, a CE minister and a reading from Martin Spain, president of the Congregation Federation.

And Rt Rev David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, signed off the service with a blessing.

Special praise was reserved of Rev Duncan Rhodes from Djggle who has traditionally walked with the congregation from Kiln Green Church for years and hosts the service.

Duncan (pictured) was confined to a wheel chair but gave a brave thumbs up adding: “I was determined not to miss the service.”