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Sunday Email: Issue 59

Welcome to the 59th issue of this regular Sunday Email. As usual, do get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think Topcliffe and Asenby residents might like to hear about.


07785 223707

The week’s Covid statistics

• 37.7 million people have now had a first dose vaccination. The number of second doses is over 22 million. 72% of the adult population has now had the first jab and over 42% the second.

• On Friday the R number increased slightly to between 0.9-1.1.

• There have been 4.5 million confirmed cases of Covid in the UK. The daily average number of new cases last week was 2,694. Over 6 million Covid tests were conducted last week.

• An average of 103 people were admitted to hospital with Covid last week. This was a slight increase on the previous week.

• There were 6 deaths reported in the UK yesterday. There are over 900 people in hospital with Covid.,

• The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at over 127,710. Worldwide, the global death toll from Covid is almost 3.4 million.

Two jabs are better than one

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he is increasingly confident the government will be able to ease restrictions on 21 June after a study found the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective against the variant first identified in India. Two doses of the jabs offer similar levels of protection against the Indian variant as they do for the Kent one. However, both vaccines were only 33% effective against the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose. Mr Hancock said the data showed it was vital people got both vaccine doses.

England surpasses 50 million vaccinations

England has surpassed 50 million vaccine doses, according to NHS data. Some 31,546,846 UK adults have had their first jab, while 18,699,556 have had two, NHS England figures show. The milestone was reached as the vaccination programme continued to move down the age groups, with 32 and 33-year-olds in England now being invited to book their first vaccination from this weekend. The government says it is on track to offer a first vaccine dose to all adults in the UK by the end of July.

The Roadmap out of Lockdown

As of last Monday:

• People can now meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors. Six people or two households can meet indoors.

• Domestic overnight stays are allowed with people not in your household or bubble. Hotels, hostels and bed & breakfasts are now open again.

• Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can now seat customers indoors.

• Up to 30 people can attend weddings and more than 30 can attend funerals

• Outdoor entertainment such as outdoor theatres and cinemas, can now open. Indoor entertainment including museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can operate again. Adult indoor group

sports and exercise classes have restarted. Performances and large events can restart, but with limits on audience numbers.

• International leisure travel has resumed.

The spread and prevalence of the Indian strain of the virus continues to be of concern and a close watch will be kept on the data before any decision is made about what happens on 21 June, when the next stage of easing is scheduled.

Does amber mean go or stop?

Foreign holidays are allowed again, but there has been considerable confusion about the status of amber in the government’s traffic light system. Many people thought that travel to amber countries was ok on the understanding that they would have to isolate on their return. Now the government has refined its advice stating that travel to amber list countries is legal, but that people should not do so for leisure. On the BBC, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We’ve said you should only go to amber countries in exceptional circumstances." Travel and airline companies, on the other hand, said the government stance was very confusing and frustrating for passengers and the travel industry.”

So, in essence, it’s green list countries only…and that’s a very limited choice, headed by Portugal, perhaps the most likely country to those who want sun, sea and sand. Holidaymakers returning from a green list country, you must take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result, book and pay for a test for day two after their return and complete a passenger locator form. There’s no need to quarantine on arrival home unless your day two test is positive and then you will have to, or NHS Test & Trace informs you that you have travelled with someone who has tested positive.

There’ll be a review of countries in the traffic light system in two weeks’ time.

Rights to holiday cancellation refund

Last year cancelled trips resulted in 23,000 complaints to the competition watchdog. Many companies, including some biggies TUI, and Virgin Holidays, delayed paying refunds and made many customers extremely angry. As we move forward with the traffic light system and families have started putting their deposits down, many are wondering how hard it will be to get their money back if their holiday is cancelled. The Competition and Markets Authority said it had reminded package holiday firms of their legal obligations to refund consumers if foreign holidays are cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic this summer. Under package holiday rules, cancelled holidays must be refunded within 14 days and customers must be offered a refund, not just a credit note.

Covid Testing

A full list of NHS testing sites can be viewed at

Lateral Flow Testing Kits – these tests are available free of charge to everyone. Seen as a significant step forward, the test kits can be obtained to use twice a week. One in three people with Covid do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus unwittingly. Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately. You can order here:

Have your say on Dalton plan

Time is quickly running out before the planning application for a major development at Dalton Industrial Estate is decided by Hambleton Council. Most people who have commented so far have acknowledged the value of having more jobs and support the general principle of development but are emphatic that it must not happen at the expense of more traffic harassment in Topcliffe and Asenby. Any planning approval must be accompanied by strong and enforceable rules that will stop illegal traffic on weight-restricted village roads. There’s still time – but not much – for residents to add their views. It’s easy to access and add your comments, simply go to: insert the reference number 21/00331/HYB in the search box and follow the instructions.

Parish Council meetings

• Asenby Parish Council’s Annual Meeting was held last Wednesday (19 May). The Minutes will be published on the village website at The next meeting of Asenby Parish Council will be at 7.30pm on Wednesday 21 July 2021.

• The next meeting of Topcliffe Parish Council will be at 7pm on Thursday 3 June in the main hall at the Village Hall. Check out the website at topcliffeparishcouncil Covid safety arrangements will be in place at the Village Hall.

Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall

The Village Hall is now up and running again for existing hires after a fourteen month break due to Covid. Bookings for new activities and for events such as parties will be possible from 21 June.

Existing hirers will have free use of the hall until 31 December 2021. Fee use of the hall is also available to new group activities (this does not include commercial one-off or private hires for parties and social functions). This is intended to encourage a new range of activities to get going. Confirmed bookings so far:

  • Pammy’s Pilates – 6 to 7pm, starting Thursday 20 May and then every Thursday evening.
  • My Time Yoga – 12.30 to 4pm (two classes) – believed to be starting Monday 24 May and then every Monday afternoon.
  • Topcliffe Parish Council – 7pm, Thursday 3 June.
  • Soup and sweet lunches will start again on Wednesday 23 June and then fortnightly thereafter.
  • Asenby Parish Meeting – 7.30pm, Wednesday 21 July.
  • Topcliffe & Asenby Produce Show will be held on Saturday 28 August.
  • Attic Auction – Saturday 5 September.

Events planned for last year that had to be postponed due to the pandemic will be rescheduled in due course. Watch out for details of the Big Race Night and Challenge Quiz.

The Tattler – June edition

The summer edition of The Tattler will be published and delivered door to door around the 2/3 June.

Plant Sale

Karen and Malc Morley’s plant sale last Sunday raised £25 for the Jennyruth Workshops in Ripon.

To bee or not to bee

Last week’s item about the problem of Himalayan Balsam invading our riverbanks caused local bee-keeper Rachel Tyreman, who runs Asenbee Honey, to get in touch to fight the corner for bees. Rachel says that the wet and cold spring made it particularly hard for them and much reduced their foraging time. And this likely to mean honey yields will be much lower this year. Another problem caused by poor weather is that the bees spend longer in the hive, leading to the conditions that make swarming ideal. Rachel emphasises that Asenbee Honey’s hives are managed responsibly and measures are taken to try and prevent swarming. However, just a few warm days can encourage swarming and even the presence of other bees in the area can influence their activity. Last year Rachel was called out to collect a couple of swarms in Asenby. She wants villagers to know that if they spot a swarm – possibly hanging in a tree or attached to a wall – if they are left alone they won’t be a problem, as they are mostly docile. Rachel and husband Colin are happy to offer any advice or help to remove and relocate any bees that are found. Her contact number is 07877 343742.

Bees and Balsam

In relation to the ‘call for action’ against Himalayan Balsam, Rachel Tyreman is keen to point out that the lives of bees and other pollinators depend on late flowering plants so simply pulling up Himalayan Balsam, but not replacing it with native flowers and shrubs, could be a disastrous for many species. Nature is finely balanced and last year Rachel and Colin noticed that their bees managed to go into winter much stronger thanks to the balsam. It’s acknowledged that Himalayan Balsam does out-compete some of our native plants and wildflowers, and the prominence of balsam with nectar rich flowers means that the pollination of native plants becomes increasingly difficult. Rachel recognises the desire to remove an invasive species of plant, but she thinks that native plants and flower seeds should be sown as the balsam is removed. She is hopeful that villagers will give nature a helping hand by planting a few flowers and trees that would benefit all pollinators. Now Rachel and Sarah Barbour, who started the discussion about Himalayan Balsam plan to get together to see what common ground they can find and maybe work together to both help bees and tackle the dreaded Balsam.

Protect your pooch

In response to the increased fear of pet theft, Neighbourhood Watch has launched a ‘protect your pooch’ campaign. The idea is to encourage people to keep their pet secure, in sight and capable of being traced if it is stolen. There’s also a petition being launched calling for pet theft to become a specific criminal offence. More information on the campaign can be found on Anyone interested or concerned about dog theft may wish to join a special Webinar at 5pm on Thursday 27 May. The webinar will be hosted by Neighbourhood Watch and there’ll be a range of guest speakers. You can register to attend by following this link:

St Columba’s Church

Services planned are:

• Whit Sunday (Pentecost), 23 May, 10.45am – Holy Communion

• Trinity Sunday, 30 May, 7pm – Compline

• Sunday 6 June, 6.30pm – Choral Evensong

• Sunday 13 June, 10.45am – Choral Eucharist for St Columba’s Day

Local traders

• Asenbee Honey – as well as selling local honey, this Asenby-based business makes beeswax candles and a range of hand-carved spoons and oak chopping boards.

The Swan is now operating normal hours again. George, Jane and the team are looking forward to welcoming customers old and new for drinks, meals and good company.

• The Elm Gallery – Opening times are: Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 5.30pm; Sunday, 12noon to 5.30pm; Monday and Tuesday – closed. Covid safety arrangements are in place with two households/bubbles in the gallery at any one time. Call 01845 577316 or 07709 223920 or check out the website at:

• The Milk Churn Farm Shop –The café is now open again. It offers a selection of hot and cold drinks, homemade cakes, traybake and scones. Wheelchair access is available at the rear of the property. Customers are still required to keep to social distancing rules so the café is providing tables each with just three chairs as the seating area is too small to have more. Takeaway teas and coffees with cake is still available. Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9-5pm. Thursday and Saturday 9-1pm. Check out Facebook page for information about new lines in fresh and frozen foods. 01845 400446.

The Little Yorkshire Hamper Company – currently based at the Milk Churn farm Shop but due to lack of space is planning to return to Melmerby sometime soon. The company provides beautiful hampers for all occasions. Hampers contain the best of produce from small Yorkshire food and drink producers. – 07793 775987

Topcliffe Post Office – opening hours are: Shop – weekdays 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7 to 11.30am. Post Office – weekdays 8.30am to 5pm and Saturday 8.30 to 11.30am. Both closed on Sundays.

Chip ‘n Dales – the Fish & Chip van is in Topcliffe on Fridays between 5 and 7pm.

Studio 18 Hairstylist – unisex hairdressing salon run by Nicola James at 18 Long Street (opposite the surgery). Open Monday to Saturday. Male and female adults as well as children. For an appointment call Nicola on 07851 034815.

The Thirsk Food Bank now has a collection point at the Milk Churn Farm Shop. The following foodstuffs are welcomed: tins, pasta, rice, biscuits, cereals, jars, crisps, juices, bottled products, soups, crisp breads, anything in packets. But please, no fresh products as there’s a risk they will go to waste.

• John Aston Flooring Ltd – operating from The Old Hatchery in Asenby. There’s a large selection of carpets and flooring to suit all tastes. Appointment only. 01845 421111 – info

• The Angel at Topcliffe – now reopened fully witha new menu. Please call to book indoor tables.

  • Breakfast is served 8 to 10am to non-residents every day.
  • Lunch is served Monday to Friday, 12noon to 2.30pm and dinner 5 until 9pm.
  • The restaurant is open 12noon to 9pm on Saturdays and 12 noon to 8pm on Sundays.
  • The bar is open Monday to Thursday, 12 noon to 11pm; Friday and Saturday 12 noon to midnight; Sunday 12 noon to 10.30pm.
  • The tents and gazebos in the garden are being retained for a few more weeks, so those who are still reluctant to eat inside can still enjoy a meal.
  • The Angel at Home service will continue until further notice Wednesday to Sunday (please try to book in advance and check the new menu before ordering).
  • Comedy Night is planned to resume on 6 July, tickets will be available next week (£10 in advance, £12 on the day).

The Angel is looking for front of house staff to work evenings and weekends. Anyone interested please call Greg or Steve on 01845 578000 for more details.

Check out full details at or follow The Angel on Facebook to get regular updates.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Refuse – Monday 24 May and 7 June

• Recycling & green waste – Friday 4 June (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday)

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Recycling – Monday 24 May and 7 and 21 June

• Refuse – Tuesday 1 June (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Mondays 14 and 28 June

• Garden waste – Friday 4 June (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday)

That’s all for this week. Keep safe and remain well.