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Sunday Email: Issue 12


Twelve weeks! Three months! A quarter of a year! Doesn’t time fly when you’re in lockdown and self-isolation? I never imagined that the weekly Sunday email would still be a regular feature of village life so far down the line, but here we are with the 12th edition. Ok, things are beginning to change with the easing of regulations, relaxation of social gatherings and the opening of shops, but the dangers of Coronavirus are as real and deadly as ever and there’s still a long way to go before we are back to what we might call “normal”. The re-emergence of the disease in China demonstrates how easy it is for second spikes to occur and the danger here in the UK is that moving too quickly to remove restrictions could see us in the same position.

Each week there seems to be sufficient new and interesting information to circulate and I know that many recipients look forward to reading the latest announcements. So I aim to keep going for now and there’ll be another email next Sunday. I am always happy to include information that village residents think others would like to have, so If you have any information that you would like me to include please feel free to contact me.

Last week I changed the format slightly and included “Shopping” and “Take away” food information in a separate Word attachment. That arrangement cut back the size of the email considerably, so I am making that a permanent feature.

A very happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.


07785 223707

Local coronavirus deaths

The Office of National Statistics has published details of local deaths from the disease over the months of March, April and May where Covid-19 was mentioned as a cause on the death certificate. The grouping of towns and villages may appear a bit disjointed, but it makes more sense when you view them on the map accessed via the link below.

  • Thirsk North (including Knayton, Boltby, Sutton) – 6 deaths
  • Thirsk South and Coxwold (including Sowerby, Topcliffe, Thirkleby, Kilburn, Husthwaite, Kilburn and Sessay) – 4 deaths
  • Leeming, Pickhill and Thornton – 2 deaths
  • Northallerton South and Leeming Bar – 14 deaths
  • Brompton, Appleton and Thimbleby – 7 deaths
  • Dishforth, Baldersby, Asenby and Bishop Monkton – 1 death
  • Linton, Tollerton and Raskelf – 0 deaths
  • Boroughbridge and Marton-cum-Grafton – 13 deaths

You can search for your own or any another area at

New Covid cases continue to drop across the Uk, but vigilance is essential if we are to avoid a spike as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Lockdown relaxations: What you can now do

Under the latest relaxations of the government’s restrictions:

• You can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children – in other words, you are in a household where there is only one adult. All those in a support

bubble will be able to act as if they live in the same household – meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart. Support bubbles should be exclusive – meaning

you should not switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households. ????

• You are able to meet outdoors with groups of up to six people from different households, provided social distancing is observed and you stay two metres away from anyone outside your household or support bubble.

• You can attend your place of worship for the purposes of individual prayer.

• You can visit any type of shop and some additional outdoor attractions.

• It is mandatory that you wear a face covering on public transport.

You still can’t:

• Visit friends and family inside their homes (unless you are in a support bubble).

• Stay away from your home or your support bubble household overnight – including holidays – except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes.

• Exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool.

• Use an outdoor gym or playground.

• Gather outdoors in a group of more than six (unless exclusively with members of your own household or support bubble).

Shops and businesses

• Non-essential shops have been allowed to open again since last Monday. They’ve all had to meet new social distancing and hygiene measures to protect customers and staff from the virus, and by and large the

arrangements appear to have worked well.

• Charity shops can now reopen but many have decided to delay starting up again and we’ll see more open their doors during the rest of this month and in early July.

• We still await an announcement from the government about when hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen. Gregg Tassel, Manager of The Angel at Topcliffe recently posted on

Facebook that he was hopeful that there’d be an announcement fairly soon. The 4 July has been in some media as a likely reopening date for pubs with gardens, but that hasn’t been confirmed by the government.

Similarly, there’s no sign yet that clubs, cafes, cinemas, theatres or places such caravan parks, hotels, holiday accommodation or libraries will be allowed to open soon. You can pop in to places of worship to say a private

prayer, but there are still no congregational services.

• Dental practices are now operating again and I heard of several villagers who were invited in for their regular check-up last week, so it’s not just special treatment on offer. Still, it’s best to check out the level of activity

at your own practice. We now know that opticians have also reopened for business, but beauty salons and hairdressers must wait until 4 July before they can reopen.

• Care Homes are looking at imaginative arrangements that allow families to visit their loved ones, in many cases for the first time in three months. Special meeting facilities are being built in the gardens of some homes

where care home residents can meet their loved ones in safety.

Test and Trace

The position relating to Test and Trace is unchanged, but the information is important and remains relevant so this paragraph is repeated, with only minor change, from last week. Contact tracers are now busily tracking down people who have been near those testing positive for coronavirus. Their role is to ask infected persons to list all the people with whom they’ve recently been in ‘prolonged’ contact. Those people will then be obliged to self-isolate for 14 days, whether sick or not. The person asked to isolate will not be tested and the rest of the person’s household need not isolate. Anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus – a persistent cough, fever or a sudden loss of taste or sense of smell – must isolate for seven days and the rest of their household for 14 days. Everyone with symptoms should ask for a test online or telephone 119 to arrange a test. If the test is negative, everyone in the household can go back to normal. But if positive, the NHS Test and Trace or local public health will get in touch via text, email or phone to discuss where the person has been and with whom they have been in contact. The requirement to self-isolate isn’t enshrined in law, but complying is described as a civic duty. If NHS Test and Trace calls you by telephone, the service will be using a single phone number 0300 0135 000. The only website the service will ask you to visit is

For more detailed information about Trace and Trace, please see the government’s website –

The Test & Trace App

The government has conceded that the long-promised Test & Trace app that it has been developing is flawed and will not be available until sometime during the winter. As well as having some technical issues, it is now understood that the government is leaning more towards the use of human test and tracing, rather than reliance on a technological solution. Although the app was initially promoted as a vital and very sophisticated system able to identify people an infected person may have been close to in a crowded place, the government says it is not essential to its test and trace arrangements. Resources are now been reallocated to an app model being developed by tech giants Apple and Google, and which is being supported by many other countries. But it’s uncertain when even that app is going to be ready for use.

NHS Test and Trace scams

The NHS Test and Trace service naturally plays an important role in the fight against Coronavirus so it’s vital the public have confidence and trust in the service. Unfortunately, like most other areas of online activity, it is also providing the opportunity for criminals to commit scams. So please remember that contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 0135 000. Anyone who does not wish to talk over the telephone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service. All text or emails sent by NHS Test and Trace will ask people to sign into the contact tracing website and will provide a unique reference number. It is advised that you type the web address directly into your browser, followed by the unique reference number given to you, rather than clicking on any link provided in the message.

The NHS Test and Trace service will never:

• ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)

• ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind

• ask for any details about your bank account

• ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts

• ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone

• ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else

• ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS.

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to Action Fraud at or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Plans for NHS birthday celebration

There is now widespread national support for the planned celebrations to mark the NHS’s 72nd birthday over the weekend of 4 and 5 July. The aim is to mark the birthday but also to again thank key workers for their support during the coronavirus pandemic and remember those who have died due to Coronavirus or who are in hospital fighting the awful disease.

The two key moments during the weekend will be:

• A minute’s silence on the evening of July 4 when people will be asked to light a candle in their window in remembrance of all who have died during this time.

• A moment of thanks and connection on July 5 when we take part in one last country-wide clap of thanks and then stay out to raise a glass or have a cup of tea with our neighbours.

Watch out on the TV News, in newspapers and on social media for more information.

Flying takes off at Linton-on-Ouse

RAF Linton-on-Ouse recommences flying operations from 22 June, having been closed to all flying since early March. From tomorrow, Tutor aircraft of the Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron will be operating and from 3 to 20 July up to six Hawk jet aircraft will be flying. Planned flying hours will be 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and Media & Communications Officer, Flt Lt Mike Lumsdon, has apologised in advance for any noise disturbance experienced. Once the Hawk aircraft have departed after 20 July it is expected that the airfield will return to routine Tutor flying until their final departure in December 2020, when the RAF base closes.

Football kicks off again

The Premier League resumed last Wednesday behind closed doors after a break of three months. There’ll be nearly ninety more matches crammed in to the next 40 days or so and they’ll all be shown on one channel or another.

But schools delay more openings until September

The anticipated restart of education for more children has been put on hold until September due to concerns over social distancing and safety. But there is a national outcry that children’s schooling hasn’t been sorted… yet we can restart activities like going shopping and travelling on public transport. The government is standing firm for the moment but there is increasing pressure from many quarters to get all children back in school as quickly as is viable. We all know it’s vitally important to see our children in school again as soon as possible, but parents need to have every confidence that the conditions in schools will be completely safe.

Year 10 and 12 pupils in secondary schools and further education colleges have begun to receive some face to face support.

The good news this week was the announcement that a billion pounds of extra cash is being made available to schools to support learning programmes that will aid children’s educational ‘catch-up’ over the coming months.

Places to Visit

Many attractions are now open (or partly open) to visitors again. Here’s just a few places that you can now visit:

  • Newby Hall Gardens – This 40 acres of gardens and woodland at this stately home are open, but the house itself, along with the playground, railway, dancing water jets and restaurant remain closed for now. All visitors to Newby must have a pre-purchased ticket. Pre-purchase or validate your ticket at
  • Beningborough Hall Gardens – The car park, gardens, parkland and toilets are now open but you’ll need to book tickets before you visit. National Trust members can book for free, while non-members will need to pay when booking. Tickets are released every Friday. Follow brown signs instead of SatNav after leaving the A19. The car entrance is via Newton-on-Ouse village. Book at
  • RHS Garden Harlow Carr – The garden is open and you must book a time slot in advance for your visit. You can arrive at any point during your booked visit and can stay as long as you wish within the normal opening hours. Booking confirmation must be presented on arrival (as a print out or on your phone). Open 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.
  • Fountains Abbey – Limited numbers of visitors at any one time and booking essential (if you turn up without a booking you will be turned away, even if you are a Trust member). You’ll be asked to arrive within your 30-minute timeslot and can stay until closing time. Parking is at the visitor centre car park only. The toilets are open. Members can book for free: non-members will need to pay when booking. MAX card, Essential Companion card holders, or English Heritage members should call 0344 2491 895 to book. Tickets are released every Friday. Booking closes at 3pm the day before your visit.
  • Thorp Perrow Arboretum – The Bird of Prey & Mammal Centre as well as the Arboretum are now open. There is no need to pre-book. Open 7 days a week 10am to 5pm. The tearoom operates a take-away service only. Toilet facilities are available. The playground remains closed. Groups and guided walks are not allowed, and mobility scooters are not available for hire. Season ticket holders have the option to freeze their membership for the two full months of April and May closure. For further information call 01677 425323 or check out
  • Kiplin Hall Gardens – You can again enjoy long walks around the lake, the parkland and woodland paths. Take in the quiet calm of the walled garden and have the perfect picnic on the rolling lawns. Open 10am-5pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. £12 adult, with concessions, to be paid contactless or chip & pin. Booking not necessary.
  • The Himalayan Garden – This unique garden and sculpture park in Grewelthorpe, near Ripon, is now open. It has beautiful woodland, gardens, an arboretum and three lakes. The toilets are open but the playground
  • and the tearoom remain closed – but you can bring your own refreshments. The number of visitors per day is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance online, for a specific day up to two weeks in advance. £9 per person, with concessions. Book at
  • Mount Grace Priory – The priory and gardens (and toilets) will re-open on Saturday 4 July, but the house will remain closed until further notice. There are limits on visitor numbers and you won’t be able to visit without booking a timed ticket in advance. Free access to members but they still need to book in advance.
  • Castle Howard’s Gardens and Grounds are open. Pre-booking required online. Extensive safety measures have been put in place to reflect the government’s social distancing guidelines. In the first weeks of opening the focus will be on allowing visitors back into the gardens with limited facilities. Reopening of outlets will happen over the coming weeks. The Gardens opening will not include the playground at this stage, but will include takeaway catering outlets and the Farm Shop and Garden Centre remain open daily.
  • Middleham Castle – Best known as one of the childhood homes of Richard III, the castle dominates the North Yorkshire town of Middleham. Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) spent his youth here and it became one of his royal homes. The castle will open on 4 July. Booking for timed tickets is available now. There are limits on visitor numbers and you won’t be able to visit without your booking confirmation. English Heritage member have free access but they still need to book in advance. Free on-street parking nearby. There is a setting down point on the road outside the entrance.

Fancy a film at a drive-in cinema?

Going to the theatre or cinema certainly isn’t possible right now but how do you fancy going to drive-in cinema? There are two opportunities in the near future – first at Harrogate’s Great Yorkshire Showground on 11 and 12 July and then at Ripon Racecourse on 18 and 19 July. Social distancing measures will be in place. The films will be shown on large screens using LED technology, and cars will be spaced out to enable everyone to see. The sound for the film will come through the car stereo system, with everyone tuning into a specific FM frequency. Portaloos will be installed at both sites. More details and bookings via

Textile Recycling Event

As many of you suggested there should be another textile recycling event at the back end of the summer, it has been agreed to repeat the event in early September. That gives everyone plenty of time to sort out their wardrobes and drawers and store filled bags ready for the collection day. The organisers hope you will store your bags of recyclables until then so that as much money as possible can be raised to support the Village Hall

And 1st Topcliffe scout troops.

Click & Collect from Thirsk Community Library

Although the Thirsk Community Library can’t yet open its doors to the public it is offering its members the opportunity to request books by email or telephone. Orders are parcelled up for collection and borrowers can either make an appointment or drop by during opening hours to collect their books. An application form for this service is available on the library website. There’s also DVDs to keep the family entertained on rainy days and audio books. The library, which is operated by volunteers, can only offer books that are currently in stock: there are no inter-library transfers at the moment. Existing members familiar with the NYCC website can search online to see what is in stock and request specific items. Alternatively, there’s space on the application form for members to ‘flag’ their favourite author/genre, which allows the volunteers to put together a selection of books that hopefully might suit. There’s a delivery service for anyone unable to get to the library in person. New library members are very welcome. You can sign up over the telephone or online. If you choose the latter, please follow it up with an email to alert the volunteers to your registration.

The library is also offering a printing and photocopying service for anyone in need. Simply contact the volunteers and they’ll do their best to help.

Contact details are: Email: Telephone: 01609 534589 (this is a direct line to Thirsk Library) and Facebook:

Opening hours for Call/Click/Collect/Copy: Monday, Thursday and Friday 10-12 and 2-4; Tuesday 2-4; Wednesday Closed; Saturday 10-12.

Community Works

Last week I mentioned that the Clock Works community reuse shop In Thirsk had reopened for business. It’s located in Thirsk Market Square (behind the Greengrocer) and offers a range of items including furniture, household items, beds and mattresses, cycles, TVs, paint, fridges and freezers, and other electrical items. I’ve now been advised that the charity is now able to collect donated items of the type listed, but collection staff can’t enter homes. Any items must be in reasonable condition and furniture must have a fire certificate, if appropriate. The special donation hotline number is 07598 187846.

The merger between two separate charities – The Clock and Thirsk Community Care – has created a new charity called Community Works, with the re-use shop operating under the name Clock Works. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity has been providing food parcels and meals for the elderly and vulnerable, providing telephone support and helping with those who are homeless or suffering domestic violence. They are always looking for volunteers and if anyone wants to help they should get in touch.The charity’s Head Office is behind The Methodist Church on St James Green and there’s still a manned office down the alley between Herriot’s shop and Lees Butchers. Telephones – Head Office 01845 524494 and Market Place office 01845 523115.

Pick your own

Spilmans in Sessay, have opened their fields for ‘pick your own’ strawberries. You have to pre-purchase an admission ticket online for a chosen time slot and you will be asked to wash your hands before entering. To book your session and print a £10 credit voucher to redeem on-site go to: The farm is closed on Mondays.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

  • Refuse – Mondays 22 June, 6 July and 20 July.
  • Recycling and green bins – Thursdays 2 July, 16 July and 30 July.

Harrogate (Asenby):

  • Recycling – Mondays 22 June, 6 July, 20 July.
  • Refuse – Mondays 29 June, 13 July and 27 July.
  • Garden waste – Thursday 2 July, 16 July and 30 July.


• ‘Top Residents’ and ‘Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall’ Facebook sites have lots of useful information and chat about what’s going on during lockdown. Asenby’s community Facebook page ‘Asenby Institute Community

Space’ is keeping villagers well informed and in touch with each other.

• Our two Parish Councils are not meeting during the crisis. However, our Parish Councillors and Parish Clerks remain available to deal with any urgent matters. Details are on the two parish council websites – and

• Freecycle Stall – every Saturday and Sunday, the Burnett family, who live in Pear Tree Cottage on Long Street in Topcliffe, organise a Freecycle Stall so that other villagers can pick up books, magazines, toys and more.

Feel free to pop by the stall, but don’t forget to observe social distancing when you’re there…and appropriate hygiene when handling the items.

• Asenby Bus Shelter Library – has become a ‘community hub’ with village library and games exchange. Please note that users are required to wear gloves and should sanitise books before leaving them or picking them up.

• Heather Allon organises a magazine and book loan scheme in the village. Those who are housebound or in lockdown who would like to be involved should telephone her on 01845 595080.

• Sowerby Waste & Recycling Centre – the site is now back to operation at its normal hours and days – 8:30am to 5pm six days a week. Closed on Wednesdays.

• Rural Arts activities: find out more about the arts and craft activities on offer from Rural Arts – email Sorcha McCabe at or call 01845 526536 and leave her a message on the answerphone.

That’s all until next Sunday. Stay alert, keep safe and keep well.