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Sunday Email: Issue 187

Welcome to the Sunday Email.
07785 223707
St Columba’s Services

  • TODAY (3 December) at 6.30pm – Advent Sunday – Choral Evensong
  • Sunday 10 December at 10.45am – Holy Communion
  • Sunday 17 December at 10.45am Matins
  • Sunday 17 December at 6.30pm – Carol Service – the traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols with the St Columba Choir led by Linda Hewlett and accompanied by organist Matthew Atherton, followed by a delicious finger buffet and wine.
  • Saturday 23 December at 3pm – informal family crib service and carols led by Rev’d Dawn Ward.
  • Christmas Eve, Sunday 24 December – No morning service.
  • Christmas Eve, Sunday 24 December at 11.30pm – Midnight Mass and Eucharist led by Rev’d Robert Williams.
  • Christmas Day, Monday 25 December – No Service.

Everyone is most welcome to come along for any of these services. Refreshments are served after every Sunday morning service.

Carol singing in Asenby
OnWednesday 20 December at 6.30pm members of St Columba’s choir will lead the singing of carols around Asenby. Meet at Asenby Hall. Everyone is welcome to join in. A collection will be taken in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Thirsk Farmers’ Market
TODAY – (3 December) – taking place at Thirsk Market Place between 9am and 2pm. All stallholders are local independent businesses who grow, rear or produce the food or drink on their stall. More information at
Quiz night at the Village Hall
TONIGHT – the Sunday quiz is on at Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall at 8pm.
Photograph shows last week’s winning team – ‘Three guys and a gal’.
Topcliffe Christmas tree up
Our village Christmas tree was put up yesterday outside the Village Hall and will be decorated and lit as soon as it is warm enough for the volunteers to do it.

A huge thank you to Josh Barningham who sourced the tree and used his farm vehicle to put it in position.

The traditional Christmas tree
(a slightly edited version of an article in December’s Cross Talk newsletter produced with permission from Richard Byas)

Christmas has many traditions, and one of the earliest traditions that is still followed is the decorated Christmas tree. The origin of the modern Christmas tree is open to debate, but trees have been used in rituals and as decorations since ancient times.

Many people believe that the Christmas tree originated in Germany in about 723 and there is story involving the English missionary St. Boniface taking an axe to a tree being worshiped by pagans and suggesting that a nearby evergreen was their ‘holy tree’. Other sources report that a fir grew on the site of the fallen oak.

Whether that tale of Boniface and the pagans is true or not, evergreen trees became part of Christian rites in Germany, and in the Middle Ages ‘paradise trees’ began to appear there. These were meant to represent the Garden of Eden and were evergreen trees hung with apples and displayed in homes on 24 December, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. In time other decorations were added. Martin Luther reportedly first hung lighted candles on a tree in the 16th century (not now recommended following Health and Safety audits!) and paradise trees evolved into Christmas trees. By the 19th century, Christmas trees were a firmly established tradition in Germany.

The custom of decorating a small tree was unknown in Britain until about two hundred years ago. The German-born Queen Charlotte introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800. The custom did not at first spread much beyond the royal family but Queen Victoria as a child was familiar with it and a tree was placed in her room every Christmas.

Queen Victoria married the German Prince Albert in 1840 and by 1841 the custom became even more widespread. The couple made Christmas trees a prominent part of the holiday’s festivities, and in 1848 an illustration of the royal family around a decorated tree appeared in a London newspaper. Christmas trees soon became common in English homes. Initially the trend was followed only by wealthier families but their use at public entertainments, charity bazaars and in hospitals made them increasingly familiar. In 1906 a charity was set up specifically to ensure that poor children in London slums "who had never seen a Christmas tree" would enjoy one that year. Anti-German sentiment after World War I briefly reduced their popularity, but the effect was short-lived, and by the mid-1920s the use of Christmas trees had spread to all classes.

Now Christmas trees in shops and public spaces as well as in our homes are a normal part of the Christmas season and they are a significant crop for numerous farmers with around 6-8 million Christmas trees sold annually in the UK.

Carols round Topcliffe’s Christmas tree
Residents are invited to gather at the Christmas tree outside the Village Hall to sing carols at 7pm on Thursday 21 December.

Sheets with the words of the carols…and a few other festive songs…will be provided, but you’ll need to bring a torch or a mobile phone to light your way!

Afterwards, mulled wine and mince pies will be served in the hall. There’ll be no set price, but donations will be welcome.

Cross Talk
The December edition of Cross Talk, the monthly church newsletter, can be read here – Cross Talk Dec 23 2.docx – Microsoft Word Online (
Anne-Marie and her milk round
Many of you will have heard that Anne-Marie Barningham has been unwell for a few weeks and her milk round has been disrupted. After much soul searching Anne-Marie has decided she can no longer undertake the milk delivery round and she is now effectively retired from that activity.

Milk and eggs (and cream if ordered in advance) can still be picked up from the farm on Long Street.

Everyone who knows Anne-Marie will want to wish her every good wish and hope that her treatment goes well. Of course, she wasn’t just a milk lady but also acted as an unofficial social worker and care assistant to so many elderly and those in difficulty. Her community caring services will be sadly missed by many.

The Tattler
The festive edition of The Tattler has been printed and copies will be delivered door to door in Topcliffe and Asenby starting tomorrow (4 December).
Warm Hub lunch
There will not be a lunch on Wednesday 13 December as the Senior Citizens’ lunch is being held that day. Hopefully, most of the regulars will be attending that event anyway. The next regular lunch will be on Wednesday 27 December.

Forty four meals were served at last week’s lunch and donations received totalled £160, of which £50 was presented to Royal British Legion in Thirsk. After expenses, the balance has been added to the Warm Hub hardship fund.

Payments from the hardship fund to those in need will be made before Christmas.

Senior Citizens’ Christmas Lunch
Residents of Topcliffe & Asenby aged 65 and over are invited to the Christmas lunch in the Village Hall on Wednesday 13 December. The cost for a full seasonal three course dinner, drinks and entertainment is £15 per head. Places are limited so please apply early to Judith Lowe 0n 01845 577911.
Topcliffe local election

The Liberal Democrat candidate has been elected to the Sowerby and Topcliffe division on North Yorkshire Council. The Rev’d Dan Sladden took 41.5 per cent of the votes in the by-election last Thursday (30 November). The turnout was 29.27 per cent, with 1,838 votes cast from an electorate of 6,279.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Green councillor Dave Whitfield on health grounds.

Church of England reverend Dan, who sings professionally with York Minster and Ripon Cathedral choirs, said: “I’m so honoured by this result. It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting so many residents over the last few weeks and that they turned out to vote Lib Dem in such numbers is humbling."

Christmas Yarnbomers
The Thirsk yarnbomers have put up their amazing Christmas display in the town centre. There are some fantastic decorations which give a massive boost to the festive season in the town. Well done ladies.

Here are just a few of the decorations.

Events at The Angel Inn

Sunday lunches: Sunday lunches are served in the conservatory and function room. Booking is recommended. Menus can be viewed here.

Christmas: Opening for food on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day (booking essential). There’ll be no food served on Christmas day, however drinks will be served from 11.30am to 1.30pm.

Wreath making class: tomorrow Monday 4 December – two sessions – one at 3pm and the second at 7pm. See full details here.

Comedy Night: Yes it’s back! The regular Stand-Up Comedy Night is returning to The Angel Inn on Thursday 28 December. Doors open at 7pm. Show 7.30 to 10.30pm. Tickets £10 pre-paid or £12 on the night.

Please call 01845 578000 for more information.

Chip ‘n Dales
The Chip ‘n Dales fish and chip van will be in Topcliffe – 5 to 7pm on Fridays 8, 15 and 22 December. After the opening on Friday 22 December the service will be closed until Friday 19 January.
The RItz Cinema, Thirsk

  • To Thursday 7 December – no matinees – Dream Scenario.
  • Friday 8 to Thursday 14 December – no matinees – The Marvels.
  • Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December – matinees only – Trolls: Band Together.
  • Friday 15 to Thursday 21 December – matinee on Wednesday 20 December – Napoleon.
  • Friday 22, Saturday 23, Wednesday 27, Thursday 28, Friday 29, Saturday 30 December and Tuesday 2, Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 January 2024 – matinees on Wednesday 27, Saturday 30 December and Wednesday 3 January 2024 – Wish

The Ritz will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Opening times: evenings – doors open at 7pm for 7.30pm. Matinees – doors open at 2pm for 2.30pm.

Ripon at Christmas

Advent Procession and Carol Service: at Ripon Cathedral at 5.30pm today – 3 December.

Macmillan Carol Concert: Drinks and canapes at The Old Deanery followed by a candlelit carol concert at Ripon Cathedral from 6pm on Monday 4 December. More information and booking at

Illuminated Winter Wonderland: Enjoy lights, decorations, snow machine, crafts and carol singing in Ripon Spa Gardens between 2 and 8pm from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 December. Free entry but donations welcomed.

Christmas Carol Concert: The cathedral choir sings with the renowned St Cecilia Orchestra in a spectacular concert in the nave at 5.30pm on Sunday 17 December. Tickets £15 for adults and £5 for children (5-16) from

Festival of Lessons and Carols: The Christmas Story told in readings and music from the Ripon Cathedral Choir. At the cathedral on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 December at 5.30pm.

See more festive events in Ripon by visiting http://www.christmasin

Festive Wreath Making
Wreath making classes will be held at Rainton Village Hall on the following dates:

  • Monday 4 December, 10am to 1pm.
  • Friday 8 December, 10am to 1pm.
  • Sunday 10 December, 10am to 1pm.

Tuition, materials, drinks and cake included in the price of £30. Contact Gill Common on 07585 151910.