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Sunday Email: Issue 24

Hello and welcome to the 24th issue of this regular Sunday email.

Last week I cut back substantially on the amount of information about the Coronavirus believing that we could all do with a rest from the pandemic for a while. It was a nice idea but one destined to be short lived. This week the pandemic is back in the news with a vengeance with infections having increased significantly and new national restrictions that have an impact on all of us. A study of thousands of people in England found cases doubling every seven to eight days, with a marked rise in the north and among young people. The steep climb in cases forced the government to take strong and decisive action to try and stem a potential second spike in the disease.

Now we have new laws – not guidance – that restrict our activities. It’s not quite a return to the lockdown conditions that we experienced for six months, but we may be on the slippery road to something quite similar. Hopefully this dose of medicine will make things better in time for Christmas…but lots of pundits are suggesting the usual festivities will be much-curtailed or not be taking place at all.

I hope you find the contents interesting and informative. As usual, get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think Topcliffe and Asenby village residents might like to hear about.


07785 223707

The new ‘Rule of Six’ that applies from tomorrow (14 September)

  • Social gatherings of more than six people in England will not be allowed in law (it was previously a maximum of 30 from two households or 6 from multiple households to meet outdoors)
  • The new rule applies to people in private homes, indoors and outdoors, and places such as pubs, restaurants, cafes and public outdoor spaces.
  • It applies to all ages.
  • The rule does not apply to schools and workplaces.
  • There’s a range of other exemptions including households or support bubbles that are larger than six; where gatherings are for work or education purposes; weddings and funerals; and team sports organised in a way limiting the spread of coronavirus. If you live in a household of more than six you can gather in public or private. However, you will not be able to join with anyone from outside of your household.
  • Gatherings of more than 6 people can be broken up by police and those who ignore police instructions could be fined £100 – doubling with each offence to a maximum of £3,200.

In setting out a new ‘Rule of Six’ restricting gatherings to a maximum of six people, enforced with fines or arrests, the Prime Minister said: "We must act to stop the rise in coronavirus cases in England. The government is simplifying and strengthening the rules after feedback from police and the public. I want to be absolutely clear, these measures are not another national lockdown. The whole point of them is to avoid a second national lockdown. The new rules will be in place only as long as necessary.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty added: “The new restrictions will last for a block of time but putting an exact time on it is very difficult. People should not expect it to be a few weeks – it will certainly be longer though restrictions will be reviewed constantly.” Many observers suggest this means that the restrictions could be in place until Christmas, meaning that many festivities and family gatherings will not be allowed to go ahead.

‘Hands Face Space’ campaign launched

A new campaign has been launched by the government to encourage people to take steps to limit the spread of coronavirus amid a rise in positive cases. The ‘Hands Face Space’ campaign urges people to ensure they wash their hands, use a mask when needed and maintain social distancing. The campaign states these are the three most effective ways the public can contain the spread of the virus, and echoes previous advice given by the government. The advert highlights how the virus spreads in indoor settings – which is particularly pertinent as winter approaches. England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “As we approach winter and inevitably spend more time indoors, we need the public to keep following this important advice to control the spread of the virus. ‘Hands Face Space’ emphasises important elements of the guidance we want everybody to remember: wash your hands regularly, use a face covering when social distancing is not possible and try to keep your distance from those not in your household."

A view from an Intensive Care Consultant

Richard Cree, an Intensive Care Consultant at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital, writes a regular Blog about the virus and it’s impact on the hospital and its patients. In his latest message he said: “There is no doubt that a minority of people are flouting social distancing advice but it’s important that everyone plays their part. It’s not just the young who need to pay attention to the warnings. There are some things that are now increasingly becoming a bad idea. Meeting people indoors for any significant period of time, sharing lifts, flying on crowded planes and drinking and/or dining out in establishments that are not fastidious in their attention to social distancing will become increasingly dangerous. Anyone who is vulnerable to COVID-19 should think twice about doing so now that the virus is becoming prevalent again. By ‘vulnerable’ I mean anyone over the age of fifty to be brutally honest. It is not just the elderly who are at risk. It is not just people with ‘underlying health conditions’ either. Even if your chance of dying may be relatively small, there is no doubt that those who survive Covid-19 can be left with ongoing health-problems, especially those who end up in Intensive Care. So, we need to throw summer complacency aside and understand the risks of continuing as we are. Even if our individual priorities do not include our own personal safety, we have a duty to our community.”

Book a Coronavirus test

Key workers and anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms can have a test. As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social Care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days:

  • Monday 14 September – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 14 September – Northallerton – Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Tuesday 15 September – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Wednesday 16 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Thursday 17 September – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 17 September – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 18 September – Northallerton – Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 18 September – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB

Before you attend you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. To book a test visit:

In certain cases, home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house. There’s a link on the North Yorkshire County Council website to request a home test –

Covid-19 contact tracing app

The government has announced that a new Covid-19 contact tracing app will launch on September 24 across England and Wales. Users of the app will scan barcode-like QR codes to register visits to public venues including pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas. The government will urge businesses to put up QR code posters to help support the app.

Travel isolation

If you’re planning a holiday or overseas travel the best thing to do is check out the government’s website – – for the current advice and information…and then hope for the best!

The Milk Churn Farm Shop

The new Milk Churn farm shop at 81 Long Street in Topcliffe opened to the public last Monday. For the time being, only the grocery and fresh food shop are open but in the near future there’ll also be a gift shop on the first floor and a café in the conservatory. It’s owned and run by locals Debbie Roberts, her daughter Hannah and business partner Kerry Parker. They pride themselves on having sourced the majority of their stock within Yorkshire and often from just a few miles away from Topcliffe. They are selling fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, along with a large range of specialty cheeses, breads, cakes and chocolates, plus frozen meals and a selection of alcoholic beverages. There’ll also be homemade soups and quiches, ready-to-go lunch boxes and drinks fresh every day. Customers will be able to order vegetable and meat boxes that can be collected or that can be delivered to local homes. They will also provide weekend boxes for a full English and/or Sunday lunch box with a nice bottle of wine. The shop has decided to have half day trading on Thursdays. The new times are

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday – 9am to 5pm. Thursday 9am to -1pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

The Tattler – September 2020 edition

Look out for the latest Tattler dropping through your letterbox this week. It’s a bumper 12-page edition with lots of interesting articles and features. A big thank you to all the local advertisers who make the quarterly publication possible.

Village Hall Committee & AGM

A meeting of the Village Hall Committee will be held online via Zoom at 7pm on Thursday 1 October. The committee meeting will be preceded by the AGM for 2020, which would normally have been staged in May, but was delayed because of the pandemic. By law the public must be made aware of and invited to be present at the AGM so the Village Hall Committee is inviting anyone who wishes to attend virtually to get in touch and register their interest. Just send your contact details (name and email address) to Andrew Eckersley, Chairman of the Village Hall Committee – – by 5.00pm on Monday 28 September . You will be sent an agenda and an invitation link to join the meeting a few days before it is scheduled. If you have used Zoom before then it will already be downloaded on your system. If you have not used Zoom before, it is recommended that you click the link about 15 minutes before the meeting is due to start so that the system can set you up and Andrew can give you access to the virtual meeting.

Lost and Found!

On 18 August, someone lost a bronze effect charm bracelet on the roadside along Park Lane, between Rainton Road and Queen Mary’s School entrance. If it is yours please contact

Holy Rood House

Holy Rood House in Sowerby Road, Thirsk would like to invite you to its Autumn Quiet Garden Day on Saturday, 19 September. They have a large healing garden with quiet spaces, a labyrinth, goats, hens and a walled pond garden. There is a garden gazebo and space in the chapel and art room, with toilet facilities too. The organisers suggest visitors bring a packed lunch and drinks. Holy Rood House is part of the Quiet

Garden Movement and the venue looks forward to welcoming you. 10am-3pm. To apply for tickets visit:

Dales & District Bus Services

Throughout most of the pandemic a popular morning bus journey on the Ripon to Thirsk and Northallerton No. 70 service was cancelled. But now it’s back! As of last week the bus operator restored the 9.19am (Asenby) and 9.21am (Topcliffe) service, much to the delight of regular travellers. This means that buses to Thirsk and Northallerton can now be caught at 7.48am, 9.19am, 11.43am, 14.03pm and 17.58pm from Asenby and 7.51am, 9.21am, 11.46am, 14.06pm and 18.01pm from Topcliffe. And as always the slogan is “Use it or lose it_”. Most services are heavily subsidised so if passenger numbers aren’t there, the services could soon be under threat.

Bags 2 School recycling event

It’s time for an autumn sort out – a chance to clean out those wardrobes and drawers that are full of clothes that no longer fit or garments that are out of fashion. The village ‘Bags 2 School’ recycling event is a great opportunity to have a big clear out whilst also raising funds for two local organisations. The Bags 2 School event will be held in the grounds of Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall on Monday, 21 September. Topcliffe Village Hall and Topcliffe Scout groups are organising the fundraising event. We won’t be delivering bags to households – please just use black bags. On the day please deliver your bags to the front of the village hall between 9am and 12 noon. If you are elderly or have a disability and are unable to deliver bags yourself the organisers may be able to provide a home collection service – ring Doug Allan on 07785 223707 to request a pick up.

We would welcome any of the following items: – Men’s, Ladies’ and Children’s clothing – paired shoes (tied together or elastic band around) – handbags – hats – bags – scarves and ties – jewellery – lingerie – socks – belts – soft toys – household linen – household curtains – household towels – household bedding (bed sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers). Please note that we are unable to accept duvets and blankets, pillows and cushions, carpets, rugs and mats (including bath, shower and toilet mats), soiled, painted, ripped or wet clothing, school uniforms, corporate clothing and workwear or textile off cuts, yarns or threaded material.

Plans for new care home and nursery at Sowerby

A new 69 bedroom care home with associated amenity areas is planned for Sowerby on land near Cocked Hat Farm, Topcliffe Road. There will also be a 100 place children’s day nursery with associated play space, eight care home staff apartments and 39 car parking spaces. The planning application is now with Hambleton DC, see

The Angel at Topcliffe

Booking a table in the restaurant is highly recommended any day of the week as it has been very busy, especially at weekends. The garden is still operating on first come first basis for food and drinks. To book email or call01845 578000. Bookings are now being taken for Christmas meals and for a New Year’s Eve event to raise cash for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Check out the website at

The Swan

The Swan serves food every day of the week at socially distanced tables and reservations are necessary. Takeaway meals to order. Times are: 5 to 8:30pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 4pm on Sunday. Telephone 01845 595185.

St. Columba’s Parochial Church Council

As mentioned last week, the PCC is considering reopening the church just for Sunday services and prayers as a first step to normalising church openings. The possibility of opening during the week for private visits will be considered at a later date. The increased prevalence of Covid-19 is far from helpful. Another key problem is that the PCC has been reduced by more than a third in number and only one member lives in Topcliffe. The PCC would be prepared to open the church during the week if volunteers came forward to open and close the church. If you can help call John Phillips on 01845 577034.

Topcliffe Snooker Club

The annual membership fee of £25 is due and should be paid to Dave Bowman as soon as possible. Anyone not intending to keep their membership is asked to return their door key to Dave.

Sutton Bank closure

Today Sutton Bank will close for eight days for maintenance. A diversion route will be signposted along the caravan route through Ampleforth and Coxwold.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Refuse – Mondays 14 and 28 September.

• Recycling and green bins – Thursday, 24 September.

Harrogate (Asenby)

• Recycling – Mondays 14 and 28 September.

• Refuse – Monday, 21 September.

• Garden waste – Thursday, 24 September.

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