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Sunday Email: Issue 27

Hello and welcome to the 27th issue of this regular Sunday email.

In the week that President and Mrs Trump announced that they had both contracted coronavirus and a Scottish MP ignored the rules about isolating even though she knew she had tested positive to the virus, our own Prime Minister, in a televised briefing, issued a stark warning: “Things are heading in the wrong direction, leaving the UK at a critical point”. He added: “There can be no doubt the second wave is now well and truly here. What remains to be seen is just how bad it will be.” Very worryingly, the number of confirmed infections last Thursday alone was 12,872, the highest daily figure since testing began. We can’t say we weren’t warned.

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 residents might like to hear about.


07785 223707

Coronavirus national update

A couple of weeks ago the chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, floated the idea that the UK could face 50,000 cases a day by mid-October if the rises seen in late August and September carried on. It was based on cases doubling every seven days. But it is already clear we are not on that trajectory, although the picture is somewhat muddied by the continued problems people have accessing testing. The idea that we may be seeing relatively slow growth is re-enforced by the results of the latest ‘React’ study, which is part of the government’s wider surveillance programme. These suggest the R number – a measure of how fast infections are spreading – may have actually fallen. However, what is providing most concern is the local peaks in the north-west and north-east of England, where there are much higher rates of infection. Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle have close to 10 times the level of infection than average and Hartlepool and Middlesbrough have now been added to the list of North East local authority areas covered by stronger restrictions.

Given the problems with testing, hospital admissions are arguably a much better measure than cases as they are crucially a measure of people who become seriously ill. The fact is that most people only have mild symptoms. The trajectory of admissions is certainly upwards, but not sharply, and the numbers are nowhere near where they were at the peak of the pandemic. Interestingly, over the past week the numbers of people being admitted to hospital have dropped, though that is not to say they won’t start rising again. The experience of France, where cases started increasing earlier than in the UK, gives us some idea of what to expect: a gradual upward trend.

Coronavirus local update

The number of cases of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase. At 27 September, there had been 3,630 positive tests since 3 March. There have been 519 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 36 cases per day, but may be as high as 45 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in recent days. Scarborough and Selby Districts remain on the Public Health England Watch List as ‘areas of concern’, but all districts are being closely watched.

The county’s care homes and supported living schemes have been advised to limit routine visiting during October to protect residents as Covid-19 infection rates rise. Families and friends will still be able to visit loved ones who are at the end of their lives and essential visits by NHS and social care practitioners will still take place as long as national rules around hand-washing, face masks, PPE, distancing and other requirements are followed. Care homes will be encouraged to allow window visits for all residents so that family members, friends and residents can still see each other, alongside greater use of remote contact by telephone and other technology.

Actions to stop the spread of the virus

It continues to be very important that we all do what we can to reduce the risk of ourselves or other people getting ill with coronavirus. To stop the virus from spreading, we are all advised to avoid close contact with anyone we do not live with. And it’s important to remember that any one of us can spread the virus even if we do not have symptoms ourselves.

✔ – try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)

✔ – wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

✔ – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

✔ – wash your hands as soon as you get home

✔ – cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

✔ – put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

✕ – do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Book a Coronavirus test locally

Testing sites in North Yorkshire are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. The Department is asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms. This is important to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Monday 5 October – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Monday 5 October – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 5 October – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Tuesday 6 October – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Tuesday 6 October – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Wednesday 7 October – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Wednesday 7 October – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Wednesday 7 October – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. If test sites are fully booked they will not appear on the government’s website. 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 –

Low income benefit for workers required to self-isolate

The new self-isolation coronavirus grant for people in work on low incomes will be in place a week tomorrow – Monday 12 October 2020. Individuals on a low income are able to claim a £500 lump sum payment if they cannot work from home and are required to self-isolate. This payment is aimed at helping make up for any lost income people face due to having to stay at home. To be eligible for the grant, you must be:

• Told by NHS Test and Trace that you must self-isolate

• Employed or self-employed

• Unable to work from home and will lose income as a result

• Currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

Locally the scheme will be administered by Hambleton Council. Anyone told to self-isolate since 28 September will be entitled to backdated payments. This financial support comes as the government places a legal requirement on people to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace and introduces tougher fines for breaking the rules.

The NHS Covid app

Over fourteen million people downloaded the new NHS Covid app in the first week it was available. By downloading and using the app, you’ll be helping protect those around you – friends, family, colleagues and local communities. The app features a postcode-based risk-level checker, symptoms-reporter tool, advice on staying in self-isolation and the means to order a coronavirus test. Download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store.

Parish Council meeting

The Parish Council will be meeting remotely on Thursday 5 November at 7pm. There is a period of 10 minutes at the beginning of each meeting set aside to receive questions and comments from members of the public.

Any members of the public wishing to join this meeting electronically should contact the Parish Council Clerk for log in details. If you have any queries regarding the meeting please do not hesitate to contact the Clerk by email at or any Parish Councillor – details are available on the village website at

The Milk Churn Farm Shop

The team at the recently opened Milk Churn Farm Shop in Topcliffe have asked to use today’s email to say a huge thank you to everyone who is supporting them. They say that they have customers coming from Sessay, Dalton, Sandhutton, Asenby and, of course, Topcliffe and everyone has been amazing. The reality of the ongoing Covid pandemic is hitting home again so the shop is launching a range of veg, fruit and salad boxes – for £15 or £20. Anyone self-isolating in Topcliffe and Asenby can have the boxes delivered to your door and this is all done following strict sanitising procedures. Preferably money should be transferred by BACs, but cash can be accepted if necessary. Ring 01845 400446 to order and talk through payment steps. Please order on a Monday for delivery or collection on a Wednesday. You can see what is on offer by visiting

Meat boxes at £20, £40 and £60 are also now available. All the meat retailed through the farm shop originates from Thompson’s Butchers in Northallerton. All meat is fresh, bought local and any cut or joint can be ordered if you cannot find it in the shop’s fridges. Two working days are needed to prepare orders. Orders and payment as above.

Halloween is nearly here and the Milk Churn has received a delivery of pumpkins from Yorkshire Pumpkins at Cundall. They will be out on display at the front of the shop this next week. Bring your wheel barrow, there are some big ones!

Looking further ahead, the team are starting to arrange Christmas stock. You’ll be able to order free range turkeys or a turkey crown, real Christmas trees, handmade wreaths by Lavender & Bee, plus everything for a full Christmas lunch. The shop’s Christmas puddings and Christmas cakes both have a gluten free option. The rear conservatory will be opened soon to display a fabulous selection of artisan Christmas decorations…and the gift shop upstairs will be opened at the end of this week.

The Milk Churn farm shop is located at 81 Long Street, and its opening hours are: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday – 9am to 5pm. Thursday 9am to -1pm (half day closing) and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

Remembrance Day 2020

While this Remembrance Day 2020 is likely to be very different to past years, we shouldn’t allow the pandemic to prevent us from recognising the achievements of our veterans. With the number of remembrance events being scaled back and because some older ex-service men and women may not wish to attend a ceremony in person, Community First Yorkshire wants to help people show their gratitude in another way. Using funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, the organisation is offering a free gift box on a first come, first served basis to 150 North Yorkshire veterans aged 65 and over. Each box will include a collection of items, most with either a military or Yorkshire theme, and will be delivered free of charge in early November, arriving in time for Remembrance Sunday. (Packs are suitable for both men and women.) To be eligible for a pack, veterans must be aged 65 or over, have served in HM Armed Forces (including National Service) or have seen active service as part of the Merchant Navy and live in the districts of Hambleton or Harrogate. If you meet these criteria, or you know an older veteran who does, please email or call 01904 704177 to request a gift box. Please note that stocks are limited and packs will only be sent to the first 150 veterans, with a maximum of one pack to each address. Should stocks run out before the closing date (18 October), Community First Yorkshire will advise you at the point of order and a notice will be posted on their website at

Blue Cross Week 5 – 11 October

The charity’s biggest fundraising week of the year takes place all of next week. It’s a time when the charity’s motto ‘Seven days to change a life’ takes on special and significant meaning. The team at Topcliffe have a wide range of activities planned for the week to raise funds for the pets in the centre. On Saturday, 10 October, a small team will join up with the Wombles of Hambleton for a sponsored litter pick along the verges from Busby Stoop to Topcliffe village. Volunteer Co-ordinator Jenny Day said: “This year it’s even more important to raise funds as many of our annual events have had to be cancelled. We love that we’ll be helping the environment and pets at the same time. We are not seeking volunteers to join the litter pick as a team has already been put together and we can’t have too many people active along this busy stretch of road. But we do need sponsors and every penny donated will be very much appreciated. All details and updates are on the fundraising page at

Congratulations to Carole Ford

The month of September held a big challenge for Asenby resident Carole Ford who decided to undertake a challenge outside her comfort zone and walk 30 miles to fundraise for Dementia UK. Well, she set her self a target of raising £150 but amazingly managed to raise £440…and walk a creditable 54 miles… by the end of the month. Well done Carole. Dementia UK is a national charity committed to improving the quality of life for all people affected by dementia. The organisation provides mental health nurses – named Admiral Nurses – specialising in dementia care. Carole’s husband is a sufferer and she was keen to do what she could to help support the charity.

The Halloween alternative – the Pumpkin Trail

A message on the Asenby Institute Community Space Facebook page last week raised the idea of an Asenby Pumpkin Trail as a safer way of celebrating Halloween this year. The idea seems a better, safer way of providing something to entertain children rather than the more traditional trick and treating, which obviously is a bit of a non-runner this year. Siobhan Gifford said: “We can’t be handing out sweets to children who knock on the door this year but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an Asenby Pumpkin Trail on Saturday 31 October. Who’s up for a spot of pumpkin carving or even a window decoration (like we did with rainbows and teddy bears)?Adults who accompany their children might choose to hand out a sweet for every pumpkin spotted! Great idea Siobhan, but let’s see if it can be an idea that is launched in both Topcliffe and Asenby. Any parents interested should communicate via the Facebook pages of Asenby Institute Community Space or Top Residents.

Pumpkin Festival

Spilmans pick your own pumpkin festival started yesterday. They have 30,000 pumpkins and squashes of lots of different sizes, shapes and colours. During the festival there’ll be tractor rides, maize maze, corn cannon, bale mountain, pumpkin carving barn and lots of great food to eat. Check out their website – – to book your car arrival time slot for £10 and receive a voucher for £10 to spend anywhere on the farm. Only pay for what you pick or do. Spilmans are located at Church Farm, Sessay, Thirsk, YO73NB.

St. Columba’s Church

Services have recommenced at St Columba’s after a six months break. The first Holy Communion Service was held last Sunday and similar services will be held at the same time on the 11th and 25th of October. The choir will sing Evensong tonight at 6.30pm. Matins is planned for 10.45 am on Sunday, 18 October. There’ll be full Covid safety arrangements in place. All this, of course, is subject to any further changes in Covid restrictions.

Village Hall Committee & AGM

The Village Hall AGM (for 2019/20) and ordinary committee meeting were held online last Thursday, 1 October. The minutes of both meetings are available on the village website –

Your village hall needs you!

The two youngest members on the committee of Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall are appealing for more young residents to volunteer to become involved in running the hall. Emily Collard and Jenny Bumby are by far the youngest committee members and they are keen to have more younger people join them to manage the hall, which is the social hub serving our two villages. Emily says: “Without wanting to be disrespectful to the other members of the committee the fact is that they are all quite a bit older than Jenny and me, they have served their community for many years and it is recognised that new blood is required to ensure that this important community building is retained and maintained.” Jenny added: “It is only the willingness of volunteers to give up a little of their free time now and again that ensures that the village hall is available for everyone’s use and enjoyment. The hall is closed at present because of Covid-19, but it is anticipated that it will reopen in the New Year so that regular activities and events can again get going. Now is a good time to get involved and see what is involved in running the hall. It’s not at all arduous and can be extremely rewarding.” If you would like to chat about putting your name forward to join the committee, feel free to call Emily on 07843 274604 or Jenny on 01845 577483. Alternatively talk to committee chairman Andrew Eckersley on 01845 577648.

Have your say on council budget

Hambleton District Council is consulting on its budget and the services it provides for next year (2021-22). To help shape the budget proposals, the council is inviting you to have your say. Contributions must be made by

30 October 2020. The council states that your opinions, views and ideas matter, so let them know what you think.

Libraries Week

Book lovers across North Yorkshire are invited to take part in a variety of events and activities to celebrate Libraries Week (October 5 to 10). This builds on the huge efforts during the pandemic of the County Council’s library service and the many volunteers supporting community-run libraries to keep in touch with customers virtually during lockdown and to reopen safely as restrictions eased. Around 3,000 people joined the library service over the lockdown period and there was a big increase in the number of e-books and e-audio books borrowed. During Libraries Week, the service is hosting story times and rhyme times for young readers in library branches. These will also be available on its Facebook pages. Please contact your local library, follow them on Facebook or ring 01609 533878 for full details of the times and locations of story times, and to register for the virtual readings. The service has made changes to the layout of libraries and measures are in place to ensure that it is safe for people to return. Numbers allowed into buildings at any one time have been restricted to ensure that social distancing can be maintained and facemasks must be worn.

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. Track & Trace on arrival is now easier with the NHS app but don’t worry if you do not have a smart phone, you can just leave your name and number. To book email or call 01845 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 (this event is subject to the Covid-19 restrictions). Check out the website at The Angel closes at 10pm each evening.

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. The Swan also closes at 10pm.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Recycling and green bins – Thursdays, 8 and 22 October.

• Refuse – Mondays 12 October and 26 October

Harrogate (Asenby)

• Refuse – Mondays, 5 and 19 October.

• Garden waste – Thursdays, 8 and 22 October.

• Recycling – Mondays, 12 and 26 October.

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