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Sunday Email: Issue 34

Hello and welcome to the 34th issue of this regular Sunday email.

Apparently the Cabinet is meeting today to consider what restrictions should be in place once the current lockdown ends on Wednesday 2 December. Some pundits are suggesting that a tougher three-tier arrangement will come into force with more areas in the top tier. However, there is likely to be a concession allowing families to come together in ‘a bubble’ over Christmas. (Makes you wonder if the virus knows it has to take a holiday!). An announcement is expected tomorrow.

I’m sure that you will agree that it’s important to support local businesses during the pandemic and especially in the run up to Christmas. That’s why a few items in this email look familiar – either because they are repeated or updated.

I hope you find the email 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

The latest Covid situation in North Yorkshire – a report from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It has been all eyes on Scarborough over the past week as the health services and other agencies have been responding to the soaring rates of covid-19, the borough has been experiencing. To put it into perspective Scarborough remains in England’s top 10 highest infection rate areas and at one stage, was second only to Hull. Some commentators have linked the increase to the influx of visitors to the coast over half term but in reality the facts are rather closer to home and they serve to remind us all of the very volatile virus we are dealing with. While most people are continuing to stick to the rules and making sacrifices around not seeing their loved ones, sadly a few others are not. So of the 45 fixed penalty notices issues by our partners in the police last weekend just gone, 40 were for illegal gatherings including birthday parties indoors.

Our Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant commented: “This virus does not spread in a linear way, it increases exponentially. This is difficult for some people to grasp – hence there can be a degree of complacency. By the time they are aware of the impact, the spread is getting rapidly worse. It is catastrophic, as is the nature of pandemics. The virus told us its secrets earlier in the year: it spreads through people we trust to be in our personal space. If we are going to make a difference we have to think about our personal responsibility.”

So there it is. The stark truth. It is only individuals who can make the difference in the decisions they make every day. While most of us are playing our part for the county, those who decide to flout the rules can trigger rapid changes in the rate of spread. Some people seemed well aware they should not be having house parties, perhaps they felt safe because they did not believe they had been in contact with anyone who had the virus. But many people will carry the virus with very mild or even no obvious symptoms. Sadly, they may then pass it onto the very people who may develop much more serious symptoms, some may well die. None of this is very palatable, I understand that, but frankly, I think we are at the point with the small minority of people where just asking isn’t enough. As a result, North Yorkshire Police are very clear that they will act on the public’s concerns and respond to reports of breaches of the Covid laws and that enforcement will continue where that is necessary.

So as we head toward the lifting of the second national lockdown I urge everyone in the strongest terms to think very carefully about the sort of Christmas we want to have. We do not yet know what national tier we will be in from December 2. At the moment as a county, we remain above the national average, which is not a happy place to be. The very high rates along the coast are pulling that average up, but we are not powerless in this. In fact, we are very much in charge of our own decisions so let’s make the right choices!

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.

This list only shows the testing sites closest to where we live. These are government operated sites and they are open between 11am and 3pm. The full list of North Yorkshire sites can be viewed on the county council’s website at

  • Every day – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Monday 23 November – Northallerton – Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, DL7 9HA
  • Tuesday 24 November – Catterick – Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge, Richmondshire, DL10 7PE
  • Thursday 26 November – Richmond – Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 27 November – Northallerton – Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, DL7 9HA
  • Saturday 28 November – Skipton – Coach Street, Skipton, BD23 1LH
  • Sunday 29 November – Richmond – Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Sunday 29 November – Thirsk – Millgate Car Park, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

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 –

Flu jab for over 50s

People aged 50 to 64 will be able to get a free flu vaccine from 1 December as part of an expanded pre-winter flu vaccination programme. Jabs will be available from their GP or pharmacy.

Provisional data published by Public Health England last Thursday suggests that the initial push to give flu jabs to the most vulnerable has gone extremely well with 72.9% of those aged 65 attending for their jab.

Reminder of postal deadlines at Christmas


Friday, 18 December………………..2nd Class and 2nd Class Signed For

Monday, 21 December…………….1st Class and 1st Class Signed For and Royal Mail Tracked 48

Tuesday, 22 December…………….Royal Mail Tracked 24

Wednesday, 23 December………. Special Delivery Guaranteed

International Standard

Friday, 4 December…………………. Australia and New Zealand

Wednesday, 9 December………… Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central and South America, Far and Middle East

Thursday, 10 December………….. Canada, Cyprus and Malta

Friday, 11 December………………. Greece, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia) and Turkey

Saturday, 12 December………….. Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, USA

Wednesday, 16 December ………Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland

Friday, 18 December………………. Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg

Topcliffe Christmas tree and decorations

On Tuesday a group of volunteers will be putting up the Christmas tree outside the village hall in Topcliffe. This year our Christmas tree is being kindly donated by Debbie Roberts, Hannah Alderson and Kerry Parker of The Milk Churn Farm Shop. Last year, the first time we had a community tree in the village, we collected together a few decorations and lights but we haven’t enough to properly decorate the larger size tree we are getting this year. So, if anyone would like to donate any spare decorations or battery/solar lights please get in touch. They must be suitable for outside use, of course. We will leave the lower branches free so that children can put their homemade decorations on the tree. Lockdown and restrictions allowing we hope to have a carol service at the tree in December. More on that in the near future.

Police & Fire public accountability meeting

North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is asking for people to get involved in her next monthly public accountability meeting, live from 1.30pm on Tuesday, 24 November. The main item considers how the fire and police services are achieving an inclusive and diverse workforce. Members of the public are invited to watch the discussion, send in relevant questions in advance or submit comments by Twitter during the session.

These meetings give members of the public and staff the opportunity to understand the performance of both services and hear what they are doing to keep the public safe.

• The agenda, along with presentations and reports, are available on the Commissioner’s website:

• To ask a question: In advance of the meeting, please send your question to please include your name and address with your question.

• To ask a question during the meeting using Twitter, @northyorkspfcc – include #NYscrutiny in your tweet.

• You can watch the broadcast on:

• Or on YouTube:

Care for Christmas

Herriot Hospice Homecare (HHH) has launched a ‘Care for Christmas’ campaign which aims to raise funds and awareness of its services in the community over Christmas and beyond. Their dedicated teams are working tirelessly to deliver vital hospice care services, support for NHS colleagues and assistance for the wider community. In this time of crisis more support than ever is required. The campaign features three fun and easy fundraising activities, which encourage people to keep active and connected throughout lock down:

1. Christmas night in – in light of many Christmas parties being cancelled, HHH can provide you resources for households to have a fun virtual Christmas night in. They include a best/worst Santa jumper competition, a sure way to bring plenty of smiles and laughter to your team it includes a quiz. In return, HHH simply asks for a donation of the savings you would have spent on a night out!

2. E-cards – HHH can provide bespoke Herriot Hospice Homecare e-cards to send to your colleagues, family and friends. This is a great way to show you’re supporting your community by being affiliated with your local charity as well as being environmentally conscious.

3. Christmas challenge – whether it’s step based, running or walking HHH is challenging you to get active. You could raise some smiles in a festive outfit, for example. In return for your donation or getting sponsored you will receive a special Santa medal if you raise £50 or more. HHH also has a limited supply of Santa hats, which are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Support of this campaign will help HHH care for more local families living with terminal illnesses and bereavement across Hambleton in a very challenging environment. To receive a free pack, contact Lucy on 01609 777413 or email To donate please visit the website at

Christmas at The Elm Gallery

The Elm Gallery is temporarily closed during lockdown, so Liz and Dave can’t allow anyone into the gallery. However, they can arrange collection of things from the door at agreed times and if you see something in the window that you want to buy, they can bring it to the door for you. The best way to see new things is to follow their Facebook page: They post things on there every day, including many things that would make lovely Christmas gifts. Liz and Dave have been delighted with the support they have had so far during lockdown and have had quite a lot of orders, which has really helped. They will be open again as soon as they are allowed to be. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with if they can help you with gift ideas. (01845 577316 / 07709 223920) or

• The gallery’s website – – presents lots of information about the gallery. There’s an exhibitors’ page which will give you a good idea of the range of hand made things on sale.

• Liz and Dave have launched a new idea for Christmas decorations and they’ve called them Christmas Bottles. Each bottle has a miniature print of one of their paintings in it. The prints include leaf and flower paintings, winter landscapes, animals and birds. They would look lovely hanging on a tree or in a window. The prints are very lightfast, so they won’t fade. The Christmas Bottles are 7cm tall and sell at £2.50 each. Great as stocking fillers or buy a selection as a gift for someone. These are delicate so if posted out would need to be boxed.

• The bags that Liz makes have been selling very well as they make lovely gifts.

The Milk Churn Farm Shop

• Customers may order meat and veg boxes, as well as fresh bread, dairy products and fish, via the telephone and we can make arrangements for collections or deliveries to Topcliffe and Asenby households. We’d be grateful for a couple of days’ notice before food boxes are ready. Payment is preferred by bank transfer, but cash can be accepted if necessary. Ring 01845 400446 to order and talk through the payment steps. You can see what is on offer by visiting

• Orders for Christmas are now being taken. This includes free range turkeys, turkey crowns, real Christmas trees, handmade wreaths by Lavender & Bee, plus everything for a full festive lunch or dinner. Examples of the Christmas puddings and Christmas cakes that can be ordered are now on display. Both have a gluten free option.

• Orders are now being taken for Christmas hampers from The Little Yorkshire Hamper Company, the Milk Churn’s sister company. There’s a fantastic range of hampers in a wide range of sizes and prices. Call in at the farm shop for more information or to place an order. Alternatively, check out the hamper website at

Current opening times are Monday to Saturday 9-5pm, Thursday 9-1pm and Sunday closed.

Amazon Prime customers warned of scam phone calls

Consumers have been warned not to fall prey to fraudsters who are targeting Amazon Prime customers, many of whom became members for the first time during the Covid-19 crisis. Consumer group Which? said fraudsters had been phoning people claiming to be calling from “Amazon Prime security” and saying their Amazon account had been compromised, and a series of payments had been made from their account. Having gained the person’s trust, the fraudster instructed them to download TeamViewer, a brand of remote access software, which was subsequently used to access the victim’s online bank account. While this is by no means a new fraud, scammers are thought to have taken advantage of the fact that many households have signed up to Amazon Prime since the pandemic hit and as more online shopping is being done. Providing remote access to your PC can result in hackers installing sophisticated malware. Action Fraud has warned consumers to never install any software or visit a website as a result of a cold call. Unsolicited requests for remote access to your computer should always raise a red flag, it said.

Key to candle success!

From their home in Long Street, Topcliffe, Nikki and Sam Keys have for some time been running a home-based business making candles, wax melts and reed diffusers. Their company slogan is ‘environmentally conscious, luxury candles hand poured in North Yorkshire.’ On their Facebook page they recently stated: “We have been overwhelmed with all the support our online candle business has received over the past year, especially with so many of our planned craft fairs having been cancelled and Christmas ones still undecided. As a big thank you we are offering a 10% discount on all orders up until the 20 December 2020. We can offer contact-free collection if you’re local. So if you’re looking out for Christmas gifts check out our website at and don’t forget to enter the promo code FOTIA10 at checkout.” Another example of the fine entrepreneurial skill that is increasingly on show in our community.

A crafty arrangement

Although Samantha Spence doesn’t live in either of our villages she has past links to Topcliffe as for many years she worked at The Angel in the days that Tony and Trish were mine hosts. Now she runs Crafts of Thirsk – the wool and craft shop based on the Market Square. Like for all businesses, trading during lockdown is no easy matter but Samantha is doing her best to keep the business going and to meet the needs of customers. During lockdown she is operating a collect or delivery service on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, between 10am and 1pm. Everything must be pre-ordered by telephone (07979 157243), Facebook or by a message posted through the shop door. If you leave a message please leave a contact number for Samantha to return your call and arrange payment etc. The shop’s Facebook page – is updated regularly to give people ideas and inspiration. And an added bonus! John Mulley has very kindly offered to offer Topcliffe Post Office as a collection point.

St. Columba’s Church

The church is closed for private prayer and is unable to organise services at this time. The next scheduled service will be a Choral Evensong at 6.30pm on Sunday, 6 December unless the rules regarding church openings change in the meanwhile.

Asenby Parish Council Meeting

The Parish Council met online last Wednesday, 18 November. Minutes are available on the village website at

The Angel

The Angel at Home take-out menu is available Wednesday-Friday 5-9pm; 3-9pm on Saturday and 12-8pm on Sundays. Our special offers for the coming week is: buy a main course, get the second half price Wednesday-Friday and add a dessert to your main course for £2 only on Saturday and Sunday. 20% off any bottle of wine. Thank you all for your support so far, we are now all set up for Christmas and can’t wait to welcome you again. See their website- – for more details and call 01845 578000 to pre-order.

The Swan

Closed for the duration of the lockdown.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Refuse – Monday, 23 November; Monday 7 December; Saturday 19 December and Monday 4 January 2021

• Recycling – Thursdays, 3, 17 and 31 December and Thursday 14 January

• Green waste – Thursday, 3 December. This will be last collection of green waste until 14 January (the special Christmas tree collection). Normal collections resume 25 February. Subscriptions for 2021 open in January.

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Recycling – Monday, 23 November, Monday 7 December, Saturday 19 December and Monday 4 January 2021

• Refuse – Monday, 30 November, 14 December, 28 December and 11 January

• Garden waste – The 19 November was the final garden waste collections of this year. Normal service will resume in March. Subscriptions for 2021 will open in January 2021.

That’s all until next Sunday. Stay at home, keep safe and remain well.