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Sunday Email: Issue 37

Hello and welcome to the 37th issue of this regular Sunday email.

The three-tier arrangements in England reach their first review date next Wednesday (16 December), so it will be interesting to see if there are many changes – either up or down. Here in North Yorkshire, which is tier 2, the rate of infection in recent weeks has dropped significantly, but there are still parts of the county where pockets of high infection remain. Whether the stabilised position is sufficient to see our area’s tier level drop from 2 to 1 is a matter of considerable conjecture. It’s suggested the government will err on the safe side and leave us in tier 2 for at least another fortnight and consider the situation at the second review in late December.

I hope you find the email contents interesting and informative. As usual, do 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

Self-isolation to reduce from 14 to 10 days

Self-isolation for people who have come in to contact with those who have the virus, will be shortened from 14 to 10 days across the UK from Monday. The change will also apply to people instructed to quarantine after returning from high-risk countries. And it means anyone who has been self-isolating for 10 days or more will be able to end their quarantine on Monday. Revised advice is that people are most infectious around the time they first develop symptoms and by day 10, only about 2% will still be capable of passing on the virus to others. Speaking about the new rules, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, said: “The science was based on a continuous accumulation of evidence through the pandemic. The tail end of an infection is the period someone was least likely to transmit infection, so allowing somebody out of self-isolation a short time before that is a reasonable balance between managing the risk to the public but allowing us not to intrude on their lives.”

Message from North Yorkshire County Council’s CEO Richard Flinton

In the coming days and weeks, we will see the NHS start to roll out the vaccine right here in North Yorkshire. This is without doubt extremely welcome news for very many people here. This programme will be carefully managed and phased, to ensure that the people who need to start their vaccination programme first are at the front of the queue. Amongst those people will be those who are over 80. It’s really important to understand how this will work so I hope this information is helpful. When it is your turn to get your first vaccination the NHS will contact you directly. That may be your GP or another NHS colleague. When you are contacted, you will be given an appointment. There will be a date and time and, of course, the venue. You are asked to help support the smooth running of the programme by not contacting your GP or going to a vaccination centre unless you have been contacted and invited. Once you have had your first jab, you will then need a second dose and you will be given all those details proactively too. If you cannot make your first appointment, you are asked to let the NHS know so that someone else can get their first dose.

It will take months, not weeks, to vaccinate everyone who qualifies. We can help our NHS colleagues manage this process as easily as possible here in North Yorkshire if we follow these instructions.

Christmas relaxation of restrictions

Here is a reminder of the relaxation in the rules this Christmas. The aim is to allow people to mix with a slightly wider circle of family and friends.

• People will be able to form ‘Christmas bubbles’ of three households over a five-day period between 23 and 27 December. The three households in a Christmas bubble can mix indoors and stay


• Christmas bubbles will be allowed to meet each other in each other’s homes, at a place of worship or in an outdoor public space or garden.

• Christmas bubbles must be fixed, so you will not be able to mix with two households on Christmas Day and two different ones on Boxing Day.

• Households in your Christmas bubble can’t bubble with anyone else.

• There will be no limit to the number of people who can join a Christmas bubble – but obviously they will all have to be from within the allowed three households.

• Importantly, if you have already formed a support bubble with another household, that counts as just one household, so you can join with two other households in a Christmas bubble.

• People who are self-isolating should not join a Christmas bubble.

• If someone tests positive or develops coronavirus symptoms up to 48 hours after the Christmas bubble last met, everyone will have to self-isolate.

Despite the arrangements for meeting others over the festive period, you are not allowed to go with your Christmas bubble to hospitality settings, such as pubs and restaurants, or to entertainment venues.

But remember: the experts agree it is inevitable that the relaxation of restrictions, so that we can have Christmas with family and friends, will lead to an increase in infections and the potential for a spike in Covid cases in January. So only mix together, if you really must.

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, except the ‘every day’ sites which are open 8am to 8pm. 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
  • Every day – Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Sunday 13 December – Thirsk – Millgate Car Park, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Wednesday 16 December – Ripon – Coach Park, 3 Moss Arcade, Ripon, HG4 1AG
  • Thursday 17 December – Catterick – Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge DL10 7PE
  • Friday 18 December – Easingwold – Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Rd, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Sunday 20 December – Thirsk – Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, 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 –

The Tattler

All recipients of the weekly Sunday Email who live in either Topcliffe or Asenby should have received a copy of the full-colour village newsletter last week. It’s useful to check the comprehensiveness of the delivery arrangements now and again, so If you didn’t receive a copy please let me know – doug or 07785 223707.

Free parking in Thirsk

Hambleton District Council car parks in Thirsk are free of charge until 1 January 2021. Parking in the Market Place remains restricted to two hours, whilst Marage, Millgate and Nursery car parks are free all day. The free parking also applies in Northallerton and other towns in Hambleton District. However, please remember that parking organised by North Yorkshire County Council is not free. This includes, for example, the on-street parking in Kirkgate, where you still need a disc.

Christmas post deadlines

International Standard

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

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


Friday, 18 December………………..2nd Class

Monday, 21 December…………….1st Class

Yorkshire features centre stage in Channel 5’s festive programming

• This year’s Yorkshire Vet at Christmas special – ‘A Christmas Carol’ – is on Tuesday 22 December at 8pm on Channel 5.

• The brand new ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ festive episode will be shown at 9pm, on Tuesday 22 December also on Channel 5 (repeated on Boxing Day at 7.45pm). Series 2 has been commissioned and will shoot on location next year after having become Channel 5’s highest rated drama commission ever.

Could you be a Community Champion?

Neighbourhood Watch in North Yorkshire is looking for individuals to become Community Champions who can promote and develop a safer, stronger and more resilient community. These Community Champions would be expected to:

• Be an active partner in the community

• Willing to learn new skills

• Listen to the views of the community

• Adapt ways of working to engage with hard to reach communities

• Promote Neighbourhood Watch in the community

• Raise awareness of crime prevention.

It’s not clear how these Community Champions will interact with and relate to other community representatives such as Parish Councillors or the old-style Neighbourhood Co-ordinators, but no doubt that will be made clear once these new positions are filled. If you feel you would like to be part of this new scheme contact cheryl.spruce

Bird Life of Topcliffe

Quite a few years ago Karen Morley set up bird feeding stations among the trees along Winn Lane, just across the A168 bridge. Since then, Karen and husband Malc, have expanded the number of feeders and they’ve been amazed at how popular they are. The feeders, which are replenished every day, have attracted more and more birds and now the regular visitors include a greater spotted woodpecker, tree creeper, robins, long tailed tits, dunnocks and yellowhammers. And, because seed is left on the ground, pheasants have also become regular feeders. The birds are much easier to see now that the trees are bare. Malc is reusing old fencing, which Josh Barningham has removed at Winn Lane cemetery following an upgrade, to make more bird boxes and sparrow terraces which he intends to put up at suitable places round the village wherever there’s a suitable tree.

Drive-In Carol Service

Thirsk & District Churches Together are organising two drive-in Christmas carol services on Sunday 20 December. The details are in the attachment to this email.

Or fancy a sing-along online?

Hambleton Community Action is inviting everyone to join an online sing-along at 2.30pm on Monday 21 December. Their idea is that you should be prepared to join in the festive celebration with a mince pie, sherry or mulled wine. There’ll be some musical accompaniment and a screen-share of the words. There’s no obligation to join in by singing, you’re very welcome to simply join on Zoom and listen in, if you prefer.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway – Santa Specials

How would you like to meet Santa and his many helpers whilst travelling on a heritage steam train from Pickering to Levisham and return? You can enjoy Jingle Bells radio whilst you and your family celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with a festive journey on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Advanced booking required and the dates are 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 December. Pickering Station departure times: 9.15am, 11.15am, 1.15pm and 3.15pm. Departs: Bookings, prices and more information at

Parish Vacancy

Topcliffe Parish Council would welcome applications from residents of the parish for a co-opted councillor vacancy. The ideal candidate will have a keen interest in local matters, be available to regularly attend monthly meetings and actively participate in the work of the Parish Council. Interested parties should apply by email or in writing outlining the reasons they wish to be considered, including any skills and experience that they will bring. Please either email or write to The Clerk, Topcliffe Parish Council, Wagtail Barn, South Otterington, Northallerton, DL7 9HW.

Thirsk Information Centre – Fortnightly Newsletter

The Information Centre publishes a newsletter every fortnight and the latest edition is out now. To sign up go to their website –

Dalton Airfield Plan Consultation

Developers preparing an outline planning application for a range of industrial building on a site at Dalton Industrial estate are seeking the views of local residents and businesses. The site, ‘Dalton 49 Thirsk’ is named after the A168 junction number and is on a scale similar to other recent developments by IPN and NTS. Topcliffe residents may have recently received a leaflet illustrating the type of development, proposed, including a new site entrance off Eldmire Lane. The leaflet states that the development will provide a range of job opportunities and a boost to the local economy. It adds that all vehicles will access the site via Eldmire Lane with no access via Dalton Lane. Heavy goods vehicles would be routed to the A168 only. Interestingly, it makes no direct reference to Topcliffe, which tends to feel the impact from any new and intensified development. Full details are at To have your say, make any comments or raise any queries, contact Johnson Mowat Planning Ltd., Coronet House, Queen Street, Leeds LS1 2TW or email All comments will be considered and inform the preparation of the planning application, which is expected to be submitted to Hambleton Council in January 2021. The council will undertake its own consultation on the application and is likely to make a decision by around April 2021.

Money saving support for people struggling to heat their homes this Winter

An incredible 24,500 households in North Yorkshire are believed to live in fuel poverty – that’s 10% of the region’s population. Many families, older people, single mums and young couples are living in a home that they cannot afford to heat adequately. This happens for lots of different reasons. It might simply be choosing to put food on their kids’ table rather than heating their home, it could be a broken boiler they can’t afford to fix, and often it is skyrocketing bills that are just no longer within their budget. ‘Warm and Well in North Yorkshire’ last year helped hundreds of people across the region to heat their home in a way they could afford. On average a homeowner will save £200 a year, but many people save more. This year they want to help more. If you are struggling or you know of other people who might need help with keeping their homes warm this winter due to money worries, call Warm and Well in North Yorkshire on 01609 767555. For more advice check out and Facebook @warmandwellnorthyorks

Christmas at The Elm Gallery

The gallery is opening 10am – 5.30pm almost every day up to and including Christmas Eve. Liz and Dave are happy to open by prior arrangement on an evening. Call 01845 577316 / 07709 223920 or email: lizanddave Check out their Facebook page and website for details about the wide range of lovely hand-made items and Christmas gift ideas.

The Milk Churn Farm Shop

• Christmas vegetable and meat box orders are still being taken.

• Milk, cream, yogurts can be ordered up to 17 December.

• Christmas Day lunch boxes containing everything for your festive meal – final orders by 18 December.

• The last day for bread orders is 22 December.

• The last date for collection for turkeys and any vegetables, fruit and/or meat boxes is 23 December. The shop will be open 7am-7pm and will provide timed collections to keep everyone safe.

• Orders for Christmas hampers are again being taken.

• The shop will be closed 24, 25, 26 and 27 December. It will be open on 28, 29 and 30 December but only 9am to 1pm. We will be closed from 31 December through to 7 January. Call on 01845 400446 or check out the website at

St. Columba’s Church – Christmas Services

20 December 6.30pm Carol Service: This will be a shortened service based on the traditional Carol Service, but with only six readings and seven carols. Sadly, no congregational carols are permitted but the choir will be singing a selection of your favourites and hopefully this will still raise Christmas spirits. Covid precautions (masks, hand sanitisation and social distancing) will be required at all times and this will limit the number of people that can admit to the service. Organisers will do their best to accommodate as many as safely possible and, while household bubbles are allowed to sit together, family groups outside these bubbles will have to be separated. If you know you are going to the service telephone or email (John Phillips 577034, so that seating can be allocated based on ‘bubbles’. However, if you cannot let him know in advance, please do nevertheless turn up on the night and he and his colleagues will do their best to organise seating, but we hope you will understand if we cannot find space for you. We will provide an update in next Sunday’s email as to how spaces are filling up.

24 December Christmas Eve 11.30pm Midnight Mass (First Eucharist of Christmas): This will be the only Christmas Eve/Christmas Day service this year. Covid and encouraged booking arrangements as described above will apply.

John says: “We very much look forward to greeting as many as possible to either or both of these Christmas services. Everyone is most welcome.”

Other December Services

Sunday 20 December: Please note, in view of the possible Covid safety implications of having two services on the same day, we have decided to cancel the morning service of Sung Matins at 10.45am

Sunday 27 December: No services this Sunday

Sunday 3 January 2021: Looking forward to 2021, the year is started with Choral Evensong at 6.30pm

The Angel

The new ‘substantial’ menu offering meals in the bar is proving popular. Dishes are priced between £4.50 and £5.50. Having a substantial meal allows customers to also consume alcoholic drinks. One current favourite is a ‘Michael Gove’ scotch egg and crisps meal at a promotional price of £1.50. All substantial meals are available daily from noon with last orders before 9.45pm, and 9pm on Sundays. The Monday to Friday lunch deal menu offers two courses for £15 and three for £19. There’s a take-away service Wednesday to Sunday for those who would rather eat at home. The Angel has a range of festive food and drinks options available throughout December to include a New Year’s Eve take out menu and midnight nibbles. Check the website for the menus and follow The Angel on Facebook for updates.

The Swan

The Swan is serving drinks when a ‘substantial’ meal is ordered from the extensive and specially prepared menu. Take-away food is available from 5 to 9pm and 12 noon to 4pm Sundays.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Recycling – Thursdays, 17 and 31 December and Thursday 14 January 2021

• Refuse – Saturday 19 December and Monday 4 January 2021

• Green Waste – Current 2020/21 licences expire 26 March 2021. Subscriptions for the Hambleton 2021-22 garden waste service can now be purchased. Subscriptions cost £40 per licence per bin. The 2021-22 service runs 29 March 2021 to 25 March 2022. To subscribe or for further information please visit

Harrogate (Asenby):

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

• Recycling – Saturday 19 December and Monday 4 January 2021

• Green waste – subscriptions open in January 2021.

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

Drive In Carol Service.docx