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Sunday Email: Issue 44

Hello and welcome to the 44th issue of this regular Sunday email.

First, I would like to mention the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore, a Yorkshire legend, who captured the hearts of the nation. He raised over £33 million for NHS charities and also motivated many others to do likewise and to inspire people to find a way through these toughest of times. What a hero!

I hope you find this email’s 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

The week’s Covid statistics

• 4,511,079 Coronavirus tests were conducted last week. On average on a daily basis over the week, 18,262 people tested positive for Coronavirus. Almost 133,800 people tested positive over the

seven-days. The number of new cases of Coronavirus has fallen by 25% in the last week.

• 2,460 people were admitted to hospital on a daily basis (18,619 in the week). Hospital admissions remain high though the number admitted week on week is dropping.

• The R number – which takes into account cases, hospitalisations and deaths – as last week, continues to be between 0.7 and 1.1.

• Around 11.5 million people have now had a first dose vaccination. So far, 510,000 second doses have been administered.

• Yesterday 828 UK deaths were reported. There were 6,521 in the seven-day period to Saturday. This represents a 20% drop on the previous week. The total number of UK deaths is now 112,000. The

number of deaths in North Yorkshire is now close to 1,000. Worldwide, the number of deaths is now over 2.3 million.

South African variant

There are now more than 100 cases of the South Africa variant identified in the UK .Last week the first confirmed cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 here in North Yorkshire were announced. The news was announced t by our Director of Public Health, Louise Wallace, who said: “I can confirm that North Yorkshire has its first confirmed cases of the South African variant of Covid-19. This involves two cases in the Scarborough area linked to international travel. The people involved have done all of the right things since returning home from abroad and self-isolated in line with the guidance. As such, there is not considered to be any community risk associated with them. There are a number of variants of the virus in circulation and by their nature viruses evolve, so it is absolutely vital that everyone continues to stick to the national lockdown rules. We must all stay at home, make essential journeys only, maintain social distancing at all times and wear face coverings where advised. Please keep playing your part.”


The vaccination programme is advancing well and gives us real hope for the future.According to government figures, 11.5 million people have received their first injection. That means only 2.5 million more people need to get the jab in the next week if the government is to meet its mid-February target of vaccinating the 14 million most vulnerable people. Here in North Yorkshire almost all people over 80 and all care home residents have already had, or been offered, a first dose vaccination. Better still, a huge number of over 70s have also had their first jab and the government is suggesting that all over 50s will be vaccinated by early May. Nationally, about 90% of people over the age of 75 have been vaccinated. Given that three-quarters of Covid deaths have been in this group, that should soon start having an impact on serious illness and deaths. But challenges do remain. There are signs that uptake in certain communities, particularly ethnic minorities, may be lower. And from the start of March, large numbers of people will start needing their second dose, which presumably will result in a slowdown in the rate of people being vaccinated, unless supply increases.

GPs are being incentivised to vaccinate the most vulnerable who cannot leave their home. They’ll be paid an additional £10 by the NHS for every housebound patient and those who are shielding that they vaccinate against Covid-19. The move comes as a study suggests that the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab is less effective at preventing against mild disease caused by the South African variant – though the firm remains confident vaccine can protect better against severe disease. The study is due to be published tomorrow.

Last week it was announced that a major trial has been launched by Oxford University to see if giving people different Covid vaccines for their first and second doses works as well as the current approach of using the same type of vaccine twice. The idea is to provide more flexibility with vaccine rollout and help deal with any potential disruption to supplies. Scientists say mixing jabs could also possibly give even better protection. Regardless of the outcome, no changes will be made to the UK’s current approach until at least the summer.

Large-scale manufacturing of a potential new coronavirus vaccine has begun in Scotland. French biotech company Valneva has started production of the jab at its plant in Livingston, West Lothian, in a boost to the UK’s mass-vaccination efforts. The promising new vaccine is still undergoing clinical trials but, if approved, the UK would receive up to 60 million doses by the end of this year.

Remember, the NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS or your doctor’s surgery for a vaccination before then. Topcliffe and Asenby patients will either be contacted by letter, text or telephone call from the surgery.

A ray of hope?

Lockdown restrictions could be almost entirely lifted by summer if Covid vaccines are found to significantly block transmission, a government scientific adviser has suggested. Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of one of SAGE’s subgroups said that if jabs are 70 to 80 per cent effective at blocking the spread of coronavirus, life could be “close to normal” in just a few months’ time. He explained that although scientists believe vaccines can block transmission of the virus, it is not yet known by how much. He said: “If we think optimistically, if we follow the trajectory of the rollout of the vaccine… then hopefully we can be easing out of these controls that we’ve got in place sometime in March.” However, Dr Tildesley stressed that the relaxation of restrictions would need to be done “relatively gradually”. Asked if vaccines needed to 100 per cent block transmission, he said: “I think probably not quite close to 100 per cent, but I think if we have, say, 70 to 80 per cent, then probably we’re in a good place. Vaccines are not 100 per cent protective and we must remember that some people have not yet had the vaccine and others will refuse to have it at all. A gradual easing of restrictions, combined with significant uptake of vaccine, is really what’s needed.”

The government will review the existing restrictions on 15 February and will afterwards set out a ‘roadmap’ showing how we will get back to normality.

Police crackdown!

North Yorkshire Police are cracking down on people who are not abiding by the restrictions during lockdown. The police have made it clear they will enforce the regulations and stated that they are increasing their visibility in areas of the county where people are still leaving home without a good reason and even hosting parties indoors in some cases. Last weekend 143 fixed penalty notices were issued, that’s up significantly on the previous weekend. As many as 86 of those were issued to residents and 57 were issued to visitors. So, it’s clear that those who put others at risk by failing to follow the rules will feel the force of the law.

Book a coronavirus test locally

These are government operated ‘every day’ sites close to where we live. They operate 8am to 8pm. The full list of other sites operating in North Yorkshire 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

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: There’s a link on the North Yorkshire County Council website to request a home test –

Latest on schools

The government has said that it hopes that schools will be able to start reopening from 8 March, though it has also suggested that it cannot guarantee any re-openings before Easter! Allowing all pupils back in schools depends on many factors including the rate of vaccination amongst priority groups. Teachers and parents have been promised they will get at least a fortnight’s notice on when schools are required to start lessons again.

Reboot North Yorkshire

That’s the name of a new campaign launched by the county council to collect unwanted laptops and get them to families most in need to help them with studies or simply getting them connected. There is a shortage of laptops nationally so reusing all and any with life left in them will be a big help to youngsters studying at home. The campaign organisers will collect unwanted laptops, smart phones, tablets or iPads that you no longer need they’ll wipe them clean and revamp them for new use. You can find out more about it here –

Free and low-cost resources for home schooling

Schools are shut till at least early March and this has left many parents potentially struggling to juggle work and home-schooling commitments. So, attached is a list of mostly free resources may be of help.

Telecoms firms are helping during lockdown

With many people still working from home and parents providing home schooling for their children, having the right technology is proving essential for work, learning and entertainment. But millions of households around the country are struggling financially and the extra burden is proving difficult to manage. As a result, many broadband firms are offering support to their customers to help them, including offering free access to learning resources sites and free data for vulnerable customers. There’s too much information to include all the offers in this email but parents can check out the financial site ‘This is Money’ to find out what help broadband companies are offering their customers.

Thirsk Community Library

If you can’t get out or haven’t time to visit the library why not have the library come to you? Thirsk Community Library’s volunteers can deliver books, jigsaws audiobooks, music and DVDs. Just email library or ring 01609 534589 to discuss what’s available.

Topcliffe Parish Council

The Parish Council will be meeting remotely this Thursday 4 February at 7pm. Any members of the public wishing to join this online meeting should contact the clerk for log in details – 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.

Staying safe online – this Tuesday!

Last chance to book a place on the ‘Ask the Experts’ online discussion about scammers and the problems they cause us all. It’s happening as part of Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 9 February between 7 and 9pm. It’s being organised by North Yorkshire Police who aim to offer some insight into the tricks scammers use to manipulate their victims. With more people working from home and children now having their school lessons online, the need to use the internet more safely and securely has never been greater. The event will be conducted using Microsoft Teams and those registering to take part will be emailed a link prior to the date. You do not need to have Microsoft Teams installed on your computer to participate, just a good internet link. To register for the event please click on this link

Local traders

Tea Time Yorkshire – Rosa Fothergill’s café in Thirsk is offering Valentine’s Afternoon Teas and Treat boxes for delivery on the weekend of 13 and 14 February. Full Afternoon Tea for two £36 and

Valentine’s Treat Box for two £24, including delivery. Please order online by Sunday 7 February.

Fish and Chips – The Fish & Chip van is back in action Fridays between 4 and 7pm.

Topcliffe Post Office – The opening hours are: weekdays 7.30am – 3:30pm for the shop and 8:30am – 3.30pm for the post office counter. Saturdays – 8.30 – 11.30am. Sunday closed.

The Elm Gallery – The gallery remains closed. Liz and Dave will continue to promote items on the gallery’s Facebook page and website. Collection of purchases at the gallery door can be arranged.

More information can be found on their website at and they can be contacted on 01845 577316 or 07709 223920.

The Milk Churn Farm Shop – Customers are asked to come prepared in warm clothes in case they have to stand outside during the current cold spell. Debbie Roberts said: We have noticed

that some potential customers, on seeing that there’s already a customer in the shop, are leaving as they don’t want to queue. We want everyone to know that we are serving customers as quickly as

we can.” She added: “During lockdown the shop has been very quiet after lunch, so we are adjusting our opening hours. Until the lockdown restrictions end, we will close at 3pm on Mondays,

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Thursdays and Saturdays we will close at 1pm. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to returning to full opening hours once the

lockdown has lifted.” Debbie is keen to promote the farm shop’s home delivery service. She said: “We are more than happy to drop shopping to the home of anyone in Topcliffe, Asenby or Cundall

who is isolating. We are also making free deliveries to Dalton, Sessay and Husthwaite every Tuesday and to Rainton, Dishforth and Ripon areas every Wednesday (£10 minimum order applies). Ring

01845 400446 to arrange a delivery.

The Angel – The Angel ‘Dine at Home’ takeaway service has a new menu. Take away times are Wednesday to Saturday, 4.30-8pm, with orders taken from 3.30pm and Sundays 12-6pm, with orders

taken from 11am. Call 01845 578000 to place an order or book a time slot in advance. Check out the details at

The Swan – The Swan is closed until further notice.

St. Columba’s Church

There’ll be an Evensong service tonight at 6.30pm. A great deal of work has been done on risk assessments for services and strict measures will be in place for wearing of face masks, hand sanitisation before and after each service, and social distancing. Please observe spaced time of arrival and departure to avoid mingling. Everyone is required to confirm, when signing in for track and trace purposes, that they are not to their knowledge exhibiting any Covid symptoms.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Recycling – Thursday 11 and 25 February

• Refuse – Mondays 15 February and 1 March

• Green waste – collections start again Thursday 25 February

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Refuse – Mondays 8 and 22 February

• Recycling – Mondays 15 February and 1 March

• Green waste – suspended until mid-March

Green waste licence renewal

That’s all for this week. Keep safe and remain well.

Free and low cost school resources.docx