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Sunday Email: Issue 57

Welcome to the 57th issue of this regular Sunday Email.

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

• 35.2 million people have now had a first dose vaccination. The number of second doses is almost 17.2 million. 67% of the adult population has now had the first jab and 33% the second.

• There have been more than 4.5 million confirmed cases of Covid in the UK. The daily average number of new cases last week was 2,047. Over 6 million Covid tests were conducted last week.

• An average of 101 people were admitted to hospital with Covid last week. Hospital admissions continue to fall week on week.

• There were 5 deaths reported in the UK yesterday. There were 79 in the seven-day period to Saturday.

• The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at over 127,603. Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have been nearly 152,000 deaths

registered in the UK where Covid was mentioned on the death certificate. Worldwide, the global death toll from Covid is almost 3.275,014.

Under 40s to be advised to get Pfizer or Moderna vaccines

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced a change to its guidance about under-40s receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. The AstraZeneca vaccine carries with it a slightly increased risk of blood clots. The UK has seen 242 clotting cases and 49 deaths, with 28.5 million doses of the vaccine administered. In older age groups, the risk is far outweighed by the risk of dying from Covid. For younger people, who are less likely to become ill and die of Covid, the risk-benefit calculation is finer – especially when case numbers are low. Previously, the age cut-off for having AstraZeneca was set at 30, but as the UK’s epidemic has increasingly come under control, the JCVI is erring on the side of caution in recommending 30-39-year-olds also choose another of the available vaccines. The committee is also able to come to this decision because there are good supplies of Pfizer and Moderna in the country, meaning this change shouldn’t cause any delay in people getting the jab. The UK’s drug regulator continues to emphasise that the benefits of all of the vaccines outweigh the risks in almost all cases.

The Roadmap out of Lockdown

By now you will all be very familiar with the current rules that have been in place since 12 April and earlier, so there’s no need for the details to be repeated here. On Monday 17 May we reach the next point in the government’s roadmap and from then the following further relaxations include:

• People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors.

• Six people or two households can meet indoors.

• Domestic overnight stays allowed with people not in your household or bubble.

• Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors.

• Up to 30 people can attend weddings and more than 30 can attend funerals

• Outdoor entertainment still subject to restrictions, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas, can now open.

• Indoor entertainment including museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open.

• Performances and large events can restart, but with limits on audience numbers.

• Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen.

• International leisure travel can resume (see item below).

• Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart.

• People should continue to work from home where they can.

• Advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging, will be updated (but may not come into effect at this point).

In its roadmap plan, the government says it hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact in England by step four – which comes into force on 21 June. But that decision is subject to a review, led by science, health, business and economic experts.

International travel and holidays

Last week the government clarified the position about foreign travel and, as predicted, there’ll be a ’traffic light’ system with every country being placed on either a green, amber or red list. There’ll be a different set of rules attached to each grouping for people to follow when returning to the UK.

  • GREEN – people coming from green list countries will have to provide a negative Covid test within 72 hours of departure and then pay for a PCR test on or before their second day back in the UK.
  • AMBER – people returning from an amber country will have to quarantine at home for 10 days. They will have to take a pre-departure test and two PCR tests when back, on days two and eight.
  • RED – people returning from red countries must quarantine for 10 days in government-approved hotels at their own expense, as well as the pre-departure test and the two tests once back.

Initially only a very limited number of countries are on the green list and most of them, with the exception of Portugal, are not your normal holiday destinations. They are Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Tristan de Cunha and Ascension Island. But beware, some of the countries on the green list (Australia, New Zealand and Iceland) are not allowing visitors from the UK, so anyone looking to travel overseas should check any restrictions. Travellers are also advised not to book trips which do not include a refund should the Covid situation change. It was reported on the news on Saturday that a trip to South Georgia could cost as much as £5,000, there’s no hotel accommodation and it’s -10 degrees at this time of year!

Favourite summer destinations like France, Greece, Italy and Spain are on the amber list for now. The vast majority of countries are on the red list. All lists will be reviewed every three weeks.

Quote of the week

President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is as "reliable as a Kalashnikov assault rifle".

The Covid Testing

A full list of NHS testing sites can be viewed at

Lateral Flow Testing Kits – these tests are available free of charge to everyone. Seen as a significant step forward, the test kits can be obtained to use twice a week. One in three people with Covid do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus unwittingly. Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately. You can order here:

Dalton development

There’s still time to add your views to the “Dalton 49 Thirsk” planning application at:

Insert the reference number 21/00331/HYB in the search box. The more public comments added to the application, the more likely it is that planners and councillors will listen to the concerns of local people.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

Visits can be made by appointment to the ancient abbey ruins and an awe-inspiring water garden at this World Heritage Site, which is virtually on our doorstep. The maximum number of visitors is often not reached and when that happens the National Trust place a notice on their website indicating that visits can be made without appointment at that time.

Parish Council meetings

• Topcliffe Parish Council’s AGM was held online last Thursday (6 May 2021). Check out the website at topcliffeparishcouncil

• Asenby Parish Council’s Annual Meeting will be held at 7.30pm on 19 May 2021 in the Village Hall. Covid safety arrangements will be in place. For more information go to

Changes on Topcliffe Parish Council

At last Thursday’s parish council Jamie Moores was elected chairman and Roy Beckwith was re-elected as vice chairman. Malc Morley, who had been chairman for the last two years, was thanked for his work on behalf of the community. Garry Key has resigned from the council after 20 years’ service. Thanks were offered by the council for his many years of commitment to the village. The process of finding a replacement parish councillor has begun. At the meeting before (April), Ben Collard was co-opted as a member of the council.

Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall

  • Plans are well in hand to reopen the Village Hall to existing hirers (those that were hiring sessions prior to the pandemic) from Monday 17 May. New bookings for events such as parties will not be possible until 21 June.
  • The Village Hall’s Annual General Meeting will be held via Zoom at 7pm on Wednesday 12 May. The meeting is open to members of the public to attend. Please contact the chairman, Andrew Eckersley at alieneck4000 to be sent an invitation to join the Zoom meeting.
  • An ordinary meeting of the Village Hall Committee will follow the AGM.

New Police & Crime Commissioner

Philip Allott, a former pupil of St James’ School at Knaresborough, a PR and marketing specialist and former Harrogate District councillor, has been elected as North Yorkshire’s new Police & Crime Commissioner. He received 83,737 of the first and second round preference votes. He takes up the role next Thursday.

St Columba’s Church

Services planned are:

• Sunday, 9 May, 10.45am – Holy Communion will be led by the Rev’d Canon Adrian Botwright.

• Sunday, 16 May, 10.45am – Sung Matins

• Whit Sunday (Pentecost), 23 May, 10.45am – Holy Communion

• Trinity Sunday, 30 May – Service details yet to be announced.

The PCC continually assesses the Covid risks and it operates a ‘track and trace’ arrangement. All the usual precautions apply – please bring a face covering with you – and we will provide hand sanitiser for use before and after each service. Most importantly, for everyone’s sake, if you have any suspicion you might have contracted Covid, please don’t join us on that particular occasion.

Local Traders

Topcliffe Post Office – opening hours are: Shop – weekdays 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7 to 11.30am. Post Office – weekdays 8.30am to 5pm and Saturday 8.30 to 11.30am. Both closed on Sundays.

Chip ‘n Dales – the Fish & Chip van is in Topcliffe on Fridays between 5 and 7pm.

Studio 18 Hairstylist – unisex hairdressing salon run by Nicola James at 18 Long Street (opposite the surgery). Open Monday to Saturday. Male and female adults as well as children. Only one customer at a time can be in the salon so business will be a little slower than normal. For an appointment call Nicola on 07851 034815.

The Elm Gallery – opening times: Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 5.30pm; Sunday, 12noon to 5.30pm; Monday and Tuesday – closed. Covid safety arrangements are in place. Call 01845 577316 or 07709 223920 or check out the website at:

The Milk Churn Farm Shop – open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9-5pm. Thursday and Saturday 9-1pm. Covid safety arrangements are in place. There are many new lines in fresh and frozen foods. Takeaway teas and coffees with cake have resumed. Why not enjoy a walk and call in for a freshly made hot chocolate, other hot drink or an ice cream? Or order in advance on 01845 400446.

The Thirsk Food Bank now has a collection point at the Milk Churn Farm Shop. The following foodstuffs are welcomed: tins, pasta, rice, biscuits, cereals, jars, crisps, juices, bottled products, soups, crisp breads, anything in packets. But please, no fresh products as there’s a risk they will go to waste.

The Swan – now open for drinks and food in an outdoor setting. There’s a reduced menu available and the take-away service is again on offer.

John Aston Flooring Ltd – operating from The Old Hatchery in Asenby. There’s a large selection of carpets and flooring to suit all tastes. Appointment only. 01845 421111 – info

The Angel at Topcliffe – The Angel’s garden is taking bookings for outdoor dining and drinking. Tables are available for up to six people and there are marquees over each table to protect customers from inclement weather. Don’t forget your coat or your blanket. Check out full details at or follow The Angel on Facebook to get regular updates.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Refuse – Mondays 10 and 24 May.

• Recycling & green waste – Thursday 20 May

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Recycling – Mondays 10 and 24 May

• Refuse – Monday 17 May

• Garden waste – Thursday 20 May

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