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Sunday Email: Issue 61

Welcome to the 61st issue of this regular Sunday Email.

In preparation for next week’s St Columba Day celebrations a working party of volunteers is being formed to tidy up the churchyard. It plans to gather between 10am to 1pm today. Are you prepared to help? If so, please take whatever tools you might feel appropriate. Strimmers, rakes and forks would be great. Any help will be very much appreciated.

This week a surprise package dropped through my letterbox. It was a letter from Hambleton Council informing me that I had been nominated for a Hambleton Hero award…and that the council was pleased to recognise the fact that I had gone ‘an extra mile’ to make a difference to the lives of residents during the pandemic. It was extremely kind and thoughtful of the person or persons who made the nomination. Whoever you are, thank you very much. It was totally unexpected but greatly appreciated. I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to Annemarie Barningham who also received an award for her services in the community.


07785 223707

The week’s Covid statistics

• The R number continues to be between 1.0 and 1.1 meaning that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 10 and 11 other people. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow

exponentially but when it is below 1, it means the epidemic is shrinking.

• 40.1 million people have now had a first dose vaccination. The number of second doses is over 27 million. 76% of the adult population has now had the first jab and over 51% the second.

• There have been 4.6 million confirmed cases of Covid in the UK. Over 6,000 people tested positive for Covid in the last 24-hour reporting period.

• Over 4.7 million Covid tests were conducted last week. That’s 25% lower than the week before.

• There are 932 Covid patients in hospital, latest government figures show compared to the peak of 39,249 in January.

• There were 13 deaths reported in the UK yesterday and 61 in last seven days.

• The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at 127,836. Separate figures show there have been more than 150,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid was

mentioned on the death certificate. So far, 1,166 people have died from Covid in North Yorkshire. Worldwide, the global death toll is 3,732,930.

Battle of the variants

Delta is the new name for what we knew as the Indian variant. It has become the dominant strain of Covid in the UK, the latest figures from Public Health England reveal. The variant is believed to have overtaken the Alpha variant, which was previously known as the Kent variant. Early evidence suggests there is a significantly increased risk of hospitalisation from the Delta variant in comparison to the Alpha strain. One expert said on Saturday that there’s a number of concerning signs related to the Delta variant, in particular the rate of transmission is potentially going to cause us some significant problems. We are looking at a strain that is 40-60% more transmissible than the Kent variant, and that means infections are spread rapidly across the country.

The roadmap out of Lockdown

There’s just two weeks to go until we reach the next stage of easing of restrictions on Monday 21 June. It’s anticipated that on that date all legal limits on social contact will be removed. However, some health experts are still arguing that the 21 June date should be delayed until a much higher proportion of people are vaccinated with two doses. Experts suggest that the decision about lifting restrictions is significantly more finely balanced than in earlier lockdowns. The Delta variant is more transmissible, many people are still not vaccinated and the NHS is extremely busy catching up on non-Covid health issues.

The government will announce its decision on Monday 14 June.

Jabs for youngsters?

The UK’s medicines regulator has given its approval for 12 to 15-year-olds to receive the Pfizer vaccine. However, there are no plans to invite young people in that age group to be vaccinated yet. There are a number of ethical considerations that need resolving before a decision is made.

Travel confusion continues

In the latest twist to the foreign holiday and travel saga, Portugal will be removed from the green list from Tuesday 8 June. Portugal was one of the original twelve countries on the green list and the only one which could reasonably be called a regular holiday destination for UK holidaymakers. From Tuesday UK tourists should not visit the country and anyone returning from a visit must isolate for 10 days. The change to Portugal’s status means holidaymakers face a scramble for flights home before the new rules come into force. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps cited rising cases and a Covid mutation found in Portugal, saying ministers did not want to take risks before the planned final easing of England’s restrictions. In the first review of the status of countries in the ‘traffic light system’ since its introduction in May, no countries were added to the green list. Now, most of the easily accessible European holiday spots are classified as amber, meaning no travel is allowed to them, except in exceptional circumstances. Seven more countries have been added to the red list. The next review is on 28 June.

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:

Military Challenge

Soldiers of the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery Regiment based at Alanbrooke Barracks have set themselves a target of completing five gruelling endurance challenges this year to raise funds for two charities – The REME Charity and Forever Fourth. Both charities do tremendous work to support military personnel and their families. They aim to raise at least £1,500. The next event is a five-day coastal ride on 28 June. If you would like to give sponsorship, please visit:

Deer Shed – Base Camp Plus

Although the popular Deer Shed Festival at Baldersby Park has had to be cancelled this year because of insurance uncertainties, the organisers have announced a smaller event, Base Camp Plus, will be staged.

It will be along the lines as last year’s hugely successful Base Camp, but with extra bits. The idea is to create a safe camping weekend, with plenty of space, loads of camping extras including your own loo, parking next to your own pitch, plus arrangements so that you can be close to your families and mates’ pitches. There’ll be live music and comedy performances, food, drink, partying, campfires, workshops, theatre, well-being, swing-balls and anything else the organisers dream up. It will be staged over the weekend 30 July to 1 August and you can find out more at

Rural Arts at the Courthouse, Thirsk

After months of closure due to lockdown The Courthouse has reopened with a spectacular range of activities to suit all ages and levels of expertise. Most residents will have received a leaflet about the centre through their letterbox last week, so there’s no point in listing all the opportunities here. In any case, there are just far too many to list! Best thing to do is read the leaflet if you still have it or go to the Rural Arts website or check their Facebook page @RuralArtsNorthYorkshire.

Soup and sweet lunches are back!

Now that the pandemic is easing, Topcliffe residents Karen Morley and Linda Carver are restarting the popular soup and sweet lunches in the Village Hall. They’ll be held fortnightly starting 12 noon on Wednesday 23 June. They aim to provide an opportunity for older and younger folk to meet and socialise in a friendly atmosphere whilst enjoying a light lunch. Instead of paying a set price for lunch, customers will be asked to make a small donation according to their means. Any surplus will be donated to a different charity each week.

1st Topcliffe Scout Group

The 1st Topcliffe Scout group, which covers scouts, cubs and beavers, is desperately seeking more volunteers to act as assistant leaders and give support to the existing leaders. Scouting remains one of the most popular activities for young people and Topcliffe scout sections are attracting growing numbers of youngsters. The team of leaders is dedicated to providing a quality scouting experience with informative and exciting fun-packed programmes. Beaver members are aged six to eight and cubs cater for those aged eight to ten and a half years of age. Both meet on Wednesday evenings. Scouts take those aged ten and a half to fourteen and they meet Friday nights. No experience is necessary and training will be given to provide volunteers with the confidence and knowhow to become part of this caring group. Anyone interested is asked to call Group Scout Leader, Stuart Carter for a chat on 01765 640360 or email carter-stuart

Music @ Junction 50

Three concerts will be held over the summer months in the lovely church at Baldersby St James as part of the Music @ Junction 50 event.

• 30 June at 7pm – Ian Watt presents an evening of classical guitar music. Described by Classical Guitar Magazine as a guitarist of outstanding skill and originality, Ian is a rising star in demand around the

world. A multi award winner in competitions he has performed with many major orchestras as a soloist and is often heard on radio stations in many countries. Ian’s programme includes works by Sor,

Grieg, Turina and de Falla.

• 24 July at 11am sees the return of local harpist Mary Reid who has played in Baldersby St James a number of times. In this shorter more informal ‘coffee concert’ she will perform pieces from composers

such as Bach, Paganini and Salzedo.

• 2 September at 7pm the Genovia Bassoon Quartet will provide a whirlwind musical tour which will showcase items from various musical genres and will demonstrate the amazing versatility of the bassoon.

Each member of the quartet is a top orchestral player.

Tickets are available from Sue Brown at the shop in Baldersby – 07840 381558 or Colin Reid on 01765 640624 or can be purchased at the door.

Methodist Chapel

The new owners of the Methodist Chapel at the corner of Church and Long Streets aim to convert the building into a four-bedroomed house. Stephen and Eloise Horley plan to retain as many features as possible and also replace some that are long lost. In particular, they wonder what happened to theball finial that once sat proudly on the roof of the building? Does anyone know its fate? They are also considering replacing the metal fencing that once graced the Church Street frontage. It’s presumed the fencing was removed during the war. Does anyone have a photograph showing the fencing in place?

Get in touch with Doug Allan on 07785 223707 or doug if you have any information that can be passed on to the Horleys.

Snooker club reopens

The snooker club is now open again and pairs and doubles games are allowed. Responsibility for hygiene and cleanliness rests with snooker players who are advised that there is no system for daily cleaning of the tables and equipment. Players are advised to use hand sanitiser and to clean the table edges, club cues and balls before and after play. Thanks to all members who have renewed their membership for this year. Membership can still be taken up for the remainder of this year, and fees for the new membership year will be due in September. The snooker facility is a ‘key club’ meaning all members have their own key so they can gain access at any time. It’s expensive having to continually have more keys cut so could any past members who are still in possession of a key please return it to the Treasurer, Dave Bowman, on 577843. The club has two snooker tables, one full-size and the other three-quarter size. Under 18s can play as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

Parish Council meetings

• The next meeting of Asenby Parish Council will be at 7.30pm on Wednesday 21 July 2021 in the main hall at the Village Hall.

• The next meeting of Topcliffe Parish Council will be at 7pm on Thursday 1 July in the main hall at the Village Hall. topcliffeparishcouncil Covid safety arrangements will be in place at the Village Hall.

Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall

Existing hirers will have free use of the hall until 31 December 2021. Fee use of the hall is also available to new group activities (this does not include commercial one-off or private hires for parties and social functions). This is intended to encourage a new range of activities to get going. Confirmed bookings so far:

• Pammy’s Pilates – 6 to 7pm, every Thursday evening.

• My Time Yoga – 12.30 to 4pm (two classes) – every Monday.

• Boot Camp – every Tuesday and Friday evening, 7 – 8pm.

• Asenby Parish Meeting – 7.30pm, Wednesday 21 July.

• Topcliffe Parish Council – 7pm, Thursday 1 July.

• Soup and sweet lunches will start again on Wednesday 23 June and then fortnightly thereafter.

• Topcliffe & Asenby Produce Show will be held on Saturday 28 August.

• Attic Auction – Saturday 5 September.

Bookings for new activities and for events such as parties will be possible from 21 June. Events planned for last year that had to be postponed due to the pandemic will be rescheduled in due course. Watch out for details of the Big Race Night and Challenge Quiz.

Ask the scam experts

The next online ‘Ask the Experts’ event at which police officers talk about online banking safety will be on 22 June between 7 and 9pm. To register go to

Northern Dales Farmers’ Market

Today at the Northern Dales Farmers’ Market in Thirsk there’ll be a fantastic selection of food and drink producers selling a wide range of goodies.

Thirsk Hall gardens open to view

A quick reminder that Thirsk Hall in Kirkgate, Thirsk is taking part in the NGS Open Gardens day next Saturday (12 June). There are 20 acres of gardens which have been sensitively restored. There’s even a sculpture park. Homemade teas will be available. Wheelchair access. 2 to 5.30pm. Tickets at the gate.

St Columba’s Church

Services planned are:

• Tonight at 6.30pm – Choral Evensong

• Sunday 13 June, 10.45am – Festival Eucharist for St Columba’s Day led by the Archdeacon of Cleveland, the Venerable Dr Amanda Bloor (also see entry below).

• Sunday 20 June, 10.45am – Holy Communion (Modern Language) Rev’d Mary Rolls

• Sunday 27 June, 10.45am – Sung Matins

Celebration of St Columba’s Day 13 June at 10.45am

The annual celebration of the Patron Saint of our parish church – St Columba – will take place next Sunday 13 June with a special service led by the Archdeacon of Cleveland, the Venerable Dr Amanda Bloor.

There are plans for a Village Picnic in the churchyard immediately after the Sunday service on 13 June, from about 12 noon. Anyone can attend whether or not they have been at the service. Take along your family and friends, along with food, drinks, rugs and chairs. Groups will need to be suitably distanced, but there is plenty of space for everyone. There will be guided tours of the church from time to time during the course of the afternoon, and those able to will be invited to climb the church tower to admire the fabulous views. Covid risk assessments have been prepared and will be regularly monitored and updated before and during the weekend to ensure everyone’s safety. Naturally the whole event is subject to the Covid situation, but the plan is to proceed unless there is any government announcement about gatherings. If you have queries about the St Columba Day programme please contact John Phillips on 01845 577034.

Local traders

• The Angel at Topcliffe – now reopened fully with a new menu. Please call to book indoor tables. Breakfast is served 8 to 10am to non-residents every day. • Lunch is served Monday to Friday, 12noon to 2.30pm and dinner 5 until 9pm. • The restaurant is open 12noon to 9pm on Saturdays and 12 noon to 8pm on Sundays. • The bar is open Monday to Thursday, 12 noon to 11pm; Friday and Saturday 12 noon to midnight; Sunday 12 noon to 10.30pm. • The tents and gazebos in the garden are still in place so those who are still reluctant to eat inside can still enjoy a meal. • The Angel at Home service will continue until further notice Wednesday to Sunday (please try to book in advance and check the new menu before ordering). • Comedy Night is planned to resume on 6 July, tickets will be available next week (£10 in advance, £12 on the day). Check out full details at or follow The Angel on Facebook to get regular updates.

Asenbee Honey – as well as selling local honey, this Asenby-based business makes beeswax candles and a range of hand-carved spoons and oak chopping boards.

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

The Elm Gallery – Opening times are: Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 5.30pm; Sunday, 12noon to 5.30pm; Monday and Tuesday – closed. Covid safety arrangements are in place with two households/bubbles in the gallery at any one time. Call 01845 577316 or 07709 223920 or check out the website at:

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 Little Yorkshire Hamper Company – currently based at the Milk Churn farm Shop but due to lack of space is planning to relocate to Melmerby soon. The company provides beautiful hampers for all occasions. Hampers contain the best of produce from small Yorkshire food and drink producers. Tel: 07793 775987

The Milk Churn Farm Shop -The café is now open again. It offers a selection of hot and cold drinks, homemade cakes, traybakes and scones. Wheelchair access is available at the rear of the property. Customers are still required to keep to social distancing rules so the café is providing tables each with just three chairs as the seating area is too small to have more. Takeaway teas and coffees with cake is still available. Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9-5pm. Thursday and Saturday 9-1pm. Check out Facebook page for information about new lines in fresh and frozen foods. 01845 400446.

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. For an appointment call Nicola on 07851 034815.

The Swan is now operating normal hours again. Providing traditional home-cooked food with a new menu and ‘specials board’, extra choices on Wednesday Pie Night, take-away meals, Sunday lunch served 12 noon to 4pm and on Saturdays food is served 12 noon until 8.30pm and the bar stays open until late!

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.

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.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Recycling & green waste – Thursdays 17 June and 1 July

• Refuse – Mondays 7 and 21 June

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Recycling – Mondays 7 and 21 June and 5 July

• Refuse – Mondays 14 and 28 June and 12 July

• Garden waste – Thursdays 17 June and 1 and 15 July

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