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Sunday Email: Issue 62

Welcome to the 62nd issue of this regular Sunday Email.

It was unfortunate that the appeal for volunteers to help tidy up the churchyard last Sunday seemed to fall on deaf ears. Only a couple of people turned up to help, making it very hard work for them. Anyway, the churchyard is now looking very presentable and perfect for the Village Picnic from 12 noon today. We haven’t had much chance for village events this past fifteen months so hopefully lots of people will be keen to join in today. You need to take along food, drinks, rugs and chairs and, of course, your family and friends. There is plenty of space available so there’ll be no difficulty for everyone to sit in socially distanced groups. It could be a very pleasant afternoon, so please try and attend.


07785 223707

The week’s Covid statistics

• The R number is now between 1.2 and 1.4 – a significant increase on last week’s figures. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially but when it is below 1, it means the epidemic is shrinking.

• 41.3 million first doses given. 29.5 million second doses. 78% of the adult population has now had the first jab and over 56% the second.

• 47,868 people tested positive for Covid in the last week. That is an increase of 52%.

• There were 1,089 patients in hospital with Covid on10 June. That’s a 15% increase on a week earlier.

• There were 12 deaths reported yesterday and 60 in the last seven days.

• The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at 128,000.

• Worldwide, the global death toll is 3.8 million.

The roadmap out of lockdown

Tomorrow is decision time for the government. It has to decide what it will do about lifting restrictions in a week’s time on 21 June. Naturally most people are desperate to see a return to normality but ministers have always said 21 June was not set in stone and that it could be affected by changes in the pandemic, including the emergence of new variants. There has been much speculation and political argument about what should happen, and there’s speculation that the ending of all restrictions will be delayed by four weeks. It is clear that the government will be weighing up key factors as they make their final decision. The four key numbers involved are:

1. The number of people in hospital: there are just under 1,100 people with Covid in hospitals in the UK. That’s far below the peak of nearly 40,000 people in January, but an increase week on week. The people in hospital aren’t as seriously ill as they were in early waves. They are younger, or don’t require intensive care as much – and they’re coming out sooner. That means this wave is different, and better, than previous ones but eventually rising admissions will mount up.

2. The speed of rising infections: the main type of coronavirus in the UK is the Delta, variant first identified in India. It is at least 40% more transmissible than the version that sparked the winter wave caused by the Alpha variant first seen in Kent. As Delta has become prominent the number of infections has risen. Last week, the Office for National Statistics suggested that UK infections had risen by 60% in a single week. If that growth rate remains steady or picks up, it suggests that cases will rise pretty quickly if and when restrictions are lifted further. But rising infections on their own aren’t a reason to extend lockdown. The government’s key test is whether rising infections risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. That also depends on your chances of getting seriously ill if you catch coronavirus.

3. The chance of becoming seriously ill if infected: that is much harder to predict now than it was in the first or second waves, when scientists could predict what proportion of cases would need treatment. That’s because vaccines do reduce your chance of getting really sick if you do get infected with any variant. While people who have been fully vaccinated make up more than 50% of the population, they make up fewer than 5% of people who have been admitted to hospital with the Delta variant. But it does look like it takes two doses before someone gets high levels of protection from that variant. So, there’s a race on to double-jab as many people as possible, before the virus spreads enough to find the vulnerable or to put pressure on the NHS.

4. The number of people who have been fully vaccinated: More than 50% of adults have been given the best protection possible – two doses of the vaccine. That’s still a way off herd immunity, even if you add in people who have some immunity from having had coronavirus in the past. But every person vaccinated helps to slow the spread.

Juggling all the data and reaching sensible conclusions is a mammoth task and one that will require some old-fashioned political judgement as well as hi-tech epidemiological models.

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:

Today we celebrate St Columba’s Day

The annual celebration of the Patron Saint of our parish church – St Columba – takes place today. There’ll be a special service at 10.45am led by the Archdeacon of Cleveland, the Venerable Dr Amanda Bloor.

Immediately after the service everyone is invited to a Village Picnic in the churchyard from 12 noon until 4pm. 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. There’s plenty of space so picnicking groups will find it easy to keep socially distanced. During the course of the afternoon there will be guided tours covering the long history of the church and also opportunities to climb the Church Tower and enjoy the fabulous views. Numbers will be limited each time to no more than five and masks must be worn.

Covid risk assessments have been prepared to ensure everyone’s safety. If you have not already signed in before the service, you will need to sign in on arrival at one of the church gates. Should you be following the football, there will be plenty of time to join in before the match starts at 2pm!

Soup and sweet lunches are back!

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.

British Falconry Fair – Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 June

Duncombe Park, Helmsley This world class event at Duncombe Park, Helmsley will showcase amazing flying demonstrations from the best display falconers in the business. Saturday night BBQ and bar. No dogs allowed. Onsite basic camping area – you must prebook and spaces are limited. Tel: 01439 772080 –

Thirsk Museum

Did you know you could experience the history of Thirsk at the Thirsk Museum, which is in the house where Thomas Lord, founder of Lord’s Cricket Ground, was born in 1755? You can explore rooms full of exhibits featuring local life and industry, cricketing memorabilia, farming equipment, furniture, costumes and toys. You’ll also find the chilling bones of our local Saxon giant and read about the legend of the Busby Stoop Chair. The museum is in Kirkgate, across the road from The World of James Herriot and admission is free. Open 10.30am to 3.30pm with last admissions at 3.00pm (closed Thursdays and Sundays).

Markenfield Hall – An online talk – Tuesday 29 June

This remarkable moated manor house is on our doorstep, between Ripon and Harrogate, but is probably unknown to many of us. It’s the seat of the Grantley family, builders of Grantley Hall, and dates from the 14th century. Janet Senior, a volunteer guide at the hall, will talk about this remarkable building, its remarkable families and interesting history. Click 1.45 for 2pm start.

Post Office and Shop

An announcement from John and Anne-Marie Mulley: “We have been reluctant to give an official update regarding the sale of the Post Office and Shop as the recruitment of a new sub-postmaster is proving to be a lengthy process – made more difficult by the pandemic. But now we are delighted to inform everyone that Debbie Roberts of the Milk Churn Farm Shop has been accepted by the Post Office and will be taking over the whole business. There are still some hoops to jump through so we cannot give you an actual date yet, but hopefully we aren’t too far away. Congratulations to Debbie on her stamina and successful completion of the process and if the Milk Churn is anything to go by, we are keen to see what exciting plans she has in store for us.”

PO counter assistant needed

The change of ownership at the Post Office has created a job opportunity for a counter assistant. This is a position of responsibility: the successful candidate will assist with the running of the Post Office as well as working on the shop side. Applicants must have excellent organisational, communication and customer service skills, and be prepared to develop a knowledge of all Post Office procedures and products, including Foreign Exchange. Experience would be a benefit but is not essential as full training will be given. Under its new ownership the business will strive to innovate by introducing new products and ideas. Some weekend working will be required as the shop is open six days a week. 21 hours per week, 8.30am to – 12noon, Monday to Friday mornings with two Saturdays each month. Salary £9,828 p.a. with performance bonus. Anyone interested is invited to send their CV to deboraalderson

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. The first is on 30 June at 7pm. Ian Watt will present 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. 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.

The Moors Bus

Starting from early July there’ll be three buses each Sunday and on Bank Holidays from Thirsk Market Place to Helmsley, travelling via Coxwold, Byland Abbey and Ampleforth. From Helmsley, Moors Bus travellers can take connecting services to locations all over the Moors. A Rover day ticket costs £9.50, child £4.50. National concessionary passes are accepted. Timetables and maps for all 16 bus routes are at

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.

Boot Camp to get you fit!

There’s a new fitness class launching in Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall. Mariola James Fitness is running the full body workouts which, it is claimed, will improve your health, wellbeing and cardiovascular performance. This week classes are on Tuesday 15 and Friday 18 June at 7pm and they are for 45 minutes and are £4 per session. They’ll be every Tuesday and Friday thereafter. All levels of ability are welcome. Equipment will be provided and sanitised after every use. Get in touch to book or for more information

Ask the scam experts

With fraudsters continuing to target victims with ever more sophisticated scams which involve the victims giving access to their online accounts or being persuaded to transfer money, here’s an opportunity to learn about the tricks the scammers use and how to spot them. North Yorkshire Police are hosting an online ‘Ask the Experts’ event in partnership with HSBC Bank to help people learn about the types of online banking fraud currently operating, how to spot them and how to stay safe. It takes place on 22 June between 7 and 9pm. To register go to

Funny Night

The Angel is restarting its popular Comedy Night on Tuesday 6 July. Tickets are on sale now – £10 in advance, £12 on the day.

What happened to the Methodist Chapel’s finial?

Stephen and Eloise Horley, the new owners of the Methodist Chapel, are continuing their search for information about the ball finial that once sat proudly on the roof of the building. It’s now known that the ball was removed in the 1980s as it was thought to be in danger of falling off the roof. The likelihood is that the ball has survived and is an ornament in somebody’s garden. It would be great to see the finial returned to the chapel. Stephen and Eloise 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.

St Columba’s Church

Services planned are:

• Today, 13 June, 10.45am – Festival Eucharist for St Columba’s.

• Sunday 20 June, 10.45am – Sung Matins

• Sunday 27 June, 10.45am – Holy Communion with Revd. Mary Rolls.

Bake Sale

Some residents will have had a leaflet about this event through their letterbox last week, others may not have had one and in any case it does no harm to repeat the information here. There’s a bake sale to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. It will be on Friday 18 June between 2.30 and 4.30pm at The Holdings, Dalton Y07 3HS (it’s just opposite Springfield Garage). There’ll be a selection of wonderful home-baked tasty treats available. If any Topcliffe or Asenby home bakers a would like to contribute some of their own home-made cakes, please text 07764 739120.

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:

• 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.

Local traders

The Angel at Topcliffe – now fully reopened with a new menu. 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 & Cafe – Revised opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9am – 5pm; Thursday 9am – 1pm; Saturday 9am – 4pm and Sunday 10am – 3pm. Closed on Mondays.

Customers are still required to keep to social distancing rules. Takeaway teas and coffees with cake is still available. Wheelchair access is available at the rear of the property. 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. Closed on Sundays.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Refuse – Mondays 21 June and 5 July

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

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Refuse – Mondays 14 and 28 June and 12 July

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

• Recycling – Mondays 21 June and 5 July

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