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Sunday Email: Issue 65

Welcome to the 65th issue of this regular Sunday Email. It was wonderful to see England’s footballers beat Germany last week and Ukraine last night. The team is on a roll and let’s hope their success continues on Wednesday when they face Denmark in the semi-final.


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The week’s Covid statistics

• The R number has reduced marginally to between 1.1 and 1.3. This means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 11 and 13 other people.

• 45.1 million first doses given. 33.4 million second doses. 85.7% of the adult population has now had the first jab and over 63.4% the second.

• 164,290 people tested positive for Covid in the last week. That is an increase of 70% on the week before.

• There were 1,953 patients in hospital with Covid between 23 and 29 June, an increase of 24% compared to the previous seven days.

• There were 18 deaths reported yesterday and 118 in the last seven days.

• The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at 128,471.

• Worldwide, the global death toll is 3,987,466.

Covid restrictions announcement expected this week

The official date of the next step to remove restrictions is Monday 19 July, but it’s anticipated the Prime Minister will make an announcement this coming week. Though it’s looking likely most restrictions will end, it’s clear that some, such as social distancing and the use of face masks, may be retained for the foreseeable future. The British Medical Association is calling for the continued use of face masks and new ventilation standards. It says that targeted measures are still needed to protect the NHS, health and education amid what it says is an alarming rise in cases.

North Yorkshire Covid report

At 27 June, there had been 32,188 positive tests since 3 March 2020. 1,420 new cases were reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 82 cases per day. The 7-day rate for North Yorkshire is 143.7 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England 7-day rate of 158.9. The number of people being hospitalised with the virus is significantly lower than in previous waves – 22 are in hospitals serving the North Yorkshire population, one down from last week.

Thank You Days

Today is National Thank You Day and tomorrow is NHS, Social Care and Front-Line Workers’ Day. It’s a while since the public demonstrated their appreciation of the selfless service given by so many front-line workers, so these special days offer us the chance to say a big THANK YOU to all those nationally who have helped bring us to this point over the past 16 months. And more locally, it’s a chance to pay tribute to all those great volunteers in North Yorkshire who have helped to protect the vulnerable or have helped out with family, friends and neighbours.

Misleading claims about Delta deaths

Some people, including those pushing an anti-vaccine agenda online, have been claiming a large proportion of those dying with the Delta variant of coronavirus had been vaccinated. One conspiracy site even claims vaccinated people are dying at higher rates than those who had not received the jab, both of these statements are untrue – the vaccine is reducing cases. The site uses real figures in a misleading way, to arrive at a completely false conclusion – that the vaccine may not be working or even doing more harm than good. Official figures clearly demonstrate that’s not the case.

Furlough Scheme changed on 1 July

The government’s furlough scheme, which offers support to employees out of work due to the Covid pandemic, changed from Thursday 1 July. Official figures show around 3.4 million people are on furlough, with a total of 11.5 million jobs supported by the scheme over the course of the pandemic. Until 30 June, employers kept workers on the payroll and paid 80% of salaries, up to £2,500 per month. Now employers have to take on more of the costs, paying 10% of their furloughed workers’ salaries while the government covers the remaining 70%. Workers will see no change to wages and will still receive 80%. However, this is probably the beginning of the end of the scheme, which has so far cost taxpayers over £66 billion. From

1 August, the amount employers will pay rises to 20% until the scheme comes to an end in September – by which time all Covid restrictions should have been lifted.

Stamp Duty Holiday

The stamp duty holiday introduced in July 2020 was designed to boost the property market by helping buyers whose finances were affected by Covid. It meant buyers didn’t have to pay the tax on the first £500,000 of their purchase price, meaning a saving of up to £15,000. From last Thursday, 1 July, stamp duty will kick in again on prices above £250,000. From 1 October rates are due to return to normal, meaning the starting point for paying the tax will revert back to £125,001 and there’ll be 2% to pay on prices between £125,001-£250,000. According to the Nationwide Building Society the stamp duty holiday definitely stimulated the housing market, with house prices rising 13.4% in the year to June, the fastest pace since November 2004.

Holiday position still confused

Malta, Madeira, the Balearic Islands and a number of Caribbean destinations are among the places added to the travel green list. Holidaymakers will no longer have to self-isolate on their return to the UK from them. However, all these additions – apart from Malta – are on the ‘green watchlist’, which means that they are at risk of being moved to amber. The government says people should give extra consideration when booking holidays to these destinations because if there is a sudden change in conditions, a country may be moved between lists without warning. An added complication announced by Malta last week is that they will only accept a letter from the Health Department as proof of vaccination – the NHS app will not be accepted. Worse, Malta is also asking for proof that children aged 12 to 17 have had their jabs, yet the UK isn’t yet vaccinating this age group!

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. Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately. You can order here:

The Great Yorkshire Show

This year the show will run over four days for the first time in its history. Social distancing measures will be in place. The health and safety of staff, visitors, exhibitors and animals is paramount so new safety measures, including a limit on attendance to 25,000 visitors each day, are in place. There’s a packed timetable of competitions and displays. It’s on from Tuesday

13 to Friday 16 July – tickets are only available in advance and are now on sale.

Soup and sweet lunch

The next soup and sweet lunch at Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall will be held on Wednesday 7 July at 12 noon. Instead of paying a set price for lunch, customers are asked to make a small donation according to their means. Any surplus is donated to a different charity each week.

Bird feeder thieves

It has been reported before that vandals had destroyed the bird feeders hung in the trees along Winn Lane. Sadly, there are now reports that the bird feeders are being systematically stolen! The feeders are maintained by Malcolm and Karen Morley at their own expense and they are devastated that someone is determined to destroy their attempt at looking after local wildlife. It’s hard to understand why anyone would pinch these feeders and ruin the opportunity to see birds flocking to these sites.

Art classes are underway

A new art class has been launched at the Village Hall in Topcliffe. It is run by Becky Jayne between 9.30 and 11.30am on Monday morning. Each week attendees work with a different material or can opt to work in a choice of their own. Payment – £12.50 per session – can be made by BACs in advance or on the day. There are three sessions planned initially to test the viability of the classes. Tomorrow’s will be the second.

SummerTime Fest

The Staveley Arms at North Stainley is holding a summer festival on Saturday 21 August. The programme stars The Dunwells and also features Lucy May-Walker, Megan O’Neill, the Solow Choir and Freddie Cleary. For more details check out the pub’s Facebook page or email info


The first concert in the Music@Junction50 series at the church at Baldersby St James was a resounding success with around XX people attending. The second concert is on Wednesday 24 July at 11am when local harpist Mary Reid returns to the venue to present an informal ‘coffee concert’. She will perform pieces from composers such as Bach, Paganini and Salzedo. 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.

Want to know more about scams?

Following on from last week’s article, Neighbourhood Watch invites you to join a range of online webinars to expose the truth behind scams. The webinars are free to attend and are open to anyone who would like to know more about scams, the psychology behind them, how to prevent them and how a fraud case is investigated. The webinars bring together experts in their field relating to online fraud, a topic which we are all too familiar with and can affect anyone and everyone, as our lives are played out more digitally. The dates of the webinars and their topics are:

  • 6 July, 5pm – exploring the psychology behind scams and how scammers are so effective at their crimes.
  • 14 July, 5pm – insights into how a fraud case is investigated and how not to be the next victim.
  • 23 July, 5pm – scams awareness training.
  • 30 July, 5pm – don’t get hooked by scammers! What you need to know about flubot and phishing scams.

You can book a place by click on Just click on the webinar that you wish to attend (you can attend all of them if you wish) and complete the registration page for each of them.

Ash trees to be removed along A168

Auto-Link, the company that maintains the A168 trunk road on behalf of Highways England, will this week start removing ash trees suffering from ash dieback. Initially the removals will be on the side of the northbound road but later more works will be required on the southbound side. The work will be carried out overnight (8pm to 6am) starting Monday 5 July. The work is being done at night so that the highway can be kept open: daytime work would require lane closure and unacceptable levels of congestion. Any queries should be directed to Auto Link on 01642 560637.

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 7.15pm on Thursday 5 August in the main hall at the Village Hall. topcliffeparishcouncil

Covid safety arrangements are in place at the Village Hall for all meetings and activities.

Comedy Night

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

St Columba’s Church

Services planned are:

• Today, Sunday 4 July, 6.30pm – Choral Evensong.

• Sunday 11 July, 10.45am – Holy Communion.

• Sunday 18 July, 10.45am – Sung Matins.

• Sunday 25 July, 10.45am – Holy Communion.

Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall

• Soup and sweet lunch – 12 noon Wednesday 7 July and fortnightly thereafter.

• Art classes – Monday mornings 9.30 to 11.30am. (The art class is on a three-week trial to test out attendance. If numbers are good, it will continue beyond 12 July).

• 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.

• Topcliffe Parish Council meeting – 7pm, Thursday 5 August.

• Asenby Parish Council meeting – 7.30pm, Wednesday 21 July.

• Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall Committee – 7pm, Thursday 29 July.

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

• Attic Auction – Saturday 4 September.

Existing hirers of the hall will have free use 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. Bookings for new activities and for events such as parties will be possible from 19 July. 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.

Milk Churn Farm Shop

The farm shop will close at 3pm on Wednesday 7 July. Debbie apologies if this causes an inconvenience to any customers.

Local traders

The Angel at Topcliffe – fully reopened with new menu. Check out full details at or follow The Angel on Facebook to get regular updates.

Asenbee Honey – this Asenby-based business sells honey but also 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. Telephone: 07793 775987.

The Milk Churn Farm Shop & Cafe – 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 5 and 19 July

• Recycling & green waste – Thursday 15 and 29 July

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Recycling – Mondays 5 and 19 July

• Refuse – Mondays 12 and 26 July

• Garden waste – Thursdays 15 and 29 July

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