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Sunday Email: Issue 66

Welcome to the 66th issue of this regular Sunday Email. I’m not what you’d call a fanatical football supporter, but I do recognise the importance of today’s big game. It’s a long time since England were in the final of any football competition and it’s a first as far as the Euros are concerned. Of course, I’ll be watching the game and cheering on the best team England has had in years. Enjoy the match.


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The week’s Covid statistics

• The R number has increased and is now between 1.2 and 1.5. This means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 15 other people.

• 45.8 million first doses given. 34.5 million second doses. 86.9% of the adult population has now had the first jab and over 65.6% the second.

• 213,528 people tested positive for Covid in the last week. That is an increase of 30% on the week before.

• 3,081 people were admitted to hospital with Covid between 30 June and 5 July, an increase of 56% compared to the previous seven days.

• There were 34 deaths reported yesterday and 192 in the last seven days.

• The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at 128,399. Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

• Worldwide, the global death toll is 4,019,368.

Covid on the increase…again!

On Friday the latest government figures showed an increase of 35,707 Covid cases across the UK – the highest daily figure since 22 January. The percentage of people testing positive for Covid is estimated to have increased in all regions of England with the north-east having among the highest proportion of people of any region likely to test positive.

Here in North Yorkshire there were over 1,500 new cases reported last week. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 216 cases per day. The seven-day rate is 258 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the England seven-day rate of 257.

The rise in infections comes as plans are being made to allow more international travel

Since the start of the pandemic, people wanting to go on holiday abroad have had to deal with last-minute rule changes, cancellations and the potential of quarantine. The government’s latest announcements aim to end the months of travel uncertainty and use the protection of vaccines to open up travel again. From 19 July people who have had two doses of vaccine and any under-18s can travel to any of the amber list countries without facing a 10-day period of quarantine on return to England…meaning amber and green countries are treated as the same. However, travellers are warned that an amber list country could still turn red without notice, meaning tourists may still face disruption. And just because we can travel abroad it doesn’t automatically follow that ‘amber’ countries will accept UK holidaymakers. Each country has its own rules. On top of this there are still rules about Covid testing. In a nutshell, the unpredictables of overseas travel remain.

Pinging on the increase!

There has been a significant rise in the number of NHS app pings because of the recent surge in Covid infections. Some experts are warning that millions could be asked to self-isolate, with a knock-on effect for the economy and workplaces. It’s also feared many users are deleting the app, rather than running the risk of being asked to self-isolate. The government says the app may have to change because of the much-anticipated end of social distancing on 19 July. It is looking at tweaks to make it less sensitive, so it sends fewer alerts.

Anticipated changes to restrictions

Subject to further increases in the number of Covid cases and pressure on hospitals, the following measures are expected to be introduced from Monday 19 July:

  • Social distancing – No limits on how many people can meet, 1m-plus rule removed (except in some places like hospitals), face coverings no longer required by law.
  • Events and gatherings – Nightclubs can open, pubs and restaurants no longer table service only, no limits on guests at weddings and funerals or on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events. No restrictions on communal worship.
  • Guidance on working from home will end.
  • Limits on visitors to care homes will be removed.
  • It will remain a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid.

And from 16 August:

  • Most Covid restrictions in schools – including ‘bubbles’ – will come to an end, ahead of the autumn term.
  • Those who are double-jabbed will not have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive for Covid.

Covid Testing

If anyone has symptoms, they must book a PCR test.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.

Monday Makers

Rural Arts is running a free ten-week course on ceramics as part of its Monday Makers series of events at Courthouse in Thirsk. There are still places available and applications are invited from anyone who might be interested. The sessions are open to all unemployed people, including those that are retired. The course begins on Monday 2 August and will run until 11 October, 10am – 1pm, except August bank holiday. As long as you are able to make the majority of sessions, then you will be eligible. The course covers a range of ceramics techniques, as well as concepts and design. There’ll be one session making polymer clay jewellery with Jane Burley. For further information email sorcha or visit


Samantha Key has asked for a mention about the collection of stamps that she has coordinated over the last year or so. She has recently sent off two full A4 envelopes worth of stamps which will be used to raise funds for the charity Support Dogs for Autism, for Epilepsy and for Disability. A big thank you to everyone who has supported this initiative.


Samantha Key and her mum Nikki would like to thank everyone who purchased tomato plants from the stall on Long Street a few weeks ago. £30 has been sent to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Again, a big thank you to everyone who donated.

Soup and sweet lunch

Last Wednesday’s lunch at the village hall was very well attended and £63 was raised for the day’s selected charity – Community Works, in Thirsk. The next soup and sweet lunch will be held on Wednesday 21 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.

Sunday afternoon tea

As everyone attending the recent soup and sweet lunches appeared to have had such a great time meeting up and having a good chin wag, Karen Morley and Linda Carver have decided to organise an afternoon tea on Sunday 1 August so that more friends and neighbours can meet together. It will be in the village hall – either inside or outside depending on the weather – between 3 and 5pm. Those so inclined are welcome to bring along their own bottle of wine or fizz! And if anyone would prefer to just pop in to collect their afternoon tea and take it away to consume elsewhere, that’s ok. As with the lunches, instead of paying a set price those attending will be invited to leave a donation. Any surplus will be donated to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Help needed: it would be much appreciated if villagers would help by making cakes, scones, quiches, biscuits or sandwiches. Just bring them along on the day between 1 and 2pm so that there is time for them to be set out.

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 60 people attending. The second concert is on Saturday 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. There is no charge for admission but donations are very welcome. If you want more information contact Sue Brown at the shop in Baldersby – 07840 381558 or Colin Reid on 01765 640624.

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.

St Columba’s Church

Services planned are:

• This morning at 10.45am – Holy Communion.

• Sunday 18 July, 10.45am – Sung Matins.

• Sunday 25 July, 10.45am – Holy Communion.

Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall

• Art classes – Monday mornings 9.30 to 11.30am.

• 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.

• Soup and sweet lunch – 12 noon Wednesday 21 July.

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

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

• Sunday Afternoon Tea Party, 3 – 5pm, 1 August.

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

• 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.

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.

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

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:

Fotiá Candles – Nikki and Sam Key’s home-based business producing hand poured soy wax candles, wax melts and reed diffusers. Perfect gift ideas. Bespoke orders for special occasions such as wedding favours. 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):

• Recycling & green waste – Thursday 15 and 29 July

• Refuse – Mondays 19 July and 2 August

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Refuse – Mondays 12 and 26 July

• Garden waste – Thursdays 15 and 29 July

• Recycling – Mondays 19 July and 2 August

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