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Sunday Email: Issue 93

Welcome to the 93rd issue of the Sunday Email.
07785 223707
Community meeting to discuss local celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
Following on from the article in last week’s Sunday Email, a meeting has been called to discuss how our two villages might celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee in June. The meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Sunday 6 February at The Angel. Everyone is welcome. It will be an opportunity for ideas to be aired and it’s hoped that a jubilee committee will be formed to take the lead on organising local events and activities over the jubilee weekend – Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 June.

As Sunday 6 February is the actual day The Queen celebrates becoming the first British Monarch to serve 70 years, the meeting will be a great opportunity for those present to toast Her Majesty on her amazing achievement.

Asenby bus shelter book library
David and Heather Allon, who have organised the very successful library in the bus shelter at Asenby throughout the period of the Covid pandemic, are having to give up the task from the end of this month and are hoping that someone else might volunteer to keep it going. Anyone interested is asked to call David on 07934135049.

David has asked for a mention of Siobhan Gifford who has kindly looked after the library on a temporary basis in recent months.

Village shops update
Big changes are underway at our two village shops – the Post Office and Milk Churn Farm Shop. As previously reported the way the two shops operate has been reviewed following a survey of customers views.

Essentially, the Post Office is going to concentrate on postal services, newspapers, stationery, sweets and hot & cold food, whilst the farm shop will widen its range of foodstuffs to include everyday essentials alongside the specialist locally sourced produce and the café.
Debbie says:

  • We have seen lots of new faces in the farm shop, so a big thank you to new and old customers for taking the time to pop in to see what’s going on. All household products are now in the farm shop and once the new shelving is up, the tinned foods will follow.
  • Everyone will have noticed that building work is underway at the Post Office. The doorway on the right-hand side of the building has been moved to accommodate an interior entrance to the flat above. Once the Building Control inspector has visited to check the work undertaken so far, the new oak doors can be fitted. We will try to carry out this work so that we cause the least inconvenience to customers.
  • This week electrician Chris Moores will be doing a night shift in the Post Office to install new lighting and do a few extra jobs.
  • The dog tying hook has temporarily been moved whilst construction work is under way, but we will replace it as soon as possible. Many apologies to dog owners who are finding this a bit of an inconvenience.
  • We’ve started to repaint the interior walls in the Post Office and we have had some excellent feedback on the paint colour…and about our scrapbook murals. Rob is currently making new shelving for the chocolate bars and we’re waiting for new wall shelving to arrive. When complete we’ll be able to stock and display an even greater variety of sweets and chocolate.
  • Negotiations are looking extremely favourable for the Post Office to provide a new laundry service for the community. I am having to jump through hoops to persuade Johnson the Cleaners to introduce a collection service, but I’m determined to succeed. It looks like any contract will involve set targets, so it will be a “use it, or lose it” arrangement. After my protracted discussions to get a service, I hope everyone will make use of it. Further details to follow.
  • Thank you to all the sweet-toothed farm shop customers out there! The new line of locally baked cupcakes have been flying off the shelves. They’re absolutely delicious, so come and try them for yourself.
Next soup and sweet lunch
The next soup and sweet lunch at the Village Hall will be held next Wednesday, 2 February at 12 noon. The cash raised will be donated to the Boot Shop in Easingwold which is a charity with an excellent track record in supporting young people and adults with a range of mental health needs and disabilities – which include learning disabilities, autism, acquired brain injury, sensory impairments and dementia.

The last lunch (on 19 January) raised £77 for the Community Works charity based in Thirsk.

Fish & chip van
Coming back very soon! The fish and chip van will be back at its regular spot in Topcliffe on Friday 28 January.
Salsa classes – the bad news and the good news
It’s bad news for those who attended the Salsa classes in the run up to Christmas and were looking forward to the sessions restarting at the Village Hall this month. Unfortunately the tutor, who lives in Leeds, has decided it’s too far to travel, especially bearing in mind the numbers attending. So, Joanne Brierley, who initiated the classes, has reluctantly concluded that the local class will have to be abandoned.

But there’s also some good news! Joanne has contacted the Butterflies School of Dance in Westgate, Thirsk and its proprietor, Roxanne Marie Brearley has organised an eight-week course of Salsa classes. They start on Monday 31 January, between 8 and 9pm and are only £6 per session. If you are interested please contact Roxanne on 07976 067984.

Open Day at new Crematorium
Regular readers of The Tattler newsletter may recall that in the December edition the Leader of Hambleton Council and Topcliffe’s ward councillor, Mark Robson, raised the idea of an open day at the district’s new crematorium. Well, Cllr Robson has now confirmed that this opportunity to see the XX million new facility will take place on Thursday 24 February. Visitors can call in between 11am and 3pm for a look around and to talk to staff about the building and how it will operate.

In order to minimise the number of cars, if anyone who is interested gives me their name, I’ll keep a list and see if transport can be pooled. Email doug or call 07785 223707.

‘Dear Mum’ scam on the rise
Few parents would be suspicious of a WhatsApp text message from their son or daughter saying they had broken their phone and were using a temporary number. However, maybe they should be because it’s unusual for anyone to get a temporary number.

The text message appeals to mum or dad to pay for a new mobile phone because the child can’t access their bank account. The seemingly innocent message is, in fact, the start of a cynical scam that can leave them hundreds of pounds out of pocket. Known as the ‘mum and dad’ or ‘friend in need’ con, fraudsters impersonate their victims’ loved ones. They claim to be in distress and in urgent need of help and cash in the hope worried relatives will hand over money without thinking twice.

In 65 per cent of cases, the scammers disguised themselves as the victim’s son, and in 33 per cent, as their daughter. On occasion, the scammers pose as parents or friends. In the last three months of 2021 Santander reported a 532 per cent surge in the new scam and other banks are also reporting large increases.

To bring home the prevalence and cleverness of the scam, two incidents were reported locally in the last week. The targets of those attacks said that they are generally scam savvy but these WhatsApp messages are extremely convincing and the immediate desire to help a loved one clouded their judgement. One mum lost over £1,000 to the scammers paying for the new phone…but fortunately the bank refunded the cash. To report fraud or attempted scams, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

HMRC tax scams
Sorry to go on about fraud and scams, but with 31 January being the self assessment deadline, there’s usually an increase in criminals pretending to be from HMRC around this time. Never make a payment to anyone who contacts you out of the blue, even if you’re threatened with police or court action. Always check what you owe directly with HMRC on the website.

2022 Big Garden Birdwatch

Final reminder that this year’s RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, takes place between Friday 28 and Sunday 30 January. Simply count the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park for one hour on one of the mentioned dates.

Rural Arts to start monthly classes at our Village Hall
Rural Arts starts its new series of monthly classes at Topcliffe and Asenby Village Hall on Tuesday, 22 February. The subject at the first class will be painting and brusho. The two hour class starts at 10am..Just turn up on the day (it’s free to attend) or if you want more information call Judith Lowe on 577911.

On 22 March the class will look at ceramics and subjects for 19 April, 17 May, 21 June and 19 July will be announced in due course.

Services at St Columba’s

  • TODAY – 23 January at 10.45am – Holy Communion with Rev’d Canon Steven Harvey.
  • Sunday, 30 January – No Service.
  • Sunday, 6 February at 6.30pm – Choral Evensong accompanied by organist Matthew Atherton. While everyone will no doubt be looking forward to celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee over the special four day bank holiday weekend 2 to 5 June, Sunday 6 February marks the actual 70th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne and we would warmly welcome anyone who would like to join us at Choral Evensong on this most significant day.
  • Sunday, 13 February at 10.45am – Holy Communion.
  • Sunday, 20 February at 10.45am – Choral Matins.
  • Sunday, 27 February at 10.45am – Holy Communion.
Catton Kitchen winter opening hours

  • January – Friday and Sundays 10am to12 noon.
  • February – Closed – as the team are very busy getting everything seeded and prepped for spring!
  • March – Thursday 3 and Friday 4, 9am to 2pm; Saturday 5, 10am to 2pm; Sunday 6,10am to 2pm.

Opening times will be reviewed again in the spring.

Parish Council meetings

Village Hall Committee meeting

Both parish councils and the Village Hall Committee meet at Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall.

  • Until Thursday 27 January – The Matrix Resurrections – return to the world of two realities; one, everyday life and the other, what lies behind it!

Please keep checking the website for the latest details –

Events on at The Forum

  • Thursday 27 January at 7pm – Leopoldstadt – this new award winning play by Tom Stoppard is a passionate drama of love, family and endurance. (Live-streamed from the National Theatre).

Friday 28 to Sunday 30 January – (Friday matinee at 2.30pm; Saturday/Sunday at 7.30pm) Film: The Electrical Life of Louis Wain – the extraordinary true story the eccentric British artist portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.

  • Friday 28 January at 7.30pm – Megaslam Wrestling: Live and Loaded 2022 Tour
  • Wednesday 9 to Saturday 12 February at 7.30pm (matinee Saturday at 2pm) – Legally Blonde – Crash Bang Wallop are back performing to a live audience in 2022. Since you last saw them, they have been awarded ‘Best Youth Show in the North East’, by NODA.
  • Sunday 6 February at 7.30pm – Sunday Jazz – the fabulous sounds of the Big Band Era performed, in an open session, by Alan Owens and The Forum Big Band.
  • Monday 14 February at 7.15pm – Romeo and Juliet – the classic ballet live-streamed from the Royal Opera House. A Valentine’s Day treat.
  • Thursday 17 February at 7pm – The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage – live-streamed from the National Theatre.
  • Saturday 19 February at 7.30pm – Phoney Fools and Horses – the stage show.
  • Wednesday 23 February at 8pm – Ahir Shah – Dress – featuring his signature blend of philosophical inquiry, personal examination and sweet gags.
  • Friday 25 February at 6pm – Pop Divas Live – the UK’s number 1 Pop Tribute.

Enquiries 01609 776230. Tickets online at

Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall

Under the recently introduced Plan B rules, face masks must be worn by users of the Village Hall, except when eating, drinking or exercising.

1. Weekly Activities
Art classes – 10am to 12 noon.
My Time Yoga – 1.30 to 2.45pm.
Boot Camp – 7 to 8pm.
Rural Arts – monthly ‘Heart and Craft’ classes starting 22 February.
Boccia Club – 1.30 to 3.30pm.
Library – 1.30 to 3.30pm.
Squirrels – 5 to 6pm.
Beavers – 6.15 to 7.15pm.
Soup & Sweet lunch – 12 noon to 1pm (alternate Wednesdays).
Cubs – 6.45 to 7.45pm.
Pammy’s Pilates – 6 to 7pm.
Indoor Carpet Bowls – 7.30 to 9.30pm.
Boot Camp – 6 to 7pm.
Scouts – 7 to 9pm.

2. Regular meetings and other events

  • Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall Committee – 7.15pm – Tuesday 25 January.
  • Topcliffe Parish Council meeting – 7pm on Thursday, 3 February.
  • Asenby Parish Council meeting, 7.30pm on Wednesday 16 March.

The Big Race Night and Challenge Quiz & Curry Night will hopefully be rescheduled once the Covid pandemic is over.

Local traders
Most of these traders also have a Facebook page where you can check out latest information.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

  • Recycling – Thursday 27January and 10 February.
  • Refuse – Monday 31 January and 14 February.
  • Garden waste – Garden waste collections will resume mid-February for those who have subscribed to the current year’s service which runs until March 2022.
  • Subscriptions for 2022/23 are now open. The cost is £40. New and existing customers can now sign up at or call 01609 779977.

Harrogate (Asenby)

  • Refuse – Monday 24 January and 7 February.
  • Recycling – Mondays 31 January and 14 February.
  • Green Waste – Subscriptions for 2022 are now open and the cost is £41. Sign up at
How the Covid rules are changing
England’s Covid-19 Plan B restrictions have started to ease. Here are the key changes and dates::

  • 19 January – guidance to work from home was dropped.
  • 20 January – staff and pupils no longer required to wear masks in classrooms. The wearing of masks in communal areas will not be required after 27 January.
  • 27 January – mask-wearing for the public at large generally no longer required.
  • 27 January – the showing a Covid pass to enter large venues like nightclubs will no longer be required.
  • Date to be confirmed – when restricted visits to care homes will end.

Although it has been announced that face coverings will no longer be mandatory in any setting, people are encouraged to continue wearing them in enclosed spaces or when coming into contact with people they do not usually meet.

The main legal requirement still in place will be self-isolation following a positive Covid test. The period is now five days – provided you produce a negative test result on the fifth and sixth day and do not have a temperature. Tests must be at least 24 hours apart. If either test is positive, wait 24 hours before testing again. This measure is due to expire on March 24, although there have been suggestions it may expire sooner if the Covid situation continues to improve.

The week’s UK Covid statistics

  • 52.2 million first doses given. 48.1 million second doses. 90.8% of the population aged 12+ has now had the first jab and over 83.7% the second.
  • 36.8 million have now had a booster or third jab. That’s 64% of those eligible.
  • There have been more than 15.7 million confirmed cases of Covid.
  • There were 76,807 new Covid infections yesterday and 641,929 people tested positive in the last week. That’s a 22% decrease on the previous week.
  • 14,213 people were admitted to hospital with Covid in the week to 17 January.
  • There were 297 deaths reported yesterday and 1,888 in the last seven days. An increase of 2.4% compared with the previous week.
  • The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at 153,787.
  • 175,256 deaths registered in the UK had Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate.
  • Worldwide, the global death toll is 5,605, 039.
That’s all for this week. Keep safe and remain well.