The Men on Bishopthorpe’s War Memorial

Some considerable time ago, I made an appeal in ‘Link’ for any information regarding the men whose names are inscribed on the Bishopthorpe War Memorial.  There are fourteen men from the First World War and ten men from the Second World War.

War_Memorial_1My intention was to carry out research into the lives of these men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country; this with a view to producing a publication as a tribute to them.

I am now in the latter stages of preparing the manuscript, with most of the research completed.  However, in looking at all the information I now have at my disposal, I was disappointed to see how few photographs I have for publication.  I had hoped to have an image of each man commemorated on the Memorial.  Many of the photographs I do have are taken from very old newspaper copies, and not of the best quality.

During the course of my research, I have found a number of other men, from both wars, who died as a result of war service.  They would have been entitled to be commemorated on Bishopthorpe’s Memorial because they had either been born, or lived, in Bishopthorpe.  As such, I shall include them in the publication.  However, I also lack photographs of some of them and therefore include their names with the others below.

I would therefore ask again if anyone has photographs of the following men, or is aware that such photographs exist, I would be extremely grateful if you could contact me with this information.


Pictured left is Private C. W. Johnson’s grave in St. Andrew’s Churchyard, Bishopthorpe.  This is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone. Pte. Johnson was with the Pioneer Corps and died 16 November 1946, aged 45.

First World War:  

William BAILEY

Mark Walter FUGUEL, Private.

Arthur HOLT, Private.

Frank JOHNSON, Private.

Donald Paley MACKAY, Major.


Berkeley PAGET, Second Lieutenant.

George Henry SIMPSON, Sapper.

George WILKINSON, Sapper.

Second World War:

Gordon Frank ADAMS, Trooper.

Geoffrey ILES, Private.

Charles William JOHNSON, Private.

Alan Norman LANCASTER, Flight Sergeant.

Simon STOBART, Lieutenant.

Edgar UMPLEBY, Leading Aircraftman.


Ken Haywood:  39 Acaster Lane, Bishopthorpe, YORK, YO23 2SA.

Tel. (01904)704584 or e-mail:

Finding Bishopthorpe’s First Lord Mayor

You don’t know what you may find when searching in an archive.  Take, for example, the history of a house and its inhabitants.  While looking at the house known as ‘The Laurels’, at the junction of Sim Balk Lane and Church Lane, I discovered that a previous owner had been a Lord Mayor of York.

I was surprised because I thought that Councillor John Galvin was the first Bishopthorpe resident to have held that office (2009 – 2010).  However, Mr. Galvin’s predecessor was one Alderman Henry Steward who was elected Lord Mayor 140 years ago.

Born in York in 1817, Henry Steward was a wealthy comb maker whose grandfather, George Steward, founded the business in the early nineteenth century.  The family residence and comb manufactory was in the York parish of Holy Trinity, Micklegate, at 37 Blossom Street.  The firm’s principal material was horn which was in plentiful supply in the city.  Combs were not the only commodities produced: there were lantern leaves (in the time before glass was used), powder flasks and drinking horns.


‘The Laurels’, Sim Balk Lane, photographed in 1963, about 100 years after Henry Steward bought the property.


Henry purchased ‘Laurel Villa’, as it was then known, in the early 1860s; his father died there in 1864.  The 1871 census reveals that Henry, who was unmarried, lived in the house with his sister, a niece and a modest number of servants.



The Political Life

Politically, Henry Steward was, like his father, a Liberal and both served, at different times, as councillors for Micklegate Ward.  Henry became an Alderman in 1868 and was straight away elected Sheriff.  His first task was to organise the general election in York.  Four years later, he took the oath as Lord Mayor and his unmarried sister, Eleanor, became Lady Mayoress.  A hectic round of duties was carried out in their year of office.  The most prestigious, on the 26 March 1873, was the grand banquet given by the Lord Mayor of London, in that city, for the English and Welsh Mayors.  This gathering was aimed at the establishment of a stronger bond between the country’s municipal authorities.  They were seeking more control from central government over local affairs and Prime Minister Gladstone, who was present, acknowledged this in his speech.

A few months later, Lord Mayor Steward greeted the Lord Mayor of London at York Station, for he had been asked to reciprocate on behalf of the provincial Mayors.  Despite London arriving with a splendid entourage, including a group of trumpeters, York was not to be outdone.  The long parade through decorated streets to the Mansion House was grand and colourful; the 200 Mayors were resplendent in their gold chains and scarlet robes of office.  The banquet at the Guildhall was lavish with numerous toasts and flattering speeches.  Illuminations on the Mansion House lit the way to a glittering ball in the Assembly Rooms.  Henry was applauded – the event was deemed a great success.

Alderman Steward had many strings to his bow.  He was a director and trustee of the York Permanent Building Society and chairman of the York Regatta. As chairman of the York Gala Committee, he helped arrange all kinds of entertainments from hot – air balloon ascents to fireworks.  However, his greatest interest lay with the cultivation of plants.  With the help of his gardener, a variety of flowers and ferns were raised in the greenhouses in the garden at Bishopthorpe.  He showed them at flower fetes, especially those held at the Guildhall under the auspices of the Ancient Society of York Florists, of which he was vice-chairman.  He won many prizes for variegated pelargonium, feathered rose tulips and scarlet bizarre carnations to name but a few species.  Sometimes the Alderman found himself competing against his fellow resident, Archbishop Thomson!

Problems with York’s Public Health

However, life as a councillor and Alderman was not all plain sailing for Henry.  The many junketing occasions he and his colleagues enjoyed were in sharp contrast to the problems York Corporation faced within an over-crowded city.  The sanitary and housing conditions experienced by York citizens throughout most of the 19th century were appalling.  The city’s death rates were some of the worst in the country.

In the 1850s, even the more affluent property owners of Micklegate Ward, where the Steward family home and manufactory was situated, were castigated as “extremely negligent” in sanitary matters. It was found that the accumulation of “various fluid matters” where there were no public drains or sewers, were left to evaporate in the heat of the sun.  Perhaps this was why Henry moved to Bishopthorpe!

During Henry’s year as Lord Mayor, the Public Health Act of 1872 was introduced.  The new urban sanitary authority took over the functions of the local board of health and the following year a medical officer of health was appointed.  Henry did not live to see improvements to the sanitary conditions and public health of the city; these did not begin to take effect until the 1880s.

Henry Steward died on the 15th December 1876, following a long illness.  His funeral was reported in some detail in the local press.  The mourning coaches made slow progress in heavy rain from Sim Balk Lane to York Cemetery where he was buried in the family grave.  ‘Laurel Villa’ was bequeathed to his sister Eleanor who lived there until her own death in 1895.

Despite the burial in York, Eleanor was keen to see that her brother was remembered in Bishopthorpe.  She erected a monument to him in St. Andrew’s Church which joined another dedicated to their parents and other family members.  The engraved marble memorials, which would have been moved from the old church to the present one in 1899, can still be seen high up on the wall of the bell tower.  So Bishopthorpe’s first Lord Mayor of York is not entirely forgotten.

As I said above, it’s surprising what you may find in an archive – especially the Bishopthorpe Community Archive.  Open on Mondays, 2.30 – 5.00 pm upstairs in the Village Hall.

Linda Haywood


W. Knowles, Lord Mayors of York, Scrap Books, Vols. 9 & 10.  Manuscript notes transcribed by Jill Murray.  On open shelves at Explore York Library.

J. Malden, ‘Combmakers of York’ in, York Historian Vol. 8, 1988, p50.

M. Tillott (ed.), A History of Yorkshire: The City of York, [O.U.P., 1961] pp 281 – 6.

1851 Census: HO107/2354 /75 /20.  [Holy Trinity, Micklegate, York]

1871 Census: RG10/4746 /42 /3.  [Bishopthorpe]

York Herald, 20 June 1801, p2. [Advertisement giving details of the early comb manufactory.]

Yorkshire Gazette, 15 October 1864, p3. [Death of Henry’s father, George Steward.]

York Herald, 12 September 1868, p7. [Floral Fete at York]

York Herald, 7 August 1869, p10. [Ancient Florists Society Show]

York Herald, 14 November 1868, p1. [Preparations for the General Election.]

The Daily News, 27 March 1873, pp4, 5. [The Municipal Banquet in London.]

The Times, 26 September 1873.  [The Lord Mayor of London at York.]

York Herald & Yorkshire Gazette, 27 September 1873.[Visit of Lord Mayor of London to York.]

Yorkshire Gazette, 23 December 1876, p7. [Funeral of Ald. Steward]

York Herald, 10 January 1876, p6. [Yorkshire Gala Committee meeting.]

York Herald, 6 January 1877, p6. [York Permanent Benefit Building Society.]

York Cemetery Register, Grave no. 1553, Memorial Inscription D/05/03 [York Cemetery Trust]

Probate records:

The will of George Steward, proved at York 11 November 1864.

The will of Henry Steward, proved at York 5 March 1877.

Parish Council Ring the Changes

On a perfect night the Ebor Players renewed annual rivalry with a new look Parish Council Village Select XI in the annual cricket match.

Ebor_players_2013As usual the Players won the toss and put the Council into bat (6 of the previous 7 encounters have been won by the team batting second). Captain Godfrey strode magnificently to the crease and 3 minutes later was heading in the opposite direction cruelly given lbw to the lucky bowling of opposite number Tom Davis, clearly sacrificing his wicket to allow lesser mortals a chance.

His courage was rewarded as first Mike Dale and then Ben Jemison made quick-fire runs to retire unbeaten on 13 and 10 respectively. Meanwhile fellow opener Jo Bewley continued doggedly in pursuit of runs, she was joined at the crease by record run scorer Stewart Harrison who added to his total before being caught and bowled by Dunn. Cath Bruce was next up and she added her customary energy to proceedings never taking no for an answer in pursuit of the quick single. Bewley had now departed the scene being caught by newcomer Schofield off the bowling of Curran and the Players were making a fight of it. Chris Gajewicz complete with runner Nick Smith, unable to bat due to a poorly finger made only 1 before hitting her wicket, the distraction of Smiths running clearly got to her.

Her replacement was Carole Green making a welcome return after a number of years absence and following a career best 3 she was retired by captain Godfrey. However this proved to be a gamble as a flurry of wickets followed as Bruce was caught Dunn off the bowling of Davis for 5 soon to be followed by debutant Steve Pallender who despite making a promising opening boundary fell next ball to Linfoot. Next up and soon to be out was Lisa Thornton who proved that darts really is the only sport she is good at, out for 0 again. This left newcomer Jacob Green like Cinders (coincidentally this year’s Panto) with no-one to go to the ball with, unbeaten on 4. The Council team finishing on a respectable 92 all out.

In reply the Players started well with openers batting in contrasting fashion – Alex Schofield looking confident fending off all that the opposition could throw at him whilst Matt Taylor looked more Boycottesque. However on the departure of Schofield for an unbeaten 10, next batsman, Diane Curran was shortly to follow him to the pavilion without troubling the scorers. Enter captain Davis who attempted to move the scoring along but despite a gallant career best 7 he was brilliantly caught by opposite number Godfrey off the bowling of Pallender. Meanwhile Taylor plodded along with productivity reminiscent of a French tyre plant worker. Julia Sykes now entered the fray and put up dogged resistance but added just 2 (the same number of lines that she usually gets in Panto) to the score before departing following a catch by Pallender off the bowling of Jacob Green. However the run rate for the Players was becoming critical and once Alistair Dunn had been bowled by Dale for a gallant 9 all hope seemed lost. Taylor followed shortly after for a grand score of 5. Unfortunately for the Players this tail did not wag. Despite dogged resistance from Steve Poulter 7 not out, tight bowling, good fielding most notably from Thornton who adopted the famous words issued at the Battle of Verdun in 1916 ‘Ils ne passeront pas’ the Players regularly lost wickets, in particular to the demon bowling of Harrison who finished with 3 victims.

Bev Linfoot (1) Jeannie Conley (0) Nigel Pendleton (1) and Becki Linfoot (0) all fell in quick succession meaning the Players finished with a score of 63 all out to leave the Council team victorious by 29 runs and tie the series at 4.4

A big thanks must go to all who helped make this a successful evening.


Ebor Players won the toss and put the Parish Council Village Select in to bat

Parish Council Village Select XI

L Godfrey lbw Davis                                                          0

J Bewley c Schofield b Curran                       8

M Dale Retired                                                  13

B Jemison Retired                                                            10

S Harrison c&b Dunn                                                       7

C Bruce c Dunn b Davis                                  6

C Gajewicz          Hit Wicket                                           1

C Green Retired                                                3

S Pallender b Bev Linfoot                                              4

L Thornton c Schofield b Bev Linfoot        0

J Green NOT OUT                                                             4

Extras                                                                                    36

Total                                                                                      92


Ebor Players

M Taylor c Dale b Harrison                                           5

A Schofield Retired                                                          10

D Curran RUN OUT                                                          0

T Davis c Godfrey b Pallender                     7

J Sykes c Pallender b J Green                        2

A Dunn b Dale                                                    9

Bev Linfoot RUN OUT                                     1

S Poulter NOT OUT                                                          7

JJ Conley lbw Jemison                                    0

N Pendleton b Harrison                                  1

Becki Linfoot c J Green b Harrison                              0

Extras                                                                                    21

Total                                                                                      63

The Stillingfleet Tragedy

StillingfleetCome and hear about the disastrous Stillingfleet Tragedy of 1833 in which eleven members of a group of carol singers drowned in the Ouse after their boat overturned.

Joselyn Appleyard will be giving an illustrated talk about this event including the people and families involved.


Saturday, 6 July at 2.30 p.m. in Bishopthorpe Village Hall.


3GBP including light refreshments.


Facelift for the Palace Clock

Next time you pass Bishopthorpe Palace, take a look at the clock on the gateway.

Clock_1For some time it had been looking the worse for wear but now it shines and glints in the sun; restored to its former glory, just in time to mark its centenary.

Clock_2In March, Archbishop Sentamu unveiled the restored clock by setting the time.  In doing so, he was following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Archbishop Cosmo Gordon Lang 100 years ago. The mechanism was made for Archbishop Lang by William Potts & Sons in 1913 and the Leeds firm has been responsible for its maintenance ever since.


For further information, read Andrew Carter’s article in the March issue of Link.

Annual Darts Match

Darts_2013Who needed Real Madrid v Manchester United when we had our own clash of the titans at the Ebor where the latest instalment of sporting rivalry unfolded, the annual Darts Match between the Ebor Players and a Parish Council Select Team. This year the Players had additional motivation as they sought to avenge last year’s 5.4 defeat having thrown away a 4.2 lead.

With all the players matching on to musical accompaniment this year, the match began with the  traditional opener; a ladies doubles. The Players team comprising Lisa Beadle & Diane Curran took an early advantage over their Council opponents Jo Bewley & Cath Bruce and this saw them through, first blood to the Ebor Players. Next up men’s doubles and despite having never won a match, the Players persisted with the partnership of Paul Brook and Liam Godfrey who continued their ‘unwinning’ ways, losing convincingly to Michael Dale & Tom Davis. It’s played 5 lost 5 now for Godfrey, who keeps picking him?

Mixed doubles next and the ever reliable unbeaten pair of David Rose & Bev Linfoot duly delivered for the Players beating Stewart Harrison (whose 100+ score was not enough to save them) and Gillian Clifton who bravely played despite a broken foot.

A high quality men’s singles next with Steve ‘the boatman’ Poulter being holed below the waterline early on in his game with newly promoted Ben Jemison, and despite some wobbles late on from Jemison he finished the game to preserve his unbeaten record.  The first surprise of the evening and the match tied at 2.2.

Next up with the best record of any player was Lisa Thornton, hero of last year’s Council victory and with a record of 6-0 was up against Julia Sykes. A banker for the Council or was is? With Thornton blaming her darts, the weather and her husband, Sykes raced into an early lead and duly finished for an unexpected victory, her new nickname ‘The Thornton Tamer’

Half time and it’s delicately poised at 3.2 to the Players.

Into the second half and another men’s doubles. In a high quality match the Players duo of Ned Curran and Alistair Dunn edged out Ian Jemison and Steve Pallender. 4.2 to the Players and they only need one point to regain the trophy. Would the Council be able to stop them?

There was a hushed atmosphere as the next match promised to be a close affair with the Players represented by Lisa Beadle & unbeaten Steve Patrick against Council captain Cayley Godfrey and Pat Thornton making a welcome return since his winning efforts 3 years ago. Captain Godfrey was lethal with her aim peppering the wall, gas fire, spectators, even cars in the car park were in danger and achieved the so far unique feat of getting all the darts in the board but scoring zero. In the end despite the best efforts of Thornton the Players ran out convincing winners and took an unassailable lead in the match.

With only pride to play for the next match saw a stunning checkout of 79 (a record) from Chris Gajewizc (Council) as she and Bob from the Marcia beat Diane Curran and new boy Matt Taylor.

Final match up was a high quality affair with Dave King and Steve Poulter representing the Players defeating Tom Davis and Pat Thornton, to leave the final score like a famous football match in 1953 that changed English football forever a resounding  6.3 to the Ebor Players. Even Radio York were following our fortunes via a live twitter feed, next year we are hoping to sell the rights to Sky.

Other winners were:-

Andrew Dunn Cup – Chris Gajewicz for her 79 checkout

Most Valuable Players – Bev Linfoot & David Rose for their unbeaten partnership.

Thanks must go to all involved.

Sporting rivalry will be resumed in the Cricket Match in the summer.

Bishopthorpe Beer Festival

The weekend of 16th and 17th of March sees Bishopthorpe Sports & Social Club hosting its second St. Patrick’s Weekend Beer Festival.

Beer_Festival_2013Those who came along to last year’s inaugural event will remember (depending on how many they sampled) what a great range of real ales and ciders were on offer, and this year is shaping up to be even better with 10 distinctive ales plus lagers and ciders.

The fun starts at 2:00pm on Saturday 16th, and runs through to midnight. After a short break to recover it all starts again at noon on Sunday 17th, ending at 11:00pm, or when everything’s gone!

Beers are available in pint, 1/2 pint, and 1/3 pint measures, so if you want to sample the lot without completely overdoing it you still can.

Entry is free, so why not come along and try something a bit different.

Oh, and Guinness will be on tap too for any who feel compelled to follow the St Patrick’s day creed…

Edible York

The Parish Council has recently endorsed Edible York, an initiative designed to grow food locally for use by anyone. Edible_YorkLed by Cllr Carole Green a few councillors together with helpers planted apple, pear and greengage trees along the cycle path which hopefully will supply free fruit to anyone wishing to pick them.

Delicacy Deploys

After months of planning and preparation a new Acaster Lane shop has opened its doors.

DelicacyDelicacy is a delicatessen and sandwich bar, serving fine Yorkshire produce. Owner Jen Auton is well known for her own home made cakes, which will be available in the shop, alongside artisan breads, cooked meats, specialist pies, cheeses, olives, and much more.

Lunchtime salad boxes and sandwiches have already been a big hit in the run up to Saturdays official opening, and with a couple of tables where customers can relax with a coffee and a bite it looks like Jen has found something that will appeal to both locals and those from farther afield.

Bishopthorpe dot net is pleased to see any new business open in the village, and with the quality and taste that Delicacy offers it’s certainly a business that deserves to succeed.

So this is another great reason to shop in the village rather than go off to the surrounding megastores. Try something local – and check out the other shops too!

Annual Youth Awards

Introduced by the Bishopthorpe Millennium Trust following the successful Pageant of 2000, and now under the auspices of the Parish Council, the Youth Award has been presented since 2002. It aims to recognise the work that our young people do with both young and elderly people, working within the church, schools, sports clubs or organisations both within the village and the wider world.

The number of young people nominated for the Youth Award appears to go from strength to strength and this year there were 6 nominees

Our recently appointed Methodist minister, Rev. Graham Peaden had the unenviable task of judging this year’s winners and he eventually decided on Katie Paver and Rachel Skelton

Youth_Award_2013Katie has worked as a Young Leader with Bishopthorpe Rainbows and Brownies arranging stimulating crafts and games to reinforce the Girl Guiding ethos of thinking of others before themselves. She has been recognised as an outstanding role model to the girls and also represents the local group at district planning meetings of the Girl Guiding organisation. She has also gained her Silver Duke of Edinburgh award.

Rachel was nominated for her work in raising funds by singing for several charities including Cancer UK, Alzheimer’s Society, The Martin House Hospice and  S.N.A.P.P.Y (Special Needs Activities and Play Provision for York) – a charity, very close to her heart where she has met and helped some of the children who benefit from this organisation.

Rachel also helps out at the St Andrews Church Holiday Club, the Quench Cafe and helped to organise the children’s street party to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. She is also known to many for her parts in the Ebor Players Pantomime – this year playing a very successful Princess Crystal in Jack and the Beanstalk.

Congratulations to both these very worthy winners.

An alternative view of the panto

The Panto goes from strength to strength and each year it seems to be bigger and better than ever. But can this go too far?

Helen P has her own views on this, and on the Christmas Eve church service, which she has sent through to :-

My Visit to the Pantomime and the Christmas Eve Church Service

As a Grandparent, I moved from a village very similar to Bishopthorpe to be closer to my family. I have lived here for many years and enjoy the facilities on offer such as the annual Christmas Pantomime and the Christmas Eve Church Service.

However this year I have had to reflect on these two Bishopthorpe traditions. The Pantomime would not be out of place in the Theatre Royal or the West End. I sat during the performance and wondered if all the lighting and technical equipment was really needed. Has this great tradition lost its village charm and appeal? Does this annual event need steering back to becoming just a village Pantomime once again, rather than a fully professional, polished production? I am sure that this would cost much less and have the same, if not more appeal.

St Andrew’s usually provides a wonderful Christmas Eve service. Sadly this year my family and I stayed for no longer than ten minutes. The church was overcrowded with standing room only. What used to be a lovely start to Christmas has become an unpleasant experience. Perhaps two services on Christmas Eve is the answer? Certainly there needs to be something in place to ensure that this annual service is once again available to all.

H. P.

Bishopthorpe, York

So what do you think? Lots of people love the panto and the expectation that each year will outdo the last – but is there a case for scaling back a bit? And what about the church service? Are these really problems that need to be addressed?

Let us know how you feel!


Romy | January 19, 2013 5:06 PM

I was really sad that I wasn’t able to attend the Christingle this year but it’s lovely to know that the church was packed 🙂

Bunny E Smith | January 15, 2013 9:29 PM

Darlings! Producers, men, women and children, fellow thespians, may I wish you a good day. I cannot say how depressed I felt when I saw this initial missive. As my good friend Joni once said and to paraphrase, you don’t know what you have got until it has gone…etc. Well, let me tell you, for the last five years plus, I have had to undergo what advertises itself as our village panto and I cannot begin to advise how truly dreadful it is. (Not a local village to yours but in the same region) All I can advise (for fear of being banned myself from the production) is to state that we have one costume for the annual performance. The co-writer is producer, director and star! He also likes to play the front end of the pantomime horse! (Our one and only prop.) No I say, move on, upwards and onwards. Break a leg and all that. Good luck to you all. And as for the Church service, just be thankful you still have a church. The one in our village has been taken over by the money lenders. Love to you all, Bunny x

Liam Godfrey | January 5, 2013 2:13 PM

Like many others I have been a member of the Ebor Players for a number of years and have been involved in previous Panto productions and so my comments may not be unbiased. I welcome the somewhat flattering comment by Helen that this year’s production ‘would not be out of place in the Theatre Royal or the West End’ because that is precisely what it hopes to be, as professional as possible.

I have always believed that whatever one does one should seek to do it to the best of their ability, and I know this is the view of all who are and have been involved in current and previous productions. Indeed the show could become less professional by say asking the scene designers to put a bit less work in, to ask the director to maybe schedule less rehearsal time or the choreographer to spend a little less time teaching the cast their dance routines. Equally when this work has been complete we could ask for it to be not lit as well or to not sound as good. All of this may produce a more ‘villagy’ show but it would be an insult to the professionalism of all who have worked to produce the very best show that they can and even more importantly would be an insult to the audience who have paid to see what they hope will be a good show.

Lisa Thornton | January 3, 2013 3:28 PM

How disappointing. Why shouldn’t our village be home to successful events where volunteers strive hard all year to bring their own particular talents to bear on traditional activities? Why shouldn’t we be proud of the fact that we enjoy coming together as a community to watch our children gain a special experience of Christmas? As a long standing member of the Ebor Players, and a regular attendee at the Christingle service I marvel each year at how many talented, hard working people we have in this village that are willing to learn new skills and teach others in order to provide these events. We shouldn’t be scaling back these activities, but celebrating their success. Standing in the aisle to watch the local nativity play with candles burning bright is one of the highlights of my year and something I hope my children will remember for ever. Turning the service into a ticket only event, or trying to perform twice is not really the point is it? Scaling back the quality of the Panto wouldn’t do justice to the volunteers who work hard to do something better every time – not just for the audience, but for their own personal satisfaction. The cost of the panto isn’t really the point either – it’s about doing something people are proud of and at a price that allows families to come to a show that is good value for money. If we don’t strive to be better, and if we can’t put up with a bit of discomfort to share special events with each other our community will be poorer – not in money, but in the spirit of togetherness that has always made this a special place to live.