Walking past Bishopthorpe Palace as the sun slowly disappeared in the west, my eye was caught by a shadowy figure outlined against the warm Tadcaster stone of the gateway. I looked again and realised the figure was the silhouette of a soldier with bowed head and holding a rifle. Closer observation revealed that this was a tribute to members of the Palace staff who lost their lives during the First World War. The poppy wreath at the feet of the soldier stated simply:
“In memory of the Bishopthorpe Palace staff who fell during the Great War 1914-1918.
Children’s outdoor music and movement – seeking shelter!
Cath Smithson, licensed Kindermusik Educator & York Primary Teacher writes:-
I wonder whether anyone might be able to help. I teach small Kindermusik music and movement classes to children and their carers, from newborn babies up to 7 year olds. During lockdown, we resorted to Zoom then headed outdoors from July – and have stayed outside in all weathers. (I’ve yet to find an indoor venue which is affordable, clean and well-ventilated!)
Are there any venue providers in Bishopthorpe who might be open to offering us some covered area to shelter beneath as the temperature drops and rain sets in?
Please get in touch if you can help.
Licensed Kindermusik Educator & York Primary Teacher
“The tumult and the shouting dies,
The captains and the kings depart….”
On Monday 24th July 2000, I was the last of the Pageant organisers on site at Bishopthorpe Palace. The previous day, many of the participants had turned up and cleared almost everything away, but the toilets, caravans, rubbish bins and generators had to wait for Monday collection.
For me there were feelings of pride at our success, relief at our avoidance of disaster and pleasure in new friendships made.
So much had been done by so many people from Bishopthorpe and Acaster over the preceding year. A grant from the Millennium Fund had been secured, use of the Palace and its grounds generously granted by our Archbishop David Hope, the script written, the parts cast, many and frequent rehearsals held. Individuals and businesses kindly loaned their equipment, their animals and their services. We had identified suppliers and contractors for insurance, security, tent, stands, bar, toilets, etc. Licences had been obtained for the use of animals, children, toilets, explosives…
There were, of course, unanticipated problems to overcome. Some were quite major such as the need for access through Chantry Lane construction works. Others are trivial in retrospect but important at the time such as my (it can now be revealed) locking out the Home Guard between scenes. (Surely their predecessors would have learned to climb over fences!) Even the last job was not destined to be easy. A generator was too heavy to be towed out of the sunken garden. A tipper truck from Chantry Lane came to our rescue.
The week itself was a triumph. The sun shone. After the first night we had full houses. The performances went well. About a thousand local people enjoyed an event in which about two hundred friends and family participated. Over £17,000 was raised for the villages.
And here are some further memories of the Millennium Pageant from Anona Dawick
I remember David Hope’s warm acceptance of our presence at the Palace, his willingness to allow us free access to the ground floor rooms and the ‘stable’ facilities and his very effective prayers for fine weather on each performance. Unfortunately the spell wore off a few weeks later when floods after torrential rain filled the Palace cellars!
I remember the humour and dedication shown by all the participants in the enterprise: actors, stage crews, costume designers, choreographers, and front of house alike.
I directed three of the episodes in the production. I was especially grateful for the help of the Manager at Murton who provided the costumes for the Roman soldiers and drilled them, marching to the chant of “sin-dek’ (Sinister! Dexter Left Right). My second scene was a 16th century scene involved a dancing routine featuring the Volta and a pavane which were coached by Sandra Smith and executed delightfully by the actors. I also loved the expressions of the maids who were peeping through a window of the Palace to watch the ‘toffs’ dancing.
My third episode featured a performance by our previous vicar. It was based on the flood of 1892. and John Bettridge designed an ingenious boat constructed over his own trailer so it could be wheeled over the imaginary flood water to enable the Rev John Keble and two church wardens to disembark up the Palace steps. Several weeks later they would have needed a real boat!
The Millennium Pageant was certainly a wonderful occasion which enabled the whole village to come together and co-operate in so many ways. Fortunately the performance was professionally filmed so we still have the video to bring it back to life. My thanks to everyone involved.
Pageant memories from John Bettridge
THE PAGEANT PROPS TEAM
My involvement in the pageant started when a note dropped through our letter box inviting people in the village to help in various ways. I had recently set up a workshop in our barn with some woodworking machinery and I replied to say that I could probably help make some props and scenery. A reply arrived to say that before volunteering I should be aware of the list of props required – this included: 15 Roman soldiers’ uniforms complete with shields and swords; an assortment of staves; a large medieval chair (or throne); a Roman altar (portable); an effigy of an archbishop; 100 flaming torches; ways to simulate explosions (off stage); Army Bren guns and rifles for the Home Guard scene; and – particularly challenging – a boat to hold 3 people which could move across the tarmac in front of the palace.
It was clear that we would need a team of people to tackle these projects, so we got together a group of 6 enthusiasts with appropriate skills including John Lynch (builder) and Lin Taylor who had lots of relevant artistic skills. We had many meetings at our house to plan our work and do the research – for example, none of us had any idea what a portable Roman altar looked like – and the internet was not as widely used as it is today.
Making the boat was a challenge. Thankfully, Ian Jemison (Jemison Engineering) who lives very close to the palace, came to our rescue by making a metal front end (complete with wheel) to be joined on to my old wooden car trailer; this provided an excellent base on which a pretend wooden boat could be built. All this took time and my wife and I remember finishing the woodwork on the boat and painting it just a few hours before the dress rehearsal!
Luckily, we found a professional company which could supply the Roman soldiers’ uniforms and the flaming torches for the procession. A local military museum lent us the Army Bren guns and rifles. We set up a store for all the props and equipment in the Palace basement but looking after the guns and rifles was more of a challenge. We imagined the headlines in the press if some had gone missing – perhaps “arms cache in Archbishop of York’s palace raided”, so I found myself (with a helper) walking home after performances to store them in our house. A few neighbours were somewhat surprised to see guns on the streets of Bishopthorpe late at night.
Working as a props team turned out to be not only rewarding and good fun but also a way of making new friends. It showed us the value of having a community project which was sufficiently challenging to bring us together to work as a team.
Postscript. When Bishopthorpe Main Street was flooded a few months after the pageant, I remember a neighbour standing in about 3 feet of water, calling out to me “have you still got your boat?”
Pageant Ale – courtesy of Martin Dudley
Could this be the last surviving bottle of Pageant Ale? Did you try it? When did you drink your last bottle?
There are more personal pageant memories in the public Comments section of this article.
If you don’t currently see these comments then Click Here to view the full article including the comments at the bottom of the article.
The memories and comments on this page show some individuals’ experiences of the Pageant and its aftermath. Many others took part in and enjoyed that week in 2000. I hope the recollections published here will provide for posterity some flavour not simply of what happened but of how village life was affected. You are still welcome at any time to add your comments, to help complete the picture.
One important fact still needs to be emphasised. Our Director, Andrew Dunn, worked almost full time on the project for months, helped and supported throughout by his wife, Romy. Sadly, Andrew is no longer with us, but it is to him that we should dedicate these reminiscences. Thank you, Andrew!
P.S. when the Village Hall re-opens, any written memories of the event can be handed in to the Bishopthorpe Community Archive. We also have the facility to record memories for the Archive if anyone wishes to contact us through email@example.com
We are asked to travel only if it is essential, and face masks must be worn.
Seating capacity will be very limited in order to adhere to the social distancing rules, so be prepared for buses to be classed as full even if they appear to have empty seats. Electronic displays and First Bus apps will show the current free capacity on approaching services.
Please pay by card or by app wherever possible. Cash will be accepted if it is the only option. Bus passes will be accepted at any time of day.
Passengers are asked to be considerate to people with prams or in wheelchairs.
If you intend to continue a journey by another route, check in advance. Some services have been suspended.
With good weather expected over the weekend, we have teamed up with North Yorkshire Police to stress the importance of staying home and following social distancing guidelines in York. The UK government advice is to stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible.
do not travel unnecessarily
you can still go to the park for outdoor exercise once a day but only by yourself or within your household, not in groups
you should keep 2 metres apart from others outside your household at all times when outdoors
York has been highlighted nationally as one of the best cities whose residents and businesses to have most adhered to social distancing [according to data from Google].
How Age UK York are supporting residents, with the help of council volunteers
To help relieve pressure on emergency services, volunteers from the council together with Age UK York are driving discharged hospital patients home.
To help relieve pressure on the emergency services, 25 volunteers from the council’s pool of volunteers who matched Age UK York’s criteria have been deployed to join the charity’s Home from Hospital service and their existing two volunteer drivers.
Suitably experienced volunteers with no underlying health conditions and who aren’t medically-shielding, can opt to transport patients who have had Covid-19. They will use personal protection equipment (PPE) and extra hygiene measures which follow Government guidelines. This includes drivers using 1,800 disposable plastic car seat covers kindly donated by garages:
Stoneacre Ford York
Vantage Toyota York
Butts of Bawtry
Fulford Auto Services
Another example of the city coming together.
Air quality improvements
New data has revealed that York’s air pollution has significantly reduced during the Coronavirus lockdown as the majority of residents stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
The analysis shows improvements in air quality (nitrogen dioxide concentrations), compared to ‘business as usual’ figures, for specific areas of York, where the council undertakes regular air quality monitoring, including:
Fishergate: a reduction of 43 per cent
Fulford Road: a reduction of 28 per cent
Gillygate: a reduction of 29 per cent
Heworth Green: a reduction of 27 per cent
Holgate Road: a reduction of 32 per cent
Nunnery Lane: a reduction of 38 per cent
Lawrence Street: a reduction of 29 per cent
Bootham: a reduction of 16 per cent
Average nitrogen dioxide reduction across all York sites = 30 per cent.
Homelessness and housing update
We are providing accommodation for all homeless households and individuals in the city now and will continue to do so beyond this emergency, as we normally do.
In addition to using our own and partners’ hostel accommodation, we are currently supporting around 35 homeless households – a mix of families, couples and single people – in self-contained bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation offered to us during the emergency.
Depending on each individual’s level of need, single people or rough sleepers are housed in a mix of existing hostels and bed and breakfasts, and in hotel rooms – all in single rooms to allow social distancing and self-isolation.
All the rough sleepers we are supporting are already known to us and the vast majority have accepted the accommodation which each and every one is being offered. We continue to remind them of the lockdown’s requirements, and work hard to persuade them all to come into and stay in their accommodation.
Rough Sleeper services are operating in the usual way. For a bed, please go to 63, Lawrence Street or call 01904 416562 or at evenings or weekends please call 01609 780780.
We are continuing with our services for people who are concerned about becoming homeless and need our advice to help prevent homelessness. This is being done online or by phone on 01904 554500 or via www.york.gov.uk/homelessness/housing-options. These teams continue to help people facing homelessness through, for example, financial hardship, relationship breakdown or issues with private landlords. We’re also working with landlords across the city to support their tenants and minimise evictions. We’ve seen a slight rise in single people asking our preventative services for help which may be because they usually live with friends or family who now need to self-isolate.
We’re prioritising our work to prepare empty council homes ready to re-let and are finding private rented accommodation harder to come by at the moment. We plan to continue working with hotels and B&Bs for the duration of the lockdown to keep people safely accommodated and we are working on plans to ensure that as we move out of lockdown everyone will have accommodation options.
Where individuals do become homeless and sleep on the streets, we continue to offer tailored support. Whether it’s mental health support, dealing with drug or alcohol abuse, relationship breakdown or poverty, we try and help each individual into suitable accommodation and services. Once they start working with us and our partners in the city – like Changing Lives or the Salvation Army – we can address each person’s needs including getting benefits in place, training for work, money and tenancy management, before helping them into stable accommodation.
While we carry on with this work, we’ve had to be increasingly innovative about safely supporting rough sleepers – especially those with more complex needs or challenging behaviours – while also maintaining social distancing for other clients and our staff. Like all other services, we’re doing more by phone and are prioritising emergencies. With York CVS we are signposting the charities we work with, including SASH, Carecent and Changing Lives, to apply for additional funding for voluntary groups.
York-based ‘Keep your pet’ (KYP) is continuing to provide its valued service to pet owners, and will do so as long as sufficient of its amazing volunteers are available.
KYP volunteers and staff recognise how especially important the company and security of a pet can be at this time, not least in maintaining a routine and sense of normality. So far during the current crisis KYP, administered by Age UK York, has helped over 60 people.
However, having had to cancel its major fund-raising event of the year, the annual dog walk on the Knavesmire and other events, Keep Your Pet is instead asking people to join in a ‘virtual dog walk’.
Keep Your Pet clients, supporters and all other dog owners are invited to take part by submitting photographs of their dogs, with or without their owners, along with a minimum donation of £5 per entry.
Keep Your Pet will create a ‘dog walk gallery’ on its website, and photos will be submitted to the press.
Winning entrants will receive a virtual and (in time) a real rosette.
As with the traditional dog walk other activities are also on offer:
where entrants express an interest and supply an appropriate photo they can take part in the ‘owner and dog look-a-like’ competition
where a caption to the photo has been supplied there is entry into the caption competition
there is the opportunity to take part in a ‘guess the name of a puppy’ competition.
Whilst receiving a majority of its funds from Age UK York, Keep Your Pet cannot function at the current level without donations and fundraising events. Expenditure includes publicity & administration costs. Chair of KYP, Keith Martin said:
“We would love to see you at our virtual dog walk and we also welcome support for Keep Your Pet on a regular basis – details can be downloaded from the website here. We are still hoping that the actual dog walk can be rearranged for September 2020.”
How to enter
Entries should be sent between 3rd and 10th May 2020 to firstname.lastname@example.org. One photo of a dog with a suitable caption and/or one photo of owner and dog to enter the lookalike competition. Photos need to be in jpg format. In addition entrants can guess the name of the female puppy displayed on the Keep Your Pet website.
Entries will need to be accompanied by a minimum £5 donation. Donations can be made through PayPal on the website www.keepyourpet.co.uk or by cheque payable to Keep Your Pet and sent to: KYP Treasurer, 8 Cromwell Road, Bishophill, York, YO1 6DU. Name and address to be included so that receipt can be acknowledged.
The names of entrants need to be stated in the submission email. It will be assumed that there is approval for the picture to be posted online & published in the media unless otherwise stated. An address for the postage of rosettes should be included in the event of the entrant achieving one of the top three places.
‘Keep your pet’ (KYP) helps older & vulnerable people in York and Selby by looking after their pets during times of medical or other emergency, so that they can return to caring for their pet when they have recovered. KYP was launched in November 2012 by a partnership between RSPCA York & District, Age UK York, & Age UK Selby. A team of local volunteers offers dog walking, pet fostering, feeding animals or transport to a vet. A part-time organiser administers the scheme from the Age UK Priory Street office.
KYP works in three ways in that it benefits animals, their owners, & the volunteers, particularly those who are unable to keep an animal of their own but wish to have contact, or those whose own animals have recently died.
First Bus is now operating a reduced service on route 11.
From Bishopthorpe, there is a journey at 06-23, then at 07-20 and thereafter every 70 minutes to 19-00. Evening journeys are at 19-56, 20-35, 21-35 and 22-35.
The Saturday timetable starts at 07-20 and operates every 70 minutes until 19-00, and thereafter as weekdays.
Sunday Service 11S
First York’s website says this is operated by EYMS, which if correct is a new development. The EYMS site doesn’t seem to mention it.
A Saturday timetable will operate on Good Friday and Easter Saturday. Sunday timetable (if it exists) should apply on Easter Sunday and Monday.
York Pullman is operating only three journeys daily (Mon. – Sat.) timed at 08-35, 12-30 and 15-55 to York and at 11-34, 14-59 and 18-34 to Colton.
The current timetable is operating to ensure key workers, including health service and emergency workers, can get to and from their places of work and those without a car can still collect medical prescriptions or do their essential shopping.
The company is aware of the importance of maintaining services, but if further changes are necessary the details will be found on the First Bus Corona Virus web page.
The revised No 11 Timetables can be viewed and downloaded via these links:
Lots of information and advice is available through the official channels, and there’s a whole load of correspondence and comments on the Bishopthorpe Community Facebook page.
However, we’re aware that not everyone uses Facebook so if you’re not on Facebook and there are items of local importance you think the community should be aware of, comments you’d like to make, or information you’d like to impart, please feel free to add your comments to this page.
Chart of shops offering special opening hours for special people.
Please note that it is now impossible for the Environment Agency to attend the parish council meeting next week. The two EA officers have been invited to the meeting on 24 March instead.
The next Parish Council meeting is on Tuesday 25 February, 19.00 in the village hall.
Kathy Stevenson, the Flood Risk Officer, and project manager Andrew Houston from the Environment Agency are planning to come along to provide us with a brief update on the Bishopthorpe flood relief scheme, and in particular to discuss opportunities for tree planting in the Bishopthorpe area.
They said that they very much hope for as little impact as possible for Bishopthorpe over the next few days but they are sure the community will work together whatever Storm Dennis has in store.
Please note that the latest river level and 36 hr forecast can be viewed on
and will be also be available to you via Floodline. This forecast is subject to change significantly over the weekend as the impacts of Dennis and snow melt from the upper catchments are realised. Read more Envir Agency Mtg Postponed ›
The Director of Public Health for City of York has asked me to send the following message:
This is an update on the coronavirus situation in York as at 14:00 on Sunday 02 February. Please feel free to share this with your constituents who might find it helpful.
The key message is that there have not been any further cases. The risk from coronavirus to individuals living and working in York continues to be low and the City is a safe place to visit. We are operating business as usual.
The situation is being closely monitored and advice may change. The lead agency is Public Health England (PHE). City of York Council (CYC) is being advised by PHE and will respond accordingly. For the latest national updates please go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
The CYC communications team are working closely with the PHE communications team and are doing an excellent job in sharing PHE updates with our partners across the City including schools, universities and Make it York.
We are responding directly to any queries that come through to us through our established channels and signposting people to specialist information from PHE as appropriate. Information is available on the CYC website with links to useful advice and updates are also now being shared via twitter. I have done an interview with Radio York this morning and will be doing further interviews with local media over the coming days as further updates become available. PHE will be launching a national health promotion campaign shortly that will be aimed at the general public and we will, of course, be supporting this locally as well.
Since the 2 cases were confirmed in York last Friday I have been having daily conversations with PHE and with the Vale of York CCG representing York Hospital and GP practices. Our local NHS services are well prepared and are ready to respond as needed.
Similarly I am having regular internal meetings in CYC with key officers and council services are well prepared to respond if needed.
I have been impressed by how quickly PHE has stepped in to support the University of York and Staycity Aparthotel. As an outcome of the work that PHE has been doing to identify close contacts of these persons it has been confirmed that there are no close contacts at the University and any close contacts at the hotel have been identified and contacted by PHE. Therefore I can reassure you that the risk to students and to the general public in York from coronavirus is low. The University of York has a dedicated web page here www.york.ac.uk/alert
Close contacts are defined as individuals who have been within 2 metres of an infected person for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Current intelligence suggests that the coronavirus is behaving in a similar way to seasonal flu which we are all used to dealing with every winter. For the majority of people flu is an unpleasant infection which can take a week or so to recover from but it doesn’t cause any long lasting harm. The elderly and people with existing long term health conditions such as heart disease and chronic lung disease appear to be most at risk. The World Health Organisation and PHE are monitoring the situation in China and as more intelligence is gathered it will improve our understanding of the infection and how to prevent its spread.
There are basic steps that people can take to protect themselves from infection:
Wash your hands with soap and warm water regularly and always before eating. If soap and water is not available use alcohol based hand gel which can be bought in most supermarkets and community pharmacies
There is no clear evidence that wearing a face mask provides any protection so this is not recommended.
Catching coughs and sneezes is vitally important. People should use a paper issue, not their hands, make sure that their nose and mouth are completely covered so that no spray escapes and dispose of the tissue as soon as possible afterwards e.g. by flushing down the toilet. If no tissue is immediately available the advice is to sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
As things stand currently it is not necessary to introduce widespread infection control measures in York schools or other public buildings, including council buildings. I will be closely monitoring the situation and will take specialist advice from PHE as to whether this might be helpful if we should have an increase in the number of cases testing positive for the coronavirus.
The advice to individuals remains unchanged. If anyone has symptoms of the virus – feeling feverish, cough, shortness of breath and they are worried they may been in contact with someone who has the coronavirus – they should not visit A&E or their GP surgery since this may spread infection. Instead ask people to contact NHS 111 for further advice.
Have a guitar lying around somewhere that’s feeling neglected?
Wish you used it a bit more?
Or maybe you’ve learnt a few simple chords but would like to be able to play a couple of songs right through?
Then you might be interested in the new guitar for fun group that we’re setting up. The idea is that it’s not formal tuition, so there are no lessons and we won’t be trying to teach scales, theory, modes and the like; instead it’s simply people getting together to play some well known songs from a songbook that will cover a range of styles. We aim to cover music of artists from the 50s right through to the present day (as long as it’s not too challenging!).
Playing with others is a great way to build on your skills and gain confidence in your playing, and you’ll likely find you learn new skills and techniques just by being with a group of players.
We’re all of very mixed abilities so as long as you know which way up to hold your guitar and maybe a couple of basic chords then you won’t feel out of depth.
We meet twice a month in Vernon House. Our first meeting will be Friday 7th February, and then again on the 21st. The regular pattern will then be for sessions on the first and third Friday of each month.
Come along .. we may even have a spare guitar or two ….
When: First and third Friday of the month
Where: Vernon House
Time: 13:00 to 15:00