JULIA Mulligan is celebrating after being re-elected Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, but less than a week before the election, she faced a different sort of challenge at Skipton Races. Having only returned to riding fairly recently, she entered the charity race for all comers. Almost 20 people entered the race, which raised £10,000 for children's cancer charity, Candlelighters.

THE people of Craven were in for a treat in June, 1916 when Lord John Sanger's Royal Circus and Menagerie rolled into Skipton. Headline act for the circus, which performed twice a day, was the Russian Cossack Troupe, whose fantastically skilled horsemen were 'unfortunately debarred from taking their part in the great European conflict. The horsemen, including by all accounts, the very best riders from Russia, put on a 'fearless and brilliant' display of their skills, mostly at flat out gallop, and hanging off the saddle with just one foot in the stirrup. The Russians also performed national, peasant dance, and put on a military display, demonstrating how they defeated their enemies in war. The circus also included the wonderfully named Pimpo's Greatest Absurdity, including the Two Willies, the British Lion, and the Ship of the Desert. Then, there was the Della Cassa Sisters, featuring 'three ladies, three elephants and three horses."

SHHH! A silent auction will be held in Settle next month where people can invest not only in a piece of art but also in the future of the young people in the town. Settle Scouts have teamed up with a number of prominent and renowned artists for the special silent auction which will take place at their Drill Hall headquarters on Saturday, June 25, between 11am and 5pm. Refreshments will be served throughout the day and there will be arts and crafts for young people. All proceeds will go towards improvements at the Drill Hall.

OUR deputy editor Lindsey Moore has been taken to task over the nostalgia picture which appeared in the April 7 edition. Using information supplied to her, she said the picture showed the Barnoldswick Cricket squad that won the Ribblesdale Senior League title in 1956. That was incorrect, according to former cricketer Iain Nutter, who now lives in Jersey. He says that Barlick did, indeed, win the title, but not by the squad pictured. The winning team comprised Peter Brown (reserve), John Metcalfe, Ken Richardson, pro Garth Warren, Norman (Kit) Bradley, Phillip Turner, Norris Slater, Iain Nutter, Tommy Barker, Frank Lord, captain Eric Yates and Brian Sherwood. Mr Nutter says thinks the picture published was of the Barlick team that won the Ramsbottom Cup at an earlier or later date.

ON the subject of mistakes, it seems our description of one of our recent Craven Curiosities was wrong. In the May 5 edition of the paper, we said the previous week's mystery item was "a pendulum from a clock". Not so, says reader Julian Sleath, of Hellifield. He tells us: "It is not a pendulum but, in fact, a controlling weight. These weights are usually fairly substantial and suspended on a chain. If this weight was swinging around in a clock it would probably demolish the clock like a wrecking ball! The pendulum itself is usually a straight bar with a circular adjustable disc at the lower end (often brass) and this is what actually swings." The error was also spotted by Frederic Manby, of Gargrave. The Curiosities come from Skipton's Craven Museum and Gallery and manager/curator Martin Wills concedes that the item had been wrongly archived.

THERE is just one day to go for school children across the UK to put pen to paper for a national story writing competition, organised by West Craven beds giant Silentnight. The Sleepy Stories campaign aims to encourage families to keep bedtime reading at the heart of their night-time routine. The competition asks children aged from six to 12 to submit a short story of between 250 and 500 words that features Silentnight’s loveable mascots, Hippo and Duck. Renowned children’s author and former Children's Laureate Anne Fine will choose the winning story, which will then be illustrated and published with her foreword. The finished book will be presented to the winner at a special celebration ceremony at their school and the winner will also receive £1,000 worth of books for their school, a brand new bed and a giant Hippo and Duck soft toy. To enter, visit silentnight.co.uk/sleepy-stories but be quick as the deadline is tomorrow.

SKIPTON guitar maker and player, Andy Solloway, is delighted after sending one of his resonator guitars all the way to the 'home of the Blues'. Andy, who, when he is not being a district or county councillor, is Sollophonic Guitars, has sent one of his adapted electric guitars all the way to Memphis, Tennessee. "I have sent guitars to the US before, as indeed to many other countries, it's just that this location is so iconic in contemporary music history," says Andy. "The home of Sun Records which didn't only do the early Elvis recordings, but before that a lot of blues artists, as well as Jerry Lee Lewis. Memphis was also the later home of Stax Records which did all the classic soul stuff like Otis Redding, Booker T, Sam and Dave and the Staple Singers." He adds: "Its new owner uses it to play blues music and is delighted with it."

HAVE you noticed strange big purple mounds in fields around the area recently? Well, farmers are being paid to spread waste newsprint fortified with chalk as an improver for their fields. Apparently, the waste paper pulp is from a plant in Ramsbottom, Lancashire, and helps boost the soil in pastures. It’s a mystery why it is a pale shade of purple though.