New messiah in the Dales?

Craven Herald: Brian Cox Brian Cox

I’m told the reporters at the Craven Herald are usually rather sceptical of random surveys sent out by press officers seeking publicity. A couple of awkward questions usually unravels the accuracy of polls like these, and of course, most are just deleted after a glance because they have no local relevance. But all that aside, we decided to take a leap of faith with an intriguing new poll by the Bible Society. It found that “nearly one-third of people think Jesus would be born in the Yorkshire Dales” if he was born today. Apparently 1,000 adults from across the UK (no idea who they are, it didn’t say) were asked this question, and without wishing to cast aspersions on the survey’s methodology – it seems only natural that 33 per cent of them opted for God’s Own County. The release also suggests those 1,000 king makers would have Professor Brian Cox (any excuse for a picture) and Sir Trevor Macdonald as wisemen and the stable would be a Travelodge. Presumably they must mean the one on Gargrave Road in Skipton. The press release then went on about Xboxes and Furbies, but we kind of lost interest by then. Anyway, all hail t’new born king.

My spies tell me that staff from Skipton Town Council came to the rescue of two elderly visitors to the recent Yuletide Festival. The couple, visiting all the way from Bury St Edmunds, had missed their return coach and had spent nearly two hours standing in the rain in the hope that they’d just got the pick-up time wrong. Spotting their plight, council staff took them to the town council’s offices to dry out with a warming cup of tea while contacting the coach company. On confirming the couple had indeed been left behind, the council arranged for overnight accommodation at Herriot’s Hotel and planned a return train journey back to Suffolk the following morning. The couple arrived safely home at 4pm on Monday afternoon – none the worse for their adventure.

Bosses at the region’s new NHS 111 urgent care service are urging people to put repeat prescriptions on their Christmas checklists alongside the turkey, tinsel and TV guide. They say the service receives a significant number of calls from patients who have run out of their regular medication and is asking people to check that they have sufficient stocks to last them over the festive break. Dr Philip Foster, an associate medical director of the NHS 111 service, tells me: “It’s a very busy time of year and people can easily forget to check that they have enough medication to see them through Christmas and the New Year. We are reminding people to request repeat prescriptions from their GP in the next few days so they can enjoy the festivities without the worry of running out of vital tablets and medicines. We are also asking everyone to ensure that they have a well-stocked medicine cabinet so that if they fall ill with common winter ailments such as colds and coughs or diarrhoea and vomiting they can treat themselves at home.”

Santa and his little elves will be busy in Littondale on Christmas Eve, delivering presents to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Last year he raised £220.30 for the special care baby unit at Airedale Hospital.

There were some raised eyebrows at a meeting of Craven District Council when chairman Donny Whaites spoke about an event he had attended in his role as Craven’s first citizen. Coun Whaites said he had gone to the fashion show expecting to see ‘page three girls’ modelling clothes, but had found that had not been the case. Many were left wondering what sort of events he thought he’d be attending in his role as chairman.

A Grassington care home is hoping to make a lot of noise. Gills Top – run by Anchor – is launching a percussion orchestra among residents. And it is appealing for instruments. It would like to hear from anyone with unwanted tambourines, maracas, shakers, small drums, bongos or anything else that is suitable. An eagle-eyed youngster is quids in after managing to find lost sheep in yellow jerseys in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. James Bridges and his mum and dad travelled up from Norfolk to stay near Settle and the 10-year-old was keen to take part in a competition, run over the summer, to find three of more than 300 “lost” sheep that had been hidden all over the Dales by organisations and businesses. All the sightings were then entered into a prize draw and his efforts have won him a £25 gift voucher to spend in any Yorkshire Dales National Park Centre. The competition was organised by the Dales Tourism Business Network, with the aim of using a familiar sight in the national park – sheep – to generate more interest in the landscape among visitors and to help organisations and businesses to increase trade. James’ mum, Maureen, said: “James is over the moon as he has not won a competition before. He had great fun spotting sheep so this is the icing on the cake for us! This was the first time we had taken a family holiday in Yorkshire, but it certainly won’t be our last! We had good weather, a nice cottage in a lovely village from which to explore the area and we were met by friendly, helpful people wherever we went. We live in a medium-sized market town in Norfolk called Attleborough, in many ways not dis-similar from Settle apart from the one obvious difference – Settle is surrounded by fantastic, jaw-dropping scenery and large bumpy things, which I think you call hills. We will definitely be back again next year.”

There was much laughter at a meeting of Craven District Council when the director of public health revealed he couldn’t ride a bike. Dr Lincoln Sargeant was talking about the potential health benefits to Craven on the back of next year’s Tour de France – the world’s largest sporting event. And he thought there was a great opportunity not only for those who already cycled to do more, but for non cyclists, like himself, to take up the sport.

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