A former Skipton woman now in her 90s was invited to the town after writing a heartfelt letter to the Craven Herald.

Alice Robinson, who lives in Rotherham but still gets the paper, wrote after reading about plans to refurbish the Raikes Road Burial Ground and open it to the public. In her letter, she recalled writing to the paper as a child about the burial ground and how a high wall had prevented her seeing who was buried there.

“You could not see into it, because the wall on Raikes Road was so high and the gates were always locked with a padlock,” she said.

She went on to say how she hoped the burial ground, which she described as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Skipton would be opened, but that she doubted she would ever get to see it.

Her letter was read by officers at Skipton Town Council, who arranged for her to be collected from her home and brought to her old town, where she enjoyed tea with the Mayor before being given a tour of Skipton – including inside the burial ground.

Dave Parker, the council’s chief officer, said: “We were really taken with Mrs Robinson’s letter and her memories of walking past the burial ground in her childhood, but never being able to see in.

“In her letter to the paper, she said that as a child she had always wondered who was laid to rest there, but could never see over the wall. Mrs Robinson also felt that, sadly, she would not now get the opportunity to see the ground re-opened, we decided we simply couldn’t let that be the case.”

Council officers arranged transport for Mrs Robinson, together with her son and daughter, to visit Skipton for a tour of the burial ground, which has recently received grant funding for improvements to access and signage.

Mrs Robinson also had tea with the Mayor, who was then Councillor Wendy Clark, in the refectory at Holy Trinity Church, and enjoyed a tour of the town hall and council chamber.

In a letter to the former mayor, Mrs Robinson said: “It was a day I shall treasure. Never in my wildest dreams could I think this could happen to me in Skipton, my home town, after all these years.”

Mr Parker said: “She knew a tremendous amount about the town and how it had changed over the years. She had some very strong views on things that are happening locally, but most of all, she now knows exactly who and what lies behind the mysterious walls of Raikes Road Burial Ground.”

Mrs Robinson was shown around the grounds by Jean Robinson, no relation, who is chairman of the new Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground, which will oversee the restoration work.

The work will allow the grounds to be opened up to the public more easily.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the Friends can call the town council for more details on 01756 794357.