ONE of Yorkshire's few centenarians 100 years ago, in 1919, was reported by the Craven Herald to have 'found shelter' in the Skipton Workhouse. Kettlewell born Mrs Mary Ann Towler claimed to be 102 years old - a claim somewhat unkindly disputed by one of the workhouse officials, according to the Herald at the time. Mrs Towler's assertion was backed up by her cousin, a Mrs McMullen, who lived in Skipton and who herself was an impressive 93 years old. Mrs McMullen said Mrs Towler was indeed 102 as her birth had been duly recorded in an old family bible. Mrs Towler was one of six children of farm labourer, Christopher Hall, and lived in a cottage in Kettlewell. Her mother died while she was quite young, and she had to 'keep house' for her father until her marriage to to a Kettlewell stonemason, Mark Towler, who for 40 years was gamekeeper at Netherside Hall, Grassington. Her two brothers, David and Enoch, were both gifted musicians, and Enoch, who could play several instruments, was for a few years conductor at a Leeds theatre. Mrs Towler had no children and following her husband's death, 40 years earlier, she moved to Threshfield, where she lived until going into the workhouse. Some two weeks before she moved into the workhouse, she had been able to 'move about with ease', but had latterly been mostly confined to bed. Apart from being deaf, she 'possessed most of her faculties to a remarkable degree', reported the paper. Despite having never gone to school, she had learnt to read and write. A reporter, who visited her in the workhouse, found her in excellent spirits and looking very well. Two of her cousins also lived to a ripe old age, Kettlewell farmers, Tress Walker, who lived until he was 104 and Thomas Walker, until he was 102.

SKIPTON'S Wetherspoon's, The Devonshire Inn in Newmarket Street, is holding its own January sale.

Manager Christopher Donoghue is reducing the price on a range of drinks (pictured) at the pub until Thursday January 17.

Included are a craft beer, one lager, two ciders, Guinness, a guest ale, a selection of wines, three spirits, and six soft drinks as well as cocktail pitchers.

"Department stores and shops hold their sales in January, so it is the perfect time to have a sale in the pub too," says Christopher. "The range of drinks on sale in the pub is aimed at suiting a wide variety of tastes.I believe that the January Sale will prove popular with our customers."

He adds: "As always, staff at the pub will serve customers responsibly."

PEOPLE entering Arncliffe over the last couple of weeks will have been cheered by the sight of a growing family of snowmen (pictured), made not of snow, but of haylage bales. The snowmen started out just as a couple, but were joined overnight by a baby snow child, by all accounts, doing very well.

The Littondale snowpeople have been a familiar scene in the area for a couple of years now, entertaining and amusing visitors and residents alike - and long may they continue.

I KNOW by now most people will have forgotten all about Christmas and New Year, but as a last shot, just couldn't resist this knitted nativity scene (pictured), spotted in the window of Christian books and resources shop, Cornerstone, in Newmarket Street.

NOW that the New Year's Honours List for 2019 has been published, Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson is urging his constituents to put forward people in the area.

This year's honours, in the Pendle area, have included MBEs for John Clough from Barrowford, and Melanie Goodship, from Colne. In recent years, actress Penelope Keith, who lived for a while near Wycoller, was made a Dame, and former Laneshaw Bridge head teacher Eileen Bleasdale, received an OBE.

Mr Stephenson said “The honours system recognises people of outstanding merit, and those who have committed themselves to service to the nation. It's been around for centuries, but it was a closed system for many years. Only since 1993 has everybody been free to nominate.

“I frequently get approached by residents asking how to nominate someone for an honour and I am happy to help people with the process. Anyone can be nominated, but only exceptional people are honoured. Achievement comes in many forms but honours committees are looking for someone who has made a difference in their field of work or community. Honours can be awarded for all sorts of work - paid or unpaid - but your nominee must still be involved in the activity for which they are nominated.”

To nominate someone for an honour you can download the forms and guidance notes via the Cabinet Office website or contact Andrew’s office, whose staff will be happy to help.

RACKHAMS House of Fraser store in Skipton, seems to be busier since it was bought up by the owner of Sports Direct last year. 50 years ago, in 1969, it was a branch of the Bradford department store, Brown, Muff's, and was in the middle of its January sale. Open every day, except Tuesdays, from 9am to 5.30pm, the store was 'packed with bargains', including clothes, hosiery, handkerchiefs, haberdashery, bedspreads, fancy goods, and luggage.

Fashionable ladies of Craven could pick themselves up an all cotton 'opera top and French neck vests' from five shilling and 11 pence, or a fur-trimmed coat for just £13. Gentlemen could snap up a Tweed suit for about £9, or a three-quarter length corduroy jacket for 89 shillings.

RUGBY Union stalwart, John Spencer, from Grassington, is a former president of the RFU and is currently president of Wharfedale RUFC. He was also the tour manager for the British and Irish Lions on their 2017 tour to New Zealand

He played for England 14 times, but 50 years ago, in 1969, a young 21 year old John appeared in the Craven Herald having just been selected to play for his country against Ireland in Dublin on February 8.

Then playing centre for Headingley and for Cambridge University, where he studied law, John formerly played with Sedbergh School and Upper Wharfedale RUFC. The Craven Herald at the time reported it had been many years since anyone from one of the Craven three clubs had won an international cap.

In 1949, Brian Braithwaite-Exley gained an England cap against Wales. A Headingley player, he also won 31 Yorkshire caps. Mr Braithwaite-Exley was 50 years ago then a county councillor and a member of Settle Rural Council.

ON another sporting matter, in these days of instant - and often abusive - criticism on social media, it was interesting to read a letter sent to the Craven Herald 50 years ago from the honorary secretary of Skipton AFC. Dick Keighley had received many comments from people following a report in the paper of the club receiving a grant of £158 from the West Riding County Council to restore its pavilion, and not all of it favourable, so it seemed, with some suggesting that football clubs should help themselves and not rely on tax payers.

In a robust response, Mr Keighley said did said 'knockers' not realise that the majority of funding came from the players and supporters themselves, and that the club was actually subsidising the people of Craven by providing somewhere to play sport. There was a 'lot of hot air' spoken about keeping youngsters off the streets, said Mr Keighley, adding, there were 'more talkers than doers'.

AND, finally, on the subject of abuse, my walking colleague tells me she unwittingly stumbled into a row between a farmer and two young horse riders recently. The farmer was in his vehicle, while the riders were trying to pass, but believing he had not left enough room. There was, she said, a deal of shouting and swearing from both sides.