OWNERS of small shops are being encouraged to enter a national competition by Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson. The competition is open to any small shop in the country and aims to celebrate their success and the central role they play in their local community, particularly in response to the coronavirus.

All shops that enter will automatically be promoted to consumers through an online retail directory.

Judges will be looking for entrepreneurial spirit, ways that shops have been innovative in their business and what they have done to have a lasting positive impact on their community.

The shortlisted small shops will then be in with the chance to win one of five awards, including the newly launched award for small shops response to Covid-19.

Mr Stephenson said, “We do have some top small shops, which give our town centres real character and support the local economy. I’m delighted that they can be recognised through the Best Small Shop competition and look forward to seeing plenty of nominations from Pendle.”

Shopkeepers can nominate their businesses up until Friday, September 11 online at: www.bestsmallshops.co.uk. A shortlist will be announced in October with winners announced in November.

IT REALLY beats me why some people would choose to go out into the countryside, enjoy a barbecue, on one of those disposable ones you can buy in a petrol station, or supermarket, and then just simply leave it behind - how difficult can it be to just take it home.

This, pictured above, was one I came across while walking along the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, between East Marton and Barnoldswick; can’t help thinking it was left by someone on a narrow boat.

THE issue of traffic in the Dales rumbled on 100 years ago, much like it continues to do now - but unlike now when it is usually noisy motorbikes that disturbs the peace, in 1920, it was the new motor chars-a banc, early coaches, but without the safety features, that were flooding villages.

In July, 1920, the Craven Herald reported on a Wesleyan conference and in particular, a speaker who had much to say about the chars-a-banc outings on Sundays, when many residents were on their way to church.

Under the headline ‘The Bane of Sunday Excursions’, the Herald reported on how Sunday excursions from large towns were having a ‘bad influence on village life.’ Such ‘pleasure parties’ came mainly by chars-a-banc and once in the heart of the country, they ‘gave themselves up to varied forms of pleasure’, determined to ‘make the most of a few hours absence from the monotony of familiar and often unloved scenes’.

The effect of the parties on young minds was to be ‘deplored’ with perceptions of the Sabbath on young minds ‘completely altered’ as a result of what they saw carried out by the parties of large towns from Lancashire and West Yorkshire. There was no more Sunday calm and quietness and towns were ‘polluting’ the countryside.

Villages surrounding Skipton were now busier at the weekends than during the week, said the Herald. “The prescene of these industrial day trippers is viewed with both pleasure and regret. Those people who really care for the charms of the countryside, and who visit the Dales for that purpose are welcome, but it is that section of the trippers who think only of their own ‘pleasure’ and who by their conduct create pandemonium to whom strong objection is taken.”

Nowhere were the parties more objectionable was Bolton Abbey, where owing to the lack of Sunday railway facilities, the village people have ‘until now been able to enjoy the glories of their district undisturbed by outside interference.”

ON the subject of people who don’t know how to behave themselves in the country, I was enjoying a sandwich on the summit of Whernside recently, when some especially bold sheep came towards me; I guessed they were used to approaching picnickers and being given food. They wandered off, and a few minutes later, a family walked past with a spaniel type dog off the lead; there then followed increasingly desperate shouts as the dog tore off after the sheep. It’s not that difficult to keep your dog on a lead when there are sheep about, and no one was happy, not even the family, that hastily put their dog on its lead.

ALSO from the pages of the Craven Herald, of July, 1920, was a court report into a fight in a Skipton hayfield between a farmer and a labourer in which the men were said to have used a scythe, sticks and boots. The police heard how the fight had taken place in a field off Grassington Road, and had been between a farmer and a man he had employed to help with the hay-making.

The labourer was said to have attacked the farmer with a scythe after his employer had criticised his time-keeping. The scythe caught the farmer under his right eye, and the two men began a ‘hand-to-hand fight. Two more men turned up and went to the aid of the farmer, pummelling the labourer with their fists and boots. A doctor, called to give evidence, commented that no one objected to a man using his fists, but that it was ‘un-English’ to use boots. All charges were dismissed.

MORRISONS supermarket says it is making it easier for its customers to feed people in need by launching food parcels that can be bought and then donated at the checkout.

Food banks are often overwhelmed by products such as rice and pasta and short of other items that people actually need, says the supermarket.

So, its new ‘Pick Up Packs, which cost between £1 and £3 contain a mix of food products that have been requested by the local food bank based on their local needs.

It says the pre-packed parcels mean that customers don’t need to spend time browsing the shelves for items to donate. And, after a successful trial, they are now being rolled out nationally.

Customers can pick one up at the start of their shop and pay for it at the till with the rest of their shopping. The pack is then put aside and collected by volunteers working for the food bank.

Rebecca Singleton, community director at Morrisons, said:“The UK’s food banks are a lifeline for the most vulnerable in our communities and these parcels are an easy way to donate to them. At Morrisons, we want to play our full part in feeding the nation and ensure nobody gets left behind.”

The ‘Pick Up Pack’ initiative says Morrisons is part of its drive to restock Britain’s food banks and continue feeding the nation, particularly those who are vulnerable and struggling with the economic fallout of Covid-19.

TODAY, July 30, is just 149 days until Christmas. In 1954, on this day, Elvis Presley created a sensation at his first live solo appearance, appearing baffled when the audience’s screams almost drowned him out. In 2006, the last ever episode of Top of the Pops was screened on the BBC2 - now, of course, fans can watch endless repeats on BBC4, although with some of the presenters, and performers, missing.

Famous people born on this day include singer Kate Bush (1958); sculptor Henry Moore (1898); actor Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947) and decathlete Daley Thompson (1958).

Many years ago, on another newspaper, I saw Daley Thompson. I raced back to the office, grabbed a camera , approached him and asked for permission to take his photograph, he thanked me and said ‘no’.