50 YEARS ago, Craven and the rest of the country was preparing for Decimal D Day, when the UK moved from the old system of pounds, shillings and pennies, to pounds and pence.

The day of the great switch over was February 15, 1971, and for weeks beforehand, the Craven Herald strove to get its readers used to the idea. On the first day of the year, it carried a large, cut out and keep conversion’ ‘shoppers table’ for confused readers to refer to.

There was ‘no need to worry on Decimal D Day’ it announced, adding that research had shown that eight out of ten shops would go decimal on February 15, or soon afterwards, and that most shoppers would quickly adjust.

Readers were reassured it would all be all right, and reminded how one adjusted quickly to foreign currency when going abroad.

There was no need to be worried about the word ‘decimal’ - even though it might bring back bad memories from maths lessons - it simply meant counting your money in tens and hundreds, instead of in twelves and twenties.

“The changeover is going to simplify money sums in offices, shops and schools - and really that is why we are adopting the new system,” said the Herald.

The new ‘coppers’ continued the Herald, might come as a surprise because they were so ‘small and light’, the largest being the 2p, which was described as about the same size as a halfpenny.

“Once we get used to the new coins and find out how much handier and easier they are to carry around, the benefits will become apparent. Certainly, banks, shops and business people will have far less weight and bulk to handle.”

THE recent news that a deal had been reached at Rolls-Royce, Barnoldswick after several weeks of strike action by the workers was very well received, so important is the company to the town. Rolls-Royce has confirmed that the sites will not close - for now at least, while Unite says it means 350 jobs have been saved.

Almost exactly 50 years ago, Barnoldswick was in the midst of a very similar crisis after it looked very much like Rolls-Royce, which at the time employed around 3,000 people at its Barnoldswick sites was going to go bust.

On February 4, 1971, the factory was closed after it was announced that the company had gone bankrupt, after it looked like the making of the RB-211 engine would be going abroad, to Over the next week, there were several emergency meetings, and even an emergency debate in the Houses of Parliament. In addition, Joan Bebbington, a member of the Barnoldswick Urban Council, received a ‘terrific response’ to her ‘one woman save Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick campaign.

With the help of Skipton MP Burnaby Drayson, the factory was saved, and the threat to 110 jobs was saved by voluntary redundancies.

AGE UK in Skipton is appealing for nimble knitters to pull together to help a major fund-raising drive.

Now in its 18th year, knitters are being challenged to reach a whopping target of two million miniature woolly hats.

The colourful creations will adorn Innocent smoothie bottles, and for each be-hatted smoothie sold, Innocent will donate 25p to help Age UK fund national and local projects that keep older people warm and well in winter.

Helen Hunter, Chief Executive of Age UK in North Yorkshire and Darlington, appealed for people to help meet the 10,000 woolly hats deadline during lockdown.

The charity delivers dozens of hot meals every day to people who need it most, offers a telephone befriending service and advice and information to families across the region.She said fund-raising was particularly challenging for charities in the current Covid lockdown.

“We are calling on knitters to get as many hats as possible to us so we can reach our fundraising targets,” she

Last year alone, more than 800,000 hats were lovingly created, with designs including the Wombles and Mr Men, cupcakes, colouring pencils, lots of animals and not forgetting the traditional bobble hat.

Completed hats should be sent to: Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington, Swadford Centre in Skipton. The deadline is October 31. The hat knitting pattern is available to download, to find out more visit: www.ageuk.org.uk/bigknit

WE can’t all be lucky to see birds of prey in our garden, - like this buzzard pictured by Pauline Greenough, but a flock of garrulous long tailed tits on the bird feeder is quite a sight - and if you like keeping an eye on the wildlife outside your window, this weekend sees the 42nd annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

Run by the RSPB it might just be the most popular yet, what with most of us confined to home because of the coronavirus. So, with plenty of time to look out of the window, why not count the birds in your garden.

To take part, all you need to do is spend just an hour recording the birds that land as seen from windows, balconies or gardens - and sending in the results to the RSPB.

This year, we’ve seen how important the natural world is to our mental health and wellbeing, says the RSPB, with a surge of interest in the nature on our doorsteps seeing many people come to rely on garden birds to bring joy and comfort in these unsettling times.

Around 9,900 people across North Yorkshire took part last year - of the half a million across the country as a whole, and the charity expects there will be many more in 2021.

House sparrows were the most common of birds in 2020, despite a national decline, followed by blue tits and starlings. Amongst the top ten were also goldfinches, robin and long-tailed tits.

To help with their research, the charity is asking for all those taking part to ensure they share what they’ve seen during the hour by submitting their results at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch, where you can also get a free Big Garden Birdwatch guide, with identification chart and tips on how to attract birds to your garden.

VILLAGE halls have been marking their own special week. National village halls week, which runs until tomorrow, aims to recognise the contribution England’s more than 10,000 village halls have made to rural communities since the 1920s.

The national campaign, now in its fourth year, has adapted this year to the coronavirus crisis and has been staging online events, videos, podcasts and blogs showcasing the history of village halls and the benefits they have derived for rural communities over the years.

In North Yorkshire, the week long event is being championed by Community First Yorkshire, a charity that provides support and advice to 971 village halls found across the whole of the county.

David Sharp, chairman of the charity’s board of trustees said; “This year has seen the marking of the centenary of the establishment of the first rural community council - as the forerunners to the ACRE Network were originally called - in Oxfordshire, which was followed soon after by several others - with Yorkshire just a few short years behind.100 years on and Coronavirus has had a massive impact on our local halls and community buildings, with many having to close, or partially close and lose vital funds”.

More details from ACRE’s website: acre.org.uk.