OVE Tuesday may well have slipped by without there being hardly a whimper this year, but exactly 100 years ago on ‘pancake day’ there was a land-mark local sporting occasion.

Skipton’s Mr Sport, Roger Ingham - himself a one time winner of the annual race - tells me it was the last time that the historic Ermysted’s Grammar School cross-country race - a notable event in those distant days – would finish in Skipton High Street.

“Ever mounting traffic from 1922 and since, thus prompted the organisers, for numerable decades thereafter, to finish the races on the “Top” behind the school and which itself appears, the last time I was up there, to not be once grand ‘mini Lord’s’ that it once was.

Roger continues: “The reason why Shrove Tuesday was the annual cross-country day in those distant pre-World War One years was due to Ermysted’s being then very much in the wrap of the church. And, Shrove Tuesday – besides pancakes being tossed around – was in essence, the last day of good-time celebration before the solemn occasion of Lent.”

Roger says when the race finished in the High Street, it was a big event, with shops and businesses having half-day closing. “Many of their respective staff were able to attend and applaud, as indeed were many scholars and staff from other neighbouring schools.

“Although cross-country was in those distant days viewed as being very much in its infancy, it was in fact far more of a genuine cross-country than of recent times,” he says.

“The Ermysted’s races for nigh on a century started up on Skipton Golf Course and such testing contours as the icy waters of Eller Beck, barbed wire topped fences, boggy fields, and clambering over snowdrifts on Sharphaw were all an acceptable part of the race.

“All merely in vest or rugby shirt and shorts by the way. No thermals or tracksuit bottoms, and certainly not in my era and the years before.”

He does of course accept that the course could not stay unchanged because of building and the Skipton by-pass taking over a ‘massive chunk of the land’.

It is also 60 years this year, that Roger won the Senior race - and is pictured bottom, with then headmaster, Jack Eastwood, and winners of the junior and preliminary race. “I received a huge diamond-shaped shield which was made in the school and with the school badge ornately carved on the front. And all the winners names, dating back long before the First World War were engraved on a large brass plate on the reverse side.

“I do know that winners in the 1980s era were still receiving the shield then, but seemingly the latest winner to my knowledge has never seen it. Another special annual trophy therefore gone begging. Regrettably there have been plenty more of such happenings in my sporting travels.”

IT was good to hear that organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show are planning for it to go ahead this year.

Following the Government’s roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS) says the three day event will hopefully take place from July 13 to July 15.

Held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate, it does however remain subject to restrictions being lifted, as outlined in the Government’s roadmap with large events allowed from June 21.

Any resumption of large events remains subject to the country’s ongoing progress in tackling the virus and the success of a series of pilot events planned by the Government this spring.

Charles Mills, honorary show director of the Great Yorkshire Show said: “Following the publication of the Government’s roadmap we are pleased to confirm that we are planning to hold the Great Yorkshire Show .

“This will of course have to be reviewed regularly and is based on the assumption that the whole country successfully moves from the current lockdown to step four in the Government’s roadmap on June 21.

He added: “We will only go ahead with the show if we can do so safely for all concerned.”

Meanwhile, organisers are looking at what can safely be included in the event and say more details, including ticket sales, will be announced when more is known on the show’s website.

LAst year’s Great Yorkshire Show was cancelled for the first time since the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 200, and instead moved online. A series of virtual tours included behind the scenes tours of farms, workshops and with food producers, attracting viewers from more than 40 different countries.

Pictured  is the 2019 supreme beef winner .

WITH spring just around the corner - hopefully - a fundraising group is inviting green-fingered people to take part in a sunflower-growing competition to raise funds for Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope.

The ‘Sunflower Challenge’, organised by the Wharfedale fundraising group for Manorlands, will see entrants battle it out to see who can grow the tallest sunflower by September 1.

The group says there will be ‘fantastic prizes’ for the winner, and also for the taker of the best photo of bright and cheery sunflowers in all their glory.

Sunflower growers are asked to donate £5 to Manorlands to enter the competition.

Molly Ralphson, Community Fundraiser, said: “After a cold and snowy winter, we hope lots of people will sign up to this competition and enjoy growing some big, beautiful sunflowers.

“Thank you to our Wharfedale fundraising group for their work in organising this colourful challenge, which we hope will spread a little sunshine whilst raising much-needed funds to support the vital work of the hospice.”

For all information and to enter the Sunflower Challenge, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/wharfedale-fundraising-group-for-manorlands-hospice

50 YEARS ago, on March 12, 1971, the Craven Herald reported on coffee and tea being served up at the then Settle Rural Council. A storm in a teacup erupted while members of the council argued about the necessity of having coffee breaks during council meetings.

Several councillors argued that the breaks, brought in a month previously, were a waste of time and money. One said it would be better to have coffee served in a waiting room before the meeting and the council chamber was not the place to ask for coffee or tea. It took up ten minutes and would get longer, he said. Another described how he had once had a coffee from a dispenser and said it was a forgettable experience. The council agreed to a two month trial.

ALSO reported 50 years ago was that the West Riding County Council was negotiating for the purchase of the former Colne -Skipton railway line from the Lancashire border through to a point north of Thornton in Craven Station.

Thornton Parish Council had written to the county asking about the position of the railway land, especially with regard to the proposed Thornton bypass.

The county responded consideration was being given to using the old railway line to provide a bypass for Earby and Thornton.

Any new route was to be connected to the existing road north of the village. The by pass scheme had been included in the list of major schemes to be approved and undertaken by the authority, but there was no likely construction date available.