Survey work has begun at Clifford’s Tower, as part of ongoing archaeological investigations.

Experts were on scene yesterday, ahead of a fresh dig into the tower’s mound.

Researchers want to learn more about the archaeology and make-up of the mound below the tower, as part of a long-term project to safeguard the landmark.

It had been suggested that the tower’s famous daffodils would be removed for the work, but English Heritage says that will not now be necessary.

Hustings for Thirsk and Malton candidates

PARLIAMENTARY hopefuls in Thirsk and Malton will be grilled by small businessmen and women at a hustings in Helmsley in April.

The local branch on the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is holding a hustings for five candidates on Tuesday, April 28, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at The Feathers, Helmsley.

Conservative candidate Kevin Hollinrake will go up against the Liberal Democrat’s Dinah Keal, Labour’s Alan Avery, UKIP’s Toby Horton, and Green candidate Chris Newsam.

The hustings are open to FSB members and non-members and are free to attend. Book tickets via or phone 01904 567929.

Pigs to race for charity

SHERBURN Bears ARLC are staging a fundraising pig racing night at the Foresters Arms in Kirkgate, Sherburn-in-Elmet, on Saturday.

The first race starts at 7.30pm, and there will also be a raffle, a disco and food.

A spokesman said: “There is an open invite for anyone to attend. Everyone always has a great time at these events, while helping to raise vital funds for the club.”

Further information is available by visiting the club website

Warning ahead of fire strike

FAMILIES and their loved ones should take extra precautions to prevent fires breaking out when emergency crews go on strike.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service has warned residents to be vigilant when they strike between 7am and 7pm on Wednesday and Thursday. The service will be providing a reduced emergency response, so is asking for help from the community.

Dene Sanders, chief fire officer, said: “While the industrial action is ongoing we will still be responding to 999 calls, but we are asking members of the public to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home as life-risk calls will be made a priority.”

Author’s four-book deal with publishers

York Press:

A YORK author and mother-of-two has signed a four-book deal with a U.S publisher for a new series of fantasy novels.

Melody Winter’s first story in The Mine series - Sachael Dreams - was being launched today.

It was inspired by childhood visits by Melody, pictured, to Ravenscar, Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby and Scarborough on the Yorkshire Coast, and by helping with her son’s homework when he was given a creative writing assignment.

The fantasy features a Sachael – a secret male breed of creature which looks human in and out of water and lives in air locks in the deepest parts of the world’s oceans.

They only venture above the surface to use their seductive powers to persuade human females to mate after which they head back beneath the surface with their newborn. The book will be followed by Sachael Desires later this year, Sachael Delusions next year and Sachael Destiny will complete the series in 2017.

March of the tractors

ORGANISERS of an annual tractor festival are hoping to stage a record-breaking gathering of the mechanical workhorses.

Newby Hall, near Ripon, is staging the event on June 6 and 7 and will be playing host to more than 1,500 exhibits.

The festival attracts thousands of visitors each year – not just tractor owners, collectors and enthusiasts, but families from across the UK.

This year’s stars will be Ferguson and Massey Harris machines, which will take part in the annual March of the Tractors, from Newby Hall to Ripon’s market place, starting at 5pm on June 7 and returning two hours later.

Despite its name, the Tractor Fest is not just about tractors, but also features a wide range of vintage engines and cars from around the UK and Europe.

Other attractions include working machinery, free tractor and trailer rides, cars and trucks, vintage tractor pulling, interactive exhibits, food stalls and trade stands.

Newby Hall manager Stuart Gill said: “Unfortunately due to the weather last year the March of the Tractors was called off so we are particularly looking forward to it this year and hoping for sunshine.”

Tickets are £10 adults, £9 seniors and £8 children, while under-4s are free. For more information, go to

Smoking link to depression

SMOKERS are about 70 per cent more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than ex-smokers and non-smokers, a study has suggested.

Researchers said quitting smoking could help people combat anxiety and depression and improve mental health as they found that levels of anxiety and depression reported by long-term ex-smokers were indistinguishable from people who have never smoked and were much lower than current smokers.

The study of nearly 6,500 people over the age of 40 found that 18.3 per cent of smokers reported suffering depression and anxiety compared with ten per cent of non-smokers and 11.3 per cent of ex-smokers.

Passenger taken ill

AN ambulance was called to a bus in Haxby, near York, yesterday afternoon after an elderly man was taken ill.

The man was taken to York Hospital, said a spokeswoman for Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

Nursery's recipe the best in the UK for toddlers

A RECIPE from a nursery in North Yorkshire has been named UK’s top recipe for toddlers.

The National Day Nurseries Association held a competition to find Britain’s best recipe for pre-schoolers.

Little Green Rascals Organic Day Nursery, in Elvington Road, York, submitted the recipe for sizzling chicken and polenta strips using local organic meat.

Judges said they chose the recipe because the dish was simple to make and gave children the chance to try something different. Helen Rook, of Little Green Rascals, said: “We’re delighted to be singled out like this. Our children adore this recipe, devised by our chef with their input. It’s great that we can share it.

“There’s something really special about the crunchy polenta and parmesan coating with lovely lime squeezed over. This truly is a fabulous recipe.”

Farmers in food warning

ONLY half of the UK’s demand for food will be met by produce grown and reared on British farms in 25 years, a report has warned.

Research from the National Farmers’ Union released on the eve of the organisation’s annual conference suggests that the UK’s self sufficiency is in a 30-year downward spiral, with 60 per cent of food needs met with produce from farms here.

At current rates, and with the UK population expected to grow by 13 million, the figure could fall to 53 per cent by the 2040s, the NFU claimed, warning it would have serious implications for the British economy, food security and employment.

Strictly stars in workshop

STARS of Strictly Come Dancing will hold a dance workshop near York next month.

Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor will be at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate in Thorpe Underwood on Saturday, March 7, between 1pm and 4pm.

The event is free to attend for performers aged between 14 and 18, and includes tuition and choreography along with the chance to perform with the stars at the college’s annual Gym and Dance display that night.

Only 20 places are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and can be booked by emailing Alex Ralls on for an application form.

Suspicious vehicle

SIGHTINGS of a silver Subaru Forester, registration AJ04 XEP, should be reported to North Yorkshire Police.

A spokesman said the vehicle had been seen in suspicious circumstances in the Burn area.

Book day speaker chosen

AN AUTHOR from Selby has been invited to speak at the British Library.

Christina Gabbitas, from Selby, writes rhyming books for children which explore themes which may affect them, but are not usually addressed in books for young children.

She has been invited to speak in London for World Book Day next month by Doctor Stephen Fear - ambassador and entrepreneur in residence at the British Library.

Christina said: "This is a wonderful opportunity, and I feel very honoured to have been chosen. Reading exposes you to a world of imagination and children need to be encouraged to use this more."

Dr Stephen Fear, who is also on the judging panel said: "As a young boy from a poor and disadvantaged background my life could have been very different without my love of reading and access to books."

Christina is also supporting a national scheme to encourage children to try writing - - and is a book prize finalist for her Felicity Fly series.

Music of the Great War to be explored through concerts

A FESITVAL looking at the music of the First World War will be held in York next week.

Over Here and Over There will take place at the University of York's Department of Music and Humanities Research Centre on Friday and Saturday.

The festival includes a series of lectures and concerts on music written and performed during the First World War, and will look at how music defined and united British and American relations.

On Friday at 6pm, the festival opens with an address at the Bowland Auditorium from Professor Rachel Cowgill, and at 9.30pm there will be a performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, conducted by John Stringer and directed by Tom Gadie.

On Saturday at 1.15pm, there will be a free concert called The War Years, including songs and chamber music from, during or about the Great War, in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall.

At 7.30pm, the university's Chamber Orchestra and selected soloists will perform After the Lusitania, including a performance of Frank Bridge's Lament, and the first York performance of James Whittle’s a drawing-down of blinds, written in memory of the Great War.

Students will also present talks on Saturday between 10am and noon Tickets are free for all events, except for the evening concerts.

For tickets, go to

Pair take a wry look at city’s history in words and pictures 

York Press:

ONE of the BBC’s favourite poets, Ian McMillan, and the cartoonist Tony Husband are bringing an evening of laughter to York’s Explore Library.

With audience input, they will paint a picture of York in words and pictures at the “comic poetry” event , A Cartoon History Of Here, on March 4. 

Fiona Williams, chief executive of Explore York, said: “McMillan and Husband are sweeping in a new line of wickedly funny and staggeringly clever art and poetry like we’ve never had before. It’s a coup for us to capture this pair for our first poetry/comedy evening at Explore.

“We’re making a fabulous event of it and will be opening up the ground floor with a bar and café too. I can’t think of a funnier way to launch our new programme of entertainment.”

Tickets for the evening are £9.50 each from or can be bought in person in cash from any of York’s libraries, reading cafés or the mobile library.

Award for cemetery team

A HARROGATE council team which manages cemeteries in the district has been recognised for excellence by the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM), the trade body for the suppliers of memorials.

Harrogate Borough Council’s bereavement services team has been awarded the inaugural NAMM Excellence Award, which acknowledges the impeccable management of a cemetery.

Harrogate council cabinet member Cllr Phil Ireland said it was a great honour.

He added: “We work extremely hard to create an environment which is safe and secure, well- maintained, and run by friendly and professional staff.

“I would like to congratulate the bereavement services team for their hard work in ensuring that visitors to the cemeteries and crematorium receive a high standard of service and care.”

The team looks after ten open cemeteries in the district, the crematorium at Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate, and 14 closed churchyards.

The Church in the country

THE work of the Church in rural areas will come under the spotlight in the first of the 2015 series of St Wilfrid Lectures.

The Bishop of Worcester, the Right Reverend John Inge, will address the topic at Ripon Cathedral on Thursday at 7.30pm.

The theme of this year’s series is the challenges and opportunities of rural life and Bishop Inge has a long-standing interest in rural affairs, even serving as president of the Royal Three Counties Show.

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Reverend John Dobson, said: “Bishop John brings a depth of understanding and wealth of experience that bring together clear theological imperatives for mission and some of the challenges facing rural communities in England in 2015.

“I am particularly looking forward to hearing what he has to say about the Church being set at the heart of the countryside.”

Entry to the lectures is free; tickets are available from or phone 01765 603462.

Stroke action advice

PEOPLE are being urged to recognise the common symptoms of stroke and mini strokes and to call 999 immediately.

Since the Act FAST campaign was launched in 2009, an additional 38,600 people have got to hospital within the vital three-hour window, meaning that stroke sufferers receive the immediate medical treatment required.

The campaign urges people to Act FAST if they notice any of the following symptoms, even if they disappear quickly:

- Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

- Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?

 - Speech – is their speech slurred?

- Time – time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.

Cllr Linsay Cunningham, City of York Council cabinet member for health, said: “Highlighting the importance of treating mini strokes with the same urgency as strokes can also make a huge difference – around 10,000 strokes could be prevented annually if mini strokes were treated in time.”

Pet tourism on the rise in York

York Press:

YORK'S visitor appeal appears to be extending beyond the typical tourist as a city centre hotel reports a rising number of four-legged guests.

Over the last 12 months, the Best Western Monkbar Hotel has checked in more than 260 dogs accompanying their owners.

The figure, which includes both leisure and business breaks, is a 20 per cent rise on the year before.

The city centre hotel, which is currently undergoing a £3 million transformation, was the first to introduce a series of dog-friendly city walks, which while pointing out the traditional “human” attractions of the Minster and Walls, also list a number of attractions important to dogs, such lampposts, benches, trees and dog bins.

In addition, on check in dogs are presented with a welcome pack and have the use of luxury beds on request.

Monkbar Hotel general manager Graham Usher said: "We pride ourselves on our dog friendly status, which we have been actively promoting for almost a decade now.

"Being dog friendly is good for business and we and have a number of rooms dedicated for guests and their dogs.

"York is fabulous for dog friendly breaks, and there are plenty of excellent walks in and around the city dogs of all sizes and ages."

Swimming challenge

THREE East Riding Leisure centres are hosting swimathons for Marie Curie Cancer Care in April – and are looking for participants.

Pools in Beverley, Bridlington and Withernsea are all encouraging swimmers to take in distance swimming challenges as a team or as an individual to raise funds for Marie Curie.

Swimathon 2015 will be held over the weekend of April 17 to 19. Register at or phone 0845 36 700 36 for more information.

Mayors’ memorial held

TRIBUTES were paid and a minute’s silenced observed at Pickering Town Council for two former town mayors, Betsy Hill and Keith Snowden.

A silence was also observed at North Yorkshire County Council’s meeting last week for Mrs Hill who had been a long- serving member before she retired. Her funeral takes place tomorrowtoday (wed) at Pickering Parish Church at 11am.

Mr Snowden was well-known as a historian in the town and worked in the insurance industry for much of his life. Before becoming a member of the town council, he served as a member of the former Pickering Urban District Council.

York author to take part in 'Read Regional' book clubs

York Press:

YORK author Lauren Owen is one of ten writers who have been selected to take part in a 'Read Regional' book club.

The annual Read Regional campaign will be celebrating ten new books from the North of England over the next three months.

The authors will take part in intimate book group-sized events at libraries and literary festivals across the North East and Yorkshire, where people can hear about their writing and talk to them about their work.

Lauren, who has written a supernatural Gothic thriller The Quick, said she was 'really excited' to take part in Read Regional because she owed a great deal to libraries which she had belonged to over the years.

"Being able to visit my local library when I was growing up was absolutely invaluable to my development as a reader and a writer," she said.

"It’s also fantastic to be able to meet people who have read my work. I love hearing people’s reactions – after working in solitude for so long, it’s lovely to be able to talk about my fictional characters with others. "It’s also wonderful to be able to share my love of the gothic and the nineteenth century, and to discuss creepy classics like Dracula, which was one of the inspirations for my novel The Quick.'

Go to for more information about the events.

Bridlington landlords meeting 

LANDLORDS in Bridlington are invited to an event this week to find out how to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The National Landlords Association will meet at North Bridlington Library in Martongate, at 6.15pm on Wednesday, to discuss new laws to tackle such behaviour.

New laws were put in place in March last year, to help local bodies deal with anti-social behaviour within communities, and a senior environmental health officer from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council will be at the meeting to outline details of the new laws.

Other topics will include insulation requirements and mitigating the risks of rent arrears. The meeting is free and open to all landlords.

Archbishop to give talk at Durham University

THE Archbishop of York is to visit a college at Durham University, joining morning prayers, spending time with ordinands and giving a lecture.

Dr John Sentamu is going to St John’s College on Friday, March 6, when he will deliver the St John’s Annual Borderlands Lecture, entitled God’s Mission Is Restorative Justice, at The Leech Hall. To book a place, or for more information, email Clare Towns at

The Principal of St John’s, the Reverend Professor David Wilkinson, said the lecture explored how theology could be part of the dialogue concerning the big issues that faced the world today.

RAF officer, 54, to retire

A WARRANT officer is saying goodbye to the RAF after more than 37 years of ensuring aircraft stay in the air. Colin Finch, 54, of RAF Leeming, is hanging up his uniform following a long career in engineering and aircraft maintenance which began in 1977.

He trained as an aircraft fitter and his outstanding technical skills saw him swiftly promoted through the ranks. Husband to school teacher Tina for more than 30 years, he has served at Leeming on three occasions during his RAF career.

People’s health champ vacancy in East Yorkshire

HEALTHWATCH in the East Riding of Yorkshire is looking for a new chairperson.

The organisation is looking for someone with “great people skills, drive and enthusiasm to take up the role of chairperson of the board, and be a people’s champion for health and social care in the region”.

The role is a voluntary position with out of pocket expenses reimbursed, and will be appointed for an initial one-year term with a possible extension.

For more information, about the role please contact Trevor Smith, CEO for Meeting New Horizons at, or by phone on 01482 595521.

Applications should be submitted to by March 6.