ITINERATE bin sealer and opinion former Paul Willey wonders how long the good residents of this city can work their magic.

"Over the past couple of years," he writes, "the citizens of York and beyond have joined together to Save the Castle Area, Save the Mystery Plays, Save the Archives, Save the City, Save the Knights, Save Bootham Crescent and Save the Flying Scotsman.

"I wish the campaigners all the best with their fight to Save the Odeon, Save the Barbican and Save Terry's but the only two people I know of who can perform miracles on such a big scale..."

Who? Steve Galloway and Ann Reid? Dame Judi Dench and Dame Berwick Kaler? The Krankies?

"...are Moses and Jesus Christ, and they are no longer with us in this life."

IF the authorities won't get tough on the criminals, then we will... Walmgate shoppers were surprised to see a noose hanging from the flagpole which adorns the Evening Press's luxurious suite of offices the other day.

It looked as though the golden days of public execution were back. But, the Diary has been assured, there are to be no hangings. Not until an offender has breached his ASBO, at any rate.

MORE, we are sorry to inform you, on those persistent rumours about Golden Balls and his posh wife's alleged York Ascot plans.

No, the King and Queen of celeb culture haven't offered the Lord Mayor of York £2 million to rent the Mansion House for the week - at least, not so far as the Diary has yet been able to establish.

In fact, establishing anything concrete at all is proving surprisingly difficult, even for hacks of the quality of the Evening Press's own rumour-monger Matthew Woodcock.

If there is anyone who could be expected to have inside information on Ascot Week, however, surely it would be former Lord Mayor Keith Wood, who runs the aptly-named Ascot House Guest House in East Parade, Heworth.

No, Mr Wood admits regretfully, he hasn't so far been approached with a multi-thousand pound offer from the Beckhams to turn his guest house into a temporary Beckingham Palace for the duration (though the Diary has no doubt it would fit the bill admirably).

But can he confirm whether there is any truth to the persistent rumours about the couple's visit?

"I've heard the same rumours as everyone else," he says.

"The sums involved do vary, and seem to be quite enormous, even for moving a wedding - especially when it is all so far ahead." So perhaps - perish the thought - they're not actually coming after all?

"I'm sure they will want to come to York," Mr Wood says. "This is going to be the social event of the year."

We at the Diary still feel he must be on the inside track, but just isn't telling yet.

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone involved in the Fifties & Sixties Charity Reunion Rock Concert at the Tramways WMC, York, last week.

Organiser Rod Swales tells me that the sell-out gig was a huge success and raised nearly £1,700 for the National Heart Research Fund, Cookridge Cancer Research Fund and Parkinson's Disease Society.

"I was just pleased it was packed out," Rod said. "Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves, dancing and jiving about."

The musicians, including Steve Cassidy And The Escorts, The Alan Carver Set, Legacy and The Envoys, all agreed that they should do it again. But Rod is having a well-deserved rest before setting the next date.

Write to: The Diary, Chris Titley, The Evening Press, 76-86 Walmgate, York YO1 9YN


Telephone (01904) 653051 ext 337

Updated: 09:42 Monday, May 03, 2004