I'VE got to defend the people running Masham's Black Sheep Brewery Victorian Christmas Fair from Chris Titley's Diary nonsense (November 22).

I have entertained at this event since 1997, offering children's circus workshops and balloon modelling as Professor Fiddlesticks, mainly in the bar/restaurant area.

This year they had a barrel organist and balloon sculptor from Wednesday to Friday, and York-based accordion maestro Hugh Barwell entertained on all five days, including a late evening.

My Saturday and Sunday slots were interspersed with hand-bell ringers and Father Christmas.

The marquee had stalls selling not just gifts but a wide range of goods, including locally-made preserves and cheeses, meats and beverages. The brewery also runs tours around its recently-expanded operation.

Did Chris not stop for a beer or something to eat? If he had, he might have absorbed some of the genuine Yorkshire friendliness that I (a non-Yorkshireman) experience every time I go up to Masham.

The brewery may exist to make beer and money, but all at Black Sheep go out of their way to offer a bit more to the community than just a business. I am sorry that Chris missed the entertainment and hope he enjoys his next visit.

John Cossham,

Hull Road,


Updated: 10:41 Friday, November 25, 2005