Another super coffee morning in aid of St Oswald’s Church, thanks to the tireless efforts of Heather. A raffle, lots of cakes and tea and – as always – great crack. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, the amount raised – £138 – very welcome. The Methodist Chapel in Bainbridge has become a kind of ‘second home’ for these regular events. St. Oz is in need of extra funds for building work which is quite major – and ongoing – and of course it does serve the wider community, not just those who attend services. Thanks, Heather, for another super effort. There’s an even bigger bash coming up on Saturday, July 14, in St Oswald’s itself. Lots of help and contributions needed so watch this space and of course St. Oz’s Facebook page. Continue reading


Picture by Karen Jones of Skelgill

At last – the sun came out. And at Aysgarth Falls, at least, it was flaming June in more ways than one as the Olympic torch completed what must have been the smallest stretch of its round Britain journey. The sheer joy on the face of torchbearer Caroline Curtis, captured by our own Karen Jones, somehow encapsulated the spirit of the day – or was it hour? Children cheered, grown-ups got busy with their digital cameras – and a line of policemen did a quick fun run, waving and cheering past the assembled crowds in the National Parks car park where the entourage gathered. Continue reading


The Jubilee lunch on the cobbles was a wonderful climax to a whole weekend of celebration. Sports day on the Bank Holiday Monday  was a great success, as Catherine Madley’s pictures show (see previous post), and now here are pictures of the scarecrows which were on show throughout the holiday period, and the traditional fancy dress parade on the Monday night.
The theme for the scarecrows was “anything royal” and the interpretation of that brief was wide and all-embracing: from the Old Vicarage’s winning ‘Coronation Chicken’ to the tiny little aircraft that featured in Main Street. I’m still not sure what that was about – the Royal Air Force maybe? – but it was a personal favourite. Another one I loved was Beech House’s rain drops theme. And Canute at Lowlands/The Mew was hilarious. I haven’t captured them all by any means so if you have more pictures you’d like me to add just drop me a line and the appropriate attachment. Or if there are any you’d rather I hadn’t used – tell me, and I’ll take them down. Continue reading


How did it not rain? The glowering, thunderous skies threatened a washout. But it never came. Instead, the annual children’s sports day in Askrigg was another super successful element in a happy Jubilee weekend. There was something for everyone, as Catherine Madley’s fabulous pictures show. Thanks, Catherine. I’m only sorry I couldn’t be there – but looking at these I almost feel as if I was.


Having deleted the original post by mistake here again are the pictures from the Jubilee lunch on Tuesday, and a couple of the scarecrow pics. There will be lots more to come as people send me theirs (I hope). It was a fantastic weekend and thanks to everybody who made it happen: the Jubilee committee, the parish council, the cake-makers, table-carriers, tea-servers, clearer-uppers (always a thankless task); the people who entered the competitions and those who had the difficult job of judging them. It was a wonderful community effort. By the way I’ve given up on uploading the pics – they keep jumbling up and driving me potty. Some have shrunk and some have disappeared altogether so I’ll add them to the next post.


Coats tightly buttoned against the cold, hair standing on end in the biting wind, the children of Bainbridge gather on the village green to celebrate a special day. It’s mid-summer (wouldn’t you know it?) and the day is actually June 4, 1953, two days after the coronation of a young Queen Elizabeth II. Margaret Thompstone found this lovely photograph of the event – and the day looked every bit as bitterly cold and dull as it was for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations on the village green, almost exactly 59 years later, on Sunday, June 3. Nevertheless, as Bainbridge parish councillor, Ian Canavan, reports, it was a splendid day of celebration and thanksgiving, and the cold winds did nothing to dampen the spirits. . .

A super time was had by all, starting with an ecumenical service in the morning led by the Rev Janet Park, followed by coffee and scones. Although not all the congregation were senior citizens, I was reminded of the Spanish word for retired people – the Jubilados, the jubilant ones. Everyone seemed to have embraced the jolly Jubilee atmosphere and was in good voice.

Where “senior citizen” somehow corrals people by age, jubilados describes a way of being. It embodies possibilities. Uncorks effervescence. Fortifies the dancing and singing muscles. Summons verve to the proceedings. And that indeed was the menu for the rest of the day.

Coun Yvonne Peacock opened the event and Mrs Margaret Iveson of Holmbrae cut the splendid Bainbridge Diamond Jubilee cake. A champagne toast was made to the Queen, followed by singing of the national anthem and three cheers for the Queen.

Village elder ‘Granddad Peacock’ braved the chill to present the 73 specially commissioned Diamond Jubilee bone china mugs to all children of 11 and under who live in the village and all who attend the school. Coun Peacock commented that it was marvellous to have so many young children in our community.

A wonderful magician kept both children and grown-ups entertained for most of the afternoon and early evening, and a penalty shoot-out took place on the village green.

We were all kept on our feet by a band led by local impresario Colin Bailey, who brought with him musicians and singers of all ages. Colin has an inspiring way with the youngsters, and the crowd enjoyed the variety of music brought by young and old(er) entertainers. The bar staff were kept busy throughout the evening, and bacon sandwiches were available towards the end of the night. Thanks and appreciation go to the Bainbridge Millennium Group and all their helpers for putting on another successful ‘do.’

Appreciation also to the Travellers en-route to Appleby Horse Fair who respected the need to keep Bainbridge village green free for the celebrations.

A fine spread – picture by Ian Canavan


All aboard for Blackpool – Summer 1953 (?)

Thanks to Elizabeth Metcalfe for today’s trip down Memory Lane. This fantastic photograph, taken circa 1953, is of a church Sunday school bus trip to Blackpool. The question is – do you recognise any of the people on it? Well, you only have two to identify, because Elizabeth has done the rest. So here they are . . .
Back row: Mrs Raine, Mary Horner, Jean Thwaite, Marjorie Hutchinson, Brenda Chevins, Eric Sharples, Joan Miller, Jennie Sharples, Mary Dinsdale, Mary Simpson, Mr Case (lay reader).
Middle row: James Percival, Colin Dinsdale, Raymond Harrington, Brian Sharples, Dorothy Thwaite, John Percival, Ella Tennant, May Kitchin, Jenny Dinsdale, Ethel Harrington, Mary Horner.
Front row: Ella Raine, Edith Raine,  ? ? , Grace Dinsdale, Brenda Metcalfe, David Harrington, Ken Horner.


Bess on the left, with her friend and colleague, Pat Rushton, in London.

There’s no real connection here with the Queen’s accession 60 years ago, or even the Coronation, but these amazing pictures (above and below) just seemed too good to miss, and are certainly in the spirit of the age.  Those of us who were glued to the recent BBC-1 series Call the Midwife (due to be repeated at 9pm on Thursdays from June 7) will be astonished at the similarity of this photograph of Bess Crompton (then Bess Scarr) and her friend, Pat Rushton, to the pictures we saw in that series. Bess was completing her midwifery training at the City of London Maternity Hospital, and the year was 1947. Ah – so there’s the connection: Bess was in London and joined the celebrations on the eve of the wedding in November of the then Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip.
Bess had started her four-year nursing training at Darlington in 1942, and then went to Liverpool to train as a midwife. Her final six months, from June to December, 1947, were in London. She returned to Askrigg just before Christmas that year – and got an emergency call-out to deliver a baby. “I still hadn’t got my certificate so technically I wasn’t qualified,” she says. The baby was safely delivered – and still lives in the village. But she won’t let me say who it is . . .
In 1951 Bess married Eddie Crompton and – ironically, given her training in dealing with people at the very beginning of life – she became deputy matron at High Hall old people’s home in Bainbridge. Then together she and Eddie managed old people’s homes in Buckinghamshire and Devon. Eddie trained as a social worker in Bristol (he’d previously been a commercial artist) not because he had to but because he believed care of the elderly required specialist skills.
Bess recalls it as a happy time, with the old people enjoying a caring, professional, and above all stimulating environment, with theatre trips, summer fetes, Burns’ night celebrations and keep fit, to name but a few of the social activities they provided. They must have been good – they were called to London in 1968 to give evidence to the committee which culminated in the Williams Report into Residential Care, which was eventually presented to Parliament.

Below – Bess had just helped deliver a little sister for these lively boys.

 Below – her wedding to Eddie in 1951.