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The community is working

“Community Works” is the merger between The Clock and Thirsk Community Care. It is stepping up to the challenge of Coronavirus.

Apart from the local assistance which they describe below, Community Works is collecting donations of PPE for medical staff to donate to the NHS and running the Food Bank. They urgently need more food: tins, dried food, long life milk, cereals, toiletries and, yes, toilet rolls. Please help them to help people in need.

If you would like to register with Community Works as a volunteer please call 01845 524494 during office hours.

From Community Works:

We hope that you are managing to adjust to the current situation. Please find information about what we can offer.

Community Works is one of 23 Community Support Organisations working with North Yorkshire County Council. Our advice to anyone self-isolating is to ask for help from family, friends, neighbours and trusted local groups. For anyone who doesn’t have someone they can call on for help and lives in Thirsk or one of its villages, please ring Community Works on 01845 523115 for help with:

• shopping,

• meals on wheels

• food parcels

• prescriptions,

• caring for pets

We are able to help if:

• You are 70 years old or over

• You have a long-term condition

• You are pregnant

• You have a weakened immune system

• You have been made temporarily or permanently unemployed as a result of Covid-19

• You are not entitled to statutory sick pay

• You are waiting for a new benefit claim to be processed or you are waiting for your first Universal Credit payment

We can also arrange regular telephone calls to anyone who would like them.

If you live in a different area call NYCC on 01609 780780 Monday to Friday 8am to 5.30pm

Procedures for deliveries to your home

• If you have symptoms or the virus or have been in contact with someone who has, please inform a member of the Community Works staff team as soon as possible.

• Our member of staff will place the item on your door step, knock on the door and take a step back so that you can open your door safely

• All of our staff have an ID badge and many will be wearing a black top with Community Works logo on

• Please do not pay for anything in cash as we will invoice you

We open Monday to Friday at 9am and close at 12.30pm Saturdays, 4.30pm Tuesdays & Thursdays and 6pm on Mondays & Fridays.

Hambleton Community Action

We are the Covid-19 Community Support Organisation for Northallerton, Bedale and surrounding villages.

We are currently offering shopping, prescription collection services, telephone befriending and can help you to access other support in the area to meet your needs.

Please only contact us if  you have no other means of support such as family, friends or neighbours so that we can help the most vulnerable. Tel: 01609 780458 or see

Tucker still talking

From David Tucker: Sowerby Parish Council has installed a memorial bench facing the war memorial on Front Street by St Oswald’s church. The back of the bench is in the form of cut-out images of soldiers and ambulance crew from the First World War. This has been given in time for the VE Day commemoration on 8 May when, on current plans, there will be a bank holiday. It stands gleaming new, and those who walk themselves or their dogs or children along Front Street can admire it, but perhaps it would be premature to sit on it yet!

How to cope

We are become a nation of desert islands. We are cut off. The streets are empty, almost; shops mostly closed. Where are all the people? Yes, there are dogwalkers out. I have a cat. If I pass someone I know, we exchange words from a distance of at least 2 metres. I wave wildly at people on the other side of the street, even people I don’t know. I hardly dare go into a shop – fortunately I have a guardian angel who goes for me and others and has queued in a long slow line outside Tesco before being shepherded in past bouncers who would normally be keeping the drunks out of Club Amadeus in Northallerton. It’s weird. It is a situation none of us has endured before.

These times are hard when the normal reference points of life are lost. It is like walking in fog. You cannot see the distance, and the shapes that you normally recognise are not there. So it is as we struggle to contain the spread of the coronavirus, a word whose existence was unknown to 99 out of 100 of us at the end of last year. Now it falls from our lips too often.

All the routines are gone. Sunday: put on a suit, collar and tie, and help run the 10.30am service at church, which takes till midday. Maybe go out for lunch. Monday and Tuesday finish writing Tucker Talks, send it off to the editor, move on to the rest of the week. Meetings, events, shopping. All gone.

Easter, a time of great celebration in the church, and in gardens as children rush about in search of eggs, will be a muted affair this year. As the boss of one large clothing retailer put it, you don’t buy a new outfit to stay at home.

And it will go on for some time. I think we have to live with it, to be still, to recognise the value of what we have previously taken for granted, such as walking down the street or visiting Saltburn or Sutton Bank, or playing football, or singing in the church choir. People are by instinct gregarious, they like being in contact with each other, and everything is designed that way, and has had to be altered abruptly to fit the global pandemic.

What about “when this is all over”? Well, for one thing it will not be “all over” in one go, or ever. There will be changes. We have now the time to sit and realise that, for instance, our clothing industry is grossly excessive. We don’t actually need all the clothing chains that have filled big stores in town centres. Some of our small local businesses may not be able to take the strain either. The government is throwing money at the present emergency – and it’s our money. A Conservative government with a good working majority has effectively nationalised the railways. Is this a chance to throw out the now discredited franchise system and replace it with something that moves us on from an era of expensive and crowded trains? Will the big projects announced with glee in the budget now get the chop because the government has to refocus on paying for all the emergency expenditure? In some ways we are in a wartime economy, and we are seeing dramatically sudden changes – creating new hospitals, new financial support for people and businesses, which would normally just not happen. In 1948 the American government generously created the Marshall Plan to pay for rebuilding Europe. I doubt they will be do the same this time.

Garden centres

Garden centres, including our own on Blakey Lane, is closed. I think there is a strong case for allowing them to reopen for the sale of plants and sundries. At present the industry faces having to dump all the seedings that were brought on for the Easter rush. It makes far better sense to allow them to be sold to gardeners, who can then work more or less as they would normally in their gardens and allotments, growing food and enjoying themselves in the process. We neglect food sources at our peril, especially as we have the intricacies of food imports, ferry companies reducing services, and (dare I mention it) Brexit negotiations. The supermarkets manage customer flow, and garden centres could do the same. It would offer just a glimmer of light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.

Poem by Spike Milligan

Smiling is infectious,

You catch it like the flu.

When someone smiled at me today I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner,

And someone saw my grin.

When he smiled I realised I'd passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile.

Then I realised it's worth.

A single smile, just like mine,

Could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin,

Don't leave it undetected.

Let's start an epidemic quick,

And get the world infected.


From Ted Naisbitt: We are all eternally grateful to all the NHS, GP practice, Ambulance & Pharmacy staff and other carers and are rightly expressing our thanks by clapping them at 8pm every Thursday night. They are literally putting their own lives on the line as we have so sadly seen over recent days.

I would in addition like to say a big thank you to all those other people in and around Thirsk and Sowerby who are doing their best to help us all and keep things going.

I am thinking, in no particular order of merit, of:

– the postmen and women who bring our daily mail,

– the teachers who are going into school to look after the children of essential workers and those in need,

– the refuse collectors who every week collect our black, blue and green bins,

– the fruit and veg. shop and butchers round the Market Place who are staying open and going the extra mile to deliver essential supplies to those of us who are required to self– isolate,

– the army of volunteers at Community Works and other voluntary organisations who put their own health on the line by visiting and often going into the homes of needy and lonely and helping others who are less fortunate, with food and clothing,

– the hundreds of thousands of other volunteers who put their names forward to help the NHS and other services,

– the milkmen and newspaper delivery boys and girls,

– the good neighbours who are looking after those nearby by doing many other tasks and chores.

These are dreadful times but so many good things are also coming out of them which will make us better and stronger people as we face an uncertain future. In the meantime enjoy the sound of birds and the pollution and noise free air.

And finally, thanks to all of you for Staying at home, Staying Safe and helping to Save our NHS- it is vitally important! Stay safe and stay at home.

Voices from Herriot Country

Helen Leavey and Simon Collins have produced a series of entertaining new podcasts about Yorkshire characters 50 years after the first 'James Herriot' book about life as a rural vet was published. They were recorded recently around Thirsk.

To listen to all three go to

Rosedene Nurseries

are open 24/7 for Key Workers and their families, including overnight and weekend care.

As the government call on the support of childcare providers and recognise the vital role they play in supporting key workers, Rosedene Nurseries extended their hours to offer 7 days per week for all key workers (existing and new customers) and for vulnerable children aged 0-11 years. Rosedene Nurseries is a family business, with 11 nursery settings across the North East and North Yorkshire.

Please contact 07958 200231 or visit

Birth of A Naturalist

Award-winning author and writer of The Times 'Nature Notebook,' Jonathan Tulloch lives deep in the North Yorkshire countryside near Thirsk. Join him on this podcast as he wanders through the quiet back lanes.

Music by Aidan Tulloch.

Johnson's Butchers, Thirsk

thank all our fantastic customers for supporting us through these tricky times. The shop is still open 8am-3pm Mon-Sat (closed Sun).

We are also doing pay over the phone home deliveries and collection service, place your orders via Facebook or phone 01845 523212

Markenfield Hall

With events in the near future still in question, here at Markenfield we are looking a little more to the future and are delighted to be welcoming author Alexander McCall-Smith to speak in November. The event will be held at The Spa Hotel in Ripon on Tuesday 17 November from 10am, and is a fundraiser for further security measures at the Hall following a recent break in. Tickets are on sale now from 01765 692303 or


Tesco has identified 75,000 existing customers who are vulnerable and isolated people and have already let them know that home delivery slots are available to them immediately.

There are now 20% more online delivery slots with more becoming available every day. It is still difficult to get an online delivery slot due to high demand, so Tesco asks those who are able to safely come to stores to do so; please think before you click.

Purchasing limits are being removed on the majority of products with limits only on some, like toilet rolls, pasta and hand sanitisers.

Stores are introducing one-way aisles and ‘one-in, one-out’ systems and protective screens at the checkout so that all can be opened and reduce queuing times.

In Thirsk the opening hours have been changed to 8am-10pm (8pm Fri) to allow more time beforehand for picking the increased online orders. It will be closed Easter Sunday but open 8am-6pm on Easter Monday.

From 9am-10am on Tue, Thu and Sun (but not Easter Sunday) is priority for NHS workers and the same time on Mon, Wed and Fri for elderly and other vulnerable people.


The Angling Trust says that we must all do what is required of us to fight this pandemic. Until further notice we should all refrain from fishing. This is about saving lives and supporting the NHS. The only permitted activities that have been specified are walking, running and cycling for the purpose of local daily exercise

Herriot Country businesses

Herriot Country Tourism Group is offering free membership for a year to all businesses in Herriot Country to help them to recover after the the Covid-19 crisis.

Please go to the link below, or for further information contact John Gallery, chairman, T: 07967 032623 Email: johngallery@herriotcountry.co.uk.

Yorkshire Days In

The Welcome to Yorkshire organisation has been researching activities and has come up with some interesting things to do while incarcerated. Kids can create a rocket explosion (with adult supervision!) and there are lots of Yorkshire series for you to watch.

Information in Thirsk

Thirsk Tourist Information is available to help you, even though the TIC is closed. Every day except Sunday you can talk to one of our experienced volunteers by phone or email to get help. Volunteers have extensive personal knowledge of the area and have much information at their fingertips.

From 10am to 4pm (except Sunday) telephone 01845 522755 or email info@visitthirsk.uk. There are also 300 pages of information about the area online. See

Easter rubbish

Wheelie bin collections across Hambleton will be affected by the Easter holidays. Despite Covid-19 crews are working hard to try to maintain all kerbside collections of recycling, garden and general household waste. Crews are working as normal on Good Friday. However, the following week (beginning 13 April) all collections will be one day late due to Easter Monday, with Friday collections taking place on Saturday 18 April. Garden waste in green bins will only be collected from bins displaying the new green sticker licence. Subscriptions can be taken out online.

Lockdown regulations

There has been a lot of commentary and interpretation of the Government lockdown regulations but here is a direct extract:

"You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:

- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.

- one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.

- any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

- travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home."

"These reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household."

"These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes."

Business grants

Businesses across Hambleton are now able to apply for grants designed to help and support them during the most challenging of times, with an estimated 2800 businesses eligible.

Make sure you have your business rates reference number handy and then visit

Free entertainment

The Royal Opera House have created a schedule of broadcasts that you can access for free:

Così Fan Tutte -The Royal Opera 2010 – Fri 10 Apr 2020 at 7pm.

The Metamorphosis – The Royal Ballet 2013 – 17 Apr at 7pm.

National Theatre Live, has also announced that they are streaming their shows for free on Thursday evenings.

The online premiere of Jane Eyre will be shown at 7pm on Thu 9 Apr on YouTube, then available to watch on-demand until it expires at 7pm on Thu 16 Apr. https://youtu.be/mO0CXV0zEAQ

Win cinema tickets

Northallerton Forum tell us: With everyone staying home and keeping safe, we thought we would do a competition and with Easter only being around the corner, we would like your children to design an Easter poster for us.

From the entries received, we will be picking three winners and the lucky winners will receive a 'Family of 4 Cinema Ticket' to use once we are back up and running as normal.

Please send your entries to the address below, put in the subject 'Easter Poster' and state your child's name and age, so we can put them into the right age category. The closing date is Good Friday 10 April and we will announce the winners via Facebook, Mailchimp and Instagram.

Good luck and we look forward to seeing all the colourful designs that will be coming in and brighten up our day whilst working from home.

Take care and keep safe

Mail delivery offices

from Monday 6 April, Royal Mail is changing the opening times of Customer Services Points in local delivery offices.

They will be open between 7am-9am and closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

To support the Government’s advice to stay at home and avoid non-essential journeys, please only visit Customer Service Points where absolutely necessary.

As a reminder, Royal Mail can also redeliver your item(s) for free.

Grand Central suspended

Over the past two weeks Grand Central has operated a rail service, under a reduced timetable, in order to keep key-workers moving at a time of crisis. This came with all the costs of running a train service, while bringing in no revenue and with no Government support. Following several days of discussion with the Department for Transport, Grand Central has decided to suspend all its services, for an initial two months, from the end of service on Friday 3rd April.

Customers who have a ticket to travel with Grand Central over the next two months can claim a full refund from the place they bought their ticket.

Customers who absolutely need to travel can use their Grand Central ticket to travel on other train companies’ services. The Grand Central website and app will remain available, and show live train running information for all operators’ services and can be used to buy tickets for any train company’s revised timetable services.

Nearby Nightingale

Harrogate Convention Centre is the latest facility to be announced as a chosen site, joining the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, the Manchester Central Complex, and the ExCeL conference centre in East London, to help deal with the rising number of coronavirus cases.

NHS Nightingale in Harrogate has been under construction this week with the Army and other workers on site transforming the venue.

It's not clear yet when it is up and running but when it is, it's expected to service coronavirus patients across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Buying fish

Beware fish sellers! Local police advise that a resident was cold called. One man was knocking on doors while the other was driving a white van. The consumer ended up purchasing two packets of fish for £30. However once the fish-sellers had departed the consumer opened the fish and describes this as not fresh and full of bones; the consumer was told it would have no bones. Of more concern however is that the fish-sellers at no point observed the social distancing two metre rule and the consumer had to keep standing back.

You can buy fish at Johnson's Butchers in Thirsk. Also, Regal Fish on Humberside have a regular doorstep delivery service in our area using their own vans. You can order online from a very extensive range at

Nationwide Building Society

From Saturday 4th April, our new opening hours will be:

Branches: Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm

Call centres: Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm

How to pay

The government has advised that we should all use contactless or smart phone payment wherever possible. That’s so we don’t increase the risk of spreading the infection by having to handle cash, touch keypads or withdraw cash.

You can now use contactless for debit or credit card payments up to £45 (though that will vary from retailer to retailer). Remember, you can also make use of other cashless payment options, like Apple Pay and Google Pay.


All of North Yorkshire County Council household waste recycling centres are closed.

This does not affect your Hambleton District Council collection service of Recycling, Garden and General Household Waste.

Due to the restricted space available in the cabs of the refuse trucks, extra vehicles have been provided so staff can maintain safe distances from each other. The council is experiencing increased tonnages of all materials, so rounds are taking longer. Extra staff have been recruited and some staff from the authority’s Leisure Centres are being trained to help with refuse collection work. Even so, things are very tight and some service restrictions have had to be put in place such as no special collections.

The Forum rescheduled events

Pete Firman & The Amazing has been postponed but the good news is that we have a new date:

- Sunday - 6th September 2020 - 19.30hrs

Also, Goldilocks & The Three Bears has been postponed to next year:

- Thursday - 1st April 2021 - 18.30hrs

- Friday - 2nd April 2021 - 13.30hrs & 18.00hrs

- Saturday - 3rd April 2021 - 13.00hrs & 16.00hrs

For either event, if you would like your original booking/same seats to be transferred over to the new dates and you will have something to look forward to, please can you kindly email us with the following details to help us with the transfer:

Event, Name, Booking/Transaction Reference No. & Seat Numbers.


Workers for the NHS, police, or fire service now have priority in all Aldi stores no matter when they shop.

Where store colleagues are limiting the number of customers in store, any emergency workers with a relevant form of ID will be put to the front of the queue and allowed to enter the store as soon as social distancing guidelines permit.

National Trust

We are asking the public to exercise near their home rather than travelling to popular locations. We, and lots of other organisations, have closed our countryside car parks, alongside our houses, gardens, shops and cafes, and we will consider opening them again as soon as it is safe for people to travel. Now is not that time.

Dales & District buses

We are cutting some services. For instance the 73 service between Bedale and Northallerton changes to once an hour.

From Mon 30 Mar the bus from Ripon to Northallerton at 09.00 is cancelled. It was due to leave Thirsk at 09.36 and but will no longer run. You will need either 08.06 or to wait until 12.01.

Other changes may follow.

Editor: there is still a 153 bus Thirsk to Northallerton leaving Thirsk at 10.40. Remember that it is now illegal to travel unless your journey cannot be avoided - best stay at home. See all temporary bus timetables at

Emergency services statement

From the Police and Fire Service: We know the vast majority of you have already been taking action to stop the spread of Coronavirus, and we thank you for those efforts. But some have not – and the crowds we saw in some parts of North Yorkshire last weekend illustrated that all too clearly.

Now there is no ambiguity, there can be no question – if you do not need to be outside for an essential reason, to buy food or medicine or to exercise once a day, you must stay at home.

Anyone who thinks this does not apply to them is putting lives at risk. North Yorkshire Police will use all powers we have to stop that, to keep us all safe and to ultimately save lives.

Our emergency services will be here to protect you throughout this national emergency. We know these are unsettling times. They are unprecedented times. But across North Yorkshire we stand together, and together we’ll get through it.

Urgent accommodation request

The pandemic is placing increased stress on the Hambleton District Council’s homelessness service. Anyone can become homeless through no fault of their own - families, single people, young and old. We are here to help (call 01609 779977).

The council needs to plan for additional temporary accommodation for homeless households in the event that demand increases. We are working with our existing partners, including housing associations and local hotels but more accommodation may be necessary.

This is a plea for owners and managers of the following types of accommodation to help us in this time of national and local emergency:

• Hotel or B&Bs in the Hambleton area, or close by, that plan to remain open. The Government has confirmed that hotels and B&Bs can remain open for the purpose of providing temporary accommodation for homeless households or key workers.

• Private landlords of rented homes in Hambleton.

Please contact Ali Morton, Housing Options Manager for more information, telephone: 01609 767177

Local libraries

During the closures, no one needs to worry about accruing fines. Books will be automatically renewed.

We are continuing to provide services online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library and have made arrangements to extend our range of e-books and e-audiobooks.

If you need a PIN to access online services, this can be issued over the phone.

You can also phone if you wish to join the library. Membership card numbers and a PIN will be emailed to you separately.

If library cards expire you will still be able to access all digital resources and borrow e-books and e-audiobooks.

For enquiries, to join the library or get your PIN, please call 01609 533878 Mon-Thu 8.30am-5pm (Fri to 4.30pm) or email

North York Moors Railway

Requests for refunds or transfer of dates should be made by email to info@nymr.co.uk. Please note that these will be processed once business returns to normal.

Forum cinema tickets

If you have purchased tickets to see the films 1917 or Military Wives, we are still hoping to show these at a later date, so these tickets will still be valid.

If you have purchased tickets to see any other films, we will issue you a 'Credit Note' to use on future films once we can return back to the Forum. Should we open sooner than anticipated, we will organise a range of Films and Event Cinema with flexible timings for you all to enjoy. 

Westgate Fish & Chips

is opening as normal 4-9pm the in shop and 5-9pm for deliveries (on your doorstep).

Thirsk & Sowerby Town Hall

Closed for the forseeable future for all events and meetings.

Scam reminder

Fraudsters are seeking to take advantage of our current situation, so please be aware of potential scams that could occur as a result of this situation.

Be vigilant to phone calls out of the blue. For example, your bank will never contact you for your security information or token codes and will never ask you to move your money to another account to keep it safe.

Be aware of invoice redirection scams, if you receive an email that includes bank account details or a change of bank account details to make a payment to, always contact the company on a trusted number to verify the request and to confirm the account details before sending any money.

Avoid clicking on attachments or links within emails or texts if you do not recognise the sender.


The NHS is urging the public to use a new online coronavirus service as their first point of contact if they suspect they could be infected. You can find out online what to do if:

- you think you have symptoms or

- you might have been exposed to the virus when travelling.

The website will ask you a few questions and tell you what to do next. To protect yourself and others, do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. This service is suitable for all ages. Go to

Help offered and sought

You can seek or offer support from your local community by joining the Facebook group Thirsk Community Coronavirus Support:

The Greengrocer, Thirsk

Our fruit, veg and salad boxes are available for collection from the shop 7 days per week or for delivery to YO7 six days per week. We do two set boxes at £15 or £25 or alternatively you can send us a custom order which we will happily pick and pack. Pop in, or give us a call on 01845 527899

James Herriot

The World of James Herriot is closed but the attraction and Herriot Country Tourism group members are planning ahead for the Autumn launch of Channel 5 TV’s remake of All Creatures Great and Small. Once the current crisis is over there will be a great deal of interest in the locations throughout Herriot Country, especially Thirsk.

Lee's Butchers

are offering a delivery service in the Thirsk and Sowerby area only. Sorry we can’t deliver to local villages.

Please VULNERABLE people only, for example those over 70. Orders only accepted over the phone on 522113, no other way. We will take payment by card over the phone.

Please help us at this difficult time as we are short staffed and bear with us with this.

Thank you for your understanding and let’s hope this will soon pass.

Stay safe everyone!!!

Local radio

For North Yorkshire Coronavirus news on 102.3FM in Thirsk your local station Minster FM has an update every hour on the hour. Other information along with music is broadcast through the day and night. Email studio@minsterfm.com or call David Dunning, News Editor 01904 486598

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