Bilton News – 14th January 2021

Bilton News January 14

Prediction was correct: last week I urged you to check all details before setting out anywhere because the Covid rules always seemed to change just after my deadline for sending in the copy to the Advertiser.   It happened again and we all know the result. We are now in tier 5, which is lockdown almost as severe as the first one.  Most of us now have our lockdown routines well organised but circumstances can and do change.  If you have coped so far but are struggling now help is still out there.  In fact there are so many organisations offering help that it can be difficult to know which one to choose.  A good starting point is HELP at HADCA.  Telephone 01423 813096 on Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm.   It may be an answerphone but someone will return your call.  Alternatively send an email to

St John’s and St Luke’s: tier 5 restrictions do allow places of worship to remain open.  Whether they will or can is another matter.  It is not as simple as just keeping the doors open.  Every organisation that is “open” is because lots of work is taking place behind the scenesand lots of volunteers and or paid staff are available to help.  The services scheduled for this Sunday, January 17 are Holy Communion at St John’s at 9am and Morning Worship at both St John’s and St Luke’s at 10.30am, both these services will be on Facebook.  Places need to be booked.  The Churches will keep regular church goers updated with the latest arrangements but if you only attend occasionally or wish to attend for the first time, do check first.  Telephone 01423 565129 or

Bilton and Woodfield Community Library:  Libraries are allowed to offer a limited service.  This is select and collect only. Regulars will be familiar with this, it involves sending details of the books required to the library by email or picking up an order form from the library.  A volunteer will contact you when the books are ready for collection.  Bilton and Woodfield Community Library has been providing this service since the lockdown started but it is to be reviewed this weekend.   If take up has been low the opening hours may be reduced.   Unless your daily exercise regime takes you past the library on Woodfield Road it is best to check before setting out.  If the telephone is unanswered during normal opening hours then the likelihood is that the library is closed.  Emails are checked daily by a volunteer working from home so you may not receive an immediate reply.  Current opening hours are Monday 1-4pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9.30am-12.30pm.  Telephone 01423 564630, email, website Also on Facebook.  Books can be returned to the library but if you cannot make the journey do not worry about accumulating fines as all items on loan have been extended to a due back date of March 1.  This does not apply to books borrowed during lockdown.

Other news: this is the good news.  Some of it is a couple of weeks old but if you have not yet heard it is still worth sharing.  Pine Streets Allotments had to cancel its open day last year when money is usually raised for local charities.  Instead the plot holders sold excess plants and produce to each other and had the occasional stall at the allotment site gates which the public could visit.  A few weeks ago it was able to present a cheque of £1125 to the Harrogate Hospital Community Charity.  A great effort for such a difficult year.

Longlands Common:  the share offer closed just before Christmas but not before the target of £375,000 had been reached.  Another brilliant effort under very difficult circumstances. This means that the sale of the land is going ahead with a hoped for completion date by the end of this month, Covid restrictions allowing.   Work will then start on constructing paths and building an entrance from the Harrogate Greenway.  It is hoped to arrange an open day in March for the public to view the land.  Something to look forward to.

Snow:  the biggest fall for some time fell at the end of last week.  It took minds off Covid for a while but not always in a good way.  A volunteer trying to reach the library to open up got stuck on the way but fortunately was able to get home.  This meant the library was closed last Friday and Saturday along with many other local organisations.  A taxi trying to reach someone who must have been desperate for its services got stuck in my street and had to be abandoned, fortunately it was retrieved later.  For many the instruction to stay at home seemed like a really good idea and a great excuse to sacrifice the daily exercise.  However, the sledge slopes of Bilton must have been very busy judging by the number of family bubbles making their way down the street and, once everyone had given up attempts to get out by car, there was plenty of room for them to do it.  As I write the sun is shining, the snow plough is awaited and snow shovels are in action up and down the street.  That is the daily exercise sorted.

Bilton News – 7th January 2021

Bilton news – January 7

All and nothing: in the few weeks since this column last appeared so much has happened and yet, on a personal basis, it feels as though nothing has happened.  Many of us were looking forward to celebrating a more restricted Christmas with the expectation of seeing some friends and relatives but coronavirus attacked with a vengeance and it was all change at the last minute throwing plans into disarray and causing huge disappointment.

Christmas Eve:  for once the Prime Ministers appeared on TV looking genuinely happy and relieved, even if only for a short time.  He had finalised a Brexit deal.  It was good to see him looking happy but comments on the deal will be left for others to make and we will move on to the Christmas Eve Jingle.  This was an opportunity to wish our neighbours a happy Christmas and take part in something different and special.  It was not the tinkling bells that were so joyous it was the sound of happy children’s voices echoing around the street.  Some streets sang carols afterwards but not ours, it was too cold for us, we were soon indoors back in the warmth.  Later on that evening, or was it very early the next morning, Santa managed to get round the Covid travel restrictions and deliver his Christmas magic to homes throughout the land.

Christmas Day: time to cook the over large turkey.  We had always planned a quiet, low Key Christmas but did expect a few people to drop in over the festive period to help us eat it. Of course that did not happen so we had to eat it ourselves.  There was of a couple of days enjoying it with a variety of different vegetables including sprouts from the allotment.  This was followed by numerous rounds of turkey sandwiches garnished with various pickles and relishes.  The turkey became part of a risotto, a casserole, a Swaledale pie, paella, frittata and, of course, a curry.  We were just running out of ideas when the turkey, fortunately, ran out of meat – so that worked out well.

It got worse:  just after the big day it snowed.  It looked pretty for a while and then it started to thaw but not enough to make it disappear just leaving a mass of wet slush on the  pavement to freeze solid overnight making a walk the next day a perilous expedition.  Life was becoming complicated. Daily exercise sessions involved not only avoiding people, but also the icy patches on the pavement.  Then to cap it all North Yorkshire went into tier 3 and there were more restrictions.

New Years Eve:  tempting as it was an early night was not an option because there were still plenty of midnight fireworks which I was happy to see from the window as well as hear. Something else happened that I had been really looking forward to for a while, the 2020 calendar with all its cancelled hopes and aspirations was taken down and consigned to the blue recycling sack.  

New Years Day:  the new calendar with lovely pictures of the Yorkshire Dales adorns the wall.  I hope that I will visit the Dales in 2021 not just view them from far off vantage points in Bilton.  The pages are mainly blank but there are a few dates optimistically pencilled in.   Pencil has been used so that if the optimism proves to be misplaced the entries can be erased without trace leaving just the picture of the Dales.   With the vaccine about to be rolled out we have every reason to be optimistic that 2021 will be better than 2020.  Looking in the garden I can see daffodil shoots peeping out of the ground, another sign of hope.   This feels like a good place for me to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year with the knowledge that, after a few more difficult months, it might just work out alright.

Other news:  yes there is some but I am going to leave most of it until next week.  As far as I am aware tier 3 restrictions need not prevent services going ahead at St John’s and St Luke’s Churches or Bilton and Woodfield Community Library from remaining open.  I do say that with caution though for the rules have a habit of changing the day after I send the copy to the Advertiser so do check.

Services: on Sunday, January 10 Holy Communion is scheduled to take place at St John’s at 9am and 10.30am.  All-age worship at St Luke’s is also at 10.30am.  Places must be booked.  Telephone 01423 565129 and leave a message on the answer phone or email   or book direct by following the instructions on the website.  The 10.30am services will also be on Facebook.

Bilton and Woodfield Community Library: on Woodfield Road on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre intends to be open Mondays 1-4pm, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 9.30am-12.30pm.  If confirmation is needed before setting out please telephone 01423 564630

Bilton News – 17th December 2020

Bilton news – December 17

Christmas almost here: in spite of the problems facing everyone there is now a hint of excitement in the air. Christmas lights are cheering up the streets, cards are dropping through letter boxes, the urge to buy that little extra treat when out shopping is there, the roads are busy and the traditional rushing about to get things done has started. It will not be an easy time for everyone, though Christmas never is, but most people have resigned themselves to making the most of the Christmas they can have and are busy preparing for the occasion.

Bilton and Woodfield Community Library: will be closing for the holida at 4pm on Monday, December 21 and will reopen on Monday, January 4 at 9.30am. There are lots of good books in stock, including new additions. If it is going to be a lonely Christmas then stock up with books. It will help. Library membership is free and it is free to borrow the books. Join at the library which is on Woodfield Road on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre and take out books straight away. Remaining opening hours before the holiday are today, December 17, tomorrow and Saturday 9.30am-12.30pm, Monday 1-4pm.

Christmas Eve jingle: the idea that we all stand on our doorsteps, in the garden or even the street on Christmas Eve, December 24 at 6pm is really taking hold. The plan is that we all ring a bell for two minutes and, if we are brave enough, sing carols afterwards. I have actually found a bell in one of the cupboards I was clearing out earlier in the year so I am all geared up but, if you do not happen to have a bell handy, and I must admit I did not until I had my unexpected find, then just go out and soak up the atmosphere. If it is anything like the “Clap for Carers” it will be well worth the effort. If, on the other hand, nobody is in the street ringing a bell except me at 6pm on Christmas Eve then I will sneak back into the house and hope no one noticed.

Greetings: Derek Megginson has been in touch. Derek enjoys giving and receiving Christmas cards but this year he is not sending so many and does not expect many in return. This is because lots of cards were exchanged at the social events we once enjoyed. As everywhere closed down so quickly in March and most venues have not yet reopened, there has been no opportunity to exchange contact details, so no cards can be sent. In any case, we all thought it would be over by now. However, it is not over so Derek would like to send greetings to all his friends at Bilton Community Centre, Dene Park Community Centre, Bilton Cricket Club, Bilton WMC and the Londesborough Club. His message is have a merry Christmas, happy New Year and carry on staying safe.

Greetings again: I will be taking a break for a couple of weeks and be back on January 7, so this too is my opportunity to send good wishes to everyone for the Christmas and New Year period. I find I am remembering the good things of 2020 like the helpfulness of neighbours, the willingness to make time for a chat, and the rediscovery of simple pleasures close to home. There are the things I hope we can take forward into 2021.




Bilton News – 10th December 2020

Bilton news – December 10

The lights are going on: all over Bilton and elsewhere. Christmas trees are going up, fairy lights adorn the houses and model Father Christmases are taking residence in gardens. The displays are earlier this year and there are more of them than usual. By the time Christmas actually comes we could almost rival Blackpool illuminations. Let us hope the weather improves so we can all enjoy a socially distanced stroll round the streets to enjoy them.

Christmas Church Services: the Churches need to know how many people would like to attend their services so that proper socially distanced seating arrangements allowng family bubbles to sit together can be put in place. This is the reason why places need to be booked. To give everyone adequate time to plan here are details of the services taking place at St John’s and St Luke’s between now and the end of the year. This Sunday, December 13 at St John’s, Holy Communion is at 9am followed by Holy Communion with children’s work but no crèche at 10.30am. Christingle services take place in the afternoon, at St Luke’s 4pm and St John’s 5pm. On Wednesday, December 16 Holy Communion at St John’s is at 10.30am. On Friday, December 18 contemporary carol services take place at St Luke’s 6-7pm and 7.30-8.30pm. On Sunday, December 20 at St John’s Holy Communion is at 9am, all-age worship 10.30am and carol services at 5pm and 7pm. On Wednesday, December 23 Holy Communion takes place at St John’s at 10.30am. On Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24 there is a nativity service at St John’s at 4pm, a carol service at St Luke’s, 4.30pm, then, at 11.30pm Holy Communion takes place at St John’s. On Christmas Day, Friday 25th December at St John’s Holy Communion is at 9am and all-age Communion 10.30am. Also at 10.30am all-age Communion is taking place at St Luke’s. On Sunday, December 27 both services are at St John’s starting with Holy Communion at 9am followed by all-age morning worship at 10.30am. The last service of the year is Holy Communion at St John’s on Wednesday, December 30, 10.30am. It is hoped that some of these services can be Livesteamed. If more details are required, or if you would like to book places please email or telephone 01423 565129 and leave a message. Bookings can also be made direct by visiting the website and following the link to Evenbrite.

Library news: more good news. Opening times have been extended by 30 minutes each day. The hours are now Monday 1-4pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9.30am-12.30pm. The Christmas tree is up and a warm welcomed awaits. Go along and choose your Christmas books now, they do not have to be returned until January 11. For those who do not have time to browse lucky dip book bundles are available for adults and children. Select and collect is still available for those who do not wish to enter the building and the children’s book bingo is ongoing until the end of the year, anyone returning a completed card can take a prize from the lucky dip box and will be entered into a prize draw. There is also a good selection of second hand books for sale for a minimum donation of 50p each. The library is on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre on Woodfield Road. Telephone 01423 564630. Visit the website for all the latest news and follow on Facebook.

Welcome back: it is good to have the One Stop and Crab Lane Post Office back after its closure for refurbishment. It was missed.

It snowed: but I wonder how many people saw it. At about 10.30pm last Friday snow was coming down thick and fast and there was about an inch of slush on the ground. It had all gone by the next morning.

Bilton News – 3rd December 2020

Bilton news – December 3

Santa is sad: he is sad because he will not be coming to his grotto at Bilton Working Mens Club this year to meet lots of children. He always comes round about now to attend the Christmas Fair organised by the small charity Fighting Ependymoma. Ependymoma is a rare children’s cancer which claimed the life of local man Chris Bramhall who had been fighting it for many years. The charity was set up in his memory and has raised a quarter of a million pound for research. Santa is sad because this year he cannot help continue the work which is making good progress but has not yet found the cure that would prevent children and young people from dying. Santa would like to thank everyone who has supported the cause so far and because money is still needed he has set up a just giving page, If you prefer, and would like to help, cheques made payable to Fighting Ependymoma can be sent to The Treasurer, 22 Coppice Gate, Harrogate, HG1 2DR

Terry Wagner: has sadly passed away. Many people knew him, though perhaps not by name. One of his many community roles was as a mainstay of the team that cares for the grounds of St John’s Church. For years we have exchanged greetings as he mowed the grass, or stopped for a chat as he raked up leaves. The present condition of the church grounds owes much to him. He will be missed.

St John’s and St Luke’s: because of the current situation it is advisable to always check that the advertised services are going ahead however, all being well, on Sunday, December 6 Holy Communion will take place at St John’s at 9am and there will be an all-age/toy service at 10.30am. At St Luke’s Holy Communion is at 10.30am. The 10.30am services will be on Facebook. Please book a place either online or by telephone 01423 565129. Christingle services will take place on December 13 and there will be more details next week.

Bilton and Woodfield Community Library: by the time you read this the library should once again be open for people to enter and choose their own books. The book bundles and select and collect services will continue. A half hour slot on a computer for essential use may be booked by telephone. The Library is on Woodfield Road on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre. It is open Mondays 1.30-4pm, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 9.30am-noon. Telephone 01423 564630. Because the library was able to stay open during lockdown, albeit with a limited service, it has continued to receive its regular supply of new and different books so now is a good time to start planning your Christmas reading. For all the latest information visit

Christmas sorted: now we know what we can do the big question is, do we want to do it? I am referring to the possibility of meeting up with family members. Yes, it would be lovely. As a family we always meet at some stage over the Christmas and New Year period and we are three households so no problem there. However the logistics of getting four generations from different parts of the country together at the same time are never easy. Add to that the likelihood of busy roads, the possibility of bad weather and the knowledge that meeting would increase our risk of contacting the deadly virus made the decision both quick and easy. We will not be meeting up this Christmas. It is disappointing but having made the decision it feels as though a weight has been lifted. We now know exactly where we stand and can plan a Christmas based on what is right for us. It feels surprisingly good. So, the message is, if you are still agonising over what to do, make your decision soon. It could make you feel a lot happier. The anticipation of a family get together in the spring will keep us going through the winter. One of the best presents for everyone would be that the hoped for vaccine will soon become a reality.