Village News


11 December 2008    -    Commuters to be quizzed on car park

The wheels have been set in motion to improve parking access at Steeton and Silsden Railway Station.

Residents in the area have expressed frustration that the station car park is always full at off-peak times.

But Craven Ward councillor Andrew Mallinson confirmed at a meeting of Silsden Town Council last week that £500 in funding had been given by the area co-ordinator’s office to conduct a questionnaire of car park users, in a bid to improve the situation.

Cllr Mallinson said it was widely thought that commuters from Skipton and beyond drove to the station so they could pay reduced fares in a different zone.

But he said that theory was only notional at the moment and he needed proof to persuade railway bosses to extend the cheaper zone fare price to Skipton in a bid to free up space in the car park for local people.

He said: "The survey will ask where people have come from, where they are travelling to, what times and if they park at the car park.

"The Joint Transport Working Group has asked for a donation from Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council and Silsden Town Council because we thought it would be nice to get the support of the local councils in this but the money will only be used if it is necessary."

Cllr Alison Coward asked when the survey would be done and questioned if people would have time to stop for a survey on their way to catch a train.

Cllr Mallinson said: "The questionnaire is being designed by a professional and will take 30 seconds to answer so people will have time."

Silsden council agreed to donate £100 towards the survey.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

11 December 2008    -    Access to station seen as dangerous

Northern Rail and Bradford Council officers have been shown the dangers for disabled people of crossing a railway station.

Wheelchair user Mark Deveney met the officials with other members of the Joint Transport Working Group to show them the difficulty of accessing Steeton and Silsden Railway Station.

Disabled access to the station has been heavily criticised after it emerged that wheelchair and pushchair users had busy roads to cross and steep inclines to climb if they wanted to access the Keighley and Bradford-bound platform from the disabled allocation of the car park.

The Keighley News highlighted the disabled access issue almost a year ago.

Member of the working group, ward councillor Andrew Mallinson, said the meeting had been very illustrative.

He said: "Mark came with us and we said to a Bradford Council disabled access officer and a representative from Northern Rail, ‘right, how would he get across to the platform from here’ and showed them the difficulties, so that created more understanding about access issues to the station. Both ways you can go are extremely dangerous because of the inclines involved on the routes."

A flight of 40 steps prevents wheelchair-reliant people from crossing from one platform to the other and forces them instead over four roads and a roundabout, which Cllr Mallinson says is unacceptable.

He added: "Illustrating the difficulties was more relevant and when we tried to do it, cars that were parked legally were blocking the pavement so we couldn’t get past.

"That highlighted the issue that the car park is full to capacity and more room needs to be made. But Northern Rail pointed out that the train was also full to capacity, so more spaces would mean more carriages so it is a bit of a chicken and egg situation as to what to try and get first."

Cllr Mallinson said the idea of putting a turning circle in the main car park so that disabled users could be dropped off was met with enthusiasm but funding was an issue.

He said another meeting would be held in Keighley next week to further discuss the issue and investigate ways for Metro and Northern Rail to access funding for the project.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

November/December 2008    -    Parish Council Newsletter

13 November 2008    -    ‘Let youths use bowls pavilion’

The village bowling club pavilion could be offered as a meeting place for young people, a councillor has suggested.

The idea was mooted by Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council chairman Cllr David Mullen following a debate over budgeting for another six months for a youth service activity van.

Over the summer months a van containing sports equipment and laptops has visited the grounds of St Stephen’s Church, in Steeton, to provide leisure activities for the parish’s youth, following complaints about a lack of provision.

The council paid £3,300 for two youth workers and one van to come every week for six months.

After a meeting with the youth service leaders, councillors Karen Pickard and Natalie Henson advised the council that it should carry on with the scheme.

Cllr Pickard said: "They are getting between eight and ten people turning up on a regular basis and now have the contact details for over 37 people. It is not going to take off overnight but it is going."

Cllr Henson said the youth workers were looking into running different activities, such as a graffiti session and DJ-ing lessons.

Cllr Mullen suggested using the parish council-owned bowling pavilion as an indoor facility for the youth workers but this met with some opposition.

Cllr Hilda Townend said she thought the bowling club, which currently uses the building, would go "bonkers" at the idea.

Cllr Mullen however said the building was for the whole community to use and not just the bowling club.

Cllr Su Thompson agreed and asked: "Why is there an assumption that a group of teenagers is going to come in and trash the place?"

As liaison officer for the bowling club, Cllr John Weller was asked his opinion but said he would not be happy with it.

Cllr Henson added: "If you say that it is like a self-fulfilling prophecy, if that is expected of them that is how they will behave. We have to give them a chance."

The council resolved to budget provisionally for £3,300 for another six months of the youth service van and decided to write to the bowling club to inform it of their intention to share the use of the pavilion.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

23 October 2008    -    Art teacher Derrick retires, aged 81

A Steeton pensioner who has taught decades of budding artists has decided it is time to hang up his teacher’s cap.

Derrick Green, 81, of Upper School Street, began Steeton Art Group in 1976 after a village resident suggested it would be a good idea.

Starting out at St Stephen’s Church, with eight members, the club then moved to St Joseph’s, in Cross Hills, where ten attended, before stationing itself at Carmel House, where the popularity of Derrick’s group had increased to 16.

The classes were for members over the age of 55, who were set tasks in life drawing, watercolour, abstract art and more while Derrick looked over their shoulder and advised them.

But while on an art holiday in Warwick one day, Mr Green had an accident, which broke his leg and meant he could no longer travel to venues to hold classes. "After that, I held classes at my house," Mr Green explained.

"I have broken the news to them that I have decided to stop running the classes, because I just feel it was time to retire.

"But I have had a great time teaching the classes and I will still do some art myself.

"I have said to my pupils that they are welcome to still come and ask me for advice if they want and I am sure we will still keep in touch."

Longest-attending pupil Ms Ann Yearby said she felt the closure of the classes was like the end of an era. She said: "I have been going from day one and I have seen quite a few people come and go in that time. It really got to be more of a social event. Derek was an absolutely brilliant teacher."

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

9 October 2008    -    Police must do more to stop speeders

Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish councillors have renewed their pleas to police to halt speeding cars in Steeton and Eastburn.

Vehicles have soared above the speed limit in Thornhill Road, Chapel Road and Skipton Road.

Police community support officer Andrew Blood fielded complaints from councillors that not enough was being done to deter speeders and that community speed watches were flawed.

Parish council chairman, Councillor David Mullen, told PCSO Blood: "I saw a motorbike coming past the other day that was doing at least 90 mph. I have his registration number - I will give it to you."

Councillor John Hargreaves agreed with the danger of speeding, and told PCSO Blood: "They are flying up and down - it is just ridiculous - and nothing is being done about it. You want to park outside the chapel because they are coming up the road there like nobody’s business."

But PCSO Blood explained that the police couldn’t hide near the chapel to catch speeding motorists because they had to set up signs first warning drivers they were doing speed checks.

He said: "We have to wear high visibility jackets and put signs out, but I can zap them speeding from quite far away."

Councillor Su Thompson said: "But then they just slow down."

Councillor Hargreaves agreed, and advised: "No - don’t put the signs out." But PCSO Blood said that the warning signs were a legal requirement.

Several councillors also renewed calls for more police presence in Steeton and Eastburn at night.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

9 October 2008    -    Sgt Jo swaps inner city for rural beat

The Craven Neighbourhood Policing Team has a new leader - and she is an award-wining problem-solver.

Sergeant Jo Beecroft has replaced Darren Minton in the role and now manages the police community support officers (PCSOs) for Steeton, Eastburn and Silsden, as well as Addingham.

A former sergeant with Bradford South NPT, Jo was part of a team that won the Home Office Tilley Award for problem solving earlier this year.

Although her last post was mainly concentrated in inner-city areas of Bradford such as Manningham and Girlington, Sgt Beecroft thinks the challenges of the more rural Craven area will be similar.

She said: "Problem solving involves making the community a nicer place to live and work and we are working with the community to achieve this. I am looking forward to the new challenge and this will give me a chance to do proper community work."

Although the first port of call for Craven residents is the high-visibility PCSOs patrolling the area, Sgt Beecroft said she would be "out and about" too.

The Craven Neighbourhood Policing Team can be contacted on 01274 475301.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

2 October 2008    -    Access to station to be improved

Councillors are getting set to spend some of a £100,000 pot of money on improving access to Steeton and Silsden Railway Station.

The Craven Ward has been given a lump sum from the sale of Leeds Bradford Airport to spend on benefiting the community in the area.

After a number of complaints and consultations, several changes will be made to improve safety and disabled access to the station.

Ward Councillor Andrew Mallinson said: "There has been a natural crossing that people have used to get from one side to the other at the safest point without having to cross too many roads.

"We are going to formalise the crossing to encourage people to cross there because it is safer.

"We are also going to create dropped kerbs so that it is easier for people in wheelchairs to get on and off the pavement.

"We will also be hardening some of the verges around the station because we have had a number of complaints when it gets muddy and people can slip."

Other minor refurbishments, such as new signs, will bring the total cost of the improvements to around £10,000.

But the plans stop short of creating decent disabled access from one side of the station to the other, a problem that was highlighted in the Keighley News in January.

A flight of 40 steps prevents wheelchair-reliant people from crossing from one platform to the other and forces them instead over four roads and a roundabout, which Councillor Mallinson says is unacceptable.

He said: "Stage two of this is to focus on safer access for disabled people to cross the station. We will be looking to the railway authority for funding for this as well."

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

2 October 2008    -    Predator eagle owl at large

A predator which has been known to attack humans is at large in Steeton.

A rare eagle owl — which can stand up to two feet high and has a wingspan of over one metre — has been spotted in Clough Avenue, where one man saw it swoop on a feeding crow and carry it away in its one-and-a-half-inch claws.

Dean Woolley, of Halsteads Way, said: "The first time I saw it was three weeks ago when I was taking my dog for a walk. I saw all these crows going absolutely crazy and then I realised they were dive bombing the eagle owl because it had taken a crow."

Eagle owls have become increasingly popular in the wild in the UK over the last few years and, despite evidence suggesting that they were present in England 10,000 years ago, they are not considered a British bird.

More likely, explains owner of Yorkshire Dales Falconry and Conservation Centre Douglas Petrie, they have escaped from captivity and are now breeding in the wild.

He said: "They are beautiful birds and they have had a bad press in the past but humans have nothing to fear from them as long as they don’t go near their nests.

"They have been known to go for cats and small dogs but they mainly eat hedgehogs and rabbits. "There has been a couple breeding in the Forest of Bowland, in Lancashire, for the last ten years and the offspring have to go somewhere."

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

15 September 2008    -    America braced for writer’s spooky tales

Steeton’s very own prolific children’s author is hoping to break into the US market.

Peter J Murray, author of Mokee Joe books and a favourite visitor at Steeton Primary School, has grand designs of matching JK Rowling’s domination in the States’ literature market.

The former maths teacher promotes his own novels and has been told by a communications company in New York that he could go all the way to the top.

He has so far produced six "spooky" mysteries for readers, aged eight years and over, and now Triumph Holdings has bought the film rights for the books.

But Mr Murray, who spends most of his time travelling across the UK and other countries dressed as the 9ft terrifying figure Mokee Joe, is trying to keep his feet on the ground.

He said: "We keep saying ‘if and when’ we make it but they keep saying ‘when’.

"At the moment the launch is going to be in LA in May and it will take a while to get a reputation and grow before we can even think about doing films, so it will be a while yet.

"But it is very exciting.

"Because I tour schools reading the books to pupils I am considered an educator and we envisage schools in Keighley being linked to ones in Harlem via video so interactive readings between all pupils and myself can take place."

Because Mr Murray sells his own books he is not eligible to be counted on the best-sellers list but by shifting more than 1,000 books a week he would otherwise feature on it.

He has just released his sixth novel, Moonwailer, and is currently working on another book, set in Steeton itself.

Mr Murray said: "It will be called Scabbajack and is about a local boy who scabs and goes to work when everyone else is on strike.

"The whole village then turns on him and the book will be about him coming back to haunt people in a house, which I now live in."

Moonwailer is about a creature who frequents the imaginary place "Howling Ghyll," and Murray based this idea on Trollers Ghyll, in the Yorkshire Dales, after a "chilling" walk around the area inspired him.

Spookily, he has since found out that there is also a real legendary demon of Trollers Gyhll.

"I hope this latest book, which features Billy and Callum from the last two books, will be as popular as the others have been," he said.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

13 September 2008    -    Choir on song so others can hear

The mighty male voice singers of Steeton are renowned for having an ear for a good performance.

Now they are helping other people hear after raising money for special equipment at Airedale Hospital.

Steeton Male Voice Choir last week presented £1,420 to the accident and emergency department.

The money, enough to buy two new sets of eye and ear diagnostic equipment, was raised during a recent concert in Keighley with Kidderminster Male Voice Choir.

The two groups teamed up following the 70-strong Steeton group’s concert on Kidderminster’s home ground.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

11 September 2008    -    Not all sewers are YW owned

Representatives from Yorkshire Water have advised Steeton on what to do in the wake of a sewer crisis.

Michael Denney and Mat Pollard from the company were asked to attend the meeting of Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council after streets in the village overflowed with sewerage.

At the time residents and councillors complained of "buck passing" between Bradford Council, the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water as to who was responsible for the problem.

Councillor Lorraine Harding proposed that representatives came to advise councillors and residents on the best course of action to avoid this and get sewer problems sorted as quickly as possible.

Customer care manager Mr Denney responded by saying that a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week call centre was in operation to deal with people’s concerns and identify who was responsible for the sewer.

He said: "If you ring up the call centre, almost immediately they should be able to tell you whether the sewer is public or private. If they cannot then they might have to check but they will get back to you within two hours."

Mr Pollard said it was a commonly held misconception that all sewers and drains were the responsibility of Yorkshire Water.

He said: "It is often very confusing. In each council there is usually a land drainage department, Bradford is a big council and it has a few land drainage experts. If you have a land drainage issue you want to pass it on to them.

"For unadopted roads, the drainage is the responsibility of the residents. If it is an adopted road, the highways authority is responsible for road gullies and highways drainage systems."

He added: "If, say, a farmer owns a field with land drains and those land drains on a field overflow on to the road, it would be the farmer’s responsibility.

"If the sewer does serve two or more properties and was built prior to 1937 then it is the responsibility of the water authority."

He said that Yorkshire Water kept a record of sewers and should be able to let people know.

"In a situation where it feels like there is a bit of ping-pong going on between authorities the thing we would all do is have a site meeting with environmental health, the consumer and Yorkshire Water," he said.

"Most of us have worked in the job for a long time. We know people from the other agencies and can usually get it sorted out pretty quickly without trouble."

Parish council chairman Cllr David Mullen thanked the representatives for attending and said: "Until we had that meeting I thought the vast majority of drains were Yorkshire Water’s. It came as a surprise that about three drains in Steeton are Yorkshire Water’s and the rest are anybody else’s."

The Yorkshire Water call centre phone number is 0845 124 2424.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

5 September 2008    -    New plans drawn up for homes in village

A controversial plan to build 181 houses in a village has been withdrawn - but a new application is to be submitted.

Skipton Properties has dropped its application to build in Thornhill Road, at Steeton, after Bradford Council allegedly told the company its designs were not in keeping with the surrounding area.

But Skipton Properties has told the Keighley News that it will submit new plans within the next six weeks.

When it first drew up the designs, more than 150 residents gathered to voice their concerns. Many people believed the development site had been reserved for a new school.

Their worries ranged from overloading the current sewerage system to traffic congestion in Thornhill Road and the destruction of natural habitats.

Craven ward councillor Andrew Mallinson, who is leading a campaign on behalf of residents, said he would continue to fight the application.

He said: "The application as it was submitted was absolutely not in keeping with that particular area.

"My understanding is that there were so many things wrong with it that Bradford Council had to ask Skipton Properties to withdraw it.

"Things like the design of the buildings and the impact on the transport infrastructure were problems among many, but I now want to mount a campaign to hopefully retain the site as an open green field in the area.

"I hope, with the local community, to have an informed campaign."

But this could be a battle as the land has been designated for redevelopment under the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) for tens of years.

Chairman of Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council Councillor David Mullen said: "All we can say is that we stand by our objections to the site. But the land is down for development under the UDP - we have always known that.

"I have had my house for more than 30 years and we were told when we moved in that there would be housing on that site."

A Bradford Council spokesman confirmed the plans had been withdrawn. "This scheme has been withdrawn following negotiations with the agent and the applicant," he said.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

4 September 2008    -    ‘Eventful’ couple’s golden celebration

When Derrick Green proposed to Mary Hunt just three days after they met, little did he know that 50 years of happy marriage were in store for them.

Although Mary took six months to accept the impromptu offer, the pair married and have now celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

They met through mutual friends in London while Mary was enjoying a half-term holiday from her teaching post at a school in Hartlepool, where she lived.

Derrick had moved to the capital from Steeton to work for the civil service and took Mary to a jazz club for their first date. The music was later to become a passion which characterised their family.

Derrick said: "After we first met I was talking to a friend and I said ‘I have just met the future Mrs Green’ and that night I sat reading Jude The Obscure in bed and the first chapter has Mary Green in it.

"Then I looked out of the window and I saw a shooting star and I took it as a sign."

Mary said: "He used to cook back in those days — he never has since! And he threw a dinner party. I was carrying dishes back into the kitchen and he said ‘when are you going to marry me?’ I nearly dropped them all.

"I thought ‘this man is an absolute idiot, he hardly knows me’ but we wrote to each other after I went back to Hartlepool and he came to visit me and six months later I accepted his proposal. We were married six months after that."

They wed at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, in Dipdon, Durham, on August 23, 1958, and moved to live in London briefly before moving back to Steeton after Derrick suffered a heart attack.

The pair returned to live in the house where Derrick was born in Upper School Street and have remained there ever since.

During their lifetime the couple have fostered two children and keep in touch with one — jazz singer Kristine Gayle.

They also adopted another girl named Brigid and the pair are now grandparents to her son, Joshua.

Derrick could not work after he suffered his heart attack and instead dedicated his time to pursuing a passion in painting and poetry writing.

He taught painting for many years and still takes a small class of students at his home.

Mary went to teach at Holy Family School, where she was head of the English department until she retired in 1980.

She is a great lover of detective novels.

Mary said of their life so far together: "It has been very eventful, when I look back it’s hard to believe how much. We have been blessed with such lovely children, it brings a tear to my eye when I think of it."

Derrick said: "It has gone very quickly. We have now got to that stage where we start reflecting on what we have done."

The pair celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a dinner party at Steeton Hall with 14 of their friends, many of whom were with them on their original wedding day.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

27 August 2008    -    Steeton singers want to be heard

Steeton Male Voice Choir teamed up with a Midlands choir to raise cash for Airedale hospital.

The recent concert at Keighley Shared Church raised £1,300 for new eye and ear diagnostic sets.

The hospital will be able to buy two of the machines thanks to the efforts of the 70 local singers.

The Steeton men teamed up with Kidderminster Male Voice Choir in early August.

The concert was a "return fixture" following the Steeton singers' tour of Worcester.

The men also recently toured the Republic of Ireland as part of this year's centenary celebrations.

The choir performs many concerts each year, including several for local charities.

The next performance will be on September 6 at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, is in support of the Royal College of radiologists.

The sell-out performance is at the invitation of the stately home's owner, that the Duchess of Devonshire.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

8 August 2008    -    Fun ‘tent-in-a-car’ wins design praise

A graduate design student from Steeton has received praise for her off-the-wall car design.

Sarah Hellewell, 22, who has just graduated with a 2.1 degree in transportation design from Northumbria University, has received widespread attention after designing a car with a fold-away tent in the roof.

Her creation has been featured at the New Designers Exhibition, at the Business Design Centre, in Islington, where a London businessman admired it and said an American contact may be interested in reproducing it.

The car, aimed at the over-40s, contains everything needed for short trips away.

A hot plate folds out from the front grill of the car while a drawer pulls out of the tailgate to reveal a sink and drying rack.

The canvas and poles are stored in a specially created roof space and a drawer at the back of the car provides space for crockery and other essential items.

The canvas is used to create two separate rooms - one area for sleeping and the other for relaxing - which fold around the vehicle. But the car can be driven away for outings, leaving the tent structure standing.

The car seats are detachable so can be used out of doors and torches in the roof of the car can either be used as spotlights or removed to use as torches.

Sarah said: "Someone has approached me in London and asked me to speak to them because they like the product. Hopefully, it will turn into something and make me some money - I just have to cross my fingers.

"I decided to design a car and I did not want to do anything serious and boring because I wanted to have fun doing it so I thought I'd combine it with camping.

"I used to go camping a lot when I was younger and I enjoyed it. With the current economic climate and thinking about the environment, I thought it would be good to encourage people to go camping. In the project I had to justify every decision that I made, I couldn't just design a car.

"I've always loved camping and the outdoors and that was my inspiration, as I wanted to create a car that you could simply drive off in spontaneously and spend a few nights in away from home.

"It would encourage people to go camping and enjoy the countryside, especially people whose families have grown up and who have more time for such trips.

"It would save all the trouble of squeezing tents and equipment into the boot and is also less expensive than a camper vehicle."

Sarah's creation was also on show at Reveal, an exhibition of design students at Northumbria University. Sarah plans to apply for jobs in interior and trim in London.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

17 July 2008    -    Voices fresh from Irish tour

Steeton Male Voice Choir performs a hometown concert this Saturday fresh from an Irish tour.

The singers spent several days in the Republic of Ireland as part of their centenary celebrations.

They performed with the Dublin Welsh Male Voice Choir and the Kerry Choral Union.

They also performed in Killarney Cathedral as part of the celebration of Mass.

A coach trip around the Ring of Kerry allowed members to see hills, valleys and coastal scenery.

The choir will perform in Keighley at All Saints Church, Highfield Lane, at 7.30pm.

Tickets can be bought on the door or by phoning 01943 602719.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

13 July 2008    -    Teenager joins parish council

A teenager has been co-opted onto Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council to give youth in the area a voice.

Natalie Henson, 18, who is studying child care at Park Lane College Keighley, will represent the Steeton ward.

She told the KN after the council's monthly meeting: "I became inspired to become a councillor after attending a public meeting about a new development due to be built at Thornhill Road, near to where I live."

I spoke to Councillor David Mullen after the meeting and he told me more about what the council was up to and I decided I wanted to become involved.

"The council has organised a youth services bus to go around the area.

"I thought I could bring more ideas, especially on a younger level, because I know what youngsters are interested in.

"You don't always feel like you are being listened to if you are younger but now there is a younger person on the council I can give young people a voice."

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

10 July 2008    -    Van-tastic on the road fun for young people

Young people in Steeton and Eastburn should keep their eyes peeled for a fun-packed bus touring the area.

Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council has funded the youth vehicle for a trial period of six months with the aim of providing young people in the area with entertainment.

On board the vehicle will be sporting equipment, computer facilities, board games, graffiti boards and even a tent in case it rains and shelter is required for activities. Youth worker Lesley Sargison, who will be on board the van, told the parish council: "I feel very confident that even with the first visit we are going to get a lot of young people coming.

"It is about targeting young people in their own environment and in an environment that they are comfortable in.

"We have already got some people on board and I have their contact details so I will let them know when the bus is coming.

"Hopefully then they will tell their friends and that is how the message will be spread."

The bus will be at Steeton recreation ground from 7-9pm tonight.

It is costing the parish council £3,300 to fund the scheme for the sixth-month period, and the van is expected to make one or two visits to the area each week.

It is the council's last ditch attempt to try to provide entertainment for the parish's youth after two previous failed attempts at holding youth sessions.

Council chairman Councillor David Mullen said: "Hopefully we will now start engaging with the youth of the area."

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

June 2008    -    Parish Council Newsletter

19 June 2008    -    Biking head takes early retirement to travel world

Steeton Primary School's adventurous head teacher is retiring after 11 years in the post.

Chris Newson, pictured, is taking early retirement, at the age of 55, and intends to pursue her passion for travelling the world.

Every summer for 30 years Mrs Newson has taken advantage of the six-week break to travel with her husband, Richard - also a former teacher - and the pair cannot wait to continue their exotic explorations.

Mrs Newson, who is also a big fan of motorbikes, said: "I have been everywhere, from Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to Chile and Las Vegas, but we want to do it all again.

"We are going to be based in Thailand for a while because we have family out there and we plan to teach while we are out there too."

Embsay-based Mrs Newson, who has also been head teacher at two other schools, said she would miss the Steeton Primary School children immensely. She said: "I love my job, I love working at this school - the staff are brilliant and the kids are lovely and the governors excellent, it is a wonderful school. But there is another life out there to be lived and I would like to live it."

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

12 June 2008    -    Council looks for new blood

Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council is looking for two new councillors.

One vacancy is available in each of the Eastburn and Steeton wards.

Anyone wishing to represent either ward is asked to send an application to the parish clerk Cheryl Brown explaining why he or she wants to become a councillor.

The closing date is June 20. Applications can be sent via e-mail on, by phone on 01535 636682 or by post to Fold House, 6 The Fold, Lothersdale, Keighley BD20 8HD.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

12 June 2008    -    Warm up concert

Steeton Male Voice Choir will perform a warm-up for its centenary year tour of Ireland.

The singers perform at Holy Trinity Church, Queensbury, on Saturday, from 7:30pm. Book by phoning 01943 602719

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

12 June 2008    -    Treasures reveal 100 years of history

Children have been unearthing historical treasures about Steeton Primary School to celebrate its centenary.

The main school building was completed in 1908 and to celebrate the anniversary, children have been looking at old class photographs and research documents about the school.

One of the most intriguing items from the collection is a punishment book from 1908, which records pupils' misdemeanours and consequences.

Leafing through the book, Steeton head teacher Chris Newson said: "It says here one person received four strokes on the hand for 'lack of attention after repeated warnings.' The children find this book so interesting and their reaction is that this is scary, very scary."

An academic document written by a scholar about about two of the school's former headmasters was also in the treasure pile. It details facts about the leadership of Joseph Wade, who was in charge of the school from 1852-88, and Squire Thornton, who led there from 1888-1922.

There is a school building on the site constructed prior to the one marking its centenary.

The document also sheds light on subjects from the contemporary curriculum to disease and attendance at the school.

Mrs Newson said: "The children have also been on visits to Saltaire to learn about the Victorians and they will dress in costume from this era at our summer fair."

The fair - from 6-7:30pm on July 9 - will feature cheerleading, stalls and games, including throwing a sponge at a teacher - and is open to all parents and children.

It will be Mrs Newson's last summer fair before she takes early retirement.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

5 June 2008    -    Winning Farmer

Farmer Mark Evans, of Tower Gate Farm, Steeton - was among the prize winners at this month's prime lambs show at Skipton Auction Mart on Monday. His 40-kilo Suffolk lambs took the reserve championship and were sold for £82 per head.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

22 May 2008    -    Villagers are outraged by homes plan

A plan to build dozens of new homes in a historic rural village have outraged residents.

Now the villagers have banded together to fight a plan to build 181 new homes on a site many believed to have been set aside for a new school.

Yesterday Bradford Council admitted to the Keighley news that a reference to a school site on the current Replacement Unitary Development Plan map for the area was a "drafting error."

The RUDP adopted in October 2005, should only show part of the site for housing and part is unallocated. The council says no mention is made of the school in the written RUDP report, which takes precedence over the maps.

More than 150 residents gathered at Steeton Primary School this week to discuss Skipton Properties' application for planning permission to build houses near Thornhill Road, in Steeton.

Councillor Mallinson told the crowd: "If we get a strict enough list of criteria that Skipton Properties has to meet, it might be put off building altogether."

Many residents argued the site should be used for a new school, which they say the village desperately needs. One man said: "One hundred and eighty houses, that's 300 kids, where are they all going to be schooled? Steeton Primary School is almost full to busting and so is the other one."

High among other concerns was the sewerage system in the area, which villagers claimed already overflowed, creating a regular health hazard.

Fears over congestion on Thornhill Road in the morning rush hour also troubled residents. One man had spent all morning compiling a traffic survey in the road. Charles Wilson said: "The traffic survey that has been done as part of the planning application dealt with the times 7:30-8:30am. But the busiest time of rush hour on that road is 8:30-9am! I stood on Thornhill Road this morning and counted the cars going past and I am mainly worried about road safety and traffic congestion."

Destruction of wildlife, the prospect of three-storey buildings and doubts over whether a playing filed and clubhouse planned for the site would benefit residents also worried people at the meeting.

However, Irene Shackleton of Elm View, said: "I think it would be a good thing for the village if there are things put on the site that bring the community together. But it has to be done right."

Harvey Pritchard from a charity called Planning Aid, which provides residents with free advice about the planning system, recommends that everyone should write letters of objection to the planning department.

Councillor Mallinson warned: "Watch this plan very carefully, because it will twist and turn. Every time it changes, you must write and object, time and time again. I have asked that the planning meeting to decide the outcome be held in Steeton."

The period for residents to object has been extended up until nearer the day of the decision, which will probably be made some time in July.

Bradford Council said: "The Replacement Unitary Development Plan (RUDP) was adopted in October 2005. Part of this site is allocated as a phase 2 housing site in the RUDP and part is unallocated. Unfortunately, there is a drafting error on the map referring to a school site. The reference to the school was omitted from the RUDP report."

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

15 May 2008    -    MPs told of choir's 100 years

Steeton Male Voice Choir has been congratulated in the House of Commons on its centenary.

Keighley MP Ann Cryer paid tribute to the 90-strong group of singers in an early day motion. She addressed fellow MPs following the choir's anniversary concert at St George's Hall, in Bradford.

Mrs Cryer congratulated the choir's members, past and present, for giving great pleasure to many people. She also thanked the choir's ladies support group and patrons for their valuable roles as helpers and supporters. She asked the House to record the appreciation and pride that many residents of the Aire Valley had in the choir. She added: "Its extremely fine music was demonstrated at its very best at St George's Hall."

More than 200 voices combined for the last month's concert as the Steeton singers united with other choirs and a band.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

April 2008    -    Parish Council Newsletter

24 April 2008    -    Helicopter pad too small for new air ambulances so patients face road journey to hospital after landing

A new helicopter landing spot at Airedale Hospital is putting patents' lives at risk, it is claimed.

Seriously injured people flown in by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) now have a five-minute journey from the helicopter to the hospital doors.

The YAA said a new style of helicopter meant pilots could no longer land on the old pad right next to the Steeton hospital's accident and emergency department. Landings now have to be made in a nearby sports field, known locally as Nannyfileds. The casualty is then transported to the hospital building by ambulance, via Lyon Road, Green Lane and the main road.

In a statement released by Airedale Hospital and the YAA, a spokesman said: "The Airedale Hospital landing pad was initially designed to accommodate the original Yorkshire Air Ambulance, an old generation Bolkow helicopter. Because of its age and limited space for treatment of patients, the aircraft had to be retired. Its replacement, the new generation MD902 Explorer aircraft, is much more patient friendly and can carry more staff and equipment. However, this has meant that the new aircraft is not able to use the landing pad at Airedale Hospital due to safety reasons."

 A Steeton resident voiced concerns after watching a patient being flown in. He said: "I was taking a walk and I watched a helicopter land in the sports field. From setting off from the helicopter, it took five minutes and 35 seconds to get from the back of the hospital to the front. I couldn't believe it, that is too long - lives could be lost."

Five years ago Airedale Hospital chiefs took the decision to move the helipad from the front of the hospital to the back so it would be nearer the A&E department. The new landing pad meant that ambulance staff would have only 25 steps to take to reach the A&E doors, saving potentially valuable seconds. The old landing pad was replaced by a car park at the front of the hospital, a project costing around £40,000.

A YAA spokesman said: "The use of a land ambulance to transport patients the short distance from the hospital helicopter landing site to the emergency department is not that uncommon. This system is used in many other hospitals throughout the UK and not just in the Yorkshire region."

He also said that the Yorkshire Air Ambulance's two helicopters served a population of approximately five million people across four million acres and since the charity was set up in October 2000 it had carried more than 2,000 patients.

He added: "With the introduction of the second air ambulance in October 2007, we can now say that when a patient has been received by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, they will be on average a 10 minute flight from the nearest hospital."

The YAA charity admitted that the situation was not ideal and said it was working closely with Airedale Hospital to improve landing facilities at the site.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

24 April 2008    -    Cheerleaders are jumping for joy

Cheerleading fever has gripped boys and girls at Steeton Primary School.

The eight and nine-year-olds have been going pom-pom mad with the help of cheerleading coach Sarah Porter, from Burnley Football Club.

The cheerleading manager - who this week took part in the World Cheerleading Championships, in Florida - has been teaching the children routines that she has performed on the football pitch.

She said: "It is very popular, the children at Steeton have never done cheerleading before so it is a new thing for them to try. Both boys and girls enjoy it, usually primary school boys take to it quite well but some of the secondary school lads don't want to get involved unless it is doing something more macho like lifts. Over the next few weeks I will be teaching the children routines that Burnley cheerleaders have actually performed on the pitch."

Head teacher Christine Newson said the school had funded the cheerleading exercises to enhance the children's personal development.

She said: "The pupils have opted to do it, we have just had some older children doing it between 8-9am and they are learning the routines during their school lunchtime. I am hoping that Sarah will come back and teach the children a routine that they can perform at our summer fair, in our centenary year."

Ms Porter said: "When I come back from the World Championships, hopefully I will have some new moves to teach them!"

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

17 April 2008    -    May Day fun for all the family

Villagers young and old are invited to take part in a wildlife trail in Steeton on the May Day Bank Holiday.

St Stephen's Church is hosting an annual event in the church grounds, with families and children of all ages expected to join in a day of games and quizzes among other activities.

Schoolchildren in the area also have a chance to enter an art competition.

Event organiser Barbara Marsh said the activity sessions would not be hampered by the weather. She said: "We are lucky here in having a church, large church hall with two rooms and plenty of grounds, so with dry weather there is plenty going on. However, even if it rains, we go ahead as the trail is on paved, flat roads and only just a mile around the village without having to cross any main roads, and a large number of activities can take place inside the church as well as out."

The event will take place from 10:30am-3:30pm, on Monday May 5, with entry tickets for adults and children over 11 costing £2, children over two years £1 and family tickets costing £5. Children under the age of two can enter free.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

17 April 2008    -    Bid for a health trainer

A pharmacist has pledged to try to secure a health trainer to help people in Steeton and Eastburn.

Martin Cant, of Steeton Pharmacy, is trying to find funding to base a qualified professional in the pharmacy who would help people with wider health problems like losing weight and giving up smoking. The health trainer would be there for people to call on or would visit them in their homes to provide one-to-one help.

The pharmacist said: "It is important to get someone to devote a significant amount of time to help people to do things like stop smoking and lose weight, instead of us trying to do it as well as other jobs as well. I feel that within the Steeton and Eastburn area there are people who are socially excluded on the basis of age and illness and many are housebound, which means they find it difficult to access the available health care services. It is important to have someone to promote healthy living in the area and I have had a conversation with Mrs Newson, from Steeton Primary School, and I think there is a need to support the school and wider community with the Healthy Schools agenda."

The health trainer would be trained by the NHS and would also go out to visit community groups to promote healthy living and give more intensive support to improve the lifestyle of the local population.

© Newsquest Media Group 2008

3 April 2008    -    Steeton CC to take part in Cricket Force project

Steeton Cricket Club is preparing to take part in NatWest Cricket Force on Saturday, an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) initiative with NatWest, aimed at rejuvenating local cricket clubs and giving volunteers an opportunity to get involved.

Steeton are expecting 50 plus volunteers, including players from all three senior teams and the five junior teams plus the clubs officials and supporters, to assist with painting, cleaning and general maintenance of the clubhouse and ground. The work will start at 11am.

NatWest Cricket Force is the biggest annual volunteering event in sport and is set to attract enough volunteers to fill Lord's Cricket Ground three times over (80,000).

David Proctor, Steeton CC Club Development Officer said: "NatWest Cricket Force will enable much needed work to take place at Steeton CC ensuring the 2008 season gets off to the best possible start. All we ask is that volunteers each give half an hour of their time on the 5th. As they say, many hands make light work.

"All players start their cricket careers at local clubs and it is crucial that we support the game's development. Good facilities and a fun environment can be the difference between youngsters staying with cricket or not and NatWest Cricket Force helps make clubs a real focus for community sports activities and volunteering opportunities."

To this end Steeton are running a cricket competition for U-11s on the day from 11am to entertain the children while their parents get on with the work. Food and refreshments will be provided.

Local organisations have also signed up to support the project including Morrisons and Rendezvous Hotel who have donated a dinner, bed and breakfast package which will be given as a prize to one of the volunteers on the day.

Dave Leighton, ECB club programmes manager, said: "We saw clubs do more for themselves in two days last year than they had for years before. It made a real difference, including increased revenue, improved facilities, increased participation and a great sense of community spirit."

Helen Page, Marketing Director, NatWest Retail Markets said: "The impact NatWest Cricket Force has in local communities exceeds expectations every year.

"The massive effort clubs, players, volunteers and our own bank staff put into this single weekend can benefit facilities nationwide for years to come."

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

3 April 2008    -    Activities to be taken to youths

Councillors in Steeton and Eastburn are not giving up their fight to provide young people with activities, despite the flop of two meetings called to address the issue.

After repeated complaints from youths about a lack of things to do in the area, Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council joined forces with Bradford youth service to organise the meetings.

The hope was that young people would come forward with suggestions of activities they would like to see.

But to the disappointment of organiser Councillor Sue Thompson, nobody turned up at the sessions.

She said: "I am disappointed but not disheartened.

"I think when we looked at it there were good reasons why nobody came - some fliers had not been handed out in school and when the first session was held the weather was absolutely awful.

"But we have decided that instead of getting the kids to come to us, we will go to them.

"We are getting an entertainment van provided by youth services to go to the children and get them interested that way."

The van, driven by youth workers, will be up and running within a month and will camp out at places like Eastburn playing fields.

It will contain laptops and equipment for games like rounders and football.

"We did have a walk around and saw a couple of kids and they were quite positive and said that if they had known about the sessions they would have definitely come, so I am quite positive we are going to get there," said Cllr Thompson.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

27 March 2008    -    Rugby league legend Len Ward dies

The final whistle has sounded at the age of 85 for one of Keighley Rugby League Club's finest players of all time, Len Ward, who had lived for much of his life in Steeton, writes Roger Ingham.

Born in Castleford, Len was brought to Keighley at the age of 14 to live with relatives. After making an early impression in boxing, he tried his hand at rugby league with local amateur side Keighley Athletic where his talents soon attracted the attention of numerous professional scouts.

His loyalty to the local district and community at large though would see him look no further than Keighley for whom he remained throughout a truly outstanding career as a wing three-quarter who possessed all the prime top class attributes in both attack and defence.

Playing with a team invariably situated mid-division or lower - and in consequence of his awesome talent a well-recognised target for unscrupulous opponents - Len's 139 tries in 336 games was a truly remarkable achievement.

In addition - as a stand-in goal-kicker with the old fashioned leather ball - from just 50 attempts he booted 45 goals.

His five Yorkshire caps were scant reward for such an outstanding player who the famous Australian legend of the same immediate post-war era, Lionel Cooper, described as one of the most formidable opponents he had ever played against!

Needless to say, at the height of his career, he attracted offers from clubs in the higher echelons of the league and his loyalty to Keighley almost certainly denied him selection for the 1950 Great Britain tour of Australasia when many pundits clamoured for his recognition.

One of life's true gentlemen who was forever modest about his own achievements, and a wonderful ambassador for his sport, Len also played for Steeton Bowling Club and he sang for Steeton Male Voice Choir.

A funeral for Mr Ward will be held today at St Stephen's Church in Steeton. It starts at 2.45pm.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

20 March 2008    -    New homes rejected

An application for 22 new homes in Steeton has been rejected, despite support from planning officers.

Keighley Area Planning Panel refused the plans for 18 apartments and four terraced homes at Longlands, Skipton Road, even though officers felt they should be approved.

They said the development would not have a negative impact on nearby homes, would be shielded by trees and would not exacerbate traffic congestion.

A spokeswoman for the applicant pointed out there had been only one objection from a neighbouring resident.

She added the site was in a convenient location, so could easily meet the ongoing demand for more affordable houses.

Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council opposed the plans, stating that they did not include enough parking provision or space for children's recreation.

Parish councillor Karen Pickard said the homes would be "shoehorned" into the site, which was not large enough to accommodate this scale of development.

Panel chairman Councillor Chris Greaves said: "I'm rather worried by this - it's an awful lot of houses."

He and the rest of the panel refused the application, saying it amounted to over- development and would be out of character with the area.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

13 March 2008    -    Crime victims 'being left in the dark'

Steeton Parish Council has told a top police officer more needs to be done to let people know of changes in the way the force responds to crime.

Airedale and Bradford North divisional commander Chief Superintendent Allan Doherty attended a meeting of the council, where he responded to complaints from Coun Gladys Emmott that when she had her car stolen a police officer did not visit the site of the theft.

She said: "I rang Keighley police and nobody came here, nobody gives a damn."

But Chief Supt Doherty strongly denied this. He said: "That's not true that nobody gives a damn because I give a damn, but please tell me, if the car has gone, what is the purpose of coming?

"If someone came to see where the car was there is not a lot of value in that. If we come out when there is no need then we are wasting public money.

"What I am trying to get across is that the public has expected this fire brigade- style policing, where the public makes a call and the police visit, but there has been a change in how we deal with it.

"In certain crimes people need to come out, but in other crimes there is absolutely no need. When I had my house burgled people needed to take fingerprints and forensic evidence, but if the car is gone there is no opportunity to do that."

But Coun David Mullen said the police needed to get that information out into the public arena.

He said: "Around here there are a lot of elderly people and they need to know it is going to change because they are used to a policeman calling at their door. You need to tell them you are doing something, but that you are not going to go up and see them."

Chief Supt Doherty agreed and admitted: "We are not as good as we should be at keeping people up to date on their crime."

He said a new call management system meant an officer from the Neighbourhood Policing Team would keep victims of crime up to date on the progress of investigations.

Coun John Hargreaves also raised the need for more police officers to be seen walking around Steeton and Eastburn.

Chief Supt Doherty said there were five police officers dedicated to the area and they would not be called elsewhere unless there was an emergency.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

13 March 2008    -    Patients targeted to buy drinks - claim

Youths in Steeton have been accused of using mentally ill patients to buy them alcohol.

The allegation was made at a Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council meeting by Councillor John Weller.

He told the council: "I have had reports that some people are targeting patients from the Willows to get drink for them."

But Sean O'Hanrahan, manager of the Willows Independent Hospital, said he had spoken to patients and they denied buying alcohol for other people.

He said: "I am going to have a review today of all the patients but so far there is absolutely no evidence to suggest they have been doing this.

"If it had been the case that some of the patients had been buying alcohol for other people then they would have said when I asked them."

Sgt Darren Minton, from Keighley neighbourhood policing team said that he had not been made aware of the problem but would look into it.

He did however maintain that tackling binge drinking was very high on the priority list for Steeton and Silsden, as it was for the whole of the Keighley area.

He said: "It is something we are trying to crack down on at the moment. It is not only a problem here but across the country and we would urge anyone who knows of people who sell drink to underage people to come forward with that intelligence.

"Steeton and Eastburn have gone quite quiet since the end of last year."

Meanwhile, Mr O'Hanrahan is holding a meeting to investigate the claims that his patients are buying alcohol for underage youths.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

7 March 2008    -    Flats set to go ahead

Planning bosses are set to approve the construction of two blocks of apartments - one of 12 and the other of six - and a row of terraced houses on a plot of land at Longlands, off Skipton Road, Steeton, near Keighley.

The scheme has been opposed by Steeton with Eastburn parish councillors who claim the site would be too cramped and there would not be enough parking spaces.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

28 February 2008    -    Charlotte on the pathway to success

South Craven School pupil Charlotte Boulton has been rewarded for her cricketing prowess. Charlotte was recognised at a dinner organised by the Yorkshire Women's Cricket Association.

She was presented with the U-15s and U-17s batting award and the U-15s Player's Player award. She also received the Lord Taverner's award for the most promising player and the best batting award for Bradford Ladies.

This is just the latest taste of success for the Steeton Cricket Club all-rounder. In 2007 she was chosen as the Upper Airedale Junior Girl Cricketer of the Year. She was also called up to join the North of England U-19s training squad.

A number of youngsters from the Craven area have been selected by the Yorkshire Cricket Board to take part in the Pathways to Cricket Excellence Scheme.

Matthew Price of Bradley CC has been selected to take part in bronze level sessions being held in Pontefract.

The men's scheme also includes a silver and gold level, where in addition to fitness, skill, dietary/nutritional and net work, the youngsters learn of the psychological side of the game and advice for those who could make potential captains.

ECB-trained coaches can select students to progress through the higher levels during the course of 2008 scheme. In addition the students will be automatically reconsidered for the following year.

However Howard Clayton, secretary of the Pathways to Cricket Excellence, said: "They need to show above average ability. This scheme is about taking the best and giving them the best coaching."

Chris Gemmel of Settle CC has been selected to take part in the gold level of the scheme, which had five students selected for the Yorkshire Cricket Club's Academy last year.

Cricketers chosen for the gold level are likely to compete for the Yorkshire School U-15s team or the Yorkshire U-16s and U-17s sides.

Former gold level cricketers include Matthew Hoggard, Michael Vaughan, Ryan Sidebottom, Anthony McGrath and Richard Dawson.

A total of 320 young cricketers are involved in the men's side of the scheme, compared to half that number of women.

Clayton said: "We're forever trying to develop the women's side of the game."

But he said it is harder to keep women interested in cricket, as many often move on to play other sports or take part in activities such as dance.

Two girls from Steeton CC, Charlotte Boulton and Katie Wynn, one girl from Upper Wharfedale CC, Lauren Harker, have been selected to take part in the gold level of the winter cricket coaching scheme.

These sessions are held at Headingley where the girls did fitness, skill and dietary/nutritional work before Christmas, and then from the beginning of January to Easter they have been doing net work.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

26 February 2008    -    Pennies from Heaven for hospice

Staff at Airedale Hospital are donating pennies straight from their wage slips to Manorlands hospice.

The hospital, at Steeton, is one of the first in the NHS to initiate the Pennies from Heaven charity donation scheme.

Roger Pollard, director of corporate social responsibility, said it was a national scheme, but the NHS had only recently signed up to it.

The optional fundraising scheme involves staff rounding down their net salary to the nearest pound and donating the spare pennies to Manorlands.

Airedale estimates more than £18,000 per year could be raised for the Oxenhope hospice if every staff member signed up.

Trust chief executive Adam Cairns said: "When we asked staff who they wanted to support, Sue Ryder Care was their fist choice. We have done a lot of work to publicise this scheme and we are encouraging people to support it because it is a good, simple way to give to charity."

Steve Davison, manager of the hospice, said: "It is not just the money, which is obviously important for us because if we do not have the money then we cannot provide the care, but it is also about showing how we can work together.

"We work very closely with Airedale Hospital and we have staff who go between us and the hospital and also patients who come backwards and forwards.

"It was a nice surprise to hear it had chosen us to donate to because we didn't really know we were on the list until the decision was made."

The donations are also available for gift aid, which means an extra 28 per cent will be added by the Government. Airedale Hospital will review its chosen charity in a year's time.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

14 February 2008    -    Shepherd to manage England team

A Thai boxing instructor from Steeton has been named as manager of the England Thai boxing team.

Robin Shepherd, 29, who was born at Embsay and runs Thai boxing gyms at Eastburn and Bingley, steps into the position which was vacated by previous manager Mark Corfield.

However the role will not be entirely unfamiliar to Shepherd, who coached two of his students, Vicky Lakin to silver medal at World Muay Thai Association Championships last March, and Ben Molloy to a gold medal at the European Championships in October.

Shepherd said: "I've had a lot to do with organising the teams already there.

Shepherd is looking forward to taking on his new role.

He said: "It's good because I'll get to travel quite a bit with the team."

Upcoming events include the World Championships in Bulgaria in March, the World Martial Arts Games in Bangkok and the International Muay Thai Games a week after that.

However it costs the fighters and coaches money to attend these events, which can be prohibitive for Shepherd and his students.

Shepherd said: "I literally can't afford to be at all of these event. The cost is way too much."

But he is hoping that Sport England will be providing some funds in the near future as the 2012 Olympic Games approach.

Although not currently recognised as an Olympic sport, Shepherd is hoping that will change in the near future.

One of Shepherd's students, Ben Molloy, is also finding the travelling costs expensive and he is seeking sponsorship so he can train and attend a competition in Oubon, Thailand, in March.

If Molloy raises enough money to go to Thailand, the 17-year-old Molloy, who is from Sutton, will be making his debut in a professional fight.

His amateur record in four wins out of five bouts but he said amateur and professional fights are much different.

"It's a big step up," Molloy said. "As an amateur you have to wear a headguard, bodyguard, shinguards and elbow pads. There's none of that in a professional bout."

He also said that professional bouts consist of five two-minute rounds while they are only three two-minute rounds at the amateur level.

Shepherd spoke highly of Molloy.

"To be a Thai boxer at their own game is something that would give Ben a boost."

Anyone interested in sponsoring Molloy is invited to visit his Thai boxing club's website at

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

14 February 2008    -    Station is target for car vandals

A British Transport Police officer has said that Steeton and Silsden Railway Station is being monitored for anti-social behaviour.

Sgt Richard Price attended a meeting of Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council last Wednesday and spoke about his powers to police the railway station.

He said: "I have been on the team since last October and when I took over it was reported to me that these lines were very quiet and I am always sceptical when people tell me that.

"But it is true enough - you don't get people reporting many things but that doesn't mean that nothing is going on and the more time I spend here the more cases come up."

He went on to say that residents had complained about crime and bad behaviour around the train station, particularly at weekends.

He said: "There is a problem with anti-social behaviour and urinating on the platform and things like that.

"But to be honest those reports have mainly been over Christmas and since then the problem has mainly been car crime and damage to vehicles.

"As far as anti-social behaviour is concerned, we can write to the youth's parents but you don't seem to get rid of the problem, it just appears to get passed on to another station."

The discussion preceded a report on police crime figures for last month, which showed that reports of vehicle crime had rocketed in the area.

Councillor Hargreaves said: "Every meeting it comes up that we are not getting the police presence in this area and we are not. There used to be plenty of police in this area but there aren't now - they have just taken them away."

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

7 February 2008    -    Tree planting days held

Two tree-planting days are being staged by the Forest of Bradford group.

The first is at Redcar Wood Farm, off Redcar Lane, Steeton, Keighley, on Saturday, March 8, and the second at Marsh Top Farm, off Marsh Lane, Oxenhope, on Saturday, March 15. Both sessions are from 10am to 3pm.

Anyone is welcome to go along, taking a packed lunch and wearing warm waterproof clothing. Information can be obtained from Ian Butterfield or Shaun O'Hare on (01274) 718420 or by emailing

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

31 January 2008    -    Society will help older folk get out

An over-50s society has been created in Steeton.

The society was set up after a meeting at Steeton Methodist Church revealed there was a need for some older people to get out of their homes and into a new environment.

The club will run social events where people can drop-in, chat and play board games.

Society secretary Sheila Gillet said that thanks to some generous donations, the society had been able to buy board games and a snooker table for its meetings, which take place at the Methodist Church.

She said: "We received £400 from the Community Chest and £217 from the Craven Trust to get the society off the ground.

"We are just overwhelmed with their generosity.

"People were bringing their own board games to the meetings but now we have been able to buy our own, so we would just like to say a big thank you to those organisations.

"There are a lot of older people living on their own who just want to get out for a couple of hours and have a chat.

"Last week we had 25 people turn up and the week before there was only 15, so it shows interest is growing."

The Over 50s Society is having an open day on February 13, from 2-4pm, in the village Methodist Church and anyone over the age of 50 is invited to join the group.

It also plans to advertise the new club by delivering leaflets and posters throughout the village.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

31 January 2008    -    Hospital infections on the decline

Cases of hospital-transmitted infections at Airedale have decreased over a year.

Speaking at an NHS Trust Board meeting, chief executive Adam Cairns described the progress of the Steeton hospital in reducing MRSA as "excellent".

"We haven't had a hospital MRSA acquired infection since August, which is very good," he said.

Airedale's percentage of C-difficile cases is also down on last year and the trust says it has increased hand-washing compliance from 80 per cent to 95 per cent.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

24 January 2008    -    A bridge that’s too far for disabled travellers

Disabled passengers will still face a half hour trek to catch their train even if a new 200 space car park is built.

If they can't make the half mile trip to get to the Leeds-Bradford platform at Steeton and Silsden railway station , they are forced to catch a train going in the opposite direction, so they can swap platforms more easily further up the line.

At the moment disabled passengers can't take the most direct route - taking only a few minutes - because of a flight of 40 steps up and 40 steps down from the car park to the Leeds-Bradford platform.

Now, disabled travellers are demanding action to put a car park on both sides of the station.

But a spokesman for the county transport body Metro said to create a car park on the Bradford side would be "an expensive job" because the land is on a flood plain and would need raising.

The plan for a new car park on the Skipton side should stop commuters, who travel from North Yorkshire and Lancashire, from parking on streets and angering residents in the two villages.

Cllr David Mullen, who is disabled, from Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council, said that if the car park was built, the extra spaces would be of big benefit to the area, but would not help the disabled.

He said: "Steeton is just like one big car park at the moment. People are coming in from as far away as Burnley. They all come into Steeton because that is where the Metro fares start, and there is quite a difference in cost between there and further up."

But he said that, even with the new parking, the railway would still effectively function as two separate stations for disabled people.

Because there are no parking facilities on the Leeds/Bradford bound side of the station, disabled passengers currently face two unappealing choices.

They can park on the Skipton-bound side and get to the correct platform via the station access road. They have to go over the railway bridge, across Station Road, up to the roundabout and down the disabled access route - a distance of about half a mile. Or, they can get on a Skipton-bound train and switch platforms in Skipton to catch the correct train to Leeds or Bradford.

Because the Steeton station has no facilities such as disabled lifts or ramps across the track, wheelchair users returning from Skipton are faced with the same problems.

Cllr Mullen, said: "As you are now, you have the station car park on one side, and if you are wanting to go to Leeds you have to go over the road and down to the other platform."

Diane Dale, project co-ordinator for support volunteering at Keighley Volunteer Service, said it was important for disabled people to have good access to public transport so that they can partake in the same everyday activities as able-bodied people.

She said: "Some of the people we work with are physically disabled and it is important for us because the volunteers we work with have to get to their placements and for that they need public transport.

"It is imperative that people can get to the same places you and I can."

But a spokesman for county transport body Metro said the land nearby is on a flood plain, so to create a car park for disabled users at the other side of the station, the land would need to be raised, which is an expensive job.

Metro added: "We will be attending a meeting with the rail industry, local council and representatives of the company which owns the nearby land and wants to construct a car park."

The car park is planned for an area currently owned by Airedale Tree Surgeons.

At a Joint Transport Working Party - which includes the town councils of both Silsden and Steeton - disabled access was highlighted as an issue that still needs to be addressed.

Craven ward councillor Adrian Naylor, who chaired the meeting, said: "The concept is a good one but many issues still need to be resolved, such as how vehicles will enter and exit the site.

"There are currently two suggestions, either a one-way system, or widening the current entrance to allow two lanes of traffic to exit the site and one to enter.

"Other issues discussed concerned pedestrian safety and the possible need for a crossing, access for disabled users and the need for improved lights."

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

21 January 2008    -    Hospital undergoes deep clean

Airedale Hospital is taking part in a major deep clean this week as part of a nationwide programme to keep hospitals clean and safe.

The 10-week programme of intensive cleaning - which will see each ward and patient bay in the whole of the hospital deep cleaned by expert company Operon - will take until the end of March to complete.

It follows the launch last August, by Chief Executive Adam Cairns, of plans for a major focus on infection control.

The programme has resulted in the fall of infection rates and improvements in hand hygiene, and new investment in patient equipment such as high-tech catheters to help stop the spread of infection in high risk patients.

The Steeton-based hospital already has an award-winning in-house cleaning team who use the latest technology to help reduce infection in their daily task of keeping the wards clean.

It is also taking part in the Safer Patient Initiative, a two year programme where hospitals work in pairs - Airedale is teamed up with Bradford - to test out ways of making care safer in three areas of the hospital - on the wards, before, during and after operations and in critical care.

Bridget Fletcher, Director of Nursing at Airedale NHS Trust says: "Tackling infection and hygiene is a major focus this year and so is an absolute priority for all our staff.

"We are already seeing infection rates in our patients fall and this is clear evidence of this hard work creating positive results."

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

17 January 2008    -    Tribute to choir stalwart

A former chairman of Steeton Male Voice Choir has died after living with Parkinson's disease for a decade.

Seventy-three-year-old Robert (Bob) Metcalfe Shepherd died at his Grassington home, with his wife of 39 years, Jean, at his side. Bob was born on February 5 1934 and was one of nine brothers and sisters.

He was brought up on a farm near Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where his love for wildlife and the countryside began.

He studied engineering at the then Keighley Technical College and went on to work as an inspector at Dean, Smith and Grace, in Keighley, before taking the position of co-director of Wharfedale Gauge Company.

Bob did his National Service in the RAF, where he serviced and repaired planes. He loved flying and always dreamed of owning his own light aircraft.

He was also a skilled motor mechanic and enjoyed restoring old Austin and Jowett cars.

Bob was a keen sportsman, taking part in athletics, football, cricket, bowls and golf. He was also a talented ballroom dancer but his main love was singing and he was honoured to hold the position of chairman of Steeton Male Voice Choir.

Bob played a full part in village life in Addingham for 25 years and more recently Grassington. He sat on parent teacher associations, organised fell races and acted in plays and countless pantomimes, where he was always cast as the villain.

Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease ten years ago but still led a full life until the disease got the better of him in 2006.

However, with the support of family, friends, health care professionals and his wife, Bob managed to stay at his home until his death. As well as Jean, Bob leaves three daughters, Annette, Denise and Yvonne, and three grandchildren.

A funeral service was held at Linton Church.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

17 January 2008    -    Villagers cracking down on egg yob

It's no yolk. The forces of law and order in two villages have been scrambled to hunt a "phantom egg-flinger".

Residents of Steeton and Eastburn have been shell-shocked by the free range pelting of properties with eggs.

As yet no-one has seen the whites of the eyes of the suspect - a tall blond youth.

The information was revealed by Councillor Pam Blagden at a Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council meeting.

Council chairman Lorraine Harding even told the meeting of how she became a victim.

She said: "I was sitting in my dining room and suddenly in the middle pane of my window was a smashed egg dripping all over the glass.

"I thought what a waste of an egg, somebody could have eaten that'. I stared at it for a moment or two and then went outside to clear it up.

"It is just a nuisance really."

Cllr Blagden said the youth was described as tall and blond, and she confirmed that the villages' PCSO Andy Blood knew about the matter and was investigating it.

Cllr Harding said: "I hope PCSO Blood will be able to do something about this."

Cllr Sue Thompson reported that two youth sessions had been organised for 13 to 17-year-olds on March 12 and 19. They will take place at St Stephen's Church Hall, in Steeton, from 7-9pm, when there would be activities for young people.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

17 January 2008    -    Driver bailed

A Steeton man, who is said to have used his car as a weapon, will have his case heard at Bradford Crown Court.

Phillip Kevin Harrison, 30, of Station Road, is accused of dangerous driving in Sutton on September 22.

He appeared before Skipton Magistrates last Friday and had his case adjourned for committal proceedings on Friday, February 22. Harrison was released on unconditional bail.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

12 January 2008    -    Century of song

The Steeton Male Voice Choir celebrates its centenary with a number of concerts.

The 80-strong outfit, founded on February 3, 1907, starts with a massed male voice choir concert at St George's Hall, Bradford, on Saturday, April 26. Joining them on stage will be members of four other top choirs from the north of England.

The choir's patron, the Duchess of Devonshire, has invited singers to perform later in the year in the Painted Hall at Chatsworth and the National Trust wants the choir to sing in a floodlit concert at Fountains Abbey.

Later, they will tour the Republic of Ireland, where they will singing with the Dublin Mixed Voice Choir and the mixed choir of Tralee.

Celebrations will be rounded off with a concert in October at the King's Hall, Ilkley.

Members will hold a birthday party night at Steeton Hall, Steeton, near Keighley, on Sunday, February 3.

The choir's Robert Hamilton said: "We are proud that, whereas many male voice choirs face dwindling numbers, we have a membership of over 80 and are in great demand.

"We perform about 30 times a year in venues ranging from small chapels to cathedrals, concert halls and arenas."

People wanting tickets for the various concerts should telephone (01274) 569870.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

10 January 2008    -    Cameron backs rural hospitals

Conservative leader David Cameron says Airedale Hospital is a "shining example" of a successful district hospital.

And, on a visit there, he challenged the Government to invest in rural hospitals instead of centralising to larger centres.

Mr Cameron spent last Thursday morning at the Steeton hospital, working as a volunteer and meeting staff and patients.

"The Government like to say that the days of the district hospital are over but I would say, come to Airedale and see that district hospitals have a really good future. Airedale is doing a fantastic job," he said.

Mr Cameron, who arrived at Airedale at about 10.30am and left at about 2pm, said he had wanted to get behind the scenes. It involved spending time with some of the hospital's 300 volunteers as well as meeting patients, consultants and managers.

"I've had a really interesting day. Too often as a politician you visit a hospital, rush through and meet a few people," he said.

"Instead, today I have had a bit more time. I've been able to spend time going around with the volunteers on ward rounds, serve in the shop, talk to the management and have had lunch with some of the consultants."

Mr Cameron said during his discussions he had been made aware people were unhappy with the move towards larger centres of excellence.

"They don't like the regime of top-down targets or the Government's obsession with larger units," he said.

"This hospital has a really successful A&E and is a good example of a hospital serving a rural area."

He said what was important was that people got to know about a hospital's patient survival rates and that health care should be equal to that in Germany and France.

Patients and staff were really supportive of their hospital and had even praised the hospital food, he said: "There's a great spirit about this hospital; there's a sense that it's a really important part of the community."

Mr Cameron, who spent last week visiting hospitals around the UK as part of his party's claims to be "the party of the NHS", said the Conservatives would put more trust in health professionals to run hospitals.

He also talked about his party's plans to pay hospitals in relation to levels of success.

"Today, we have a system called payment by results. The hospital gets a payment for every patient it treats," he said. "I'm saying that, in every other walk of life, you get paid in full for a good service and, if the service falls short, you get paid less."

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

10 January 2008    -    Centenarian Nora dies

A 100-year-old Glusburn woman died peacefully with her family around her.

Nora Adams Clarkson died in Airedale Hospital last Thursday, a month short of her 101st birthday.

Mrs Clarkson, who was one of nine children, was born in Lincolnshire and lived in Bradford and Leeds before moving to Steeton where she met her future husband, Harry Clarkson.

The couple married at Steeton Parish Church and had two children, Ruby, who has since died, and Margaret.

During the Second World War they ran a shop at Steeton Top and later lived in Silsden and then Sutton, where Mr Clarkson worked at Hartleys Mill.

Mrs Clarkson, a widow for 27 years, was a keen knitter all her life and was still making baby clothes to raise money for Manorlands hospice and cancer charities until recently.

Her daughter, Margaret Nicholson, said: "We are very grateful to all the people at Airedale Hospital, they were very caring."

Her funeral service is due to take place at Skipton Crematorium tomorrow, at 2.20pm. Mrs Clarkson is survived by her daughter, nine grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and five great-greatgrandchildren.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

5 January 2008    -    Row over trials bike site

Bradford Council has pulled its support for a village trials bike park - because of a staff shortage.

Steeton with Eastburn parish councillors are angered by the decision and plan to send a letter of complaint to the chief executive.

Shelley Smith, 15, first raised the idea of a skills area for trial bikers on Eastburn playing field early in 2007. The parish council backed the idea and was relying on technical support from Bradford Council parks and landscapes office to help draw up plans.

The local authority was also going to help drain the playing fields.

But now the parks and landscapes team, which has attended meetings about the park, has told the parish council it can no longer provide technical help due to a staff shortage.

Parish council chairman Lorraine Harding said: "Parks and landscapes have dropped us in it. They have let us down.

"It has been six months and they were meant to be putting it out to tender, but they have done nothing. They have delayed the project."

A spokesman for Bradford Council said: "We are currently working on a number of projects which have secured funding and tight deadlines and as a result we have had to reprioritise our work programme accordingly.

"However we have introduced Bradford Community Environment Project (BCEP) to provide the parish council with the technical support."

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

3 January 2008    -    Dream cruise cancelled as firm folds

A couple from Steeton spent the festive season at home after having their dream river cruise cancelled at the last minute.

Hazel and Robert Nicholas were due to travel to Germany on December 23 on a five-day cruise along the Rhine.

The first they heard of the collapse of the Gloucester-based company Travelscope was when they turned on the television news the day before they were due to leave.

"I turned on the television on the Saturday morning and it was on the news. In the afternoon a girl from Travelscope called to say the holiday had been cancelled," said Mr Nicholas.

The couple had booked the Christmas special after a particularly bad year which saw Mrs Nicholas diagnosed with cervical cancer and Mr Nicholas being made redundant from his job. Mrs Nicholas, a cleaner, has only just returned to work after being given the all-clear.

"I had to have a hysterectomy. I've also had to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy and this was like a present to me for being so brave," said Mrs Nicholas. The couple booked their holiday three months ago.

"We've never done anything like this before but we know people who have and they've all said we'd have a really good time. We just thought it would be really nice to be away at Christmas and not to have to worry about all the washing up," said Mrs Nicholas.

But Instead of cruising the Rhine , the couple spent Christmas Day with friends of the family and hope to book another holiday this year. "We'd not bought any Christmas food or anything and had spent all this money on warm clothes," said Mrs Nicholas.

They have been assured that the £694 that they have already paid will be refunded.

"The girl from Travelscope who called us was really nice. I felt sorry for her, she'd lost her job and had gone into the office to ring and tell people. There were people she'd been dealing with for years who'd lost their holidays," said Mr Nicholas.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

3 January 2008    -    Cameron visits Airedale Hospital

Tory leader David Cameron praised Airedale Hospital during a visit to the site today.

Mr Cameron, who spent half the day talking to staff and patients at the Steeton hospital, said Airedale's example refuted Government arguments that district general hospitals should be phased out.

"This is an incredibly successful, popular local hospital," he said.

"The Government thinks that the district generals are dead, but in fact these hospitals are adapting to the needs of a changing population."

Full story in next week's Keighley News.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008

2 January 2008    -    Motorist is bailed

A Steeton man, charged with dangerous driving, had his case adjourned by Skipton Magistrates last Friday.

Phillip Kevin Harrison, 29, of Station Road, is accused of committing the offence in Sutton on September 22. The hearing was adjourned until next Friday for a decision on whether the case should be heard by magistrates or at crown court.

Harrison was released on unconditional bail.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2008