Pip’s Patch – an Update


Above: The floral display at the Memorial Meeting to celebrate David Pointon‘s life, held at the Bainbridge Quaker Meeting House on July 13. (See Remembering David.) So many thanks to those who made donations totalling £530 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance. 

July 9 – July 16: What a week! On Tuesday July 9 I attended the YDNPA planning committee meeting – which began with statements which were not listed on the agenda. Finally Askrigg parish councillor Allen Kirkbride reminded the committee that John Blackie was not there to defend himself. John had been admitted to The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton the day before.

That week I didn’t write any reports after that meeting because there was a lot to do in preparation for my husband’s Memorial Meeting on the Saturday.

And it was on that Saturday morning I heard the sad news that John Blackie had died.  John could be acerbic – but he was a formidable and relentless champion for all those living and working in the Dales. The last time I spoke to him – about 10 days before he died – he recounted with considerable joy that he had helped someone get transport to hospital.

It was so typical of him that he would put aside his own health problems to help others. But sadly it was also typical that he was criticised for his determined championing of local people, especially young families, at a National Park meeting. I’m glad I could support him when, in 2014, there was an unsuccessful complaint against him.

I do know that dozens of people supported attempts to have him honoured for his work. Maybe the file is stuck somewhere on a dusty shelf…

At the  planning meeting last week I read a statement by the Association of Rural Communities in which we asked if the committee was cherry picking the barn conversions it will support – and gave an example of one which was approved that wasn’t  in accordance with policy.

Also at that meeting Steve Davies, who is a director of the Wensleydale Railway, gave quite a full statement about the rift over the sale of Aysgarth Station two years ago and his hopes for the future now that the railway now that the site is owned by David Smith of West Coast Railways. (see July 2019 report)

I do miss David’s support! Two weeks after he died villagers at Thornton Rust raised their glasses to him for all he had done as a trustee of the Kennel Field Trust and as a local parish councillor. I have included more about David in A special celebration at Thornton Rust.

In the past year he had worked closely with the parents and community served by  West Burton CofE school. It would be wonderful to see all three schools in mid Wensleydale (at Askrigg, Bainbridge and West Burton) thriving. And it is so good to see the increase in communication and cooperation which is so needed if that is to happen.  For the press release from the BAWB Federation and the West Burton School Working Party see West Burton School “Set to Thrive”.

Some time in the future the YDNPA planning committee is  likely to receive a planning application concerning Aysgarth Methodist Chapel because, very sadly, it will officially close on April 22. The final service was held there on April 7.

But it is unlikely a hot tub will be included in the plans as there definitely isn’t any space for it !

A hot tub in the garden is a sure sign these days that a converted barn will become a holiday let. This has become evident since all applications for barn conversions within the Yorkshire Dales National Park are now being decided in public by the YDNPA’s planning committee.

One committee member proudly reported at the March meeting that the Authority had approved 100 barn conversions since the new Local Plan was introduced – and only about eight had been refused.

But don’t think that all those approvals will provide accommodation for local families for, as one planning officer pointed out last year, the policy is aimed at conservation and not affordable housing for locals.  At the April meeting six out of eight of the barn conversions in Craven District approved by the YDNPA planning committee will be primarily for holiday accommodation.

At the May meeting there was an interesting discussion about how to provide managed sites for Gypsies and Travellers over the period of the Appleby Fair.

The Remembrance Poppies that David created and which were such a special feature of Bainbridge since 2014 have now been taken down. I have posted the story about those poppies – and one remembering Pte Thomas Spence of Walden.

The post Remembering a father and a great uncle not only tells the remarkable story of how Major Donald Rose MC had gone with the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps to Gallipoli in WW1 and gained a commission with the Essex Regiment, but also the sad love story of a Durham Pal, Sgt Ernest Moore.

For over 20 years the Association of Rural Communities has campaigned for the importance of farmers and landowners to the dales landscape to be recognised – and for the YDNPA to properly recognise the socio-economic needs of those living and working in the National Park.

So the posts about farmers and the cost of the National Park boundary extension mark important landmarks, especially the former. That is mainly a report from the Association’s AGM – and its chairman’s acknowledgement of the benefits of the agri-environmental scheme in Wensleydale.

For photographs of the Festival of Remembrance at Aysgarth church  in November 2018 go to Aysgarth Festival of Remembrance.

I missed a few YDNPA planning committee meetings in 2018 including that in August because David and I were in the midst of a truly memorable summer.

First there was our wedding at Countersett Meeting House on Saturday July 21. That made history as it was the first wedding at that Meeting House since 1841.

Then we chartered The Albion for our wedding blessing – and were told later that it was probably the first time the wherry  had been involved in such an event.

Do see my posts about our Quaker wedding (Parts One and Two) and the wedding blessing.

A very big thank you to all our family and friends who helped to make these two occasions so special for us. And now my thanks to those who have been so supportive as I grieve the loss of a very special man. I am so grateful we did have 14 years together.