Time to look back to past conflicts and make plans

Wetherby Remembrance Parade. PIcture by Stefan Kusinski.
Wetherby Remembrance Parade. PIcture by Stefan Kusinski.

Tadcaster Civic Service was high on the list last month along with the same for Kanaresborough. Both went very well with a church service and then tea and cakes in rooms nearby.

It’s always good to meet and discuss with fellow Town Mayors and get the low down on what their towns have been doing. Sometimes you are able to pick up ideas and sometimes even able to brag about Wetherby.

One of the more unusual events we were invited to go to was the memorial event set up by Tockwith. You will have read about it in the Wetherby News.

The memorial was to commemorate a day in the last world war when a Lancaster Bomber crash landed on the high Street of Tockwith and killed all the crew and the local postmaster. Many buildings were demolished and it was amazing to me that more people were not killed or injured.

Since the War Tockwith had not had any special recognition of the event but this year decided to erect a memorial by way of a metal plane on a plinth by the roadside.

We and many other invited guests met at the church for a service and then marched up the high street to the place of the memorial. After the short event we all went back to the church for tea, coffee and a cake which, together with the weather and the people, made for a very nice event. Well done Tockwith.

One of the subjects that is getting a lot of attention at the moment is housing. Outer North East Leeds has to provide for 5,000 as part of Leeds plan, with Leeds in total having to provide for a total of 70,000. The plan runs until 2028.

Councils and interested parties have been involved for the past two years in site allocations and as far as Wetherby went we were looking at about 500.

These are on sites already allocated (such as Spofforth Hill) and some others that may come into the equation.

It was hoped that the bulk of the 5,000 would be built at Headley Hall, a site owned by Leeds University, but they have now pulled out and are no longer offering their land for building.

This means that if the situation stays the same Wetherby and all the villages will have to take on more housing and that is where your Neighbourhood Plan (which is nearing completion) should have its say.

Some three years ago Ripon Cathedral started a ceremony called HMS Heroes Day to which we were invited. It is a schools based peer support initiative for children who are part of a military family.

It aims to give young people a voice and to support each other in times of need recognising the unique needs that go hand in hand with being part of a military family. Moving schools many times is one of them and at an early age. There were about 600 children attending and they did readings and we even had three ten-year-old Gurkha family members who were dressed in traditional costume and did a superb dance for us all.

Another similar initiative to which we were invited was the Oakleaf Remembrance Service at Ripon Cathedral which is organised by the North Yorkshire police. It’s primarily for relatives and friends of those killed in road traffic accidents on North Yorkshire Roads over the last 12 months. Members of the emergency services who deal with collisions are also invited. Invitees such as us will be expected to talk to those attending in an informal way to give support in anyway we can.

November is a time to remember. Remembrance Day started badly with heavy rain and while meeting in the town hall prior to the march, many people commented that they could not remember the last time we had a wet march and service on the bridge. Well with a terrible start it turned out after all to be a dry event as the rain stopped as we stepped out of the Town hall.

Another big event was the bonfire which attracted a very large crowd. This I understand was partly due to Collingham not having one this year. The weather was fair and the bonfire and fireworks were good, however, the fact that the children’s rides did not turn up and there was little on sale for young children, did not go down well.