THE FRIENDS group was set up in November 2010 to promote the castle as an important historical location and encourage activities which will benefit and help preserve the site.

We seek to raise awareness of this important site through a variety of activities, including historical re-enactments, talks and demonstrations, and look for opportunities to raise funds through grants and donations. Members work closely with the site managers and volunteer their time to support events and activities at the castle. Membership is free although donations are always appreciated. Email castles@wakefield.gov.uk or click here for a printable application form. Those who join will receive a warm welcome and will be ... 

 The Friends can also be found on Facebook and Twitter


GO TO the Diary Dates page for news of forthcoming events. Our main photo shows a lone soldier on guard at a Friends' event marking the anniversary of the 1460 Battle of Wakefield

This painting of the castle is by Sandal Art Group member Wendy Ward. To go to the group's webpage, click HERE 


Friends get a new chairman

DR KEITH SOUTER (pictured) has become chairman of the Friends in succession to Sue Riley. Keith, who was previously vice-chairman, was voted into his new job at the 2017 AGM in March at the Portobello Centre. Richard Taylor is now vice-chairman.Others were re-elected as follows: Janine Heseltine (secretary), Alan Dale (treasurer), committee members Coun Monica Graham, Susan Wood, Robert Wood, David Hopkins and Liz Hellewell.

Looking back over a 'mixed' year, Keith referred to Wakefield Council's decision to close the castle visitor centre and the halt this had brought to events organised by the Friends. In the wake of concerns about the deteriorating state of the castle, there had been widespread local media interest in the Friends 'Save our Castle' campaign and in the Friends' action to seek removal of the Pokemon stops which were encouraging players to scramble up the slopes causing damages.

A real call to arms!

THE Wakefield Express photographer lines up Friends' supporters at a photoshoot at the castle, arranged to demonstrate our concern about the deteriorating condition of the castle site where there has been vandalism and even joy-riding. The Friendsare still very concerned about the continuing closure of the footbridges and walkways. And we were also told that two Pokemon-Go sites could be found in the central part of the castle, attracting Pokemon hunters who were helping to destroy the grass slopes. As a result we launched a successful campaign to have them removed, backed by Wakefield Council. For a full story go to the News Page




Dog owners back our 'Bag it, Bin it!' campaign



DOG OWNERS and their pets turned out at the castle to help the Friends launch their 'Bag it, Bin it!" campaign to encourage dog walkers to make sure they clear up after their pets

Former chairman Marc is off to the Caribbean

TRIBUTES were paid to Marc Callaghan who stepped down as chairman of the Friends of Sandal Castle. He was succeeded at the AGM in March 2016 by former vice-chair Sue Riley, who thanked him for all the work he had done for the Friends during his years in the chair.

A retired chief superintendent who commanded the Wakefield police division before leading the West Yorkshire force’s professional standards and anti-corruption unit, Marc has now been appointed deputy commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force in the Caribbean. He leaves to take up his post on April 2.

Sue reported on a successful series of events in 2015. Following the AGM, her committee for the coming year consists of Keith Souter (vice-chairman), Janine Heseltine (secretary), Alan Dale (treasurer), Monica Graham, Liz Hellewell, David Hopkins, Robert Wood, Susan Wood and Richard Taylor.

Marc is pictured here recently (third from right) with some Friends committee members.

For more information about the FoSC, email secretary Janine Heseltine at janhes13@hotmail.co.uk.


Bonnet contest tops Easter celebrations at the castle

FOR TWO hours on Easter Sunday the Friends' Fun Day at the castle was blessed with fine if blustery weather. The visitor centre was not quite as crowded as last year but youngsters still enjoyed egg painting and rolling and an Easter bonnet competition.

The FoSC chair, Sue Riley, said: "While we didn't have as many people join us this year, plenty of children still had plenty of fun." Sue is pictured here presenting prizes to the bonnet competition winners.


Horrible Halloween happenings

THERE were some horrible happenings at Sandal Castle when the Friends organised a Halloween event combined with a Gunpowder Plot presentation.

There were plenty of ghoulish fancy dresses at the visitor centre on Saturday, October 31, and the Halloween face-painting was very popular. The Friends' secretary, Janine Heseltine, also had fun with the kids, creating spooky masks and creepy pipe-cleaner spiders.

Highlight of the day was Paul Mackintosh's presentation in which he became Guy Fawkes, telling the story of the November 5 Gunpowder Plot and enrolling youngsters (and parents) from the audience to play the characters involved in the attempt to blow up the House of Lords in 1605.

Sue Riley, vice-chair of the Friends, said: "It's been a really fun day and a delight to see so many children involved with everything that we've been doing."

For an album of photos from the day, click here > >

Crowds turn out to hear police band despite the wind

It was a windy Sunday afternoon for July's West Yorkshire Police Band concert organised by the Friends but it didn't stop people enjoying this annual event at which the band, under its musical director Dave Collins, played a selection of popular classics.

The origins of the band date back to the Bradford City Police Band, which was formed in 1899, and then the Leeds City Police Band, which was formed some 15 years later. In 1974 the Leeds and Bradford Forces amalgamated to form part of the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police, and the bands merged to become the West Yorkshire Police Band. Initially the band was military in style but in 1984 a new ethos was agreed and since then it has been a traditional brass band.

Paul lights a fire under our history


Paul Mackintosh provided another of his inspired historical interpretations for the Friends of Sandal Castle in June, this time as Sir William Petty who talked about the Great Fire of London. The event was held at the castle visitor centre.

To learn more about Paul's characters from our past, go to http://visitors-from-the-past.co.uk/ . Previously he has visited the Friends as Obidiah, a musketeer from the English Civil War, and memorably as Nevison the highwayman.

Extensive information about the castle, current events and visitors' reactions and photos can be found on facebook. Among them are pictures from the past and various shots from the air.                                        


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