July-December 2013

Heron Drive couple take over the reins at Suzy Fund 

RETIRED couple Paul and Monica Haley now run the Suzy Fund charity following Brian Hazell’s decision to step down as its leader after he celebrated his 80th birthday at the end of September 2013. Paul and Monica, who live in Heron Drive, Sandal, will continue to have Brian’s support.He said: “I’m not retiring, just taking a back seat.” He added that his accountant recently pointed out that the charity, which he founded in 1975, would die with him, should the inevitable happen.Monica said: "We want to keep Brian closely involved. He's put so much work into the Fund and it's very close to his heart. We'll be following in his footsteps and hoping to do as good a job as he has." The Suzy Fund has raised £750,000 for children around the world and began with Brian asking parishioners at St Peter’s and St Paul’s Catholic Church to make donations of as little as 10p a week, in the belief that pennies make pounds. This has proved to be the case and in 2011 Brian was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for charitable services overseas. Paul said: "We need to make people more aware of the amazing work that the Suzy Fund has done in improving the quality of the lives of thousands of children all over the developing world, transforming the skeletal child dying on a rubbish tip in Ethiopia, to a healthy, happy, well-fed child, who can go on to achieve their full potential."He added that he and Monica want to get more people involved and perhaps have an annual get-together where projects can be identified that the Suzy Fund could support during the following year. The couple (pictured with Brian, left) are members of Sandal Community Association. Paul was formerly a structural engineer while Monica retired as head teacher of St John the Baptist RC Primary School at Normanton in 2008. The year before she retired she was voted Head Teacher of the Year in the North of England. They are both involved with Wakefield Little Theatre. To go to the Suzy Fund’s website, click here.Paul explained that it is intended to redesign the site to include video clips of some of the Fund's success stories. To contact Paul and Monica, email them at phaley@talktalk.net .   Photo courtesy Wakefield Express

Stand and deliver – it’s highwayman John Nevison!

IN A HUGELY entertaining presentation, famous Yorkshire highwayman John ‘Swift Nicks’ Nevison (aka Paul Mackintosh) broke off from robbing the rich – and sometimes the poor – to spend the afternoon telling stories about his 17th century life of crime. The event at Sandal Castle Information Centre on October 12 was organised by the Castle Friends. Paul, who trained as a history teacher, spent eight years role-playing for school visits at Clarke Hall, Wakefield, but for the past seven years has been going into Yorkshire schools armed with a repertoire of six characters ranging from a pirate to Guy Fawkes. For more information go to his Visitors from the Past website.

In our picture Paul is showing off his brace of flintlock pistols and ‘mortuary’ sword to Susan and Robert Wood. 

Parade to monument marks Battle of Wakefield anniversary

A CRISP, sunny day blessed the traditional marking of the anniversary of the Battle of Wakefield. The Friends of Sandal Castle again linked with the Frei Compagnie re-enactors on Sunday, 29 December 2013, for an event at the castle where there was a lecture by historian Helen Cox at the visitor centre. At a Show ‘n’ Tell session families were able to see crafts, clothing and armour, and handle weapons. During the celebrations, which were well attended, there was a parade to the monument on Manygates Lane, where it is believed Richard Duke of York was killed during the War of the Roses on 30 December 1460. He was slaughtered in one of the bloodiest of battles after leaving the castle with an army of about 5,000 to face King Henry VI’s opposing Lancastrian force of 15,000.  There was a prayer and a moment’s silence to remember those who fell in the battle. Flowers were also laid at the monument. At the centre Helen, who also conducted a tour of the castle, talked about both the Duke and Richard III, and what the relationship was between the two.

Association's Christmas concert proves another great success

THE Association's annual Christmas concert at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club on December 6 was agreat success again with the audience joining wholeheartedly in some rousing choruses led by Horbury Singers under their conductor, Cynthia Cotton. Alan Franks was at the piano. Wine, mince pies and Christmas cake helped the evening along and the following morning spare boxes of mince pies and other items were delivered by the SCA to the food bank at St Catherine's Church.


Sandal fundraisers make thousands for Wakefield Hospice

SANDAL  Hospice Fundraising Group’s Christmas market coffee morning at the Walnut Tree (pictured) was a great success, making more than £1,300 profit. And there was another huge boost announced on the day - an anonymous donation of no less than £2,000. Add to that the £1,500 raised at two other recent events organised by the group. Organiser Denise Armstrong emailed us after the coffee morning: “We are thrilled and thank you and all the kind people of Sandal for coming and supporting us.” Apart from the usual stalls, Christmas wreaths made by ladies from the group sold well at £5 each. The earlier events – held within weeks of one another – were a flower demonstration by arranger Liz Bishop, which made almost £670, and a Pamper Evening at Woodthorpe Golf Club which realised £880. After the flower demo at New Brookhouse Club on October 11, Denise said: “Thanks to all the Sandal ladies who turned out on a miserable evening and enjoyed some absolutely stunning flower arrangements. Liz is a very talented flower arranger and definitely showed us her artistry.” All the flowers were raffled at the end of the evening. The Pamper Evening in September was a great success and the organisers thank all the beauty therapists and hairdressers who gave their time for the event. They are also grateful for the support given by the club and its staff and to residents who donated gifts for the event. 

Party fun after Christmas tree lights switch-on

SANDAL RESIDENTS chipped in and met more than £450 of the cost of this year’s Christmas tree on Barnsley Road where its lights were ‘switched on’ by Thomas Eggerton and Conar Abbott, pupils from Sandal Endowed School on Friday, November 29.

The total cost of the tree was £1,600, of which Wakefield Council paid £1,000, leaving the Community Association to face the balance of £600, essential if we were to have a tree this year. Councillor Monica Graham said: “The switch-on and the party that follows it at the school have become a bit of a tradition since we first did it in 2007. However, due to budget cuts we don’t know about the future of council funding for the tree.” Santa was in great demand at the family social after the switch-on. Parents and children crowded into the school hall where a choir composed of youngsters from the school sang carols and Christmas songs, conducted by teacher Michael Howley. Madge Flint, secretary of the Community Association, said: “It was a super party and we are immensely grateful to the school for the use of its premises and the support of staff, to Tesco Express at Busy Corner for generously giving mince pies, hot chocolate and marshmallows, and to Sainsbury’s for muffins and more mince pies.” A tombola and the sale of drinks made about £100 to help defray expenses. 

Inner Wheel Club coffee morning makes more than £500

WAKEFIELD Inner Wheel Club’s annual coffee morning at the New Brookhouse Club on Wednesday, November 20, raised just over £500 for the club’s charity work. Apart from coffee and biscuits, visitors were able to indulge themselves at the cake stall – all the goodies baked by club members – while there was a competition to win a Christmas cake. This was made by Peter Gallivan and iced and decorated by his wife Pauline, the IW club’s treasurer. A prize bottle stall and raffle also contributed to the morning’s profit.


 Strollers wind up their year at M1 underpass memorial 

SOME of the Sandal Strollers group are pictured here against an unusual backdrop during their last outing of 2013 on Thursday, November 7, beginning at the Rhubarb sculpture in Thornes Park and taking a circular route to Horbury and back. The walk, planned by Elaine Turton, was mainly on the flat and and the weather remained good. The mural, highlighted in the following day's Wakefield Express, is in an M1 underpass at Horbury and forms a memorial to 18-year-old Joel Peacock who died the previous month following an asthma attack. Despite some wet weather during the year, the Strollers continued their programme of walks, which included  Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Bretton  Estate, Seckar Wood, Sandal Castle, Haw Park Wood and Anglers Country Park, Walton Colliery Nature Park, Pugneys , Newmillerdam , Stanley Ferry and Cawthorne and Cannon Hall Country Park  A  selection of photos of these and some earlier walks can be viewed on our Facebook page. The aim of the Strollers, which was launched by the SCA, is to provide a friendly group of people who, for whatever reason, prefer shorter, easy walks. Anyone with suggestions or willing to lead a stroll of three to four miles is invited to contact Community Association committee member Roger Holmes on 01924 240589. He can also be emailed through the website at info@sandal.org.uk. Although the number of participants has sometimes been low, the intention is to continue the walks in 2014, although not necessarily every month. 

Police inspector rings the bell!

NEIGHBOURHOOD Policing Team commanding officer Inspector Richard Clare turned on the humour when he was guest speaker at the Association’s cheese and wine evening at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club on October 30. Numbers were down because it was school half-term but it was still a very enjoyable night out. Insp Clare talked about the work of the police in the Wakefield Rural NPT's area, which covers Sandal, and provided crime prevention advice which included bells that can be clipped to purses to protect against pickpockets. You'll find a photo from the event on our Facebook page hereThe NPT also has a Facebook page where you can keep up to date with its activities.

Handbags go under the hammer for air ambulance

NEARLY 300 pre-loved handbags were up for sale when Sandal Community Association held its second auction in aid of Yorkshire Air Ambulance, raising £1,200 to add to the £1,000 from a similar event last year. There was a big boost from Wakefield businessman Peter Jones whose company, as well as donating a new Radley bag, handed over about 40 bags that had been traded in during a promotion which gave each customer a ten per cent discount when they traded in for a new bag. Auctioneer at the sale at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club on Friday, September 20, was Association committee member Ian Flint, assisted by John Coney and backed up Lisa Blezard, the air ambulance’s West Yorkshire community fundraiser. Association secretary Madge Flint, one of the organisers, said: “It’s been great fun and we’re very grateful to all those who gave bags and to those who came to bid and buy. Where else could you get a pristine Radley bag for a fiver? Our thanks also go to celebrity Jane Macdonald who gave us some of her jewellery which we put into both the auction and the raffle."


Pictures show (above) auctioneer Ian Flint with assistant John Coney. Right: The auction organisers with Yorkshire Air Ambulance fundraiser Lisa Blezard (second right): back row Lesley Bartlett, Madge Flint and Monica Graham; front, Jill Coney and Val Choudry.

Rolling out the barrel for local Scouts!   

THE headquarters of the 15th Wakefield Scout Group, about two-thirds of whose 150 members come from the Sandal area, was transformed into the venue for a two-day charity beer festival, organised by Wakefield Rotary Club. 

The event was opened by the Mayor of Wakefield, Coun Brian Holmes, on Friday afternoon, September 13, and one of the first pints he pulled was with Peter Davies, the scout group president (pictured). A profit of nearly £1,500 from the event was shared by the Rotary club and the scouts, some of whose parents set up the pumps at the headquarters on Barnsley Road, Newmillerdam. Marquees outside helped extend the accommodation. The organiser, Rotarian Colin Moran, said: “We’ve had a great deal of support and some excellent sponsorship. We’re grateful to Sandal Community Association, who paid for half a barrel. It’s good to see a community group getting behind an event such as this.” The £5 entry fee included an engraved commemorative glass as well as two drinks. And there were plenty from which to choose – 20 real ales with some colourful names ranging from Strawdog to White Rat, from Blonde Bombshell to Thirstin’ For It.  On Saturday afternoon there was a free bouncy castle for children while music was later provided by Norlin’s Nightowls jazz band and Crofton Silver Junior Band. The Rotary club will use part of its share of the proceeds to help Dementia UK and the campaign to raise funds for an Admiral Nurse to assist people with dementia in the Wakefield area. Other local charities will also benefit. Click Wakefield Express for a further report and picture slide show.

<< REPRESENTATIVES from the Scout group were invited to dinner at the Rotary club’s meeting at the New Brookhouse Club on October 10 when a £735 cheque for their share of the beer festival proceeds was handed over by club president Nick Castle.  Pictured (from left) are Val Haycock (kitchen and catering leader), festival organiser Colin Moran, Nick Castle, Ruth Frudd (who helped with catering), Alan Haycock (Scouts’ liaison with Rotarians) and Bob Frudd (who organised the bar).

Barry earns lifetime achievement award for African charity work

FORMER deputy head teacher Barry Brindley, from Carr Lane, Sandal, was named in November as the joint winner in the lifetime achievement category at the Independent School Awards 2013. The award was in recognition of The Grammar School at Leeds charitable project which Barry founded 25 years ago to help impoverished communities in Malawi. In 1988, when he became an economics teacher at Leeds Girls' High School  (now merged with the Grammar School),  Barry encouraged students  to become pen pals with pupils at his previous school, the Kamuzu Academy in Malawi. This grew into a project that has now raised almost £300,000 for schools and community organisations in the African country. Barry's love for the continent began when he spent a semester as an undergraduate at the University of Ghana where he met his wife, Suzanne. After marrying in Sandal, they returned as newlyweds for Barry's first teaching post in Zambia, later moving to Malawi. He said: "Africa gave me the greatest gifts I could ask for - my wife and four children, many friends and 14 years of wonderful memories. The Malawi Project is our way of saying thank you." He continued as the Leeds school’s Malawi co-ordinator after retiring in 2011, when he formalised the project by setting up his charity, the Zikomo Trust (Zikomo means ‘thank you’ in Chichewa).                                                                                                       Barry and Suzanne are pictured here with just two of their many mementoes of Africa

Charity fundraising Christmas post gets underway 

WAKEFIELD Rotary Club’s fundraising charity Christmas post is up and running with posting points in about 40 places all over the city. The special stamps are only 25p and all profits go to charity. The project was launched in Sandal at the posting point at Fortythree Café on Standbridge Lane, where Rotarian and Community Association member John Southall joined staff Nicola Jubb (centre) and her mum, Elaine Jubb. The other posting points in Sandal are Richmond’s Butchers at Busy Corner and The Spring community café and shop at 299 Barnsley Road. Rotary spokesman Peter Clarke told us: “Over 1,600 cards were posted last year. We hope that by extending the delivery area we will see a big increase in the numbers this year. It’s all in a good cause - and a lot cheaper than Royal Mail,” Cards will only be delivered in Sandal, Walton, Kettlethorpe, Newmillerdam, Portobello,  Notton, Hall Green, Calder Grove, Durkar. Crigglestone, Painthorpe and Woolley. A list of posting points is available on the Rotary website. In case of difficulty call 01924 252437. Last date for accepting cards is December 14. 

Young chef Emily earns place in next round

KEEN COOK 13-year-old Emily Orr, from Sandal Avenue, added to her honours when her two-course meal was the judges’ favourite in Wakefield Rotary Club’s Young Chef competition on Wednesday, November 20. Emily, who had recently been highly commended by celebrity chef James Martin in the regional heat of the Make it with Mince Challenge, now goes forward to the district Rotary competition at Harrogate in the new year. The competition, organised jointly with the Rotary Club of Osgoldcross and Elmet, took place at Wakefield College and was judged by Wakefield Rotarian and restaurateur Vincenzo Silvestri (former proprietor of Rinaldi's) and professional chef and lecturer Trevor Marshall. First place went to Emily, a student at Wakefield Girls High School, with 12-year-olds Lucy Von Emloh and Jemma Patnaik from the same school in second and third places. Lucy was another competitor who had earlier been commended by James Martin. Mr Marshall said the spread of marks among the eight competitors had been very close. He added: “The judges would like to congratulate all the contestants for their abilities and for trying to prove their worth at a very young age, especially when they were working under pressure.” 

Our picture shows judge Trevor Marshall watching Emily plate up her first course of pan-seared scallops. For another photo go to our Facebook page

Plan for school gets go-ahead with warning of ‘significant impact’  

WAKEFIELD Council announced in a Notification of Decision letter, dated October 15, that the application to extend Sandal Endowed CE School had been approved by the Planning and Highways CommitteeTo see details of the decision click here.  The application has been approved subject to twelve planning conditions, one of which says that development cannot begin until a scheme for highway safety improvements in the vicinity of the school has been submitted and approved by the planning authority. The committee also notes that increasing the school to 620 pupils will have a significant impact on Sandal. 

And St Helen's memorial garden is given the green light

PLANNERS have given St Helen’s Church approval for a memorial garden, designed as the Tree of Life, allowing mourners to sit among its roots. The tree’s leaves will be black memorial stones and the garden will feature sculptural engravings by Dan Jones, whose work can also be seen at Portobello. A design and access statement submitted to Wakefield Council said the garden would provide a framework for interments of ashes and a ‘contemplative spot to sit and reflect’. An explanation on the church website adds: ‘Its location near a real tree, and with lovely vistas of the hills beyond the hedge, will provide a place of tranquillity and peace, full of beauty and birdsong.’

Teenager’s death leads to fresh calls for speed reductions

THE DEATH of 16-year-old Hannah Hunter when the car in which she was a passenger crashed into a tree on Chevet Lane has led to renewed calls for speed reductions on the road between Notton Crossroads and Sandal. Police are appealing for witnesses to the accident which took place at about 11.35pm near Smawell Lane on Tuesday, October 1. Notton parish councillor Stephen Selby has been conducting a campaign for the past 17 years, trying to get road signs put up and the 60mph limit reduced. He says it is one of the most dangerous roads in the country after it claimed the life, among others, of a friend in 1995 and an uncle in 2005. He succeeded in getting the speed limit reduced to 40mph near the boundary with Sandal. He said: “I have attended the scene of nearly every accident that has occurred on this road and have seen the carnage and met the families themselves. I urge people to avoid that road until the council spends money on it.” A spokesman for Wakefield Council said it inspects the road each month and has responded to issues raised by Mr Selby. In 2012 angry Sandal residents wrote a strongly worded letter to the council protesting about speeding and the dangerous road conditions on the built-up stretch of Chevet Lane. After alleged ‘procrastination’, the council has painted double white lines on the most awkward section and police speed-check signs have been put up.

OUR PICTURE shows floral tributes and a police notice at the spot where Wakefield hairdressing student Hannah was killed

 Sandal's recyclers are the tops!

A RECYCLING trial took place in Sandal in October and November – but why was this area selected? We asked ward councillor David Hopkins. “That’s simple,” he told us, “our residents are the best recyclers.” During the two-month trial, announced by leaflets pushed through letterboxes, Wakefield Council asked householders to place all rubbish for recycling into one bin. Glass and plastic bottles, cans, paper and cardboard were put into the brown recycling bin. Sandal, including Woodthorpe and Milnthorpe - about 1,600 households - provides the greatest tonnage of recyclable material. The council say that the trial will help them plan a new waste collection service from 2015, which will involve a single collection of recyclable material, instead of two. The material will be sorted by contractors Shanks Waste Management at a new plant at South Kirkby Business Park, starting in about 18 months' time. For more details about future plans for waste recycling go the council’s FAQS 

Painting will keep Gail's memories of Sandal alive

GAIL STEPHENSON, chair of the Community Association for five years until she stood down at the June AGM, is leaving with a permanent reminder of her time in Sandal – a specially commissioned painting by artist and historian Edwin Hirst of five local landmarks. The presentation was made at a gathering at the home of Association secretary Madge Flint on Friday, October 4, by Les Goddard, who followed Gail into the chair after a spell as treasurer. He paid tribute to her commitment to the Association and her enthusiasm for its work and wished her and her husband, employment agency managing director Ian Anderson, well with their eventual move to the Kelso area. Only that morning the removal van had arrived at the couple’s home in Helmsley Road, taking them the following day to their temporary home in South Yorkshire. Gail was congratulated on the work she had done in helping set up groups such as the Friends of Sandal Castle, the Gardening Club and the latest, the Singles 22 group. “These were not my ideas,” she said, “but we were able to facilitate their launches.” In the Association’s September newsletter she wrote that she had made many friends during her 13 years in Sandal, adding: “Every committee member contributes hugely to the success of the SCA. They give not only time, which is very precious, but also help by printing, mailing and coming up with ideas for Sandal.” Among those at the presentation was the Association’s founder in 2005, Monica Graham, who added her tribute in the newsletter: “I knew the association was in very good hands when Gail took on the chairmanship in July 2008. She has developed strong community links, with many new initiatives, social and charity events, and a large increase in the membership.”  At the presentation a large tin of Quality Street was raffled, raising £50 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance. And the winner? You guessed it – Gail!

OUR PICTURE shows Les, Gail and Monica (centre); Gail's husband, Ian, is on the extreme right

 Newspaper spotlight on Sandal author and GP

AUTHOR and former GP Keith Souter who lives, as he always puts it, ‘within arrow shot of Sandal Castle’, is well known locally for his weekly medical column in the Wakefield Express and for his historical fiction based on the castle.  What is less well known, perhaps, is that his immensely varied writing includes westerns and crime novels. The Express devoted a full page to him in September as part of its ‘Big Interview’ series. To view this, click here. Retired Express editor Richard Taylor, now a member of Sandal Community Association’s committee, said: “When I invited Keith to write his first column 30 years ago, I don’t suppose that either he or I imagined he would still be contributing his weekly piece so many years later.” Keith has his own website here.

Council acts on campaign for 30mph sign

WORRIED pensioner Geoff Leighton, who put up his own 30mph sign on Barnsley Road, says he has won his battle for a permanent sign. The 84-year-old took the law into his own hands when he made a sign and put it up outside his home to slow dangerous drivers. He has been fighting for a proper sign since about 2006, when the speed limit on that stretch of road was reduced from 40mph to 30mph. He said: “The council have now found an electric sign that flashes to warn drivers when they are exceeding the limit. They’ve promised to repair it and put it in place and when that happens the battle will be over. If it doesn’t, then the war will continue.” He received a big round of applause when he spoke at a residents’ road safety meeting at the St Pierre, Newmillerdam, on January 31 to discuss traffic problems in the Newmillerdam and Barnsley Road areas. It was agreed to form an action committee to try to drive forward some improvements. Coun Monica Graham said later: “I admire Mr Leighton’s determination to take a stance on this issue and highlight the dangers on this road. Local councillors have in recent years complained to the authority many times about the lack of speed signs on Barnsley Road. People power has in this case been effective.” Geoff commented: “We take our lives into our hands every time we pull out of our drive because people fly along here at up to 70 miles an hour. We’ve had four friends who have nearly been involved in accidents.” He said there had been many accidents on the road and he had written countless letters to the council on the issue but nothing had been done so he put up the sign. Then he received a letter from the local authority, asking him to remove it because it did not have advertising approval. Highways enforcement officer, John Whitworth, was quoted in the Wakefield Express as saying: “The road traffic regulations act states that if something is on private land, appertaining to highway users, then it has to come down. If the sign were to distract a driver and they had an accident, Mr Leighton could be liable. I sympathise but it is an offence because the sign has not been lawfully erected.” In January local neighbourhood police officers carried out speed checks in the area. They issued four speeding tickets to drivers caught doing between 38 and 54 mph, which Geoff welcomed and said it proved he was right. PC Ashley Wood said: “This is a highly populated residential area with many dog walkers, children and pedestrians. The 30mph speed limit is set to keep members of the public safe. We take this very seriously and will regularly be enforcing the speed limit in the area. We will be trying our best to improve the issue.”                            Photo courtesy Wakefield Express

First phase of castle conservation work is complete

THE FIRST phase of conservation work, which began at Sandal Castle in August, was completed in October and includes the building of new steps giving access to the moat and fully conserving the ruins of the castle's Great Hall. Significant sections of new stonework have been inserted to strengthen the ruins and large areas have been repointed. The completion of this phase was marked by an official opening on October 23.The work is part of a £90,000 project to secure the castle’s future and discourage vandalism and the young climbers who scramble over the ruins. Most of the money comes from the George Hyde legacy, which is managed by English Heritage. Later this year there will be further work upgrading the paths, replacing the site interpretation boards and installing three new boards which will give additional information about the castle's remains.For more information read the press release on the council’s website here

Wakefield Council heritage officer Ian Downes (right) explains some details of the conservation work at the castle to a group of visitors

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