July-December 2014

Young brass players put on a great show

Voted one of the Association's best nights yet

UNTIL he retired last year after more then 30 years as a music teacher at Kettlethorpe High School, Tom Greatorex had probably never had a class more in need of tuition than he came across at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club in December. Now concentrating on his continuing work as musical director of Horbury Victoria Junior Brass Band, he brought the youngsters to the SCA's Mince Pies and Wine evening, rated by guests as one of the Association's most successful nights at the club. He persuaded and cajoled his appreciative audience into joining in heartily with the singing of carols and Christmas songs - and the band put on a great show. After their performance - and when everyone had stocked up with mince pies, Christmas cake and wine - SCA chairman Les Goddard took the audience through a 20-question Christmas quiz. Before that, he is pictured (above) taking an impromptu lesson from Tom. People also had a chance to meet Paul Whitfield and the Aqua Babes, some of whom had come along to promote the Christmas single CD they recorded to sell in aid of Wakefield Hospice.


Party fun after Christmas tree lights switch-on

IT MIGHT have been Black Friday elsewhere but it was Bright Friday at Sandal Castle Primary School on November 28  when the school hall was packed for the family social that followed the now traditional switch-on of the Christmas tree lights on Barnsley Road – and there was a special visitor. Santa arrived with his sack to hand out bags of sweets and to have a word with each of the children who queued up to see him.The event was organised once again by Sandal Community Association which was celebrating its tenth anniversary. To mark this notable year, each youngster who saw Santa was also presented with a special SCA pencil by chairman Les Goddard.An enthusiastic choir of children from the school sang Christmas songs led by husband and wife teachers Sally and Michael Howley. Sally (top picture) conducted the choir while Michael provided the accompaniment – and parents and families joined in vigorously with much of the singing.The evening began at 6pm with the lights being switched on by Sandal Castle school pupil Kobi Carr (pictured left). This year the full £1,500 cost of the tree, including its installation and maintenance, was met by the SCA and we are very grateful to residents who have made donations to help defray the cost. There was an unusual visitor joining in the fun at the social in the school hall. He didn’t say a lot, but he was obviously enjoying himself. The visitor was Busy Bear, who goes the rounds of the youngsters in foundation year, staying with each of them for weekends. This time it was the turn of four-year-old May, pictured (right) with mum Sally Mountain and sisters Amy (10) and Zoe (7), both of whom are pupils at the school. May was keeping a diary of what Busy Bear had been up to – going to the party, putting up the Christmas tree at home and meeting other family members, going up to the castle, helping cook the Sunday lunch and seeing grandparents. In the bag that comes with Busy Bear there’s a camera to picture what he’s been up to, a bedtime story to read to him and coloured pencils to draw his weekend’s activities. Sally, who lives in Princess Street, said: “This is a really lovely idea and May was very giddy about having Busy Bear.”

Christmas coffee and charity CD are both a hit for the hospice

NOVEMBER was a good month in Sandal for generating cash for Wakefield Hospice. The fundraising group had another great success with their popular Christmas coffee morning when the Walnut Tree pub was crowded with supporters, making it a thoroughly enjoyable and well-supported social event. There were the usual stalls selling cakes, hand-made Christmas decorations, haberdashery, etc, with commercial stallholders adding to receipts for the event. This year there was also a team promoting and selling a Christmas CD single, produced to raise money for the hospice and released only the previous week. Twelve ladies from the Aqua Aerobics classes at the Oasis Health Club, Doncaster Road, joined with local singer and song-writer Paul Whitfield. Together they formed a group called 'Paul Whitfield and The Aqua Babes' for this one special occasion, with Paul writing a catchy Christmas song, with music, entitled Put A Smile On Your Face (It's Christmas Time). He sang the main vocals and the ladies provided the chorus and harmonies. The song, recorded and mixed  professionally, was released as a single on a CD which includes a karaoke version. It was on sale at £3 per copy at a number of local businesses and outlets in Wakefield, including The Spring Community Café and Shop, the New Brookhouse Club and the Belle Isle Pharmacy. The song was also available to buy as a download from iTunes. It eventually made £5,600 which was handed over to the hospice in January. Apart from Paul, the group consisted of Diana Holden, Nicky Kershaw, Mandy Scholey, Dawn Spencer, Julie Wood, Gillian Hirst, Brenda Dalton, Sue Mitchell, Shirley Parker, Liz Dale, Sue Jarvis and Ann Thomasson. Several of the Aqua Babes live in Walton but Dawn and Gillian are both from Sandal.

TOP: Marilyn Gledhill and Barbara Preston were kept very busy on the cake stall. LEFT: The Aqua Babes with lead singer Paul Whitfield             MORE PHOTOS >>

Couple raise £425 for Kenyan school

COFFEE mornings organised in October by SCA members Madhu and Chris Patel (pictured right) made £425 towards their continuing fundraising for Kabiro School in a disadvantaged district of Nairobi, Kenya.

The Patels, who came to the UK from Kenya, went house-to-house in Sandal distributing notices of the two mornings in the hope of a good turn-out on both days, which they achieved. Madhu said: "We've had brilliant support and we're grateful to those who helped organise the mornings and to all those people who attended. The money will go towards providing solar panels at the school so the children can have electricity - and computers - for the first time." The Patels' work for the school has been featured on both the SCA's Facebook timeline and the News page on this website. The coffee mornings were at their home at 4 Normans Way, Sandal, and there was a bring and buy, raffle prizes, biscuits and cakes - as well as some special Indian snacks.

'Fast, furious and fun ' night makes nearly £3,500 for air ambulance

THE SCA's best ever pre-loved handbag auction in September  raised nearly £3,500 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance. BBC Look North presenter Amy Garcia (pictured) set the ball rolling by auctioning the first handbag - but not before she had praised the air ambulance for its life-saving work in the county. The YAA's West Yorkshire fundraiser Kerry Garner thanked everyone for attending the auction at Sandal Rugby Club and emphasised how important events such as this were because it took £10,000 a day to keep the service's two helicopters in the air. Association chairman Les Goddard summed it up: “Well done to all involved. It’s a great result.”  At the start of the evening, Ian Flint, reprising his role as auctioneer, thanked all those who had helped make the event such a success - Barclays Bank for agreeing to match fund whatever was raised on the night up to £1,000, Fujitsu for giving £500, Peter Jones China for donating traded-in handbags and for giving a new Radley bag as a raffle prize, singer Jane Macdonald for giving some of her costume jewellery for sale, Harratts for a raffle prize of a free weekend's use of one of their top model Volvos and the Rugby Club for allowing free use of their premises. SCA secretary Madge Flint said: "The people of Wakefield and especially Sandal gave us a very proud night. The evening was fast, furious and much fun. There were so many good quality handbags I was just spoiled for choice and bought a few for myself. My team worked like Trojans to get the evening off to a tee. Thanks to all our backers for helping us enable Yorkshire Air Ambulance to save more lives. That's what it is all about."

Coffee morning raises £1,250 for Macmillan nurses

THERE was plenty of support for September's coffee morning at 31 Milnthorpe Drive, Sandal, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The event was organised by Marjorie Wilde at her home, with help from Wakefield Soroptomists, of which she is this year's president. There was a tombola and raffle, plus stalls selling plants, books and homemade cakes, all of which were kept busy, helping to push the morning's profits to £1,250. Marjorie (third from left in our picture of Soroptomists at the event) is also chairman of Sandal Gardening Club and both she and husband Stewart are SCA members.


Tea party makes £850 for hospice and WOLF

AUGUST'S very successful Inner Wheel Club tea party made more than £850 to be shared between Wakefield Hospice and WOLF (Wakefield Oncology Leukaemia Fund). The raflle alone raised £280 among the 105 people who attended the event held at the Sandal Avenue home of Inner Wheel Club member Pat Craven. Pat was presented with a thank-you bouquet by club president Pauline Gallivan. There were sharp showers during the afternoon which meant both gazebos and brollies came into play but Inner Wheel members produced a stunning selection of sandwiches and cakes that were enjoyed by everyone.

Council gives go-ahead to sports club housing plan
THE controversial plan to build 171 houses on the West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club site was given the go-ahead following a majority vote by Wakefield Council’s planning committee in December. The council's decision now has to go before government for confirmation and Sandal Community Association’s committee will consider what further action can be taken.
Coun Monica Graham spoke in opposition to the application by Persimmon Homes, while the SCA’s case was put by committee member Roger Holmes. He expressed concern about the loss of community and sports facilities in Sandal and pointed out how the development would have an adverse impact on the wider road network. The significant increase in traffic would cause problems at peak times with access to and from the site on to Walton Lane. The signal-controlled Walton Lane/Barnsley Road junction, which operates at capacity at peak times, would, he said, struggle to cope and would be potentially more dangerous. There were also concerns about drainage on the site and increased air pollution.
The SCA believes the proposals needed further detailed scrutiny and we recommended that the application should be refused or deferred. After such a review, it was suggested that the council and developer should arrange follow-up consultations with key interested parties, including the SCA.In a letter to case officer Fiona Knowles, SCA chairman Les Goddard wrote: “The club is utilised by many local groups (the Sandal Community Association, Gardening Club, Arts Society, Bridge and Computer Clubs to name a few) who use the existing facility extensively both during the day and weekday evenings for meetings and events.” He also raised a number of other important issues including highway and traffic problems. To read the letter in full click HERE. In March 2014 the SCA sought unsuccessfully to have an earlier plan accepted for consideration by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
PHOTO: SCA objectors pictured at the club gates in 2014 by the Wakefield Express

Armed robbers flee empty-handed after Sandal post office raid

THREE men were arrested following an attempted armed robberry at Sandal post office on Monday, December 1. Immediately after the raid Detective Sergeant Pete Whittam, from Wakefield District CID, said: ‘‘The incident occurred around 5.30pm when two masked men entered the store and threatened a female member of staff, who was behind the post office counter, with what is believed to have been a shotgun. At that point a male member of staff, who was in another area of shop, activated the alarm and the men fled the store empty-handed. ‘The suspects are then believed to have left the area in a silver coloured vehicle, possibly an estate type car, which was parked nearby on Sandal Avenue and is thought to have left the area at high speed driving up Castle Road. ‘There are a number of residential properties in the immediate area and given the time of day there may well have been people arriving home from work. I would like to hear from anyone who saw a silver or similar coloured vehicle driving at speed or any witnesses that saw anything that may assist the investigation. ‘Fortunately no-one was injured in the attempted robbery but the victims were left shaken by the incident.’’

Santa and team of snowmen make £1,160 for charity

SANTA was in great demand when he was out and about in Sandal with a band of snowmen from Wakefield Rotary Club. They went knocking on doors just before Christmas, collecting for Rotary-supported charities, raising just over £1,160.  Lots of children were allowed to stay up late to meet Santa, whose sleigh this year was an open-topped white VW convertible, festooned with lights and driven by its bowler-hatted owner, SCA member Neil Brook. Santa and his Snowmen spent one evening on the Mountbatten estate and another on Birdland and Pledwick (pictured), with a third night at Pinders Heath.

Emily scoops Young Chef award for second time

FOR THE second year in succession junior cook 14-year-old Emily Orr, from Sandal, took the honours when she won Wakefield Rotary Club’s Young Chef competition. She now goes on to take part in the district competition at Harrogate in February, hoping to improve on her third place position in the contest earlier this year. This year's Wakefield competition, organised jointly on November 19 with the Rotary Club of Osgoldcross and Elmet, took place at Wakefield College and was judged by professional chef and lecturer Trevor Marshall and Canon Roger Cressey, once chaplain at Pinderfields Hospital but also well known for his TV cookery series on BBC1 and his recipe book Pinder’s Pie. Mr Marshall congratulated all the parents and teachers who had turned out to support the contestants. He said: “The youngsters all worked really hard and I would happily have paid for any of their food in a restaurant. They did immensely well under pressure and any of them could go on to have careers in catering, should they choose that path.” Stuart Livesey, president of Wakefield Rotary Club: “It’s been a brilliant competition – our best yet. Our thanks go to the college for allowing us the use of their kitchen facilities, which provided a professional environment for the contestants, and to the competition organiser Susan Muscroft, who chairs our club’s youth committee.” Emily is a student at Wakefield Girls High School, as was fellow contestant Fiona Bottomley. Others who took part were Jessica Sharp (Crofton Academy), Harry Gunning and Ella Liefieth (Ossett Academy), Morgan House (Rodillian Academy), Alfie Kennedy, Alica Southgate and Amaris Parmer (all from De Lacy Academy, Knottingley). Every contestant, each of whom had to prepare a two-course meal of their choice, received a certificate for taking part.  PICTURE: The pressure is on... Emily awaits the comments of judges Canon Roger Cressey (left) and Trevor Marshall. To view the Wakefield Express coverage of Emily's success, click HERE

Golf Club sundial memorial now bears names of fallen

A  BUGLER sounded the Last Post at Wakefield Golf Club on November 11 when there was a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and the club members who gave their lives between 1914 and 1918.

It took place 11am when club captain Jeremy Richards laid a wreath (pictured) at the club's sundial war memorial on the practice putting green. The Last Post was sounded by club member John Whiston, a former bandsman in the Grenadier Guards. It was a special event because for the first time the memorial bears the names of the fallen. These have been researched by Sandal Community Association committee member Richard Taylor who was given access to contemporary club records, including minute books and members' registers. The results of the research can be accessed on the War Dead page on our website. The names have now been engraved on the sundial's pedestal, the cost of the work being covered by donations from members.
Richard said: "To mark the centenary of the outbreak of war in 1914, the SCA has regularly been been updating and adding to the information to the War Dead pages on its website. We are very grateful that, with all the help we've received from the club, we've been able to honour members who died as a result of the war. It gives us great satisfaction that those names are now recorded in a permanent form."

Bishop dedicates Sandal's Tree of Life Memorial Garden

WHAT was once an untidy patch of brambles in a corner of St Helen’s churchyard was dedicated on Sunday, October 26, by the Area Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Rev Tony Robinson, after its transformation into a Tree of Life Memorial Garden. An idea that began in the inventive mind of the vicar, the Rev Rupert Martin, became an artistic reality in the hands of Huddersfield architect, Liz Ashmore, and Doncaster sculptor, Dan Fraser Jones, with help from furniture designer Richard Williams and Tecni-build building contractors. To learn more about the design of the garden, go to Sandal Magna Parish. The dedication followed a service in the church and included the laying of a plaque in memory of war veteran Major Alan Marsden who bequeathed about a third of the cost of the garden. The major, who served in the Royal Tank Regiment, was a keen helper in The Spring community shop and café, where he was quick to volunteer for any task, no matter how menial. Any Sandal, Walton, Newmillerdam or Portobello resident is entitled to have their ashes interred in the garden. Each plot will be marked by a plaque in the shape of a leaf which can be engraved with two names. After the dedication Mr Martin said: “It has been a joy to see so many people of all ages from the parish here today.” He emphasised that it was not just a memorial garden; it was also a place for quiet reflection at any time. There has been recent vandalism at the churchyard so the garden will be monitored and recorded round-the-clock by a CCTV camera linked to the system operated next door by the Guy Salmon garage.

TOP: St Helen's vicar, the Rev Rupert Martin (left), Bishop Tony Robinson and the congregation at the dedication.  RIGHT: Catherine Moxon, co-ordinator at The Spring community cafe and shop, follows Bishop Tony to the point where the leaf-shaped plaque to Major Alan Marsden was to be placed. It is being carried by Clive Moxham

Norman, 90, watches Sandal club bowlers do battle for his cup

DELAYED for a week because of bad weather, the competition for the Norman Thresh Cup was played out at Sandal Bowling Club in August, watched by bowling veteran Norman himself. Norman, who celebrated his 90th birthday in July, first awarded the cup in 1984 and it has been competed for each year ever since.
A broken hip and a replacement knee have meant that Norman, who currently walks with the help of two sticks, has not played bowls for about four years but he still hopes to get back to the game. He has been a member of the Sandal club for 67 years, maintaining a strong family link. His father, the late Harold Thresh, was once club treasurer. Norman’s wife Marjorie, who will be 90 later this year, was the club’s best lady bowler in her time, as was their daughter, Susanne. She is now married and lives in the Birmingham area where she is a county player. Norman was born in Ossett but went to school at Sandal Endowed, later becoming a civilian clerk with what was then West Riding Police. During the Second World War he spent four years as a Royal Navy telegraphist, seeing action in gunboats and motor torpedo boats. He was in the Baltic when he was demobbed in 1947, after which he returned to his previous work, eventually retiring from West Yorkshire Police at the age of 60.

PICTURED: Norman with Marjorie and the cup. (Sadly, Marjorie died in January 2015)

Sandal's community shop and cafe shortlisted for awards - twice

THE crucifix above the entrance porch at The Spring Community Shop and Café is a compelling reminder that this popular Barnsley Road venture is rooted firmly in the work of St Helen’s parish.

Set up 17 years ago in what was then the church hall, the undertaking has gone from strength to strength and has been shortlisted for local awards twice this year. The first of these was in the Volunteer Team of the Year category in the Wakefield Express Retail Awards in May, followed by a similar nomination in the Community Enterprise category in the newspaper’s recent Wakefield Business Awards. Catherine Moxham, The Spring’s full-time co-ordinator for almost five years, said: “As a community resource we offer something for everyone, including a safe play area for children when their mums come to see us. “Everything in the shop is priced very fairly because we want to have a swift turnover. Sandal is very much an area of two halves. We get plenty of good quality donations and these help to meet a need – and the café and shop co-exist very well.” She added that they have no fewer than 67 volunteers, including youngsters working for their Duke of Edinburgh Awards, six adults with learning difficulties, work experience placements for local schools and others currently with The Prince’s Trust youth charity. If you would like to volunteer, call Catherine at The Spring on 01924 242593 or email her at thespring299@btinternet.com. The Spring’s team comprises three café and kitchen staff – Sue Holleran, Jackie Gabriel and Jean Watts – with Joan Witts as shop manager, assisted by Margaret Wilson. There are two fashion shows each year to raise funds for Christians Against Poverty, a national charity working across the UK to lift people out of poverty and debt. The premises can also be hired for community use and this currently includes a yoga group meeting on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and Slimming World on Tuesdays. The Spring has its own page on the parish website but you can also keep up to date by following it on Facebook.

TOP: The shop with some of the cafe seating in the foreground.  RIGHT: The Spring's full-time co-ordinator, Catherine Moxham, obviously enjoys her work!  LEFT: Ann Carrington, seen here tidying a clothes rail, is one of 67 volunteers at The Spring

Sandal couple launch appeal to help Kenyan school

AFTER pouring thousands of pounds of their own money into a community school in their home country of Kenya, Sandal couple Chris and Madhu Patel (below, left) have now launched a fundraising appeal to help develop the school. Since April they have received £1,400 in donations, mostly from the Wakefield area.

Over the past ten years the Patels, now in their late 60s, have given much needed funds and moral support to the Kabiro Community Primary and Secondary School in the slums of Nairobi. Madhu said that on one of her return visits to Kenya to see family and friends, she came across the Karibo school and found she immediately bonded with the children who showed a tremendous hunger for education. SCA members Madhu and Chris were both born in Nairobi but came to Yorkshire as British citizens in 1968 after Kenya was granted independence. They married here and have two children, a son and a daughter. Chris was a factory worker before opening the first Asian newsagent’s shop in Leeds. He later went back to factory work and after joining Dunlop Slazenger he rose to become operations director for Puma sportswear, based in Batley. Chris, who speaks five languages, retired in 2005 and from his home in Normans Way, Sandal, now devotes his time to supporting the Kabiro school, where there are 590 disadvantaged children. Some of them are shown in our photos, including a group saying 'thank you' for a donation from Sandal. “There are hopeless cases that we want to become hopeful,” said Chris, “For example, there are 50 orphans whose parents died of HIV and who have no other home so they live at the school. What we want to do is provide them with proper dormitories.” If you can help or would like more information, call Chris or Madhu on 01924 253337 or email madhu.patel@talktalk.net. The two of them have travelled much of the world, but Chris said: “There’s still nothing more beautiful than Yorkshire. People don’t believe me when I say that, but it’s true.”

Dictionary gifts for Sandal school leavers

STUDENTS leaving Sandal Magna Community Academy in July to go to secondary schools were presented with dictionaries by the president of Wakefield Rotary Club, Stuart Livesey. This is part of the club’s continuing programme to provide dictionaries to Year 6 pupils at some of the district’s junior schools. The 26 Sandal Magna students who received dictionaries at this morning’s end-of-term assembly will be moving to either St Thomas a Becket Secondary School in Sandal or to Kettlethorpe High School, where Stuart is a governor. Also in the picture is Roland Mold, from Attlee Crescent, Sandal, who has been a volunteer at the school for 11 years, first as part of a reading project but in more recent years as tutor of the school’s chess team. He was presented with a thank-you gift at the assembly by headteacher Louise Sennett.

Sea of colour at schools’ ‘symbolic’ carnival

MORE than 600 children created a sea of carnival colour in July as two schools celebrated their amalgamation with what must surely have been the biggest such event Sandal has ever seen. For headteacher Nichola Russell it was ‘an emotional journey’.

A joyous parade involving youngsters from both schools – complete with flags, whistles, costumes, masks and headdresses – wound its way from Castle Grove school, down Pinfold Lane and along Barnsley Road to Sandal Endowed, cheered on by crowds lining the way. Among them was Coun Monica Graham, who had just one word to describe the event: ‘Fantastic!’ Parents and friends who followed the procession to Sandal Endowed – where there was a fete and party with live music – were able to get a close look at the building work that is underway in preparation for the influx of infants from Castle Grove who will be making the switch by April of next year. The combined school will then be known as Sandal Castle Primary School. Mrs Russell said: "The carnival was all we anticipated and more! A very emotional journey from Castle Grove to Sandal Endowed as the initial plan from 2010 of bringing the two school communities together was there before our eyes. As I sat at the front of the parade, I looked back to see a sea of colour – 600 children, staff, parents, carers, governors, community members, councillors, all celebrating together in this fantastic, symbolic event." The vicar of St Helen’s, the Rev Rupert Martin, who was among those enjoying the carnival, said: ‘This is a wonderful sign of things to come. The unity of the new school is being expressed in colour and creativity.”

You'll find another picture on our Community Events page and there's a colourful album on Facebook


Tour de France crowds cheer Neal and Nigel

IF YOU THINK these two professional-looking cyclists were riding in the Tour de France, you might not be the only person who’s made that mistake! SCA member Neal Spencer (left) and his brother-in-law Nigel Watson mounted up and made their way from Sandal to Leeds on Saturday, July 5, to see the race. As the contestants set off for Harrogate, Neal and Nigel fell in behind the convoy and found themselves being cheered on by the eager crowds. Neal even managed to video the experience on his iPhone. “It was an absolutely amazing moment. The crowds were so good humoured. I don’t suppose the adults really thought we were in the race but they certainly gave us plenty of encouragement, cheering and waving us on,” he said. To add to the excitement Nigel, who now lives in the Isle of Man and was sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with the island’s name, was interviewed by BBC Radio York whose reporter questioned him closely about IoM cycling superstar Mark Cavendish, who was later to crash out of the race so spectacularly. Nigel and Neal became separated in all the hub-hub but managed to find one another in the crowds at Harrogate. “That was a miracle in itself because there were such huge numbers of people,” said Neal. And as if they hadn’t had enough on Saturday, he and Nigel left Sandal early on the Sunday and headed to Holmfirth to see the second day of the Yorkshire section of the Tour. Neal, who lives on Mountbatten Avenue, is managing director of a Wakefield-based company specialising in foam-related products while Nigel, who was brought up in Sandal and was spending the weekend with Neal, is a former QEGS head boy and is now a consultant in the yachting and aviation industries. Despite the fact both of them are in their mid-50s, last November they cycled most of the Tour de France route in Yorkshire. How’s that for dedication!

'Super' Sunday for Le Tour volunteers Liz and Mary!

WITH an estimated 2.5million people lining the route of the Tour de France during Le Grand Depart in Yorkshire, helpful and knowledgeable volunteers were essential to make the day run smoothly for spectators.

Two Sandal volunteers were among the thousands who stepped forward to don the blue tops that marked them out as Tour Makers for what is one of the highest-profile sporting events in the world. Liz Hampton and Mary Nash – both seasoned volunteers – helped make the Yorkshire sections of the race the great success that everyone expected. Within hours of arriving home, Liz said: "It was a wonderful event and so good for the spirit of all those who joined in.” Wakefield’s Sir Rodney Walker is chairman of the company that organised the three stages of the tour in this country and he recently paid tribute to the Tour Makers during a speech he gave in Sandal. He had a budget of £10million for the Grand Depart in Yorkshire, although the total cost of the Tour in the UK was £27million. He said: “We’ll showcase Yorkshire to a world-wide audience in a way it’s never been showcased before.” Liz and Mary were delighted to be part of that, both fulfilling similar roles at Huddersfield. They happened to sit next to each other at a training day and once they realised they lived so close to one another, they decided to share lifts. Mary, who lives in Bromley Mount, was a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympics while Liz is a regular helper at Wakefield Theatre Royal, work which she loves. Liz, of Princess Street, said: “I tried to volunteer for the Olympics but couldn’t find my way around the website. This time I managed it with the help of a friend.” Mary added: “I work in the Arts and rely heavily on volunteer support so I know how hard it is to run events without enough staff. I took part in the Leeds half-marathon a few weeks ago and I think it would've been a very different experience without the volunteer support on the day.” Liz and Mary worked as Wayfinders on the Huddersfield section of the tour between the M62 and Holmfirth on Sunday, July 6, helping visitors find the route and answering any questions they might have. Mary was based at Huddersfield bus station with another Tour Maker, directing people to either the route or St George’s Square, where there was a huge TV screen. She said: “As luck would have it, the Mayor's reception for Kirklees VIPs was on the roof of the bus station, so we managed to get invited upstairs in time to see the Peloton go past. We saw local cheerleaders perform for the guests and as a reward for all our hard work, we were given a glass of bubbly to enjoy!  I had a brilliant day, made a new friend, who was also from Wakefield, and I'm proud to have been a Yorkshire Tour Maker.  I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home, but it was totally worth it.” And Liz was no less enthusiastic: “We all had a super day. We were in St George’s Square, directing spectators to the cycle route which was on the ring road. A number of them had been in either Harrogate or Leeds, or both, the day before and not seen a bike! They wanted me to guarantee at least a sighting of one. Everybody was wonderful, just out to enjoy the day.” She added: “It had occurred to me earlier that I was ‘off route’ I might never see a bike, so I asked my friend in Grassington if I could stay with her over Friday night, because her road was closed from midnight. I watched the bikes coming through Threshfield and then got back to Wakefield after the roads opened at 5pm.” The Tour de France was something of a cliffhanger for Mary who broke her knee recently while she was on holiday in Croatia. She said: “I was originally told I'd be in a splint for at least six weeks and I was worried I wouldn't be able to take part, but it healed more quickly than anticipated and I'm back on my feet - if a little unsteady!” So what cycling experience do these two have? Retired teacher Liz said: “I cycled all over the area as a child, but got on a bike for the first time in 50 years on Mull this May. Surprisingly I could still manage it and thoroughly enjoyed it.” Mary is a cyclist, too, but she’s had some mixed experiences lately. She explained: “I have a bike but only cycle for fun. It was stolen from my garden last year and I actually got it back when I saw someone riding it down Barnsley Road! It was a gift from my late father so I was over the moon to get it back.”

PHOTO: Liz (left) and Mary with the bike that was stolen.

Monica is Conservative group's first woman leader

WELSH-BORN Councillor Monica Graham, founder of Sandal Community Association, has become the first woman leader of the Conservative group on Wakefield Council. She succeeds Geoff Walsh, of Pontefract, who lost his place on the council in the May elections when the Tory group was reduced from eleven to six. At one time there were 21 councillors in the group.

Monica, a former dental nurse, said: “It’s going to be an interesting year. I’ll support the group in every way I can and work towards increasing the number of Conservative councillors next year.” Politics apart, Monica works hard for the Wakefield South Ward. She remains on the committee of the SCA, which she launched in 2005, and she is chair and founder of Kettlethorpe Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, the Friends of Kettlethorpe Lake and Woodlands, and Kettlethorpe Guardians Boxing Club. She also chairs Agbrigg and Belle Vue Community Centre management committee. One of her more recent projects has been to set up the Standbridge Lane Community Centre, where she sits on the development trust. She is also a governor at Sandal Magna Primary School. She was president of Wakefield Sea Cadets from 2007 until last year when she became their vice-chairman. Monica has been a trustee of Wakefield Citizens’ Advice Bureau since 2007 and she is a member of the Friends of Sandal Castle, Friends of Newmillerdam and Belle Vue Community Association. She sits on various Wakefield Council committees and is a former member of West Yorkshire Transport Committee. In 2005 she was responsible for organising Sandal’s first Christmas tree. The switch-on of its lights and the family social that follows it at Sandal Endowed School have now become an established part of the local festivities.

Sandal Boot Camp is really working out!

A YEAR AGO a Sandal woman with a “passion” for fitness and health set up a group for local people who wanted to get fit. Now Sandal Boot Camp has a strong following with regular sessions at Sandal Endowed School and at the castle. Nicky Steel, 37, who lived in Stillwell Drive for 30 years until she moved to Durkar recently,  launched Sandal Boot Camp in June last year. She said: “My passion led me to qualify as a personal trainer and boot camp instructor and I’m loving my new career. I decided to set up Sandal Boot Camp so I could work locally and offer fun group exercise sessions to help bring people together and start leading healthier, more active lifestyles.” She says the Boot Camp is great for people who prefer not to train in a gym or commit to pay gym membership, but still receive the benefits of good quality training: “It definitely makes you sweat, get fitter and burns lots of calories, too.” As a youngster, Nicky represented the city with Wakefield Swimming Club and nowadays she’s a very keen runner with Wakefield District Harriers.  She takes part in 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon events. Her evening indoor Boot Camp at Sandal Endowed School follows a circuit-style routine with equipment while the weekend outdoor sessions at Sandal Castle are equipment-free but involve lots of cardiovascular exercise and body weight training. The first Boot Camp session is free for each newcomer to allow them try it out. After that, they can come as and when they please without having to pay a monthly subscription. For more details of timings and costs, call Nicky on 07950 303710 or email her at Nicola.steel@gmail.com.


Land at rear of Aldi’s may become retail development

SANDAL residents’ curiosity has been aroused following the installation of expensive-looking metal gates on land behind Aldi’s store, near the recycling bins at Asdas. Ward councillors have received so many enquiries they have asked the planning department what is happening. This is what they have been told by planning officer Martyn Clay: “We are currently preparing the Retail and Town Centre Local Plan and have received a representation requesting that the existing development at Standbridge Lane (Asda, Aldi etc) be designated a district centre. It is also suggested that the site you refer to, and a triangle of land at the other side of Asda, be taken out of the green belt and included as part of the district centre to ‘assist in ensuring the long term viability of the area’.
“This means they would seek to achieve further retail/commercial development on these two pieces of land, which would require planning permission. This option will be considered as part of preparing the Retail and Town Centre Local Plan and will be subject to consultation later this year, including reporting to the LDF Sounding Board.” Bold red signs on tall posts say the area behind Aldi’s is private land with no public right of way but this has not prevented the creation of a well-worn footpath to Milnthorpe.

Police band performs in Sunday sunshine

JULY'S Sunday concert at the castle, organised by the Friends, attracted a good crowd who listened to an enjoyable performance by West Yorkshire Police Band, mostly in sunshine with a backdrop of scudding, fleecy clouds. The event was free but Friends took a collection among the visitors who gave generously to the police band's funds. The band has entertained the public for over a century in one guise or another. Its origins lie with Bradford City Police Band which was formed in 1899.

Friends' English Civil War heritage weekend goes with a big bang!

THINGS went with a real bang when the Friends of Sandal Castle organised a troop of re-enactors from Sir Thomas Lunsford's Regiment of Foote, part of the English Civil War Society, to give demonstrations at the castle. It was all part of the national Heritage Open Days weekend on September 13-14. The re-enactors, who were only too happy to answer questions about life in the 17th century, set up a tented military camp, complete with kitchen. However, the highlight came when, obscured by smoke, they gave an inevitably noisy demonstration of Civil War cannon. And didn't that set the dogs barking! There was also a lot more smoke when the musketeers showed their mettle, too.  To learn more about the Regiment of Foote, click here

Leeds Waits add a medieval musical touch

THE FRIENDS of Sandal Castle organised another of their free events in December when Leeds Waits visited to play period music and explain their 16th century instruments, including a hurdy-gurdy. It proved to be a fascinating day which provided an opportunity for some carol singing and other participation by the audience in the visitor centre. The Leeds Waits normally perform music from 1550 to 1700, but can go a century further back or forward, with appropriate music, instruments and costumes. The group was re-established by Alan Radford in 1983, receiving official recognition by Leeds City Council a few years later. The original Leeds Waits existed from at least as early as 1530-31 until they were disbanded in 1835. To learn more go to their website >>>>

Castle activities mark Battle of Wakefield anniversary

THERE was a fun day at Sandal Castle in December when the  Friends of Sandal Castle commemorated the 554th anniversary of the Battle of Wakefield with a series of activities at the historic site.  The event began with a well attended lecture by historian Helen Fox who talked about Richard Duke of York and the Battle of Wakefield. Although Helen was unwell, she refused to let people down for the lecture but she had to abandon her planned guided tour of the castle. The battle, a significant point in England's history, was fought on 30 December 1460 during the Wars of the Roses. It is believed that the Duke of York was killed on that day and his monument stands on Manygates Lane. The programme included a parade from the castle to the monument, involving The Frei Compagnie, a Wars of the Roses re-enactment group, who laid a floral tribute at the monument and led a minute's silence in memory of those who fell in the battle.. The parade was followed by a fascinating 'show and tell' session at the castle visitor centre, including a demonstration of armour and weapons. It was a great day for the children who were able to join a medieval 'army' and take part in a charge.

Group backs campaign for dementia nurse

MEMBERS' work was on display in October during a Wakefield Cathedral concert in aid of the campaign to get the city its first Admiral Nurse. The event was a resounding success with the conductor of the world-famous Brighouse and Rastrick Band, Professor David King, asking for the opportunity to play again in ‘these wonderful surroundings’. Also on the bill at the concert organised by the Rotary Club of Wakefield were the boys and girls of the award-winning Lindley Junior School Choir, Huddersfield, whose ranks included Betty, the granddaughter of SCA members Ann and Marshall Chamberlain. Art Group leader Edwin Hirst said: “We were delighted in be involved in such a wonderful concert and to support the campaign to get Wakefield its first Admiral Nurse.” Edwin was able to present a cheque for £100 to the Rotary club, a proportion of the sale of members’ paintings and cards on the night. Admiral Nurses are mental health nurses specialising in the support of carers of people suffering from dementia. Rotarian Sheila Wainwright, principal organiser of the concert, said: "I'm very grateful to the Art Group for their involvement because it added an extra dimension to the evening when people could see and buy quality work by local artists.”

TOP: Group members at the concert – husband and wife team Roger and Margery Brown and Eve Boyd.

LEFT: Edwin Hirst presents the £100 cheque to Sheila Wainwright at a Wakefield Rotary Club meeting, watched by Roger Brown, whose Sandal Skyscape you can see at the top of our Community web page. It is also the cover photo for our Facebook page.

Some special thanks at Christmastime

ART GROUP members, family and friends enjoyed their 2014 Christmas lunch at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club when the fun ranged from pass the parcel to quizzes and a Generation Game type memory test - including the cuddly toy. There were special presentations which included gifts for Kath Grice, the wife of the former club steward, for her help with the lunch and past events, and Muriel Gisby (pictured) who brings scones to every group meeting. A raffle for an original painting by David Newbould was won by member Audrey Artist. David had painted the rural scene during a demonstration he gave to the group - a meeting that Audrey missed!

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