January-June 2015

Freya hands over pyjama walk cheque

THIS giant cheque for just over £1,740 was presented to children's cancer charity Candlelighters in June by little Freya Brook after she organised a pyjama walk round Newmillerdam. Freya's best friend at Hendal Primary School - Ella Rigg, from Woolgreaves - has Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer. Ella’s mum Jane told us: “Freya has visited Ella on the ward at LGI and has seen the work that Candlelighters do to make children with cancer smile. She wanted to raise funds for them after seeing that.”

Pictured with the girls at LGI are Chloe (left) and Stephanie, from Candlelighters


Art Group changed my life, says Lyn, 90

DUTCH-BORN Sandal Art Group member Lyn Anson was given a 90th birthday lunch by the group, an organisation which, she said, had changed her life. The group's leader, Edwin Hirst, said at the party at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club in January: "Being a teenager during the war she saw bombs dropping and the devastation of the city of Rottterdam where she lived, Holland had surrendered to the Germans and been occupied by them. "How dreadful that must have been. Even if they sent a letter, on the front of the envelope they had to write 'Heil Hitler'. But then Lyn married an artist and lived the exotic life of the artist community in Rotterdam. She started oil paintings to which her husband put the finishing touches and no doubt he signed as his own! "Lyn’s husband was invited to exhibit paintings in Australia and they went there, eventually setting up an art gallery and tea rooms in Alice Springs.However, her husband left her and her daughter in the outback of Australia, But Lyn met and married an Englishman who was a gardener working in Australia. On his retirement they came back to England but her daughter is still over in Australia. "We can imagine what it must have been like for Lyn before she joined the Sandal Art Group. Her first husband had left her, her second husband had died, daughter living so far away... then ending up living on her own in a bungalow... Lyn, you will never be lonely again. Your friends are here."  Among those at the lunch was another Rotterdam-born friend, Crijnie Butterfield, who lives in Sandal Cliff. She is a volunteer at The Spring Community Shop and Cafe where Art Group member Jane Driver met her. Jane, who was assistant manager at The Spring at the time, said: "When Lyn joined the painting group about a year ago she didn't have any family or Dutch friends in England so I introduced them and they have become firm friends."

Kids' triathlon raises cash for 'quake victims

TWO Sandal youngsters completed a tough 13.5k triathlon in May, making more than £4,000 for victims of the earthquakes in Nepal. The money raised by Abigail Brook (aged 8), from Stillwell Grove, and Jacob Story (7), from Pledwick Lane, was sent direct to Abigail’s Nepalese friends. On the youngsters' fundraising web page one could see almost daily updates of how the money was being used to buy and distribute supplies to some of the most needy and remote communities. Abigail dubbed their effort the 'Jam Jam Triathlon' following a holiday of a lifetime in Nepal. She explained: " 'Jam Jam' is what our Nepalese tour guide Krishna said to us all the time - meaning 'Let's Go!'" Money could be donated online or through the office at Sandal Castle Primary School, where both Abigail and Jacob are pupils. Mum Samantha Brook, an SCA member, said: "I posted a video where Krishna thanks Abigail for the supplies. She was thrilled - her little face lit up with pride. The one comment I’ve had from people is how nice it is to see the money being spent - it's not just gone into an aid warehouse somewhere, it's not blocked at the airport. It's being used to buy items from local businesses who still need an income and using those purchases to help those who have nothing."

Our picture shows Wakefield Rotary Club's international service committee chairman Michael Townsend (another SCA member) presenting the youngsters with a cheque for £100 from Rotarians as the two were about to begin their triathlon swim at Royston pool. They then cycled to Pugneys, completing the triathlon with a run around the lake.

Ironman Tom in training for tough fundraising challenge

‘IRONMAN’ Tom Smith, 28, tackled an immensely tough triathlon in June in a fundraising effort for the Batten Disease Family Association (BDFA) and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. Tom, the son of SCA members Dave and Anne Smith, swam 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles (including a 5,000ft ascent) and then ran a whole marathon, all against the backdrop of the Cote d’Azur around Nice in Southern France. He during his Ironman Challenge: “The training is gruelling and taking up all my time but it is all to make a big difference for two awesome charities in terms of funding and exposure.” He will be supported in France by mum and dad and sister Victoria. A keen player for Wakefield Hockey Club, he became aware of the devastating neurodegenerative Batten Disease when Amy, the daughter of his coaches Norman and Pam Hughes, was diagnosed with the disease. Her early years were normal until about the age of 24 when the reason for some growing problems became evident. She is now 35 years old, totally blind and suffers seizures. He said: “Over the years Pam and Norman have coached, encouraged and mentored hundreds of young people to play sport and to grow and develop into mature adults. The Hughes always present as happy, smiley people and know everyone’s names and always unselfishly provide support and encouragement.”

Le Tour makes it a great day for Sandal!

THE Tour de Yorkshire in Sandal was everything that everyone had hoped it would be – a great day for whole families. Bunting was flying and the church bells ringing on Sunday May 3 when Sandal was thronged with what were surely the biggest crowds it had ever seen on a single day – just look at the photo in our home page slideshow.  Barnsley Road marked the official start of the final stage of the three-day Tour de Yorkshire cycle race after a ceremonial send-off in the city centre. Individuals, businesses, schools and local groups decorated the route with bunting and painted bikes, some ridden by fun figures such as a giraffe and a teddy bear. Sandal Community Association decorated three bikes, one ridden by a scarecrow to promote September’s Sandal Scarecrow Festival, and SCA members helped with the ‘yarn-bombing’, putting up crocheted bunting and knitted scarves, some of which were created by Sandal Textiles Group. Sandal Gardening Club members were out in force the day before the race, putting up painted bikes and cycle wheels, decorated with ribbons, balloons and bunting in the blue and yellow colours of Le Tour. The Vicar of Sandal, the Rev Rupert Martin, posted on the church’s Facebook page: “A fun time was had by all as the tour swept by. Instead of services, we provided a service of refreshment to passers-by… The bell-ringers rang the cyclists through and provided a wonderful sound score to accompany the visual spectacle. A great community event, which we were thrilled to be a part of.” Described by Sandal Cricket Club president Richard Shackleton as “marvellous for Sandal", the club made the most of the day, organising a full programme of events at its ground, including craft fair, food, brass band and much else. The club later posted on Facebook: “The result, thanks to the selfless efforts of so many, was a runaway success.” Wakefield Council organised a series of cycle-related activities in Castle Grove Park, where there were other entertainments for the family, including a huge screen on which to watch the progress of the race. SCA member Liz Hampton, an official Tour Maker for the Tour de France 2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ, volunteered for a similar job during the Tour de Yorkshire. She said: "Last year was great fun and I met some wonderful people, everyone was so friendly." Liz worked on Stage 2 which finished in York and Stage 3 which started on Barnsley Road, close to her home in Princess Street.

Top photo courtesy Rupert Martin. For albums of photos of the day, click HERE and HERE.  To see photos of some of the street decorations, click HERE  Photos of Gardening Club members brightening up Sandal are HERE

Neal and Nigel earn Tour de Yorkshire medals

AN ELATED SCA member and company director 55-year-old Neal Spencer, from Mountbatten Avenue, joined the thousands who took part in the Tour de Yorkshire Sportive for amateur riders held in West Yorkshire the same day as Stage 3 of the main event. With him was his brother-in-law Nigel Watson, another enthusiastic cyclist, who made a special trip from his home in the Isle of Man. Nigel was brought up in Sandal and is a former QEGS head boy. The two of them are pictured here, proudly wearing the medals they earned for taking part. Neal (on the left) had good cause to be especially proud - he came first in his age group.There were three distances over which participants could ride the same route as the professionals. Riders choose from 50km, 108km or 140km routes. Neal and Nigel elected to take part in the 50km event and they had the thrill of crossing the same finish line as the pros. Neal said: "It was great fun despite the weather - a really good atmosphere with the crowds cheering us on. Nigel and I are definitely doing it again next year but this time we'll go for the longer route."The Sportive was sponsored by Italian luxury car maker Maserati, a hundred of whose management, staff and customers joined those tackling the amateur event. The ride, which started and finished at Roundhay Park, Leeds, shared parts of last year’s Grand Depart route.

Joyce Swann annual memorial event raises £500

SANDAL Methodist Church hall was filled to bursting point in February for the annual Joyce Swann Memorial Coffee Morning which raised almost £500 for the hospice. The event was organised by the Sandal fundraising group, whose leader, Denise Armstrong said: "Joyce was a nurse who was determined that Wakefield should have a hospice and along with other nurses got the ball rolling. "She was a lady who lived in Sandal most of her life and attended Sandal Methodist Church. Every year since her death we have held this coffee morning in her memory."

Theo Cutts (above) was an engaging little helper when he went round selling 50p guesses at the date of the doll's birthday           MORE PHOTOS >>>

Memorial garden wins Civic Society award for 'brave' design

The Tree of Life Memorial Garden in St Helen’s churchyard won Wakefield Civic Society’s 2015 award for Best New Project. The judges welcomed it as an “unusual and brave departure for this type of endeavour”. The garden, once an untidy patch of brambles in a corner of the churchyard, was dedicated in October 2014 by the Area Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Rev Tony Robinson. The Civic Society citation read: “Propelled by the vision of the vicar, Rupert Martin, the piece consists of an original work of art by architect, Liz Ashmore, who is based in Huddersfield, and sculptor, Dan Fraser Jones, of Doncaster. The artist has sculpted the main features of the river, the fruit and leaves out of Kilkenny Blue Limestone, a wonderful stone. The seating, representing the throne of God in Heaven, is designed by Richard Williams of RW Furniture, also based in Huddersfield. Techni-build of Holmfirth were the building contractors.” The Tree of Life represents the trees of healing and the water of life. The panel felt the piece was a beautiful rendition and brought an old garden space into new use in “an inspiring and poetic way”. The judges added: “We particularly welcome the use of local talent and resources wherever possible." Mr Martin said: “ It was been a delight to work with Liz, Dan and Richard and the team of Tecni-build, to create a beautiful and practical Memorial Garden which will provide a place of peace and comfort for parishioners and all who visit for many years to come. We believed its iconic shape and artistic design would be an inspiration to many and are pleased to receive this recognition.” Angie de Courcy Bower, chair of the judging panel, commented: “I would only add that the bonded resin gravel path depicting the tree trunk, branches and roots was skilfully laid by The Yorkshire Resin Company.”

The award was collected by churchwarden Martin Porritt, flanked in the picture by architect Liz Ashmore and sculptor Dan Jones. Civic Society president Kevin Trickett is on the left with the Mayor of Wakefield, Coun Sandra Pickin.

School combines the aesthetic and the practical...

THE long-anticipated amalgamation of junior and infants classes on the Barnsley Road site of the renamed Sandal Castle Primary School has eventually took place. In the first school newsletter after the infants moved in, headteacher Nichola Russell recorded 'a big thank you to everyone for their patience and understanding. It has been a wonderful first few days and we couldn’t have wished for such a brilliant start to life in our new school.'  The Rev Rupert Martin wrote on Facebook: 'This is a cause for great celebration, thanksgiving and prayer, that God will bless all who are involved in the new school; especially headteacher Nichola Russell who has brought this superb project to fruition and managed the transition with great skill, all the teachers and staff who have worked so hard, and above all the pupils that they will continue to receive the best possible education. The photographs show the quality of the architecture, with the balance between the shapes brought out through the different materials and complementary colours of wood and plaster, the glass panelled walkway which enables each class room to have outdoor space to work in, the skilful way in which the new buildings connect to the old and relate to their environment, the spaciousness of the new classrooms and the splendour of the new hall... All in all I think the new school combines the aesthetic and the practical in a most effective way, and can begin this new season in its long and historic life with confidence."  To see Mr Martin's album of photos, click here

Yorkshire Air Ambulance gets £3,500 from handbag auction

THE Sandal Handbag Ladies handed over £3,500 to Yorkshire Air Ambulance, the result of the pre-loved handbag auction in September 2014 when 200 bags were sold. The presentation was made at the YAA facility at Nostell in February. Generous sponsors included Peter Jones China, Barclays Wakefield branch, Fujitsu, Harratts Volvo and Sandal Rugby Club, who allowed the free use of their premises. Jane McDonald donated costume jewellery that was snapped up.Madge Flint, one of the handbag ladies who organised the auction, added: "Our thanks, too, to our very own Amy Garcia who so kindly raced from presenting the local BBC news to open our event and auction off the first item." To read our report and see photos of the event, go to Community Events and scroll down the page.

Our photo shows (from left) Peter Jones, Richard Smith (manager of Barclays in Wakefield), Kim Marshall, YAA pilot Andy Hall, Lesley Bartlett, Madge Flint and Caroline Carr at the presentation.

Top Rotary honours for two ex-presidents

TWO former presidents of other Rotary clubs, now both members of the Wakefield club, were shocked when they were awarded Paul Harris Fellowships at a club meeting at the New Brookhouse Club. Roger Brown led the Barnsley club in 1990 and Geoff North was president at Heswall in the Wirral in 1996. Roger (on the left in our picture) lives in Mountbatten Avenue, Sandal, while Geoff, who now has his home in Guiseley, previously lived in Kingfisher Grove, Sandal. The Paul Harris Fellowship is the highest award any club can give for service to Rotary or to the community.Making the presentations, Wakefield president Stuart Livesey said: “Several years ago club council decided to make an award of a Paul Harris Fellowship to every club president. This has continued to the present day.”He added that Roger and Geoff had been presidents of other clubs so they had never received Paul Harris awards. It had now been decided to put this right, especially in view of the significant contributions both had made to their present club.Roger, former architect and a Rotarian for 35 years, drew the Cityscape artwork that has been used to create a corporate image for the club. It now appears on the website and is the cover image for the club’s Facebook and Twitter pages. It is also used as a masthead on the club bulletin and on letterheads and compliments slips.In the Wirral in the early 1990s, Geoff, who has just clocked up 25 years as a Rotarian, was district organiser for Rotary’s Young Inventor of the Year. He joined the Wakefield club in 2004 and is now its communications chairman. Stuart said: “He has slowly improved our bulletin to such a standard it must be one of the best in the country.”Roger, a member of the SCA and Sandal Art Group, also drew the Sandal Skyscape which is now our Facebook and Twitter cover image.

Sandal's young chef Emily in district final

EMILY ORR, the 14-year-old Wakefield Girls High School student from Sandal who won the Wakefield round of the Rotary Young Chef contest for the second successive time, was up against stiff competition when she beaten into third-equal place in the district finals.The District 1040 event was held at Betty’s Cookery School in Harrogate in February when six young contestants aged 14 to 16 met to battle it out after winning through in their local club and group competitions. They were given two hours to prepare a three-course healthy meal for two people, costing less than £15.Winner was Elisha Sykes, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Halifax, and runner-up was Rebecca Palmer, sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Scarborough and Scarborough Cavaliers. The judges were Claire Gallagher, Betty’s head of food and marketing, and Lisa Bennison, senior tutor at the cookery school. Prizes were presented by district governor Rod Walmsley.

PICTURE: Emily with Rotary district governor Rod Walmsley.  Photo courtesy Brian Souter

Sports club housing plan – SCA puts questions to Council’s cabinet

THE SCA's committee was disappointed to learn that Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles had decided that Wakefield Council should be left to determine the controversial plan for housing on West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club’s site off Walton Lane.  The council’s planning committee gave the go-ahead in December 2014 to an application by Persimmon Homes to build 171 new homes, including 78 four-bedroom and 57 three-bedroom houses, on the site on Sandal Hall Close. The file was sent to Mr Pickles to see if he believed there were any issues that he should consider. The disappointing news of his decision came from one of his National Planning Casework Unit officers as we were finalising a further letter to Mr Pickles, setting out the SCA’s case. This letter was nevertheless sent.  In it we said:  “SCA appreciate there is a need for local authorities to provide a range of suitable new sites for housing development. In this particular case we believe that there are many other more suitable housing sites available.  Also we consider the Council, as owners of the sports club site, and the developers have shown a lack of regard and sympathy for the objections and concerns of the local community regarding the damaging impact of these proposals.”  Read the SCA's letter to Mr Pickles. For information about the way the debate went in 2014, go to our News Archive

Aqua Babes' Christmas CD raises more than £5,600 for hospice

THE Aqua Babes put a smile on the face of Helen Knowles, Director of Fundraising and Retail Operations at Wakefield Hospice.Their festive CD, together with some donations, made £5,650 for the hospice, which was handed over in the New Year to Helen at the Oasis Health Club on Doncaster Road where the Babes are members of the Aqua Aerobics classes. Twelve of them joined with local singer and song-writer Paul Whitfield to form a group, with Paul writing a catchy Christmas song 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 included a karaoke version. It was sold for £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. 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.

SCA volunteers in spring litter blitz on Sandal

A TEAM of SCA litter-pickers collected more than 40 bags of rubbish in a spring clean-up around Sandal in March, blitzing  a number of different locations. The volunteers met at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club and some of them are pictured here before setting off wearing yellow hi-vis tabards. Others joined in later. The litter-pick was organised by SCA committee member Roger Holmes (on the extreme left of our main picture) who borrowed equipment from Wakefield Council's Street Scene department. As well as the litter picks, this included plastic sacks and protective gloves. Roger said: "We collected more than 40 bags of rubbish so I'm delighted at what we've managed to do after just one morning's work. We cleaned up all the sites identified by SCA members and our thanks go to all the volunteers who joined in. Our haul even included a BMW bumper in the car park opposite Sandal Library!"
We were encouraged by the way residents took to Facebook, Twitter and StreetLife to thank the volunteers. We are planning more litter-picks so if you have any suggestions for clean-up sites in Sandal, please contact Roger on 01924 240589 or email rs.holmes@btinternet.

Our seat in the circle...

IF YOU visit the Theatre Royal Wakefield and happen to be allocated seat C11 in the dress circle, make sure you look under the squab because there you’ll find a small plaque bearing Sandal Community Association’s name, marking it as the seat we have sponsored for £120. The sponsorship by ourselves and many other individuals and groups was celebrated on March 23 with the unveiling of the first batch of named seats and an ‘On Stage with John Godber' party. The event was part of the celebrations of the theatre’s 120th anniversary. SCA chairman Les Goddard and committee member Richard Taylor were among those who met playwright John and heard him emphasise how important the Theatre Royal was to the local community. He was thanked by executive director Murray Edwards, who also expressed appreciation for the way in which so many people continued to support the theatre. Its success was recognised last month by Wakefield District Council through a £100,000 Raising Aspirations award and a £10,000 Culture Cures award. Our main picture shows chairman Les with John Godber (left) and Murray Edwards. In the second picture his hand rests on the seat sponsored by the SCA.

SANDAL LIBRARY, once threatened with closure, re-opened on Monday, March 16, after a three-month refurbishment that saw it redesigned as the district's first dementia-friendly library, developed in partnership with Wakefield Council's health Improvement team and the Alzheimer's Society.  A mobile library (pictured), stationed in the car park opposite the existing library, was offering a limited service during the renovation - until it had to be withdrawn after it was badly damaged during a break-in.

THERE was plenty of excitement when the Friends of Sandal Castle organised their first Easter Funday with egg painting and rolling for the young folk, some of whom were ready with their bonnets at the Easter Sunday event. Friends' vice-chair Sue Riley is pictured supervising some enthusiastic egg rolling into the moat while on the right two-year-old Beth Telford gets some egg-painting encouragement from mum Christine. Friends secretary Janine Heseltine said: "The egg decorating was so popular we ran out of boiled eggs! We hope this will become a regular event - even if we can't guarantee such beautiful weather every year."          > > > > For an album of photographs from this happy event, click HERE < < < <

Easter bunny fun at country park exhibition

THERE were huge crowds and plenty of traffic jams on Easter Monday as visitors thronged in their hundreds to Anglers Country Park, which created a steady flow of young Easter bunny painters at the first day of the Art Group's exhibition at the visitor centre. The group set children a challenge to coincide with the exhibition – paint an Easter rabbit for a chance to win a prize. Several group members painted their own rabbits and these were also on display at the exhibition which ran for a week. Anyone of any age was invited to paint a picture; paper, paint and brushes were provided. The pictures were entered into a competition with two prizes, one for those under ten and another for anyone else who liked to take up the challenge, which included some mums. The paintings were included in the display and were judged by Catherine Smith and Emma Lear, two of the staff at the country park. Group chairman Edwin Hirst said: "All our members who were on duty enjoyed giving so much pleasure to so many children and the staff said we had helped them make Angler's such an enjoyable place for all the visitors during Easter week."  TOP: Art Group members pose for the camera after setting up the exhibition on Easter Monday.   LEFT: One of the early Easter bunny painting contestants was five-year-old Ava Crowther, seen with dad Ben.     > > For an album of photos from the last day, click HERE


Fashion show makes £945

APRIL'S show at Horbury's No 10 fashion shop, organised by the Sandal Fundraising Group for Wakefield Hospice, made £945. The group's chair, Denise Armstrong, was delighted. She said: "It was a great afternoon and the shop was full of ladies who thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the Spring fashions that No10 has to offer. We would like to thank all the ladies who came along and especially Lynn and Gemma Roberts of No10 for their generosity."   LEFT: Caroline, Pat and Veronica were among the ladies modelling a variety of No 10's outfits. RIGHT: Some of the visitors enjoying themselves with a glass of Bucks Fizz.    MORE PHOTOS > > >

Silver anniversary cream tea makes nearly £1,000

APRIL'S Silver Cream Tea to mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of Wakefield Hospice made more than £950. Held at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club and organised by the Fundraising Group, it attracted huge support from the local community. Not only was the function room packed to overflowing, the bar area was filled too, with the ladies of the committee run off their feet keeping up with the demand for cream scones, jam, tea and coffee. A variety of stalls added to the attractions of the day. Denise Armstrong, chair of the group, said: "A huge thank you to all those who came along to what seemed like our Mad Hatter's Tea Party! There was such a buzz in the room, with everyone chatting and enjoying the company."  Our photo shows the ladies of the organising committee at the start of the event. For an album of photos CLICK HERE

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