July-December 2016

Star tenancy is taken over by real ale brewers

MORTON COLLINS Brewing Company, based in Durkar with a microbrewery at Ryhill, has taken up the tenancy of the Star pub on Standbridge Lane, which reopened on December 16. Early signs are the pub is taking on a fresh lease of life under its new management. The once popular establishment is owned by Enterprise Inns, the biggest pub company in the UK with a portfolio of 5,000 properties. Morton Collins, which was set up in September 2015, is run by directors Sam Collins and Gerald Morton. Their beers have already been tasted locally at events at the Pledwick Inn and Sandal Rugby Club. Enterprise Inns' regional manager, Malcolm Heslop, told the SCA: "We have partnered with Morton Collins Brewing Company and they will be serving their locally made ales alongside quality lagers, wines and spirits. This is an exciting opportunity for Sam Collins and Ged Morton and we wish them every success in their new venture." The Star now has its own Facebook page where they describe themslves as a "traditional British country style pub serving craft ales, quality lagers, wines and spirits. Relaxed, dog friendly inn with open fires and real charm." The reopening of the Star was given major coverage in the Wakefield Express (left) and it was the cover story in the Winter 2017 edition of Wakefield CAMRA’s O to K magazine. For more info about the magazine, go to http://www.wakefieldcamra.org.uk/otok/

Castle Friends celebrate Pokemon victory

A CAMPAIGN initiated by the Friends of Sandal Castle has helped rescue the castle from further damage caused by people playing Pokemon Go, a reality game in which they use a mobile device's GPS capability to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures. Unfortunately two ‘pokestops’ were in the area of the castle now barred (officially at least) to members of the public because of fears about the safety of the bridges and walkways.  Following the campaign, the pokestops  –  in the castle Privy Chamber and the Barbican –  were taken down, a great relief to the Friends because these were the ones that Pokemon players were climbing the slopes to find. There are three more on other parts of the site. The Friends’ vice-chairman, Keith Souter, posted on Facebook: “Thank you to Justine Smith who first drew our attention to this as a reason why people were ignoring the closed signs and were scaling the slopes. “Thank you everyone who contacted Niantic [American owners of Pokemon Go] personally and thank you to the council and everyone involved in the extensive media campaign which we rolled out on Facebook. It resulted in Niantic being inundated with requests for removal of the sites.” Justine is pictured (above right) checking that the Pokemon have really gone. The campaign, which involved Sandal Community Association, followed concerns about damage being caused to the castle by graffiti vandals and even a joyrider. It was shared widely on social media and was picked up by the Wakefield Express, the Yorkshire Post, BBC radio and television and Ridings FM radio. Keith is pictured (left) being interviewed by the BBC. Wakefield Neighbourhood Policing Team announced it had arrested someone on suspicion of causing criminal damage but the person was later released without being charged. Historian Helen Cox has described the site as a magnet for anti-social behaviour. She posted: “Years of savage cuts to local authority budgets forced Wakefield Council to pare back staffing until the visitor centre finally had to close completely; then the stairways to the inner bailey and up the motte became structurally unsound and were blocked off in March this year, limiting permitted access to the perimeter of the monument only. “The consequences were sadly predictable. Lack of access for grounds maintenance means the inner monument is now so overgrown with bushes and weeds that it looks a right mess. Many visitors totally ignore the ‘No Entry’ and warning signs, (or view them as a challenge), and simply scramble or ride mountain bikes up and down the earthworks, damaging the grass and forming highly visible, unsightly tracks.” Coun Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “Sandal Castle is part of our heritage and I want to reinforce our commitment to do everything we can to respect and protect it, but we need people’s help too. “This latest spate of vandalism [the graffiti] is reprehensible and will have a significant impact on our finances to rectify. We are working with Historic England to identify the specialist contractors needed to deal with this and we will have to find the funds to pay for it. Unfortunately, it won’t be quick, easy or cheap but we will find a way to do it.” The council said it would install temporary CCTV at the site, increase litter patrols, boost night time security and look to install barriers to prevent vehicle access. It said it is also working with West Yorkshire Police to prevent future anti-social behaviour. Coun Shaw said the council was committed to finding a new tenant for the visitor centre and was exploring funding options to carry out the £175,000 bridge and walkway repairs.

James, 10, is a winner with his Christmas 'Wakefield One' stamp design

WAKEFIELD Rotary Club's charity Christmas post stamp  for 2016 is based on a design by ten-year-old James Harrop, from Sandal, winner of the club’s competition among local schoolchildren. James’s design, which centres on a robin, will appear on the stamps that go on sale later this year and it will also be displayed on the big screen at Trinity Walk. Rotary club secretary Peter Clarke said; “The design was selected as it is very simple, colourful and includes a reference to Wakefield One as well as a Christmas message. The books were included by James as he likes to visit the library at Wakefield One. He must have given a lot of thought to the design.” James’s response when heard that he’d won? “I was shocked,” he said. He is a pupil at Sandal Castle Primary School where his teacher broke the news to his class as soon as the letter announcing his win arrived.His name later  went up in lights - literally! The overhead video display at Trinity Walk was used to explain that the stamp was based on his entry in the competition to choose a design for 2016.  Members of Wakefield and Ossett Rotary Clubs were at Trinity Walk to celebrate the occasion when they were pictured with (far left) Lucy Grice, marketing and retail liaison manager for Trinity Walk. Wakefield club president Dr Neale Clark, from Sandal, is on the right.

Trick and treating for Sandal Halloween

TRICK and treaters were out in some numbers spooking residents for Halloween celebrations in Sandal. Here are some of the ghostly youngsters who toured the Mountbatten Estate. And you can't keep a good pirate down either, even when he's just a skeleton! He last made a public appearance at the previous September's Sandal Scarecrow Festival.

Violinist Kate wows with her musical talent

THE SCA's first Summer Musical Evening in August was a great success with virtuoso violinist Polish-born Kate Chruscicka performing a wide variety of music, enough to satisfy all those with a taste for the classics, light music and tunes from shows and films. This picnic event at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club followed the previous year's Jazz Night at the same venue. The weather, despite the clouds (or perhaps because of them) gave us a warmer evening than the bitter chill the audience had to endure at the jazz night.

Pupils get ready for the big match!

JUMBO chess boards have been presented by Wakefield Rotary Club to two local schools. Rotarian Roland Mold (left) helped set up chess clubs at Sandal Castle Primary School and Sandal Magna Academy and he is pictured here at the former with teacher Jonathan Dore and some of the children who are enjoying learning the game in an unusual way.


Sandal Magna students presented with dictionaries

STUDENTS leaving Sandal Magna Community Academy to go to secondary schools in September were presented in July with dictionaries by Wakefield Rotary Club president-elect Sheila Wainwright, an SCA member. This was part of the club’s continuing programme to provide dictionaries to Year 6 pupils. The 20 youngsters who received the books at the end-of-term assembly are pictured with Sheila (centre right) and headteacher Louise Sennett. Between them sits Rotarian Roland Mold, another SCA member who has been a volunteer at the school for 13 years, first as part of a reading project but in more recent years as tutor of the school’s chess team. After the assembly Sheila, a former headteacher herself, said: "This brings back real memories!"

Plans for Sandal M&S Simply Food store go on display

THERE was a very good turnout of residents who wanted to know more about the plans for an M&S Simply Food Store on land at the rear of Aldi's supermarket.They went to an exhibition at St Peter's and St Paul's Church where plans for the M&S store and improvements to Asdale Road were on display. They were also able to talk to representatives of the developers, Sandal Property Group, a subsidiary of Woodhead Investments. There has been a lively discussion about the pros and cons of the plan on both our Facebook page and on the SCA's post to the StreetLife social media site. We have been told that if plans proceed as the developers hope, work on building the store could be complete by the second half of 2017.   M&S site plan    Store elevations and CGI    Highways and road access plans

Brothers push the plunger for Sandal's big Christmas lights switch-on

TO GREAT excitement and lots of cheers, brothers Tim, 9, and Edward Brook, 11, pushed the big plunger to switch on the lights on Sandal's Christmas tree, provided on Barnsley Road each year by the Community Association. They were supported by mum and dad Mike and Angie, and 18-month-old brother Robert.The switch-on on November 25 was followed by the now traditional family social across the road at Sandal Castle Primary School. One of the highlights was a visit by Santa who had plenty of requests for Christmas presents, ranging from laptop computer to - yes - a lie detector! After having a chat with Santa, children were able to dip for sweets in a bag held by one of the great man's helpers. A school choir sang festive songs, there were mince pies and soft drinks, and there was plenty of fun at the tombola. The event was organised by the SCA in conjunction with the school.

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