A Week in the Life column with Keith Tordoff

Deputy Lieutenant David Kerfoot MBE gets the chance to drive a WW2 jeep. Picture by Melissa Peakman.
Deputy Lieutenant David Kerfoot MBE gets the chance to drive a WW2 jeep. Picture by Melissa Peakman.

The spirit of the 1940s wartime period was very much present in Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale last weekend. The 1940s weekend is now in its fourth year bringing together the community and our new family of friends – the re-enactors.

The weekend had many special moments helping create many happy memories.

One of the re-enactors who has been attending the event from the beginning is a lady called Pam Hall accompanied by her husband who are both are re-enactors and own a World War II jeep.

Earlier this year Pam told me about her father Norman Goostry who is 96 years old and is a resident of Pateley Bridge.

Norman like many servicemen has not talked about his experiences in the war but recently agreed to talk about his time as a tank driver. Pam and a friend wrote a story based on Norman’s recollections of the time making for a fantastic and interesting story.

Norman is a very modest man and has only worn his war medals once.

Norman took some persuading by his daughter but he agreed on Sunday at the 1940s to be in Pam and Dave’s jeep when it led the parade down Pateley Bridge.

Norman wore his medals for only the second time smiling and waving to the crowds on the High Street. I later spoke to Pam she said the day will always hold special memories for her seeing her father taking part in the procession and then at the service at the war memorial.

It was also a very special day for another Pateley Bridge and Bewerley resident Paul Kirkbright starting at the Sunday morning service. Paul came to Pateley Bridge as an evacuee from Hull during the war time period. He came as a baby as unfortunately his parents were killed in the bombings.

The service I am sure was a very emotional occasion for Paul as he must have had mixed feelings – on the one hand there must have been sadness at the loss of his parents on the other happy memories of a childhood in a beautiful part of the world.

Paul later in the day, accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Hull, visited the house where he had been evacuated to and raised.

Paul has stayed in this area and has contributed to the community throughout his time here.

Another very special moment was when the Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopter landed on the Nidderdale Showground on Sunday. The YAA agreed to attend the event as the weekend was raising money for the charity and also the good people of Nidderdale have a fantastic track record of raising money for them.

Our VIP visitor Deputy Lieutenant David Kerfoot MBE in full uniform having taken the salute on the Sunday morning parade, later accompanied by his wife Elizabeth, got to drive a WW2 jeep.

Mr Kerfoot had mentioned he quite fancied owning a jeep so we decided to give him the chance to test drive one.

Our amazing official photographer Melissa Peakman captured the moment reporting that she had never seen such a large smile on someone’s face! His wife also commented to me that a jeep had been on her list of things she had wanted to ride in.

Two satisfied customers!

Anne Jones the Borough Mayor of Harrogate said how much she had enjoyed the day and later messaged me saying she was about to enjoy a meal with produce purchased in Pateley – maybe because we had only given our VIP’s brown paper bag of rations!

An amazing weekend with so many happy memories. Roll on next year!