Pateley Bridge is in the news again. The main BBC news story last week and in all the national newspapers was about a man from Bridlington winning £2 million in a poker competition.
John Hesp, who is an amateur player, entered a tournament in Las Vegas and ended up coming fourth and winning £2 million pound prize. Interviewed by the world’s media Mr Hesp was asked where he and his wife would be going on holiday. His answer was “we will be going to our humble static caravan at Pateley Bridge”.
I spotted others who had decided to make Pateley Bridge their destination this last week. I kept spotting lots of old cars from the 1920s and 30s driving around Nidderdale including Austin Sevens and Morris Minors. The cars were so tiny back then - not much bigger than the big old silver cross prams! Even the wheels and tyres are so thin that they are not much bigger than the bicycles. Following one of these tiny vehicles, I noticed that the driver and passenger had stuck to the windscreen a satnav - quite incongruous in that car. Talking of old vehicles come this weekend there will be lots around Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale for the 1940s weekend. Not just military vehicles but also civilian ones with some towing caravans from the period. On the Showground there will be a full-size original Spitfire plane.
The magnificent red 1940s bus that used to operate between Ripon and Pateley Bridge will once again be gracing our High Street. The bus will be offering free rides to people but we hope that people will donate generously for charity. The chosen charity for this year’s event which is organised by the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade is the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Subject to the weather and the helicopter not getting a call out, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance have agreed for the helicopter to land at 1pm on Sunday at the Showground.
Businesses will have sandbags outside their doors, their windows taped up and many shop workers will be dressed up in period clothing. The sandbags were filled this week by the local Upper Nidderdale Scout Group under the supervision of two new scout leaders Louise and Charlie. Martin and Paul who are stepping down after their sterling work over the years with the scouts were on hand to make sure things ran smoothly. The event is really about the community pulling together and welcoming our visitors. At the Memorial Hall we will have Dacre Braithwaite school with displays, Liz Dent will be launching her new book ‘Clipped Wings’ where she has written about her father’s RAF service in the war and Folk Finders will be there helping people find where their relatives were during the war. Roger Stanton MBE of The Escape Lines Memorial Society will be giving talks about survival and escape from behind enemy lines back into this country during the Second World War.
The 1940s weekend should prove to be a fantastic spectacle with Pateley Bridge being transported back in time with people dressing in clothes of the period, entertainers singing creating a carnival atmosphere. In fact people are travelling from all over the country to attend the event and a TV production company who produce a programme for BBC1 about the A1 road are going to be filming the transportation of the Spitfire plane to the event. An independent film company are going to be around all weekend filming including the official Saturday night 1940s dance at the Memorial Hall. More publicity for Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale - not bad for a small but well packaged place in the countryside!
On the Sunday morning make sure you are around the High Street for 10:15am when dignitaries and service personnel will be heading for the War Memorial. At 10:30am everyone is welcome to attend a service which will be conducted by Methodist Mike and Rev Darryl. The service I am sure will be very special and is what the event is about giving thanks to the many who gave their lives during the wars, many who were from Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale.