The Week in the Life column with Keith Tordoff

Julian Smith MP and various Pateley residents with members of the bus company and the National Trust.
Julian Smith MP and various Pateley residents with members of the bus company and the National Trust.

Our constituency MP the Right Honourable Julian Smith, who is also the Government Chief Whip as I am sure most people are aware, has been an extremely busy man of late.

I met up with Mr Smith in Pateley Bridge last week and I was conscious of not mentioning in our conversations the ‘B’ word, which he has been hearing a lot of recently.

Mr Smith was in Pateley to meet constituents and he called in at Kendall’s Farm Butchers on the High Street where he met Paul Kendall. Mr Smith had heard about Kendall’s being listed as a finalist in the Countryside Alliance Awards for Butcher of the Year in Yorkshire and had wanted to congratulate Paul.

Mr Smith then set off walking to the bus terminus to meet James Owen Thomas while on route chatting with some locals.

Our meeting with James, who is 17 and from Pateley, was so that he could show Mr Smith some of his artwork.

James is an extremely talented artist working with recycled materials such as discarded lottery scratch cards and has kindly agreed to produce artwork for the Pateley Bridge in Bloom group.

We had also gone to the bus terminus in Pateley to meet up with others including Michelin Star chef Frances Atkins of the Yorke Arms Ramsgill, Paul Chattwood of the Dales Bowland Bus Company (D&BBC), Roy Phillips and Helen McDermott from the National Trust.

All were waiting in front of a shiny red number 24 electric bus which had been specially laid on for the occasion by Alex Hornby, the chief executive of the Harrogate Bus Company.

Mr Smith took part in a photo shoot to help back the fundraising efforts to raise money to start three Summer Sunday and Bank Holiday bus services which tie in with the regular number 24 bus service to Pateley Bridge.

The National Trust and the Yorke Arms have made generous donations towards the bus services and Mr Smith was pleased to be able to thank Frances, Roy and Helen for their support.

Mr Smith also met Donna from Just Delicious to congratulate her on being short listed for the cafe of the year in a competition run by this paper.

I then possibly spoilt things for Mr Smith by using the ‘B’ word which I had wanted to avoid. I had found out earlier in the day some bad news and I broke it to Mr Smith who had not been aware of it – Barclays Bank (two Bs) had put a notice in the window of the Pateley Bridge branch to let everyone know it is closing in May.

Mr Smith has kindly agreed to write to Barclays on behalf of the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Pateley Bridge to ask question about the proposed closure and rationale behind the decision.

Back to good news and that is everyone loves tractors or so it seems. Kirsty Shepherd posted on the Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Facebook page on Sunday afternoon about the Knaresborough Young Farmers Tractor Run which comes through Nidderdale, down Pateley Bridge High Street, to the Nidderdale Showground on Sunday, March 10. The run was started in memory of Mike Spink who sadly died in an accident while working in New Zealand in January 2017 and the event raises money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

The Facebook posting has reached over 25,000 people in less than 48 hours. Facebook is fantastic for positive stories and messages!