A week in the life of: Our community is still bloomin’ great

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Pateley Bridge was prominent last week in the national press. There in the middle pages of the Daily Mirror central to its feature about a new programme following the Britain in Bloom competition was a photograph of Pateley Bridge.

Admittedly the photograph was taken several years ago of flower beds opposite Pateley Bridge Pharmacy when Pateley Bridge was winning Britain in Bloom under the leadership of local man Jack Mears. The fact the main photo was of Pateley Bridge and its High Street just goes to show how attractive it is, resulting in national coverage and recognition. Pateley Bridge of course is the winner of the best High Street in the country in the village category of the Great British High Street Awards and has entered this year’s Yorkshire in Bloom competition after not being part of the competition for a number of years.

The judges of the competition are to visit Pateley Bridge on Monday 10th July and I am confident the community including the businesses will make sure the area looks resplendent with floral displays. Last week the flower festival was held at St Cuthbert’s Church (pictured) themed around the Great British High Street. The floral displays were magnificent following lots of hard work by local ladies (and some men) raising much needed money through donations towards restoration of the church’s bell tower. Publicity for this event was achieved with a photo in the Yorkshire Post on Saturday morning of Susan South on a bike with the display she had helped put together for the Flower Festival. Publicity for Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale is very important and I was pleased to see there was even more with the Weekend section of the Yorkshire Post featuring Teacups café at Pateley Bridge Auction Mart. I love the article and the fact the owner Sam talked passionately about her business, its customers and the area – something I know we all do.

Sometimes my wife refers to me as a grumpy old man which I dispute very strongly as I am always very positive and cheerful - annoyingly so to many who know me. Talking of grumpy old men, at 3pm this Thursday 1st June on BBC Radio 4 Ramblings, Robin Hermes and Simon Dunn walk with Clare Balding on the third stage of the Nidderdale Way describing themselves as ‘grumpy old men’.

These two walkers normally never invite anyone to walk with them so this is a real departure inviting Clare and producer Lucy to join them. The stage of the Nidderdale Way being walked starts at Gouthwaite visiting the disused lead mines and completing in Bewerley. Should make for interesting listening! The fourth programme in this six part series covering the Nidderdale Way the following week will be fascinating listening as the guest walkers on the section between Bewerley Chapel and Birstwith will be that renowned personality Keith Tordoff (even my Mum called me Mr Big Head) accompanied by his poor embarrassed son Alexander and his partner Kirsty Shepherd even more embarrassed. As they say any publicity is good publicity even if it is bad but let’s hope it doesn’t turn out that way.

Pateley Bridge as I keep going on about is an amazing place and I am really excited as I think I have found another reason to show why we are so lucky to live and for some of us work here. Last Thursday, myself and my wife for the first time met local lady Mabel Peacock at her house in Pateley Bridge. Mabel was celebrating her 102nd birthday along with family members including her daughter Margaret who we see most days as she shops on the High Street. Mabel is in good health and was great company. My wife and I commented on how wonderful it had been to meet Mabel who is both amazing and inspiring. Those who know me will tell you I am always going on about how I will live until I am 122 years old so I am only half way there and Mabel made me feel my mission is possible.