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The Nidderdale Voices column featuring Martin Imeson

Martin Imeson.
Martin Imeson.

This week our personality taking part in “Nidderdale Voices” is Martin Imeson. Although Martin was actually born in Leeds he was raised from a very early age in Pateley (where his maternal grandparents and great grandparents lived).

The first part of his school days were spent in Bridgehousegate School which now houses the Vet’s surgery.

Martin was asked to look after the United Reformed church at Dacre Top. He retired at Easter last year.

Martin was asked to look after the United Reformed church at Dacre Top. He retired at Easter last year.

As transport was difficult he attended Ripon Grammar School as a boarder and from there went on to train as a teacher at an Anglican college in Chichester where he met his wife Wendy. It however soon became clear that his main talent and interests were with less able children and this involved another qualification.

He studied for this at Leeds and eventually finished up teaching at the Forest School, Knaresborough, where he remained for the rest of his teaching career. During this time Martin and Wendy fostered two Down Syndrome boys.

Martin’s second career took off when ill health forced him to retire from teaching.

He had always had affiliations with the church and when a scheme was started to train Ministry Teams to help the clergy he took part and served in the Ministry Team in the Parish. He worked with the Church in the Dale in its many forms as it developed over the years and in 2008 was asked to look after the United Reformed church at Dacre Top. He continued in this work until his retirement on Easter Sunday 2017.

Describe a typical day.

It is lovely to have more time to read. So much of my past life has meant rushing around it is such a change to be able to sit and become really engrossed in a book. I can pick the TV programmes that I want to watch but even so I tend to always find myself using catch-up. My great pleasure is that now I have time to really use my computer and explore all the wealth of knowledge that it can reveal.

What would be your perfect day out?

I would have to go to the coast. Living in the heart of the countryside makes me sometimes long to see the sea. I like the old fashioned sea side like Whitby old town and another of my favourite places is Saltburn. Saltburn appeals because of the cliff lift and pier and if there could be a Punch and Judy Show my day would be made.

What is your favourite part of the Dale?

It has to be a quiet part – somewhere you can just stand, enjoy the view and think. You can find all that you desire if you go up the pathway from Bridgehousegate towards Eagle Hall and look down over Pateley.

Which is your favourite Nidderdale business?

I want to say Lee and Holmes but now they are considered mainly as Funeral Directors and I don’t want to use their services for that just yet. I just think of them as real craftsmen when they were known for their joinery and carpentry.

What is the biggest change you have seen in the Dale?

The town of Pateley has come alive. Following the war it was very run down and drab. The development of Nidd Walk, the opening up of the road into Southlands with the new bungalows and the clearing of Maltkiln Yard to form the car park set the town on the pathway to becoming the vibrant place it now is. The museum and the Playhouse with all their workers and supporters, Britain in Bloom (winners of Europe in Bloom in 1984) have all played a part. We need to thank all those who are making the very best of the place we live in.

What makes Nidderdale so special?

Without a doubt – the people. There is such a mix of people of all types and classes.

It is a friendly place. There is always someone to talk to on the High Street.

What would you say to recommend Nidderdale?

Visitors to the Dale never need to be bored as there is plenty going on.

Our beautiful countryside provides a haven for walkers and cyclists. Our little town has a theatre and from time to time films are shown in the Memorial Hall... Christmas activities in the Street attract people from afar and the friendly pubs and cafes make all feel welcome.