Dim view of confining town lights to one area

As a local retailer, I was delighted to read of Rory Marshall’s plans to install permanent illuminations in Ilkley in an effort to increase potential footfall in shops.

However, my delight quickly turned to dismay as I realised that the illuminations are planned only for The Grove.

Ilkley comprises more than just those shops on The Grove, a large majority of which are chain stores.

Were these chain stores invited to sponsor the lights? If not, why not?

Approximately 35 independent businesses, of the type I believe help to attract shoppers to Ilkley, are to be found around the main car park, Grove Promenade and South Hawksworth Street, but here we are to receive nothing (and before I am invited to pay for my own lights – we already do that along with several other businesses).

This is nothing new, this area has long been neglected at Christmas time. Our Christmas lights consist of a group of contractors coming along at the 11th hour and throwing lights – I cannot describe it as “display” – over two trees on South Hawksworth Street. These invariably then half fall off the trees and require a further visit from the contractors a couple of days later.

All these independents add character to the town, are working in difficult times, pay not insignificant business rates, and it’s high time we received some support and encouragement.

Elaine Smith, Nicholson’s Jewellers, South Hawksworth Street, Ilkley

Volunteers are life-blood of Guiding organisation

Some years ago I wrote to your paper saying that Rainbow, Brownie, and Guide units in Wharfedale had reached capacity and that almost all waiting lists were closed.

This remains the case today unless we can find more adults willing to volunteer their time to help.

In Wharfedale we currently have: three senior section units – girls from 14 to 25 years; seven Guide units – girls from 10 to 14 years; 10 Brownie units – girls from seven to ten years; four Rainbow units – girls from five to seven years.

Only one of these serves girls from Ben Rhydding to Addingham.

Just this weekend a large party of Guides and Scouts returned from a visit to Holland. A couple of weeks ago others returned from a camp on Anglesey and some from Bradley Woods, the Scout site near Huddersfield.

These opportunities are afforded by dedicated leaders who are prepared to give up their time for the benefit of young people in our community. Throughout the year Rainbows and Brownies also have nights away from home having great fun and gaining a self sufficiency and independence that Guiding aims to give them.

These leaders are very special people but you wouldn’t know it. In Wharfedale when you pass a police officer on duty, you may not know that in her ‘spare time’ she’s planning a walking expedition for 50 girls. When you ask someone stacking shelves in Tesco’s to pass you something you can’t reach, that this person has just catered for around 50 people at camp, or spent a day teaching creative crafts.

The capable nurse in the A & E department in Otley Hospital will be organising an athletics competition for Brownies later in the day, and the person at the schoolgate telling you about your child’s day in school will go home to pick up her ‘kit’ to spend an hour or two teaching archery or supervising girls on a climbing wall. They are ordinary people like you and me who just care a little more for others.

On this coming Saturday, a team of these leaders will be present at the Community Showcase event being promoted by the Ilkley branch of the Council for Voluntary Service. Please try to find the time to pop in and find out if there is a role for you.

If you are unable to visit the Kings Hall on Saturday why not find a moment to look at the Girlguiding website, girlguiding.org.uk or look us up on the Ilkley pages ilkley.org or simply contact me on 01943 600083.

Ann Peacock, PR Advisor, Girlguiding, Wharfedale

Bemused by councillor’s response to comments

We were somewhat bemused by Councillor Wadsworth’s attack on us last week, simply because we had dared to asked people what they thought.

Coun Wadsworth and his colleagues have made proposals which would affect some Yeadon residents (an area he does not represent) without the courtesy of mentioning it them.

We don’t agree with this approach. So we contacted all the people involved and asked their views on the proposal to include them in a Rawdon Parish Council.

After all it will both affect their future and they will have to pay for it.

The majority did not support the proposal.

If the Yeadon residents we represent say they do not wish to be included in a Rawdon Parish Council we will accept their views and not allow councillors from other areas to force them to do something against their will.

Councillors Colin Campbell, Ryk Downes and Sandy Lay

Our Lizzie deserves a silver postbox tribute

Yes! Lizzie should have a silver postbox (by the Buttercross) along with other silver/bronze medal winners, but especially for getting the first GB medal Margaret Guest The Whartons Otley Thank you for ‘sparkling’ night of entertainment ‘Oh what a night it was, it really was such a night’. Thank you Anne Hawkesworth and team Ilkley for the truly sparkling Diamond Dolce Vita night.

Enthusiastic yes, amateurish – No!

Anne North, Crossbeck Road, Ilkley

Quest to help find links to Middlebrook family

I lost my only son and was advised to have my family tree put together. My mother’s maiden name was Middlebrook, she was the middle child of three sisters. Their father, John Alfred Joseph Middlebrook (my grandad), was born on 1886 in Ilkley, and his father, also John Alfred Middlebrook, was born on 1857 in Leeds.

My grandfather had five sisters and one brother, all born in Ilkley. My great grandfather was married to Clara Firth and managed Ilkley brewery with his two brothers; William and Edward Middlebrook.

John Alfred Middlebrook went on to became mayor and opened the New Brook Street Bridge in 1906.

I recently visited Ilkley to try and find more, and any living relatives of the Middlebrook’s, but the paper trail ended. The assistants in Ilkley Library suggested looking in Kelly’s Directory but it is now listed by streets rather than surnames.

My mother and her three sisters are all dead so this doesn’t give me much hope of finding out more about my ancestors.

Living in Brighton makes it a bit tricky to search too, unless anyone reading this can help. My email address is: rosiebarnard@ntlworld.com. If anyone has any information about the infamous Middlebrooks I would be most grateful.

Rosemarie Barnard

Article sparks memories of heroic river rescue

With reference to Across the Years – 75 Years Ago, July 26, 2012.

I refer to the above when you mentioned the fact that Arthur Bell had won the Vavasour Cup four times in your newspaper.

My uncle Walter Hall was the first swimmer to win it after it was presented to the club by CA Vavasour, of Weston Manor, Weston, in July 1914. He was one of the founder members of the Otley Swimming Club, and my father Christopher Hall, who was later one of the members of the club who won it in 1933. Their names are actually on shields together on the plinth of the cup, as there was just one space left and my father went in for the Annual River Race and won it.

My uncle also was presented with Royal Humane Society Silver Medal and Vellum awards for saving a man who threw himself in the river just before midnight on June 5, 1911. Incidentally you referred to it in your paper, 100 years ago – 1911.

Unfortunately he was killed in action during the First World War in Belgium.

KJ Jackson (Mrs), Bradford Road, Otley