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The Thirsk blog

Thirsk library changes
By Peter.  Last updated Sat 1 Apr at 11.00am.

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From today Thirsk Library in Meadowfields, Chapel St, is run by volunteers with support from North Yorkshire County Council and Thirsk Community Care. Drop by to borrow a book or audio book, browse the Internet, collect your emails and meet friends in the cafe, now open again.
The new Community Library was opened this morning and when you visit you can admire the work of the Thirsk Yarnbombers to celebrate the event.
Pop in to see for yourself.

Picnic in the Park tickets
By Peter.  Last updated Sat 1 Apr at 11.02am.

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Tickets are now available for the 12th annual Picnic in the Park on Sat 8 Jul in the fabulous setting of Thirsk Hall grounds and park lands.
Headline acts are Michael, the Show - a fantastic Michael Jackson tribute concert and Lareena Mitchell who performs a superb tribute to Adele. Our opening artist will be confirmed at a later date.
A fireworks finale will close the evening around 11pm.
Hot food stands on site with ice creams and coffee bar. Also a PIMMS bar if you fancy a summer drink.
Gates open on Newsham Road, Thirsk at 5pm and you are welcome to bring drinks and a picnic with you. No BBQs or dogs please.
Tickets are now on sale ONLINE.and from Thirsk Tourist Information Centre, Zillah Bell Gallery (Thirsk), CB Furnishings (Thirsk & Northallerton), Calverts Rug Shop (Thirsk) 01845 521644 - Credit Card payment taken.

Adults £24
Young person 12-16 £16
Children U11 Free (but must be accompanied by ticket holding adult)

Thirsk station closures
By Peter.  Last updated Fri 24 Feb at 9.43am.

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Until Sun 14 May Network Rail will carry out significant track improvement in the Thirsk area, this will impact train lines north of York. Thirsk station will be closed at times.
The upgrade will see the renewal of switches and crossings, more commonly known as ‘points’ – the equipment which allows trains to move from one piece of track to another.
Between Sun 26 Feb and Sun 14 May passengers are advised to check with their train operator before they travel as trains may run at earlier times or be replaced by bus services. This will be mainly, but not only, at weekends.

Thirsk Community First Responders
By Peter.  Last updated Mon 23 Jan at 9.27pm.

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Did you know?
Thirsk Community First Responders are a team of 13 volunteers who assist the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
These volunteers are on a rota system and have to give up a minimum of 4 hours a week to remain active and be on duty. The jobs they get called out to are cardiac arrests, breathiness, diabetes, seizures and falls. They are trained by the Yorkshire Ambulance service in basic life support, how to administer oxygen and how to use a defibrillator.
See our Support information for contact details.

Music for Life co-ordinator
By Peter.  Last updated Wed 18 Jan at 2.06pm.

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Sowerby Music is looking for a keen, musically and educationally-minded volunteer to take over the running of Music for Life which has been a part of many local Primary Schools' lives for the past 20 years.

Could you be that person?

Music for Life delivers concerts and workshops to 33 schools in the Hambleton area every year using a pool of 8 groups of professional musicians and reaching nearly 4,000 pupils.
More about the Music for Life co-ordinator.

A present from James Herriot's town
By Peter.  Last updated Sat 3 Dec at 12.07pm.

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Remember summer? Here is a present that will remind you and your friends.

This cotton tea towel, made in England, has a bright white finish and full-colour print with a narrow white border. It is hemmed on all four sides. The size is 48 x 76cm (19 x 30 inches) approx.

You can buy it in Thirsk's information centre or online.

Thirsk Community Library
By Peter.  Last updated Tue 29 Nov at 9.08pm.

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From April 2017 Thirsk Library will be run by volunteers with support from North Yorkshire County Council and Thirsk Community Care. The group is up and running and is seeking organisations or individuals to provide sponsorship.

On Saturday 3rd December between 10am and noon there is an event at the library for would-be volunteers You will be able to find out what is happening at the library and how you can take part in ensuring and shaping its future.

See the new website at

Thirsk remembers with [lots of] poppies
By David Tucker.  Last updated Mon 7 Nov at 4.21pm.

Over 35,000 hand-made poppies have been made into swathes displayed outside the churches in Thirsk and Sowerby. These have been made by the Thirsk Yarnbombers, with additional poppies sent from as far away as Australia. They will be on display over the period of Remembrance.

There is a war memorial in Front Street, outside St Oswald’s church. In addition there are memorials inside St Mary’s, Thirsk and St Oswald’s, Sowerby and Sowerby Methodist Church.

St Oswald’s, which is normally open during daylight hours, has a book recording the biographies of the men recorded on the Sowerby memorials.

There is a display in the Library entrance. It is a Lancaster bomber and Spitfires flying over a field of poppies – well worth seeing.

We have been given these timings for the remembrance events in Sowerby and Thirsk next Sunday, 13th November.
9.45am      assemble at St Oswald’s
10.00-10.45 service at St Oswald’s
10.45-10.50 arrange formation
11.00       last post, Thirsk RBL Band
11.02       wreath laying and names of fallen read
11.15       march off through Sowerby and Thirsk
11.45       fall out at  Marage Car Park

Thirsk Yarnbombers win award
By Peter.  Last updated Sat 22 Oct at 3.47pm.

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Congratulations! The Thirsk Yarnbombers have received a North Yorkshire County Council Community Award.

You can assist the current project by helping in St Mary's Church most afternoons this week.

To donate poppies and other knitted & crochet items please contact the Thirsk Yarnbombers via Facebook at or bring them into the Thirsk information office.

Centenary Dinner for Alf Wight (James Herriot)
By Gwyneth.  Last updated Thu 8 Sep at 2.09pm.

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When: Saturday 1st October 2016 from 7pm

Where: Tennants Garden Rooms, Leyburn.

A black tie gala dinner at Tennants Garden Rooms in Leyburn, with special guests from the cast of “All Creatures Great & Small” will be held on Saturday, 1st October 2016 from 7pm to celebrate the life and work of the famous vet and author Alf Wight OBE FRCVS (James Herriot) on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Members of Alf Wight’s family, including son and daughter Jim Wight and Rosie Page, friends and colleagues will pay tribute to 100 years of the life of Alf Wight.

The evening will include performances by music icon Lesley Garrett CBE and hosted by BBC TV’s Harry Gration MBE.

James Alfred Wight was born on 3rd October 1916 in Sunderland (his mother Hannah’s former home before she married Alf’s father James in July 1915). When Alf was only three weeks old the family moved back to their own home in Glasgow and Alf remained there for most of his young life. In December 1939 at the age of 23, Alf qualified as a veterinary surgeon with the Glasgow Veterinary College, taking on a brief post in January 1940 in a veterinary practice in Sunderland. He moved on in July 1940 to work in the rural practice of Donald J Sinclair in Thirsk, located close to the sweeping hills and rich valleys of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Just confirmed, actor Christopher Timothy who played James Herriot is to attend the dinner. In addition, BAFTA winner Robert Hardy Esq, CBE, FSA (Siegfried Farnon), Peter Davidson, (Tristan Farnon and also the 5th Dr Who), multi award-winning actress Carol Drinkwater (Helen Herriot), Andrea Gibb, who played Deirdre McEwan in Series 4-6 and who is now a BAFTA nominated writer and her latest movie “Swallows and Amazons” has recently set sail into UK cinemas and Ali Lewis who was a local schoolgirl picked for the role of Rosie Herriot in the final series in 1990. Ali had the advantage of knowing the real Rosie, who was her Doctor! Ali has followed in the footsteps of James Herriot and is now an award-winning writer herself.

“This a real coup, to have all the main cast of All Creatures Great and Small together on this wonderful occasion and will likely never happen again. Alf’s books, films and TV series are THE biggest thing to ever have happened to promote the Dales and Moors of North Yorkshire which have become world renowned as ‘Herriot Country’.” added Ian Ashton.

A fund-raising silent auction will be held during the evening and proceeds will go to the James Herriot Foundation Trust that began with a very generous bequest made to the Friends of the World of James Herriot by the late Mr Thomas Frank Blinks who lived in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, and was a life member of the Friends of the World James Herriot.

Jim Wight and Rosie Page, son and daughter of Alf Wight, speaking about the Gala evening said: “This is a lovely opportunity to celebrate our father’s legacy and to support the James Herriot Foundation Trust that has been established to help young people who wish to pursue a career dedicated to animal welfare. Our father would be proud to be associated with this initiative and we are delighted that the dinner has been organised and supported by so many friends and colleagues together with the original cast for the tribute to his life and work.”

A limited number of places are still available for the event and can be booked online at - ENDS -

For further information please contact: Ian Ashton, The World of James Herriot, 23 Kirkgate, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1PL Tel: 01845 524234 E-mail:

Tour de Yorkshire photographs
By Peter.  Last updated Sun 2 Oct at 7.07pm.

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Were you there? Can you find yourself in these pictures taken on 1st May 2016?
HERE are 350+ photographs from when the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race passed through Thirsk and then proceeded up Sutton Bank.
Copyright Hambleton District Council, used here with permission.

Yarnbombers celebrate James Herriot's 100th
By Peter.  Last updated Sun 7 Aug at 10.30am.

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James Herriot was born on 3rd October 1916 and to celebrate the 100th anniversary Thirsk Yarnbombers have struck again!

The Market Place is decorated with all kinds of creations in knitting and crocheting. Here is the Vet, but come to Thirsk and see all the other animals and children's characters. You'll enjoy the day out.

James Herriot's veterinary practice is now run by Julian Norton who, with James Herriot's trainee Peter Wright, is star of 'The Yorkshire Vet'. This is a long-running series on Channel 5 and gives a fly-on-the-wall account of a vet's life today. You can see how many things have changed since James Herriot's day, but some of the work is largely unchanged. The next series will start in the Autumn, close to Alf Wight's birthday (that's the real name of James Herriot).

Yorkshire Vet writes new book
By Ted.  Last updated Tue 4 Oct at 8.56pm.

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One of the Yorkshire vets, Julian Norton, has written his first book, 'Horses, Heifers and Hairy Pigs' which is due out in September. It charts his life and experiences since deciding to become a vet. Sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, warm and compassionate dealing with many varied animals and humans.

'The Yorkshire Vet' is a documentary series following life in James Herriot's former practice and a set of 10 new programmes is now running at 8pm on TV Channel 5.

Thirsk Day photographs
By Peter.  Last updated Fri 24 Jun at 4.07pm.

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Wednesday 22 June was Thirsk Day at Kings Cross Station in London. Three organisations - Thirsk Tourist Information, The World of James Herriot and Grand Central Trains - presented the delights of a short break in Thirsk away from the Big City from a stand in the middle of the main indoor concourse.

You can see photographs of our day HERE.

In addition to this, Grand Central Trains' engine 'James Herriot' was re-dedicated in honour of the 100th anniversary of Alf Wight who wrote 'All Creatures Great and Small' and other stories about his life as a country vet in Thirsk.

VIPs in Thirsk today
By Peter.  Last updated Wed 27 Apr at 5.43pm.

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Christian Prudhomme, French director of the Tour de France (left) and Sir Gary Verity, head of Welcome to Yorkshire (right), and were in Thirsk today. The former organisation (ASO) is also in charge of the Tour de Yorkshire and other international cycling races.
They met children from East Thirsk school at the World of James Herriot, the Thirsk Yarnbombers at Yorks tearooms and the volunteers who run Thirsk's information centre.
The Tour de Yorkshire cycle race comes to Thirsk next Sunday on its third day.

The Market Place in 1925
By Peter.  Last updated Tue 23 Feb at 5.12pm.

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We have a hand-drawn plan of Thirsk Market Place as it was in 1916 to 1925. To see what shops were available then click here. Note that some, like the three independent butchers, are still serving the people of Thirsk today.

Picture © Don Nesham

Thirsk Art shop endorsed by famous artist
By Ted.  Last updated Sat 28 Nov at 8.53pm.

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Internationally acclaimed artist Norman Ackroyd RA CBE is featured in this month's Artists & Illustrators magazine on the "My Favourite Things" page. When asked to name his favourite art shop he replied (quote) "There's a wonderful little art shop in Thirsk called The Artist's Palette" What a great endorsement!
Mr Ackroyd favours Thirsk a lot (Zillah Bell Gallery often have the honour of launching his exhibitions over the Royal Academy) and he loves shopping in our lovely friendly town.

The rector who was friends with Turner & Ruskin
By Peter.  Last updated Tue 17 Nov at 9.09pm.

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William Towler Kingsley 1815 to 1916, former rector of South Kilvington, was once a famous figure in the Thirsk area. Friends with Turner and Ruskin; an extraordinary polymath whose talents and interests embraced geology, gardening, photography, drawing, astronomy, organ building and wood carving, he is now almost forgotten.
After years of research, Helen Crawford has written a booklet outlining his interesting life, including such unforgettable episodes as the failure to discover Neptune thanks to a cup of tea; and the unhappy death of a prostitute in Cambridge which led to William being labelled a murderer by the newspapers.
From every sale, one pound is donated to the fund for the restoration of St. Wilfrid's, South Kilvington, Thirsk. Email for details.

Thirsk work goes into space
By Ted.  Last updated Tue 17 Nov at 9.14pm.

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From the Yorkshire Post today Monday 16th November: Mr Dan Aldred, Thirsk Schools Head of Computing, inspired a group of his pupils. As a result they won a national competition and were chosen to send computer code to the International Space Staion which prompts it to displays the national flag of the countries it is flying over. As a result he has been chosen to appear in "Your Future Their Future" campaign by the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTI) to recruit new teachers into the profession.

Best TIC in Yorkshire
By Peter.  Last updated Tue 10 Nov at 1.22am.

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The thirty volunteers who operate Thirsk Tourist Information were surprised and delighted to be awarded the Visitor Information Award, sponsored by BBC Yorkshire, at the Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards on Monday.

The award follows five seasons of growth since Thirsk Tourist Information became independent of Hambleton District Council in April 2011.

Harry Gration from BBC Look North presenting the award to Peter Rush said: “And what's amazing, they are all volunteers“.

We are a welcoming group of volunteers with a wealth of knowledge and a passion for Thirsk and the surrounding region. We are currently open Mon-Sat 10am-4pm.

James Herriot's Yorkshire
By Peter.  Last updated Mon 4 May at 9.25pm.

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"Walking face on to the scented breeze, I felt the old tingle of wonder at being alone on the wide moorland where nothing stirred and the spreading miles of purple blossom and green turf reached away until it met the hazy blue of the sky." James Herriot in 'Vet in Harness'.

James Herriot lived in Thirsk. He wrote 'All Creatures Great and Small' and many other books about his life as a country vet in Thirsk, which he called Darrowby.

Thirsk is between the North Yorks Moors and the Yorkshire Dales so is an ideal place from which to explore both. What's more, in Thirsk you can visit the 'World of James Herriot', housed where he worked and lived.

James Herriot statue unveiled (video)
By Peter.  Last updated Sat 28 Mar at 3.27pm.

Ian Ashton, manager of The World of James Herriot introduces James Berresford, CEO of VisitEngland who unveils the statue of Alf Wight (aka James Herriot). Then Jim Wight, a vet like his father, tells what it was like living with a budding author.

Free WiFi in the Market Place
By Peter.  Last updated Wed 30 Apr at 8.57pm.

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Free WiFi is now available in Thirsk Market Place.

To log in, connect to 'Thirsk Free WiFi'. A few seconds later on a tablet or smartphone a notification to complete the WiFi connection might appear, otherwise open the browser. Accept the Terms & Conditions, complete a simple form and you are connected.

The free WiFi is a collaboration between Telecom Yorkshire, Thirsk Tourist Information, Hambleton District Council and the Thirsk Business Association. It is being provided at almost no cost to the ratepayers.

In addition, many of the Market Place shops and coffee bars provide free WiFi.

James Herriot's favourite view
By Peter.  Last updated Sun 24 Jul at 8.20am.

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The view over the Vale of York from the top of Sutton Bank was loved by Alf Wight, the James Herriot of 'All Creatures Great and Small' and other books about his life as a country vet. At this time of year in Winter you can see the multiple shades of green and purple.

County third in the World for Tourists
By john.  Last updated Wed 13 Nov at 9.42am.

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Its now official, Yorkshire is one of the best destinations in the world for tourists.

The county's travel guide listed it as one of the top ten in the world. Only Sikkin in India and the Kimberley in Australia, were ahead of Yorkshire in the Lonely Planet`s Best in Travel guide for 2014

Endorsements rarely come much better than this, from a guide that has a worldwide reputation across tourism and informing visitors.

Listing the county as one of the best regions in the world for visitors in the coming year is in recognition of it being a fantastic all-rounder: with some of the most stunning scenery in the country, dynamic cities, friendly people and a burgeonning food scene.

In 2014 this welcoming region of rugged moorlands, heritage homes and cosy pubs will be able to hold its head even higher when the Tour de France begins it Grand Depart  

Thirsk Morning newspaper
By Peter.  Last updated Fri 5 Jun at 9.36pm.

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Thirsk Morning is a single sheet newspaper for
visitors to Thirsk and for local residents.

It gives you vital information in planning a day out. Included are the weather forecast from the BBC and a snapshot of Thirsk Market Place. Both are less than an hour old whenever the newspaper is printed.

Following the weather and picture are two articles about fascinating places to visit. These articles change so that you will see new interesting stories every day.

Lastly there is a list of events happening today and, if there is space, some events for tomorrow.

If you will be travelling to North Yorkshire please print the newspaper in the days before you come.

Click HERE to see the latest edition of Thirsk Morning, produced less than an hour ago.

Please print the sheet rather than viewing it online.

Thirsk Shopping Week in 1930
By Peter.  Last updated Thu 28 Feb at 4.59pm.

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In 1930 Thirsk organised a 'Shopping Week' to promote local businesses. At TTI we are helping with 2013's promotions. In 1930 the equivalent of this website was a booklet you will find HERE and the following is a taster from it. We have different events now but things don't change too much in Thirsk!

Saturday, May 31st, 2 p.m. Opening speech by T. J. Lynch, Esq., Chairman of the Thirsk Parish Council. Spotting and Error Hunting begins. The Thirsk & Sowerby Prize Band will give two Concerts in the Market Place, at 2-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.

Monday, June 2nd. Spotting and Hunting will be in full swing. Display judging by the public should take place,and entries sent in for the Safety First Driving Competition.

Tuesday, June 3th. Spotting and Hunting continues. In the evening the Safety First Driving Competition will commence at 6-30 p.m., from the Market Place, and continue for several hours. Be there to see the starters, and watch for the finishers.

Wednesday, June 4th. The Athletic Club are co-operating with the Chamber of Trade in arranging a pleasant time at the Athletic Club Ground. A Special Cricket Match between Thirsk 1st and York Revellers, will take piace in the afternoon. Tea will be served in the grounds. In the evening the T. & S. P. S. B. will play Dance Music.

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