What’s on & news

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What’s on soon

Tue 9 Mar 2021

Online from Holy Rood House, Sowerby. Gay and Bisexual Men’s Spirituality & Wellbeing. Facilitated by Urs Mattmann. An online group for Gay & Bisexual Men for support, sharing and inspiration. 7.30pm for 7.45-9.30pm. Suggested donation £15. tel: 01845 522580 tickets: email or phone email: enquiries@holyroodhouse.org.uk web: http://www.holyroodhouse.org.uk

Thu 18 Mar 2021

On line Extra special event from The Arts Society Hambleton. A live Tour lead by Luisella Romeo, Venice born Registered Venice Tour Guide. This special event, a live tour of stunning Ca’Rezzenico palace on the Grand Canal in Venice. A fine example of 18th century Venetian baroque and rococo architecture and interior decoration, including Murano glass chandeliers and many paintings by leading Venetian painters including Canaletto. Lasting an hour and using her video camera and sound system our guide, Luisella, will talk us round this important palace, explaining its interiors and artefacts. 2pm. Members will receive an invitation in advance, Visitors please book on line. Members and visitors; £10, which includes a £5 per viewing device charge levied by the Palace. . tickets: hambleton@theartssociety.org email: hambleton@theartssociety.org web: https://theartssociety.org/hambleton

What’s on later

Sat 20 Mar 2021

Event imageFacebook Live - @WhiteRoseBooks. Julian will be signing his new book 'All Creatures, Heart-warming Tales From a Yorkshire Vet'. In the book Julian tells the stories of each of the eight species he has the good fortune to care for every day. Pre-order your Signed Copy now. 11am. Free event. tel: 01845 524353 email: sales@whiterosebooks.co.uk

Sat 20 Mar 2021

Holy Rood House, Sowerby, Thirsk YO7 1HX. Spring Quiet Garden Day. 'The garden as embracer of our sorrows and joys' - led by Helen Warwick. Our large garden offers a quiet, gentle healing space which includes a labyrinth, orchard, goats and a walled garden with a pond. 9.45 for 10am-3.30pm. Suggested donation £25-£30. tel: 01845 522580 tickets: email or phone email: enquiries@holyroodhouse.org.uk web: http://www.holyroodhouse.org.uk

Tue 23 Mar 2021

Online from Holy Rood House, Sowerby. Creative Journaling in Difficult Times. Led by Helen Warwick. Suitable for anyone wanting to explore journaling, whether experienced or a beginner. Crayons or felt-tips, a pen and paper will be all that is needed for exercises that will be enjoyable, useful, and revealing our wisdom. 10am-11.30am or 6pm-7.30pm. Suggested donation £15. tel: 01845 522580 tickets: email or phone email: enquiries@holyroodhouse.org.uk web: http://www.holyroodhouse.org.uk

Sat 27 Mar 2021 to
 Sun 18 Apr 2021

Mother Shipton's Cave, Prophecy House, Knaresborough, HG5 8DD. Humpty Dumpty and his storybook friends are all here for an EGGCITING event sure to put a SPRING in your step! Booking essential. 10.00am - 5.30pm. £10. tel: 01423 864600 tickets: Online www.mothershipton.co.uk email: info@mothershipton.co.uk web: https://www.mothershipton.co.uk/

Tue 6 Apr 2021

Online lecture (Zoom). The Arts Society Hambleton - Art and the arts brought into your home by experts and by Zoom. Join us for The Art of Partying; A Feast for the Eyes. Lecturer and tutor, Alice Foster, follows the variety of merrymaking, banqueting, dances and music throughout the ages in a feast of colour . For more detail see website or email hambleton@theartssociety.org. Everyone is welcome. 2pm. free to members, £7 visitors, £5 visitors from other Arts Society societies. tickets: hambleton@theartssociety.org. email: hambleton@theartssociety.org web: http://www.theartssociety.org/hambleton

Thu 15 Apr 2021

On line Extra event from The Arts Society Hambleton. “The Queens Jewellery” A live lecture with Viv Haxby, Registered London Blue Badge Guide who is particularly knowledgeable about our monarchy and aristocracy. Viv Haxby, will talk about the Queen’s personal jewellery collection, probably the most important collection of its kind in the world. We will hear about jewellery that was accumulated by previous queens and how it was acquired, jewellery the Queen has collected and how items have been adapted over the generations. We will learn about the role of the Queen’s Dresser and Keeper of the Personal Jewellery, and how items are chosen to be worn. We will also learn about items lent to other members of the family e,g the Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge. 7.30pm. £5.Members will receive an invitation prior to the event. Visitors please book on line. tickets: hambleton@theartssociety.org email: hambleton@theartssociety.org web: http://theartssociety.org/hambleton

Sun 30 May 2021

Tennants, Leyburn DL8 5SG. The Young'uns. The three superstars from Stockton enchant us with their haunting songs and captivating stories of North East characters, and life in general. 4pm & 7.30pm. £16, £3 under-25. tickets: Book online web: https://www.swalefest.org

Sun 30 May 2021 to
 Tue 1 Jun 2021

The Forum, Bullamoor Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP. The Wizard of Oz. A fun-packed pantomime twist on the original story. Sun 2pm & 5pm, Mon 2pm & 4.30pm, Tue 1pm, 3.30pm & 6.30pm. £10 per person. tel: 01609 776230 tickets: online email: info@forumnorthallerton.org.uk web: http://www.forumnorthallerton.org.uk

Mon 31 May 2021

St. Andrew's Church, Grinton DL11 6HN. Society of Strange & Ancient Instruments. The entertaining early music adventurers bring back to life an extinct ancient instrument: the trumpet marine (which, by the way, is neither a trumpet nor marine). Four of these will be heard together for the first time since 1674. 4pm & 7.30pm. £12, £3 under 25s. tickets: Book online web: https://www.swalefest.org

Sat 5 Jun 2021

Holy Rood House, Sowerby, Thirsk YO7 1HX. Quiet Garden Day. 'The garden as embracer of our sorrows and joys' - led by Helen Warwick. Our large garden offers a quiet, gentle healing space which includes a labyrinth, orchard, goats and a walled garden with a pond. 9.45 for 10am-3.30pm. Suggested donation £25-£30. tel: 01845 522580 tickets: email or phone email: enquiries@holyroodhouse.org.uk web: http://www.holyroodhouse.org.uk

Sat 5 Jun 2021

St. Mary's Church, Richmond DL10 7AQ. Voice Trio - ‘Hildegard Transfigured'. A sublime piece of concert-theatre by top female vocal trio VOICE accompanied by an extraordinary psychedelic light show, celebrating the 12th century composer and visionary Hildegard von Bingen. 8.30pm & 11pm. £12, £3 under 25s. tickets: Book online web: https://www.swalefest.org

Wed 9 Jun 2021

St. Andrew's Church, Grinton DL11 6HN. Josquin to Jones; Schubert to Sting. An all-star quartet celebrates the Renaissance through a cornucopia of composers including Josquin, Dowland, Schubert, and two modern day megastars - Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones and Sting! . 2pm & 5.30pm. £16, £3 under-25s. tickets: Book online web: https://www.swalefest.org

Fri 11 Jun 2021

St. Andrew's Church, Grinton DL11 6HN. Catrin Finch (harp) & Seckou Keita (kora). Welsh harp virtuoso meets Senegalese kora master - music made in heaven!. 4pm & 7.30pm. £16, £3 under-25s. web: https://www.swalefest.org

Sat 12 Jun 2021

The Forum, Bullamoor Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP. Lore. With captivating harmonies and finely crafted songs, LORE will provide an evening of soulful songs with stunning musical arrangements. Famed for turning the legendary 'Teenage Kicks' on its head, LORE have gone from living room dreams to sell-out theatre tour success in a short time. 8pm. £12/£10. tel: 01609 776230 tickets: online email: info@forumnorthallerton.org.uk web: http://www.forumnorthallerton.org.uk

Sat 26 Jun 2021 to
 Sun 27 Jun 2021

Duncombe Park, Helmsley YO62 5EB. British Falconry Fair. A world class series of ring events will showcase the very best in flying demonstrations from the best display falconers in the business. Saturday night BBQ and bar. No dogs allowed. Onsite basic camping area – you must prebook and spaces are limited. The B&Bs, hotels and campgrounds of Helmsley are just a short walk away. tel: 01439 772080 email: info@ncbp.co.uk web: https://britishfalconryfair.com

Tue 29 Jun 2021

Online Zoom. Markenfield Hall talk. It is near Ripon is on our doorstep but is unknown to many of us. The seat of the Grantley family, builders of Grantley Hall, the moated manor house dates from the 14th century. Although altered over centuries, it would still be recognised by its original builder. Janet Senior, a volunteer guide at the hall tells us about this remarkable building and its remarkable families. Click https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87967635163?pwd=S04zSUNoRGgrZUxZdkFuUkNmeEs5Zz09. 1.45 for 2pm. Free, no registration needed.

Census 2021

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The Office for National Statistics – which runs Census 2021 – is working with Hambleton District Council to deliver a successful census and help local services to fully meet future needs.

Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to local organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales. Census outputs inform where public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries.

The census, taking place on 21 March 2021, will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, ensuring the big decisions facing the country following the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Dr Justin Ives, Chief Executive for Hambleton District Council said “The results of the census help us to understand the needs of our district and tailor our services to meet them. I urge everyone in Hambleton to complete the form they will be receiving in the coming weeks.”

Households will receive letters with online codes before 13th March explaining how they can complete their online census. People can also request a paper questionnaire if they’d prefer to complete the census that way.

From 22nd March reminder letters will start arriving and field officers will visit houses still to respond.

There is plenty of help available, with people also able to complete the census over the phone with assistance from trained staff via the ONS’ free phone contact centre.

The main census field operation will begin only after Census Day, contacting those who have not responded. Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, wear PPE and work in line with all government guidance. They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit.

Census 2021 will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results will be available in 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit census.gov.uk

Swaledale Festival

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Society of Strange & Ancient Instruments
St. Andrew's Church, Grinton. Mon 31 May


All tickets for the Swaledale Festival must be booked online this year, not by telephone. Please book tickets only for those in your household ‘bubble’. Seating will be pre-allocated and you will be given your seat numbers on arrival at the event. As usual, tickets for all Swaledale Festival concerts will be available for under 25s at just £3. If events are cancelled, full refunds will be given to all ticket buyers.

Each performance is being offered twice because capacity in the venues is limited. Audiences will be socially-distanced and the venues will be cleaned between shows.

Further events are planned July to October but there won't be brochures - keep an eye on our website.

Herriot Centre award

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The World of James Herriot in Thirsk is a winner of the Triumph over Adversity Award in the Rural Business Awards 2021. The World of James Herriot team is celebrating following the Rural Business Awards 2020/21 National Final, held online for the first time due to lockdown. Jules Hudson, the BBC Escape to the Country presenter, delighted the finalists as host for the ceremony on Thu 25 Feb.

Speaking after winning The Triumph Over Adversity Award, Ian Ashton, managing director World of James Herriot, said:

 “I am truly humbled to receive the Triumph Over Adversity Award alongside every other worthy winner in this category at the Rural Business Awards. The past year has been especially difficult for businesses, so to receive this award means the absolute world to me. I want the success of World of James Herriot to be a glimmer of hope for anyone who is currently struggling or has struggled in the past – better days are on the horizon. Thank you, Rural Business Awards and Amazon”

Set in the former Thirsk surgery and home of Alf Wight, MRCVS, OBE, (James Herriot) WoJH brings to life his colourful story: his lifetime’s work as a vet and his ever-popular writing as ‘James Herriot’.


Memory problems?

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A new booklet from the Alzheimer's Society offers advice on memory problems

Everybody forgets things from time to time. But if you are noticing problems with your memory, or the memory of someone close to you, it’s important to speak to a GP.

A  new Alzheimer's Society booklet has been designed to help you understand more about memory loss, dementia, and the next steps to take. 

Get your free digital copy from

Can you sew?

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Wensleydale Railway are looking for volunteers who can sew.  Can you help make railway volunteers look this glam?

They need costumes from the 1920s so anyone with any dressmaking skills is welcome. They’re looking for suits, waistcoats, pinafores, dropped waist tea dresses, cloche hats etc.

For further information email

The way out – step 1

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These are the current steps for easing the current lockdown. There is a lot of detail in the Government's announcements and you can read the full 64-page document from which the above is extracted at

Electric waste trucks

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A new fleet of waste vehicles have taken to the road – and the vehicles are not only collecting ‘recyclable’ waste but are helping to reduce carbon emissions.

They will be used to collect recyclables – including paper, cardboard, cans, plastics, glass – which householders place in recycling boxes and bins for fortnightly collection.

Due to the length of the rounds these trucks cover, the vehicles cannot be fully powered by electricity – however the District Council does use four fully electric vehicles for other waste and street scene work.

Alan Bennett

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There are new versions of Alan Bennett's much-loved monologues, with performers including Sarah Lancashire, Martin Freeman, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Jodie Comer and Maxine Peake.

The twelve are all still available on iPlayer. Use a smart-TV – or from a computer, tablet or phone go to

Know someone not British?

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In particular, are they a citizen of a European Union country, EEA or Switzerland (but not Ireland)? If they intend to stay in the United Kingdom then before 30 June 2021 they must apply for permission to remain.

5 million people have already started or completed the process but others are still not aware of the looming deadline.

Even if an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen has lived in the UK for many years or has a permanent residence document, they still need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (or apply for citizenship) before 30 June 2021 to continue to live and work in the UK.

Applications must also be submitted for children of any age, and parents applying on their behalf. Start at

Thirsk & Sowerby history

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The story of Thirsk & Sowerby is told by 15 history boards, connected by the Past and Present walk.

Recently the first three, on the site of Thirsk Castle, have been replaced by Thirsk Town Council in collaboration with Hambleton DC, Thirsk Tourist Information and English Heritage.

Thirsk's website has a lot of walks for download. You can also follow the Past and Present trail on your phone at

Thirsk's new veterinary centre

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Julian and Anne Norton, known from 'The Yorkshire Vet' series, have a new venture in Thirsk. Together with two other vets they have formed Thirsk Veterinary Centre Ltd and will operate from the Thirsk Auction Mart site.

Expect a Grand Opening in March.
Facebook: @Thirsk-Veterinary-Centre

Thirsk Leisure Centre

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A four-million-pound redevelopment project is well underway at Thirsk leisure centre.

Once complete the centre will boast a gym three times the size of the current facility – which for the first time will be operational 24/7, a new studio for exercise classes and meetings, as well as a cycling studio. 

Outdated plant equipment that forced the centre’s pools to close several times over the last couple of years, will be replaced with greener, more environmentally sustainable equipment and there will be a new roof to address much needed repairs and condensation issues experienced within the building. 

The gym changing rooms will be updated and the reception seating area will also be refurbished.

The new structure for the gym extension should start to take shape towards the middle of March with the structure for the cycling studio going up after that.

Our local Arts Society

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The Arts Society is a leading arts education charity with a global network of over 380 local Societies, which bring people together through a shared curiosity for the arts. Locally The Arts Society Hambleton usually meets monthly at Solberge Hall Hotel, Newby Wiske near Northallerton and Thirsk.

In these difficult times of isolation and distancing, the society is now offering anyone interested in learning more about the Visual Arts the opportunity to join in online.

These include bringing Venice to North Yorkshire on March 18th, providing a tour of the Ca’ Rezzonico with its stunning interiors and art collections, conducted live with a local Venetian guide. On April 18th, there is an expert lecture on the Queen’s magnificent jewellery collection.

You can join in The Arts Society Hambleton current online events. To request attendance as a visitor email at the address below. Price: Members and visitors; £10, which includes a £5 per viewing device charge levied by the Palace.

You can also request membership information.

World Day of Prayer

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This year's World Day of Prayer service in Thirsk, organised by Churches Together, will be held in All Saints Roman Catholic Church, Castlegate, at 2pm on Friday 5th March. It will be transmitted live online.
The service this year was written by the ladies of Vanuatu, an island in the southwestern Pacific islands just over 1,100 miles to the east of Australia. Because of its geographic position Vanuatu is one of the first countries to start to pray on the World Day of Prayer.

All are welcome to come but Covid rules apply. If you would like to watch live, or later, go to youtube.com and seach for 'all saints church thirsk'.

If you would like to attend in person please book a place (30 only) on the website below. The booking sheet should be there soon.

Birds of the Beck

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From John Aston


Ducks, Swallows, Martins
If you only know the Cod Beck from its meander through Thirsk, you might imagine that it is home to lots of ducks but little else. The beck around the Millgate car park supports a population of mallards, with the occasional white Aylesbury amongst their number, all tempted by the titbits on offer from both locals and visitors. It’s not only people who can suffer from obesity on a diet of pizza and fish and chips... But either side of the town centre, the beck and its flood plain have a rich diversity of birdlife. Some species, such as swallows and martins, are seasonal visitors but others live here all year round. In this piece I’d like to highlight some of the birds you might encounter.


Grey Heron
One of Britain’s biggest birds, the grey heron, is a regular sight on the banks of the beck and on flooded fields nearby. It is a huge bird, with a wingspan of nearly two metres but it is also very shy, and will often take to the air at the first glimpse of a human in the distance. Our local herons spend most of their time on the banks of the beck, watching and waiting patiently before using their long beak to stab small fish (including minnows and young trout). I once had a very close encounter when fishing a quiet pool near Thornton Le Street when, only ten feet in front of me, a heron appeared around the corner of the pool, looking for all the world like a small grey man. The heron squawked furiously, flapped its huge wings and nearly crashed into the tree canopy. I will admit to very nearly having done exactly the same.


Until the last decade, Little Egrets were almost unknown in North Yorkshire but they are now an increasingly common sight. They are smaller than their close relation, the grey heron, but bigger than most other birds you will see on the beck. White all over, with a black beak, they are unmistakable. The footpath leading south from Sowerby, just below the A168, has had a resident little egret most of the winter.If you ever see a huge, heron-sized egret, then congratulations, because you’ve just seen the latest newcomer to the area, the Great White Egret. I saw my first this winter, at Kiplin Hall near Scorton.


At this time of year, the beck attracts a lot of winter visitors, especially various members of the thrush family. Even the blackbird in your garden may have spent its summer in Scandinavia, but the most noticeable winter thrushes are fieldfares and redwings. They are gregarious birds, with flocks of several hundred being common sights. You will need a bird book or app (try the free Nord University Bird ID app) to tell them apart, and at the time of writing, in late January, there is a flock of several hundred fieldfares on the fields to the east of the beck a mile south of Sowerby. But don’t blame me if they’ve moved on when you next walk down there …


Birds of prey deserve an article in their own right. Watch this space.

The Clock Tower

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By Jane Clack


She’s a permanent fixture,

An imposing figure of stone,

Her realm is the market place,

Where she rests on her throne.


Her vassals assemble at regal feet,

A place where folk like to gather and meet,

They flock just like pigeons, both young and old,

Where news is exchanged and gossip retold.


Her face is unseeing, poised, agèd and mute,

Ignoring each season’s changing moods.

Years shuffle past, still she stays resolute,

Her hands performing chronological moves.


To me, she’s gracious and imbued with power,

Standing tall in sun, wind and shower,

Benevolent, kindly, respected by all,

Heart beating rhythmically inside her tower.


I fear that her stopping could predict Thirsk’s fall.


Local author Jane Clack lives in Thirsk.  She is a retired teacher who now spends her time writing.

Trains to & from London

Because of upgrades to the East Coast Main Line there will be no LNER trains to London Kings Cross from Fri 26 Feb to Sun 28 Feb, then again from Fri 23 Apr to Sun 25 Apr.

In addition, from Mon 1 Mar until Thu 3 Jun there will be significant disruption on services running to or from London Kings Cross.

On Fri 4 Jun to Sun 6 Jun trains will not serve either Peterborough or Kings Cross.

Grand Central is not operating any service until at least Sat 27 Mar,

Councils upheaval

Residents and businesses in North Yorkshire are currently served by a two-tier system of local government but the Government wants to reduce the two-tier system to only one. A public consultation has now been announced.

District and County Council elections were due to be held in May this year but they will be rescheduled to May 2022. This avoids the possibility of the electorate being asked to vote for councils while at the same time they are being given the opportunity to express their views on the possible abolition of those councils. It also avoids members potentially being elected to serve short terms.

North Yorkshire County Council is responsible for services such as adult and children’s social care, maintaining roads and libraries, and the District Councils – Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby – are responsible for services such as rubbish collection, housing and planning and environmental health. The City of York Council is a unitary local authority and is responsible for all local government services in its area.

The Government invited the principal councils in North Yorkshire, and the unitary council of York, to submit locally led proposals for unitary local government.

Two proposals were received. Six of the seven districts within North Yorkshire (all bar Hambleton) have proposed two unitary councils (East and West) – the East comprising Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby districts and the current unitary of York, and the West comprising Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate and Richmondshire districts.

North Yorkshire County Council has proposed a single unitary on the footprint of the existing administrative county, to operate alongside the existing unitary City of York Council.

Views of all those interested in the proposals are welcomed by the Government. This includes local residents, town and parish councils, businesses and the voluntary sector.

To respond to the consultation see

Dog theft

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Home Secretary Priti Patel is reviewing pet theft nationally and considering additional options for enforcement, including harsher penalties for offenders.

Locally Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police & Fire and Crime Commissioner is collecting input for the national review. If the prospect of theft of a dog concerns you please complete the 60-second survey at


Advice on keeping dogs safe is available on the North Yorkshire Police website:

Garden waste collection

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Licences for 2021/22 cost £40 per green bin and are valid from 29 March 2021.

Properties participating in the current service must not remove their existing licences until the final collection in March 2021.

Please remove all existing licences before affixing the new one to the bin. Do not place over existing licences.

Bins not displaying the correct licences will not be emptied.

Residents are encouraged to subscribe early to maximise their collections.

New and existing customers can sign up for the fortnightly collection service online at

Local cases

These are the COVID-19 positive cases from the latest seven weeks for which near-complete information is available. The final number is the number of cases by specimen date for the week ending on 25 Feb 2021.


- Thirsk North

   24, 17, 15, 18, 5, 7, 3

- Thirsk South-Sowerby-Coxwold

   43, 34, 12, 11, 9, 12, 7

- Leeming-Pickhill-Thornton

   19, 13, 5, 6, ??, 2, 11

- Helmsley-Ampleforth

   8, 4, 4, 5, 6, 14, 8

- Dishforth-Baldersby-Markington

   29, 15, 10, 5, 4, 4, 8

- Northallerton

   64, 41, 35, 22, 50, 19, 18

- Northallerton Sth-Leeming Bar

   23, 14, 10, 7, 22, 3, <3

- Brompton-Appleton-Thimbleby

   16, 20, 12, 15, 5, 9, 3

- Bedale-Snape

   30, 17, 15, 10, ??, <3, <3

- Boroughbridge

   31, 22, 15, 10, 13, 15, 11

- Linton-Tollerton-Raskelf

   9, 12, 6, 6, 2, 5, 11

- Easingwold-Stillington

  15, 19, 18, 7, 2, 4, <3

Hambleton cases

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Hambleton daily 7-day moving average case rate, all ages 1 Jul 2020 to 14 Feb 2021


Hambleton comprises Bedale, Easingwold, Northallerton, Stokesley, Thirsk and all the hamlets and villages around these.

The chart was derived from the Government's Yorkshire and Humber epidemiological data sets.