Harrogate Railway one step closer to promotion after semi-final win

Harrogate Railway Athletic are set to play North Ferriby in the tenth tier play-off final tomorrow.

After A 2-1 win against Brigg Town, Railway will play at the Dransfield stadium tomorrow.

Mick O’Connell, Railway’s manager, spoke about the win:

“We managed to get  a 2-0 lead going into half-time. We were very disciplined and were able to hold out. The lads were very bright in the first half and looked dangerous on the break.”

Railway travelled to Brigg Town for the semi-final and will play away again for the final. Mick said the away support was ‘great,’ with around 150  fans making the trip down to Lincolnshire.

Mick said:

“It was great, we had a full coach and more people travelled down to the game. We ended having around 150 supporters. I think they were able to get us through the last 20 minutes of the game.”

Mick O’Connell celebrating the win (Photo credit – Craig Dinsdale)

Joe Crosby, Railway’s midfielder, scored two goals in the first half to win the game. In the 90th minute, Railway were able to survive a ‘goalmouth scramble’ to prevent extra-time.

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North Ferriby FC, who finished second in the division, ended the year with the least amount of goals conceded.

Mick added:

“It’s a one off game so it will be a similar game plan. It’s a final so anything could happen but we have players up top who can cause trouble. We need to be ourselves and play the way we’ve done all year.”

The game will kick off at 3pm tomorrow and will be played at the Dransfield Stadium in North Ferriby. Tickets will be available on the gate.

Team of four to cycle the distance of ‘Harrogate to Monaco’ in memory of late friends

Four Harrogate friends are to team up and cycle 1,573km on stationary bikes to raise money for charity after the death of two close friends.

Henry Bartle, Ollie Ward, Joe Braham and Jeremy Butterfield will collectively cycle the distance of Harrogate to Monaco within 24 hours in time for the Grand Prix.

The money will be raised in memory of James Hindmarsh and David Brown, who both passed away last year.

All four of the group will cycle at the same time on May 27 and will aim to complete 16km every hour, then will rest the remaining time of the hour.

Jeremy Butterfield, a close friend of James and David, said:

“Both James and Dave loved F1 so it was only right we all ‘travelled’ to the Monaco Grand Prix this year.

“James and Dave never gave up in their fights and we will continue their legacies to help others fight the challenges they are facing.

“Every cycle of the bike they will be with us (probably with a smile and a Peroni in hand). Forever in our hearts James & Dave, we love you and we will make it to Monaco together.”

James Hindmarsh (left) and David Brown (Right)

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James passed away from a rare form of cancer in 2021, whilst David lost his battle with covid last December.

Half of the funds raised from the bike ride will be donated to Leeds Hospitals Charity, who will allocate it to Leeds Cancer Centre.

Jeremy said:

“This was a centre that was very close to James’ heart. The money raised will go towards support and help for others fighting the same fight our best mate did so bravely.”

The other half of the funds will be donated to The David Brown Foundation.

Jeremy added:

“Dave was the most thoughtful, caring, gentle and humble human who did so much for children and teenagers across the district. We will follow on in Dave’s footsteps and support children’s education across the UK.”

Last year, the four friends took part in three marathons in three days, a ski tour and climbed the three peaks. They initially tried to raise the money for James’ treatment, but as he died they decided to donate the £33,275 to the Sarcoma charity.

The cycle will take place in the window of Rocca, Harrogate. You can donate to the #DOIT4JAMES&DAVID page here. 


The Ship Inn near Boroughbridge to reopen after serious fire

The Ship Inn will re-open its doors tomorrow, after a fire damaged the pub last October.

The fire, at the pub in Aldborough, was started by a washing machine and caused extensive damage. The restoration has cost £500,000 and the pub is now larger with enough seating to accommodate up to 200 people inside and outdoors.

Brian Rey and Elaine Howden, the owners of The Ship Inn, have been restoring the pub since January.

Brian said:

“It’s been amazing the response we’ve had from the community and our staff. We had 16 staff members and they all wanted to stay on, which I have to say was quite moving.

“We now can seat around 200 people throughout the garden and pub. We now have wi-fi outside and a second card machine to bring outside. We’ve also now bought a new pizza oven.”

Last October, the pub set on fire through an electrical fault with a washing machine. The emergency services were called when a fire alarm sounded at 2am.

Brian spoke about his experience when the pub set alight. He said:

“It was hardly believable, I thought I was hallucinating. When we called 999, five fire engines turned up. We were told that if we ingested smoke for another ten minutes we wouldn’t be here today.

The store room after the fire

“We just stuck some face masks on and I knew we needed to get out of there.

“After the fire, we had no heating so we spent a lot of time in bed, simply to get warm. We had one electric heater plugged in and that’s it.”

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Brian and Elaine have seen many high-profile guests to their pubs, including Prince William and Harry, as well as Gordon Ramsay.

The couple’s old pub, The Fenwick Arms, was featured on an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares in 2006. In the episode Gordon said he had ‘a lot of respect’ for Brian, as well as claiming that their Yorkshire puddings were ‘excellent.’

The episode led Gordon and Brian to set up a ‘Real Gravy’ campaign, which was created to promote Brian’s gravy and Sunday roast.

“I’ve had five million emails about the Real Gravy campaign and I’ll never be able to get through all of them,” Brian said.

Trains between Harrogate and Leeds cancelled due to person hit by train

Trains between Harrogate and Leeds have been cancelled or delayed due to a person being hit by a train. UPDATE: Police have confirmed that the person has died at Horsforth train station, Leeds.

The delays and cancellations are expected to continue until 12pm and possibly longer, Northern said.

Emergency services attended the incident which happened at around 7am this morning near Leeds.

A statement from Northern said:

“Due to the emergency services dealing with an incident between Leeds and Harrogate all lines are blocked.

“Train services running through these stations will be cancelled or delayed. Disruption is expected until 12:00 19/04.”


The LNER (London North Eastern Railway) tweeted:

“It is with great sadness to report due to a person being hit by a train. 

A bus replacement is available for customers travelling onwards to #Horsforth and #Harrogate. Please see station staff on arrival at #Leeds.”

Rail replacement buses are currently running from Harrogate to Horsforth. The journey times are expected to increase by 30 minutes due to the incident.

Northern tickets will also be accepted between York and Leeds on Transpennine Express Services.

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Five year old Harrogate boy wins competition with ‘happy pizza’ design

A five year old Harrogate boy has won a charity competition that will see his ‘happy pizza’ on sale at a local cafe.

The competition, organised by the Ripon Amateur Operatic Society, was made to promote the local show ‘Oliver!’ . Around 60 school kids sent in drawings of pizza designs.

Henry Elvin, aged five, was the winner. His pizza face had a ham smile, pepperoni eyes, a tomato nose and sweetcorn for hair.

Competition winner Henry (middle) with his Mum (Katy) & Dad (Dan) and two actors from ‘Oliver,’ Amber & Grace

The creation will be on sale at Starling Independent Bar Cafe Kitchen, and £2.00 of every pizza bough will be donated to the Harrogate District Foodbank. Henry also won four tickets to see Oliver next week.

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Hannah Ruddy, from the Ripon Amateur Operatic Society , said:

“Some of the themes in Oliver! surround poverty and going without. Sadly, we are all too aware there is still a huge issue and far too many people have to rely on the support of organisations, such as local foodbanks.

“As well as providing a food donation point at Harrogate Theatre foyer throughout the show’s run, we also wanted to get younger people involved, and thought the competition would be a nice way to raise awareness. We are grateful to Starling for joining us in this and agreeing to make a donation from their weekly special.”

‘Oliver!’ will be shown at Harrogate theatre from 20th-23rd April, and will feature 25 local children from ages six years old and above.

Harrogate rugby club under 15s win international tournament in Portugal

Harrogate rugby club’s under 15s have won the International Rugby Festival Tournament in Lisbon.

The ‘Harrogate Raptors’ won the event in Portugal, beating Welsh side, Cwmbram, 12-7 in the final.

Matthew Grant, Harrogate rugby’s under 15s group manager said:

“It was a life changing experience for the kids. They won gracefully and represented the club really well. There was no fighting or trouble and everyone was well behaved.

“It was great that we brought 25 players and everyone got some minutes.”

Harrogate under 15s after winning the tournament

The tournament saw Harrogate play five teams from Portugal and Wales, winning all of them.

Oliver Spence, Harrogate’s captain, was named player of the tournament.

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The final between Harrogate and Cwmbram was 7-7 after twenty minutes, which took the game into extra-time. Harrogate then scored the ‘golden try’ to win the tournament.

The festival was held over two days and featured teams from across the world. The games were livestreamed across Portuguese TV and featured 118 teams throughout all age groups.

Yorkshire Water urges caution around reservoirs over Bank Holiday

Yorkshire Water is urging visitors to their reservoirs to act with caution ahead of future bank holidays.

They are asking people to follow the Countryside Code and not to take risks by using disposable barbeques or swimming in the water.

A number of moorland fires in 2022 have been linked to disposable barbeques.

Gaynor Carpenter, head of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said:

“With half-term upon us and a number of Bank Holiday weekends ahead, it is important that visitors to our reservoirs do not take risks by using disposable barbecues or entering the water. We’ve recently seen the very real dangers fires caused by barbecues pose to our moorland, which can take hundreds of years to recover.”

Disposable barbeques are not permitted on any of Yorkshire Water’s sites, and some of its areas are covered by Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO’s), which means people could face on the spot fines if they are found using one.

Firefighters recently battled a large fire at Brimham Rocks, with the fire service urging people to be careful about putting out cigarettes and barbeques.

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Gaynor added:

“It is also important visitors to our sites remain vigilant around the water, particularly parents with children who may be tempted to enter the water.
“We work hard to ensure our sites can be enjoyed by visitors from the region and beyond and it is important people leave the sites as they found them. Following the Countryside Code and ensuring to take litter home, keep dogs on leads and park considerately will all help to make visits to our reservoirs enjoyable for everyone.”

If visitors do see someone in the water who requires help or a fire, call 999 and ask for the fire service immediately.

Harrogate Railway FC set for Easter weekend play-off match

Harrogate Railway Athletic will play in the tenth-tier division play-off semi-final tomorrow.

After finishing fourth in the NCEFL (Northern Counties East Football League), Railway will travel to Brigg Town to play a ‘one off’ fixture.

Railway manager, Mick O’Connell, is a former jockey and took over in February 2020 when the club was struggling.

He’s turned the club into a play-off team with the second-best home defensive record in the division.

He said:

“It’s great. When we took over we were relegation favourites, so we had to come in and change the culture. We had players who were too comfortable with losing and it needed to change.”

Manager Mick O’Connell (Right.) Photos by – Craig Dinsdale

Speaking about playing the match away, Mick said:

“It was a shame we couldn’t get the home game, but we have to treat it like any other match. We won’t go too gung-ho as it is a one off game. We ended the year in a good run of form so we are confident and we have a couple of sessions the week before the match to freshen the lads up.”

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Formed in 1935, Railway are the second highest semi-professional team in the district, after Knaresborough Town. If they win the play-offs, they will be promoted to the ninth tier of English football.

In the 2000’s, Harrogate Railway reached the second round of the FA cup twice, playing Bristol City and Macclesfield Town. With a record attendance of 3,500 in 2002, it will be the twenty year anniversary of their match against Bristol later this year.

Michael Edwards, the club chairman, said:

“With our budget, we were fighting above our weight this season, but we just had to consolidate the right players around Mick (O’Connell.) We just want to play at the highest level possible without damaging the club financially. Hopefully success can bring more sponsorship opportunities to the club.”

Harrogate Railway Athletic will play Brigg Town on Saturday 16th April. The game will be held at the EC Surfacing Stadium and will kick off at 15:00. Tickets will be available at the gate.

Calls for archeological survey into Knaresborough’s Roman past

Plans to develop a site in Knaresborough could provide an opportunity to conduct an archeological survey into the town’s Roman past.

An application was submitted to Harrogate Borough Council on March 22 to build a four-bedroom house on Abbey Road.

There was pre-Roman and Roman occupation on the site prior to a Trinitarian Priory being founded.

Kathy Allday, chair of the Knaresborough Museum Association, said the planning application provided a rare opportunity to carry out an archaeological survey prior to any development,

She added the survey could reveal key details about Romano-British life in the area and also whether a nunnery, which is known to have existed in the vicinity, was on the site.

The association has been undertaking its own research in the vicinity of the former Trinitarian Priory and has found a Roman brooch and a medieval coin.

Ms Allday said:

“Antiquarian records and archive material suggest there was also a nunnery and outbuildings which were part of the Priory precinct in the vicinity. As such an archaeological survey of the site. should be a condition of any planning approval for this development.

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“Archaeological excavations in Abbey Road have been few and far between in the last few decades, so this is an opportunity that should not be missed. Otherwise the chance to learn more about medieval and Roman occupation in Knaresborough may be lost for a few more decades.”

There have been objections to the property being built. Knaresborough Town Council’s submission to the planning consultation says:

“We object to this development as it is within the Knaresborough Conservation Area and would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area.”

A medieval window from Knaresborough priory, now in Pannal church – Photos by – @knaresboroughmuseum Instagram

Tributes to long-serving Harrogate hospital cardiologist

Dr Hugh Larkin, a retired cardiologist and consultant in acute medicine at Harrogate District Hospital for 39 years, has died.

Dr Larkin, who was 78, died on April 1 following a battle with cancer. He leaves behind wife Lynn, children Hugh, Philip, Samantha, Nicola and Tristan and grandson, Hugh.

He joined the cardiology department at the hospital in 1983 and worked through the pandemic until his retirement in January 2021.

Dr Jacqueline Andrews, executive medical director at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT), said:

“Dr Larkin was one of our longest serving consultants, joining HDFT in 1983 and working with us during the covid pandemic where he returned to support his colleagues and patients at a time of great need.

“He was a kind, caring and talented doctor who was highly respected by colleagues and patients and he will be greatly missed. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this very sad time.”

Born in 1943, Dr Larkin grew up in Glasgow, joining the navy at 16 years old and before studying Medicine at the University of Glasgow.

On graduation in 1974, Dr Larkin became a resident at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary before working at the Western Infirmary and Sydney’s North Shore Hospital.

Dr David Earl, deputy medical director at HDFT said:

“Hugh was a gentle and kind man. He was a wonderful teacher, who was respected as a colleague and friend, and most importantly by the population of Harrogate itself.”

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Sammy Lambert, business development, charity and volunteer manager at HDFT said:

“Hugh was an amazing person and highly thought of by so many people.  He saved so many lives – including my own father. His passing is such a sad loss, but his legacy will live on not only with the funds raised in his memory, but also through the difference he made to so many people’s lives.”

The Larkin family said in a statement:

“Hugh was a cherished husband and loving father; he was a family man in the truest sense of the word and was happiest when surrounded by his wife and children.

“As a family, we knew how much his work meant to him and we were incredibly proud of everything he did as a doctor. We hope his legacy in cardiology, as well as the positive impact he had on the lives of the people of Harrogate, lives on.”

Dr Larkin’s funeral will take place on Tuesday 19 April at 12pm at Our Lady Immaculate and St Robert’s Catholic Church in Harrogate.

Dr Larkin’s family have asked for donations in his memory to go to the cardiology department at Harrogate District Hospital via a dedicated donation page at https://hhcc.co.uk/hhcc-post/in-memory-of-dr-hugh-larkin/