NATIONALLY, the year 2017 saw fewer political and social earthquakes than the turbulent 2016, but what’s been in the news closer to home? DAVID MACKIE looks at what’s been happening in Ryedale, from January to June:


- The Roman town and fort of Derventio once stood where Malton and Norton do now - and some of its secrets were revealed during an archaeological dig in January. Construction work to expand Norton Primary School at the former Brooklyn House site in Langton Road discovered a wealth of treasure, including the original Roman road, human remains, baby burials, a strange burial of two geese heads facing each other with a pair of wings placed over them, and large amounts of pottery.

John Buglass, the archaeologist in charge, said: “The results of this excavation have recorded previously unknown, nationally important archaeological remains, the analysis of which will significantly expand our knowledge of Norton and its role and importance in Roman Yorkshire.”


- A report into Ryedale District Council slammed the authority and described its meetings as being like “a circus”. The peer review, by the Local Government Association, said the need for clear strategic leadership was being overshadowed by poor member behaviour at meetings. “Full council meetings are acknowledged to be challenging, with some member behaviour extremely disruptive,” it said. The review prompted the authority to implement a number of changes as part of an improvement plan.

- A Malton man with Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) raised awareness of the condition with the launch of a charity single. Ryan Swain said he was 18 years old before he was officially diagnosed with ADHD. “At school I was told I’d never achieve anything or do anything,” the presenter said. “I’ve battled my demons to achieve more than some people have in their entire lives, performing on some of the nation’s biggest stages and working alongside some of the bigger names in showbusiness.”

Ryan wrote and recorded the rap track in a single day. “My goal is to raise awareness and make all children, parents and adults see the positives to having the condition,” he added.


- It was the end of an era as the video rental shop in Norton - one of the last in the country - closed its doors. The shop’s owner, Steve Arundel, had been trading for just a few months short of 30 years. In its time, the shop saw the revolution of VHS and Betamax, DVDs, Blu Rays, and now streaming services. “It’s the end of an era, but as one door closes others open,” Steve said. “I won’t be sad, I’ll have no regrets. It’s given us a good living over the years.”

- A major project to “preserve the legacy” of the Moors got under way. The £3.8m project, entitled This Exploited Land of Iron, will “record, protect and conserve” the landmarks of when ironstone mining and railways ruled the land.


- The Conservative Party lost its majority on Ryedale District Council after six members - with a collective total of 96 years’ council service and experience - defected to the Independent group.

The decision to defect was taken following the suspension of Cllrs David Cussons and John Raper, along with then-RDC leader Linda Cowling, from the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association for reasons of “non-attendance and non-compliance regarding standard Conservative Party disciplinary processes in connection with voting irregularities”.

An association spokesman said it “regretted” the resignations.

- A whole Ryedale village, which was on the market for £20m, was sold. The village estate of West Heslerton, near Malton, went on the market in April 2016, and had been under offer since August. The estate was purchased by Albanwise Ltd, a Norfolk-based real estate and farming investment company, for an undisclosed amount.

For their £20m, the buyers got a 15,692 sq ft, 21-bedroom hall which was “requiring renovation”, 2,116 acres of land including 1,528 acres of arable or temporary grassland, 427 acres of permanent pasture, 112 acres of mature woodland and 17 acres of farm business tenancy let, as well as 43 residential houses and cottages, the Dawnay Arms pub, a petrol station, two acres of playing fields and eight acres of sports field.


- Crowds cheered and waved as the Tour de Yorkshire made its way through Ryedale. The route took the cyclists up the district from south to north, through Norton and Malton and up through Kirby Misperton and Pickering. In Norton, pupils from the primary school and Norton College were among those lining the route along Langton Road.

Norton College headteacher Phil Loftus said: “There has been a lovely community atmosphere and it has been really nice to get out and chat to people as well as watch the race. It has been a real team effort.”

- Ryedale “turned blue” in the county council elections in May, with the Conservatives making two gains to take five of the six seats. Candidate Keane Duncan, 22, took the Norton division from Liberal Democrat veteran Elizabeth Shields in a landslide to become the youngest county councillor in the authority’s history.

There was drama elsewhere as the tightly-contested Pickering seat, after at least one recount, also went to the Tories, their candidate Greg White beating the Liberal Party incumbent John Clark by just two votes - 1210 to 1208.

The only non-Tory to win was Lindsay Burr, who held Malton. In her speech, Ms Burr said: “It’s not easy when you’re an independent. You feel like a small fish in a big pond. But I’ve showed it can be done.”


- Residents of villages including Crambeck, Welburn, Whitwell, Crambe and Huttons Ambo got together to press for road safety measures on the A64 after two couples were killed a month apart on the same stretch. On Friday, June 23, Charles McLaughlin, 53, and

Judith McLaughlin, 58, from Welburn, were killed crossing the road.

This tragedy came just weeks after another couple, Dave Tinker, 50, and Julie Gough, 52, were killed when they were hit by a minibus while crossing the A64 at nearby Crambeck where they lived. The A64 Road Safety Action Group was set up in late June.

Carol Sollitt, Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for Crambeck, said at the time: “We have been promised support by various public figures and bodies and we will hold them to their promises.”

- Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake was re-elected to the post following June’s General Election. However. the night was disastrous for his Conservative party, who lost their majority and were forced to go into coalition with the DUP party of Northern Ireland.

The Government, and particularly Theresa May, has been plagued by troubles ever since.