Between the summer shows and the Christmas lights, the last six months saw both tragedies and triumphs in the headlines. Here’s DAVID MACKIE’S quick rundown of what was happening locally over the second half of 2017


l Two barn owl chicks were killed and two other birds stolen in a raid on a Ryedale nest in early July. Police said that the theft took place from a farm between Sheriff Hutton and Bulmer. The parent birds had successfully reared chicks in the location for the last seven years. “On or around July 3, thieves entered the field and used ladders to get the box down from the tree,” police said. “Two of the nearly-fledged chicks were killed and an adult and chick were removed from the box and taken away.” A spokesman for the Barn Owl Trust described the act as “appalling”.

l The 151st Ryedale Show was held at Welburn Park, near Kirkbymoorside. Organisers said it was a “great family day out with a friendly atmosphere”. Livestock entries were up across the board, with more than 5,000 entries recorded across all sections with record-breakers in the sheep, pigs and goats. Show secretary Christine Thompson said: “We are delighted that entries have done so well as it is also the Royal International Show.”

l A man was killed in a fatal house fire which left villagers in Marton, near Sinnington, “in shock”. The man, later identified as Boguslaw Marian Szylak, 49, died during the fire in the property he was living in at Potters Lodge, Marton. An inquest into his death was opened on November 22.


l In August, concerns were raised that community health services in Ryedale could be privatised. York Hospital Trust confirmed it was not bidding to renew its contract to run everything from district nursing to podiatry to the fast response teams. In November it was revealed that, in an £80 million deal, Humber NHS Foundation Trust will be running community care and support services for adults in Ryedale, after it won a competitive tender.

l The wildlife world celebrated after one of Britain’s rarest creatures was confirmed to be living on the North York Moors. The first-ever images of a pine marten living in Yorkshire were captured after a four-year effort to discover whether unconfirmed sightings of the elusive creature were true. A single male was captured on a wildlife camera trap on Forestry Commission land – the first confirmed record of pine marten in the area for 24 years.

l Police launched the first of a series of operations aimed at cracking down on drug use in Malton and Norton. The operations were welcomed by local councillors as a way of removing antisocial behaviour from the riverside areas of town. Officers carried out the first of several planned operations at Riverside Walk to tackle what they describe as “an ongoing drugs issue” at the site. Norton county councillor Keane Duncan said: “The Riverside Walk has recently become a hotspot for drug taking and anti-social behaviour. Once a welcoming space, it is now one many people would rather avoid after dark.

“Blatant illegal activity here has gone on for far too long. I commend North Yorkshire Police’s efforts to crackdown on this behaviour.”


l A controversial smaller fire engine came into service at Malton fire station. The so-called tactical response vehicle (TRV) was the fifth of six that are being deployed across North Yorkshire as older fire engines require replacement. Danny Westmoreland, from the fire service, said: “It’s fractionally smaller and doesn’t have as many ladders - it’s specifically designed to deal with smaller incidents by itself, but it also will form part of the attendance at larger incidents.” The TRVs were the subject of a long-running dispute between management and unions as they are typically staffed by fewer firefighters than a traditional engine.

l Preparation work began at the Kirby Misperton fracking site on September 19 - leading to clashes between police and protesters which continued almost daily for several months. More than 50 police officers were on site at that stage. Demonstrators criticised the significant scale of the police presence, with one describing it as “a waste of resources”. But police responded: “We have a duty to make sure that people who want to assemble and protest do so safely, balanced against a duty to ensure that businesses can go about their lawful commercial activity.”

l An Ampleforth man, 74, met his sister for the first time in September. Jon Entwistle was unaware he had another family in Canada until he was tracked down by relatives in 2013. After speaking on Skype and learning more about each other over the last four years, Jon finally met up with Christine Kitteringham at York Railway Station. “We saw each other on the platform from a few yards away,” said Mr Entwistle. “She mouthed my name and that was it. It’s great to see her and she is really fun.”


l Members of Ryedale District Council voted unanimously in favour of supporting redevelopment plans for the Milton Rooms in Malton. At a meeting of full council, it was agreed to grant a total of £321,160 to match funds to be raised by the Milton Rooms. Plans have been drawn up to completely renovate and conserve the Grade-II listed building, creating better access for disabled people and improve facilities in the building.

l The independent Boundary Commission for England (BCE) published its revised proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries, which would see a large chunk of the Thirsk & Malton constituency moved to to Scarborough & Whitby. The BCE must report to Parliament in 2018 and, if agreed by Parliament, the new constituencies will be in use at the next scheduled General Election in 2022.


l The theft of a Royal British Legion charity box was branded “disgusting” by appeal organisers. One of the Poppy Appeal’s collection tins was stolen from The Card Factory in Wheelgate, Malton, just days before Remembrance Day. Brenda Robinson, manager of the shop, said: “This has really upset everyone who works here - this is the first time anything like this has happened and staff have been left gutted and extremely upset.”

l Major improvement work to a notorious A64 junction started in late November. Work at the Barton Hill junction, still ongoing, will convert the crossroads to a staggered junction, aimed at improving visibility and safety at the junction with Mains Lane. The Barton Hill junction was known for being a site of frequent accidents for many years. It was the subject of a decades-long campaign by, among others, Ryedale coroner Michael Oakley. The work is expected to be completed towards the end of Spring 2018.


l A plot of derelict land in Norton may be the site of a new petrol station under new plans. The planning application by BP includes the construction of the filling station on the plot of land between Welham Road and Springfield Garth, which has been unused for nearly 20 years. The 0.56 hectare site was formerly the home of Malton Clothing factory, which stood on the site for decades.The application went in on December 12, and will be decided on in the new year.

l Like a runaway lorry, the saga over the HGV ban at Norton level-crossing has rumbled on and on. At the latest county council area committee meeting in December, the authority was angrily criticised by district councillor Paul Andrews, who described the long delay in implementing the restrictions as “unbelievable”. “This has been going on since 2013,” he said. A county council representative said that they are still working with Leeds-based consultants WSP. “There are unforeseen circumstances,” he said. “We’re making sure the order is robust.”

l And Norton’s traffic woes didn’t end with petrol stations and HGV bans. Six hundred people signed a petition calling for the road priorities at the junction of Church St and Welham Road to be changed back to how they were. The county council said that although the junction is “complex”, there was nothing to concern them about how it is working.