Wednesday, 30 September 2009

MacMillan World's Biggest Coffee Morning

Another week's flown by and we find ourself approaching October - already! The World's Biggest Coffee Morning was a great success - we went out to visit several in the dales, doing live inserts into Steve Joy's show from a couple, starting on the Grove in Ilkley. From there we moved on to the Lawn Tennis Club (also in Ilkley) which was very busy indeed. We also visited Embsay Village Hall, where we learnt the rudiments  of Carpet Bowls, Bolton Abbey Village Hall (which was packed!) and on to Barnoldswick. There we caught up with Tricia and Beryl of the Calendar Girls at Rolls Royce Leisure, and from there we went into the town centre.
Sadly we missed the event at Victoria's Needles, and in fact that had to be the end of our tour, time having caught up with us. We had planned to go much further - up to Ingleton in fact, but our three hours alloted time sped by far too quickly. We also missed out on a planned trip to Craven College, assuming that the event would be at the Aireville campus. When we arrived there we were told it was at their High Street site, so we reluctantly made the decision to give it a miss, it being Market Day. We hear It was a great event though, and congratulations must go to all who put in such a fantastic effort.

In the morning we'd kicked off an on-air auction of a football, signed by all the players at Burnley FC. I'd hoped we could raise around £50, but in the event Steve Joy managed to double that, with some frantic last minute bids coming in to his show just before mid-day. That will go into the Rolls Royce total, the ball having been donated to Martin Holden, who organised the event there with Catherine Oldfield. Martin had been into Fresh and came onto the Breakfast Show last Wednesday to tell us all about his experience of MacMillan when his late wife sadly and very recently succumbed to cancer. I'm not sure what Roohi Lupton from MacMillan is going to spring on us next, but I think I can speak for the whole fresh team when I say were proud to have been able to be a part of the World's Biggest Coffee Morning!

Top: We gather at the Tennis Club in Ilkley. Ian Wighton (who used to do the Motown and Soul Show in the Yorkshire Dales Radio days) was drafted in to help out on the day.
Middle: I catch up with Tricia Stewart of the Calendar Girls at Rolls Royce Leisure.
Bottom: Steve Joy and I discuss how much we reckon the Burnley Football will fetch.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Richmondshire Citizenship awards, and the Hairy Bikers ride into town

Blimey! It's been almost a week since I wrote anything in here, but in my own defence it has been just about the busiest week ever! Wednesday night I was in Hipswell, near Catterick Garrison, hosting the annual State of the District debate and presenting the Citizenship Awards. I'd been on the judging panel a few weeks earlier, and I must say it was a tough job with a lot of the categories. I was pleased to be able to hand out awards to joint winners in the Arts category though, with both North Country Theatre and the Georgian Theatre Royal equally deserving. Many others received well-deserved awards on the night, including the tea-rooms at Scotton, and a company called thecitysecret. It was a well-organised event, and probably the best-attended since I became involved a few years ago. But, it was yet another late night and I was looking forward to relaxing after work on Thursday - no such luck!

The Hairy Bikers - alias Dave and Si - had rolled into town and were filming at Bolton Abbey. I went along after work to watch them film an episode of their new series, due to be broadcast on BBC2 next spring. How on earth they get anything into the can is beyond me - they're just hysterically funny to watch, and hugely entertaining! They also seemed to be genuinely nice lads to talk to when I chatted to the pair after filming was over for the day. We ran the whole fascinating interview on Breakfast on Friday morning.

Saturday again I thought I'd get a chance to relax after doing the news in the morning, but then I realised I had an appointment to go to meet William Lambert, chairman of the Gayle Mill Trust. We're planning another up Close and Personal with the creator of The Bradshaws, Buzz Hawkins as part of his mini-tour of the Dales, and William had told me some time ago how much he'd enjoy a show in the mill. Ticket sales are doing well for the Tempest at Elslack on the 10th of October, so it made sense to get something else organised in the wake. I took Buzz's publicist Jennifer Shaw up to Gayle Mill to show her around, and give her a feel of the place, and after a useful meeting with William we went on a tour of the area to find more locations for the Breakfast Show's Billy Bradshaw's Brain-buster. I eventually got back just after 7pm, just in time to visit the Mrs in hospital, then back home for an early night! Er, no - I remembered I had a complete quiz to write and record, so I made a start on that when I got in, and promptly fell asleep at my laptop!

Pictures: Top: Hairy Biker Si King, myself and Dave Myers. Bottom: Gayle Mill, Gayle near Hawes, where Buzz Hawkins is set to appear "Up close and personal"

Monday, 14 September 2009

Gretna Green - a DREAM wedding!

You could be forgiven for thinking that a wedding held over the anvil at Gretna Green's celebrated blacksmiths might be a little twee, or even tacky - but it couldn't be further from the truth!
We went up to Carlisle on Thursday night to prepare for the wedding of our friends John and Carolyn the following day. We all stayed at the Pinegrove Hotel on London Road on Thursday and Friday night, the ceremony taking place on Friday afternoon. There were so many guests travelling up to the occasion that a mini-coach was laid on which was probably just as well, given the popularity of the place. I took the brides parents to Gretna, following the fabulous white open-topped Bentley carrying Carolyn up the M6 to the ceremony. We were all ushered in, and shortly afterwards the bride-to-be was piped in to the tune Flower of Scotland. The registrar instantly put everyone at ease - and the ceremony itself was very moving indeed.
Following a photo-shoot outside the Blacksmiths Shop (which was shared by dozens of Japanese tourists!) we all went back to the Pinegrove hotel. On arrival we were ushered into the function room, which had been decorated to a standard usually only found in a glossy wedding magazine. There were gifts for all of the guests plus a glass of fizz to toast the happy couple. The food was simply delicious and was a credit to the chef - thoroughly enjoyed by all. After the speeches we were entertained  to a Casino Night by a team who'd travelled all the way up from Otley. I can honestly say I've never enjoyed a wedding quite as much, and it will be an incredibly hard act to follow. Just one small point - the entire event was planned and brought together by the happy couple themselves! (*Mood lighting by Ben Middleton)

Saturday, 5 September 2009

The Bradshaws - a Night with Buzz Hawkins

Boy have we got a great night organised?! Buzz Hawkins, the man behind the Bradshaws, is coming to the Tempest Arms in Elslack next month. He's set to appear on Saturday night, the 10th of October - and it promises to be an excellent, hilarious night's entertainment. Buzz has allocated 30 tickets for me to sell, there will be some available at the Tempest, and of course you'll be able to get them from the Bradshaws own site -
Buzz is a very, very funny man with a wealth of humour based on nostalgia, the sort that gave rise to the Bradshaws in the first place. And no doubrt he'll be able to tell us the latest on his new project, bringing Alf, Audrey and Little Billy onto the telly. Drop me a line to for more details, or to book your tickets. Here's a link to my own website with more details:-

From The Bradshaws Website: . . . . .
Presenting ... Buzz Hawkins Does The Bradshaws ..

An' All That!

Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, a small thought festered in the broad forehead of a man named Buzz Hawkins. This thought skipped along terraced streets gathering up the memories that you left behind and so grew into The Bradshaws.

Now The Bradshaws are real people and anyone who thinks otherwise is ficticious. Now Buzz Hawkins is merely a figment of their imagination.

And don't forget, you can hear The Bradshaws every morning on Fresh Radio - go to and check out the daily schedule

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Kilnsey Show

Phew! Julian, Tiiu, Judith and I are just beginning to recover from our visit to Kilnsey show in Upper Wharfedale on Tuesday. It's just one of a long list of shows we decided to visit this year - we've not been able to visit them all due to other work commitments, but we've thoroughly enjoyed those we have been to so far. Kilnsey lived up to the dales reputation and was wet - very wet! But there was plenty of sun between the showers, and it didn't seem to put too many people off. We were surprised though to see people being towed ONTO the car parks at the beginning of the show!

The main attraction for me was the Farmers Market - we came across Richard Morphett, the Foodie Farmer from Hebden Bridge, (01422 845952) a guy we first met several years ago at a food festival at the Westmoreland showground. He makes soup to die for, our favourite being Lentil and Bacon. We also met up with the guys at Raydale Preserves, who gave me some great ideas for the forthcoming Chutney competition at the Tempest Arms in Elslack. We tried (and bought) fantastic sausages from Bowland, and soft goats milk cheese from Paganum Produce, which was absolutely delicious. The generous folk from Coniston Hall treated me to a glass of delicious red house wine, and superb canapes - my favourite being some fantastic smoked salmon.

My day ended co-hosting a cookery demonstration with Chinese chef Tim Lee and Chris Wildman of Paganum, based at Kirkby Malham. It was tough going for a while, as Tim (the chef from E-Pan in Skipton) spoke very little English. That meant the pair of us, joined on stage by Julian, had to second guess what he was up to while providing a running commentary.

Kilnsey Show wouldn't be complete without the Fell Race, and once again Bruce Elsworth of the Angel at Hetton competed. That was AFTER he'd served breakfast and done a demonstration for Real Food and Farming's Dales Kitchen, and before he went back for evening service. And he managed a very respectable fifth place in what must have been one of the most gruelling races of the season!

This was my first Kilnsey show in quite a number of years - but I'll be back again next year for sure! Coming up this weekend we hope to visit the Moorcock Show on Saturday, then on Sunday I'll be at the Great Milk Stout Ride at Bewerley Park, Pateley Bridge.

Photo (top): Chris Wildman of Paganum Produce, James Wilson, Julian Hotchkiss and Tim Lee of E-Pan in Skipton. For more pictures of the show, go to the Fresh Radio gallery