Annual Report – 2019-20

In the absence of a Parish Council AGM and Village Meeting due to covid-19 the following annual report on activities in Constable Burton has been posted by your Parish Councillor



  1. This resume of activities that have taken place in Constable Burton over the past 12 months is in lieu of there not being an AGM and Annual Village Meeting open to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision to delay the AGM was made by Mr Keith Loadman, deputy chair to the Parish Council of Constable Burton and Finghall, and myself, Hilly Dobson, parish councillor.
  2. Beech Tree War Memorial. This project was carried out over the period July 2019 to February 2020. It was led by Major (Retd) G F Tomlin MBE with the agreement and backing of the Wyvill family and the support of the community. The project concept and progress was follows:
    1. An exceptionally old beech tree on the village green had to be felled as it had become a danger to the public due to it being diseased. Major Tomlin put forward the idea of the tree stump being carved and to create a war memorial. This was agreed by the community and ideas for the design were put forward.
    2. Funding was provided by private donations and two grants from, Richmondshire Council from the Area Partnership Fund and the District Council from the Locality Budget. The total cost of the project was £4,546. There will be an ongoing but very small annual cost for the maintenance of the memorial.
    3. The carver commissioned to sculpture the memorial was Lukas Beben who had completed several carvings within the area including one for Richmondshire Council. The work has been much admired by members of the community, passers-by and descendants of the fallen.
    4. The plaque records 15 names of those who had connections with the local community who made the final sacrifice for their country in two world wars.
    5. A service of dedication was planned but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be conducted at a future date.
    6. Our congratulations are extended to Major Tomlin, the Wyvill family and other members of the community who helped to make this project the success it is. Major Tomlin has now researched the background of the 15 names and hopes to publish their stories in due course.
  3. Reading Room.
    1. During this period the Reading Room has raised £858 from hiring’s. The largest amount that has ever been recorded been. Lettings have included:
      1. Richmondshire County Council for two polling days in May and December 2019.
      2. The Boxt Theatre Company.
      3. Several private functions.
    2. The Reading Room has been closed for hire since mid-March due to covid-19. Unfortunately this has also meant that there have been no coffee mornings or afternoon teas during this period.
    3. After running for many years the Art Group has folded. Many thanks go to Margaret Topliss who ran the group and gave budding artists so much advice and encouragement. Her efforts are very much appreciated.
    4. Unfortunately with the closing of the Art Group and the loss of the Yoga Sessions the Reading Room currently has no regular bookings.
    5. Repairs and Renovation. We are currently looking for funding for the following repairs and renovations:
      1. The replacement of the toilet block roof which is leaking due to its poor design.
      2. Replacement of the windows with double glazing.
      3. Possible replacement of the current boiler which is temperamental and requires manual ignition there being no room thermostat.
  4. Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
    1. Since the middle of March 2020 we have all been living in very trying times. It was very quickly identified that in Constable Burton we have a largely aging population who along with other residents with underlying health problems were considered to be ’at risk’ with respect of covid-19. This demanded quick action by the community to take steps to minimise this risk. The following actions were carried out:
      1. 19th March a document was produced and distributed to all residents repeating Government advice on how to look after oneself. Also attached was a list of names and telephone numbers of volunteers willing to assist those considered to be at risk. This led to the formation of the Constable Burton Volunteer Support Group (CBVSG).
      2. Children’s Play Area cordoned off and the Reading Room closed to forthcoming events including Police and Crime Commissioner’s polling day booked for the 7th May.
      3. 24th March a second document was distributed advising residents to look at the village website for future communications. It also contained an increased number of volunteers to the CBVSG and an explanation of their purpose being to support those at risk in particular shopping and collection of prescriptions. A form for residents to record their medical details was also distributed for them to keep at hand in case of emergencies.
      4. 26th March CBVSG was divided into teams and a 12 week roster was produced and circulated. A second 12 week roster was produced on the 8th June. The first shopping was delivered to an ‘at risk’ family on the 27th March.
      5. Covid Grants. Two covid grants from Richmondshire Council were applied for:
        1. Richmondshire Corona Virus Grant Scheme provided £10,000 towards the running of the Reading Room.
        2. Coronavrus Community Grant of £500 was spent on bedding plants for village pots and for gardens. All purchases were made locally to support our businesses.
      6. Group-Hug Goodie Bags. A total of 23 Group-Hug Goodie Bags were delivered to ‘at risk’ households.
    2. Extraordinary Meeting of the Reading Room Committee Monday 6th July 2020.
      1. With the easing of the Government lockdown restrictions an extraordinary meeting of the Reading Room Committee was held on Monday 6th July 2020. The meeting was to consider the re-opening of the Reading Room for hire and the re-opening of the Children’s Play Area. The following decisions were made:
        1. To re-open the Reading Room only for meetings with limited numbers attending and the use of the toilets to support outdoor events eg the Summer Fair/Picnic.
        2. Not to re-open the Children’s Play Area.
      2. Sincere apologies are offered to those who are inconvenienced by these decisions and, rest assured they were not taken lightly. To date our community has remained clear of the virus and long may that be the situation.
      3. A second meeting is to be held on Monday 3rd August to consider developments with respect to covid-19 and also future village events.
      4. Constable Burton Volunteer Support Group.
        1. An enormous thank you and debt of gratitude goes out to all of the volunteers who, without hesitation, came forward to help other residents. What a wonderful community we have! We are now into week 18. To date 307 shopping deliveries have been made to ‘at risk’ families and 10 prescriptions collected and delivered.
        2. Village Website. Included in this thank you is Mike Philipson who has continued to update the village website with both essential and useful information.
  5. VE Day. Despite coronavirus the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day was celebrated on Friday 8th May. Picnics were enjoyed on the village green and a BBQ was served in Ashfield Close. Social distancing and other government guidelines were strictly observed.
  6. Trees.
    1. Several trees have been giving residents reasons for concern. After some delay two have now been pruned back by Richmondshire Council so that they are no longer a hazard.
    2. A third large tree was felled by a storm which blocked the road leading from the village towards Constable Burton railway station. Fortunately no-one was hurt. Thanks go to a local resident for alerting me, parish councillor, and to the Wyvill estate for the speedy removal of the obstacle.
  7. Future Events. The only event currently planned is our annual Summer Fair and Duck Race on Sunday 30th August. This year it is being proposed that it is called ‘The Summer Picnic’ and the duck races will be dry! Activities, particularly for the children, will take place and it is likely to include a village scarecrow competition. Fancy dress (1960’s) has also been proposed. Social distancing and other guidelines will be strictly observed. Hopefully, you will all be able to attend.
  8. Conclusion. This has been a period of trial with little tribulation. But, the community can be proud of itself in the way in which it has pulled together in true British style. Community support will continue for as long as is necessary and we will certainly celebrate when we can safely come out to play!
Hilly Dobson
Parish Councillor &
Response Coordinator
Mobile: 07942864354
21st July 2020

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