News update

Hospital's photo 'thank you' to scrub makers


Piinderfields Hospital has produced a photo collage 'thank you' to local people who have been making scrubs and other protective equipment. Go to the SCA News page for the full story and picture carousel. The SCA contributed £300 to buy pre-cut material while Sandal Art Group donated a further £100.

Scarecrow Salute trail around Sandal

Residents' displays paid tribute to key workers

SOME 30 scarecrows were arrayed around Sandal at the end of May as a tribute to key workers who keep the rest of us going during the coronavirus pandemic.

The week-long display, entitled Scarecrow Salute to our Heroes,was organised by the SCA, who have run annual scarecrow festivals for several years, although there was no plan for an event in 2020.

Instead residents were invited to create their own key worker scarecrows and display them in their gardens. We produced a downloadable list of all those taking part so families could choose how they walked the trail.

People showed their usual inventiveness and entries ranged from doctors and nurses to binmen and posties.

SCA chairman Les Goddard said: “Following the wonderful display of rainbows and teddy bears around Sandal, a resident suggested we promote a fun scarecrow festival to keep families engaged and entertained as the lockdown continues. People responded to the challenge in style.

“Having walked round and viewed all their efforts, I’m in awe of residents’ resourcefulness. What they have found in their houses, garages and sheds to build scarecrows to ‘Salute our Heroes’ is truly amazing. This was undoubtedly the best day’s exercise I’ve had since lockdown began!”

Scroll through our carousel of photos to see just a few of the scarecrows that were on display

Sandal celebrates VE Day anniversary in style

From street parties to spam fritters

PEOPLE of all ages across Sandal marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day on May 8 - from the youngest children to those old enough to remember the actual day that war with Germany ended with euphoric celebrations in 1945.

Activities ranged from street parties - observing all the social distancing rules - to family teas at home. One SCA member told us: "There wasn't anyone having a party near us so we celebrated by having spam fritters for tea, the first for decades. Wicked but delicious!"

Red, white and blue was evident everywhere - bunting, Union Jacks, balloons and othe coloured trimmings.

Scroll through our carousel of images to see how some of us celebrated >

Filling the streets with rainbows

Residents pay tribute to front-line workers

THERE'S a wonderfully heart-warming display around Sandal of rainbows and other designs declaring support for our NHS heroes during the coronavirus crisis. Have you or your children designed a similar display? If so, please post it to our Facebook page @sandalcommunity so everyone can see it!

SCA chairman Les Goddard commented: 'It was a pleasure to see so many rainbows in windows and on pavements. Lovely.'

Our carousel of photos shows just a selection of some of the rainbows and other designs created by local familes. An album of photos on Facebook attracted a huge amount of attention, more photos and comments such as the one posted by Vikki Newton, who wrote: 'Awwww, my son's design is featured, he is over the moon or should it be rainbow?'

Residents showed their appreciation of the NHS and care workers in another way when they turned out on Thursdays at 8pm, applauding from the tops of their drives or hanging from windows, clapping, cheering, banging saucepans or perhaps sounding horns.

Local organisations are finding ways to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. The Rotary Club of Wakefield, which meets each week at the New Brookhouse Club at Busy Corner, is holding online meetings of members using Zoom, while the Inner Wheel Club of Wakefield is using the same app to hold committee meetings. When not in the virtual world, Inner Wheel Club members meet monthly at Sandal Methodist Church.

SCA founder member dies from Covid-19

Retired chairman of family firm travelled the world

FOUNDER SCA member Robert (Bob) Craven has died aged 90 in Pinderfields Hospital after contracting coronavirus. He worked in every department of the family business of brick machinery manufacturers Craven Fawcett, As sales director he travelled the world selling machinery and exhibiting at trade fairs. He eventually became chairman of the company, retiring when he was 70. He was made a Fellow of the Institute of Ceramics in 1990.

His great love was hockey and he became secretary of Sandal Hockey Club in 1951 when the men played on the field opposite the Star Inn – one team and occasionally at second eleven. When the field became a building site the hockey club had difficulty finding a new home, eventually moving to Paton and Baldwin’s sports ground and later to Wakefield Sports Club at College Grove. Robert eventually became president of Wakefield Sports Club, retiring after 60 years.

Robert married Pat Jowett at St Helen’s Church in 1956 and they have three boys and five grandchildren. They lived all their married life in Sandal, initially in Sandal Avenue before recently moving to Beechfield.

He was an active member of Wakefield Rotary Club and Calder Probus Club where he became social chairman and organised many trips abroad and around Britain from 1996 to 2010.

Sadly, for the last three years his mobility became worse and he had to use a wheelchair. He was quite ill just before Christmas and had to go into hospital before spending three happy months in Walton Manor Residential Home, being well cared for and celebrating his 90th birthday there in February. He was taken to Pinderfields Hospital on 9 April 2020 with pneumonia and contracted coronavirus, becoming extremely ill a week later.

PHOTO: Robert pictured at his 90th birthday party in February

Sandal vicar pays tribute to architect

Death of a ‘poet of light and space’

LIZ ASHMORE, the architect who created and redesigned six buildings in Sandal Magna parish, died before Easter.

The vicar, the Rev Rupert Martin, posted this tribute: “Liz was a poet of light and space. Her rooms let the light in, and they lift our souls when we enter them. There was a simplicity and rightness about the spaces she designed which flow with life and build a sense of welcome and belonging.

“The first building she created for us was the Barnabas Room, adjoining St Paul’s Church, Walton, opened in 2002. These rooms provided much needed space for enjoying fellowship after church services, and for midweek groups such as the Boogie Woogie Tots and Children’s Church which met there after school for ten years.

“Light is diffused through two curved glass brick windows and through the main window which echoes the shape of early church buildings with its curved apse shape. The rooms are used by a variety of groups and are often open for village events.

“This was followed in 2005 by the Emmaus Rooms in St Helen’s, where she showed great skill and sensitivity in blending the clean lines of modern architectural detail with the fabric of an ancient 14th Century Grade II* listed building. The disconnected rooms at the pest end were resolved into a beautiful space which connects with the main church through a huge glass window.

“A new Parish office was created, and kitchen and toilet facilities integrated. It became possible to welcome into St Helen’s many more people during the week. As part of renewing St Helen’s, Liz also redesigned the sanctuary in the main body of the church making it more open and flexible, to enable us to hold both traditional and modern worship services in the same space on a Sunday morning.

“In 2009, Liz redesigned the Spring Community Shop and Cafe, which had opened in 1997. The old stage was taken out and more space and light created with modern fittings and facilities. This coincided with the arrival of Cath Moxham, who was able to make the most of the new space and facilities and continue building a thriving community resource with the help of a great staff and volunteer team.

“Soon afterwards, Liz redesigned the shop in Portobello which became the Rainbow Café, a centre of community life especially during the week-long Soul Portobello Festivals. The Rainbow Hub belonging to Wakefield District Housing is now the home of Inspiring Community.

“Perhaps the most unusual work which Liz did was to design the Tree of Life in Sandal Churchyard in 2014. In collaboration with sculptor Dan Jones, she created the iconic image of a tree embedded in the ground, as a place where ashes can be interred beneath leaf-shape plaques. Seen from above, the tree seems to be dancing with life and movement. The Tree of Life won an Award from the Wakefield Civic Society for Best New Project.

“Her last work here was to redesign the Portobello Community Centre which re-opened in October 2019. The Centre is now thriving with many groups using it on a regular basis, including youth groups, sewing, craft and photography groups…

“Liz was always able to find simple, elegant solutions to complex problems. Her architecture was inspired and pragmatic. The spaces and places she created surround you with a sense of well being and belonging. Working with Liz was great fun; she has been a good friend to me and to many in this parish, and she leaves an exceptional legacy which will continue to bless people for generations to come. She had a buoyant spirit, a lively intellect, a big heart; she brought love and joy to many who will miss her dearly…

Coronavirus defiance

Beechfield residents challenge the virus in song

IN THE FACE of the coronavirus crisis, residents in Beechfield, off Barnsley Road, have set up an app and they are all talking to each other, passing  on information on a variety of topics relevant to the situation in which they now find themselves.

On Sunday,  March 22, they went out on to their drives for the first time (6ft apart unless in family groups) with a drink to sing various songs, an exercise they repeated. In advance of the occasion, SCA member Pat Craven, who lives in Beechfield, said: "The songs might include We Will Survive, etc. Should be good fun."

There was a big response on Facebook where Rachel Sowerby posted: "We had a great time!" Rosie Jackson added: "How fabulous is this! Love it!"

A message from the clouds

St Helen's Church closes its doors

THE CLOUDS took this shape as members of the congregation entered St Helen's on Sunday, March 22, for the final service to be held there before the church sadly had to close its doors.

The photograph was posted with prayers on the parish Facebook page by the vicar, the Rev Rupert Martin, who wrote: "This image and these prayers remind us of the presence of angels in our midst especially during times of crisis."

All local events have now been cancelled or postponed, including the SCA's Family Fun Dog Show, which had been attracting a lot of support. Club and society groups have all had to cancel their regular meetings, including the SCA committee.

Post office response to virus

Opening hours cut with a plea to customers

WHEN Umesh Ahir took over Sandal Post Office in March last year he was full of hope and he certainly didn’t expect to have mark his first anniversary by cutting opening hours.

But this is just what he has had to do in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. In a statement on the post office’s Facebook page he writes:

“Sandal Post Office will be continuing to remain open to help our customers with postal and banking needs and customers needing to top up gas and electric cards and keys etc. We have however reviewed our hours and have made the following changes to protect our customers and staff: Monday-Friday 9am-3pm, Saturday closed.”

He adds: “Please help by adhering to the social distancing rules and maintaining good hygiene principles. We also have a family and it wasn’t an easy decision to continue working and operating.”

Umesh succeeds former nurse Kathryn Bramley who was sub-postmistress for nearly 17 years. They are pictured here at the handover. Umesh, his wife Jigna and their two young sons live in Normans Way, Sandal. He has played an active part in his father's business at Portobello Newsagents since he was very young. He has worked in the financial services industry for the banking sector and for several years as a science and mathematics teacher at Leeds City College.

Monthly crime update

Download pdfs of lists of crimes reported by police through the Neighbourhood Watch network for  areas south of Wakefield. 

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