THE Mayor of Ripon has joined the Conservatives after seven years as an independent councillor on city council. Councillor Mick Stanley said he and fellow independent councillor Sylvia Brierley said the pair had joined Ripon Conservatives as the only achievements made by the authority had been when they had worked with party. He added: "We have together managed to streamline the council committee structure, meet less frequently and make committee meetings more effective, and we have agreed a balanced budget for the past two years."

PARISH MEETING: Sowerby residents are being invited to attend the annual parish meeting at the town hall on Thursday, March 13, at 7pm. Carol Shreeve, of the Northallerton branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau, will talk about its work.

MUSICAL DATE: Sowerby Music starts its Spring/Summer season at St Oswald's Church, Sowerby, on Sunday, March 9, at 3pm, with a portrayal of Frederick the Great's flute lesson. For tickets, costing £12 (children enter free), visit White Rose Books or

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ARCHBISHOP VISIT: The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu will attend three Ash Wednesday services at St Mary’s Church on Wednesday (March 5). The archbishop will meet people and ask for prayer requests to be offered at the services at 11am, noon and 1pm.

FUNDRAISING SALE: Yorkshire Cancer Research will hold its annual clothing, toys and bric-a-brac sale at the town hall on Friday, March 7, from 9.30am. Donations on goods can be left at the hall on Thursday (March 6).

HEARING CLUB: Thirsk Hard of Hearing club will meet on Thursday, March 6, at 1.45pm, at East Thirsk Hall for a paper craft and knitting session, led by Pat Chandler. Anyone needing transport can call 01845-537444.

HALL ANNIVERSARY: A concert to mark the centenary of Thirsk and Sowerby Town Hall will be held at the hall on Saturday (March 1), at 7.30pm. Thirsk Royal British Legion band and the Mowbray Singers will perform. Entry is free, but donations would be welcomed.