A HOUSING association has tried to allay fears that a planned system of mobile wardens for sheltered accommodation will mean a reduction in the service.

Bedale Town Council said last week that it wanted a meeting with Northallerton-based Broadacres association if any decision was eventually made to extend a pilot scheme, at present under way in the Stokesley and Great Ayton areas, across the whole Hambleton district.

The scheme is in its fourth week and the results will be evaluated at the end of six months before any decision is made on extending it.

Mr Paul Lightfoot, of Broadacres, said the present combination of residential and mobile wardens involved a service five days a week between 8am and 5pm, with a standby service involving a call centre at weekends.

The pilot scheme for mobile wardens was designed to extend the daily hours of cover until 9pm and achieve a seven-day service, with the ultimate aim of providing 24-hour cover if possible.

Mr Lightfoot said Broadacres was struggling to give the level of care which it believed was required and improvements could not be achieved with the present warden system.

The pilot scheme was not driven by cost factors but represented an attempt to direct care to those who needed it most at the right time. There were no plans to get rid of any wardens, who would work as a team to support one another.

Mr Lightfoot said: "We have had extensive consultations with residents, staff and other stakeholders. We are four weeks into the pilot scheme and results have been very positive."

Tempest comes storming in

HAMBLETON leisure centre is gearing up for a massive transformation when the Royal Shakespeare Company brings its touring production of The Tempest to Northallerton next week.

The sports hall is to become a theatre for seven sell-out performances. "It's a massive undertaking," said centre manager Mr Richard Dowson. "The RSC crew and leisure centre staff will construct the auditorium from 47 tonnes of equipment, which arrives in five articulated lorries, in just 24 hours."

"Unfortunately we can't run our normal activities during this visit, but we are making arrangements which we hope will ease the inconvenience to our regular customers."

The centre will close on Monday and re-open at 1pm on Sunday, April 1. In the meantime, Lifestyle fitness studio members can use the facilities at other district council leisure centres in Bedale, Thirsk and Stokesley.

Silver, platinum and gold members will also be entered into a prize draw to win six months' free silver or platinum membership, and when the centre re-opens, silver members will each get a free sauna, while platinum and gold members can have a free fitness assessment.


chess festival

ALMOST 70 players, aged from five to 18, took part in the ninth Richmond chess festival on Saturday.

They came from 13 primary and secondary schools, and as the sun was shining, the outdoor giant set was in use for practice between sessions at Richmond lower school.


Primary, years 1-6. - 1 Tom Kipling (Richmond Methodist); 2 Craig Jackson (Richmond CE); 3 Thomas Burton (St Cuthbert's). Most promising player: Jane Thornton (Bedale primary). Merit award: Joshua Moore (Richmond CE). Adjudicator's award: Declan Barclay (Bedale). Youngest player: Arte Dawson (Reeth).Tees team winners: Daniel Horner (Bedale), Adam Reith (Le Cateau), Matthew Marsh (Richmond CE), Liam Walker (Richmond CE), Michael Ash (Richmond Methodist), Thomas Burton (St Cuthbert's).

Intermediate, years 7-9. - 1 Martyn Campbell (Richmond School); 2 David Harper (Richmond School); 3 Roger Roebuck (St Aidan's). Best schools player: Martyn Campbell (Richmond School). Merit award: Sam Gibb (Richmond School). Adjudicator's award: Callum Clark (Richmond School).

Senior, years 10-12. - 1 Jamie Lee Atkinson (Richmond School); 2 Lee Campbell (Richmond School); 3 James King (Richmond School). Most promising player: John Harrison (Richmond School). Merit award: James Steel Taylor (Richmond School). Adjudicator's award: Dean Hunt (Richmond School).

Lightning competition, years 7-12. - 1 Jamie Lee Atkinson (Richmond School); 2 Martyn Campbell (Richmond School); 3 Matthew Thompson (Richmond School)

Prizes were presented by Coun Jane Metcalfe and Coun Tom Burrows. Next year's festival is on March 16.

Amala quiz

A PUB quiz will be held at the Fox and Hounds in West Burton next Friday, 9pm, as part of the fundraising by some students from the Wensleydale School in Leyburn to finance another visit to the children's homes in Amala, South India.

It is intended to make this a topical, challenging, fun-filled evening including music, pot luck and media questions. The entrance fee will be £1