Clifford area news with Jack Winterburn

St Edward's Church: The village has had a spectator's role during the transformation of the church roof. It has been fascinating to admire the skill and agility of the roofers and tillers as they expertly went about their work high above our heads. The unique clang of falling scaffolding poles signalled that their task was almost complete, the only evidence of their presence still remaining, the blue portable 'tardis' situated by the Chapel Lane gate, has now gone.

Footpath: Those of us who have stumbled along the rough footpath between the Albion pub and St John’s Road were delighted to see that it has been re-surfaced meaning that pedestrians, wheelchair and buggy pushers can now enjoy a smooth passage on their journey to Boston Spa.

Local Elections: The local elections held last Thursday included a list of candidates offering themselves for election to the Parish Council. Those re-elected were Glennis Allan, Peter Dyson, Richard Evans, Nick Fawcett, Owen Milligan, Sue Park and Pauline Winterburn. They will be joined by newcomers Andy Shaw and Angela Wrigglesworth. The council is an important part of village life so it is essential that those elected look after the interests of all members of the community.

Library: The mobile library will be in Willow Crescent on Tuesday, May 15 between 3.45pm and 4.30pm.

Primary School: It seems that the hopes for a new user of the former school site are unfounded. Negotiations with the Yorkshire Cancer Help Centre have proved inconclusive raising again the spectre of yet another housing development for the village.

Old Star Inn: The long awaited re-opening of the Old Star Inn took place last Thursday. It has been tastefully refurbished and has a clearly defined dining area offering a comprehensive range of food. As was to be expected a number of curious people called in for a drink and a nosey round on the first day giving new landlord Tim some encouragement that the place will prove popular. The jury is still out on whether the interesting redistribution of rooms will be customer friendly but the main thing is that we have a choice of watering holes again.

Art in the Hall: Marilyn Chaplin’s next ‘Spring Art Day’ will be held in the village hall on Monday, May 21 from 9.30am to 3.30pm. The title on this occasion is ‘Contemporary Illustration’. Marilyn’s description of the theme is “Small is beautiful! Decorative, illustrative panels using paint, pens and inks. Exquisite!” Those wishing to attend need to book in advance by ringing 01937 842814 or e-mail on marilynchaplin@fsmail.net. The fee is 30, which includes provision of artist’s materials and a light lunch.

Local History: The Local History Group has, as I recently reported, been in consultation with the Barrett Group about the naming of one of the properties in its Clifford Development. Lyn Parkin, chair of the local group has kindly provided the following information. The 19th century grade 2 listed building, now with several bedrooms and a chapel with mosaics was built by Anglican Vicar Reverend Lewthwaite together with the adjoining school. In 1851 he converted to Roman Catholicism and gave the premises to the church for use as a convent. First residents were the Sisters of Providence of the Institute of Charity otherwise known as the Rosminian Sisters whose objectives were the teaching of poor girls and care of the sick. They remained until 1853 when they were replaced by the Sisters of Mercy.

The chapel was completed in 1881 and extended during the following years. It is not known who designed the interior mosaics but a local joiner, a Mr Hoffman, made the furnishings. Many local girls attended the convent and have fond memories of the buildings recently converted into a splendid housing development. The Barrett Group has agreed to perpetuate the memory of those early inhabitants by calling the main property ‘Rosminian House’.