Maypole chopped down for Tour de France

A 75ft maypole that stood in the Yorkshire town of Otley for at least 50 years has been cut down – partly because of the Tour de France. Believed to be the tallest permanent maypole in Britain, it was removed without warning to the horror of local people.

Safety experts cut down the pole after an assessment — ordered because the Tour de France will pass by next week — found that it was rotten.

But local councillors in the town, which is within Leeds metropolitan borough, complained its sudden removal had left some local people “quite upset”. Ryk Downes, a councillor, told The Daily Telegraph: “To bring the maypole down was the right call.

“However to do it this way, with no consultation or planning is a disgrace. What would have been a tourist attraction, helping put Otley on the map and in the minds of tourists from around the world at the Grand Depart [of the Tour] is now nothing more than a shaved stump.”

Mark Dobson, an executive board member at Leeds city council, said that “extensive decay” had been found at the base of the maypole, saying that it had “posed a serious risk to members of the public in what is a busy area of Otley”.

“It was simply not acceptable to put the public at risk by delaying action to deal with that situation,” he said.

Local historian Paul Wood said a maypole could have stood in Otley since 1660.

A photograph from 1906 shows a maypole towering over four-storey buildings nearby. The recently removed maypole was put up in Manchester Square in 1962.

Mr Wood said people had not danced round the maypole for some time partly due to increased road traffic.

Eliza Carthy in concert at Windermere

Eliza Carthy in concert - Windermere, Cumbria @ The Lakes School,  | United Kingdom

Folk music star Eliza Carthy will sing at a special ‘Lakes and Legends’ concert in Windermere next month. It is being staged to celebrate the end of the three year Windermere Reflections environmental campaign which finishes later this summer.

The concert is on July 24, 2014 @ 7:00 pm at The Lakes School, Troutbeck Bridge, Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1HW.

Eliza will be performing with musician Saul Rose and  will be supported by supported by members of Furness Tradition young folk musicians JFK-B; who will also play during the interval. Grasmere’s storyteller Taffy Thomas will also be performing a special commission with Eliza and Saul.

The concert is part of a series of events that highlight the positive work completed by WR, a Heritage Lottery Fund supported programme that aims to improve the environment in the Windermere catchment, with a particular focus on its lakes.

Tickets £8 from Esquires Ambleside or Brewery Arts Centre Kendal, or call 015394 34401

Shirley Collins to make a film

Shirley Collins


Shirley Collins and special guests including Stewart Lee, Alasdair Roberts and Lisa Knapp Music will be appearing at a special fundraising evening for the making of Shirley’s non-fiction feature film – As I Walked Out One May Morning: The Ballad of Shirley Collins at Café OTO in East London on Sunday 22 June.
Directors of the forthcoming film, Rob Curry & Tim Plester, will be alongside Stewart to introduce a great gathering of Shirley’s friends and fans, surprises and celebrities. The purpose of the evening is to announce to the world that everyone has an opportunity to be involved in something truly special: The return of Shirley Collins!
Visit for updates & more information about how you can get involved.

Concerts coming in early June

Alec Lyon is presenting John Doyle in Concert – Thurs 5th June at Holme Parish Hall, between Kendal & Lancaster, 8:00pm Start. All Tickets £9.00 book on-line at or buy tickets at Holme Post Office

John is a world renowned guitarist & singer – songwriter. A Grammy nominee who has performed for President Obama at the White House & has been lauded with every accolade imaginable in Irish music. Widely considered the finest Irish guitarist performing today his talents have made him one of the most in demand artists in Irish, Bluegrass, Americana & Folk over the last 20 years.

On June 6th our friends at Ulverston Live Music present Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston at Ulverston Sports Club. Tickets are £8.00. Doors open at 7.45 pm. Miranda is well known as the bass player of Show of Hands, whilst Rex, with his exuberant and flamboyant playing style, has built a reputation as one of the finest mandolin players in the UK. Tickets are £8.00.

With Show of Hands off the road for a year, the duo are embarking on an extensive tour of the British Isles in support of their arresting new CD “Sing A Full Song”.

On Saturday 7 June Boo Hewerdine is playing at Water Yeat Village Hall. The concert starts at 8.00 pm and tickets cost £10.00. More information here