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  1. Thank You Bedale – A True Taste of Yorkshire for the Olympic Torch!

    Alan Mak, President & Trustee of Magic Breakfast writes exclusively for BedaleOnline after carrying the Olympic Torch this morning

    See all the photos here!

    alan - flame lit - ready to run! 1115amCarrying the Olympic Torch in beautiful Bedale this morning was an amazing, inspirational, and unforgettable experience! Thank you Bedale for a fun, exciting and brilliant day! You gave me incredible and vocal support in the bright Yorkshire sunshine, and you gave the world a true taste of Yorkshire with the warmth of your welcome. It was great to see so many hundreds of people lining Market Place: school children with their teachers. Mums and dads. Pensioners and war heroes from the Bedale Royal British Legion. Local shopkeepers, farmers and business people. Everyone in Bedale was here it seemed, lining the streets six or seven deep, cheering, shouting, taking photos, soaking up the atmosphere. It was like the Jubilee all over again. The warmth, energy and passion of the Bedale welcome has been amazing!

    Today started bright and early with a briefing at 8AM for all the Torchbearers covering Northallerton and Bedale at Northallerton College. I was then bussed back to Bedale to take my place on Market Place, dropping of the others on the way. It was great to meet the other Torchbearers at the briefing and learn about all the great things they had done for their communities. By way of background, the Torch came to Bedale today as part of the 70-day nationwide Torch Relay, and today it went through Northallerton and Aiskew before reaching Bedale at around 11AM. The previous day the Torch had been through York, Ripon and Harrogate, and after Bedale it now moves on to Richmond before heading up to Barnard Castle and Carlisle. But, today was proudly Bedale’s Day. As I ran up Market Place towards Bedale Golf Club as slowly as I could to savour every second, see every smile and wave as much as I could, all I could think of was how great it was to be in Bedale as well as the children we feed at Magic Breakfast and how much they would all have loved being in Bedale today too. Holding the Torch high above my head and waving to the crowd, my “Moment to Shine” (as the Olympics organisers like to call it) seemed to happen in ultra slow motion yet was over in a flash, but it is one of my best experiences in my life so far.  

    As I mentioned in my first BedaleOnline Olympic blog, I was chosen as a Torchbearer because of my work as President & Trustee of Magic Breakfast, the UK’s leading school breakfast club charity. We provide free, healthy breakfasts to 6,000 primary school children in 210 primary schools, including over 50 schools across Yorkshire. I suffered from child hunger myself, so I’ve worked hard to raise awareness of the issue with politicians, the media, businesses and the wider public. Judging from the massive turnout today, I think we made lots of new friends. As a proud Yorkshireman, I was truly honoured to be part of this once-in-lifetime event in the heart of Yorkshire, surrounded by so many people that I’d grown up with from local communities that I've known since I was young – from old school friends and teachers to long-lost neighbours – as well as Magic Breakfast staff and supporters.

    I’ve visited Bedale a number of times before, but an added bonus of carrying the Torch here is that it encouraged me to find out more about one of Britain’s best market towns. Given Magic Breakfast’s food focus and the fact that I was carrying the Torch on Market Place, I’ve learnt that Bedale was first mentioned in the Domesday Book and was granted its market charter by Henry III in 1251, allowing a market to be held every Tuesday, and Bedale has been giving visitors a true taste of Yorkshire ever since with great local produce. Today reminded me again about some of Bedale’s best qualities: warm, welcoming and friendly people. A wonderful gateway to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and some of Yorkshire's finest scenery. Bustling local shops, homely pubs like the Green Dragon and charming buildings. A rich culinary tradition that spans real dairy ice cream from Dales herds and Yorkshire beers to pies and Wensleydale cheese. But above all, Bedale has a great sense of community, a strong Yorkshire identity, and a glowing warmth that attracts visitors from around the world.

    alan mak 2I‘ve definitely experienced that warm welcome myself throughout my Bedale Torch experience. Arriving in Bedale on Tuesday afternoon to settle in at the Green Dragon, I met Councillor Mike Lowe, Deputy Mayor of Bedale and his colleagues from the Bedale Royal British Legion for a chat and a few photos in front of Bedale Hall. Apart from Magic Breakfast, I’ve also been a longstanding fundraiser for the Legion and the Poppy Appeal, and I founded the Legion’s UK-wide Young Professionals Branch, so it was great to meet some local Legion members and stalwarts like Mike. Later that night, I had a few beers in the Green Dragon with County Councillor John Weighell, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council (and councillor for Bedale itself) and Caroline Dickinson who used to work for local Conservative MP William Hague. They were as excited as I was, and in between seeing England beat Ukraine in the football, they told me how the Torch coming through Bedale has really brought the whole community together in excitement. I’ve also had a huge number of good luck e-mails and Twitter and Facebook messages, as well as extensive press and media coverage, including from national newspapers like the Guardian and the Times, local newspapers in Yorkshire and London where Magic Breakfast is based, as well as local and national radio such as BBC Radio York and the BBC World Service. I’ve been incredibly proud to talk about Bedale in all these interviews, and especially proud to have carried the Torch in my home county of Yorkshire.

    So, as my time in Bedale with the Olympic Torch draws to a close, I’m spending this afternoon meeting and thanking as many of the people who’ve supported me a possible, from the editors of BedaleOnline itself and the staff and regulars at the Green Dragon to local school children, councillors and civic dignitaries. It will be great to get some photos with them and the Torch too. I’m also hopping on the Wensleydale Railway to take in the breathtaking Dales scenery before I leave too, and have a wander round Bedale. The Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I have been very proud to carrying the Torch in Bedale for Magic Breakfast. But more than anything else, it has been a great honour to share my Olympic Torch Relay experience with the people of Bedale. It belongs as much to you all as it does to me. Congratulations to everyone in Bedale for all you did to make today a great success and for sharing all that your beautiful market town has to offer with me and the rest of the world. Today you gave me, Magic Breakfast, the Olympic Torch Relay and the world a true Taste of all that is best about Yorkshire. Thank You.

    9 ways you can carry on supporting Alan and Magic Breakfast   

    1. Share Alan Mak’s exclusive BedaleOnline blog with your friends, family, colleagues and network – spread the word about Alan’s Torch Relay and Bedale’s Olympic Torch moment!
    2. Send Alan your pictures from today’s Olympic Torch Relay: [email protected] and they will be collated on an online gallery so the world can see the Torch in beautiful Bedale.
    3. Follow Alan and his charity Magic Breakfast on Twitter: @AlanMakUK and @Magic_Breakfast to keep up-to-date with their work fighting child hunger and poverty in Yorkshire and across the UK
    4. If you’re a journalist, please help Alan tell the Magic Breakfast story on beating UK child hunger and Alan’s Olympic Torch story. Contact Alan on [email protected]
    5. Go to Alan’s Torchbearer story on the London2012/Facebook Torch Bearer page. Tweet about it. Blog about it. “Like” it using the Facebook button in bottom right hand corner. Spread the word.
    6. Visit the Magic Breakfast’s website to find out more about their work fighting child hunger and poverty in Yorkshire and across the UK
    7. If you’re interested in supporting Magic Breakfast in any way – get in touch with them on [email protected] This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    8. “Like” the Magic Breakfast Facebook page to show your support for our their fight against child hunger and child poverty
    9. Visit BedaleOnline in exactly 1 year’s time (on 20 June 2013) when Alan will be writing another exclusive blog updating us on the impact that his Bedale Olympic Torch Experience had on Magic Breakfast’s work.

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  2. Proud to carry the Olympic Torch in Bedale for Magic Breakfast

    Alan Mak, President & Trustee of Magic Breakfast and London2012 Olympic Torchbearer, writes exclusively for BedaleOnline!

    torch bearer - alan makI’m proud, excited and honoured to be carrying the Olympic Torch in beautiful Bedale on 20 June 2012 as part of the 70-day nationwide Olympic Torch Relay. It will be especially great to do so in Bedale in my home county of Yorkshire, just a few miles from my hometown of York. As a local lad born and bred in Yorkshire, there is no greater honour than carrying the Torch in front of so many of the friends, family and neighbours that I grew up with from local communities that I've known since I was young. I’m really looking forward to seeing the people of Bedale lining the streets!

    Carrying the Torch in Bedale will make the experience very special. I have visited Bedale on many occasions since I was young as you are so close to York, and it’s a place I love spending time in because you have so much to offer. Warm, welcoming and friendly people.  A wonderful gateway to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and some of Yorkshire's finest scenery. Bustling local shops, homely pubs and great restaurants. And above all, a great sense of community and a strong Yorkshire identity that attracts visitors from around the world. Over the years, I’ve loved wandering around the market, having afternoon tea and going for a walks in the Dales then coming back for a pub lunch. I especially love Bedale’s rich culinary tradition: real dairy ice cream from Dales herds, Yorkshire beers, pies, creamy chocolate, and Wensleydale cheese. After the Torch Relay is over, I will be sure to stay for a big lunch with Magic Breakfast’s supporters who will be coming to Bedale to cheer me on!

    The Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and not only am I proud to be carrying the alan mak - with leigh primary school birminghamtorch in Bedale, I am also proud to be carrying it for Magic Breakfast, the UK's leading school breakfast club charity, who nominated me. My nomination was supported by Samsung, Olympic Torch Relay sponsors, who were searching for a "Local Hero who goes the extra mile" for their community. In my case, my work for charity had caught their eye. I'm President and Trustee of Magic Breakfast, and we provide free, healthy breakfast to 6,000 British primary school children every morning in over 210 schools, including across Yorkshire focusing on inner city Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford and Rotherham. Having a good breakfast improves children's school attendance, concentration in class, and exam results, and encourages them to lead healthier lives. As the first person in my family to attend university, I know how important having a good breakfast is, and I wouldn't have got to Cambridge without overcoming challenges like hunger myself. Last year, Magic Breakfast won the Prime Minister's Big Society Award for outstanding charities, so carrying the Olympic Torch will be a great way to round off an excellent twelve months for us, and I can think of nowhere better than Bedale in the heart of Yorkshire.   

    The Magic Breakfast team will be staying in the Green Dragon on Market Place the night before, and I am looking forward to getting up bright an early the next morning for a briefing to meet the other Bedale Torchbearers, and then having a quick wander round Bedale to soak up the atmosphere. I’m hoping for a big crowd of local people on Bridge Street and Market Place, and really looking forward to seeing the streets lined with local people as I know this will be a great day for Bedale too. Let’s hope we have great weather!

    Visit the BedaleOnline blog on the afternoon of Wednesday 20 June where I’ll be posting an exclusive blog, complete with photo, about how it felt to carry the Olympic Torch in Bedale. This will be the first place to read about it! Until then, thank you to everyone in Bedale for the support you have given me, and for hosting the Olympic Torch Relay. When I tell people about carrying the Torch in Bedale, the question I'm most asked is "What will be going through your head as you run with the Torch?" "Not dropping it” is the obvious answer. "Protecting it from gusts of wind so it doesn't blow out" also comes to mind. But most importantly, I will be thinking of the children, parents and teachers we work with at Magic Breakfast and the wonderful people of Bedale. You are all a great inspiration to me, and I will be thinking of you all when I carry the Torch!

    8 ways you can support Alan in Bedale:

    1. Watch Alan carry the Torch live. Come to Market Place for 11AM on Wednesday 20 June.

    2. Follow Alan and his charity Magic Breakfast on Twitter: @AlanMakUK and @Magic_Breakfast. They will be providing regular Twitter updates leading up to the big day.

    3. Go to Alan’s Torchbearer story on the London2012/Facebook Torch Bearer page. Tweet about it. Blog about it. “Like” it using the Facebook button in bottom right hand corner. Spread the word.

    4. Watch Alan carry the Torch online. Watch it live on the BBC Torch Relay website or the LOCOG Torch Relay site. Tune in from 11AM on Wed 20 June.

    5. If you are a journalist, please help Alan tell the Magic Breakfast story on beating UK child hunger and Alan’s Olympic Torch carrying! Contact Alan on [email protected]

    6. If you are interested in supporting Magic Breakfast in any way – get in touch with them on [email protected]

    7. “Like” the Magic Breakfast Facebook page to show your support for our their fight against child hunger and child poverty

    8. Visit the BedaleOnline blog on the afternoon of Wednesday 20 June for an exclusive blog from Alan describing what it felt like to carry the Torch!

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    Find out more about the Olympic Torch here.

    We have everything you need to know about when the torch comes to Bedale on June 20th!

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  3. The Olympic Torch Relay started on the 19th May at Land’s End, Cornwall and will end 70 days later at the Olympic Stadium after travelling approximately 8,000 miles around  the UK; carried by 8,000 torch bearers and covering more than 1,000 villages, town and cities!

    The Torch will travel via 20 towns and villages throughout North Yorkshire in June 2012; passing through Aiskew and Bedale before heading to Aysgarth and then continuing it's journey around the UK.

    BedaleOnline are excited to announce the names and details of the Olympic Torch Bearers that will have the privilege of carrying the torch through Aiskew and Bedale on 20th June 2012:

    torch bearer - alan makAlan Mak

    Hometown: York

    Age 28

    Carrying the Flame through: Bedale

    On: 20th June 2012

    Alan's nomination story

    "Alan is an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. As an outstanding, energetic and passionate Trustee of Magic Breakfast, Alan leads the fight against child hunger by setting up school breakfast clubs that feed over 6,000 hungry children every morning in 210 primary schools in Britain's most deprived communities.

    Bagels, cereal, porridge and juice give the UK's hungriest, poorest children aged 5-11 fuel for learning, boosting their concentration in class, attendance at school, and success in exams.

    Having suffered from child hunger himself, Alan has led the campaign amongst media, business and policymakers to raise awareness of child hunger and poverty, and calling for action.

    Alan shows immense commitment to the cause by personally sponsoring the breakfast club at his local primary school where he is a governor. He has secured thousands of pounds of funding from corporate supporters, and led Magic Breakfast to success as a recent winner of the Prime Minister's Big Society Award for outstanding social enterprises. Alan is also designing and launching 'Magic Porridge', a new social enterprise serving porridge to the workplace to raise funds to feed hungry children.

    Alan has gone the extra mile. His work allows an entire generation of children to make the most of their education and be the Olympians of the future. Alan's story is powerful, personal and inspiring, and he would carry the Olympic Flame with pride.

    Visit for more information."


    torch bearer - elaine dowellElaine Dowell

    Hometown: York

    Age 62

    Carrying the Flame through: Aiskew

    On: 20th June 2012

    Elaine's nomination story

    "Elaine is the founder member of the Encephalitis Society, a charity which supports individuals who have had Encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain usually caused by an infection or auto-immune response to infection. She took the initiative to start up the society with a couple of other affected families in 1994 after they found themselves isolated and in the dark about the condition and its effects. The society has since grown into a national charity that provides advice, information, support groups, regional representatives, does dedicated research to improve outcomes and holds social events to enable sufferers to share experiences. I had Encephalitis the year before the society was formed and for 11 years struggled to cope, felt very alone and totally lost my sense of identity and direction and it was only once I found the society in 2004 that I met others who had had the same condition and finally regained a sense of identity and learnt some strategies to cope with the effects of it. I can honestly say that for myself the support and information the society provided was a turning point in my life and I would not be where I was today had I not found them and the many friends I have made through them. It was once said by a society member that the society is 'a light in a very dark place' and for Elaine to be a torch bearer would be a way that I and all the members of the society could say a huge thank you for putting her frustrations to good use back in 1993."

    torch bearer - mike dobsonMike Dobson

    Hometown: Thirsk

    Age 71

    Carrying the Flame through: Aiskew

    On: 20th June 2012

    Mike's nomination story

    "Mike retired from working in education in 1995 and since then has devoted himself to voluntary work within the community, doing fifteen different unpaid activites, as well as eighteen paid activities. He is an advocate with the National Youth Advocacy Service, Barnado`s, Voice for the Child in Care, HMYOI Wetherby and HMYOI Wakefield. He is President of North Yorkshire Youth Ltd and Patron of Sports Aid. He has been involved with the Duke of Edinburgh`s Award, the North Yorkshire County Scout Council, The Prince`s Trust, Youth Clubs North Yorkshire, the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, the National Youth Agency`s Education and Training Standards Committee, the National Lottery Charities Board, the Schools Curriculum Award, the Outward Bound Trust, the National School and Community Network, the York and North Yorkshire Connexions Board, the Extended Schools Programme, the Community Education Development Council, St John`s Ambulance (Commander) and has been a School Governor at the village school for eight years. He is Chairman of the York and District Society for Amateur Artists and teaches watercolour painting to young people, adults, and community art groups, including young people in prison. He is an independent visitor at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, Aycliffe Young People`s Centre and Huntercombe House, Stockton upon Tees. In 1995 he was awarded the MBE for `Services to Young People`. Despite his age and a knee replacement, Mike runs 20 miles a week."

    torch bearer - rachel wilkinsonRachel Wilkinson

    Hometown: Stockton on Tees

    Age 43

    Carrying the Flame through: Aiskew

    On: 20th June 2012

    Rachel's nomination story

    "Rachel Wilkinson is the manager of our vulnerable learners cohort at Bedale High School. We have a room that is called BRIDGE . She, and the other 2 members of the BRIDGE team make sure that young people in need of support are helped in a number of ways, this could be emotional support, practical support or referral to other agencies who could help the young person. Students at risk of exclusion are also helped to try to minimise the chance of this happening. Disaffected young people end up staying in school and completeing their GCSEs rather than becoming non-attenders and leaving with no qualifications. Young carers and those in care of the local authority are supported. All the young people Rachel helps have better chances in life now that they have received support at an early stage. She is proactive and all the young people she has helped sing her praises."

    Terry Haw

    Hometown: York

    Age 75

    Carrying the Flame through: Aiskew

    On: 20th June 2012

    Terry's nomination story

    " Cheerful Helpful Instructing Inspiring Others to take up sport. Since 1959. Youth club leader Cubs football referee 1960 Tennis player Junior tennis coach 2000 have benefited over the years. Runs ladies league 600 players. Playing every week in York district Winter tennis raising funds for Breast cancer Research At 75. Coaches to Encourage players to return to play. He is Mr Tennis in Fulford if not in York. He has devoted all his spare time to encouraging others to take up sport. He is deserving of the honour of carrying the Olympic torch. All this has been achieved despite difficult home circumstances. He is always eager to help anyone no matter the circumstances. When I snapped my tendon playing tennis it was Terry who took me to hospital. Stayed until 3am ran me home and provided great encouragement for me to return to play again after 9 months at the age of 64 and I am still playing. "


    The team at BedaleOnline are excited about seeing the Olympic Torch pass through Bedale from Aiskew. We look forward to seeing Bedale bustling with people and all the local school children lining the streets as it passes!

    We'll be there on the day, will you? Let us know how you plan to celebrate the occasion and how you'll be getting involved by emailing us at [email protected].

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    You can find out about the Torch route, times and more on our Olympic Torch page.

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  4. bedale town council - bedale marketEvery Tuesday, if you make your way down to Bedale Market Place, you will find friendly faces, welcoming smiles and amazing service. Whether you’re seeking locally grown fruit, vegetables or plants; fresh fish, clothing or confectionary; Bedale Market has it all.

    Week in, week out, through rain or shine, a faithful and committed group of traders brave the British weather to bring us a fantastic range of food and goods right to our doorstep.

    Some traders have been coming for years.. Carricks have been bringing their fruit and vegetables and fresh fish since 1929. Martin Carrick was an engineer until he gave up his job to work for the family firm.

    “Bedale has always been a market that has held its own.  Trade is very consistent, we do tend to get a few more faces in the summer months but it is a good market.  People come from all over the country in the summer and say they wish they had this kind of service.  For people just starting out this is a good way to promote a product, it can be a real stepping stone to the big time.”

    Market Superintendent Phil Matthews started running his own stall selling socks, gloves and slippers, a year ago and says it’s the ultimate in local shopping. 

    “Most of the traders are local people, who live within a few miles although some come from further afield, for the shopper it is good value because of our low costs and minimum travelling expenses we can keep the prices down.”

    The market charter was granted to Bedale over 760 years ago, allowing the town to hold a market on the Tuesday of each week.  For hundreds of years it has been a focal point of trade and commerce and as High Streets throughout Britain have been battered by out of town shopping and economic uncertainty Bedale market has maintained its presence.

    Bedale Town Council are now offering budding entrepreneurs a unique chance to test their markets and show off their goods to the public for just £11 a day.

    Mayor of Bedale, Mandi Coates said: “The market is such an important part of the town, we really want bedale market mandi steve nicholsonto see it being used and improved. We want to encourage more traders to come, this really is a unique chance for people to put their commercial ideas to the test, for the price of less than a round of drinks.

    We are calling on local people to support their market, market traders to have faith in it and potential business people and traders to try it.”

    For those of us who live in Bedale, Bedale Market is as much an integral part of our town as St. Gregory’s Church or Bedale Hall. At BedaleOnline, we’re all about supporting local businesses. We want to see Bedale Market continue for years to come, but in order for it to do so, we need local people to support it and use it on a regular basis.

    We know how easy it is to order your food shopping from the local supermarket. But just for a change, if you don’t already, how about trying out your local market? Buy local and see if you can taste the difference? Enjoy the great service and local produce and feel proud of yourself for supporting your local market!


    To find out more about Bedale Market, to enquire about a stall or to receive a new leaflet about the market, contact Phil Matthews on 07894599765 or the town clerk Richard Howard on 01677 427949 (Mondays and Thursdays) email [email protected]

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  5. There's been lots of articles in the local newspapers lately about the 2012 Olympics. Now that we're at the start of 2012, the team at BedaleOnline thought we'd enter into the Olympic spirit and blog about the Olympic flame and what we can look forward to..

    The Olympic Torch will travel via 20 towns and villages throughout North Yorkshire in June 2012; passing through Bedale on June 20th. We can't help thinking that this will be a fantastic way to bring the community together to celebrate and will also put the spotlight on our fabulous market town as the torch passes through from Aiskew to Aysgarth before continuing it's journey around the UK!

    According to "The Olympic Flame will come within 10 miles of 95% of people in the UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey. It will enable local communities to shine a light on the best their area has to offer – including celebrations of local culture, breathtaking landscapes and dynamic urban areas."

  6. So.. We had one week of glorious weather, the summer wardrobes came out and for a few days we even started to get a sun tan!! Then the Schools’ Easter Holidays start and in a heartbeat it’s all gone!!! Now it’s snow, sleet and rain in North Yorkshire and we’re all trying to keep the kids happy..

    If you’re stuck for ideas of how to amuse your kids this Easter, here is our blog to remind you of what we have right on our doorstep!..

    Some ideas and events are FREE, some are indoors for when it’s raining and (yes, we’re being optimistic now..) some are outdoors – just in case we get a glimpse of that gorgeous sunshine again!!

    Take the kids swimming!

    Bedale Leisure Centre have a Family Fun Session with rafts, floats and toys on a Sunday morning and a fabulous Wet and Wild Session, with organised games and an activities leader for competent swimmers on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday’s during the Easter Holidays. They also have general swimming sessions throughout the holiday period.

    Yes.. It may be a bit cold when you first get in, but you know the kids will love every minute of it! You can find Bedale Lesiure Centre’s swimming timetable here.


    Visit York Chocolate Festival!

    York is famous for its confectionery and chocolate industry, and today the Nestle Chocolate Factory still creates a million Kit Kats a day!

    The Chocolate Festival takes place at various venues throughout York, and let’s face it, most of us don’t need our arms twisted to go on a day out that revolves around chocolate!

    You can find out more about the York Chocolate Festival at


    Visit The National Railway Museum, York!

    As it’s Easter Half Term, The Railway Museum have a range of activities for families ranging from egg decorating, to treasure hunts and steam train rides which are taking place each day during the holiday period (The steam rides do carry a small charge).

    The team at BedaleOnline love York Railway Museum; it’s local, it’s FREE entry and the kids always have a great time!.. Plus, you can also take your own picnic to eat in their picnic area, so spending can be kept to a minimum! Find the post code and phone number for The National Railway Museum here.


    Visit an indoor play centre!

    We know sometimes it’s not the most fun to sit in a play centre full of screaming children, but let’s face it the kids ALWAYS enjoy it and anything that keeps the kids happy and gets you out of the house on a rainy day can’t be that bad!!

    We have a list of all the local play centres here, with post codes and phone numbers if you want to check how busy they are before you set off!


    Okay, now here’s the optimistic bit!.. (We’re hoping for some sunshine!)

    Go for a walk at Hackfall Wood!

    Hackfall Wood near Masham is completely FREE fun and the perfect place to take the kids to let off some steam! The scenery is breathtaking; including follies, grotto’s, surprise views, a fountain and even a waterfall!

    We recommend taking wellies and waterproofs if,  like recently the weather has been wet, but we guarantee the whole family will have great fun walking  up and down the trails.. just don’t forget your camera for the spectacular views!

    You can view pictures of Hackfall Wood and find the car park post code here.


    Visit a local Play Park!

    The kids love them, they are completely FREE and if you include a picnic, you can while away hours as a family having fun!

    We have a list of local play parks, with descriptions of what you can find at the park and post codes to find them. We bet there’s at least one you didn’t know of! Our favourite is the little-known park at Harmby, near Leyburn! Find out more about this park and other local parks here.


    Feed the ducks and visit the ‘waterfall’!

    We’re lucky in Bedale as we have the wonderful Beck right on our doorstep, where the ducks are almost always ravenous and just a short walk down from Bedale Bridge where the ducks gather you have Bedale ‘Waterfall’ which the kids always love to see!

    It won’t fill your whole day, but if you want to fill just half an hour, and the sun is shining, then we’re sure the kids won’t complain!

    Why not visit the fantastic Bridge Gallery & Tea Room for a snack or lunch while you’re there? Recently refurbished to a high standard and extremely welcoming of children and families, The Bridge Gallery offer light lunches, delicious coffee and a fabulous range of cakes and scones! Find out more about The Bridge Gallery and view their menu here.


    Take a look at our list of local Easter Events!

    We've looked around for local Easter Events so you don't have to and have a large list which offers everything from Easter Trails & egg hunts to a day trip on Thomas the Tank Engine’s Coaches! You’ll be spoilt for choice!! Find our Easter Events page here.


    As if that wasn’t enough, you can view lots of other ideas for days out on our Things to do with Children page and our Things to do in the Dales page!

    Phew!... We love Bedale and its surrounding areas! Once you start looking, you realise there really is plenty to keep the whole family amused, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth, in fact a lot of it can be FREE!!

    Do you like our ideas? Can you think of any other ideas to keep families occupied during this Easter half term? Let us know by commenting below!

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  7. It seems we all know someone nowadays who is out of work and looking for a job. Actually, that’s probably optimistic; I know I can name far more than just one person!

    We were talking about our jobs section on BedaleOnline recently and looking at our visitor statistics and got to wondering exactly what the unemployment figures are for North Yorkshire at the moment.

    When we looked into it further, we were astonished at the latest figures! In January 2012 according to North Yorkshire County Council, a staggering 10,595 people in North Yorkshire were claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). Of these people, 35.8% had been claiming for over 6 months, and 17.5% for over 12 months.

    And worryingly, that’s 933 more people than last year!

    We also found that for every live unfilled job vacancy at Jobcentre Plus offices in January (of which there were 2,058) there was 5.2 JSA claimants for each job. Something JSA applicants may not be too pleased to know.

    On our BedaleOnline Twitter page in January we heard from a 16 year old who desperately wanted a job but couldn’t find one anywhere. It was not for want of trying, he had applied for lots of jobs in lots of areas, but unfortunately for him and many others, employers want experience; which a 16 year old fresh out of school cannot usually offer.

    Therefore it’s probably not surprising that of the 10,595 people in North Yorkshire claiming JSA, a massive 28.4% of these are aged between 18-24 years old.

    I’m pleased to tell you that this particular 16 year old has now managed to find a job via our jobs section on BedaleOnline, based in Bedale and is extremely happy now. He found an employer who was willing to take a chance on him and who was happy to spend the extra time training him up and is now giving him the experience that he needed.

    But what of all the other 18-24 year olds throughout North Yorkshire who are struggling to find a job?

    We also heard recently of a gentleman aged 55 who had been unemployed for almost 9 months. He had applied for a vast amount of jobs in a variety of skill sectors. He’d even applied to be a ‘Meet and Greeter’ in KFC; something that he was more than qualified to do. When we spoke to him, he said his biggest problem was that he couldn’t get past the online questionnaires. He would apply for jobs and be directed to their Online Applicants Questionnaire, he would then spend on average 15 minutes of his time going through the online process for each job; ticking boxes and answering in some cases deliberately complicated, thought provoking questions. Only to be told as soon as he clicked ‘submit’ that on this occasion he had not been successful. (This was also the case for the ‘Meet and Greeter’ at KFC..)

    The gentleman felt disappointed that after answering as honestly as possible that he was unable to get through to the interview stage time and time again. In his words, he told us he simply wanted to meet someone face to face, shake their hand and tell them with enthusiasm why he was perfect for their job, rather than being faced with a lengthy questionnaire that he simply could not answer in the ‘correct’ way.

    It seems to the team at BedaleOnline that job seekers are constantly fighting a losing battle. Whether the problem is their age, the fact that there are just too many other job applicants per job and or in lots of cases, struggling to get just get past an online questionnaire to actually speak face to face with someone and put your personality across and show enthusiasm for the job.

    We know that there is a huge demand for jobs around Bedale at the moment. We have a very popular jobs section on BedaleOnline that is updated each evening, Monday to Friday with hundreds of local jobs, all within a 15 mile radius. In the past 24 hours alone on BedaleOnline we’ve had 256 page loads throughout our jobs section!

    We have had fantastic feedback about our website from job seekers. They have told us that having the jobs in categories makes it much easier to find what they are looking for, and we have even put in an Apprenticeship section to help teenagers and other job seekers who would like to train up or move into different job sectors. We love to receive emails of thanks from local people who have found and applied for jobs via BedaleOnline and we hope that we continue to help local people find local jobs. If you are looking for a local job, you can view our jobs section here: BedaleOnline Jobs

    The team at BedaleOnline would be very interested to know your experiences of unemployment in our area. Do you have any thoughts on the matter? Are you unemployed and struggling to find a job? Have you finally found a job after much searching, or did you find a job straight away after becoming unemployed?

    Please let us know your thoughts on the issue, we’d love to hear them..

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  8. “But I can get everything I need at Tesco...........................”

    In Bedale we are very lucky as we are surrounded by independent shops, restaurants, takeaways and coffee shops, but how would you feel if all those shops closed down and our high street looked more like this? and they were replaced by one big supermarket?

    Well I for one, would be really sad about that, no longer could I sample the delicacies freshly baked by individual bakeries, browse the handmade gifts & art at the local gallery & I couldn’t get a takeaway on a Friday night unless it came in the form of a ready meal that I needed to microwave and where would I go with my friends at the weekend to enjoy a glass of wine and a dance?

    So although we all love having our independent shops, hand on heart how many of us actually support them? And by this I mean, actually shop for your meat at the butcher, buy your dog food from the pet shop & eat your dinner at the local pub?

    Maybe it’s time we re-think our strategy, yes your local independents may sometimes be slightly more expensive than the big supermarket chains (although not always is that the case!) and yes I’m sure it can, at times be inconvenient going to lots of small shops rather than one big one but, and it’s a big BUT they are right there on your doorstep, opening up every day for you, sourcing out the finest products, from the freshest flowers to the locally produced ingredients to make the perfect scone and they work very hard all hours of the day to make sure that you, the consumer, is treated to something special and a little bit different. Not only that but you don’t need to drive for half an hour to get to them, in fact I bet, you can probably walk to them!

    So why not try out your local shops today, you might be surprised by what you find behind the doors................ A friendly face, a welcoming smile and amazing service, because the independent shops know that by you being there & buying in their shop, you are helping them sustain their business so they will go that extra mile just for you.

    Let’s keep the high street alive. Walk around Bedale, open the doors to the shops that you walk past everyday and take a look inside, if everyone who reads this blog tries out just one new place this week, it would make a real difference to your high street, so give it a go!

    We have some places in Bedale that we would like to recommend you try this week:

    The White Rose Hotel (Leeming Bar) recently refurbished and offering delicious food, a quiz night every Tuesday & live music most weekends, you can check out thier events page here

    The Bridge Gallery Has just reopened its doors following a refurbishment and is now a modern funky space home to some amazing art & offering a cosy coffee shop environment, serving lunches and yummy cakes too! It’s the perfect place to while away a spare hour or 2 chatting with friends or using the free WIFI. You can print a voucher here to try thier delicious coffee for FREE

    The Terrace Bar & Grill in Bedale another recently refurbished establishment in Bedale, offering lunches and dinners along with an extensive wine list. The Terrace also has a quiz night every Thursday with a £50 prize!

    Oscar Pet foods deliver pet food direct to your door so you don’t even have to go out for it! With their friendly advice and service, they are your one stop shop for pet all your pet requirments, read all about them here

    Gary Clarkes Barbers, Bedale, our friends at The Barbers are offering a voucher here especially to Bedale Online visitors. A trendy modern design with young friendly staff, you can trust them to turn you into a new man (or at least cut your hair just the way you like it!) and they even make the experience fun for little ones by having a special racing car chair, guaranteed to keep the little ones happy!

    Look after your local shops and in turn they will be there offering you that little something special for many years to come.

    Let us know your thoughts, have you visited the places we recommend? Are you going to support your local businesses more? Do you already shop local? How would you feel if a big supermarket came and everything in Bedale closed down? Have you tried somewhere new in Bedale lately? What would make you shop more locally?

    We would love to know your views, get in touch today & look out for more recommendations next week!