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Settle and District News and Reviews



The evening opened with the houseband “The William Small Small Orchestra” who were as ever on fine form performing a wide range of tunes as a taster prior to the main event.  They were followed by a set performed by Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage. While Hannah Sanders undoubtedly has a very distinctive and at times ethereal voice, I felt that there were either serious problems with the technical equipment, acoustics or her own poor diction – or perhaps a combination of all three- as there were many times when it was very difficult to actually make out the words of the songs.  Sadly this was not helped by the choice of numbers in the set, which were by her own admission all in the folk song range of “soporific misery” and while there were clearly hints of interesting musicianship and vocal gymnastics the overall effect was far from enjoyable.  Fortunately the evening was greatly enlivened by appearance of the main act, Megson. The visit by husband and wife team Stu and Debbie Hanna had originally been planned for February but was postponed because of heavy snowfall.  The night was certainly worth the wait as this stunning duo infuse real flair and insight into their mix of traditional and self-penned songs, many of which reflect the life and culture of their native Teeside.  A recurring theme in their music is the passage of time, but this is handled with great sensitivity and flashes of humour so that while many songs have the same theme the actual way in which it is approached makes for an evening of real variety in terms of pace. Typical of this genre is “Dirty Clothes” which deals with the move from the carefree childhood to the cynicism of adulthood and the shock of realising you have grown older even if you haven’t grown wiser. Equally moving and yet also humorous was “In a Box”, an  exploration of a life through the things we end up storing in the loft.  Their voices blend together wonderfully, creating interesting harmonies which are very reminiscent of their chorale singing background. Against this their regional accent is very clear but it is used to good effect in the songs which reflect the history of the North or where they have set poems from the area to their own tunes.  Both excellent musicians they employ a range of instruments with Stu swapping effortlessly between guitar and the more rhythmic drive of the mandola  while Debbie performs on accordion and whistle. Interspersed with the astute observations contained in their own songs are works by others as well as traditional tunes and this helps to add yet further depth and variety to the programme. Highlights undoubtedly were “The Old Folks Tea”, an arrangement of the poem by pitman poet Tommy Armstrong and a haunting version of ” Still I Love Him”.  While it was definitely worth the the wait, hopefully it will not be another 5 years before they return to Victoria Hall



The group is composed of three fiddle players from totally different traditions: Kevin Burke from southern Ireland, Christian Lemaitre from Brittany and Andre Brunet from Quebec. They are joined by guitarist Nicolas Quemener , also from Brittany and together they create a wonderful celebration of  the music of the violin. This is very much a music which has no borders and the group incorporate all styles of playing and all manner of tunes from Breton wedding marches, Irish jigs and Quebec reels through to haunting waltzes and orginal compositions.  The first half of the programme is given over to a series of duets with each fiddler, accompanied by guitar, demonstrating their own style in short sets. This makes for a lively entertainment and varied programme as they all have very different techniques  and these short show-cases allow the audience to enjoy a range of pieces and also to see how the approach to music has varied in each country. The second part of the evening concentrates not on the differences but on the similarities, with the musicians playing in unison and covering music from each individual tradition but coming together in a way which makes it clear that great musicianship transcends minor matters of geography and that the energy and excitement generated by sharing tunes and talent is something which matters far more. They are undoubtedly dazzling performers, each one at the very height of their skill and performing with incredible grace and dexterity.  Equally the language barriers become unimportant for the shared language of the music is sufficient and through the clearly well established rapport between them they are able to communicate their humour to audience also – nowhere more obvious than in the non-stop movement and energy of Andre Brunet who accompanies his playing with an almost percussion like dancing.  In contrast the repetition of the Breton dance tunes played by Christian Lemaitre becomes almost hypnotic in their intensity while a sense of desperate yearning is never far below the surface in the Irish airs.  The music which they create together is both mesmeric and yet also full of a wild exhilaration, while the joy which they share in their playing is contagious.


A house to house collection has been taking place this week . However, if you were not at home when the envelopes were collected then you can still ensure that your donation is included by dropping it off at one of the collection points around the town. There are buckets available in Booths, Speight & Watson, Naked Man Café or Giggleswick Tuck shop.


Pupils in Settle have been telling friends in Kwezana about a very unusual lesson which they really enjoyed this week. This involved examining the eating habits of owls. To do this they had to dissect owl pellets, the mixture of the things which an  owl eats and then regurgitates because they cannot be digested. This involved them in wearing protective gloves and using tweezers and cocktail sticks to pull apart the pellets. Many of these contained bones from smaller animals, skulls and pieces of fur. The class found this forensic examination great fun and it gave an insight into the hunting habits of the owls.


On May 16 there will be a circular strenuous walk around Hawes.  This will set off from Garsdale at 10.21 and link with the local bus service. This will be a 12 mile walk. As a service bus in being used to travel to and from Hawes, space is limited and so booking on this walk is essential. To book a place email Also on May 16th there will be an opportunity to visit the restored signal box at Armathwaite and to take part in a short, 7 mile, circular walk. This is a moderate walk and will leave Armathwaite at 9.47. No reservation is necessary for this walk but all participants on walks should ensure that they are appropriately clothed, carry a packed lunch where required and have suitable footwear. Details can also be found at


Music with a Spanish flavour is showcased on 14 May when flamenco guitarist Juan Martin appears at the hall and on May 20 there will be a return visit by celtic stars “Peatbog Fairies”  For details and tickets of all events contact 01729 825718


The Friends of Victoria Hall are holding a quiz night with pie and pea supper on 15 May. Entry is £20 for a team of 4. The quiz will commence at 7.30pm at Victoria Hall.  There will be a bar available all evening – to offer sustenance when dealing with more taxing matters! Advance bookings can be made at 01729 823867, to assist with catering.


The next Big Breakfast will take place on Saturday 16th May at 8.30am.  Tea / Coffee will be served from 8.15am. This month the Big Breakfast returns to its original venue in Friends Meeting House, Annexe. The speaker will be Rev Michael Jackson from Kirkby Malham. Michael worked in Winchester for many years.

He was Director of St John’s Winchester charity which provides sheltered housing & nursing care for older people in Winchester.

Please phone 01729 825285 to book your breakfast prior to the event.


Settle Amateur Operatic Society invite you to a coffee morning at the Old Court House on Station Road on May 16 from 10am-12.30pm. All are welcome to come along and enjoy coffee, cakes and a chat.


The next messy church session will take place on Sunday 17th May in St John’s Hall from 3.30pm – 5.30pm. The session provides a time for families ,of all ages, to have fun together, eat a meal together and celebrate together.


The next meeting will take place at Townhead Court on Monday, 18 May and will commence at 7.30pm. The first half of the evening will be a gallery on the theme of “Close Up Photography”. The second half will be a talk by Margaret Smith on the subject of “Size Matters”. This will focus on issues relating to how to adjust Image Size and Resolution to get your pictures the size and quality you want them to be.


On Wednesday 20 May at 11.30am  North Craven Heritage Trust, the organisation that helps to safeguard the distinctive beauty, character and heritage of North Craven, is staging a walk through the Ingleborough Terraces.  Entitled a walk back in time, participants should meet at St. Leonards Church Car Park Chapel le Dale for this event. This will be a moderate walk over some rough country and limestone pavements and cover approximately 5 miles and last around 4 1/2 hours. Participants should bring picnic lunch and wear boots or stout shoes. For further information about these events and the work of NCHT, please visit our website


The next club night will be 23 May. The club meets at 9pm in Settle Social Club with a range of floor singers and musicians. All welcome.


The group will next meet on 27 May at Townhead Court at 2pm. The speaker will be Michael Myers on the subject of “Trees and Shrubs for the Smaller Garden”. Visitors welcome, admission £3.


The Friends of Settle Swimming Pool will hold their Annual General Meeting on 29 May at 7.30pm in Friends Meeting House, Kirkgate. This meeting is open to all the community and new members are always welcome.


Settle Amateur Operatic Society are delighted to announce that once again John Bowdler – Blackpool Tower Organist – has agreed to play for a fund raising dance. Tickets are now on sale for the event which will take place at Ingleton Community Centre on June 20th. Tickets cost £8, including refreshments, and can be obtained from the community centre or by contacting 01729 822364 or 01729 822959.


Settle W.I. were absorbed by slides shown by Annie Neligan who had volunteered several times to help bring in the olive harvest in a Palestinian village. Questioned by Edna Tomlinson and Sandra Fox the group were dismayed to hear that land- grabbing by the Israelis still continues unabated and that world leaders are ignoring the situation. Shared olive oil that afternoon was the best Joy Calvert, who gave the vote of thanks, had ever tasted.



On May 14 and 15 at 7pm, Giggleswick Junior School present their own take on the tales of 1001 arabian nights with their production of “Aladdin Trouble.”  On May 17 there will be a showing of the film “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” by Community Cinemas. This will take place at 3.30pm. For tickets and details contact 01729 893180.


Well done to Summer Parker, Ellie Forster, Aaron Hird and Leon Venn for the successful outcomes in their accordion exams. Congratulations also to the pupils who took part in the recent Tag Rugby tournament. In spite of the very wet conditions, they all played very well, losing two games and winning two games Congratulations also to the pupils who took part in St Alkelda’s Family Service  and read in this recent community church event. The school has been asked to provide entertainment at the forthcoming Parish Council community tea party and are currently putting together a musical entertainment for this event on May 16th.

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