Pateley is so much more than a pretty face

‘Picture postcard’ is an expression that could be used to describe many North Yorkshire communities or landscapes and Pateley Bridge is no exception.

With a Market Charter now more than 700 years old, the town oozes charm and history, with the added benefit of being nestled into a beautiful landscape.

But it would be wrong to dismiss Pateley Bridge as just a pretty face, because it is the main service centre for Nidderdale, with a thriving community which might surprise those who look beyond the obvious.

Some of the attributes are impossible to miss and being home to the world’s oldest sweetshop is an accolade to delight both residents and visitors.

That is not the only novelty, however, and many who live in the area have been pleased to use the expanded jigsaw library – an extension of the customary community library – to help to fend off boredom during the months of isolation residents have faced during the pandemic.

It is a service made possible by volunteers who run the library and who have been making home deliveries, expanding rapidly due to the generosity of users who have donated their own puzzles to extend the range available.

Volunteering is a recurring theme in the area, with many established organisations like the 46-year-old Nidderdale library able to exist only because of support from a legion of locals – something recognised in 2017 when it won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Residents are everyday people with everyday needs, however, and, like the rest of the county, the infrastructure that supports them has been put to the test by Covid-19.

Nidderdale Plus already existed, but was promoted to become the area’s Community Support Organisation on behalf of the County Council.

Since then it has fulfilled a multitude of functions to help ensure those affected by the crisis have been given the support they need, with new volunteers stepping forwards to help for the first time.

Cllr Stanley Lumley said: “Pateley Bridge is not only steeped in history, it remains a great place to live today and that is down largely to the people who live there.

“They make it what it is, are generous with their time and knowledge and go out of their way to make sure more vulnerable neighbours are not neglected.

“That is the hallmark of a great community and it is something which can be seen instantly in Pateley Bridge.”