Armathwaite’s first social centre, the 50-year-old Women’s Institute hall, was gutted by fire. One of the few items recovered was a crumpled certificate presented to the WI in 1972 on the occasion of its golden jubilee. The alarm was raised by 17-year-old Fenwick Gibson, the son of the WI president, Mrs. Edna Gibson, Bridge End Farm. Firemen from Penrith and Lazonby fought the flames.
Tributes were paid to Eden Council’s director of technical services, Mr. John Shilston, on his retirement. Originally the urban council’s surveyor, Mr. Shilston moved on to the Eden staff following the re-organisation of local government. Presenting him with a wristlet watch, council chairman Mr. Jack Varty said: “Throughout all the council’s trials and tribulations, Mr. Shilston has always remained calm and unruffled, always immaculate in dress and manner, first and last a gentleman.”
The death took place of a former Penrith businesswoman, Miss Hilda Sim, who specialised in prams and other items for babies and small children in her shop in Corn Market. She was born at Tirril, the youngest of eight children of Mr. and Mrs. John Joseph Sim.
After 42 years on the open road, RAC patrolman Tony Harrison, Ratcliffe Place, Keswick, retired. His service was broken by wartime duties in the Royal Signals in the 8th Army in the Middle East. His most vivid memories were of the winter of 1947, when “the Thirlmere road was blocked for three weeks solid”.
St. Lawrence’s Church, Appleby, was packed for the traditional blessing of the plough by the Bishop of Penrith, the Rt. Rev. Edward Pugh.
Appleby councillors attacked Eden District Council’s decision to raise the rent paid by the Eden Valley Band of Hope Union on the occasion of the temperance “demonstration”, held on the Broad Close. Speakers described the charge of £60 as “preposterous”.
As there were no criminal cases at Appleby Assizes, the Judge (Mr. Justice Finnemore) was presented with a pair of white gloves by the High Sheriff (Mr. F. B. Chancellor). The Judge congratulated the county of Westmorland on its crime-free record, although he would not like to see the Assizes ended because of lack of business.
The New Year Honours List included the award of the OBE to Mr. G. H. Fletcher, Garbridge Hotel, Appleby. He had a distinguished career in the electrical engineering industry before becoming owner of the hotel, jointly with a work colleague.
Keswick PUPS held a silver jubilee “do” in the Pavilion, including a fancy dress carnival and dance. Fancy dress winners were Sylvia Scott, Susan Atkinson, Judith Hale, Hilary Denwood, Donald McRae, David Cole, Sidney Birkett, Derwent Teasdale, Ian and Malcolm Green.
The new president of Penrith Chamber of Trade was Mr. Dudley Wilson, proprietor of the jewellery and watchmaking business started in town by his great-grandfather in 1860. He was a keen golfer, skier, tennis and badminton player, and an acting member of Penrith Players.
On show in the British Museum was the famous Ormside bowl, an Anglo-Saxon silver gilt bowl, circa AD 800, which was found in the churchyard at Ormside in the 19th Century. The report ended: “This little masterpiece of art is recognised as one of the leading art exhibits of the early Dark Ages.”
Alston Comrades’ Club reported an improved financial position, with a credit balance of £37 7s 1d. The president was Mr. F. Watson, with Mr. H. Birkett as secretary and Mr. J. F. Fawcett as treasurer. E. Bell and H. Bennett had been members since the club’s inception, 30 years earlier.
The death occurred somewhat suddenly of Mr. Anthony Metcalfe-Gibson, Coldbeck, Ravenstonedale, one of the largest landowners in the district. He was a JP and had been a member of Westmorland County Council since its formation. Aged 52, he left a widow, a son and three daughters.
Mr. Heywood Thompson presided over the annual meeting of Great Salkeld library. The report showed that the number of books was 557 and the membership had increased to 57. The committee was empowered to use the room for lectures in winter.