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Remember I said last month there were exciting times coming up? Well, first all the TV coverage of Otley and all the women’s race failed, during the Tour de Yorkshire. Now the BOOM festival due to take place on the 29th and 30th of May has had to be cancelled. Their Facebook page says “an unexpected bureaucratic mix-up coupled with a lack of sponsorship makes cancellation the only sensible option”.BUST

Still, the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I hadn’t even included all upcoming Otley events in the April intro. The massive annual spectacle that is Otley Show, for instance, takes place next weekend on Saturday the 21st of May [more details below]; Otley town centre cycle races are on Wednesday the 29th of June [more next month]; and there’s a brand new [revitalised] event due on August Bank Holiday Monday – the Otley stretcher race!! [Again more details below.]

I hope I haven’t ‘cursed’ them by writing about them now! Likewise by mentioning again Otley Carnival on the 18th of June; Otley walking Festival from June 25th to July 3rd and a Civil War battle weekend on the 2nd and 3rd of July. And then there’s still the Otley Food and Drink Festival on July 17th; Otley Folk Festival’s 25th anniversary in September [see more below] and loads more. We all hope for a successful summer of massive events that will bring visitors into the town, and bring more business to all the wonderful pubs of Otley.


 NORWEGIANSOtley Pub Club has over 400 members, most of whom obviously live in and around the town itself. But one fan of Otley and its pubs lives in Stavanger in Norway – and in the middle of April he visited the town with 6 of his friends. They are all supporters of Leeds United, and when they were planning to come over to see two games at Elland Road in 4 days, they decided to spend a couple of those days here in Otley, where they met up with some of the committee members for a few beers.

While they were here, the Norwegians stayed at The Black Horse Hotel, and enjoyed the hospitality of The Black Bull while watching the pub being featured in The Hairy Bikers’ ‘Roundheads’ TV programme on Monday night. But none of the other pubs in town missed out, as they somehow visited all 17 in the town centre while they were here! They also managed to fit in a visit to Wharfebank Brewery, where head brewer Alberto Iglesias shared some secrets of his recipes with them, and they were able to talk to him about Norway, as he is soon due to go there himself.

They headed back home impressed with the friendliness of all the people they had met, and vowing to tell all their friends back home to pay Otley a visit when they’re over in England. Special thanks go to Martin Kellaway, MD at Wharfebank, for opening up the brewery to our visitors on a very busy day – and even showing them round himself. Also to Lee, the owner of Maypole Fisheries, for returning to re-open the cafe which had just closed for the evening when they arrived, and (don’t breathe a word of this!) even letting them bring some more drinks in with them to wash down the delicious food on offer!


Bradford CAMRA said ‘well done’ to us, not only for getting the Black Bull featured in the HBs’ programme, but also for the pub being featured in the credits of every show! [No way we can take credit for that, but it does keep the profile high.] Purely coincidentally [probably], some Bradford CAMRA members will be “touring” the pubs of Otley on Sat 4th June. We’ll be glad to welcome them when they meet at the Bowling Green at about 13.30.


 Otley show is the oldest one day agricultural show in the country. It has grown to become one of the most important agricultural shows in the North for livestock and handicraft exhibitors to compete in, inclotley showuding a wide range of competitions for children. It is a great day out for all the family with many attractions and events planned throughout the day, and is open from 8.00am until 7.30pm.

With attractions from Otley ferret rescue to American army jeeps, and from Punch and Judy to a tug-of-war competition alongside all the trade and commercial stalls, there really is something to keep everyone entertained all day. Everyone in town looks forward to the Show, and keeps their collective fingers crossed that this year we’ll avoid the hail, sleet and mud that sometimes accompanies it. On a beautiful fine day though, the views up the Wharfe valley and over the river to the Chevin are almost worth the price of admission on their own! Just don’t forget to call into an Otley pub for a drink and a snack, on your way to the show or back.


We’ve told you about these sessions before, but this one won’t take place in a pub but in the Otley Town Council offices at The Core Centre. That’s in Orchard Gate, just behind Otley bus station and opposite M & Co [Mackays]. Support workers from the Alzheimer’s Society and Carers Leeds will be hosting the drop in session on Friday 20th May, between 10.30 am and 2pm. If you have any worries about yourself or someone you know or any questions or concerns about dementia please feel free to call in for a chat or to pick up information about local support.


Do you remember this? Teams with strong muscles and a good thirst are being sought, to re-introduce the Otley Stretcher Race. This fundraising event, which sees teams in fancy dress carrying a ‘patient’ between most of the town centre’s pubs, used to take place until a few years ago. Now Peter Jackson, landlord of The Otley Tavern on New Market is keen to see it take off again as an annual event.


Teams of five (four carriers and one patient) are being invited to enter the fun run, and everyone who takes part has to have a drink – alcoholic or non-alcoholic – at each inn along the route. The more teams that take part, the more fun the event will be, so persuade all your mates to get together and join in. The route will be decided when we know how many teams there will be [but it’s unlikely to be from The Roebuck and The Yew Tree, across the river without using the bridge, round every pub in town, then finish at The Royalty – which is a race I’d love to watch, but not take part in!!]

Teams can register by contacting The Otley Tavern on 01943 463711; emailing ; or just calling in to the pub. The race is planned to take place on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th August, and all sponsorship and collected monies on the day will go directly to a local charity decided by a vote from members of the public.

To remind you what the old version of the race was like [and we’ll be trying to make this one even better!] you can still see the old website from 2013 at


Less than 6 weeks to go until we all have to decide on whether our country’s future is best served within or outside the European Union. The arguments cover business, international trade, banking, security, immigration and emigration and lots more. Many people probably just have a ‘gut’ feeling about whether it seems right or wrong to be part of an expanded European community, or to ‘go it alone’ in the world. Others will still be trying to make sense of the conflicting points of view they hear from politicians, economists and pressure groups on both sides.

Do you know enough about what leaving the EU might mean, to be confident about which way you should vote on June 23rd? Do you get confused by the ‘facts’ presented by both sides of the argument, which sometimes seem to be in direct opposition to each other? Would you like to hear those two sides of the argument at a debate right here in Otley, and have the chance to ask your own questions?

Well, Otley Pub Club has arranged to give you the opportunity to do just that! On Wednesday evening, May 25th, there will be a debate about Europe in the upstairs room of The Black Horse Hotel. It will begin at 7pm and run until about 9pm with plenty of time to carry on informal discussions in the pub after that. Entry is open to everyone, not just OPC members, and will be by donation [suggested to be at least a pound]. Once the room is full, I’m afraid we’ll have to turn people away, so please try to get there early, buy a drink if you want one, and takeEURO in or out your seat.

The speakers will be John Grogan from Stronger in Europe in favour of remaining in the EU, and Roger Tattersall from Grassroots Out who would prefer the UK to leave. (No, not the two guys pictured here!) The debate will be chaired by Matt Hardin from Otley Pub Club and there will be no Party Political involvement or bias from anyone at the top table. The two speakers will first be given the opportunity to speak for up to 10 minutes each, without interruption, either from their opponent or from the floor followed by a right of reply. Members of the audience will then be able to ask questions of either or both speakers. The Chair will make sure there is no filibustering, and maintain timings and control – his word will be final!

A straw poll will be taken at the start of the debate to see how many people have already decided which way to vote – and which way. A similar poll will be taken at the end, to see if anything has changed. So come along and see which way Otley is likely to vote!


In support of the Otley defibrillators campaign, Peter Jackson from the Otley Tavern has organised free first aid training on Saturday the 4th of June from 10am at Bridge Street Church hall. Number of sessions will depend on amount of interest. Anyone can attend, and all they ask for is a donation to Otley defibrillators. Donation buckets will be in place at the hall on the day. Teas, coffee and sandwiches will be available to purchase as well. Training will be given by Brett Booth, who is a qualified trainer and volunteer rapid responder, (as well as being the landlord of the Yew Tree Inn). Anyone interested please contact Peter on 07799 465070


As you can see from the article above, Brett Booth, the landlord of the Yew Tree on Newall Carr Road also delivers training for a living. He’s going to be training his staff at the Yew Tree for their Personal Licence course, followed again by first aid training, on Monday May 23rd. So, if anyone in Otley Pub Club would like to join them, he is offering the course for only £98 + Vat (normally £135 + vat). Venue will be the Yew Tree itself [with large free car park] from 09:00 to 16:30, and the day will include coffee, lunch, workbooks and exam fees. If anyone is interested, please phone the Yew Tree on 01943 461330


Otley Black Sheep Folk Festotley folk festivalival will be a quarter of a century old on the weekend of 16-18 September 2016! Some of the organisers have been involved since 18 months before the first festival and so it seemed fitting to invite a few of those original weedy first years back for this one, Stanley Accrington being one of those nervous few. He has now been performing for thirty six years so obviously was only eleven when he first took the stage at Otley. Robin Garside was also there with duo partner Paul Gough, local songmeister Dave Vermond was there, Malcolm Devereux sang with Amanda Bailey and Last Orders and Steve Fairholme played with Tanglefoot and The Freddy Alva Band. Our list of local folk stars has grown massively and hopefully they will all be on duty for this twenty fifth bash. Other artists on this year’s list are… Vin Garbutt, De Temps Antan, Granny’s Attic and Les Barker – and for a full list of the 30 acts confirmed so far, see A full weekend adult ticket is still only £55.

The thing about doing things for 25 years is that things change [including how many times you should use the same non-specific word in half a sentence]. For example, organiser Steve Fairholme says “Some things (sic) are the same as they were 25 years ago but some things (!) are very different – like social media, which wasn’t around then.” So he is looking for new volunteers to join the committee, and is asking anybody who would like to get involved to attend its meeting at the Black Horse Hotel in Otley at 8pm this Monday, May 16th.Steve Fairholme

The committee are determined to make the 2016 event a special one to mark the quarter-century landmark, and want to make this one the best ever. Steve said “It will certainly help us do that if we can welcome some new people to the committee this year. We have a group of stalwarts, who deliver the festival and do a great job, but it would be great to have some new people helping also – people who can help with promoting the festival in all the ways we want to. So l look forward to meeting some new people at the Black Horse and welcoming them to the team.” The committee would particularly welcome anyone with skills in marketing and publicity, social media, mailing lists, sponsorship or logistics.

Anyone wishing to help, who is unable to make Monday’s meeting, can e-mail to for more details.

The Folk Festival is one of the great annual events in town, and this is an opportunity to learn from the vast experience of the existing team, while possibly getting in at the start of a whole new 25 years’ journey.


 A report [commissioned by the University of Sheffield] written by internationally-renowned beer writer Pete Brown [born in Barnsley] not only suggests this, but also says Sheffield can stake a claim to being the birthplace of the UK craft beer revolution. But then maybe between them, they would say that – wouldn’t they? See the arguments for yourself, at!/file/Sheffield-BEER-report.pdf


The Pint of Science festival aims to deliver interesting and relevant talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public – all in the pub! They want to provide a platform which allows you to discuss research with the people who carry it out – no prior knowledge of the subject is required. It is a non-profit organisation run mainly by volunteers and was established by a community of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in 2012. The main festival takes place annually over three days in May, simultaneously in pubs across the world.Science

So if you’d like to find out more about cutting-edge scientific research in the following fields

  • Beautiful Mind – neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry
  • Atoms to Galaxies – physics, chemistry, maths, astronomy
  • Our Body – medicine, human biology, health
  • Planet Earth – geosciences, plant sciences, zoology
  • Tech Me Out – biotechnology, robotics, computers
  • Our Society – law, history, politics, policy, languages

Go to the website and find out what’s on at The Midnight Bell, Mr Foley’s and O’Neill’s on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week – the 23rd to the 25th of May.


Rather than me just copying and pasting upcoming events from individual pubs’ Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, here are all the FB links and Twitter addresses that I’m aware of, for you to have fun searching for yourselves! [All may be – maybe – back to normal after the first weekend in July!]





















@BOWLINGGREENOT                    [Sep 2015 last tweet]



@WhiteSwanOtley                         [No tweets ever}





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As ever, I might have missed things or misrepresented the facts, for which I apologise.  If you no longer want to receive these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club, just email the return address. On the other hand, if you stop receiving our newsletters but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Just send an email to , or via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

15 May 2016



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