There is more to Kirkby Malzeard than most villages. It is becoming a rarity to find one that boasts two shops, but this community’s main street has as much, as well as a pub, a hairdressers, a garage and a fish and chip shop.
Located six miles out of Ripon and with a population in the region of 850 people, its well-stocked high street is representative of the community spirit that seems to be bubbling away under the surface.
Just a glance at the well-populated village website gives a sense of how this is a community that retains a togetherness, despite the trappings of modern life.
It has a choir, an amateur dramatics group, a women’s institute, an ‘In Bloom’ committee and even a longsword dancing group.
“It is a good example of a Yorkshire village where people pull together,” said Pippa Manson, who plays an integral role in the local Yorkshire In Bloom group which took a Silver Gilt award this summer after winning Gold awards for three years running.
Ms Manson moved to the village from Nottinghamshire 11 years ago after she landed a job in outdoor education at North Yorkshire County Council. Now retired, she is helping to run the gardening club at Kirkby Malzeard Church of England Primary School.
“I think the sense of community, of a community of this size, is great. You’ve got people running round sorting things out,” she said.
One individual whose tireless commitment to village life stretches back decades is being thrown a special coffee morning by the community to celebrate her 90th birthday on Monday, at the village Mechanics Institute from 10.30am.
Gwynneth Jackson, a former music teacher, plays the piano in the village church and primary school. She has served as a parish councillor, sang in the church choir, has been part of the In Bloom and local flower show committees and a member of the Kirkby Malzeard Players, among other roles.
Community life begins to revolve around Christmas as November draws to a close and Tim Stothard, of Highside Butchers is ready for the seasonal rush.
“Over the years we’ve had the queues down the street but we’ve got it down to a fine art now, there’s no need for that.”
It seems there is less of an appetite for full turkeys nowadays.
“Every year, turkey orders get less and less,” said Mr Stothard, who grew up in the village. “People are going for boneless turkey breasts because they’re easier and quicker to cook, and families are smaller these days.
“We also do a lot of three-bird roasts and local game.”
All the butchers’ meat comes from a small, family-run abattoir in Witton-le-Wear, County Durham, and the shop replenishes its stock of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.