News and events from around the Skipton area

Skipton Puppet Festival 2013

From flea circuses to giant sheep, all creatures great and small feature in the 5th Skipton International Puppet Festival
27 – 29 September 2013

From flea circuses to giant sheep, trolls to tea kettles, the streets of a quiet Dales market town will be once again filled with puppets at the end of September as Skipton Puppet Festival returns for its fifth outing.
Preparations for the festival are well underway, with thirty companies from across Europe already booked. The festival mixes traditional and more experimental puppetry, with performers travelling to Yorkshire from as far afield as Croatia and the Czech Republic.
There’ll also be plenty of homegrown favourites like the Giant Swaledale sheep and their sheepdog, who’ll be herding the puppets at the Saturday afternoon parade – even keeping the gigantic Mr Punch in line!
There’s something for everyone in this warm and inspiring festival, from Baobab and Bushbaby for the under threes through to a more experimental slapstick show for the
grownups from Les Homes Vides. There will be eighty performances in total, with a mix of free and paid events so there’s something for everyone, whatever your budget.
The festival takes over venues across Skipton, with a Puppet Parade through the town centre on the Saturday afternoon. Local schools and community groups are getting involved too, with workshops and special performances using puppets to tell stories that are interesting, funny, and thought-provoking.
Tickets go on sale in July; for regular updates, visit the festival website at or follow the Festival on Facebook:

Double delight for roll of honour pupils

Two teens have topped the 2011 GCSE roll of honour by scooping an  astonishing 15 A*s each in their exams.

School pals Stephanie Ford, 16, and Beth Smith, 16, amassed a staggering total of 30 GCSEs between them – all with the top grade.

The schoolgirls picked up their results at non-fee paying Skipton Girls School this morning. Clever Stephanie, of Burley-in-Wharfedale, West Yorkshire, even took a GCSE in Astronomy and is hoping to follow TV scientist Brian Cox into a career as a physicist.

The delighted teenager said: ‘I suppose I have been inspired by Brian Cox. My school offered a GCSE in Astronomy for the first time this year and I was so excited to study it.

‘I couldn’t believe it when I opened my results’ envelope at school. I just looked at it for five minutes thinking, ‘really, is that right?’ I can’t believe I’ve got among the best results in the country.

‘I would love to go to Oxford University when I have finished my A-Levels.’

Stephanie, who describes herself as a ‘nerd’, obtained her impressive total in Maths, Statistics, English Language, English Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Art, Astronomy, German, French, Media Studies, Dual Award Engineering along with two short courses in IT and Religious Education – adding up to a full GCSE.

She also found time to sit AS Levels in French and Maths this year, gaining two As, and will study A-Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and English Literature next year.  Proud parents Fiona Prest and Stephan Ford are both Cambridge graduates who have taken up teaching after both being lawyers.
Stephanie said: ‘Everyone in my family went to Cambridge so I would love to go to Oxford.

‘I want to go to university, no matter how expensive it is. You can’t have a career in physics without the qualifications.  ‘It would be amazing to do research physics.

‘I am the nerd in my family. I just concentrated in lessons and if I didn’t understand, I knew I had to work on that.’
Delighted Beth scored A*s in English Language, English Literature, Maths, Statistics, Astronomy, French, Geography, PE, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Media Studies, Dual Award Engineering and short courses in IT and Religious Education.

Beth, who hopes to study to be a vet at Cambridge, said: ‘My mum has not stopped crying since I told her.

‘I was over the moon. I didn’t know what to do or say but it’s absolutely amazing to think we could be topping the results table.’

Beth, who also sat an AS Level in Maths this year, will stay on at Skipton Girls School to study A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Geography, French and Maths. She said: ‘I’ve always loved animals and my dream would be to study to be a vet at Cambridge.’ Head teacher Jan Renou said: ‘I am absolutely delighted for the girls. They are unassuming, lovely girls and are the supreme champions. ‘They have already proven they are way beyond GCSE A*s.’
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