Wednesday, 15 February 2006

A meeting in York

Posted by Chris

Glynis and I were at York last night for a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Yorkshire Ridings Society (YRS).

We stopped on the way at the Riverside Farm on Skipton Road, a Wacky Warehouse eating place. We like these because you always get a huge helping. The soup, however was stone cold and had to go back. I had to chase all over to find a member of staff as they were rushing around the place preparing for their Valentines Night. I noticed they had sprinkled little gold hearts on some of the tables and there was a little girl wandering around scooping them off as fast as they put them down.

The YRS meets at the Black Swan in York. This is reputed to be one of York's oldest pubs and legend has it that at least one meeting held there was attended by a chap known as Guy Fawkes.

We enjoy YRS meetings and have made some good friends, from all over Yorkshire, over the years that we have been involved with this excellent campaign group. Set up following the disastrous local Government changes in 1974 and the creation of the plastic counties, Cleveland and Humbugside, this organisation has kept the fight for recognition of real Yorkshire and its three Ridings alive all this time. Many of the founder members were in their twenties then and are still active members thirty years on.

Led by the ever enthusiastic Colin Holt from Fenwick near Doncaster the society has notched up a number of triumpths over the years. Most notably the abolition of Cleveland and Humberside in 1996, our part, alongside the Association of British Counties, in persuading Royal Mail to restore real Counties to their address data base and to dispense with their own eccentric counties. They used to insist that your county was the one in which their main area sorting office was sited, regardless of whether you actually lived in that county. Now you can use your real County, your administrative county or no county at all, as long as you include the post town and Postcode.

In spite of the fact that Royal Mail's Address Management Centre made these changes to their address data base in 2000 - including deleting Cleveland and Humberside - people in these areas still get letters with these former counties on their address, almost ten years after we got rid of them. The reason for this is simple. Royal Mail's address data base is too expensive for most organisations to buy so they either use an out of date programme or buy cheaper ones that have not been amended to bring them up to date. It is time that they got up to date because all it does is cause confusion.

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