Friday, 6 September 2013

Kirkstall Abbey shortlisted for BBC heritage award

Caption: The magnificent Kirkstall Abbey has been shortlisted for a heritage award.

A historic Leeds abbey is in the frame for a heritage award from a popular BBC programme magazine.

Dating back to the 12th century, the ancient Cistercian ruins of Kirkstall Abbey have been shortlisted in the 'Britain’s favourite heritage site' category of the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2013.

Selected by Countryfile presenter John Craven who was born in Leeds, the abbey, which sits spectacularly along the banks of the River Aire and is the home to a number of popular events including Classical Fantasia, will battle it out with nine other nominees to claim the award, which will be chosen by members of the public.

Full details on how to vote can be found on the programme’s website at Votes can also be sent via email to

With voting closing later this month on September 30, lovers of the abbey are being urged to register their support as soon as possible.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:

"It really is fantastic news that the stunning Cistercian ruins of Kirkstall Abbey have been nominated for this heritage award.

"The historic feel and atmosphere of the abbey really are unique, and I would urge anyone who has yet to experience the surroundings to pay a visit so they can find out why it is such a special location.

"The eventual winner will be chosen by the public, and with the deadline fast approaching, I would ask anyone who shares our love of the abbey to register their vote as soon as possible."

John Craven, Countryfile presenter, speaking on the shortlisting of Kirkstall Abbey said:

"My first heritage site – I was brought up a couple of miles away and often went here as a child.

"One of Yorkshire’s great Cistercian ruins, it stands on the banks of the River Aire just three miles from the centre of Leeds – a quiet refuge amid suburbia."

Notes to editors:

Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most complete Cistercian monasteries in Britain. Founded in 1152 by Cistercian monks, Kirkstall was a religious centre in Yorkshire until 1539 when it was closed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Visitors can explore the abbey ruins to discover where the monks worked, lived and prayed over 800 years ago, from the majesty of the church to the peace of the cloisters.

The Visitor Centre is home to displays about the abbey, kid’s dressing up and a new shop selling unique bespoke products. Entrance to Kirkstall Abbey is Free. There are regular events at the abbey throughout the year, from Muddy Monkeys for the under 5s every Tuesday to Classical Fantasia which takes place this Saturday.

The BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards are a celebration of the countryside and its people. The 2013 awards were launched in the August issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine, and feature 10 categories, from conservation projects and best heritage site to countryside writers and our finest nature reserves.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Community football team secure new lease

Caption: (L-R) -Back: Peter Crebbin, director and treasurer of Garforth Rangers and Cllr Mark Dobson with junior players of the club.

A community focused football team in East Leeds is celebrating this month after an agreement was reached with Leeds City Council to secure a new10-year playing lease on their current home.

Established in 1996, Garforth Rangers, who are based on Ash Lane, has over 400 junior players under the age of 18, and 60 adult players in their ranks. This includes a development squad for children aged 4 to 6, 26 teams for those aged between 7 to 17, three senior sides’ and four girls only teams. The club also has over 30 fully qualified volunteer coaches on hand to help with the development of players at all age groups.

Run entirely by volunteers, Rangers have also been granted Standard Charter Community Club status in recognition of their work by the Football Association, which only 600 clubs hold nationwide.

By securing a long-term agreement with the council on Ash Lane, the club will now be able to focus on its key aim of encouraging more youngsters to take up the game by developing a centre for football, and also improving its current facilities.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment said:

“I am delighted that the council has been able to reach an agreement with local football club Garforth Rangers to extend their lease on Ash Lane.

“The important role that the club plays in and around the community really cannot be understated, especially when you consider they are run entirely by volunteers and are the home to over 400 junior players and a number of senior sides.

“By securing this long-term agreement, Rangers will be able to build further on their aim to develop the community work that they do and also improve the facilities they provide. I am looking forward to seeing them move from strength to strength in the future.”

Peter Crebbin, director and treasurer of Garforth Rangers said:

“We are delighted to have secured a long term lease on Ash Lane and thank Councillor Dobson and all those involved for their hard work and assistance securing the lease.

“The lease enables us to create a home for Garforth Rangers and over the coming years we hope to develop a previous unloved area of land into community footballing facility we can be all be proud of with a club house to match.”

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578