RESIDENTS have been preserving memories in a documentary film to chronicle life as it was in the Upper Esk Valley in and prior to the 1950s.

The project is led by the Bradbury Centre, a community activity centre based within Abbeyfield Esk Moors Lodge in Castleton, and has received a grant of almost £5,000 from the North York Moors National Park Authority, which was matched by community efforts.

Living Memories is the most ambitious project the group has undertaken and has had an overwhelming response from local people, who have volunteered to give up their time to collect anecdotes and photographs from the past.

The film will take the form of a documentary using historic photographs and live reminiscences from the people in Castleton, Danby, Ainthorpe, Westerdale and Commondale.

Meetings have already taken place where residents have been able to bring old photographs and artefacts to be recorded, the most recent being held at Danby Village Hall on Friday, January 10 where proceedings were recorded for the film.

Filming has also taken place in Danby and Castleton schools where elderly people who were former pupils were questioned by the children.

One resident who got involved was Derrick Champion, 95, from Castleton.

His family has run Champions garage in the village since 1910 and the business is still in the family.

Mr Champion comes from a mechanical background as his father, Arthur William Champion, started the business and worked as a mechanic on bomber aircraft during World War II.

The film premiere is scheduled for March 28 this year and the DVD will be released soon afterwards.

If anyone would like to contribute further information to this project contact Ian Johnson on