INTERESTING news from Northallerton where one of the region’s best-known department stores has announced a major policy change.

From later this month Barkers, on the High Street, will become a seven-day-a-week operation, opening its doors each Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

For the last 135 years the store – which currently employs more than 200 people – has fought shy of such a move, only opening on Sundays during the run-up to Christmas.

The initiative is something the founder, William Barker, would never have contemplated.

He was one of 14 children from a farming family, and one of 14 children, and in 1882, at the age of 14, he began work as an apprentice in the store of John Oxendale, which would eventually become Barkers.

And working on the Sabbath would have been nigh-on impossible – as his apprenticeship contract stated he had to attend church twice on Sundays.

TO be a jockey requires nerves of steel; hurtling along at up to 40mph several feet above the ground is not for the faint-hearted, so it seems fitting that mother-of-two, Jo Ford, from Newton-le-Willows has been picked for the Macmillan Ride of their Lives.

Jo is one of 12 members of the public selected to undergo five months of intensive training to become an amateur jockey, before stepping out before 25,000 spectators at York Racecourse on a thoroughbred racehorse.

Having twice survived cancer and having recovered from a shattered disc in her back, Jo clearly knows a thing or two about courage. So we’ll cheer her on when she makes her appearance on June 17.