HISTORY and heritage and the need to preserve it were occupying Northallerton Town Councillors this week, but they didn't really want to talk about it, at least not when the press were listening. And the big problem was money. Members were keen to secure for the town a racing trophy from 1835, presented at Northallerton Racecourse, near Otterington which is being sold at auction in Cambridge on April 15.

The Stewards Silver Cup has an estimate of between £2,000 and £4,000 and obviously the town council would prefer the lower rather than the higher cost. While Spectator is normally happy to protest about press freedom and the public's right to know, in this case we can see it's probably not a good idea to tell the world how much they might be prepared to fork out for the historic cup.

And we are also not keen to drive the price up by waxing too lyrical about the what a good idea it would be to restore this intriguing part of the town's history to Northallerton. It was quite a surprise to Spectator to hear that Northallerton had a racecourse, although in reality most places did, and apparently it was a popular spot in its time. A three day racing event was first staged in 1765. Town councillors were also concerned about how and where they would keep an object of value and how to keep it secure.

Spectator has been informed there is a precedent, a magnificent solid silver Tureen currently in the care of the Town Council, was auctioned in Portsmouth. A whip round of people in the town and councillors came up with the cash to buy it and previously heritage items held by the council were put on show four times a year for members of the public and local schools to see.