Megan Wallace explores the Barnsley Chronicle archives - 1984.

CHAMPION driver Mike Tonra has become a real master of the wheel - by passing three tough motoring tests in just 12 months.

The 37-year-old gents’ hairdresser from Aldbury Close, Smithies, has met the high standards of the Institute of Advanced Motorists with his performances in a car, motorcycle and commercial vehicle.

And in doing so he has become the first member of the IAM’s Barnsley branch to complete the hat-trick so quickly.

Mike admits that until being bitten by the motoring bug, driving was just a means of getting to work.

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“We moved further away from my shop in Sheffield a year ago and as I was on the look-out for a cheap form of transport so I bought a motorbike.”

THREE Barnsley area bus drivers are to undertake the longest possible straight-line journey in Britain - on foot.

Tony Simpson, Ian Tissington and Bryan Huscroft are to attempt the 1,000-mile trek from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for multiple sclerosis sufferers.

The money is to be spent either on research or go towards the cost of a decompression chamber - the only effective remedial treatment for the distressing complaint which has no cure.

Tony, 28, of Watermead, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Ian, 27, of Hough Lane, Wombwell, and Bryan, 26, of Barnsley Road, Cudworth, are to tackle the venture during their winter holidays starting at midnight on February 24.

They are to alternate their walking in six-hour shifts and are to be accompanied by a coach supplied free by their employers, the Yorkshire Traction Company.

FOR a woman about to undertake the biggest journey of her life, 78-year-old Ella Booth displays a remarkable lack of anxiety.

For sprightly Ella knows that while flying for the first time might frighten someone at her age, she has to show daring daughter Cathy that she is not the only adventurous one in the family.

Ella’s daughter is currently sailing around the world in a 53ft yacht.

Ella’s feat will be to fly out to the Canaries where Cathy, husband Terry and children Pippa, 12, and Paul, eight, have just berthed on their ambitious circumnavigation.

Terry’s parents, Peggy and Harold Stenton, from Barnsley, are planning to accompany Ella, who lives at Gilroyd, to Tenerife to see how the sailors have fared during the first leg of their epic voyage.

EXCITING new plans to further develop Worsbrough Country Park as a major ‘theme park’ are now being considered.

Proposals include expansion for the corn mill as a local history museum, the development of a visitor centre and increasing car parking spaces, the setting up of a farming museum and opening up more land for walks and guided tours.

It is believed that the country park in its expanded form will give ‘townies’ a better chance of exploring and understanding the countryside.

The agricultural museum would be based around Wigfield farm.

It is hoped that adjoining land could be cultivated and managed to show old methods of farming.

Wigfield Farm would also be the base of a small farming tool museum as there is already a small collection at the mill museum.

IT will be a high noon next Monday as a man called Duke starts a one-man mission to clean up Barnsley’s streets.

Francis Duke, 43, will have to be the meanest man this side of the valley - the Dearne Valley, that is - as he embarks on a showdown with the outlaws with paws.

Armed with a lasso, choke-chains and leads, he will be responsible for the biggest roundup of stray dogs Barnsley has seen in 100 years.

The packs of strays which roam some of Barnsley’s council estates are a real problem.

They forage through dustbins living off refuse and the mess they leave on pavements and in public places like parks has put health at risk.

So it has needed drastic action from Barnsley Council to solve the problem: and that is where Mr Duke, who lives in Long Causeway, Monk Bretton, comes in.

Mr Duke is under no illusions about his new job as official dog warden and he said this week while completing his training: “There is no doubt that Barnsley needs a dog catcher.”

MECHANICALLY-minded Alan Booth has played his part in motoring history.

A 1901 ‘Pick’ he rescued from a scrap yard for £25 is now the only example of its kind in existence - and is now worth a cool £10,000.

Unfortunately, the car no longer belongs to Mr Booth so he does not stand to benefit financially, but he does feel very privileged to have been able to restore a car of such character.

A keen motorist, Mr Booth stumbled across the car in 1947.

“I had heard about a couple of scrap cars in a yard between Wakefield and Leeds so I went along with a friend, George Thompson,” said Mr Booth, now aged 71, of Abbey Lane, Cundy Cross.

Mr Booth’s interest in engines intensified during the Second World War when he was a flight engineer with the RAF Bomber Command.

The Pick has just two forward gears and no reverse and had to be pushed backwards but it was so light that this presented no problem.

BARNSLEY Society for the Mentally Handicapped is shortly to order a new mini-bus - thanks to Barnsley FC.

It was the presentation of a cheque for £250, raised by the players and coaching staff, that took the society's mini-bus appeal fund over the magic target.

The new 12-seater Ford Transit, when it arrives, will replace a similar machine which, the society say, has given ‘valiant’ service for the past six years.

The players raised the money from a disco night, held at the Rebecca’s night club in Barnsley.

Last year they handed over £340 to the society from a similar event.

The money was presented to the society’s chairman, Brenda White, by manager Norman Hunter, after a training session at Oakwell on Tuesday.

Society treasurer Gordon Thorpe, said: “On behalf of all our parents and youngsters, I would like to offer our sincere thanks to the players, staff and management of the club for the interest they have shown in our mentally handicapped young people.”