Megan Wallace explores the Barnsley Chronicle archives from 1997.

A NETWORK of volunteers who act as friends to some of Barnsley’s loneliest people is to expand.

About nine people visit the old and housebound at least once a week, often just for a chat and a cuppa.

The scheme they take part in is known as Lundwood PALS, which stands for Personal Assistance and Loans Scheme.

PALS was set up last June and has operated in Lundwood and Cundy Cross.

After Easter, it will be expanded to cover Oakwell, Hoyle Mill, Shafton, Stairfoot and West Green - and new clients are needed.

Mark Jackson, 21, of Strafford Avenue, Elsecar, has been a volunteer since last September.

Mark (pictured) said: “It is worthwhile helping other people who cannot get out all that often.

“Even something as simple as spending an hour a week away from the house brings untold enjoyment.”

FEMALE firefighters are a rarity.

In fact, South Yorkshire Fire Service has just one - in Sheffield.

Firefighting remains a job for the boys, with a mere 426 women among the UK’s 56,000 operational staff.

But that could change in the near future after a campaign next month aimed at attracting more women.

New chief fire officer Jeff Ord said: “Harassment will not be allowed or tolerated.

“We must get rid of the stereotyping which portrays the job as a male occupation.

“We must break down the barriers that keep women away from the fire service and everything possible will be done to attract women.”

In the past, height requirements for the job meant that 80 per cent of women were excluded from making it a career.

If the Home Office agrees, however, the minimum height will be reduced to five foot, six inches.

IF you’re a lottery loser or a football pools flop, there is still one way of joining the idle rich ... flog off the family silver.

People across Barnsley are busy scouring attics and sheds for hidden treasure, ready for next month’s visit by the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.

Up to 5,000 people are anticipated to take along as many as 20,000 items to be examined by the show’s team of experts.

Some could be so valuable that - just like a win on the lottery - they could change the owner’s life forever.

The show has been running for 20 years and regularly attracts 13 million viewers.

Presenter Hugh Scully says he is looking forward to visiting Barnsley - and they still want to hear from people with heavy or bulky items to add to the variety of the show.

DANNY WILSON has pledged his future to Barnsley Football Club into the new millennium.

The Reds’ manager this week signed a new three-and-a-half year contract which highlights his loyalty, and the club’s faith in him.

“I was delighted to accept the new contract,” he said. “I have enjoyed every minute here.

“Not everyone can claim he has job satisfaction. But that is what I have here.

“I have an excellent working relationship with the chairman, I have a tremendous backroom staff and the fans have also played their part.

“They have made me feel so very much at home at the club and they have also accepted what I am trying to do.”

Wilson, who still had a year-and-a-half of his existing contract to run, added: “I have never thought of anything other than working here while I have been in the job.”