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Welcome to our opinons page, here you will find columns from well known locals such as Chrissy Dawson, Dan Jarvis, Ian McMillan, Milly Johnson and Stephanie Peacock.

As always we like to encourage our readers to get in touch with issues that matter to them.

If you'd like to send in a letter to our Editor based on something you have read today, or on another topic you can do so via email here.

Chrissy Dawson: 19.04.24
NOWADAYS, there are gadgets everywhere... In shops, there are the handheld price scanners that you carry around with you to add up your shopping as you troddle around. And don’t even get me started on the self-serve checkouts because I absolutely refuse to use one of those. No, I like to see a person in front of me so I can have a little conversation about this and that. A flipping machine...
Dan Jarvis (new)
Dan Jarvis: 19.04.24
As I write this column, the anticipation of what I think will be my 14th (it’s easy to lose count!) London Marathon has got my legs shaking as, once again, I’ll be lacing up my running shoes to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK. Running the London Marathon is always a challenge but it’s also an immensely rewarding experience. The camaraderie among fellow runners and the encouragement from spectators lining the streets creates...
Ian McMillan
Ian McMillan: 12.04.24
I was browsing the internet the other day, pretending to do some ‘research’ for something I was writing, when I came across an amazing account on X called NME 80’s. It might sound like a site for the collectors of personal number plates but in fact it celebrates the music paper the New Musical Express by reprinting articles from the 1980’s; I glanced at the pages and, to my surprise and delight, I was in...
Milly Johnson: 19.04.24
A lady from Staincross wrote to me, after reading my piece about my missing bracelet presumably and how kind someone was to hand it in. The lady found a good quality cream coat in her garden which may have blown off a washing line and she’s been trying to relocate the owner of it for weeks. So if you’re reading this and thinking ‘that’s where it went’ and you can prove it’s yours, can you...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
Milly Johnson: 12.04.24
I am just writing book 22 and needed the name for a café and I was pondering on this when my son announced that he was just off ‘to Vera’s café’ in Darton for a meal. I don’t know the name of the café these days but I’m sure it isn’t still Vera’s, but that’s what everyone still calls it, even kids like mine who never knew it as Vera’s in the glory days. And...
Stephanie Peacock 2
Stephanie Peacock: 12.04.24
Across England in 2023, raw sewage was discharged into rivers and seas for more than 3.6 million hours, 105 percent more than in 2022. Meanwhile, water bosses have earned £25 million in bonuses since the last election. Water companies across all regions in the UK have been dumping raw sewage into our waterways without any consequences, putting the nation’s health and environment at risk. Since 2019, the water bosses responsible for this mess...
Dan Jarvis: 05.04.24
When speaking with local residents, too often, I find myself consoling grieving families who have lost loved ones in road traffic accidents. I sadly know what this feels like as, many years ago, a family member of mine died in a road accident. Their death cast the longest and saddest shadow and ever since I have been acutely conscious of the human misery associated with road deaths. The recent tragedy in Barugh...
Chrissy Dawson: 05.04.24
I AM soooo fed up with the rain. It seems such a long and drawn-out winter. For some reason, the winter months have really bothered me more than I can remember any previous years before and I’ve had the winter blues right good and proper. Yes, Mrs Grumpy is being even worse than usual. It’s the greyness that greets me on a morning – not to mention all the rain and the coldness. Yes,...
Ian McMillan: 29.03.24
I’ve long been fascinated by the fact that for many thousands of years nobody really knew what time it was. People got up when it got light and went to bed when it got dark. In Jube they got up early and in December they went to bed early, and their lives were ruled by light and weather. When clocks were invented and stuck up on church towers (I realise I’m simplifying things here,...
Chrissy Dawson (new)
Chrissy Dawson: 22.03.24
I am going to talk about a subject that most people really feel uncomfortable talking about. Unless you happen to be me, of course… Okay, the uncomfortable subject is our bowels. Yes, that’s right - bowels, the things that we all have but never discuss. Well, I’m going to. You see, once we reach that certain age, we receive through the post a ‘FIT’ (faecal immunochemical test). This is a test that looks for...
Dan Jarvis (new)
Dan Jarvis: 22.03.24
With the Easter half-term holidays upon us, I hope the next couple of weeks will offer a welcome break for folk to spend some quality time together. I know for many families the Easter break means balancing childcare with work and keeping the kids entertained. Fortunately, there are lots of affordable events and activities taking place on our doorstep for all to enjoy whatever the weather. Cannon Hall and Cannon Hall Farm are both...
Milly Johnson: 05.04.24
THERE was an April Fool on Facebook that Barnsley Council were going to install a ‘Barnsley Eye’ ferris wheel type structure that went over a few people’s heads (literally) as they thought it was going to be really happening. I thought it was a lovely idea actually. But of course such posts bring all the moaners to their keyboards. ‘Barnsley council wasting money… blah blah…’ I’m sure some of them see the words ‘Barnsley...
Milly Johnson: 29.03.24
When I was at a funeral last week I lost the lovely silver bracelet that my OH bought for my recent big birthday. It was precious not because of monetary value, it wasn’t high end ‘designer’ because we aren’t those sorts of people, but it was exactly what I wanted, solid and plain and one of a kind because it was a vintage piece and I know how much care he’d taken over finding something...
Stephanie Peacock: 29.03.24
Last week we marked English Tourism week. This is a chance to commemorate our local history, and appreciate all the important cultural places that make our community what it is. In Barnsley, we are lucky to have so many important cultural sites available to us, such as Elsecar Heritage Centre, Old Moor Nature Reserve and Worsborough Mill amongst many others. I was pleased to pop in to the Goldthorpe Railway Embankment Spring Fair,...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
Milly Johnson: 22.03.24
I’d like to thank the binmen of Barnsley for emptying our grey bins last week after a runaround on what to do when they aren’t emptied. The thing is that getting through to anyone on the phone is nigh on impossible and it may surprise the powers that be that many – maybe most – elderly people ain’t going to rush to the internet to try and find their answers. I did try and...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
Milly Johnson: 15.03.2
I was surprised as many others to hear that there are plans afoot to make Townend roundabout more ‘Dutch’ and bicycle friendly. It might sound a bit awful to say but the only people I ever see on bicycles on that roundabout are dodgy types that look as if they’re on a quick getaway from something. Thinking of the disruption that will cause to build makes me want to lie down in a dark...
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Ian McMillan: 15.03.24
ME and my artist mate Iain Nicholls decided to go on one of our arty/poety strolls recently; we wander round bits of the borough taking photographs and writing notes and maybe, just maybe, these images and words will become a joint piece of creative work. Or we might just get some steps in, which is good for us. The French would call us flaneurs; people who wander aimlessly to get a better view of...
Milly Johnson: 08.03.24
As someone who walks around Penny Pie Park every day, I have to say that it crossed my mind that the recent visiting fair might make a mess of the grass. But I’m not going to join in any criticism. I thought it was lovely having it there, a bit of old school fun and I was only sorry that the weather was so bad some days that the fairground folk might not be...
Dan Jarvis: 08.03.24
Easter is just around the corner and images of eggs – those laid by hens as well as the chocolate variety – already surround us in schools, churches and shops. It seems a good time then to share a few thoughts about my experience of keeping chickens! I’ve kept chickens for as long as I can remember, and I guess I always will. There’s just something so relaxing and peaceful about the way that...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
Milly Johnson: 01.03.24
I get some of my best lines from mixing with tarn folk you know. At my recent book launch a lovely woman said to me ‘Just to let you know you’re better looking in real life’. Which is the point at which a compliment should stop, shouldn’t it? You’ve done your duty and delivered an ego boost. But no, she went on ‘…because some of your photos – OOOOF’. Ha. Ego in the bin. But...
Ian McMillan
Ian McMillan: 01.03.24
On the X19 the other day two very different ideas came together in one space, that space being the seat near the back on the left hand side. I like to sit near the back because for the last year or so as I travel up and down the Dearne Valley on the bus I’ve been conducting an informal survey that I (informally) call ‘What Kind of Hat?’ and I have come to the...
Stephanie Peacock: 15.03.24
On March 6, the Chancellor delivered his spring budget statement to Parliament. As the cost of living remains high and wage growth falls, we needed measures to alleviate financial pressures on households across the country. People feel worse off than they did in 2010, and, after 14 years of Conservative government, mortgage rates are up, bills remain high and fuel prices are astronomical. Real pay has gone up by just £17 per week since 2010...
Chrissy Dawson: 08.03.24
I can remember when I had to fill in patient information forms, you know the ones, the ones that you have to fill in when changing dentists etc… No, I am not changing my dentist, I absolutely love my dentist Liam to death, I wouldn’t change him for the world. I always think if you get a good dentist, doctor and hairdresser you should hold onto them, but back to the form filling. ...
Stephanie Peacock: 01.03.24
World Book Day 2024 will be taking place on 7th March, and is a chance for children to engage in reading, and find out what books interest them. The National Literacy Trust and World Book Day work together every year to organise this event for children across the UK. They want to ensure that every child has the opportunity to have a book of their own, and are able to read for pleasure. A big part...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
Milly Johnson: 23.02.24
Daft woman of the week was the one that obviously got her green traffic light and her green man mixed up and decided to walk out in front of cars heading up Shambles Street and nearly got herself splattered. Then what did she do when she got to the other side of the road? She pressed the button to stop the traffic. I wonder where she was in the queue when they were giving out...
Chrissy Dawson (new)
Chrissy Dawson: 23.02.24
I really don’t like January and February - I tend to get the blues. Not depressed, but blue. It’s the constant grey skies, the icy wind and the bloody rain. I mean, just how much rain do we seem to have? It’s around this time that I begin to find things to do. Now I’m not doing as much acting work this year so this should be the perfect opportunity for me to relax,...
Dan Jarvis: 23.02.24
As we approach the General Election, it is a statement of fact to say there are a range of malign forces seeking to interfere and undermine our democratic process. Be under no illusion that our democracy is under attack and we need to ensure we are prepared to counter the threats to the integrity of the election process. The right to vote is a precious one, earned over centuries of struggle, and allows us...
Ian McMillan: 16.02.24
Here I am at the busy bus station and the bus I’m waiting for is a bit late. There’s a crowd waiting for the bus that looks a bit freeform but if you look really carefully you can more or less make out that it’s a queue. Or can you? Time will tell. Because I can’t work out which part of the ‘queue’ I’m meant to be in, I take up my usual position of...
Dan Jarvis: 09.02.24
From the famous Barnsley Markets to our award-winning parks and green spaces, I find myself continually captivated by the unique character of our town and the beauty it contains. Yet, among the many characteristics that contribute to Barnsley’s charm, often overlooked are the diverse dialects that colour our conversations. The beauty of our local dialects lie not only in how they sound, but in the stories and traditions they embody. They’re a living reflection...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
Milly Johnson: 09.02.24
I have started the process of packing up my mum’s house, her effects, her little treasures that meant nothing to anyone else but she loved them. It has been a fresh kind of hell seeing small gifts I bought my parents many years ago in their drawers, including a gent’s manicure set I bought for dad when I was eleven. It has broken me, but I have to do it, I don’t want to...
Ian McMillan
Ian McMillan: 02.02.24
YEARS ago, when I was a young lad, wanting to be a writer, I used to make an annual pilgrimage to the Ilkley Literature Festival. I’d get the bus to Barnsley, the train to Leeds and then the train to Ilkley and as I rattled along roads and rails the landscape around me would slowly and subtly change and the pitstacks would be replaced by rolling hills and the brick of South Yorkshire would...
Milly Johnson: 16.02.24
I HAVE been thinking about my mum more than ever recently and her treatment up at the hospital – more on that one later. And when one has time to think I do wonder why, on occasion, I gave all the information needed to the virtual ward nurse who came out to see mum, then an hour later I had to repeat everything to the ambulance driver who imputted it into his system, then...
Stephanie Peacock: 16.02.24
February is LGBT+ History Month, an important chance to celebrate the incredible stories of a community forced to be hidden for so long. This includes the fascinating story from Darfield of Maurice Dobson and Fred Halliday, who were in an openly gay relationship from the 1950s - a time when homosexuality was neither accepted nor legal - until Fred’s death in 1988. Maurice was born in Wombwell in 1912. Like most boys of his...
Chrissy Dawson: 09.02.24
Well, I don’t know about anyone else but I really hate these dark days we’re having. Waking up on a morning and it’s still dark and it doesn’t get any brighter as the day goes along. I think I suffer from ‘SAD’ - seasonal affective disorder. In January and February, I always start feeling a bit down. I don’t want to go out for my daily walk because it’s usually wet, cold and dark....
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Stephanie Peacock: 02.02.24
FRAUD is now the most common crime in the UK, and the effects on victims can be devastating and long-lasting. Findings from the BBC estimate that the UK loses £2,300 per minute to fraud, or a staggering £7 billion per year. Barclays bank estimate that a fraudulent transaction happens every 15 seconds in the UK alone. Over the past 14 years, the rise of social media, online shopping and online banking has provided...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
Milly Johnson: 02.02.24
CAN you believe we are in February already? If you are feeling a bit glum may I recommend buying a hyacinth from your local supermarket where they are as cheap as chips (mind you chips aren’t cheap these days are they? You either buy fish and chips or pay the month’s mortgage!). Anyway, they won’t break the bank and they’re scented with spring and will cheer you up. Or a bunch of daffs. There’s...
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Milly Johnson: 26.01.24
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Raymond Pearson, the walking miracle man, who recently received his nuclear test medal after volunteering to take part in incredibly dangerous testing in Australia in 1957. Scientists didn’t believe these men would live past 40, and yet Raymond was luckier than many. But sadly, aged 86, Raymond has just passed away. His family are understandably upset, especially as he has just got his medal. But better...
Dan Jarvis: 25.01.24
First and foremost, I am a Barnsley MP proudly working each day to stand up for our town and my constituents. Last autumn I was also appointed as shadow security minister – and this means working to protect the people we hold dear, the institutions we rely upon and the way of life we enjoy in Barnsley and around the UK. There is no greater duty than keeping our country safe. One issue people...
Milly Johnson: 19.01.24
I am most definitely not alone in being transfixed by the story of the wronged postmasters and postmistresses who took on a government institution and would not be fobbed off. I’m as interested in the story behind the story – that the writer of the drama was told that probably not a lot of people would watch it. That the lead actor Toby Jones, took a pay cut to ensure that the programme...
Dan Jarvis (new)
Dan Jarvis: 12.01.24
As we welcome the new year, it is worth recognising that the month of January can bring unique challenges for many in our community. The end of the festive season often comes with financial difficulties, particularly as we are still in the midst of a cost of living crisis and, in times such as this, our local churches are invaluable pillars of support. Over the past few weeks, I've had the privilege of visiting...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
Milly Johnson: 12.01.24
I was absolutely gutted to hear about the death of David Soul – to those of us of an age ‘Hutch’, who I used to fancy like mad as a teenager in the 1970s, the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. He was probably one of the most famous men on TV at the time, women adored him – and his partner Starsky. The fame wore him down, he never bettered his role as Hutch,...
Chrissy Dawson: 26.01.24
I am one of those rather annoying people that is always banging on to other people, usually my family about having their photo taken. “In years to come” I say, “You’ll look back at photo’s because that’s all that’ll be left.” And as they all make groaning sounds and line up and pose, I know that they are only doing it to keep me happy. But I must admit that I am the worst person...
Ian McMillan: 19.01.24
The other week I gave a talk to the Darfield branch of the U3A, the University of the Third Age, at Darfield Church Hall, that venerable building in what I like to think of as Darfield’s Cultural Quarter, with the three other points of the cultural compass being Darfield Museum, The Cross Keys pub and All Saints Church. I’d not been into the Church Hall for a few months; last time I was there...
Stephanie Peacock
Alongside cold weather, high heating bills and a little less disposable income after an especially expensive month, January can often feel comparably miserable. This has led to the idea that the third Monday in January is ‘Blue Monday’, allegedly the most difficult day of the year. However, the Samaritans have renamed this as ‘Brew Monday’; an opportunity to get people together, stay connected and raise awareness about how important it is to talk...
Chrissy Dawson
Chrissy Dawson: 12.01.24
I know that as we all get older our memories aren’t as good, but I have to admit that over the last few weeks my memory is absolutely terrible. I seem to beginmost of my conversations with “Did I tell you?” or “I’ve probably told you this already.” Knowing deep down that I have most definitely not only told them once but several times. And I can see by the look on their faces...
Ian McMillan
Ian McMillan: 05.01.24
New years like this one are often a time to look forward and, as I said to one of my grandchildren at Christmas, I’m planning to live to the ripe old age of 120. Actually, that’ll probably be an overripe old age. When I said it some of the people in the room looked at me like I was daft but when you think about it there are a lot more 100-year-olds around than...