×
Got a Story? - 01226 734262

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: Three-day summer was eventful
So, a couple of weeks back, at the time when we had about three days of hot sunshine - better known as our summer - I had gone off for a couple of days to Brid. Whilst I was there, I decided that since the weather was glorious, I would take myself off and venture up into the ‘old town’. I love the old town of Brid, it has so much character and...
Chrissy Dawson (new)
Chrissy Dawson: Fitting tributes to one-of-a-kind Malc
Last Friday we said goodbye to Mr Malcolm Wainwright, as many will know him, for he was the headteacher at Churchfield Primary School in Cudworth for 31 years. To his friends, which Pete and I had the great pleasure to know him as, he was Malc. He saw and helped generations of families go through the school doors and his door was always open, not only to pupils and parents, but also to the...
Josh Timlin
Josh Timlin: Officers deserve better protection
ANOTHER week and another example of judges letting the public and more importantly a criminal’s victim - or victims in this case - down once again… Bradley Burgin became the latest cop attacker to be jailed last week having evaded police for months following an assault on two female officers in Cudworth on November 3 of last year. He was stopped for driving a vehicle that had no MOT but when in the...
Milly Johnson: Non-voters have no place to moan
Anyone who didn't vote in the recent elections has absolutely no place in moaning if the voting didn't go the way they wanted. It was an odd one, wasn't it? That Labour won nearly two-thirds of the seats with just a third of the popular vote. In fact, if you drill down into the numbers, it looks like the weirdest maths lesson on the planet. I was glad that Dan and Stephanie kept their...
Ian McMillan headshot
Ian McMillan: Cryptic crosswords confuse my brain
I like language and words are my currency; I’ve made a living from the writing and spouting them for decades and I think about them all the time. I ponder their meaning, I contemplate their sound, I enjoy reading them on the page and listening to them on the bus. I often like to unlock them and go to a dictionary to find their meaning, to find where they’ve come from and how far...
Josh Timlin
Josh Timlin: Tougher stance on fly-tippers is welcome
FOR too long fly-tippers have blighted Barnsley and although figures show it’s still a huge issue, there’s a massively positive piece of legislation on its way which will – hopefully – finally help address the matter. Thanks to a co-produced plan from both Barnsley Council and the town’s army of litter-picking volunteers who’ve rightly become tired of the borough’s state, tougher fines will be handed to anyone caught fly-tipping after ambitious p
Chrissy Dawson: Cash is king
Cash is king! Well, I certainly think it is. No, I’m not part of the tin hat brigade, but I do worry about the ‘doing away’ with cash. I have no objection to those that choose to use their cards for everything. One tap and it’s done… yes, I know. But I don’t want to do it - I actually like having cash in my purse. I like the fact that I know exactly how...
Josh Timlin: 07.06.24
LOCAL council meetings are something I regularly attended – and enjoyed – in my early days at the Chronicle. The late nights were always worth it for the material they yielded for the newspaper that followed. Sift through the clear cliques, the catty jibes and political point-scoring and they were a treasure trove. I caught the final days of Brierley Town Council before its abolition, watching on as the clock struck 8.30pm as...
Chrissy Dawson: 31.05.24
Well, I thought with the weather improving - by that I mean not raining every day - that I would have a go at practising yoga again. After all at the beginning of the year I did purchase a new yoga mat, so all the good intentions must have been there. I used to like yoga - it’s a slow, gentle exercise that’s designed to improve inner strength and inner peace and I...
Dan Jarvis (new)
Dan Jarvis: 24.05.24
As the weather starts to warm and the days draw out, I’m reminded of the excellent local events that celebrate the great outdoors and make the most of our town’s natural beauty. The Barnsley Boundary Relay, which returns on June 15, is a perfect example of this. Following on from the Barnsley Walking Festival, which still has many exciting events to come in its final week, the relay is a great excuse, not that...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
Milly Johnson: 24.05.24
I have had a tattoo. And I’m as surprised as anyone about that because I’m not a tattoo sort of person, especially because I’ve seen some horrors and somehow the awful ones look worse on women. Then again, there can be little to beat the nine-legged octopus and the words ‘Crazy Horse’ scrawled over the whole back of one of my ex-husband’s friends. It still gives me nightmares to think about it. I always...
Josh Timlin: Brave Carol finally receives her apology
CAROL Higgins’ story shocked the nation in 2019 when – finally – her despicable ‘dad’, Elliott Appleyard, was jailed for raping her countless times under a reign of terror which started when she was just 12. He denied multiple counts of rape and indecent assault which happened between April 1982 and April 1985, forcing his daughter to once again re-live the shocking ordeal she had been put through. I remember covering that two-week...
Ian McMillan: 07.06.24
Let’s face it, this really is the best time of year to be a football fan, no matter which team you support. Not a ball has been kicked yet. No games have been won, and, perhaps more importantly, no games have been lost. There’s a new manager who talks about promotion and wanting to play in the right way, on the front foot, entertaining the crowd, getting up the table. A lot of players have...
Stephanie Peacock: 31.05.24
The general election has finally been called for July 4. I have been proud to be the Member of Parliament for Barnsley East over the last seven years, and I will be standing for election as the Labour candidate for the new constituency of Barnsley South. As your local MP, I have had the privilege of meeting thousands of local people, charities, schools, organisations, and businesses. Over the last seven years my team...
Stephanie Peacock 1
Stephanie Peacock: 17.05.24
There are 3,710 fewer fruit and veg shops, butchers, and newsagents than there were in 2010. Over the last few decades our much- loved high streets have been struggling. Since 2022, 385 towns have seen their only bank branches close. Between 2012 and 2022, Yorkshire and the Humber saw a huge 43 percent decline in the number of bank and building society branches. In 2023, here in Barnsley, Barclays closed its Hoyland branch for good,...
Chrissy Dawson (new)
Chrissy Dawson: 17.05.24
Lately we’ve started going out walking a bit more - in-between showers of course - and it’s lovely. So last week we ventured to Bridlington and decided that since it was quite a good day weather-wise, we would walk along the beach from Brid to Sowerby. I don’t know if anyone actually knows this walk but it’s very rocky and in certain parts walkers actually are clambering over rocks which can be quite hard...
Ian McMillan: 10.05.24
A few days ago I was walking past a bus stop and somebody inside said, apropos of nothing, ‘Well, tha just dunt know what to wear, does tha?’ And he’s right, tha dunt. There was nobody else in the bus stop so I assumed the observation was pointed towards me, and so I did a little laugh and put my thumb up in a jolly fashion, then pointing to my woolly hat and my open-necked...
Chrissy Dawson: 03.05.24
Oh dear. Last week I had a mad - or maybe a senior - moment. I’m not too sure if there’s much difference, really. Anyway, I had a moment. Whilst rummaging in a second-hand shop, I believe that they are referred to as charity shops now, but whatever they’re called I had a moment inside one of them. I bought some knitting needles, a crochet hook and some wool. Now many years ago, in...
Ian McMillan: 26.04.24
The other week I was wandering along the tops at Cleethorpes, the other side of the boating lake down towards the Yacht Club at Humberston (Cleethorpes aficionados will know what I’m talking about: everyone else will have to imagine a glorious utopian Shangri-La) when I noticed that one of the apple trees opposite the Fitties chalets (again, Cleethorpes aficionados etc etc) was starting to splash with the unmistakeable colour of blossom. Now. I’m not...
Chrissy Dawson (new)
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...
Milly Johnson (Credit - Roth Read Photography)
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...
Stephanie Peacock: 03.05.24
Hospices support families at the most difficult time in their lives as their loved ones receive end of life care. Every year, 300,000 patients across over 200 adult and children’s hospice sites access hospice care. In Barnsley, I know how important Barnsley Hospice is to local people. I visited again a few weeks ago for their Spring Fayre, and whenever I visit, I am struck by their kindness and dedication. Like hospices across...
Dan Jarvis: 03.05.24
Barnsley Hospice holds a very special place in my heart and in the hearts of so many across our Town. As a local MP and a Patron of the Hospice, I have visited them many times over the years and have always been inspired by the staff and volunteers who make such a huge difference to patients and their families. As they mark their 30th anniversary, we must continue to appreciate what they do, and...
Stephanie Peacock: 26.04.24
Soon, people across Barnsley will go to the polls to vote for local councillors and the Mayor of South Yorkshire. This is set to be a year full of elections, with a general election on the horizon at some point before the end of January 2025. Barnsley Council has been a proud Labour authority for 50 years, during a period of huge change in the area, from the closure of the pits to today’s cost-of-living...
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: 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...
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 headshot
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,...
Stephanie Peacock 2
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,...
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...
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...
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...
Promo 2 Image
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...
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 (new)
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...
Stephanie Peacock 1
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: 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...
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. ...
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...