17th May 2016

1986 was also a huge year for the Dawson family

Towards the end of 1985, my dad was promoted to Leeds District Probate Registrar (yes, the Wills and Probate thing is in the blood). As Paul Berwin was plotting and planning his legal move into North Yorkshire, my parents made the monumental decision to settle and bring their family up in the very same county. As Mancunians, my parents considered themselves to be committed Lancastrians, so it really was a big decision (although 30 years later I am still not allowed to support Yorkshire County Cricket Club over Lancashire).

The move from the city of Bristol to the tiny village of Hebden (not Hebden Bridge) was quite a big change for 5-nearly-6-year-old me. I had a lot of adjusting to do. For a start I moved from a fairly ordinary school with multiple classrooms, a gymanasium and big green portacabins to a 17th century school with mullioned windows and a playing field with trees and bushes you could make dens in. It had two classes, “infants” and “juniors”, and around 40 pupils in total. That was quite a shock.

I learned very quickly that I could no longer refer to the black elasticated shoes that we all wore at school as “daps”, they were definitely “pumps”. Children would be off school “pole-ly” rather than poorly or ill. I also had to learn an entirely new set of words for Ring a Ring o’ Roses. In Bristol I had sung about cows in meadows eating buttercups, but now we sang about catching fishes at the bottom of the deep blue sea. This confused me, as the cow version seemed much more suited to Yorkshire (and in hindsight my part of Yorkshire couldn’t be any further from the sea).

I took to my new rural setting quite quickly, but my Nana wasn’t impressed with the Dawson decision to move to the middle of nowhere. That is, until, the great Anneka Rice flew over our new house and garden in her Treasure Hunt helicopter!

For those of you who have never heard of Anneka Rice or her Treasure Hunt (or those of you who can no longer remember), Anneka Rice was the Davina McCall of the 1980s. Treasure Hunt was a TV show in which contestants were provided with clues that they had to solve in order to guide Anneka and her helicopter to various locations where the next clue would be found. They had to complete the Treasure Hunt within in a certain time, so it was all very fraught and Anneka had a lot of running around to do.

At a time when my new school was still very new to me, I remember all the pupils being trudged through the village so we could stand on Burnsall bridge to watch Anneka land her helicopter in a field. It was very exciting, but as I was new to this Yorkshire thing I assumed that this was just an everyday sort of occurrence for Yorkshire folk!

There is a clip of Anneka landing in Burnsall on YouTube, which I have linked to below. Unfortunately the cameraman didn’t capture any footage of the school children and my momentous encounter with Anneka Rice, but you can hear us and Anneka does say hello to us very nicely. She also helpfully points out Hebden as she flies over it. Thanks Anneka, for helping to persuade my Nana that North Yorkshire really was the place to be in 1986!

Video clip of Anneka Rice's Treasure Hunt in Burnsall, February 1986

Written by Helen Dawson of Berwins Solicitors.

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