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Helmsley's Christmas "Yarn Bomb" Defused on 'Elf & Safety' Grounds

yarn bomb 151214

1:39pm 15th December 2014

A knitted display in Helmsley, called the "Yarn Bomb" has been moved because of health and safety and fears it would damage a historic monument in the town.

The Yarn Bomb, a knitted Christmas display, was put up around the statue of the Earl of Feversham in the Market Square for Small Business Saturday on 6th December and it was hoped it would stay up over Christmas.

But Helmsley Town Council, which is being accused of "not being festive" by local businesses, has taken it down saying it could damage the statue. Chris Parkin, the Chairman of Helmsley Town Council told Minster FM:

"The Monument to the Earl Feversham in the Market Square in Helmsley is a Listed Monument and is the responsibility of Helmsley Town Council.

"Approximately two months an incident occurred, one of many over the years, when the monument was damaged by someone who obviously thought it was amusing to place a traffic cone on the head of the Second Baron Feversham. The damaged stone finial which is the result of this prank is now in the Town Council Office but it is unlikely that a repair can be effected.

"[The yarn bomb is] tethered to the monument around some rather delicate stone work and it may be that another prank will result in further damage which again would most likely be irreparable.

"It is believed that the decorations mentioned formed part of the Helmsley in Business Small Business Saturday and this is an event the Town Council was very happy to support. What the Council cannot do is to allow even the possibility of further damage howsoever caused to anything including the Monument in which it has an insurable interest, as it would be in breach of its conditions of insurance."

The Yarn Bomb has now been moved to All Saints Church. But local businesses say they're disappointed by the decision and Castle Stores - The Wool Shop has even created a spoof public information film about the dangers of wool in response:

Carolyn Frank, owner of Libby Butler Jewellers in the town and member of Helmsley in Business, was one of the people behind the idea. She said:

"We were told by the Town Council Clerk that we needed to move the Festive Yarn Bomb which was put up overnight on 5th December to celebrate Small Business Saturday. This was because of possible damage to the monument, as the decorations were focussed around the Earl of Feversham Monument in the Market Place. There was a colourful display featuring a whole knitted nativity scene, snowmen, Christmas lights, pompom wreaths, miniature Christmas trees, bunting, stockings and even festive bench covers.

"We are of course disappointed that the council felt these needed to be removed. Obviously we would never do anything to damage the monument, we just thought it was a lovely festive touch. But residents and visitors to Helmsley need not worry - we're just relocating it! There will still be some in the Market Place but also now in the Church yard at All Saints Church, so people can still enjoy all the hard work created by our commun-knit-y project until Christmas."

Tony Webster, committee member at Helmsley in Business, and owner of Scotts Fish & Chips, said: 

"We'd like to say a huge thank you to both the residents and businesses who have worked so hard to knit the amazing displays in the yarn bomb, and I'm sure anyone who has seen it will agree it looks fantastic, and very festive! We had carefully planned the display so it wouldn't cause damage, and of course with wool being so soft we didn't think it would be a problem. But actually, now the display has found a great new home. Our famous tree festival is at the Church until December 21st anyway and so visitors can still enjoy both displays to help them get in the festive spirit.

"It’s such a shame that it had to be half re-homed, but at least like the Christmas pantomime  there’s a happy ending, and we are grateful to the support from the townspeople and the vicar, who have helped us save it. We think it's very important that the town is nicely decorated, which is why Helmsley in Business has been fundraising all year to help buy Christmas lights, which we put up with the help of volunteer fireman. Hopefully visitors will agree, the town looks lovely!"   

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