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NEWS ROUNDUP: Free Leeds parking and Captain Sir Tom Moore sword



Visitors to Leeds will be able to take advantage of free parking as part of the city’s efforts to get the high street buzzing again following the easing of national coronavirus restrictions.

Leeds City Council announced today that parking charges are being suspended in council-managed car parks and on-road spaces in the city centre and Otley for three weekends in April and May.

The country’s lockdown exit roadmap means that, as things stand, non-essential retail businesses will be able to reopen on April 12, while hospitality venues can also serve customers outdoors from that date.

The weekends covered by the council’s free parking initiative will be April 17-18, April 24-25 and May 1-2. It will also cover May 3, which is a bank holiday Monday.

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“We know how hard the last 12 months have been for our traders and we’re determined to do everything we can to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.

“There may now be some light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the success of the vaccine rollout programme, but the economic recovery will not happen overnight.

“Lifting these car parking charges on these dates will hopefully help encourage more people to return to the high street and support local businesses after they reopen.”

Maximum stay provisions – usually two hours for on-road spaces – will continue to apply.

For further information about council car parks in Leeds, visit https://www.leeds.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/parking.

A specially-commissioned sword placed on Captain Sir Tom Moore’s coffin will be the centrepiece of a new display at a Yorkshire museum when lockdown ends.

The beautifully-crafted blade appeared on the casket alongside the union flag, Cpt Sir Tom's war medals and his knighthood medal during the funeral last month.

The sword is inscribed with the badge of Cpt Sir Tom’s old unit, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, along with his name and service number.

Beneath his name is Yorkshire regimental motto, ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’, while the other side shows the veteran's own famous words: ‘Tomorrow will be a good day’.

The sword was crafted by Pooley Sword, a traditional cutler and provider of swords, dirks, and lances to the British armed forces and Commonwealth nations.

Following the funeral on February 27, Pooley Sword donated the blade to the Yorkshire Regiment, which has now offered it to the York Army Museum.

Museum officials intend to make the item the centrepiece of a brand new display paying tribute to Cpt Sir Tom, who raised £33m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden.

The veteran, who died in Bedord, Beds., on February 2, was raised in Keighley, West Yorks., and frequently spoke fondly of his affinity for Yorkshire.

Robert Pooley MBE, Managing Director of Pooley Sword, said: “To be asked to prepare a sword for such a distinguished gentleman as Captain Sir Tom Moore, it was a great honour and privilege.

"All our staff completed this sword with great pride and enthusiasm.”

The 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, provided pallbearers for the funeral with recruits from Harrogate’s Army Foundation College forming an honour guard.

Major Lee Wildey, who led the funeral party and delivered the sword to the museum, said: “It was a moving and very fitting tribute for such an inspirational man.

"For me especially, it was a privilege to command the soldiers from 1 YORKS and there was no shortage of men volunteering to be part of the bearer party.”

Lieutenant Colonel David O’Kelly, the YORKS Regimental Secretary, said: “As a regiment, we were there when Capt Tom completed his final laps, on his 100th birthday, and sadly, at his funeral.

"The sword will be featured [as an exhibit] when the museum re-opens."

Second World War veteran Cpt Sir Tom Moore stole the nation's heart in lockdown by raising tens of millions of pounds for the NHS by walking around his garden with his zimmer frame.

He was knighted for his efforts by the Queen at Windsor Castle last July.

Earlier in his life, Cpt Sir Tom served in India and the Burma campaign during the Second World War, and later became an instructor in armoured warfare. A

After the war, he worked as managing director of a concrete company and was an avid motorcycle racer. (By Barnaby Kellaway | SWNS)

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