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Helmsley Community Library becomes home to a slice of Helmsley history

Helmsley Community Library is to be presented with a framed facsimile of the Magna Carta which will be on display for future generations to enjoy.

The unveiling of the exact replica, which will take place on 2nd June at 11.30am, will mark Helmsley’s place in history as home to one of the 25 barons who were ‘Sureties’ or guarantors of the Magna Carta. In 1215 Robert de Ros, Baron of Helmsley, was a witness at Runnymede as the charter was sealed by King John — a pivotal moment in reducing the absolute power the Crown had at the time. The Magna Carta is the foundation of ‘the rule of law’ throughout the English-speaking world.

The facsimile is being presented by Martin Vander Weyer, who was heavily involved in the Magna Carta celebrations in 2015 which marked the charter’s 800th anniversary.

June 1st to 8th also marks Volunteers Week 2017, and the library is hoping to encourage more people to sign up as volunteers. Helmsley became a community managed library on 1st April, and is now successfully run entirely by volunteers. Thanks to the hard work of the Helmsley Community Library Group, it is open 16.5 hours a week, and continues to offer a wide range of services and facilities for local people, including lending books, DVDs, audio books and online magazines, free use of computers, activities for all age groups, a local information point and access to books for research and learning.

However, more volunteers are always needed and are vital to ensure the library can remain open for the months and years to come.

Jeanne Brown, who chairs the Helmsley Community Library Steering Group and trustees, working with other volunteers, said: “I can’t quite believe it’s now been two months since we launched as a community managed library, but thankfully it’s all gone well, and we’ve managed to maintain services for local residents. The library is extremely important to so many people, and is a real hub in the local community. But we can only continue to run with the help of volunteers, so whether you can spare a few hours a week or a couple of hours a month, we’d love to hear from you. Training is provided, and it’s a great team to work with.

“We’d also like to say a huge thank you to Martin Vander Weyer for kindly presenting us with the facsimile of the Magna Carta. It’s great to have such an interesting resource available for locals and visitors to come and see, especially when Helmsley had such an important role in it eight centuries ago.”

Other events taking place in the library over the coming weeks include Ryedale Carers Support having an information table on 2nd June, handing out leaflets about its Share Your Sunshine campaign.

Following Dementia Awareness Week, which was 14-20th May, the library also has a display of books and leaflets on the subject. The display includes a twiddlemuff and the corresponding knitting pattern to make one. Twiddlemuffs can be used by people who have dementia, and are struggling with restless hands.