THE CORONAVIRUS lockdown means churches across Wharfedale have closed - and will remain shut over Easter.

The latest restrictions on social contact have forced places of worship across the country to close up for at least three weeks.

In Otley churches are facing up to the fact they will not be able to open to the public during what is the Christian faith's most important festival, with Otley Parish Church posting this update on its website on Tuesday, March 24: "Following the statements from the Government and the Church of England the church building will remain closed until further notice."

Some, however, have begun recording and streaming - or are looking into doing so - services so worshippers can still take part and feel a sense of community while the Covid-19 related restrictions stay in place.

Otley Parish Church held its first streamed service last Sunday and the Vicar of Otley, Rev Graham Buttanshaw, said he had received messages from many people - many of whom are currently self-isolating - afterwards to say how much they had appreciated it.

He said: "We will now definitely be streaming some kind of worship each Sunday and very much including Easter Day."

The Woolpack Music & Art Studios in Otley, meanwhile, have also set up a series of live streams for their weekly music sessions and are inviting anyone interested to have a look - and play or sing along with the songs.

The Otley Ukulele Orchestra session will be available from 7.30pm on Mondays while on Wednesdays there will be songs from the Woolpack Social Club at 10.30am and from the Roundhay Ukulele Group at 7.30pm. There will also be a 'sing along' session from the Woolpack Studio Choir from 7.30pm on Thursdays.

Richard Sabey from the Woolpack Music & Art Studios said: "If you go to you will find all the links that you need. You can choose to watch the live stream on either Facebook or Zoom and anyone can join in - you don’t need to normally come to our groups."