Ripon veteran blows horn for final time

Deputy Hornblower John Richmond has hung up his horn after 37 years of council duty.

The former Mayor and Freeman of the city blew the horn on Market Square for the last time on Wednesday, October 10, to mark his 77th birthday.

“It’s as good a time as any to call it a day on mybirthday,” said Mr Richmond, who started blowing the horn in 1975 as a favour for the hornblower at the time, who was on holiday.

“It’s a vitally important event for Ripon tradition. It’s been happening for 1,100 years. I think it’s fair to say that it’s one of the oldest – if not the oldest – customs in the UK.”

Mr Richmond has been blowing the horn at least one day a week since he was 40. He received whisky and glasswear for his service from the council last week.

He continued the service throughout his role as Ripon Mayor from 1975-76 – and even continued to uphold the tradition of blowing the horn three times every night outside the Mayor’s house.

“I did it in front of my own house where I used to live on North Road, to let myself know the hornblower was there!”, he said.

Mr Richmond added that a highlight of his career was when he was invited to blow the horn in Carlifornia during his tenure as Mayor.

“I was very lucky that year,” he said. “One of the great things about being a hornblower is that you get to meet so many oversees visitors.”

But Mr Richmond decided that after living in Ripon for 50 years, it was a good time to call it a day as Deputy Hornblower. .

“It’s a very tiring job,” he said. “I’ve been turning in night after night after night. It takes a whole evening to get dressed, have a shave, look smart and then go and blow the horn. No-one realises how much work goes into it.”

Mr Richmond will now use his extra free time to concentrate on his passion for film-making – he has made countless documentaries about the city and even filmed the Queen at Ripon Cathedral in 2004.

“You could say I have had a lifetime in Ripon,” he said.