How Harrogate public 'moved' Bettys boss in 100th anniversary celebrations

Moved by public response to Bettys' 100th birthday - Managing director Simon Eyles.
Moved by public response to Bettys' 100th birthday - Managing director Simon Eyles.

The managing director of Bettys has spoken to the Harrogate Advertiser about how moved the much-loved company has been by the public response in its 100th anniversary year.

Run as a family business since it first opened its doors in 1919, Simon Eyles said people’s interaction with its programme of celebration events and mouthwatering new “treats” had been incredible.

One idea which had taken off, in particular, was the appeal for customers of the famous tearooms and craft bakers to share their memories over the years.

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Mr Eyles said: “We are really moved by how people have responded to our birthday.

“2019 is truly turning out to be a landmark year for Bettys.

“At the start of the year we created a page on our website for people to share their own Bettys memories and stories and some of these are absolute treasures.

“It really drives home what Bettys means to people, and how much a part of people’s family tradition Bettys is.”

Though now based on Parliament Street, the first Bettys tea room actually opened on Cambridge Crescent in Harrogate 100 years ago.

The independent company, which has six Bettys Café Tea Rooms and shops, remains proud that it can boast a special place in the hearts of its customers around the world.

It’s also featured in the Sunday Times ‘the 100 best companies to work for” in the UK list

This year’s anniversary celebrations have included in-person talks by the husband-and-wife team most associated with the famous company in the modern era, Lesley Wild and Jonathan Wild, the great-nephew of Bettys founder, Frederick Belmont who arrived in Yorkshire from Switzerland in 1907.

The array of special treats on offer to its loyal customers has been vast - a Centenary Gift Bag, Centenary Milk Chocolate Guinea, Centenary Fruit Cake, Centenary Fondant Fancies plus Cheeky Little Rascals, miniature versions of one of its most popular individual items, the Fat Rascal.

Bettys official birthday is less than two weeks away on July 17 but Mr Eyles is vowing the company’s celebrations will carry on all year.

He said: “We will have events in all the branches throughout the year.

“We will also continue to share stories from our history and we will keep surprising people with delightful and delicious new treats – with a bit of a twist!”

Next Thursday, July 11 will see the unveiling of a new limited-edition centenary giftware collection after Bettys commissioned York-based artist Emily Sutton to create an illustration of all six Bettys Café Tea Rooms.

The new collection will include teapots, mugs and packaging for tea caddies and cakes.

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