As many of you will know I am Chairman of the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade which is a voluntary organisation who have organised the following events I will mention in this article in my review of the year.
Pateley Bridge started 2017 holding the title best High Street in the village category of the Great British High Street awards. On the back of this success it was decided to enter Pateley Bridge into the Yorkshire in Bloom competition in January. The judges came in June and Pateley Bridge were awarded silver gilt. An impressive result and another three points would have gained us a gold award. In April Clare Balding OBE came to Pateley Bridge to walk the Nidderdale way over four days for the BBC Radio 4 Ramblings programme. We were delighted to be able to liaise and co-ordinate the visit and in the process convert Clare into a supporter of Nidderdale.
The radio programme went out over six weeks and as a result visitors are still coming to Nidderdale to experience what Clare so eloquently described on the programme. The economy of the whole area is benefiting with accommodation providers reporting this as the ‘Clare Balding effect’.
At the end of April Pateley Bridge welcomed the riders on the Tour de Yorkshire. Every business displayed a bike specially made for the occasion in their shop window and a huge white bike was displayed on the end of a building.
At the end of July we held the fourth Pateley Bridge 1940s Weekend event which has grown year on year. Many of those who attend are now our friends and supporters communicating on social media from their homes around the country. In September we welcomed Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE the first government appointed British film commissioner and founder of the BAFTA awards. For those who were privileged enough to have attended the film night in the Memorial Hall, the evening was an amazing experience. Film students and talented local young film makers showcased their film making skills. There was the unique experience of Sir Sydney introducing a silent movie produced by his late father in 1923, the film being accompanied live by a piano player.
In September the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade were instrumental in coordinating meetings which resulted in the number 24 bus to Pateley Bridge service on a Sunday being saved from being axed in the winter months
At the end of October we organised the very first Nidderdale food and drink festival incorporating in it the first Nidderdale Community Hero awards ceremony. Clare Balding OBE kindly came along and presented the community hero award to joint winners Martin Dunleavy and Paul Lambert who have been the leaders of the Nidderdale Scouts. The food festival was a resounding success and Clare Balding while signing her latest children’s book for visitors was photographed with a meerkat on her arm. Clare has since used this photo on her twitter profile picture. Clare has three quarters of a million followers and the caption she put on with it was a meerkat only in Nidderdale.
A record breaking Christmas Friday late-night opening event in Pateley Bridge was followed on the Saturday with a Santa extravaganza of a 150 Santa’s, full-size sleigh and David Kerfoot MBE Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire riding in the sleigh. During the carnival atmosphere of the Santa extravaganza the Deputy Lieutenant kindly unveiled the GB High Street award plaque that Pateley Bridge won. I am sure there are many other things that I have missed including the many TV, radio, newspaper and talks I have been involved in.
What a year to remember for Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale. It was also a year to remember for Gloria and myself as in May, on my birthday, we had the privilege and honour of being invited to a Her Majesty the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
Quite a year for so many reasons. Happy New Year and 2018 here we come!