The chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, Councillor Val Arnold, and The Mayor of Harrogate Borough Council, Councillor Nick Brown, chose the Ripon Spa Hotel for the county’s commemoration of the centenary of the end of the Somme offensive in 1916.
Ripon was home to the largest encampment in the country during the First World War and saw some 350,000 young men pass through the city, departing on the railway built between Littlethorpe and Harrogate.
Civic Leaders from across the North of England supported the dinner, as did representatives of the regiments stationed at Harrogate, Catterick, Ripon and Dishforth, in addition to councillors from NYCC and HBC with members of Ripon Rotary Rowels.
Sapper Callam Smith of 21 Royal Enginners Regiment read a poem from Poet Wilfred Owen written about his experiences at the Somme while convalescing in Ripon.
The evening finished with the Soldiers’ Prayer, which was read by Major Mick Raper Officer, Commanding 7 Squadron of the Royal Engineers.
Expressions of thanks were given to Councillor Bernard Bateman, Chairman of ABF The Soldiers Charity North Yorkshire, by the chairman of the county council, who also thanked Joy Suttcliffe and her friends from Ripon Grammar School for providing Musical entertainment and Rotarian Bernard Thain for being such an excellent Toast Master.