It is with a joyous heart that I write my final column. This is not due to the fact that I am reaching the end of my civic year, far from it, but simply because I have had the most wonderful year representing the Borough as the First Citizen. I am going out on a high note I feel.
Recently I had the honour of taking the salute at the St George’s Day Parade.
The Standard Bearers did an amazing job and all taking part were well turned-out and a credit to their units.
Following the march-past we proceeded to Christ Church for the service led by Rev Evans with his energetic flag waving skills.
I had a quick dash that day from that event to the Harrogate Synagogue for a service led by Chief Rabbi Mirvis. I felt privileged to be invited to the event as the Hebrew Congregation of Harrogate celebrated their centenary, a wonderful milestone in their journey and calendar.
Continuing with the usual busy dash around the Borough attending a variety of events found me at the Sun Pavilions on two occasions, one to the unveiling of a plaque acknowledging the Royal Bath Hospital, caring for the sick poor who benefitted from the healing springs and the beauty and peace of the Valley Gardens. The second occasion was in the company of members of Harrogate Pride in Diversity as they celebrated a cheque from The Big Lottery Fund towards the forthcoming event on 16 June in the beautiful floral Valley Gardens.
And there was a feast of stunning floral colour at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show when I attended on two of the show days, one in the good company of the North of England Horticultural Society president Jonathan Moseley, chairman Chris Smith and show director Nick Smith.
On my second visit I hosted my Civic Afternoon Tea, which allowed me to congratulate the exhibitors on such a splendid event considering the difficult weather conditions during the growing season.
I was in more good company when I attended the Yorkshire Business Market with Deputy Lord Lieutenant David Kerfoot CBE. This well organised showcase of local business is a credit to the YBM team and I was delighted to see Mr Brian Dunsby OBE in good form, albeit the announcement of his retirement from office will leave some big shoes to fill.
The diary of events offers a unique variety of all that is on offer across the Borough such as the Women of the North Luncheon. The venue is rotated each year between Yorkshire and Lancashire, this year’s event was hosted at the Majestic Hotel. The deputy mayor and I had the good company of the president Anne Cheetham OBE and chairman Sue McConnell along with Rev Pearce of St Peter’s Church.
The speakers were from Henshaws Specialist College and funds raised on the day were donated to the Society. I was intrigued to see a representative at the event from the charity Knitted Knockers.
This unique service offers lighter weight prosthetics for ladies having undergone mastectomy procedures. Another first for me was the request to record a piece on behalf of the Harrogate District Talking Newspaper, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the team at the Ripley Castle studios.
Continuing in the vein of special events it was a joy to attend the Freedom of Boroughbridge Parade to 6 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps. They were in fine form and a fun-filled day for the whole community was in full swing. And as I bring this final column to a close may I say that it has been a privilege and honour to serve.