Talks about bus top parade for Harrogate Town's football heroes

Talks have started about the feasibility and safety of holding an open-top bus parade for Harrogate Town FC to celebrate the club's heroics at Wembley.

Thursday, 6th August 2020, 10:41 am
Updated Thursday, 6th August 2020, 10:53 am
Harrogate Town celebrate a goal at Wembley in the play-off final against Notts County. (Picture Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

With calls growing for official recognition of the club’s incredible success in gaining promotion to the Football League for the first time, Harrogate Bus Company has said it was keen to help celebrate the achievement in a way that the entire town could enjoy if it could be done safely.

Now it seems the authorities are attempting to help turn the bus company's generous offer into reality.

It is understood Harrogate Borough Council has no doubts the football club and the bus company could do a good job with the bus itself, though it is has concerns about adhering to Covid-19 rules in the streets.

Meanwhile, the highways department at North Yorkshire County Council, which is responsible for Harrogate's roads, have already notified the police of the idea and they in turn are liaising with Harrogate Town to discuss how it might be done safely if it takes place.

Coun Don Mackenzie, the county council's executive member for access, told the Harrogate Advertiser that, on balance, he supported the idea if done safely.

Coun Mackenzie said: "We have had very little to celebrate in recent months and Harrogate Town's impressive elevation into the Football League is a welcome respite from the gloom.

"There would appear to be no risks involved to passengers on the bus itself since, presumably, the players and key staff have all been tested and found to be Covid-free.

"There are clearly concerns about the proximity of crowds of people to one another lining the street but it is to be hoped that supporters would show commonsense and maintain social distancing.

"On balance, I would support Harrogate Bus Company's suggestion and offer."

Alex Hornby, chief executive at Harrogate Bus Company said: “We are absolutely delighted for everyone at Harrogate Town. They have been on a tremendous journey that has inspired us all.

“As the town’s bus company, the obvious thought that came to mind for us would be to donate the use of one of our open-top buses to run a route around Harrogate so the whole team could be cheered home. It’s such an historic occasion and needs to be commemorated.

“We hope that we can work towards something so all of us in Harrogate can join in a safe - yet inclusive - event and show the club the thanks and recognition they all so richly deserve.”

Much still depends, however, on whether the plans can be granted approval with the threat of Covid-19 still very much lingering in the air.

Harrogate Town's historic 3-1 victory over Notts County was played out in front of an empty Wembley stadium on Sunday due to the social distancing regulations which still govern sport, while a plan by the club to host an event at the CNG Stadium for fans to watch on a big screen had to be cancelled following advice from public health officials.

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