The sun has finally arrived.
It was great to be in Pateley Bridge earlier this month to enjoy the Tour de Yorkshire preparations, in anticipation of what turned out to be a glorious bank holiday weekend.
I was pleased to see beautiful blue skies and a wonderful High Street ready to welcome the cyclists.
The Tour de Yorkshire has made an immense contribution to the region and I am pleased to have been able to support it since I became an MP in 2010.
It is a unique occasion and it is a fantastic opportunity to welcome people to our area and show them what North Yorkshire has to offer.
Indeed, recent independent research by Sheffield Hallam University showed that tourism is now worth £8 billion per year to the Yorkshire economy - an increase of 14 per cent on last year.
I was delighted to hear this week that it was officially the biggest and best Tour de Yorkshire yet with 2.6 million fans lining the route over the four days.
There were impressive props, confectionary and decorations all along the route and it was fantastic to see the local community so involved.
And the excitement isn’t over for Pateley Bridge yet!
I also had the chance to see their entry for this year’s Yorkshire in Bloom, which will be judged in July.
I know they won a silver gilt last year, only three points off the top spot, and I wish them well for securing gold in June.
I was also pleased to be able to visit the Borrage House, a care home in Ripon this month and I was fascinated to be shown their new ‘Tovertafel’ interactive table technology in action.
The interactive table contains a series of activities for people living with mid to late stage dementia. It has been designed to encourage instinctive participation, and a level of physical and social activity rarely seen in people living with dementia.
We are lucky to have some brilliant care homes in our area and I pay tribute to the hardworking staff, who clearly work so hard for the residents there. I was delighted to see them investing in such pioneering technology.
It was equally great to visit an innovative family business this month. The Potter Group in Melmerby, Ripon has recently transitioned from a large logistics business to a property company and they are beginning to expand their sites in Ripon.
I was able to hear about these plans, as well as discussing with them continued challenges for rural business and what the Government could do to assist development and innovation.
As ever, I will be holding surgeries across the Skipton and Ripon area.
For more details on these, please visit my website at www.juliansmith.org.uk or contact my office on 01756 795898.