Shock as George suddenly quits

Hornblower George Pickles on duty.
Hornblower George Pickles on duty.

Ripon hornblower George Pickles has resigned amid claims of feeling “uncomfortable” and “bewildered” in the role.

Coun Pickles – who has blown the horn for over 300 days a year since 2004 – will stay in the role until the end of February while the city council finds a replacement.

“Unfortunately during my years as an employee of Ripon city council there have been times when I have felt a little uncomfortable and over the past year a little bewildered,” said Coun Pickles.

He told the Gazette he does not wish to dwell further on the matters which led to his discomfort and bewilderment.

“There have been a series of incidents in the past that I felt a bit uncomfortable with,” he said.

“But I have always thought the role of hornblower was more important. It’s a fantastic job and it’s been a privilege.”

Councillors said the shock resignation is a “tragedy” for the city.

Coun Stuart Martin, who was mayor when Coun Pickles was first employed as hornblower, said: “I am shocked, stunned and amazed. We need to find the reasons behind why what should have been a long career as hornblower has been cut short.”

Coun Bernard Bateman said: “I can’t remember a hornblower who has given so much time to Ripon and he has really helped in promoting the city. He is such a massive asset to the city and it’s a great shame and a tragedy. You won’t find many people who will give that sort of commitment.”

Mayor Andrew Williams said: “He has been a terrific ambassador to Ripon and diligently supported me in my two mayoral years.”

Coun Pickles will now stay in his role as district councillor at Harrogate borough councillor and will assist the city council in appointing his replacement.