Heart of Wetherby Cinema to be preserved as new owners take over

Wetherby Film Theatre
Wetherby Film Theatre

A pledge to preserve the heart of Wetherby cinema has been made by its new owners Rob and Julie Younger.

The pair stepped into their new role on Friday February, 10 while bidding farewell to retiring owners, Ray and Irene Trewhitt.

With the exception of a new website, www.wetherbyfilmtheatre.com, and introduction of a credit card payment system the new owners plan to keep the theater in its current state.

Owner Rob Younger said: "Part of Ray's wishes, and people who have spoken to us, is that they want the cinema to stay the same, and we plan to keep the ambiance of it.

"We were by no means the only ones who bid on the cinema, offers which could have seen the cinema modernised and made plastic. This would have taken the heart out of it and they did not want that, us being here now means this will not happen."

Mr Younger worked as head of technical with cinema company Picture House and currently operates two other cinemas in Richmond and Barnsley with his wife.

After helping repair a projector at the theater several years ago Mr Younger began to work with Mr and Mrs Trewhitt, helping them in the switch over to digital films, booking acts and more.

Now in their seventies the Trewhitts ran the cinema seven nights a week, rarely taking a night off for themselves.

Mr Trewhitt said: "Whilst still having our health, we felt that we should aim to do the things that we have been unable to do whilst at the cinema. We are looking into planning some cruises and trips to Florida.

"The cinema business will continue in safe hands, the new owner has no intention of making any changes, we will miss you all."

Thanking the community and their friends for their support they added how touched they were at the cards and gifts sent to them to mark their retirement.

Established more than 100 years ago the cinema has gone through several changes, originally starting as a silent movie theater before being used for bingo.

After falling out of use it was restored by Tempo FM's Bob Preedy, the Trewhitts would help him run the cinema and eventually took over the cinema with family friend Roger Spence.

Mr Spence sadly passed away five years ago and the couple have run the theater themselves ever since.

Their daughter Jill even joined them, working in the ticket office and bar.

Thanking them for their trust in taking over the cinema Mr Younger wished them well in their golden years.

Mr Younger said: "I really want to thank Ray and Irene for giving us this chance, we were not the biggest bidder and they have trusted us with something they both have built.

"But alongside this I want to congratulate them on their retirement and hope they enjoy a long and happy retirement.