It has been another busy and interesting month, the last of my mayoral year.
The month started with a visit to Bilton Gala to celebrate their 40th anniversary and to judge their floats. What a great community event.
I followed this with a visit to the Springtime Live event at the Yorkshire Showground and an interesting lunch with Julian Norton, the delightful Yorkshire Vet.
Later that week I attended a HARCVS and HELP event where I presented certificates to many worthy volunteers.
From there I went to the opening of the new George Armitage Dementia Forward hub in Burton Leonard. This is a truly wonderful place that will serve local dementia sufferers well in the future.
A busy day ended with the local hero awards at Rudding Park, where some extraordinary achievements were celebrated.
Later that week I gave a civic welcome to students from Harrogate Ladies’ College, and attended the re-opening of Bilton and Woodfield Library to celebrate their creative residency partnership.
I welcomed a remarkable young soldier, Sgt Sean Dunbabbin, from the Army Foundation College, who had completed nine marathons in nine days and in nine counties, raising money for the soldiers’ charity, ABF - a wonderful effort and a great achievement!
On from there to my last mayoral charity fundraising event. It was jolly evening with an amusing after dinner speech from my old friend John Watson, the former MP and North Yorkshire county councillor.
I much enjoyed visiting Harrogate Spring Water and meeting the charismatic James Cain and then went to Horticap who do such good work for adults with learning disabilities, through horticulture. I then attended and spoke at, the AGM of Harrogate Mind, an organisation that does wonderful things in the district.
The day finished with the fantastic opening of the new Rudding Park Spa. It surely must be one of the finest state of the art spas in Europe that recaptures Harrogate’s spa heritage to a tee. It is such an amazing place!
I had a good meeting, the following day, with a party of German exchange students visiting Ashville School.
When I mentioned to them that the UK is still part of Europe I was pleased that they agreed with this too!
Later I went to Ashville itself and viewed some excellent student art that could feature in the new Harrogate Borough Council civic building.
From this I visited a Cordings’ summer event and then to a gourmet “Call my bluff” wine tasting, in association with Barclays bank, in aid of Henshaws. This was a fun event that completed a busy day with a significant sum raised.
The week finished on a high note with a superb performance of Belshazzar’s Feast, sung beautifully by the Harrogate Choral Society.
After this column has gone to press I still have a busy few days ahead including a talk to pupils at Rossett High School, hosting a lunch with some successful business leaders, attending an Open University degree ceremony, and then opening a new visitor centre at the Yorkshire Heart vineyard in Nun Monkton.
The Mayoress and I will attend the election of the new Mayor and Mayoress of Knaresborough and then we will participate, the following day, in the Pride in Diversity event in Harrogate.
On my final Sunday I will present junior footballers, at Ripon City Panthers, with awards, and will then attend and speak at the Almsford Community Fun Day before going to my very last mayoral event in my year in office.
Here I shall present my new Mayor’s Community Leadership Award to some very special people who I believe have made a huge contribution to our district through their leadership skills and example.
Well, all good things really do come to an end and the Mayoress and myself have had a most enjoyable and amazing year.
It has been a huge honour to have been the Mayor of the Borough.
We have met some really interesting and inspiring people, especially those volunteer “unsung heroes”, without which the district would fall apart.
We have had so many highlights from the 500 events or so we have attended, too many to mention again here.
I feel proud to have been able to support, with meaningful amounts of money, my chosen charities, nearly all of it raised at my ball in early April.
Most of the objectives I set myself at the start of my year have been met and I hope I have passed on, to Anne Jones, a mayoralty in good shape. Good luck to her and her consort Steve in their year of office.
Finally, our grateful thanks to my support team at the council and to Coun Christine Ryder for being such a splendid deputy.