Revealed: New Harrogate mayor + her deep roots in community

Harrogate district's Mayor Elect Coun Anne Jones.
Harrogate district's Mayor Elect Coun Anne Jones.

The incoming new mayor for the Harrogate district aims to set her sights high - well she did once manage to get Sir Gary Verity up in a hot air balloon on the day the Tour de France came to Yorkshire!

It’s unlikely that would have happened had Mayor Elect Anne Jones not been so active in the community in Knaresborough over many years as both a borough and county councillor.

And Coun Jones intends to maintain her strong links with her beloved Knaresborough after the annual Mayor Making ceremony takes place on Monday, May 22 along with Deputy Mayor Coun Christine Willoughby of Knaresborough.

She is also keen to retaining outgoing Mayor Coun Nick Brown’s commitment to representing the whole district, especially Harrogate’s smaller but historically important neighbouring towns and villages.

Anne said: “I feel deeply honoured to be invited to be Mayor of the Borough and I look forward to meeting many of the unsung heroes across the district in the year ahead.

“I also hope to highlight the value of our market towns and rural areas alongside respective mayors, affectionately known as the ‘chain gang’!”

The day Anne persuaded the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire to take part in a hot-air balloon rally she had organised during the 100 day Le Tour Festival in 2014 is only one of many examples of her involvement in the community.

She was first elected to the district in 2002 and will have served 16 years by May of 2018.

But her range of interests and involvement extends beyond her political role.

She was one of the founder members of Knaresborough’s “feva” festival of entertainment and visual arts, serving seven years as chair and event programmer.

As a volunteer fundraiser for the purpose-built Age Concern Cliff House on Hilton Lane in Knaresborough she raised in the region of £30, 000 for the project.

More recently, she has been the chair of Henshaws Yorkshire Events volunteer fundraising committee.

And she was also secretary to Knaresborough’s groundbreaking spoken word performance festival Release the Hounds.

The incoming first citizen of the borough first came to Harrogate as a young mother when husband and Mayor’s Consort Steve Jones was appointed as Principal to Henshaws College for Blind People in 1984.

In the 1970’s, as young newly weds from Lancashire, they worked overseas at Clarendon College in Jamaica appointed by the Christians Abroad organisation.

Steve’s claim to fame is that he once played football with reggae legend Bob Marley!

Upon their return from Jamaica they lived in Surrey where Anne returned to her profession as Draughtswoman, working for British Aerospace on military aircraft.

Steve was responsible for setting up the Joint Forces Head Injury Unit for the M.O.D where he was the Educational Psychologist dealing with the Falklands and Northern Ireland injuries.

The couple still live in Harrogate and have two grown-up daughters, Rebecca and Stephanie 31 who both went to Harrogate Ladies College.

The new mayor intends to emphasise her support for Knaresborough at the Mayor Making ceremony next month, albeit in a musical fashion.

Anne has issued an invitation to King James’s School Riverside Jazz band to entertain the guests.

And her chaplain for the year as mayor will be one of the most experienced clergy in the region - the Rev Bill Snelson of Knaresborough.