Harrogate International Festivals boost as three famous figures join as new Vice Presidents
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Having forged close ties with the Festivals over the years, bestselling crime writer Val McDermid, classical music icon Julian Lloyd Webber and renowned literary agent Jane Gregory are keen to continue to support the charity in their new honorary roles.
Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We are delighted and hugely honoured that such renowned cultural figures as Val McDermid, Jane Gregory and Julian Lloyd Webber have agreed to become our Vice Presidents.
“Val and Jane played an integral role in establishing the crime writing festival and have been unwavering in their support ever since.
"Julian, too, has forged a close bond with the Festivals and as a longstanding champion of young musicians and live music, he shares our passion for the arts.
“Together they will help raise our international profile even further as we continue to attract new audiences with our world class programme of cultural Festivals, concerts and events.”
Back in 2002, Val McDermid and Jane Gregory were among the key figures at a planning meeting in Harrogate that led to the creation of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which is now one of the biggest literary festivals of its kind in the world.
Julian Lloyd Webber, whose links to Harrogate stretch back more than 50 years, made one of his first public appearances when he performed as a cellist in a Beethoven bicentenary concert at the town’s Royal Hall in 1970 at the age of 19.
He returned the following year when he starred in Harrogate Music Festival’s Young Musicians series.
It was in Harrogate, too, that he recorded Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Yehudi Menuhin.
Retired literary agent Jane Gregory, who represented McDermid, alongside numerous other bestselling crime novelists including Minette Walters and Mo Hayder, joins her as a new Festival Vice President.
Harrogate International Festivals is a charitable organisation with a diverse cultural portfolio including music, literature, crime writing and Salon.