Area of exceptional beauty is ‘special’

Chris Henderson
Chris Henderson

Although he was born in York, it was really through the RAF that Chris Henderson came to live in Nidderdale. Flying low over Gouthwaite in Vulcan bombers, he had plenty of time to view the landscape.

Soon after retiring from the RAF in 1994 he was lucky enough to find his present house and so achieved his aim by moving from Harrogate to where he now lives in Pateley. Chris’s original idea of retirement was to play golf every day but when his wife saw that a lecturer in computer studies was needed for Further Education at Upper Nidderdale High School she suggested that he should apply for the post. The lecturer soon became a councillor and Chris found himself serving for eight years on Pateley Town Council. He became Mayor in 2010. A chance meeting in the street with Mabel Parker developed into his present position as Chairman of Bishopside & Bewerley Memorial Hall. Saturday night film shows came about by the discovery of a large screen. Enquiries were made and the British Film Industry provided a grant to set up the project now linked to Cine North.

Describe a typical day? Every morning I spend some time at my desk dealing with emails and any business connected to the three charities of which I am a trustee.

The work of the Barnes Wallis Foundation and the 617 Squadron Association keep me particularly busy. Things must be attended to concerning the Memorial Hall, and a walk down into Pateley keeps me in touch with everyone.

What would be your perfect day out?

From being a small boy, I have had a passion for steam trains, so it will not be a surprise for me to say that I would enjoy a day spent on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway finishing up at Whitby.

What is your favourite part of the Dale? When I was teaching at Upper Nidderdale I was introduced to a local history course by Dr Lynn Cooke. This opened up for me a completely new interest and the reservoirs and settlements of the upper Dale around Scar became special. .

What is your favourite Nidderdale business? I would like to make the entire Old Workhouse complex my favourite business. Everything within this courtyard provides special interest from the glassblowers to jewellers, potters and painters. Visitors are welcome to see artists at work and it gives me a good feeling to know that Pateley is really doing something to encourage and develop the arts.

What is the biggest change you have seen in Nidderdale? There are now so many cars. More and more people are moving into the Dale and travelling outside to work. I would like to see affordable housing for young people who were born and work here.

What makes Nidderdale special and why would you recommend it? Nidderdale is an area of exceptional beauty made special because there is so much variety ranging from grouse moors and rugged hillsides to fertile valleys. The people too are special – welcoming and absorbing newcomers into their way of life.

If there is one thing that you could change what would it be? I would like to see Pateley Bridge Town Council and Bewerley Parish Council combined for the benefit of residents both sides of the river.