Harrogate's newest viral sensation: Facebook page recognises the town's everyday heroes

It's a bit like Humans of New York but with a Harrogate twist - a new Facebook page has been launched to celebrate our town's unsung heroes, and it's already gone viral.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 12:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 12:57 pm
Laura Brett and Jonathan Midwood. (1809032AM1).
Laura Brett and Jonathan Midwood. (1809032AM1).

The idea's quite simple - share a photo of someone who has made your day, and accompany it with a few words about how that person has had an impact on you or our wider community.

It could be a volunteer who goes the extra mile to help others, a kind stranger you've just met on the bus, or somebody behind the checkout who always brightens your day. The aim is to give thanks to everyday people with extraordinary hearts.

The Facebook page, called Beautiful Souls, is the brainchild of Harrogate residents Laura Brett and Jonathan Midwood.

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Mum-of-three Laura, a former perinatal mental health midwife, who first came up with the idea, said she is passionate about recognising small acts of kindness that could otherwise go under the radar.

She said: "We started this group to simply try and create a culture of gratitude and encouragement for all the everyday people who touch our lives. Not everybody has the opportunity for an MBE or an OBE, but there are so many beautiful souls in this world who deserve to be honoured and acknowledged for who they are.

"And nowadays, the power of social media is is often used to promote the fake, negative and dark things in the world. Beautiful Souls is about honouring all that is good. It is about taking back the right to promote what stirs our souls, what makes us smile and warm inside, not cold and angry.

"It is about bringing people to mind who have meant a lot to us, or blessed our day, and reflecting on the reasons why we can learn from them."

Laura was inspired to create the group after a chance meeting with a widow in Skipton, whose determination to give back and seize the day prompted Laura to think about how to capture their story, and the incredible stories of others.

Laura said: "Often we don't thank people enough or celebrate them enough. As a society, I think we have lost our ability to connect with people - when we go for a walk, we might find ourselves looking down at the floor and not saying hello to passers-by.

"I hope Beautiful Souls will bring people together and be a positive use of social media - a way of building each other up and supporting each other. I think it's only going to have a positive impact on someone's mental health, hopefully giving a boost to someone's self-esteem and self-worth."

The Facebook page has already attracted a lot of interest from people across Harrogate, and Laura hopes it's an idea that will catch on in other towns and cities, and beyond this country.