Well, I’m six weeks into my Mayoral year and what a great six weeks it’s been.
Just a few hours after becoming Mayor I was attending the Pride in Diversity Parade and Party in Harrogate with a great crowd enjoying the day. In my first week, I had the opportunity to visit St John’s Primary School and see the fantastic work and activities undertaken by the children. Things have changed a lot since my primary school days! Continuing the education theme, the Mayoress, Catherine and I attended Harrogate College’s Art & Design end of year show, it was fantastic to see the talent in our district.
One of my responsibilities as Mayor is to be President of Knaresborough Friendship and Leisure Centre for the year and had the pleasure of chairing the group’s AGM. We visited the beautiful open gardens at Waterside and the town centre held over two weekends raising money for Marie Curie and Horticap charities and visited Aspin Pond’s annual picnic fund raising event. We took part in what I suspect will be the largest event of the year, the bed race. It was a great experience to lead the procession, start the race and to talk to so many residents and visitors to our town. Events like the bed race contribute not only to fund raising for charities but promote Knaresborough as a tourist destination both in the UK and Internationally. The Lions and all the other groups and individuals who support this event do a fantastic job every year.
As well as supporting local groups and activities part of the Mayors and Mayoress role is to foster relations with communities across the district and to this end I had the opportunity to attend the election of Harrogate’s Mayor, visit Richmond for their charity fund raising, the Richmond Meet, which got its name originally from local cycle clubs meeting to race round the dales. Today there is more focus on charity fund raising but bike races still take place. During my Mayoral year there are several opportunities to attend events at Ripon Cathedral. This month we, attended their golden wedding service where many couples were celebrating fifty and more years of marriage. We also attended civic services for the Mayors of Ripon and Pateley Bridge.
There is also an international dimension to the role. I had the opportunity to host a group from South Korea visiting for the Taekwondo Championships in Harrogate. I had a very enjoyable time as we visited the Castle, Court House and grounds and admiring the view of the river and viaduct and learn something of the history of our town. I’ve never seen as many photos taken in such a short time. In addition, it was great to meet a group from Bebra, Germany visiting over bed race weekend.
Town twinning contacts between Bebra and Knaresborough are as strong as ever and Catherine and I look forward to a return visit to Bebra in the autumn.
Here’s just a sample of upcoming events in my Mayoral diary for July: Knaresborough Choral Society, naming ceremony for John Metcalf Way (Blind Jack) , Royal British Legion Veterans Supper, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People annual bazaar, Henshaw’s Specialist College Graduation event, Town Twinning visit of Bebra TSV Band to the town and Studio 3 Dolly Dance Awards.
It’s been a great honour meeting local volunteers contributing time supporting individuals and groups with special needs, organising local community events for us all to enjoy, and through their efforts raising significant funds for local charities. Although there are many Knaresborough residents involved with the numerous local community organisations and charities many of these groups need new volunteers. So if you have some spare time please consider joining one of these local groups, I know you will get a very warm welcome.
I look forward to seeing you at one of the many events in our area through the summer.