Nick Hancock: My predictions for Harrogate next year

Latest column of Nick Hancock, Your Harrogate.
Parkrun 2019 – predicted to return to Fountains Abbey in 2021 (Photo: Gerard Binks)Parkrun 2019 – predicted to return to Fountains Abbey in 2021 (Photo: Gerard Binks)
Parkrun 2019 – predicted to return to Fountains Abbey in 2021 (Photo: Gerard Binks)

This seems like a really daft thing to do, but I am going to make some predictions about 2021 in Harrogate.

This seems pretty daft as we are just about reaching the end of the most unpredictable and unforeseen year ever.

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If you had told me back in February that both me and my best friend Will Smith would be celebrating Christmas by going for a country walk instead of us both doing the usual mad Friday session in the Fat Badger (at least a ‘six pinter’) I would never have believed you.

If you had told me this time last year that the Prime Minister would be announcing on TV that I could hug my mum at Christmas I would have called you bonkers!

Or if you’d have said to me in January that my works Christmas party would be a Christmas party that was carried out on ‘Zoom’ I would have probably said “what’s Zoom??!”

So, what makes me even a little bit confident in making predictions for next year?

One word that springs to mind: optimism.

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The resilience and also the positivity that so many people have shown since Covid hit us in March makes me feel optimistic for the future.

When I am looking through my Harrogate crystal ball I can see our amazing hospitality sector bouncing back brightly next year with newbies like the Pickled Sprout and also the Hidden shining alongside the heritage favourites like Will and Vics.

I can also see in my crystal ball weddings returning to Rudding Park and the excellent Crime Writing Festival returning to the Old Swan in July.

In fact I can see the whole of the district getting behind Harrogate International Festivals as we all discover a new found appreciation for the amazing cultural delights that Sharon and her brilliant and dedicated team will bring to our doorsteps.

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In addition there will be a panto that will be held in December at Harrogate Theatre and I know Tim will be making jokes about the grass on the Stray!

In addition, the Parkrun will be back on the Stray and at Fountains Abbey and once again you will all feel so pleased to have dragged yourself out of bed on a Saturday morning to burn some calories.

Another prediction is that The Great Yorkshire Show will be the highlight of a wonderful long summer that will also include the World Cup.

It will also include the Olympics and that most under-rated sporting spectacle, the Great Knaresborough Bed Race.

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I also predict that Harrogate Town will continue to punch massively above their weight and also that Simon Weaver will show us all what can be achieved with a great work ethic and a fantastic attitude.

We shall continue to have one of the best town centres in Britain.

Of course, there will be some shops that will go, and there will be some shops that will move online, but I predict that plenty of others will thrive.

In the autumn I predict that Crimple Hall’s brand new farm shop will be the talk of the town.

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Finally I predict that local radio will return to Harrogate.

It too is greatly missed. The connection, the community, the information, the prizes, the fun … but you can leave that one with me.

Have a great Christmas and wishing you all the very best for 2021.