Pateley Bridge Mayor looks back

Mayor of Pateley Bridge Coun Mike Holt gives his report, looking back over his term in office.

Outgoing Mayor of Pateley Bridge Mike Holt.  (140326M2d)
Outgoing Mayor of Pateley Bridge Mike Holt. (140326M2d)

It goes without saying that it has been a great privilege to once again represent Pateley Bridge as its Mayor.

This has been my third term of office and potentially the most trying. It has been a very difficult couple of years for everyone and I believe it is still all very confusing.

During lock down everybody knew exactly where they stood but now it seems that, without regulation, a lot of organisations are worried about doing the ‘wrong’ thing and causing further problems. I was expecting this year to be back to normal, but that has not been the case.

Janet and I have thoroughly enjoyed representing the Town at several events over this last 12 months, which have included charity fundraisers in Ripon, Harrogate and Darlington.

Highlights were afternoon tea with the hilarious Gervaise Phinn and two concerts in Darlington.

Civic services and receptions have been thin on the ground this year. We have only been invited to the Harrogate Mayor making dinner and their separate Civic service, however, Pateley Bridge Town Council did have a Civic service and luncheon at St Cuthbert’s Church and the Harefield Hall Hotel respectively which everybody thoroughly enjoyed.

We were very honoured that the Dean of Ripon Cathedral, the Very Reverend John Dobson agreed to preach during the service and he and his wife Nicola joined us for the usual superb lunch afterwards.

Harefield Hall, as always, looked after us very well and although not planned as a fundraiser the day culminated in a £500 donation to the mayor’s fund.

It is impossible to fulfil this role without becoming a part of the Ripon Cathedral family.

Thankfully the Cathedral has been very proactive in opening after the pandemic and we have been invited to many events there, including delayed from last year, the service to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the Plough Sunday and Candlemas services.

Along with many other occasions spent at the Cathedral during this Civic year, there was a service celebrating marriage where Janet and I found ourselves renewing our wedding vows.

It was a privilege to be invited to the preview event celebrating the 1350th anniversary of Ripon Cathedral, which is the oldest continuous place of worship in the British Isles.

There are events occurring throughout the year, and I hope that Ian and Christine enjoy what will be a spectacular series of varied celebrations during their term of office.

Continuing the religious theme, one thing that I did want to do was interact with the Church in the Dale, who collectively do so much for all our communities.

It was a real pleasure to officially attend services in Dacre Banks, Wilsill, Pateley Bridge Methodist Church, St Cuthbert’s, Wath, How Stean church (the Church in the Gorge), Greenhow and Bewerley.

It was a revelation meeting so many parishioners in their own environment. They were genuinely delighted that we had made the effort to join them, and we had some interesting conversations covering many different subjects.

I have been a member of the British American Committee (BAC) for several years now and last year, again something that was put on hold by 12 months was the 60th anniversary of the base at Menwith Hill.

The Base tries very hard to work with its neighbours and I was delighted that RAF Menwith Hill agreed to partner us with a volunteer group to help maintain the Millennium Green.

This is part of a much bigger project where the Americans put back something into the local community, for example they rebuilt a small footbridge in Darley which reinstated a footpath.

All this is good stuff but my vision was to create a lasting working relationship with the Base that would continue to grow, and benefit the Millennium Green, and I do think in principle this has worked.

In doing so we have also partnered with the AONB, initially for advice as what to do but it has become obvious that the AONB and their connections with local schools and organisations are really wanting to help as well.

To date we have had two working days, one willow training day and a very productive school day. I hope this will continue, as soul trustees of the Millennium Green I feel we should work with our partners to make it a better place, not only for our parishioners but for everybody who visits Pateley Bridge.

Elsewhere, the MG rally on the Show Field returned this year and it was good to open that event for them.

We were enthusiastically welcomed by the organisers and once they realised that I had a little bit of Vintage Car racing history, everybody wanted to talk to us.

At the end of February, through my connection with Menwith Hill we hosted a Ghost Walk through Pateley Bridge which was extremely well attended. Our American friends were delighted that the Mayor had got involved.

We also planted the final tree of seven, in the recreation ground to celebrate the Queens Platinum Jubilee, and I have also been involved with helping to arrange the June Jubilee celebrations.

It has been a privilege to work with Laura (our Town Clerk) during this Civic year, I know I am not exaggerating when I say that we have had more than one meeting a week throughout the year, and I genuinely believe this Town Council is in a much better, democratic position than at the beginning of the civic year.

We have set up the Policies Working Group and as a Council are on the cusp of being able to apply for a Local Councils Award Scheme (LCAS).

I’m afraid this accolade doesn’t come with any cash rewards, but if awarded it proves that the Town Council is being run legally, efficiently and effectively, with all the correct procedures in place; in my opinion these are the minimum requirements our parishioners deserve.

I do hope Ian will see this through and I look forward to us all celebrating this great achievement.

I do believe that I am leaving this Town Council in a better position than it was when I picked up this chalice 24 months ago, and I hope that the new leadership team will continue to develop the Councils role within our community.

I must personally thank the Sandwich Box, Chandler Retail Ltd, Guyson International and the Dales Market as my main financial supporters this year, there are many other people and companies who have helped us throughout the year.