Harrogate's Festival Finale is to be dedicated to late Malcolm Neesam next week

Harrogate International Festivals is to dedicate this year's Festival Finale to Malcolm Neesam who died last month after bravely battling a series of illnesses.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 4:41 pm
Malcolm Neesam, pictured, right, in 2001 with actor Edward Fox and the Royal Hall Restoration Trust's chair, the late Lilian Mina, centre, and Harrogate Mayor Coun Bob Nash and Mayoress Mrs Pat Nash.
Malcolm Neesam, pictured, right, in 2001 with actor Edward Fox and the Royal Hall Restoration Trust's chair, the late Lilian Mina, centre, and Harrogate Mayor Coun Bob Nash and Mayoress Mrs Pat Nash.

The concert, featuring The Amici Ensemble conducted by guest curator William Dutton, will take place in the Royal Hall in Harrogate on Thursday, July 28.

Not only was the late Mr Neesam the town's greatest historian and a founding member of Harrogate Civic Society, he was also a noted supporter of the arts, especially HIF.

A spokesperson for Harrogate International Festivals said: "Our Vice President and local historian Malcolm Neesam sadly died on June 28 after a lifetime contributing to the civic life of Harrogate.

"His passion for great English composers and enthusiasm for the work of Harrogate International Festivals was unmeasured and we are incredibly grateful for his support.

"To honour his life and contribution, we are dedicating the final performance of this year's Harrogate Music Festival to the memory of Malcolm, our stalwart supporter and dear friend."

HIF's chair, Fiona Movley, said: “Malcolm was a dear friend who was loved by us all at Harrogate International Festivals. His historical knowledge of Harrogate was unparalleled. He was a true gentleman in every sense of the word, and he will be greatly missed.”

HIF's chief executive Sharon Canavar, said: “Malcolm has been a stalwart support to the Festivals over the decades and we are indebted to him for his work and kindness, not least his incredible and forensically researched book Music Over The Waters, which was an incredible gift exploring the past to help build our future.

"We send our deepest condolences to his family. Harrogate and our history is poorer for his loss."

A widely-admired historian and one of the key movers in the foundation of Harrogate Civic Society in 1971, Malcolm Neesam, had battled major illness on several fronts in recent years with incredible fortitude and good humour.

After moving into a Harrogate care home to receive palliative care, Mr Neesam finally succumbed on his 76th birthday.