Tributes paid to ‘Mr Harrogate’ Mike Hine who did so much for town’s heritage

The funeral of an arts scene stalwart labelled ‘Mr Harrogate’ will take place on Monday, January 6.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 6:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 6:17 pm
Mike Hine was commonly known as Mr Harrogate after spending his life promoting the arts scene.

Mike Hine, who died earlier this month aged 78, was a leading member of the Royal Hall Restoration Trust. His funeral will take place at Christ Church at 11.30am with a wake afterwards at The Pavilions Of Harrogate.

Fulsome tributes have been paid to Mr Hine, one of Harrogate’s most respected and best-loved figures in the arts, events and tourism scene.

Known with respect as “Mr Harrogate” fought ill health but remained cheerful throughout and never gave up supporting the good causes he did so much for over several decades, in particular, the restoration of the town’s glittering Royal Hall.

Regarded by all who met him as a true gentleman, he was an essential part of Harrogate’s fabric and leaves a huge legacy.

The Royal Hall Restoration Trust said it was very sad to learn of the loss of one of its leading trustees last Thursday afternoon.

The Trust said: “Mike’s pride in and love and thirst for knowledge of Harrogate knew no bounds.

“During his many years as the council’s tourism manager, Mike fondly became known as ‘Mr Harrogate’ promoting his beloved town and extolling its virtues far and wide. A title he justly deserved.

“Mike retired in 2004 but it didn’t lead to him putting his feet up. He threw even more energy into his many passions including charitable works as diverse as Harrogate Hospital Radio, Harrogate International Youth Music Festival and Talking Newspapers. And, of course, finding out and recording everything about his town.

“He loved to travel and he travelled widely but of course he had a list and visited every country with a town called Harrogate.

“One of his other passions was theatre and particularly musical theatre.

“As a collector of music and songs with Harrogate links, Mike compiled a CD in 2008 of every homage to Harrogate that he had located with profits going to the Royal Hall.

“His current passion was gathering information and material of every film and TV show which featured Harrogate location-wise.

“Archivist, benefactor, collector, fundraiser, promoter, researcher, hands on hard worker, the list is endless.

“Harrogate will be a sadder place without him. Mike’s legacy is huge and he will be sorely missed by his loving family and his army of friends.”

Although down-to-earth, Mike Hine lived and breathed the showbiz world, interviewing the likes of Frankie Howerd, Roy Castle and Magnus Magnusson as part of his work in the early days of Harrogate Hospital Radio.

In October 2017, he surprised one regular headliner at the Royal Hall by presenting him with a birthday cake during a show - the late Sir Ken Dodd who died the following March.

Harrogate Theatre’s chief executive David Bown said Mike had made him proud to live in Harrogate.

He said: “Mike was a loyal friend of Harrogate Theatre and a magnificent supporter of the arts in general. He was a gentle campaigner and commentator of our heritage. He made me proud to live here.”

Leading Harrogate historian Malcolm Neesam described Mike Hine as a “dear friend” who was devoted to the cause of promoting Harrogate and furthering its welfare, and left no stone unturned in the process.

Mr Neesam said: “Mike was a kindly and tenacious character and highly respected crusader for those causes dear to him. He also had a talented and charismatic stage presence which allowed him to introduce shows with skill.”

Mike Hine was a keen supporter of Starbeck in Bloom and Starbeck Bowling Club.

Starbeck in Bloom’s Christine Stewart said: “Mike worked tirelessly for the preservation of Starbeck’s history and heritage.”