Former Harrogate Advertiser editor to be given freedom of borough for 'service to community and journalism'

The former editor of the Harrogate Advertiser is to be made an honorary freeman of the borough in recognition of her "service to the community and journalism"

Friday, 10th September 2021, 1:36 pm
Jean MacQuarrie retired earlier this year after 41 years in local journalism - including 33 years as editor.

Jean MacQuarrie, who retired earlier this year after 41 years in local journalism, will be given the title at an extraordinary council meeting next month where she will sign the roll of honorary freeman.

Ms MacQuarrie worked as editor for 33 years and later in her career became editor-in-chief of several weekly newspapers across Yorkshire.

She was also involved in many local organisations including St Michael’s Hospice, the Army Foundation College Independent Advisory Board, Harrogate Business Luncheon Club, Harrogate BID and the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Councillor Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "I am sure Jean's many achievements will be lauded across the whole community.

"And rightly so, as she was a champion for our area, its people, for the press and for those who worked alongside her.

"A politician praising a journalist - or an editor - might not be a frequent occurrence but one can only speak from experience. And when I think of Jean I only think of positives."

A decision to give Ms MacQuarrie the title - which is the highest honour the borough can bestow - was made by members of the council's general purposes committee yesterday (9 September).

The title was last awarded in 2012 to Jonathan Wild, former chairman and chief executive of Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate.

Councillor Cooper added: "Jean fiercely argued her corner if she felt that criticism of the local press team was unfair.

"She would tell me squarely when she thought I had got something wrong and would hold her hands up if she thought any of the local reporting hadn't got it quite right. Because of this I knew that Jean was always being honest with me.

"More than this, she brought forward talented young journalists who took their lead from her.

"Passionate, professional, fair, a role model and a champion for the Harrogate district; these are the reasons I support Jean's nomination to receive the title."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter