The Harrogate Mayor’s column with Coun Anne Jones

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I can hardly believe that I am half way through my Civic year already as I dash around attending a wide variety of events which recently found me in the company of Sir Chris Bonnington at the HIF Yorkshire Post Literary Lunch at the Crown Hotel. The hotel has gone through a change of ownership into the hands of Bespoke Hotels and new GM Richard Wood, a Harrogate man I believe.

Another recent change has been that of the Town Twinning Committee, now renamed Harrogate International Partnership or HIP for short.

The excellent “United in Music” concert at our beloved Royal Hall was in support of HIP, organised by the charming Colin Gibbs. And staying with the Royal Hall, entertainer Billy Pearce, gave a stellar performance at the Old Time Music Hall, oh yes he did! And the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra Concert, with three hugely talented soloists, was pure joy, conducted by the irrepressible Bryan Western.

The Worshipful has not totally been confined to indoor events as I have been working alongside the Freemasons Province of Yorkshire West Riding by helping to plant spring bulbs on Swan Road as I did with six local schools along Walker’s Passage.

We will all reap the benefit of these colourful displays in 2018.

My first Civic fundraiser took place at the beginning of the month in aid of Henshaws and ARCH Resolution. The Bollywood Extravaganza was aided and abetted by Cardamom Black proprietor Nick Rahman.

The event proved hugely successful raising funds of £7K for two local charities.

And as I continue my dash around the Borough I never cease to be amazed at our home-grown talent and this was seen in abundance when I attended the unveiling of the installation of the Cube by Harrogate College Student

Gabriel, how apt is his name as we approach the Festive Season. Continuing in the company of young people I officially opened the Harrogate Christmas Market alongside Santa and pupils from Oatlands School and a huge enthusiastic audience of young families and local residents welcomed the Christmas Lights Switch On.

It was a great honour to lead the acts of Remembrance held at the Cenotaph, St Peter’s Church and the Commonwealth War Graves on Remembrance Sunday.

The overwhelming number of people attending these events indicates that we all continue to hold high regard and respect for the huge sacrifice made on our behalf. I was humbled.

As I was when I presented the medals to the Special Olympics winners at The Hydro when hundreds of competitors descended upon Harrogate for this annual event, financially supported by the Knaresborough Lions Club. Take a bow!

May I now turn to the Mayor’s Christmas Eve celebrations with a ringing of change as I intend to kick-off proceedings with an early start in the Valley Gardens 4pm to 4.45pm along with Tewit Youth Band, reindeers, favourite carols and refreshments at the Sun Pavilion.

A second event will commence at the Royal Hall 5.30pm to 6.30pm when St Aidan’s Band and the HSO wind quintet and string quartet will entertain us before we join in festive voice to celebrate Christmas Eve. Both events are FREE.

Tickets for the Royal Hall available Monday 4 December at Harrogate Tourist Information Centre. There will be a bucket collection for the Mayor’s charities at both events. Let us be joyous!