Who deserves a statue in Harrogate?

Cycling scheme campaigner Malcolm Margolis, who could be immortalised along a new transport route. (S)
Cycling scheme campaigner Malcolm Margolis, who could be immortalised along a new transport route. (S)

HARROGATE people are being invited to choose three figures from the town’s past and present to be commemorated along the new Bilton to Ripley bridleway.

The shortlist of 10 notables includes an Olympic medallist, a witch and the founder of Bettys, as well as present-day campaigners.

The three figures chosen will be immortalised on a bench at the new Nidderdale Greenway, the £400,000 route being created by sustainable transport charity Sustrans and the borough and county councils.

David Hall, Sustrans director in Yorkshire, said: “The portrait bench is a chance to celebrate some of the most well-known and influential icons of the area, giving the Nidderdale Greenway a unique, local significance that people who live here can be proud of.

“Creating safer routes for walking and cycling on is key to encouraging more people to travel on foot or bike for their local, everyday journeys.”

County Coun Heather Garnett, chairman of the Nidderdale Greenway Steering Group, said: “The Nidderdale Greenway must be one of the most important and exciting projects that has happened in the Harrogate District for a long time.

“The route passes through some lovely countryside and will be very accessible.’

It is due to open in spring 2013 and is being part-funded by a Big Lottery Fund grant awarded following a TV vote in 2007.

Public voting will take place until March 23, with forms available from libraries in Harrogate and Knaresborough, online at www.harrogate.gov.uk - by clicking on the ‘Have Your Say’ tab - or voting possible by post to Sustrans, Leeds Bridge House, Hunslet Road, Leeds LS10 1JN.

l Who would you like to see immortalised along the route? Email ackrill.news@ypn.co.uk, write to the Editor, 1 Cardale Park, HG3 1RZ, or comment below.

Who’s who

Ten characters who are significant to the area have been nominated, with people asked to vote for their favourites to help decide the final three.

1. Blind Jack of Knaresborough - A blind man who became a much celebrated road builder during the Industrial Revolution, constructing more than 200 miles of roads in northern England.

2. Stanley Cotterell - As an 18-year-old, he and other cyclists formed The Cyclist Touring Club (CTC) 133 years ago on the Stray in Harrogate.

3. Debbie Flood - Harrogate-born Debbie won silver medals in the quadruple sculls at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.

4. Mother Shipton - A Yorkshire witch, who was a soothsayer and prophetess. Her birthplace was a cave close to the Petrifying Well in Knaresborough.

5. Andrew Willoughby - Through many organisations, Andrew has worked tirelessly for the community to improve public open space, parks, footpaths and bridleways, and is a leading supporter of the route.

6. Malcolm Margolis (pictured above) - Malcolm led the campaign for this route, cycle paths on the Stray, and many other improvements for cycling. He founded the Wheel Easy cycling club.

7. Frederick Belmont - A Swiss confectioner who in 1919 opened the first Bettys tea-rooms in Harrogate, on Cambridge Crescent.

8. Samson Fox - In 1877 he developed the corrugated boiler flue, for which he became world-famous. He gave a huge amount to Harrogate, including the Royal Hall.

9. Keith Wilkinson - A Bilton resident and founder of Bilton Conservation Group, Keith has championed the conservation and amenity of Nidd Gorge since 1982.

10. Child from Harrogate - This would play into the idea of three characters representing the past, present and future of Harrogate, with the child as the future.