Dales nostalgia book by famous Harrogate musician for Christmas season

Final ever gig?  Magna Carta founder, Harrogates Chris Simpson.Final ever gig?  Magna Carta founder, Harrogates Chris Simpson.
Final ever gig? Magna Carta founder, Harrogates Chris Simpson.
The Harrogate musician whose legendary band play their 50th anniversary show at Ripley early in the New Year is re-releasing his acclaimed festive book set in the Dales.

Written by Chris Simpson, the founder of prog-folk talismen Magna Carta, The Visitor was first published in 2000.

Hailed as “moving and evocative” by fellow Yorkshireman and distinguished actor Patrick Stewart, the novella is now available again courtesy of publishing house McNidder & Grace.

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An evergreen tale of farming life with a hint of the spiritual, The Visitor has proven a favourite in the festive season.

Chris has even been asked to give a talk about it in a charity event at Burnsall Village Hall next Wednesday.

Chris said: “I didn’t know how it would be received when I first wrote it. I wanted to get across the inner wonder of God’s Own Country in the land of the Dales.”

The book is set in the Yorkshire hills the 76-year-old Chris trod as a small boy, when he lived in an old stone house on a hilltop in Nidderdale – when times were hard but days were full of wonder and life was rich in characters.

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The success of The Visitor is part of a late career reawakening for a musician and writer whose first album was released in 1969.

Since then Magna Carta have recorded 25 albums with sales of nine million.

Will the Magna Carta 50th anniversary gig at Ripley Town Hall on Saturday, January 25 be his final farewell?

With an ace line-up set to accompany Chris Simpson on stage at Ripley, a venue he’s loved since he was a boy, fans of this great band will surely be hoping the answer is ‘no’.

Tickets for Magna Carta: 50 Years at Ripley Town Hall are available from ripley.live online or on 01423 860340.