A popular figure in one of the Harrogate district's top community arts events is stepping down.
Tony Cerexhe has announced his retirement as chairman of the feva festival in Knaresborough after more than two decades of helping to stage music and arts events in the town.
This follows the successful latest successful Knaresborough Festival of Entertainment and Visual Arts in 2018, which boosted funds available for the volunteer-run annual event.
Lucy Barrow has been elected as the new chairman of the annual ten-day festival which will stage its next events from August 10-19 this year.
Tony Cerexhe was one of the founders of feva, which was held for the first time in 2001.
He had been treasurer of the previous Knaresborough music festival from its establishment in the mid-1990s until it was superseded by feva.
He served in different roles on the committee, initially as the organiser of the music events before becoming taking over the position of chair from Anne Jones in the late 2000s.
He had a couple of years away from the festival when John Minari took over before returning as chairman six years ago.
He has come to personify much of the success of the 10-day feva festival.
Tony said: “The aim in setting up the festival was to provide a multi-discipline platform across the arts range."
“Today, feva has one of the broadest ranges of entertainment on offer, incorporating various formats of music from folk and pop to classical and choral, exhibitions and workshops on painting and crafts, plays, book and poetry readings, dance, free street entertainment, walking tours, re-enactments, open days at allotments, special menu offerings from restaurants and cafes, and one the most well attended beer festivals in North Yorkshire.
“It is great fun and has is a real community enterprise in the town. We provide opportunity for hundreds of local people to get involved as performers, artists and organisers. It is very rewarding that so many children and teenagers play a part.
“In the last few years we have held over 80 separate events during each festival and its does much to boost businesses in the town by attracting tourists and visitors; feva has something for everyone."
“One of our special features is that by holding the festival in August, virtually the only festival of its kind in Yorkshire, we give people something to do during the school holidays.”
Tony’s replacement as chairman, Lucy Barrow praised his contribution to the festival.
She said: “He has a very understated and inclusive way of working.”
“We all found his leadership very supportive and he has done much to establish feva firmly in the calendar of such community festivals in the North of England.
“As a popular and well-known musician himself, he had knowledge of what is likely to be successful.
"We know we can look forward to his continued support both as an adviser to the committee and as a performer on the various stages set up around Knaresborough during feva."
The feva festival is organised on a not-for-profit basis and many of the events are free.
It attracts national acts and provides an opportunity for local people to display their talent and enjoy the entertainment put on at low entry ticket prices.
Details of feva 2019, how to become a ‘friend of feva’ at just £10 a year or to become a volunteer helper are available on the festival’s website: www.feva.info