This year’s official Yorkshire Day celebration was held in Ripon, and Ripon City Council who both organised and hosted it, did a fantastic job, setting the bar for future hosts.
The weather was behaving and this year we enjoyed sunshine and high temperatures which brought out the crowds and set the City alight.
This civic event is held every year and provides a focal point for the County and the many celebrations and events that take part to mark the day. Year on year, the day is becoming increasingly important and celebrated by more and more people and businesses throughout Yorkshire, helping to maintain the unique character of the County and provide a boost to its economy.
Civic leaders from across Yorkshire are invited to the event making it one of – if not the – largest congregation of civic leaders in the world. Officials, dignitaries and members of the Yorkshire Society met at Ripon Racecourse and then travelled to Ripon Spa Hotel for a reception. Everyone was given a white rose button hole and a hearty breakfast before ceremonial robes and chains were donned, and everyone formed a large parade behind the band of the Royal Armoured Corps from Catterick barracks.
Greeted by cheering and excited crowds the parade marched through the City – everyone clearly enjoying the Day. The parade wound its way with a bit of Yorkshire pomp and circumstance from one side of the City to the other, through Ripon Spa Gardens, the town square and onto the stunning Cathedral. It’s hard to capture the mood of such an occasion for those who were not there but it is just such occasions that make being Yorkshire and proud go hand in hand.
The service which followed in Ripon Cathedral was a credit to the Dean, John Dobson (who gave a moving and at times very funny sermon), providing a perfect mix of solemnity and celebration. The Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, read a lesson and the choir, pianist and military band’s contributions were woven into the service and echoed majestically around the vast expanse inside.
Our own Deputy Chairman, Geoff Walsh, handed over the Society’s official Yorkshire Flag to the Mayor of Ripon, Cllr Pauline McHardy. Ripon will retain the flag for display and use at official events then return it to the Society for hand over at next year’s event to be hosted by Whitby.
Acknowledging the contribution of local businesses to the local economy, the Society presented commemorative plaques to four local organisations deemed to exemplify a dedication to Ripon: F B Taylor, Jenny Ruth Workshops, Ripon Farm Services and Econ Engineering were the worthy recipients, each of their plaques carrying the inscription “For your sustained employment and support of the City of Ripon”.
Following the Cathedral service, it was on to the Dean’s garden where a large marquee had been set up for a luncheon. Here, the mood changed, and a very social scene developed. A lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, of course, was rounded off with the local favourite Wilfra Apple Cake, new to most attending but a truly delicious conclusion to a very tasty meal.
The meal over, there were moving speeches by the mayor, who also recited the Yorkshire declaration to cheers from everyone, and the Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, David Kerfoot MBE DL, gave a rowing address on what it meant to him to be Yorkshire and ten reasons why we can all be proud of Yorkshire.
With the civic ceremony over the celebrations continued in the rest of the City culminating in a unique event. Ripon is famous for its Hornblowers, who, since the year 886, have traditionally blown a horn in the City square at 9pm every night to signal the curfew. But on the 1st August 2018, Yorkshire Day, all four official Hornblowers blew their horns simultaneously, one on each corner of the square. The fireworks that closed the day were a fitting end but what went before was equally, if not more, spectacular.
All in all, a fantastic day was enjoyed by all who attended, as part of the official celebrations or as part of the crowd witnessing it. Here at the Society, we want to send our grateful thanks to Ripon City Council who did the County proud; we know the Yorkshire Flag is in safe hands and can now look forward to Whitby 2019.
For enquiries about Yorkshire Day 2019 please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org