Kindness underpins town’s high profile

Harrogate is renowned as one of the North’s most recognisable towns – with its history as a spa town, a modern day conference destination and home to the Great Yorkshire Show.

Harrogate is renowned as one of the North’s most recognisable towns – with its history as a spa town, a modern day conference destination and home to the Great Yorkshire Show.

Those facets, along with landmarks such as The Stray parkland, make it an obvious choice for visitors and, in turn, they help to drive the local economy and ensure Harrogate maintains its appeal.

Good fortune has perhaps looked kindly on the town, allowing the Turkish baths to survive where virtually all similar facilities elsewhere have succumbed to age and changing tastes.

Likewise, although the Yorkshire Agricultural Society has been looking after the welfare of farmers and the wider rural economy for almost two centuries, the Great Yorkshire Show, which has become its trademark, has been permanently based in Harrogate only since 1951.

It has proved an enormous asset, bringing regular Royal visitors and providing the showground as a venue that has been adapted to host many other major events.

Others contribute to the economy and reputation of the town, with Bettys a name synonymous with high-quality produce in Harrogate and a handful of other North Yorkshire locations.

But few towns are one dimensional and Harrogate is not immune to the challenges and demands that affect many communities.

So while the notion of Harrogate needing a foodbank may appear a contradiction to some, it not only has one, but has seen it expand from one outlet to three in the recent years of its decade-long history.

The fact that it has an army of volunteers numbering more than 70 is testament to the steely determination to help others, which rests beneath Harrogate’s aura of affluence.

Without them, and the contributors who regularly donate food to fill the parcels they distribute, the service could not operate.

Harrogate is undeniably a better town for the kindness and support that residents quietly offer to those in need.