Dewsbury's set up with a posh new twin

Issue 494

THE TWO towns may seem poles apart, but Dewsbury is to be twinned – with Harrogate.
The upmarket North Yorkshire spa town has approached Dewsbury and wants to set up formal civic ties.
The link came about through Earlsheatonborn retired station master Gerald Egan, who used to be in charge of Harrogate Station.
Mr Egan, also chairman of Dewsbury Means Business, gives talks around the county, and never misses the chance to promote Dewsbury.
Last year he hosted a visit to Dewsbury by the then Mayor of Harrogate Coun Pat Jones and members of the Harrogate Spa Ladies.
They were so impressed with Dewsbury they want to sign a twinning agreement.
Mr Egan admitted Dewsbury and Harrogate weren’t obvious bed fellows and said: “On the face of it they don’t seem to have much in common.
“But this is a great opportunity for both towns. And remember, it is not something we have gone out with a begging bowl to seek. It was Harrogate who came to us.”
Last year’s visit saw the Harrogate party have a daylong tour of the town, which included lunch at Heath Cottage Hotel in Dewsbury and afternoon tea at Redbrick Mill in Batley Carr.
The party also browsed Dewsbury Market, visited the town’s Minister and heard about links to the Brontes, looked round the historic Thornhill Parish Church and saw the house in West Park Street where Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley lived.
They also toured Dewsbury Town Hall and looked at the old courtrooms where scenes for David Jason’s TV series ‘A Touch of Frost’ were filmed.
Harrogate later returned the favour by hosting a reciprocal visit and the Harrogate ladies were so enchanted by Dewsbury’s heritage and warm welcome they came back for a weekend stay at the Heath Cottage Hotel.
Mr Egan said: “People may make fun of it but this isn’t as daft as it sounds. Dewsbury has a lot going for it.”
Town twinning was developed after the Second World War to promote mutual understanding and friendship.
Harrogate Borough Council has been twinned with Luchon in South West France since 1952.
Harrogate also has ‘sistercity’ relationships with Wellington in New Zealand and Harrogate, Tennessee.
Mr Egan said: “Twinning is about a civic friendliness or a bond. It’s Harrogate’s way of saying ‘we enjoy Dewsbury’.”
Trish Makepeace, president of Dewsbury Chamber of Trade and chairman of the Market Traders’ Association, said she fully supported the twinning bid.
“This is bound to give Dewsbury a big lift,” she said.
Mayor of Kirklees and Dewsbury East councillor Eric Firth is also keen to formalise Harrogate’s love affair with Dewsbury.

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