“CYCLING CAN BE THE CATALYST FOR SO MANY THINGS...THE GRAND DÉPART WAS THE START, NOT THE END, OF THE CYCLING JOURNEY.”
Bettys Café Tea Rooms 100
Swiss confectioner and baker Frederick Belmont, came to England, boarded a train and travelled to Yorkshire. The rest is history. In 1919 he opened the first Bettys (no apostrophe) Café in Harrogate and no one knows where its name came from. The first example of Bettys’ Afternoon Tea was introduced in 1927. In 1937 Bettys, York was launched, the interior inspired by the rooms on the Queen Mary liner and a favourite haunt during WWII for airmen stationed nearby, many signing the ‘Bettys’ Mirror’ with their rings, part of which still hangs in the café. Bettys Café Tea Rooms later opened in Ilkley, Northallerton and Harlow Carr, Harrogate and in 1977 Bettys made a cake for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee that was displayed at Buckingham Palace. You’ll only find Bettys in Yorkshire and they’re cooking up some great celebrations for 2019.
Forestry Commission 100
Established in 1919 to nurture and expand Britain’s forests and woodland after depletion during the First World War, the Forestry Commission purchased vast amounts of former agricultural land, soon becoming Britain’s largest land owner. Numerous centenary celebrations are taking place throughout Yorkshire, including tree planting, forest trail events and commissioned pieces from artists and writers. Turner prize-winning Rachel Whiteread’s new Nissen Hut sculpture is on display in the Dalby Forest, deep in the heart of the woodland, the wartime inspired creation is a moving testament to the lasting relationship with the changing landscape over the past hundred years.
I’m also lucky to meet so many different, interesting, nice and genuine people who are so inspiring. It sounds a bit cheesy but every day is a highlight. For example, a group wanting to raise money for charity, wondered if Welcome to Yorkshire could help. In walked the ladies, dressed in everyday work gear and said “We’re going to row across the Atlantic!” I thought it was a crazy idea, but we got behind them, put Welcome to Yorkshire branding on their boat, encouraged and supported the team. The Yorkshire Rows went on to be the first women to row across the North Sea and hold the Guinness World Record for rowing 3000 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Four working Yorkshire mums smashed the world’s toughest rowing race. That’s what sometimes happens in these meetings, it’s wonderful. Could it happen anywhere else? Probably not...only in Yorkshire. What have been your personal Yorkshire highlights? The day my daughter Lily was born, being knighted in 2015 for services to tourism...AND Leeds United winning the First Division title in 1991/92! Anything you’ve wanted to achieve but haven’t achieved yet? I’d like to have had the Grand Départ of the Tour de France back again sooner than we’re going to get it, but that’s because I’m naturally impatient. Is Yorkshire getting another Grand Départ? Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, has said publicly and privately that Yorkshire will get another Grand Départ and he’s the boss! There’s so much to look forward to from Welcome to Yorkshire and the second Grand Départ in Yorkshire will be even bigger than the first, which, in the words of the French was ‘THE grandest of Grand Départs in the history of the Tour de France’. To do an even grander Grand Départ will be very special.