Swaledale Festival has appointed a new chairman for the Friends of Swaledale Festival following the death of its long-standing chairman, John Borland in July.
Taking his place is Elizabeth Bedford who has been active within the Festival for several years both as a member of the Friends and more recently as a Board member. Elizabeth has excellent credentials for this new office as a true ‘Yorkshire lass’ despite having spent most of her working life in the south of England working in human resources and head-hunting. Since returning to Yorkshire and settling in Swaledale – “with a sigh of relief” she says - she has become involved in a long list of community activities both in the dale and in York where she spends some of her time as a volunteer guide in the minster. In Swaledale when not on Festival business, she may be found involved in other musical activities such as the Swale Singers and as an aspiring organist, or at Hudson House in Reeth as one of the volunteers who help to keep this busy community facility running. She is also both a keen walker and volunteer bus driver for Reeth and District community transport. Finally she admits to being “a proud new grandmother”.
The Friends of Swaledale Festival operates as a quasi-autonomous organisation within the Festival structure and was originally established simply as a means of raising additional funding for the major two-week annual event. It developed under Mr Borland’s chairmanship into a valuable means of enabling supporters to feel a strong social identity with the Festival.
Elizabeth says that her aims as chairman are “to keep the Friends happy and to increase the number of Friends.” With her involvement in other areas of the Swaledale Festival organisation, she also has plans to streamline some of the financial and administrative side of the Friends and look for new ways in which they can support the Festival.
Since her appointment many messages of support and good wishes have been received by the Festival