Historic links between Ripley, near Harrogate and the City of Barrie, Canada are to be formally recognised through an International Partnership.
Admiral Sir Robert Barrie KCB, KCH (1774-1841), who served in the British Navy and was Naval Commissioner in Canada for fifteen years, had close links with Ripley near Harrogate being the husband of Julia Wharton Ingilby whom he married in 1816. Both are buried at Ripley and remembered by a stained glass window in the village church.
These long links are to be formally recognised after the City of Barrie approached Sir Thomas Ingilby to begin negotiations with Harrogate Borough Council for formal links to be entered into through an International Partnership agreement.
Like the Harrogate district, tourism plays an important part in Barrie’s local economy, it is home to numerous annual festivals and it runs two distinct international youth programmes. Through the offices of Sir Thomas Ingilby the city’s School Board has been in touch with St Aidan’s Church of England School in Harrogate with a view to developing a student exchange programme.
Councillor Anthony Alton, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, says that the council was supportive of the proposal for an International Partnership with the City of Barrie. He added: “The trend now is to move away from the original prescribed format for town twinning and to form international partnerships that cater for joint exploration of business and tourism opportunities.
“Sir Robert had a long and illustrious naval career which is well documented and researched. His time as Naval Commissioner in Canada is commemorated in a number of place names with the foremost being the City of Barrie. We are looking forward to welcoming our guests from Barrie which will be led by Jeff Lehman who is the 46th Mayor of the City of Barrie. He is leading Barrie through a period of rapid change with top priorities of jobs and economic development, public engagement and the Mayor's Plan for Transit, which is the first ever overhaul of the city's transit system. All issues very close to our own priorities.”
Sir Thomas Ingilby added: “A dashing, romantic historical figure has risen from the pages of history to bring two thriving communities on opposite sides of the Atlantic together, to exchange ideas and culture, broaden outlooks and boost their respective economies. Harrogate and Barrie are two great regions: they can achieve a lot by working together.”
Sir Robert served in the Royal navy from 1788 until his death aged 67 on 7 June 1841. As part of the itinerary, a wreath will be laid on the grave of Sir Robert on 7 June 2013, being the exact anniversary of the date of his untimely death 172 years ago. Lady Barrie preceded her husband having died on 23 November 1836 and they are buried together in the Ingilby family crypt. A wreath will also be laid by Mayor Lehman at the War Graves Commission section of Stonefall Cemetery where a number of Canadian WWII airmen are buried. ENDS