Former editor of the Harrogate Advertiser set to receive Honorary Freeman of the Borough

Harrogate Borough Council's general purposes committee will make a recommendation to award the title of Honorary Freeman of the Borough to former editor of the Harrogate Advertiser Jean MacQuarrie.

The Local Government Act 1972 allows the borough council to bestow the title of honorary freeman to a person of distinction who has, in their opinion, rendered eminent services to the Harrogate district.

Jean MacQuarrie was appointed editor of the Harrogate Advertiser in 1988 and played an important part in the paper being a trusted source of news throughout the community. Jean retired this year after a 41 year career (33 years as editor) working hard to promote and support the town and district, as well as becoming editor-in-chief of several other weekly newspapers across Yorkshire.

Jean was also involved in many local organisations including as a trustee at St Michael's Hospice, the crime prevention panel, the Army Foundation College Independent Advisory Board, the Harrogate Business Luncheon Club, Harrogate BID, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Harrogate Festivals and the Harrogate Theatre Appeal.

Councillor Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "I am sure Jean's many achievements will be lauded across the whole community. And rightly so, as she was a champion for our area, its people, for the press and for those who worked alongside her.

"A politician praising a journalist - or an editor - might not be a frequent occurrence but one can only speak from experience. And when I think of Jean I only think of positives.

"Jean fiercely argued her corner if she felt that criticism of the local press team was unfair. She would tell me squarely when she thought I had got something wrong and would hold her hands up if she thought any of the local reporting hadn't got it quite right. Because of this, I knew that Jean was always being honest with me.

"More than this, she brought forward talented young journalists who took their lead from her. There are many brilliant reporters making their way in the media world right now, providing news that people can trust, who are better at what they do because they were mentored by Jean.

"Passionate, professional, fair, a role model and a champion for the Harrogate district; these are the reasons I support Jean's nomination to receive the title of Honorary Freeman of the Borough. If the council see fit to award it to her and she sees fit to accept, it stills seems small recognition for a career of service to our community and to journalism."

Should the general purposes committee recommend to approve the title, the honour will be conferred at an extraordinary meeting of the council in October, where Jean will be invited to sign the Roll of Honorary Freeman.

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Published: 2nd September 2021