John leaves heritage legacy for Civic Society

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ONE of the founding members of Whitby Civic Society has stepped down from the committee but has been made honourable vice-president.

Dr John Shorter has been involved with the Civic Society for many years and held various positions on the committee including a three and a half year stint as chairman following the death of Peter Thornton.

Much of his recent work with the Civic Society has been organising the Heritage Open Days where a number of venues of historical interest around Whitby are opened to the public.

He said: “I have in fact been a member of the committee for 13 years and there have of course been ups and downs but on the whole it has been a very enjoyable time and I am very grateful indeed to those with whom I have worked in numerous ways.

“It would be very inappropriate if I did not mention the growing number of people who have worked with me on the Heritage Open Days (HODs) - Dick Barron and Maureen. There have been others and now most recently the help has come from Betty Bayliss.”

Betty has taken over the running of HODs and will be writing to the usual venues over the next couple of weeks because they have to be registered with the English Heritage office in London by 6 May.

She said: “John was one of the instigators and started about six or seven years ago and at that time we only had about three or four venues and he has built up a good number - we have 16 at the moment.

“Considering in the whole country there are 4000 venues, for Whitby to have 16 is a lot more than places like Scarborough and York, we are punching well above our weight.”

Barry Atkinson, the outgoing chairman of the Civic Society added: “I have worked very closely with John for six years and particularly during the last four years.

“We worked together very well and I appreciated his help, he has acted as a mentor to me at times at an age when most of us would be happy to put our feet up.

“The Heritage Open Days are a wonderful legacy for him to leave. We will be making John a vice-president as an acknowledgement of his dedicated service to our society.”

The Heritage Open days take place in September.