On 24th August the new Tourist Information building in Thirsk was officially opened by Dr. Rosie Page and Mr. Jim Wight, daughter and son of Alf Wight, aka James Herriot.
A number of national and local celebrities, including MP Anne McIntosh, Gary Verity from Welcome to Yorkshire, Peter Simpson the Chief Executive, Cllr. Neville Huxtable the Leader of Hambleton District Council, Gareth Dadd from NYCC and Town Mayor Cllr. Cynthia Hesmondhalgh. They joined Volunteers and their many Supporters in celebrating the opening of the not for profit, volunteer run, Information Service.
At the end of March 2011 the responsibility for a Tourist Information Office in Thirsk passed from Hambleton District Council to group of 28 volunteers and is now run as a not for profit limited company. This controversial transfer gained significant press coverage.
Since 11th April, and despite continuing difficulties – not least the lack of a telephone landline or broadband until very recently, the volunteers have been running a busy Information Centre for tourists and local people in the converted former toilet block on Thirsk Market Place. Over 1300 visitors per week are currently making use of this service, talking to volunteers and perusing a wide range of leaflets about attractions and accommodation in the Thirsk, North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales areas.
The new organisation set up a website www.VisitThirsk.org.uk, which averages 350 unique visitors every week and gives comprehensive information about Thirsk to a wider audience. At the time of writing 42 accommodation providers subscribe to their services and they are now able to offer similar services to restaurants, shops and others to promote local business.