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Wednesday, 1 August, 2001, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Yorkshire pride has its day
dales
Yorkshire bank holiday could boost tourism in the Dales
White roses were pinned with pride to lapels as people from Halifax to Hull celebrated Yorkshire Day.

Council leaders from across the county gathered in Wakefield Town Hall to mark the event and a giant Yorkshire fruit cake was baked and handed to shoppers.

However campaigners in Yorkshire were also hailing the day as a way of encouraging residents to call for their own regional government.

And they are also crusading for a special Yorkshire Day bank holiday to be granted for 1 August.

Jane Thomas, director of the Campaign for Yorkshire, said: "Yorkshire Day is great for us because it is about identity and getting people to think about where they come from.

"It is interesting that when Yorkshire Day started it was almost just for 'anoraks' but now it is really being absorbed into the regional culture."
What's great about Yorkshire
Population of five million
Leeds is the fastest-growing city in the UK for financial services
Leeds will boast the tallest office block in the UK outside London when a new 400-ft high development is built in the city centre
York is the biggest centre for biotechnology and medical research in the UK
The 60m tonnes shipped through the Humber ports every year is more than all the other British ports put together

The campaign is calling for a directly-elected regional assembly for Yorkshire that can use its own powers.

It could then look at issues such as marking Yorkshire Day with a public holiday.

Ms Thomas added: "The idea of Yorkshire Day being a holiday was really generated to get people thinking about a devolved regional government for Yorkshire."

However the idea of a public holiday is being backed by tourism leaders who hope it could bring business to areas like the Dales.

A spokesman for Yorkshire Day, which was first held in 1975, said 1 August was chosen because it marked the anniversary of the abolition of slavery - a law championed by Hull-born campaigner William Wilberforce.

The main focus of the celebrations were in Wakefield where a procession of about 200 civic leaders from across the county took place through the town centre.

'Most successful day'

They made their way from the Town Hall to the cathedral for a special service before returning for a VIP lunch.

Wakefield's mayor Don Hitchen said: "This is a prestigious event and it is a great honour for Wakefield to be the centre of the Yorkshire Day celebrations."

A spokesman for Yorkshire Day said: "We think this is the most successful day we have held in terms of the number of events that have been arranged by members of the public.

"Yorkshire has always had a strong identity but that appears to be getting even stronger."


Dickie Bird: supports Yorkshire Day
Dickie Bird, former test match umpire and celebrated Yorkshireman, sported a white rose he had snipped from a tree in his own garden.

He said: "I have always worn a white rose on Yorkshire Day.

"Yorkshire people are wonderful. They are down-to-earth and honest.

"I am in favour of Yorkshire Day but I'm not sure about it becoming a bank holiday - that's probably going a bit too far."

Among other events to mark the day in the county were a jazz band playing for shoppers in Doncaster, a market in York and the brewing of a special "Yorkshire Pride" beer in Wakefield.

New signs were also placed on the border with Lancashire between Sawley and Chatburn to emphasise the difference between the two counties.

See also:

08 Jun 01 | Business
Clinton at Yorkshire convention
19 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Yorkshire: Land of the 'begging bowl'
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