The ‘French in York’ Festival, organised in October 2011, with the support of the City of York Council and businesses across the city, has won a third major award for the Allied Air Forces Memorial &Yorkshire Air Museum. This follows on from Ian Reed, Museum Director, being voted as York Tourism Ambassador 2012 for the international profile the event generated, followed later by being judged Best Tourism Event in the prestigious regional Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards 2012. This triumph qualified the event to compete on the national stage and came away with the Highly Commended Award at the VisitEngland Awards Ceremony, held by Visit England at The Point, Lancashire County Cricket Ground, Trafford, Manchester.
The Festival of 10 special events in 5 days culminated in the inauguration of the first French Memorial in an English cathedral at York Minster. The Memorial to the two unique French Squadrons which operated out of RAF Elvington, was attended by thousands of people including diplomatic and military chiefs, French and British service personnel and senior politicians, as well as veterans their families and the general public. The Inauguration at York Minster culminated in a flypast of 17 French and British military aircraft including the latest Rafale and Typhoon fighters and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster bomber.
Commenting on the Award James Berresford (see image and logo) VisitEngland’s Chief Executive said: “It is a great achievement to win a Highly Commended Award in a field of very high quality applications. The Award places Yorkshire Air Museum in the top five businesses for excellence in their category in England. I hope this success will encourage them to go for Gold in 2014. I warmly congratulate them”.
Museum Director, Ian Reed, said: “The responses to this event from the general public and businesses both in France and UK has been tremendous. Diplomatic and political chiefs also confirmed the international importance of this event in building Anglo French collaboration, and has already opened up the way for future developments at many levels.”
Some high profile messages of support the Museum has received follow:
Sir Gerald Howarth MP, who was Minister for International Security Strategy at the Ministry of Defence at the time of the event, says: “As a registered charity, the Yorkshire Air Museum has shown a remarkable insight and international organisational ability to further the aims of Anglo / French relations – a true example of our government’s idea of the “Big Society.”
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, said: “ The importance of the Museum’s work in advancing the Anglo-French aviation relationship cannot be understated”
His Excellency M. Bernard Emié French Ambassador to the United Kingdom said: “As I said in York, you can rely on my full support in your initiatives, which actively contribute in making live the friendship between England and France.”
“Comme je vous l’ai dit à York, vous pouvez compter sur mon plein soutien dans vos initiatives qui contribuent activement à faire vivre l’amitié franco-britannique.”