Bill Gray


On the 17th March 2000 Marie Fox wrote an article in the Wetherby News telling how the Shelter in the Garden of Rest had reopened – thanks to a petition started by Bill Gray. Thanks to Bill we have the Weir, Christmas Lights, Wetherby Bandstand, Old Men’s Parliament and much more. Back in the 1960’s, Colin Wardman and Bill, with a band of volunteers, started putting up Christmas trees over shops and businesses. In those days they used to use fragile glass bulbs. Things have moved on and just before Bill’s death over 200 Christmas Trees lit by LED lights were prepared and erected by a team of volunteers. In 1982 the weir at Wetherby broke. Bill was one of those who formed the Wetherby Weir Preservation Trust. His extensive knowledge of the building trade was a crucial factor in enabling the army of volunteers to repair the weir. Not content with just saving the weir Bill and his band set about creating the riverside seating and picnic areas. Thanks to their efforts Wetherby residents and visitors to the town can sit and enjoy the views and perhaps have their lunch. Generations of children have enjoyed feeding the ducks. Bill and his family, together with the other Wetherby Weir Preservation Trust members, continue to keep an eye on the weir to this day. In the late 1990’s Bill and his friends decided that Wetherby needed something to mark the new Millennium and created the bandstand in the Wilderness Car Park. During the summer months countless thousands of people have enjoyed the band concerts by the riverside. Bill was probably the only one to be awarded the Wetherby “Townsperson of the Year” accolade twice. He was Townsperson of the Year in his own right in the early years of the award and then in 2009 he shared in the award to the Old Men’s Parliament. He had probably the best collection of Wetherby postcards and was rightly proud of them. He was able to put on several exhibitions of his collection in the Georgian Bath House, which inevitably he had helped to restore.

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