Posted on Monday, May 15, 2017
We're delighted to be supporting the community of Knaresborough and the Blind Jack tricentenary celebrations to honour the town’s famous son John Metcalf who overcame disability to become one of the North’s most influential road builders.
Blind Jack lost his sight at the age of 6 from smallpox but went on to develop some of the region’s most important transport links, including his first section of road, when he was 35, built in 1752/53 between Minskip and Ferrensby a three mile route between the towns of Knaresborough and Boroughbridge.
He was born in Knaresborough on 15th August 1717 and built 180 miles of road in five counties including his native Yorkshire. He died in 1810 and was laid to rest in All Saints churchyard, Spofforth, where he lived out the last years of his life with his youngest daughter Ellen and her family.
Apart from being mainly famous for his road building skills between 1752/91 Jack Metcalf’s CV is remarkable. What did he do before 1752 before road building? He was an accomplished musician, horse dealer, military adventurer, smuggler and general wheeler and dealer.
Now the community of Knaresborough is preparing to celebrate his life and the impact he has had on the town with a series of special events, timed to coincide with FEVA in August.
A Concert will take place on Saturday 12th August 2017 at St John the Baptist Church, Knaresborough. The Director of Music Mark Hunter is preparing a musical extravaganza to celebrate the life and times of our local hero John Metcalf, ‘Blind Jack’.
The Vision Support Centre, East Parade, Harrogate are planning a ‘Blind jack Tea Party’ at the Cedar Court Hotel on Wednesday 28th June.
A stretch of the bypass between Harrogate and Knaresborough will be named after John Metcalf in tribute and a raffle is also being organised to raise funds for three local and relevant charities - Vision Support Centre Harrogate District, RNIB Tate House and Henshaws.
As well as providing PR and marketing support to the Blind Jack committee - which has resulted in features in the local press including the Harrogate Advertiser and Knaresborough Post - FSS has also sponsored the raffle tickets.
Prizes include spa experiences at Rudding Park's new rooftop spa, a night's accommodation at The Dower House in Knaresborough and a year's supply of tea or coffeee from Taylor's of Harrogate.
Watch out for the raffle tickets being sold around the district with the FSS logo or pop into our office on Raglan Street to buy some.