G H Smith

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The Thirsk Weekly News is a family-owned paper for Thirsk and the surrounding area

Mr Ritz Cinema ...

13th April, 2024.

As I have previously said, waiting to celebrate a well spent life, with manifest public service, should not wait until a eulogy at their funeral!

In this case, I pay tribute to John Potter (right in picture), who will be retiring from the role of chair of the volunteer board that runs the Ritz Cinema, here in Thirsk, at their Annual General Meeting in May.

He will have chaired his last board meeting yesterday, before taking a well earned holiday. I suspect that the name Thirsk runs through John, in much the same way as it would run through a stick of rock.

His stewardship of the cinema runs from the days when the last commercial operator retired, and the Ritz was saved from closure by local activists, with support from the Hambleton District Council.

He has seen it through years of development and change, including the switch from 35mm film to the digital era; the dislocation of COVID restrictions and closures, the current shortage of films in the aftermath of Hollywood strikes, and the escalating tendency of producers to release films to the big screen for just long enough to qualify them for an Oscar or Bafta, before they vanish into the small screen dungeon of streaming.

John worked with his father and later took over the Bridge Garage, now replaced by flats, just over the Cod Beck, just off the town centre.

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