Picture of the Obelisk and Civic Society Crest Banner: a montage of Ripon architecture
Ripon Civic Society

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10th November 2008
David Winpenny has been elected the new Chairman of Ripon Civic Society in succession to Mrs Dorothy Taylor, who stepped down at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on 6 November after 13 years in the post.

An old boy of Ripon Grammar School, David has been Co-Chairman of the Society for the last year. When he was in the Lower Sixth Form he attended the inaugural meeting of Ripon Civic Society in the Hugh Ripley Hall in 1968, and, forty years later, he is now its Chairman.

He studied English at Birmingham University and taught for several years before joining the Countryside Commission as Co-ordinator of its National Parks Campaign. He then worked for the Central Office of Information in Leeds and for a public relations company in York before setting up his own PR company more than 20 years ago. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. He and his wife Sheila, who is now Secretary of the Civic Society, moved to Ripon in 1998.

David is a writer as well as a PR consultant. In addition to his weekly Civic Society column for the Ripon Gazette, he writes for the Automobile Association – he is currently revising his ’50 Walks in North Yorkshire’ – and for BBC Countryfile Magazine. He is also compiling a guide to Yorkshire, to be published next year. He has been interested in architectural history since his days as a boarder at the Grammar School, when he often visited Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey.

The pyramid to Charles Piazzi Smyth in Sharow churchyard was the starting point for another book, on pyramids in Britain and Ireland, which should also be published in 2009. A life member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and of the National Trust, David is also a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.

‘It’s a great honour to be elected as Civic Society Chairman,’ he says, ’especially in succession to Dorothy, whose 13 years are a hard act to follow. I look forward to increasing the Society’s profile in the city, to our being vigilant in safeguarding the buildings and open spaces and energetic in promoting good new design. Ripon is a wonderful place, and we aspire to leaving it even better than we found it!’

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