So who are we…….

As with any large groups there are always a few people to deal with different events and other processes needed to keep the group active so here are a few details you may need if you want to get in touch.

Our list is by no means comprehensive, as we have hundreds of people who aid and abet us in all we do and without them none of us would be motivated to do what we all do.


Jill Miller

Jill is our chairwoman, and secretary of Thirsk Business Association. Jill works with her son Patrick who owns Luke Miller & assoc. estate agents on Finkle street in Thirsk. Jill was born and bred in Thirsk and apart from a short time living in America as lived in Thirsk her whole life.

Jill is our money woman and helps organise us all at our events. We make Jill do all the hard work like ensuring we have all our insurances and health and safety in place, applying for licensing, etc. she decided a few years ago to try and take more of a back seat in the group, but we would be lost without her and haven’t seen much evidence of her slowing down which is great news for all of us.


Vicky Calvert

Originally from York Vicky has lived in Thirsk since the 80’s and became our queen of the Big Switch On, coordinating everything and developing the show over the years to become the spectacular event it is today- Latterly, Vicky has relinquished this role in favour of taking more of a backseat and spending more time with her boys. However she’s always there helping at events and will again be hosting a ladies who lunch event for us as well as calming Jill where ever she can!


Mark Boersma

Mark is an honorary member of the Ladies group and as well as running Fourways guest house he is currently president of Thirsk Rotary so you wouldn’t think he has much time to do anything else, however being the magician, he is he manages to find extra hours in the day to help us out and thank goodness, he does.

Mark works, is now in charge of the Big Switch On, meaning he will be co-ordinating everything from artists, presenters, sound and lighting and much more  he is our expert on dealing with the powers that be at the council when we need to cordon off parts of the market place, and dealing with the red tape involved, the process can take months of site visits written applications and much more.

Mark is also responsible for co-ordinating our stewards, signage and most importantly has a direct line to Santa, so he can make sure he’s around to help the Children switch on the lights.


Sal Billany

Sal is another Thirsk girl who runs a holiday cottage, cleaning business and has been seen around the town on the Golf buggy watering the floral displays put on by Thirsk In Bloom and now Thirsk rotary.

Sal is our Dinner Dance Queen and works with Jill on putting together our biggest fundraiser each year. As well as choosing the Venue, menu, theme, raffle, games, transport and being responsible for such a large part of our budget is no thankless task but Sal continues to ensure that the dinner dance brings in around £3000 each year- wow!

Look out for the Masquerade Ball in 2018!


Jo Wood

Jo has only lived in Thirsk for around 12 years and comes to us from Manchester via York! Jo has worked in advertising marketing and sponsorship locally for almost 30 years in newspapers, magazines and radio and now runs a publishing business as well as a toy business specialising in Lego!

Jo’s main responsibility each year is the Christmas Fayre in the town hall, although more recently she has also taken on responsibility for many other fundraising events including Murder Mystery nights, auctions, Indian nights and running a raffle at our monthly quiz, as well as trying to get us sponsors for various events.


Gemma Symmonds

Gemma is our creative genius! Having only living in Thirsk for 2 years Gemma’s company My little graphics Co goes from strength to strength – despite this she still manages to find the time to design and produce all our printed media from posters to tickets and banners to social media.

Gemma has designed our Christmas logos for the last few years and is also responsible for the business association, ladies group, and Thirsk festival logos and artwork.

It is through Gemma’s expertise that we feel we have become a lot more professional in how we are portrayed.


Sylvia Elsworth

Sylvia has only lived in Thirsk for a couple of years and joined the ladies group to meet new people and become a part of the community, you may have seen her in her volunteer roles at both the Ritz Cinema or helping out at the British heart foundation shop.

This year Sylvia has taken on the responsibility of launching our “Christmas in Thirsk Monthly Draw” which has required hours of planning and co-ordinating but will result in a regular income towards the Christmas lights. Her endless enthusiasm is an example to us all.


Faye Levi

Another newcomer to Thirsk, Faye runs her own Marketing business and is currently helping businesses and organisations around Thirsk and beyond increase their profile and potential in their chosen field.

You may have seen Faye in the local press when she launched our crowd funder last year which was a great success and one we hope she will replicate in 2018. Faye will also be working with Jill on the Thirsk Ladies group Facebook page as well as looking at other new projects and events for us in 2018

And finally…….


Guy Baragwaneth

Guy is Chairman of Thirsk Business Association and co runs his family’s accountancy firm in the heart of the Market place, and is therefore responsible for almost everything we do.

Guy does all the bookwork, costings, profits and losses and administers our group and its accounts. Guy has helped us all gain a better understanding of budgeting such a diverse group such as ours and helped us find ways of raising the £15,000+ it now costs us to put on the lights each year.

Guy is very often our spokesperson when we are asked by both national and regional media to make comments on local issues and as such helps keep Thirsk on the map!


We are of course just a few of many and if you would like to become more involved then please get in touch.