River Foss Society 50th Anniversary Celebrations.


For the finale of our 50th Anniversary celebrations, we re-enacted the inaugural Foss walk from 12th July 1975 – OK not quite 50 years, but who’s counting?

Around 30 of us, including the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff of York, founder Bill Session’s sons, Mark and Michael, local councillors and members of the Society retraced the walk from Yearsley baths upstream to the Folk Hall where tea and cake awaited. The walk was bookended by showers but benefitted from pleasant sunshine. It was a leisurely affair, with plenty of time to chat and admire what is probably the prettiest section of the river inside the ring road complete with our native Yellow water lily just coming into flower. The path had been opened up by St Nicks’ volunteers scything, and York St John’s ground staff mowing the edges. Thank you both!

Society Chairman Michael Alexander welcomed everyone – including four walkers who had taken part in the original event 48 years ago – before we set off upstream, passing on our way the Tansy planted over the last couple of years in the hope of establishing another colony of the beautiful but endangered Tansy beetle, often called the Jewel of York.

Once assembled in the Folk Hall, having tea and excellent cake in hand, the Lord Mayor congratulated the RFS on its achievements during our first 50 years, and looked forward to another 50 successful years. RFS President Professor Alastair Fitter also addressed us, putting the Society’s efforts in context with the multiple problems besetting all our nation’s rivers, and our irresponsible squandering of our natural heritage. There is plenty for the Society to tackle in the years to come and we welcome new members and willing volunteers to join us in all the work we’re doing now and will continue to do to improve our River Foss.

As well as a commemoration, this was a very sociable event, enjoyed by all who came along.