Two heads better than one for 2017 Swaledale Festival team

Boosting the creative team at the Reeth headquarters of the ever-popular Swaledale Festival are Emily Rowe Rawlence and Heather Hodgson, job-sharing the new post of Marketing Coordinator.

With a wealth of across-the-board experience in education, writing, community activities and business, the new recruits have one of the few salaried jobs at the Festival, which relies for much of its success on dedicated volunteers.

For Emily, 37, a mother-of-two who runs the Nash community space in Hawes, and 44-year-old Heather, English and history teacher and mother-of-three, from Askrigg, the job-share was the perfect opportunity to put their joint creative talents to full use.

"It's a tribute, really, to the forward thinking of the Festival Directors, in offering modern and flexible working patterns to people like Emily and myself.  We're both active in our own communities, we share a love of the Dales and its culture, yet we will both bring something different to the role.  It's an exciting time to be part of the Swaledale Festival which brings people to the Dales from all over the world," said Heather.  

The Festival, which takes classical and choral music, jazz and folk, poetry, film, dance and guided walks all over the Northern Dales in a two-week cultural extravaganza, started in 1972 and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

Emily and Heather will work throughout the year on outreach to schools, and encouraging families and a generally younger demographic to appreciate what's on offer.

"It's also about promoting the Dales as a wonderful area to live and work. With our young families we have a lot invested in this area and want others to share it and love it as much as we do," said Emily, who lives in Hawes with her husband Andrew Fagg, a journalist and Methodist lay preacher.

Heather is married to third-generation Dales farmer James Hodgson of Askrigg where they run a basic campsite on their sheep farm. She is a keen runner and cyclist and she's looking forward to an interesting commute.

"I'll be cycling over the tops to work whenever I can, and Reeth is the perfect place for a lunchtime bike ride or run," she says. She is a keen supporter of the Wensleydale Sports and Leisure Centre in Askrigg.

Says Malcolm Creese, Artistic Director: "The Festival has grown significantly over the last few years and the professional team of just two permanent members needed bolstering. We are fortunate to have found two highly-skilled and enthusiastic local people to share the role."

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