- 11 December 2007
- Source: Whitby Gazette
WHITBY Gothic Weekend organisers have called in police after what they believe is a smear campaign which aims to drive the event away from town.Jo Hampshire, who with her husband Sam Hoyle, run the twice yearly event from their home in Sneaton, alerted the Whitby Gazette to a mysterious email sent to four of Whitby's borough councillors as well as high-ranking council officials.
Couns Jane Kenyon, Joe Plant, Peter Booth and Mike Ward, as well as chief executive Jim Dillon and tourism and leisure services chief Steve Hollingworth, all received the e-mail.
Claiming to be from an Ian G Patterson of Fylingthorpe, the message centres around a conversation the writer claims to have overheard in the Duke of York pub in Church Street, Whitby, where it is alleged Mrs Hampshire and three friends were discussing the future of the gothic weekend.
In that conversation it is claimed they slated Scarborough Council in a row over money that the council says it is owed by the gothic weekend organisers and suggested Mrs Hampshire would refuse to pay up.
The e-mail further alleges the manager of Whitby Pavilion, Jill Gomez-Manion, and sales and marketing assistant manager Jaclyn Goddard, also came in for criticism during the conversation.
And it claims the writer's wife spoke to a barmaid at the pub, who apologised for the rowdiness and told her the woman was Mrs Hampshire.
Couns Kenyon and Ward got in touch with Ian Patterson of Fylingthorpe – the only Patterson listed in the phone book – to thank him for his comments and observations. But Mr Patterson, chairman of governors at Eskdale School, was quick to point out the email was not from him.
And when contacted by the Whitby Gazette in relation to the mysterious email, Mr Patterson, who runs a management consultancy firm in Fylingthorpe, confirmed it was nothing to do with him. He is unaware of the existence of the Ian G Patterson the email is purported to be from – as are the various Whitby Gazette contacts who were quizzed in and around the village.
The Gazette has also sent an email to the Yahoo address the original email came from and is awaiting a reply. Scarborough Council has also tried to contact Ian G Patterson but without success.
Landlord of the Duke of York, Lawrie Bradley, as well as all his staff, deny the alleged conversation involving Mrs Hampshire ever happened in their pub. Mr Hoyle told the Whitby Gazette he is angry at the accusations in the email – and has forwarded the matter to police in a bid to get to the bottom of the mystery.
He said: "They should be able to work with Yahoo to find out where this email has come from and I would like to think it will come to light very soon.
"I have spoken to Mr Patterson in Fylingthorpe, who is a friend of my family, and he is disgusted that someone is using his name in this manner and is willing to help police in any inquiries.
"We were not in town at the time of this conversation in the Duke of York so do not understand the 'facts' of this e-mail either. We have a hard enough job to organise the event without this sort of thing happening – it is as if someone is out to get us.
"We want the event to stay in Whitby – if we didn't want it to we could have gone to Scarborough by now where we could save thousands of pounds."
Mr Hoyle did admit he is in dispute with Scarborough Council over some money they say is still outstanding which is supposed to be being paid back through the council keeping back tickets for the event to sell itself. But he added he meets regularly with council officials to iron out this and any other problems and that all parties are working together to find a solution.
Steve Hollingworth, Scarborough Council's chief of tourism and leisure, who said he was aware of the e-mail which was being investigated, told the Gazette: "We want to maintain the gothic weekend in Whitby for the long term and want to work with the organisers to sort out any problems to ensure the success of the festival around the town."