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MP in townOn the eve of the grand opening, our MP Anne McIntosh was in Thirsk for a couple of events. The first was a visit to the Lambert Hospital, where everyone is wondering whether it will be updated into the new plan for re-development of the Cherry Garth site and the land adjoining it. Why was she there? Recently bookmakers William Hill, whose Thirsk shop was once the scene of a successful £1 million accumulator, gave Anne £50 to bet with and promised that the winnings would go to the charity of her choice. Anne added a little of her own money…and lost the lot. Undaunted, Hills presented a cheque for £100, and Anne nominated the Friends of the Lambert to get the money. She came to hand over the cheque and talk to some of the staff and patients. Later in the day, and only a few yards along the road, she visited the Ritz as part of their centenary celebrations. The Ritz is rated as the 7th oldest cinema in the country. With 194 seats, it has about 20,000 people a year through its doors. This year it went digital in the projection room, and the days of winding film onto giant reels came to an end. It has also had an upgrade of the sound system and the central heating. The volunteers who run the cinema “reeled off” a list of the blockbuster movies that they have shown, the ones where the queue winds way back along Chapel Street and sometimes they even put on an extra showing. A busy and successful cinema is also a boost to other local businesses in the town, the “evening economy” of bars and restaurants. Anne learnt that what people like about the Ritz are the low price of the tickets and sweets (compared to the multiplexes) and “the atmosphere” of a building with a history. “This feels more like a cinema” said Anne, sitting in the blue balcony seats. 


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