We are lucky to have some very interesting people come to speak to us, and recently one of our visiting speakers was Ralph Hoult OBE, from Ramsgate.
Widely known as ‘Mr Ramsgate’, Ralph is an Honorary Freeman of Ramsgate Town and is a local historian and personality. Ralph was the first person in 58 years to be awarded the honour of being a Freeman of the town. He received the award in 2016 for his service to Ramsgate and to the local community. It is not his only honour – recently he was also awarded an OBE by HM the Queen in recognition of his service to Ramsgate.
Ralph joined the Cubs/Scouts in his formative years and credits this with instilling in him the values of service and giving back to the community. His career has involved retail (photographics) and he also was in the RAF. After leaving the Scouts Ralph set up a company that gave people of all ages theatrical experience while raising funds for a number of causes. Ralph has been involved in many other events, for instance to mark the 175th Anniversary of the Royal Harbour. Ralph went on to join the Town Council and later became Deputy Mayor of Ramsgate.
While talking to our Members he outlined the circumstances in which King George IV appointed Ramsgate as a Royal Harbour in 1821, the only one in the whole of Britain. In fact, during Victorian times the town was often referred to as Royal Ramsgate. Ralph plans to make the bi-centenary of the event in September 2021 a major celebration, giving Ramsgate an economic boost and a renewed recognition of its historical importance.
A bronze statue of the King, already in production (by artist Dominic Grant), will be situated in the Harbour and is expected to be unveiled by Royalty. Three days will be devoted to a party on the sands, a children’s party, a big town parade, receptions, music, exhibitions and a grand variety show.