The renowned Swaledale Festival has appointed two leading people in the arts world as its first patrons.

Writer, lecturer and arts advocate Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason and antiques expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan have accepted the role, expressing their support and enthusiasm for the annual celebration of world-class music, arts and walking that takes place in the northern Yorkshire Dales.

Kadiatu and Ronnie are the festival’s two most recent "Reeth Lecturers" bringing a wealth of skills and insight to the Festival team.

Ronnie Archer-Morgan, the popular and hugely respected expert from the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, spoke about his remarkable life and 30years of experience in the antiques trade at the 2023 festival, where he moved and delighted the audience.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Antiquest expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan has become Patron of the Swaledale Festival

He said: "Swaledale Festival is a creative phenomenon. I was blessed with an invitation to talk there and the reception I encountered was out of this world. Everyone was super helpful and conscientious. In the stunning setting of the Yorkshire Dales I was warmly greeted by a delightful and receptive audience for my Reeth Lecture. I am honoured to have been asked to become a patron of this innovative and exciting festival which is so full of vitality."

Kadiatu came to the 2022 festival to tell her extraordinary story about raising seven ultra-talented classical musicians, many of whom performed at Swaledale Festival over the years, including Isata, Braimah and Sheku in 2017 and 2019, and Jeneba in 2022.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Writer Kadiatu Kanneh-Morgan has agrred to be a patron of the Swaledale Festival

Her memoir 'House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons' won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Storytelling Award in November 2021. Kadiatu is a strong advocate for the benefits of regional music-making and accessibility. She writes and gives interviews around the UK on diversity in classical music, music education, issues of race and inclusion, literature and parenting.

She said: "I am delighted to become a patron of Swaledale Festival. This festival is close to my heart as several of my children have performed here over the years, since 2017 I have been lucky enough to watch many of their concerts here as well as to give the Reeth Lecture myself in 2022. Swaledale is a vibrant, imaginative and inclusive festival, rooted in the community and committed to the importance of music, creativity and the performing arts."

Festival artistic director Malcolm Creese said: "We were all absolutely thrilled when they said yes. Gaining the support of two inspirational ambassadors like Kadiatu and Ronnie is a great endorsement of our work. I hope their broad experience will help the festival to flourish and potentially grow in new directions. It’s very exciting for the future."

Established in 1972, the award-winning festival is a registered charity. It returns in 2024 from Saturday, May 25 to Saturday, June 8, with a broad selection of the finest musicians and artists from Yorkshire, Britain and around the world. Organisers are promising a large number of hands-on events such as workshops, walks and craft demonstrations, with a focus on participation, landscape and climate change. The full programme will be shared in the new year at