California awaits the arrival of ‘Mr Ripon’s’ smash-hit memoirs

By Tim Flanagan, The Stray Ferret


From Ripon UK, to Ripon, California USA, John Richmond’s memoirs have proved a transatlantic hit.

Photograph Courtesy of the Stray Ferret North Yorkshire, England

In less than a month, every copy of the first-time author’s book Beyond the Farm Gate has been sold and more than £5,000 has been raised for Breast Cancer UK.

The final 20 copies, from a print run of 400, are being shipped to America later this week and a re-print is under consideration.

The 86-year-old former mayor, who earned the nickname ‘Mr Ripon’ for his wide-ranging community work, told the Stray Ferret:

“The book is dedicated to my late and beloved wife Barbara who died of cancer in 2013 and I have been overwhelmed by the response to it. “It appears to have struck a chord both here and in the United States.”

Three Ripons united in the States


The California connection, which features prominently in John’s memoirs, was established 46 years ago, when he was invited to represent the world’s foremost Ripon at the USA’s Bicentennial celebrations.

Flying out at short notice and his own expense, in February 1976, he travelled to San Francisco, where he met the mayors of newer namesakes from California and Wisconsin.

The trip gave him the platform to speak about his home city’s ancient cathedral and history and traditions established over more than 1,300 years, including the world-famous hornblower ceremony, with its Royal roots going back to 886 AD and Alfred The Great.

Brenda Lange has been liaising with Paul Richmond to arrange the Transatlantic transaction. Picture: Jeremiah North Ripon CA Fire and Rescue


A huge hit in Ripon, California


A person who has taken a keen interest over many years in Ripon, North Yorkshire is Brenda Lange, who works for the fire and rescue service in Ripon, California.

Brenda visited with her parents when she was a teenager and they received a first-hand introduction from the Richmond family to the city’s ancient charms.

Following an article published in January 2021 about John’s receipt of the British Empire Medal, for services to the community, she contacted the Stray Ferret in a bid to track him down and send congratulations.

Since the contact was renewed, Brenda, colleagues and other citizens in Ripon, California, have become regular readers of the online news from Ripon UK.

She said:


“We were absolutely thrilled to read about the New Year’s Honour bestowed on John and when we also discovered that he was publishing his memoirs, we placed our advance orders and keenly await receipt of the shipment.”

Brenda, who has been liaising with John’s son Paul about the delivery arrangements, added:


“After reading the review of John’s book on the Stray Ferret, I just knew that I had to buy it and I know there are many others here in Ripon, California, who are also very excited to have the chance to purchase it! “We’re all looking forward to the arrival of the book shipment and can’t wait to read it. I’m sure it will be a huge hit here, too! “I can almost guarantee that the demand for his book here in Ripon, CA, will far outstrip the first 20 copies!.

In addition to the anticipated extra demand for the book in California, John is mindful of the fact that a number of people living in Ripon and neighbouring villages want to get their hands on a copy.

He pointed out:


“Because a re-print is an expensive exercise, I could only commit to going ahead with it if I receive advance orders from here and America and I would ask anybody out there who still wants a copy to call 01765 607096.”
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