Appleby was recognised as an honorary quidditch town this week, in celebration of the town’s team, the Appleby Arrows.

Mayor of Appleby, councillor Gareth Hayes was presented with a decorative banner by Bloomsbury Publishing, which features gold quidditch hoops to celebrate the fictitious team.

The Appleby Arrows are famous in the wizarding world’s quidditch league.

The banner also bears the town’s quidditch team crest, a striking design featuring gold and teal patchwork.

The presentation of the banner coincides with a new book, ‘Quidditch Through The Ages’ illustrated edition, an essential companion to the Harry Potter series and guide on the wizard’s favourite sport, written by JK Rowling, illustrated by Emily Gravett, and released on October 6.

Cllr Hayes said it was a surprise and they couldn’t quite believe the honour was for them. He said: “It came completely out of the blue. Myself and the town clerk were told a few days earlier but embargoed to secrecy until the big reveal this week. It gave us time to check if it was really for us - as some websites had suggested it was Appleby in Lincolnshire that hosted the ‘Arrows.’ And the good news is that it’s us. It really is.

“The theory is that JK Rowling enjoyed our unique history and architectural splendour. “Whatever the background, it is very special and more than a bit surreal.”

He added: “It is a tremendous honour and ignites a new dawn in reimagining the town after dark days, with multiple floods and the Covid-19 world. We now have a huge incentive to get on with developing multimedia approaches to our town trails that recognise our wonderful history. 

"The banner will be on show so that Harry Potter fans wishing to take photos, as they tour all the quidditch towns, can tick us off but stay to enjoy more of the town and give us a much needed tourism boost. Inevitably this will be next year and beyond, but that gives us time to prepare optimistically for 2021. The town is buzzing.”

The presentation took place with two young Harry Potter fans from Appleby Primary School, at Low Cross. Nine-year-old Jane, from the school said: “I’m obsessed with Harry Potter and dream of playing quidditch, so I’m really happy to find out that I now live in an honorary quidditch town.

“I loved visiting the sign and it’s great that Appleby has been honoured in this way.”

Throughout the week presentations have also taken place at other places mentioned in the book. Banners were presented at eleven towns and villages across the UK and Ireland, at Ballycastle (Ballycastle Bats); Caerphilly (Caerphilly Catapults); Falmouth (Falmouth Falcons); Holyhead (Holyhead Harpies); Kenmare (Kenmare Kestrels); Montrose (Montrose Magpies); Portree (Pride of Portree); Tutshill (Tutshill Tornados); Wigtown (Wigtown Wanderers) and Wimborne (Wimborne Wasps).

Ceremonies were held at prehistoric sites, stone circles, medieval castles, Roman forts and churches, celebrating the release of ‘Quidditch Through The Ages’ and the real-life towns represented by quidditch teams in the Harry Potter series.

A spokesperson from Bloomsbury Publishing said: “We’re really proud to recognise Appleby as an honorary quidditch town alongside ten other towns and villages across the UK and Ireland. Quidditch captured the imaginations of children and adults across the world, and the new book Quidditch Through the Ages, beautifully illustrated by Emily Gravett, is a magical companion for those who want to immerse themselves in the wizarding world of Harry Potter.”

Two fictitious quidditch towns are also being honoured, Chudley Cannons and Puddlemere United, and fans can pledge their virtual allegiance to any of the thirteen Quidditch teams by visiting the official Harry Potter fan club, Wizarding World (, to view the banners in-situ and uncover more information about each Honorary Quidditch Town.