New Mayor for Harrogate

Coun Michael Newby with Heather Moore and Clive Kirkham. (1303053AM)

Coun Michael Newby with Heather Moore and Clive Kirkham. (1303053AM)

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Long-serving Harrogate Councillor Michael Newby will become Mayor of the Borough from May.

Liberal Democrat and Saltergate ward Coun Newby was chosen to replace current Mayor Robert Windass in the 12-month role.

He will carry out his duties with partner and consort Clive Kirkham.

Coun Newby revealed what he wants to achieve during his tenure.

He said: “I am keen to get to schools to raise awarness of the role of a mayor and local democracy.

“Also, it is the 40th anniversary of the International Youth festival this year, and I would like to do what I can to make sure we can keep it going.”

Among the perks of the job are the keys to a Skoda Superb, complete with chauffeur.

Coun Newby said: “I will have a secretary, too, but what I’m really looking forward to is meeting lots of interesting people.

“Clive is looking forward to it, too.

“He works full-time, but we have similar interests in the performing arts, and hope to be able to promote any groups that need help.”

He continued: “It is a sign of the times that becoming the town’s first openly gay Mayor hasn’t been an issue.

“We are definitely going to enjoy the coming year.”

First elected to Harrogate Borough Council for the Pannal ward in 1984, Coun Newby has seen 23 Mayors come and go in the chamber.

He said: “You can never expect to become Mayor, it was in the back of my mind that it could happen.

“It was just great to have the support of the group to put me forward. It has never been possible before as I have been working full-time.

“Now, I’m on a temporary contract so I can focus my efforts on being Mayor. It has happened at the right time.”

Coun Newby attended Harrogate High School, and taught history at St John Fisher.

Recently, he has worked in the Prison Service, alongside annual performances in the Pannal Players’ pantomime, starring on stage alongside Clive.

He has chosen fellow LibDem Coun Claire McKenzie, Bilton ward, to be Deputy Mayor.

Coun Newby will become Mayor on May 20.