Former Harrogate mayor named as new North Yorkshire County Council chairman
North Yorkshire County Council has named former Harrogate mayor councillor Stuart Martin MBE as its new chairman.
Councillor Martin, a Conservative who represents Ripon South, stepped down as mayor last week and was today (5 May) appointed as chairman at an annual general meeting of the county council.
He will replace Harrogate Harlow councillor Jim Clark who has served an extended two-year term during the pandemic.
Speaking at today's meeting, councillor Martin said it was a "great honour" to be asked to fill the role.
He said: "I want to thank our outgoing chairman councillor Jim Clark for all of his hard work and dedication to duty over the last two years. You will certainly be a hard act to follow.
"My wife April and I are looking forward to this new challenge and will do everything we can to promote North Yorkshire County Council "
The role of the chairman is to lead full council meetings and represent the county at ceremonies and events. They also raise money for charities and are required to put their political affiliations aside.
Councillor Martin, who also represents Ripon on both Harrogate Borough Council and Ripon City Council, said he hopes to find an opportunity to mark VE Day and VJ Day during his term after last year's commemorations were curtailed by the coronavirus outbreak.
He also announced he would launch a chairman's fund to raise money for small charities.
Councillor Martin is a father-of-two and has six grandchildren. In 2010, he received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours for charity work in Ripon and Madagascar.
At today's meeting, the departing Councillor Clark thanked others for support during his term which he said "gave me an opportunity to meet so many people who live in this great county".
He said: "There is a tremendous sense of community in our county and a sense of volunteering, and it has been seen at its best during the pandemic.
"Nobody expected the pandemic and nobody expected it to last as long as it has. It has taken an enormous toll on the people and businesses of North Yorkshire.
"But we have a great number of volunteers. We also have a large number of committed and dedicated staff, and the last two years has shown me how lucky we are to live in this great county."
Councillor Margaret Atkinson, who represents the Masham and Fountains division, was named as deputy chair at today's meeting.
Council leader Carl Les also received a unanimous backing from members to remain in the role.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter