Harrogate council votes in new mayor and deputy at virtual annual meeting

Liberal Democrat councillor Trevor Chapman has tonight been virtually voted in as the new Harrogate district mayor.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 7:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 7:32 pm
New Harrogate mayor councillor Trevor Chapman and his deputy councillor Christine Willoughby were voted in at a virtual annual meeting.

He is taking over from Conservative councillor Stuart Martin MBE who has held the role since 2019 and served an extended term due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking at a virtual annual meeting tonight, councillor Chapman said: "Let's hope we can return to some form of normality following events over the last year so that I can fulfil the role fully.

"I would like to express my sincere thanks to the outgoing mayor Stuart for not only carrying out his year of office but also standing in as caretaker during this unprecedented year.

"Stuart, you and April have carried out your duties in an exemplary manner for which I thank you very much."

Councillor Chapman, who represents the Bilton Grange ward, was chosen to take on the role in March last year before the handover was cancelled because of the pandemic.

It has meant councillor Martin has stayed in the post for an extra 12 months during the same year that his wife, mayoress April Martin, became critically ill with Covid-19.

Speaking after tonight's meeting, councillor Martin said in a statement: "As my time as Harrogate district mayor comes to an end this evening, I’d like to say thank you to everyone for their help and support over the past two years.

"Both April and I have thoroughly enjoyed being mayor and mayoress, and we have met some truly incredible organisations and charities during that time.

"I am delighted to be able to pass on the chain of office to councillor Trevor Chapman, who I know will make an excellent mayor. It has been a great pleasure and I will leave with many happy memories of my two years in office."

The role of the mayor is to chair full council meetings and represent the borough at ceremonies and events.

They also raise money for charities and are required to put their political affiliations aside to be impartial.

Councillor Chapman has selected Supporting Older People, Citizens Advice and Friends of Harrogate Hospital as his chosen charities.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat councillor Christine Willoughby, who represents the Knaresborough Eastfield and served as mayor for the town, was also elected as deputy mayor for the Harrogate district at tonight's meeting.

She is taking over from Conservative councillor Zoe Metcalfe who represents the Claro ward.

Conservative council leader Richard Cooper also announced at tonight's meeting that no changes have been made to the cabinet, while a raft of committee chairs, vice-chairs and members were also voted in.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter