Tributes paid after death of ‘sincere and devoted’ Harrogate councillor Geoff Webber
Tributes have been paid to a former mayor and leader of Harrogate Borough Council who has died today.
Councillor Geoff Webber, who was also leader of the Liberal Democrats group on North Yorkshire County Council, died this morning.
He represented the Harrogate Bilton and Nidd Gorge ward and has been described as a "champion for his community".
He was first elected onto North Yorkshire County Council in 1993 and served on Harrogate Borough Council until 2011.
Paying tribute to councillor Webber, fellow Liberal Democrat councillor Philip Broadbank said: “Geoff was a sincere, devoted family man and he will be missed by many. He was a strong campaigner and supporter of the Harrogate Homeless Project over the years and also fought for more affordable housing in the Harrogate district as well as throughout North Yorkshire.
“As a councillor and county councillor at different times over the last 28 years he was often prepared to take a controversial position on issues the councils were faced with at the time.
"He was always working to be constructive when faced with challenging issues and was a strong believer in the important role local government had in people’s daily lives."
County council leader Carl Les added: “I am very saddened to hear of Geoff’s death and my thoughts are with his wife and family at this time.
“Geoff and I served on the county council for a similar length of time and I enjoyed many discussions and debates with him, and when he spoke I listened.
"He was a very principled man and was passionate about the community that elected him. He is a very sad loss to his community and the county council.”
Councillor Webber sat on the county council’s audit committee, Harrogate and Knaresborough area constituency committee and the corporate and partnerships overview and scrutiny committee.
He was also a member of a number of internal working groups and consultative bodies.
County council chairman Jim Clark said: “I have worked closely with Geoff over the years, both at the county council and Harrogate Borough Council, and I know how much he cared, particularly about the issues of homelessness, education and health services.
“At the county council we worked on education and, latterly, the issues facing the NHS. While our opinions may have differed, he was an excellent champion of people who were in need of help. He will be greatly missed.”
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter