Councillor applauded for 40 years of "tireless" service for Harrogate

Councillor Philip Broadbank accepts his plaque from Harrogate Mayor Stuart Martin.
Councillor Philip Broadbank accepts his plaque from Harrogate Mayor Stuart Martin.

The first councillor to serve 40 years as an elected member at Harrogate has been recognised for his decades of service.

Referred to as 'Mr Starbeck', Councillor Philip Broadbank's time on the borough council was highlighted in a surprise ceremony at a July 17 meeting.

Coun Broadbank, who has represented the ward of Starbeck since he was first elected in 1979, is the first councillor in Harrogate history to rack up four decades at the authority.

Liberal Democrat leader Coun Pat Marsh paid tribute to her party colleague, saying he had "worked tirelessly for the people of Starbeck" in that time.

Described as “an amazing colleague to work with" Coun Marsh said he he had also been a "great friend".

"He is someone we should all look up to because he has fulfilled his duty as a Councillor with selflessness and fair-mindedness, always with a smile; there is not a bad bone in his body," she added.

Councillors were also treated to an anecdote emphasising Coun Broadbank's generosity; when the council decided to stop providing biscuits at meetings, the Starbeck member took it upon himself to bring them for his colleagues to snack on.

During his time, Coun Marsh said, he had chaired many committees, as well as holding the positions of Harrogate Mayor in 1996 and leading the Liberal Democrats.

He also sat as returning officer at the 1997 general election, when the Liberal Democrats enjoyed a historic return of seats.

At least six current Harrogate councillors weren't born when Coun Broadbank first took up his post at the authority, a fact that bought some giggles from around the chamber.

Addressing his fellow councillors, Coun Broadbank was typically humble in accepting the recognition.

"It's an exceptionally pleasant surprise, it has been a long time, and one day I will write a story or something of my experience of the various characters I've met over these years at the council," he said.

"I could not have done it without support of councillors and my family as well.

"It has just been an honour to represent people."

At the same meeting, Coun Nick Brown (Cons, Bishop Monkton and Newby) was recognised for his own milestone of 11 years at the Borough.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter