Councillor on Harrogate council resigns after health scares to 'put family first'
Voters in the Harrogate district are to face another by-election after a Tory councillor resigned.
Conservative Coun Samantha Mearns, who was elected to serve the Scriven Park ward in Knaresborough on Harrogate Borough Council in May 2018, said it had been a "great honour" to represent local residents but she had to "put family first".
She said: "It has been a great honour for me to be a local councillor for my community and I have enjoyed taking up a lot of issues for local people.
"I hope I have made a difference for some of you on the issues you have raised directly with me.
"I hope, too, that I have made sure that when it comes to attracting – for the high street, for a new leisure centre, for Jacob Smith Park and for many other projects – that I have spoken up successfully for Knaresborough.
"I hope you will offer the same support for whoever is elected as my successor.
"Making sure Knaresborough secures inward investment to protect our high streets, local jobs and build better facilities is the key job for a local councillor."
No official date has been set yet but the by-election for the Scriven Park ward is expected to take place in late summer or early autumn.
Coun Mearns wrote to 3,000 residents at the weekend explaining that a series of serious health scares in her family had prompted her decision to step down.
She said: "Not too long before the pandemic struck, my younger brother – my only sibling – died after a relatively short but terrible illness.
"It was a huge shock for me and my mother as well as my children and my brother’s family.
"Shortly after, and during the pandemic, my mother was diagnosed with cancer.
"This is serious at any time but during the pandemic, when restrictions were causing operations to be delayed and the risk of Covid infection was high, even more so.
"My mother had an operation and is now recovering but it was another scare for our family and, I know many will agree, family have to come first. "
The most recent election in Harrogate for a seat in North Yorkshire County Council saw the Conservatives win the Bilton by-election.
A message from the Editor
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.