Former Harrogate councillor honoured with lifetime title

Alan Skidmore address the chamber after receiving the title of honorary alderman.
Alan Skidmore address the chamber after receiving the title of honorary alderman.

Nearly two decades of council service has seen the lifetime title of honorary alderman bestowed upon a former Ripon councillor.

A full meeting of council saw Alan Skidmore receive the title to applause from current members of Harrogate Borough.

Alan Skidmore with Harrogate Mayor Stuart Martin at Wednesday's meeting.

Alan Skidmore with Harrogate Mayor Stuart Martin at Wednesday's meeting.

Current Mayor and Ripon councillor Stuart Martin said Mr Skidmore had been a "great support to my family over the years".

"I'm honoured to call him a friend. I think this is a worthy award for the service he has given to the local community," he added.

Councillor Samantha Mearns, who headed the general purposes committee which approved the bequeathing of the honour, said although she didn't know Mr Skirdmore personally, "anyone who serves more than 15 years in public service deserves a commendation".

Mr Skidmore sat on the council for 17 years, before standing down ahead of the 2018 election.

Upon accepting his title, the former councillor had some high words of praise for the authority.

“My honest opinion is that Harrogate Borough Council is not only a vehicle for good, but a vehicle for excellence," Mr Skidmore told the chamber.

"It stands in comparison to any local authority I have come across."

He admitted that he stood down with "regret" 18 months ago, but added "that it was about time someone else got their welly boots wet".

He extended his thanks to council officers - "I could not have made a decision without their aid" - and also had words for council leader Richard Cooper, as well as opposition counterpart Coun Pat Marsh.

"Richard, you run a damn good council," he told Coun Cooper, while adding for Coun Marsh: "Well done you".

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter