Former Harrogate Councillor Jean Butterfield has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours published on Friday.
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The award was made for services to Harrogate Borough Council.
Mrs Butterfield was first elected to Harrogate Borough Council in 2000 gaining the West Central ward and beating a former Parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats.
In 2002, following boundary changes, she was elected for the Low Harrogate ward and re-elected four more times in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. From 2013 to 2017 she was the County Councillor for the Harrogate Central division of North Yorkshire County Council.
In May 2018 she stood down from the Borough Council after serving 18 consecutive years. When the Conservative were elected to run the Council in 2003, Mrs Butterfield became the Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing – a post she held until 2011.
During her tenure as Cabinet Member for Housing, Harrogate district’s council housing stock was judged to be the best in the country on four separate occasions achieving the Decent Homes Plus standard – the highest nationally-set standard for council housing.
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Reacting to the announcing Mrs Butterfield BEM said: “I was so surprised to get the letter from the Palace, I had no idea at all. I am grateful to the public for giving me the opportunity to serve and I am grateful to the two leaders under whom I was a Cabinet Member – Mike Gardner and Don Mackenzie - for giving me the opportunity to make the lives of Council tenants better.
“I was part of a team and I really want to dedicate this honour to the incredible housing team of Harrogate Council, past and present. It was a pleasure working with such an ambitious and forward-looking team.”
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Local MP, Andrew Jones served with Mrs Butterfield on Harrogate Council before he became an MP and supported the nomination. Mr Jones commented: “I am so happy for Jean. She made a real difference to lots of people’s lives ensuring that they had accommodation and that their homes were of a good standard.
"Jean is a great character and I know this will mean a lot to her. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Jean was made an Honorary Alderman of Harrogate Borough in 2018 in recognition of her long service.