Liberal Democrat councillor Trevor Chapman has tonight been virtually voted in as the new Harrogate district mayor.
He takes over from Conservative councillor Stuart Martin, who held the role since 2019 and served an extended term due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking at a virtual annual meeting tonight, cllr Chapman said:
“Let’s hope we can return to some form of normality following events over the last year so that I can fulfil the role fully.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to the outgoing mayor Stuart for not only carrying out his year of office but also standing in as caretaker during this unprecedented year.
“Stuart, you and April have carried out your duties in an exemplary manner for which I thank you very much.”
Cllr Chapman, who represents the Bilton Grange ward, was chosen to take on the role in March last year before the handover was cancelled because of the pandemic.
It has meant cllr Martin has stayed in the post for an extra 12 months during the same year that his wife, mayoress April Martin, became critically ill with covid.
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After tonight’s meeting, councillor Martin said in a statement:
“As my time as Harrogate district mayor comes to an end this evening, I’d like to say thank you to everyone for their help and support over the past two years.
“Both April and I have thoroughly enjoyed being mayor and mayoress, and we have met some truly incredible organisations and charities during that time.
“I am delighted to be able to pass on the chain of office to councillor Trevor Chapman, who I know will make an excellent mayor. It has been a great pleasure and I will leave with many happy memories of my two years in office.”
The role of the mayor is to chair full council meetings and represent the borough at ceremonies and events.
The mayor also raises money for charities and is required to put his or her political affiliations aside to be impartial.
Christine Willoughby elected deputy mayor
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat councillor Christine Willoughby, who represents Knaresborough Eastfield and served as mayor for the town, was also elected as deputy mayor for the Harrogate district at tonight’s meeting.
She takes over from Conservative councillor Zoe Metcalfe, who represents the Claro ward.
Conservative council leader Richard Cooper also announced at tonight’s meeting that no changes have been made to the cabinet, while a raft of committee chairs, vice-chairs and members were also voted in.