Two former Harrogate Borough councillors, with 35 years combined service, have been conferred with the title of Honorary Alderman in recognition of their distinguished service to the district.
Caroline Bayliss and Chris Lewis received the title at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council on Wednesday 20 July 2016.
Caroline Bayliss served on Harrogate Borough Council for 17 years, while Chris Lewis served for 18 years. Both stood down at this year’s elections in May.
Caroline Bayliss was first elected to Harrogate Borough Council in 1983 and served until 1986. She was re-elected in 2002 and served until 2016. Caroline was Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate in 2006. During her time on the council she also held the position of Cabinet Member for Cultural Services (2011-2012), Chair of the Human Resources Committee (2011-2016), Chair of the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board (2003), was a member of the Harrogate International Centre Board (2006-2008), and served on the General Purposes Committee and Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Commission.
Chris Lewis was elected to Harrogate Borough Council in 1994 and served until 2008. She was re-elected in 2012 and served until 2016. Chris held the position of Chair of the Housing Committee (1996-2000), Cabinet Member for Housing (2000-2001), was a member of the Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Commission (2002-2004), before becoming Chair (2004-2006). She also served as a member of the District Development Committee and Planning Committee.
At the meeting, Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council and Councillor Pat Marsh, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, paid tribute to the work of the two former councillors. The motion was then carried unanimously by council.
Councillor Nick Brown, the Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate then invited Caroline Bayliss to sign the Roll of Honorary Aldermen, and receive her badge of office. Chris Lewis who was unable to attend the meeting will receive her badge of office at a reception in their honour later this year.
The Mayor said:
I would like to congratulate Caroline and Chris for their long service and hard work as councillors. Both have truly dedicated themselves to their communities, and it is a real pleasure to confer the title of Honorary Alderman upon them.
Caroline Bayliss said:
I am delighted to become an Honorary Alderman for the borough. I loved my years being part of Harrogate Borough Council, the Harrogate district is a fantastic place to live and this is in no small part due to the officers and councillors who care.
2018 is the centenary of women getting the vote. When I arrived Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and now I’ve left Theresa May is our second female Prime Minister. I hope 2018 will be a year in which more women can be persuaded to get involved in local politics because after all, they are really rather good at it.
Chris Lewis said:
It is an honour to receive the title of Honorary Alderman. When I started as a councillor I remember thinking that I wanted to make a difference. I felt very privileged that the residents within my community had voted for me and had given me the power to help improve their lives.
When I was re-elected in 2012, I was pleased to find there was an administration in place that couldn’t be more helpful. I really appreciated that even though I wasn’t in their party they were supportive of my efforts to get a better deal for rural areas.