Fellow councillors have paid tribute to Cllr Geoff Webber, the Liberal Democrat group leader on North Yorkshire County Council, who died today (Thursday, 11 March 2021).
Cllr Webber represented Harrogate Bilton and Nidd Gorge division on the county council. He sat on the council’s audit committee, Harrogate and Knaresborough area constituency committee and the corporate and partnerships overview and scrutiny committee. He was also a member of a number of internal working groups and consultative bodies.
He was first elected to the county council in 1993, serving until 2001. He was then re-elected in 2009, serving until 2013, and again in 2017. He was also a Harrogate Borough councillor until 2011.
County council leader Cllr Carl Les said:
I am very saddened to hear of Geoff’s death and my thoughts are with his wife and family at this time.
Geoff and I served on the county council for a similar length of time and I enjoyed many discussions and debates with him, and when he spoke I listened. He was a very principled man and was passionate about the community that elected him. He is a very sad loss to his community and the county council.
County council chairman Cllr Jim Clark added:
I have worked closely with Geoff over the years, both at the county council and Harrogate Borough Council, and I know how much he cared, particularly about the issues of homelessness, education and health services.
At the county council we worked on education and, latterly, the issues facing the NHS. While our opinions may have differed, he was an excellent champion of people who were in need of help. He will be greatly missed.
Fellow Liberal Democrat county councillor Cllr Philip Broadbank said he was saddened to hear the news.
Speaking on behalf of the Liberal Democrat group on the county council, he said:
Geoff was a sincere, devoted family man and he will be missed by many. He was a strong campaigner and supporter of the Harrogate Homeless Project over the years and also fought for more affordable housing in the Harrogate district as well as throughout North Yorkshire.
As a councillor and county councillor at different times over the last 28 years he was often prepared to take a controversial position on issues the councils were faced with at the time. As leader of the Liberal Democrat group at County Hall, he was always working to be constructive when faced with challenging issues and was a strong believer in the important role local government had in people’s daily lives. A former mayor and leader of Harrogate Borough Council, he was a determined fighter for the issues he believed in and made a considerable impact on so many people.
Cllr Eric Broadbent, leader of the Labour group on the council, said:
Geoff was a lovely person and an excellent councillor to work alongside. He always saw both sides of an argument and was always supportive, no matter what your views were. He will be very much missed. I am saddened by his death and my thoughts are with his family.
Cllr Stuart Parsons, North Yorkshire Independents group leader, said:
Whilst we didn’t always see eye to eye, Geoff was a gentleman. He was very sure in his convictions and worked hard for his constituents. I have never heard anybody say a bad word about him, which for a politician is pretty good. Politics in North Yorkshire will be poorer for his passing.
County Council chief executive Richard Flinton added:
Geoff was hugely respected by his fellow councillors and officers of the council. He was a champion for his community and on issues across the county.