Pat Marsh on behalf of the Harrogate and Knaresborough Liberal Democrats, Eulogy for departed Colleague Geoff Webber.
Cllr Geoff Webber was the Liberal Democrat group leader on North Yorkshire County Council and died on Thursday, 11 March 2021.
Pat Marsh on behalf of the Harrogate and Knaresborough Liberal Democrats said:
It was with great sadness that we heard about the death of our much-valued friend and colleague Honorary Alderman Geoff Webber.
Geoff first got involved with Local Government when he was elected to the County Council in 1993 and the Borough Council in 1994. His public service since then has been amazing, and he has held many important and varied roles on both Councils. He served as Leader of the Borough Council between October 2000 and May 2003, and he remained Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the Borough Council until he became the District’s Mayor in May 2006. He was also the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on North Yorkshire County Council until his passing. His 28 years of public service were outstanding.
He was a passionate and vigorous campaigner for things he believed were important to, the Community he represented, the Borough and to the services provided by the County Council. He was totally committed to protecting the public services that people valued and frequently challenged those who thought services cuts were more important than Councils having the appropriate funding to provide them. He worked hard with other campaigners to ensure the Royal Hall wasn’t mothballed but was refurbished to its former glory after his Conservative replacement Council Leader said, in August 2003, that the building was now, “entirely dependent”, on funding from other national sources and would be mothballed. Geoff was so incensed by that announcement that he called a special Council meeting and got the decision overturned.
He championed those on the margins of our Communities and was a strong supporter of the Harrogate Homeless Project, as well as continually fighting for more social housing both in the District and in the County. He was a strong campaigner to protect Health Services and to secure adequate funding for our Schools and special needs. A recent achievement of his was to persuade the County Council to call for free parking for Health Workers at local Hospitals throughout the County during the COVID crisis, fighting off challenges on that.
He was a leading light in the local Liberal Democrat community. For several years he was Chairman of the Harrogate & Knaresborough Executive, setting the vision and campaigns in several elections. He and his wife Pat were also amazing fund raisers for the Lib Dems and many of us have attended their fantastic curry evenings and summer barbeques. Geoff always in charge of the food and he was a fantastic chef. Their fund raising events were enjoyed by many and they will be a loss to our Lib Dem Community.
Geoff was a hardworking, well respected, colleague, who even carried on working from his hospital bed, he will be sorely missed. Harrogate has lost a great champion and campaigner. Our thoughts are with his wife and family.