Taking the chain of office at Calderdale Council’s annual meeting, Coun Angie Gallagher (Lab, Elland) was Deputy Mayor as the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and takes over at the helm as the borough moves into the new “Covid aware” era.
Both she and retiring Mayor Coun Chris Pillai (Con, Rastrick) spoke about the difficulties and personal distress the pandemic had brought to Calderdale residents.
They were also now facing another challenge with the cost of living crisis, said Coun Gallagher.
She spoke about her own family background, as a member of a large family that were happy but struggled to make ends meet.
Her parents both maintained a very strong work ethic and endeavoured to be kind and helpful to everyone.
“You never watched, you always helped,” she said.
“But there is a sad, real fact that so many families today are experiencing this same level of poverty.”
Having worked for good employers and bad ones through her life, wanting to help people led to her working as a trade union representative and in turn that lead to her council role.
“I wanted to be one of the people that people could go to, to be represented, to be supported and advised – I have been a union representative for over 20 years.
“My active involvement and training within that trade union movement was where my involvement with the community started – my inevitable involvement with Calderdale Council.
“I’d like to think both my p;parents would be proud that they have done a good job,” said Coun Gallagher.
The Covid pandemic had brought sadness to many families who were still struggling with the impact but as a community Calderdale people’s support to each other had been impressive.
This was something that would help the borough take great strides as its people go on the road to recovery together, working for a better future, she said.
Proposing Coun Gallagher for the position, fellow ward councillor Victoria Porritt (Lab) emphasised Coun Gallagher’s loyalty to Elland and the Mayor thanked the people of the town for returning her to represent them in this year’s local elections.
Thanking councillors for voting her into the position as Mayor, Coun Gallagher said: “I am deeply humbled by the trust you have placed in me to carry out this very privileged position for the people of Calderdale.”
Coun Gallagher’s consort is her husband Jim and her Deputy Mayor is Coun Stephanie Clarke (Lab, Illingworth and Ovenden), whose consort is her daughter Caroline Clarke.