Retiring Mayor of Calderdale Marcus Thompson said he had learned during his civic year that Calderdale was a “wonderful mosaic” of communities and groups that together made the borough a great place.
Reflecting on a year which had taken he and his Mayoress, his wife Nicky Chance-Thompson, to all parts of Calderdale, his remarks were peppered with the humour he brought to the role and which on more than one occasion lightened some tense moments in the council chamber.
Mr Thompson’s – he stood down from the council at the May elections after representing Skircoat ward for the Conservatives for eight years – account of some of the situations Mayors, their consorts and their invaluable support team find themselves in was wonderfully evocative and brought smiles and laughter to the chamber with some of his stories from the civic front line.
Hitting a serious note at the special ceremony at Halifax Town Hall when he handed over the chain of office to new Mayor Coun Dot Foster (Lab, Sowerby Bridge), he said it was a year in which he and the Mayoress had discovered how the diverse areas of Calderdale had their own identity – but added together this was exactly what gave the area its strength.
“We also learned a lot about the hundreds of different groups we have, and the vast range, this wonderful mosaic of people and talent and ability and the desires and needs we have in Calderdale.
“Each community is different but we all know that they add to this great mosaic,” he said.
He said a friend of his had a saying that there were lots of different parts to an orchestra but they came together to create great music.
“I think we have an orchestra here and it’s a wonderful orchestra,” he said.
Standout moments ranged from the very moving events around the centenary of the end of the First World War and the summer galas which brought the community out.
In the council chamber there had been interesting times that had been a challenge to all, said Mr Thompson.
But it was OK on occasions for people to air their arguments and he had always made sure dissident voices could be heard.
Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn), who a year ago had proposed him for the role, said the retiring Mayor and Mayoress had carried out their duties with conscientiousness and dignity, lending there support to lots of different organisations.
“Thank you Marcus and Nicky for everything you have done during your year as Mayor and Mayoress – I know that out there in the community people have really appreciated it,” she said.Seconding the vote of thanks, Coun Stephen Baines (Con, Northowram and Shelf) said Mr Thompson had been an excellent Mayor, lightening tense situations in the council chamber with his unique sense of humour.
He had also been a very good ward councillor for eight years, said Coun Baines.
There were also thanks for retiring Deputy Mayor Coun Chris Pillai (Con, Rastrick) and his consort, his wife Beverley.
Proposing a vote of thanks to them Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) said they had attended over 70 civic occasions in their own right and helped demonstrate why, when the role was under threat in the future due to budget restraints, it was important to have it, as people were proud to have civic representation at their special events.
Coun Scott Benton (Con, Brighouse) said it was fantastic to see the success with which they had handled their year.
Coun Pillai said it had been a huge privilege to serve as Deputy Mayor.
Although councillors had different politics what united them all was a common passion for Calderdale and politics within the borough and they would face the challenges ahead, he said.