Calderdale Council elections 2024: Here are the Calderdale councillors with decades of service between them who will not be standing again in May

Several Calderdale councillors – who have decades of service between them – will be stepping down from their roles at May’s elections.
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They include Labour’s Coun Megan Swift , from Town ward, veteran Conservative John Ford, in Elland, and Peter Caffrey at Northowram and Shelf.

The council’s cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Labour’s Coun Jenny Lynn, is stepping down in Park ward.

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Coun Sophie Whittaker, who has represented Rastrick ward for the Conservatives since a by-election in 2017 and chaired the council’s audit committee, is also stepping down, as is her party colleague Tina Benton, elected to serve Brighouse ward in 2021.

Coun Megan Swift will not be standing againCoun Megan Swift will not be standing again
Coun Megan Swift will not be standing again

And Conservative Coun Guy Beech, who has served Illingworth and Mixenden ward since the 2021 poll, has had to step down in recent weeks after moving to a new job – with Calderdale Council.

Councillors cannot stand for election to an authority they work for.

Paying tribute to the retiring councillors, Coun Silvia Dacre (Lab, Todmorden), cabinet member for Resources, said Coun Swift’s 22 years of service included service as cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services – “a subject area about which she felt extremely strongly and as very committed to”.

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“I know that she has been frustrated at not being able to play a full part in the council in recent times and I am sure the whole of the council will want to join us in sending our best wishes to Megan,” she said.

Coun Jenny LynnCoun Jenny Lynn
Coun Jenny Lynn

Coun Lynn had been a much-valued Cabinet colleague, warm-hearted, committed to her brief and particularly committed to her ward and residents, said Coun Dacre.

Coun Caffrey had long years of service: “I know you have held many roles as a councillor and shown great commitment to the borough and to your ward,” she said.

In two spells Coun Ford had been a councillor for many years and Coun Dacre said she wished him well in his second retirement from the role.

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She was sorry Coun Whittaker would not be here next year to build on the experience gained in the Audit role and that Coun Benton did not feel she wanted to stay on for another term, also wishing Coun Beech the best with his career on the council.

Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) said Coun Ford had been leader of his group when he first joined the council in 2000.

“I certainly learned a great deal from Coun Ford, huge amounts of history and how to actually conduct oneself, he was very fair, extremely loyal to our party, hard working, dedicated service throughout the many years,” he said.

Coun Caffrey had brought a financial background to the role and was a very dedicated ward councillor, working alongside Coun Whittaker and Coun Benton had been a privilege, said Coun Blagbrough.

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Conservative group leader Coun Steven Leigh (Ryburn) agreed saying of Coun Lynn that he knew the hard work she put in over the years.

“It’s very true to say we’ve not always agreed on things, but I hope we’ve always conducted it in a proper manner – good luck everybody,” he said.

Calderdale’s elections for seats in 17 wards will take place on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

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