NEW SADDLEWORTH Parish Council chairman Cllr Nikki Kirkham says she is “honoured” to take on the role.
Cllr Kirkham was unanimously voted in at the council’s Annual General Meeting in May and received the chain of office for 2017/18 from outgoing chairman Cllr Pam Byrne.
She said: “I feel very honoured to be stood here. I feel over the past few years the Parish Council has really started moving forwards and I am delighted to be part of that.
“I want to thank Pam for her hard work and dedication over the last 12 months. I am following her lead and will donate all money raised to organisations in Saddleworth who work so hard for the community.”
Cllr Kirkham, who was born in Denshaw and now lives in Delph, said she hopes to build on recent successes including saving iconic local phone boxes, installing defibrillators, and re-opening the Satellite Centre.
Cllr John Hudson, who proposed Cllr Kirkham as chairman, said: “I think Nikki will shine in the role. I think it is marvellous she will have the chance to use her skills to help Saddleworth and represent us everywhere she goes.”
Seconder Cllr Robert Knotts added: “Nikki is dynamic, energetic, honest, and hard working and I know she will do a really good job for the people of Saddleworth.
“She was a bit of a chameleon moving from the Independents to Labour last year but I am aware Saddleworth comes before any party politics.”
Cllr Paul Fryer added: “This is a historic moment as it is the first time in about 55 years that we have had a Labour leader of the Parish Council.”
Cllr Katrina Roman will be the chairman’s consort while vice-chairman will be Cllr Knotts, with his wife Lesley as consort.
Nominating Cllr Knotts as vice-chairman, Cllr Fryer said: “His work on Dawson’s Field has secured it as a great community asset for all of Saddleworth.
“He has also worked extensively on re-opening the Satellite Centre, Uppermill allotments and the Neighbourhood Plan. He does a lot of hard work that doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Cllr Hudson seconded the nomination, saying: “Rob has been one of the driving forces, helping to modernise the standing orders for the Parish Council.
“Along with his secret weapon – his wife Lesley – he will be a wonderful vice-chair.”
Cllr Knotts, who has lived in Saddleworth for 29 years, gave a vote of thanks, including to the staff at the Civic Hall “who keep this place ticking and keep the councillors in line”.
A vote of thanks was also given by outgoing chairman Cllr Byrne, who raised more than £15,000 for 19 local groups and organisations during her year in office.
Cllr Byrne said: “Not only has it been an honour to be chairman, it has been a pleasure. We have had a ball.
“I have attended 147 civic duties wearing the chain, and that’s not including with council and committee meetings!
“The councillors have been terrific and they work so hard for Saddleworth. We have had a successful, productive year. I would like to thank everybody who has supported me.”
Cllr Byrne presented a special gift to her daughter, Helen Harrison, who was her consort for the year, and thanked her charity committee for their fundraising success.