Emotional farewell to six Barnsley councillors standing down ahead of May’s election

Members of Barnsley Council have paid tribute to six councillors who have announced they will stand down ahead of May’s elections.

Thursday, 31st March 2022, 4:49 pm
Updated Friday, 1st April 2022, 2:55 pm

Councillors Margret Bruff, Tim Cheetham, Annette Gollick, Dorothy Higginbottom, May Noble and Harry Spence have all announced they will not stand for re-election in the upcoming council election on May 5.

During today’s (March 31) full council meeting, their colleagues paid tribute to their years of hard work for their wards.

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Barnsley Town Hall

Councillor Dorothy Higginbottom

Council leader Sir Steve Houghton praised Councillor Higginbottom, who has represented the North East ward since 2004, adding that she has served her community “for her entire life.”

Coun Higginbottom was mayor of Barnsley from 2012 to 2013, and was a member of the planning regulatory board and overview and scrutiny committee.

“Always humorous, always challenging, always forthright. Always dedicated to the people of this borough,” added Coun Houghton.

Councillors Margret Bruff and Tim Cheetham, with Mayor of Barnsley Councillor Caroline Makinson

“Dorothy has served her community, this community, for her entire life, be it on Great Houghton Parish Council, be it on this council, be it just serving community groups up and down the borough.”

Councillor Higginbottom’s daughter, Councillor Dorothy Coates, also paid tribute to her mother’s lifetime of service.

“It’s been her honour and her privileged to serve the whole of the North east ward,” said Coun Coates.

“Great Houghton does run through her like a stick of rock.

“She’s represented each village in the North East ward with equal vim and vigour and passion. It has been a true honour working alongside my mum in this chamber.”

Councillor May Noble

Councillor has served on the Council since May 2006, and represents the Dearne South ward.

Councillor Noble serves as the chair of the Dearne area council, and is also a member of the overview and scrutiny committee and planning regulatory board.

Councillor Houghton told the meeting: “She’s been a wonderful representitive, dedicated to the community.

“She’s been a Labour Party member all her life, and was active in the miner’s strike right through, serving that community, and I cannot speak highly enough of everything that May’s done.

“The council money that is in the Dearne is there in no small part because of the work that May’s done.

“I’ve known her for many, many years, and I wish long and healthy and well-deserved happy retirement.”

Councillor Harry Spence

Councillor Houghton told the meeting: “I wish to pay tribute to councillor Spence, who has represented the Darton East ward for the last 16 years.

“He’s been a hard working and dedicated local councillor for that particular part of the borough and he’s always done that with good heart, good spirits and good humour.”

Councillor Steve Hunt, who also represents the Darton east ward as a Liberal Democrat added: “He is very well respected in Darton East, and there are things that he has achieved that he can be proud of.

“In particular the memorial that he organised in tribute to those who died whilst working in North Gawber Collierery, that’s outside the Co-Op in Mapplewell.”

Councillor Annette Gollick

Councillor Gollick has been a member of BMBC since 2015, and represents the Dearne North ward.

Coun Gollick is a member of the overview and scrutiny committee and planning regulatory board.

“It’s with great pleasure that I say thank you to councillor Annete Gollick,” said Coun Houghton.

“She came to us from the community and of the community, because she’d had many many years serving the people of Dearne North in a whole range of different ways.

“The people of Dearne North are losing an excellent councillor this year.”

Mayor of Barnsley, Councillor Caroline Makinson also thanked councillor Gollick, adding: “I remember campaigning with her when she was first out for election, I want to wish her well in future.”

Councillor Margaret Bruff

Councillor Bruff represents the Central ward, and was the cabinet spokesperson for children’s services.

Councillor Houghton led the tributes to councillor Bruff, and told the meeting: “The biggest difference within the council Margaret’s made was cabinet member for children’s services.

“Hugely dedicated to the young people of Barnsley. Dedication also to the Central Ward, where she has worked tirelessly with a whole raft of different councillors over that period of time.

“As children services spokesperson, led us through a very difficult Ofsted to a good rating, which is absolutely excellent.

“Margaret’s also been a dedicated Labour Party member all her life.

Councillor Philip Lofts added: “Margaret is Barnsley through and through.

“Born and raised here, served the people in various capacities, from working with Barnsley as an educator in economic development, to go on to trade union organiser and councillor.”

Councillor Tim Cheetham

Councillor Cheetham is the current cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, and represents Royston.

He has been a councillor since 2006, and is standing down to take up a new role.

Coun Houghton told the meeting that Coun Cheetham is a “hugely philosophical, intelligent, bright, able individual, that has brought a huge amount of skill and experience to the work of this council.

“Tim has made a huge contribution to all of the success that we have had.

“He hasn’t always been successful – his attempts to improve my IT and social media skills failed miserably, despite his best efforts.

“He has been a force for change and progress.

“He’s going on, in some ways, to bigger and things, because he’s going to be working on some major policy issues for bodies that represent local government.

“He also has huge respect across South Yorkshire because that contributionhe’s made in Barnsley on regeneration has been spread to the Combined Authority.

“So our collegues in Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield have had the benefit of his contributions and his wisdom as well.”