Barbara heads new Parish council leadership team

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 04 August 2020

Saddleworth Parish council is to have a new leadership team... of women.

Long-term councillor Barbara Beeley is to become the new chair, with Pam Byrne as her deputy, while Sharon Hibbert has taken over as the parish clerk.

Cllr Beeley served on the Parish Council from 2007 to 2011 and from 2015.

At the same time she became a Borough councillor and helped to set up the Saddleworth District Partnership, becoming chair for six years.

She said: “It is a great honour to have been chosen to be Chair of the Parish Council, even under such testing conditions.

“It is now more important than ever to support and help our local communities to help each other and to come through the current crisis.

“The Chairman’s Charity is now going to have to find innovative ways of raising funds.

"These funds are needed more than ever at the present time.

"But I am looking forward to my time in office, although aware of the many challenges in future.” 

Cllr Byrne said: “I am delighted to be asked to be the council Vice Chair to Cllr Barbara Beeley.

"I have served on the Parish for a number of years and was Chair myself in 2016.

“At the moment I will support Barbara, who will serve from Septemer 2020 to May 2022.

"My daughter Helen will support me as before.

“These are unusual times and we don't know what will happen in terms of fund raising for the Chairman's Charity.

"I look forward to supporting Barbara in her Civic 'Year' and Saddleworth will be well represented.”

The council’s new clerk, Sharon Hibbert, has a professional background in Facilities and Operational management at GMP, Higher Education and joined OMBC in 1996 in various management roles. 

From 2017 to 2019 she was Cabin Crew and Safety Trainer with a major tour operator.

She said: “I am really happy to be back in public service and hoping, despite the set-backs the pandemic has brought, we can move forward post-virus and recover well and come back better than ever.”

Retiring chair, Councillor Jamie Curley, said: “The unprecedented situation we find ourselves in has meant a curtailment of the Chairman’s Charity Committee.

"We had a full events programme which had to be cancelled.

"But I know the fantastic community spirit of the people of Saddleworth will endure and these events, even if they cannot take place this year, will return bigger and better than ever next year when the hills will once again ring to the sounds of “the Saddleworth Season”.

And Cllr Curley reserved special praise for retiring council clerk, Pam Bailey.

He said: “Pam will be missed terribly by us all, not only for her expertise and calm manner but her wonderful humour and ability to make the most difficult of tasks seem easy.

“Being the clerk of a Parish Council is not an easy job, particularly with Saddleworth as one of the largest Parish Councils in the country.

“But Pam has managed the team and office with calmness and efficiency, and has even managed to put up with all the councillors!

“She really has been a tower of strength, and during my year as chairman has been an invaluable source of knowledge and help.

"I couldn’t have done it without her.

“I would like, on behalf of all the Parish Councillors, to give a huge thanks to Pam for all she has done for us - overseeing the cemetery, allotment project and land transfer of Dawson’s Field to name just three big projects.”

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