Richmond councillor to be authority’s final chair

Cllr Lorraine Hodgson, right, pictured with Linda Curran.

Two sisters have been selected for the leading political and civic roles at a council responsible for one of the country’s largest local authority areas.

Councillor Lorraine Hodgson has been handed the 48-year-old civic chains of office for Richmondshire District Council three years after her younger sibling, Councillor Angie Dale, took the political reins of the council serving communities across a 1,319sq km expanse.

Coun Hodgson, whose father served in the Royal Signals, said her and Coun Dale’s humble and community-minded backgrounds had enabled them to relate to everybody as independent councillors.

She said: “I think children need to be inspired and I would class myself as a normal person.  I think anybody can be who they want and I was inspired by my sister to be a councillor.”

Proposing Coun Hodgson to take be authority’s final chairman before it is dissolved next year, the council’s deputy leader Councillor Helen Grant told a full meeting of the authority her credentials for the role included that she was “very kind”.

After members unanimously backed asking Coun Hodgson to be its representative at numerous events, she said she would be relying on the support of her husband, Paul, daughters Sarah-Jane and Megan and her sister Angie.

Coun Hodgson, who has represented Richmond on the authority for six years, told the meeting she would fundraise for Richmond Dales Dales Amateur Swimming Club due to its support for people of different abilities and community work.

She said the chairman’s charities would also be selected by the council’s staff to mark their fundraising efforts over the years.

Coun Hodgson, a carer and former teaching assistant, said: “Children and young adults are our future and I would like to get involved as much as possible and would love to take this very important chain into the schools to show them and tell them its history and maybe inspire them to become councillors one day.”

After the meeting, she added: “I think it’s really important that children understand they have a voice and they can grow up and make their voice be heard.”

Coun Hodgson, who will succeed Councillor Clive World and have Councillor Jimmy Wilson Petch as her deputy in the role, said her enthusiasm about serving as a district councillor stemmed for her passion for helping people.

Alongside her council duties, Coun Hodgson helps with the annual community festival Richmond Meet and Richmond Duck Club, which organises fundraising events.

She is also a trustee of Garget Walker House in the town, which provides day services for people with dementia and respite for their carers and the Reverend Matthew Hutchinson’s Charity, which gives educational and training grants to Richmond residents.