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Monday, 20 May 2019

Dorothy SutcliffeDorothy Sutcliffe's community spirit rewarded in Blackshaw

The Annual Parish Meeting of Blackshaw Parish Council this month, brought to an end forty years of service on the council for Dorothy Sutcliffe of Blackshawhead. Her extraordinarily long term of office as a councillor began in July of 1979, when too few councillors stood for election that year, and she volunteered to be coopted. In the photo to the right is Dorothy Sutcliffe, her award and Chair of the Parish Council, Grayde Bowen.

Dorothy and community

Dorothy (centre, holding award) with members
of the community and Parish Council

There can be few local councillors in the country who have given so many years of service, and so much of their time, and Dorothy is widely recognised in the local area for her commitment, her knowledge and her community-spirited attitude. In 2012, the title of 'Honorary Freewoman of the Parish' was conferred upon her. 

Chairman of the Council, Grayde Bowen, presented Dorothy with an award, and commented, "Dorothy's knowledge of all things to do with our Parish is second to none, and she will be sorely missed from the Council. However, we are sure she will continue to play an important role in the community, not least when new councillors come knocking on her door to make use of her razor sharp memory!” 

Damp patch

On accepting the award, Dorothy said that she was delighted to have served with some excellent councillors over the years, and was extremely proud of the community in Blackshawhead. She ended her acceptance speech making everyone smile, by pointing out the damp patch above the Chair's seat in the Chamber in Hebden Bridge Town Hall, commenting that it had been there since her first council meeting in that very room forty years earlier.

Annual Blackshaw Community Award

Edith BowmanBefore Dorothy left the Parish Council, one of the final decisions she took part in, was the awarding of the Annual Blackshaw Community Award, which this year was presented to Edith Bowman of Blackshawhead. She is pictured here with the certificate, which was awarded to her for the huge amounts of unsung work that she has done in the parish. This has included a funding drive which resulted in the purchase of a defibrillator in the village, organising first aid training, organising community Get-Togethers (in memory of Jo Cox MP), helping with the Fete, the twice yearly village clean up, and generally being someone who gives their time freely to support the community wherever possible.

Photo: Edith Bowman being presented the award by Grayde Bowen

Despite initially thinking that the Parish Council must have got it wrong, she accepted the award with a characteristically humble speech that underlined the fact that it was the entire community of Blackshawhead that should be celebrated.