Chairman and vice chairman of Harborough District Council carry on in their civic roles for the coming year

They will remain in their roles due to the Covid pandemic

Friday, 7th May 2021, 2:22 pm
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 2:24 pm
Vice Chairman Cllr Neil Bannister, left, and Chairman Cllr Stephen Bilbie

The chairman and vice chairman of Harborough District Council are to carry on in their civic roles for the coming year because of the Covid pandemic.

Cllr Stephen Bilbie received the chains of office last year but will remain as chairman of the local authority for another year throughout 2021/22.

Vice chairman Cllr Neil Bannister, ward councillor for the Dunton ward, will also continue in his role for the next 12 months.

The decision was made at the Annual Council meeting on Wednesday (May 5) after the coronavirus lockdowns seriously hit traditional council calendar events and fundraising opportunities.

Cllr Bilbie, who’s represented the Fleckney ward since 2015, will continue to support his chosen charity Vista.

The charity works with people with sight loss and their families in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

The only other chairman to carry on for a second term was Col Hampton A Hughes, Market Harborough Urban District Council’s first chairman in 1973-1974.

Col Hughes carried on holding the office in 1974-1975 when the council merged with the rural districts of Harborough, Billesdon and Lutterworth to form Harborough District Council.

Cllr Bilbie said: “The last year has been very challenging for everyone.

“And whilst I was able to attend some events as part of my civic duties they were very limited.

“As a result, it has been very difficult to raise funds for my chosen charity Vista.”

He added: “I am delighted and honoured that my fellow councillors have agreed that myself, and the Vice Chairman, are able to continue to serve the district for the year ahead, as we all look forward to, hopefully, a more positive year.”

The vice chairman, Cllr Neil Bannister, has supported the chairman throughout the “unprecedented” last year.

He stepped in to chair a council meeting when called upon and joined Cllr Bilbie at a virtual meeting with members of local scouts groups.

Cllr Bannister also supported the chairman’s fund-raising efforts for the Vista charity - which included the chairman’s sponsored virtual bike ride and backing his virtual charity quiz night.