Tributes to the Chair of North Yorkshire County Council

Tributes have been paid to the chairwoman of North Yorkshire County Council after news of her sudden death was announced.

Cllr Margaret Atkinson was appointed in May to serve as the last county council chairwoman before it is replaced by a new unitary authority next year.

However, it was today confirmed that Cllr Atkinson, who had served on the County Council for nine years and represented Masham and Fountains Division, has died suddenly.

Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Carl Les, said: ‘Margaret’s passing is such sad and tragic news, and such a huge loss not just for County Council, but for North Yorkshire as a whole. .

“Margaret’s passion and drive for the county was unparalleled, and she took on the role of council chair with the verve and integrity for which she is renowned.

“She was very interested in all the people and groups she met, especially those from the rural communities we serve, as she was from those communities herself and was a great champion of rural affairs.

“She was a prominent figure in the farming community and helped so many people with her time and caring attitude, including her work raising funds for charity.

“Margaret will be missed by all of us on County Council, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this very difficult time.”

Cllr Atkinson was a leading figure in the countryside, and was a semi-retired farmer and also the secretary of the Yorkshire and North East branch of the British Charolais Cattle Society.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Chairwoman of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Margaret AtkinsonChairman of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Margaret Atkinson (Picture: NYCC)

She has also been a member of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and the Joint Advisory Committee for the Nidderdale Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Born into the famous Stockil family, her grandparents were farmers in Kiplin and Brompton-on-Swale.

She grew up on a farm in North Stainley, near Ripon, with three older brothers and a younger sister.

Initially working in the accounting department at ICI Harrogate, she later attended agricultural college and set up her own farm secretarial business, providing services to farming communities in Yorkshire.

Through his charity work, Cllr Atkinson has supported cancer research, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and an agricultural charity, the Addington Fund.

Cllr Atkinson, who lived in Kirkby Malzeard, near Ripon, leaves behind her husband, Michael, as well as three children and five grandchildren.

County Council Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Bryn Griffiths, who is the leader of the Liberal Democrat and Liberal Party, said: ‘Margaret was a lovely woman.

“She was always kind, courteous and extremely pleasant throughout my interactions with her. This is extremely sad news and she will be greatly missed.”

Labor leader Cllr Steve Shaw-Wright added: “With the sad and unexpected news of Margaret’s passing, I’m sure all councilors and staff will be thinking of her and her family at this time.

“Margaret was a very nice person, who always had a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

“I have many fond memories of Margaret and I’m sure her presence will be felt in and around the council for many years to come.”

The leader of the North Yorkshire Independents Group, Cllr Stuart Parsons, said: “Margaret was a kind, gentle, caring and inclusive person.

“During the events, she was the charm personified, and in consulting, she knew how to impose the respect of all of us thanks to her openness.

“She will be missed dearly and dearly and I will miss her big smile for my part.”

The leader of the Green group at County Council, Cllr Andy Brown, said: “Margaret was a dignified woman who was respected on all sides of the political spectrum. I’m so sad to hear this news.”

Following the death of Cllr Atkinson, Cllr David Ireton, who was appointed Deputy Chairman of the County Council in May, will assume the responsibilities of chairman of the authority.

Cllr Ireton was due to take over as chair of the new North Yorkshire Council, which will be formed when the county council and the seven district and borough authorities merge from April 1 next year.

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