The new Lord Mayor of Leeds has officially been announced, with Councillor Al Garthwaite set to take up the post following the council’s annual general meeting.
Garthwaite, who has represented the district of Headingley (now Headingley and Hyde Park) since 2016, will be taking over the role from Councillor Robert W Gettings MBE JP for the next year after already holding her first session.
The 75-year-old Councillor, activist and long-dedicated feminist campaigner becomes the 129th person to serve as Lord Mayor of Leeds and with a strong background in activism across various issues, looks to be a wonderful appointment.
A graduate of English and psychology from Durham University, Garthwaite has been involved in everything from international and local campaigns on human rights and social justice to education, teaching in female prisons and pioneering women’s health courses in inner-city community centres.
Al, or Alison, also helped to pioneer the Women’s Advice and Referral Service and several other social enterprises, as well as setting up the film production company, Vera Media, which has taught multimedia skills to women and marginalised groups in Leeds and led to over 5,000 people progressing into work or further education.
Her passion for pressing issues is as wide-ranging as her CV, with the environment, climate change, arts and culture, community safety and working to end violence against women and girls all things she cares about deeply.
As is traditional for a new Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Garthwaite has nominated a charity to represent during her term of office and has chosen the Women’s Counselling and Therapy Service, which offers free psychological support to women in Leeds.
Better still, throughout her tenure as Lord Mayor, Councillor Garthwaite will be accompanied by a diverse range of students from Leeds Beckett University, who will act as her consorts, broadening their understanding of the city, its people and their experiences.
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Issuing a statement after the announcement, the new Lord Mayor of Leeds said: “The people of Leeds have been at the heart of my work for 50 years and it will be an honour and a privilege to represent them as their Lord Mayor for the coming year.
“I look forward to getting out into our communities, meeting as many people as possible and raising money to support the work of the Women’s Counselling and Therapy Service.”
Congratulations, to Councillor Al Garthwaite, we wish her all the best for her time in office.
Featured Image — Leeds Council/Johnathan Pryor (via Twitter)