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‘Incredible servant’ given great honour by council
An “incredible servant” of Otley and Yeadon has become an Alderman of Leeds.
Former Liberal Democrat councillor Graham Kirkland, who represented the area for more than 40 years, was presented with the honour at a meeting of Leeds City Council last week.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Ann Castle and the authority's chief executive, Tom Riordan, attended the ceremony in the Civic Hall to recognise Alderman Dr Kirkland.
Otley & Yeadon Councillors Ryk Downes, Colin Campbell and Sandy Lay were also present.
Coun Downes said: “This is a fantastic achievement. Graham was an inspiration and a mentor to me.
“I remember when I was elected I would have to fight him for casework, and by the time I had logged on at night he had already dealt with it.
“His enthusiasm right to the end was a tribute to how much he cared.”
Alderman Dr Kirkland was elected to Leeds City Council in 1973, when Otley was brought into the then new Leeds City Council, and had previously served on the Otley Urban District Council.
He became the first post-war Liberal Democrat Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1998, and went on to raise more than £100,000 for his chosen charities.
He was Otley town mayor twice and served on the Town Council for 45 years, and also served on the West Yorkshire Fire Authority, where he had spells as vice chairman and chairman of its personnel and training committee.
Outside of politics, as a retired local GP Dr Kirkland is very well known in Otley, where, with his wife Joan, he used to run the Westgate Medical Practice.
He was also an active member, and served as chairman, of Harewood Housing Society.
Dr Kirkland, 76, stood down as a representative for Otley & Yeadon before May's elections this year, and had retired from the town council a year earlier.
Four other former Leeds councillors – Geoffrey Driver, Penny Ewens, Ronnie Feldman and Keith Parker – were also made honorary aldermen last Wednesday.