Otley mayors line up to bid fond farewell to Geraldine

Ilkley Gazette: Geraldine Crosby (far left) with some of the many town mayors she has served during 34 years with Otley Town Council. Geraldine Crosby (far left) with some of the many town mayors she has served during 34 years with Otley Town Council.

Former Otley Mayors have turned out in force to wish one of the town's most dedicated servants a happy retirement.

Geraldine Crosby has acted as secretary for 35 mayors - 24 individuals in total, with several serving for more than one year - during her time with the Town Council.

About 16 of them, along with current Town Mayor Councillor Nigel Gill (Lab, Manor), gathered at the Otley Core Resource Centre on Thursday, June 26, to enjoy a farewell tea party with her.

Geraldine, who was presented with a special council-themed cake, said: "It's lovely that all these past mayors have turned out to come and see me off.

"I'm both sad and relieved to be leaving.

"I will miss it, because it has been half of my life, but now is the right time to finish.

"I've got grandchildren to see more of and help with and I volunteer at St Gemma's Hospice shop, so I''ll have plenty to keep me busy.

"But I'll keep popping in to see this lot!"

Reflecting on the changing nature of her role over four decades, she added: "There have been so many, many changes over the years, so many different people.

"The biggest change has been moving into this place, the Core, which is fantastic - it's been a godsend, and is busy and bustling, with lots of staff."

Councillor Jim Spencer (Lib Dem, West Chevin), who has served as town mayor twice and so relied heavily on Geraldine's legendary organisational skills, recalled interviewing her for the original job 34 years ago.

He said: "The job and things generally have changed so much since then. Geraldine was on a manual typewriter to begin with and I remember when we switched to an electric one that was a big change!

"Since then of course we've had the advent of computers and the Internet."

Geraldine's work with the council began when it was still based in the now closed Civic Centre, and continued recently at its stop-gap premises in Bay Horse Court before the opening of the Otley Core Resource Centre in 2013.

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