ILKLey mayor and town councillor Mark Stidworthy has announced he will not be standing for re-election at the town council elections in May.

He will step down as mayor and hand over to the successor chosen by the newly elected town council at its inaugural Annual Meeting on Monday May 22.

Councillor Stidworthy said: “It has been a great privilege to have represented Ilkley South Ward as a Liberal Democrat for the last six years, and to have been Ilkley’s Mayor since 2019. Being a Town Councillor and Mayor have been unique opportunities to get to know and understand the town that I love. I have enjoyed meeting the many people, organisations and businesses working all year round to make Ilkley a stronger and healthier community. I thank all those, including fellow Town Councillors, who have supported one another in so many ways through challenging times.

I tried to be constructive, progressive, inclusive and forward-looking as Mayor. I have offered all the time and enthusiasm I could to the role over the last four years and feel it is now right to step down. I hope that energetic voices will emerge bringing new perspectives and ideas, and I invite residents who care about our town to consider standing for election themselves on May 4th. Whether you have a particular party-political perspective or wish to be independent, our town needs people of integrity, kindness and personal commitment to our local community to represent it on the Town Council and bring shared experience to address future challenges.

I thank the Town Council’s committed staff team for their continuing hard work and extend my good wishes to future Town Councillors and my successor as Mayor as they serve our wonderful town in the future.”

Robbie Moore MP said: "I wish Mark all the very best for the future and I thank Mark for his 6 years of service as a Town Councillor but also for his role as Ilkley’s Mayor since 2019. We have attended many events together in Ilkley since I have been in my role, and Mark’s dedication and enthusiasm to the town has always shone through. In his role as Mayor, Mark has been incredibly inclusive and acted with great kindness ans warmth. Whilst we have differing political views, I do admire anyone who puts their head above the parapet to serve - and for that I thank Mark for his energy and personal time he has kindly committed to our town." 

Former Keighley and Ilkley MP John Grogan said: "The Mayor has served Ilkley with distinction and although a committed Liberal Democrat he has sought to lead a council which works across party lines and steer the town in a progressive direction. His style has always been a very inclusive one   . He was the first non Conservative to chair the council in many a long year and together with others he has ensured issues of the environment in particular have received much greater prominence locally in the last four years . In particular his calm, measured but friendly manner was crucial to Ilkley as it dealt with the recent pandemic."

Elections for all 14 Ilkley Town Council seats will take place on Thursday, May 4.