Lions award is ‘presented’ to former mayor
Outstanding work outside of normal duties in the community has been highlighted as a leading factor of this year’s Wetherby Townsperson of the Year recipient.
The Wetherby Lions, who organise the annual contest, went beyond the judging criteria by naming ward councillor Norma Harrington as the winner of the accolade.
Lions President Tim Ritson said an exception had to be made due to Coun Harrington’s outstanding contribution to the community.
“We felt that it was appropriate to amend our selection criteria to take into account the exceptional circumstance we are all facing at the moment,” he said. “As a local councillor she would normally not have been eligible for the Townsperson award but special consideration was given to her work outside normal council duties, together with her coordinating role in bringing together local voluntary groups, churches and official agencies in Wetherby’s response to the pandemic, thus making her a prime candidate.”
Mr Ritson said that Coun Harrington, a former mayor of Wetherby, was selected from a very deserving list of candidates at the start of 2021.
While the physical presentation of the award continues to be delayed due to lockdown, the Lions decided it was time to announce this year’s winner.
Mr Ritson said; “It was a particularly tough decision due to the many people who deserved recognition during the pandemic but the selection committee, which included last year’s Townsperson of the Year, came to the conclusion that Norma Harrington was a worthwhile choice.”
Coun Harrington has lived in Wetherby since 2008 when she moved back to the area to take up her post as Governor of HMP Wealstun.
Mr Ritson added: “Brought up as a Methodist she believes that service to the community should be a part of everyday life - which has resulted in being a trustee of WISE, a trustee of Wetherby Foodbank and a member of Wetherby Flower Club.
“In addition, Norma can regularly be seen giving her time in contributing to local projects in a practical way, helping with tree planting, litter picking and marshalling at the Health Centre Coronavirus vaccination clinic.”
Coun Harrington said she was delighted and stunned to learn that she had won the award.
“I love the Town of Wetherby, and am proud to be able to help people in any way I can,” she told the News.
“The volunteer groups are many and varied so I feel that I am receiving it on behalf of everyone who has helped out in any way during this extraordinary pandemic year.”