New Council Chairman steps into role

Published Tuesday 30 June 2020

Councillor Stephen Bilbie has been appointed as the chairman of Harborough District Council for 2020/21.

Cllr Stephen Bilbie

Cllr Bilbie received the chains of office from outgoing chairman Cllr Barbara Johnson at a Council meeting on 29 June 2020. 

Cllr Bilbie, a district councillor for the Fleckney ward since 2015, has been married to June for thirty-two years and they have one son and two grandsons.

He has been involved with many community groups in Leicestershire. These include being a Fleckney Parish Councillor, City and County Chairman of Neighbourhood Watch, being on the Project Board of Health Watch, GP Groups, a Board Member of LRALC organisation for Parish Councils, School Governor for Fleckney Primary School and for Harborough District Council as a representative for Sustainable Harborough.

Cllr Bilbie has chosen Vista, which works with people with sight loss and their families in Leicestershire, as the Chairman’s Charity for 2020-2021.

When not working or performing his duties as a councillor, Cllr Bilbie enjoys walking in the countryside with his wife, and spending time with his hobby writing a book.

Cllr Bilbie said: “I feel very honoured to take on the role as Chairman, having been vice chairman for the last year. Cllr Johnson has served her civic duty as Chairman admirably and I look forward to following her example and representing the Council throughout the district and beyond.”

The Vice Chairman will be Cllr Neil Bannister, ward councillor for the Dunton ward.

Outgoing chairman Cllr Johnson, who represents the Logan Ward, thanked those who had supported her dCllr Johnson and David Johnsonuring her year in office.

During her time in office, Cllr Johnson has helped raise a total of £4,000 for her chosen charity Spectrum – a support group for parents and carers of children, young people and adults on the Autism Spectrum or on the Autism diagnosis pathway.

Cllr Johnson said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to helping me raise so much for my chosen charity. I attended over 100 events during the year and it was privilege to meet so many people. I would like to wish Cllr Bilbie the very best for his year ahead as Chairman.”

Cllr Johnson included among her highlights welcoming gliding veterans from Europe to Husbands Bosworth Gliding Club, meeting students studying politics at Brooke House, Remembrance events and Broughton Astley’s unveiling of their Remembrance Clock, plus taking part (twice!) in a sponsored 5k parkrun. She has also been part of history in the making at the naming of roads, unveiling of green plaques and ceremonial parades, as well as mixing with people at food fairs, classic car show, Arts Fresco, and village fetes.

Emma Page, Chair of Spectrum, said: “We would like to thank Cllr Barbara Johnson for choosing us as her nominated charity.  The amount she has raised is amazing and we are very grateful to her for all her hard work over the last year fundraising for us.  The donation will help us to enhance and sustain our services, supporting local autism families.”

Pictured: (top) Incoming Chairman Cllr Stephen Bilbie and (right) outgoing Chairman Cllr Barbara Johnson and consort David Johnson.