A LONG-SERVING councillor has announced he is stepping down from local politics after 16 years.
Putting Hartlepool First Councillor Geoff Lilley will not stand for re-election for the Fens and Rossmere Ward in May.
The time has come for me to take a step back from politics. It’s been a real honour to serve the people of Fens and Rossmere.Councillor Geoff Lilley
He is backing the party’s candidate for the ward, hospital campaigner Michelle McIntyre.
Geoff has represented Fens, Rossmere and Greatham during his years as a member of Hartlepool Borough Council.
He said: “The time has come for me to take a step back from politics. It’s been a real honour to serve the people of Fens and Rossmere.”
Geoff, married to Alison, was involved in the formation of Putting Hartlepool First which soon became the second largest political party in the council.
He has served on numerous committees over the years, most recently as a member of the Adult Services, Licensing and Planning committees.
He has also been a member of the South and Central Neighbourhood Forum and represented the council on Cleveland Fire Authority.
Geoff said farewell to fellow councillors and officers at the recent full council meeting.
He said he was looking forward to spending more time on other interests and being a grandad.
Geoff added: “I am delighted to be handing over the reins to a young, enthusiastic and extremely capable young lady.
“As the retiring Councillor for Fens and Rossmere Ward, I have no hesitation is giving Michelle my 100 per cent support.
“Michelle has shown that she is a ‘hands on’ activist and has a strong desire to serve the community.
“Having a degree in law and about to take a Masters means that she has the necessary skills to hit the ground running and to be best placed to represent our residents.”
Mum of one Michelle was one of the organisers of a huge demonstration on Valentine’s Day demonstration calling for the return of services to Hartlepool’s hospital.
It saw hundreds of people gather in Victory Square, in Hartlepool town centre while parliamentary candidates for the General Election addressed the crowd.
Michelle said: “I know Geoff will be a hard act to follow but I am looking forward to the election and I’m proud to have been selected to represent the Fens and Rossmere Ward.”