After more than 54 years of serving Barnsley residents, Councillor Dorothy Higginbottom bids farewell as she plans to retire in May this year.
Dorothy has served residents of Great Houghton as a councillor and an unpaid volunteer in many capacities, from representing her local community on several school governing bodies, becoming Mayor in 2012-2013, to being Barnsley’s longest-serving Magistrate, having spent over 34 years on the Magistrate’s Bench.
Dorothy’s an inspiration to young people, encouraging them to take pride in their local community and take part in volunteering. The Great Houghton Rambler’s Group continue to carry out litter picks on local footpaths while walking, something which Dorothy played a part in developing.
As Chair of the Village Hall committee, Dorothy secured lots of funding for many projects and initiatives. For example, an over 50’s Reading Room project aims to combat isolation for the older generation. People come together to read papers and chat over books which are all free of charge. Since its launch, this has developed into an inter-generational project through the pandemic, where children from the Youth Group cooked the elderly residents a meal. The Youth Groups also made gifts, plant pots and delivered food parcels for those who needed help whilst shielding. Despite Dorothy falling into the shielding category at 80 and recovering from a stroke last year, she has continued to play an active role in the community.
Some of Dorothy’s highlights include:
- Member of the Great Houghton Parish Council for 54 years, taking over as Chair in 1997 and continues to this day.
- Chair of Great Houghton Youth Group since 1995, and in 1997 she founded the Great Houghton Village Hall Committee and has served as its Chair ever since.
- Raise morale after the pit closures bringing local families together sourcing equipment to deliver soup kitchens for the many families affected.
- Successfully obtained funding to establish a Community Allotment garden where youth groups work alongside older residents to learn how to plant and grow their own food. Once cropped, this is then cooked and served to the elderly residents at social evenings.
- A key driver in organising the Great Houghton Summer Gala, ensuring that it was accessible to everyone across the community by insisting that rides were free.
Cllr Dorothy Higginbottom, North East Ward, said: “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with and serve people across the borough. I truly believe that by working together, we can achieve great things. I’ve met some lovely people over the years, and I’m really proud of the work of our fantastic volunteers in helping to make our borough the place of possibilities.
“I’m passionate about helping people and will continue to do so. I’ve enjoyed my time as a councillor serving Great Houghton. I’m grateful for the support from my colleagues and residents.”
Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dorothy who has given a lifetime of service to Barnsley and to Great Houghton in particular.
“The work she has done over the years speaks for itself, Dorothy’s a champion of the underdog and always reaches out to those who need help. She is always honest and forthright. When she speaks, we all sit up and listen. She’s witty, kind, and a wonderful colleague, and I will miss her greatly.”