Family of Yorkshire councillor pay tribute to ‘loving father’ and ‘perfect husband’

The family of a Harrogate councillor described as “loving father” and “perfect husband” have shared an emotional tribute to the 75-year-old who died last week after a short illness.

Coun Geoff Webber

Councillor Geoff Webber was involved in local government for 28 years leading the Liberal Democrat group on North Yorkshire County Council and serving as leader and mayor on Harrogate Borough Council.

He died on Thursday when tributes from across the political spectrum poured in and Coun Webber’s family have now added to the messages in memory of the “passionate and principled” campaigner.

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His wife Pat, 74, said: “Geoff was the perfect husband to me – we loved each other so much and he was just wonderful to me in every way possible. He will be sadly missed by us all.”

Coun Webber’s eldest son, Matthew, who has followed in his father’s footsteps to become a councillor on Harrogate Borough Council, added: “My dad was a loving father and wise advisor. He gave advice which maybe not everyone agreed with, but when he spoke people always listened because you knew it was for a good reason.”

Before local government, Coun Webber served in the RAF for 32 years during which time he met his wife Pat in Cyprus.

The couple worked and lived together around the world in areas including Hong Kong and Northern Ireland before they moved to Harrogate with their three sons Samuel, Simon and Matthew.

After serving in the RAF, Coun Webber was also well-known for his classical and jazz music shop, Pomp and Circumstance, which he first opened in Wetherby before moving to Commercial Street in Harrogate town centre.

He first became a councillor in 1993 when he was elected to North Yorkshire County Council and later went onto hold numerous roles representing the Duchy, Saltergate, and Bilton and Nidd Gorge wards on both the county council and Harrogate Borough Council.

He was also made an honorary alderman of Harrogate in 2011 in recognition of his long service.

Coun Webber was a strong supporter of the Harrogate Homeless Project and Bilton and Woodfield Community Library, and one of his proudest achievements was leading a campaign to save Harrogate’s Royal Hall from being mothballed as the building fell into disrepair.

Councillor Pat Marsh leader of the Liberal Democrats on Harrogate Borough Council, described Coun Webber as a “passionate and vigorous” campaigner.

She said: “Geoff was a hardworking, well respected colleague who even carried on working from his hospital bed, he will be sorely missed.

“He was totally committed to protecting the public services that people valued and frequently challenged those who thought services cuts were more important than councils having the appropriate funding to provide them.

“He was a leading light in the local Liberal Democrat community. For several years he was chairman of the Harrogate and Knaresborough executive, setting the vision and campaigns in several elections.

“He and his wife Pat were also amazing fundraisers for the Lib Dems and many of us have attended their fantastic curry evenings and summer barbecues. Their fundraising events were enjoyed by many and they will be a loss to our Lib Dem Community.

“Harrogate has lost a great champion and campaigner.”