COMMUNITY campaigner Helen Taylor has stepped down from her role as chairwoman of West Lothian Association of Community Councils.
In a letter to Association members, Ms Taylor said was resigning from the voluntary post due to personal circumstances. She held the position for four years.
Ms Taylor, originally from Linlithgow, was instrumental in the launch of an award-winning publicity campaign and website – http://www.yourcommunitycouncil.co.uk – to make community councils more accessible and accountable to people in West Lothian.
The project was praised by First Minister Jack McConnell. He wrote to Ms Taylor last September, telling her: “I sincerely appreciate the dedication and goodwill shown by both you and the other volunteers in successfully achieving the launch of the West Lothian community council website. Neighbouring community councils sharing information, news and knowledge and encouraging people to interact with their community representatives online are steps towards e-democracy. I hope the project continues to build on its success.”
A month later, the initiative won best community campaign in the PRide Awards in Scotland, organised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Ms Taylor – who also serves on Bathgate Community Council – was part of a delegation which attended the awards ceremony in Glasgow. She was said to be “thrilled” at the campaign’s success.
In her letter to Association members, Ms Taylor said: “I think we have all achieved a lot over the past years – particularly in 2005 when we won the award for best community campaign.
“For a small voluntary organisation to achieve this was marvellous. I’d like to thank everybody for their help and support and wish the Association well for the future. I hope you get the funding and assistance to build on your efforts so far.”
Association vice-chair Jean Flynn – a member of Ladywell Community Council in Livingston – will take on the chair’s role for the time being.
She said: “Helen was a marvellous chairwoman, who did so much to help and support community councils across West Lothian. Her tireless work for the Association – much of it funded out of her own pocket – was a great contribution to the local community and I’m sure she’ll be sadly missed by many community councillors.
“The Association will now be looking for a new chair to build on the excellent work undertaken under Helen’s leadership.”
Jacqueline Morison, secretary of Linlithgow Bridge Community Council, said: “Helen was very supportive to us, and she will be a huge loss to the Association. I’d like to thank her for all the help and encouragement she’s given to community councils across the district.”
Mary Miller, the secretary of Winchburgh Community Council, added:”Helen has been wonderful. She turned the Association round and really raised its profile. She’s very wise and understanding and was always willing to help. It’s sad that she’s standing down.”
Willie Boyle, the planning secretary of Bathgate Community Council, said: “Helen was a hard-working, conscientious campaigner for local communities. Her work on the Association will be sorely missed. She’ll be very hard to replace.”
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