Councillors and employees at Dudley Council are paying tribute to Alderman of the borough Rachel Harris, who passed away at the weekend after a short illness.
Rachel, who served as cabinet member for procurement, transformation and commercialisation as well as health and wellbeing at Dudley Council, stepped down as an elected member this year after serving as a councillor for a total 25 years.
She was a councillor for Brierley Hill and previously represented the wards of Belle Vale and Hasbury, and Kingswinford South.
A committed campaigner, Rachel also served as chair of the Dudley Primary Care Trust, a peer member for the Local Government Authority and was a founding member of the Centre for Public Scrutiny.
Councillor Qadar Zada, Labour Group leader at Dudley Council, said:
I worked very closely with Alderman Harris when she was a councillor, as we had a mutual concern for health inequalities, and I often found myself tapping into her wealth of knowledge and spent several hours debating health policy.
There is much to say about Rachel’s many achievements over the years she served as a councillor, but I was particularly proud to have campaigned for her as Parliamentary Candidate in Dudley South in 2010.
She was a community campaigner and public servant and retained her interest in issues affecting Dudley people after her retirement from the council and throughout her illness. It was for this dedication, beyond the call of duty, that I recommended that she be made an alderman.
'Everyone in the group will miss her and we are sad to have lost a friend. Our condolences go to husband Phil and her family.
The Mayor of Dudley Councillor David Stanley said:
Rachel served her community, the local authority and The Dudley Primary Care Trust with commitment and integrity over many years.
She will be sadly missed by all who knew her, especially by the people of Brierley Hill who she represented so passionately for so many years.
I worked closely with her through The Badley Memoral Trust, where she was a trustee, and it was an honor to have had the pleasure to work with her on this and other local authority matters.”
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:
Our thoughts are with Rachel’s family and friends at this very sad time.
Today we are grieving the loss of a colleague who brought great energy and passion to Dudley Council and I would like to personally pay tribute to Rachel and everything she gave to this borough."