Outgoing Chair looks back on an eventful and historic year in office

Press ReleaseUpdated: 1 June 2023Elections and democracy
Cllr Debbie Morris at the Beacon Lighting as Chair to mark the Platinum Jubilee

The departing Chair of Three Rivers District Council, Cllr Debbie Morris, reflects on her time as the area’s first citizen and ceremonial head of the council.

Cllr Morris was appointed to the prestigious role a year ago to preside over Full Council meetings and officially represent the council at public engagements.

It was an interesting civic year for the departing Chair as the UK saw not just one but three historic events.

Cllr Morris represented the district at the Beacon-Lighting event to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

She was also given the special scroll by the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire to read out to Three Rivers residents to announce the accession of His Majesty King Charles III following the sad death of the UK’s longest-serving monarch.

Cllr Morris even represented the district at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Coronation – where an eagle-eyed Queen Camilla told Cllr Morris that the Chair’s chain looked very smart.

Councillors across the chamber thanked Cllr Morris for representing the council across the district at Tuesday’s Annual Full Council meeting (May 23), saying she will be a tough act to follow.

Cllr Morris said: “Being Chair has been a tremendous honour and an incredible experience. It has been a privilege to represent the council at so many events and engage with many wonderful organisations, charities, volunteers, and schools - even judging competitions.

“I believe I ran all meetings competently, ensuring essential agenda items were concluded. I managed to arrange for ministers from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu faiths to lead prayers before our meetings.

“I am delighted that I have raised over £5,000 for my chosen charity Pets As Therapy, which aims to enhance people’s health and wellbeing through companion animal therapy, and thankfully the charity has seen a volunteer boost as I raised the charity’s profile locally.

“I organised a unique and emotional Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27 that saw the council chamber filled with politicians, leaders in education, and representatives from the residents’ associations throughout the district.

“To have had the Holocaust and other genocides marked in such a meaningful way by this council was my proudest moment. I hope everyone who came along will never forget.”

Cllr Morris has handed over the chain to Cllr Phil Williams, who was previously the Chair of Three Rivers District Council in 2018. The Vice-Chair will be Cllr Raj Khiroya.

Read more here on the Chair and Vice-Chair.