NEWLY elected chairman of North Yorkshire County Council Councillor Stuart Martin says he is keen to support businesses, organisations and charities as they emerge out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Martin, a retired firefighter, and grandfather, was elected chairman for the coming 12 months at the annual general meeting of the county council at the online meeting on May 5.

He said: “I am looking forward to supporting organisations and charities as much as possible as we open up and I am looking at setting up a chairman’s fund, because so many charities have taken such a hit over the last 18 months.

“It is essential that the civic side of things carries on and whoever is in this role continues to support businesses and the community.

“I know from previously being mayor of Ripon and of Harrogate district how appreciative businesses and organisations are of that support.”

Cllr Martin, who sits on the Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee and the Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “It is vital we open slowly and don’t try to rush things, but as things open up I am keen to help. I think it is important that we all try to do our bit to help.”

Cllr Martin hopes to find an opportunity to mark both VE Day and VJ Day appropriately to recognise the sacrifices made by individuals in the Second World War, as last year the pandemic curtailed major commemorations.

Married, with two children and six grandchildren, he has been a county councillor since 2017 and represents Ripon South division, he is also a member of Harrogate Borough Council and Ripon City Council.

The new deputy chairman of the council is Cllr Margaret Atkinson, who represents the Masham and Fountains division on the council.