Most countries and nations have a wide variety of traditions and ceremonies that date back many years.
They are part of the glue that holds us together, reminds us of our history, honours those who have ‘done their bit’ on a large scale or on a small local scale and remind us that in order to make progress we tread a path from the past into the present.
They also remind us not to ‘throw out the baby with the bath water’ so we respect what is best from the past as a firm foundation for the future.
Respect for the past and for the people who have served this town faithfully for many years, and magnanimity in victory, does not seem to be part of the thinking of the two very new councillors who placed a letter in the Whitby Gazette recently.
They are obviously not ‘Whitby people’, having lived here only a very short time and so can perhaps be forgiven for their lack of knowledge of those who were on the council before them; but their ignorance and rudeness is another matter.
Councillor Dorothy Clegg, for example, can in no way be called a failed councillor.
She has served this town faithfully and wholeheartedly for over 40 years.
It is self-evident that someone who has been elected time and time again, firstly in 1972 to Whitby Town Council and then in 1983 to the Borough Council – with a further overlap of eight years during which she was serving on both councils – can hardly be called a failed councillor.
She has also twice been Whitby Town Mayor, and then Deputy Mayor of the Borough and in 2000 was asked to be borough mayor.
Further to this, in 1972 she became an adviser for the local Citizens Advice Bureau and has also worked with three charities (one in Scarborough and two in Whitby) and served on the Community Health Council for the borough-wide hospital service.
She was a teacher at one of the local schools before giving up to become a full time glassmaker at the Whitby Glass Shop, which she has run for the last 40 years.
However, she kept her links with education, becoming a governor at two local schools.
She has always cared deeply about Whitby and its people and worked unstintingly without thought of honours, prestige, money or iPads. Incidentally, iPads were distributed to help cut down on paper, postage and other costs.
Dorothy Clegg has never had a shadow of any kind over her life and to suggest that they voted against her getting the Alderman honour because she, or any of the others, may have tainted pasts like Jimmy Savile or Peter Jaconneli, is really kicking below the belt.
However, it doesn’t matter that they voted against, the others on the council have voted for.
Dorothy, who is into her 80s now and not presently in the best of health, though her intellect would certainly rival either of these men, was not going to stand but was persuaded by people who wanted her to continue her long and faithful service.
She has always operated an ‘Open Door’ policy in her work and local people from across the town have come, and still come to ask her help in all sorts of matters.
The above only covers a part of Dorothy’s achievements over the years she has served the people of Whitby, but as they say they don’t know her personally.
The town council website states: Whitby Town Council was established in 1974 after the Whitby Urban District and Whitby Rural District was disbanded due to The Local Government Act 1972. Out of this came Scarborough Borough Council and Whitby Town Council.
Dorothy Clegg was there at the beginning and throughout, could anyone expect more?