Longtime Derbyshire Dales councillor caps return to politics with ceremonial civic chairman role

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Derbyshire Dales District Council has chosen a familiar face to represent its new political era by naming this year’s ceremonial civic chairman as a councillor who last wore the chain of office 28 years ago.

Councillor David Burton, a Liberal Democrat from the Darley Dale ward, was elected successor to Councillor Graham Elliott on Thursday, May 25, at the first full meeting of the council since the elections handed power to a ‘progressive alliance’ of Lib Dem, Labour and Green members. He will also co-chair the planning committee.

He can expect to represent the authority at more than 50 official engagements over the next 12 months and spearhead fundraising efforts for his chosen charity, the Send A Child To Hucklow Fund, which gives disadvantaged children their first experience of the countryside on holidays at the Nightingale Centre in Great Hucklow.

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Coun Burton, whose support for the fund has brought two groups a year to the centre for the past 25 years, said: “These children come from some of the most deprived areas within the UK, selected by local school heads with social services.”

Councillor Burton, left, receiving the chain of office from Graham ElliottCouncillor Burton, left, receiving the chain of office from Graham Elliott
Councillor Burton, left, receiving the chain of office from Graham Elliott

His election to the role caps a remarkable return to public life for Coun Burton, who first won a seat on the council in 1979. He was last elected to serve as civic chairman in 1995, and continued serving the community until standing down for family reasons in 2015.

He decided to reenter the political fray due to his overwhelming frustration with the council’s previous Tory administration and their counterparts in Westminster.

Politics have always played an important part in Coun Burton’s family. His grandfather, Alderman William Kaye, was the last Freeman of the old Municipal Borough of Mansfield, and his mother, Sheila Burton, was Mayor of Matlock in 2000.

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He and his wife Ruth have lived in Two Dales for the past 43 years. During that time, he has developed a deep interest in local history, largely owing to his friendship with neighbour and noted author the late Crichton Porteous.

Accepting the chain of office, he paid tribute to retiring predecessor Coun Elliott, saying: “There has been a lot of respect for the manner you represented our area Graham. We express our profound thanks and wish you well.”

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