Lorna Kercher: Salutes from all political parties at stalwart councillor’s last meeting

Lorna Kercher, who is retiring as a councillor after 30 years next month. Picture: Kevin Lines

Lorna Kercher, who is retiring as a councillor after 30 years next month. Picture: Kevin Lines - Credit: Archant

Councillors from across the political spectrum paid tribute last night to a stalwart colleague who was attending her final meeting after 30 years.

Former North Herts District Council chairman Lorna Kercher, who has represented Labour in Letchworth and Hitchin wards since 1988, is retiring ahead of next month’s elections at the age of 78.

And at the meeting for all councillors at Letchworth’s historic Spirella Ballroom, Ms Kercher was clearly touched by the warm words from members of all parties – saying she hadn’t realised how well she was liked.

Salutes were led by Labour group leader Frank Radcliffe – who is also stepping down next month, and thanked Ms Kercher for all her advice, support and work over the years.

Councillor Julian Cunningham from the controlling Conservative group fondly recalled discussions he had had with Ms Kercher, saying: “Our politics are far apart, but Lorna has been a superb councillor as she self-evidently cares about people.”

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Council leader Lynda Needham similarly said she and Ms Kercher had become great friends despite their different politics.

Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Paul Clark added that he echoed all the sentiments, and summed Ms Kercher up as “a friend to everyone”.

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All were united in wishing her a long and happy retirement.

Ms Kercher said a highlight of her years in politics was when as district council chairman in 1998, she went by train with other dignitaries to Edinburgh – and was met with a carpet and pipers before they met the provost.

But what gave her the most satisfaction, she said, was helping her constituents and doing voluntary work.

As well as being a district and county councillor, she has been a mainstay for causes like Letchworth’s Howard Garden Social Centre – and she thanked several Conservative councillors for their help with fundraising.

She also stressed how she had enjoyed working with Mrs Needham on the board of the town’s Heritage Foundation.

“We can work across the political divide for the benefit of the people of Hertfordshire,” said Ms Kercher, adding that she and her Labour colleagues believed in “justice for the many, not the few.”

The meeting also saluted outgoing councillors Ray Shakespeare-Smith and Jane Gray from the Conservative group, and Frank Radcliffe, Sandra Lunn and Adrian Smith from Labour.

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