TAMESIDE Council has appointed Brenda Warrington as the local authority’s first ever female leader.
Cllr Warrington also becomes the first female chair of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund in its 95-year history. At £23 billion it’s the largest local government pension scheme in the UK.
The Denton West councillor’s selection was approved at an extraordinary council meeting on January 31.
Councillor Warrington was elected by a resounding majority as leader of the ruling Labour group at the weekend.
Cllr Warrington’s election as Tameside’s first female leader comes as the nation marks 100 years of women’s suffrage – when women gained the right to vote.
She is proud to become the third female council leader in Greater Manchester.
Cllr Warrington said: “I’m quite excited about the prospect, though I’m not here because I’m a woman – I’m a person who was elected to do the job and I happen to be a woman. I hope that more and more women are able to achieve senior positions and top jobs.
“I’m not afraid of hard work and to tackle the difficult issues and I care about people, particularly those who are more vulnerable.”
Cllr Warrington replaces Cllr Kieran Quinn, who died on Christmas Day at Tameside General Hospital. Cllr Quinn, who had been Tameside Council leader for seven years, collapsed on December 23, while delivering cards in his Droylsden East ward. He was laid to rest on January 22 after a requiem mass attended by more than 600 people.
Cllr Warrington wants to continue Cllr Quinn’s legacy while implementing her own ideas.
She said: “It’s tinged with sadness. Nobody would have ever anticipated such a tragic and sudden death. But the world continues and we have to go ahead with the business of electing a new leader.
“Kieran was an absolutely superb leader. He had lots of energy and good ideas, was innovative, passionate and a hard worker. He didn’t expect anyone to do something he wasn’t prepared to do himself and I admired that in him. He was the ultimate politician and I believe he would expect us to follow his example and continue his good work and do the very best for Tameside.
“I want to follow in making Tameside a better place but I know that I will have ideas of my own and may be different in how I go about it. I will try to ensure that all the councillors are as involved as they can be in any changes going forward. We have to involve people and utilise the skills that exist. I’m always happy to listen to people’s views and ideas.
“I’m up for the job and prepared for the responsibility and I have got very good colleagues and councillors working with me. Working together we will continue to strive to make Tameside a good and healthy place to live and improve the lives of residents.
“I want to ensure that the projects already in play continue to conclusion, such as Vision Tameside and the Wellbeing Centre in Denton, which will shape the neighbourhood footprints within the health and social care agenda.”
An urgent priority is to ensure the business of running the council continues uninterrupted following Carillion’s liquidation and to support their former staff.
Cllr Warrington was first elected in 2002 and became executive member for adult services in 2008. She has served as the council’s lead member for health and external relations and scrutiny as well as being chair of the personal and health services scrutiny panel.
Cllr Warrington will continue to serve as executive member for adult social care and wellbeing as well as leader.
Under that role she was responsible for the integration of health and social care and merging the council and Tameside and Glossop CCG.
She added: “I will still keep that brief as leader as I want to finish what I started.”
Cllr Warrington served as deputy mayor in 2008/09 and mayor in 2012/13.
She is the health portfolio holder on GM Combined Authority where she was also Cllr Quinn’s deputy.
She has held roles and been involved in many organisations and community groups, including as a school governor at Denton West Primary School and Two Trees Community College, continuing that role when it merged with Egerton Park College to become Denton Community College, and helped establish Friends of Granada Park and Friends of Thornley Park.
The grandmother-of-two was born and brought up in Denton and still lives in the town. She attended St Anne’s Primary School and Fairfield High School for Girls.
Married to Graham for 45 years, the couple have a son David, a senior paramedic, and grandchildren Mathew (19), who is studying biochemistry at St Andrew’s University, and Aimee (17) who attends Aquinas College in Stockport.
As well as spending time with her family she enjoys walking, sailing, skiing, reading, gardening and visiting the Lake District in her spare time and looking after her pets, including tropical fish and many adopted cats and dogs.