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Councillor Valerie Binney defies illness to carry on
A councillor has paid tribute to a senior politician and former Lord Mayor of Bradford who is still serving constituents while fighting a serious debilitating disease.
Councillor Valerie Binney (Con, Thornton) was diagnosed with the muscle-wasting motor neurone disease last year. Despite losing the ability to talk on the telephone, she is still serving those who elected her.
She communicates using an iPad with special software that lets her type in words that are projected as a voice.
The 74-year-old gets about with a wheelchair and an adapted car. Her wheelchair is hoisted in and out of a box on the car roof using a remote control.
Earlier this year Coun Binney spoke of her determination to carry on with her work, despite the disease. She intends to stay as a ward councillor until next May and plans to raise awareness of the condition, which progressively damages the nervous system, causing muscles to waste away.
Coun Binney has been involved in politics for almost 40 years and a councillor for 17.
A tribute concert to her took place at Allerton Congregational Church in May. Now Coun Jackie Whiteley (Con, Wharfedale) has saluted the courage and determination of her fellow councillor and friend.
Coun Whiteley said: “Councillor Binney was diagnosed with motor neurone disease 12 months ago and her physical deterioration has been swift.
“It is a cruel disease that affects muscle activity such as speaking, walking, breathing and swallowing. “Otherwise Valerie is as she has always been – a clever and caring lady well known throughout Bradford for her work. She was elected in 1982 and was Lord Mayor in 2005-6.
“Valerie is determined to carry on and make adaptations to her daily life. She has mastered the use of an iPad with specialist software.
“This has enabled her to continue her committee work, most notably in the often-contentious Regulatory and Appeals Committee. “Valerie continues to deal with issues raised by residents in Thornton and Allerton. The best way to contact her is by email at Valerie.binney@bradford.
gov.uk or by texting her on 07730304349.
“A courageous and determined lady who must be an inspiration to us all.”