A METHODIST minister who was at the heart of inter-faith work in Bradford for many years has become the new Lord Mayor of Bradford.

Councillor Geoff Reid (Lib Dem, Eccleshill) was elected to the role in front of assembled dignitaries at City Hall today. He will take over from outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr Joanne Dodds.

Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, nominated Cllr Reid for the role.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

She said: “Geoff Reid will bring a depth to the role of Lord Mayor which finds its roots in his history as a Methodist minister, a politician, a collaborative writer, a visitor to pubs and his love of public transport.”

She said Cllr Reid’s 39 years as a minister had seen him working in some of the poorest communities in the north of England, as well as playing a key role in inter-faith project Touchstone for 15 years and helping to set up Bradford’s first food bank.

She said: “Geoff has never been afraid of difficult situations.

“He spent the night of the 2001 Bradford riots on White Abbey Road with the Rector of Manningham and the director of Bradford Community Broadcasting, at one point retreating from the bus shelter into somebody’s front room as the petrol bombs rained down behind the police lines.

“The following morning he was helping churches come to terms with the night’s events and was at the heart of helping the churches respond to what had happened.”

Cllr Reid, who hails from Newcastle and came to Bradford 22 years ago, said: “I respond to the call with enthusiasm and excitement and I thank you for the trust that you have placed in me.

“Bradford can inspire us sometimes, it can infuriate us sometimes. There is wonderful history and culture for us to draw on while there are sometimes uncertainties and challenges about the future.

“As a city it is never, never boring and we love it.”

Cllr Reid paid tribute to his predecessor, saying outgoing Lord Mayor Joanne Dodds had “had a great year because she has been herself and people have discovered who she is”.

Cllr Reid said he was part of a long tradition of Methodists in local politics, which also included Cllr Dodds and new council leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe.

But he said he was always careful not to mix religion with politics.

He said: “While I offer the new leader of the council my warmest congratulations on her appointment, I welcome the fact that she has heard me preach at Windhill and she knows that I do not preach party politics from the pulpit any more than I preach Christianity in a political gathering.

“It just does not work like that and I am an implacable opponent of any attempt to use religion for party political purposes.”

One of Cllr Reid’s first duties as Lord Mayor was to lead a minute’s silence for Cllr Lynne Smith, who died on Sunday after a long illness.

He said: “I would like to place on record our gratitude for Lynne’s unstinting service.

“She will be very sadly missed, not only by her family and friends, but by all in this chamber and by the many people she so ably represented.”

Cllr Reid revealed that the good cause he had chosen for this year’s Lord Mayor’s Appeal was children’s mental health charity YoungMinds.

He said mental health was now rightfully gaining as much prominence as physical health, while Bradford had a growing young population.

After the meeting, Cllr Reid said: “As well as my Lord Mayor’s Appeal raising funds for the charity, I also want to raise the profile of Young Minds within the district, to help Bradford children, young people and their parents to make use of the services Young Minds has to offer.”

Jane Case, the charity’s Northern Hub development manager, said: “YoungMinds is pleased and excited to be named as the Lord Mayor’s charity.

“This is so timely, as now more than ever it is recognised that children and young people are under increasing pressures, and the need for positive emotional wellbeing and mental health are foundational to them fulfilling their potential.”

The Lady Mayoress for the year will be Cllr Reid’s wife, Chris.

Mrs Reid served as a Liberal Democrat councillor for Idle and Thackley from 2010 to 2014.