Councillor Jane Dowson has become the city’s 124th Lord Mayor of Leeds after unanimous support from members of all parties at the council’s annual meeting.
Born and bred in Leeds, Councillor Dowson still lives in the same house she was first brought home to as a newborn baby. She attended Pool Primary School followed by Prince Henry’s Grammar School, then as a mature student, she completed a BA (Hons) in Service Sector Management at Leeds Metropolitan University – now Leeds Beckett University – and a post-graduate qualification in Local Government modernisation.
In between school and university she had two children and now has four grandchildren. A local Councillor representing Chapel Allerton ward since 2004, Jane has been Executive Board member for Education and Deputy Executive Member for children and families for five years.
She is delighted at Leeds’ ambition to become a child friendly city. When not at work she is often to be seen singing in and around Leeds and is particularly fond of folk music. She also enjoys quizzing.
She loves theatre and attends Leeds Grand Theatre, Leeds Playhouse and City Varieties as often as she can. She is a supporter of Opera North, Phoenix Dance, Northern Ballet and also many amateur orchestras and dance groups. She is a big backer of Leeds’ bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2023.
The Lord Mayor’s consort during her year in office will be her husband, Mr Alan Bellhouse.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jane Dowson said:
“I feel immensely proud to be given the opportunity to represent our great city as Lord Mayor over the next year.
“As someone who was born and raised in Leeds to have the chance to be Lord Mayor is a huge honour, my husband Alan and I cannot wait to start our new roles and meet some of the wonderful people who live in the city through our engagements.
“This year I will be supporting the local charity Candlelighters which supports families facing children’s cancer in Yorkshire, and we are looking forward to raising lots of money to support the very special work that they do.”
Jo Shepheard, Charity Director of Candlelighters said:
“We are absolutely delighted to be chosen by the Lord Mayor as her charity for what will be an incredibly exciting year for Candlelighters.
“Our families tell us that staying in hospital can be a traumatic and scary experience for a child and having their loved ones there to comfort them and to add a sense of normality to their lives is invaluable. Families come to Leeds Children’s Hospital from a huge area in which it would be impossible to travel home each night; this can have a massive financial impact on families with the costs of travel or accommodation.
“Currently in the pre-planning stages, the Candlelighters Cottage will provide huge benefits for children with cancer and their families, but we need to raise a massive £500,000 to cover the total cost of purchasing and refurbishing the cottage. With half of this secured already through match funding, we really need support from the Leeds community to raise a further £250,000 to enable us to ensure families can stay together when they most need one another, with children having family by their side throughout their treatment.
“Every penny donated to the Lord’s Mayor Appeal will go towards the refurbishment of the Candlelighters Cottage, moving us a step nearer to achieving our dream of offering ordinary families, facing extraordinary circumstances, the chance to stand together in their fight against cancer.”