Reflections on service as Larkhall councillor – Lin Patterson

Lin Patterson – a Bath Quaker – has just stepped down after a term of service as Green Party Councillor for Larkhall Ward in Bath & NE Somerset DC. Here she recalls some favourite moments.

One thing I experienced over four years as a councillor is continually feeling I was not doing enough. There were council and committee briefings and meetings, party obligations, as well as constituency work, while continuing to work part time privately. So now that I am no longer in office, (through my own choice, as I did not intend more than one term), I comfort myself by looking back on some highlights which I will treasure and am grateful to have been involved in.

Lin Patterson on Westminster Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion action.

The first that springs easily to mind was the planting of a Peace Tree in the green ”Back Field” or Larkhall Rec. I didn’t initiate the idea – that was from a Junior School teacher – but I helped to organise and fundraise for it, inviting dignitaries and giving a short speech. It amounted to an impressive outdoor ceremony for Junior and Infant school children, commemorating those who died in WWI.

Another rewarding effort was a Poetry Competition I organised with a few others, notably Beaufort Bookshop, on the subject of the Environment and Nature. This engaged with all age categories including local schools, for the 2018 Larkhall Festival, culminating in a performance of winning poems at the Rondo Theatre.

For a hopefully lasting legacy, and using a small fund allocated to each councillor for local projects, I funded the creation of a wildlife pond nestled amongst new allotments in Fairfield Park.

More recently I was invited to support a new grassroots group, Family Action on Climate Emergency, FACE (a name I suggested!) which is powered by young mothers mostly, who took the Climate Emergency petition I initiated to their hearts and helped achieve the 2500 signatures to urge B&NES council to pass their Climate Emergency Declaration. Along with that was some manoeuvring behind the scenes to enable that to pass, although others took a more substantial role.

Friends will remember the successful April Climate Hustings, with which Friends so amazingly engaged: endorsing, funding, stewarding and staunchly supporting, and which will hopefully lead to further organising of those who signed up to help hold the council to account.

So the gratifying memories are not those generating political headlines, but more intimate encounters simply to be helping in small ways.

I encourage Friends to consider becoming a councillor, as Winston Duguid has successfully done in the May local election, to continue a Quaker contribution to our local government.

Here Councillor Lin Patterson keeps the people of Larkhall ward up to date with local events (photo: via Somerset Live)

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