Councillor Geoff Reid was born on the same day in 1946 as Freddie Mercury, in a two room flat in the Scotswood Road area of Newcastle upon Tyne. His father, who had returned from five years as a Prisoner of War to become a leading light of the Tyneside Anglo-German Friendship Society, joined a self-build group of 32 men who completed 32 houses in their spare time and the young Geoff moved across the city to North Heaton, eventually attending Heaton Grammar School. In the 1950s he came with Newcastle Methodist Mission Poor Children’s Summer Camp to Ilkley.
The Lord Mayor holds degrees in English Language and Literature from Newcastle University (1965-1968) and in Theology from Cambridge University, where he trained as a Methodist Minister at Wesley House - technically a member of Fitzwilliam College (1968-1971). As a student in Newcastle he was part of the winning team in the Methodist Public Speaking competition of 1968, for which the semi-final was held at Woodhouse Grove School. After ministerial training, he served in Wallsend (1971-73), Rotherham (1973-79), Barnsley (Barnsley Team Ministry 1979-1986) and Salford (Salford Urban Mission 1986-1994).
In 1994 he moved to Bradford to become Team Leader at Touchstone, a project based in Merton Road, specialising in city issues and interfaith work. In 1985, on behalf of the Bradford Churches, he wrote the Powerful Whispers Report on the Bradford Urban Hearings with Elaine Appelbee. This led to the Centenary to Millennium Project (C2M), helping to empower individuals and local communities across the District, a time-limited project which he chaired. In his final years at Touchstone, he played a key role in the development of BEACON - Bradford Ecumenical Asylum Concern. While at Touchstone he edited the Faith Matters column in the Telegraph and Argus. In 2001 he spent the night of the Bradford riots with Canon George Moffatt on White Abbey Road. In 2003-2004 he was Chaplain to the Lord Mayor, Councillor Allan Irvine Hillary. In 2008 he became an Honorary Ecumenical Canon of Bradford Cathedral. In 2009, the year of his retirement, he received a Community Harmony Award.
In Wallsend Municipal Borough in the final year before re-organisation he was a co-opted member of the Social Services Committee. As Chair of Age Concern Barnsley he played a key role in the expansion of the organisation and subsequently did the same as Vice-Chair of Bradford Nightstop.
After 20 months in temporary accommodation, Chris and Geoff moved into Woodfield Close, Idle when he became a first-time owner-occupier, the same year as he received the state pension! He has two children from a previous marriage, Ben and Cathie, both living in Sheffield, and three grandchildren, Dominic, Katie and Amy.
The Lord Mayor’s 39 years as a full-time Methodist Minister were spent entirely in the cities and Metropolitan Districts of the North. For some years he was a member of the Methodist Conference, the church’s governing body, where he was a regarded variously as “the voice of the north”, team ministry specialist and experienced urban missioner. While in Barnsley he shared in a scheme of community living, with two ministers and their families occupying one manse, and helped to write a book about the 1980s miners’ strike.
He was a parliamentary candidate for Rother Valley (October 1974), Barnsley Central (1983) and Eccles (1992). In 2010 he was elected as a Councillor in Eccleshill and re-elected in 2014. He has been Group Chair since 2011. Also since 2011, he has chaired Eccleshill Community Association, based at Eccleshill Mechanics’ Institute. He is the only member of the Council active in Bradford CAMRA, having been a member of the Campaign for Real Ale since the early 1980s. He appeared in the 1992 Good Beer Guide following a successful campaign for a community pub in Salford. Understandably, therefore, his favourite tipple is real ale (draught or bottle-conditioned), but he does enjoy the occasional Island malt whisky. He is a long-time student of public transport organisation, having received his first bus timetable at the age of seven, which stimulated a friendship with the late Councillor Stanley King.
The Lord Mayor has been an enthusiast for newspapers since he looked after them in his school library. His first real journalistic experience was an Easter piece for the Wallsend News. He has read the Guardian on a daily basis since 1963, occasionally appearing in the letters column. He collects the paper along with the T&A from Idle Co-op at 7am, returning home to serve the first coffee of the day, which is brewing during his short walk up and down the hill. He is an unpaid book reviewer for the Methodist Recorder and has been a Press Officer for more organisations than he cares to remember, including the Alliance of Radical Methodists. A devout Radio 4 listener, he enjoys appearing on local radio. On one Sunday in Barnsley he conducted the Radio 4 morning service.
He has been a member of Standards Committee since he joined the Council. He has also served on Bradford Planning, Children’s Services Scrutiny and Bradford East Area Committee. He was a member of the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority until its abolition and has also been a member of Bradford SACRE (Standing Committee on Religious Education).
He never drinks tea - always coffee - and his only allergy is the effect of someone peeling an orange in his presence which affects his eyes.
The Lord Mayor speaks passable school French and German and has a knowledge of Latin, New Testament Greek, Old/Middle English and Old Icelandic. He also took a one year course in basic Urdu.
As a student he travelled to Czechoslovakia, Poland and Rome (which included an official visit to the Vatican). Holiday visits over the years have included Brussels, Pyrenees, Rochefort, the Vosges, Ireland, Tunisia, Corfu and Cyprus, various Spanish resorts and Bruges (twice).
In his leisure time, he enjoys visits to the theatre (though he sadly reflects this has declined in recent years). He is a regular viewer of ‘Pointless’, ‘University Challenge’, ‘Mastermind’ and is a great admirer of Sir David Attenborough’s work.
When he eventually retires from the Council, he plans to devote more time to his writing and a long term ambition would be to change the electoral system for Westminster – though he ruefully admits he knows his own limitations!
Chris Reid was born in Barnsley and attended Barnsley Technical School. Having gained RSA qualifications in shorthand/typing and other fields, she then worked for various employers in the Barnsley area. She later worked at the Methodist Church Property Office in Manchester, the Baptist Missionary Society and Insurance Brokers in Bradford and was, at her retirement, a Secretary/Administrator.
She has two sons, Duncan and Darren, from a previous marriage, one grandson and two great grandchildren all in Barnsley. The Lady Mayoress also has a widowed sister and nephew in Barnsley and a niece in Sunderland.
She is a Methodist and is a member of the choir at Cornerstone Methodist/URC, Great Horton, Bradford. She is also part of a singing group ‘Free Spirit’ and is often the soprano soloist. She has held many positions within the local Methodist church – variously Circuit Steward, Circuit Secretary, Church Steward, Church Council Secretary, pastoral visitor, pianist, cleaner, etc. Many years ago, as a young wife, she was Secretary of the Young Wives’ Group and, at one time, looked after files for all Methodist graveyards!
The Lady Mayoress has years of experience as a Sunday School teacher and singing in church choirs. In Barnsley, she was a strong supporter of the pioneering (and sometimes controversial) Team Ministry, eventually marrying one of the ministers.
While in Salford, she was a member of the Community Health Council and a volunteer at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. She sang with Bury Choral Society and Egerton Ladies. She has been a local election candidate in Salford and Bradford and was elected to serve the Idle and Thackley Ward in Bradford between 2010 and 2014.
Causes close to heart are Action for Children and the Salvation Army.
Holiday travel has included visits to Rochefort, the Vosges, Ireland, Tunisia, Corfu and Cyprus. Trips to various Spanish resorts, Bruges (twice), Memphis, New Orleans, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, Athens, Rome and Turkey have also been made.
She has a wide taste in music, from classical, pop, choral, to brass band music – in fact everything from Elvis to the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, via Mahler! She occasionally attends ballet and theatre productions and is a fan of crime fiction, the G2 section of The Guardian, loves to listen to Brian Matthew on Radio 2 on Saturday mornings and Ken Bruce through the week. For relaxation, the Lady Mayoress enjoys playing the piano and, of course, singing.
She is not partial to pineapple, courgettes or aubergine, avoids ratatouille and prefers coffee to tea. She enjoys an occasional glass of dry red wine (preferably Shiraz).
Her favourite flowers are fuchsias, roses and freesias but she has a strong dislike of lilies!