Councillor Eileen Harris was made the 468th Mayor of St Albans City and District on 23 May 2012 at the Annual Council meeting. Her husband, Richard, will be her consort for the year.
Eileen has been involved in the community for a number of years and has served as a District Councillor for Sopwell Ward since 2003. She is also a governor of Mandeville Primary School, St Albans, and sits on the advisory board of the Sopwell and Verulam Children’s Centre.
For the last 15 years, she has worked voluntarily as an adviser at the Citizens Advice Bureau in St Albans.
Eileen was born in Worcester Park, Surrey. Her family then moved to Warrington in Lancashire before settling in West Hartlepool in County Durham when Eileen was five years old. Her father worked for ICI Plastics Division in Billingham and when he was transferred to the Head Office in Welwyn Garden City the family moved to St Albans. Eileen joined her father at ICI and worked there for eleven years. She married Richard in 1968. They have two children, James and Eleanor and a granddaughter Rose. Her daughter Eleanor joined Eileen as a councillor for Batchwood Ward from 2004 to 2008 but had to step down when her work as a barrister made it impossible for her to continue.
Eileen’s education was interrupted by the family’s move south and so in 1989 she started studying part time for a BSc Hons degree in Law and Business at the University of Hertfordshire which she completed successfully in 1994. Eileen has worked in a variety of jobs which have included team leader of a technical registry, college lecturing and market research. She has always been involved in voluntary work.
The Mayor’s charities are Shelter, Centre 33 and Special Olympics St Albans. Eileen knows that there is nothing more important than having a home and Shelter is a homelessness charity that runs a housing helpline, has a network of housing aid centres, and works with local Citizens Advice bureaux. Centre 33 is a drop-in centre run entirely by a dedicated staff of volunteers where homeless and socially or materially disadvantaged people can enjoy a free meal in a friendly environment. Special Olympics St Albans provides year-round training and competition in a variety of Olympic type sports for people eight years of age and older with a learning disability.
Eileen loves family life. She is a very keen gardener. She enjoys doing DIY. She enjoys reading, music of all kinds and holidays in Teesdale. Since being elected as a Sopwell councillor she has researched the history of this area and has shared her enthusiasm and knowledge in annual walks organised by the Sopwell Residents Association. She is also researching her own family history.
Eileen is honoured to be the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, a place she loves, and is looking forward to carrying out all her civic duties and meeting as many residents of the District as she can during this very special year.
Cllr Eileen Harris, The Right Worshipful the Mayor of St Albans City & District.