The Worshipful Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Tony Vourou, gives the Councillors their Long Service Awards.
Four Barnet councillors have been given long service awards after notching up more than 100 years of service between them.

The accolades were given to Eva Greenspan (Conservatives), Kath McGuirk (Labour), Gill Sargeant (Labour) and Geof Cooke (Labour) at a meeting of Barnet’s Full Council yesterday evening (Tuesday 9 July).

The Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Barry Rawlings, said: “Those of us who have seen the work and service of Cllrs Cooke, Greenspan, McGuirk and Sargeant, close up these last decades know how much they have given to the borough. From schools and housing, to road safety and arts and culture, Barnet is better for their time and dedication. They have impacted thousands of lives positively between them. They have been a pleasure to serve alongside. I would like to take this opportunity to thank, and to congratulate them for their many years of service to the local community.”

The Leader of the Conservative Group at Barnet Council, Cllr Peter Zinkin, said: “The dedication and commitment shown by Cllrs Greenspan, Cooke, McGuirk, and Sargeant over the years have been truly inspirational. Their tireless efforts have significantly contributed to the betterment of our community, from enhancing educational opportunities to improving local amenities and supporting our elderly residents.

“I especially would like to highlight Cllr Greenspan’s long and respected tenure on our planning committees. Cllrs Greenspan, Cooke, McGuirk and Sargeant’s long service is a testament to their unwavering passion for public service, and we are all deeply grateful for their invaluable contributions.”

Cllr Greenspan was first elected in 1990 and has served in roles including Chair of Planning during her decades of service. She has been a governor for five schools, contributing to the strategic direction of educational institutions and striving to provide quality education for all students. Her governorship roles span more than 30 years in total.

She is trustee of multiple housing associations, working to ensure affordable and quality housing is available to those in need, and just started a charity called Kosher School Meals. She is Chairman of the Barnet Ramat Gan, strengthening ties and fostering collaboration between Barnet and its twin city, Israel’s Ramat Gan. She also served as Mayor of Barnet in 2006-07.

Cllr McGuirk was elected to St Paul’s ward in 1994 and has continually served the area – as representative of its successor ward of West Finchley since 2002 – ever since. She is very proud to have been elected on the same day as the first free elections in South Africa.

She held the Culture and Environment portfolios on the council between 1998 and 2004, helping oversee the establishment of the North Finchley artsdepot and launch doorstep recycling.

She helped establish the East Barnet Festival and expand the East Finchley Festival into the huge event it is now.

Cllr Sargeant was elected as a Colindale representative in 1994 when it was small, suburban, and just one ward. Now it’s two, she represents Colindale South, the second largest council ward in London.

During this time of growth, she supported Colindale by becoming a founder member of the Colindale Community Trust, a founder governor of The Orion School in Grahame Park Way and saw them becoming major organisations in Colindale. She later used this experience at the council as Chair of its Housing Scrutiny group and Vice Chair of its economic development group.

As Mayor of Barnet in 2000-2001, she saw her charity Safe Start open its first hostel in Barnet for young homeless people.

She is now Barnet’s Age Champion. In this role, she works with Barnet Age UK to ensure the borough is a place where residents can get the services and support they need as they age.

Cllr Cooke was first elected in 1978 and has served the communities of Colindale, Brunswick Park and Woodhouse in more than 30 years as a local representative. In his first term, he served on Housing and General Purposes committees, and as Labour Group Leader. In 1998-2002, he served variously as member of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee and as Cabinet Member for Environment, championing local transport and road safety.

Since 2006 he has had a range of roles on Audit, Pensions, Policy and Resources, Constitution and General Purposes, Health Overview and Scrutiny, Environment, and Corporate Joint Negotiation and Consultation Committees. He also served as the Labour Group Chief Whip.

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