St Helens councillor to return to chamber next year after brain surgery

Coun Jeanie Bell
Coun Jeanie Bell
Share this article

A Newton-le-Willows councillor is due to return to the council in the New Year following brain surgery.

Labour councillor Jeanie Bell, the former St Helens Council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, has been out of action since July following major surgery to remove a brain tumour.

If an elected member fails to attend a meeting of the authority for six consecutive months, they cease to be a member unless the council approves the reason for the absence before the end of the six-month period.

On Wednesday evening at an extraordinary meeting of the council, members approved Coun Bell’s absence due to ill-health.

Council leader Derek Long said: “As is well known, Coun Jeanie Bell has been on leave from the council due to a serious operation.

“I’m delighted to say that Coun Bell is recuperating well and should re-join us as an active member in the New Year.”

Coun Bell’s recovery has been particularly fraught following complications including recently being hospitalised with pneumonia.

The licensing and environmental protection committee chairman now appears to be on the road to recovery and is looking forward to making her return to the council.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporter Service, Coun Bell said: “It’s been a tough few months dealing with my surgery and complications that followed, including brain infections, pneumonia and seizures.

“But I am so glad it’s behind me and I am looking forward to getting back into work and supporting my residents.”

Coun Bell said the care she has received at the Walton Centre in Liverpool has been “outstanding” and said hospital staff have been “simply incredible”.

The mum-of-three said: “I ended up in hospital three times and my last stay was for 12 days, so it’s been challenging to say the least.

“The support I have received from family, friends and colleagues has kept me positive and buoyant even in the darkest moments, where you can’t face another cannula in your arm, and the medication makes you feel worse than the surgery.

“Brain tumour diagnosis and treatment has a huge impact on family and the St Helens Young Carers have provided my children with people to talk to and a place that they have been able to get help and support.

“I can’t ever thank them enough for the compassion they have shown my family.

“It’s such a vital service for the children of our borough.”