School groundsman becomes Mayor of Bideford

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At a meeting in the town hall last night (Thursday), town councillors unanimously elected the unopposed Councillor Simon Inch, who represents Bideford South.

The role of deputy fell to Bideford North ward member Cllr David Fulford, who won a show of hand contest with Cllr Andy Powell.

Councillor Inch, who served as deputy last term, was proposed by his younger brother, Cllr Tony Inch, himself a former Mayor of Bideford.

Mr Inch said: "Simon has done a wonderful job as deputy mayor of this town and I think he'd make a wonderful Mayor."

Accepting the mayoral chains, Mr Inch, who works as a groundsman at Pilton Community College in Barnstaple, thanked fellow councillors for their support.

He added: "I will do my utmost to carry out the civic duties required to the best of my ability."

The new Mayor will be ceremonially welcomed at a special event taking place in the town hall on Thursday, May 24.

A Mayor's parade will follow on Sunday, May 27 at 10am.

Outgoing Mayor Cllr Trevor Johns said he had enjoyed an 'eventful' year with many highlights to look back on.

He said: "It's been an amazing year and I've met lots of very interesting people who I would never have had the opportunity to have met before.

"It's broadened my horizons as to what civic life is all about."

Mr Johns said worldwide media coverage of the town council prayers High Court case, and the coming of the Antiques Roadshow to Hartland had helped raise Bideford's profile.

"Bideford hit the headlines and I think the notoriety the town gained helped put us on the map.

"We were invited to civic dinners in Dartmouth and Exeter for the first time so I think people thought we were worthy of a visit."

Mr Johns said he had been able to raise a 'tidy' sum of money for the North Devon Chemotherapy Appeal and would be announcing the final fund-raising total at next week's handover ceremony.

"I am grateful to the public who have been so generous in their giving," he said.

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