STRATFORD District Council’s outgoing chairman has praised the district’s volunteers for the contribution they make to the community.
Following his year-long term, councillor Simon Jackson officially handed over the chain of office to Coun Mike Gittus at the authority’s annual meeting on Wednesday (May 19).
Between 2014 and 2015 Coun Jackson raised approximately £8,250 for his chairman’s charities, Riding for the Disabled (Compton Verney Branch) and the Beauchamp Chapel Restoration Campaign.
And speaking as his tenure came to an end, he said his year in office had been both a “highly rewarding experience” and a “privilege.”
He told The Observer: “My term as chairman has given me a greater insight of the district and the huge range of activities that take place within it, which all help contribute to its overall vibrancy and well-being.
“It has been a privilege to be invited to attend events organised by the voluntary sector, charitable organisations, local schools, sports clubs and so on.
“Meeting the leaders and volunteers and getting to appreciate the vital contribution they make individually and collectively has been a wonderful experience for me.”
Coun Jackson, who represented the Burton Dassett ward but opted not to stand in the recent elections, admitted he was proud of the part he had played in local government for the past decade.
He added: “Being chairman for the last year has afforded me a memorable and pleasurable end to my involvement in local government as a district councillor since 2004.
“I am proud to have endeavoured to make our district an even better place to live in and although I am now entering a second retirement, I hope – after taking a short sabbatical – I may find another opportunity to contribute to our community in some way.”
Recently elected district councillor for Kinwarton, Coun Gittus will now take on the role until May 2016 and has chosen Alcester Dementia Café and Stratford Cancer and Eye Hospital £1million appeal as his chairman’s charities.
He pledged to be a hands-on chairman, who would be actively engaged in all community matters within the district.
He added he would work closely with the officers and portfoilio holders and take on the role with “diligence and enthusiasm.”
Speaking about his choice of charities, he said: “As the dementia care champion for the county council I acknowledge the care and support that our café gives not only to residents in the Alcester and district area but also in the wider Stratford district.
“I have always done my best to direct what small pockets of grant funding I’ve had towards this fantastic local, volunteer organisation and will continue to do so over the coming year.
“Stratford Hospital’s cancer and eye unit will serve the whole of Stratford district and will benefit us all. It will mean that those who suffer from these chronic conditions will be able to receive the treatment they deserve in their local area.”