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New Hungerford mayor: 'This is for you, dad'

'Best birthday present ever' as Helen takes council's top job

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

New mayor: 'This is for you, dad'

HUNGERORD has a new mayor.

Councillor Helen Simpson, who has been serving as deputy mayor to Keith Knight, was elected unopposed at a full meeting of Hungerford Town Council on Tuesday night.

The decision was unanimous and mother-of-two Mrs Simpson, who celebrated her 47th birthday yesterday (Wednesday), said: “It’s the best birthday present ever.”

After getting a congratulatory hug from her eldest son Alex, aged 20, she said: “This is for you, dad.”

Mrs Simpson explained afterwards: “My father, David Bailey, knew that I was planning to join the council and he always said: ‘If you do, go for the top job – mayor.’ 

“I promised him that, when the time came, I would. We lost dad three years ago, so I stood for mayor in his memory.”

The position of deputy mayor, which was contested by Mr Knight and Carolann Farrell, fell to the former.

Councillor John Downe said: “These things can feel a bit clinical at times, so I’d like to thank Keith for his work as mayor.

“Obviously he’s spent a lot of time and energy and has achieved many things for the benefit of this council.”

His remarks were greeted by a round of applause for Mr Knight.

Mrs Simpson joined the council in May 2016 and has been instrumental, with Mr Knight and others, in helping to save the library for the town.

She said: “Keith and I are a great team and we’re on the same wavelength, so we’ll carry on working together for the town as usual.”

Mrs Simpson said she wanted the town council to be an inclusive organisation and that she wanted to encourage younger people to join for the fresh perspective they could bring.

Setting out her stall on joining the council in 2016, she said: “I’d like to engage the whole town more often on important town issues.

“We also need to make sure our town continues to thrive and grow in this sometimes difficult environment, whilst continuing to protect the diverse and unique place we are lucky enough to live in.”

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