New chairman and vice chairman at Sidmouth Town Council

Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards with outgoing chairman Cllr Jeff Turner. Photo by Kyle Baker.

Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards with outgoing chairman Cllr Jeff Turner. Photo by Kyle Baker. - Credit: Archant

A new chairman has taken the reins after ‘perhaps the longest apprenticeship’ in the history of Sidmouth Town Council.

Sidmouth Town Council chairman Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards with his vice chairman, Cllr John Dys

Sidmouth Town Council chairman Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards with his vice chairman, Cllr John Dyson. Photo by Kyle Baker. - Credit: Archant

Whoever is vice-chairman typically steps up to the top job after the two-year tenure, but business commitments got in the way last time for Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards.

After serving in the deputy post for a second time, on Monday he was voted in as the chairman of the council, replacing Cllr Jeff Turner.

Cllr John Dyson was voted in as vice-chairman for the next two years.

Proposing the new chairman, Cllr John Hollick, who has previously filled the role, said: “Ian, you are taking on not an easy task, but I know you will be an impartial referee. A past chairman told me the first year is a learning curve. Hopefully, your second year you will enjoy.”


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He said Cllr McKenzie-Edwards’s three-and-a-half year stint was ‘perhaps the longest apprenticeship of any vice-chairman’ and joked that the council’s meetings are set to get longer – due to the length of time the new chairman will need to sign his name.

Cllr McKenzie-Edwards said: “We are the grass-roots. We are, in my opinion, the first team for Sidmouth. We bring our life experience and our talents and together we make a team. It’s always my hope, now and in the future, that those talents are used for the benefit of Sidmouth.”

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For the vice-chairman position, Cllr David Barratt proposed Cllr Dyson for his ‘hours and hours’ of work on the Parish Paths Partnership and co-ordinating the Hopper Bus. He added: “He richly deserves this position and will do an excellent job of it.”

Outgoing chairman Cllr Turner spoke of his pride at the way the council had pulled together to make some ‘tremendous progress’.

He was particularly pleased it could increase its support of the youth centre after Devon County Council cut its funding and for its backing of the Admiral Nurse Campaign.

He thanked town clerk Christopher Holland and all the staff at Woolcombe House for their support over the last two years.

Cllrs McKenzie-Edwards and Dyson are set to hold their positions until 2019.

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