The new Mayor of Gillingham, Cllr Val Pothecary, was sworn in at the Annual Council meeting on 28th May. On accepting her term of office Cllr Pothecary thanked the outgoing Mayor, Cllr Steve Joyce, for all his hard work in representing the town over the past year. She also thanked her fellow councillors for electing her Chairman of the Council, and ambassador of the Town.
Cllr Pothecary said “I am absolutely delighted to be Mayor of Gillingham and I promise to put the best interests of our community before all other considerations.
I moved to Gillingham as a very young wife, and even younger mother! At that time the town was approximately a third of the size it is now, and everyone knew each other.
Over the following years I saw so many changes, particularly in the building of new houses, and some developments were pretty disgraceful. Until finally – driven by frustration at what I saw was Gillingham ‘going to the dogs’, I called in at the Council offices to find out more about a planning application near to my home. I spoke to a very helpful deputy Town
Clerk – Sylvia Dobie, who mentioned that there was a vacancy on the council, and seeing as I felt so strongly about things, perhaps I would like to consider applying? So I thought about it and decided that it was time to put up or shut up!
As they say, the rest is history, but I believe that raising my children here, being involved in three High Street businesses, and my many years as a Town Councillor, has earned me the right to be considered a local!
Although I am still undecided about what charity to support; I have decided that I want to hold an event to recognise the unsung heroes of our town. So many people give their time and energy helping with charities, clubs and society’s, or in being an exceptional neighbour. We can’t elect them all
Freemen of the Town, but these selfless people are the glue that holds our community together, and I hope we can give them some small recognition of our thanks.
As you may have guessed; my watchword for the coming months is ‘community’. There is so much going on, and so many opportunities to be grasped. Over the years we have had some dreadful piecemeal development, and more recently the town centre has suffered badly. But now, with the
Neighbourhood Plan progressing and the District Council’s new Core Strategy about to be adopted, we can ensure that the proposed southern extension of the town delivers what is needed in homes, employment and infrastructure.
Regeneration of the town centre is also being addressed, both in the built environment and the economic vitality. But it is important that every one of us becomes engaged with the process, on behalf of our ward residents. Throughout the County Gillingham has a fine reputation for getting on with things and being open to new ideas and ways of working. We are respected, and we in turn respect each other, in our efforts for the common good. I am extremely proud to live here and to represent Gillingham as your Mayor.”