First Neston Junior Mayor In as Former Mayor Bows Out
|Published: 17th May 2017 07:46|
Neston Primary School pupil Grace Jones has been installed as the first ever Junior Mayor of Neston, at a meeting that also saw the shock resignation of outgoing Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Shipman.
Grace, along with deputies Cameron McPhail from Parkgate Primary School and Luca Quayle from St Winefride's RC Primary, were invested at the Annual Meeting of Neston Town Council on Tuesday May 16th.
Outgoing Mayor Cllr Mike Shipman with new Junior Mayor of Neston, Grace Jones and her deputies, Cameron McPhail (l) and Luka Quayle (r).
The new Junior Mayor and deputies were presented with their badges of office by Cllr Shipman, in his last formal duty as Town Mayor. The Junior Mayor role has been described as providing an additional link between the Town Council and the town's primary schools, staff and pupils, involving young people in the civic life of the town, and providing additional opportunities to deliver aspects of the National Curriculum; in particular preparing to play an active role as citizens.
The new Junior Mayor and deputies will keep the blue badges as a permanent memento of their time in office. The gold badges will be handed over to their successors next year.
All four primary schools in the Town Council area (Neston, Parkgate, St Winefride's and Woodfall) are involved in the new scheme to provide candidates for the Junior Mayor and his or her deputies. This year Woodfall are not represented as they are providing the Rose Queen and attendants for Neston Village Fair.
Later in the Annual meeting, the new Town Mayor, Cllr Pat Kynaston and Deputy Mayor, Cllr David Carter were also appointed. However, the new Mayor was not present to receive the chain of office, apparently the first time this has occurred in the Council's history.
A new Councillor for Riverside ward, Caroline Howe, was co-opted. Cllr Howe is well known in the local area, both as a businesswoman and as the founder of Wirral Hedgehog Rescue. She is also a former Cheshire Woman of the Year nominee.
Following the Mayor-making formalities, the rest of the meeting got underway under the chairmanship of Deputy Mayor Cllr Carter.
At a previous meeting of full Council on March 28th this year, a new committee structure had been agreed, following a proposal from Cllr Shipman. Out went Society & Culture, Planning and Environment, Finance and General Purposes and Town Centre, in came Policy, People, Places and Resources. According to the agenda for the Annual Meeting, an adjournment was due to take place to allow the new committees to appoint their Chairs.
However, an intervention by Cllr Ceri Lloyd, outgoing Deputy Mayor, who had previously announced her intended resignation from the Council (now apparently rescinded), led to an unprecedented scene. Cllr Lloyd challenged the terms of reference for more than one of the new committees, prompting the shock resignation of Cllr Shipman. Despite standing down as Mayor, he had been expected to continue as a Councillor representing Little Neston ward. Mr Shipman had served on the council since its inception in 2009.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: "I have this evening resigned my membership of Neston Town Council.
"I took this decision at the Annual Meeting of the Council after 10 minutes had been wasted whilst a member of the Council attempted to propose amendments to the newly adopted committee terms of reference.
"In my view, it does not augur well for the efficient conduct of business if a Councillor can turn up at the meeting without having drafted a clearly worded amendment to implement what was desired. It makes no sense at all that the Council should be asked to formally adopt something agreed only at the end of March, and at the same time agree that it should be changed at its next meeting. The Councillor who wished to see this changed should have come to the meeting with a clear proposal.
"Time is too precious to waste like this."
Neston Town Council has been approached for comment.