Jim new first citizen of Suffolk Coastal

RETIRED schoolmaster Jim Bidwell gave top marks to the Suffolk Coastal area as a place to live and work as he took over as its first citizen.

RETIRED schoolmaster Jim Bidwell gave top marks to the Suffolk Coastal area as a place to live and work as he took over as its first citizen.

Melton, Ufford and Pettistree councillor, Mr Bidwell was elected chairman of the district council at its annual meeting and said he was looking forward to the role in which he would serve the area over the next 12 months.

“It is a great honour to have been elected as chairman of the council for the area in which I have lived for over 35 years,” he said.

“I quickly came to recognise and enjoy the unique qualities of this district's environment and people which makes this part of east Suffolk such an outstanding place to live, work or visit.

“The chairman's role is a largely ceremonial one of representing the district at a range of 200 or so formal and less formal public engagements a year.

“I look forward to meeting the business, community and voluntary organisations who are all playing an important part in maintaining and improving the excellent qualify of life in our district.”

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Mr Bidwell was first elected to the council in 2003 for the Trimleys and Kirton ward.

A former mayor of Woodbridge, he is a retired schoolmaster and has lived in Melton for 36 years, having previously served in the army and lived and worked in Kenya.

He was last year's vice-chairman of the council, and takes over from Cliff Cocker as chairman. Stephen Burroughes, of Peasenhall, was elected as the new vice-chairman.

Ray Herring and Andy Smith were re-elected leader and deputy leader of the council.

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