Mayor puts on chains of of­fice for the sec­ond time

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

IF ASH­FORD’S 37th mayor Allen Wells looks fa­mil­iar that’s be­cause it is not the first time he has donned the civic robes and re­galia.

As well as be­ing elected the deputy mayor in 2003, of­ten stand­ing in for a busy Bob Davidson, Cllr Wells served as the bor­ough’s first cit­i­zen for a year from 2004.

Speak­ing the day af­ter his ap­point­ment, the Labour councillor for Beaver ward said he would miss Richard Vella, his at­ten­dant and chauf­feur from his first year in of­fice, who died in Fe­bru­ary.

Cllr Wells, 73, of Elm Place, Beaver Lane, said: “I shall miss Richard greatly be­cause we had a great rap­port.

“We would go out to schools as a dou­ble act and ex­plain Ash­ford’s coat of arms.

“I’ll just take it all in my stride. I’ve got a good PA in An­drea Collard and if there’s any­thing that clashes or if I’ve made a mis­take in book­ing any­thing she will tell me pretty quickly.”

“There is so much I’m look­ing for­ward to, get­ting out around the bor­ough gen­er­ally and es­pe­cially out to the out­ly­ing parishes and vil­lages. I found that en­joy­able last time. There’s a lot of life out there and things go­ing on.”

The re­tired Co-op sales devel­op­ment of­fi­cer and fabrics busi­ness owner is yet to pick a mayor’s char­ity for the year and in­tends to split funds be­tween sev­eral char­i­ties.

He said: “I’m do­ing what I did last time. I’ll have one main mayor’s char­ity and at the end of my term in of­fice I will di­vide that up among spe­cific youth or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

As a re­sult of the frag­ile econ­omy Cllr Wells, who has two grown up chil­dren called Paul and Sara, re­vealed there will not be a mayor’s ball for the sec­ond year in a row.

He said: “There won’t be a mayor’s ball. I said to mem­bers last night I’m not join­ing the chain gang of may­ors. In this day and age when we are hav­ing to tighten belts and there are job cuts, it would be wrong of me to spend ratepay­ers’ money on hav­ing a good time.”

The grand­fa­ther-of-four is a true Ash­for­dian with fam­ily con­nec­tions in the town dat­ing back to 1790 and is one of the long­est stand­ing coun­cil­lors on the coun­cil hav­ing served for more than 20 years.

His in­ter­est in pol­i­tics was sparked af­ter a hous­ing scan­dal in which 1,000 coun­cil homes had to be de­mol­ished be­cause of se­ri­ous de­sign faults.

He sub­se­quently joined the Ash­ford Home­own­ers Ac­tion Group in 1986 and be­came the councillor for his ward, then known as Wool­reeds.

Pic­ture: Martin Apps PD1709426

New Mayor Cllr Allen Wells

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