Mayor puts on chains of office for the second time
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.
New Mayor Cllr Allen Wells