Heritage in focus as new Devizes mayor steps up

Outgoing mayor Pete Smith with new Devizes mayor Sarah Bridewell

Outgoing mayor Pete Smith with new Devizes mayor Sarah Bridewell

First published in News

Outgoing mayor Pete Smith was applauded as he stood down as new mayor Sarah Bridewell was installed last Thursday evening.

Coun Smith had stepped into the role following the resignation of Coun Jim Gudgeon, who had stepped down from the town council at the 11th hour in an alleged spat with a member of the ruling Devizes Guardians group.

As Deputy Mayor, Coun Smith had also completed the mayoral functions of Coun John Leighton when he died in January 2010. He then completed his own year as mayor in 2010/11 before returning to the post last May as a replacement for Coun Gudgeon.

Coun Jane Burton told the mayor-making assembly in the Assembly Room of the town hall last Thursday: “Under his leadership he has brought loyalty and camaraderie back to the council and it is working well again.

“He is game for anything and we will remember him taking to a scooter at Ramp Nation and wearing a swimming hat at a swimming gala.

“During the recent dreadful flooding, in his work for Wiltshire Council, he was often working from early morning to late in the evening as well as carrying out his mayoral duties.”

Coun Bridewell, Coun Burton’s daughter, follows her mother as mayor. She is the 14th woman to hold the office and, in her acceptance speech, she said how honoured and humbled she was to take on the post.

She said she would do everything in her power to maintain the standards, traditions and heritage of the town.

She has selected three local causes to benefit from her mayoral appeal. She hopes to raise enough money for the local branch of the British Heart Foundation to install two defibrillators in the town centre. She will give money to Bag4Sport and the Devizes Food Bank. She will also set up collection points for the food bank at the town hall and Barclays, where she works.

She announced her Chamberlains as Coun Ian Hopkins and Coun Pete Smith and her High Constables are her father, Richard Burton, and Joanne Smith.

Coun Bridewell’s term got off to a frantic start as she left for the twinning weekend in Waiblingen, Germany, the following morning.

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