May 9, 2017
New Mayor and Mayoress elected for Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge

Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge has a new Mayor and Mayoress this week after they were elected by town councillors on Monday evening (May 8th).

Bill Hancock and his wife Frances were chosen by councillors after outgoing Mayor and Mayoress Michael and Maria Clarke's two years in the role came to an end.

Bill Hancock, 73, is a cattle farmer who lives at The Oaktree in Highbridge. He has been a Highbridge town councillor for six years, representing the Highbridge ward.

"I'm humbled and greatly honoured to become Mayor," Bill told "We're both looking forward to a busy, active year. One theme I intend to focus on is the youth of our area - they are our future and need every support we can give them to put them on a right path."

Mayoress Frances, 69, was born in Isleport Road, Highbridge and has always lived in the town. She added: "I'm delighted that we've been chosen, if a bit nervous! It's quite a responsibility, but we're looking forward to meeting lots of local people."

Cllr Hancock was proposed by Cllr Andy Brewer, who said: "Cllr Hancock has very conscientiously been Deputy Mayor for the last two years and has always been very well received. I know he is slightly daunted by the task but his political independence is well respected in this Chamber."

Cllr Louise Parkin seconded the nomination of the new Mayor, adding: "Cllr Hancock is the best of 'old Highbridge' - he's lived in the area for 70 years and his wife was actually born in Isleport. I wholeheartedly support this recommendation."

Cllr Bill Hancock was presented the Mayoral chain by outgoing Mayor Michael Clarke. The Past Mayor's Badge was also handed over to Cllr Clarke.

Cllr Hancock praised the outgoing Mayor, saying: "Thank you for all you have done over the past two years. You have been fantastic in the job. I always say that behind every successful man is a great woman and that's the case with Maria, who has been a wonderful Mayoress. We thank them both."

Outgoing Mayor Michael Clarke said: "I'm beyond words to explain what an honour it has been to represent Burnham and Highbridge as Mayor."

"It has been a huge privilege and we have been so impressed with the many wonderful people we have met across the two towns who make Burnham and Highbridge what they are."

"We wish Bill and Frances every success - they will be a great Mayor and Mayoress," he added.

Cllr Michael Clarke presented flowers to Rev Sharon Eldergill to thank her in her outgoing role as the Mayor's Chaplain.

The new Mayor and Mayoress are scheduled to announce their new appointments for Mayor's Chaplain and Mayor's Cadet next month.

Pictured here with the new Mayor and Mayoress are Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton, who was elected Deputy Mayor, and Cllr Andy Brewer who is the new Second Deputy Mayor.

The full council with the new Mayor and Mayoress on Monday evening


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