Okehampton Town Council elected their new Mayor at their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 5th May. Cllr Bob Tolley was proposed for the role, seconded and voted in by the other councillors. Previous Mayor, Julie Yelland, having served her term as Mayor of Okehampton, was able to hand over the chain to Cllr Tolley.
Cllr Sanger was voted into the role of Deputy Mayor.
The new Mayor announced that his chosen charity for the year is Dream-a-way, an Exeter-based charity which helps to make dreams come true for Devon’s children and adults with disabilities or life affecting health conditions.
They are run entirely by unpaid volunteers and currently help nearly 3,000 people by providing days out, holidays in their caravans in Exmouth. A few are provided with their dream holiday.
In her retiring speech, Cllr Yelland said: “When I stood before you at Mayor’s Choosing in May, 2019, none of us had any idea as to what was coming over the horizon. I think it is fair to say that my term of office has certainly been a game of two halves. Despite all the restrictions that we have had to work under, I am delighted to report that the Town Council has continued to deliver high quality services and projects.
‘In May, 2019, I spoke of the importance of the Council delivering a Strategic Plan which had the golden thread of the impact of Climate Change running through it.
‘The Council declared a Climate Emergency and has been pro-active in reviewing our own systems, policies and procedures to minimise its impact on the environment and to reduce its carbon emissions together with appointing a representative to have a voice at the wider table of stakeholders and partners.
‘I am absolutely thrilled with the recent announcement that a regular railway service will be starting before the year is out. There is a tremendous amount of work going on to bring the line up to the required standard and I am very excited about the future and the positive impact it will have for both Okehampton and the wider area.
‘I do want to gratefully acknowledge all the volunteers who have worked so hard to support others during this year. ‘Many, many people have given up their time and energy to help as COVID-19 has had such a devastating impact within our community and I don’t suppose there is one person whose life hasn’t been affected in one way or another. Thank you to everyone for your commitment, friendship and kindness to one another.”
New Mayor Tolley said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Councillor Yelland for her first class stewardship as town mayor over these last two years. She has done a brilliant job of leadership throughout the pandemic; and sadly without the benefits that the role would normally bring. If I can do half as well, I will be delighted.
‘Secondly, can I thank my fellow councillors for their work over the same period and for their nomination and confidence in electing me to this prestigious post… and I am most flattered and honoured by their support.
‘I was co-opted onto Okehampton Town Council in 2014, and I like to think I have served a full and proper apprenticeship in reaching this position.
‘I will do my very best to uphold the office of Mayor, and with the support of my fellow councillors, endeavour to help Okehampton and its community, move forward out of these unusual times.”