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Newly elected mayor ready to ‘embrace changes’

Having served as deputy mayor for the last year, Jill Skinner has been nominated as the new mayor of Swaffham.

She was elected ahead of Stewart Bell at a town council meeting yesterday evening after Mr Bell had been nominated by Paul Darby.

Having been elected, Mrs Skinner takes over from Conservative Colin Houghton who continues to serve as an elected town councillor.

Colin Houghton and Jill Skinner
Colin Houghton and Jill Skinner

Independent Keith Sandle was also elected as deputy mayor ahead of Conservative Stewart Bell.

Speaking after her nomination, Mrs Skinner said: “A big thank you to Colin for the last year. He has been very busy and will now have a bit of a rest.

“A thank you should also go to the new councillors for their new ideas and I am sure we will represent their new views.

“I hope we are ready to embrace changes over the next four years and it is the public who are the most important people.

“Obviously we will be working hard for you, and whether it’s problems or ideas, this is your town.”

Mayor Jill Skinner and deputy mayor Keith Sandle
Mayor Jill Skinner and deputy mayor Keith Sandle

Mr Houghton picked out the Swaffham Neighbourhood Plan, First World War centenary commemorations and the appointment of Sue Dent as project officer as some of the highlights from his year as mayor.

Observing the final Tornado flypast at RAF Marham was also a highlight for him, despite being "sad in a way" to see the end of the iconic aircraft.

He added: “One of the great things about Swaffham is the variety of clubs to get involved with in the town, meaning there is no need be lonely. It is a great asset for the town to have.

"I have been very busy as mayor but it has been interesting times.”

Mr Houghton also thanked town clerk Richard Bishop and town council staff for their hard work behind the scenes.

Keith Sandle, the new deputy mayor, said he is "Swaffham born and bred" with family based in Castle Acre.

Having completed a degree in computing, Mr Sandle has worked for the NHS in managing consultancy before running a shop since 2012.

His shop is Henchman's, a popular gaming shop in Swaffham, which is located at Station Steet.

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