Councillor Derek Kennedy elected as Mayor


17 May 2021

At the Annual Meeting of Hexham Town Council, held on Monday 17 May, Councillor Derek Kennedy was elected as Mayor. Councillor Fay Hartland was elected as Deputy Mayor. Councillor Kennedy’s acceptance speech can be viewed in full below:

Thank you to the people of Hexham for electing me and thank you fellow Councillors for choosing me as the Mayor. It is a great honour to hold this position. In the 18 years I have been on the Town Council I have seen how Hexham has changed.

Can I thank all the departing Councillors for their voluntary contributions to the Town including Councillors Hare, Gillanders, Dodds, Pearson, Homer, Hanley, Graham, Panesh and the outgoing Mayor Bob Hull.

A bright new dawn has broken! The people of Hexham have told us via the ballot box they want change and they want a diverse mix of enthusiastic and ambitious people to do that.

A warm welcome to the 9 new councillors who will complement the 5 experienced hands.

It is now up to us 14 councillors to deliver for the people. No one body or party has a majority, we need to work together to get things done. So, I am reaching out to all councillors and all our partnership bodies in a spirit of co-operation, to voluntary bodies to come work with us, share resources and knowledge to make things better. It is so exciting to be part of this Town Council for the next 4 years.
Our beloved town, like others, has suffered from the lockdowns and we hope the work of the NHS vaccination programme is going to see us move into the sunshine. We all want to see our family and friends and unite with people again. This Council will be focused on our communities. Bringing fun, smiles and laughter back, helping our businesses, engaging with our young people, disabled people and our diverse communities.

We have ambitions to move forward towards a sustainable future. We are currently collecting lots of exciting ideas of what could be possible. As a start, we are looking to have a Town Council Market Stall at the Saturday Farmers Market, where you can meet the Councillors and express your thoughts and ideas, we want to listen to you.

There are exciting ventures happening, the County Council funded £36m new High and Middle School right here in my Hexham West ward. The youth finally getting a school they deserve. Other ventures are coming to fruition, the Bunker site development, Older People flats on the Corbridge Road and the Old Swimming Pool.

But we will also hold to account those who need to be challenged. The Northumbria Police Authority and what it intends to do with the Police houses that are boarded up, 10 wasted homes that could be used to house Hexham families. Dysart, the owner of the Old Bus Station at the centre of our town just abandoned. The Old Beales store mainly empty and other empty stores. Well what next, we should not accept this state of affairs we want answers and actions.

We are emerging from a torrid time but with energy, ideas, spirit and commitment we will overcome and with your support, carry Hexham forward to a positive sustainable future.

Thank you let’s get to work!