New Diss mayor speaks of his surprise at appointment
18:18 30 May 2014
The new mayor of Diss has spoken of his surprise at being appointed to the role as he has not been in local government very long.
Keith Kiddie, 60, has been installed as the town’s mayor after fours years as a councillor.
He said: “I was quite surprised to end up as mayor in that I have not been in local government very long and I feel extremely honoured to be involved, but I am acutely aware of the huge responsibility.
“These days, being mayor is not just a ceremonial role, you have to get involved and do things and I don’t think anybody is naive enough to think that we don’t live in difficult times.”
His priorities for his year as mayor were the projects to repair Madgett’s Walk where subsidence had occurred at the Mere’s edge, as well as the installation of new drains at the mere.
He added he would also like the Heritage Triangle Project come to fruition, which aims to regenerate the old part of Diss through investment in its heritage.
He has chosen to raise money for two charities, including the Royal Anglian Benevolent Fund because of the town’s close links to the regiment and also because he is a former soldier with the Royal Fusiliers where he reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.
The father-of-three said his other charity was the Multiple Sclerosis Society as his sister-in-law has the neurological condition, which causes damage to the coating around nerve fibres.
Mr Kiddie said when he left the army he had no intention of entering local government, but was asked by a friend to become a governor at Diss High School before he was persuaded to become a councillor.
He added: “Having done my entire career of service to the country, I thought ‘why would I stop now?’ I thought I would try and do some good and make Diss a better place.”
He lives with his wife Sue, 57, in Walcot Road and has three children- Katie, 28, Fred, 25 and George, 23.
His predecessor as mayor Neil Howard raised £2,573 for the charities Diss First Responders and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices at Quidenham.
His highlights included progress made on improving traffic flows in the town, including a survey to look into ways of easing congestion in Victoria Road and the installation of the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) at Mere park.
Mr Howard added: “I think it is difficult to see one highlight because it has been a privilege to be the mayor and it has been nice to be given the opportunity to hold that important office in the town.”