Cambs county council chairman- and former Norwich MP- hangs up his chain after 50 years of public service

Election of Chairman and Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council. Outgoing Chairman John Powley and

Election of Chairman and Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council. Outgoing Chairman John Powley and newly elected chairman Cllr Kevin Reynolds. - Credit: Archant

HE holds an almost unparalleled record of public service and former Norwich MP and Cambs council chairman John Powley received a standing ovation as it came to an end.

Cllr John Powley raises the St George's Flag outside Shire Hall.

Cllr John Powley raises the St George's Flag outside Shire Hall. - Credit: Archant

Latterly he had been chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council but his career included a spell as an MP and also leader of Cambridge City Council.

Election of Chairman and Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council. Outgoing Chairman John Powley and

Election of Chairman and Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council. Outgoing Chairman John Powley and newly elected chairman Cllr Kevin Reynolds. - Credit: Archant

The county council agreed he should be honoured with the title of alderman – a title bestowed on an individual who, in the opinion of the council has rendered eminent service to the authority.

Election of Chairman and Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council. Outgoing Chairman John Powley and

Election of Chairman and Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council. Outgoing Chairman John Powley and newly elected chairman Cllr Kevin Reynolds. - Credit: Archant

Council leader Martin Curtis said: 'I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to John.

Election of Chairman and Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council. Outgoing Chairman John Powley and

Election of Chairman and Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council. Outgoing Chairman John Powley and newly elected chairman Cllr Kevin Reynolds. - Credit: Archant

'He has been an excellent servant for many years and it will not be the same without his face somewhere around the chamber.'


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Mr Powley was elected to the county council in 1967 and stood down in 1977 before being re-elected in 1997. During this time he was senior councillor for social services for eight years, and corporate services - including finance - for two years. He served as vice chairman from 2009 before being elected chairman in 2011.

He was elected MP for Norwich South in 1983 and during his four years in Parliament sat on the select committee for social services.

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Mr Powley decided not to stand for re-election to the county council, bringing to an end nearly 50 years of public service.

He said: 'As a Cambridgeshire born resident and businessman, it has been an honour and a privilege to represent and serve the diverse communities we have in the county.

'It has been a privilege to be chairman during such an exciting period, with the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics, the Paralympics and the royal visits.

'After nearly half a century of public service I decided not to stand again in the recent elections, with the intention of spending more time with my wife Jill, who I would like to thank for her great support throughout the years.

'I have been very proud of the achievements I have helped bring to Cambridgeshire and Norwich South over the last 46 years, including developing the Grafton Centre.

'I wish the new chairman every success and I am sure he will serve the council just as well as I tried to do.'

As chairman of the county council, he has performed more than 400 public engagements – most of them accompanied by his wife Jill.

In addition, he has presided over 70 citizenship ceremonies, welcoming approximately 2,000 new citizens into the county.

He has met most senior members of the royal family, including welcoming the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their first visit to the city in November last year.

Since entering politics in 1967 John, who was one of the two local members for Soham and Fordham Villages, has served as chairman of the county council, leader of Cambridge City Council and MP for Norwich South.

He was also a governor of Soham Village College for 12 years and currently is a governor at Weatheralls Primary School.

John and Jill, who married in 1957 and live in Soham, have three children - Stephen, Amanda and Stewart.

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