Dereham has a new mayor after shock election result
- Credit: Archant
Glowing tributes have been paid to outgoing mayor Tim Birt who lost his seat on Dereham Town Council in a shock election result.
Linda Goreham, who has served as a town councillor for 13 years, and was a district councillor for eight years, has become Dereham's new mayor.
At Tuesday night's Annual Meeting of Dereham Town Council, Mrs Goreham thanked Mr Birt for 'putting his heart and soul into the job'.
Councillors said they were 'devastated' and 'exasperated' by Mr Birt's departure from the council of which councillor Linda Monument said he had been 'a very useful and a very powerful member'.
Mr Birt was praised in particular for his involvement in the £2.3m refurbishment of Dereham Memorial Hall, which has been seen by some as one of the town council's greatest achievements in recent times.
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He said: 'It's been an honour to serve the town I've called my home for the best part of my life and I am disappointed not to be re-elected.'
Mr Birt, who is affiliated with the Green Party, praised the way the council has progressed in the eight years he served on it.
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He said: 'At times in the past some members of the council were too distracted with national politics and I was in a minority of one.
'Over time we have seen a change in the way the town council works.
'I praise our enlightened Conservative members as we now engage with open discussion and make judgements on evidence and facts and are adaptable and working together for the good of the town.'
Mr Birt added that the council is in a sound financial position to be able to maintain its assets and deliver improvements.
Mrs Goreham has lived in the Dereham area for 42 years and is well known for having run a post office in the town with her husband Robin Goreham, who himself was a prominent councillor for 20 years.
She is now retired and volunteers with the radiology department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
She is also a Dereham U3A member,
Mrs Goreham, 68, who has two sons, Thomas, 25, and Owen, 43, and a daughter, Paula, 45, said: 'My immediate aim is to engage with the Dereham public and, in particular, young people.
'I hope to show them that councillors are real people - trying to do their best for Dereham.
'My aim is to involve various groups in a wide range of activities - including events for children and fun competitions. 'During the last four years I have been very fortunate in having a great group of councillors who, generally, have combined well in a very positive spirit.
'I hope this trust will continue with our new council.'