'Its been a privilege' - Former mayor resigns from town council

Hilary Bushell, mayor of Dereham, has voiced concerns over the impact of 255 new homes in Dereham. P

Councillor Hilary Bushell said she was resigning from her town council duties for "personal reasons" - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk town council has experienced its third resignation in under a month, with the departure of its former mayor announced this week. 

Hilary Bushell, 75, said she was stepping down after six years on Dereham Town Council for “personal reasons”, but that she had “thoroughly enjoyed” her time as a town councillor.

Ms Bushell said: “It’s been a privilege to serve the community of Dereham on the council, because they have been first-class. I wish my fellow councillors and staff a good future.”

“It took me a long time to make the decision... and I’m sad in many ways to be going, but I have to do what’s right for me,” said Ms Bushell, who confirmed that she would continue to represent Toftwood residents on Breckland District Council. 

Ms Bushell, who served as mayor for 2017 to 2019, said that particular highlights from her time on the town council included ringing the bells from St Nicholas Church’s belltower, and learning about what it’s like to be blind with the Guide Dogs Association. 

Dereham Mayor Hilary Bushell was blind folded and walked through the streets of Dereham by Guide Dog

Dereham's then-mayor Hilary Bushell was blindfolded and walked through the streets of Dereham by Guide Dogs county engagement worker Helen Sismore in 2018. - Credit: Ian Burt

She added that the latter experience had shown her some of the problems with access in the town for the blind and disabled, and she intended to continue pursuing the issue at district level. 

Ms Bushell is believed to be the only mayor in the council’s history who served two consecutive terms in the office, and she said it was “brilliant to sing the praises of Dereham” during that time.

As mayor, Ms Bushell donated a portion of her civic events allowance to charitable causes in the town, working especially closely with the mental health charity Mind in her first year, and with the Fire Brigade Benevolent Fund in her second.

Most Read

Town clerk Tony Needham will officially post notice of her resignation on Wednesday, triggering a period of 14 working days in which electors in Dereham Neatherd can request that a by-election be called to replace Ms Bushell. 

If fewer than 10 requests are received by March 16, the town council will co-opt a new councillor - as it intends to do following the twin resignations of Alan and Kay Gray, and the subsequent lack of interest from voters in holding by-elections.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter