Gary Powell has been elected Mayor of Stonehouse at what he called a “very important time in the town.”
Stonehouse Town Council elected Clr Powell as mayor and chair at a meeting on Monday, May 17, meaning he will represent Stonehouse, chair full council meetings and be responsible for bringing new ideas to the town.
The position of Deputy Mayor and Deputy Chair was awarded to councillor Carol Kambites the same evening.
“I’m very happy indeed. I’ve been on the town council before back in 2004 up until a few years back and I’m glad to be back because I think it’s a very important time in the town,” said Clr Powell, who was formerly chair of Stroud District Council.
“I want to say that we’ve got some darn good places in Stonehouse and it’s a lovely place to live.
“I’m going to do the best I can in my term as chairman of Stonehouse and if it’s possible, make it better than it already is.”
The mayor said he wants to prioritise a Stonehouse port at Bridgend as Stroudwater canal enters its final stage of restoration.
He wants to build on Stonehouse’s success in Britain in Bloom, where the town has already won gold three times.
Cycling lanes are also on the agenda, with Clr Powell concerned about the safety hazards and pollution caused by vehicles to nearby cyclists.
“I want to do something unique to Stonehouse. I’ve got some ideas which I can’t reveal at the moment but I want something that people want to come and visit, a particular celebration, so we’ll be thinking about that, me and my colleagues.
“No matter what certain politicians say we do not need rejuvenating, we are a successful town.
The one thing that struck me when the judges came round from the Royal Horticultural Society is they wanted to know why our town was so different to other places.”
Clr Powell, 79, has lived in Stonehouse since 1948 when it was just a small village, after moving from Portsmouth at six years old.
He met his wife at the charity Gingerbread, which supports single-parent families.
“We met there, fell in love, got married and we’ve been married now for over 40 years,” said Clr Powell who worked as manufacturing engineer in Gloucester until he retired in 2007.
Though he will be 80 next year, the mayor intends to remain an active leader of the community.
“I don’t sit in the corner with my slippers on – 80s the new 60,” he said.