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Town changes mayor in fresh approach to community leadership

PUBLISHED: 12:29 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:29 22 November 2019

Patrick Gillard has been officially announced this week as the new Town Mayor of Woodbridge. Picture: COURTESY OF WOODBRIDGE TOWN COUNCIL

Patrick Gillard has been officially announced this week as the new Town Mayor of Woodbridge. Picture: COURTESY OF WOODBRIDGE TOWN COUNCIL

Archant

A Suffolk town has changed its mayor halfway through the civic year - as part of a dynamic new way of leading the community.

Liberal Democrat councillor Mr Gillard has been appointed after Eamonn O'Nolan stepped down after his six month tenure. Picture: COURTESY OF WOODBRIDGE TOWN COUNCILLiberal Democrat councillor Mr Gillard has been appointed after Eamonn O'Nolan stepped down after his six month tenure. Picture: COURTESY OF WOODBRIDGE TOWN COUNCIL

Eamonn O'Nolan has handed over the mayoral chain and robes just six months after being elected as Woodbridge's first citizen to the new mayor, Liberal Democrat councillor Patrick Gillard.

It comes just weeks after Mr O'Nolan was arrested at the Extinction Rebellion rally in London dressed in the mayoral robes as part of the climate change protests.

However, his arrest has nothing to do with the mayoral change - which was agreed six months ago after the council elections.

Traditionally the position of mayor is held for one year but Woodbridge Town Council has implemented changes to this old style structure in favour of a fresh approach.

Councillors Eamonn O'Nolan and Patrick Gillard pictured together earlier this year. Picture: EAMONN O'NOLANCouncillors Eamonn O'Nolan and Patrick Gillard pictured together earlier this year. Picture: EAMONN O'NOLAN

It is part of larger changes to the town council, including changes to its committee structure with more power being delegated to individual committees.

Mr O'Nolan had an eventful six months as mayor.

He was arrested at the cimate change protests in October by the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody in Brixton but he was not charged and was released under investigation.

Mayor Gillard has appointed his wife and fellow Liberal Democrat County Counciillor Caroline Page as his consort. Picture: COURTESY OF PATRICK GILLARD/CAROLINE PAGEMayor Gillard has appointed his wife and fellow Liberal Democrat County Counciillor Caroline Page as his consort. Picture: COURTESY OF PATRICK GILLARD/CAROLINE PAGE

He was also prevalent in the case of two dead bodies found in sheltered accommodation in Mussidan Place in Woodbridge after attending as a first responder and regularly met with residents and local authorities to try to prevent the shocking circumstances from happening again.

Mr O'Nolan congratulated Mr Gillard and said: "I've enjoyed it hugely, and as a council we have managed to get a number of projects off the ground including the climate emergency declaration, the first Car Free Day and the Community Cafe.

"Six months wasn't long enough."

Mr Gillard appointed his wife Liberal Democrat county councillor Caroline Page as his consort and writing on his Facebook page said: "I am honoured to have been elected chair of Woodbridge Town Council and Mayor of Woodbridge till the end of this council year.

Police speak to former Woodbridge Mayor Eamonn O' Nolan at the Extinction Rebellion protests last month. Picture: KAL HARVEYPolice speak to former Woodbridge Mayor Eamonn O' Nolan at the Extinction Rebellion protests last month. Picture: KAL HARVEY

"There are loads of great things we can do.

"On behalf of all councillors and the town, I'd like to thank councillor O'Nolan for his excellent six months' service."

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