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John's proud to be town reeve

PUBLISHED: 10:01 04 December 2009 | UPDATED: 08:57 01 August 2010

THE last town reeve left in the country was sworn in this week.

It is only in Bungay that the age-old English tradition is still upheld, and butcher and caterer John Groom took over the post from Professor Christopher Hand.

THE last town reeve left in the country was sworn in this week.

It is only in Bungay that the age-old English tradition is still upheld, and butcher and caterer John Groom took over the post from Professor Christopher Hand.

The position is believed to date back to Saxon times.

Mr Groom was mayor of the town just six months ago, a role he held for two years, and will hold the post of reeve for the next year.

Mr Groom, 61, said: “I was very flattered and honoured to be asked by Professor Hand to succeed him and I knew I couldn't refuse it.

“I am looking forward to being ambassador for Bungay and helping to continue putting Bungay on the map. It is a town I have come to love and always try my best for, and this role is a continuation of that - the fact that I wear a chain and gown won't make any difference to that.”

He was installed as the new town reeve of Bungay at the town council meeting on Tuesday evening, after Professor Hand had reported on his own year in office and the town trust accounts had been presented.

Mr Groom said it had been difficult to keep the secret for three months since being asked - by tradition the identity of the new reeve is confidential until announced at the town meeting - but now he was looking forward to representing Bungay along with his wife Jayne, who he married in February.

He will be dedicating his year in office to the late Diana Belcher, who held the role twice. “I was told by her that this is the greatest honour the town can bestow on anyone, and that when asked to do it I should say yes,” Mr Groom said.

Mr Groom plans to support the East Anglian Air Ambulance charity, as well as continuing to support other local charities. He also has other plans which he will follow up in the coming weeks.

Mr Groom, who was born in Bramford, moved to Bungay 26 years ago to take over the butchery business in Wingfield Street.

12 years ago, he set up John Groom Catering and Carriages. He has been a member of Bungay Town Council for several years and was the first to serve two successive years as mayor.

A Bungay representative on Waveney District Council, he is currently chairman of its planning committee.

As a hobby he enjoys gardening, and he and his wife have recently established a garden room at their Mettingham home. Horses are also a hobby, and became part of the business when the catering and carriages enterprise was established.

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