'A very special place' - New mayor privileged to serve town

The new mayor of Beccles, Cllr Barry Darch.

The new mayor of Beccles, Cllr Barry Darch. - Credit: Beccles Town Council

A new mayor has pledged to "give young people more of a voice" following his appointment to the role.

Barry Darch was elected as the new mayor of Beccles at the town council’s annual meeting on Tuesday evening (May 17).

He will now wear the town's mayoral robes alongside the retiring mayor, councillor Richard Stubbings, after Mr Stubbings accepted the role of deputy mayor for the municipal year 2022-2023.

In his acceptance speech, Dr Darch said that his priorities for the coming year were to support the implementation of the council’s new committee structure and particularly the development of a strategic plan.

He added: "I am very keen to work with other stakeholders in the community, including the Beccles Business and Tourism Association.

"I would also like to give young people more of a voice."

Dr Darch also highlighted his wish to make the history and heritage of Beccles "more accessible" - as in the Beccles Visual History Project, through which historic images of Beccles will be displayed in the town.

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He spoke about ‘Beccles Gives Back’ - a year-long opportunity for Beccles people of all ages to give something back to the community in appreciation of the Queen’s 70 years of outstanding service - and praised the strong spirit of volunteering in the town.

The new mayor of Beccles, Cllr Barry Darch.

The new mayor of Beccles, Cllr Barry Darch. - Credit: Beccles Town Council

Dr Darch said: "It is a privilege to serve Beccles as mayor, as it is a very special place."

He thanked his fellow councillors for their confidence in him and optimism, noting that he too is an optimist.

In the last year Dr Darch, who was elected to the council in 2021, has chaired three working parties, including the Communications Strategy Group which has produced a community engagement strategy for the Council.

Four generations of Dr Darch’s family have now lived in Beccles since he moved to the town in 1990 to take up a senior position in education in Lowestoft.

He and his wife Faith, the new mayoress - who is well known as a lay minister in the Parish of Beccles - have family connections with Suffolk that go back much further, although he himself grew up in Devon.

At the annual meeting, the Rev Canon Rich Henderson was appointed mayor’s chaplain and Cadet Flight Sergeant Callum Monro took on the role of mayor’s cadet.

Dr Darch named the Beccles Community Hub as his Mayor’s Appeal.

The retiring mayor Mr Stubbings and deputy mayor Cllr Ash Lever were thanked for their service.